Letters, Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

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UK’s relationship with EU

THE Foreign Secretary started to prepare the ground for a possible renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU when he outlined a review of how the “balances of EU competences” affect Britain.

In a statement to MPs, Hague said: “The review will be an audit of what the EU does and how it affects us in the United Kingdom. It will look at where competence lies, how the EU’s competences, whether exclusive, shared or supporting, are used and what that means for our national interest.”

Clegg has been heavily involved in drawing up the the terms of the review of the EU treaty, which was part of a compromise agreement between the Tories and Lib Dems in the Coalition agreement. But the parties have different aims for the review: the Lib Dems hope it will encourage reforms by the EU as a whole; the Tories hope it will help form the basis for Britain’s negotiating position if Cameron seeks the repatriation of powers to Britain as the price for signing an EU-wide treaty on eurozone reforms.

Charles Kennedy, the former Lib Dem leader, delivered the party’s formal response. In a statement, he said: “As the Foreign Secretary said, our EU membership is firmly in the national interest. This review will help inform people about our positive agenda for Europe by providing a constructive and serious British-led contribution to the wider European debate about how to modernise, reform and improve the EU.

“We are already delivering major positive EU-wide reforms such as devolving powers over fisheries policy, dramatically lifting the burden of regulation on small businesses and strengthening MPs’ involvement in EU affairs at home. There is much more we want to deliver.

“But holding the EU to ransom as some want to do simply does not work. We will be left without a UK seat at the table, unable to stand up for the UK’s interests when neighbouring countries make separate agreements on growth and financial services, and powerless over serious cross-border issues like pollution, climate change or organised crime. That is not standing up for Britain.”

Kevin Stoker

Wrong on Rangers

FRANK Seely’s comments on my club, Rangers, were well out of order. I’m a season ticket holder with Rangers, so let me put him straight about some of his comments.

Jim Baxter was certainly not a waster. He was a Scotland international while playing for your club. As for Flo, if your chairman was stupid enough to pay millions for him, whose fault is that?

Also it’s on record that Rangers have won the most trophies in world football, including Europe.

I like Sunderland. They have good fans. I travel to the games with Sunderland fans who are Rangers daft as I am.

As for Gary Bennett’s testimonial, we had over 8,000 fans at that game and I was there too. There were 11 arrests and six of them were Mackems. Gary Bennett is not daft: he knew by having Rangers as his opponents he gate would be swelled by thousands.

Most footballers when they want more money on their gate call Rangers or Celtic. It is not the fault of Rangers fans regarding the drop into the Scottish third division. It’s the old chairman and directors that are to blame. They are the reason we are in this mess, not the loyal fans.

Do you recall the 2008 Uefa Cup final in Manchester? We had 150,000 fans there. How many English clubs could do that?

Just one more thing, Mr Seely: we didn’t rob Ally McCoist off you. It was your chairman, who could see he could make a quick buck by selling him back to us. Ally married a Wearside lass – he likes Wearsiders. So, Mr Seely, get your facts straight before you knock us. Ally will have us back in the SPL in three years.

Scott Andrews, Wilkinson Terrace, Ryhope

Fury at port ban

TO add to my friend and fellow club member Alan Bilton’s letter about boat club members being banned from the port for a week due to the Queen’s visit, I received a call from the club secretary to request my boat keys to facilitate a search of my boat for security reasons. I visited the dock next day to submit my keys to be told I was not allowed on the dock for a week.

To be told this after nearly 40 years of work and club membership on the dock is insulting and degrading.

To spend this amount of money after years of neglect of the dock, to celebrate 60 years of, in my opinion, a dysfunctional, parasitic family, is outrageous. What use are they? Don’t mention tourists. More people visit Paris and the USA to watch people dressed as six-foot mice. Get rid of them.

Any dock user who has been treated to this disgraceful ban, please contact me when I am allowed on the dock again and we will contact a legal eagle to pursue a claim against the people who perpetrated this blatant infringement of our human rights.

Michael Dodds, Westfield Grove, Sunderland