Challenging the simplistic view

I saw an advert on Facebook with 429,000 ‘likes.’

It showed four people standing shoulder to shoulder with the caption: “Let’s take our country back.”

Beneath it, the following words are displayed: “Leave EU.” This simplistic advertising needs to be challenged.

We pool our sovereignty to our mutual benefit all the time. For example, four borough and district councils in East Sussex have entered into a joint contract for rubbish collection and recycling.

These councils are controlled by three different political parties. But they have all voluntarily pooled their sovereignty concerning this service because they believe it to be mutually beneficial to do so in terms of value for money.

I don’t hear siren voices decrying this as a loss of sovereignty to Rother.

Similarly, 28 European nations have pooled their sovereignty in a number of areas that they perceive to be mutually beneficial.

For example, the European Arrest Warrant keeps us safer.

Organised crime, whether it is trade in illegal drugs, people trafficking or terrorism, knows no borders. International cooperation between police and intelligence services makes us safer as does the ability to detain suspects in one European nation and extradite them to another.

Britain has negotiated a European Union opt out concerning the European Arrest Warrant, but no British home secretary has sought to opt out of this mutually beneficial scheme. The benefit of the European single market is another example.

In 1974, as a young graduate, I was the assistant to the product manager for Britain’s leading manufacturer of baby incubators. I was tasked with finding a solution for significantly increasing my employer’s market share in France.

Within hours of my flight touching down in Paris, I learnt that the French electrical safety and design specifications had been written to coincide with the product specification of my main French competitor.

My company’s standard incubator, welcomed by Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and throughout Britain, couldn’t meet French public sector safety standards.

A completely new design had to be developed, looking very similar to the French product, to meet the legal requirements of the French public sector. This was deliberate trade protectionism.

With the European single market in operation, my 1974 example no longer applies.

Britain is represented on the technical committees that handle safety standards.

If we were to vote to leave the European Union, Britain’s exports would be disadvantaged by not having a seat at the European Union’s negotiating table.

Paul Courtel

Amherst Road


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