Besides world-class transport and high-speed connectivity, we also need, despite immigration controls, a stable labor supply, which means better skills. To ensure a high-wage, high-productivity economy, vocational training must be at the heart of UK post-Brexit policy, with its own dedicated Cabinet post. There need not be an erosion of workers’ rights and a regulatory race to the bottom and, despite the alarmism, I do not think there will be – especially since our own Parliament will be in the driver’s seat, with the Tories keen to retain support in newly won seats in former Labor heartland seats.
Although Brexit has now taken place legally, we of course need more certainty about our current relationship with the EU. In the next trade negotiations, before the end of the unchanged “implementation period” in December, the UK is again well placed.
While negotiating with an ill-fated Theresa May, the Brussels-based Eurocrats still had a chance to overturn Brexit, so they were allowed to dictate EU strategy. But with Johnson in control of the Commons and Brexit ‘done’, EU governments know it’s now about damage control – and will be more heavily involved.
Leaders of EU member states and their trade lobbies know that the EU’s £94 billion trade deficit translates into billions of euros in profits and millions of EU jobs. We need to be aware of our strengths, rejecting outright the Eurocrats’ attempts at “sequencing”. All issues must be addressed simultaneously, including Britain’s continued commitment to defence, security and intelligence, which in the eyes of the EU is priceless.