Brains for Brexit! Group of academics challenges view that all of them oppose Brexit


Blackleaf
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#1  Top Rated Post
The 17.4 million people who voted for Brexit are, according to many Remainers, thick simpletons who "didn't know what they were voting for" and that academics - scientists, economists, lawyers, historians, philosophers etc - all voted to stay in the EU "because they are cleverer".

But now, a group of 41 acamedics has got together to destroy this view - they all support Brexit...

Brains for Brexit! Meet the historians, philosophers, QCs and ex-MI6 boss who make up the 41 top-thinkers fighting the tide of Remain 'propaganda'


New site briefingsforbrexit.com challenges view all academics want to Remain

Economists, lawyers, philosophers, historians and social scientists are involved

Website will challenge 'ludicrous' claims on economic consequences of Brexit


By Jack Doyle Executive Political Editor For The Daily Mail
19 February 2018

More than 40 of the country's top thinkers have launched a pro-Brexit campaign to fight the tide of Remain 'propaganda'.

Leading economists, lawyers, philosophers, historians and social scientists want to challenge the impression all academics oppose leaving the EU.

The group, which includes Remain voters, has criticised the contempt shown by those seeking to reverse the referendum result who regard large numbers of Leave supporters as 'unworthy of consideration'.

Trying to overturn that vote 'would outrage democratic sovereignty, cause dangerous and lasting dissension, and make the United Kingdom an international laughing stock', they said.

A new website, briefingsforbrexit.com, will challenge 'ludicrous' claims about the economic consequences of leaving.



It is the brainchild of two Cambridge academics, the historian Professor Robert Tombs and the economist Dr Graham Gudgin.

Other figures who have signed up to the project include former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove, the Labour peer Lord Glasman, the Oxford law professor Dr Richard Ekins and Baroness Ruth Deech, the former chairman of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, The Sunday Times reported.

Dr Gudgin, an emeritus professor at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge, and Professor Tombs, emeritus professor of French history at Cambridge and the author of The English And Their History, both voted in favour of entering the Common Market in 1972, but backed Leave in the referendum, concerned about centralisation of powers in Brussels.

Professor Tombs said: 'To every crisis that comes along, the answer is always more centralisation, never less.'

Dr Gudgin said he came up with the idea for the website 'during one of those terribly pessimistic weeks. When Theresa May wasn't going to last until teatime and there was definitely going to be a second referendum.

'Together we thought, "Gosh, we ought to be better organised than at the last referendum".'


Former British Ambassador to Russia Sir Andrew Wood is one of the brains behind the new project


Cambridge historian David Abulafia is another top-thinker taking part in the new website

He added: 'Nobody who appears on the BBC and says "This is going to be a catastrophe" is ever asked what their view is based on.'

Professor Tombs said his motivation was the 'whole tide of propaganda about how awful everything was, how awful everything was going to be, and we didn't believe this.

'We realised quite a lot of other people didn't believe it either.' They criticised the contempt shown by many Remainers to those who voted Leave.

Professor Tombs said: 'Graham and I have working-class or lower middle-class backgrounds.

'I do feel you just can't write off a large part of the population as being unworthy of consideration.'

He said he voted Leave because he feared the EU would break up or become 'much more centralised,' adding: 'We've seen how that works in Italy and Greece: A political choice is defeated by sheer weight of economic pressure – if you do this, your currency or economy will collapse.


Dr Terri Apter is a former senior tutor of psychology at Newnham College, Cambridge

'I don't think that would last and I don't see how it could have a good end. I don't think we either want to be, or ought to be, a party to that.'

Professor Tombs said his research found that the narrative of the decline of post-imperial Britain in the mid-20th century – one of the driving forces behind the decision to join the EU – was a myth.

'I think, speaking as a historian and as a patriot, we were taken into the EU on a misunderstanding of our situation,' he said.

'It would have been better in the 1960s and 1970s to continue to ask for a free trade agreement.

'I don't think most people understood the full implications of what we were signing up to politically.'

Their analysis of British growth in per-capita GDP since 1952 showed it was better before we joined the bloc than after. Dr Gudgin said recent Government figures which purported to show huge falls in growth in most regions of the UK after Brexit were 'ludicrous'.


Pictured: Rory Maw, bursar at Magdalene College, Oxford


He led a team of academics who proved that the assumptions behind the Project Fear papers produced by the Treasury before the referendum were wrong, and failed to take account of the fact that Britain was almost the only EU state that had more trade outside the EU than inside.

