This week was also the three month anniversary of the declaration of lock down and the government chose it to announce the lifting of restrictions on July 4th, American Independence Day. There is a connection between these events and that is a love of liberty. Whether the U.K. gains it’s liberty will be very much determined by the negotiations in relation to the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement over the next few weeks and months.
Another anniversary this week was the eighty years since France capitulated to Germany in World War 2. Churchill said that countries that capitulate never rise again, while those that fight on, even if defeated, re emerge. Arguably the origins of the eu can be traced to this event.
Britain fought on alone against the evil that was Nazi Germany and then the totalitarian regime in Japan but we were bankrupt by 1942 and emerged from the war unable to resist the American pressure to hand over to them our global economic system.
The USA saw Germany as the rightful industrial power of Europe and its entire national debt was written off. By contrast Britain had to pay its way, defend Europe, and was beholden to American war loans. We won the war and lost the peace.
France emerged wanting to find a role in Europe and to contain Germany.
The EU was essentially a French project favoured by the Americans at that time and with Germany anointed as the engine room, provided with the great economic advantages of an artificially low competitive currency, debt free and with US Marshall Plan investment.
By contrast the UK was marginalised. As a consequence our weak and failed political establishment sold out, we turned our backs on our friends in the Commonwealth and signed up.
Now, for the first time since 1940 and perhaps the last time in our long island history, we have an opportunity this year to chart our own independent course, trading across the globe, but over dependent on no one, reconnecting with parts of the world in this age of the World Wide Web that we did business with when business was driven by the wind and steam.
Crucially, this all depends on our freeing ourselves from the shackles that the EU has placed upon us in the withdrawal agreement through which Monsieur Barnier wishes to continue to have our money, control our laws and prevent us from competing with an independent economic and trade policy, so fearful are they that we will be successful.
The government must not give in and must secure our liberty by the end of this year, deal or no deal.
History has many twists and turns and future history will be no exception. Given an increasingly uncertain world and the global Corona crisis, the absolute necessity to super charge economic growth as we recover looms large.
Control of our own foreign and security policy is critical. It has never been more important that the U.K. has the total freedom that we need to find an independent and prosperous future.
John Longworth is the Director General of the Centre for Brexit Policy, an entrepreneur, businessman and former Conservative MEP. He was DG of the British Chambers of Commerce.