The economic experts concerns on Brexit have all the potency of the Millennium bug experts

In the run up to the new millennium a vast array of experts told us that our computers would not work and civilisation as we know it would come to a halt unless we took expensive and massive remedial actions. Many of us ignored this advice and did nothing. When we came to turn on our computers on 1 st January 200 they worked fine, as did all the main public systems.

The so called expert opinion that if we vote to leave the EU we will see a plunging pound, soaring interest rates and a recession has all the potency of the Millennium bug scares. So far despite the probability of Brexit rising, UK interest rates have fallen and the pound has held its value against the dollar. The experts have been wrong again.

I keep getting asked how can I think I am right about no Brexit recession when I am up against the Treasury, the Bank of England and the IMF amongst others? I reply, because they have been wrong about these big matters so often before. Look at the track records.

I opposed the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, on the grounds it would badly damage our economy. The Treasury, Bank and IMF recommended it. It gave us a very bad recession in the early 1990s, destroying hundreds of thousands of jobs and many businesses.

I wrote books and took a campaign around the country to explain how damaging joining the Euro would be for the UK. It was voters, not the institutions, who kept us out of a very dangerous project. The damage I feared was visited instead on Greece, Southern Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland. They were plunged into deep recessions, made to cut spending drastically, and ended up with very high unemployment.

I with the whole Opposition in Parliament told the Bank and the Treasury that they were too lax in expanding credit before the 2008 bust. They did it nonetheless.

I warned against excessive tightening in 2007-8. They ignored the warnings and brought several major banks down, creating the biggest post war recession of them all.

These so called experts did not forecast the biggest two recessions of recent years, and did not understand how their policies created them. Why then should we think their current forecasts have any probability of being right?

There will be no recession from Brexit. Our trade is not at risk. We start our negotiations with the rest of the EU from the position of having common rules and standards and no tariffs. Who wants to change that? Certainly not Germany, who sells us so much more than we buy from them.

A future recession is possible, in or out of the EU but it will have nothing to do with Brexit. It is more likely to be caused by bad Central banking, as last time, or by a crisis in some other major economy of the world knocking on to us. It could even come about if the Eurozone has a crash owing to the poor design of their currency. Out of the EU we will have a bit more flexibility to cushion the blows.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Indeed the list of government “expert” instigated (and hugely overblown) scares is huge:

    Salmonella, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, the new ice age, E Coli, Millennium bug, Mad Cow, Ritualized Child Abuse, unleaded fuel and perhaps the most damaging one of all the global warming alarmism. Many more too.

    Government, experts and industry are often/usually not driven by seeking the truth but be what suits or profits them at the time. Often infected by fashion and group think too, This is frequently the complete opposite of what a sensible, honest, impartial & independent expert would genuinely predict (or place a bet one with his or her own money).

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 5:38 am | Permalink

      The push by the EU for diesel over petrol by the EU (for reasons of reducing harmless C02 emissions) has killed thousands.

      I also see that a foolish French minister has said “Brexit would make Britain like Guernsey”.

      So that will be rather richer per head than Britain currently, with far lower crime levels, hardly any unemployment, far lower taxes, no inheritance tax, capital gains or VAT, more sunshine, no higher rates of income tax, a tax cap and about twice as rich as France per person then.

      Does he think this will put voters off voting for Brexit?

      More worryingly is the minister suggesting the population of the UK will fall to 1/1000 of its current level? What is he planning?

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 6:23 am | Permalink

        BMW lobbied hard in the EU to get their new tdi diesel technology accepted as the way forward .

        • Tim L
          Posted June 19, 2016 at 7:21 am | Permalink

          Talking of BMW, my local dealership hasn’t read the email from BMW headquarters, the one that says don’t waste money relocating to a brand new sales and service centre until EU membership is secured.

          The billboard is proudly announcing it will open in a few weeks time.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 19, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

            @Tim L; Your local dealer is not BMW’s sales and service centre though, your dealer is merely a private company franchised to the BMW brand, if BMW did pull out of UK new car sales sector (unlikely) your dealer would probably be selling Lexus, Cadillacs or what ever within a couple of months of notice being given.

            The real “Brexit problem” is what a company like BMW do with their manufacturing plants in the UK, such as the BMW Cowley, or even their Rolls Royce manufacturing plants, the latter is probably safe -due to brand prestige, never mind the price premium- but who knows about Mini production, BMW have other factories were the car is already or could be made.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 19, 2016 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

            Then the EU gives a grant so a UK confectionary company can relocate to Poland and another to UK car company to relocate to Turkey
            Don’t think it’s all positive for the UK

          • Anonymous
            Posted June 19, 2016 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

            Jerry – EU membership didn’t stop Gillette outsourcing its British factories to Poland. If they will they will.

            Economic decisions can be made on a whim whether we remain or not.

            Once our sovereignty is gone it’s gone for good.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 20, 2016 at 7:25 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; You mean like the UK government gave grants to certain car companies to set up their European car factories in the UK rather than see go to say Spain, France or Germany in the 1980s?…

            @Anonymous; But nor would a Brexit, unless you are proposing to return to the (supposed) failed post war policies of centralised government economic planning, were private companies were in effect told were they could locate their factories. Any private company will locate to were it is best for them, were production is cheapest or most cost effective, not what provides the most jobs in the UK, after all it is there legal duty to their shareholders..

            Like it or not we live in a globalised trading world, what you and Edward2 seem to be objecting to is this fact, what you seem to want to do is “Stop the world, we want to get off!”…

          • Jerry
            Posted June 20, 2016 at 7:53 am | Permalink

            @Anonymous; “Once our sovereignty is gone it’s gone for good.”

            Indeed, ask anyone from the old Kingdom of Wessex, or more recently Wales! Sovereignty has always been fluid, perhaps you also wish for the Armorica area of Brittany returned to Britainia, but then perhaps the Channel Isles should be returned to France!

          • Edward2
            Posted June 20, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

            Quite the opposite Jerry and odd coming from you as someone who posts regularly complaining of foreign owned companies being allowed in the UK

            It’s more stop the EU I want to join the world.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 20, 2016 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; The SMMT says differently, and they should know, car companies wish to be in the EU, not just the world, they can do the latter without having factories in the UK! Interesting news from Nissan today, regarding the use of their logo, not good news for the Brexit campaign to apparently be misrepresenting what a major UK employer…

          • Edward2
            Posted June 20, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

            Come on Jerry just stop waffling and vote Remain
            You know you want to.

        • Hope
          Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:22 am | Permalink

          Cameron falsely claimed he ruled nothing out if he failed in his negotiations. He resoundingly failed, but we read he was plotting to remain with Serco during his chit chat with the EU meaning any discussion was in bad faith. Cash for questions from (some ed)against the manifesto child benefit given to people nevertheless never set foot in the country, stand by foreign leaders while they made threats to our country, talk the country down, tell MPs not to listen to those who got them elected, smear those who want Britain to leave. Yet this arrogant disloyal traitor thinks this is not a vote against him! Irrespective of the outcome his substandard behaviour means he has to go ASAP. Anyone who thinks the public would trust him to negotiate the withdrawal of the U.K. from the EU has lost leave of their senses. What should we expect Osborne to enact his punishment budget to get us to change our minds!

