It's over to EU now....

For a long time I have been a reluctant “inner".

It is patently obvious that the EU is a highly dysfunctional organisation. Yet as somebody who passionately believes in free trade and the wealth this creates, I felt that it was, just about, worth it to remain. It has always seemed to me that, for example, the Nissan investment in Sunderland would never have happened had we not been a gateway to Europe.

The question for me has always been whether the billions we pay to remain a member equate to the benefit we receive. On balance I felt the trade argument won the day, although I fully accept that we buy more from the EU than we sell to it.

I also recognise that there has always been a democratic deficit in our relationship and I fully agreed with the Prime Minister’s decision to offer a referendum.

I also support his re-negotioation attempt but was very disappointed with the results. Given that our gross contribution is around £20 billion gross each year (Equivalent to £70 million for a town the size of Warrington) the reluctance of our EU partners to offer anything substantial was peculiar. One of my colleagues described it as “thin gruel” and he was right.

However, to me it would be very odd if the results of this negotiation made a real difference to voting intent.

Then there is the Boris Johnson argument – that, only by voting to leave, can we “make them pay attention” and, as a consequence, negotiate issues of substance, such as our rebate and free movement. There is some merit in this argument, however I think that, in practice, an “out” vote would mean “out” – not a re-negotiation.

Which brings us back to trade and jobs.

So, on balance, I remain a reluctant inner. But, quite frankly, the issues are very close. In the end I shall have one vote - just like everybody else. On June 23 there will be 30 million votes to count, not just the votes of 650 MPs.



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  • commented 2016-06-03 08:31:28 +0100

    We are on the road to tyranny.

    Leaving the EU is an issue purely of sovereignty and national security – I want the people who make our rules to:
    1. Be elected by the people of our country and subject to losing that position at an election if they do not perform in accordance with the wishes of the people of this country.
    2. Have British best interests at heart, not those of other European countries.
    3. Understand the meaning of democracy and free speech -I.e. not think that the people cannot be trusted to think the correct way and need help to make the ‘correct’ decision.
    4.Believe in the rule of law and not find excuses to depart from it.
    5. Be accountable to the electorate and allow the workings of government to be transparent.

    The EU allows none of this. Firstly transparency – the paperwork manufactured by the EU is impenetrable even to the educated person – no-one really understands the treaties we have signed up to. The unelected commission drives the EU, the Parliament has little say and is in any event not accountable to the people in real terms (who knows their MEP?). Even if the EU Parliament did have the ultimate say, we constitute less than 10% of it and therefore do not have a majority even on matters which affect our own country (having 10% of a vote on all the other countries is no compensation). If we had any say in Europe they would have given us a better deal (if you indeed think we had a deal-it is still unconfirmed), at least if we are out we can decide internally what laws we want to retain and which we do not from the EU. I have every confidence that we also have the ability to make any number of individual agreements both with the EU and with other counties outside its realm or the ability to trade with them without an agreement because it benefits both parties. Believe in the people of Britain!

    Freedom is worth more than short term stability. We need to show courage for the sake of our children and their children. Even if you do not see that the EU is a sinking ship where there is at least an equal risk of instability if we remain – you should see that selling our children’s freedom for short term stability amounts almost to treason. The fact is the EU may be unworkable now but when they get their army (which they no doubt will) our citizens will not have the freedoms we have had and cherished for so many generations. Ultimately I think the EU is more likely to cause the next war than prevent it and this is not something we want to be dragged into (again).

    Your sincerely

    Natasha Kirsten
  • commented 2016-02-27 13:30:14 +0000
    “the reluctance of our EU partners to offer anything substantial was peculiar”

    I did not only find the reluctance to offer anything substantial peculiar, I look upon that reluctance as a warning for the future.

    Given the possibility of the UK (one of the largest contributors to the EU budget) leaving the union, and the loss of our major contribution to it, they choose to give us what amounts to nothing, and even that nothing is not guaranteed until long after the referendum, if at all.
    What kind of treatment can the UK expect from the EU if we decide to remain, in what will possibly be the last opportunity for the UK citizens to have a say in our future ?

    The EU choose to ignore us when there is the risk of losing our £Billions, I dread to think of what little influence we will have once they have us signed up for good.