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Time to emigrate?
July/August 2017

Luke Johnson: The success of Corbyn's hard-Left agenda shows tectonic plates are shifting in our society

Entrepreneurs are by nature optimists, but right now I don’t know many who are feeling very optimistic. Since the appalling election results I have talked to lots, and they are all feeling pretty depressed. The older ones are afraid. Afraid that we may well be slipping back towards the catastrophic pre-Thatcher era of madcap socialism and economic ruin.

The truly shocking fact that 40 per cent of the voters supported a hard-Left party led by Jeremy Corbyn makes my blood run cold. No longer can he be written off as an extremist clown: there must be a real threat that in the coming months, or possibly years, a lethal “progressive alliance” will form a government. At that point I may well just give up — and I suspect many thousands of risk- takers will do likewise.

Over the last 35 or so years, through ups and downs, Britain has generally been a good place to invest and do business. But Corbyn and his neo-Marxist gang would soon reverse this trend — with a vengeance. Their economically illiterate programme of sharp tax rises, increased borrowing and massive public spending increases, combined with a lunatic programme of industrial nationalisation would wreck the national finances and alienate capitalists. Interest rates would rise, sterling would fall, jobs and investment would disappear, growth would go into reverse, and the nation would tumble into a spiral of decline.

The Left have a fantasy that The Rich and Big Business will simply pay all the bills. But entrepreneurs and companies are dramatically more mobile than they used to be. They are also much more international in their outlook. Already five million Britons live abroad, and 300,000 emigrate every year. There are a number of very pleasant English-speaking nations — Australia, America, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand — that would welcome the right immigrants from Britain — as well as huge expatriate communities in places like Spain and South Africa — and of course tax havens like the Channel Islands and Monaco for the very rich.

For the better-off, the skilled and the successful, moving abroad to such destinations is reasonably straightforward. Those nations want high-quality human capital — especially if they bring financial capital too. Modern communications, transport and logistics mean becoming an exile from your home country isn’t nearly as isolating as it used to be. The arrogant Left believe that entrepreneurs will always be there like milch cows to pay for their grandiose public spending plans. But the world is full of opportunities, and many places offer a less heavily regulated environment in which to do business, more space, a lower cost of living and much nicer weather. An inhospitable government which sends a firm signal that Labour is in the ascendant and capital is despised would have inevitable consequences. London, the true engine of the British economy, would be worst-hit, as the exodus of talent became a flood.

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