John Van Reenen was disappointed but not surprised by the UK’s vote to Leave the EU. Whilst his own research predicts serious economic and political damage in the case of Brexit, he thought a Leave vote was a real possibility ever since David Cameron committed to a vote in 2013. In his last post as Director of LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance, he gives his verdict on the campaigns, the media, politicians, and being a derided expert.
There are multiple reasons for the Brexit vote, but by far the most important one can be summarised in a single word: immigration. In the last few weeks before the vote, the Leave campaign was ruthless in focusing on our fears of foreigners. Sadly, with the exception of London, this has been shown time and time again to be a great vote winner all over the world.
The British people have suffered tremendously since the financial crisis. The real wages of the average person fell by about 10 per cent between 2007 and 2015. This is not about inequality – poor, middle and rich have all lost out. It has been the longest sustained fall in average pay since the Great Depression and it has made people very angry with the establishment – and rightly so. As LSE’s Professor Stephen Machin, the new Director of the Centre for Economic Performance has shown, the areas with the biggest falls in average wages were the places most likely to vote for Brexit.
These wage falls and poor job prospects have nothing to do with immigration and everything to do with the financial crisis and slow recovery. But because immigration tripled since 2004, lots of people know of a friend or family member going for a job and a European migrant getting it. So it is easy to point a finger at foreigners as the cause of labour market problems. This is the ‘lump of labour fallacy’ in action – the false idea that there is only a fixed number of jobs to go around.
We have also been living through a period of sustained austerity with public services under severe pressure. People often find it hard to get a place in a good school for their kids or a doctor’s appointment. Since immigrants are also using public services, it is tempting to blame them for being ahead in the queue. Again, this is completely wrong as immigrants pay more in taxes than they take out in welfare, so they are on net subsidising public services for the UK-born. The fact that the government has chosen to use the fiscal benefits from immigration to pay down the budget deficit is hardly the fault of immigrants. But it is difficult for people to see this benefit. What is visible is competition for constrained public services, just like competition for jobs.
The stigmatisation of foreigners as a cause of our economic problems plays to deeply-based cultural fears. This is not simply bigotry, although some of it is. The anti-immigrant feeling would be there even if wages hadn’t fallen and public spending hadn’t been suffering years of austerity. But these real pressures helped lend credibility to the complaints. After all, what else is immigration but globalisation made flesh?
Most of the British press has been unrelentingly Eurosceptic and anti-immigrant for decades. This built to a crescendo during the Brexit campaign with the most popular dailies like the Sun, Mail and Express little more than the propaganda arm of the Leave campaign.
The main alternative source of information for ordinary people was the BBC, which was particularly awful throughout the referendum debate. It supinely reported the breath-taking lies of the Leave campaign in particularly over the ‘£350 million a week EU budget contribution’. Rather than confront Leave campaigners and call the claim untruthful, BBC broadcasters would say things like ‘now this is a contested figure, but let’s move on’. This created the impression that there was just some disagreement between the sides, whereas it was clearly a lie. It’s like saying ‘One side says that world is flat, but this is contested by Remain who say it is round. We’ll let you decide.’ The public broadcaster failed a basic duty of care to the British people. There was a need to tell people the truth for probably the most important vote any of us will have in our lifetimes. And the BBC failed.
The BBC also failed to reflect the consensus view of the economics profession on the harm of Brexit. A huge survey of British economists showed that for every one respondent who thought there would be economic benefits from Brexit over the next five years, there were 22 who thought we would be worse off. Yet time and again, there would always be some maverick Leave economist given equal airtime to anyone articulating the standard arguments.
The Economics profession
There is much hand-wringing by economists over the role of the profession in the Brexit debate. It would certainly be a great thing if more academic economists were involved in talking to the public. Basic fallacies like thinking there is a fixed number of jobs, so immigration (and population growth for that matter) must be bad for unemployment are rampant. So more public engagement would certainly help. More support must be given to colleagues who help spread the economic news as there is a clear cost in time spent on public engagement versus time spent on other academic activities – research, teaching and admin.
Improving economic literacy cannot be solely accomplished by academics. This is an issue of basic skills that needs to be tackled in schools. As importantly, it needs to be addressed in the media where most journalists also seem painfully ignorant of basic economics.
But in the Brexit campaign, I doubt more effort by economists would have made any difference to the result. The economic consensus was clear. I directed the Centre for Economic Performance and no one could have tried any harder than we did to get the message out. This included being on TV and radio, blogging, travelling all over the country to give talks from Sunderland to Shropshire and even being livestreamed on Facebook with Grime Rapper, Big Narstie.
The problem was the press generally attacked or ignored us and the broadcasters gave equal weight to the small band of pro-Brexit economists. And of course, even when the message was presented clearly, many people would not listen or believe it. The usual clichés about not predicting the financial crisis were dutifully rolled out. As if the medical profession’s failure to predict the AIDS epidemic means that you should ignore your doctor’s advice to give up smoking. No, we cannot predict the date you will die of lung cancer, but if you smoke we can be pretty sure your health will suffer.
It should not be surprising that economics did not carry more weight in the vote. Academic economists receive relatively little attention in the media and have never been held in particularly high regard. And when the media does give space, it rarely uses academics preferring to rely on City economists and think-tankers, despite the fact that polls suggest that academics are more trusted than all other groups except friends and family.
The basis for increasing populism all around the world is economic insecurity caused primarily by the worst recession and recovery since the war. But some blame must also be apportioned to the UK’s current crop of politicians, who are surely the worst in living memory. David Cameron called an unnecessary referendum in order to steal some votes back from the far right. It was obviously going to become a vote on general grievances to kick the establishment, rather than about EU membership.
The weakness of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has precipitated a civil war that seems likely to end in his party’s disintegration.
The depths to which Leave politicians and their cronies stooped during the campaign deserve a special mention though for helping to destroy any semblance of rational discussion. Lies over the £350 million a week sent to the EU and the UK’s veto over Turkey becoming an EU member were repeated ad nauseum. I never thought I would experience such an Orwellian nightmare in my country. These lies, which were not robustly challenged in the media, cannot be punished in another general election and indeed, they have been rewarded by plum positions in the new government. And it worked: people ended up believing them.
For me, the nadir came a few days before the vote when one of Leave’s leaders, Michael Gove the Justice Secretary, compared me and my colleagues to paid Nazi scientists persecuting Einstein. This was apparently in response to a statement we signed (including 12 Nobel laureates) warning of the economic damage from Brexit. At least one of these derided experts had grandparents murdered in the concentration camps, so one can imagine how Gove’s statement – supported by Boris Johnson – made them feel.
Although this is a particularly nauseating episode, it simply capped off a frankly disgusting campaign, one where the Leave side simply impugned the motives of ‘the experts’ rather than seriously engaging with the substance of the economic debate.
The coming flood?
There are many other notable features of the Brexit vote – including the fact that Remain had a voting majority for those under 50 years of age and also in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is shocking that a constitutional rupture can be made based on 37 per cent of the eligible voters. We take decades debating and prevaricating on major infrastructure projects like Heathrow and Hinkley Point, yet are prepared to gamble with something even more important for our futures on a simple one-off in-out referendum.
The referendum was won on a drumbeat of anti-foreigner sentiment. It’s the same tune being played by demagogues in every corner of the globe. It’s the same tune that was played in the 1930s. It’s the same old beat that rises in volume when people are afraid. In the UK, it’s echoed by a rabidly right-wing press and unchallenged by a flaccid establishment media. Mixed by a band of unscrupulous liars and political zealots, it has become a tsunami of bile that has downed and drowned a once great nation. The only question is which other countries will now be swept along in this poisonous flood.
John Van Reenen has been the Director of the Centre of Economic Performance and a Professor of Economics at LSE since 2003. He is moving this month to be a tenured Professor at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) jointly in the Department of Economics and the Sloan School of Management. His most recent publications are a book on the long-term economic effects of Brexit, on innovation and climate change and on productivity and trade.
Anthony, why not Spain? One of my neighbours moved to Malaga few months ago despite brexit. The temperature there today was 25C.
Sound analysis on the vote in England but many of your reasons do not explain why people in Scotland voted 62% to remain and with a majority in every Scottish local authority. One of the reasons is a better educated population – politically. The independence referendum engaged people with the issues and they were subjected to fear stories for 2 years.. Project fear mark 2 did not have the impact it had in England where the vote was low grade allowing Brexit supporters to get away with things Scots simply did not buy.
Scotland and EU/Single Market membership remains a very live issue here not withstanding the decision of the Supreme Court. The judgement on consulting the devolved nations relied on much historic constitutional baggage that does not have the relevance of the time Professor Dicey was around. But water under the bridge.
The difference between Scottish and “the rest” is a real worry.
My personal opinion agrees – after their own look over the abyss, they were not going to be sold the “pig in a poke” offered by Brexit. But will they willingly jump with the rest of us lemmings – I doubt it – the break-up of UK is therefore highly likely.
Then there is Northern Ireland – can anyone see a real border lasting there. Plenty of Republicans will want another go any re-unification and if the advantages of EU membership are added, then they may well swing the rest to their way of thinking.
“Can of worms” seems another appropriate metaphor – a huge slide on the basis of a flawed referendum with a 5% margin – shouldn’t be possible if parliament is up to its job – but will they really be prepared to outface Murdoch and the rich club that are manipulating us ?
Great article. Thank-you.
Unfortunately, this whole rotten saga has only ever been about the continuing battle for the Tory Party leadership. Cameron recklessly and irresponsibly called a referendum to consolidate his own career. Johnson, Gove and other jumped on the bandwagon in an attempt to further their political careers and Theresa May sat on the side-lines awaiting the moment when she could jump in and further her political career. Today, in order top retain her position she is attempting to keep the unpleasant, xenophobic bigots in the Tory party quiet, but all at the expense of the nations future. If ever there was a gross abuse of democracy this is it.
A fair analysis of the ego’s that have allowed this debacle to fester and erupt.
All made possible by our idiotic “first post the post” electoral system that allows the extremists – on both sides – to believe they have “won” the right to do what they want. The idea they may have been entrusted with a very serious responsibility seems lost on some of them.
I don’t want the see-saw politics that allows me a protest vote every 5 years – I want consensus politics that delivers a fair compromise. !
Tony Johnstone – You are absolutely right about FPTP. I recommend you to visit https://stvact.wordpress.com for details of a better system. Also, if you message your e-mail address to me through that site, I’ll send you an e-newsletter.
Consensus politics involving a Labour Party controlled by Mr Corbyn and company?
Yes – the understandable backlash from those on the left who are even more contemptuous of the current trend to the populist right than I am.
They may well succeed now May is beginning to show right wing tendencies – if not the next election then as the “beggar my neighbour” logic of right wing economics and Brexit penalties bite.
Trouble is they are not an answer – just a reaction – another plunge on the see-saw.
Contemptuous? The idea of a Mr Corbyn Government scares the heck out of me. But I’m not contemptuous of Mr Corbyn &c. I voted for the Conservative Party at the last Election. I suppose you are contemptuous of me?
Are there actually any of the promises the Leave camp made still in tact?
How do we get that across to the 52% who bought the pig-in-a-poke that is Brexit.
How do we ensure parliament does its job of examining the referendum result fully and in the interests of the UK – as a whole and for the future !
Needs more than a few million to sign that petition
@Peter Duxbury-Smith OK, let’s say neither of us is going to be able to prove that point either way (you claim your proof is others agree with you, I could easily just counter with claiming they agree with me so the point is mute). Yet you fail to comment on the fact that you equate the higher IQ Leave vote with wanting to rid the country of unelected, unaccountable power. When at least the powerful individuals in Brussels got there on merit, whereas all one must do to gain unelected, unaccountable power over us from the House of Lords is have the money to be able to buy your way in. Not be able to recognise the incongruity with voting against one while not calling for the abolition of the other as I suggested in my previous post suggests anything but a higher IQ.
The truly Kafkaesque nature of this nightmare is that no-one who voted Leave had a clue what they were really voting for. How can I say ‘No-one’ with such certainty? Well, if no-one in the current government knows what Brexit actually involves, then it’s safe to say that no-one in the electorate did either.
Imagine this: a father says to his children: ‘Do you want to go to Timbuktu?’ They ask what it’s like. They ask to see a guide book, pictures, maps, anything. He tells them just to use their own imaginations. ‘Do you want to go?’ He then warns them that once they have gone, they must live there forever – they can’t come back, ever again.
Imagine the kids voting to go on this one-way trip, and the father saying yes. That’s the level of craziness we’re at here.
Of course the Leave voters knew what they were voting for !
It was immigration
or Free trade,
or taking back control
How do I know ?
because other correspondents on this page have claimed it – so it must be so.
Hind sight is supposed to be a wondrous thing – but it’s not helping here much.
At what point can we all agree the referendum was anything but decisive.
Brexiters have a point that it would be undemocratic to have another referendum on the same question.
Remainers have a point that Brexit may mean Brexit but n-one knows what Brexit means amd every Brexiter seems to have a different interpretation.
I think the Government will just have to do the best it can to secure everything that Brexiters promised and asked for and that will mainly be the responsibility of the 3 Brexit Ministers.
Then the package should be put to the country; accept the package or remain in the EU but there should be strict controls next time to prevent or correct lies and exaggerated claims.
Unfortunately, if the rest of the EU choose to interpret Article 50 literally (and it will be a big surprise bonus if they don’t), once Mrs May has triggered Article 50 in a few weeks’ time, the option of rejecting whatever agreement is negotiated and simply remaining in the EU will not be open to us. If we reject the negotiated agreement, at the expiry of the two-year deadline from the trigger the UK simply ceases to be a member of the EU — without an agreement. We would have to do the best we can with WTO rules, assuming that we would be accepted as WTO members in our own right. Almost any agreement, however harshly punitive, would be better than that.
Brian’s interpretation of “agreement” puzzles me. Mrs May may have been entrusted with negotiation, but despite her hankering after royal prerogatives only parliament has the power to accept the outcome.
The Brexit vote was won (just) on the basis of promises – they must be kept or the whole exercise was just a power grab by liars.
Our parliamentary system should not allow the country to be hijacked by what amounts to a “pig in a poke” con trick. “Negotiations” have to deliver the promises that were made – and should not be “agreed” unless they do. Why would that not leave us to continue under current arrangements ?
Tony Johnstone: The wording of Article 50 seems to me perfectly clear. Once Mrs May triggers Article 50 (which might not be as early as next March if the Supreme Court finds against the government), we and the EU27 (the rest of the EU) have two years to negotiate an agreement on the terms of our exit — nb not a post-Brexit trade agreement. If at the end of two years we and the EU27 have failed to reach an agreement, the EU treaties cease to apply to the UK, which means we cease to be a member without an agreement on the terms. The EU27 could agree to an extension of the 2-year deadline for an agreement but seem unlikely to do so if there has been a definitive failure to agree on the terms of our exit. So if HMG reaches an agreement with the EU27 but has committed itself to not signing it (or ratifying it) until it has been approved, either by the UK parliament or by a referendum on the terms of the proposed agreement, and if either parliament or a referendum reject the agreement, HMG will not sign (or ratify) the agreement and the two years will be up without an agreement. According to Article 50 that means we cease to belong to the EU on the second anniversary of triggering the Article. It does NOT mean that we can forget all about the whole thing and carry on as if nothing has happened as a member of the EU. We’re out, without even an interim agreement providing, for example, for a transitional period or some kind of temporary tariff-free access to the single market. Staying in the EU is not an option unless all 27 of the other member states +and+ HMG sign an agreement saying that we remain. It’s very hard to imagine any circumstances, however far-fetched, in which either side would agree to that. According to our prime minister, “Brexit means Brexit”..
That would seem to make triggering article 50 the most significant event of Brexit – with implications well outside the authority of Mrs May and her small band of zealots.
Let us hope the courts agree and parliament exercise their responsibility for ALL the nation. A 48/52 split does not give No10 the authority to go hammering off to the right without ensuring the rest of us understand – and agree – with what they are up to.
………..zealots? ……….hammering off to the right?!
Where’s your sense of adventure.
A perfect analogy.
Or here’s another. The family chooses to emigrate after reading lots of leaflets about New Zealand but then Dad takes them to Saudi Arabia or North Korea. Well they chose to emigrate didn’t they?
Yes, we should have stayed with the Commonwealth!
But those who thought they knew better took us into what is fast becoming a cross between Saudi Arabia and North Korea!!!
Stayed with the Commonwealth ?
As I recall we allowed them to chase us out then moaned because we couldn’t raid their resources any more.
Now we are doing it with another reluctant partner !
(and wouldn’t you be reluctant if your partner picked on every weakness – without any attempt to help ?)
We’re still in the Commonwealth, but we’ve switched our trade partnership to the EU.
And I don’t recall the Commonwealth being too happy about that, never mind chasing us out?!
!_(n yes, we’re not too happy about our EU partners picking on every weakness – without any attempt to help!!!!!
Don’t think our Mann’s a historian – he seems to think our problems with the Commonwealth started when we joined the EU.
Might have been a bit before that !
As you’re the history expert feel free to enlighten me about the trading problems with the Commonwealth that drove the UK into the ever closer arms (jaws?) of the EU!!!
you missed the deliberate error – no matter.
“Jaws” of the EU – a group of 1st world countries with established trading, manufacturing and social standards ?
A bunch of resentful 2nd world basket cases ?
Needless to say that is extremely unfair to some – but why do you think we have long established immigrant groups from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Jamaica – all of whom were creating counter cultures and resentment here long before you used economic immigration in your recent propaganda against EU,
Any slur against the EU will do, true or not so long as it serves the cause. If the argument was based on truth instead of lies we could probably reach a compromise agreement – but to sentence the next generation to 2nd rate status in a global trade because you want to push your ideology in Westminster – No ! – not acceptable
The major difference between the EU and either Saudi or N Korea is that the EU has an elected Parliament and, indeed, one that is elected by PR so all parties including even the anti-EU UKIP are fairly represented. In addition, each member nation is represented in the Council of Ministers. Please don’t complain that the Commission is unelected; neither is the British civil service.
I think you’ll find that most of the Middle Eastern Monarchies have Parliaments of some kind, proportionally representing the people, that are a democratic as the EU’s.
As for the UK Civil Service, the last time I checked they were civil servant who did the admin donkey work for the elected politicians on developing their manifesto proposals they had been voted in on.
That’s a world away from the UNELECTED EU Eurocrats who RUN the EU!
Not only is the Commission unelected, it’s members swear an oath to put the EU’s interests above their own country’s.
So not only do we have 27 foreign Commissioners acting against the sovereign interests of the UK, even our own is!
And to quote wikiwhatsit:
“The European Commission (EC) is the executive body of the European Union responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU.”
ie it is the EU Government.
The last time I checked th UK Civil Service wasn’t the UK Government.
In the old days, when the UK was an independent country, “our” Commissioner, and anyone who supported him, or the Commission, would probably be hung for Treason!!!
A for the Council of Ministers, you saying we’re run by 27 Ministers elected by foreign countries as well as an unelected bEUrocracy?!?!?!!!!!
Yes – PR would have been nice wouldn’t it – perhaps then we wouldn’t have a trade minister (who knows nothing about trade) thinking business men are fat and lazy and not exporting enough.
Any chance this is another fudging of the LEAVE promises – Brexit would have been good if only it wasn’t for the fat and lazy business men who didn’t use the amazing opportunity Liam Fox offered them ?
Can only think of expletives to describe such a narrow minded ideologue – PR would probably have weeded him out long ago.
So would you, or any of the other Remainers, like to tell us exactly what you voted for?
Exactly where the EU and the Euro will be in five, ten, twenty, fifty, a hundred years hence?!
And where we would have been if we Remained?
And what, exactly, the Remainers plans would be to to deal with it?!
As for Timbuktu, imagine a father there asking his kids if they would rather go to the old USSR or North Korea, or to the US or Australia?!
And the last time I checked there was still, post Brexit, a refugee camp in Calais full of refugees trying to flee to the UK from the EU!!!
How interesting – camps full of immigrants trying to flee to UK from the EU.
No wonder the the Leave campaign won if that’s one of the (many) lies they were pedalling.
Where did Murdoch say that though – I could have sworn the immigrants were mainly from Africa or war zones.
It’s a pity the EU did not deal with that particular problem better – and quicker – but democracies are ridiculously slow with their response – unlike dictatorships and warlords. Still – no matter – we can pick and choose which international agreements we like now (allegedly)
How interesting – Remainers, who are typically the same kind of people who love to work with refugees, insisted there were camps full of immigrants who were refugees in camps around Calais, which is in the part of the EU which is Remaining in the EU, and they also insisted that these refugees (who are, by definition, as agreed by international treaty, trying to flee out of one place into another trying to flee to UK from the EU. We’re not only trying to flee from Calais (in the Remaining EU) to the Leaving EU, but that they would help them do so.
Now you’re saying they aren’t refugees at all?
Or that they’re fleeing from the UK to France?!
No wonder the the REMAIN campaign LOST if THAT is one of the (many) lies they were pedalling!!!
As for it being la pity the EU did not deal with that particular problem better – and quicker – but democracies are ridiculously slow with their response – unlike dictatorships and warlords”:
This would be the EU that ignored the results of the French and Dutch Referenda, told the Irish they would have to vote again until it they got the “right” answer, told the Austrians they couldn’t have the Government they voted for, and replaced the Greek and Italian Governments with EUrocrats?!
So why the delay?!!?!?!!!!
Still – no matter – what are these.international agreements “we can pick and choose which we like now (allegedly)”
Would these be the ones that give South Korea and Mexico preferred access to the Single Market without Free Movement of People?
Or that allows Iceland to be IN the Single Market without Free Movement of Capital?!
Or that allows Lichtenstein to be IN the EU without Free Movement of People?!?!?!!!!!
Or just the ones that say you cease to be a Refugee once you leave the first safe country you get to?!!!!!
Now, what were you saying about lies?!
oh – about those lies – Apparently Davies did not promise to hand an extra £350 million to the NHS – probably true in that he didn’t actually signwrite the bus – but are we now seeing another way of reneging on the campaign promises.
Smoke and mirrors have nothing on the way this bunch of charlatans sold the Brexit “pig-in-a poke” to UK plc
“there was still, post Brexit, a refugee camp in Calais full of refugees trying to flee to the UK from the EU”
We haven’t left yet so they are just trying to move from one part of the EU to another and one of the major reasons for the UK’s popularity with refugees and migrants is the English language because more of them speak English than French.
English is the 2nd language in most of the world where it isn’t the 1st.language. That is a trading advantage to us but it is a disadvantage to those who worry about immigration.
Thanks for confirming that the Remainers expected the PUBLIC Leave Campaign to have a fully formulated Brexit “Plan” (despite the fact that even the few Ministers in the campaign had no access to official papers on the EU nor the use of any of their Civil Servants to help with the admin donkey work, during the campaign).
While the Remainers are happy for the government, and former Government, and former Coalition Government Partner, who all had a Brexit Referendum in their Manifestos at one time, full access to all the official documentation, and full use of UK Civil Servants, to rely on the fact that:
“English is the 2nd language in most of the world where it isn’t the 1st.language. That is a trading advantage to us but it is a disadvantage to those who worry about immigration.”
Brilliant answer to my simple response to the Remainers main “argument”.
Thanks for putting the Remain “case”, complete lack of planning, and total hypocrisy on the issue, into perfect perspective!
As for your “reply” to my other point, no, we might not have left yet, so they are just trying to move from the part of the EU that is Remaining to the part that is Leaving!
As for your point about English, as it’s “the 2nd language in most of the world where it isn’t the 1st.language, there is no linguistic advantage in coming to the UK!
Noticed a rosy report on BBC breakfast TV this morning about how Brexit is not having any influence on the economy. The source of the expertise behind it: A Daily Telegraph reporter.
I guess it fitted well with the BBC’s desires to tickle public sensations.
But isn’t the BBC supposed to serve the nation’s needs for useful, accurate, serious and important information? Isn’t this what we pay our licence fees for?
Could we not now expect the BBC to do some much-needed work in tracking and reporting the opinions and evidence from real experts? This was lacking at the Referendum. The BBC should take their chunk of blame for what happened. Are they going to do anything to try to remedy the lack of proper information from which, if anything, we are suffering more acutely now?
The whole referendum was a political farce and an abuse of democracy. It was basically nothing more than a personal rivalry between two Eton toffs for control of the Tory Party. They irresponsibly and recklessly gambled the nation’s future for their own personal ambition.
Can only agree with that – except I suspect there were more than two involved and that little sub-group has been around for some time determined to get their way eventually.
Nothing wrong with pressure groups – so long as the debate is;-
Legal, decent, honest and truthful – it wasn’t !
In many countries where the population feels betrayed by a clear manipulation of democracy, based on lies, yet staunchly adhered to by the initial “winner”, the stage would be set for a revolution or a military takeover. Don’t think for a moment that such simply cannot happen in Britain.
Not by the army or police – but civil disobedience is a different matter,
Why should we follow leaders who don’t listen – if parliament does not put them straight their power must be withdrawn by other means.
Unfortunately the Leave vote was probably as much an indication of general grass roots dissatisfaction as with the EU inparticular. The referendum offered a way to send that message – and Leave Lies ensured it served their interests.
Could it be we have too many idealoges and policy wonks in what is laughingly called our political elite. Certainly common sense and practicality seem to be in short supply, along – unfortunately – with honesty. The hard right have too much influence at present – and are proving as idiotic as the hard left did when Scargill & Co were around. Since all our see/saw first post system allows is a swing one way or the other expect idiocy of the opposite sort after the next election.
Come back coalition – all is forgiven !
Team GB performance in the Rio Olympics has been inspirational. One commonly identified factor behind this success has been the engagement of top expertise to guide the athletes` preparation.
By contrast, we see a cynicism regarding economists’ expertise behind the nation’s performance in the Brexit Referendum.
Perhaps we would have done better in the Referendum if we had paid higher regard to expertise.
Trouble with experts is they tell the truth as they see it – not sure “political” reality can deal with that.
Makes you wonder about the Corbyn camp doesn’t it – do they expect to benefit in a few years if decline sets in ? The referendum was a protest vote anyway – perhaps that’s all us “plebs” are allowed now.
You’re right Peter. First they refused to accept the experts’ advice. Now they refuse to accept the facts as we can see in this discussion.
The referendum allowed Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK to vote, but not EU citizens resident in the country who have been particularly badly affected by the result. if EU citizens had voted, this could well have changed the result. My wife is Polish and I felt particularly strongly about this – MPs are bound to represent all their constituents including those, like EU citizens, who do not have a vote in general elections. I have set up a petition to parliament on this matter, please sign it you are in sympathy: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/159488
If we’d had a referendum on whether to let in any more economic migrants should we have given the vote to all those who had already got in?
Those still in Calais?
Greece? Turkey?! Africa?!?!
The whole World?!?!?!!!!!!!
Would it change things if you had married one?!
It’s this constant conflation of free movement within the EU and migration from the rest of the world that gets me. One of the main lies promulgated by Leave was the idea they were the same and divorce from the EU would discourage more curry cooks from elsewhere.
They fooled enough of the people for enough of the time to gain a very small margin – but how is free trade negotiated (on our own with the rest of the world) going to reduce immigration from everywhere. There is already special pleading from industries that rely heavily on immigrant labour – expect the promised points system to be gradually shaved until we end up precisely where we were in the first place.
A united Europe might have got its act together eventually – after all it’s not just the UK that is worried by the problem.But a separatist island begging for consideration in small packets here and there stands little chance.
Hope this analysis helps you. As you can see non-EEA immigrants, who have to qualify for visa under the Shortage Occupation list do not significantly depress wages. In 2011 EEA nationals were seeking wages 15% below native and non-EEA. And in each successive year the incoming immigrants accepted lower wages than previous immigrants. If you read the detail, you will see that even overqualified EEA nationals competing against ‘low education’ natives and drive down wages.
Naturally, the natives who are affected resent this.
Discussion Paper Series CDP No 22/13
Christian Dustmann and Tommaso Frattini
“By 2011, the percentage of natives with a degree had nearly doubled, to 21%, while the percentage of EEA and non-EEA immigrants had increased even further, to 32% and 38%, respectively19. Similarly, about one in two native born individuals fall into the “low education” category (defined as those who left full- time education before 17), while only one in five EEA immigrants and one in four non-EEA immigrants do so. EEA immigrants arrived since 2000 tend to include a slightly lower share of university graduates (although our measurement is imperfect because of problems coding foreign qualifications) but also a substantially lower share (around 10% in all years) of “low education” individuals than earlier immigrant cohorts from the same origin origin. Likewise, recent (arrived since 2000) nonEEA immigrants, although they show similar rates of university degrees as earlier immigrants, include a considerably lower share of “low education” individuals. These stark educational differences between immigrants and natives are not, however, reflected by wage differences, as we show in Table 2a: the median wages of natives and non-EEA immigrants are nearly the same, while the median wages for EEA immigrants are substantially below those of natives, by about 15% in 2011 …..
…….Interestingly, although in all years, recent immigrants, both EEA and non-EEA, have lower wages than earlier immigrants, they have similar or higher employment rates, especially in recent years. Recent EEA immigrants, in particular, have very high employment rates, just below 80% since the late 2000s. Conversely, over the same period, the employment rate of recent non-EEA immigrants has hovered consistently around 60%.”
Good to see immigration has been looked at thoroughly – it’s just a pity that Leave appealed to prejudice rather than logic.
More than a pity really – part of the lie that fooled enough of the people for enough of the time to gain a decisive (?) victory.
(Yes – we now have Conservatives pressing for instant article 50 because – in their opinion – 48/52 was – decisive – words don’t seem to have the same meaning in their bubble)
A momentous decision on the back of a totally split country. Not democracy as I understand it and in a supposedly civilised country the interests of all should be addressed.
Leave lied – and used the sort of nationalistic populism that gives me real concern.
Might seem ott to point out this is how right wing parties usually start their bid for power – but I’m not proud of – or convinced by the sort of tabloid populism we saw through this campaign. It was a disgrace – not worthy of a country that claims to have the mother of all parliaments. I hope (but doubt) they have the courage to bring sense (ie rejection) to this very flawed referendum.
Incidentally – I understand there were moves to ensure a decision of this magnitude had a clear majority – moves that were voted down – I’d like to see an analysis of who voted in that – and why ?
4,143,370 have signed a petition so far and, if you visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/131215 you can sign as well.
MPs will debate it on 5 September.
The person who started it before 23 June was a Brexiter, who thought they would lose. You may recall that a certain Mr Farage also called for another referendum if the result was close, but he hasn’t repeated that since 23 June.
To be fair there’s also a petition against another referendum and that has more than 15,000 signatures but the original petition for another referendum has more than 4,000,000 signatures.
“Not democracy as I understand it and in a supposedly civilised country the interests of all should be addressed’. Well; best not to have had a referendum then. I voted to leave but reading what I see here I am coming to the conclusion that I don’t care any more. Let’s just stay in the EU and sink into oblivion with the rest of Europe. Leaving gives us a chance of survival but if we don’t want to take it so be it.
MIke, we are already on course to run away (Leave.) That is not the issue. “Sinking into oblivion with the rest of europe” is no longer an option. Or rather, any control we might have had over whether we sink or not has been given up.
In any case, I don’t see why we could not have tried to make a good, going thing of EU membership – I cannot see how our chances of bettering things are improved by running away and heading out on our own (at least, on our own as much as practicality will allow….which may well prove to be not that much…it’s just the first thing we will be free of is our ability to have influence on EU decision making.) It has rather been like throwing all our toys out of the pram.
If you are grasping for a chance of survival, it is not very intelligent to first shoot yourself in the foot. But that is exactly what we have done, by recklessly taking the riskiest option and “betting the shop” on too many unknowns.
The issue now is how to find as graceful a recovery as we can that will better our chances of survival. And that will, inevitably, mean we have to negotiate new relationships wih EU and other partners. Let’s hope we don’t now look too desperate and suffer exploitation as a consequence.
A nation of about 70m (or fewer if Scotland and N Ireland choose the EU over the UK) is far more likely to sink than a union of about 500m. Which do you think the USA and China would give preference to with trade deals?
Sink into oblivion – no-way.
but I agree a referendum is a silly way for serious decision making – and sinking into a lethargic decline seems the likely outcome of this one.
That the EU has failed to convince most is true – but it has done better than the unrelenting vitriol from Murdoch and the rest would imply. There was real vision in its founding – and if that to has “gone into decline” perhaps it is time to re-ignite that vision.
God knows there are enough major problems that need an international approach. How on earth do the Brexit brigade expect to deal with them.
Piecemeal ?, negotiate an agreement with whoever, whenever ? – yeh right !
Thank you. I’ve signed it now.
Another group that was disenfranchised was most of the UK ex-pats, even those residing elsewhere in the EU although they had more to lose than most Brits.
Signed and posted on Facebook. My wife is also a European citizen, a doctor working at the UK’s national centre for neurology. Most of her colleagues are EU citizens. The contribution they are making to our understanding of neuro-genetics and how this may influence serious neurological conditions is outstanding. Yet they feel that many British people do not want them here. Terrible,
Sadly and ironically the real anxiety for EU citizens is being created by Remainers: in their desperation to demonise the Leave voters they have convinced themselves and are trying hard to convince everyone else ofthe lie that Leave voters hate immigrants and want them all out. Utter balony, and dangerous balony.
This was vocalised by Theresa May trying to use current EU citizens in the UK as a bargaining chip. Something not a single leave group had suggested and almost every Leave group denounced. Every Leave group was unanimous in wanting simple control over future immigration because total volumes of what everyone (bar deranged fanatics on the ultra fringe) agrees are overwhelmingly wonderful people, is in aggregate i.e. because of the volume not the people themselves, causing problems.
The damage being done by Remainders fevered imaginations spiked by a project fear propaganda they still believe, cannot be underestimated.
Charles, as requested: Your attack on “Remainders” or “Remainers” here is a fair example of, what I perceive to be, your paranoid hyperbole.
You have no grounds for your claims about the motivation/actions of most Remainers nor that of Leavers.
I believe that the voting behaviour of Leavers was ill-informed, fractured and inconsistent and the result likely to be overturned if another referendum were to be held.
A second referendum would present opportunity to prove me wrong. But I expect you would not want to risk this.
Mr Farage said he would demand a 2nd referendum if the result was close, although he thought then he was going to lose. We shouldn’t let him down!
This is, to my feeling, an urgent need: We must get beyond the “sour grapes” or reckless euphoria and work to get a better picture of what options now lie before us – All of us, inclusively, in GB who stand to suffer together in what happens ahead.
If the experts are ignored and decision making is just left up to politicians we are in trouble. If there is cynicism about the understandings which the experts have amongst the populace at large, we are without intelligent pilots to guide us.
Indeed we must move beyond. But the biggest obstacle to this are the large numbers of influential people who still believe the lies told by project fear and continue to talk down an economy that has nothing to fear but fear itself. Until intelligent people like yourself ‘do the maths’ and figure out that the costs of the single market (6% of GDP according to the EU) outweigh the benefits of trade (2% according to the EU and half that to the UK), and recognise that the Single Market has caused economic stagnation for 10 years not growth. That the worst possible tariffs of leaving the single market altogether are a 1.5% (0.3% of GDP) tax on exports while our currency fall has made our export prices 10% more competitive globally, that MiFID2 guarantees passporting outside the EU and that ROW exports were growing at 7% per year before trade deals. Until people like yourself realise our economic outlook has improved, and we have a golden opportunity to make profound changes to some key issues thrown under the spotlight by the campaign, those opportunities will pass us by in a cacophany of pitiful moaning. Read what I have written above about the Treasury reports. You have been lied to. Wake up to the opportunity and embrace it!
If you are right, Charles, then great. Either way, we need to see ideas for a better new situation turning concrete. I will feel a whole lot better if/when the balance of expertise agrees with you, and we start to see the proposed rosy future at least on the horizon.
We have now to negotiate a fresh relationship with the EU. So..what is it going to be???
So – Brexiteers need brain surgery – yep I think they do – as do any mp’s who abdicate their responsibility by accepting the 48/52 split as a reasoned and binding decision.
They would be accepting revolution when the country actually needs something much more thoughtful. We are all dissatisfied with the status quo – but revolutions end up hurting people – and it’s usually those who called for it.
Like most revolutions Brexit is a power grab by liars with agendas very different to their published claims. We must make sure that EVERY promise is confirmed and achieved before article 50 is triggered. The European Union was itself founded on a dream – we would be foolish to allow false promises to replace that early idealism.
It’s very clear what we want: unrestricted free trade.
It may be clear to you Charles. But who are the rest of the “we”? As I understand from the post-referendum surveys I have read about, unrestricted free trade was not the issue for Leavers: The preponderance of Leavers were concerned (in low-IQ areas) mostly about immigration, and (in higher-IQ areas) about taking back control from Brussels.
I don’t see how either of these two desiderata are to be met by whatever “unrestricted free trade” would achieve, nor by what actual options appear to be on the table. Perhaps more worrying, I don’t think what is going on behind the scenes in the decision-making quarters is at all apparent.
So much for taking back control…. at least so far….I wonder what we can do to make sure there is at least some British democracy in deciding what happens! And restricitng immigration would probably run contrary to any practical arrangement for “unrestricted free trade.”
Whose side are you on, Charles?
“in low-IQ areas”?!
I thought IQ was a Social Construct?!
Did you mean to say “low qualification areas’?!
How low does your IQ, and poor your education. have to be for you to fail to grasp that you can’t judge different generations by the same ‘qualifications”?!
London might be full of child refugees with degrees in brain surgery and rocket science from the university of Alleppo (ISIS Institute) and “adults” with “degrees” in Meejah or Golf, but none of them could have passed an O Level, never mind an A Level from the days when most children finished their formal schooling well before 18.
The guys who designed the Spitfire, Hurricane, Bouncing Bomb, Jet Engine and Colossus computer all left school before 18 to start apprenticeships, though admittedly Tommy Flowers did take a degree at night school as part of his.
Oh, and Frank whittle did get a degree too:
SIX years AFTER he PATENTED his jet engine!!!
And, of course, the cyber-world the graduate yoof of today inhabit was build by university drop-outs, so they didn’t have degrees either.
Or, as you put it, didn’t have high IQs!
I agree with every one of Peter’s words here and would add – Who is taking back control when the Conservative Government in 2015 and the Labour one in 2005 were supported by only 36.9% and 35.2% of voters?
getting real democracy in a “first past the post” system is a lost cause – all that “taking back control” has achieved is free reign for the de-regulation, free marketeers.
Peter So by low IQ areas you mean Labour voting areas and high IQ you mean Tory areas. I don’t think I have ever read anything do ignorant and pompous in all my life. If the ‘intelligent’ people were so concerned with unelected, unaccoutable power in Brussels telling us what to do, why aren’t they also seeking the abolition of the unelected, unaccountable House of Lords? The truth is more Tory areas voted to leave than to stay as all rural areas voted leave – so considering these people, by your own reasoning voted to leave to rid themselves of unaccountable power lauding it over them then they really aren’t very bright at all.
I wrote this to my MP (Andrew Tyrie, Chichester, Conservative) yesterday:
“Dear Mr Tyrie,
Thank you for your letter of 29 June explaining your views at some length on this.
I am writing now because of the Westminster Hall debate tomorrow about the petition for another referendum. I am sorry I did not write this sooner and hope you read it before the debate.
As you are very busy, I’ll confine this to a few brief numbered points:
1. I strongly urge Parliament to set up an all-party Select Committee to take evidence and consider all aspects of Brexit urgently and to make recommendations to the Government and Parliament. This should be broadly acceptable to all but the most extreme Leavers and Remainers. It is the only way that might achieve a political consensus on both sides of the House and on both sides of the EU debate. This would help to heal the present division within the nation. I hope there will be an opportunity to say this in tomorrow’s debate.
2. Even if the House cannot take a binding decision tomorrow, a vote for another referendum or even a substantial minority for one would be a signal to the Government not to ignore the real fears of many people.
3. Even if it is legal for the Government to use Executive Power to trigger Article 50 (and that seems a moot point), it would be undemocratic. The act would probably be challenged in Court and it would be politically damaging if the Supreme Court held that it was not legal.
4. Although you and other MPs who supported Remain, especially those whose constituencies voted to leave, are in a difficult position, there is no doubt where Edmund Burke would have stood. He would have done his duty to represent his constituents as he judged best even if a majority of them disagreed with his judgement.
@ Gary Barker. I have not stated what you claim and cannot relate to your inferences upon it. I think IQ distribution can be seen in prosperity levels and educational achievement, for instance. But nothing to do with whether Labour or Tory. That is your fantasy.
What I have had in mind in introducing IQ levels here has been the observation of others about the distribution of the vote. I believe Dr . Richard Lynn in Belfast has studied geographical distributions of IQ, but I do not know whether he has looked at the distribution of the Brexit vote and its correlation to IQ. I think that is a study waiting to be done, but would be glad to hear if someone already has.
In the meantime, I believe that there would be a strong correlation found. Do the analysis to prove me wrong.
I guess the national broadcaster had a hard job on their hands because of the paucity of salient information and the bad arguments made by campaigners all round – Particularly Corbyn (Was his weakness deliberate? I suppose we will never know.)
But the national broadcaster needs a reboot anyway – It is too much of an echo of commercial broadcasting these days, and does not provide the quality of objective information for which it was once reputed.
The Beeb tried so hard to tick all the fairness boxes during the EU referendum that it totally failed to be unbiased in practice. I noticed several times that, after quoting eminent economists or other experts who supported Remain, the Beeb then seemed to feel obliged to match that with some “vox pop” pro-leave interviews of people who had nothing to offer the debate but a regurgitated emotive slogan or two.
I sympathize with the Beeb’s difficulty to find experts who supported the Leave campaign, but really!
Very interesting article. How do we insist that those Leave campaigners and the papers that misled the public are held to account for what they have done.
Very interesting comment. How do we insist that those Remain campaigners and the papers and TV channels that misled the public are held to account for what they might have done?!
Although two wrongs don’t make a right, there were more wrongs on the Leave side than on the Remain side and the Leave side won at least partly – perhaps largely – because of their wrongs.
Remain arguments were totally built on speculation, distortions and lies perpetrated by establishment liberals. This is why they lost.
Yours is the speculation.
Typical Bremain hollow rebutal that fails to engage. Without Remain’s project fear Brexit would have been a landslide victory for Brexit. Why, because regaining democratic control over national economic policy is pure and simply common sense.
Have you considered that uniting with others might be even more commonsense? How far would you take your theory? Should England, Scotland, Wales and N Ireland each take control over their national economic policies? Ah, but wait a moment! England’s vote to leave and Scotland’s to remain may well lead to that anyway.
As for “democratic” control, please don’t make me laugh! The present Government was supported by only 36.9% of voters and the last Labour Government by a mere 35.2%.
Plainly you have not read the eu treaties. How can you comment on eu economic policy before doing so. There would be nothing wrong in uk nations having control over their economic policy.
Eu economic policy was voted in with 0% of the 2015 vote yet every party has to adhere to it. Now that is a joke.
If only those who had read and understood all the treaties had been allowed to vote, it wouldn’t have taken long to count the votes.
if only those who had read and understood all the treaties had been allowed to express an opinion, not many MPs would have been heard from either side.
You call stage 4 of the stability and growth pact common-sense with the eurozone in perpetual crisis. You obviously have no understanding of economics.
Which is around 3% of the population of the EU.
So your point is?!
You still working on the Leave lies Stephen – not needed any more – you managed to fool all the people for some of the time.
Now deliver – every promise, every assurance, every claim !
Just as soon as you can deliver evidence that Remain were telling the truth – every promise, every assurance, every claim !
When we see the remaining Eurosceptic countries stop and reverse Ever Closer Union from the inside, when we see the Euro replaced with national currencies. Open Borders closed. “Refugees” returned without ECHR intervention…..
I’ll confine my response to one point.
The ECHR was largely a British post-war initiative, independent of the EU, to restore and protect human rights in Europe after so much of the continent had experienced dictatorship.
Although I don’t agree with every ECHR decision, I respect them and I believe a respected, external body is a far better guarantee of human rights than any national institution. You probably wouldn’t agree with a County Court decision that went against you, but I hope you would respect it.
Two typical Remain “truths” for the price of one!
Yes, the ECHR was largely a British post-war initiative:
It was a British initiative to completely reformulate British Common Law concepts to be applicable to the completely incompatible European legal and governmental systems.
And now, after half a century of EUman Rites political bodging we are expected to apply those now completely utterly and totally incompatible laws back to our situation where, for example, everything is legal unless it’s made illegal, but in the EU everything is illegal unless it’s made legal, and, for example, where judges can’t investigate what MPs were trying to achieve when they passed a law, but in the EU they are free to guess at the objective of a law and expand it according to their own personal interpretation.
And, yes, the ECHR “is independent of” the EU, but EU members are anything but independent of of the ECHR, membership of which is a condition of EU membership.
So if you are so concerned about independence in restoring and protecting human rights in Europe after so much of the continent had experienced dictatorship, why don’t we scrap the ECHR and subject ourselves to, say, the US Supreme Court, or even Russia’s, after all, I’m pretty sure they have lots of stuff about freedom and equality and Uman Rites in their constitution, their legal system is probably a lot closer to the EU’s Civil Law than the US’s Common Law, and they are totally independent of the EU, which is the important thing, yes?!
That’s what you would respect most about any Russian Supreme Court judgements about EUman Rites issues? Yes?!
Oh, and I take it you have no respect at all for all those former colonies who decided to go their own way and become independent of the Law Lords, yes?!?!?!!!!
Russia & the USA are irrelevant but there is a very short answer to your irrelevant rant.
The UK helped set up the ECHR as you admitted but we had no part in setting up the Russian and USA equivalents. The UK appoints some of the ECHR judges, which we don’t do for Russia and the USA. Similarly the former colonies didn’t set up the Law Lords and don’t appoint any of them.
So what does that mean – now the war of words has been won you no longer think the promises relevant.
That sounds very close to admission Leave lied with intent to deceive.
Do you seriously expect the rest of us to accept that as “democracy”.
So what do YOUR “contributions” mean?!
Now the Remainers’ war of words has been lost, including the claims and promises about WW3, YOU, and the rest of the Remainers, no longer think YOUR claims, assertions, accusations and promises relevant?!?!?9!!!!!
That sounds very close to admission Remainers lied with intent to deceive, not that we need an admission of the bleedin obvious!
Do YOU seriously expect the rest of us to accept THAT as “democracy”?!?!?!!!!
Please don’t “shout” even if you have nothing sensible to say.
Calm Down, dear!
I wasn’t “shouting” (we don’t all vocalise as we type!!).
I was merely formatting my paraphrasing of your nonsensical “contribution to highlight the subtle changes.
Please don’t post if YOU have nothing sensible to say!
Feel free to show us that the following were actually the truth (apologies, still drafting it, and I’m sure there’s plenty more where they came from):
EU Immigration Is Good For The Economy
Many immigrants are working to save money to spend in their home countries.
That takes wealth out of our economy
EU Immigrants Pay More In Tax Than They Claim In Benefits
That claim is from a study from an EU funded social “science” “research” institute.
It only applies to EU immigrants, even that “study” said non EU immigrants/refugees cost us money.
It is based on the average of out of date figures from a period from some years ago.
It is based on highly paid in work immigrants, eg doctors, bankers, entrepreneurs.
It only counts benefits claimed, not benefits used or provided, eg emergency services, roads, schools, etc.
Or any of the other expenditure that taxes are needed to fund, armed forces, foreign aid, etc.
So the more productive EU immigrants of the past didn’t even pay for themselves, never mind all immigrants.
And since the new accession immigrants started flooding in working EU immigrants aren’t even covering non-working EU immigrants benefits claims!
We Have An Ageing Population and Not Enough Young To Look After Them
But this is just deferring the problem – -what is going to happen when the immigrants retire?
Or are the Remainers arguing all immigrants should be repatriated when they reach 60?!
Fall of Disposable Household Income by £4,300
The calculations were (one) projection of a (possible) fall in GDP, not the same thing (unless all corporate income is paid out to – local – suppliers, employees, shareholders and the government – if any is diverted out of the country – eg Starbucks, Google……. then it all falls apart).
Not only that, it wasn’t a fall, it was a slower rise.
And not only that, they divided the gross future projected GDP figure by the CURRENT number of households, NOT the much larger number of future households!
There would have to be an immediate Emergency Budget and cuts in the State Pension
World War Three Would Start If We Left
Labour and the Unions Support Remain
Labour and the Unions traditionally Eurosceptic
Tony Benn, Michael Foot and Jeremy Corbyn and TUC all anti EU
Cameron bought off TUC by changing Trade Union law.
TUC bought off Corbyn.
But some maverick Labour MPs and Trade Unions still supported Brexit.
EU Protects Workers Rights
EU forced Greece and Hungary to ban collective bargaining.
For those doubter Remainers out there (that would be all of them):
EU Protects Workers Jobs
Look at Southern Europe, especially youth unemployment.
EU Protects Industry
EU gives grants to investors in UK to move their factories to Eastern Europe, and even non EU Turkey – Ford Transit Production
UK Financial Services Won’t Be Able To Operate in EU If We Leave
As I understand it the Financial Services Passport being scrapped in New Year, any bank, etc, whose country has EU levels of regulation, eg UK, will be able to operate in EU
The EU Protects Women’s Rights
It was EU regulations which forced the UK to have a Tamp0n Tax!
The Leave Campaigners Didn’t Have A Plan A
The Leavers weren’t a Government!
The Leavers weren’t even a party!!
They were a campaign group to get the government to get us out of the EU!!!
It was the government’s job to actually get us out, and the government should have had a plan ready when it put the referendum in their manifesto!
We Won’t Have Access To The EU Free Trade Zone
We currently import about half of our food, much of it tariff free from the EU, but have to charge the 30%, is it, EU tariff on all the food we import from the rest of the world.
When we leave the EU we can have tariff free imports from the rest of the world.
If the EU wants to insist on charging 30% tariffs on the tiny amount of food we sell to it, and on paying 30% tariffs on the enormous amount of food we buy from the EU, that’s their problem, not ours, especially as the world will be our tariff free oyster.
The £350 Million Figure Is A LIE!
It’s what we hand control of over to the EU and is the only hard figure available.
Grants and subsidies haven’t yet been fully claimed yet, and often require match-funding.
The rebate depends on the (reviewable by the EU up to three years later) GDP and the amount of grant received.
The veto on scrapping the rebate has as much worth as Ireland or Holland or France’s veto they had a referendum on and either had to vote again, or were ignored!
If We Leave The Economy Will Crash
The Pound and the Property Market were over valued and due a fall.
One of the main factor in strong prices is confidence, in poor figures is uncertainty.
Everyone was, and still is, exaggerating, or even fabricating, the level of uncertainty, and talking down the UK and its economy, so any falls were largely the result of a self fulfilling prophesy
Leavers Are Uneducated
When Old Fogey Leavers were educated half the country didn’t go to university and get degrees like today.
But that’s because hardly anyone went to university, only the most academic high flyers, who took academically demanding, high flying, theoretical courses.
Most people took lower level courses and qualifications, that could well have been much more demanding than today’s “degrees”: HNDs, ONDs, HNCs, ONCs, A Levels, O Levels, apprenticeships. Most of today’s “graduates” wouldn’t have even been able to cope with O Levels, never mind A Levels, from the “Olden days”!
Most people in the “Olden Days” went straight to work after school, whether it was down’ ‘pit or into a manual apprenticeship at 13, into a bank at 16, or into management or public service administration, or a technical apprenticeship (eg aircraft design) at 17 or 18.
Sydney Hurricane Camm left school at 15 to become an apprentice carpenter, then became a carpenter at an aircraft company where he moved to the drawing office, after working for another aircraft company, he joined Hawker at around 30 as a senior draughtsman
R J Spitfire Mitchell left school at 16, gained an apprenticeship at a locomotive engineering works then worked in the drawing office while studying engineering and mathematics at night school, joining Supermarine at the age of 22.
Barnes (Bouncing Bomb) Wallis left school at 17 for an apprenticeship in an aircraft design office.
Frank (Jet Engine) Whittle left school to become an RAF apprentice, eventually getting a degree six years after patenting his turbojet design.
Albert Einstein originally went to teacher training college. Marconi never formally attended a university.
Tommy Colossus computer Flowers undertook a mechanical engineering apprenticeship at the Royal Arsenal while studying for his degree in electrical engineering in evening classes at the University of London. At about 21 he joined the Post Office (GPO) telecommunications branch.
The world today’s “Graduates” live in was invented, designed and built by us Old Fogeys. Remember even Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak and Theodore Gateway Computers Waitt were University drop-outs, as were Michael Dell, Tom MySpace Anderson, Julian Wikileaks Assange, Evan Twitter Williams, Mark Facebook Zuckerberg and Dustin Facebook Moskovitz, Larry Oracle Ellison, Jan WhatsApp Koum, Travis Uber Kalanick, Bram BitTorrent Cohen, David Tumblr Karp, Kevin Digg Rose, Shawn Napster Fanning.
Then there’s people like architect Frank Lloyd Wright, geodesic dome inventor Buckminster Fuller, entrepreneur and innovator Ingvar IKEA Kamprad.
Others without a degree include Da Vinci, van Leeuwenhoek, Faraday, Goodyear (tyres), Darwin, Joule, Mendel, Edison, the Wright Brothers!
Not to mention Richard Branson, Ray McDonalds Kroc, Colonel Harlan KFC Sanders, Dave Wendy’s Thomas, and Simon X-Factor Cowell, Roman Abramovich…..)
Oh, and don’t forget most meejah and sports stars didn’t go to university!
Although most old fogey trendy-lefty journos probably did, though they probably spent all their time protesting!
Winston Churchill would have voted for Remain/Supported the EU
Winston’s grandson — Remainer Nicholas Soames — dismissed claims Churchill would have voted Leave as ‘appalling’ and ‘totally wrong’.
Churchill proposed and supported regional groupings, like mini United Nations or regional Commonwealths, NOT federal superstates, for not just Europe, but the Americas, Africa, Asia. But he was clear that Great Britain should not face Europe, but towards the sea, and that the UK’s place was in a Commonwealth of former colonies, including the US!
We are linked to Europe, but not combined,’ wrote Churchill in 1930. ‘We are interested and associated but not absorbed.’
We’re Better Off Changing The EU From The Inside
We’ve been on the inside for 43 years and the only change we’ve seen is ever closer union!
Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results!!!
Brexit Will Deprive Our Young Of The Chance To Work Abroad
With up to 50% youth unemployment in Europe, and the youth of Europe having to come to the UK to find work, what on earth makes our youth think there are opportunities for them abroad in the EU?!
Leaving Will Prevent Us From Travelling, Living, and Working in The EU
We manage to travel, live and work in non EU parts of Europe, and managed to do so in the EU before we joined.
There Are More/As Many UK Citizens Working/Living In The EU Than EU Citizens Working/Living In The UK And They Will All Be Repatriated
Remain finally scaled back to the true figures of around 3 Million EU citizens working or claiming benefits here and around 1 Million Brits working or retired in the EU, not over 2 Million as Remainers originally claimed.
There is no way say Spain is going to expel the pensioners who pump their UK pensions and savings into the Spanish economy, employing cooks, gardeners, maids, and providing income for bar and shop owners.
Old People Don’t Have A Right To Vote Away Our Future/They’ll Soon Be Dead
Old people created their future. Their fathers and brothers gave their lives for it.
On the basis of our experience and wisdom we are voting for what we think is best for our unborn grandchildren
We Can’t Leave The EU And Then Pick And Choose Which Bits We Want To Keep/The EU Will Dictate The rules
Lichtenstein doesn’t have to accept free movement.
Iceland doesn’t have to accept free movement of capital.
Mexico has special favoured status and isn’t in the EU.
But, more importantly, we don’t want to be in their club.
And it is the EU who will be wanting tariff-free access to the UK market, not the other way round:
If the EU wants to pay, is it 30%, tariffs to continue selling, or, rather, trying to sell, us lots of food when we will be able to get tariff-free food from the rest of the world, that’s their economic funeral!
We Will Lose Research Grants/Won’t Be Able To Cure Cancer
It’s our taxes, or what’s left of them after going through Brussels, and then often several layers of EU related Quango.
You don’t have to be in the EU to get EU research grants!
Voting Leave/Campaigning For Leave Is Racist/Excuses/Gives the Green Light To/Increases Hate Crime And Racist Attacks
Hate crimes encompass a lot more than race, that any “surges” are in REPORTS and not incidents, and that it is not he, but the Remainers, and the media, who are stirring up the trouble, if there is any, and not just the media fabricating and magnifying any disturbances.
For example, there was a big fuss from the police, and the media, about a race hate incident on a Manchester tram.
But it was a merely verbal abuse, by drunks that might just as easily have “attacked” a fat b’stard, a four-eyed git, a fat s1ag, or a ginger minger, or a trendy-lefty Guardianista for that matter.
They were “abusing” a Latino Yank and telling him to go back to Africa, about as far as you can get from the Brexit agenda.
On the Manchester Police Faceplace thingy the usual suspects were calling for the “attackers” to be locked up for life and throw the key away if they can’t actually be hung, as well as abusing anyone who was a Leaver.
And when a contributor pointed out that on the same day there had been a physical assault on a bus driver and a s€xual assault on a YOUNG girl (7?) and no one, least of all the Police, were taking any notice of them, another responded that they were political point-scoring and of course ALL THREE incidents were EQUALLY serious?!?!?
However, the Bus driver incident was referred to in passing in later news.
Supposedly someone (a drunk?) had phoned a Caribbean rest home and made threats, which necessitated a full evacuation and lock-down situation across Greater Manchester?!?!?
Apparently it was in retaliation for the attack on the bus driver, which would indicate that the driver was white, and the attackers not, but I’m guessing, because the reports I’ve seen never mentioned any such details?!?!?
It would be interesting to hear the “details” of the s€xual assault too.
And whether the Remainers feel that by their campaign they were giving the green light to assaults on the indigenous population by immigrants!
And I note that another lead story is of the widowed pensioner who had excrement pushed through her letterbox and daren’t leave her home.
Which, strangely, is EXACTLY the same story Enoch Powell told in his so-called “Rivers of Blood” speech (which had nothing to do with blood, never mind rivers of it), except his widowed pensioner who had excrement pushed through her letterbox and daren’t leave her home was English, not German, and the press insisted his story was a LIE! (it was eventually shown to be true, he’s just been prepared to sacrifice his reputation to protect her) unlike the current one which they automatically accept to be gospel.
Leave Is On The Wrong Side Of History/Out Of Step With Civilised Opinion
According To A Spectator Article the latest Pew Global Attitudes Survey reports that 73 per cent of voters in Holland oppose ‘ever closer union’, and 85 per cent in Sweden. In Greece, it’s 86 per cent. Even in core EU member states like Germany, Italy and France, no fewer than 68, 65 and 60 per cent of voters, respectively, reject Brussels-driven empire building.
Hardly Any/Ony 13% Of Our Laws Come From Brussels/60% Is A LIE!
The two figures come from the SAME report:
13% of our laws are written in Westminster under EU direction.
49% of our laws are written in Brussels.
62% in Total of our laws come from the EU
And one of Remain’s Project FEAR SCARES was that we are entangled in so much Brussels red tape and regulations that if we voted Leave it would take decades to untangle, if it was at all possible, during which time our government would be paralysed, our economy destroyed, our children’s futures ruined, World War Three would start and the World would End!!!
“And remember, they can’t undo the decision we take. If we vote out, that’s it. It is irreversible. We will leave Europe for good.”
But once we voted for leave we had to have another referendum to reverse the irreversible and do the undoable?!?!
A (Or Was It Two) Company(/ies) Are THINKING Of Leaving The UK If The UK Leaves The EU
I’m aware of around half a dozen at least significant, if not major international, companies announcing they were moving to the UK, or were going ahead with major investments in the UK, in the run up to the Referendum, REGARDLESS of whether we left the EU!
Strangely, despite the massive media coverage of the companies THINKING of leaving, there was almost NO coverage of the companies actually coming or investing here, I’m only aware of them because people had picked the stories up in their local papers and spread the word on social media!
Leave Should Have Had A Bigger Lead/60% Of the Vote To Count
Remain had a Remain campaign group, with it’s Remain budget.
Plus the Government campaigning for Remain, with an even bigger budget.
Plus most of the Labour Party, and the Lib Dems, and the SNP……
Plus the government had been preparing the Remain campaign months in advance (eg “asking” companies who do – £BILLIONS of – business with the government to support the Remain campaign and even put statements into their annual reports saying their company would be harmed by Brexit).
Plus the Remain camp had access to Civil Service support while the few Leave Ministers weren’t even allowed to see documents relating to the EU in the run up to the referendum!
The original, true-blue, dyed in the wool, dedicated Leave campaigners, UKIP, were relegated to a support act and the Leave campaign funding was given to a new Leave campaign group chosen by the government of dubious dedication and resolve.
Oh, and the Remainers had most of the media, the luvvies, the Bank of England, the Police, the EU, friendly overseas politicians, EU employees and former employees (who lose their diamond encrusted EU pension if they don’t support the EU), even the traditionally Eurosceptic unions, which Cameron bought with changes to Trade Union Legislation, etc, spouting propaganda on its behalf, and spreading Project FEAR and Project SHAME spin!!!
All that was worth far more than 10% ! ! !
Leave Did Not Have A clear win:
(Copied from someone else’s post)
In a binary referendum the winner is the one who achieves 50% + 1 vote.
Leave won with 50% + 1,269,501 votes.
Leave won 270 polling areas
Remain won 129 polling areas
Leave won in 9 regions
Remain won in 3 regions
Translated into seats under our present FPTP system (bit of fun, I know)
Leave 440 seats
Remain 220 seats
The margin of victory for Leave is clear, convincing and brooks no argument.
The New Prime Minister Won’t/Doesn’t Have A Mandate/There Should Be A General Election
In the UK we don’t have a President.
We don’t vote for a Prime Minister.
We vote for local candidates to become MPs.
The one who has the best chance of forming government does so.
If that person dies, resigns, or whatever, then the next most likely takes over and forms a government from the current intake of MPs until the next election.
The Tories have a majority in parliament, holding a referendum was in their manifesto, it was made quite clear in the enabling act that the government intended to honour the will of the people, there was a majority for Leave, May is the new leader of the party with the majority and is forming the new government, which will take us out of the EU, there is nothing there that would trigger an election, regardless of whether anybody is happy with it or not.
[British] “Europol chief says Brexit would harm UK crime-fighting” – Guardian
“Rob Wainwright says UK risks losing access to a European security database used daily by police”
“….leaving the EU meant the UK would become ‘a second-tier member of our club'”
After the Referendum he told the Today programme:
“We’re dealing very much with a globalised problem that requires close co-operation with our European neighbours, particularly in information sharing. That’s going to continue of course, even after the UK leaves the EU.”
According to the Spectator:
“Wainwright will know that Britain will still certainly have a working relationship with Europol: There is a long list of countries from outside the EU, including the likes of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine, who do at the moment. Whilst further afield, Australia, Canada and the Colombia enjoy an ‘operational agreement’ with Europol.”
Scotland voted to stay in the EU.
The Referendum was on: “should the UK remain in or leave the EU”.
The UK voted to leave.
Scotland voted to remain in the UK in their Independence Referendum.
In the full knowledge of the impending EU Brexit Referendum!
How can you say that?! 72% of Remainers voted because of the lies told them by Osborne and the Treasury report. How many Leave supporters voted because they thought £350m a week was going to be spent on the NHS? it doesn’t even appear on any polls as a reason.
So you wouldn’t mind a rerun of the referendum with strict controls on lies applying to both sides?
Yes if I could make that fantasy world a reality, I’d be delighted! With a formal repudiation of the Treasury reports and a fair and balanced analysis of the options it would be clear that Brexit creates significant long term economic gains, and the Leave vote would become a landslide.
Do let me know if you have discovered a way to stop politicians lying – it would be an extraordinary innovation!
“it would be clear that Brexit creates significant long term economic gains” Yet another lie or, at least, an unprovable assertion of faith!
A lie is a statement the person making it knows to be false. So tone down your language.
If you want to class all forecasts about the future, including your own warnings, as ‘unprovable assertions of faith’ I will happily agree to a truce on that.
If you want to have a serious debate about this and prove you are the intelligent educated and informed intellectual you claim to be, then get your slide rule out and come back with some…any? credible economic factors and the evidence for them that might lead to Brexit not creating positive long term gains.
Steady on Charles!
First, I said lies or, to give you and your fellow Brexiters the benefit of the doubt, “unprovable assertions of faith’ so I didn’t say they were definitely lies.
Secondly, when and where did I claim to be an ” intelligent educated and informed intellectual”? It really is a very old and overdone debating trick to criticize an opponent for saying something he didn’t say.
Are you saying you’re not educated, intelligent or informed?
My apologies for being presumptuous.
Quod erat demonstrandum.
Incredible aren’t they – a very large bus with a very large lie on its side and apparently was nothing to do with persuading people.
If an advertisment is not legal, decent, honest and truthful is must not run – how about applying that to Leave lies and ensuring article 50 is not triggered until they hold up !
Democratic control over national policy – what a laugh. The Tories have thrown off the restraint of coalition and now the EU – watch out for totally right wing economics that will crucify the very voters they fooled.
It’s really quite sad that this is all you have to talk about.
Like almost every Leaver I ever met I think the £350m figure was a mistake to use. It’s factually correct, that is the gross figure, but misleading. £100m which they eventually promised would have been quite enough and made the same point. I believe they did it because it wound up Remainers so much that they all made fools of themselves going on and on about it, which multiplied the airtime given to it, and made the Remain side look silly and petty. still does.
It pales into insignificance compared to the Remain lies told to us repeatedly over 40 years since they first lied to us by calling it the Common Market. A dedicated and consistent policy of deliberate propaganda has been waged on us based on Jean Monet’s open strategy of hiding political union behind a pretense of economic benefits. The length and depth of this campaign of misinformation should make any Remainer think about glass houses and recoil in horror.
But if you want to just carry on whining about how unfair it is that someone put a number on their bus as a windup. You go ahead and get suckered in.
Sad we latch on to the largest lie – hardly. In any case there are well written summaries of the (long) list elsewhere. There was intent to deceive and – like all good propaganda – it was repeated until too many people believed it.
Deliver on all the promises or admit you place ideology above country.
Sad we latch on to what “largest lie” – hardly!
In any case, what figure should have been used. Over to you, Give us the correct, exact, actual figure for 2016.
Or, if you’re going to argue that you can’t be expected to give the correct, exact, actual figure off the top of your head, tell us where the correct, exact, actual figure can be found.
But bear in mind that the net figure depends on ACTUAL grants or subsidies claimed AND drawn (and in full compliance with the rules, subject to cancellation/withdrawal/penalties for failure to use the grants properly/quickly enough).
AND the “rebate” depends on GDP, which is reviewable up to three years later, AND it also depends on the amount of EU grants the UK draws, according to a complicated formula.
So if you c\n point us to the actual, accurate, net figure for 2016, AVAILABLE BEFORE THE BUS WAS SIGNWRITTEN, feel free to do so.
Otherwise stop whinging about using the nominal gross figure!!!
Even Farage admitted after the referendum that the £350m was wrong, so give up defending the indefensible.
Feel free to provide the quote where Farage said “the £350m was wrong”.
And talking of defending the indefensible, you “forgot” to give us the “correct” figure (complete with working, as you’ve had extra time!).
Probably little we can do to ever get those responsible for “Project Reckless” to even acknowledge what they have done. We will just have to ride out the consequences somehow.
I have a cousin who voted Leave. But he was recovering from brain surgery, and I couldn’t hold him culpable whichever way he voted. I guess there must have been many in the country who were not really in a position to make a responsible decision.
But it was a mistake holding this referendum…….
So now you have a cousin who voted Leave because he was recovering from brain surgery, and so couldn’t be held culpable and you guess there must have been many in the country who were not really in a position to make a responsible decision, and presumably voted Leave too, according to you.
That appears to be your sole “Remaining” argument, along with the rest of the Remain camp!
Oh, no, you also had:
“On the day following the referendum result a german friend, who has lived in York for many years, found, for no apparent reason other than nationality, dog faeces shoved through her letter box.”
Just like the German widowed pensioner in Enoch Powell’s river of blood speech!
Except that his turned out to be real!!!
You seem to have a friend or relative for every political anecdote you tell.
Well done BJ! If you don’t have a logical answer yourself, just attack your opponents personally and cast doubt on what they say.
Unlike people who imply Brexiters need brain surgery?!
You’ve done it yet again! I have never said that so attack me for what I haven’t said but, if the cap is small enough to fit, ….
No, YOU’ve done it again!
Yes, you haven’t actually SAID that!!
But you’ve made it perfectly clear that it’s what you are trying to insinuate!!!
Sorry about the Brain Surgery illustration, B J. I really did not mean to imply you need it. In fact, I was trying to give an illustration of why we cannot hold all Leavers culpable.
(Honestly, it feels like having to explain things to that character in the movie “A Fish Called Wanda” who keeps shouting, “….Don’t call me stupid…!!”)
Classic snidey passive aggressive attempt at a bien-pensant put-down!
You’re sorry about the Brain Surgery illustration, you really didn’t mean to imply *I* needed it.
In fact, you were just trying to give an illustration of why we cannot hold all Leavers, presumably like me, culpable.
No, no. You don’t think *I* need brain surgery!
You just think I’m that I’m like that character in the movie “A Fish Called Wanda” who keeps shouting, “….Don’t call me stupid…!!
So that’s alright then, you do have a reasoned, logical, “argument” for siding with your Remain friends!!!
Peter – I think “Mr” BJM has proved you’re right!
I see from the latest Ch4 Despatches program that poorer EU countries like Poland are having to replace their labour lost to richer countries like the UK with even poorer labour from places like the Philippines and, errrrrmmmmm, effectively slave labour from North Korea!
Will they be able to get EU passports in a few years, or wouldn’t their minders allow it?!
So much for free movement!!!
You do confuse me B J. Now you want the EU to give Philippino workers and North Korean slaves EU passports. Just when we’re about to lose ours. What you have against these poor people I do not know. I see little cause to discriminate against them. Perhaps they could make better EU citizens than some of us?
In any case, I am pretty sure that EU laws would restrict this kind of labour force in Poland and try to establish rights for them just as for other workers in the EU.
You certainly are confused!
Where did I say I want the EU to give them EU passports?
Where did I say I have anything against these people or see cause to discriminate against them?
But why do you think they could make better EU citizens than some of us? Is it because they are used to unquestioningly obeying dictatorial orders?!
And how can you say you are pretty sure that EU laws would restrict this kind of labour force AND try to establish rights for them just as for other workers in the EU?!?!
I fail to comprehend most of your expression, B J.
But regarding freedom of movement, I think it is going to be complex to resolve a negotiation of this which restricts it more than it already is for the UK, if we are going to still have some effective membership of the EU post-Brexit.
And if we do not, as the IFS report out today concludes, then the 8 bn saved from payments to EU pre-Brexit will be MORE THAN offset by the loss of tax revenue due to of lack of membership. (And that is not the only cost to us.)
I have yet to her a constructive suggestion from a Leaver as to how we could improve on freedom of movement.
I agree with you Peter.
Would one of the Brexiters kindly tell us exactly how leaving the EU will reduce immigration because they didn’t tell us during the referendum campaign? There are three types of immigration:
Leaving the EU cannot reduce illegal immigration . It might even increase it if fewer EU citizens can enter legally.
Leaving the EU cannot reduce immigration from outside the EU. Indeed, some Brexiters said they didn’t want to reduce immigration overall. They merely wanted to end discrimination against non-EU immigration (e.g. from the Commonwealth) so non-EU immigration could increase. Perhaps the Government could reduce non-EU immigration but successive Governments have not done so within the EU and leaving the EU isn’t going to make it any easier.
Well at least EU immigration would reduce with the end of free movement of people, or would it? Some Brexiters were talking about the UK enjoying the economic advantages of EEA membership outside the EU – but EEA members have to accept the free movement of people and, unlike EU members, cannot veto new EU members!
Eea article 112 allows the use of unilateral safeguarding measures which can be activated to control eea immigration (i.e 7 year emergency brake). Lichtenstein/eea deal can put quotas on immigration. An fta deal can restrict eu immigration.
Illegals can be better controlled with stronger sentences for employers.
Non-eu immigration can be reduced.
“Illegals can be better controlled with stronger sentences for employers.” Immigration control is the Government;’s responsibility and it should not delegate responsibility to employers or landlords. Be that as it may, the measure you suggest could be done as easily inside as outside the EU so leaving the EU will NOT reduce illegal immigration.
“Non-eu immigration can be reduced.” Quite so and it could be reduced without our leaving the EU but successive Governments didn’t do it, so leaving the EU will NOT reduce non-EU immigration. Indeed some Brexiters complained that the EU’s free movement principle discriminated against non-EU immigrants so they.presumably wanted even more of them. This brings us back to the point that the only thing Brexiters agreed on was to leave the EU. They could not, and Do not, agree with each other on what to do afterwards.
Only when framed within your set of opinions. Outside your set of opinions then the range of solutions offered by different Brexit camps are vast.
Migration led growth was obviously a political choice which ultimately contributed to Brexit. Leaving the EU will obviously change immigration policy rather than keep it as it was. Just a different set of opinions.
You are right that the range of solutions offered by different Brexit camps is vast, That’s one of the problems. Brexiters could not even agree among themselves.
Just get on with Brexit? Which of the many versions?
You haven’t answered my comments about immigration. Obviously leaving the EU cannot reduce non-EU or illegal immigration. They might be reduced but it would not be because of leaving the EU.
EU immigration cannot be reduced unless we go without some kind of free trade agreement with the EU, which some Brexit camps want and keep assuring us we can have. Which camp are you in?
Quite obviously Brexit is a negotiated withdrawal package that occurs between the UK and the EU. To devote time and energy to a fixed UK defined package and then expect the EU to simply accept it is totally unreasonable. As such Brexit always has been undefined since how can you speculate with any surity what 28 seperate nations are going to agree on.
However red lines are being drawn in terms of the political pressure behind eu immigration control, democratic control over economic and trade policy, eu contributions, CAP, fishing, access to the single market. Similarly each eu state is drawing its own red lines. The outcome will be some synthesis in relation to the varying amounts of political pressure. My guess will be some efta deal with immigration control.
It could be argued that eu membership does increase non-eu immigration. Not pnly does eu membership increase the likelihood of non-eu nationals married to eu nationals entering the country. Also a policy of migration led growth eventually requires migrants to service migrants and so any shortfalls will require non-eu nationals.
The challenge for the Tories is how to grow the economy for the benefit of the Establishment without resorting to migration led growth otherwise the Establishment will either be forced to share public resources more equitably (think £100,000 quango establishment wages) or else renage on immigration reduction and risk a political backlash.
My red lines …
Democratic control over economic and trade policy
Managed immigration in relation to greenbelt, budget deficit and infrastructural carrying capacity.
Hear! Hear! – and even stronger sentence for traffickers and ‘agencies’ that make slaves of people
Clearly your problem is that when you read something from someone you assume is a Brexiter you assume what they are saying and then assume what you’re supposed to reply.
Let me clarify things for you:
You got it wrong on every count!
Now try reading what I actually wrote!!!
PS And your mate Anthony T seems to be as confused as you are.
He’s also wrong on all three counts.
I’d tell him but I don’t appear to be able to reply to his pot?!
Does Australia have immigrant camps 22 miles off its coat and problems deporting criminal, even terrorist, immigrants.
And how is Lichtenstein doing despite its Ever Closer to full rejection of Freedom of Movement?!
I see some comments, particularly from some Leave supporters, are quite vitriolic. Some are apologetic for the Leave cause, still trying to score points (over what, to me anyway, is spilled milk) more than addressing the substance of the article.
Perhaps this is a sign that whether or not we have yet seen how the Brexit referendum will result is still as alive in the minds of these Leave supporters as it is with those of us (in the UK and the rest of the world) who are trying to work out how it all went so wrong. (I suspect even Boris was shocked with the result and realised he had over egged the pudding!)
But it also indicates how disintegrated the caucus of Leave supporters is: Some Leave supporters apologise for their choice by distinguishing it from the main reason motivating Leave as identified in the article – banging the drum of anit-foreigner sentiment. From my own sampling of Leave voters explanations, I would agree with the author that anti-foreigner sentiment, particularly exacerbated in some demographics, was indeed the main cause.
(We should be careful to distinguish “anti-foreigner sentiment” from “racism.” – They may overlap sometimes, but they have different etiologies.)
As the author points out, there is historical precedence for how such anti-foreigner sentiment can be manipulated by power mongers to disastrous effect. Our concern should now be how to prevent anything similar happening here, and elsewhere in Europe, post-Brexit.
Remain voters have not been uncritical of the EU and I think most would agree the need for radical reforms in the way it operated. They would be much in agreement with points made in some of the Leave supporters comments here. But the strategy for how to effect necessary change has been key for Brexit – Whether to run away or stay in the fray. We are now on course to run away. The ground is uncertain and the costs of leaving and negotiating a new position will hit us hard. Undoubtedly. We have a lot to be concerned about.
I agree and I seriously doubt that England, Wales and Gibraltar as one unit, can negotiate a satisfactorily trade deal with EU – without accepting all four (4) freedoms. And then there is nothing at all to gain to Brexit from EU.
However Scotland it is different case. This country strongly wants to be in EU and have the four freedoms an EU membership gives. It is therefore likely that Scotland break out of GB at the next general election.
If so happens, it is not necessary for Scotland to join EU as a sovereign country. In fact Scotland can be even more better off joining Iceland and Norway in a new negotiated EES deal.
Together those three and relatively small countries:
* Almost all of the North Sea oil and gas explorations.
* Almost all fish quotas in the North Sea
* Almost all fisheries and fishing boats in the North sea
* Close to all fish farms in the in the North Sea.
On top of that, it is a lot of metalls and minerals hided in the Icelandic, Norwegian and Scottish mountains that could prove new g”gold days” after the oil ages.
So YES, Scotland could do better without an EU membership by joining Iceland and Norway in an extended EES deal.
I am seriously considering moving back to Scotland. I lived there very happily for some years and could imagine doing so again. Wonderful place! Insightful culture! And, as demonstrated at the Brexit referendum, people with respectable IQ!.
Peter D_S, if you want to post the “contribution” that you think that Brexiters lack insight, lack culture, have a low IQ, and that you couldn’t imagine sharing a country with them in the majority as it would be a horrible place because you, in contrast, are insightful and of high IQ, and add to the culture of any place you would be happy to inhabit, have the courage to say it out straight
You would not be so worried if you carried out a careful analysis of the costs vs the gains. Growth in ROW trade even at historic rates, would outweigh loss of EU trade from WTO tariffs in under a year. That’s before the benefits of new trade deals and lower regulatory costs.
There is clearly worry on all sides that Brexit will not be executed well, but the biggest risk is overestimated the benefits of the Single Market, and thus trying too hard to hang on to it. The Single Market is not a free trade area, it’s a customs union with a heavy regime of regulation. We don’t need either.
Continuing the pudding analogy, the pudding requires proving.
I do not think we have enough information for a sufficiently careful analysis of cost/benefits/risks as you suggest. Charles, you propose that taking the riskiest option will definitely bring a big win: Just lie that guy on ITV breakfast television who tempts people with (the remote chance of ) winning cars and villas in a lottery.
I don’t think which economists are most trusted is of much consequence – what matters is which ones are most often right. Which ones are?
It is hard to see why any Remain economists would think their message was not getting through. Pretty much every commentator or talking head on the BBC, Sky and even the ‘Leave’ press appeared to conclude Remain had ‘won’ the economic argument. 72% of those voting Remain did so because of the economic argument (see gqrr.com). This is a remarkable achievement given how misleading and flawed the Remain economic argument was. Mainly this was thanks to the Treasury publishing two massive reports which the main Leave campaigns, to the anger and frustration of all intelligent Leave campaigners, chose not to respond to.
The Treasury conclusions that Brexit would cause a massive recession and loss of long term growth was parroted by a large majority of economists, almost none of whom made any attempt at critical appraisal. The groupthink position appears to have been: The Single Market creates more trade, leaving it must create less trade, less trade means less growth: nothing to question here. Yet this looks increasingly lazy, the first two assumptions at least deserve serious questions. The Single Market has produced no growth in 10 years and created 21m unemployed, membership involves heavy and growing regulatory and cash costs, and it suppresses trade with the rest of the world through enforced external tariffs and trade deals that take 10-15 years to conclude rather than the 1-2 years Britain could achieve on its own.
On the face of it therefore the Leave side should have won the economic argument with ease. Brexit means additional global markets opening up, regulatory costs going down, cash saved from the membership fee, and continued trade with the EU, either on a free trade basis that everyone wants (except Brussels politicians), or with minimal WTO tariffs. That should have been the position to debate.
So given the positive outlook post Brexit how did the Treasury reports manage to paint such a negative picture of the post-Brexit economic future? They did it by basing their financial model on seriously misleading and biased assumptions and making it so complex it would take weeks to pick apart which which time the campaign would be all but over. This strategy worked well: 72% of the Remain vote were convinced it was the true and fair representation of the options. But consider the extent to which the Treasury had to manipulate the assumptions to get the answer they wanted:
1. Not a single known and accepted benefit from Brexit was included in the ‘balanced’ evaluation of the two options
2. Assumed Britain would not do a single trade deal outside the EU in the 15 years post Brexit (yet within a few weeks we had offers from 27 countries and counting)
3. Assumed that because Poland, Hungary et al experienced huge growth in productivity & FDI from joining the EU, that there was a direct correlation and thus Britain would experience an equal and opposite reduction in productivity and FDI from leaving (taking us back to Communist era levels). No hypotheses for why this might happen were given (this absurd assumption alone accounted for almost the entire recession predicted)
4. Assumed the UK Govt would enact policies in the Brexit scenario that were deliberately bad for the economy
5. Failed to account for any of the serious and well known risks from the European debt crisis in the Remain scenario
6. Used a ‘gravity’ model whose predictions were materially wrong even when tested on historic fact. A model so biased it predicts the US would be better off it it joined the Eurozone. A model that assumes we are a ‘typical’ EU country that does 90% of its trade within the EU, when in fact for Britain it’s close to 40% and shrinking by the month even before Brexit, while our exports to the rest of the world are booming – growing by 7% per year even without trade deals with the biggest destinations.
7. Even with these manipulations the reports showed Brexit would lead to a substantial gain in wealth for families in their Brexit scenario yet Osborne brazenly claimed families would be £4,300 “worse off”. A lie at least as bad as the £350m from the Leave side, and for which Osborne was formally castigated by the Treasury Select Committee although sadly they did no analysis of the report itself. The £4,300 figure was repeated uncritically by the BBC and many others without qualification throughout the campaign. 72% of Remain voters believed it was right, or at least roughly right. Yet a balanced evaluation show a strong likelihood that Brexit will lead to higher growth.
Bear in mind this report was published by what is meant to be a scrupulously neutral civil service, and was endorsed by the Treasury and the Chancellor of the Exchequer using all the significant trust and credibility of his office, as being an honest and fair appraisal of the two alternatives facing voters. This was a serious abuse of public trust and fiduciary responsibility.
Since we’re not allowed to criticise the blog writer in any way if we want our comment to be published, I’ll stick to asking a few innocent questions of Van Reenen:
– Did he read those Treasury reports in full?
– Did he spot those examples of bias and manipulation?
– If he did, did he bring them to the attention of the voting public during his many media appearances?
– In his own work did he take account of any of the benefits of Brexit in any of his calculations?
– In his own work did has he conducted any critical analysis of whether the Single Market has a measurable net benefit? The EU’s own numbers suggest the costs outweigh the benefits, particularly for a country like the UK for whom such a small portion of external trade is with the EU.
– Specifically did he evaluate the potential for a free trade agreement between the UK and EU?
– Given 72% of Remain voters did so overwhelmingly because of this economic argument, how does he think they would vote if they saw those economic arguments fall apart
– Does he agree that if enough members of the Establishment continue to repeat a narrative diminishing British people and prospects, that this alone can drive the country into a recession? Does he therefore agree that economists have a responsibility to change the narrative and begin writing about the potential from Brexit?
– Regardless of his answers to the above will he actively work to improve business and consumer confidence in the UK going forward, and promote trade deals with the rest of the world?
“So given the positive outlook post brexit”. Um.. we haven’t left yet. You cannot say the economic predictions were wrong yet given article 50 has not yet been executed.
As the economic situation has worsened since the referendum result, the fact that the Government hasn’t yet triggered Article 50 is irrelevant. The Bank of England has reduced its growth forecast from 2.3% in May to 0.8% this month.
Before the referendum the BoE forecast that in the event of a leave vote the economy would lapse into recession, after, it now forecasts that the economy will not relapse into recession. The reason it gives is it’s own action.
This emphatically underlines the inherit unreliability of these sorts of analyses, even in the short term. Two months out, the BoE was unable to predict what it’s own reaction to a vote to leave would be. It certainly can’t predict the action of the myriad other elements of the economy.
Just as the a battle plan never survives contact with the enemy, economic forecasts never survive contact with reality.
That is true. I would personally ascribe most of that downgrade to the impact on sentiment from Project Fear – which becomes real if enough people believe it, but the dip from which would not last long, That is the position of all leave supporting economists I have read. And I have yet to see any study showing credible reasons why leaving the EU should generate more than a negligible impact. We await the actual growth figures over the next few months with interest.
We do indeed await actual growth figures.
But, as well as the impact on sentiment of “Project Fear” have these economists also considered the impact on sentiment of “Project Reckless?”
I would like to see a sentiment model based upon both. I do not expect that overall sentiment will prefer the incautious over the cautious.
That’s why it’s an ‘outlook’ not a historical fact.’Outlook’ in this context means a forward looking point of view
The world is round?!? Do you have any evidence of that?
Thank you everyone for your comments. As a reminder, if a comment does not appear, it may have breached our Comments Policy: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/about/
Two points from the policy in particular:
– No Personal Attack Comments Permitted: No personal attacks are permitted in this blog’s comments. You may question or argue the content, but not attack the blogger, nor any other commenters.
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My comment didn’t show up and didn’t contain personal attacks or offensive language. It did point out that the blogger made an assertion that is a cliched straw-man argument.
You don’t believe in free speech.
Why don’t you just be honest an admit to it?
You probably won’t publish this post – in the same way you don’t publish anti EU posts.
The irony is that the author moans about pro-brexit bias in the media.
I agree. Just shows that some people who do their research and thinking in an informal environment are treated as inferior to some that do their research and thinking in a formal environment.
interesting that this article has been repackage as https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexitvote/2016/08/04/why-we-lost-the-referendum-a-derided-expert-writes/ and there only attracted 2 comments. I wonder what is the rationale for this, any idea anyone?
I have to say that I have found most comments to this original version of the article ,whether I agreed with them or not, to be much more interesting and/or stimulating than the article which explains why so many are disenchanted with “experts”
Hi dubonsens – the LSE blogs frequently cross-post blog articles from other sources (we usually do one a day), either from within the LSE or outside. The rationale is simply to share the more popular posts or alternative perspectives to difference audiences. Hope that explains it.
to BPP team yes thank you for this comprehensive explanation
Dubonsens, What I find interesting is that the same piece was regurgitated a few days later without correcting any of the basic errors that were pointed out in the comments here, such as the unsubstantiated and false claim in the first paragraph. It’s also interesting that the author has made no attempt to respond to any of the criticisms made either here or on twitter. This emphasises your point about the disenchantment with the out-of touch elite ‘experts’.
to Paul Matthews agreed with both of your comments. What I also find interesting is that so much energy is being expanded at discussing the vote,. Yet now that we are where we are are, what we really need is to expand energy finding ways to make Brexit a success .One can only hope that both Leave and Remain voters could see they share the common interest of trying to secure the best future.
Very good article, clear, factual, convincing. Pity most comments are disappointing…including this one
For the record, it’s not only London that didn’t buy the immigration lie. Scotland voted to remain in the EU and is an overwhelmingly multicultural and inclusive society. It also doesn’t buy into the media lies as the majority of newspapers wouldn’t dare publish their racist and xenophobic headlines in their Scottish editions. The BBC gave the same performance as they did in the independence referendum – not worthy of calling themselves balanced. I hope that Scotland can remain in the EU if necessary at the expense of the Union.
My view is that both campaigns were wrong. For reasons which are not clear to me the Remain campaign decided that Project Fear would frighten the electorate into voting to remain. Hence in a four month campaign I heard not a single benefit of being in the EU. Not one. Now, that may mean that there aren’t any, or such as they are the government decided that they wouldn’t sway the argument.
On the Leave side that bus with the £350M/day to the EU was foolish, and a lie, because the rebate reduces it to £250M/day, which is a big number anyway. The promise that this could be spent on the NHS was also mendacious, but as lies go was expecting a very gullible public to swallow it. In any event no amount of money will fix the NHS as it’s free at that point of contact, but that’s another story.
As for immigration, I think the Leave point was fair, they wanted immigration, but to control it. We are currently growing our population by some 300,000 immigrants a year (be careful of this number because a large number of foreign students seem to be included in it). Most of the pundits and readers of this blog, including myself, can see the benefits of mass immigration in terms of cheaper labour, and sparklingly fresh cars. We aren’t at the end of the line looking for council housing, or good schools for our children in areas of deprivation, or competing for unskilled jobs. It behoves us therefore to look at the plight of our existing fellow citizens of all races colours and creeds and mitigate it with an immigration policy that controls the flow of unskilled, and indeed unemployable, immigration.
I’m a leaver and like most of the leavers I”ve met I believe that immigration is a good thing for our country, which, by the way, has a history of accepting and incorporating immigrants.
So to the article. The author starts out by saying that that the immigration issue won the day. It did not. Others have put it more eloquently than I could, but the overriding reason for voting leave was the democratic deficit of the the governance of the EU. A deficit that is planned to grow, ultimately ending in a United States of Europe. Read the 5 Presidents report. What will the UK be then? A province of Europe? A USE protectorate?
For those who argue that this isn’t going to happen, presumably because it doesn’t fit with what they want to happen, one of the “concessions given to David Cameron was that the UK could opt out of ever closer union.
So I take issue with the author, immigration, although important was never the major reason for people voting to leave, it was, as the polls of shown because of the democratic deficit that 59% of leavers voted to leave, with 33% voting because of immigration, and I doubt very much all 33% wanted a ban on immigration.
The British people aren’t racist Mr. Van Reenan, nor are the stupid, they voted by 52 to 48% to leave a trading bloc that has almost halved its share of world trade since we joined. That stifles the growth of third world economies by imposing trade barriers to protect inefficient EU producers, which increase food prices for the people of the EU. That has dabble in foreign policy with Russia with disastrous results and intends to have it’s own army to support this foreign policy. That is increasing its hegemony over our lives by stealth and whose intention it is to form a superstate United States of Europe. They chose well.
The British people
Thanks Gerry, I agree completely.
Re the campaign lies: It looks like both sides lied, although in any election it’s the winner’s lies that show up strongest (losers are in less of a position to break their promises. That said, I think the PM said that in the event of a Brexit win he wouldn’t resign and he’d open negotiations to leave the the EU; the Chancellor threatened a punitive budget. Neither has happened.)
It’s hardly news: “SHOCK AS POLITICIAN BREAKS PROMISE — OPPONENTS ACCUSE HER OF LYING”. I voted Labour in ’97 because of their manifesto promise to renationalise the railways; once in power Prescott said it couldn’t be done. I suspect millions of people voted Tory on the back of Cameron’s promise to cut net migration to the tens of thousands.
Politicians lie, they over-promise and under-deliver. It’s what they do. It’s what they’ve always done. You just have to factor it in when listening to them. Democracy invariably comes with a side order of lies. The only way to escape lies / broken promises is not to have elected leaders. You never see EU Commissioners lying or breaking their promises for example . . .
Worth remembering, too, that although both sides “lied” (ie have gone back on their word), the govt did all it could to tilt the playing field in favour of Remain. A £9m taxpayer-funded (my money!!) leaflet drop to every household and the intervention of senior civil servants (inc the Governor of the BoE) are pretty big unfair advantages. I wonder if a truly level playing field would have given Leave a few more percentage points? Anyway, what’s done is done and we are where we are. But when talking about the campaign it’s worth remembering this as well.
“We are currently growing our population by some 300,000 immigrants a year (be careful of this number because a large number of foreign students seem to be included in it). “
Of the 333,000 net increase in population in the latest figures is included 1,090 net increase in foreign students in further and higher education, about 0.3% of the net increase
Gerry, I think the point is that “immigration,” rightly or wrongly was made the issue by a large proportion of Leave voters, particularly in some demographic areas.
I think the jury could still be out on whether the British People have actually chosen anything: The result of the referendum did not come by a sufficient margin and even if “Brexit means Brexit” it is still unclear what Brexit means. Do not expect those British People who feel disenfranchised by this referendum to sit idly by.
Good points – especially “I think the jury could still be out on whether the British People have actually chosen anything …it is still unclear what Brexit means”.
“We are currently growing our population by some 300,000 immigrants a year (be careful of this number because…..”
It’s NET immigration.
Our population is growing by much more than the net population figure but we were already one of the most densely populated real countries 9ie as opposed to places like Hong Kong, Monaco, Singapore, etc, with massive hinterlands over the border or tax havens “full” of tax exiles) not just in Europe, but the world. For example, if we had the same population density as France our population would be 14 Million, not 64 Million!
And double the net immigration is coming in, but “balanced” by emigration. SO we are benefiting from refugees and economic migrants from the third and second world and losing people of independent means who are taking their money abroad and skilled workers who are taking their skills abroad.
How long would it take for the country to be emptied of its workers and filled with shirkers.
More to the point, how long before tourists don’t recognise the country they land in as Britain or England?!
Not forgetting the City of Leicester, too.
Wasn’t Leicester the first city where the English became a minority?
Isn’t it now minority white?!
Some might think those “racist” comments, but, guess what, not even those immigrants from Africa or the Indian sub-continent were fleeing TO Africa or the Indian sub-continent.
Does anyone know the FULL UN definition of genocide?!
Although a reversal of the overall result, also with insignificant margin.
But you make the point that the overall result was indeed questionable.
The Remain side insists that we are still supposedly a sovereign state.
And according to the EU it is heading for ever closer union until a federal state is achieved.
The only issue is whether there are going to be different speed tracks leading to the same destination, and how fast we are going to travel to the end of the line (hit the buffers?!)!
So a Leave vote is a vote for the status quo, to retain sovereignty, which would normally only require a majority of one single vote.
However, a vote to Remain, would be a vote to remain on one of the tracks heading to ever closer union, federation, and total surrender of sovereignty.
And, as the Remain camp repeatedly told us, this vote would be final, no going back, once we choose we will be stuck forever with the decision, so voting to remain on the one-way, no going back, track to total sovereignty surrender, is clearly something that would require a super majority:
60%? 66.6%? 75% even?!
So, unless the Remain vote was at least 60%, the Remain vote would not be legitimate as the majority wasn’t big enough to surrender sovereignty for all time:
Especially as parliament doesn’t have the right to, as it can’t bind the next parliament.
Whereas a Leave vote with a majority of just one single vote would be legitimate and should be accepted!
For the record, Scotland didn’t vote to remain in, or leave, the EU. There wasn’t a Scotland vote. The UK is an overwhelmingly multicultural and inclusive society, and the Scottish people voted as part of the UK electorate, having voted in the Scottish Independence Referendum to Remain in the UK, in full knowledge of the impending Brexit Referendum!
As for the BBC giving the same performance as they did in the independence referendum – not worthy of calling themselves balanced, true:
Wasn’t it in a BBC debate where the audio feed of the Leave campaign summing up, which would have provided the following day’s Leave headlines, to the Press room, “accidentally” went dead.
And the level of “balance” in your contribution is demonstrated by your comment that you:
“hope that Scotland can remain in the EU if necessary at the expense of the Union”!
It is not necessary for Scotland to apply for EU membership to keep the “Four Freedoms” IF Scotland decide to leave GB. Scotland can get even more if the join up with EFTA members as Iceland and Norway.
Together those three relatively small countries have extremely good cards om hand to play out in a n eventual coming EES negotiation with EU:
– The tree countries controls almost all gas and oil in the North Sea.
– The tree countries controls almost all fish and fisheries in the North Sea
– The tree countries controls almost all fish farms in Europe
And on top of that Scotland controls and exports the best Single Malt Whisky – and Norway the best Aquavit in the world
Thank you for pointing that out. I was just about to post a comment that charged him with being anglo-centric and forgetting about Scotland and Northern Ireland’s pro-EU position. I hope he rectifies his egregious error.
I am sure that “Sir Humphrey” pointed out to David Cameron some contingencies and disadvantages of a referendum, and recommended a minimum turnout and vote, and the agreement of all the four nations of the UK. But Cameron’s approach was frivolous and arrogant, and his claim to have “reformed” the EU in a few meetings was absurd. He showed no sense of our past, our future, our place in the world, or our constitution.
History will record him as the PM who:
• Could not control his parliamentary or his national party
• Thought he was a good tactician but found he was a bad strategist
• Inherited the UK and left Little England (because Scotland is likely to secede)
• Weakened Europe and the West
• Precipitated economic depression and national poverty
• Gave openings to demagoguery, prejudice, and narrow nationalism
• Made the biggest misjudgement since Anthony Eden in 1956.
Relatively little attention was given in the campaign to the racism in the EU project, both inherent and displayed. The whole idea of a “European identity” is based far more on race than on geography. As it was for the leadership of National Socialist Germany. “Festung Europa” has been implicit in the EU’s cultural, political and economic behaviour. Patrick Barkham’s article in the Guardian brings the EU’s racism into focus: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2007/feb/14/race.eu
Racism is ugly wherever it occurs. On the day following the referendum result a german friend, who has lived in York for many years, found, for no apparent reason other than nationality, dog faeces shoved through her letter box. I heard frequent reports indicating that an element of the British populace suddenly thought they had license to racially abuse. But I continue to hope this element is small. I hope that, by and large in this country, we have values which help us rise above such behaviour. I also continue to hope that this remains true in most of our european neighbours.
I would observe that, since 1648 and the Treaty of Westphalia, european nations have adopted a concept of nationhood (jewish in origin) based more on such values, and the legal protection of these values, than upon race or the struggle for empire. This is what has made us all, in our various ways, strong and, for a few hundred years, leading world cultures.
Yet I am now unsure this can continue: We have lost a common sense of values having secularised away the (religious) principles we once followed. (For instance the profession of Christianity in Britain is as of this year only by a minority.) We have created vacuums for extremist believers of various faiths (principally islam) to try to fill. Racism is resurgent where there is no belief system and values to counter it. This is irrespective of whether Britain is in or out of europe or the EU.
I think, therefore, that racism has very little to do with identifying with a common, united europe. Less so than do the set of values and legislature(s) to protect these. The assumption of common values across european nations is fundamental to their coming together at all. But even more fundamentally, we need to have practical common values systems within each nation. To my mind, this is where the rot starts……
Peter, the underlying racial basis of “European” identity has not been addressed. This issue is illustrated in the Guardian article I quoted. The horrendous paucity of ethnic minority representation in the European Parliament, or the lack, doubtless deliberate, of ethnic minority employment in EU offices – as revealed in that article – would not be permitted in the UK…
The recent demos in Poland, Slovakia and Hungary against “Moslem” refugees simply reinforce this racist message the EU sends out…. “European” was used as ‘polite’ shorthand for ‘white’ in apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia as well as in the old clubs of the British Em-pah. No wonder Hitler could talk about “the Asian hordes” poised to defile “Europe”, and Napoleon could warn about the “yellow peril”….
“European identity” has been the acceptable face of racism as practised by the British metropolitan elite…..
I don’t fully understand your argument, Roger: You seem to be saying that destroying or removing a “European identity” would remove racism. Instead (as I read you) you would like minority groups pushed to the fore, perhaps even disproportionately, so that their interests would be better represented. A “smorgasbord” of different ethnic groups would, if I read you correctly, substitute for an all-encompassing “European identity” and would particularly favour minority groups. But you indicate this principle should not apply to minority Europeans in the past of southern africa. (Plot lost for me here…)
I am worried by minority groups of thugs in some european countries (including those from the East you have listed above) attacking other minority groups (including moslems.) Such minority groups may or may not be racially constituted: Race actually is not the issue. Values are much more important than race in the groups’ identities.
The myth of racism has much too often masked real issues behind behaviours which I, for one, abhor. The use of the “racism” argument is sometimes as bad as racism per se.
The fact is that a European identity exists and is morally neutral w.r.t. race or the races it comprises. This does not stop instances of racism emerging amongst those who have it. But neither can I see how doing away with it would prevent racism – Some individuals would simply rebadge their xenophobia. (Just in the same way so many supporters of the defunct anti-apartheid movement transferred over to BDS without so much as a thought.)
Some would bang the “racism” drum wherever they can. But even if there is cause to criticise racism in the European Parliament or other parts of the EU Project, as the Guardian article finds, racism is not a key issue for post-Brexit.
Would this be the German widowed pensioner who was afraid to leave her home and had excrement pushed through her letterbox we’ve heard about on the news?
Strangely, that’s EXACTLY what happened to Enoch Powell’s English widowed pensioner in his “Rivers of Blood” speech (which had nothing to do with blood, never mind rivers of it, it was an allusion to a classical portent of doom) who the left insisted was a hoax made up by Powell.
However, HIS widowed pensioner who was afraid to leave her home and had excrement pushed through her letterbox was revealed to be real after her death. Powell would rather his reputation be tarnished than hers!
How about you?! Are you going to reveal all?!?!
No. She isn’t a pensioner.
Strangely, none of the foreigners, or ethnic Brits, I or any other Leaver know, or know of, have had any trouble whatsoever.
No, tell a lie, there was one guy, of immigrant extraction, with a German wife, and half-German kids, who got attacked in a pub with his family by a baying crowd of English Little EUers, and he also got abused by Scottish National Socialists on a number of occasions, and had to hide in a pub, under police protection, in the end, while visiting their country.
BBC News report 9 August 2016 on Post-Brexit racism:
“There’s been a sharp rise in reported hate crimes since the EU referendum…etc”
And that’s just the reported ones. The one I mentioned above was never reported to the police, since as the victim said, “….I am angry…but I do not want to let the perpetrators know I am angry..”
Civilised people should want to protect the vulnerable and establish justice. But that is getting difficult in this climate…
Yes, you see a lot of Remainers doing everything in their power to protect vulnerable Leave voters from left wing abuse.
Just look at the way they rallied round when Farage and his family were trying to have lunch in a pub……..
Oh, wait a minute!
In my experience, it was mainly the left and right wings (e.g. Galloway & Farage, encouraged by Trump & Putin) who wanted to leave and the moderate centrists, who wanted to remain.
Admittedly most of the traditional left (Benn, at al) who supported Leave, an most of the traditional Trades Unions (those who didn’t sell out to the Tories in a deal to rein in anti Union legislation in exchange for supporting Remain).
Then again Remain were led by the Heir to thatcher and the Heir to Blair.
Funny how people with no self awareness always see themselves as “Moderates”?!
“Funny how people with no self awareness always see themselves as “Moderates”?!” You said it!
Yes, well spotted, I said that!
Now, did you mean to imply you were a moderate?
So which of Farage, Galloway and the others I named do you think are moderates?
Don’t forget a sizeable dose of hatred and vitriol came from the remain side. A friend had eggs thrown at her house by a Remainder post vote. Twitter abuse was rampant. As Michael Jackson pointed out, we all need to start with ‘the man in the mirror’. And police and society need to be effective and fair in showing no tolerance for excesses.
Anthony Tufflin: “In my experience, it was mainly the left and right wings (e.g. Galloway & Farage, encouraged by Trump & Putin) who wanted to leave and the moderate centrists, who wanted to remain.” Can you cite a source where Putin encouraged the Leave campaign?
It was widely reported at the time and I’m not spending time researching it now. Presumably you don’t dispuite that other extremists, such as Farage, Le Pen and Galloway supported Brxit?
Anthony Tufflin “It was widely reported at the time and I’m not spending time researching it now. Presumably you don’t dispuite that other extremists, such as Farage, Le Pen and Galloway supported Brxit?” It would take you 5 mins to check this “fact”, but why bother eh? Saying “It was widely reported at the time” is pretty poor.
I agree completely with your comment.
BTW apart from no doubt attempts by the Sir Humphrey of the day, there was an actual amendment at the time of the passage of the EU Referendum Bill to allow for the recognition that while the UK is a unitary State, it is also a country made of different nations. So the SNP MPs did try to secure an amendment calling for a ‘double majority’. All four nations in the UK would have had to vote to leave the EU in order for the result to be valid. This amendment was defeated. The majority of MPs voted against it. This was a democratic process. There were many other attempts during the passage of the Bill to further ‘regulate’ the vote.
Amendments to the effect that young people should be allowed to vote were defeated, Parliament decided to exclude 16 and 17 years old
– amendments to ensure that EU nationals resident in Britain be allowed to vote were defeated, Parliament decided EU residents should not be allowed to vote.
– the issue that the rule for the EU Referendum in the EU Referendum Act should not have been a simple majority was also considered. Some of us are old enough to remember the Scottish referendum of 1979 when specific rules for the result to be binding were introduced. The 1979 referendum was structured around requirements of a specified level of support in terms of votes, and a specific turnout. It failed to achieve these requirements.
Of course now with the benefit of hindsight, many are arguing that a single popular vote decided by simple majority might not have been in the UK interest, or that many of the proposed amendments should not have been defeated.
“Parliament decided to exclude 16 and 17 years old………”
Just like even the Scottish Assembly does for buying booze and ciggies and especially sharp things.
They even have to get mummy to buy them those plastic guarded safety nursery play scissors.
So why should they be trusted with a vote?!
quite but not at all my point
It’s not a wild guess to think Scotland will take another go to leave UK if the four (4) freedoms disappars. And if so I strongly beleive Scotland will gain more by participate a new EFTA deal together with Iceland and Norway, than joining EU as a new separate country.
Take a look at the advanteges these three small countries can offer EU;. all North Sea gas and crude oil,sources, more than 90 percent of the European fisheries and alllmost 100% of all pisciculture in Europe today. And not to forget words most famous single malt scottish whisky
Surely history must record one fact: The margin by which “Leave” won would not be considered representative of what people believe or want by any serious scientific study of human behaviour. The margin should have been considered “error”. But “Brexit means Brexit.” We are going forward on nothing more than bureaucratic blunder.
What i think “Brexit” might mean is a failed, if spurious, intelligence test for the whole nation: Beggar Reason, Escape to Xanadu Intelligence Test.
So you think that votes to leave don’t count because a vote to leave means the voter has failed an intelligence test.
And that voting to leave isn’t human behaviour anyway.
What would your reaction be to someone who said something similar about immigrants?!?!
None of the above.
It is,however, interesting to note the observation by others (not me) of an apparent correlation between demographic areas where IQ would be lower and the vote to Leave.
I thought IQ was a social construct.
Now it can be mapped regionally?!
Or do you mean qualifications?
The old guys who designed the Spitfire, Hurricane, Bouncing Bomb and Jet Engine didn’t have degrees, they all went straight to work from school. Well, Whittle got a degree, but not until six years after he patented the jet engine!
And most of the not quite so old guys who developed the computer age kidz with degrees live in were college drop outs, so didn’t have degrees either!!!
I’ll probably add fuel to the anger of the Brexiters. I’m not a British citizen, but from how they compained should have been compare the Joseph Goebbels propaganda – “you repeat the lies as many times as possible until people start believing them”. From that point of view I totally agree with the article.
On the subject of imigration – Brexiters will have to consider the fact that even MP’s who voted for leave kept repeating that it’s not about getting rid of immigration, you want to chose and pick who comes in and who does not. The problem with this approach is that in order for someone to come to this country and work there has to be a deal. Don’t expect enginners required in the building industry will come to work for your country if you offer them a 6 months working visa because they may not take the offer. For someone coming from abroad you will have to give real good incentives for her/him to be willing to work hear – those in the offer could be eligbility to use the NHS after retirement for an example. You may end up with an economy where you will not be able to fill in positions because A) UK will not create the skilled workforce, also because the UK workforce wil not be willing to pick up the jobs B) the offer for out-of-UK workforce will not be good enough to risk coming to this country to sacrifice your life elsewhere.
What is it about you ‘nee-sayers’ that you hear but do not listen – this country has always had immigration. We only want to do want the rest of the world does regarding people who want to come to their country, make sure that those who want to do us harm and others who want to freeload from our over generous welfare system get vetted and weeded out. It is only the ridiculous ethos of free movement inside the EU that is aiding and abetting the spread of terrorism.
Anyway this article is rubbish – the number one reason for voting Leave is the undemocratic and corrupt dictatorship that is the European Union – one we did not, as voters, sign up to and so the brave people of this nation have decided against all the scaremongering to uphold our democracy – incidentally the oldest in the world!!
I am not sure that the people of this country have really decided anything. If the same vote were to be held again (although cost of this is prohibitive) there is every chance it would go the other way. This referendum is a carbuncle on British Democracy.
Thank God we have the House of Lords, who we may hope may yet, introduce sanguine governance!
And regarding our history: Thanks too to the Dutch king who introduced our Bill of Rights. (Let us hope this good work will not be undone by some extremist nationalist further on down the line!)
UK democracy is by no means the oldest in the world. UK sham democracy, with only some classes voting, may be the second or so, but that’s hardly an honour..
Far more importantly, since it (or rather its sham predecessor, around which its procedures and institutions are still largely organised, due to its shameful conservatism) is so old it is now hoopelessly obsolete and decrepit and needs extremely radical reform.
It’s really astonishing how Remainders seem to be completely oblivious to the massive and endless propaganda emanating from their side. What is the explanation? Possibly the answer lies in a study that found Remain voters ty pically conform to a personality type the accepts authority uncritically. They don’t see the propaganda because they believed it, and still believe it despite the evidence already piling up undermining so much of project fear.
Indeed. They accept the £350 Million figure was a LIE!!! Even though it’s the only hard figure anyone had to work on: grants aren’t known until they’ve been claimed, received and spent, GDP is reviewable up to three years later, and (:2 rebate -4 based on GDP and grants! As for our veto on rebate changes, what happened to the Irish, French and Dutch lobbies on treaty change?! Then there’s Austria being told to change its elected government and Greece and Italy having their elected governments exchanged for EUrocrats. So much for vetos!
Perhaps leave should have clarified we surrender control over £350.Million but I doubt it would have fitted on the side of the bus!!!
They accept that 62% of our laws coming from the EU is a LIE! Told by LIARS!!! And that the “true” figure is “only” 13% when the two figures are from the SAME report and the 13% is only PART of the 62% (13% are written in Westminster under – admitted – EU direction, 49% are written for us in Brussels and adopted by Westminster! Only 38% are, supposedly, “British” laws, like smoking bans or same s-x marriage, which seemed to spring up independently at the same time across the EU!!!).
And they believed that “only” 13% of our laws come from Brussels even though they also believe that there are so many of them, and we are so tied up with them, that it would take decades to unravel them and disentangle ourselves from them, assuming it would ever be possible, and the government would be so paralysed by the effort that the economy would crash, our children’s futures would be ruined, World War Three would start, and the END Of The WORLD Would Be NIGH!!!
Etc, etc. Etc…….
I voted to Leave. I paid absolutely no attention whatsoever to figures of £350 million or anything else. The moment a date was set for the Referendum I knew I would vote to leave. I subsequently learned that I am ill-educated, racist, xenophobic &c. The one thing I would really Iike to know is why voting to leave the EU makes me racist and xenophobic?
Mike, I do not know whoever taught you that you are “ill-educated, racist, xenophobic &c.” But you should not allow yourself to be so influenced. Voting to Leave the EU does not have to make you a racist or xenophobic. You are not a lemming.
Several different (and disintegrated) reasons have been identified for why many (but not all) Leave voters voted the way they did.
But there was not information for them, or Remain voters, to be able to properly judge the consequences. It is still too early for us to know what all of these will be, but the weight of expert opinion is towards negative consequences. Some of us (including myself) can already feel the effects on business. So I, for one, do not thank you for voting to Leave.
(But I would also be grateful if you would resist becoming racist or xenophobic. There is already enough ugliness around.)
I would have thought the personality type “more accepting of authority” is found to a greater extent amongst supporters of Donald Trump, Nigel Farage or Marie Le Penn i.e. National Populists. I speak enough german to notice the stark similarities between Donald Trump’s current speeches and those of the early Hitler. Worrying…..is this just “project fear” or could it be indicative of things to come, now we are all going down the pathway of Brexit and National Populism? But perhaps you would dismiss my observation as propaganda? I suppose anything which doesn’t fit with what you, Charles, as a “Leaver” would like to believe would be so painted by you. To my mind there were regrettable falsities put out on both sides of the campaign. Lots of noise. And whichever way you voted, you will no doubt now find support that you were right. More so, I suspect, on the part of Leavers, who will be the last to acknowledge that things going wrong with the economy over coming years could have anything to do with the way they voted – You, Charles, already appear to be in denial. But the needs are more urgent, now, to cope with what is coming, rather than to go over spilled milk.
I quoted from a survey, it wasn’t my observation. The survey found that for most Remain voters the fact that members of the Establishment recommended Remain was sufficient and they did little further analysis or questioning of the facts.
My own experience was the every Leave voter I met was intent on discovering as much as they could about the subject, was curious and keen to debate the issues to get the the root of the problem. Remain voters I met tended to be angry and resentful at even the possibility of debate. But this is only anecdotal.
Your comparing Trump to Hitler is not propaganda it’s just a personal observation. You make a subjective comment so you are correct by definition about the impression you took away. What grander point you’re trying to make I’m not sure. It has nothing to do with Brexit which is a decision to withdraw the country from membership of an organisation trending towards a political superstate, allowing Britain to sign trade deals around the world and grow at a greater rate, with less regulation, and the unfettered benefits of the British legal and justice system which I believe is the best in the world.
The lies and gross misrepresentations made by the Remain side, and supported by the author of the blog we’re commenting on, will have to stay hidden from the readers of this page because the moderators of this blog are blocking anything credible and critical of the author. But if you visit outfacts.org.uk and look on the Daily Focus – you can find detailed analysis of the appalling way the economic projections were twisted to make Brexit look like a disaster.
I am trying not to be too taken by subjective impression. But, Charles, I must observe that, for someone so strongly critical of “project fear” you do exhibit a propensity for paranoid hyperbole: I did look at your website. That is what I found there.
This article is, in my opinion, well-balanced, and there is no “Remain” conspiracy behind it.
Please give me an example of paranoid hyperbole.
I have never used the word conspiracy about the Remain campaign.
I have talked about professional people using their authority and position to endorse a position. These are brands that take their credibility and trust from a reputation for neutrality, lack of bias and close adherence to the scientific method. They are using that inate trust and endorsing claims that are deeply biased, misleading and which abuse the scientific method. This would not be a problem if it was their own personal brands they were ruining, but they are not, they are the brands and reputation of public office and institutions.
Instead of dispassionate analysis of the facts to reach a conclusion we have economic models being twisted by biased assumptions to produce the ‘right answer’.
Peter would you personally endorse an economic evaluation of two courses of action that evaluated all the possible benefits of one with all the possible downsides of the other?
My post was censored. Probably because my arguments made this ‘expert’ look like a complete amateur. I wished I had saved the post now.
Please see my comment this morning regarding our comments policy – https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/about/. If a comment doesn’t appear it means our editorial team believes it does not suit the criteria outlined there.
Charles – Your experience is the exact opposite of mine.I found most Remain supporters had done their own research and decided for themselves they wanted to remain while most Leave supporters were content to accept whatever Farage and the anti-EU press told them even when they contradicted each other. I suppose my experience is also only anecdotal.
That’s most interesting. It just shows the extent to which the vote fragmented the country into many groups with little visibility of each other.
Charles – I think we can agree on that. It’s been the closest I have experienced to civil war.
Some Brexiters are telling Remainers to get over it and accept the decision, but it doesn’t help when some of tjhem are urging the Government to rush the leaving process, before thinking through a strategy to obtain the best deal. Some even urge the Government to break its international treaty obligations by leaving without triggering Article 50.
Most irresponsible of all, Farage, not satisfied with the UK’s decision to leave the EU, has sided himself with Le Pen in calling for the EU to be disbanded completely.
I agree we shouldn’t rush leaving. The Government must be careful and responsible in researching possible sources of instability and adverse discontinuity and must make sure as far as possible things carry on as they are. However it’s also essential that the Government is not scared of the WTO option and works hard to ensure it fully understands the costs and has a plan to mitigate them.
On the other hand I’m not someone who thinks Brexit is right for the UK, but the rest of Europe should have the EU. If you believe as I do, that the EU is suffocating economies and destroying the lives of millions of people across Europe, then the logical conclusion, regardless of the company I find myself in, is to agree that the EU should be disbanded. It is a a wonderful dream with fatally flawed execution. When you get into a situation that an institution has to lie, ignore its consituents and break its own rules to keep itself afloat, that is not an institution with a noble future. Germany breaks the trade surplus rules, France, Spain, and Portugal break the budget deficit rules, italy and Belgium break the state aid rules. The ECB break the currency rules. The EU is not working. But the dream of Europeans living, working, cooperating and trading together in a deeply integrated way is not something so fragile that it can only happen via the EU. Too many people (including most Leavers by the way) want that cooperation.
As a global Briton I don’t think that dream should be confined to Europe and I don’t think we need the EU to make it happen for any of us. However much they try to claim all our warm emotions of cooperation only exist thanks to the EU.
So far as I can make out, “project fear” is in fact coming to pass. Meanwhile, what has happened to the promises of the leave campaign? Abandoned within 24 hours! I still have a leaflet promising me, as a resident in Scotland, a share in the £350 million per week to go towards our devolved health service, so I shall look forward to that! In all seriousness, if Brexit really does mean Brexit, then I think any government seeking to implement leaving the EU should be held to account for these promises.
Agreed – with enthusiasm David. The promises were made – they must be kept or Article 50 cannot be triggered.
I say “cannot” more in hope than certainty – but liars cannot be allowed to subvert a nation and 48/52 is a split – not a decision. It’s going to be a testing time for MP’s – but their job is to watch over their constituents interests – not rubber stamp a successful advertising campaign.
So how big a “split” of the £350M would constitute a “share” and fulfil the “promise”?!
As a citizen of the world, would you like to tell us what kind of visas and incentives places as varied as the US, Japan, the Middle east, etc, have?!
I voted Leave because I believe the EU has a profound and fundamental democratic deficit at its heart. The unelected Commission has the sole right of legislative initiative – i.e. it and it alone is the only body that can propose new laws for the Parliament to discuss and vote on. For me, democracy means “giving a mandate to a manifesto”, which in practice means that before an election the different parties/candidates set out their stalls — policies, plans, promises — each putting forward a raft of proposals that will become legislation if they are elected. So we vote for the party whose manifesto we like most (or dislike least). But in the EU the elected representatives (MEPs) do not make laws, they merely pass them. Giving a mandate to a manifesto is impossible as long as the Commission set the agenda in secret.
(And, yes, the UK has a democratic deficit: yes, but we have system that’s evolved over a thousand years involving Norman barons, Scotland, the crown, the church, peers of the realm, Cromwell etc etc. It’s a mess but we muddle along. The EU started with a blank sheet of paper 50 years ago.)
Also 28 Commissioners: one from each of the member state, no matter how big or small means it’s not even proportionally undemocratic.
In short, I’d have voted Remain if the Commission was abolished or elected (either directly or made up of MEPs).
Here’s some of the things the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has said: “We decide on something, leave it lying around and wait and see what happens. If no one kicks up a fuss, because most people don’t understand what has been decided, we continue step by step until there is no turning back.”
At the height of the eurozone crisis, Mr Juncker organised a meeting of finance ministers to talk about whether Greece could remain in the single currency and then trying to deny it was taking place. “When it becomes serious, you have to lie,” he said. In May 2011, he told a meeting of the federalist European Movement that he often “had to lie” and that eurozone monetary policy should be discussed in “secret, dark debates”.
Before the French on the referendum on the EU constitution in 2005 he said: “If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go’, and if it’s a No we will say ‘we continue'”
Most recently the unelected Mr Juncker said: “There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties.”
And it’s not just the President of the Commission but the VP, Kristalina Georgieva, as well: “Speaking to Bulgarian media, Georgieva said she attended the Bilderberg meeting [June, in Germany] in a private capacity, but “presented the position of the Commission”.” (Source: euractiv.com). Her attendance at the meeting was made public by Bilderberg but the Commission’s own programme had her simply “in Germany”. It comes to something when the Bilderberg group are more open and transparent than the EU Commission.
But fear not! There’s an official EU mechanism for the people to directly petition the Commission. It’s called the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) – all you need is at least a million signatures from at least 25% of member states to directly petition the (unelected) Commission. And then what do the Commission do? Well they might just ignore it. The ECI on TTIP got over 3 million signatures and the Commission basically binned it. So 28 unelected Commissioners can just dismiss the will and wishes of the people directly expressed through the proper channel.
Fwiw I think Norway has a great deal being in EFTA / EEA and they don’t seem to want to change it. Free market, free movement, lower payments (no net contribution to the EU budget) and not in the EU. Win, win, win and win. (Yes, know: also no say on European laws and directives. But maybe we could set an example to other eurosceptic nations who love free trade but not the undemocratic and overbearing nonsense of what the EU has become. Make it more like it was: a economic area not a nascent political superstate with a decidedly dodgy constitution.)
People always say that the Commission is unelected, but ignore the fact that the Civil Service isn’t elected either.
Yes, the Commission has the sole right to propose legislation, but in practice well over 90% of all legislation is asked for by ordinary people (the 112 number, fo example), by industry and industrial associations, professional associations, and so on. Very little is proposed from nothing by the Commission.
In the UK, the MPs have the right to propose legislation as Pivate Members Bills, but few ever get past a formal reading in Parliament, and even they have, in practice been written by the Civil Service.
If Britain is so worked up about representational democracy, why is it that very few people can be bothered to vote in European elections? Why is it that thet British Press never does anything but deride the entire EU structure?
Perhaps it is time that the UK did something about the bem in its own eye before complaining about the dust in someone else’s.
What?? did you just compare the civil service to the EU commission? you need to go back on Wikipedia and do a bit more research… What is the point in voting for MEP’s when they have no power, they cannot propose or repeal any laws proposed by the unelected commission (who are appointed by their mates) in conjunction with thousands of Big business lobbyists who are acting with their own interests at heart – please name one law instigated and proposed by an ‘ordinary person?
That is the entire and only relevant point: The Commission has agenda setting powers. The British civil service do not. Don’t be obtuse about this. Where does the power lie? with the people or not? Your loyalty lies with the person or group who can sack you. Everything else is a footnote.
Bear in mind also the Commissioners have to swear an oath of loyalty to the EU, and to put the interests of the EU above those of the country whose leader put them in there, Thereafter the PM in Britain’s case cannot sack the Commissioner, only the President of the Commission can.
Technically the civil service can’t initiate legislation, but don’t you think it often makes suggestions, which Ministers are pleased to accept?
Voters put MPs there but they swear an oath of loyalty to the Monarch.
“Fwiw I think Norway has a great deal being in EFTA / EEA and they don’t seem to want to change it. Free market, free movement, lower payments (no net contribution to the EU budget) and not in the EU.”
I’ve yet to see anyone explain why ‘Brexit means the UK reverts to being member of the EEA’ is not the case.
The UK signed up to the EEA as an independent country, while a member of the EEC, before the EU was created in the Mastricht/Lisbon treaties. The EU Referendum legislation doesn’t mention the EEA at all.
Clearly it was in neither the Remain or Leave Campaigns’ interests to make an issue of this, as the EEA membership includes the freedoms of trade and movement.
If this is the case, then one of the leave campaign’s many lies was the implications for European immigration of a leave vote. Unfortunately this was one lie in which the remain campaign conspired never to challenge.
Again a case of misinformation.
The Parliament DOES have a right to ask its Civil Service (the Commission) to present legislation and in fact even citizens can demand a legislative proposal directly from the Commission with a relatively low threshold of 1 million signatures across the EU.
John, ” a case of misinformation. The Parliament DOES have a right to ask its Civil Service (the Commission) to present legislation” yes it has the right to *ask*. The elected representatives of the people have “the right to ask” the unelected Commission to draw up legislation. And the Commission can (and does) ignore or modify these requests. The right to ask is not the same as the right to receive/ the obligation to give. And the Commission is not like any civil service anywhere; the EU has a civil service and it’s not the same as the Commission. A CS drafts legislation on behalf of an executive and/or legislature who, in a democracy, have a mandate from the people to enact their manifesto. They do not start with a blank sheet of paper; they are servants not masters. (Which is why “Yes, Minister” was so subversive and funny: the rulers being ruled by the servants, but then that itself being subverted.) The EU is unique: Parliament passes laws made entirely by the Commission. The elected MEPs have no power to propose or introduce legislation. That is truly shocking.
Re your second point about 1m citizens’ signatures, I’ve already dealt with it. (“There’s an official EU mechanism for the people to directly petition the Commission. It’s called the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) – all you need is at least a million signatures from at least 25% of member states to directly petition the (unelected) Commission. And then what do the Commission do? Well they might just ignore it. The ECI on TTIP got over 3 million signatures and the Commission basically binned it. So 28 unelected Commissioners can just dismiss the will and wishes of the people directly expressed through the proper channel.”)
“the EU has a profound and fundamental democratic deficit”? I suppose you don’t think the UK does when the last Labour Government was elected by only 35.2% of the votes and the present Conservative Government was elected 36.9% of the votes!
Leaving the EU will not let us, the UK people, “take back control”.
Anthony, yes the UK also has a democratic deficit (or multiple ones: eg first past the post; the West Lothian question; the House of Lords; the monarchy). So we agree that both the EU and the UK are flawed? But at least in the UK the elected representatives have the power to propose legislation (the “manifesto + mandate” thing). Do I think both the EU and the UK need reform? Yes. Does the democratic deficit in the UK excuse or justify that in the EU? Do two wrongs ever make a right?
Indeed, two wrongs don’t make a right but we (the people) cannot “take control” while we still have FPTP elections and the present House of Lords. So we both agree the UK and the EU both need reform, but I would prefer to stay in the EU to reform it than leave it.
Although I supported the Remain campaign, my major criticism of the leading pro-EU politicians over the years is that they were not critical enough of the EU and didn’t do enough to reform it and that’s what gave Brexit its opening. It was too late by the time the referendum was announced.
Your major criticism of the leading pro-EU politicians over the years is that they were not critical enough of the EU and didn’t do enough to reform it?!?!
But they’ve reformed it from a Common Market to an Ever Closer European Union that can tell member “states” to re run referena, that can ignore democratic referenda, that can tell “states” to disband democratically elected governments and form ones more to its liking, and even tell “states” it’s going to replace their government with its bEUrocrats!!
I doubt even Merkel could reform the German states that much!!!
I have no problem with ever closer union, although it might have been more gradual to avoid frightening you. That’s probably our basic difference.
The EU doesn’t want to reform along the lines I proposed. A vote to remain would have been taken by the Commission as an endorsement of the status quo.
This article would be a brilliant example of why ‘experts’ are “derided”. Except that ‘experts’ are not derided at all and the ‘post truth’ myth should be exposed. Most of us trust expert plumbers for instance, gas fitters, vest, nurses, general practitioners, surgeons. We don’t trust economists who mistake their own world view for science.
* vets not ‘vest’!!
A childish, hysterical piece of histrionic screaming – surely unbecoming for an ‘economics professor’.
There is so much wrong with this article that I simply do not know where to begin.
Firstly, if the EU is or was so damned ‘good for the economy’ then why did the ‘worst depression since world war 2’ happen after 40 years of Britain being integrated in the EU?
Then author claims that ‘there is no link between mass immigration and high unemployment’, the quotes anecdotes about people losing jobs to immigrants.
The author then goes on to accuse the British press of anti-EU bias. Yes, perhaps he has a point – doesn’t everyone know that the UK tabloids are ‘biased’, but what of the pro EU hysteria pumped out every day by The Independent, The Guardian, The Mirror, The Economist etc etc?
As for the BBC being anti EU, well that’s just plain ridiculous.
Yes. Economists were pretty much all united by their complete and utter failure to predict the great recession.
– if economists are unable to do something as fundamental, vital, relevant and useful as that, what is the point of them?
The analogy to the aids epidemic is pure trash and plain stupid.
@Peter North for God’s sake, man. I don’t know where to begin either.
‘The worst depression since WW2′ hit more or less every country in the developed world. If your banks stop lending and your trading partners’ banks have stopped lending, being in a free trade area won’t help either of you in that situation. But it will help you in normal times.
“Then author claims that ‘there is no link between mass immigration and high unemployment’, the quotes anecdotes about people losing jobs to immigrants.” It’s an awful cliche, but: the plural of “anecdote” is not “evidence”. Saying that ‘everyone says/knows’ something is true does not make it so.
“…what of the pro EU hysteria pumped out every day by The Independent, The Guardian, The Mirror, The Economist.” Would you like to give me an estimate of the reader figures of those organs compared to those of, er, the whole of the rest of the British press (Sun, Mail, Times, Telegraph, Express etc)? Would you take a bet that the latter figure is much, much higher than the former?
“As for the BBC being anti EU, well that’s just plain ridiculous.” Yes, it is ridiculous. Mr Van Reenen never claimed the BBC was anti-EU; his argument was that because of its duty to be “impartial”, the BBC felt it had to give equal airtime to both sides even though there was a massive economic consensus in favour of Remain.
Finally, the AIDS analogy is a bit shocking, I suppose, but I think it’s a pretty good one. What is your problem with it exactly?
The reason for Brexit was not purely economic, it was mostly about control. Firstly telling Mr Juncker that saying we willl not negotiate is not good enough. Secondly telling ecomomists that even if immigrants do pay for themselves we prefer our towns and cities smaller and more controlled. Thirdly to stick two fingers up at the mostly foreign owned corporations who globalise at our expense by staffing their UK satellite operations with cheap foreign labour and kill our home grown businesses in thr process.
I am not a leave supporter. I am not a Briton. I think the leave campaign succeeded by emphasizing the existential idea of Nationhood (hence the slogan “take back control”). There is a sense that the EU, which is an exercise in shared sovereignty, has had a near decade long streak of failures and the next decade promises worse to come. People voted against that. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the future they voted for, out of the EU, will be any better. This is the trouble when you forced to choose between “worse” and “worser”, especially when the “worser” Brexit side had a string of lying spokespeople.
Honestly, it wasn’t the economists’ fault, or the press: even the right-wing press. Brexit is an indictment of EU, the IMF, Angela Merkel, the late King Abdullah of Saud, Tony Blair, David Cameron, George W Bush, Barack Obama, Tayyip Erdogan, Vladimir Putin, NATO, Ban Ki Moon and some others who have had major responsibilities for the shape of events in Europe. Economists have never had real power over the last decade.
Most of whom are not in the EU, and have nothing to do with the EU. SO much for British education.
Are you seriously saying that events and people outside the EU cannot possibly affect how people relate to each other within the EU? Now my point is that the press or economists have had little control over recent events that affect EU citizens, and the perceptions those EU citizens have towards the EU. And I certainly think the author of this article is unduly blaming the press and the economist profession for the way people voted in the Brexit referendum. But even in the areas that the EU has some control over, there is a perception in Britain, somewhat grounded in truth, that they have responded impotently or incompetently to those events. So it is quite understandable that the British people are in a discomfited mood, wanted to change, and at the first opportunity they had they gave voice to it.
I so very strongly agree with you. During the wretched referendum campaign I – a non-economist – tried to explain the economics of Brexit but I too failed. Even though I wrote in the very simplest of terms: http://bakehousecottage.com/entries/general/burgers-for-brexonomists
Your comment about the costs of schhol n hospital places seems to confuse current and capital expenditures. All the public services need running costs to be paid, and no doubt you are right that immigrants pay more in taxes than they take in benefits. But school places, roads, railway tracks, etc are not paid for in one year. If the population of the SouthEast has gone up by say 10% in the last x years, we need 10% more facilities. And successive governments have failed to provide them.
Sure, but the population has not increased all at once. It has been a gradual process. You have not provided any evidence to suggest that the annual capital expenditure arising due to the increasing population cannot be met out of the net contribution (taxes minus recurrent expenditure) which we receive from those immigrants already living here. To quote the article: “The fact that the government has chosen to use the fiscal benefits from immigration to pay down the budget deficit is hardly the fault of immigrants.”
Oh and Andy K…I’m with you, 1000% sense, well said
No one seems to be saying that a major reason to leave, was, we wanted the damn useless lying government OUT.
About three weeks before the vote, DC came along with his first fear story, stating that if we left there could be war. Really? How? With who? Over what? But many believed this garbage, plus a whole stack of other remain desperation quotes.
Immigration? I reckon maybe only 5% of those who crossed our boarders last year, if that, were refugees, most were economic migrants.
Last seen statistics about our countries migrant breakdown was as follows; Across the country as a whole, migrants were listed as 4% of population, BUT, London’s population is at least 60% migrant, maybe that could explain London’s vastly differing views, and way of EU Ref voting?
> “a major reason to leave, was, we wanted the damn useless lying government OUT”
Well that is what a general election is for, not the referendum. Anyone who voted with that objective not only compromised the actual purpose of the vote (namely, a decision on the EU likely to have very long-term consequences), but also failed to achieve a change of government in any case. We still have a Tory government, even though with some changed faces.
> “I reckon maybe only 5% of those who crossed our boarders last year, if that, were refugees, most were economic migrants.”
You are correct that refugees are a small proportion of overall migration, but that is not the point. As explained in the article, migrants are of net economic benefit to the country. Even in the absence of any altruistic duty to accept them (as is the case for the relatively few who are refugees), it is worthwhile for us to do so because they pay their way and more.
Incidentally, your migration figures are completely wrong. The number born abroad is more like 13% nationwide, and in London it was 37% at the last census. (This is total migrants, including those from outside the EU.) Still, you are almost certainly right that the higher proportion of migrants in London affected the voting. But bear in mind that on the whole it is not the migrants themselves who will have been voting, as they would not generally have been eligible (except for certain countries of origin and those who have gained UK citizenship). Rather, it is the native-born Londoners, who know from actually living side-by-side with migrants that there is nothing to fear from them. The strongest anti-migrant feeling tends to come from those who seldom actually meet them.
I think any anti-immigrant feeling was dug up by the press, the point being…if in 15 years we have taken on an extra 5 million people, yet at the start 29.5 million were paying tax, and at the end (5 mil later) we only have 30.5 million tax payers, there’s a whole heap of people NOT paying tax.
Most arrivals here were not brain surgeons or airline pilots, but were some of the worlds poorest, god bless em, being used by big businesses to keep their wage bills down, and therefore keep down the wages of those already here.
And did we do well out of this? Well although I hate the probability, I can only see a very short life left for the EU, for those in Britain I see a bright future, and would just be nice to hear some people putting a positive slant on things and trying to boost this grand old land, instead of running down what’s happened. Go on, be brave, tell your friends we can do this, and kill off that British negative voice.
In fact, virtually the entire UK is a set of economic migrants in one way or another. I wonder what percentage of the British have neve ever moved house in order to get a better job somewhere? Very small.
How many towns in the south and south west are swamped by the migrants from the north, come to spend their retirement in a more congenial place? A very high number.
Why do places like the Lake District complain about outsiders coming in and driving up the price of property? Not immigrants to the UK, but indigenous British.
Brexit just means that Britain will become a normal country, like 180+ others that make thwir own laws, control their borders and decide how to spend their own money. There is no reason why it should make any difference to the economy in the long term, and no reason why economists should be consulted. Aftr all, any sane economist would be too busy railing against the damage done by the euro to worry about the effects of Brexit.
There is no point in comparing our situation with countries in other continents. Brexit will mean that our closest neighbours are part of a single market that will be more difficult for us to access. Nearly half our existing trade is with the EU, and the same is simply not true for most the 180+ countries you refer to.
I’m not sure you understand what the ‘single market’ is. Everyone and anyone can access the single market. The only question is: do we believe subjecting our entire countries to European laws and regulations and ultimately political union, leads to more trade or less. The EU has proved through a decade of no growth, that the EU political and fiscal structure doesn’t increase trade it decreases it. It’s created unprecedented levels of unemployment (i.e. businesses going bust or downsizing), and eye-watering levels of bad debts.
The dream of the ‘single market’ is that by regulating everyone to the point where all products are commoditised clones you create more trade. The reality is that this works when you are talking about key industry standards which are agreed above the head of the EU anyway, but the bulk of regulations suffocate trade more than the harmonisation increases it. The single market is not a brilliant thing. It has benefits, but its costs outweigh them. Too many ‘experts’ refuse to recognise and measure the costs because the dream is so precious they don’t want to undermine it. Reality will eventually do the job they are too scared to do.
No wrong, not everybody can access the single market. So it starts wrong.
Name one serious economy in the world that does not export to the EU.
Yes, but when the rules are being written it’s better to be at the table. As Europe is a MUCH bigger player in the world economy, any European country not at the table is at best an afterthought. Like other “normal” countries.
Yes, but we’ve been trying to do that for 40 odd years.
That’s why the majority decided it’s time for a change!
So many untrue statements in this article.
“the BBC, which was particularly awful throughout the referendum debate. It supinely reported the breath-taking lies of the Leave campaign in particularly over the ‘£350 million a week EU budget contribution’.”
Almost every time this came up, the BBC reported someone on the other side saying it was false. See for example this where the BBC reporter says it’s false, then backs this up by reference to another source.
I voted to Stay in the Common Market in the 1970’s. I never expected it to turn into the European Union. So I took the opportunity to vote to Leave; never really expecting we would vote to Leave (well hopefully we will).
Well you should have looked at the treaties. It is all in their – in ALL the treaties, and always in the same words.”Ever closer union”, future henceforth shared”
I know they are long words, but you look them up.
There wasn’t the internet in the 70s.
Most politicians and most papers were swearing blind staying In wouldn’t lead to loss of sovereignty.
Even though Heath had been told TWICE, in TWO OFFICIAL confidential reports, one in 1960 (when he was the Minister responsible for earlier negotiations with the Common Market) and again in 1970, that joining the Common Market would lead to a loss of Sovereignty that would never be acceptable to the public!
Thie sovereignty risk was hotly debated In 1975.
The remainders argued then that ever closer union were just empty words because the UK had a veto on everything and no British government would ever give away any of our vetoes because that would be against the spirit of our unwritten constitution. To be fair I think they genuinely believed that at the time.
But a mechanism to protect our vetoes from MPs just giving them away was only finally put in place in 2014. Far too late..
You could argue 2016 was our referendum on Lisbon.
With hindsight those who support the EU were very ill advised to cheat us out of a referendum on Lisbon weren’t they? How many EU players outside Brussels now think Lisbon was such a good idea?
Can just about recall the usual anon press briefings about Blair’s red lines during the Lisbon negotiations. Didn’t they even claim at the time that Merkel had been told to push beyond these red lines would eventually result in Brexit?
Well Blair subsequently conceded pretty well all the red lines didn’t he? Not only some of our key vetoes, but also the principle of a separate legal entity status for the EU itself.
Consequently it is more difficult to deal with the Brussels power grab problem. My argument is that the legal entity strengthens the power of the self interested Brussels Institutions so much that it makes any reform virtually impossible without now impossible treaty changes because they will be blocked by Belgium and Luxembourg.. Leave seems pretty well the only recourse we now have.
Extraordinarily to say, but perhaps it need not have been so ihad all Lib Dem remainder MPs behaved as honouraby as Tim Farron!
The sovereignty issue has certainly been mentioned by many Leave voters who have been interviewed. What they probably don’t appreciate is that national governments do not really have a huge amount of control over the way that the interconnected modern world impacts on our lives. Multinational companies have a massive amount of influence. One of my reasons for voting Remain was that the combined power of the EU has a positive track record in resisting the multinationals. I really do fear that a UK government left to itself will easily give in, and then tell us all that it’s good for us.
Also on the sovereignty issue, I suspect that our politicians have become a bit bored by their lack of real influence in our globalised world. Grabbing back the things that are currently EU decisions will allow them to fiddle a great deal more in our ordinary lives. I saw the EU as a positive restraint on the barmy fringes of politics, in the same way that membership of any peer group stops individual people from doing stupid things. Be prepared for our politicians to perversely do things differently from the EU, just to demonstrate sovereignty, even when it’s actually to the detriment of ordinary UK citizens.
Finally, whatever the opinion of economic forecasts, there are strong indications post-referendum that the Brexit vote is going to harm the UK economy in the short term. One of the Remain arguments was that it would only take a small percentage downward shift after a Brexit decision to knock more than 350 million per week out of the UK tax income, so instantly killing any notion that we could save money by leaving the EU. Even if the bright sunny uplands of the non-EU future eventually bring economic benefits, we will have to first recover the losses that have been created in the first years. My suspicion is that will never actually happen, but our leaders will conveniently tell us how well we are doing while ignoring how much better it could have been without this barmy referendum.
Yes, you’re right, Canada is always telling the US what it can and can’t do with its taxes, Mexico is always interfering with the US’s employment laws, only yesterday Cuba was forcing the US to harmonise its safety standards with Cuba’s, even for products that were never going to be sold to Cuba, Puerto Rica is forever going on at the Yanks to re-run referenda, and even the Bahamas has replaced the US government with it’s own bEUrocrats!
Not only that, Panama has been giving Ford grants to relocate it’s van manufacturing to Turkey of all places, with money it forced the US to give it?!?!?!
If the “experts” were so good why did the financial crisis happen? Either they predicted it and governments didn’t listen or they didn’t predict it and got it wrong. So who can blame the public for ignoring them?
For goodness sake, did you even read the article? He addresses this exact point.
“I’m not trying to defend Brexit. But I worry that the urge to condemn it has led to a lowering of intellectual standards.”
“…nothing in standard macroeconomic models says that a policy bad for the economy’s long-run supply side necessarily hurts its short-run demand side.” – Paul Krugman
More here: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/07/02/more-on-the-short-run-macroeconomics-of-brexit/
Fascinating to see the “experts” still getting things completely wrong.
Contrary to the “they’re all xenophobes and closet racists” narrative promoted here and elsewhere by the self-righteous middle-class elite left, polling by Ashcroft showed that the main factor was making our own decisions, the wish to ‘take back control’.
Does the Hinkley Point deal feel to you as though we have control over our decisions? With Fr and Chinese assistance we are going nowhere. We are a relative minnow. No steel, unable to manage our healthcare, unable to build HS2 without foreign assistance for all of these projects… I could go on.
We have now lost EU protections and we are now heavily exposed. Many of those who voted Leave were marginalised, under paid, poorly educated Brits who have simply had enough.
On the other hand our tax base is narrowing, we have to cut costs – something has to give. I for one would have preferred to go through a change management process as part of a strong EU, not left alone to paddle our own canoe.
I don’t know a single leave voter who voted on the basis of immigration. The narrative that the UK has been ‘taken out of the EU’ by the uneducated is false as far as I’m concerned. I had extensive discussions about the vote before the referendum with a huge number of people, (online and in person, working class, middle class and different levels of education), and the overwhelming reason among mainly voters was sovereignty and being unhappy with the trajectory and nature of the EU. Sure, there was a sizeable vote based on immigration, but it wasn’t decisive. The fact that the leave vote was made up of people with very different reasons to vote that way shows how incompatible the EU is for the UK (and most, if not all member nations).
The association of Brexit with racism is a shallow one, continuously peddled by remainers who are unhappy with the result, in an effort to either manufacturer a swing of public opinion to support a second referendum, or purely a spiteful insult to people who mostly voted to protect the democracy of their country.
Where I live, in Lincolnshire, immigration was the overwhelming reason to vote leave. 70% voted leave in places like Boston and Spalding, coincidentally (not) the places with a huge influx of East European migrants.
The two comments above make me despair.
Actually the working age population voted to stay, as did the young whose future it is. Immigration has created half of wealth in UK 2005-15 (OECD), as well as handily taking the most talented qualified people from Europe and elsewhere without having to pay to train them.read the above article closely.
The second comment has no knowledge apparently of age demographics, working age population, qualifications, taxbase, you name it.. For a practical example visit an NHS hospital near you where you will find an aged population being tended by (in my local case) 75%EU or other non resident originating staff. There are not the qualified UK residents to take these post at the salary offered.
Yes the salary offered is the key problem here. Us Brits want the salaries forced up so we can afford to live where we come from. Immigration is the best tool for keeping these salaries down. Yet again the problem is business exploiting immigration and no-one stopping them, in this case it is the NHS.
“75%EU or other non resident originating staff.”
So that will be 1% EU and 74% other. I think the main origin is the Philippines for nursing staff and the medical probably from the Indian sub-continent.
As for “no knowledge apparently of age demographics, working age population, qualifications…” yes, in the bad old days, half the population didn’t have degrees in meejah, wimmins studies or golf, but most of today’s “graduates” probably couldn’t have passed an O Level never mind an A Level in the bad old days.
And people like the designers of the Hurricane, Spitfire, Bouncing Bomb, and Jet Engine came from apprenticeship backgrounds. Although Whittle did later get a degree. Six years after he patented his engine!
And most of the people who built the digital age kidz live in were college drop outs, so they didn’t have degrees either!!!
And, guess what, we oldies not only have experience of 40 odd years of the EU, but of a world before the EU, and of the lies we were told the first time round, so I think we have every right, and all the knowledge needed, to make the right decision for our as yet unborn grandchildren!
Hear, hear.What I find most interesting to read about Remain supporters is their lack of concern about the way the EC has morphed into the EU and how the EU has been run all these years.Not a skerrick of political nous is to be discerned in the whys and wheretofors, etc., in the arguments put in favour of staying in the EU.It is as if the EU is run on benign paternalistic principles on the basis of equal rights and civil rights for all citizens.Anyway, as has been observed by some wise person centuries ago, one cannot debate an issue with people who do not share one’s virtues, whatever these virtues may be or may be seen to be.There is for most people only one way to learn,i.e., the hard way.
The UK voted out.The UK was and still is in the EU.Scotland was only ever in the EU as part of the UK.The UK voted out.It should be Brexit, but obviously most of the Remainers who are vocal about it do not believe in democracy, except the kind of democracy on offer from the EU Commissariat.
It is almost too bizarre for words, but that is the world we live in.Many, many people are dying to get to the western democracies.Many people have died defending democracy in Europe, indeed, the struggle for democracy has been long and bloody.Evidently not appreciated by a great many people in the mollycoddled West.
If you think that leave voting was purely based on immigration then you are seriously deluded, maybe you need to speak to the right people and research a bit more before making such accusations. It is also not based on the £350 million a week that was promised! I think people need to stop going on about what they think will happen and just see what actually happens you never know maybe you are wrong! Then write about it, it’s becoming so boring now!
The author refers, in haste I assume, to the government paying down the budget deficit. Should there not have been “” in there, around “pay down the budget deficit”? One pays down debts, not deficits.
Back to the economic contribution of immigrants, the conclusions of positive benefit are not being calculated over the whole life cycle. Furthermore, the calculation above is a snapshot, and it ignores the costs of health and education services, to which recent arrivals will have contributed little, while the locals will have been contributing for many more years. Do we have longer term data, and more detail about the contributions of different groups?
For example, the recent Parliamentary briefing paper on unemployment and ethnicity shows profound differences which are at odds with the above conclusions. Different assumptions, most likely
Briefing Paper Number 6385, 27 April 20164
The problem, as is now painfully clear, is that the expert arguments for the EU were, well, expert – as in complex and difficult to understand – whereas the majority of voters were swayed by emotion and vague notions of curved vegetables and metric measurements. Any debate that depends on a majority understanding a niche subject like economics was doomed from the start.
And yet… and yet… Remain could have won on the ‘gut instinct’ card. Not understanding all the issues myself, I asked myself: whom would I rather follow: Farage, Gove and Johnson, or Cameron and most of the Labour party (in historic agreement)? It was a no-brainer.
But instead people chose to follow, on gut instinct, people who appealed to the worst in humanity: xenophobia and isolationism and prejudice. The UK showed its true colours, and they weren’t pretty.
I too completely endorse every word of this article.
Whilst many people are worried about immigration, I suggest that attention should perhaps switch to emigration, especially of the educated and highly skilled.
The Brain Drain redux
“I suggest that attention should perhaps switch to emigration, especially of the educated and highly skilled.”
Starting, it would seem, with the author. I guess that his new post was likely already arranged before the Brexit vote, but equally, I suspect he won’t feel like coming back in a hurry.
I fear that emigration of the highly skilled will also compounded by decreased immigration of the same — either because we actually keep them out, or because we fail to tempt them in.
I agree. If I were in my 20s, I’d be coming rapidly to the conclusion that my best long term prospects were outside the UK, at least for the foreseeable future.
Yes, of course, because there are so many degree educated and highly skilled people in their twenties with fluency in English as well as their native language coming here to work as barristas and waitresses that there must be lots of vacancies for British kidz with a degree in Meejah or Gender Studies who can barely speak English in the EU.
– Oh, wait a minute…….
“Academic economists receive relatively little attention in the media and have never been held in particularly high regard.”
Frankly that would seem common good sense, if the above article is representative of academic economists. This whole article is one long, self-pitying whinge by a fully paid-up member of the metropolitan elite whose explanation for the referendum result is that the majority of Britons are stupid bigots.
The author tries to re-write history by claiming the referendum was solely about immigration. It wasn’t. As pointed out by another comment above, all post-referendum studies have found the primary issue was that of self-government.
Rather than focus on the perceived defects of the Leave campaign, the author would do better to wonder why Remain was completely incapable of articulating a positive argument for the UK being in the EU.
Well said Nat! Not one mention of the lies peddled on the remain side! An extremely biased article from a typically bad loser who obviously doesn’t believe in democracy.
If you don’t like the fact that we’re leaving a weak, sinking ship that is the EU, then you’re more than welcome to jump on that ship and sink with it.
Before Britain joined the EU, it was the sickman of europe. You’ve voted for Britain to become that again. And all because you don’t like the EU telling you can’t buy 18w vacuum cleaners anymore. Well done you.
If you don’t like facts, please feel free to move to North Korea.
Democracy? Well we certainly got that, didn’t we? After all, our new dictator got into power on a massive 0% of votes! If you think we got democracy out of this, you are comically thick.
James (and Izzy)
Our democracy is far prom perfect. What does clearly differentiate it from the EU (and North Korea in a much more extreme way) is that the electorate can vote out and in our politicians. That is popular sovereignty. It was hard won and is not to be dismissed lightly. It can certainly be improved.I accept you wanted to Remain, but the majority motivated to vote did not. You should use to the full your democratic rights to argue for what you believe in. However simply insulting voters who think differently will not help whatever political outlook you believe in. There has been far too much of that.
Jim we could vote in and vote out our representatives in the EU, a reminder that one of our ‘representatives’ was Nigel Farage MEP.
The EU parliament is a democratic body with elected representatives. Is that the body you meant?
Btw if you mean the admin of the EU (those that propose laws on which the EP votes); I would think these people are more akin to our civil servants (the apocryphal Sur Humphrey) – whom we do t elect either. Or do i have this wrong at son fundamental level??
On expertise I would make a point that you would find extremely unwelcome.
Mathematical models have a characteristic predictive interval. The model f the rotation of the earth around the sun is long. I can predict sunrise 1000 years hence. For weather systems it’s about 3 days. Economic models fall between the two. It’s 30 days. Economists etc cannot foretell he future beyond 30 days and people understand that. They also understand the future does not just happen to you, you make your future, your future is the sum total of the decisions you make today.
This why experts were disregarded. The OECD, IMF BoE etc were not predicting the future, they were expressing sentiment, they were simply anticipating the grief that the cosmopolitan are now working through. Ordinary folk understood this, that is common sense putting academic conceit in it’s place.
Experts were disregarded because sensible people knew they lacked their pretended expertise in futureology.
Excellent piece. One small detail: please note that one cannot build ‘to a crescendo’. A crescendo is, by definition the ‘increasing’ part, not the arrival point.
The article is exceptionally one sided:
According to the Huff post newspapers with a circulation of 4.8 million supported Brexit, whilst papers with a circulation of 3 million voted Remain (inc. Mirror, Times, Guardian, Observer, Mail on Sunday) . Over 17 million voted Brexit.
The comments on the BBC are simply wrong. The “£350 million” figure was raised many, many times in reports, debates and discussions on the BBC, the result generally was to make the Brexit side look disingenuous. Pre referendum result there were as many complaints from the Leave side as there were from the Remain side. For example, some argued that Channel 4’s coverage was at times strongly pro Remain.
Having said that, some Remainers such as Giselle Stewart accepted that the figure was gross, pre rebate and EU expenditure. They made the point that it nonetheless reflects a transfer of sovereignty over the use of tax money from the UK to the EU. (NB: The net transfer figure is, according to the Times today, around £200 million. The Brexit side probably shot themselves in the foot by not using this figure instead). Remain failed to take up this question of sovereignty, often condescendingly associating it with a ‘little Englander’ mentality rather than a desire for a bigger stake in one’s country and future.
Like so many articles, this one at times elides concern over immigration with being anti immigrant. Many people are concerned with immigration, but live happily with immigrants. It asserts immigration / anti-immigrant sentiment was the issue when the research (or simply talking to a few people) indicates a much, much more sophisticated picture.
The association of Brexit with racism is a serious one, and some idiots have reacted to the vote by abusing immigrants, or people they think are immigrants. But how does the writer account for racism elsewhere in the EU (often more systematic and reflected in political parties)? Is that that due to being in the EU? Why is Brexit (a vote to leave an institution) generating a ‘poisonous flood’ that may engulf Europe, whilst the EU with its awful record on treatment of non EU migrants is benign counterpoint?
It is the case that our political elites are opportunistic, disconnected and spineless. They are, however, subject to recall by democratic vote in elections. Therefore remaining in the EU is unlikely to improve political leadership. Rather it will reinforce the notion that government is to be done to the people, but not by the people. It will reinforce the prevailing view that government is about managing, about following economic imperatives, rather than about change and the possibility of doing things differently. Some pro Remain arguments channel Margaret Thatcher’s TINA narrative – ‘There Is No Alternative’ – adding ‘to the EU’.
Certainly there are ‘deeply based cultural fears’, as there were prior to the vote. The issue of immigration and racism needs to be confronted politically, something the EU won’t and can’t do. The author’s fear of the irrational, uneducated (non expert) voter succumbing to the ‘drumbeat’ of racism betrays its own ‘deeply based cultural fears’ of the working class and the poor.
Finally, the author is right to knock Gove’s comparison regarding expertise (although expertise in economics is not the same thing as democratic politics, and there are eminent economists who are pro Brexit). Gove’s comparison was unhelpful, ahistorical and an abdication of taking up the argument politically. Yet the author does exactly the same things in his final paragraph. This is not the 1930s, Brexit vote is not part of a ‘poisonous flood’ nor the result of a ‘tsunami of bile’. It was a democratic vote to leave the institution of the EU.
One thing I hope will result from the vote is a determination to address the public seriously,
not as a mass in need of re-education to keep them from their atavistic, Daily Mail reading tendencies (as suggested in this article), but as equals in a democratic and sovereign polity.
Newspapers are online. Many more millions read them online. Sun/Star/Express/Mail have a combined online/print readership of around 21 million. Guardian/Observer/Independent/Times/Mirror/Evening Standard around 13 million a day. – All getting shared around on facebook/twitter etc.
Still don’t think it had an impact?
Sorry if this sounds pedantic but Gisela Stuart (née Gschaider) was not a Remainer, she campaigned for Leave
Thanks Rob, I noticed my mistake when I posted but I couldn’t edit it.
dear jim… what a fine example of a little engerlunder you actually are… somewhat missing most, if not all of the points….. and glorifying in it too….. sovereignty hahahahahahahahahahaaaaa hahahahahaha
What a brilliant Remainer counter argument from a typical Remainer, simon!
Made my day!!!
I have just recently finished my undergraduate degree in Politics and Economics (not at LSE), so despite having some economic understanding, I am clearly no expert like Professor van Reenen. But rather than deferring to the mainstream expertise on the economic argument in this debate, I have been mentally questioning how models showing “Britain will be this much worse off by 2030” (for example) are constructed and how they lead to such conclusions.
While I agreed before the referendum that a Leave vote may cause downturn and possibly recession in the following months and few years (cite uncertainty of exit terms and general confidence-bashing), I find it difficult to take as seriously the long term predictions of many economic models advocating Remain. Why? Simply because no amount of econometrics can predict the internal changes that will undoubtedly occur within the EU itself over the course of the next 14 years, surely jeopardising any results found by comparing the UK’s relative fortunes as either having remained a member state or having left.
Economics and econometrics do a great job of trying to quantify the unquantifiable, but only our subjective human minds can deliberate whether the remaining EU27 becomes more centralised, the level of integration, the ongoing implications of the migrant crisis and the fate of difficult-to-defend monetary union (and potentially impending further fiscal union). Surely if myself and others like me are to prevent ourselves having tunnel vision on these predictions, we must recognise that such models are forced to leave too many qualitative (and perhaps some quantitative) variables as constant, leading to an academically honest, but ultimately unrealistic conclusion. When Paul Krugman stated recently that he feared that too much economic analysis of the Brexit argument was veering too far away from the academic utopia of objectivity as a starting point, I imagine he was including the assertion that an institutional Remain-bias was influencing political assumptions on how bad/good models of trade would be for the UK a few years down the line.
But for all the economic analysis, the debate was rightly not captured entirely by economics, as it is/was far more than merely an economic conundrum. By voting Remain, people were of course either knowingly or unintentionally making the judgement that they’d rather have the European Commission as their supreme Executive as opposed to the UK cabinet, and that they’d rather keep the European Parliament and Council of Ministers (rather than the UK Parliament) as their supreme Co-legislators.
I was intrigued to find this article on the web and read it with great anticipation. The prospect of a rational analysis of the vote on the website of a seat of learning was exciting. However what I found was a manifesto of the type of normally written by historians in the UK. Most students of history have become used to the UK standard of starting with a conclusion and then writing a narrative that points towards that conclusion. It is clearly naive to to presume that other faculties adopt a more critical approach.
The authors emphasis on immigration as the only cause of people voting against the status quo in the EU is simplistic in the extreme. To be clear immigration is an issue. Here in Scotland there is a general view that immigration is desirable and indeed vital to the country. This does not represent a more liberal social consensus, it is the result of hard numerical facts. Scotland left the 20th century with only ten percent more people than it entered it. Moreover Scotland left the 20th Century with exactly the same population as it had in 1939. When this is compared with a country like Poland where one third of the population were murdered between 1939 and 1945 it can be seen that there is hard numerical evidence to demonstrate how badly Scotland has fared within the union and why there is a difference in the consensus on immigration. The contrast since devolution is even more stark as the population has now increased by twice as much as it did in the whole of the 20th century.
Immigration is not a negative issue in Scotland. A significant part of the Free Polish Forces serving in the British Army settled in Scotland after 1945 so the recent wave of Polish immigration has taken place without a hitch and has been welcomed as we have always had a sizeable Polish/Scottish community. Additionally the influx of English people since devolution has also been welcomed because there has always been a large English born community in Scotland. There is a very old joke told in Glasgow that Edinburgh had been voted the nicest town in England. The fourteen percent of of the Scottish population who were not born in Scotland are both welcome and integrated.
The situation in England is not the same. When I worked for a living I was one of the red eye travellers who spent a lot of time in London and I had, at different times offices, in Sheffield and Colchester. Immigration is an issue and it is a serious issue in many parts of England. The asymmetric economic development of England is the cause, not the people being drawn to live there. The massive state capital expenditure in London and the failure to guide investment to those areas of England that need the employment has created an addiction to cheap labour regardless of the consequences and there are consequences. I often caution my fellow Scots against judging what is said about immigration in England too harshly. I suggest that they go and walk a mile in peoples shoes before they comment. The attempt by an economist to hide behind the fig leave of the intellectually superior being dragged down by the unthinking masses is unworthy of the LSE. Moreover the comment “37 per cent of the eligible voters” is nakedly fascist. Those who consider themselves part of the worthy elite do not have a right determine the working of democracy. That right is reserved by the voters expressing their preference via the ballot box. Anyone who doubts that or feels that they have a right to place obstacles in the way of the ballot would do well to re-read the Gettysburg Address.
I fully accept that the BBC are an issue and I have for some time abandoned any hope that it can be allowed to continue. Clearly having 10% of all court cases in England being brought to support a protection racket is a disgrace. The BBC needs to be privatised or made an opt in service. Notwithstanding this the BBC did not let the “ worthy elite” down. They fought their corner with all of their usual tricks. The problem the authors side faced was failing to recognize that the BBC no longer dictates the UK consensus. I have a very firm view that this fall from grace is the direct result of the practice of having one BBC employee interview another BBC employee and then pretend that that this scripted opinion is a news item. I think the unthinking masses are a bit sharper than the author allows for.
Can I suggest that the author does some sort of numerical analysis of the number of national politicians who have left office being employed in important and extremely well paid jobs in the EU. I feel that this numerical approach might enlighten the EU debate and highlight the structural corruption that so weakens the standing of the EU. Indeed it may lead him to conclude that the vote in the UK was only the sucker punch that landed on a prominent glass jaw.
Not many national politicians get jobs with the EU, although there are far too many I would agree (having suffered them for over 30 years), but they are ALL, without exception appointed by their national government who want to help their friends and relations.
In addition, Anthony Wedgewood Been appointed a fairly low ranking Brit civil servant as a Director General of Energy in 1974, with the explicit instruction to sabotage any attempt to get a common energy policy. He had obviously been told that he could keep his well paid job for as long as he did this, but would be out of the door if he failed. He succeeded brilliantly (if sabotage is brilliant).
Very interesting and wrong! All the research carried out since the vote indicates that the main reason leavers voted as they did was democracy People wanted our sovereign parliament to make the decisions (as far as possible) that affect our lives and then after 5 years stand on that record and ask for a further mandate. If the government decides that a figure of net immigration is needed to sustain the economic life of the country then so be it. The difference being they will need to justify their decision to the electorate and make dam certain that public services are adequately funded to cope with the newcomers. Everyone, both leavers and remainers concede that continuing net immigration in excess of 300,000 per annum in a small island with an already high population density is not sustainable. The remainers had no answer to this and the EU high command had no real interest in offering Cameron any kind of deal that would go someway to recognising the problem, because in doing so they would accept the flaws in their own creation, namely the Euro, which has contributed so much to the numbers of EU citizens looking for work outside their home countries.
Completely agree with every word of this.
Twice on this page it has been claimed that post Brexit research conclusively demonstrates that the public were chiefly concerned about our democracy.
1: Why are there no links to said studies (or at least to serious discussions of them)
2: I would suggest that even this were true that the evidence that our democracy (or even identity) is somehow diminished by EU membership is rather thin and also a product of the pro Brexit deception.
Smudgely, link to Ashcroft’s data on this is at
“People wanted our sovereign parliament to make the decisions (as far as possible) that affect our lives ”
Yet in the areas of competence we return to the UK, the sovereign parliament rarely have a say. If that was the reason, it wasn’t based on an expert understanding of how legislation is passed in this country.
“Everyone, both leavers and remainers concede that continuing net immigration in excess of 300,000 per annum in a small island with an already high population density is not sustainable.”
Did they? I’m not sure they did. I didn’t believe it would be sustained, but that is a completely different thing. We had been in the EU an awfully long time, and those statistics were only a result of recent events. The size of the area covered by FoM doesn’t lend itself to ghetto development.
“remainers had no answer to this”
Actually we did. There are lots of ways we could manage migration in the EU, but because they aren’t the simple option, many leavers didn’t understand how.
“the EU high command had no real interest in offering Cameron any kind of deal that would go someway to recognising the problem”
Again they did, but the Brexit campaign went to great lengths at painting it as nothing, and claiming it wasn’t legally binding at the same time. One contradicting the other, but then Leave just threw whatever mud they could think of and hoped something would stick.
“Net Immigration of 300,000 a year” is misleading. This is the breakdown:
Net inward movement of labour from EU according to Nat Insurance registrations: approx 184,000.
I suspect, but haven’t been able to confirm, that a large proportion of EU workers stay for a few years to earn good money then go back to their country of origin.
Net inward movement from outside the EU (India, Pakistan, China, Nigeria, Australia + miscellaneous) approx 194,000.
It is fairly obvious that immigrants fromm those countries will stay permanently. Nothing to do with the EU.
Refugees given asylum; 23,000. Entirely up to the UK to accept refugees. Nothing to do with the EU,
Leave didn’t have answers to the immigration ‘problem’ either. Leadsom in the final debate said they no idea how to solve it, and It was Boris who said he was happy for it to continue ala the Norway model.
And you talk about democracy, is it right that people should potentially wreck the economy because they don’t understand how the EU works & couldn’t be bothered to find out?
Funny how people always scream about how much this was a vote about ‘democracy’ rather than immigration, then spend far more time telling everyone about why immigration is so bad and barely anything on why the EU telling Britain not to transport cattle in inhumane conditions is a bad thing.
“All the research carried out since the vote indicates that the main reason leavers voted as they did was democracy People wanted our sovereign parliament to make the decisions (as far as possible) that affect our lives and then after 5 years stand on that record and ask for a further mandate.”
Democracy and mandate? The last Labour Government was supported by 35.2% of voters and the present Conservative voters was supported by 36.9% of voters.
Neither of them had or has a mandate and it’s not democracy.
Here are the facts….
2000 – Population 58.5 million, No of UK taxpayers 29.3 million. (from HMRC)
2015 – Population 65+ million, No of UK taxpayers – 30.5 million
6.5 million more people and 1.2 million more taxpayers.
Working on the assumption that mortality<fertility, the current population today, with zero net immigration, would be 59.5 million.
Also each immigrant adds 2 to the population.
So 5.5 million more people due to immigration in 15 years and only 1 million contributing into the system.
How did you come to the conclusion that immigrants are net tax contributors ?
Andy K, “For the tax year 2013-14 (6th April 2013 to 5th April 2014) it is estimated that recently arrived European Economic Area (EEA) nationals were subject to £3.11bn income tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs). This is the total amount of income tax and NICs that EEA (other than British citizen) nationals are liable for. If we take into account the amount of tax credits or Child Benefit they receive (£566m), the net fiscal contribution is £2.54bn.” (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/522811/HMRC-Ad_Hoc_Stats_Release-EEA_Nationals_net_contribution_2013-2014.pdf )
The facts are, 5 million more people, 1 million more taxpayers over the past 15 years.
You can not spin this by cherry picking numbers.
and it does not matter who is paying the tax whether it is an immigrant or a native, it the net effect of immigration that is the problem.
If the net effect was positive we would not be running a huge budget deficit.
and we haven’t even touched on the effects of adding 5 million people to the trade deficit, do you think these people consume nothing?
We are talking about artificially jacking up the population by the whole population of Norway.
are they not going to consume electricity to power their gadgets?
are they not going to consume gas to heat their homes?
are they not going to consume petrol for their vehicles?
are they not going to need water to live?
are they not going to produce any garbage or effluent?
If not, how does all this extra consumption help us to honour out Kyoto commitments?
Who is going to pay their pensions or look after them when they are old?
But you have an answer for that, don’t you, because the predictions are that by 2030, we will have imported another country the size of Sweden !
Can you really not see a problem ?
“Can you really not see a problem ?”
Other than people like you trying to rationalise your ignorance and bigotry?
So all these people need production increased to accommodate them, no? Produce for which they’ll have to pay? Won’t that boost the economy? Further, while you’ve complained about immigration and the rather large budget deficit we have, you haven’t made any connection. Is there one?
Are you seriously taking the net *fiscal* contribution to be any indication of the cost/benefit of immigrants? This tells you their net taxes paid (gross taxes minus rebates), it doesn’t even claim to address the costs.
Given the Government is operating a serious deficit (PSBR), every single person in the country is costing on average more than they contribute – immigrants included. That is without including delayed or postponed investment in infrastructure, pension liabilities (public sector not their own – i.e. invisible extra cost of public services), and the human cost of infrastructure pressures (larger class sizes, longer A&E waiting times, higher rent, inability to find a house etc.).
Immigrants may well contribute life, culture and energy to the country as individuals, but as a group if their numbers take a specific element of infrastructure beyond overload, they will lead to a catastrophic deterioration in benefit to all those using that specific element of infrastructure. How widespread those tipping points are in the UK, hard to know, but you certainly won’t find the answer in net fiscal contributions.
Richard Tutin.. we can all ‘quote’ stats and reports – depends what you WANT to believe “the presumption of even a small fiscal benefit has been comprehensively overturned by a UCL study published in 2014 which found the fiscal impact of migrants in the UK between 1995 and 2011 was in fact a net cost of between £115 and £160 billion that is between £19 and £26 million per day.
The same study claimed that East European migrants contributed £5 billion to the Exchequer between 2001 and 2011. However that calculation was based on the assumption that they paid, from the moment of their arrival, corporate and business taxes at the same rate as lifelong UK residents. Correcting for this brought the contribution close to zero….”
Because they’ve literally looked at the tax payment figures and that’s what they say? You can make up whatever math you want but don’t expect it to be true.
I do agree that the author should have looked at some of the other reasons people voted leave, as it wasn’t just immigration fears. I think the unclear nature of the question meant that many different (and sometimes opposing) views could all vote for leave, despite there being no guarantee (or often any chance at all) of that view being addressed. Concerns over EU legistlature, rebellion against the establishment, immigration fears, bare racism, concerns over EU Court, concerns over things like EU superstate etc all played a part, and leave likely wouldn’t have won without any of them contributing. Of course, since the model of how leaving would look like was never confirmed (or apparently planned at all!), almost none of these will be addressed. So everybody loses.
As for the generic soverignty concern, just want to point out that you also lose soverignty over many issues like the environment.
As pointed out here on this site: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexitvote/2016/03/22/the-sovereignty-myth-leaving-the-eu-may-entail-a-loss-of-sovereignty-for-the-uk/
It’s a complicated issue, and frankly if you wan’t complete soverignty, move to North Korea.
The population is not static.
The cohort of non-taxpaying pensioners has increased over the period as the ‘baby boom’ reaches retirement age.
Which pensioners do not pay tax? Clue: none living in the UK. Everybody pays VAT
Please tell me which country you live in, where pensioners don’t pay tax. I’d like to go there, especially if it’s in the UK.
Here in the UK, we pensioners pay income tax except for those whose incomes are too low, but that’s the same for all age groups. We are also liable for VAT, road tax, insurance premium tax, stamp duty and Council Tax.
Please, Derrick, tell me where I can avoid all these taxes!
Please excuse the typo. Of course, I meant “especially if it’s in the EU” instead of “especially if it’s in the UK”!