Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Why I am Voting to Leave

Sorry about the lack of pictures.

This probably comes too late to influence anyone’s opinion before voting tomorrow. To be honest, I really should have got around to this earlier. What follows is not a comprehensive guide to everything about the EU – just my thoughts and perceptions. The first half will set out the rudiments of a case for while the latter half will attempt to debunk remain claims. I will not argue about trivialities such as Erasmus – these things are irrelevant and if they factor enough to influence your decision, I fancy this post will go well over your head.

Integration

The EU is a political abortion. No, I am not saying that to be inflammatory – I am saying that because it is literally true. The EU’s intellectual genesis was in the inter-war years, a federalist pipe-dream to create a USE. After the war, pushed by continental opportunists, the project received the backing of the nation states – who promptly derailed the naïve, projectionist trajectory of the nascent union by asserting national interest. Between 1950 and 2010, roughly, anything the ECSC/EEC/EU has accomplished, successfully, has been because it has been backed by both the supranational and national interests. The former in order to increase federation; the latter for the benefit of the powers involved (although this is a generalisation – some national leaders did and do genuinely invoke federalism).

As such, the single market was a great success (designed to unite the European peoples economically or promote trade/create captive markets or both depending on who you asked). The euro also seemed to be a success at first (uniting the European peoples in a currency bloc would eventually ensure fiscal unity/debt collectivisation – the first step towards true supranationalism – or providing a shit-ton of cheap debt to satisfy electorates and just have a good time). However, reality asserted itself with the euro – because the nationalist interests wanted cheap credit without conceding enforceable fiscal limits (poor countries and France) and debt consolidation (rich countries), and the supranationalist interests were fine with anything that advanced supranationalism (meaning that they gave the go ahead for this model, economic failure as it was regarded at the time as they made it – they believed a crisis would provoke the integration they sought), the euro was still-born.

Because the euro was essentially designed with these flaws, the end result has been that the EU’s integrative process has been driven neither by national nor supranational interests for the last six years. The process has been driven by events – the euro crisis, where national interests are loathe to give up basic fiscal powers and debt control but must (eventually when the ECB runs out of options) in order to prevent currency collapse, and the much lesser migrant crisis brought about by middle eastern warfare and the collapse of Gaddafi’s regime, where national interests have collided and no one really knows what to do.

The Euro survived the ‘Euro-crisis’ by effectively shitting on southern Europe, a corrupt basket-case if ever there was one. However, nothing fundamental has changed. Bailouts are sticking plasters which will temporarily heal over the cracks. The real question is what would happen if there were a renewed Euro-crisis. If there were a market crash, this would happen – in 2011-12, there was no market crash, and so the euro was able to survive with monetary help from both the ECB and central banks in Japan, China, Britain and the USA. If there were another market crash, much larger countries than Greece would be the subject – bailing out these would be tantamount to impossible. France, Italy and various others would become the subjects. There is little chance that the Euro, intertwined with the fate of the EU, would be able to overcome this without a massive power-grab or an unprecedented devaluation of the entire Euro (which would cause its own problems).

So, where does this leave Britain? Already, we have been somewhat marginalised. In the council of ministers, between 2004 and 2009, Britain was on the losing side 2% of the time – between 2009 and 2015, the variable factor being the Euro-crisis, Britain has been on the losing side more than 12% of the time. This is clearly not the end of the world – but, as Peter Shore said so eloquently in 1975 during that referendum campaign, it is the trend, the trend that counts. This projection, largely glossed over by the Remain campaign who average the two together, has happened without any fundamental legal change. Now, as new QMV rules come into force (a result of the Lisbon Treaty) which give the Eurozone a workable majority by 2017 and the Eurozone is inevitably forced towards integration to avoid collapse (recessions come as night follows day, and anyone who says ‘this time it’s different’ is lying or incompetent), one can only imagine how this number will increase to Britain’s detriment. The trend is totally opposed to our country’s wellbeing.

The blunt truth is that Britain cannot have true influence as befitting our size and the needs of our economy without joining the Euro as the bloc seeks to integrate. If the EU integrates their fiscal spending and consolidates their debt, effectively forming one economic government for an area who’s GDP outstrips Britain’s by a factor of more than six to one. Britain will lose a lot of economic influence if this happens – apart from anything else, it will vastly magnify the power of the economically important countries in the Eurozone (France and Germany) while creating a caucus which always follows its own interests, which will have largely converged. It is an overstatement to say that Britain will become Europe’s Puerto Rico – but very likely by a smaller margin than most people imagine.

The alternative to this situation is the Euro collapsing. While the economic repercussions would hit Britain, in or out, why the hell would we be willing to accept the political shitstorm accompanying if we could avoid it. As such, Britain has been put through myopic ineptitude, a fundamental lack of understanding about the economics of the single currency and a naïve desire to reform the system, in a very poor position. If Britain did end up as above, joining the Euro could possibly be the only option.

Put simply, in my mind, there are three options for Remaining, looking forward to the next (inevitable) recession:

1)      The Eurozone integrates its fiscal spending and consolidates/mutually guarantees its debt – in which case Britain is left with no influence and will probably be subject to power grabs in the process, which will be traumatic for all
2)      The Euro collapses – in which case, Britain is a party to the political shitstorm as well as the economic one during the death throes of the union, very possibly involving significant power grabs in an attempt to save the Euro
3)      1) happens and Britain joins the Euro, hence losing pretty much any power we have left as we are co-opted into what economically becomes a functioning USE

Granted, Britain does have a national veto in many areas. But this is merely the power to say no – what fucking power is that? Given the enormous political pressure that a Eurozone caucus could place Britain under, this is a desperate argument to say the least. As a large country, Britain needs, and can get elsewhere, constructive influence – while remaining, the chips would firmly be set against us. Moreover, it only takes one Europhile in power or an incompetent government to lose a national veto (e.g. Blair – who lost the veto over the social chapter and very nearly opted in to the Euro, both things that Major had one opt-outs from, while Cameron has recently conceded a form of veto over Eurozone integration to get his pathetic deal earlier this year).

The Alternative

What is the alternative? I am not going to promise lands of flowing milk and honey (Israel is an arid dump anyway – I don’t know what the hell those biblical people were talking about), but a second option is less dangerous or disadvantageous than thought.

A blunt fact is that it is almost certain that should we vote for Brexit, an EEA-EFTA option, as per Flexcit, is what we will get as an interim, for at least 5-10 years. Without wishing to go into the skull-numbing detail, this is the only option which will pass a pro-remain parliament, a civil service which wants a smooth transition, the EU (which is desperate to avoid any kind of economic showdown, even with its own shadow – it is financially on the verge of something terrible, regardless of its trade leverage over Britain) and various EU national governments, who want continued trade. For the latter two, EEA-EFTA can very readily be portrayed as unfavourable towards the UK – as it has been by a sycophantic media quoting the Remainers during our own referendum debate. Reading between various lines, all of the parties mentioned have either mentioned explicitly or implicitly that this option would be an acceptable compromise. Moreover, I think for a sorely divided electorate, this option represents a good compromise between then defeated Remainers and then victorious Leavers.

This option will keep us in the single market, hence meaning no tangible changes to the economic terms of our interactions with Europe although giving us control over trade policy, fishing and farming. It is not ideal, but as one commentator pointed out, it signifies turning the ship around. Leaving is a process, not an event. We need a gradual parting, not a sudden break. To quickly bust a few myths – no, Norway does not pay more than us per capita (it pays about half – and if broken down, much of this is within cooperative schemes that Norway still is involved with, and a sizeable proportion goes to Eastern European countries to help them off the ground following communism), no, Norway does not obey all EU rules (it obeys single market regulations, which it has a say in – see below – and these amount to roughly a quarter of all EU rules according to the EFTA Secretariat) and no, Norway does not mean status quo regarding freedom of movement (while it is likely that Freedom of Movement would be continued by the neo-liberal Tory government, one study found that a tighter definition of the term worker could be used to shave 100,000 off the EU incoming figure, while the EEA emergency brake, which would allow Britain to follow Liechtenstein in setting quotas subject to 5 year review, could be invoked – either way, the important point to get is that the door is not closed to migration reform as it would be if we remain).

