There is no other time in recent history that British politics has been so turbulent. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused of lying to the Queen by a Scottish court, the Conservative government has lost its majority and kicked out 21 rebel Tory MPs, opposition parties in Parliament have for the first time denied the opportunity to hold a general election, and the government is refusing to abide by a law that compels the Prime Minister to request an extension to the Brexit deadline.
Many Brits tuned out of the Brexit negotiations during Theresa May’s premiership, but under Boris Johnson, everyone has been forced to sit up and listen. Brexit is happening on October 31st, deal or no deal, if Boris Johnson is telling the truth when he says he’ll refuse to seek another needless extension to the deadline.
Three and a half years later, and the British government still hasn’t delivered on its promise to implement what we decided in the 2016 referendum. The British people, along with the international community, have been dealt doomsday prediction after doomsday prediction, encouraging us to either accept a deal that allows the EU to dictate our trading relationships with foreign countries, or just cancel Brexit altogether.
One of the main culprits or peddling misinformation has been the Confederation of British Industry, an organisation that claims to be the voice of British business. The CBI has argued time and time again that Britain should stay in the Single Market and Customs Union as part of a Brexit deal. Such a measure would seriously inhibit Britain’s ability to create new trade agreements and become a free and independent, globally-trading nation.
The CBI should not be considered an authoritative voice on any business matters, after consistently being proven to either have lied or been particularly untalented in terms of their ability to predict the effects of the Brexit vote. This is an organisation that supported the joining of the euro, and now wants to lock the UK into a trading bloc with regulations that would impede our ability to take advantage of global economic growth. Even the EU accepts that 90% of global growth will take place outside the European Union over the next 15 years. What sane economist or business person would agree to remain a member of the Single Market/Customs Union, or hand over our control of our own trade regulations, while all that is happening across the world?
If it takes some temporary disruption to leave the EU on October 31st without a deal in order to access these global markets, then I say we take it. Even leaving the EU without a deal would instantly allow the UK to drop tariffs on goods imported from outside the EU, allowing us to look across the Atlantic more favourably and develop better trading relationships with our cousins in Canada and the United States.
Former interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose said in July 2019 that there was little point in Canada striking a deal until Brexit happens, referencing Boris Johnson’s free trade credentials. Canada could potentially soon be benefitting from tariff-free access to 87% of imports to Britain in the event of a no deal.
The huge potential for the UK to step up its game in terms of trade is exactly why the EU has long been keen to ensure that the UK does not obtain any competitive trade advantage over the bloc.
Unelected leaders in Brussels know that a competitive United Kingdom is a significant threat to their already crumbling Soviet-esque project. As they push for their new European army and further integration of its member states, the last thing they need is one of its biggest and most powerful member states leaving and showing the rest of the continent how good life is outside the bloc.
Michel Barnier, the EU’s Brexit negotiator, literally said that any deal could not allow Britain to have an “unfair” advantage in terms of trade. If they’re scared of that happening, it’s time we took that opportunity and left their backwards, authoritarian project behind.