Douglas Carswell

21 JUL 2016

In experts we trust?

Remember the post-Brexit economic Armageddon the 'experts' told us to expect? It's taken less than a month for them to admit they got it wrong.

Yesterday the Bank of England – which told us growth would plummet if we voted Leave - reported there is 'no clear evidence' of a slowdown. The IMF – which warned Brexit meant a recession – said, actually, it doesn't.

In reality, the economic data since the referendum is encouraging. The FTSE 100 is back in a bull market. The domestically oriented FTSE 350 is up too. ONS figures show unemployment is at record lows.

Yes, the pound has fallen, but - as Moneyweek's Merryn Somerset Webb points out – Britain's massive current account deficit suggests it was overvalued before.

It's tempting to believe some of the 'experts' now eating their words were deliberately dishonest during the referendum campaign. I suspect the truth is more prosaic. It wasn't a masterful conspiracy. Just groupthink.

The bogus Brexit predictions reflect a herd mentality. The 'experts' all produced the same conclusions, because they started from the same – false – assumptions.

They made out that a UK-EU free-trade deal wasn't possible. It clearly is.

They claimed we didn't know what Brexit looked like. In fact, our proposal was clear from the start.

'Experts' aren't infallible oracles. They can be as tribal as anyone else. Davos types don't think alike because they're great minds. They agree because they don't listen to the dissenters outside their bubble.

Is it any wonder they're out of touch with voters?

It's striking that the economic insiders who rejected the groupthink – Neil Woodford, Nick Train, Jim Mellon – are some of the top investors. People who made fortunes by ignoring the received wisdom, and separating themselves from the herd.

Trusting the 'expert consensus' can be high-risk. That's why I prefer to trust the people.

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