To The Daily Sun,
I was both amused and annoyed by the letter from Bill Dawson regarding the Brexit vote, and his conclusion that those who voted in favor of leaving the European Union were the well-to-do trying to hold on to their wealth, but I realize that his revisionist history could well have lead to such a conclusion
On the contrary, the affluent were, apparently, mostly in favor of remaining in. Those voting to leave were primarily working-class folks who for years have been overtaxed, talked down to by politicians and generally treated with disdain by their rulers. Among them were thousands of former coal miners, thrown out of work by EU laws that required mines to be closed so that "clean" energy could be put in place instead. (So not only were these people unemployed, but if they wanted to heat their homes they had to pay four times as much for "clean" electricity.)
Although I am a U.S, citizen I was born in Great Britain, a country that I still love dearly, but which I left permanently in 1974 on the eve of entry into the EU. My reasons were very much the same as those of the "leavers" — uneasy about the prospect of laws affecting the country's sovereignty passed by an unelected group of people in a foreign country (Brussels, Belgium) Imagine, if you can, that the USA was part of a multi-national "Greater America" with a central government in, say, Venezuela, and were told that we had to abolish the First Amendment, or maybe the Fifth, or the right of all adults to vote. Would Mr. Dawson like that? I don't know him, but I doubt it.
Under the EU rules, citizens of any member nation can move to any of the other countries without hindrance, whereupon they immediately become entitled to all the same benefits as citizens of that country, including housing subsidies, unemployment benefits, medical care — all paid for by that country's taxpayers.
Great Britain is a small country with a very large population, where 10 percent unemployment is considered low, and half of all people under the age of 25 have never held a job. (Unlike the USA, someone does not have to have been employed to receive unemployment benefits. Leave school, and you get unemployment benefits; move to Britain from another EU country, and you get them.) Even though Britain's population is in excess of 65 million, in 2015 alone more than 650,000 people, mostly from the newer, poorer, EU nations, such as Poland and Romania, moved there because of the generous benefits that their own countries do not (cannot) provide.
The call to stop immigration into Great Britain is not about race. It is about numbers — huge numbers. However, the influx of Middle Eastern refugees into Europe has added a new dimension as, once those refugees have been granted residency in Greece, Hungary, Germany, etc. Even though they are not citizens of those countries, they are free to move anywhere in the EU, and since Britain has already had instances of home-grown terrorism, people are, understandably, leery of adding to it, in the same way that Americans are uncomfortable with the idea.
Under EU rule, countries are also bound by EU laws regarding such things as prison sentences, deportation rules and restrictions and so forth. Recently, an infamous Colombian drug kingpin who had finished a 15-year prison sentence in Britain (the maximum mandated by EU rules) could not be deported because he had acquired a British girlfriend (not even a wife!) and it would be cruel to break up the family. For many Britons this was absolutely the last straw.
Additionally, Britain's National Health Service, (much vaunted by left wingers in the U.S.) is critically overloaded. Rather like the VA scandal of recent years, thousands of people are kept waiting so long to see a doctor that they either die waiting, or, by the time they get in for a consultation, their condition is too far advanced to be treated successfully. Adding hundreds of thousands more patients to a system that cannot accommodate those it already has, makes little sense to anyone, especially the overburdened taxpayers who are forever digging deeper into their pockets.
Mr Dawson is also wrong in his statement that "in the aftermath (of World War II) Britain lost control of its empire." They didn't. They ceded control. And the Commonwealth — unique in history — arose and still thrives because former colonies and territories embraced the legal, political and educational systems that Great Britain introduced.
Mr. Dawson's dire prophecy that the Brexit vote will be a Shakespearean tragedy is as off the mark as the erroneous conclusion he has drawn from his revisionist history. Although the future may not be clear, the British will do what they have always done: Adapt, survive, thrive. The sky will not fall and the Earth will not stop turning. And, oh yes, the stock market has already recovered.
- Category: Letters
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