Fringe Box



Letter: The EU Has Not Brought These Benefits

Published on: 4 Jun, 2016
Updated on: 4 Jun, 2016

From Gordon Bridger

hon alderman and former mayor of Guildford

This letter is in response to Nils Christiansen’s opinion piece, “The Benefits of EU Membership”

EU & UK FlagsI am sorry to have to be the only respondent to contradict Nils Christiansen, a very good borough councillor who represents the Holy Trinity ward, in which I live, but I fear that his many claims are not true.

The EU has brought peace he said. Peace was brought by exhaustion and devastation of the war and the collapse of the Soviet economy. The EU played no part in this process and and even hindered peace in the Balkans by not being able to agree on action leaving it to NATO, USA and Britain to participate. “Too many cooks”.

Neither do I see how the EU has helped with terrorism – as Dear Love said once again “too many cooks -” to get agreement – and an uncontrolled immigration policy has allowed hundreds of terrorists in over the last year or so.

emails letterHas the EU brought prosperity? For the last ten years or so the EU has been the economic sick man of Europe. And it is a myth that it has brought any great economic benefits to Britain.

In 1995 we had a trade deficit of £11 billion now it is £75 billion – and to achieve that we have had to subsidise French farmers and abandon most of our fishing industry.

The economic forecasts of doom and disaster if we leave have no solid economic justification and the idea that they are going to penalise our trade, when they gain twice as much as we do, suggests that common sense has abandoned them but I suppose it is possible.

Common sense has certainly been abandoned by the Treasury whose absurd claims are based on massive imagined trade losses.

And as for our influence as an EU member let us look at our representation on the EU Commission. Juncker is president (with private jet), there are two first vice presidents (who get first class travel), four vice presidents (who fly business class) and 24, economy class, directors.

Guess where one of the largest countries (us) with a huge net contribution is represented? First VP? No. Vice VP? No. Director? Yes. Responsibilities? Trade? No. Economy? No. Capital markets and Financial issue? Yes. Who is he? John Hill. Ever heard of him? No. of course not.

I regret to say there are far greater dangers staying in the EU than there are if we exit.

Sorry Nils.

Share This Post

Responses to Letter: The EU Has Not Brought These Benefits

  1. Stuart Barnes Reply

    June 4, 2016 at 8:27 am

    I agree with Mr Bridger on most of his points.

    However I know that he is mistaken when he says that he is the only one to contradict the ridiculous claims of Mr Christiansen. Mr Bridger is apparently unaware that The Dragon does not print all replies.

    I know because my reply to Mr Christiansen was not printed.

  2. Mary Older Reply

    June 5, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    I totally agree with Mr Bridger!

  3. Peta Malthouse Reply

    June 6, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    I don’t agree with Mr Bridger, and sadly it is very clear to me that very few in the UK understand that he EU works in a very similar way to our own government.

    For commissioners read top level civil service and each country has one.

    We have elected members who set the policy which is carrried through by the Commission.

    EU is mainly about trading and negotiating en bloc with other trading blocs. Australasia, the Americas and Canada.

    Of course, discussions have taken place about how in the interests of combining efforts we can deal with common problems and you see the closer working relationships between police forces, etc, which were never before acheivable.

    The point is that the EU carries out functions which the UK government no longer has to perform and we contribute towards the costs as well as other things and we take.

    Fishing: we are part of a Europe-wide agreement to preserve stocks. Visit Norway and you will be told that all their fishing industry relied on was the herring and that literally one morning they woke up and the herring were gone.

    They haven’t come back yet. We have out-fished cod in the North Sea

    Farming: the EU has modernised it by virtue of the Common Agricultural Ppolicy and the once feared food shortages are a thing of the past.

    Do you really think belonging to this great Europewide club has not developed the means of resolving difficulties that were not there before? You are all living in the comfort of having had these benefits for so long you take them for granted.

  4. John Perkins Reply

    June 7, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    The EU does indeed work in a similar way to our own government, but without the democratic influence. UK Civil servants only propose law and must have it passed by elected government who can modify it any way they wish or reject it if they want.

    EU Commissioners can make law in this country and others that are not subject to any democratic process. In those cases where law goes before the EU Parliament MEPs cannot amend it but only accept it or ask for it to be amended. That is autocratic not democratic.

    Trade deals are not actually necessary: if you have something to sell that somebody else wants to buy then a way will be found and it is probably better not to have thousands of bureaucrats ‘helping’.

