The result for the Conservative Party in the European elections was an unmitigated disaster. But those claiming it was somehow a triumph for the EU corner are deluding themselves. The Brexit Party won a huge victory. We have now had a referendum (2016) in which the people voted to leave the EU, a general election (2017) in which the people voted for parties that said they would support Brexit, and a European election (2019) which was won by the Brexit Party. What more do people have to do to for MPs to get the message and carry out their instructions?
EU campaigners are certainly not getting the message. Their latest stunt is a sinister drive to haul Boris Johnson into court over the claim that we pay £350m a week to the EU. Of course this is the gross payment - some money comes back. We put over £9bn more in each year than we receive. If EU campaigners want to use net figures then every sign in the country proclaiming that the ‘EU have funded this project’ should be removed and replaced with a sign stating that the ‘British taxpayers have given twice as much as the project cost’ to Brussels.
Boris is currently the front runner in the Conservative leadership campaign. I have not fully decided who to back but after seeing his popularity in Newport market a few years ago he is high on my list. So also is Sajid Javid. He visited Newport many times as a boy to help out on his parents’ market stall. Dominic Raab is the other candidate I like, down to earth and approachable but with a razor sharp mind. Whoever wins will become the next Prime Minister. For me the question must be who is best qualified to deliver Brexit by the end of October.
On to local matters but nonetheless important. The tradition of using lave nets to fish the River Severn has been maintained by the Black Rock Lave Net Heritage Fishery near Portskewett. The Severn is a potentially treacherous spot and the fisherman contend with quicksand and one of the fastest rising tides in the world. Sadly though, the biggest obstacle they face comes from Natural Resources Wales who have yet to issue their licence this year. Let us hope that NRW, who are supposed to conserve the countryside, will support the conservation of a tradition that goes back to the 18th Century.
*Published in the South Wales Argus on 3 June 2019*