Wednesday, 29 June 2016

In the Absence of a Government My Manifesto for Brexit

The Remainers, in a state of shock and denial, are going through the grieving process at the moment. We are currently in the anger phase in which various luvvies and people who think they are intellectually superior, abuse those of us who voted to Leave and assume that we are either ill educated, racist or simply too stupid to understand. The BBC has indeed been feeding into this narrative with its reporters sent out to seek dim people with bad teeth from the north of England to confirm this. If they can also be got to say that they are now regretting their decision then so much the better.

We are also seeing lots of we told you so style reports about the pound and stock markets, a narrative that was undone today as both of them staged a recovery. To be fair there was an interview with Melvyn King yesterday in which he told us all to calm down and stop being so hysterical. Well said, Merv.

Oh and of course there have been the reports from Brussels itself and the capitals of Europe. Chief panjandrum Juncker was his usual less than charming self, even making allowances for the fact that he was talking to a more than usually oafish Nigel Farage. It took two to tango though and they engaged in a dance of mutual loathing and taunts. And again to be fair, Farage had been on the receiving end of various barbs from other MEP along the way as they claimed that the British people had been duped into voting the way we did. When the Remain side engaged in lies and hyperbole this was okay of course. But when Leave did it? Well, that just preyed on voters gullibility obviously.

Now some might imagine that all of this, along with the mood music coming from the bureaucrats and the capitals of Europe might be cause for worry or even panic. But not a bit of it.

It's irritating and patronising for sure, but is only to be expected. Instead we should just do what the British do best: keep calm and carry on.

The only problem is that we do not currently have a government in any real sense. David Cameron remains PM but is making jokes and issuing platitudes. George Osborne is still defending the indefensible and still claiming that he was right to say that taxes will have to go up. I accept the need for a pause while a new prime minister is appointed, but the need for a new chancellor is urgent now. Osborne should be sacked.

If we had our new prime minister in place with a new chancellor at his side, they could issue various holding statements or even set out some clear policies immediately. Instead we are in limbo.

So let me set it out for you: Here's what they should be saying.

First there is not the smallest possibility of a punishment budget. That would be a genuine case of what Osborne likes to call economic illiteracy. Instead a new government should set out a clear policy of being business friendly. The aim of a balanced budget by the end of this parliament should be abandoned for the time being. Stability is the watch word.

Accordingly they should announce immediately a brand new Boris island style airport for the south east paid for from the money they will save by not building the ruinously expensive and white elephant in waiting HS2. Instead of HS2 there will be funding diverted into improvements in existing railways and roads. The government should pledge a new extensive public housing building programme and new garden cities. If necessary these should be built entirely with public funds. To pay for all of this the government would issue new long term borrowing while interest rates remain so low. This is proper investment rather than mere public spending.

This new building and infrastructure will create thousands of new jobs. There will be a training programme for British people to fill these roles,  but where necessary we will issue working visas to  skilled workers from all around the world to apply to work here.

It should go without saying that those who are currently working here from within the EU are welcome and there is no intention or even any notion that they will ever be required to leave unless they commit criminal offences leading to terms of six months or more in prison. They will of course no longer be allowed to apply for state benefits of any kind unless and until they have been paying tax for 5 years. They will be welcome to apply for British citizenship if they wish to, but this is not necessary. However the government has every intention of introducing restrictions on new migration into the UK with annual limits set by parliament according to the needs of the economy. The existing visa restrictions currently in operation for the rest of the world will be extended to include EU migrants. These restrictions will of course only apply to those wishing to work here. Visa free travel for the entire EU will continue as before and we are happy to discuss and continue reciprocal arrangements for students and for Europe wide healthcare for tourists.

The British government will invoke Article 50 to inform the EU that we are leaving when we are good and ready. We first have to come to a determination of what our negotiating stance is to be, what requirements we will need satisfying and how we mean to proceed. Quite apart from anything else, 40 years of membership of the EU has denuded the British government of the requisite expertise and so this will have to be addressed before we are ready to commence negotiation.

We would however welcome the opportunity to discuss with the member states some broad ideas about how to go forward. Accordingly we have written to all of the governments inviting them to London to discuss matters. It will be interesting to see how they respond. Since the Article 50 measure is a clear attempt to give the EU a negotiating advantage we can hardly be blamed for resisting this or indeed of withholding our contribution to EU coffers and further measures like vetoing legislation if necessary.

It would be in the interests of the EU to accommodate Britain in its desire to negotiate in good faith an agreement that would be in our mutual interests. Since the EU has been able and willing to negotiate free trade agreements with major trading countries like Canada and America, it is hard to see how reaching an agreement with Britain should be difficult at all. We realise of course that the EU is worried by the risk of contagion, but would gently point out to the EU that if they had been more accommodating of Britain's objections and desires then this situation need never have come about. The time for avoiding contagion is long gone. Now they might be better accepting the new reality that much of Europe and not just Britain does not want ever closer union and perhaps accepting that a new semi-detached status would be better than complete detachment. It is not too late to make such an offer. Britain would not be unreceptive to such an offer and might well be willing to discuss it and put it to the country in the form of a further referendum or via a general election.

It is the British government's position that we intend to turn the UK into a formidable new low tax offshore centre. If necessary we will do this under simple WTO terms. We calculate that aggressively cutting corporation and other taxes will more than offset EU tariffs. When coupled to Britain's existing advantages in expertise, London's status as a great world city, our language and culture, our secession from the single market will not present a great difficulty. Furthermore we intend to implement cuts in taxes whilst still in the single market and before we have moved Article 50.

We contend that Britain, outside the EU and free of its instinct to regulate and ossify, will prosper. Indeed such is our confidence that we would invite like minded free marketeers to join us and escape the stultifying embrace of the EU. Life outside the EU should hold no fears. The EU is holding Europe back. Life outside is an opportunity, not something to be regretted. The EU could still make us an offer, show itself willing, genuinely willing, to accept the need for reform. Had it done so earlier this year then there would never have been any need for any of this and Britain might have been persuaded to vote for Remain.

This is the sort of thing the British government should be saying. It is the sort of thing that the candidates to be our next PM should be saying too.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are published at the absolute discretion of the owner of this blog, but there is a general presumption towards publication. This is a free speech blog.