Phil Latham: ‘What an unnecessary mess we have got ourselves in to’


I make no bones about it that on Friday, June 24, when I woke at 5am to pictures of a jubilant Nigel Farage, I felt physically sick.


Within hours the pledges of the out campaign started to unravel. ‘No, we cannot inject the money into the NHS’, said Farage. ‘Sorry, that was a mistake. No we did not mean we would cut all immigration’, added MEP Daniel Hannan.


What they meant was they would cut free movement down to just the right to work and when they said the UK would still access the single market, they did not have a model by which to trade.


‘Sorry, but we are not in a position to deliver. That is Number 10 Downing Street’s job’, they all seemed to say.


On top of this, we have those who voted out in protest, alongside farmers venting frustrations with the Common Agricultural Policy and potential glyphosate ban, voters against austerity and those who wanted to take to the streets just to be heard.


What an unnecessary mess we have got ourselves in to, worthy of Laurel and Hardy if it was not so serious. The political classes of all sides have let themselves down by failing to deal with the real challenges of housing, immigration, and pressures on schools and the NHS.


In a bid to win power they have gambled the country’s future. Shame on ex-Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove for dismissing expert opinions and then the ex-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions saying afterwards we should listen to them.


The back-seat drivers in the out campaign’s bus should lose their spectator rights and be made to drive. Once they have negotiated the terms of trade, let us see what they have come up with. However, an angry EU may ensure there are consequences for a divided UK.


A free trade agreement on the Norwegian lines seems most likely. On 2014’s figures, it will save us just £47 a person and we will get all of the rules, free movement for workers and none of the influence. Surely this is a gain not worth the pain.


I find it incredible many farmers voted out without knowing at all what will come next. Voluntarily tearing up your direct support cheque may be a noble act to benefit the country, but our farming leaders will have to step up, be positive and work damned hard to just get back what we already had. We will need strong and inspirational leadership from the NFU and Parliament.

Farmers Guardian
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