Monday, 20 October 2008

EU Decide: 'Tonight', ITV1, 8pm

In recent weeks, ITV's Tonight programme - hosted by Sir Trevor McDonald - has staged a referendum on the European Union in the town of Luton.

Three thousand local residents were given the chance to vote 'Yes' or 'No' to the Lisbon Treaty, and whether to stay in or come out of the EU.

The Democracy Movement was asked to lead the 'No' side, and supporting DM activists on the campaign trail were the Labour MP for Luton North, Kelvin Hopkins, together with Thomas Rupp and Gayle Kinkead from the European Referendum Campaign.

Music producer and Pop Idol judge Pete Waterman also pledged his support for a 'No' vote, as did Bob Crow - RMT union leader and chair of Trade Unionists Against the EU Constitution.

During the campaign, the DM argued that:

1. The EU costs Luton: Britain pays far more to the EU than we get back -
£6 billion more every year, from 2007, equivalent to £115 million every single week. This means that for any money a Luton project receives from the EU, our government has sent more than twice that amount to the EU in the first place. The DM also focussed in particular on the EU's role in local post office closures.

2. The Lisbon Treaty is about centralising even more important decisions in unelected Brussels institutions. It means more ineffective and often damaging interference by the EU in how we manage big issues like our energy supplies, National Health Service, criminal justice and transport; a significant loss of influence over new EU laws; the EU becoming more like a country in its own right; more powers for the EU police force EuroPol; and much more. Yet the treaty does nothing to reform the EU's failing environmental policies, won't solve widespread waste and corruption, and doesn't make the EU more democratic.

3. There is a better way. Trade and co-operation between European countries is perfectly possible without having to pass ever more decisions over our lives to remote EU institutions in Brussels. The DM used the opportunity of the referendum to launch a new leaflet and campaign titled Break Free from the outdated EU, these leaflets being distributed during the campaign alongside a locally-focussed flyer.

The launch of campaigning was reported on ITV's Anglia News - a video clip can be seen here. During the campaign, DM campaign director Marc Glendening also took on the European Movement's Peter Luff on Chiltern FM and BBC Three Counties radio. The event also received widespread coverage in the local media.

The edition of the Tonight programme about this referendum - EU Decide - will be shown this evening on ITV1 at 8pm, having been postponed from its originally scheduled slot last Monday. Don't forget to watch, to find out how we got on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can still vote online about the EU. YES! You can...

Vote YES (or No) to Free Europe Constitution at