It all seems a long time ago, so distant that it’s hard to remember how awful it was to witness three years of the British political establishment, in cahoots with large swathes of the media, trying to undermine the will of the people and hinder us forever in the EU. Shame on Theresa May and Philip Hammond who worked to eliminate any chance of Britain carving out an independent economic future. To a large extent, Brexit has been done.
It was not about fishing or Northern Ireland, but the lingering anger and acrimony over these issues will at least continue to remind us of the malicious intentions of the EU and in particular of France and the Republic of ‘Ireland, an old alliance.
It was a good result also because Brexit restored parliamentary sovereignty and therefore control over our own affairs. For some Brexiteers, that was all it was about.
For people like me and many other entrepreneurs and business owners, it was also about the freedom to continue the economic growth and prosperity of the country.
Give opportunities to everyone, including the regions. Allow the UK to pursue policies previously prevented by the protectionist, mercantilist and bureaucratic EU. Sadly, that has yet to manifest itself two years later in any form. In fact, the government appears determined to become a statist, raise taxes, reward idleness, create more rules and restrictions, stifle businesses and distort markets.
In all fairness, Boris Johnson has been battered by events for two years. The Covid crisis led to his near-death experience and a laser-like focus on the pandemic. Mistakes have been made. Protecting the NHS has become more important than protecting people or their livelihoods. The economically damaging lockdowns have proved no better than Sweden’s personal responsibility mantra.
Eventually, however, the private sector came to the rescue and produced a vaccine in record time. Going beyond the EU’s precautionary principle, it has given the UK at least three months ahead of our bureaucratic cousins across the Channel.
Instead of emerging from the plague with a bold economic program, the government continues to go into debt and promise nothing but stifling tax hikes, the dead hand of bureaucracy and a messianic pursuit of a market-destroying green agenda. and creating poverty.
What happened to Singapore-on-Thames? If we’re not careful, we’ll be more like 18th-century Venice, once a great trading nation, which was overwhelmed by the doctrine of bureaucracy. Overthrown by vested interests and a selfish elite.
The response to the legacy of the Covid episode is to use our new Brexit freedoms to aim for super growth, with all our efforts. Only that will lead to a “race to the top”, opportunities and excellent public services.
Reducing taxes, corporate taxes and personal taxes is vital to stimulate economic growth and reward work and investment.
All right-thinking economists know that lowering the tax rate to an optimal level increases taxes. The reverse is also true. And the reverse will kill the business and everything the government can wish for.
A review of regulatory review structures is not enough, it is not even a start, but just another bit of bureaucracy. There must be a meaningful bonfire of Whitehall vanities. A real removal of existing red tape, the drag anchor that weighs down on the 70 percent of the economy daily, which are national family businesses and largely private.
Multinationals playing with the system will not like regulatory divergence and see regulation as an obstacle to competition, they are after all the mirror image of Sir Humphrey, but it is the medicine we need as much as it is. a vaccine.
Access to finance is essential for start-ups and the next stage of growth for entrepreneurs so that they don’t have to lose control is of vital importance. This is something the EU has prevented us from doing.
The infrastructure that matters, such as local roads and railways and, most importantly, digital connectivity and energy security, must be a priority. Certainly not infinitely, expensive vanity projects.
This administration risks wasting a massive and unique opportunity and, with it, its right to govern.
The mistakes of the post-war era are written all over the government’s agenda and we are catapulted into a 1970s dystopia of bad service, high taxes, shy work, great state, corporate suffocating society. In other words, the very things that drove a declinist elite to want to surrender to the then common market, the EU superstate project.
At least back then, in the ’70s, we had great music and we didn’t have to go through a revival, canceled culture that would spin Orwell in his grave.
John Longworth is Chairman of the Independent Business Network, and entrepreneur and former CEO of UK Chambers of Commerce and Conservative MEP