Monday 4 July 2016

The decision is made. Now embrace the change.

I would like to think I have been as forthright as humanly possible throughout this political event. That does not mean I have not been free of bias, conscious or otherwise. I have been very keen to accentuate the positives. What I hope I conveyed is that they were in the main long term benefits - and I believe I was forthcoming about the risks.

In fact, a lot of what serious remainers were saying in response to the entirely unserious leave campaign was absolutely right. The Tory right and Ukip have an infantile idea of what is at stake and what is involved which is why we deserved to lose and why I thoroughly expected we would.

The main difference between me and the remain camp is that I think all this hassle and risk is necessary. They don't. But they are right. It's a lot of hassle and a lot of risk.

To date though they claim that Brexit was unnecessary and things were certainly not bad enough to warrant a rejection of our entire system of government and the European post-war settlement. And I suppose in a way they were right. It wasn't bad enough in terms of the day to day but it wasn't good enough to keep either.

We have heard more or less the same boilerplate political rhetoric from just about every political campaign about more jobs, more security and a better NHS but we are all wise to that. What we also know is that the system doesn't deliver and it tends to abandon the losers except for a privileged class who think and act the right way.

The inherent problem with the status quo is that it is predictable. That's great for business but not so great if you were born into a class where social mobility is zero. What we get from political change is a radical shake up of certainties and a break with habits and reflexes. It puts us all on our toes. And boy do we need it.

In science and engineering we are way behind our global competitors and a bit of a kick in the complacency won't do us any harm at all. And if you look inside a busy city NHS hospital, the medical profession is from India, Brits are the admin staff. We have luxuriated into obsolescence and now the world is wondering what it owes us.

That is also clear in patterns of trade too. China is establishing its own rule book and we are seeing regional regulators popping up all over the shop wondering by Brussels gets to set the agenda. Consequently Fortress Europe is being gradually bypassed.

So this isn't change for its own sake. This is rattling the cage of a political class who have become insular, inward looking and remote. This is a wake up call. Those conspiring to overturn the result are those who were happy with the status quo, and happy with the glorious slumber of European politics.

This is a rude awakening for them, but they should think of this as a smoke alarm. Everybody hates smoke alarms. They constantly go off when there isn't a fire, and very often just because the toast is burning. But it's always better to have that warning than to die of smoke inhalation or worse still to wake up to discover the house is on fire and all the exit routes are blocked.

The remainers repeatedly assert that there are no positives to leaving the EU. From a pure transactional perspective, they are probably right. I see major disruptions on the horizon, tense negotiations and a probable recession along with restructured markets. I also imagine there will be a degree of divestment until the dust is settled. If I had money I would certainly think twice before making any long term UK investments and would choose stocks carefully.

And this has remain inclined economists puzzled. They have been telling us this from the outset yet we still ignored them. It baffles them. But in the end it comes down to pure instinct that it very much is time for political change and we accept the consequences of that with open eyes.

And what of those "selfish" old people we hear so much about? Those who have done so well form the political settlement? Well the thing about old people is that they know things. Also old people sooner rather than later will die. And they will pass on their assets to the next generation. And so the next generation to a point is more secure than they deserve to be. That makes us well insulated against turmoil. They have done us a favour.

In the end society thrives on change and reinvention. The EU is the antithesis of that. It is a regulation machine to regulate and to keep things orderly and running like clockwork. And when you look at logistics chains it works pretty well. Except when it doesn't.

When it doesn't we find that markets must respond by changing, but can only change within the scope of the law. And law that does not respond to change can only deaden innovation and reinvention.

And so we must part ways with the old order. It has served us reasonably well but in order for it to survive it must mutate. That is what Brexit is about. The EU entity is dying. It no longer enjoys the consent of Europe's peoples. It has been made obsolete by globalisation and it has become subordinate to higher institutions. It is no longer at the heart of commerce and trade. It is just as much a passenger as its members.

This is of course lost on our political leadership and it remains an enigma to our media who still haven't grasped what goes on outside the confines of the EU - but necessity will expose the reality of what goes on over and above the EU. It will be a mass political awakening for our governing class.

This is an important and necessary step for Britain and Europe. We have heard the smoke alarm and now we must act. And if your politicians wish to go back to sleep then we must keep hitting the test button to continue making shrill noises.

We are saying now is the time to change things and now is the ideal time since the conditions for change are about as safe and secure as they are ever going to be. We are witnessing a global reordering of power and we are seeing precisely the same dynamic in the USA. We want and need government to happen a different way.

In truth the immediate effects of this change will be largely unmeasurable and intangible. And while the basic economic metrics won't look very healthy for a while, I can only see it as a positive that the public and their politicians are shaken out of their habits and exposed to different ideas.

With that in mind it is time for the remain side and the left to stop whining. This is a major opportunity for anyone with fresh ideas. Make the most of it. We have an ideas vacuum from our political class so now is the time to be organising, talking and thinking. Rather than trying to put the genie back in the bottle, why not ask it to grant your three wishes?

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