The European Union cost your family £6,000 last year…really?

This morning I was struck by a tweet from #ukip councillor Jim Tucker (@CllrJimTucker) claiming EU membership cost each British family £6,000 a year? Really? I thought, didn’t even know your average UK family had that sort of money laying about.  But Jim came armed with a link from an organisation who’s impartiality leaves noting to the kipper imagination. Better off out’s campaign manager Rupert Matthews assures us he got to the truth:

by studying the figures and making reasonable assumptions we have arrived at an estimate of about £6,000 per family per year!”

Given that at the last ONS count there were 18.2 M. families in the UK, the cost of being in the EU Better of Out must be using must be somewhere in the region of £110 billion. Even Nigel Farage who used to say at every opportunity that the EU cost us £55 M. a day doesn’t use his discredited figure (£20 Billion a year) anymore.  Most Eurosceptics have seemed to settle on a net figure of £6 billion a year EU membership would save. This I can accept and gives a cost per family of £330 per year according to my calculator!

Oh well we’ll just have to take Rupert’s word for his £6,000 figure, as usual no hard data on offer for his calculations. It will be all those EU regulations that every kipper moans about, but none of them can actually mention by name, or maybe David Cameron’s elusive ‘powers’ he tells us he wants to ‘repatriate’ but never actually mentions in the company of other EU leaders. A bit earlier in the pamphlet there is an interview with an economist of some repute who should know better. It is of course the incorrigible Ruth Lea (@RuthLeaEcon), the former IoD spokesperson, who years ago used to turn up on virtually every TV and radio debate about the economy until she famously was ‘made redundant’. Today she is mainly paraded by Eurosceptic so called ‘think tanks’ where she is always well-equipped with factoids, like how many billions of pounds more Germany exported to the UK than the other way around. “They’ll trade” is her catch phrase on twitter, as if running a trade deficit somehow makes your supplier countries beholden to you, rather than them worrying if the next UK bill is going to be paid. The Telegraph reports this is already happening, with foreign investors loosing faith in the UK economy mentioning the deficit! ruth   But let’s analyse what she is actually saying in this pamphlet. First she quotes Jean Claude Juncker, the EU Commission president, that “Europeans will represent just 7% of the world’s population”. She forgets to mention that the UK will represent just 0.9 % of the world’s population, so the emerging economies of Brazil, India and China, sometimes referred to as the BRIC countries, will take even less notice of Britain outside the EU. bridge The next statement Ruth makes is that after a #brexit “the UK’s default position would be to trade under WTO rules”. So instantly that would mean our largest market the EU levying the 11% common tariff on goods produced in the UK. That’ll go down well with Nissan in Sunderland? She argues that that hasn’t stopped China’s exports:

 Trade can flourish under WTO rules. Take, for example, China. China joined the WTO in December 2001 and does not, as yet, have any special trade agreement with the EU. And yet Sino-UK trade has boomed

She forgets to mention that the UK actually exports more to Belgium than to China and that Germany, a Eurozone member, actually exports six times as much to China than the UK.

Kippers think that if we just sign a few bits of paper called a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) then trade to the rest of the world will start booming like China managed. Maybe the uncomfortable truth behind the UK’s poor manufactured goods export performance is that our economy just doesn’t produce the kind of goods at the kind of price that you can sling in a container and export just about anywhere to a ready market? Remember these same kippers will blame liblabcon for running our manufacturing industry into the ground.

So not only trade will start flowing miraculously upon signing an FTA, the factories that make the goods will rise up from the brown field sites like a phoenix? Empty return containers now miraculously will have quality UK manufactured goods in them?

