Brexit result was based on falsehoods
Dear Sir, — As the Brexit saga moves remorselessly on, I am dismayed by how many MPs appear willing to put up with a referendum result which most of them know to be based on falsehoods and wishful thinking (Turkey was never about to join the EU; the Brexit dividend – based on quoting gross rather than net figures – was always an illusion). Of course, Congleton’s MP has the benefit of consistency – she has always been a Brexiter – but I am surprised that even she can sleep at night knowing how the referendum result was won.
I would suggest that the overwhelming bulk of informed opinion in this country was and is opposed to Brexit. But in the spirit of Gove’s soundbite, “we’ve had enough of experts”, industrialists and others are routinely excoriated when they venture to point out the likely consequences of our current trajectory.
It seems to me blindingly obvious that much of our recent industrial success has been the result of inward investment by foreign firms – think Toyota, Nissan, Honda – and that the only reason they came here was to enjoy unrestricted access to the EU single market.
And it seems self-evident that a grouping of 600 million people is more likely to be able to negotiate effective trade deals than will the UK alone. International trade is a dog-eat-dog world – I fear the Chinese, the Indians, the Americans, or even the Australians will be wanting to extract as much advantage for themselves as they possibly can in any future negotiation with Britain. And if that means lower food safety and animal welfare standards, then it will be a case of “so be it” (although Mrs Bruce seems fixated by what I fear can only be a mirage of ever better standards).
One of the problems of the Brexit debate has always been that it has been so inward-looking. To my mind, perhaps the greatest achievement of the EU has been not economic but political – creating a period of unprecedented political stability across the continent. For us this has helped neutralise the Irish problem – something we put at risk at our peril. With Putin in the Kremlin and Trump in the White House, Europe is a beacon of rationality; it is not in our interest to undermine it.
Reporting on Europe in the UK has been relentlessly negative. As an antidote I suggest a glance at the European Commission’s “Euromyths” website. — Yours faithfully,
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