Another day, another leaked government (Deep State) report predicting doom and gloom for the British economy as a result of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. This time, the hacks at BuzzFeed (Buzzfeed? Seriously?) claim to have gotten hold of a government report, produced by the Department for Exiting the European Union – headed by arch-Eurosceptic David Davis – that shows Britain’s economic loss as a percentage of growth based on ‘numerous permutations’.
According to said report, if Britain maintains full access to the European Single Market and the Customs Union, on a similar basis to Canada’s trade deal, our loss as a percentage of future growth will be 2%. Should we opt for a deal such as the one Norway currently enjoys with the EU, this figure rises to 5%. And should we ‘crash out’ of the EU on World Trade Organisation rules, then the loss to British growth will be 8%. Damning figures, undoubtedly.
But the presentation of this report and its findings in the press has been nothing short of disgraceful. Sky News, BBC News and the other establishment mouthpiece organisations are gleefully enjoying their “told-you-so” moment, with the BBC claiming ‘any Brexit deal will hit UK economy’, citing ‘government paper’ as the source for this oh-so-credible information. Ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, arch-Europhile and cronyism personified, tweeted a hardly ambiguous signal that his disastrous predictions dubbed ‘Project Fear’ have been vindicated.
The Press, and the various liberal, elitist commentators, have failed to grasp that these figures will not be significant to ordinary people, even in the unlikely event that its legitimate. Expansion or contraction of an economy is not necessarily a signal of a real-term financial impact on ordinary people; WTO rules will permit the UK to unilaterally eradicate tariffs on food, clothing and footwear, items which consume the largest part of ordinary peoples’ household bills – this will be the case regardless of the relative growth or otherwise of the economy. As a side reference, Japans economy has been contracting for decades, and their debt to GDP ratio is 250%, yet their people are doing just fine.
Well well https://t.co/CwWbdJ0kec
— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) January 29, 2018
The other reason that this presentation is disgraceful is that it omits to tell the whole truth about the report. Firstly, the report is not based on the Prime Minister’s clearly defined objectives for negotiating a trading arrangement with the European Union. In both her Lancaster House and Florence speeches, and in the Conservative Party manifesto for last year’s General Election, the PM stated she would be seeking a bespoke deal for Britain, not one modelled on the aforementioned existing arrangements between Canada, Norway and the European Union.
This has been repeatedly reiterated by Conservative ministers and the Prime Minister herself, who have consistently argued for a bespoke deal.
This raises questions over inputs versus outputs, as any A Level Business/Science student will tell you; poor inputs lead to poor outputs. It also begs the question, why exactly has an official report been produced by a Brexit department, headed by an erstwhile Brexiteer, that is based on inputs that have already been ruled out by the government itself?
The answer to this question leads us someway to being able to contradict this report, and also provides us with an insight into why these Brexit negotiations are – and inevitably – turning out to be such a shambles.
The report, of course, was not produced by the ministers themselves, most of whom in the Brexit department – the clue is in the name – are strong supporters of Britain’s exit from the EU. It was produced by Civil Servants at the behest of said ministers, and quite clearly there was not adequate oversight in its compilation.
The Civil Service as an organisation is notorious for its tacit partisan nature, despite claims from its heads and politicians alike that the organisation is impartial. Of course, with the best will in the world, politicians would like to believe that the Civil Service is impartial, given its vital roll in implementing government policy, yet the evidence clearly suggests that it is not. To define where its true allegiance lies is somewhat more difficult. One could suggest, based on fleeting observations or empirical evidence, that the Civil Service could be most closely associated with New Labour and the politics of messrs Blair, Brown, Straw and Roche.
It’s pro-immigration, pro-refugee and “progressive”. It’s in favour of mass surveillance, ID cards, data collection and other intrusive measures. Despite claims of a left-wing bias, its shown to be in favour of a sort of crony capitalism, whereby the various government agencies may interfere with the markets regularly, but on the side of the large shareholders, CEOs and directors. And the two final and perhaps most important components of the Civil Service ideology are that it is pro-European, as well as being remarkably hostile to change/anything that requires hard work.
Tony Benn, a left-wing Secretary of State for Industry in the 1970s, constantly criticised the Civil Service for having an institutionalised bias and failing to implement his policies. Similarly, when Conservative governments in the Home Office department have instructed the Civil Service to implement tighter immigration restrictions, they’re repeatedly told that their plans are ‘just not possible’. You see, governments don’t simply instruct the Civil Service to carry out their policies. The Civil Service offers ministers a limited number of policy ideas based upon the sitting government’s manifesto or directive, which are of course tailored to better suit its ideological agenda.
Regardless of who is in power, the Civil Service will behave in the way that it sees fit. Jeremy Corbyn will discover this if he is ever to become Prime Minister, for the neo-liberal, centrist fixation of the institution’s apparatchiks will be out to thwart his policy directives from day one. One can only imagine the hostility to a programme of mass nationalisation of industry and services, as this would create an abundance of the Civil Service’s greatest fear: hard work.
To cut a long story short, it’s safe to say that there is no reason to panic over these ‘leaked Brexit forecasts’. The British Deep State – and by that I’m referring to the Civil Service – will attempt to subvert, frustrate and derail Brexit at every opportunity, and any report compiled by that organisation are barely worthy of being tossed onto the fire. One would not be surprised if it was the Civil Service themselves who leaked the report! If this fiasco has done but one good thing, that is to further highlight the institutionalised bias harboured by the Civil Service against Brexit, and against the ordinary hard-working people of Great Britain.