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Brexit has made Britain ‘the sick man of Europe again’ – Guardian columnist says

"It was a confidence trick on the British public, the majority of whom now realise that they have been had", William Keegan said

Guardian columnist William Keegan has said Brexit is costing us all the prosperity we gained from being part of the single market in a stinging column.

 By Jack Peat

Pointing to recent economic evidence that supports a long-term slump for Britain, he said that the only “opportunity” to arise out of the UK’s split with its closest trading partner has been “to demonstrate that the whole idea was a mistake”.

“Moreover, it was a confidence trick on the British public, the majority of whom now realise that they have been had.”


The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has recently published findings suggesting Brexit has had a “significant adverse impact on UK trade”, estimating that the split will result in the UK’s trade intensity being 15 percent lower in the long run than if the country had remained in the EU.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), meanwhile, also finds “very clearly, Brexit was an economic own-goal”, while the Bank of England predicts we are about to enter the ‘longest recession in modern history with negative growth expected up until the first half of 2024.

Compared to other G7 nations, Pantheon Macroeconomic says, the UK will be the first into recession and the last out, showing far less resilience to the global forces dampening growth elsewhere.


Early indications suggest our little economic pickle is being recognised by the British public.

Polling shows the economy has restored its place as the biggest issue on most people’s minds having been briefly supplanted by ‘leaving the EU’ between 2016 and 2019. The research coincides with a separate poll showing the largest-ever lead for ‘Wrong to Leave’ since the initial split six years ago.

Overall, 56 pe

Overall, 56 percent of Brits think the UK was wrong to leave compared to 32 percent who still believe it was the right decision. It equates to a massive 24-point gap.

As Keegan concludes, it’s not that Brexit is the cause of all our problems, “but – my goodness! – it has magnified them”.

“With due respect to the memory of the late Prof Ball, I should like to nominate Brexit as the One Big Explanation for why this economy is faring so much worse than the rest of the G20.”

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