The Brexit vote, which I supported for good socialist reasons, does raise a number of important questions for the north east.
I have been asked to take part in a far-reaching questionnaire by two north east MEPs, which is designed to ensure the region grasps all the potential, and mitigates some of the costs, of leaving the EU.
This is what I’ve answered:
I accept that the single market is important, but the problem is open borders and uncontrolled immigration. The big question is, can we control immigration without harming ourselves?
Regional aid money should come from UK central government, after all we won’t be paying a large amount into the EU when we leave, and after that workplace rights must be protected and low pay must be tackled at home. Much of that can, and should, be negotiated with the EU in the run-up to withdrawal.
The Common Agricultural Policy and fisheries in any case urgently needed reviewing, and our exit should help get a better deal for farmers and fishermen.
There will be no problem with incomers already here, and our ex-pat communities in the EU must also be protected.
On pretty much all of the above, we should reach an amicable agreement.
And for those of us who believe Brexit will have constitutional ramifications, I say – I hope so. We could start with the abolition of the House of Lords.