With apologies for making this chapter three of the recent Brexit correspondence, may I respond to Mr Wilton’s reply in the Observer of September 6 to my letter published in the Observer of August 30?
I do remember our being ‘the sick man of Europe’, the sickness in question was also known as ‘the English disease’ and was largely caused by seemingly endless strikes.
The causes of the actual strikes were, of course, discussed and debated at the time and I am not going to attempt to apportion blame for their occurrence but the sluggishness in our economy was possibly one of their more noticeable effects.
We were certainly very limited in how much money we could take abroad with us but let us remember also that £25 bought a whole lot more 40 or more years ago than it would today.
I also seem to remember (I admit I may be wrong but do not think so) that this restriction was removed before we joined the Common Market trading agreement, which was gradually morphed into the European (political) Union.
Having originally voted in favour of joining the Common Market, I began to have doubts about the wisdom of a political union when enforced unions of disparate groups began to fall apart – for example, in the Balkan wars.
Prior to the Brexit referendum, I tried to read all the arguments I could find both for and against leaving but could find nothing stating a positive reaction for staying in the EU.
All the Remain arguments seemed to be either that the Leave lot were lying – which largely boiled down to getting the actual figures wrong rather than a problem with the principles – or that everything would fall to pieces if we were to leave.
According to the latter prophesies, we should now be well on the way to financial ruin.
The Leave arguments were a bit more positive, such as regaining control over our borders and our agriculture and fishing industries, as well as our sovereignity.
I do apologise for not being aware that, after years of apparent fraud, the EU have actually got their accounts above board for the last ten or 11 years.
That is one point in their favour but not necessarily enough to persuade me to vote to stay with the EU.
And I should like to thank Mr Wilton for explaining in more detail the way in which we get back some of the money we pay to the EU (the rebate negotiated by Mrs Thatcher many years ago) and the way in which they dictate how we spend the rest – for what is a grant for a specific project if it is not giving you money to be spent in a specific way?
Our leaving the EU does not automatically mean that we will be more at loggerheads with the other members than we are already but it will give us the opportunity to widen our trade options and to have more say in matters of immigration.
Belonging to the same organisation does not automatically guarantee friendly relations.
Being co-members of the EU has not stopped the French blockading lorries carrying British goods to France when it suited them, nor, in one appalling incident, setting fire to lorries carrying live sheep from Britain to France as a protest against that perfectly legal import, neither of which actions was stopped by their police.
Also, as previously mentioned, our membership of the EU did not guarantee the support of other members when we defended our legally-held territory in the Falklands conflict.
I suspect that Mr Wilton and I will continue to disagree on these matters and our individual votes, should it come to that again, will cancel each other out.
Mrs Jennifer Cordwell, Hawthorn Road, Bognor Regis