It’s only taken 1,317 days since the referendum was won.
We are so nearly there, writes Shanker Singham, who is Chair of Global Vision
CEO of Competere, Head of Trade at the Centre for Economics and Business Research, a senior advisor to Huntsworth and Grayling and Director of the International Trade and Competition Unit at the Institute of Economic Affairs. He also chaired the Technical Panel of Prosperity UK’s Alternative Arrangements Commission and was the author of a General Theory of Trade and Competition; Trade Liberalisation and Competitive Markets]
“After three long years, in which increasingly exasperated ordinary voters were pitted against the massed ranks of an establishment which seemed desperate to lock the UK into the EU, Britain is finally leaving. It is a testament to our fellow citizens’ indomitable spirit and the determination of the ‘little guy’ not to be bullied. Tonight will truly be an historic night.
“The key, now, is that we seize the myriad of opportunities which await us now we are free of EU institutions, regulations and bureaucracy and a political class which seemed unable to break free of its EU-mindset. By delivering a bright, broad, global Brexit, we will re-unite our country and ensure an outstanding future for everyone in it.
“That is what Global Vision is all about. As Chair, I want our mission as a news outlet to be two-fold: to cover Britain’s emergence back onto the world stage – including, we hope, trade deals with both the United States and our friends in the EU – but also to try and help shape what a global Brexit looks like. It’s about delivering for Brexit voters and holding our head high in the world. Positivity and optimism. But also responsibility and respect. For those who, like me, voted Remain and for those for whom 31st January will be a sad and not a joyous day, we want you also to contribute to finding the best solutions for Britain in the world so that we can create a truly aspirational society in which all boats can be lifted higher.
“A comprehensive free trade deal with the United States is something we can all champion. Ignore the scare stories about chlorinated chicken; we already eat chlorinated salad and it is harmless. The risk of campylobacter and other diseases is much higher in the EU than it is in the US. Moreover, a million British people work in America and a million Americans here. Our defence and security is uniquely intertwined. We are partners in trade, partners in security – but also cultural partners too. Deepening our friendship benefits the UK, benefits the US – and benefits both our many shared allies and the wider world too. Let us build a truly transatlantic marketplace in financial services, in defence and in the key area of technology, from bioscience to the future of the internet.
“Re-connecting with the Commonwealth
will be key too. For too long, while we have turned our focus to the EU, we neglected our oldest allies, but we are now forging FTAs with Australia and New Zealand. The Commonwealth is an alignment of nations, a powerful network which shares our commitment to the rule of law, sound commercial policies and economic democracy. We must re-embrace them; and work together to boost our shared prosperity and security.
“We need to work with the fast-growing markets of Asia by acceding to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership which includes eleven of these nations, many of them Commonwealth nations. We must also reach out to Africa, both in terms of new development policies that actually stimulate growth and opportunity in those countries, too long mired in conflict and poverty, and in terms of genuine Economic Partnership Agreements that are not hand-outs but really involve us opening our markets to these countries on the basis of equals.
“We must not neglect Brexit voters at home. Repatriating our fishing rights, reinvigorating our fishing industry and supporting our fishermen is not just important for our economy, it has symbolic importance too. Our coastal communities must be rejuvenated; our fish must again be our own. We must also ensure we’re dealing with people’s concerns on immigration. Our country is by any reasonable measure one of the most open and tolerant in the world. Introducing a sensible, points-based immigration system will ensure it stays that way, whilst attracting the brightest and best from across the globe.
“And we should not be afraid to innovate. Our economy is in good shape – happily outperforming the EU, even during recent avoidable but extended periods of “Brexit uncertainty”. It’s time to turbo-charge our economy. Yes, that will mean making the most of our opportunity to improve our domestic regulation and make it more competitive. We should embrace a tax policy that rewards our hard working people and allows them to keep more of what they earn. But it also means boosting small businesses; saving the high street and ensuring there’s the money we need to smarten up our schools and history-proof our NHS. Let’s be ambitious: Britain outside of the EU should be the best country in the world to live in, a country where no matter from where you have come your aspirations can be realised and your dreams can become real.
“In December 2019, the public returned Boris Johnson to Downing Street with an 80-seat majority. The Withdrawal Agreement Act received Royal Assent and Britain leaves the European Union at 11pm on 31st January 2020.
Together, we are embarking on an extraordinary journey. The Prime Minister and the Government have our very best wishes as we move into this crucial new phase. We at Global Vision intend to be a supportive, though if necessary critical, friend”.