In politics, as in life, you are sometimes the dog and sometimes the tree. My fear is that some of those who have voted to leave the EU in order to give the elite establishment a bloody nose may end up being the tree.
The UK’s electorate has been sold a pup. The Leave campaign has already gone back on two of the three main planks of its campaign: Nigel Farage has said that the statement that we will have £350 million to spend on the NHS each week “was a mistake”. Daniel Hannan now says that leaving the EU will not lead to dramatic cuts in immigration, and we are yet to hear which of the laws ‘imposed on us from Brussels’ are going to be torn up.
The economic case for Leave has consisted of deceptions and assertions based on no evidence whatsoever. The £350m per week figure is simply a lie as it ignores the rebate. Who thinks that Europe will continue to give us that £90m per week? There is no reason to believe that the UK can negotiate a better trade deal with the USA, especially since President Obama has said that we will have to go to the back of the queue. In any event, Canada’s deal is the same as that being negotiated with the EU. We are also being hoodwinked over a potential deal with Europe. There is no reason to believe that the EU will afford the UK all the benefits of access to the single market without asking us to bear some of the cost.
So, a post-EU Britain will have control over our seas, just like Norway does over its 200 mile zone. But, in fact, Norway still negotiates with the EU over quotas, and faces an import duty on its sales into Europe. Will this mean that the shellfish Whitby’s fishermen exports to Europe will also face a punitive and damaging tariff, making it more expensive and difficult to sell?
There is a grave danger of another recession, and I fear that jobs in Whitby will be vulnerable. Unfortunately, if you lose your job, Scarborough JobMatch and Scarborough EnterpriseMatch will probably no longer be able to help you, as they depend on European money to survive and have so far already benefitted to the tune of £1.5m
We are fortunate enough to live in an area of outstandingly beautiful countryside, managed by our farmers who benefit from £4bn a year of EU payments. Can we be sure that this will continue? Or will farmers feel the strain and have to give up on their environmental stewardship of our landscape?
The European Union is not a perfect institution by a long way. Jeremy Corbyn’s assessment that it scores maybe 7 1/2 out of ten seems quite reasonable to me. But is walking away from a problem the British way? Is abandoning the largest market in the world the way to protect our future? I very much doubt it and I certainly do not believe that men (and it is mostly men leading the Leave side) like Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage, with their absence of any coherent plan, are the best choice to lead us into this uncertain future.