Only eight days left to Independence Day!
An open letter to George Osborne: “Go at once”
Dear George, So you have come to the last end of your folly. You threatened doom and destruction if we vote Leave, and the British public didn’t believe you. Your Remain Campaign is in full retreat. So now in a last desperate throw of the dice, double-or-quits, you threaten us with a “£30 billion black hole“.
This is finger-in-the-air, think-of-a-number stuff. You commissioned from the Treasury a Brexit report which economists are now recognising as an outrageous abuse of statistics and of economic models, based on extreme negative assumptions. You deliberately ignored all the up-sides of Brexit. And now, in a new low in our public life, you threaten voters with a punishment budget if they have the temerity to disagree with you.
You have talked down the prospects and the potential of our country in order to further your personal ambitions. You have done real – but fortunately temporary – damage to our economy. There will be no post-Brexit trials for those who have chosen to damage their country in this way. But you will be judged at the bar of public opinion, and you will be found unfit for public office – and especially unfit for the highest office, to which you aspire.
Your hopes and dreams are turning to ashes in your hands. As Shakespeare so succinctly put it, “Stand not upon the order of your going, but go at once”.
The Sun: “Nasty euro moths – vote leaf”
In a brilliant front page such as only the Sun can do (remember “Up yours, Delors”?), it headlines “Time to mothball the EU”, adding “Remain poll lead collapses – Brexit rocket boost to shares….and nasty euro moths set to hit UK”. And it adds “Vote leaf to protect our country – and our cabbages”.
The “Rocket boost to shares” may come as a surprise, as Osborne’s scaremongering seems to have driven them down. The Footsie is below 6000 as I write. But the Sun quotes strategists at Deutsche Bank, who predict that the UK’s top companies will outperform their EU-based rivals by as much as five per cent in the wake of a Brexit.
Out camp reveals its Brexit plan
The Remain camp has constantly complained that the Leave side doesn’t have a clear plan for the economy post-Brexit. Of course in one sense, it can’t, because it won’t form a government, and therefore cannot make or deliver detailed commitments. But it has now settled on an outline plan which will be launched today, showing a positive and viable way forward. And if Leave wins, which looks increasingly likely, it is clear that some key players from the Leave Campaign are likely to be in government, and in a position to steer policy to maximise Brexit benefits. At the very least, this blocks one line of attack from Remain.
Juncker set to butt in?
Commission President Jean Claude Juncker had vowed to stay out of the UK Brexit debate, but the Express suggests he may be having last-minute second thoughts. They say he’s been seen hobnobbing (or plotting, perhaps?) with Gordon Brown, the new de facto leader of the Remain camp. For once Cameron makes a sensible judgement call – reportedly he has asked Juncker to stay away, believing a visit or intervention would be counter-productive. There is also talk of some last-minute concession from Brussels designed to change minds in the last days.
You could do it, Jean Claude. Convert the EU monster from an old-fashioned Customs Union into a simple modern free trade area, based solely on voluntary inter-governmental cooperation, with no political superstructure, and I’ll happily vote to Remain.
ECJ ruling confirms supremacy of EU law
Good news and bad news. First the good news: the ECJ has (perhaps surprisingly) thrown out a challenge by the European Commission against the UK’s refusal to pay welfare benefits to EU nationals who do not have the right to reside in the UK. The bad news: the fact that the ECJ was able to rule at all proves that our parliament and our courts are subservient to the EU. The Conservative manifesto pledged to stop child benefits for children not resident in the UK. Cameron was unable to deliver this pledge. As a compromise, he was permitted to pay child benefit at the rate applicable in the recipients’ country (generally a lot less than the UK rate). Iain Duncan Smith rightly asks why “every nut and bolt” of UK policy has to be run past the European Court for approval.
Norman Lamont deconstructs the Single Market
It is an article of faith amongst the EU’s true believers that the Single Market is the EU’s crowning achievement. Those who are in it enjoy enormous benefits, while those outside (as we shall be after Brexit) are despairingly pressing their noses against the windows and pleading to be let in. We shall “lose access to a market of 500 million people”, we are told. I have to admit that fifteen years ago, I used to claim that the EU’s Single Market was “a great Conservative achievement”. Now I know better.
