My thanks to Mary Steele for her response to my letter. I must say I never felt EU membership to be ‘soul- destroying’ but rather that being part of something bigger and nobler – a force for peace, co-operation and trade between nations – was a reflection of the better sides of our nature that it is very sad to have lost.
The 1973 referendum was before my time, but I will observe that the EU we chose to leave was much more closely aligned to British interests than the one we joined. The single market suits us as a trading nation, the EU science programmes are dominated by outstanding British universities, co-operation on policing and security is unparalleled, and the success of bringing much of Eastern Europe into the free and democratic world is something we would have given our right arms for during the Cold War.
It is because decisions taken in Europe affect us, whether we are members of the EU or not, that membership amplifies our sovereignty and Brexit diminishes it. No British Prime Minister, of any party, would give up power and influence by signing up to what Leavers seem to believe the EU to be – that would be utterly contrary to the psychology of any ambitious politician.
All this said, I don’t think legal challenges to the referendum have any merit. There is little point in having another vote until the reality of Brexit becomes more apparent: until the economic impact hits us and the remaining promises of the leave campaign prove impossible to deliver.
Coun Joe Otten