Another problem is that most kipper’s are tweeting percentages they don’t understand. Percentage growth can easy be in double figures if you start from a virtually non-existing base.  And the Percentages of Global output ( %GDP) of all trading nations will always ad up to the same 100%, so like the seesaw Ruth must have played on as a child, if one continent’s GDP% goes up the others necessarily must come down. This is not something kippers should lie awake worrying over. Shush! It’s all right. The empire has gone. The EU and USA together used to represent about 50% of global GDP. Those days are over! We can still have absolute growth: 0.5% growth of a $16 trillion economy is nothing to be sneered at. They haven’t all the sudden stopped buying stuff on the continent. Do people like Ruth Lea really think that, on its own, the UK can compete with low cost economies like India and China? What in manufacturing goods like flat screen TV’s? Is she thinking Apple will build iPhone and iPad factories ‘up north’ when we leave the EU?  Is she looking forward to our kids working in sweatshop circumstances, jumping of the factory roof tops in despair, like they do in China? I happen to have studied Economics also. My vision of our economy is I think more realistic and desirable than that of Ruth.  It is no secret that our economies in the west are more and more knowledge based and services oriented. In these areas Britain actually makes serious money, not in manufacturing. In those economies our kids can find jobs more commensurate with the education we like to give them. I am not thinking of the “would you like chips with that” kind of services. I am thinking of design skills, intellectual property and culture. Here we are still leading the world!  We must invest in our kids’ future with better training, education, Research and Development.  The things we so successfully in a EU context. Think Airbus, Think European Space Agency. Think CERN. The UK must stay in the EU to complete that all important single market in ‘services’. Not go back to some ‘black country’ vision of Britain from the days of the industrial revolution.  Our kids deserve better than that! black country ukip vision of a Britain prospering as an independent trading nation trading industrial goods with China?

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The Great European Disaster Movie

Last night I ‘forced’ myself to stay up late and watch The Great European Disaster Movie

Personally I enjoyed it. One of the uncomfortable truths it brought home is it takes the perspective of a young Ukrainian lad, a war reporter from Croatia, millions escaping the ravages of war and poverty in other continents, to see and appreciate what a treasure we European natives have in our EU and how short-sighted of the Eurosceptic movement to throw that precious baby out with the filthy bath water of a financial crisis not caused by the EU, but a global crisis caused by greedy bankers.

It seems the movie was truncated quite a bit to make room for the Newsnight special post-programme discussion, heavily loaded with critics of the European Union, Mr Hitchens, former Chancellor Norman Lamont and Ukip MP Mark Reckless. The Eurosceptic but vocal minority throwing yet another hissy fit, because the BBC might seem biased pro Europe and no sir, we can’t have that can we. We must always also show the ukip lunatics point of view!

But Hitchens took the biscuit when he spouted nonsense like: “In Europe they should work on their rail links instead of a doomed Euro project: Do you know they still have to change locomotives whenever you cross one of their internal borders?”

Hitchens obviously so dislikes the EU, that he has never taken his kids to Euro Disney Paris, or taken a Eurostar to Brussels to enjoy a Leffe or a Liege waffle with cream. As someone who regularly commutes from his home in Central France to work on a project in Maastricht, well… I almost fell off my chair in disbelief when he said that.

Hitchen is also not the only Eurosceptic to cynically lay the blame for the war initiated by the separatist movement in East Ukraine and stoked up by President Putin, on the doors of the European institutions. Like Nigel Farage, Hitchins must be another secret Putin admirer.

But those of us who watched the image of tens of thousands peaceful EU flag waving demonstrators in Kiev are not stupid. We know full well who initiated the Maidan Massacre and then conveniently used it as an excuse  and a diversion,  calling what happened on  20 February an armed coup and using it to justify the annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in in the Donbass region of Ukraine. We don’t fall for the trick of regular Russian soldiers ripping off their official army insignias and pretending to be local patriots wanting to be reunited with the Russian motherland.

