September 17, 2010
The EU Referendum Campaign has called for a referendum on British membership of the EU. Here is their statement about EU membership, fisked.
1. Can we really afford to send £45 million a day to Brussels? ** this is the gross figure not the net figure, which implies that the referendum campaign wants to shut down the things that EU funds pay for in Britain, such as regional spending, support for Britain’s small farmers, research and development, etc ** Britain is Broke….That’s what the government told us…Isn’t that why our public services are being cut, our taxes are being increased and our pensions are crashing?
2. A torrent of EU laws are transforming our economy and public sector and there is nothing we can do about it. ** the EU agrees only around 490 laws a year, whereas Westminster produces around 3,500 annually – which one is the torrent? ** EU laws are imposed without us, or our MPs, having any say whatsoever. ** our MEPs have a say, as do our ministers, who are accountable to our MPs, and both MPs and MEPs are elected by the people ** Whether it’s the imposition of directives forcing us to privatise and break up our railway system, the Royal Mail and other key public services, ** there are no directives forcing privatisation – in France, both SNCF and La Poste remain in public ownership – the decision to privatise is national, not European ** new laws relating to the City of London ** do you not think that the financial markets need some new rules – has everything really gone perfectly recently? ** and small businesses, the voters of Britain should ultimately decide what policies they want – and do not want – through their elected representatives in parliament. ** our elected representatives in parliament do decide, that’s what the European Parliament is for ** Once EU laws are passed into law, they cannot be reversed. ** yes they can. A proposal from the Commission and majority in the Council and the EP can change any EU directive ** This is not democracy. ** Would it be democratic if one single member state could force the other 26 do something they did not want to do? **
3. Due to the crisis the Euro is now facing, the Brussels elite is demanding total control over the tax and spend policies of its member countries. ** the level of tax and spending is a matter for each member state to decide for itself – expenditure levels vary from 41% (Bulgaria) to 59% (Denmark) – there is no European control of this ** The unelected European Commission ** the president of the European Commission is elected by the European Parliament, and the other members of the Commission are confirmed in office by the EP ** is demanding the right to vet national budgets before elected parliaments are even allowed to see and debate them. ** no, it proposes that, given that the budgetary decisions that each EU member state takes have an impact on all the others, there should be analysis of those impacts as part of the budgetary process ** It also wants to the right to tax us individually: that is to say an EU level of tax we must all pay, additional to the money we already hand over to our government and local councils. ** the idea is that the money currently contributed to the EU budget by national governments be replaced by a European tax – it would make the level of EU expenditure more visible to the citizen and enable national governments to reduce the amount of tax they themselves raise. In order to be implemented, it would need the unanimous agreement of every member state. By the way, this idea that each level of government should be responsible for raising its own revenue is featured in The Plan, the book by Douglas Carswell and Daniel Hannan. **
4. What is the point of a meaningless referendum on Electoral Reform next May that will cost us £80 million and achieve nothing. ** the referendum might change the voting system to Westminster -that is surely not meaningless ** Why even consider changing the way we vote for our politicians when 75% of our laws are made in Brussels ** only about 10 per cent of laws originate in the EU ** and our MPs have no powers to influence those laws ** they can hold to account British government ministers for the way they vote in the Council of Ministers ** The real referendum has to be whether we want to be in or out of the European Union.
It’s a sad fact that Britain is sleepwalking into the European Super-State ** how can it be a super-state when its budget is only 1 per cent of GDP, its central administration has fewer employees than most city councils and it has no army ** and Britain must wake up to the nightmares hiding under the sheets of Brussels. EU laws and directives made without our knowledge or consent, ** the proposals are published by the European Commission, and become law with the consent of the Council (national governments) and the European Parliament (elected MEPs) – perhaps the newspapers should base permanent correspondents in Brussels rather than shutting down their offices there ** behind locked doors ** the Lisbon Treaty requires that the Council of Ministers should meet and vote on legislation in public ** or the most complicated clauses and sub-clauses imaginable. ** legally watertight documents have to be written in a particular way – this is true in Westminster too – but simplified explanations are also published **