Broken promises

SIR – If I were to openly make a promise to you in writing and through the media, what would you think of me if I went back on that promise? You would be quite justified in never again believing a word I said. All the major political parties promised us a

SIR - If I were to openly make a promise to you in writing and through the media, what would you think of me if I went back on that promise? You would be quite justified in never again believing a word I said.

All the major political parties promised us a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. All of them (and don't believe the Conservatives who have done more to 'concrete' the UK into the European Union than any other political party) with their half promises of a UK referendum if they win the next election and the Czech Republic still haven't signed up to it.

Like most people in the UK I am not anti Europe. On the contrary, I believe in a European Economic Community of Nations - but not in a European political Super State. (The one that Margaret Thatcher committed us to when she signed the Treaty of Rome, and which successive governments have been cementing us further and further into ever since).

And why don't I believe in such a Union; after all, I am no little Englander?


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1. I believe in Schumacher's maxim - 'small is beautiful', and for the right of individuals and small communities to 'think globally and act locally'.

2. I do not believe in the unsustainable myth of ever increasing production and consumption at the expense of finite natural resources, and a rapidly increasing global population. 'It's the economy that's killing the planet' (title of recent article in the New Scientist).

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3. I do not believe in a culture that believes that Greed Is Good and Avarice a Virtue - exemplified by the recent trans-national banking failures and the MPs' expenses scandal.

4. I do not believe that global corporations should set the agenda for the American Senate and European commission. Their power is now so centralised and entrenched that whatever political party is in power, be it Republican/Democrat, Labour/Tory, there is now little or no difference in the way they govern - whatever their pre-election promises.

Now the ratchet of centralised power is being tightened, justified by the need to protect us from terrorism and climate change. Yet the myth still prevails that every vote counts in a democracy. It is a farce. We are now democratic only in name - not in reality. We elect our councillors, yet 85 per cent of local government finance is controlled from Westminster. We elect our MPs, yet more money is spent by un-elected quangos than all the councils in the UK put together. We elect our MEPs, yet the European Parliament has little control over the European Commission or the Council of Ministers. Indeed, when the Lisbon Treaty comes into force, all UK legislation will become subject to EU legislation and EU law.

I take small comfort from the fact that Hubris is always followed by Nemesis.

Jeremy Bell,

Appledore (via email)

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