You know what? All these kippers up in arms about this film shown on an obscure channel at an unchristian time, shouting the BBC is EU funded and EU biased, they  like to call them selves patriots, defending British values. I see them as the worst kind of Nationalists hankering after the next war to reassert their superiority.  Their fathers and grandfathers who gave real lives liberating Europe, would turn in their graves. So would their cherished Mr Churchill, a founding father of the EU. They would wonder how they managed to produce such stupid short sighted offspring. What went wrong with the famous British education system. Churchill would give them his famous two fingered salute, but definitely the wrong way ’round.

The great EU disaster movie

The great EU disaster movie

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#ukip’s revolving door #brexit policy, fat chance of EU falling for that one…

As not unusual the 140 characters twitter limitation prompts me to pen a more thorough response here on IdentitySpace, to some common kipper preconceptions about how post a #brexit the 27 remaining EU member states practically will come begging ‘Cap in hand’ to Downing Street to sign a Free Trade Agreement(FTA) with the newly liberated and soaring UK economy. The conversation below will be recognized by all regularly following the #brexit hashtag on twitter.


It will not be a surprise @debatingfools did not see a response from @deanofsurrey. Kippers typically have a big problem even guessing why you ask such questions. Here is what they lack:

Empathy is the capacity to understand what another person is experiencing from within the other person’s frame of reference, ie, the capacity to place oneself in another’s shoes.

The next thing a kipper will do is mention a random selection of odd ball countries that managed to sign Free Trade Agreements with either the the EU or China and then proceed to question: “If they can sign a Free Trade Agreement, why on earth can’t we? We’re way more important!


Maybe my answer to @deanofsurrey was a bit too cryptic:

Because Korea is on the other side of the world and not in Europe like UK?” 

OK so let me make an analogy my kipper friends. Imagine we have a small town community that desperately needs a ‘sports center’. The skint local council will not build one, so spirited community members club together. They sell shares in a ‘not for profit’ new sports company and after years of hard graft and fund raising the splendid new facility opens its doors. People who have bought shares get reduced entry fees for their family. What would these member-shareholders say to club management if they were to suggest giving non-members even cheaper access than they were promised when they invested their hard earned cash? They’d revolt, wouldn’t they? They’d insist that non-members always pay a premium, even if new members were desperately needed for balancing the club’s books. Are you with me so far kippers?

So now here is a moral and economic lesson for you my autistic eurosceptic friends: Think of the EU as the sports facility. Think of ukip as the ‘new in town’ big earning imports from London. You can throw your economic weight about all you like, but you either pay your club full dues or you do not play squash! But what about Korea and its Free trade deal with the EU you start again?

Think of North Korea as the poor exchange students from the other side of the world. They could not be expected to buy shares, but we still want to make them feel welcome so they can swim, play tennis, play squash for a ‘student rate’ because we hope they’d do the same for our kids if they were studying there.  Plus the local economy benefits from the money they bring studying here. Our university depends on their tuition fees to stay in business. There my kipper friends did that analogy help?

So coming back to the EU, Kippers and eurosceptic Tories, if you throw your dummy out of the pram and invoke article 50 in 2017, do not expect to be offered a Free Trade Agreement before two years of hard negotiations have passed. Best to expect a cold shoulder rather than a special relationship. Don’t worry about all those unsold BMWs, Audis and Porsches in dealers’ show rooms. Its the Nissans stupid!

And when it all goes pear shaped with Mr Farage @Number10gov and four years later UK applies to rejoin, fully expect to be using our EURO as your new currency.


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Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hannan?

Yes I do have it in for Daniel Hannan MEP, this is my third anti Hannan post, but I really think he is the modern day Lord Haw-Haw of the UK Eurosceptic movement and like this traitor utterly despicable. You can read the other blogs here and here.

Daniel’s latest rant was published in some dodgy right wing capitalist web site called CAPX.  Here Dan Hannan tries to amuse his kipper and eurosceptic Tory friends by constructing an imaginary parallel universe, where Britain had in fact joined the Euro instead of opting out as they did at Maastricht.

