Proof arrives that Remain are right on the economy

Until now the economic argument in this EU referendum has been whether you believe the experts – whose reputations depend on the quality of their prognostications – or whether you believe that an ‘expert’ is someone who automatically has less expertise than everybody else.

Just to summarise, thanks to Sky News:

  • International Monetary Fund – Britain could cause “severe regional and global damage by disrupting established trading relationships”, should it vote to leave the EU. “Negotiations on post exit arrangements would likely be protracted, resulting in an extended period of heightened uncertainty that could weigh heavily on confidence and investment, all the while increasing financial market volatility.” The consequences ranged from “pretty bad to very, very bad”, managing director, Christine Lagarde added
  • PWC for the Confederation of British Industry – GDP down 3 to 5% by 2020, 5% corresponding to 950,000 jobs and £100bn lost.
  • Institute For Fiscal Studies – Brexit would cost the UK between £20bn and £40bn, according to the IFS. The Government would need to find equivalent of £5bn of public spending cuts, £5bn worth of savings from social security spending and roll out tax hikes worth £5bn – two more years of austerity – to cover the cost.
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – GDP in the UK could be between 3-5% below the level it might have been if it had remained in the EU, equivalent to £2,200 loss per household.

No longer need we believe them. With polls in the last few days showing a high risk of Brexit, the markets have reacted.

FTSE 100 falls below 6,000 and pound slides as Brexit fears drive flight to safety

Brexit fears send FTSE 100 plummeting below 6000 and pound near two-month lows

Brexit fears wipe £20 billion off FTSE 100 in shares meltdown

Just to be clear – if the Brexiters were right – if Brexit would make this country a better place to invest, then the reaction to these polls would be that the stockmarket and the pound would go up. Even if they had a plausible theory as to why Brexit ought to make the UK a better place to invest, these headlines prove that the people with the capital to invest do not believe that theory, and therefore will not invest. The Patrick Minfords of this world should see these headlines and admit they were wrong.

The danger is that most of us don’t care much about movement in the price of shares because they don’t affect us directly. Indeed if shares were going down because wages were going up, squeezing profits, we would, nearly all of us, be cheering.

But if shares are going down because businesses are going to find it harder to sell their goods, this is just as bad for jobs and wages as it is for profits.

This is the proof that Brexit would be an act of economic vandalism. It would be a vote for more austerity. It would give the government a mandate to cut health and pensions. Don’t vote for this. Vote Remain.

* Joe Otten was the candidate for Sheffield Heeley in June 2017 and Doncaster North in December 2019 and is a councillor in Sheffield.

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69 Comments

  • Tony Dawson 14th Jun '16 - 5:31pm

    it will be (more than??) interesting to see whether the great British public (at least those who haven’t used postal votes already) will react to this ‘late arrival at Boris’ bent banana bunch ball’. Factual information does not appear to have played too well in this campaign where voting appears to be steered largely by gut feel and a mistrust of establishment politicians. Maybe, if the markets react sufficiently volatile fashion fear will cut in? Meanwhile, odds must be shortening on a second Scottish independence referendum, which will be conducted regardless of the UK government’s view on the matter.

  • But IMMIGRANTS!

    * cries *

  • Eddie Sammon 14th Jun '16 - 6:13pm

    I hate the stockmarket going down. I have an old client, who is now a friend, who likes to check on his pension and I hate saying it is down. Thankfully he often laughs and understands the risks involved. It isn’t always down either.

    People need to relate the stockmarket and interest rates with pensions more generally, but that is another topic. What is important is that people don’t just think investments are for rich people – they matter to everyone with a pension.

    I know someone who was voting IN, but is now voting out. I might remind him that he could lose his job if he votes to leave, but that won’t go down well because he loves it.

    Exaggeration is bad, but maybe we need a bit of fear. Fear of mass immigration seems to be winning it for out – maybe we need more fear of job losses and cuts. But based on evidence like Joe’s article. Positivity is good too.

  • Bill le Breton 14th Jun '16 - 6:31pm

    If / when UK joins EEA, this will be seen to have been one of the best buying opportunities. In fact the best since Black Wednesday.

    All of these doom and gloom estimates are based on the UK not being in the EU and not being in the EEA. The two are not inextricably linked.

    If the UK wants the best deal it will go the EEA route. If the EU wants the best deal it will allow the UK (and other members) to go the EEA route if they so wish, when they so wish.

    This will allow those that want ever political union and the Euro to go their way and those which don’t to go theirs – releasing a strong monetary recovery – with half if not more of European economies benefiting from the kind of economic recovery the UK enjoyed post Black Wednesday.

  • We need to come to some sort of compromise over immigration. I personally have no objections to the free flow of people through the European Commuinity but it seems the majority do. Perhaps levels per year have to be set, whether we like it ior not.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Jun '16 - 6:40pm

    The Governor of the Bank of England said “Two consecutive quarters of negative growth”.
    We must emphasise that the short term forecasts are the most reliable. This is as short term as you can get. Independent by law. The Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England voted nine – nil for this report.
    Technically this a recession.
    No need to varnish it.

  • If/When Brexit happens I think these studies should be monitored for years to come and then the people that wrote them be made to tackle questions about them preferably by Andrew Neil. Apparently not being in the Single Market due to there not being more than three substantial trade agreements is much lower percentage drop (if there is one at all) – in any case this is the UK and we can demand a proper trade agreement with the EU IF we don’t have non-remainers with their supine psychology negotiating on our behalf.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Jun '16 - 6:47pm

    Bill le Breton 14th Jun ’16 – 6:31pm Shadowing the Deutsche Mark was a very different policy. The Chancellor did not even bother to tell the First Lord of the Treasury until the Financial Times told her.

  • @Bill or Breton

    EEA membership comes with freedom of movement and EU budgetary contributions. In the event of Brexit I can’t see any new Tory PM wanting to or being able to negotiate EEA membership.

  • @Bill le Breton

    My understanding (can someone confirm?) is that being in the EEA means accepting freedom of movement and contributing to the “Europe” albeit at reduced rate from what we pay now.

    In other words, we still send money to “Europe” and still have to accept “immigrants” i.e. 2 of the things that the Brexiteers seem to care about most. Will this be acceptable in the event of a vote to leave?

  • @Jane

    You do realise that in the event of Brexit the UK ( not Great Britain) will need to renegotiate every trade deal we have in addition to a new one with the EU. Good luck with doing that while not disrupting the economy.

  • Rightsaidfredfan 14th Jun '16 - 7:10pm

    The EU can tax our imports if it wishes but we can equally slap a large tax on German cars and French wine.

    Neither side will benefit from this, which is why I believe that if Brexit happens both sides will pullout all the stops to make sure that free trade is not interrupted. Once it happens nothing is left to do but all act in our own self interest. And these interests are aligned.

  • @Andy Allan – you mean the trade deals with the Faero Islands etc – must be difficult. Remain don’t get it – Leave is a `can do` attitude that is uninterested in Remain’s `project can’t` it’s interested in using the clout of the UK to get swift deals.

  • @jane

    There is no such thing as a quick trade deal. And the EU has done quicker and better trade deals with countries such as South Korea than non EU countries. But I’ll leave you to wrap yourself in the Union Flag and to sing a quick chorus of Rule Britiannia.

  • Jane: I cannot believe that you think that leaving the European Union is a vehicle for better trade deals…naive is not the word

  • Peter Watson 14th Jun '16 - 7:41pm

    @Andy Allan “There is no such thing as a quick trade deal.”
    What happens when two countries do not have a trade deal?
    Does the EU have a trade deal with the US?
    Does a trade deal matter? Why?

  • @Peter Watson

    The EU is trying to agree a trade deal with the US – that’s TTIP.

    The default position without a trade deal is that countries apply tariffs to imports i.e. they charge a tax. They apply it to our exports, we apply it to theirs, and everything costs more.

    The reason trade deals are complicated and take years to agree is not about the tariffs themselves. It would be easy to just say “we won’t charge import tariffs if you don’t”. The complicated bit is agreeing common standards so that one side doesn’t get an economic advantage over the other. For instance, if the EU applies higher safety and product testing standards than the US, goods will cost more in the EU, and US manufacturers will undercut them and eventually put them out of business. So we either agree that the US raises it’s standards, or we lower ours. It’s the same with environmental standards – if EU countries have to spend more on waste disposal to meet tougher pollution regulations then they are at an economic disadvantage against countries with lower standards.

    Big, broad, trade deals are really complicated, and take a really long time to agree. Unless you are desperate and just roll over……

  • Peter Watson 14th Jun '16 - 8:33pm

    @Nick Baird “The EU is trying to agree a trade deal with the US – that’s TTIP.”
    Oh, I see. So without a trade deal, we haven’t been able to trade with the US before now?

