I see Mr Clegg has just come out with his case to stay in the EU. One of his four reasons is so you can drive to Calais to buy cheap champagne. It shows just how out of touch he is if he thinks most people have champagne on their shopping list, and have the money to pop over to Calais anytime they have run out. Clearly the air in the Cabinet Office is very rarified.
The deal he cites looks dear to me if you take into account the travel costs. It’s also not a very green way of doing the up market shopping. He at least has the decency to remind us his party “is unambiguously the party of In” and he thinks most Conservatives want out . Most people do not have the price of champagne on their mind at the moment and would not put it in their top four concerns over the EU. Unaffordable energy bills and EU migration would be nearer the top of most people’s list. Hasn’t he understood the Parliamentary rows about energy costs? Is he determined to block all efforts to have more affordable energy, as he powers on with his moral leadership of the anti Carbon dioxide brigade? Indeed, one of his four main reasons to be in the EU is to guarantee dear energy.
He repeats the old lie we have often debunked that 3million jobs depends on it! Does he seriously think France and Germany would want to stop trading with us, given all the jobs in their countries that depend on it? He says that because criminals cross borders we need pooled justice. Has he ever heard of extradition warrants? Can’t criminals cross the border into Switzerland or Norway as well as into France? He says that “Many problems like climate change can only be tackled if we work together” – Why doesn’t he try working on that with the US and China, the world’s two largest emitters? And his fourth main reason is so he can buy cheap champagne at Euro 12 in Calais! I looked up champagne at local supermarkets in England and found some for £12.49 – that I think works out considerably cheaper than travelling to Calais to buy it at 12 Euros, the price Mr Clegg recommends!
As Mr Leeuwen has rightly reminded us, like it or not, we are in the EU. As members we form part of the electorate for the European Parliament. Our UK Ministers participate in the Council of Ministers meetings. The Council of Ministers and the Parliament between them make the decisions on new laws and are meant to guide and watch over the official government, the unelected Commission.
The pro European minority in the UK who regularly say they need to make the case for our membership usually just threaten us with the view that if we left we would lose our trade with the EU. They see the main point of our membership as being to buy and sell things with the rest of the EU. Most people who have not so far regarded the EU as the main issue to settle when they vote seem to take this view. They find many of the laws and decisions of the EU they know about as annoying or silly. They have little idea of just how much power and influence the EU now has. They go along with it because they want to keep the trade and fear a loss of jobs if we left. The usual phrase older people use is “I voted to belong to a common market. That’s what I want”. Younger people rub along with the EU, as they have been told it is important for jobs and prosperity.
If you ask people what they want the EU to do, by a large majority they will say “Less”. They want it to spend less of our money, take less of our tax revenue. They want it to pass fewer laws. Indeed they now want it to repeal many laws it has needlessly or vexatiously passed so far. They want a trade arrangement, but they do not want the overarching government Mr Leeuwen points out we now suffer under.
The minority of pro Europeans do not dare advance the case for a European government. They usually deny such exists. If they ever venture beyond the trade argument, it would be to praise the EU for pursuing a green agenda which is rapidly becoming toxic politics as people work out that just means uncompetitively expensive energy for our homes and factories.
Occasionally they try to tell us the EU offers us peace! That is the ultimate absurdity, looking at the last 60 years when the USA has kept the peace in Europe through NATO, standing up to the communist tyranny and ultimately forcing it to accept it had lost the arms race and the economic race without a shot being fired. I do not recall the EU helping us win the battle of ideas against militant and militaristic Marxism from the USSR. Once again that was left to the Eurosceptics and the Americans, groups the pro Europeans seem to despise.
All the time we remain in the EU I want it to cut its spending, reduce its laws and its interference in our daily lives. I want it to have a big repeal of many of the laws we either do not need or can make for ourselves. I want it to stop spending money on just about everything. It is better to spend our own tax money as we see fit. I do not want a European criminal justice system, a European army, a European foreign policy or a European migration policy. That Mr Leeuwen is why many of the UK voters are irreconcilable to the current EU. That is why we do not regard it as our government. It does the opposite of what we want, and seeks to wind us up at every available opportunity. We feel locked into a mechanism we did not seek, did not approve and which never does things for us.