The snake oil sellers


The fallout from Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union continues. Domestically, there are regrets, recriminations and accusations. Young people,particularly those aged 16-17 who did not have a vote, complain that the vote did not take their interests into account  A petition for a second referendum reached over 3m votes in a few days, although it was subsequently found to have been hacked: the true number is uncertain. The media have spent the weekend tracking down people who voted to Leave and now regret it, and publishing increasingly desperate schemes for avoiding Brexit. There is a sense of denial. If only we could turn back time....

But it's too late. The UK is now persona non grata in the EU, and EU foreign ministers are pushing for formal exit procedure to be triggered as soon as possible. The political meltdown in both main parties currently makes this impossible, but chaos can't continue forever. Eventually, Article 50 will have to be triggered, and the UK will leave the EU, never to return.

The lies that made Brexit

There is now clear evidence that the Leave campaign deliberately misled the British people in order to achieve victory. Within hours of the vote, Leave campaigners were backtracking on the two principal promises of the Leave campaign - immigration control, and £350m per week funding for the NHS.

In an interview with the BBC's Ewan Davies, Dan Hannan said that regaining control of immigration didn't necessarily mean reducing it: "We never said there was going to be some radical decline," he said. "We want a measure of control.” Davies was flabbergasted. "Come on, that's completely at odds with what the public think they have just voted for!" he cried.

Denying that they had ever made the promises seems to be a strategy. "I never said that", said Iain Duncan Smith about the £350m NHS funding. "I just stood in front of buses and posters". And he went on to say that the Leave campaign had never promised the money anyway. A furious Chris Giles of the FT didn't mince his words:



He was right to be angry. Duncan Smith's words were mealy-mouthed. The Leave campaign's advertising explicitly promised £350m would go to the NHS:



The man on the right in this picture, Liam Fox, now admits that the £350m figure itself is fiction. This had been pointed out prior to the vote both by the IFS and by the head of the UK's statistics service, Sir Andrew Dilnot, who reprimanded the Leave campaign for using the figure:

I conclude that there is a lack of clarity in the way the official statistics have been drawn on in the statements I have considered. In particular, I note the use of the £350 million figure, which appears to be a gross figure which does not take into account the rebate or other flows from the EU to the UK public sector (or flows to non-public sector bodies), alongside the suggestion that this could be spent elsewhere. Without further explanation I consider these statements to be potentially misleading. Given the high level of public interest in this debate it is important that official statistics are used accurately, with important limitations or caveats clearly explained.
The Leave campaign ignored Sir Andrew and continued to present £350m as funding that would be available to the NHS. And Nigel Farage undermined the IFS's credibility by claiming that EU funding for some of its work made it untrustworthy - a claim robustly denied by the IFS. At least Fox now admits that the experts were right. I suppose we should be thankful.

But the lies continue. Boris Johnson, in an op-ed in the Telegraph, describes negative prognostications as "wildly overdone", and insists that nothing will really change:

British people will still be able to go and work in the EU; to live; to travel; to study; to buy homes and to settle down. As the German equivalent of the CBI – the BDI – has very sensibly reminded us, there will continue to be free trade, and access to the single market. Britain is and always will be a great European power, offering top-table opinions and giving leadership on everything from foreign policy to defence to counter-terrorism and intelligence-sharing – all the things we need to do together to make our world safer.
Though the freedom of movement Johnson promises British people would not be available to citizens of EU countries:

Yes, the Government will be able to take back democratic control of immigration policy, with a balanced and humane points-based system to suit the needs of business and industry.
So Britain can give bad deals to others while retaining all its existing rights and privileges? No way. This is not remotely credible. None of it is. It is cloud cuckoo land. 

The reality is that the UK will be smaller, poorer and less significant because of Brexit. I grieve for the lost opportunity to put the UK at the heart of Europe, leading the non-Euro bloc and forcing through necessary reforms. And I am furious that a bunch of sleazy, power-grabbing chancers - on both sides - have played fast and loose with the lives and the hopes of the people of the UK. It is an utter disgrace.

The negative consequences of Brexit

It is already clear that the short-term consequences of the Brexit decision will be negative. Sterling fell sharply on the announcement and is continuing to fall, bank and corporate shares crashed and there was high volatility on stock markets around the world. Capital is leaving the UK, and will continue to do so while the present uncertainty continues. And there are no guarantees that it will return.

The sharp fall in sterling, trumpeted as "good for exporters" by the economically illiterate Nigel Farage, may give little benefit to businesses: it is worth remembering that sterling devalued by 25% in 2009 to no avail. This is because the UK is a major importer of intermediate goods, the prices of which rise when the currency falls, increasing input costs for business. Consumers will also be hurt: the summer holiday plans of Brexit-voting Daily Express readers have already been disrupted because the pound in their pocket doesn't buy so much furrin currency. Tragic.

Fiscally, increased borrowing costs as government debt faces downgrade will eventually feed through into spending cuts and tax rises. And for consumers, the effect is likely to be higher prices for some goods, particularly fuel and energy. Daily Mail readers, your SUVs are about to become a lot more expensive to run. And so are your tasteless Christmas lights, your wasteful patio heaters and your flights to Ibiza. Pity the Daily Mail didn't warn you about that.

All of this will eventually feed through into lower growth, lower real incomes and higher unemployment. And there will be a negative impact elsewhere, too. 
In a fascinating blogpost, David Beckworth describes the Brexit decision as a global monetary shock comparable with the fall of Lehman. His argument is twofold. The rapidly strengthening dollar tightens monetary conditions in emerging market economies which peg to the dollar, and puts pressure on governments and corporations with high levels of dollar-denominated debt: 
So between tightening monetary conditions for the  dollar bloc countries and increasing real debt burdens for all the non-resident issuers of dollar debt, the global economy has been hit with a large dollar shock. Put more crudely, the strong dollar noose that has been choking emerging economies since mid-2014 has now been complemented by the opening of  trap door on the gallows via Brexit. This makes the strangulation of global economy complete.
Beckworth adds that the flight to safety, which is causing yields on USTs, bunds and JGBs to crash, will eventually result in a fall in output as the global economy hits the effective lower bound on interest rates. If he is right, then the world is facing recession.

And that would have not only short-term, but long-term consequences for the UK. The Brexit argument is that freed from the EU, the UK can increase trade with the rest of the world. But the rest of the world might be in no shape to cooperate.

So Leave campaigner Andrea Leadsom's claim that Brexit would have "no economic impact" was wildly wrong. The IFS, the Bank of England, the IMF and other reputable institutions that warned about the negative consequences of Brexit were right. In fact if anything their warnings were understated. But they were not believed.

Why weren't the experts believed?

"I think the people of this country have had enough of experts", said Michael Gove. His words resonated. People had indeed had enough of experts. The Remain camp's reliance on "expert witnesses" backfired badly. It failed to capture the public imagination, and - worse - it undermined the credibility of the experts themselves. They were no longer seen as neutral.

Negative forecasts about the effects of Brexit were dismissed on the grounds that all experts except those that supported the Brexit cause were biased towards Remain. Patrick Minford was credible: ten Nobel prize winning economists were not. The Institute of Economic Affairs was credible: the IFS was not. The Leave campaign came up with all manner of reasons why respected institutions could not be trusted, and although the institutions fought back, they were not believed. "They would say that, wouldn't they?" was the response. They couldn't win.

That the Leave campaign systematically undermined the credibility of experts is understandable. If people believed the experts, the foundation of the entire campaign would be shown as the deceit we now know it to be.

