/ Home & Energy, Money

Brexit: consumer needs must be front and centre

Brexit westminster

Plans for the UK’s departure from the European Union are now underway. While the government is setting up an all-business forum to consider the needs of the economy, we’re concerned the voice of consumers isn’t being heard.

Writing in The Times today, I’ve again pressed for David Davis, as the reappointed Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, to consider the important role consumers should play in the Brexit negotiations.

Sir,

During the financial crisis of 2009, Which? established the Future of Banking Commission to give consumers, who had been ignored despite paying the price in bailouts and austerity measures, a voice at the heart of the debate. That Commission was chaired by David Davis MP.

Today, eight years on, Mr Davis has created a business forum designed to ensure that the Government’s negotiating position on Brexit reflects the needs of the economy. However, the voice of consumers, who not only voted for Brexit but will also pay the bills and feel the effects, is once again missing despite the fact that consumer confidence is what is keeping our economy growing.

Mr Davis now has the opportunity to remember the vision that led him to produce that important report on banking. To ensure consumer needs are front and centre in the negotiations, he should now invite consumer representatives, such as Which?, to join this critical forum.

Peter Vicary-Smith
Chief Executive
Which?

Have your say

Do you think that consumers are being appropriately represented in the Brexit negotiations? Should Which? and other consumer representatives have a role in this business forum?

Comments

I am not old enough to have lived through WW2 and see the decision to leave the EU as possibly the most influential change that has happened in my lifetime. It certainly needs debated and for us all to become better informed.

Please @pvicarysmith – come and engage in your Conversation if you would like to get the best out of contributors.

Annoyed says:
7 July 2017

I’m not old enough either but I am old enough to remember what we where like prior to the EU, it has destroyed us as a country both financially, economically and socially! Firstly the finance, people think they are richer especially since Blair/browns labour took control, but we are not generally we are much much poorer we live in constant debt, lease hire contracts for everything, it’s the illusion that has been created, one of the worst things we did was bring in minimum wage as this just drove up the cost of living for everyone and dragged more people down! As it drove prices up! Economically we have been bought out and closed down we own next to no manufacturing now, and I’m talking about high end products domestic, commercial and industrial we have very little left! And it’s only getting worse with the eu laws shackling us and us being one of the only countries abiding by the laws set out!

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Well said I could not have put it better myself I was born in 1945 so do remember a country that was Much BETTER than the one we live in now ! yes we were recovering from the war & times were hard but at least we went by British laws

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Sorry to disagree with you Annoyed. I am sure that if you had researched properly, you might have a different point of view. The EU has many faults and the members should speak out and debate their points. We cannot do this if we are not in. Major wars have been avoided by EU membership and the real reasons for the loss of manufacturing is not due to Eu membership. Major British companies did not invest enough in their businesses in order to make them viable, preferring instead to take profits without investing. I believe that closer unity of all peoples is the way forward to a better life.There are problems all over the world, so let us help each other rather than try to be isolated from each other.

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I completely agree – we must have control over,our own destiny and safeguard the future of our children and grandchildren.

I was born in 1942 and remember well that Britain in the 50’s was awash with immigrants and refugees from WW2. Poles who’d got here and flown our fighters and cracked the German codes. Jews who’d escaped the transport to death camps and revitalised our businesses, Indians and Jamaicans who’d come to man our lathes and mines. Without immigrants we would never have recovered from that war.

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I was born in 1940 in N.Norfolk and so lived through the war as a child. We had evacuees living with us. Immigration began in the early 1950’s when the British government invited any person from the Commonwealth to bring their family to the British Isles to work usually in menial jobs that British people did not want. These were people from the Carribean ( then known as West Indians) and also from India and Pakistan. Many Australians came as well but later on. This started the multicultural society that many of us are happy to live in and that you are blaming on Tony Blair and the EU! Leaving the EU is not going to send all the ‘Immigrants’ back because many of them are second, third generation. There are still parts of the UK where you can live without immigrants if you chose – Norfolk being one of them. I live in N.London now in a Polish/Turkish area and I love the multicultural society. Its sad that you should feel so threatened by this myth perpetuated by the millionaire owners of the Daily Mail and Daily Express. These opinions will die out with future generations.

