The EU Referendum – elation and anger

I was not going to stay up and watch the EU Referendum results, but I did. Fascinating stuff and that was before the result was declared. The ‘Exiters’ won the vote by 51.9%. The only really thing the pollsters got right was it was a close result.


Nearly three-quarters (72.2%) of the Country voted on what they thought was right box to tick. It just shows people can be motivated to vote.

In Cornwall 323,442 voted from 419,755 eligible voters. A 77.07% turnout. Cornwall voted to leave.

  • Remain 140,540 (43.45%)
  • Leave 182,665 (56.48%)
  • Rejected papers 237

I had hoped both campaigns would be run on honest facts and reasons. However, both referendum campaigns were full of half-truths, manipulating figures and lies. No side has come out of the campaign looking particularly good.

Yet two days after the results, I am surprised at the comments being made on social media with even a petition calling for the referendum to be held again.  We live in a democracy. More people voted out than in this referendum. That is what happens in elections, surprise surprise the winner is the one with the most votes. Be disappointed, with the result but let’s keep it in perspective.

A decision has been made; we need to get on with it together. It is that simple. It really is un-British to have this venomous back-biting and hatred.

As for the petition, would the same people be calling for a re-run if remain had won? No they would not. In fact they would be crying foul and saying that it is undemocratic. A democracy is not asking you to vote and re-vote until the vote goes your way.

Though you might not know, this referendum was not what you call a ‘binding’ vote (unlike the AV referendum). The Government could/can ignored it. But that’s highly unlikely, more so with the PM stepping down post the result.

Maybe the disappointment should be levelled at the political elite in the EU. Both sides of the referendum campaign have said the EU needs reform. The EU would not reform. It took the attitude of we do not have to. I bet those elites wished they had now. Or had been more receptive when the PM asked for reform. Instead the EU shut the door on his face. If the EU had showed it was willing to reform, I doubt this referendum would have taken place.

This Country, Great Britain is in unknown territory. But have faith, we will find our feet. It might be a bumpy journey, but we will get there and survive. It is not the end of the world as some are predicting.

I will leave you with this. Maybe we should heed Oddball’s advice

Brexit – should we stay in the European Union or go?

Before you read on, this is not an endorsement, recommendation or anything else but my thoughts and requirements for the forthcoming referendum on our future in the European Union. If you are not interested then I will spare you now from reading on.

The countdown to the EU referendum has begun. On the 23rd we will be asked: ‘Should the United Kingdon remain a member of the European Union’On the ballot form, you will need to tick one of two answers: ‘Remain a member of the European Union’ or ‘Leave the European Union’. Once the votes have been counter we will know if we belong in the Europe Union, set out on the course for leaving.

The first thing I will say whether we stay or go, the EU needs to be reformed. The current monster that is the EU is not accountable and it is definitely not democratic. Ask yourself without refering to a search engine who are your MEP’s? I bet you will be hard pressed to actually name your MEP’s. And yes we have more than one in the South West.

I have wanted a referendum on in/out for many years. This referendum has been a long time coming and in my view could have been asked years ago. Yet previous Governments were too scared to ask the question for fear of the answer. Even the current Government probably did not think this referendum would happen; as they were not expecting to actually win the General Election outright.

In fact the ideal time for a referendum would have been when John Major signed the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. Yet the public was not given a say unlike other European citizens. The Danish took two attempts to be convinced, and surprisingly, the French narrowly passed this treaty.

My aim for the referendum will be to finally decide once and for all to either accept the EU for its good and bad points, or do something about it and leave. We really cannot continue to have this halfway house of standing in both camps.

Since the announcement was made, the referendum debate has been centering of who is in the in or out camp. Instead of looking at the merits of belonging in or out of the EU, the ‘debate’ has been along the lines on the personalities in each camp. I have to say who really cares. I am really not interested in hearing about the continuation of a rivalry started at Eton between a senior boy and his fag.

No doubt it will get worse when the A to Z list of celebs start to endorse the different camps. Seeing Farage and Galloway sharing a stage brought home the reality this vote could turn in to a circus. This vote is too important to be decided on personalities. If it is, then God – or any other deity – help us. We are lost. We might as well get Simon Cowell to run some sort of X-factor/Talent show to decide our future…

I will be straight; I am truly in the undecided camp. I like Europe; I have lived there, visited most of the EU member states and was even born in West Germany. Yet I really struggle withs the current monster that is the EU and is a far cry from the noble aims of the European Economic Community formed in 1957. The EU needs to be reformed. Plain and simple.

However, before I vote, I want to understand all the positives and negatives for both leaving and staying. For that to happen, each side in this argument will need to rise above the fear factor, mud-slinging and cheap shots to give a clear, thought-out reasoning to their cases. I an affraid to say, this has yet to happen…

I have already heard some of the arguments of being in the EU have prevented war in Europe. Eh… What about the Balkans. There was a brutal war there. I have the campaign medal. And Leaving the EU would be the end of the world and the U.K would end up in some post-apocalyptic wilderness. The world is not flat and if we sail off on our own we will not fall off the edge.

I want to move past the cheap shot of immigration and being fearful of ‘Johnny Foreigner.’ There are an estimated 2.2 million Brits living in Europe, with near half living in Iberia. Immigration works both ways.

