Rees-Mogg, Boris and Gove the dream team? In your dreams
I can see why people cite South Korea as a model for a post-Brexit UK. Like Britain, South Korea has a small land mass, a large population and few natural resources and yet has made a great success of itself economically. It has succeeded through its main industries which are steel making, ship building, motor manufacture and electronics. But citing South Korea as a model is a misconception, for the very reason that this country’s situation is so like that of the UK. South Korea is not a model but a competitor. We no longer have a steel industry. Why? Because steel making has shifted to South Korea and China. Nor a ship building industry which has gone to the very same South Korea. It is fanciful to think that we are going to compete with South Korea in the sectors where it has been so successful. Nobody imagines the UK will become a world electronics giant. Our industrial base was wantonly destroyed by Mrs Thatcher. Owing to the misguided policies of successive Tory and Tory in disguise governments our energy costs are unacceptably high. North Sea oil should have been used to develop carbon capture for the coal with which we are so richly endowed and renewables for which our long and windy coastline is so suitable (though to be fair to Mrs May’s government we are now beginning to take a world lead in offshore wind). Just in what sectors are we going to excel after Brexit? If I could be persuaded that there are some I’d be much happier. But I notice Liam Fox never tells us what this great trading nation open to the world that we are going to be is actually going to sell. North Korea’s success has been due above all to its trade with China, a huge market on its doorstep with which it has a free trade agreement. But that has been exactly our relationship with the European Union and the reason why our economy too has flourished. Yet we are wilfully proposing to throw this huge advantage away. I accept that there is now no hope of staying in Europe, regrettable a step as leaving it I believe to be. But at least we should go down the Hammond path of staying as closely linked to the customs union and the single market as possible. Rees-Mogg, Boris and Gove the dream team? Exactly.