Letters, Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

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UK has alternative to EU membership

REFERRING to your correspondent RD Hepplewhicte (Letters, March 21), he appears to accept we are locked into the EU for ever, with no alternative. Unfortunately, his letter is made up of rhetorical assumptions, incorrect statements and the normal Europhile scaremongering.

His letter gives no indication of how and why “leaving the EU would be disastrous”. Nissan, Toyota and Honda would “depart these shores” is part of the scaremongering. “Britain needs Europe more that Europe needs Britain” is simply untrue. The UK actually has a trade deficit with the EU of billions of pounds. When we get to vote on whether to leave the EU, money is being provided for MEPs to mount a campaign to prevent the UK leaving. Is this not telling us something?

So focusing on exit strategies for the United Kingdom. One suggestion, emanating from the “Bruges Group”, is to look at the European Free Trade Association and European Economic Area as a simple working alternative to being in the European Union. Like all EU members the UK is an existing member of EEA, so it would take only a matter of weeks to convert to EFTA/EEA and would have immediate benefits.

It would enable regulations to be repealed, it will allow businesses to grow and will thus lower unemployment and create many thousands of new jobs. It would lower the burden placed on the taxpayer as the contribution is much lower than what we currently contribute to the EU.

The UK could withdraw from the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy, enabling it to take back control of its own farming and fishing grounds again. We would also regain full responsibility for justice and home affairs.

It will also mean that there would be no loss of Britain’s trading relationship with other EU states and the UK would retain influence in EU decision making.

I hope all of this allays the fears of your correspondent and the vacuous arguments put forward for continued membership of the European Union by saying there is no alternative. There is an alternative and this is one of them.

Gordon Tomlinson, Seaham

Out of the picture

WHILE having my breakfast the other morning my attention was drawn to the TV when the presenter announced that the first owner of the Nissan Leaf built proudly on Wearside would be revealed later on in the day. Then to my dismay and disgust there it stood gleaming in the morning sun, wait for it, on the Quayside at Newcastle with the backdrop of the Tyne Bridge and The Sage. Great promotion for Sunderland and future investment (not).

What’s wrong with an iconic view from Herrington Country Park looking on to Penshaw Monument? It’s more of a green picture, which is what the Leaf is meant to represent, or is this just more of the bias given towards our “neighbours’’ by Tyne-Tees Television?

Darren Lloyd, Pallion,

Sunderland

Gala success

SPECIAL Olympics recently held their first official gala in Sunderland.

A wonderful time was had by the 300 visitors from many parts of the UK and our own swimmers and supporters.

We are so proud that the hard work paid off and all the swimmers had a brilliant day.

The Raich Carter Centre was a brilliant venue.

We have to thank volunteers from Sunderland University and Hetton Swimming Club without whose help the day could not have run so smoothly. Thank you all.

We look forward to next year when we will try for an even bigger event.

Kath Rooney

Bowlers’ invitation

IS there anyone who would like to join our friendly bowling club? Members’ ages range from 14 to 80-plus.

What better way to enjoy the outdoors and get valuable exercise at the same time?

North Biddick Bowling Club, which is situated at Penshaw Park, has just celebrated its 80th anniversary.

We are open from April 16 through to September and would welcome anyone (male or female) to come and try this pleasurable sporting activity.

Anyone interested can contact me on 07899 782651.

Bill Piggott, Club chairman

Fuel U-turn

LAST year these fine words were spoken re fuel tax: “Everyone has a responsibility to accept higher fuel bills as a price for saving the planet from the perils of global warming”.

This was from the then Labour Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband.

Yes this is the same Ed Miliband who, urged on by Ed Balls, cynically tries to make political capital by urging the Government to cut tax on fuel.

Once again a classic example of two Eds not being better than one!

Coun Alan Wright, Conservative, St Chad’s Ward