An Open Letter to David Lidington MP, Europe Minister

Dear David,

I am surprised and disappointed to be advised by a member of the public that you are still writing letters citing “3,500,000 jobs dependent on exports to the EU” as a benefit of EU membership.  No one has made any case that the jobs or the exports would suffer as a result of our leaving the EU.  As I am sure you know, if we were to leave the EU we should still be, pro tem, members of the EEA, and therefore we should still have the advantages of free trade with the EU-26 (such as those advantages are).

In fact leaving the EU would be hugely advantageous to jobs and economic recovery.  Some credible estimates of regulatory costs within the EU’s Single Market range as high as 10% of GDP — actually greater than the value of our exports to the EU-26.  No estimate of the “benefits” of trade in the Single Market approach this figure.  The net benefits on leaving would be massive.

I appreciate your difficulty in writing a credible letter justifying our continued membership of this failing and crisis-stricken bloc — I certainly could not write a credible letter to that effect.  I am particularly concerned that David Cameron, while describing himself improbably as a eurosceptic, still keeps insisting that Britain must remain within this dysfunctional club, but like yourself, he fails to offer any credible reason for this position.

Surely it really is time for a proper debate on our status within the EU?

Best regards.


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7 Responses to An Open Letter to David Lidington MP, Europe Minister

  1. I am sure that he will produce figures to prove it.
    In fact, how much of our “exports” to Europe are actually re exports from the rest of the world? They look like British goods but they do not affect any British industry anyway.

    • Andrew Shakespeare says:

      Eurocrats are fond of claiming that “Britain exports more to Holland than it does to ___________ (insert a large and influential country that Britain doesn’t actually export much to; Russia is a good one, as is Brazil)”.

      Why do they quote Holland, rather than any other EU country? Why not Belgium? or Sweden? or Spain?

      Rotterdam is one of the largest ports in the world, with ships constantly leaving for destinations all across the globe. A shipping agent in Britain looking to export a quantity of goods to, say, Paraguay might have a hard time finding a ship departing from a British port, so instead, he will load it onto a ship across the Channel to Rotterdam.

      There, it is promptly loaded aboard the very next ship bound for Paraguay, and no Dutchman so much as opens the containers to have a look inside. But the statistics show that the containers left Britain bound for Holland; therefore, technically, they constitute an export to the EU.

      Where the Eurocrats keep quiet is that, were we to leave the EU, those exports would not dry up. They’d still be shipped to South America, via Rotterdam. The Eurocrats are well aware of this but, presumably lacking any more-reliable evidence, prefer to quote mendaciously misleading figures.

  2. Malcolm Edward says:

    Surely with the eurozone as a failing block of its own making, it is a very good argument for us to disentangle from the EU.

    There is something wrong with the europhile argument that one should subsume to the EU both when they claim the EU is doing well and at other times when the EU is demonstrably doing badly.

  3. Mike Spilligan says:

    I’ve always found, when faced with a very large and improbable number in most commercial situations, the best response is to ask for a “breakdown”, one sufficiently diverse to open up the “facts” for further probing and eyebrow-raising potential.
    In this case I can well imagine that at least some of these supposed “jobs” are in the public sector, thereby becoming part of a cost centre raher than a profit centre; while further numbers may be cost / profit neutral being part of unavoidable overheads.

    • Dan Hannan likes to say that the only jobs definitely attributable to EU membership are those of the MEPs (72, was it?) and one Commissioner.

      It doesn’t matter how many jobs depend on trade with the EU, because we’d keep doing the trade anyway! And because of our trade deficit with Europe, there have to be more European jobs dependent on us, than UK jobs dependent on the EU.

  4. Heather Alibakir says:

    Just watched the What gives you the right” Speech. Oh, their faces! Can’t laugh or cry, so smirk. I so enjoyed that. Thanks Mike for pointing it out.

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