This is a letter I have written and emailed to Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central – regarding my feelings and thoughts over the ‘Brexit’ issue and recent consequences for the UK.
Whatever your thoughts might be about the UK’s future in or out of Europe, I hope you will respect my right to petition and fight politically – for the UK to remain part of the EU.
I’m writing to you as a concerned constituent in York Central to urge you to work against any EU exit by the UK.
Over a week ago now, the recent EU referendum result has had many negative effects on a local, national and International level. Locally, there is anger and feelings of hurt. Here in York the result was strongly in favour of remain…
Total votes: 109,681
Spoilt ballots: 81
… which has lead to many divisive feelings. There have been instances of public xenophobia, racism and fascism aimed at perceived foreigners (EU and non EU nationals alike) reported both here in York and across the nation. It is with great worry and sadness that I note that there has been very little in the way of public opposition by leading Leave campaign figures to this behavior – which is surely fueling the bravado of the minority who now believe it is acceptable behavior!
The case for a second Scottish Independence referendum, Welsh Independence and Northern Ireland breaking away from the UK (either as an independent nation or to reunify with The Republic of Ireland) come as a direct result from the referendum result, triggered by the mainly pro-EU vote in Scotland and Northern Ireland – threaten to tear the UK apart. Indeed, the continued peace in Northern Ireland is predicated upon our membership with the EU and adherence to the European Court of Human Rights. Triggering Article 50 may well start a renewal of sectarian violence in and around Northern Ireland.
The financial situation in this country has been hammered on many different fronts as a result of the ‘Brexit’ result. Stocks and shares have plummeted. Exchange rates are at their worst in decades. Foreign investment in the UK has all but been frozen as investors will be uneasy in the UK as long as there is so much uncertainty and instability. Financial and Trading companies in the heart of London have been quick to prepare for the migration of jobs and services to other EU capitals should Article 50 be triggered by the UK government. In fact the UK economy has dropped from the 5th largest economy being overtaken by France.
In the fields of Science and Technology research, a huge amount of funding comes from the EU. Leaving the EU will threaten to decimate the UK’s scientific output for decades to come, which will only hamper our economic development as a truly independent nation.
True, there have been some signs of recovery… but the gains have been miniscule over recent days compared to the drops experienced on the 23rd/24th of June. We are still nowhere near recovered to where we were before the referendum.
The Leave campaigns (and there were multiple Leave organisations campaigning) were promoting incompatible aims. (Reduce Immigration whilst also maintaining free trade/common market access) As well as outright lies! (The famous red bus/£350million promises). Many of the Leave promises have already been back-tracked by the Leave MP’s who promoted them. One of the main arguments made for Leaving the EU has been Immigration. Many Leave supporters have been arguing that our nation is over-stretched and buckling under pressure from a rising Immigrant population. But I would counter that the main reason there has been so much pressure on the nations resources isn’t immigration – but a reckless policy of underinvestment and austerity, needlessly punishing the worse off in our society. (Indeed, the UN has recently deemed the current governments Austerity policies are cause for “serious concerns,” ~ The UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.)
Many of the current effects we as a nation are experiencing were predicted by the Remain campaign and its supporters – but these claims were shouted down as scaremongering by Leave, and the public were told not to trust the self interested experts. But look at where we are now!
We are now at a point that a Peer in the Lords and a leading candidate for Leader of the Conservative party have been quoted as saying that we can use EU citizens as leverage in any EU exit talks! This is abominable, not just because it is barbaric – but because there a huge number of UK citizens living in other EU nations.
I’d like to point out that If the UK were to deport or remove the rights of EU nationals from living in the UK, there would be just as much right for those EU nations to reciprocate. Much of our UK infrastructure (NHS etc) relies on a large number of EU nationals who live and work here in the UK (Many of whom will probably leave because they will be feeling unwelcome – regardless of any “points based system” that they might qualify under.). The number of UK citizens who might be forced to return to the UK under any reciprocity would include a disproportionally higher number of retiree’s who have retired to such places as Spain, Portugal and France to name just a few places. This would, combined with a severe hit to our infrastructure and services make things even worse for these vulnerable citizens as well as our country as a whole!
Then there are the families who will be split by any such policies. Parents from outside the UK who have started families here in the UK – whose children have been born here. UK nationals in other EU countries who have brought up children in those countries – born and raised there. What of these families? I personally have friends who have a son who was born and raised in Germany, but now are living back here in the UK. They don’t know what to tell him at the moment amongst all this uncertainty! Can you imagine how much stress that is causing?
As you may gather from the above, I am passionately against the UK exiting the EU.
I would like to point out a few other points:
Firstly: The governments own Trade Union Bill clearly sets out that only a vote in support for an action by 40% or more of all eligible voters shows a mandate for action. The result of the EU referendum declared that 17,410,742 people in the UK voted to Leave. That IS NOT 40% or more of eligible voters. Surely the Government should stand by this definition of a clear mandate that they themselves have defined?
Secondly: A disproportional higher percentage of older voters (60yrs+) voted in favour of Leave. In the two years that any UK exit from the EU would take – many of these will (to use a polite term, albeit morbid) statistically , pass away during this period, in that same time a larger number of new voters will be eligible (18+) who were proportionally in favour of Remain. I know this is a morbid argument, but the issue of EU membership/Exit is an issue that will effect our nation for decades to come!
Thirdly: Whilst the recent EU referendum gave us all the choice of Remain a member of the EU or Leave the EU. The referendum did not set out what the UK would become outside the EU. If these options had been negotiated and decided before the referendum and then put forward to the UK before any decision was to be made – the result would probably have been VERY different.
I’m sorry to have gone on for so long, but I will now urge you to consider and work towards the following goals in order of preference:
- Prevent the UK’s exit from the EU.
- Work to ensure that the UK has a guaranteed second referendum before any Exit that clearly states what involvement (if any) the UK should have with the EU. (Remain a member of the EU/Sign an EEA agreement in the same way as Norway/Some other pre-negotiated arrangement with the EU/Sever all ties to the EU and start again.) A simple In/Out referendum is too simplified for a very complicated issue and choice!
- If the UK does trigger Article 50 – Work to ensure that all EU citizens within the UK (and UK citizens in the EU) will be granted automatic and irreversible residency wherever they have made their homes. Also – to work to ensure that all levels of equality that we enjoy in the UK thanks to the EU are maintained and are NOT watered down or removed, including but not limited to Marriage Equality, Human Rights, Freedom from discrimination because of race/gender/sexual orientation etc.
I thank you for your time in reading this, and your consideration of my thoughts and feeling on this very complicated issue.
If you feel similarly about this, and think that the UK should NOT leave the EU – I urge you to also write in to your MP.
The result of the referendum was Non-Binding. It was too narrow a margin in favour of Leave. It was not a mandate for Exiting the UK as the decision was too close to half/half. Even the odious Farage was recorded as saying that anything less than a 60/40 result would be grounds to fight for a second referendum – he may not have meant it when the result was for Leave – but his argument still stands!
The UK should not leave the EU, and definitely not on the grounds of a narrow victory in a non-binding referendum!