WERE the big promises made by the Leave campaign during the 2016 EU Referendum totally worthless?
In 2016 Boris Johnson and Michael Gove looked the British people in the eye and — writing in The Sun — solemnly pledged leaving the European Union would mean, “fuel bills will be lower for everyone.” And their reasoning was sound enough.
Because inside the EU, the UK was unable to cut VAT on energy bills below five per cent. And outside the EU, we are free to make our own rules. But five years on, Boris has completely changed his tune. “The argument as you know is that it (cutting VAT on energy bills) is a bit of a blunt instrument,” Boris blustered and backtracked this week.
“And the difficulty is that you end up cutting fuel bills for a lot of people who perhaps don’t need the support in quite the direct way we need to give it. We need to help people who are in fuel poverty the most.”
But this is the opposite of what Boris promised when he wanted your Leave vote in 2016. No wonder Remainers are cackling with amusement. When Boris and Gove promised cheaper energy bills outside the EU, there was no talk about only helping just one section of the population.
Don’t these out-of-touch Tories get it? When the price cap on energy bills rises in April, coinciding with a hike in National Insurance and spiking inflation, there is not one working man or woman who will not experience soaring gas and electricity bills as a kick in the teeth.
Quitting the EU was supposed to help ALL of them, Prime Minister. And now you are reneging on that promise.
We know now that both Leave and Remain campaigned on exaggerations, fabrications and even big fat fibs.
George Osborne, the Right Honourable Member for Project Fear, predicted an “immediate” recession if we dared turn our back on our benevolent Brussels masters, with half a million people slung on the dole. It did not happen.
But the Brexiteers boasted that “taking back control” would mean taking back control of our borders. How’s that working out? Even in the middle of winter, those tough-talking Tories can’t stop the dinghies full of illegal immigrants — the only folk who can travel freely! — alighting on Dover beach. We understand that the real world has a way of intruding on political promises that are made in all good faith. And, of course, this Prime Minister has had to deal with a global health emergency that nobody saw coming all those years ago.
But cutting VAT on fuel bills — already grotesquely inflated by extortionate green levies — is not asking Boris to dream the impossible dream or to fight the unbeatable foe. Cutting VAT on fuel bills is the right thing to do.
And, lest we forget, Boris explicitly promised to do it when he wanted your vote to leave the EU.
“When we vote Leave, we will be able to scrap this unfair and damaging tax,” Boris seductively said in 2016, like some silver-tongued lothario slipping a casual arm around a tipsy starlet’s bare shoulders.
Leave and Remain shared a great dishonesty, for neither side ever admitted that there were pros and cons to both leaving and staying.
One of the real benefits of getting out should have been the freedom of being able to do what we like with fuel bills.
But it looks like it was just more Brexit baloney, folks.
Boris, to his eternal credit, has done a mostly heroic job steering this country through the virus that came so horribly close to killing him. He got the two big calls right — throwing money at the vaccination rollout and then unlocking the country as fast as possible.
Tidal wave of debt
But the story of 2022 will not be Covid. It will be the cost of living.
And just like the virus, the coming crunch will hammer every man, woman and child in this country.
Boris seems to think the world is neatly divided between “the poor” and the wine-swigging, cheese-noshing, wallpaper-fretting elite circles that he knocks around in. But ordinary families who work for a living are seeing a tidal wave of debt heading straight for them. They are not “the poor”. They are the struggling workers of this country.
They are not on benefits so do not qualify for the Government’s £140 Warm Home Discount. Their taxes pay for benefits. They voted Leave in their millions. They put Boris in 10 Downing Street. And they are being betrayed by a Government that cares more about its pious, self-harming net-zero emission goals than the Brexit promises of years ago.
But I struggle to comprehend that Boris can so brazenly betray the people who believed he was telling the truth in 2016.
It is not too late. But ditching VAT on gas and electricity prices needs to be done NOW. Brexit cost us all so much. All that poison, all that division, all those long years of national paralysis.
If leaving the EU did not set us free, then what was the point?
FOUR protesters who decided to tear down a statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston are found not guilty of criminal damage.
This seems to set a precedent that is somewhere beyond dangerous and insane.
Where does it end? Can a mob of spotty, self-regarding students now chuck Sir Winston Churchill’s statue in the Thames and call it a political act?
The law is a woke ass.
Super deal for Liz’s New Year’s Eve heroics
CHECKING for a friend, I discovered that the Supergirl dress Liz Hurley sported during her raucous New Year’s Eve celebration is available on Amazon for around 16 quid.
Liz definitely got her money’s worth.
Andy’s clear plight
WILL an unexpected way out of his sexual abuse case present itself to the portly prince formerly known as Randy Andy?
Royal sources whisper that the Duke of York has “not ruled out making a financial settlement with his accuser in order to avoid further damaging the reputation of the Royal Family”.
The vast majority of civil lawsuits in America – some 97 per cent – are settled out of court.
Indeed, Andrew’s lawyers are attempting to have Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit against him thrown out because she reached a financial settlement of $500,000 (£370,000) with paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in her civil case against him in 2009.
Virginia’s lawsuit against Andrew claims that she was forced to have sex with him on three occasions when she was 17.
Andrew can’t recall ever meeting her.
If a financial settlement without an admission of guilt eventually happens, it would spare Andrew’s 95-year-old mother the stress of seeing the case go to court.
But the one thing a financial settlement would not do is clear Andrew’s name.
Isn’t that what he wants?
CATHERINE, Duchess of Cambridge, turns 40 today.
Kate is, by some distance, the British Royal Family’s greatest asset for the future.
She has grace, dignity and the common touch.
The monarchy has lasted because of the Queen.
It will endure beyond all of our lifetimes because of Kate.
Do the noble thing
TONY BLAIR has not just been given any old knighthood.
He has been made a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the most senior form of knighthood.
And yet there are many who believe that Labour’s most successful Prime Minister – at least in terms of winning general elections – should not be in the same room as a knighthood.
The arguments against knighting Blair are fierce and passionate, because they are born in the blood and sacrifice of his reckless wars.
Mark Thompson’s son Kevin was killed by a roadside bomb in Basra, Iraq, in 2007.
“If Tony Blair receives a knighthood, I will return my son’s medal,” Mark said.
“I have spoken to more than ten families who are all prepared to hand their medals back. I think there are hundreds out there who will join us.
“They all feel the same way – they are all fuming. It is all so wrong.”
Perhaps Blair still believes the dodgy dossier on Saddam Hussein’s elusive Weapons of Mass Destruction was the gospel truth.
Perhaps he still believes that sacrificing the lives of people’s sons and daughters in Iraq and Afghanistan was all worth it.
But, for the life of me, I just can’t believe that Blair wants to cause further heartache and distress to the families who lost loved ones in his wars. The bereaved of the brave souls who served have surely suffered enough in this life.
For that reason alone, if he had any shred of human decency, Tony Blair would quietly decline his knighthood.
I HAVE my doubts any free country can force anyone to have a Covid vaccination. But the fury Novak “Novac” Djokovic is provoking in Australia – bowling up waving his medical exemption form – suggests the world is sick of selfish anti-vaxxers.
As one Aussie epidemiologist told Wacko Djoko: “Just get vaccinated, ya knob.”