23 November 2017
Letter from Mr Anthony Silver
The EU divorce
It is abundantly obvious that the EU does not want to have the precedent of a member state leaving, especially a G7 country that makes a net monetary contribution to the EU budget. Our vote to exit has therefore started what will turn out to be an acrimonious and very bitter divorce. The EU is a very powerful and wealthy adversary capable of investing in a dis-information campaign designed to weaken the UK’s resolve and then exploiting the additional leverage our ‘guilt’ gives them. Where would they conduct this campaign? Through the media , and to date they have been very successful.
Any time served in a bullying hothouse (public school, prison, armed forces etc…) teaches the potential victim that the only way to avoid becoming a bully’s “bitch” is to either become indispensible, or to become such a thorn in the side that the bully, on doing the maths, recognises that it is simply just not worth the effort. The last thing you do is to appease in the hope that the bully will be satisfied.
Yet the press carries on reporting Brexit as if the EU can be persuaded to cut the UK some slack and eventually agree a decent trade deal – provided that the UK agrees to certain pre-conditions (eg a decent alimony etc..). Experience and nature teaches us that the opposite is true.
It is time for us to draw stumps on the ‘phony war’ stage of the Brexit process. The UK executive, parliament, press and the chattering classes need to recognise the following three facts: (1) the die is cast – it is going to happen, (2) the EU will take every opportunity to gain an economic advantage against the UK – as one would against any competitor, and (3) might is always right, negotiation is all about leverage, and the more powerful your hand the better your deal.
What then is the best way to proceed?
Going forward we need to:
- ignore the EU dis-information campaign, when they see that it is no longer working they will stop wasting their money; and
- understand that there is malice aforethought and recognise that at the very best the EU will match the alternatives available to the UK.
So the UK needs to start improving the alternatives open to it, and be seen to do so.
The nay sayers will moan that it is just not possible and that the WTO rules blah blah blah…., and they may have a point. But consider the following:
The UK is the 5th largest global economy with a GDP in excess of $2,600,000,000,000 ($2.6 Trillion). To put that into context, it is slightly smaller than the combined GDP of Russia + Africa ($2.75Tn).
We export $404bn (10th) and Import $625bn (4th).
There are a lot of trading nations out there with too much of a vested interest to predjudice their own position, and who not only want, but need to cut a good deal with the UK.
There has never been a time when such a substantial economy, has had to go it alone.
So please lets draw a line under all the guff.
Brexit is scary only because it is the unknown. The UK economy is a powerhouse; we have the advantage of being able to write the new rule book and now that the die is cast we should just get on and do the job. The irony is that only by doing so we radically improve the chances of remaining sensibly engaged with the EU.
Oh, and by the way I voted to remain.