W&Y reader Peter Kennedy responds to Tuesday’s article arguing for Brexit.talking

‘Why the UK Should Remain in the EU.

I have been a fan of politics for a long time. At school during our Government & Politics lessons we were introduced to the entire political spectrum from Lenin and Marx to Hitler. We were then left to work out where on that spectrum we wished to sit, some chose left, some chose right whilst others enjoyed the view from the centre. That’s life.

I became a fan of Tony Benn and read each of his diaries as they were published, eager to see what was really going on in Westminster, but now my political interests have now expanded to include European politics. I remember Edward Heath signing the UK up to the original Common Market and the sight of Margaret Thatcher enforcing ‘rule by handbag’ over the EU is still fresh in my mind.

Over the last forty years I have lived and worked all over the world and my links back to the UK are now tenuous at best, because of this I now think of myself as a European rather than a UK citizen, a member of a much larger family.

In his piece Paul expressed concern about rule from Brussels and brought up the point that unless you were able to get rid of someone governing you then you didn’t live in a true democracy. Such thinking works fine at the local level but by the time you reach something the scale of the House of Commons (not even European level) things begin to fall apart. The vote of every MP counts including those MPs who someone else, maybe hundreds of miles away, has elected. So, if your local MP votes against war with Syria but the vote for war passes with a large majority then you need to live with the decision that has been made on your behalf. You are governed by parliament as a whole and as an individual voter you cannot dismiss an entire government. The same principle applies in Europe, you vote for your local MEP but (issues of veto aside) every MEP has an equal vote and someone from France or Hungary could vote in favour of something you disagree with. Europe is governed by a parliament that has been elected by the European citizens.

I do not approve of the UK ‘half in half out’ position in Europe. If you want to be a member of a club and enjoy its benefits, then you must be a full member and stop messing around.

Do I think that the UK should sign up for the Schengen Agreement? Yes. Do I think that the UK should join the Euro? Yes. The UK is affected by the Euro whether it likes it or not so it might as well become a full member. As for the referendum I hope that the UK votes to remain in Europe because by leaving they will cease to have a voice in European affairs and yet continental Europe will continue to affect them.

Schengen Visa

Schengen Visa

Just for a moment think of the alternative but applied at a European level, countries leave the EU one by one until it falls apart, at the same time right wing nationalist parties gain control of each nation state in an effort to enforce their own interests. Speculation? Hungary is already

building walls and fences and the Austrians are not far behind. Then the old territorial claims resurface and we are back to 1917 again.

For now Europe needs to remain as it is whilst it puts its house in order. Such an exercise requires that all members of the European Union play their part in creating stability rather than conflict and starting to think of themselves as members of a European family rather than a disjointed collection of states all acting in their best interests.”

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15 Comments on "A Reader Replies: The Case For Remain"

  1. Paul Corrick | 25th May 2016 at 12:24 pm | Reply

    Excellent article Peter and thanks for responding to mine. I am pleased to see a response as there are two sides. Like yourself I studied Government and politics at school which started a lifelong interest. I think our major disagreement would be over the Schengen Agreement and joining the Euro.

    I worry about the free movement of people and invisible borders in light of the problems Europe has with Terrorism. I like the fact I have to show my passport when I go out of or enter the UK and think this should apply across the whole of Europe. For me it is not walls and fences just security and control. On the Issue of the Euro I see the example of Greece and her economy and am unsure if a one size for all really can work.

    I see the UK as part of a Global family trading and co-operating with not just Europe but the whole World. I see a Europe with us in as being unstable and divided so unsure even if we remain we could influence this any more than we could do if we left. I remain sceptical that this large group of 28 countries can all work together in harmony but accept the thinking behind those who want to remain. I have doubts of course, nothing is Black and White and I just hope the country makes the right decision.

    I guess in years to come students will be reading about it during their own Government and politics classes and arguing over the decision. !

  2. mahatmacoatmabag | 25th May 2016 at 12:43 pm | Reply

    Peter Kennedy you wrote “I became a fan of Tony Benn”. Everything else you wrote from that point on was superfluous. Being a fan of the late Marxist dinosaur Tony Benn is not a badge of honour it is like voting Remain the mark of Cain.

    • It was possible to be a fan of Benn without agreeing with his politics. He was a capable orator and was always interesting even when he was utterly wrong, especially when it came to Europe. He would no doubt be voting for Brexit, which would be enough to convince me that I’d be right to vote remain. Sadly, he’s no longer with us so I must reach that conclusion knowing that I only have your opposition to confirm the validity of my choice.

      • mahatmacoatmabag | 25th May 2016 at 1:24 pm | Reply

        David, your choice is your choice, mine is Brexit. Yes Benn was a capable orator, so was Lenin, Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Hitler, Mussolini & Nasser and so is Obama. Being a capable orator does not IMO translate into likeability or any reason to respect the person, his views & his methods. My point is this, Benn is not relevant to the issue, nor any other past politician, the matter is will we have a decent future & control our own destiny as an independent sovereign nation or be just a tribute paying vassal state of an increasingly undemocratic Socialist orientated mega bureaucracy run by Brussels under the control of Berlin. That’s the centrality of the issue, everything else is just commentary.

        • I don’t mind you having a choice but I do dislike the way you constantly hammer people who don’t share your views. Peter wrote a balanced piece, as did Paul yesterday, as do all those who kindly contribute to TW&TW. Unlike others here, I have the sad responsibility of reading *all* your comments. I am sometimes the person that implements what you recently described as ‘censorship’. It is not censorship. It is our right to ask that people commenting should respect our writers and not to use the comment facility to insult them. That I have seen you do repeatedly. Perhaps life is crap and the barbarians are at the gate but not everybody sees it like that. Whether they are right or wrong, they deserve a degree of respect. If you are unwilling to do that by leaving fair comments, then we have to ensure it through comment moderation.

          Learn some damn humility and accept what you know and don’t know, what you believe and what you don’t believe. Respect that others have opinions and those opinions are not suddenly plucked from the air. People have wits, knowledge, and a degree of intelligence. They have life experiences which shape their beliefs like your experiences have shaped yours. Reading between the lines, you seem to have led a fascinating life but, sadly, it seems to have prejudiced you to the point that your arguments constantly sound jaded. Notice the title of the website. ‘Extremes are easy. The centre is hard’. That is not idly chosen. TW&TW is about finding the centre. You rarely stray even close.

          Lastly, your tendency to be rude does not help a single argument you make. Your arguments are easy to dismiss because you offer the extreme point of view on all matters. You say that Benn is not relevant to the issue yet, of course, you would say. You attacked the man who, if he were alive, would now be one of the main proponents of Brexit. He is as relevant to the debate as any on the Left that you routinely attack.

          • mahatmacoatmabag | 25th May 2016 at 3:34 pm |

            ‘Extremes are easy. The centre is hard’ Actually the centre is where the ditherers gather till its too late to have any real influence on events. If the TW&TW is just going to be another BBC / Guardian clone then it will doom itself to being read only by the same chattering classes

    • Mr Coat and Bag, as they would say in what will one day be the EU’s biggest state. Sakin Ol!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q66KuJfPT_Y

      It means Cool It btw. Tenuous excuse to shoehorn some Turkish music onto the site I’m afraid.

      • mahatmacoatmabag | 26th May 2016 at 12:22 pm | Reply

        Rob, just in case its slipped you mind,
        “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers….”.
        Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

  3. Peter, interesting to read an opposing view. Joining the Euro as was urged by all and sundry at the time it was introduced would have been disastrous for this country, the flexibility that our own currency has given us since 2008 is one of the main reasons we have outperformed the Eurozone as a whole since that time and unemployment hasn’t ballooned despite the public sector cuts. Our economy is no more convergent with that of continental Europe now than it has ever been so I fail to see why it would provide anything other than a drag on our economic growth now. As for joining Schengen, why do you think we should join that agreement?, just to make our neighbours happy?. It would of course make the lives of the French in Calais easier as the migrants in the camps there who are in Europe illegally could just make their merry way into the UK, even Germany doesn’t believe in Schengen anymore which is why it is suspended. We already have no voice in Europe on the issues that we disagree with, we are the most outvoted country in the EU by some way.

