Fact-Checking Brexit: The Conclusion
Hugh Hancock

I delved into Hancock’s analyses expecting to find what I consider the most obvious criticisms of EU membership dealt with. No such luck.

One of the biggest criticisms is that Britain has no control over its borders, no criteria over what kind of people may enter and reside, nor any limit on their number. The basic problem is that Britons believe in their own national character, and consider it at risk from those who will, at current rates, be the new majority in another forty years and whose national character is incompatible, to say the least. Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t even find that mentioned by Hancock.

Hancock also endorses the claim that Britain gets back 10 for every one pound sent to the EU. This math is contorted. The one sent to the EU comes directly from the Treasury. The ten claimed to receive in return is a calculation based on the benefits to the economy alleged to result from EU membership. If that is to be a legitimate calculation, then one has to subtract the wealth taken from the economy due to regulations that are imposed by the EU; and subtract additionally an estimate of how much benefit that trade with EU countries would continue anyway if Britain left. I saw no evidence Hancock made that adjustment.

Britons criticize EU government on the basis of being undemocratic. Hancock disagrees. First, he equates the EU Commission with the House of Lords, saying both are unelected, so case closed. But the Commission makes laws on its own authority; Lords does not. They are not equal at all. Britain’s lawmakers are subject to the votes of British citizens; EU’s lawmakers are not subject to the votes of EU citizens. Hancock dismisses this glaring undemocratic fact by the computation that Briton’s elect the people who appoint the people who participate in the appointment of EU lawmakers, so it’s all the same. Sorry, it’s not. The essence of democracy is that the lawmakers be directly subject to the sanction of the citizens; EU lawmakers are not. They are so far removed from the body politic as to be immune from their sanction.

Most egregiously, Hancock completely ignores the most damaging aspect of the EU: it attempts to impose a single, supranational identity on a collection of nations wildly disparate in their values and identities and national characters. As a common market, it can work; but as a kind of United States of Europe, it can’t.

Hancock’s conclusion that the Remains are honest while the Leaves are liars makes a mockery of his claim to have entered with an open mind.

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