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The sovereignty of the UK Parliament is a driving force for the Leave campaign (photo: Giancarlo Liguori/Dreamstime.com).

The question of the UK’s sovereignty is a key issue for the leave campaign (photo: Giancarlo Liguori/Dreamstime.com).

Why I’m voting Brexit

A personal contribution on the leave side of the EU referendum debate from DAR, a HOT reader who has made his presence felt in our comments columns and prefers to write under a pseudonym.

For me, the EU debate is not just about economics: in fact, it’s more about sovereignty, immigration, and democratic accountability. The economic arguments seem to me to be very speculative. Why? Because economic forecasting is sophisticated guesswork, as much of an art as a science – nothing more. When so-called economic experts tell me that if we vote to leave the EU, the sky will fall in for the next 20, 30 or 100 years, then I just take these assertions with a handful of salt.

For example, the Bank of England has kept interest rates at 0.5% since the “credit crunch” of 2008. It was meant to be a temporary measure for a few months, but it’s turned out to be an unprecedented eight years now. Did anyone from that hallowed institution forecast this state of affairs? No.

Also, the same dire economic warnings we are hearing now about a post-Brexit scenario are strikingly similar to the ones we heard from those who wanted us to join the Euro single currency – and what a good job we ignored those warnings given the state of the Euro and the Eurozone today! At least poor old Gordon “no more boom or bust” Brown got that right, though he didn’t forecast the economic “bust” that was the “credit crunch” despite being heralded as an economic “wonderboy” even before he got the job of Chancellor of the Exchequer. I think people should remember those events very distinctly before putting their trust in “economic experts”.

Sovereignty – or let’s say self-determination – is a key factor, in my view. It’s not a left-wing or a right-wing concept of itself, but rather a politically neutral notion. I think that all our laws should be proposed, initiated and enacted by our ELECTED national representatives, and no-one else. In the EU, however, the EU Commission proposes and initiates all EU policies and all members of the Commission are UNELECTED so there’s no democratic accountability: we can’t rid ourselves of these appointees by voting them out. Fact.

It’s true that elected MEPs vote on proposals from the Commission, but they do not propose or initiate EU legislation like British MPs do in government. Fact. This, to me, is a clear democratic deficit. Also, it’s obvious that it’s easier to get things done if you only have one country’s elected representatives to persuade rather than another 27 (or more).

Immigration, inevitably, affects many other factors which, collectively, add up to a quality of life deficit, in my view. I perfectly well understand immigrants’ motives for wanting to work and settle in Britain, and, of course, it would be fair to say that, probably, in strict cash terms, they contribute more than they take out. But, for me, this EU debate is about more than strict cash terms: it’s about land and resources, as well as well-documented arguments regarding the negative impact that rapid, large-scale, unplanned levels of immigration have on things like housing, education, and medical care.

For example, the effects can be seen on our doorstep – in terms of Hastings Borough Council’s and Rother District Council’s housing proposals, and the construction of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road (BHLR). The construction of the BHLR – and its offshoots – have contributed to environmental destruction on a fairly grand scale, not to mention merely shifting traffic congestion and air pollution from one place to another like “re-arranging deckchairs on the Titanic”.

Added to this will be a development in North Bexhill of some 2,000 houses leading to loss of green space and farmland. This is because there is a so-called housing crisis when really it is a population crisis – the problem is demand, not supply. That demand for the Bexhill houses, and other large housing developments proposed by HBC (some on publicly-owned land, eg Harrow Lane Playing Fields) stems indirectly from current levels of immigration – from the EU and elsewhere. It’s why there are many DFLers (down from London) here snapping up affordable homes; they have been priced out of the metropolis because London is where many immigrants head for, and they tend to occupy the cheaper end of the housing market in the capital. Demand exceeds supply – so prices rise.

We can start to reduce those current levels of immigration by leaving the EU, thereby relieving the pressure to build on every square metre of farmland or green space councils and developers can lay their hands on. And this is why I cannot understand the logic of Greens, for example, who want to preserve green space, ancient woodland, etc, from destructive development, yet say they are in favour of completely open borders: surely, that’s self-contradictory, particularly as the “free movement of people” tends to be a one-way street because the EU, mistakenly, has expanded to countries which are nowhere near economic convergence with more affluent EU members like the UK.

Also, we need food security in an uncertain world, as well as less intensive farming for the sake of animal welfare, and untainted produce; that means NOT building “garden cities” and large developments on farmland and green fields to accommodate a rapid and large-scale increase in our population MOSTLY caused by current levels of immigration from the EU and elsewhere.

Every single addition to our population wants food, shelter, water, energy, transport, waste disposal, etc, as well as the aforementioned public services. I feel that unlimited numbers settling in the country for the foreseeable future (unless we have more control) can only diminish our quality of life because of the constant pressure of a rapidly-rising population – in a geographically small area – on our resources.

What “free movement of people” EU supporters can’t or won’t tell me is how many is too many each year? Obviously not the current 330,000 because that’s not a problem, apparently. So half a million? A million? Ask them. I doubt if you’ll get an answer. And how can we plan ahead if we have no idea of exactly how many people will be coming to Britain from the EU in the short, medium or long term? I haven’t heard or seen an answer to this question from anyone in the Remain camp, and that’s why I’m voting for Brexit.

Posted 19:56 Tuesday, Jun 21, 2016 In: Politics

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