LETTER: Let’s get back to basics in this debate

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In the light of the wilder assertions and dreadful inaccuracies that appear occasionally in your letter pages it is high time we got back to basics, and some realism, in this Referendum debate.

The leavers now, or at least some of them, want to convince us that we don’t need the European single market, a 500 million strong home market into which we sell almost half our goods, tariff free.

For goodness sake, this enormous ‘home market’ was why we joined in with other Europeans in the first place, and we’ve reaped the economic benefits of it for forty years now – every household in the country!

So why on earth give it all up, and watch our exports to the rest of Europe become cost more, inward investment fall away, our job opportunities get scarcer and our household incomes suffer. Not just ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’, but shot-in-the-foot madness.

I’ve been out talking to people locally about the vote and still too many people are undecided.

Since the debate has so far been somewhat short of our finest honest hour, folk still want facts they can trust.

So here goes. The EU is not perfect, far from it, but it has brought us a more peaceful Europe, economic prosperity, and an extended and now familiar backyard to live, work and play in. So in our national interest let’s hang on to all of that.

Even if you’ve heard this all before it is, and can remain, true. And you’ll be hearing it plenty more times over the next few weeks.

In any case Brexit doesn’t take us to Shangri-la. No one can foresee the future so beware of those who claim a crystal ball. Reforms are needed in Europe as we now struggle with serious stresses.

Abandoning cooperation with the rest of our continent won’t stop the migrants, nor the horrors of the middle-east, the aggressiveness of the Russians, or accelerating climate change. In our national interest the only chance is to hang in there and work even harder at solving difficult issues together.

The crises affect us all and the UK should be there shaping the changes, not outside crying foul.

We have a formidable reputation for our negotiating skills - just one reason why so many of our friends want to keep us In. We should listen to them more.

Why vote for fantasies that would make a mass of new problems for us – five, ten years to get 50 plus new trade deals; the risk of a breakup of the United Kingdom; the future of those two million Brits long resident in Italy, France and Spain.

No way – a vote for realism, good sense and cooperation will give us far more chances to exert our influence where it counts, and reshape for ourselves a more hopeful destiny.

Michael Rider,

North Chailey, Lewes