EU is in serious economic decline

Bexhill Observer letters
Bexhill Observer letters

From: Barry M. Jones, Bixley Lane, Beckley

Economics was a tedious, compulsory three-year subject at Polytechnic, while statistics was three years of joy, so I am naturally cynical towards economists’ claims (none of whom agree) and dismissive of spin-doctors misusing statistics for political ends.

Responsible EU officials, Eurostat and anti-Brexit economists, recognise that the EU is in serious economic decline, compared to India, China and others. GDP (GNI, GNP...) are at best ambiguously convenient, if pretty meaningless ‘comparative indexes’ beloved of economists and baffled politicians world-wide, by whose standard reasoning Britain is the world’s fifth largest economy. We were fourth, pre-EEC, dropping to seventh in the EU. However, Project Fear Stephen Hardy (28/10/17) mischievously chooses an obscure anti-Brexit IMF ‘purchasing power parity’ GDP index to debase Brexit Britain to a misleading “ninth largest GDP”.

The WTO’s function is to promote global free trade and peace by removing artificial barriers to trade, below-cost ‘dumping’ and unfair subsidies (hence the US/Boeing vs EU/Airbus squabble over illegal government subsidies, unrelated to Brexit). Not once in Stephen’s relentless anti-Brexit campaign does he recognise the difference between mutually beneficial, membership-fee free, apolitical Free Trade Agreements/Areas between independent sovereign nations (EFTA, NAFTA, ASEAN etc), with that of the world’s only self-protectionist, fully political Customs Union (the EU) whose 28 members pay heavily through taxation and transfer of legal competencies to ‘enjoy’ tariff-free trade.

Average WTO tariffs are now below four per cent dockside – peanuts compared to VAT on marked-up prices – so the maths of Britain’s £18bn gross EU membership fees is unjustifiable. Even the EU’s 36 ‘negotiated FTAs’ are actually politically barbed Association Agreements allowing the EU to plunder their resources.

After 15 years, we are still waiting for France and Germany to allow the Single Market in services to actually work, so neither Britain nor the EU-27 (all operating under WTO rules) have anything to fear over Brexit under WTO rules. The only danger is in an intransigent EU cutting its nose off to spite its face, and failed Project Fear propagandists, hell bent on delaying and sabotaging a clean Brexit.