False narratives

I find I have to spend a lot of my time explaining why so many of the conventional views, pumped out by the establishment institutions in the UK, are false narratives. I am going to do an occasional item on these.

The latest false narrative is that the pound has fallen owing to Mrs May’s decision to go for “hard Brexit”. As many of us have explained there is no such thing as hard Brexit. Vote Leave made crystal clear we would leave the single market when we left the EU as they are part of the same Treaty, and the continentals see freedom of movement and budget contributions as a key part of the single market. It should therefore be no surprise to markets, several months later, that we will be leaving! The issue was and is what access we will have to the single market. Again it is quite obvious we will have decent access, as they need decent access to us. I think we will get tariff free access, but if they want WTO level tariffs they will suffer much more than us, and we will get a boost of substantial tariff revenues on all our imports of manufactures from them which we could spend on other economic improvements at home. Services are of course tariff free.

The pound fell sharply on Thursday. This was four days after Mrs May made her wrongly named “hard Brexit” speech. If the cause of the fall was the market’s ignorance of the obvious until she spoke, then surely the fall would have occurred on the Monday immediately after the speech?

Today I want to just remind you of some of the main false narratives and their accompanying soundbites, that have distorted our public debates in recent years.

In the first decade of this century the government assured us they had found an end to “boom and bust”. No matter how hard we tried to explode this nonsense, it was commonplace as a view. This complacency lay behind the egregious errors made in allowing banks and government to rack up huge debts which proved unsustainable.

Throughout the Brown and Coalition years we were told that the Bank of England is independent. I have recently produced a couple of articles on this site showing what nonsense that was and still is. The Bank was very politicised through much of the period 1997-2016 and subject to several changes of direction from government and Parliament instructions.

During the crash the Labour government successfully blamed the banks for the crisis. Whilst some of the commercial banks made bad judgements or misbehaved, the largest errors were errors of central Bank and Treasury policies, deliberately bringing solvent banks down through starving them of liquidity, and refusing to use bail ins and other techniques to resolve their problems.

The Coalition economic strategy was characterised as cutting public spending to eliminate the deficit in a Parliament. 80% of the work of deficit reduction was said to be spending cuts. Yet every year real spending rose a little, and the government relied on large tax revenue increases to pay for the extra spending and get the deficit down. They fell well short of eliminating the deficit in the Parliament.

The Opposition always characterised everything the government did as austerity policies, yet the areas of cuts were relatively modest. It is true some of the welfare cuts were ill judged and allowed a more general narrative to be written which was not true. Meanwhile spending on pensions, welfare overall, EU contributions, overseas aid the NHS, education and others went up. Nothing was attempted on the scale of the damaging cuts in Greece, Ireland, Spain and Portugal under EU controls, where big reductions were made in spending. The left in the UK never seemed too keen to condemn these.

Now we see the false narrative that everything that goes wrong is caused by the Brexit vote, and everything which stays good just means we have not yet seen the impact.

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  1. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    What a load of old cobblers! From the collapse of Lehman’s onward its been the official monetary policy of most countries to debauch the value of their currencies like mad. The truth be told the powers that be could not give a toss about the “flash crash” last week. As far as they are concerned its business as usual. Create money from thin air to devalue your debt and gain some sort of competitive trade advantage. Well that really worked out well in the 30s.

    • Hipe
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      We will cut immigration to tens of thousands, w a big lie by Cameron. Today states she will take refugees from Calais! When will the mass immigration, refugee, asylaum seekers and illegal immigration stop? May was rig that’s most traveling here are economic migrants, they should be returned. Stop using the navy to help dingy death traps, turn the boats around and stop the profits of human traffickers. Bette still send them to Germany, Merkel wanted them ad advertised for them to come from around the world. No distribution, just Germany.

  2. Richard1
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    You were certainly right on the banks. Last week RBS acknowledged it would take ‘decades’ for them to return the govts funds. The Brown bank bailout was perhaps the single worst economic decision ever taken by a U.K. Govt. the banks could and should have been restructured at the expense of their shareholders and creditors under BoE supervision with the provision of liquidity as you – alone in Parliament i think – suggested at the time.

    On sterling I do not think it is a false narrative to say the weakness is partly attributable to Brexit concerns. It should be a spur to the Govt to make sure there is a clear message the UK will be an open and dynamic economy to take best advantage of Brexit. But we Arnt getting that message yet, we are getting foolish and unpleasant messages on foreigners being unwelcome and plans for continental style dirigiste interventionism. It needs to change, quickly.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      “Brown bank bailout was perhaps the single worst economic decision ever taken by a U.K. Govt”.

      This is a very competitive area. What about Brown selling the gold incompetently and at the wrong time, all the green crap energy subsidies, HS2, Hinkley, Heath joining the EU, Osborne’s endless tax increase and wage controls, religious school segregation in Northern Ireland and the even more dreadful thinks like Bliar’s war on a lie, Suez and Biafra.

      Perhaps you would argue that some are not economic decisions but they all are in their effects.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        You forgot PFI.
        Just because its impact is slow and cancerous, it doesn’t make it any less worse.

      • Richard1
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

        Yes it is a competitive field but I think the bank bailout has it. It’s not just the money or the unnecessary subsequent bust and recession, but the anti-business, anti-capitalist narrative which it fostered. It has enabled a culture of more govt intervention and regulation being regarded as a good thing. I think we can even attribute Mrs Mays statist, interventionist rhetoric to the fallout from the bank bailout. But the other disasters you mention are in contention, with the exception of EU membership, which for the first 15-20 years was probably a good thing as it enabled more free trade and free market policies than we otherwise would have had in the U.K.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      “we are getting foolish and unpleasant messages on foreigners being unwelcome”

      For merely wishing to implement what every other country does – including France and Germany.

      The ‘criminalisation’ of the view that immigration needs to be brought down is by Remainers, not those trying to leave the EU.

      • Richard1
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        No need to rake over it since she seems to have done a 180 degree U-turn, but Mrs Rudds initial suggestion was a naming and shaming of companies employing a lot of foreigners, as if this was a bad thing. We don’t need to bang on about since the govt seems to have dropped this, but it was a very foolish suggestion and is not in line with what France and Germany do.

        • Anonymous
          Posted October 11, 2016 at 6:03 am | Permalink

          Then we don’t need to bang on about the Leave result as we’ve already decided to leave.


          There are good grounds to make firms explain why they have ignored the local work force. If good enough then fine. (Full details of employees have to be sent to the authorities in Germany and France. It is notoriously difficult for a foreign national to get certain jobs.)

  3. Mark B
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Our kind host ‘thinks’ we will get tarrif free access. He also states, quite rightly, that the UK government would get the monies from such tarrif’s, yes, but who will be paying it ? YOU and me, that’s who ! So no wonder they like this route, more money for ghem to waste and higher costs to us. Call yourselves Conservatives ? And the same could be said of the EU. But at least with them it will not come as a surprise.

    Another false narrative our kind host might like to cover, is the one that the EU is all about trade and noyhing else. He and many others, especially in the media, studiously ignore the adminitrative and regulatory aspects of EU membership. The day we leave the EU (God willing) we will not have any seats on any regulatory bodies and, no trade deals in place. This is because while all the time we are in the EU we are prevented from persuing such. Meanwhile, the other 27 can merrily carry on and stupidly stand aside and let them. What’s good for the should be good for the gander, we should tell them. But Mrs.May is weak, an appeaser and a poor administrator.

    You are all leading us into a right mess and you too will.blame everyone except yourselves.

    • Ratcatcher
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Sorry Mark B, you are wrong. We will not be paying tariffs the EU exporters will be paying them and if they raise their prices they will lose their trade as importers go looking elsewhere for a cheaper supplier. We have a market orientated economy not a price fixing economy that is practised in the rest of the EU. We have tariffs on food etc imported from outside the EU that can be scrapped which will bring down prices and anyway are subject to more variation from currency movements rather than tariffs and which are really not much of a problem in the long run, the average being around 3.2%.

      • Mark B
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        You have contradicted yourself. I leave you to see where.

        Suppliers always pass on costs to them to the consumer in order to maintain their profits. The tariff therefore is paid by the consumer and the government gets the tariff which is no more than a tax. Hence why both sides prefer this result.

      • Philip Owen
        Posted October 11, 2016 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

        A Tory government will scrap tariffs on food? Who do you think the Tories are? Garagistes have arrived but the landowners are still there.

        The ECSC/EC/EU is about building peace through shared identity not economics. But nationalists haters are going to hate.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      The EU is about European federation, everything else is subsidiary to that.

  4. Roy Grainger
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    A good boost for Brexit that Ed Milliband has weighed in on the other side saying that the vote to leave the EU was not a vote to leave the single market – should undermine support for that strange view.

    Brexit is a minor issue alongside that of one of the two terrible candidates in last night’s USA election debate coming to power.

    • Ian Wood
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Of course it was official Conservative Party policy that we would stay in the single market at the 2015 general election.

      Reply Or have access to it, as it was official policy to let the people decide whether to remain or leave

  5. Jerry
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    “The pound fell sharply on Thursday. This was four days after Mrs May made her wrongly named “hard Brexit” speech.”

    Indeed but only hours after a speech by a French politician with regards the prospects of a hard Brexit. Carry on claiming that the moon is made of cheese, that there is no such thing as hard or soft Brexit,. the RotW doesn’t believe you though, more importantly the markets do not believe you… Yes the sharp fall was likely an automated algorithm but if there is so much confidence around why hasn’t the fall been fully corrected.

    “Now we see the false narrative that everything that goes wrong is caused by the Brexit vote, and everything which stays good just means we have not yet seen the impact.”

    You mean opposed to the usual Europhobic narrative that everything that goes wrong is caused by the EU, and everything which stays good just means we have not yet seen the impact.

    • Jerry
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      “Nothing was attempted on the scale of the damaging cuts in Greece, Ireland, Spain and Portugal under EU controls, where big reductions were made in spending. The left in the UK never seemed too keen to condemn these.”

      Indeed, but the left did and still do condemn those sorts of cuts rooted in EU market forces/capitalist dogma, just as they have been as vocal about the other damage the EEC/EU can do, on the other hand you are quite correct the “Blairist” within the Labour Party don’t.

      I’m starting to understand why you welcomed Mr Corbyn’s re-election, you are no so very far apart, at least on the EU!

