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Getting Brexit Done Will Allow the UK to Get onto ‘the Good Stuff’

by John Brian Shannon

‘What Could be Better than Brexit?’ You Ask

Once Brexit is completed, the UK will be perfectly positioned to sign free trade deals with every country in the world. Indeed, some countries are eagerly anticipating signing free trade agreements with the United Kingdom post-Brexit.

Here in Canada, free trade with Britain is viewed as nothing more than the natural and obvious progression in our centuries-old relationship, and Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and India see free trade with the UK as a true Win-Win situation where all sides benefit from membership in that free trading relationship.

But in the UK for some inexplicable reason, free trade with Commonwealth nations is seen as a long-shot, something Britons would like to have but feel is almost impossible, and some seem to think the UK is ‘unworthy’ of such treatment by other Commonwealth countries and their 2.3 billion citizens.

‘The British really need to get out more, and see the world for what it is instead of seeing it through the prism of an imperial guilt trip’ seems to be the prevailing wisdom in the former colonies.

Get out there, UK! And, welcome to the 21st-century. We need to trade with you.


The Post-Brexit Domestic Agenda

Once freedom is established across the land, the UK government can rightly turn its attention to how citizens are faring. Spending on the NHS, education, housing, the manufacturing sector, agriculture and transportation networks can be improved from the present (underfunded) model.

How? Easy!

Presently, UK taxpayers dutifully send their money off to the government, which then sends a substantial portion of it on to Brussels. And every month, UK taxpayers send £1 billion more than they receive back from the EU. Which, as you’ve guessed, means that UK taxpayers send £12 billion more annually to the EU than they receive in return.

With an extra £12 billion a year to spend on the NHS post-Brexit — that’s £230 million a week — the NHS would eventually recover from being cash-starved since 2010 or thereabout.

But if the government elected to spend that £12 billion per year on education — British students would be in for a world-class education where no student gets left behind and every one of them would receive a tuition-free PhD-level education or tuition-free trade-certificate education — just as many European and some South American countries already offer. What a great leg-up for the country! Every British student turns into a highly-educated intellectual or tradesperson with the relevant documentation to prove their dedication to their profession or trade.

Or, if the government decided to solve the UK housing crisis by building tens-of-thousands of low-income homes for Britons. Which (housing crisis) is in the process of being solved anyway, as thousands of EU citizens return to the continent prior to the final Brexit date — thereby freeing-up housing in the UK market — whether rental or purchased.


And similar applies to other sectors of the UK economy. Once Brexit finally happens, the UK will have an extra £12 billion to spend annually. How the UK government chooses to spend it, is down to the priorities of the post-election government.

One thing is for certain, leaving the EU will allow an extra £12 billion to be spent every year in the UK economy. Which means that ONE major problem can be solved per year (NHS, education, housing, manufacturing, agriculture, transportation networks, high taxation) but not ALL major problems at once!


The Piecemeal Approach is the Wrong Approach!

To my mind, dropping a few billion here and there throughout the economy in an attempt to please everyone… definitely ISN’T the way to proceed.

With an extra £12 billion, the next government should decide which problem to solve in year-1 (£12 billion) then, in year-2, another major problem can be nailed-down to a satisfying conclusion (the second £12 billion spend), and in the 3rd-year something else can be solved once and for all time with the third £12 billion spend.

Typically, democratic governments seek to please the largest number of voters by dispersing such economic windfalls (a £12 billion annual windfall in this case) relatively evenly throughout the economy. But in the UK, each major problem in the country could be permanently solved via a single-year £12 billion spend in each problem area.

And that should galvanize British minds into prioritizing the next 5-year spending round.


How Would YOU Spend It?

Maybe you’re an overworked healthcare worker. We know how you’d spend the money. And we don’t blame you. Thank you again! for all the great work you do saving lives and dramatically improving the lives of the sick and elderly with your fulsome commitment. We salute you!

