The point about free trade is that it’s free. No strings attached. I sell you what I have and you sell me what you have. Everybody wins. No tariffs. No political obligations. No conflict of interest.
The European Union is wholly opposed to this.
No one denies that Brexit is a risk and it will of course have short-term economic consequences, but those who shout this at the TV cameras on a weekly basis (Remoaners) are more concerned with the long-term political consequences – which they dislike.
Brexit is a risk but it is one worth taking because for the last forty years Britain has been stifled by a protectionist trading block.
That is what the European Union is. You have to be a member of it in order to reap its rewards; and the more committed you are the better your rate of return. The EU Customs Union imposes a “common external tariff” on all goods entering the EU from the rest of the world, but no levies are imposed on goods travelling within the Customs Union. Does that sound free or fair?
Not to non-members (i.e. the rest of the world). But neither is it surprising: various European dictators in history have sought to maximise Europe’s gain at the expense of the rest. It is called mercantilism and it flourished under King Louis XIV of France, in Renaissance Italy and in a more extreme form under the Nazis.
This is exactly what Adam Smith, the godfather of free trade, lamented.
So those who oppose Brexit based on an economic argument are being disingenuous – the reason why they hate Brexit is because they believe that it is anathema to their world view of an open, globalised world.
The truth however is that it is free trade which delivers it. That it is the economic argument which has won throughout history. And it is why Brexit must happen.