Do we Brits really care any more?
By Robert SturdyWHAT'S going on?Did you know that Britain's biggest container port, our very own Felixstowe, is in the hands of foreign owners? Isn't it worrying that British P&O is being taken over by a firm from the Middle East? As America and France get their collective knickers in a twist (and that's one big pair of smelly pants) over exactly these questions, it is noticeable that no one in Britain seems very bothered.
By Robert Sturdy
WHAT'S going on?
Did you know that Britain's biggest container port, our very own Felixstowe, is in the hands of foreign owners? Isn't it worrying that British P&O is being taken over by a firm from the Middle East? As America and France get their collective knickers in a twist (and that's one big pair of smelly pants) over exactly these questions, it is noticeable that no one in Britain seems very bothered.
Shouldn't we be terrified? Why are other countries so much more worried about these perceived threats than we are? Maybe it is because we've been dealing with them for a long time. Like many people I am saddened that cars, clothes, shoes, machines, in fact pretty much everything is made abroad nowadays, but then looking around: economically, East Anglia is doing much better now than it has in the past.
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The transformation Britain has made was painful but the public, business and politicians realised that there was no alternative and we are better for it. The world is changing, often bewilderingly quickly, and either we get on with it and try to adapt or we run around shouting at people and stick our heads in the sand.
And this is where Europe comes in. Just because we don't want the Euro or the Constitution doesn't mean we don't recognise the importance of improving our ties with other countries. In our everyday lives Europe, and the EU, doesn't seem to matter much except for when it comes to eroding our civil liberties and creating red tape (with the help of our Government).
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But the arguments and power struggles that are going on in capitals across Europe will have a major effect on things that impact on our lives: energy prices, budget airlines, phone bills and shopping on the High Street.
Because if we allow the doomsayers – those who want to pull Britain out of everything - to win the argument, it will be us who suffer.
At the moment we have a weird situation where the same countries who don't want to let foreigners into their economies are the ones trying to create a political European super state that none of us want.
Instead of using the fact that Europe is in disarray as an excuse to to get out, head for the hills and build a big wall around the UK, shouldn't we be working out how to get our trading relations to work in our interests?
Robert Sturdy is a Conservative Euro MP for the East of England and is the Tory spokesman on international trade.