EU cash could be better spent
From: Eleanor Dudley Grand Parade
I read with despair Hugh Ball’s letter (Herald, February 16) regarding Michael Harris’s letter of February 9.
Having been born in 1963, I do not, as Mr Ball does, have memories of what life was like just after the war. But I do agree with him that dragging up the war in relation to Brexit is ridiculous. However, I take issue with him about the reasons for the founding of what is now the EU.
Contrary to what Mr Ball asserts, the European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organisation which aimed to bring about economic integration among its member states. It had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with maintaining peace in Europe - that is a later interpretation based on the fact that, since the founding of the EEC, there has not been a war between the major European powers since 1945 (i.e. 11 years before the Treaty of Rome).
And peace in Western Europe has only been maintained through the efforts of the members of NATO, not the EU.
And the possibility of the EU creating its own army – or at least its own united military command – will do immeasurable damage to the already fracturing cohesion of NATO under the leadership of the USA with Donald Trump occupying the White House.
As to Michael Harris’s letter, he was merely pointing out that it would be nonsensical for the UK and EU to negotiate an agreement that was not mutually beneficial for both parties - what Mr Harris terms, ‘a joint victory for the future of the UK and Europe.
As to the so-called economic surveys carried out both by the government and international institutions such as the OECD, they may well have shown that Brexit could, not will, mean a big loss for Britain as well as a lesser one for Europe but the OECD (along with the Bank of England, the IMF and the World Bank) have all now clearly stated that Brexit will have no long-term damaging effect on the UK, provided it is handled correctly - and they have all consistently upgraded their economic forecasts for the UK.
And I completely disagree that anyone over 65 should be barred from voting, which would have barred Mr Ball himself. And his comment regarding barring those over 77 “because that would ensure that those voting would be around long enough to live with the consequences of their actions” is positively disgusting.
As to those over 65, I would remind Mr Ball that the majority of those over 65, in fact “older” people in general, were mainly responsible for keeping the UK in the EU in the 1975 referendum and, accepting Mr Ball’s assumption, my generation have lived with the consequences of their action for the past 45 years - loss of parliamentary sovereignty, loss of an independent legal system and billions of our pounds being given to the EU each year etc. to give to poorer members of the EU as if we didn’t have enough problems of our own on which this money could have been spent.