LETTER: Responding to the challenge
Your letters column is not an appropriate forum for an extended argument with your correspondent Robert Carey but in response to 'a challenge to Mr Moncreiff' I feel obliged to reply.
The gross cost of EU membership is £350 million per week, whatever Mr Carey may say. We get some of it back but on their terms, not ours, and free of the EU we could spend it the way we wanted on the things we choose to support.
On the question of Turkish citizens I accept that our claim was overstated in a draft leaflet hurriedly produced for the meeting. The final, printed, version states: “In June, Turkish citizens... will have the right to enter EU Schengen area countries as a preliminary to fast track EU membership”.
Mr Carey states that Norway has to accept unfettered immigration – so what? We are not Norway.
The officials Mr Carey spoke to may not be aware of any instances where the EU’s... rules “have prevented any flood relief project going ahead” and this carefully worded statement may be true, but I know of one example where an area was deliberately flooded under EU rules. An area of wetland near Portsmouth was reclaimed and under EU rules a similar area had to be flooded to create an equivalent area of wetland (on the Manhood peninsular, I believe). I also believe that the decision to stop the dredging and clearing of waterways which gave rise to the flooding in Somerset was as a result of EU policies (although I am not certain of this).
On VAT, we do not have the freedom Mr Carey claims. For example, at least two political parties stated that they wished to remove VAT on tampons but under EU rules we were unable to do so until Mr Cameron got special permission from Brussels (how humiliating is that?).
I think I have answered all Mr Carey’s points, although probably not to his satisfaction. If he wishes to continue this argument I suggest he writes to me at 4 Cherrylands Close, Fernhurst, GU27 3PH rather than continuing it through your columns.