Friday, 19 February 2016

Grieve vs Hannan: more heat than light

Sorry. It's another fisking job. Has to be done. This time Dominic Grieve writing in CapX. He's taking down Denial Hannan which should be fun since I can't stand either of them. Let's dive in!
We know that Leave campaigners can be flexible with the facts when it comes to debating the European Union, due in large part to their inability to decide, or tell people what Out would look like and what kind of deal Britain would get. But in an ill-informed ten point plan on this site, Daniel Hannan has outdone them all. He has demonstrated his own ignorance of how Europe works, interested more in rhetoric than reality. Here’s a more realistic version of the ten points he made:
No arguments. Hannan only ever gets his facts right when he's lifting somebody else's work. It's more through luck than by judgement that he's ever right. And yes, Hannan has no idea what out looks like. Not looking good so far. Moving on.
1. The CBI are an independent voice legitimately representing the views of their members. They make an important contribution to this debate. They have conducted an independent review into the benefits of the UK’s membership of the EU, which was updated in February 2016. This review of 12 different studies concludes: The body of academic evidence points to an overall net benefit of EU membership to the UK around 4-5% of GDP, or £73bn-91bn per annum in 2014 GDP (£2,700-£3,300 per household).” The body of expert, independent evidence is clear: EU membership has been positive for the UK economy.
Always worth steering well clear of the Top Trumps calculations. The economy is intricate than economists would have it. There is certainly economic merit to being part of the single market, but the CBI have yet to demonstrate why political subordination is necessary to enjoy these benefits.  Norway enjoys EEA membership but you don't see them handing over extensive powers over key policy areas.
2. The cost of imports would increase by up to £11bn if the UK were to leave the EU and trade under World Trade Organisation Terms. Whilst Daniel Hannan might try to deny it, many of his fellow leave campaigners have suggested this as the options the UK should take. UKIP’s manifesto, Leave.EU, Business for Britain, Ruth Lea, Arron Banks, Daniel Campbell Bannerman and even Matthew Elliott have admitted this could be the route the UK takes. Daniel Hannan seems unaware that as things stand the UK trades goods with the EU without tariffs. If we moved on the WTO tariffs would be imposed, which would push up costs for businesses and consumers.
Doesn't look good for the Leave campaign does it? They have all chosen the most risky way out. But this doesn't help Grieve's case either. The joke is on all of them. If we elect to leave the single market the EU erects tariff barriers, not out of spite, but because it has a common external tariff. That's just the legal default.

The EU has a common external tariff (not WTO tariffs as Grieve has it) that it must apply to all non-EEA members. If we match it in reciprocation, under non-discrimination rules, we have to impose tariffs on all our other trading partners. That creates havoc, so we end up not imposing tariffs on the EU while they impose tariffs on us.

We could negotiate a "free trade deal" but a simple agreement on tariffs doesn't even begin to settle issues surrounding non-tariff barriers and if we wanted a comprehensive deal then the EU would have conditions tilted in its own favour. Moreover, the likelihood of such being concluded inside two years are nil.

And so, given how unrealistic, impractical and damaging it would be for both sides, we can categorically take it out of the equation. If we leave the EU, that is simply not going to happen no matter how much the hardliners stamp their feet. And so that means we will in all likelihood be looking at existing legal instruments, and for the sake of expediency, it would be an EEA based settlement. Politically and practically, there is just no other way to do it as explains.

So while the eurosceptic aristocracy have made a pigs ear of the campaign in advocating an option that cannot and does not exist, thus not getting their way, it leaves Grieve up the creek as well as his tariffs scare does not hold.
3. Independent experts have repeatedly found that over 3 million jobs are linked to our trade with the European Union. South Bank University, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, HM Treasury, and the Centre for Economics and Business Research have all concluded this. It is clear that Daniel Hannan does not like inconvenient facts, preferring instead to base evidence cobbled together by friends of Vote Leave as revealed by the Independent.
The three million jobs meme. Meh! But the "Institute for Studies" says it so it must be true! The convenient fact here though is that these jobs depend on trade. We only lose jobs if Brexit harms trade - and since we are staying in the single market, the business environment does not change, therefore... the assertion is complete toss. Only if we take the non-EEA route do we suffer job losses - but as we have established - that's not gonna happen - even if Hannan would like it to.
4. Daniel Hannan has been a member of European Parliament almost 17 years and still seems unable to understand what the single market is, how it works and the benefits it brings to our country. It means we trade without tariffs and agree common regulations, breaking down trade barriers at and beyond borders. But it comes with conditions attached. All countries that have access to the single market have to accept free movement of people. This is true of Norway and even Switzerland, who only have partial access to the single market. Both have higher rates of immigration than the UK.

If Daniel Hannan could show that we would retain access to the single market while ending free movement, he would, but he cannot. Instead he cites Colombia, whose free trade agreement with the EU does not eliminate all tariffs and will not give Columbia full access to the single market in services. Is this what Mr Hannan wants for the UK?
Grieve here is saying that Hannan knows dick all about the single market. Sorry, I have no arguments here. It's true. Hannan doesn't have the first clue. He labours under the same misapprehensions as Lea and Bannerman. But then Grieve is also fibbing when he says Norway has only partial access to the single market. The EEA is the single market, as well he knows, and Norway is inside the EEA.

Hannan's notion that any old FTA replaces single market access is absolutely intellectually bankrupt. The man's an idiot and a showboating poser. But then Grieve is a liar who takes us for stupid. As to who's worse, take your pick.
5. The deputy Mayor of Calais has made clear that the French may rip up the agreement which allows the UK to have border checks in Calais:

“We will have to cancel these agreements, because England won’t be in Europe anymore. So that will really be a foreign country for us.”

Philippe Mignonet, the deputy Mayor of Calais, Telegraph, 9th February 2015

It is clear that staying in the European Union keeps us safe. It makes it easier to deport suspected criminals and we’re better able to tackle terrorism by working together.
I am super pleased blogger White Wednesday has climbed into this one because it saves me a job.
6. Increased competition in Europe’s single market and the elimination of tariffs makes items in UK shops cheaper. Analysis by the CEBR on the tariffs the UK would have faced if we had been outside the EU has found that day-to-day products would be more expensive than they are now – they have gone down specifically because we are members of the Single Market.

Furthermore, the independent Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics estimate UK consumers will save an additional £6.3bn from the trade deals the EU is negotiating with the United States. We also benefit from cheaper flights, reduced cost from using your mobile abroad, and we save on our energy bills all thanks to EU action.
This response is in support of the notion that Being in the EU means lower prices in our shops. Certainly being in the single market may or may not have had that effect. Who cares? That's the past. What concerns us is now and the future. Since we are no leaving the single market, the price of fish is largely redundant and we can safely say that prices are barely going to budge either way. This is not and never had been an economics issue.

It may be that TTIP delivers lower prices. But then there's a good chance that it will be far weaker than anticipated and may not even come into force until I am a frail old man. Bloc deals take ages, they are prone to stalling, they're not very agile and partial scope agreements are better. Trading agility to my mind is the most compelling reason of all for leaving the EU. I don't think there is any value in having the EU make our trade deals for us.

As to roaming charges, Europhiles crow like this is a crowning achievement. For starters it's a little patronising to think we would gladly give up our status as a nation state in exchange for cheaper overseas phone calls (the main beneficiary of which are MEPs) - but actually it's another example of the EU obscuring the international stage from view.

Here we have Safaricom doing exactly the same, almost a year ahead of the EU - and we find China following suit along with the Gulf States. Now why do you suppose that is? It's almost like the EU doesn't make the rules it implements! Well, again, it doesn't. This is very much a global convention being put into practice, devised by the OECD and ITU as part of the UN sustainable development agenda. It could have happened a lot sooner were it not for the delays introduced by the EU.

As with the legislation on plastic carrier bags, the EU has proven it is well behind the curve in implementing global agreements and we could get the benefits of them much sooner while having a much greater say at the global level were we not in the EU.

