AS the debate about Brexit seems to get ever more hysterical and extreme, with rational debate and sometimes even common courtesy rapidly disappearing from public discourse, I find that recourse to a few facts can sometimes be useful.

For example, in the June 6 edition, Mr Booth referred to the ‘bloated EU bureaucracy’ – a term widely accepted through constant repetition.

The European Commission employs about 32,000 people. For comparison Manchester City Council employs about 7,000 for a population of 600,000. So the Commission employs the equivalent of four or five cities the size of Manchester.

It produces policies, directives and guidelines for 27 countries, a population of some 500 million.

Depends on your point of view, but if anything, that strikes me as quite lean, rather than bloated.

The funding of the EU’s ‘pet projects’ has to be agreed by member states, including the UK. These pet projects have included targeted support for the regeneration of the economic infrastructure of both Ireland and Spain, for example.

They are now both better off and better customers for our exports as a result. This isn’t a zero-sum game; it’s not ‘The EU wins, the UK loses’. Managed properly, it’s a winwin situation. Particularly now, it’s appropriate to remember that we haven’t had a war in Western Europe for three-quarters of a century (an explicit objective in 1951 of the EU’s forbear, the Coal and Steel Community).

Check your history books for when that last happened.

In other correspondence, we’ve been told that we’re going to ‘take back control’ from Brussels. We’ve never lost it.

The UK, like all EU governments, has an equal say in the making of EU law. If we decide that a proposal is fundamentally against our national interest, we block it.

It’s worth remembering that it was the UK, led by Margaret Thatcher, that was one of the main driving forces for the Single Market in 1992 – something her right-wing successors now want to destroy.

Oh, immigration? Net immigration from the EU was 57,000 last year; from outside the EU, 260,000 – and this is the bit we’re free to ‘control’.

Enough facts for now; I can feel the Brexiteers dozing off already.

No, sorry, just one more: the UK’s GDP is just over £2,000 billion. So Mr Booth’s £9bn is around 0.45 per cent. Not even going to compensate for the damage Brexit has already done, is it?

Geoff Holman Cheshire