Article first published on The Commentator.
This was the week in which the remarkable happened. Something which previously seemed inconceivable — unthinkable even.
This was the week when the UK Prime Minister stood up for Brexit. Responding to the numerous threats and provocations of EU leaders, Theresa May fought back.
On Tuesday, in response to Robert Fico, the Prime Minister of Slovakia, who claimed the UK is bluffing over the idea of a good Brexit deal, the PM warned EU leaders: “they will sign up to a deal with us”.
She went on to stress to the United Nations the great potential Brexit presents, pointing out how the British people did not back ‘Leave’ because they want to “turn inwards or walk away”. She then warned world leaders of the obvious lessons they should learn from the EU Referendum: Western voters want “a politics that is more in touch with their concerns”.
The EU Referendum showed the global establishment British voters will not be told what to do. It is fitting we now have a PM who will not be told what to do by Brussels bureaucrats or their fellow leaders, but rather they will obey the wishes of the Great British Public.
The British political establishment has already undergone a major revolution and we haven’t even left the EU. Dr Liam Fox, Britain’s new Secretary of State for International Trade, has been jetting around the world drumming up commercial interest in the UK.
Speaking in Dubai on Monday, Dr Fox backed the PM’s strong position on Brexit insisting it is in the interests of the EU to do a good deal with Britain. Dr Fox then went on to highlight the UK’s increasing exports to the Gulf, which last year stood at over £20 billion. Brexit presents a major opportunity for the UK to engage more with our allies and business partners in the region, without the shackles of our EU membership.
The new Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, has also been embracing the opportunities Brexit presents, examining the possibility of recommissioning the Royal Yacht Britannia as a “great symbol of global Britain”. Britannia, the Queen’s private yacht, was decommissioned by a spiteful New Labour in 1997, but there are now mounting calls from senior Tories to bring it back as a floating Embassy to drum up post-Brexit trade around the world.
Recommissioning the yacht would be a relatively cheap endeavour, which would easily pay for itself by drumming up more business for Britain. It would also serve as a major symbol of Britain’s confidence and ambition, looking to the open seas once again.
Back in Brussels, the EU’s leadership has been regularly demonstrating why we were right to Get Britain Out.
According to leaked documents seen by The Times newspaper, there is a “high risk” of the EU taking Theresa May’s government to court if it begins negotiating trade deals with countries the 28-nation bloc is already negotiating with.
Such threats reveal the panic within Brussels at the running start post-Brexit Britain has made. It is clear the EU’s leaders have fallen victim to their own hype, believing the absurd claims of ‘Project Fear’ that few nations would wish to negotiate trade deals with an independent Britain.
The huge amount of interest in negotiating trade deals with the UK being expressed by countries across the globe has clearly panicked Brussels. They fear the success of Brexit Britain will encourage Euroscepticism and independence movements across Europe — and in this one regard they are correct.
With the EU’s own trade deals with Canada (CETA) and America (TTIP) appearing increasingly unlikely, it is entirely predictable they want to stop the UK from showing them up.
Like many EU threats, these warnings are revealing of the inherent weakness of Brussels. In Theresa May we finally have a PM who is willing to call their bluff.
A week is a long time in politics, but the last one has certainly given us a taste of the hope, strength and optimism of Brexit Britain.