The Green Matters column with Barry Crossland

Referendum: The Vote Leave campaign were guilty of cheating.
Referendum: The Vote Leave campaign were guilty of cheating.

People are tired of Brexit but the problem needs to be tackled. In addition it looks likely that European elections will take place, and it is far better to be constructive even if this is for a limited time.

In the referendum, the Vote Leave campaign were guilty of cheating and fined £500,000. If this had been a golf competition they would have been disqualified, and probably chucked out of the club. Surely, a major national decision is more important than a local golf competition.

The Green Party are pro the EU, although they fully recognise that the EU is not perfect. If the Green Party did not have better environmental policies than other political parties I would throw in the towel. A majority of our environmental laws come from the EU. In general this is better for most of us, as the UK Government favours business interests over environmental matters. Pollution does not recognise national boundaries and collaboration with our neighbours is more sensible.

In 2017, 44% of our exports and 53 % of our imports were with the EU. Anyone with any business experience knows that it is easier to retain customers than find new customers.

The Leave campaign exploited the issue of immigration. Freedom of movement in the EU works both ways. My younger daughter lives in Greece, my three youngest grandchildren are Anglo-Greek, and I have a nephew and niece living in Spain. Many sectors of the UK, such as agriculture, hotels and the NHS, are dependent on workers from EU countries. The Green Party acknowledges the contribution these workers make to the UK economy and are embarrassed by the abuse that some English people have spouted.

It seems obvious that the recent local election results indicated that many voters are unimpressed by our two major parties handling of Brexit. The EU have stated that the only deal on the table is the one agreed between the EU and Teresa May’s Government. This Deal, nearly 500 pages, took two years to negotiate and has been rejected decisively by MP s three times.

Consequently, I am baffled as to what Labour and Conservatives are negotiating.

With both major parties in disarray, the Green Party position is to look at the options and put it to a People’s Vote, or second referendum.

This will require better policing than last time. I see the options as No Deal, Teresa May’s Deal or Remain. There may be others. Whatever options there are, a system of single transferable vote should be used. With this system, the loser’s votes are transferred onto their second choice.

When it comes to the European election, I think Remainers should get behind the Green Party as the party is committed to working with our European friends for the benefit of all citizens in the EU. As for Leavers, I think that they should also vote Green.

It is far better to support a party that will work constructively for a better Europe than one that throws its rattle out of the pram at every opportunity.

Most economists and business people think No Deal is very damaging for the UK economy and that the poor will suffer most.

Their thoughts on the May Deal are that it will be damaging to the UK economy and the border issue in Northern Ireland might drag on for years. Also, look at the actions of leading Brexiteers. Jacob Rees-Mogg has moved his bank to Dublin and Nigel Lawson has gone to live in France. The Green Party actions match their words.