Wednesday, October 05, 2016

When life isn't fair ...

Nick Cohen at the Spectator is rather annoyed that "the Brexit charlatans are getting away with it."

He is concerned that if the policy of leaving the European Union fails to deliver all the things which were promised by the "Leave" campaign, xenophobes will find scapegoats to blame for this rather than accept that those promises were unrealistic. He also doubts that those who painted a grossly overoptimistic picture of life after Brexit will be held to account for it as they deserve.

He may have a point, and as the saying goes, sometimes life isn't fair.

I think we need to be grown-up about this.

Frankly, as I indicated in post after post on this blog, both sides grossly overstated their case repeatedly during the campaign.

There are individuals who did their best to be honest, but neither Leave or Remain can claim to have been as straight with the British people as the electorate deserved.

I suspect the outcome of Brexit is most unlikely to be as positive as the more optimistic Leavers suggested or as dire as some Remainers predicted either.

And I suspect that those "Leave" campaigners whose predictions prove to be overoptimistic will not escape with their reputations for honesty and judgement quite as thoroughly unscathed as Nick Cohen fears. Some electors have short memories but not everybody does, and people have a way of remembering when something they were told would be wonderful turns out not to be.

But there is an important point on which Nick Cohen as absolutely, 100% right to raise concerns, and it is absolutely critical that whether or not we agree with him on anything else, mainstream Leavers and Remainers must unite to make something absolutely clear.

1) The "Brexit" vote provided no justification or validation whatsoever for abusing citizens of other EU countries or any other part of the world who have legally made their home here or are legitimately visiting

2) The vast majority of those who voted Leave had no intention of supporting or legitimising attacks on migrants or EU citizens.

3) Such abuse has no place in British society.

4) Whether Brexit succeeds or fails, making migrants or EU citizens scapegoats is completely unacceptable and must not be allowed, whoever it comes from.

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