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8 percent? Yeah right. Under Tory led governments, since 2014, MPs pay has been upped to £74,000, an increase of over 14% and had their final pensions bumped up to £37,750, which represents an increase of 12.6%.

ALAN SIMPSON says:
7 July 2017

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Luckily, Jan, Norfolk now has large populations of Poles, Lithuanian and Portuguese as well as smaller numbers from other parts of Europe, and Commonwealth countries, and some from elsewhere in the world. They make a vital contribution to the economy, are not taking jobs away from others, are not clogging up the doctors’ and hospital waiting rooms, are not draining the benefits fund, and are successfully bringing up new families to replace those who are seeking their fortunes elsewhere. Most of the voters in Norfolk, however, with the honourable exception of Norwich, were very anti-EU in the Referendum and, to our shame, a not insignificant minority chose to express themselves in a racist manner with unjustified allegations. The outcome is that workers from EU countries on whom agriculture and the tourism and hospitality industry depend are fearful of their future here and employers are finding it hard to hire enough people for seasonal work. I am in favour of managing our borders but it should not mean locking the gates.

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I am not sure why Which? has to wait to be invited. Surely it can gather together the appropriate bodies and build an irresistible case to put to the government for a fair deal for consumers.

If I wanted to know what the Secretary of State thinks I would write to him, not to a tabloid newspaper.

Hello John, we did indeed write to David Davis before we published this in The Times. We wanted to bring it to the attention of consumers and you by doing so, and by publishing this year.

Do Which? have detailed proposals as to how they want consumers protected after Brexit?

Thanks Patrick. It wasn’t obvious. Presumably we shall be shown the reply in due course.

Fair point John – will keep you updated.

I’ll get back to you Malcolm.

Many thanks for your comments. Which? has been doing a lot of work on brexit and consumers since last year’s Referendum including on how we want consumers to be protected. We have three main asks for the government as it begins the negotiations with the European Union -firstly, the Government should seek to limit the potential for price rises and maintain access to goods and services. Secondly, the Government should seek to maintain cross-border consumer rights and the ability to enforce them. Finally, the Government should ensure that it upholds the safety and standards of consumer products and food through the negotiations.

We have been feeding in to Government and Parliament through many different means including meetings to input the consumer view, briefings on our key priorities and giving select committee evidence. We’ve also been working to raise the consumer case through press activity using our consumer insights work and through events such as a conference we hosted with our European organisation BEUC on consumers and brexit which key stakeholders from across business, government, parliament, civil society and regulators attended. We’ll be keeping you all up to date on our work as it progresses in the coming months, but if it is of interest we can look in to writing a Conversation piece on these asks more specifically and sharing the details behind them?

Yes, please do, Jane.

It sounds like Which? is doing a lot in the background, so please keep up the good work and don’t let the Jeremiahs put you off.

Seconded. Enthusiastically so.

Duncan – The problem is that 80% of the population have no idea there is any austerity situation. They are enjoying lifestyles better than at any time in history, having fabulous holidays, driving motorised personal pamper saloons, queuing up to get on the golf course, buying more clothes than they can ever wear so that even the charity shops are having ‘clearance events’, extending their homes and re-landscaping their gardens , employing architects and designers on a prodigious scale,and indulging in superlative home comforts. And some have two of everything. Just browse a few lifestyle and home -making magazines and the evidence is there for all to see [the adverts are a give-away as well]. Society has always been divided; the actual dividing line moves up and down. Outside of a totalitarian system I don’t know how to adjust this state of affairs. Consumerism is at the heart of it.

I’m all for rewarding people for their efforts in life but I’m none too keen on rampant consumerism. Even though I don’t live in the more affluent south of England, I can see plenty of signs of excessive wealth. I don’t think we need totalitarianism but I think that some redistribution of wealth (e.g. by taxation) is needed to help maintain stability in a country that is facing considerable uncertainty.

