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Peter - There's no dichotomy between being in the EU and having effectively a huge home market (that's what made the USA so successful) and trading successfully with the rest of the world. You're wrong - it isn't one or the other - it's both. And as for UKIP forcing anything - in your dreams! The most they might enable is another Labour government - more of a nightmare than a dream. Vote UKIP get Labour is an apt slogan.
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Roger - You are confusing the idea(l) of a united Europe with the implementation. The idea that Europe could do without the influences and democratic instincts of the UK is ludicrous. What's need is that the UK(or England, should that transpire) should be a leader in moulding Europe into a better form - something that's been badly lacking over many years. For goodness sake stop carping and fix it up to be what it should be. One can't join a great institution, and when things don't go the right way say "I don't want to play anymore". There's plenty that need repair in Europe, and the UK is one of the great forces for democracy, accountability and more. I live in Spain (for 25 years), have always been Conservative in outlook - was a Conservative Councillor many years ago. But never a "little Englander". I feel at home in Europe, and feel a great affinity with the Spanish, and other Europeans that I encounter. I also find that the issues I see in Europe are widely shared with other Europeans. I feel so frustrated that there's no-one giving a lead in organising reform and then actually sorting things out - the UK should be doing that. There will be masses of support. I find the community arrangements on standardisation, health, etc a great benefit, and the common currency too in shopping around the EU. Visiting the UK is more of a pain, with currency conversions helping no-one but the banks. Join the common currency, help sort out the organisation and running of the EU, and in 100 years everyone will look back and not only wonder what all the fuss was about, but profoundly thank the UK for helping rescue Europe once more.
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"Real people power" - MUST include some form of PR. The "Party List" system is, you're correct, truly dreadful. But you won't win against Alan Johnson just by naysaying PR, because there's a public mood for a fairer system. There is, however, a right way forward - The "Single Transferable Vote" system can 1. Maintain single member constituencies - a good thing 2. Not put more power into the hands of Parties (as list systems do), in fact that aspect pretty much stays the same - a good thing. 3. Makes all votes meaningful - a good thing 4. Elects those more acceptable to more people - a good thing 5. Is FAIRER - a very, very, good thing The Conservatives MUST get their act together on this - the public see the current system as very unfair - resulting in many, many MPs elected with only minority support. You MUST get this right - it's not right at present.
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