From: Paul Courtel, Amherst Road, Bexhill
I almost cried with joy as France’s President-elect Emmanuel Macron took to the stage outside the Louvre in Paris for his victory speech last Sunday, May 7 to the backdrop of the anthem of the European Union
His landslide victory, like that of Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1997, offered a message of hope.
He talked about protecting the oppressed, strengthening the economy, providing a purpose for everybody whether at school, at work or through the arts. He talked about more justice, a greater environmental focus and about defending the totality of our democracy.
I contrast this with the message of Theresa May.
Theresa May talks tough, but behind it her hand is weak. Traditionally the party of law and order, the Conservatives have cut 20,000 police officers over the past seven years.
In Rother, they’ve reduced the 14 PCSOs (police community support officers) by 43 per cent over the past 12 months. The party that talks tough on crime is the party that fails to provide the resources to address crime and is therefore the party that is soft on crime.
By reducing funding for the programmes assisting those who cannot afford an adequate level of warmth in their homes, the Conservatives have increased deprivation. The increasing need for foodbanks and the increase in homelessness testify to the ruling party’s limited ethical values.
Meanwhile, the general election has been timed to take place before the weakness of the United Kingdom’s negotiating hand on Brexit becomes apparent.
With 45 per cent of our exports going to the other nations of the European Union, but with only 16 per cent of theirs coming to Britain, their negotiating hand is far stronger than ours. Nor will it be a negotiation between equals as the national income of the other nations of the European Union is five times the size of ours.
Outside the single market, we will not be at the table to influence the technical specifications that our products will need to meet.
HSBC has already announced that it is moving 1,000 highly paid jobs to Paris, with a negative ripple effect on London’s economy. Goldman Sachs has given strong indications of similar intent. The United Kingdom will also be losing the European Banking Authority as well as the European Medicines Agency.
And that’s only the start of the haemorrhage – the worst is yet to come.
The Prime Minister will be managing decline and, in practice, be truly weak.
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