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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.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Brexit is Working

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We are pleased to publish this analysis by Sebastian James based on his blog at The Blue Anchor. 


After the vote to leave The Guardian started a regular tracker to chart its impact on the economy. But as the Remainer predictions turned to dust and the good news kept piling up the Guardian quietly dropped this feature. So I'm reviving it here to keep you abreast of all the Brex-cellent news!
We will start with trade. In 1973 Heath took us into the EEC without even bothering with a referendum. His whole argument was that membership would help trade. We will see that, in this he was clearly wrong.

I am going to use this dataset from the ONS (Office for National Statistics) as it goes back to 1955 allowing us to compare generational trends. People with political motives will always prefer this or that dataset, but as we shall see they all show pretty much the same pattern. Here is the full graph: 

You will see I've circled the end to highlight where we have just enjoyed the biggest improvement in our trade balance ever in our history EV-VER.

The ONS website has a handy tool that allows us to isolate specific historical periods so here below is the period from 1955 when records begun up until 1986 when Thatcher signed the Single European Act:

Keep your eye on the zero line. That indicates balanced trade (equal imports and exports). We see that it bounced around as volumes increased but that the BoP generally stuck to the zero line – we had balanced trade for three decades before Thatcher signed the Single European Act. So what happened next? This:

I see a line from top left to bottom right – a total absolute collapse in our current account balance as we became more integrated into the EU. From Thatcher signing the Single European Act to our vote to leave we went from balanced trade to a deficit of £27,000 million. Four decades of membership had left the UK with a bigger trade deficit, per head of population, than the US had with China! Wasn't the whole point of membership to improve trade? So what happened next? This:
I see a line rising from left to right. Since our vote to leave we have gone from minus £27,000 million to minus 2,000 million. If we carry on improving at this rate, then by 2024 we will have balanced trade again!

Trade summary:

Before joining – Good.                                       During membership – Collapse.                                                  After leaving – Recovery.

 George Osborne claimed that if we dared become an independent democracy again, then 820,000 would lose their jobs. Now we have the data we can see he was talking out of his hat.

I'm going to use this dataset from the ONS if you want to check the figures for yourself. Here's the graph:

What we see from the above chart is that when we joined unemployment was 3.5% (circled in red). After we joined it tripled. Then after we left in 2020 it returned to 3.5% for the first time in nearly half a century (again circled in red). During membership unemployment averaged DOUBLE what is was before or after membership.

Here is the unemployment data since the vote to leave:

We can see the Covid blip in 2020 which we can ignore; but basically unemployment has done the exact opposite of what Remainers promised – going from 5% in June 2016 to less than 4% now. We left the high unemployment club.

Here is the ONS dataset for employment:

This the entire dataset covering over half a century since records began in 1971. Follow the 75% line carefully – after we left we broke above it for the first time ever, and stayed above it.

Employment Summary:

Before joining – Good.                             During membership – Collapse                         After leaving – Recovery.

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