The Remain Argument Is Failing

I was in the pub eavesdropping on a group of men whose discussion went like this.

“We shouldn’t pay an EU exit bill, we already pay in more than we get out”.

Which in straight numbers is correct.
We are due to pay £17bn, but we get a rebate and money back for poorer areas….but we still pay £8.6bn a year (£24 million a day) more than we get back.


And this is pretty much the argument Remain made.  Or to paraphrase “we don’t spend £350m a week you lying bastards its only £148m”  ….which is hardly a compelling pro -remain argument.

The argument should be.  We pay £24 million a day to have open access to the biggest market in the whole world and which accounts for 44% of our trade.  £24 million gives us membership of the Single Market, which enables our products to be recognised across the EU without the need to meet 27 different national legislation.  This cuts costs for our businesses and enables multinational marketing and sales in which UK companies can sell products or parts to every country in the EU.  This accounts for 12% of our trade.

£24 million a day also gives us membership of the Customs Union which means that rather than trying to forge our own trade deals against the mega economies of China and America, by acting as part of a block we can meet them on their own terms, with the technical, institutional and financial ability to defend ourselves in international courts.  This enabled a rapid and effective block on Chinese steel dumping which was going to wipe out the UK steel industry.  The independent business body the CBI confirms  that membership of the EU gives us access to more markets, preferential access, and quicker trade deals.  The recent EU – Canada trade deal is estimated to bring £1.3Bn annually to the UK…which we will lose with Brexit.

To simply equate direct money in with direct money back misses the much larger picture.  The economic hit by leaving the EU is predicted to be – between a drop of 3.8% – 7.5% GDP with the worst case scenario of WTO rules  after 15 years  or a drop of 2.5% after 2 years.

A 2.5% drop is £48.5bn a year or nearly 6 times our EU contribution!  That £24 million a day brings in £110 million a day in profit.

Now isn’t that better than “we don’t spend £350m a week you lying bastards its only £148m“?

Further reading:

WTO Rules – Leaving the customs union.

CBI – 10 facts about EU Trade Deals:

Effect of Leaving the EU:
Treasury analysis:

NIESR analysis:
Modelling events:  The short term economic impact of leaving the EU.
Size of the UK economy in 2016:

Calculations:  UK economy 2016 = £1940 bn x 2.5% (the predicted decrease in GDP after 2 years) = £48.5bn drop.

Theresa May…are hurt feelings and revenge the root of hard Brexit?

Like a Pekinese barking at a lion Theresa May seems desperate to give the EU a kicking.  Her belligerence risks herself, her party but most importantly, the UK.  Why is she so intransigent?


I am beginning to wonder if it has little to do with politics, little to do with the national interest and everything to do with hurt feelings – whatever she tells herself.

While she was home secretary Theresa May hit the problem of deporting Abu Qatada, a key al Qaida supporter in the UK and wanted in Jordan for trial.  However under the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) it is illegal to deport anyone for trial if there is the prospect of torture based evidence being used.

Theresa May appealed the court ruling – and lost every time.   Why?  Because torture based evidence is wrong.

The tabloids were in a storm, anti-EU rhetoric was ramped up and Theresa May huffed and puffed.  But eventually Theresa May had to climb down.  She got Jordan to agree not to use torture based evidence and Abu Qatada was deported (and acquitted).

Theresa May positioned this as a victory for her despite the horrible ECHR, while in fact she only succeeded because she climbed down and followed the ECHR ruling that torture based evidence is wrong.

Her recent actions seem to be a replay.  Lots of rhetoric, posturing and expense while courting the tabloid press in order to avoid rulings that are in themselves neither mad nor onerous.  Is Theresa May re-fighting her Abu Qatada battle rather than getting on with the job in hand?  I think she might be.

Prosecuting The Lying Leavers – We Need Your Help Today

Good news is that there is a crowdfunded prosecution planned against Brexiteers who can be shown to have knowingly lied.  Should they be found guilty they cannot stand for public office for 5 years, would have to do some sort of community service.  The idea that Boris and Gove et al would not be able to stand is quite delicious in and of itself but my hope would be that a win (and how could we lose) would provide potent ammunition for a rerun of the referendum.

How you can help:

Do you know a disillusioned Leave voter who would be willing to testify that they were duped?

Make a donation TODAY (there is a time limit after which the case cannot be brought)


How To Lose Friends – Referenda

I was reading today that Nigel Farage agreed with Gina Miller the EU Referendum was only advisory and felt that as a consequence the law should be changed to make them binding.

