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Local ‘Britain Stronger in Europe’ Campaign Launches in Guildford

Published on: 9 May, 2016
Updated on: 11 May, 2016
Cross party representation at the 'Stronger in Europe" campaign launch in North Street on Sunday (May 8)

Cross party representation at the “Stronger in Europe” campaign launch in North Street on Sunday (May 8)

The Guildford and Surrey launch of the “Britain Stronger in Europe” campaign took place in Guildford town-centre on Sunday (May 8).

The launch team erected a stall and gazebo adorned with the Union Jack and the European flag at the bottom of North Street and played a “techno” version of the European anthem, Ode to Joy.

In attendance were: Sue Doughty (Guildford’s former Liberal Democrat MP), Bob Hughes, (Conservative Party vice chairman in Guildford), Baroness Margaret Sharp (former Lib Dem parliamentary candidate), Lynda MacDermott (chair of Guildford constituency Labour Party) and John Morris (organising secretary of the Peace Party in Guildford).

Campaign chairperson, Ian Stewart  said: “Membership of a free-trade area of 500 million people, and cooperation with our European neighbours on social, economic, scientific, environmental and security matters makes our country, the United Kingdom, safer, richer, fairer and freer from conflict”.

Event director, David Pillinger said: “We believe, that leaving the European Union would stifle the powerful voice the United Kingdom has in the world and weaken the opportunities available to the people of Guildford and Surrey”.

The team will be campaigning in Surrey until the day of the referendum, June 23.


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Responses to Local ‘Britain Stronger in Europe’ Campaign Launches in Guildford

  1. Bernard Parke Reply

    May 9, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Lest we forget our parents and grandparents fought two world wars against European domination.

  2. Stuart Barnes Reply

    May 10, 2016 at 6:17 am

    Oh dear.

  3. John Perkins Reply

    May 10, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    It’s not a free-trade area – it’s a political union. Have any of these people ever tried to sell insurance in Germany?

    Anyway, who says the UK can’t cooperate with Europeans?

    What’s this “powerful voice” the UK has? As part of the EU the UK has no individual “voice” in the world, only a small part in the chorus.

  4. Andrew Backhurst Reply

    May 10, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Winston Churchill was for a united Europe. Our grandparents and great grandparents would be proud of us, as would most people who fought in any war. Living in harmony in a strong partnership with our former enemies is a wonderful thing. War costs lives and war costs money, peace only costs money. I know what I prefer.

  5. C Dalby Reply

    May 10, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    No doubt these campaigners all own nice homes, have good jobs and are unaffected by what mass economic immigration, due to our membership of the EU, has done to the country and the effect it has had on the less well off.

    Like Iain Duncan Smith said today, being in the EU favours the well off and has a massive negative effect on the rest who have seen the cost of living go up massively, wages drop and home owning out of reach for more and more people.

    It makes me sick when these people preach their do-gooder attitude to the rest of us who have seen our quality of life suffer due to the sheer number of economic migrants arriving here. The numbers will only increase when countries such as Turkey and Albania are given access.

    They all have Union Jacks and such but don’t seem to be particularly patriotic if they are happy for us to take orders from unelected EU bureaucrats. Quite how that makes us “stronger” I have no idea? Not being in control of our own laws, borders and such can only make us weaker, it’s basic common sense.

    If they really believed in Britain then they would vote out, a vote to stay is a vote for a weaker Britain, not stronger one.

  6. Bernard Parke Reply

    May 10, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Winston Churchill was indeed for a united Europe, but he believed our future lay with the Commonwealth and stronger ties with his mother’s birth place, the USA.

    Our parents and grandparents fought for freedom of speech and democracy, not to be a small island off the continent of Europe subject to the whims and fantasies of the bureaucrats of Brussels.

  7. T Hunt Reply

    May 10, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Yes, I have a good job, a nice home and have benefited from the free movement of people within the EU.

    Aside from the economic benefits, political security, environmental benefits, etc. that the EU brings, C Dalby highlights his concern about the level of immigration to the UK. The University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory (which I hope we can agree to be independent of the EU) has stated that in 2014 only half of UK immigrants were EU nationals. This means half weren’t from the EU, and being a member of the EU had no effect on them being allowed entry to the UK.

    Why do he think that leaving the EU will allow us to refuse entry to a group of people we could have refused entry to anyway?

    Of immigrants from other EU countries, research from UCL suggests (according to the Daily Mirror) that they “pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits”. Put another way, them being here is a benefit to the UK.

    Mr Dalby also mentions taking orders from unelected EU bureaucrats. Perhaps he is unaware of his elected representatives in Europe, the European Parliament, whose role it is to hold the EU Commission (who I assume you mean by the phrase “unelected EU bureaucrats”) to account. His argument doesn’t come close to stacking up here.

    He is also factually incorrect on the “not being in control of our laws” point. The European Communities Act 1972 delegates sovereignty to the EU, but the British Parliament remains supreme. It has not given up sovereignty, and can get it back any time it likes. Mr Dalby should read the Act to see for himself.

    Of course, Britain could go it alone. I have no doubt we would make a fist of it. However, we will be better off and safer if we remain. And C Dalby should not presume to question my patriotism because of this belief.

    • C Dalby Reply

      May 10, 2016 at 8:11 pm

      Mr T Hunt is lucky to have a home you can call your own, as well as I imagine a nice well paid job unaffected by the cheap labour you clearly support.

      Immigration from within Europe is far too high, immigration from outside Europe is also far too high and needs to be reduced, thank you for pointing that out, however quite how you can use non EU migrant numbers as some kind of way to justify EU migrant numbers is frankly beyond me.

      I also doubt the argument that migrants pay in more than they take out, statistics that you refer to tend to “forget” to include things such as in work benefits (the vast majority of EU migrants are in low paid work) not to mention the cost to the NHS, and such, but more important are the problems being caused to the infrastructure of this country which simply cannot cope with so many people arriving year on year.

      The numbers are equal to a town the size of Coventry each year. Nowhere in the world could or should be subjected to that.

      Also it is not all about money although to wealthy people with nice comfortable lives it quite obviously seems to be. Duncan Smith hit the nail on the head with that one.

      All this ridiculous talk of economic benefits (UK net contribution for membership in 2014/15 was £8.8bn which should be spent here) is also nonsense. Nations trade with each other because they need to and because it benefits them and with Britain having a trade deficit with the EU they need us more than we need them. Trade would obviously continue but at a much bigger benefit to the UK. Once again it is basic common sense.

      As for laws and sovereignty, please, be serious. Britain has little or no power whatsoever in the EU. Look at the recent EU reform “negotiations” David Cameron took part in. They proved that we have no control or power at all and cannot make our own decisions on things which are incredibly important to the UK such as immigration.

      EU politicians (the vast majority unelected by British voters) do not have Britain’s best interests at heart whatsoever, the opposite, in fact.

      I believe 100 per cent in Britain being more prosperous outside a failing EU and I find it amazing that people have little or no faith in what we have – the world’s fifth biggest economy. We will be stronger out of Europe and the poor will be better off and the rich less so which is also a good thing.

      I can only hope that people like T Hunt try looking at the bigger picture which is a vastly overpopulated country and a very difficult future for the young people of today and tomorrow rather than their own comfortable lives, but I’m not holding my breath.

  8. Adrian Atkinson Reply

    May 10, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Many people who have looked at the population forecast have come to the conclusion that the entire increase in the housing number is driven by a projected population growth for the borough entirely caused by international migration. One example is a report in this paper of a general election husting:

    “Niels Laub, chairman of the Abbotswood Residents Association – Central Crescent, provoked a debate on what was the real driver for further housing when, he said: “According to the latest figures from the ONS, in the 20 year period from 2012 to 2031 the population of Guildford is projected to grow by some 21,000. However, [without international migration] the combination of natural growth and internal UK migration is projected to lead to a reduction in the population by about 2,000. Therefore the entire population growth is due to projected international migration.”

    We need some types of houses built in the right, sustainable location for key workers and more social housing but these won’t be built by developers; the poor old developer executives won’t get their big pay packets by doing that! The revised Local Plan is not for local need, it is for greed and an unsustainable growth agenda by this borough council.

  9. Sara Tokunaga Reply

    May 10, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Winston Churchill must be spinning in his grave. He would never have given up our sovereignty in the way successive British governments have done over the years.

    Neither would he have agreed to Europe being one state with one flag, one anthem and one currency being ruled over by faceless EU bureaucrats.

    The only reason the rest of the EU want us to remain in their club is to assist them in remaining financially viable.

  10. Robert Park Reply

    May 10, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    You can’t win with a hardened Brexiteer.

    They’ve got it into their heads that the EU is some kind of tyrannical monster that controls every aspect of our lives. It is a silly caricature.

    They have no concept at all that pooling a little sovereignty in certain limited fields actually makes us all more powerful. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

    And C Dalby’s views on immigration seem to come straight out of the Daily Mail or Express. It is total utter nonsense that free movement only benefits the rich. It’s a win-win situation.

    Good for the migrants and their families and good for our country. But you are frightened to death about Turkey and Albania.

    • C Dalby Reply

      May 10, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      I find accusations based on assumptions of which newspapers I read hilarious.