    I have seen the view put forward that were we to take a similar position to the Swiss or Norwegians then we would have the worst of both worlds, having to obey EU laws and contribute money while having no say in the decisions taken, if that is truly the case then one must ask why then these two nations have not applied for full membership. Norway and Switzerland are the two wealthiest nations in Europe and they are both outside the EU, both have seen their trade with the EU increase at a faster rate than the UK which is within has. Both would be able to join in a heartbeat if they wished, yet they don’t, why?.

    • Lesley Lubert | 26th May 2016 at 11:18 am | Reply

      As usual Rob, everything you say makes a whole lot of sense, and is backed up by the facts. (Facts are very important don’t you know!)

  4. Peter Kennedy | 25th May 2016 at 4:58 pm | Reply

    Right now the only thing I can say to mahatmacoatmabag is Happy Towel Day!

    “Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”
    Douglas Adams 1952-2001

  5. Peter Kennedy | 26th May 2016 at 9:40 am | Reply

    This took some time to find and I hope that TW&TW allow external links but this is Tony Benn’s view on Europe:

    http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.de/2015/01/tony-benn-on-britain-and-eu.html

    I’m still a fan of his work though because I appreciate the reasoning behind his arguments.

  6. Lesley Lubert | 26th May 2016 at 10:29 am | Reply

    Dear Mr Cameron; Prime Minister and Head of the Remain in the EU Campaign.

    I would like to thank you for all the information you have given us, at some expense, may I add, as to what will happen to me, if I decide to put my X on my ballot paper in the leave the EU box.

    For me to make the most important decision of my remaining years; whether to choose to stay in the EU or not, there are certain things I need and would like to know.

    • What financial projections have the Highly Respected IFS made for the next 2-3 years?
    • How much will our weekly gross contribution to Brussels be, going forward?
    • How much rebate will we receive?
    • Will my house value rise in the next 2-3 years?
    • Will interest rates fall further, or rise?
    • Will our currency become stronger, as there will no longer be uncertainty in the financial markets?
    • Will youth unemployment in the EU countries presently close to 50% improve, enabling our young citizens an opportunity to work abroad?
    • Will travel to Europe become cheaper?
    • Will out trade deficit with the EU improve in the coming years?
    • Will our NHS and schools be able to cope with the ever increasing number of people needing to use them?
    • Will we be recruiting more Doctors and Nurses from EU and non EU countries?
    • Will we be able to house the homeless people living on our streets?
    • Will we be able to close the many Food Banks around the country?
    • Will we be able to deport all foreign criminals who have committed crimes here?
    • Can our Supreme Court still be overruled by the ECHR?
    • Can we limit the number of people from the EU who want to live and work here? Can we choose the skills we need, while still allowing the British people to have the opportunity to achieve full employment? You did Mr Cameron, promise that you would reduce the number or migrants down to tens of thousands, “no if’s, and’s or but’s” and if you didn’t achieve this, we could get rid of you. I believe the true figure is closer to 2 million?
    • What extra financial help will the EU require, when the other much poorer countries waiting to join the EU, become members?

    I am sure Mr Cameron you and Chancellor Osborne are able to clear up all these points and put my mind at rest, since you have been able to furnish us with the outlook on exiting the EU. Clearly you are both fully aware of the implications, and outlook on remaining in the EU.

    You would not expect the good people of Britain to vote to remain in the EU, if they were not in possession of the full facts, prior to making such a momentous and far reaching decision for us, our children, and our grandchildren.

    Yours

  7. “Do I think that the UK should join the Euro? Yes. The UK is affected by the Euro whether it likes it or not so it might as well become a full member.”

    Evidently didn’t do macro in school then, or anywhere else fwiw. Foolish child.

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