Monday, September 05, 2016

It is way too early to judge the results of Brexit

Britain has not actually left the EU yet.

We have not even formally triggered Article 50 to start the process.

Most of the economic statistics published since June 24th relate entirely or mostly to things which happened before the referendum.

All those things which actually have happened since June 24th - the sharp drop in the sterling exchange rate, a drop and recovery in FTSE indices and similar falls and recoveries or other changes in investor confidence studies - could easily move much further in either direction when Brexit really arrives depending on what terms we secure and what happens as a result.

There is one thing in common between both those "Remain" supporters who are suggesting that Brexit has already proved to be a disaster and those "Leave" supporters who are making equally premature comments like

"the 17 million people who voted to leave the European Union in this country know a darn sight more about economics than the members of the IMF, the OECD, the IFS and all these other soi-disant experts who have oeuf on their face."

And what both groups have in common is that they are rushing to claim that the evidence confirms their pre-existing opinions when in most cases it is far, far too early to conclude anything of the sort.

Both groups would be making far better use of their time in making a coherent case for what sort of Brexit deal, and what sort of trade agreements with other countries, we should be looking to negotiate.

The "Flexcit" proposal was one of very few attempts before the referendum to do it. Most of the "Leave" camp is now trying to pretend that the referendum result gives them a mandate for a much sharper break, not just with the EU but with the EEA as well, than the creators of that plan had in mind.

They have no such mandate. The one thing which the electors determined on 23rd June is that Britain will cease to be a member of the European Union.

Let's all calm down and try to negotiate the best deal we can get.

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