In overestimating Brexit’s short term effects, we underestimate it in the long run.

I’m  mostly lying low and sticking to Twitter through the summer holidays. But William of Here’s How podcast caught up with me last week to ask me what I thought the consequences of Brexit would be for NI.

This was before the latest Scottish poll was announced showing that the EU appears to be as unpopular with Yes voters as it is with No voters from the first IndyRef. So there will be no plain sailing towards the UK exit.

Rather, the broad line I took was that we overestimate the change the short term and completely underestimate it in the longer term. You can find the whole thing here.



  • Freeborn John

    The consensus though was that the short-term effects would be negative and longer-term positive. If we underestimated the upside long-term while most of the short-term fears prove unfounded then it is good news all round.

  • Biftergreenthumb

    I thought the consensus was that the short-term effects would be negative and nobody knows what the longer-term effects will be?

  • terence patrick hewett

    Grand podcast. In the end Brexit was not about Ireland, Wales or Scotland but how the English see themselves: the imbalance between north and south: the lack of democratic accountability and the deep fear of loss of control.

    The hysteria mentioned seems to be a function of the long march of EU funding within national institutions: it is an enervating and infantilising process and the removal of the maternal breast has produced a scream of protest.

    Which will win out in the end: the risk averse or the risk takers is anyone’s guess but we are seeing some movement at last which is all to the good.

    Dr David Starkey got it dead right:

  • scepticacademic

    Short-terms effects still working themselves out. Here’s Larry Elliot in today’s Gruniad “Hopes that UK business would shake off Brexit vote now look fanciful”

  • chrisjones2

    Its the Guardian

    Editorially it despises leavers as it may depress the price of Tuscan Holiday Homes or even damage the tax position of the Scott Trust whose tax avoidance props up the paper

  • chrisjones2

  • Kevin Breslin

    The Risk Adverse (Brexit was more defensive than opportunistic in how it was sold after all) asserted themselves with Leave, they didn’t know they were really taking the risk.

  • Kevin Breslin

    This was before the latest Scottish poll was announced showing that the EU appears to be as unpopular with Yes voters as it is with No voters from the first IndyRef. So there will be no plain sailing towards the UK exit.

    The vote itself may highlight there is a strong democratic mandate to re-enter the EU. If Scottish nationalists want to give up the possibility of independence because they don’t believe they can keep Scotland out of the EU against its will, and they are happy with the “Rexit” that Westminster plans to introduce, then they need to question how much principled commitment to a Scotland of its own making.

    If the SNP can work with Westminster in bone fides respect for the majority of Scots, the sort of Eurosceptic Scottish Nationalists of RISE, the SNP and the Green Party can do the same.

    Surely they like Irish nationalist Eurosceptics they should consider longer term thinking?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Who’s really the ones that are afraid? The Remain side have had early vindications that the Leave side were selling snake oil.

    Now we’re hearing Brexit talking about wonderful unwritten possibilities being put in the hands of localized communities … that’s more so true of Scottish nationalism, or Irish unity is it not?

  • chrisjones2

    Storyland and politics in August are full of such fairy tales. The hard reality is Brexit and negotiation of a bright new towmorrow

  • Kev Hughes

    So, playing the man as opposed to the ball, again and again and again…

  • scepticacademic

    “Factory activity shrank at the fastest pace for more than three years in July” – are you saying this is “made up” Chris?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Irwin Armstrong pretty much exposed a lot of Fairy Tales of the Brexit vote so to say British nationalism is somehow above any dishonesty Irish or Scottish nationalism has ever carried out is beyond the ridiculous.

    The reality is there is going to be downsides for many of those who supported the campaign and even upsides for those opposing it.

    You really cannot blame the Brexitskepticism on mere misery, there’s a large degree of practical concern partially with the litany of fairy tales and economic illiteracy

  • Reader

    Kevin Breslin: …they didn’t know they were really taking the risk.
    I don’t remember the Remain campaign being quite so incompetent as you imply. ‘Remain’ earned the title “Project Fear”.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Spot the optimistic message, and then spot the message covered in fear and misanthropy.