      Is Robert Park saying that current levels of mass economic immigration into Britain are in fact sustainable and are of benefit to the country? Is he saying that the housing crisis, the NHS being overwhelmed, schools overcrowded and such are a good thing?

      Is he seriously saying he is not aware of the problems young people are facing with incredibly high rents, house prices and such? Not to mention wages being compressed on a massive scale.

      I believe in controlled immigration. I’m not against it at all but control is an incredibly important word because everything needs to be controlled in life in order to work efficiently, obviously you don’t believe in that and believe that overcrowding is the way forward.

      How can Britain continue to accommodate so many people coming to our country? How is it possible? Where is everybody going to live to start with? Do we have an infrastructure that can cope with numbers equivalent to a town the size of Coventry every year?

      Britain does not exist solely to benefit migrants from poor economic countries especially when it has a negative effect on those already here, which it is doing. I sympathize greatly with people from every struggling nation in the world but the idea that inviting them to Britain en masse is the answer to all the world’s problems is, to me, delusional.

      As for Turkey and Albania, yes, the numbers of economic immigrants that would eventually come here would be frightening.

      And just so you know, I don’t need to read the Daily Mail or any newspaper or website to know that Britain is overcrowded and that the infrastructure is falling apart.

    • Stuart Barnes Reply

      May 11, 2016 at 9:47 am

      What is wrong with the Daily Mail or Express? They are much more likely to tell the truth than the Guardian or the BBC.

      • Brian Creese Reply

        May 11, 2016 at 1:59 pm

        Does Mr Barnes have an example of an ‘untruth’ told by the BBC?

  11. Andrew Backhurst Reply

    May 10, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    70 years of peace with our European neighbours, I think Winston Churchill would be rightly proud that his vision of a European unity is still prospering today. He would never have agreed to a federal Europe, as first and foremost he was British. But, a federal Europe is not what we are being asked to vote on.

    I am sure if he was alive today he would have had a lot to say on the subject, but I personally believe he would vote to stay in.

  12. Lisa Wright Reply

    May 10, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    I believe, but do correct me if I’m wrong, Turkey were given free movement in Europe in exchange for keeping refugees in their country last week?

  13. David Wragg Reply

    May 10, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    While Churchill wanted the Europeans to combine, he specifically said that we should not be part of it!

    The EEC [European Economic Community] that so many of us voted for has changed into something completely different. It has not presented audited accounts for well over a decade – if any business or local council did that, there would be prosecutions.

    The aim is a United States of Europe, despite different cultures, languages and history. The USA was a fresh start for a migrant nation. Unlike the EU, there was no unified currency until the nation was created.

    The EU suits Germany. They failed in the Franco-Prussian War, despite surrounding Paris, they failed in two world wars, but they are succeeding politically.

    Merkel invited a million migrants in last year, many of whom may well try to move here to our already overcrowded island.

  14. Robert Park Reply

    May 10, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Mr Atkinson has ignored subsequent discussion of Niels Laub’s remarks which revealed that most, if not all of the housing effects of “international migration” in Guildford were due to short term housing needs of international students at the university.

    Few EU or non-EU immigrants settle in Surrey. The majority by far of immigrants are in London and a few other places such as Slough and Luton.

    Detailed studies such as those done for the Migration Advisory Council and the GLA [Greater London Authority] show that except at the very top end, immigrants have virtually no effect on house prices, because they can’t afford them. They are not eligible for social housing. They don’t push up rents.

    What they do do, is put up with intolerably cramped conditions in private sector rented houses in multiple occupation. We really must stop blaming immigrants for problems such as the lack of social and affordable housing which are problems of our own making.

  15. George Potter Reply

    May 10, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    I’m happy to correct Lisa Wright.

    Turkey were not given free movement, they were given visa free travel (which is to say they can come here on holiday or a business trip without needing to get a visa but they can’t claim benefits or work here).

    Actually, from June they will have visa free travel to the ‘Schengen area’, so not the UK. Turkish nationals will still need a visa to come here. Ed

    • Lisa Wright Reply

      May 10, 2016 at 11:53 pm

      Thanks for the clarification. In fairness, the news report I watched was in French!

  16. David Pillinger Reply

    May 11, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Three thoughts to consider:

    1. Brexit arguments are enfeebled when the OECD, Bank of England, IMF, MI5, MI6, Xi Jin Ping of China, Narendra Modi of India, Barack Obama, just about every other world leader, The Financial Times, The Economist, numerous studies, including one by Price Waterhouse Coopers, all say leaving would be stupid. The only supporters of Brexit one has heard about are Valdimir Putin and the bloke who runs ISIS. Oh yes, and Donald Trump.