  • @Peter Watson

    I very obviously didn’t say that – hence my comment about the default position in the absence of one.

    Of course we trade with them. And we apply import tariffs on some of thier goods, like they do to ours. And more importantly, we actually ban some of their goods from the EU market due to differing standards e.g. regarding genetic modification and growth hormones in meat.

    So, we have trade with the US, but not free trade.

    And post Brexit, if it’s all we want, we can have trade but not free trade with the EU too. Things will cost more, and some British companies will suffer (as will some EU ones). And companies that want to have free trade within the EU because they buy parts and materials from EU countries and export finished goods to them too, will base themselves there instead of in the UK.

  • Peter Watson 14th Jun '16 - 9:49pm

    @Nick Baird “I very obviously didn’t say that”
    Sorry about that – I was in a hurry and my attempt to be disingenuous came out as simply rude.

  • TTIP

    Interesting that Digby Jones- formerly of the CBI and the Brown Government – was raising TTIP on ‘The Daily Politics’ as an opportunity to introduce “competition” in the NHS. Interesting to hear what Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom has to say about that.

    I’m sure Digby knows something that we don’t know to make such a statement – and interesting to know who he knows on this one.

  • If we leave now, our descendants will say ” oooh the EU have this great arrangement whereby they all trade freely without the need for tariffs- let’s join!” But by then it will be too late to avoid joining the Eurozone. More fools our generation if we leave Europe which is quite clearly working to our benefit. No Eurozone, no Schengen. What’s not to like? We have all the benefits without any if the problems AND we can veto any wild schemes.

  • Yellow Submarine 15th Jun '16 - 4:51am

    If we end up in the EEA then Bill let Breton is right. Buy at the post Brexit trough and reap the bounce back. But is he ? EEA membership isn’t in the ballot paper. Which is why Leave can make this all about immigration and EU budget contributions. Is it really politically feasible to tell a load of voters who already feel betrayed that you are betraying them again ? I doubt it. Frankenstein’s monster is awake. His target is ending free movement. He’ll be difficult to distract.

  • @Joe Otten
    Since I started studying economics nearly 30 years ago, I can assure you I have observed many, many, many predictions from all the august bodies you quote that have turned out to be completely and utterly wrong. Let’s be very clear about this: speculative estimates of the future values of economic variables are NOT evidence.

    As for the stock market having a few bad days, you’re making the very basic error of confusing short-term volatility with long-term trends. It’s a bit like those skeptics who don’t understand the difference between weather and climate, and look out their window on a chilly June day and say: “Global warming? They must be joking!”

  • Bill le Breton 15th Jun '16 - 9:29am

    Thank you Yellow Submarine, you describe the situation precisely.

    It is a ‘wait-and-see’. First the result. Then, if it is to leave,wait to see how the leaders of our country and the leaders of leave react on Friday. We all maybe surprised. Though I think I may be less surprised.

    As I have been saying here for sometime, both campaign leadership have had to say things to keep their voter together. The Remainers have had to say there is no chance of EEA – because otherwise all the doom and gloom disappears from their argument. The Leavers (outside UKIP) have had to ignore the EEA route. But for Johnson, Gove etc the EEA route will be argued by them as an immediate step ‘to save the markets’. If the right European leaders respond immediately on Friday to say they accept the decision and will open our way into EEA, then, they save their markets.

    The EEA save the markets route saves the Tory party and is attractive to both ‘sides’ here in the UK Conservative Party. Don’t rule out another big open offer from Cameron. His task in the event of a leave vote is to ‘save his party’.

    Those above who keep saying ‘but the EEA route maintains the four freedoms’ – precisely. It is the route we should as a small largely irrelevant party have campaigned for all along. If – yes big if – things turn out as I predicted and if Farron had ‘foretold’ this all along, he would have greatly enhanced our reputation. But no. We have played safe and campaigned as a Liberal party for the status quo. (For the Canning fans, that is Burke not Canning.)

    Now, in the event of a leave vote, the really bold thing to campaign for would be universal free trade. To declare that not only are we in favour of the four freedoms of the single market, but we shall also trade tariff free with anyone. And that is the Cobden and Bright policy.

    Let’s see.

  • Bill le Breton 15th Jun '16 - 9:37am

    Nick Baird – the default position to no trade deal is NOT that there is an immediate imposition of Tariffs. If, OK big if, no one introduces a tariff, there remain no tariffs! There is no ‘war’ until someone fires a shot AND another returns fire. Both those reactions are required.

