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(Please note that this was written in February 2019.
None of the arguments have changed or needed to be changed, unlike the constantly shifting pro-Brexit u201cmessagingu201d).
,TL;DR,If we recognise that No Deal Brexit involves a significant re-configuration of the UKu2019s current economy and trading practices, then any u201clogical rational reasonu201d needs to be quantifiable and justifiable as worthwhile to the country as a whole.
It is not the same as the logic involved with helping an old lady cross the road or doing something grumpy just because you woke up with a hangover.
This is simply because it is not logical or rational to disrupt an entire economy and 63 million peopleu2019s lives based on fallacies, vague assumptions, grouses, personal dissatisfactions, hidden motives, etc.
(as then there is no way to quantify the benefits, if any).
,Bearing the above in mind, letu2019s now explore some common supposedly u201crational reasonsu201d why people want No Deal Brexit.
,,u201cReasonu201d 1Here is a common one: u201cBecause the UK voted to leave the EU.
u201d,I acknowledge it is a fact that 52% of voters chose to leave the EU.
However, please let me propose another example of such a u201cfactu201d, which goes:,Letu2019s say someone called Boris, promises to a group of people that they will get a free lunch every day cooked by Gordon Ramsay, and all they have to do to get quality free lunches is just vote for u201cFree Lunchu201d.
Needless to say, u201cFree Lunchu201d won the vote.
And these people winning the vote for a free lunch would be an undeniable fact.
,However, Boris has never talked with Gordon Ramsay, Boris does not know how much Mr Ramsay will charge, Boris has no idea what sort of dishes the voters like to eat, and worst of all: Boris does not have any money or budget anyway.
But his voters still want to believe that the fact that they voted for free lunches is relevant, even though they realise by now that Boris can never deliver them anything, let alone free lunches from a world-class cook.
,In short, all the Brexit promises were made by people with no responsibility or capacity or understanding of how to deliver any of the conflicting promises.
That is why Brexit promises often conflict with each other and reality - they are just empty words made up by people who have no ownership of the problems they cause because they do not have to deliver anything.
,The question therefore is, Are u201cfactsu201d like this relevant? Clearly not when no feasible delivery mechanism is available - itu2019s even worse than u201cthe chequeu2019s in the postu201d.
Accepting No Deal therefore would be like picking up and eating grass after being promised free fine lunches.
It is actually a quantifiable negative reason to not want No Deal Brexit under any circumstances because believing in an undeliverable u201cfactu201d is the same as believing a lie and it actually places you in a worse situation.
Here is an example:,For those who still fret about the principle of u201cdemocracyu201d, consider this: the Brexit situation is like asking passengers on a plane to vote for which landing strip they want to land on at the destination airport.
Although it is very important to land the plane, the passengers are not qualified to know how weather, winds, other traffic, runway conditions, availability of ground staff, etc, would affect the safety of the plane.
In cases like this, democracy is useless and in fact, downright dangerous and meaningless.
Democracy works only when people are well-informed, and not ignorant about what they are voting for.
,Even the Leave campaign admitted their lies to the UK public: Vote Leave director admits they won because they lied to the publicThe following u201creasonsu201d may also help you understand more.
,,u201cReasonu201d 2Another common argument is that there is nothing to worry about: u201cThere will be teething trouble, but there are no drivers for long-term prolonged economic disruption.
u201d,Note the complete lack of any information about u201cteething troubleu201d or the duration of u201clong-termu201d.
However, we have actual data about the cost of Brexit even before the u201cteething troubleu201d period begins, and it is 2% of GDP, or u00a340 billion, or roughly u00a3800 million a week.
This data comes from the authority monitoring the UKu2019s economic performance, the Bank of England.
Importantly, it reflects what has actually happened and is not a forecast.
Brexit uncertainty costs UK u00a3800m a week, Cost of Brexit to UK economy running at u00a340bn a year u2013 Bank rate-setter, Brexit already costing UK u00a3800m per weekThe Bank of England also states that it expects this under-performance to continue for a u201cteething troubleu201d period of unknown length in a No Deal Brexit.
