Europe – should we stay or should we go?

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

SO… the ref­er­en­dum on stay­ing in Europe may now be held ear­lier than planned, in June next year. I say the sooner the bet­ter. I’m al­ready ref­er­en­dumed-out, par­tic­u­larly since Alex Salmond sug­gested the Scots should have another go at vot­ing for in­de­pen­dence.

He’s grumpy that Scot­land hasn’t been handed a gen­er­ous enough pack­age, claim­ing it’s not what they were promised in ‘devo-max.’ Isn’t that a fizzy drink?

With all these Sal­monds and Stur­geons around it’s a very fishy busi­ness in­deed. (OK – with my sur­name, bad joke.)

Could some­one please re­mind Mr S, a mem­ber of the SNP in the Com­mons (as op­posed to Ms S who leads the party in Scot­land) that his coun­try is do­ing very nicely.

The Scots have no stu­dent fees, free so­cial care for the el­derly and no charge for pre­scrip­tions. Shouldn’t we be the ones howl­ing about un­fair­ness and lack of equal­ity?

Sev­eral years ago Mr F and I vis­ited Brus­sels as guests of our then MEP Robert Evans. In the Euro par­lia­ment we wore head­phones so that we could hear speeches in­ter­preted, and I had new re­spect for the sys­tem. It’s not easy to de­bate in sev­eral lan­guages.

A United Europe has been tar­nished by the Euro cur­rency de­ba­cle, but we have kept our pound (hur­rah) and still re­tain lots of in­de­pen­dence. Cameron is ne­go­ti­at­ing new con­di­tions for us, but these would have to be rub­ber­stamped by 28 mem­ber states.

Ger­many has soft­ened on this, so where they go oth­ers may fol­low.

On the other side of the coin to the pick­pock­ets and other crim­i­nals who have crept in (and let’s not pre­tend that hasn’t hap­pened) there are many in re­tail, gar­den­ing, the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try and hos­pi­tals pro­vid­ing im­pres­sively po­lite and skilled ser­vice in jobs of­ten re­jected by our in­dige­nous pop­u­la­tion.

Free­dom of travel through­out Europe is great and many from this coun­try who work, live or hol­i­day abroad wouldn’t have it any other way, but oth­ers fear our democ­racy is be­ing di­luted by al­low­ing our­selves to be be­ing bossed about by Brus­sels.

Many busi­nesses want to stay in and think it would be a dis­as­ter to rip up our mem­ber­ship cards.

Hon­estly, are we re­ally ever go­ing to be well in­formed enough to vote on such a mo­men­tous de­ci­sion as stay­ing in or get­ting out? We elected politi­cians to de­cide these things. Didn’t we?

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