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A BBC for the 21st-Century!

by John Brian Shannon

The UK government needs to drop the present funding model for the BBC by 2021 and help the corporation get ready to serve Britons even better than in the 20th-century. Which it did quite remarkably, considering the times and the level of technology available back in the day.

However, it’s a new century now, and even the hallowed institution of the BBC must gear-up for the new media environment that’s only begun to impact the world, and the first thing that needs to change is that the BBC license fee must end by 2021. That’s it. Gone! Just like that.

Of course the BBC will need to fund its programmes and it should sell advertising on all of its websites, TV programmes, radio broadcasts, and on all other media, in the same manner as other media outlets.

There won’t be any problem getting companies to advertise with the BBC as it remains one of the premiere media providers in the world. And, the day the BBC license fee model ends, the BBC should begin funding its programming via advertising.

The UK government should consider taking a page out of the Canadian government’s book when it moved the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (the CBC is Canada’s national broadcaster) from 100% government control to a more arm’s length relationship with the Canadian government. Until the 1990’s, the CBC didn’t run ads unless the adverts were government advertising of some sort (during elections, or to provide public information, etc.) thereby making the CBC 100% dependent upon the government for their funding. Not the best way to build a free-from-government-control media empire…

The really smart thing the Canadian government did was insist that the CBC provide 50% Canadian content (CANCON) in its programming. That is, half of the programmes that aired on CBC TV or CBC Radio were required to have significant numbers of Canadian actors, hosts, Canadian news, or even if an American host was conducting the interview the interviewee had to be a Canadian in order to qualify for supplementary funding from the government.

This so-called CANCON requirement allowed Canadian programming to flourish — even though the gigantic American media machine lived right next door to Canada which could’ve easily subsumed Canada’s entire media establishment had they wanted to.

In exchange for providing CANadian CONtent, the CBC received supplementary CANCON funding from the government for Canadian programming on a per show or (sometimes) on a per series basis.

In some cases, the Canadian government paid up to half the cost of Canadian programmes, depending upon how many Canadian actors appeared on a show or series, and depending upon where the story took place. More CANCON funding was paid when the shoot was in Toronto than if shot in New York city, for example. A little complicated, but apparently not that onerous.

The Canadian film industry loved the new arrangement — and it saved the Canadian government millions of dollars per year — as the cost of running the entire CBC was no longer borne by the government, rather, they paid only for the portion of the programming that was considered Canadian content.

It was a win for the Canadian government which saved millions per year and got the taxpayers off their backs, it was a win for Canadian actors, directors, producers and theatre houses because they got rapid access to the massive (massive for Canada, that is) CBC which was suddenly hungry for Canadian content, and it was a win for Canadian viewers who got to see more programmes that interested them and fewer American shows that were less relevant to the Canadian experience.

Yes, the one downside was that Canadians had to suffer through commercials. (Oh, the agony!)

But there likely isn’t one Canadian who’d willingly go back to the old days of wall-to-wall American TV shows (mostly about crime) and American news (also, mostly about crime) and American soap operas (also, mostly about crime) with only bits of Canadian content scattered here and there.

CBC News, CBC Sports, and CBC Documentaries are of exceptional quality nowadays, and are broadcast and rebroadcast on many channels around the world. And even with that said, all of it seems to have improved every year since the Canadian government gave the CBC an independent mandate.

Yet, at the time the model was unilaterally changed by the Canadian government, some old-school CBC hosts tut-tutted the change, complaining that ‘Canadian television would never be the same’. And in a way, they were right, it’s even better now!

Today, as a result of the Canadian government’s foresightedness, the Canadian movie industry is booming and Hollywood movies are often shot in Canadian cities because the economics work so well. Even Hollywood film makers can qualify for CANCON funding when they shoot in Canada, and that’s in addition to the savings due to the Canadian dollar presently pegged at 75 cents to the American dollar.

Based on the successful CBC example, the BBC could break free from government funding and control, from the bad press surrounding the BBC license-fee, add more revenue to their operations via typical advertising, and gain additional funding from the government whenever it creates a made-in-the-UK film, series, documentary, news programme, or other UK-based programming.

