Brexit poses real dangers to the UK's economic stabilityby Anatole Kaletsky / March 24, 2016 / Leave a comment
Read more: Brexit won’t mean Scottish independence
Boris Johnson describes it as “Project Fear,” but there is another name for the strongest argument for Britain to stay in the European Union. A parent telling a child not to play with matches or a friend who prevents a drunken companion from getting into the driver’s seat calls this common sense. Politicians who describe the economic risks of Brexit are castigated for trying to “frighten the voters” and advised by media commentators to present a positive, idealistic story.
But when we try to stop a drunk from driving or a child setting fire to the curtains, we do not appeal to their idealism or remind them of the joys of life. We warn of the terrible consequences that could result from reckless actions and in doing this, our burden of proof is very low. We don’t need to prove that the house will burn down or an innocent pedestrian will be run over. It is enough to say that drunk driving makes a calamity more likely and is therefore banned.
The fact that an accident may not happen this particular evening or that no one can predict exactly where one might occur, is no excuse for drunk driving. Yet this is exactly the bogus logic of Boris’s attacks on “Project Fear.” More surprisingly and shamefully, it is has become the habit of supposedly impartial media commentators to give the arguments of drunken drivers and their responsible spouses equal logical weight.
Consider the studies published by the Cabinet Office about the legal consequences of Brexit and the alternative trading agreements that could replace EU membership. The analysis presented was largely factual and undeniable, but the Brexit camp simply ignored the facts and launched an ad hominem attack on David Cameron’s motivation in issuing a fear-mongering “dodgy dossier.” Supposedly impartial political commentators fell straight into the trap. Instead of discussing the objective consequences of Brexit—for example that Britons would lose their automatic rights to live in Europe or that the…