Austin Mitchell Writes

He’s back

Too many of our Remainer politicians are living in a horror-filled fantasy land of fear and economic ignorance. The great majority of the British people are getting on with their lives wondering why the politicians haven’t yet left the EU. Our political class has moved into fantasy world. Terror, fear and unimaginable horror stalk the land in fairytales invented as the last desperate attempt to keep Britain in the EU.

It’s a realm of shock-horror worse than a Hammer film. Democracy is dying, Parliament shut down, possibly forever, with a Boris Hulk destroying the constitution and leading the country to ruin, mass unemployment, collapse of the health service, mass emigration, race riots and the closure of every foreign facility from car production to Luigi’s Italian restaurant in Sowerby Bridge.

It’s all designed to frighten the people back into their box. But its real effect is to drive out rational thought. It’s difficult to make sensible decisions on basic economics or to discuss the pros and cons of withdrawal if fear drives out rationality and debate is drowned by screams of terror.

It’s all pretty silly. A nine-day prorogation of Parliament to let MPs go paddling after three years of yammering against Brexit isn’t quite the death of democracy. A Prime Minster with no majority can’t be a dictator. Departure from the EU stops an economic drain rather than ruins us, and leaving without a deal won’t even cancel Peter Mandelson’s pension. [Not to mention the rest of them-look at Kinnock, Tuggendhat, Patten, all huge snouts in the EU trough!]

Look at the claims about No Deal. It isn’t “crashing out”, it is being deprived of the freedom to leave enshrined in Article 50. We don’t want it. But we would like the EU to negotiate seriously. An EU which is so much loved by its defenders surely won’t set out to crucify Britain just because we don’t want to build a European Empire most people in Europe don’t want either?

If the EU is stupid enough to be beastly, they hurt themselves as well as us. Britain is the EU’s consumer of last resort, a captive market running a £100 billion deficit. An EU nearing recession can’t afford to ruin that. Who’s going to buy the Mercs? Even if they were daft enough to put up barriers, the average Common External Tariff is only 3%, easily overleapt by the more competitive exchange rate coming from Brexit. The total tariff charges on our EU exports would be less than our present contributions while a British tariff on WTO terms would provide useful extra revenue to offset damage to any groups here.

Transport by road, rail and air won’t be stopped. If there are lorry queues at Dover, there’s a whole range of other ports up and down our coast and theirs, keen for business. As for food, the Common Agricultural Policy keeps prices above world market levels and a whole range of developing countries, which are presently kept out, would be eager to supply us.

The EU never fulfilled its promises. A fast-growing economy has slowed largely because of the deflationary euro. Convergence hasn’t happened because it requires redistribution which Germany won’t accept. The bigger market we were promised has been swamped by Germany and now limps behind both America and Asia as its share of world trade shrinks and others grow.

The fantasists don’t understand economics. They assume that British capitalism is too weak to seize new opportunities. They ignore the EU’s steady drain on British jobs, money and demand and assume that government wants, for some strange reason, to wreck the economy which supports our people and it. They forget that present difficulties are the consequences of austerity and don’t understand that government can, and will, spend, stimulate and boost the economy to offset any immediate problems. Indeed, Brexit may be the only way to jolt the Tories out of the piggy-bank economics which David Cameron thinks they should have made harder.

This escaping from rationality to a fantasy land of fear and economic ignorance might solace the souls of those who love the EU more than their own country. Yet it doesn’t frighten the people and certainly isn’t any reason to reject their demand that we leave a structure which drains us, punishes us, binds us and wants to make us part of a federal mausoleum.

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