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Comment by Peter Troy

Posted by Richard Saturday, April 24, 2004

Well I see there is a new blog on the block. Congratulations. Clearly there is a need for the facilities of Blog to be put to a positive use ! Is this the thinking mans' blog, a broadsheet blog ?

The posting yesterday referring to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is very relevant.

A very important business supplement was produced this week, which illustrates potential business people power. I say business people power rather than business organisation power. The potential influence that the FSB could bring into the EU debate is huge -that of course is not what the government wants to happen. Licensed dissidents must of course, remain 'on message'.

On Thursday the Federation of Small Business published a supplement to its bi-monthly magazine ''First Voice'' called ''FSB Conference Insider'' The magazine details the events of the 186,000 member organisation's annual conference last month.

As is referred to on this blog the issues of regionalisation and the EU constitution were debated at the FSB's annual conference in Blackpool.

Motion 2, called ''on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to disband the programme for Regional Assemblies. '' This was passed by the grass roots membership by a massive majority of 82%.

Motion 5, '' This conference calls upon Her Majesty's government not to sign the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe on the grounds that handing over more power to Brussels will have a detrimental impact on the UK business environment. The unequivocal wording was accepted by 95% of the delegates.

In 2001 I proposed a motion calling for the FSB to demand a total withdrawal from the EU, that was also accepted by a substantial majority, 68%.

The Voice of Small Business has spoken several times on EU issues. Despite the fact that the motions were substantially endorsed by the branch delegates the Federation's ruling body the National Council has yet to bring policy in line with its members views.

One senior FSB official amazingly said to me at the conference, '' this is only the views of the delegates".
I regret not recalling Pythagoras' comment ''from the sample we can judge the whole''. Though of course the conference delegates are more than the sample they are the representatives.

Peter Troy is Chairman of the Darlington Branch of the FSB