by Frank Schnittger
Sat Nov 23rd, 2019 at 02:17:19 PM EST
With the UK preparing for a general election, the Irish Times invited its readers to write an open letter to UK voters (of less than 300 words). A selection of those letters are published here. Some are of a quite personal nature. Many focus on the impact on N. Ireland. Mine, copied below the fold, focuses on the larger political and economic implications.
Feel free to use the comments section to write your own letter. We could even publish a selection of our letters on our front page! A more broadly European perspective would be useful. And yes, you are allowed say "go now and don't let the door hit you in the arse as you leave". All viewpoints are welcome...
Dear Britain… Love, Ireland. Your open letters to UK voters
You are a sovereign nation and have the right to make your own decisions about your future direction. However, I wonder if you can spare the time to consider the effect of your vote on your friends and neighbours in Europe.
Firstly, a vote for Brexit will weaken the EU, which has had unparalleled success in maintaining peace and prosperity within Europe for the past 70 years. More recently it has helped to stabilise the political situation in Northern Ireland and heal the divisions caused by the Iron Curtain. We need it to be strong to balance the world superpowers: the USA, China and Russia.
Secondly, a vote for Brexit will divide Europe and make it easier for global multinationals to ride rough-shod over consumer, environmental and workers' rights, to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, and to play off one government against another.
Thirdly, exiting the EU will inevitably and unavoidably reduce the opportunities for free trade between us, increase bureaucratic red-tape, and encourage companies to relocate to where their largest market is - more often than not the EU single market - thereby reducing your prosperity as well as ours.
There is no free trade agreement on earth which comes close to providing the benefits of the single market. Already, merely the threat of Brexit has caused the UK's output to be about 3 per cent lower than it would otherwise have been, and this relative decline could be much worse depending on the precise form Brexit ultimately takes.
The loss of Government revenue from this reduction in output already exceeds the famous £350 Million per week Brexit was supposed to save the British exchequer. It's not too late to change your mind, and there is no shame in doing so.