I was shocked how on my favourite news app this morning the BBC could give a report by the discredited group ‘Economists for Brexit’ the following misleading headline.
‘Hard’ Brexit offers ‘£135bn annual boost’ to economy
Of course what is offered is just an opinion based on research which has been extensively debunked by peers :
“Minford uses a 1970s style trade model in which all firms in an industry everywhere in the world produce the same goods and competition is perfect. There is no product differentiation – a German-made car is identical to a Chinese-made car. Importantly, trade does not follow the gravity equation – everyone simply buys from the lowest cost producer.
As a consequence, after Brexit, the UK does not care about the tariff barriers exporters face in accessing the EU Single Market as they can sell as much as they like anywhere in the world. The fact that France is closer than Fiji essentially makes no difference in the Minford world: there is just one fictional world market into which all goods can be effortlessly sold.
If this sounds crazy, that’s because it is crazy. In reality, the UK will still continue to trade extensively with the EU as our closest geographical neighbours. It’s just that the higher trade barriers mean that we will do less of it.”
What makes academics like Minford stick so hard to their free trade dogmas and their over simplistic trade models? Some say just follow the money, but I fear it’s just personal vanity. There are precious few economists that have anything positive to say about #brexit. The inverse follows that if you can lay claim to some academic qualifications and a few TV interviews the vote leave brigade kiss the ground people like Patrick Minford and Ruth Lea walk on and the BBC is delighted to be able to fulfill that part of their mission statement, that says they’re supposed to be balanced in their reporting, by giving people like that airtime. But that doesn’t justify the page header! You might as well print lies like that on a big fat bus! Too many people just get the headline, which just confirms their prejudices.
My personal take on this is not very scientific. Just look at the guy’s face. He’s absolutely terrified he’s going to get the blame when it all starts going tits up with Brexit.
Let’s not forget that UK GDP growth, which held up remarkably well the first two quarters after the referendum is now vying for the lowest place in Europe while neighbouring Netherlands, within the much maligned protectionist EU, grew at about six times the UK rate over the same period. These are hard facts as measured by the the economists paid by our government to keep track of what really happens and not the wishful thinking of one or two ukip economists basing their projection on dodgy economic models from the seventies.
“All models simplify. But when the simplifications imply that the EU has created no new trade, despite the abundance of evidence to the contrary (e.g. Magee, 2008; HM Treasury, 2016), it is the theory that must go back to the drawing board, not the data”