I write in response to Susan Richardson’s letter, (Star, May 4), in reply to my previous comments on this page.
Ms Richardson suggests that Brexiteers accepted the overwhelming vote to remain in the in/out referendum of 1975. This is wrong, otherwise, we would not have had to have another referendum in 2016.
As soon as the 1983 General Election, Labour’s manifesto included a commitment to leave what was then still the EEC. They did not perform too well on that occasion.
Ms Richardson also points out that “our country survived quite successfully long before we signed up to the then EEC”. Well, it might have done when there was an Empire to exploit, but by the early 1970s, it was far from thriving. Rampant inflation, industrial unrest, and sterling under pressure eventually led to the three-day week and proud little Britain, the “sick man of Europe”, having to go cap-in-hand to the International Monetary Fund for a bailout.
So much then for the “new and adventurous opportunities that wait for us outside of the EU”. If getting out were really such an appealing option, how come none of the governing parties in any of the other EU member states are looking to follow suit? member states. As for the acerbic remark about “whining and wailing” by “bitter remainers”, the same allegation can be levelled at the “leavers” who were clamouring for a further referendum for 41 years following their comprehensive defeat in 1975. In any case, whatever happened to freedom of speech? Brexiteers seem very eager to silence the argument that they created in the first place.
You cannot expect the opponents of Brexit to get behind a policy they do not believe in. It will be the younger generation, who research suggests strongly backed staying in Europe, that will have to overcome the “obstacles” Ms Richardson refers to. These “obstacles” may well include redundancies, higher unemployment and falling living standards. Are they a price worth paying? We are already seeing higher prices and a fall in the GDP growth rate in the first quarter of 2017, as a result of the Brexit vote.
There is nothing patriotic about foisting unnecessary hardship on the good people of this country in the pursuit of some ideological concept of “getting our country back”, or “taking back control”. If Brexit turns out to be injurious to the national economy as I fear it could be, the British people should be given the chance to change their minds about Brexit.
To deny them that would be to deny them democracy.