Letter: A hard Brexit that damages South East can still be stopped

Liberal Democrat MEP for the South East, Catherine Bearder, says that voters can and should have their say over what comes next.

March4Europe Tim & Catherine

We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below. Liberal Democrat MEP for the South East, Catherine Bearder. Ed

So this week Theresa May has invoked Article 50 and the formal negotiations to leave the EU begin.

On Saturday I joined tens of thousands of people to march to Parliament Square with one message for the Prime Minister: Brexit will not deliver the UK a better deal than we have now, and that we as Europeans want to stay united.

But as it is clear the clock is ticking towards a hard Brexit it is important that people know that this can be stopped – democracy didn’t end on 23rd June 2016 – voters can and should have their say over what comes next.

Hard Brexit continues to divide us
Mrs May’s version of Brexit does nothing to unify a divided country with the 48% and the 52% on either side of the argument.

Her hard Brexit continues to divide us and takes us down a dangerous path of isolation – she says she is determined to pull us out of the Single Market before she has even started to negotiate.

European MEPs frustrated
My European colleagues in the Parliament cannot understand the line Mrs May is taking. They are frustrated, worried about Brexit tearing up their cohesion, strength and their country’s economies and they are aware of their own nationalists destabilising free trade and cross border cooperation.

Their primary concern is keeping the EU strong, united and stopping nationalism and preventing Brexit from stealing the next two years on the EU’s pressing agendas when the other issues of climate change and migration are still key.

Complex negotiations
These negotiations will be some of the most complex to ever take place – they may exceed the two year window the Treaties allowed and they will require skill and compromise.

If the Prime Minister goes in all guns blazing I am afraid we will end up with the very worst thing for all of us: industry, trade and the NHS: no deal at all.

Wednesday, 29th March, 2017 3:53pm


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  1. billy builder

    29.Mar.2017 5:38pm

    Can be should be replaced with must be stopped. Only 37.5% of the then electorate voted for this madness, and since then there are 600000 more 18 year olds and 600000 fewer elderly people, making a mockery of the so called referendum mandate.

    • If political majorities were determined purely by the effects of births and deaths on the age demographic, your logic would see a permanent increase in support for the Labour Party rather than the steady decline which has actually been taking place.

      You overlook the simple truth that (with the exception of a few ageing SJW’s) it is a function of growing up that people set aside the naive idealism of their youth and adopt views more suited to the real world.

      • billy builder

        30.Mar.2017 9:59am

        So its not the elderly seeing the world that never existed through rose tinted spectacles then.

        By the time we leave the EU, assuming that sense doesn’t prevail that is, there will be approximately 2 million 18-21 year olds whos whole working lives will be blighted by this stupidity who did not have a vote, and there will be about 2 million dead people who voted but would never have had to live with the consequences of their vote.

        • …….and there will be 3 million 21-25 year olds who will have acquired common sense and count themselves fortunate that their mistaken vote to remain under the controlling hand of a corrupt bureaucracy was defeated by the sensible majority they will now have joined.

          • Suruk the Slayer

            30.Mar.2017 10:53am

            Ummm, no.

            Your “Grandad knows best” attitude is part of the problem.

            The thing that most influences peoples political affiliations and votes is how well-off they feel.

            They will be worse off after Brexit, probably much worse off. If being free of the “controlling hand of a corrupt bureaucracy” is enough to offset that poverty in your mind, then good for you.

            For most people the opposite will be true. Far, far more will regret voting Brexit than will have acquired what you mistakenly call “common sense”.

  2. I’m afraid that the democratic process, with all its imperfections, has taken place.

    We are going to leave the EU, whether the remainers, LDs or other European states like it or not.

    I only hope that Mrs May has the strength of character to stand up to the bullying tactics of J-C Juncker and D.Tusk.

  3. fedupbritain

    29.Mar.2017 5:50pm

    Dry your eyes and deal with the fact that your team lost.

    • Suruk the Slayer

      29.Mar.2017 7:04pm

      No, we *all* lost. It’s just the Brexitoids don’t realise it yet.

      • Suruk, if that proves to be the case we can all vote for the LDs in 2020 & rejoin!

        • Suruk the Slayer

          29.Mar.2017 7:36pm

          That is very likely to be exactly what will happen. Whether it will be the Lib Dems is another question. By then it will be clear that Brexit was a bad idea and I’d expect Labour to be heavily campaigning on a “Let’s Rejoin” ticket, heartily pointing out that it was all the Tories’ fault.

        • billy builder

          29.Mar.2017 7:37pm

          That will be after 20% of our banking sector has left our shores, commodity car manufacturers gone and both Scotland and Northern Ireland having broken with the UK.

          Well done Tim and all you other Breixteers you will be remembered with the disdain you deserve.

  4. Suruk the Slayer

    29.Mar.2017 7:32pm

    No, it can’t be stopped. Like it or not the referendum was a democratic vote.

    The first task is to lessen the impact by putting pressure on the Government to take heed of the 48% who didn’t want this, and certainly don’t want a “hard” Brexit.

    The second task is to start campaigning to rejoin the EU. As time passes, and people become worse off many will regret their decision to vote leave. Millions of young people (more inclined to be in the EU) will join the Electorate in the coming years, while many older people (who swung the leave vote) will be losing their voting rights.

    Give it 15 to 20 years and there will be a real appetite to rejoin. And the real sickener for the Brexitoids is that we will have to join the Eurozone and Schengen area.

    Just think, you Brextiteers, in 20 years your worst nightmare will come to pass, and it will be *because* you voted leave.

    • billy builder

      30.Mar.2017 6:43am

      BRexit can and should be stopped by a second referendum on the terms of any BRexit deal. The first referendum whilst undoubtedly extremely flawed and largely influenced by fake news is only relevant until another referendum provides an updated view.

  5. I remember when the argument to not invest in Industry cost, risk and low return compared to investing in Banking!

    It was Lord Josephs Monetary Policy adopted by Margaret Thatcher.

    Industry waned including our world leading Aerospace Technology passed on to Airbus in Europe.

    Then we had the banking crash caused by the criminal acts of bankers.

    Having given our technology to Europe we hang on their coat strings for morsels.

    We have a car Industry very much reliant on free European Trade, Naval shipbuilding and still Banking.

    BREXIT will little affect the people who earn money trading on the web. If they keep ahead of the game they make money whichever country is in the ascendency or not. You could argue it is only be movement of fortune that provides the opportunity to profit.

    Where does that leave working people? They are of no consequence in the scheme of things and will be left behind.

    BREXIT follows on from what we have now, and completes the process, pushing us back to Victorian time come BREXIT

    The tradegy is that if we have an effective opposition under JC, the message sure isn’t reporting that. JC has to be newsworthy and, pull his party together; in other words Lead.

  6. The Liberal Democrat position is clearer then ever and we saw that today.

    This is going to be a long 2 year negotiation and we are not going to get what a lot of people voted for. The single market was key to this connection between remainer and leavers and now it that has been abandoned.

    I agree with Tim Farron position on a Referendum to the people on the deal when it is done. Then we can have a clear image of do you want this deal or not.

    If then people still choose Brexit and they now that is choice then fine its over. But we voted to start the process to leave on lies that won’t happen.

    I said this once but if the Brexit negotiation ended with exact deal that the leave said, with £350m a week to the NHS, staying in the single market, keeping the exact same benefits as remaining.

    Then I would probably vote for that deal, but that deal is already not going to happen so its only right for us to be presented the deal and voted on.

    • Suruk the Slayer

      30.Mar.2017 9:02am

      People actually voted for one thing, and one thing only. To leave the EU.

      We could well end up with a deal with the EU which leaves us pretty much as we are now with regard to trade, law, and free movement, but without any say in how those things are controlled.

      In fact, that is pretty likely. Theresa May has a very weak hand and she knows it. We need Europe more than Europe needs us. Sure, a “hard” Brexit will hurt the EU, but it will cripple the UK.

      Notice how May’s rhetoric has been toned down. A couple of months ago it was “Brexit means Brexit” and “No deal is better than a bad deal”. Apart from the fact that both are appalling English (the second being a real “Eats shoots and leaves”, it could mean that a bad deal is the best deal).

      Remember how those hard line Daily Express types started foaming at the mouth when they thought Parliament might have a say in triggering Article 50?

      Wait for their reaction when the boot is on the other foot, when May, after being backed into the inevitable corner by the EU negotiators, uses Executive powers to sign off on the agreement.

    • Another unintelligible post from Nick…


    30.Mar.2017 8:04am

    The remoaners still don’t get it. I hear them on the radio – usually the metropolitan elite – wailing on about how they are citizens of the world, how will they cope travelling abroad?, will they be ale to live in Europe?, what about the city of London banking?

    It does not enter their heads to understand the situation of the ones who voted out. those who have lost out big time as a result of this so-called “global economy.” The ones who have had their jobs exported by that same moaning elite. Those who don’r have the bus fare to travel from A to B let alone the continent.