          • John C.
            Posted June 19, 2016 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

            I cannot see Cameron going whatever the result. He won’t step down, in the event of Brexit win, and it would need a rebellion by the Westminster Conservatives to force him out. He said he would go before his term is up, and I imagine this means a further 2 years, which will give him time to negotiate an “interesting” withdrawal.
            One that will need watching like a hawk.

      • zorro
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 7:16 am | Permalink

        He is clearly a fool. I suppose that he was referring to size. Perhaps he needs to be reminded that the UK has 60 million people, slightly more than Guernsey, and the 5th largest economy. How could anyone vote to stay in a union with these chumps!?!


      • Gary C
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:04 am | Permalink


        I also see that a foolish French minister has said “Brexit would make Britain like Guernsey”.


        Foolish indeed, there’s many including myself who would like the standard of living enjoyed by those living on the beautiful island of Guernsey.

        Emmanuel Macron’s attempt at scaremongering will backfire he would do better to keep quiet.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted June 19, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

          Dear Gary–Listening to some of these foreigners squawking I do not know whether to laugh or cry. Can there be anyone who believes that this chap talking about the horrors of Guernsey has our interests at heart? Makes one want to hope that we leave if only so that France has to eat its wrong-headed opinions of the last half a century. Remember: the reason we have to deal with this EU nonsense is that France is scared of Germany and Germany is scared of itself.

      • Jerry
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        @LL; But do we want to be like Guernsey, after all it is full of ‘economic migrants’ and ‘political asylum seekers’ (people who object to paying their taxes in their home country), as I’m sure you are aware Mr Lifelogic – how is the weather today in your part of the world?!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 19, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

          I have nothing against economic migrants who are not criminals, can pay from themselves comfortably, ear a good salary and are not a net liability on the state.

          That is what the UK needs a sensible points based system.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 19, 2016 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

            @LL; “I have nothing against economic migrants who are not criminals, can pay from themselves”

            Which is the vast majority of those eastern European migrants in the UK.

            “That is what the UK needs a sensible points based system.”

            Then I assume you would have no problems should the Channel Isles impose a much higher test for entry, perhaps even retrospectively and for those who did not meet that higher test to be ‘deported’ back to their country of origin – meaning that many would have to pay back taxes?

        • Patrick Geddes
          Posted June 19, 2016 at 11:38 am | Permalink

          The majority of residents are born and bred in the Channel Islands
          The rich you criticise are the ones that enable the Channel Islands to have such a superior standard of living to France.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 19, 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

            @Patrick Geddes; Whilst the eastern European migrant UKIP talk about are the people who enable many residents who are born and bred in the UK and are over the age of 16 and under 40 to either have further education or a life on JSA…

            Perhaps we just need to make sure that school leavers and the physically fit do the sort of work that migrants are happy to come here and do, rather than promising that 50% of school leavers will attend some form of higher education (in a subject that no employer needs or wants).

        • libertarian
          Posted June 19, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Permalink


          Yeh what idiot would want to live in a country with no VAT , 10% income tax 20% on income from land & property speculation 1% unemployment 0% Corporation tax and a 2 tier housing system that protects home ownership for young local people whilst making incoming millionaires pay through the nose. You’d have to be bonkers surely

          • Jerry
            Posted June 19, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

            @libertarian; I agree, but all you say could be said about eastern European migrants, who would not wish to have the UK’s qualities of life and opportunities compared to those back home. The point I was trying to suggest is that some seem to want to be ‘economic migrants’ or ‘political asylum seekers’ in effect themselves but then become very vocal about others doing likewise but who are outside of their social circle.

            I have no problem with those who become tax exiles -good luck to them, some of my friends have done just that, I have no problems with (economic) migrants either, some of by friends are now non resident in the UK having become expats.

        • Hope
          Posted June 19, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

          I think you will find they decided not accept Syrian migrants. Guernsey has controled immigration and decide who it wants to let in. Unlike the UK which is told by the EU who it can or cannot accept within the EU

          • Jerry
            Posted June 19, 2016 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

            @Hope; I wasn’t talking about Syrian refugees, I was talking about political and economic migrants, which the Channel Isles have plenty, funny how people like you always try and switch the debate when you have no answer for the question(s) posed.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 19, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

            That really should be put up for a prize at the pedantic posts awards Jerry
            Good wriggling

          • getahead
            Posted June 19, 2016 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

            Jerry’s a Remaniac. You can tell that because he’s reverted to insults.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 20, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Not pedantic, just the true facts, something some on the Brexit side seem to dislike. Migrants choose to change their country, refugees are forced to, often as a matter of life or death.

            @getahead; You say I reverted to insults, just what insults did I use in ether of the above comments, like your use of the ‘word’ “Remaniac” -what an utter Brexit hypocrite you are.

        • zorro
          Posted June 19, 2016 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

          Hey sure Jerry, I bet those ‘economic migrants’ and ‘political asylum seekers’ must be costing the guernsey authorities a bomb in social security benefits, child benefit, housing benefit and depressing wage levels eh?….. Oh wait….


          • Jerry
            Posted June 20, 2016 at 7:42 am | Permalink

            @Zorro; You mean opposed to the economic migrants in England. Wales, Scotland and NI who pay 20% VAT, pay national insurance, pay Income Tax etc etc…

          • Edward2
            Posted June 20, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

            Well Jerry Let’s allows millions more in every year by your logic we will all be rich.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 20, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Well someone has to do the work if our indigenous population won’t, or perhaps you would prefer employers to follow the migrants to their home country?! If that scenario starts happening it will make the UK unemployment figures of the 1980s recession(s) look like a shallow blip, as interconnected companies loose orders, and then their supplies do like wise and so on.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 20, 2016 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

            So no limit for you Jerry?
            5 million more a year?
            At what point does it stop being beneficial?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 5:50 am | Permalink

      I am glad to see that Tim Peake has returned savely to Earth after six months. In these days of computers & robots what on earth is the point of manned or even womanned space travel? Other than as a PR stunt that is.

      I cannot find anything they did that could not have been done better and far more cheaply without sending anyone into space. Also with robots you do not need to feed them, let them breath or bring them back – saving billions.

      I seems Tim Peake drove a remote robot on Earth from orbit. Great but what was the point of that? The dopes are doing it the wrong way round? I assume tax payers had to funded it all.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:40 am | Permalink

        I don’t think there are many people except at the BBC who though the whole thing was anything more than just a publicity stunt – Peake has been shoe-horned into TV award shows and made announcements on a range of trivial matters, we are sick of hearing about him. Of course as he has no scientific qualifications at all there was nothing else for him to do up there.

      • Richard1
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        Yes and calls for public funding for a manned mission to Mars should be ignored. Fine if some billionaires want to fund it privately. Likewise if people want to pay for space tourism good luck to them. But let’s not have our taxes go on it.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 19, 2016 at 10:47 am | Permalink

          Manned space travel, given the excellent unmanned technology is economic lunacy and pointlessly dangerous too.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted June 19, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

          Dear Richard–Personally I find the whole Tim Peake thing embarrassing

    • Peter Stroud
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      You are absolutely right, especially regarding the fallout due to the idiotic man made climate change scam. The almost exponential growth of vast solar arrays, and bird killing wind farms show just how this incredibly poor science has captured the imagination of the green brigade. And we taxpayers are funding the nonsense.

