LTG argues that the benefits of free trade are "theoretical." He gives every indication that he thinks benefits from trade are pie in the sky. That we are better off with the status quo than we are taking an essentially blind leap into free trade based on the fantastic and "theological" arguments of economists.
The price of corn in the two decades after 1850 averaged 52 shillings. Due to the development of faster transportation through rail and steamboat and the modernisation of agricultural machinery, the prairie farms of North America were able to export vast quantities of cheap corn. Every corn-growing country decided to increase tariffs in reaction to this, except Britain and Belgium. In 1877 the price of English-grown corn averaged 56 shillings, 9 pence a quarter and for the rest of the nineteenth century it never reached within 10 shillings of that figure. In 1878 the price fell to 46 shillings, 5 pence. By 1885 corn-growing land declined by a million acres (4,000 km²) (28½%) and in 1886 the corn price fell to 31 shillings a quarter. Britain's dependence on imported grain in the 1830s was 2%; in the 1860s it was 24%; in the 1880s it was 45%, for corn it was 65%. The 1881 census showed a decline of 92,250 in agricultural labourers since 1871, with a 53,496 increase of urban labourers. Many of these were previously farm workers who migrated to the cities to find employment, despite agricultural labourers' wages being the highest in Europe.