We are often told that markets react badly to uncertainty, but this fear of the unknown isn’t a unique quality. It’s essentially human, so no matter how terrible the European Union is, or how much worse it will become, some will still cling dear to the devil they know. If this fear of the dark is keeping us in Europe, then we must spread light, and illuminate with knowledge.
A welcome shaft of light falls on Eurosceptics and Europhiles alike this week, with one of the biggest figures in Chinese banking and investment saying “London is an important financial centre… we share a win-win partnership to boost trade between the two countries. If the UK stays in the EU or not, it will not have any impact on relations between the UK and China economically”. This breaks a virtual moratorium on talking about trade with Britain post referendum, and should precipitate an avalanche of admissions that no, Britain does not need to be in Europe to trade.
Global trade is a mutually enriching enterprise, and foreign nations have everything to gain by rushing to join a newly free Britain and negotiating new trade agreements. The often repeated myth that Britain needs to stay in Europe as it’s our largest trading partner needs to be debunked once and for all. Purely in terms of trade, this is a relationship that works both ways. Britain is a major customer of Irish and German firms, so it would be churlish of spurned continental politicians to sabotage their nations own businesses by not staying open to Britain.
Similar potential advantages exist everywhere. It is claimed that Europe is Canada’s second largest trading partner, but this deliberately confuses the facts. In fact it is Britain which is Canada’s second largest trading partner. We are the second largest destination for Canadian made goods and services, and no other European nation comes close. Through the World Trade Organisation and by other means, trade deals all around the globe are waiting to be struck in the British interest, deals which at this moment are stifled by punitive EU tariffs and rules. This sort of needless, trade stifling protectionism has been opposed by Britain since the overturning of the Corn Laws.
The future is for us to take, if we are brave, bold, and unafraid to Get Britain Out. The Chinese state visit to Britain has shown that the door to world trade is well and truly open. The European Union exists in the darkness of protectionism and war of the 20th century. It’s time to embrace the freedom of the 21st century, and escape the EU-straitjacket.