      • Ratcatcher
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        The EU does not have market forces in play, it is a price fixing economy as anyone in France discovers when they go shopping in their local supermarket and finds the government and various producer cartels have arranged the prices between them. Even the local farmers market sells at the same price as the supermarket. Madness.

        • Edward2
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          And the Single Market restricts access from poorer nations.
          Mexico and the Carribean Islands for example say they struggle import into the UK and Europe

        • hefner
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

          Funny, that’s certainly not my experience in the little town in South of France I know rather well. There is competition on prices between the
          three supermarkets over there. And the prices (of mainly fruits, vegetables, cheese, and often “schweinereien”) in the two weekly (farmers) markets are usually lower (depends on the products, the seasons (touristy or not)) than in the supermarkets. I could not obviously generalise this to the whole of France.

          • alan jutson
            Posted October 12, 2016 at 7:19 am | Permalink


            I agree, certainly our experience from many holidays we have taken in France.

            Two cut price German owned supermarkets are starting to appear all over France, the savings they give against the traditional French Supermarkets are similar to those that can be had here against our traditional outlets.

        • ChrisS
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

          I can certainly confirm the lack of competition in France.

          A friend is flying over on Thursday for an eye test and to buy two pairs of new spectacles.

          He couldn’t get an appointment in France before February 2017 and last time he bought a pair of glasses he was charged almost £500.

          A couple of days ago I made an appointment for him with a choice of date and time and my optician will make him glasses for around a third of the French price.

          My experience after having a holiday home there for 14 years is that most things are more expensive, even now, and French businesses, especially restaurants, have no understanding of the concept of customer service. A lot of restaurants in tourist areas in central France close in August and go on holiday like everyone else !

          French inheritance laws dictate who you can leave your property to and family disagreements result in lots of derelict houses in the countryside. They are worth very little – prices are so low that it’s
          impossible to do any renovation work and get your money back when you sell.

          Any profit you do make would be taxed at 29%, even on your principle place of residence.

    • Barbara
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      are you suggesting that Hollande will indeed turn nasty on us in revenge in contravention of Article 8 ,i believe. Surely not.

      • Alex
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        Hollande can turn as nasty as he likes. The worst case for us (assuming no deal and no favours) is that we save our net contribution and we charge much more duty on our French imports than he charges us on the few exports of goods we have to France. Worse still for him, we may choose not to buy French far products at prices supported by EU tsariffs, but to buy them at world prices from our friends in Canada, Australia, the US and ..err. Argentina, well maybe Uruguay.

      • Mark
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        Hollande will be gone by next June.

    • libertarian
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink


      Do I really have to tell you again about steering clear of business?

      If you knew the first thing about algorithm trading and the rogue programme that caused this you would know that it can’t be adjusted back that quickly !!!!

      Its why the old 20th century indicators can be virtually ignored, some of these trading algorithms are using Twitter & Facebook posts as a basis to react , problem is once one bot goes rogue all the other bots latch onto it and cause a massive ripple effect that takes a long time to undo.

      This incident brings to the mind the flash crash of May 6, 2010, when the Dow Jones Industrial average fell 1,000 points in just a few minutes.

      • Jerry
        Posted October 11, 2016 at 6:45 am | Permalink

        libertarian is still auditioning for the roll of Walter in the Christmas panto I see…

        libertarian, do I really have to tell you again about steering clear of anything dealing with facts. You are wrong, if FX trading was fully automated why are their so many people employed as traders around the world.

        You seem to think that those who run these FX (and other) electronic trading markets are idiots, do you really think there are not mechanisms to halt and even reverse rouge trading etc, which a fails negative Flash Crash is.

      • Jerry
        Posted October 11, 2016 at 7:40 am | Permalink

        @libertarian; If the GBP was naturally strong but suffered an uncorrected flash crash speculators would be swarming to ‘buy low, sell high’, in the certain knowledge that the GBP would indeed recover – as of today the markets are mostly still turning red (falling)…

        • Edward2
          Posted October 11, 2016 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

          The pound returned to where it was after the “flash crash”
          Look at the graphs Jerry
          When in the EU the Pound rose and fell from parity to over 1.70 to Dollar and Euro
          Was this the EU’S fault?

          • Jerry
            Posted October 12, 2016 at 7:46 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; In your rush to try and rubbish what I said in reply to @libertarian all you managed to do is rubbish what he said. Thanks! 🙂

          • Edward2
            Posted October 12, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

            I say what I think.
            I’m posting in response to your inaccuracies.
            I’m not aiming to support others views.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 12, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; What inaccuracies from me, be specific…

            On the other hand you are the one peddling the inaccuracies, at the time of your comments was the GBP starting to recover, and only then on what it had lost during the previous 24hrs, not anything like the fall seen since the Flash Crash of last Thursday.

            Now (looking at the markets as I compose this comment) the GBP is recovering, well at least trading has turned green, but the FTSE markets are turning red….

          • Edward2
            Posted October 13, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

            Keep calm Jerry markets go up and down all the time
            Whilst in the EU the pound has been near to parity v the Euro and the dollar and has been a up to over 1.60
            No one blamed the EU nor claimed as you do that the country is finished.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 14, 2016 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Still no specifics I note, just more fails claims about what I have or have not said said.

            No one is saying that markets do not rise and fall, the problems is that you (and others) never accept what’s happening on the markets unless it suits your pro-Brexit narrative.

  6. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Previously there was a false narrative that a single market requires a single currency; some of those who propagated that false narrative then are still around to propagate a new one, that a single market requires unfettered freedom of movement of persons.

    But there are no strong economic grounds for that contention, as explained here:


    It can be argued that by sticking to the quasi-religious dogma of the inseparability of the “four freedoms” continental politicians made it inevitable that the UK would leave the EU, and its Single Market, and are endangering the future of the EU itself.

    • Philip Owen
      Posted October 11, 2016 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      If only sanity could have broken out for a Continental PArtnership. No. It’s hard Brexit.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 12, 2016 at 7:14 am | Permalink

        Leading continental politicians saw the idea as heretical.

  7. Nig L
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Quite right on the narrative front but I cannot remember you or your party disagreeing with Labour about the Banks or the illusion of deep cuts and austerity. Pots and kettles spring to mind.

    Reply Yes, I wrote about the build up of excessive debts and kept on setting out the true spending figures.

    • hefner
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: indeed you did, and you also certainly wrote nice books about various topics. The question remains: To what effect?

      • ChrisS
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

        One effect was that those excellent writings contributed to us winning the referendum !!!

  8. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    There is a letter in the Telegraph which propagates a newly constructed false narrative, namely that proper analysis of the referendum result shows that only a minority of UK voters are concerned about mass immigration from the rest of the EU:


    “SIR – On Radio 4 recently Pascal Lamy, the former director-general of the World Trade Organisation, claimed that the British people had clearly voted to restrict the free movement of labour from the EU. However, the 48 per cent who backed Remain are presumably content with the free movement of labour, since that is a requirement of EU membership.

    An unknown proportion of the 52 per cent who voted Leave are also content with the free movement of labour, and cast their vote for other reasons. Though we should not ignore concerns about immigration, those who wish to restrict the rights of EU citizens to live and work in Britain are therefore likely to be in a minority.”

    “However, the 48 per cent who backed Remain are presumably content with the free movement of labour, since that is a requirement of EU membership.” rather ignores the fact that the Remain side predicted economic catastrophe if we left the EU, and that may have induced some to vote to stay in even though they were opposed to the resulting mass immigration. In fact, according to one opinion poll about 44% of those who voted Remain fell into that category, about 21% of the total who voted.

    Plus “An unknown proportion of the 52 per cent who voted Leave are also content with the free movement of labour, and cast their vote for other reasons” is no doubt correct, but it would not be a high proportion, in fact it may be only 5% of Leave voters.

    The claim by Daniel Hannan and others that more Leave voters were driven by concerns about sovereignty rather than by concerns about immigration is based on the obviously illogical idea that if a Leave voter was one of the 49% who told Lord Ashcroft’s survey that his strongest motivation was:

    “The principle that decisions about the UK should be taken in the UK”,

    and was not one of the 33% who choose another option:

    “A feeling that voting to leave to the EU offered the best chance the UK to regain control over immigration and its own borders.”,

    then that would mean the former was not concerned about immigration; presumably he wasn’t including decisions about immigration among the decisions about the UK that he thought should be made in the UK?

    As for the 48% who voted Remain, they were not even asked about immigration in that poll conducted by Lord Ashcroft at the time of the referendum.

    There have now been several opinion polls showing that in fact only about 20% of voters are content with the present EU free movement of persons, even though many of those who were opposed to it felt constrained to vote to stay in the EU to avert the economic Armageddon which was being foretold.

    That is why the government should make it a fixed red line in the negotations that the UK must regain complete control of its immigration policy.

    • Ian Wood
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      The official British Electoral Survey which is quite comprehensive and not local but national shows immigration was by far the main driver of the Leave vote.

      • libertarian
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        Ian Wood

        “The official British Electoral Survey which is quite comprehensive and not local but national shows immigration was by far the main driver of the Leave vote.”

        NO it doesn’t Ive just read it. It shows clearly that in the “coded ” response the number 1 concern of leave voters was Sovereignty . The word cloud ( which has no context at all) showed immigration. The word cloud is not a valid contextual analysis .

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 11, 2016 at 9:02 am | Permalink

          And those Leave voters who chose “sovereignty” rather than “immigration” were obviously not at all concerned about immigration, presumably they wanted the UK to regain control over everything except its immigration policy. A load of nonsense, one of the serious flaws in Lord Ashcroft’s poll. Another one being that he didn’t even ask Remain voters what they thought about immigration.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        And also a matter of great concern to many who decided that nonetheless they must vote Remain.

    • rose
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Anyway, you can’t negotiate on independence. You either take it back or you don’t. Once you have it back, it is up to you who comes in – nobody else.

    • forthurst
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      The issue of immigration was by far the the trickiest for politicians to navigate during the referendum campaign. Until a politican of courage, Nigel Farage insisted on raising it, politicians would run for cover rather than acknowledge it; it was only towards the end of the campaign that some Tory politicians were even prepared to accept that it as a legitimate issue for debate. Why were politicians so scared of this topic? Because they were petrified of being smeared as ‘racist’. The left has used this smear to close down all debate since they destroyed Enoch Powell’s career, by invoking a Pavlovian reaction in people to such an extent that this topic had been removed from political discourse entirely. What is this potent weapon of the left? It is no more than a trick, a trick which has been used also to induce parliament to put the most egregious anti-English laws onto the statute book to punish people for thoughtcrime.

