Friday, April 22, 2016

Worst of both worlds eight

Some people on both sides of the EU referendum debate have been trying  to have an honest and constructive discussion with the British people

But there has been far too much nonsense talked on both sides.

Here is an argument that each side ought to retire.

1) Britain's Contribution to the EU.

Every well informed person knows, and I have never heard a "remain" supporter deny, that Britain is a net contributor to the EU budget.

The amount which Britain pays into EU coffers is large, and has been estimated by Andrew Dilnot, head of the UK Statistical Service, at about £190 million per week.

You'd think when the truth is that we are paying that much the "leave" campaign could build a powerful argument about this, but instead of using this accurate figure, Vote Leave and various prominent "Leave" supporters persist in repeating a much larger and erroneous figure of £350 million per week which Dilnot has specifically criticised as potentially misleading.

Were it not for Margaret Thatcher we would indeed be paying a gross contribution of that size, although some of it would come back just as some of what we do pay comes back.

However, Maggie negotiated a substantial "rebate" which is deducted from all payments we would otherwise have had to make to the EU before a penny is handed over. The "£350 million a week" figure fails to take account of this. You can find that figure in some British and European accounting documents but the Margaret Thatcher rebate is deducted from every pound due to the EU before it is handed over. Therefore £6 billion of the £19 billion gross payment theoretically due, and a similar proportion of that £350 million a week, never leaves the UK's coffers and to suggest that we have to pay £350 billion a week is, in simple English, just plain wrong.

When criticised for using this misleading figure Vote Leave repeated the allegation that the Office for National Statistics accepted the £350 million figure - arrant nonsense since it was their boss who had called that description of the position misleading.

2) Putin's view of Brexit.

A lot of people may suspect that Vladimir Putin would fall about laughing if Britain were to vote to leave the EU. Actually, I might well be one of them.

However, it is time for the "Remain" side to decommission this particular argument.

The Russian Embassy have objected, every time someone uses this line, to  Russia being dragged into the debate on Brexit. They have also said that the Russian government has no position on whether Britain should remain a member of the EU.

Unless someone can find an instance when Mr Putin has actually said that he wants Britain to leave - and I don't believe anyone can - it is not appropriate to go on repeating the allegation that he wants this when there is no hard evidence to justify it. You cannot drag someone into a debate based on a guess about what they think.


Jim said...

One of the clearest things stated within the only available Exit plan, Namely Flexcit, is that this is not really an Economic debate, it quite clearly states that. Basically anything we do save in terms of EU contributions, (after we have have paid our EEA contributions which are much less than EU ones) would need to be used by our own government to compensate, for example losses to farmers after the cap has gone, we are not expecting a huge sum of money to suddenly become available for anything, so Flexcit aims for an economically neutral exit, as it clearly states.

Its fine going off on tangents about WTO options and things, but its exactly that, its a tangent. This is a referendum about who governs the UK. It is not one about economics and it is not one about how we exit the EU. That is not being asked.

So in the event that we do vote leave then all this WTO S**t becomes irrelevent, as all we have instructed the government to do is negotiate a brexit. They will do this as safely as possible, so it will be FLexcit that is used (though it wont be called Flexcit) it will be so close to it you would be hard pushed to tell the difference though.

I told you, we thought about it quite thoroughly. :-)

Jim said...

Incidentaly, For obvious reasons I did not want to put this on the unfortunate post below, but my twitter feed "tweet of the month" has to go to "Can some one please find David Attenborough and keep him safe, I just don't trust 2016 anymore"

Jim said...

You should be right, and by rights I should be crying over things like this

But for some reason I just cant help but laugh my way through it.

If there is anything I have learned about the referendum its that it boils down in the end to the people vs the establishment.

The remain campaign dont really matter as the leader of remain is and always was one David Cameron.
The official leave campaign does not really matter as the Leave campaign is and always was "we the people" its just a lot of people dont see it yet.