mitieroc's latest commentsViewDate:
24th Feb 2016mitieroc commented on:
Should Britain stay in the EU or is now the time to leave?EU membership costs us a fortune. Not true. In fact, our own (rather eurosceptic) government estimates that EU membership is worth Â£3000 a year to every British family. And the budget for the whole EU is just 1% of GDP — that’s just about 2% of our national public spending! Our most important markets are China and the US, not the EU” Not true. The EU is the world’s largest single market. Fully half of Britain’s exports go there (amounting to some 3.5 million British jobs). Britain sells more to Holland alone than to the whole of China. “Europe is run by a sprawling bureaucracy” Not true. The European Commission has fewer employees than Leeds city council. Most of our laws come from Brussels” Not true. The independent House of Commons library found that the real proportion is just 13.2% of our laws. And these figures include everything that even mentions the EU, even if it’s just a “passing reference” or a definition, according to the researchers! European laws are made by unelected bureaucrats Not true. The European Commission doesn’t make laws. It only makes proposals, which are then debated, amended and passed (or rejected) by elected national governments and directly elected MEPs. In any case, Commissioners themselves are accountable to the European Parliament, which elects its president, approves its appointment and can dismiss it. “British businesses are drowning in EU red tape” Not true. After all, most EU legislation actually cuts red tape by replacing 28 divergent sets of national rules with a single set of pan-European common rules for the common market. This saves businesses from duplication and compliance costs. Just one example: it’s now possible to register a trademark once, valid across 28 countries, instead of having to do 28 different sets of form-filling, registering, troubleshooting and fee-paying. Moreover, as the Federation of Small Businesses argued recently, EU-wide rules actually protect British businesses from competitors abroad who might undercut our high standards if they could. “Switzerland and Norway survive perfectly well outside the EU” Be careful what you wish for! Switzerland and Norway are both small countries with specialised ‘niche’ economies: Switzerland with its often-criticised banking system, and Norway with its massive oil reserves. But their industries have to follow EU rules as that’s their main market. As non-members, they have no say over the adoption of those EU rules. They cannot defend their interests. They have, effectively, lost sovereignty through their isolation. Nor does staying out save money -â€“ the Norwegian contribution per capita to the European budget is about the same as that of the UK! For the Norwegians, being non-members, it is taxation without representation. “EU migrants are a drain on our resources” Not true. Firstly, most migrants in Britain are from outside the EU. Secondly, those that come here from our European neighbours pay far more in tax than they take in services and benefits. Most EU citizens living in the UK are young and contribute to our economy, having been educated and trained recently at the expense of their own country’s taxpayers. They have no right to jump the queue for benefits of any kind, and they can only come to Britain to work or if they’re self-sufficient. On a more personal note, I also read the Times, The Independent, and Mail and Express. I am not a liberal I am a proud socialist. I am ethnic White British with Irish and distant Jewish forebears, had a Grand Father who was in the Royal Artillery in World War 1, a Father and Uncle in the Royal Signals in World War Two and played a very minor role in the Cold War, I have been employed for all but one year since 18, pay all my taxes and have as much right to comment on this country as anybody.ViewDate:
23rd Feb 2016mitieroc commented on:
Should Britain stay in the EU or is now the time to leave?"What did the EU ever do for us? Not much, apart from: providing 57% of our trade; structural funding to areas hit by industrial decline; clean beaches and rivers; cleaner air; lead free petrol; restrictions on landfill dumping; a recycling culture; cheaper mobile charges; cheaper air travel; improved consumer protection and food labelling; a ban on growth hormones and other harmful food additives; better product safety; single market competition bringing quality improvements and better industrial performance; break up of monopolies; Europe-wide patent and copyright protection; no paperwork or customs for exports throughout the single market; price transparency and removal of commission on currency exchanges across the eurozone; freedom to travel, live and work across Europe; funded opportunities for young people to undertake study or work placements abroad; access to European health services; labour protection and enhanced social welfare; smoke-free workplaces; equal pay legislation; holiday entitlement; the right not to work more than a 48-hour week without overtime; strongest wildlife protection in the world; improved animal welfare in food production; EU-funded research and industrial collaboration; EU representation in international forums; bloc EEA negotiation at the WTO; EU diplomatic efforts to uphold the nuclear non-proliferation treaty; European arrest warrant; cross border policing to combat human trafficking, arms and drug smuggling; counter terrorism intelligence; European civil and military co-operation in post-conflict zones in Europe and Africa; support for democracy and human rights across Europe and beyond; investment across Europe contributing to better living standards and educational, social and cultural capital. All of this is nothing compared with its greatest achievements: the EU has for 60 years been the foundation of peace between European neighbours after centuries of bloodshed. It furthermore assisted the extraordinary political, social and economic transformation of 13 former dictatorships, now EU members, since 1980. Now the union faces major challenges brought on by neoliberal economic globalisation, and worsened by its own systemic weaknesses. It is taking measures to overcome these. We in the UK should reflect on whether our net contribution of £7bn out of total government expenditure of £695bn is good value. We must play a full part in enabling the union to be a force for good in a multi-polar global future. Simon Sweeney, Lecturer in international political economy, University of York"