In response to Coun Teal’s letter printed on May 24 in which she argued on behalf of the Green Party for continued EU membership, may I make a couple of points?
Most of the case she makes has been comprehensively refuted by other correspondents, though her assumption that workers from other countries in services such as the NHS is a good thing invites challenge.
It is, of course, true that the NHS relies upon large numbers of foreign skilled people.
The scandal is that these are mainly ‘poached’ from poorer countries where they are needed more than here. This is effectively a form of neo-colonialism.
Another argument deployed by Coun Teal is that the undoubted pressure on schools, housing, NHS and jobs in some areas would have been eliminated by more public spending and less austerity.
Well, yes, but that is not the political context in which Britain finds itself. With four more years of the Tories and Labour unlikely to win a majority without Scotland this economic climate is likely to continue.
So the pressure are genuine and problematic so cannot be ignored.
Finally, I worry that left progressive people such as the Greens often seem to dismiss the public’s expressed (and therefore real) concern about aspects of immigration, disregarding the consequence of so doing.
Namely, the rise of the far right as we see in Austria and France, for example. It is rather ironic that, in the UK, the FPTP electoral system, which the Greens oppose, means that the fascist and racist parties are unlikely to gain many Parliamentary seats!
Overall, it seems to me that the neo-liberal political experiment that is the EU is likely to collapse in its current form: the faults are already clear. Do we really want to remain in such an organisation? I think not. Let’s instead work towards cooperative and amicable trading and other agreements post-Brexit to allow continuation of the benefits of being a European that Coun Teal highlights, without the well publicised downsides.