The first letter to the editors today is by our contributor, Debbie Le May, who passionately argues for BREXIT and gives this irresistible reason:
We are British!
Since our Prime Minister David Cameron came back from his negotiations with the EU, he has said on many occasions that “we are better off staying in a reformed European Union”. I quite agree with him – we would be better off staying if there were any significant reforms within that behemoth of an organisation.
If Continental fishermen would stop scouring our coasts of fish, if we could get rid of some of the miles of red tape strangling our small businesses, if we could get a permanent reduction in the £55 million we pay the EU EVERY SINGLE DAY, if we were able to make our own laws in our own Parliament without having to obey every edict emitted by Brussels bureaucrats, then it certainly would be a good idea to stay in.
But the few concessionary snippets Cameron was thrown during his negotiations can hardly be considered ‘reform’. It reminds me of the last negotiation undertaken by former PM Tony Blair in which he let the EU decimate our rebate in return for a promise that the Brussels politicians would look at the Common Agricultural Policy. They looked, decided the policy was fine and left it there, having claimed back a significant part of our rebate. Good deal? I should coco!
I also agree with the London Mayor Boris Johnson, a staunch supporter of BREXIT. Both he and Cameron speak of the chaos if we voted to leave the EU. There is no doubt in my mind that this will happen and that for a period of time things will be bad. Mortgage interest rates may rise, jobs may be lost, the exchange rates could worsen and lots of other bad things could happen to us.
But I cannot believe that we will be in trouble for long. Cameron quotes the seven year negotiations Canada is having with the EU as an example, but is this realistic? If we left the EU, would the greengrocer down the road be unable to buy French apples for seven years? Would the local Mercedes dealership be unable to import new cars or the off-licence only stock British wines? I think this is extraordinary to the point of being stupid. Trade will continue.
And the threats that the EU will impose such harsh trade barriers and tariffs are equally ridiculous. We import far more from the EU than we export to them. Our continental neighbours know full well that if they decided to charge exorbitant tariffs on British goods being sent to the continent, we would do exactly the same and they would be hurt a lot more than us. They won’t cut off their noses to spite their faces. They need our trade!
Cameron and Johnson are right: there will be a short period of uncertainty while we secure trade agreements with the rest of the world, but at least we will be able to secure such agreement with China, India, the US and the Commonwealth countries, and we will make sure we get the best deals.
After Brexit, we will survive, we will prosper, and leave the EU foundering in our wake.
After all, we are British!
Debbie Le May
The second letter, by our contributor Simon Roberts, is very topical, taking a look at the current Primaries in the USA and especially at the apparently irresistible rise of Donald Trump:
Donald Trump and Civil Liberties
The US political establishment is getting very anxious about the prospect of a Trump candidacy. Originally seen as just a little comic relief, the GOP establishment now has little chance of stopping the juggernaut.
Trump’s success is due to what he is not rather than what he is. Many people are so fed up with the Republican establishment that they are prepared to hold their collective noses and vote for a complete outsider in order to send the message that enough is enough. Paul Ryan’s capitulation with the Democrats is probably a factor. He positioned himself as the conservative alternative to Boehner, then promptly gave the Democrats everything they wanted.This sent the message that no-one within the establishment can be trusted. (Ed: Paul Ryan is the current speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner was the previous one.)
One of the establishment’s biggest headache is that Trump is hard to pin down. His speeches are largely policy-free, which leaves little room for targeted criticism. They thought they had him on the issue of “the wall” but that didn’t harm him. Then they thought they had him on his plan to stop Muslim immigration, but it seems that plenty to US citizens agree with that, too. Now they seem to be concentrating on his statements regarding the torture of terrorists and the targeting of their families.
UKIP is a broadly libertarian party and, as a party member, I am appalled by some of the things that Trump has said regarding civil liberties. The problem for the GOP establishment is that nothing that Trump is saying is any worse than the last two US administrations have practiced. Bush introduced the Patriot Act and, as we now know, authorised widespread electronic spying on US citizens. Obama passed the NDAA, which authorises the killing of US citizens without trial. Both of them practiced drone strikes in the Middle East, which kill suspected terrorists and anyone unfortunate enough to be standing within a certain radius of them without any form of trial or legal process. Since 9/11, governments in the US and elsewhere have been happy to promote a largely exaggerated domestic terrorist problem in order to bolster their authority in a world in which markets are more powerful than governments. What Trump is doing is just a continuation of that.
If the GOP establishment want to nail Trump, they should be trying to do so on real policy issues. Their problem is that this would highlight the fact that, just as here in the UK, there is now very little policy difference between the mainstream conservative and socialist parties.
I personally doubt that Trump will ever sit in the Oval Office, but his legacy will be to have highlighted the fact that the current political battle in the US is not between left and right, but between the establishment and the people.