How much money are we willing to sacrifice for Brexit? How many livelihoods? How many lives?
During the referendum campaign, just about every warning of potential drawbacks to the UK’s departure from the European Union was dismissed as “Project Fear”.
Sure, there was hyperbole. Hyperbole has been a part of political discourse for as long as there has been political discourse. When you’re presenting the case against a proposition, you don’t set out the best-case scenario.
Every time a financial expert was quoted as expressing reservations about Brexit, the Leave camp would trot out a contradictory prediction from a different economist. If a business leader spoke out against leaving, they’d find another who was in favour. If an academic was anti, they’d produce one who was pro. This gave the false impression that opinion was evenly divided, that there was practically nothing to separate the two sides.
But the reality is, 90% of all economists were against Brexit. Some weren’t sure, and only about 5% thought it would be a good idea. Similarly, the majority of business leaders and an overwhelming majority of academics warned of dire consequences. And slowly — perhaps more slowly than expected, partly because of Theresa May’s dithering — we are beginning to find out just how right they were.
So on this page, I’m going to try to keep a record of Brexit bad news stories. It’s not going to pretend to be balanced — why should I be balanced? The Express isn’t balanced, the Mail isn’t balanced, Breitbart and Infowars sure as hell aren’t balanced — and it’s not going to be comprehensive, because I simply don’t have the time. If you like, you can help out by posting useful links in the comments below. I will, however, try to link as far as possible only to sources broadly regarded as reputable.
The point of this is not to say “I told you so”. Well, not entirely. It’s more about keeping tabs on things so that we can learn from our mistakes and try not to be such dead-eyed twats in future. Will there come a point when people admit that the cost of Brexit is too high?
Since I’m probably not going to be updating this as often as I should, for all the latest on the EU clusterfuck, check out Jon Henley’s excellent weekly Brexit briefing for the Guardian.
NB: The jolly impressive Brexit Shitstorm Forecast is a much more comprehensive resource on the same subject. I don’t want to steal their thunder. However, since it tries to be both compendious and balanced, there’s a lot to get through. My page will just consist of edited lowlights.