Why should Brexit be so different economically from other “divorces”?

The comments by Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, about the impact of Brexit, were widely reported yesterday. If one ignores the headlines and listens carefully to his words, his analysis was less fearsome than the media would have one believe. He did not use the word “would” but rather “could” when talking about the possibility of Brexit leading to a recession.

As Richard North  points out, however, Carney is nonetheless playing a political game. The economic outcome of Brexit is ultimately something which no one can predict.

Evidence from previous political “divorces” must surely carry more  weight than speculation about the future, as we are talking about past events where the statistics are available for analysis. Such evidence does paint a very different and more positive picture.

Only one country has ever left the European project. Greenland withdrew from the EEC (as it then was) in 1985.  A quick glance at the graph above of the country’s per capita GDP (coutesy of Trading Economics) shows that  it didn’t suffer at all in the post-withdrawal period – in fact., the country became notably more prosperous when it became independent.

Another interesting study is the divorce between Singapore and Malaysia in 1965. It was a pretty sudden event – Singapore was expelled from the Federation; no two-year negotiating period here. However, the graph below shows that this island has flourished from the moment it regained independence. It is also a far freer society, with much greater relgious freedom in particular.

Of course, the UK isn’t Greenland nor is it Singapore, but when you also consider the relavtively trouble-free divorce between the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993, which included creating separate currencies and the comparison between non-EU Norway and its neigbour Sweden, the claims that Brexit will cause an economic armageddon do seem hard to justify from historical evidence.

Malaysia Singapore GDP-page-001

On the front line – thoughts from one campaigner

The big difference between this campaign and 1975 is the involvement of so many local activists and campaign groups. This means that, while high-profile politicians dominate the news headlines, there is a great deal going on underneath the radar of the media – local meetings, street stalls, leafletting and one-to-one conversations. The willingness of ordinary people up and down the country to give so much of their time to secure our country’s freedom will prove to have been a crucial factor in our victory if we win the referendum. In ones and twos, undecided voters and even a few “soft” supporters of remain are being won over.

As an example of how local groups and activists are making a difference, here are the thoughts of John Hart, who has been making the case for withdrawal in his neighbourhood in recent weeks.    

Survey size & duration: A few score people interviewed by me personally one-to-one over the past month (gym, pub etc), with email follow-ups, with an additional few score interacted with exclusively over the email, sometime in bulk, mostly in ones and twos.

Location & character of surveyed individuals: Middle England, in the form of northeast Hampshire, for the interview effort. The email campaign was national (England & Wales), involving the National CV history network and relatives, friends and acquaintances.


For every 10 people 2-3 for LEAVE (men more than women), 3 for REMAIN (women more than men), 4 or more UNDECIDED

Ignorance and delusion are rife. Economic consequences of Brexit are the overriding mega-concern. Self-rule, loss thereof, isn’t understood and doesn’t cut much ice when described, though mention of the REMAIN group as ‘Project Treason’ enabled some traction to be gained; and immigration is not a big worry around here, though the special case of Islamic terrorism excites profound anxiety universally.

Mostly useless to engage REMAINERS. They are in the grip of Euro-progressivism as the wave of the future, seeing themselves as cosmopolitan. They often have strong links with the Continent and see the continuation of these threatened by Brexit, with the Brexiteers themselves being patronised as throw-backs to an earlier phase of human evolution or actual fossils (“It’s a generational thing!”). A group that can be characterised as ‘metropolitan pinkos’ are especially prone to evince the aforementioned ideas.

UNDECIDEDS predominate, meaning all is to play for, as they are open-minded. A very commonly articulated opinion in this group is that a Big Voice has yet to emerge on the LEAVE side. More information is needed, these people say, for minds to be made up. They weren’t asking for more REMAIN insights because they have already heard the main message from that side: “Be afraid of economic meltdown!”

Two REMAINERS and quite a number of UNDECIDEDS have been moved towards LEAVE by this survey exercise.

Summary: LEAVE, having a more compelling and passionate story in the round and many more ardent advocates than the opposition, can win this referendum by outcanvassing the REMAINERS locally, but it would help enormously if the amplification was turned up by LEAVE centrally.

A new way of getting into trouble

A letter from our Chairman sent to newspapers in Burton, Derby and Leicester

“You got me into trouble”, a friend said. I wondered how that could be. He is a consulting engineer who visits factories and installations all over the country.

