CBI: Misery Merchants

The CBI is a business membership body that supposedly represents the interests of British (and Northern Irish) business. But you could be forgiven for missing this.

During the entire EU Referendum campaign, the local branch of the CBI was unrelenting it its gloom-laden assessments of the outlook for the NI economy should the UK electorate choose to leave the EU.

And, despite the fact that a majority of the UK electorate chose to ignore the advice of the CBI (and the OECD, IMF, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, UK Treasury etc.) the misery predictions continue. Yesterday the CBI conducted a ‘snap poll’ of attendees at one of its gloomy local events sponsored by a gloomy accounting firm. This “poll” of attendees at a CBI post-brexit gloom event made for gloomy reading. Gloom is predicted. Not just immediate gloom but gloom lasting five years.

This nonsense is eagerly reported, of course. David Gavaghan and Angela McGowan of the CBI will continue to provide doom-laden soundbites that will pepper reports based on surveys of members that will predict mayhem for the Northern Ireland economy if the UK does what all non-EU member countries do: govern themselves.

The CBI is to business what FIFA is to football.

Business people, thankfully, are too busy running businesses to worry too much what the CBI thinks or predicts about the future. Apart from anything, no-one is going to check (certainly not any journalists) whether yesterday’s snap survey of attendees (at a gloomy little breakfast) proves to be accurate.  Who cares?

What business owners care about includes serving customers, making a living, growing, thriving, brand-building, finding new markets. When we leave the EU new opportunities will be thrown up. Governments across the world are queuing-up to sign trade deals with the UK. Soon we’ll be able to import goods without trade barriers from our Commonwealth partner countries. A trade deal with China will mean cheaper solar panels. Wine from New Zealand will, hopefully, be duty free. A cheaper pound means huge opportunities for exports and the Northern Ireland tourism industry.

In short, business people always see opportunities in change – not eternal negativity. But the CBI and its corporate members are so remote from business that they seem to miss the point of it.

Capitalism and the profit motive have nothing whatsoever to do with the EU or the CBI. Business people do not need permission to trade – they do it by default. Nor do they need suits telling them what the future holds.

So ignore the surveys and the reports and the sound-bites from the CBI grandees. Go build a business instead.

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  • Anglo-Irish

    The risks of remaining?

    Weren’t we always able to leave at any point?

    After leaving we will be at the mercy of the EU members as to whether or not we could rejoin if the whole thing goes tits up.

    Before we joined in 1973 we were known as the sick man of Europe, since then we have prospered, presumably those who voted leave award all the credit for that improvement to us and us alone?

    I would feel more confidence in the whole thing if it appeared that the Brexiters had a plan, if they have they’re keeping it under wraps.

    Perhaps as we speak Baldrick is feverishly working on a cunning one?

    It doesn’t inspire confidence when Leavers keep trying to convince everyone that we have the stronger hand in trade negotiations because ” they need us more than we need them “, based upon the fact that we buy more from them than they do from us.

    Apparently it hasn’t occurred to them that we export 44% of our total exports to the EU but the EU is a trade bloc not another country.

    In any trade negotiation we will have all our eggs ( or 44% of them ) in one basket whilst the EU has 27 baskets.

    Not one single EU country has the UK as its first trading partner and only three Ireland,Poland and Cyprus have the UK as second trading partner.

    Germany exports 7% of its total exports to the UK, who do you think has the stronger hand here?

    A bit more forethought and actual forward planning might not have been a bad idea here.

    The simple fact is that no one thought the country would vote leave, and now, like the dog that chased the bus and caught it it doesn’t know what to do.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I made no mention of the referendum but you seem to suggest people who voted one way was somehow a different tribe from the remain rather than making consentious choices based on personal judgements of the situation.

    Earlier in this thread you said you only speak for yourself, well that’s good because you don’t by extension speak for businesses and you don’t speak for other leave voters and you don’t have any confidence from me that your opinion of business is far better and broader than any survey or statement brought out by the CBI.

  • Brendan Heading

    Jeff,

    I’m really sorry, but you have taken Prof Feynman’s comments completely out of context and perverted them into something they did not mean. In fact you have taken the opposite meaning from what he was trying to convey in context. This suggests that you don’t understand what his point was.

