Even the Daily Telegraph now says Leave was “wrong, “wrong” and “wrong”

The Daily Telegraph was once a Liberal newspaper.  It praised Gladstone as “the People’s William”, supported the abolition of the death penalty in the nineteenth century, and reform of the House of Lords.

As the Liberal Party lost public strength in the inter-war years it became a Conservative newspaper, although like Liberals in the 30s, opposed Hitler and the Conservative policy of Appeasement.  It also gave Tony Blair a sympathetic hearing in 1997 and 2001.

In recent years it has seemed to drift to the more UKIP end of the Conservative Party.  It was the only daily broadsheet newspaper that backed Leave last June.  The Times, Independent, Guardian and Financial Times were all for Remain.  The Telegraph has enough readers, and enough influence with activists in the Conservative Party that it can claim to have made a significant contribution to Leave’s win.

But now even the Telegraph is fact checking Leave’s claims and finding, seven months on from the EU referendum, the case for Leave lacking truth.

The Telegraph concludes that leaving the EU will be bad for the economy, although it is hard to say by how much.  In a neat comparison, it is pointed out that a doctor can tell you junk food is bad for you without being able to say how bad your obesity will be next year.

On every single score the Telegraph finds that Leave’s claims are either “wrong” or “hard to say”.

Many people who voted Leave believed what Leave says was true.  They believed the economy would do better.  They believe immigration would markedly change.  They believe Turley would join the UK in the EU.

When even the Telegraph is saying Leave talked cobblers, then the legitimacy of the referendum result is in even greater doubt.


* Antony Hook was #2 on the South East European list in 2014, is the English Party's representative on the Federal Executive and produces this sites EU Referendum Roundup.

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This entry was posted in News.


  • Bernard Aris 21st Feb '17 - 8:48am

    As Roy Jenkins’ masterful biography sets out, Gladstone started out as a Tory (even in a “Rotten borough”); so it appears that for a (third?) time, the Telegraph is now joining the Kenneth Clarke realist wing of the Tories.

    But let’s not get carried away: the Dutch press last week offered the hilarious Twitter confrontation about Harry Potter and Voldemort between J.K. Rowling (an ardent Remainer) and Piers Morgan (an arrogant Leaver and Trumpian); Morgan is still a columnist with The Telegraph…

  • You must have read a different article to me because the one that i read says that

    “The UK opted to leave the EU on 23 June 2016 after a campaign mired by scaremongering and the misuse of statistics.” The remain campaign did rely on project fear and misuse of statistics which have been debunked

    “On the amount of money the UK gives to the EU” Leavers where wrong

    “On the UK’s economy and the EU” Remainers where wrong, especially with the treasury forecasts every household being £4’300 a year off. The article also points out that “fewer barriers to trade makes for stronger economies.”

    “On Brexit’s impact on the NHS” Hard to say, But it was based on IFS forecasts that have already proven wrong

    “On EU red tape in the UK” Hard to say

    “On British jobs and their reliance on the EU” Remainers are Wrong 15 % of jobs in manufacturing are linked to the EU, however, these jobs are not dependant of us being a member of the EU

    Where in this article does it say LEAVE was wrong?

  • Peter Watson 21st Feb '17 - 9:46am

    “They believe Turkey would join the UK in the EU.”
    Because people like Cameron and Clegg had previously told them that should happen.

  • Nick Collins 21st Feb '17 - 9:48am

    @ Anthony Hook. Do you recall the line from one of Dennis Potter’s plays (I forget the title,but it’s the one about a playwrite who, having burnt his hands, hires a temp. to type his current ouevre):

    “There are still people in places like Surbiton who believe that “The Daily Telegraph ” is an honest newspaper”

    A bit unkind to Surbiton? But, having lived most of my life in Surrey, I think I know what he meant.

  • Peter Watson,

    Can you tell me when Nick Clegg said Turkey should join the EU?

    As far as I know, we have always said no country should join the EU without meeting the Copenhagen Criteria, which Turkey does not meet.

    I will collect my state pension on my 68th birthday in 2048 and I don’t expect Turkey will be in the EU then.

