Well really this should be a “Letter from Limburg” where Yannie & I are enjoying a weekend break. So far we have been round the Christmas Market in Valkenburg, where we are staying, and in Maastricht. Tomorrow we hope to go across to Aachen in Germany (one of the advantages of open boarders in the EU) to see the same tat in the Christmas Market there.
So it has been an eventful week in politics.
On Wednesday, the Commons decided to authorise the RAF to extend it’s mission against ISIL in Syria & Iraq to include attacking targets in Syria. I have made my view clear in posts on Facebook & elsewhere that I think this is a wrong choice and will not defeat ISIL so I won’t repeat all the arguments here. As you can read in my Letter from Bassetlaw – November 26th2015, I also wrote to John Mann & he agreed with my position and voted against the authorisation in the House of Commons. Sadly, even though I and other Lib Dems wrote to all our MPs, 6 of the 8 vote to authorise the extended mission.
The main damage from the decision seems to have been on Labour Party unity (which I am sure was Cameron’s intention) rather than on ISIL.
Fracking in Bassetlaw
As you will know, in the last few weeks the sceptre of Fracking in our area is raising it’s ugly head. Both in Misson, where iGas have applied for permission to drill a test bore & in Blyth, where a similar application is expected shortly, most of residents are agreed to oppose these developments and are objecting to the patronising way iGas talk to them.
Let’s hope common sense prevails and iGas realise they and Fracking are not wanted in Bassetlaw. Meanwhile we need to keep up the pressure on both iGas & Nottinghamshire County Council to make sure the applications do not go ahead. You can find out what you can do to help on the Bassetlaw Against Fracking Bassetlaw Against Fracking.
D2N2 & what it means for Bassetlaw
To be absolutely honest with you, I don’t know. For those that are not aware D2N2 is a Local Enterprise Partnership for Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire which promises to bring investment & jobs to the two Counties. Along with this the Government are devolving powers to the area. While I am all in favour of devolving power from an all too powerful Central Government, I want to make sure there is proper democratic control over those that will wield power in our name and not one or two people having all the control but not directly answerable to elected representatives. I hope to find out more in the coming days and will share that in forthcoming Letters from Bassetlaw.
Bassetlaw for Europe
Sometime in the next 2 years, we will be having the long awaited referendum on whether we should stay in the European Union (which was created out of the EEC by the Treaty signed here in Maastricht in 1992) or leaving it.
I am very clear that the UK needs to be in the EU and not just as the semi-detached member that successive governments have consigned us to being but being a leader and shaping the future of the Union to make more responsive to the people of Europe. The benefits for us all are many, & not just that we can drive from places like Worksop across to Maastricht, Aachen and even across to Warsaw with just some quick passport check at most to cross the many international boarders, and we would be poorer as a country economically & culturally if we were to leave.
Apart from the effects on the UK economy of leaving, there are three important areas where cooperation across the EU is vital to keeping us safe, these are the Environment, Security & crime. All three are now international issues and we in the UK need to work closely with partners in the EU (and beyond) if we are you make sure we deal successfully with them.
I will return to the Referendum and working to lead, not leave in Europe over the weeks and months ahead. If you want to be involved in the campaign to stay in the EU, let me know, your contribution will be most welcome.