The French now admit that the European Union is going down the khasi – does the United Kingdom still want to vote to stay in?

euflag EU flag

British prominent pro-Europeans won’t have it that there is a life outside of the European Union, will they? Some people however can still remember when we weren’t actually in even  the Common Market, or to be more precise EEC (the baby form of the European Union), because we didn’t want to join in 1957 when it all kicked-off. Some might also remember that in the early 1960s, when we did want to join, one of the main founders and a current lead champion, the French under Charles de Gaulle, wouldn’t let us in (he vetoed British membership as being a Trojan horse for the Americans, you see?). A decade later when de Gaulle had gone the French finally agreed to let us in, eh?

The British people had no say whatsoever on all of this of course, but just a few years later-on, because of Labour’s longstanding fear of EEC’s things like the straightjacket on economic and industrial policy freedoms, and in particular the destructive Common Agricultural Policy (creating unreasonably high food prices compared with those of the Commonwealth), the voters were allowed a referendum about staying in. An overwhelming majority wanted to carry on (were they bamboozled though?).

When outside the EEC the UK did just fine and we traded with the World successfully (we were good at that, eh?), but the idiom that ‘the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence’, applies doesn’t it? When we had been in for a while, things all went wildly different when the powerhouses behind the EEC successfully introduced their dream goal of increasing ‘political’ integration and a ‘united’ Europe – the European Union, that we now belong to through the Maastricht Treaty (without the consent of the UK population, it must be said?).

Increasingly, as part of the so-called European project, the EU has taken control over all member countries’ commercial and political affairs, far in excess of running a single market we voted for, wasn’t it? It sets up regulations and laws (drafted solely by non-elected bureaucrats) that override those of the British parliament, and other member countries. It even provides a European Court made up of ‘nominees’ (rather than legitimate ‘experienced’ judges) that can and do overrule England’s highest courts in the land, including the Court of Appeal and even the Supreme Court (not so supreme now though, eh?). It also continues to require that we allow in every other Tom, Dick, or Harry from Europe to reside here, and make use of everything going despite never having contributed a penny into the system beforehand – and they have done it in their multitudes (over 350thousand last year alone), haven’t they?

The EU embarked on monetary union by introducing their own currency – the Euro. It has been an unmitigated disaster, hasn’t it? Purely by luck and against the wishes of major players, Britain kept out of it (Chancellor Gordon Brown scuppered the plan purely to spite his rival PM Tony Blair, didn’t he?).

Over more recent years, there has developed a groundswell of public opinion in favour of the UK paddling its own canoe and getting out of the EU – not least because of the overcrowding and overstretching problems created by increasing numbers of foreigners taking-out the Country’s resources. On the political front, the UKIP crowd were formed with the specific objective to get the Country out of Europe and back to full independence – but in reality they are small beer, aren’t they? Labour and SNP (who are becoming increasingly irrelevant with the oil price freefall, which makes Scottish independence economically un attainable) remain keen on the EC, while large numbers of Conservative MPs (so called euro-sceptics) want us out – against the wishes of the Prime Minister David Cameron. However, Cameron has been coerced into providing the voters with an “In-Out” referendum to determine the Country’s future within the EU. Consequently he has embarked on a so-called ‘renegotiation’ within the EU to repatriate some powers and vary the rules that will apply to our future membership. Many euro-sceptics conclude that Cameron’s negotiating plans are totally inadequate, and others prefer to wait & see what can be achieved, before deciding’. It is quite possible that Cameron will complete his mission in the next month, but it is said that he isn’t in a hurry (perhaps inaccurate, as he wants to get the referendum out of the way in the summer next year at the very latest – and there has to be time allotted for electioneering, doesn’t there?). Will Cameron like PM Chamberlain some eighty years ago, appear on the steps of an aircraft waving a bit of paper and saying “there has been a successful renegotiation” (the equivalent of ‘peace for our time’)?

A few days ago, the Prime Minister of France (someone who you don’t know and have never heard of, probably?) joined the cast of the EU play and entered left onto the World stage. However, his contribution to the UK’s renegotiation scene might have been significant, perhaps? His part’s words could send a couple of messages to Cameron that could be good for his campaign – but on the other hand, one or both might bear bad news, eh? Oh dear.

For a start, he said that the very concept of the EU was heading for oblivion, which will be music to the ears of the likes of UKIP and the euro-skeptics, nevertheless very bad for Cameron’s wish for the voters to decide to stay in, eh? {The French PM’s comments mirror those expressed also by the Dutch PM, who said that Europe was close to breaking point].

However, the reason for the Frenchman’s depression was that the influx of refugees and migrants into Europe was going to asphyxiate the EU (open-door Germany alone has accepted over one million refugees in 2015). That opinion means that there is likely to be a change in general thought about allowing complete and unlimited freedom of movement within Europe (and open borders to boot). Hence there will be increased sympathy for Cameron’s plight of too many immigrants heading for the UK – so he may get a good result in his renegotiations, perhaps?

The second interesting bit of the dialogue was that this senior French politician thought that if Britain withdrew from the EU, it would result in the whole set-up collapsing. Such a positive view of the UK’s importance ought to mean a desperate keenness of the other members to satisfy Cameron’s change requests, shouldn’t it? If so, our PM is home & dry, don’t you think? However, such a view would completely undermine the pro-European platform that says the UK is in a weak negotiating position and needs the EU more than the EU needs the UK, doesn’t it?

You see, it is peddled about by the ‘we have to stay-in lobby’ that we must retain the European market as it generates the biggest portion of our export trade, while we only provide a small scale proportion of trade to Europe. Of course this trotted out misinformation is as usual, an argument blatantly misusing statistics, isn’t it? The amount of our exports to the EU is dropping like a stone and is now lower than fifty percent for the first time ever, while it is self-evident that with the relatively massive size of Europe, our sales there are bound to be only a small proportion of their total imports (even if it ever became a hundred percent of our exports, eh?). The bottom line is that the EU has a strong trade balance with the UK – we are a net importer and not a net exporter, since they ship far more stuff to us than we get to ship to them (is that healthy for a supposedly trading nation like ours, do you believe?).There are substantial other groups and large markets elsewhere in the World these days, that will open-up to us if we are not in the EU (including the States and the Commonwealth), apart from Asia and China (the largest growing economy by far – even if it has slowed down a bit last year).

On another matter, the UK pays each and every year an increasing enormous sum in membership fees to the EU (the more successful we are the more we pay, you see?), and gets back only about two thirds of that in EU support payments. Not a good venture as any competent investor adviser will advise you or not a good betting return any decent gambler would consider. All the extra money we pay (say in excess of eleven billion pounds?) is of course dished out to other countries (you happy about that?) – So there we have a massive annual charity type payment which our Government, let alone the British public, have absolutely zero say in or control over. Do YOU still want to keep paying-in then?

In due course, you the British public will have your say, whether it is this summer (unlikely) or next, but before then the politicians with their own axe to grind, will without doubt try to confuse you all with misrepresentations- good luck everyone.

 

[The United Kingdom’s appetite for an ever closer union with the other countries of Europe will never match that of the likes of Germany and France, will it?]

 

 

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