Brexit Armageddon Was a Terrifying Vision — But It Simply Hasn’t Happened

Source: Larry Elliott, economics editor, The Guardian, August 20

Larry ElliottThe government has responded to Brexit by soft-pedalling on austerity, by contemplating spending more on infrastructure and by committing itself to an industrial strategy. A degree of scepticism is warranted here. The referendum has made change possible: it doesn’t guarantee it will happen. It remains to be seen how many new roads and railways get built, or whether the industrial strategy amounts to anything more than a new name for Whitehall’s business department….

So instead of telling the public how hard life was going to be outside the EU, ministers and officials sought to reassure, to administer large doses of soothing balm, to insist that the UK could cope just fine on its own….

When I voted for Brexit on 23 June, I did so for three reasons: because the European Union is a failed project; because Europe is moving in an increasingly free-market direction; and because I wanted to shake up the status quo. It would take an extremely deep and prolonged recession to make me regret my choice. That prospect seems even more remote than it did eight weeks ago.

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4 responses to “Brexit Armageddon Was a Terrifying Vision — But It Simply Hasn’t Happened

  1. Larry Elliott is dead wrong. Disinvestment, diverted investment, and shifts in Permanent Establishment of MNEs will cost UK trillions (pounds or $), Scotland and possibly even Ireland. Public policy may have ADD, but the generational cost does not appear on a clear balance sheet after 8 weeks. EU is not a failed project. Rather it is a flawed project that is showing its flaws. Brexit scare will hopefully promote reform. But UK will likely not be able to “rejoin” with second referendum and London’s role as financial centre will be seriously eroded.

  2. To say that the European Union is a failure is like Trump’s claim that America is no longer great. The EU has kept the piece in Europe for 70 years, has allowed splendid exchanges of people and arts, enabled Ireland to build its economy, and populated Western Scotland with B&B’s for tourism — in every place I have stayed in both countries, the innkeeper has the same story: start-up funds from the EU. And I know there are many other stories in other countries that I’m not personally familiar with.
    The EU is deeply flawed, big problems indeed. So that’s the reason to abandon it? Fix it!! I realize that is easier said than done, It’s true, the EU is strangling in bureaucracy, which certainly makes any change difficult, but I didn’t notice any persistent attempt to address the problems before organizing the Brexit vote. Interesting, of course, that the people who engineered it fled within days of its passage.
    As it happens, I was in England the day after the vote, first in the Midlands, then in London. Pretty much the same mix of people there as the folks supporting Trump here: those who wish for the old days of Great Britain, master of her own fate without all those foreigners, as well as the many many people who have not benefited from the new money, versus students, professionals, people not afraid of the newness of present-day life. But mostly, the people I know were aghast and afraid.

    • “The EU has kept the piece (sic) in Europe for 70 years…”

      Umm, well, no.

      When the EU was barely a twinkle in the eyes of a few visionary post-war European leaders, the key players on both sides of the Atlantic adopted the North Atlantic Treaty, including Article V, which provided that an attack on one would be considered an attack on all. To add substance, six nations, including Canada, stationed “trip-wire” forces in Germany, the most likely target of a potential east-bloc attack.

      NATO, not the EU, kept the peace and continues to do so.

      • in defence of Styra on keeping the peace. . The NATO deterrent was essential vis. a vis. the Soviet Union, but that was not the whole story. EU made military tension between Italy, France, Germany, (and UK) history. EU and OSCE created conditions for Glasnost etc, as much, likely more influential than NATO.The economic linkages created by EU and cultural and civil society exchanges in the early years of OSCE, largely funded by the EU, undermined the Warsaw Pact as a political and economic concept. It was the EU, not NATO that won the hearts and minds of the new generation of elites in Poland, Czech, Hungary, and East Germany leaving the last Soviet State with the stark choice that thankfully led to a largely peaceful collapse of the Empire.