If I showed someone a graph which had a direct correlation between two sets of figures one can say that one has an effect on the other. Economists calculate this using the formula r squared, or the correlation coefficient.
r squared is between 0 and 1: at 0 there is no correlation. 1 is where the two are entirely dependent on each other. I used to have a great time during my degree collecting all kinds of data and calculating if they had anything to do with each other. And it also enabled me to occasionally throw into conversation the word heteroskedasticity.
This EU summit has, alas, proven that our new Prime Minister isn't up there with even basic stats, let alone yummy econometrics.
Mr Cameron said a larger EU had diluted the tendency for further bureaucratic integration. He said: “Now Europe is so much wider and broader, with the countries of eastern and central Europe as members, that will help push us in a more intergovernmental direction, which I support.
“The wider and broader Europe takes some of the pressure off further integration. But you also have to be on your guard.”
This was the excuse used for Greek entry to the EU in the 1980s and actually was an A Level economics question (where you don't tend to use any stats apart from the terms of trade).
It's quite clearly a nonsense which doesn't require any complex analysis but a basic look at the different treaties over the past 50 years.
When the A8 countries joined in 2004 the EU didn't have as many powers as it does now. One of the criteria for them joining in their accession treaties were that they signed up to the EU Constitution, now in law as the Lisbon Treaty.]
Before Greece joined, Cyprus joined, before Finland and the UK there weren't the powers in the original documents as there are now. I know that the Tories use the reason for supporting expansion as saying that the pond will become wider and less deep but it's a nonsense. It's the reason they're using for their support of Turkey joining and countries like Serbia, but it's a fucking nonsense.
What I'm trying to establish in my own mind is that are the Tories, and Cameron in particular, being mendacious in their statements or are they being ignorant?
Answers on a shoebox, please.