Incredibly for someone who says he admires and believes in Britain, he then pictures Britain to be languishing somewhere alongside Greece and Portugal at the bottom of about any economic league table you could construct. You can almost see the disingenuous smirk on his face as he amuses his audience by saying….

“I think we can trace the narrative well enough. The United Kingdom would have experienced the same credit bubble that the other peripheral economies – Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Greece – did. It would, consequently, have suffered the same crash. Only, in the British case, the consequences would have been utterly catastrophic”

Of course before going for the next below the belt blow, he has to disseminate the usual amount of lies and half truths

“Britain will have an interest in the wealth and security of its European allies, who are also its suppliers and customers. They are less important, its true, month by month, as Britain’s trade with the EU dwindles; but they still account for a hefty 44 per cent of our overseas commerce.”

It is the word “dwindles”, I would like to pick Hannan up on.  In the definition of the word as I understand it, but looked up to be sure,  dwindle is defined as:

‘To become gradually less until little remains”

Now please join me in looking at two of the latest available ONS statistics about the UK’s trade in Europe over the last 3-4 years:


If we look at the graph on the left, which covers the last four available years month by month, does anyone else [besides Hannan] see a distinct downward trend in our trade with Europe? Now if you look at the graph on the right, we see that exports to the rest of the world (non-EU exports) are indeed outperforming similar EU exports. [Note and all that despite UK being in the EU!]. But  if you look careful, you’ll see exports to the EU in 2009 start above the 100 index and while rising to 115 before coming down again to about the 2009 level, they are still well above the 100 start index; so have in fact grown, not ‘dwindled’ as premier #brexit demagog Dan Hannan would have us all believe.  Yes the man is either incredibly stupid when it comes to statistics or he is an outright liar. You may make up your mind.

But taking this ridiculous analogy of the EURO making such a hash of our parallel universe’s UK economy a bit further, the flip side of this story has to be that [as in reality Britain never joined this most cursed of currencies] any well or at least open minded kipper would expect the UK to find itself at the top of the EU growth league. In other words somewhere alongside it’s Northern European neighbours The Netherlands and economic power house Germany. After all, we have overtaken France and are are overtaking Germany soon, aren’t we #ukip? Furthermore we’re running this growth race without this cursed Euro currency shackled to our booming economy. We had our treasured pound sterling favouring our chances, didn’t we Daniel?


“But Hang on a minute”, I hear you kippers say: Eurozone members Spain, Germany, Poland and those pesky little ones top right on the EU map, they all performed better than the us in the UK? Are we being lied to all the time? Can it be true that the UK growth figure of 0.5% puts us only a measly one tenth of a percent above the dreadful EUSSR average and that is with all these supposed advantages of keeping our sacred pound?

Please explore that anomaly dear Charles and other kipper friends. As always looking forward to your jaded comments.

Posted in #brexit, EU, EURO, UKIP | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Europe should call Greece’s bluff


So anti-austerity Syriza wins elections in Greece, so what? Stupid kippers on twitter are already dancing on the roofs of their Vauxhall Vivas, without realising the damage they are doing to their paintwork.


But what should the EU’s response be, when victorious party leader Alexis Tsipras comes to Brussels to renegotiate Greece’s debt?

I think his creditor’s should tell him to “F*ck off” in the most polite way possible. And those holding Greek state bonds paying 6-8% interest should be told just as polite to write them off as junk bonds!

Just like a state’s bad behaviour, risk taking by dumb investors should not be rewarded.

I have always learned that if as a saver you give a risky business a loan, you get compensated for that risk by receiving a higher interest on your loan. You accept the risk that there is a small chance you might not get your money back. If risk averse, buy German state bonds.

If the EU lets the unscrupulous lenders rake in their 8% Greek loan coupons, plus guarantees to compensate them for their eventual loss if Greece defaults on their loans, than that rewards unresponsible spending, lending and borrowing by states.

Who holds those high risk bonds anyway? In all likelihood they are held by the richest 1% of this world, who can well afford to loose some of ther wealth. Not us poor average EU tax payers.

