In the next few editions I will confront some lies as to what will happen on our leaving the EU.
The most shameful is that propagated by the BBC and the Independent when claiming that a study by National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) had found that 8 million jobs could be lost if we left the EU – (Independent 18.02.2000). So wanton and mendacious was this assertion that the NIESR described it as “pure Goebbels”. Its director general stated that “in many years of academic research I cannot recall such a wilful distortion of the facts”. The study, in fact, found that while 3.4 million jobs were dependent on exports to the EU this was not a comment on our membership of the EU and that, although many studies also addressed the question of what would happen if Britain were out of the EU, it did not itself address it.
The 3.4m figure is probably about right. But it is a wicked deception for public figures to imply or assert that these jobs would be at risk if we left the EU. These jobs depend on trade not on EU membership. This has not inhibited Mr Blair from recently forecasting Armageddon if we leave the regime of which he desires the Presidency.
So weigh carefully the following:
- EU27 trade with us is 16% higher than our trade with them – it follows that 4 million EU jobs depend on it.
- We have a heavy overall trade deficit with EU27 – £52.4 billion in 2010 – but with the rest of the world a surplus of £15.1 billion.
- Our most successful trade is with USA (surplus £20.4 billion), Australia (£10.2 billion) and Switzerland (£6.2 billion) – all non EU27.
- Our trade with EU27 is falling – by nearly 12% since 2000.
- Europe as a whole is in serious decline relative to the world. From 30% of global wealth in 1980 to 17% in 2017 (IMF).
- Europe’s working populations are falling steeply whilst the UK’s are rising. Germany and Italy’s working
population will fall by over 20% by 2050 (UN estimates) – the decline is endemic and only Germany has the competitiveness to cope.
- The EU average external tariff (2009) is only 1.2% – no longer a deterrent to trade.
Is it not simply absurd to think that the trade so desperately needed by EU27 failing economies will disappear if we leave the EU. The economic crisis now facing them will truly be catastrophic if such trade ceased or was in materially impaired.
But for us, the UK will have regained power to enter free trade agreements with the rest of the world, freedom to have its own voice at the WTO and relief from the withering burden of EU employment and business regulation. As the world’s 6th largest economy and 5th greatest trading nation we can confidently trust in a future of expanding global trade and widening prosperity and employment.