Another blunt fact is that most single market regulation is now carried out on a global basis following a WTO agreement in 1994 that signatory nations should accept goods which comply with global standards. The EFTA secretariat estimates the figure that has since accrued, regarding the EU, to be above 80% (I think 82.6%, of the top of my head) of all single market EEA regulation. Some have tried to argue that this point doesn’t work because the WTO agreement is unenforceable – I don’t know the legal merits of the case, but this evidence shows that this agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade is widely put into action. These standards are decided at global bodies, such as UNECE, WP.29 (a subsidiary of the former), the ISO, etc. In the EU, we are forced to accept a common position – in which we may or may not be outvoted. Outside the EU, we would be free to make whatever alliances we choose and hold any other positions we think are in our interests. Obviously, the EU has more clout than Britain – but as Britain’s influence declines within the EU, it could very well be in our interests to reassert agency to increase our influence outside. Bear in mind that Australia, spearheading the Cairns Group in the 1990s reformed the CAP from outside the EU more than Britain had for 20 years inside through external pressure. Freedom to make alliances, while daunting and definitely an uphill struggle, would allow us to exert at least some influence.

Moreover, UNECE, as a part of its foundation document, states that no government shall be forced to accept something against their will, a sentiment echoed in WTO in the 5-7 (the number is contentious) pillars of the organisation. Other intergovernmental organisations follow similar lines – e.g. NATO operates consensually. This is a change from the supranational talking-shop above a parliament system which the EU currently operates which has Qualified Majority Voting. While in practise, larger bodies exert more pressure than smaller bodies in all of this and strictly speaking, it is all politics (with winners, losers and deals, sometimes disadvantageous), the former system would give an independent UK better safeguards.

For proper details of this, see eureferendum.com or look up Flexcit. Even if you do not agree with all of the assumptions/conclusions, in my mind at least, it provides a model by which the UK could leave the EU without economically imploding. While my outline of what EEA-EFTA could look like has been brief, Flexcit has been thoroughly thought through to an academic standard – I am satisfied, disregarding the economic claims about increased influence for the minute, that an exit along the lines of Flexcit will make an adequate start without an enormous downside risk to the economy or a scraping out of Britain’s remaining global influence.

Democracy

Yes, the EU is anti-democratic. Yes, the parliament is a pathetic fig-leaf, made up of MEPs who are very distant to the law-making process, often understand little of what they are legislating on (for fuck’s sake, one of the remain Tory MEPs couldn’t even understand Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, mistakenly believing that a clause implied that Britain would not even be able to negotiate… in any of the leaving discussions – how the hell would she be able to wade through something like TTIP? – and that is without even going in to the UKIP, Green and Lib Dem ones who are generally far more nuts), cannot initiate or repeal legislation, normally are only there because they have doors closed to them in national politics, are by-passed by the flood of global regulation which usually goes straight to the governments and whose only tool against the commission (law instigator, although much is decided by the Council of Ministers) is so unwieldly that in practise it would represent using a sledgehammer to get out a splinter, if it were ever used – this is the vote of no confidence in the entire commission.

Yes, the Council of Ministers is undemocratic – because of QMV. While a lot is done consensually and the UK has in the past often got its way under QMV, as I mentioned earlier, this is a downtrend of quite alarming velocity. Future developments are likely to exacerbate this against the UK’s interests. Moreover, this is governmental negotiation, which the UK populace normally have no idea about (a necessary pre-requisite to democracy) – see the UK government’s attempts to block steel tariffs, despite the evident unpopularity of this with UK electorate who were crying out for steel protectionism. While the government may know best (I firmly believe that this is the case much less often than thought), the electorate should at least know what they are doing for major policy decisions which will have a huge impact (unemployment) on thousands of lives in Britain so that they can be held accountable. The lack of any meaningful oversight and the possibility of democratic mandates simply being outvoted make this less than democratic.

Yes, the EU is a honey-pot for corporate lobbyists, seeking to gold-plate regulation to safeguard themselves from competitors or simply to use the forum, that much more distant from national electorates but with a huge amount of supranational power, to give them favours. Factually, it is the second largest lobbying capital outside Washington D.C. and you can google evidence to support this. Anecdotally, I have come across this personally. A Europhile relative of mine works in this area with a major telecoms company, which may or may not begin with a ‘V’. The price it charged for the data roaming charge reductions (a global initiative that was actually held up by the EU, probably at the behest of major telecoms companies whose names may or may not begin with a ‘V’) was a monopoly on telecoms, enforced by the EU, over certain Eastern European countries. My relative, on behalf of the major telecoms company which may or may not begin with a ‘V’, was not even the one to pick up the phone – it was freely offered, probably in order to win popularity for EU governance, to assuage global pressure and to foster a sense of European unity. This is only one instance which I personally happen to know about – God knows how many more there are if this is a common modus operandi. Doubtless google also knows of similar tales – and doubtless google is involved in similar tales. There are reasons why large multinationals actually quite enjoy this system.

Yes, using international treaty law to bind internal laws is anti-democratic. The EU gets its powers from international treaties. These treaties cannot be altered or undone by national governments responding to the democratic will without either a new amending treaty or walking away from the entire structure altogether. International Treaties are perfectly legitimate – I am not arguing against them – but their primary use thus far in history had been to normalise relations between powers not within powers. While bodies like the WTO and NATO do this, and this does infringe on Britain’s internal affairs, they only do so to normalise external relations. For NATO, this is regarding military alliance, and for the WTO, this is to foster trade. The EU, on the other hand, formats these treaties to equalise internal conditions between all states – hence, the CAP and CFP, the two clearest examples – and the reason for this is the federalist desire for a USE, something to which other intergovernmental organisations simply do not aspire to. The EU can apply political pressure on the premise of this – no country can unilaterally change treaty law in response to popular demand (e.g. Greece and austerity, or indeed Cameron, with the non-deal earlier this year) without being forced to leave all of the European treaties. As this option is quite clearly traumatic when compared to something relatively trivial like fishing rights, no government will or even can mount a proper defence of their nation’s interest against the treaties. Jean-Claude Juncker acknowledged this when he said that ‘there can be no democratic choice against the EU treaties’ – he was stating a fact. In this very real sense, the EU is a ratchet for integration at the expense of the democratic will of its nations’ peoples.

Some people claim that Britain has sovereignty because we can choose to leave, assuaging the loss of power – but this is clearly bollocks. The only freedom this affords is a ‘prisoner’s freedom’ (by which I refer to the allegory of the prisoner who is free to kill himself or otherwise follow the demands of his captors – this is far from a perfect metaphor because the prisoner would have to be prisoner and captor at the same time, and would leave rather than end it all, but the point should be clear enough by now). What kind of democratic freedom is that?

There are other forms of anti-democracy, such as the lack of a demos (we cannot have an EU democracy because various national identities and cultures are too strong – and are only going to get stronger as the EU becomes more economically draconian) and the role of the commission (which, to be honest, I do not know enough about), but these forms are enough for me.

To recap my argument:

1)      The EU parliament is an irrelevant fig-leaf regarding democracy (Russia has a Duma – does that make Russia a democracy?)
2)      The Council of Ministers is also anti-democratic because of QMV and the distance from the national electorates
3)      The EU is a corporate honey-pot – meaning that democracy, or even the welfare of the peoples of Europe, are secondary considerations compared to profit (I am quite sure that the telecoms monopolies to be given by the EU in various Eastern European countries to a large multinational which may or may not begin with a ‘V’ benefit the company more than the consumer)
4)      The EU’s utilisation of international treaty law is anti-democratic to an extent which far outweighs intergovernmental organisations – and acts as a ratchet to enforce increased federal integration

My Argument

This is already growing rather long, so I’ll end my argument here to proceed with some pre-emptive rebuttals. To summarise:
1)      Wherever the EU goes, because of the Euro and its flaws, Britain’s influence will be diminished to the extent that it is better to leave or party to an even more undesirable political shitstorm if the euro collapses
2)      The opportunity cost of EU membership is really not that bad and can be achieved with little trauma – some would argue that it is even better than current membership terms in terms of influence, while I personally believe that it is certainly better than where we will end up if we remain
3)      The EU is undemocratic – for this reason alone, it is better that we leave
There are many more arguments, but these are the strongest in my opinion

Rebutting the IMF, etc.

A frequent argument made by hopeless, normally economically illiterate Remainers whose only recourse is to appeal to the authority bestowed on an organisation by its acronym is that we should remain because the economic studies from the likes of the IMF, CBI, HMT, LSE etc. agree that Brexit will be bad for the economy.

