Sunday , May 19 2024

EU half-truths

Have you received the propaganda leaflet from the UK government yet?  What did you do with it?  Straight in the bin? Read it?  I tore mine up and sent it back to the Conservative party at their FreePost address.  That way, Cameron’s party can pay 70p for the privilege of getting my response to their one-sided  and factually dubious document.

If you do bother to read this, you will immediately notice the innuendo and half-truths that run throughout.

The document states that 3 million jobs depend on the EU.  That is simply not true.  It has been estimated that 3 million jobs are dependent upon trade with the EU.  The fear that this so called ‘fact’ seeks to generate is that these jobs will disappear if Britons vote to leave the EU.  This is complete poppycock, utter rubbish, totally false – choose your own understanding.  As stated, these jobs are based on trade with the EU.  They are not dependent on membership of the EU.  The EU nations who trade with the UK do so on the basis of merit not charity.  They buy goods and services from the UK because those goods and services are offered at an acceptable level of quality and price.  If you read this leaflet you won’t find that in there.  You will just find the hint that these jobs will suddenly disappear if you vote leave.  This is shoddy and unbecoming a UK government.

The UK has attracted £540 billion of foreign direct investment over the last 10 years.  This  investment came about because of the UK’s pro-business policies not because of the EU. Policies that encourage businesses and allow for things like ‘zero hour’ contracts.  Policies that have led to a diminishing of union power, such that strikes are now a rarity, most obviously within the private sector.  Policies that allow for a reasonable relationship between employer and employee.  In certain EU countries, an employer doesn’t so much employ a worker as adopt them – it can be next to impossible to terminate employees when times get hard.   The UK is also moving towards a low company tax position, which also helps investment, though, meddling with other ‘taxes’ might erode this plus point.

The leaflet suggests that on balance and on the judgment of the UK government, the UK gets a good deal from the EU.  Consider, the UK contributes £350 million each week to the EU budget.  Of this, something less than half returns as grants and subsidies.  That means that around £175 million stays in the EU.  This pays for the fat cat tax free salaries and very generous pensions of the Eurocrats in Brussels.  It also subsidises certain EU industries, particularly otherwise inefficient ones, such as agriculture.  Irony alert.  The EU subsidises EU agriculture and puts trade barriers in the way of imports from developing countries.  Then because these countries, in Africa, for example, cannot export to the EU, their farmers suffer and so the EU then gives them aid.  Lewis Carroll couldn’t have dreamt up such idiocy!

Suppose that this £175 million was instead spent in the UK.  Or rather used to pay down the UK National Debt.  This currently stands at £1.6 trillion.  In a year, the UK could reduce this by £9.1 billion – not a huge amount but a start.  Further reductions could be made, because NHS spending and spending on schools and housing and welfare, would not need to be an increasing spiral to meet the demands of a rapidly rising immigrant influx.  This surely is the best way to secure the future for our children and grand children.  Far, far better a solution than shackling our country to the EU where, in countries such as Spain and Greece, youth unemployment is in excess of 50% – is that the future we want?  The EU is failing the old, failing the taxpayers and failing the youth and future generations.

Much is made by the UK government and various international organisations and of course the world’s former darling, President Obama, of the risk to the world economy from a ‘leave’ vote.  Inflation in the UK is threatened because of the instability.  At other times and when not discussing the EU vote, inflation is being positively encouraged by economists and world leaders as a cure to the stagflation that is facing world economies.  Go figure!

As per the leaflet, supposedly losing the UK’s full access to the EU’s Single Market would make exports to Europe ‘harder and would increase costs’.  Note the conflation of Europe and the EU.  The EU is not Europe it just contains a number of European countries, not all of them.  Note also the certainty.  Not might make exports hard but definitely would.   How on earth can anyone say that?  No discussions on a post-Brexit settlement have been undertaken so how can anyone say with such certainty that this would be the case?  Pure and simple, scare-mongering.

Then the leaflet claims that the rise of budget airlines and cheaper flights is down to the EU.  Even if it were true (and I seem to recall that the USA and Asia have such low-cost carriers without the aid of the EU), does anyone really believe that post-Brexit, airfares throughout Europe will suddenly increase and we would be back to the highly inefficient state-run monopoly airlines, of the past?

Now look at the benefits of the renegotiation that Cameron’s government ‘achieved’.

The UK now has a ‘special status’ in a reformed EU.  This special status means that we will not have to join the Euro.  We will not be part of further political integration, we will be able to impose ‘tough (their words, not mine) restrictions on welfare immigrants who have not contributed to the UK social security system and there is a commitment to reduce ‘red tape’.

When I read of the victories and major concessions I seethe.  That we have come to this.  The UK is allowed to not join the Euro or follow further political integration.  The UK is an independent sovereign nation.  The UK has been such an entity for hundreds of years before many of these countries existed!  But now we are to be allowed.  Excuse me if I sound less than grateful.  The UK doesn’t need to be allowed such concessions.  We have them by right.  They have been hard-won and paid for in blood through wars and struggle.  I hate to hark back to the second world war but the UK then stood alone in Europe, against the Nazis.  Without the UK and its allies from its colonies and dominions, Europe would have been under the Nazi boot, for ever.  No bureaucrat in Brussels or newly established democracy can give us these rights.  Nor can they take them away.

This document has cost something like £9.3 million to publish and distribute.  Cameron’s government spuriously claim that it is not unfair to publish this at taxpayer expense, because the ‘government has a view’ and wants to push that view.  Can you imagine the outcry there would be if, going into a General Election, which is a referendum on the governing party, the government of the day, published, at taxpayer expense, a defence of its policies and its future political programme?  Everyone would see it for what it is.  Government propaganda more usually associated with tin-pot dictators in banana republics.

This leaflet shames British democracy.   In a recent poll by YouGov, 53% of those people that expressed a definite opinion, said that the government’s actions were unfair.  Much is made of Cameron’s public school education (Eton) – well he doesn’t seem to have picked-up the sense of fair play that is supposed to epitomise such institutions.

I suppose, as an ever more committed ‘Brexiteer’, I should be happy.  This document and the secondment of government officials to bolster the ‘In’ campaign speak to the desperation of that campaign.  Lies aren’t working, unfair play isn’t working.  No matter how they bend the rules to try and achieve an ‘In’ vote, the people are stubbornly sticking to their guns.  At the moment, Brexit and In are neck and neck.  More immigration stories and such and the argument swings more and more in favour of the UK regaining control of our country, once more.

The only choice now, is Brexit.  Use your vote and use it correctly.

About Tom O'Brien

Tom is an English Conservative Christian currently working as a Finance Manager in Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq. When not in Iraq, his home is in Grantham, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom; also the hometown of Margaret Thatcher.

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