We have one hundred days until the UK secures its liberty.
A lot can happen in a hundred days. Napoleon escaped his incarceration, raised an army, took Paris and lost the battle of Waterloo all within a hundred days, all without the web, AI or the EU. Within a hundred days Churchill managed to do the impossible, snatch victory from the jaws of defeat – overcome his quisling colleagues in the Tory Party, rescue an army at Dunkirk, defeat the Luftwaffe and save Britain from invasion all within just one hundred days.
To now secure our freedom all the government has to do is begin to fund and implement plans that the civil service have been developing over the last two years, plans so dramatic as to ensure that the shoppers at Marks and Spencer can still get their favourite smelly cheese and preventing other similar potential catastrophes from occurring.
Of course, it would have been far better if the government when it triggered Article 50, had started from the position that we would simply leave the EU and move to WTO terms, while offering the EU the possibility of a free trade arrangement. After all that’s what the referendum ballot paper said: a choice between remain or leave and we chose leave – not a deal, just leave. By this route our chances of a free trade arrangement would have been enhanced enormously and we would have been well prepared for no-deal with commensurate policies to boost the economy. It would also have provided absolute certainty to business for the purpose of planning and investment. However, all of this was rendered impossible by “alt-Remainers” in Parliament and embedded in the establishment who never accepted the democratic will of the people, and who are to blame for bringing us, deliberately, less well prepared than we might have been, to the last one hundred days.
However, we have plenty of time now to push forward to liberty. Far from being a “cliff edge”, “crashing out” or armageddon (all terms propagated and adopted gleefully by the Remain-supporting media) 29 March represents a huge opportunity to reset social justice in Britain and to boost our economy enormously.
Let us look at some of the ridiculous scare mongering around “no-deal”, or Project Fear Mark II.
The Prime Minister was asked in Parliament if she could name a drug company that had expressed concern that there would be shortages of medicines, she said she could not. This is hardly surprising. As for the similar scare story around the shortage of other goods such as food, a shortage of supply could only occur if we, the UK, were to prevent product coming into the UK. Since this is entirely at the discretion of our government, why would we do that? Of course we would not. The Remain scare stories are ridiculous.
Exports from the UK to the EU, which represent just 13% of our economy and which are conducted by just 8% of businesses, could be affected in the short term if there is mendacious (and illegal) delay activity at continental ports, in particular Calais. However, Calais is a business and would suffer if this were the case, as the CEO of Calais Port publicly acknowledged. There are plenty of ports in the EU to choose from, many of which would be delighted to secure the additional business.
With respect to the administrative issues, many have been agreed or prepared for, both here in Britain and by the EU. The European Commission have acknowledged that planes will fly and land when travelling between EU member States and Britain. Residency rights have been resolved, visa arrangements agreed etc etc.
As for the 3,500 troops that the government have announced are on standby for a no-deal Brexit, it is difficult to imagine what they might be needed for, they are more likely to be required to deal with the civil disobedience that is likely should we not leave the EU on 29 March 2019.
World Trade terms (WTO) are the basis of 95% of world trade, including that conducted by the EU with much of the rest of the world - China, the USA etc. The majority of UK exports are under WTO terms and this trading system works perfectly well. It is this tried and tested system that will result from a no-deal exit, not a cliff edge.
A no-deal exit would give the government a one-off £39billion to invest in tax cuts and other stimulus for the U.K. economy plus the ongoing net contribution saving of in excess of £11billion.
A no-deal exit would also provide business with certainty, rather than years of further negotiations regarding the terms of our exit that would result from the proposed deal or indeed from any extension of Article 50 or a further referendum.
It is quite possible that our parliament will try undermine a move to WTO, however the absurdity of this position will become increasingly clear as exit day approaches and the fear of no-deal recedes. After all in the words of the PM, no-deal is better than a bad deal and the proposed deal is truly bad.
The other possible Parliamentary manoeuvre will be to try to secure a second referendum. This would be catastrophic for democracy, trust in our institutions and social cohesion. We decided in the largest plebiscite ever to leave the EU by a majority of 1.4million votes. To run the vote again to try to reverse it, would be a breach of democratic process. If we were to do that, why not then re-run general elections or the Scottish referendum?
There is no doubt that the next 100 days will be fascinating even if the outcome is somewhat unpredictable. Given, however, that the EU have overplayed their hand and proved themselves to be the dictatorial, empire building bullies that they are. And given that the Remainer establishment in the UK have colluded in this and thus under estimated the resolve of the British people, there is now a change of mood in the air. Preparations for no-deal are in train and will gather momentum. Unless the EU significantly change their position, a no-deal exit seems likely and is now by far the best outcome. Bring it on.
John Longworth is an entrepreneur, Chairman of Leave means Leave and is on the Advisory Board of a Economists for Free Trade and the IEA. He was formerly Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce