Brexit de­ci­sion will af­fect all our lives

Bath Chronicle - - OPINION -

‘The British peo­ple want this set­tled,‘ said Theresa May when pre­sent­ing her deal to Par­lia­ment. She ar­gued she had got the best deal pos­si­ble but could not say it would be bet­ter than the cur­rent sta­tus quo of be­ing a mem­ber of the EU, only that it would be ‘dif­fer­ent.’ Brexit has been shown through gov­ern­ment and NHS im­pact as­sess­ments to be dam­age lim­i­ta­tion at best so the deal on of­fer might do less dam­age than crash­ing out with ‘no deal’ but it doesn’t mean it’s what we should ac­cept. Both May and Cor­byn seem to as­sume if Brexit’s out the way, we can fo­cus on other is­sues and the same ‘mag­i­cal think­ing’ was ev­i­dent at the coun­cil meet­ing of Novem­ber 8 where the Lib Dem mo­tion to per­suade the coun­cil to back the ‘Peo­ple’s Vote’ cam­paign was dis­missed on the grounds that Brexit wasn’t ‘coun­cil busi­ness.’ Ad­di­tion­ally, Coun­cil­lor Paul My­ers used the as­ton­ish­ing jus­ti­fi­ca­tion that as peo­ple are ‘bored of Brexit’ it’s time to move on. Both lo­cally and na­tion­ally the peo­ple of the UK are be­ing treated like trou­ble­some teenagers with poor at­ten­tion spans. Clearly, if Brexit could have been set­tled eas­ily, this would have been done, but the com­plex­ity of the process and con­se­quences weren’t ev­i­dent in 2016 to politi­cians, let alone to the pub­lic. Brexit is not a sep­a­rate en­tity. It will frame all our poli­cies and fund­ing for the fu­ture. Coun­cil­lor My­ers’ be­lief that BANES can run lo­cal gov­ern­ment in a bub­ble is wor­ry­ing. For ex­am­ple, one of BANES’S high­est bud­get pri­or­i­ties is so­cial care. Cur­rently, there is a na­tional short­age of care staff so to lose a po­ten­tial 5.9 per cent of EU work­ers would be cat­a­strophic. As cab­i­net mem­ber for eco­nomic and com­mu­nity re­gen­er­a­tion, one would as­sume Coun­cil­lor My­ers would be con­cerned about the po­ten­tial loss of £8.4 bil­lion of EU re­gional fund­ing as well as the assess­ment by the Char­tered In­sti­tute of Pub­lic Fi­nance and Ac­coun­tancy that the South West could be hit harder eco­nom­i­cally than many other re­gions of the UK. It’s right and demo­cratic to let the peo­ple have a say on the fi­nal deal and many coun­cils have added weight to this by pub­licly back­ing the Peo­ple’s Vote cam­paign. How dis­ap­point­ing that ours re­fuses to do so. Jane Rieke­mann

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