At 11pm on Friday 31st January we are out of the E.U. Setting aside the historic and momentous occasion which I will joyfully celebrate. We Northern Irelanders need to be asserting our right to a piece of the action.
So stop grumping in the Executive over a done deal and appoint a Stormont Brexit Minister – a wheeler dealer trouble shooter able to connect our business interests with all available market places and to establish the Northern Ireland ‘is good for investment’ message across to important players.
That person ought to be a reputable outsider – working with the Executive to deliver clarity to our captains of trade and industry, a person to brief the Executive on the opportunity prospects open to Northern Ireland, a person with the nous to flush out what remaining in a customs union means for us and what we are losing by not being free to compete in all markets open to the rest of the U.K.
We have some of the best business brains available in the world. It would be negligent not to employ one of their number and give him or her a big role in steering a steady course in sealing Brexit terms for Northern Ireland. Sound sense makes sense.
There is every chance that the border in the Irish sea can be removed by stealth during the transition period negotiations, a possibility that a No Deal would be the final end game outcome. This is the reason why we need a Brexit Minister preparing for all eventualities.
It is now or never for the Executive to establish its credibility to govern. Should they choose to sulk shrouded in negativity and shut the doors of opportunity open to our economy they will lose all support. Politically and socially our awareness of what is going on must take us to the point of reaching out and connecting with the world in a positive and concerted effort to win new friends and influence old allies. The Northern Irelanders I love and respect are not quitters ever. We need to push the Executive to position itself as part and parcel of the U.K. and let the world know who we are and what we have to offer.
Recently the IMF and PWC in separate but crucially similar conclusions with gusto and authority reported that over the next two years the U.K. will outperform all major E.U. economies in the Eurozone. The two powerhouse financial giants said that the U.K. is an increasingly attractive place in which to invest. In case the Executive missed it – we are included in the U.K’s prosperity rating!
With the predictions pointing to small economies like Ireland suffering from non-growth and inflation they will not be in a good place caught in the customs union restrictions. Even though they depend heavily on the U.K. for trade and profit they cannot defend their keeping Northern Ireland in a trade border for selfish economic reasons rather than the limp use of the Belfast Agreement. Neither is acceptable when we risk being dragged down with the Irish into economic ruin.
Appoint a Brexit Minister and let the appointee define publicly where our future best lies. Let’s have the truth from those in business, trade commerce, industry, agriculture, fishing, technology, tourism etc. Get the message out there Northern Ireland is ready and open for business across the U.K. Europe, China and the western world. There is no time to waste fooling around with the lives of peoples and prosperity.