The articles below have been submitted by Members of the Suffolk EU Alliance and have been put on our site as starting points for discussion. The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily reflect the current position of the Committee.
Re exercising our democratic rights to protest and keep making the case for Remaining in the EU
For all those Leavers telling us to shut up I have this to say:
You’re laughably hypocritical. You tell us to listen, the people have spoken and yet Leavers have been ignoring and trying to silence Remainer voices expressing genuine concerns about Brexit for the last 18 months. So NO. If Leavers aren’t going to listen to us why on earth should we listen to you? We will continue to keep making the case for Remaining in the European Union until someone on the Leave side actually listens to us and addresses the quite natural and comprehensive concerns as to how we surgically dissect ourselves from a political Union we have organically grown intertwined with for 4 decades without our economy haemorrhaging to death. It’s not just money, it’s the very fabric of how our society has functioned; energy supply, medical testing, scientific collaborations, security co-operations, licensing for all our products into and out of the EU, regulation compliance, Patents, qualifications being recognised, almost every facet of our society has been entangled with the EU and you guys just want to walk away without any clear plan for the future. Until our concerns are taken seriously and answered by Leavers we won’t shut up, we won’t stay silent. You cannot, will not, Silence those patriotic Brits who don’t want to see our country fail because of an ill thought out ideal of independence. Give us a plan we can all get behind without the insults and the rhetoric and maybe then we will listen to you. But so long as all the answers boil down to “We won. Get over it” you’ll find Remainers continuing to complain. Give us a plan for the future we can believe in or give us a vote on the Final Deal, otherwise we will continue to make the case for remaining in the EU, as is our democratic right to do so.
Rosie Richens, January 2018 (reused from a Facebook post with permission)
Having a rethink? By SEUA Member Richard Hare
Although a minority of the electorate voted for Brexit, our political system declared it the winner. But some of us are having second thoughts.
HAVING a re-think? Brexit not quite what you were led to believe it would be?
Don’t worry – you’re not alone.
All of us have friends and family who voted for Brexit, and with the best of intentions too. It’s therefore important that we all keep dialogue open and active. Underpinning this debate is how Brexit is going to impact on our existing prosperity. And while we monitor this on the home front we see the unwieldy EU institution reeling from the shock of three very harsh wake-up calls of its own.
‘Brussels’ has no choice now other than to morph into a leaner, more embracing organisation, one that will serve its member states effectively into the 21st century. As to whether we British will be involved in this re-modelling, well the verdict is out on that.
The close shaves of the French and Dutch general elections have shaken the EU monolith to its core. Further, German political paralysis caused by Angela Merkel’s staggering unilateral decision on migration has returned to bite Germany, and hard. This was bound to happen. Was there a pan-European debate on her decision to allow un-fettered migration into Germany? No. Were the rest of us consulted? No.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Merkel’s decision followed in the wake of the EU’s lamentable complacency when the migration crisis commenced. Had proper reception centres been established at the outset the baton would not have been passed so carelessly to the profiteering people-traffickers, traders in human misery. To its shame Brussels told Greece – a country on its economic knees and in no shape to cope with the crisis alone – to deal with the problem unaided. The Italians were told the same.
The on-going migration crisis was, and remains, deeply unedifying. However, emphatically, this is not the template for the EU that we and many others across the continent campaign for. Given the post-referendum events in France, Germany and the Netherlands it is now well within our grasp to model a reformed and leaner European Union, the re-shaping of which the British must start to participate positively. So, no more negative and uncooperative UKIP MEPs with subversive agendas. With them batting for us, is it any wonder we’re in such a mess?
A costly own goal?
The referendum wasn’t easy, the result increasingly looking like a costly and quite possibly pointless own goal. Few of us dispute that it was an embarrassing exercise in intellectual bankruptcy on both sides. The sound-bites were ridiculous and infantile. Yet these were the cards we were dealt, the tools with which we were given to make such a defining decision that will affect us for the rest of our lives.
Soothingly, Rees-Mogg tells us we will enjoy improved prosperity through new, different, global trade deals post-Brexit that will, erm, well… appear.
To date there’s no sign of Rees-Mogg’s illusive trade deals. More to the point he probably realises now that he’s going to have to come up with something very good – fantastically good in fact. Currently, within the EU, Britain enjoys privileged trading status not just with our 27 nearby EU member countries but with 78 additional countries world-wide. Apparently, Rees-Mogg, Davis, Fox, Johnson believe they can deliver something better.
How much time is Rees-Mogg going to need to deliver his claimed superior deals? More to the point, how long can our industries and agriculture hang in there while he’s fiddling around re-creating his Disney-esque world of abundant prosperity for everyone that never exited in the first place?
But that’s only the half of it…
Does anyone know how much Theresa May paid Nissan to make it worth its while to remain in the UK? We think not. What we do know is that she’s going to need a great deal more money soon because 48% of UK GDP is foreign direct investment (FDI). In other words almost half of our domestic product earning ‘generator’ is foreign owned. Surely, these companies will expect compensation too if they are to remain here, outside the Single Market. We think this alone will amount to a fair bit more than the £116 a year that we each pay to be members of the EU.
The ‘Remain majority’:
62% of the electorate, the majority of the electorate, did not give the government its endorsement to do what it’s forcing down our throats. Yet to listen to Brexit politicians, and also some TV and radio programme presenters who – OK, to be fair – are stimulating debate, we hear: 'the government has an overwhelming mandate to go ahead with Brexit'. Another is: 'over half the British public voted for Brexit'. Just recently, on the last Question Time of 2017, David Dimbleby stated; 'Over half of us voted for it.'’
Well that’s news to us.
Is this a hoax?
Instability in the wings?
When we’re self-booted out of the EU with few if any of the cherry-pickings that many Brexit supporters were told to anticipate, a witch-hunt will begin. It won’t be pleasant. The public will be looking for scapegoats, someone to blame, organisations to blame. Those who have delivered Brexit will inevitably be held to account.
In a recent article in The Observer Anna Soubry MP (Con) put this succinctly:
“My God. History will condemn this period. It will condemn those who’ve sat back and kept their view to themselves, who haven’t stood up and tried to stop all this nonsense.”
We couldn’t have put it better.
Far from being an example of ‘democracy in action’ isn’t Brexit an example of democracy corrupted?
A hollow ‘victory’, and an injustice, we believe that Brexit will inevitably become an open running sore on Great Britain. It won’t heal because its executioners never had moral and statistical mandate to deliver it.
Our great British landscape:
Our rural landscape is one of the finest in Europe. Fly into Gatwick or Stansted and as far as you can see there’s a patchwork of working fields, hedgerows and farm buildings. Stunningly beautiful; it employs people and puts delicious products on our plates.
But what will happen when the existing subsidies end? Michael Gove has confirmed this will happen in 2022 with glee, John Gummer in despair and anger. Devoid of a level playing field, our exports will become uncompetitive as EU farm subsidies to the UK will dry up. Meanwhile, the other European countries will continue to benefit from them. Currently over 90% of Welsh exports go to mainland Europe. Burdened with trade tariffs our goods will become further discriminated against. At the very least profit margins will be squeezed, leading to hardship and redundancies.
Consider also the amazing pig farming industry right here in Suffolk. Our farmers uphold the highest animal welfare standards and, as a result, the products they put into our butchers shops and delicatessens are second to none. All this has been achieved while we’ve been in the EU.
US farm subsidies:
Now consider: How will any of this survive when UK subsidies are cut? As if that’s not bad enough, American agriculture is more heavily subsidised than European farming. As a result, US products will under-cut ours, and their profit margins will be huge. This, presumably, is why Theresa May is under pressure from Donald Trump to sign up to a deal, and soon.
It is no coincidence that when Michael Gove launched his post-Brexit agriculture subsidy plan in January it was based on farmers having environmental credentials to offer, not commercial farmland. Sounds well and good on the surface, BUT, return to your flight into Gatwick – our farmers don’t need lectures from the government on environmental protection. They do it already. It’s their tradition. So, it should come as no surprise to us to note who was up there on the podium with Mr Gove during his post-Brexit presentation. Yes, it was none other than a representative from US department of agriculture. Writing on the wall?
So, bring on the flavourless, hormone and anti-biotic injected meat products, drenched in chlorine. Let’s get it over with. We’re going to have to get used to it sooner or later. Or are our farmers and the secondary processing agri-industries that they feed worth standing up for? We think they most certainly need our support and encouragement.
Consider also what will become of our landscape when we’re a net importer of agricultural produce. We like to present ourselves as the world’s consumer. “They need us more than we need them” we brag. Well, if nothing else it’s a boast of monstrous impotence. It’s also one that baffles most mainland Europeans who would feel a very different emotion if put in that position - embarrassment.
So, what will become of our neglected farmland, our de-valued landscape? Well, we don’t have to spell that out… It’ll be up for sale and cheap as chips.
Richard Hare. Woodbridge February 2018