30 days to Independence Day!
Cameron/Osborne doomathon provokes a fierce back-lash
Yesterday’s papers featured the Treasury report on Brexit and the hysterical claims of Cameron and Osborne about the consequences of Brexit – a recession, house prices slashed, food prices increased, half a million jobs lost. Today, the backlash. The Sun’s front page is punchy if not polite: “Brexit doom dossier fury: NEVER MIND THE BO!!OCKS!”, reporting that two junior ministers (unnamed) have threatened to quit. Bernard Jenkin was cutting: “Ministers are dishonestly talking down this country’s prospects”. Cameron and Osborne are about saving their careers, not about saving the country.
The Mail headlines “Knives out for Cameron”, adding “Tories threaten no-confidence vote over PM’s shabby scaremongering”.
George Osborne has been repeating his claim that Brexit would especially impact the lower-paid. He seems blissfully unaware of the wage compression caused by EU immigration, or the job losses happening right now because of EU policies.
The Leave Campaign responds. Arron Banks described the forecasts as “laughable and beneath contempt”, adding that “The Treasury will pump out whatever its master asks for”. Distinguished economist Patrick Minford said: “At the heart of the Treasury calculations lies a serious attempt to deceive the British people”.
Pretty much all of these claims are based on the proposition that the pound will fall sharply after Brexit. I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating: the Pound looks to me a much better bet that the dysfunctional €uro.
Remain edging ahead?
The Telegraph has an “exclusive poll” showing a lead for Remain, and worryingly suggests that key demographics who have supported Leave – older people, men, Tory voters – may be softening. It would hardly be surprising if the apocalyptic headlines of recent days had not had some effect. We have four weeks left to help the public understand quite how hysterical and unreal the Remain threats have been.
…but housewives swing to Leave
The Express reports a Netmums poll showing a 46%/37% lead for Leave, with mothers expressing concern over the impact of the EU on family life – wage pressures, immigration impact on schools and hospitals – as well as worries over security and terrorism.
UK’s EU presidency after Brexit vote!
In the course of the EU’s farcical revolving six-month Presidency (which is partly responsible for the hyperactivity of the EU institutions), the UK’s turn in the Chair is scheduled for July/December 2017. This raises the intriguing possibility that the UK could hold the Presidency after we have voted to leave – since we shall remain members for the two years of the Lisbon Treaty Article 50 negotiating period. The government, in any case, has a team working on plans for the UK Presidency. Somehow I don’t see us doing the job after a Brexit vote.
Austria: Freedom Party pipped at the post
After an amazingly close election, the Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hoffer has failed, by a few thousand votes, to gain the Presidency of Austria. Hofer was ahead by 3.8% after the ballot boxes were counted, but the postal votes, counted later, just barely swung it for his opponent. Nonetheless for an anti-Brussels party with a robust policy on immigration to come so close is a remarkable achievement. Austria may never be quite the same.
“A marriage made in hell”
Roger Bootle is a distinguished economist and Chairman of Capital Economics. In Monday’s Telegraph he writes a telling critique of the EU’s €uro project, describing it graphically as ” a marriage made in hell”. He outlines the damage it has done in southern Europe, with a lost generation of young people out of work who may never have employment opportunities. But he adds that the €uro has done no favours to Germany, which has run up an enormous current account surplus, obliging other eurozone states to run corresponding deficits.
He argues that the UK will be impacted by monetary union if we vote to Remain. If the €uro survives, it will require members to move to full fiscal and political union – leaving the UK in an anomalous position, a permanent junior partner. If the €uro collapses, we’re bound to be caught in the cross-fire. We can’t rely on promises that we won’t be involved in a bail-out. What if Brussels simply increases the EU budget to cope with the crisis? His conclusion: “In the event of a euro collapse, we would be better placed if we were outside the EU”. Amen to that.
New Greek loans?
The BBC reports that EU Finance Ministers are meeting to finalise plans for new Greek loans. But everyone knows that Greece can never repay its debts, so there will be no “new loans”. Any money advanced will be, in effect, a gift. A grant. Or is you want, call it a bad debt.
The EU institutions are desperate to delay the outbreak of “Greek Crisis” headlines until after June 23rd. I wonder why?
Turkey sending only “sick and ill-educated” Syrians to Europe
A remarkable report in the Telegraph claims that Turkish authorities are deliberately selecting sick and uneducated Syrians to send to Europe, while keeping capable and educated migrants in Turkey. We already understood that the EU/Turkey migrant deal was disastrously counter-productive. Now it gets worse.
Green light for shale gas
Many of the papers report the decision in favour of shale gas prospecting in Yorkshire.We must be aware of public concern on the issue (fanned by black propaganda from publicly-funded green lobby groups), and must ensure that the industry is properly regulated and controlled. Nonetheless shale gas could play a key rôle in supporting energy security and economic growth in an independent Britain.