Tomorrow would have been a day of interest in politics but it wouldn’t have been a watershed moment in the People vs. The Establishment if it wasn’t for the ludicrous decision made by David Cameron to enforce a “three line” whip on David Nuttall MP’s motion on an EU Referendum.
The reason there is a motion and debate for an EU Referendum is because over 100,000 UK citizens signed a petition demanding a debate in Parliament with a YouGov poll on Friday showing 67% of voters support Nuttall’s motion.
The European Union is not some side-show which supposedly the Right are obsessed with but it is a fundamental reason why Britain is no longer the economic power house it once was. Of course, there are a few odd-balls in the movement to have a EU Referendum but as in any large organisation there are always a few weird individuals, hey Ed Milliband! In 1997, when Ken Clarke (ironic I know) handed Tony Blair a golden economic legacy, Great Britain was the 4th largest economy in the world. We now hover around 7th and 8th largest but in terms of world competitiveness we have plummeted to 22nd. Over the last century, we had swapped our powerful empire for a powerful economy but all this was trashed by a) wasteful spending on a criminal scale by Gordon Brown and b) suffocating regulations from Brussels. As Bernard Jenkin in his Sunday Telegraph column tells us today, the British Chamber of Commerce calculates the cost of EU regulation to the UK economy introduced between 1998 and 2010 has been £60.75 billion. This isn’t just an attack on private sector growth but also on pubic sector efficiency – the working time directive (which deprives junior doctors of vital hands on training which in the end will save lives) costs the NHS £300 million per year.
George Osborne yesterday at a gathering of finance ministers in Brussels said the Eurozone crisis is a danger to our country and is putting Britain’s economic recovery in peril. That’s a currency we are not part of putting us in danger because we are a member of the EU. So when Government ministers and pseudo-Tory MPs suggest now is not the time to discuss our continuing membership of the EU superstate as we must concentrate on sorting the economy out, what planet are they on? Our membership of the EU IS the reason why our economy cannot take off again. When on earth would be a good time to discuss our relationship with Europe?
Not wishing to sound like a Sun columnist but Great Britain is not the same as the rest of Europe. We are different: our mother tongue is the world’s language used by every other country who wants to do business outside its own borders, we are an island nation with special defence needs as a result and by our nature we are more conservative and less socialist minded as a people. Labour tried to create a socialist state through the welfare system and by gold plating every EU directive that came our way but British people aren’t afraid of working long hours and don’t believe in a something for nothing society.
The EU elite wants us to stay but because of our money not because they have any affinity with us. We contribute more than we take out of the EU – each British household lost £299 to Brussels last year with the UK ploughing £10.5 billion into EU coffers. In contrast, Poland put in £2.9 billion and took out £10.2 billion. Why should we stay in a relationship where we give much more than we take?
The Europhiles tell us we could not survive as non-EU members as 40% of our trade is with EU countries. Oh so that’s why we can’t trade with India, China, the US – no, sorry, we do don’t we. This is an argument which does not wash. Now it is certainly true many southern or eastern European countries could not survive without being in the EU. And they know it – when I was in Sicily a few years ago, I could hardly see the sky for the fluttering of EU flags. The Italians certainly know who their paymasters are. As Britain puts in much more than it takes out, we are not in hock to the EU. If our leaders grew some balls and started seriously taking steps to leave, the eurocrats in Brussels wouldn’t be able to get to London quick enough to negotiate.
The motion isn’t binding tomorrow but I hope as many MPs (including Mr Gummer) as possible represent their constituents’ view, vote for the motion and send a message to the Government and the EU that we’ve had enough.