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Over the next week about 100 Parish and Town Meetings will be held
across the country. They will all demand local referendums calling for
a stop to the waste of public money by local authorities preparing for
the euro before a national referendum. They will also demand that Great
Britain keeps the Pound.
Under a little-used provision of the Local Government Act 1972 [Schedule
12,Part III, Paragraph 18(4)], the origins of which pre-date Magna Carta,
local polls - or 'referendums' - may be held on any question proposed by
ten parish or town electors.
Over a quarter of a million electors will be entitled to vote in these
polls. The organisers expect the results to send a strong 'keep the
Pound' message to all levels of government, and put Tony Blair under
more pressure to abandon his 'Prepare and Decide' National Changeover
Two questions will be on the ballot papers:
1. Do you want your local government to avoid spending any time and
public money preparing for the euro before a national referendum?
2. Do you wish the Pound Sterling to remain the currency of the United
The organisers say that if we were ever to join the Euro, we would lose
control of our interest and exchange rates, our right to control our own
taxation, the cost of mortgages, and our economic policy. In practice,
Great Britain would cease to exist as a free and sovereign country.
Recent opinion polls, including those conducted by the EU, show that
almost 80% of UK voters are opposed to the Euro. But, say the
organisers, before we have been asked - let alone said "yes" - our
government is already spending tens of millions of pounds preparing for
Euro entry. It is telling local authorities to waste public money on
Euro preparations and, astonishingly, forcing Hospital Trusts to spend
health care money on new Euro-compatible computer systems.
The ultimate cost of converting the whole country to the euro has been
estimated at £36 billion - or 4.2% of our GDP. That is roughly equal to
£650 for every man, woman and child in the UK. It is also roughly equal
to the annual running costs of the NHS, double the amount spent on
education and employment together, 1.5 times the defence budget, double
the value of agricultural production from our farms, and double the sum
spent by British industry on research and development. And all for a
change few outside government want.
"This arrogant contempt for our opinion is a national disgrace", the
organisers say. "People resent the government trying to manipulate
public opinion and make the Euro appear inevitable. Our project gives
ordinary voters the power to tell the government how strongly they feel
about keeping the Pound".
Meetings have been organised from Port Scatho in Cornwall to Tunbridge
Wells in Kent, and from Kirk Andrews in Cumbria to John Mayor's parish
at Huntingdon. Supporters in many counties, including Shropshire, West
Sussex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Devon, Bedfordshire, Leicestershire,
Norfolk and Yorkshire are all organising several parish and town polls.
The law requires the polls to be organised by the local district
councils within 14 to 25 days of the Parish/Town Meetings. The
organisers plan to announce the Poll results on Tuesday 26 September,
just two days before the Danish 'keep the Crown' referendum.
Jeffrey Titford MEP, Leader of the UK Independence Party, whose office
has been used as a campaign base and whose own Parish, Frinton-on-Sea,
is holding a Parish Meeting next week, said: "I support this initiative.
The best decision for Britain would be a permanent decision - now - to keep
the Pound. The last two years have taught us that life outside the Eurozone
is healthy and profitable, that the Pound is stable and the Euro unstable.
The best thing that could happen for British industry would be an emphatic
decision now to keep the Pound and reject the Euro".
The 'Euro referendum now' campaign has been organised in just five
weeks, following a crowded meeting of euro-sceptics held at the Tap and
Spile, Birmingham on 21 July. Under the acronym 'CARP' (Campaign
Alliance for Referendums in Parishes), the organisers put together a
'how-to-do-it' Action Kit which local poll organisers have been using.
The organisers expect more Parish and Town meetings to follow in the
coming weeks. CARP is a non-party alliance of like-minded individuals
all acting in their personal capacities.
The four organisers of CARP are Mark Croucher, Tony Bennett, Idris
Francis and Ashley Mote, also all acting in their personal capacities.