By Phil Wilson MP.
(Originally on in the Independent)
Leading figures of the Leave campaign are really free-market anarchists at heart who want to scrap regulation, even if it protects the rights of the people they encourage to vote their way.
According to the Leave campaigners, they are the champions of the people, standing against the elites by defending the NHS and all things working class. In the tradition of populism through the ages, they offer the people what they want to hear with a good dose of nationalism thrown into the mix. Leave campaigners rail against elites, without any sense of irony.
So let's take a look at a few of them.
There's Iain Duncan Smith, for example, who is the son-in-law of the fifth Baron Cottesloe and resides in a 16th century Tudor house. This is a man who apparently resigned, on principle, over cuts to welfare - despite being the architect of the bedroom tax, and under whose tenure at the Department for Work and Pensions foodbanks flourished.
Then there's Liam Fox, the millionaire who called for an end to the protection of NHS spending.
And as for Michael Gove, suddenly he wants to spend money on the NHS, but once called for it to be dismantled because he considered it no longer relevant in the 21st century. This is probably why he had no difficulty voting for the Health and Social Care Act. He also says people are 'sick of experts'. I don’t know about you, Michael, but if I had an ailment, I would rather speak to a doctor than a quack.
How about Jacob Rees-Mogg? He's a former Rothschild investment manager, who took his nanny canvassing, and consistently voted against spending public money to create guaranteed jobs for the young unemployed.
And then, of course, there is the Tory leadership contender who four months ago saw leaving the EU as "diverting energy from the real problems of this country”. But I suppose personal ambition is more important than the economy and the nation’s security. So much for patriotism.
As for Nigel Farage: he’s supposed to be the real voice of the people. But he fails to tell you he was educated at public school and made his fortune as a stockbroker. And at no time have I heard him say in this referendum campaign what he really believes about the NHS: that it should be replaced with an American-style private health service.
And I’ll end with Arron Banks, a multi-millionaire supporter of Ukip who’s on record as saying that, if it was down to him, he’d privatise the NHS.
Now, I have no problems with people making money and getting on in life, as long as they are honest about it and don’t hide it like some inconvenient truth.
But here lies the untold truth of the leading figures of the Leave campaign. They are really free-market anarchists at heart, who believe in minimal regulation, even if that regulation protects the rights of the people they encourage to vote their way. Their smoke screen is nationalism and the hollow ring of “taking back control”.
To paraphrase George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Leave campaigners start off by saying all people are equal. But if they get their way, and Britain leaves the EU, it will soon change to all people are equal - but some are more equal than others.
The Leave campaigners are scary people, so do not fall for their scary future. Their future is a Brexit world with Trump in the White House, Putin in the Kremlin and the UK out of the European Union with Boris Johnson as prime minister. Now that is a scary future.