Boris Johnson should remember that over optimistic, re-assuring statements do not always go down well outside Downing Street. His recent rhetoric doesn’t indicate that he’s understood this.
When Neville Chamberlain returned from Munich in 1938 with his ‘peace in our time’ deal with Hitler, he announced outside Downing Street, “Go home and get a nice quiet sleep”. He tried to reassure the country that his deal would bring peace to Europe. What followed was the destruction and horror upon horror of the Second World War.
The rebuilding of a peaceful, prosperous Europe, which worked together to develop mutual support, trade and understanding was a founding principle of the EU. In February 2020 Donald Tusk, then President of the European Council, described the EU as “first and foremost a Peace Project“. This is maybe the EU’s most important achievement. Bringing with it, investment in infrastructure, shared democratic values and increased cultural understanding.
Now, after over forty years of membership the UK has left the EU. The recently agreed, last minute trade deal will have many negative consequences and invariably leave the UK worse off financially and result in travel and trade being more difficult. Nicholas Bloom, economist at Stanford University commented, “Britain has punched itself in the face“.
The situation will also leave the UK with significantly less influence within Europe. Where the UK once had a major voice through the European parliament and real political influence, it is now internationally isolated. This comes at a time when positive trade and political relationships with your friendly neighbours are ever more vital.
Ignore Johnson’s bullish, buoyant rhetoric. We are facing a sea of trouble. We have to chart our way out of this sea by negotiating further agreements with the EU and turning this bad deal into a good one.
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