To be fair to smaller centres, the BBC should receive slightly more funding per capita from the government for creating programming set in or geared towards Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, or in any economically depressed town or region of the country. For one example: What could a television series that is shot in the Orkney Islands do for the economy there? And for another example, what could a new BBC production centre mean for Blackburn?

There are plenty of spectacular landscapes in the UK and millions of fascinating stories to tell — one only needs to watch Escape to the Country to get a sense of the history of the UK and of the interesting people hiding in plain sight all over the country.

In short, the UK government needs to simplify the BBC’s funding model, it needs to lower its total spend on the BBC while rewarding it for producing UK-created content, it needs to drop the abhorrent BBC license fee, it needs to allow the BBC to advertise, and it needs to provide supplementary funding to the BBC and film makers hailing from Hollywood, Bollywood, or from anywhere in the world that film movies, documentaries, or series anywhere in the UK, especially in economically depressed regions.

That’s a BBC model that will allow the corporation and its great people to succeed even better in the 21st-century than it did when it was founded in 1922 and every year since.

Any UK Citizen Trying to Break-up the UK Must be Tried for Treason

by John Brian Shannon

Here in the post-truth era it’s sometimes difficult to see things clearly.

Carefully crafted scripts (lies) delivered to the media are spoken over and over by their proponents until they become part of the accepted narrative — like a scene right out of George Orwell’s book 1984 — where lies are “truth” and truths are “lies” making it difficult for the average person to decide who’s ‘right’ and who’s ‘lying’.

It was an astonishing lack of competent and brave UK politicians in the late 20th-century that allowed, (nay, facilitated!) The Troubles in Northern Ireland to occur, and indeed, terrorists from Ireland perpetrated acts of terror in England and in other places, sometimes working with their terrorist brothers in arms around the world. Some trained with Islamist terror groups in Libya and other MENA nations to learn how to kill more efficiently large numbers of innocent civilians to thereby further their dystopian dreams of (illegitimate) statehood.

And each time they got away with it, they did so because the UK government was too moribund to deal with it, too cowed by what might happen next, too afraid to confront the terrorist element directly — and the terrorists won inch by inch, little by little, week by week — as a small band of evil people sought to overturn the successes of WWI and WWII, namely, peace and prosperity for all Europeans.

The Irish Troubles arose because of the need of some to feed their own egos by attempting to steal Northern Ireland from the British crown — a piece of land that was generously purchased by the British crown from the then-starving Irish in a supreme and almost godly act of kindness — a fact that’s been vastly underplayed by UK politicians because they didn’t accomplish it… the British crown accomplished it, and so the British politicians didn’t want to give the credit to the monarchy as a powerful subgroup in the UK Parliament (if you didn’t already know) has been attempting to ‘steal the crown jewels’ and ‘get rid of the monarchy’ on the sly since 1215, or thereabouts.

For now, such UK politicians are happy to just play along with Elizabeth II until the day she dies and then, in an unprecedented and mad rush, suddenly publish all sorts of negative things about the UK monarchy in order to sway the public mood and abolish the House of Lords at the same time — thereby allowing the UK Parliament to seize all crown assets in the country for the government and in almost every way, assume the power of the monarchy and the House of Lords while still keeping the power of the House of Commons for themselves. Thereby making the UK just like an American-style republic, but with no senate body to keep an eye on them. There go all the ‘checks and balances’ on government, forever.

Yes folks, right under your noses this has been happening in slow motion since 1215 and it continues to this very day.


Back to the Irish

Due to the numerous potato blights, the horrible weather, an extremely tough life in an era bereft of technology, where most people lived their entire lives in houses of stone with dirt floors and electricity hadn’t yet been invented, the Irish who sold their land and buildings to the British crown couldn’t wait to get off the island they hated to move to America with their newfound loot.

And it was their choice to make! Some became wealthy, some, factory workers, while others drank their newfound wealth away while pining for the Olde Country.

Whatever their choices, they were theirs to make. Some even returned to Ireland to rent the land they once farmed and hated.

