BBC Hypes Gloomy Brexit Report By EU-Funded Think Tank

The second main story on BBC News all day has been a report by an American think tank warning that “nearly all” the possible outcomes of Brexit will see the UK worse off than staying in the EU. Of course the Rand Corporation, which published the report, is funded by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Union Research Executive Agency. Not that the Beeb thought to mention that…

Guido has read the Rand report so you don’t have to. It is filled with flaws and biases – for example it says the Brexit bill will be up to €75 billion (fact check: it’s between £35-39 billion). The report looks at many types of supposed models for Brexit, but it bizarrely doesn’t assess the outcome of the UK signing trade deals with multiple countries, one of the main reasons for leaving: “We did not explore the… model in which the UK would complete FTAs with numerous countries”. This is the government’s plan, why is it not included in the study?

Then there is the model Rand say they have used to determine their figures – it is the same as the infamous Treasury model that wrongly predicted a calamitous aftermath of a Leave vote. Debunked…

The report admits that “research for this study was completed as of 15 September 2017”. Eh? Quite a lot has happened since September – not least talks moving onto phase 2 when just a few months ago Remainers said they were doomed. Maybe if the study was up to date they’d have got the Brexit bill right…

And remember how the Beeb noted that “nearly all” of the outcomes were dire? What their coverage didn’t mention today is Rand’s finding that if the UK agrees FTAs with both the EU and the US we would see double the amount of GDP growth than any one of the so-called soft Brexit scenarios. Odd that this finding was missing from the BBC’s own coverage…

UPDATE: And the Rand report finds almost no difference in terms of GDP impact between the EEA minus or CETA plus models.

Commission Confirms ‘Legally Binding’ Row Confected

Once again it falls to Guido to point out the nonsense being pushed by Remainers today. The latest “row” confected by pro-Remain elements of the media claims David Davis committed some heinous gaffe by noting that last week’s deal is not strictly speaking legally binding. Today’s Times leader accuses DD of “undermining” the deal, taking the Guy Verhofstadt line that his comments “undermined trust”. Except, as with everything Verhofstadt says, this isn’t based in reality…

Yesterday a spokesman for the European Commission confirmed the deal is “formally speaking not legally binding”, and that it was merely an agreement “between gentlemen”. In other words Davis was right. Even the Remainers’ preferred legal expert Gina Miller agreed that it isn’t legally binding on Marr on Sunday. Davis and Verhofstadt have spoken this afternoon to agree to “get it converted into legal text as soon as possible”, something which has to be done because it isn’t binding in its current form. Guido is sure someone at the Commission could explain this slowly to the Times’ Brexit-hating leader writers…

Brussels Booze-Up Bonanza as MEPs’ Bar, Restaurant and Lounge Renovated

Brussels is set for booze-up bonanza after the European Parliament announced it is renovating the MEPs’ restaurant and lounge – and to make up for the inconvenience has built a new bar costing €200,000. Refurbishment works in the Altiero Spinelli building will begin in January and last for six months. MEPs received a note on their intranet informing them:

“In the framework of the catering policy adopted by the Bureau… to better accommodate Members’ needs and to adapt and modernise existing infrastructures, a refurbishing project of the Members’ restaurant and lounge in Brussels will start next year…To ensure high quality and functional service to Members’ parliamentary work, the Members’ Bar next to the Hemicycle in Strasbourg has been extended with new facilities.”

In April the European Parliament approved plans for the new 80-seat bar in Strasbourg, which replaced a library. There is also another bar in the Altiero Spinelli building which will remain open during the refurb. Guido has asked how much the latest renovations will cost. UKIP MEP Jonathan Bullock told Guido:

“It’s amazing they are making this a priority- we will of course make full use of the extended bar to celebrate Brexit when it finally comes!”

What are you drinking Jean-Claude?

Labour’s “Easy Movement” Muddle

Unlucky Dawn Butler was tasked with explaining what Keir Starmer’s proposals for “easy movement” of people means this afternoon, and she did not rule out it could entail unlimited number of EU migrants coming to the UK after Brexit. Speaking on the Daily Politics, the Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities seemed unsure what Labour’s position on free movement would mean for migration:

“It means that… there has to be movement… well, that is something that he will then develop in terms of detail… we will need movement in people… we will need movement of people but it won’t look exactly as it looks now…”

Butler went on to say: “we never talk about caps on numbers.” Asked whether Labour’s proposals could mean an unlimited number of EU migrants coming to the UK, Butler said:

“I think to be honest that’s part of the negotiations… if we were round the negotiating table we could come back with more detail”

Meanwhile, the Labour manifesto opposes continued free movement. “Easy” movement not quite so easy…

DD Slaps Down Hammond on Divorce Bill

David Davis says Philip Hammond was “not right” to suggest Britain would pay exit money to the EU under any circumstances. Hammond made the comments in a select committee appearance earlier this week. DD said on Marr this morning:

“It is conditional on an outcome… it is conditional on an implementation period, a trade outcome and also the other elements of the treaty, security, foreign affairs…”

Sorry Phil…

Labour Won’t Rule Out Second Referendum, More Payments, “Easy If Not Free” Movement

Keir Starmer didn’t deny that Britain would become a “vassal state” of the EU under his proposals in a revealing interview that showed his party’s true colours on Brexit. Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary repeatedly refused to rule out his party backing a second referendum, saying only: “we haven’t called for a second referendum”. Under Labour’s proposed ‘Norway style’ treaty, Starmer accepted that there would be:

  • Continuing payments to the EU (“Norway pays money in, there may have to be payments”);
  • Close to free cross-border movement of labour, described as “easy movement if not free” (“the end of free movement does not mean no movement… of course we would want people to come from the EU to work here”);
  • Continued mapping of EU regulations and standards with a copy and paste approach – but with no say over them.

