Monday, 24 October 2011

open letter on EU Referendum

7th October 2011 Dear George, I am writing as a Euro sceptic, which I have been since the mid 70s, at the age of 12/13. The whole notion of the European Union was flawed, with the excuses (which often could hardly be considered as reasoned argument) for justifying its very being and existence, more often than not - flimsy at best. It is now time to take the most bold decision of your political careers (for the long term benefit of the British people) and once again show Britain as an innovator and natural leader, by offering the people of this country a referendum on getting out of the EU altogether. Why? I am sure you already know, deep down, many of the reasons why we should consider this course of action. Since day 1, policies have been mainly driven by the Germans and the French and continue to be so although the current situation (of the debt crisis) is beginning to create a rift between the German /French alliance. Having got what it wanted from the EEC, primarily help with the re-unification (and the associated cost) of Germany, Germany is now no longer that interested in Europe, given it is no longer the important export market to it that it once was (harsh but true) - although they have been lapping up the weaker Euro (which is only partially as weak as it needs be for the likes of Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece etc). The European Union is talking about further and closer integration on a number of plains, further reducing our own ability to make very important decisions for the long term social, cultural and financial welfare of Britain. Throughout this debt crisis, not once has the EU taken a semblance of responsibility for the parlous state of the government finances across Europe. Many of its human rights driven social and welfare laws have given rise to significant increases in social security and welfare budgets, as well as significant costs for employers, hence pushing up unemployment and ratcheting up social security spending costs in many countries that always have had weak and limited economies. However, the European Union is run by unaccountable, unelected buffoons from Brussels, who could not manage their way out of a brown paper bag. The European debt crisis is a casing point. Indecisive, too many vested interests, too many bodies/committees all having their say and all with continued page 2 of 5 David & George letter 2/5 7th October 2011 divergent views, leading to totally ineffectual outcomes - lacking any conviction - each decision/outcome being a mere sticky plaster - it is as if Labour (under Gordon & Ed ) are in control of Europe’s finances!!!! European leaders have also been very divergent in their views, except for the ‘Euro project luvvies’ who all share the view we must, at all costs, save the Euro!! Yet, despite all this mis-management, they want to centralise yet further fiscal and monetary responsibility for the whole of the European Union. It would be like allowing the FSA in the UK to continue to regulate the banks, the FSA having neither the requisite knowledge, nor courage, to tackle and challenge them; or ask for appropriate controls or legislation to be passed to rein them in when they have concerns. Why on earth as a country do we want to be even more vulnerable and exposed to the possibility of passing yet further control into the hands of such a bunch of supposedly intelligent and learned people – but whom in reality are more akin to clowns. Any leader of this proud and fine country should want to protect our long term interests, which as far as I can see, is best served by being out of this ludicrous, poorly managed club. Those European countries outside of the EU are not looking back and have not particularly suffered as a result. When we opted out of the ERM, the pre-cursor to the EURO (back in Norman’s days), we immediately took a hit (having suffered quite severely in financial terms in the preceding decade) but it immediately allowed us to start on a path towards being one of the strong men in Europe, putting this country and its finances back on its feet. It is a great shame this foundation was subsequently wasted and squandered by a Labour government who only got into power, primarily as a result of the Tory party infighting - ironically part of which was over Europe!! The EU learned nothing from our own and Denmark’s experience of the early 90’s, which proved the EURO (albeit it still then still in the form of ERM) was seriously flawed. The single currency does not work in the US neither, despite the US effectively having had a single government and currency for centuries. The US is much like Europe, in that it has areas and states (which are equivalent to countries within the EU) where the central policies are not appropriate to those locations. In addition, unlike the EU, the US does not suffer the same long standing cultural divergence that is evident within the EU. It is clear France is currently in a very distinct pickle – and I find it most confusing the markets are still being so charitable towards them!! I also note with interest that despite creating the rules, once again France are trying to bend them to suit their own ends. This time it is to do with the EFSF - as they want to be able to use the EFSF to bail out their our own frivolous and badly managed banks who have overexposed themselves via their poor lending disciplines – so that the French government can keep their coveted AAA rating. Again why do we want to be governed by such manipulative self-centred cads. I say to France man-up, follow the UK lead and address the real issues rather than just brushing them under the carpet as always (because it suits). Every year the EU more closely resembles one of my favourite childhood books ‘Animal Farm’. Having read with interest what it costs to run this unelected unaccountable circus in Brussels (a bit like the FSA on steroids), the debt crisis could be solved in Europe in one foul swoop, abolish and dismantle the European Union. The cost of duplicating lawmaking, policymaking etc. is phenomenal continued page 3 of 5 David & George letter 3/5 7th October 2011 and certainly outweighs any economic benefits. The huge salaries that are paid to EU employees as well as the associated costs of running 'the joint', are staggering – as will be the future ongoing civil servant based pension liability that is being accumulated and will have to be paid for. The additional costs that have been imposed on industry over the last 15-20 years by the EU far outstrips one of the main influential arguments for the introduction of the Euro (via the ERM) which was that it would eliminate expensive and costly exchange rate fluctuations and make trading across the region simpler. Yes it certainly helped Germany as they knew that if they fixed the currency, even in future recessions those that could afford would still buy the Mercedes and the BMWs etc in Spain or Portugal or Britain, as €30,000 would still be €30,000, as opposed to 8m pesetas, becoming 10m pesetas for example, as recessions tend to have less of an overall impact on the reasonably affluent middle classes and upwards. We have the EU/IMF/ European Central Bank telling all the countries across the region to make austerity cuts and get their budgets under control and (behind the curve relative to the UK) they then have the nerve to tell us that our social security benefits system is not lax enough and that recent changes to qualifying criteria are too tough and slanted against immigrants and EU migrants - you will not have many UK citizens sharing this EU view!!! In addition, following the lectures on spending, Brussels then have the bare faced cheek to suggest they want a 5% plus increase in their annual Budget? ‘European Court of Human Rights’ (ECOHR):- one of the worst things ever invented. By coming out of Europe altogether, we could rid ourselves of this bureaucratic monster and instead introduce the British Court of Human and Corporate Responsibilities (BCOHACR). We all have responsibilities but you have to earn rights and respect. This is completely the opposite to the current norm where everyone thinks they have rights, automatically and immediately gain respect, but responsibilities and having respect for others are purely optional and not part of the deal. Getting out of ECOHR and introducing BCOHACR would put us on the right path, both in the long term interests of Britain, and society as a whole, and is more akin to the stance they have in Canada, Norway and Australia, both countries of which are managed for the long term interests of its own people. This policy thinking has clearly been demonstrated recently in the situation with regards to being able to defend one’s own home from intruders. Prior to several recent cases (primarily as a result of the Tony Martin case), the socially responsible homeowner who had committed no crime - had no rights, but did have a responsibility to respect the criminal’s right to break into their home and do what they wanted, including allowing the intruder to harm them and their family before any form of retaliation. This thinking can be applied to so many other areas of society where it has all gone wrong!! Let us also consider re-introducing those good old fashioned commodities of pragmatism and common sense and rid ourselves of a lot of the PC nonsense! continued page 4 of 5 David & George letter 4/5 7th October 2011 I am speaking for many (based on conversations and discussions held with people across the political spectrum) when I say that a referendum on getting Britain out of the EU will prove very popular indeed and this view is no longer just the preserve of the enduring hard line EUROSceptics, it is now much more populist . The British people are fed up to the back teeth with UK governments (of all colours) rolling over and allowing our ability to self govern ebb away. Why would the British people want to cede even more power to an unaccountable, un-elected group of ineffectual idiots whose main reason for being, is self interest. The EU has shown itself to be most ineffective and all the proposals to amend ‘the Treaty’ will not change the most important fact - that EU has shown itself to be ‘not fit for purpose’ With the EU debt crisis still unresolved and no one any longer believing a single word any European Finance Minister utters, it is even more worrying that the ECB is about to be ambushed once again. How? Well whilst the ECB has baulked at directly intervening to bolster the EFSF under outgoing President Jean-Claude Trichet, that could change from November when he will be replaced by Mario Draghi, the governor of the Bank of Italy (no self interest there then!). The ECB has previously set out sacrosanct red line boundaries in the past -- such as its refusal to buy government bonds or for a write-down of Greek debt -- only to be forced to cross them as the crisis in the shared currency zone has lurched from bad to worse. Then there is also the arrival of self-styled "pragmatist" Joerg Asmussen as Germany's candidate to replace the hawkish Juergen Stark on the six-man committee that runs the ECB day-to-day, with the ECB then being further weakened and undermined by the expected arrival of yet another Frenchman, to numerically replace Trichet. These internal changes at the top are likely to incline the ECB to yet again cross its own boundaries and effectively allow the Eurozone to once again ‘kick the can down the road’ and thus avoid and postpone taking the real medicine that is required. Inevitably, I along with many other learned economists, think this will possibly create an even greater time bomb for the future. There is then the issue of protectionism. So much of our business and the things that we do are to the letter of EU directives. Yet the French bend the rules all the time. Despite the tendering process, it is difficult to recall many major French government spending contracts that have been placed other than with a French Company. Meanwhile, in the UK, the latest awarding of contracts debacle left Bombardier losing the contract to Siemens, leading to around 1500 people losing their jobs. One question on this? Did the minister responsible factor in the cost on the public finances of these job losses when awarding the contract outside of the UK. I read with interest the terms of the competing bids!. In terms of cost, having factored in the fact that around 1500 people will no longer be paying taxes in the UK, claiming housing benefit, council tax benefit unemployment benefit, as well as the lost sundry business to smaller engineering firms and suppliers, and ongoing maintenance etc., Bombardier’s bid was considerably cheaper to the UK government and economy, than that of Siemens. Were these factors even considered by the minister responsible? If not why not? continued page 5 of 5 David & George letter 5/5 7th October 2011 Summary In summary, those European countries who chose to opt out of the corrupt, poorly managed, self centred EU club have prospered reasonably well and have not been seriously disadvantaged or damaged, as many predicted. Why would we want to remain part of a club where corruption is rife amongst leaders of the member countries (Mr Berlusconi and his cronies, Mr Sarkozy) who always bend and manipulate the rules for their own ends, which is now seeking and pushing for even greater powers and control. I have always admired the Victorians for their long term planning and thinking (naturally not all of it was perfect) and I feel it is time for Britain (and in particular its politicians) to adopt a little bit of their long term based thinking, for the medium to long term benefit of the UK and its people. It is now time to get us out of this worthless, unaccountable, expensive club that has so often proved it is not fit for purpose and allow the UK to once again start managing the UK for the benefit of the UK people. Being part of the EU is like paying for some of the premium bank accounts offered by many of the large banks. Paying expensive ongoing monthly or annual fees for expensive over-hyped benefits (many of which are not required or applicable to one’s personal circumstances) that in reality could be obtained on much better terms and at much cheaper cost from elsewhere (i.e. from self governance). Yours sincerely Gary H