  2. formula57
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Let us also recall that an indication that the policies being pursued by Sir Geoffrey Howe that led to recovery in the UK after the “winter of discontent” and the fall of the Callaghan government were sound came in 1981 when 364 economists –

    “…signed a letter to The Times stating that there was “no basis in economic theory or supporting evidence” for the policy that the Budget was seeking to implement, that it threatened Britain’s “social and political stability”, and that an alternative course must be pursued.

    The whole of the academic establishment – including some luminaries of today – stood against the government. The 364 included Third-Way guru Anthony Giddens; the current Governor of the Bank of England [Mervyn King]; Monetary Policy Committee member Stephen Nickell; and former and future Nobel Prize winners. Only a brave few stood out against them.”

    From a 2006 article in the Daily Telegraph newspaper –

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      Indeed one can imagine the line the BBC would have taken on this, with their endless can love of leftie, magic money tree “expert economists”. How many of these people also wanted to join the ERM and the EURO?

    • Richard1
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Thanks it’s good to be reminded of that seminal episode. whenever there has been a bien pensant consensus during the last 35 years it has been possible to cite this example.

    • acorn
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      I remember it well. VAT went from 8% to 15%; personal tax allowances frozen. The tax cutting government of 1979, became the tax increasing government of 1981. The birth of neo-liberal (New Keynesian) economics in the UK. The death of UK manufacturing industry.

      • Richard1
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        The VAT increase was well flagged before the 1979 election. It was necessary to restore confidence after the catastrophe of the Labour govt of the 1970s. The manufacturing which went was uneconomic – like all the old manufacturing ‘enterprises’ in the former Soviet Union. Better the economy was restructured and huge new opportunities have arisen as a result. Margaret Thatcher transformed the UK and made us a vastly more prosperous and confident country.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 20, 2016 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

          @Richard1; ” The manufacturing which went was uneconomic”

          Well yes, much manufacturing was uneconomic when no one could afford to buy the products because of an almost doubling in VAT!

          Funny how the same types of manufacturing, often using the same machinery and processes, boomed in countries like West Germany during the same period.

          • Patrick Geddes
            Posted June 20, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

            Who also have VAT

  3. David Webb
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    To be fair, the main reason we didn’t suffer from the millennium bug was because a lot of us spent time updating systems written in the 60s and 70s, and testing them well in advance. Unfortunately, although the problems that the Euro would cause were equally inevitable, the EU just didn’t want to know – and the people of Southern Europe (especially the young) are taking the pain. The longer the Euro survives before Grexit, Spexit, Frexit, Itexit, etc, the worse it will get, and the bigger the eventual shock.

    I fully agree with John. Brexit itself won’t cause a recession. The European countries are in no position to ‘punish’ Britain by blocking trade – if they did so, as they well know, we could readily fill the gap by making ourselves what they no longer wanted to sell us, and trading with rest of world.

    The lesson from the millennium bug is the importance of preparation. If we do vote Leave on Thursday, then we just need to plan and proceed sensibly, calmly, confidently. Sure there will be bumps on the road … but nothing as bad as the rest of the EU will face over the next couple of decades unless it reverses its obsession with creating the European superstate.

    Reply Some of us have done a lit of planning to ensure a smooth transition to an independent UK democracy.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      There is the constant comparison by the remain side to a bitter divorce. Many divorces are actually a great relief and release to both sides. Anyway, post the Brexit, countries (unlike some bitter & twisted people) are almost certain to act in their own interests.

      That is great, as it will suit the UK just fine.

      To reply: I am glad someone has done some planning to ensure a smooth transition back to a proud, independent, successful and democratic UK. It will surely be needed and it certainly cannot be left to Cameron/Osborne and the rest of the no nation Tories come Libdims.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        Dear John–Glad to see you developing views against Cameron and Osborne. Must say not noticed too much of this from you before. One of the very many reasons for leaving is that the duo would have to go (preferably deported) that very afternoon.

    • M Davis
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      – Reply Some of us have done a lit of planning to ensure a smooth transition to an independent UK democracy. –

      Including Dr Richard North with his exceptionally well researched, Flexcit.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        The problem with Richard North and Flexcit is that it advocates going via the Norway option. Politicians would use this as an excuse to go no further. We would be associate members still with free movement and paying the lions share of the budget.
        As our host said last week, the divorce should be as quick as possible.
        I see Cameron and Gideon weren’t canvassing last week. Was it because they were in Dresden at the latest Bilderburger meeting getting their instructions. 9th to 12th June.

        • a-tracy
          Posted June 20, 2016 at 10:30 am | Permalink

          Ian, would free movement be so bad if we could decide for ourselves that we would not pay tax credits, child tax credits, housing benefit, child benefit. If we made this available to residents of the UK for + 10 years wouldn’t this be more reasonable and if all of these economic migrants were paying their own way as we’re constantly being told why would any of them be bothered they’d still come and work but without anyone costing the system anything.

          If we charged back the Country of origin for NHS care at full cost rates (as we should be doing now anyway), we wouldn’t have to give free higher education in Scotland and give student loans for higher education in the rest of the UK.

      • acorn
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately Dr North, does not understand fiat currency economics. For example.

        “The [US] federal government, with its own vast income stream – far larger than state revenues – is able to bribe States with cash inducements or bully them by withholding cash. […] To overcome this problem, it is suggested that central government should have very limited taxation powers.”

        That latter is not impossible to enact. BUT; he demonstrates his lack of understanding of fiat currency economics with the following:-

        “It should not be allowed to borrow to finance a deficit, except in very exceptional circumstances.”

        PS. I should have patented my idea for using National Lottery terminals for UK electronic voting; for both elections and quarterly referendums. 😉

        • acorn
          Posted June 19, 2016 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          We all have to remember, the Pound Sterling is a floating currency. It is, currently, not “pegged” to any other currency in any way. We are NOT locked in a fixed exchange rate with the EURO. There are a lot of voters out there, that misunderstand that fact.

          On Brexit, the Pound may well go up and down like a whore’s drawers. Don’t panic Mr BoE Governor Carney, let it go where it wants. Don’t start jacking up interest rates to try and push it up. And, don’t start using out little bit of foreign currency reserves to buy it up. Just let it ride.

          Gilts and Treasuries interest rates can be controlled by the BoE 100%. Sterling currency Bond rates, are no threat to a sovereign fiat currency ISSUER like the UK Treasury. The BoE can buy unlimited quantities of Gilts, to force any Sterling Bond interest rate down. We own the Pound Sterling currency, lock; stock and barrel.

          The UK Treasury, is the only supplier of Pounds Sterling, you can’t get them from anywhere else; OK.

          No fiat currency issuing government is dependant on international trade for basic survival. Imports are a benefit to UK residents. We get to play with goods we want, but don’t make ourselves. In exchange, foreigners get to own a bag of Pounds Sterling and thank us for importing their unemployment; (the German’s who made the export cars for instance, who would have been out of work if we didn’t buy their BMWs.)

