One Saturday lunchtime (May 21) I came across a Leave EU team outside Boots in Bexhill.
I was seeking some clarification about the frequent claims by Brexiteers that the (alleged) £350m per week we pay to Europe will be spent on our NHS once we leave the EU.
What guarantees are there, I asked, that any future government will actually spend any repatriated funds on our own, domestic public services?
After some equivocating the guy conceded there was no such guarantee.
We didn’t even begin talking about the accuracy of the £350m figure as he was keen to enthusiastically communicate his own views to me.
His female colleague suggested that ‘at least it wouldn’t be the EU deciding how it gets spent’.
I wasn’t able to pursue that statement with her but it does seem to me that one of the more obvious points is that we actually have no more control over budgets planned and spent by mandarins in Westminster than functionaries in Brussels.
Other than voting on one single issue every five years I never get a say in how this country is run.
That’s exactly the same level of participation as I have in the governance of Europe as a whole.
It makes no difference to me whether I’m locked out of the decision-making process by the British system, or by the European system.
If I’d had the opportunity I would have also liked to have discussed another frequent claim made by the Leavers – that we are ruled by Europe which makes our own laws subservient. This is another fallacy.
Member states have all agreed that the only areas of law in which Europe has primacy are transport, fisheries, commercial and agricultural policy, and rules governing competition and the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital.
This has not changed since 1957 and leaves all the major areas such as defence, health, education, social welfare, taxation, criminal law and so on clearly within the responsibility of the UK Parliament.
I could not be described by any means as a ‘young’ person.
I hope they will forgive me, but neither could the two Brexiteers outside Boots.
This referendum is going to impact on the lives of our citizens for at least the next generation. The fact that many of us will not live to see the full consequences of the referendum outcome almost makes it a requirement of democracy to apply an upper age limit to the vote.
It certainly means that us oldies should be carefully taking into account the views of our youngsters, and not just voting according to our own prejudices.
When you vote please think about the lives of those who stand to lose most should the wrong decision be made.
The decision should be based on fact and reality, not on emotion and rhetoric.
It’s not a token exercise in regaining Britain’s greatness and empire.
Glenleigh Park Road
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