As the clock struck 11pm last night, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland legally left the European Union, ending 47 years of membership. Those who supported this endeavour may deservedly raise a glass to mark the moment that our nation starts a new chapter in its history. For many it is the culmination of years of campaigning, and a day we thought may never come to pass.
However, it would also be fitting to pause to reflect on the rancour of the past nearly four years, and to pray that it is never repeated. Our institutions and constitution have been buffeted; it is now neccessary that the process of renewal and healing should begin. Leaving the EU opens up new challenges for governing: how to maximise the benefits of free trade for consumers while balancing the demands of UK producers; how to create an immigration system that suits both businesses and ordinary citizens; how to have a flourishing agricultural and fisheries policy that considers sustainability and conservation. Yet fundamentally this is what statecraft involves. Leaving the European Union changes the whole nature of politics from simply following a set of enshrined rules that now seem out-dated, to the practice of balancing competing interests to create a harmonious society for all. This requires flexibility of mind and pragmatism, traits that are embedded in the character of our people. Let us remember who we are, and have faith in our abilities.
As Steve Baker said in Parliament earlier this month, “this is no time for timidity. This is a time for boldness in purposeful action.” History shows that we are more than up to the task. It is for the Government, led by our ebullient and optimistic Prime Minister, to win over the remaining sceptics to prove that the Conservative Party is once again the natural home of success.
Conservative Voice will be right behind him.