Douglas Carswell

13 APR 2016

The IMF ruined Greece. Why trust it on Brexit?

Stop the presses: the IMF has come out for Remain. Who'd have thought it? An elitist, supra-national body led by a lifelong Europhile supports the EU. Treat its conclusions with caution: the IMF has been wrong about European integration before, and it's wrong again now.

The IMF has an immaculate track record of failure. It was wrong about the euro. It was wrong about cutting Britain's budget deficit. It was wrong about the global economy before the financial crisis, and it was wrong about the response afterwards.

But its approach to Europe in recent years hasn't just been wrong; it has been catastrophic. The IMF is one of the members of the troika that has repeatedly failed to solve the Eurozone sovereign debt disaster, and reduced Greece to debt deflation and constant crisis.

Four years ago, IMF director Christine Lagarde said the latest European Stability Mechanism loan to Greece would "help to bring back Greece's debt ratio to a sustainable path."

I was more sceptical, writing at the time: "A new IMF-led bailout-and-borrow initiative will be no more successful at solving the problems of the Eurozone that all the previous bailouts proved to be."

Who was right?

The big issue for the IMF is always uncertainty. But what kind of certainty do we get from the EU? If experience is any guide, it's the certainty of sky-high unemployment, economic stagnation, and business-strangling regulation.

There is a tried and tested route to economic growth and prosperity: free markets, free trade, light regulation, and less government.

The EU stands in the way of all four. That's why our country and our economy will be better off if we leave.

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