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To The Editor, Tower and Town, 14 October 2016

Dear Sir

Letter: Reasons For Voting Leave

I read with interest Andrew Unwin's comments and those of others including his niece, Sophie, on the Brexit vote and although slightly younger than Andrew, at 69 years old, have experienced all the ups and downs of the EEC and now the EU.

When the UK joined the EEC in January 1973 (we had been blocked by France on two occasions previously) the countries involved totalled nine and were mainly the larger northern European countries where economies were similar strength and able to more easily accommodate freedom of movement. In 1975 we held a UK referendum on our EEC membership, then just an economic union, and I voted along with 67% of those who voted to continue our membership, but on better terms.

However, with the expansion of the EEC, now the EU, to fifteen countries and then to twenty eight countries, economic union has become political/economic and monetary union for some of the membership and the UK voters did not vote for this huge bureaucracy to emerge. The Euro has proved a straight jacket for many of its members and the EU seems very remote from its citizens, is very un-democratic and in no mood to reform. David Cameron tried valiantly to get the EU to listen but they chose to ignore him and bury their heads in the sand.

So what made me Vote Leave? I read a very interesting and impartial book by David Chater (ex Times Berlin correspondent), entitled Europe: In or Out. It covered in an easy to read 200 pages topics such as jobs, travel, sovereignty, taxation, justice and immigration. After reading this book I was left with no compelling reason to vote Remain. Along with most Wiltshire residents I voted to leave this behemoth called the EU and believe strongly that we will continue to play our full part in the development of Europe, just not via the EU.

Culturally and geographically we will remain a major country within Europe but can now seek fresh markets abroad as well as trading with EU member countries on good terms of trade.

I accept uncertainty for many will remain for quite a while but the UK is a strong economy that will prove resilient, not just in the short-term as is happening at present.

Immigration was a major factor for many with Brexit and it is obvious that the UK could not sustain the level of immigration allowed since the beginning of this century, basically the population of two Swindons every year! Our public services are already stretched to the limit and the UK remains the most densely populated country in Europe (except Malta). Someone, and in this case the UK, had to stand up to the EU and say we have had enough and whilst hard to swallow it was 17 million people of all political persuasions who voted to leave.

The UK has always welcomed immigration over the centuries and will no doubt continue to do so in a controlled manner as well as helping refugees. It was refreshing this week when the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, commented that the Calais problem was mainly down to the Shengen Agreement, which thankfully the UK did not sign up to: wise words indeed.

In conclusion, after 100 days the UK is still going in the right direction and a clean Brexit should be achieved within two years. What is refreshing for me is that all my friends and family, who voted either way, are still friends.

Colin Gratton


Colin Gratton

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