2017 can be a year of new beginnings on both sides of the Atlantic. The Brexit vote in the UK and the election of a new President in the USA offers great opportunity. Between us we can promote prosperity. Faster growth, more and better paid jobs and more investment should be the watchwords in London and Washington.
The UK can develop a new foreign policy as we leave the EU. The Prime Minister has set out her wish for the UK to be a leader of free trade worldwide. That should mean we turn our backs on military interventions that can prolong or intensify civil wars and work with the new US Administration to reduce conflict and reduce tensions with Russia and Iran. I doubt that a negotiated lasting peace for all is in sight in the troubled Middle East,but 2017 begins with a fragile truce in Syria which could be extended. 2017 could at least see the West recognise that past military engagements and regime changes have not helped stabilise the region. Everything the West does should be designed to ease the killings and help rebuild the shattered economies of the war torn countries. Many Middle Eastern countries may not be ready to settle all their disputes in the ballot box as we would recommend, but at least we can encourage them to choose jaw jaw over war war more 0ften.
The UK can also develop a new domestic policy based on generating more better paid jobs, promoting more home ownership and assisting with improvements to education and training. Welfare reform is now seeking to help the disabled into employment, and prison reform needs to concentrate on reducing re offending and equipping prisoners for regular jobs. Not all of this will be new, but it will be aided by reflationary policies in the USA. If Mr Trump goes ahead with major tax cuts and tax reform it will be even more important than the UK does something similar to keep us competitive. The UK too needs tax reform and lower tax rates on work, enterprise and investment.
I wish you all a great New Year celebration, and a successful and prosperous New Year.