A Period Of Brexit Silence From Auto Makers Would Be Welcome.
Leaving The E.U. Isn’t Going To Be A Big Deal Anyway.
Auto manufacturers like Ford and BMW should accept the result of the Brexit referendum and desist from insisting that if we don’t stay in the European Union, the economic sky will fall.
Not least because it won’t.
These multinational companies are only interested in their own convenience. Perfect conditions for them would be a world government with one global single market. Just as long as its leaders didn’t have to live under its questionable auspices themselves.
And, according to one analyst, the auto makers are crying wolf without undertaking any serious cost-benefit analysis of the consequences of Brexit.
One maddening aspect of this anti-Brexit chorus is the fact that vocal proponents like Ford Motor Co CEO Mark Fields, is a U.S. citizen living under a strong democracy. Fields said this earlier this year.
“It’s really important for the U.K. to be part of a (E.U.) single market and that having the U.K. as part of a reformed E.U. is in the best interests of the U.K.,” Fields was quoted as saying.
Automotive big cheeses like Fields haven’t twigged yet that the Brexit referendum is more about who governs us, not whether we will all be £10 a week worse or better off. If Fields lived under an unaccountable bureaucracy like the E.U. he would probably be out there with a banner.
And the automotive industry has form. In 2002 it was saying either join the euro or the automotive industry would decamp from Britain tomorrow. This was another example of an industry uniting for a cause that would be very convenient for it – one currency across a huge market – but with no concern for the economic turmoil that might follow. The euro debate also worried about “uncertainty” that non-compliance with their wishes might mean. We are hearing the same thing now. The poor things can’t abide a bit of “uncertainty”. Maybe we should give up that most major generator of “uncertainty”, the election?
The automotive industry seems to think that plunging into our political debate is cost-free. On the day that BMW board member Ian Robertson said, again, that Britain must stay in the E.U., Chandlers, the BMW dealership in Worthing, telephoned a would-be X1 buyer. Sadly, he wouldn’t be buying a BMW because of its Brexit stance. I can attest to the truth of that because the would-be buyer was me.
If there really was a big economic price to pay if we left the E.U., it would be only honest to acknowledge it. But a recent report from Civitas says the benefits of the E.U.’s Single Market are illusiory.
The report’s author Michael Burrage also said car manufacturers, despite their noisy opposition, haven’t taken the trouble to do any research.
“None of them has produced a serious risk/benefit analysis at all,” Burrage said.
“These findings (of the report), along with evidence that Single Market members have suffered from distinctively high and severe unemployment compared with independent OECD countries, that the GDP and productivity have grown more slowly, and that the exports of 15 non-member countries to the rest of the E.U. have grown more rapidly than those of the U.K., demonstrates that the image of the Single Market as the ‘crown jewel’ of the E.U. which has delivered ‘substantial economic benefits’ to the U.K. is a myth,” Burrage said in the report.
Claims of impending gloom don’t add up.
“Non-members have gained more from the Single Market than the members. This shows it is a non-event, and leaving it would be a non-event,” Burrage said in a telephone interview.
“The consequences (for free trade of Brexit) are nothing like as serious as the Financial Times and CBI suggest; nothing remotely like that. As one bank chairman put it; rationality will prevail. I’m inclined to agree,” he said.