Dear Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition

Dear Mr Corbyn,

I write this open letter to you as a member of the Labour Party and someone who desperately wants see our beloved country heal its wounds and come together.  We both know that the policy of austerity enacted on the people of this country since 2010 has not only decimated our public services but has also driven up our national debt to unprecedented levels. Neither of these outcomes can be disputed. They are a matter of fact.

I have always believed you to be a man of truth and principle and your voting record down the years in the House of Commons proves my point. Doing the right thing by people is a cornerstone of your leadership of the Labour Party.

On the subject of truth, I found my original copies of the EU referendum campaigning documents which came through my door. The outlandish and false claims made by a Leave campaign did not fully register with me at the time, but now, with the country riven by division, it is easy to see that the claims were both dishonest and fundamentally wrong.

Within the leaflet ‘Who governs Britain?’it stated the following:-

 

  • The cost of membership is about £19bn gross per year’we all know that the actual net contribution is closer to less than half of that.
  • ‘The total cost on the economy of EU membership is calculated at about £190bn per year*. That equates to about £7000 per household’. The * relates to a study in 2015 by Professor Tim Congdon. We all know that the ‘cost’ to the British economy is nothing like that number, indeed we are told by the ONS and IFS that there is a net benefit to the economy from our EU membership.
  • ‘Almost all areas of our domestic policy are now controlled by the EU. The Westminster Parliament has surrendered control, even down to the level of legislation on hair-dryers, electric kettles and vacuum cleaners’. How can this claim stand up to any scrutiny, especially in light of the last few months in Parliament?
  • ‘Literally millions of people have flooded into the UK from poor European countries. This has driven wages down, property prices up, and put unsustainable burdens on housing, the NHS, roads and transport etc’. Besides the lazy use of ‘etc’ all the evidence points to the net contribution made by EU citizens living in the UK. It is both disingenuous and inaccurate to make this statement.
  • ‘The EU intends to import millions more migrants from Africa and beyond. Once these migrants are established in any EU state, they will have the right to come to Britain.’Another nebulous and wholly inaccurate statement.
  • ‘The EU intends to allow Turkey to join with its population of 75 million – all of whom will have the right to come to Britain. Turkey’s porous borders with the Middle East will mean even more illegal immigration to the UK’.

I think you will agree with me Jeremy that these claims were cunningly designed to instil fear and loathing into the hearts and minds of those who read them. I truly believe Brexit was the wrong answer to the right question. The real question being asked was ‘do you want to see real change in this country and take back control of your lives and your futures?’. To blame the EU for years and years of policies that put markets before people creating a society that judges people not on their worth by what they do for others, but by how much money they have, is the wrong answer. Our nationally elected governments have driven these policies consistently for many years. Our governments have full control over their budgetary and taxation policy.  To infer anything otherwise is simply wrong.

I have watched with admiration the way that the Labour Party have made themselves more democratic and accountable to its members in these last few years. Members, all of whom have invested in their membership fees and many who have invested time to support key campaigns.  This democracy should be ultimate. The EU referendum was an exercise in democracy and that should be respected. But before some lecture us on democracy, will those same people call our current parliamentary electoral system for what it is? Fundamentally undemocratic given the vagaries of the First Past The Post System. This system delivers power to the winning party on the basis of no more than 40% of votes cast. Since when was 40% a majority anywhere? So democracy and ‘our democratic system’ is at best fluid, and at worst flawed and not actually democratic.

I think you will be aware that the vast majority of Labour members want another chance to express their preferences to either remain or leave the EU, via a People’s Vote. Given that we have all found out a lot more in these past 30 months. I doubt the Remain campaign would get a red bus long enough to put ‘We could spend £39,000,000,000 on the NHS instead’?

Jeremy, you are a democrat. You believe in people and you believe in the interests of the many over the select few. Many people voted to leave the EU and they voted for a variety of reasons. There was no single united vision for Brexit. It was not the fault of those that voted. As Mary Wollstonecraft said, ‘No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks’.

Jeremy given the amount of false and disingenuous claims made by Leave and not withstanding the fact that Electoral Law was broken, the vast majority of Labour members are looking to you to lead by making the case for a better informed democratic People’s Vote. If you believe in doing the right thing, then please ensure we are told the truth and given the chance to make our voices heard on the biggest issues we will all face.

Yours sincerely, 

AG Payne

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