The DCMS Committee has now published a whole slew of adverts which were run by AggregateIQ (AIQ) on behalf of the Vote Leave and ‘50 Million’, BrexitCentral/BeLeave and DUP Vote to Leave campaigns ahead of the UK’s referendum on leaving the EU in 2016. What they reveal is deception and lies on an industrial scale, which is why Vote Leave has been getting its media pals to deflect and deny.
Matthew Elliott and his *Innocent Face*
What the denials - Matthew Elliott has been in full rebuttal mode in the past 24 hours, but then, we know how reliable his “information” is, ie not at all - try to mask is all too clear, starting with the adverts to “Win £50 million”. Er, WHAT? What’s Ian Botham doing there? But there was no £50 million to win. It was a ruse to collect information on potential swing voters. Yes, the deception was that bad. And the campaign was worse.
“Let’s give the NHS the £350 million we hand over to the EU every week”, for instance. We don’t hand over £350 million to the EU every week. Also, this is a campaign led by Elliott, co-founder of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance, which wants to see the NHS abolished. Then came ludicrous binary choices, such as “EU or flood defences for Yorkshire”.
But soon the real reason for targeting those football fans became clear - frightening them into voting Leave by blowing the migrant dog whistle. “Turkey’s 76m people are joining the EU [not true] … Turkey’s 76 MILLION PEOPLE are being granted visa-free travel by the EU [and they’re all coming here? No they’re not]”. Then the same ad with Syria and Iraq tacked on. Because Scary Muslims™ and dog-whistle racism.
Anyone doubt that this was the name of the game? Here comes another: “Turkey has a 219 mile border with Iraq … Turkey has a 511 mile border with Syria”. And then came the really big whopper. “Britain’s new border is with SYRIA and IRAQ”. Totally untrue. And what did “saving the NHS” have to do with it?
Turkey is not going to be let into the EU for decades, if ever. But these adverts show the industrial scale lying that Vote Leave was prepared to indulge in - just to frighten the crap out of voters enough to persuade enough of them to get off their backsides - remember, many who voted had not done so for decades - and into the polling booth.
And anyone not sure whether Vote Leave really was lying through its collective teeth should consider some of the yet more desperate adverts, such as “The European Union wants to kill our cuppa [total bullshit] … Imagine if we gave money to our maternity units instead of the EU [another fictitious binary choice] … How in debt is your local NHS? [this from a campaign whose leader wants to see it closed down]”.
Added to that catalogue of deception and dishonesty is the thought that many of these adverts went out during what should have been a moratorium on campaigning following the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox. Anyone still want to defend Elliott and his pals?
This release of information shows the true face of Vote Leave. And it’s not pretty.