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Democrat January-February 2011

It is time for a referendum
on Britain's EU membership

Report by Brian Denny

Demanding a referendum over the Lisbon Treaty

The European Union now makes a majority of the laws you have to obey and costs £17.5 billion gross every year out of the taxes you pay.

We are told we are getting 'EU subsidies' in return, but we are sending £8.3 billion net to Brussels which amounts to £23 million every day. In other words for every £2.10p we send to Brussels we get £1 back.

Demanding a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty promised by all three major political parties but not fulfilled

Britain's contribution has also increased over the last year by a staggering 60 per cent partly due to the devaluation of Sterling and Tony Blair's rebate giveaway to Brussels before he left office.

Yet Britain now has only eight per cent of the votes in the main law making institutions in Brussels and EU laws cannot be blocked or reversed as EU law over-rides national law.

Yet we have never been asked whether Britain should be a member of such a hugely expensive and undemocratic political project.

We have reached a moment of truth. Our democracy is disappearing and huge sums of public money we cannot afford are being wasted by the EU.

If we didn't hand over £17.5 billion a year to the EU there would be no need, for example, to increase VAT to 20 per cent, which is supposed to bring down the deficit by £13 billion.

We could continue to trade with other European countries and the whole world. Less than nine per cent of what we now produce is exported to the EU yet we must enforce EU laws that affect the whole economy.

We could better protect our environment. We could restrict access to what were once Britain's fishing waters and impose effective conservation measures. The EU's Common Fisheries Policy, like the Common Agricultural Policy, has been highly detrimental for the environment.

Last year, more than 1,000 people were extradited under the EU Arrest Warrant. This allows British citizens to be taken to face trial in another EU country without evidence of a crime first having to be presented in a British court.

This is a direct attack on the traditional legal right of Habeas Corpus. Officers of the EU's embryonic police force, Europol, have immunity from prosecution and gained more operational powers under the Lisbon treaty.

Most important of all would be more democratic. The EU is constructed on anti-democratic lines. EU laws made by remote institutions can be imposed on us even if Britain's government, parliament and people all oppose them.

There have been 30,000 EU laws imposed since Britain joined. Westminster MPs and MEPs have little say in these laws and, once they are made, cannot alone reverse them. This is not what most people understand by the idea of living in a democracy. EU laws have, for example, forced the break up of our railway system, privatised postal services and slowly destroying our National Health Service. Leaving the EU would return law-making power to people we elect and can remove from office if we disapprove of their actions. We could restore genuine democracy and make elections matter again.

In order to prevent a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty the Lib Dems called for a referendum on Britain's membership on the EU. Now they are in power let's have the referendum they claim they wanted and the people decide the future of this country. Ask your MP if they would support such a referendum and if not, why not? Expose their excuses and show them we still have enough democracy to give them something to worry about!