    Science depends upon uncertainty as a necessary prerequisite to drive our understanding of the world and the universe. Scientists question everything, require evidence to support their theories, and embrace the idea that something may come along in the future which turns our understanding upside down and requires all of the textbooks to be rewritten. Science accepts that true and complete understanding of everything is work that can never be completed.

    This is an important distinction from religion and faith, where axioms are laid down and cannot be questioned, and where adherents are expected to be satisified with this. Feynman was comparing the faithful’s conviction that there is little to know beyond that there is a God with the scientist’s insatiable quest for knowledge.

    It dovetails neatly with a favourite social theory of mine, the Dunning-Kruger effect. The people who know the most are the ones that understand how poor their knowledge really is.

    What you are talking about is something else. Feynman was not advocating, as you seem to be, a kind of anarchism where we smash up the established, predictable order and replace it with an absence of control – or “certainty” – about where the future lies and how the problems facing us are going to be solved. This attitude is anathema to civilisation, human development, and economies. Life is, most of the time, spent trying to win the battle over uncertainty, anticipate the future, and where this cannot be avoided to make provision for it.

    For brexit to be successful, the UK government must get to work ending the uncertainty and put us on a stable foundation. The problem, which you and the other brexit supporters seem unable to address, is that they haven’t started doing this yet, and appear to have no idea how; none of the leading lights who supported brexit have come forward with anything concrete.

    This is why quoting Feynman in this context is a perversion. It was the remain camp which fought the campaign largely based on facts, experience, and statistics, and that is why – with few exceptions – all the economic, political and business experts backed it. It is the “brexit” supporters who possess the “certainty” in this context – they don’t have facts, evidence, knowledge, or expertise to support them. They have no more than speculation about how all of this will go to support their unshakeable conviction that they are right. Dunning and Kruger were definitely onto something.

  • mac tire

    Well, as I’m sure you are aware, there is a major difference between the whole body of potential voters and those who actually voted. So I’d say it wasn’t so banal when your original stat was 15% out. But the 52% looked better, didn’t it?

    Your own insight attributed things to me which were not true or irrelevant.

    Anyway, enough of this merriment.

  • Anglo-Irish

    That could be the plan. I find it somewhat hard to believe that Teresa May went from being a Remainer to a Leaver without any apparent problem.

    Surely, if she believed that it was better to remain she would have thought it through and had good reason to take that view.

    In what way would those reasons suddenly disappear just because a load of people that she originally disagreed with voted against?

    Obviously, if she had come out and said as much she would have ended any chance of becoming PM.

    But if she really believes that it’s best to stay, and she wants an opportunity to make it happen, then the best way to achieve that would be to become Prime Minister and appoint a bunch of incompetents to attempt to negotiate Brexit.

    That way it will eventually become clear to the British people that even those who were for Brexit can’t manage to gain a reasonable deal and we would be better off calling the whole thing off.

    Hang about a minute, we may just have discovered her cunning plan!!!

  • anon

    Richard Feynman will be spinning in his grave.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    Brendan, your assumption is that I don’t know what Feynman meant or don’t know the context of why he said it. Goodness. How utterly patronising. Have we ever met? Do you know anything about my education or reading, or background? As for your assertion that the remain side fought their campaign based on ‘facts’ – well that’s utterly absurd. The basis of all political campaigning is that each side does its best to persuade. But to suggest that one side only spread truth is like saying that Christianity is the only true religion. It’s patent nonsense. There is no ‘truth’ or ‘certainty’ in treasury forecasts. There’s no ‘truth’ in IMF forecasts. As for economics, it’s a quack science (and I’m allowed to claim this as I have a degree in Economics and used to work for Economic forecasting firm). Both sides of the referendum campaign were too quick to claim spurious causality. I didn’t. But I certainly don’t accept the certainty as to the course of the future as peddled by the IMF or the OECD. Nor will I accept a picture of the future as predicted by organisations that once argued that it would be good for the UK to relinquish its sovereign currency when the city of London currently clears 80% of Eurozone trades (and Frankfurt would love a share of that action).

    As for your suggestion that the brexit side has ‘no ideas’ about how we should govern ourselves, well I’m perplexed as to how an alternative based on our divesting sovereignty to an unelected Commission of failed European politicians is sensible.

    And as for the “anarchy of smashing up an accepted order” – well it’s an ‘order’ that most of the world of independent nations is not a member of. And it was not an accepted order before 1973 in the UK or Ireland. Are you suggesting that it’s such an accepted order that non-one is permitted to hold the view that we shouldn’t be a member? It think that’s absolutely the type of thinking that Feynman most despised. It’s verging on Hooveresque thinking.

    You have your view. I have mine. But spare me the patronising nonsense.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    Hmm so you merely exist for pedantry. Good one. Fact remains that 1,269,501 more people voted for leave than remain. Interestingly in Scotland and Northern Ireland 1,367,764 people voted to leave.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    Unlike the CBI I don’t claim to speak on behalf of anybody. My view is always personal. But it’s comforting to know that the majority of the UK population agrees with me on the matter of the UK leaving the EU.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I don’t speak for anyone but the majority agrees with me because I want speak for them.

    Two sentences completely contradicting one another …

  • Jeffrey Peel

    Except those aren’t my sentences. If I have an opinion and people agree with me that does not mean that I want to speak for them. If I did I’d be seeking political office. I’m not.

  • Kevin Breslin

    No they agree with Brexit … YOU are not Brexit … you are an individual.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    You’re obviously trying to make a point Kevin but I’m at a loss to know what it is.

  • Kevin Breslin

    That you care more about tribal affiliation with Brexit, than any of the problematic logistics of it.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    Well I was involved in the campaign to leave the EU. I’m not in government. Many shades of political opinion supported brexit (from the left and right). We’ll see what part I can play in the coming months. At the least I’d hope that some of the key negotiators might visit these shores. I’ll keep the Sluggerati posted 🙂

  • Skibo

    I may not say PR but the quote I copied from your site is the best description I have seen fro PR without calling it PR.

  • Skibo

    MMMM the banking inquiry. Bankers and politicians investigating bankers and politicians. Wonder how they ever came up with such an answer?

  • Jeffrey Peel

    We’d call it PR if it was PR. But it’s not. We do not represent any clients in terms of media relations work or crisis comms etc. But we do research for them and write content based on research. Some makes it to the public domain. Much of it doesn’t.

  • Skibo

    Did you do any research on the benefit of Brexit or Remain?

  • Jeffrey Peel

    No paid work but I was the local spokesperson (voluntary, unpaid) for Business for Britain (which was aligned to VoteLeave). Business for Britain undertook considerable economic and policy research related to the UK leaving the EU. Some key people involved in both BfB and VoteLeave are now advising the government.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    Oh and we also organised the major business debate on the EU referendum. http://euyourchoice.co.uk/

  • Jeffrey Peel

    Well they have as it happens. The CBI has made pretty substantial losses in the last two financial years.

  • Skibo

    How come there was so little published showing positive results for Brexit?

  • Skibo

    I can find no figures showing the CBI made financial losses. Have you got a link?

  • Brendan Heading

    Jeff,

    I’m sorry that you feel patronised. My assumption that you did not know what Feynman meant, or the context within which he made the comments you paraphrased, was based on the way you completely – and I’ll guess unintentionally – misinterpreted words in support of your belief that uncertainty is preferable to imperfect certainty. Feynman was talking about the illusion of certainty, or the denial that uncertainty existed, and why this drove the need to keep asking questions and keep informing ourselves. He wasn’t suggesting that certainty was inherently bad.

    I’m not really interested in what your qualifications are or what degrees you hold. I’d rather deal with your argument. I don’t have a huge amount of time for people waving their qualifications around. Possessing an economics degree does not qualify you to dismiss the field as quackery, as there are plenty of economists who would obviously disagree and whose skills are in high demand.

    The fact that no two economists agree completely on anything points not to charlatanism, but to models which are unproven or where more research is required. This is true of almost any field you can think of, including science and engineering. On the other hand, consensus opinion all the way across several fields of expertise is rare and points to something that should be taken seriously. It is, and remains, the consensus across economics, politics, business and all the rest that leaving the EU is a bad idea.

    This dismissal of the entire science of economics is a rehashing of the “experts are useless” meme, most famously suggested recently by Michael Gove but also found tripping freely from the keyboards of most brexit supporters on social media etc, it’s something which I find completely disingenuous. The idea seems to be that when an expert gets something wrong, he, or his entire field, can be dismissed out of hand. This amounts to a strawman. Experts are the people who know more about their field than anyone else. It doesn’t mean they know everything, or that they are infallible. Seismology cannot predict earthquakes with any kind of precision; meteorologists often get weather forecasts wrong. But that does not mean that any of these are quack sciences.

