For cosmopolitan liberals, collective cultural loyalties override the economic advantages of Brexit

For cosmopolitan liberals, collective cultural loyalties override the economic advantages of Brexit

The continuous delaying of Brexit – by an alliance of Remainers comprising MPs from across the party spectrum, CBI economists, leftist commentators and foreign interventionists – may well be justifiably considered as the most despicable scandal of the post-War era; but it should definitely not surprise. Ever since David Cameron announced the ‘once in a generation’ -‘leave means leave’, ‘your voice will be respected’, ‘your decision, not politicians, not lobby groups, not Parliament’s’, ‘no re-negotiation’, ‘no second referendum’- referendum in 2016, this lobby has sought to paint an apocalyptic picture of Britain outside of the EU and frustrate Brexit with legalistic ruses, parliamentary obfuscation and de-legitimisation of the decision of Leave voters.

From George Osborne to Christine Lagarde, Michael Heseltine to Tony Blair, Philip Hammond to  Alastair Campbell, Andrew Adonis to Will Hutton, the message has been one of peril, mass unemployment, economic chaos, widespread shortages of food, medicine and fuel, a breakdown of law and order, troops on the streets and impending recession. And there was no let up once the catastrophising of the referendum campaign failed to materialise amidst falling unemployment and export growth. The fear-mongering in fact intensified as the self-appointed guardians of our liberties continued to warn of impending Armageddon, cliff edges and economic crash outs.

What’s astonishing about this ‘Project Fear on speed’, in the words of Jacob Rees-Mogg, is that we heard it all before in debates over the single currency. Blair labelled rejection of the euro as ‘crazy’, Mandelson insisted on membership as essential, as did two-thirds of top academic economists surveyed by The EconomistHeseltine praised its ‘coherence’ and the then Director General of the CBI, Adair Turner, advised business leaders not to be influenced by ‘ill-informed scare stories’. Even as late as 2009, amidst the mounting debt crisis in southern Europe, the IMF was counselling newly-acceded Eastern European states to join the euro as a mechanism for ‘removing uncertainty and restoring confidence’. The blunders of the groupthink catastrophising of Remain ‘experts’ were so severe that it prompted the Bank of England’s Chief Economist, Andy Haldane, to blame them for a ‘crisis’ of economic forecasting. 

Economic realities, therefore, are of seemingly little interest to those who claim economic expertise, as they choose to overlook both the prevailing climate of low unemployment and export growth and the undeniable opportunities of Brexit, especially for small and medium-sized businesses which account for 60% of all private sector employment and 47% of private sector turnover. The benefits of shedding the highly regulatory climate that overwhelmingly favours big business can only boost competition and help the consumer. Little surprise, then, that the former sector overwhelmingly supports remaining and the latter leaving.

Trading under WTO rules could boost consumer advantage further for all sectors under a low-tariff regime with the rest of the world and ultimately a free trade agreement with the EU. Add to this a weaker pound and lower taxes and the competitive advantage that Britain could forge from Brexit over the EU – especially in South East Asia, whose growth is set to be exponentially higher over the foreseeable future than in the EU. This is precisely what the EU elites fear, as the German Chancellor recently alluded to in her talks in Paris. Brexit catastrophising, including over the ‘no-deal’ option, therefore, is little more than a ruse devised by the remain lobby to give the impression of impending doom. 

It is certainly not ‘the economy, stupid’, to quote James Carville, Bill Clinton’s campaign manager, who invested economic priorities as electorally the most important, that primarily motivates the Remain lobby. Scratch the surface of its economic prognostication and you see a collective ideological loyalty towards an integrationist project that is readily prepared to forego the economic opportunities of Brexit in the cause of feel-good cosmopolitanism. For decades, cosmopolitan liberals, the vanguard of the Remain lobby, have waged war with social conservatism whether on immigration, national sovereignty or a variety of other issues, castigating all who opposed them as bigots, fascists, racists and fools.

With Britain outside the EU’s value system that asserts that borders are wrong, that national heritage is discriminatory and that political action is best served by supranational bodies, it will become more difficult to fulfil this cultural agenda. These are values closely aligned with their own political outlook of conformity based on a set of increasingly extreme leftist philosophies in which individual liberties have been replaced by an ever-expanding parade of group rights and hate crimes. If Poland and Hungary warrant condemnation and legal and financial sanction for asserting their national identities, then why not Brexiteers for doing the same? One can be sure that were the EU suddenly to espouse faith, family and nation, its most ardent liberal defenders would doubtless perform a rapid volte-face. Without the EU, with its punitive structures to ultimately underwrite this agenda, its universality disappears and with it the self-appropriated privileges of the liberal, internationalist elites who prop it up.

Over three years ago Britain voted to leave the EU with the largest democratic mandate in its political history and yet today it still remains due to the efforts of the liberal-left establishment. Let us hope that through its preposterous fear-mongering and flawed economic analysis it will have totally discredited itself and with it its menacing cultural agenda.