Wednesday, 3 October 2012

If you are going to Birmingham

The days of packed fringe meetings at party conferences about the CFP are in the past but will, we hope, be revived. In the meantime, some people who are either going to the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham (the only one at which there are any discussions of the EU and Britain's membership at all) or just happen to be in that city or its vicinity next week might be interested in the following.

There will be, as in the last couple of years, a Freedom Zone, outside the security one, at which people can meet and discuss matters outside the officially sanctioned programme. Two particular events seem interesting. At 4 pm on Tuesday, October 9 there will be a debate between Conservatives and UKIP about who the real eurosceptics are. Most of us know the Conservative record on, say, matters to do with fishing. Nevertheless, the debate should be very interesting.

On the preceding day at 5.15pm there is a drinks reception at which Brian Binley MP and the economist Ruth Lea will discuss Britain and Europe - a new relationship. It might be worth noting ahead of this discussion, should any of our readers would want to attend and contribute that Europe is not a political phenomenon. The European Union is and we do not have a relationship with it any more than Cornwall has a relationship with the UK. We are part of it and that is that for the time being.

The answer to that might be proffered at another fringe meeting, that of the Bruges Group, at 2pm on Monday, October 8. The title is How Britain Can Exit the EU and it will be interesting to hear what two MPs of two parties who are committed to staying in will have to say on the matter. The third speaker is Tim Congdon, the distinguished economist and member of UKIP.


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