The lies that convinced people to vote for Brexit

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When y’all voted yes on Brexit was when I knew Trump would win :rage:


The “or something” was keeping the brown people and Eastern Europeans out. Talk long enough to someone banging on about crowns on pint glasses, and saving our NHS, and you’re bound to hear something shockingly xenophobic.


Yeats nailed it when he wrote “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity”.

On the one side, you had scumbags like Johnson and Farage lying up a storm and appealing to people’s worst instincts, selling what was quite patently a crock of shit to the best of their conniving, mendacious ability. On the other, the supposed voices of reason like Cameron or Corbyn were at best lukewarm in their messaging, and sometimes appeared entirely indifferent. There were passionate Remainers, but for the most part they didn’t have the same visibility as those who were supposed to be defending Britain’s future but couldn’t be bothered to do so.

To say nothing of the fact that “do this one thing and all your problems will be solved,” is a much easier sell than “actually, it’s more complicated than that”. Even if it’s patently a lie, as it always is.

And Brexit was backed by most of the billionaire-owned media, whose proprietors stood to profit from asset-stripping the nation once the measure had gone through.

Could Brexit have been averted if the more visible public figures who claimed to be against it had actually given a shit (or had been more charismatic than David Cameron)? Or if journalists had actually challenged Boris Johnson when he unhinged his jaw and started vomiting his trademark torrent of lies? Maybe, just maybe. But maybe the fix was in already, from well before the moment that a supposedly ‘advisory’ referendum was suddenly re-interpreted as an up/down vote on the country’s future, and a slender majority was portrayed as an overwhelming popular mandate.


I still can’t believe Boris Johnson had a second act after being so dishonest. Also bizarre that his current legal and political issues (from what I’ve seen in news) stem from defying Covid gathering regulations and lying about it, vs. deliberately lying about the EU and it’s relation to the UK in such a way that it caused numerous social and economic train wrecks. I understand the hypocrisy and potential loss of life he caused by the wine binges, but it seems like it’s on a smaller scale than the damage and chaos he caused by attacking and dismantling the EU.


We’re in the post-shame, post-accountability era now.

I can think of someone else who should never have had a first act, let alone a better-than-even chance of being elected to the highest office in the land for a second time. Johnson’s a piker in comparison.

This is a common pattern, though.

Part of it is that it’s much easier to prove deceit when it involves something simple like being at a party: it’s a were-you/weren’t-you yes-no question, and once you’ve demonstrated that, the lie is just a matter of record. Whereas when you lie about big things, there’s always wiggle room, you can pretend it was political hyperbole that no sensible person would take seriously, you can even pretend that it’s still true, that there’d be sunlit uplands for everyone if only insert-name-of-your-political-enemy hadn’t acted maliciously/ineptly (because it’s always someone else’s fault, not yours).

It’s so much harder to pin someone down on the big lies than the little ones, because they can drag you into a maze of counterfactuals and hypotheticals and I-never-meant-thats (or even I-never-said-thats; flatly denying that you said something that’s actually recorded is now par for the gaslighting course).

Also, penalizing Boris for telling porkies about dinner parties is so much safer than risking annoying all the wealthy and powerful people who were complicit in the Brexit scam, and who don’t want to see that whole mess dragged out into the open. The people who might convene an inquiry into the whole Brexit shambles would either be embarrassed themselves by a full and fair examination of the facts, or are beholden to others who are similarly vulnerable.


The best propaganda takes a tiny concern, blows it up to Goodyear blimp size, and then scares people into not looking deeper. Brexit became an issue because people feared all sorts of boogeymen, much like how people in Missouri will rage for hours about how “millions are crossing the border” despite never seeing the border and being a thousand miles away from it.


Cambridge Analytica involved in both.


Y’all = 51.89%, with Scotland and Northern Ireland voting remain. The map that has vast areas of England and Wales voting leave is very misleading when you realise how densely populated most of the remain areas are.

I have defended the US from British people who think Americans are idiots because “they all voted for Bush/Trump”, so I would appreciate some solidarity.


No insult meant. I realize it’s always a slim majority of voters (which is usually a minority of citizens). Hell in Trump’s election it was a minority of voters - thanks again, Electoral College!


Yep. Same as all these movements everywhere. Unfortunately Britain and the US aren’t as exceptional as many believe.


I have friends in London who voted Leave who are in no way xenophobic or racist. They believed the Sovereign line even when pointed out that the UK is too small to be isolationist and would always need to compromise to trade with its bigger markets.

Unfortunately they still trot out the line that yes it is worst now but it will be better in the long run (50+ years) - they don’t have a good reply when I point out that they will be over 90 years old at that point so will never see the benefits.


More so when you notice that most of the places that voted remain, are also the places with the highest proportion of immigrants.


A good part of it was that a large number of people wanted to give the Cameron government a good kicking. They had inflicted austerity on the country - people were feeling poorer, the economy wasn’t doing so great and there was something generally wrong with the country.

Add them to the die hard anti-Europeans and give them a leader with the malign charisma of Boris Johnson as a leader and people voted to leave.

They then did the harm again by giving him a landslide win at the general election because he promised simple solutions to complex problems (ie. get Brexit done) and to put some fun into politics rather than the slick PR folks like Cameron. Traditional non-Tory voters voted blue for the first time in depressed areas that had been directly hurt by Tory policies.

And look where we are; the country is even more broken, society is fractured like never before, politics is even further in the gutter - and for the party of low immigration - we have record breaking immigration - which is causing yet more problems and intensifying the even more lunatic right wing.

It’s a fucking mess. And there is no money to fix things, but binning the Conservatives might be a start.


2016 was the most awful year in my reasonably long life.

I was working as a pub manager - good money at the time. I had cash to spare then.

I had a Betfair account.
I bet against Brexit - I just couldn’t see British people being that stupid (turns out it was just us English).
I bet against Trump - I just couldn’t see American people being that stupid.

Moral: Never bet against stupid. Not gonna tell you how much I lost - too embarrassed.


21 years later, I now feel better about being lied into a senselessly perverse war that drained our political capital, added trillions in debt, and set the stage for the rise of the orange blob; thanks Brexit, you make me feel good again.

I believe this is relevant


After Tory Brexiteers had told them to blame the EU for the harms caused by Tory policies.


The word “schadenfreude” describes the guilty joy found in witnessing someone else’s misfortune. The schadenfreude is strong in Brexit; The fishermen who voted for it and lost their best market. The farmers who voted for it and lost their CAP subsidies, EU export markets, and protection against cheap, hormone pumped beef from Australia. The holidaymakers who voted against it and have been rewarded with visa fees and mobile phone roaming charges. Etc.

But we must also take notice of the vibrant small to medium businesses gutted by Brexit. The artisan cheesemakers whose exports became unviable. The importers of horticultural plants. The touring musicians and artists whose tours got too expensive and difficult to do, in both directions. The harm to young people, denied the chance to study, live and work anywhere in the EU.

It’s too depressing to continue.


The expats on the Costa del Sol who voted for it because they wanted to end freedom of movement.