He was with one of his clients, he told me, when a very angry red-faced man accosted him and told him he must take his car out of the company’s car park and put it in the street at once.

His “Vote to Leave the EU” car sticker was the cause of the outburst and I had given it to him. My friend refused and high words followed. Eventually a more senior man came to apologise and smooth things over.

We know that many firms are  indoctrinating their staff that leaving the EU would cause loss of jobs. This is the purest bunkum . It is quite possible for Britain to remain part of the Single Market as a member of the EEA (European Economic Area) and EFTA (European Free Trade Association) whilst leaving the political structure of the EU. Such countries have access to the EU market on the same terms as EU member states.

Roughly three quarters of European law falls away – that dealing with political union. We are left with that concerning trade, mostly to do with things like health standards or the percentage of sugar in jam, which we would be following anyway because they are mostly global standards. The EU is now mostly a law taker in this field, not a law maker. The regulations are made in organisations like UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe), ISO (International Standards Organisation) and the EU is legally bound to enforce them – and has been for over twenty years. They mostly don’t make them in Brussels any more but just transcribe them into EU Directives and Regulations.

Britain has no voice at these global bodies where the real decisions are made. The EU Commission keeps us away from them. Our government has to shut up and like whatever it gets.

The same goes for many work people, who know that it would be very unwise to express an opinion contrary to the EU – In fact, far more dangerous to their continued employment than Britain actually leaving the EU. The little Hitler of the car park demonstrated that. He expected to be obeyed!

Yours faithfully


Edward Spalton

Projection of the EU referendum vote

A fresh look after four weeks

There is no doubt that the last two weeks have been a setback for the Leave campaign.

The Cameron slogan about ‘a leap in the dark’ has failed to be countered by Leavers, who have ignored the excellent Flexcit proposals – the Market Solution, on offer from The Leave Alliance – which would neutralise Cameron and also any business objections.  Instead, the Leave campaign continues to persevere with the no-exit-plan strategy reminiscent of the South Sea Bubble company formed in 1720 ‘for carrying on an undertaking of great advantage but no-one to know what it is’.

At the same time a great deal of the political shine has been taken off Boris Johnson with a number of clumsy, ill-informed interventions.

However, we need to keep a laser focus on the determining ‘swing’ vote which is the 11 million Conservative voters and, specifically, the 7-8 million of moderate apolitical voters, the ’comfortable’ middle.

It does not seem likely that whatever blunders are made by the Leave campaign, the minority camp of Leavers in Labour, SNP, LibDems and the Greens will be affected as they have already taken up a stance against their leaderships for some time.  If you examine the numbers, even a substantial change in the breakdown of Leave or Remain voters in these parties would not make a big difference.

The Conservative voters are in a different position.  There are far more of them up for grabs.  They are more likely to be from the affluent classes that are likely to turn out, are affected by the daily political news, likely to be subject to group-think and, except for the Thatcherites, likely to be swayed by the Prime Minister’s authority and his PR machine.

‘Cognitive dissonance’ is a term psychologists use to explain how humans hold conflicting opinions simultaneously and try to resolve this problem.

On a mass scale, this condition appears throughout Southern Europe where the eurozone crisis has resulted in mass poverty, unemployment, lower wages, government debt explosions, etc.  Yet there is no demand from the voters in Southern Europe to leave the euro, let alone the EU.  Indeed, it was very clear during the referendum in Greece that the last thing anyone who had bank holdings or deposits wanted was to exit the euro and float freely with a new currency.  Of course, in such a scenario the bank deposits would probably lose half their value overnight but, in the long term, it would be the first step to economic reconstruction.  But this sentiment also applies to the Leftist parties who do not have bank deposits.

EU enthusiasts rely on this aversion to taking the first, possibly unpleasant, steps to recovery.

Comfortable Conservative voters exhibit similar characteristics.  After all, they are mainly fairly affluent and they seem mesmerised by cheap air fares and other trivia.

However, the Dutch referendum seemed to demonstrate that, while the comfortable voters are unwilling to suffer any short-term disturbance, they are also not so enamoured of the EU that they will support its further accumulation of power and foreign adventurism.