I also want to move on from, or better, ignore Cameron’s deal and his ‘Munich agreement’ which I believe is nothing more than a sop to stop Cameron actively campaigning against leaving. His comment of I don’t love Brussels (actually a lovely city), I love Britain was cringe-worthy.

What I want to hear about is the economic, social and environmental reasons to remain or leave the EU based on fact. After all we joined the EEC in 1973 for economic reasons. If we vote to leave, it has to be in the best interests of the U.K. and not for some jingoistic reason.

Whilst the referendum is a national issue, I want to know how leaving could affect Cornwall with it grant funding from Europe. I am no fan of Gove, but it did resonate with me in his words of saying we pay so much in, get some back, but told how we should spend it.

If by chance the referendum returns a vote of wanting to leave as the result are just too close to call, do you really think the other European member states will allow us to leave?

Even with a ‘yes to leave’ vote the negotiations to leave will take up to two years. In that time Germany as the largest contributor will do everything to keep us in. This means in their desperation, we might actually get the reform the EU so desperately needs, but as yet is unwilling.

If we go, who else will follow us out of the door? Do you really think Germany wants to be left as the main contributor to the EU budget? Its own nationals might start to start question about the merits about staying in the EU.

From this we might very well end up with what I call the Irish question. Keep asking until you get the answer you want as was the case of Ireland joining the single currency.

There is a lot to play for in the coming few months. However, I beg the campaigners of each camp, keep to the facts, help us understand, as from this allow us to vote with a clear understanding of what are voting for. As whatever the outcome of the vote, will have far reaching consequences on all our lives.

 

 

 

 

Euro Elections, the Candidates and the Parties for the South West

The European Elections will be soon upon us with the Polling day set for the 22nd May. This election comes around every five years and the last one coincided with the first Unitary Elections for Cornwall Council. The UK gets to elect 73 MEP’s out of a total of 751 a slight reduction of 15 MEP’s since the last election. These 751 MEP are drawn from the 28 Member States, and will represent a staggering 500 million people.

Last time round, the South West elected six MEP’s. These were: Giles Chichester (Conservative), Ashley Fox (Conservative), Julie Girling (Conservative), Trevor Colman (UKIP), William, Earl of Dartmouth  UKIP) and Graham Watson (Lib Dem). The turnout for the South West was 1,549,708 from an electorate of 3,998,479. A 38% turnout. Which is remarkably low considering the influence the European Parliament has.

So who is standing and who are they standing for? Well you are in luck, as like all Elections in the UK, a Statement or Parties and Individual Candidates has been produced.

20140423-120753.jpg

The South West Region comprises  Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire. It also includes the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar and is one of the nine UK Regions for the European Elections. Unlike National and Local Elections, which are carried out via the ‘first past the post’ method, the Euro elections are carried out (in the UK) by the D’hondt method.  If you want to know more, click on the previous link, but for those don’t want to, this method is proportional representation via a party list.

So who will take the honours for the South West?  The polls can all predict who might win, but that is up to those voting, and therefore why it is important to excercise your vote.  For the eagle eyed only two Candidates are from Cornwall and one of them is my friend and former Cornwall Councillor colleague, Jude Robinson. Good Luck Jude, though it is a shame you are so far down the party list. It is interesting to note too, the Olympic rower James Cracknell is standing for the Cons.

In fact out of the 48 Candidates, 11 of them have their registered address outside of the South West. Though to be fair, one lives in Gibraltar which is totally understandable considering Gib is part of the South West Region.

Europe – Yes, No, Let’s Have a Vote!

It is not often that I make comments on this blog on national, or international topics, but the latest bun-fight between the 27 member states of the European Union has compelled me to.

Let’s start with a little bit of praise for Gordon Brown. If it was not for his instistence of the five economic tests being passed, Tony Blair would have had us signed up and using the Euro quicker than the coins could have been minted. Also his other great move was to make the Bank of England independent from the Government. Well done, Gordon. Then again, he did change the banking regulations to a more relaxed, self-administered process which you could argue is part of the cause to the worldwide financial mess we are now in.

The latest summit to save the euro had 26 of the member states sign an accord. Britain decided to use its veto and say no. Was this the right move? Well who knows because the actual details to why the PM turned it down is a little blurred. Those who want to find a simplistic answer say it was to protect those greedy banker mates of his. I feel this is child like simplicity because the financial industry is not just about a bunch of slacked-jawed, pinstriped suited buffoons. It is a world trading market, which is taxed by the UK Government. So it is right the PM makes sure it is protected.

However, this leads on to the bigger debate of Europe. Historically Britain has always had suspicions on the motives of ‘Johnny Foreigner’ from across the channel. The French, and in my opinion, the ungrateful General de Gaulle vetoed Britain’s membership of the EEC  in ’63 and ’67. It was not until de Gaulle fell from power that Britain joined the EEC on the third attempt in 1973. As de Gaulle is quoted: “France has no friends, only interests”. Has much changed since then?

Since 1973 no one in Britain outside the various governments, has had a say on Europe. We have been promised a referendum by the various political parties, but when is comes to discussing a referendum, all the parties find an excuse not to have one. Is this because the answer will be an Agincourt style two-fingers up at Europe? The again, if the country was allowed a sensible debate on Europe; how Britain fits in, the result might be different.

Until such a time as there a referendum we will have to listen to the various political European squabbles from the sideline. Who knows, maybe my son’s children will finally get a say on Europe.