Britain is once again Europe’s sick man as a result of Brexit.


Britain is once again Europe’s sick man as a result of Brexit. The secretary of state for all seasons, Michael Gove, was woefully unprepared when asked to provide chapter and verse on the topic of Brexit “opportunities” recently on the Today show.

Gove, however, dropped a ball. He should have stated that the only “opportunity” presented by Brexit was to conduct a scientific experiment to show that the entire concept was flawed, but as a committed Brexiteer, it is obvious that he was unable to do so. Furthermore, it was a confidence trick on the British people, most of whom are now aware that they were duped.

The polls are revealing the public’s opinion on Brexit with a vengeance as business and industry grapple with the effects of placing restrictions on our ability to trade with our largest market and citizens—referred to by economists as “consumers”—struggle with the higher import prices imposed by the devaluation brought on by Brexit.

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According to a recent YouGov poll, only 32% of people believe that we were right to leave the EU, and 56% believe that we were wrong. Even 19% of those who openly admit they voted to leave now regret it. The over-65s are the only age group with a majority still in favor of Brexit; I have to admit, they are not the over-65s I personally run into, but there it is.

The Sunak/Hunt cabinet’s more intelligent members undoubtedly understood the message from the CBI and other sources that we must re-join the single market for the benefit of our economy and society as a whole. But despite it appearing that attitudes toward immigration – and free movement! – have changed since 2016, when the vile Boris Johnson, who is of Turkish ancestry, incited anti-immigrant sentiment by making up stories about an impending wave of Turkish immigrants, this is the love that dares not speak its name.

The Office for Budget Responsibility estimates that the cumulative effects of Brexit will reduce our potential GDP by 4% annually. It has been said by Michael Saunders, a former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, that if Brexit hadn’t significantly decreased the economy’s potential output, there wouldn’t be a need for tax increases and spending cuts. And according to a recent Financial Times article, many of the asset managers Sunak and Hunt were attempting to appease following the Truss-Kwarteng debacle and were worried about the risks of excessive austerity.

The historian Lord Hennessy and I once heard former Treasury permanent secretary Lord Croham say, “What matters is not balancing the budget but balancing the economy.” However, it appears that we have returned to the sado-monetarist era in light of the most recent budget and the chancellor’s “shock and horror” remarks. We have a long way to go before the economy is balanced.

Jim Ball, a well-known economist, once declared that he had doubts about the OBE—not the Order of the British Empire, but rather those who offer you One Big Explanation.

The OBE for this government’s economic problems was Covid, followed by Ukraine. I’m not saying that Brexit is to blame for all of our issues, but my goodness, it has made them worse. I would like to suggest Brexit as the One Big Explanation for why this economy is performing so much worse than the rest of the G20, with all due respect to the late Prof. Ball.