Some arguments of Brexiteers

February 9th, 2020
by Chris

Someone with the facebook handle “Howlin Wolfe Tone” came up with the following, which I thought worth repeating (and recording):-

There was a post from a troll making ten arguments. I have given these arguments and their refutations.

‘1. Ditching EU tariffs means tariffs are dropped on all goods, we can import cheaper eg food and clothes from outside the EU. The EU is a protectionist trading bloc which imposes over 13000 tariffs on imports.’.

1 The EU tariffs average at 2.8% which is about par with the rest of the world, so it is no more protectionist than any other region. Food tariffs are quite high, but, then again they amount to roughly the same degree of support given to farms in other regions. Food security is vitally important, which is why most regions and countries choose to support domestic supply either by tariffs, or subsidy.

Claiming that trading under WTO rules is specious, since the UK as a member of the EU also traded widely under these rules.

‘2. We can stop paying £11 billion (net) to the EU – at worst this offsets any economic downturn. At best it’s £11 billion more we can invest in Britain.’

2 The mean, five year average net contribution 2014-2018 (incl.) was £7.8bn.

Source: ONS:…/theukcontributiontothee…/2017-10-31

The most conservative value for a downturn is 5%. Since the GDP of UK is £2.86tn, of which 5% is £143bn, so, no, it would replace only 5.5% of a downturn. Furthermore, given the misuse by successive Conservative governments of QE that led to an unprecedented capital flight from the UK, and for which UK tax payers footed the bill, it seems more likely that the same would happen to any saving from leaving the UK.

‘3. Withdrawn from CAP , apart from the fact the EU misallocates (sic) resources – eg 40% of the EU budget goes to agriculture which only accounts for 1% of GDP across the EU – we would see a double benefit as we stop paying into it and it will reduce food prices (CAP keeps food prices artificially high).’

3 ‘Not paying into it . . .’ This suggests that the CAP incurs additional costs, which it does not; it is part of the £7.8bn. The proportion of the EU budget stated is roughly correct:…/common-agricultural-po…/cap-glance_en

It is also true that it contributes very little to the EU GDP, but food security is a strategic tool and is vitally important, not just as a bulwark against fluctuations in food commodity prices, but also as a bulwark against others that might want to pressure us by restriction of access to food.

About 25% of the CAP budget is not concerned with food subsidies, but with rural development, protection of the environment and issues surrounding enhanced climate change.

Without the CAP, or similar subsidies food would either be much more expensive, or our rural environment would decline. Most other countries support their farmers to roughly the same degree.

It is a bitter pill to swallow, but, on balance it is better to have it than not. Rural income is around 60% that of urban income, so without any subsidy, there would be a flight to cities and unemployment that is already high (don’t believe the government figures; if it really was that low there would be huge upward pressure on wages that has not happened in a decade, or, for that matter, the past two decades.) Subsidies, according to the Thatcher handbag model of economy states that they are dead money, but they are not. While it is true that they are around half as effective contributors to GDP as that generated by labour and production, and that labour and production has to be in the great majority, it is not dead money. On a tax basis of 25%, those subsidies are made back by the time they have passes through seven exchanges.

Without the CAP, or similar subsidy, there will be a death of the British countryside:

‘4. Skills based immigration – we can let in people that we need/want.’

4 Superficially, there is nothing wrong with that, except that studies too numerous to mention suggest that general immigration is good for both countries of origin and destination. Here is just one example:…/how-to-convince-sceptics-of-the…

‘5. Autonomy to make new trade deals -Striking free trade deals directly with third countries – such as the US and Asian economies – would boost GDP and net productivity due to a more global market and reduced trade barriers.’

5 The UK already had trade deals as part of the EU. They take a very long time to negotiate and, with many of of the other players, the UK has a very weak hand. It had a very strong hand in both the Council and Commission and, although to a lesser extent, the Parliament.

See the above for evidence that this is specious.

‘8. An end to the asset striping of Great Britain Plc, and the movement of Britains manufacturing to the EU, using our money to subsidise it. DHL IT Services moves to Prague with and EU grant, Cadbury to Poland with an EU grant, Ford Transit to Turkey with an EU grant, JLR to Slovakia, Gillette to Eastern Europe, Texas Instruments to Germany, Metal Box to Poland etc etc etc.’

8 This is equivocation and lying by omission:

Cadbury was bought by Kraft, which is American. Kraft shafted Cadbury. The EU had nothing to do with it.…/cadbury-closes-british-factory-to…

Jaguar Land Rover built a new factory in Slovakia. No it was not with an EU grant. And Tata is Indian so what’s that got to do with it?…/jaguar-land-rover-factory-slo…

There was no EU funding, but there was a grant by the Slovakian government. This document is a summary of why the EU found the grant did not break EU rules on state aid. Basically, it was a new factory, it was never going to be built in the UK, no jobs left the UK as a result.

Peugeot moved production to Slovakia, but again without an EU grant. There was an investigation as to whether Slovakia improperly gave EU money to Peugeot, but nothing seems to have come of it.…/subsidise-peugeot-jobs-ax…

Ford Transit moved to Turkey 2013 with an EU a loan (not a grant) for Ford’s Turkish plant (which was already building most of the Transits), and, after that their Southampton plant closed. The EU had already loaned money to Ford UK but that doesn’t appear to have saved it.…/10026411.Focus_on_Ford__The__…/

If you really want to know about asset stripping, look at the British record that started with John Slater, Peter Walker (later government minister) and Goldsmith. Then look at the statements coming from the US on a possible trade deal with the UK.

‘9. The EU has inadvertently encouraged regional separatist movements to develop in a number of member states, in the mistaken belief that these regions can become ‘independent’ members of the EU ‘with a seat at the top table’. Current examples are Scotland, Catalonia and Corsica. You could argue that the EU secretly welcomes this fragmentation of the nation state so that it can concentrate even more power in Brussels. It certainly prefers to talk about ‘a Europe of the regions’, rather than ‘a Europe of nation states’.’

9 There is no evidence for this that I can find, except that knowledge, interest and support of the EU has increases markedly in the 27, post Brexit.

’10. the EU is a political project that is fundamentally anti democratic – Jean Monnet EU founding father – ‘Europe’s nations should be guided towards the super-state without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation’

Jean-Claude Juncker ‘There can be no democratic choice against the European Treaties’

I for one don’t like being part of a socio-economic experiment aiming to create a federal Europe, controlled by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats.’

10 The EU Parliament is directly elected that, together with the Council decides of which proposed legislation by the Commission becomes EU law. The Council is comprised of the directly elected executives of the member states. The Council also determines the composition of the Commission; one for each member state, delegated to serve the interests of each member state. It is roughly analogous to heads of civil service heads in the UK.

It could easily be argued that Winston Churchill was the father of the EU, but that aside . . .

This, so-called quote by Monnet has no real evidential basis. It is referred to quite a lot, and the only real ‘truth’ in it comes from its circuitous, self-referential repetition. There are also quite a few refutations of it.

The Juncker quote is largely out of context. Largely it means that one can’t agree to the rules and then decide, unilaterally to change them.

His final link is this. (actual UK contributions).

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