Thursday 29 November 2018

"Casting about aspersions of honesty"

For your interest, here's a transcript of the PM interview last night between Evan Davis and Jacob Rees-Mogg MP:

From an earlier occasion when Jacob told Evan off

Evan Davis: Let's talk to Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative MP, chair of the European Research Group. Very good evening to you.
Jacob Rees-Mogg: Good evening.
Evan Davis: Let's start with the Government ones. You don't think those are fair simulations. Correct?
Jacob Rees-Mogg: There's a fundamental flaw if you read the Government's paper, which is that it doesn't take into account global economic trends. And one of the major global economic trends is that 90% of future global economic growth is expected to come from outside the European Union. So if you take out that level of growth you end up with figures that are not likely to be accurate.
Evan Davis: Except that...that to be taken out, you would have had that growth regardless of whether we're in or out, so we can sell more to India whether we're in the EU or out of the EU. So it's only the difference, which is why their report says they don't think it's very significant.
Jacob Rees-Mogg: No, I don't think that's accurate, because one of the reasons we have difficulties getting into other markets is because of the protectionist racket run by the European Union that keeps out low-priced goods of high quality from countries outside the European Union. Bear in mind, we put protectionist tariffs and non-tariff barriers on goods that we don't even manufacture in this country to protect inefficient incompetent European businesses at a high cost to British consumers. We can get rid of that once we've left the European Union. That's why global economic trends are crucial.
Evan Davis: And the Treasury thought it wasn't a very significant factor,. which is why they didn't model all that growth. Let me just ask you...
Jacob Rees-Mogg: (interrupting) Indeed, but let me just finish on that, because bear in mind the Treasury said that we would lose 800,000 jobs, up to, simply by voting to leave the European Union. That was nonsense. It said we would have a punishment Brexit [presumably he meants 'Budget' there]. That was nonsense. The Treasury's reputation has been for politicised forecasts,...
Evan Davis(interrupting) Right, and interestingly...
Jacob Rees-Mogg: ...which is why George Osborne set up the Office For Budget Responsibility to do it independently.
Evan Davis: And interestingly, all the independent forecasts give you the same story: This isn't economic calamity, unless we have a disorderly Brexit. It's basically 1-5% loss in our kind of long-term national income. Shouldn't you just be honest and say, look, that is what is going to happen folks. It's worth it because you want to take back control or have lower immigration, whatever it is, but there's a small price to pay...
Jacob Rees-Mogg(speaking over) No, I...
Evan Davis: ...and you will notice it after 10 or 15 years.
Jacob Rees-Mogg:  I think casting about aspersions of honesty it is an improper thing for the BBC to do. I think you have to take on good faith what people come on your programme to say, and I think it's disreputable of you to put it in that way. People have honest disagreements, and there are economists, who actually got many things right before, who disagree. And bear in mind the consensus view was that joining the euro would be good for us, being in the Exchange Rate Mechanism would be good for us...
Evan Davis(interrupting) There was enormous division on those things and there was not the same consensus about them.
Jacob Rees-Mogg: (speaking over) Oh hold on! On the Exchange Rate Mechanism there was an almost entire consensus that us being in the Exchange Rate Mechanism was good for the country, and I think that to rewrite history in that way is simply inaccurate. And these consensus forecasts are very bad at getting inflexion points. As Andy Haldane, the senior economist at the Bank of England, has himself said - and wrote a very interesting paper about - why didn't the forecasters get 2008 right? The reason: they're not good inflexion points, and leaving the European Union is unquestionably an inflexion point.
Evan Davis: Let's get a quick reaction to the Bank of England's projection. It's a much shorter term one: Disorderly Brexit, worse economic crisis - a worse shock, than the financial crisis - economy shrinking by 8%. You just have to say everybody's biased, everybody's out for your...for your case, don't you, because this is a completely separate, independent forecast?..
Jacob Rees-Mogg: (interrupting) It's not independent. It's by the Bank of England and by Mark Carney, who has been hostile to Brexit all the way through, is a second-tier failed Canadian politician who, unfortunately, we have running one of our most distinguished institutions, who has trashed its reputation by his succession of hysterical and wrong forecasts. And for the Bank of England to be talking down the pound is, I think, unprecedented. It is not what the Bank of England is there to do. and it's deeply irresponsible of them.
Evan Davis: You can't accept? got cross with me when I said you need to be honest about the economic effect, you got cross with me for saying that, but you cannot accept that if the Bank of England as an institution is capable of sitting down, using a set of very conventional models - there are not outlying models. It's not like they're saying much that's different from anyone else who looks at this -  you can't accept that they just do their best to model and tell the country what it's in for if it has a disorderly Brexit?
Jacob Rees-Mogg: I think the Bank of England's activities around the Brexit debate were quite extraordinary, that it doesn't interfere in general elections but it decided to interfere in the referendum and to make highly speculative and so far erroneous forecasts, and I think it's that reputation that makes these further forecasts less than credible.
Evan Davis: Jacob Rees-Mogg,...
Jacob Rees-Mogg: (speaking over) It's a pleasure.
Evan Davis:  (laughing) ...thanks for, thanks for joining us.


  1. JRM did these sorts of interviews the interviewer really holds all the cards, so Mogg is to be applauded for taking on Davis on his passive-aggressive techniques.

    The full range of Davis ploys is on display including the disingenuous question, imputations of dishonesty, the infantilisation of debate ("you got cross with me" - how pathetic after he had implied dishonesty on Mogg's part), and using "expert opinion" to batter people with (while never reacting to or accepting the rebuttal that these claimed experts got things spectacularly wrong just two years ago! - the rebuttal, which is a matter of fact not opinion, is simply ignored).

    PM has become a kind of punishment cell where Davis applies the rubber truncheon to the more sensitive parts of recalcitrant elements in the British polity, to the applause of Guardian readers everywhere. Good to see the prisoners are fighting back.

    Evan 'elp us!

  2. Newswatch will be fun tomorrow.

    Mind you, the BBC thinks this is all that got folk excited about the BBC recently:

    BBC Logo27 NOVEMBER 2018
    The Andrew Marr Show, BBC One, 18 November 2018
    We received complaints from people who felt that Andrew’s interview with Baroness Chakrabarti was biased against her and aggressive in tone.

    BBC Logo16 NOVEMBER 2018
    The Andrew Marr Show, BBC One, 28 October 2018
    We received complaints from people who felt Andrew Marr didn’t sufficiently challenge Philip Hammond on comments he made about the Loan Charge.

    Well, the Shami one was a dead cert.

    But usually they have something daft about the weather forecast being wrong.


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