A very heartfelt thank you to everyone who has sent kind comments and messages after my last email. It is a pleasure and honour to work for all my constituents. I also want to say a huge thank you and pay tribute to my excellent team. Emma returns from maternity leave next week to re-join Tom, Sean, Charlotte, Chris and Hannah. They all work very hard and frequently deal with difficult sometimes unpleasant and abusive callers. They deserve all our thanks and respect.
Charlotte collates the diary for my email newsletter and as you can see there is a rich variety of excellent events over the summer months – I hope you will be to attend many of them. Please keep on sending in your entries.
As you know there is a referendum tomorrow. If you’re a Brexiteer you will no doubt have made up your mind and there is little I can say to change it. Equally if like me, you’re firmly in the Remain camp all I can do is urge you to make sure you vote tomorrow.
If you’re undecided or wavering this is my plea to you.
After all the heat of what, by any standards has been at best a rather grumpy campaign I think it’s time to put on a cool head and consider what is best for our country, our children and grand children.
Overwhelmingly businesses are coming together with trade unions, the leaders of the main political parties and a huge raft of independent economic experts. They have put aside their differences to say as one – we are stronger, safety and better off in the EU. Together they are warning that if we vote to leave the EU (and be assured if we vote out we are out, there’s no way back) our economy will suffer. Jobs will be at risk, prices will rise and we will face going back into recession.
When George Osborne came to Broxtowe yesterday he met three shopkeepers of varying views.
One told us he had looked at the facts, weighed up the risks and was now voting to remain in.
Another was still undecided but leaning to Leave. What was troubling her was the prospect of Turkey joining the EU.
George and I explained Turkey is decades away from joining – if nothing else, their human rights are not where they should be.
We noted that only a few months ago even Boris Johnson had accepted Turkey was no where near joining the EU. With that nailed, she too is now ‘Remain’.
Another told us how her business benefits from access to the single market – buying in stuff from other EU countries free of form filling and custom duties. That’s why great businesses like SMS in Beeston are firmly in. They import some components free of hassle from other EU countries. They then use British skills and British products to make amazing electronic kit and consoles to sell to 500 million people in the EU – free of hassle, paperwork and tariffs.
Back in the seventies, before we joined the old Common Market, our country was described as the ‘sick man of Europe’. I voted for us to join in 1975 and have seen our country go from the eighth biggest economy in the world to the fifth largest. Today we trade freely with 500 million people in 27 other countries under one set of rules. It is because of our access to that single market that so many big businesses have chosen to base themselves in Britain. Turning our back on the EU and leaping into some unknown without a plan, would cause harm to our economy. It’s a risk we should not take.
And then there is this. After World War 2, Winston Churchill was determined to end centuries of war and conflict in Europe. In just over 40 years, two terrible wars had taken a terrible toll, with our neighbours and led by Churchill, we began the process of peace which led to the creation of the Court of Human Rights and what we now call the EU.
The European Court of Human Rights ensures that never again will a race or people face persecution and extermination from their own Government. The EU is about bringing nations together through trade and it has gone on to ensure that problems like climate change, which doesn’t recognise borders, is tackled by countries working together.
For our great country the EU has delivered us peace and prosperity – that doesn’t mean it’s perfect – it isn’t. But we risk so much by walking away when we should be staying in, playing a grown up role and leading the change it desperately needs.
This Referendum campaign has not been our country’s finest hour. In normal times, whatever our views may be, we make sure our deeply rooted sense of tolerance overcomes them. As I wrote last week, I have been both saddened and shocked to see this campaign strip away that tolerance allowing prejudice and worse to rise up.
So whatever the outcome on Thursday we need to have a debate locally and nationally about immigration and I will save most of my views for then. For now and for the record – “Leave” are not promising to cut migration they simply want a different more bureaucratic system and one which delivers twice as many migrant workers per head of the population in Australia than in the UK. But what I urge you to remember is this: Migrants come here to work – they contribute billions to our country doing all manner of jobs and we’d be the poorer without them. And this needs saying too – immigrants have enriched our country for decades. Our overriding British sense of decency and tolerance must win out over fear and prejudice.
So, if you have yet to make up your mind please consider all the above and conclude that it would not be right to risk damaging our economy by voting to leave the EU. For all its faults the EU has delivered peace and prosperity for our country. I am proud to be British and believe with a passion we are even better when we co-operate and work with others. For all our futures and especially for our children and grandchildren I hope you will join me in voting Remain.
As ever, Anna