I have just read Guy Verhofstadt's HuffPo column which takes EU referendum scaremongering to another level, even by Nick Clegg's standards.
This former PM of Belgium (has Belgium got a prime minister at last, I can't remember whether they are allowed to have one courtesy of the EU or the people were prevented or failed to vote for one?) and esteemed leader of the Liberal and Democrat group in the European Parliament, says, "some have said Cameron is not going to get his way by pointing a gun at everyone else's head. I believe a more apt metaphor would be that of a madman, threatening to blow himself up unless he gets his own way." Ah, such scare tactics by the man who previously said that Cameron was "... the best federalist outside the eurozone." He can't have it both ways.
These words are not just typical from his own Liberal-Left group in Brussels but echo the elite that run Brussels and drives roughshod over the rest of us. They're afraid, very afraid as they need us more than we need them.
When I write for the Daily Mail's Rightminds, or the Daily Express, I am challenged by the editors to substantiate my claims. Let's bust some of Mr Verhofstadt's myths.
Nailing Lie Number One - Three million jobs at risk
It is a gross deception for public figures to assert or imply or that these jobs would be at risk if we left the EU. These jobs depend on trade not on EU membership. All the evidence is that employment, so far from being threatened, will revive strongly with the relief of enterprise from the burden of EU employment and business regulation and the liberalising of trade arising from EU withdrawal. The evidence is compelling:-
EU26 trade with us is 12% higher than our trade with them - it would follow that nearly four million EU jobs depend on it. In reality over six million EU jobs depend on its trade with us.(1 see footnotes)
We have a heavy overall current account deficit with EU26 - £52.4 billion in 2010 and over £46 billion in 2011(2) - but with the rest of the world a surplus of £15.1 billion in 2010 and £17 billion in 2011. The EU exports £28 billion more in goods and services to us than we export to them.
Our most successful trade is not with any EU26 state - it is with USA (surplus £22 billion), Australia (£9.7 billion) and Switzerland (£8.5 billion) - all non EU27 countries (3) .
Our trade with EU26 is falling - in goods and services by over 13% since 2000(4) but has increased by 12% with the rest of the world in the same period
Europe as a whole is in serious decline relative to the world. From 30% in 1980 its share of global wealth will fall to 17% in 2017 (IMF) (5) .
Whilst the UK 's working population is set to rise many of Europe's working populations are falling steeply - Germany by over 25% and Italy's by over 20% by 2050 and Spain by 14%(6) - the decline is endemic.
The EU average external tariff on goods and services is a little over 1% and falling - it would not inhibit trade if we were out.
Weighing all these facts is it not absurd to suppose that the trade so desperately needed by E26 failing economies will disappear if we leave the EU or that we will not be able to secure free trade with its members? The economic crisis now facing them will truly be catastrophic if such trade was materially impaired.
Nailing Lie Number 2. " ...exit from the EU would greatly diminish Britain's position on the world stage."
Far from being "Little Englanders" we are the world's fifth largest trading nation and second largest earner for overseas services and investment income. Even as an exporter of goods we rank ninth in the world with the seventh largest economy. We are the sole oil exporting European nation. In our own right we are members of the G20 accounting for 80% of world trade and 84% of world GDP. London is the world's financial centre for international transactions. Above all we have our historic links with the expanding economies of the Commonwealth in five continents and the vast market of the USA. Our trade with the rest of the world has grown by over 12% since 2000 while EU trade has fallen also by 12%.
Yet, they're all lining up to misguide us - Obama, his side-kick Philip Gordon, Verhofstadt, Roland Rudd on Question Time (Blair's former spin advisor), Ed Miliband, Vince Cable, et al, to warn us against having a referendum to re-determine our sovereignty, to deny the British public their say on whether to take back democratic control of our parliament and judiciary that has been emasculated by Brussels.
They quote a 'hostile press', 'those with vested interests' as if there is some great conspiracy to dupe the British public. If our membership benefits were that great, would we be asking for repatriation of powers, or even a referendum?
But you'll be safe Mr Verhofstadt all the time Cast Iron Dave is in the driving seat of the Conservative party.
Here are some reasons why:
1. He rolled over to Agency Worker directive and other EU laws which harm UK business and jobs.
2. Changed Tory Fisheries policy, and no longer calls for repatriation of UK territorial waters.
3. Supported EU regulation of the City of London.
4. Supports entry of Turkey to the EU - encouraging mass immigration.
5. Supported creation of EU External Action Service.
6. Failed to reduce EU budget / allows increase despite promises.
7. Supports the creation of eurozone core which would leave the UK in a permanent minority position.
8. Prepared to have 40 billion pounds UK money go via the IMF to the eurozone Bailout.
9. Forced three line whip on EU referendum debate in the Commons.
The real reason Mr Verhofstadt is so frightened of our exit is not because he firmly believes that it is in the best interests of the British people to stay in, but because the voting public of the other E26 states will see a thriving Britain and that ultimately paves the way for his elitist, expensive and autocratic lifestyle to crumble.
1Ruth Lea. Global Vision Perspective April 2008 derived from House of Commons library data
2Office of National Statistics Pink Book 2012 edn Ch 9 Table 9.1 Balances Current Account
3Office of National Statistics Pink Book 2012 edn Ch 9 Table 9.1 Balances Current Account
4Office of National Statistics Pink Book 2012 edn Ch 9 Table 9.2 Current Account Credits
5IMF World Economic Outlook Database April 2012
6UN World Population Prospects medium variant 2010 revision