      For decades, politicians have failed to represent their constituents over many of their legitimate concerns about immigration and even now will say that although they wish to control it, it has been beneficial. The truth is that people who come here as individuals can and do integrate, but those who come as a community do not generally integrate fully or at all and that is not a good thing for our country because it means we have ceased to be one people.

      • rose
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        “What is this potent weapon of the left? ”

        I agree with you, Forthurst. The most extreme policy imaginable has been forced on us, and anyone who questions it is called an extremist. How did they get away with it for so long? Michael Howard tried to break through the taboo but failed to win the election and was then accused of having lost it because of “dog whistle politics”. No-one seriously mentioned the subject again except, as you say, Nigel Farage. But what a price he had to pay! Thousands of death threats and incitements to murder, meetings broken up by leftwing thugs, and the necessity of having bodyguards. No-one called any of that “Hate crime” and nothing was done about it.

        It is nice to have foreigners to stay and to visit; foreigners settling here permanently is fine so long as it is in small numbers, they support themselves, contribute taxes, and there is room. But as you say, importing whole communities is recklessly irresponsible. First because of the numbers and the toll on the environment – all those extra cars, lavatories, dustbins, houses to start with; extra water and energy needed; and then all those extra schools, shops, hospitals, roads, railways etc. concreting over the green belt and much green land besides. An immigration impact fund is ludicrous. It can’t buy us more land or fresh air.

        Secondly, because it is demoralising for the natives to be paying for foreigners to live, often with large numbers of children, in Council houses on benefits while natives can’t get houses because they haven’t had large numbers of children.

        Thirdly etc ed

  9. Lifelogic
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Indeed you make very sound points.

    The BBC certainly has “the false narrative that everything that goes wrong is caused by the Brexit vote, and everything which stays good just means we have not yet seen the impact”. They have endless such discussions with panels of “experts” and politicians hugely biased to the remain side.

    Yet more evidence of the appalling behaviour of RBS group. Certainly in my experience they behaved appallingly to customers both solid ones or otherwise. This even after their rescue. that was incompetently structured by “no return to boom and bust” Gordon Brown.

    Of course a sensible agenda (of free market, smaller state sector, lower taxes and a bonfire of red tape) would help the pound hugely. But alas we have endless interventions from red tape promoting, vanity project promoting Theresa May.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Interesting to read Rod Liddle in the Sunday times about the sort of “education” one can receive at certain (Ofsted inspected) religious schools. Is Theresa May really sure she want to fund even more of them? Has nothing been learnt from the experience in Northern Ireland?

      • CdBrux
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        As NI consistently has some of the best education results in the UK I would like to think something is learned from them!

    • Bill
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      The winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics – a Briton resdent in the United States – was interviewed on the BBC a day or two ago.

      The interviewer asked him whether he thought Brexit would prevent British scientists winning any more Nobel Prizes!

      • rose
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Every time we win a Nobel prize the winner seems to live in the USA. What on earth is that to do with the EU ? – other than negative explanations for their leaving this overcrowded country for the USA.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        Being a sensible physicist I assume he answered “no and why did you get me here to ask such stupid questions”. But perhaps he was too polite.

        The BBC is a joke on all their favourite topics. On climate alarmism, magic money tree economics, love of all things EU, ever more tax, regulation and government. Oh and women in science, gender pay gaps and “discrimination”.

      • Jerry
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        @Bill; Why scoff at someone asking such a question, just because ‘we’ know the answer (heck the hack likely knew the answer too) but some people will not and thus the answer will have been informative – of course you might be scoffing because the answer given might not match what ‘we’ believe the answer to be…

        All people such as you do, when you slag off the BBC (but never the same sort of question asked elsewhere…) is show your own ignorance of what a interviewer, reporters or presenters job is.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

          So a BBC interviewer’s job is to assume all his audience are moronic and ask rather silly, simplistic and leading questions is it?

          It probably would have been far more interesting if the interviewer had just asked him to say what he wanted to say without any interruption by daft questions for the interviewer.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 11, 2016 at 6:59 am | Permalink

            Lifelogic; “So a BBC interviewer’s job is to assume all his audience are moronic”

            Yes! Unfortunately, and it also applies to programme maskers too as many of the audience are -lets just say- less educated than others, after all the media is broadcasting (or what ever) to a general audience, not aiming just for the specialist audience, as might be found say within the average readership of the FT for example.

            “and ask rather silly, simplistic and leading questions is it?”

            In your opinion, and perhaps my own…

  10. Richard
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Please let me quote from the Conservative Party 2015 (just last year!) election manifesto: “We are clear about what we want from Europe. We say: yes to the Single Market.” The Conservative Party won this election, so there is a clear commitment there. This should take priority over what the self-selecting Vote Leave campaign said. The referendum question only was whether the UK should leave the EU or not. At any rate, you really can’t say that Mrs May’s implict announcement to abandon this commitment shouldn’t have been a surprise to markets.
    However, I agree with you that there is no such thing as “hard Brexit” or “soft Brexit”. As John Rentoul wrote, there is only “Brexit”, plus whatever we can recover from the wreckage.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Richard – The same manifesto promised a referendum to Leave the EU.

      This promise is why many switched from the UK *Independence* Party to give the Conservatives their unexpected majority.

      There was no ambiguity from the Conservative Prime Minister, the Remain campaign and Project Fear about what a Leave result would mean.

      • Jerry
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        @Anonymous; But the UK could leave the EU but become members of the EFTA or EEA, thus retaining access to the ‘free market’, that would still be legally be “leaving the EU”.

        • Bob
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink


          “thus retaining access to the ‘free market”

          what are you on about?
          Everyone hasaccess to the free market, the clue is in the name.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 11, 2016 at 7:02 am | Permalink

            @Bob; Well if you must take two words totally out of the context they were used….

        • Anonymous
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

          That wouldn’t explain the unexpected majority.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 11, 2016 at 7:06 am | Permalink

            @Anonymous; Quite the opposite actually. Indeed some commentators on this very site were suggesting the Swiss or Norway option for Brexit – until it was pointed out what signing up to either the EFTA or EEA would means, what chance of Mr and Mrs Average from understating the technicalities, all they know is that Norway and Switzerland are outside the EU.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Now square that with another commitment, “to cut annual net migration to the tens of thousands”. On page 29 of the manifesto. It’s simply not possible to have both while politicians on the continent insist that their “four freedoms” are inseparable.

      • Anonymous
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        Denis – (not a comment on the esteemed Richard’s opinion in particular) I cannot believe we are still basically fighting a referendum now. The debates were all had and the result was Leave. Now the losing side are being allowed to change goalposts and continue to debate the issue as though the referendum never took place.

        The time to decide that a plebiscite was the wrong way to go was before the Referendum Act was passed.

        It is incumbant on all who passed it to see that the result is followed through as successfully as possible.

        • Jerry
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

          @Anonymous; What utter arrogance, it is the Brexit side who are now trying to change the goalposts, it is the Brexit side who are continuing the debate, trying to force their the opinions even though they have no mandate to do so, the referendum was a single In/Out question, it did not ask How or When we should leave.

          • Anonymous
            Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

            During the referendum the Remain side were quite adament that Leave= Hard Brexit and there would be no going back.

            Now, apparently, it was no such thing.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 11, 2016 at 7:00 am | Permalink

            How are you going to be able to negotiate a deal Jerry when the EU made it clear during the referendum period and are making it very clear now that a deal will not be allowed.

            You can keep calling for all sorts of deals and you can keep telling us the advantages of various deals, but none are being offered to the UK.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 12, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Of course a deal will be allowed, and done, that is what Article 50 is all about!

            What the EU said is that the EU (nor the EU27) can enter discussions before A50 has been triggered. The issue here is who should decide the UK’s initial negotiating position or indeed end position, a few self appointed Vote Leave campaigners, the elected government, Parliament or the electorate.

            There is no reason why two or even more A50 exits could be negotiated, and once signed off in principle between the EU, the EU27 and the UK the government could put them to the electorate in a “How should the UK leave the EU” referendum or just allow Parliament to have the final say -except that these self appointed Vote Leave Brexiteers and others are now fearful of the very (direct-)democracy they themselves invoked and made a referendum issue out of, because they know that they might not get the result they want.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 12, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

            You are more optimistic than I thought Jerry.
            I have listened to the top EU officials and the speeches from France and Germany.
            All have said there will be no deals
            All have said no pick and mix or a la carte deals.
            But we shall see.
            Very interesting political times

          • Jerry
            Posted October 13, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; There will always be at least two options on the table, exit on nothing but WTO rules or exit the European Union but become members of either the EFTA or EEA -both take the UK out of the EU and thus Brexit will have been delivered.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 13, 2016 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

            Neither are EU deals
            They require deals with other organisations

          • Jerry
            Posted October 14, 2016 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Without an A50 deal with the EU the UK can’t have Brexit, so yes there will be a deal.

            Unless of course the UK uses the UN Charter of Fundamental Rights to leave the EU, which I suggested way back might be an option, you were amongst those who rubbished my comment whilst claiming that the EU27 would bend over backwards to have a trade deal with the UK because we buy so much from them, now you appear to be accepting (slowly) that might not be the case…

            Also, thanks for letting us know that you understand nothing about the EFTA nor EEA!

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Voters chose to vote Conservative in the 2015 GE for a variety of reasons encompassing many elements of the manifesto, familial and peer partisanship and liking that ‘nice’ Mr Cameron.

      Choosing one line from the manifesto and claiming this is what (fewer voters than voted leave) voters wanted when they voted Conservative is a stretch at best. The Vote to leave was the most recent pronouncement and came after the renegotiation that was also promised in the manifesto. Voters decided on the most up to date information and were aware (because remain used it as a scare tactic) that the EU might withhold tariff free access to the single market as a punitive measure.

      To misquote Jim Bowen ‘your access is safe it’s theses prizes we’re talking about.’

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        Tariffs we’re talking about not prizes

      • Jerry
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        @NS; “Choosing one line from the manifesto and claiming this is what (fewer voters than voted leave) voters wanted when they voted Conservative is a stretch at best.

        A bit like Vote Leave campaigners and supporters now choosing one line, regarding migration for example, from the Vote Leave referendum manifesto you mean… Or indeed claiming that they were single voice of Brexit.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

          @Jerry – Not so and a strawman from you once more. My post mentioned nothing of immigration (unfettered or controlled) unless you are suggesting that fine northern comedian and bull’s eye presenter was a racist.

