The results of the UK elections have shown something that I have commented on several occasions: The widely spread narrative that British citizens had regretted having voted for Brexit was simply incorrect.
We already had the evidence in the European elections, where the Brexit Party won with 31.6% of the votes, but the general elections have been even clearer. The Conservative Party won by an absolute majority (more than 360 seats and 43.6% of the votes).
The failure of Labour’s radicalism led by Jeremy Corbyn has been spectacular, and his interventionist messages, reminiscent of the terrible Harold Wilson period, added to his vague stance on Brexit and how to finance his promises of “everything free at any cost” have led the party to its worst results since 1935 and losing key seats in constituencies that always voted Labour since 1945.
Up to 18 Labour historical footholds passed to a conservative majority including Blyth, Darlington, Workington, Great Grimsby or Bassetlaw. In Wales, the Conservative party snatched six seats from the socialists. The transfer of Labour votes to conservatives exceeded 4.7%, according to the Press Association. The interventionist and extremist proposals of Jeremy Corbyn have caused them to lose votes even in pro-Remain districts (-6.4% according to the BBC).
Months of attempts to whitewash the image of Jeremy Corbyn by parts of the media have not been able to eliminate his history of extremism and interventionism, his refusal to apologize for cases of anti-Semitism and his incompetence in explaining the economic program. Corbyn led a traditionally moderate and social-democratic formation to the most retrograde and interventionist proposals of its recent history.
Johnson won by absolute majority with a much more moderate, positive and pro-growth message, but, above all, unquestionable in terms of delivering Brexit.
Johnson has not only reached a much wider spectrum of voters but Corbyn has annihilated his options with Labour’s own more moderate voters by radicalizing his message in a country where any citizen over 45 remembers the economic disasters of socialism.
The UK elections should be an opportunity for everyone to learn several lessons.
The opportunity of these elections is enormous. The European Union can strengthen its project and implement the agreement signed with the Johnson government in a beneficial way for all member states. It is a pity that the United Kingdom does not want to continue in the European Union, but we have to look to the future. For the UK, it is clearly an opportunity to strengthen the economy focusing on job creation and attraction of capital.
The United Kingdom will implement growth policies and competitive taxation. This is not just good for UK citizens. It is a much-needed reminder for the European Union to abandon its most interventionist temptations and focus on being competitive, attractive and productive.
The European Union faces significant economic, demographic and technological challenges. The UK can develop its competitiveness and investment appeal and, by doing so, the European Union can benefit. The United Kingdom is not a threat. It’s an example. A partner for all member states and a reminder of which policies work and how socialism and interventionism are never the answer.
Johnson is not a danger. He is the prime minister of an allied country and partner that will continue to be so. The danger to the European Union is not Johnson, it is interventionist temptation. Let’s fight it.
A version of this article first appeared here.
Daniel Lacalle is one the most influential economists in the world. He is Chief Economist at Tressis SV, Fund Manager at Adriza International Opportunities, Member of the advisory board of the Rafael del Pino foundation, Commissioner of the Community of Madrid in London, President of Instituto Mises Hispano and Professor at IE Business School, London School of Economics, IEB and UNED. Mr. Lacalle has presented and given keynote speeches at the most prestigious forums globally including the Federal Reserve in Houston, the Heritage Foundation in Washington, London School of Economics, Funds Society Forum in Miami, World Economic Forum, Forecast Summit in Peru, Mining Show in Dubai, Our Crowd in Jerusalem, Nordea Investor Summit in Oslo, and many others. Mr Lacalle has more than 24 years of experience in the energy and finance sectors, including experience in North Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. He is currently a fund manager overseeing equities, bonds and commodities. He was voted Top 3 Generalist and Number 1 Pan-European Buyside Individual in Oil & Gas in Thomson Reuters’ Extel Survey in 2011, the leading survey among companies and financial institutions. He is also author of the best-selling books: “Life In The Financial Markets” (Wiley, 2014), translated to Portuguese and Spanish ; “The Energy World Is Flat” (Wiley, 2014, with Diego Parrilla), translated to Portuguese and Chinese ; “Escape from the Central Bank Trap” (2017, BEP), translated to Spanish. Mr Lacalle also contributes at CNBC, World Economic Forum, Epoch Times, Mises Institute, Hedgeye, Zero Hedge, Focus Economics, Seeking Alpha, El Español, The Commentator, and The Wall Street Journal. He holds a PhD in Economics, CIIA financial analyst title, with a post graduate degree in IESE and a master’s degree in economic investigation (UCV).