Monday, 6 June 2016

"Can" is not the same as "will"

Some prominent "leave" campaigners trumpet the fact that we can dramatically reduce our VAT rates if we are no longer bound by EU rules.  We can also spend the current contribution to the EU budget (net £8.5bn annually, £163m/week) on the NHS. We can stop people coming in and taking low-paid jobs. We can negotiate tougher terms of trade independently on equal terms with the USA, China and India.

There are other things we can do. We can allow the discharge of untreated waste into our rivers and seas. We can compensate already well-off agriculture barons for the loss of EU subsidy while forgetting about marginal farms in Scotland, Wales and the regions of England. 
We can also repeal all the worker protection legislation passed as a result of our signing up to the EU's social contract. We can abrogate the European Convention on Human Rights (all new members of the EU have to sign up to this; the main reason why Turkey is not going to be admitted any time soon is that is in breach of so many ECHR judgements) and make legal the torture of terrorism suspects (so much more convenient for our NATO allies). We can then discriminate against non-Christians or political parties we do not like.

You may protest that all these scenarios are improbable. However, given the record of those people in government, I fear that the first lot is least likely.

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