The Transport We Need - Jill Seymour MEP conference speech

Published Sep 26, 2015

38qr96Hi.jpegI suspect most, if not all of you are sick and tired of the EU meddling in our affairs, when it is clearly none of their business.

Are you fed up with the endless rules and regulations from the faceless bureaucrats, who do not understand our way of life?

Have you had enough of this ridiculous notion that one-size-fits all? Well, you are not alone.

This is precisely how the EU works. It just cannot stop MEDDLING.

The Oxford English Dictionary describes people who ‘meddle’ as:

* To interfere with something that is no-one’s concern.

* Or, to touch or handle something without permission.

I don’t know about you . . . but I reckon that just about sums up the European Union to a tee.

It is their meddling that is dismantling and destroying our national transport network, whether it be road, rail, sea or air.

Their ignorance of our transport infrastructure not only brings financial burden to our industry, but impacts on our daily lives.

Here in the UK we rely on transport for pretty much everything, so, why would we want to give up control of this vital lifeline to an undemocratic organisation, which is the EU?

Let’s start with railways.

Historically, Britain was at the forefront of railway development throughout the world.

For the first time in decades, railways are a point of serious political importance. The reason is Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s politically populist but practically impossible statement about renationalising them.

Regardless of anyone’s opinion on whether this is the right decision, Mr Corbyn is off track if he thinks the EU will allow him to do it.

He obviously doesn’t know that since the EU brought in the first railway directive in 2001 it has been illegal for us to renationalise them.

What does Mr Corbyn not understand?

He has swung from possibly supporting the ‘Out’ campaign to now confirming absolute loyalty to the EU.

Then, just two days later, he announces a policy that is legally impossible, if we remain in. He is either misleading us, or misleading himself . . . either way this should convince Labour supporters that UKIP is their only option.

Did you know the EU has now set up a quango called the European Railways Agency who believe they can change our railway history?

Worried? You should be. This faceless organisation has a budget of 25 million Euros and sees itself as the parent for all European rail networks.

They’ll have a master plan, and Britain will not be at the centre of it.

Instead of putting up with interference from this crazy quango, shouldn’t the nation that gave railways to the world be capable of managing its own rail infrastructure. Damn right we should!

Of course, there is one UK railway project where money seems irrelevant. Any ideas? You’ve got it - HS2.

This project – which UKIP has opposed from the very start – is a textbook case of EU meddling.

It is presented as an entirely British idea, and it may have been at the outset, but this is no longer the case. It is now part of the EU’s TEN-T infrastructure. No matter how many times the Government says it will ‘consider’ objections from the public – nothing will be done.

Because nothing can be done . . . the whole project is pushed by the EU through our Government.

HS2 is a huge waste of money which we do not have. It is a vanity project which the majority of rail users do not need, or want. It will cause mass destruction to historic villages, houses and woodlands.

And who knows how much HS2 will actually cost? In the space of a year, the estimated budget has already risen from £55 billion to as much as £70 billion. Just a fraction of this money could transform our existing rail network into an efficient national railway system from North to South, East to West.

Finally on railways . . . has anyone heard of the European Rail Traffic Management System?

Yes, believe it or not, another quango; another waste of money. This is the group which wants Britain’s railway network to go metric.

Our train drivers – who already claim they are over-worked and under-paid - will have to start calculating speeds and distances in both imperial and metric measurements.

This is not only totally unnecessary, it is costly . . . and could be very dangerous. I agree wholeheartedly with the rail unions who see this as a waste of money which would be better spent on keeping fares down.

But you know what they say . . . give the EU an inch, and they’ll take a kilometre!

Another part of EU’s meddling is The ‘Certificate of Professional Competence’ (CPC), which is forcing otherwise competent truck drivers out of the industry.

Why is this? Because it places an extra layer of compulsory training on experienced drivers – taking them off the roads, and costing them significant amounts of money for certification and loss of earnings.

Since this EU legislation came into effect in 2014, we have lost thousands of truck drivers from the UK.

These were not law-breakers, but people with clean licences and years of unblemished service who decided to quit the industry, rather than pay to sit through extra training they did not need. No wonder the UK haulage industry now has a shortfall of around 60,000 drivers.

But things could be so different. If we were out of the EU, we could abandon this heavy-handed, bureaucratic burden . . . retaining our experienced drivers and attracting a new generation into the haulage industry, safeguarding its future.

When the referendum is finally called, all we have to do, is vote to leave.

Now, let’s move onto the driving licence. In Britain, we produce some of the safest drivers in the world, and that is why we have some of the lowest road casualty rates.

Yet, a driver coming in from the EU – where standards are usually much lower – can exchange their licence for a UK licence after living here for just 185 days.

Guess what . . . yes, the number of crashes involving foreign lorry drivers on UK motorways rose to 1,100 in 2014 representing an increase of 14.3% since 2012.

As long as we are a member of the European Union, there is nothing we can do about it.

But don’t worry, Big Brother is watching all of YOU.

Yes, the European Union is insisting all new cars must be fitted with a GPS tracking system, called E-Call starting from October 2015.

I call it the Martini system . . . because it means your car can be located ‘any time, any place, anywhere’. The difference is, this particular measure is hard to swallow, and leaves a very nasty taste.

Two million vehicles are produced in Britain every year, and the Department of Transport reckons prices will rise to cover the additional cost of E-Call. So once again, the public picks up the bill.

This nanny state attitude is a disgrace.

If we are old enough to drive, then we are capable of choosing for ourselves if we want E-Call system fitted to our cars or not.

Surprise, surprise. You will not be given the choice. But remember, it doesn’t have to be this way.

All we’ve got to do is vote to leave.

Talking of Big Brother brings me to the subject of ‘Smart Motorways’ . . . you know, those overhead gantries every 500 metres filled with cameras and traffic monitoring systems.

They’re driven by yet another EU Directive which paves the way for a continental road pricing system – something which UKIP strongly opposes. The rollout of Smart Motorways is eating up a significant proportion of the £3 billion allocated for highway investment.

Personally, I’d rather see it spent on filling the millions of potholes, and looking after our roads first.

As a member of the EU’s Transport committee for more than a year, I can tell you that there are no end to these meddlesome pieces of legislation being imposed upon our Department of Transport.

I promise you, I do, and will, continue to fight these senseless laws.

Legislative control of Transport was surrendered when the Treaty of Rome was signed.

They even have the power to make us drive on the wrong side of the road! But I still believe driving LEFT is driving RIGHT

Let me now turn to Aviation. It contributes more than £52 billion to our GDP, which equates 3.4% to our UK economy and employs 960,000 employees. It is being stifled by EU employment laws, red tape and regulations.

Believe it or not, the control of our UK airspace also seems to be under threat, from something called the ‘Single European Sky’. They say ‘The Sky’s The Limit . . . clearly, no-one has told the EU.

So, to sum it all up:

* Their trains have left the tracks

* Their vehicles are going round the bend

* Their ships are off course.

* And they certainly have their heads in the clouds

The answer is obvious. SAY NO to the EU and let’s LEAVE.

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