As oft quoted here, “predictions are notoriously difficult, particularly about the future“.
The Dilbert cartoonist, Scott Adams, seems to have a knack at predicting stuff. After a particularly good run of predictions, he wrote this remarkable piece of advice to people who were going mad about the Orange Man winning the election.
His suggestion is, if you didn’t predict many of the 15 events he lists, perhaps a moment of introspection is warranted.
Building on that theme, I’d like to offer something similar on the subject of Britain’s exit from the EU. I’ve noticed in multiple conversations recently, people who have little knowledge of the subject have explained to me my reasons for voting Leave.
Not content with mere telepathy, they also offer multiple predictions of what will happen next.
If this describes you, may I suggest reviewing the following list of statements:
- Brexit is about immigration and racism. Anyone who claims controlling immigration was simply one of multiple reasons is a lying racist. Any brown people who voted Leave are a modern day “Uncle Tom” or suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.
- Immediately following a Leave vote, the UK economy will be plunged into recession, as predicted by The Treasury.
- In the weeks following a Leave vote, the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be forced to implement a punitive emergency budget.
- The result of the referendum will be accepted and implemented by MPs.
- Following Brexit, the UK will be at the back of the queue (note, not “line”, as Americans usually describe it) for any trade deal with the USA. Presumably that’s because the UK’s “U” is later in the alphabet than Somalia’s “S”?.
- The EU is simply a trading block and has no plans to further expand the scope of its powers to include such things as creating a military arm, conformation of taxes, and centralised control (and distribution) of immigration to the EU.
- A Prime Minister who voted Remain would be a good choice to negotiate an exit from the EU and to heal the political divisions created by the referendum.
- The UK and Ireland will implement disruptive checks at the Northern Irish border crossings (all 300 of them).
- Boris Johnson’s political career is dead following his abortive leadership attempt.
- Boris Johnson is a buffoon with an IQ barely above room temperature and will never become Prime Minister.
Be honest with yourself. How many of those did you read in your preferred source of current affairs news and accepted at face value at some point in the previous three years?
If you believed more than, say, 3 of the 10, please try to listen a little longer to people you meet who voted Leave.
Also, consider taking the time to review the following statements and determine whether you agree with me that these are looking increasingly likely. Not guaranteed, mind you, but that the probability is trending towards them becoming reality.
- When negotiating, one always needs to have a credible BATNA. Boris Johnson has made solid noises to this effect now and the EU may reconsider their position as a consequence. The UK will leave on October 31st, regardless.
- There will be no hard border on the island of Ireland. A mix of random and targeted checks will occur but trade will continue relatively free of friction.
- Following a “no deal” Brexit, there will be slightly worse problems than those caused by the Millennium Bug. Other than a few pictures in the Liverpool Echo of sad, orange Scousers complaining about minor disruptions to “dream holidays”, and individual daft actions justified “because of Brexit”, everyone will carry on just fine.
- A couple of years after an uneventful “no deal” Brexit, several other EU members will have elected pro-Leave leaders. France would be first cab off the rank, if I had to guess.
- Five years after Brexit, the UK’s GDP will be significantly healthier than Germany’s and any other EU member.
The value of money is merely a concept enough of us have agreed to believe (or at least pretend to believe). The paper with printed pictures and numbers in your wallet only has worth because a critical mass of us agree it has. If we lose confidence in the currency, it loses value.
Democracy is a very similar concept.