    2. Isn’t it a “no brainer” that cooperation in all areas is good. Yes there are costs, but these are dwarfed by the benefits. Cutting ourselves off from the EU would be like cutting ourselves off from the north of England, or Wales, or Scotland. It makes no sense. Why would you? And if I want to take my skills and work in industry in Germany, France or Spain, why shouldn’t I?

    3. The Brexit arguments about patriotism, flag waving, we didn’t fight two wars against Europeans for this… does anyone buy that sort of stuff any more in the modern interconnected world?

    David Pillinger is an organiser of the Guildford & Surrey – Britain Stronger in Europe – campaign.

    • Dave Middleton Reply

      May 11, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      1. Let’s not forget that Adolf Hitler was all for a united Europe. Hardly a glowing recommendation.

      2. If we left the EU and you wanted to work in another country you could, provided of course that country wanted you and the skills you have and allows you the relevant visa.

      3. Yes I do.

    • John Perkins Reply

      May 11, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      1. In the recent debate on the government’s propaganda leaflet MPs complained that the security service chiefs had been leant on to say what they did. World leaders are entitled to express their opinions, but it should be understood that their views are formed by the interests of their own countries. Xi Jin Ping believes it is in the best interest of China that the UK remains in the EU. Obama believes it’s in the best interest of the USA.

      2. So cooperation is always good is it? Has nobody ever cooperated on an evil enterprise? Dwarfed? Give us some examples and figures. By all means, please do take whatever skills you have to Europe. I did for many years and thoroughly enjoyed it.

      3. You disparage flag-waving and yet the shiny happy people working for you in the picture at the top of the article are doing just that. Although I only see the flags of other nations and the EU.

      Why is it that supporters of the EU so often resort to words like “stupid” and “no-brainer”? Could it be because their faith is being questioned?

  17. D. Reddick Reply

    May 11, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Nearly all “stay in” comments are connected to finance, even freedom of movement is to benefit finance indirectly. Only today the EU has decided on stopping a takeover in the communication industry.

    Whether or not this is good for business, we as a country just do not have any say or clout in Europe or for that matter the world. Our national identity is slowly being watered down to a level that you will not be able to tell what country you are in; they are becoming so similar with the same laws, same people, same companies, same fatcat MD’s, same food, same culture.

    The constant use of different surveys to claim a point is purely for self gain. We can all find one to suit our own perspective. I decide, by taking my personal financial interest out of the equation and consider what do I want for my country, my children, and then for me?

  18. Toni Hourahane Reply

    May 12, 2016 at 12:23 am

    The people in Britain won the freedom to be educated, work or relax in any country within the EU because we belong.

    It’s important to see the innovations born out of our differences. The challenge is to remain harmonious, together as this is how we improve our lives.

    We gain depth and wisdom by learning first hand about others, no matter where they started their lives. Britain is stronger and better informed if we listen to the members of the elected EU parliament. Our intellectual property is defended by our counterparts across Europe.

  19. John Robson Reply

    May 12, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Britain “Stronger in Europe” but weaker than our German, French and Italian brethren when it comes to employment protection, working hours and, thus, quality of life.

    We opted out of the key parts of the Social Chapter because we couldn’t afford it, but what we can afford is to be the benefits capital of Europe and the medical drop in centre/ central bank for foreign aid for the rest of the world; the more corrupt the regime the more money we are seemingly willing to funnel their way.

    If we’re part of Europe, why don’t we sing off the same hymn sheet? Why in the UK do we have zero hours employment contracts, zero holidays and our government always seems to have zero in the bank. Guildford, one of the UK’s most prosperous towns, still has food banks. Where is this prosperity because we’re in Europe?

    I’ve worked in, not visited, France and Italy. Whilst their standard of living may be slightly lower than that of the UK, believe me their quality of life is much higher. What is apparent is that once they have secured a job they don’t live hand to mouth for fear of unemployment, somebody is reaping the benefits of our EU contributions, and it isn’t us.

  20. Sue Doughty Reply

    May 15, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    In response to Dave Middleton’s comment:

    1. Margaret Thatcher also did much to encourage stronger economic ties. While I’ve never been one of her strongest fans she was right on this. Adolf HItler also had a father and a mother. This argument is totally irrelevant.

    2. Mr Middleton states that he could work elsewhere provided the country wanted him. I wonder if he has ever tired to get a job in the US?

    3. We should all feel free to wave a flag. We all have the right but it doesn’t justify dismantling something in favour returning to be a very small country while all the major states of the world say we would be stronger in Europe.

    Sue Doughty is the former Lib Dem MP for Guildford.

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