Followers of this series of posts may well enjoy Allister Heath’s article in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph, which pointed out that the reckless propagation of inaccurate scare stories by the Remain campaigners is fast become a danger to the cause it is meant to aid. As he argued, the “extreme claims that have been made in recent days are laughably implausible, even to nervous, swing voters; fear is only effective as a political strategy if it is credible.”
That credibility gap yawns ever wider, as various Remainiacs continue to lean deep into a barrel and scrape away. The latest winner of the coveted Project Fear Scare Story of the Week award goes to the official pro-EU campaign itself. Their literature is plastered with a claim that “EU membership is worth £3000 to each UK household” – by implication, suggesting that would be the cost of Brexit.
Unfortunately for them, this number withered as soon as it came under scrutiny. While Lord Rose’s appearance before the Treasury Select Committee has become infamous thanks to his remarkably honest admission that a Leave vote would increase people’s wages, the dressing down he received from the committee’s chairman, Andrew Tyrie, was a masterclass.
Tyrie, not a hothead by any stretch of the imagination, told Rose that the £3,000 figure represented a “scandalous misuse of data” and was an instance of “intellectual dishonesty”.
Why? Andrew Neil’s expert dissection of the dodgy figure on the Daily Politics is worth watching for the full chapter and verse, but in a nutshell it’s a number produced by the CBI (whom the pro-EU campaign call “independent experts”, despite the fact that they receive EU funding) on the basis of a review of a highly selective group of studies done by others. For some mysterious reason the pro-EU, EU-funded CBI neglected to include studies by the IoD, NIESR, or the US International Trade Commission, to name but a few. Unhelpful findings by highly reputable organisations were left out, and lo, a suitably scary figure was produced. A “scandalous misuse of data” indeed.