,So what about u201clong-termu201d? In a No Deal situation, it would be imperative to sign up new trade agreements, and five years for a large trade deal would be optimistic.
Also we will need at least three large deals to compensate for losing the EU.
Although this analysis had sounded dire when it was originally written as it assumed a -1.
1% hit on GDP, the reality of -2.
0% makes the calculated expected cost to the UK of u00a3129.
565 billion over five years look almost cheap now:,What is the arithmetic of Brexit?There is to date no similar analysis provided by Leave voters that can determine what u201clong-termu201d means or the plausible benefits after such a vague period.
Nobody can even list which industries will benefit from a No Deal Brexit.
The best Leave can do is this bungling forecast, easily debunked, just by looking at the real data:,What will the long-term impact of Brexit be on the UK economy?,u201cReasonu201d 3A popular argument is that the UK will be freed from the shackles of EU laws: u201cIt allows the UK to diverge from the EUu2019s trade and regulatory policy.
Divergence from the EUu2019s trade and regulatory policy is exactly where all the benefits of Brexit are to be found.
No deal allows us to start working on them immediately.
u201d,There is a huge plausibility deficit in this EU regulatory argument (which also smacks of the u201csovereigntyu201d argument), and the deficit can be exposed quite easily.
In the decades of UK being a member of the EU, the UK has objected to only 72 EU regulations out of 4,514 proposed.
The entire list is here: The 72 laws the UK voted againstThe argument of running free of EU regulation means that each and every one of these laws have had a negative economic impact on the UK, so a diligent Leave voter should be able to place a value on each of the 72 laws.
,So, as examples, the UK voted against,A ban on livestock growth-boosters with hormonal, thyrostatic or beta-agonist effects (carcinogenic residue in meat) https://eur-lex.
eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:01996L0022-20081218&from=ITSafety advisers dealing with transport of dangerous goods on public roads must be properly trained and regulated https://eur-lex.
eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:31996L0035&from=ENTrucks for livestock journeys over 8 hours must have bedding, feed, water, ventilation, partitions and access for inspectors EUR-Lex - 31998R0411 - EN - EUR-LexTherefore, what is the calculated loss to the UK? If there is such an urgent need to break free of such laws, then what is the benefit to the UK of voting against a human anti-cancer directive? Has anyone done any calculations at all? I would suggest not, else we would have seen them by now.
In the absence of any quantifiable benefits, this is a spurious contrived argument.
In any case, Ireland also has the English legal system and they have absolutely no problems working within the EU.
There is a even worse outcome once we are free of EU regulations.
In a No Deal Brexit situation, the UK would be desperate to sign trade agreements with other large countries - it would simply be a fact as the UK needs to trade, or collapse economically.
Each and every of the 163 other countries in the WTO know this, and they will extract a price, especially the big economic sharks such as the USA, China and Japan.
,To put it simply, larger countries will want concessions from the UK, to protect their businesses, their citizens, their investments - and they will want these protections written into UK law.
,Read that again please: Our new trade partners will require laws which benefit their interests over the interests of the UK before they will do trade deals.
That is because they are not stupid.
They are large sharks circling a wounded small fish without any trade deals.
,The simple issue is, once weve left the EU and can u201cmake our own rulesu201d, wouldnt our (new) trading partners then also be involved in making these rules? If our telecoms rules dont suit AT&T or other US telecoms companies, what makes you think the UK government will adopt different rules relative to the ones demanded by our new (and possibly new largest) trading partners, especially if we urgently need a FTA with them?,In short, its all very noble and grand to claim to think of the u201cinterestsu201d of the UK, but the reality is that ALL such interests are linked significantly to those of our big trading partners.
If they are happy, then only can we afford to be happy unless we are much bigger sharks than they are, in which case we impose our rules on them first if they donu2019t have something that we want more.
,For example, peace is in the interest of the UK, but that doesnt stop the UK selling arms to the Saudis for use in destroying Yemen, an already impoverished country.
