Brexit fact deniers are becoming like climate change sceptics – all fingers in ears and tongues poked out

It’s possible the Bank of England’s figures are wrong, which must be why Brexit enthusiasts haven’t made the mistake of producing their own documents, or research, or numbers

No-deal Brexit will mean 'lost jobs, lower wages and higher inflation' warns Bank of England governor Mark Carney

Theresa May made another mistake at the summit in Brussels last week. She could have enhanced her status by arriving in the hall declaring: “As there’s sod-all chance of getting this agreement past my own parliament, it’s a waste of time us being here. So I bought a van-load of tequila and we have to sink the lot. You start, Macron.”

Then she could have come out of the press conference clinging to the prime minister of Spain, both shouting: “I never liked Gibraltar anyway, have it, go on, have it”, while Michel Barnier sat on a stool crying, consoled by the president of Lithuania telling him, “don’t take any notice of Jean-Claude Juncker, you’re really pretty.”

Mark Carney: 'Our job is to have a system ready. Parliament will decide'

Because the smart way to deal with Brexit, is join in with the irrationality. Whenever someone tries to make sense of it, that’s when they get in a tangle. So the head of the Bank of England spends weeks producing a series of reports on the possible economic outcomes, which must have been exhausting. But all that work was immediately dismissed by Jacob Rees-Mogg, who called the man who produced the report “a second-tier politician who failed in Canada, not greatly respected”.

This is much more fun, and takes a fraction of the effort. And he has a point, because the head of the Bank of England doesn’t have anywhere near the respect of supporters of a no-deal Brexit, like internationally renowned Boris Johnson, revered philosopher Nigel Farage and the lovable and quirky economics expert Tommy Robinson, whose paper on EU finance, “How much we coughing up? You’re having a laugh you oily foreign twat”, remains a classic after all these years.

Rees-Mogg himself has written a highly respected pamphlet, in which he states: “Should circumstances genuflect in such fashion as to cause temporary financial difficulty, the country would simply be required to behave as ever in times of monetary hardship – we should have to inherit something; a turret perhaps, or a lawn. Failing that, we could sell an antique chaise longue, or sack a nanny.”

All the most reliable predictions have come from supporters of the Leave campaign. For example, Liam Fox told us in advance the Brexit negotiations would be “the easiest deal in history”, and he must feel smug at how accurate he was.

While David Davis said, “within minutes of a vote for Brexit, CEOs would be knocking down Chancellor Merkel’s door, demanding access to the British market,” because then apparently, the EU would back down, desperate for us to buy their cars and wine.

It’s no wonder Davis is so keen on writing off the Bank of England’s silly predictions, when his one turned out exactly as he said. Any day soon the EU will back down, because the Italians are whispering to the Germans, “we’ll have to do as they ask with this backstop thing, we’ve got 20 bottles of Prosecco in the office and we can’t get rid of it.”

Brexit supporters should have made this argument more strongly, adding: “there’s no way the EU will ask us to pay extra duties after we’ve left, as there’s a bloke in Sweden trying to sell his old fridge. And we won’t buy it if Europe mucks us about.”

It is possible the Bank of England’s figures are wrong, which must be why Brexit enthusiasts haven’t made the mistake of producing their own documents, or research, or numbers. Instead they make the more persuasive argument – “don’t take notice of him, he’s discredited in Canada”.

This will soon become the way to succeed as an academic. To get top marks for a history degree, you’ll have to research first-hand accounts of the American War of Independence, then write “but they don’t know nothing, trying to be fancy with their quotes and graphs. The British won, and anyone who disagrees is talking Britain down, the traitors. Anyway, George Washington’s hated in Canada”.

Sports pundits will change in the same way. Gary Lineker will say he thinks Barcelona will win, because of their pace and ability and formation, and Davis will say “don’t take notice of that, it’s all very well having ‘knowledge’, but I know Bristol City will take them apart, because of this and that, and they’re nearer the sea, and no one has a good word to say about you in Toronto.”

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

The one argument put forward to suggest there will be a financial gain from leaving the EU, is that “deregulation – of the banks – will boost the economy by 0.1 per cent”. This makes you wonder why no one has thought of it before. If only we scrapped all the rules on banking, so bankers could make themselves as rich as possible, maybe making it amazingly easy to get a mortgage even if you had no chance of paying it back. We could make everything work perfectly.

Even if this has been done somewhere before, and someone revealed that it ended quite badly, with banks collapsing, there’s no need to take any notice of the evidence, because there’s nothing as misleading as facts.

Maybe the most helpful part of all these reports and predictions is where it’s stated the reduction in immigration that will follow Brexit will make the country worse off. That’s to say, worse, as in: not as good. This whole argument about immigration, in which politicians on both sides of the EU debate screamed we had to reduce it to make us better off, was upside-down.

So it’s touching to be able to find something on which many Remain politicians and Brexiteers alike can agree. In ignoring all the facts and screaming nonsense together, they’ve created a rare and charming moment of unity for us all.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in