Euro papers withheld

There’s a surprise! The release of government documents includes delays to the release of European Exchange Rate Mechanism papers and a block on  the release of certain Euro papers relating to 1992 when we dropped out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. This was the biggest economic policy error of the last quarter of the twentieth century in the UK. The Establishment and main political parties united to visit this disaster on us. It led to falling house prices, a big rise in unemployment, closed factories, bankrupt businesses, all in the name of European integration. The irony is it delivered what Project Fear wrongly said our vote to leave the EU would deliver in the winter of 2016-17!  No wonder the Remain establishment is shy about revealing more of what happened then.

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  1. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Just confirmation of the establishment acting against the people. Just what we all suspected was happening.

    • Hope
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      May has withheld the details of phase one of her capitulation why the British taxpayer owes the EU about £50 billion! We all understand the Uk yearly contribution, how did it get to this amount? What are our alleged commitments she falsely refers to? She still claims it was her Florence speech when the EU was allowed to edit write how much the UK should give in principle!

      May is untrustworthy we need to know the detail of the accounts to stop her fecklessly giving away more of money than is necessary when she is punishing your public services at home. Also has she deducted the amount or taken into account public service provision for the additional 20 million or so EU citizens Rudd invited here before Christmas? What authority did Rudd have if the immigration policy is not written and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed? Or are we being told lies again by May?

      After all she has given authority through her invasive snooper charter to many public sector bodies to view our internet account each time we visit our bank accounts- without the check and balance of warrant or abuse of power by these corrupt bodies. Also who do these bodies pass our information to and do any of them examine our internet activity for inappropriate political reasons?

    • Richard1
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      I was interested to read that in the cabinet discussion of ERM membership, among the reasons given for it, was the U.K. mus have a strong voice “in our most important market”. This sounds familiar.

  2. sm
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Has any reason been given for these blockings, or is it just ‘for your own good’…. and that of a certain former Tory PM?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      If the withheld papers includes minutes of Cabinet meetings then we may have to wait until some of the protagonists are dead before we find out what they said.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Any reason given for a delay ?

    • Kenneth
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      BBC said this morning on “Today” that it was the sheer volume of releases that was holding them up but the BBC is not a reliable source these days

    • Yossarion
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      Why would you release these papers, is it not a thirty year rule or is my maths that bad?

  4. agricola
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    A debate on this subject is long overdue. It is a process designed to protect politicians and civil servants who have screwed up big time. Sometimes with quite sinister implications.

    There was FCO 30/1048, the withholding of which was designed to ensure the public were not aware of the full implications of joining the Common Market. Consider the upheaval that has caused and the cost and damage inflicted on the UK economy.

    Then there are the papers covering the death of Dr David Kelly which we are not allowed to know about for I believe 70 years. If this isn’t sinister I do not know what is.

    Look at the time it took to resolve Hillsborough, an epic that does not give me much confidence that the recent tower block fire in London will be disclosed in all it’s multiple ineptitudes.

    National security is a valid reason for blocking information, but incompetence or evil doings within all branches of government is not.

    • Peter Davies
      Posted December 31, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Quite right

  5. Mark B
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    A very brief and well written paragraph.

    I would like to add, that it also ended the economic creditability of the Conservative Party and heralding in five years later the New Labour Party, that is still in power but, under a new name.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Exactly what is the difference – Blair, Brown, Cameron and May as were pro EU big tax socialists. The Conservative Party should be a party of low taxation, low regulation, freedom and sensible, efficient government. That is the way to retain power not this pathetic PC, big state, T May/P Hammond agenda.

      • Hope
        Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        Worse we have Osborne on BBC radio and print to discredit govt policy and what the govt was saying to the public (he had Heseltine as a govt advisor who now claims it would be better if Corbyn were in govt- why has Heseltine not lost the whip or been sacked from any advisory role?). He has made it clear the govt he was in was telling us one thing and saying something completely different in public. May was central to these policies. He might be bitter posh bloke not knowing the price of milk, but he was chancellor and alleged Tory strategist.

