When BuzzFeed News got hold of a leaked extract from the Brexit forecast produced for the Department for Exiting the EU last week, the excuse and spin machine went into overdrive. The information was incomplete, it hadn’t been seen by everyone, it had to be agreed by ministers, and then came the tedious procession of Tory flat earthers to tell the world that these Civil Servants always get it wrong anyway.
But now the figures have been released properly, and the reason the Government might not want them to get out became all too clear. The predicted effect of leaving the EU has no beneficial outcome. None. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Nil. Nada. Not a sausage. Bugger all.
Steve Baker - a smile, a song, and a lousy excuse
Worse, the predicted effect of Brexit is more or less inverse to the support given to the idea in the referendum, so the North East and West Midlands, which voted to Leave, would suffer the most. London, which voted overwhelmingly to Remain, would suffer the least.
The BBC, whose political editor Laura Kuenssberg was one of the first with the numbers, told “The forecasts suggest the North-East of England would be worst-hit by Brexit, with growth 3% lower if the UK stayed in the single market, 11% under a trade deal and 16% with no trade deal compared with staying in the EU … The research suggests London would fare the best, with reductions of 1%, 2% and 2.5% in each of the three scenarios … Scotland’s estimated hit would be 2.5%, 6% and 9%. Wales would see reductions of 1.5%, 5.5% and 9.5%”. Less economic activity. Fewer jobs. Less money for services.
Marginal small and middling towns, already seeing their centres filled with pound shops, charity outlets and betting shops, would be badly hit. The Beeb tried to inject some of that Brexit optimism by reminding us “The government has said the analysis is preliminary and crucially does not measure the impact of the UK's preferred option of a bespoke and comprehensive trade agreement, covering goods and financial services”, but outside the Single Market and Customs Union, there isn’t going to be any advantageous deal.
Could it get yet worse? It certainly could: Sky News’ political editor Faisal Islam reminded everyone that there are not just tariffs outside the Single Market, but potential non-tariff barriers to trade, such as Customs delays and inspections, currency restrictions, quotas, different product standards, product licensing, Single Market internal subsidies, and a host of other potential devices guaranteed to make our EU exports less competitive.
He estimated that non-tariff barriers might see the cost of our motor vehicle exports to the EU rise by between 5% and 13%. Shades of what happened when Mr Churchill made his mistake in 1925 and put Sterling back on the Gold Standard, effectively increasing the cost of British exports by around 10%. Unemployment rose; wages declined.
Small wonder that BuzzFeed’s head of news Stuart Millar mused “Now that bits of the Brexit impact analysis are leaking to other news organisations, I can't wait for Brexit minister @SteveBakerHW to tell us what @BuzzFeedNews misreported last week”.
Anyone would think that the Government’s defensiveness was something to do with the news being bad enough to put the electorate off Brexit if they were asked the question right now. Another case of “You might wish to suggest that - I couldn’t possibly comment”.
further toothsome irony is that the UK government analysis is even worse for Scotland than that contained in the Scottish government's own analysis published a couple of weeks ago, which was roundly condemned by Scottish Tory rentagobs as being, "over-the-top scaremongering".
"He estimated that non-tariff barriers might see the cost of our motor vehicle exports to the EU rise by between 5% and 13%."
Only until the foreign owners move production to mainland Europe.
Sadly there are those Brexit voters who still say they are prepared to be made poorer as a result of their vote. Even worse, they are going to drag the rest of us along for the ride. All in the name of what they imagine ''sovereignty'' and ''national identity'' to be.
“The government has said the analysis is preliminary and crucially does not measure the impact of the UK's preferred option of a bespoke and comprehensive trade agreement, covering goods and financial services".
So why not? The only possible reason is that it knows it isn't going to get one. And as they say it would have an impact, it clearly would be less beneficial than EU membership.
“We will go into those negotiations to get the best possible deal for the United Kingdom”. Thus spake the Maybot. So it must be true, mustn't it?
Take no notice of the Japanese car makers who only came here to get a toe-hold in Europe. They're only joking about shifting production. Of course, we won't sell the Yanks any cars because we don't make 'em any more. And Japanese cars already dominate the American market - take a look at NY yellow cabs - Toyotas mainly. Still, that's a minor detail.
Ignore the fact that we're already worse off because of Brexit.
Sovereignty is much more important innit?
I fear for the good folk of Sunderland when Brexit finally totters over the finish line.
Toyota will simply unbolt the assembly line and cart it off to a more subsidised factory, probably somewhere in East Europe where the labour's cheap and "more competitive".
But Sunderland will have got its clearly expressed wish for Brexit. The poor deluded bastards.
“The pride and vanity of that nation is a disease; it is a delirium, it has been flattered and inflamed so long by themselves, and others, that it perverts everything”
John Adams. American ambassador to the 1783 peace negotiations with Great Britain.
Plus ça change.....
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