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How Brexit press changed tune straight after vote

by Luke Lythgoe | 27.06.2016

Eurosceptic newspapers pumped out misleading Brexit stories throughout the referendum. Now they are writing about the dangers ahead and often saying things they had disputed during the campaign – without so much as blinking an eye.

Balanced economic reporting from the Express

As the stock market took another hit on Monday, the Express published an uncharacteristically impartial article headlined: “How has Brexit affected the pound?”

“Analysts expect months of economic and political turmoil,” the Express reported – seamlessly transforming “Project Fear” into Project Reality.

The Express doesn’t make the long-term outlook seem great either. “Britain’s economy would grow more slowly outside the EU than if it stayed in.” The paper cites projections from “the government, the [Bank of England], think-tanks, international organisations and hundreds of academics” – the experts the Leave camp warned against during the campaign. The previously gospel opinions of Economists for Brexit – now described as “a small group of pro-Brexit economists” – are relegated down the article.

Sun suddenly worried about travel rights

The day after the vote, The Sun asked what will happen to our EU passports, warning: “UK citizens will soon lose the right to live and work in EU nations following the historic vote for Brexit.”

Despite asserting just days ago that voters should “BeLeave in Britain”, The Sun started outlining desperate measures to reclaim EU citizenship. For example, you might be “lucky enough” to have Irish parents. “The next possible route to an EU passport is marriage,” continues the erstwhile campaigner against sham marriages. Or you could just “buy your way in to EU nationality”, it concludes, despite slamming the sale of citizenship earlier this month.

Telegraph suggests EU will “treat Britain like Greece”

The Telegraph’s editorial declaring for Brexit offered hope over fear: “The Remainers have sought to scare the nation into believing that calamity lies in wait for an independent Britain. They imply that our trade would collapse even though we import far more from the EU than they buy from us and our biggest markets are outside the EU.”

A post-referendum analysis by the paper’s Brussels correspondent was less optimistic. “Britain’s service economy will be cut up like an old car,” writes Matthew Holehouse. In fact, Holehouse believes we’re in a worse position than Greece. “(Greek PM) Tsipras had a number of cards to play,” Holehouse explains, but “no such goodwill exists for Britain”. Furthermore, “we do not control this process”. Wasn’t there a Leave slogan promising the exact opposite?

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Daily Mail concerned about Calais migrants coming to Britain

The eurosceptic press were quick to denounce claims by David Cameron that France would scrap border control treaties after Brexit, because the agreement was made outside the EU.

But the Daily Mail now seems less confident, in the face of renewed calls to scrap the Le Touquet Treaty. The newspaper writes: “While Britain’s EU membership should theoretically have no impact on the treaty, France’s Socialist-led cabinet insists it will have big consequences for Franco-British relations.” Which was pretty much what Cameron was saying during the campaign.

Edited by Hugo Dixon

4 Responses to “How Brexit press changed tune straight after vote”

  • Well now the racist phobia vote is over ,let the ball roll on the baby boomers who voted us out of the free world. It was all project Boris championed by project lies and denials. Now I hope Gove will be our next Treasury secretary and deputy prime minister to increase our already over burden taxes and reduce pensions and other state largesse . The road to the dream land doesn’t only smell but it sucks.
    By the way I was wondering whose monies made London the financial hub, Asian tycoons, middle eastern oil magnates, the Americans or Boris and co. Well then all experts opinions was a ‘project fear’ , now all expert opinions has become ‘project reality’ lets ride fools. Britain getting Boris and co to lead us is like the Americans electing Trump and Christie to the White House. This is a tsunami and Greece could be smiling that such a hard working progressive nation was reduced to pebbles by few disgruntled nationalist who are more Hitler than the Reich leader that stormed the world in the 30s.

  • You do not need to be a lawyer to know that the EU controls the process of Article 50. It was written that way. The EU may well have no way to enforce a country enters Article 50 negotiations, but they can make it bloody difficult if you don’t – and once you’ve started the clock ticking they definitely control the process big time (I’m sure Boris Johnson’s lawyer wife could have told him that, but all you have to do is read Article 50). Contracts have already been cancelled, our EC Commissioner has resigned, Germany is refusing informal negotiations. You can bet non-tariff barriers are going up.

  • Article 50 was a British creation, crafted when the EU expanded to admit a slew of new Eastern European countries (strongly and creditably advocated by the UK). But, as usual with some British people, it’s now construed as something THEY did to us poor helpless victims.

    It would be foolish to give notice of departure without agreement on what one wants. That responsibility lies with the Conservative govt.