Anyone who thinks that this election is not about Brexit, is out of touch with the reality of the task ahead. Brexit will be looked upon as a turning point in this country’s relationship with its neighbours. Some argued that this was the worst political choice this country has ever made. For a long time, I was one of those people. I found economic security in the status quo and certainty in the confines of a dysfunctional EU. However, the way Britain has been treated after Brexit by the EU highlights the divergences in the core of the European project. For Europe, the EU was an emotional peace project after WWII and the end of the cold war. For Britain, it was all about trade and never about giving up sovereignty. In the light of this disturbing EU tone, we must forge new trade agreements to secure our future. This country was always a merchant trading country. We need to be where the buyers are and it is not Corbyn who is going to deliver these trade deals.
Therefore, the upcoming snap general election constitutes a larger threat to the welfare of this country. The outcome will not only dictate what kind of future we get after the negotiations, but also define what sort of country we are.
The only way of making a disaster of Brexit would be electing Corbyn. He will most certainly compromise with the EU and sign an EEA type of agreement, like the one Norway has in place.
We would give up our political influence in Europe for nothing. We’d be tied down to trade deals with the slowest growing block of nations in the world, unable to sign any with India, the US and China. The British people would also have to accept continued freedom of movement of EU nationals.
This sort of political speech might displease a large part of the readership of this newspaper. After all, Corbyn is offering a manifesto that promises a lot to students including scrapping tuition fees. But Britain cannot afford his social economic programme.
This election offers a real choice and two radically different visions of Britain. The Corbyn choice is to renege the economic achievements of the post-Thatcher era, and build a country based on the most socialist manifesto ever proposed while simultaneously negotiating Brexit – something he will never be able to do. Brexit will be a big enough transition and will require a united team with front bench political experience. I simply fail to see this successfully happening with a Labour party with tumultuous divisions on both Brexit and the Corbyn leadership.
Theresa May can deliver the best outcome of what is a difficult situation. She needs the strong mandate, a 400+ MP landslide that would offer her flexibility to displease Eurosceptic MPs. This will be key when parliament votes on the negotiation outcome. Delaying the next general election from 2020 originally to 2022 guarantees that the settlement Theresa May gets will become law.
In contrast, a Labour government would certainly include an SNP alliance, guaranteeing a second Scottish referendum and effectively breaking up this country. This portrays a weak and divided Britain.
Theresa May has made her strategy clear and her party has supported her. Commandeering a large majority will give her a mandate to walk away from Europe if the Eurocrats want to punish this country. Meanwhile, Corbyn lacks any political nous, leaving us exposed to a European project that wants increased federal rapprochement. He is adamant on a Brexit deal, stating that no deal “is not a viable option”. This increases EU leverage, raising the final ‘divorce bill’ beyond £60 bn. Theresa May could very well walk away and leave the EU with a massive hole in its budget. Here lies the difference: she is ready to go to extreme extents to secure a good deal. He will compromise to what’s on offer.
The EU’s attempts to interfere in this election through the Downing street dinner leaks just show the survival instinct that EU leaders have exhibited. They want to prevent any future exits and set a disturbing EU precedent. They want a weak Labour government, one weak on Brexit, as Britain must not thrive outside the EU.
This is guaranteed with a Labour implemented 26% corporate tax, up from the 17% promised under the Conservatives. Multinational businesses are already considering relocation, this will be the final nail in the coffin. Failure to keep businesses will make us look desperate for a deal and that is the wrong approach.
This country has achieved so much since the 1970’s. Ask your grandparents what that era was like, union strikes, unemployment. A vote for Corbyn is a vote to return to a bygone era of socialist folly. Theresa May offers something more familiar, a more British Britain, rather than a divided one. It is now my firm opinion that a hung parliament will be the most catastrophic political and economic decision of our generation. The rise and fall of this country is on the ballot box and I am voting for pragmatism over blinding socialist idealism.