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As the dust settles after the Brexit fallout, many of those who voted to leave are experiencing voters remorse. There may be some apprehension, but we who voted against the stable but dysfunctional EU have done something brave and rather beneficial, not just for the UK, but also for Europe and the World.
Can I start by reminding everyone, especially those the BBC has rolled out to give their thoughts on Brexit, that the EU is not the same as Europe. You would have thought that our decision to leave the EU is anti European, but quite the reverse. It is the most pro-European thing any country has done for Europe since Britain and the allied forces broke up the aspirations of a certain land hungry individual in the 1940’s. We know and love Europe and we know it is worth saving.
While many brexiteers will have voted to leave the EU because ‘we’re full’, there are also many who had no concerns about immigration, who love the diversity and culture of Europe and Europeans. They voted to leave because it was the right thing to do. I know, it doesn’t happen much these days. It wasn’t an easy thing to do (many of those who voted to leave will be affected in the short term), and it certainly wasn’t the most popular thing to do, it took guts and determination.
It feels bad to the Remainers because they are focussing negatively on what is actually a bright opportunity, one that they haven’t yet grasped fully. They lacked vision, but we brexiteers didn’t. In time those against Brexit will see that far from being a step back, this is actually a huge step forwards for the world, that we have actually been set free from our hypnotic state of dependence on the EU.
As I have said before, the Brexit vote is a vote of Conservatism versus Socialism, and this transcends even party politics. Conservative views are that individuals know best what is best for them. It accepts that people are selfishly oriented, that they want to benefit themselves. Socialists believe that the state is better placed to make decisions on our behalf, that things should be centrally planned and executed by individuals who know better than we do what is best for us.
I happened to watch the early results coming in on the 23rd with my friend who works in Migration Policy. Of course he voted to remain, while I voted to leave. We put forward our cases, and both of us had valid points, but at the end of the day I am a free market libertarian, and there was no way I was going to vote to keep the EU, it goes against everything I believe about self government, the damaging effects of subsidies, and the way neo-liberal economics works (or doesn’t). What surprised me most was my friend’s comments after the Brexit decision came through. I told him that referenda are a good idea, as the people have their say. He disagreed, saying that party politics is the best way to settle these types of issues. I don’t disagree that when you have a more structured approach that you get more people acting on facts, and that much of the Brexit campaign was smoke and mirrors on both sides, but to suggest that people are not in the position to decide what is best for them is frankly insulting, and demonstrates the kind of opinion beloved of the Blairite politics practiced by both parties’ and the reason that the population voted against both parties advice by voting for Brexit. This ‘we know better’ attitude was perfectly illustrated when one MP went as far as to call for a re-referendum, because he didn’t like the result of the first. This is precisely the kind of EU style democracy trampling that led to over half the country asking for something, anything different, even though they had no clear view what that something might be.
Ever since the referendum vote, the establishment has been recoiling. How could this happen? Why would we do this to ourselves? Surely there must be some kind of mistake! Social media, the newspapers and TV have been filled with commentary about the darker elements which Farage has roused with his “immigranting”. The media darlings, the BBC especially and those with significant Twitter followings are enraged at the democratic choices that have been made, and they’ve been on the hunt for answers. Annoyed that they didn’t get their way in the referendum, things have got personal, as Evan Davis demonstrated on the newsnight laying into Dan Hannan about what he thinks the leave camp have been saying, and basically making assertions about how people will have interpreted the promises of the leave campaign. Of course, there have been no clear promises, and even if here were, these would have to be modified to suit the nearly half of the population who didn’t vote to leave. The leave campaign was about regaining our democracy, that is a pretty big deal, we can argue about the specifics later, once we have the power to make those choices, which we now have FYI Mr Davis. Instead of haranguing Dan Hannan, you should be thanking him. So the BBC needs to pull its socks up and represent both sides. The decision is made, the question is what are the options from where we stand? Something which represents not just the 52% who voted to leave but for the 48% who didn’t. the truth is, for all of its negativity, Brexit is really good news for the UK, but the losers need to get over themselves and think about the benefits.
A Brexit vote is made even more powerful in that it goes against the status quo. Those who voted to remain, didn’t really vote for the EU, they were just voting for what they know rather than taking a leap into a deregulated unknown. It’s Stockholm syndrome. This is a legitimate referendum, with mostly credible individuals representing both sides. To go against such a referendum decision would be foolish, and could well unleash civil unrest. So what now? Well, I’ve got an idea. Let’s talk about options, because we’ve got plenty of those available at our disposal. People feel frightened at the prospect of leaving the customs union, when really they should be rejoicing. If you voted to remain, Google the benefits of Brexit, and read up on the subjects presented; free trade, the ability to set taxation as we choose, the ability to keep those parts of legislation we like, and to drop those we don’t. We get our decision making powers back and we get to choose where we focus our attention. We get our fishing waters back and we get to choose how we manage our fishing stocks, whether we look to a managing stocks to bring back the numbers, as the Norwegians have done, or whether we do what Brits live to do, flog it to the highest bidder. It’s our chance to take the long view, to really shape our own destiny by putting into place the framework, the grid about which the economy will crystallise over the next 20 years.
