EU

The lie of the ground post 23rd June.

Well, 52% of the electorate voted the way that I did. I previously argued that I was a reluctant Brexiter, and I think so far I am right in thinking that the major danger of leaving is increased State control and direction in a “independent” Britain. Mrs May isn’t exactly a free-marketer, nor can it really be argued that she is much of a liberal, what with that awful snoopers charter.

It remains to be seen as to what will happen with that, but of course the major politicking will be over Brexit for the next few years. We now have a Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and a Secretary of State for International Trade. Machiavellian arguments have been made that the new PM is setting them up for a fall, particularly with Boris at the FCO, but setting up in essence two new departments isn’t something that is done lightly. For the moment, Brexit means Brexit.

Away from the “politics” the UK faces fairly significant challenges. The Government will have to rebuild areas of competency (stop laughing) in areas taken over by the EU, not just in trade negotiating but in fishing, environmental regulation and lobbying for international rather than just single market standards, which is what some would say is the point of leaving the EU is all about.

There may well be little scope for shrinking the size or role of the state (why do planning reform when you can cut the amount of immigrants –  its all them immigrants taking the houses, right) but actually we don’t know how the dice might fall. The Workers Councils that have been suggested by the PM don’t work particularly  well, but cutting corporation tax has been broadly welcomed – if the right arguments are deployed we might be see a Government that respects market processes.

A definite success that can be pointed to is the fishing regime in New Zealand, a discussion of which can be seen here. Also, the success of NZ in eliminating  agricultural subsides is an out of the box success story – here guys, do it! (But do it gradually, like NZ did, otherwise we might have plenty of very angry and suicidal farmers, and end up with a worse agricultural policy than we have currently).

But, here we don’t need to despair about possible wrongs that are going to be committed. The EU has the potential to mess things up to a much greater extent if we were inside of it, and with little to no recourse since the council and commission are the power bases.

And although there is an argument that Brexit will accelerate an integration process I don’t think this is a very good argument – we may never know the counterfactual, but if the UK had voted to remain it would have lost its main bargaining chip, that it would one day vote (or otherwise) to leave.

Much more to go into here, but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.