What are the Benefits of Brexit?
A long list of things we never seem to hear about
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What are the benefits of Brexit —really?
It’s a question you hear a lot these days, not just among angry Remainers who are utterly convinced there are no benefits whatsoever but also a growing number of voters who have, clearly, become more sceptical about Brexit and its effects.
Personally, I never campaigned for Brexit nor voted for it. But having grown up in a working-class family, having spent my life living outside London, and having spent a decade exploring why millions of people up and down the country were so fed-up with the European Union, I understood why many people voted for it.
And unlike the most ardent Remainers, for whom opposing Brexit has morphed into a sort of quasi-religion in which the central ‘truths’ —i.e. Brexit has been disastrous, the EU is superior, Britain is inferior— cannot be questioned, I’m also open to the idea that Brexit has brought us more than a few big benefits.
The mere suggestion of this, of course, is heresy among the left-leaning, anti-Brexit and passionately pro-EU New Elite who dominate the institutions and the national conversation, who spent the last seven years trying to convince if not bully the rest of us into thinking there are no benefits at all. But there are. There really are.
So, in the spirit of us being counter-cultural and pushing back against the dreary orthodoxy in the institutions here are twenty Brexit benefits, things you can reel off next time somebody asks you the question. And if you can think of anymore then do please pop them in the comments below.
Brexit strengthened our representative democracy. We are no longer dragged down by the glaring ‘democratic deficit’ in EU institutions, where there is no meaningful competition for executive power and voters have minimal influence. Current and future governments are no longer ‘locked in’ to decisions that are taken at the EU level. They can no longer be outvoted in the European Council. They are no longer subject to Qualified Majority voting without a veto. They are instead free to choose their own path in what is now a self-governing, independent, and more fully accountable nation-state. And so the link between the British voter and their elected MP is as strong and accountable as it has been since before Britain first joined the EU, in 1973.
Brexit means we will no longer pay EU Budget contributions. In 2020, Britain made an estimated gross contribution (after its rebate) of £17 billion, with a net public sector contribution of around £13 billion. This would have continued each year and increased in the years ahead. Instead, Britain is free to spend this money on whatever it wants. It also means we do not have to contribute to new and ongoing liabilities —such as the EU’s Covid response and borrowing of around €750 billion, or helping pay toward future crises in the EU. This money can be redirected into domestic needs, such as public services.
Brexit means we make our own laws. UK judges, sitting in UK courts, now determine the law of the land in the UK, with judgments issued in English, not French, and accessible to those who speak Welsh. UK courts, including the Supreme Court, are no longer bound by, or obliged to follow, decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union. There are still challenges relating to things like the European Convention on Human Rights but Britain now has full control over its own laws and judiciary.
Brexit means we can have our own trade deals without having to pay the EU for the privilege. As Gully Foyle points out on Twitter, from a trade deal perspective the UK previously had access to more than forty active trade deals as part of EU membership —something it paid billions for. Today, the UK has replicated almost all of these but no longer has to pay to access them. We now have an independent trade policy which will allow a long-term repositioning of the British economy.
Brexit allowed us to make new trade deals which would not be possible were we still in the European Union. Britain has both reformed existing trade deals with countries such as Japan, Singapore, Ukraine, Canada, Mexico and Israel, and struck new trade deals with the likes of Australia, New Zealand and most likely also India. This momentum will only increase in the years ahead.
Brexit allowed us to align ourselves with parts of the world that are growing faster than the European Union. The EU’s share of global GDP is declining as the centre of gravity continues to move toward Africa and Asia. Britain joining the Asia-Pacific Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which brings together the likes of Australia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam, is one example of this. There will be many more.
Brexit allowed us to change our role in the world. Britain was the first to send arms and support to Ukraine, ignoring obstacles in the EU which would have slowed us down during a critical phase in the war. Britain also signed the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal with Australia which will boost security and jobs. This would also have been much harder were we still in the EU. We are more nimble and autonomous outside the European Union.
Brexit allowed us to ditch the free movement of EU nationals and replace it with a points-based immigration system. Sure, it’s currently very unpopular, largely because legal immigration is still being mismanaged by a domestic political elite which leans much further to the cultural left on immigration than most voters. But the key point is we can pick, choose, and change this system at a future election, perhaps with a new party, if we want. In the EU we cannot do this.
Since Brexit, Britain has become more attractive to the most highly qualified skilled workers. In 2023, the OECD said Britain had seen “the largest improvement in the ranking since 2019”, due to its post-Brexit changes to quotas for highly skilled workers and strong labour market outcomes for migrants. Britain, in other words, is now closing in on the likes of Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand as a highly desirable destination for high skilled workers.
Brexit strengthened our response to the Covid pandemic. Britain established its own task force to procure vaccines and avoided the EU’s vaccine procurement strategy. Britain’s roll-out of the vaccines was much faster than the EU’s. While it may have been legally possible for the UK to develop its own response to covid vaccination within the EU, and while some of these benefits were arguably undermined by successive lockdowns, all 27 Member States agreed to allow the EU to conclude Advance Purchase Agreements on their behalf. In the EU, it is highly likely the UK would have joined this EU scheme and therefore been slower. This success has also since attracted other investment from leading companies fighting cancer, which are attracted to our regulatory environment.
And here are another ten benefits …
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