The EU ‘Leave’ campaign just dialled the crazy up to 11

Support us and go ad-free

As if the two warring sides of the EU debate weren’t fanatical enough, the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign has chosen a bold new persuasion strategy. Today it released a dossier detailing violent crimes such as murder and rape committed by 50 EU citizens after they moved to the UK, in a bid to convince the public that we should leave the EU and restrict free movement across borders.

This comes after the ‘Leave’ campaign accused the ‘Remain’ camp of releasing dodgy dossiers in February, which they claimed were “devoid of credibility” and amounted to a “dishonest scare campaign”. It may not surprise you to know that the chair of ‘Vote Leave’ is Justice Secretary Michael Gove, about whom one could write an incredibly dodgy dossier regarding his past opinions on power, justice and ethics.

Neither camp appears to have suffered much more than the other. Latest polls show that the two camps are relatively even, with many citizens still undecided. Crucially, the real damage being done is to the public’s ability to make an informed decision.

The prejudices behind this latest move is obvious. While immigration laws themselves are a determining factor in the debate for various economic reasons, the issue of criminals having freedom of movement – whether or not they have served their sentences – is not directly linked to our decision to stay in the EU. If crime were relevant in this decision, we should be restricting the freedom of UK banks – which are guilty of fraud and contributing to the 2008 crisis – to trade and send employees overseas. But a stronger ability to trade internationally is one of the central pillars of the ‘Leave’ campaign, which has shown no sign of excluding white-collar criminals from that measure.

A 2013 study by the University of Oxford found that migration to the UK actually correlated with an overall fall in crime rates, and specifically a fall in violent crime. But to avoid simplifying the issue as the ‘Leave’ camp has, let’s be clear that this is not because of immigration. Crime statistics just cannot be simplified in this way.

That same study found that there was a 0.4% rise in property crime (though the crime dossier refers only to 50 specific violent crimes). But the rise in property crime was thought to be linked to the limitation of migrants’ employment opportunities which, alongside poverty, is thought by numerous sociologists to be the determining factor in the majority of all types of crime.

Migrants being ‘not British’ simply has nothing to do with the fact that certain individuals have committed crimes. Yet, above and beyond further debate about bigotry, immigration or economics, what must be clarified here is the politicising of the issue and its interference with the democratic process.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Making falsely heightened links between emotive issues such as violent crime and immigration in order to persuade Brits to vote to leave the EU is a gross manipulation of the public, and of democracy. The debate is already a complex issue, with many pros and cons on each side. And these pros and cons are part of a complex history and contemporary context that many people struggle to understand.

The conflicting statistics given by both camps are frustrating enough. But employing extreme and bigoted tactics, like the ‘Leave’ campaign has just done, runs the risk of seriously compromising the British people’s right to choose, and undermines the entire debate.

Get involved!

Learn about the basics of the EU Referendum debate.

Support The Canary, so we can keep bringing you contextual journalism every day.

Image via PPHS Music/flickr

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed