Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Email. info@brugesgroup.com
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Email. info@brugesgroup.com
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
Image
Image
Image
Image

Who Governs and by What Right

Tim Stanley wrote in the Telegraph[1]:

"When Mrs May says that she is delivering what the people want – as she reiterated in the House – then by any standard of our democratic tradition, she is lying. No one voted for Chequers; no one voted for either an all-UK indefinite backstop customs union (since "indefinite" is what all backstops by definition are) or for an extended transition period.No one voted for the UK to leave, only to continue to abide by rules over which Britain will cease to have any influence."

I agree with every word of that.

All power belongs to and originates from the People. All persons are created equal: with universal suffrage and one person one vote, the greatest, most powerful person in the country exercises, in voting, the same power as anyone else; no more, no less.Only human beings have votes: there is no "Corporate Vote" that can be caste on behalf of, say, the BBC.

The will of the Nation is to leave the EU.You cannot half leave.The result of the referendum was not to 'leave and return'.The law is that the UK will leave on the 29th March 2019 (with or without a deal).Members of Parliament who wish to reverse that decision speak to "the risk of 'no deal'" and "a real crash out".The use of the words "risk" and "crash out" is consistent with the present campaign by the government to frighten the People; a campaign which is in collusion with Big Business.Take Mr Enders, the boss of Airbus an example; of which Charles Moore wrote[2]

Mr Enders is one of the leading Germans who last week signed a letter to The Times saying how much they loved this country and would "miss" it post-Brexit. This week, though, he turned nasty. In a company video, he starts shouting at the British people about the Brexit "precipice". He accuses Brexit of "threatening to destroy" a century of his company's expertise. "Please don't listen" to Brexiteers, he tells us, forgetting that he is referring to 17.4 million voters. Britain "no longer has the capability to go it alone", so we must surrender. I recommend watching the film: Mr Enders's tone is disturbingly arrogant, like that of an interrogator in a war film.

It later emerged that ministers had incited Airbus to make these threats, intent – in contravention of government policy – on killing "no deal".Yesterday, Mr Hammond reiterated his belief that no deal would be a "betrayal" of the referendum because we "didn't vote to be worse off".

In a way, we should be glad that all these menaces and moans came from Davos. It reveals the extent of collusive group-think on the subject and proves the dictum that "capital is a coward". Rich and powerful people do not like disturbing existing arrangements, for the obvious reason that they do very well out of them.

The government, having incited Mr Enders to make his remarks, through Mr Hammond, made its own contribution to the same end.Mr Hammond, in Davos, speaking to Big Business said[3]:

"Not leaving would be seen as a betrayal of that referendum decision, but equally leaving without a deal would undermine our prosperity and would equally represent a betrayal of the promises that were made".

Tobias Ellwood, a Cabinet minister, has described a no deal as a "historic act of self-harm, with profound economic, security and repetitional (sic) consequences for the UK".Business minister Richard Harrington has said: "My clear objective is to stop the nonsense of a hard Brexit".Amber Rudd is reported[4] to have said that she was "committed" to ensuring that the UK does not crash out of the EU without an agreement.According to the Telegraph[5]:

"Anti-Brexit lobbyists are attempting to recruit City bosses to increase pressure on Theresa May's "second-rate" withdrawal agreement with a new call for a second referendum.

The Daily Telegraph has learnt that a draft joint letter from the People's Vote campaign is circulating among major financial services firms, claiming the City is "suffering death by a thousand cuts". It is understood that the letter is due to be published in the Financial Times in the coming days.

The head of the People's Vote campaign, Roland Rudd, who is also chairman of the public relations firm Finsbury and brother of the work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd, has urged the chiefs of banks, insurers and asset managers to back a second referendum".

Reaction[6] reported that:

"Listeners to BBC Radio 4's Today programme were treated to an appearance by referendum rerun campaigner Roland Rudd on Tuesday morning. Where was the public relations guru and leading figure in the failed 2016 Remain campaign calling in from? … from Davos".

Joseph Stiglitz[7] wrote under the heading "Afterword:Brexit and its aftermath":

"The neoliberal agenda of the last third of a century might have been good for the 1 percent but not for the rest[8].…

In Europe, at the centre of the new consensus was the furtherance of the European project, and in most of Europe that meant the euro.But this elite centre-left/centre-right consensus wasn't really working for most citizens.The economic and political order just wasn't delivering for most Americans or Europeans. … There has been a huge scrum of explanations and prescriptions for our current ills, and a plethora of explanations for why the construction of the "neoliberal order" over the past third of a century, which promised such benefits to all, hasn't delivered on those promises.… It meant, too, that there was no counterbalance to corporate political influence.Financialization, accompanied by short-termism, led to lower growth, so that the workers were getting a smaller slice of a small pie[9].…

On both sides of the Atlantic, citizens seized upon trade agreements as a source of their woes.While this is an oversimplification, it is understandable.The trade agreements have been negotiated in secret, with corporate interests at the table – but not those of either ordinary citizens or workers. Not surprisingly, the outcome is one-sided".

The European Commission negotiates "deals" on behalf of the European Union.Tony Benn spoke of the European Commission in the following terms[10]:

"And then I was on the Council of Ministers; and that was the most shattering experience I have ever had in my life.Because, I was the representative of Britain (and for 6 months I was the President of the Council of Energy Ministers) and I wasn't allowed to submit a document.Only the Commission who are bureaucrats could submit a document.I could say 'yes' or 'no' (a sort of constitutional monarch if you like) – they controlled it.It [the EU Commission] met in secret; it made laws for Britain and everywhere else: it met in secret.And when I suggested that we met in public, well they nearly strangled me because all their dirty little deals would have come out".

David Marquand, according to the biographical details in his book[11], was a British delegate to the Council of Europe from 1970 to 1973 and Chief Adviser in the Secretariat General of the Commission.He writes[12] of his experience there:

"There can be no democracy without accountability.In a democratic system, someone must always be in a position to use Harry Truman's motto 'the buck stops here'; decision-makers must be answerable to, and removable by, those in whose name the decisions were made.In the Community system, no one is unambiguously answerable for anything.The buck is never seen to stop; it is hidden from view, in an endless scrimmage of consultation and bargaining.This may not matter much when the Community's competences are restricted as they are at present.If they are extended sufficiently to overcome the challenges described above, it would matter a great deal".

It is, perhaps, Big Business' present close relationship with political power in Europe that is most at risk from the result of the vote to leave the EU.

The Telegraph obtained a leaked audio recording of a telephone conference call between Big Business at one end and Mr Hammond, Mr Greg Clarke and Mr Barclay in Downing Street and reported that:

"The Telegraph has obtained a leaked audio recording of a briefing that Philip Hammond gave 330 business leaders during a conference call in the aftermath of Theresa May's historic Brexit defeat on Tuesday".[13]

The Telegraph published the transcript of this conference call[14].The transcript shows that Mr Hammond referred to no deal as "the threat of no deal[15]".

Charles Moore wrote[16]

"This newspaper's transcript of Mr Hammond's private conversation with business leaders on the night of the defeat of Mrs May's deal is the key text. It embodies that aspect of the Conservative Party which people rightly detest. …The transcript suggests that those mad Bennite horror stories – on which Mr Corbyn was brought up – of multinational companies and their cronies stitching up the people's future are the sober truth.

Juergen Maier, for example, on behalf of Siemens, tells the Chancellor he wants "to give some confidence to my board": can he assure them that the new parliamentary Bills will "block the chances of a no deal"?Instead of stating the fact that no deal is part of existing legislation, and pointing out that the Bills Mr Maier is referring to are against Government policy, Mr Hammond commends them.They are backed "by some very senior parliamentarians", and will answer the question of "whether we can somehow take the option of no deal off the table".

The essential message from Mr Hammond – ardently backed in the conversation by the Business Secretary, Greg Clark, and rather feebly qualified by the Brexit Secretary, Stephen Barclay – is "Don't worry, chaps. We have to pretend to listen to voters because we had this bloody referendum, and to the Government because we're in it, but your power and privileges are safe with us." Capital will crush the wishes of the workers".

Furthermore, the transcript reveals that real help is on hand from Members of Parliament. The transcript of the conference call shows that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Hammond, was asked:

"… Is there anything you can do that would enable us to give any comfort to our global board that no deal can be ruled out?"

Hammond:

"I can only emphasise what I have already said. This is a backbench initiative but it's backed by some very senior parliamentarians".

Dan Hodges had a meeting with Mr Grieve MP on Thursday the 24 January 2019 upon which he reported in his newspaper[17] in these terms:

"On Thursday afternoon, I attended a briefing in the Grimond committee room of the House of Commons, hosted by Dominic Grieve (pictured above). It had been called primarily to explain the thinking behind his amendment aimed at preventing a No Deal Brexit. …

From a referendum in which 17.4 million people voted to leave the European Union, to the point where former Ministers of the Crown are sneaking around the Palace of Westminster, convening surreptitious conclaves to conceive ever more complex procedural devices to undermine Britain's departure. …

"So this, in summary, is Grieve's position. He stood in the 2017 Election on a personal pledge to respect the referendum result. He then tabled a Commons amendment seeking to invert the relationship between executive and legislature.

He held a private meeting with the Speaker in his apartment, even though he apparently does not regularly have such meetings. He claims he did not attempt to influence the Speaker in favour of his amendment, but refuses to tell the press or public what they did discuss. …

Hours after that meeting, against precedent and the advice of his clerks, the Speaker ruled in favour of Grieve's amendment to begin the process of postponing Brexit.

In the moments after the referendum result had been confirmed by the BBC, I went upstairs to my bedroom and looked out of the window. 'What's happening out there?' I asked. 'Where did the anger come from?' I understand now.

It comes in response to men like Dominic Grieve. People who willingly embrace the title 'Honourable Member' then deceive their constituents, agitate in direct opposition to their wishes and laugh in their faces while they're doing it. 'I did not try to suborn the Speaker'? He literally thinks we are all idiots."

Professor Robert Tombs wrote in an article[18] in the Telegraph saying; he wrote:

"Do the Commons now claim that sovereignty belongs to MPs because they too are members of an elite with superior wisdom? The 'sovereignty of parliament' is not an absolute or unlimited sovereignty: it is one element, the power to make laws.

Moreover, that element of sovereignty is only lent to it temporarily - by popular election".

In a later article[19], Professor Robert Tombs wrote:

"The penny dropped when I read the vocal Remainer and former MP Matthew Parris in the latest Spectator[20]. For him, Brexit means "trusting the people": "I don't," he writes. "Never have and never will." Rejecting the idea of "an unseen bond between parliament and people", he sees its job as curbing "the instincts of the mob". The enlightened elite must govern by subterfuge if necessary.

How far backwards elitist rejection – principled rejection, if you like – of democracy takes us. Even in the 1830s the prescient political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville, aristocrat though he was, acknowledged that ordinary people had a shrewd grasp of things within their experience. Gladstone, our greatest liberal, considered the popular electorate more moral than the elite.

Nearly 200 years after Tocqueville, how much wider is popular experience of the world than he could have imagined. Yet a lady in Newnham (Cambridge's miniature Islington) told me recently that she had only understood Brexit because her Leave-voting gardener and cleaning lady had explained it: it did not occur to her that their views had any value – though her own were, to use an apt term, nebulous. She could not conceive that their experience of working and bringing up families could have given them a knowledge of the world as valid as her view from the ivory tower.

If such arrogance had any justification, it would be the surpassing excellence of elitist rule. All those Old Regime states were run by experienced and sophisticated professionals, and all are on the scrapheap of history. What of their present-day successor, the European Union itself, that magnet for Europe's new post-national aristocracy? Its boldest creation, the euro, condemns millions of Europe's young to unemployment or forced migration. Its trading policies impoverish poor countries and add to the tide of migrants. Its supra-national power is undermining Europe's fragile and painfully achieved democracies – the real danger to peace and order.

And our own political elite: do they consider themselves so infallible and trusted that they can override a referendum and a general election? By what power could they legitimately do so? The phrase "the sovereignty of parliament" is freely bandied about, but that sovereignty is limited. Moreover, it is the institution of parliament that holds sovereignty, not its confused and disunited members. If they cannot in conscience carry out a programme on which they were elected, their honourable course is to resign, not to break their promises and certainly not to intrigue to undermine them.

The Remain-Leave debate is no longer primarily about the EU, if it ever was. It has become, as Parris disarmingly admits, about who governs, and by what right. Not for the first time in our history, we have a relatively small but influential faction, utterly confident of its own intellectual and moral entitlement, which often appears to despise its own country and prefers to pledge its loyalty elsewhere. We saw it with the Puritans and their successors. We saw it with those who acclaimed Stalin's Russia as a higher civilization. In each case, intellectual stubbornness blocked out reality.

