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Last Updated: Friday, 8 April 2005, 15:03 GMT 16:03 UK
UK voters' panel: Richard Gosling

MEET THE PANEL
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"

In the forthcoming election I intend to vote UKIP.

The benefits of EU membership are vastly outweighed by the costs, both financially and in our ability to govern ourselves.

Now more than ever, with the accession of poorer countries from Eastern Europe, tax money from the richer countries like the UK will go to subsidise the poorer countries.

We do not get out of it what we put in.

Laws coming from the EU are created by an unelected commission driven by an ideal of a federal Europe and are rubber stamped by an impotent parliament elected by such a diverse electorate that it cannot truly be representative of anyone.

If we are worried about inefficiency, waste, and corruption in our own government, it does not come close to what's going on in Europe on a far larger scale.

VOTERS' PANEL INTRODUCTIONS
UKIP cannot realistically hope to gain a seat in Parliament, due to the first-past-the-post system. It could therefore be suggested that a UKIP vote is a wasted vote.

I live in a safe Lib Dem seat and my vote is not going to change that. But I will use my vote to make my views clear to those parties that have representation.

In a swing seat, I might vote more tactically, perhaps for the Conservatives, but their European policies are an unrealistic fudge.


Your comments:

A Scottish hero! Saving the union and saving "Great" Britain. Arise Sir Richard!
Liam Mackay, Glasgow

If everyone said "my vote doesn't count and therefore I'll waste it on a single-issue, Kilroy-hiring bunch of cranks", our electoral system would be in chaos. The Tories want to stay in Europe but reform it and take powers back to Britain.
Rob S, Langford

The way to change and influence the EU is from the inside and not by withdrawal. The UK parliament could be described in the same way as Richard describes Brussels, does he suggest withdrawing from Westminster too?
NM, Staines

Money from the rich benefiting the poor - that's the whole point, Richard!
Duncan Hothersall, Edinburgh, Scotland

What benefits does belonging to the EU bring? None. We have the superior economy and will only be dragged down by the poorer countries in the EU. We have different ideas about the way we want to live in the UK that aren't compatible with some of the EU nations. It is stupid to be part of the EU and the sooner we are out the better.
John, Glasgow

I like Richard, will be voting UKIP as a protest about the loss of control over immigration into this country. The numbers coming in are swamping the native people and our usually understated culture. The Labour government has pursued a policy of directly dismantling our sense of nationhood, and they are too ignorant to understand the danger that this will lead to in the future, as our national culture disintegrates. Immigrants now exist in such large numbers that unlike 20 or 30 years ago, they appear not to even bother to try to adopt the culture of the native people, but rather try to establish their own culture in our land. Our country and culture have been secured by huge sacrifices of countless generations of native people paying tax, fighting for our survival, even working in work houses, and we need a government that will cherish it.
Simon, Guildford

Richard, I agree with much of what you say, but don't vote UKIP, it is a wasted vote and you may help Blair back in and your nightmares will continue.
Chris Parker, Bucks

Richard Goslings comments are typically ignorant and based on fear. In or out of the EU we will have to abide by their rules if we want to trade with them. All decisions on directives are still left to the national governments.
Eric, UK

I'm glad my comments have provoked such a mixed reaction!! If I may address a couple of points raised: Yes, there is such a thing as a safe LibDem seat - last election they got 46%, twice that of the 2nd placed Conservatives. Very good point the two comments suggesting that being in the EU is not necessarily the best way to help poorer European countries. We never joined the EEC on the basis that it was to be a charitable organisation! The comment about Britain becoming a small fish in a big pond is nicely addressed by the previous comment mentioning Norway and Switzerland, both smaller countries than Britain who are doing very well outside the EU. On David Ewing's point about British citizens currently working in other European countries, there is no reason why, as an independent country, we cannot negotiate deals with other countries to allow our citizens to work there and theirs to work here - just as we will still be free to negotiate free trade treaties with other countries. I look forward to more comments!
Richard Gosling, Newburgh, Aberdeenshire

Richard has covered the truths very well; let's remove ourselves from this EU millstone around our neck and then we really can get down to discussing issues such as health, education and the like.
Kevin Horn, Longhope, UK

I disagree strongly with Richard's view. The EU has given me so much freedom. It has given me citizenship of 28 countries and allowed me to live and work in some of the best places in the world as an equal citizen of that country. If the UK ever left the EU a lot of young people like me who cherish their new found freedom of Europe would be trading in their passports for an EU passport. We are all equal and we are all Europeans, a vote for UKIP or the Tories would be a step back to an afraid and prejudiced Britain, one which I would feel I'd have to leave.
David Hallas, Winchester

I fully support the use of a vote in protest, however that's all a UKIP vote can be. There is no realistic possibility of a withdrawal from the EU. However each vote for UKIP adds to the demise to the Tory party and the rise of the Lib Dems as a better opposition - so I say lets have more of this.
Alex, London, UK

The only reason I don't vote for UKIP is I believe the Conservatives are the only credible opposition with a chance of beating Labour. Therefore a vote for UKIP is basically a vote for Labour, unfortunately.
Andrew Smith, Cardiff

What is it with this constant backlash against Europe? Richard Gosling's views and those of UKIP are just fuelled by xenophobia, and the idea that Britain is mighty enough to be unilateralist and work effectively by itself. In a world of globalisation, this idea is completely flawed. Being within Europe guarantees the UK some amount of power to maintain world influence, and to ensure greater trade links that have pushed us from being one of the EU's poorest members under Thatcher, to a huge creditor today.
Peter Fletcher, Nottingham

Those who think Europe has a few problems and a bit of tweaking here and there can improve things are misguided. Europe is functioning exactly as intended and is fulfilling its creators' intentions perfectly. Europe was never intended to be democratically accountable to the people nor was it intended to serve the people of Europe. It is and always has existed to systematically disenfranchise the people, to allow the unelected, self appointed elite to rule entirely for their own gain. All dictatorships depend on handing out the fruits of corruption to a sufficiently wide group of people so that that there is always sufficient support for the centre and this is what the EU continues to do. The EU is a true modern evil; I support UKIP in its campaign to restore democratic rule and self determination to the people of Britain.
David Price, UK

Contrary to Richard's view that "[EU] Laws... are created by an unelected commission... and are rubber stamped by an impotent parliament" - the European Commissioners are appointed by the member states. Also, whilst the Commission certainly do prepare new draft legislation, it is the Council, made up of Government Ministers from member states, that decides whether proposals become law, and whether to amend them. The European Parliament, depending on the nature of the proposals, can delay, block or provide that a proposal can only become law if a certain majority of ministers in the Council vote for it. This could be seen as more democratic than the UK, where MPs are heavily controlled by the Party they belong to, enabling the Government to do largely what it wants! The EU system forces the Council and Commission to compromise in order to get their legislation through the Parliament.
Anthony Fairclough, Wimbledon, UK

Richard is right - in many ways Europe regards us as Treasure Island. It is unlikely that they would wish to cease exporting to us. Unfortunately it is by no means certain that our economic ascendancy will continue with Gordon Brown and his ilk at the economic helm. Increasing taxation producing the first fall in average incomes recently for 15 years will progressively erode our advantage. Already the slow down in the property market has undermined consumer spending which may well impact later on employment prospects and we cannot all join the 1 in 4 workers employed by the state. What to do? Extricate ourselves; since being the second biggest net contributor after Germany while we slip economically behind even Spain in the long term makes little sense and would actually hasten our demise.
Big Al, Haywards Heath

What has Europe ever done for us? Nothing! Apart from cheap booze. And cheaper cars. Plus a free Jobs market. And we'd love their cheaper petrol. Not to mention the free movement of jobs and services.
Simon, London

I will also be voting for a party which will restore sovereignty to Britain, and re-establish traditional values.
Peter Knox, Helensburgh, UK

A safe Lib Dem seat - do these exist? It's a very defensible view to only join organisations where we get out at least what we pay in, and the EU does need reform - but if we don't share wealth, more and more people will want to move to the wealthier countries.
Mike, London, UK

I agree with Richard's view. It may seem self centred of us but there are ways of helping Eastern Europe and other needy countries without being united to them in a socialist super-state, which is what I fear the EU is becoming. It is tragic that the first sign of the EU Parliament flexing its muscle and showing some hope of democratic force was in the intolerant rejection of the Italian Commissioner nominee for his religious views.
Des Byrne, Westhill, Aberdeenshire

As a "richer country", do we not have a duty to help to improve the standard of living of poorer countries, even if that is to the detriment of our own?
Dean Gargano, London

I don't see why it is such a problem that "tax money from the richer countries will go to subsidise the poorer countries". A rich, developed EU will benefit everyone, so the short term losses will bring long term benefits; and Richard should remember that only 0.2% of our GDP goes to the EU.
Matthew Beevor, Milton Keynes

Richard Gosling has the correct and very accurate view on this election. I am glad that someone is speaking out publicly in this way.
Elliot Nichols, Rowledge, Surrey

I absolutely agree with Richard. The people of this country need to look at the facts on Europe instead of being part of the herd mentality. The EU gravy train has to be stopped. The EU internal auditors have not signed the accounts for nine years due to corruption. We will be better off by 20bn annually if we come out of the EU and since they export more to us than we to them it stands to reason we have the upper hand - if we are allowed to use it. Just ask the Swiss and Norwegians why they don't want to join. We voted for the common market and we are ending up with a federal state. People have died for democracy, yet we are hell-bent on giving it away to the European elite who want to sustain the concept of federalism for their own selfish interests.
Andrew Gardner, Grantham, UK

The thing about withdrawing from Europe is that it is a move in the opposite direction to the rest of the world. Continental government, I see the USA as the first of many as it is not a true country, is the future in the same way the English counties became a country eventually. What is the alternative? Being a good ally of the USA means how much we do for them not the other way round. What a con the special relationship is, the only beneficiary is Blair. On our own we will be a small fish living in a pond surrounded by sharks. Wake up, the empire is gone, the only way forward is to pool our resources and try to improve the EU, not just rubbish it.
Simon, Chesham

Whatever one's feelings on the EU - and I have some sympathy with Richard's views - there is a hard fact those advocating withdrawal need to accept: the cost of repatriating over 500,000 UK citizens who currently live and work in the EU would bankrupt the UK. In other words, withdraw from the EU is now a financial impossibility. It's too late and it's as simple as that.
David Ewing, Le Mans, France





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