THE PHRASE ‘Take Back Control’ will go down as one of the most famous and influential campaign slogans in political history. Not only was it a call to action during the EU Referendum campaign, it summed up perfectly the thoughts of millions of Britons who had grown tired of this country not holding power over its own governance.
In the five years since then, Brexiteers have had to fight tooth and nail to implement the vote to Leave the European Union, a fight which is far from being over. Even if it was, the principle of ‘Taking Back Control’ goes far beyond just our relationship with the EU, it is a mentality which must persist into our existence as an independent nation and factor into our every decision within the international community, making sure we are never again under the control of a foreign power.
Having finally left the European Union, the United Kingdom has already reclaimed its own position within a number of collaborative global organisations, for example the World Trade Organisation and the World Health Organisation, and we are able to put forward suggestions which reflect our own priorities and show leadership on the world stage.
What this increased participation in international bodies must not create however, is a situation where the UK relinquishes elements of its national sovereignty in order to sign up to grandiose visions and projects dominated and governed by foreign powers and organisations.
For example, having spent so long fighting with the EU to keep full control over our domestic tax rates during negotiations with Michel Barnier and the rest of the EU, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have subsequently decided to follow an amended proposal made by the President of the United States, Joe Biden, for a global minimum rate of Corporate Tax. Some might say this is a noble goal, but now we are out of the EU, this policy is one of the last things we should be doing. Signing up to such a globalist policy takes away our autonomy to encourage growth and investment in our own country at a time when we are now in direct competition with others and trying to fight back from a devastating economic crisis.
On top of retaining control over our sovereignty on the international stage, we must also make sure not to make the mistake of taking the naïve option of allowing foreign companies and powers to have undue control over our vital domestic industries – such as the defence and energy sectors. However – as has become customary over the last few years – again the Government is acting at a snail’s pace, burying its head in the sand and pretending nothing other than Covid-19 is taking place.
Last week UK Aerospace specialist Meggitt, which has contracts with the Ministry of Defence and produces key components for Boeing, Airbus and BAE Systems, accepted a £6.3 billion takeover by US rival Parker Hannifin and another separate £7 billion bid by yet another US firm, TransDigm. The week before saw Ultra, a major supplier to the Royal Navy, also facing a proposed takeover by US defence contractors, Cobham. On both counts the Government has confirmed it is “monitoring the situation”, yet we see no action to intervene and utilise the options at its disposal to block these sales which could put UK security interests at risk.
As of now, yes, we work very closely with our American and European allies, however the sands of international politics shift very quickly. As an independent country we should not expose ourselves to unnecessary vulnerabilities which could undermine our national security. You can be certain if these were British companies launching takeovers of American defence companies, there would be a lot more resistance than we see from our own Government.
The last thing we should be doing as a newly independent nation is surrendering the powers we have only just regained, or handing over control of our critical industries to foreign powers and companies. The Prime Minister has talked endlessly about ‘Levelling-Up’ and pushing to ‘Get Brexit Done’, yet all this means nothing if we are not fully in control of what is happening in this country, as was the case during all those years we were members of the EU!
International cooperation can be excellent, and the UK should try to take a leading role in trying to resolve the biggest issues facing the planet. However, now we are finally outside the European Union, we must not abandon the principles that ‘Take Back Control’, because we must make sure this country is in the strongest position to succeed, whilst safeguarding our own priorities.
Photo of UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak meeting US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, by Office of U.S. Treasury Secretary – https://twitter.com/SecYellen/status/1400533779173761027, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=106404927