Voting Brexit after much deliberation
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