Shall we recover from our present political, social and cultural tussles? I believe so. But not through the usual British fudge, in this case presenting a surrender as a compromise. The readiness of the Government to let the EU pick our pocket – who can blame Michel Barnier for obliging? – has produced a "deal" that risks condemning us to years of internal recrimination and wrangling with our neighbours. A second referendum is so patently a ruse, and its leaders so politically discredited, that only the most blinkered or cynical could propose it as a means of reconciliation.

The only way left to restore calm now is a "managed no deal", for which all sides are preparing. Most Remainers are not hard-liners but understandably worry about economic apocalypse. If and when that does not materialise – and with sensible preparations it will not – then our politics will go off the boil, and ex-prime ministers will resume what Dr Johnson called the innocent employment of making money".

Big Business' close relationship with government and its ministers is deeply unhealthy and corrosive of both democracy and trust between Parliament, the People and its government.

"The great enemy of freedom is the alignment of political power with wealth. This alignment destroys the commonwealth - that is, the natural wealth of localities and the local economies of household, neighbourhood, and community - and so destroys democracy, of which the commonwealth is the foundation and practical means[21]."

Those exercising the enormous political power in the European Union are anti-democratic.Recently, the president of the European Council has revealed that he told Mr Cameron:

"'Why did you decide on this referendum, this - it's so dangerous, so, even, stupid, you know'".[22]

The European Union is not and has never been democratic; but it's real vice lies in the fact that it does not recognise the exercise of democracy.It does not recognise that all power belongs to and originates from the People: and that power, having been transferred to the European Union, is being used against the People. The Irish people voted against the Nice Treaty in 2001 and against the Lisbon Treaty in 2008 and were told to vote again until they got the "right" result. The same underlying notion was deployed (a) when France and the Netherlands voted against the adoption of the European Constitution which contained changes that were later reformulated as amendments to the existing treaties so as to avoid the possibility of being rejected, again, by the democratic process in France and the Netherlands; and (b) in Greece when 62% of Greeks rejected the austerity measures proposed by the Troika in the Referendum of 25th June 2015. The European Union is not a force for good. It is, in practice, anti-democratic.

At a meeting of the Eurogroup on the 11 February 2015, the German Minister Wolfgang Schäubletold Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek Finance Minister: "Elections cannot be allowed to change economic policy".

The European Union is constantly being urged not to allow the European citizens to express their views on those who hold power over them. On the 29 November 2016, Juncker, the "president" of the European Commission, said:[23]

" … giving people a vote would be 'unwise' as they could seek to replicate Brexit".

In addition, as reported in the Press, on the 3 January 2017, the Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico pleaded with the 27 nations of the European Union to cease giving citizens the power to decide their own future. He is there reported as saying[24]:

""I am asking EU leaders to stop with adventures like the British and Italian referendums ... on domestic issues which pose a threat to the EU," he told reporters on Monday (2 January). …

What will we do if . . . there is a referendum in Italy on the euro and Italian citizens decide they don't want the euro?""

Lord Lamont has recently written[25]:

"During the Brexit referendum I heard Mario Monti, an economist who served as prime minister of Italy from 2011 to 2013 despite never having been an elected politician, ask: 'Surely people prefer to be ruled by experts?' I could hardly believe my ears".

Woe betide the Peoples who express themselves in a democratic vote.Herman Von Rompuy in February 2019 was reported[26]to have said of the British people:

"with their backs against the wall, the abyss in front of their eyes and a knife on their throat we are nearly there.If some time is needed after the end of March 2019, that will not be a problem for the 27".

The BBC Documentary "The Poisoned Chalice" (Part 2 [27])shows that the Heath government rigged the vote in Parliament.It contains interviews with some of those who effected it.At the point in the programme which appears at which appears at 24.01 minutes onwards, (in particular at 27.35 minutes), Tony Benn characterises that conduct thus:

"It was a coup d'état by a political class who did not believe in popular sovereignty. That was what it was; it was a coup d'état: power was seized by Parliamentarians, the seized power did not belong to them; they used it to take away the rights of those they represented. That's how I saw it".

I don't believe that Parliament then believed or now believes in popular sovereignty; I don't believe that Members of Parliament believe that all power belongs to and originates from the People.I do not believe that Parliament intends to deliver the result of the referendum; I believe that Parliament is doing all it can to frustrate and reverse that result.

