It is at a time of enormous domestic & international geopolitical flux that I reflect on how the UK might become fit for purpose in the 21st Century.
One has to be careful distinguishing between what is hoped for & what is likely to happen. For example, wouldn’t it be marvellous if the Korean Peninsula was one united & nuclear-free country again? Likelihood: zilch. But then, who’d have thought Potus & Kim would have had three meetings in as many years already?
A United Kingdom, unshackled from the EU & its competitiveness-destroying regulation, the Germany-favouring (especially economic) policies & its tolerance to rule-ignoring (some would call it cheating) by France, Italy, Greece et al, can really pick the pearl out of the oyster of the globalised economy. This is Asia’s Century; we bossed the 19th, the USA made the 20th their own, but this one belongs to Asia. The UK was made for International Trade; it’s in our DNA. From Financial Services to Universities, from design & culture to cars & planes we export & invest like no other. We make good partners. We are an excellent home for inward investment (provided our international reputation isn’t fatally damaged by the share confiscation, exchange controls & a rapacious fiscal regime threatened by some politicians).
Obviously we need to become more productive as a population; abolishing adult illiteracy & innumeracy by 2030 (to address at school the issue in the new scholastic generation as well) would go a long way to dealing with this & also help reduce crime & health issues.
Imagine what could be achieved if crafted onto these foundations was a regime of less stifling regulation & lower taxes!! What on Earth is wrong with delivering more & better-paid jobs, more economic stability, fatter tax receipts & better schools & hospitals through a regime that stimulates investment, rewards risk-taking, removes reliance on the State & advertises the UK as THE place to come (or stay!) & build a future?
The top 5% of UK taxpayers pay 56% of all income tax. We want them to stay & pay more by volume even if the rate is reduced. A growing economy enables that to happen. I look forward to a 21st Century UK that will have reduced tax rates in order to deliver more actual cash for public services. Whatever Marxists might spout from their ideology, it is (to them) an inconvenient truth that the lower the rates at the top end the more tax cash is collected.
A bonfire of regulation in the next ten years would be so useful in the battle to get (especially) SMEs to be globally competitive.
Whether they’ve come from the unaccountable & unelected Eurocrats in Brussels (whose diktats are followed by some countries & ignored by many others) or gold-plated by The Sales Prevention Team aka the UK Civil Service, a Brexited UK can forge a new regulatory road forward in the 21st Century.
It is typical of an EU marching valiantly towards 1970 that in the Brexit negotiations they were far more concerned about the UK being able to create its own regulatory framework & thus becoming more globally competitive than looking into their own backyard & putting right their own regime. “The broken leg theory” in the EU is alive & well in the 21st Century. Q: Does Member State A have an advantage over Member State B due to being fitter & better equipped for the race that is globalisation? A: Yes, Conclusion: Don’t try & mend the broken legs of the other competitors in the team; just break the leg of the winning member. Then everyone can be the same… & mediocre!
I also want to see Great Britain & Northern Ireland by the midpoint of this Century free of the internal combustion engine. More charging points & a fiscal regime to encourage, but also a changed mindset in all of us. And that goes for the abolition of single-use plastic as well. Pressure on Business (& the Public Sector as well, please) is important but the real change will come when every one of us makes the change in our hearts. This is our problem!
The rest of this editorial will be published at a later date