13 lies in a StrongerIN campaign video

I count 13 deliberate deceptions in the StrongerIN propaganda video:
StrongerIn campaign video

Why does a so-called positive campaign need to employ so many deceptions in the span of less than 2 minutes? Is it because they don’t actually have a strong case for staying in the EU?

In this article, I count the number of lies and misleading half-truths in a 109-second video from the IN campaign…

Deception 1 (7 seconds in)

“Invoking Article 50 means at least 2 and up to 10 years to negotiate terms of Brexit”

Truth: Two years is the maximum period for negotiating Brexit, not the minimum. This maximum can be extended only if every country involved agrees to it. [1] If it does not suit the UK, there is no reason to extend it. There will always be on-going negotiations for future agreements, but this is par for the course of international diplomacy, and is entirely unrelated to Brexit.

Deception 2 (13 seconds in)

“other EU members have all the control”

Truth:The point of withdrawal is that the UK regains control. The withdrawing Member State (UK) will negotiate the terms of withdrawal with the remainder member states. It will not participate in the European Council discussions, so that it is not sitting on both sides of the negotiations, otherwise it will be negotiating with itself. [1]

Deception 3 (26 seconds)

“new trade agreements would mean new tariffs and paperwork”

Truth: The point of trade agreements is to reduce tariffs and paperwork, not increase it. If the EU demands increase in tariffs and paperwork, there is no point to having trade agreements. The only paperwork that will increase is the workload of EU bureaucrats and UK diplomats.

Deception 4 (28 seconds)

“820,000 jobs would be lost”

Truth: This claim does not take into account the number of jobs gained at the same time. For example, the employment turnover rate was 8% in 2015. This means in 2015, that there were more than a million jobs lost AND gained, making the 820,000 number meaningless. [2]

Deception 5 (33 seconds)

“Prices would increase in UK shops”

Truth: Outside of the EU tariff zone, some prices would increase, such as expensive cars from the EU, and some prices would decrease, such as cheaper food from developing non-EU countries.

Deception 6 (37 seconds)

“UK workers would no longer have vital rights protected by EU law”

Truth: All current employment protections will remain in place because EU directives are already written into UK law, which will stay in place after withdrawal from the EU. Furthermore, UK labour laws are already more generous than EU requirements, such as 5.6 weeks paid annual leave (28 days) over the EU’s 20 days. [3] For what it’s worth, workers rights protections were already established in the UK before it joined the EU. [4]

Deception 7 (41 seconds)

“Your family’s freedom to work, travel, retire and study in the EU could be lost.”

Truth: Freedom to work, travel, and retire, does not depend on EU membership. Work permits, tourist visas, student visas, and retirement visas can facilitate EU travel and residency easily, without requiring total free movement of people. It is in the interest of the countries concerned to issue these migrants who meet these visa requirements actually contribute to the country.

Deception 8 (47 seconds)

“Britain would no longer have access to the European Arrest Warrant”

Truth: Having access to the European Arrest Warrant also means being subject to it. This is not necessarily a good thing: The UK is generally more stringent with its checks than most of the EU, but with the EAW, countries which have a poor human rights record are able to force the UK to extradite suspects without equally stringent checks. [5]

Deception 9 (59 seconds)

“…the value of the pound would drop…”

Truth: This is not a lie in and of itself, but it is presented as if this is a terrible thing. The truth is, the drop in the value of the pound will have mixed effects on the UK population, but on balance it will be economically beneficial to Britain. This is because decreasing the value of the pound would decrease the cost of UK products on the international level, thus increasing exports and foreign investment. The reduced spending power at the international level would also decrease imports and increase domestic spending. All of these are positive contributory factors toward a growing economy. [6]

Deception 10 (61 seconds)

“… interest rates on your mortgage would rise”

Truth: This will only be true if  (1) the Bank of England increases the base rate of interest, or (2) the economy is growing. If (1) occurs, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If (2) occurs, it is actually a good thing.

If interest rates do rise, it would also have mixed effects. If interest rates on mortgages rise, interest rates on savings accounts also rise. Borrowers would suffer from higher interest rates, but savers would benefit from interest rates. If you neither save nor borrow, you will not be affected.

Deception 11 (69 seconds)

“over time families would be worse off by £4300 per year”

Truth: This estimate is nonsensical for two reasons. First of all, the estimate is of GDP, not income. GDP represents how much value is produced within a nation’s economy, and is substantially larger than the sum of household income levels. Additionally, the estimate of GDP in the year 2030 – a projection so far into the future that no economist can take seriously. [7]

Deception 12 (72 seconds)

“36 billion pounds of spending cuts”

Truth: As before, this attempts to project to a degree of detail over a period that is unrealistic by any economic model. This is a threat, and not a forecast.

Deception 13 –  (80 seconds)

“…lose its world influence and say in global decisions”

Truth: The UK already holds far more power outside the EU without needing to be a member of it. A position in the EU only represents a seat at the European table. Actual global influence is in institutions such as the World Trade Organisation, International Standards Organisation (ISO), North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the Security Council, the G8 forum, the United Nations, etc. As a member of the EU, positions in some of these institutions are actually sacrificed because the EU has its own representation that supersedes that of the UK’s. These representatives do not represent the UK and thus are not obliged to act in the interests of the UK. Many international organisations are actually headquartered in the UK.

References:
[1] http://www.lisbon-treaty.org/wcm/the-lisbon-treaty/treaty-on-European-union-and-comments/title-6-final-provisions/137-article-50.html
[2] https://www.cipd.co.uk/binaries/labour-market-outlook_2015-summer-2015.pdf
[3] https://fullfact.org/europe/eu-and-paid-holidays/
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_labour_law_in_the_United_Kingdom#Post-war_consensus
[5] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23239493
[6] https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/currency-depreciation.asp
[7] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36073201

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Author: Hoong-Wai

I am a sinner. I care about people, and truth, and justice. I have an interest in dancing, economics, engineering, philosophy, and science.

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