Video commentary on the Italian elections, the effect of EU membership on UK GDP per capita and why are our politicians so spineless?

Text of video:

While we in the UK concentrate on Brexit, the Italians have gone all populist!

The Italian elections have thrown up a bit of a nightmare for Brussels with the Eurosceptic Five Star Movement started by the comedian Beppe Grillo and currently led by Luigi Di Maio, getting the most votes with over 32 percent of the share.

Luigi Di Maio by Mattia Luigi Nappi (CC-BY-SA-4.0)

Luigi Di Maio by Mattia Luigi Nappi (CC-BY-SA-4.0)

And the right wing Lega has broken through from regional into national politics in big style coming in third and taking nearly 18 percent of the vote.

The centre right pro-EU party Forza Italia was fourth with 14 percent.

This left Matteo Renzi's centre left Democratic Party out on a limb in second place with just 19 percent of the vote.

The former UKIP leader Nigel Farage tweeted:

Congratulations to my colleagues in the European Parliament Five Star Movement for topping the poll tonight.

So, many see this as euroscepticism on the march, but there is a long way to go before any coalition cards fall into place in Italy.

But, whatever happens, Eurosceptics and those that believe that the Euro is a failed project will be a large part of it.

But whether this shows an Italy on the way out of the EU or a country that just wants to send the bloc, and its own political classes come to that, a warning shot regarding the migrant crisis and such things as huge youth unemployment, is another matter.

Interesting times indeed.

I made a video recently on a University of Cambridge working paper that cast some doubt on economic gravity modelling when applied to Brexit.

Well, the university’s Centre for Business Research has been at it again with a new working paper called:


Working paper number 493 starts by questioning the assumption that the UK's accession to the common market, and subsequently the European Union, has been beneficial to the UK in terms of growth in GDP per capita.

The first thing to point out is that most of the authors of this and related research own to being pro-Remain, but they do conclude that most of the estimates of the impact of Brexit on the UK economy have exaggerated the potential damage.

The authors also say that:

"The Brexit debate has been distorted by several myths. One of the most persistent and widely repeated is that the economic performance of the UK improved after joining the EU, (or EEC as it then was) in 1973."

In fact, they say, GDP per head grew more slowly after we joined in 1973 than it had before.

Between 1950 and 1973, a period many call the Golden Age, UK GDP per head grew by 2.4% per annum, but between 1973 when we joined the common market and 2007 this slowed to two percent. When factoring in the banking crisis this would show even lower growth of GDP per capita.

So, over forty years of reduced growth in GDP per capita is a good thing for the UK is it? So why did we join.

The authors say that the post war catch up from the original EU6 made it look as though the UK needed to jump on the bandwagon, but that by the time we had joined the catch up had ended.

"The UK thus joined on a false prospectus that accession would accelerate growth. It is also a fact that the previously slow growing Commonwealth markets actually expanded faster than the EU over the long period since 1973." say the writers.

Now, I am going to put this in exactly the same terms that the Remain campaign would use, if the boot was on the other foot.

What this means is that the UK has had 17 percent less growth in GDP per capita every year inside the EU than the growth we had while outside. Now that's what I call an attention grabbing headline figure!

On top of that, had our GDP per capita continued to grow at 2.4 percent as opposed to two percent over those thirty plus years of 1973 to 2007, our GDP per capita would be about fourteen percent more than it is now.

And before Remainers pipe up and say that is impossible to prove, I would ask why then are you so happy to believe leaked Brexit reports that predict such stuff into the future?

Anyway, this one piece of information from this report should be enough to open the eyes of the UK public as to the reality of our membership of the European Union. But I see little or no reference to it in the main stream media.

And this is without the contents of the rest of the report showing how flawed the economic modelling has been that predicted disaster after disaster should the UK vote to leave the EU. Disasters that have never materialised.

So, Brexit is nothing to be scared of, so why do our politicians act more like poodles than bulldogs, asks Brendan O'Neill in the Sun. We don't have lions, he says, we have lemmings.

As he points out in his piece, the British public flock to see a film on Churchill leading Britain in its darkest hour against all the odds, but when the EU talks about effectively annexing Northern Ireland our politicians just mumble, or worse still agree to any terms the EU cares to want to impose on us.

The UK has been belittled and held back for far too long by distant Eurocrats and it's about time we flung off the shackles and showed the world what we can really do.

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