In the week when the UK’s five extremist right-wing media billionaires won their battle to waste our time, money and political capital on a EU referendum, I thought it a good time to post the great letter by Simon Sweeney in the Guardian, which he kindly allowed me to reproduce in my book, “The Prostitute State – How Britain’s Democracy has Been Bought”:
“What did the EU ever do for us?
- Not much, apart from: providing 57% of our trade;
- structural funding to areas hit by industrial decline;
- clean beaches and rivers;
- cleaner air;
- lead free petrol;
- restrictions on landfill dumping;
- a recycling culture;
- cheaper mobile charges;
- cheaper air travel;
- improved consumer protection and food labelling;
- a ban on growth hormones and other harmful food additives;
- better product safety;
- single market competition bringing quality improvements and better industrial performance;
- break up of monopolies;
- Europe-wide patent and copyright protection;
- no paperwork or customs for exports throughout the single market;
- price transparency and removal of commission on currency exchanges across the eurozone;
- freedom to travel, live and work across Europe;
- funded opportunities for young people to undertake study or work placements abroad;
- access to European health services;
- labour protection and enhanced social welfare;
- smoke-free workplaces;
- equal pay legislation;
- holiday entitlement;
- the right not to work more than a 48-hour week without overtime;
- strongest wildlife protection in the world;
- improved animal welfare in food production;
- EU-funded research and industrial collaboration;
- EU representation in international forums;
- bloc EEA negotiation at the WTO;
- EU diplomatic efforts to uphold the nuclear non-proliferation treaty;
- European arrest warrant;
- cross border policing to combat human trafficking, arms and drug smuggling; counter terrorism intelligence;
- European civil and military co-operation in post-conflict zones in Europe and Africa;
- support for democracy and human rights across Europe and beyond;
- investment across Europe contributing to better living standards and educational, social and cultural capital.
- All of this is nothing compared with its greatest achievements: the EU has for 60 years been the foundation of peace between European neighbours after centuries of bloodshed.
- It furthermore assisted the extraordinary political, social and economic transformation of 13 former dictatorships, now EU members, since 1980.
- Now the union faces major challenges brought on by neoliberal economic globalisation, and worsened by its own systemic weaknesses. It is taking measures to overcome these. We in the UK should reflect on whether our net contribution of £7bn out of total government expenditure of £695bn is good value. We must play a full part in enabling the union to be a force for good in a multi-polar global future.
Lecturer in international political economy, University of York”
Please share – the anti-EU campaign has the full force of Murdoch’s and the other 4 right-wing media billionaires papers whose agenda is to destroy all our human rights.
This media is repeating myths so that many people consider them the truth.
As I wrote in The Prostitute State, over 80% of UK papers are owned by five extremist right wing media billionaires: Rupert Murdoch, (Sun/Times), Barclay Brothers (Telegraph), Richard Desmond (Express) and Lord Rothermere (Daily Mail).
Murdoch is Australian living in New York, Rothermere lives in France, the Barclay Brothers in the tax havens of Monaco and Guernsey. All of them use tax haven entities to avoid UK taxes.
So key question is in light of the above list, why have these billionaires for decades tried to destroy the EU’s democratic institutions?
Together we can take him/them on and beat him/them.
peace love respect
I would agree with him that Britain has become a prostitute state but that’s c/o corrupt politicians/media/EU as a whole. I’m not trying to be argumentative here, just as factual as possible, please correct anything you think is wrong though as none of us have the full answer to anything nowadays – If we always (apart from 1975) get back less than what we put in, isn’t it better to just do these things directly in the first place? That would have meant more regeneration projects.
The guy says a net contribution of £7 billion but that was the net cost of our membership fee in 2010, it doesn’t include the other £70 billion in indirect costs for regulation, farming and fisheries and anything else they could get away with putting on the bill.
Also, Mr Sweeney will no doubt receive some kind of funding from the EU so he’s unlikely to be against it. Just to pick up on a few of his other points – Lead Petrol engines ceased production in the UK in 1992, that’s 6 years after the Japanese had completely phased it out, I wouldn’t commend the EU for taking until 2002 to phase it out for us, in reality, we could have phased it out a lot quicker on our own.
Having worked in ‘Waste’ for 8 years I can tell you for sure that the changes to landfill operations have caused way more harm than good. It’s great to claim that the EU gave us recycling but in fairness we had a very good glass bottle system in place that was replaced with plastic that takes more energy than its worth to fully recycle and not buying local always increases the amount of packaging that is required to be recycled.
I’m not sure how we have managed to have better industrial performance when we have become a service based economy with a lot less manufacturing.
EU funded research – where did the money come from again?
Enhanced social welfare, hmmm, it’s hard to agree with that as the privatisation of the UK started when joining the EU and that has only had a negative effect on social welfare as a whole.
European arrest warrant is a very dubious set-up.
Cross border policing to combat human trafficking (human trafficking increasing all the time), arms and drug smuggling (I think we are all aware who sells arms and drugs around the world) counter terrorism(Yes, fund ISIS and then fight them lol)
I really do not see anything on this list that could not have been achieved ourselves in a quicker and cheaper fashion apart from the movement of people around the EU although we were always promised there would be no need for passports. If we go back to the 1975 referendum pamphlet https://www.harvard-digital.co.uk/euro/pamphlet.htm we see some very interesting things. One is the identical situation we find ourselves in now with the Government trying to get ‘A new deal’. This is one of the best quotes- WILL PARLIAMENT LOSE ITS POWER?
Another anxiety expressed about Britain’s membership of the Common Market is that Parliament could lose its supremacy, and we would have to obey laws passed by unelected ‘faceless bureaucrats’ sitting in their headquarters in Brussels.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The main 3 points that our government played on were Food, Money and Jobs (Just like the Irish referendum).
Now I have to say that when I was 13yrs old and being taught about the EEC in school they said – The EEC pays Farmers to NOT GROW FOOD SO THAT THE PRICE CAN REMAIN AT A SUITABLE LEVEL! How about we end this nonsense and have an abundance of nice organic affordable food instead?
Jobs quote – We have also maintained our freedom to pursue our own policies on taxation and on industry and to develop Scotland and Wales and the Regions where unemployment is high – 41 years later and virtually nothing has changed.