Brexit was the right move but now is no time for triumphalism

Morning View
Morning View

The United Kingdom and to a lesser extent the European Union is deep in crisis.

The Labour Party is in meltdown, and the Tories are hardly in great shape. Scottish nationalists are whipping things up, as are Sinn Fein.

The markets are in turmoil, albeit not collapsing to anything like the degree that the doom mongers predicted.

The European Union does not know what has hit it. Donald Trump is triumphant. Countries as far away as China are concerned at the impact on the global economy.

Even some people who voted for Brexit are wondering if they made a mistake. But Brexit was a symptom of profound problems in an arrogant EU that forged far ahead of the wishes and understanding of its electorates. Even voters in the most pro EU nations such as Germany are now expressing deep levels of Euroscepticism. Brexit has been a trigger for releasing tensions that were near boiling point in any event.

There is no point denying that immigration is one of the unforeseens that changed almost everything. All countries have to be able to respond to an emergency such as the waves of people that have been coming to the EU not just from Syria, but from Africa. This was inevitably going to impact on things such as free movement and open borders.

Britain now has an important opportunity to realign its trade relationship with Europe and the wider world including the Commonwealth. But sensible political leaders (and that does not include Jeremy Corbyn) in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland should come together and adopt the tone that Boris Johnson adopted on Friday: eschewing triumphalism, recognising that there was a huge Remain vote, and emphasising that a desire to limit immigration is not an attack on our much-valued immigrant community.

We need to strike the best deal for the UK in the coming years and as David Cameron said, all four UK countries must play a part in that.