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Brexit: waiting for the squealing

2016-08-05 05:51:12

Part of me is really going to enjoy the squealing from the likes of the Express when they finally pick up on the story ran yesterday by WirtschaftsWoche and its sister publication Hendelsblatt.

This is about the Reste à liquider (RAL) liability that we first wrote about in April 2013, having fed the details to Booker for his column, returning again to the subject in November 2014 after Euractiv reported the concerns of the EU's Court of Auditors.

But we raised the issue specifically in relation to Flexcit this April when I estimated that the UK liability could extend to as much as £30 billion, lodging the same details in Monograph 3 a few days ago. I had also, incidentally, sent the same details to the Treasury Committee, so it is going to be interesting to see if they include it in their report.

Anyhow, WirtschaftsWoche - on the basis of talking to an EU official – now claims that our liability will run to €25 billion, which it says will have to be paid by the UK as part of the exit package. I think that is an under-estimate, but nobody will know until we're actually presented with the bill.

Needless to say, the British media are so far oblivious to this issue but, in the fullness of time, one or other media organ will "discover" the story and claim an exclusive – no doubt with sundry "eurosceptic" politicians piling in to express their outrage.

The fact is, though, that the information was available well before the referendum – published on the blog that the London "bubble dwellers" studiously ignore, except when it suits them to raid the pages and steal our material for their own purposes.

This one though, is going to catch them all out because, with the other payments we are going to have to make – all set out in that April blogpost – there is a very good chance that, in the first few years after we leave the EU, we are going to end up paying more out of tax funds (to send to Brussels and to fund things like agriculture subsidies) than we are currently doing.

This, of course, is also another stark reminder of the destitution of the Vote Leave campaign, and it perpetration of the deliberate lie that we would save £350 million a week from leaving the EU. No doubt, the unreconciled "remains" will be strident in their protests, complaining once again that Vote Leave lied through its teeth – as if we didn't already know.

When the storm breaks on RAL, though, I shall just sit back and enjoy the squealing. Both sides – whether it's the idiot Minford for the "leavers", or the Kaletsky for the "remains" – seem determined to make a complete mess of the post-referendum debate, so much so that I've virtually stopped looking at the British media on anything to do with Brexit.

Amusingly, we've even got Open Europe catching up with the idea of the EEA as an interim option – even though they have no idea of what the final destination should be. And we have academia sniffing round the edges on the EEA/Liechtenstein solution (in this case, linking to the blog, without actually naming it of course.

I'm told that I should be pleased that the great and the good are finally catching up, and the ideas we have been writing about for so long are at last starting to enter the mainstream. But I see little cause for celebration that outfits like Open Europe are four years behind the curve and still don't understand the issues.

From my perspective, what we are seeing is a process by which the "bubble", bereft of its own ideas, has reluctantly embraced some of mine and some from our "Brexit blogger" group. First, though, they had to "sanitise" our ideas but now they've done that, and have distanced them from their originators, they feel able to talk about them without the inconvenience of having to acknowledge the sources.

As a result, I have found myself paraphrasing Ghandi, with my own variation, thus: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then they steal your stuff and pretend it was theirs all along".

Frankly, though, I've ceased caring. I'll keep writing the blog and my Monographs for as long as I feel I have something useful to say. If people want to ignore a free source of expert analysis, that's their problem not mine. And if they feel the need to steal the material rather than acknowledge its source, that says more about them than it does me.

The interesting thing is that so many people seem content with making a pig's ear of their analyses and reporting, rather than doing the job properly. Sadly, most of them don't have the first idea of what they're talking about. That's why we're seeing insane ideas from the likes of Minford and Jenkin, which would not survive for more than a few seconds under proper scrutiny.

But at least there is some entertainment to be had when we see all the claims made by Vote Leave before the referendum starting to unravel, and then being ripped to shreds. It's small consolation, but it's enough to be going on with, especially if we end up paying as much for Brexit as we were as full members of the EU.