        It is clear the Tory party and govt are not trustworthy by their own accounts!

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    It caused many homes to be repossessed, many businesses to go bust, many families to break up and even many excess suicides too. Not even an apology from the appalling John Major even now. It was all entirely predictable and predicted. Thatcher even warned Major in person it seems (Telegraph today).

    The sad thing is that the obvious lessons of economics have still not been learned. We still have an essentially socialist, interventionist, over taxing and over controlling bloated and inept government with an even worse version in the wings to replace them.

    • rose
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      The BBC were very careful not to explain all of what Margaret Thatcher was warning against.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 31, 2017 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

        Typical of the BBC, I noticed that too. With rather selective comments from Anthony Seldon I think, biographer of the appalling (still no apology) John Major.

  7. hans chr iversen
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink


    How do we know that the so-called establishment are all remainers,, who do not wish to publish the documents?

    And who are they, as you seem to know?

    • NickC
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Hans, “How do we know that the so-called establishment are all remainers …”

      By listening to them?

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted December 29, 2017 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        It could be that the withheld documents show that current government policy of leaving no matter what is actually a bad idea. Without seeing the documents it is not possible to judge either way.

        • NickC
          Posted December 30, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

          Peter, The subject on this part of the thread is whether the establishment, generally, is Remain, or not. Perhaps you didn’t notice?

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted December 29, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        this is about as unscientific and unsubstantiated as it comes, not credible at all

        • NickC
          Posted December 30, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

          Hans, You think the establishment (CBI, BCC, IMF, MPs, FCO, Treasury, big business generally, EU, Bilderbergers, Labour, LibDems, Greens, SNP, PC, government, BBC, etc, etc, etc) are Leave supporters? Seriously?

    • Mark B
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      In my opinion, the Establishment is not some old crusty men sitting in darkened smoke filled rooms plotting, Blowfeltesqe schemes. It is a loose and ever changing sets of interests that know or know of like minded persons or groups, and work to further or hinder any cause. They do not work for or in our interests. Many are identifyable and open but others prefer to work in the shadows or use persons / puppets.

      • zorro
        Posted December 29, 2017 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        They all have a Common Purpose and like to ‘lead beyond authority’ wherever possible…..


    • Bob
      Posted December 30, 2017 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      @hans chr iversen
      If they weren’t, Britain would already have left the EU (long ago).

  8. Iain Moore
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    The release of what papers they have on the EU reminds us that the poison was injected into politics 30 years ago, when the name calling began, like the PM of the day , John Major , demeaning his office by calling EUsceptics bastards , and when the country became divided over the EU. I suppose it is amusing to note that it was the over reaching ambition of the EU fanatics then that sowed the seeds of our Brexit now. For it was the political EU they created with Maastricht , that also changed the terms of EU migration, from workers to everybody, which swung the electorate to vote for Brexit. So it was Major, Heseltine Clarke etc who were the architects of Brexit, not that they will appreciate to be remembered as such, and if they had taken notice of Mrs Thatcher’s more moderate stance on the EU, rather than removing her from office, it might have saved their beloved EU.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      It was always “everybody” as far as the treaties were concerned!

      When the 1957 Treaty of Rome said “persons” it meant “persons”, if it had meant just “workers” then it could have said “workers”.

      Article 3(c) here:

      “the abolition, as between Member States, of obstacles to freedom of movement for persons, services and capital”

      • Iain Moore
        Posted December 29, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        All the documentation I have seen of Maastricht, was that it confirmed EU citizenship rights on people, that included the right to circulate and reside freely in the Community. Odd that they should boast about conferring these rights on people that , if you are correct, were already there.

        • NickC
          Posted December 30, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

          Iain, Well, the EU and europhiles in the UK claimed that Lisbon Art50 “gave” us the right to leave the EU. It did no such thing, of course, because we always had the right to abrogate any treaty under international law, particularly the Vienna Convention.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 30, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          Well, obviously the 1957 Treaty of Rome could not say “European citizens” because that concept was being kept under wraps for the time being. But in any case I don’t think it was intended that the freedom of movement of “persons” would necessarily be restricted to those who were citizens of the member states. There is a school of thought that it was all OK under the original treaty when we joined but it went wrong with later treaties. I don’t see it like that, I see it as wrong from the very start but getting worse and worse with the later treaties.

