Letters - March 11, 2016

British Prime Minister David Cameron arrives for an EU summit at the EU Council building in Brussels on Monday, March 7, 2016. European Union leaders arrived in Brussels Monday to press Turkey to do more to stop migrants entering Europe and to shore up support for Greece, where thousands of people are stranded. (AP Photo/Francois Walschaerts)
British Prime Minister David Cameron arrives for an EU summit at the EU Council building in Brussels on Monday, March 7, 2016. European Union leaders arrived in Brussels Monday to press Turkey to do more to stop migrants entering Europe and to shore up support for Greece, where thousands of people are stranded. (AP Photo/Francois Walschaerts)
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EUROPE

We need to claim what we are owed

Regarding Mr Bunting’s latest contribution (Democracy is key to EU debate, Your Say, Gazette, March 8), I do not agree with his financial interpretation because it is misleading.

What matters is not the figure cited by Mr Bunting, which, whatever its origin, the ‘Out’ camp cannot agree on, but the fact that, after all the returns to the UK from the EU are counted, the actual cost is about one quarter of what the ‘outers’ say it is. Mr Shrives letter is correct.

Also, If we were to leave the EU, it is not correct to say that we would pay nothing. Countries like Norway and Switzerland pay and are caught up in EU matters but have no say in them.

Moreover, the net cost could be a lot less than a quarter if the UK took advantage of all the opportunities. The Government has only just claimed £125m from the EU, which is ours by right, to support restoration after last Decembers floods.

A significant chunk of money had been earmarked from the €50bn ‘Framework 7’ fund to support Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) projects in the UK, to keep coal fired power stations operational at zero greenhouse gas emissions. It would be a faster, cheaper solution than either nuclear or shale gas to keeping the lights on. Our government decided to cancel our involvement – all by itself, no input from the EU.

In the EU, proposals are scrutinised & negotiated by the ELECTED representatives of the Member Sates, also by the ELECTED European Parliament and ultimately accepted by the Council of Ministers, who are each themselves ELECTED by their national Governments.

I’m impressed that My Bunting seems to know with such certainty what my view of democracy is. When we can elect a dictatorship, as we did on May 7 last year, from less than a third of the vote, and when we have parliamentary seats like Fylde which have elected an MP from just one party for more than 100 years, and when the only effective opposition to that dictatorship is from the unelected House of Lords, the last paragraph of Mr Bunting’s letter is just nonsense.

A good argument can be made the EU is more democratic than Westminster.

Mike Turner

Lytham

EUROPE

Referendum faces becoming a farce

Membership of the EU has always been a trade-off between the surrender of national controls and the economic, political, social and cultural benefits of ever closer union with Europe.

In 1973 and in 1975 there was a different balance to the equation. Ten member states then, 28 now. Then the ten had very similar living standards, economic prospects and expectations. Each country had a veto on overall proposals which it perceived would damage it’s core interests. Europe’s four freedoms – of goods, capital, services and people – were logical and bold principles.

The next 20 years were historic. Countries like Spain and Greece threw off dictatorships and 11 former Communist states escaped repression by applying to join the EU. The economic and financial crisis of 2008 brought tensions which were exacerbated by mass migration from states whose living standards were far lower than those of the original members.

The problem is that referenda are flawed unless the issue is straightforward, and the current one is anything but. The EU demands a knowledge of economic, financial and administrative issues which are enormously complex, so complex that no one, literally no one, knows what will happen if the outcome is leave the EU.

Research carried out last year by two top universities showed that no more than ten per cent of the eligible voters in June will understand the issues or the way the EU works. This makes the coming referendum a farce. Despite widespread ignorance of the EU, people will cast their vote in June. On what basis? Emotion in the main.

In the meantime, those on opposite sides of the debate are trying to sell to the public grossly exaggerated claims which have little substance.

Lies are being bandied about by both sides. Politicians who know no more than the intelligent public are pretending to possess knowledge they do not have. Do not be fooled.

At the heart of this vital vote is something few are willing to acknowledge, namely, ‘Britain’, said Gladstone, ‘may be with Europe, it will never be of it’.

Dr Barry Clayton

Cleveleys

COMMUNICATION

Let’s tell nuisance calls where to go

Is anybody else sick and tired of nuisance calls?

Two and three times a day I am interrupted by these calls.

I thought Ofcom had stopped this, but obviously not.

It’s always a recorded message to start with, then you are told to press a number to carry on the call, presumably paid for by me.

It’s about time these companies legally had to leave caller details when they ring.

If I make a call, my name will appear, so whoever I call can either answer or not.

You have no idea who is calling with all the different numbers – 01405, 0203, 0845.

Is it the government, doctors, council? You never know until you answer the call and then you get that silent treatment for a few seconds, then the irritating message: “I’m phoning about your PPI.”

If it was a ‘real’ person on the other end, you could tell them where to go.

David Mitchell

Address supplied

ENVIRONMENT

Bins are there for a purpose – use them

I am disgusted with the amount of litter on our streets. When I take my dog for a walk, I pass so much rubbish.

If only people put things in the bins provided.

If we all did this then the place we live in would be a nicer, cleaner one.

Jill Liversidge

via email