Tuesday 10 March 2009


By Jeffrey Titford MEP UK Independence Party - Eastern Counties

This is my last column for the East Anglian Daily Times as the European Election beckons and I am not seeking re-election. After ten years in the European Parliament, my second career, having already retired once, I have decided that it is time to stand aside and let younger candidates come through.

Writing these columns has been one of the great pleasures of my time as an MEP. The EADT is to be congratulated for being one of the very few newspapers prepared to carry regular material from the region’s MEPs. Instrumental in that has been the paper’s Political Editor, Graham Dines, who has always been very fair and even-handed in his treatment of UKIP, for which I am very grateful. My thanks also to the readers of the EADT, who I hope will have appreciated the independent views I have expressed.

What I have tried to do in my columns is to bring some realism to the debate about Britain ’s membership of the European Union. I have tried to blow holes in some of the empty, rose tinted rhetoric of those who see EU membership as some sort of sunlit upland that provides peace, security and secures our economic future. It provides none of these things but is quite happy to claim the credit for them, credit which belongs elsewhere to organisations like NATO.

In regard to economics, events are now rapidly catching up with a eurozone that has been built upon quicksand. No one cared very much about adhering to EMU entry requirements. Rules about national debts tended to be overlooked or excuses made in the rush to get countries signed up. Well the pigeons are coming home to roost right now. Consumer and business confidence in the zone have fallen to an all time low and many EU countries are on the brink of disaster, including, alas, Ireland , which is in a real mess.

These are tough times for us all but at least Britain , independent of the euro and in control of its own interest rate, is in a better position to ride out the storm. We have been able to cut our rate to try to stimulate our economy, whilst the eurozone countries have to sit and wait for the European Central Bank to decide what to do and hope that it will help their economy rather than that of their neighbour. They are trapped in the euro straitjacket and cannot act in their own best interests. Surely it is the first duty of any government, to act in the best interests of the people it represents? Is it not the case that in signing up to the euro, they have abdicated their most important duty?

A recent report produced by the Bruges Group puts the annual cost of EU membership at £4.64 billion per month, £1.07 billion per week, £152.8 million a day, £6.36 million per hour and an astonishing £106,117 per minute (net figures). EU membership was always grossly expensive but in the boom times, the cost could be overlooked or avoided, by its supporters. It cannot be overlooked any longer. With people losing their jobs and their homes, the expense and the huge regulatory burden it generates are no longer sustainable. We have to leave and soon.

Readers interested in more information about Jeffrey Titford MEP or UKIP can find it on www.jeffreytitfordmep.co.uk