Welcome to the Blog!
This first post simply sets out where I started in my journey from being completely ignorant though concerned about the impact the EU was having on the UK, to deciding to take action on the matter now that we have the impending EU referendum.
The following is a list I wrote some time ago (actually in an email to a University Professor). Not all of it will be correct but worthwhile I think to list all of my original points as they represent the views of a layman. Some of the points are in response to particular points the Professor and I discussed so may lack some context, however just view it as a brain dump and it makes more sense.
I have also been challenged by more than one Twitter user to list the ‘reasons why the EU is so bad’ so this will suffice as a starter for ten. As I took this from an email sent to an EU supporter, it is written in that style. Think of it as a message to you if you are an EU supporter.
Following are the things I could think of that concern me about our current membership of the EU. I am simply a lay person who has come to realize that this has a huge impact on my life and that of my children, fellow citizens (of UK) and that I needed to learn more.
Why is the EU different to the United Kingdom? Why is it important at all where borders are drawn? A persons sense of belonging to group and nationhood is a very complex area. Subject to emotion of course but also rooted in entirely practical considerations, some of which I list below:
Legal system: Habeas Corpus vs Corpus Juris, a fundamental difference. Simple practical example: outlawing of people harvesting/sharing seeds from domestic plants that are not approved in EU law. Basically, UK law says: ‘these things are prohibited and you will be punished if you do them’. European law says ‘you may only do that which we have explicitly allowed’. Being a generally ‘law abiding’ citizen I do not submit to being controlled to that extent. Talk about human rights?
A completely different basis of the legal system alone illustrates the fundamental difference between UK and EU. You won’t hear Nick Clegg or any other EU cheerleader pointing it out though.
Being entered into the EEC in 1973 based on a huge deceit: that it was only a trade agreement and that “there is no question of Britain losing essential sovereignty” in the words of Edward Heath. Note how he described sovereignty as essential.
More on Heath.
Heath of course knew this to be untrue as it is made clear in the treaty of Rome (dated 25th March 1957: “DETERMINED to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe.” (Emphasis theirs not mine). In fact that is the very first statement in the objectives.
Heath was advised by civil servants in the Foreign and Commonwealth office that it did of course mean a loss of sovereignty. This only came to light after the 30 year rule and the documents were released to the public.
You want to cheer lead for a situation based on lies which has so many damaging effects on UK citizens and leads us further towards a world where a small number of government officials wield ever increasing powers and citizens of whatever nation/region they are deemed to be members of have a vanishingly small meaningful democratic influence?
Being subject to extradition to any EU nation with no prima facie evidence being required. (European Arrest Warrant, EAW).
Loss of influence generally e.g UK seat on WTO, ceded to EU.
UK budgets subject to approval by Brussels.
Ruled by politicians who are discouraged from criticizing EU which is essential for effective democracy.
Loss of control of the population size in UK. Not in a general sense but a literal one due to free movement, immigration pa is ~8.5%).
Being one of only a few countries that are net contributors to the EU (9 out if 28 in 2010 e.g), UK being the 2nd highest. Do you think those that take from the EU have the same interests as those that give?
Waste of funds provided to the EU. For public projects (Cohesion Funds) I have personally seen gold plated provision of leisure facilities in France with EU flag liberally displayed to make clear to people that they can get ‘money’ from the EU (those net contributors again). Actually is it making them feel dependent on EU which of course suits the EU leaders. It is insidious as we are being bribed with our own money.
On an emotional level the difference is the commonality I share with British/English (I’m actually Welsh born to an English father/Welsh mother but I live in England). I have worked abroad (in Europe) and have friends who live in continental Europe.
Giving away fishing rights.
Subsidizing French way of life by supporting their farming system, which is very different to UK farming (and has been since before 1973).
Supporting/paying for a huge bureaucracy with an extremely small amount of power to influence the outcome.
Before you conclude that I am a little Englander, please know that I am well traveled, personally and through work. Adore France and the French (but not French government). Love experiencing different cultures, languages. Love to welcome foreigners to visit and experience UK. I am not xenophobic in any way shape or form. Hopefully you can see that my position is principled and fact based.
If nothing else I appeal to you on an intellectual level to view the EU in a wider historic sense, certainly not simply from a post 1945 perspective and see if you can hold to your position that it can ‘only be a good thing’.
Not a comprehensive list by any means and it was simply what came to mind at the time.
I intend to pick up on each of the items raised in the list and research/write a blog post about it. Note, trade wasn’t one of the items, neither was ‘how the UK can do better outside the EU’, whether true or not.
A recent item of interest is recent legislation from the EU on the legal Presumption of Innocence. Some interesting Analysis by EU Law Analysis: Presumption of Innocence
Strange that in the 21st century, such basic legal provisions need to be legislated for by the EU?
But what about our Human Rights?