Saturday, 25 June 2016

All over bar the shouting

When I heard the news yesterday morning, my reaction was a mix of euphoria and relief.  I am, however, concerned that some people are - quite literally - scared.  Scared that this country is now on the slippery slope towards fascism, racism and isolationism.  I think the leaders of both the Remain camp and the Leave camp must share the blame for this, the Remain leaders for inciting fear and accusing the Leave camp of those things, and the Leave camp for not doing (or saying) enough to counter the accusations.

I don't consider it racist to say that this country is unable to absorb each year the equivalent of the population of Newcastle.  We have insufficient housing for the people in the country now, and the health service and schools are close to breaking point.  We need to establish some system to control the numbers of immigrants, be they from Germany or Ghana, Australia or Austria, France or the Philippines.  And we have always welcomed genuine refugees, the Flemish in the 16th century, Huguenots in the 17th, Jews in the 1930s and 40s, Asians thrown out of Kenya by Idi Amin in the 1970s - and we are taking in Syrians now.

Leaving the European Union does not make us isolationist either.  In fact, it will enable us to look outwards even more, to negotiate trade deals with other countries like Brazil, India, Australia and - yes - the USA, unhampered by the conflicting demands of the 27 other member states of the EU, each of which wants something different.  And it is our own voice that will be heard in the councils of the world rather than a compromise voiced by a collection of 28 (and increasing) countries with wildly different histories, traditions and cultures.

Above all, freedom from the strictures of the EU means that our laws will be made by our elected Parliament, a parliament that we can change, rather than the 60% as now that are decided by unelected European Commissioners.

But nothing will change overnight.  David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has - wisely - announced his intention to step aside so that a new Prime Minister can begin the negotiations for our departure.  This will be a time when the people of the UK need to put behind us the petty bickering and squabbling, the hyperbole and insults of the referendum campaign.  We need a government that is mindful of the needs and worries of all the population.  But this is Britain, so I am supremely confident that all will come good in the end.

We might even get back our blue passports!

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