IF IT ain’t Broke … don’t Brexit.

I am just an average citizen. I am nobody. I have no mass-media presence so as to make my voice heard. All I have is a conviction that Brexit is wrong. Wholly wrong. A strategic error that will witness history to guffaw at our ‘Great British Aberration of 2016’.

The government’s policy on future relations with the EU is reaching a critical point, with the ‘meaningful vote’ in the House of Commons held on January 15.

I respect the supreme effort that the prime minister and her team have put into concluding the ‘Withdrawal Agreement’.

Whilst I don’t like it, I clearly recognise that it represents something better than a more distant relationship, and infinitely better than no relationship at all.

Since more than two years have elapsed since June 2016, and as there has been a reasonable level of debate, people are now better informed about the consequences of ‘leaving’.

It is clear to all that the economy is under-performing compared with previously; that the cost of living is higher; that the UK’s international standing is suffering, and that there is genuine risk of this Union losing both Scotland and Northern Ireland. Brexit would, hence, represent a huge change vis-à-vis the past: the unknown following the overall growth and stability offered by 40 years’ EU membership.

And why the conviction that the EU still remains the UK’s best strategic option?

Well, personally, I have still not read anything, anywhere, whereby the country will be better off outside the EU. Rather, we should be assisting the EU in forging and enacting the numerous free trade deals currently agreed and being agreed across the world, most notably in Asia.

It is eminently better to be part of such a huge and successful single market and negotiating team.

But why can’t I ‘unite around Brexit’? I truly cannot do this, as there is nothing better about Brexit. Nothing whatsoever. I would gladly unite around a genuinely better opportunity. EU membership, in Douglas Hurd’s famous words a couple of decades ago, enables the UK to “punch above its weight”.

We really need to remain within the EU ambit, so as to face an uncertain multi-polar future, safe and secure amongst allies, within our own neighbourhood, fully able to keep contributing at the ‘Top Table’. And doing so credibly.

RA Bryant, Berry Way, Andover