This is totally unfounded for several reasons:

1)      Many of these reports are straw man attacks on the Leave side. You can tell this by the fact that they do not even consider the EEA-EFTA (Norway) option, despite the fact that it is by far and away the most likely option when campaign rhetoric and the fact that Vote Leave is a PLC with no executive power is taken into account. The CBI/PwC’s reports are the worst for this – only one fig-leaf paragraph is devoted to EEA-EFTA. Only five out of about ten studies actually model the option. Of the five, two are crap – although I haven’t actually read the IMF one, so that might be as well. The HMT one is compiled using worst-case scenarios, and has been rebutted convincingly by better intellects than mine (were to use google), meaning that it gives a totally unrealistic downside figure of 4%, while the LSE one is even worse. The LSE study applies certain economic theses. One is that EEA non-EU countries trade less with the EU than other EU countries – given that this study has a sample base of Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, two of which are insignificant and the other two of which are totally different to the UK economy (one accessing the EEA through bilateral deals), the sizeable drop in UK trade given to us by the LSE academics is totally unmerited. A similarly applied study states that countries in political union have increased productivity, for which, from memory, the UK is docked a healthy 10% productivity growth. Noticeably, this study’s fieldwork was from before the Eurozone crisis. The other models show a far more believable opportunity cost of leaving to equal between 1-2% by 2030 – I’ll accept that to be getting on with (see below).
2)      While there will not be some free trade bonanza, it is worth noting that these studies do not take into account opportunity cost – e.g. advantageous trade deals with other countries.
3)      To be honest, I’d take a 1-2% drop by 2030 for a nice slice of democracy (it equates to about 0.1-0.2% per year).
4)      This one is my main point. These studies are pure horseshit. They are extrapolations of present trends which are measureable today, modelled on the basis that the economy is a linear construct – that recessions and reversals are avoidable accidents or hiccups. This is unbelievably far from the truth. Our current economic structure (what one might call ‘creditism’ for the unbridled creation of debt) simply does not work like that. Recessions happen periodically every 7-10 years – these recessions are not linear blips, they are enormous global redistributions of wealth (through bankruptcy and changing value – e.g. property) and foreign exchange flows, a by-product of almost unlimited credit creation. This itself is a real redistribution of wealth and purchasing power, even if it is not felt until a recession. There is much to be said for this system (it gave us the internet, blew Communism and Nazism out of the water, and currently has created for us the globalisation that we so enjoy), but history shows that recessions are an integral part of the process. Yet, none of the models for our leaving the EU forecast any of this – instead, they are stuck modelling the trends of the growth period for which we are now in, which, if the history of the last 150 years is consistent (and economic indicators show every sign of this – for which I could write another 4,000 words) will only last for mere years more.
5)      The inescapable conclusion of any future recession is that the Eurozone will be hit very hard. 2007 and the ensuing Euro-crisis saw massive capital outflows from Europe – hence why the region is lurching from crisis to crisis, has not seen serious growth and is only really kept alive by global monetary easing. A further recession would devastate the Euro still further to the point of collapse (the premise for my earlier arguments) because there has been no fundamental change to its structure. Bailouts are limited redistributions of wealth – they cannot affect the long term viability of the whole unless they are an immersive commitment, which they simply are not in anything like present form. Attempting to forecast this would be near impossible, because the volatility and the circumstances of a market crash are highly contingent on a myriad of factors – but omitting the consequences of a future recession to tell us what would happen if we froze the global economy’s fundamentals until 2030 and treating this as gospel to persuade the undecided voters is an utter absurdity. Yet this is what all of the economic Brexit studies do.
6)      The IMF, OECD and HMT, and the like, are largely forbidden from forecasting recessions because, ironically enough, their prestige would make recessions a self-fulfilling conclusion. Any business worth its salt uses their forecasts in its business plans, meaning that a forecasted recession would prompt preventative action on the part of companies, a monetarists’ nightmare. This is why these organisations have a woeful record of long-term forecasting (in stable growth periods, it probably is quite good – hence their continued use) and also why any long-term model of theirs normally reverts limply to trend growth (2.75% for the UK) within 5 years despite the fact that everyone knows this isn’t going to happen. This is not to say that they are idiots – allegedly, according to one biography I cannot quite remember, HMT knew about the looming crisis before the end of 2005. Doubtless, this formed an integral part of Tony Blair’s retirement schedule.
7)      These organisations are terrified of a collapse brought about by a Black Swan event like Brexit – you only have to look at the S and P 500 to see what they are worried about. However, Brexit can never be more than a trigger for much deeper causes – aka, anything that Brexit sets off will happen anyway in the very near future.
8)      It must be said that neo-liberal dogma on the part of these organisations is a factor. The IMF is often accused of such regarding Greek austerity. However, a much clearer example of this is the treatment of Africa by the IMF, World Bank and powerful Western establishment politicians/economists during the 1980s and 1990s with Structural Adjustment. The twin prongs of neo-Malthusianism and privatisation were imposed on African countries against the protests of experts from opposing schools and African governments themselves – this resulted in the erosion of African states, in some cases to non-existent levels. Following economic crises, many succumbed to anarchic civil war during the mid-1990s giving us Sierra Leone, Liberia, Angola and the DRC. Obviously some other factors were at play (e.g. the lowering of the costs of war from ex-Soviet arsenals) but the enforced dismantling of African states, done with the best of intentions, played a major role in the huge destabilisation and had few successes to offset its dismal failures.

