Take time out for a re-think

I usually disagree with both the Prime Minister and our MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, but I welcome your report about them, (Berwick Advertiser, January 19).

Monday, 30th January 2017, 08:00 am

As politicians should, both have been thinking and have changed their positions – for the worse?

Our MP moved from being ‘Euro-sceptic’ before the election to being an ‘Outer’ after.

The Prime Minister moved from being in David Cameron’s ‘Remain’ camp to pushing through an extreme ‘Leave’ position, I believe, without the mandate she claims.

Is more re-thinking and change needed?

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First, the report dealt almost exclusively with trade and ‘what’s in it for us?’ – a well known Tory emphasis, but insufficient.

The EU was always about ending centuries of war between its members and learning how to work together. Trade was merely a means.

I acknowledge the reference to a ‘global outlook’, but this must reach beyond Boris Johnson’s jokey, seemingly run-away tongue.

For instance, over recent decades poverty in the world has halved. This is because of nations working together, not because of the Prime Minister’s threats to undercut neighbours with a race to the bottom.

Then there’s how some of our neighbours feel about Vladimir Putin in this new world, or are they just small nations far away?

Shamefully, ‘a strong, friendly ally’ is not how we are now seen. More re-thinking is needed.

Nearer home, Scotland was mentioned. However, nothing has been said about how the referendum wishes of Scotland or Northern Ireland are to be met – or is another English override the only answer? More re-thinking is needed.

Leave the EU court so governments, ours included, can only obey rules which we ‘make on our own’ – except the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ones that we may fall back on – until we don’t like them either? More re-thinking is needed.

On immigration there is no clarity yet, except that we’ll make the rules and ‘welcome the best talent from across the globe’. Even if that drains from poorer nations, or displaces EU citizens who have helped us here for years?

There is no mention yet of the steps UK governments could have taken to ease this issue. It seems easier just to blame the EU, or even the migrant workers themselves. More re-thinking is needed.

I haven’t started on the issues which the report did not mention at all.

Research is beginning to show that some of these were so important in people’s anger that the referendum was used just to give the Government a kicking, regardless of whether the EU was relevant.

These issues included stagnant wages, inequality and unfairness, cuts to public services, undue influence for big business, and the squeeze on local government, to say nothing of the wide perception that too much in the media and politics was distorting. More re-thinking is needed.

I’ve argued here before that the referendum was seriously flawed in several ways and that its result was advisory, unclear and too close. No one has countered the reasons I gave. Still thinking perhaps?

Nigel Farage said that with the figures reversed, he’d have demanded a re-run. I don’t.

I’m glad the referendum happened. With all that anger exposed, with all that re-thinking to do, all those UK and EU problems to be addressed, we need a non-violent, political revolution.

Let’s suspend Brexit work for three years and start.

Peter Watts

Scott’s Place