We don’t know what will happen in the wake of last night’s poll. But we can make a fair guess, based on what has happened so far in the ten or so hours since the result became inevitable. Dan Kennet sums it up in two tweets:
Nice work, Leavers. Enjoy your post-apocalyptic wasteland.
How should we respond? All I’ve got is this:
On the basis that it’s pretty much always good advice.
When you consult the people who have done serious research on what the results of a Brexit will be — politicians, civill servants, economists — they overwhelmingly say that the evidence points to it harming both Britain and the rest of Europe. They are not unanimous, but the majority is huge (Evidence below.)
What the Leave campaign has in response to this is Michael Gove’s line “We’ve had enough of experts”. So it comes down to this: for the 99% of us who don’t realistically know enough about economics or politics to have any idea what the result of Brexit would be, are we going to trust experts? Or someone who explicitly does not trust them?
Even if your heart says Leave, your brain should be telling you Remain.
The cleverest thing that the Leave campaign has done is to brand the Remain campaign with the name “Project Fear”. That’s clever not only because it makes Remain look weak, but because it shifts the focus away from the fact that the Leave campaign is itself completely built on fear.
So let’s address some of those fears:
We’ll be forced to join the Euro! No we won’t. I’m no fan of Margaret Thatcher, but the Tory government that she built successfully negotiated an opt-out in 1992. In fact, even if the UK wanted to join the Euro, it wouldn’t be able to until it met five convergence criteria. At present we only meet two of them.
We’ll be on the hook for bailout after bailout! No we won’t. I’m no fan of George Osborne, but he secured a standing agreement that the UK, not being part of the eurozone, has no obligation in the Greek bailouts, or any others that might happen in the future. Continue reading
I have had harsh words for David Cameron and for George Osborn on this blog. So why is it that now, in the Brexit debate, I find myself on the same side as both of them?
Simple: it’s all about money.
I favour policies that make poor people richer (if necessary by taking money away from rich people). That means I am nearly always opposed to Cameron and Osborne, who favour policies that make rich people richer (if necessary by taking money away from poor people).
But Brexit is a policy that will make everyone in Britain poorer — both rich and poor. (Don’t take my word for it: see what the Bank of England, the IMF, the World Trade Organisation, the OECD and the World Bank say.)
So Cameron and Osborne oppose Brexit because it will make rich people poorer, and I oppose it because it will make poor people poorer.
Strange times make strange bedfellows.
I can’t be the only one who is not wholeheartedly delighted by the image of Boris Johnson taking control:
And yet Boris Johnson against David Cameron is one of those fights you wish both contestants could lose. Irrespective of an In or Out vote, the idea of either of these would-be presidents being emboldened by a victory sends a shiver down my spine. In this issue of whether to leave Europe or to remain in it, it’s no use playing the man: we have to play the ball.
A week ago, I re-bottled my under-fermented, over-carbonated beer. The process was messy and physically painful, but I got it done. Tonight, I opened one of the re-bottled bottles to see how the beer had survived the process:
The good news is: I was able to open the bottle without causing a beersplosion, and the beer tastes good! Still a little sweeter than I would have chosen, but definitely deeper and richer than it was when I sampled it pre-rebottling.
[See also previous and subsequent posts in this series.]
I have got far, far out of date with this blogging thread: I’ve read 49 books that I’ve yet to write about here, so I’ve forgotten much of the detail of the older ones and I’m going to be terse about many of them. Never mind, off we go:
Night Watch — Terry Pratchett
And enjoyable installment in the Sam Vimes sequence: thrust back in time to when he first joined the Night Watch, he unwittingly becomes his own mentor. Lots more going on here, including an incipient revolution in Ankh Morpork, and Reg Shoe’s origin story. Continue reading