    We buy £100 billion pounds worth of goods more than the rest of the EU buys from us. Who would be the stupid one to start a tariff ‘war’? The EU – so they won’t.

  • Paul Murray 15th Jun '16 - 9:41am

    @Bill Le Breton – actually at the Telegraph debate last night, Alex Salmond explicitly mentioned EEA membership as a post-Brexit option. Here’s how The Telegraph reported it:

    Mr Johnson cheered on Mr Salmond with cries of “hear, hear” as the former SNP leader condemned the Remain campaigns warnings that there will be “Armageddon” if Britain leaves the EU.

    However Mr Salmond said that the leave campaign could “minimise the hit” if they it signed up to joining the European Economic Area

    However Johnson did not respond to that since it was an obvious gambit by Salmond to lure him into an argument about EU freedom of movement.

    As it happens, I think “remain” will win narrowly. However Cameron and Osborne are now both political dead men walking.

  • Bill le Breton 15th Jun ’16 – 9:37am…. the default position to no trade deal is NOT that there is an immediate imposition of Tariffs. If, OK big if, no one introduces a tariff, there remain no tariffs! There is no ‘war’ until someone fires a shot AND another returns fire. Both those reactions are required…

    If I remember my history.. A single shot fired in Sarajevo (1914) had far reaching consequences…Trade deals between nations ( like treaties) can lead where no-one wants to go…

  • @expats

    Part of the problem in 1914 was the structure of Austria-Hungary, an undemocratic multi-national superstate that was by that point almost completely dysfunctional and commanded no loyalty from its citizens such as Gavrilo Princip.

  • @Bill le Breton
    “the default position to no trade deal is NOT that there is an immediate imposition of Tariffs”

    Do you know if the imposition of tariffs need to be on a unanimous basis?
    If so I cannot see Germany or the Netherlands allowing their imposition as they both have significant export levels to the UK.

  • Bill le Breton, on the EEA (Norway) model, see:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36527069

    The digested read – It’s an uneasy compromise which nobody in Norway really likes. I think the idea that the Lib Dems could have made the EEA option a great big selling point is for the fairies.

    That said, you’re right – if Brexit wins, EEA suddenly becomes a key option.

    Shamefully, both sides have kept the EEA option under the carpet, showing contempt for the voting public. If Brexit wins, Cameron and Boris will be fighting over who “discovered” the EEA option first. Cameron will want to fix on the EEA option. Boris will want to fudge and say he wants the EEA option but he wants control over migration as well (which of course he will not get). Who will win?

    Boris’s best option is a Tory leadership challenge, without which he will not win. He will surely get enough votes to trigger a contest. Then his opponent (Osborne? or a “unifier” of some kind?) will lose, unless the cavalry ride to the rescue. Who might the cavalry be? Merkel, slapping down Boris’s demands? Labour, threatening to link up with the Kenclarkeites and force EEA rather than full-Brexit through the House? Interesting times, let’s hope we won’t have to live in them.

  • Phyllis says :
    “More fools our generation if we leave Europe which is quite clearly working to our benefit.”
    But it’s not working to our benefit.
    This,..so called,.. ‘free’ tariff area is not free at all. Every year we are forced to buy an EU ‘Costco Card’, to be part of this single market free trade area. And it’s hardly free at £19 billion Gross, …£10 billion net.?
    And to push this analogy further, we then take our very expensive EU Costco Card and go trade within this EU single market, only to find that we could have gone to Aldi and Morrison’s (without need of an expensive loyalty card!!), and traded much cheaper.!!?
    The core essence of this trade argument here is this :
    Britain does not even need this pointless expensive EU Single market ‘Costco card’. So by throwing our EU Costco Card in the bin, (saving £19 billion Gross!), and dealing directly via WTO rules, Britain, would still find trading to be far better,.. cheaper,.. with much faster trading arrangements,.. in trading with the whole world *directly!*, without a sclerotic EU.?
    We simply don’t need this £19 billion EU Costco Card,.. we don’t need this EU free (sic), single market,.. and we certainly don’t need to give our sovereignty and control of our borders for that pointless EU Costco Card?

  • Jayne Mansfield 15th Jun '16 - 10:48am

    I agree with Stuart, some short term volatility was to be expected.

    I think that one of the problems with the whole of the referendum debate. is that there are some who confuse facts with what are actually predictions, forecasts and risks.

    Given that this is a human activity, sometimes people get things wrong.

  • @steve way

    Trade deals require unanimity. Free trade is not the default position. Germany and others who might want a reasonable trade deal could be blocked by countries whose main interest is freedom of movement. see Romania’s threatened veto of the Canadian trade deal because of visa issues.

  • Jayne Mansfield 15th Jun '16 - 11:02am

    @ Phyllis,
    You may be right, but thanks to the poor judgement of Cameron in calling the referendum when the remain side had little time to make what are more sophisticated arguments than the leave side, we may well leave the EU.

    His hurried renegotiations, that many believe were a classic case of over -promising and under delivering , raised expectations that to my knowledge have pushed some disappointed ‘undecideds’ into the leave camp.

    By calling a referendum to appease his own right wing, he was the gambler who must have known the consequences that would be caused by the uncertainty. He was certainly warned.

  • Matt (Bristol) 15th Jun '16 - 11:03am

    David Allen – Sounds plausible (although scary enough), but I feel you have simplified things what about Europhobe defections from the Tories and a further UKIP insurgency in England?

    Will Johnson be able to keep his Tory support base in one piece?

  • Bill le Breton 15th Jun '16 - 11:12am

    David A, think you will find that most of the Norwegian comments that you mention are from Conservatives doing their Tory firnds here what they think is a favour.

    Nick B – actually the EEA fees to EU are about 2/3rds of an equiv EU member.

    Steve W – these decisions could be QMVoting. But Germany will surely get its way. And can you imagine France no tariffs selling Peugeots and a more attractive price that VWs? Or Jaguar selling cars at a better deal than Audis/BMWs.

    Thanks for pointing that out Paul. Like you, I feel remain will squeak it. EU leaders will exploit the vote. No reform. And then calamity in four or five years as the far Right rise to power across Europe whilst the EU continues to depress EMU economies AND those of their trading partners.

  • Jayne Mansfield 15th Jun '16 - 11:13am

    @ JDunn,
    I find your argument too simplistic for my tastes.

    It is rather like the simplistic ( and incorrect) argument that has been pushed by many since Thatcher, i.e that one should run an Nation’s economy like a household economy.

    I will leave it to others to critique your argument because I shop at Waitrose.

  • Now, in the event of a leave vote, the really bold thing to campaign for would be universal free trade. Bill le Breton

    Don’t need a leave or remain vote to do that, however, the evidence from such recent trade negotiations, such as TPP, TTIP that have ignored WTO etc. is that whilst you may campaign for universal free trade, pigs will fly before it happens…

  • Shamefully, both sides have kept the EEA option under the carpet, showing contempt for the voting public. David Allen

    And everyone seems to have forgotten the debate that was happening before everyone jumped on the UKIP out bandwagon and started demanding an In/Out referendum; namely, a two-tier EU. This would have given the UK (and some other EU members) all the benefits of claimed for the EEA and more, PLUS a place at the table where the EU rules, that the EEA jump to, are made… Was a two-tier EU going to happen? Well yes, David’s rather hurried renegotiations did uncover widespread dissent about the European Project and also gave an indication of what the UK could achieve if it actually set it’s mind to do something about the EU.

    I’m in agreement here with Phyllis and Jayne, in that the in/out referendum has been called far too early, it should of only happened after the EU had put on the table i’ts proposed reforms and treaty changes that are due before 2020 and that the UK political parties agreed would need to be put to the UK electorate. Being a member of the EU and voting down the reforms proposed by the EU is a much better negotiating position to be in than one where you’ve direction of travel has already been decided.

    So just like the Scottish referendum, a vote to Remain, isn’t a vote to remain at all costs forever, whereas a vote to leave requires a u-turn, a loss of credibility and a rewriting of history, to pull off a joining of the EEA and or remaining in a (rapidly) reformed EU…

  • @Steve way

    Unamity is required for a trade deal. Romania is blocking the deal with Canada because it feels it’s citizens are getting a bad deal on visas. Germany and others might want a deal but there is no guarantee that one will be negotiated quickly or favourably given that some state will considered that freedom of movement is the key issue for them.

  • @Bill or Breton

    Vote Leave has majored on ending free movement and spending the EU budget contribution in the UK. How on earth could any PM post Brexit negotiate EEA entry and expect to survive politically?

