One of the unexpected pleasures of helping on the Vote Leave market stalls in Waveney is meeting people from other countries. In fact, we have actually met a few people from Eastern Europe who think we should leave the EU – including a lady from Hungary who stopped at the last market stall in Lowestoft.
We have also met people from Commonwealth countries such as Canada and New Zealand – either working here or visiting on holiday (welcome!). When we have met them – we have several times felt the need to apologise to them for the way their country was betrayed when Britain joined the EU. Countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and nations in the West Indies such as Barbados and Jamaica were our closest allies.
These were also some of our closest trading partners – remember New Zealand lamb and butter? When we joined the EU – it made it much more difficult and expensive for them to sell their goods to us. In fact, there was a huge battle as the French fought to keep New Zealand lamb out of the EU. Those countries’ economy suffered because of our decision to join the EU.
To add insult to injury – people from commonwealth countries such as these used to be able to freely travel to the UK. After we joined the EU people from Commonwealth countries had to go through the foreigners passport channel when they arrive in the UK, while citizens form EU countries go through the British channel.
That’s why when we met several Canadians and New Zealanders – we felt we needed to apologise for how our country had treated them when we joined the EU.
The other countries of the English speaking world (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, West Indies) are actually those we share far more history, language and values with than EU countries. We should not abandon them by remaining part of the EU project to create ‘ever closer union’ in Europe.
When you vote on Thursday please remember we have other important relationships in the world that have suffered because of the EU that we now need to rebuild…
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