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Blackleaf

When in trouble, blame the Brits.

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from The Telegraph -

When in trouble, blame the Brits By Daniel Hannan (Filed: 12/06/2005)

The leaders of Old Europe are still reeling from their referendum results. They cannot bring themselves to accept that their peoples have turned against them. Dazed and disoriented, they have lashed out at a familiar target: it is all the fault of Tony Blair.

Their Euro-fanatic newspapers have taken the same line. Reading the French, Spanish or German press last week, you would have had the impression that Blair on his own - rather than 20 million French "No" voters - had blocked the European Constitution. The Continental political class is engaging in a collective act of what psychologists call displacement, externalising something which they do not like in themselves.

All would have been well, they assure each other, if it hadn't been for the grosses bêtes. Casting around for a weapon with which to belabour Blair, they have snatched at the EU budget which, by chance, happens to be up for one of its periodic renegotiations (like the old USSR, the European Union proceeds by a series of Five Year Plans, proposed by a 25-member politburo and rubber stamped by a tame parliament). Attacking the British rebate, negotiated by Margaret Thatcher more than 20 years ago, is the obvious strategy for Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schröder.

It will unite Old Europe with New, because the accession countries stand to gain the most from a higher British contribution. And, at the same time, it will unite the Continental ruling classes with their peoples, since the British Abatement (to give it its formal name) is generally resented elsewhere.

The Chirac/Schröder argument runs as follows. The rebate, they say, was negotiated when Britain was the second largest net contributor despite being only seventh wealthiest of the then 10 members. Since 1984, Britain has become a far richer country (they gloss over why we became richer, and under whom); and the EU has been joined by needier peoples from the Mediterranean and the East. Britain, they say - and the argument is loyally repeated in their media - should be treated like everyone else.

Indeed so. It is precisely because we were not being treated like the other countries that the rebate was introduced in the first place. The EU's budgetary arrangements are structurally biased against Britain, for three main reasons.

First, we are a net importer of food, which means that we pay more into the CAP than other countries. Second, our farms tend to be relatively efficient, which means that we get relatively little out of the CAP, which was tailored to suit French and Bavarian smallholders. Third, we do far more of our trade outside the EU than does any other state, and are thus especially penalised by the EU's Common External Tariff.

The British Abatement kicks in only when we are paying in more than we get out, providing for a percentage of our net contribution to be returned. It does nothing to correct the underlying bias against us. In the 20 years since Margaret Thatcher's deal, we have remained the second largest net contributor, paying £170 billion gross (£50 billion net) into the EU budget. A billion here, a billion there: pretty soon it starts to add up to real money.

Only once in 32 years of membership have we run a surplus. Indeed, in almost every year since we joined, we and the Germans have been the only two states to make any net contribution at all. At the same time, far more affluent nations - including Luxembourg, which has the highest per capita GDP in the EU - were receiving handsome dividends. In other words - pace, Margaret - we never really got "our money back"; all we did was slightly reduce our tribute. The sums involved are larger than many people realise. Last year, according to the Treasury, we paid £11.7 billion gross (£4.2 billion net) to the EU.

At the recent general election, the two main parties argued over whether it might be possible to save £12 billion from across the whole of government spending; yet here we are meekly handing over a like amount to Brussels every year. If we were to withhold our payments we could give the entire country a 60 per cent reduction in council tax; or, if we preferred, we could scrap inheritance tax and capital gains tax, and still have enough left over to abolish stamp duty.

I have never understood why commentators tend to cite the net rather than the gross figure. They do not do so in any other field of government activity. No one argues, for example, that income tax is not really 22 pence in the pound but zero, because the entire sum is "given back" in roads, schools and hospitals. So what if £8 billion or so is spent in the UK? It is not spent on schemes we should have chosen for ourselves; indeed, it is often allocated to projects whose chief purpose is to advertise the EU.

There is no such thing as an "EU grant". When people talk about European money, what they really mean is British money that has been sloshed through the various tubes and compartments of the Brussels machine, leaking all the way, before dribbling back to these shores.