But why did Leave's lies appeal to the public? Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF, asked this question in Aspen yesterday:
Why is it that the populist voices, sometimes based on so-called truth that they now have to retract—why is it that those voices carried a lot more, and a lot further, than the voices of ‘experts’ who were largely unanimous about the outcome and consequences of the decision?”
Partly, it was because populist campaigners such as Nigel Farage promoted Brexit as the fight of "the people" against "the establishment". The vote to Leave was above all a massive kick to the "establishment", both in the EU and the UK. And the experts were seen as part of that establishment.

But it was also because Leave's lies resonated with what people want. People want immigration seriously reduced: so Leave encouraged them to think "taking control" would mean much lower immigration. People want the NHS's funding problems to be solved: so Leave conjured up a fictional source of NHS funding. 

And the deceit still continues. People want to be able to live and work wherever they want, while denying that right to others - so that is what Johnson promises them in today's op-ed. They want an “independent Britain” to dictate the terms under which it will trade with other countries, to their benefit - so he promises them that, too. They want Britain to be a great power - so he gives them that impression. Johnson's op-ed is a tissue of lies that play to people's deeply held beliefs, their hopes and their fears. It is evil beyond belief.

But there is a wider issue here. Populist movements arise from a huge disconnect between people's dreams and the reality of their lives. People dream of prosperity, but they have poverty. They dream of being important, but they are insignificant. They dream of fulfilling, enjoyable work, but they have drudgery. They dream - but they have no hope. Populist movements sell them hope.

Deceit is the stock in trade of such movements, since to convince people to support them they must deny reality. So experts who might reveal their dishonesty must be undermined. It is the very honesty of experts that leaves them vulnerable. If experts see no hope, they say so. And that is not what people want to hear.

When people have no hope, the sellers of snake oil become rich.


Related reading:

Silence
Brexit reveals a deeply divided Britain - Forbes
When the world turns dark
Who pulled the switch?
A Latin American tragedy


Image from itv.com.

Comments

  1. Johnson's op-ed is a tissue of lies that play to people's deeply held beliefs, their hopes and their fears. It is evil beyond belief.

    Thanks for saying this. There has been far too much temporising with these people - whether from the BBC mistaking impartiality for balance or from wouldbe satirists playing the "ha ha funny Boris" card. It's time - past time, sadly - that we see them as they are, and oppose them as they deserve.

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  2. You are an expert, and you are far from neutral, yet I take what you say seriously and accept it as sincere and valid—from your point of view. Even your evident anger does not dissuade me from listening carefully to your words and trying to understand how they apply to the present predicament.

    Your entire argument, and the argument of all of the Remain advocates, is that the current EU system is carved in stone, that it is a law of the universe. When political and economic systems are under attack, their supporters always say, “it is what it is and therefore cannot be changed.” Nonsense. Any system can be changed—that is if those in power will yield to change. But usually they do not yield, and that is particularly true of those who dominate the EU. If ever there was a system that needs change it is that of the EU. The only other systems that need change more are the political and economic systems of the United States.

    The tone of your remarks about “the people” and about “populist movements” is offensive. Populist movements are born because “the people” are dissatisfied and their government is telling them to “take it or leave it.” Fortunately for the elites and the experts, the major governments around the world are structured to defeat such movements with very little trouble and with not even a dent in the income of the elites and experts.

    What is missing from the discussion is experts coming together to design a new EU structure and then to sell it to “the people.” But that won’t happen. “The people” always mistrust the experts, and rightfully so. The experts always earn their bread from those in power, from those who favor the status quo. Otherwise they would not be counted as “experts.”

    Yes, “the people” will suffer. They were warned by you and other experts, but they rejected your warnings. They actually took a risk. And the lesson of all this is that those in power will continue to punish those out of power. And, in this case, the punishment will be severe—“How dare they vote?”

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  3. You are an expert, and you are far from neutral, yet I take what you say seriously and accept it as sincere and valid—from your point of view. Even your evident anger does not dissuade me from listening carefully to your words and trying to understand how they apply to the present predicament.

    Your entire argument, and the argument of all of the Remain advocates, is that the current EU system is carved in stone, that it is a law of the universe. When political and economic systems are under attack, their supporters always say, “it is what it is and therefore cannot be changed.” Nonsense. Any system can be changed—that is if those in power will yield to change. But usually they do not yield, and that is particularly true of those who dominate the EU. If ever there was a system that needs change it is that of the EU. The only other systems that need change more are the political and economic systems of the United States.

    The tone of your remarks about “the people” and about “populist movements” is offensive. Populist movements are born because “the people” are dissatisfied and their government is telling them to “take it or leave it.” Fortunately for the elites and the experts, the major governments around the world are structured to defeat such movements with very little trouble and with not even a dent in the income of the elites and experts.

    What is missing from the discussion is experts coming together to design a new EU structure and then to sell it to “the people.” But that won’t happen. “The people” always mistrust the experts, and rightfully so. The experts always earn their bread from those in power, from those who favor the status quo. Otherwise they would not be counted as “experts.”

    Yes, “the people” will suffer. They were warned by you and other experts, but they rejected your warnings. They actually took a risk. And the lesson of all this is that those in power will continue to punish those out of power. And, in this case, the punishment will be severe—“How dare they vote?”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You say you listen to my words. But then you accuse me of things that you know to be untrue, because you are a regular reader of my work.

      "Your entire argument, and the argument of all of the Remain advocates, is that the current EU system is carved in stone, that it is a law of the universe."

      I have never, ever said this. My reason for voting Remain was precisely because I know the EU needs radical reform. Your comment is both inaccurate and grossly unfair.

      "The tone of your remarks about “the people” and about “populist movements” is offensive."

      What was offensive was Nigel Farage's claim that Brexit was a victory for "real people", "ordinary people, "decent people". He is a populist politician, but he DOES NOT speak for all the people. He speaks for a very small proportion of them. And he sold snake oil.

      Nor can the wider Leave campaign legitimately claim to speak for "the people". The majority of the people of the UK did not vote for Brexit.

      The fact is that the Brexit campaigners told blatant lies in order to con people into making a disastrous decision. And yes, I am angry. Furiously angry. Because the people who will suffer most from this are the poorer people, the ones who voted Leave because it offered them the hope of a better life. That hope is a lie, like everything Leave promised. Evil has triumphed, and the poor will pay.

      "And the lesson of all this is that those in power will continue to punish those out of power. And, in this case, the punishment will be severe—“How dare they vote?”"

      That would not be anything I would support. Indeed I have spent much of the last few days warning that harshness by the EU leadership would be a very bad idea.

      You should seriously rethink your comments and your attitude.

      Delete
    2. Nah, I am content with my comment and my attitude.

      Delete
    3. Nah, I am content with my comment and my attitude.

      Delete
  4. I personally think/hope that not a lot will change in practice. The ever deeper integration was no longer on the list for Britain. But it's exactly the ever deeper integration and the EURO that cause the resentments. We have a term in Mid-Europe that describes our fears, 'The imperialist desire of the 'little man' (on the street) showing up when feeling home in a collective.

    Throw the 2 million Brits residing on the European heartland or they have to apply for visa as all the other people from the 3rd world. Wondering if the 'EUropean' is the blond guy with the blue eyes (this time not a German) superior over others. The same people who shouted out loud, 'Welcome everyone from the Near East and Africa' last year are those who point at them with the finger (green and/or marxists) and want to throw the people from Britain. So again it was not about the humans, it has been about the collective and what has been persuaded by politics and media.

    That's what you get when collectivist ideas are spread across Europe. Austrians smell the evil because we grew up and for some reason (maybe education) remain resistent to indoctrination attempts.

    U.K. definitely runs a working model for people from different cultures residing in one place. In my home town that works too. Every politician (not the 'evil' populists only) simply abuse the immigrants in our to make political capital.

    Maybe the roots of what people voted for are not covered by the referendum but in the end people voted for the right side of history on a long term. I think people voted against the symptoms that come along with the attempt to migrate EUrope into a socialist collective.

    From that perspective we are pretty happy. Because the faster Brussels try to integrate more deeper the easier it will be for the people here to realize what's going on. Now the E.U. are trying to force ever deeper integration. Again Mrs. Von der Leyen mentioned in a talk show last night, that will very likely not she but her children will grow up in a EUrope without nation states. Think of the E.U. in 30 years - what will be the most likely outcome?

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  5. You said on Twitter we were going to read a massive rant.
    And a massive rant we've read.
    You wrote about increasing prices for the SUV and the tasteless Christmas lights and your wasteful patio heaters and your flights to Ibiza.

    Examples of "The horror, the horror" of devaluation.
    Still, i can't think of any better, more progressive ways to fix your grim current account deficit, that was especially grim in rapport to GDP.
    It will be fixed thanks to devaluation just like already happened after 2008, before in 2011 the austerity (made in EU) hitted all the nearest markets.

    Just like after the crisis that hitted (harder in Uk than in eurozone) in 2008 when a strong(er) devaluation helped the export, brought less useless import, and stimulated substitution with national products, this time also it will have a good impact on the employment figures.

    ...Especially good if compared to what happened, and will continue to happen, to the countries forced to fuel Germany's surplus.

    All the data are taken from the pro-Remain paper on Brexit meta-analysis by Busch and Matthes. "Orthodox" economists that dismiss standard models because the data looks too optimistic. My point is simple. If the "economic experts" are ready to take *political* stances against their own science, just because they have motives to scaremonger about "retaliations" that will never happen, at least allow the common man or woman that doesn't travel 5 times a year to express his or hers political stance according to his or hers interests: they know them better than anyone, and that's the whole point of universal suffrage.

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    Replies
    1. i explained in the post that devaluing sterling didn't have much effect in 2008. 25% devaluation barely made a dent. How far to you want sterling to fall?

      Delete
    2. You wrote that it devalued to no avail.
      I think that in the context of the worst financial crisis, in a financial economy, UK floated damn well. Especially when comparing it with eurocountries.
      I don't know how much it could devaluate. But we both know that the status of reserve currency is relative, and if the neighbours are in trouble (as they are) sterling could devaluate even more and appear safer than ever.
      These are not the crucial points of my comment, anyway.
      I don't like you weighting leisure travel and SUVs against the social costs of deindustrialization.
      I don't like contempt for democracy.
      I'd like you to realize that *these* are exactly the reasons why the laymen find so hard to believe the "experts".

      Delete
  6. Not sure about capital flight since gilt yields at all-time low.

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    1. Sterling collapse is due to capital flight, Christopher. Also look at the yields on safe haven assets. And the UK has now bern downgraded, as I forecast. Yields should rise.

      Delete
  7. We all have different opinions but for many the EU does not smell right. We maybe cannot articulate why but it fails the test. Some investigation has revealed to me some quite startling information. I have found it from several sources, academics too. What price freedom?

    professorwerner.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/eu-basics-your-guide-to-the-uk-referendum-on-eu-membership/

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    Replies
    1. Richard ignores the very considerable cost of leaving. Not joining in the first place is an entirely different matter and really not comparable. This is without doubt a considerable shock and there will be an imoact on economic growth, real incomes and employment.

      Delete
  8. How long would you need to stay in the EU before you would be prepared to admit it will never voluntarily reform?

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  9. Frances
    I share your reactions to the referendum result. Since it was declared I have read many articles seeking to interpret it and forecast what might now happen. Some seem to me wishful thinking (e.g. don't worry, we won't actually leave after all); others patronising (this is democracy - get used to it). I am left with the question: what can those of us who want to Remain sensibly now do in order to mitigate the damage?