  • Bernard Aris 21st Feb '17 - 10:15am

    Peter Watson,

    Nick Clegg being part-Dutch and an old Europarliament ally, both MP’s and MEP’sfrom D66 had and have good contacts with Nick.
    And the Netherlands already has a big Turkish minority; if anybody would say Turkey should have an easy entry, that would impact on the (probable) size of that minority.
    That means if he had ever uttered a heresy against the ALDE, LibDem and D66 party lines, like “OK, waive Kopenhagen Rules and admit Turkey”, we surely would have noticed.

    Even stronger, when minister Gove (speaking in the Leave campaign) said threateningly that Turkey would join soon and millions of Turks would flood Britain to ask social security, jobseekers allowance and whatnot, Nick said nothing like “Gove is right, because without Kopenhagen it will be a swift entry”, or “I’ll be welcoming Turkey in spite of it discriminating Armenians and other Christians”.

    So I too think it utterly improbable Clegg would ever say anything like “Open doors to Turkey”…

  • @ Antony Hook “Can you tell me when Nick Clegg said Turkey should join the EU?”

    Here you go, Antony : Nick Clegg, 3 October, 2012 speech reported in full on Liberal Democrat Voice.

    “The Syria crisis is a reminder of just how much the European Union has to gain from Turkey’s accession. I have long seen the case for Turkish entry into the EU as a strategic necessity.”

  • Little Jackie Paper 21st Feb '17 - 11:26am

    Antony Hook – It was never completely clear to me that Bulgaria and Romania met Copenhagen. I think both are still subject to CVM a decade on? http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-17-131_en.htm Admittedly I don’t think anyone is too keen on a repeat performance of that accession.

    There’s an interesting account for Bulgaria here – https://reuniting-europe.blogactiv.eu/2014/01/03/bulgaria%E2%80%99s-first-seven-years-in-the-eu/

  • Bernard Aris 21st Feb '17 - 11:39am

    @David Raw

    OK, Clegg said that in late 2012, when the Syrian resistance was evolving, splintering, and Assads repression got going in full (barrel bombs and such).
    But very soon too, it became clear that Erdogan was supplying ISIS with arms (he never forgave Turkish newspapers for publishing this); and that he had big problems with the West using all non-Turkish Kurds as trustworthy ally against both ISIS and Assad. In other words, Erdogan was extending his internal agenda (replacing the Kemalists in leading a one-party state; the myth of Turkey as mono-ethnic state; no room for Kurdish autonomy or their own party in parliament), and was diminishing, neglecting his effort to join the EU.

    In his Strassburg days and in the Commons as MP (until 2010), Clegg had promoted (like all social liberals) rights for the Kurds as part of an approaching Turkish entry into EU. Once those two things dropped away, and Turkey turned disruptor of western efforts to steer the anti-Assad, anti-Isis, anti-al Nusra fight, I doubt Clegg continued to see Turkey as strategic ally.

    So this quote was describing a temporary standpoint by Clegg; it certainly wasn’t his standpoint when Gove spoke, 3 years later.

  • This is disgraceful

    This article has been edited AFTER I posted my comments this morning and no mention that it has since been edited.

    The original article said “The UK opted to leave the EU on 23 June 2016 after a campaign mired by scaremongering and the misuse of statistics.””

    Where has this gone?????

    “On every single score the Telegraph finds that Leave’s claims are either “wrong” or “hard to say”.”
    You clearly need to read the article again. The telegraph article was not all about debunking leaves arguments, it was for both Remain and leave .

    on On the amount of money the UK gives to the EU it states Leave was wrong

    On the UK’s economy and the EU hard to say but It points out “remains” arguments were wrong

    On Brexit’s impact on the NHS Hard to say

    On EU red tape in the UK Hard to say

    On the UK’s sovereignty in the EU Leave was wrong

    On British jobs and their reliance on the EU Remain was wrong

    On Britain’s immigration levels and the EU Hard to say

    On Brexit’s impact on the pound and European holidays Hard to say

  • I’ve long seen the year 2099 as something that “should happen”. Even as a “strategic necessity” for my hopes that our species lives to see the year 2100.

