UK EU Membership and Right Wing Unthink

We receive £5 billion directly from the EU in public sector payouts.

It’s not much but it is officially on page 20 of the Treasury report:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/european_union_finances_2010.pdf

The treasury figures don’t go to town on the private sector benefits which could be quite a lot depending on how well they’re doing. Membership of the EU means there are no tariffs on trade across borders, so it costs nothing to trade in the biggest economic sector in the world. Someone must do quite well. Is that figure not included because it’s not known? Maybe the private sector is so weighed down with EU bureaucracy it fails on the main benefit of the single market.

The official cost of free trade that EU membership gives is £12 billion, a fraction of the national budget of £703 billion.  The cost hardly even registers in the scale of things:

Pensions £129.3 billion

Health Care £123.8 billion

Education £93.3 billion

Defence £47.2 billion

Welfare £111.0 billion

Listen to the Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies backing up the facts on the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-15387495

But those are just the “official” figures. They would say that wouldn’t they. The Euro-skeptics, who also happen to be very right wing, provide figures they claim to be “real” and speak up for the “burdened” private sector. They also claim that their figures are based on the official figures in some way. I checked the link. They aren’t in any way based on anything. Their so-called, “real, underestimated and hidden” figures are speculation, dogma and propaganda.

The leaders of the pack are the Telegraph and the Taxpayer’s Alliance who claim that the “real” cost of free trade in the EU is immense. They slap a figure of hundreds of billions thus making the man in the street think he’s expert in something he knows nothing about. It’s malicious manipulation and it’s just going to end with a lot of people losing their jobs.

There’s a moment when sensible people might go, “Oh I see. That’s what they’re on about!” but then there are also those who have a grudge about Eurovision, or the World Cup, and despite Britain starting more wars than any country in Europe, they go on hating the Germans and the French and anyone. It really is laughable but it probably will give Cameron the landslide he wants. Then he can forget them all again.

Editor’s note:  Since writing this I’ve been thinking about the, “real, hidden, underestimated” cost and thinking that it could just as easily apply to the benefits of the EU.

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