          Leaving the single market seems to be the only way to reclaim decision making powers which was the central tenet of the leave campaign however remain and the EU wished to paint us.

          Powers returned and those given use of that power t become accountable to a more local and less diverse (nation state) electorate. The various strands of the leave campaign with the promises they had no power to deliver all agreed on the return of sovereignty.

          Leaving the single market (however it is accessed in the future) will be short term pain for long term gain. Unfortunately few politicians do short term pain for fear of losing their seats. Thus they are naturally risk averse and pass that fear along to the electorate via their various captive mouthpieces.

    • alan jutson
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:07 am | Permalink


      You are correct in saying that the Leave group were self selected, but was there any other way to go for those who opposed Government policy of remain.
      What were they supposed to do, remain silent and let the government tell lies about what leaving or remaining would mean, and give no alternative thoughts or idea’s to the public for them to make a choice.

      Sorry, but all the leave supporters gave was a lot of different options of an alternative view, the people were then left to make up their own mind.

      Clearly a vote to leave the EU means you leave, a vote to remain means you wanted our status to remain unchanged.

      There was no other question on the ballot paper to choose from.

      The majority decided to vote leave, so that is what should happen.

      The government who wanted to remain, framed the options.

      I do not understand the point you are trying to make, other than you do not like the result.

      • Richard
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:57 am | Permalink


        The point I was trying to make is that I don’t agree with John’s claim that leaving the single market shouldn’t have been a surprise. I think he is wrong to talk of a “false narrative” here.

        Reply Do you not remember Remain and the government constantly warning that we would lose our membership of the single market – that was their main argument for remain!

      • Jerry
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        @alan jutson; “What were they supposed to do, remain silent”

        They could have tried forming a political party, whose name and manifesto espoused their core beliefs, people could then choose to to vote or not for that manifesto – Oh hang on, wasn’t that what UKIP did do…

        The problem those backing the Vote Leave group have is that there are as likely 17,410,742 different opinions of what Brexit is or should be, some differences will be small, others will be larger than the grand canyon. It is not for Vote Leave or their supporters to now ‘land grab’, they have no mandate beyond demanding the UK leaves, they can not demand how, or when, as the referenda did not ask for a mandate on those two issues.

        Someone who has been against the EEC/EU all their adult lives will not have voted for Brexit because of what Vote Leave said, more likely what Benn, foot, Shore or Enoch Powell said 44 years ago, or perhaps what Mrs Thatcher said back in the late 1980s or what James Goldsmith said in the 1990s. Some people might have actually voted to leave, thinking that because (as @Richard pointed out) the Conservative manifesto of 2015 pledged to ‘stay in the single market’, the UK would seek to transfer to the EFTA or EEA [1], not -perhaps- have to fall back on WTO rules.

        [1] after all many talked about Norway and Switzerland, indeed there was much discussion on this site, both are legally outside of the EU, both have significant freedoms that the EU28 do not

        Reply We voted to Leave – that does not mean we voted to stay in on a diluted basis that is probably not on offer anyway.

        • Jerry
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

          @JR reply; We do not know that, the referendum never asked, legally both EFTA and EEA are outside of the EU.

          Supporters of Vote Leave and Brexit have no mandate to tell the government what Brexit should look like, if they want that mandate then there needs to be that second referendum… All Vote Leave and others can demand is that the UK leaves the European Unions, nothing more (which is why there has been no mention of the ECHR, even though it is the ECHR that has caused far more problems for the UK than the ECJ).

          • alan jutson
            Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:47 pm | Permalink


            I wonder if all those who voted to remain wanted things to stay exactly as they would have, or did some believe that we could perhaps reform the Eu in time to a more sensible arrangement.

            Just like you suggest leave can mean many things to many people, but then so can remain.

            Probably why the question was a simple leave or remain, it should then have been very clear to all concerned we only had two options to choose from not a basket of choices

            After 40 years no one was happy, Iwould suggest not even the majority of remainers.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 11, 2016 at 8:04 am | Permalink

            They can demand and argue for whatever they want.
            Its part of the democratic process.
            Just as you can do the same from your perspective Jerry.

            You keep callibg for a deal with the EU but no deals are on offer.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 12, 2016 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

            @alan jutson; Not sure what your point is, yes some almost certainly did vote to remain believing that the EU could be reformed, in fact was that not one the the official Remain campaigns.

            @Edward2; Yes, “Vote Leave” Brexiteers can argue all they like, but they have no mandate to demand anything beyond an exit from the EU. But then those who wished to remain can also argue for an exit strategy that will limit the damage (as they see it) from Brexit but they have no mandate to demand we remain within the EU.

            You are also wrong, A50 is a “deal”, not to have a deal would be just reverting to WTO rules. What the EU said was that no deals would be made before the A50 process started.

            “Brexit” means exit, nothing more, not when nor how.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 13, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

            Ridiculous nonsense how can voters have a mandate in the first place.
            We are debating as we are free to do so
            Most noise comes from the Remain side
            The Govt is elected to govern and will now do its best for the nation after the referendum result.
            Article 50 is plainly not a deal. .more pedantic inaccuracies. ..it is a just a method of beginning the exiting the EU as required by them.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      The wreckage is the EU. We are just the advance party exiting this monster. We are in Italy today and you can see the pain inflicted by Brussels. It’s not pretty.

      • Anonymous
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        Take a short (cheap) flight to Milan. You can be there and back in a day. Educate yourselves.

        • Anonymous
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          It looks like a military state – keeping the peace from lots and lots of idle blokes. Without government muscle it would seem a very insecure and threatening place.

      • acorn
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        I am in Dubai where soft Brexit means carry-on as usual, hard means anything a EU senior politician say’s it will be.

        I am sat in the same restaurant I sat in nine years ago. Then I was getting seven Dirhams to the Pound, now I am getting four and a half.

        My multi nation companions, think the UK has gone bonkers . If you suggest the UK is looking for broader horizons, they politely suggest it may take a decade or so to catch up.

      • Andy
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        It is even less pretty in Greece. Away from areas with high levels of tourism you really see what damage the Euro has wrought on the Greek economy – like a 30% contraction in GDP. And what seems to be the callous indifference of the EU elite is shocking and disgraceful.

        • Jerry
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

          @Andy; Greece was an economic basket case with the old Drachma, and had been for years, hence why some believe that Greece should not be in the EU never mind in the Euro. If anything, ‘more Europe’ as they say, the federalisation of the EU27 in to the USE would actually help Greece.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

            The Euro has been a disaster for Cyprus and Greece

          • Jerry
            Posted October 12, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Both had serious problems, one economic, one a civil war, well before the Euro. Next you’ll be trying to blame the Cold War (if not WW2) on the Euro!

          • Edward2
            Posted October 12, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

            I look at the recent decline since they joined.
            I dont go back 60 years

          • Jerry
            Posted October 13, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Well if we only want to select time-lines, that fits an argument, Oh look at the GBP since 23rd June 2016, Brexit has been an utter disaster! On the other hand, taking the “long view”…

          • Edward2
            Posted October 13, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

            If you are talking about the Eurozone then looking at the terrible Cyprus and Greek financial decline since that date is relevant.
            Going back decades is not in this case.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 14, 2016 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

            @Edwards2; No we are not just talking about the EZ when talking about Greece, how many times have people on this very site suggested that Greece should never nave been allowed into the Euro, that it was only accepted for political reasons. Stop trying to cherry pick just the bits of the time-line that suit your rants, sorry ‘argument’.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      There is indeed only Brexit (with UK based democracy, free trade with the whole World) or there is remaining in the anti-democratic, sclerotic, socialist disaster that is the EU.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      But everyone on both sides has made it abundantly clear they want the free market and that is all the manifesto says. The section of the manifesto you quote was simply setting out Cameron’s negotiation position with the EU in advance of the referendum to get whatever concessions he could for his “new deal”. For example the section also says “No to a constant flow of power to Brussels” – based on your comments why doesn’t THAT take priority over anything to do with trade ? If two or more items of this “want list” turn out to be mutually exclusive why do we have to go with your preference ?

      Anyway, you make the fundamental error of assuming that access to the single market can only be achieved by staying in the EU just because some Euro politicians happen to have said so – you don’t know much about negotiating I infer.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        Actually now I re0-read that section it says they “Say yes to the single market” and “Yes to turbo-charging free trade” which are two mutually incompatible objectives anyway, the EU single market is nothing about free trade with the outside world.

        I see the manifesto also promises unambiguously to scrap the Human Rights Act – there’s one clear promise I’m sure Richard and I can agree needs to be implemented asap.

      • Anonymous
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink


        The Government of the day (and Nicola Sturgeon) were quite unequivocal that a Leave result meant leaving the single market.

        The People voted for this in full knowledge.

      • Ian Wood
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        Hello Roy – but you don’t seem to know what Jacob Rees Mogg has said on Radio Four about the single market – he said staying in the single market, or being subject to the rules of the single market, is the same thing as staying in the EU. He thinks we should have a clean break and resort to WTO rules. Isn’t it amazing that this whole farrago comes down to whether we subject ourselves to one lot of rules we didn’t write, or another lot of rules we didn’t write?

    • graham1946
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Well, right here is another false narrative on the referendum vote. The Tories polled some 11 million votes at the 2015 GE for their manifesto which contained among many other things the bit you mention. As usual, the people do not get a say in the production of the manifesto, just a chance to vote on it if it roughly complied with what they prefered over the opposition ones.

      The referendum polled over 17 million on the specific issue of Brexit.

      How on earth do you reach the conclusion that the referendum is secondary to the GE vote? On any test that is clearly rubbish, but do keep clutching at straws. You’d be better employed trying to help the country make a success of Brexit rather than constant bitching because the Remainers did not get their own way.

      On the currency, during the previous months before the referendum the pound was around the 1.40 to 1.42 mark to the dollar and spiked to around 1.50 in anticipation of a ‘remain’ vote. These positions were unwound poste haste on the actual result and saw a fall to around 1.37. The BBC would have you believe that the pound was always at 1.50 and the drop was calamitous. The actual drop from the average because of the Brexit result was about 5 percent, but has been dropping since based on other matters than Brexit. It will continue to rise and fall as it always does, but the ‘big fall’ was not as big as suggested and is not all Brexit.

