I think Spud must be mashed

As in, he is mashed, not that he should be.

So in other words, the Brexit phenomenon has been the most massive exercise in mis-selling imaginable, despite which we know those who have been persuaded to act against their own rational best interests are adamant in their commitment to what they voted for.

I cannot better the explanation for this offered by Simon Wren-Lewis. As he says:

Brexit would not have happened if it had remained the wish of a minority of Conservative MPs. It happened because of the right wing UK press. Brexit happened because this right wing press recognised a large section of their readership were disaffected from conventional politics, and began grooming them with stories of EU immigrants taking jobs, lowering wages and taking benefits (and sometimes much worse). These stories were not (always) false, but like all good propaganda they elevated a half-truth into a firm belief. Of course this grooming played on age old insecurities, but it magnified them into a political movement. Nationalism does the same. It did not just reflect readers existing views, but rather played on their doubts and fears and hopes and turned this into votes.

In other words, the vote for Brexit was not rational. The evidence is compelling.

But that’s of enormous significance. First, it shatters the whole of the economics on which the logic of Brexit is based. Trade based growth assumes the existence of homo economicus, and yet the Brexit campaign proved the species’ extinction.

People don’t maximise income. They maximise utility.

Sigh.

What’s the cash value of not being ruled by Juncker?

But look what underlies this. The people are obviously too stupid to vote the right way. It’s democracy he’s attacking, not economics nor Brexit.

29 comments on “I think Spud must be mashed

  1. Thanks Tim, for mashing the Spud repeatedly and often.

    The guy is deranged and would normally be ignored by sensible people.

    However he is a useful idiot and spouts policies which would be taken up by those in a Corbyn administration, using the likes of him to give a thin veneer of authority to what are essentially totalitarian policies.

    Keep at it and don’t let up.

    If by some miracle May pulls a blinder and we do actually leave the E.U. then perhaps we might have some silence from the remoaners.

  2. Some pathetic wibble from Wren-Lewis that it was all a right wing press conspiracy (would that we had a vaguely right wing press) turns into compelling evidence.
    The man is a cunt

  3. Simon Wrong-Lewis is very tedious in his analysis. For him the potential economic costs of Brexit are the only things that matter. I imagine that he would have been among those people advising surrender in 1940. He also continues to believe that anyone who voted to leave is stupid and brainwashed by this mythical beast he calls the right wing media. Truly a great advertisement for academic economics

  4. As I’ve said repeatedly, Brexit has been wonderful for exposing the false democrats that infest public life. Anyone whose reaction to Brexit (having voted for Remain) wasn’t ‘Oh, well, we lost, thats bad news, but thats voting for you’ is shown to be an authoritarian arsehole of the first order, a fascist basically. The lower orders are too stupid to understand what enlightened individuals of superior intellect like myself can see are obvious good things, so we must ignore the proles and their votes, and do as I say.

  5. and began grooming them with stories of EU immigrants taking jobs

    Nice pedo reference there with “grooming”.

    But if EU immigrants aren’t here to take jobs, why are they here?

    NB I don’t think many people care that much about Spanish hairdressers, French chefs or Polish plumbers coming here.

    Eastern European gypsies are more problematic, and Angela Merkel’s unilateral decision to facilitate the biggest mass rape of German womanhood since the Red Army last visited Berlin were the biggest immigration concerns.

    Poland and Hungary are being threatened by the EU that they’d better take their “fair share” of “migrants” who they don’t want and who would most certainly bring the sort of terrorism, gang rape and welfare parasitism all too depressingly familiar in the growing foreign-occupied territories of Western Europe.

    The European Union is already a tough sell. Turning it into an Afro-Arabian Union makes it radioactive.

    We have little enough in common with the multiculti pick n’ mix people who – God help them – were living in Grenfell at our expense. Why on earth would we want to be in a political and economic union with millions of “French” Mauritanians and “German” Syrians? Literally nothing good can come from that.

  6. I’m so so so fucking glad we’re leaving.

    Spot on about utility not income. The EU is changing fast and for the worse. We voted to not be part of what it will become not what it is (although that sucks too).

