Fringe Box



Opinion: The Real Problems of EU Membership

Published on: 26 May, 2016
Updated on: 29 May, 2016
Cllr Christian Holliday

Cllr Christian Holliday

By Christian Holliday

Conservative ward councillor for Burpham

This article is the second of a series of five setting out Christian’s personal views on the EU referendum debate. They are written in response to Nils Christiansen’s articles which commenced with: Why I Will Be Voting ‘Remain’ in the EU Referendum.

Democratic Deficit/Sharing Sovereignty

The United Kingdom belongs to various international organisations with various specific remits, such as NATO for example, which seeks to guarantee the independence of fellow sovereign states.

But none these organisations seeks to end the nation-state as we know it. The EU is very different in that it has at its heart the creation of a new country called Europe.

We need only look at the words of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi who said: “For my children’s future I dream, think and work for the United States of Europe.”

EU&UK FlagsCountless similar references by other leading European politicians, past and present, are recorded in speeches and articles. It is a goal openly spoken about amongst the elites of Europe. It is only in this country that there is the pretence, amongst some, that this is not happening, while knowing full well how unpalatable this would be to the British people.

The day to day manifestation of this goal is in ensuring ever more control over our lives passes to people who cannot be removed from office by the electorate. This is where the lack of democracy is not only evident but an essential element to achieving the European goal.

European Commissioners, essentially Europe’s Cabinet, make the laws of the EU. They are often appointed to the role having been rejected by the electorate by democratic means (such as Neil Kinnock and Chris Patten). They take an oath, not to the country that rejected them at the ballot box, but to the European Union.

Opinion Logo 2Part of that oath specifically states that they are, “neither to seek nor take instructions from any Government”. Democracy has proven itself to be untrustworthy in the eyes of the Institutions of the EU.

Whenever the Irish vote no, they are asked to vote again. When the French and the Dutch people voted down the European Constitution it was simply brought back as the Lisbon Treaty. Instead of real democracy we elect the European Parliament as a symbol of European unity, but with no real power. That lies safely with the European Commission.

In short, the EU is not un-democratic – it is actively anti-democratic, deliberately designed and operated to keep real power as far away from real people as possible. The EU does not wish to practise democracy because the people too often gives the ‘wrong’ answer.

Economic Harm

Real economic harm is caused through burdensome regulation and distortion of our normal trade patterns caused by the customs union.

The EU began as the Coal and Steel Board, deliberately to distort normal trade patters to make members more dependent on each other. At the same time, the opportunity is taken by France and Germany (see my previous article: Why I Will Be Voting To Leave The EU) to cement their own advantage.

Protecting vested interests, such as unproductive French farmers through the Common Agricultural Policy, not only unfairly punishes African farmers, but ensures we pay more for our food than we otherwise would.

Membership of the EU has decimated some British industries, such as fishing and harmed many others. UK science, for instance, used to account for 12% of the worlds clinical trials. This is now just 1% due to EU regulations.

Wherever Britain has a competitive advantage, the EU seeks to snuff it out. It’s strange that for all the talk of a single market there is no free market in financial services, where we of course lead the world.

It is a issue of the greatest embarrassment to the EU that the City dominates trading in the Euro, a currency we don’t use. Make no mistake, the EU wants this to end. An attempt was recently made with the Financial Transaction Tax, which the chancellor described as a “a bullet aimed at the heart of London.”

There is also economic harm we can’t measure: How many deals were not done with companies around the world, because we are in a customs union? As a country that built its success in the world on free trade, trade with the furthest corners of the globe, this should be an obvious problem to us.

This trade distortion is not an accident – it is a deliberate policy to reduce the self sufficiency of individual countries, reminiscent of the original coal and steel board.

We run huge trade deficits with the EU, year after year. Thankfully, we partially offset this through our trade with the rest of the world. Just imagine what we could achieve outside the EU.

Problems with free movement of people

As the Borough of Guildford knows too well, particularly given this week’s council debate on the Local Plan, parts of the country, especially in the South East, face daily gridlock and huge pressure for new housing. Immigration brings benefits, but uncontrollable immigration creates many problems of its own.

Today’s (May 26) EU immigration figures demonstrate yet again we have no power over our own borders. Hardly the sign of a sovereign state. Yes, we want some immigration where there is an identified need, but we need to be able to control this process as most countries in the world are able to do.

Whilst we are blessed with low unemployment in our borough, other parts of the UK are not so fortunate. The U.K. unemployment rate is currently 5.1%. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown famously called for “British jobs for British workers.” This was never achievable because such a policy would be against EU employment law.

Those on the receiving end of EU membership are very often low paid. With the introduction of the living wage, this can only act as a magnate for more immigration, increasing competition still further at the bottom end. It is no co-incidence that large retailers support the Remain campaign – they rely on competition for jobs on the shop floor.

Cllr Christiansen says we are fortunate that well educated immigrants take our jobs. But how can their home countries ever advance if we take all their talent and how can low paid British people compete fairly?

The problems with the EU are many and deep in nature. As the ultimate goal of the EU has been set for decades, it is pointless to try and reform it in order to solve any of the issues touched upon above. For that reason we must vote to leave the EU.

See also:

Why I Will Be Voting ‘Remain’ in the EU Referendum

Why I Will Be Voting To Leave The EU

The Perceived Problems of EU Membership

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Responses to Opinion: The Real Problems of EU Membership

  1. David Wragg Reply

    May 27, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Well said – I agree entirely.

    Not only are we in self-denial over a United States of Europe, we also try to convince ourselves that Churchill wanted us to be part of it. While he thought that a United States of Europe was a good idea, he specifically said that the UK should not be part of it. He saw our future as being across the Atlantic and with the Commonwealth.

    NATO has never interfered with sovereignty. Indeed, as the Cold War thawed, but before the collapse of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact, exchange visits of NATO and Warsaw Pact senior officers saw the latter bewildered that in NATO countries the armed forces were headed by one of their own nationals while they had been used to having a Russian commander.

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