The recent phone tapping of Angela Merkel’s mobile scandal is to remind yourself of the old apple scrumping maxim – ‘It’s not the crime itself, it’s getting caught’.
The same is true about countries helping themselves to EU funds – disproportionately to what they put in. As long as no-one notices Ireland can build itself empty stretches of motorway, Spain can build itself a high speed rail network and Germany can wean its way off dirty coal power to name three extravagant (to my way of thinking) spends.
Now I think we in Britain have stomached all the austerity we can take and don’t see Brussels’ drive for further Economic, Social & Political Union as having much attraction, at least in terms of contributing anything further to the EU budget – beyond what we take out.
So why the ‘scary monsters’ statements by all and sundry about the perils of leaving the club? Surely it is a case of simply leaving and re-joining the ranks of those on the periphery like Norway & Switzerland who have all the trade advantages but none of the social and political stuff? We clearly aren’t going to ever go for the Euro, so by default we are not fully wedded to the idea, so why belong at all?
Another big advantage for going back to being outside is we won’t have to pay our share of the budget for running the Brussels bureaucracy itself. I’ve not seen any numbers recently but it must cost the same as running a small country with no outputs?
So I think it is referendum time. But let’s get value from the ballot box – first revisit our EU membership (minus scary monsters) and as a second question, let’s decide if England wants to devolve from Scotland. After all why should the Scots alone decide that issue?