Labour has criticised the arch-Eurosceptic MP John Redwood for “talking down Britain” after he recently wrote a column of financial advice in which he recommended investors “look further afield” because of the state of the UK economy.
In the piece for the Financial Times, the Conservative MP – who has a £180,000 second job as chief global strategist for Charles Stanley – said the European Central Bank was promoting faster growth when the UK was seeing a squeeze on credit.
“Mario Draghi, ECB president, is now doing whatever it takes, not just to rescue the euro but to promote a much-needed economic recovery,” he wrote. He also compared the US and Japan’s approach favourably to the UK’s.
The piece was published on 3 November but came to greater prominence after a scathing comment piece was published over the weekend by a Forbes commentator, Frances Coppola, who wrote that the MP had “advocated a course of action by the UK government that he knows would seriously damage the UK economy”.
Hmm, so, what did she say?
Sounds sensible, doesn’t it?
No. It is an absolute disgrace for this man to give such advice.
You see, the Rt. Hon. John Redwood MP – to give him his full title – is a lawmaker. He is an elected member of the House of Commons. And not just any lawmaker. He is a senior member of the Conservative Party, which is currently in government and making a total hash of the Brexit negotiations. He is also a former Cabinet Minister and a member of the Privy Council.
So having advised investors to remove their money from the UK, the Rt. Hon. John Redwood told the UK government to go for “hard Brexit”.
Let me remind you what the consequences of “hard Brexit” would be. According to researchers at the Ku Leuven Center for Economic Studies, the total loss of Gross Value Added in the UK would amount to 4.47% of GDP, and unemployment would rise by over half a million: this research also identifies high costs from hard Brexit for EU countries, particularly Ireland. John Van Reenen at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology calculates permanent per capita income reduction of 2.61%. The distribution would inevitably be highly uneven, disproportionately hitting the working poor, whose living standards could fall by significantly more.
Well, yes, that’s one model. Another is that the economy will grow by 3% (Patrick Minford).
So the Rt. Hon. John Redwood MP advocated a course of action by the UK government that he knows would seriously damage the UK economy. This is not the only time he has advocated such a course of action: he is a prominent advocate of “hard Brexit”, insisting that anything less is not really Brexit.
And to protect his job as an investment manager, he warned his wealthy clients to get their money out before the disaster hits.
To me, this smacks of disaster capitalism. Engineer a crash while ensuring your own interests are protected, then clean up when it hits.
This is despicable behaviour by a lawmaker. The Rt. Hon. John Redwood MP is putting his own interests above those he represents. He is unfit to hold office. He should resign.
And now we’ve descended into dribble, haven’t we? On two different levels.
Firstly, that choice of the model over Brexit effects. The second, well, so? It’s entirely valid to propose a course of action which has short term problems for the economy but which, in your belief if nothing else, has long term benefits. To deny that is to insist that Paul Volker shouldn’t have killed inflation with a recession, isn’t it?