Starmer also didn’t deny that he would rather Britain stayed in the single market outright. This was a significant interview where Starmer showed his true hand. Labour has nothing to offer Brexit voters…

Khan Gets Brexit-Bashing Corbynistas To Write His ‘Independent’ Impact Papers

Sadiq Khan might be on the other side of the world but that isn’t stopping him trying to grab headlines in remain papers: he announced today he is preparing his own Brexit impact papers on London. The reports, examining nine sectors, will be published next month. Sounds like a job for some independent experts, right?

Khan has commissioned Cambridge Econometrics, of which Jeremy Corbyn’s loudmouth ‘economics guru’ Richard Murphy is a director. Murphy adheres to the Corbynista creed of high taxing, high spending (he wrote a book called ‘The Joy of Tax’, which is a bit of a giveaway). Even The Guardian found Murphy immodest: he said in an interview “I’m well aware that there is one Treasury minister who is now referring to me as the Right Honourable Lord Murphy.” Murphy also claimed he was set for a SpAd job in the Shadow Treasury team. John McDonnell didn’t see it that way…

Murphy’s entirely glum outlook on Brexit is a matter of record. Check out his prediction that Britain would be in a recession in the event of a Leave win:

“I would argue recession is unavoidable. Investment in the UK will go on hold during renegotiation. No big business is going to sink millions or even billions into our economy without knowing what the future terms of UK trade might be. In itself this will be enough to trigger recession”

Nice one, professor…

And what of Murphy’s attitude towards those who support Brexit? In a piece entitled ‘The poverty of Brexit’, he argues Brexiteers are “intellectually bankrupt”:

“Those with a certain political philosophy are even more intellectually bankrupt than even the most sceptical of us thought. More worrying is what follows. Actual poverty will increase as a result of these failures. And that matters.”

Unsurprisingly, Cambridge Econometrics has already predicted that Brexit will harm the UK economy:

“The consensus among economists is that Brexit is likely to have a negative net effect on the economy. Losses are likely to outweigh any economic gains, in both the short and the long run.”

The organisation also said Brexit would harm economic growth:

“In the short term, we expect continued uncertainty to dampen growth, as business investment and household consumption weaken.”

Moreover, the firm’s managing director, Philip Summerton, regularly re-tweets prominent Remainers including Chuka Umunna, Caroline Lucas and Will Straw. Guido thinks he can guess what the conclusion of Khan’s impact papers will be…

Barnier Shuts Down Remainers’ Single Market Fantasy

The remain narrative on continuing membership of the single market was fully shut down by Michel Barnier this morning as Chuka Umunna, Nicola Sturgeon and Sadiq Khan’s fantasies were blown out of the water. This remain triumvirate tried to spin regulatory alignment to suggest Scotland and London could remain in the single market. Chuka even called for permanent membership of the single market after the transition…

Asked if the deal meant that the default position is remaining in the single market, Barnier said:

“No. You havent understood that well… beyond its decision to leave the EU… the British government has confirmed that it wishes also to leave the single market and the customs union which is not obligatory. There are countries who are not E.U. members, who are part because that is their wish, whilst respecting of the rules of the single market. But that’s not the choice taken by the UK. So you have not understood that well.”

No doubt this pack of remain rabble-rousers will jump to correct their statements…

Brexit Bill £35-39 Billion: What the Papers Said

The Brexit bill of £35-39 billion (as is being reported) is way less than the newspapers have been telling us it would be over the last few months. The Sunday Times reckoned May would agree to a £50 billion bill, the Telegraph said she had been handed a £50 billion bill by Brussels, most other papers ended up at a figure of €60 billion, the Express feared it could rise as high as €90 billion, and who can forget the FT taking copy from the Commission: “EU raises UK Brexit bill to €100 billion as Paris and Berlin harden stance”. In the end the profundity of the Remain punditry has ended up providing some handy expectations management for Downing Street, who can call this a significant win. A price well worth paying for Brexit…

UPDATE: Special mentions to Matt Holehouse who called it at £40 billion and Harry Cole who called it at £38 billion.

