The first letter today, from our correspondent Roger Arthur, looks at the ‘divorce payments’ we’re allegedly have to pay the EU. The numbers are interesting:
Over the years our Contract with the EU has been varied by Treaties. We did not vote for those treaties and the UK government had little or no influence over some of them. Those were effectively “variations to contract (VTC)” which must surely be on the Brexit balance sheet, as they would be in the commercial world.
The first VTC example is the original Treaty on Freedom of Movement for migrants, “with jobs”. But the words “with jobs” were massaged out, with the result that around 25% of migrants now come without jobs. The cost of that should be accounted for.
Then Blair axed our EU rebate, costing the UK £9.3billion between 2007 and 13, in exchange for “CAP reform”. Extrapolating that to 2019 would double the loss to around £18.6billion, less any CAP benefits to the UK – which may be negligible.
Also, the EU “no-bail-out” clause 125 was abandoned, followed by EU demands that the UK should contribute directly to Eurozone bail-outs. Clearly UK contributions to bailouts should also be on the balance sheet.
We could also cite the fact that the UK spends 0.5% more of GDP on defence than the EU average, or that we pay £2 for every £1 given back to the UK by the EU, or that the EU has had black holes in its accounts for over 20 years, all of which should be on the balance sheet. Then we should include the value of EU assets, which have been funded by the UK.
So the big question is why has the UK agreed to pay the EU £20bn, without consideration of the above and without a statement upon the tangible benefits (if any) which have been negotiated in exchange?
The EU always seems to say that whatever the UK offers is not enough. They are clearly not negotiating in good faith but are running down the clock, hoping for a UK government to capitulate as the Greeks did.
To counter that, we must hope that the PM has been working up a viable contingency exit plan, which may convince the EU that they will not be able to continue with their blocking tactics for much longer. But like the nuclear deterrent, it will only work if the other side knows that it is there and that it is truly viable.
So please Mrs May, how did you account for what the EU owes the UK, what benefits did you obtain in exchange for the £20bn promise to the EU and what is your emergency exit plan?
Respectfully, Roger Arthur
The next letter comes from our correspondent Cllr Paul Foyster, who looks at the challenges the Party now has to face after the election of the new leader:
Some members complain that Henry and others are turning UKIP into a “mainstream” party. They seem to forget that the establishment and their MSM friends have spent years carefully trying to prevent us becoming just that. They have used every smear in the book, constantly exposed leaders and candidates to forensic examination of a type never applied to other parties and have frequently exaggerated or even invented detrimental material when none existed. The cosy Lab/Con/Lib power sharing alliance don’t want competition, a fairer electoral system or to listen to the popular voice of the people. Above all they don’t want to lose their jobs.
Protest groups rarely achieve anything. We gained and won the referendum by being a threat to the seats of the ruling elites, both Left and Right. To do that we had to play by the establishment’s rules and get people elected, especially at local level, which we did with considerable success.
We need to get even, not to get angry. To achieve change, we must change too. Only by offering the public a sensible, reasonable set of policies, that they are unafraid to support, can we make progress. The EU is of course still a key issue, so many of our problems stem from membership and both Government and opposition wish to remain as close to Brussels as possible. The prime example being that without border control we can’t solve some of the most serious. It matters not if we still have a limited number of migrants, the point is that we must get to select who we let in, the terms under which we accept people and how many of them come here. The number will vary from year to year, according to need, thought it will be much smaller than now.
Electoral reform, education, defence, law and order, housing and energy are all key issues on which we must have clear policies and there are many other areas where we must at least have an agreed direction of travel. We must select policies that are best for the country, irrespective of where they come from. What matter is right or wrong, not Right or Left.
Henry has much to do, he also has to talk to the other candidates who have remained loyal, to his remaining elected representatives, area management, HQ staff, the NEC, and he says he will be talking directly to groups of branches. All at the same time as continuing to earn his living.
Please, this time, support the new leadership team without sniping, If they fail to revitalise us the party will be over. There is no viable alternative, for the membership or the country. If we fail to get this right it will be back to the old 3 party system for many years. Do we really want that?
Respectfully, Cllr. Paul Foyster