The United Kingdom stands at a crossroads, the same crossroads it’s stood at since the Referendum in 2016. Thanks to a concerted effort by a small coterie of vocal Remainers, Brexit finds itself in a precarious position.
On one side, there is the government’s ‘Chequers Plan’, spearheaded by the Prime Minister and her advisors and seemingly deliberately designed to neutralise the referendum result. On the other, there are those – sadly, few in number in the House of Commons – determined to deliver on the will of the people, and implement the proper Brexit which we at this site would like to see.
Making everything more difficult are Remain MPs who have devoted vast amounts of energy to trying to talk themselves and their reluctant colleagues out of honouring the referendum result.
We could devote pages to analysing how we arrived at this juncture, and it’s tempting to lay the blame on a political class which has grown so used to the EU making all their key decisions that they are simply not up to the task of true leadership.
But the facts of the situation, the facts which convinced 17.4 million voters to place their confidence in themselves to govern their own country, have stayed the same. EU Law continues to expand into areas barely foreseen in 1993, and never considered 1975.
Plans are in progress for an EU army. The EU struggles to deal with a multiplicity of problems, from immigration, to the rise of explicit Nationalism, to an inability to bind its smorgasbord of member state economies effectively into the Euro.
There are some – relatively few, but committed and principled federalists – who argue the UK’s future lies not as a wealthy, free, sovereign country but as one of a triumvirate of nations spearheading the European integrationist project. “Let’s sit at the top table,” they say: the Franco-German top table. This is impossible – or, rather, impossible without a set of compromises with the EU project far too rich for the British electorate to stomach.
We will never join Schengen. We will never join the Euro. And we will never accept the abnegation of our historic Common Law legal system, to be replaced with European Union Law – fine and respectable, but founded in a different set of principles detailed in the Code Napoleon and alien to the British people. Some things are sacrosanct: and for the British electorate, these key requirements of European Union ‘leadership’ sit far beyond what is acceptable.
We have always been a global nation, our sights set on the horizon, as confident setting sail on the high seas as trading with the next village. Of course, the technology has changed – and this is to our every advantage. It means far more of our trade is truly international; and business can be conducted around the world by anyone who has an internet connection. There has never been less need to tether ourselves to a protectionist supranational organisation, which not only disadvantages our own farmers and fishermen, but massively disadvantages producers across the world who’d benefit from tariff free access to our markets.
Our neighbours are our friends, of course – and we want to them to remain our friends, if they are willing to. But we are not a country which retreats into its backyard, satisfied with gossiping over the garden fence. We must re-embrace our old friends in the Commonwealth. We must embrace new friends in Asia. We are the country that exported Parliamentary democracy and traded its way to wealth and enlightenment; let us not shrink away from that past but galvanise our global spirit towards the rest of the 21st Century – and beyond.
A time like this is not a time for petty-fogging. We are fundamentally re-orienting, back towards the transatlantic position we’ve always felt most comfortable in. This is not about turning away from the world but re-establishing ourself in it. It’s why we shouldn’t feel worried about leaving on a WTO deal. We have a robust economy and a sovereign currency. Taking the WTO option would deliver fully on the referendum result: repatriating our sovereignty and control of our borders and laws. It would also allow us to immediately help the least well-off in society, by removing tariffs on their essential items such as food and footwear.
The Remain Project has always been about preserving the wealth and sanctity of a particular, distant strata of British society; Brexit should be about spreading wealth and opportunity to all.
As Brexiteers, we perhaps made the mistake of thinking winning the referendum was the end of the battle. That has not proven to be the case. It’s time to get back onto the field. The country is behind us. And we are so close to victory.