Here is something to wet your appetite please take time to listen then lets debate about it:
I was once a euro sceptic but no more. I use to think the European Union was all about our fishing policies and a bunch of Germans who wants to maintain their world domination and this is why there want the euro so badly but when I was home after traveling from Europe with a trade union delegation to Brussels and totally forgot that my then partner was holding a house warming party a someone knocked on my door at about 8pm and this was the turning point of my life. A short woman who I recognise said “Hello Gordon it’s been a while since we last spoke”.
Obviously I was not going to let her stay outside and speak to me so I invited her and her colleague into my humble abode. The kettle was on and we offered them a strong cup of chai before the rest of our guest turned up whilst I was entertaining my two guest the conversation led to the European Union which I said to both Neena Gill and Michael Cashman MEPs that I have strong reservations about the current trend towards the European Union. They naturally reassured me that it was not all that bad and don’t believe all those scaremongering stories that you have read in the press and some trade union were putting out on their newsletters to members. Well I can tell all the hype at the time was very convincing and I almost fell for it.
To be frank I would say if you are not convinced about the European Union, I have to say that I live in the West Midlands Region in a city called Birmingham and I look around to see the benefits of what the European funding has provide which has been very positive:
Whether or not you are for Brexit or firmly in the remain camp there can be no doubt that the European Union has shaped Birmingham’s development with almost £1 billion of investment.
From the International Convention Centre during the early 90s to the recent Youth Employment Initiative, Birmingham and the West Midlands have enjoyed many benefits of European Union funding.
There are 15 items on our list of things the EU has done for Birmingham. Of course that is not the whole story, there have been many smaller projects and, at the same time, the UK Government has paid millions in to the EU.
So one question for the politicians is whether, should Britain vote to leave, the Government will step in and replace the stream of funding from Brussels and support Birmingham’s future growth and development. The EU chipped in £50 million towards the ICC and Symphony Hall which opened for business in 1991. It most famously welcomed global leaders, including Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin to the 1998 G8 Summit. Each year it hosts some 350 events including political and business conferences bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city.
There was further help for the city’s conference and exhibition industry with a £30 million cheque towards the refurbishment of the NEC – which of course is home to Crufts and many other major shows bringing thousands more to the city. Remember the upgrade of railway linking Birmingham to London, the North West and Scotland and reducing journey times in the process? The EU paid £66 million towards that.
Those folks in Brussels helped Birmingham rid itself of one its biggest mistakes of the 1960s. It paid £9.1 million towards the redevelopment of Masshouse Circus in 2002, including the breaking of the Queensway flyover, known as the concrete collar, which had held back the expansion of the city centre for more than a generation.
Built in 1834 the Town Hall is the city’s premier historic building. But just over decade ago it was in a pretty sorry state, covered in soot and neglected. The EU, with a £3 million handout, was among a number of backers which saw it cleaned-up, its stonework restored and its interior refurbished and reopened in 2007.
The home of the Thinktank Museum and Birmingham City University was completed in 2000, it was, through a £25.6 million investment, the the UK’s largest ERDF funded project at the time.
Over £6 million invested in Innovation Birmingham, the former Aston Science Park, bringing digital and high technology businesses and jobs to the city.
Between 2007 and 2013, as the economy nose-dived, the European Regional Development Fund provided financial support for 24,910 West Midlands based businesses. At the centre of Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter is the Assay Office, one of the few places that precious metals can be tested and hall marked. Part of the cost of its expansion and relocation last year was covered with a £1.5 million EU grant.
The collapse of MG Rover in 2005 directly caused 6,000 redundancies, plus many further losses along the supply chains. The task force was set up to create jobs, invest and help get those workers back into employment. More than a third of its £176 million pot came from EU emergency funds. In the West Midlands alone between 2007 and 2013 universities benefited to the tune of about £260 million, funding research into health, food, energy, climate change and transport. They are receiving similar amounts under the new funding package.
Grants totalling £741,000 over six years helped get the festival launched in 2008 and established. In 2014 the festival was estimated to be worth £2.6 million to the city’s visitor economy. The EU gave £530,000 towards the setting up of this vital community centre in Winson Green. The ERDF stumped up £2.5 million, of the £6 million cost of developing this facility for the Sikh community and wider population of Handsworth. It opened in 2006.
I received lots of emails from Friday until today I have had a number of people email, text, call me on my thoughts around the EU referendum so i thought it i best if i put my thoughts together for you all to consider.
On the 23rd June 2016 we have an opportunity to decide the future of our United Kingdom with the EU Referendum. It is a once in a lifetime chance, and we cannot afford to get it wrong.
I pondered over the last few 15 years, and like a lot of you I’m unhappy with the undemocratic status of the EU, the lack of credible accounts, wasteful neglect of our resources, and the perception of a wider capitalist agenda on the cards.
However I did my own research, listened to colleagues, and attended debates to reach the conclusion that despite the scepticism the alternative of not being a member of the European Union is far too risky, and something that we as a country can ill-afford. The cost of the membership is alleged to be approx £18.8 billion but we have a special rebate that returns allegedly in the approx of £14.4 billion out of which £9.8 billion is given to the farming industry, and £5.7 billion to universities. This leaves around £89 per head for EU membership which is minuscule in comparison to the fact that Norway for a mere trade agreement contributes approx £134 per head without having a vote or indeed much influence in the EU.
We have around 2.5 million British in the European Union, and a similar number of EU citizens here but overall they contribute more than £2.6 billion that access to welfare benefits which we hardly hear of.
Imagine if we left the EU, and car makers such as Jaguar Land Rover were forced to pay a tariff for every car exported to the EU who are our largest importers of goods. There was be no sound economical reason for Jaguar Land Rover to stay in the West Midlands and it would have a devastating impact on us.
The EU is not perfect but we can work together with other socialists within Europe to bring about a fairer more transparent, democratic Europe. I fear the far right will take hold if we exit.
TTIP is a threat either way but being part of a united Europe puts us in a stronger position to negotiate in our interests. I believe being out would give big corporations free reign and too much power see article below:
The EU in a rational and coherent manner. Whatever your final decision maybe, it’s important that you use your right to vote, having weighed up as much information as possible on this complex issue. The outcome of this referendum will affect us all for generations to come. Please vote wisely.
I cannot see how more than 40 years of EU legislation that has had an impact will unravel if we left the EU, and the consequences that would have on everyday life for us. I recently went to five events across the West Midlands and London all speakers agreed it would be very messy divorce indeed. I am voting Remain, alongside my three local councillors and Member Of Parliament along with my fellow Labour Activists on 23 June and urge all to vote Remain.