      • mancunius
        Posted December 30, 2017 at 2:03 am | Permalink

        ‘The abolition of obstacles’ etc – like all the other ‘freeedoms’ is an aspiration for the future ‘in accordance with the timetable set out’. If you read down to Art. 48, 49 and 50 you find the ‘persons’ of Art. 3 are more narrowly defined as ‘workers’ – these are the class specified for free movement, and only once called ‘residents’ entitled to benefits – who would by implication need to be or to have been workers or their dependent close families. (Benefits were sternly restricted to those working in a country for more than a certain number of years – national laws applied.) The self-employed, agencies, service providers and businesses are envisaged in the ToR as being progressively enabled in years to come.
        State and government institutions were specifically exempted from any need to employ non-national workers. It was unthinkable back then, as unthinkable as the idea of having to let in and offer benefits to anyone and everyone who happened along. It remained unthinkable until Maastricht, coinciding with the first era of budget cross-European air travel. Until then there was a natural barrier of transport costs, visitor visas, strict border checks, and no access to unearned benefits.

  9. BOF
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Excellent comment John. We were ourselves very badly affected by the disaster that John Major inflicted on us but survived by slimming down our business and my wife and I working very long hours.

    I have great difficult with the present Government still protecting the appalling John Major(who else could it be?), unless their is further capitulation waiting in the next round of negotiations.

    • Mark Watson
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      I could have written this same comment- the erm catastrophe affected my family very badly.And so started a 25 year hatred of John Major- who had the barefaced cheek to call Leavers the “gravediggers of prosperity” in the euref campaign.

    • Hope
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Excellent comment Ian Moore. BOF, May is heading the Tory party for oblivion. Major kept them out of office for twenty odd years, longer if add Cameron’s gutless coalition. But Heseltine has made clear that he and his likes prefer Labour than be out of the EU. Undoubtedly in their view a price worth paying as they saw with Major’s disastrous term.

      Sadly, the current Tory leavers too scared to stand up and tell May she is not delivering what we voted for or what she claimed she would deliver. She has NOT proved anyone wrong quite the reverse.

      Where is Davis and what has he actually done? He was prepared to resign if Green was sacked, but not if he is sidelined during negotiations? Now Green is gone is Davis going to follow through and resign? Is this a sham stance to get him away from the disaster appearing before his eyes so none of the muck sticks to him?

      • longinus
        Posted December 30, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        Why should Davis resign if Green made ‘misleading’ statements.

        • Hope
          Posted December 31, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

          Longinus, I appreciate your view, I thought his comment was quite bizarre. Nevertheless he said he would. I thought he would use it as his chance to escape the disaster of phase one being attributed to him.

    • Peter Davies
      Posted December 31, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Looking from the outside it seems that Major was not strong or bright enough to stand up to the civil service/treasury, and Mrs T saw right through the whole thing.

  10. Alan
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    The ERM, as well as being an attempt to tie us more closely to the EU’s financial system, was an attempt to require our economy to operate without the need for devaluations. Our ejection from it was not a great triumph; it was an acceptance that we could not run our economy without devaluations.

    Devaluation puts the cost of economic failure on to those who hold their wealth mainly in cash, as opposed to those who hold real assets in the form of shares and property. That mainly means people who are not well-off. It is they who pay for the failure to run our economy prudently. The rich escape relatively unscathed, and can even become richer.

    It was not the ERM that was the greatest economic policy failure of our time (has Mr Redwood forgotten the lack of supervision of the banks that led to the financial crisis, by the way?); it was the failure to run the economy well so that we could have stayed within the ERM. We still do not know how to run our economy well, and the pound in consequence is always overvalued except for short periods.