    That doesn’t mean I think it should happen in the next fortnight.

  • Peter Watson 21st Feb '17 - 12:29pm

    @Antony Hook “Can you tell me when Nick Clegg said Turkey should join the EU?”
    While on a visit to Turkey in 2012 to secure trade deals, Clegg said, “The Syria crisis is a reminder of just how much the European Union has to gain from Turkey’s accession. I have long seen the case for Turkish entry into the EU as a strategic necessity.”
    In 2010, Cameron said, “I’m here to make the case for Turkey’s membership of the EU. And to fight for it.” and in 2014 was reported as saying that he still “very much supports” Turkey joining the European Union.
    No-one is claiming that Clegg or Cameron wanted to waive normal EU rules for joining, but they both made very strong statements about its importance, undermining the strident reaction of the Remain campaign to Brexiter scaremongering about Turkish immigration. A more measured and positive response, emphasising that membership of the EU by a Turkey which met the requirements would be a good thing, would not have addressed the issue of immigration so Remainers simply chose to dismiss the possibility of Turkish membership, another feature of a dismally negative campaign.

  • @ Bernard Aris “So this quote was describing a temporary standpoint by Clegg; it certainly wasn’t his standpoint when Gove spoke, 3 years later”.

    That is one heck of a classic of a political euphemism. Whenever something becomes inconvenient, it becomes “a temporary standpoint”.

    “We will fight them on the beaches – and on the landing grounds”….. until it becomes inconvenient that I said that…………

    PS I am a Remainer……… It’s just that I can’t stand the exaggerations and distortions of some of my fellow Remainer Lib Dems (especially those who are, I believe, barristers or professors), who will swear the moon is made of blue cheese if it suits their current argument and then deny (or forget) they ever said it.

  • Peter Watson 21st Feb '17 - 12:41pm

    @Jen “That doesn’t mean I think it should happen in the next fortnight.”
    That was part of the problem with the Lib Dem / Remainer reaction to scaremongering over immigration from Turkey. It suggested that Brexit would be okay once Turkey joined, so why wait?
    The Remain campaign offered too few positive reasons for staying in the EU, stoked fears of changing the status quo (which was admittedly a successful approach for those opposed to Scottish independence, AV, etc.), and made ad hominem attacks on the people who voted for Brexit (old, uneducated, racist, etc.) rather than address their concerns. I fear that it has not learnt from its mistakes and is pursuing the same failed strategy.

  • @ Peter Watson
    “The Remain campaign offered too few positive reasons for staying in the EU …”

    The only case for staying in the EU today is that we will be better off economically in the EU than out. The Leave campaign stated we would be better off out than in. Therefore the Remain campaign was conservative and the Leave campaign was for change.

    The problem was that David Cameron and the leaders of every EU country did not believe Leave would win. Therefore they didn’t offer change or as someone wrote recently on LDV “hope”.

    The solution would have been to recognise that lots of people in the EU believe that things can only get better if there is change. The way the EU is run needs to change so people do not feel that leaving their country of birth is the only way they can succeed and that the standard of living is the same across the whole of the EU. To achieve this lots of things would need to change in the EU and I am not convinced Germany has accepted that if they wish the EU to succeed they need to make these changes.

  • Peter Ewart 21st Feb '17 - 5:08pm

    Headline of this piece is a serious distortion of the Telegraph article itself and has abandoned all attempts at balance. Yes, of course the Leave campaign churned out plenty of rubbish. So did the Remain campaign – just as much, or more, a fact so often ignored by Remainers. But how effective was the campaign for either side, really? Not very, i suspect. Many Leavers had advocated such a policy for years, whereas many (not all, of course) Remainers appear to have woken up to the debate only at the 11th hour – hence their shock at the result.

