The end of the beginning – July 8th 2016

“We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems”. Lee Iacocca

Having been in Spain for the last fortnight I count myself lucky to have been away from the gnashing and wailing; and let’s be clear that I am not talking about the footie, a competition that has always been a disappointment for England (but let’s hear it for Wales) and, for me, a metaphor for the EU and all its secretive machinations that drive a coach and horses through the democratic process; witness this week’s quote from Francois Hollande, “the City, which thanks to the EU, was able to handle clearing operations for the eurozone, will not be able to do them,” he said. “It can serve as an example for those who seek the end of Europe … It can serve as a lesson.”

At the end of the day the democratic decision of the British people is to leave the indubitably undemocratic EU; so how to grasp the great opportunity with which we have been presented? Trade agreements will of course be high on the agenda and the quicker this process starts the better. Comments from the more rabid EU bureaucrats, Juncker et al, suggest that some form of punishment is required “pour encourager les autres.” There is however something of a mellower tone from Germany where they understand that we consume a goodly percentage of their exports and imposing penal tariffs would be a shot in the foot; if not both feet. Europe is in fact declining in terms of trade volumes and it is more important that we look further afield, something, under the auspices of the EU, where trade agreements are negotiated en bloc, we have been unable to do on our own initiative for a very long time. After finalising a trade deal with China, Swiss exports quadrupled.

The weakness of sterling also gives us an advantage in our terms of trade and even a 4% EU tariff would be absorbed by the currency depreciation. After Norman Lamont’s unsuccessful battle with George Soros in 1992 the UK economy boomed as a result of sterling’s demise and there could be an equal opportunity here. The major winners may well be Britain’s young, who are not scarred by the experience of futile attempts to do business in places such as France. They haven’t been defeated by the pointless bureaucracy so endemic within the EU. They have a blank canvas. They carry no baggage and despite their protestations to the contrary I am reminded of Oscar Wilde’s observation that, “I am not young enough to know everything.”

Four key factors made Britain great. Democracy is clearly one; so the will of the people must prevail. If this result is “diluted” in any way, we really do have a more significant problem. Secondly and thirdly, rule of law and property rights are enshrined in our psyche, these are totally unaffected by this decision. Finally, as predominantly a trading nation we developed to what we are today and the referendum outcome enhances our ability to trade in the long run. Regardless of who leads this nation for the next few years, the entire population needs to throw off its depressive mind set. Change is upon us; let us again be a real example for what is good and democratic in this world.

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