It is easy to view the letter from 72 MPs criticising the BBC for being biased against Brexit as just another example of the government putting pressure on the news organisation. But if that is all it was, it is odd to have another conservative MP, Nicky Morgan, describe the letter as chilling.
I would argue that this letter as another example of the fear I talked about in this post. Fear by Brexiteers that their little English coup may still unravel. Their reasons for fearing this are real enough. The original Leave vote was based on lies and on obscuring the truth. These lies are perpetuated by those who now feel obliged to advance the Leave cause. I talked in my last post about how Tim Harford had recently noted that tobacco firms had managed to delay by decades the response to the first studies in the early 1950s that smoking was harmful. What chance, then, did economists have before the referendum? But the lies told and truths dismissed in the referendum are going to start to unravel as soon as negotiations begin.
One of the main initial topics of those negotiations will be how much the UK will have to pay the EU. Many of those who voted Leave expected it to be the other way around. For this reason, the UK would like everything to be discussed together, so that this bad news can be hidden. But this is not the way the EU likes to do things, and the negotiations are going to be done the way the EU dictates. Remember they hold all the cards, because it is the UK who suffers most with no deal.
This bad news could be avoided if the UK walked away, which is one reason why the option of no deal is beginning to sound attractive to the Brexiteers. But the British people do not want this. Here is a recent poll that contrasts the popularity of a EEA/Norway option with no deal.
What is described as ‘Hard Brexit’ here is really ‘No Deal Brexit’. The poll says that as many Conservative voters will be as unhappy with no deal as they would be with the EEA option. While the full horror of no deal for the UK economy will take years to manifest itself in lower GDP, the consequences in terms of firms leaving will be immediate. David Davis has not modeled the impact of no deal because he already knows the results would be terrible. 
If this is what people feel when confronted with the truth, the only option left to the Brexiteers is to try and hide the truth. Little things are all they ask for from the BBC. Like not mentioning Brexit when talking about rising inflation, because to do so would be ‘controversial’. To play down news of firms planning to leave the UK, because that was the news last week. To not present the view of the EU in negotiations, because this is like a battle and the BBC must be patriotic. The Brexiteers hope that with these ‘small modifications’ to broadcast news, and the pure propaganda from much of the press, they can get away with a deal that is not in the UK’s interests.
If those pursuing this agenda do not think the war is over, it would be foolish for those opposed to leaving the EU to believe it ended with the triggering of Article 50. The Brexiteers fear that if there is no deal, MPs in parliament will at last find their voice to say no. Those opposed to leaving the EU must do all they can to encourage that possibility.
 Among political commentators, all predictions by economists are assumed to have equal weight, so even Janan Ganesh writing in the FT can say “politicians are allowed to question [economists] record of clairvoyance”. That is not true, because economists’ predictions are not all alike, as I have explained many times. One of his favourite politicians, George Osborne, has said that Brexit is the “biggest single act of protectionism in history”. History as well as economics tells us that protectionism of this kind is invariably harmful.