I have read and re-read your previous email several times, I didn’t want to reply without being further down the line and having a clearer view of the landscape, hence my delay in replying.
It was interesting to read your thoughts and reasons for being an ardent, vocal Brexit campaigner. I can’t help but point out some of demonstrably false assertions you’ve made though, especially given the times on social media when you’ve blamed people like myself who’ve dared to contradict the promises made.
Immigration is a hot topic and one that seems to be overtly emotive. To keep saying that “we can control our borders again” is a misnomer at best, we already control our borders, we’re not part of the Schengen zone for one thing and for another as an “older” member state we are afforded certain privileges such as access to Schengen information network.
A Conservative government also had the chance to veto this freedom of movement for up to seven years when some of the countries that seem to ruffle feathers first joined, they chose not to, Theresa May’s choice I believe.
We also already operate a discriminatory immigration policy outside of the EU, with certain countries enjoying ‘friendlier’ immigration policies than others.
Immigration isn’t quite the harbinger of unemployment you claim either, whilst I have experienced it first hand two things are worth noting.
One, I don’t blame the people who’ve come over, so far I’ve met and worked with some amazing people who’ve only served to broaden my outlook and two, as a net figure I have to accept that whilst it happened to me, it’s not indicative of the situation over all. Initially I’d blamed businesses looking to ‘save a few quid’ by employing cheap, less demanding ‘foreign’ labour, I had to accept that wasn’t the case and I was wrong.
It’s almost impossible for you to say that we will have full control of our borders as immigration is likely to be a bargaining chip with the countries you intend to negotiate with.
Lastly under EU law while the movement of people is an automatic right under the four pillars those coming to this country must have sufficient capital or means there of to stay, after three months ‘we’ have the power to return them to their country of origin if they are deemed a “burden”.
Tariffs are in place for the protection of ‘home producers’ who wouldn’t be physically and financially able to compete with foreign traders who can produce the same thing cheaper, if we do away with them for few pence off oranges we risk Newtons “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”.
This is from The Roundtable (NFU):
“EU legislation could effectively result in a trade embargo on the export of UK animal based products such as meat, eggs and dairy to the EU. These products can only be imported by the EU from approved countries, and it could take months for such status to be granted to the UK. The lamb industry would be particularly impacted. In 2017, 31% of domestic sheep meat production, the equivalent of 4.5million sheep, was exported and 94% was destined for the EU.
2)The UK government could avoid charging tariffs on imports to prevent a rise in food prices, which could have a negative impact on domestic food production and consumer choice, as well as an increase in imports of products produced to lower standards.
Export tariffs could be imposed on the 60% of UK food, feed and drink that go to the EU, increasing export tariffs to an average of 27% on chicken, 46% on lamb, 65% on beef, and range from €172 to €1,494 per tonne in pork.
It is likely that trade barriers will go up between the UK and EU which could limit the availability of many farm inputs such as veterinary medicines, fertilisers, plant protection products, machinery parts and animal feed. Furthermore, as the EU will no longer recognise UK organic certification bodies, exports of organic products to the EU would be severely curtailed.
The sudden end of labour mobility from the EU would cause serious problems when it comes to securing the necessary labour to harvest.
In essence should we leave without a deal, as you seem to very passionately argue for, we would be pitted against the “protectionist” system that has served our largest manufacturing market so well, it’s almost Oedipal in it’s unreasonableness.
The EU would benefit from a good trade deal with the UK, but it’s worth noting that they are already working (and achieving) to improve the less affluent nations under their umbrella and have recently signed a lucrative trade deal with Japan. Whilst it would ‘wind’ them, it has the potential to pull the rug directly from underneath us. Our biggest exported trade is our service sector, if we take away the freedom of movement we currently have then we risk making our services more costly and therefore non-viable, in particular if we move away from shared regulations with our nearest neighbours. The growing industriousness of countries like India and China will soon make them as capable and efficient for providing competing services and by that point we’ve lost our most basic upper hand; being part of the largest trading bloc in the world that has it’s member countries at heart.
The fishing industry has been affected and, yes I agree, let down over the years. I don’t agree however that the EU is solely to blame for that. The fishing quota we get afforded to be divided up by our government has effectively sold our local fisherman up the river. A Greenpeace investigation found that in “England nearly 80% of fishing quota is held by foreign owners or domestic Rich List families, and more than half of Northern Ireland’s quota is hoarded onto a single trawler.” (These vessels are outside of the EU jurisdiction because we’ve effectively allowed them to fish our waters). Just five families own 29% of the UK’s fishing quota, one of which donated a princely sum to the Leave campaign. If this is the case before we leave then after it’s probably a fair summarisation that our inshore fisherman will be worse off as they have an increasing series of checks and balances to pass through before accessing a £1.5 billion market.
Our fishermen need people like you to do more for them, Nigel Farage likes to pretend that the fisherman are a primary concern when it comes to Brexit but his attendance and voting record suggest a cynical ploy to enrage the electorate. If people like him are in Brussels and not fighting the case for the uniqueness of British fishing then it stands to reason that their concerns will be missed. The faux outrage and actual apathy are whats cutting the heart of inshore fishing. The admittedly flawed CFP hasn’t helped, but something had to be done and we would have played our part in that too, we should have done anyway. I’ve read some interesting open letters etc with positive sounding solutions coming directly from the fishermen, why are their ideas not being presented to the EU?
Where is the Shared Prosperity Fund? I found very little in decisive action and a lot in the way of noble intentions, having heard plenty of great sounding ideals can you give me any actual information? I sincerely hope it is better thought out than the Stronger Towns Fund which reads a lot like the ideals in the SPF, but affords the entire South West with just £33 million and the potential to bid for a slice of the £600 million fund which has Cornwall compete with the rest of the country as it’s not based on need. You may say that eurocrats are deciding how we can spend our own money, but at least we are seeing the money and it’s being given specifically because of Cornwall being impoverished. It was once surmised that to live in Cornwall meant you might as well live on the moon, in some ways it doesn’t feel like much has changed!
I do not for a second believe that the EU is perfect, but neither are we. Prior to EU membership we were considered the ‘sick man’ of Europe and through mutual obligations, intentions and negotiations we have become the fifth (soon to be sixth if India keeps going the way it is) largest economy in the world. You say you won’t listen to “scaremongers”. That sounds painfully like wilful ignorance in the face facts that don’t meet your opinion. To progress with such a train of thought goes against the grain of what it means to be an MP, “MPs work in Parliament on behalf of all the people in their constituency – even those who did not vote for them.” from Liz Truss’s website.
Brexit ambitions were always bigger than it’s potential, the promises made weren’t likely to be met, they were practically impossible. The EU maintained from the start that they would not pander to a deal that was better than existing members had, every time Brexit didn’t go the way hardliners wanted it was either the fault of the EU being “bullies” or your own citizens refusing to agree to a ‘White Elephant’ sold to us by crooks.
Theres a distinct and noticeable rise in the antagonistic use of language with people being accused of being traitors, anti-democratic and far worse besides. The situation is such that Anna Soubry was warned not go home, this dogmatic, rhetoric laced approach to Brexit is turning this country inside out and it’s as frightening as it is heart breaking.
The referendum was so flawed and the process so contentious that were it legally binding it would have been declared void and have to re-run. If that doesn’t announce from the roof tops that our democracy is being subverted by megalomaniacs with money on their minds then I’m afraid any hope of making government trustworthy again is never going to happen.
All this aside I genuinely hope this finds you well and that one day valuable lessons will be learnt from this whole precess, the UK has made some great strides to bettering itself after so many years of doing hideous things in the search for power and money, our ability to reflect and take a stand against horrific wrongs, even when it’s us committing them, is what defines us and makes this country great.
This will be an open letter to you, I’ll be posting it online as I’m willing to accept valid criticism and reliable fact based counter arguments so that I may grow and learn.
Links to articles that I’ve cross checked with several other sources for some degree of validity: