The independent London newspaper

Brexit talks shows the lack of democracy

08 February, 2018

• THERESA May boasts of carrying out the will of the people in true democratic manner.

I wonder if I am the only one who thinks we live in the most undemocratic period since the 1960s and are kept in the dark about the EU negotiations.

David Davis has confessed that he has not carried out a single impact assessment of the EU negotiations. We are not told the content of these negotiations. In my experience of contract meetings one first assesses the impact of what is said, and only then acts accordingly.

Four examples will suffice to show the importance of impact. These should not be secret and should allow the public some say in the matter.

First: what happens to the finance of cancer research, where the EU has pumped millions of pounds into The Crick Institute at St Pancras, three cancer research hospitals in Wales such as Glan Clwyd, and Cambridge University bio-tech laboratories?

Surely the EU pharmaceutical companies will expect some return and discoveries? How long will they be entitled to that return?

Second: will the wonderful regeneration projects cease in places like Dunbar and Bangor, where insulation is installed and repair and decoration of houses takes place, and regeneration of local industries such as fishing, provided with new equipment, has transformed these towns?

Third: who is going to pay for national cross-country trails and cycle routes and the regeneration of our landscape, especially Welsh hill farming, which has subsidies for stone-wall building and grassland improvement?

One Tory minister has said these subsidies are a waste of money and Welsh farmers should keep bees not sheep!

Fourth: who is going to pay for the scientific safe control of manufactures such as electrical goods, motorbikes, packaged food, or drones or robots, which, if we want to sell them in the EU, must comply with EU safety standards? Testing such products is not child’s play. If we are not in the EU we will have no say about these tests.

It is no wonder, with these and many other questions unanswered or even posed, that young continental families who bolster our economy and service industries, such as the NHS, are leaving this country in anxious droves.

Like the parliaments of Charles I, nobody knows what is going on from one day to the next. We leap from one sweeping statement to another. The latest this week is that we will leave the customs union and seek world trade. The consequences of this dramatic and reckless move still leaves the above four questions unanswered.

In her optimism about trade with China, the prime minister does not seem to realise that the Chinese propose building a railway from Beijing to Paris.

South Hill Park Gardens, NW3


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