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UKIP economics and Brexit

Hashtags #ukip and #brexit  I follow religiously on twitter because I am interested in economy and exasperated with the nonsense regurgitated day in day out by eurosceptic kippers in their Closed Ideology Echo Chamber with no-one there seriously challenging them. So what are these #ukip economic mantras that do not stand up to any kind of scrutiny and defy common sense?

  • In the EU we are shackled to a moribund corpse in terminal decline
  • The percentage of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the EU is shrinking
  • Look at all these developing countries showing 6-8% annual growth, we’re missing out not trading with them
  • After #brexit we will be free to trade with the world
  • We should have never deserted our friends in the Commonwealth
  • Our trade with the EU is massively distorted by the Rotterdam-Antwerp effect
  • If only we could make our own trade deals, sit at the top of the WTO table again
  • The EU will still trade with us after brexit because we buy more from them, than they from us, we are in a position of power.

EU a basket case in terminal decline?

Before working our way through the list of above fallacies let me remind the reader that, whatever its sins, with its 500 million consumers and $17-trillion GDP, the European Union is still the world’s single largest integrated economic area, and it’s right on the UK’s doorstep, not half way around the globe! Even if since the 2008 financial crisis, EU growth has hovered just above freezing point these last few years, 0.3% growth of a $17-trillion GDP is still an awfully big number! If economic genius @RedHotSquirrel, aka ukip’s Robert Kimbell quotes, as he likes to do ad nauseam, yet another random African country with five or six percent growth, so what? Basically it means, that if EU growth remained stagnant  over the same period period, it would take Africa 50 years growing at 5% just to catch up with the EU!


We all know that growth usually happens in spurts, in economic cycles that come and go, taking the economy up and then down again. There are no indicators that the EU economies will actually seriously contract in the near future. The latest Quantitative Easing measures announced by the ECB might even get the EU’s sluggish economies moving again? It seemed to have done the trick US. In any case, 500 M. consumers in the EU will still eat, go on holidays and replace household goods. Buy things made in Britain! They are not ‘dead’ by any means of ukip’s imagination or wishful thinking!

A mathematical certainty: Global GDP cannot rise above 100%

Incorrigible Eurosceptic Daniel Hannan MEP likes to bang on about the fact that Europe’s percentage of global GDP is in long term decline. He loves to say:

“In the year we joined, western Europe accounted for 38 per cent of world GDP. Today it’s 24 per cent, and in 2020 it will be 15 per cent. Far from joining a prosperous market, we shackled ourselves to a corpse.”

Am I the only person to see the fallacy of this argument? Is this why both Hannan and Kimbell immediately blocked me on twitter, so I can’t prick through their vacuous arguments any longer?  Of course it is either terribly misleading or incredibly stupid to make such outrageous propaganda claims. With the best will in the world, all its nations’ GDP percentages always will add up to the same 100%. For most of the last century Europe and North America together have laid claim to about half of the world’s resources and squandered together 50% of its wealth as commonly expressed in terms of  global GDP. Then emerged, what we like to call the developing economies of the BRIC countries, Brazil, Russia, India and China, which are all at a similar stage of newly advanced economic development. Do you think that an intelligent Oxford educated man like Hannan does not know that it is a mathematical certainty, that as these countries take their share of global resources and output, the percentages representing the USA and EU must necessarily fall? Remember he is not some silly contestant in a TV show promising to give 110% to please, please stay in ‘Britain’s got talent’ or the X-factor. He is a devious #brexit demagogue of the worst kind, because unlike his ukip adolators, you sense he is kinda smart! He knows full well, that if you bandy about economic half truths like that, some of it will stick in the minds of UKIP and Tory Eurosceptic simpletons. The fact of the matter is: Europe can have growth in absolute terms, while declining in relative terms. That is not a bad sign, it’s a good sign of rebalancing global economies and continuing world progress. We in the West have had it our way far too long, while whole continents suffered in poverty to feed our greed.

