Counting the costs of EU membership

From: TW Jefferson, Station Road, Hensall, Goole.

LORD Wallace of Saltaire (Yorkshire Post, August 24) states that your correspondent Arthur Quarmby is a former UKIP election candidiate. In the interests of balance, should he not also have pointed out that he, personally, is a failed would-be Lib-Dem MP?

He explains that we were told, in the 1975 referendum campaign, that our continued membership of the then EEC would require us to “share aspects of UK sovereignty with our neighbours”.

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He goes on to claim that if we left the EU we “would lack the bargaining power in global negotiations that we gain through the EU”.

Regardless of what was said in 1975, we have learned the hard way that “sharing our sovereignty” has cost us dear.

For example, a decimated fishing industry; acceptance of unrealistic climate change targets which can only be achieved at inordinate cost; banking regulation which could challenge London’s status as a premier global financial centre; and more recently, new employment legislation that will cost industry yet another £2bn a year.

If “sharing our sovereignty” diminishes our ability to defend our national interests, how can our bargaining power be enhanced by depriving ourselves of our own voice in global negotiations and instead delegating that function to the likes of Baroness Ashton?

Rewards for failure

From: John Blakey, Park Villas, Leeds.

JOHN Redwood (Yorkshire Post, August 26) has a brave attempt to boost the image of the banking profession.

I fear he is missing the point. We are not all bankers now for we all don’t get a salary from the banks.

To us simple-minded non-bankers, it seems that the bankers are not doing their job. It is the job of a banker to lend the bank’s money, which is repaid with interest.

So it’s up to them to know that while it is all right to lend to Tom, and Dick, but never, never must you lend to Harry, for you won’t get your money back if you do.

In this the bankers have failed, they loaned lots to Harry and to Greece and to Ireland, and others who don’t seem able to pay it back. And now they are scared of lending to Dick and Tom.

Now if we were in any other profession, and by our decisions we lost the company lots and lots of money, we would expect, quite rightly, to get the sack. Instead of which bankers get bonuses. They seem to get bonuses when the bank does well and bonuses when the bank is nearly collapsed and has to be rescued by the Government with quantitative easing.

So you are rewarded for success but equally you are rewarded for failure. What then is the incentive to achieve success?

Long history of decline

From: Martin Smith, Main Street, Elvington, York.

PETER Ellus congratulates David Cameron for “the end of our society as we know it” (Yorkshire Post, August 26) which for a Prime Minister barely one year in office is rather unfair.

I have every sympathy with Mr Ellis in his despair at the state of the UK, but this has been 50 years in the sowing and the bitter harvest will be reaped for generations to come.

Since the 1960s, often in the name of progress, sometimes because of political dogma, our society and culture have changed beyond all recognition.

It is hard to believe the speed of change or the collapse in general manners and standards or respect for the law.

We have become a nation bankrupt of money, ideas or aspiration, no longer deluded by the mirage of economic health through grossly inflated property prices and unsupportable borrowing.

We have no mainstream political party or outstanding political leader with radically different ideas to suggest a reversal of this decline.

The tribal nature of our politics and the disinterest regularly displayed by much of the electorate suggests that the current situation is unlikely to improve any time soon whichever party or Prime Minister is in power.

Riot lessons

From: Paul Flint, Harrogate Road, Leeds.

I WELCOME the comments of Tim Hollis (Yorkshire Post, August 30) regarding the riots and the swift response of the police.

What I would like to know is whether this will be extended to other forms of criminality. I am convinced that anti-social behaviour has spiralled out of control because the police, and the courts, have been slow off the mark.

This mindset must change. The riots should prompt a review of the entire justice system – and the legitimacy of Ken Clarke’s reforms that are intended to see even fewer people sent to prison in the future.

Running total

From: John Gordon, Whitcliffe Lane, Ripon.

I MAKE a point of stepping aside for passing joggers. Last week I received two gasps, two grunts and one thank you. Is this a record?