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Competence Review - A Cynical and Futile PR Exercise by Cameron

The first Balance of Competence review, long-promised by the Coalition Government is out, but sadly due to the political stance of Mr Cameron, I fear it shall do us little good. It may produce a little light, but sadly there is little heat in the body politic of the Coalition to actually act and reclaim the powers that are discussed.

I started writing my thoughts on the first Balance of Competence review which was published this week but then I stopped and thought why re-write something on which Nigel Farage has already written? Here's his take on the Lib/Lab/Con/Whitehall farce and the Freedom Association's Patrick Minford on the cost of the EU, which wasn't in the Review.

By UKIP Leader Nigel Farage

Well now we have it. The first Balance of Competence review, long-promised by the Coalition Government is out, but sadly due to the political stance of Mr Cameron, I fear it shall do us little good. It may produce a little light, but sadly there is little heat in the body politic of the Coalition to actually act and reclaim the powers that are discussed.

The results of the ''balance of competences'' assessment into taxation, health, development, foreign relations, animal health welfare and an overview of the Single Market have been released earlier today.

From the outset, there is a massive problem, both internal and external to the UK which must be overcome before the review could do the people Britain any real good.

The first problem is that David Cameron has already been snubbed by his European partners. Other states have refused to become involved in this exercise. In April this year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande both rejected an invitation from the Foreign Office to talks on the powers of the European ¬Commission.

To make things worse, on Friday Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier commented that the UK cannot "repatriate" powers over financial services, which of course, is one of the most vital sectors of the British economy.

Barnier said: "The single market cannot be pick and mix. I have heard some people say financial services should be repatriated. It is clearly the wrong cause to fight for because financial services are an integral part of the single market and the single market is the heart of Europe ."

There is clearly no will in Brussels for a repatriation of any powers back to the UK . The EU states will simply never agree to give back powers to the nation states. The EU wants more power not less. Surely Tory grandees have heard the EU axiom of "ever closer Union "?

The second problem is David Cameron himself. He has made clear that he will vote to stay in the European Union whatever the outcome of possible future negotiations with the leaders of the EU.

In 2012, European Liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt told MEPs in the European Parliament: "Listen to your own Prime Minister Mr. David Cameron. He's been calling for a solution to the crisis. He wants more fiscal integration, more political integration. David Cameron is the best Federalist outside the eurozone". That is faint praise indeed.

Cameron has said he will vote to stay in the EU come what may. Another formidable hurdle is that the Conservative Party does not really want to repatriate important powers to the UK. When given a concrete chance to call for a repatriation of powers from the EU, Cameron has already said no.

On Wednesday 5th February 2013 MEPs voted on reform of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy.

When UKIP tabled amendments calling for the repatriation of fishing policy to the UK and the reintroduction of the 200 mile limit for fishing in accordance with UN law, the Tory Party MEPs voted against repatriating fisheries policy to the UK.

So just who does Mr Cameron think he is kidding? I can assure him that UKIP members and the British public at large will not be conned.

This Competence Review is a futile and cynical PR exercise by the Coalition because it is clear that David Cameron does not really mean it.

Here is another example - so far in 2013 , 84 separate legislative reports have passed through the European Parliament. According to the voting records, the Conservative MEPs voted in favour of 62% of these while UKIP voted in favour of 0%.

This tells you all you need to know about each party's respective desire to repatriate powers back to the British people.

The document itself brings to light some startling figures and useful information on the cost of EU regulations to the British economy and even specifically on the NHS.

However it is not the lever which will allow the British people to roll the rock of EU political union off our land. In order to do that, the people must side with UKIP, a party which believes in withdrawing from the EU and not just talking in vain about reforming it.

Quite right Nigel.

And what the review didn't tell us was the cost of the EU. That was whitewashed over. And those bright people at the Better Off Out campaign and The Freedom Association, what do they have to say:

The recent results of the first round of the Balance of Competences review had a little something for everyone. However, it seems that the review was selective in its findings and reporting, as the way it dealt with The Freedom Association's submission to the BIS review of the Single Market illustrates.

In this submission, Professor Patrick Minford CBE submitted some of the evidence that him, Vidya Mahambare and Eric Nowell found in their study in 2005. He updated the figure and illustrated that the EU costs the UK from over 11 per cent of GDP per year up to a possible 38 per cent.

However, the Single Market review quoted it as 2-3 per cent, relying on what was said in the report about the effects of protectionism in the markets. This was described in the 2005 study as the UK's "Common Manufacturing Policy" but was just part of the total number.

In fact, quoting from The Freedom Association's submission to the review, Professor Minford said: "Table 1 below summarises the estimates I made in 2005, totalling between 11 and 38 per cent of GDP; I have revisited these with more up to date information since and they still seem to be of the right order of magnitude."

It means that whatever analysis the department fell way short of a proper, representative study.

Indeed, although they mentioned it briefly, the department did not analyse the work done by Tim Congdon CBE on the costs of the EU. This meant that this work is left unchallenged and indicates that there maybe too much truth in it for some of the Whitehall elites to refute.

Nonetheless, if this is going to be a proper exercise it needs to consider all the facts in a rounded - not piecemeal - way.

The actions of those in Whitehall over the first round of the review leaves everything to be desired.

Ultimately, if the review continues in this way then those with alternative ideas - contrasting to those in Whitehall - won't bother submitting to the review.

If that day comes the Balance of Competences would have truly lost all creditability.

A link to the press release and a full report submitted by The Freedom Association can be found here: Setting Business Freehttp://

Who would you rather believe, Professor Patrick Minford and Nigel Farage? Or the Lib/Lab/Con and Whitehall officials who truly believe in the bankrupt, corrupt and failed EU project?

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