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Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Lies, Damned Lies and our opponents (mis)use of statistics

- By Tony Brown - this first appeared in The Independence - the UKIP magazine.  Tony has given me express permission to publish it:

Faced with losing the battle for public opinion, our opponents especially the Lib Dems, have begun to peddle a combination of inaccuracies, half truths and fallacies.

They suggest that we cannot leave the EU without losing vital market access, jobs and trade and will be subject to retaliation. Actually, this is nonsense:

  • For the UK to leave the EU is technically very simple: the United Kingdom parliament simply has to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and subsequent amendments through a short new Act of Parliament: it could be done in a single day if the British Parliament so willed.
  • There is a procedure but we do not require either the Permission of the EU or for the Lisbon treaty to include such a facility.
  • This is made even simpler by our correct decision to stay out of the Euro and the Schengen agreements on the abolition of border controls.
  • There is no evidence whatsoever that we would face the kind of retaliation with which the EU enthusiasts seek to frighten us. Do they seriously imagine that the day we left, British trade would ground to a halt? But that is what they imply with their use of statistics about our trade.
  • In fact, we run a trade deficit with the rest of the European Union of over £14 billion (2009).
  • By contrast, we run a trade surplus with the rest of the world.
  • As we buy more from the rest of the EU, than they buy from the UK, the EU cannot "retaliate" without losing much more than it might gain. This is best illustrated by imagining the Germans choosing to give up the sales of all those BMWs, Audis and Mercedes which fill our roads or French, Italian or Spanish farmers giving up the sales of brie and other cheeses, Iberian or Parma Ham, paté, Cava, Champagne, Burgundy ... the list is far too long to set our here but the message is clear.
  • These claims about EU retaliation and British trade and jobs being lost make no logical sense and are scare-mongering nonsense deliberately designed to frighten and mislead the people of our country.
  • They even get basic facts wrong: whatever Sharon Bowles' office may say, Switzerland is not a member of the EEA but has its own set of entirely satisfactory bilateral trade agreements with the EU.
  • In fact free from the shackles of EU membership, we would re-acquire important rights which we have currently lost.
  • These include:
- the right to have our own trade policy and negotiate agreements which suit Britain and Northern Ireland;
- the right to represent ourselves at the World Trade Organisation (WTO);
- the right to remove or abolish over 100,000 EU regulations - the total is constantly growing - which are imposed on the British people without our own Parliament having any right to stop them;
- the right to have our own immigration policy with UKIP currently favouring a variant similar to the Australian model - a model widely accepted by the international community.
  • Furthermore we would immediately 'save' British taxpayers the annual net contribution. Despite the British rebate won by Mrs Thatcher, we have been a net contributor for every single year since we joined. The current 'contribution' is £6.7billion per year. I need hardly add that at a time of austerity - much of it created by the Eurozone's economic flaws and incompetence - we could do with saving that money.
  • Given the combination of saving this money, freeing ourselves from unwanted regulation and uncoupling ourselves from the controls of an area with which we run a £14billion trade deficit, I can confidently predict that leaving the EU would create thousands of new jobs and make us wealthier like Switzerland or Norway rather than shackling us to new applicants like Croatia, Serbia - and potentially over 70 million Muslim Turks. (All of the Lib Lab Con parties support Turkish EU entry, UKIP is the only mainstream party to oppose it.)
In fact, leaving the EU would immediately save us at least £7 billion, would massively restore our freedom of action and would NOT be subject to retaliation because those who it is claimed would retaliate would lose both much more than they might gain and than would the UK.

Actually some, like perhaps [Frances previous president] Mr Sarkozy, might even [have] help[ed] us leave. As they cannot cope with our deregulatory, entrepreneurial, free trade thinking, they would be glad to see us go - although the loss is theirs!

* my changes in [square brackets] - Ampers.

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