Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Debating the EU

At Thursday’s Thanet Council meeting, we were asked by Cllr Marson to give our support to the Conservative Party’s pledge that if they are in Government in 2017 they will arrange a referendum on our EC membership.
Personally, I have no problem with a referendum, but would prefer it much sooner than 2017 as I consider the prospect destabilising to the economy when we least need it.
On Thursday I voted against debating Julie’s motion on the grounds that it would have been a self indulgent and pointless debate, precisely the sort of politicking that the independent standards board members recently warned us against.
As she is a candidate in next years Euro Elections and I assume a candidate to replace Ms Sandy’s, I can understand her putting the motion forward. I suggest though that it had more relevance to Tory/UKIP politicking than legitimate TDC business.
We have had debates on National issues before, Bedroom Tax, Animal Transportation, Equal Marriage, but in the case of Bedroom Tax and Animal Transportation, they were directly relevant to Council business. With Equal Marriage, we were asked specifically for our opinion by the Prime Minister.
The EU, and in particular the principle of freedom of movement within the EU boundaries does impact on Thanet Council and could usefully be debated. It has an impact on both areas of my Cabinet responsibilities, Planning and Housing. However, any debate needs to be informed by facts rather than prejudice and rhetoric.
I know that Will Scobie, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate has offered a debate in the New Year with Nigel Farrage and all comers. I will endeavour to obtain the relevant information to inform that debate.


  1. One correction, David, the government asked authorities with responsibility for performing marriages to comment on the Equal Marriage proposal. TDC is not such an authority, KCC having that responsibility here.

    With Thanet facing ever increasing demands on its infrastructure and services from the influx of EU migrants, I would have thought our relationship with the EU was very much of interest to our residents.

    Furthermore, on the broader point of a referendum, I find it ironic that we should be having a debate and a referendum in our country on the break up of the UK, giving Scots the right of self determination, whereas the Labour party seem to be prepared to deny the British people a similar right over our membership of the EU.

  2. Thanks for the correction William.
    I'm not so sure that Thanet is facing such demands due to EU migrants. There is evidence they where they exist, they are net contributers to our economy.
    More of a problem might be economically inactive migrants from other parts of the UK. We need facts in order to judge. For example, I have checked the Council's housing waiting list, to find that over 97% are white british.

    1. Demands on our schools and medical services would suggest these at least are increasing due to migrants. Mind you, I would agree that the dumping by some London boroughs does not help our cause.

      I notice you avoided the point about an EU referendum, but I do think this will have to come due to public demand sooner or later. It might be sensible, meantime, to at least debate the issue in political circles to determine the factors for and against. We can hardly advise people if we have not even talked it through ourselves and listened to expert advice.