  • @Andy Allan @Hireton
    So what is the default position?

    This is the key question because I cannot see the 27 remaining members coming to an agreement. Germany, France, the Netherlands etc will not want to lose access to our markets and Poland, Bulgaria etc will not want to lose freedom for their workers to work within our borders. I foresee the stalemate to be internal to the EU not between the EU and the UK. Trade will not cease, it may have been different if it were Germany looking to leave when the remainder of the EU would have held all of the cards.

    This is why I have felt all along that trade with the EU is not the key issue, my main reasons for voting remain (which I guess I great many of us already have) are about trade with the rest of the world and the wider benefits of membership. It’s just a shame that the “great and good” that lead this country and the official opposition can’t be bothered to have an informed debate..

  • Peter Watson 15th Jun '16 - 12:17pm

    @Jayne Mansfield “I will leave it to others to critique your argument because I shop at Waitrose.”
    Possibly the most Lib Dem comment of the EU debate so far! 😉

  • A point that cannot be stressed enough is: you don’t need a “trade deal” in order to trade.

    I apologise for reminding people of the existence of Peter Lilley but he has written a very interesting article on this topic :-

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/26/the-truth-about-britains-trade-outside-the-european-union/

  • Matt (Bristol) 15th Jun '16 - 12:30pm

    One of my principle reasons for remain is the concept of mutual accountability, collaborative working and the resolution of international disagreement by a permanent formal diplomatic relationship that cannot be resiled from unlike most other bilateral arrangements.

    I haven’t really seen anyone articulate this terribly well.

  • @Steve Way

    The default position would be WTO rules in the absence of a comprehensive free trade agreement. Unless of course the Brexiters are proposing to leave the WTO in order to take back control.

  • Richard Easter 15th Jun '16 - 12:43pm

    We do not want TTIP / TISA whatever anyway. Corporate stitch ups with the dreaded ISDS mechanism, all which have very little to do with trade, and a way of introducing rules that would never be acceptable to the electorate.

  • What frustrates me – And I have to declare that I am a small investor with a SIPP, is the fixation that the ‘Leave’ side have with the EU. What they seem to forget is, that around 50% of British exports go too other countries outside of the EU. If we leave, then we are going to have to open trade talks with the USA, China, Japan etc alongside trying to negotiate with the EU – Which will take priority? There are 100’s of thousands of jobs in fantastic British companies reliant not on their exports to the EU, but to the rest of the world – Examples include; Portmeirion: the majority of their exports go to the US, SE Asia and Japan; Devro: they produce collagen products (sausage skins!) heavily reliant on exporting to China; Victrex: a world leading manufacturer of specialist polymers used in the medical and aerospace industries, reliant on the North American market; Morgan Advanced Materials: A specialist producer of ceramic coatings, used in the aerospace, engineering and oil/gas industries, again exporting to North America, SE Asia etc.

    What impact will protracted talks with the EU have? Will as much time and effort be given to opening trade talks with other large economies to give the best trade deals for both Companies that rely on exports, but also on importing goods required for their manufacturing of goods? More importantly, how if they require specific skills not available within the UK workforce, and limited ‘migration’ in the 10’s of thousands will that affect their ability to compete? If there are limited numbers within the workforce with the skill sets needed, how are they supposed to continue to grow and compete?

  • Jayne Mansfield 15th Jun '16 - 1:00pm

    @ Peter Watson,
    I couldn’t find Paul’s ‘ tongue in cheek, granny’ icon to add to the relevant post.

  • Peter Watson 15th Jun '16 - 1:31pm

    Returning to the gist of the article at the top of the page, is Joe Otten playing a bit fast and loose with the word “proof” instead of “evidence”?
    Novak Djokovic is the odds-on favourite to win the Wimbledon title, but this is not proof that Andy Murray should stay at home.

  • @ Joe Otten

    And is Joe going to refuse the support of the SNP in the EU Referendum ? Clearly any mention of thgem has a scary effect in Sheffield Hallam

  • Richard Underhill 15th Jun '16 - 2:27pm

    David Raw 15th Jun ’16 – 2:03pm
    Scotland is suffering net emigration, as has been said in the Commons at PMQ.
    Scotland would be affected by changes in the economy, although it was interesting to hear the news about fish.

