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Marcus Brigstocke on Europe

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We asked comedian and europhile Marcus Brigstocke for his take on the EU as Ireland voted on the Lisbon Treaty. Broadcast June 12th, 2008.

The Republic of Ireland has spent the day voting in the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and it's my sincere hope that they will have voted yes.

And not only that: with their Yes vote, included a letter to the EU saying "Dear The EU, thanks very much for everything. If there's anything we can do to help you, let us know! Love from Ireland."

Personally, I was always against the idea of Britain having a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty for the simple reason that none of us really knows what's in it, and I don't think a decision that important should be informed by the British media.

We have elected representatives who we pay to make that sort of decision for us.

Shoelace ban?

But the great thing that's come out of the Irish referendum is that the Yes camp has been forced to really make the case for Europe - something I wish we'd managed to do in this country.

One of the reasons that we're so down on Europe is that we're only ever told negative things about it: MEPs fiddling their expenses, or unnecessary European bureaucracy - "Europe to ban shoelaces and gardening and regulate the size of English dogs".

What about celebrating being part of a union that can achieve more together than we can on our own?

Healthy counterbalance

Obviously, there's lots about Europe that desperately needs reform.

But a stronger Europe would make it much less likely that we will end up in dodgy, badly planned wars.

Plus, it should act as a healthy counterbalance to the influence of America and China.

And when it comes to the most important issue facing all of humanity today - climate change - Europe is the only place where we can confront the problems it presents.

We need to stop dragging our feet and get involved.

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