The Economist’s Anti-Brexit Propaganda – Part One

Reporting on what its leader writers aver is an “alarmingly close contest”, The Economist magazine this week informs its readers that there is a “real chance” Britain could leave the EU.

Prior to the referendum, it is extraordinarily difficult to determine how people are likely to cast their ballots. There are two propositions—“leave” and “remain”—and by dint of Electoral Commission procedure both options are given equal weight on the ballot paper itself.

The prestigious Economist magazine, on the other hand, pays its readers no such courtesy and instead indulges in paragraph after paragraph of ignorant, doom-leaden propaganda. I have practically given up on the celebrity-obsessed legacy media but for many people (some of them known to me personally) the Economist is regarded as a redoubt of evidence-based reporting and knowledgable commentary.

I can dispel that myth immediately. Beginning with the emotive imagery of Britain “casting off from Europe’s shores”, the leader writers have produced an editorial loaded with the kind of scaremongering piffle that would make even some gossipy tabloid hacks think twice. The affect is to engender a feeling of ennui at the mere thought of Britain’s EU withdrawal.

Leaving the EU would “damage the economy” and “imperil Britain’s security”, the Economist asserts, without a scrap of evidence; the “sophisticated readers” of this “august journal” are expected to accept these statements as a priori facts rather than subjecting them to the kind of critical reasoning conventionally associated with brand Economist.

From thereon, the feature descends into incoherent foaming, presenting an unpleasant and unhinged perspective on what self-governance would mean for the United Kingdom and its allies in Europe and elsewhere. “Far from reclaiming sovereignty”, we are told, “Britons would be forgoing clout, by giving up membership of a powerful club whose actions they can better influence from within than from without”.

In response to this, one can but ask, “what influence”? Here are a few pertinent facts that the Economist neglects to mention in its petty rant.

As part of the EU28, Britain sacrifices power for so-called influence. The fifth largest economy on the planet surrenders the right to make its own trade, agricultural and fisheries policies, and “shares” responsibility for justice and home affairs, environmental, energy, transport and telecommunications policy with 27 other Member States and the EU’s supranational institutions. In short, EU membership lengthens lines of accountability and introduces unnecessary complexity into the policy-making process; that means less power and influence for ordinary voters, not more.

The promise of “clout” is also worth far less than is often claimed when one considers the effects of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, which compels signatories (as both the EU and UK are) to favour international standards over regional or domestic standards. As a result, the EU is an impediment to Britain playing a full and independent role in the truly multilateral standards-setting process that advances through thousands of technical bodies—operating on an intergovernmental basis—at the global level. Food standards are a matter for Codex Alimentarius in Rome; the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) focuses on shipping and freight; automotive vehicle standards are agreed by WP.29 under the auspices of the United Nations Commission for Europe (UNECE).

Adopting a global perspective, the Economist’s view that Britain would be isolated or “cast adrift” is absurd. Are Australia or Canada isolated because they are not EU Member States? Britain’s economy, it is worth noting, is far larger than both.

Since this post is already running a little long, and I am barely a third of the way into the Economist article, I shall have to continue the rebuttal of their fantasy land Brexit in another post. Remarkably, the rest of the article is even more incoherent and illogical than its opening.

2 thoughts on “The Economist’s Anti-Brexit Propaganda – Part One

  1. Good start! The Economist has become (even) more left-wing since the new editor took over. I haven’t received the latest issue but I see they’ve thrown every pro-EU argument at the wall, hoping some will stick. The claim that the EU protects our “security” is no doubt focus-group tested by Remainers, but where’s the substance?

    And what “influence” do we have in the EU? The Economist argued earlier this month that, absurdly, Cameron’s deal proves the case for the EU. The EU gave us pathetically little even with the threat of a British exit. The provisions of the deal confirm Britain is on the outer track of Europe, and will be further marginalised as Eurozone integration deepens – and make no mistake, on the continent there is still a significant desire, atleast among politicians, for “more Europe”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Precisely so. The other seven non-Euro EU states (UK and Denmark excepted) are fully and legally committed to the ever deepening abyss of the Euro. When (if ?) this happens it will leave us in a minority of two on the periphery of this increasingly redundant delusion with just one twenty-eighth of a voice, shortly to become one thirty-fifth when Turkey and the Balkan states are coerced into joining. Sorry, did I say “coerced”, I should have said “invited” – silly me.
      Thirty years ago I used to look forward to reading the incisive articles in The Economist, sadly of late it has greatly devalued its own status with journalism about as in depth as the puddle outside my window.

      Liked by 1 person

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