Like Roy Hanney [Letters, May 13], I would love to see Great Britain as ‘a very strong and advanced manufacturing industrial country again’ but I could not disagree with him more about the way to go about this.
How can we expect to achieve this objective by cutting ourselves off from the European single market which has proven so successful over the years? And it cannot be a recipe for success to irritate the people who run the biggest market in the world, the USA, whose President has stated his desire for the UK to remain in the European Union and made clear that we will be ‘at the back of the queue’ in negotiating a trade deal in the event that we do leave.
The ‘leave’ campaign can say until they are blue in the face that we will negotiate trade deals with the EU and other countries in the event of Brexit. But it is a ‘no-brainer’ that this will not be easy and that many years of uncertainty would follow on our exit.
That is no way to build a strong manufacturing country again. Manufacturers need access to markets and self-evidently those on our doorstep offer us the greatest opportunities for selling our products.
Incidentally, this applies even more to the one beacon of light in our trading position – the City of London. It would surely be catastrophic for London’s position as an international finance centre if we left the EU. The majority of the lucrative euro-denominated business is currently cleared through London – a source of much irritation to our EU partners. This business would be lost in double quick time to Frankfurt and Paris if we became an ‘offshore outsider’.
Being ‘free from Brussels’ does not mean freedom to do what we like and I would submit that our notional gain in sovereignty would be more than counteracted by our loss in weight in our international negotiating position – not, I say again, a recipe for making this country great.
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