The Prime Minister thumped his tub in parliament today saying, “Britain will not be paying €2 billion to anyone on 1 December.” David Miliband tried to find out when the UK Government knew about the increased payments but the Prime Minister brushed the question aside. So the questions are, who knew what and when?
The budget, and the changes to each countries charges, was discussed on 26th May 2014. The measures which increased the UK’s share of the budget were waved though, “without discussion.” On the same day the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson issued a press briefing which said, “Asked about the European Commission’s intention to increase its budget, the PMS pointed out that this was an annual budget, which formed part of a 7 year spending period. And, as a result of negotiations led by the Prime Minister last year, the EU budget would fall in real terms over that period.” So David Cameron KNEW about the increase to the budget the day before he flew out to have an informal dinner with other EU leaders on the 27th May 2014, but he was too busy crowing about the European election results to be bothered to bring the topic of a £1.7 billion increase in the UK’s contribution.
On the 24th October 2014 the PM said, “Well I first learnt about this yesterday on Thursday, and immediately started to seek allies, and I found allies in the Italians and the Greeks and Dutch and others, on just how unacceptable this is. In terms of when the Treasury got this information, it was a little bit earlier in the week. And I think the answer to that is when these sorts of memos come about is that they have to be interrogated, they have to be examined, people have to work out what lies behind them.” This is clearly a lie.
So why are the press not going for the jugular? Because Dave is ‘their’ man in Downing Street perhaps? Or are the press doing the government’s bidding? Or is it both?
The Prime Minister has promised that the UK will not pay it’s debt to the EU on the 1st December which would leave the UK in default. David Cameron said, “If people think I am paying that bill on 1 December, they have another think coming.” This will henceforth be known as the “Call Me Dave” defence so the next time HMRC come knocking, wanting you to pay your tax bill by such and such a date, you just have to tell them that your name is Dave and the problem will disappear. How do you think that will work out? Exactly, and the same thing is going to happen here.
The spat is designed to make the PM appear to be tough on the EU but the effect so far is to alienate our trading partners and neighbours as well as diminishing our global standing. Who is going to trust a country which does not pay its’ debts? As Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Tory Lickspittle, said during the Scottish Independence Referendum about the SNPs’ promise not to pay its’ share of UK debt, “The Scottish Government’s plan to renege on Scotland’s share of the debt in the event of independence is simply not credible. Mortgage rates would go up, credit cards and bills would go up and the Scottish Government would have to resort to the bond markets equivalent of Wonga to raise money to pay for public services in Scotland.”
So that’s it then, we can expect higher mortgage rates, credit cards and bills to go up and UK government will have to go cap in hand to Wonga to bail them out. Just because Dave want’s to appear to be tough on the EU. Just because the Tories are running scared from the UKIP threat. We’re definitely Better Together now then.
The Prime Minister has “demanded” emergency talks with the EU about their demands for more money from the UK. The demands themselves stem from the UK economy’s outperformance since 1995 and they amount to £1.676 billion. The Netherlands, Greece, Italy and Cyprus are also in the frame for their underpayments to the EU. These “demands” have been acceded to by the EU.
Some countries have been made overpayments to the EU and now they are due a refund. The countries are: France, Germany, Denmark, Poland and Austria. Given how strong these countries’ voices are within the EU, and the fact that they are due a rebate, I don’t think that the PM stands much of a chance of getting the surcharge waived.
This announcement from the EU is a big blow to the Pm and the Tories, with the Rochester and Strood by-election coming up on 20th November and UKIP nipping at their heels. The PM has to appear to be tough on Europe or risk losing more votes to the right wing UKIP. Unfortunately for David Cameron the majority of people are against leaving the EU so the PM is really on the hook. If he succeeds then the Tories will look good to UKIP voters but if he fails then he can expect a backlash against his party.
But what about our moral obligations? Think of it this way, if you had under paid your taxes to HMRC you can be sure that they would want you to pay that money back. So what is the difference here? Are the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition involving themselves in tax dodging?
A recent IpsosMORI poll shows that 56% of Britons wish to remain within the EU, the highest proportion since 1999. The poll is a clear warning to the Tories and UKIP that their Euroscepticism is falling on deaf ears throughout the land, with even Tory support for continued membership above 50%.
Among the other parties 73% of Labour supporters and 82% of Lib Dem supporters favour continued membership. Unsurprisingly only 11% of UKIP supporters are in favour of remaining within the EU.
The new poll is a big blow for David Cameron, who is pushing for an in/out referendum on the issue in 2017 if the Tories are re-elected. He is responding to the threat of UKIP which has seen 2 Tory MPs defect to it in recent times. But it is clear that his message is not getting through to the majority of the population. Membership of the EU has always been one of the major fault lines of the Tory party.
The poll also shows that UKIP are not reaching the majority of the population with their xenophobic message.
Labour are marginally in the lead ahead of the next general election in 2015 but they are not immune from the threat of UKIP either which has lead to a further lurch to the right for the party with David Miliband announcing new controls on immigration if Labour are elected in 2015. But Labour supporters have traditionally been more in favour of immigration than the other parties.
Among Scottish people 60% were in favour of remaining within the EU. Unfortunately there were no breakdowns of political party affiliations within this segment of the poll.
There was no mention of this poll on the BBC, is this censorship by omission?