  • Kevin Breslin
  • Kevin Breslin
  • Katyusha

    Remain was spectacularly incompetent, and a big part of that was failing to sell any positive aspects of the EU, focussing on the threat of economic / social catastrophe in the event of a leave vote. Another issue is they were so hyperbolic avout this that no-one could take their messages seriously. The public became immune to any stories of pending economic hardship.

    Re: Project Fear, they didn’t really earn it. It’s a title that was forged in the government-backed IN campaign for Scotish independence; any establishment campaign focusing on economics was going to be christened project fear before campaigning had even begun. It’s too good a slogan to not use it. In reality they were no worse than the leave campaign when it came to scaremongering.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Pretty much close the drawbridge, siege mentality don’t you think?

    No hopeful messages about helping Syrian refugees, people out of school or unemployed people out of a sense of patriotic duty.

    I mean just because you want foreigners out of the country doesn’t mean you care about the uneducated or the unemployed does it?

    And the Aussie points system, well that just allows foreigners to work in the shadows, possibly as “second class citizens” (depending on their degree of usefullness more so or less than a home born person) while the claims of “getting the country back” act as jingoistic doubletalk propaganda for those who define their nation by the rhetoric of their political and media elites.

    There was poverty and illiteracy and unemployment before the post colonial migrations was there not, where was the Malthusian logic back then, less people, means spreading more compassion?

    The poor and the uneducated are simply left to be foreigners in their own country and I haven’t seen any great achievement by Eurosceptics to reverse that alienation. It is simply another form of Xenophobia which has made welfare reform and anti-vagrancy laws a lot more popular in Great Britain.

    Meanwhile … No mention of the risks that Leave could take to ensure things could get better for this lot, just the dogmatic certainty that someone who wasn’t British, or at least a British person who was not flag waving enough could be held responsible for these problems, as it would have pseudo treasonable implications.

    The campaign was won on separatism, not Independence.

    Independence is about risk, is it not?

  • Kev Hughes

    He’s probably a chat bot, why ask? I even feel guilty for replying to him on occasion as there is a function of quiet self reflection on facts that run contrary to his ‘beliefs’ that he simply cannot incorporate into his world view.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    Under estimate it in the long term in a good or bad way?
    Long term we can clamp down on immigration and stop unskilled migrants coming into the UK for benefits. Also block and kick out anti UK / Western Muslims. Free to make UK trade deals with the world on terms that benefit the UK. All these pros have been mentioned already and are long term as well as short.
    The most important long term effect is the death blow to the single Europe state project under unelected control in Brussels, themselves controlled by the world’s elite.

  • Freeborn John

    The Guardian hoped that bremainer fear-mongering would prove groundless..?

  • chrisjones2

    and the inventions of the Remainers too Kevin….it will be what we make it and a land of opportunity if there to be seized as Europe falls away

  • Kevin Breslin

    Absolutely no inventions by the Remain side, just hysteria from a few Tories having to put up with the Homer Simpson mentalities in their own party. There’s bitterness throughout that party, as there seems to be in the opposition one.

    I don’t live with the little Britain fantasies that you do, my inspirations reached continental and global levels of achievement and didn’t measure accomplishments by the problems of others or how much optimism in the future they managed to get.

    Anyone can get on a bus to the Donegal coast look into the Atlantic and ponder how wonderful the world can be.

  • Reader

    Kevin, you seem to have gone off at a tangent. Not only have you ignored my point about risk, but you have also ignored your own original point about Brexiters’ attitude and judgement concerning risk.
    Maybe you should ask Mick for a platform so that you could assemble your thoughts into a coherent blog post instead of thrashing around randomly?
    And once you had done that, maybe the world would appear to be a better and brighter place.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Oh please you were the one who had called the Remain side Project Fear … pointing out the massive degrees of Project Fear on the Leave side was highlighting the Truth that that the Leave side was entirely Project Fear … even calling the Remain side Project Fear was an act of Project Fear.

    It wasn’t even healthy fear or caution, it was outright Project Paranoia.

    I’m not afraid of foreign people, I’m annoyed by idiots.

