Here is Eastbourne Councillor Jim Murray ‘s 5th podcast. Here we are discussing Eastbourne and Brexit. How the town is adapting and working towards the UK’s departure from Europe.
27th June 2018
CD: Welcome along to Councillor Jim Murray from Eastbourne Borough Council. This is now, I think, what your fifth podcast I think it is now, isn’t it?
JM: I think it is my fifth yes. A beautiful sunny day outside and I’m stuck in here with you.
CD: Yeah well, alright sorry, but yes exactly. So you’re stuck in here with me. We’ve had some great responses to your previous podcasts. They have been fantastic. You’re planning podcast I think is an award winner Jim, in terms of being able to let people understand how the planning process works. Certainly in Eastbourne. So that’s been really good but today we are going for something a bit different aren’t we? It’s not so much, you know, looking at the nitty gritty of local politics but we are looking at how local politics is affected by a massive, massive, if you like, news feature or something that really matters to the country. And that is?
JM: Brexit. Yes, I’m going to grasp the thistle and see if I can answer some questions on Brexit for you.
CD: Well yeah, exactly, and you know really at this stage in June 2018 going over Brexit and explaining to everybody what it’s all about is probably a bit pointless, and I think we all kind of know, but just in case someone is listening in 15 years’ time and they don’t know, at the end of the day the UK voted to leave the European Union. If you are listening back in 15 years from now, we may or may not have left the European Union, who knows. But at the end of the day, right now, we are planning to leave the European Union. We have only a few months to go until we are supposed to leave. When was that supposed to be Jim?
JM: March 29th I think is the leaving date.
CD: Of 2019?
JM: 2019 yep.
CD: Right and things are really moving ahead. So you wanted to, sort of, come in here, and Eastbourne’s an interesting place to talk about this because, well, you tell me why you think it’s interesting instead of me talking for the next half an hour.
JM: Well Eastbourne’s a brilliant town because it’s very multicultural and we have got a huge amount of different people living here from all over the world. But we have also got a lot of people here who have either lost work, or feel as though they have been not fairly treated by the European Union. So when the vote came around, we were one of the front parts of the country that voted quite highly to leave, so I think 63% of Eastbourne wanted to leave.
CD: Which personally I was quite amazed at to be honest. Because I would have thought quite the opposite, being a coastal town, you know, with reasonably close links to the continent but clearly not.
JM: Yes, I think it came as a shock to everybody, sort of how high that was. Yeah.
CD: Which is interesting and I mean, you know, we are not here to get into whether or not we are remainers or Brexiteers or whatever it is, you know, it’s about really trying to understand why people voted in that way. And there’s many reasons for it, like you say, people feel that Europe hasn’t done anything for them, you know, as Monty Python said ‘What have the Romans done for us?’, well what has Europe done for them? Do you find that when you talk to people?
JM: I think that a lot of it is rumour and problems actually around the fabled straight banana that we had to have which has been forecast for us from Europe. That was never a reality, it was just one of these things that propped from the papers, and I think one of the reasons why the country decided to leave Europe was because of the fantastic campaign that the Tories ran to sort of, try and get us to leave, saying about the £360m that we could reinvest back into the NHS, and all the other monies that we are spending that we don’t need to, and we can reinvest back into our own country.
CD: Yes, that infamous £360m or whatever it was which wasn’t actually that at all apparently, so they say, yeah, I think that that’s on record though isn’t it, that that wasn’t correct and that was before the rebates and all that sort of thing wasn’t it?
JM: Yeah £360 million pounds was the gross amount, so once you count back in money that you get back from Europe, it ended up being about £127m.
CD: Well that’s quite a lot though isn’t it? That’s a big difference. So in other words, what happened was, just to be fair and to give both sides of everything, is that that would have been the figure that would have been paid out to Europe, before rebates would have come back to the UK for various things. I don’t know, I’m guessing here to do with farming, or to do with any other infrastructure projects that are being undertaken I guess?
JM: Yeah. So the people who wanted to leave Europe were spreading those rumours to people who wanted to stay in Europe, giving equally wild figures. So for every pound that we spend in Europe, you get ten pounds back in investment from Europe into the country. It wouldn’t necessarily come into your pocket, it wouldn’t necessarily go straight back into the quaffers of the government, but £10 would actually go back into investment from various building companies and agricultural and everything throughout the country. Once again, that £10 for every £1 is probably quite high, it’s probably closer to about £5.
CD: Yeah and again, if you’re looking at the statistics as you are there, I mean, you know, really, how much of that is directly attributable to being part of the European Union or not, because of course this is where things were very confused wasn’t it, because being the UK and an English speaking member of the European Union, it was very good in terms of American companies for instance, to come here at one stage before the Irish obviously decided that they would adjust their taxation rates and let them come in, instead of coming in here. But yes all that sort of stuff really goes on…you know, there’s all sorts of things, but anyway, sorry I digress. I’ll start talking about inward investment from the Americans and people are just going to glaze over. So let’s go back to what we were actually talking about.
JM: Well it is important because all of that is part of the whole melting pot that we had before we decided that we were going to leave Europe. And because of that mixture and because of all the various deals and various subsidies that we were getting from Europe, at the end of the day, we weren’t getting too bad a deal, you know, which is why I was quite surprised when everybody turned around and said well actually no we quite want to leave.
To download the full transcript, click this link – Transcript for podcast 5 Jim Murray final