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    1. I'm hearing a lot of denial at the moment. I think we do have to accept that the UK is leaving the EU, though exactly when and how is still to be decided. And I think the best option for Remainers is to join Sadiq Khan in calling for the UK to join the EEA. We should not tamely allow those for whom control of immigration is more important than economic prosperity to set the agenda. They are not the majority.

      Delete
  10. " And I am furious that a bunch of sleazy, power-grabbing chancers - on both sides - have played fast and loose with the lives and the hopes of the people of the UK. It is an utter disgrace." I'm furious about this to, Frances, but it was the people of the UK who were stupid enough to elect these sleazy power-grabbing chancers in the first place. If a nation presents itself as a doormat, it can't be surprised when others take the opportunity to wipe their feet.

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  11. Why, exactly, did Boris Johnson ever get into the position of being front runner for being PM? The man is frankly a blackguard. His life history is one of dishonour. I don't think he even cared about the EU one way or another; he just saw this campaign as a vehicle to number 10. I am disgusted that this rogue can seriously be thought fit for high office.

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    1. Is he the UK's Donald Trump? John Oliver (in his HBO show here in the states) flashed a picture of him holding his tennis racket like a club alongside "Bam! Bam!" from the cartoon "The Flintstones." ... the resemblance was striking.

      My new name for him is Boris Bam! Bam! Brexit-Johnson.

      Delete
  12. Good post Frances!

    I left you some question on your last post and at Sumner's (I left a link I think).

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    1. I didn't know that Nigel was a red-baiter and climate denier in addition to being a race-baiter. Interesting.

      Delete
  13. The tragedy is that the sellers of snake oil were given the opportunity by a prime minister who felt threatened by his own party - and thought a simple remedy was a referendum after 6 years of austerity!

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  14. I voted in this time but I wanted out of the EU in time, looks like the UK public did my dirty work for me. The reason I wanted out was simple, the EU is never going to change unless you measure such progress in ice ages. the direction of travel was always one way.
    Nobody on the remain side tried to sell the case for the EU as it presently is and certainly nobody even dared mention the benighted Euro. Overall I think the UK has done the EU a favour.
    There may be trouble ahead but I confidently predict our future deal with the EU will look a lot like the one we have now and that the EU direction will remain unchanged.

    Basically all this was for nothing. bill40

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  15. Frances,
    Your anger is palpable and I share it. What you say is right but please avoid what reads a little like snobbery over people's choice of Christmas decorations, Spanish holidays etc. It doesn't help your cause. I find the Mail/Express just as vile as you, and the reasons some of their readers voted out leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, but dismissing personal tastes only serves to widen the gap in this country that has been so dramatically exposed.


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  16. Great piece on populism. The generic issues of populist politicians is something we have painfully experienced here in Greece too.

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  17. The media circus is over and the clowns and ringmasters departed. You and others are taking too much notice of them, it was all an act. I suspect that many ordinary voters, notably in Labour areas voted on the basis of what they saw going on around them in their own localities.

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  18. Why 'never to return'? There's nothing to stop us reapplying at a future date.

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  19. Cui Bono? Some very wealthy people pushed the Brexit agenda, not stupid, they had a purpose in mind.

    Perhaps they realised the UK cannot support enough of a service economy to keep the country going, a move back to manufacture is needed but with low wages and little social support. Brexit could support that agenda, a right wing single party state with a low paid, poor-living working class, an anxious lower-middle class and a wealthy upper-middle and elite class - super. A delicious irony that the low paid and poor seem to have supported the process.

    Mabe, maybe not but they sure had some sort of agenda, but what?