We want Saudi money more than peace and human rights in Yemen - so the Saudis make us ignore our own principles (UKs Saudi weapons sales unlawful).
Food safety is in the interest of the UK, but the UK isnu2019t even able to object to the US demand that all standards must be dropped prior to opening trade negotiations.
,What many Leavers are proposing therefore is just exceptionalism without the quantification.
Hence it is extraordinarily difficult to justify - it is the same as wandering into a minefield without even an indication of the number of mines under your feet.
,However, in the EU, we are in an organisation large enough to be able to force even the USA to lower medicine prices.
The rationale for staying within a big trade bloc is tangible, as we avoid hormone beef, pus-laden dairy products, chlorinated chickens, overpriced medicines, etc.
Instead, we will soon have: Trump threatens to use US trade talks to force NHS to pay more for drugs and Trump tells May to abandon unjustified food standards for Brexit trade deal.
,Trade department would lobby for government to accept Trumps demands for weaker food hygiene after Brexit, Whitehall memo saysWhereu2019s the sovereignty when another country can force you to eat what the EU considers to be substandard food? Whereu2019s even the dignity in that?The iron fist in the USAu2019s gloves have also been exposed recently: Brexit Wish-List For Trump: What US Lobbyists Want From A Trade Deal With The UKLatest is US tells Britain: Fall into line over China and Huawei, or no trade dealAnd the actual terms the US are demanding from the UK are downloadable on Summary of Specific US-UK Negotiating ObjectivesThe above is all supported in a video interview with the US ambassador: WATCH: US ambassador says the NHS will be on the table in a post-Brexit trade dealAnd to ram home the point, we now see that even Mr Johnson is u201cdisappointedu201d: Boris Johnson disappointed as Trump aims tariffs at UK productsAs for relying on the US as a u201cpartneru201d, one might like assess the reliability of such a u201cpartneru201d, thus:,Trump threatens to drop Isis fighters at UK border: Have fun capturing them againThe UK will also lose the benefits of the EUu2019s huge bargaining power which has kept the prices of foreign medications in check, saving money and ensuring supply.
Left alone, the UK will face situations such as this:,Trump Administration Is Waiving the Publicu2019s Right to Affordable Coronavirus TreatmentsTherein ends that argument.
,One final point.
Some people are led to believe that the EU is some form of oppressive force against the u201cfreedom of the UK.
u201d This is such a lame insulting argument to the people of Turkey, Yemen, Syria, Venezuela, etc, where there is real oppression of the people, where people starve and die every single day, sometimes supported by UK arms sales.
UK citizens who believe this imbecilic lie should be ashamed that getting u00a35 billion a year from the EU for regeneration projects can be twisted into some form of u201coppressionu201d.
Also look at Reason 5 below.
,,u201cReasonu201d 4A lot has been said about unfair EU tariffs, which are not attuned to the UKu2019s needs: u201cThe UK will be able to immediately be able to cut the EUu2019s tariffs on food, clothing and footwear and diverge from its VAT rules.
This will allow for rapid reductions in the cost of essentials and this will disproportionately benefit the poor.
u201d,I have to agree that not all EU tariffs are fine-tuned to suit the UK, but that is because the UK is part of a large group of countries.
I am not making excuses, but just spelling out the reality.
,However, what Leave voters do not define is the actual impact of leaving the EU to trade under WTO rules.
For example, the UK may well cut tariffs on food, clothing and footwear and that may indeed help low-income shoppers at Morrisons and Primark if it was not for the fact that the over 15% drop in sterling has already pushed up prices for the poor people these Leave voters claim to care about.
It also does not mention that the EU tariffs for clothes are under 12% and footwear at 4%, both less than what sterling has fallen by.
Once again, fine words, but actual quantification proves that it is a spurious argument.
,But, the impact actually is not only on imports which can get waived through on zero tariffs, but on exports which will now encounter Most Favoured Nation tariffs from all the countries in the WTO in the absence of trade agreements.
