On Sunday, as you remark on your blog, you took part in the Sunday Times Webchat.
You were asked a question about UKIP,
Q: what is your opinion about anti-EU parties like the ukip? are their concerns about a too powerful union legitimate?You answered
mary honeyball mep: UKIP are not a mainstream political party in the UK. Their only base is in the European Parliament where you may be interested to know that they make very little contribution. I do not believe their concerns about a “too powerful” EU are at all legitimate. The fact is that the EU has competence over only a limited range of issues – agriculture, fishing, some environment and some justice and home affairs, some trade and some industrial aid policy. Since Britain is not in the euro, the EU does not have a lot of control there. Social security, health,economic management and many other of the really important areas are with members states. UKIP is scaremongering, playing on fear.I would like you to justify this series of claims.
1) UKIP are not a mainstream political party in the UK.UKIP are on 8% in the polls, and just came second in the latest by-election. From taxation, to education, to prisons, to the environment, to mass migration and of course to EU membership itself the opinions of UKIP chime closely with a large section of the British population. Hard to describe us as outside the mainstream.
2) Their only base is in the European Parliament where you may be interested to know that they make very little contribution.UKIP contributes fully in the European Parliament, in the light of their electoral mandate. Unlike the Labour party UKIP was not elected to write reports and create new unnecessary legislation, but to hold the EU to account. That is what we do.
3) I do not believe their concerns about a “too powerful” EU are at all legitimate.It depends on what you mean by too, and what you mean by powerful. I personally wouldn't give the EU any control over our lives, you it seems would hand over complete control of our lives. Different perspectives you see Mary. I regard your position as legitimate, though wrongheaded, you after all have been elected to represent that view. You would do well to consider other points of view as legitimate. Just as a matter of common courtesy.
4) The fact is that the EU has competence over only a limited range of issues –Now this is where what you say gets interesting.
agriculture, fishing, some environment and some justice and home affairs, some trade and some industrial aid policy.You see Mary, this is what the EU says,
EU competenceSo the EU is exclusively responsible for these matters, not some. Note trade is there,
The EU is exclusively responsible for:
• Customs Union
• Establishment of competition rules necessary for the functioning of the internal market
• Monetary policy for member states which use the euro
• Conservation of the biological resources of the sea as part of the common fisheries policy
• Common trading policy
• The conclusion of an international agreement when this is within the framework of EU legislation or when it is necessary to help the EU exercise an internal competence or if there is a possibility of the common rules being affected or of their range being changed.
Since Britain is not in the euro, the EU does not have a lot of control there. Social security, health, economic management and many other of the really important areas are with members states.They say
Joint competence of EU and member statesIn these areas the nation state can make decisions if, and only if the EU hasn't already made decisions in those areas.
The EU and the member states are jointly responsible for:
• Internal market
• Social policy with regard to specific aspects defined in the Treaty
• Economic, social and territorial cohesion
• Agriculture and fisheries except for the conservation of the biological resources of the sea
• Consumer protection
• Transeuropean networks
• Area of freedom, security and justice
• Joint security issues with regard to aspects of public health
• Research, technological development and space
• Development cooperation and humanitarian aid.
You claim that some areas of policy are still for the UK to make. These include Social policy, which as you can see is included in the joint competence area above. They include Health. As I am sure you are aware the GMC yesterday made it clear that EU directives are harming healthcare options in the NHS. Before the GMC, the Royal College of Surgeons, the BMA and other health bodies have all criticised the impact of EU regulations on health options. The EU has included the UK into its macro economic policy including the Eurozone bailout. The EU has now taken over the regulation of the financial sector, which as a London MEP you will well know disproportionably effects the City. The EU now sets policy for education, for arts policy for a whole range of areas.
So do tell me Mary what are the " many other of the really important areas" of policy which remain in the hands of the nation state?
You claim in the end that
"UKIP is scaremongering, playing on fear".We are not, we only want a perfectly reasonable thing, that the people of this country make the laws of this country, and have the ability and right to hire and fire their government. It is called self determination and it is enshrined in the UN charter. You cannot have a problem with that surely?.
I think you are dissembling, playing on ignorance.