As promised (or threatened!) here is the weekly summary of "events, dear boy, events" pertaining to the upcoming EU referendum as issued by that splendid organisation VOTE LEAVE. With apologies to my many foreign readers who couldn't give a toss!
Incidentally, the very last paragraph refers to a Dr. David Deutsch of Oxford University, a fearsome swot on the intricacies of quantum physics, one of whose lectures I once attended. He looked about 141/2 at the time and, having just seen the latest Bond movie, my memory is that he was a dead ringer for the new 'Q' as played by Ben Whishaw:
Of course that was all about 40 years ago when my, er, eccentric curiosity led me into the mysteries of the sub-atomic world. Totally bonkers when you remember that I failed maths, physics and chemistry at 'O'-level. But I will never forget Dr. Deutsch, even if I did have trouble keeping up with him.
Problems with the Single Market
The EU’s supporters base their case on the supposed benefits of the Single Market. For example, Number 10 sent out the Business Secretary Sajid Javid yesterday to claim that the EU could be the ‘most successful single market in the world … but only if it [the EU] actually gets on with the job it was created to do.’
Actually, this gets the history the wrong way around. The Single Market was developed by Jacques Delors, the European Commissioner, for political purposes. As he said in 1993, ‘we’re not here to make a Single Market - that doesn’t interest me - but to make a political union.’ The Single Market has always been seen in Brussels as a tool to continue EU founding father Jean Monnet’s mission of centralising political power in Brussels.
Many of the worst EU regulations have been Single Market regulations. For example, the Clinical Trial Directive proved disastrous as it dramatically slowed down the testing of cancer drugs. World-leading chemicals producer BASF was recently forced to move its research operation to America after its innovative products were banned by Single Market rules.
Earlier this month George Freeman MP, Life Sciences Minister, issued a warning to Brussels that over-regulation by the EU could lead to a ‘new Dark Age’ for bioscience. He revealed that the UK is battling the EU on a number of issues which will restrict scientific research. Mr Freeman warned, ‘The Luddites threatened to hold back discovery in the early 19th century … [and] we face a similar challenge today’.
Furthermore, many of these regulations prove impossible to correct or take many years to modify. One of Britain’s most brilliant scientists is David Deutsch (see below Tweet of the Week). As he said yesterday, ‘The open society is not a system for avoiding mistakes. Like science, it is the only known system, in its domain, for correcting mistakes.’ Error-correction is vital but the EU system of centralisation and harmonisation creates a one-way ratchet that makes error-correction slow and hard - look at the Common Agricultural Policy, still there after decades of promised reform. This is the opposite of the sort of system we need to cope with the forces changing the world.
Unsurprisingly, in a recent poll of business opinion, just 25% of respondents agreed with the rationale for the Single Market.
After we Vote Leave and stop sending £350 million to Brussels each week, we can use some of this money to spend on our priorities such as the NHS Cancer Drugs Fund, science research and education. The UK will be able to do better in leading world-class science projects and developing new high-tech industries.
This also leads to a wider point that rules and regulations are increasingly, and sensibly, made at a global level. Currently the UK has little say in these decision-making bodies as the EU represents its 28 member states. Once we leave the EU, we will be able to take our seat on these global bodies.
More holes in PM’s renegotiation
As reported last week, David Cameron’s letter to Donald Tusk received a poor reception from business, politicians and the media. Over the weekend, prominent Conservatives announced that they would back Vote Leave as the PM’s demands were ‘feeble and irrelevant’, ‘wholly inadequate’ and would ‘not secure a deal the British public deserve’.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond this week admitted that the deal will have no legal force under EU law. The truth is that the European Court of Justice will be able to decide the scope of any deal. These EU judges have a history of ignoring political agreements drawn up by politicians.
Voters should be able to change our laws and control our taxes by voting out those who make the decisions. After we Vote Leave, Britain will again be a self-governing democracy that trades and cooperates with our friends in Europe and countries around the world.
The only way to get a better relationship with the EU, take back control, and spark discussion about sensible reform in Europe is to Vote Leave.
Business is split on the EU
The BSE chairman Lord Rose of Monewden has called on businesses to speak out on the EU referendum. We agree. Of course, Lord Rose also said recently that after we Vote Leave ‘absolutely nothing will happen’ to the British economy. We agree with him there too.
However, businesses should not allow Brussels mouthpieces such as the CBI - which is EU-funded and uses ‘dodgy’ polling to distort media coverage of the case for EU membership - to claim that they speak for British business. Also, people should always remember that many multinational businesses can be destroyed by Brussels with regulations - they must support the EU, or at least keep quiet. Most multinationals kept quiet or spoke in favour of the euro too, from fear of reprisals.
New CBI boss Carolyn Fairbairn this week signalled a partial climbdown from her predecessor’s strongly pro-EU stance, insisting that she would ‘listen and consult with’ members who believe that the UK should leave the EU. This followed a letter from Vote Leave calling on Ms Fairbairn to ‘rethink the position that the CBI adopted on the EU’ in previous years.
UK business is divided on EU membership. A survey by the Federation of Small Businesses released in September found that 41% of its members would vote to leave the EU. In the Treasury Select Committee meeting this week, the FSB stressed that they, unlike the CBI, do not have an official ‘remain’ position on the referendum. In a recent Business for Britain poll of SMEs, over 40% of respondents stated that the EU hinders their business, compared to 20% who said it helped. About two-thirds of businesses want Britain to take back power over trade deals from the EU. It is clear that UK businesses do not hold a uniform pro-EU stance.
Tweet of the week: The open society is not a system for avoiding mistakes. Like science, it is the only known system, in its domain, for correcting mistakes.
David Deutsch (@DavidDeutschOxf), the brilliant physicist who extended Turing's 1936 paper to the quantum realm.
Vote Leave http://www.voteleavetakecontrol.org/
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