    There was no prevailing message about the nation taking risks from being outside the Single Market … None at all.

    Maybe Mick could offer you a platform to explain the opportunities you seem to believe this would lead to, that were not there before.

    Let’s assume the “experts” are all jerks, why not try selling the positives of Brexit to me:

    For example, let’s be Northern Ireland specific… if you are so optimistic about Brexit:

    The advantages to Northern Ireland of greater customs controls in Ireland, possibly 2 way are … ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    The advantages to Northern Ireland of greater border controls are… ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    The advantages to Northern Ireland of the repeal of the European Communities Act are… ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    The advantages to Northern Ireland of the scrapping of European spending on agriculture and science and communities are… ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    The advantages to Northern Ireland of the rise of English nationalism are… ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    The advantages to Northern Ireland of Manufacturers and Businesses moving business activity away from the place are… ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    The advantages to Northern Ireland of having no MEPs, no MPs, or no MLA’s having a say in amending trade deals with the Republic of Ireland are… ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    If people want to believe in a brighter future because of Brexit what are their plans?

    There are really no advantages in Northern Ireland being outside the EU, outside the Republic and effectively outside the political consciousness of the British government too while doing nothing about it.

    * No Pork barrels of the net EU contribution being passed on through Barnett.

    * No guarantee of EU level spending on anything the EU spent money after Brexit.

    * No reserve or EU powers transferred to the Northern Ireland assembly as yet.

    * A Sword of Damocles over Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness’s head with regards to customs and migration control that will drop when Brexit is imposed.

    *Even the Azores Ruling being maintained despite Brexit to keep the SNP in line.

    * The place is no more British or less Irish or less European as a result of that vote, arguably it’s become more Irish in terms of passports.

    * A migration system based in England dictates if someone has enough points to do call-center, or agri-food seasonal work here.

    The only real sovereignty gain, is near financial independence from Britain being forced upon us by accident.

    This is utterly depressing don’t you think?

    The only pro-Brexit politican from here when speaking about the positives of Brexit, highlighted the ability to have an Irish passport and be out of the EU as being the “best of both worlds” in his opinion.

    Maybe you should ask for that argument to be assembled?

    Leave was a conservative campaign trying to justify reform, by insisting nothing but immigration would change … and there’s next to no immigration problems here.

    It wasn’t a reformist campaign, it was painfully conservative, believing that EU would ignore any claw back of deals it had agreed with the UK, and other countries would be manipulated to reform to accommodate the UK’s needs.

    It is remarkable that no one in the local community can highlight a single local economic or political advantage that boosts the selling capacity of Northern Ireland specifically on the global markets.

    They are entirely imaginary … ghosts, the stuff of phantom budgets.

    Ignorance is only bliss if you can afford to be ignorant, Northern Ireland cannot afford to be kept ignorant.

    Brexit is entirely about damage limitation, lower aspiration, lower democracy as far as I am aware, and people working hard to achieve things in this place despite Brexit not because of it.

  • jonno99

    Too true. It was the bravest best decision to escape a failed EU.

  • jonno99

    The EU is a spent anti democratic superstate saddled with a systemically flawed single currency. It will hit the rocks soon enough so don’t be in a rush to grab on to it. Brexit is the thin edge of the wedge. The Eurozone countries cannot possibly continue on their current trajectory. Wholesale reform or more likely the EU loses more member states.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Brexit has been nothing but stumbling in the dark. No point in being bitter about other countries, it is a waste of energy.

  • jonno99

    Remaining in a dysfunctional EU would be stumbling about in a very dark future. The EU is a spent force. Totally hell bent on creating an EU superstate. It has no intention to reform itself and instead wishes to expand no matter the cost. Hopefully Italy breaks away next

  • Kevin Breslin

    Yeah but by your logic things are grand in Italy because Somalia is terrible lol.

