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It looks like the so-called ‘Project Fear’ campaign has failed in its quest to force referendum after referendum until they got the answer they wanted (which to observers, seemed they wanted to stay in the European Union at any cost) and that Brexit will occur on March 30, 2019 as planned.
All that remains to be decided between the UK and the EU is whether future relations will be based on World Trade Organisation rules, or on a bilateral trade agreement that allows both sides to prosper while maintaining a reasonable level of protection for national sovereignty, for their respective economies, and is able to shelter startups or other businesses that may require some form of special treatment or protection.
Either UK and EU leaders are up to the task, or they’re not. We’ll soon know.
And if they aren’t up to the task, every one of them deserves to get the boot at the next election.
First on the Agenda for the UK
Of paramount importance for the UK are free trade agreements with its Commonwealth partners — agreements that automatically come into effect within 24 hours of the official Brexit date.
It’s important to begin with Commonwealth trading partners because if Commonwealth nations aren’t willing to sign bilateral trade agreements with the UK, why would other countries want trade deals with the UK?
(If I represented a non-Commonwealth country and the UK couldn’t get its act together enough to sign worthwhile free trade agreements with its own Commonwealth partners, I wouldn’t be interested in signing with the UK either)
Yesterday, Australia’s Prime Minister generously indicated his country will sign a bilateral trade agreement to automatically come into effect the day after Brexit, and New Zealand, Canada, India, and other Commonwealth nations have indicated they’re open to bilateral trade agreements with the UK too.
Therefore, it isn’t a reach to suggest that such agreements be ready for a signing ceremony the day after Brexit and that UK foreign direct investment (FDI) in those countries will thenceforth take an instant leap forward.
The time to get such negotiations done is NOW so that a simultaneous signing ceremony can be televised across each of the Commonwealth’s 53 capital cities at 00:01 (in the UK timezone) on March 30, 2019.
What a tribute to enduring relations between Commonwealth members. Such a historic moment!
Second on the Agenda for the UK
No later than 24-hours after Brexit (which puts us at March 31, 2019) the UK should have free trade agreements automatically coming into effect with every economy in the world — agreements that work for each country just as well as they work for the UK.
‘Win-Lose’ thinking is no longer an option in the 21st century and anything less than ‘Win-Win’ isn’t worth spit. In fact, unless trade agreements are ‘Win-Win-Win’ these days, their value is questionable.
If the UK offers a ‘Win-Win’ trade agreement to China, but Japan offers a ‘Win-Win-Win’ trade agreement to China; Which of the two countries will be China’s most favoured trading partner?
Obviously, Japan’s offer would win, and the UK offer would simply gather dust as Japan’s relationship with China surged forward.
These negotiations must occur NOW and be led with a high level of urgency by Prime Minister Theresa May and Secretary of State for International Trade Dr. Liam Fox, so that by April 1, 2019 the UK will have bilateral trade deals with every country in the world — that automatically come into effect the day after the official Brexit date.
Anything less than that stellar achievement should be considered by UK voters to be a mediocre performance by the (then) ruling party in the UK House of Commons.
Timid minds are wondering whether the UK should continue along the Brexit path that British voters approved in 2016.
But just imagine what kind of world it would be today if Winston Churchill had given in to timidity during WWII, or if Albert Einstein was too small a man for the job, or if Franklin Delano Roosevelt was too afraid of failing and thereby didn’t pursue his plan to ‘put a chicken in every pot’ in Depression-era America? We’d be living in a far different world now, wouldn’t we?
There is a thing about leaders and it’s this, if they don’t actually Lead they are useless baggage. And that’s all that needs to be said about that.
Prime Minister Theresa May was given a mandate by voters to take the UK out of the European Union, and whether it rains too hard on Sunday, or if Manchester United can’t seem to win a game, or even if the Russians are scaring us, Brexit must remain at the forefront of Britain’s To-Do List and everything else must be considered a distraction until the job is done.
How the UK can fulfill its proper role in the world
With a strong UK government the chips would fall into place rather quickly and completely bereft of excuses, the following would occur:
- Brexit (even a WTO or so-called ‘Hard Brexit’) or a sweet-for-both-sides Brexit would occur by the designated date of March 29, 2019.
- The UK would apply to join the (by then) recently renegotiated NAFTA accord — or perhaps all the parties would agree they’d be better served by partial UK membership in NAFTA. Hey, you never know until you try, but magic occurs when people of goodwill meet-up to plan mutual success!
- The UK would enter into trade negotiations with every Commonwealth member nation to see what the UK can offer those nations (expertise, financial services, high-tech) and what those nations can offer the UK (agricultural products, oil and gas, metals and minerals, perhaps even a source of low-cost seasonal labour for UK farms) and so much more! Again, you never know until you try!
- And remember, Theresa… the goal isn’t to say; “Well, at least we tried.” The goal is to secure a standardized free trade agreement, or a standardized low-tariff trade agreement with the Commonwealth nations and every non-Commonwealth nation — especially the NAFTA ones.
What’s to Gain?
By accomplishing those steps in the proper order, the UK economy would grow 5% over existing projections — or the government is doing it all wrong.
India alone will have 1.3 billion consumers by 2019, and the United States, the highest-consuming nation in the world, will have 331 million consumers by 2019.
Post-Brexit does not mean five or ten years after Brexit — it means one year after Brexit.
These goals are eminently achievable and there can be no excuses for not hitting these metrics by 2020.
Orchards full of apples will be missed for the sake of handfuls of grapes if the UK government is too ‘small’ for the job, or if it suffers from low ambition, or if because of timidity, it can’t grab the brass ring of destiny.
The time is now for the UK to take control of its future and to stop being distracted from the oft-stated goal of Building a Better Britain.
More power to Theresa May’s government for as many days, months or years they strive to meet the will of voters and continue to work to fulfill the UK’s rather obvious destiny!
by John Brian Shannon | September 7, 2016
To Be, or not to Be (from Hamlet 3:1)
by William Shakespeare
To be, or not to be: that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?
To die: to sleep no more, and by sleep we say end the heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation devoutly to be wish’d.
To die, to sleep. To sleep. Perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil must give us pause. There’s the respect that makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, the oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely, the pangs of despised love, the law’s delay, the insolence of office and the spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes, when he himself might his quietus make with bare bodkin?
Who would fardels bear to grunt and sweat under a weary life; But that the dread of something after death, the undiscover’d country from whose bourn no traveller returns, puzzles the will and makes us rather bear those ills we have, than fly to others that we know not?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all; and thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought, and enterprises of great pith and moment with this regard, their currents turn awry and lose the name of action.
Soft you now the fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons, be all my sins remember’d.
Courtesy of Art of Europe
And so it is with regards to Brexit.
It would be so much easier to not Brexit and to continue along in a substandard life rather than strive to become more — the so much more that Britain is capable of should she decide to shrug-off her complacency and (declining) comforts.
What is a calling more than a science, a search more than a destination, a way of life more than a set of rules issued by others in foreign countries? It’s name? Democracy.
And that’s what the Brexiters are looking for, whether stated or unstated, whether fully reasoned in advance or not.
The same sort of people who threw off the blanket in the time of King George III in search of a more democratic government (“No taxation without representation!”) are the same sort of people who don’t want Brussels to dictate the price of bread or the ingredients in their butter. Let’s be honest, the EU has rules on everything from how many fish in a can of kippers to the price of petrol, and everything in between.
Many of these rules are good and fair rules to be sure. However, they are rules made in Brussels for the benefit of EU corporations and the EU’s 504 million citizens — and Britain’s input is minimal with only 64 million people. To put it succinctly, only the utterly naive Britons think EU membership revolves around them and that the EU was created for Britain’s benefit.
Each year, billions more pounds sterling leave Britain than the country receives in return. The early American settlers railed against “No taxation without representation!” — yet this situation is worse because there is some amount of representation, but it is representation in a foreign capital, by foreigners, and with the demands of 440 million other EU citizens taking priority over British citizens. It is a carefully crafted schadenfreude and almost every EU nation is on the receiving end of it — including Britain and Germany.
Not only that, but those billions of pounds could be better-spent by a British government that dedicates itself to the people of Britain.
The way forward for the well-being of Britain’s people is not by handing billions of pounds sterling and complete authority over their lives to eurocrats in Brussels — the way forward is by increasing trade links with all Anglosphere nations and by forging evermore bilateral trade links around the world with non-Anglo nations.
True Democracy doesn’t require the handing-over of all the money and all of the rights in exchange for whatever allowance Brussels deems to send in return.
That’s not Democracy, that’s Prostitution.