Saturday, June 25, 2005

Mark Pritchard's Westminster Diary

From Thursday's Telford Journal

Europe's leaders have fallen out of step with the people, says The Wrekin MP.

What part of the word 'Non' do the French, German and British govern­ments not under­stand?

The result of the French referendum was a clear rejection of the European Con­stitutional Treaty and a rejection of Europe's political elites and their stealthy plans for further European integration.

Europe's political leaders have fallen out of step with the people and the people have fallen out of love with them yet Chancellor Schroeder, President Chiraq and Tony Blair refuse to listen.

Even when the corporate will of the people is expressed - their views are ignored and sidestepped.

Thirty years ago, Britons signed up to a trade rela­tionship with Europe, they did not sign up to a Europe which seeks to dictate our mortgage rates, tax rates, immigration policy, foreign policy and defence policy -and certainly Britons did not sign up to a European federal President, some­thing the Constitutional Treaty seeks to impose.

The European dream has become a nightmare of over-regulation, interfer­ence, meddling and increased taxation. The drive towards a single Euro­pean empire has been tried before.

The Roman Empire was arguably the only other European empire that has previously existed. (I've read this somewhere else before haven't I? - Merk)

It also had a single cur­rency - gold, it too strived for a single language - Latin and it too collapsed because of corrupt leader­ship, a belief in its own self-importance, a lack of understanding of the diver­sity of European cultures, and the failure to recognise the folly of one size fits all governance.

We are told by pro-Euro­pean Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs that if we do not surrender our birthright to Europe that British jobs will be lost.

This seems at odds with the statements of many business leaders I meet.

They suggest their rea­son for doing business in Britain is that Britain's labour markets are less like Europe rather than more like them.

Businesses need flexible and nimble labour markets not over-regulation, and if they can't find flexibility in Britain they will look for it elsewhere.

Britain cannot maintain its relative prosperity by adopting the failed Euro­pean socialist and work­place model.

Therefore, those who claim scepticism towards Europe will cost jobs are wrong and are resorting to desperate and siren politics, which only serves to prove the weakness of their spuri­ous hypothesis.

A local example is the Labour opt-in to the Work­ing Time Directive, which is preventing many local peo­ple from earning much needed overtime.

Labour MEPs have a lot to answer for and so does the government. Clearly, employees should not be forced to work excessive hours, but discussions about working hours in Shropshire should take place between local and national employers and local employees, not be enshrined in law in Brus­sels.

Britain is in need of a new breed of politician, politi­cians who are not ashamed to speak up for the national self-interest.

This is not an insular statement but one that recognises that most Britons want a government and Parliament that are accountable to the British people and politicians who are prepared to reject the outdated and failed central­ist model of Franco-Ger­man politics.

No surrender to 'every close union' with Europe (a term that can be found in all European Treaties going back to the Treaty of Rome) is not a populist utterance of an out-of-date little Englander philosophy but a necessary survival gene that has served Britain well for hundreds of years.

If Britain is to remain strong and vibrant, if she is to retain her national self-confidence, then the cur­rent crisis in the EU should be seen as an opportunity to redefine our current rela­tionship within Europe, and by doing so, Britain will then be able to provide a secure future for the gener­ations that follow us



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