Independently-minded Tory MP Sarah Wollaston, who represents the Devon constituency of Totnes, and who famously secured the party’s candidacy via an “Open Primary” - open to all voters, not just Tory members - had initially backed the Leave side in the EU referendum debate. But she has now reconsidered, as is her right, and now will back the Remain side. She made her announcement yesterday.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014
As the BBC reported, “Tory MP Sarah Wollaston has quit the campaign to leave the EU and will vote for Remain instead … Dr Wollaston, chairman of the health select committee, said Vote Leave's claim that Brexit would free up £350m a week for the NHS ‘simply isn't true’ … she did not feel ‘comfortable’ being part of the campaign”. The response from the Leave side was swift and not always pleasant.
But much of the backlash was at least understandable: Dr Wollaston, a GP by profession, and a select committee chair, cannot be dismissed as some political careerist angling for a promotion. That, though, has not stopped someone with no room to talk on such subjects putting the boot in: over in her reassuringly upmarket corner of Manhattan, (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch was quick to dismiss her former colleague.
“Ah come on Sarah, you support Remain - give over” was the opening shot. See, the Leave side knew all along! And on she went: “She’s Remain, has clearly always been - these publicity stunts are beneath you”. Then she got Dr Wollaston’s Twitter handle wrong. But still, onwards and, er, onwards, eh? “This just shows that Sarah Wollaston has supported Remain throughout. Terrible stuff. #VoteLeave figures unchanged”.
So they’re still wrong, then. But, as the man said, there’s more. “Right Sarah so ‘a lost generation of young people’ … disagreement over figure #VoteLeave have ALWAYS used? Shame”. Then came the judgment, with “SPOT THE DIFFERENCE -1. Remain Sarah” and then “SPOT THE DIFFERENCE: VOTE LEAVE SARAH … One NHS, two contradictory positions”. And what credibility does Ms Mensch have on this one?
The answer is, not very much. Like her claim “Do what we say or we will people traffic cowardly young men who've abandoned their women”, which was debunked at the time she peddled it on Fox Business Network. Likewise “the UK is paying one billion pounds for Turkish accession prep right now”. Take the accession assistance and apply the percentage of the EU budget from the UK, and you get less than half that.
Try again. “We do not get half of anything back. The EU spends half on our behalf on stuff it thinks we want. Is UK a child?” We do not send £350 million a week. So when she says “For fuck's sake stop treating people like fools, as @David_Cameron used to say of Labour”, it’s a case of, as we’re talking about a Doctor here, “Physician heal thyself”. Louise Mensch is treating her audience like fools - or she’s one herself.
Plus she ran off and abandoned her voters. And remember, they let her become an MP.