Star comment: We must make Brexit talks a success
It is the defining issue of our era. Brexit has dominated politics for more than a year and will continue to do so for several more.
Following the 2016 EU Referendum, the departure of former Prime Minister David Cameron and Theresa May’s ill-judged and ill-fated snap election, it is finally time to get down to business.
We must hope that negotiations are conducted in a spirit of solidarity and positive co-operation.
The task facing Brexit Secretary David Davis is vast. He is an experienced politician whose Eurosceptic leanings ought not to unduly influence his discussions. He has a simple objective: to fight for the best deal possible for Britain while also building a new and long-lasting relationship with Europe. As he faces 27 other European nations, including some of the most powerful in the world, his challenge will be daunting.
We ought not to underestimate the impact that his work will have on ordinary lives here in Shropshire and Mid Wales.
If Britain ends its membership of the European trading bloc in order to get a grip on immigration – which appears to be the most likely outcome – there will be enormous consequences. Business in Shropshire trade with European partners at preferential, EU tariffs, which may be lost.
The poor result of the Conservatives in the recent General Election may change Britain’s stance. The nation may be more willing to accept a softer Brexit than the harder version proposed before Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party gained so much ground.
It is a time for Britain to seize new opportunities. While one door closes – or, at least, is pulled closer – another will open. Britain can negotiate for better trading relationships around the world and must do so with skill, diplomacy and determination.
Local businesses must look beyond European shores as they develop better trading opportunities.
As Mr Davis leads the negotiations, we must hope that he will gradually bring about greater stability for the country as a whole. Uncertainty is devastating for business and having a stable currency, agreed trading patterns, worker rights and access to global markets are among key issues.
Britain voted for Brexit and there is no turning back. It is up to us to make a success in a new political age.