  • Richard Underhill 21st Feb '17 - 5:53pm

    Boris Johnson wanted to “talk Turkey”. He has ancestors. Turkey is a NATO member so there are important security interests.
    Nigel Farage exaggerated the likelihood of Turkey joining the EU, without commenting on the likelihood of a veto by the French electorate, Cyprus, dare one ask about Austria?
    In All out War Tim Shipman of the Sunday Times notes that the BBC put out a factual video before the Wembley debate and comments that the Leave side did not complain, they were content that Turkey was being mentioned.

  • I agree that the Telegraph article was much more nuanced and balanced than the Op indicates in this article. It was certainly not a change of mind to support the remain campaign. Matt I think you will find that this site is edited without comment or explanation more often than you have previously thought. Shame and unnecessary.

  • Matt
    I’ve just read this article. I can see why you are frustrated.
    I have no issue with authors trying to present a positive case for remain (better late than never), but ducking and diving and bending the truth to suit is going to cause shakes of the head from their own supporters. Own goals are not the way to win hearts and minds (like yours for example).

  • @Tynan Thanks

    @Mike S

    Again thanks

    “Own goals are not the way to win hearts and minds (like yours for example)”
    True, the thing for me is, it is a matter of trust. I have said numerous times on this thread that I identify a lot with Liberal Democrats, apart from on Europe that is, were poles apart on that issue
    As a centre left voter, I am pretty homeless at the moment in respect of having a political party that is positioned anywhere near I am and has the same views on the EU.

    I can not ever see myself voting Labour again, probably for at least another 2 elections, not until Corbyn and his pack have been disposed of at the very least.

    When this situation is over with Brexit, I would hope that the Liberal Democrats could be a party I could identify with and turn to again, especially as there are so many areas of policy that we agree on, but I fear this situation over brexit and the outright lies, condemnation of those who voted leave etc. all trust will be gone and will leave any relationship / future relationship irretrievably broken down.

  • Denis Mollison 21st Feb '17 - 9:30pm

    @Michael_BG – “The only case for staying in the EU today is that we will be better off economically in the EU than out.”

    On the contrary, there is a whole range of social and environmental reasons. As to the latter, the EU has driven up our environmental standards over the years; and close international cooperation is desperately needed to tackle climate change.

  • @BG – “The only case for staying in the EU today is that we will be better off economically in the EU than out. ”

    Actually the much stronger case is that the EU is THE primary decision making forum for the nation states of Europe to cooperate together. It will continue to be so irrespective of whether we are a member or not. It WILL set the standards & laws which will be used throughout Europe and which we will in practice have little choice but to follow/copy in most cases. And, unfortunately, there won’t be any of our MEPs or government Ministers at the table when the decisions on those standards & laws are being made to ensure our views are represented and to influence those laws in our favour – a position that will leave us much, much weaker when it comes to protecting our national interests.

  • @ Denis
    I agree – so why is do you think that so many people either don’t know what they are or feel/think they are not important enough to mention?

    I would be so very impressed if any author here could build for the benefit of us all a passionate vision of what Europe offers or could/should offer which would challenge the thinking of millions of British people and give us on this site, a clear understanding of WHY we are attacking the ‘leavers’ so aggressively!
    Party policy/opportunism is not a good enough reason in my eyes.
    It needs to build trust, be honest and realistic to hit home and speak to hearts and minds.

    I will challenge any author willing to take this on to provide a ‘towards’ vision rather than an ‘away’ one, meaning not what we’ll loose if we leave – but what we GAIN by staying.

    It also needs to be in a language that can easily be communicated to most people to be effective beyond this site.

    To be fair, Arnold Keil has provided a passionate and very convincing economic argument, albeit it probably needs bullet pointing further for the masses.
    I’ve also seen others argue fairly convincing on the environmental and protection (e.g. workers) agenda.

    But I’ve yet to see a complete overall convincing vision delivered with any clarity that can hope to inspire most British people.

    If we can’t provide this, then I’m sorry, but we have no right to be attacking people who voted leave (33% in this party) for their alternative vision, if we can’t provide a better one!

  • @ Denis Mollison
    “there is a whole range of social and environmental reasons.”

    It is the economy … You may believe that you could have convinced Leave voters that social and environmental reasons would trump their belief in change, but not me.

  • Mick Taylor 22nd Feb '17 - 5:39am

    The EU is fundamentally a POLITICAL project. It was set up in the wake of yet another economically disastrous European (and World) War in order to bind countries together economically in ways that would make war between them inconceivable. It has been successful and no war has taken place since between members of the EU (and indeed their allies) since WW2. One of the reasons the Balkan countries are now joining is to prevent war breaking out between them again.
    So just when tensions are rising and Putin and his ilk are looking far more threatening (and the lunatic Trump has entered the White House) the UK government are trying to take the UK out of almost every aspect of cooperation with our EU neighbours, when the reality is that we should be working closely with them to protect our economies from the nutters and to stand firm against the lunatics who now run Russia and the USA.
    Remain totally failed to make the political case for the EU. As a side note, I applied for a job with the remain campaign and said that if they ran the sort of campaign that they did, it was likely they would lose the argument. Needless to say I didn’t get the job…

  • Antony Watts 22nd Feb '17 - 8:42am

    Hey, we are all debating hot air. we are facing a big….

    – free access to world’s largest market
    – free flow of goods in Europe
    – more difficult access to FDI & know-how
    – loss of free movement of skilled & unskilled foreign labour
    – city finance loss of global finance, especially euro denominated
    – loss of tax revenue from loss of city business
    – impotence for 48%, not unity claimed by May
    – industries move away, create a great geo-political shift
    – destruction of our rights as EU Citizens (four freedoms, social support)
    – promote breakup of the EU itself, bilateralism, not multilateralism
    – toxic populist tendency, weak political representation (where were the 48%?)
    – hysterical accusations of betrayal & treason against dissenters
    – single person ramming through Brexit for personal reasons (immigration over free trade!)
    – threat of deal-or-no-deal in 2019

    No folks, Remain is the better future for UK

  • @ Mick Taylor

    David Cameron used the peace argument and it was interpreted to mean that if we left the EU there would be another world war!
    It was not convincing!

    @ Anthony Watts and David Becket

    Again these are conservative argues; arguments against chance.
    They didn’t convince in 2016.
    Project fear still seems to rule.

    As I wrote earlier, Remain needs a “change” argument. A programme of reform of the EU; reform that the German government and people support; reform that would be implemented (no ifs and no buts) after a vote to Remain in the EU.

  • I travel to Turkey on a regular basis. I have my ear bent about the terrible leaflets put out by leave. Most Turkish people would have no wish to move to the UK

  • @Michael BG – There is absolutely no way that the other sovereign nations of the EU are going to agree to such a programme as: a) none of them will agree to a “no ifs or buts” demand as this smacks of us holding a gun to their heads, b) reform of the EU requires each member state to agree to it, not just Germany, and none of the others will accept any sort of “stitch-up” deal between the UK and Germany (and nor will Germany) which they are just supposed to rubber stamp, and, c) any reform of the EU, from now on, will be done solely to accommodate those member states which are continuing on as members – they are not going to reform to accommodate a country that has said it is leaving and they know full well that, even were they to do so, we’d still moan incessantly about the reforms on the grounds that they were either too much or too little (and possibly even both in the same breath).

  • @ Paul

    I think you may have misunderstood me. I think Germany is the biggest problem in achieving reform, I didn’t mean that there should be a stitch-up between the UK and Germany, I meant every EU nation would need to sign up to the reform package before any new UK vote. The reforms I am thinking about would be ones that would help countries like Greece and Lithuania. They would need to include restrictions on the EU definition of free movement, a complete change for the Central European Bank and EU finance and much more focus on creating economic equality throughout the whole EU and the Euro not being run for the benefit of Germany.

  • I don’t think people voted for Brexit based on the facts they were being told; they voted feeling that there viewpoint was being lost and potentially also in not understanding what the EU did for the UK.

    Showing now that the facts that the Leave side raised fall somewhere between difficult to prove and false doesn’t do anything to change the mind of those who voted for these previously mentioned reasons. How do the Lib Dems plan on helping those who felt they had a medium to small voice in the UK which has become smaller and smaller since the turn of the century?

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