    How kind of the EU to take on the burden of those functions. When it has taken on the full burden then the process will be complete and the UK will be a province.

    The ludicrous EU system of quotas, which forces fishermen to throw dead fish back into the sea, is at least partly responsible for poor fish stocks. They try to improve it every decade or so, but it’s been a serious problem for nearly 40 years. Cod stocks crashed in 1992 after 20 years of EU ‘management’. The agreement of which we are part is an EU-Norway one.

    But why pick on the Norwegians anyway? Almost every country in the world and certainly every EU country involved in fishing is guilty of overfishing according to the UN.

    Food shortages were a thing of the past long before the the CAP was invented and for a long time it was responsible for the butter mountains and wine lakes which were dumped on other countries. Tony Blair paid more than £9 billion in return for reform of the CAP. The money has been paid, but there has been no reform.

  5. Colin Cross Reply

    June 7, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    Yes, it’s not working to our advantage is it? But that was never going to be the reality.

    The EU is fundamentally a good idea that’s slowly turning into a bad one.

    Surely to walk away without a prolonged attempt to put it on the right footing is bad too?

    The recent attempt by our PM was a charade and unworthy of being taken seriously. We need to go back and fight for a “New Democratic Europe” that has elected bodies and officials and gets its annual accounts accepted by its auditors each year.

    Walking away now is a defeatist act and we don’t have to give up in this sad way.

    Our forefathers fought for this country and its place in a free Europe, So can we.

    Colin Cross is the Lib Dem ward councillor for Lovelace.

  6. Lisa Wright Reply

    June 8, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Although I’ve been sitting on the fence for some time on this one, I’m gradually floating towards the remain vote as I can’t possibly trust our own government to run the country single handedly.

    Look at the chaos our local councillors cause across Guildford. Broken promises, destruction of wildlife and countryside, congestion, pollution, etc.

    • John Perkins Reply

      June 9, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      But staying in will not change our own government.

  7. John Perkins Reply

    June 8, 2016 at 10:40 am

    It is not defeatist to walk away, anymore than it is to leave a failing marriage. Rather, it is an expression of hope for a better future.

    If the EU is a good idea turning bad then it is only a matter of time before it becomes truly malign.

  8. Dave Fassom Reply

    June 8, 2016 at 11:35 am

    Vote leave and we can then really have a grown up negotiation with our European neighbours on trade.

    Yes, I suspect we will have to pay some monies into their coffers and also accept some level of free movement as well as continuing some of the other conditions.

    However, we will be able to do so as a democratic country and, as long as our politicians are up to the job, negotiate a more sustainable and balanced deal with the EU.

    What surprises me is how many younger people are pro-EU as these are the generation that will lose out on housing, school places for their children and will probably never see a state pension as the costs of housing and looking after the millions of new arrivals (as they age) will outweigh anything close to what is paid by them in taxes.

    Less of the inward looking Remain campaign and more of the outward looking Leave campaign.

  9. David Pillinger Reply

    June 13, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    I used to work for PepsiCo and we used always to get First Class travel! Nothing wrong with that! 🙂

  10. Chris Fox Reply

    June 17, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Four days to go and our MP is apparently still unable to make up her mind which way she will vote.

  11. Gordon Bridger Reply

    June 18, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Those who argue that we can influence decisions and reform the EU from within are right in principle but they need to explain how we can do this with only one representative out of 28 especially as that single representative given one of the least responsible directorships, with a weighted vote of 8.4%.

    They also need to convince me that the EU has an economic future – Italy is now a basket case, France has become one, and Greece – well. Many investors will soon learn that as well – I note that that most motor manufacturers have said they will stay in UK.

  12. Colin Cross Reply

    June 19, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    What bit about voting for an EU exit doesn’t Mr Fassom take on board?

    Much as I would love to believe that voting to go will leave us in a stronger position to renegotiate to remain, that’s really not going to happen for two basic reasons.

    Firstly, the exit hardliners will scream foul, betrayal, etc and will block such a ploy.

    Secondly, the EU themselves will ensure we are seen to be punished for having this vote and then Brexit winning, so they will ensure our staying in terms are suitably worse than before. They have to do that to stop a veritable queue of members going.

    No, we will be in a much better negotiating position from remaining within rather than trying to negotiate re-entry.

    Colin Cross is the Lib Dem ward councillor for Lovelace

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *