Backing out of Europe

Yes, I know it’s been a long time since I posted anything but life has a habit of interfering with the best laid plans. However, the recent vote by the British people to leave the European Union and the situation the country now finds itself in, with many who voted saying they have changed their mind, is one I can not let pass without comment.

Let me say, upfront, I consider myself part of the European community. I am Cornish and have seen first hand how the EU has benefitted the county I was born in and own a business in. I was privileged to be part of the bid process when I worked for the Labour MP who campaigned tirelessly for the funding in 1999. I also benefitted from the jobs it created, becoming a business researcher in an agency specifically set up with EU funding to support and promote small businesses within the county and to find markets for them abroad.

I cannot believe the political naivety of the current leader of Cornwall Council saying that he would like assurances funding will continue to flow into Cornwall post-Europe. Why did he not ask that question before the referendum? He could have avoided making himself, and my county, a laughing stock in the media and allayed the, very genuine fears, now apparent in the Cornish community by having an answer, even if it was one we didn’t like. Wales also want to keep their handouts.

Anyone who truly believes that politicians keep financial promises post-election (tuition fees, Mr Clegg?) is, in my opinion, in need of a strait jacket.

Those celebrating “a very British coup…all over by teatime” have overlooked the fact that the reason sterling stabilised its position in the market by the end of trading was the plan to input £250bn into the economy to keep the UK afloat.

The NHS isn’t going to get any extra funding. The Tories want it privatised.

Immigration isn’t going to fall. The Leave politicians have already back tracked. Our borders are not going to be any more secure. My husband made the comment that there was no need to cut border services during our membership of the EU. Successive governments (of all colours and relevance) have used EU membership as an excuse to save money on our defence. At any time our borders could have been secured simply by not cutting budgets and reallocating monies saved to vanity projects designed to get the government of the day re-elected.

Has anyone considered our electricity, gas and water services? Last time I looked a lot were in the hands of foreign companies. Do they get bought back? Renationalised? Compensation anyone?

A farmer was quoted as saying we won’t need to import food from the EU as the land is there to be farmed. Really? How much did the farmers receive in subsidies? How many have taken the easy money by selling farming land for housing? Remember how long it took for the UK to get back in its feet after WW2?

The only interest group, that I can see, that had legitimate reasons for voting leave is the fishermen, who have very genuine reasons for not liking, or trusting, the EU. Their problems have been severe and should have been addressed long before this. I stood for Labour Party selection to contest a seat for the EU Parliament in 1998/9 and the Common Fisheries Policy was a subject that was brought up time and again. Why could a better deal not have been negotiated over the years? Are we going to see a return to the “Cod Wars”?

I appreciate and respect the fact that so many older voters elected to vote leave. “Taking back our borders” “Jobs for the British” “Back to the Britain I grew up with”. But the “green and pleasant land” is no more. The past is a distant country and one that the young have no interest in replicating, living as they do in the globalised world.

Living part-time in Spain has given me a more global outlook. I was despairing when the Leave politicians cut down Obama for his very honest answer over the future of trade relations between the US and UK. What do we, as a country, have to offer? We are more reliant than ever on the “special relationship” which isn’t looking so special anymore, now that we have paid off our post-war monetary debt to them.

Our Spanish friends have been bewildered by the actions of the U.K. The media have been genuinely baffled by it. And this from a country that still hasn’t got a functioning government,

Looking at the country now, with the nastiness apparent between the different sides of the referendum, I feel that we are entering a very, very dangerous phase politically and socially. Already there are signs of racist behaviour towards the Polish (very good friends during the war, if anyone cares to recall, hard workers, great people), who will be next? The Jews?

Boris Johnson quoted from the film “Independence Day” to support his campaign. Let me add my quote from the same film: “We all hope that you are as clever as everyone says you are”.

 

 

 

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