British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has made a significant intervention whilst in Singapore. As well as rejecting calls for a second referendum, and reiterating his belief – which we share – that the referendum result must be implemented in full, he has suggested we should look to that great capital of wealth and freedom for inspiration post-Brexit.
Hunt is right. The case for the ‘Singaporean model’ – lower taxes, simpler regulation – has never been stronger; and it is by pursuing such a model that the United Kingdom will truly thrive. Just look at the statistics: in the 1950s average income in Singapore was equal to 48% of that in the UK. By 2016, thanks to Singapore’s emphasis on free markets and free trade, they earned 94% more than the British. Where Singapore is a world leader, the European Union is forever playing catch up.
The more attractive we make our country to global business, the more investment and wealth will be sucked into the UK. It’s A-level economics, but the EU has forgotten it – or rather, as a principle conspicuously rejects it, hence its protectionist attitudes and fear of open competition with us.
But we must not be afraid of open competition. Businesses thrive on competition. Human beings thrive on competition. As Hunt said, ‘When Singapore became an independent country in 1965, its leaders described it as the moment it ‘plugged into the international economic grid’. We should approach our departure from the EU in a similarly optimistic and vital spirit.
Singapore’s high-tech, innovative economy is widely considered the jewel in the crown of Southeast Asia. There is no shame in learning from it. Our people – much like the people of Singapore – would benefit hugely.
Read more about Hunt’s speech here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/press-release-foreign-secretary-hunt-speech-in-singapore
Tim Dawson is the Editor of Britain’s Future. Follow him on twitter: @tim_r_dawson