I’ve just completed a questionnaire from our local Conservative MEP team. This is the letter I enclosed:
Dear East of England Conservative MEP team,
I enclose your recent questionnaire, duly completed.
Unfortunately your questions were so slanted and the information you provided so misleadingly simplistic that I was unable to let you know exactly what my views were.
You will, no doubt, be aware of the OECD’s finding that immigrants have improved the UK’s public finances by contributing more to the state than they take out. You will also be aware that the proportion of foreign-born people in the UK is just below the OECD average. We have a long history of tolerance in this country, and generations of immigrants have helped to make the UK great. Reducing immigration does little more than parade our new-found intolerance while reducing the prospect of future prosperity. We have an ageing population. Who will look after us when we are old? Who will staff our NHS? Who will run the businesses which will generate the wealth to pay our pensions?
Most of the sovereignty we have ceded to Europe was given away by Margaret Thatcher (Single European Act) and John Major (Maastricht Treaty). David Cameron has continued our recent policy of standing on the sidelines booing while the rest of the EU cooperate on planning for the future. His foolish use of the veto in 2011 left us isolated and friendless. Did he secure a cut in the EU budget single-handedly? No – he did it by cooperating with other EU countries and building trust and mutual support.
Your questions about the economy focus almost entirely on deficit and debt. We’d be better off if you focused a bit more on wealth creation and growth. We could be building hundreds of thousands of houses (which we need). This (and other infrastructure projects) would benefit all of us. What is the point of paying off our debts if our young people still have nowhere to live and no jobs? (I fear the dead hand of Mrs Thatcher here, again – she persuaded us that running the UK’s economy was a bit like running a household economy, but on a bigger scale. She was wrong.)
LEADING AND LISTENING
Should our leaders listen and do what people want? Or should they do what is right, even though it is unpopular? Well, we live in a representative democracy, where we elect leaders to make difficult choices on our behalf. Our recent enthusiasm for referenda looks rather like MPs taking the money but not being prepared to do the work. This has created a kind of vacuum which will inevitably continue to be filled by the unelected red-top press and occasional maverick political parties like UKIP.
It would be really useful if our politicians (all parties) explained the big issues carefully and accurately so that the whole country could work together for a better future. There will always be disagreements, of course – but surely disagreements based on facts are better than disagreements based on ignorance and prejudice?
Thank you for reading this far (if you have).