The Scurrilous Behaviour of the Leave Campaign


Farage and his overtly racist poster

I don’t normally comment too much on those whose views I disagree with. The only exception being, of course, Joe Anderson!! And I wasn’t going to in this campaign either but one thing that Leave have done today has sickened me to the pit of my being. They have published an advertisement which shows a long line of people waiting to get into the UK. They have one thing in common – they are all people of colour. This is, without a doubt, dog whistle racism of the worst kind. It shows there true motives and their true colours. It also reveals their total hypocrisy. A few months ago the big problem, apparently was people coming in from Poland and other Eastern European Countries. The problem with that is – well – that they look like us. Us being, in UKIP and LEAVE terms white English People.

But hypocrisy is paramount in the LEAVE campaign. Take the fishing incident on the Thames yesterday. Apparently Farage is concerned about the loss of fishing vessels in the North of England and Scotland caused by the EU. He cannot be that bothered, as a member of the Fisheries Committee which discusses things like fish stocks and quotas he has managed to attend just one out of 42 meetings. While we are on the subject of fisheries its worth mentioning Mr Gove. According to him his father’s business collapsed because of EU interference. According to his father that is not true!

But fishing is a good area to look at if we want to try and deal with real facts and not hysterical nonsense. Fish stocks had, at one stage, declined to a terrible level which made it highly unlikely that there would be any fish left to catch in a generation’s time. No Country could have manged the fish stocks issue by themselves because many of the fish stocks lie outside territorial waters. It is vital therefore that there is proper debate on these issues. Be assured that the proper debate will continue whether or not we are in the EU. Be assured also that our fisheries folk will really suffer if we are not even in the room when decisions are made about these issues.

I saw the difference in those who support REMAIN and those who support LEAVE most graphically when I represented the Remain side at the BBC Radio Merseyside debate. I sat with two other Remain speakers on one side and behind us where the other Remain members of the audience. On the other side of the room this was replicated by the LEAVE side. There were three key differences between the two sides:

  1. On my side of the room I was the oldest bar one person. Predominantly the REMAIN audience were young people. Had I been on the LEAVE side I would have been one of the youngest.
  1. The REMAIN side were clearly more educated and eloquent than the LEAVE side. They were able to quote facts, had done their homework and could clearly state their case. This difference was brought home to me graphically when one of the LEAVE side complained that my colleague Cllr Sue Maguire from Southport kept looking up facts on her notes. Apparently facts were not required by one LEAVER who complained about her doing so!
  1. The REMAIN side were much better behaved than the LEAVE side. They didn’t interfere with other people’s speeches or intervention. They didn’t bellow out; they weren’t ageist. They just sat there quietly whilst the LEAVERS poured scorn on them in some cases about their lack of age.

I suppose that’s one of my complaints about both sides. Basically it’s been arguments about the future of our Country by posh boys in the South of England who will not personally suffer no matter what the result. People like Farage, Cameron, Osborne and Gove have been insulated from the reality of daily life since they were born.  None of them have been able to give us a vision for our Country whether we are in or out. So the campaign has been conducted by insults, jeers and sound bites. This has annoyed many people and, I am certain, will put many people off voting altogether.

Earlier in the campaign I did a blog which said that I hoped that people would vote with hope for the future. I see that in far too few people. Whilst it is true that none of us really know what the UK will be like if we were to leave the EU some things are becoming clearer:

There will be a run on the £. How far this will go we do not know but just look at the slump in the £’s value based on two polls showing the LEAVE side ahead. At the same time £100 billion has been knocked off the value of the stock market in just 4 days. Some people think that this has nothing to do with them. The only losers are speculators and bankers who will lose their own money. Nothing could be further from the truth. At a simple level foreign holidays will cost more because of the £’s deprecation. Most of the stock market value is held by pension funds which will pay you and me our pension when we retire. The pension funds have effectively lost 4% in value just because of those same 2 polls.

It is not the posh boys who will suffer because of this. It’s the poorest 40% of our community. Those with little to lose but there state pensions and benefits and who cannot afford private hospitals. Those with a little put by as a cushion for the future, especially their pension. They are the ones who will pay the price for the posh boy’s games.

I am still confident that we will have a REMAIN vote on June 23rd. I am going to speak at a major debate in Salford University this evening with business leaders from across the North West. I cannot believe that my Country will effectively commit a long and painful suicide by voting to come out next week. Because that’s what a LEAVE vote would cause. Reduced, investment, reduced employment, reduced tax take and reduced services for those who need them most. We would be the sick man of Europe and it would be our fault as we hurtle down the one-way street and over the abyss of our own volition. No Johnny Foreigner to blame then – just our own stupidity.


About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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