    And yes, of course the remain campaign fought, mostly, on the basis of facts. Our membership of the European Union, warts and all, is a known quantity. Its strengths and weaknesses can be accurately characterized in terms of facts and things which are, for the most part, directly observable. Our status outside of the European Union is not a known quantity. We still don’t know what it will look like. There is no consensus among brexit supporters, or anyone else, about what it should look like. It is speculation, and inherently cannot be factual.

    The “accepted order” I am referring to is not the EU, but the status of the UK and the totality of its global relationships. I did not say that no one was permitted to question it (no idea where you got that), I tried to explain that it is a known, established reality which you are advocating tearing up in favour of an alternative that not only do you refuse to precisely define, but you demand that people accept your lack of ability to define. This is, fundamentally, insane.

    brexit supporters know that they don’t have the facts on their side. That is why they have to resort to dismissing the opinions of experts out of hand; why they bluster endlessly, as you just did, without addressing any of the holes in their arguments; why they try to persuade people to embrace a new unpredictable and uncertain reality; and why they resort to base arguments such as patriotism, confidence, determination and plucking misinterpreted quotes out of the air try to inspire people to overcome the reality that the facts are stacked against them. The entire campaign to leave the EU is based on quackery and has the ethics and acumen of a bent used car salesman.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Probably none will visit this shores, and in all good faith there is no reason for them to be Jeff. If any negotiations take place on the island of Ireland it will be at the government of Ireland’s request. They have no more reason to listen to you as they would Luke Ming Flanagan’s election agent.

    I think Jeff it is rational to accept there are people who have strong concerns about the Brexit process, both on the leave and remain side of the spectrum. People who have lost faith in dishonest British politicians and are completely frustrated promising the impossible to everyone isn’t being a misery merchant.

    VAT cuts, revoked, NHS spending, revoked …. 100% of the Vote Leave guarantees unguaranteed, and now the organisationis being sued for both fraud and hate speech.

    Why would any investor have any confidence in such a discredited scam, no matter who voted for it. Not all Labour supporters agree with the Iraq war, not all Leave supporters agree with the War on Truth, brought about by the Vote Leave group. You cannot use a democratic vote to vindicate crime, or as some tribal means of self vindication in lieu of actual evidence of acomplishing something worthy of appraisal.

    Saying the only reason you have lost your job or have had a pay cut is due to a foreigner is being a terror merchant. It’s what used to happen in the 70’s and 80’s in Northern Ireland.

  • Randy McDonald

    “Soon we’ll be able to import goods without trade barriers from our Commonwealth partner countries.”

    Why? Is there some Commonwealth free trade association that has recently emerged from dormancy?

    It would be nice if pro-Brexit Britons could understand that their erstwhile colonies are now fully independent countries with their own interests. Brexit has hurt the UK’s ties with the Commonwealth, not least by making the UK no longer aport of entry to the European market.

    Why would a self-hurting economy be a more attractive partner for anyone in the Commonwealth?

  • Jeffrey Peel

    We’d be more attractive because we wouldn’t apply protectionist trade barriers against, for example, Kenyan ground coffee or Australian wine or Indian textiles. It’s a two-way street as well. India applies trade barriers against the EU. But free trade with the world’s 5th economy is a prize worth winning for any Commonwealth country.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    You obviously have a very high opinion of so-called experts. But any ‘expert’ that attempts to predict the future of complex systems based on naive causality is, by definition, a charlatan. It’s true that Economists of various hues can build computer models and simulations and make assertions about what the future may look like – but rarely does anyone actually check to predict the accuracy of these assertions. Why? Because forecasts and predictions come too thick and fast. Typically they are produced to produce column inches. Most of the economic forecasting firms are essentially paid serfs of large corporates or, indeed, investment banks. To accept this nonsense as fact or proof of anything is incredibly naive.

    Case in point is the forecasting work done by Goldman Sachs for the EU Commission on the economic ‘fitness’ of Greece to join the Euro. Media reports have suggested that the bank received around $500m of fee income to produce the tissue of nonsense that resulted in Greece being admitted to the Eurozone. As far as I’m aware the bank has not repaid any of this fee income after the Greek crash and bailout.

