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Boris' fantasy speech
20 Feb, 2018

Sign the petition for Parliament to have the Option to Remain 

Our correspondent considers Boris Johnson's fantasy speech and asks what we can do. Given the poor quality of the Leave arguments, Parliament must have the option to vote for us to Remain in the EU. You can sign the petition to that effect.

Boris is on his own

David Aaronovitch in his Times article on 15th February "Can any of us believe a word Johnson says?" states:

"The assessments from the Treasury, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and the Bank of England are unlikely all to be wrong.
For whose benefit was the repetition of the fiction that leaving the EU frees up vast amounts of money for the NHS? Since no forecast makes us anything but poorer for some time to come, how does that work?"

15 assessments agree with the Treasury

Fifteen (yes 15) different assessments conclude that there will be LESS money after Brexit, not more – by 16% in some cases:

That means IF Brexit goes ahead, there will be LESS money for:
- the NHS,
- housing,
- infrastructure,
- carers,
- national security
- or anything else which voters were promised after Brexit.

We will be at the mercy of the big trading blocks

We will be desperate for trade deals, and have to accept whatever terms the USA, China, India, etc, will dictate:

Jason Langrish, Canadian negotiator, argued on 10 December 2017 on BBC Radio 4 "The World this Weekend" that the UK’s trade negotiators will be trying to defy economic gravity:

“Trade flows are going to be predominantly with those in your neighbourhood. So the idea of Britain leaving the EU and then replicating or replacing that trade with relations with other countries like the US or China or wherever is just simply not realistic. Countries trade with their neighbours, it is a physical reality. It is the costs of moving goods and services. It is also a cultural reality – you are more familiar with your neighbours.

"You would not be able to negotiate with say, Canada or the US, without knowing what your relationship will be with the EU. That relationship will in part dictate what is possible in other negotiations. Now the real problem will be if the UK comes out of these talks with the EU with a fairly average type of outcome, other countries with whom the UK wants to strike a deal will realise that there is a vulnerability there. If, say the Chinese come to the table and say, ‘If you want to deal with us, you have to allow our state-owned enterprises to buy your strategic assets’, or the Indians say, ‘If you want to deal with us, we want temporary entry for our IT and professional services workers’ - people in the UK will say, ‘That feels like a loss of sovereignty’."

We are diminishing our power

Jim O'Neill (former Goldman Sachs Chief Executive and Commercial Secretary to the Treasury) said on 2 February on BBC News Radio 4:

"If you are doing a lot of trade with other places in some ways it is irrelevant whether you are in the EU or not and Germany proves that.

"We keep trotting out this phrase "global Britain". We are diminishing that by removing ourselves from a very helpful trade relationship with 50% of our partners."

We will lose out on favourable concessions

Dr Meredith Crowley (economist at the University of Cambridge) stated on Monday 5 February on BBC TV News at Ten:

a) UK firms are able to integrate themselves into cross European supply chains and have their manufacturing networks extend across countries.

b) Large multinationals co-located their investment and jobs in the UK in order to take advantage of the European market.

c) As part of the larger EU trading bloc, the UK was able to extract concessions in negotiating agreements with other countries like China that they might not have been able to extract if they were operating individually.

Conclusion: it is sensible to keep all options open

Until the Leave side can produce credible, factual, peer-reviewed Impact Analyses which prove substantial benefits of leaving the EU - the only logical, plain common sense thing to do is to keep all options open. You can sign this petition for the Option to Remain.