Patrick Minford: the authentic face of Brexit

August 21, 2017 at 8:43 pm (Asshole, BBC, economics, Europe, Jim D, populism, Thatcher, Tory scum)

Above: Minford exalts his heroine Thatcher

“The cost of a BMW or the price tag of an imported fridge would suddenly drop
and our resources would shift from manufacturing to services — raising
living standards for all of us”  – Patrick Minford in The Sun 15 March 2016

In yet another example of its craven grovelling to Brexiteers and right wing populism, the BBC gave prominence over the weekend, to pro-Brexit economists’ claim that leaving the EU without a trade deal would bring a “£135bn annual boost” to the economy. The article, which was the main news story on the BBC website on Sunday morning, failed to mention dodgy previous economic forecasts also made by Professor Patrick Minford, the leader of the group Economists for Free Trade

According to economics professors from the London School of Economics, Professor Minford’s earlier Brexit forecasts were “really far-fetched” and “crazy”. He “misunderstands the nature of regulations and product standards”, they added. Economist Monique Ebell from the National Institute of Social and Economic Research told the BBC that Professor Minford “ignores decades of evidence on how trade actually works”. The assumptions of Minford’s Economists for Brexit group – now rebranded as Economists for Free Trade – were previously criticised as grossly unrealistic on other grounds, including ignoring the fact that countries tend to do more trade with countries that are geographically closer, by economic modellers from the London School of Economics (LSE).

Minford, a professor at Cardiff University, can fairly claim to be the authentic face of Brexit. An ardent Thatcherite, he hates unions, supported the poll tax, wants to see the NHS and universities privatised and thinks the destruction of the British manufacturing industry would be a good thing.

It’s no wonder, then, that the Sun and Sun on Sunday adulate Minford. But shouldn’t the pro-hard Brexit idiot-left be just a little worried at finding themselves on the same side as this thoroughgoing reactionary?


  1. Matthew Thompson said,

    I would say that in general, both during and after the referendum, the BBC has taken a pro-EU line, both in its correspondents’ contributions and their questions to Brexiteers. Minford presumably appeared because some producer thought they should balance that out a bit.

    • mark taha said,

      Are you the Matt Thoompson I used to know in the Old Boys’ Book Club? As for Minford-politics makes strange bedfellows,as they say. I agree with him on the EU but marched against the Poll Tax. I basically favour tariff for tariff.

    • Jim Denham said,

      I’m not so sure, Matthew: I think during the referendum they bent over backwards to appear to be “impartial” by not robustly challenging the lies and wild claims of the ‘Leave” side: the reason was they’d long been under attack as “metropolitan liberals”, etc, from Farage, Hannon, Cash and the rest of the Tory ultra-right, etc. They were, in other words, running scared. This resulted in the kind of “false balance” for which the Beeb has also been criticised over climate change.

      The Beeb defends itself here:

  2. rotzeichen said,

    When we look at odd bedfellows you need only look at the right wing of the Labour Party to question that one, in as we always say Labour is a broad church.

    I voted remain because the arguments surrounding the EU are as confused as those that engage in them, the hard liners stick like glue to certain ideals which the EU doesn’t live up to, namely the secret trade deals, in a democracy…… who could possibly link secrecy with democracy. The EU has adopted a gradual corporate diktat that emboldens free trade and corporate power into legislation subordinating peoples democratic rights TTIP, and now CETA clearly identify that direction of travel.

    The EU showed the world how it related Neo-Liberal dogma to a country like Greece, punishing innocent people for the the failure of the corrupt European Banks, and like the Tories here denigrating pensions and welfare generally as being profligate, whilst bailing out the Financial sector and putting the cost on to the people of Europe, in short you just can’t make this stuff up.

    What I do agree with the extreme right about is that outside Europe we once again become a sovereign nation, able to implement our laws and regulations that we see fit, noting any worthwhile legislation that complies with European Laws can also be adopted here. What any sane person does reject though is the typical Laissez Faire Free Trade capitalism of right wing politicians from wherever they occur on the political spectrum.

    Europe can’t possibly survive in it’s current form, because of the way the Euro operates within the economy, trade imbalances within nations create unreconcilable deficits that impoverish those at the bottom to the detriment of those at the top, Germany with it’s trade surpluses is now seeing increased unemployment, which is likely to continue, driving the European economy further down the longer it goes on. Only a fully integrated united Europe on the same principles as our United Kingdom will remedy that and I don’t see that happening soon.

    As for Britain, we are leaving Europe, the sooner people recognise that the sooner we can start to get rid of the Tories and work with Europe to ensure that we do as little harm to both sides of the channel as we possibly can, if Europe as I suspect those Neo-Liberal politicians there would do, won’t play ball then we do have the added bonus that it will hurt them more than us because we have a huge trade deficit with Europe and trade Barriers will damage them whilst benefitting our ability to compete in our home markets.

    That aside we have our own sovereign Fiat money system, meaning we can spend within our economy in a way that European’s cant. We can never end up like Greece, but first we need to get rid of the Neo-Liberal politicians who’s sole purpose is to promote the corporate sector at the expense of the rest of us.

    • Jim Denham said,

      Nonsense on stilts: “What I do agree with the extreme right about is that outside Europe we once again become a sovereign nation, able to implement our laws and regulations that we see fit, noting any worthwhile legislation that complies with European Laws can also be adopted here.”