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  20. There are 50 shades of grey to everything; nothing is black in white, particularly in regard to Brexit. However, as an American (and I don't claim to understand the situation like you or other Britons), the two most important factors BY FAR are freedom (complete democracy) and sovereignity and control over your economy. Staying in the EU provides none of these. You mentioned that Brexit will significantly harm the common citizen / poor. While I agree with this, it's short sighted as this will not last forever. Democracy and a control over your economy will bring prosperity as has been shown over and over again. The EU is socialist and borderline communist, at least from a democratic and economic standpoint. Immigration is another subject, but I could care less about this. It's democracy and economics that matter. If that's the case, as an American, I can't possibly understand how anyone could vote remain. Because of the uncertainty it brings? This is why most people aren't successful in life...because they are afraid to take chances. They take the conservative route but end up financially strapped for cash...and it's no ones fault but their own. While the short term looks grim, the entire British economy will almost certainly fare extremely well in the long run.

    Also, who wants to be bound by crazy EU regulations that oftentimes make no sense? For example, your recent Forbes article brought up e-cigarette regulations in the EU. They are legitimately insane and will cause millions of deaths. This much is a fact, not an opinion. Brexit has very large and positive implications for e-cigarettes alone (see here: http://www.e-cigarettereviewsuk.co.uk/brexit-vaping-last-hope/). How many other industries will be positively affected by Brexit? Fishing, finance, etc. - in the long run, the UK will be one of the best, if not the best, economy in the world.

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  21. Hooray I have got my little Britain back or what have we done and not in my name seems to have divided the country. Nigel is in charge of a party without a motivation except xenophobia, nobody in the Tory party wants the leadership except ban the unions Boris while Jeremy keeps quiet, glad that he has his no working people back on side.

    Politicians navel gaze for an explanation with ever wilder theories about class warfare while the 48 percent are portrayed as societies winners and it was about time they got their comeuppance. Despite the fact that people from the same households voted differently.

    Now we have our independence we can send the immigrants back, role back rural austerity , rebuild rust cities and towns, sort out the NHS. Oh what I meant to say is that we can have more immigrants from outside the EU, increase rural austerity, bulldoze rust cities and do nothing with the NHS.

    Tabloid newspapers showed a man with a gun under every bed and people smugglers coming to every coastal town. Twitter and Facebook went wild with unsubstantiated stories.

    Glastonbury revitalizes the war of intolerance while the young ask about exactly whose future are we talking about (Considering they will have to fund my old age pension I am definitely on their side).

    As for me who is not trying to relive the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s like politicians , detests intolerance, rather likes Europeans (except the french, well not really the world would be a poorer place if we could not tease them), sees politicians completely out of touch, thinks Britain's 52 percent were conned (So that is a Remain vote from me) and am too busy trying to contact smugglers to see if they can get me over the wall and into Scotland (Only joking I don't give up that easily).

    I just hope a little humour can mend some of the rifts in Britain's society that have been created even if it is a serious and emotive subject , but expects the rifts to be stirred up even further, while markets look on in disbelief. I want to be respectful of others choices even though I may not agree and I see the 52 percent and 48 percent as just seeing different solutions to the same problem.

    Brick

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  22. Dork of Cork, just a reminder that there is absolutely no point in commenting here as I will delete everything you post. I banned you some time ago and I see no reason to lift the ban.

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  23. "When people have no hope, the sellers of snake oil become rich."

    Maybe. But if people have no hope perhaps it is because the experts offer them no solutions. This either means that there are no solutions, or it means that the experts aren't as expert as they like to think. If people begin to sense that there are solutions but those solutions are being denied to them by a closed power elite then they will inevitably become hostile to anyone they associate with that elite.

    Nowhere is this more apparent than in economics where there clearly are possible solutions to the problem of deficits and austerity (MMT and other post-Keynesian policies) but these solutions are never discussed by the mainstream of any political party or by mainstream economists, even those on the left. It is interesting, however, that many (if not most) post-Keynesian economists favoured Brexit.

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  24. Although I voted to remain I was not convinced by either side . The problem with the leave campaign was that the EU already had free movement agreed and why would it give this up?
    The problem with the remain camp was how to reform the EU when very little was offered with the threat of Brexit and even that subject to post ratification?

    ReplyDelete

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