DON'T MEDDLE WITH EU'S BUDGET REBATE
Edward Heath led Britain into the European Union
Sunday September 12,2010
Sunday September 12,2010
THIRTY seven years ago prime minister Edward Heath, pursuing his dream of a Federal Europe, tricked us into joining a Common Market that he said would not involve any loss of sovereignty.
Thanks to a gargantuan transfer of power to Brussels, Heath’s innocent sounding Common Market has become a monster called the European Union. It has a foreign minister and diplomatic corps, a police agency and criminal justice system, a parliament, a currency, driving licence, passport, flag, anthem, and unlimited arrogance.
Last week the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, warned our unelected Brussels bosses not to meddle with Britain’s EU Budget rebate secured by Margaret Thatcher in 1984. His warning followed a declaration by European Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski that “the rebate for Great Britain has lost its original justification. Per capita income has risen substantially since the Eighties.”
Chancellor Osborne robustly replied that the area needing urgent reform is the Common Agricultural Policy, which is ferociously defended by France and still swallows 40 per cent of the total budget.
A British government spokesman said: “It’s a matter of fairness. Without the rebate the UK’s net contribution as a percentage of national income would be twice as big as France’s and one and a half times bigger than Germany’s.”
The reality of our membership of the EU is that while we face austerity and cuts the Office for Budget Responsibility says our net contribution to the EU will rise from £3billion last year to £8.2billion within five years.
WHY SHOULD we be forced to pay for this ongoing and ludicrous spending spree? Why should we put up with what at times seems like deliberate provocation from Brussels?
An organisation called the EU Referendum Campaign is seeking answers. It aims to bring together businesses, trade unions and members of all political parties who want a vote on whether Britain should continue to be a member of the EU.
It reminds us that in 2004 Tony Blair, referring to ever-closer European integration, said: “We will have a referendum on the subject.” In 2005 Gordon Brown declared: “We will put it to the British people in a referendum.” Prior to the Lisbon Treaty David Cameron said: “I give you a cast-iron guarantee that a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations.” All three reneged on their promise.
Politicians should heed the words of Oxford University’s Professor Vernon Bogdanor. He says: “In the final analysis the arguments against referendums are arguments against democracy.” Will the professor’s views change anything? I doubt it. Politicians are not in favour of democracy. It disturbs their comfortably cocooned life at Westminster.
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