The following briefing paper was launched by the campaign group, Better Off Out, on St George’s Day and explains well what our continued membership of the EU would mean for England.
In 1973, Britain joined what was then the European Economic community, before reaffirming its commitment in a 1975 referendum that explicitly described the community as “The Common Market”.
At the height of the Cold War, when Britain’s economy was stagnating and the country was becoming renowned as the ‘Sick Man of Europe’, it was sold as a purely economic arrangement between nine Western European nations. At our moment of entry in 1973, the contemporary Prime Minister was unequivocal: “There are some in this country who fear that in going into Europe we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified.” – Ted Heath, television broadcast, January 1973
At first, we were enthusiastic members of the club, with even Margaret Thatcher – who signed us up to the Single European act, which promoted a combined European foreign policy and gave more power to the European Parliament initially in favour of membership. Since Black Wednesday in 1992, however, our relationship has been grudging at best, with the UK forced to withdraw from the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), before deciding not to join the disastrous single currency project (despite Tony Blair’s best efforts). Forty-one years on from our first referendum, it is clear that this is no longer solely about economics (if it ever had been), with most of our laws made in Brussels, membership costs running to the tens of billions per year, and plans afoot for an EU army – very little of which the British people want any part.
The first guest post from Marian Escafeld, a poem sent to me that has some verses that resonate with the EU Referendum looming….
The Fox’s Prophecy, 1871
D. W. Nash
Tom Hill was in the saddle
One bright November morn,
The echoing glades of Guiting Wood
Where ringing with his horn.
The diamonds of the hoar-frost
During our ongoing discussions with people on street stalls surrounding the EU Referendum a number of questions keep coming up.
Below, Gerard Batten MEP dispels the myths created by the Remain campaign about the dangers of leaving the EU
1) Would leaving the EU endanger jobs and trade, and could the EU put up trade barriers against the UK?
When we leave the EU it cannot put up arbitrary trade barriers against the UK as that would against World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, which all EU countries agree to and which govern world trade. And even if they could why would they want to? We have a massive trade deficit with the EU – they sell us far more than we sell them.
Britain currently exports goods and services to the EU to the value of £228.9 billion, whereas their exports to us amount to £290.6 billion: therefore we have a trade deficit with the EU of £61.7 billion. Germany, Spain, France and Italy etc.will still want to sell us their cars, wine and holidays etc. Trade will continue as normal. [i]
And remember, Britain is the fifth largest economy in the world and we are a world trading nation: and while we have a trade deficit with the EU we have a trade surplus with the rest of the world. Our trading success lies in four hundred years of experience; English being the international language of business and science; and the trust that foreign companies put in the English legal system and contract law.