Newsletter 19/02/23

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Readers may be (un?)surprised to learn that parts of the civil service consider support for Brexit a “far-right” position, according to a review of the government’s Prevent anti-terrorism policy.

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Dear Subscribers,

Readers may be (un?)surprised to learn that parts of the civil service consider support for Brexit a “far-right” position, according to a review of the government’s Prevent anti-terrorism policyAccording to Douglas Murray, books by Tolkien, CS Lewis and even 1984 have been considered gateways to the radical right.

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One policy to bring them all, and in Whitehall de-radicalise them

If such mainstream texts are far-right to Prevent’s architects and associated bodies, that rather suggests a (far) left bias in the institution that urgently needs addressing.  This contributes to the Civil Service’s increasing legitimacy crisis as neither efficient nor politically neutral – something Cabinet Secretary Simon Case has publicly recognised.

Northern Ireland remains the issue of the week.  There are suggestions that Rishi Sunak has agreed the text of a deal with EU negotiators, but has yet to introduce it for broader scrutiny – claims denied by No. 10.  The involvement, on the UK side, of negotiators who were prominent in the last set of talks suggests that gains will be limited, and that Sunak will have difficulty selling the deal to the DUP or the ERG.

There is speculation that the government is planning a vote on the proposed changes on Tuesday – potentially with the aim of bouncing wavering Tory MPs who might otherwise vote against measures that they had time to actually consider.  At this stage, it has not gained the DUP’s consent, leaving the Stormont Assembly suspended despite HMG’s avowed aim to get the legislature up and running again.

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A hard sell for the hard Irish Sea border

More broadly in UK news, Liz Truss’s plans for her “growth agenda” have recently been published.  George Osborne has called on the government to lower corporation tax to boost investment, as have Conservative backbenchers.

In world news, the Philippines is considering a trilateral defensive pact with Japan and the US, creating headaches for China, though in a gain for Bejing South Africa is holding a trilateral naval exercise with Russia and China this month.  The US also shot down what it says was a Chinese surveillance balloon floating over its continental territory, amid protests from Bejing.  In Ukraine, there are suggestions that Russia is preparing for a major new offensive as the anniversary of Putin’s invasion looms


 Open society and environment awareness: a lesson from China, by Hugo de Burgh

Chinese environment correspondents thought they could open their society because of the urgency to face environmental problems. Their failure teaches us how much the survival of Britain’s open society matters if the world is to tackle global warming

“Anglo-American demonisation of China has been a boon for ultra-nationalists and those who fear and hate ‘the West’; they even associate climate activism with Western imperialism.”

Key Points

The Protocol no Panacea

Claims that Northern Ireland has the best of both worlds through being in both the Single Market and the UK market are monotonously frequent.  Yet this doesn’t make them any less wrongheaded, given that the Protocol has crippled UK-Ulster trade despite not even being fully implemented.

The latest casualty of Ulster’s second-class status in the Union are consumer goods importers, who face being required to shoulder the EU’s heavy new schemes for regulating the origins of non-Union products.  Without exemptions for the rest of the UK, British goods face the same controls as those from China, driving up import costs.

The cost of accuracy

Readers may have seen news that a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, Jonathan Haskell, has claimed that Brexit has resulted in an annual loss of investment worth £1000 to every British household.  BfB will be writing about this next week

As Ross Clark already analyses for the Spectator, these claims are dubious.  They work by the selective extrapolation of trend lines for certain periods, ignoring downturns, that imply a fantasy of continuously rising investment.  Secondarily, they ignore the fact that other nations have seen similar slowdowns in business investment – Germany included.

The Bank of England has form for dubious claims about Brexit – thus Mark Carney’s infamous suggestion that the UK economy was now 70% the size of Germany’s.  Remarks like this only heighten the need for the institution to take a searching look at its own groupthink.

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Hard Times if you’re a statistician

Finally, Guido Fawkes carried an amusing article on statistical manipulation in the Times business pages.  The paper gives the (lower) projected UK inflation for 2023 compared to the EU – but the bar chart shows the UK’s bar as higher.



We are also on Twitter, posting articles and retweeting the daily events that bring Brexit to the fore in the national news.


Discussion also continues over on Facebook.

How you can help

There is much about Britain’s relationship with Europe that remains to be decided.  Our MPs listen to their constituents.  Do continue to send them links to our articles, especially on matters relevant to your constituency.  Alternatively, make an appointment to speak to them at their next surgery.  Let them know what you want post-Brexit Britain to look like.

Yet it is also time for unity and reconciliation.  Keep reading our posts and share links to our quality content to help others understand how leaving the EU has benefited the UK economy and democratic governance.  We aim to educate our critics to think differently and more positively about the long-term impact of Brexit.

You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Yours Sincerely,

Newsletter Editor

An aspiring barrister

Dr Graham Gudgin

Economist, Centre for Business Research, Judge Business School University of Cambridge

Professor Robert Tombs

Emeritus Professor of French History, University of Cambridge


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