Or, maybe you’re a social worker who sees lives being wasted because there aren’t enough entry-level jobs, or safe housing, or supports in place to help the young, the elderly, the infirm, or the marginalized, to help them progress out of their poverty-based existence. In such cases, even relatively small amounts of money can make a huge difference in their lives — lifting them out of poverty and into work in a matter of weeks.

Every country needs more taxpayers and lifting people from UC to employment results in a double benefit for the economy — instead of the government paying such people to basically stay alive until they’re needed in the workforce, those people will then begin to pay into the tax revenue stream. Entire towns and boroughs could be revolutionized by the addition of a relatively inexpensive 1-year spending programme to the mix.


Brexit Can Work for Farmers!

Maybe you’re a farmer/rancher worrying about your EU subsidies going away. (And they will) Of course it would be great if the UK government decided to pay you the same subsidies that you enjoyed when the UK was a member of the EU.

But even better solutions await.

Why grow a crop that doesn’t earn any money? Why continue to stay in the dairy business competing with the heavily-subsidized EU, U.S., and Canadian dairy industries? Maybe it’s time to switch gears and raise animals or grow crops that don’t need subsidies.

Or, maybe it’s time for you to rent your land to the utility companies for the installation of wind turbines for £4000. per year/per turbine? In that way, you’re earning income instead of waiting for government subsidies to suddenly fall, as we’ve seen over the decades.

In the case of wind turbine installations, most of your land remains available to you, it’s just that you lose the footprint of the turbine tower and the utility company needs a gravel access laneway to each turbine which translates to an average loss of 1-acre of land per turbine for the farmer.

Some land is too rocky to grow crops/graze cattle anyway, so that isn’t much of a loss in some cases. Certainly, receiving £4000. per year/per acre from a utility company in land lease fees beats all the work that goes into growing crops, only to gain £800. to £1200. per acre annually! And, as for grazing cattle or sheep on marginal land, an acre of that land might only be worth £60. to £100. annually to your farm. Or less.

Yes, you can tell that I love farmers and ranchers because I’ve devoted all this space to them. But it illustrates how Britons and the government need to think differently in the post-Brexit world.

Instead of competing against highly-subsidized countries (and bigger countries will always win as they have more taxpayers to pay those high subsidies) it’s time to change gears and switch towards a more sustainable and more profitable economic model.

Grow those high-demand/no-subsidy crops! Raise those animals that don’t require subsidies! Rent your less-productive farmland to utility companies for more profitable wind turbine or solar panel installations — where your profits aren’t decided in a closed-door backroom in the EU, America, or Canada.


Britons: Compete on Your Strengths, Not on Your Weaknesses!

In short, dear Britons, compete on your strengths and cease competing on your weaknesses against much larger and more highly-subsidized blocs. The degree to which you can succeed in that is the degree to which you, your family, and the UK itself, will prosper.

And in case I didn’t make it clear enough, above;

In a post-Brexit UK economy, innovation ruled by merit-based thinking is the best way for individual Britons, British families, and the UK to succeed.

Parliament Approves UK General Election for December 12th

by John Brian Shannon

The UK Parliament voted today to hold a UK General Election on December 12, 2019 which should help end the present Brexit impasse in the House of Commons.

Some 3.5-years after the June 23, 2016 referendum a majority of Britons voted to leave the EU (that’s 1,223-days ago!) and the UK is no closer to leaving the EU. So with the House of Commons deadlocked, Prime Minister Boris Johnson pressed for a General Election to allow their bosses (the UK People) to decide the future of the country. Smart!

A Quick Look at the Brexit File:

  • On June 23, 2016 a majority of Britons voted to leave the EU,
  • Followed by the February 1, 2017 House of Commons vote where MP’s approved  the Article 50 Withdrawal Act to Leave the European Union (498-114),
  • And then PM Theresa May’s June 8, 2017 General Election win (an election where every party ran on a platform of delivering Brexit),
  • Followed by last week’s House of Commons vote approving Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal (but in a separate vote, MP’s didn’t approve the timing of the deal)
  • Now Britons have another opportunity to weigh-in via the ultimate ‘People’s Vote’ — a UK General Election — where citizens of legal voting age can support Brexit or not, support the domestic platform of any party or not, etc.

With polls favouring the Conservatives and their lead increasing, it might be a tight race.

YouGov UK General Election 2019 voting intention tracker October 2019

YouGov Westminster voting intention tracker October 2019. Image courtesy of YouGov/Express.co.uk

Certainly the ruling Conservatives are a known quantity, in power since May 11, 2010; First with PM David Cameron until June 24, 2016, followed by PM Theresa May until July 23, 2019, and now, PM Boris Johnson since July 24, 2019 — while Labour hasn’t formed a government since PM Gordon Brown stepped down almost a decade ago.

The only way Labour can manage to stay-on as the official opposition is to run on anything but their Brexit platform, and instead, run on what they could do for the NHS, for low-cost housing, for worker’s rights and other social issues, IMHO.

While this election shouldn’t be all about Brexit, it will be for a majority of voters who want 3.5-years of economic uncertainty to end and they know the Conservatives will deliver.

The issue of our times, at present, is Brexit. And that’s what The People will be voting for, or against.


Predictions?

Based on nothing except that I always get these things right… hehehe, here are my UK General Election 2019 predictions.

The Conservatives will form a small majority government, Labour will gain many seats — while the Lib Dems, the SNP, and independent MP’s will take a beating at the polls. The Brexit Party will become the 3rd party in the House of Commons behind Labour, while the Greens and Plaid Cymru will barely hold onto their existing seats. UKIP won’t win a seat.

Whatever happens, I hope that every MP who is dedicated to serving their constituents does well in this election no matter what side of the Brexit divide they’re on.

Good MP’s like that are worth their weight in diamonds. Good luck, MP’s!


Read: UK set for 12 December general election after MP’s vote (BBC)

Read: UK General Election: A Really Simple Guide (BBC)

EU Offers a ‘Flextension’ to the UK & Parliament Voted Down a UK General Election

by John Brian Shannon

1,222 days since the 2016 Brexit referendum and we’re no closer to Brexit, yet the EU has graciously granted another Article 50 extension, but this time it’s a unique type of extension coined by EC President Donald Tusk, called ‘Flextension’.

It’s unique because it grants the UK Parliament more time to get its house in order, and allows the official Brexit date to fall on any day the UK Parliament chooses between October 31, 2019 and January 31, 2020.

Which is pretty awesome of European Commission president Donald Tusk, extremely generous of European Union president Jean-Claude Juncker, and it demonstrates patience personified by the leaders of the EU27 countries.

Who’d have thought that a staunch Brexiteer like myself would feel such gratitude for the generosity and patience shown to the dysfunctional UK House of Commons by EC/EU/EU27 leaders?

Really folks, we should thank them sincerely — for the problems related to Brexit aren’t on the EU side as they’ve consistently delivered one message with one tone and one conclusion, while UK politicians have been all over the map. And if they aren’t squabbling with the EU they’re squabbling among each other, to the end that Brexit is no further along today than it was back on June 23, 2016 when Britons voted to leave the EU.

The present House of Commons couldn’t agree that water is wet or that the sky is blue. How EU heads have put up with all the mixed messaging coming from the UK side over the past 40.5 months (1,222 days) since the June 23, 2016 EU referendum is beyond comprehension.

(UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is new on the job having served a grand total of 96-days at this point, so we can hardly put the blame on him)

All in all, the EU side has shown class and consistency throughout the entire Brexit saga.

Although I have disagreed with some of their ideas or bargaining positions relating to Brexit etc., (and hey, they’re in business for the EU, not for me) they’ve demonstrated they’re a world-class operation and deserve that recognition.

That’s all for today, folks. Thanks for your time!


If you want to verify today’s Brexit news, please read these two short BBC articles:

  • Brexit: Johnson agrees to Brexit extension – but urges election (BBC)
  • Brexit dance goes on as EU approves new extension for UK (BBC’s Katya Adler)