In The Media » My first 100 days as part of the EU's travelling circus - By Jonathan Bullock MEP
IT was a great honour to take over as an MEP for the East Midlands from Roger Helmer, who retired at the end of July.
As you would expect, Roger was hugely helpful and gave me a thorough briefing in advance to ensure a smooth changeover, which has enabled me to seamlessly continue representing the East Midlands as a UKIP MEP alongside my colleague, Margot Parker MEP.
During my first 100 days, what hit me immediately was the vast divide between the reality and the 'generous' view taken of the EU by UK media and opinion formers. They gloss over the 'difficult bits' and take a 'don't mention it' approach to any 'awkward' comments made by the EU which could arouse a reaction from the UK public.
Even some of the more eurosceptic voices seem to take the view the EU probably means well and has just lost its way a bit and only needs a little nudge onto a reformist agenda. It is somehow politically incorrect to talk about the reality of the EU, which is an organisation fine tuning itself into becoming a European superstate with all the structure and trappings that entails, including an anthem, a currency, an (unelected) president with increasing powers and, if Junkers has his way, a European army.
You see it everywhere in the set up in Brussels and Strasbourg, and you hear it in conversations with MEPs from other countries.
In fact many MEPs shake your hand, and wish you and Britain well outside the EU. They completely understand why Britain is not in tune with the way the EU wishes to develop.
I have also experienced the ridiculous travelling circus of Strasbourg every month. Readers will no doubt be familiar with the issue - millions of Euros being spent transporting MEPs, staff and files from Brussels to Strasbourg every month just to placate the French who want the EU to have a base in France. The very fact that the EU has never been prepared to reform this most obvious example of waste and inefficiency, which even EU enthusiasts often criticise, probably shows more than any other example how the reformist agenda was bound to fail.
What is clear is that Brexit is far from safe as the Government tries to negotiate a deal with an intransigent EU. The UKIP delegation is making the case day in day out for a clean Brexit as quickly as possible. This is what the British people voted for, and it is shocking that 18 months later we are still in the EU, with talk of a transition period in which we would still be in the Single Market and Customs Union. We must continue the fight till we truly leave this failed and undemocratic organisation.
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