Influence? What Influence?

Influence doesn't always work out the way you want it to

Influence doesn’t always work out the way you want it to

We’re far enough into the €uro campaign for broad lines of our opponents’ case to be becoming clear.  First it was Jobs.  We need to be in the EU for jobs.  The Lib-Dem slogan will be “In Europe, In Work” – which is fairly preposterous, with the EU facing an almost unprecedented unemployment crisis.  Tim Congdon tells me that the average labour market participation rate in the EU is around 60%, compared to around 70% in other advanced economies.

I’ve already done what I hope is an effective rebuttal on this point.  The EU is a job-Shredding Machine.  It’s “In Europe, Out of Work“.

Then (one that BND likes), the CBI has done an estimate arguing that our membership of the EU is worth £3000 a year to every household in Britain.  We’re working on a considered rebuttal to that, but in a sound-bite: it seems the CBI took published estimates of trade benefits, exaggerated them, and ignored any costs or downsides.  This is a curious mirror-image of the Stern Report on climate change, which took an exaggerated view of the downsides, ignored the up-sides (and applied an absurd long-term discount rate).  The CBI Report, which we’re currently studying, also appears to assume that trade with the EU would stop dead after Independence Day.  In reality, of course, we shall have a free trade agreement, and trade will continue much as before.  So we’ll have the penny and the bun – most of the trade benefits, but saving most of the costs.

For comparison, both Tim Congdon and Patrick Minford, two of the UK’s most respected economists, have independently estimated the total costs of EU membership at slightly over 10% of GDP.  This gives an annual cost per household of around £4000.

But now I’d like to take the third point of the pro-Brussels lobby head-on.  Influence.  Outside the EU we’ll be isolated and marginalised.  We’ll have no influence in the world.

Right on cue, we get a report from Business for Britain pointing out that since 1996, the UK has opposed 55 measures in the European Council.  And how many did we manage to stop?  Precisely none.  Zero.  Zilch.  How’s that for influence?  The same report points out that over the period, the UK’s voting weight in the European Council has slipped from 17% to 8%, with a similar reduction in the parliament.  So much for “influence”.  And increasingly decisions are made by qualified majority.  That 8% doesn’t go far in creating a blocking minority.

Look at it another way.  While we have an 8% voice in the Council, EU Commissioner Viviane Reding has  recently confirmed a statistic widely quoted in euro-sceptic circles, that 75% of our new laws come from Brussels.  Is that a good trade? We get an 8% say in EU law-making, but in exchange we’ve given Brussels a 75% say in our own affairs.  Sounds like a loss of influence to me.

Of course a big group of countries like the EU has more clout than a single member-state – doesn’t it?  Well it might if we all had broadly the same interests and the same policies.  If all the feet pointed in the same direction.  But (in very general terms) we find ourselves in a Northern European/Anglo Saxon group, set against a more corporatist, statist middle and south.  So we are in a permanent structural minority.  We saw that when (then) Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson tried to get a deal on the Doha World Trade Round meeting in Hong Kong.  He was blocked by several factors, but the biggest problem was the intransigence of the protectionist French farm lobby.  British interests subordinated to the EU’s failing protectionist model.

We have so much influence that we can’t even deport some 4000 foreign criminals, including murderers and rapists, from our country, because of the Human Rights Act (and before you point out that the ECHR is Council of Europe, not EU, let me mention that given the convergence between the two, and the links between them, it’s difficult to tell the difference.  For example, signing up to the ECHR is a condition of EU membership).

And does anyone seriously think that an offshore province has more influence than a sovereign nation?  Take California.  With the most recent GDP figure I can find at $1.9 trillion (well over 10% of US GDP), that would put an independent California at about #10 globally by GDP.  As I write, we have President Obama coming to Brussels tomorrow.  But we hear much less about the Governor of California.  Who can doubt that as an independent country California would have more global influence?

Or consider Canada, currently #11 by GDP, just a fraction smaller than California, and about three quarters the size of the UK economy.  Canada is an independent a sovereign nation, smaller than UK.  But it’s in the G8.  Anyone think it lacks clout because it’s not in the EU?  Or that it would have more clout if it were?   No.   I thought not.

When we leave the EU, we will be in the top ten countries by GDP.  We will be the EU’s largest external customer in the world – bar none.  We will be a great global trading nation.  We will still be on the UN Security Council, on the OECD, the World Bank, the WTO, in NATO, a leading country in the Commonwealth (whose GDP now exceeds the Eurozone), and on dozens of international organisations, too many to list.  We shall be a major voice in the councils of nations – and our own voice, not Brussels’ voice.  We shall be not so much leaving the EU, as re-joining the real world, where growth and opportunity are to be found.


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19 Responses to Influence? What Influence?

  1. Mike Spilligan says:

    It’s more than ten years since I retired from a construction and engineering career, so much may have changed, but whenever I visited businesses from Iran to the US mid-west and from Iceland to Nigeria – and particularly in the Anglosphere – I was often asked (paraphrased) “Why are you Brits hiding yourselves behind those cunning continentals” implying that we can no longer stand on our own feet. By the way, I know most “continentals” aren’t cunning, but that was often my clients’ view – borne of experience?

  2. Thomas Fox says:

    Nigel had the courage to question President Rompuy on his legitimacy but I know there are more eligible UKIP leaders like yourself who can speak it straight This is what the people want !

    • Mike Stallard says:

      Or is it.
      Last night on Question Time, I watched the very populist Diane Abbot leaning forward and saying what the audience wanted to hear. Loud applause. When you and the Chaiman of Next spoke, on the other hand, despite the fact that you won the argument hands down, – silence.

      • catalanbrian says:

        Clearly the argument was not won hands down if the audience did not approve. Arguments are not necessarily won by being absolutely correct, but by resonating with the audience, as was evidenced by the Farage/Clegg debate. Nigel Farage quite skilfully threw in the figures of 29 million Bulgarians and Romanians and 450 million people, all of whom have the right to move to and live in the UK, Despite the fact that those figures in the context of the debate (immigration and the numbers of people that will move to the UK because of open borders) are entirely misleading as they represent the totality of the populations and not those likely to move to the UK, and despite Clegg pointing out just how misleading they were, those are the numbers remembered by the audience and Farage thus won the debate. And that is my opinion, the opinion of someone who does not support UKIP or its policies.

      • neilfutureboy says:

        Yes Brian we know you don’t & perhaps one of these months you will try to give a factual reason for your opinions so we can have a real debate,

      • Roger Helmer MEP says:

        On the BBC you saw the audience in the room. I was mainly concerned about the audience in the country. I’m not prepared to pander to a BBC wet-liberal agenda.

  3. neilfutureboy says:

    Singapore is an independent state; Zanzibar is part of the Tanzanian union. At the time of independence they both had about the same per capita gdp. One step forward all those who think Zanzibar has more influence; is better off; or indeed is a more attractive place in any way whatsoever.

    To be fair Singapore’s government is competent and free marketish and Zanzibar is run by incompetent parasites, which accounts for the former’s far higher growth rate. Quitting the EU without changing our very own political parasites would not go more than part way in the road to progress.

    • Mike Stallard says:

      Difference. We hold our parasites to account publicly. Listen to LBC for instance.
      The EU Commissars debate in secret and then pass their directives in the parliament. They are not debated in parliament mostly either. So they get away with all sorts of dumdiddley. Lord and Lady Kinnoch and Chris Patten, of course, are the exceptions that prove the rule

  4. These are very useful pointers for help when dealing, as I do, with Europhiles.

  5. David Cox says:

    Thanks as usual for your insightful view of the EU.. I notice that Germany intends to introduce a system where immigrants from the EU who do not find work will be re-patriated ! Perhaps Frau Merkel has listened to Ukip’s ideas ? Well done & keep up the pressure Dave Cox

    rogeroffice posted: ” We’re far enough into the €uro campaign for broad lines of our opponents’ case to be becoming clear. First it was Jobs. We need to be in the EU for jobs. The Lib-Dem slogan will be “In Europe, In Work” – which is fairly preposterous, with the EU fa”

  6. DougS says:

    Superb piece Roger – I think that you’ve covered all the salient points.

  7. David says:

    Could be worth sticking your letter through every door Roger.

  8. Alan Bailey says:

    I watched Question Time tonight and was very impressed with Roger. Keep up the good work!

  9. Mike Stallard says:

    In the Great Debate, Nick Clegg landed one punch that hit home. And it was a deliberate misrepresentation of what he must have known to be the truth.
    He said that only 7% of our laws come from the EU. I am sure that he was technically right.
    What he left out was the Directives which are passed, by statutory instrument through each relevant ministry by the compliant civli servants. Me, I am with Angela Merkel on this one. 70% of German laws are EU inspired.

  10. Malcolm Edward says:

    Brilliant caption. Says it all.
    Good article as always.
    I’m mystified why there are people who can be beguiled by the false veneer of the EU.
    Nick Clegg and others need to be deconstructed.
    Thanks, Roger, for your continual hard work espousing common sense and standing up for us.

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      And thanks for your support and encouragement. Much appreciated.

      • Thomas Fox says:

        Some amongst this national media are biased ,as they managed to include the gay marriage question directed to you, but we all know what they are up to !

  11. Richard111 says:

    Roger, I hope you keep up with older posts. Didn’t know where else to post this.
    Read a disturbing letter in today’s Daily Express.
    Here is a partial quote from that letter:

    “However, behind the patriotic posturing of Mr Farage you can see that Ukip is in fact a party of globalist values.
    And far from being a party that would end immigration, I believe it will instead allow 50,000 net immigrants into the UK each year. That is based on its deregulated free-trade, economic agenda.”

    Does UKIP have a deregulated free-trade, economic agenda?

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