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