During the referendum, the Remain camp broke down into three broad groups when it came to truthfulness and fear. Many genuinely believed that a Leave vote would cause doom and disaster on every front. Others believed some of it, and were willing to over-egg the pudding in an attempt to win. A few didn’t care whether any of it was true or not, but were happy to deploy any old fear if they thought it would serve their ideological commitment to ever closer union with the EU.
Now that we have indeed voted Leave, we get to see to what extent those warnings were true. Ought we to be retreating to our cellars with a stock of bottled water and canned food, or are there signs that all those warnings were in fact either untrue or ill-founded?
Today’s news contains three more reasons to be cheerful:
- Job numbers are up. Despite talk of ‘recruitment freezes’ and the endless repetition of the discredited ‘three million jobs’ claim, today we learn from a major recruitment agency that they have seen a sizeable rise in job opportunities.
- Countries are already lining up to hammer out trade deals. Remember how we’d be ‘isolated’, a ‘little England’ left at ‘the back of the queue’? Australia is just the latest nation to seek a free trade deal with a newly independent UK. And for all the fretting that we lack trade negotiators (unsurprisingly, given the EU controlled our trade policy for 40 years), there is still a well of talent in the City for the Government to draw on.
- Those warnings that EU migrants already here would all be ‘sent home’ weren’t true. Leave campaigners were also clear that this wasn’t being proposed – but, shamefully, senior Remain figures like Will Straw were willing to raise the spectre of mass deportations. As David Davis re-emphasises today, it won’t be happening.
For a long time, Eurosceptics were accused of being fantasists – wildly over-optimistic about the prospects of an independent Britain. Now it seems that the opposite was in fact the case: those who advocated staying in the EU on the basis that Britain could not manage its own affairs were being unrealistically negative.
Is everything guaranteed to go our way? No – it never is. Are there risks in the world, and challenges in the British economy? Of course – but it was always thus. Will it be hard work, running the country democratically, accountably and openly? Yes. But it can be done, and done well. Having some confidence in our potential is the first step.