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BREXIT- the lies and the shame

Posted by Frank Preiss, on 12 April 2019. Comments: 0

Mr Farage launched his new party on 12th April. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the UK was being "talked down to and bullied and becoming a laughing stock in the eyes of the world".

By 'bullied' he means us to understand 'by the European Union' - just one more mendacious way to stoke up the unreasoned bitterness and anger of people with real grievances that have nothing to do with the EU. He needs to give us examples of 'bullying' and 'talking down'. For many of us the behaviour of the 27 other EU members has been exemplary over recent months, and a real tribute to the respect and affection they still have for the UK.

On the other hand I squirmed with embarrassment and shame to hear Farage himself, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP and Mark Francois MP explaining like petulant schoolboys how they will do their utmost to disrupt the working of the EU and its parliament while the UK remains a member and maybe takes part in the upcoming European elections.

We now have six months to have a grown-up new In/Out debate.

Britain joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973. Two years after joining the British public were very divided about Europe. But Britain was coming out of a very bad period - first the shambles of Suez, then years of industrial strife and disruption - while Germany and France were doing very well. The eurosceptic Labour government decided on an In/Out referendum and in 1975, after an informed public debate, 'Remain' won it by a decisive 67/33 majority. The British people took the momentous decision with open eyes and minds.

Brexiteers will tell you we joined a Common market, not any kind of political union. That simply isn't true - just google 'Europe referendum 1975'. There is a wealth of material to support both leavers and remainers, but what is quite clear is that political union was widely debated at that time. How could it not be? It's written into the Treaty of Rome.

Leaving the EU now, after 45 years, would be the greatest upheaval of the British constitution and way of life since World War II.

The responsibility for the present mess the UK is in lies entirely with the mostly right-wing Conservative Leavers. It was their non-stop politicking ever since we signed up to the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, when the EEC became the European Community, significantly dropping the word 'Economic', that eventually forced the 2016 Referendum on us.

Therefore the Brexiteers, and the laughably misnamed European Research Group who do no research at all, now owe us all a clear explanation of how membership has been bad for Britain, and how leaving could make it better.

'Sovereignty', 'take back control', 'stop immigration', 'freedom to make our own trade agreements' are not arguments, merely slogans which, on analysis, prove divisive, incompatible or just empty. Even the role of European laws is misrepresented by the Brexiteers.

Remainers on the other hand are driven by a passionate desire not to throw away our part in the EU's solid achievements: deeper relationships across the continent at every level, social, commercial, cultural and educational, and not least a powerful presence in the world at large.

In the next few months remainers have to do what we should have done in 2016: dissect the slogans of the Brexiteers, and lay out the vision and practical benefits of remaining for our children and grandchildren.

But first, the new delay must not make us complacent.

BREXIT must be stopped.

 

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