    Reply Nonsense. Leaving the ERM meant the pound was free to devalue and to revalue, and it did both against various currencies over time. Why take the hit on unemployment is you can take it on currency value?

    • Mark Watson
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      What rubbish Alan.Economies need the safety valve of floating currencies. What other currencies in the world are tied to a fixed system. Only the old European currencies are, and what a disaster that’s turned out to be.

      • Alan
        Posted December 29, 2017 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        Actually a good number of currencies are tied to the US dollar, and some are tied to the euro. I’m not sure there are any left that are tied to the pound, apart from places like the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      I think the second sentence in JR’s reply is the nub of the matter. It is utterly callous to think that the abstraction of a stable external exchange rate is more important than the practicality of people being able earn a living and support their families. But there are still those who inhumanly believe it is preferable to have millions of unemployed workers and starving children than ever devalue the currency.

    • NHSGP
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      You mean the failure caused by people not repaying their debts? That was the cause of the mess.

      But that would mean blaming the voters. Not a good idea for politicians.

    • NickC
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Alan, You seem unaware of economic cycles. Not even a centrally planned, one currency, one world, state can overcome that. Certainly the EU cannot, as we can see by comparing Germany with the southern EU countries all within the Euro you advocate. The EU’s know-it-all approach has resulted in 30% – 50% youth unemployment, though you won’t acknowledge it. You are advocating tyranny though you are blind to that as well.

      Solzhenitsyn tells of railway engineers who told Stalin that the freight cars could safely take a slight increase in load. They were shot (at best). Then sometime later Stalin decided that the rail freight loading should be increased dramatically. The rail engineers protested. They were shot (…). Markets work because the people who know make the decisions, rather than politicians. And if they get it wrong only a small number suffer.

      The banks in 2007 were being run according to rules, and under the supervision of institutions, specifically set up by Gordon Brown. He was told. But his ego, like Stalin’s, resulted in misery for ordinary people.

      • Alan
        Posted December 29, 2017 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        I am not advocating youth unemployment and I am not advocating tyranny and I am not advocating shooting people.

        You might want to consider which group of people is telling us at the moment o ignore experts. I don’t believe that when markets get it wrong that only a few people suffer; I think the poor suffer disproportionately and there are a lot of them. Markets are not run by people who are cleverer than the rest of us; they are run by ordinary people who happen to have more money than the rest of us.

        And I was trying to point out that the way we run our economy does lead to decreasing the value of the wages and savings of poorer people whilst the rich can get richer.

        • NickC
          Posted December 30, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

          Alan, But what you are advocating is government by “experts”. But who are these “experts”? My expert is the man who sets up a business from scratch making better widgets. Your expert is the technocrat who sits in an office in Brussels and has no real idea of widgets. That was the point I was making by quoting Solzhenitsyn’s story.

          And markets are not “run by people”: they run themselves by the unplanned interaction of many people creating the market. It is commercial democracy in action. Thinking that “markets are run” is the statist mindset that everything must be planned. Even modern industry works on a “pull” system now rather than the centrally planned production method.

          There are over 9 million people in the UK not born here. That’s the official figure: it is likely (due to NINos) much higher. That is the reason wages have gone down and house prices have increased. And that was caused by politicians, not the market.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      So what effectivly you are saying, Alan is that countries like Greece, who both default and devalue their currencies and clearly, even in the Euro, run their economies badly, must not be part of the Euro.

      The Euro works well for Germany but not everyone else. Or do you not notice that. And Germans are poorer for being in the Euro and the desire to return to the Deuchemark is what helped AFD to gain seats recently.

    • Alan
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      “Reply Nonsense. Leaving the ERM meant the pound was free to devalue and to revalue, and it did both against various currencies over time. Why take the hit on unemployment if you can take it on currency value?”

      No reason: it is a matter of choice of policy, but a well run economy would not have to make such choices.

      I do accept that it is easier to say we should have a well run economy than to do so, but we ought to recognise that we have a chronic failure of economic policy on our hands and we will need to address it at some time. Quite likely Mr Hammond is right in saying we can put it off. It often seems in economic that putting off the evil day is the best policy, but we ought to have more recognition that that is what we are doing.