May and Juncker Announce Deal

The news you’re waking up to this morning is that a deal has been reached in Phase One of the Brexit negotiations and ‘sufficient progress’ has been declared, paving the way for trade talks. Read the deal in full here

Deal Done: Read In Full

Phase 1 Joint Report by Ross Kempsell on Scribd

That “full alignment” line is worrying Leavers this morning…

‘May Not Bringing Brexiteers With Her’

Pretty damning analysis from the Telegraph’s Juliet Samuel about the situation between Brexiteers and Number 10. Let’s hope this can all be resolved amicably when the Cabinet meets to discuss the end state later this month…

Gisela: Regulatory Alignment “Completely Unacceptable”, Doesn’t Respect Referendum

Gisela Stuart and Change Britain have published an interesting Q&A on what “regulatory alignment” means under the definition used in existing EU trade agreements – and it doesn’t look good. They say alignment would make Britain a rule-taker, where we have to follow EU rules but have no say, a worst of all worlds option.

‘Regulatory alignment’ is used by the EU in trade agreements to force other countries to accept EU law. The Ukraine-EU agreement, for example, makes clear that regulatory alignment means ‘Ukraine shall… incorporate the relevant EU acquis into its legislation’ 

The referendum result was a vote for the UK to take back control of its laws. If we have to accept an agreement where our laws continue to be written in Brussels – without elected British representatives having any say over them – this would clearly be incompatible with that result.

Gisela says accepting regulatory alignment would be “completely unacceptable”:

“The referendum result was a vote for real change, a vote to do things differently, and most importantly a vote to take back control. It would therefore be completely unacceptable if we were forced to agree a deal where regulatory alignment saw the UK continue to be subject to rules designed and imposed by Brussels. It would be Single Market membership in all but name.”

Boris, Gove and Brexiteer Tory MPs will agree with Gisela…

Boris: Whole of UK Must Take Back Control

Boris put it simply in the Q&A after his speech today:

“Whatever way we devise for getting onto the body of the talks, it’s got to be consistent with the whole of the United Kingdom taking back control of our laws, of our borders and of our cash.”

Close alignment does not sound like taking back control. Worrying this needs to be said 18 months on from the referendum…

CBI: Brexit the Worst Thing to Happen In Any Country in the World Ever

Guido awards the Order of the OTT to the president of the CBI Paul Drechsler, who told a City of London Corporation party last night that Brexit is the “most serious issue any country in the world has ever had to face”. Yep, forget the Russian civil war, Chernobyl, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Blitz, the Great Chinese Famine, the Black Death, the Irish potato famine, the introduction of smallpox to South America, the 1971 Iranian blizzard, 9/11, the Nanking massacre, the break-up of Bucks Fizz, the Great Depression or the assassination of JFK. According to the CBI it is Brexit that is the worst thing to happen in any country in the world ever. Peak Remoan…

H/T Politico Playbook

Schulz: Member States Must Accept United States of Europe Or Leave EU

Martin Schulz has told the SDP party conference today that a new treaty should be presented to member states creating a United States of Europe and countries who oppose it must leave the EU. He demanded “there to be a constitutional treaty to create a federal Europe… the treaty will be presented to the member states and those who are against should just leave the European Union… We want the United States of Europe”. His plan is for this to come into existence by 2025. And some Remainers think they have a hope of changing the public’s mind about Brexit…

Ian Paisley Jnr Reads Out Guido’s Story on Labour’s Brexit Positions

Another happy reader

‘One Week to Stop a Soft Brexit’, Barwell Failing to Hold it Together

Two columns today show just how serious things are between Number 10 and the Brexiteers. In the Speccie James Forsyth quotes a leading Vote Leave figure warning there is “a week to fight back” against a soft Brexit. His piece blames the whole clusterf**k on a “hopelessly understaffed” Downing Street, “a general lack of direction and grip” and the vacuum caused by Damian Green’s distractions. In the Times Iain Martin is even more damning, he says Number 10 “resembles a morgue” and names Gavin Barwell as “struggling to hold it all together”Yesterday Guido told how May is being bounced by Jeremy Heywood and Olly Robbins into a non-Brexit which prevents us from diverging from the EU – this is now the crunch issue.

Cabinet Brexiteers do not believe Theresa May wants to sell them out on Brexit. However they think May, Barwell and Number 10 do not understand the implications of the direction they are taking on regulatory alignment. Leavers are genuinely raging that there is no one in charge and the lack of leadership in Downing Street has allowed Heywood and Robbins to dictate the process and shift them towards a soft Brexit. Tories are even muttering wistfully that Nick Timothy would never have stood for this – it is a sign of how bad things are that some are almost longing for the days he was in charge. The Cabinet reckoning on the Brexit end state is promised before the end of the year. May has delayed it to hold her government together but in doing so her indecisiveness and caution has allowed the Remainers to walk her towards a non-Brexit.

The Vote Leave figure says there is a week to fight back against a soft Brexit. The other way of looking at it is May has a week to save herself from the consequences of taking the wrong path… 

Hammond: We’ll Pay Divorce Bill Even If There’s No Deal

Well done Phil, great negotiating tactic.

Hammond: We Don’t Know What We Want From Brexit End State

Philip Hammond has confirmed to the Treasury select committee that the Cabinet still hasn’t discussed what the Brexit end state will look like, i.e. whether it will be the convergence non-Brexit preferred by him, Jeremy Heywood and Olly Robbins, or a real Brexit in which we properly diverge from the EU.[…] Read the rest

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