    • Scary Biscuits
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Richard, the Vote Leave campaigners might have been ‘self selecting’ but the voters were not. They were legitimate and the biggest group in this country that has ever voted for anything.
      The Conservative manifesto wasn’t just clear on wanting to be in the Single Market, it was also clearly in favour of staying in the EU. It conceded, however, that this should be subject to a plebiscite. This has now happened and the people have decided that, having listened to the arguments, they want to Leave.
      As for the difference between the Single Market and the EU, it has been repeatedly made clear by almost everybody in the EU, from Commissioners to country leaders that all members see these as one and the same thing. This is why people who argue for staying in the latter are seen as poor losers

    • rose
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      “This should take priority over what the self-selecting Vote Leave campaign said”

      No, it shouldn’t. What takes priority is what the result of the referendum said: we should leave the EU.

      That also means we should leave the single market as that is part of the EU and involves annual tribute, free movement of people, and over riding regulation.

      Remainiacs who are talking about “a hard or soft Breggzit” – as the Westminster bubble like to pronounce it now – are weasels who don’t want us to leave but won’t say so. Some of the most weaselly, like Dominic Grieve, even say the decision of the British people must be respected by Parliament!

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      The EU, the single market and the customs union are not the same. It is possible to be outside the EU, but inside the single market (see: Norway, Iceland). it is possible to be outside the EU and the single market, but inside the customs union (see: Turkey, Monaco).

      It is not credible, as the original article advocates, to claim that all voters saw these three as one and the same. One of the questions I saw repeatedly asked during the referendum campaign was “what does leave look like?”, a question typically not answered well, if at all. There was no clarity on this before June 23rd. People voted based on their own interpretations, and those interpretations were not a single, unified view.

      Reply We did answer it in detail and said it meant access to the single market from outside that market.

  11. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    However by far the most important, and the most longstanding, false narrative relates to the supposedly huge economic importance of the EU Single Market. And this has to be seen as deliberate falsification by a government which quietly acknowledges in official reports the EU Commission estimate that it has produced a one-off addition of about 2% to the collective GDP of the EU member states. On a recent thread I quoted a Commissioner boasting that it had created about 3 million jobs, without putting that in perspective as just 1.6% of all jobs across the EU. And that is before taking into account the German report suggesting that the benefit to the UK has been below that average for the EU as a whole, about 1% added to per capita GDP.

    Even that does not necessarily take into account all the costs associated with the Single Market. However while there may be dispute about whether it is actually a net benefit or rather a net cost there is little doubt that its economic effects have been marginal either way. That is why a chart showing the annual growth rate of the UK economy back to 1956 reveals no significant changes either when we joined the Common Market or later when the Single Market was created. The average has been 2.5% a year increase in GDP, there has been a tremendous variation of the rate from year to year but any overall effects of easier trade with the continent have been lost in the noise.

    If the government had approached the referendum honestly it would not have made up scare stories about the economic catastrophe awaiting us outside the EU Single Market, it would have told the truth: “We believe that membership of the EU Single Market has been of economic benefit to the UK, however at best it has been a rather limited benefit and it has to be said that some experts question even that”.

    This is not to say that we could leave the EU Single Market without first making sure that it would be a smooth and seamless transition, as any sudden disruption of the present trade would certainly be damaging for all concerned, in fact for the whole world.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Correction, 1.3% of all jobs across the EU.

    • rose
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      “boasting that it had created about 3 million jobs,”

      To put that in perspective, we have over 3 million people here, escaping poverty and unemployment in the Eurozone.

      • hefner
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        May I correct and say that there certainly is 3 million people here in Britain, but there must be some (City of London, for example) who might not be here for “escaping poverty and unemployment”. They simply chose to live in a place with more opportunities, say in terms of salary.

  12. ferdinand
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    A very good summing up of the issues. But still we hear of hard and soft Brexit almost as if we are half leaving. Exit means leaving not just talking about it.

  13. agricola
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I’m sure you are quite correct. Information will be bent to suit whatever end purpose the disseminator has in mind, or that suits his own narrative.

    If the reduction in value of Sterling against the Euro is little to do with Brexit what really lies behind it. I can see the short term value of the reduction relating to exports , but give it three months and the downside becomes relevant. We import fuel so transport costs increase, which is an add on to all we buy. The UK is largely a converting economy, raw material into finished product, and the raw material is mostly from overseas. Then of course there is food, much of which we import, now at higher Sterling prices.

    I would venture to suggest that what our economy really wants is stability of exchange rates, but that is bad news for those who deal in currency. Profit is made from movement up or down so there is no incentive among the dealers to opt for stability. To get to the bottom of why Sterling has devalued you must look and see who benefits. If the beneficiaries are big enough they are in a position to control the market to their own advantage. I would like to see an independent financial audit of exactly what has gone on in the last six months and who the major players have been.

    If as you say it was not Brexit, then you are sufficiently honest and capable of defining just what has gone on and why during the past six months.

    Reply The decision to cut rates and print another £170 bn is the main influence on the currency. The US is no longer undertaking QE and has higher rates, so their currency and bonds have proved to be more attractive.

    • Gary
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      I agree, the value of the pound plunged on economic fundanentals, long screaming that the pound was over valued. Total debt, depletion of north sea oil, balance of trade deficit, loss of manufacturing, housing bubble, bank troubles etc.. The most recent trigger was probably the oct. 1 inclusion of the yuan into the sdr basket. The sdr acts as a reserve currency and the currencies in the basket get the extra ordinary demand floor for just being there. The pound was 11% of the basket but the UK has only 3% of global trade. Ie by that metric alone the pound may have been about two thirds over valued. The inclusion of the yuan may have pushed the pound over the edge, probably never to recover.

      For a country so dependent on imports that is a crushing blow. Remember the currency crisis in the 1970’s occurred when the economic numbers were actually better. Then we had to run to the IMF.

      • Edward2
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        To compare the economic problems of the UK in the 1970s to today is ridiculous

        • Jerry
          Posted October 12, 2016 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

          @Edward2; No it is not.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 12, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

            Politics is about opinions.
            Thanks for yours.

    • agricola
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      The implications of what you say are interesting in two ways. One, why did they do it, and two, what is the impact on UK citizens.

      As to one I can only assume that in the short term they desired a weak pound and very low interest rates. Firstly to make our exports cheaper, and then to reduce their repayments on the UK’s astronomical national debt. Ironic that it was effected by an increase in said national debt. I only wish I had such flexibility with my own financial affaires.

      The impact on UK citizens is obviously not given much priority by people for whom it has little impact, ministers and senior civil servants in the treasury.

      More expensive fuel, food, and any retail goods they choose to buy are the downside for Joe Public (JP) JP will possibly benefit from low mortgage rates, should they ever get accepted for a mortgage.. They will not really twig what has happened until they require currency for a holiday overseas. It will then hit them with a bang ,as it will any pensioners on a fixed income living in Europe and subject to exchange rates. For the majority, any savings they have become irrelevant due to infinitesimal to zero interest rates and built in government depreciation. Their pension saving are subject to the same pressures. government remains unconcerned because they are only around for the next three years. Should JP need to borrow, the banks will screw them, and if unacceptable to the banks as a cash cow there are the pay day loan companies circling like sharks in scent of blood.

      If Terresa May’s working for all government is anything beyond a slogan of convenience you have one hell of a lot of work to do.

  14. Anonymous
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Another false narrative is that there is no clear mandate for Hard Brexit.

    Brexit always meant Hard Brexit and none were more unoquivocal about this than the Prime Minister, Nicola Sturgeon and the President of the USA.

    In fact the whole broadcast media machine was warning us that we were voting for the Hard version of leaving the EU.

    Project Fear was massive and unrelenting but it LOST.

    Now these sore losers argue that a transfer on the side of a red bus makes the result violable because the people didn’t have the facts about what Brexit meant.

    Sadly President Clinton is going to make things very difficult for Britain, so I don’t think we will be leaving the EU.

    If Clegg, Miliband and Mishcon de Reya get their way then please, let’s abolish the British Parliament.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:55 am | Permalink


    • Ian Wood
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      You sound like someone with forty years of grievance who yearns to be able to return to a victim status. The truth is that we are going to leave the EU and the country will be shrivelled and poorer. And you will have to defend the outcome.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        “the country will be shrivelled and poorer”.

        We’ll see, and if/when your presumption is proved wrong you can come back and say so.

      • Anonymous
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        Ian Wood – Until 1997 I was pro EU. The advent of the Blairist ‘3rd way’ which I now know to be that Labour could avoid tackling British welfare dependency by importing a cheap* workforce to maintain UK productivity, in full collusion with the EU single state agenda.

        Hitherto I have not been allowed to blame the EU for any of our problems.

        Not for the housing shortage, not for imported crime, not for adding to the national debt, not for putting pressure on services – not for smashing our national identity in order that we can be subsumed into the EU sperstate.

        No federalist has yet *defended* this outcome. All they’ve done is made it a crime to comment against it.

        As with the entire EU the Remainers lack any sense of accountability. In fact they seem unaware of the damage they do.

        *Of which 40% are welfare recipients of some sort excluding public services and the crime (including terror) which the open borders arrangement bring.

        • Anonymous
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:16 pm | Permalink


          My “No federalist has yet *defended* this outcome. All they’ve done is made it a crime to comment against it.”

          That crime being the charge of xenophobia every time we commented on it. Such was the oppression the people have rejected the EU altogether, through the patient use of due democratic process.

          Culpability rests on those who were warned time and time again that the peole were restless.

          • Ian Wood
            Posted October 11, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

            No wonder you’re anonymous. We’ve had forty years of the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Express whingeing about the European project and we’ve had Mrs Thatcher whingeing about migrants and no no no in parliament and Bill Cash and John Redwood and Peter Bone and Phillip Hollobone all banging on about foreigners committing crime in the UK. People might have called them xeonophobes, and they would have been right to do so. The people certainly are restless, and they are restless because neo-liberal capitalism has utterly neglected those at the bottom of the heap and they are quite rightly angry. The United States is just as angry and they are full of immigrants and they aren’t angry about immigrants normally – Mexicans cop the blame when people are poor. Culpability doesn’t rest with anyone but the capitalists who have enriched themselves and done nothing for the left-behinds. Living standards in the UK haven’t risen for forty years for the bottom 80%. They have risen massively for the top 20%. That’s where culpability rests, squire, fair and square.

            Reply I have not gone out about foreigners committing crimes, and I doubt the others mentioned here have either.

    • Dennis
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Of course there was nothing wrong with the statement on the side of those red buses if one understands the meaning of the English language.

      • rose
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        And the figure was rounded down, not up.

