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. Leader of the Isle of Wight Green party, Vix Lowthion, shares her latest views. Ed
“Get over it… You lost, deal with it.”
“Don’t stand in the way of the will of the British people.”
“Take back control…. Global Britain…”
And now, thanks to engrained Euro-sceptic/ Brexit banner-waving Isle of Wight Conservative MP, Andrew Turner, we can add a new one to the list:
No economic assessment for leaving EU without deal
Yes. Mr Turner addressed his constituents on Wednesday by telling us all “a global UK, will be stronger outside the EU” in a week where all evidence-based politics clearly indicated that is not the case. But we know that this Conservative Government refuse to do evidence based politics.
They pursue nuclear over renewables, grammars over accessible education, and now Brexit Secretary David Davis finally admits there is no economic assessment for leaving the EU with ‘no deal’. He admitted holidaying Britons will lose the EHIC health cards, UK farmers face tariffs of 40% on meat and dairy products and UK financial firms will lose ‘passporting rights’ across the EU.
But we’ll still be Stronger Out, Mr Turner?
Creating enemies, not friends
Citizens across all corners of the United Kingdom have also announced this week that they are looking closely at future membership of the Union. Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood claims we are heading “to the end of the UK as a state”, and Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson told Theresa May to “stick the Brexit border where the sun doesn’t shine.”
And of course, imposing without negotiation a hard Brexit on Scotland where 62% of people voted Remain has led the SNP to set out their plans for a second independence referendum. The bumbling way this Conservative government is handling Brexit is creating enemies, not friends.
Still Stronger Out of the EU, Mr Turner?
Perception in Europe of negotiating style
Then there’s the matter of how the UK is now perceived by our European neighbours. Articles lead on “threats to turn the UK into a tax haven if no Brexit agreement is reached, have gone down like a bucket of cold sick,” [The Conversation] give you a clue as to how well our current negotiating style is going down across the channel.
Then there are the calls of ‘the 3million’ EU citizens and their families who are campaigning to preserve their rights to live and work in the UK, the 4.5 million Brits currently living abroad concerned about their future freedom of movement, and this week’s vote by MPs to stop 3,000 children fleeing from war and finding refuge in the UK.
Retreating back to dark days of Empire
Far from embracing ‘global Britain’, we are retreating back to the dark days of Empire when we spoke of all non-Brits as ‘foreigners’ (or worse) and thought only of how much money we could make from exploiting them. Arch-Brexiteer Daniel Hannan MEP tweeted this week “Happy Commonwealth Day to 2.5 billion people bound together by a dream of liberty” with happy colourful flags from India, Ghana, South Africa, Sri Lanka.
In reality, British took over their countries by force! Post-referendum talk of ‘Global Britain’ completely ignores dark parts of our nation’s history, as well as the priceless contributions of our recent immigrants from across the EU.
But, we are still Stronger Out says Mr Turner.
“MPs were not elected to be lemmings”
So strong out, that Conservative Chancellor Phillip Hammond refused to mention the word Brexit in his Budget. The slow-down in Economic growth, the weaker pound, rising inflation, rising house prices, lower tax revenue, lower business investment, lower immigration of skilled workers – all of the evidence points towards a hard Brexit pushing us right off a cliff.
“MPs were not elected to be lemmings” declared Green MP Caroline Lucas in the Commons, as MPs and Lords did just that and voted to enact Article 50 and leave the EU without any amendments to guarantee rights of EU nationals or MPs to have a say on the final terms or leaving. Parliament is so engrossed in following the ‘will of the British people’ and ‘taking back control’ that they have forgotten a huge part of an MPs job is to scrutinise legislation and make clear judgements about what is in the nation’s best interests.
Economically, to leave the world’s biggest single market without a clear plan other than slogans, is incredibly irresponsible. Car firms tell Theresa May that post-Brexit WTO tariffs on the 57% of UK cars which go are sold in the EU will lead to job losses. Counties such as Cornwall which voted Leave, are seeing that the UK government grants will not stretch to cover the loss of EU funded investment.
But Mr Turner still thinks we are ‘stronger out’.
Getting into bed with unsavoury characters
Leaving the EU at such a globally divisive time is far from wise. The election of President Trump, leadership votes in France and Germany in the coming weeks, increasing threat and instability from climate change, and world conflicts bringing the main powers into close proximity on the battlefields in the Middle East: now is not the time any experienced leader would pursue a policy to go it alone in the world.
Hastily making friends with dictators, dodgy regimes and world corporations is not only economically weak, but we are getting into bed with some rather unsavoury characters. Relying on the likes of disgraced Liam Fox to secure our trading future, at the same time as Theresa May insists we must leave the European Convention on Human Rights, is heading us towards a ‘global Britain’ where we have fewer rights, fewer friends and fewer morals than our European neighbours.
And yet still Mr Turner believes we are ‘stronger out of the EU’.
PM claimed ‘Stronger In’
I believe in evidence-based political decisions. I believe our leaders should equip themselves with all the facts, the reports and the forecasts and campaign and vote accordingly.
It is not at all clear that we will be ‘stronger out’. In fact, our Prime Minister and many of her cabinet less than a year ago were travelling across the country, declaring that we are ‘stronger IN’. With all the economic and environmental upheaval, the splits in the Union, the closing of doors on our migrant friends, the cosying up to questionable regimes – I believe that Mr Turner will be seen to be on the wrong side of history.
It isn’t strong to blindly cross fingers and hope for the best: it is weak. Strong leadership comes from those who recognise the pressures we face in an increasingly global world, and choose to work with our neighbours to overcome them – not to leave them behind and go it alone.
OnTheWight: Isle of Wight MP celebrates imminent triggering of Article 50
Telegraph: What will Brexit mean for British expats?
New Statesman: The 12 bits of Brexit bad news hidden in the Budget 2017
Happy Commonwealth Day to 2.5 billion people bound together by a dream of liberty. 🇮🇳🇵🇰🇳🇬🇧🇩🇿🇦🇹🇿🇰🇪🇨🇦🇺🇬🇲🇾🇬🇭🇲🇿🇦🇺🇨🇲🇱🇰🇲🇼🇿🇲🇷🇼🇵🇬🇸🇱🇸🇬🇳🇿🇯🇲🇳🇦🇧🇼🇱🇸🇹🇹🇲🇺
— Daniel Hannan (@DanielJHannan) March 13, 2017