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I am not sure that you and I live in markedly different worlds, Duncan, but I do see both sides. But my point is really that none of this deprivation compares with the austerity of the great depression in the Thirties or during WW2 and its aftermath; I regard use of the word ‘austerity’ as careless and insensitive to those who lived through far worse times.

Incidentally, in a previous post I forgot to mention that I endorse your point about the disability test arrangements. I think they have become undignified and demeaning in many cases and this stems from a government distrust of family doctors being able to provide an honest and objective assessment. But the solution – compelling people to visit an outsourced testing station to see how far they can walk without falling over, etc – is the wrong one and typical of political objectivisation of people needing care and attention. Yes, there have been cases of fraudulent claims [as shown in the popular press and certain TV channels] but there are better ways of dealing with that particular problem.

Even though it can be exaggerated by the press, there is little doubt that Duncan is right. Drugs and alcohol are major factors.

Duncan is certainly right, and many of the 80% I alluded to are in denial and turn a blind eye to the social problems in our midst. There is also marked general intolerance of any problems that are thought to be self-inflicted.

The trouble with some of the causes is that they exacerbate existing problems. like being out of work, losing the home, deteriorating health and well-being, and they lead to depression, crime, self-harm and eventual total personal disintegration. These problems are also hidden from view in some communities and have given rise to appalling forms of exploitation and mistreatment.I believe I was being realistic is guessing that 20% of the population might be at some point on this spectrum of deprivation, but of course it might be less because there are many compound cases where the same person presents numerous states both physical and psychological.

I have to agree with you Duncan. I live in the south east and can see no signs of 80% of people having a fabulous lifestyle. In fact, I see the complete opposite. Certainly the top 1% are enjoying fabulous wealth, now more than ever before. There is no austerity for the wealthy and all evidence proves that inequality levels are at an all time high. Foodbanks are the fastest growth industry in the UK. I would respectfully refer you to the 2017 Inequality Report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies to confirm my point. https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/9192

I don’t know where you live Jim Ward, but it’s not happening here. Don’t believe all you see on the telly. Queues at golf courses relate to supply and demand – on ‘busy’ days. The several golf courses round my area are virtually empty except at weekends – I drive by them and observe! At a personal level we are considering moving house because our joint (teachers’) pensions have fallen behind so badly. A doctor’s appointment at our local surgery must now be booked about two weeks ahead; schools are finding it hard to recruit staff in may areas as potential teacher trainees realise they will never pay off their debts – or afford to have a family. The I trained (4 year degree) I was supported by my parents and there were no “tuition fees”, now teachers are paid less than train drivers and must pay off huge debts when they should be concentrating on their work and progress. But yes, the “availability” of life-style “choices”, now on (almost) everyone’s computers and/or “smartphones” has changed the world. High-pressure consumerism (force-fed “I want-ism”) is, as you say, at the heart of it – and all for the off-shore piggy banks!

Davina says:
7 July 2017

It’s all an illusion and based on debt accumulation. People are not saving they are just credit carding and there will be an account to be made for this at some stage.

I’m all for getting rid of the debt but the debt has actually increased and the excuses don’t hold water. There needs to be a better, much more informed debate than we have had so far as ‘sound bite’ politics which drive emotion rather than rational thought ends with chaos which only benefits those who have the wealth to stand above it

which area do you live in? 80% ! – come north – most of us are living on the breadline, buy our clothes from the charity shops and try to keep our heads above water so that we do not have to go to a food bank. My husband and I have gone without in order to pay bills all our lives and, apart from our mortgage which we were able to take out before the price of houses shot up, never borrowed money. We are now in the position that we own our home, but on a government pension by the time we have paid our household bills and insurance there is nothing left for food, holidays, clothing etc. In my 70s I have to go to work to put food on the table. I would reverse the figures – maybe 20% could share the prospects you outline – but I have never met any of them….. We certainly do know what austerity means and many were not frightened off voting to leave by Cameron because we are already living in the situation he was describing!

