‘New start’ adverts show Brexiteers stuck in campaigning mode, claims expert

The government 'let's get going' campaign for the end of the Brexit transition period. Photograph: Y

The government 'let's get going' campaign for the end of the Brexit transition period. Photograph: YouTube. - Credit: Archant

An expert has slammed the government's latest Brexit propaganda campaign for failing to inform people that the 'new start' will lead to 'something worse'.

The new campaign, which runs across television, radio, digital, print and direct mail, is said to cost £93 million.

The adverts - which include the slogan 'Check, Change, Go' - directs people to a new checker tool which aims to alert people to issues surrounding Brexit which could include changes to travel insurance, mobile phone plans, and importing and exporting from the EU.

The government says as well as preparing the UK for 'changes' it also aims to 'highlight the significant opportunities ahead'.

But experts have warned the adverts are meaningless because of their nature, which fails to alert people to the fact it will lead to 'something worse'.

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Chris Grey, a professor of organisation studies at the University of London, said that Vote Leave's obsession with dismissing the negatives of Brexit as 'Project Fear' have meant they are unable to publicise the truth about the impact.

In a blog post, the academic slams the adverts consisting of 'empty slogans about 'independence' and 'the opportunities ahead' for a 'sovereign nation' tagged to vague messages about preparing for this 'new start'.'

He points out that it is only when people visit the website that people and businesses actually need to prepare for something 'whichwhich will be worse, more cumbersome, more expensive, or more limiting than now'.

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And 'even then it raises as many questions as it answers about what you actually have to do about this.'

Grey notes that the nature of such adverts 'is not accidental'.

It is a reminder of how the Vote Leave team remains in 'campaigning' mode rather than attempting to govern.

'It's always about the claim, never about the delivery; about the slogans but not the substance; about the sales, not the after-service; the surgery not the post-operative care.'

But he also points out that it comes down to the fact those same people have spent the last four years dismissing any negative impacts to Brexit as untruthful.

He said: 'The fundamental conundrum, obviously, is that the only way of showing serious preparedness for no deal is to also admit the massive dislocations that it would cause and, therefore, the reasons why it would be a terrible course of action. That continues to apply now, but with a new twist, which is that many of these dislocations also have to be admitted in order to prepare for any deal which may be done.

'Even in this best case scenario there's simply no good news – just as the Brexiters were warned all along – so the only way to square the circle is to foreground all the guff about sovereignty and leave it for the still largely unsuspecting public to grub around for the details of just how much more difficult their lives are about to become.'

Grey points out that the problem for the Brexiteers is that it never made the case just about sovereignty as some now claim. Had it been won purely on that, he notes it would have been to sell the preparations, but it would not have been an easy to sell as talking about giving £350 million to the NHS.

He notes: 'It's only since winning that the 'but it was never about money' line has been spun – a line which would only have worked with a minority of voters had it been attempted at the time.'

He adds that there may never be a day of reckoning for the politicians who have spun the Brexit deceit when reality sets in, but he does not there will be a legacy which means winning the referendum will be forever tainted.

'That lack of legitimacy will live on for years in the minds of a substantial chunk of the population and in perpetuity in the history books,' he argues.

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