The great EU takeaway – the stupid UK giveaway

<p>Yesterday Parliament debated the great European take away. The rebate of our contributions, so brilliantly negotiated by Margaret Thatcher against the odds in 1984, was thrown into the dustbin of history for extra spending on the enlarged Union. Our partners succeeded in overcoming the UK veto on preserving the full rebate, so the other rich countries of Western Europe could pay less..</p>
<p>The Chief Secretary to the Treasury showed his respect for Parliament by doing the bill himself. It is unusual these days for a Cabinet Minister to get their hands dirty, preferring to leave such matters to their juniors. He also went to great lengths to set out the governments case as well as it could be done. I admire hi pluck, for the case was threadbare, hanging in tatters before the Opposition got to it.</p>
<p>We were told it represented a good deal for the UK because the value of the remaining rebate would continue to rise. Even a Labour MP exploded at that, pointing out that was only true because our gross and net contributions were going up so much.</p>
<p>We were told it was essential for enlargement to go ahead ?? yet it was agreed after enlargement had taken place.</p>
<p>We were told it was essential to give more money to poorer parts of the EU out of a sense of justice. Yet the issue in dispute did not affect the overall amount being spent on the poorer parts of the EU: it related only to the UKs share of the cost compared to the shares paid by all the other member states.</p>
<p>We were told that it represented a good outcome from a tricky negotiation, comparable to Margarets success in gaining the rebate in the first place. As I had to point out, there is all the difference in the world between winning a big rebate from the other member states when anyone of them could have vetoed it ?? as Margaret Thatcher did ?? and giving away some of the rebate when we had a veto over such a move! The first negotiation against the odds won a huge victory for UK taxpayers. The second will cost taxpayers dear, and need not have happened at all.</p>
<p>It beggars belief that a government in this amount of financial trouble, with a massive public deficit and sky high taxes, should choose this moment to give away at least ?1 billion a year to the EU for no good reason. Whenever I ask for lower taxes or say we should spend less, Labour Ministers always tell me that is impossible because every pound of public spending is so essential Last night Labour Mps voted through a totally unnecessary long term spending commitment that we cannot afford. Yet again they showed they do not look after our money, and are craven in their approach to EU negotiations.</p>
<p>Click <a href="http://www.johnredwoodsdiary.com/category/press-releases/">here </a>to read John Redwood’s speech in the House of Commons on this subject.</p>

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12 Comments

  1. Posted January 16, 2008 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I seem to remember that the deal was; we give up billions of rebate and the french allow the reform of the common agricultural policy.
    I think the result was entirely predictable, as predictable as the french.
    It was, I also recall, Traitor Heath, that started the giveaway.

  2. Posted January 16, 2008 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    JR Where do you now stand on the EU? I find myself happy to trade with the block, but outside of that, unwilling to embrace ever more unwelcome and unnecessary laws over which we have no control. Nor do I want to be part of the new country called Europe. Can't we just trade with them and throw out all the nonsense?

    Reply: I stand for a renegotiation so we can trade with them but are not governed by them.

  3. APL
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    "We were told it was essential to give more money to poorer parts of the EU out of a sense of justice."

    What injustice have the tax payers of the United Kingdom done to new entrant countries of the European Union, that we are obliged to them in any way whatsoever?

    Lets just recap the history of Europe in the last century, it was the United Kindgom that fought two wars, to save Europe from a vicious totalitarian government. We destroyed our economy to save the Europeans, granted, in the second of the two we were not quite as successful leaving half the continent in the hands of the Soviets. But given that we were ruined, economically and exausted from six years of a death struggle, we were hardly in a position to dictate terms at the close of the war.

    A sense of justice, what repulsive people come up with this sort of drivel?

    And where do MPs who's primary role is to represent the interests of their own consituients, where do they get the right to speak for people in foriegn countires?

    There are plenty of poor people in this country, who could do with a helping hand, why do MP's choose to spend public money of british tax payers on other countries poor when we have more than enough of our own poor people here?

  4. Posted January 16, 2008 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Off topic but why was there no Speaker last night? Never seen that before.

    Reply: Because the House was sitting "in committee" which it does with an MP chairman sitting where the clerks sit for the full House.

  5. Peter
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Is there any possibility of a future government getting us out of the EU and rejoining EFTA?
    From what I have read (mainly links on not a sheep website), EFTA countries have much higher standards of living than us, only implement sensible EU legislation and are Sovereign nations.

  6. Ian Evans
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    I see that NuLab are trying to put about that DC is more 'isolationist' than Maggie. It looks like they are shooting themselves in the feet since more and more people are now dissatisfied with the way the UK is ceding more and more power (and money!) to the EU. A bit of a pull-back (re-negotiation) will surely prove extremely popular.

    GB's strategic abilities have looked weak for some time – they seem to be getting weaker by the day!

  7. mikestallard
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    When you say that you "stand for a renegotiation so we can trade with them but are not governed by them." Do you mean that you would like our country to be in the same position as Norway and Switzerland?
    (I had a look at Geneva yesterday in the paper. No wonder so many rich people are going there to live! It looks lovely!)

  8. Posted January 16, 2008 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Margaret Thatcher succeeded because she knew how to say NO. It's a skill that is singularly lacking in NuLab, they are the masters of 'maybe if', unfortunately they are not smart enough at reading the small print to realise when the bargain struck is not quite what they thought it was.

    Another

  9. Ian B
    Posted January 17, 2008 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Mrs Smallprint,

    I think really we're beyond discussing referenda now. It's come down to being in or being out. The Tories need to decide whether they're prepared to be the one party who will offer to take us out, or resign us to the Commons being a rubber stamp talking shop of the EU regions that were once called the UK.

    We don't have a nation any more. We're part of a dismal empire doomed to fail. But we're still voluntary members at the moment. Let's get out while we still can.

  10. Derek W. Buxton
    Posted January 18, 2008 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    Where was the conservative party when the EU givaway happened the other evening? I have on several occasions tried to get answers to questions on the EU and windfarms to say nothing of education. Occasionally there has been a "reply from a minion, never answering the point of course, but even that has now ceased.

    The latest one was the disgraceful news that the energy companies can charge us for their carbon credits, credits which were given free by our real government in Brussels. What a lovely way to make money for nothing. I thought your leader might respond but nooooo, not a chance.

    Do any of you realise that the new Treaty/Constitution makes you the equivalent of a parish council, unable to do other than what you are told even if it is not in our interest.
    Reply: The Conservative party is vigorously opposing the Treaty and the surrender of powers. We have also highlighted the bad carbon trading scheme devised by the EU and demanded changes.

  11. Sally C
    Posted January 20, 2008 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Nothing the Tories can do with Europe until we are in power. Brown's thinks its' UR ROPE' and wants us to hang ourselves with it.
    I sincerely hope for everyones sakes, he is going to be dissappointed.

  12. apl
    Posted January 22, 2008 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    JR:

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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