          Sovereign currency issuing Nations, should seek to balance their trade in goods and services, bilaterally, with other nations. That is another email the Germans didn’t get.

          The UK, has nothing to fear from Sterling currency or bond traders. They are parasitic and secondary to the real economy. They are purely Casinos and Bookmakers; exactly like Grosvenor and Ladbrokes.

    • A different Simon
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      David Webb ,

      You beat me to it .

      I too was working hard coordinating the millennium bug program for a client .

      We found some problems . They were used to provide additional justification for porting the application to use a different underlying database management system and migrating the data .

      The UK software development industry was already in decline by that stage but the decline since has been spectacular .

      I feel angry that HM Govt agreed to EU-India GATT mode-4 proposals to grant unfettered ICT Visa access to Indian outsourcer I.T. staff in exchange for India granting British banks access to the Indian domestic market .

      One is reminded every time the banks have an interruption to their service which is caused by deficient software .

    • libertarian
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      David Webb/Different Simon

      I’m not going to revisit this as i have spent too much time in the past debunking this, but the main and in fact only reason that the millennium bug wasn’t a problem is because it didn’t exist . I did dozens and dozens of millennium projects not one, none, zero, nil showed any sign of being likely to fail in 2000. Some poorly written code on some antiquated piece of in house legacy software probably didn’t have a date field in the code that would handle a century change . So what? A minor bug fixable in 10 minutes and absolutely no disastrous consequences. Most critical systems had been writing dates into the new millennium for decades before it arrived. In January 2000 There were just 74 in total minor problems and some of those were actually caused by the “bug fix” Bedfordshire Social Services for instance when doing a database search for residents born in 1900 found that the Y2K bug fix had changed their dob to 2000 .The Banks? You mean Bank surely , i.e. RBS ( again) a failed upgrade to the Nat West and Ulster banks CA7 batch job scheduling system was a management blunder a poorly planned and executed upgrade without prior testing. CA7 is a piece of software used globally on IBM mainframes . CA Technologies whose software it is are a US software company and nothing to do with Indian IT workers at UK outsourcing companies.

      I’ve no idea why you would be angry that 27,000 ICT visas have been issued, its not as if there a shortage of IT work. In fact the IOD published a report only this week once again highlighting the UK’s digital deficit and shortage of skilled workers in that sector. I own a software company. I dont have any Indian workers, I can’t find suitably skilled staff, so I outsource some work to Bulgaria.

      You are right the UK and indeed European software and technology market has been in serious decline. Thats what happens when your continent is controlled by anally retentive, rule and regulation making administrators. Innovation and creativity go out of the window.

    • Richard1
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Reply: I hope the planning will include what to say to all those people voting to Leave (probably the large majority) because they believe – pursuant to the Conservative 2015 manifesto and to the pronouncements of Mr Farage – that immigration will be cut post Brexit to c. 50,000 p.a. With c. 200,000 non-EU immigrants coming p.a. Now as a result of exactly the kind of points system now advocated by Leave, due to demand and to skill shortages in the UK, even if EU immigration Is cut by 80% we will still have 4-5x the level of net immigration which most Brexit voters think they are voting for. I recognise Leave don’t want to lose votes over it, but the Leave immigration message is vague to the point of being misleading.

      Reply The Leave message is honest and helpful. Out of the EU we can and will have lower migration from the rest of the EU. It is Mr Cameron who has promised a large numerical cut in migration and failed to deliver it, partly because we have no control of our EU borders.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        The Australian points system means we will have control over the numbers coming.

        The alternative is that immigration is limitless – in which case it will not stop until (and because) this place is as bad as the countries from which the migrants come.

        The people need to be told and prepared for the fact that they face abject decline and a complete transformation of their country.

        One expected globalisation to be tough – the redistribution of wealth abroad, but one did not expect this to involve the importation of poverty to level things out.

      • zorro
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        Richard1, voting LEAVE is our ONLY hope/opportunity to get immigration to sensible, manageable levels. We have to start somewhere, and it will be difficult an not achievable overnight…. But it will be a good way to start.


      • A different Simon
        Posted June 20, 2016 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        Richard1 ,

        In what industries and roles are these supposed shortages of skills ?

        If there is a shortage in a job , wages on offer should increase and this should encourage Briton’s to upskill/British students to take on debt .

        If temporary shortages get filled by immigration , then those Briton’s who made the effort to fill the gap will be left high and dry (and in debt) .

        In many industries , for instance I.T. and software development there is no shortage of skills .

        Yet three quarters of tier-2 (intra company transfer) visas are for I.T. work .

        Perhaps 10% of these I.C.T. workers are highly skilled but the remaining 90% include people with mediocre skills and even some who are learning on the job .

        The bar is set too low .

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted June 20, 2016 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      David Webb: The lesson from the millennium bug is the importance of preparation.

      Very well put!

      The biggest problem was that while most IT systems were maintained on a regular basis, in many organisations no one had overall responsibility, especially in non-IT organisations: there was no one to carry the can. The biggest threats were not IT related; they were were there was a date field to ensure regular maintenance, like lifts (people and plant stuck on floors) and sewerage pumps (up to your neck in s***). Then, when all this was happening, the phones wouldn’t work and the petrol pumps wouldn’t work so ambulances, fire engines and police cars would be without fuel. And that could have just been the beginning …

      Software fixes can take days, and that is when the problem has been found and the infrastructure works, so programmers can get to work and there is electricity to power the computers.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    “An abject, self-imposed humiliation awaits if this proud, important country walks away.” So says, no if no buts, cast iron, at heart a low tax Conservative, Dave in the telegraph today. After trying again to milk the appalling death of Jo Cox yet again for the remain cause.

    If we leave we will be safer, richer, a democracy again, trading with the whole world and cooperating with Europe. If nothing else we will be able to prevent criminals, murderers and rapists from the EU coming to the UK.

    It would be a tragedy if this sad event results in the final nail in the coffin of UK democracy.

    Anyway a Brexit vote will not get us out that easily. A renegotiation will certainly ensue and we will just be told to vote again. No one at all should thus vote remain in the first referendum.

    I heard Dimbleby posing the question:- Will the loss of George Osborne be a price we have to pay for A Brexit vote? No but hopefully it will be a huge additional bonus for the economy. The icing on the cake for everyone.

    • zorro
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      I truly cannot abide this man. He is beneath contempt with the way he has conducted himself in this referendum campaign…..


      • Jagman84
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        Where has his “Britain would survive and prosper outside of the EU” message disappeared to? Have (named investment bank ed) applied the thumbscrews to him? He is certainly not working for our benefit. That is why he has to go ASAP and take the “Christine Lagarde fan club” (Osborne) with him.

      • John C.
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

        I cannot tell from your comment who “this man” is, but I, along with others, could supply a dozen names to whom it would readily apply.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      “After trying again to milk the appalling death of Jo Cox yet again for the remain cause.” Yes, that is repugnant, but he cannot help himself. The Remainders have been given a martyr, even though from what has been said it seems the EU was not her primary interest, and inevitably they will try to exploit it to the full. It could be that this will be the single factor which finally settles the ultimate destiny of our country as a subordinate component of the European federation foreshadowed in the 1950 Schuman Declaration, because if we lose this referendum it is very unlikely that we will ever have another one and the political establishment will just go ahead with what most of them really want, euro and all.

      I note what Lagarde said in her speech in Vienna on Friday:

      GDP over the past two decades, bringing greater choices for consumers and companies and creating millions of new jobs.

      “The Single Currency has added a new dimension to the old mindset of “my flag, my anthem, my money”—and that is “one market, one money.””

      Cameron pretends that he has secured a “special status” for the UK, in the EU and in the EU Single Market but not in the EU’s single currency; but like Merkel before her Lagarde has just given the lie to that, making it clear that his “special status” would in fact be an “anomalous position” which could not endure.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        Please omit the “GDP over the past two decades …” sentence which has crept in by mistake.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Remain and the BBC keep claiming EU migrants pay more in than they cost. Clearly this is complete drivel. Given Osborne’s huge borrowings every year even the population in general pay in less than they cost.

    Migrants in general clearly earn rather less than the average, so how can this possibly be remotely true? It is just another blatant lie from remain.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      As I think John has pointed out this claim also omits the capital costs – in terms of new schools and hospitals and infrastructure – that high-levels of immigration bring.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        Indeed, how can someone on low pay (perhaps paying just a couple of thousand in NI and Tax with a wife, some children, perhaps some health needs and elderly parents too possibly pay more in than they get back?

        • John C.
          Posted June 19, 2016 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

          It is so obvious that the majority of immigrants must be a drain on the welfare state that the insistence that they are helpful to the economy can only be translated as “they are a source of cheap labour that helps many businesses and increases profits for their shareholders.”
          Alas, none of the pro-immigrant pundits have the courage to come out and say that.

    • graham1946
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      But surely they are all doctors and nurses saving the NHS?

      I assumed most Consultants were selling the Big Issue and washing cars on their days off to de-stress.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Indeed, I think that must be the explanation!

    • stred
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      This educational website giving most graphs comments that migrants contribute more in tax than they take out, despite the graph ( half way down) showing this was the case around 2007 but the later line falls below 1- ie contribute less. And the comment below points out that the figures did not take into account the services and housing subsidies.

  6. eeyore
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Another prognostication from the False Prophets of Brexit was that Mr Putin would welcome it because it would destabilise Europe. Now we learn from Mr Putin himself that he thinks no such thing. Unlike many who should know better, he is prudently holding his counsel.

    My guess is that the Russian autocrat dreads to see any people rise up against its political masters and with a mighty roar (or in British terms a little X pencilled on a scrap of paper) sweep them and their follies away.

  7. sm
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    I have followed the In/Out of Europe debate since 1991 – reading some of the background history, listening to the politicians. I have neither the time nor the abilities of those such as our host or some of the posters here and on ConservativeHome to either research or remember matters in intricate detail.

    So in the end, my decision has come to rest on “whose judgement do I trust?”. And it has boiled down to two people, our host here and James Dyson – if Leave is the right thing for them then it’s confirmation of my strong feelings that the EU is the wrong answer to the right question.

    • John C.
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      An alternative aid might be to consider the character and record of the main supporters of Remain, especially those who have emerged from the past.

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    The BBC staff this morning saying that they hope the debate will now have a different tone. Yet more typical bias from the BBC staff for remain I think.

    There was nothing wrong with the tone of the debate at all. Democracy is a very serous matter and needs very robust debate.

    As Simon Heffer says today in the Sunday Telegraph:-

    In the real world, as some politicians have belatedly recognised, people want change. They dislike being told that the United Kingdom cannot run itself. They deplore doomsayers who have lost faith in their country. They are angry that their country’s borders are open not just to geniuses with PhDs, nurses, teachers, plumbers, electricians and others who can contribute to it, but to welfare tourists, pickpockets, rapists and murderers.
    It is perfectly reasonable and fair to make truthful points such as this and we should do so load and clear.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      There were far more nasty remarks about the opposition from the Remainiacs than the other way around. What are the BBC talking about? Their biased reporting doesn’t help matters either.

  9. Lifelogic
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Also a good article by Boris today. Though I am not sure that uniting around Cameron will work for long. Certainly Osborne and indeed nearly all the patently second rate 18 remain career politician in the Cabinet need to go. This for showing such a total lack of judgement and being so out of touch with the public and the best interest of the UK.

    This is the rather dire & depressing list.
    David Cameron, George Osborne, Theresa May, Liz Truss, Michael Fallon, Justine Greening, Philip Hammond, Sajid Javid, Stephen Crabb, Amber Rudd, Greg Clarke, Mark Harper, Anna Soubry, Nicky Morgan, Patrick McLouglin, Jeremy Hunt, Oliver Letwin, Matthew Hancock.

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Interesting to read the article by Jo Cox which has been republished.

    But I shall still be supporting Brexit.

    • zorro
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      ‘Australia – whose points-based system is so admired by Outers – has twice as many migrants per person than we do. The whole purpose of their system is to allow businesses to control who comes into their country. For us this would lead to an increase in cheap labour, bringing down wages and doing nothing to ease voter concerns about insecure employment.’

      Let’s be honest – not a strong article which totally misquotes and misunderstands the rationale behind a points based system. The PBS allows us to CONTROL the numbers we need. We SET the barrier where we want it. The Australians have set the numbers higher but have still maintained the quality. That is their choice! We can set it to accept fewer immigrants depending on what is required. It’s really not that difficult a concept to understand if you apply your mind.

      Why would clamping down the supply of certain labour groups lead to an increase in cheaper labour….. It’s total tosh – enough now!


      • John C.
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        Also a quick glance at a map of Australia next to one on the same scale of the U.K. might suggest they have different priorities to us. as you say, the principle of being able to choose according to your circumstances is what matters.

  11. Caterpillar
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    I think most of us will agree with you. My concern though is the ability of the institutions after a Brexit. Some might consider that Mr Carney has been a bit of a one trick pony, he wasn’t even able to follow his own forward guidance. Similarly I am concerned that the IMF is not already pushing a view that the EU and the U.K. should continue with free trade after a Brexit, surely the IMF want to mitigate any risk here.

    In the case of Mr Osborne though, some might wonder whether he is simply being a stereotypical politician – creating a win for himself whatever. He warns of the sky falling in after a Brexit and if this fearmongering prevents Brexit he will present himself as a great campaigner, on the other hand a recession might be a possibility irrespective of Brexit, there are other risks in the world at the moment, and if there is a recession after a Brexit he can appear that little bit knowledgeable. Some might suggest a poor Chancellor but a street smart politician.

    I am simply saddened by the PM. He had the chance to just make an argument based on his renegotiations and has no need to associate democratic, liberal Brexit supporters with people of other leanings, he needed to be a bigger leader, but seems to have fallen short.

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    It is reported that the man accused of murdering Jo Cox sought help for his mental health problems the night before she was killed – but was told to make an appointment and come back the next day.

