A month ago, ultra-conservative historian, Niall Ferguson, published an article in The Times entitled “Brexit’s happy morons don’t give a damn about the costs of leaving”. I thought that attacking so-called ‘Brexiteers’ was somewhat at odds with what I was certain was Ferguson’s regularly and boorishly expressed Eurosceptic views – and I was right. It turned out that the “happy morons” that Ferguson was attacking were the one’s he alleges work for the IMF.
Nonetheless, it provided me with an excuse to use his phrase in a far more accurate way, to describe the ignoramuses and bilious racists who, by and large, don’t care a jot about the actual evidence and facts surrounding the EU referendum debate and only desperately want to stop the “swarm” of foreigners coming into the UK. Any argument used in an attempt to reason with these morons is either a lie or a conspiracy of global corporations, governments and even lizard people (I kid you not) and it would be hilarious except for the fact that most of them have yet to be deemed officially insane and therefore ineligible to vote.
So it was that Barack Obama came to our shores and made a speech which suggested that in his opinion, the UK should stay in the EU.
Of course, this led to an outpouring of grief by the Leavers who decided a long time ago that anyone who holds a different opinion to them, especially if they’re popular and definitely if they are not lily white in complexion has “no right” to come over here and tell us what to do – indeed they have no right to be heard at all in our ‘free’ democracy.
It was in this fetid atmosphere that James O’Brien took on the task of trying to discover why those who want to drag the UK out of the EU would not want to hear the opinion of the President of the country who is historically our strongest trading and security partner and the leader of the country Brexiteers claim will be our biggest and most reliable backer post a Brexit.
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.
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.
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