  7. “But if EU immigrants aren’t here to take jobs, why are they here?”

    To replace the voters who don’t vote right . . . uhh . . . Left.

  8. Spud believes that people maximise their income because *he* is not making as much money as *he* would like to. So *he* would like to maximise *his* income. Or at least thinks he does since he’s not yet hit that point where, for some people, more time has a higher value than more money.

    And he entirely projects his situation and vision onto everyone else (e.g. why would anyone want a BMW when a Citroën Berlingo is all anyone could ever need).

    It’s that simple.

  9. And he entirely projects his situation and vision onto everyone else (e.g. why would anyone want a BMW when a Citroën Berlingo is all anyone could ever need).

    He was back onto handbags the other day. He has something against handbags, he has denounced them before. What is the source of this intense dislike, I wonder?

  10. Rob, just as well he doesn’t have daughters, otherwise his head would explode with all the frivolous expenditure on shoes, make-up etc. I think my daughter has paid for the Lush CEO’s holiday this year.

  11. I’ve wondered how other separations from a larger union (US, Ireland leaving UK, break up of the USSR etc.) would square up to this narrow analysis?

    My understanding of US history of the 1770s was there was indeed short term economic pain faced by a new country with few of the advantages of the UK in 2017. A problem that barely registers 200+ years later.

    They got over it quickly, went onwards and upwards. Is there anyone who now questions whether it was a good thing to do?

  12. Hold on, I rationally voted in my own best interests, and what I perceived to be the best interests of my fellow citizens. After all, Remain kept telling me that Brexit would result in wages going up (yay!) fewer people competing with me in the job market (yay!) not being forced to put VAT on things (yay!), not being forced to put tarrifs on imports (yay!) having to make our own decisions like adults (yay!). The Remain campaign was very successful in opening my eyes to the benefits of Brexit, I have to thank them.

  13. I tend to think that the medium term economic consequences of Brexit will be negative – basically market size and free movement of labour. I believe that the short term effect will be reduced investment and a smaller economy due to uncertainty (I am fairly confident on this point). Anything out beyond the 5-10 year horizon is difficult to project with any certainty. The analysis in the FT claiming that the economy has shrunk a lot (relative to where it would have been) was charlatanry, it posits a strong recovery when the recovery from the financial crisis has been characterised by weak growth, which was atypical for recession recoveries. And employment has grown far more than the pre-referendum projections suggested – this may be a substitution of labour for capital, but it may be indicative of other structural issues in the UK economy, it is a bit early to judge.

    I also really dislike analyses that rely on migration for growth (because it does little for GDP per capita), but do see the possibility that lack of skilled labour might be problematic.

    I find the SWL argument that people did not vote in their interest utterly bizarre – as JGH says, higher wages, fewer competitors for jobs, more control over regulations certainly benefits many people. It will mean more expensive coffees in coffee bars, but perhaps a more productive domestic workforce in the medium term.

    At the end of the day, democracy is about the great unwashed getting a vote. And there are arguments on both sides – but I do find the remainiac ranting that people who voted leave are stupid really very depressing.

  14. Ken,
    There may well be negative consequences in the medium term. Or there may not. Or consequences may be positive for some and negative for others.

    Thus far, all negative predictions have been proven false, and there have been a great many of them.

    It’s too early to say what the actual impact of actually leaving would be, however sensible people should by now be taking predictions of doom with a pinch of salt.

    Shouldn’t they?

  15. We know Spud is a self-deluding fool at a Mickey Mouse university; but an Oxford Professor like Wren-Lewis should know better than to spout simplistic conspiracy theories. Wren-Lewis, like A C Grayling, is exhibiting Brexit Derangement Syndrome.

  16. Jack C.

    I’d say that the odds are that the UK economy will be smaller over a 10 year horizon. Why? Because the structure of the economy was geared to being part of the EU and now some of this will need to be unwound. New potential growth paths will open, but probably insufficient to offset the short term effects of uncertainty and the adjustment.

