Brexit was sold on back of false prom­ises, empty slo­gans and vain hope of restor­ing UK’s lost glo­ries

Belfast Telegraph - - LETTERS -

PRO­FES­SOR Arthur Aughey (Com­ment, Jan­uary 9) claims James Gra­ham’s drama, Brexit: The Un­civil War, on Chan­nel 4, did an ex­cel­lent job cov­er­ing the ref­er­en­dum cam­paign. This is true, but not for the rea­sons he sug­gests.

He im­plies that, since there was no ref­er­ence in the drama to im­pe­rial nos­tal­gia and two world wars, the Vote Leave slo­gan of ‘Take Back Con­trol’ was a pitch to the fu­ture, not the past.

This is non­sense. He is equat­ing the drama with his­tor­i­cal fact. In re­al­ity, there has been a bar­rage of First and Sec­ond World War com­mem­o­ra­tions in cer­e­monies, films, bi­ogra­phies, rem­i­nis­cences and the like in the last few years.

Nor was there any short­age in the Brex­i­teers’ cam­paigns of ref­er­ences to re­new­ing Bri­tain’s past glo­ries. Fin­tan O’Toole is cor­rect in Heroic Fail­ure in ar­gu­ing that Brexit is the ex­pres­sion of a nar­row English na­tion­al­ism, which is both im­pe­rial and anti-im­pe­rial, in that it seeks to dom­i­nate the world and at the same time throw off dom­i­nance.

In the drama, strate­gists in the Vote Leave cam­paign de­cide to “keep our hands clean” and let Farage and Banks’ Leave EU “do the heav­ing lift­ing on the mi­gra­tion stuff’. The lat­ter’s poster, en­ti­tled ‘Break­ing Point’, which showed a long line of refugees is a case in point.

But Vote Leave didn’t en­tirely stick to its ‘clean’ strat­egy, ei­ther. In an elec­tion broad­cast, they dis­played graph­ics rep­re­sent­ing the threat of 76 mil­lion Turks join­ing the EU and com­ing to the UK.

Where the drama suc­ceeded best was in demon­strat­ing that the Vote Leave cam­paign won through slo­gan­is­ing: above all, the £350m-a-week for the NHS on the side of the bus, Tur­key and ‘Take Back Con­trol’.

The vast ma­jor­ity of peo­ple are eas­ily per­suaded by the Nazi tech­nique of at­tack­ing per­ceived en­e­mies and re­peat­ing sim­ple catch­phrases and so­lu­tions.

BRIAN MCCLIN­TON Lis­burn, Co Antrim

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