Lacking in knowledge

First published in Letters by

JULIAN COLE’S column of January 17 refers to a letter in The Guardian which I have not seen.

However, of the benefits claimed for the EU, the 57 per cent of our trade credited to the EU, did not enlighten us on whether it was import or export.

But I read today that our trade imbalance with Europe is of the order of £55 billion, not to our benefit.

This gulf is offset by some £40 billion earned by the financial trading in London but this, valuable as it is, is a not physical asset and therefore could be susceptible easily to relocation.

The reference to structural funding provided by the EU, I would surmise, could well be a repatriation of some of the billions we contribute to EU funds after the demonstrably fraudulent and extravagant Brussels outfit has taken its cut.

Most of the other creditable benefits mentioned required significant expenditure on our part and could just be kept “in house”.

The body politic in this country is lacking in knowledge of the significant trade we had with the near continent, despite such things as way-billing and export documents having to be handwritten, lack of containerisation and disruption from two world wars – all of that trade was accomplished without the unnecessary Socialist construct that is the EU. Europhiles promote, quite wrongly, the belief that we cannot function profitably outside the EU.

Derek Chapplow, Middlethorpe Grove, York.

 

• AT the 1975 referendum called by Harold Wilson, I unhesitatingly voted in favour of the UK remaining in the EEC.

Unlike my few Tory friends, I never doubted that it would move towards increasing integration, economically and politically, as well as seeing the organisation expand.

Equally, unlike my (few and likely to be fewer still) remaining Lib-Dem friends, I now welcome an ‘in’ or ‘out’ referendum. How I vote will depend on how successful Cameron & Co are at delivering those much-needed reforms.

That said, while remaining prejudiced in favour of remaining in the EU, I harbour few real doubts that the (surviving) UK will prosper if it ceases to be a full EU member. (An independent Scotland may, of course, move in the opposite direction) For me, the big question remains that if this referendum ever happens and if the vote favours remaining in the EU, will those vociferous Tory right-wingers finally stop whining and whinging, accept the democratic decision and move on?

Nick Blitz, South Lane, Haxby, York.

 

• DAVID Quarrie’s response to recent comments by Philip Gordon, the assistant secretary of state for European Affairs in the US, are predictable. But I think some cool reflection is called for (Letters, January 12).

Those who say we don’t need Europe or the US need to ask themselves if the countries of Europe and the US are not our friends in the world, then who are our friends? China? Saudi Arabia? Argentina and Chile perhaps? Pakistan and North Korea? Russia? Before anyone mentions the Commonwealth, reaching consensus in that group of nations is just as challenging as agreeing on things in the EU.

The world is a complicated place and throwing the toys out of the pram because you don’t get everything you want doesn’t solve anything. If we walk away from all our allies we don’t become more powerful, we become irrelevant.

Some realism is called for. Nearly half of all our trade is with the EU and now the US is making clear that if were to leave the EU then many US businesses would be relocating to countries still in the EU in order to have access to the single market of 400 million people.

This isn’t bullying, it is simply an assessment of the economic consequences that would follow any decision by the UK to leave the EU.

Christian Vassie, Blake Court, Wheldrake, York.

Comments (3)

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10:47am Sat 19 Jan 13

ColdAsChristmas says...

It sounds like the Guardian readers are split on this one.
There may be hope for us yet?
It sounds like the Guardian readers are split on this one. There may be hope for us yet? ColdAsChristmas
  • Score: 0

11:08am Sun 20 Jan 13

MadHaxMan says...

To me, Mr Vassie makes too much of the "who are our friends" argument. I doubt if many people advocate totally falling out with Europe! Also, does he seriously think that European nations or even individual companies would "take their bats home" if the UK left the organisation!
I for one love many things about Europe - the delightful differences in cultural, gastronomic, architectural, historical, linguistic and many other aspects of life from country to country, but I detest the bloated, undemocratic, homogenising, federalising, interfering, self-serving entity that is the EU organisation.
I am 100% certain that the ordinary plebs will never again get a truely free vote on this issue - the forces of politicics, capitalism and the self-interests of the wealthy will see to that, but even if we did vote to leave, the EU's record on not respecting democratic outcomes (Eire twice, Netherlands once) would mean we would simply be told to vote again and "this time, get it right".
To me, Mr Vassie makes too much of the "who are our friends" argument. I doubt if many people advocate totally falling out with Europe! Also, does he seriously think that European nations or even individual companies would "take their bats home" if the UK left the organisation! I for one love many things about Europe - the delightful differences in cultural, gastronomic, architectural, historical, linguistic and many other aspects of life from country to country, but I detest the bloated, undemocratic, homogenising, federalising, interfering, self-serving entity that is the EU organisation. I am 100% certain that the ordinary plebs will never again get a truely free vote on this issue - the forces of politicics, capitalism and the self-interests of the wealthy will see to that, but even if we did vote to leave, the EU's record on not respecting democratic outcomes (Eire twice, Netherlands once) would mean we would simply be told to vote again and "this time, get it right". MadHaxMan
  • Score: 0

10:02am Mon 21 Jan 13

yorkshirelad says...

In general business leaders are pretty clear on this topic. Although the extreme right dress it up in terms of bizarre economic arguments, if you actually listen to them, most of the anti-EU sentiment is based around 'Little Englander' Dad's Army type sentiment.

While we play silly politics with Europe, we remain on the sidelines while Germany and France adopt leadership roles.

David Cameron may think that bashing the EU will attract back the right-wingers who have kept on the UKIP bandwagon...but we all know what happens when the mainstream parties desert the centre ground and pander to their extremists don't we?

Back in the real world, away from jingoism, the people that really care about jobs and economic development know that our future lies in a strong and united Europe.

Perhaps if we'd played a more willing part in Europe, we might have been able to shape it more?
In general business leaders are pretty clear on this topic. Although the extreme right dress it up in terms of bizarre economic arguments, if you actually listen to them, most of the anti-EU sentiment is based around 'Little Englander' Dad's Army type sentiment. While we play silly politics with Europe, we remain on the sidelines while Germany and France adopt leadership roles. David Cameron may think that bashing the EU will attract back the right-wingers who have kept on the UKIP bandwagon...but we all know what happens when the mainstream parties desert the centre ground and pander to their extremists don't we? Back in the real world, away from jingoism, the people that really care about jobs and economic development know that our future lies in a strong and united Europe. Perhaps if we'd played a more willing part in Europe, we might have been able to shape it more? yorkshirelad
  • Score: 0

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