Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Peter Lilley, still on top form

Emailed in by MBK, from ConHome:

£350 million per week is the gross contribution that Britain pays the EU before netting off the Thatcher rebate and the money that the EU pays back to British farmers, regions, and so on. The Office of Budget Responsibility puts the net figure at £200 million per week, which it assumes will be used to fund increased public spending.

Apparently, Vote Leave organisers deliberately quoted the gross figure to provoke controversy, and in the hope that the Remainers would respond by saying: “the true net figure is only £200 million per week”. They calculated that the public would be incensed that anyone can be indifferent to paying over such large amounts – whether the true figure is £350 or £200 million.

Unfortunately for the Leave campaign, most Remainers did not fall for that. They denounced ad nauseam the £350 million as a “lie”, but wisely did not cite the true net figure at all, instead implying or asserting that it was negligible, if not zero...

Belief that the referendum was won by a single big lie clearly provides solace to the losers. It excuses their defeat, while enabling them to feel morally and intellectually superior to the gullible and ignorant majority.

If the issue were just about scrupulous use of figures I would have sympathy for the Remainers. The Leave campaigners’ justification for using the gross figure – that when asked how much they earn people usually give the gross amount, not the net figure after tax – is valid but unconvincing.

For my part, I invariably used the net figure of £200 million per week in debates, articles and leaflets throughout the campaign. I did not meet anyone who, on learning that the net figure was “only” £200 million not £350 million per week, decided not to vote Leave!

But, in virtually every referendum debate, my Remain opponents asserted, in all sincerity – because that was what they had been lead to believe - that the “true” net figure was negligible or zero.

He only pops up once every few years, but it's usually good stuff.


Dinero said...

I am surprised that net figure being that much of the gross . I followed the Brexit discussions and got the message that it was negligible. Is Peter Lilly correct. Its surprising that the leavers didn't use the net figure as part of their defence of the bus. It seems both sides were no genned up on the actual figures!

Lola said...

But, that's still not the whole cost anyway. There is all the deadweight costs of the Single market and regulationism in general.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Din, the UK is a net contributor to the EU budget of about £10 billion a year, that is uncontentious.

L, true, that's part of what people were voting against.

DBC Reed said...

Strange ,if its so straightforward, that May has had to concede a second referendum before she actually starts negotiating.