Thursday, 22 September 2016
Brexit 3 Months On
It's 3 months since the referendum. We know this because the BBC marks every month with a series of programmes and debates, interviews and vox pops. Since the couple of days after the initial vote the Beeb has dispensed with its former approach of interviewing toothless inarticulate people and has seemed to concede that some of us may have voted for reasons other than immigration or because we are ill educated, racist northerners who lack the sophistication of our southern compatriots.
And now the Beeb and various experts are also having to acknowledge or in some cases admit that the jeremiahs were wrong about what would happen after a vote to leave. As many of us pointed out in those early dog days, nothing has happened yet. Why would it make any difference?
Not that we were listened to of course. Recession would follow we were told. That they are now surprised by the data, proper hard data, that this has not thus far happened, says much for their powers of deduction and empathy. Why would a country, more than half of whom had voted to leave and a substantial portion of those who voted the other way had a certain sympathy with us, then plunge into despair when we got what we wanted? It made no sense. We have kept on spending and buying and employing and going on holiday because for many of us, most of us I would aver, life has gone on just swimmingly. The people who complained on Twitter or social media, the people who marched in London are about as representative of the bulk of the country as those who are voting for Chauncey to continue his triumphant leadership of Labour are of the rest of us.
And this is why Britain is doing entirely fine. Yes the pound has stayed low, but then that is all to the good. The stock market has shrugged off its early losses and is now testing its recent highs. The economy is going to manage, according to the latest forecasts, around the same level of growth that had been forecast when all of the supposed experts were expecting us to vote to stay in.
And as a country we are still performing notably better than most of the rest of the EU, despite our voting to leave its tender embrace and despite the threats that are being sent in our direction.
What should we learn from all of this? Well firstly that experts are only expert if they leave their prejudices behind. But more importantly that Britain is a strong and vibrant economy whose flexibility is proving to be our strongest suit. If we can use the opportunities of Brexit to enhance that flexibility, to build on it and enhance it then there is no reason why we should not emerge stronger as a consequence rather than weakened and dispirited as so many appear to want for us.
The EU is a just a not very well designed, not very efficient, not very accountable, not very flexible, not very democratic form of government. We have voted to leave it and govern ourselves. That's all. There was never really any basis for the panic stories about what would happen after Brexit. There is much to be argued over, much give and take and an awful lot more bellyaching from European politicians who still refuse to admit that they and they alone are the cause of their own travails and woes. But ultimately all that has really happened is that we have chosen to substitute one way of governing ourselves with another way of governing ourselves, but one we will have more influence over. As we make a success of it there is every chance that the rest of the continent will watch on enviously. But then that is what they are afraid of isn't it. But perhaps they should consider that and dwell on it. If they are worried that Britain will be successful outside the EU, then perhaps there is no need for an EU at all.