Friday, 3 February 2017

Brexit can lead to UK 2.0

For too many years the UK has been subjected to a defeatist programme of managed decline. It has weakened and undermined the country and for too many people it has eroded confidence, removed a sense of purpose, curtailed drive and subdued ambition.

Contrary to the negative claims of the noisy rump of holdout Remainers, an independent, self governing UK opens up a myriad of opportunities to transform this country for the better and improve the lot of the British people.

What it means to be independent is slowly dawning on the political class and business, underlined by TheCityUK's u-turn this week, now hailing the “a once-in-a-generation opportunity” Brexit is offering Britain.

After Brexit we will be presented with the ideal moment to begin an overhaul of this country to make it democratic, strong and competitive. It is time to upgrade our country into a modern Britain for a modern era. It's time to develop UK 2.0.

Politics really will mean something again because there will be no EU puppet master directing events beyond the control of our elected politicians. Democratic accountability to a sovereign people is necessary and there needs to be a focus on reining in politicians.

There also needs to be a focus on equipping the UK with what it needs to be strong, prosperous and competitve. That necessitates a new industrial policy where the watchword is quality and the foundation is innovation. There's plenty of market share to be had around the world for high quality goods and services and not everything needs to be produced to be cheap as chips like so many goods from the Far East. It will require a massive investment in technology to support R&D, upgraded production systems, enhanced high speed connectivity and regional incentives for domestic and foreign investment here.

But that can only be realised if there is a revolution in education that not only gets youngsters through the curriculum, but motivates them to pursue exciting and rewarding careers with prospects for good earnings and progression. Enthusing them in STEM subjects to give youngsters equality of opportunity is crucial to our future.

Pride will be a factor in this. Although the UK is a member of many global bodies, being part of the EU means we are forced to let the EU to speak and vote on our behalf. The UK is not allowed to make any direct or substantive contribution to regulatory and standards negotiations. Where is the pride in that? Where can there be a sense that the UK is playing a leading role on the world stage? That will change with Brexit. The UK will speak with its own voice and represent British interests (political and commerical) that have not been diluted by the often competing interests of the EU27. We will once again play an important role on the world stage.

Britain after Brexit will once again get to welcome and send trade delegations around the globe, negotiating agreements on mutually beneficial terms without the spectre of EU protectionism and tariffs. We will have the chance to redevelop a genuine deal making mentality, and the freedom lure businesses to the UK as a low corporate tax jurisdiction. Our agility and adaptability will quickly see confidence grow at home and abroad as people remember we have plenty to offer.

Make no mistake, Brexit is not the solution in itself. But Brexit is an enabler that opens up a myriad of beneficial opportunities that can be seized should the people of the UK have the drive, wit and ambition to take them. We can transform our country for the better. Let's make UK 2.0 a reality.

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