Two things prompt this letter. First is the letter from ‘Stronger In’ which appeared on your June 8th letters page which made me re-view a TV broadcast of June 1975 when Labour politician Tony Benn said that he opposed our membership of the (then) EC because it removed the only power that most have - the power of our vote.
Tony Benn explained most of us are not wealthy so may not have much influence, but, we do have a vote. He said this was the only way that those without a money or power could counter the influence of rich, powerful individuals or institutions. Tony Benn told us that the European Community would dilute that power and it would do so little by little so that we would not notice until it was too late. At first I did not fully comprehend this, but, as the EC evolved into the EU I began to see what he meant.
If our government does things I do not like I can see Laura Moffat or (today) Henry Smith and have it out with them. If our MP does not represent me I help to get rid of him or her by voting for someone else. If enough others agree with me we get a change of government, but, we cannot fire the EU Commission. If the European Parliament does things I do not like I have to write to 10 MEPs for the South East to receive a reply, three at best. They say “Sorry. we were outvoted again” or, (worse) “sorry, our scope is limited because we can only vote yes or no to things decided by the European Commission, we cannot debate and modify these like they can in Westminster” . If I communicated with Laura Moffat or Henry Smith I usually got something done, but, I have achieved nothing by communicating with our MEPs. I get excuses plus an occasional lecture explaining what a glorious institution it is that sends me those excuses. So I began to see what Tony Benn meant all those years ago, and the creaky common currency project (the Euro) exposed the EU’s weedy economic credentials (it is the slowest-growing region in the world) although it was great help to Germany at everyone else’s expense. The UK is not the only EU Nation State with doubts. The June 7th report by Pew Research Centre measures objectively the degree of Eurosceptism throughout the EU. We are not even the most Eurosceptic member nation. I forsee that should we leave, the effect on the EU will be more profound than the effect on us.
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