James O’Brien v Boris Johnson’s self-serving support for Brexit (audio)

If the polls are to be believed, the outcome of the forthcoming EU referendum is finely balanced. For reasons that are apparently obvious to many, but which this commentator is wholly in the dark about both sides of the debate have decided that name recognition will be critically important to the British public’s decision on 23rd June.


For the Remain campaign it has been assumed that David Cameron has the political clout to sway most Tories to accept his ‘renegotiated’ engagement with the EU and, for the Leave brigade, it’s Boris Johnson. Mr Johnson’s failings and, in the view of this blog, quasi-criminal activities have been widely reported, and his opening salvo with a speech for Vote Leave was rightly ridiculed for its utter contempt for facts – indeed he simply lied repeatedly.

But his Brexit lies will probably form the basis of a separate post in the coming weeks.

For now, it is James O’Brien’s astute analysis of Boris’ self-declared ambition to be “King of the World” that is the focus of this post.

“He’s not really in politics to make your life better, he’s in politics to make his own life better…to feed his own ego and to achieve as much as he can achieve in as short a time as possible” 

Password: imincorrigible

Audio © LBC97.3

 “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts”
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Note: the following is from an earlier blog post and more recent data is available, however, much of what is contained in the Regent’s report remains valid as of today.

If you would like to acquaint yourself with some facts about the EU rather than the dishonest claims of UKIP and the vehemently pro-EU lobby you should download the Regents report.  If you want to have an opinion on the EU debate (and you really should do) then argue from a position of knowledge.

Facts matter.

You can download the Regents report here: The UK & Europe: Costs, Benefits, Options Regents Report 2013.  this is what The Observer said about the report back in November:

Subtitled The Regent’s Report 2013, the 237-page document is going to be useful to all sides if we do have to go through what I myself regard as an unnecessary and time-wasting referendum on our membership of the European Union.

For a group of authors who are largely pro-European – and some, even now, pro-eurozone – they have produced a remarkably balanced document, with the emphasis on – wait for it – facts. There is plenty of acknowledgement of the tiresome aspects of the EU, and among a plethora of statistics, some obvious ones stand out.

These will not be new to students of the EU, but you can be sure they will not be highlighted by the anti-Europe brigade – many of whom have very nice houses in France, Spain, Italy and other parts of the EU. Suffice it to repeat here that, for all the fuss made by the anti-European press and Ukip, the entire “Brussels budget” amounts to 1% of EU gross domestic product.

Confusion can be worse confounded when it comes to facts. With economic statistics, we are often talking about estimates rather than facts. I have never found any evidence that Keynes made the remark often attributed to him: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

The explanation is simple: Keynes was far too intelligent to believe that facts could change. Facts are facts. Circumstances can change, and new information or more refined calculation can alter previous estimates.

William Keegan writing in The Observer 3 November 2013

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