Recently, Brexiteers such as Jacob Rees-Mogg have described the post-war capitalist system in Europe, including Britain, as a “failed model”. In my view this model is far from perfect but has delivered peace and prosperity on a scale that has never been achieved before anywhere in the world.
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However, Mr Rees-Mogg is clearly looking for a new economic model that could be even more ‘successful’.
Brexiters frequently state that rates of economic growth in Europe are lower than many other countries, including the so-called ‘BRICS’ countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). These countries have still to reach levels of national income that are seen in Europe but are recording rapid growth and could offer an alternative economic model. This is one based on reduced rights for employees and consumers; reduced environmental protection; social and economic inequality; a minimal welfare state; fewer civil rights and in many cases authoritarian government.
Last year I visited Russia. It is a fascinating country, but its contemporary politics are inspired by nostalgia for the time of the Tsars rather than the principles of the revolution of 1917. The regime is nationalistic, authoritarian and conservative; and wealth and power are concentrated in the hands of a small and corrupt elite. I have also worked in South Africa that is a wonderful country but where, despite the ending of ‘apartheid’ there is still significant poverty, inequality and corruption.
I have never been to Brazil, China or India but China has one of the most repressive regimes in the world and none are perfect examples for a model that we should be following.
Another interesting observation was by Nigel Farage a few weeks ago, who said that: "There's a new world order and Donald Trump is in charge". Donald Trump has described the European democracies as his ‘foes’, expressed admiration for Russia, welcomed ‘Brexit’ and described NATO as ‘obsolete’. Mr Trump also wants a new international order. I do not think this is the way forward for Britain.
Clearly ‘Brexit’ is not just about Britain leaving the European Union. It is part of a larger international movement that is designed to sweep away the post-war settlement in Europe and the world, replacing it with a ‘new world order’ based on what some may regard as a more nationalistic and ‘efficient’ approach!
This is not the way forward for Britain, and this is why I think it's essential that we get a People's Vote on the final Brexit deal.
Adrian Waite is a member of European Movement and originally sent an version of this article as a letter to the New European.