Performance of the Economy

Britain and Europe

Essentially Britain is caught up in an organisation which she joined out of weakness and whose aims have always been at variance with hers. Despite much windy theorising, there was never any chance that Britain “could have assumed the leadership of Europe” and “fashioned it to suit its own agenda” not in 1950, 1957 or 1997. The EU is essentially a French project – designed to serve the interests of the French political class by harnessing German economic power to French national objectives. Many British politicians still have trouble in grasping that the official language of the EU is French. Nothing else matters or ever has really mattered in Europe since 1949 than the Franco-German relationshipRef 7. When the French political class can pursue policies which have predictably put 13% of their insured population out of work and prolonged their recession by three or more years, can anyone sincerely believe they care a fig for Britain’s role in Europe? They see our role as providing a market for French cars and French agricultural products. While the present British political class has only vague and vacuous notions for Britain in the world, the French political class, from Chirac down, is quite clear about its goal. It sees Europe as a world power rivalling the USA, directed by the French in France’s interests. Every proposal is evaluated in terms of its likely effect on this ambition. In fulfilment of this ambition, the French government insists on placing French citizens in key positions in numbers out of all proportion to France’s contribution[10]. It is humiliating in the face of these realities to see Government ministers clutching at the straws of temporary French favour.

Our new relationship with the EU

This would be similar in general terms to our relationship with the USA, though without the informal bonds of language and law. Unpicking our present relationship with the EU would not be difficult because Continental countries are more dependent on the British market than vice versa. We seek friendship not marriage. Once the EU saw we were determined to leave, everybody’s interest would be served by an early start on a new relationship. Each party, Britain and the continuing EU countries, would then be free to pursue their own lives unencumbered by irreconcilable goals. The key features of our new relationship as I see it would be:

  • Recovery of control over the fishing rights assigned to us by international treaty in 1967. This would mean we could implement proper conservation measures in the North Sea in consultation with Norway and Denmark and with the EU representing Germany and Holland. Likewise in the English Channel in consultation with the EU representing France, and in the Western approaches with the EU representing the Republic of Ireland.
  • No further contributions to the EU budget would be made. The EU subsidies to British agriculture would be exactly replaced by the price support mechanism which applied prior to our entry into the EEC in 1973. EU structural funds could be exactly replaced by research, design and overseas marketing support to facilitate the industrial expansion programme for small and medium sized enterprises.
  • The net payment of about £3 Bn which Britain currently makes to the EU (the difference between our contributions to the EU budget and the EU agricultural subsidies and the structural funds received back) could be devoted to health, or education (an additional £300 per child per annum), or helping married couples with children, or helping old-age pensioners (an additional £300 per person per annum) or whatever else the British people decided.
  • Removal of the tariff on food imported from outside the EU so that our food prices would fall roughly to those in the USA, with a consequent reduction in our imports bill. This would bring the largest single benefit to the poor of our country which could possibly be devised
  • No European Court would have any jurisdiction over our affairs; nor would it be lawful for the Courts or Government in the United Kingdom to give effect to its judgments or be influenced by it. This would apply to the European Court of Human Rights as well as to the European Court of Justice. Acts of Parliament such as the Merchant Shipping Act (1988), struck down by the UK Courts acting as agents of the Euro-courts, would have the force of law once again. Past judgments of the European Courts or the UK Courts acting in the light of the Euro-courts’ judgments would not be reversed retrospectively so far as individuals were concerned, but these cases would not be allowed into the body of case law appealed to in the future.
  • British blue passports and British driving licences would be restored. EU citizens would continue to be subject to immigration control and full searches of suspect vehicles arriving from the Continent would be reinstated.
  • Britain would recover control of its overseas aid programme, directing that part of its contribution to EU aid currently going to former French and Spanish colonies to the poorest countries of the Commonwealth.

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