Prepare yourselves. It seems our Government is bound to drag us into a “No deal” Brexit.
I rejected Brexit in 2016 because I didn’t believe our Country should lose control to those Conservatives who want turn the UK into a backward, narrow-minded, inward looking and intolerant island which reckons that international respect is won through fear, offending foreigners and barking English slowly at the World. The likelihood that leaving the EU would also result in weaker trade, travel constraints and a less successful economy were also important but, for me, secondary considerations.
Now we are drawing ever closer to the destiny 17 million of the 66 million people of this country apparently wanted, it seems only right that the best advice and information on the likely impact of Brexit should be widely shared with people.
At the 2016 Referendum I invited the Conservative MP to debate Brexit with me in public but he refused and stayed away. I went ahead with pubic meetings to help inform the debate. We’ve now reached a stage when I believe we should again get out on the streets, to talk to people about what Brexit will mean.
I’m also holding a number of public meetings, the first of which is with the support of the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce and others. It will take place on Thursday 13th September at 7.30pm at The Queens Hotel, Penzance. We have a great panel of speakers. Mostly (you’ll be pleased to know) non politicians; mainly from the business and commercial sector.
While on the street campaigning some people have also complained about the closure of some public conveniences. While I appreciate the Council has tried to work with local businesses to maintain a service this is still not well publicised. When I informed complainants that the Government has slashed the Council budget by 40% since 2015 most were surprised that the Council has managed to maintain ANY public conveniences, let alone libraries and many other local public services.
Parents are rightly concerned about the future of free school transport but that budget has been slashed by the Government. And Housing and Council Tax benefit is cut by 10% each year! While the Council does its best to cope I’m surprised they don’t place the blame where it really lies – with this Government.
The Government survived the increased public focus on our NHS last month during celebrations of its 70th Birthday. They achieved this by promising to increase NHS funding over the next 5 years paid for through the mythical Brexit dividend or its own fabled money tree. There’s no evidence that this extra money will materialise and many in the media still haven’t done the maths.
One method of judging just how short of money our local NHS is will be watching how the NHS managers present its currently stalled (again!) consultation on plans to cut £270 million from Cornwall’s NHS by 2020. You may remember this exercise has been variously known as the Sustainability & Transformation Plan (STP) or now “Shaping Our Future” (SOF). It’ll be interesting to see whether they produce yet another lexicon of confusing acronyms, soothing and reassuring language to hide a raft of service cuts and hospital closures. I’m sure the Government will not want these unpopular announcements to be made just yet.