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Memories of the first EU vote

Readers' letters | Published:

I was fascinated to see the letter from Pauline Poole (June 1) replying to my letter of May 20 on the folly of leaving the EU.

As far as I know I have never met Ms Poole and have no idea why she thinks I am ‘in the age group which has no concept of life before the EU was formed’.

I am in fact 70 years old and have a very good idea of what life was like before Britain joined the EU, and can remember very well the first EU referendum in 1975 when there was a honest debate with all the facts put for and against, and the result was a 2-1 majority in favour of joining the EU.

The narrow vote, by a minority of the electorate, to leave was heavily influenced by misinformation from the Leave lobby, notably the Big Red Bus. This toured the country and was heavily featured on the news with its promise to bring £350m per week to the UK with the return of the money going to the EU. All this money would go to the NHS. What a lovely idea. But completely false, both as to the total being sent to the EU and the promise to fund the National Health Service.

There were too many falsehoods told by the Leave camp for one short letter but are a key fact which cannot continue to be ignored. Britain is a prosperous country as a member of the G7, one of the seven richest countries in the world.

This is a result of being part of the EU and life outside is not going to be a bunch of roses. In 1975, we voted to go in because Britain struggled outside as an isolated country. Ms Poole is certainly right to argue that if Brexit happens ‘it won’t be utopia’ and wrong to say about living in ‘the wilderness we have been living in during recent years’.

If Britain is a wilderness today, why are the supermarkets full of goods and the roads jammed with cars?

It would be good to have a third referendum on the deal that Theresa May claims to be negotiating. Or is that too high risk a strategy, as Leavers are now saying there may be no deal? All the fault of the EU, of course, not the Leave campaigners who now run Mrs May’s party.

Trevor Fisher, Stafford

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