Britain's Global Leadership:
The Positive Future for a UK Outside the EU
By Ewen Stewart
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, June
The Bruges Group firmly believes that we need to reframe the
debate to focus on the positives that Britain poses, in particular our
excellent global links, higher education, to the City of London and
technical brilliance in manufacturing. The UK, when freed from the
restraints of the EU, has numerous attributes. Quite simply we do not
have to be governed by Brussels to secure our prosperity, in fact far
from it. This research, by Ewen Stewart, makes the positive case for
Members of the Bruges Group will receive this
research for free.
• Inside the EU we are punching below our
weight and should do better. Self-belief coupled with a hard analysis of
the nexus of power and strategic advantage will lead to this being
addressed but that can only be so once we are outside of the EU.
• The Eurocentric orientation of the UK is misplaced. Emerging markets,
by 2018 are expected to account for 45% of world GDP and the European
Union’s share will have declined from 34.1% to 20.2%, with the Eurozone
representing an even smaller 14.6%. China’s share is predicted to
surpass the entire Eurozone by 2018.
• Nations that can address
this extraordinary shift in global growth will capitalise most
effectively on these new trade flows. The attractive European trade
bloc, of the 1970’s does not look so attractive in this light, given the
Eurozone’s inexorable decline of the share of global GDP. The UK is
uniquely well placed to exploit these shifting trading patterns given
its global links and its service and financial sector bias.
Britain is uniquely positioned globally in terms of economic, cultural
and soft and hard power assets. The UK is home to the world’s global
language, the world’s most global city and many of the most notable
global universities and research institutes. British legal ideas and the
common law approach is admired the world over. It is the basis of our
stability. These advantages would continue irrespective of our
membership of the EU.
• British manufacturing remains comfortably
within the top ten, in terms of output, globally. The UK is now a net
exporter of motor cars with four out of every five cars produced in
Britain exported. Britain is the world’s second most significant
aerospace manufacturer, possesses two out of the top ten global
pharmaceutical companies while also having strong positions in marine,
defence systems, food, beverage and tobacco manufacture, off-shore
engineering and high-end engineering and electronics. British design, be
it in fashion or sports cars, continues to be world beating.
The UK retains a key skills base and has developed a high-end,
high-margin capability. Membership of the EU, with its cost pressures
has almost certainly done more harm than good to this capability.
Industry has little to fear from withdrawal.
• The UK is a world
leader in sport, media and culture. Higher education is also a great
strength with British universities ranked amongst the best in the world.
This coupled with the growing strength of the English language and our
traditional excellent global links gives the UK real influence in world
affairs. This will not change once we are outside the EU.
the US is the pre-eminent power accounting for 39% of all global defence
expenditure and an even greater technological lead the UK’s defence
expenditure remains in the global top 4. Technologically too Britain’s
forces, while numerically modest, are highly advanced. Technology
generally trumps numbers. The UK is perhaps one of only 5 or 6 nations
that can still project power across the globe.
• As the world’s
5th largest economy Britain will not be isolated by leaving the EU. On
the contrary British power would, in some cases, be enhanced. For
example we would swap our 12% EU voting weight at the World Trade
Organisation for a 100% British vote.
• The UK is currently
estimated to be a member of 96 different international governmental
organisations so the loss of one such organisation, albeit a very
important one, is unlikely to be damaging.
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