Letter: Europe - Dialogue rather than monologue

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The EU Flag

Andrew Jones MP may be right in attributing Harrogate’s majority for Remain to its educated electorate.

This would not necessarily mean, however, that they were able to reach an objectively better decision. It could simply be that their interests were different.

In that case it was unwise of them not to ensure that a majority of the wider electorate shared these interests.

Nearly 51 per cent of voters in Harrogate supported Remain. But this was significantly short of the expected margin and of the contribution required to achieve victory nationwide.

In General Elections the Harrogate vote has also generally been quite evenly split, only between Conservative and Lib Dem rather than Leave and Remain.

Given the predispositions of these voters one would have to suspect that Conservative voters tended to line up with Leave and Lib Dems with Remain. Let us hope that the former don’t bear a grudge over Mr Jones’ comment.

Contrary to the trend of recent days, I feel that those who see Leave as a disaster need to blame this upon the Remain campaign rather than those advocating Leave, who were after all simply doing their job.

I don’t think you can hope to change anyone’s opinion without knowing where they are starting from. This takes dialogue rather than monologue; an interest in the other person’s position and an openness to giving it fair consideration.

I’m not suggesting that Mr Jones could should have engaged in lengthy discussion with every one of his constituents. But if there were such conversations among his supporters that would have served as a basis to cascade his views out to us all and for counter views to be fed back to him.

I note that in the two email newsletters I received from him in relation to the referendum there was only one mention of immigration and this equated Brexit with the Norway option, which is to say no change on free movement.

You cannot simply ignore people’s concerns and expect to get their votes.

John Riseley

Harcourt Drive, Harrogate