Brexit ‘Can’t Be Delivered’, Leave Vote Was ‘Manipulated’, Macron Tells France

Brexit
LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images
VIRGINIA HALE

The UK’s Brexit vote was caused by misplaced “anger” and foreign disinformation, Emmanuel Macron said, in a speech warning critics of his globalist regime in France to beware “people who manipulate you with miracle ideas”.

Speaking at an event near Lyon as part of his ‘grand debate’ tour launched after weeks of anti-government protests, the French president told unhappy citizens to “be aware of people who sell you dreams, that tell you all your anger can be solved by a referendum”, before dismissing Brexit as “rubbish”.

“Take the British. They voted for Brexit,” Macron told the audience in Bourg-de-Peage of around 250 people, a number of whom were dressed in the yellow vests of the ‘gilet jaunes’ movement.

He said: “There were people [in Britain] who, in good faith, were sometimes as angry as you are, and they said that the source of all their ills was Europe. It’s rubbish!” he said, explaining that voters were swayed by Leave campaign buses emblazoned with messages “reading that you were going to save something like 36 billion pounds” if Britain were to leave the EU.

“There were entire buses going by saying you’re going to save – I can’t remember how much now – something like 36 billion pounds if you leave,” he said, in an attack on pro-independence campaigns, which he alleged also tricked the British into believing divorce from the EU that Brexit would “be done in a fortnight”.

“There were people who voted for Brexit, who did it in good faith, they were angry, and they thought their situation was impossible, because the system was unjust,” stated Macron, before claiming that UK citizens are now “starting to realise that all the figures they were given are entirely false, and what they were told could be done overnight in fact can’t be delivered.

“And in the end it’s going to cost them. In this context do you think that the referendum was a good thing?”

“No, because it didn’t allow for an informed, transparent and calm debate. It’s torn a society apart, and it’s left it open to disinformation coming from abroad, or terrible manipulation,” asserted the French premier.

Macron’s tirade against Brexit came in response to a question from the audience about the citizens’ initiative referendums (RIC), the Yellow Vests movement’s demand for the right to hold Swiss-style referendums on policy proposals which gather more than 700,000 signatures.

“Difficult decisions should never be made by referendum,” stated the president, asserting the general public are not the “best-informed” on such issues and that, “in recent referendums, foreign powers greatly manipulated the vote”.

“We’re all surrounded by fake news. And a lot of people are persuaded, in good faith, that what they’re being told is true, when in fact it’s totally false. Because they read it on the internet,” he told the town hall meeting.

France launched a national consultation online in December, following calls for more direct democracy. But when the results were published earlier this month to reveal the most popular proposal was for the repeal of same-sex marriage, the initiative was dismissed by the French establishment and mainstream media as having been “hijacked” by conservatives.

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