    We can only rely on past performance to give us any indication of the quality of experts. It was, of course, the Troika of experts in the IMF, EU Commission and European Central Bank that came up with the plan to bail out the incompetent German banks and let the people of Greece foot the bill – rather than expose the incompetence of investment decisions of Deusche Bank and many others.

    We also see the experts who used to run the near-bust Italian banks now running the ECB (or vice-versa). And, of course, we have that great expert who used to work at Goldman Sachs, Mario Draghi – ranked by Forbes as the world’s second greatest leader – now President of the European Central Bank. This is the man who came up with the expert idea of the European central banks buying junk bonds and bank stock to artificially maintain the European stock market. This is the man who has overseen the explosion of European indebtedness and made it OK for the EU to break its own treaties to bail-out lame-duck Eurozone economies (but not to allow its lame-duck, failing banks, like Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, to go down the tubes).

    So I’ll leave you with your respect for Economic experts. Good luck with that.

  • Randy McDonald

    “We’d be more attractive because we wouldn’t apply protectionist trade barriers against, for example, Kenyan ground coffee or Australian wine or Indian textiles.”

    Why?

  • Gerry Lynch

    The most significant trade deal that most African countries have with any outside country or bloc is with the EU. You might perhaps have noticed the amount of Kenyan cut flowers, green beans and bananas in your local supermarket? Like much Brexiteer rhetoric, this comment has more to do with ideological faith and nostalgia than reality. The Indian and Australian governments have to go back to their electorates – you really think they’re going to give the UK a soft trade deal because of the Commonwealth.

    Doubly amusing that you think India or Kenya are itching for British Empire Lite.

  • Gerry Lynch

    “The EU is obsolete” says people rooted in 1980s free market ideologies that are losing the capacity to be part of winning electoral blocs in any Western country… you know the whole Trump thing, right?You’ve noticed that Theresa May is pivoting radically towards an ‘old fashioned’ national Conservatism that won’t be to your liking – [cough] Hinckley Point C [cough] (and FWIW I think she’s wrong on that particular issue).

  • Gerry Lynch

    You could have saved yourself the trouble by just writing “YOU BITTER REMAINERS SHOULD STOP CLOUDING THE DEBATE WITH FACTS AND ACCEPT WE WON AND IT WILL BE BRILLIANT”. Except it won’t be brilliant. Which version of democracy demands people shut up because they narrowly lots a referendum? Sounds more like Mr Putin’s or Mr Erdogan’s than anything native to these islands or, indeed, Western civilisation.

  • Gerry Lynch

    I presume for you Canucks, the Canada-EU Trade Agreement is still a far bigger deal than any hypothetical Canada-UK agreement that might be negotiated?

  • Don Kavanagh

    Jeffrey, that’s all very sweet, but NZ has no tariffs yet still faces tariffs in India, so not being a member of the EU doesn’t automatically get you tariff-free trade. Also, the Commonwealth countries have individual agreements with each other, not some blanket arrangement, so the UK will have to line up and negotiate deals. They will also have to take into account their past treatment of the Commonwealth – putting more and more barriers in the way of Commonwealth travellers staying in London for a couple of years springs to mind.

  • Randy McDonald

    The United Kingdom’s impending exit from the EU makes finalizing the trade agreement more complicated, since it was created with the assumption that Britain would be in the UK.

    This is all just so unnecessary.

  • Gingray

    The arguement was not won in Northern Ireland.

  • Gingray

    “I was, during the campaign, the local Chair of Business for Britain –
    founded by Matthew Elliott, also the Founder of VoteLeave.”

    “Jeff Peel. I’m a businessman and a former honcho in the Conservative Party in NI”

    Just not a joiner eh 😉

  • Jeffrey Peel

    It was a national referendum. The wording on the voting paper made that clear – as well as the entire campaign. Plus the remain vote here slumped from around 75% (in early polling) to 56%. This slump in remain here and in Scotland/Wales contributed to the national result.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    I admit to occasional lapses 🙂

  • Jeffrey Peel

    Facts eh?

  • Jeffrey Peel

    No Kenyan roast and processed coffee though. EU blocks it with massive tariff barriers. More coffee roasted, ground and bagged in Germany than in Kenya.

