UK uses ‘Soviet style’ tactics to hide Brexit damage, professor warns

THE UK government used “Soviet-style propaganda” to try to cover up the damage caused by Brexit, according to an expert on EU law.

Professor Michael Dougan of the University of Liverpool also warned that the only way Boris Johnson could successfully leave the EU is to “poison people’s minds” by making them believe the Europeans are the enemy.

Speaking at an online event last week hosted by North East Surrey for Europe, the EU law professor said Johnson’s government had pursued a hard Brexit ‘whatever the cost’.

“They were not only concerned about the costs from an economic, social point of view for the UK as a whole, but also about the situation in Northern Ireland,” he said.

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“Of course, all of the experts’ predictions turned out to be pretty much right.

“Johnson has had his hard Brexit, it is causing serious economic problems, although many of them are effectively masked by the impact of Covid and the effects of the pandemic, and the economic challenges of the pandemic itself.

“This has caused serious economic problems and these economic problems will continue for a very long time.

“It has also caused enormous tensions between the UK and its former partners and allies.”

Dougan said an equally important factor was how the Johnson regime handled responsibility for what it had done by deploying populist “Trump-style” tactics.

“You are telling gigantic lies, not little lies as people catch them,” he said. “You tell big, juicy lies, you sell magic bean fantasies, the more magic the better.

“When reality continues to prove you wrong, you just double down harder and harder.

“You deny any degree of responsibility or guilt and you blame everything else on the scapegoats. It’s all other people’s fault, and then you tell more lies and more fantasies and more scapegoats and more blah-blah.

“This is basically what we have seen over the past 12 months.”

Dougan said that regarding the Brexit message, the government initially said there would be no difficulties, before “teething problems” were blamed on the pandemic.

Other ideas that had been promoted included that Johnson had inherited a “broken Britain” with problems caused by migrants from the EU.

“Of course the most important thing of all is [the idea] no one in the UK is talking about Brexit anymore, ”he added. “We’re done with that, we’ve forgotten everything, it’s only the vicious, mean and bitter Europeans who are still obsessed with Brexit because all they want to do is punish poor little Grande- Brittany for declaring its independence.

“It is a Soviet style propaganda regime and that is all we have heard from this government in the past 12 months.”

Dougan also argued that Brexit had been sold to the people as a “national rejuvenation” project that would happen while the EU failed.

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But he said that instead, leaving the EU was routinely exposed “simply as a project of national self-harm.”

He said: “So Brexit is not a triumph. The EU is not a grotesque failure. So the only strategy Johnson has left to justify Brexit is simply to drive the deepest, most hostile and bitter rift possible between the British people and the rest of Europe.

“Brexit can only be successful if our minds are poisoned by thinking that Europeans are our enemies. This is the only way Johnson has left to succeed with Brexit, by trying to convince us that the EU is our enemy.

“Then, whatever problems we suffer, whatever inconveniences we have to live with, they will be justified because they are our way of fighting against the enemy.”

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