Readers’ letters - December 23

EU flags fly at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, see letter
EU flags fly at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, see letter
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You can run but not hide

Last week the latest instalment of the Britain’s EU renegotiation soap opera was acted out only for it to be put on the back burner again, for further talks until next February next year.

It was back in January 2013 that David Cameron first stated his intention to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s membership of the EU, followed by the promise of a referendum before the end of 2017.

Fast forward to nearly three years later and very little has changed. We are still waiting for this overdue referendum!

For nearly three years David Cameron has been kicking the can down the road, while at the same dangling a carrot in front of the British people with the tantalising prospect to hold a referendum some time in the future. And a big stick at the back to warn us the folly of our ways if the vote does not go 
the way he wants it to.

In the meantime Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, Jean-Claude Junker, and all the other EU leaders have repeatedly told David Cameron that what he wants is not acceptable, is non-negotiable and won’t happen.

We now know he won’t get anything like what he initially promised to the British people! So much for all his tough talk about reform. He has watered down his list of demands to the point where they are meaningless. He will come back with what will, in effect, be nothing more than a blank piece of paper, while proclaiming a great victory and reaffirming that Britain should remain a part of Europe. At least Neville Chamberlain came back with Hitler’s signature on his bit of paper.

The truth is that David Cameron is pro-European. The EU also wants Britain to stay within the EU, it desperately needs our £55m daily contributions, so they can go about their empire building.

But for now “manana” and “detente” are the order of the day. Our PM is stalling for time, but eventually both he and the EU will run out of road. It will be intriguing to discover just what exactly he has to offer and when he does decide to cut and run.

I, like others, probably suspect more prevarication, along a vague promise to reform after the referendum, accompanied by scary stories about what will happen to us if Britain leaves the EU. Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Cameron? You can run, but you can’t hide forever!

Will Heyes via email

Tackle tax dodgers


Once again, Philip Griffiths has written into this newspaper displaying the ugly face of UKIP, and once again, his timing is off (WEP December 17). This time, his target is the aid budget, which his party would slash as part of its goal of tearing up all sorts of international agreements signed by successive UK governments. And this time, he’s taken advantage of the misery caused by the Cumbria floods as part of his argument, while still denying the climate science which has made such freak weather all too common.

It’s just a shame that on Wednesday, UKIP MEPs voted against Green proposals to tackle tax avoidance across Europe which would see the continent’s wealthiest pay their tax bills in full and help pay for aid both at home and abroad. The contrast couldn’t be clearer: the Green Party has a message of environmental and social justice, supporting the disadvantaged wherever they are. UKIP’s “Stop the world, we want to get off” rhetoric puts tax dodgers first, ahead of the UK’s flood victims or the world’s poor.

Mr Griffiths wants the British public to remember which politicians have failed them in next year’s elections. Sadly, his own party’s MEPs are at the top of that list.

Will Patterson

Chair, Wigan and Leigh Green Party