In 2014, we had the fastest growing economy among the G7 nations. Today, we have the slowest growing G7 economy, down to a growth rate of 0.2% and teetering on the brink of recession. More than two years after the Referendum, the Cabinet (minus two members) has only just arrived at a rough idea of what sort of future relationship with the EU they’d ideally like to negotiate, and the Conservative Party remains locked in a full-scale, 40-year, internecine war with itself over the UK’s future role in the world and our relationship with the continent of Europe.
So, is there any way to avoid this calamitous mess? Yes, there is. However, we need to start by seeing things differently.
This is best done by conducting a ‘thought experiment’, inviting people to suspend judgement just for a moment, in order to consider a proposition objectively and think-through its consequences.
The proposition I’d like readers to consider is this: “Imagine what would happen if the UK remains in the EU?”
While you’re thinking about this proposition, let me suggest a few obvious benefits, such as: A massive increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), as firms, like Nissan, Toyota, Jaguar Land Rover, Airbus, Siemens, etc, who’ve recently been forced to explain why, if we lose access to the EU Single Market and Customs Union, they’ll have to move future operations to within the EU27. Indeed, readers will probably already be aware that Jaguar Land Rover has recently moved production of its Discovery model to Slovenia. In contrast, if we remain in the EU, the UK will, once again, become the ideal base for selling into the EU, the world’s largest, richest market in both goods and services. Seizing this opportunity will not only reverse the 90% decline in FDI since the Referendum but also send a powerful message to the world that Britain is truly “open for business”.
Our whole domestic economy will be galvanised by a massive resurgence in optimism and certainty as never before. For instance, the City of London will benefit from retaining its current 75% share of the global market in clearing €927 billion in euro-denominated contracts daily and remaining a world-leading financial centre. Although not everyone likes bankers, we need to recognise the tax revenue the City generates constitutes around 30% of total UK tax revenue, as much as the next 37 largest cities across the UK combined. Other than a few extreme Brexiteers, still driven by their unsubstantiated beliefs and determined to drag the UK out of the EU at any cost, who else would wish to see UK tax revenue massively declining? In contrast, if we remain in the EU, every business will be galvanised by a massive revival in certainty and optimism.
We know from credible polling that 75% of young people aged 18-24 voted Remain in 2016 and still believe Brexit will be a disaster for them. So, if Brexit doesn’t happen, there will be a hugely bright future for our children and grandchildren.
Currently, 80% of our economy is based on services, not goods. However, the Cabinet’s new Brexit strategy excludes services from any future trade deal with the EU. In contrast, if we chose to remain in the EU, 80% of our economy will benefit significantly.
Our economy will be so massively boosted by renewed certainty and opportunity we’ll actually create the tax revenue needed to address the very real issues that prompted a protest vote in 2016 around issues such as migration, housing, healthcare, social care, education, policing, etc.
And, let’s be frank about ‘the elephant in the room’, namely migration (short-term) and immigration (long-term). The UK already has total control over the inflow of people from all non-EU countries and, similarly, has control over migration and immigration from the EU 27, if only successive governments had even bothered to implement any of the 16 levers we’ve always been legally entitled to implement in order to control migration from EU countries. For instance, few people are aware that Belgium counts people in and counts them out. Everyone has to register within 10 days of arrival and, if they’re not in paid employment within three months, they have to go home. In contrast, in the UK, successive governments have been unwilling to spend any money whatsoever on planning and managing migration. So, blame Westminster, not Brussels. Shock, horror – we actually don’t have to leave the EU in order to control migration and immigration.
If people wish to make themselves worse off, break our nation apart and ruin the futures of their children and grandchildren, all they need to do is insist Brexit goes ahead. Instead, if they sense – as this thought experiment illustrates – that the UK will be hugely better off, in every respect, by remaining in the EU, then I’d urge them to speak up. Time is running short to rescue our country from Brexit.