It seems a great pity that only the rich and famous get to air their opinions on Brexit. I refer particularly to Peter Hargreaves’ latest missive, a mailshot to millions of homeowners advocating for Britain to leave the EU.
As to the assertions in his letter, these are not so very different from the stuff that is being disgorged from both sides. If he is so sanguine about our financial sector, I presume he has no concerns about the proposed merger of the London Stock Exchange with Deutsche Börse. He might be relaxed, but Paris and Frankfurt are salivating at the prospect of Brexit.
Like others, he makes much of the right to choose our own future. This is already circumscribed by other treaties and agencies outside the EU – the UN and Nato to mention but two. The Convention on Human Rights is an international accord, along with much else besides.
When it comes to his point about trade, I really do not follow this at all. Germany is in the EU. I do not see them having a problem with international trade.
He asserts that it costs us a fortune for our membership. His quoted figures are not backed by sources. In fact, we pay the equivalent of 0.5 per cent of our gross domestic product (GDP) – net, when rebates are counted back). Compare this to our foreign aid budget, which comes in at around 0.7 per cent of GDP and one might justifiably wonder what all the fuss is about.
Yes, I can (and do) ask myself how the EU benefits me. Well, I am now only a retired individual, but the immediate benefits are that I can travel anywhere in the EU without let or hindrance. I can live where I wish within the EU and even work or start a business within it, if I were so minded. I drive a German car, which is now a lot cheaper than it used to be (in relative terms) and competes well with Japanese and UK assembled makes.
In conclusion, I am (I think) much more of an ordinary person than Mr. Hargreaves, and my reasons for wanting to stay in are just, if not more, as passionately held.