Ireland joined the EEC in 1973. I think it was the first time I voted in anything.
Notice that it was called the EEC then – the European Economic Community.
The EEC was a grand idea. The countries of Europe would cooperate on matters of trade, and restrictions and tariffs would be removed. It was purely concerned with trade and commerce. Another noble aspiration was to help out the poorer countries and give them a shove up the ladder.
Ireland was virtually a Third World country then, so we joined, and did extremely well out of it.
In the intervening 35 years however, the EEC has evolved into an ugly beast. No longer is its primary interest in economics. Now it is all about power and control. The EU [as it has now become] is poking its nose into virtually every aspect of our lives. It has become an unwieldy, expensive bureaucratic monster.
I watched the ‘Tonight’ programme on ITV last night.
They ran an interesting experiment, where they held a private referendum in Luton. The referendum was held along normal lines, in that there were canvassers, loudspeaker vans, posters and door to door canvassers. The only difference was that the result wasn’t binding.
They were asked two questions – should the UK leave the EU, and should the UK ratify the Lisbon Treaty.
What intrigued me were the arguments put forward by both sides.
The pro-EU side argued almost entirely along the lines that the UK needed to remain in from the point of trade and commerce.
The anti-EU argument was equally polarised on the question of democracy, and the interference in sovereign affairs.
No one on the pro-EU side mentioned the benefits of political integration. No one on the anti-EU side mentioned trade and commerce.
What I would read from this is that economic integration is a good thing that everyone seems to be happy with, but that political integration is not what the people want.
I see that Brussels is on again about Ireland holding another referendum. What part of ‘no’ do they not understand? This time, we are to be sweet talked into it, with veiled threats if we don’t cooperate.
Personally, I can’t see any way they are going to persuade me that Lisbon is a good thing. In fact, the more they go on about it, the more convinced I am that political integration is a very bad thing. We are being bullied and coerced which is hardly the basis for a democratic society.
I used to be a great advocate of the EEC. I still am. But I am becoming more and more anti-EU as the days go by.
The referendum result?
For leaving the EU – 55%
For not ratifying the Lisbon Treaty – 63%
We did the right thing on Lisbon.