Dear Paul Carter, we need to know the costs of Brexit to the people of Kent now!
By Alan Bullion
BREXIT SPEECH AT COUNTY HALL IN MAIDSTONE - IS IT WORTH IT?
The message on our bus is stark. We have delivered a letter to Paul Carter, the Tory leader of Kent County Council, demanding assessments of the impact of Brexit on Kent. Given Kent's wealth of business activity, cross-channel freight, hospitals, public services and farming, the damage could be even greater than to Britain as a whole.
The United Kingdom today is a leader in Europe, the largest economic power in the world. But we are intending to pay £40 billion to give this up! And if we want 'frictionless trade' elsewhere, conditions will apply to get deals with Africa, Australia, South America, Asia, or North America - not only with the EU.
How will Government fix Dover port congestion, the Irish border issue, up-front VAT for exporters and importers, manufacturing moving to countries in the customs union to retain customers who don't want increased bureaucracy? It's time to recognise we will face job losses in Kent.
All Government projections show that Brexit will make us poorer. It will also increase inequality through reduced capacity/political will for public spending.
Is it worth it?
Some say it is - to regain our sovereignty. But they forget the UK has always been international We moved from Union with Scotland then Ireland, to Empire to Commonwealth to leading EU player - never just an island nation. Leaving the EU is against our nature. It isolates us from friends and neighbours.
UK has a great history in welcoming immigrants. Nowadays we recognise the vital importance of EU citizens in NHS, social care, agriculture, construction, education and hospitality industries.
We also recognise the enormous benefits of Europe-wide collaboration in science, medicine (Euratom), culture and education.
Young people want to Remain, but their futures are marred by Brexit decided by the old. Within a few years, Remain will be the majority vote.
Who will decide if it's worth it?
Our MPs have a democratic duty to scrutinise Government proposals in the best interests of country, not party. We also insist on the democratic right of the electorate to change its mind as new facts become clear.
27 EU countries, plus many regional parliaments, some requiring referenda, will vote on the final deal. The British public must also have its final say.
26th February 2018