• Professor Tim Congdon's recent report on the costs of the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union could not have come at a more opportune moment. It endorses, if endorsement were needed, a number of think-tank reviews of impeccable pedigree published by Civitas and the Institute of Economic Affairs amongst others.
Many years ago, in 1975, I and many others voted in a referendum to endorse our membership of something called the common market. The object of this now quaint sounding organisation was a no frills free trade area consisting of sovereign states. It has metamorphosed into a Byzantine monolith of stifling regulation built on a soviet model of protectionism and state centralism. Every new treaty has hammered a nail into the coffin of the original idea.
Add to this bizarre economic Neanderthal the toxic dose of monetary union and behold the terrible shambles that is present day Europe. Unemployment in the Iberian peninsula and Greece is staggering. Dangerously, youth unemployment is averaging nearly 30 per cent, growth is moribund and debt mounts. Suicidal employment, energy, agricultural and fishing policy run amok, yet the Gilbertian characters who assemble the cast of its main leaders instead of apologising continue to advocate more of the same.
The UK's daily subscription to this club from hell now runs at over £50m per day. But this is not the cost, far from it. As Professor Congdon's research shows, it is not the subscription that is the main problem, although that is bad enough. It is the baggage that comes with it all that is breaking the UK economy.
Barely 8 per cent of our national economy is connected with the EU at all. A nation's gross domestic product is made up of internal trade. The butcher, baker doctor, window cleaner, cab driver and public transport are the beating heart of the economy. Yet the burden of regulations falls upon the shoulders of us all.
Our GDP percentage of trade with the EU is below Russia, Norway, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland – obviously some not even members – scores of countries have free trade agreements with the EU without political union. Turkey is a prime example. The British coalition government talk about cutting red tape but they are powerless. The red tape comes from Brussels and it is spewed forth monthly from the high temple in Strasbourg.
Professor Congdon's research shows the costs to be £5,700 per household per year. The Treasury's own figures show us to be net importers of goods from the EU to be tune of £300bn since joining. Our export growth extends across the globe not in a parochial demographically challenged terminal economy that is present day Europe. Our open door immigration policy, unreformed welfarism both corporate and social is undermining any hope of recovery for the UK. But the band plays on.
An example of deranged EU fervour can always be savoured by listening to the President José Manuel Barroso, his last speech in particular where he finally ran up the flag of truth and called for a full federal state. You might, if you have a moment, refer to the recent speech of the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee chairwoman Sharon Bowles: an astonishing replay of bunker mentality moving imaginary armies on the Elbe to the rumble of artillery outside the crumbling walls. The end, I suspect, is much closer than she imagines.
Godfrey Bloom represents UKIP and is a member of the European Parliament for the Yorkshire and Humber region in the United Kingdom.