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Where now for the European Union?

May 27, 2014 10:09 AM
By Cllr John Marriott - Lincoln, Sleaford and North Hykeham
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

John MarriottWhen the dust finally settles from the results last Sunday the establishment, both here and in the European Union as a whole, has got to listen to a significant number of its citizens who are deeply disillusioned with the way that body is not only run but, more significantly, the direction in which it is heading.

Where did it all go wrong, for the Liberal Democrats at least? In domestic terms when asked during the second debate with Nigel Farage how he envisaged the EU in ten years' time, Nick Clegg replied; "More or less the same". With that one remark I am sure he sealed the fate of the overtly pro Europe campaign his party bravely ran in the eyes of many voters who, although wishing to give them a good kicking for the fall in their standard of living, might nevertheless have given them their support if they had acknowledged more firmly that things needed to change, especially if they had used the European elections for the purpose for which they were called.

Not all of these people are rabidly anti EU; but many, like me, who voted in the 1975 Referendum for a Common Market, are uneasy about the kind of organisation we have ended up with. To leave the EU would still be in my view an economic disaster for our country, whether that includes Scotland after September or not. But that doesn't mean more of the same.

However, those who will be pulling the strings in Brussels for the next five years have got to change direction if they do not want the project to disintegrate before their eyes. Euro sceptics do not just exist on this side of the channel. Their numbers are increasing on the European mainland as well. A good place to start would be to revisit the concept of the free movement of peoples.