Brexit & modern supply side economics

Dave Levy
4 min readSep 2
Port of Barcelona by DFL, CC 2009 BY-SA

I have just read Jonathn Portes’ review of Peter Foster’s book “What Went Wrong With Brexit?”. Foster was a Remainer, despite following in the footsteps of Boris Johnson as the Telegraph’s Brussels correspondent. Portes looks at the economic damage, the under investment in human capital and the continued timidity of our politicians. In this review, I [hope I] add to the debate by looking at long term goals and short term modern supply side programmes, most importantly in my mind, rejoining Horizon Europe.

There’s a couple of things in the article which interest me. Portes in the subtitle ensures that we understand the damage that Cameron and Osborne ‘s austerity has done to the UK economy. A critical conclusion from this article is that the problems in the British economy are endemic, predate the Brexit vote but are made worse by the increased bureaucracy in conducting foreign trade, and the miserly modern supply side policies of this Tory government. The Portes’ review concludes with a look at Foster’s proposals on making things better. Portes suggests that the realistic choice, because of our political leader’s timidity is between minimal change to the future trade and cooperation agreement or rejoining the single market. Portes suggests that the minimal change suggestions i.e. fixing Brexit will not be as easy to achieve as its proponents hope.

Portes and Foster shred the argument that leaving the single market will reduce bureaucracy and red tape. We can see by the 5th delay to introduce full customs checks on the UK/EU sea border that these checks are hard and expensive to implement and that the EU’s imposition of the checks and paper work inhibits EU companies exporting to the UK.

The review, segues to macro-; a critical passage in the review states,

… this perhaps reflects a wider failing. While there are occasional references to the political and economic backdrop against which the referendum took place, it’s hard not to come away with the impression that Foster, like many broadly centrist remainers, thinks that the UK was on the right track until Brexit came along to upend both our politics and our economy. But the UK’s productivity slowdown began around the time of the global financial crisis, while other longstanding and interrelated structural issues — inequality, housing

Dave Levy

Brit, Londoner, economist, Labour, privacy, cybersecurity, traveller, father - mainly writing about UK politics & IT,