Amidst all this unreal talk from remain about possible future damage to business if we dare to leave the EU, there is a stunning silence about all the damage our EU membership has already done to many businesses. Remain claims to have perfect foresight over future damage if we leave, but complete memory loss over all the actual known damage done by staying in.
The other day I was asked by a remain supporter what he thought would prove a difficult question. “Mr Redwood, which of EU regulations do you think are damaging and would you like to repeal?”
Where do you begin? How can you compress the long list into a short answer?
We can all agree the rules and regulations of the single currency are not for us, though keeping out of some of them is difficult. Remain has total amnesia about the recession and huge damage to business the EU’s Exchange rate regulations did to us in the late 1980s.
Remain is usually silent about our fishing industry. An island nation with one of the world’s richest fishing grounds when we joined the EEC/EU has lost much of its industry under the rules of the common fishing policy. We are reduced to importing our own fish, plucked from our seas by foreign vessels. Out of the EU we could regulate our own fishing grounds and catch more of the permitted catch in UK vessels.
They are not that keen to talk about our steel industry either. Labour in the 1960s made a massive investment in a 45 million tonners a year industry, with five large modern integrated plants paid for by taxpayers. Sine we joined the EEC/EU we have seen continuous decline, to an industry of under one quarter the capacity we had on entry in 1972. EU rules on steel trade, energy prices and state aids have helped bring us to this sad situation. The German industry, still at 43 million tonnes of output, has fared much better with a regime for cheaper energy and state support which is deemed legal when we struggle to get help or permission for us to help from the EU. EU policies have driven us to much more import dependence for steel, including having to import the steel for our submarines.
Then how about our electricity industry? EU regulations have turned a productive relatively low cost generator into a high cost one. EU energy policy is forcing us into more import dependence through interconnectors to the continent where before we were self sufficient.
When we joined the EU we produced 4% of the world’s aluminium. Today it has practically all gone, thanks to plant closures brought on the EU’s dear power policies.
Industry by industry the EU has damaged us and assisted industrial decline. If we were in charge of our own rules and spending plans we should do better.