      Gains in the value of the pound are always temporary, at least during my lifetime. The general trend is downward.

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted December 30, 2017 at 5:12 am | Permalink

      What complete drivel.

    • Peter Davies
      Posted December 31, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Total tosh. Independent countries need this mechanism as an adjustment to reflect their current circumstance which can be due to a number of reasons.

      Look at where Iceland was 8 year’s ago to where they are now and contrast that with any southern eu state who cannot rely on devaluation.

  11. Knower's Ark
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    There does seem some entity at work here. It is sometimes called The Establishment or Deep State. Anyone who recalls Obama being elected will remember the silence that ensued for at least two years. Not one word of criticism. Contrast this with Trump. They have torn him to shreds since he first learned how to play golf.
    The EU and the Anglo-American Establishment/media does have an agenda and it is undemocratic..and praises dictatorships and secrecy. Where are the papers, don’t know, how many illegal immigrants are here, don’t know,what is democracy, don’t know.

  12. Epikouros
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    I have no doubt the we will be seen by posterity more for our follies than our achievements. That is if our follies allow us to last long enough for there to be a posterity that has matured intellectually enough to not repeat the follies of the past. We still blindly go where angels fear to tread. The ERM was a major folly but joining the common market was an even greater one.

  13. Pete
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Of course they won’t let us see the ERM papers because it exposes just how corrupt and in the bankers pockets our politicians are. The same forces are conspiring to destroy Brexit and any vestige of democracy right now so letting us see what they did in the past would make it so obvious even the state educated tax cattle could see it.

  14. Bert Young
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    When there is a ban it inevitably means embarrassment to key people and publicised comments .
    John Major was a mistake for the country and for the Conservative Party ; if the “ban” is intended to give him protection , I am surprised . He is like Heseltine a man of the past who is not worth considering .

  15. Newmania
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    People that get their information form this sort of source must live in their own Dinghy ; the “Nut” . The “Nut” that jolly craft , has slipped its mooring and floated off into a perpetual night of bizarre fantasy , and here we have a typical starry gobbet of lunacy for the journey.

    Far over the water , there is a real, issue and it concerns information called “Brexit impact assessments”.
    Perhaps some of you will vaguely recall whispers on the evening wind ,of David Davies swearing blind the government had done detailed work on the effect of Brexit . Not to have done this would of course be astonishingly irresponsible., So; again and again he told us there were detailed assessments.
    Challenged to produce them he claimed they did not exist at all and he and never said that they did! * Stan Laurel Look to camera*

    Remain politicians have written the Chancellor saying people “have a right to know what the impact of Brexit will be for them and for their families” which seems fair.
    Mr Hammond has heroically maintained that the government is incompetent and ignorant serving up bits of meaningless pap he calls “sectoral analyses” so as to muddy the waters .. Mr Hammond has also said it would be “deeply unhelpful” to release his analysis now. He means deeply unhelpful for those politicians who make a living lying about Brexit, a risk I am personally happy to take
    I think the point of this historical piece of speculation is to suggest that in exactly the same way the case that falling out of the ERM was a good thing is being sustained only by withholding information .

    Whatever ……as my young friends would say , or indeed Whatevs ……

    • NickC
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      Newmania, Fo millenia, many countries in the world have strenuously attempted to become independent, and not ruled by foreigners. Why do you suppose this is?

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 30, 2017 at 1:06 am | Permalink

      Such arrogant contempt is what brought us to Brexit.

      ’twas a spasm against the British clever Dick class.

      ‘cept you’re not nearly as clever as you think, Newmania. I suppose you still think it was a rage against immigrants and not against those such as yourself.

  16. NHSGP
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    This was the biggest economic policy error of the last quarter of the twentieth century in the UK


    and 10,000 billion pounds of state pension debt with zero assets. What’s that in comparison?

    Mr Average, if his NI had been invested and he retired today would have 1.23 million in a fund. A pension of 40,000 a year from the dividends alone.

