Category: Blog

‘No Deal – The Best Deal, and at a Good Price’, by John Baron MP

As Parliament Debates the EU (withdrawal) Bill,  John Baron MP reflects on EU dynamics and Britain’s strengths:

The EU negotiation – like any meaningful one – will be a journey with highs and lows.  But, as my question this week at PMQs underlined, no serious negotiation would allow one party to dictate the financial terms before the wider terms were known. Now after months of stonewalling on trade talks, it must be hoped that economic and political sense prevails in Brussels and that the leaders of the EU 27 clip the wings of the more ideologically-driven Commission. Here there has been progress as EU countries opted last month to start the scoping works on an agreement amongst themselves…

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‘Brexit’s 7 per cent Boost – The Impact on the Whole Economy Matters, Not Just the Sectors’, by Patrick Minford

As with all things Brexit a great hoohah has developed, this time over the ‘sectoral studies’, whatever they may be, that the Department for Exiting the EU has done.  These ‘studies’ may amount to little more than rough thoughts and a few very rough estimates of the Brexit effect in each industry. We do not even know what industries these are. Furthermore since this sort of detailed analysis is extremely hard to do because the data in each sector is so different and usually not easily available for what one needs to do the job; these ‘studies’ are probably not too informative.

The whole controversy, however, misses the main point which is that we should not care about sectoral effects but rather we should care about effects on the whole economy and national welfare. This is the reason for doing things at the national policy level. Having determined the national interest the next step is to consider how to help those who lose from the change…

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‘An Extraordinary Election. An Extraordinary First Year?’ By John Baron MP

John Baron MP reflects on President Trump’s foreign policy:

Next week marks the anniversary of Donald Trump’s extraordinary election victory, an achievement once thought so unlikely that even up to the eve of the poll pundits were predicting the probability of a Clinton win at 99%. That all changed as election night unfolded, as not only Ohio, North Carolina and Florida turned red, but also the Democrat bastions of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Trump’s year has been anything but dull on a range of issues, but it is perhaps his approach to foreign policy which seems the most troubling.

My entry for this blog last November suggested that President Trump’s blunt style would be in stark contrast to President Obama’s calm and cautious approach. However, it did not come close to predicting the ‘new normal’ of turmoil in the White House…Read on

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Achieving the Chinese Dream?, by Gerard Lyons

As President Xi tightens the levers of power in China, Gerard Lyons reflects on the other questions raised – for the west and the world.

What can we learn from the Chinese National People’s Congress (NPC) that has just finished in Beijing? Much of the reaction in the western press has been about President Xi’s hold on power. Although an aspect of the last few weeks it is not the only one.

The Chinese Communist Party continues to follow a lesson learned long ago from the former Soviet Union: the sequencing of reform is key. Economic reform, which President Xi spelled out as central to future progress, cannot go hand in hand with political reform. As China moves through its next stage of opening up, economic success is not only needed to achieve what has become known as the ‘China dream’ but to retain the political status quo too.

China’s economic record is impressive. In the last five years the economy has increased in size from 54 to 80 trillion RMB ($8.2 trillion to $12.1 trillion), and an additional 60 million people were taken out of poverty.

Yet, there are challenges…Read on

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The Cost of ‘Transition’, by Martin Howe QC

As politicians propose a ‘transition’ phase when the UK leaves the EU, Martin Howe QC warns there could be little gain for much pain.

In the referendum, the British people voted for the UK to leave the European Union and take back control of our laws, borders and money, and to trade with the world outside the restrictive constraints of the EU’s customs union and common commercial policy.

So, from 30 March 2019, we will have the right to reduce the very high duties which the EU’s Common External Tariff obliges us to impose on basics such a food and clothing. Reducing or eliminating these tariffs unilaterally – particularly on goods which this country does not even produce and where the sole purpose of the current high tariffs is to benefit Continental producer interests – should be a no-brainer “first day of Brexit” action which would give an immediate and tangible Brexit dividend to lower income families…Read on

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