Vot­ing Brexit af­ter much de­lib­er­a­tion

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View -

In my mind Ash­ford is the only truly in­ter­na­tional town in the South East. And thus my de­ci­sion to vote to leave the EU on many counts was a dif­fi­cult one to ar­rive at.

Ash­ford isn’t over-run with im­mi­grants, but has its fair share. Ash­ford has a lot of res­i­dents who com­mute to France and Bel­gium for work, and even more res­i­dents who go to the coun­tries of the Euro­pean Union on hol­i­day on EU pass­ports and thus can pass freely be­tween coun­tries of the EU with­out visas or long de­lays.

And Ash­ford has an un­em­ploy­ment rate of around 1.5%, thus mak­ing it a very pros­per­ous part of the UK, with strong com­mer­cial links to the EU that have been built up over the last 30 years.

With all that pos­i­tive in­for­ma­tion in hand why would I vote to leave the EU? Well, for two sim­ple rea­sons.

1) The EU (as pre­scribed in the Treaty of Rome, the Sin­gle Euro­pean Act, and so on) is a grand plan for a fed­eral Europe. And I be­lieve the UK should de­cide its own destiny in all mat­ters. This is not just a trad­ing bloc, or eco­nomic union. It is a method of na­tion build­ing at the supra-na­tional level, and in my opin­ion it dom­i­nates our politi­cians, and thus us, the peo­ple of the UK.

2) While im­mi­gra­tion in Ash­ford isn’t an over­whelm­ing prob­lem, it is a fac­tor. The roughly 1,000 peo­ple on Job­seeker’s Al­lowance in the Bor­ough of Ash­ford have to com­pete with cit­i­zens of 27 other EU coun­tries who have just as much right as them to ap­ply for the same £7.20 per hour job. And this has meant wages have stayed ar­ti­fi­cially low as there has been an abun­dant sup­ply of cheap labour. In­deed, the 330,000 net im­mi­grants to this coun­try (roughly 50% from EU coun­tries) largely come here for a bet­ter life and to work. And herein lies the prob­lem.

For whilst I don’t blame cit­i­zens of other EU coun­tries com­ing to the UK (the best per­form­ing econ­omy of the last three years in the en­tire EU) to search for work, if given a chance, I want to say, no more. I want to say this eco­nomic pro­ject is (and al­ways was) a po­lit­i­cal pro­ject and I want out. I want to say this is the one chance in a gen­er­a­tion to say we can con­trol our bor­ders on our own, prop­erly. Th­ese are the rea­sons I will be vot­ing out on June 23. Cllr Bill Bar­rett (Con) Sin­gle­ton South ward

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