IAIN MACLEAN

 

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Here are my mutterings and musings mainly on art.

The EU. No 6. Let's remain friends.

By themaclean, Nov 8 2016 01:39PM


DEAR DISAPPOINTED REMAIN SUPPORTERS,


You have my sympathies because I know many of you are good, caring, liberal-minded people, who reject all forms of prejudice, from racism and sexism, to sexual-orientation, and xenophobia.


However, many of you unjustly label Leave voters with racists and small-minded, bigots who fear losing their: culture, identity, jobs, benefits etc.


Stop for a moment and ask yourself honestly if you were being prejudiced. It may help to define the word Prejudice: “ A preconceived opinion that is not based on reason, fact or actual experience.”


In other words, when you were asked to vote Remain or Leave Europe, was your decision based more on a preconceived opinion that a vote to Leave was to condone/support or approve of “mindless, selfish UKIP supporters”? I heard this and other similar phrases being uttered by many Remainers. Surely these in themselves, are a form of prejudice against people of poor education, low income and low IQ.


I’ve seen the word, “stupid” being bandied about today by many disappointed Remain supporters. This echoes what Tony Blair said In 2015, “The public can't be trusted to make a 'sensible choice' on the EU.”


Coming from a middle-class, well-off well-educated man of a privileged backround, that was outrageous.

What they’re saying, as Tony Blair once did, is that some people are too damn stupid and/or ignorant to be allowed to vote.


So what should we do? Disenfranchise them? Where does it end? Between 1934 and 1945, more than 150,000 people, classified as intellectually disabled or ‘feeble-minded’, were forcibly sterilised in Nazi Germany.

OK, that’s an extreme example, but if you believe that someone is too stupid to vote, you’ve deprived them of the right be heard, to be regarded as a valued human being.

You either believe in democracy, or you don’t. Having lived on the Congo border for years and having experienced life in Ian Smith’s regime in Rhodesia and later Apartheid in South Africa, I appreciate democracy.

When I came to London in 1969, I went to Speaker’s Corner and couldn’t believe my ears. For years I had to be very careful of what I said, And here these people were, speaking, shouting even, on every conceivable issue.

I burst into tears. I was free. This was “home.”

So, let’s go back to your decision to vote Remain Was it based on facts, or were you being prejudiced against the types of people who vote Leave?

What surprised me is how few Remain supporters actually took the trouble to find out the facts on these issues for themselves. They automatically assumed that on the whole, the EU is OK.

At the risk of repeating myself, this is what I did.

I didn’t and don’t support UKIP, Boris, Gove, Farage, Redwood, Corbyn, Cameron, or Osborne.


Six weeks ago, I was neutral, but had niggling doubts.


So, I decided to find out as much as I could, from primary, reliable sources wherever possible.


I spent countless hours going backwards and forwards checking facts, coming to conclusions, revising them, going back again, but all the while, trying to keep an open mind.


I simply wanted the truth.


As I went along, it really surprised me how many things are not OK with the EU. Let’s look at them under these headings: lack of democracy and transparency; centralised power; unfair trade; threats to peace and threats to our economic future. (Skip this bit if it’s too painful, or boring, or you’ve read it before and go to the last few paras.)


1. LACK OF DEMOCRACY AND TRANSPARENCY.


I wrote over 1,000 words on the subject. Here’s a summary.

When Jean-Claude Juncker was elected by the European Parliament In 2014, as president of the `Commission, his was the only name on the ballot paper.


Unlike the UK, the Commission proposes laws, not Parliament.


In the UK to encourage debate and public involvement we have two readings for most legislation. In 2005 the Commission insisted that Parliament would have a single reading, in a trialogue between the Commission, Parliament and Council - behind closed doors.


That is undemocratic.


When Martin Schulz, who was voted in by the European Parliament, he too was the only candidate.


This is not a real parliament - as we know it, as they have no right to propose laws.


If the European Council/Council approves proposals, they become EU law.


Its proceedings are held behind closed doors, which, as a legislative assembly, is not exactly transparent, or democratic.


Some Eurocrats claim that Europe is too diverse for a common democratic government and yet cannot operate with regional autonomy.


So, Remain points towards less democracy and less liberalism, not more.


2. CENTRALISED POWER


Thanks to the EU and Euro, there is 39% youth unemployment in Italy, 45% in Spain and 49% in Greece. They can’t manage their economies because decisions are taken on their behalf in Brussels.


65% of regulations are now set in Brussels, not locally and this is increasing.


3. UNFAIR TRADE.


I wrote over 1,000 words on the demise of the UK fishing industry at the hands of Europe.


Here’s a summary:


When “negotiating” the UK’s entry to the EEC, Edward Heath was forced to accept that fish should be a common resource available to all the nations of Europe, even to those with no coastline.


Our waters comprised 60% of what are now EU waters. Our quota was reduced to 13% of the common resource. And the French, Italians, Spanish and Greeks who had fished out their local seas, were given access.


To make matters worse, any EU ship can register in Britain, gain British fishing quotas, and fish them out without ever touching UK soil. Because they’re registered here, they’re allowed to use up our quota. This is called “quota hopping”.


One Dutch ship, the super-trawler, Cornelius Vrolijk now takes 23% of the entire English fishing quota.


Consequently, more than 100,000 direct and ancillary fishing jobs have been lost in Scotland alone. Large areas of once thriving fishing ports and communities such as Grimsby and Hull are now derelict.


The same thing is about to happen to the UK’s ports industry, currently the second largest in Europe, which supports over 300,000 jobs. It’s a major success story for the UK economy.


But, thanks to the EU, not for long.


4. THREATS TO PEACE.


Another big myth quoted mindlessly by Remain, is that the EU has maintained peace for 60 years.


It’s ludicrous.The EU has existed only since 1993.


Its predecessor, the EEC, was established by treaty in 1957 and was a trading, not a peace-keeping organisation.


Peace has been fostered and maintained by NATO, which had no connection to the EU. It was founded in 1949, 44 years before the EU was even set up.


Far from maintaining peace, the EU is in danger of starting a war with Russia. How?


Jean Claude Juncker, European Commission President said in March, 2015, “The European Union needs its own army to help address the problem that it is not “taken entirely seriously” as an international force. Such a move would help the EU to persuade Russia that it was serious about defending its values in the face of the threat posed by Moscow.”


Writing in Die Welt, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said in 2015, “We will set up a multinational panzer division next year. This should create a unit with up to 20,000 active soldiers, which should be operational by 2021—which would be the nucleus of a European army.”


In December, 2015, Germany Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said that “we will have to spend a lot more funds for joint European defense initiatives…[as] ultimately our aim must be a joint European army.”


Strange how Germany, who claimed for years that they couldn’t afford to contribute the required 2% of GDP to NATO, can now finance the setup of a separate European army.


Lord Owen said in June 2016 that, ”The establishment of such a European military force would clash with the US-led Nato operation, creating a two-tier defence alliance that would split resources and benefit no one but Russia.”


So, in terms of peace, it’s not safer to stay, but to leave the EU


5. THREATS TO OUR ECONOMIC FUTURE.


UK exports of goods and services to non-EU countries have grown at a faster rate than imports, driven largely by services exports.


This has resulted in the UK running an overall trade surplus with non-EU countries (value of exports exceeds imports) over the past three years, which reached £27.8 billion in 2014.


This can and must be built upon. After all, looking at the bigger picture, what future does the EU offer?


In a moment of uncharacteristic candour, Jean Claude Juncker admitted, “the EU’s share of global output is falling and will soon represent just 15% of worldwide GDP, while 80% of growth is emerging from countries outside the European Union”.


Not only that, but Europe’s share of the world’s population has fallen from 20 % a century ago to 7% and could be just 4% by the end of this century.


“We are demographically weakened, and will remain so,” added Mr Juncker.


Thousands of pages of words and data later, I have come to the conclusion to vote Leave. For the best of reasons; not out of bigotry, racism, anger, fear, hate.


I wish Europe well. Good luck. Contrary to what most people with closed minds believe, an honest vote to Leave is a vote for internationalism, for freedom, for democracy, for fairness, for peace, for the future.

I wish you well. I wish us ALL well on these tiny islands. Let’s work together.


Yes, I am worried, but I take heart in the fact that we've been here before. In 1597, thanks to Elizabeth I, we left the first European common market, called the Hanseatic League and became an international trading nation.


So let's work together and make it work.


Hopefully this is the start of the second Great Elizabethan Age.



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