The economic powers that be all predicted catastrophe if we didn’t join the Euro. They all failed to predict the global crash of 2008. Now they are all predicting disaster if we leave the EU. The IMF, OECD and Treasury all predict the economy will be anywhere between 1.5% to 9% smaller in 2030 than if we stayed in the EU. Let’s be clear what that means. We won’t be 1.5% poorer than we are now, but that we will be 1.5% less rich than we would have been if we knuckled under to the EU, and meekly accepted becoming part of a country called Europe.
I’ve comprehensively debunked their figures here and here. But even if the economic establishment have got their sums right for once (please suspend your disbelief), are we really prepared to chuck away all the civil and democratic rights won by our ancestors since Magna Carta for a miserable £1.50 for every £100 we earn?
But where project complete bollox really goes into overdrive, is in the insistence that there will be NO economic upside to leaving the EU. No scenario in which the UK would be better off out. Let’s look how the economic establishment comes up with these fishy figures
1. They all used broadly the same starting point.
2. They all used broadly the same mathematical model.
3. They all make broadly the same assumptions.
Therefore, it’s no surprise they come up with roughly the same result. So how have they done it?
1. The starting point is uncontroversial. We can all agree that we are currently in the EU, have a GDP of approximately £1.8 trillion and have no trade deals of our own.
2. The model. They all use something called the “gravity model”. Some insist this is discredited. It doesn't matter, with the assumptions made the result would not be that different regardless of model.
3. The assumptions are as follows:
a) We keep all existing EU regulations because we love them. This isn't just controversial, it's inane drivel. One of the main reasons for leaving the EU is daft regulations.
b) We take an age about negotiating a new deal with the EU. This is possible, as we don't know if the common sense merchants or vindictive bureaucrats will win the day. What we do know is that we buy more from them than they do from us, so they would do more actual damage to their own economy than to ours. Just imagine the meeting where Angela Merkel tells the CEO’s of BMW, VWAudi, Mercedes and Porsche. “Hello, I’m going to support punitive economic sanctions on the country which takes 20% of your car exports.” No, I can’t imagine it either.
c) We do no trade deals with anyone else, or at least are very slow at it. EU slow, rather than say Australia quick. This isn't plausible. An EU free trade deal has to please 28 countries. We just have to please ourselves. As well as getting rid of regulation, one of the things the leave camp favour is free trade, whether that be with the Commonwealth, the Anglo-sphere or in fact almost everywhere.
There are many good reasons to leave the EU, for most of us it is the desire not to become part of a country called Europe. We want to revitalize our democracy and return to honest, accountable politics. As Dan Hannan said “We fought a civil war in this country to establish the principle that laws should not be passed nor taxes raised except by our own elected representatives.” Today, that power, that we won in a bloody Civil War, is vested in European Commissioners, most of whom owe their position to having lost elections. Economic isolationism isn’t a reason to leave the EU, it is a reason to stay in. Once out, in Churchill’s words, “we will choose the open sea”, not a stagnating EU which has only just managed to raise its economic growth above that of Antarctica.