Brexit (The return of....)


Once we remove all regulations they’ll have to wear full NBC suits just to work on a farm, lovely.


This makes depressing reading.

The actual letter, if it is real, is so unfounded in anything like mainstream economics as to beggar belief. It is simply madness.


Just read that. V bloody depressing. But OTOH it could be an interesting few months


The thing that gets me is the thinking that a trade agreement means loads of trade. We already have loads of trade with non-EU countries. A trade agreement doesn’t create trade, it just manages the tariffs and procedures.

Completely free trade, as appears to be the Brexiters’ desire, will mean that we can’t compete with countries that have lower standards (of salaries, worker rights, produce etc). This might be great for middle men and consumers in the short term, but will be devastating in its impact on jobs and manufacturing/production.

I find it all so perplexing. It’s just a shit idea.


Of course to a lot of Tories/Prince Andrew, “trade” = selling weapons to regimes who will use them to brutalise civilian populations before selling them on to sundry terrorists,
At the moment there is pesky EU red tape preventing us from selling to a number of potential trading partners, such as Iran, Sudan, Myanmar, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Why should Russia and China get all these lucrative sales opportunities?


The cynic in me would be thinking that these scumbags will be well positioned to make money for themselves or thier chums.


I guess tariffs are also a means for the government to express national disapproval of those lower standards and to incentivise other countries to raise their standards. Free marketeers would presumably argue that individual consumers could do that on a product-by-product basis because, after all, we’ve got nothing better to do than to inform ourselves about the details of poultry farming in Thailand.

It’s much the same philosophy as arguing that we shouldn’t tax people to pay for the railways. Instead we should leave the money in individuals’ pockets and that way the next time a couple of dozen potential passengers find themselves on some windswept platform with no train in sight they can have a whip round and buy one.



Two things
(i) unless we declare zero tariffs for everyone a hard Brexit would actually mean that trade was less free.
(ii) The whole Brexit argument ignores the costs of shifting from ‘EU membership’ to ‘Free Trade’.

The second point is the more important one. Even if the Free Trade equilibrium is better than the current situation, the costs of getting there may outweigh the advantages. Think of how the industrial mix in the UK changed over the period 1975-1995, who was made better off, and who bore the costs. The areas that bore the majority of the de-industrialisation largely coincide with the areas that voted heavily for Brexit. We are likely to get more of the same.

This is a decent example of the outcomes of demand-management in the absence of any attempt to care about the supply side.


Would be interesting to see Rees Mogg’s holdings in arms companies.


He’s a Catholic, wouldn’t be a problem…



The Brexit Facts bus, coming to a town centre near you. Allegedly, the figures on side relate to what the potential loss of GDP equates to on a weekly basis, using the Govt’s own figures. I think it needs bigger letters and blond bloater for it to catch on with the punters in Stoke-on-Trent.:

Details here if you GAF


Excellent (and remarkably concise) insight , as always, from Martin Wolf @ FT

Edit, apparently it’s behind a paywall: it was free when i clicked the linked form George Parker’s twitter :


pay wall


See if clicking here works


good timing from the EU




Theresa May is more familiar with crunch time than an overworked gravel salesman.


BoJo had a trainwreck of an interview on Radio 4 which I cringed my way through. It did produce some spectacular responses though. This is my current favourite: