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Friday 14 September 2018

Yesterday’s Brexit Brunch gave a mixed response to Dominic Raab’s op-ed and media appearances, pre-empting publication by Raab’s Brexit department of 28 technical papers on no deal preparations. He won points for seeking to dampen fears over pharmacies running out of medicine and the like, but lost in failing to explicitly declare not a penny of the EU’s gigantic reparations bill would be paid in the event Britain leaves the EU without terms. Instead, the Telegraph, which posted Raab’s op-ed quoted a Whitehall source who claimed Brussels would get approximately half of the £20bn.

Well, as it turns out, Raab’s reassuring comments were a minor distraction from a full-blown campaign to scare the living daylights out of the public. Most notably, Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England told the Cabinet house prices would plummet by 35% over the next three years, a consequence of higher unemployment, lower economic growth, higher inflation and higher interest rates, the last of which is an independent variable controlled by none other than the BoE.

Carney will not be raising interest rates, having knocked them down half a per cent in the aftermath of the referendum, which was also beset with dire and unsubstantiated economic warnings. A decade on from the financial crisis – Lehmann Brothers collapsed ten years ago this week – the modern-day central banker’s playbook is now well known to all: at the first sign of a downturn, lower interest rates. If it gets worse, lower them further by printing money through quantitative easing. Whatever happens over the next three years, Carney will be the man at the helm, on Tuesday his contract was extended until 2022.

In any case, the downturn Carney predicts will not happen. The sector he regulates has for more than a year now prepared itself for a no deal outcome, yet the jobs haven’t moved abroad as scaremongers such as him predicted. Read more at Westmonster.

The other bitter pill, delivered by the 28 no deal documents, paints a picture of a fully independent Britain strangled by red tape. The irony!

Outside of the EU, with no bilateral agreements in place, Britons travelling abroad will need to fill out landing documents, acquire international driving licenses and check their passports are valid. And for every one of those, there are more time-sapping forms to fill out for businesses dealing with everything from cross-border data transfer to manufacturing licenses.

This skewed warning – it is plainly obvious that even under a no deal scenario, the bare minimum arrangements will be made to avoid the above – is not of the same breed as Carney’s disgracefully exaggerated threats. “The truth is, most people aren’t following any of this,” a minister told Politico. “The attitude out there is ‘we pay you to do the detail, just deliver it now, we’re bored.’ And who can blame them.”

Quite. But the information, free of its appropriate context – for example roaming charges will not be exempted by law as they currently are under an EU regulation, but mobile networks have promised not to re-introduce charges – will filter through to the public via the media.

Future editions of Question Time will no doubt feature angry millennials complaining they can’t call their parents for free the next time they travel to Berlin, Barcelona or Budapest, even though they will.

Speaking of Budapest, the European Parliament yesterday voted to trigger Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty against Hungary for not adhering to “EU values”. Note that, with the exception of patriots like Nigel Farage and Marine Le Pen, the European Parliament is a wishy-washy globalists club, this result was inevitable. For the motion to pass the EU member states must also vote to punish Hungary. The threshold however, is 80% and for anything meaningful to be brought against Viktor Orban’s government there needs to be unanimous agreement among the other countries that his administration is responsible for a “serious and persistent breach” of EU principles. This will never happen. Poland and the Czech Republic have already vowed to support their regional ally. A powerful speech by Orban, delivered in Strasbourg this week, is expected to summon the numbers to avoid any sanctions, the most extreme of which is losing votes in the European Council. Hilarious, when you consider Hungary is in the dock for supposedly undermining democracy.

Only in the EU.