I CANNOT believe that in just over a year we will have finally escaped from the EU. Admittedly there will be a period of transition, but the clutches of the hand of a foreign government will be finally over. Britain will again be an independent land and no longer a province of a European super-state. A nation once again!
However, 2018 isn’t a time for complacency. There are those quislings who will stop at nothing to try to scupper any plans for an ordered Brexit. They have revelled over Theresa May and her weak government and loved the way in which the EU has dictated the terms of our leaving.
At times, it has looked as though the EU has decided exactly how we will leave and will give us no quarter whatsoever. It is as if Brussels doesn’t care about us being outside the EU – as long as we still pay our way and abide by European legislation and all that comes with it.
Yet, in 2018, I sense there will be a sea change. As the reality starts to dawn in capital cities throughout Europe that we are finally off, individual countries will suddenly sit up and try to give us the best deal possible. Only the diehard Eurocrats in Brussels will try to continue to punish us for daring to believe we can go it alone in the world without their banker-backed, big business dictatorship telling us what we should do and when we should do it.
Presidents and prime ministers from France to the Russian borders will be queuing up to make sure they have business access to Britain. They know that any form of trade sanctions against us would mean the loss of European jobs. Money doesn’t just talk, it’s shouts common sense into the ears of those who previously just listened to Juncker. Sadly for them, he isn’t going to be able to fill the void not trading with Britain would leave.
Throughout Europe, there is a growing realisation that the great experiment is failing. More and more countries are waking up to the fact that Project Utopia is doomed. A common currency is at risk of collapse and it will only take one country, such as Italy or Greece, to go under and the whole thing will be finished. Mass immigration is forcing financial pressures on most EU countries and the summer of 2018 could see the start of a public backlash against this.
Britain and Europe are at odds over Russia, with some EU leaders being reluctant to accuse Vladimir Putin of attempting to kill a double agent. I have to ask, why is it quite okay for Britain to blow up home-grown jihadists on the soil of a foreign state, but not for Russia to neutralise a traitor? Europe needs Britain to bolster its defences. Our Army and Navy are a crucial part of their protection and we are honour- bound to help them should Russian tanks start rolling across Poland.
In 2018, we will see a firming up of our military relationship with Europe outside the EU. I expect nothing will change. There will still be the exchange of information and our troops will train together. It will be business as usual.
Closer to home, I would advise farmers to be taking stock of what Brexit will mean to them in 2018. Subsidies have long played a significant part in the finances of British agriculture and now is not the time for the Government to hang farmers out to dry as it has done in the past with fishermen and coal miners. It is not good enough for current subsidies to continue to 2022. Farmers need time to make sure they can provide food security for the UK and must be paid well for this. Perhaps we should all start paying what a pint of milk is actually worth and not the pittance forced down by multinational supermarket chains.
The same is true of our dishevelled fishing industry. After all, it was the disastrous EU Common Fisheries Policy that was responsible for putting people out of work and damaging precious fish stocks with the discard policy.
Britain needs to reclaim its waters from the moment we leave next March. There should be no transition period. Our historic fishing industry needs protection. As I go for my morning walk along the promenade at Whitby, I would love to see a British gunboat setting sail to protect our fishing waters from foreign intruders. British fish for British fishermen working under an eco-friendly and sustainable fishing policy is what we need.
I have great hopes for 2018. I really do feel that we will be pleasantly surprised by what life will be like post-Brexit. All we have to do is get through what will be a turbulent political year before we reach the calm waters of true sovereignty.
GP Taylor is a writer and broadcaster from Scarborough.