http://guyopperman.blogspot.com/2016/02/read-thought-and-listened-lot-over-last.html). But I also stressed the changes that are happening more widely by reason of the U.K. referendum, which are palpable.
On immigration the point is fairly made that both these non EU countries have higher levels of immigration than the UK, and are required to accept immigration and freedom of movement by reason of a desire to have access to the single market. They get many of the perceived burdens but without having a say in the decisions.
I am certain that we are best addressing these problems not from splendid isolation but as a group of countries.
We are Better Together. The similarities to the Scottish referendum debate are overwhelming - (Scotland would be wealthier, more Scottish, more independent etc etc if only we could get rid of Westminster). But we are better off when we do not regress behind high walls and a protectionist, isolationist approach.
Three final comments:
- My thanks to the Hexham Debates for the event and all the organisation that this process entails - it is never easy and these things take a lot of work. But please can I one day be asked to speak outside of a referendum and a general election? Perhaps on apolitical matters like prisons, and justice, or local banking, or even on international matters?
- There are further opportunities for debates locally in Northumberland or the wider North East, but the notable one is Hexham Abbey on Thursday June 16 at 7.30
- And the longer this debate has gone on, and the more I have debated the issue, the more certain I am that I am on the right side of the argument. We are StrongerIn.