  • jonno99

    Not sure I follow your analogy….. Italy is far from being in an economic Nirvana as you can get…….but that condition is relative when you compare its economic status with Somalia. Suffice to say Italy has not prospered under the EU straitjacket. Its economic future is very restricted by Euro currency constraints more suited toward Germany than Italy. The Eurozone debacle will blow in someone’s face soon enough

  • Kevin Breslin

    The only straight jacket I see are the psychological damage to Boris’s “Lazy Brits” through thinking the world owes them a living and that the nation will protect them from having to carry out economic endevours like getting jobs they don’t like etc. etc.

    Frankly these freeloaders and professional “nationalists” do more damage to their own economy than anything the EU, the Italian economy, refugees, migrants or the euro does. They are nothing but parasites to the UK’s own global growth or recovery and that reality of their own uselessness scares them. The transference goes to problems they don’t even have to deal with.

    Unfortunately the UK labour market is so remarkably infected by the distractions of bitterness and hate and fear by British people on British people that the lower productivity is slowing down the economy.

    Of course every European nation has the grace that things are much worse in Somalia if they ever feel down, think of how bad they have it and feel lucky you have a fighting chance to help others.

  • jonno99

    The UK Labour market is affected by unrestricted EU immigration hence Brexit. Add to the mix the fact the EU is in economic decline with its systemically flawed Euro currency Brexit, what ever the short term effects, is the only sane decision the UK could make. The EU is dying.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Here’s another “scare story” for you to dwell upon…

    The UK will need ALL the native and migrant workers it can get to get the money to pay for that extra Brexit bill.

    Seems European networks with NATO allies aren’t as disposable as some metaphorically fornicating themselves with a UK flag up their backside seem to believe.

    Hi Mick, it was a joke.

  • jonno99

    Kevin short term pain for long term gain. The EU only offers pain IMHO. Can you honestly say the EU is a functioning economic union when it pushes national democracies into its one size fits all straitjacket? Plus it’s hell bent on pursuing a political union that is in itself an effront to democracy

  • Kevin Breslin

    Give me a break, the UK has a gerrymandered election system, and unelected head of state, unelected upper house and no voter nor parliamentarian even had a vote for the prime minister. Reading Doug Beattie say that Stormont is in for a rough ride financially and politically means our place seems to be heavily down the back of the U.K. government’s mind. Why should they care when instead of a Qualitative majority vote on this issue, the U.K. is governed by a one size fits all if the one size fits Tory, and half the Tories including the PM weren’t enthusiastic about Brexit anyway.

    Short term pain for long term pain, I’m not surprised the splendid isolationists didn’t realise manufacturing and importing some technologies gets much harder because the Brexit beaurocrats don’t want European suppliers and European allies to give it to them easy or cheap. The Price of 4 Paul Pogbas when they had nothing to pay a mere four months ago, never mind 4 years.

    Enjoy the DUP being nothing more than lame duck backbenchers for the next 3 years they’ve probably helped to put a lot of their fellow Ulstermen and Ulsterwomen including those in Defence, Farming, Manufacturing and Universities on the unemployment line … Not simply because they reject the EU, but seemingly the rest of the world too.

    All for silly blue passports and a few migrants they cannot really afford to lose anyway.

  • jonno99

    We know the risks of staying in a dysfunctional corrupt systemically flawed EU. It’s you that is blind. You conflate so many local issues regarding Ireland without recognising the much bigger picture. Sinn Fein were anti EU until when ? Last year ffs do yourself a massive favour and see the ‘EU for what it really is; a corrupt undemocratic organisation hell bent on political union. No thanks

  • jonno99

    It was about local democracy versus the EU

  • jonno99

    The UK has an unelected revising 2nd chamber and a head of state monarchy. Would I like to update that? Yes. Using it to validate your pro EU case is not a like for like comparison.the FPTP electoral system was validated in a recent UK referendum. So even there you don’t have a leg to stand on. Try not to see the anti EU case through your very parochial lens. It’s a much bigger picture which you will recognise soon enough. Italy Spain Portugal anyone?

  • Abucs

    If you are correct, then the space for a new “philosophy of the European intelligentsia” will have been created. I welcome that, but hope the new philosophy will be a more positive people centred, culturally orientated philosophy. Such fundamental changes can be hugely positive or negative.