Friday, April 24, 2009

Are we better off out?

With the European elections less than 7 weeks away now, this is an interesting development, in terms of the names involved (and missing) if nothing else. Members in both the House of Lords and the House of Commons have come together to call for an end to the United Kingdom's membership of the EU.

The group aims to "inform public opinion and hold the Government to account regarding the billions of pounds spent on membership fees and unnecessary regulations estimated at £112 billion per annum by the TaxPayers' Alliance."

They are worried about the loss of sovereignty suffered by the United Kingdom and the increasing number of "regulations imposed on us by the European Union - such as the directives on working time, chemicals, landfill, water, fishing etc."

OK, here's the names.

The 33 Members of the joint BETTER OFF OUT group are:

Douglas Carswell MP
Baroness Cox
Philip Davies MP
Nigel Dodds MP
Jeffrey Donaldson MP
Philip Hollobone MP
Baroness Knight of Collingtree DBE
The Earl of Liverpool
William McCrea MP
Dr. Ian Paisley MP
Lord Maginnis of Drunglass
Lord Mancroft
Austin Mitchell MP
Lord Monson
Lord Moran KCMG
Lord Palmer
Lord Pearson of Rannoch
Lord Quinton FBA
Iris Robinson MP
Peter Robinson MP
The Earl of Shrewsbury and Waterford DL
David Simpson MP
Dr. Bob Spink MP
Lord Stevens of Ludgate
Lord Stoddart of Swindon
Lord Swinfen
The Rt. Hon. The Lord Tebbit
Lord Tombs
Lord Vinson LVO DL (Chairman)
Lord Willoughby de Broke
Sammy Wilson MP
Ann Winterton MP
Sir Nicholas Winterton MP

What's striking is that 8 out of the 9 DUP MPs have joined the group (Gregory Campbell must have been away watching Derry GAA play that day or something). And what's also striking is for a traditionally Euro-sceptic party, there is a distinct shortage of Conservative MPs.

Are we better off out?
My answer at the minute is "no". I'm a natural europhile and believer in the original concept of a European Union (ie a completely open and free trade zone) but it's quite obvious there are many, many things which need fixing in how the European Union operates and the present set of MEPs, with one or two honourable exceptions, have shown no willingness whatsoever to remedy them. But the disadvantages of us going it alone in such a globalised market still outweigh the advantages such as increased sovereignty and less restrictive trade and labour practices of pulling out.


wildgoose said...

We're much better off out.

I am happy to be persuaded of the benefit of the United Kingdom (providing the British State ends the second-class citizenship they've foisted on the people of England) but we get next to no benefit for being in the EU, just problems.

We would be much better off taking associate membership and getting the trading benefits without the "ever closer integration". Plus, we could finally take up the American offer of joining NAFTA which EU rules forced us to decline.

Matthew said...

Agree with the second part of the above comment, except I'd say we need a return to the Commonwealth Economic zone.