More nails in the coffin of Project Fear

Graham Charles Lear
4 min readJul 15, 2019

Readers will remember Project Fear Part One. This was a concerted campaign by the government of Cameron, Osborne, May, Hammond, and others to frighten the British voters into voting for Remain in the 2016 Referendum.

Their dire predictions of an economic catastrophe, massive job losses, an emergency budget, house price collapses, and an immediate recession have all been proven wrong, although the great British public has not been fully informed of this by the country’s national broadcaster. Instead, the dire predictions have continued each month.

The UK has now experienced 38 consecutive months of export growth on an annual rolling basis, in complete contrast to the predictions of Project Fear. In the quarter ended May 2019, UK exports reached their highest level ever. Yet the biased BBC have ever mentioned this fact

UK goods exports to non-EU countries grew by £2.2bn, but to the EU27 they fell by -£1.5bn

Below is a simple summary of the latest export figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), for the three months to the end of May 2019.

UK export success

  1. Total exports of goods & services, year to May UP by 4% to £647.1bn — another record

2. Goods exports on their own increased by 4.7% to £357.1 bn

Last three months :

  1. Goods exports to EU countries, 3 months to May. DOWN by £1.5bn

2. Goods exports to non-EU countries, 3 months to May. UP by £2.2bn

Put simply, the rest of the world bought more of the UK’s goods.

Statistical note. The ONS compares the three months to the end of the survey month, to the three months to the end of the previous month. In the case of the latest figures, this means comparing the three months to the end of May with the three months to the end of April.

Post-Brexit trade preparations

The work of the Dept for International Trade has been considerably hampered over the past three years by the EU’s insistence that the UK could not negotiate trade deals whilst still a member of the EU.

From the start that this was not the case as there is no legal basis for the EU’s claim, but sadly the Government did not contest the EU’s stance.

Eventually, the Government quietly started talking trade with numerous countries, but this could have happened much sooner. As it is, the Government has now made significant progress.

Please note

“To date, the UK has signed or agreed in principle agreements with countries that account for 63% of the UK’s trade with all the countries with which the UK is seeking continuity for a potential No Deal.”

Dept for International Trade, July 2019

As the EU Commission admitted in 2017. “90% of future global growth will happen outside Europe’s borders”

It makes no sense for the world’s fifth-largest economy not to be in full control of its ability to profit from the growth in economies around the world. Staying in the EU means having no control over this, as the EU Commission has “exclusive competence” over international trade for its members.

The EU doesn’t often admit anything negative. This was one of those rare occasions.

UK international trade at record highs, but some Remainers still Remoan.

The latest UK trade figures are very promising yet again. One aspect which is not understood by many Remainers is that the culture in parts of the business economy is changing. These Remainers sometimes argue that exports are increasing whilst we are still in the EU, which proves we should stay in.

They fail to account for the setting up of a new Government Department purely to encourage international trade. Previously trade was the sole preserve of the EU, which has had a lamentable record in doing trade deals since it began. The EU is now rapidly trying to play catch-up, stung into action by criticisms from organisations like ours, but it is hard for them to escape their track record. A perfect example of their attitude to trade was in 2014 when Jean-Claude Juncker appointed a person to be the EU’s Trade Commissioner when she had no experience of trade whatsoever.

The future’s bright, the future’s Brexit

It’s good to see the emergence of an outward-looking UK export economy again, as businesses start to look forward to a post-Brexit future. It will be good to see this flourish, even more, when the UK is free of EU institutional controls and tariffs.

[ Sources: Office for National Statistics | Dept for International Trade ]

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Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.