    What do you offer him John? 6K a year and no fund. Plus a share of that 10 trillion pound debt.

    The ERM is an irrelevance.

    The real crime is in hiding the numbers off the books.

    Look at the WGA. You and the state claim adherence to IFRS as an accounting standard. Then you go and refuse to use the standard.

    Reply No-one denies the state pension scheme is pay as you go and always has been! You can of course ascribe a future cost to it over a time period and with a discount rate of your choosing, just as you can ascribe a cost to the NHS or any other public sector commitment. You should also ascribe a value to the tax revenue which the state will doubtless collect in future years to pay these bills.The state does publish figures of future pension costs.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Replt to reply

      No-one denies the state pension scheme is pay as you go and always has been!

      Mr.Ponzi would be most proud. 😉

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      No. I am expecting a pot to be waiting for me on retirement.

    • Newmania
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Mr Average, if his NI had been invested and he retired today would have 1.23 million in a fund. A pension of 40,000 a year from the dividends alone.

      I`d like to see those maths.
      We calculated , at work , that a final salary guaranteed index linked pension would , in the current market, probably cost more than the entire slary of the recipient throuhout their working life in the current market .
      If you can turn that payment in to that kind of pension go and do it

  17. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    On the matter of Project Fear, this news has appeared in various places:

    “Brexit damage can be limited, admits Project Fear chief Lord Macpherson of Earl’s Court”

    “The economic impact of Brexit will be “limited” if the government seizes domestic policy opportunities and “looks forward not back”, a former top Treasury mandarin has said.

    Lord Macpherson of Earl’s Court was permanent secretary to the exchequer for 11 years until last year. He is widely regarded as one of the key authors of “Project Fear”, a term used by Leave supporters when claiming their opponents in the referendum campaign were exaggerating the risks of Brexit

    However, he has now suggested that the risks associated with Brexit can be avoided if Theresa May steers the right course. Lord Macpherson said on Twitter that Brexit

    “is a risk but its economic impact should be limited provided HMG [Her Majesty’s government] seizes policy opportunity .… ”

    On behalf of the Prime Minister and Chancellor at that time this man helped to concoct a (set of pessimistic forecasts ed) with the deliberate intention of (influencing ed) the voting public, and after that disgraceful attempt to subvert our democracy had failed the departing Prime Minister recommended that he should made an unelected legislator-for-life.

    Then some people wonder about the rise of “populism” …

    • Mark B
      Posted December 30, 2017 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      “. . . seizes policy oppotunity . . . ”

      I like the mans new found faith in our PM. Sadly, as we all know, TM is not one for risks or oppotunity. Last time she did those things she lost her majority.

  18. jerry
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I suspect that the reason why these papers have been withheld is the same reason why the true whys and wherefores as to what triggered Black Wednesday will never be published on this site. (ever this comment might well get deleted for even eluding to the issue of others involvement).

  19. Andy
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    The biggest economic policy error is Brexit – as we are finding out every day. Brexiteers will not willingly release any documents as you know they destroy any case you may have had.

    Reply What nonsense. The whole pro EU establishment churned out endless false forecasts prior to the vote.

    • NickC
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      Andy, Most of the world is not in the EU, and have no intention of joining. No country gets rich by having foreigners exploit it.

    • Andy
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      The biggest economic policy error was joining the damn EU in the first place.

    • Jonp
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      The proof is in the eating of the pudding..right at this time there are hundreds of thousands of new applications for EU passports in european countries being made by British nationals..hardly a vote of confidence in the new Brexit Britain as promised.

  20. Derek Henry
    Posted December 30, 2017 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    The real issue that will become clear when these papers are released is that they were using fixed exchnage rate theories on floating rates.

    I really don’t understand why still today people can’t get their head around the dynamics of floating rate exchange systems and still stick to fixed exchange analysis based around apparent Kaldorian views.

    Russia made the exact same mistake as the UK did. Argentina so far were the only ones who knew how to do it.