    Losing your job or having your hometown stripped of work for the profit of the city doesn’t do much for gratitude of being in the EU. Whether we are jin or out is irrelevant to their lives. They were unemployed and struggling when we were in and may be unemployed and struggling when we are out.

    Asking them to be European is like asking a slave about to be beaten if he prefers the whip with the gold handle or the leather handle.

    • Suruk the Slayer

      30.Mar.2017 8:38am

      It is the Brexidiots (if we are going to start with the epithets) who don’t get it.

      The chances of “losing your job” or “having your hometown stripped of work” have now *increased*

      You have been conned by these “elites” (Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, etc) into voting *them* more wealth and *you* more poverty.

      Just look at the way Farage is toadying up to that arch-Elite Trump at the moment.

      You were turkeys voting for Christmas, and the Elites are about to feast on your well basted carcasses.

    • I see more elites on the brexit side then on the remain to be fair.

      • Suruk the Slayer

        30.Mar.2017 9:16am

        Absolutely true.

        Nigel Farage: Private education, ex commodities trader.

        Boris Johnson: Old Etonian, Went to Oxford University, Times and Telegraph journalist and career politician.

        These are the two primarily responsible for Brexit. Real working class heroes, aren’t they?

    • billy builder

      30.Mar.2017 10:09am

      It was Margaret Thatcher that chose to close down our manufacturing sector, it had nothing to do with the EU and all to do with Tory idealism and dogma. May is now following a similar path that will lead to further losses in manufacturing and every other business area. All because of Tory idealism and dogma.

  8. Why would an MEP want to (possibly?) damage Brexit other than to continue to line his own pocket.
    Stop scaremongering (we’ve had enough of that), shut up and get on with it.

  9. Nobody really knows what the consequences of Brexit will be (though it should be obvious to all sane people that the EU are not going to see UK leave and then be able to remain in the single market without sticking to the 4 principles; the very reason why we are leaving).
    So please, please stop rerunning the referendum and the tired old arguments on an almost daily basis. It’s happened; now just get on with it.

    • Far too sensible. Are you sure you belong on here?

    • Suruk the Slayer

      30.Mar.2017 1:53pm

      Who is rerunning the referendum?

      I’m looking forward to the next one.

      • I’m looking forward to the end of this pointless debate. I’m afraid we are doomed and as much as I , or anyone else hates the result of the referendum, I do not believe that May will change her mind on hard Brexit.

        • Suruk the Slayer

          30.Mar.2017 2:40pm

          It’s all bluster.

          She knows she doesn’t have any bargaining chips of any worth.

          It is going to be fun watching:
          TM being stitched up like a kipper (no pun intended)
          The reaction of the swivel-eyed loons as their Brexit dream dissolves in front of their eyes.

    • billy builder

      30.Mar.2017 2:03pm

      If a child is on a river bank threatening to jump you try to talk that child down. If that child then jumps do you walk away saying “well I tried”, or do you throw a life line or jump in to save the child.

      Just because stupid BRexiteers have cause May to push the country into the abyss doesn’t mean you give up. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you accept the countries domb.

    • Very well said Minnieb.I am fast becoming an elderly gentleman and have experienced several wonderful experiences thus far in my life My beautiful wife, two daughters to be proud of and grandchildren we are also proud of. However the recent vote to leave what was once the “Common Market” and now turned into dictatorship by Germany and France has restored my faith in common British sense.

      Our European neighbours should remain good friends and quite rightly so, however, we have far more in common with our historical friends from further away. we should not have turned our back upon them years ago and hopefully we will regain trade with them and other major countries in the future.

      Leaving the EU is necessary however working alongside our neighbours for mutual benefit should continue but in a friendly fashion. I detest the EU soon to become the United States of Europe, I welcome our standing back from all of this and wish our politicians (left and right) the strength to accomplish the nations wishes it will not be easy but necessary.

      • Suruk the Slayer

        30.Mar.2017 11:22pm

        Tell me. How do your children and grandchildren feel about Brexit?

      • billy builder

        31.Mar.2017 8:50am

        But you have condemned you children and grandchildren to a future where they will need to work into their 70’s, will live in a broken country that will be nothing more than an inward looking ‘little England’, a country that is unable to maintain a viable NHS, and a country where the most skilled and talented individuals have to emigrate to the EU or further afield for a better life.

