The Slog reveals how the EU Titanic is swamping Britain’s food supply industries…..on its way to the iceberg.
The UK’s contribution to CAP now stands at nearly 110% of the total value to Britain of all farming here, according to the most recent figures released by Defra.
The Common Agricultural Policy costs us a whopping £17 billion in 2009. But here’s the killer: according to Defra, that is more than the total value of UK agricultural output – around £15.5 billion per annum. Bear in mind that this is income, not profit: the actual profit from farming for the UK was just over £4 billion – a drop year on year of 6%. (Total income fell a scary 8%). So the real p&l loss to the Exchequer because of CAP is over £11 billion each and every year.
The data from October 2010 also show that The UK fishing industry’s 6000 vessels landed 588,000 tonnes of fish and shellfish in 2008, worth £629m. This supported some 12,000 direct jobs. But the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) gets a staggering £3.3 billion from us – almost five times the value of our market. What’s more, because fishing boats are banned from bringing home fish that exceed their quotas, even if they are caught accidentally, 880,000 tonnes of dead fish are dumped into the North Sea every year. This despite the fact that Defra’s own site asserts in its opening line of copy, ‘Global fish stocks are under pressure, and fishing is threatening or damaging marine ecosystems’.
The CFP (despite endless Spanish filibustering on a scale to equal that of the French regarding CAP) is now facing some ‘proposals for reform’. These may come into effect in 2013; but to get an idea of the snail-like progress of this, read the oven-fresh brand new Commissioner’s summary of options – and weep, prior to tearing your hair out. Vague, jargonised and riddled with platitudes, the ‘report’ makes no mention of the unfairness of contributions paid by the UK. We don’t, in fact, merit a single mention.
The scale of Coalition (and general Establishment) denial about this state of affairs is as incomprehensible as it is shameful. On Wednesday, I hear, Norman Lamont allegedly told his former protege David Cameron that we should secede from the EU as it was now a net cost to Britain. Norman’s a bit behind the music on this one: it’s been costing us in the region of £110,ooo a minute for some time – if you believe UKIP’s man on the Bruges Group – and even if you don’t think much of Farage’s Featherweights, the Telegraph’s Craig & Elliott quantified it rather well in their 2009 book The Great EU rip-off. For me, these two hacks nailed the sum correctly at around £120 billion. I think this because the numbers make sense – but mainly because they are within a gnats of what the now sadly retired Slog Treasury mole told me late in 2008. That said, the rip-off calculation didn’t include bailouts at the time. We are – literally – the family facing the bailiffs while the mistress carries on bailing out her illegitimate son.
Yet still none of it gets through to the politicos and Mandarins. The BBC dubs secessionists ‘mad’, and the idea of us being outside the EU ‘unthinkable’. The Economist writes in similar vein. This is what it opined before the 2010 General Election:
‘This newspaper has no regrets about opposing both the draft EU constitution and the Lisbon treaty. It remains appalled about the way the reform was pushed through without a referendum in Britain. But given the choice between putting up with a mildly awful treaty (and the moderately ineffective politicians it has installed in Brussels) or getting out of the EU, we would far sooner stay in.’
What the Economist didn’t offer its readers was a reason why. But then, a lot of money has been flooding under the bridge since then. Things have changed – and the Little Red Book has been shown to be, shall we say, a bit out in its expectations of Cameron in the European theatre:
‘The new prime minister, David Cameron, will go to Brussels with a series of demands that his European peers—for good and bad reasons—will take great pleasure in rejecting. Britain’s already awkward relationship with Europe will hit a new low.’
Not only was this allegedly definitive magazine as wrong about that as wrong could be, the assumption in its blinkered thinking was that hitting a new low with Europe must ipso facto be a bad thing. Well, I’m on the record several times as saying that The Economist has gone down the pan in recent years. An economics magazine without a single commercial reason for its editorial stance about EU membership is something I would call mad, except that I see it more as sad: it has simply lost the ability to analyse and conclude.
But anyway, the UK elite’s attitude remains unchanged: leaving the EU is unthinkable, and the Euro is unsinkable
In this morning’s Daily Telegraph, Jeremy Warner wrote a precise and lucid piece about the EU’s euro dilemma, and then bizarrely ended it with, ‘I don’t think the euro is about to break up. It’s too late for that.’ Had he been on the Titanic, one suspects Mr Warner would’ve been right there alongside the deputy designer, muttering “It can’t sink because it won’t sink”.
Good for you Jeremy, but my money’s on the iceberg.