‘Cognitive dissonance’ also explains how little effect the Brussels terrorist murders have had on British opinion.  After all, to vote to remain in an institution whose capital is in a state of lockdown, with no public transport, bodies lying in the streets and at airports, police manhunts by special units in balaclavas, and all this being featured nightly on the News seems to exhibit a pattern of unreal behaviour, ‘normalising the abnormal’, a pattern of behaviour much played on by totalitarian regimes.

I have said before that the choice for voters can be reduced to 2 slogans:

‘the leap in the dark’


‘the blank cheque’.

The Leave campaign failed to counter ‘the leap in the dark’ slogan with the sensible Norway Option, also known as the Flexcit Market Solution, so it now has to convince the comfortable conservative voters that, by voting to remain, they are giving a ‘blank cheque’ to British politicians and the EU establishment to further centralise power in Brussels and strip democracy from the nations.  Being out of the euro will not make any difference because decisions will be taken by the Eurozone members.  The EU will press for more powers as it has in the refugee crisis.

Nothing will be done about immigration.

The point about this democracy ‘thingy’ is that, apart from enhancing the dignity of man and the nation, it is a self-correction mechanism.  Without reform and renewal effect, revolution is inevitable and, in this case, the UK will eventually leave the EU with disorder at home and abroad.

Here is an analysis I made some four weeks ago.


General Election 2015

Electorate 2016: 44,722,000 (General Election 2015: 45,325,000)

Turn out in 2015 election 66%

Total voters in 2015 election: 30,691,500

2015 Votes for Adjustment to 2015 vote
Parties Making 60% T/O LEAVE REMAIN
Conservative 11,300,109 11,100,000   6,600,000   4,500,000
Labour   9,347,324   8,500,000   3,000,000   5,500,000
SNP   1,454,436   1,300,000      400,000      900,000
LibDems   2,415,862   2,320,000      690,000   1,630,000


  3,780,000   3,500,000      280,000
Green   1,157,613   1,057,000      157,000      900,000
Others, mainly Northern Ireland)   1,135,057      800,000      400,000      400,000
(Approx. total) 30,691,500 28,850,000 14,747,000 14,110,000
The Breakdown in percentages
Leave/Remain in ORB polling figures Leave/Remain projection
Conservatives 56 44 60 40
Labour 39 61 35 65
SNP 32 68 31 69
LibDems 35 65 30 70
UKIP 92   8 92   8
Others, mainly Northern Ireland 41 59 50 50
Green n/a n/a 18 82
Total 52 48 49 51
Total 85% most likely to vote 54 46
Total 68% extremely likely to vote 58 42

Comments:   Most assume that the total turnout will be about ten per cent less than in a general election, as in 1975.  However, I have allowed for a higher turnout because the electorate has shrunk since 2015 because of individual voter registration and, therefore, some ineligble voters are no longer on the electoral roll.

There is an unequal distributional effect of this.  Since benefits are not affected by the Leave-Remain result and there are no real Scottish issues involved, unlike a general election, the lower turnout will be mainly among Labour and SNP voters.

Who will turn out?  David Cameron has said turnout is critical to the result but he certainly has not made the best arrangements for his side.

My projection (unlike the ORB poll data) is made after correcting for a lower turnout of a referendum vis-à-vis election.  But it is before considering the effects of the 5th May elections in local authorities in Scotland, Wales and London.

To call the electorate back to the polls six weeks later is a substantial ask and, again, in London, Wales and Scotland, there is likely to be a drop off in votes on 23rd June.

Then there is the European football tournament which will be going on most of June.  Once again, a depressant on votes.

The ORB polls clearly show that, as the number of voters goes down, so the Leave lead increases.

                                                               %              %

                                                           Leave         Remain

Poll turnout figures                                52             48

Only 85% most likely to vote                54             46

Only 68% extremely likely to vote       58             42

The older demographic voter will turn out because of its sense of civic duty and all polls shows the older demographic is much more likely to vote ‘Leave’.  It is quite evident that the key voting block is the 11.3 million Tories, most of whom will vote.

While the 25 percent or so Thatcherite Tories will vote en masse to ‘Leave’, the question arises about the liberal or moderate Conservatives, Home Counties Tories.  They will determine the outcome.

It is evident from the figures that, contrary to general elections, it is the Leatherheads, the Henleys, the New Forests, the West Kents, which will decide the outcome.  They are the ‘Swing’ votes.

