I was encouraged by the Prime Minister’s Lancaster House speech a couple of weeks ago, which outlined our Brexit goals as clearly as she reasonably could, without revealing her hand fully to her EU counterparts.
We will be leaving the customs union and thus the Common Commercial Policy, which is what prevents us from negotiating trade deals with other countries. We will also cease to be members of the single internal market, instead relying upon an ultra-comprehensive trade agreement, yet to be negotiated but which the EU have an overwhelming interest in seeing successfully completed.
I would describe this not as a hard Brexit, nor a soft Brexit. It is a sensible staged withdrawal with what would appear to be sectoral transitional agreements, which will see the UK recovering its sovereignty and self-autonomy over a period. Making clear that the UK does not wish to remain part of the EU single market makes life much more difficult for the EU, which was no doubt relying upon our wishing to remain in it, in order to get a better deal for themselves.
Labour’s position on Brexit is as shambolic as ever it was. My good friend and colleague Antony Calvert has taken the opportunity to write to Mary Creagh MP to ask her - in view of Wakefield’s overwhelming support of Brexit, with 67 per cent voting leave - to come out and support Theresa May in putting into action what the people of Wakefield voted for in our historic referendum. I would extend that invitation to all of Labour’s MPs and local councillors in Wakefield and the wider district.
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”
This quote from H L Mencken was one I have used before in this column and I find myself needing to use it again over Ossett Post Office. Ms Creagh has started a petition to keep the said post office open, making all kinds of assumptions as to the plans of Post Office Limited, which recently named Ossett as one of a number of offices that are no longer economically viable as a stand-alone post office. It needs to be a part of another business.
Rather than instigating groundless speculation about the post office closing completely, Wakefield Conservatives checked the facts with Post Office Limited and this what they told us:
Firstly, Ossett will not lose its post office. This we have been assured of.
Post Office Limited is seeking a business partner to either take the office over, perhaps in another building, or alternatively, take it inside another business, like the Co-Op.
If a suitable partner is found, then a public meeting will be held to discuss the change. If no partner is found, then Ossett Post Office will remain as it is, where it is, until that situation changes, if it ever does.
In the meantime, there is absolutely nothing to raise a petition about. If it comes to a point that there is a reason, then you can be assured that Wakefield and Ossett Conservatives will be shouting loudest on your behalf.