Through spaldingtoday.co.uk, I would like to put three questions to John Hayes MP ...
1. A national question: Is a future war involving neighbouring European states less likely if we remain in the EU?
I ask this question because, having been on a tour of the Balkans led by Martin Bell (Martin was a leading war correspondent for the BBC during the Balkan Wars), I was struck by how quickly people who lived alongside each other peacefully for generations are capable of turning against each other overnight.
The people we met in Croatia and Bosnia, who had lived through the wars, were all adamant that, if they had been members of the EU at the time, they would not have suffered the horrific atrocities that took place.
2. A local question: Are we in south Lincolnshire, with our heavy reliance on food and farming, likely to be better off, in economic and social terms, inside or outside the EU?
Brexit proponents use the argument that the EU exports more to us than we do to them.
This is true, yet the proportion of their exports to the UK – in relation to their overall exports from within the EU to all other countries, whether in or outside the EU – is relatively small and, therefore, less threatening than the UK position.
They would also be competing with us to find alternative destinations for the exports that had previously gone to the UK and, in doing so, from a stronger trading block.
The EU will be in a stronger position than the UK negotiating new trading agreements when, and if, we leave the EU.
It will not need to progress such negotiation quickly. If we leave, for us to continue to trade with the EU, it is inconceivable that we will not have to pay to do so in some form and to have to continue to undergo the EU’s regulatory requirements.
3. A personal question: Is it not possible that many of the politicians in favour of leaving the EU do so because they desire to be bigger fish in a smaller pond, regardless of the economic and social consequences for their constituents – a case of egotism over altruism?
I respect John Hayes as our member of parliament and acknowledge that he has been an advocate for the UK leaving the EU for many years.
As he would agree, however, his primary role is to look after the wellbeing of his constituents in the short, medium and long-term and he needs to be able to justify his position on the EU question in the light of his obligations to his constituents.