Economic forecasts and assessments formed a significant part of Project Fear.The Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge Working Paper No. 493, (January 2018), entitled "How the Economics Profession got it wrong on Brexit".[28] This contains an analysis of the forecasts and assessments by the Treasury, the Bank of England OECD which were produced around the time of the Referendum and of two more recent assessments undertaken for the Mayor of London and the Scottish government.I have highlighted a number of conclusions which perhaps should be mentioned:

"We argue in this paper … that much of the economic assessment of the impact of Brexit has been flawed, leading to a conclusion that the profession does indeed need to reassess its methods. …

Our conclusion[29] is that most estimates of the impact of Brexit in the UK, both short-term and long-term, have exaggerated the degree of potential damage to the UK economy. We stress at this point that this is not a politically-driven exercise. Most of the four-person team behind the research for this and our other papers voted 'Remain' in the 2016 referendum and would do so again if given the chance. Our purpose is rather to establish a sound basis for the ongoing debate on the likely potential economic impact of Brexit, and more generally to question the quality of economic analysis in dealing with major, macro-economic policy issue like Brexit".

On the question[30] "Did EEC/EU Membership Accelerate Economic Growth in the UK?, the authors write:

"The Brexit debate has been distorted by several myths. One of the most persistent and widely repeated is that the economic performance of the UK improved after joining the EU, (or EEC as it then was) in 1973. This claim was made by the OECD1 and was regularly stated in the media during the Brexit referendum campaign. …

We can conclude[31] that there is no evidence that joining the EU improved the rate of economic growth in the UK. Growth in the UK, as elsewhere, is constrained by technology, skills and investment. None of these has been better than the USA and hence the USA experience puts a ceiling on potential long-term growth in the UK, as it does in the EU6. The UK joined the EEC just as the EU6 catch-up ended. The UK thus joined on a false prospectus that accession would accelerate growth. It is also a fact that the previously slow growing Commonwealth markets actually expanded faster than the EU over the long period since 1973". …

"We have been unable to get a meeting with the Treasury to discuss these differences, nor were HMT willing to release any further details of their methods or equations. We do know however that there is an internal Treasury paper from 2005 which generates much smaller estimates of the impact of EU membership on intra-EU trade (HM Treasury, 2005). Importantly, this paper recognises that the impact of EU membership was much smaller for the UK than for other EU members. We had assumed that HMT's failure to recognise this key point in their 2016 report was due to an oversight, but the existence of the 2005 Treasury paper suggests that it was more deliberate. The omission could, of course, be due to a lack of institutional memory in an organisation with high staff turnover, but it is important to note that the official responsible for the 2016 report, Treasury Chief Economist, Sir Dave Ramsden (now Deputy Governor at the Bank of England), was employed at the Treasury in 2005".

The authors analysed the very recent Mayor of London's Report (January 2018)[32] which was commissioned from the economic consultants Cambridge Econometrics (CE) and said:

"In conclusion, the CE report predicts lower GVA and employment but no substantial reduction in living standards as measured by per capita GVA. In true 'project fear' style, the reductions were widely reported but the important point on living standards was ignored. The predictions, whether commented upon or not, can be viewed as plausible. The UK economy is likely to be a little smaller after Brexit, mainly because lower migration will mean lower numbers of jobs and less output. We agree with CE that the living standards of the resident population are likely to be little changed".

In their final conclusion, the authors refer their concerns about democracy thus:

"Our conclusion is that much of this work contains flaws of analysis, and a treatment of evidence that leads to exaggerated costs of Brexit. …

The refusal of the Treasury to discuss their approach, at least until the issue was aired in Parliament, is in our view unacceptable in an open democracy".

The flawed forecasts and assessments formed a significant part of the government's programme to frighten the People.Using flawed computer modelling was a technique deployed by the European Union, IMF and others against Greece, as the then Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis has described[33].

The really interesting question is this:Why does the government take the very considerable time and expense in devising and implementing Project Fear?As Professor Tombs has said:"The enlightened elite must govern by subterfuge if necessary".The Shorter Oxford Dictionary definition of "subterfuge" includes:

"1. An article or device to which a person resorts in order to escape the force of an argument, to avoid condemnation or censure, or to justify his conduct; an evasion or shift.Chiefly of discourse, argument, debate, but also of action in general. … 3. That which conceals; a 'cloak'".

The government, Big Business and the elite want to "escape the force of an argument".As Charles Moore put it:

""Don't worry, chaps. We have to pretend to listen to voters because we had this bloody referendum, and to the Government because we're in it, but your power and privileges are safe with us." Capital will crush the wishes of the workers".


Appendix

The Cambridge HOW THE ECONOMICS PROFESSION GOT IT WRONG ON BREXIT, Centre for Business Research, 2018

In an academic paper[34] of over 50 pages entitled "How the Economics profession got it wrong on Brexit"[35], the following appears:

"We argue in this paper … that much of the economic assessment of the impact of Brexit has been flawed, leading to a conclusion that the profession does indeed need to reassess its methods. …

Our conclusion[36] is that most estimates of the impact of Brexit in the UK, both short-term and long-term, have exaggerated the degree of potential damage to the UK economy. We stress at this point that this is not a politically-driven exercise. Most of the four-person team behind the research for this and our other papers voted 'Remain' in the 2016 referendum and would do so again if given the chance. Our purpose is rather to establish a sound basis for the ongoing debate on the likely potential economic impact of Brexit, and more generally to question the quality of economic analysis in dealing with major, macro-economic policy issue like Brexit.

On the question[37] "Did EEC/EU Membership Accelerate Economic Growth in the UK?, the authors write:

"The Brexit debate has been distorted by several myths. One of the most persistent and widely repeated is that the economic performance of the UK improved after joining the EU, (or EEC as it then was) in 1973. This claim was made by the OECD1 and was regularly stated in the media during the Brexit referendum campaign. …

We can conclude[38] that there is no evidence that joining the EU improved the rate of economic growth in the UK. Growth in the UK, as elsewhere, is constrained by technology, skills and investment. None of these has been better than the USA and hence the USA experience puts a ceiling on potential long-term growth in the UK, as it does in the EU6. The UK joined the EEC just as the EU6 catch-up ended. The UK thus joined on a false prospectus that accession would accelerate growth. It is also a fact that the previously slow growing Commonwealth markets actually expanded faster than the EU over the long period since 1973".

The authors deal with the short-term forecasts of the Treasury, the Bank of England short-terms forecasts and the OECD's short-term assessment at pages 11 to 15.The long-term forecast of the Treasury were analysed at pages which showed certain weaknesses in the Treasury forecast and differences between that and their own analysis to which they refer thus:[39]

"We have been unable to get a meeting with the Treasury to discuss these differences, nor were HMT willing to release any further details of their methods or equations. We do know however that there is an internal Treasury paper from 2005 which generates much smaller estimates of the impact of EU membership on intra-EU trade (HM Treasury, 2005). Importantly, this paper recognises that the impact of EU membership was much smaller for the UK than for other EU members. We had assumed that HMT's failure to recognise this key point in their 2016 report was due to an oversight, but the existence of the 2005 Treasury paper suggests that it was more deliberate. The omission could, of course, be due to a lack of institutional memory in an organisation with high staff turnover, but it is important to note that the official responsible for the 2016 report, Treasury Chief Economist, Sir Dave Ramsden (now Deputy Governor at the Bank of England), was employed at the Treasury in 2005".

The authors analysed[40] the Mayor of London's Report[41] which was commissioned from the economic consultants Cambridge Econometrics (CE) and said:

"In conclusion, the CE report predicts lower GVA and employment but no substantial reduction in living standards as measured by per capita GVA. In true 'project fear' style, the reductions were widely reported but the important point on living standards was ignored. The predictions, whether commented upon or not, can be viewed as plausible. The UK economy is likely to be a little smaller after Brexit, mainly because lower migration will mean lower numbers of jobs and less output. We agree with CE that the living standards of the resident population are likely to be little changed".

The authors analysed the "recent report by the Scottish SNP Government".The analysis extends to several pages and includes the sentence:

In fact, the UK is the only EU state (other than Malta) which exports more to non-EU countries than to other EU states.As argued above, taking account of this fact reduces the estimated impact of Brexit on UK trade with the EU by about half.The Scottish Government's failure to acknowledge this leads them to considerably exaggerate the impact of Brexit".

The authors' Concluding Comments[42] at the end of the paper include the sentence:

"Our conclusion is that much of this work contains flaws of analysis, and a treatment of evidence that leads to exaggerated costs of Brexit. …

The short-term forecasts which have turned out to be wrong have further damaged confidence in economists' contributions to public debate. Partly as a result, very little attention is currently being given by politicians or the public on either side of the debate to the impact assessments published at the time of the referendum. The potential damage to the UK's negotiating position on Brexit may have been limited by the indifference of policy-makers to economic impact assessments. Although the UK government has steered away from further work on economic assessments of Brexit, devolved governments have felt less constrained. The Mayor of London, reacting against the UK Government's reluctance to publish assessments, commissioned Cambridge Econometrics, who showed that a modelling approach without gravity models or general equilibrium, will generate moderate and plausible results. Even so, only the most pessimistic of their conclusions on Brexit received any publicity. CE's gave little attention to their prediction that per capita GVA was little changed by Brexit and hence the media ignored it. The Scottish Government was much less inhibited and ploughed ahead with an analysis incorporating all of the flaws in the Treasury and CEP analyses with no acknowledgement of published criticisms.

The consequences of these shortcomings go well beyond Brexit itself. We believe that the credibility of the economic forecasting profession and some of the major parts of the economic press, have been damaged again. It will take more than a decade to be sure of this, but the failure of the short-term forecasts indicates what could happen. The fact that the flaws we identify all point in the direction of pessimism on Brexit, and hence in the direction that most academics and economists tend to lean ideologically, will increase the scepticism of many. The refusal of the Treasury to discuss their approach, at least until the issue was aired in Parliament, is in our view unacceptable in an open democracy".


[1] Tim Stanley, The Telegraph, 25 October 2018.

[2] Charles Moore, The Telegraph, 25 January 2019.

[3] The Independent, 24 January 2019.

[4] The Independent, 11 January 2019.

[5] The Telegraph, 20 November 2018.

[6] https://reaction.life/get-roland-rudd-peoples-vote-live-davos-look/ 22 January 2019.

[7] Joseph Stiglitz, "The Euro and it threat to the future of Europe", 330 et seq, (2017).

[8] Ibid, 330.

[9] Ibid, 335.

[10] (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWnpbEMMsNw

[11] David Marquand, 'Parliament for Europe', (1979)

[12] Ibid, 64.

[13] "Exclusive: The Government's conference call to reassure big business - the full transcript", The Telegraph, 16 January 2019.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Notwithstanding the fact that the law is that on the 29 March 2019, the UK will leave the EU – with or without a deal.

[16] Charles Moore, The Telegraph, 18 January 2019.

[17] At: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-6635785/DAN-HODGES-die-hard-Remainer-arrogant-MPs-hard-Brexiteer.html .

[18] Robert Tombs, The Telegraph, 10 December 2018.

[19] Robert Tombs, Sunday Telegraph, 23 December 2018.

[20] The Spectator, Matthew Parris, "Why I don't, never have, and never will trust the people", 15th December 2018: at https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/12/why-i-dont-never-have-and-never-will-trust-the-people/ .

[21] Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays, (2002)

[22] The Express, 22 January 2019.

[23] Daily Mail, 28 November 2016.

[24] EU Observer, 3 January 2017.

[25] Lord Lamont, Daily Mail, 30 May 2018.

[26] https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1093509/Brexit-News-update-latest-today-Nigel-Farage-Herman-Van-Rompuy-EU-vote dated 28 February 2019.

[27] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9GhIDvoF44 .

[28] Ken Coutts, Graham Gudgin and Jordan Buchanan, HOW THE ECONOMICS PROFESSION GOT IT WRONG ON BREXIT, Centre for Business Research, 2018 (herein "CBR paper).

[29] Ibid, p5.

[30] Ibid, p6.

[31] Ibid, p8.

[32] At https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/preparing_for_brexit_final_report.pdf .

[33] Yanis Varoufakis, "Adults in the Room – My Battle with Europe's Deep Establishment", (2017), 416 et seq.

[34] The entire paper is at:https://www.cbr.cam.ac.uk/fileadmin/user_upload/centre-for-business-research/downloads/working-papers/wp493.pdf .

[35] Ken Coutts, Graham Gudgin and Jordan Buchanan, HOW THE ECONOMICS PROFESSION GOT IT WRONG ON BREXIT, Centre for Business Research, 2018 (herein "CBR paper).

[36] Ibid, p5.

[37] Ibid, p6.

[38] Ibid, p8.

[39] Ibid, p21.

[40] Ibid, p35.

[41] Greater London Authority, Preparing for Brexit,

[42] The CBR paper, p42.

‘No deal’ is our only remaining negotiating weapon...
The 'Withdrawal' Agreement is a Zombie Bill
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
Copyright ©1989-2019 The Bruges Group. All Rights Reserved.
Site designed by WA Designs