    I am surprised it was not the next month, given what I hear about the UK’s mental health services and the huge pressures on the NHS.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      As I said before about two murders a week in the UK (and many more injured and commit suicide) caused by people with mental health problems and the rather poor treatment of them usually in the community.

      I suppose the BBC and PC brigade would say I was stigmatising mental illness. But these are just the sad facts.

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Still some good news. The wrong on nearly every issue for a whole life time Ken Clark is standing down at the next election.

  14. bigneil
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Off topic.
    The other night with the BBC news on, the “ticker tape” going across the bottom of the screen mentioned” the money for the latest Greece bailout”. Not seen it mentioned elsewhere. Have I missed it? – or has it been only mentioned this way for a reason? I have heard the rumours that the UK bill for the bailout was going to be kept quiet till June 24th – wonder why? – I typed cynically. Was this done to say they DID mention it before June 23rd? – or have I just missed it all?

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      If one of your neighbours falls on hard times and has to be given support by the government we regard it as the correct result of our taxes being used.

      Belonging to the EU carries similar responsibilities and is irresponsible of the UK to turn its back on the weaker European countries. Can we expect the richer areas of the country to turn their backs on the poorer areas after BREXIT?

  15. forthurst
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    “When we came to turn on our computers on 1 st January 200 they worked fine, as did all the main public systems.”

    That was because they had been fixed to solve the problem, often well in advance of the point when the ‘experts’ started blathering on about it, either to tell us there was no problem or that all computers would stop working in any case. As the project manager for two pension administration systems for what is now the largest composite, I believe my opinion is rather more authorative than those who were not similarly engaged.

    There are, however, similarities between the two situations: Brexit will not result in the end of civilisation as we know it, but nor will it not require some effort to solve the numerous and often minor issues it throws up. In addition, once it is over it will soon become a distant memory and we will marvel at how little faith many people had in our being able to achieve a prosperous and independent future for ourselves and posterity.

  16. Lifelogic
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Corbyn just now:-

    There is no uncontrolled EU immigration – there is free movement of people in the EU!

    Oh, you have another phrase for it Jeremy – well that alright then!

    Corbyn like most on the left seems to think all the problems are caused by “austerity” and the fact that this nasty Tory government will not just borrow yet more magic money and spray this at schools, the NHS, local authorities, civil servants, MPs, social housing, infrastructure and all the rest.

    Yet some people still some say the vast majority of MPs are in it for the right reasons. Well certainly not Corbyn, he would make UK a basket case like Venezuela in very short order. It would certainly be a race to the bottom with Corbyn and McDonnall.

  17. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    As part of his ludicrous warnings of “An abject, self-imposed humiliation” which awaits us if we leave the EU:

    Cameron once again says that we would be “permanently poorer”.

    Well, I don’t believe that, I believe that financially we would be slightly better off out of the EU, and in other ways we would be a lot better off out; but supposing that he was right then surely the next question is, or should be, “How much poorer?”.

    It is not uncommon for somebody to leave a job in which they are unhappy and instead take another job on lower pay. Obviously they would need to consider how they could manage with a lower income, but I doubt that there would be many cases where they would be deterred from making the move by a mere 2% reduction in salary.

    In his report that I mentioned yesterday, “Economical with the truth”:

    Michael Burrage points out on page 4:

    “Every major step towards ever closer union, every major project, every trade agreement has been preceded by model predictions of the future gains in trade, employment or GDP. Equally well institutionalised is the custom that, once the prediction had served its purpose by persuading the doubtful and unwilling, the predictions are forgotten. Post facto assessments of them are extremely rare.”

    Well, there are some exceptions; and we know – because the EU Commission openly tells us, and the UK government quietly concurs in official reports – that it was predicted that the creation of the EU Single Market would add about 5% to the aggregate GDP of the EU member states, but it appears in practice to have added 2% or less; and that then raises the question perfectly reasonably posed by Andrew Lilico here:

    “The EU says the Single Market adds 2% to GDP, so how could leaving it cost 6%?”

    And, as Lilico states, that is without taking into account the probability that the UK is one of the EU countries which has benefited least, maybe by only 1%.

    Now put these putative losses if we left the Single Market into the context of the long term trend growth rate of the UK economy, which has been 2.5% a year averaged back to 1956 and with no perceptible effects of the Common Market or the Single Market, and we find that the answer to the question “How much poorer” is that at worst we would lose the equivalent of the natural growth of the UK over less than one average year.

    Would someone be deterred from giving up an unsatisfactory job because they would in effect move back some months along the gradually rising curve of their income?

    Yes, they would then be “permanently poorer”, possibly, in much the same way that they might be “permanently poorer” if their employer withheld an annual salary increment for whatever reason, but would they see that as the decisive argument for staying put in a job which they had come to dislike, which was actually undermining their health?

    Would Cameron himself say “I must stay in this unpleasant job forever because I might have to accept a 2% pay cut if I moved to another job that I liked more”?

    Posted June 19, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Well the “experts” have free speech. We do not. Many of us are forced to speak in euphemisms. The ones of us who know how to. Enforced silence for the rest of us.

      Posted June 19, 2016 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Taking a photo can be a problem too

  19. turbo terrier
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Good post John.

    Economic Experts? How is it that these “experts” seem to ignore the following:

    Astonishingly, the major economic problems of Europe and the eurozone are left unaddressed. Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister, can even claim in an interview that Spain, Portugal and Ireland “have overcome the crisis” and that “much also has happened in Greece.” Well, as we all know:

    Greece is bankrupt, even as eurozone politicians continue their game of “pretend and postpone” when it comes to managing Greece’s debt mountain.
    Spain is unable to stabilize its debt-to-GDP ratio even in the most optimistic scenarios and under the stewardship (until now) of the conservative party.
    Portugal has a total debt load above the level of Japan (about 400% of GDP), paired with a shrinking population, lack of education and innovation and clearly bankrupt.
    Ireland was and is competitive, but will never be in a position to pay off its huge private and public debt burden in an orderly way.
    Italy never any mention on the “too big to fail economy” and the state they are in.

    It is only the ECB with QE and rock bottom interest rates that stops the Euro imploding.

    CMD and his followers want us to stay in this doomed to fail set up!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The world has gone mad totally utterly mad.

  20. Lifelogic
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    In an interview (in the Sunday Times) David Cameron has the temerity to say:- “leave campaigners are like irresponsible parents, putting the family at risk”.

    No Dave, leave campaigners just want everyone’s children to live in a safer and far better off real democracy. Has the PM ever thought of getting a job more suited to his PR talents? Marketing duff cosmetics, quack medical treatments springs to mind.

    As Charles Moore puts it:-

    It is a very serious decision but not, I would argue, such a terribly difficult one. Is there anything in the shape of the modern world which tells us that when we vote to be run by a distant oligarchy, we thrive? Is there anything in our history which tells us that when we vote to govern ourselves, we go wrong?

  21. Bert Young
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Seven replies already from “Lifelogic” !. Yesterday he made 25 – 19.5% of the replies published ti John’s blog ! . I now skip over what he has to say !!.

    The economic case in this campaign has already stumbled and failed against that of immigration . The figures posted of the increase in migrants are indisputable whereas the economic argument has been based on assumptions and adjectival projections . A letter in the Telegraph yesterday from a respected Professor and economist disputed the economic gloom-makers ; need more be said ?.

