There is much confusion over Brexit because some people cannot accept the outcome of the referendum, others are repeating ideas that were discredited many months ago and yet another group keeps changing its mind.
On top of this, we have a prevaricating EU and a lack of unity and enthusiasm in both the UK population and Parliament. Commentary from the media only adds to the confusion and division. I offer two specific events that have occurred recently as examples.
Amber Rudd has been reported as claiming that Boris Johnson is trying to be a back seat driver in the EU negotiations, a position many people have responded to with anger. However, in an interview on television, Ms Rudd said that Mrs May was driving the EU negotiations to which the presenter Andrew Marr suggested that Boris was trying to be a back seat driver. Ms Rudd agreed with him but this is far different from if she had predetermined to make such a comment.
Secondly, the recent article in the Telegraph by Boris Johnson has come in for much criticism. It provoked Sir David Norgrove to accuse Boris of ‘a clear misuse of official statistics’. Several replies went back and forth and the BBC took great relish in reporting this. The inference was that Boris had got it wrong. What they did not do was to explain that Lord Norgrove appears to have misinterpreted the careful language used by Boris, which gave rise to the fracas.
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It is sometimes the news that goes unreported that distorts the understanding of events. Whilst David Davis and Michel Barnier grab the headlines for their inability to agree, behind the scenes there is a set of knowledgeable people who are trying to get on with leaving the EU, but the public seldom hears of their efforts or their successes.
In the same vein, there has been little news about Boris Johnson for many weeks, which is surprising when he holds such high office. The inference is that he is underperforming as Foreign Secretary but I was pleased to read, not in the mainline press, that this is a view you never hear from his officials, who point to successes in pacifying Somalia and Libya, restraining Trump in the Middle East, rallying Europe against Putin and ensuring that foreign aid is determined by British interests.
M. A. McCormick