Wokingham Times

It’s been a busy two weeks in Parliament. The Commons sent a clear message to the government that we would like reductions in the EU budget. It would be quite wrong at a time when the government is talking about cuts at home to let the EU budget grow. Domestic spending contains many more important items than the EU budget does. We agree with Ministers that no real increase in the budget is acceptable. I was surprised Ministers did not accept the amendment to cut the EU budget moved by Mr Reckless, a Conservative MP, as they spoke about how much they agreed with its sentiments. The government is naturally apprehensive that it will be difficult to negotiate what we want, as many other EU members like a larger budget because they get more money out of it than they put it. Parliament thought it should make clear to our EU partners how this country feels about it, as we pay in a lot more than we take out.

I am pleased the government has adopted new words on its approach to the EU. Ministers have accepted the advice of those of us who have been saying for sometime that the UK needs a new relationship with the EU. The countries in the Euro want to press on to a full political, fiscal and monetary union which we cannot join and do not wish to join. As they do so we need a new relationship with them. We want to trade with them, be friends with them, have sensible arrangements over matters of common interest. The next few months will see more work by the government and more ideas floated by MPs on what this new relationship might look like and how we might negotiate it with the EU partners. I am trying to firm this up and help the government form its new policy.

At the same time the government needs to develop the work it is doing with business to improve trade and other links with the large emerging market economies of the world. Our future lies with more trade with India, China, Brazil and a host of other Asian, latin American and African countries. The stresses and strains created by the Euro are going to mean recession or slow growth for the foreseeable future on the continent, damaging our prospects if we rely on the EU rather than the rest of the world for our growth.

This week sees the important Police Commissioner elections. I know some of you are sceptical about these new posts and others feel poorly informed. The new Commissioner we elect on Thursday will have the power to set the budgets, establish the priorities for our local police service and handle complaints. It is a very important job. Now is your chance to express your views on what you think our police service should do and how it should spend the money. The Commissioner will not, of course, interfere in day to day policing and will not be intervening in individual cases. Our police service has to maintain fine traditions of independence and impartiality when it comes to enforcing the law Parliament has laid down. The Commissioner replaces the Police Committee of Councillors which currently does this job.

If you want more police on the beat, a faster response to crimes of violence and anti social behaviour, or other priorities as people often tell me, now is your chance. Your new Police Commissioner when elected will be able to do this for us. I think that means it is worth reading the leaflets and websites about the candidates and placing your vote in the box.


  1. Lord Blagger
    November 14, 2012

    Our future lies in poverty or slavery.

    You’ve run up trillions in debt, and its hidden off the books.

    1. No state pension
    2. Slavery

    Take your pick.

    After all, how can you lose the 4.7 trillion pound debt? Hidden down the back of a sofa?

    In denial?

  2. C WHITE
    November 14, 2012

    I am afraid that it is a lot more complicated than that the EZ countries want political union. This is Mrs Merkel’s price for spending German taxpayers’ money on the other countries and a way she MIGHT be able to sell it to her electorate. President Hollande in line with previous French thought has said that BUDGETS ARE THE ‘INVIOLABLE PREROGATIVE’ of the nation state and I believe that the Dutch agree with him and probably others – if it’s Austria and Finland those are the only countries left with an AAA rating and stable outlook. Mr Osborne has his faults but his words for William Hague that being in the Euro was like ‘being in a BURNING BUILDING WITH NO FIRE EXITS’ were even more prescient than he may have perceived.

  3. David Langley
    November 14, 2012

    I do not think that the government is totally unaware of its obligations to the EU by treaty agreement. Therefore it is a little disingenuous to pretend that they are formulating policy to define and seek to arrange a new relationship with Brussels. I believe that you understand that we are virtually in a one way street with little hope or chance of any serious intervention in the EU process of directives and regulation.
    You have not outlined any serious practical steps whereby our present government can seriously renegotiate with the EU Council and Commission. The current meetings and negotiations by our Prime Minister with the EU leadership seem to be virtually sterile. There is not going to be any change in the EU leadership positions regarding our active membership and we are obviously sidelined anyway as the UK is demonstrably having no interest in progress towards further Federal integration. This puts us firmly in the position of being outside the project and it is only our fiscal contribution that seems to be of value.
    It would seem that the policy of wait and see will only result in the further waste of valuable time and money to us. If we want to really show leadership in this urgent matter, we should write now to the Commission and lay out our determination to adopt a particular non negotiable position to protect the UK interests, with a time line and a sequence of intentions to allow a phased and sensible withdrawal programme. You stated some time ago a similar plan for Spain which in essence should be our plan. We are not damned by the Euro currency but we are damned by our continuing association with full membership of this project.

  4. Nicola Clubb
    November 14, 2012

    in answer to voting tomorrow Feck Off, I have seen no posters, leaflets or information on the people standing here in Bournemouth and Dorset, what is the point of voting for someone i know nothing about. Without the information about them i cannot make and informed decision about who would be best for the position.

    1. Alan
      November 15, 2012

      Silence implies consent, so not voting will imply that you approve of the process and are willing to accept the candidate selected by other people.

      To show that you disagree with the whole process I think you have to go to the polling station and spoil your ballot, perhaps by writing a short note on it saying that you think that public money should have been provided to allow the candidates to circulate information.

      In my own case I have read the information the candidates have put on the internet and in the local paper and I will vote for the one that I think is best. I am pleased that Mr Redwood has encouraged people to vote.

  5. Alan
    November 14, 2012

    It would be good if we could increase our trade with “India, China, Brazil and a host of other Asian, latin American and African countries”, and in fact I am confident we will do so.

    But as I understand it most of our current trade is with the EU and the USA. I think it could be foolhardy to exchange the certainties of our current trading partners for ones that we are not yet sure of.

    By all means let us renegotiate our relationship with the EU, once we are clearer exactly what it will develop into, and develop other trading relationships, but I hope we make sure we don’t damage what we have spent so long developing. I don’t want to return to the economic uncertainties of the 70s before the Single European Act.

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