Will Brexit Britain Boom?
The High Priests of economic forecasting at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have published their predictions for the UK economy post-Brexit. In a case study on bias in reporting, the findings have already been hilariously spun in a range of different styles.
The dreaded ‘no deal’ scenario somehow still seems to be plaguing the conscience of writers at the Independent, which has seen the news from the IMF as a severe warning against Britain leaving the EU without passing an agreed deal through Parliament (did they miss the latest election results?)
Meanwhile the Daily Mail has trumpeted the findings as news that UK economy will outpace that of the Eurozone for the first two years after Brexit. Though when the Pound Sterling is nearly as close to parity with the Euro as it’s ever been, the only way is up…
The Brexit-obsessed Daily Express has lauded the IMF for proving that Britain will be a ‘world force’ after leaving the EU, which conversely supposes that it hasn’t been up until now – permanent membership on the UN Security Council is clearly not enough for readers of the Express.
On the other hand, the Evening Standard has mournfully headlined their spin on the report as ‘slow economic growth’ after Brexit – even if the departure is ‘orderly’.
Though leaving aside the bizarre scope of different reporting, just what does the IMF report actually say? Its prediction is that economic growth will stabilise at 1.4% this year and 1% in 2021, which they view as dependent on a gradual transition to a new economic relationship.
This is no Brexit-boom and the UK economy has done better historically, but it is true that these figures are brighter than those forecast for Germany and France for the same timeframe.
The IMF is infamous for its hostile position on the UK’s departure from the EU, with Mr Brexit himself once labelling it an ‘outpost’ of the European Union. Indeed, it was the IMF which envisioned the fallout from Brexit as being ‘pretty bad to very bad’.
In other words, those same economists have decided in their latest report that the sky isn’t falling this week… though who’s to say that they won’t change their mind soon.