Educate yourself. https://t.co/EyoU9FrELK
— Neutopia Weather Bird (@BulfordMassive) May 30, 2018
He sent me a newspaper article (link) by Sean O’Grady from the Independent Newspaper from just three days after the referendum titled
10 reasons to feel positive after Brexit
“Some poorer communities that were sacrificed for the good of the EU could become prosperous again; we probably would have been forced to join the euro eventually; and savings on the EU budget contribution are real”.
Oh yes Unicorns roaming the sunlit uplands of Brexit and pigs will fly!!!
I thought it might make a nice blog item to examine just how well these ten reasons have stood up against the test of time passed after the Vote Leave’s marginal win in the EU Referendum. The UK public at large actually did not, does not and will not want a Brexit in the foreseeable future.
Remember the fundamental facts:
Although a plural ‘facts’ is used, actually only one statement is presented:
“The only way to have lots of jobs and higher wages is to have a competitive economy.”
While in essence I have no problem with that statement, there follow a number of non-sequiturs. The tired example of Greece in EU is used to illustrate ‘uncompetitive’ and the example of not-in-EU Korea for ‘competitive’. That’s like saying a cow gives milk and a goat gives milk. You don’t have to be a cow to give milk, while ignoring that being of the Bovine Genus, you tend to make a lot more milk than being in the goat club.
Anyway, Korea is as we know a manufacturing nation like Germany, while 80% of the UK is instead involved in ‘Services’. Neither Greece nor Korea are comparable economies to UK.
Hence reason 1 quoted is a ‘red herring’ if I ever saw one.
We can build a competitive economy outside the EU.
While again this is true as an ambition, the statement, ‘We can build a competitive economy inside the EU’ is just as true. After all Germany is one of the top exporters globally and they are firmly in the EU.
Reason 2 is another complete ‘red herring’.
We live in a stable, venerable democracy.
A pompous statement at best. Is the UK democracy any more stable than let’s say the one in the Netherlands, who also have a Monarch and a first and second chamber? The model of democracy the UK has, is pretty much universal. The only thing the UK lacks that other democracies tend to have, is a written constitution. That makes it inferior rather than superior, in my honest opinion. Plus the adversarial system in Parliament combined with the antiquated ‘First past da post’ election system, often means progress is made by taking two steps back before every three steps forward at every change of government. Give me the steady consensual progress of continental coalition governments any day!
We have the pound!
Well there’s a sore a contentious point! In the weeks after the EU Referendum the pound lost 20% of its value against the Euro and the Dollar The Euro is the currency of the trading block we do most business with. This devaluation was not an example of ‘being in control’. It’s an example of being at the mercy of speculators in the market. The rule of thumb is here, that the smaller your economy, the more volatile and susceptible to manipulation your currency is. The Eurozone is about ten times the size of the UK economy and the European Central bank has ample means to protect itself against speculators. Unlike the UK, where one single speculator called George Soros, brought the currency virtually to its knees on what we now refer to as ‘black Monday’.
I would go even further to say Britain would have fared a lot better if it had decided to join the Eurozone in 1999, when it had the chance. Not only would this have benefited the United Kingdom economy, the whole Eurozone economy would have recovered faster from the 2008 financial crisis. My arguments are pretty much the same as those set out by Martin Sandbu in the Financial Times.
We can buy what we wish, where we wish
Total bollocks statement. The argument put forward is that outside the EU and its Common Agricultural Policy the UK could buy cheaper food. Statisticians from ONS have calculated that on average EU tariffs on agricultural products was roughly 11% in 2016, compared to about 4% for other products. So it is clear to see that with the 20% devaluation of Sterling, that supposed benefit of Brexit has been more than wiped out. People also forget that tariffs are levied on prices of goods as they enter the country. On wholesale prices in other words. By the time these products reach supermarket shelves, the influence of often quoted EU tariffs is much reduced if not negligible. Hence the SUN and people like Rees-Mogg had to retract similar statements as the one made here.
People also forget that there is a price to pay for taking advantage of surpluses and low cost producers from across the planet. Our own farming community would not be able to compete. They’d go bust in huge numbers in no time! Also, what is the impact on UK food security, when there are global crop failures? You cannot bring farmers back out of retirement when their tractors have been sold off to Africa. Who’d look after our countryside, when the EU set aside scheme is set aside? This is the reason why the UK farming community, while voting for Brexit initially, is now among the biggest group of converted remainers.
The savings on the EU budget contribution are real.
Remember the £350 m. promise on the red Vote Leave bus? The savings on the EU budget may well be real, but offset this against the calculated costs of Brexit, and it leaves the UK with a net loss and no extra money for the NHS. British households are today already more than £900 worse off after the vote to leave the EU, according to Mark Carney , the governor of the Bank of England. If the UK leaves the Single Market and Customs Union and reverts to trading under WTO rules, businesses will face extra customs paperwork costs of 20 billion. That’s more than twice the UK’s net contribution to the EU budget. The Return of Investment for Brexit stinks to high heaven! When you point this out to Leavers, the discussion is quickly steered to priceless sovereignty. But we remember how people like David Davis said, “There are no downsides to Brexit, only considerable upsides”
We can still have immigration.
Well yes, the UK might be able to stem the flow of workers from the EU, but what will they be replaced with. Nearly every major economy Brexit International trade secretary started exploratory trade talks with has indicated that freedom of movement will be part of the package. I can just hear the cries of joy from Tommy Robinson followers that instead of Dutch and French nurses we will have more from India and Pakistan. Instead of Catholic Polish builders from EU, we’re now ‘free’ to recruit Muslim ones from non-EU Albania. the English Defence League will be delighted!
Trade deals with other countries may be easier to win.
Well the fact that the sentence starts with ‘may’ turns it into a joke right away. Anyone that has ever been involved in trade talks keep telling us that in trade negotiations size really does matter!
UK will be at the back of the queue for a trade deal in both EU and USA. The only chance to escape that place in the queue is, if Britain pretty much dropped any pretence that it wants to get anything favourable out of those deals that they didn’t already have through the 80 odd EU trade deals they currently benefit from and Brexit throws away. Leading Leave politicians also are fond of hailing the Commonwealth as natural trading parties to turn to after Brexit. But recently it was reported, Australia and New Zealand decided to launch trade talks with the EU instead. A bitter blow for International Trade Secretary Dr. Liam Fox.
We could get some industries back.
Obviously, there’s more to an economy than fish writes the author of the original article. You’re damned right there is. In fact turns out that Fisheries contributes less than 0.5% to the UK economy, so why does this industry constantly gets pushed to the forefront of discussions and pro-brexit manifestations? It’s because it’s easy to pull at the heartstrings of simple minded gullible Leave voters by prancing about on a little fishing boat throwing a few fish in the Thames as Farage did. When you dive deeper into the matter it turns out that most of the fish we eat in the UK actually is caught off the Coast of Iceland, while what remains of our fishing fleet, their catch is mainly sold to EU customers. So it’s all a big Leave con. We also learned during our investigations that it was the UK government that decided to hand over a quarter of the UK’s fishing quota to just one Dutch factory ship. A single Dutch vessel, the Cornelis Vrolijk, accounts for almost a quarter of the entire English catch and about 6 per cent of the total UK quota. Not an EU decision, but a decision of our Conservative government to favour big business.
And, finally, remember the fundamental facts (chorus)
Remember, Brexit diehards don’t do facts. It’s a believe system for them. More like a religion. Each underlined word in this blog is a hyperlink to a learned paper or a respectable newspaper article. You can ask Leavers to supply you with links like these till the cows come home. They just don’t do facts. If you disagree and have any to shar, please feel welcome to reproduce them in the comments section below.