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Brexit Naivety, Lies and Deception

Grombler isn't a patient chap at the best of times. I don't suffer fools gladly although as the years pass, I'm probably rapidly becoming more of one myself. It's a race between becoming an old fool, and recognising I have become one. So I am a little more relaxed these days about judging people as fools as I consider the possibility that it might actually be me who's the fool. This is good for my heart, my family and what friends I have left. But when I hear utter rubbish being spouted by Brexit supporters, my blood boils with all the passion of a youthful Grombler. I can't relax into their fool's paradise. It's simply far too dangerous to let the Brexit numbskulls win.

So let me deal with some of their more popular spouts in turn.

"We don't know any facts"

Wrong! There is one fact we do all know. If we vote to stay, nothing much changes. Fact. What we don't know for certain is what happens if we vote to leave. So it's certainty vs uncertainty. Or cautious vs foolhardy. Or the world we know vs a future we'll be keeping our fingers crossed might exist... but it probably won't.

"We don't want more immigrants"

The wealth of the UK, and for that matter the USA, Australia, New Zealand and indeed every 'developed' country if you go back far enough, is thanks in no small part to the people who found sanctuary there having escaped poverty and probably mortal danger in order to create a better world for their children. Every one of them would have preferred to remain with friends and wider family circles, in their own homes surrounded by the things they own, speaking languages they understand, singing community songs, telling stories of their collective past, and eating food they like with people who feel the same way. But for one reason or another, this idyll of comfort, dependability, hope and safety that every creature craves, disappeared. Their options became 'live a shit life, if you can survive, or do something about it'. What would you do?

Every one of them left their homes with nothing except determination and perhaps some skills, in order to build a future for their children. No dreams of a comfortable welfare state to relax into (like so many bone-idle Brits). Just hard graft. Who would you rather have in your country... people who want to work as much as possible, or people who want to work as little as possible?

In fact only about half our immigrants are from the EU anyway.

Fancy a curry tonight?

"We're one of the world's most successful economies. We don't need the EU. They need us"

So we have 2% annual GDP growth. Quite apart from that being a tiny unimpressive number anyway. If my business only grew at 2%, I'd be a worried man. Why do we have any growth at all? Increased productivity? Nope (in fact it's got worse). Increased exports? Nope. New products? Nope. The reason why we have a growing economy is because we have a growing population. More people spending more money online and in our shops and restaurants. Immigration is the ONLY reason we have growth. Close our borders, bye bye growth.

"They will still want to buy our products and sell theirs to us, so they will agree to free trade"

50% of our exports are to the EU. 10% of theirs are to us. So they're more important to us than we are to them. There's also a huge difference between Free Trade and Free Market. Free Trade means no tariffs - import or export. That's got to be good. Even China and the USA don't have that, despite their sizes. 

But a Free Market on the other hand means we don't have to prove we conform to all the regulations and standards the market imposes on businesses so we always know what we're buying and the standards we have to maintain about what we're selling. Member states take responsibility for ensuring their manufacturers, growers, service providers etc conform to EU directives and regulations. If we want to 'gold plate' them (embellish them to make them even more rigorous for safety or some other reason) then that's up to our own governments. So everyone buying something from another EU country knows that it automatically conforms to certain standards. If it doesn't, then the originating country is fined - and they can then pass that on to the offending producer/supplier if they wish. 

Brexiters say we are swamped by mountains of EU paperwork and regulation. Just wait and see how much more enormous that will become when we've got to prove every single tiny element of everything we produce conforms to EU regulations - just like non-EU countries have to do today. One document becomes hundreds! And that's because our non-EU government wouldn't be taking any responsibility for ensuring every producer conforms to Free Market regulations. Each exporter is going to have to do that for every single piece of business they want to win. Nightmare!

And then what about 'Passporting Rights'. Brexiters generally haven't heard of these. They are the compliance rubber stamps for the finance industry. One umbrella set of approvals enabling all UK finance companies to sell products and services to 28 countries and over 500m people. Switzerland and Canada, amongst others, applied for passporting rights and were refused. Their finance businesses simply cannot sell into the EU. 20% of our exports are financial services into Europe. Businesses in the world's largest countries use the UK to manage 'inward investment' and other types of financial management of their assets within the EU. Wave a very simple and massive bye bye to all of that when we have to tear up our Passporting Rights. And then sit back and listen to all the champagne corks going off in Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris.

"We'll be responsible for own future"

We are a small country, living on ancient glories and trying to punch above our weight. Fewer than 65 million disunited people clustered on a couple of tiny islands, who can't make up their minds where to put one more runway, how to build one more nuclear power station, how to keep making steel, repair a still bankrupt economy, a failing health service, inadequate and declining education, underfunded welfare and justice systems, and usually second tier sports teams. How has the EU got us into this mess? Seems we've achieved this all on our own. Where's the proof the current bunch of leaders supporting Brexit have the skills to change all of this? Can Farage or Johnson sort this out? And probably without Scotland who might very well force another independence referendum. Having responsibility for our own future and making it a success are two very different things.

"They're bound to agree free trade deals with us"

Yeah right. Let's make it easy for other countries who don't want to pay the price of membership to leave. Let's encourage Holland, Denmark and all the others thinking of leaving to jump ship as well. Make no mistake, the EU will make it as bloody and as painful as they possibly can to prevent others from trying the same thing. If they make it easy to trade with the EU without the cost, why bother with an EU? Are they likely to be turkeys voting for Christmas? And even if the Danes support us to help them with an exit should they decide to close their borders, how will the other 26 countries react to bearing the problems of the community without our help?

"They'll still want to buy our stuff"

Presuming that we'll still be allowed to sell our cars and cheeses in the EU (and that's very far from certain), what makes you think that Pierre, Fritz, Juan and Angelo will feel positively towards the country that left them to carry the extra weight of Europe we dumped on them? Government sentiment is one thing, personal sentiment is another. If the situation was reversed and we were having to pick up the tab left by an exiting Germany, would your next car be a BMW?

So who's going to win on June 23rd? Sadly I think the leavers will - despite all of the arguments above and many more. It's all about who's more likely to vote. And that will be the people who want change. The Leavers. Most people won't turn out to vote to Stay because they either don't understand or simply don't care? And emotional nationalistic arguments are easy to preach. Very few people in the UK want to be considered European. We are firmly British and have been for a thousand years. We've only been Europeans for a few decades and that required lying down with people we were trying to kill only a few years before that. None of us believe our infrastructure can cope with unlimited numbers of poor people trying to find work here. And we certainly don't want any more radical Muslims here. Few of us enjoy seeing house prices being dragged upwards thanks to wealthy foreigners buying up London. And none of us like being told what to do by unelected foreigners who don't appreciate what we claim are uniquely British values.

The British economy is doomed if we leave. Many other difficulties will emerge if we alienate ourselves from 500 million neighbours who broadly want to tackle large issues with unanimity and collective expertise. We'll find ourselves ostracised from science, technology, culture, debate, security and general goodwill if we tell Europe to fuck off. Brexiters seem to think we can live in an isolated world. They should get out more!


  1. Check out the betting odds on leaving currently looking in favour of staying...


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