The business elite need to get their heads around the Second Glorious Revolution

The business elite need to get their heads around the Second Glorious Revolution

Listening to Lucy Worsley in her excellent series about fibs and lies, I was struck by the wonderful analogy between the Glorious Revolution of nearly 330 years ago, and our Second Glorious Revolution, unfolding as we speak. In 1688, an absolute monarchy was overthrown by Parliamentarians who agreed to a constitutional monarchy in what was described as the Bloodless Revolution. Now, an absolute tyranny is being overthrown by Parliamentarians (with a little help from the people).

The first Glorious Revolution was a rout for the Catholic Stuarts, with subsequent English monarchs not even allowed to marry a Catholic – until this law was removed just a few years ago. Just as then, Theresa May has routed the Remoaners, with her White Paper giving no ground to the losers of Brexit.

So it with great concern that some of the business elite – mainly the Davos crowd – still can’t get their head around their loss. It all gets tiring saying, yet again, that there is a well-thought out plan – that we are leaving the EU, the single market, the customs union. That we are taking back control of our laws, and that we won’t be subject to the ECJ; that it’s not the fault of the government that EU leaders won’t say what will happen to UK citizens abroad, and by extension, EU citizens here; and that, yes, we do want to be part of schemes like Erasmus and Horizon 2020.

And yes, it will be good for business, particularly if we have, as expected, trade deals with countries where the EU just can’t do them, like the USA, Australia, New Zealand and even China.

“I can think of nothing good about Brexit.” So said the head of a FTSE 100 company addressing an audience of business people a few months after the June 23rd vote.

“Well, London voted overwhelmingly to Remain, so the PM should respect that vote.” So said the chief of a London based business pressure group from the stage to an audience member, just a few weeks ago.

Of course, the reality is beginning to dawn on some of the Remainers, including the Bank of England, TheCityUK, and a few others. The CBI is trying to acknowledge there might be some good to the vote, with their whole-economy view of the UK-EU negotiations, and even grudgingly states that it will “support the Government to secure the best possible outcome for the UK” (although they might do well to purge some of their members’ comments still on their site from before the vote).

Among the business organisations that took a ‘registered participant’ stance for Remain in the referendum, Mark Boleat continues his one-man campaign at the Corporation of London, while London First don’t know what to say with “more soon” being the main words on their EU section for many months.

Of course, the healthy state of the economy proves that most businesses are getting on with the opportunities that Brexit presents. Many business owners I know may not have voted to leave, but they know plenty of people who did, including probably a majority of their staff, and have reluctantly (or not so reluctantly) embraced the British spirit.

To carry the analogy of the Glorious Revolution a little further, England showed the way for democracy in Europe, but the revolutions on the continent weren’t quite so bloodless. So, whilst, the Government wishes the EU to prosper, a more realistic assessment has perhaps come from Donald Trump, accusing Germany of profiteering from the low Euro.

With the troubled economies of southern Europe, the deep unemployment of Spain and elsewhere, and the social catastrophe being meted on the Greeks, maybe Trump is saying what others fear to say, and pointing out the Emperor has no clothes. The EU is in a truly terrible state and it’s difficult to predict where the elections this year in France, Germany and elsewhere will lead those and other countries.

Of course, the Bloodless Revolution wasn’t so bloodless in Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon had best watch her back.