I think that’s a terrible idea  to see why click here or here.

By and large people who vote in referenda are not qualified to vote.  The issues that come to referendum are horrendously complex.  Take the EU – people make their entire careers understanding one small part.  Yet people come home from work, read what Mr Murdoch or whoever wants them to think and then go, “got it, 10 minutes well spent;  I now know all the issues and how to vote”.  It’s NUTS.

Fundamentally the problem is ego.  We might be willing to accept that the other guy is an idiot who doesn’t know all the issues, but not me – hey I know what it’s about.  The very epitome of head up the arse syndrome.  If we assume that everyone is capable of understanding the issues that STILL doesn’t make people qualified to vote.  A genius who doesn’t take the time to look at the data behind the headlines is no more qualified than anyone else.

Of course even suggesting that maybe people are not informed enough is a great way to lose friends.  People hear “you calling me stupid?” rather than thinking “are all my opinions from newspapers or have I checked the real story?”.    The standard reply is:

“Don’t you believe in democracy?”

To which my answer is:- imagine you are a passenger on a plane with 300 passengers and the pilot has a heart attack and dies.  Do you ask everyone on the plane which button to press, take a vote and go with it…..or do you try to contact an expert on the ground and get them to advise you and then follow their advice?

If you think that no you do not call the expert and listen to them then yes you believe in referenda……but if you would prefer not to die in a fiery (metaphorical) plane crash then maybe you will agree with me that having them legally binding is not the best idea?

Interviews have been so poor as to be negligent.

I was quite annoyed about the interviewing of politicians during the election, partly because it seemed as though the BBC was run by Conservative voters or at least those worried about being punished politically by a returning Tory party but also because searching questions were not asked.

The following are my thoughts as to what should have been asked – and wasn’t:


It is entirely fair to ask Tim Farron about his views on homosexuality, gay marriage etc.  HOWEVER it is then incumbent to also ask Theresa May about her appalling record where voting for gay rights is concerned.


They could have asked Theresa May, why, if spending on the NHS was the highest it has been, are medical professionals protesting that the Govt is privatising the NHS by stealth.  This letter by Dr Irvine shows there was lots of questions which could have been asked which would have educated the voters – surely the prime responsibility of interviewers during an election.  It would also have been pertinent to point out that spending could indeed be the highest it has ever been – and still be increasingly inadequate as the baby boomers come through, get old and get sick.  You can read the full fact report here – which SHOULD have provided fertile ground for questioning – but wasn’t.  Theresa May was allowed to get away with repeating “giving more money to the NHS than ever before” ad infinitum.

Also pertinent would be to ask how were the government’s immigration targets going to impact the NHS?   Given that we have a shortage of skilled staff and given that nurse bursaries have been cut what are the governments plans to safeguard the nhs now and in the future?

The Police

Theresa May could have been asked why she decided to cut police numbers while in the Home Office and, if she had a good answer, ask Corbyn and Farron what they would have done.  The standard answer of “what I would not have done….” is a cop out and should be named as such.

As with “spending more than ever on the NHS” there was also a fair amount of using the truth to mislead.  For example Amber Rudd saying that a chief of police had said increasing police numbers did not correlate with a decrease in crime.  I am sure he did, I am sure it is true.  But the weasel word is CORRELATE.  Sure doubling police numbers doesn’t result in half the crime….but does it not help at all?!


Given that the Chartered Institute of Personal Development found “The UK sleepwalking into a low value economy” due, in part to an inadequate education the question could have been asked how would education cuts  alleviate this?  If the answer was grammar schools then the follow up question is to ask about the lack of evidence for grammar schools helping social mobility.

Brexit / The economy

For a “Brexit election” Brexit was never really mentioned.  Questions could have been asked what does “no deal” actually mean.  Had the government costed it and what were the results?  If not why not?

Given the treasury’s own figures show HUGE annual losses how does pursuing a hard Brexit benefit the UK?  How would Tories / Labour plan to fill the gaping hole in their spending plans?


What is the rationale for ignoring 48% of the electorate with a hard Brexit plan?

Given that the majority of people are willing to put up with FoM in return for economic benefits is Hard Brexit really required?  Given that Leave Director Dominic Cummings wrote that the Leave vote would have lost but for the £350mn to NHS lie is Brexit mandated anyway?

If the UK is going to create trade agreements with other countries what happens in the case of dispute?  Which court would arbitrate and why would this court be better than the EU?

What are the Tory (or Labour) projections for increased trade being sufficient to replace loss of trade with the EU.  How many trade negotiators do we have?