He criticised its 'extreme assumptions' which led the Treasury to 'an exaggerated estimate of the impact of Brexit'.

The two academics said there was a rush of interest from other researchers after their project was conceived – but some Brexiteer academics were afraid to go public for fear it would hit their promotion prospects.

Many universities get a lot of money from the EU, leading to many academics taking a 'narrow, corporatist view'.

Dr Gudgin said: 'One of our contributors said he was told by a younger pro-Brexit colleague that his professor had told him that people who voted Brexit were the sort of people who sent his relatives to concentration camps.'

Professor Tombs added: 'I thought one thing we academics were paid to do was help explain things to people, but universities have become so simple-minded about this.'

Read more: Meet the brains behind Brexit fighting remain propaganda | Daily Mail Online
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

DOMINIC LAWSON: I greatly admire the academics who've come out for Brexit but they'll need thick skins and courage

By Dominic Lawson for the Daily Mail
19 February 2018

Perhaps the most tediously familiar insult hurled at those who voted for Britain to leave the European Union is that they — we — are stupid.

This is now being used as a sort of licence for the growing campaign to ignore the result of the 2016 referendum: if those 17.4 million people who voted Leave can be collectively defined as uneducated knuckle-scrapers, it amounts to a justification for disregarding the ballot-box.

This argument — which seeks to redefine democracy in an astonishingly self-serving way — has finally provoked beyond endurance not the ill-educated, but some of the most sophisticated minds in the country.

A group of 41 leading academics and ex-academics across a range of disciplines has launched a website called Briefings for Brexit.

It is led by two notable members of Cambridge University: the economist Dr Graham Gudgin and the historian Professor Robert Tombs (whose 1,000-page epic The English And Their History was published in 2014 to near-universal acclaim).



Ignorant

Unlike Best for Britain, the group trying to overthrow the referendum result, Briefings for Brexit has no backing from billionaires, foreign or otherwise. It is entirely independent, funded by the academics themselves.

Their anger at what is happening burns through in their letter in today's Times: 'Sir, Those who seek to prevent or nullify our exit from the EU too often try to undermine the Referendum decision by dismissing Leave voters as ignorant, by describing the decision itself as meaningless, and by giving credence to a stream of alarmist and distorted propaganda.

'This inflames division, undermines democracy, and weakens the country's negotiating position.'

They go on to say that by no means all of their number voted Leave, and they come from all sides of the political spectrum: 'What brings us together today is the conviction that the future welfare of Britain and indeed of Europe requires that the choice made in the Referendum should be fully and positively carried out.

'Any other outcome would outrage democratic sovereignty . . . We also believe that dispassionate professional analysis does not support a tide of pessimism about the economic consequences of leaving the EU.'


A group of 38 leading academics and ex-academics across a range of disciplines has launched a website called Briefings for Brexit. Pictured: David Abulafaia, Cambridge history professor


To most people, this might seem completely unobjectionable. In fact, these academics are taking a risk in speaking out in this way.

As Professor Tombs explained to me when I called him about the venture, there is a culture of what amounts to fear in our great seats of learning.

Fear, that is, on the part of academics and students who endure ostracism and worse if they express open support for what is, after all, the policy of both Conservative and Labour at last year's General Election (to leave the institutions of the EU).

As Professor Tombs told the Sunday Times yesterday, a number of academics he knew to be sympathetic said: 'I'd love to be part of your group but I haven't got a proper job yet and I probably won't if I'm identified.'

And Dr Gudgin remarked that one of their members 'was told by a younger pro-Brexit colleague that his professor had told him that people who had voted Brexit were the sort of people who sent his relatives to concentration camps'.

To its credit, the BBC three months ago did a vox pop among students who had declared themselves to be 'Leave' voters. It was difficult viewing (though nothing like as difficult as their position).


Unlike Best for Britain, the group trying to overthrow the referendum result, Briefings for Brexit has no backing from billionaires, foreign or otherwise. It is entirely independent, funded by the academics themselves, writes Dominic Lawson. Pictured: Rory Maw, Oxford bursar


A 21- year-old undergraduate in London called Torri, who we see carrying a volume called How Parliament Works, tells how she is regularly called 'Brexit b***h' and that she heard another student leaving a lecture she attended saying to a friend: 'I just want to punch that Brexit b***h.'

Essentially, the fashionable equation on campus is Brexit equals racism. And this is a significant factor in why so many academics are scared to 'come out' as Brexit supporters.

