Quote of the Day
Brexit questions, 3: How many trade deals has the UK signed in the last ten years? How long did each take to conclude, on average?
None, trade deals were an EU exclusive competence.
Jeez, this man……
Brexit questions, 5: What value of tariffs do we collect now on imports to the UK? Which countries give rise to the top 10 payments? Are we planning new trade deals with any of them? What will the impact on revenue be?
Tariffs are sent to Brussels. They come off the other amounts we must also send there.
Brexit questions, 11: How much will the cost to business be of having to manage multiple trade deals and tariff arrangements?
Not a lot. Large exporters already send to 50, 90 different jurisdictions. We’re adding one more, the EU.
International political economy my arse.
I think that a failure of statistical thinking is the major intellectual shortcoming of our universities, journalism and intellectual culture. Cognitive psychology tells us that the unaided human mind is vulnerable to many fallacies and illusions because of its reliance on its memory for vivid anecdotes rather than systematic statistics. Yet pundits continue to hallucinate trends in freak events, like the Norwegian sniper (who shot all those young people on an island) and make wildly innumerate comparisons, such as between Afghanistan and Vietnam, or between today\’s human trafficking and the African slave trade. It\’s a holdover of the literary sensibilities of our science-flunking intellectual elite, who would be aghast if someone didn\’t know who Milton was, but cheerfully flaunt their ignorance of basic science and mathematics. I lobbied – unsuccessfully – for a course requirement at Harvard in statistical and logical reasoning.
No, my actual (rather small) point is that when the aspirational poor were previously shunted to distant dumping grounds, the biggest error was in not sending us far enough away from people like Polly Toynbee and her metrocentric ilk; those for whom if it doesn’t happen in London, then it doesn’t really happen at all.