Admittedly, it has taken a long time for the British to come round to the idea of belonging to Europe, or so we thought, evidently we haven't come round to the idea at all. This is perhaps because we are an island nation and not physically attached to the mainland of Europe, so at a psychological level we never saw ourselves as "joined".
Many will take exception to the use of a Jack in the title photograph, but we put it there by way of an explanation for our behaviour. The Jack, and not the "Union Jack" was a navel flag flown by the royal Navy, which to history buffs will remind people that we are, in our history, the following; a trading nation, and the first nation to have a navy to protect our national interests and trading routes. We are, and have always been a trading nation. Our participation in the EU was always an idealistic sentiment founded on the need to secure "peace in our time" and never really, adequately dealt with our need for international trade. We are still the 7th largest manufacturer in the world and the 5th largest economy in the world. We are the 78th smallest country in the world by land mass and the 21st largest country by population. According to the IMF a few years ago, Britain was destined to be the largest economy in the world in the next 20 years.
There will be a lot of hand-wringing over the coming months as people come to terms with the changes we are embarking upon. Much of that worry is simply a reaction to change; let's face it, we had it easy in the EU, so why put ourselves through all of this? But the facts are as follows:
- We have one of the largest banking systems in the world and certainly the most efficient, which means that fiscal arbitration of the exit will be swift and efficient.
- We have an enormous amount of IP (Intellectual property) in the country and some of the finest universities and research in the world.
- We have a large, educated and relatively cheap workforce and an efficient and dynamic manufacturing base.
- We are as a nation, at our heart, innovative, we like to solve problems.
- We have our own trading block still in place in the form of the Commonwealth.
- We still have our own currency, which at one time was the global standard for trade, and therefore is perceived as a strong and reliable currency.
- We have English Law, which is the foundation of trade Law and the defacto standard for International trade around the world.
- And, finally, not necessarily proudly, we are a small insular island filled with people that actually like to suffer together. We pull together in hardship and our sometimes xenophobic pride means that we are at our heart a very effective national team. Brexit will restore pride and identity to the general population of England, who for many years have suffered an identity crisis.