So for example, when I tried to persuade one leading academic to reveal his true opinion publicly, he said: 'I can't come out as pro-Brexit, it would make my life impossible here.'

He illustrated this by describing how, when one of his colleagues had revealed himself to be a Brexit supporter (on the Left, as it happens) 'he was completely ostracised. He would be sitting alone in hall for dinner.

Letters were sent to the principal from fellow-academics demanding he be sacked'. No wonder my friend didn't fancy that.

Anger

Something of this seemed to have happened to the Cambridge professor Chris Bickerton, author of The European Union: A Citizen's Guide.

As he wrote last year: 'In my academic field of European studies, being critical of the EU is rather like being a climate change scientist who admits he has an SUV in the garage.'

Bickerton — another Left-wing Brexiteer — was tolerated during the referendum campaign, but when his side actually won, 'tolerance gave way to anger and disbelief'.

And he added about colleagues in his university and others who have reacted in this way: 'This intolerance over Brexit is rooted in a lack of empathy or interest in the lives of others, especially those outside one's social circle and lower down the ladder of income and education.

'Rather than engage in an argument or inquire into someone's reasons, one dismisses them as racists.'


Fear, that is, on the part of academics and students who endure ostracism and worse if they express open support for what is, after all, the policy of both Conservative and Labour at last year's General Election (to leave the institutions of the EU). Pictured: Sir Andrew Wood


I was surprised not to see Professor Bickerton's name among those initial 38 academics who have signed up to the initiative launched today.

But perhaps I should not have been: who knows what pressure he has been under?

This is not remotely an argument that there is a 'correct' intellectual position on Brexit, or that university administrators and college principals have a duty to take any particular line.

They absolutely don't. But it is the duty of universities, above all, to be intellectually rigorous and dispassionate when discussing such matters. And that has not been happening.

So for example, that 'shy' Brexit-supporting professor I mentioned earlier, told me: 'After the graduation ceremony in 2016, the master of my college told — told! — all new graduates how they should vote in the referendum.'

Actually, they would not have needed much telling. As my professor friend pointed out to me, in exasperation: 'They are pathetically uninformed about the EU and how it functions: they just think it's all about being one big happy family.'

This is one of the truths that is rarely admitted. So many of those undergraduates or recent graduates who dismiss as a racist thicko anyone who voted Brexit are themselves shatteringly ill-informed about the institutions and Treaties of the EU.

Selfish

The hostility of the higher educational establishment to Brexit is itself a form of agency capture.

As Professor Tombs observes, the universities get a lot of money from EU funds, 'so many of our colleagues had wrongly taken a corporatist, selfish and narrow view'.

But their rage about the prospect of that gravy train ending has now been fully exposed as scare-mongering.

A fortnight ago, the official figures revealed that more EU students applied to study at UK universities last year than ever — so much for the view that intelligent young Europeans regard Brexit Britain as hostile territory.


The hostility of the higher educational establishment to Brexit is itself a form of agency capture, writes Dominic Lawson. Pictured: Cambridge psychologist Dr Terri Apter


And the number of international applicants from outside the EU rose by no less than 11 per cent — they clearly can't think the vote to leave the EU was 'racist'.

It is in such real figures, rather than lazy group-think from those who still can't accept the referendum result, that this new academic body will find the material to analyse and debate Britain's future path.

As they remark in their opening statement: 'It is an intellectual failure for the academic community to have been so overwhelmingly harnessed to a single point of view.

For this reason it has made a negligible contribution to a national debate of huge importance. We intend to put forward reasoned and solidly-based analyses to scrutinise and expose unexamined assumptions, myths and downright falsehoods.'

I wish them the best of luck. But above all they will need courage and thick skins. Dr Henry Kissinger sardonically remarked that academic political disputes are the most vicious of all 'because the stakes are so small'. Not this time.



Read more: DOMINIC LAWSON on academics' Briefings for Brexit website | Daily Mail Online
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
Last edited by Blackleaf; Feb 19th, 2018 at 05:30 AM..
 
Curious Cdn
No Party Affiliation
#2
Haven't you already jumped off of the cliff? What is the point of constantly looking up at the edge of the cliff as you go down, down, down??
 
Blackleaf
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

Haven't you already jumped off of the cliff? What is the point of constantly looking up at the edge of the cliff as you go down, down, down??

 
Curious Cdn
No Party Affiliation
#4
Trying to reassure yourself, eh?
 

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