Introducing Moris Goveson: Boris and Gove’s Ever Closer Union

by Sam Ashworth-Hayes | 25.04.2016

Boris Johnson and Michael Gove’s latest articles read like they were written from the same crib-sheet. Sadly, “Moris Goveson” is no more accurate than either of its constituent parts.

1. Euro pains not our pains

Goveson describes the EU as an “economic sinkhole” and a “gigantic engine of job destruction”. But the problems they describe are problems with the eurozone, which Britain is not part of. The evidence is that membership of the EU boosts the British economy.

2. Federalist bogeyman

The “Five President’s Report” signals “more Brussels control of our banks and taxes”, writes Goveson, a “fiscal and political union, in which Britain would inevitably be involved”. If the Five Presidents’ Report was implemented, it wouldn’t lead to control of our taxes and banks because it is mostly about shoring up the eurozone – which we are not part of. What’s more, it is far from certain that it will be implemented.

3. No EU tyranny

Brussels has removed two democratically elected governments, Goveson writes. Not so. While Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi and Greece’s George Papandreou lost the confidence of other EU governments, the killer blow was losing the confidence of their own parliaments.

4. No lost veto

Goveson says we’ve given up our power to veto further eurozone integration. This isn’t quite true.

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5. Something, not nothing

The government’s renegotiation of our EU membership got us “two thirds of diddly squat”, Goveson asserts. While we shouldn’t big up the deal, Brexiteers shouldn’t do it down either. David Cameron secured several useful goodies for the UK, including a greater EU emphasis on competitiveness.

6. Reheated porkies

Goveson says we send £350 million a week to Brussels. We don’t.

7. Nation of No?

Goveson suggests that after a leave vote, we could stay in the EU, vetoing EU plans until we get what we want. Such blackmail would backfire horribly, clobbering our economy and poisoning relations with the rest of Europe. It wouldn’t work either, since we can’t veto most things and, if the other countries needed a new treaty, say, to shore up the eurozone, it could sign one outside the confines of the EU.

8. Not one eurocent

Goveson says the UK secured a promise that it wouldn’t have to pay for Greek bailouts, only to get dragged in anyway. The UK was never on the hook for any risk in last July’s emergency loan.

Boris and Gove did not respond to requests for comment.

Edited by Hugo Dixon