Sunday, 31 January 2016

EU Referendum

A post to hold stuff relevant to the forthcoming EU Referendum.

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The following, from Dave Key-Pugh via Facebook:
Well, the people of Britain have spoken and 17 million of you have decided to react as so many of our politicians do nowadays - by answering a completely different question.

"Should we leave the EU?"

"Wait a minute, wait a minute. Let me speak."

"We are. We're asking should we leave the EU?"

"I want 1952 back."

"We don't have a time machine. Watch some Downton Abbey. Should we leave the EU?"

"Why are public services at breaking point?"

"You voted in the Tories (blue and yellow) in the last two elections. You asked for austerity. They told you they were going to rip up the social contract, transfer spending from the poor, sick and needy and give the cash to the rich. You said yes, please. Twice. Now, should we leave the EU?"

"But the NHS is broke and I can't afford a house."

"Stop voting in general elections based on who eats a bacon sandwich better. Should we leave the EU?"

" I have serious concerns about democracy and accountability."

"God save the Queen! But a system which rejected PR, has an unelected head of state and a second legislative chamber packed with hereditary aristocrats, religious leaders and cronies of past governments where politicians go when we vote them out or they resign in disgrace and doesn't even specify how many members it should have - that's just dandy? However, back to the subject, should we leave the EU?"

"I have serious and unprejudiced concerns over immigration."

"No you don't. Should we leave the EU?"

"No, honestly, I do."

"No. You don't. Look at the results. The areas with higher levels of immigrant population voted to stay and the areas that voted to leave most strongly have barely seen immigration since the Saxons and Vikings. Should we leave the EU?"

"You liberal elites can sneer and smear as much as you like. We can't sustain this level of immigration."

"Which is linked to the free trade area not the EU. Also, see global inequality, neo-liberslism, the rise of the corporation over the nation state.... oh and stop bombing places sandier than you and wondering why people want to live somewhere that isn't still on fire. Should we leave the EU?"

"But they're taking our jobs!"

"No. Many of our infrastructures and services are reliant on 'them' - or qualified, skilled workers. Take your pick over terminology. Personally, I'd prefer an experienced NHS Anaesthetist in Lech from Budapest than waiting another six months for my emergency op because only Steve from Basildon is left. But we're off topic again. Should we leave the EU?"

"Fine. I don't want to see so many non-white faces around me. I'm scared and I don't understand."

"Do you think Syria, Iraq and Foreignistan are in Europe? Just how Muslim do you believe Poland to be? Sorry, got sidetracked. Should we leave the EU?"

"I just hate David Cameron and want him gone."

"Job done. But... you do know he was stepping down at the next election anyway? He's a multi-millionaire who never needs to work again and was wanting to retire. Way to stick it to the man! Should we leave the EU?"

"Revolution, man, that's two fingers up to the establishment. Burn, baby, burn!"

"You think Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are anti-establishment revolutionaries? Wow. Back on planet Earth, should we leave the EU?"

"I want all that money back. Let's spend £350 million a week on the NHS."

"Yeah. It took Nigel Farage less than three hours this morning to admit what everyone who can count knew weeks ago - that that figure was a lie and there's no windfall heading the NHS's way. What about the £128 billion wiped out overnight by this vote? Anyway, should we leave the EU?"

"I don't know. I just want this to be over."

"It's only just begun..."

"I want my country back!"

"So do we. We just have different memories of what that country stood for...."

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EU Referendum result : 52% Leave  : 48% Remain

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Bathing Water Quality
A pro-Europe website comments that, regarding the Bathing Waters Directive (76/160):

"Until 1986 the UK was still arguing that there were only 27 bathing waters in the country. And, of those, nine failed European targets for keeping them clean. But, in 1987, the EU threatened to sue the UK unless it was more honest about designating bathing waters so they could be tested. At which point, the government named 389 more...We now have 632 beaches designated as used for bathing and 98.9% of them are safe to swim in thanks to EU standards...The EU also checks bathing waters at tourist spots right across Europe, making sure they don’t make you sick on your holidays."

This view is corroborated in a 1995 report from the Centre for Rural Economy at the University of Newcastle upon Type :

"Nigel Haigh of the Institute for European Environmental Policy and a leading analyst and advisor on British environmental policy recently expressed Europe's impact in the following terms: "I have no doubt whatever that the legislation on the environment developed by the EC over the last 20 years has been the single biggest driving force for improving environmental standards in the UK. One of the characteristics of EC legislation is that it sets numerical standards by deadlines in a way which you don't find in British legislation."

"The strength of European environmental policy has not been lost on the public at large; public opinion surveys repeatedly show that a clear majority of British people favour action at the European level to protect the environment rather than leaving decisions to the UK Government"

The report describes what happened when very strict designation criteria resulted in the UK claiming to only have 27 bathing waters - less than Luxembourg.

"This initial list... drew derision from influential commentators and the Government's independent advisers (Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, 1984). The European Commission issued a Reasoned Opinion that the Government had failed to take all the necessary steps to comply with the Directive and threatened infringement procedures. This move, combined with the public and political outcry over the designations, forced the Government to widen its definition...The Government announced in February 1987 that an additional 362 bathing waters had been identified for the purpose of the Directive, and additional waters have subsequently been designated. "

The report also describes how it was difficult for environmental organisations to campaign for improved standards until the arrival of the Directive:

" The results of the water quality monitoring required by the Directive provide the basis for a widely used and well regarded bathing water classification system produced by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS). Implementation of the Directive means that the MCS can now denounce 'failed' beaches in a way that earlier environmental campaigns, such as that mounted by the Coastal Anti-Pollution League, previously could not. Until the Directive's standards were in place, there was no statutory yardstick against which such coastal pollution could be judged. "

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Article on environmental regulations
An article in the Independent describes how EU regulations (some of which have been driven by the UK) have been responsible for improving water quality at beaches; conserving fish stocks; improving air quality; reducing energy useage (e.g. via efficient home lighting); and reducing the effects of climate change via targets to reduce CO2 emissions.

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Leave Campaign doctors Turkish Parliament Video

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