Letter to remainers

Dear friends,

I am a staunch remainer and always will be. The decision to leave the EU was governed by doctrine and fanaticism, not common sense.

There is no point repeating here ad nauseam all the lies and deceptions that have been perpetrated.

The fact is we are a divided country. We should be united. United against lies.

I often read disparaging comments about leavers. These are called ‘gammon’ amongst other names. It serves no purpose insulting people. Besides that, we are not going to get them on our side by insulting them. We need to persuade them and convince them. We should be united. United against lies.

Our real enemies are not people who voted leave. Those are my friends. Our enemies are those who perpetrated the disinformation and those in high positions of influence who either didn’t denounce it or supported it.

Do you not see that by insulted leavers, you are helping our enemies and giving credence to the motto “divide to rule”? We should be united. United against lies.

I have come to the conclusion there is no point rejoining just yet. We need to tidy up our house first. What would be the point of a second referendum when disinformation is spread freely, when blatant, crude lies appear on leaflets? In such an environment we could not be guaranteed rejoin will win. First of all, we need to heal our wounds.

In an argument, it is very important to look at the views from the other side. Although I disagree with leave, I can see why many people voted that way.

I guess number one reason is immigration. We saw huge numbers of immigrants coming to UK after East European countries joined, particularly from Poland. The latter had a problem in the early 2000s as it had an over skilled workforce with an economy unready to absorb this talent appropriately. The general perception is this is because of EU. However, the UK had the option of limiting immigration from new EU joiners. This option to limit immigration was used by other countries, most notably France but Blair government decided not to use it. At the time I supported this decision. After all, this opening up meant an open, global Britain, but retrospectively it seems to me it was not very wise.

High immigration in the UK is structural. If workers don’t come from EU, they will just come from elsewhere. Most are skilled workers. There has been very poor government planning here. We make higher education more difficult with tuition fees. The general attitude is people should study want they want, not what is needed. As a result, people are tricked into doing useless degrees like media studies, instead of train as doctors or nurses. Of course one shouldn’t force students to study something they don’t want to do. I have known French parents do just that with their children and it is completely counterproductive. However, the state could provide more guidance and students would most welcome that.

It is simply not true that nationals from other EU countries come to abuse the NHS. In fact, on average EU nationals use the NHS less than British people do. On top of that, many NHS nurses and doctors come from the EU.

There is a perception that the EU has destroyed British industry. It is true that the EU has facilitated moving of industries abroad by removing trade barriers. The EU has allowed some of its member states such as the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Ireland to offer aggressive tax avoidance schemes to companies, which has certainly been detrimental to UK. However and this is where this argument is flawed, other EU countries such as Germany have a thriving industry. If the EU was so bad for industry, why wouldn’t other countries be leaving as well?

The real cause of decline of British industry has little to do with EU. It is an internal British issue. Our fiscality is geared towards tax avoidance for the very rich and not towards investment in industry. For instance we have non domiciled resident status. This status means the holder does not have to pay UK tax on foreign income. This should be abolished.

The EU is regularly denigrated by the British press. Many people voted leave as a result. We are told about unelected EU officials. These officials are appointed by elected heads of states, so “unelected” is a distortion of facts. For the most part, the officials in question are career politicians that have won elections in their home country in past. They have been elected by the heads of EU states. A UK government minister is no more elected in his/her capacity as a minister. The said person has just won his/her MP seat and been appointed, not elected by Prime Minister. The House of Lords is completely unelected. MEPs are elected directly.

Yes, the EU has been very inefficient in past. However, the way it is run is no more undemocratic than the UK is. We should worry about ourselves. The UK is extremely inefficiently run. Complaining about the EU when real problem is really within UK sounds like a blame game.

We are told that the EU means a loss of sovereignty to the UK. Shared sovereignty would be much more accurate. The EU is a group of countries that have agreed to have common trading rules in order to make cross border frictionless trade possible. No country is deciding unilaterally what these rules are. The rules have been nearly always according to the wishes of the British government.

