This morning on the BBC Today Programme, I heard Nancy Curtin, Chief Investment Officer of Close Brothers Asset Management talking about the EU. I was astonished by her ignorance and prejudice.
First of all, she casually observed that “50% of British exports go to the EU”. Wrong, lady. It’s about 46%, and that includes goods sent to ports like Rotterdam for re-export out of the EU (the “Rotterdam effect”). The true figure is certainly closer to 40% than 50%.
And it’s falling. The EU is in long-term relative decline. The growth is in the rest of the world. And that’s true of EU GDP, of the EU share of world trade, and of British exports to the EU.
In any case, the fact that 40%+ of British exports go to an area amounting to around 20% of global GDP is nothing to be proud of. It’s simply a distortion in our trade patterns, largely caused by our excessive focus on the EU when we have been, and must be, a great global trading nation. Given that a disproportionate share of our exports depends on the one economic area in the world in long-term relative decline, we should be worried, and we should urgently re-focus our exports to the rest of the world.
Then, with marvellous insouciance, Nancy casually observes that outside the EU, Britain would be “isolated”. Hang on Nancy. There are 150 countries in the world (give or take) that are outside the EU. Are they all “isolated”? Are the USA, and Canada, and China, and Korea, and Taiwan, and Japan, and Singapore, “isolated” because they’re not members of the EU? You only need to ask the question to see the absurdity of her position. When we leave the EU, we shall undoubtedly have a free trade deal with the EU. Our EU trade will not suffer, but our trade with the rest of the world will have an opportunity to thrive.
And as I so often say, the UK is a key player on the UN Security Council, the G8, the G20, the World Bank, the OECD, NATO, the Commonwealth, and a multitude of other international organisations. When we leave the EU, we can be represented again in the WTO, where our voice is currently strained through the smothering blanket of Brussels.
I’m rather horrified that a lady in this senior position, serving as a pundit on the Today Programme, can be so ignorant and biased, repeating pro-EU propaganda without, apparently, any serious thought. I’m glad she’s not investing any funds for me.