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Staying in EU hurts the low paid, says Boris, who says £250,000 for a newspaper column is chicken-feed

By Mark Steel

Published 04/06/2016

Write stuff: ‘Leave’ campaigner Boris Johnson is dismissive of the amount he’s paid for writing an opinion column
Write stuff: ‘Leave’ campaigner Boris Johnson is dismissive of the amount he’s paid for writing an opinion column

Party political broadcasts are dismissed as having no effect on the electorate, but the films made for the Remain and Leave campaigns in the referendum are definitely swinging opinion. Because, when I saw the one for remaining in Europe, I immediately supported leaving - until I saw the one for leaving, when I switched straight back to the Remain side.

The one this week in favour of the EU showed us a baby called Sam and told us, if we leave Europe, every family will be £4,300 worse off, money "which could go towards a house for Sam". This is marvellous news: if we stay in the EU, every baby will be able to buy a house.

Next week's broadcast will show the parents beaming: "We were going to buy Sam a cot, but now, with money from the EU, we've bought him a riverside apartment. Now, his teddy has his own room instead of being cramped up in the same bed."

Then came a list of statistics to back this up, such as "leaving the EU will increase the price of food to £70 a nibble, according to the Official Institute of Triangles and Fiscal Hexagons, which will force Sam's mum to go on the game and inject heroin unregulated by EU smack tariffs, leading to a 4,000% increase in British spring onion crops being ruined by vegetarian zombies."

Finally, we saw a film showing kids happily playing on swings, the implication being that if we vote to leave, a man will come round from Brussels with a screwdriver and say: "As you're not in the EU any more, I've got to take away all your swings and replace them with wasp nests."

Luckily for the Remain side, their opponents are just as credible. Boris Johnson insisted that NHS waiting lists will lengthen "unless we tackle free movement" of people. He's right. That's what's spoilt the NHS: foreigners. If only we'd stopped them coming here, there'd be half the doctors, a fifth of the nurses and one tenth of the hospital cleaners, which would make the waiting lists marvellously short as there'd be no point in going to hospital. Eventually, it would be closed down and converted into a Nandos.

The one strategy for the Leave campaign is to moan about immigrants, so the front page of the anti-EU Daily Express yelled: "Immigrants pay £100 to invade Britain." This is a reasonable description; invasions are an attempt to take over the governance of the occupied territory. All too often, the Poles picking Brussels sprouts in Lincolnshire slip off during their lunch break to build a castle and forcibly confiscate all raw materials from locals.

The Latvians who set up a hand car wash business down my road used wet sponges to take over the banks and radio stations; anyone who disputes their rule is rounded up with a terrifying array of lemon air fresheners.

The Leave campaign declared that, if victorious in the referendum, it would set up an Australian-style "points system" to reduce immigration. When it was suggested to Nigel Farage that Australia has higher levels of immigration than Britain, he said: "But they're a huge continent." In other words, the Australian points system would be ideal for Britain, though it's useless for a place too big for an Australian points system, such as Australia. The value of the points system is we "only bring in the people we need", rather than some pest because his village has been burned by Isis.

Boris claims immigration is hurting the low-paid. You can understand his bitterness, as he's suffered from low pay himself; he's described his £250,000 salary for writing a newspaper column as "chicken-feed". So, if he becomes Prime Minister following a vote to leave, we can expect him to bring the wages of labourers and cleaners up to £250,000 a year for starters, so they're up to chicken-feed income at least.

We can all sympathise with him, because he explained how he agonised over his decision of whether to support or oppose the EU. And it's clear he agonised a great deal, which is why he remarked that the EU is a monstrous institution trying to dominate us like Hitler.

But Leave campaigners aren't just angered by immigrants and Hitler, they're also sick of the excessive waste on EU buildings. The Daily Mail revealed it had seen pictures of the new EU building in Brussels, costing £240m. It disgusts the newspaper because Britain is so careful with its state buildings. That's why Buckingham Palace is a modest town house on the outskirts of Stevenage.

It complains "the building has been freshly decorated", rather than sprayed with milk left to go off in the sun. And it has "spare rooms, in case new members join, such as Turkey". See, there's a spare room in the new building - which is proof that Turkey will join the EU and all Turks will move to Hampshire, making it illegal to eat the great British cucumber.

Why else would they have a spare room?

Belfast Telegraph

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