Friday, October 22, 2010

Better off out...and in Europe?

Sammy Wilson has been speaking at the Annual Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) conference in Newry. The theme of the three day conference is "Territorial Cohesion in a Post-Crisis Scenario" and is being organised by East Border Region in conjunction with the Special EU Programmes Body.

This is what he said:
"I have always believed it essential that European regions work together on a cross-border basis where it is practical and mutually beneficial to do so. It is all the more important in these challenging times."
N.Irish readers will perhaps be surprised/delighted to discover that Sammy was speaking at a conference organised by "The East Border Region" (EBR). The EBR is a Local Authority led organisation comprising of ten Local Authorities: Newry and Mourne, Down and Banbridge District Councils, Armagh City and District Council, Craigavon, Ards and North Down Borough Councils in Northern Ireland and Louth, Monaghan and Meath County Councils in the Republic Of Ireland. Following Robinson putting the boot in on the educational segregationalists last week, further signs of the DUP hierarchy joining the rest of us in the 21st Century?

Sammy is also member of another "European"-related organisation:
For a thousand years the United Kingdom (for which also read England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland) was free, independent and trading with the rest of the known world.

For the past 40 years, the United Kingdom has been part of the European Union (EEC and EC). The UK’s ability to act as a nation state is being increasingly constricted to the point where the EU now dominates the UK. Some independence is left, importantly the British currency, but every day more power and more control ebbs away to Brussels.
"Better Off Out" doesn't muck about in specifying its objectives:
Since the days of Edward Heath, all British governments of whichever party have assumed and continue to assume that Britain must be at the heart of Europe. They even claim that the UK can have a positive influence, beyond its limited voting powers, to change the EU for the better, that is towards a free market group of nations co-operating together.
The UK cannot.

Doubters maintain loudly that the UK is too small to prosper outside the EU, too small to go it alone. Yet that belies our history, it belies the facts of our global trade and it belies the strength of our country. It is also an insult to most countries of the world, smaller than the UK, which remain independent and free.
There's got to be a contradiction there surely?

OK, the AEBR and the EU are not synonymous organisations but they are most definitely singing from the same hymn book. "Better Off Out" is arguing a Sinn Fein "Ourselves Alone" policy with regards to Europe, the AEBR has for one of its aims:
"to initiate, support and coordinate cooperation between the regions throughout Europe".
Yet Sammy sees no problem in supporting both organisations?

Somehow, I can't really imagine Norman Tebbit or Dan Hannan being so flexible with their allegiances.


Anonymous said...

A thousand years eh!

1801 is the date you are looking for.


O'Neill said...

Don't get you...1000 years of what? the EU?!

Frank said...

Obviously the UK ought to control it's own affairs, yet with the humility to learn from other countries. France has two things we ought to have in the UK, after visting we ought to have a state owned railway like SNCF, and two large shops closing on Sunday.

Anonymous said...

"For a thousand years the United Kingdom (for which also read England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland) was free, independent and trading with the rest of the known world."

Love the thousand year Reich vibe. Love the free and independent bit.

You unionists really know how to put the story into history.


O'Neill said...

Ah right, got you now. It wasn't Sammy that said that BTW but the blurb on the "Better off out" group.

There hasn't been a UK for a 1000 years, so slightly hyperbolic there but that's not a fault limited to Unionists ("reich"??!!)