Jacob Rees-Mogg said Brexit will make the UK ‘better for investors’ and everyone made the same point

Conrad Duncan@theconradduncan
Friday 01 March 2019 14:15
news

Brexiteers and Remainers are both guilty of cherry-picking facts to win an argument.

Despite the vast majority of studies suggesting Brexit will reduce the UK’s economic growth, Leave cheerleader Jacob Rees-Mogg has found a new reason to be optimistic.

In a surprise move, Norway’s giant state investment fund has decided to increase its investment in the UK.

And Rees-Mogg has taken that decision as a ringing endorsement of Brexit.

However, some pro-European users have taken this as opportunity to point out a recent widely-reported story about Rees-Mogg's own investment firm “moving” to Ireland ahead of the UK's exit from the European Union.

Last year, it was revealed Somerset Capital Management, an investment firm he co-founded, was setting up a fund in Ireland with the firm’s guidance listing Brexit as a potential risk, as it could cause “considerable uncertainty”.

Others have argued that the low tax “Singapore-style” future some Brexiteers want to see after Britain leaves the EU might very well appeal to investors, but it wouldn’t help ordinary people.

But actually both of these arguments may be somewhat misleading.

Firstly, the Norwegian investment news might be encouraging, but it's inaccurate to suggest it was caused by Brexit. Rather, it has happened despite Brexit.

When asked about potential problems with Brexit, Yngve Slyngstad, the $1 trillion (£755bn) fund’s CEO, told Reuters:

We foresee that over time that our investments in the UK will increase.

With our time horizon, which is 30 years plus, current political discussions do not change our view of the situation.

So the investment sounds like it would have gone ahead regardless, although it's still good news in these trying times.

Similarly, Rees-Mogg’s move to Ireland is not what it seems either.

Although it's the Ireland fund was indeed set up, Rees-Mogg wasn't involved with it, as he doesn't handle the day-to-day management of the company.

He has also insisted the decision to launch the fund had “nothing whatsoever to do with Brexit”.

Sure, this may seem unbelievable to Remainers but it is somewhat unfair top say that Jacob Rees-Mogg moving his company to Ireland was directly spurred on by Brexit.

In short, did Norway invest in the UK because Brexit will make it a better place for investors? Not really.

And did Rees-Mogg personally move his firm to Ireland because he’s a hypocrite who’s worried about losing money from Brexit? Again, no.

It might sound crazy these days but maybe, just maybe, not everything is about Brexit.

More: Jacob Rees-Mogg owns himself after warning about rise of 'right-wing extremism' if Brexit is delayed

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