LETTER: Not applying logic to facts
It is good to hear that Mr Newby has a logical approach to decision making. Unfortunately he is not applying his logic to fact.
Firstly France did not leave the Atlantic Alliance altogether but withdrew from NATO’s command structures. It returned because it was taking part in most NATO operations anyway – nothing to do with the EU.
Mr Newby feels the sum we receive from the Common Agricultural Policy is a “pittance”. We get about half the sum France receives (2014 figures) but then we have about half the land area of France; similarly German receives about 50 per cent more than we do, with about 50 per cent greater area. No country smaller than the UK receives more than we do.
I know little about fish, except that fish stocks in “our” seas have been falling for more than a century and that fish do not recognise territorial waters. I would have thought that this was an area which needs international cooperation whether we belong to the EU or not.
Finally those unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. The EU Commission is indeed not elected, but then nor is our civil service, and the Commission “runs” the EU in the same way as the civil service “runs” our country.
The commissioners differ from Whitehall heads of departments because they are mostly politicians and are nominated by the democratically elected governments of the member states, appointed by the Council of Ministers, and approved by the European parliament.
Crucially, the Commission has no power to enact laws. It proposes laws and regulations, but these are edited, amended and can be blocked by both the Council of Ministers and the Parliament, just like here.
The latter, of course, is elected democratically every five years. Indeed many people would argue that the proportional representation system used is more democratic than our first-past-the-post system. Incidentally, it holds its plenary sessions in Strasbourg, so saying that we are ruled by bureaucrats in Brussels is doubly wrong.