On the morning of the 24th June, Britain woke to find its stock market shattered and its pound pummelled. It appeared – for a brief moment – like all the prophecies of the Brexit doomsayers, not least the Great Seer Osborne, had come true. But then, from the wreckage of that mid-summer morning, green shoots began to appear, and now, more than two months down the line, it seems that Britain has bounced back. In his cover piece this week, Ross Clark argues that the Remain campaign fell victim to the perils of believing their opinion to be ‘objective fact’, and that economic recovery has humiliated the Treasury, Bank of England, and the other grand institutions who swore that Brexit would leave us poorer. So is he right? Or is it too early to truly evaluate Britain’s new place in the world? Speaking to Isabel Hardman on the podcast, Ross Clark says:
'What gets me is the way that before the referendum it was not presented as an opinion of the 'Remain' campaign that the economy would tank, it was presented as fact. Initially the markets fell sharply, the pound fell but within a week, the markets had started to tell a different story'
Torsten Bell, Director of the Resolution Foundation, joins Ross on the podcast. He tells Isabel:
'The truth is we won't know for some time (what impact Brexit will actually have). What is definitely true about the 'Remain' campaign though is that for understandable political reasons, the long-term effects and the short-term, scary shocks were mixed up into being one thing'
Also on this week's podcast, Peter Oborne declares that we are possibly witnessing ‘the last few months of the Mugabe era’ in Zimbabwe. The country has empty coffers on a scale that even Liam Byrne wouldn’t joke about, and is heading for economic disaster, and possible violence, should Mugabe seek to cling to power. So will he head for the exit door at the 2018 elections? Peter tells Isabel there will be grave consequences if he doesn't:
'If Mugabe stays in place, we enter a dark black hole. Zimbabwe, we know, has been in crisis for 15 years but I think it could take a direction downwards into something like the Congo if Mugabe stays put. The rule of law will collapse, the economy will collapse. You will see the emergence of war lords and all the rest of it.'
And finally, the name on everybody’s lips this week has been Keith Vaz. Or should that be Jim? After a day spent acting like the world’s most innocent washing machine salesman, Vaz finally resigned from his chairmanship on Tuesday afternoon. In his column this week, Toby Young theorizes that Vaz is a psychopath:
'I suppose I am deliberately being a bit provocative. I was also comparing him to Anthony Weiner, the American politician, and I was thinking about why it is that these senior public figures with quite a lot to lose do these things. One of the interesting things about the Vaz scandal is that he thought none of these rent boys would recognise him. I recently read a paper about psychopathy (written by behavioural geneticist David Lykken), which had the theory that psychopaths have a 'low fear' quotient. And that might explain both Weiner and Vaz's behaviour. It could be that they just suffer from low levels of fear and anxiety'
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