Many people earn wealth through endeavour. I would not want to see this stifled – it gives employment and wealth to others.

I was under the impression that Which? used a substantial part of our (Members) subscriptions to lobby and liaise with government, so why are they not making the consumers voice heard? Do we need to take the effort off commercial ventures and divert it into really helping consumers?

“Consumers front and centre”? Brexit needs to consider a lot of candidates for front and centre equally. Business – this creates our wealth, helps the country grow, and funds public services. Unless this gets a fair deal the country will go into financial decline and we will all suffer – consumers as we all are. Which? need to put the needs of consumers forward in a constructive way. I hope they have a proposal to put to government; perhaps @pvicarysmith would allow us to see this and contribute to it? But please keep in mind the others who need protecting to help this country into. hopefully, the sunny uplands.

And many more people earn minimum wage for their endeavors.

And many more people earn minimum wage for their endeavors.

Of course I view this letter in a different light as I have been busy criticising Which? and our CEO for an amazingly light touch on businesses in the pages of the magazine and on-line.

On that basis I am loathe for the current Which? to be the representatives of consumers as , given the composition of the Which? Ltd Board, it appears to be a trojan horse of the consumer movement.

If this seems harsh we currently have Optical Express reneging on contractual terms with no reaction from Which?, the failure to go after pharmacy2u, the failure to go after the building industry, and despite much talk a year before a judicial review requested on the Whirlpool case.

Of course undermining the ethos further is Which? Ltd starting intended profitable businesses to compete in mortgages and trusted traders businesses. The £15m has been written off for the failed Indian venture but one has to wonder what inspired such a hare-brained scheme given the list of UK failures in India.

And to cap off the commercial slant Mr PVS has been receiving mega-salaries and bonuses the like of which the pure charity sector never sees. Over the last two years a total north of £1.2m.

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My two-penn’orth is that Which? is mostly funded by, and primarily aimed at, individual UK consumers. I have no interest in its profile on a world stage; I see that as a distraction, as well as an abstraction of resources. I don’t believe Which? needs to be a mainly commercial operation. It is a service to its subscribers for which it has a satisfactory reputation. It also has charitable aims and I fully support those as a legitimate use of its resources so long as they remain beneficial to UK consumers and not just self-regarding gestures. I wish Which? could be relied on to avoid commercial sponsorship and dubious ventures that compromise its independence and objectivity. I certainly don’t think it should compete against other commercial operations [for example, mortgage-broking] because that opens the risk that Which? cannot be impartial in commenting on such trade.

I generally support the line that Patrick T advances on Which?’s position. I don’t bang the drum because it is not a high priority of mine but I am with him all the way and have felt so for a long time. If I were a member and not just a subscriber I might feel more passionately about it.

Hi all, thank you for your feedback on this. Patrick, I appreciate that this is important to you. I’d really like us to stay on the topic of the Brexit negotiations and how consumers should be represented, whether by Which? or by other consumer organisations. As ever, if you have comments that are somewhat off topic, please visit The Lobby: https://conversation.which.co.uk/travel-leisure/the-lobby/ Which? Conversation works best when we can stay on the topic of discussion. Thank you, Patrick

I am afraid Duncan that you are sadly misinformed. Getting mentions on Google searches is not actually a viable business model in itself. Controlling costs and getting the most bangs for the buck are useful basis for a consumer body that is meant by its Articles to be subscription based.

But then I am actually an Ordinary Member and see the Accounts and as I also do Connect and Conversations so actually work to improve the offerings. I do also belong to consumer bodies in four other countries.

The chief problem is information overload and:
” On Monday, scientists revealed some of the reasons for the explosion of hoaxes and lies on social media—an information overload has left consumers unable to discern the good from the bad.
“Our results show for the fist time that low- and high-quality information have the same chances to succeed,” study co-author Diego Oliveira of Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing told AFP.
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-06-overload-fuels-fake-news.html#jCp

We need very much to have a reliable , transparent, and commercial free place to get reliable information on consumer matters including product testing and this should be easily available.
look up sunglasses on the Which? Index and on Wikipedia and you will realise that one is user unfriendly and the other one packs more than enough information and with no reference to the UK market.