,So letu2019s quantify just one UK sector: Farming.
And it will be easy because Parliament has already done it for us on points 15u201319 in their own review of the impact: Brexit: Trade in Food15.
The average EU tariff on dairy products is over 30%, while tariffs could be as high as 87% for frozen beef.
Some other examples include a tariff of 46% for cheese or 21% for tomatoes.
Some individual products have tariffs over 100%.
Witnesses told us that tariff-free access to the EU was u201ccrucialu201d.
Tariffs would have a detrimental impact on those agricultural sectors that were dependent on EU exports for their profitability.
We heard particular concerns about the impact of tariffs on the sheep sector.
The EU is very important for UK sheep meat exports, with more than 95% of its export volume destined for the EU.
The Welsh lamb market is very dependent on the EU market, with 92% of exports (by value) and 85% (by volume) destined for the EU.
Sheep exports, with a tariff of at least 50%, would become uncompetitive on the EU market.
The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) told us that this would have a u201cdevastatingu201d effect on the sector.
The Andersons Centre estimated that in Northern Ireland alone, exports to the EU would drop by about 90%.
It would have serious consequences in Wales, where sheep farming was such a vital part of the Welsh economy, with producer prices estimated to decrease by 30%.
The EU market is also important to the beef market, with more than 90% of UK beef exports shipped to other EU countries in 2015/16,Additionally, if food is allowed in on zero or low tariffs, then that is the end of most of the UKu2019s farming industry.
,And this does not even cover the extreme likelihood of serious problems to do with the transportation/haulage industry.
If WTO rules are such a good idea, as proposed by the ERG, then why do nations seek free trade agreements?So, yet another case of fine words, but they make no sense once we attempt quantification.
,For more detailed explanations about the WTO fallacies regularly trotted out by Leavers, their ignorance is clearly exposed in this great link: Brexit and Trade: An Interviewers Guide to Exposing Nonsense u2014 ExplainTradeBut that is not the end of the problem with the loss of free movement.
A high proportion of the goods transported between the EU and the UK are consolidated consignments, mixed pallets or other forms of groupages.
Each item in such mixed loads needs to have individual customs declarations filled in, and will contribute to the estimated 250 million new paper or electronic forms complicating shipments at an estimated cost of u00a312 billion which will be passed to consumers.
And then such new formalities will lead to delays of potentially weeks, resulting in new requirements such as the largest lorry park in Europe being built in Kent.
No European freight company will want to transport goods to the UK, especially without knowing when their trucks would be able to return.
,,u201cReasonu201d 5We pay the EU for u201cnothingu201d.
Very often we hear Leave voters say things like: u201cThere is no net benefit for Britain paying into the EU.
Britain is a net contributor nation, so Britain would be far better off keeping the net money which is currently lost to other EU states.
u201d,Again, this is easy to disprove because it is possible to quantify the real benefit of being in the EU.
The analysis is summarised as follows:,The simple reality is that a net benefit of between 4%u20135% of our GDP is derived from being a member of the EU.
This equates to a tangible economic benefit of u00a362 billion to u00a378 billion a year.
In relative terms, the UK currently derives between +660% to +830% return on its contribution to the EU.
It may be more but it is very unlikely to be less.
Membership of the EU also raises well over u00a320 billion a year in tax revenues which can be spent on the country.
In tax revenues terms alone, the UK derives between 220% to 276% return on its contribution.
The full analysis is on:,Are Brexit supporters correct or wrong to assume theres no net benefit of paying into the EU?,u201cReasonu201d 6Some Leavers have a way with words, such as: u201cYou will no longer have it your way.
You are going to feel threatened as we have felt threatened.
You can lose your hope as we lost ours.
u201d,Clearly there can be no quantification of such a u201creasonu201d, but it does not mean we should ignore it.
And without doing the maths for once, some suggestions for answers are (i) Is the UK doomed to becoming meaner and angrier no matter how Brexit turns out? and (ii) Is Brexit a symptom or the cause of the political turmoil we are currently seeing in the UK?As for any democracy u201cdeficitu201d with the EU, I suggest you review what the UK government has done to our democracy to date.