  • Sue Sutherland 15th Jun '16 - 2:40pm

    I am voting Remain. However I think that if the vote goes against me we shall have experienced a democratic revolution. The Remain campaign has the support of the establishment in so many fields, the economists, the historians, the scientists and even some actors who probably don’t think of themselves as establishment at all, so why are we talking about just a small win for Remain? I think we have to think about what has caused this revulsion against the establishment and as a party take steps to remedy the causes.

    First of all, has the free movement of people benefitted our residents? I can see that if your factory closes and moves to Eastern Europe on cost grounds while lots of people from Eastern Europe arrive taking fairly unskilled jobs at low pay you might feel a tad aggrieved. Certainly aggrieved enough to use what little power you have, your vote, to upset all these establishment figures who ignore how difficult your life is.

    Secondly have the economic establishment helped the powerless or improved the lot of the powerful? The rich always get the pleasure. So let’s vote against them then.

    Thirdly has the EU helped the powerless? No it hasn’t. Just look at Greece. It may have helped the poor in the past but is failing them now. I might think things could easily get like that here if we trust the EU.

    For goodness sake let’s get in there and fight for the little guy whatever the result. The European project could easily fail if we leave. Let’s fight for reform so the hard right is less appealing and bringing the status quo crashing down loses its appeal.

  • Shaun Young 15th Jun '16 - 2:44pm

    @ Peter Watson – Possibly with regard to “Proof” and “Evidence” 🙂

    However, there maybe “Proof” of market sentiment later today – The Fed will release and hold a press conference on its decision whether to raise interest rates. The ‘evidence’ over the last week would suggest that due to market volatility they will not – However following the decision last month, and comments made the ‘evidence’ at that time led to most believing that they would raising in June.

    When the minutes are released at 19:00BST, it will give a good indication of what the FOMC committee consider will be challenges not only to the US economy, but also the Global outlook, ‘Brexit’ being one of those issues.

    Since last Friday and the release of the poll putting ‘Leave’ ahead, there has been a spike in the Volatility Index (VIX) it indicates investor sentiment and it jumped from around 14.0 to now 19.0+ suggesting investors are viewing the current time as ‘Riskier’.

  • @Stuart: Of course you can trade, but at the moment our businesses have free access to a market of half a billion people. There would inevitably be tariffs which would make our products less attractive and more expensive.

  • Shaun Young 15th Jun '16 - 3:15pm

    @ Sue Sutherland – I think there are just as many ‘Establishment’ people on the ‘Leave’ side from all the areas you highlighted.

    As to your points I do agree that much of the ‘push-back’ is down to people feeling aggrieved, but I believe that should we leave and there is even a small down-turn in the economy affecting peoples living standards, there is going to be an even greater outcry and resentment. And I believe that this is where the problem lies!

    If those advocating ‘Leave’ cannot blame the EU for all the woes, who will they turn their attention too next to scapegoat? This is my concern!

  • But experience – and experimental evidence – shows, unfortunately, that when a very strong attitude is held to something, there is a strong tendency to hold to it through thick and thin, despite the evidence in front of your face. So I suspect many people will react (as we see already in embryo) by blaming those on the Remain side, or other members / “supporters” of the EU for wreaking “revenge” or similar on good British people.

  • In fact if people were to react “logically” to all the factual, or near factual evidence (high probability outcomes predicted by specialists), the Remain side would have had it in the bag long ago!

  • Tim13 has somehow managed to convinced himself that there are facts…..
    “….or near factual evidence”
    Good grief,…How can anything be ‘near factual’? It is either a fact, or it is not a fact, and trying to declare something as ‘near factual’ is as daft as saying,.. I’m a bit pregnant.

  • Malcolm Todd 15th Jun '16 - 7:11pm

    J Dunn
    Tim13 explained exactly what he meant by “near factual” evidence: “high probability outcomes predicted by specialists”. As usual, Brexiters seize on a single phrase, ignore its context and mock or exploit it in pretended ignorance of the context. That about sums up the quality of the “argument”.

  • Bill le Breton 15th Jun '16 - 7:48pm

    Caron, you write “@Stuart: Of course you can trade, but at the moment our businesses have free access to a market of half a billion people. There would inevitably be tariffs which would make our products less attractive and more expensive.” – you are guessing.

    It is not inevitable – have you read Sir James Dyson on this?

    Read Andy Allan above at 12.38 this afternoon. And the Lisbon Charter also makes it illegal to act against free trade.

    We buy £100 billion more from the rest of the EU than they buy from us. Why on earth would a majority of EU members vote to disrupt this situation which so benefits their industries and services?