The moderate Tories are being asked to give ANOTHER BLANK CHEQUE to a Tory Leader when the last blank cheque was cashed in, in the form of nine extra Treaties.  And I do not think they will make the same mistake again.

Opinion is now solidifying.  It is possible there could be a major terrorist atrocity with EU links.  (This was written before the Brussels’ attacks) or a major event on the Eurozone.  Either are likely to increase the ‘Leave’ vote.

For all these reasons, I am calling the result of the referendum now – a win for ‘Leave’ – by about ten points.

We must remember the referendum is not the end; it is a stage, and what happens afterwards is what matters.  The larger the ‘Leave’ vote, the harder it will be for Boris Johnson or another Tory Leader to come in and promise new (and better) negotiations to stay in the EU.

I am pleased to see reports in The Daily Telegraph indicating that the Leave Alliance proposals are being looked at with favour in Whitehall.

It is inevitable that, after a ‘Leave’ win, our proposals must be the only safe, sane way to execute withdrawal.

[Data extracted from March 2016 ORB poll]

Photo by secretlondon123

Anthony Scholefield

Anthony Scholefield

Anthony Scholefield is Director of the Futurus Think Tank

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“toadying” Cameron supports Obama’s “bullying and blackmail” of British voters

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)


News Release


25th April 2016


The independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon has taken great exception to the intervention of President Barack Obama in the EU referendum debate.

Lord Stoddart said:  “First, we had the spectacle of a British Prime going on bended knee to the German Chancellor begging for her help in conning the British people into remaining in the European Union.  Now we see him toadying up to Obama, who is reviled and detested by so many in his own country, while he threatens the British people with dire consequences if they dare to vote for freedom and independence by leaving the EU.  It is the worst kind of bullying and blackmail from a President who will be out of office in a little over six months.  No British Prime Minister should have sanctioned this disgraceful treatment of British voters, never mind actively supported it!

“What this blundering intervention has done is confirm exactly what the ‘special relationship’ really means.  ‘Do as we say or you will be punished.’ That is the status of a satellite – not of a partnership and the British people, as citizens proud of their country and its thousand year history, should give Obama his answer by voting for Brexit on 23rd June.”


Paterson: Leave is the safe option

One bright spot in what hasn’t been a particularly encouraging week for “leave” campaigners was yesterday’s  speech by Rt Hon Owen Paterson entitled The future of Europe

Mr Paterson spelt out what both “leave” and “remain” would look like in 2020. “Remain” would not be a vote for any sort of status quo. “To remain is a leap in the dark, It is a commitment to an undefined relationship to a completely new country”, he emphasised.  “You may not like the EU you have got now. you will like the new one even less.”  He went on to mention how the Eurozone countries were determined tt forge ahead with closer political union. This would leave the  UK out on a limb, not part of the Eurozone but sufficiently interlinked that “it is inevitable that its decisions will have an impact on us.”  Paterson goes on to question the validity of the Cameron deal and calls it “the worst of both worlds” adding that “The Prime Minister’s second-tier ‘associate membership’ or ‘special status’ is an ill-defined sham..”

He goes on to warn us not to repeat the mistake of the 1975 referendum. “Don’t be fooled again”  – a message the electorate needs to be told over and over again.

By contrast, Leave is called “the safe, bright, optimistic choice” and Paterson goes on to explain why. Following on from the Obama visit and the focus on the trade issue,  he points out that “The EU is a lousy negotiator of free trade deals. It moves as fast as the slowest lame donkey in the caravan – the deal with the US is holding up a deal with China, in turn holding up a deal with India. Free from the EU we will be able to strike our own bilateral deals as other countries like New Zealand do.” He points out the often overlooked role of global organisations in world trade.

However the issue on which Paterson provides far more detail than most other recent politicians on the “leave” side is how we would leave. He rightly points out that withdrawal is a process not an event and life on the day after we leave won’t be that different from before.  “We can leave the political arrangements of the Union and still enjoy access to the market”, he points out. Yes indeed, Mr Paterson. You have hit the nail on the head. We cannot jeopardise our access to the EU’s Single Market. It needs replacing with something better in the long term, but it is too important a market for our exporters to be put in jeopardy during the post-Brexit period.

A few more speeches by leading pro-leave politicians on these lines are sorely needed.