Brexit deal vote re­quired

The Galloway News - - GALLOWAY VIEW - Martin Gould Stockar­ton Cot­tage Kirkcud­bright

Sir – Of all the many an­noy­ing things said about Brexit, the most an­noy­ing I find is “the will of the peo­ple” used as a pre­tence of democ­racy. Per­haps it is to some ex­tent, but doubt­ful.

Maybe it is “the will of half ” of the peo­ple who were per­mit­ted to vote and who, for mys­ti­fy­ing rea­sons, be­lieved the bla­tant lies told by leave cam­paign­ers.

But what of the nearly half (or two thirds in Scot­land) that voted to stay. The most fa­mous dis­tor­tion of re­al­ity from leave be­ing the myth­i­cal £350m a week for the NHS that Boris John­son has re­cently re­vived in a des­per­ate bid to re­build col­laps­ing sup­port for a mad form of Brexit.

The Of­fice for Bud­get Re­spon­si­bil­ity ac­tu­ally cal­cu­lates that Brexit will dam­age pub­lic fi­nances by £292 mil­lion a week by 2020 and the gov­ern­ment will have £164 mil­lion a week less to spend.

I pre­dicted at the time of the ref­er­en­dum that the pound would be worth less than one euro in a year or so and that a leave vote was vot­ing for at least a 10 per cent pay cut short term and worse in the fu­ture.

With in­fla­tion and the cost of buy­ing eu­ros for hol­i­days this fig­ure is rapidly ap­proach­ing. I got 1.40 eu­ros for a pound just be­fore the Brexit vote and the news re­cently re­ported an all time low air­port ex­change rate of 86 cents to a pound. We have es­caped the worst of the price rises largely be­cause other EU coun­tries have been tak­ing the hit for our mis­takes.

If the leave cam­paign had said that the value of the pound would col­lapse would peo­ple have voted to leave? Yes there are win­ners in the lower value of ster­ling, UK tourism for ex­am­ple, but most peo­ple are worse off.

If the leave cam­paign had told the truth about the NHS – which has the high­est staff short­ages in liv­ing mem­ory – would peo­ple have voted to leave?

Im­mi­gra­tion is a big worry for many but the im­mi­grants most peo­ple feared at the time of the ref­er­en­dum were not EU cit­i­zens, and per­haps with all the ter­ror­ist at­tacks in the past year the fears may be well founded. How­ever, leav­ing the EU has no af­fect on this is­sue.

But mak­ing the UK unattrac­tive to EU work­ers and re­duc­ing their pay by poor ex­change rates has done the trick of cut­ting mi­grant num­bers far more ef­fec­tively than reg­u­la­tion.

As it was largely the English el­derly “shaft­ing the young”, to quote Vince Ca­ble, I be­lieve over 16s should have been in­cluded to make the out­come re­motely valid, as they will cer­tainly be the worst af­fected.

In fact fairer to give the young the vote and ex­clude older peo­ple, many of whom will not be around to en­dure the worst of the con­se­quences. I am not hav­ing a go at the old as I am 67 and English by birth.

The only so­lu­tion to the im­pos­si­ble prob­lem of Brexit is Nick Clegg and Tony Blair’s view that a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum should be called once we know the deal we will get. If peo­ple still vote to leave how would that be a prob­lem for leave sup­port­ers?

Even if I be­lieved leav­ing the EU was bet­ter for us (and I loath a lot about the EU), it can­not be done – cer­tainly not with­out dis­as­trous con­se­quences.

There is far too much pain in Brexit, for too lit­tle gain.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.