    There are many arguments against leaving but that scare it one of the weakest.

    Andy Allan also asks me, “How on earth could any PM post Brexit negotiate EEA entry and expect to survive politically?”

    Because Johnson and Gove etc will argue that ‘Rome was not built in a day”. They will sell it as an intermediate step. Cameron will buy it and so will the big hitters in the EU. They will of course hope that when time passes the EU will have sorted something out about migration.

  • Malcolm Todd recons that :
    ‘near factual’, is as good as factual because of “high probability outcomes predicted by specialists”
    But high probability predicted by ‘specialists’, does not make it a fact. But at least I can now see why your article headline mistakenly speaks of ‘proof’, when you actually mean probability?

  • If you vote remain you will end up with George Osborn. It endorses him. What is being called his “punishment budget” corresponds exactly to every budget he has ever tried to implement.
    The point remain misses is that the UK economy is the second biggest in Europe and one of. if not, the largest banking sectors in the world. There is no room to be awkward because the Euro has too many weak points and is essentially reliant on Germany to prop it up. Brexit would cause problems, but it is not like a weak economy defaulting. It’s more like a major investor threatening to pull the plug on a failing project.

  • Christopher Haigh 16th Jun '16 - 8:24am

    Thanks for this article Joe. This debate mainly concerns the Conservative party and their terrible EU foreign policy beginning with Heath. The rest of us just accept the EU because the status quo doesn’t seem too bad for us. The Liberal Democrats need to accept the decision of the referendum whatever it is and show leadership in the new situation.

  • Richard Underhill 16th Jun '16 - 8:38am

    Seeing the smiling face of Michael Howard on the TV on 16/6/2016 reminds me that Anne Widdecombe said “There is something of the night about him.” He had a constituency in Kent but was never elected as Tory leader, taking the job unopposed when “The Quiet Man” Ian Duncan-Smith stood down. Former Tory Chairman Chris Patten commented that “At least this shows that the adults are in charge.”
    After the 2005 general election Michael Howard MP went to Putney and announced his resignation, sort of, to a surprised newly elected Tory MP and TV. He delayed the Tory election process for months to give David Cameron and George Osborne more time to campaign. He has not been loyal to Cameron, as he admits. He is now in the Lords.

  • Going back to the ‘Economic’ impact, Fed Chair Janet Yellen has cited ‘Brexit’ as a concern for the US: “If it does so it could have consequences in turn for the US economic outlook that would be a factor in deciding on the appropriate path of policy,” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36544022 If there is an impact, and the US economy and jobs are affected, why do those on the ‘Leave’ side think that this won’t have repercussions? Do you think the US will welcome any negotiations for a Trade deal, if we have caused damage to their economy?

    Also, it would appear Johnson etc are now saying that negotiations to leave ‘Should’ be completed by 2020! The Public were told it was ‘scaremongering’ on the ‘Remain’ side that it would probably take more than the two years to negotiate the exit. With potentially 4 years (or more!) of uncertainty in the outcome, I believe will see an outflow of investment to more stable economies!

  • 1. If Britain leaves then Denmark, Greece, France and a few others will inevitably follow – or didn’t anyone else here notice the rising tide of ant-EU sentiment in the last MEP elections? That meltdown is the prime concern of Germany….who will be the sole country left footing the bill. So it won’t just be the UK negotiating but everyone.

    2. Has anyone here ever heard of the World Trade Organisation? Doesn’t seem so! It means a) we don’t actually need new treaties to trade (Otherwise the Chinese wouldn’t be filling our shops with cheap goods! ) and b) any new tariffs would be against WTO rules.

    3. We’ll see whether Patrick Minford is right or not. One of the things he said btw was that there were several BoE/INF model runs that were positive and most said there would be no change but the BoE/IMF decided not to tell anyone about them. I can guarantee that’s right because that’s the way most policy-forced economic models are presented.

    4. However, we already know the truly appalling record of the BoE and the IMF with economic predictions. Someone who is wrong all the time is not anyone’s definition of an expert. Meanwhile the maligned maverick minority DID predict the financial crisis AND the oil price slump. ie consensus is useless as a guide as it consists entirely of me-too’s who have done minimal thinking. If you want to know more then bother to take the time to read something other than headlines from failed pretenders…and just marvel at the bare-faced Treasury lies masquerading as ‘facts’!
    http://www.economistsforbrexit.co.uk/

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