      What on earth do you mean by “once again become a sovereign nation, able to implement our laws and regulations that we see fit”: who the hell are “we” and why would “our” laws and regulations be any better than the rest of Europe’s? There is absolutely zilch evidence to support such a contention, and an awful lot to contradict it. And remember, the Tories are in government and it will be *their* Brexit, not some fantasy “left exit”. Labour’s policy of “studied ambiguity” has worked reasonably well to date, but is now becoming an embarrassment (as well as being dishonest and unprincipled). Labour needs to make it clear that we do *not* support Brexit in *any* shape or form.

      • rotzeichen said,

        Jim Hyperbole doesn’t make up for reasoned argument, ‘when’ we withdraw form the EU, who will dictate what laws we abide by other than internationally agreed laws?

        I did emphasise that we must concentrate on getting these vile Tories out of office if we want any sort of society that works in the interests of people.

        I also predetermined that you would automatically jump in to say that there was good EU legislation, so I put it back to you, if you understand the meaning of a “Sovereign Nation,” what would stop us from adopting those parts of legislation that clearly makes sense, Nothing bar the Tories and Neo-Liberal politicians that serve the interests of the corporate sector.

        You clearly do not support Brexit, I didn’t vote for Brexit but accept it’s decision, that is the subtle difference between us, in addition we had huge promises about how it would strengthen our economy by being members of the EU, since then Thatcher deliberately decimated our manufacturing base, saying if it isn’t hurting it isn’t working, looking back from her point of view I now see the irony in that statement.

        We have lost our so called competitive edge because of lack of real investment, there are now areas of the world where we can’t possibly compete against even if we try. We are a net importer not exporter therefore we need a new paradigm, which invests in people through using our sovereign currency, instead of supporting a corrupt banking system, the next crash is just around the corner,
        Deutsche Bank if you care to check it out, is still on the verge of going bust, it’s just a matter of time not if.

        The private sector that you people on the right keep telling us is doing such a wonderful job, is that it can’t even pay people a living wage without a subsidy from the state. So we must put our thinking caps on and look for an alternative, and low and behold there is one that’s called socialism.

  3. Andrew Coates said,


    British political sovereignty can only implement our own” legislation if you accept the premise that the existing state is “ours” to do what we wish with. Do you mean that the British can create economic sovereignty out of thin air, in an era of globalisation? That holding ‘our’ currency we can control its movements through the Bank of England, and that ‘our’ industry and commerce is there to be run by Parliamentary democracy?

    Monetary policy is not, as left sovereigntist diehards like Larry Elliott argue, the be all and end all of economic control, even if it could be used as a simple tool without regard for external financial markets (as Labour quickly found in the past) and if I recall rightly the issue of transnationals was one that the old Bennites never solved, and that’s just to start with.

    Minford is at least coherent in seeing the state as a means to restore a ‘natural’ economic behaviour and submit British production to international markets. He is a hardline believer in ‘natural’ markets. He has rejected, for example, the Living Wage as an interference with those markets “New living wage will penalise the poor with unemployment, economist warns” “Cardiff University economics professor Patrick Minford says the new rate of £7.20 an hour prices people out of jobs” (March 2016)

    As you seem to hover between a United Europe and spending time pondering a sovereigntist utopia can I suggest that it looks as if MInford, while a bit of a crank, is likely to have more policy influence of Brexit than you will.

    • rotzeichen said,

      Please forgive my bluntness by saying you are living in the 20th century where Neo-Liberal fundamentals was applied as the norm. This is now the 21st century, we have seen the implosion of “Market Philosophy”, with the 2008 crash.

      It is well understood that the politics of the 1980s is not relevant to a thriving economy, and indeed has wrought despair not seen since the 1920s.

      If we were to accept your pessimistic view that we just have to accept the medicine dished out under the guise of financial probity, then we would be ignoring the historical facts that contradict that, being the postwar boom years started under Labour that Neo-Liberals decry. Indeed Harold Macmillan himself stated that working people had never had it so good and that Thatcher was selling off the state silver.

      Minford of course is either directly a libertarian or Neo-Liberal which are all theories that have done nothing but create misery for the mass of people. He is part and parcel to the problems we all face, his recipe his “let the Devil take the hindmost”. His philosphy takes us back to the days of the workhouse, and if we go on believing him, thats where many will end up.

      Clearly you won’t accept the new paradigm of using money to invest in Britain’s future, you probably don’t understand that it’s not the rich that make up the real economy but people, they are the real wealth creators, the fact that the rich though do know that is quite ironic.

      We simply don’t need to think in terms of employer or employee any more because with the advent of more automation, it no longer relevant.

      All money is created out of thin air, but issued as debt, there is no law or reason why we should do it that way, that is a man made decision, we can of course make alternative decisions, just as we did throughout the second world war. All it takes is a government with the will to do it, that clearly won’t be the Tories, so if we want to escape from the corporate treadmill, we have to look to what works and what doesn’t, socialism works and capitalism doesn’t.

      We are not players in the globalised world, as we see with these Tories, Trump says jump and Theresa May says, how high?

      But it doesn’t have to be that way.

      • Jim Denham said,

        “We simply don’t need to think in terms of employer or employee any more because with the advent of more automation, it [is] no longer relevant”… err, who produces the surplus value necessary for the continuation of the capitalist system, then?

        And if you’re looking forward to a socialist planned economy, who’s going to bring that about if the battle between employer and employee is “no longer relevant”?

        I think it’s you, rotzeichen, who doesn’t understand a lot of fairly basic economic and political facts. Start reading Capital Vol 1.

  4. Keith said,

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