Friday, June 24, 2016

Reflections on EU Referendum.

June 23rd 2016 will be etched forever into the history of Britain. The people decided in a referendum that they wished their Government to negotiate the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. So did the people of Wales. And so did the people of Powys. I was one of those voters, having been committed to leaving the EU since 1975. I have never signed up to the idea that Britain can be subsumed into an undemocratic bureaucracy. But I was still very surprised by the result, having been certain in my mind that the Remain side would win. 

I had hoped that David Cameron would continue as our Prime Minister for longer. He had already told us he would retire before the 2020 General Election. In reality this would have meant a new Conservative Party Leader being elected in 2018/19. The new leader will now be elected in October. On reflection, the Prime Minister is probably right to leave the hugely complex and difficult challenge of Britain's EU withdrawal to his successor. David Cameron has been an outstandingly good Prime Minister. I have been proud to know him, and to have worked with him. Despite being inexperienced  when he became Leader of the Conservative Party, he developed quickly into a hugely impressive leader and Prime Minister. I will certainly miss his reassuring and dominating presence. 

Inevitably there will be some turbulence. Not surprising after the warnings of Armageddon and catastrophe in 'Project Fear'. When financial markets opened on Friday morning, the FTSE 100 dropped around 8%. The BBC and financial whizz kids went into overdrive. And then the FTSE 100 went up again. "Oh dear, that wasn't in the script". 

Like everyone else, I am nervous, and a little fearful about the future. There is uncertainty, real tension, and threat of political turbulence as well as financial. I do not feel at all celebratory. So many friends and people I respect take a different view from me. However, this is not doubt about the wisdom of the brave wonderful liberating decision we took on the 23rd June. I do feel a sense of great pride in the British people who have voted for democracy. And proud of the voters of Wales and of Powys who also voted to leave the EU. Yet again the British people have showed the world how much they value democracy. Ironically, it has been a Conservative Govt which has given the British people the chance to vote it out of office in 2020 - which it may well do if Labour manage to replace Jeremy Corbyn with a credible leader.

I feel guilty not to have played any part in the actual campaigning. Initially I was opposed to the referendum being held in June, inevitably over-shadowing and influencing the Welsh General Election held in May. And by May I was so disillusioned by the utterly incredible claims of Project Fear, and the counter claims of the Leave campaign, that I could join in. So I just discussed the issue with those who asked my opinion.

I must include a comment about farming, particularly livestock farming. It was my main job for most of my life. There are two issues which are causing concern, a continuation of CAP subsidies and access to markets. I do not think either is a real problem. In our increasingly unstable world, no British Govt will sacrifice food security. If our European neighbours continue to subsidise farming, we will have to ensure that Britain remains competitive. And I think that market realities will dictate that we will be free to sell our produce in the EU. It would be an extraordinary act of self harm for the EU to put barriers in the way of trade. EU countries sell so much more to the UK than we do to them. 

There is so much else I could write about. I may edit later and add important bits I've left out. Not surprising. Last couple of days have been most astonishingly eventful of my 40 years in public affairs. Today, there is the weight of uncertainty, but tomorrow there will be the lightness and freedom that comes with casting off shackles of bureaucracy. 




6 comments:

IanJ said...

I agree that we should buckle down & get on with "it", whatever it turns out to be.
But I wonder how many people will be more concerned about replacing the prime minister for the third time in a row. I understand the constitutional arrangements we have. Many I suspect think they vote for the PM. They certainly punish local councillors based on the government of the day. Even knowing the system if there is no election I will consider a protest vote in future.
Of course, I am making assumptions. The next PM could be more of a Major rather than a Brown.

RedMaggs said...

Interesting article and can I just say because you voted out doesn't mean that those of us who voted in would automatically disagree with you - I believe that now the decision has been made that remarks like that should be stopped and people pull together for the good of the people of this country

As for the rest just a couple of comments - these have all been research - firstly

"l... subsumed into an undemocratic bureaucracy." - It is no less democratic that the UK Government in my eyes

I had hoped that David Cameron would continue as our Prime Minister for longer. - yes he lied about that didn't - best thing that could happen - however we are now going to get a PM elected by a minority of people in this country - very undemocratic

And then the FTSE 100 went up again. "Oh dear, that wasn't in the script". and is higher than it was on Monday :D

Like everyone else, I am nervous, and a little fearful about the future. There is uncertainty, real tension, and threat of political turbulence as well as financial. I do not feel at all celebratory. So many friends and people I respect take a different view from me. - yes everyone I speak to is!

