Do not say ‘when we leave the EU’. It’s if, if, if – not ‘when’.

The BBC and all the UK newspapers, including the broadsheets, slavishly follow Theresa May and the Government in referring to Brexit in the future tense, instead of in the conditional.  They use constructions such as “as we leave the EU, “when we leave”, “after we leave”, etc – as if it were a forgone conclusion that we will leave.

The sole permissible constructions are: “if we leave”, “in the event that we leave” or “in case of a decision to leave”.

Use of the future tense in this instance is absolutely infuriating, for it implies that the matter has been settled when it most certainly has not.  It falsely legitimizes an entirely fraudulent notion that a decision to leave the EU has already been formally made when it has not.

The decision is pending.  It remains contingent on whether MPs decide that we should leave.  But no meeting of MPs – still five months since polling day – has formally taken place on this matter.

The referendum result was not a decision to leave.  The referendum was nothing but an advisory opinion poll.  It expressed merely an opinion of a minority section of the electorate – 52% of the votes cast, yet just 37% of the electorate, or 27% of the population.

It is absolutely critical that UK journalists do not collaborate in this utterly insidious and manipulative use of language by the Government.

Brexit is not a fait accompli – and journalists who write or speak of it as if it were should be ashamed of themselves.


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