Mrs May’s deal is dead but the pro-Remain establishment is still trying to stitch us up by concocting some way of staying close to the EU or stopping Brexit altogether.
Their tactic is to try to frighten the British people into believing that if we leave the EU without a deal then we will face economic disaster. Disgracefully, this attempt is being led by the Gloomster of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond.
This is just another version of 2016’s Project Fear that was launched by the Treasury to try to persuade us against voting for Brexit by prophesying disaster if we did. Some prophecy that turned out to be! Project Fear Mark II is just as ridiculous.
That said, Brexit has always been primarily about politics, rather than economics. The strongest argument for it is quite simply that we should be free to make our own decisions. But there is a connection with economics, because freedom includes being able to make decisions about economic matters.
Moreover, if people could be persuaded that re-establishing self-government for our country would carry a heavy cost that would hit them in the pocket, many might be dissuaded from supporting it.
But it would NOT carry a heavy cost. Quite the opposite. It would bring large gains.
Listening to the Remainers who dominate the BBC’s coverage, you might easily believe that the EU is a raging economic success. It isn’t. Yes, it was a relative success when we joined it in 1973. But over recent decades the EU’s relative economic performance has been poor.
The reason is clear: The EU makes bad decisions, including about economic matters, because its institutions don’t work very well and it is pursuing a political project, namely the establishment of a federal state. In the process, it is pushing barmy policies of harmonisation and integration and it engages in excessive regulation. The euro is the worst of the EU’s blunders — so far. But you can be sure that there will be more.
Nowhere else are countries pursuing anything like the EU’s mad agenda — no single markets, no monetary unions and no federal super-states. Unlike so many members of our elite, other countries’ leaders have noticed that the EU doesn’t work.
So why are so many clever and decent people among our leaders apparently still keen that Britain should stay in the EU? There are two reasons. First, many of them simply don’t know the facts about economic performance and don’t understand economics anyway.
People with little experience of business who are steeped in the world of politics or the civil service naturally tend to assume that prosperity flows from the pens of those who sign agreements. People like them. But it doesn’t. It derives quite simply from the efforts of millions of men and women and of the businesses that employ them.
Yes, trade deals can be good, but you do not need them in order to trade. Currently we do not have a trade deal with the United States. Yet the US is our biggest single trading partner. Go figure!
Second, many among our governing elite do not like nation states. And they particularly don’t like ours. By contrast, they have a touching faith in the EU’s ability to suppress the uglier sides of nationalism while keeping the peace and pursuing an agenda of good government for all. Doubtless they also believe in Father Christmas.
If we leave the EU in March without signing a deal, we would not be “crashing out” or “falling off a cliff”. Nor would it be accurate to describe this as a “hard” Brexit.
Rather, it would be a clean Brexit, a full Brexit, a true Brexit, in contrast to the half-baked non-Brexit proposed by Mrs May.
Mrs May’s “deal” was the Remainers’ Revenge. You only had to look at the expression on the face of Jean-Claude Juncker to know what had happened.
The EU got everything while we got nothing. And we were due to pay £39billion for the privilege.
Now that Mrs May’s capitulation of a “deal” has been consigned to the knackers yard, we should devote our energies to preparing to leave in March without any such deal. I am not suggesting that a No- Deal Brexit would be roses all the way. There would be some immediate dislocation that would carry some costs. But they would be relatively minor and short-lived. And it would be wrong to mistake such short-term minor disruption for the eventual destination.
Just like umpteen other countries around the world, we can thrive outside the EU — without anything like Mrs May’s deal.
Within a few years I am sure we would look back and wonder how anyone could have thought otherwise.
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