    Roger Bootle is the only person I’ve seen who actually gets right today when he talks about brexit.

    The £ being the best example after they sold it all the way down to sub 1.2 for no reason whatsoever apart from the TV and media getting everyone in a froth with gold standard, fixed exchange rate nonsense. They never look at the other side of the currency trade they have blinkers on.

    If the £ drops then all other currencies get stronger against it making their exports more expensive and if you export your way to growth that’s a disaster. The exporters and exporters central banks step in sort it out in many different ways and the floating rate adjusts. It always find it’s true level. The last thing the EU want is massive job losses because their exports to the UK become too expensive.

    If a government chooses a fixed exchange rate policy, and simultaneously attempts to achieve full employment, it could very well lose its foreign exchange reserves. Interest rates would be rising, as expressed by the forward price of the currency falling while the spot price is being supported by a diminishing pool of fx reserves. This could happen with either a job guarentee program, or a more traditional spending increase.

    With a floating rate currency, interest rates are set exogenously and fx reserves are not at risk. Therefore full employment policy can achieve full employment with no risk of loss of fx reserves. However, the currency could depreciate.

    If total imports remain the same, and only the distribution of imports changes, the macro effect is only the redistribution of the consumption of the imports. If imports increase, at the macro level the welfare of the population is enhanced. The only reason to trade at all is to import. So only if total unit volume of imports falls could the case be made that welfare has been diminished.

    Likewise, exports are the macro cost of imports. The combination is called the real terms of trade. Maximising unit volume of imports relative to exports is how a population maximises its terms of trade. For example, if unit volume of imports increases more than exports due to currency appreciation, the country is better off.

    Furthermore, without full employment, the concept of comparative advantage does not exist, and trade often simply serves to facilitate a race to the bottom. Business and production flows to areas with the most unemployment and the lowest labour costs. So to attract foreign enterprise a nation must maintain high levels of unemployment as well as offer high profit potential. Neither is good for the domestic population. This pitiful yet near universal policy is being further perpetuated by a fundamental and costly misunderstanding of how currencies operate.

    I have yet to see anyone make the case that full employment policy decreases the terms of trade through currency depreciation, induced by any additional national income due to increased net government expenditures.

  21. am
    Posted December 30, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    if the treasury brexit projectfear projections were not public but only private cabinet documents they would never be released in the future either because they were so wrong.

  22. Derek
    Posted December 30, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    In all this talk about the exchange rate Mechanism, there is one thing missing. If I remember rightly, there was a clause in the treaty that covered a speculative run on any of the currencies involved. If a currency was attacked by speculators, the two strongest currencies at the time, would come to it’s aid. The two strongest currencies at the time that Sterling was attacked were the Deutschemark, and the French Franc. If France and Germany had come to our aid, then the speculators would have been defeated. Germany did nothing, and France joined in on the speculation. The with held papers probably include reference to the fact that on the only occasion that we asked our European “friends” for assistance, they did nothing. (As they say, with friends like that who needs enemies.) The real reason that we were forced out of the exchange rate mechanism, was not the incompetence of the Major government, but the dishonesty of the French and Germans. They did not stick to their treaty obligations. You can of course, blame Major for thinking that they would, but let’s put the major blame where it truly lies.

    • Andy
      Posted December 30, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Well remembered. I fail to understand why our Governments continue, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, to regard France and Germany as ‘friends’. They are not. We should regard them as hostile to the UK and our interests. And given how the EU is heading it seems to confirm Nick Ridley’s comment re the Euro. Germany has, at last, achieved her main foreign policy aim of hegemony over all of Europe, but it will all end very, very badly.

      • rose
        Posted December 30, 2017 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        As Boris was crucified for pointing out when writing about the Roman Empire and the subsequent attempts to resurrect it.

      • Tony Sebo
        Posted December 31, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        Indeed. Germany and France see the UK’s membership of the EU as hostile containment of an opponent

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 30, 2017 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      You’ve hit the nail on the head

    • Peter Davies
      Posted December 31, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Interesting…. why does that surprise me?

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    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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