A Pox on the Patriarchy
Another day, another substanceless soundbite from a government rapidly running out of ideas. Yesterday it was Singapore’s turn to have its day in the sun. Jeremy Hunt flew to the city state to give a speech in which he outlined what Brexit Britain could learn from a country of flat taxes and deregulation. Since Singapore gained independence in 1965, Hunt said, the country’s gross domestic product per capita had multiplied 15 times; the clear implication was that, once Britain gains its own “independence”, it can follow suit.
This is a dishonest sleight of hand. Singapore used to be a British colony, meaning that gaining independence was the definition of taking back control. By contrast, Britain wields significant power in the EU as a rule-maker, and we elect our representatives. But if we leave the EU under the terms of the Brexit Theresa May is trying to foist on us, we become rule-takers. We lose independence. We, ironically, lose control.
This is far from the only way in which the Foreign Secretary is trying to deceive us. While Singapore advocates like Owen Paterson have been openabout their “low-tax, low-spend, low-regulation” vision of Brexit Britain, Hunt chooses his words more carefully. “We do not want and do not seek to emulate the social or political model of Singapore,” he assured listeners of the BBC’s Today programme. But in the speech he delivered a matter of hours later, he spoke of Britain learning from Singapore’s “strategic approach to how a nation sustains competitive advantage in the world”.
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