The referendum decision to leave the EU has proved a real chance for Britain to renew itself, to regain its confidence in itself, and to take decisions that have been put off for too long. There are many features of modern Britain that are simply inadequate to serve its needs today. Some have not been tackled for a lack of political will, and the fear of confronting established interests that act against the national good. Some have been allowed to continue with occasional tinkering at the edges, when a comprehensive overhaul would be more appropriate. Some have not been tackled because our membership of the EU and the obligation to accept its rules has prevented us from doing what is necessary in the national interest.
It is as if the nation has been on automatic drift, plodding on with no clear sense of direction and purpose. A patchwork quilt of policies has evolved from a series of historical events, with no-one taking a clear look at where the nation should be heading if it is to serve the needs of its people in a changing world. The nation has fallen into managerialism as its governing ethos, with the view that the purpose of politics should be to manage things as they are, perhaps more efficiently, perhaps more competently, than the party in opposition might achieve, but without looking at the underlying philosophy that should underpin what we are trying to do.
Institutions and practices are allowed to continue simply because noone seems ready to challenge them and to change them. When they fail to deliver adequate outcomes, temporary patches are applied when the real answer would be to change the system that engendered those failings.
Brexit provides a pretext and an opportunity now to do things differently, for the nation to reboot itself and bring its policies, practices and its performance up to speed, and in ways that transcend the merely adequate and promise instead the achievements that a modern nation such as ours should be able to deliver. Britain has problems, it is true, but they can all be solved by creative energy and skilful resourcefulness. All it needs is the will to do things differently, acting across every area of public policy.
Read the whole paper here.