EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement
“My Lords, I too congratulate my noble friend Lord Wharton of Yarm on an excellent maiden and declare my interests in the register. In view of the time, I will focus on what we now need to do given that the PM has kept his promise to leave and has agreed a deal.
Brexit and many other cataclysmic events in recent times, including Covid, have highlighted several things. First, the biggest challenge we face in the world today, even with Covid causing untold havoc, is how to share power peacefully, whether you are a President, the head of an institution or an organisation, or a citizen or voter.
Secondly, the internet, for all its faults, is a gift to help us mobilise beyond government or any given establishment to gather the wisdom of people and to enable them to shape their lives if we share with them the tools to do so, to work with us to create a country that is more resilient and in which freedom, especially to think and express ourselves how we want to while honouring those we disagree with, is respected. Indeed, any time that freedom is curtailed or misunderstood, here and abroad, we will see trouble. The referendum and the subsequent turmoil and schisms illustrates that, as does the rise of the uglier end of populism when we fail to understand how frustrated people feel
in an age of superfast smartphones yet in which institutions, particularly but not limited to larger ones, such as government, feel ponderous and bureaucratic.
Let us use this freedom that Brexit now provides to make a better, more affordable, less stifled, more levelled-up life for our people, but let them have a say and a hand in it. To do this, we need to create looser, more agile, more relatable institutions, using technology and ancient wisdom to bring power and decision-making closer to homes, cities and regions, in health and education, in rural and coastal affairs and in many other areas, so that we can better weather future pandemics and future shocks, and so that we can heal.
In this sense, Brexit is not over. The time to rebuild Britain and to address Brexit’s causes resiliently has only just begun. I am curious to know what the Minister has to say on this matter.”