Only 31 days to Independence Day!
Treasury Forecast: Brexit shock will trigger year-long recession
The FT’s lead story is the Treasury forecast – which will no doubt be released, nugget by nugget, through the week. But compared to the threat of a Third World War, they’ve moderated their ambition – it’s only “a year-long recession”. Not quite the usual Apocalyptic nonsense, but nonsense nonetheless. They take the worst possible assumptions, and conjure up a scare story. The Leave Campaign is confident that Brexit in the medium/long term will deliver above average growth for decades. This report is widely carried in the press – for example, in the Times.
We need to be clear about this Treasury forecast. The Treasury reports to Osborne. This is not a balanced, dispassionate view – it’s plain Remain propaganda, incorporating all the most negative assumptions.
“Treasury claims are risible”: The Telegraph carries a story citing leading economists and former Chancellor Lord Lamont, saying that the Treasury’s claims are “risible”.
Steve Hilton backs Brexit
In a major intervention, Steve Hilton, described as “David Cameron’s Guru”, has come out for Brexit. This is the man credited with master-minding Cameron’s ascent to Number Ten, so his support for Brexit will cause shudders in Downing Street. Writing in the Mail, in a piece entitled “Why we must leave the EU”, Hilton warns that Britain will become ungovernable if we remain, adding that we have to take back power from the EU’s “self-serving élite”.
He says that Brussels’ refusal to grant rather modest concessions to Cameron shows there is no appetite for reform, and warns that the EU “will punish the UK with new diktats” if we vote to Remain. This is a key point that needs stressing. We have little enough influence in Brussels as it is. If we vote to remain, we’ll have none.
Italian socialist to order British Army into battle?
Yesterday I reported on the war games on Salisbury Plain. Today the Express expands on the story saying that British troops could be sent to war by the EU’s Foreign Affairs Chief Frederica Mogherini, an Italian socialist. The paper quotes Liam Fox: “They will try to say this has nothing to do with an EU Army but the truth is that, bit by bit, they are creating the mechanisms that will make it possible.” The only consolation is that any war would probably be over before the EU’s ponderous administrative structure could agree a plan of action.
Row over Turkey accession veto
Penny Mordaunt, a Defence Minister, made a small error: she said on air that we should be unable to stop Turkey’s accession to the EU. She is a bright lady and a redoubtable campaigner for independence, but in this case, she got it wrong. Easily done, considering the huge range of facts related to the EU. In reality all member states will have a veto. But the Remain Campaign, and our Prime Minister, have gone into overdrive, accusing the Leave Campaign of deliberate lies.
Cameron’s position is utterly cynical. He wants to score cheap points by accusing Ms. Mordaunt of “lying”, when she made a small and forgivable error. But Cameron, his party and his government are committed to Turkish accession. Cameron has assured the Turks that he’s their biggest backer on the issue. So the question of whether we have a veto becomes almost irrelevant – even given that we have a veto, Cameron won’t use it.
Making Britain less safe: Penny Mordaunt has also pointed out that the five proposed accession countries, Turkey plus Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania, have higher crime rates than the UK, with gangs and terror cells, as well as challenging levels of poverty. The Remain Camp has dismissed her comments – despite the fact that they are clearly true.
The backlash: Cameron’s attack on Penny Mordaunt has provoked a strong backlash from the Leave side:
Paul Nuttall MEP: Cameron wrong on food prices
The Prime Minister has said that household bills and food prices will go up if we leave the EU. He’s just plain wrong. Read UKIP MEP Paul Nuttall’s robust rebuttal.
“Brexit would harm cancer patients”
This is yet another example of Remain campaigners assuming that Brexit will damage the economy, and seeking headlines by pointing out group after group who would suffer. If the economy collapses, it will damage the NHS and cancer patients might be worse off. But we believe Britain will prosper as an independent country, while remaining in the EU will condemn the UK to long-term decline. So cancer patients (and everyone else) should vote for Brexit.
Even the Indy questions the EU’s economic prospects
The Indy carries an interesting piece headed “The EU and IMF deal over Southern Europe hangs over the Brexit debate” reporting the view that the EU may be “the new Japan”, and that the UK may be Better Off Out. Good thinking. Someone should tell Osborne and Cameron.
Vote Brexit to liberate Europe!
Geert Wilders of the Dutch Party for Freedom is often regarded as being on the wilder fringes of politics, and I would certainly not endorse or quote much of what he says. But his recent comments on Brexit are bang on the button, and are well worth repeating. Bear in mind that Wilders’ Party is currently leading the polls in Holland, so it’s hardly a fringe party.
He says that on June 23rd, Britain has an opportunity to liberate Europe for the second time in a century (by implication, he’s suggesting the same comparison between the EU and Hitler that has got Boris into so much trouble – indeed he refers to the EU as “another totalitarian monster”). He believes that a Brexit vote in Britain will lead to a “Patriotic Spring” across Europe, and an outpouring of popular discontent against Brussels. He believes that it would be quickly followed by a referendum in the Netherlands.
This popular discontent is illustrated by the possible election of an Austrian Freedom Party President in Austria, and by the rise of the anti-€uro Five Star movement in Italy, which has recently topped the polls. Also riding high are the Swedish Democrats, and even in Germany the anti-Brussels mood is rising with the popularity of AfD.
I have always said that I want a Europe of independent, democratic nation states, linked together solely by free trade and voluntary intergovernmental cooperation. Some people still imagine that that’s what the EU represents. They could not be more wrong. The EU is a protectionist Customs Union governed by a power-grabbing technocratic élite in a system that deliberately denies democratic accountability and treats voters with contempt. We can give our verdict on the EU project on June 23rd – and we have an opportunity also to save Europe by our example.
The British industries destroyed by the EU
Sunday’s Telegraph carries a thoughtful piece by James Bartholomew which is well worth a read. Under the title “Few realise Brussels has destroyed some of our most prosperous industries”, he does an audit of the damage.
First fisheries. Not only the British fishing industry, but arguably fish stocks as well, have been decimated by the CFP. Then the fine art auction business – a major British industry, until the EU introduced its 75 year “droite de suite”, which pays a royalty to the artist’s estate until 75 years after the artist’s death. Jolly good thing, you might say – but the result is that the market has moved to New York and elsewhere, and Britain’s share of the global market slumped from 36% to 16% in just five years.
Britain is a world leader in science, and used to conduct 12% of the world’s clinical trials. That’s down to 1%, following the Clinical Trials Directive. Bartholomew quotes Matt Ridley: “(The Directive) destroyed clinical trials in Europe”.
There’s the Port Services Regulation, designed for state-owned continental ports, which will be hugely damaging to privately-owned British ports.
And the big one: The City, and financial services, slowly being strangled by well-intended but destructive EU regulation, where Brussels rules are replacing national control. In this global market place, it’s not the risk of the business going to Frankfurt – it’s the risk of it going to Hong Kong and New York.
One omission: I was surprise that Bartholomew did not mention EU energy policy, which has forced up prices and driven energy intensive businesses out of the EU altogether. It’s not just Port Talbot and steel: it’s aluminium, chemicals, fertilisers, petroleum refining, cement, paper, glass. Yet Brussels is making matters worse: I myself have sat in innumerable meetings where the discussion has been about increasing energy prices by tweaking the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme.
Did Brussels deliberately set out to damage the UK? asks Mr. Bartholomew. He answers his own question “I don’t know. But rules were made in Brussels by people who at best did not care about the damage they’d do”.