In a thinly veiled attack on Donald J. Trump, Britain’s Chancellor has blasted the “fool’s paradise” of populism, as well as insisting the UK will continue to need European Union (EU) migration after Brexit.
Speaking on the eve of Mr. Trump’s inauguration as president, Chancellor Phillip Hammond told the Davos World Economic Forum: “Politicians who take the populist route will find it a very short road.”
“There is no sustainable future for a developed economy in protectionism, subsidy and high debt”, he continued, News and Star reports.
“So whether it’s on restoring the public finances to health, getting the right Brexit deal for Britain or tackling the long-term productivity challenge facing our economy, this Government is providing the responsible economic leadership that our country needs.
“That means facing up to the fact that we have some hard graft ahead. There are no easy answers. Populism is a fool’s paradise,” he said.
Mr. Hammond also addressed the issue of immigration into the UK after Brexit. “We cannot continue with freedom of movement as we have it today… that doesn’t mean we’re pulling up the drawbridge,” he said.
He also denied the Brexit vote was an example of populism and claimed the UK would pay a “huge price” for putting lower immigration before access to the EU’s Single Market.
The Chancellor also insisted it was vital for the UK to remain “an open economy and an outward-looking society”.
“I do not doubt that a section of the population is disillusioned by the obsolescence of their skills and the stagnant real wages that implies, and happy to kick the political establishment when given an opportunity to do so. And we, as politicians, need to hear that message and react to it,” he said.
“But it’s a big step to say the UK electorate as a whole is fundamentally rejecting capitalism or globalisation. It isn’t.
“Some of them were simply expressing a view on the European Union. And, of course, on immigration.
“As the Prime Minister has made clear, we need to show how we can build an economy – on the bedrock of our tried and proven system – that will work for everyone in an age not just of globalisation but of unstoppable technological change.”