Monday, October 20, 2008

ITV Tonight Luton 'Referendum' nonsense

Earlier, I watched ITV's Tonight programme about a so-called referendum in Luton on the EU. If the incorrect information on their own website was any guide, I should not have been surprised how rubbish the programme was. There was no serious questioning of the pro or anti speakers; it was not clear whether we were watching a discussion for/against the EU or for/against the treaty of Lisbon. (See below for arguments FOR each.)

Their website opens by stating "New Labour has gone back on its promise to hold a referendum on a new European constitution". Clearly, I'm light years away from being a Labour supporter but that is nonsense. The Treaty of Lisbon is not an EU constitution. And the programme did not seem to say much about either the Treaty or the abandoned Constitution!

Luton Cllr Andy Strange writes about how it was conducted from his local perspective: ITV Tonight Luton 'Referendum' nonsense. (Eventually, the programme should appear here to watch again.)

If you want to REALLY know what the Lisbon Treaty says, read Andrew Duff's summary(pdf) or even try reading the whole thing. And possibly What has the European Union ever done for Luton.

On a related note, I was in Brussels last week hearing at first hand some of the real story behind the EU. (Pictures here.) Such as: the EU is not as massive organisation as some would have you believe. It only spends 50p per week per head of population, compared to the £260 spent by the UK Government. It employs FEWER people than Essex County Council.

If Labour had not been so spineless over the last 11 years, we could have had a proper debate about Europe. Not the fiction and myths propagated by the tabloid press (which are all taken apart on this website).

So, before finishing, what ARE some of the key arguments?

FOR the UK being a full member of the EU:-
* Cheaper goods and more jobs: free trade amongst 500 million people keeps costs down for shoppers and keeps 3 million UK citizens in work
* Protecting the environment: pollution knows no boundaries so we have to fix it with our neighbours
* Rights at work: e.g. time off for maternity leave; cannot be forced to work over 48 hours a week
* Cheaper mobile phone calls
* Compensation if your plane flight is delayed
* and not forgetting: stopping the 27 countries who are members from going to war against each other

See also What Has Europe Done

FOR the Treaty of Lisbon
It tidies up the workings of the EU to make it more efficient and effective
* More democracy: our elected representatives would, at last, have the same powers as Ministers
* In particular, the chance to reform the money wasted on the agriculture policy
* National parliaments (such as Westminster) to have a stronger role in reviewing EU laws
* The UK would have more chance of getting its way, not held back by other countries
* One spokesman on foreign affairs not two
* A chairman of the council of ministers for 2.5 years not changing every 6 months
* The President of the Commission will be elected by the elected Parliament
* and Member States can now, for the first time, leave the EU if they wish


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