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Pro-Brexit commentators have consistently responded to the devaluation of the pound since the referendum by insisting that it's a good thing, as it makes exports more competitive. It's a silly argument on its own terms, as shown here… . 1/
So silly, you might conclude it's disingenuous. This is obviously very difficult to know, but every so often recent events give us something approaching a natural experiment. There was, after all, another significant devaluation of the pound in 2008/9. 2/
How did Brexiteers respond to that, a development which happened under Gordon Brown? Well, Daniel Hannan made a speech to the European Parliament. He was hardly positive about the potential it had to boost exports. 3/
In fact, the speech became known by a phrase he signed off with: The Devalued Prime Minister of a Devalued Government. You can see it here: 4/
In fact, he not only used the devaluation as an argument against the government, but supported his argument by referring to statements by.... the IMF and the European Commission! That's right, those pesky, corrupt, biased international institutions behind 'project fear' 5/
"Everyone knows", says Hannan, "that Britain is worse off than any other country as we go into these hard times. The IMF has said so. The European Commission has said so. The markets have said so, which is why our currency has devalued by 30%. " 6/
This speech became something of a youtube phenomenon, with very positive write ups in the Telegraph:… Express:… 7/
But it doesn't stop there. John Redwood published an article to a similar effect in February 2010 here:… 8/
His argument is summarised in the first paragraph: " Today the pound opened lower again on the exchanges against the dollar. That means dearer petrol, dearer commodities, dearer imports from dollar related parts of the world including China. We are poorer as a result. " 9/
Somehow, for some reason, he comes to rather different conclusions now though:… . 10/
Maybe Hannan was on to something after all when he talked about ‘Brezhnev era apparatchik[s], towing the party line.’ End/
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