    Today Cameron has now linked the murder of Jo Cox to the Farage leave publicity ; he should be ashamed of his approach and reprimanded tomorrow when the House re-convenes . He is guilty of gutter politics and has no place in the leadership of this country . From now until Thursday voters will target him as much as the EU when they make their feelings known . Let democracy speak loud and strong in its demand for honesty and reliability .

    I trust my one reply is enough !.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Nine out ten economists agree that Brexit would be bad for our economy, we are repeatedly told, but in truth that is after eight out of ten who were asked for the views did not even reply. There could be a variety of reasons why that survey only got a 17% response rate, but clearly most of those who did not reply couldn’t have been that bothered about the consequences of Brexit, not sufficiently worried that they could find a few minutes to answer the questions. And there are a number of economists who are defying the easily accepted consensus and actively disputing the validity of the models which have been used.

      • zorro
        Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        Exactly, Leave campaigners should be wasting no opportunity on TV to nip this Remain argument in the bud but are currently leaving the 9 out of 10 economist argument to go by……


    • Caterpillar
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      B Y, You are right, your paragraph 3 should be enough, it is poor behaviour for a PM.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Prof. David Blake (Cass Busines School) is spot on in his letter, he says: “The two treasury reports are two of the most dishonest and deceptive public documents I have ever read.”

      Such is the nature of G Osborne.

    • Lifelogic Fan
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      I don’t care how many posts LL makes – I love reading them. They are usually entertaining, as well as being right on the money. JR’s blog wouldn’t be the same without being peppered by LL’s laconic and often amusing truisms.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        Thanks very much. I am away on business in Cambridge, London, Kent then some business in Malta so there might be rather fewer contributions for a few days. Still looking forwards to my Brexit winnings at 9:2.

        Thanks very much to JR for putting up with moderating them.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

        Agree with your sentiments Lifelogic Fan. I too enjoy his posts. Anyway, who cares how many posts an individual makes if they are informative and coherent. I just wish more people would take an interest in what is going on and what will affect them and theirs in the future.

      • Know-dice
        Posted June 20, 2016 at 7:02 am | Permalink

        Indeed !!!

        Always consistent [whether you consider him? right or wrong] 🙄

        And guaranteed to brighten up a dull Monday morning :mrgreen:

  22. Qubus
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    The Remainers tell us that Turkey has no chance of joining the EU in the foreseeable future, because it will not be able to satisfy the admission criteria. Then, would they please explain to us how Greece managed to join.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      I suppose it was because all of those who made the decision, including Margaret Thatcher, were either unaware that Greece had not satisfied the admission criteria or they were aware of that but hoped that being in the EU would change Greece so that it would then be OK for it to be in the EU. Certainly it was that kind of cavalier “it’ll be alright on the night” attitude which permitted Italy to join the first wave of the euro and only delayed Greece joining it.

      If Thatcher had decided that allowing Greece to join the EEC would be a material change to the contract which had been directly approved by the British people in the 1975 referendum, and so despite her personal aversion to referendums she was morally obliged to go back to the people and check whether they were OK with that proposed extension of the contract to Greece, then it is impossible to say which way that particular vote would have gone. But what is certain is that it would have set a precedent that the government and Parliament should not agree to any such changes without first getting the direct consent of the British people.

      Reply All but Luxembourg failed to meet at least one of the criteria sensibly laid down for Euro membership, so knowingly they decided to override the prudent entry requirements and let all enter.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      I think the timescale for Turkey to join is currently for after 2100 but if we get a remain vote on June 23rd it will come down to perhaps 5 years or so. The UK has a veto but as we see from history the UK politicians will never use it.

        Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

        You will find if there is a Remain vote astonishingly Turkey will “have advanced considerably in human rights and democratic procedures” within a month and a half. The BBC will prove it too, sort of. Otherwise Cameron will have nowhere to put the (words left out ed)Syrian refugees.The whole thing would break down if Turkey does not get its way.

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      I seem to remember the UK voting in favour of Greece joining

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        But I don’t remember the citizens of the UK being asked.

      • Qubus
        Posted June 19, 2016 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        Maybe, but my point is that the rules were broken in the past, and so there is therefore no reason to believe that they won’t be broken again in the future.

  23. behindthefrogs
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    The reason that no major problems were encountered at the millennium was due to the large amount of work that was done in advance. The team that I led made corrections to three major systems that would have been catastrophic.
    I would be more convinced about the BREXIT campaign if there was any sign of similar preparation taking place. It is all very well saying that we have two years to prepare but there are signs of problems in some areas already occurring and this will accelerate rapidly if the leave campaign succeeds.

  24. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    It’s Sunday and we vote on Thursday, with some postal votes having already gone in, so it’s really too late to do much about it now, but I have to say I’m bitterly disappointed at the way the official Leave campaign has unnecessarily, and supinely, surrendered the economic ground to the Remainders.

    Saying “They’re wrong”, and “It’s just scaremongering”, and “They got it wrong in the past”, is all very fine but in my view less convincing than pointing out the incontestable fact that according to the European Commission itself the treasured Single Market has added only about 2% or less to the collective GDP of the EU member states.

    In reality it has been of marginal economic significance, either as a one-off benefit of 2% of GDP or less, or as a net cost because of the costs of the regulations needed to run it, in the context of a UK economy growing by an average of 2.5% a year.

    There is no need to believe an amateur like myself on this because it was pointed out back in February by Graeme Leach, Chief Economist & Director of Policy at the Institute of Directors, visiting professor of economic policy at the University of Lincoln, etc:

    He wrote:

    “… there is a distinct shortage of robust estimates for the impact of the single market … The European Commission’s own studies suggest the overall impact of these effects has been around 2 per cent of GDP. Moreover, these studies don’t incorporate the costs of the single market … ”

    For God’s sake, JR, can’t you persuade Gove and Johnson and Patel and others to go beyond bleating “They’re wrong” and start quoting this, the actual number from the EU Commission, which has been accepted by the UK government in official reports?

    Reply I did not surrender! I have consistently made the case in speeches, debates, articles and in the Commons that the single market and wider EU have been damaging to UK industry and did not boost output.

  25. The Prangwizard
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I may not be the first with this observation on Cameron’s latest. I heard it reported he’d said voting to leave would be like jumping out of a plane – no way back.

    Likening a plane to the EU is a good analogy; there’s no way that passengers can influence where it goes and who flies it. Perhaps he recognises that we and he are powerless in the EU.

    Voting to leave now before it takes off again is vital for our future.

  26. Richard Cooke
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    The EU is not working to Britain’s benefit now and never has been. It has always been a club controlled by France and Germany for their benefit. The longer that Britain remains under the thumb of these two powers the less it will be to Britain’s benefit and the harder it will be for Britain to get out.

