Friday, 5 July 2013

We've had and won our vote - now let's get on with government.

Few could be more Euro-sceptic than I am. My opposition to a European super-state and the single currency goes back to the 1980s. I was a member of the Bruges Group when it was founded in 1989 (when James Wharton MP was 5 years of age!) In fact, I remember back to 1982 or 83, at the Blackpool Conservative Party Conference, being looked upon in horror by my very pro European MP, Lynda Chalker, for wearing a lapel badge reading "Set Britain Free from the EEC". 

Come 2017, should we have the opportunity to do so (and I am becoming increasingly convinced that we could very well win an outright majority) then I wish the Prime Minister every success in his renegotiations. However, I very much doubt that the Commission will even contemplate the type of reforms that would enable people like me to vote to remain a member of the EU.

Therefore no-one could be happier than I am about this morning's debate, the outcome and the clear message of intent it will send to the British people. And along with almost all of my friends, I enthusiastically posted messages of support and encouragement to James Wharton on Social Media, and shared various CCHQ posters proclaiming that only the Conservatives will #LetBritainDecide

Yet something struck me that I could not ignore. My various Social Media newsfeeds seemed to be running in parallel universes. Whilst all my Conservative friends were celebrating events in Westminster, none of this enthusiasm was reflected in the newsfeeds of my friends who were not part of our private club. 

Ben - a hotel manager from Yarm (in James Wharton's constituency) was posting about the Hillsborough cover-up and how his lovely his garden is looking.

Fiona - a supply teacher from Tonbridge was also talking about her garden, and celebrating the prospect of an Andy Murray victory.

Paul - a former professional musician and now a PR man from Portsmouth, was rejoicing about the water temperature in his swimming pool and looking forward to attending a Burlesque Show.

Laura - an RAF fitness instructor was recalling last night's Independence Day Party with nearby USAF personal.

Keeley - a self employed café owner from Chirk posted about the forthcoming premiere of Dexter and about her neice who visited her café and ate a bowl of chips

Dawn - an holistic therapist from Torquay was worried about the deaths of 37 million bees in Ontario soon after Monsanto introduce GM maize to nearby farms.

And on it went. In fact, I checked thee newsfeeds of fifty non-political friends, all of whom do, or have, voted Conservative, and not a single one of them was talking about renegotiations, referendums or showing even the slightest interest in the events at Westminster.

Now this doesn't mean they don't care. Of course they do. They are all intelligent people, in good jobs, paying too much tax and working hard to get on in life. If they were asked for their views on Europe, I dare say most of them would be as hostile to the EU super-state and the single currency as I am. It's just that it doesn't really feature that highly in their daily lives.

So yes, Europe is important. And yes, I believe that this morning we did the right thing. And I look forward to 2017 when hopefully I will finally get my chance to vote on Who Rules Britain!  But let's not forget that for most people, this is not the issue which keeps them awake at night. They want to see our economy thrive, schools which offer their children the best start in life, they want their businesses to prosper and their taxes reduced and their streets and communities safe and free from crime.   And yes, they want a better deal from Europe, too. I suspect most will also vote to leave. But that's just one of many things on their wish list - but unlike us, it's not right at the top of it! 

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