So let us hear no more about raising our contribution to an even more disproportionate level. The peoples of France and the Netherlands have just voted against the whole racket. They want Brussels to do less, not more.

Let us for once respect the voters' verdict. Let us scrap the corrupt schemes that the EU is paying for: the foreign aid boondoggles, the bogus structural grants, the grotesque agricultural regime. If we can't make the budget sleaze-free, let us at least make it smaller.

If Tony Blair had the cojones, he would appeal over the heads of the French and German leaders to their peoples. Your own politicians may be determined to ignore your wishes, he would say, but I shall respect them. I shall use the British presidency of the EU to propose a wholesale repatriation of powers to the national capitals. And, in doing so, I shall reduce these bloated billions that Brussels keeps sucking in to no very good end. Then everyone, not just the Brits, could have their money back.

• Daniel Hannan is a Conservative MEP for South East England

telegraph.co.uk

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Blackleaf, I know you've been asked this a dozen times now and you always refuse to answer, but are you capable of posting anything that 1. Does not attack Europe 2. Does not show your utter insecurity and your need to somehow try and 'prove' your country is better that everyone elses.

Get over yourself.

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Blackleaf, feel free to post any story you want; God knows I'm not going to try and stop you. But know this: The information you put forth (constantly) is very one-sided and leads me to believe you have some elitist rational for posting such stories. It makes you appear racist and spiteful. Mind you, I am not calling you names I am merely stating my opinion.

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I like reading your threads blackleaf, even though a lot of people are getting fed up on this board ,im not,its good to know what is being said from every angle and not just a certain byist one

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So Blackleaf can't post anything that attacks Europe??? talk about freedom of speech.. if members don't like it don't join in the discussions.

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the guy is a damn racist,plain and simple!

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So Blackleaf can't post anything that attacks Europe??? talk about freedom of speech.. if members don't like it don't join in the discussions.

672067[/snapback]

Fredoom of speech is also about getting response about the things you said. And Blackleaf dindt pay attention. It just keep posting nationalistic garbage over and over, like a machine.

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Fredoom of speech is also about getting response about the things you said. And Blackleaf dindt pay attention. It just keep posting nationalistic garbage over and over, like a machine.

I wouldn't be surprised if he has some kind of program that posts the topics for him.

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Fredoom of speech is also about getting response about the things you said. And Blackleaf dindt pay attention. It just keep posting nationalistic garbage over and over, like a machine.

True, its annoying

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Fredoom of speech is also about getting response about the things you said. And Blackleaf dindt pay attention. It just keep posting nationalistic garbage over and over, like a machine.

I wouldn't be surprised if he has some kind of program that posts the topics for him.

672298[/snapback]

I wouldn't either. no.gif

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Although I can't be blamed here for supporting Blackleaf's cause, because I'm neither British nor am I a citizen of the EU (yet), but I must say that nowhere does it say that freedom of speech includes "getting response about the things you said".

He doesn't have to responde to our replies. On the other hand, he should keep in mind that ignoring people's words is rude and in no way is it a proper form to participate in forums. And as forum regulations go - posting too many empty thread one after another could be considered flooding. So the best protest against his behaviour would be to simply not responde, and wait for him to be blocked by the mods for flooding.

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Although I can't be blamed here for supporting Blackleaf's cause, because I'm neither British nor am I a citizen of the EU (yet), but I must say that nowhere does it say that freedom of speech includes "getting response about the things you said".

He doesn't have to responde to our replies. On the other hand, he should keep in mind that ignoring people's words is rude and in no way is it a proper form to participate in forums. And as forum regulations go - posting too many empty thread one after another could be considered flooding. So the best protest against his behaviour would be to simply not responde, and wait for him to be blocked by the mods for flooding.

Or we can misuse his topics like the one that turned into a discussion about languages....he doesn't seem to mind.

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Or we can misuse his topics like the one that turned into a discussion about languages....he doesn't seem to mind.

672852[/snapback]

Which discussion about languages?

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Let’s try to keep the threads on topic as much as possible. I know they can evolve out of shape but for the most part they should be about what the thread starter posted. thumbsup.gif

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