matthew_vella
Matthew Vella

British expats, do we want to remain?

Michael Turner • I still believe that a less centralised and more cooperative EU will be the best way forward for Europe and that the best way to achieve this is to reform from within

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
8 June 2016, 8:24am
Tim Diacono’s report (We want to remain, 30 May 2016) of a conference staged to discuss Brexit was, from my own knowledge, frankly misleading. There are many Brits in Malta who support Brexit, but clearly they were not included in this “conference” which had been assembled, it seems, to give support to the British Prime Minister in his struggle.

My own background is that, aged 12, I was sent to France in the school holidays to live with a French family, and in the next holiday the French lad came to England to stay with us. Our fathers had sensibly reached a mutual conclusion that knowing each other would make a small contribution to avoiding future conflicts.

This continued several years with my brother too, and we were also lucky to be able to visit many other European countries through sailing. This “Europeanisation” rubbed off as planned and neither my brother nor I have ever been “little Englanders”, as has been shown by our travelling lives. Furthermore at school, and after, I studied the Plan Monnet and the Schumann Agreement which formed the basis of a European Union. I am a strong believer in the good sense of a united Europe.

However, those who know me now, know that I am a constant critic of the EU and the utterly spoiled, overpaid and over-privileged Eurocrat “desk jockeys” who are trained to arrogantly abuse their unearned and unelected power. Are people aware that the “European Constitution” drawn up by Valery Giscard d’Estaing was virtually the same as that of the failed USSR? – and yet the majority of EU leaders supported it because it gave total centralised power.

Are people aware that, until a certain band of journalists of which I was one, had it reduced, there was a fleet of 50 top marque Mercedes, with three shifts of chauffeurs, on 24 hours, available for any MEP who required a car? Now I believe it has been cut down to 12 hours only.

Are people aware of the great generosity of EU pensions, up to 60% of the already extremely generous salaries? Are people aware of the great generosity regarding school fees for the “servants” of the EU? The European Union is the biggest gravy train ever seen, but auditors have not signed off the accounts for 18 years. That must be the worst record of governance ever in the history of modern democracies, and it is the people’s money.

There are also many very good reasons for Britons to be dissatisfied with the European Union, such as the imbalance of the Common Agricultural Policy towards the militant French farmers, the scandal of the operation of the power and gas service industries in favour of the European companies, the fact that UK applies and obeys the European legislation but many member countries do not, the misuse of the Human Rights legislation, the constant and gloating attack on Parliamentary sovereignty and independence, the ridiculous situation concerning immigration as a result of moronic decisions by European politicians who see themselves as “leaders of the pack”, to name but a few.

However, despite my constant criticism, I still believe that a less centralised and more cooperative EU will be the best way forward for Europe and that the best way to achieve this is to reform from within. The pathetic, self interested little quotes from the well chosen supporters of Remain at this “conference” serve no useful matter to the debate and some of the comments reflected the “fear threat”, for example “ Brexit could affect Maltese tourism”, “the pound could be devalued”, “we may have to leave”.

Most ludicrous of all was the claim that the success of the British Financial Services was due to the EU, when in fact both Germany and France have been attacking the City of London since 1973. Where was an opposition speaker? A Brexit supporter? Not one was invited. So to a discerning reader the headline in MaltaToday was just pro-Remain propaganda. Such obvious manipulation is counter-productive and could well encourage Brexit.

Parliamentary secretary Ian Borg, and Opposition MP Tonio Fenech made best reported sense, pointing out positive reasons for remaining, and in particular Borg, who said “like Malta, the UK tends to favour economic flexibility and brings a much-needed balance to France and Germany in discussions.” Wise words indeed, “much needed balance” to counter the two historic “hege-maniacs” who are quite capable of wrecking the whole structure if their ambitions are let loose again.

Sadly the conduct of the argument in UK itself has descended to gutter and bar politics. The former Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King has said that “both sides of the struggle have engaged in a public relations campaign which insults the intelligence of the voters by making wildly exaggerated claims.”

Frankly that is a very polite description of the level of discourse which is currently shaming British politics, reminiscent of the worst side of Maltese politics. The British Labour Party is supposed to be supporting Remain, but it is reported that ‘oop North voters’ are saying they will not turn out to support anything promoted by David Cameron.

It is such a shame that political antics may decide such an important matter to the whole structure of Europe and even the world. Indeed, the world is the hub of my own argument – the world is going to face much trouble, and a united, co-operative Europe is best to cope with it all. 

My prophecy: a very narrow win for Remain, but that will be endangered if such obvious manipulation with puppet participants continues, because the British do not take well to an overdose of moonshine.

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Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.