It has to be said that, while historically significant, the referendum is a serious diversion from the underlying economic and political problems facing both the UK and Europe generally. The Treasury, the Bank of England and assorted international institutions and domestic thinktanks have been doing their level best to frighten the electorate with doom-laden prophecies of what lies in store if the nation votes for Brexit.
But, as John Llewellyn and Russell Jones of Llewellyn Consulting remind us in their latest weekly comment: “In or out of the EU, the country is confronted by major economic challenges and the political environment is likely to remain fraught and unsettled.” They point to the huge current balance of payments deficit – at 7%, much higher than the deficit that brought such problems in 1976, once the 1975 referendum was out of the way.
This and problems such as the housing crisis and the lamentable structural weakness of the British economy will resurface, come what may, on 24 June. But a positive outcome is surely a necessary condition for a serious economic recovery plan.
Who knows? A Remain vote could set a good example to other member nations where the commitment to the EU is wearing thin.
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