15 comments on “Timmy in the papers yet again

  1. Tim Harford is another one of those people who previously seemed rational but now appear to be completely deranged as a result of Brexit. It’s one thing to worry about the economic impact, but people like Harford seem determined not to see any upside at all.

  2. The Liberal Party was founded as a party of free trade, the LibDems seem to have lost this inheritance sufficiently that there is a LibDems For Free Trade internal pressure group. The continuity Liberal Party still promotes free trade.

  3. CS
    Yes, quite a few people seem to have been deranged by Brexit. Matthew Parris is another. Some people’s reputations will never recover in my opinion. Anyone associated with Project Fear is damaged goods now.

  4. In the most abstract sense, the referendum was a vote on the future direction of this country. It’s one thing to disagree with the eventual outcome, on balance, but Harford et al seem to want to treat it as if it were a vote to burn down their homes. They don’t seem able to see that a Remain vote was not a neutral option.

  5. Theo

    Parris has been no more than a borderline-senile, pasty-faced, limp-dick in a cardigan for some time. You can see him pining for the comfy chair in the corner of the TV lounge in the care home.

    Harford is another story. Makes some of his living from forensic analysis of numbers. Sad that he seems to have lost all objectivity and, consequently, credibility on Brexit matters.

  6. I’m also amazed by all these people, none of whom I’ve ever met, who know exactly why I voted for Brexit.

    DBC Reed included. Although “know” is clearly debatable in that particular case.

  7. CS,

    ‘but Harford et al seem to want to treat it as if it were a vote to burn down their homes’

    In that case I’ll vote ‘Yes’ again.

  8. i’d like to see the free trade argument quantified on both sides. That’s was missing at the moment. Joining EEC meant lots of commonwealth trade was substituted for continental trade. (still remained a good deal, more than average for european countries hence the rebate)

    The case for joining was not on this substitution effect of trade (meh- is the correct response) but that more net trade was stimulated by having a large tariff free area to flog into and import from. That was a trade liberalisation based economic argument (albeit not pure free trade). I haven’t see this being quantified and i think it would be very interesting.

  9. SE and BF
    I’m not defending Parris at all. However, since Brexit, he has become wild-eyed and frothing, rather than just irritating. Back in May 2015, he called the election result quite accurately: now, his judgement is shot.

  10. Hallowed Be

    As was pointed out Nigel Farage during referendum debates, the general level of tariffs around the world was far higher we joined the EEC than it is as we are leaving the EU. Europe has become less committed to its economic principles at just the World entered it’s post-GATT consensus.

  11. Hallowed Be,

    “The case for joining was not on this substitution effect of trade (meh- is the correct response) but that more net trade was stimulated by having a large tariff free area to flog into and import from. That was a trade liberalisation based economic argument (albeit not pure free trade). I haven’t see this being quantified and i think it would be very interesting.”

    I can’t quantify it, but I do think that joining made sense *at the time*. Trade proximity mattered and we had an improving road network that meant we could more easily move goods. But internet, more efficient shipping and so forth have changed that, which is why the share of trade is declining. Plus, a lot of the highest value goods are not about proximity at all. ARM chips, the CG work on Harry Potter films, the work done at Dyson in Malmesbury. It’s all virtual. And that’s where the growth is, not in olive oil and brie.

  12. Ironman BIW.
    “that’s where the growth is, not in olive oil and brie” Yes you’re right, and both EEC, GATT etc are different now but a case still be made either way and its hard to know the likely best course. So it’s true trade liberalisation is being made by both inners and outers. Pessimists and optimists.

    For example. Ken clarke’s one of the Brexit pessimists because he says the single market exists, rules in place, 500 million peeps, there already, and we walked away. yes free trade is great. Where we want to get to. We were very free trade within the EU and we had to use all of our influence (which included voting rights and much more than usual diplomatic ties, levers and understandings) to push more free trade within the market and outside. And it still was a struggle. I heard him say that and i feel he has a good point. The same forces that meant that it was slow going in Europe are there outside Europe , and you have to negotiate it and you don’t have a vote and you don’t have quite the institutional back up and you have to negotiate alot of things that had been done and dusted long ago within the EU.

    I say all this and i still feel the Worstall Way is the best.unilateral free trade. no negotiation or nothing. Grab all the benefits of unrestricted imports, work away at GATT unilaterally and Wold public opinion to make others see sense. That makes me an optimist in the Ken Clarke sense but still pessimistic because its not dear darling buds’ instinct to brave the rough winds on the open ocean.

  13. “Plus, a lot of the highest value goods are not about proximity at all. ARM chips, the CG work on Harry Potter films, the work done at Dyson in Malmesbury. It’s all virtual. And that’s where the growth is, not in olive oil and brie.”

    I can’t find it but I’m sure I read that Dyson created more of those high value jobs once he moved production out of UK, to the point where the total number of jobs there increased.

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