    However there is no relationship between Brexit and the Millennium bug. I can assure you that the Millennium bug was no joke to those that had not previously taken it into account when writing code, particularly for the older mainframes of the large corporations and government departments. Yes, when we came to turn on our PCs on 1 st January 2000 most of them worked fine. The problem was not so great in PCs and other micro computers where this bug was mostly catered for at an early stage in their development. Where problems existed in PCs they were fixed, usually automatically by the Windows updates from Microsoft and other software companies that knew that the Millennium bug was no joke and who were working constantly to update their operating systems. The problems were largely fixed for the older vulnerable mainframe systems through the vast amount of hard work and testing done by IT departments in the decade leading up to the Millennium. The importance of Information Technology and the value and difficulty of maintaining an error free system is often underestimated.

    Reply A lot of us did nothing and it all worked.

  27. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    From David Smith in the Sunday Times, part of his explanation of why he will be voting to stay in the EU:

    “Since the single market began in 1993, Britain’s GDP is up by 62% in real terms on OECD figures, compared with 42% in France, 35% in Germany and 15% in Italy … ”

    But not thanks to the effects of the single market, which ACCORDING TO THE EU COMMISSION have added about 2% to the collective GDP of the EU member states, with the UK being one of the member states which has benefited least, about 1% according to this study:

    So there’s been a 62% increase in UK GDP, OF WHICH MAYBE 2% IS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE SINGLE MARKET; all the rest, 60%, is the result of natural growth of the UK economy – which works out as 2.1% a year, somewhat short of the long term trend growth rate of 2.5% a year.

    • stred
      Posted June 20, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Page 6 Fig 3 shows the growth/capita for the UK over 20 years amounted to 10 euros or 40p a year. This must be within the +- error of economics research. In addition the population figure is not certain. If they used the ONS figures they are missing a million people who stay here most of the time but travel home every year. The graph would be ideal for facts4eu.

  28. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if over the next few days I will hear anybody on TV telling the simple and basic truth, that over the past 23 years since it was created at least 97% of our economic growth has NOT been down to the EU Single Market.

    60/62 = 0.968
    61/62 = 0.984

  29. NickW
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    We need to show the world that an act of violence cannot subvert democracy.

    Cameron is setting an extremely dangerous example by showing that it can and by using it to his own advantage.

    The British are better than that.

  30. Vanessa
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Why hasn’t the question been asked anywhere – would you trust your neighbour (not next door but in a different street) with the welfare of your family, the education of your children and health of your family and the laws governing how you run your family business ?

    To add to that you are also asked to hand over control of your bank account and all laws governing how your family is taxed ? No sensible, Briton asked these questions, would agree that it is a good idea. Why do some seem to think that it is?

    Not only is it NOT a good idea but to keep handing over more and more over decades to come is madness.

    Surely a normal thinking person would think someone who did this had taken leave of their senses or was certainly suffering from some mental disease which he was relieved he did not have?

    Why is it so difficult to make the case to LEAVE ?

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      The case to LEAVE has been made very well indeed. Virtually all shows where both sides are pitted LEAVE gets trounced. It is the government and broadcast media which is making it difficult to WIN.

      Let’s hope the result is not a close one and that it is not controversial.

  31. zorro
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    The PM being well roasted by the public this evening as he parrots his usual latitudes…. Good to see


  32. zorro
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    I see that Stephen Kinnock did not waste an opportunity to use his appearance discussing Jo Cox’s killing and try and engineer it that we should all follow her views on Remain as that would be the decent, united, tolerant view opposing division and hatred. Totally out of order to politicise this incident in such a manner….. but not unexpected from the Kinnocks whose livelihoods are almost totally funded from EU largesse past and present!


    Reply Stephen Kinnock is paid as a UK MP, not from the EU

    Posted June 19, 2016 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Ms Sturgeon SNP leader is prepared to indulge in any kind of political canniness. She definitely wishes her Scots voters to Leave. Hoping this will trigger a second Scots Independence vote which from her practical perspective is unlikely otherwise.
    So, her seemingly rather naive calls for “Staying in the EU” and telling Scots they should have unlimited immigration because they themselves are weak in number,does not elicit the support of a genuine Scot’s nationalist. She knows it. How could it.
    Therefore the Leave campaign can count on the Scots overall to vote heavily for Leave even if not decisive… thanks to Ms Sturgeon.
    She must never be given asylum in the UK if she achieves her dream of chaining her people to the EU and its Ex- Grand Duchy of Luxembourg PM Mr whatever his name is

  34. graham1946
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    On QT tonight, Cameron actually let the cat out of the bag regarding immigrants and benefits. In trying to support his supposed re-negotiation whereby he says immigrants will have pay in for 4 years before drawing, he said that the low paid immigrants can currently get £10,000 per year in work related benefits, straight away, so his negotiation is a great success. No-one picked it up. How can someone doing that possibly be making a positive contribution as the Remainers try to tell us?

    I paid in for almost 50 years and still pay income tax, but my state pension is nothing like that. Why?

    • SumSense
      Posted June 20, 2016 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      The new “deal” is only valid for 12 years, yet we are told this decision will define the course for generations. If this deal is so important, why don’t we get another referendum when it expires?

  35. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    The only voice I was worried about was that of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, who have a reputation for independence. I am steadily reading through their report. So far, it has consisted of a summary table of forecasts by others, repeating the safety-in-numbers argument, and analysis that appears to have similar flaws to HM Treasury’s analysis. I’m not impressed.

    Mr Redwood, how is the IFS funded? Who pays for the buildings and the staff? Is it really independent?

    • stred
      Posted June 20, 2016 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      According to this, public grants including the Eu and BBC.

      Also the director Mr Johnson sits on the Climate Change Committee which is advising HMG to get rid of all carbon generation, transport and heating and build huge numbers of 650 ft turbines in the middle of the North Sea, built by Forewind, previously chaired by Lord Deben, who also chairs the CCC.

      The IFS based their comments on other forecasts, using the same economic models that have been trashed by the Cass Business School, and they ignored other forecasts such as the Capital Economics report which differed.

      About as independent and unbiased as the BBC.

    • graham1946
      Posted June 20, 2016 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Exactly. This is rather clever. The IFS did not do any work, they merely averaged out what others had done, so they are bound to come to similar conclusions.
      I suggest, that like the BoE they are not as independent as the Remainers say, at least on this issue. Maybe they’ll go back to being more even handed after the referendum. Meantime, I’d not bother wasting any more time reading any more of their report it is only an aggregate what the others say.
      Regarding funding, they get money from many sources including the UK government and the EU, so we may ask how independent they are in this matter and whether any pressure has been put on them by the government. Why else would they not do their own research instead of just regurgitating those favourable to the government’s view?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 20, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Ah, yes, on page 17 here:

      “This chapter reviews the economic estimates of the effect of leaving the EU. It
      sets out different authors’ estimated impacts (Section 3.1) … ”

      Almost all of which are based on the same flawed consensus which was identified by Ashoka Mody, formerly deputy director of the IMF’s European and Research Departments, now three weeks ago, here:

      “EU referendum: Why the economic consensus on Brexit is flawed”

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 20, 2016 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Totally independent, obviously:

      • graham1946
        Posted June 20, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        Thank you. Denis.

        Pretty much what I thought.


  36. Richard Cooke
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I am very disappointed that you refuse to publish my perfectly reasonable comments regarding the reality of the problems posed by the Millennium bug.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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