Sunday, January 20

Bribed by the Myth of ''European Money''

Back in May 2002 I delivered a speech at a packed rally in the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, in the wake of a successful motion (proposed by myself and Colin Stratton) at the Federation of Small Business (FSB) annual conference calling on the organisation to demand a withdrawal from the European Union (EU). I thundered to the enthusiastic UKIP and other eurosceptic supporters that the Business community was waking up to the immense negative effect of the EU as more and more regulation and unaccountable ''governance'' impacts upon UK businesses.
Clearly I was somewhat over optimistic (to use a very British understatement) in my claims - despite the situation becoming much worse since - that business people are awake to the realities of the EU, principally I firmly believe this is because small businesses remain bribed by the myth of so called ''European Money''.

This week, almost unnoticed to either the business community or for that matter anyone else, the House of Commons voted to hugely increase the amount Britain pays to the EU - not that MPs in reality had any choice.
According to government figures, the amounts are huge. In 2007, the gross contribution before abatement was £14.2 billion with an abatement of £3.9 billion. For 2008, the figure is £14.6 billion with a projected abatement of £4.6 to 4.7 billion. The year 2009 will cost us £13.7 billion with an abatement of £4.8 to 4.9 billion, in 2010 it is £14.4 with a £3.8 to 3.9 abatement, and for 2011-13, the range is £14.1 to 14.5 billion with projected abatements of £3.5 to 4.1 billion. In round billions from now to 2010 the EU costs us an average of £10 billion a year in hard payments and much much more in compliance costs.

Perhaps these figures will be taken in to account when government and regional agencies glibly refer to ''European Money''. The UK currently receives back two thirds of the hard money we pay to the EU, so by any definition it is not ''European Money'' but British Tax payers money returned back to us (very) conditionally from the EU coffers in Brussels.

Next week hopefully with attention from the media the ratification process of the so called EU Reform Treaty starts in Westminster. The Treaty when ratified will in simple terms 'deliver' more 'Europe'. Encouraging signs of media attention to come can be found in today's Sunday Telegraph, together with a piece in the The Sunday Times with the headline "Ministers mask effect of EU treaty", reporting that, "The significance of the new EU treaty has been deliberately downplayed by the government, according to a damning report by MPs published today." Matthew d'Ancona in his column in the Telegraph then gives us a long dissertation about how David Cameron has a "cunning plan" to deal with the treaty, but doesn't want to tell us what it is.
As we have posted before, alone amongst the business organisations it is only the FSB who have asked their members their views on the importantance or otherwise of demanding a public Referendum on the Treaty prior to ratification. All the other major business organisations the CBI, BCC and the IoD appear to be of the view that the issue should be left to ''the politicians''. Well for forty years the issue has been left to our so called political elite; one has only to look at the great deception that has resulted. I earnestly believe that I am not being over optimistic in believing that the members of the FSB will respond to the on line survey and insist that their organisation join the demand for a referendum.

Meanwhile, such is the effect of the bribery of the non corporate British Business community that ever increasing vast sums of ''European Money'' is paying for huge amounts of negative interference of the process of business which no amount of consultation or so called lobbying in either Westminster or Brussels can meaningfully positively influence.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Free Europe - vote YES at!