December 9: Don’t risk UK becoming a small island over EU

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From: Chris Zanetti, Southfield, Hessle, East Yorkshire.

LET me provide an alternative view to that expressed by Dan Hannan (The Yorkshire Post, December 5) in his artice “A province of Europe”.

The UK has many advantages, as Mr Hannan so rightly notes. However only 0.5 per cebt of the babies born in the world are British; we only have four per cent of global GDP despite being the world’s fifth biggest economy.

We have far more positive influence in the world as part of an economic and political bloc of more than 500m people such as the EU represents. Our role in the EU enhances our voice in the UN and working together with France, as we have been doing, our military leverage goes much further within Nato.

This view is expressed by global leaders including Barack Obama who all wish us to remain in the EU. Even senior political figures in Norway and Iceland have expressed a view that the UK is far better inside the EU influencing the terms of trade and providing a positive momentum for liberal values and freedom of speech than a lone voice outside it.

We would still have to abide by EU terms of trade outside the bloc when dealing with EU countries if we left. The UK, including Margaret Thatcher who signed up to many of the current policies such as the Single Market and expansion to Eastern Europe has been a major influence in the EU still being the largest economic force in the world.

I, and many others, will despair if we become, as Bill Bryson put it, a ‘small island’ off the North West coast of Europe with a medium-sized economy and a diminishing influence in the world.

From: David Gray, Liversedge, West Yorkshire.

THERE are reports we will have to accept next year, by decree of the EU, any doctor, nurse or midwife from anywhere in the European Union if they were carrying a licence card from any other member country.

Whilst in no way underestimating the considerable support and quality of many such medically qualified people who come to work in our country, I find it unacceptable that our authorities responsible for engaging them are barred from vetting their qualifications and abilities.

This covers not only medical competence, but also the ability to understand our explanation of our symptoms or to be able to impart to our understanding the details of our self-care and ongoing treatment.

We seem to be daily bombarded by interference from the EU over matters that they do not need to involve themselves in and which only fuel the anti-feeling.

From: Les Arnott, Athelstan Road, Sheffield.

IT is astonishing that Don Burslam attempts to attack Ukip (The Yorkshire Post, December 7) for something which the party is not and never has been. He seems to subscribe wholeheartedly – and perhaps somewhat disingenuously – to the silly Ukip is full of “little Englanders” fallacy.

It is hardly possible to be more wrong. Ukip wants out of a corrupt, inefficient, expensive, imperialistic, narrow, blinkered, economic club which is seeing its share of world trade eroding, year on year.

The party looks at politics and economics on a global scale not through the eyes of “little europhiles”. Furthermore, when has Ukip ever stated that it wants to stop trading with the EU and being friends with the individual nations therein?

From: Thomas W. Jefferson, Batty Lane, Howden, Goole.

IN his vision of a new world order in which there are no nation states, Don Burslam (The Yorkshire Post, December 7) neglects to mention democracy! Does he wish to abolish it, or has he invented the perfect system but forgot to mention it?

Wrong to put price on law

From: Paul Sherwood, Thirsk.

THERE has been recent coverage of the “Criminal Courts Charge’” another odious fee imposed on defendants in court. It now appears that this imposition, not based on an ability to pay, is being removed by Justice Secretary Michael Gove less than a year after it was introduced by his predecessor Chris Grayling.

It had been criticised by all levels of the judiciary, including magistrates, many of whom resigned over it. A year ago, I retired from the Northallerton bench after more than 20 years. I was only too aware of the money-making sideline we were then sanctioning on behalf of the government. Justice is not done, nor being seen to be done, when defendants decide to plead guilty to save money.

Financial penalties (i.e. fines) are based on a person’s ability to pay, they fall into three categories which equate to half a week’s wages, a week’s wages and a week and a half wages. On top of this, the Crown Prosecution Service add their “costs” – when I retired this was a minimum of about £80 rising to a thousand or more. Magistrates have very little leeway or discretion.

Spend money on our floods

From: Peter Hyde, Driffield.

PERHAPS the government ought to disband the Department for International Development and in its place create a Department for the Regeneration of Flooded and Derelict Areas in the UK, thereby diverting cash away from India’s space programme to where it is most needed.