  • Jeffrey Peel
  • Gingray

    Jeffrey – the result here had zero bearing on how things turned out in GB, same for Scotland and Wales.

    And using polling to compare to the overall result is a tad silly given how local polling is generally awful. Of more concern surely is the lower turnouts in nationalist areas of Northern Ireland, and right across Scotland – a complete lack of interest in the fate of the UK.

    I voted remain – but I do take a little joy in how much this is going to hurt the leavers and boost Irish nationalism. Only an idiot would think that fecking up relationships with your closest neighbours will help, it costs more to trade further away, there is little economic sense behind leave, its great 🙂

  • Gingray

    Ha! A very typical leaver response.

    Say something untrue, get caught, and then try to make a joke of it.

    Jeffrey, as far as I can see, you join everything going, fall out, leave, join something new. A typical serial joiner/limelight seeker.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    Turnout was still high and higher than in Assembly and general elections.

  • Gingray

    Stop telling fibs!

    Turnout was down in Nationalist areas! Belfast Westfailed to reach 50% turnout for example, down on both the assembly and Westminster.

    And the Scots are a prime example – 85% for the independence referendum, 71% for Westminster, 67% for the EU poll.

  • anon

    Jeffrey, did you perchance read today’s news? It appears that the CBI may have had a point.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36962059

  • Jeffrey Peel

    Except we haven’t left yet

  • anon

    Really, Jeffrey. You are grasping at straws there. If you re-read your own article it refers to the CBI’s comments in light of the decision to leave taken at the Referendum. But you already knew that and were just deflecting.

  • Jeffrey Peel

    No. We haven’t left yet. Article 50 has not been invoked. Also, don’t assume that I think that the UK economy is in good shape. I don’t. We have £1.6Trillion of debt. Some of our banks are basket-cases. ZIRP is a failed policy. But look at Europe. The Italian banks are on life support, teetering on the brink of collapse. Greece is a shambles. Spain is still grappling with horrendous levels of youth unemployment. Germany’s biggest bank, Deutsche Bank, is probably the manifestation of the greatest risk of global economic melt-down on the planet. Things are not good. But at least, soon, we won’t be shackled to the corrupt craziness that is the EU.

  • anon

    So what you are you saying is that any economic disbenefit to the UK economy between the date of the Referendum and invoking Article 50 should be completely ignored?

  • Jeffrey Peel

    No. But any effects are not because of brexit because we’re still in the EU. There was an immediate effect in terms of a decline in value of Sterling but that has positive and negative effects (the traders of Newry are seeing the benefits).

  • anon

    OK, so you’re either trying to be outrageously pedantic with your definition of Brexit to deflect from my point, or you’re seriously suggesting that while the decline in sterling was down to the Referendum, all other economic impacts have nothing to do with the Referendum and are down to some mysterious, completely unrelated phenomenon.

    Would it be helpful for me to point out the following extracts from the report?
    “the month-on-month decline in the Index in the latest period, at 4.9 points, was the largest observed since the survey began in July 1996. The volume of incoming new business also declined for the first time since the end of 2012. The pace of contraction was comparatively sharper than that seen for total business activity, and the fastest since March 2009. Companies widely reported that the outcome of the EU referendum had weighed on new business inflows during the month.”

    “After three-and-a-half years of growth, the services sector returned to contraction as Brexit contagion suppressed new orders and overall output at rates last seen during the financial crisis in 2008-09.”

    https://www.markiteconomics.com/Survey/PressRelease.mvc/77535660ee3f4fbdacfabe4b71a45ad2

  • Gerry Lynch

    The article (even in Iain Martin’s fiercely Eurosceptic CAPX) calls for changes in EU policies, not their abolition. You may have noticed that African countries also use tariffs to protect domestic producers from competition they perceive as unfair, sometimes rightly. As I said, a quick trip to your local supermarket will confirm that African agricultural exports have gone up tenfold in 20 years. Overall, Africa exports more to the EU than it does to the US, China and India combined, by a huge margin.

    And by removing itself as the most powerful voice for CAP reform within the EU, the UK has just done African agriculture the biggest disservice it could.

    By the way, you’re now going to have to work out how to make the British countryside work – what’s the betting it will involve lots of subsidies and quite a few tariffs?

  • Jeffrey Peel
  • anon

    If you’re too busy to read the report, I’ll give you an even shorter summary, courtesy of Private Eye: