New England In 2020
Chair, members, and guests, what does ‘New England’ look like for you? What image or description are you thinking about?
To frame this speech and as a way of an introduction, I am going to start with a folk singer’s iteration of New England.
The main part will make you sit up and think. It is a synopsis of your hopes, dreams, and aspirations for a better life.
By way of the conclusion and summary, you will leave this building well-informed and invigorated for the transformation and revolution to come to New England.
Billy Bragg is an English singer-songwriter. He is a left-wing radical whose music encourages change and involving activism by young people.
Billy’s lyrics in his song New England relate both to a romantic and political theme:
“I don't want to change the world
I'm not looking for a new England
I'm just looking for ………………………………”
Following December’s momentous and historic parliamentary elections, you the electorate, voters delivered a surprising and decisive answer. Billy Bragg’s default audience switched allegiances.
The rust belt constituencies in the former coal mining and heavy metal foundries want work, jobs, prosperity, new infrastructure investment to create economic wealth, transport systems, education, and training opportunities.
Billy Bragg’s white van man has joined the counter-revolution with their blue-collar conservatism.
The compelling big issue now in the post Brexit zeitgeist is how to successfully build upon this revolution and transform the economic decline of these neglected rust belt regions.
Let me inform you, educate you, and deliver economic insights and proactive solutions to build a New England.
First, establish key regional enterprise centres that are symbiotically nurtured by:
1.Fintech; financial technology development banks linked to
2.Research centre hubs supporting
3.Integrated Hitec entrepreneurial businesses that are monitored and directly supervised politically.
4. Administration and business development leadership by new-style city mayors like Andy Burnham in Manchester.
5. Cutting across dated, old fashion local government boundaries into integrated into dynamic regional zones e.g. The Northern Powerhouse (From Stoke on Trent to Lancaster, Liverpool to Sheffield)
6. Creating regional development zones in the North East, Yorkshire, the Midlands, Ulster, and Central Belt in Scotland.
7.Inviting schools and higher educations that are open, responsive, and delivering outstanding enterprise, entrepreneurial curriculums to provide a skilled workforce for 2020.
The driver for this Brexit New England is to establish a framework to create work, jobs, prosperity, and new economic infrastructure to develop:
These five industries could gain the most when Britain starts to break free from Brussels
First, and most obviously, technology. The EU has the toughest privacy laws in the world and is continually pushing them forward – a ban on facial recognition is the latest example.
The trouble is, that damages entrepreneurship an innovation. It stops new ideas being tried out. With a lighter touch, the UK can forge ahead as a tech hub, especially in areas such as Artificial Intelligence and robotics.
Next, financial services. Sure, potentially losing passporting rights will hurt British banks, insurers and fund managers. Against that, the EU has imposed hundreds of meddlesome rules on finance and its two biggest members – France and Germany – are out to get the City.
As even Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England has now admitted, the second most significant financial centre in the world can’t have its rules made elsewhere. From fintech, to cryptocurrencies, to crowdfunding to financing the space economy, the City can innovate and thrive so long as it is allowed to set its own rules.
Thirdly, transport. For all the attention it gets, the high-speed rail link from London to the North is ancient technology. France opened its first TGV in 1981. But there is a ton of innovation in transport right now. Flying taxis are getting lots of investment, and so are driverless cars, drones and electric planes.
Fourth, medicine. The frontiers of medical science are going to be in cloning and gene therapy. The EU has put restrictions on both of those technologies, and shows very little interest in lifting them. And yet that, rather than traditional pharmacology, is where the innovation is.
The UK already has a huge, and world-beating pharmaceuticals and biotech industry. It may have to move some jobs, and some production, to Europe to make sure it stays in the single market. Against that, it can research and experiment with products that wouldn’t be possible in the rest of the Continent.
Finally, food and drink. Even the most ardent Remainer would probably admit that the EU’s agricultural protectionism never really worked for the UK. It was always hard to figure out why, to take just one example, we had tariffs on citrus fruits given how few oranges we grow.
Outside, our supermarkets will be able to import the cheapest food from around the world. On top of that, from lab-grown and substitute meats to vertical farms agriculture is about to go through a technological revolution. The UK can pioneer those industries – which makes sense for a country that gave up on self-sufficiency decades ago.
True, the traditional, petrol-based car industry may suffer. So might defence, chemicals and other manufacturing sectors. But there will be lots of winners. They will be smaller and won’t have much of a voice. Many of them don’t even exist yet. But they will all benefit from not aligning with the EU rules – and that will create lots of opportunities for companies, entrepreneurs and investors.
- Manufacturing low carbon and renewable energy products:
- Energy-efficient lighting
- Energy monitoring systems
- Renewable combined heat and power
2. Biopharmaceutical manufacturing
3. World financing for technology