I’m grateful to Mark Tinsley (Readers’ View, Spalding Guardian, Thursday, March 10) for giving me the chance to outline why leaving the EU is an opportunity for Britain, not something to fear.
I’ve known Mark for many years, and though we do not agree on the subject of Britain’s role in the EU, his arguments are always sincere and well-articulated. However, his first point about future wars is unconvincing. No-one knows what the future holds, but it’s clear that the biggest threat to our national security now comes from pan-national Islamic terrorism, rather than the type of warfare between nearby nations that scarred Europe in the 20th century.
What happened in the Balkans in the 1990s was the result of long-standing tensions in Yugoslavia. The crisis there was widely regarded as exposing the ineffectiveness of EU diplomacy.
Certainly, the EU had nothing to do with resolving that conflict, instead it was American-led Nato bombing which brought about an end to the terrible war there.
The old argument that EU membership might deliver peace and stability was an understandable reaction to the horrors of the Second World War.
It has little to do with the worldwide threat we face now, with its new and different challenges.
In respect of Mark’s claim about the effects of our departure on EU trade, given that the UK buys far more from EU countries than we sell to them, outside the EU we would be in a powerful position to negotiate deals in our national interest.
Everyone from German car manufacturers to Spanish footwear suppliers will want to continue to sell their goods to the UK, which is one of the world’s top five biggest economies.
We are the EU’s largest export partner, so it is clearly in the EU’s interest to agree a UK-EU free trade deal which benefits all.
With the British Chambers of Commerce showing that the total cost of EU regulation to British firms is £7.6billion per year, with many firms here in Lincolnshire suffering the ill effects, EU membership is, by driving up costs, making our businesses less competitive than they might be.
By regaining control of our trade policy, Britain could negotiate better arrangements, so making life better for our businesses, creating more jobs and providing opportunities for investment.
Even Tony Blair – the man who wanted to take us into the Euro – sheepishly admitted as much when he said: “Of course, Britain could survive outside the EU ... We could probably get access to the single market as Norway and Switzerland do.”
That MPs want the laws of our land made by Parliament in Westminster is unsurprising. Why would anyone want to represent the people in the mother of parliaments only to see the people’s power stolen by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels?
If the British people choose a particular Government, they expect it to make laws and in our people’s interests.
Sadly, too much of what effects our lives is dictated to us from Brussels, which is plainly undemocratic, undesirable and indefensible.
Mark may be interested to know that I’ve had a huge volume of letters, emails and phone calls agreeing with my stance on the EU, compared with very few taking the opposite, pro-EU view.