From Tony Abbott, former Prime Minister of Australia
“Australia is cheering on Britain’s exciting new freedom from the EU. Britain’s departure from the EU is a historical watershed. As a big moment in geopolitics, it ranks with the fall of the Soviet Union.
“For decades, it had been assumed that the nation state would decrease in importance and that supra-national bodies, such as the EU and the UN, would become ever more relevant; just as, a generation back, pro-communist writers assured us that they’d seen the future and it worked.
“The revolt of the British electorate against Brussels’s encroachment shows, yet again, that there’s nothing inevitable in the course of history. Britain hasn’t turned its back on history; yet again you’ve changed it!
“This is a monumental personal triumph for Nigel Farage who has single-mindedly been crusading against the arrogance and interference of the EU for almost three decades. It’s also a tribute to Boris Johnson who sniffed the wind and correctly concluded that a majority of the British people would back themselves in any disagreement with foreigners.
“Most of all though, it shows that Britons have not lost that sense of themselves as a country that’s shaped the modern era more than any other – through the mother of parliaments, the world’s common language, the industrial revolution, and the world’s most-played sport; not to mention saving Europe from tyranny not once but twice over the past century.
“Of course, there’s still a great deal yet to be decided, despite Britain’s formal departure from the EU. It’s far from clear that the EU will offer Britain even the same trade deal it’s concluded with Canada, despite nearly 50 years of British membership and the current absence of tariffs, quotas and regulatory differences between Britain and the countries that are still members. But by confirming the 2016 referendum result, Johnson’s thumping election win means that Britain is no longer scared to face the future, regardless of whether it gets a trade deal with the EU.
“In my view, Britain’s default position should be that trade between it and the countries of the EU should be entirely free of tariffs and quotas; that there should be mutual recognition of credentials and standards; and that there should be free movement of people, up to a cap on numbers, for well-paid work, not welfare.
“Indeed, with carve-outs for defence and a few other strategic industries, this would be a good starting point for all Britain’s trade negotiations with countries enjoying a comparable standard of living. Regardless, Britain will now be able to shape its own future in trade and all else, no longer constrained by Brussels but only by its own judgment of what’s prudently in the national interest”.