There is or should be a middle way.

I am afraid Duncan that you are sadly misinformed. Getting mentions on Google searches is not actually a viable business model in itself. Controlling costs and getting the most bangs for the buck are useful basis for a consumer body that is meant by its Articles to be subscription based.

But then I am actually an Ordinary Member and see the Accounts and as I also do Connect and Conversations so actually work to improve the offerings. I do also belong to consumer bodies in four other countries.

The chief problem is information overload and:
” On Monday, scientists revealed some of the reasons for the explosion of hoaxes and lies on social media—an information overload has left consumers unable to discern the good from the bad.
“Our results show for the fist time that low- and high-quality information have the same chances to succeed,” study co-author Diego Oliveira of Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing told AFP.
Read more at: phys.org/news/2017-06-overload-fuels-fake-news.html#jCp

We need very much to have a reliable , transparent, and commercial free place to get reliable information on consumer matters including product testing and this should be easily available.
look up sunglasses on the Which? Index and on Wikipedia and you will realise that one is user unfriendly and the other one packs more than enough information and with no reference to the UK market.

There is or should be a middle way.

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Whilst commentators think we have a weak hand in dealing with the EU there is no reason to believe that the Govt has the time or will to weaken existing consumer legislation.

Other than apparently to tie this charity more closely to Govt. I cannot see ant benefits from cosying up. I f anything we have moved from a realistic and combative style under Sheila McKechnie to one where, apart from popping at the major utilities , we seem to be more a talking organisation .

Having been looking at the diminution of Trading Standards perhaps Which? could do more for consumer good by an in-depth study of what they do, what they are tasked to do, and how we can help them. This both individually and as an organisation.

Over the last decade or so I have spoken to a few TSO’s and also to a body running a Trusted Trader scheme. One of the lessons is that getting the message out is difficult as the Press are not much interested at the local level. Also the sheer expense of getting expert witnesses.

You may think as I do that Which? could afford to employ expert witnesses to aid, and also to provide stories for our readers. A practical use of our subscriptions. Of course there are more possibilities with an on-line digest of cases collated and hosted, and highlighted, by the UK’s largest consumer body.

It’s rare indeed that I agree with PV-S but this is one of those times. I think W? needs as many voices as possible to reinforce their hand in dealing with a complex process that threatens to marginalise the voice of the consumer and do a great deal of damage to the rights of consumers throughout the UK.

Hear! Hear! There is too much at stake for us to allow the UK to sleepwalk through Brexit.

I am surprised that people consider that consumer voices en masse will do anything at all in assisting the Brexit process. I like to consider all possibilities and then the likelihoods of what might happen and I simply cannot conceive what circumstance would apply where Which? or any other consumer body would be able to add value.

It has to be said that when TTIP was on the cards that Which? was entirely absent from explaining its values and dangers to subscribers. I may have missed something but at the moment I am not aware that there is a consumer angle that can be advanced on Brexit.

Except – you will appreciate that using our island’s resources better and importing less will be beneficial to the economy. Energy being a major cost to the country one might think the Govt. Hinkley Point [EDF] and the Severn Barrage would be one example of intelligent foresight.

As Which? campaigns regularly on energy costs perhaps it might campaign on the extraordinarily high guaranteed payments to the French power company and its Chinese financers all of which will be paid by us in the future.

The desire to connect the provinces even more quickly to London is of course nice for MP’s with far flung constituencies but as an infrastructure project is not much approved of. Consumers as a whole might benefit more from a large range of more useful projects on improving housing lowering energy costs, minimum broadband speeds and dealing with the PFI scandal where hospitals etc will be coming up for replacement with no hope of the government financing them.

So there you are Which? things to campaign on where we are not dependent on the machinations in Brussels and will improve the consumer lot above what might otherwise happen.

