Brexit – a gift for Ireland?
Sir, – David McWilliams writes that “Economically, the real story is how the UK went from [being] the herald of free enterprise to ‘F**k business’ in one generation” (Opinion & Analysis, July ,21st July). The irony is that the UK’s economy was “the sick man of Europe” when it joined the EU in 1973, and it has done very well out of EU membership by expanding its services sector massively and taking advantage of the single market.
The problem is that the de-industrialisation pursued since Margaret Thatcher and the globalisation enabled by the EU have also increased regional and social inequality massively, and that, more than anything, are what drove Brexit. The Eton/Oxbridge elite have also twigged that their sense of entitlement doesn’t cut much ice in Brussels and so they have jumped on the bandwagon “to take back control”.
There will be blood when the great unwashed of Sunderland realise they have been duped and that there will be even greater inequality and poverty under an Eton/Oxbridge-led UK free of Brussels constraints. The Eton/Oxbridge crowd were never much interested in getting their hands dirty and actually making things – for them industry is a dirty word. Vulture capitalism, rent-seeking, and ripping off other people’s hard-earned money is their thing.
So Brexit, and especially a hard Brexit, is an enormous opportunity for Ireland as the sole remaining larger English-speaking member with a similar legal system and cultural outlook. But we should be beware of this creating even greater regional and social inequality in Ireland. A few banks and vulture funds relocating a few staff and a lot of paper financial assets to Dublin may do wonders for our already bloated GDP figures, but little for the plain people of Ireland.
We should focus on attracting a lot of smaller and medium-sized UK industrial companies who need access to EU markets to smaller and medium towns in Ireland. These smaller companies typically don’t have “corporate strategy” departments or foreign-language capabilities. Moving a few miles across the Irish sea to an English-speaking common law jurisdiction would be the easiest option for them. A hundred jobs in Leitrim would mean a lot more to the local economy than a few financial whizz-kids moving to Dublin.
Leo Varadkar should appoint a full-time Brexit minister dedicated to travelling the roads of northern and midlands England meeting small business leaders who never see a British government minister and whose Brexit concerns are being ignored. Tariff and non-tariff barriers may make their EU exports unviable and threaten the future of their businesses. If Boris won’t help them, perhaps we can. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Neil Addison (July 21st) confuses compliance with international agreements as punishment. It is no such thing. The EU has negotiated international air travel agreements with third countries on behalf of its member states.
As things stand, the UK benefits from these agreements. If Brexit happens in March, the UK will lose the benefits of those agreements as it will become a third country. It will not have negotiated its own international air travel agreements. Consequently British airlines will have no rights to fly.
This is the Brexit that a small majority voted for in the UK. Brexiters should not adopt victimhood as a defence against their own “informed” choices. – Yours, etc,