As to air travel, yes the single market has been partially responsible for bringing down barriers and making room for a thriving competitive market but the EU makes it more expensive to travel outside of the EEA limiting our destinations. Leaving the EU has no impact on the cost of flights.

Meanwhile, the suggestion that we save on our energy bills all thanks to EU action - I. can't. even. I will return to this, because this assertion needs a very long post of its own to expose the profound ignorance of Grieve in its full glory. The man has a nerve, I'll give him that.
7. Again, Daniel Hannan does not seem to understand how the EU works. Democratically elected UK government ministers negotiate with their counterparts to reach agreement. Unelected officials do not make EU laws. The UK has a veto over vital matters, for example defence, foreign and justice matters. We are not part of the Euro, the passport-free zone, and we have opted out of the migrant quote system. We are an independent nation within the EU, just as we are while in NATO, the UN and the G20. Should we opt out of those also? 
Ok, it's a given that Hannan doesn't know how anything works, but then Grieve evidently doesn't understand the EU either. Or democracy for that matter. First off the EU, as this post explains, is not anything approaching a democracy, and secondly to say that our relationship inside a supranational entity is comparable with our membership of NATO/UN/G20 is an absolutely outrageous lie that ignores the very essence of what the EU is and the nature of the subordinate relationship we have.

In several key areas we have no veto and only a partial veto on everything else. As former attorney general, there is no possible way Grieve could not know this. Grieve is lying. Not wrong. Lying.
8. He could have done some basic research. Statistics from the Office for National Statistics make clear we get £66m per day in foreign direct investment from EU countries. On average from 2004-2014 the UK received £24bn per year from EU countries which is £66m per day. Business is clear that one of the key reasons we attract investment is because of full access to the European Union.
Here we have a nasty piece of spin in saying one of the key reasons we attract investment is because of full access to the European Union. Grieve means to say, the single market, which is not the same thing. I'm not going to join the stats games here because we can all play that game of matching sources and tinkering with figures and as far as the average voter is concerned, they will believe the one they prefer. The only point I see fit to add is that the trade issue is neither here not there since we are not leaving the EEA.
9. This is getting a bit embarrassing. It is unclear how many times Daniel Hannan needs to be corrected about this point. The independent InFacts have taken down this argument. Figures from HM Treasury show the UK’s net contribution to the EU in 2014 was 38p per person per day.
Again, I'm not going to argue. Who cares? What we do know is that leaving the EU means we will probably pay a lot less. We no not as yet know which participatory agreements we are going to continue with so we don't know what we will yet save, but Brexit is not about saving a few quid here and there as Hannan ought to know.

If he had any sense, he wouldn't have climbed into this debate at all because what we pay simply isn't the issue. If the EU cost half of what it does, or even nothing at all we should still want to leave it. What I would add though is that citing InFacts, a well funded Remain camp media operation, is not exactly an impartial, especially since Hugo Dixon is a lying toerag.
10. The European Arrest Warrant has meant 7,400 suspected criminals have been deported from the UK back to EU countries, and has meant over 1,100 suspected criminals who fled the UK, have had to return home to face justice. One of those was Hussein Osman, the terrorist who attempted to bomb Hammersmith tube station, and was then arrested on a European Arrest Warrant and sentenced to 40 years in prison.
In this, I genuinely have no real opinion. There are compelling reasons to have this level of cooperation - and there is no real reason why we would end cooperation in this by way of leaving the EU and we believe the EU is as serious as we are in preventing terrorism. If it isn't then we have no business being in such a union. Brexit however, puts us in ultimate control in ways that are incompatible with EU membership.


Again we see that the Remain case is made on the basis of metrics and statistics and problematising the Brexit process. There is no grand vision and there's no singing of praises. It's just the same bland and hackneyed memes, veiled threats and outright lies. It's boring beyond measure and it is no surprise that the public do not engage with these old debates with stale arguments.

What we can also say is that the Leave side is badly let down by an arrogant eurosceptic aristocracy who think they know it all - and can't be told anything, but actually know sod all. Quite clearly the lack of a coherent Brexit plan is why we will likely lose the referendum and liars like Grieve will get their way.

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