In the Guardian of March 10, farmer and Local Enterprise for Greater Lincolnshire board member Mark Tinsley challenged local MP John Hayes on wanting to leave Europe. We published Mr Hayes’ reply on March 31. Now Mr Tinsley is asking the South Holland and the Deepings MP to garner the views of business owners in the area.
‘I thank MP John Hayes for his lengthy response in the March 31 Spalding Guardian to the three questions I had put to him concerning the imminent referendum on the EU.
He gave us the standard Brexit answers in his customary polite and assertive way.In essence he believes that the UK could be managed more effectively if we were not in the EU and our security would not be affected if we left.
I am not convinced by these answers and I shall try to explain why but first I have another question for John:
Have you asked the CEOs of the businesses in your constituency who employ significant numbers of your constituents what their view on Brexit is?
This is crucially important for all of us who live and work locally. What matters to people after the wellbeing of their families is job security and income and if leaving the EU threatens jobs and income that should be a major concern.
John will accuse me of being part of ‘Project Fear’ but do you know we have a right to be afraid of change that will affect us negatively?
As a farmer supported by the EU it will not surprise anyone that I believe I shall be worse off if we leave and that most of my fellow farmers will be. This is supported by independent research.
What might surprise people is that I would wish to see all farming production subsidy removed across the EU, indeed across the world.
The difficult situation will arise if we leave and our government do not support us in line with continuing EU support. In that situation farming will decline in the UK.
There is no evidence that UK governments of any persuasion will decide that farming is a worthy industry for support after a Brexit.
What is more important is the view of the CEOs of our major produce and engineering businesses locally and all the businesses that support them.
Do they believe, as John does, that their trade with the EU will be helped by Brexit and that the renegotiation of trade deals will firstly be completed within the theoretical two years and that secondly the EU will not make the UK pay for access in one form or another?
The regulation point is minor. In or out of the EU a business will be subjected to regulation and, in comparison to profitable trade, regulation is simply something that businesses deal with.
Free movement of people within the EU has been a major bonus for local businesses and, no, there have not been UK citizens prepared to do or are capable of many of the jobs that have been carried out by immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. The wealth of Spalding has been built in part by talented people from Europe.
I am sure John that if your constituents were to be worse off after a Brexit you would not vote to leave.
I suspect that this is the reason why the major players involved in Government who have seen the EU at close quarters understand that the UK is better off remaining in. They will be as frustrated as I am by the federalist approach of the EU and some of the decisions taken by the Commission and the EU Parliament.
I am also sure that if they thought that it would be good for British people to leave they would be the first in the queue for us to vote to leave but we have to presume they do not.
With the greatest respect, the Boris Johnsons, John Redwoods, Nigel Farages and Michael Goves have not had to “do it” in power. They are bright and articulate but I cannot help thinking they like the idea of being a big fish in a smaller pond, they are egotistic as opposed to altruistic.
Also why do the majority of CBI members and the majority of Chamber of Commerce members wish to stay in the EU? Clearly they believe their businesses will be better off in than out and therefore the people they employ will be better off in than out.
Add to that the scientific community being in favour of staying in, being aware that more will be achieved in terms of improving our competitiveness and health by working in harmony with their counterparts in the EU. It is difficult for a layman such as I to accept that all these people crucial to our economy can be so misguided.
Finally I believe this is the question. Are we really little Englanders or Britishers believing that we are better than the rest of the EU and will therefore thrive in isolation, or are we prepared to accept that our fellow citizens in Europe have as much to offer us as we have to offer them?
The existing EU model is flawed; they need us to play an active part to put in place a better EU model that will be the dominant trading block globally.
We need them to allow us to trade in that dominant trade area and to have the fellowship that allows us all to benefit and stay secure.’