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By Spalding Today Letters


Opposites attract

Regular readers may be surprised to hear that Craig Jackson and Alan Meekings, typically seen as representing opposite ends of the Leave-Remain spectrum, met recently in person in Holbeach to discuss how the current Brexit crisis might potentially be resolved and what our future trade relationships with the EU and the rest of world might look like.

Interestingly, we agreed on a range of issues, including:

· Our shared desire, ideally, not to see the UK leave the EU with "no deal";

· The fundamental flaws in Theresa May’s handling of the Brexit negotiations, which now look like a masterclass in how not to conduct a successful negotiation;

· Article 50 being triggered prematurely, when it should have been activated only once a clear plan for our departure had been developed (as sensibly suggested by Vote Leave in 2016); and

· The serious mistake of allowing the EU to separate the sequencing of negotiations around our exit and our future relationship with the EU.

However, just as in Parliament, we disagreed on a number of key points, not least what type of trade arrangement the UK should leave with. For instance, Craig believes we should leave with a Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, like the 'Super Canada' model the EU offered in 2018, whereas Alan prefers remaining in the EU on what he sees as the past and future benefits of EU membership.

We also disagreed on whether the UK should leave the EU on WTO terms, if Parliament is unable to agree a suitable way forward. Craig continues to believe that "no deal is better than a bad deal", whereas Alan cannot support the UK leaving the EU with no agreed deal.

Likewise, no meeting of minds could be found on whether the UK would be more prosperous by leaving the EU, in order to pursue an independent international trade policy, with the ability to negotiate new free and bilateral trade deals, compared with the EU negotiating future trade deals on our behalf (given our active involvement). So, we agreed to disagree on this point.

Although both of us have immersed ourselves in Brexit for what now seems like a lifetime, neither of us believe we can predict what the outcome of the Brexit process will look like by tomorrow, let alone beyond.

However, we both believe that, with a sensible, constructive approach, a solution is possible – assuming elected MPs, across the political spectrum, put national interest, not party-political interest, first.

So, while we couldn't find common ground on every issue surrounding Brexit, we emerged with the utmost respect for each other's opinions and a shared belief in the importance of everyone in a healthy democracy being able to express their views freely, openly and without fear.

Craig Jackson

Alan Meekings

by email

READERS' PICTURES are sponsored by Veena Cornish Photography. While the brighter days of spring are here Maz Culy sent us her stunning shot of Spalding in the autumn sunshine.
READERS' PICTURES are sponsored by Veena Cornish Photography. While the brighter days of spring are here Maz Culy sent us her stunning shot of Spalding in the autumn sunshine.


On Friday April 5, the Spalding Branch of the RNLI held their annual Quiz Night.

We were delighted to have raised £355 for the charity. We would like to thank everyone who supported the event, especially Spalding Yacht Club who kindly allowed us to use their club house.

All of the money you raised will be paid directly to the RNLI in this region and will help ensure that the charity can continue to provide the first class rescue service for which it is renowned.

Last year, there were over 8,000 lifeboat launches. In addition, the RNLI provides lifeguard services throughout the summer at over 250 beaches in the UK.

Over 24,000 people are helped by lifeguards each year, preventing avoidable accidents and saving many lives.

Peter Warren

RNLI Hon Treasurer Spalding Branch

We would like to say a big thank you to all who sponsored and gave raffle prizes for our race night we had in Holbeach on March 30. All this was for the heroes.

We held an event Heroes at the Races and we raised £550, which goes to the forthcoming trip to Normandy led by Harold Payne of the Anglia Motel. All this is done for charity so anyone who wants to give please send to the address below.

Russell and Gordon Kirk

25 Little Common lane

Holbeach Clough

PE12 8BL

Our letters page cartoon referred to our Education Awards ... and the search for the Most Inspirational Secondary Schoolteacher.
Our letters page cartoon referred to our Education Awards ... and the search for the Most Inspirational Secondary Schoolteacher.

Never the Twain . . .

Thank you for printing my appreciation of John Fordham.
I wonder if I might ask now for a small correction.
The musical that the Grammar School took to the Key Theatre was ‘Huck Finn’, not the (boozy) ‘Huck Ginn’ the gremlins converted it to in the Free Press.

John Charlesworth
Regent Street

ED’S NOTE: Oops, sorry John. (Hic! )


Great chance for walkers

I am writing to you and your readers to let you know about a brand new fundraising challenge for people who love walking amidst stunning scenery.

Independent Age, the older people’s charity, has launched Hike Together to help support more older people, and we would love for your readers to sign up and take part.

The challenge will take the form of a one or two-day hike in the Cotswolds on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th July 2019.

Adults of all ages will have the opportunity to hike up to 20 miles over two days.

Participants will be able to focus on enjoying the surrounding countryside and socialising, as they won’t need to carry any of their own equipment, making it the perfect activity for those who enjoy walking but don’t regularly hike long distances.

In the evening, there will be more opportunities for spending time together at a luxury campsite, with drinks, food and music included.

Independent Age is an older people’s charity that provides regular friendly contact, a strong campaigning voice and free, impartial advice on the issues that matter to older people: care and support, money and benefits, health and mobility.

The money raised from Hike Together will go towards our advice and friendship services and will help us speak up for those who are lonely, vulnerable or in need of help, so participants really will be making a big difference to the lives of older people.

To find out more about Independent Age’s Hike Together, or to sign up, visit: independentage.org/HikeTogether.

Anna McCaughley

Head of Event Fundraising, Independent Age


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