Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The boil has been lanced. Now let's get on with it.

The referendum has revealed a few not-so-surprising things. Firstly that the least qualified to speak on EU issues are Tory Brexiteers. As much they're not even close to comprehending how trade and regulation works they don't want to to either. Blind adherence to an ideology is always a major obstacle to learning. But that is not to say that remainers are any better informed either. If EU ignorance were a currency we would have enough to close the deficit for good.

In this the media is not much more advanced. There are glimmers of understand here and there but there is an over reliance on received wisdom whereby bogus assertions gradually establish themselves as irrefutable articles of fact - thus the entire debate is distorted.

There are a few who have attempted to look beyond the run of the mill talking points like David Allen Green, Ian Dunt, Allie Renison and Janan Ganesh but they display their knowledge in the same way that a teenage girl shows off a new frock. You can tell it doesn't quite fit, you can see it's new to them and they have not yet found a comfortable way to wear it without looking goofy.

They are also blinded in a similar fashion to the Tory ideologues. Their quest for knowledge extends only as far as a quest for more problems. I'm not seeing very many efforts to find solutions and in fact these people go out of their way to deny the existence of solutions or casually dismiss them. The aim seems to be to create a smokescreen of confusion in the hope that Brexit can somehow be stopped in its tracks. Consequently there is more heat than light.

As Ian Dunt put its it "This is nothing less than an opportunity to reshape a country, and only the right-wing of the Tory party seem to recognise it". That to him is a reason enough to do everything to possible to stop Brexit - as a safeguard to democracy no less.

But this would actually be an affront to democracy. By all means we need a consensus on a way forward where all voices are heard - and there is every reason to believe the Tory right will be put in their place if parliament does its job - but killing Brexit would be to ignore the central message of the referendum.

In spite of dire warnings from prestigious institutes and prognostications of gloom from economists Britain still voted to leave. This really is "an opportunity to reshape a country" and that is exactly what the public wants. As Dunt has it, "basically, the entirety of British law over the last few decades is up for grabs, in a bonfire of legislation". Bring it on!

The medical profession has never been truly at ease with the working time directive - and as a contractor I detest the very idea that flexible work is being attacked from all sides. Britain more than ever needs vitality and fluidity back in its labour market. If that opens up the potential for exploitation then that is an opportunity to reignite union activism. 

Agriculture has suffered for decades from a stagnant policy where even marginal reforms to regulation have proven near impossible. We now have a blank slate on how we approach rural policy and in that there are numerous opportunities to change the way we think about the countryside. I would like nothing more than to see the devolution of agriculture and rural affairs to the local level. 

In energy I would like nothing more than to see us ditch vanity carbon targets in favour of a pro-growth agenda. Nobody thinks our approach to energy is adequate and nobody thinks it is cost effective. Again, there is no reason why energy policy could not in part be devolved to the regions. There is a huge opportunity for remunicipalisation and we can do it through energy collectives. 

More to the point the government is taking back control of trade for the first time in decades. For the first time in my lifetime there is public debate about it and again we discover the politicians have absolutely no idea how it works. And this to me underscores why we should leave. Our political class has complete abandoned key policy-making to the point where they are wholly ignorant of it. 

Our knowledge of agricultural governance has withered on the vine, our politicians don't know how the EU works and have even less idea how trade functions and so how can they be in the least bit capable of holding the EU to account? Being in the EU means putting policy on autopilot. And what do we have for scrutiny of the EU? A ragbag of intellectually subnormal MEPs you wouldn't trust with the TV remote. 

Britain has demanded a change of government. They turned out in record numbers in the most significant public ballots for decades to send a message. We want change. And Brexit very much is that change. In this we have a world of opportunities open to us. Politicians of all stripes should be salivating. But what do we have instead? Snivelling tyrants who don't trust the process enough to even have these debates. All we get from them is a torrent of petty problematising. 

I am a firm believer that there is a solution to every problem. In politics it is merely a matter of political will. Some walls mean you have to change direction. Others you just have to smash through. We know that there are complications in the Brexit process. We know that there are a number of paradoxes to be resolved. But they are resolvable. With a lawmaking machine like the EU there is always a mechanism to make things possible - not least single market access and control of freedom of movement. It can be done. It has been done. The losers just prefer to see problems. 

More than anything Brexit is an opportunity to do what Cameron failed to do. We can completely reshape our relationship with the European Union. We can have the close cooperation we seek but maintain the controls we need. I just don't see a downside.

For the time being there will be a period of uncertainty. The biggest political battles are still in front of us. We are going to pay a price for leaving the EU and it will dent the economy. That doesn't change my mind that we should never have put policy making on autopilot and if it costs us to get it back under our control then the fault lies with those who took us into such an arrangement without consultation or consent - not those who voted to leave.

Some would have it that Brexit irrecoverably damaged our standing in the world and permanently damages the economy.  It's all so final to these miserablists. The truth however is there is no limit to the opportunities that await globally. The worlds population is increasing all the time and agriculture will have to grow with it. We have the technology to turn scrubland into prime crops. We have the knowhow and we have the talent. If we turn our attention the UN sphere of international development and invest in the trade facilitation agenda, using all of the global forums, then we can be more agile, more decisive and more inventive than the EU. 

This however, is going to require a change of attitude. Impossible is a world we hear far too much from remainers. The fact is, the EU is not the only game in town and there are entirely new, hitherto unexplored modes of trade that have yet to permeate the Brexit debate. When we finally have that conversation - and open up the debate about the globalisation of trade and regulation then we will view the EU in its proper context as an inhibitor to trade rather than a facilitator of it. 

In fact that is a debate we should already be having but that of course busts wide open the debate about the viability of the EEA option - something the dishonest remainer bunch really don't want to talk about. These are people who would rather be proved right than contribute anything to the debate. 

We hear a constant drone of grumbling and complaining that Brexit will tie up government for the next decade but that is something we should be celebrating. We will be putting every area of policy under the microscope and redesigning policy for a completely new relationship with the EU and the world. We will also be forging a new relationship with the electorate - healing the rifts that brought about the Brexit vote in the first place. The boil has been lanced.

Meanwhile it now looks like Scottish independence is less like than ever - the SNP have run out of political capital and even the Tories are gaining popularity north of the border. Regressive socialist ideas are being rejected by the electorate - as are the poisonous paternalistic ideas of the Blairite left and within a few years we might well see Ireland quitting the EU. Rather than fragmentation, it looks like the British Isles will be restored to the culturally compatible union of friends that it is.

I'm not one who believes that Britain is looking ant an imminent renaissance of power, influence and free trade. I am no Hannanist. We will have to make some hard choices and trade-offs to undo the damage of EU membership. We will have to redouble our diplomatic and trade efforts and we'll be fighting to compete outside the EU - but for once we will be in control of our own destiny with vibrant debate about how we achieve it. How well we do is entirely up to us. That's why I'm sick to the back teeth of dishonest miserablist losers like Ian Dunt and those who think as he does. 

Brexit is the factory reset button on a political settlement that has become stale and is completely bereft of ideas. It is not delivering and not even the remainers think the EU is the solution. They're just petrified of change. They can't adapt to the modern era of globalised trade and globalised governance. Remainers are the dinosaurs who can't adapt to the new paradigm. They can't even acknowledge it exists and would do anything (up to and including subverting the largest democratic exercise since the war) in order to cling on to the past. 

I don't know about you but I am thoroughly sick of these saddos and morons. Brexit is the best thing that has happened to Britain for ages. I can't wait to get stuck into what will be a challenging and deeply interesting process. 

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