This morning the Times tells us that later today Boris Johnson will attack the idea that the Single Market is a force for good.
We have to assume that whatever Johnson says will be a second step of choreographed ignorance from the official Leave campaign. It will be meant to back the line that Michael Gove gave on the Andrew Marr show yesterday.
If you missed the Gove interview, in the midst of an argument on the Single Market that was wrong on every point of fact, Gove insisted Britain should leave the Single Market. For details of the breadth and depth of Gove’s ignorance, go as usual to Richard North’s analysis on eureferendum.com.
But just of a taste of the official Leave campaign ignorance that was being presented as fact by the justice minister: he asserted that being a full member of the Single Market – memo to the Minister, there is no other kind of member other than a ‘full’ one – requires you to be in the single currency.
No, it doesn’t. Simple as that. No, being a member, ‘full’ or otherwise, of the Single Market does not require a state to be in the single currency.
With that level of misinformation being presented by a man who is supposed to be one of the leaders of the Leave campaign, the best idea is to assume the brace position in anticipation of the car crash of ignorance that Johnson will present later today.
All of which makes me despair, or nearly so. Trade is a vital part of how the UK will live if it ever again becomes an independent state, so, yes, the arguments on trade post-Brexit have to be well-informed.
But what is getting lost is that the essential argument is not about trade. Britain’s membership of the EU is more than a business decision. It is a decision about how the British people will be governed – by themselves under an ancient system of parliamentary democracy, or not.
These lines from Daniel Webster, a giant of the US Senate in the mid-19th century, keep coming to mind in this debate. For ‘republic’ read ‘United Kingdom,’ and you will see the essence of what is at stake in this referendum:
‘Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again.’