I do feel a sense of great pride in the British people who have voted for democracy. And proud of the voters of Wales and of Powys who also voted to leave the EU - and how about pride in the others who voted for their beliefs - that indicates that you are only proud of those that voted the same as you - so forget the other 46.3%. How do you feel about them.

"...if Labour manage to replace Jeremy Corbyn with a credible leader..." That is nasty and personal - many people I have spoken to believe he is - only a few think he isn't.


"There is so much else I could write about." - yes how about us pulling together for a better future and being proud of everyone - people voted as they wished and in your words I can see why the public are so divided - people who voted for IN are still your constituents - be proud of all people even those who disagree with you.

I am saddened by the fact say you are proud of OUT voters - that remark is so divisive and you should apologise for it     Are you ashamed of those who voted in as that is opposite to out  

Bril said...

Let nobody think that the FTSE roller coaster on Friday is the end of the matter. That it recovered some of its losses on the day is irrelevant. The 'tomorrow' you refer to Glyn is a long, long way off. By the time we get there, a Britain inside the EU would have been far ahead.

Perpetua said...

So reassuring to know you are only proud of half your constituents. As one who was passionately in favour of staying in the EU and whose son and daughter both work for pan-European enterprises and are therefore very worried about the possible impact of this decision on their careers, I think you should show far more awareness that the future is extremely uncertain now. Personally I think we've just made an enormous mistake and will live to regret it.

Fiona Burnett said...

1.“ When financial markets opened on Friday morning, the FTSE 100 dropped around 8%.The BBC and financial whizz kids went into overdrive. And then the FTSE 100 went up again. "Oh dear, that wasn't in the script". However:
The FTSE 100 is of international companies (and it ended 3.15% down). The FTSE 250 (largely UK companies) ended down on Friday 24th by 7.18%. Sterling fell to a 31 year low. 2tn was wiped off the World’s markets. The Bank of England set aside £250nb of liquidity to shore us up, which equates to 30 years of EU membership.
Our credit rating was downgraded from Stable to Negative.

To just comment on the FTSE 100 gives an entirely distorted view of the situation.

2.“I have never signed up to the idea that Britain can be subsumed into an undemocratic bureaucracy.”
“I do feel a sense of great pride in the British people who have voted for democracy.”
“Yet again the British people have showed the world how much they value democracy”
“tomorrow there will be the lightness and freedom that comes with casting off shackles of bureaucracy.” However:

(a)In view our voting system your party is in power when of those who actually went out and voted only 36.8% voted Conservative. So nearly 63% of those who voted in the last General Election, voted for another party. What is democratic about that, or the unelected House of Lords?
(c)The European Parliament is an elected body. All other EU bodies have people appointed by the (elected) governments of the member states. What is not democratic about that?
(d)Please listen on youtube to Professor Dougan who is Professor of EU Law at Liverpool University as he explains the EU Constitution and banishes your myths.

3.“And by May I was so disillusioned by the utterly incredible claims of Project Fear, and the counter claims of the Leave campaign, that I could not join in”
My questions:
(a)Do you feel you have provided any leadership to your constituents in the debate?
(b)Do you feel you have provided fair representation to the significant minority who voted to Remain?
(c)Do you accept any responsibility for allowing the lies of both sides to stand not corrected?
(d)You are MP of this constituency on the basis of the vote of only 31% of the electorate, but your job is to represent us all. How well do you feel you have done that? How connected to the 69% who did not vote for you?
(e)Do you think Leave Campaign indulged in “Project Fear” over immigrants coming in droves, over Turkey joining soon, over a European Army, migrants including terrorists being able to come into the country, and migrants pressing our services?

4.“I must include a comment about farming, particularly livestock farming… There are two issues which are causing concern, a continuation of CAP subsidies and access to markets. I do not think either is a real problem…..And I think that market realities will dictate that we will be free to sell our produce in the EU."

(a). You think? This is people’s livelihoods you have brushed away on I think/do not think. In the job that you are doing there is weighty responsibility, and all you offer is “I think”?
(b) The EU has invested £4bn in Wales since 2000. Can you guarantee that funding level will not now stop? If not, how can you have voted to Leave? You have a responsibility to your constituents.

You have wanted to Leave since 1975 which is 41 years to have come up with a proper plan for leaving. The SNP had a White Paper as fat as a book for leaving the UK. Where is yours?

I thank anyone who has made it to the end of this post. If you voted Leave and now regret it there is a petition on Change.org which you can sign asking for a second referendum. It is for people who feel they made their decision on the basis of “facts” that have now been shown to be lies, and want to change their vote. The voting figures are so tight that little over 600,000 changed votes would have meant we Remained.

RedMaggs said...

Wonderful xx