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Brexit was not to make us poorer

June 21, 2018 4:23 PM
By Robert Douglas in Congleton Chronicle

Dear Sir,

I feel it is necessary to respond to Mr. Norbury's letter of 14th June 2018 which criticised comments which I had made in letters published the previous week.

Firstly, the last part of Mr. Norbury's letter is totally incorrect when he claims that the Trooping of the Colour watched by millions of people represents concrete proof that true Brits are unwilling to become a state of the E.U. I am both a Liberal Democrat and an ardent Royalist and love the pageantry of the Trooping of the Colour but I also strongly believe that it is imperative for the long term benefit of the U.K. to remain in the E.U. Just because there are large numbers of flag wavers at the Trooping of the Colour, it is ridiculous to link this with any direct support for Brexit. Furthermore, the regiments' colours (or flags) saluted during the Trooping of the Colour detail past heroic battles which were often fought with our European allies. For example, one such battle, the Battle of Waterloo, which Jacob Rees-Mogg likes to quote in his speeches, was a victory only achieved thanks to our ally, Prussia (later the most significant state in Germany) arriving on the battlefield at the critical point in the battle.

France holds a similar event to the Trooping of the Colour on Bastille Day and the fact that this event is watched by millions of French people does not detract from their support for the institution of the E.U.

Mr Norbury starts his letter by condemning my comment that Robert Chilowa, a Zimbabwean national, should be granted citizenship of the U.K. following his heroic rescue of two children from a burning home in Manchester. I find Mr Norbury's comment "You can well imagine that arrangement opening a few trap-doors!" is rather worrying as I am not entirely sure what he means by this comment and it could be construed as having criminal undertones. I also hope that Mr Norbury will publicly condemn the officials who told Robert Chilowa that he could not even use the N.H.S. even though he risked his life saving the lives of two children. There have been other instances of immigrants being deprived of access to the N.H.S. including those who are suffering from cancer, such as Kelemua Mulat, who only received medical help when doctors and nurses at the Christie concluded that the health implications were so critical that they had to intervene to save her life. Depriving immigrants of medical help is not fitting for a civilised society and I do trust that Mr Norbury condemns, as strongly as I do, the callous decisions of this Government to deprive these immigrants of medical help.

As regards my comment about Lord Lawson. Mr Norbury has completely missed the point. Of course, I have no problem with Lord Lawson or anyone else having a second home. I condemned Lord Lawson because he applied for a French residency card which will grant him benefits and rights within the E.U. that Lord Lawson is campaigning so vigorously to deprive from the rest of us. Lord Lawson's application for a French residency card is an act of sheer hypocrisy.

Acts of sheer hypocrisy seem to be quite common these days amongst leading Brexiteers. Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is campaigning for a "hard" Brexit which will have a devastating impact on U.K. jobs and the economy as financial institutions will lose their "passporting rights", vigorously defends his part-time employer, Somerset Capital Management, which he co-funded and in which he still holds a substantial stake, for launching a major fund management centre in Dublin, even though that means submitting to Irish and E.U. laws but necessary to escape those disastrous consequences of the "hard"Brexit proposed by Jacob Rees-Mogg !

Indeed, Mr Norbury also refers to the old nonsensical chestnut about the lack of respect some remainers have for the will of the people. The Brexit terms on offer bear no resemblance to the promises made by the leading Brexiteers during the referendum campaign.

Today, our Prime Minister made the welcome announcement of a £ 20 billion increase in funding for our N.H.S. but sadly she continued with one of the Brexiteers' false statements when she claimed that half of this money was a result of a "Brexit dividend". As the journalist Robert Peston tweeted, when ministers describe the boost to N.H.S. spending as a Brexit "dividend", think "Unicorn" and Mr Peston also tweeted that Britons will pay for this through increased taxes and the burden of higher debt. The independent director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, Paul Johnson, has said "There is no Brexit dividend. Payments to the E.U. will fall (after Brexit), but tax revenues will fall even more as a result of Brexit."

Nobody voted in the E.U. Referendum to make themselves poorer. Now, we have Nigel Farage claiming that for the foreseeable future after 29th March, 2019, the U.K. will be actually worse off than the U.K. would have been if it had remained in the E.U. No leading Brexiteer warned us of this during the referendum campaign !

Furthermore, during the referendum campaign leading Brexiteers such as Daniel Hannan and Owen Paterson stated that no one was suggesting that the U.K. would be leaving the E.U.'s Single Market and that only a madman would actually leave the Single Market. Yet, this is exactly what the Government is now proposing.

If the Government is confident that the people want this harsh Brexit , which was not originally offered as an option to the British people, then the Government should be brave enough to put this forward in a referendum as the actual terms of Brexit. Opinion polls for many months have demonstrated consistently that as more people are aware of the facts, they now wish to remain in the E.U.

There is only one reason why Brexiteers refuse to offer the referendum on the actual terms of Brexit, a suggestion proposed by Jacob Rees-Mogg in Parliament back in January, 2014 : it is that they know they will lose such a referendum and that their mantra of acting for the "will of the people" is just another hollow statement.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Douglas,

2 Hollycroft,

Congleton CW12 4SH