Letter: Voting again does not trash our democracy

This letter sent to the Star was written by Veronica Hardstaff, Northfield Court, S10

Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 12:36 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th September 2019, 1:02 am

Could I just reply to Ruth Grimsley, (August 20), and Matthew Hobson, (August 21), to say that after more than three years of not achieving all that was promised as being so easy to achieve during the referendum campaign, it is not unreasonable or undemocratic to ask people to reaffirm or otherwise their original decision.

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The recent revelations about government preparations for a “no deal Brexit” drawn up by senior civil servants should contribute to further second thoughts. In 2017 we had a second general election only two years after one in 2015. We had two general elections in 1974, and there were only two years between those of 1964 and 1966. It is therefore not unprecedented to have further votes where the result is close.

Ruth, I will be happy to meet you for a chat at your convenience. Matthew, in the flats where I live we have neighbours of both EU and non-EU origin and get on very well. It is misleading to imply all EU migrants are Roma who were shamefully isolated in their home countries and believed they could have a better life here. My view has always been that the Eastern European applicant countries which provide no proper housing, education or other services to their Roma communities should not have been admitted to the EU before doing so. I am aware of problems arising in areas like Page Hall, and know that efforts are being made to help them to understand the norms expected here. Other migrants from those countries usually integrate very well, as of course do those from longstanding EU members, all of whose lives are now very uncertain, like UK citizens living and working in other EU countries who are all in limbo, unsure of their status or rights as citizens. All EU member states contribute 1% of their GDP to the budget of the EU. Many members such as the Netherlands and Luxembourg contribute more per head than we do, though less overall, as their population is smaller. The EU redistributes support to poorer areas to help raise living standards towards the EU average. During the 80s, much of the 90s and for most of the last decade the UK has had governments that have taken money away from its poorer regions, and only EU funding has prevented them from becoming even poorer.

To Mary Steele can I say I do actually admire all the research she does to back up her views on the EU. I am sure there are people who would like greater EU integration, but this can only be achieved with the consent of the national governments and the European Parliament representing the peoples of Europe. When there was a proposal for a “European Constitution” this was thrown out by some member state governments, in some cases after a referendum, and the parts that were acceptable absorbed into the Lisbon Treaty of 2007 which came into force in 2009. I was as surprised as anyone when Ursula van der Leyen emerged as the next President of the European Commission. However, she did get a majority vote in the European Parliament after close questioning, and as there is no one party with a majority, she must have had cross-party support. It may be that the first woman to hold the post could bring a new perspective.