Leaving the EU will regain our power at the ballot box

Dear Editor

Watching last night’s televised debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, I was struck by how often neither politician was prepared to actually answer the question that was asked. I’d rather see interviewers hold politicians of all shades and hues to account and demand to know that their policies stand up to scrutiny.

But at least the public can elect our UK leaders, unlike our leaders at EU level. I’d be surprised if one person in twenty had even heard of Ursula von der Leyen before she was nominated as the next EU Commission President, the most powerful post in the European Union.

When British MPs have repeatedly ignored their Manifesto commitments, we have a recourse at the ballot box to get rid of them. The nature of the democratic deficit at EU level is manifest because the true power still resides with the unelected.

Fortunately, there is a solution on the horizon: it doesn’t lie with an unreformable EU that we’ve tried (and failed) for 40 years to reform, but with leaving the European Union and simply being good friends, neighbours and trading partners with them.

John Tennant MEP

Vestager is a threat to digital independence

Dear Editor,

Margrethe Vestager is set to become the next vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Age. As one of the most powerful women in Europe, her words therefore carry weight.

Her insistence that we must have ‘independent, unbiased and hopefully pro-European media’ is seriously worrying. It can hardly have escaped readers’ attention that there is an interesting non sequitur in suggesting that media can be both independent and pro-European at the same time. It speaks to the arrogance of the European Union to presume that independence requires adherence to a particular political world-view.

The word ‘unbiased’ sounds innocuous enough, until you ask the simple question: Who will be the arbiters to judge whether or not a journalist is being unbiased?

The Roman poet Juvenal asked ‘Quis custodiet ipsos custodies’ – who guards the guards? Whenever the State tries to compel or control speech, it is no longer an impartial actor. The words of Vestager are disturbing, and – if you’ll pardon the pun – politically somewhat juvenile.

John Tennant MEP

Another Brexit Extention

Dear Editor,

During the referendum campaign, it was common ground that Article 50 would be triggered immediately if the UK voted to Leave, and that we’d be out of the EU in 2 years.
In fact, Article 50 wasn’t triggered. Our Remainer Prime Minister resigned, presumably not wanting to be the one to deliver Brexit. We waited for another Remainer PM to be chosen, and then we waited for the outcome of a court case brought by Remainers. We then waited for the PM to trigger Article 50. After the 2-year process, Remainers forced a 2-week extension then another 7-month extension.

Our Remainer Prime Minister resigned, to be replaced by a nominal Brexiteer. Remainers legislated to prevent us leaving this Thursday. Now we’re facing another extension.

The Remain side’s delaying tactics have been bad enough, but the most breathtaking hypocrisy is that they’re now using the delays of their own making as an excuse to demand even more delays and to overturn the largest democractic vote in our history. 

John Tennant MEP

Queen’s Speech

Dear Editor,

The much-needed Queen’s Speech reads like nothing more than a wish-list of the Conservative Party. It’s a little bit wide of the mark, because it’s a dull and unimaginative approach from a government that’s a little bit short on ideas.

If we were really getting tough on crime, I’d be able to support that – but we’re not. It’s ending automatic early release for a tiny proportion of offenders, which won’t make a lot of difference to the overall picture. This is the Queen’s Speech that a government would come up with if it wanted to look tough on crime without actually doing it. Minor changes to divorce laws and NHS investigations of poor treatment may be necessary, but hardly inspiring. It looks like decisive action, though. And we should all know from EU mistakes that legally-binding ‘targets’ can end up outsourcing our carbon emissions to China and India. It will look like the government is doing something on the environment.

It’s also the Queen’s Speech of a government that wants to look like it’s planning to deliver Brexit on October 31st. I’ll believe that when I see it happen.

John Tennant MEP

Brexit Negotiations

Dear Editor,

British and EU negotiators have reportedly entered a ‘tunnel’ to seek a new Brexit agreement in the coming days. Hopefully this will not be as bad as May’s appalling deal, and of course we should not pre-judge something that we haven’t yet seen.

Even so, there are plenty of red flags already. Whilst the backstop is a big problem with the Withdrawal Agreement, we hear precious little of the other problems: EU courts having effective power over our own, EU procurement and state aid rules, financial services alignment and EU defence policy. 

If the deal allows us a way out, even if it takes time to fully extricate ourselves from the EU octopus, that’s one thing. But I can’t possibly support a Brexit deal if it keeps us trapped – forever – into allowing the EU continuing control over our lives. That outcome seems more likely. Be careful: the light at the end of the tunnel could be an oncoming train.

John Tennant MEP

Free markets are our greatest ally

Dear Editor,

Even if you completely believe the most alarmist climate change predictions, the actions of Extinction Rebellion are still utterly hypocritical and counterproductive.

They’re using diesel generators, draining police resources and causing significant damage which needs to be cleaned up. They demand the overthrow of capitalism. 

Yet free markets are our greatest ally if we want to increase the uptake of renewable technology. As renewables become more affordable, it’s capitalism – not State control – which will lead to market dominance.

People who truly care about our environment are being duped. Extinction Rebellion are using climate change as a political football to support their true plan to foist Communism on us by the backdoor. They’re the true watermelons – green on the outside, red on the inside.

John Tennant MEP