I voted to remain so I lost the vote and argument. But losing doesn’t stop me from exploring the madness with you. Losing has been rather cathartic because it encourages, nee, forces analysis of what we could do to make the best of the UK’s new status.
So now the truth bit…
1. Despite the posturing from both sides at the time of writing, the UK and EU will agree on a trade deal before Christmas.
2. The deal they agree on will both be a generational social and economic disaster for the UK and in fact, not great for the EU either, particularly Germany.
3. In case of point, the subtle revisions to our EU membership negotiated by Prime Minister, David Cameron back in 2016 were felt by some to be ineffectual & impotent. Hence, a few months later the referendum vote ended up with a leave majority.
But, I recommend you compare that deal (2016) to the one now being discussed as the basis for our long term relationship with Europe. Even the lightest comparison demonstrates that the UK industry is far worse off than it ever was whilst we remained members of the EU club. New tariffs, taxes, paperwork, delays, employment limitation, degradation of the NHS, travel & freight costs…
4. Despite this, UK politicians will argue they created a victory, nothing could be further from the truth.
5. London is not the UK and vice versa. London will survive BREXIT bruised, reduced, and scarred. Much of the rest of the country will not.
6. Given the double whammy of COVID-19 and BREXIT, the UK government should simply have cancelled its departure from EU, subject to a root and branch renegotiation of it’s membership. Creating leverage by offering to ‘come home’ but only on new terms would have worked with the UK voting population & EU.
7. Those leavers who are realising the reality of their vote have started to adopt the stance of ‘we were lied to’ by the politicans as a reason for voting leave. This just doesn’t wash. The UK is supposed to be the cradle of democracy, and as such, its citizens must take personal responsibility when voting.
8. So, what do we do about all this?
9. Here’s my tips for the top:
- Accept that we may well be living in the only time in history when borrowing money as a country doesn’t cost a single penny of interest. Repaying government debt isn’t the same as household debt. We’ve only just repaid the Americans for the WW2 for goodness sake. Let’s get this country funded with cheap money and repay it gradually over the decades to come just as we’ve done before. If Greater Manchester needs a deep purse to recompense shuttered businesses then give it to them!
- Create a new 5% corporation tax band for online, digital retailers and service providers. Instead of missing the wood for the trees, stop whingeing about big corporates not paying enough tax and offer them a low tax deal to come to the UK and pay something here. Challenge Dublin to get Google, Microsoft, Wix, Sqaurespace and all the others to the UK with a low tax rate & lots of incentives to hire people.
- Employ 1m people, currently or soon to be unemployed, to lay the best fibre broadband & 5G network in the world by the end of 2021 – in doing so we retrain 1m people and influence millions more to pursue a tech oriented career.
- Build all the bridges & tunnels possible between the UK, Northern Island and indeed other European neighbours (who will have us!).
- Create 25 new enterprise zones in the UK focused on the things we remain good at e.g. automotive, motorsport & fintech. Lavish these guys with incentives to grow, hire & prosper.
- Create a deductible basis income tax system so that families impacted by rising tax rates (coming very soon) can at least offset the cost of their mortgages, health insurance etc from their gross income before paying (higher) tax rates
- Accept what COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has demonstrated to us all – that we cannot offer 70m people the NHS they thought they had. Make the transition to an insured system as smooth as possible as follows; borrow £500bn at zero/negative interest rates. Spend it all on getting the NHS to a world class standard then fund it long term through a mixture of much lower state contribution and insurance. For those who retort – Bevan would be turning is his grave – I contend that not once did he write or suggest in the 1940’s that an emergency care solution should ever metamorphose into a belief that the state should pay for everything for everyone. Oh unless that is that the population voluntarily pays 20% more tax each year…
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