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Free Markets, Competitive Business and Nationhood

Publication date: 16 January 2023PDF: Free Markets, Competitive Business and Nationhood

Much to Do and Every Cause for Optimism!  UK must Embrace both Free Markets and a renewed sense of nationhood, for Post-Brexit Success, says Lord Frost, in Politeia publication.

As the UK’s economic problems remain at the centre of the political stage, many fear this country may remain a high tax, high public spending economy, with low growth and low productivity.

In Free Markets, Competitive Business and Nationhood, David Frost challenges the status quo.  He explains, in an elaboration of remarks at Politeia in November, that exit from the EU marked the end of the economic model of the UK as a bit player in the EU Single Market. It should have signalled the beginning of a new one, in which we take responsibility for solving our own problems ourselves.

But, says Lord Frost, a Conservative peer, former cabinet minister and diplomat at the FCO, who served as the UK’s chief EU negotiator, neither the governing establishment nor the Conservative Party are doing this. The establishment appears to have little will to take the challenge, partly because of its past fascination with being part of EU governance. As Frost writes: –

Now the country needs to think for itself, but, just at this crucial moment, appears to have lost the ability to do so. Indeed the British ruling establishment seems, to a significant extent, to have lost the will to govern effectively.

The Conservative Party, Frost explains, has so far since Brexit offered two unsatisfactory policy mixes: either free markets, globalism and social liberalism, or social conservatism with an economic tendency to social democracy.

Rather, says Frost, the strategy should be based on:

  • both free markets in economic policy, and a renewed emphasis on nationhood and aspects of social conservatism in values.

To this end

  • The role of the state in the economy must be reduced.
  • Nevertheless, the state must be more effective in supporting the institutions and culture of the country.

Frost ends by insisting that there is every cause for optimism: –

As the custodian of  economic and political freedoms, and of nationhood and patriotism, the government and its political leadership should move from a defensive crouch.  Instead, it should remind people what it means to have growth of 3 per cent a year and a country to be proud of the expansion of human potential, the reduction in social conflict, the increased sense of possibility, the enhanced ability to direct your own life rather than always being subject to the decisions of others.

Notes to Editors:
1. Free Markets, Competitive Business and Nationhood by Lord Frost will be published by Politeia, 55 Tufton Street, London, SW1P 3QL on Monday, 16 January. 

2. David Frost (The Rt Hon Lord Frost CMG) served as Minister of State at the Cabinet Office in 2021 (March-December) and before that was the UK Chief Negotiator for Exiting the European Union, 2019-20. He is a Conservative peer, a columnist for the Daily Telegraph and a senior Fellow at the think tank Policy Exchange.  His earlier career was as a diplomat and civil servant at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He has been the UK Ambassador to Denmark, EU Director at the FCO and Director for Europe and International Trade at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. He was elevated to the House of Lords as a life peer in 2020

3. Established in 1995, Politeia is an independent, non-partisan think-tank providing a forum to discuss economic, constitutional and social policy with a particular focus on the role of the state in people’s lives.