Brexit Spring has arrived and Brussels’ fear is palpable – EXPRESS COMMENT

POLITICAL Springs go back a long way – at least to 1848, known as the Year of Revolution or Spring of Nations, when some 50 European countries were rocked by popular uprisings against the system.

By John Longworth

 

Thousands died but serfdom was abolished in Austria and Hungary, and democracy came to the Netherlands.

More recently, political upheav­als such as the Prague Spring, the Seoul Spring, the Beijing Spring, the Arab Spring and oth­ers, saw mass movements aimed at improving people’s lives and toppling the complacent order of things. Whatever the outcome, they were certainly turning points in history.

We now have a Brexit Spring, a breath of fresh air blowing through Britain and whistling through the EU.

The quaking of boots in Brussels is palpable.

This is why Brexit Britain is so reviled by the Eurotrash establishment in the UK and by the Brussels machine and those who profit from it, in particular Germany and France, who are terrified it might spread.

The settled regime of managed, relative decline is being shaken and the elites fear that they will no longer be able to cut them­selves an ever larger slice of the shrinking cake.

Just as John Locke, the great English philosopher, inspired the Americans to create a land of liberty and opportunity, the UK will be a beacon of light and liberty shining upon Europe as post-­ Brexit Britain enjoys newly-­won political and economic freedoms.

As future British governments adopt the possibilities of free trade around the globe and free markets at home, of cutting tariffs to reduce the cost of living, of bet­ ter regulation and control of our farms and fisheries, of investing the savings from our repatriated EU contribution, and of cutting taxes, as all these things come to pass, our economy will boom and prosperity will increase.

No longer will politicians and civil servants be able to hide be­ hind the excuse that it is the EU that is at fault. We will have charge of our own destiny and with this a renewed national self-­confidence.

On the wall of the Reform Club in London hang the portraits of Cobden and Bright, the great reformers who brought the extension of the franchise in the Reform Acts of the 19th century and the abolition of the tariff­ ridden Corn Laws, overturning the narrow vested interests of the establishment and changing for ever the British social contract.

It is ironic, however, how tradi­ tion can produce perverse out­ comes.

Just as the Liberals are fighting to wreck Brexit, overturn the democratic will of the people, and keep us in the protectionist EU customs union and single market, many current members of the Reform Club would find common cause with this.

The establishment is pervasive. Cobden and Bright are spinning in their graves, as is Gladstone.

WE ALREADY see how the referendum has created a competitive currency and with it a much needed rebalancing of the economy towards manufacturing, exports and the regions.

Just like the Spring of nearly 200 years ago, the removal of EU­ imposed tariffs will considerably reduce the cost of food, clothing, footwear and consumer goods for the people of our country.

The control of unlimited cheap labour from the EU will increase training, productivity and wages for UK workers and reduce the tax burden that subsidising these foreign workers generates, a true social revolution.

All of this would be undermined by Labour, which wishes to hang on to a customs union. How ironic that the champagne socialists of leafy London are now as much part of the Euro establishment as our former chancellor, preferring Brussels to their constituencies in the North, the West and Wales.

Keir Hardie and Hugh Gaitskell are spinning in their graves too!

Putting aside the institutional­ ised Europhiles and those who will be recidivist, let us be opti­ mistic: the future is bright, the future is Brexit. But let us also be vigilant.

While they might upset the applecart not all Springs succeed. As Wat Tyler, leader of the medieval Eng­lish Peasants’ Revolt, found to his cost, the establishment is ruth­ less in pursuit of its interests.

John Longworth is an entrepreneur, co-chairman of Leave Means Leave, advisory board member of Economists for Free Trade and advisory council member of the Institute of Economic Affairs. He is former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce.
 
April 1st, 2018: Express