BREXIT: We can’t live in the past

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I’d like to respond to a couple of letters that you have published from supporters of Brexit.

One of your correspondents referred to the referendum as ‘the legal democratic vote’.

Those of us who read the MPs’ briefing prior to the referendum will realise that the referendum was an opinion poll and not legally binding.

How valid it was even as an opinion poll is open to question.

There is the question of Russian interference. Why would President Putin prefer the UK to leave the EU?

I doubt that it was for the good of British people.

There is a further matter of possible financial irregularity in that the Leave campaign may have exceeded the allowed campaign budget.

There is the issue of disputed claims, the most obvious being the £350million per week that could go to the NHS, the world would be at our feet post-Brexit, the post-Brexit agreement with the EU would be the easiest in history and that within a few years of leaving the EU, the UK would have trade agreements worth 10 times the value of our agreement with the EU (not actually possible).

In my view, it is doubtful whether the outcome of the referendum imposes any duty or mandate for the government to pursue Brexit, and certainly not ‘hard Brexit’, which wasn’t widely discussed and wasn’t a choice on the ballot paper.

It has been said that Brexiters want to turn the clock back. They seem to want a pre-18th century Britain with no corporation tax and employers able to hire and fire at will.

Another section wants to go back to the halcyon days of the 1960s and worker protection.

It simply is not possible to achieve a Brexit that will satisfy both groups.

I can only attribute the desire to return to the 1960s as something to do with ‘false memory syndrome’.

I was around in the 1960s. It is probably true that affluence was better spread throughout the UK and not so concentrated in the south-east, or in the hands of those who put their money in offshore funds, but I don’t see that is anything to do with membership of the EU.

If you want to go back there, turn off that personal computer and mobile phone and refuse any treatment by non-UK staff and any treatment that wasn’t available in the 1960s.

We didn’t have gender equality, access to higher education, particularly for females, respect for people with disability and there were constant hits on the value of the pound due to regular industrial strife.

The 1960s gave way to the 1970s, increased industrial strife and Mrs Thatcher.

Elsewhere, the rest of the world did not stand still, making it difficult for the UK to slip back into some comfortable dream epoch.

I was at a social gathering recently and was listening to some retired people talking about fairly exotic locations they had visited and were going to visit.

These travels were not possible for most people in the 1960s and something that as the second most affluent economy in the EU, people have been able to enjoy.

But, it is apparently older voters who have been most enthusiastic supporters of Brexit, turning back the clock and the consequent reduction of prospects for younger people.

It is interesting to read that some poll says that people are of the opinion that no deal may be better than a bad deal.

I’d love to see the criteria adopted to come to that conclusion, bearing in mind that the government has done no modelling of the effects of Brexit on any sector of the UK economy.

The government has no idea what will happen to the UK economy after Brexit, but it gave us a vote on it.

In any case, I doubt whether ‘bad deal’ or ‘no deal’ is as good as the deal we now have as members of the largest free trade organisation on earth.

Charles Thompson

Blyth