Policitians need to put the country first at a dangerous time

Date: Monday 24th December 2018

Sir, For the last few weeks, if not months, I have read all the letters in your newspaper about Brexit. Quite often I have felt like replying but either haven’t had time to sit down and write or thought it would just pour petrol on an already raging fire. However, Adrian Hill’s letter (Herald, 15th December) has pushed me over the edge.

I am one of those stupid farmers who voted for Brexit before going to see a doctor. Unlike Mr. Hill, I don’t have a crystal ball and would freely admit I don’t know what the future looks like, but I do know what it looked like before I voted.

We belonged to an EU that is undemocratic and even worse unaudited. It was responsible for massive problems not only in Europe but across the world due to its ludicrous unrestricted movement of people, and its obsession with a single currency has caused massive financial and social problems in southern Europe.

It appears to have virtually destroyed our fishing industry and its Common Agricultural Policy is discredited and poor value for taxpayers.

Mr. Hill will know, as a “significant landowner”, that a lot of the money goes to landowners rather than those who are actively farming. Not only that, but quite often when I was involved in the NFU if we came up with some helpful scheme for food producers we were told “it would be against state aid rules”, which was really just a curtain for the government to hide behind. This also happened regularly in the steel industry.

So am I going to vote for an organisation where my grandchildren are dependent on French farmers to encourage the EU to throw them enough money to keep them farming? Not likely. If we want things to change we have to vote for change and that means changing the EU, not turning our backs on it.

However, I did not vote for the present shambles which is more like an episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. It often seems as if the national media is trying to influence policy and many politicians are only to keen to contribute to the confusion for their own political ends, when really they should be having grown up discussions behind closed doors until they find compromise.

As for Mr Hill’s comments on democracy, I fear most MPs use the word glibly but don’t really understand what it means. Put simply it means having your say but not necessarily having your way, and considering 48 per cent of the population voted Remain compromise was always going to be necessary.

A second referendum is only a cop out for parliamentarians who want someone else to blame, will make the situation far worse whatever the result and should be avoided at all costs.

The proper way to solve this mess is for some Conservative MPs to stop massaging their egos and some Labour MPs to stop playing disgraceful party politics and put the country first at this dangerous time.

On the face of it at least, Theresa May’s deal seems to address the main reasons people voted to leave and the only major problem is the Northern Ireland backstop, which has been used as a stick to beat us with and could surely be solved if our politicians could find unity of purpose.

It is nonsense for our MPs to defend the EU’s intransigent position when history proves that negotiations nearly always change at the last moment.

The words Remain and Leave should now be forgotten and Parliament needs to move on with a common purpose. Surely if the politicians spoke to EU with one voice a way can be found out of this mess to mutual benefit. After all, the real work will begin only when we start discussing the future trade deal and that is when we have to convince government of the importance of Cumbrian agriculture.

Finally, I do not carry a torch for any political party and may not always agree with Rory Stewart, but on this occasion he should be given credit for trying to find unity, something Mr Hill may do well to observe if he wishes to be an MP instead of throwing insults. Yours etc,

LES ARMSTRONG

Kirkoswald.