EDITOR - I respond to the article reporting that our County Councillors will be writing to David Cameron asking him to arrange a referendum on our membership of the European Union.
In October 2011, according the Guardian newspaper, David Cameron was insisting that membership of the EU is in Britain’s national interest and vital for “millions of jobs and millions of families”.
He went on to say that a referendum was not their policy at the election and it is not policy now.
While I’m happy to see rank and file members of the Conservative Party disagreeing with their leader, I fear this grand gesture of requesting a referendum is a desperate bid to deflect, for the moment, public questions about what should be happening in our county.
I would remind our Skegness County Councillors Milner and Smith that Skegness has benefitted enormously from EU monies.
Last November, our Skegness Standard reported on the four million pounds of European funding which could be secured for highly prized projects in Skegness.
The Skegness Partnership has applied for European Regional Development Funding to bring the Tower Gardens Pavilion back into use. There is also the heritage hub at St Matthew’s Church and improvements to the foreshore and Lumley Road.
There are many sources of EU funding – not just the Regional Development fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) but many other programmes besides and a lot of EU funding will be for more than one community (eg broadband in Lincs which has benefited the county as a whole not just Skegness).
Monies have been applied for, and/or made available for: ‘Youth in Action’ ‘Skegness Investment Strategy’ ‘Coastal Action Zone’ and only last month £60,000 for The Village Church Farm for new building/tearoom facilities.
I also ask how Lincolnshire County Council are presenting this to the many Tory farmers (who benefit hugely from the Common Agricultural Policy), or to their friends in the business community, many of whom depend on the Single Market.
I say all of this just to show that there is another side to being a part of the EU, a side which had not apparently been mentioned in the letter to the Skegness Standard.
I personally would be quite happy for a referendum to take place. But, it must be with all information made available.
I understand that as a country we put in more than we take out, but as a county we benefit significantly and what chance is there that Government would take up where the EU leave off?
Of course, IF David Cameron seeks a public vote on the EU, it will not happen until 2014, more likely 2015.
That is why I suggest our councillors’ call for a referendum is simply a grand gesture; with the County Council elections coming up, I guess they had to find something to talk about rather than face the real issues and the day-to-day pain that many Skegness families are suffering.
Skegness Labour Party