LETTER: Putting country before party

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The Referendum campaign in Horsham was generally good humoured, with Vote Leave and Remain groups often working peacefully within feet of each other.

Vote Leave drew supporters from Tory and UKIP ranks, including some ex Lib Dem, Labour politicians and many non-politically minded individuals. By the end of the campaign there was a high degree of mutual respect between them.

Our promotion material dealt with substantive issues, with no party logos. They could not be branded as extremist, by any stretch of the imagination.

So it was disappointing that one letter in last week’s WSCT set out to demonise three from the Vote Leave campaign as extremists. Their Vote Leave colleagues will be only too happy to verify that they are far from that.

It is clear that the Referendum campaign highlighted divisions in the country.

It is also very regrettable indeed that it seems to have stirred up hatred and intolerance. We on the Leave side have been quick to condemn any racist attacks as utterly unacceptable and will continue to do so.

Jacob Rees-Mogg and Gisella Stuart have been leading the moves to ensure that European citizens already here should continue to enjoy the legal rights in place when they arrived. This is entirely right.

But it is also important to highlight that the rise in intolerance has not by any means been all one way. For example, leading Brexiters have been the subject of death threats on social media as have other less well known Brexit supporters. Doubtless the author of the letter you published last week will wish to immediately condemn these examples of unacceptable hatred to avoid any suggestion of what he was pleased to describe as ‘guilt by association’.

The same letter suggested that Vote Leave had failed to make the economic case for Brexit, while Mr Price believes the Remain campaign won the economic argument, the majority of the British people seem to have concluded otherwise.

EU output has fallen from 30 per cent of world GDP in 1980 to 17 per cent in 2015. UK growth continued above the EU average, with UK unemployment now at five per cent compared with the Eurozone’s ten per cent. Youth unemployment is well over 40 per cent in some EU countries.

Our exports to the single market are down to around 43 per cent while exports beyond the EU have risen to 57 per cent.

Sadly, the EU is more preoccupied with regulation, standardisation and protective tariffs, than with competition and innovation.

Also around 95 per cent of UK companies don’t even export to the EU but must comply with EU regulations, which (according to a 2005 Treasury report to Gordon Brown) imposes a cost of around £100 billion pa on them.

Indeed, the total cost of our EU membership is over ten times the £350 million per week figure mentioned in another of last week’s letters and it will clearly take some years to phase those costs out.

Added to that, one un-elected EU president said, ‘The EU intends ultimately to control every country on the Western Flank of Russia. If the public doesn’t want it then we do it anyway.’

Surprisingly enough, many British people don’t want that but prefer their destiny to be determined in their Parliament, by MPs who are accountable to them.

It’s called government for the people, by the people.

That should be clear but I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who campaigned with Vote Leave to that end.

For a brief time, we had the privilege of working together, putting country before party and before inter-party point scoring.

Sadly, that was too much for some.

ROGER ARTHUR

NEIL WHITEAR

TONY RICKETT

Addresses supplied

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