Posted: 04/03/2016 at 21:21
I have to correct the misapprehension that we were EVER given the vote to decide whether or not to JOIN the then Common Market. We were signed up for it, like it or lump it, by one E. Heath Esq. It was Wilson who called the plebiscite for the population to decide if we wanted to remain part of the "club".
At that time, I was an active campaigner for us to remain, believing in better trade (in comparison with EFTA) and a better long term future.
I rather regret my youthful enthusiasm - although I have yet completely to make up my mind on the forthcoming vote.
The problems are well documented - there is endemic corruption (just think of all the subsidies paid for more olives groves than actually exist, for example.) The accounts have not been signed off for two decades (and if a private company was run like that, the directors would get short shrift - assuming that they weren't behind bars).
The project has morphed from a trading agreement to "ever more closer political union" - and that has never been offered to the population as an option. From the Common Market we have had the European Economic Community, The European Community and now The European Union. We have never voted for these evolved manifestations, and our influence is diminished the more we are subsumed by other countries that wish to join.
The Gallic Shrug epitomises the way in which some countries actually implement the European diktats. Sign up for anything and obey it if they feel like it. And we, goody two-shoes, adopt and obey every rule and regulation that comes our way.
Remember the BSE crisis? When our national herd was declared safe, the Germans and French still refused to allow us to send our beef to them. Germany backed down when faced with legal action. France did not, and was due to pay hefty fines as a result.
Guess how much they ever paid for preventing us from trading legally in our quality beef? Nothing. Ever. Gallic shrug again.
They have interfered with all levels of society, and we gardeners have felt the effects in many ways. There have been products withdrawn because they are unsafe, and has been pointed out upthread, they almost certainly would have been banned in any case.
But there are other products that are "banned" because, even though they are safe to use, they are produced by companies that do not have the resources to put them through long and very expensive testing/validation procedures.
And many of the banned products are less to do with inherent dangers per se, but are far too often the result of national lobbying on the grand scale.
I would like to see the whole project re-configured to bring about more simple trading positions, with more local influence restored to national parliaments. I would like to see the whole Schengen experiment consigned to history - a madcap scheme that is reaping mayhem at the moment. I await positive proposals to bring this about from anyone entering the debating arena.