We abandoned our friends in the Commonwealth

The next thing your typical ukip brexit activist likes to tweet on and on about is how well the old British Commonwealth is doing, and how we should have never abandoned them in favour of the EU Common Market.  This is another favorite Hannan propaganda line.

Far-flung Commonwealth nations would make a far more natural trade bloc than the EU. It never made much sense to abandon a diverse market, which comprised agricultural, industrial and service economies, in favour of a union of similar Western European states.

That is absolute bollocks Daniel. That line may have made sense for the British Empire, when you could send in the gun boats and enforce such a colonial trade policy. Didn’t you study modern history in Oxford Daniel? Forgotten the image of Gandhi spinning his own yarn? Your idea of trade is not how modern nations operate. I owe you references, but I have been taught in economics that nearby nations of a similar wealth and stage of economic development benefit most from trade. Not trade that exploits their natural resources and dumps unwanted manufactured goods on ex-colonies. We are talking about a ‘mutual beneficial trade’ with the EU, because the consumers in EU countries like the additional choice that such trade offers. An example of consumer choice is a Frenchman ‘sick’ of all the Renaults, Citroens and Peugeots in his street and instead would like to make a statement driving a sporty UK Nissan, a cool Mini or even a ‘posh’ Range Rover. This is a win-win two way kind of trade, not the pillaging of the colonies you Hannan seem to be lusting after. But I am sure that kind of neo-colonial ‘Britannia rules the waves again’ talk goes down a lot better with your ukip followers. One kipper @leslieappleyard  was so desperate to prove your point, that he found a quote for shipping a container to Auckland New Zealand that was two hundred pounds cheaper than sending the same size to Athens. He made a big thing of it on twitter:


What Leslie and most would be world traders don’t realise is that if you are running a trade deficit with most of the world’s economies, that manifests itself in a lot of empty return containers making their way back to Europe, China, or wherever.  Of course shipping lines will do special deals to ensure some of those containers contain actual goods produced in the UK. Just like RyanAir offers you heavily discounted midweek flights to the continent, rather than flying empty planes back and forth. Common sense should tell you that the closer your market, the cheaper your transport costs. But when it comes to brexit common sense is the first victim in a kipper’s mind. So Auckland must be closer than Athens, and because in Malawi they enjoyed 8% growth from nothing, with their per capita GDP of less than a thousand bucks per year, in some kipper’s eyes they are now candidates to sell all those unsold Sunderland Nissans to after brexit? Who are they fooling in their ukip bubble?

Don’t clutch at the Rotterdam-Antwerp effect my kipper friends

Whenever you tell a kipper that roughly half of the UK’s trade is with its  EU neighbours, the scripted ukip answer is that EU trade figures are just another establishment lie. They’ll have picked up from the Daily-Express or Dan Hannan, that really our trade with the ‘English speaking nations’ of this world is much bigger than official ONS figures for  trade with Europe. (Note that conveniently, in the trade definitions they use, now the Commonwealth and the USA are clubbed together for effect. Even ex-colony Hong Kong and other city states that speak a few word of English are thrown in). The debating line will be that the true size of EU trade is overblown because of so many of UK exports are shipped through the nearby ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, therefor are classed as EU exports, when in reality their end destination is elsewhere in the rest of the world. You’d think that the few kippers that can count, would find it a tad strange that even with Holland the UK cannot seem to manage a positive trade balance? I  refer of course to all those exports destined for the Commonwealth wrongly attributed to the Netherlands or Belgium and hence to the EU? The problem is that few kippers have properly read, let alone understood the Civitas report that the Express likes to misquote in its many anti-EU propaganda drives. Civitas themselves warn in their conclusions not to “overestimate the Rotterdam-Antwerp effect” and that ” the overall trade distortion of the Rotterdam-Antwerp effect is not great”. Pascal in his excellent “EU-debate” blog demolishes the trade distortion argument even further:

“I can even go further in my proof that it’s nothing to do with EU regulation.  The fact is that the same thing happens whoever we trade with. Therefore in the same way that UK-EU trade is inflated, so is UK-US trade. When we export oil to Canada and that oil stops at a US port before then going on to Canada, can you guess who we say we’ve traded with? Yep, the US.  This is particularly important as the US is our next biggest trading partner and so it is good to ensure the Eurosceptics don’t also use inflated figures when talking about how much we trade with other countries such as the US” .

