Today’s front pages have little EU news – they are mostly dominated by the recent Court ruling that parents can take children out of school for holidays.
Christine Lagarde lines up for Project Fear
The Head of the IMF Christine Lagarde speaks in the most undiplomatic language of the UK’s prospects after Brexit. “Bad, or very very bad”. It could prompt a stock market and house price crash. But let’s remember who Christine Lagarde is. She’s French. Very very French. Former French Finance Minister. Former French Agriculture Minister. Former French Commerce Minister.
There is a close identification between the IMF and the EU. Heads of the IMF are usually European (while the World Bank gets Americans). At the very least, Lagarde is simply part of the mind-set of the European project. Her opinions are those of the European Commission. At worst, she could be thinking primarily of the interests of France (we pay – French farmers get the money). She certainly isn’t thinking of the best interests of Britain. Let me say again: we want to leave the EU because our economic prospects will be enhanced. We shall be relieved of total costs (including regulatory costs) estimated at over 10% of GD (Minford, Congdon). We shall take a more engaged view of global trade.
We should give the same credence to the claim by French Finance Minister Michel Sapin that French Banks would quit the City after Brexit. The City depends on a critical mass of skills which exists nowhere else in Europe, rather than the goodwill of French Ministers.
For an excellent summary of the economic benefits of Brexit, read Howard Shore’s piece “The EU is holding us back”
Boris fury at threat to Cameron
In a press release following the spat over the Cameron/Farage debate, the Vote Leave team suggested that “Number Ten won’t be there long after the referendum”. Naturally for reasons of internal party politics Boris cannot be associated with any call for Cameron to go, or any suggestion that he might have to do so. In reality, of course, Cameron is on a hiding to nothing. Clearly he cannot stay on as PM if the nation votes for Brexit – it would represent a personal failure on a grand scale. But if he wins and we stay, he will have earned the undying animosity of a good half of his party. Tories who have campaigned for Independence for years will see him as a traitor to the cause.
Brexit campaign hits the streets
Of course Brexit and Remain campaigners have been on the streets for weeks, but today looks set to be the biggest day so far. Remain Campaigners say they’ll have a thousand street events. David Cameron will unveil a poster showing a “bill” for £4,600 per household, which he claims is the cost of leaving the EU. He has nothing to say about the costs of staying in, estimated by serious economists at 10%+ of GDP
European parliament gets it right (for once)
This last week the European parliament (with the support of UKIP MEPs) voted against giving “Market Economy Status” (MES) to China. This all sounds a bit technical, but briefly, MES would make it much more difficult to apply anti-dumping measures against China (though the EU has been extraordinarily dilatory in applying them on steel. The USA moved quickly, which is why the EU has become China’s favourite dumping ground for steel exports. Hence Port Talbot). The British government, strangely, has been in favour of giving MES to China – as a result of its eagerness to get investment in Hinkley C, and Chinese investment generally. China is not a free market economy, and we should not pretend that it is.
On the subject of Hinkley C, France’s Energy Minister Ségolène Royal has warned of the “colossal cost” of Hinkley C. It’s not yet a done deal.
Big Donation for Leave
Peter Hargreaves of Hargreaves Landsdowne has donated £3.2 million to the Leave Campaign. Well done that man. It will help to redress the Remain Campaign’s huge spending bias .