“Project Fear”? Pull the other one!

I’m tired of the Brexiter attempts to justify their lies in the referendum campaign by claiming that “both sides did it”, as if that somehow made it OK.

And there is anyway no comparison between the deliberate, and long, list of Leave Lies and the one thing on the other side that the Brexiters always point to, the so-called “Project Fear” of the economic forecasts (note: forecasts, not promises) made by a few people like George Osborne.

Osborne famously said he’d have to introduce an emergency budget to cater for the impact of Brexit.

That, of course, didn’t happen. Osborne was replaced as Chancellor and the emergency budget was avoided by the following happening instead:

  • An increase in government borrowing by £122 billion. Instead of raising taxes in a budget, they borrowed instead. A debt that will have to be repaid one day with interest. Britain’s public debt now stands at 85.3% of GDP, compared to 49.9% ten years ago, so adding further to it (and for wasteful, avoidable spending, not for investment) is a serious matter.
  • Quantitative easing (“printing money”) by the Bank of England to the tune of £70 billion announced in August 2016.
  • A devaluation of the pound by nearly 20 percent against the euro, meaning we pay more for imported products and components (and holidays abroad). This has led to higher inflation: price rises soaring above wage increases, meaning a decline in living standards.
  • A fall in Britain’s relative position from being the fastest growing economy in the G7 group of the world’s largest economies to being the slowest.
  • Gaining time by not triggering the Brexit procedure until nine months after the referendum and then begging for a further transitional period of around two years after Brexit, so the full economic impact will not be felt until nearly five years after the referendum.

It is indeed only after we’ve actually left the EU that the full economic impact will come through. Its magnitude will depend on what is actually negotiated. But let us recall this Brexit-supporting government’s own forecasts, which they wanted to keep quiet about, but which were leaked. These predict a further economic loss to Britain over the next fifteen years of:

  • 8% less growth in a no-deal scenario
  • 5% less growth with a mere free trade agreement with the EU
  • 2% less growth with a ‘soft’ Brexit option of remaining in the single market.

Not to mention the smaller matters of having to pay for more civil servants (two whole new government departments to handle Brexit), build new customs facilities, pay for the relocation of the European Medicines Agency away from London, and numerous other extra costs.

Far from providing extra resources for the NHS, as promised by the Leave Campaign, Brexit is costing us an arm and a leg.

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  1. Perhaps you should point out that the so-called project fear was based on Cameron saying “if the UK votes to leave the EU, the British
    people would expect the Article 50 process to start straight away” (Hansard 22 Feb 2016) – see Treasury Analysis of the immediate economic impact of May 2016 para 1.42. If Article 50 had been triggered “straightaway” we would be just a couple of months from leaving. Imagine the markets.

  2. So put the pressure on the misguided Labour leadership to take a stand against Brexit. The only sensible outcome for all of us is to scrap brexit as soon as possible, and get back to normality.

  3. Thank you, once again, for an excellent summary of our position.
    Common sense is in short supply in the debate.
    How I wish that the Party was prepared to offer the people a choice of what
    they want once the terms have been ‘negotiated”

  4. The Electoral Commission’s report about concealed overspending in Leave.EU and its referral to the police has left Brexit fans desperate for a besmirching balance. With no fault found in the Commission’s investigation of Remain, ‘Project Fear’ endures as the favourite straw-grasp for a reassuring equivalence of disrepute.

    As you say, the ‘Remain lied too – Project Fear’ defence ignores the significance of time and an urgent Bank of England rescue. Devaluing the currency and accruing a huge debt avoided the emergency budget but did not disinvent the economic crisis to which it was the response, nor conceal its cause : the vote for self-harm.

    If the Titanic crew had skilfully navigated to avoid the iceberg, the Brexity-brained passengers might well have chorused: “What danger? What iceberg? Project Fear!

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