Which is why it seems to be European Union week, here at The Kitchen. The EU is one of those things that your humble Devil loathed even before it was called the EU, and that burning hatred has increased—probably exponentially—as the long years have dragged by.
One of the things that really pisses me off is the constant lies and evasions about the impact that this pernicious organisation has on our lives. Our politicians seem incredibly reluctant to admit how much of our government is now conducted in Brussels, and the Press, ridiculously and irresponsibly, seem utterly uninterested in the affair (even the Telegraph prefers, instead, to print pictures of pretty, busty female students celebrating whatever it is that they are celebrating this week).
The other thing that annoys and perplexes me is why, in the name of all that is unholy, our politicians seem intent on carrying on with this farce; why would they continue to give away their powers and accept foreign rule in this manner? Are they perhaps trying to secure their place in the history books? Surely not. Are they simply bored of making decisions and are more happy to let others do it for them? Then they should step down: in the majority of cases, we would be happy to see the back of them.
The third thing that really annoys me is the attitude that people seem to have—even those who are against it—that there is no alternative to the EU, that economically and politically we are reliant on it. This is, of course, a huge steaming pile of horseshit.
Despite what some might wish, we are far more influential in world affairs than our small size would warrant; Britain has, by itself, at least as much political clout as the EU itself and, indeed, without Britain the EU would have no traction with the world's one remaining superpower.
As for being economically dependent—ha! Let's see what the figures are, shall we? Over to Strange Stuff.
According to Civitasthe net cost of remaining in the EU ranges from the ‘rock-bottom’ estimate of £17.6 billion to the ‘most likely’ of £40 billion
Wow, leaving could benefit us to the tune of £40 billion? Why, that's about half of the NHS budget! But, wait, there's more...
These figures assume that we just left the EU and nothing else. However the EU also prevents the UK from many potentially good opportunities. Such as in 2003 whena Bill was introduced in the Senate that would have created a free-trade agreement between the two countries. Alas, Blair had to decline this, shamefacedly (I’d like to think) having to point out that this country had no right to negotiate international trade agreements.Free trade with the USA is not the only area that Britain could have been trying for, free trade agreements with fast growing Brazil, India, or China might have been possible where we not in the EU. Or Africa, allowing us cheaper food, and the African nations a way to build up their economies. But instead Britain is shackling to the slowly sinking states of old Europe and is impoverishing Africa thanks to the EU's CAP.
That's right, no free trade with the world's largest economy for us, and all because we have shackled ourselves to an economic irrelevence which will, according to the Mr Hague's reporting of European Commission figures, produce only 10% of the world's output by 2050 (the US is projected to be at 26%). This seems to be a pretty poor deal by itself; to lose deals with the rest of the world's economies too is a complete, fucking disaster.
From the same Civitas report:
The second misconception is that 60 per cent of our economy depends on the EU, whereas the true figure is more like ten per cent. Exports of goods and services only account for 21 per cent of ‘final demand’. If exports of goods and services to the EU account for 48 per cent of total exports, then ten per cent of GDP is currently the result of exports of goods and services to other EU members. In other words, about 79 per cent of our economy is the result of domestic activity, involving buying from and selling to each other, and exports of goods and services to the rest of the world account for another 11 per cent.
10%. Yes, that's 10% of our economy that depends on the EU. How much more damaging is our inability to trade with the rest of the world because of our membership of the EU? Who says that that 11% could not easily rise far, far higher? I am willing to bet that it could. But would leaving, in any case, cost us the EU markets?
In particular, if the UK left the EU, it is unlikely that UK companies would be denied access to other EU markets. The latest figures are for the period before enlargement and show that the other 14 members exported more to the UK than they imported from us. It might be said that they need the UK more than the UK needs them. Moreover, about twenty countries as diverse as Switzerland, Gambia and Mexico have free trade agreements with the EU (with another sixty holding discussions), and it would be extraordinary if the UK could not negotiate a similar deal.
Precisely: we have a trade deficit with the EU; we buy more from them than we sell to them. They need us as a market as well as a net contributor to the club funds. The question is: why should we pay money to prop up economies who do not even buy more from us than we do from them? This is economic madness; how long can we carry on?
Back to Strange Stuff (because Chris puts things so succinctly):
Estimating the costs of these lost opportunities can lead to total figures such for the cost of being in the EU that are truly horrendous.when one adds on the costs described earlier to the opportunity costs, the current recurring annual net cost to the UK of EU membership is ten percent of GDP, or approximately £100 billion per year at present levels of UK GDP.this from a newsletter in 2004, so the numbers will probably have gone up since then. That rather makes the 20 billion that Mr Hague claims that the UK gets from the common market seem rather insignificant. If it exists at all, the Civitas report also notes thatthe Bundesbank could find no evidence that it [the single market] has helped German trade. The UK economy is unlikely to be any different.
We are making a mistake of truly, terrifyingly massive proportions. We must get out of this shithole before we become ever more embroiled in the petty squabbles and business-fucking red-tape. It is time, gentlemen, for Britain to stand on its own two feet and to leave the comfort-zone of the EU, and leave the old, crippled relatives to fight over the remaining crumbs. Either they will realise that those crumbs are not worth fighting over and join our way of thinking, or they will die.
Whatever happens, there is no reason—political or economic—why we should be dragged down with them. So, as I've said 10,000,000,000,000 times before, please, can we leave now?