Transcripts from The Andy Marr Show (tm) do not extend to the paper review at the start of the programme, which for Labour MP Gisela Stuart might come as a relief, as the Vote Leave claim of £350 million a week more for the NHS in the event of a vote to leave the EU was discussed today. Ms Stuart gave every impression that this was still very much on her agenda, once we leave. But she seems to be in a minority of one.
Later this morning on Sky News’ Murnaghan, Dan, Dan The Oratory Man distanced himself from the claim. Hannan, who was also reluctant to take on board the increase in hate crime in the aftermath of the referendum, is on this occasion in step with the rest of the former Vote Leave crowd, because, having claimed they meant it in defiance of critics who said they did not … they are now admitting they did not.
There it was on the side of their red bus: “We send the EU £350 million a week … Let’s fund our NHS instead … Vote Leave … let’s take back control”. Quite apart from the untrue claim as to what we send to the EU (clue: it’s a lot less than £350 million a week), the voter is left in no doubt. They are being offered a binary choice - money that at present goes to the EU to go instead to the NHS. That was the clear and unambiguous offer.
Metro has told disappointed readers “If you voted Leave because you wanted £350million to be sent to the NHS every week, then we have some bad news … The cross-party Vote Leave campaign, which urged the British people to vote to leave the EU, has just dropped its ostentatious pre-referendum pledge of pumping millions of pounds a week into the heath service”. At a time the NHS is desperately short of money.
Why should no-one be surprised at this development? Ms Stuart may feign resistance to the claim from Change Britain, the replacement for Vote Leave that she has joined, that “any savings made as a result of no longer having to pay into the EU budget … should be spent on guaranteeing ‘continued funding for farming, science, universities and poorer regions of the UK’”, but her fellow Brexiteers don’t give a fig about the NHS.
Matthew Elliot, who co-chaired Vote Leave, founded the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance, an anti-NHS Astroturf lobby group pushing “small state” ideology. Hannan went on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) to denounce the NHS as a mistake which he urged US citizens not to repeat. Michael “Oiky” Gove is no fan of the NHS; indeed, his self-promoting wife Sarah Vine has made a point of slagging it off.
And what of London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson? Sadly, Bozza is another who is never there when it comes to sticking up for the NHS. He was only there to jolly up the troops and dispense a few whoppers, which would then be covered up by reminding the voters that he was “a LEG-URND”.
There could be no clearer example of flagrantly lying to get the voters to do the required bidding and then turning round to announce “Fooled You”. If Gisela Stuart still believes she has a better chance than a snowball in Hades of getting all that money for the NHS, she is deluding only herself. We were sold a pack of lies, and now it’s official.