These are the open questions on the table. What do you want? Free market trade with countries who want to free trade with a consumer economy as big as ours. Japan, Korea, USA, any country who wants to buy and sell goods with the UK. If the EU wants to cut off its nose to spite it’s face, by charging us more to import our cars into Europe, we will sell them elsewhere in the world. There are untapped markets for UK goods, markets that we can now explore. If the EU wants to charge us higher prices for their cars, they will be competing with the counties which want to sell at world prices.
Tariffs affect the individuals who want to buy those goods who live in those countries. If we sell at world prices, we make the same amount of money. If a government wants to charge import duties, that is their choice, but someone somewhere will want to buy our goods and services at a price. Our job is to create products and services that people want to buy, and sell them to the world. Easy.
The EU, and by association Europe, is in a mess. We are better off outside of that mess, leading by example, not getting tangled up in its ‘design by committee’ approach. One reason the EU is in a mess is because countries like the UK have been on the fringes, dipping a toe in the water but not jumping in properly. I said to myself before the referendum, “this is our chance to change, if we vote to remain now, we need to really get stuck into Europe, to do this properly, get into the euro and into the idea of a United States of Europe”. I was prepared to give it a go. This is a referendum after all, and it never really makes that much difference who’s in power, or what they do. Economy prevails in spite of politics. Against the odds, the referendum decision has gone the other way. Now remainders need to get on board and help to move things forward. There are opportunities there for all.
Reasons to be cheerful about Brexit
1. No TTIP
The King of all crony deals, TTIP is decided behind closed doors, it will surely benefit big business, banking, insurance anyone with large lobbying power. Be afraid.
2. Lower cost of living
Moving towards world prices helps not only our own economy to be more efficient – our cost of living drops and therefore wages go further, employers can pay less, services get cheaper etc etc – we also get to trade with suppliers who can produce to our standards – this brings money to other parts of the world that have a legitimate product to sell. If an African farmer can grow green beans of quality and deliver them to the UK cheaper than we in the UK can produce them, he deserves our business. This is how we help the world, by allowing them to help themselves, not by throwing them money, or bombing them as is currently the most popular way.
3. Freedom to create a basis of innovation and entrepreneurialism
This is a big one for me. I want the UK to be an entrepreneurial hub. I want to see new ideas, new ventures encouraged. Sure, it’s more Wild West, it’s about creating space in which people can come up with new technology, new concepts and even new products and ideas the world wants to buy. This is a big one. We can stop diverting billions of taxpayer money into global warming related subsidies for ineffective technology, and spend it on something worthwhile.
4. Ability to open up trade with the rest of the world – enriching both sides in the process (specifically Africa)
Free trade is predicated on the concept that we each have something to contribute. The Chinese, Africa, Asia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Europe, USA. Some countries think, others make, others do hi-tech. The division of labour, the specialisation is what expands economy. If we are lagging behind Korea in our manufacturing, we must adapt or die. No more subsidies. In certain cases, the UK might want to maintain a steel-making skill set for whatever reason. It might want to commission its own shipyards to build an aircraft carrier for the Royal Navy, knowing that spending these billions in the UK has a very beneficial monetary multiplier effect. This is fine. But if we trade openly in the first place, if we allow other countries to help themselves by trading with us, they are far less likely to want to go to war with their trading partners, it goes against their interests.
6. Try out progressive taxation systems which encourage productivity.
We are no longer beholden to EU tax rules and can play any game we want. We can abolish income tax, and increase consumption taxes. These are exciting times!
We have been captives of the EU regulatory maze for too long. It has, whether deliberately or otherwise, created an economy which restricts global trade, raises consumer prices, limits entrepreneurialism through its protectionist policies, encouraging the free movement of individuals throughout the EU member countries without having the fiscal means to balance the effects of the monetary union.
Brexiteers of Britain, be proud of what you have done not only for your country, but for your European friends, many of whom could not or would not make such a decision as easily, they are too deeply held in the matrix.
History will look back upon the 23rd of June and remember it as the day the UK stood up, against all advice from the Prime Minister, the Chancellor, the Governor of the Bank of England, the President of the IMF, the president of America, and even Benedict Cumberbatch, and said “Enough!”. I feel immensely proud to be British.
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Also published on Medium.