Letter: Brexit - Good arguments on both sides

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The letter from Gary Shores in last week’s Guardian titled ‘The US stance is good reason to leave Europe’ makes strange reading.

Why would President Obama’s comment that Britain will go to the ‘back of the queue’ if the UK leave the EU make someone want to vote for BREXIT?

I think that the president was warning, not threatening, us. He is saying that it is in the UK’s and the US’s best interests to stay.

It makes sense that the US would prioritise negotiations with the EU over the UK should we leave. We would be 65 million to the EU’s 443 million inhabitants and hence have a lower priority for a trade deal. Also I did not hear the president warning about a ‘trade war’.

It is a pity that at every turn in this debate either side tends to exaggerate its position and make claims that are hard to justify.

Gary makes a reasonable point about cheaper food prices on world markets outside the EU. However, this advantage may be reduced by a fall in the value of the pound which has already begun and could get worse if we leave the EU.

He also claims without justification that ‘there are simply no downsides to our leaving’, when all the main institutions (OECD, World Bank, IMF, Treasury and Bank of England) have reported that we will be worse off.

Neither is one being a ‘Little Englander’ to want to share sovereignty with the EU when we maintain free trade access with all these countries and share security arrangements with them.

Boris Johnson says that the US would never share sovereignty. This is correct but the US is already a union of many states and has an economy which is traditionally more dynamic than ours.

Gary has a strange view of our economic strength 40 years ago. I don’t recall this as a time of great strength.

Remember bombed-out British Leyland and Harold Wilson having to call for a bail out from the IMF? Free trade and competition within the EU has helped us since then. Economically we need to make life as easy as possible for ourselves.

It is only 71 years ago since we were at war with Germany and before then we had been at war on and off with a European power since medieval times. Surely it is sensible to continue on the path of dialogue and co-operation that the EU has begun rather than trying to pull up the drawbridge which many espouse?

David Cameron has won some important safeguards for the UK in his renegotiation especially in stopping Ever Closer Union. There is still more to be done to reform the EU but it is worth the effort.

For example Timothy Kirkhope, our region’s MEP, has recently succeeded in his mission to establish the Passenger Name Records system after three years of hard work. Passenger Name Records allows for the first time for the collection of basic information on air travellers across the EU which allows each country to track patterns that can clearly indicate signs of terrorist behaviour.

He has also supported the introduction of the European Arrest Warrant and the development of the EU’s police force EUROPOL along British lines.

This has made it much easier to remove suspects from the UK and bring back those who should face justice here.

I believe that there are good arguments for both sides in the EU referendum. This is an important decision which will shape our country in the future.

On balance I am in the Remain camp because I am convinced that the costs of staying (in net payments, unnecessary regulations, bad deal for Greece etc) are outweighed by the benefits to our economy, investment, jobs, social standards and security by staying.

Christopher Coulter

New Walk, Beverley