So it was good to see former Chancellor Norman Lamont in yesterday’s Telegraph forensically deconstructing the myth of the Single Market.
My advice: read the whole piece. But I can’t resist quoting some gems. “Every developed country has access to the Single Market”. And so shall we after Brexit. “Non-members of the Single Market have often exploited it more successfully than we have”. “Switzerland exports five times as much per capita to the EU as we do”. “Non-EU members with no trade agreements benefited more from the Single Market than those with special trade arrangements like Norway and Switzerland”. And the killer: he notes that the membership fees we pay to the EU would amount to 7% of our exports to the EU. “Arguing for the Single Market on the grounds that you can avoid a 3% tariff by actually paying a 7% fee is mis-selling that dwarfs the PPI scandal”.
Matthew Lynn: The €uro is a long way from challenging the dollar: Matthew Lynn reminds us that in the heady days when the €uro was launched, there were people in Brussels and Frankfurt seriously suggesting that the €uro would take its place alongside the dollar as a major reserve currency. Some said it would replace the dollar within a generation.
In fact it has caused mass unemployment, national bankruptcies and declining trade in Europe. Its share of global currency reserves is declining, and on some measures is less than the Deutschmark alone used to enjoy – so in effect (says Lynn) the other eighteen national currencies have been turned into nothing.
Howard Flight: We must be set free from the shackles of Europe: Howard Flight makes an excellent case that not only manufacturing exports will benefit from Brexit – but also financial services and the City of London. “The EU needs the services and expertise of London more than London needs the EU”.
80% of Dutch people want us to vote Leave
The Dutch are pretty fed up with the EU. In a recent referendum, 64% of Dutch voters took an anti-EU line. The referendum was on an apparently technical issue – a proposed EU/Ukraine association agreement. But most Dutch voters saw it simply as an opportunity to give Brussels a hiding. Now a poll by Dutch paper De Telegraaf shows a resounding 80% of respondents hope that Britain will vote for Brexit. They see it as a way of curbing Brussels’ ambitions and rolling back the tide of integration. Let’s not let them down. For us, for Holland, for Europe – vote Brexit.
Corbyn warns of a bonfire
And it’s not November the fifth (or April 1st). Jeremy Corbyn warns of “a bonfire of regulations” after Brexit. He should perhaps go and watch Brexit the Movie, which recounts how the post-war German economic miracle was precisely based on “a bonfire of the regulations” driven by Adenauer and Erhard. And it brought jobs and prosperity on a remarkable scale. A regulatory bonfire is just what the EU needs to galvanise its economy.
Corbyn also warns of a threat to the NHS, which he rightly said would be in great difficulty without the 52,000 EU citizens who work in it. OK, Jeremy, but why would it have to do without them? No one intends to send them packing. It’s a non-threat (from a non-Remainian).
Turkey “our most reliable Partner”?
EU Council President Donald Tusk has described Turkey as the EU’s most reliable partner. Admittedly he qualified it with the phrase “in the region”. So it may be true, but a comparison with Syria, Iraq and Iran is not setting the bar very high.
Merkel ready to give in: The Express reports that Angela Merkel is prepared to reach a compromise with Turkey’s President Erdogan. What this means is that she is prepared to abandon her insistence that Turkey should conform to minimum human rights standards as a condition of the Turkey/EU deal. In fact Merkel is so anxious for the deal, she’d probably accept any terms at all.
Johnson/Patel win Telegraph Brexit debate vs Salmond & Kendall
The Telegraph’s Brexit debate pitted Leavers Boris Johnson and Priti Patel against Remainians Alex Salmond and Liz Kendall. Currently the reader response is 80% for Boris & Priti. The best exchange:
Salmond: “Do you want Turkey in the EU, Boris?” Johnson: “Yes. Provided we can come out”.