Will 2017 be one of the best years ever for the United Kingdom?

London Fireworks Display Ushers In The New Year
2017 is the year Britain begins the process of leaving the EU (Source: Getty)

Alex Deane, a City of London common councilman, says Yes.

We live in a great country – and what’s even better is that our best days lie ahead of us.

When historians write the book on 2016, it will be seen as the year in which – despite the doomsaying pronouncements from some who were and are probably wrong about the long term, and others who were already demonstrably wrong about the short term – we expressed self-confidence as a country, asserted the desire to control our own destiny and cast off an odd, timorous national neediness with which we have wrestled for too long.

That great decision will be followed by great events. True, there’s still a small band of miserymongers who wish ill on our country to prove their own past moaning right. What an odd outlook to have. What an odd life to lead. Who would wish to be them? Who would wish to live in any other time?

In 2017 we begin the process of leaving the EU and playing our role as a fully fledged nation on the global stage. Out and into the world. Rejoice. Rejoice.

Denis MacShane, the former minister of Europe and author of Brexit: How Britain Left Europe, says No.

The omens are not good. Brexit propagandists agree that, if it is to succeed, it will not be for some time. The decision of the Bank of England to cut interest rates, plus the Brexit Keynesianism of the Autumn Statement, has bought some time and softened the immediate impact of Brexit. 2017 will reveal the full truth as Japanese banks confirm their decision to move serious amounts of work from the City, unless the Prime Minister gives assurances on maintaining full access to the Single Market.

She cannot do this and simultaneously begin discriminating against EU citizens by introducing Cold War era visas, work or residence permits and by rejecting the role of the European Court of Justice as a commercial court cum administrative tribunal ruling on quarrels over interpreting EU rules.

If Mrs May can face down the Ukip wing of her own party, Britain may survive 2017, but telling the world we want to cut full trading links to the world’s biggest market is not encouraging.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.