I worked in the European Institutions in Strasbourg for 17 years - 10 of which I was MEP for Northern Ireland.
I love Europe and in 1975 voted for the UK to be a member of the Common Market EEC.
But that body has changed during the past 40 years to become unrecognisable from its original vision.
It is now a political institution steadily undermining the independence of member nations.
For example the Republic has had to abandon its own currency and now must have its national budget approved in advance by a non elected commission. So much for an independent Ireland which Sinn Fein originally visualised.
Our establishment has decided on a policy of fear - reduced pensions; loss of jobs; even a Third World War - to ensure that the EU may extend its controls over our lives.
I discovered in Strasbourg that the policy was “More Europe” – in other words more European integration including a European Army even though one quarter of the EU Nations are opposed to NATO!
I have been outraged at the personal attacks by those who still support the EU but they are weak on facts. Our taxpayers send £20 billion per year to Brussels and in return £10 billion is returned for projects selected by non elected EU officials and not by our elected representatives ie by you!
Of this amount only £3.8 billion goes to our agriculture industry whereas the EU now sends £4 billion of our UK taxes per year to farmers in other countries so that they can compete more successfully against our own farming communities.
If we left the EU we could retain that £20 billion and the Treasury could then allocate even greater funds to our agriculture industry; the NHS; and education.
Then there is immigration! It is out of control. Foreign people are increasingly found sleeping in doorways in London and other cities. London is the only capital city in Europe where the local people are now a minority!
We need immigrants but we must regain control over who comes to work here. We must end the legal right of freedom of movement of 500 million Europeans into our country.
It lowers our wages; places unacceptable demands on the NHS; and in many cases denies places for our children in the school of their choice. This problem will get worse as the UK has already voted in favour for Turkey, with its 80 million people, to proceed through the process to become a full EU member.
Nor is trade with the EU likely to be a problem.
It sells twice as much to the UK as the UK exports to the EU. So it would not be in the interests of EU nations to create trade barriers against the UK. Likewise there would thankfully no trade barrier along the Irish border.
So the EU is an entirely “different animal” from the EEC which I supported 40 years ago.
For that reason I will vote in favour our country leaving the EU and I hope the Republic will do likewise.
Yours etc, Lord Kilclooney, Non Party Independent Crossbencher
See Farming Life