“Those who seek to disembarrass a country of its entanglements should be very slow and wary. It should not be a matter of tearing up roots but of slowly training a plant to grow in a different direction.”
John Maynard Keynes, 1933
In our latest Globalisation Outlook:
– While much of the talk is about the Brexit process, the more important issue for the UK is – what happens after Brexit?
– There are two diametrically opposed view of post-Brexit Britain
– The Right offers the view of a buccaneering, low tax, low regulation Britain open to unrestricted global trade (though their claims that that is what they desire were somewhat undermined by their outrage at the contract for new passports being awarded to a French company)
– The Left offers the view of a more statist Britain going the route of nationalization and government subsidies
– Both these views represent outdated ideological positions no longer fit for the 21st century
– Neither the Brexit Party nor the various Remain parties have offered a compelling vision of a post-Brexit Britain
– While the Brexit Party will likely get away with that (for now) by focusing on emotive abstractions such as ‘democracy’, ‘independence’, etc, it is more difficult for the Remain parties who are offering a status quo at a time when many are looking for radical change
– The Labour Party’s insistence on a permanent customs union and some regulatory alignment make perfect political sense in that, irrespective of whether they would have achieved much in practical terms, they drive a stake through the heart of the Conservative party. Which is why the PM could not agree to them and talks have been abandoned.
– The hopes of a buccaneering global Britain are somewhat turning to ashes with the failure to have any significant trade deals ready to go
– There is no evidence to suggest that being in the EU has been the factor holding back Britain’s international trade opportunities. Being out of the block will, on balance, most likely further disadvantage the UK in international trade.
– With the dream of Europe as a federal super-state rapidly fading, now may be the best time for Britain to stay and push its view of a flexible Europe of nation states – a notion now gaining currency everywhere.