AS a child of the ‘40s in South East England it was difficult to avoid having an outward looking view on life. The combined echoes of Empire and the, then, recent War would be reflected in many childhood games, and the books we read (with limited radio and no TV) were filled with foreign conquests and adventure.
With rationing still a fact of daily life, anything that smacked even vaguely of ‘abroad’ was seen as exotic so, when faced with the option to join the ‘Common Market’, as it was then known, I was a whole-hearted enthusiast, and have remained so in spirit to this day.
With a long career in the coach industry, and based within a short distance of the Channel ports, I made well over 150 trips to mainland Europe, always of course by road (not air), and the natural courtesies and bonhomie one encounters everywhere can do nothing but cement an idea of kinship with fellow Europeans, despite language difficulties.
So why did I, very reluctantly, vote to ‘Leave’ on June 23rd?
One of the few benefits of advancing years is the experience gained along the way. In the late ‘70s, training became the buzzword for UK industry. Most large industries created an ‘xxITB’ (Industry Training Board) and larger companies would recruit ‘Training Managers’ to produce courses for the various activities/skills involved. In real terms this didn’t take them long but, to justify their continued employment, they’d look round for, often hollow, excuses to create even more training opportunities. This resulted in resistance from those who had their departments disrupted to make staff available to attend them. Thus, what started life as an admirable concept fell into disrepute and faded into comparative obscurity.
Fast forward a decade or two and the mere mention of ‘Health & Safety’ is likely to raise eyebrows in derisory fashion – another excellent principle that has largely outgrown itself for practical application – and we now have a whole European continent whose manic bureaucracy, left unchecked, will also descend headlong into ridicule.
One of the key elements of the EU, as the mandarins see it, is ‘Federalism’ which, if ratified, would result in something akin to a ‘USE’ equivalent of the USA or, more likely, a European Socialist version of the former USSR. Long term, something I probably don’t have much of, this will hit problems.
Historically, without the speed of modern communications, it took only 150 years for the socialist politics of the Soviet Union to rise, be toppled and dismantled. The EU’s, essentially socialist, foundations are only 40 years old, yet already a swing to the political right is threatening its very existence plus the enormous infrastructure it has already created.
But what of financial matters. For the very best of reasons, and in all innocence, history will say that Ireland was duped into relying on, and being subservient to, the EU. The ‘Nett Contributor’ nations will nevertheless be independent of that, hence the UK referendum. When we left the UK in 2007 we were paying a household charge of some £1,500 per year plus £300 each for water and sewage, a total of £2,100, or around €2,600 before the recent currency fluctuations. I don’t have access to current figures, but this level of contribution made it possible for a standard of living and social provision that’s now attracting hordes of migrants from across the world – a totally mismanaged situation that has been accentuated by the EU.
The membership fee paid by the UK amounts to some £20bn every year, of which something like £7bn is reallocated to UK charities and projects, but over which the UK has absolutely NO control. It is therefore quite possible for Town X to be allocated funds for revamping a swimming pool by the EU, when the local hospital is desperately in need of a vital piece of equipment.
The main thrust of the Brexit campaign was to ‘Take Back Control’ and I sympathised with that. To build a huge admin system that will shuttle a complete parliament from Brussels to Strasbourg once a month, and which could be made obsolete in months with a few national elections, is total folly and I’m hoping that, by casting my vote to ‘Leave’, it will help create a groundswell of opinion towards a return to a ‘Common Market’ where we all trade freely but rule ourselves.
The UK, with Denmark, has always been seen in Europe as the ‘Wild Child’ that held out against joining the euro, and other matters with which it disagreed. So, the moment the Blair government promised (but never delivered) a referendum, the die was cast. ‘RemaIN’, and the UK would be surrendering itself to total domination by the EU, much to the delight of the Juncker mafia. Brexit was the only answer for many, as the status quo was no longer going to be an option.
Ireland doesn’t want to charge separately for water, but has to because the EU says it must. Ireland might not want to charge all its bus and truck drivers €55 per year for a pointless CPC certificate, but has to because the EU decrees it. And, if the EU pronounces that abortion should be available on demand for those who wish it, Ireland will have to comply. It took Ireland 700+ years to regain its sovereignty, but ... ?
Nick Turner has been living in Drimoleague in West Cork for 9 years and moved here in 2007 from Mid Sussex.