No Deal is a good outcome for the UK. It means we take back control of our borders, our money, our laws and our fish as promised by the Leave campaign. The deals on offer from the EU fell well short of improving on No Deal. They want to continue overfishing our seas with their huge industrial trawlers. They want to control our law making in any area related in any way to business and trade. They want their Court to adjudicate disputes between us in a clear violation of usual international practice where an impartial Arbitrator is used or the two sides need to argue it through to agreement. Their every word and action signalled that they do not wish to accept the fact that we have voted to be an independent country and intend to be one.
When Mrs May with senior civil servants foolishly sought to recreate many of the features of our EU membership under cover of a so called comprehensive partnership the EU implied if we just wanted a Free Trade Agreement like Canada or Japan that would be easy to do. Once a new UK government offered to do just that the EU decided to impede and prevent it, and to pretend the UK still really wanted special access to the single market which required in turn subservience to their laws. There was little good faith in trying to implement the Political Agreement by the EU , given that it said at the heart of a new relationship between the EU and the UK would be a free trade agreement. The EU has always behaved with discipline and severity in its negotiating stance, assuming it can have its cake and eat it, whilst repeating its mantra that you cannot have access to the single market without accepting many limitations on your freedoms. This of course is simply not true for the rest of the world who trade with the EU without having to obey their laws, and who are happy to see their trade governed by World Trade Organisation rules. The EU as a member of the WTO also has to accept their rules and accept their disputes resolution. The EU has a history of some violations of WTO rules with penalties, as with the subsidies to Airbus.
I was asked to give many speeches during the Referendum campaign to business audiences. I always said No Deal was the only outcome we could guarantee. It was an outcome which would give a good answer for the UK, achieving all our aims to be independent. I used to go on to say it would be very easy – if there was political will – to add a Free Trade Agreement on top of No deal, which would be beneficial to both sides. In most free trade deals there are delays and problems with each side wishing to defend a tariff here and a non tariff barrier there. In the case of the UK and EU we start from a position where there are no tariffs and untowards barriers to goods trade, so it would just be a question of rolling over what we have. I also sometimes added that some thought the EU would not behave well or want to do that. In that event surely it shows how right we are to leave, if EU our neighbours,friends and allies behave in such a silly way towards us, to the point of hurting their own access to our own lucrative market. To the EU the UK has indeed been Treasure Island. They have taken large payments from us in the form of our net contributions to the EU, and have run a huge surplus on goods and food trade through tariff free entry.
The Prime Minister has been right and crystal clear in saying we will leave the single market and customs union. We want our own international trade policy, and will be a more powerful and consistent voice for freer trade than the EU. To do this we need to have full control of all matters relating to trade and business. The single market has been damaging to the UK overall. In our first decade in the Common market as it was then erroneously called we lost half our motor manufacturing capacity as tariffs were removed. Over the years we have seen the loss of most of our steel industry and aluminium output, serial damage to textile and ceramic manufacture, the mass closure of foundries and the break up and contraction of our chemical industry. Our market share in temperate food production has fallen sharply, and we have gone from being a net exporter of fish to a shrunken industry with consumers reliant on imports for much of our demand. EU grants and subsidies have bid some business investment away from the UK. EU rules have often been based around the needs and methods of large scale continental producers at the expense of our firms. The EU has failed to negotiate trade deals at all with two of our largest trading partners, the USA and China, and has not bothered about proper service sector access in other deals despite the UK’s strong position in many service areas. Our average growth rate was faster before entry into the Common market post war than in the twenty years of Common market membership, which in turn was faster than our average growth rate in the years which followed 1992 and the so called completion of the single market. The UK establishment has never been willing to analyse the data and understand what was truly happening. They visited upon us the disaster of the Exchange Rate Mechanism, whose predictable impact caused a major recession at the very point there was meant to be a boost from completing the single market!
So how can now use our freedoms as we leave with No Deal, assuming there is no last minute wish to be sensible by the EU and agree a Free Trade deal? We should be up and running with tax cuts – at last we can take VAT off all those green products from insulation to boiler controls the EU insists on, and lift tariffs from South African oranges and other tropical fruit and food that we cannot grow for ourselves. We should pursue our offer to the USA of removing EU retaliatory tariffs on their goods if they will drop their tariff on Scotch whisky, which was an unwelcome hit from an EU trade spat. We should set up Freeports and Enterprise Zones to marshal new investment and make more in the UK. We should reorient farm subsidies to slash the food miles and grow more of our own salads, fruits,and vegetables.We should land more of our fish at home and add fish processing to create meals and products that we want to eat or which we can export. We should put in more electricity capacity and end our growing dependence on imported EU power.As the government encourages the planting of many more trees we should ensure more sustainable forestry to cut the massive timber imports.
These are all good reasons to press for the No Deal Brexit. The best reason of all is to be free, living in an independent country. I want to help pass on a country that is self governing, a beacon for democracy. Brexit means taking back control of our laws, our borders and our money. That way we will be better governed. If any given government lets us down we can sack them and get the answer we want from another. That is something we could never do as members of the EU. They gave us the laws and we did not control the government.
(Now published by Conservative Home who asked for it)