I apologise for my generation’s error

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Having lived and worked in Britain both pre- and post- EU membership, I think I am qualified to offer this apology to all in our nation.

My generation gave away our nation, our pride, your birthright and our place in the world. It gave away the sense of personal attachment to national achievement that you should have found as a Briton, and your right to determine the course that we should take as a nation plus your right to determine who leads that nation and makes its laws for our people without fear or favour and answerable only to the British people through the ballot box.

Please help us to forgive and make amends for this gross naiveté by the majority who voted to accept our continuing membership of the European Economic Community in 1975.

The majority were misled by promises that they were voting on a limited trading agreement but which the more farsighted amongus could see would bring about the demise of our sense of self.

I therefore apologise for the mistake of my generation, perhaps a generation more easily misled in the euphoria of growth that pertained after the Second World War.

Recently a letter has circulated from many ‘business leaders’ purporting to represent the majority of those in trade, while only 5 per cent of our businesses trade directly with Europe. Last October our Trade Deficit with the EU had risen to an astronomical proportion.

Your VAT payments go directly to the EU to sustain a bureaucratic and non-democratic organisation.

It has been said to me many times, as an excuse for remaining in Europe, that we now have a Court of Human Rights and extended labour laws that protect the working populace.

It is arrogant in the extreme to suggest that governments since 1974 would not have brought about this legislation, unaided by Europe, as part of our natural progression towards a liberated society.

What has Europe given us? It has given us excuses by politicians who are only too ready to quote European legislation as a reason for not doing as the public voice demands, and for not protecting us or our rights from attack by undemocratic, unelected exponents of the ‘European Dream’ – a dream in which I have no wish to share.

My remaining hope is that in my lifetime I shall see the mistake of my generation rectified in a resounding manner by the goodness and common sense of an understanding British public.

Bill Allerton

Cross Lane, Sheffield S10