    If the EU blows up, the UK will still suffer as it is a major trading partner, it might suffer slightly less than would otherwise have been the case. Similarly if the EU economy expands, the UK will benefit, but slightly less than might have been the case. Out past ten years the benefits of being out might outweigh those of being in, but the odds are still that the economy will be smaller.

    As I said, short run – very confident that it is negative, although the extent is unclear. Medium term, pretty confident that it will be negative (all relative to the hypothetical staying in case), but again not clear about how much, but probably more than in the short run. Long run, open to debate.

    These are not predictions of doom, just saying it will be slightly less good than would otherwise have been the case. I thought that Osborne’s idiotic recession claim was indeed a prediction of doom – but it’s surprising the number of people who are still convinced that leaving is terrible. But plenty of bad things have happened – sterling is weaker, inflation is up and investment is weaker than the OBR (perhaps optimistically) forecast. Yes, exports are stronger, and employment is up, but overall, the impact in the short run is almost certainly negative (relative, as I said, to where we would have been)

  17. Yet the government does things that definitely and unequivocally are making us all poorer, such as subsiding ‘renewable’ energy, and no-one in the ‘great and good’ seems at all concerned. Why is it only the democratic freedom of being out from under the control of the fonctionnaires that must show a positive balance sheet?

  18. Ken – Nobody knows. There’s certainly a lot of low-hanging fruit available for the plucking after Brexit:

    * Abolish the Climate Change Act (somewhat easier to achieve outside the clutches of the Euroctopus)

    * Get the hell out of the Paris Agreement (ditto)

    * Sign a big yuge free trade agreement with the USA (probably need to get rid of Mrs May to make that happen after she insulted President Trump, but every cloud etc.)

    Some of the above would require us to herd our current political coulrocracy into camps and then humanely cull them with hammers, but I see that as a feature, not a bug.

  19. @ Chris Miller
    The cost of subsidies for renewable energy are a fraction of the cost of subsidising public sector unions and MPs’ pensions so not a problem to the “great and good” almost all of whom are on the tuck waggon. But Brexit threatens their security – it is a modern-day version of The Peasants’ Revolt.

  20. Let’s be honest, other than a short period of ‘socialism’ between the end of WWII and 1979 the UK’s economy has always been pretty good, pretty resilient. As anyone running a race knows, if you have to run in a pack you run at the pace of the slowest.

    Released from the drag of lardy Spain, lazy Greece, cheating France and so on, the UK can now accelerate away and take its rightful place among the world’s fastest.

    Rule Britannia,
    3 monkeys on a stick
    one fell off
    and snapped his…..

    I forget the rest. But it proves that the British are the best.

    We invented all the sports worth playing outdoors and most of the games worth playing in a pub.

    The English, The English, The English are best
    I wouldn’t give tuppence for all of the rest.

  21. @Diogenes, December 20, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Simon Wrong-Lewis also continues to believe that anyone who voted to leave is stupid and brainwashed by this mythical beast he calls the right wing media. Truly a great advertisement for academic economics

    Margaret Thatcher became euro-sceptic during her first EU meeting after becoming PM; prior to that she was a euro-phile. Seeing & hearing the truth & reality rather than EU & Gov’t spin was her revelation.

    Not sure when I did, but I was against Mastricht Treaty.

  22. The several colonies that declared independence had no growth until Andrew Jackson was elected. That’s the effect of two wars against Great Britain, the blockades and repaying the debts taken on. Europe did badly in the same period too.
    By the 1870s the USA was the world number one economy according to the IMF.
    So in 50 year timescales incredible things can happen. I think HK and Taiwan have achieved similar.
    If greatness can be achieved in fewer years it would be quite astonishing, imv of course.

  23. I think I started hating the EU around 1975, when I was six. I’ve always been a trendsetter.

  24. Countries have turned it around quicker Bingo.

    West Germany after 1945, but they did have an educated population.

    South Korea would be my pick, from backward peasants to major economic powerhouse in 40 years, but Vietnam’s transformation will bear watching.

  25. Free Trade Agreements are not about free trade. If they were, they would take two minutes to agree and be one sentence long. They are about exemptions and exceptions for vested interests of whatever kind.

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