This article by Roger Bootle dated 28th March 2021 makes the point that "If Britain is to succeed outside the Union there is no point in doing things the EU way. Divergence is the way forward".
The British Government’s handling of the pandemic has included many mistakes, but now it is at least partially redeemed by our successful vaccination programme. By contrast, it is widely recognised even within the European Union that the bloc has handled vaccination extremely badly.
It is tempting to believe this is a one-off but it isn’t. It fits in with an established pattern of bad EU decision-making. Moreover, it raises important questions about how the EU needs to change, as well as about how we can make a success of Brexit.
In the 1960s when the UK was making overtures to join what we now call the EU, this tendency to make bad decisions was not by and large established. The one major exception was the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which we always knew was a colossal waste of money.
Indeed, the prime motivating force behind the case for British membership was the realisation that our economic growth rate was lower than theirs. The combination of the size of the European market and what appeared to be their greater economic competence suggested that we would be more prosperous if we joined.
The negative side to this argument was a suspicion that we British couldn’t run our economy properly, as evidenced by the record of relative decline, high inflation and appalling levels of industrial unrest. But over the next quarter century this pattern was reversed.
During the Brexit referendum campaign in 2016, I was frequently asked how the economic costs and benefits would stack up if we left the Union. I started by doing the usual totting up of gains and losses from such things as leaving the Single Market and signing Free Trade Agreements with other countries.
But I argued that the net benefit from these factors was not the most important issue at stake. The most important issue concerned governance - that is to say, how well our governing institutions made decisions and enacted policies.
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