It should also be pointed out that the EU does not interfere with marital law, inheritance law or criminal law. Those are the responsibility of the member states. Even tax leaves a large room for manoeuvre by a member state.

The trouble with too many Brits is they see the EU as the enemy. Some remainer see the EU as a friend. It is neither. The EU sums up to essentially a tightly coupled trade deal.

I am talking to the converted here. The problem with internet is we have echo chambers and people congregate to groups that share their views.

I have mainly talked about Brexit and the EU so far. The EU has been blamed for all the UK’s ills.

The trouble with the UK is that it has not had a change of regime in 20th Century unlike almost all other European states. As a result, it has fallen behind.

52% voted leave and most people support the monarchy! Unfortunately most people’s opinions are based on emotions and not facts. Support for the Royal family is carefully choreographed by the media.

I will only talk about amount of money we are paying into Royal Family here. Prior to 2012, the UK had the Civil List, Grant In Aid and other grants for upkeep of monarchy. The Civil List was only £7.1 million per annum for years 2001-2011. In 2012, all this was replaced by the Sovereign Grant which has gone from £31 million per annum in 2012 to £82.8 million pa in 2018-2019 and a similar figure in 2020. It is either 15% of Crown Estate or at least amount of previous year, whichever is greatest. It cannot go down. All this has been happening during austerity programme and cuts in services for everyone else.

On top of that, Prince Charles gets additional income from Duchy of Cornwall (£21.7m in 2017–18) and similarly for the Queen with Duchy of Lancaster (£23,244,000 in 2019/2020), all tax free.

There are many other arguments for abolishing the monarchy. I cannot see any benefits for keeping an obsolete and dated institution. We are essentially paying lots of money to Queen and asking her to shut up and not let her opinions be known publicly. What an absurdity!

Now Scotland is threatening to have another referendum for independence. There was already one in 2014. Should we keep having referendums until results go the way the politicians want them to go?

Just like the EU, I find disinformation about Scottish independence nauseating. Unless the British government does something really stupid like send troops and uses violence to clamp down on independence, Scotland does not have a chance of rejoining EU separately from rest of UK.

You need to look at EU’s perspective. There were problems with Catalonia wanting to become independent fairly recently. That is Spain. France has had independence movements in Brittany, Basque Country and Corsica. Germany and Italy are relatively recent states in existence since only 1870. Belgium is an union between Flanders and Wallonia. Allowing Scotland to join on its own would pose existentialist threats to many EU nations. As if this lie wasn’t enough, I read Scotland would get more MEPs than it had before we left EU if it rejoined. Do you really think the EU would be stupid enough to allow this? Our best chances of rejoining are if we stay united.

Apart from difficulty of rejoining EU, there would be a huge hidden cost for Scottish independence, just like there has been with Brexit. We should be united. United against lies.

We have a serious problem with media. The root cause of Brexit is dishonest news reporting over many years. The British press is amongst the least trusted in Europe. If you are really rich and don’t want to pay tax, you can give money to Conservative Party or buy a media outlet. We need to reform our media. We need to promote honest good news reporting and penalise blatant lies. What rules need to be implemented is a subject on its own.

I have talked about abolishing the monarchy. In many countries where monarchy has been abolished, things have gone initially very badly. We would have to be very careful here. I would be the first to object to abolishing for the sake of it. That would create turmoil. We need to design an extremely sophisticated constitution. We need electoral reform of course, but we also need new rules governing funding and behaviour of political parties and MPs. This project is a tall order, but we should not shy away from it. Everything needs to be meticulously planned.

My dream would be to start a political party with a manifesto entirely dedicated to reforming this country. The politicians have demonstrated they cannot be trusted and we, the people need to step in. I am scared by the task ahead of us! Nevertheless we can do it! Many things achieved in past have looked unachievable. We should be inspired by successful countries such as Germany and aim to do even better.

I know it is difficult for a new party to break into mainstream politics in normal times, but these are not normal times. If we have a change of regime, we can be absolutely sure that those who have messed up our country are held accountable. If we keep the status quo, we can be absolutely sure they will get away with it and might even get lordships and other prizes.

Christopher Camacho

27th January 2021