We’re out!

On the day we finally leave the EU, Conservative Society President Stephen Dawes considers what's next for the UK.

Stephen Dawes
31st January 2020
Image: Jisc
I am writing this on the day that the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union. This is a day that many thought might never come: for some it's a day for which they have campaigned their whole lives, and for others it's a day of profound regret. Regardless of what side you find yourself, there will from today onwards exist a new political reality in which we must all begin to recognise what unites us.
Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Keir Starmer
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Last week Labour leader hopeful Keir Starmer identified that we must all begin to “repair the shattered trust in politics”, amid polls indicating an all time high in distrust in our institutions and politicians. He is correct, but in order to do this our political class is going to have to change, and fast. Uncomfortable truths about what has happened over the last 4 years of political devastation must be identified, and their causes set right.

As we withdraw from the European Union and effectively lose a level of government above our own, our politicians will find it harder to pass the buck on several issues. Political battles that were once fought at a purely European level will now be fought by untested politicians on home soil; such topics include trade, our rights and our territorial integrity. Our government will truly be sovereign over the UK and with that now unchallenged supremacy comes a renewed level of responsibility, which the new government must struggle with all haste to meet.

From this day forth, it cannot be business as usual

Political actors across the polity must learn that from this day forth, it cannot be business as usual. The corrosive London and euro-centric, socially liberal consensus that previously infested the establishment cannot simply return to power. Things have changed, and the political class on all sides will have to recognise this fact.

“Experts” and politicians during the referendum gave us a myriad of predictions regarding the future should the UK vote to leave. They predicted nothing less than: food shortages, no medicines, planes grounded, a house price crash, a cost of £4 300 to every home, a stock market collapse, rioting, an outbreak of super gonorrhoea and - according to Donald Tusk - the end of Western civilization as we know it. Unless all of these predictions come true, the mistrust in politicians - especially those that made the calamitous forecasts - is well deserved. The credibility of Keir Starmer and many others will be shot in the eyes of large swathes of the public.

The Bank of England hasn't changed rates, but predicts slower growth after Brexit
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Make no mistake: today is the day that the vast majority of the elite were defeated by the very idea that many of them had come to hold in utter contempt. The idea of the nation state, preserved by those who did not or could not recognise the elites' plans for the UK's future as a mere European province, those who were not ‘global citizens’ or Europeans first.

And when I say this was a rebellion of a long ignored faction in British society, it is worth remembering that the elite that opposed this included every major bank, most of the House of Commons, most of the House of Lords, the IMF, the CBI and most global corporations (especially the American multinationals). Then officially every major political party in parliament, alongside the Treasury, NATO and the Bank of England. This is all worth remembering the next time you see a so-called revolutionary or radical posing with the EU flag (a note to any self-styled revolutionaries: it is best to avoid marching in lock step with the policies of McDonalds and Jaguar Land Rover in the future. As anti-establishment as Goldman Sachs may seem when presented by the likes of Jeremy Corbyn, you may find it more prudent not to line up with them against the proletariat in future).

We must unite around our nation and our common identity

The elite must adjust to this new political reality for all our sakes. This is in part on us: we cannot go crawling back to those that have led us into gridlock or those that would perpetuate the now-defeated old order. We must instead now unite around the one thing that we all share: our nation and our common identity. As we strike out alone into the world it will only be one another that we can rely upon. While we may all still have our political beliefs and differences, our common national loyalty to each other must be repaired: only then can we stand shoulder to shoulder and weather the gathering storm clouds that inevitably pocket humanity’s destiny. Our nation can only endure if our elites put the UK first and renew the social contract between citizen and state.

We must cast aside those vested interests who seem to have always sought to undermine our nation, and invest into a new polity that is capable of delivering the country we actually want, for ourselves and our children.

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