I am glad some of you, like me, are pleased that Mr Pickles has abolished a great deal of needless and wasteful regional government, and has declined to play the EU NUTS game. I made it Conservative policy to abolish RDAs when in the Shadow Cabinet, and worked with others to keep the anti regional government policy alive over the ensuing decade. It shows you can get some things done by staying with the Conservative party.
The latest missives from Brussels make very clear the federal superstate intent. Mr Barroso’s speech of the 4 September urged more moves to monetary, fiscal, banking and political union. The “Future of Europe” Group of Foreign Ministers produced a report requiring the strengthening of the economic and monetary union, seeking a fully integrated foreign policy, and other moves to a country called Europe.
The UK does not want to be part of this single state with a single currency. No likely future UK government after 2015 is going to want to join the Euro and all the rest that entails. It must be crystal clear we need a different relationship with the integrated political body now emerging.
The best chance to put our case and to seek a new relationship will come when the 2014-20 budget is discussed. We have a veto over it. The integrationists will want larger budgets, and need them to pay more to the poorer parts of the monetary union to help it work. We need a smaller budget commitment, as part of our plan to get our deficit under control and reduce the size and scope of needless government. Of course we could save a lot of money if people were given a referendum and voted to come out. I will explore tomorrow how and why the government should dig in over the budget, and set out what the Uk wants for its future.