Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Gordon Brown talks sense: shock!

I missed this from a week ago, in The Telegraph:

Ms Sturgeon has promised to examine all the options for keeping Scotland in the EU, and to table plans for a second referendum [on Scottish independence] if there was no other way of achieving this.

But Mr Brown argued this was too narrow a process as it excluded any assessment of the value of the UK single market, so that Scots can decide which political union is more important economically.

Exports to rest of UK are worth £48.5 billion compared with £11.6 billion to EU while 250,000 jobs are linked to the single market compared with one million linked to the UK market, he said.

Mr Brown added that total of 1,000 companies from Europe are based in Scotland, compared with 3,000 from rest of UK, and pointed out the leaving the UK for the EU could mean changing currencies. While 250,000 Scottish jobs are linked to the EU single market, he said that at least a million are connect to trade with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Which leads me on to a wider point I have been meaning to make for a while.

Logic and observation confirm that the smaller the country (or area under consideration), the higher the proportion of imports and exports to GDP, and also that most imports and exports are to or form very nearby countries or surrounding areas. The Scottish figures illustrate this.

If Scotland left the UK 'single market' and Scotland and rUK imposed sanctions, quotas or tariffs on each other, it would have a small negative impact on rUK but would more or less finish off Scotland.

So we can bully them more than they can bully us.

It's the same with the EU vs the UK. The Eurocrats are insisting that if we want 'free' access to the EU single market, then we have to pay for it in terms of cash contributions and accepting free movement - the same as Norway (free movement is seen as a 'cost' for political reasons, not economic reasons).

Well fair enough, Norway's economy is tiny relative to the EU so they have to roll over and pay the ransom payment (in the same way as Scotland's GDP is tiny relative to rUK's - less than one-tenth).


a) the share of imports/exports relative to the UK's GDP is surprisingly small (it is a large nation and an island). According to the regression analysis in the post linked above, it is about half of what we would expect.

b) only about half our imports/exports are to/from other EU Member States and they export more to us than we export to them.

c) the UK's GDP is about one-fifth of the total GDP of the other 27 Member States. So we are in a weaker bargaining position than rEU but in a much stronger position than Norway or Scotland.

So my thinking is - if the UK rejoined EFTA, the total GDP of all EFTA countries might add up to one-quarter of rEU GDP. In which case, rEU can't clobber us quite so hard. If sufficient countries were to leave the EU for EFTA so that total GDPs of each bloc were similar, then each bloc could demand an 'access fee' from the other, which would net off to a much smaller payment in one direction.

Which is why the EU has been so negative about Brexit, they want to frighten all the other more EU-sceptic countries into staying in - the class bully doesn't want people leaving his gang and joining a rival bully's gang. It seems to be working for the time being (h/t MBK).


Antisthenes said...

Not only is Gordon Brown talking sense for a change so are you. To be fair though I agree with you much of the time at least many times more than him.

Random said...

The comments on Murphy's blog are hysterical:

Open-ended property funds turn out to be a really bad design due to the liquidity mismatch. What a surprise.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Anti, faint praise indeed.

R, who would have thought that Murphy is such a passionate Home-Owner-Ist? No wonder he's so lukewarm on LVT, it goes against his core beliefs.

Steven_L said...

I wonder how the HOUISA's and other such property crowdfunding schemes are getting on?

I reckon he money running our of commercial property is mainly hot money from foreign speculators and a few old fogies seeking yield and losing their shirts.

When you get an indiscriminate, sector wide, sell off it's time to go through the reports and balance sheets and dig out the bargains.

George Carty said...

Could the "Norway option" be vetoed by Norway itself, because if the UK rejoined EFTA it would overwhelmingly dominate it?