Beethoven and Mozart or Cameroon and Mozambique?

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From: Michael Meadowcroft, President, Leeds West Liberal Democrats, Waterloo Lane, Bramley, Leeds.

IT is a real pity that the European debate is bedevilled by such small-minded individuals as Bill Carmichael (Yorkshire Post, November 9). He seeks a role for the Commonwealth which is a complete mirage and he gives the game away by regarding it as part of an “anglosphere,” which it long since ceased to be.

This fear of foreigners and an inability to see any vision of a community of peoples beyond the Channel has put the United Kingdom at a great disadvantage for all of the 60 years of European development. We have tried from time to time to catch up but rarely with any evidence of the internationalism that has characterised the European Union even in its worst moments.

The EU was originally conceived as a means of preventing France and Germany ever going to war again, following three appalling conflicts in a mere 70 years. We have now had the longest period of peace in Western Europe since history began.

Compare this with what happened in the Balkans when the federal Yugoslavian state collapsed. Does not Bill Carmichael consider it astonishing that, with all their many faults, the European politicians have managed to construct an organisation that includes three countries that only 22 years ago were in the Soviet Union, plus others that were in the Warsaw Pact or in Tito’s Yugoslavia?

Bill Carmichael believes that our ties with the Commonwealth, including Cameroon and Mozambique, are more enveloping than those of Europe. In fact, most of our culture is European.

We recognise the genius of Beethoven and Mozart, we enjoy Verdi and Diaghelev and we appreciate Pushkin and Goethe – albeit in translation – and we love French cuisine. Our European neighbours happily add Shakespeare to such a Pantheon.

Bill Carmichael’s narrow focus on economics reminds me of Jo Grimond’s comment on Harold Wilson’s statement that he would be in favour of the then EEC “if the price was right”. Jo responded that it was “like waiting to decide on the Reformation until one knew what the monasteries would fetch”.

From: D Birch, Smithy Lane, Cookridge, Leeds.

OUR elected Members of Parliament have voted for a cut to the EU budget, but their wishes could be ignored by the Prime Minister.

I was under the impression that the party in power was duty bound to try and do what the full Parliament wishes.

The media should be 
publishing all the major 
amounts of money the EU 
takes in and where the money goes out to.

Also, the cost of administration in both Brussels and 
Strasbourg. We should 
know these things before 
2015 when this coalition will 
be calling for a referendum 
and whether we should be in 
or out.