There is a paradox. Why, as the evidence that a no-deal exit will do serious and lasting damage to the United Kingdom has become stronger, do the advocates of Brexit increasingly assert that a “clean break” no-deal departure is the only way forward, and the only real way to deliver on the 2016 referendum result? The answer is that this is a logical consequence of the political psychology of Brexit, argues Nick Westcott (SOAS).
There are two elements to the conundrum that while the evidence of the damaging effects of a no-deal exit grows, so does the fervour of its advocates among Brexiteers.
Firstly, many of those who voted for Brexit in 2016 did not do so because they had particularly strong views on the European Union. On the contrary, though some certainly did, many of them voted against it because they knew little and cared less about it. Because it did not matter to them, they felt no loss and little risk in saying goodbye to the EU. Voting Leave was a way to register a protest against the metropolitan elite that were doing very nicely thank you out of globalisation and which spared not a thought for those who felt the prosperity and benefits passed them by, for those left behind. What they wanted was to be noticed. That meant that their voice should be heard, and the decision to leave the EU, whatever its merits, simply be implemented. The real-life consequences are irrelevant: the important thing is that they are heard and their decision to Leave is respected.
Secondly, as the time has drifted by and it has proven difficult to leave, as the evidence mounts that leaving the EU will do damage to the economy, to Britain’s security, and to the political solidity of the United Kingdom itself, Leavers have become increasingly committed to the goal of leaving because they have invested so much of themselves in it. It is now how they define themselves and their self-validation depends increasingly on achieving it. The same applies inversely to Remainers. The fact that Leavers are increasingly willing to pay any price, bear any political cost, is a logical consequence of the reason they voted to Leave. As we have seen from recent opinion polls, a majority of Tory Party members are willing to contemplate lower-income, job losses and the break-up of the United Kingdom in order to achieve their objective. They are now so invested in the objective of leaving as their fundamental political belief that nothing will satisfy them but a dramatic and complete rupture with the existing order.
This may not appear “rational” in traditional political or economic terms. But it is powerfully rational in terms of the political psychology of Brexit. An extreme historical case of this kind of psychology was recently documented by Florian Huber in his book Promise me you’ll shoot yourself (Allen Lane, 2019). The increasingly desperate faith of some Germans in the Nazi project, even as it was obviously failing disastrously and ruining their country, drove unprecedented numbers to suicide. We are far from that. But the psychology is the same. Brexit is already proving a failure before it has even officially begun.
I have said before that Brexit is like a political Ponzi scheme. It was a political movement that promised impossible returns: a swift, painless, problem-free departure from the EU. The fact that it is now obvious this is not the case does not lead them to change their mind, but to double down on the concept. When you have all your capital (political as much as financial) invested in a Ponzi scheme, you cannot accept that it is fraudulent, as then you lose everything. You have to persuade, or force, others to believe it is still a valid investment, in order to preserve your capital. You cannot take it out, so you want others to carry on paying in.
Some Brexiteers still believe a no-deal exit will deliver the fantasy Brexit they were promised: “with one bound, they were free…” Even for those who don’t, rather than change their view on Brexit, they adjust their expectations: “we’ve dealt with worse problems than this in the past. Things will be tough for a while, but we’ll be free to make our own decisions, and British grit and ingenuity will see us through.” Or words to that effect. The trouble is no Ponzi scheme can last. They will always go bust. The question is what will it bring down with it?
That depends how big it has been allowed to become. Boris Johnson has been relentlessly pumping it up, allowing the scheme to get bigger and bigger, keeping the fantasy not only alive, but bigger and more ambitious than ever, as he is convinced (with reason) this is the way to the heart of Tory Party members.
But the Prime Minister-select is fooling himself and his selectorate if he believes he can negotiate a better deal for departure than his predecessor that might find a majority in the Commons, when he has promised that in the absence of a deal he will leave with no deal on 31 October. He must know that there are sufficient die-hards in the Conservative Party who want a no-deal exit to scupper any re-negotiated deal that is anything less than a complete surrender by the EU, or a de facto no-deal exit. So he has effectively committed himself to the latter. Theresa May thought she could force them into supporting her deal, and failed. Johnson has no more chance of success.
The problem for the UK is that its government now faces a stark choice: to go ahead with a no-deal Brexit, which will (1) undermine our Parliamentary democracy; (2) undermine the integrity of the Union and the Northern Irish peace process; (3) have disastrous consequences for the economy, gravely exacerbating the political problems; and (4) leave a large and very angry part of the population who did not want a no-deal exit, even if it can be wangled through, or around, Parliament.
Or to suspend the Article 50 letter and put off Brexit indefinitely. There are no other options. The latter will also create a political crisis with accusations from factions in Parliament, echoed by large parts of the media, that Parliament has “betrayed the people” in failing to deliver Brexit, that it is untrustworthy and should be subordinated to an authority that will respect the will of the people as revealed in the referendum result. Like all good populists, Johnson will then seek someone else to blame. It may be Parliament (a ploy Theresa May ill-advisedly tried); it may be the “metropolitan elite” that spawned him, but which he will think nothing of betraying; it may even be the EU itself, or the Irish, or the French? Anyone will do, as long as it is not him and the Brexiteers themselves.
How did we get here?
This is the direct consequence of Theresa May. She clearly had no comprehension of the revolution that David Cameron’s ill-fated decision to call a referendum had precipitated, or of the political dynamic now underlying Brexit, either in her own party or in the country. So she naively spelt out a series of hard Brexit red lines and rushed into Article 50 without any attempt to think through the consequences. Her mantra, repeated over and over again even after it was obvious that it was patently untrue, that no deal was better than a bad deal and that the UK would leave come what may on 29 March, was a gift to the hard Brexiteers who were seeking a no-deal Brexit. Rather than defining success differently, she played entirely into their hands and gave them all the ideological justification they could need to reject any deal she came back with, all with the intention, it seems, of keeping a hopelessly divided Tory Party together.
Some might wonder why we have heard so little from Nigel Farage lately. This is rare. But it is entirely understandable, and wholly calculated. He needs to say nothing at all, as everything is going his way. Whichever path is chosen by the government, it will weaken the legitimacy of Parliament and leave a large group of very disgruntled people, who will be fodder for a populist revolution. No-one should have any illusions that Farage wants to become Prime Minister through a democratic election. He seeks power by any and whatever means. To establish the sanctity of referendums over Parliament, combined with a widespread feeling of betrayal and a fanatical, almost Leninist, group of Brexiteers in Parliament, is a perfect outcome for him. If we are not careful, the English state will fall into his lap through the successive political incompetence of Cameron, May and Johnson.
The irony in all this is that, far from saving the Tories from Farage’s Brexit Party, Boris Johnson will deliver it into his hands. And we will all pay the price.
This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Brexit blog, nor the LSE. Image copyright Derek Bennett and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Dr Nicholas Westcott is Research Associate, Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS.
More negativity, no good reasons to remain in the EU rather just a fear of leaving. For the first time in over 3 years there was positivity being spoken by a British politician, Boris gives us a chance of moving forward rather than wallowing in a mire of negativity and fear. You, sir, would be well served by listening to Johnny Mercer ‘accentuate the positive’ might even bring you out of your misery!
Barry, I look forward to you and the other Brexiters owning this mess.
You got what you wanted, Boris Johnson, no faux leaver, but the real thing.
No complaints now from you, it’s all yours.
“Barry Morgan: More negativity, no good reasons to remain in the EU rather just a fear of leaving. “
All you offer here is unsupported assertion; you haven’t stated any positive reason for leaving the E.U. There was no crisis in our relations with the E.U. prior to the 2016 referendum. You have the burden of proof to show that leaving would be advantageous.
“For the first time in over 3 years there was positivity being spoken by a British politician, “
What you call “positivity” I would call vacuous rhetoric. Please state the precise argument iof Johnson which demonstrates that leaving the E.U. will benefit the UK.
“Boris gives us a chance of moving forward rather than wallowing in a mire of negativity and fear. “
More empty unsupported assertion carrying zero weight as an argument.
This Jonny Mercer?
“And please don’t give me this rubbish about being a true patriot and ‘believing in Britain’, just because you want to leave the EU. Am I not because I don’t? I’m proud of our country. We have huge challenges, but the truth is stronger than the rhetoric.”
Conservative Home June 2016.
I have a story about Thanet. Thanet voted for a UKIP council becauseUKIP backed the return of the airport at Manston. For to long this part of the counry has been used by London councils to dump people from the council estated they want to sell off to Developers.This has been going on fer years without any regard to the fact that there is little water here and no interesting work. As soon as it was clear that UKIP had no real interest in the airport the councillors left and so now the council is no longer UKIP..Thanet did not return a UKIP MP either. The 4 yer struggle for the airport has paid off The airport has been bought by an American company who will restore it to aviation..
The media have loved to report about backward racist attitudes in Thanet. Here we have no immigration concerns and rather like people from Europe.who come to work here..
I was meaning to add that there are people from Poland and elsewhere in the EU living in Thanet who have voted to leave the EU because they see a centralised state of Europe as a scary thing . They do not want a European army either.The reasons why people voted the way they have done are not usually as simple as the way many of the academics like to naunce their blogs. I have been very annoyed by such bliknered bigotry in these writings.
No one from the EU was allowed to vote in the EU referendum, so whilst you may have spoken to a couple that hold that opinion – there is not any possibility that they could have expressed their opinion at the ballot box.
Hal. This is not true.A friend from Croatia did vote to leave the EU. He has been here for 5 years and has built up a business. What you learn from speaking to people from different backgrounds is that they dislike the centralisation of Europe.The EU must reform otherwise it will collapse, hence their fear of Brexit.
The referendum was not open to citizens from the EU27. Your Croatian friend could not have legally voted in it.
If they did vote in the referendum, it would be because they’d taken British citizenship.
As to an EU army, that would only happen if all member states agreed. As a member, it’s something we could veto if we wished.
But what I find overwhelmingly depressing is that some think we are still powerful and special compared to most countries. We aren’t. That might have been the case in the 19th century, but we are a long way from there in the 21stC. A better comparison might be pre-Norman times. It was the forging of alliances that helped us to become a strong nation: dumping alliances with equals and reaching out to powerful superstates is the time when we’ll find out what it is like to be a vassal.
‘as the evidence mounts that leaving the EU will do damage to the economy’
based on a succession of papers that rely on each other for their assumptions about the scale of non-tariff barriers. And these often based on EU-US barriers, which is basically irrelevant to the UK-EU27 situation, with complete regulatory alignment on Day 1. And divergence creates a barrier to the UK market, not to the EU27 market, since our exporters are currently designing to meet EU technical regulations.
sorry, ‘which *are* basically…’ would read better I think.
“Andrew Chalman: ‘as the evidence mounts that leaving the EU will do damage to the economy’
based on a succession of papers that rely on each other for their assumptions about the scale of non-tariff barriers. “
An unsupported assertion. Please present your evidence showing that papers from this country and other countries all “rely on each other” for their assumptions about the scale of non-tariff barriers.
More importantly, it is absurd to suggest that potential damage to the UK economy is simply based on the issue of non-tariff barriers important as they are. What about tariffs, consequences for GDP etc.?
If this political psychology, then that is clearly a dead end.
-Farage dropped out of politics, reentering when it as clear Brexit was unlikely to happen unless someone acted. Enough with the conspiracies!
– The piece treats voters like children who ‘wanted to be noticed’ with Brexit just a tantrum presumably. The notion that voters voted out of democratic conviction, that, yes, they really did want greater control over the people who shape their lives through leaving a technocratic organisation should not be so hard to grasp.
-The reference to the Nazi Project by way of comparison is utterly ridiculous and insulting. But then Leavers have had to endure 3 years of daft association with ‘far right’, ‘fascist’ etc so it is no surprise.
-‘Leninist Brexiteers’ in the BP! The BP won the recent EU elections – without them millions would have felt disenfranschised, Or perhaps the author would prefer UKIP to have the Brexit / democratic mantle, or for pro-Brexit voters to stay at home and let academics decide? In fact the BP are politically diverse, but united over the desire to leave the EU.
-The democratic crisis is not caused by Brexit, but by the refusal and inability of the establishment to honour a democratic vote.
Funily enough,I strongly feel a totalitarian aspect to the way the EU is trying to dominate Europe. Poorer EU countries like Greece have been badly hit by the push for a centralised Europe run by a few hard line political idealists who do not have care to the fallout.People like Janis Varoufakis feel that the EU must be forced to reform, but i doubt that the EU will change.
The EU is trying to dominate Europe? Totalitarian? The EU is composed of 28 countries of Europe all willing paid up members of the club! The EU is directed by the European Council that has the 28 elected leaders of each member state. Get real!
Strange how countries like Greece, etc., clamoured to become members if the EU were truly acting in a totalitarian way. Spain (and Greece) had to struggle to become accepted precisely because of their totalitarian pasts. The EU is trying to dominate Europe – It’s a club. Nations choose, or not, to become members. Greece’s problems were of its own making: it’s economy struggled. It wanted the EU to bail it out, which the EU did with conditions designed to protect the interests of the other members of the club. That is a somewhat simplistic summary of what happened, but it’s nonetheless the case.
There does seem to be a recognition of the need to reform some aspects of the EU, but one thing is for sure: Unless we are members, we’ll have zero influence on those reforms. And the unchanging, unvarying reality is that our nearest neighbours are all members of the club we are now running away from.
Oh sure, membership in the EU is voluntary now. Wait fifty years. Or have you forgotten your U.S. history? The 13 original colonies voluntarily joined into the union of States. Seventy years later attempts to succeed were met with military force.
From the outside looking in, I thought the EU was a good idea, with freedom of movement, and freedom of commerce tops on the list. I’m all for more freedom for people. The EU should not be a strong central government. You know the saying, “Buy local, eat local, go local”. Well how about govern local?
I thnk the article makes a number of good points, but as briefly mentioned “The same applies inversely to Remainers”, while it is true that Leavers are in many ways behaving irrationally, so are Remainers. Many of the arguments which were made for Remain in 2016 cannot be made today. The “Remain and Reform” boat has sailed. (The momentum in the EU27 is for more integration, not less.) David Cameron’s deal is dead. If the UK were to revoke Article 50 on the basis of (say) a narrow majority in a second referendum, this would have major repercussions in the UK (up to and including Prime Minister Farage), but ALSO not go down so well with the EU27, who would have every reason to be narked off by the chaos caused by the Brexit process and who would not be nearly as willing as before to work with a truculent UK within the EU.
Yet at the same time, the enthusiasm for Remain among Remainers has just kept on growing. I think if Remainers had been as enthusiastic for Remain before the referendum as they were after it, Remain might well have won. Remember, back then about the only enthusiastic Remainers with a high public profile were George Osborne (not exactly a man of the people), and Sadiq Khan and Ruth Davidson (who spent most of the crucial period of the campaign fighting regional elections and only came online for Remain a few weeks before the vote). Since then, large sections of the population have discovered an enthusiasm for the EU which they never had before.
I will make a quick empirical prediction that the EU flag is far more visible in the UK now than it was in June 2016.
Wouldn’t it be nice if A. people did all they could to support the side they wanted to win before a referendum and B. accepted the result afterwards?
Yes it’s complicated and there are many points of view but it was a referendum won on a very narrow margin and it’s validity as representing the considered view of the country has rightly been challenged. If leavers are so sure of thei rightness of their position, why do they continue to object to a people’s vote based on a deal that has been negotiated and remaining part of the union. Voting for no deal is a misrepresentation of the positions taken in the first referendum. This approach was of course advocated by Reed Mogg before he got the result he got and was the subject of a petition started by Farage expecting that he would lose by a small margin.
‘If leavers are so sure of the rightness of their position, why do they continue to object to a people’s vote based on a deal that has been negotiated and remaining part of the union. Voting for no deal is a misrepresentation of the positions taken in the first referendum.’
So any second referendum should clarify that by including ‘No Deal’ as one of the options.
The problem with a second referendum is this. Had the result been marginal the other way and opinion subsequently changed, then there is absolutely no chance that there would have been a second referendum. What you are advocating is asymmetric democracy but doesn’t exist. It is an oxymoron.
The evidential premise of this polemic is flawed. As the EU and the UK build up preparations for a WTO Brexit, then the risks of disruptions decrease.
Read Briefings for Brexit for a more informed understanding of a WTO Brexit. All this article proves is that 98% of acedemics voted remain.
“…All this article proves is that 98% of academics voted remain..” Hmm. How so?
If “the evidential premise of this polemic is flawed…” then you should explain how.
“”Stephen Gwynne : As the EU and the UK build up preparations for a WTO Brexit, then the risks of disruptions decrease.”
A glaring non sequitur. The fact that preparations are being “built up” does not demonstrate that the risk of disruption is decreasing, nor that this can be predicted. If a householder builds up flood defences to protect his house, it neither follows that the the risk to his house is decreasing, nor that he can be confident that it is decreasing. His preparations may simply be inadequate. In the case of Brexit nobody knows with any degree of certainty the extent of the the likely negative effects.
As soon as I saw “Why, as the evidence that a no-deal exit will do serious and lasting damage to the United Kingdom has become stronger, do the advocates of Brexit increasingly assert that…”, I lost interest.
There is no evidence, there is supposition, opinion and perhaps even models of the consequences.
There cannot possibly be evidence though.
No version of Project Fear had been correct.
There is a third option not suggested in the article. This is a confirmatory vote/People’s Vote on the outcome before proceeding. This could restore democratic legitimacy to remaining in the EU. Or, indeed, increase the legitimacy of leaving.
Re other comments: people from the EU could vote in the referendum if they had taken out British citizenship.
A Confirmatory vote and a People’s Vote are two different things.
A People’s vote is one where there is a genuine attempt to find out what people want by offering a wide selection of possibilities (including ‘No Deal’ and ‘Joining the Euro and Shengen’).
A Confirmatory vote is one where Remainers would like us to choose between remaining and ‘Brexit in name only’.
Only a People’s vote has the potential to restore democratic legitimacy.
“Only a People’s vote has the potential to restore democratic legitimacy.” That wouldn’t be enough! The problem is that the UK right now is faced with 3 alternatives (No Deal, Withdrawal Agreement, Revoke) and there is no majority for any of these, among MPs or among voters at large. If you could arrange the three options on a line from left to right, you could choose the middle option as a compromise, but you can’t, because the WA is now so unpopular that for many No Dealers and Brexiteers it is the worst of the three alternatives. A “people’s vote” must start by either a. undemocratically eliminating one of the alternatives or b. undemocratically choosing a voting scheme for selecting one of the three alternatives, and we can be sure that whichever of undemocratic decisions are taken, they will be criticised by the people who end up losing. (We’ve had a foretaste of this with the large number of Remainers who have criticised the 2016 referendum, and that was only a binary decision whose initial parameters were accepted by almost everyone). In short I see no way of doing a “People’s Vote” which would result in any kind of “loser’s consent”.
To look on the bright side for once, I think the current UK strategy of putting the Vote Leave campaign in charge of running the country is about the only remaining way of getting democratic legitimacy. We should know soon whether Remainers are right and the country collapses in November, or the Leavers are right and the EU buckles under and grants a free trade deal. Then Parliament and the voters should find it easier to decide whether to rejoin the EU or stay out.
‘The evidence that a no-deal exit will do serious and lasting damage to the United Kingdom has become stronger.’
The evidence has not become stronger. Remainers have just become more hysterical and turned up the volume over time.
Many people are genuinely confused by the information that they have been presented with.
‘HM Treasury analysis: the immediate economic impact of leaving the EU’ told us that if we voted Leave unemployment would increase within 2 years by between 500,000 and 800,000. In practice, we now have record employment. The initial explanation was that they hadn’t anticipated that Article 50 would be delayed by 6 months. There is no evidence that the Treasury would have predicted record employment had they known of the delay in advance and in retrospect there is no evidence that employment levels would have been different had Article 50 been implemented immediately.
Economists need to give a credible explanation as to why their previous predictions were so wrong and they need to explain how they have adjusted their models in light of this. Until they do, then their current forecasts do not constitute ‘evidence’.
Let us remind ourselves that 15 to 20 years ago many companies told us that unless we joined the Euro they would close down factories and there would be lasting damage to the UK economy. They were wrong then. Why should we believe them this time?
There are three points that this article ignores.
Firstly, had the vote gone marginally the other way then there is no chance that the referendum result would be overturned whatever happened.
Secondly, Tony Blair, John Major and Nick Clegg toured EU capitals advising foreign governments to stand firm against the policy of our elected Government, and that this would cause the policy to be reversed. They and others briefed Brussels against the UK’s negotiating strategy. Now they are in effect saying ‘look we have successfully undermined your negotiations, so now you must do what we want’.
Thirdly, short term forecasts of a year long recession, a massive increase in unemployment and sky high interest rates (as predicted by the IMF) have not been borne out and necessarily invite scepticism for current long term forecasts. Gove’s assertion that you can’t trust the experts seems truer today than it did three years ago. Decreasing immigration from the EU has coincided in 2018 with the lowest paid occupations enjoying the highest earnings growth (according to the ONS), but the experts told us that immigration has no effect on the low paid.
There are three points that this article ignores.
Firstly, had the vote gone marginally the other way then there is no chance that the referendum result would be overturned whatever happened.”
This is mere unsupported assertion: a counterfactual which you cannot possibly know would occur.
“Secondly, Tony Blair, John Major and Nick Clegg toured EU capitals advising foreign governments to stand firm against the policy of our elected Government, and that this would cause the policy to be reversed. They and others briefed Brussels against the UK’s negotiating strategy. Now they are in effect saying ‘look we have successfully undermined your negotiations, so now you must do what we want’.”
Fantasy. The E.U. has its own advisors and whilst it would certainly have listened to Blair et al, there is no evidence that these politicians played a significant role in the formulation of the EU’s policy. Nor have they claimed to have “undermined the negotiations- this, I suggest, is a bogus invented claim. If you disagree, please present your evidence.
“Thirdly, short term forecasts of a year long recession, a massive increase in unemployment and sky high interest rates (as predicted by the IMF) have not been borne out and necessarily invite scepticism for current long term forecasts.”
“Some short-term economic forecasts about Brexit were inaccurate” :.
“”Probably, long-term forecasts about Brexit are unreliable.”
This, as an inductive argument, is incredibly weak. We can safely dismiss all three of your points here.
@J.Humphreys “This is mere unsupported assertion: a counterfactual which you cannot possibly know would occur.”. OK, so tell us a story. It is the 24th June 2016, Remain has just won by 52% to 48%, David Cameron is jubilant, sitting in Downing Street and reading his congratulatory telegram from Donald Tusk. All the Remainers (which must mean at least 2/3 of MPs) are pontificating about how the People Have Spoken and how the result must be respected. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, having conceded defeat, know that they have no chance of being allowed near a Cameron cabinet or of leading the party unless they also commit to respecting the referendum result. Jeremy Corbyn jumps off the fence and comes out as a true European. (He is not popular with the parliamentary party and doesn’t have much choice) Nigel Farage does of course complain about the conduct of the referendum, but almost no-one in Parliament joins him in calling for a re-run and most of the electorate feel they’ve had enough of referenda for the time being. How do you get from that position to the referendum being overturned?
The article purports to deal with the psychology of Leavers. So I was pointing out some perceptions which Leavers have which the article overlooked. If you wish Leavers to change their opinions then it is for you to present contrary evidence to the points I made, not vice versa. In any case, the points I made are better supported than some of the assertions in the article such as “Leave was a way to register a protest against the metropolitan elite”.
Every person received a pamphlet through their door, which stated “The EU referendum is a once in a generation decision”. Leavers believe that had the result gone the other way that would have been the case. They believe that a second referendum would be a case of asymmetric democracy and that asymmetric democracy is no democracy at all.
When the Leave side made the case for Leaving they justifiably assumed that if they won then the country would pull together to try and obtain the best terms for the UK. They had every right to assume that former Prime Ministers would at worst keep quiet or at best tour EU capitals making the case for the UK. The Leave side could not have anticipated that there would be a concerted campaign by the Remain side to undermine negotiations. We will never know whether the EU would have shown more flexibility in negotiations had the country pulled together. We never had the chance to find out. Leavers bitterly resent this and it is part of their psychological rationale. In effect they see the Remainers message as ‘we have successfully undermined your negotiations, so now you must do what we want’.
“Some short-term economic forecasts about Brexit were inaccurate. Probably, long-term forecasts about Brexit are unreliable. …. This, as an inductive argument, is incredibly weak.”
Your alternative is weaker still. Namely that some short-term economic forecasts about Brexit were inaccurate but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the long term forecasts might not be correct this time.
Actually some short-term economic forecasts about Brexit were inaccurate, but one of them, the employment forecast, was way, way off the scale wrong. It is on the same scale as Michael Fish predicting that there would be no hurricane. The ‘Michael Fish’ incident was so bad that the Meteorological Office stripped down its models and started again. The Treasury have done no such thing. Indeed they haven’t even offered a plausible explanation of why their employment forecast was such a disaster.
I am sceptical of the long term forecasts because the forecasters have not followed scientific method. They have not given a credible explanation of why their short term forecasts were so wrong. They have not shown that they have corrected their models so that retrospectively they can give the correct short term forecasts.
A central plank of the Remain campaign was the report ‘HM Treasury analysis: the immediate economic impact of leaving the EU’. The document claimed to give ‘a comprehensive, rigorous and objective analysis of the immediate impact of a vote to leave’ in order to allow the public to make an informed vote. The document gave two estimates of the effect of a leave vote on employment. We now know that the actual employment figures are in fact profoundly better than those predicted, yet the report itself only said that the actual outcome could be similar to or even worse than the predicted values. Nowhere did it say that it could be better, let alone significantly better. It is clear that, like the Iraq report before it, the report was ‘sexed up’. Leavers have every right to assume that the current forecasts are ‘equally sexed’ until and unless the forecasters are seen to take proper ownership of their recent failures.
If nothing shifts, I keep thinking Boris will get out Theresa’s deal at the last minute & tell MP’s “this deal or no deal – and it will be your fault if it’s no deal”.
How likely is this? Opinions please? (bearing in mind nothing anyone has said in the past matters, since they’re all hypocrites, just listen to Leadsom chance her time this morning?)
@Aeva: It seems to me highly unlikely, because divisions are so deep. Boris Johnson would lose the DUP, most of the ERG and all those former Conservative voters and activists who will run off to the Brexit Party. I don’t see voters coming back to him in any such numbers from Labour or the Liberal Democrats because those parties, even if they grudgingly vote for the withdrawal agreement, will still blame him for talking the UK six inches from the edge of the cliff.
I think there’s more of a chance that the Irish government will budge at the last minute and persuade the rest of the EU27 that it would be better to accept some kind of compromise. But I don’t want to make any prediction, because I’ve no idea what kind of discussions are going on in Dublin.
The true Ponzi scheme in question is EU membership – through which many dysfunctional economic traits in the UK are maintained.
One Illustrative example of this is London house prices – supported by the fact that Eastern Europeans are willing to live in cramped conditions, cramming many people into a poky London flat, in order to be able to survive and even save money on the UK minimum wage.
Take these workers away, and London’s own Ponzi scheme will collapse.
I’m afraid this article is just another example of a Remainer projecting on his opponents the views he holds of them, in order to justify his contempt.
These are many reasons I wish to leave the EU. Some are long standing – the impossibility of population control whilst being a member, the fact that the Eurozone cannot continue without the EU transitioning towards a federal Europe. Others have emerged post Brexit – chief among these is the realisation that a huge number of my fellow countrymen see their loyalties as EU first, Britain second.
I find this abhorrent – to the extent that any adverse economic effects from a no-deal Brexit pale into insignificance in comparison. Please cease to patronise me by thinking you understand my motives. You don’t
At its most basic cognitive dissonance boils down to the evidence provided by neuroscience. Deliberately planting ideas into peoples’ minds sets off their limbic systems. The limbic system in its broadest terms are the emotional centres of our brain. The people behind Brexit (Arron Banks & Co.) literally set off a blue touch-paper. That is, the neural circuits associated with fright, fight or flight took precedence over the higher brain centres, situated in the frontal cortex, where analytical processing takes place. The limbic system is so powerful that even when presented with a logical and factual case against something like Brexit, the individual not only becomes entrenched with the ‘wrong’ thinking, they actually go through further stages of re-entrenchment. We like to think that we have free will but we’re all clockwork toys really!
Well dear, they are only doing here what they have been doing in the Colonies these past few centuries and I really fear, possibly that’s all they know ?
It’s actually quite simple. The article’s focus on the psychology is spot on. Leavers are now hell bent on leaving, whatever the consequences. They will have to live with their decision for a generation or more. Many are troubled by this, as we now know the consequences of a No Deal Brexit. On the question of a Second Referendum, the position between re-running a Leave Vote and a Remain Vote is not symmetrical. One represented the status quo, the other did not. As a Remainer, I and many others have no problem with the WA agreement the Government negotiated. But we know the reasons why the ERG voted against. The net result is that we are now closer to not leaving than we ever have been. And based on the EU27 (amazingly unified throughout), we know the Government stands no chance of a revised WA (unless just possibly an Ireland only backstop is agreed). No Deal is illegal and an extension will only come with a requirement for a Second Referendum. The Goverment will be forced by the Courts to request an extension and will likely face the requirement for a Second Referendum. Leavers know what that will mean.