Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.
The lame-stream media has again been busy at work this week trying to convince the voting public that Brexit is a disaster. The ‘cliff-edge‘ is getting ever closer. We are but weeks from the catastrophe of ‘crashing out‘. Admittedly it sounds daft to ask readers to inject a little optimism when over the past three years power was lent to a Prime Minister and a civil service that saw Brexit as a damage limitation exercise and a regrettable necessity. As the impending no-deal Brexit comes ever closer, it is now high time that we nudge ourselves out of this blinding Brexit-phobia and start appreciating the inevitable benefits of leaving the United States of Europe. The food giants have started (albeit belatedly) thinking practically about Brexit rather than trying to stop it. In a similar fashion, we should leave the likes of the People’s Vote, Change UK, and the Liberal Democrats in the history books, and start celebrating our independence from the bedraggled EU.
In 2011 in his book Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class, Owen Jones commented that in allowing ‘the value of the pound to soar’, Britain made her ‘exports far more expensive than overseas competitors’. This led to unforgivably harsh results on the living standards of the working class in this country. For the first time, I would tend to agree with Owen on this. Which is why it is odd that caught up in a dreadful case of anti-Brexit bias, he has suddenly changed his tune and is outraged at the devaluing of the pound as a result of the Brexit vote, something he has been supporting for a decade. Jones now wails in a panic about the disastrous effects of a weaker pound, that, ‘[i]f there’s a run on the pound already, what’s going to happen when No Deal actually hits‘. Which will it be, Owen?
It seems that in 2011 Owen was a bit more in-the-know about currency valuation and how it affects everyday people. Just look at the farming sector – in 2017, the weak pound led to a 45% increase in profitability for farmers and a crop value increase of around 13%. The total income from farming has increased by more than £1.6 billion as a result. The tourism industry, too, has seen a major bounce. A boost in the spending power of foreign tourists, means that we are ‘offering great value for inbound visitors right now which gives us a valuable opportunity including in Europe, where we are already running a campaign to promote travel to the UK during the summer’, according to Patricia Yates, a director at the UK’s tourism promotion agency Visit Britain.
Instead of relying on the trusty BBC or Sky News to tell us that the UK economy will implode or that our GDP will collapse after a no-deal Brexit, let’s look at the real facts. Over one-third of lost trade felt as a result of no-deal will likely be offset in the fishing industry immediately. This will be due to a rise in catch and positive supply chain effects boosting economic output by £3 billion. What’s more, trade-related losses with Europe will be effectively cancelled out when we terminate payments to the EU budget which have, over the past decade, accounted for approximately 0.5% of UK GDP. UK consumers pay £2 billion more than necessary per year on agricultural products, the prices of which are kept artificially high by the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy, which we will exit after no deal. The IFS has predicted that with the slashing of EU tariffs on foodstuffs, textiles, and other products from third-party countries, consumers will benefit by up to £15 billion. And this is before we make any new deals.
You see, it is not just our freedom that is to be gained from leaving the EU, but our money too. The rhetorical hyperbole that surrounds the Remain-dominated media conversation about no deal is tiresome. Terrific terms like ‘crash-out’, ‘cliff-edge’, and ‘absolute chaos’ should be left to occasions deserving of their linguistic stature. Brexit is an opportunity, not a disaster. It is time we treated it as one.