Optimism in the UK

Well, what a wonderfully optimistic end to the week in the UK, as most of the nation basks in their strong vote to Leave the EU. I’m very pleased to say that my own region strongly led the charge to vote Leave, and the optimistic lead editorial of the local Express and Star newspaper (one of the largest regional dailies in the UK) sums up the region’s mood rather well. The Daily Mail newspaper’s lead editorial also spoke ably for all those who cast our historic national vote, the biggest popular vote in the nation’s history. The vote was clear and momentous, and courageous. It can’t have been easy for many people to step outside traditional loyalties and to think things through, then to put aside fear and short-term problems and instead to vote for the generations who are coming. They have each cast a vote for the generation of 2030 and beyond — the toddlers and small children of our amazingly fecund ‘new baby boom’, who will now come of age in a thriving and outward-looking UK.

Yet, in the few days of rudderless interregnum this Friday and Saturday, various malign forces have predictably taken the opportunity to throw a monumental tantrum.

The political left is running through its usual playbook. They quickly assembled a mob of photogenic young people for the media, to howl and spit outside the home of Boris Johnson. They denied democracy and have started an online petition for a wholly new referendum, packing it with millions of dubious robo-votes. Their pet Labour politicians claim they will mis-use Parliament to block the democratic will of the British people. They’ve called the Leave voters ‘racists’, ‘dupes’ who had been lied to, or claimed they were just ‘angry white men’ making a protest vote. Their journalists have continued on stunned auto-pilot, churning out more articles repeating the failed themes of the Project Fear campaign. Next up will probably be the left staging a central London rally/demo, at which histrionic speeches will declare London a ‘Racist Free Zone’ and claim that the rest of the UK is no longer a ‘safe space’ for immigrants. What rubbish. We’re one of the most welcoming nations on earth. But none of this bluster will make any difference, just as it made no difference when they ran through the same dog-eared political playbook after the UK’s General Election result. In a month it will be forgotten.

The Scottish and Irish nationalists have had a fit, predictably. Most of their bluster seems just hasty words — aimed at keeping their own voters in line, venting ragged emotions, and making trouble and fruitless work for the UK government. They must know that the destiny of both Eire and Scotland are now as proud and mostly self-governing parts of a vigorous outward-looking UK, not as cringing penniless beggars shackled to a corrupt and anti-democratic EU superstate.

More subtly dangerous is that the EU is pressing for an immediate start to negotiations over the summer. Our unelected EU overlords must know that this is not yet needed. The EU’s internal timetables are such that it would suit them very well for the UK to invoke Article 50 in May 2017, then spend two years negotiating for a final departure date of early June 2019. That would also fit in well with the UK’s 2020 General Election. So their call seems an obvious attempt to hustle exhausted politicians into a summer of exhausting and fruitless ‘pre-negotiation debates’. These would allow the UK’s negotiating team no summer holiday recovery time, and less time to carefully assemble new teams and to coax the needed extra negotiators out of retirement or private-sector jobs. So the EU’s call clearly looks like a political ruse, aimed at weakening the UK’s position both at home and in the EU.

But the markets have so far responded well. The pound is down only about ten cents, which will spur our exports and tourism wonderfully. House prices have only dipped by about 5%, offering first-time buyers an opportunity to enter the market before prices start to rise again in September/October. The blue-chip stock markets are actually up 2%, as projects and jobs delayed by the EU vote come off the shelf and promise an August-January mini business-boom for the UK.

As the more crazed fears fade away, and firm leadership and a clear timetable for departure is set in place, the time for bluster and panic will soon be over. It’s time to chill out on Sunday, folks, watch a movie (I suggest Elizabeth: The Golden Age). Then buckle up and face the bright new future on Monday morning.