Rebutting Prestige

Remainers love dispensing lists of people who support Remain against those who support leave (Trump, Putin – I know… banter). This makes for a poor argument:
1)      I could compile an unflattering list of people who like Remain. Anjem Choudhary, the radical Islamist preacher who wants death for homosexuals, the reduction of women to house-serfs and the conquest of Britain by radical Islam. Martin McGuiness and Gerry Adams, a pair who not so long ago were involved in the ordering of deaths around Britain, including the last four MPs before Jo Cox to be assassinated – something that neither Boris nor Nigel have ever done, despite their faults. Tony Blair, a self-serving, slimy sociopath who got us involved in the Iraq War (and his minion Alistair Campbell, who played a role in compiling the dodgy dossier and lying to the British public). Bob Geldof, an all-round loathsome prick with no redeeming features – even his music is utter crap. Hillary Clinton, a corrupt incompetent and the first Presidential nominee to run at the same time as being under investigation by the FBI for circulating classified information and potential political corruption charges – only marginally better than Trump, if at all. Goldman Sachs, J. P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley, all three on the hotlist of most immoral organisations that exist in the world today (coming from someone who likes free markets almost as much as Pinochet) – probably a bit lower than ISIS and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but roughly around the level of FIFA. All three are proven to have taken part in financial market rigging, corruption, undue political influence, money laundering, etc. on a global scale. Ironically enough, their actions (with others – allegedly, of course) attempting to manipulate the Russian bond market in the late 1990s could be seen as the main reason for the fall of Yeltsin and for Putin, the Remain camp’s bogeyman, to have taken power in the first place.
2)      Politicians do not shit in each other’s back gardens. As such, they all disavow each other’s populists as part of an unwritten convention – for fear that other politicians will start to support theirs. Of course, this does not apply to countries which do not like each other – e.g. Russia vs. the West.
3)      The USA has reasons for keeping Britain in the EU – mainly as a moderating voice and also as a tidying up exercise – they only want one number to call in Europe. Originally, the EU was meant to be a self-funding second pillar of NATO, alongside the USA, to defend against Russia. This also explains NATO’s attitude – although by and large, our membership of the EU will not seriously affect defence against Russian green men. Of course, given that we are a continent of metrosexuals who quite enjoy our bloated welfare states, there is not a chance in hell of this happening – unless we reawaken Germany in a way we have been trying to avoid doing for 70 years.
4)      Given that very few of the people cited have special knowledge beyond that of the media, why are they included? This especially goes for actors. What the hell can Benedict Cumberbatch or Emma Thompson know that I can’t/don’t? If anything they are less well-educated than me – having gone off to acting school while I went to university for a serious subject.
5)      Mobilisation implies majority but does not entail it. E.g. 51 FTSE companies came out for Remain – but 49 did not. Similarly, 300 economists came out for remain – more than 1,000 work for the government alone. I am not implying that everyone who said no or was not surveyed is for leave, because clearly they are not, but these figures can be disingenuous and selectively surveyed, and hence give a misleadingly unanimous impression.
6)      If you were to survey actual independent financiers, as in the people who make money off getting this stuff right, not economists who make crappy linear predictions that rarely come true (ok, I’m being slightly hyperbolic) you would find a much less clear consensus, probably dominated by thoughts about the Euro crisis. I have read the opinions of a number of them, with sound records, who support Brexit on such a basis – e.g. Martin Armstrong, who comes across as slightly politically unhinged but has the best economic forecasting record of any known person through the modelling foreign exchange flows and cycles (he predicted the dot com bubble, the 2007 real estate crash, the ensuing recession and the 2011 euro crisis – all in 1999). He was called in to advise Major on the resolution of the ERM crisis and actually helped design the euro – he told them it would crash unless it consolidated debts and imposed fiscal limits in the 1990s, but the people he was talking to said that it was politically impossible and would have to follow later. As such, he gives it less than four years to live.


I’m voting to leave – very little could stop me doing so at this point.