Citizen Editor: We must stay in Europe – but on our own terms
TODAY, David Cameron is in Bruges where he will make a speech outlining his plans for the UK in Europe.
It will be a speech crucial to David Cameron's position and future within his highly eurosceptic Conservative Party.
Many Conservative voters want to leave Europe, and the Tories fear the rise of the UK Independence Party.
In or out of Europe is too simplistic and stark a choice.
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This newspaper believes that we should not leave Europe, for two key reasons.
One is trade.
In the South West, we derive a great deal of our export trade from customers in Europe. To ignore that would be to commit economic suicide.
Secondly, we have to think of the future generation – our young people.
If they are to develop to their full potential, they must have the doors of opportunity left open for them in education and business in Europe.
However, we do not believe this country should be paying £53million a day in membership fees to this European club with little tangible benefit.
It is, therefore, vital that the terms of our membership are renegotiated without leaving us a leper in Europe.
The vexed question of Europe has, over the years, driven the Conservative Party almost to the point of self-destruction.
The most important point here is the future of this country – not a political party.
The right choice is, therefore, to stay a member of the club but on our terms.
THIS newspaper has no criticism of Staffordshire bull terriers as a breed.
But we do have a strong view that dangerous dogs should not be allowed to attack and harm other dogs.
That is why we support police action to give the Tuffley owner of two Staffies until Sunday to decide whether to have the dogs put down.