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ACM Home arrow The Commonwealth arrow Mr. Cameron goes to Coventry

Mr. Cameron goes to Coventry Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Sunday, 11 December 2011

The refusal of the British Prime Minister David Cameron to join in a new treaty to safeguard the Euro is understandable.  Britain was not going to join the Euro, and the proposed new financial tax would have damaged the City of London by driving business elsewhere.

There was once a famous headline long ago in a London paper about a fog over the British Isles and into the English Channel.  It declared:

                         "Fog over channel, continent isolated."



According to the Telegraph, French President Sarkozy refused to shake Mr Cameron's hand. The bien pensants on the BBC - europhiliacs to a man and a woman - declared knowingly that Britain was now isolated.  As the song goes, What about us?

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[ The Commons is distrustful ]

 

...the EU, Parliament and the people...

 

 

Britain's leading parties have quite trickily avoided over the last several years to refer the EU constiution to the British people as they had promised.  

Because it was so unpopular, even in continental Europe, the European constitution with a few cosmetic changes had to be renamed the Treaty of Lisbon.  The politicians hoped  the British people didn't notice

But at least all British governments have sensibly declined to enter the Euro system, although it was said that Mr Blair was tempted.  But he promised a referendum would be taken before this would occur.  (Understandably, many were wary of this undertaking after they saw what happened to the undertaking concerning the European Constitution.)

Mr Cameron has recently avoided a motion in the House of Commons to put membership of the European Union to a referendum.  Because of the considerable support within the Conservative Parliamentary party for such a referendum, he had to rely on opposition and coalition votes to be sure that the motion would not be carried.




 

 

...weaknesses...

 

 

 

At the time of the creation of the Euro, I was lecturing on this subject and had co-authoredf a book on EU law.  The proposition I put to the class was that without the fiscal and monetary powers of a federal state, the project was doomed to failure.  The contrast with the Australian Federation could not be more stark.  The Australian founders created a federation, democratic at its heart, with sufficient powers to control and support the local currency, which was intended to be an Australian pound.  This was first issued in 1910, maintaining parity with sterling until 1929.

Further the requirement that each member ensure any budget deficit not exceeds 3% and public borrowings not exceed 60% of GDP was not only unenforceable; it was unlikely that accurate accounts would be made in all states. I remember a Swiss colleague telling me that she thought that the Euro would attract financial business away from London to Frankfurt and this was intended.

A fascinating assessment of the European Union was made at our recent State of the Nation meeting In Parliament House, Sydney.  In thanking the Chairman and CEO of Roy Morgan research, Mr Gary Morgan and Ms Michele Levine, Mr Christopher Flynn drew attention to the failings of the European Union.  The problems of the EU have a great potential to impact on Australia, and was much mentioned during the meeting. 

A video of Mr. Flynn’s comments, included in national broadcasts of State of the Nation on Foxtel, Austar and Optus TV follows.







...the Commonwealth...

 

The existence of the European Union and its predecessors has distracted the United Kingdom from the benefits and bonds of the Commonwealth.

In 2009 the then Foreign Secretary David Miliband controversially said that one of the problems of the modern world is the lack of “strong, effective international institutions …  with formal power." 

 That of course rules out the Commonwealth.   He admits that by  virtue of “its unique membership — east, north, south and west, all races, all religions, all regions — I think it can be an effective soft-power institution which at the minimum can help spread understanding and, at best, help promote common action." 

  The Foreign Secretary said  that continuing political and financial support could no longer be taken for granted.  It was difficult to believe then that Mr Miller band was being serious.

The funding of the Commonwealth is derisory: for 2005/06, the Secretariat’s budget was £13.5 million, the CFTC’s £24.1 million and the CYP’s £2.5 million. And that is from everyone – the UK contribution is only a fraction of this.  How much does the UN, or worse the EU, cost the UK taxpayer?



... what the EU costs  the UK...





 The Bruges Group finally produced an authoritative study in 2008. The total gross cost to the UK of EU membership in 2008  was estimated at around £65,000,000,000 – sixty five billion pounds. That is about about one trillion, using what used to be called the American trillion. 

(It is a matter for concern that in recent years Australian politicians have become quite accustomed to speaking in billions,  mercifully they have not yet begun to talk in trillions.  I fear that they will)|||

Readers will no doubt be intrigued to know how the £65 million is spent.  According to the Bruges group, this is as follows: – 

•£28 billion for business to comply with EU regulations,
 

•£17 billion of additional food costs resulting from the Common Agricultural Policy
 

•£3.3 billion - the value of the catch lost when the Common Fisheries Policy let other countries fish in British  territorial waters

•£14.6 billion gross paid into the EU budget and other EU funds.

Had British politicians over the last few decades relied on the benefits of the Commonwealth instead of entering the EU, the British public would be vastly better off, and Commonwealth links maintained.  

The British politicians misled the nation in claiming that Britain would be rewarded by being put  “in the cockpit”, leading Europe in the modern world.  

But in fact for years the EU continued to be dominated by the Franco –German axis. The British were relegated to being the biggest paymaster after the Germans. 

A comparison with Norway shows how well off the British people would be today had they not been mislead by their politicians.

Britain could have concentrated her interests and resources where they are appreciated, the Commonwealth. She could have continued to enjoy the benefits of free trade, about which her politicians endlessly talk, but do not apply.The Commonwealth could have supplied Britain’s food needs at a fraction of the cost paid over the years by the British consumer.

 
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