Those of us campaigning for Brexit are often criticised for being unable to spell out, exactly, what Britain outside the EU will be like. Will we be more like Iceland or Norway? Will we become another Switzerland or even a larger version of Guernsey?
We should of course give our Bremainiac critics a harder time. They imply, or even promise, that a vote to remain will mean that everything will remain the same, which it will not. The EU will expand (though only geographically — economically it will continue to shrink), it will integrate further and it will continue to regulate. Even if we managed to stay out of the Single Currency and out of Schengen, those failed dreams will continue to have ramifications for the UK.
But back to our own case? What will non-EU Britain in, say, 2030 look like? I have no idea, and neither does anyone else. The point is that it will be a democracy, and that we, the people, having taken back sovereignty in 2016, will continue to exercise it. So what post-Brexit Britain will be like will be our decision, and no one else’s. It will depend partly upon the negotiations carried out by the current Conservative government, but it will depend far more upon for whom we vote in 2020 and 2025.
You might want to see the railways renationalised. I don’t. But freed from the EU, you could vote for Mr Corbyn’s Labour Party, and I could vote for someone else. You might want to see immigration slashed. Personally, I’d prefer to tackle immigration through the welfare system. But again, we could cast our votes for candidates who reflected our views.
No one can really say, with any certainty, what Britain will be like in 2030 if she chooses to remain in the EU. The difference is that the EUs direction of travel will not be something that we can influence with our participation in any democratic process.
But on the other hand, although none of us has a crystal ball, it’s simply not true to imagine that after Brexit the UK would find herself in some sort of directionless chaos. As most analyses suggest, Brexit Britain will be neither a disaster nor a utopia.
Daniel Hannan maps out a direction for Britain after Brexit in fairly general terms in his book Why Vote Leave? But two more, rather cautious, road maps are worth a look: