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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 April 2005, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
UK voters' panel: Richard Gosling

Richard Gosling
Name: Richard Gosling
Age: 32
Lives: Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Works: Design engineer
Current voting intention: UKIP
In 10 words or less:
"Married with two children, classic car enthusiast and keen rower"

I believe that Europe is a critical issue in this election, although it has slipped down the agenda recently.

Many politicians talk about cutting red tape, yet many of these regulations come from Europe and we are obliged to implement them.

We can only really tackle the problem if we leave Europe.

With Westminster Parliament back in full control of Britain, laws could be passed to meet the needs of Britain, rather than those of 25 highly varied countries.

With Britain out of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), we can implement policies which support British farming, support efforts to make it greener, and end situations such as Britain having to accept cheaper pork from European countries where the pigs are raised in conditions that would be illegal here.

With Britain out of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), we can reclaim our waters for the exclusive use of British fishermen.

With the resulting catch reduction fishing can continue in a limited way while still allowing fish stocks to recover.

Those who fear that Britain would be small and ineffective out of Europe need only look at Switzerland and Norway, both smaller countries than the UK, who are doing very well.

We are already bigger and more powerful than both as members of the G8 and as holders of a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Unfortunately, and with great regret, I shall not be able to vote UKIP as they do not have a candidate in my constituency. If I had the chance to give it to them, they would get my vote.

Your comments:

I agree with Richard's comments 100%. The sooner we reclaim control of our country from Europe, and implement polices that suit the UK rather then 24 other countries the better. Also, financially we would be better off. God only knows how much the whole corrupt structure costs us if you add in the costs of the CAP, fisheries policy etc.
Mike Walsh, Grays, Essex, UK

With economic powers such as China and India growing at a rate Britain can't keep up with. Our path to economic success is through the European Union; a collection of 25 states that trade within each other, allowing us to keep our standard of living without being under-priced by growing industrialised nations. How else is Britain meant to compete in a global commercial environment without a sudden drop in wages, employment levels and standard of living?
Simon, Wigan

It's either the EU or the US. Which has the better health care, transport policy, and social democracy? Our own little island won't do.
David, Henley, UK

The sooner we get out of the EU the better
Angie Palmer, Cambridgeshire
I wholeheartedly agree. The sooner that we get out of the EU the better. We can then pass laws that will put the great back into Britain, instead of being a nanny state. About time we get back to basics, for the good of the country and the British people.
Angie Palmer, Cambridgeshire

It angers me how UKIP harp on about leaving the EU like it's a viable option. Anyone who understands Britain's relationship with Europe fully knows that secession is politically and economically absurd. Whether we agree with the EU or not, we're in it and there's no going back. Now let's move forward and make sure we ensure a strong British voice within it!
James, Guildford, UK

Like many young people from the UK I'm pro-European. I've put aside the outdated notions of nationalism and I see through the incorrect right wing propaganda that the British are better than continental Europeans. I enjoy the benefits and freedoms that EU citizenship has given me, allowing me to choose from 25 countries to live and work in. If the UK ever left the EU then I would hand in my passport and leave the UK.
David, Japan

The criticisms applied to the EU by Mr Gosling is quite often the fault of national governments allowing an international institution to take the blame for their own failings. The British government produces a vast amount more regulation than the European Union but is quite happy to allow it be assumed that this regulation originates in Brussels. Furthermore the British Government in its present reforms of the Upper Chamber is reducing the ability for the Lords to provide the only significant scrutiny of European legislation in parliament. But in my opinion the greatest mistake by those opposed to the European Union is to assume that the EU is a foreign, if not alien body. As a member of the EU any failings it makes are in part ours.
Lennie, Edinburgh

Britain is not strong enough to stand on its own. Don't try and compare it to other small states. Although small, Switzerland has a large, complex political system that allows it to function independently, though not as well as you might imagine. Moreover, its international relations and policies are one of a quiet reassured neutrality, unlike what many see as British arrogance.
Emma, Lausanne, Switzerland (UK student)

My own parliament has failed miserably. I vote for Europe
David Ash, London, UK
Red tape? The EU did away with barriers to trade. Does Mr Gosling seriously think our parliament would replace EU laws with simpler British ones? Laws of a few pages from the EU suddenly become huge acts with dozens of pages once they have gone through our parliament. Our seas would be empty of fish if it were not for the EU. Consumers have always had a raw deal from Westminster. In fact just about all useful consumer legislation comes from the EU. I want rights, and seas with fish. My own parliament has failed miserably. I vote for Europe.
David Ash, London, UK

Please stop comparing the UK to Switzerland and Norway. It is precisely because they are so much smaller that they can exist outside the EU. If you really want a good comparison look to Japan. A large industrialised, ex-imperial, island nation, it has a similarly sized economy. It also has no comparable union to the EU. What does it endure these days? A long running decline in its economy.
Chris G, Cambridge, UK

Richard raises some valid concerns but his solution, ie leave Europe, wouldn't address them in the way he thinks. Sure, we could raise trade barriers to imported pork, and then face similar trade barriers raised against us for lamb and beef. Switzerland and Norway are doing very well but at what cost? Higher taxes mostly. The real answer is to stop tip toeing around in Europe and start interacting as if we mean business, instead of this half in-half out song and dance that's usually associated with it. Then we might make some serious inroads into cutting red-tape Europe-wide.
Rod Main, Newhaven, UK

Right on Richard! We are now the single biggest contributor to the EU financially and we get the least out. Through the CAP we are subsidising the inefficient farmers of France and Germany while our own farmers are going broke, and I saw recently our fishermen in the South West are losing out to modern Irish fleets, again subsidised by the EU. The standard of living in Ireland is higher than the UK and yet we pay more. Total madness. We should leave as soon as possible.
Thady Gormally, Copthorne, UK

It's good to see that the tried and tested policy of blaming others for our own faults hasn't gone away. In Richard's world the EU is to blame for everything. Without it there is a glorious future where we control everything, perhaps even the empire will also be restored. Just how Britain can go it alone when the rest of the world groups together to promote its common interest is beyond me and beyond Richard.
Peter, Herts, UK

Richard, in response to your statement: "We can only really tackle the problem if we leave Europe", what do you propose we should do? Tow Britain into the mid-Atlantic? Even if we left the EU we'd have to negotiate treaties on a whole range of matters. Treaties we'd have little say in.
Paul Duthoit, Chatham, Kent



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