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February 16, 2014 11:25 PM
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

Euro candidate George Smid was invited to speak at Anthony Gell School (Wirksworth) in a debate with Derek Bennett, a UKIP candidate from West Midlands. The debate was well attended by Y13 students and was structured along the lines 'this house is divided' with the motion 'this house believes Britain should leave the EU'.

George Smid 3The UKIP speaker started the debate and took to what must now be the official new UKIP approach: UKIP is not against Europe, only against the EU. So UKIP would keep the trade, would keep the flow of goods and services, would keep the borders open, would keep the pound, would keep UK independent - and to achieve all that the UK must leave the EU so we do not have to follow the 'daft' laws coming out of Brussels. George pointed out that:

"To keep the trade flowing, to keep borders open, to allow people to travel you have to have joined an agreed platform.

" To travel countries must recognise each other's passports. For specifying your goods you have to have common norms. You must have mutually recognised laws - commercial laws, consumer laws, enforcement laws. The seller and the buyer need protection against faulty goods and non performing contracts.

"Similarly, open payment channels imply a common banking platform.

"At the time of digital information being freely available companies need protection against misuse of their intellectual property and trade information.

" And much more to allow the free trade UKIP is advocating."

The second point of 'freedom and independency' can only be decided by evaluating the alternatives the UK would face if we left the EU. The concept that we will set sail on our island and move it to somewhere in the mid-Atlantic to the never-never land where boys don't grow up, where there are fairies, pirates and Indians is enchanting (and George would love to live in such a place!) but impractical.

In the real practical world of today if you want to be free you have to rely on each other's support systems: for free trade as well as free travel. The reliance on each other's systems is what drives the creation of ever bigger trading blocks and these big trading blocks are a reality.

So the UK has three options:

  • to stay in the EU
  • to join another block (which one?)
  • to go independent

And it is the independent route advocated by UKIP which will cause us to lose our UK independence.

George used the 'cherished independent pound' as an example and asked:

"Can you imagine a situation where the European Central Bank starts increasing or decreasing interest rates and our Bank of England will declare sovereign policy and will not take corresponding action?

"In a practical world 'Our' Bank of England with 'our' interest rates will follow suit".

So George asked a second question:

"'What in your opinion is a better position: be there at the negotiating table when European Interest rates are discussed and influence the outcome to our liking, or to be outside and either slavishly follow the path set by the European Central Bank or to declare 'independency' with the consequent disaster?'

George Smid then ended with his rallying cry: the motion "Britain should leave the EU" is the wrong motion. The right motion should be "Britain should lead the EU". Therefore, the Liberal Democrat policies of engagements are the only sensible course of action.

Questions from the audience about education, European Directives, free trade, travel, the impact of EU trade and investment ensued.

These were answered by the speakers in turn.

And then, finally, the 'house' was invited to vote.

With trepidation George waited but the Liberal Democrat view was massively endorsed:

  • ONE student was for the motion (we should leave),
  • TWENTY SEVEN were against the motion (we should stay)
  • EIGHT abstained.

"What a pity we cannot replicate this result nationally" said George.

But it is still a few days to go to May 2014 so please let George know if you need help with spreading the word. We do need to concentrate on reaching out in these last 100 days: schools, societies, businesses, clubs ... we might contact some of them twice but it is better that way than no contact at all.

You can follow George on @GeorgeSmid or J George Smid facebook or by email


J G Šmíd
Lib Dem MEP Candidate East Midlands
Rose Lodge, King's Cliffe Road Wansford PE8 6NU
tel: +44 1780 782 303 mob: +44 7950 021 062 Skype: "georgesmid"