        The vote to leave the EU will gain nothing in terms of freedom, reduced immigration or any other promise made by BRexiteers. It is a lose-lose step for which the current older generation will be held to blame by future generations.

  10. Hot Potato

    30.Mar.2017 12:52pm

    Here are a couple of certainties to think about – Before we joined with Europe there was the three day week, the winter of discontent and 20% inflation. Britain now has the fastest growing gap in earnings between the haves and the have-nots in the world. In every way we are well on the way to the values of the early 20th century with many people working in servitude with tied housing and zero hour contracts.

    Lower income countries are able to provide jobs for their workforce that we cannot compete with. Flats are being built for low income people in Barnet, as we speak, that are hardly bigger than cupboards (this is now legal!)

    The future that is already upon us will be feudal. There will be no Europe to protect workers rights. These are the certainties that Brexit is bringing us.

    • billy builder

      30.Mar.2017 2:06pm

      Many thanks May and you other hard BRexiteers, you have blighted the future for generations.

      • Suruk the Slayer

        30.Mar.2017 2:36pm

        It won’t be a “hard” Brexit.

        Theresa May isn’t that stupid. She knows full well that delivering a “hard” Brexit may appease the swivel-eyed initially, but she also knows that reality will be biting hard by the time of the 2020 election, putting her re-election in serious jeopardy (as long as Labour ditch Corbyn, that is).

        On the other hand, if she plumps for a “soft” brexit, she will have to endure a few months of spite and spittle from the swivel-eyed press (Mail & Express), but will have a far greater chance of re-election in 2020.

        We, almost certainly, will end up pretty much as we are now. Free trade, Free movement and having to abide by EU rules. The only difference will be that we won’t have any say in the making of those rules.

        We will be out of the EU, so the Referendum result will have been honoured, however, so the Brexitoids will have nothing to really complain about.

        • billy builder

          30.Mar.2017 3:46pm

          You have more faith in May than I do. I believe that May was always a hard line BRexiteer and only support the Remain side because she though it would win, and like any lady of the night wanted to be in bed with the winners. She will drive us to a very hard BRexit as she is to pig-beheaded to listen to reason. Even perhaps the best Tory leader the last 50 years that never was (that’s probably an oxymoron) show little respect for May and her looney friends

          • mywifesheelsare2high

            30.Mar.2017 6:51pm

            B B I hope so.You remainers are so wrong the Lib dems have had it clutching to the hope that your voters will forgive you for the u turns and the five years of fame as running dogs for the Torys it aint going to happen the only Councillor you will get is the steadfast Reg Barry.

          • billy builder

            30.Mar.2017 9:40pm

            Stiletto, the atrocity that is BRexit is about the rational centre whether that be Tory wets or Labour rights together with all sencible people between verses the extreme right and the extreme left who are driven by racism and intolerable. Our country is at stake and curtently its being destroyed by radical selfish racist BRexiteers.

        • Pointless Poster Pigwig

          30.Mar.2017 9:22pm

          Yes. But it will be hard on us .

      • pic.twitter.com/k2id2nk8DR

        With politicians like Boris God Save the UK. Boris for PM:-)

  11. Hasn’t all this happened while we have been in the EU?

    • billy builder

      30.Mar.2017 2:10pm

      Heath took us into the Common Market because Commonwealth trade was waining and the economy was is in a state of collapse. Being in the EU has allowed the UK to prosper and be the 5th largest economy in the world (prior to 23June2016 – but in real terms no longer)

  12. It should be remembered that we joined the “Common Market” but we were then conned into joining a “political” alliance, which most sensible people in the UK did not want. I believe it was Blair who did this and still wants us to follow his dictate. We can still trade with Europe but not to the exclusion of the rest of the world. No country with any sense is going to turn down a good deal.
    In five years time we will be looking back on these remainers as traitors.

  13. A hard Brexit that damages the south east can still be stopped……as per too many politicians…..enticing headline but completely fails to answer the question. How ?? The voters can have their say ….when ? How? How will this affect Brexit……

    “My European colleagues in the Parliament cannot understand the line Mrs May is taking. They are frustrated, worried about Brexit tearing up their cohesion, strength and their country’s economies “. But not worried enough to make any ‘real attempt’ to deal with the major issues the EU has. ..and therefore no concession for Cameron…lack of accountability, financial mismanagement, uncontrolled immigration, denying they want a ‘European state’. But building one. Etc etc

    Irrespective of which way I voted…now is the time for all these politicians…who always know what us best for me …and that I couldn’t possibly understand….to work out the best deal for the UK

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