America’s liberal establishment loves to bash Brexit. The New York Times ran a nasty hit piece last week titled “The Fantasy of Brexit Britain is Over”, suggesting it was the departure from the E.U. that left the U.K. as “economically stagnant, socially fragmented and politically adrift”.
The East and West Coast elites sneer at British sovereignty, worship Brussels and cheer the imminent departure of their hated transatlantic nemesis, Boris Johnson. They are the U.S. equivalent of the arrogant Berlin-Paris-Brussels ruling class, who see Britain’s exit from the European club as an affront to civilization itself and a Trumpian-style populist threat to the established order.
Despite their mocking tone, however, there is a growing exodus of wealthy elites from big Democrat-run U.S. states, particularly from California, with many executives now ironically relocating to Brexit Britain. Former deputy prime minister and ardent Remainer Nick Clegg moved to California in 2018 to work in Silicon Valley for social media giant Meta. But Clegg is now returning to London, and making Brexit Britain his home, despite his past predictions of doom and gloom.
Many top executives from his company are doing the same and moving to the U.K., where Meta has more than 4,000 employees. Other American corporations are following suit. Even the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, is heading across the Atlantic to London.
As much as U.S. elites like to hiss at Brexit, Global Britain, free of the shackles of the E.U., is an increasingly attractive place to do business for Americans, especially in comparison to Left-wing California, frequently derided today as a socialist basket case by U.S. conservatives. California is in a serious state of crisis, with dangerously stagnant growth, a shrinking population, soaring crime, and some of the highest tax rates in the United States. California shrank overall by 117,552 residents last year, with a staggering 275,000 people leaving the state altogether.
With good reason, a growing number of high wealth entrepreneurs, including Elon Musk, have moved their operations out of the Golden State and into business-friendly conservative-run states such as Texas, now home to Tesla. States like Texas and Florida are gaining population size and attracting some of the best and brightest talent from across the United States, with lower taxes, more affordable housing, and a significantly tougher stance on crime.
California is still America’s most populous state, with nearly 40 million people, and has one of the world’s biggest economies, larger even than that of the U.K. But under the Left-wing leadership of Governor Gavin Newsom, it has become a byword for Big Government excess, rampant social decay, and spectacular decline. The streets of San Francisco and Los Angeles have become epicenters of America’s rapidly expanding homelessness problem, hit hard by waves of looting and violent crime blamed on the soft on crime policies of liberal prosecutors and judges.
As Britain attracts an increasing number of U.S. companies and executives, it must avoid going down the same destructive path that California has taken in recent years and decades. This is no longer the sunny state of optimism exemplified by Ronald Reagan. It is a monument to failed Left-wing dogma that threatens to turn it into the sick man of the United States, in much the same way that Labour-led socialism forced Britain on its knees in the 1970s. Disillusioned Californians are voting with their feet and moving away from an economic, social and political disaster zone.
The next occupant of Downing Street, highly likely to be Liz Truss, should view California as a warning, as a nightmare to be avoided at all costs. Great Britain in the Brexit era must be a bastion of economic freedom, a world leader in low taxes and deregulation, and a highly attractive place to do business.
The United Kingdom should thrive and prosper outside of the European Union and will increasingly attract American entrepreneurs that want to succeed in a safe, vibrant environment that advances free market thinking while rejecting the siren call of socialism. Thatcherism is the antithesis of the California model, and its proposed revival under Ms Truss is the perfect recipe for British success in the Brexit era.
This piece originally appeared in The Telegraph