BREXIT: Problems come from within

An open letter to Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

The time has come to put an end to this folly. This is our last chance to stop the real and long-lasting harm that is being inflicted on our constituency, our region, our country, and on the future for the coming generations.

Of the many reasons for a ‘leave’ vote in the referendum 20 months ago, one of the best explanations I read was that it offered a simple answer to a complex problem.

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Unfortunately, your proposed solution has no chance of making those problems go away: there will still be growing inequality, there will still be growing waiting times for the NHS, and young people will still not be able to get adequate housing, decent education or well-paid jobs.

Our homelessness crisis, our crisis in mental health and social care will remain and, under the current Government, I believe will continue to grow.

Migration forced by war and climate change will still happen.

None of these problems are caused by the EU (the argument by the ‘leave’ campaign during the referendum that they were was a fine example of scapegoating) and none can be solved by leaving the EU.

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Why has the Conservative Party felt so unable or unwilling to play a leading role in Europe? Germany is leading the way not because it is somehow stronger than us, or because it bullies us, but because we have chosen to sit on the sidelines for the last 10 years.

That choice to sit on the sidelines was for the same reason as every other the Tories have made in relation to Europe – I believe it is because your party is so deeply and irreconcilably divided that any participation in Europe, even when it would be to the UK’s benefit, was completely incompatible with its priority, which it seems was (and remains) to keep the party from splitting.

The question of leaving the EU was, for all of the last 25 years and possibly before that, an internal argument within the Conservative Party, and the “need” for a referendum was seemingly built on a false assumption that it would help heal the wounds within your party. It is my view that the whole country is now imperilled because of your party’s infighting.

Your Government’s own research shows that, of all the UK regions, the North East will be the hardest hit by the policy that you so actively support – your constituents will suffer real hardship due to your pursuit of ideology.

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Who is it that is actually planning to “take back control”? To properly take back control, what is needed is proper democratic structures – accountability at a local level; a fair voting system; voting extended to 16 and 17-year-olds. Yet, these are things the Conservatives continue to deny us.

For those who feel they have lost control of their lives and their future through poverty or marginalisation, or through lack of education, the party seems to offer nothing, and its plans for leaving the EU will deliver nothing.

From the few occasions I have met you, I know you to be courteous and intelligent. We are both, you and I, the child of immigrants to this country and, like me, you will have recognised from an early age not only the huge benefits that migration brings to the individual and their family, but to the host country.

We cannot continue pretending that the problems that beset the UK are the fault of something external, and blaming migrants, or blaming the EU. The problems we have in this country stem from within, and from the structures that successive governments have put in place. To take back control, we need first to accept that reality, and to re-build our internal society as a fairer, more caring place.

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Proper leadership now demands that we acknowledge the disastrous position that, I believe, your party has brought us to, that we withdraw Article 50 immediately, and that we focus our efforts on building a strong democracy in the UK, which can sit proudly within Europe.

Only by doing this, is there a possibility of real and lasting prosperity and security for the future.

Thomas Stewart,

Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Green Party