Most countries of the EU have comparable wealth to the UK. Some actually a lot more! They generally make and buy the same sort of things the UK does. Often we make things together like Airbus, remember them? The great thing about our EU neighbours is, that like us, they appreciate choice in what and from whom they buy. EU industries’ value chains today are more and more interlinked. Much more so than with those in the rest of the world.  This is only possible because it is just a short stretch across the channel, with most EU export destinations in an easy one day’s drive reach for roll on roll off containers (the kind with trucks attached).

Data suggests that UK employment is very closely tied to EU partners via value-chains in a way that non-EU export jobs simply are not. This is no doubt in part driven by the simple fact that EU is so close, but it is also hard to believe that this is not driven by regulatory commonalities in the single market. These interwoven relationships along the value chain are in stark contrast to the kind of ‘ship and forget’ trade that appears more characteristic of non-EU trade”

The interwoven EU value chain rebuke can also be used to argue how many UK jobs are dependent on trade with the EU, although how many exactly is anyone’s guess.

Who can afford the luxury cars the UK manufactures so well (apart from Chinese millionaires, Russian oligarchs and a few tin pot dictators)?

The EU per capita GDP is $35,000 instead of the Commonwealth’s $3,500.  And that $3,500 average becomes a lot lower if we take the two richest Commonwealth nations Canada and Australia away from this figure. Go figure where the biggest market is for Jaguars, Bentleys, Rolls Royce?  But also for more down to earth UK Nissans, Tiptree Marmelade, Cadbury chocolate bars, McVittie’s Hobnobs. Not in some village in rural Africa! Not in the tribe lands of Pakistan. The truth is trade with the Commonwealth was in long term decline long before Britain decided to join the Common Market. There is no marked dip in the graph around  UK’s join date in 1973, just a continuation of a decline that set in shortly after WWII as the following graph clearly shows.


Out of the EU and into the world, an inconvenient reply

The next kipper argument goes that EU red tape is holding the UK back. Even if their own captain’s of industry actually say time and time that the amount of EU regulation is about right, and in any case a darned sight better than facing 28 sets of red tape and customs declarations as was the case before the Common Market created a customs union. china_exp

Germany and France face the same EU red tape as Britain yet outperform the UK when it comes to exports to China.

Lets take our place at the WTO top table again, but will we?

So what would happen after a brexit, that miraculously would set the UK free to ‘trade with the world again, according to ukip? First of all I would question the underlying assumption that the trade deals the EU makes for all of us are always skewed against the interests of the UK. We never see any proof when eurosceptics make those claims. Could the truth be far more inconvenient? Could it be that maybe, just maybe, Britain isn’t such a great trading nation in the first place? If I look at EU neighbour The Netherlands, this country earns almost 30% of its income from the export of goods and services. In 2012, the value of exports was 86.7% of the Netherlands’ GDP. The comparable figure for exports of goods and services (% of GDP) in the United Kingdom peaked at 32% in 2011, according to the World Bank. As a UK ex-pat living in France, you only have to try and get something delivered from back home, and you immediately run into a self defeating attitude, where British suppliers steadfastly refuse to deliver orders to the EU mainland, although no customs formalities are involved. The same for UK traders on eBay, they refuse to change their delivery default from ‘UK and Eire only’, as if it’s a chore to buy a few stamps for Europe along with 1st class stamps for UK customers? Yet these same small minded people will vote for UKIP and dream of Britain trading with the world after brexit? They think if they’d only take up their old membership of the World Trade Organisation(WTO) they would straight away sit right next to the EU at the top Table? Or is it more likely they would they sit in the main hall next to Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein clutching a copy of flexcit  Mr North? Remember these EEA countries follow EU rules, pay for the privilege, don’t vote for any of it.


If only the UK could make its own trade deals, sit at the top of the WTO table again?

They’d trade if brexit ( or maybe we’ll be the next Greece?)

My final scorn is reserved for @RuthLeaEcon.  Although not sure if she is a kipper or just Eurosceptic, she regularly tweets nonsense under the #brexit hashtag, while as a trained economist, she should know better.  One of her favourite clichés goes as follows: “They’d trade if #Brexit.”  Her reasoning, along with many kippers, seems to be that running a long term structural trade deficit with another country or trade block like the EU somehow makes that country beholden to you. Remember buying from abroad is easy. Getting them to return the favour is the hard bit. The UK should maybe start by making quality goods they actually want abroad, rather than thinking signing a piece of paper will do the trick as kippers suggest.


Well having studied a bit of economics myself, I find ‘They’d trade’ a bit hard to swallow. But kippers lap it up like my cat likes his morning milk. Common sense tells us that imports to a nation are like shopping to a family. Exports to a nation are like having an income to pay for the shopping bill. All families sometimes spend more than they make, but we also know that in the end it’s wise to balance our books and not go further and further into debt. At a macroeconomic level a trade deficit can in the short-term sometimes be offset by capital flows, but there is a big big caveat here long term, which every basic book on economics will tell you. And it’s not good news whatever Ruth and her kipper friends try to tell you:


A schoolbook text, why running a structural trade deficit for the UK economy is nothing for ukip to brag about, in the long run it will end in tears.


I hope I have debunked a few ukip economic half truths and fallacies. I know I will not get much of a reply here, because swiftly the kipper argument will change to the EU’s democratic deficit and hollow phrases like: “we never ware asked”, “we never got to vote on joining a political union” or “I don’t like it if 70% of our laws are made by nameless bureaucrats in Brussels”.

They will throw quotes at you from Winston Churchill, which are totally doctored. Winston Churchill was a founding father of the EU and in his famous Zurich speech in 1946 very clearly said that sovereignty needs to be pooled sometimes, for greater effect.

My ultimate answer to a kipper is that if you are that bothered where they make the rules on food labelling for a common market the UK joined after the first referendum in 1973, then maybe you have not got much of a life? Maybe you should get one?

The principle of subsidiarity is now well ensconced in the Lisbon treaty and this political union will never happen. We need to take this with a pinch of salt. None of the EU member states want this ‘ever closer union’. None of them like red tape more than the UK. But the UK has to remain and be engaged in the EU decision making process to make sure talk of it doesn’t rear its head again. We now live in a globalised world and the challenges we face are better faced together in a United Europe. Not by scarping from the sidelines, while dreaming of an empire lost a long time ago.

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Mr Bigot


Captures the mindset of #ukip beautifully

Originally posted on Paul Bernal's Blog:

MR BIGOT cover resizedMr Bigot was not a bigot. Oh no. He was a proud Englishman.

Except when he was in Scotland. In Scotland, he was a proud Briton.

He was a smart Englishman too. That morning, he rose early and dressed very carefully. A suit that was smart, but not too smart. A tie that was just loud enough. His best camel coat with the velvet collar.

He didn’t want to look like a politician. Oh no. He knew far too much for that. He wanted everyone to think that he wasn’t like ordinary politicians.

MR BIGOT close

It didn’t matter that he came from the same background as them.

It didn’t matter that he went to a Public School just like they did.

It didn’t matter that he was a millionaire just like them.

It didn’t matter that he was almost the same age as them.

It didn’t matter that he was a white…

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