Brexit is the elephant in the room that everyone is avoiding

by Hugo Dixon | 15.11.2019

The Tories and Labour don’t want to talk about Brexit. Even the Lib Dems and the Brexit Party are doing a bad job of focussing on their pet topic. As a result, an election that will determine our country’s future for decades to come is avoiding the elephant in the room.

It’s clear why Boris Johnson doesn’t want to talk about Brexit. He is embarrassed by the terrible deal he has done to get us out of the EU – so he doesn’t want it to be subjected to scrutiny. He pretends he will “get Brexit done”, but that’s nonsense as he is nowhere near agreeing a future trade agreement. So he wants to talk about pretty much anything else.

Labour doesn’t want to talk about Brexit either. That’s because it has a convoluted policy that involves renegotiating our exit deal, figuring out whether to back what it negotiates or stay in the EU – and then asking the people what they want in a referendum. That’s not easy to explain on the airwaves or the doorstep.

The Lib Dems do want to talk about Brexit. But they are making a bad fist of it. Given how little airtime they are getting, it’s a mystery why they don’t take every opportunity to ram home their anti-Brexit stance.

Today, for example, the Lib Dem deputy leader launched its plan to spend £100 billion on fighting the climate crisis. But Ed Davey missed a trick on the BBC’s Today Programme. He didn’t make the obvious point that we will be able to do much more to stop our planet frying if we stay in the EU, push our continent to be ambitious in its climate targets and then influence the global debate. (Listen after 1’23”).

As for Nigel Farage, he is certainly grabbing attention with his accusations that the Tories tried to bribe his candidates not to stand against them. But his dirty backroom deal with Johnson has muddied his message that only he is offering an honest Brexit. He had plenty of ammo to argue that the Prime Minister will end up turning the UK into a vassal state. He’s not using it.

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    The media is also to blame. It is letting the politicians avoid the elephant in the room. Sometimes it even stops them addressing it. For example, when interviewing Davey this morning, the BBC’s Martha Kearney said: “I don’t want to get too bogged down in the Brexit debate.” If Johnson wins the election and the electorate only then wakes up to the horror they’ve signed up to, the broadcasters will have a lot to answer for.

    At InFacts, we are talking about Brexit day in, day out. We are rebutting the falsehoods that Johnson spouts. If you haven’t seen our new mythbust section, have a look here. We are scrutinising the Prime Minister’s rotten deal and have a new section on this too. We also have a new Project Hope section setting out how we can better fix the problems at home and abroad if we stay in the EU.

    Let’s fix it, not Brexit.

    Edited by Quentin Peel

    Categories: Brexit, UK Politics

    7 Responses to “Brexit is the elephant in the room that everyone is avoiding”

    • The BBC is continuing to play a blinder for Brexit – Martha Kearney may be the leading culprit now that Humphrys has gone.

      I hope all BBC news and current affairs journalists are sent InBox to their publicly available email addresses every day.

    • Yep, the role of the media, especially the BBC, is far from clear cut and certainly not “balanced”. Good to see it criticised: perhaps a bit more fuel on the fire could help to get them out of their Ivory towers?

    • The FM easy listening music stations have news bulletins that are networked. It is simplistic and basic without comment or analysis. Today, Johnson was speaking (I know not where) and he said that once Brexit was done they would get the country back on its feet!!!’

    • They will avoid the subject as long as Britain remains in the EU indefinitely But once we leave which seems more likely by a country’s veto against another extension, the subject would be unavoidable if there are shortages and Britain suffers a recession. Boris Johnson will probably lock himself in no 10 refusing to see everyone, especially the press. And people will be angry.

    • Electioneering by rote? This one requires greater and relevant content, particularly by the LibDems with one of the steepest climbs ever to be considered worthy of real support. Wondering if my jump from Tory after 40 odd years was too hasty (no, not really!) the day following 2016 referendum- LibDems need to stop following the crowd in out -spending on the usual offers. If they really want to make an impact it seems to me they need content that succinctly lists the real benefits we have enjoyed from membership over four decades. A large sector of society has almost no understanding of what is involved – it lead, before Cameron – to a growing UK , an economy the envy of most EU countries and a valuable culture that impacted greatly on others across the Channel and elsewhere .Swinson and Davey need to reset their message – yes some issues they raise are worthy , but if you are determined to deliver ‘no Brexit’ you will only facilitate it by demonstrating the detail of what we have from EU membership – and what we lose for years – through failing to stay though public ignorance, indifference and public failure to make an effort, that encompasses past parliament, and no doubt at present – the next one.