Europe. Remain or Brexit



While hard Brexit fears haunt much of financial services, Tritax Big Box (BBOX) real estate investment trust has struck a more defiant note, saying divorce from Europe could support the already positive fundamentals of its business of providing large, modern warehouses to retailers.

‘Despite the uncertainties it brings, Brexit may provide a silver lining, since with increased border controls our customers will require more warehousing domestically, further supporting our business case,’ said chairman Richard Jewson.

Jewson’s comments came as the £2 billion trust’s annual results showed it continued to benefit from the growth in e-commerce and the intense demand this has spurred for distribution facilities close to cities and with good transport links.



Launch of Harpenden for Europe, campaigning for the people of Harpenden, Kimpton, Redbourn and Wheathampstead to have a final say on Brexit.

Harpenden for Europe, a newly-formed branch of the European Movement UK, formally launched at its first Branch meeting on 28th February 2018 at Bennet’s, the former Royal British Legion Club, in Harpenden.

Harpenden for Europe

The goal of Harpenden for Europe is very simple: to secure a final say for the British people on the terms of the Brexit deal negotiated by Theresa May and David Davis; and help build a future side by side with our European neighbours and partners.

Harpenden for Europe believes that, as the realities of Brexit become clear, the British people have the right to change their mind with a vote on the final deal. The group believes that vote should include the option to reject a bad deal and remain in the EU.

Harpenden for Europe has grown rapidly in the past two months and has already held two successful

Action Days in Harpenden High Street, on 27th January and 17th February. Both Action Days raised public awareness of the Branch, which is rapidly recruiting new members and activists. The group held its official launch meeting on 28th February, to set up as a branch of European Movement UK and to

elect its three key Officers:

  1. Chair – Richard Scott

  2. Secretary – Lucy Hinchliffe

• Treasurer – John Galvin

Commenting on the launch, Richard Scott, Chair of Harpenden for Europe, said:

“We must always remember that over 60% of people in Harpenden voted against Brexit. We are now offering the people some simple options to do something about it. We look forward to campaigning with the people of Harpenden to secure our country’s future.”

Harpenden for Europe is encouraging people to join its Facebook Group ("The 48% - Hitchin and Harpenden"), follow its Twitter account (@HarpendenEurope), encourage friends and family to join the

group and the European Movement.

James MacCleary, Campaigns Director, the European Movement UK, said:

The European Movement UK branch network is growing across the country and especially in Hertfordshire. We are delighted to see such strong grassroots support for our campaign. As well as established branches in St Albans and East Herts, a new branch for North Herts ‘North Herts for Europe’ has recently been set up covering Hitchin, Letchworth, Baldock and Royston.


Facebook: The 48% - Hitchin and Harpenden Twitter: @HarpendenEurope



Dear Editor

I must say that when the country voted to leave the EU on 23rd June 2016 it never occurred to me that nearly 2 years on we would still be discussing the serious possibility that we might not actually leave at all. How naive am I?

Make no mistake, the purpose of Harpenden For Europe has nothing to do with democracy. Their claim that all they want is to give the British people a final say on the Brexit deal is disingenuous. Their true objective is clear, to reverse the result and keep us in. The EU has form on this. How many times before have the people in other countries who delivered the "wrong" result been sent back to the ballot box until the "right" result is produced. Either that or the result is ignored as in Greece in 2015 or sidestepped, as in the renaming of the EU Constitution, which was rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005, as the Lisbon Treaty which didn't need a referendum for its incorporation. Are we in Britain going to show ourselves as being just as pliable?

A true democrat accepts the result of a referendum or an election whether they like it or not. That is the essence of democracy. Pity Teresa May. Not only is she having to negotiate with the EU, she's having to negotiate with her own cabinet, parliament and the Lords, all egged on by the likes of Blair, Major, Heseltine, Campbell, Mandelson, Clegg, etc. all of whom have had their time in power and should step back. After all, these people have been putting the argument for the EU for decades and they have failed to convince the majority. It's time to accept the result and get behind the government to help it get the best possible deal, not give succour to those in the EU who, despite protestations to the contrary, are trying to punish us pour encourager les autres. They clearly don't have any confidence in the popularity of their own institution.

And have these campaigners considered the ramifications if they succeeded? Ordinary voters who don't take such a close interest in politics as some of us do would be absolutely baffled and disillusioned. Thwarted by the political elites. Democracy in this country would be dealt a hammer blow which would take years to recover. We would be a laughing stock in Europe and around the world. Our position in the EU would be much diminished from where we were before June 2016. In future negotiations our voice would be disregarded. We would probably come under increased pressure to adopt the Euro, join Schengen and the EU army, and give up our seat at the UN. The arrogant, self-entitled, Barnier, Juncker, Verhofstadt and Tusk would reign supreme. The unelected EU bureaucrats would have asserted their authority and any hope of a truly democratic Europe would be lost forever. Please, don't try to take us down that route. Be a real democrat.


Yours faithfully


Paul Usher

01582 762079


March 11. Brexit: Older Leave voters nostalgic for 'white' Britain

Too many older people who voted for Brexit were "driven by nostalgia" for a world where "faces were white," Sir Vince Cable 9 (above ) has said.

The Lib Dem leader said the votes of the older generation had "crushed the hopes and aspirations of young people for years to come."

Speaking at his party's spring conference, he said the government's Brexit policy was a "fraud".

The Lib Dems are campaigning for a referendum on the final Brexit deal.

Sir Vince told an audience of Lib Dem activists in Southport: "I've myself been on a journey. I confess that my own initial reaction to the referendum was to think maybe there was little choice but to pursue Brexit.

"I thought, you know, the public had voted to be poorer - well, that was their right.

"What changed my mind was the evidence that Brexit had overwhelmingly been the choice of the older generation.

"75% of under 25s voted to remain. But 70% of over 65s voted for Brexit," he said.

Dear Editor, may I contribute to the debate?  I agree entirely with that which Paul Usher has written.  The issue has been  decided.  Whilst a significant percentage of people in Harpenden may have voted to remain a very great number in the surrounding villages and rural areas did not. Many people who have never voted in any election in their lives turned out to vote leave.  The reasons were not much to do with the economy, jobs, the value of the pound, financial standing etc (although many were alienated by “Project “Fear” which has in nearly all respects turned out to be unfounded with the referendum result often producing an entirely different one from that threatened).  What motivated many people was their instinct derived from knowing that we hardly make any of our own laws anymore. For about 1600 years (since the Romans left) England (and the predecessor kingdoms) and the other countries which now make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland made their own laws. Our laws on matters that affect us on a daily basis are now made by unelected foreigners. The EU Commission (we have a few well outnumbered unelected appointees) endorse laws drafted by EU bureaucrats which become binding on us.

The result is that laws relating to matters such as food safety, food information, data protection, consumer credit, VAT (except the rate), toys, cosmetics, advertising, consumer contract terms, package travel, working hours, sale of consumer goods  are laws in respect of which the people we elect to Westminster have no say on at all. EU Directives always say “Member States shall implement this Directive”. EU Regulations are directly binding on us without even having to be rubber-stamped through Parliamentary formalities.

The wars which are families and others before us fought so we could remain free and decide our own destiny would haver been in vain if we had decided to stay in the corrupt EU (it is 20 years since the EU Court of Auditors signed off the accounts – who would be in a golf club where the auditors would not sign off the accounts?).  The people made the right decision and we should all work to support the spirit of that vote and not against it.

Fred Philpott   

April 26

MAY 3. Stephen Dorrell

Chair of the European Movement UK comments:

The hysterical response of the Brexiteers every time Parliament asks a difficult question is telling evidence of the weakness of their position.

They know they have made a series of promises which are not being kept. They promised that the UK would pay no exit bill to the EU, but the Government now says the Brexit bill would be £40 billion (and the NAO says that is a substantial underestimate). They said there would be no need for a hard border in Ireland but have not been able to show how that is consistent with controls on cross border trade and migration. They said that the world would queue up to sign trade deals with post-Brexit Britain, but the hard reality is that the rest of the world has other things on its mind.

One by one, as their promises are exposed to examination, the Brexiteers respond by lashing out at their tormentors. Instead of responding to the arguments and showing how their policy would make Britain better off, they accuse their questioners of bad faith and fall back on the mantra that they are the only true democrats.

They could not be more wrong.

Real democracy is a noisy, obstreperous process. It asks difficult questions and pursues answers – especially from those who prefer not to give them. It certainly does not allow MPs to justify their actions on the basis that “we have our instructions”. It makes them accountable for the consequences of their actions.

There is no issue on which this is more important than Brexit. One by one, as Brexit myth meets Brexit reality, the result is a developing car crash. What was previously a “red line” becomes a “hard fact”, and when the Prime Minister was asked at the Guildhall in March whether, in the light of her list of “hard facts”, the policy is “worth it” she avoided the question. 

The case for the People’s Vote is unanswerable. The people initiated the process, against the wishes of a big majority of MPs; it is inconceivable that the same MPs who were wrong last time should now claim the right to decide whether the deal negotiated by ministers fulfils the mandate of the referendum – and what to do if it doesn’t.

The Prime Minister has promised a “meaningful vote” at the end of the negotiations. A vote implies an open question. It could go either way. Who has the right to make that decision?

A vote to support the government’s package would be illegitimate if MPs claimed to be simply “taking instructions”. A vote to reject the government’s package would be illegitimate because it would not discharge the mandate of the referendum.

It is an impossible dilemma which can only be resolved by a People’s Vote with all the options on the table.