        It could have been explained that the rebate had already been halved and was in peril of being done away with. It could also have been explained that the contribution can only go up. It could have been added that other contributions are made as demanded, not just the annual one.

        In all, it was an understated case.

  15. Iain Moore
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Indeed, even fat fingers by a currency trading program that sold off the pound in thin trading conditions was the fault of Brexit. What Brexit has flushed out is the negativity of organisations have for our country, some of which have our country in their name. They wallow pessimism , and will never knowingly allow a positive comment about our country pass their lips, for that they would condemn as nationalism, xenophobia or racism.

    I have yet to hear the BBC make the point that the decline in the pound has already compensated exporters for all and a lot more of any tariffs the EU might seek to impose on us. I also note that Tata has gone very quite about getting out of steel production in the UK.

  16. EppingBlogger
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    The term “false narrative” is a useful one but it may give some readers the impression that willful deception is involved. I believe that very often the deception is self-deception arising outr of the lazy adoption of phrases used by others.

    For instance the term “Single Market” has been used for many years but I wonder how many politicians or commentators actually appreciated it is not a way of describing free trade. I wonder how many Conservative Party enthusiasts for the EU and the SM actually thoughgt about it and how many were guilty of self-deception by repeating what they heard at party meetings.

    Another example is “Affordable Houising”. That term does not refer to the cost of byuilding or maintaining a house nor the price to be charged for selling or letting it. The term is a euphemism for “Social Housing” which in turn is a euphemism for “subsidised housing”.

    By introducing false narrative or euphemisms into public debate too many serious policy errors have been made which might have been avoided.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      ‘The term is a euphemism for “Social Housing” which in turn is a euphemism for “subsidised housing”.’

      The housing boom is all subsidised. It works like this:

      – import lots of ‘cheap’ labour and subsidise it with taxpayer money in the form of top-ups and out-of-work benefits

      – force house prices to rise through a manufacture shortage

      – encourage landlords to buy up houses and rent them at rates disproportionate to their capital outlay

      – create a glass bottom beneath that market with a welfare assured rental rate

      – encourage the home owning population to borrow cheaply against their rising asset values and spend their money in the economy

      • hefner
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        Anonymous, you missed a bit:
        – come every day to this blog and cry about the poor BTL owners and IHT payers.

  17. formula57
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Your sound message needs to be heard by all and so relayed by government ministers and the prime minister herself. There is a great need for reassurance in the country, not least to counter the purveyors of the false narratives.

  18. Derek Emery
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    What I find interesting is the comparison with other deals by the EU and BREXIT.

    CETA and TTIP are deals to allow North American big business to operate with very low tariffs and regulations with the EU.

    In both these deals there is absolutely no right of access for EU immigrants to Canada or the US. Both countries have access restrictions for migrants/workers.

    The EU is saying that post BREXIT there will be tariffs for trade with the UK because EU immigrant access to the UK will be restricted just like it is for Canada and the US.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      “Unless all our citizens can move to your country we don’t want to trade with you.”

      Try that on the Japanese.

  19. Sir Humphrey
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Good points John. Also the terms ‘hard’ vs ‘soft’ are an attempt to control the narrative.

    Better to say ‘clean’ vs ‘messy’.

  20. Bert Young
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Political parties make all sorts of promises and find later that they cannot keep them , or , have to modify them . I cannot remember in all the years I have been a keen watcher any politician saying ” They were wrong “.

    The ego of leadership is dangerous ; balanced judgement suffers from inevitable delays . The personality cult is rife in politics and is not often subject to checks and balances ; sadly the Civil Service is not what it used to be and does not provide the quality of research and advice it should ; decisions are taken and mistakes are made .

    We now have to ride out the consequences of the views made before Brexit . Mistakes were certainly made and no-one so far has said ” They were wrong “. The axe fell on some and changes have been made ; we can only keep our fingers crossed for the future .

  21. misomiso
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:22 am | Permalink


    You need to contest that the Single Market is a Good thing!

    If you keep saying that we won’t get it because the Euros won’t give us border control, we are conceding that the Single Market is a good thing for the economy.

    It is NOT a good thing for the economy, as it allows for abuse of Capitalism by big business, and takes Economic control of the Economy away from the people.

    That means that as long as we’re in the Single Market, the economy will NEVER work in the interests of the public; it will only work for those who are powerful enough to influence the rules makers in Brussels, ie Big Business with some Unions.

    Very important you guys start contesting the Single Market, as otherwise we we lose the ideological battle.


    • Anonymous
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      ‘Tarrif Free’ is the latest name for the single market. Of which it is no such thing if we cede political and border control. It comes at incalculable cost in fact.

    Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    False narratives=Lies

    Banking culture= Lies+theft+fraud+breach of trust

    Sleaze= All the above

    Nepotism=All the above+child abuse

    Cronyism=All the above

    Jail= The place where generally those guilty of the above never go to live. But where poor people live except if they have been found guilty of stealing contraceptives.

  23. Peter Martin
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    “The Coalition economic strategy was characterised as cutting public spending to eliminate the deficit in a Parliament.”

    I think there is some evidence that the PTB in the government, the IMF and elsewhere are finally starting to understand that this just won’t work. George Osborne discovered this the hard way. I would hope that Philip Hammond doesn’t have to repeat the same painful exercise. The less money the government pumps into the economy (by spending) the less that comes back in taxes. So trying to cut the deficit this way is no more sensible than is a dog chasing its own tail.

    When government spends, some of the spent money comes back straightaway in income taxes and VAT or whatever. If it doesn’t come back on the first transaction it will come back as taxes on the second or subsequent transactions UNLESS it is saved.

    So it follows that:


    Is the deficit too big? Maybe. But if it is, then everyone else must be saving too much. The one statement is just as true as the other.

    By all means cut spending but don’t expect those cuts to affect the deficit. And furthermore, match cuts in spending to cuts in taxation to keep a sufficient level of spending to achieve a buoyant economy.

  24. Blarney
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    One false narrative is saying you can destroy an idea, concept, or opinion by banning the use of the word and then referring to the word by its first letter. As if Ireland or the Irish Republican Army would vanish if we were only allowed to say and write “I”. If it were so simple we could very well rid the nation of the errors of Jeremy Corbyn by referring to him as JC. But then this could confuse people into thinking the JC was Jesus Christ. He is not the messiah. He does not have nail shaped scars on his hands nor can they be seen on his feet when he wear Jesus sandals. This means he is a False God or FG

  25. James Munroe
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Reading the financial press, over the weekend, one of the comments that I noticed was:-

    “The pound has become a political football for “vigilante” currency traders”.

    The usual activity, of taking advantage of political uncertainty, in a target country, to make financial gain.

    • hefner
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      A number of operators made heavy losses on 24 June. They might just be making up for their losses.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      On the other hand gilts have largely ceased to be a political football for “vigilante” bond traders, because the Treasury has turned the Bank of England into a kind of captive gilts investor with effectively unlimited sums of sterling to spend buying up surplus gilts. I wonder whether this has transferred more pressure onto sterling?


      “At the beginning of the Clinton administration in the early 1990s, adviser James Carville was stunned at the power the bond market had over the government. If he came back, Carville said: I used to think if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president or the pope or a .400 baseball hitter. But now I want to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody.”

      But not now, not with the mechanics of quantitative easing established.

  26. MrVeryAngry
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    This complacency lay behind the egregious errors made in allowing banks and government to rack up huge debts which proved unsustainable.. It wasn’t ‘allowing’ at all. It was policy. Government policy. Here, there and everywhere from the US to the UK, and in Europe and Japan and China. It was the ‘new normal’ where the Blairite Clintonists thought they had discovered perpetual electoral Nirvana by encouraging credit expansion and ever rising house (aka land) prices. All policed and encouraged by the witless self interested bureaucrats in the FSA and other ‘regulators’.

    • nhsgp
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      The key problem, particularly with the state is the hiding of their debts off the books

  27. bigneil
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    The prediction is that in about 3 months there is a very good chance we will have snow. Clearly THAT will be totally due to the leave vote as well.

  28. Kenneth
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink


  29. margaret
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Of course collective psychology will heighten problems triggered by those with influence. I have been practicing Nursing all my life. I have told people the best , the potential and the worst about their and their family’s lives. It is always best to be truthful , but stick to the presented facts without emotion as no doubt in most cases it will be dressed up as fear. Only when the situation is not reversible for example in death should strong empathy be used.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Off topic Margaret.

      I am going through the death thing now with my terminally ill father. I’m not sure I need empathy but to be surrounded by people who understand this event to be normal – which it is.

      Thanks for your good work.

      • Margaret
        Posted October 11, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, I have been there, empathy is an understanding and an almost intuitive respect for those who deal with life as it is, in their own way.

        Comments from all sources come to mind…Forest Gump ..His mother when dying from cancer says , “dying Forest, is a part of life”
        I have now lost all my older relations and listen to those who experience this end stage as I will surely be there too.

  30. hefner
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Sorry, on the side, an interesting book with its Introduction available (for free) on the web site of the publisher:
    The Nobel Factor: The Prize in Economics, Social Democracy and the Market Turn, by Avner Offer & Gabriel Soederberg, 2016, Princeton Univ. Press.

    Are Nobel economists, whatever their leanings, equivalent to other more obviously science-related Nobel prizes?

  31. Antisthenes
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Truths so often prove unpalatable so we ignore or twist them. We do not allowed them to get in the way of our beliefs or narratives. Odd that we can do that and other things that are equally as contradictory and still function successfully as a society. Nature must be very forgiving to allow so much scope for us to act so perversely and still survive. Or perhaps as we also have the capacity to be rational, logical and fair minded, some of us at least, that mitigates some of the harmfull effects of it.

    One thing is certain is if we heeded evidence more, relinquished hypocrisy and did not make assumptions unless they are provable beyond any doubt then what we do would be driven by consensus and not by ideology or vested interests. If we did it would put a lot of pundits, theologians, politicians and the like out of business.

    Austerity, living within your means sides of the same coin, when referring to current economic circumstances that George Osborne created to which is used is dependent upon the narrative that the user wishes to express. The reckless and intellectually challenged usually those on the left of the political spectrum will use the former. The prudent and sensible will use the latter. As much as those who can find all manner of reason for condemning both in the end they cannot escape economic reality. The reality that you cannot spend more than you can earn and you cannot borrow more than you can reasonably pay back. If you do then the austerity of the swingeing kind that the Conservatives are being accused of now but is not true will certainly occur in the future.

