Dear Matlock Mercury
In her recent letter to the Matlock Mercury “A Citizen” (why no name?) implies that those of us who wish to remain in the European Union are not being British. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I do not think it is very British to stand by whilst our country becomes an international laughing stock – isolated and mistrusted on the world stage. “No-one likes us, we don’t care” is fine for Millwall football club, but hardly desirable for a supposedly mature nation. Neither is it British to stand by whilst our government recklessly ignores international treaties, whilst ministers insult our erstwhile friends and neighbours, and MPs put their leadership ambitions above the interests of the country as a whole. As for Boris Johnson and his Churchillian rhetoric, he would do well to remember that Churchill himself spoke passionately in favour of European unity, and of Britain’s need to participate fully in this.
It is not British to throw away our rights to live, work, retire or study in Europe (and in future heaven help any Briton who falls in love with a European national!). Nor it it British to wash our hands of the million-plus Britons who currently live in the EU, and who are now facing a nightmare of uncertainty. That great Victorian statesman Lord Palmerston made it clear that the first responsibility of any UK government was to protect the interests of British people overseas. In contrast, the present generation of political pygmies seem to think that projecting their own prejudices is all that matters
It is not in Britain’s interest to rip up our trade deals with the 27 countries in the EU, and the 50-plus countries – such as Japan and Canada – with which the EU has agreements. This puts at risk the future of thousands of British businesses and millions of British jobs. Cars, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, vacuum cleaners – the list of UK companies that are cutting back on investment, or relocating operations to other countries seems to grow longer every day.
It is not in Britain’s interest to walk away from our partnership and influence in Europe, and instead put ourselves at the mercy of mega-powers such as China and America, who will always put their own interests first. No-one voted to hand over the NHS to American corporations, or to lower our food safety standards to suit American agri-business – but that is the inevitable outcome of any one-sided “deal” with Donald Trump’s USA. As to the idea that EU membership prevents public ownership of utilities, or state aid to industries, just look at France, Spain or Germany; they do precisely that, but then they do not have British politicians twisting EU policies to justify their own bankrupt ideologies.
It is not in Britain’s interests to waste money we haven’t got (£4.2bn in the last few months alone) on woefully inadequate preparations for a ‘no-deal” scenario that will be an economic and social catastrophe. Brexit politicians may pooh-pooh the experts – yet they steer clear of offering any concrete solutions to the mess they are creating.
It is not British to put the very existence of the United Kingdom at risk – yet Mrs May’s contempt for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is doing just that.
And it is certainly not democratic to do all this on the basis of a single referendum which was manipulated by foreign newspaper barons, was distorted by lies and electoral fraud, and from which those most affected – young people and many UK citizens living in the EU – were excluded. Moreover, only 37.5% of the total electorate actually voted to leave the EU – hardly a ringing endorsement. As for the claim that a second referendum would be an insult to democracy, by that logic the 2016 vote was itself undemocratic in overturning the original European referendum of 1975!
Leaving the EU is not an act of national liberation. It is national suicide. Brexit Britain is becoming fearful, isolated and impoverished. This is why I and many other patriotic Britons are continuing to fight for our country’s future. We want a country that is prosperous, that is fair to all, and that is welcoming and welcomed in world affairs. In short, we Remainers want a country we can be proud of. Is that such a bad thing?