And if you can’t see where this is going… here it is; For if you once lived in a tough environment as a subsistence farmer or rancher and you sold out and moved to America (which then didn’t turn out the way you imagined it would turn out) and you subsequently returned penniless, imagine how much you would’ve hated paying rent to live on your former land to earn a living as a subsistence farmer or rancher!

It didn’t help that most people couldn’t read nor write in those days, often paying someone to read their legal documents for them, in an era where only ranking members of the Church were allowed to read The Bible and explain it to the near-starving and mostly illiterate people of the time.

I think it’s safe to assume that some Irish were taken advantage-of by educated people from Ireland, Britain, and the continent.

Over many decades, this angst built-up and was cultivated by those who wanted to steal Northern Ireland from the British crown and subjugate Northern Irelanders to their will.

It doesn’t take much imagination to see a thread of collusion between a microcosm of UK parliamentarians who always wanted rid of the crown with those who wanted to subjugate Northern Irelanders, to the detriment of the unhappy people stuck in a dreary existence in Northern Ireland.

It’s said that, ‘No good deed goes unpunished,’ and the kind and generous acts of successive UK monarchs towards the Irish (and Scottish) people eventually resulted in The Troubles in Northern Ireland and will result in even worse Troubles should Scotland’s people be deceived by those wishing to break-up the United Kingdom.


There’s No Guaranteed Future in Independence

Those who wish for such a thing will be directly responsible for as many deaths occur, and foreign agents will no doubt make the best of such trouble for their own purposes. When a country turns against itself everyone loses. The United Kingdom will lose its place as the 5th-largest economy in the world and once again become a land full of fearful children waiting for their school bus to be firebombed. And the technological tools available to terrorists are much more sophisticated these days, unlike back in the day when the Pan Am terror incident occurred in Lockerbie, Scotland.

Only sheer idiocy would want to tear apart the United Kingdom just at the moment it has finally gotten out of the European Union and its entire future lays ahead!

Just as modern-day architects who build bridges or buildings that collapse and kill hundreds of people are charged with manslaughter for their poor engineering work, so should the framers of ‘The Troubles’ past (in Northern Ireland) and ‘The Troubles’ to come (in Scotland) be charged with High Treason as a result of their reckless plans to break-up one of the best countries in the world.

I wouldn’t be surprised if another world war came out of it.

Yes, you laugh, but did anyone see WWI coming? Not one person. Did anyone see the rise of Hitler and WWII? Did anyone foresee the invasion of South Korea by the North in 1950? Did anyone see the need for a Berlin Airlift prior to the Soviets blocking the West from road access to that zone? No. Did anyone foresee the Vietnam War? Again, no. Did even one person think that Saddam Hussein would invade Kuwait and loot the place? No, not one person saw any of this in advance. Saddam himself remarked he couldn’t believe the then-world leaders didn’t see his all too obvious plan far in advance of it occurring. He actually thought they were diligently looking in the other direction to allow him to get away with it!

It’s almost like the world leaders of previous eras wanted these things to occur ‘by leaving the doors wide open for the thief of Baghdad’ or in other ways to, ‘invite murdering thugs into their bedchambers’ while they slept. Meanwhile, the Saddam Husseins’ of this world are shocked that the politicians of the day didn’t see their plans coming a million miles away.

Such is the disconnect between politicians and those who would destroy a civilization that’s taken thousands of years to build!

And all of these horrific things trickled into existence because successive generations of politicians were ‘asleep at the switch’ at the moment selfish people decided to steal a country or a region from woefully unprepared politicians and an innocent and all too naive public.

Anyone who goes along with the mad plot to divide the United Kingdom should be charged with High Treason and locked-up for 20-years. And if the UK government doesn’t act decisively to prevent this madness the former Troubles in Northern Ireland may, in retrospect, seem like a fight between tots in the schoolyard. And the United Kingdom will be in for yet another 20-years of terrorism, self-doubt, and recrimination.

Surely, the UK people deserve better than that!

Surely, the Westminster politicians are up for this and won’t allow a small band of elitists to steal Scotland, or Northern Ireland, or Wales, from the UK?

Please tell me Westminster, that you aren’t afraid to act, that you have a robust plan to deal with these insane gadabouts, that you care about the sovereignty of the United Kingdom, and that you want a peaceful and prosperous UK to continue for many decades to come!

Because, so far, I’m completely underwhelmed by Parliament’s response to the insidious poison being spread to the media by some incredibly reckless, feckless, and crass Scottish elitists and their EU partners in crime.

Scots still don't want a 2nd referendum on independence. UK Daily Mail

Some reckless UK citizens want to break-up the UK, even though they’ve lost every Scottish independence referendum yet. ‘Scots still don’t want a 2nd referendum on independence’ image courtesy of the Daily Mail.

Boris Johnson: Unleashing Britain’s Potential speech, February 3, 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s first speech since Brexit occurred on January 31, 2020 where he calls for free and fair trade between the UK and other countries, and indicates that the UK won’t be bound by EU trade rules that penalize the UK or work to penalize Britain’s other trading partners.

He also speaks well of the Canada – EU (CETA) free trade agreement and proposes to use it as a model for the UK and the EU to begin trade talks.

Finally, the Prime Minister suggests that trade with America and the Commonwealth of Nations countries must be ramped-up over the coming months and years.

All in all, an inspiring and well-balanced speech about the UK government’s position on trade with the world. 


TRANSCRIPT delivered January 3, 2020 at Greenwich, UK


“It is great to welcome everyone here to Greenwich and I invite you first to raise your eyes to the heavens.

The Vatican has Michelangelo.

Greenwich has Thornhill who spent 20 years flat on his back on top of the scaffolding, so rigid that his arm became permanently wonky, and he’s left us this gorgeous and slightly bonkers symbolic scene that captures the spirit of the United Kingdom in the early 18th century.

This painting above you was started in 1707, the very year when the union with Scotland was agreed – and does it not speak of supreme national self-confidence?

Look at these well-fed nymphs and cupids and what have you.

They are not just celebrating the Triumph of Liberty and Peace over Tyranny – the official title of the scene.

This is the settlement of a long and divisive political question about who gets to sit on the throne of England.

And it is visibly resolved as you can see in favour of William and Mary and the result is stability and certainty and optimism and an explosion of global trade propelled by new maritime technology.

And above and around us you can see the anchors, cables, rudders, sails, oars, ensigns, powder barrels, sextants, the compasses and the grappling irons.

In fact the only important bit of kit that is missing is Harrison’s sea clock – also exhibited close-by here in Greenwich and also commissioned in the same era, that allowed every ship in the world to determine how far they were from this Meridian.

So this is it. This is the newly forged United Kingdom on the slipway: this is the moment when it all took off.

And – you know where this is going – today if we get it right, if we have the courage to follow the instincts and the instructions of the British people, this can be another such moment on the launching pad.

Because once again we have settled a long-running question of sovereign authority, we have ended a debate that has run for three and a half years – some would say 47 years.

I won’t even mention the name of the controversy except to say that it begins with B.

Receding in the past behind us.

We have the opportunity, we have the newly recaptured powers, we know where we want to go, and that is out into the world.

And today in Geneva as our ambassador Julian Braithwaite moves seats in the WTO and takes back control of our tariff schedules, an event in itself that deserves itself to be immortalised in oil – this country is leaving its chrysalis.

We are re-emerging after decades of hibernation as a campaigner for global free trade.

And frankly it is not a moment too soon because the argument for this fundamental liberty is now not being made.

We in the global community are in danger of forgetting the key insight of those great Scottish thinkers, the invisible hand of Adam Smith, and of course David Ricardo’s more subtle but indispensable principle of comparative advantage, which teaches that if countries learn to specialise and exchange then overall wealth will increase and productivity will increase, leading Cobden to conclude that free trade is God’s diplomacy – the only certain way of uniting people in the bonds of peace since the more freely goods cross borders the less likely it is that troops will ever cross borders.

And since these notions were born here in this country, it has been free trade that has done more than any other single economic idea to raise billions out of poverty and incredibly fast.

In 1990 there were 37 percent of the world’s population in absolute poverty – that is now down to less than ten per cent.

And yet my friends, I am here to warn you today that this beneficial magic is fading.

Free trade is being choked and that is no fault of the people, that’s no fault of individual consumers, I am afraid it is the politicians who are failing to lead.

The mercantilists are everywhere, the protectionists are gaining ground.

From Brussels to China to Washington tariffs are being waved around like cudgels even in debates on foreign policy where frankly they have no place – and there is an ever growing proliferation of non-tariff barriers and the resulting tensions are letting the air out of the tyres of the world economy.

World trading volumes are lagging behind global growth.

Trade used to grow at roughly double global GDP – from 1987 to 2007.

Now it barely keeps pace and global growth is itself anaemic and the decline in global poverty is beginning to slow.

And in that context, we are starting to hear some bizarre autarkic rhetoric, when barriers are going up, and when there is a risk that new diseases such as coronavirus will trigger a panic and a desire for market segregation that go beyond what is medically rational to the point of doing real and unnecessary economic damage, then at that moment humanity needs some government somewhere that is willing at least to make the case powerfully for freedom of exchange, some country ready to take off its Clark Kent spectacles and leap into the phone booth and emerge with its cloak flowing as the supercharged champion, of the right of the populations of the earth to buy and sell freely among each other.

And here in Greenwich in the first week of February 2020, I can tell you in all humility that the UK is ready for that role.

We are ready for the great multi-dimensional game of chess in which we engage in more than one negotiation at once and we are limbering up to use nerves and muscles and instincts that this country has not had to use for half a century.

Secretary of State Liz Truss tells me she has the teams in place:

She has the lawyers, top dollar I’ve no doubt, the economists, trade policy experts and if we don’t have enough, or if they don’t perform, believe me we will hire some more.

We will reach out to the rest of the Commonwealth,which now has some of the fastest growing economies in the world.

It was fantastic at the recent Africa summit to see how many wanted to turn that great family of nations into a free trade zone, even if we have to begin with clumps and groups, and we will take these ideas forward at Kigali in June.

We will engage with Japan and the other Trans-Pacific agreement countries, with old friends and partners – Australia, New Zealand, Canada – on whom we deliberately turned our backs in the early 1970s.

We will get going with our friends in America and I share the optimism of Donald Trump and I say to all the naïve and juvenile anti-Americans in this country if there are any – there seem to be some – I say grow up – and get a grip.

The US already buys one fifth of everything we export.

And yes of course there are going to be difficulties:

Our shower trays seem to fall foul of US rules Liz, and if you want to sell insurance across America, Mr Ambassador, you still have to deal with 50 separate regulators, and it is high time I think we all agree that they cut their punitive tariffs on Scotch whisky.

And it goes without saying to all those conspiracy theorists who may still be in existence, all those believers in the Bermuda Triangle or who think that Elvis will be found on Mars, It goes without saying that of course the NHS is not on the table and no we will not accept any diminution in food hygiene or animal welfare standards.

But I must say to the America bashers in this country if there are any that in doing free trade deals we will be governed by science and not by mumbo-jumbo because the potential is enormous.

And of course that brings me to the other area where the potential is great we want a thriving trade and economic relationship with the EU, our historic friend, partners, neighbours and I shall table a parliamentary statement today spelling out our objectives.

And at the outset I wish to reassure our friends about one thing: to lay one myth to rest.

We will not engage in some cut-throat race to the bottom.

We are not leaving the EU to undermine European standards, we will not engage in any kind of dumping whether commercial, or social, or environmental, and don’t just listen to what I say or what we say, look at what we do.

And I say respectfully to our friends that in all those three crucial areas the anxiety should really be on our side of the Channel not yours.

Look at state aid:

France spends twice as much on state aid as the UK, and Germany three times as much, who is using subsidies to undercut? Not the UK.

In fact, the EU has enforced state aid rules against the UK only four times in the last 21 years, compared with 29 enforcement actions against France, 45 against Italy – and 67 against Germany.

The same applies even more emphatically to social policy – and here again I dispel the absurd caricature of Britain as a nation bent on the slash and burn of workers’ rights and environmental protection, as if we are saved from Dickensian squalor only by enlightened EU regulation, as if it was only thanks to Brussels that we are not preparing to send children back up chimneys.

In one field after another, Britain is far ahead.

The EU waited until last year before introducing two weeks of paid paternity leave; we in the UK guaranteed that right nearly two decades ago.

The EU gives employees the right to request flexible working only if they are parents or carers.

The UK provides that right to every employee with more than six months’ service – and they can make the request for any reason.

The EU provides a minimum of 14 weeks paid maternity leave;

Britain offers up to a year, with 39 weeks paid and an option to convert this to shared parental leave. How about that.

The UK has a higher minimum wage than all but three EU member states: in fact six EU countries have no minimum wage at all.

As for the environment, look at animal welfare.

It is not just that we want to go further than the EU in banning live shipment of animals: there are ways in which we already are further ahead.

The UK banned veal crates fully 16 years before the EU.

We are protecting elephants by introducing one of the strictest ivory bans in the world; and the EU, meanwhile, is still in the consultation stage.

And on the great environmental issue of our time, perhaps the greatest issue facing humanity, Britain was the first major economy in the world – let alone the EU – to place upon our own shoulders a legal obligation to be carbon neutral by 2050.

That will put huge strains on our system, it will require full effort and change but we know we can do it.

We have cut our carbon emissions by nearly twice the EU average since 1990, 42 percent and we have cut while the GDP has grown by about 70%; but here is the question: are we going to insist that the EU does everything that we do, as the price of free trade?

Are we? Of course not.

Our legislation to ban single-use plastics goes further and faster than anything proposed by the EU.

Does that mean we will refuse to accept a zero-tariff zero-quota deal with the EU unless the EU agrees to match us every step of the way?

Will we stop Italian cars or German wine from entering this country tariff free, or quota free, unless the EU matches our UK laws on plastic coffee stirrers or maternity leave or unless they match our laws in any other field of policy that might conceivably affect the production of an Alfa Romeo or a bottle of gewurtztraminer?

Will we accuse them of dumping?

Of course not.

Or wanting to dump?

Of course not.

So I hope our friends will understand that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

There is no need for a free trade agreement to involve accepting EU rules on competition policy, subsidies, social protection, the environment, or anything similar any more than the EU should be obliged to accept UK rules.

The UK will maintain the highest standards in these areas – better, in many respects, than those of the EU – without the compulsion of a treaty.

And it is vital to say this now clearly because we have so often been told that we must choose between full access to the EU market, along with accepting its rules and courts on the Norway model, or a free trade agreement, which opens up markets and avoids the full panoply of EU regulation, like the Canada deal.

Well folks I hope you’ve got the message by now.

We have made our choice: we want a comprehensive free trade agreement, similar to Canada’s.

But in the very unlikely event that we do not succeed, then our trade will have to be based on our existing Withdrawal Agreement with the EU.

The choice is emphatically not “deal or no-deal”.

We have a deal – we’ve done it and yes it did turn out as I prophesized to be oven ready.

The question is whether we agree a trading relationship with the EU comparable to Canada’s – or more like Australia’s.

And I have no doubt that in either case the UK will prosper.

And of course our new relationship with our closest neighbours will range far beyond trade.

We will seek a pragmatic agreement on security, on protecting our citizens without trespassing on the autonomy of our respective legal systems.

I hope that we can reach an agreement on aviation, allowing cheap flights to continue.

We are ready to consider an agreement on fisheries, but it must reflect the fact that the UK will be an independent coastal state at the end of this year 2020, controlling our own waters.

And under such an agreement, there would be annual negotiations with the EU, using the latest scientific data, ensuring that British fishing grounds are first and foremost for British boats.

And in all these other areas, I see the same need for warmth, we’ll deliver that or cooperation for friendship and exchange and va et vien, for academics, students and businesses but I see no need to bind ourselves to an agreement with the EU.

We will restore full sovereign control over our borders and immigration, competition and subsidy rules, procurement and data protection.

And while we will always co-operate with our European friends in foreign and defence policy whenever our interests converge – as they often, if not always, will – this will not in my view necessarily require any new treaty or institutions because we will not need them for the simple reason that the UK is not a European power by treaty or by law but by irrevocable facts of history and geography and language and culture and instinct and sentiment.

And I have set in train the biggest review of our foreign defence and security policies since the Cold War, which is designed to seize the opportunities that lie ahead and make sure that we play our part in addressing the world’s problems.

I know we will do it in cooperation with our European friends.

And I say to our European friends – many of whom I’m delighted to see in this room – we are here as ever, as we have been for decades, for centuries, to support and to help as we always have done for the last hundred years or more and the reason I stress this need for full legal autonomy, the reason we do not seek membership or part membership of the customs union or alignment of any kind, is at least partly that I want this country to be an independent actor and catalyst for free trade across the world.

I was there when they negotiated the Uruguay round.

I saw it completed in Geneva when they gavelled it out –

And it was one of those events that people hardly reported, but it was a fantastically important event in the life of the world.

And it was a critical moment in my view that helped to lead to almost two decades of global growth and confidence.

And then in 2008 we saw the abject failure of the Doha round and though there were many culprits there can be no doubt that both the EU and the US bear a heavy share of the blame for their refusal to compromise on farm subsidies.

And of course while we were in, the voice of the UK was of course muffled.

And as we come out.

I don’t wish to exaggerate our influence or our potential influence, but then nor would I minimise the eagerness of our friends around the world to hear once again our independent voice again in free trade negotiations and our objective is to get things started again not just because it is right for the world, but because of course it is right for Britain because this people’s government believes that the whole country will benefit.

Because it will help our national programme to unite and level up and bring together our whole United Kingdom.

And by expanding our trading relationships to improve the productivity of the entire nation by expanding infrastructure, education and technology you know that our programme is to bring this country together, combine that with greater free trade.

And of course I hope you will see us exporting more fantastic ships built on the Clyde, more wonderful bone china pottery from Northern Ireland, beef from Wales.

The opportunities as I say are extraordinary.

It is an incredible fact that we still sell not one hamburger’s worth of beef to the US, not one kebab’s worth of lamb, and as I speak the people of the US are still surviving without an ounce of Scottish haggis which they continue to ban Mr Ambassador.

In fact I don’t know how they manage Burns Night.

I am glad to say that the Chinese last year signed the first agreement to take British beef after a 20-year ban, but still no lamb, not a joint, not a chop, not a deep frozen moussaka, even though we have the best lamb in the world.

And don’t tell me the issue is distance from China.

Let me ask you a question, see if you’ve been paying attention to this speech the New Zealanders sell huge and growing quantities of lamb to China, as indeed they do to America.

Let me ask you which is closer to Beijing?

Wales or New Zealand? Does anybody know?

Wales of course is the correct answer.

There is no reason why we cannot do much, much better and I am deeply proud of this – I don’t want to do down this country’s global exporting spirit.

We do extraordinary things as I never tire of telling you.

Tea to China, cake to France, TV aerials to South Korea and so on.

Boomerangs to Australia – Nigel Farage to America. Then he came back of course.

But this is the moment for us to think of our past and go up a gear again, to recapture the spirit of those seafaring ancestors immortalised above us whose exploits brought not just riches but something even more important than that – and that was a global perspective.

That is our ambition.

There lies the port, the vessel puffs her sail…the wind sits in the mast.

We are embarked now on a great voyage, a project that no one thought in the international community that this country would have the guts to undertake, but if we are brave and if we truly commit to the logic of our mission – open, outward-looking – generous, welcoming, engaged with the world championing global free trade now when global free trade needs a global champion,

I believe we can make a huge success of this venture, for Britain, for our European friends, and for the world.”


Published 3 February 2020
Transcript courtesy of: GOV.UK