As Christina Lamb, chief foreign correspondent of The Times, said on Desert Island Discs this week, “Facts are facts. You can’t have alternative facts.” In this context, let’s explore Paul Foyster’s assertions in his latest letter (Spalding Guardian Reader’s View).

Paul Foyster UKIP Leader South Holland and the Deepings

First, Paul said earlier (January 4), “For many years every single time the UK has objected to new EU rules and laws, we have been outvoted and overruled.” This assertion remains completely untrue. However, Paul now suggests this assertion can somehow be ignored because he “missed out” the word “significant” before “new laws”. Well, no, it can’t. His statement (even with the word “significant” included) still remains completely untrue.

Then, he suggests I should take a look at an article by Professor Simon Hix (with which I’m fully familiar). However, Paul  neglects to mention this article (which concerns decision-making in the Council of Ministers), fundamentally undermines even his own assertion.

Moreover, he fails to mention a far more relevant article by Professor Hix (at ukandeu.ac.uk/explainers/is-the-uk-marginalised-in-the-eu-2/), which examines EU decision-making more widely. This article demonstrates that, across ALL policy issues, the UK has been the fourth closest of 28 nations to the policy outcomes we were seeking. Moreover, on “highly salient issues” (i.e. the issues we most cared about), we were the second closest of 28 nations to the policy outcomes we were seeking. Will UKIP please now stop saying “every single time the UK has objected to new EU rules and laws, we have been outvoted and overruled.” It’s simply not true. Not true. Not true.

Rather than continuing to argue with Paul about facts he consistently denies, I suspect the time has come to start acknowledging the benefits of EU membership.

Let me quote just one recent example. Earlier this week, Theresa May made a much-trumpeted statement saying the UK will be abolishing charges for credit card use. Jolly good. But did she mention this step forward was merely putting into effect an EU-wide agreement? Absolutely not. Instead, she hogged the credit and didn’t even mention that she was merely implementing an EU-wide agreement that the UK helped to create. 

The fundamental problem, as I see it, is that, for over 40 years, UK politicians and our anti-EU press have unjustifiably blamed all our domestic problems on the EU, while taking credit for every benefit of EU membership.

So, as Nigel Farage has recently suggested, the time has come to give voters a ‘final say’ on the terms of Brexit negotiated with the EU. I recognise many voters locally will still wish to leave the EU at any price. However, many won’t, notably young people whose lives are most adversely affected. I just wish this ‘final say’ will be based on facts and evidence, not beliefs and assertions.

Author: Alan Meekings

Alan Meekings is a management consultant specialising in the field of Organisational Performance Management. He has led programmes of major change and sustainable improvement with public, private and third sector organisations for over thirty years. He is a Visiting Fellow at Cranfield University School of Management, a Visiting Scholar at Heriot-Watt University School of Management and a member of the European Movement nationally and in Lincolnshire.

All views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Conservative Group for Europe or the European Movement.