Richard North, 09/06/2016  

John Redwood this morning was confronted by Nick Robinson on the BBC4 Today programme, the interviewer putting a very simple assertion to him. "We do not send £350 million a week to Brussels – never have".

Focused as a question – do we send that money to Brussels? – John Redwood was invited to comment. That "is the gross figure" he says, amidst half a yard of extruded verbal material.

Robinson tries again: "If you read on the side of the campaign bus that we send £350 million – and the word 'send' is critical here – it is simply untrue. We do not send that money". To this, Redwood responds: "That is the official gross figure…".

Once again, Robinson addresses the issue: "… forgive me, you know what gross means, that means we might send it if we didn't get all this money back. But we don't actually send it". To this, Redwood responds: "Well, you send the money that we get back for the farmers…".

When Robinson tells us that the rebate is "discount", again Redwood evades the point, leaving Robinson to try yet again:
You know, I'm sure people say to you that they want the facts. Let's make it clear to people. There's a bill. That's what you mean by gross. The bill is then discounted and we send what the discounted bill is. That is not £350 million. It is £267 million. Then quite a lot of that money is spent in Britain and that reduces it to £161 million. So, last chance and we'll move onto the claims you want to criticise – can we just be clear: we do not send £350 million a week to Brussels?
To this, Redwood responds: "I have been crystal clear. There is a gross contribution …". Then, after more yardage of extruded verbal material, Robinson makes one last effort: "Just address the point though", he says, "because you are always very careful in what you say. She [Sarah Wollaston] calls it a lie".

To this, Redwood responds: "No, but it's not a lie. Because it's the gross contribution. And I think you should always say it's gross…".

This is what being deliberately obtuse looks like. And it's killing the credibility of the "leave" campaign. Of all the thousands of more important things we should be talking about, the media is bogged down on this – and will remain so until there is a resolution.

This is something the "genius" Cummings and the other Vote Leave Muppets don't seem to understand. If there is an unresolved issue, the media will keep worrying away at it. It will not stop. And while the Muppets seem to think "post-truth" politics is sooooo clever, the take-home point is that Vote Leave is lying.

Now, though, Vote Leave have dug themselves in so deep that they're breaking ground in Australia. They simply cannot extricate themselves without serious collateral damage. So much for the "genius" of Cummings, whose brainchild this is.

Thus, we will be going to the polls knowing that the official "leave" campaign are unrepentant liars. If we still win, it will be no thanks to them.

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