  32. nhsgp
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    On the false narrative front.

    How about the state pension is not a debt?

    The civil service pension is not a debt?

    Even last night the BBC was pushing the wealth inequality angle. Not a peep as to why there is wealth inequality, namely that the state took the pension money and spent it replacing it with debts.

    • hefner
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      “Bank bail-out adds £1.5tn to debt”, Daily Telegraph, 16/01/2011.
      Maybe it is slightly more complex than what you seem to think.

  33. hefner
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    “Spending on pensions, …under EU controls, where big reductions were made in spending”.
    Two comments/questions:
    – Nothing much was done in the UK. Would JR have liked similar cuts to have been made in the UK?
    – Those cuts in other countries were controlled by the EU. Does that mean that the EU is not such a controlling factor on the UK situation, as JR has been telling us for months/years?

    Reply, NO , I opposed the magnitude and style of some of the cuts in Euro area countries. Yes, the EU has more power over Euro area countries, as I have always explained! They still have too much power over us.

  34. Jane Moorhouse
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I’ve come to the conclusion that however sensible your comments and however those of us who voted to leave the EU try to explain in an intelligent, structured, clear headed way, the Remain camp will continue to muddy the waters. I know immediately when a closet remainer starts their narrative, it is always complicated, depressing, and so so difficult as well as the fact that they keep questioning the meaning of Brexit. They only seem to know what they voted for but cannot clearly express a positive reason for such voting. I suppose it comes down to the fact that if you have been brainwashed to accept the EU rhetoric with no intelligent debate then you are confused, insecure and fearful. Some of our younger politicians will have also been indoctrinated and perhaps even they cannot understand what we voted for hence their doom and gloom predictions.

    • Ian Wood
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Hello Jane – I am not a closet remainer, but one who is out, proud and loud about being in favour of the EU. I believe leaving the EU, which we will do, will prove a disaster. In the meantime I hope it is not complicated to point out that the pound is down 17% and fuel will be going up by 5p a litre this month because of the fall in the value of sterling.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        Good. Help is to finally reach our 2% inflation target after years of trying so Carney can finally put interest rates up to something reasonable.

      • Anonymous
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        Ian Wood –

        You seem to think “My side good – their side bad”

        Things are never so simple.

        Brexit did not creep up out of the blue. A majority are so unhappy with the EU that they are prepared to take an economic risk to get out of it. A risk that we were amply warned about during the referendum.

        The EU has many many failings – so I wouldn’t be too loud and proud about it if I were you.

        In fact the failure of the EU to give ground is the problem – not those who voted for Brexit.

      • Oggy
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

        Freedom comes at a cost.
        You must remember the EU is on the verge of implosion – better to leave now than wait for the real disaster to come.

  35. Edward.
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I think the £ will find its own level and about now it is better valued than it was previously to the Jun 23rd referendum where the ‘experts’ had glibly predicted a ‘remain’ victory and consequently the foreign currency speculators had pushed up the value of the £ so that it was truly over valued.

    The balance of payments, the yawning chasm of the comparison to what the UK sucks in and sends out – in terms of goods is way too big, invisible earnings close the gap but the real facts are, in Britain the manufacturing sector has been diminished and not least by 13 woeful years of Labour government. The markets are nervous and rightly so concerning Britain’s parlous state of an import/export account which is well into the red.

    Mark Carney’s recent and greatly impetuous intervention, lowering the base rate and promises of “more QE” have hardly helped matters.
    The shady operators of which we know George Soros is one, have attacked the UK currency with glee, for they hate the idea of Britain out of the brussels Corporate slave Empire and it is a known known, weakening national currency does not play well with the public – blaming the prospectus of Brexit plays right into their hands – of the remoaners.

    Against a basket of other currencies, minus the $, the £ is relatively stable.

    People going abroad are not helped greatly through a falling £ – truly. However, a falling pound can benefit the UK in lots of ways and as Mr. Redwood has pointed out, a flexible and floating pound is infinitely preferable to being hogtied in to a ‘single’ currency prison – like the €….. just ask Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy and France.

    There is no need of panic and as Winnie was wont to observe KBO but get used to the cries of “it’s all Brexits’ FAULT!” – and oh yes, a fluctuating currency.

  36. ChrisS
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Every point you make is entirely valid.

    The Remainers like Soubry and Miliband minor are out in force today, falsely claiming the referendum does not give a mandate for taking Britain outside the Single Market.

    The referendum campaign was very clearly fought on three issue :

    1. An end to FOM
    2. No more Contributions to the EU budget
    3. Taking back ultimate control of our legal system from the European Court.

    None of the 17m of us who voted to leave can be under any illusion that we would be outside the single market because none of these issues is compatible with our remaining a full member of it.

    Therefore it has always been the case that we will have to leave the single market unless the 27 all agree to make concessions for the UK on these three principles.

    We have always known that concessions on FOM in particular were never going to be offered – after all, Merkel and the other 26 refused to give David Cameron anything to take back in February in the full knowledge that he would be facing the referendum campaign without any ammunition in his armoury just four months later.

    In the forthcoming “negotiations” we will obviously be offering to continue tariff-free trade while ending 1, 2 and 3 above but whether the 27 agree to that is their decision to make, not ours.

    Even if Merkel was mindful to protect the interests of German industry, and it seems she isn’t, it looks extremely unlikely that the 27 could reach any kind of unanimous agreement to give Britain the smallest of concessions.

    The “negotiations” will probably nothing of the kind. They are likely to last no more than a month after we table our free trade proposal because the 27 will reject it outright.

    There will then be little point in dragging out discussions while we continue to have to pay Brussels £850m a month in net contributions. Far better to walk away at the earliest opportunity, end budget contributions and revert to WTO terms until they come to their senses – or the whole edifice comes tumbling down with the inevitable failure of the Euro.

  37. Robert Branch
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Hi I have to say this is a very false narrative. Eventually, when hundreds of thousands of UK jobs have been shipped to the continent, you Brexiteers are going to have to level with your supporters.
    Tariffs are just part of the problem. Essentially if the EU wants to cut off trade with us altogether they can pretty much do what they want. I’m not suggesting they will do that, although they will probably be quite spiteful. After all, they’ve had 40 years of the likes of you sneering at them telling them what an unpleasant bunch they are.
    But take cars. True, they export more to us than we export to them. But say they impose 10% tariffs. You say they won’t want to do this because of the threat we’ll respond in kind and the fact we import more from them than they import from us. But this misses the point. In such a scenario, the vast majority of UK-based car manufacturers will simply relocate to the EU. They’re only in this country in the first place so they can export tariff free to the rest of the EU. The UK has been a massive recipient of FDI in recent years.

    There’s a real danger much of this investment shifts offshore and with it thousands of jobs.

    Reply Most of the cars made here by foreign businesses are sold here or exported to non EU places! Production here has just become 10% cheaper.

    • hefner
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      Guardian, 21/08/2014, Angela Monaghan. Eight out of ten UK-produced cars are exported, some of them (JLR, Bentley) to “rich” individuals worldwide, most of them (Honda, Nissan, Toyota) to Asia.

    • Peter Martin
      Posted October 12, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      You say they won’t want to do this because of the threat we’ll respond in kind and the fact we import more from them than they import from us. But this misses the point.

      Missing the Point? Why? The point is just about arithmetic.

      If the EU exports more to the UK than vice versa then any given level of tariff will generate more revenue for the UK Government that EU governments.

      So the UK government could just impose a negative tariff, ie a subsidy, on all exports, to exactly compensate our exporters and still come out ahead financially.

  38. The Prangwizard
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Another narrative more malevolent than most was and continues to be repeated that the original people of these shores will have their lives significantly enriched by the importation of millions of people from foreign lands (some? ed) of whom have beliefs customs and cultural norms which they have no intention of changing. We are further told by our oppressors that we must adapt to them or be at risk of prosecution.

  39. Richard Butler
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    A key false narrative is that which frames property Landlords as public enemy number one for the crime of self managing their own pension fund for a 4-5% yield.

    Osborn used this hatred as a tax raising opportunity and now exactly as we predicted rents are rising much faster and rental property not coming to market (see RICS report last week).

    I was talking to a high ranking Nat West official last week and he said buy to let lending is now dead and buried (lenders have had no choice but to demand far higher rent affordability calculations to allow for the oncoming cost of income taxation).

    Once again, over zealous policy backfires on those at the bottom that now cannot find an affordable rent property (they cannot buy a home due to Labours mortgage regulations bought in under the FCA in 2008).

  40. bananas
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    The government could do with a spokesman/person, who has all the facts in his head and can just roll out the answers dispassionately. Poor Theresa May on the radio 4 the other day sounded strangulated and unsure while being harangued by some harridan about the pound falling.The questions need to be answered of course, but by the best person to do that.

  41. norman
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I like the phrase ‘false narrative’. If you think about it, the world is full of them, particularly nowadays.
    I thought Nigel Farage’s plain commonsense remarks on Trump’s odious side were salutary. Farage is gifted in ‘real-speak’. People are so fed up with all the hypocritical false narratives of the duplicitous, modern p/c world – hence his appeal – and to some extent, Trump also.
    Repentance is the first step to reform. I hope he makes good – America is a great nation, but so badly needs to get back to its roots – just as we do.

    • rose
      Posted October 11, 2016 at 12:03 am | Permalink

      I too was struck by the sense of what Nigel Farage said. He was also the most sensible on Trump’s over-inclusive remarks about moslems, correcting them in a calm and convincing way instead of wallowing in hysteria like everyone else.

      One might add that Trump is a New York Democrat, not a Republican, and would be just one more in a line of Democrat libertine presidents – Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton. Absurd for Democrats to get so indignant, though it is understandable for Republicans to be shocked.

    • Chris
      Posted October 12, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      I agree wholeheartedly with your comments on Farage. I have just started getting Rasmussen Reports daily, and today there was a fascinating piece of straight writing by Thomas Sowell on a comparison between Trump’s words and Hillary’s actions, “Words versus Deeds”. It rather put things into perspective.

  42. Prigger
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    It is a false narrative of the Remainer MPs to suggest people who voted Remain in the Referendum were
    a/ In favour of EU migration into our country
    b/ In favour of retaining the Single Market
    c/ In favour of the LibDems or Labour Party
    d/ In favour of the EU’s version of Human Rights
    e/In favour of what is termed diversification of our population
    f/ In favour of paying money to Brussels
    g/ In favour of something other than Christianity being our state religion
    h/ In favour of a re-run via the backdoor by Remainer MPs to cancel a possible victory vote by the Leave campaign

    Unquestionably many people who voted to remain in the EU did so because they thought continuity was more comfortable for them personally.
    It is about time the undemocratic Remainer MPs were sent packing from their constituencies as many of them will.

  43. Ian Wood
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Lots more pro-EU comments on Mr Redwood’s website than usual. Can I just point out that this paragraph …

    During the crash the Labour government successfully blamed the banks for the crisis. Whilst some of the commercial banks made bad judgements or misbehaved, the largest errors were errors of central Bank and Treasury policies, deliberately bringing solvent banks down through starving them of liquidity, and refusing to use bail ins and other techniques to resolve their problems.

    … is false in every single respect. The Conservative narrative of Labour over-spending causing the crash in the UK was widely swallowed. Actually it was down to bad lending in the States. And bail-ins may well be coming this time, on the continent at first probably, but this will not help confidence in the banking system. A bail-in at a large German bank will not help the counterparties on derivative trades, and a widespread bank run can confidently be expected. Had it not been for Gordon Brown last time, the banking system would have collapsed in 2008 had Mr Redwood’s prescriptions been applied.

    The truth is that Mr Redwood has devoted himself for forty years to destroying what he sees as a socialist project in Europe, and now that he has kicked away the British brick and can see that it will be an irreversible nightmare in the UK he is resorting to fibs and whoppers in his desperation to blame everyone else.

    Reply UK banks got into difficulties thanks to their own bad lending and to the demands of the authorities all of a sudden for them to hold more cash and capital than they had.

    • Newmania
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      Agreed , ” Didn`t fix the roof when the sun was shining ” is an accusation that still has great force . I think it is broadly true myself

    • the truth is , is it
      Posted October 11, 2016 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      To Ian Wood
      Whenever I hear”The truth is ” start a sentence I think of Blair and his earnest, pretend
      goodness. It’s been adopted by Milliband and many others since.
      If Redwood has spent 40 years doing what you say then he has the support of the majority of the ordinary people of Europe.

      • Ian Wood
        Posted October 11, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        The EU is very popular in Europe. It’s getting less so, true, but we are in times of austerity, something that the technocrats of the European institutions may well come to regret. But the idea of Europe, and a trading bloc of half a billion people all sharing the benefits of tariff-free trade and common trading standards, is extremely popular. Even Greece, which has been brutally punished by the troika, remains willingly in the EU.

  44. E.S.Tablishment
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    There no perturbation in narrative of the government. The UK is funding and supporting both Kurds and Turks in their war against each other and pointing out from time to time to them both : ” My word! Don’t you think you need to behave like the big boys you are? ”
    #( See, there’s the expert diplomacy enshrined in our diplomatic corp’s clever rhetorical “questions” that Mr Corbyn boasts about as a solution to getting people to rid themselves of nuclear weapons )

  45. Beecee
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I see the legions of Remainers, together with their vested interest supporters in Industry, the BBC etc, are continuing to use every avenue to prevent the expressed will of the people being enacted.

    This includes using pejorative language such as ‘Hard’ as though this is a recipe for disaster.

    Parliament will block Brexit given a chance, which I fear they will get!

    If so then a quick election on a Brexit manifesto is called for, affording the people the opportunity to remind politicians who put them there and to whom ultimately they are answerable.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      Yes. Some people are influenced poorly by words: HARD Brexit, WEAK pound, they think it must be self-evident these are bad things.

  46. Jack
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Taxes (including tariffs) do not “fund” government spending in any way. I suggest you look more into monetary operations at the BoE.

    Taxation destroys money, and government spending creates it. For a sovereign currency issuing government, spending is in no way constrained by tax revenue. The question isn’t whether we can “afford” it in monetary terms, it is whether the real resources are available (so inflation is the limiting factor, not tax revenue). There is one other avenue of “money creation” besides the government, and that is lending by commercial banks (credit creation) which should be regulated by the government rather than relying on interest rates which are a terrible tool.

    For local and regional governments, then yes spending is constrained by tax revenues, but it is no so for the UK government.

  47. David Price
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    But when the lies and false narratives are pitched at us continually why do we not hear the counter narratives being pitched with equal vigor? Why are the lies allowed to keep being stated and re-stated without challenge . It seemed like Cameron et al simply couldn’t care less because they had achieved their goals, they were in power for five years so the rest of us could be left dangling in the wind.

    And the pattern is repeating

    • Mitchel
      Posted October 11, 2016 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      True.”Sofa government” was just an unthreatening term for elective dictatorship.

  48. MikeP
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, another informative article which probably doesn’t lay sufficient ‘blame’ on our London-centric, Guardianista media luvvies in the BBC as perhaps the worst offending of UK Establishment institutions. Given the topicality of Brexit coverage, I note that the PM’s spokesperson has suggested today that Parliament may be allowed to vote on the final deal that emerge from the EU Brexit negotiations.
    I can’t understand the logic in this – what happens if MPs vote it down, how can we go back to the EU and say “I’m sorry you’ll have to do better, our Parliament doesn’t like that offer” ? They’re bound to turn round and say, “Having taken two years over this, take it or leave it”, surely ?

    Reply Good point. I just want to leave asap.

  49. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    JR, I hope that Liam Fox will publicly, promptly and comprehensively refute the nonsensical claims made today by the British Retail Consortium, which are being uncritically and gleefully repeated across sections of the mass media.

  50. simple soul
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    May I remark how the present situation curiously echoes one from the past? When the question of America leaving the British Empire arose, American opinion was divided. 30% were remainers, 30% said leave, and 30% were don’t knows. And yet from these confused and murky politics arose the superpower of the USA, truly great oaks from little acorns grow.

    • simple soul
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      PS like London today, New York was the least keen on independence and the upheaval involved.

  51. Newmania
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    On the pound that’s just embarrassing ……Anyhoo I don`t have to pretend to respect Brexit; had the referendum been limited to those who knew what the single market was Remain would have won. Redwoods point is empty rhetoric
    Vote Leave were crystal clear on any number of things .For example the Turkey would be joining the EU next week and 80, 000,000 of them would be at the door . That the EU army … a phantom that has stalked the far right since the 60s was about to land in Warmington on Sea, that leaving the EU would produce an immediate Brexy bonus that would transform the NHS ( ha bitter ha ) . It was equally crystal clear that we could follow Norway or Switzerland or at the very least retain almost every advantage if the single market without contributing either in terms of cash or political compromise. Such suggestions have continued to drop from the mouths of leavers since the referendum as they increasingly fear being marked as the guilty men when the disaster hits us and the cry for revenge goes up . Hitchens Booker , even Hanna to some extent have all got their life boats waiting.
    John Redwood should stop telling people why they voted to leave the .He may like to think it was to sever relations with our neighbours in the most dramatic way conceivable but given the narrowness of the victory , even if the Brexit vote was full of people who really wished to risk unemployment and poverty (and I doubt it ) , it is not the will of the people , only of some of them.
    Airports start exchanging less than one Euro for each quid – Good for British holidays – Good Old Brexit
    Protectionism between us and our trading partners – Hay its tariff bonanza , good old Brexit

    • rose
      Posted October 12, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Projecting negative and hyperbolic fantasies on to your opponents is no substitute for argument! What about telling us something good about being ruled by the EU?

      • rose
        Posted October 13, 2016 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        For example the Turkey would be joining the EU next week and 80, 000,000 of them would be at the door .

        My main worry about Turkey joining is that it would be bad for them, as it has been for other Mediterranean nations. Turkey is a proud and independent nation with a strong national identity. This is just what the EU is dedicated to destroying. Moreover, Turkey has her own currrency and is doing well in manufacture and exports. That too would be spoiled by EU membership.

    Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Off Topic:Here is a direct quote from National BBC tonight as a clip was shown of the last Trump/Clinton Debate: “Trump is lurking in the background (of Clinton) as an intimidating presence”
    She had in fact walked in front to his own designated space on stage and started talking to the camera and audience partially blocking the view of him. The camera angle made it look as though he was very much closer than he was. A two-bit conjurors trick. Typical of the BBC to pump out anti-Trump propaganda.Why are we paying a licence fee for this Pravda outfit?

    • rose
      Posted October 12, 2016 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      And did you notice that the two Dimbleby characters kept letting her run over her allotted time, uninterrupted? Quite the reverse for him of course. Lots of interruptions from them and her, and no running over time.

      I expect if we have noticed, others will have too.

  53. Mark
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    It was notable that the “flash crash” occurred just after midnight UK time, 8 a.m. Tokyo time, when few sterling currency trades normally take place, and when the markets are predominantly being made in the Far East (and thus outside EU/UK or US jurisdiction). It has been suggested in the press that it was triggered by a computer interpretation of a Financial Times article, although there are other possibilities.

    One is that it was in fact an act better described as cyber warfare. HSBC’s analyst David Bloom published a note claiming the pound has now become a victim of “FX vigilantes” who are expressing their objection to government policy by selling off the pound. “The currency is now the de facto official opposition to the government’s policies,” he wrote. It will be interesting to see whether the BoE manages to get to the bottom of the cause, but perhaps unlikely they will do so: lowered interest rates hardly make holding sterling attractive. It is all rather reminiscent of ERM exit.

  54. Ghost of Xmas Future
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    “A UK-born professor, who now works at Harvard University in the United States, has won the Nobel Prize in Economics…..Professor Hart, who was born in London, is now an American citizen.”

  55. stred
    Posted October 11, 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    To illustrate the one sided approach of the liberal press and false narratives I can recommend the Dec 5th 2015 Economist p14 and 37. The awkward squad and Europes new headache- about the new Polish government. Apparently, the previous government of President Tusk was thought to be ‘liberal,secular urban elite’ and they have been voted out by ‘a motley collection of social conservatives, Catholic nationalists and anti-corruption zealots……’ It seems they are being difficult over federalisation and taking orders from Mrs Merkel too. Naughty boys lead by a lady PM who is not really in charge.

    Sounds familiar to somewhere else, but can’t think where.

  56. stred
    Posted October 11, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Another reason for the strength of the $ may be that the US is almost energy self sufficient, wheras the UKs oil and gas production is tailing off. Noe the Yanks have found another huge field off Alaska. While we are importing the equipment for huge windfarms to be built in the middle of the sea. http://www.wsj.com/articles/oil-explorer-claims-major-alaskan-find-1475619056

  • 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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