Not sure it’s about “consumer voices en masse [doing] anything at all in assisting the Brexit process”, Patrick; it’s more to do with the fact that we need to ensure the hard-won rights and protections for consumers continue as they are. Which? is – at its best – an advocate, and needs the evidence from W?Cs to strengthen its hand during the next two years.

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There are a lot of transitional issues that require intelligent assessment to ensure no detriment – and improvement if possible. There will be extensive changes in subsidies, regulations, protections and guarantees that could, unless supervised, adversely affect consumers. Personally, I can’t see why anyone should object to what Which? is trying to achieve. It can’t do any harm and might do a lot of good. I might sometimes disagree with the process but I support the objective.

Granted I have not read up on the negotiations so far, but it seems to me that no one is clear what it will mean for Jo public. Talks in Brussels will obviously hinge on what each side thinks is best for Europe and the U.K. These discussions will never descend to a level where Flo in Birmingham of Larry in Scunthorpe are even remotely involved. They will be last to know what is about to hit them and the least able to stop it happening, when it does. Organisations like Which can see the wider picture, but even they won’t be able to influence what is said across the table between David Davies and Monsieur Barnier. When things cost more, firms re-locate and our economy reflects the steps we have taken to leave the E.U. then we in our towns and villages will have to accept the changes that happen. Parliament may be able to guide from the sidelines and Which can lobby as much as it likes, but the final outcome will be signed in Brussels, by a few politicians who probably will not anticipate the ramifications until they happen and surprise everyone. It really is wait and see.

alexgray says:
6 July 2017

If you want to represent the consumer as an unbiased participant than yes, but if you are a part of the minority remain side out to cause s**t then NO; you have no right

What a shame you have no understanding of democracy. A democratically elected government is there to represent ALL of the people not one or other side. The decision to exit the EU has been made, but no other details have been decided. The terms must be those that represent all of the people – inevitably, as in all such negotiations, compromises will have to be made by all – no-one will get everything that they want, neither leavers, remainers nor the EU. To expect to get all that was promised prior to the referendum is just plain naive.

Sheila says:
6 July 2017

We consumers should be treated with respect when it comes to Brexit.

I am totally fedup with the constant medical s for PIP and Disability
I have Osteoarthritis in my knees and Rheumatoid Arthritis in the rest of my body
I have completed a form to say how my illness affects me now they want me to go to a medical it hurts me to walk I stratosphere shower and I struggle to dress it hurts to put my shoes on and I honestly think since I complained that the lady from ASOS didn’t listen to me last time and stitched me up lost me more money than I gained I think that they should put things right and award me the money without all the pain and anguish

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We need to kickstart our economy and move away from consumerism to manufacturing. A huge positive impact will be tangible the moment we kick the greedy EU Energy credit companies out of Britain and we also need to open up our fisheries, mines and steel industry. An oil from coal plant will be hugely beneficial to Britain and it must be built in the Northeast. The British people have been squeezed and plundered enough now.

You cannot be serious. Even that staunch Brexiter (in fact a good friend of Boris Johnson) Dominic Cummins admitted yesterday that leaving the EU will be a disaster for Britain.

Marcus – To just give pause for thought on the contention that manufacturing is somehow superior to other forms of employment and should replace industries based on intellectual rather than material assets, I read recently that Sky employs 10,000 staff in the Brentford area of West London, mainly at its media hub.And we should replace that with metal-bashing for which the market is in decline? We need a diversity of industries, aimed particularly at those for which the world is seeking a supplier and not those for which it can already do the job better and cheaper.

We can still grow most of our own food and certainly should be doing this rather than relying on imports. The UK can offer a great deal in education and training.

Its Obvious People Do Not Understand Why We Should Leave The EU. We Want To Govern Ourselves. We Lost More JoiningThe EU. also Benefits Which Is Why Most Of The Immigrants Came Over Here In The First Place Should Have Been Paid On a Reciprical Basis. If We Paid Them What They Paid Us Would Our Numbers Have Been Less? Certainly They Would!!!!

i honestly thought this would of been a rigged election to stay in the eu, i personally i’m happy we left, and know it may take upto 10 years before we see some real changes with all the charges and agreements set/going to to in place, i’m 38, and it was the only time i voted, being in the eu sounds brilliant but lets be honest with ourselves people, anytime we want something, or someone comes into power, and promised change , it v rarely gets done, or comes at a bigger price for the tax payer, i’m sick an tired of the lies we have to listen to or the repeats on the news channel , trying to drum the same crap into our heads, like the skys about to fall , if we don’t address the issue for change for our kids, and grandkids and future generations to come, it will all be because of our selfish way’s. “idk” attitude ,having a multicultural Country is great i love every aspect of it, but for ONCE, can we look after our own, spend money on the homeless, fix the nhs, without it being forced into being private, i bet most of u wont evan read this, mabie close the webpage down withing seconds but i just wish one day people will wake up, learn to respect their fellow neighbors , and help each other without a care in the world, or expecting to be paid for it.
thx for reading

The disaster of a hard Brexit is now inevitable. The ECM and its successor the EU, just a renaming for the second state in the quest for ever closer union, expression of an idealism so typical of Roman Law countries and completely alien to the sordid pragmatism of the Common Law. We joined because we thought it would be materially advantageous but are now so disturbed by free movement, the commitment to doing something effective about climate change, the very idea of paying for policies to benefit the poorer parts of the union, etc., that we (i.e. both our dominant political parties) want out, ruat coelum. By now the Europeans are thoroughly fed up with us that most of them are dead against our continuing to be associated with the EU in anyway whatsoever. So the time for debate has long gone. We have made our bed and shall now have to lie and shiver upon it.

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I think you mean Masochist, Duncan; a Nihilist is a person who believes that life is meaningless and rejects all religious and moral principles.

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Dr V Subramanian says:
7 July 2017

If each group, however, sound the reasonings and logical it may appear, may like to be represented -Too many cooks spoil the broth!
Leave our PM, Mr Davis and others alone and not pester them with various issues when main issues are being
planned and discussed. You may not get all of what you want nor us but Brexit is what we voted for and a single market is not the only salvation for the survival of UK.

Due to Germany two world wars were waged and but for Britain and Churchill, most the countries reading the riot act to UK now, would not have had their freedom. Get shot of them and quickly and not gripe at even move and shake in the boots before we exit.

Which should focus on other activities and not waste and muddle the issues.

When we voted to Leave the EU we voted to leave a political club. So much time is now spent discussing what the trade and other implications will be although they are not directly associated with leaving.
Leaving means that we return the rights of our parliament to be the primary law of the land, be able to introduce our own immigration policy and be free to trade around the world without having first asked the permission of the EU to do so.
Trade agreements are not required to trade unless you class the Single Market in those terms. We freely trade with the US and have never had a trade agreement with them.
As the main country behind the introduction of the single market and that we are already members there is no need to not be part of it simply because we have left the EU. We comply in all aspects and will continue to do so but by having access to it and not as members.
55 countries trade with the single market and only 28 are currently members.
We also belong to dozens of international organisations but it is only the EU that imposes its decisions upon its members by way of legislation and directives if anyone disagrees.
We wish to be a independent and sovereign nation once again, trading freely and globally whilst being involved in the international issues of the day.
That is also the wish of most of the EU members but it is denied by the EU hierarchy. When and only when the EU learns to compromise and reform will a successful European Common Market exist.

Ellen Ley says:
7 July 2017

I work hard and have done so for the last 50 years. I have paid tax throughout my lifetime and ia m still paying tax. I have watched my country move from a manufacturing productive base to a a financial economy where selling money instead of goods are the main focus of interests for those in power. I voted to remain in the EU but respect the decision of the majority – the majority are the consumers and they all should be represented.
Just a thought though – who are the consumers in this age of austerity? We need to mindful of who is really
being represented .