You are here:   Features > The Brexit cringe — Mrs T would say 'No!'

And in the third place, as a specific example of that, I had become increasingly concerned during my time as Chancellor at the weakness of the system of prudential bank supervision then prevailing in Britain. As a result, and with the full backing of Margaret Thatcher, and against opposition from the Bank of England, I brought into law the 1987 Banking Act, which introduced a new and superior form of prudential supervision for the banks. Sadly, when, a decade later, Labour got into office, they lost little time in abolishing the system we had put in place.

Had they not done so, it would probably still not have been possible to prevent the UK from being adversely affected by the 2008 disaster, but I have no doubt that we would have been considerably less badly affected than in fact we were.

But while Margaret Thatcher would have been appalled by the explicit rejection of Thatcherite economics to which the present government appears committed, I have no doubt that she would have been delighted by the result of the Brexit referendum, and the present government’s determination to implement that result.

I can testify that, throughout her time as Prime Minister, she became progressively more disenchanted with the European Union; and after her departure she wrote openly of the UK leaving the EU as the most likely best course.

But while she would have been delighted by the prospect of Britain regaining its sovereignty outside the EU, she would have been deeply concerned at the current state of the so-called negotiations.

Almost five years ago now I wrote a long article for The Times explaining why the UK should leave the EU. I was the first senior politician to do so. The issue was essentially political. The EU is a political entity whose objective — European political union — we do not share, it is a bureaucratic monstrosity with an inbuilt contempt for democracy, and, as (rightly) a non-member of the eurozone, we were doomed to becoming increasingly marginalised. But I also pointed to the substantial economic benefit of leaving.

This would come in two ways. First, we would no longer have to pay what, despite the UK rebate heroically negotiated by Margaret Thatcher in 1984, is still a massive annual net contribution to the EU budget, now running at well over £10 billion, year in, year out, and rising. And, second, we would regain our regulatory freedom, which would allow us to complete the programme of judicious deregulation which served us so well during the Thatcher years, but which at that time had to be confined to domestic, i.e. non-EU, regulations.

What never occurred to me is that we would need to negotiate a trade deal with the EU. Because we don’t. The WTO system is perfectly acceptable. It is the basis on which we happily trade with most of the rest of the world, and on which most of the rest of the world trades successfully with the rest of the EU.
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April 5th, 2018
10:04 AM
Over at the Spectator it`s Red London looming for Labour and the tories bracing themselves for disaster in the local elections. Nick Cohen, Toby Young and Douglas Murray for the gulags then.

February 25th, 2018
3:02 PM
It does look like Corbyn is already getting the same mainstream media abuse as Trump. So Corbyn will be PM and for all the same reasons and unreasons that made Trump the President of the USA. Are the Tories really worried the Stalinist Labour voters will also want gulags for the Tories ? Brendan O`Neil at the Spectator thinks there`s a Stalinist Terror on the way for the UK. The Tories will end up like the failure Democrats. Unlike the Republican Party the UK Labour Party now has a proper manifesto (thanks to the Brexiteers).

February 7th, 2018
3:02 PM
Since Nigel Lawson quotes Adam Smith it may be pertinent to say that, to work properly, the Smithean Free Market model requires that all participants in a market be small in relation to one another. In a situation where, for example, 70% of retail trade in this country is dominated by four companies and 80% of vehicle manufacturing internationally by five, and 95% of internet services by two, the model breaks down. Instead, we have oligopoly. The number of major corporate scandals in the past 15 years demonstrates the enormity of such power and the manner in which it has become arrogant, corrupt and greedy beyond words. If the result of the free trade agenda has been (as in the USA) the wholesale off-shoring of our productive capacity, then something has been fundamentally wrong. Trade is fine, providing we trade at a profit. We don't, nor have done for decades.

February 5th, 2018
2:02 PM
The Tories have the worst `delusions of adequacy`. And express them. Just like Prince Charles. Every council house built is a vote for Labour so Thatcher gave tenants the right to buy and sell them to corrupt landlords who then triple the rent or resell at ten tines the price. And the Grenfell Towers tenants haven`t even been rehoused yet. The Chinese Communist Party are the best at` managing` capitalism so far, And #MeToo and #TimesUp have reached Islam. It`s popular culture and science that`s educating the world. The Labour Party is now part of popular culture.

Miklos Legrady
February 2nd, 2018
8:02 AM
it does sound like sovereign nation state are passé.

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