Post Truth Politics

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There are many parallels between Donald Trump’s victory in his 2016 presidential campaign and the success for Vote Leave in the 2016 UK EU Referendum. Both political events were marred with numerous different versions of the truth, alternative facts, fake news and at times lies, it is within this context that the use of the term post-truth politics emerged. Post-truth politics relies on the appeal to emotion rather than policies and facts.

Russian Influence in 2016 US Presidential Election – TRUE NEWS

See Trump and Russia

Donald Trump Assertion that Russian Influence is Fake News – FAKE NEWS

Every time Donald Trump received negative polls or responded to a news article that he didn’t like he instantly dubbed it “fake news”, this was particularly evident in the CNN claims that Russia had attacked the campaign of Hilary Clinton. CNN – Russian Effect on 2016 Presidential Election

EU Referendum Campaign – Breaking Point poster – FAKE NEWS

On the 16th June, UKIP and Nigel Farage posted a now infamous poster titled “Breaking Point”, the context of the poster is that the EU has failed every country which is a member of the European Community and that there are “hoards” of immigrants entering our country and that the UK doesn’t have control of its borders.

Nigel Farage Breaking Point PosterThe irony of this poster is that it actually shows a picture of thousands of refugees crossing into Slovenia from Croatia during October 2015. During October 2015 there was a migrant crisis, which had been caused by Hungary’s closure of their border with Croatia due to the large number of refugees arriving. Many of these refugees were Syrians who had been fleeing war zones and were attempting to reach Germany.

The poster can be described as “fake”, since it showed a queue of migrants attempting to enter Slovenia and not into the UK.

In addition to this misrepresentation there is a very strong likeness to Nazi propaganda. There is a six-part BBC documentary called Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution, now on Netflix. The documentary shows stills from a Nazi propaganda video. These stills show comments from the fascist regime like “who flooded Europe’s cities after the last war” and “parasites, undermining their host countries”.

New Statesman – UKIP poster and Nazi Propoganda

Michael Gove, a prominent Vote Leave campaigner said “When I saw that poster, I shuddered. I thought it was the wrong thing to do.”

Michael Gove Comments to BBC

EU Referendum Campaign – Turkey joining EU – FAKE NEWS

Vote Leave launched a poster on the 23rd May stating that “Turkey (population 76 million) is joining the UK.” This poster is on the border of the false and fake news. Two days prior to the poster, the then Prime Minister, David Cameron had stated that Turkey joining the EU was not “remotely on the cards.”

Turkey is joing the EU posterOn the 22nd May, Penny Mordaunt, the armed forces minister said the UK “does not” have a veto over the membership of new states such as Turkey. Andrew Marr was interviewing Mordaunt on his show when the following exchange Penny Mordaunt Quote - We would be unable to stop Turkey joiningtoo place:

MARR – “I’m going to return to this business, because I’m pretty sure that we do have a veto over stopping Turkey joining if we want to. Are you sure that we don’t?”

MORDAUNT – “We haven’t… I think that with the current situation, the migrant crisis and other issues in Europe at the moment, we would be unable to stop Turkey joining.”

Marr interview of Mordaunt

EU Referendum Campaign – Staying in the EU will add up to 5 million to UK population – FAKE NEWS

On the 20th May Michael Gove said “anywhere between 2.6 million and five million extra migrants could come to Britain by 2030” and “88 million extra people would be granted the right to live and work in Britain due to the EU’s commitment to Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.”

Remain campaigners have stated that the 5 million figure increase in population is “absurd” as it is based on the ascension of the five states joining by 2020, which “is not remotely on the cards.”

Prime Minister David Cameron has said it will be “decades” before Turkey joins the EU and there is no firm date for the other four states.

EU Referendum Campaign – £350 million bonus to NHS – FALSE NEWS

The Vote Leave campaign stated “We send the EU £350 million a week – Let’s fund our NHS instead”. This was emblazoned on the side of the “Boris Battlebus.” The bus was launched on the 11th May 2016.

Boris Bus - We send the EU £350 million a week, let's fund our NHS instead - vote leaveIn 2014 the UK contribution to the EU the following:

  • Gross Contribution: £18,777 million per year or £361 million per week
  • Minus rebate: £14,361 million per year or £276 million per week
  • Minus public sector receipts: £9,785 million per year or £188 million per week
  • Minus private sector receipts: £8,385 million per year or £161 million per week

The EU also spends money directly – in grants to British researchers, for instance.

HM Treasury Analysis of UK’s EU Membership

It could be argued that the message on the bus is factually correct, but the message intonates that the £350 million sent to EU each week, will instead be spent on the NHS. As can be seen by the HM Treasury figgures above this slogan just does not stack up, the maximum value that could be sent to the NHS would be £161 million per week.

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