It’s true that in 2018, it was almost impossible to look at the news without it being distorted by Brexit. Brexit was everywhere, it still is, and it won’t go away. Utilised by struggling businesses as a justification, appearing in market and economic analyses and attached onto every news item possible; good or bad. Some of it reasonable, but most of it, not. Ineluctably, Brexit has a long way to go, with many obstacles on the way. However, the most important thing to remember is that we, the British are wise when it comes to handling situations like this one. This would never be an easy task. In 2007, I remember Charles Grant of the Centre for European Reform, in London, warned us about the EU constitution. He warned us that at the time, Britain may be the bigger wild card.
This reminds me of the early 80s, when Mrs Thatcher took office. If I look back at my journey since I left school, she faced a similar situation – the minor strikes, when coal was used to produce maximum capacity for electricity, council tax issues, banding of housing, the Falklands issue, and unemployment hitting more than 3 million. On top of that, she had to negotiate with the EU with regards to a similar task – keeping our Sterling and discussing rebates.
Her policy transformed labour laws and she was all about creating opportunities. Mrs Thatcher’s ability to privatise, for example, British Telecoms, has had a clear impact, one of which being the new opportunities generated, as today we have more than 200 emerging licensed operators. Now, people could move from one job to the other i.e. between BT, T-Mobile, Orange and EE. Competition opened up and people were able to move freely between businesses and able to buy shares which helped the UK to become a financially-vibrant community. This has provided growth, financial security and connectivity.
What we have seen in Theresa May in the past few months is that she has a similar ability to face any problem no matter how complex it may be. She dealt with the Salisbury incident with a firm hand and did not allow the perpetrators to go unpunished. The whole world stood behind her in solidarity against the threat posed by these individuals. In addition, because of the unsuccessful no-confidence vote in December, she has had more time to negotiate with EU Leaders.
The UK is getting ready for whatever lies ahead. After months of pressure from the Prime Minister and UK regulators, the EU officially agreed and unveiled their plan to allow EU firms to have access to London-based clearing houses, the key infrastructure behind trillions of euros worth of trades. That is evidently a good sign and shows that Theresa May will be able to negotiate new free trade arrangements during the transition period. Britain will remain a thriving financial hub and an economic role model for the rest of the world.
During a visit to Imperial College, scientists and researchers were explaining the journeys that they had made to get to where they are. They were from several different areas around the world, such as the Midlands and as far as Libya and Portugal. There is a magic ingredient that arises in the brilliant mix of talent and opportunity, when people from several different backgrounds meet, share ideas, and cooperate. This variety of talented people keeps and will keep Britain ruling the waves.
It was Edward Heath in the 70s who took us to the EU, Mrs Thatcher who negotiated a deal in the 80s allowing us to keep our currency and receiving rebates from them. And most recently, David Cameron, who initiated the EU referendum and Theresa May leading the negotiations, almost as if history is repeating itself. It is again the Conservative leadership who will lift us out of this current uncertainty.
I have faith in Theresa May. No doubt, in or out, her charismatic leadership will create opportunities for both the UK and the EU. It will be important to seize new opportunities such as trade deals with other countries, but in the time of need, the Conservative leaders will sail this country into a new era.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author.
Adam Gheasuddin has expertise in the customer service industry, having previously worked as an operations manager for the past thirty years. He actively supports the Conservative Party through various means including as a Conservative Party candidate.