My last word on the European referendum

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.


Appendix: some evidence

Ipsos MORI conducted an online survey of members of the Royal Economic Society and the Society of Business Economists. 88% thought it most likely that real GDP would be negatively impacted in the next 5 years, if the UK left the EU and the single market. 4% thought GDP would be positively impacted over the same time period.


4 responses to “My last word on the European referendum

  1. I don’t think there’s anybody on either side who would disagree that leaving the EU would cause significant disruption over the short term.

    And I think it’s pretty clear that the ability of the experts to predict much of anything other than the short term is almost nil.

    25 years ago, the Soviet Union collapsed. There was quite a bit of chaos as a result. In 1994, Poland was in a recession, and Tom Brokaw proclaimed “It appears that Poland’s experiment with free markets has failed” – two years after the fall of the wall.

    Looking back on it now, Poland is a clear economic success,

    The question isn’t what will be the best for the UK, over the next five years, but what will be best for the UK over the long term.

  2. I’ve been watching the Brexit results. In England and Wales, it wasn’t even close. I sort of expected a close vote to remain, but then, I live in the States so I don’t have much of a clue.

    When Franklin Roosevelt declared a bank holiday back in 1933, economists and pundits declared doom. (That was an open ended government mandated shutdown of all banks in the nation, not what you guys in the UK call a bank holiday.) Of course, even back then there a few sensible people: “Do you think,” asked Professor Robinson, “that when the banks all close people will climb trees and throw coconuts at each other?”

    Robinson actually expected most people to feel a sense of relief. A lot of what happens after the Brexit depends on what people make of it. It doesn’t have to belong to the goons and clowns.

  3. David Brain

    I tend to think that Cameron was gambling on a close vote to Remain too; that would have given him an incredibly strong hand in forcing renegotiation and perhaps a whole new treaty.
    Unfortunately, it’s ended up in the worst of all worlds where no-one is particularly happy (except, perhaps, our new PM-in-waiting, Boris Johnson. And he’s only happy for himself.)

  4. I think that, when he promised a referendum in his manifesto for the last election, Cameron was banking on the Tories once more not getting an overall majority, and going into another coalition with the Liberal Democrats. Then he could have relied on the LDs to block a destructive referendum, while still appearing to the Tory base to have done what they wanted.

    Basically, he screwed up at every singe stage of his strategy — made the wrong gamble at every point — and now seven billion people will have to pay for his little private game with Boris Johnson.

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