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Friday, 24 October 2014

Cameron and the European Union

In a brief soundbite this morning, Nigel Farrage said it all. David Cameron has absolutely no discretion about paying the new sum of contribution demanded by the EU from the UK. Cameron's Tory predecessors Heath, Thatcher and Major took Britain deeper and deeper into the Union: this is only a Tory achievement. The country is in the club. The rules are the rules. Nine countries have had bill increases; nineteen have had rebates; each country has one vote: so the logic is inescapable.

Where does this calculation come from? From the Commission, acting on the basis of economic statistics. Prostitution, drugs trading and some other illicit activities are now counted in national income figures, so Britain's officially-recorded turnover has been inflated - and this is counted back to 1995. In most years between 1995 to 2008 Britain was booming, relative to many European countries; and in the past two years recorded growth has exceeded other EU countries. When all the data are aggregated, Britain is credited with greater economic turnover than was formerly recognised; while other countries' results are scaled down: the arithmetic is unassailable, given the parameters within which it is computed.

Cameron can only make a bigger fool of himself by continuing the anger game that is already a national embarrassment.

This incident demonstrates Britain's impotence very clearly. The chances of pulling the country out of the EU without massive economic and constitutional damage are nil. Cameron's re-negotiation is most unlikely to happen, because his chance of gaining power in the next General Election is diminishing daily. But if it did happen, it could not make any significant changes to Britain's role or status in the Union: while the risks attendant on departure from the Union would starkly be revealed.

I was an active member of the GET BRITAIN OUT campaign in the one referendum we have had. I loathe the bureaucracy and the interventionism of Brussels, and the passage of so much unnecessary legislation cast in alien legal forms. I desperately wish that we were an Associate, and not a Member of the Union: but that is pipedreaming. We are in, up to our collective neck; and there is no easy way out.

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