These are all undeniable facts:,UK versus EU democracy,u201cReasonu201d 7Many Leavers often moan abstractly that the UK joined a trade bloc in 1973 and did not subscribe to becoming more integrated into the EU.
This is an unfair, revisionist view and patently not true as shown in the following letter to the people written by the Prime Minister in 1972 before the UK signed up to join the EEC:,And there was another referendum held about EEC membership later on Thursday 5 June 1975, and UK voters approved continued EC/EEC membership by 67% to 33% on a national turnout of 64%.
,From a chronological viewpoint to explain this result, the facts are that in 1950, UKu2019s per capita GDP was almost a third larger than the EU6 average.
But by 1973, it was about 10% below the EU6 average when it joined the EC.
It has then risen within less than a decade of joining and have been comparatively stable ever since.
,The UK joined in 1973 and one common Leave point is that this act prompted a recession later that year which continued into 1974.
The implication is the economic impact was so bad that joining the EC prompted an immediate recession.
However, they never mention the widespread industrial actions happening all around the UK that year; they pretend that nation-stopping strikes did not have any economic impact, nor the serious oil crisis at the time.
They even seem to be able to forget the 3-Day Week which the country had to impose: Three-Day WeekLeavers then also claim joining the EU killed off the u201cextant marketsu201d of the UK.
By this, they mean the Commonwealth (which had already started to stop trading with the UK) and/or the free trade area integration idea which never worked in the first place; in short, nobody cared about the UKu2019s economic plight.
,So, in that case, how would a Leaver explain the change from a negative 10% economic underperformance to parity and above within a decade or so? I mean, what was the single significant event that tipped the balance and got the UK economy going in the 1970s? Is it possibly joining the EC? Else what was the UK going to do? Even the IMF would not lend to the UK.
,As for the UKu2019s much-maligned EU membership fee (the next Leave misinformed argument), even Vote Leave figured out it was still beneficial to pay it:,Are Brexit supporters correct or wrong to assume theres no net benefit of paying into the EU?So in light of the facts and history, it is staggering that these ill-informed people can still offer any credibility to Minford and co:,What will the long-term impact of Brexit be on the UK economy?,u201cReasonu201d 8Some of the economic arguments for Brexit claim that the EU has a continuously shrinking share of the global market, and the economic share of world GDP is a line continuously going downwards.
This is totally true and is an undeniable fact.
However, every G7 countryu2019s share of global GDP is also falling, and this is because most of the less developed countries around the world are finally catching up on economic growth.
,Regardless of the falling global GDP share of the EU, the UK had the best growing economy of all the G7 countries for years, so saying the EU has been a drag on the UK is like saying Gordon Ramsayu2019s 3-Michelin star restaurant is rubbish because the same street has 10 bad restaurants.
There is simply no correlation or link.
In the following chart, note how well the UK has been doing in the years before the referendum, and this is a chart of the UK against the biggest economies of the world, not the EU:,However, Leavers also promote the fallacy that because the world outside the EU is growing faster economically than the EU, that this is somehow a good reason to leave as we can trade more outside the EU.
But this is a ridiculous, shallow, egoistic fallacy, and the explanation is as follows:,The worldu2019s population is 7 billion, of which around 80% earn less than $10 a day.
The figures for people earning more than $10 is harder to quantify as there is little research available, but letu2019s assume, from simple extrapolation, that less than 10% earn more than $50 a day (u00a338.
50 a day, u00a3192 a week, u00a310,000 a year) - in reality, the steepening of the wealth curve implies a much lower number than 10%, but letu2019s never mind about it and stick with an optimistic 10%.
Nearly Half the World Lives on Less than $5.
50 a DayNote also that in 2016, the poverty line in the UK was annual incomes of u00a315,000 or less: The poverty line in BritainThat optimistically-estimated 10% of the world earning $50 a day or more gives a population of around 700 million around the world who can actually potentially afford to purchase the high-quality expensive secondary goods/services that the UK produces.
The populous Far East already produces most, if not all, of the goods/services that the UK offers (and at lower costs) so there are few unique selling points for UK products there.
Probably ditto for the USA, especially under Trump.
That leaves a huge wealthy bloc called the EU, which we want to leave.
So if you consider the actual size of the markets available to the UK outside the EU (700 million - 450 million EU citizens = 250 million people), the reality is that we are already dealing with most of these non-EU markets already.
,And before anyone mentions UKu2019s exports of services, here are the facts: u201cEurope has been a major destination for UK exports of services; this trend continued in 2017 when UK exports of services to Europe (u00a380,938 million) accounted for nearly half of the overall total for UK exports of services (u00a3162,141 million).
u201d International trade in services, UKSo although it is a fact that markets are growing faster outside the EU, the thing is: most of them cannot afford UK goods/services anyway, so how does this help the UK when these growing markets can buy cheaper and better from themselves, other blocs and other countries? At present, the UK has a captive market of around 450 million people in the EU who can actually afford UK goods and services, but after Brexit, the EU can revert to being a self-sufficient bloc or buying cheaper than from the UK and the UK becomes just another non-EU country competing to export goods and services to the EU.
,The only way the UK can effectively compete and expand in the non-EU market is to lower costs significantly.
That usually can only mean fewer worker protections, less safety, fewer rights, less oversight of working conditions plus probably more lower cost migrants as the UK aim to climb back down to sordid working conditions, like many of the non-EU countries.
Note that at least 4.
1 million children are already living in poverty in the UK today, implying that their families themselves cannot afford premium UK goods and services, so how can the UK closing off their largest, most accessible market of 450 million people help UK citizens in any way? UK Poverty 2018But that is not all.
In the modern world, supply and demand forces need to be balanced pretty quickly.
If a customer wants re-supplies or new parts to fit in his factory, he wants it NOW, not on some indeterminate date in the future.
This is part of the gravity theory of trade, which is simply that we tend to deal with our closest neighbours more than we deal with far away countries.
As a member of the EU, we also have the benefit of frictionless trade which allows our factories to operate using a JIT (Just In Time) production model which is very efficient and cost-effective - parts and supplies take a very few days or sometimes just hours to arrive.
JIT is much less feasible if your suppliers are far away:,The Brexit fallacy of u201cbetter tradeu201d outside the EU looks like this:,Our new target customer countries will be very far away and it is highly unlikely they will engage the UK as high-volume, reliable suppliers for their factories.
,Furthermore, lest you still think there is hope, we should analyse the very u201cbest caseu201d scenario for Brexit by Patrick Minford, and the full analysis is on:,What would be the long term effects, both positive and negative, of brexit on British economy?,Reason 9? I am still searching for a single logical, rational reason for a No Deal Brexit.
In all honesty, No Deal Brexit can only make sense if you benefit in some way from the UKu2019s economic disaster, such as disaster capitalists, social engineers or foreign capitalists wanting to break up institutions like the NHS.
Or if you are wealthy enough not to care.
Or if you are one of the manipulators and lobbyists who have been undermining citizensu2019 welfare for decades: Is Brexit the result of political corruption going back many years?But the question is: are these peopleu2019s private, selfish motives offering a logical and rational reason for No Deal Brexit for the country as a whole?,Anyway, as the question request, donu2019t think emotionally - think rationally and logically and you will immediately smell the fetid stink of incompetence, manipulation, cynical misinformation and outrageous rank lies.
,Mostly, Brexit was/is about fallacies, as explained in Was the entire Brexit campaign based on lies?AddendumTo be honest, I am not a huge fan of many economists, having worked with quite a few over decades, and the ones I like/respect are those who think quantitatively and is able to process empirical data sensibly while relying on real-life historical scenarios.
Such a gentleman is Adam Posen, and if you can spare 20 minutes or so to watch the video below, it is possible that your understanding of Brexit will be enhanced exponentially: