The Blog

The Liberal Democrats' Euro Election 2014 Manifesto - the truth, but not as they will tell it

Have you noticed how Cleggie's rhetoric has upscaled the immigration debate - Finnish engineers and Dutch accountants will not be able to come to Britain - why on earth not? The City of London will grind to a halt and the NHS will collapse if we left the EU.

The Liberal Democrats have already launched their Euro manifesto. It majors on how the UK will step into the depths of Haedes if we leave the EU - three million jobs depend on Britain's membership of the EU; trading with the EU is our way out of recession; it's the only market in town; Ukip are xenophobic Little Englanders; Nigel Farage and Ukip will derail the recovery (sorry, that was last week's lie) .... you get my drift?

Have you noticed how Cleggie's rhetoric has upscaled the immigration debate - Finnish engineers and Dutch accountants will not be able to come to Britain - why on earth not? The City of London will grind to a halt and the NHS will collapse if we left the EU.

It smacks of desperation. We are not training our own youth to take the six figure sums that can be had by top engineers and there are thousands of those jobs going begging. The City of London has always traded worldwide and will continue to do so without the shackles of the EU, the financial transaction tax, Basle II, etc, and people like Lib Dem MEP Sharon Bowles, with no previous financial experience, running the financial show in Brussels to the detriment of our financial markets. And the NHS will not ground to a halt as it is mainly ably manned from foreign staff outside of the EU - the Commonwealth, Africa and other Asian countries.

But today's piece isn't about the usual arguments, it's to nail the lies the Lib Dems are already spinning ahead of the 2014 Euro campaign. Don't take my word for it, or Ukip's but luminaries like Sir Patrick Minford, economist Ruth Lea, Prof Tim Congdon (Thatcher's 'wise man') and others.

Who do you believe - a former Eurocrat who has never worked in business aka the Deputy Prime Minister, like the majority of Lib Dems, or the people who have contributed to this article?

Note: the figures need updating and Prof Tim Congdon regularly does this. However, it's a mammoth task but the figures I have seen so far are worse than those printed below are based on EU27.

The lies about leaving the EU: (1) We will lose three million jobs

Where does the three million mis-information come from? A 2000 NIESR study stated that whilst it found that 3.4million jobs depended on EU exports, it did not address the question of what would happen if we withdrew from the EU.

The 3.4million figure is probably right and may even be an underestimate. But 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:-

 EU26 trade with us is 12% higher than our trade with them

 We have a heavy overall current account deficit with EU26 -. £52.4bn in 2010 and over £46bn in 2011 -but with the rest of the world a surplus of £15.1bn in 2010 and £17bn in 2011. The EU exports £28bn 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 £22bn), Australia (£9.7bn) and Switzerland (£8.5bn) - all non EU27 countries .

 Our trade with EU26 is falling - in goods and services by over 13% since 2000 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) .

Weighing all these facts is it not absurd to suppose that the trade so desperately needed by E 26 failing economies will disappear if we leave the EU or that we will not be able to secure free trade with its members?

The lies about leaving the EU (2): The EU is the market of the future

Our trade with the rest of the world has grown by over 12% since 2000, trade with the EU has been in steady decline. Exports of tangible goods have fallen in the 10 years from 2000 by over 12% while goods and services together declined by over 13%.

The EU Commission estimates that the costs exceed the perceived benefits by a factor of 2.5 or 3% of GDP - a net cost of £45billion. The burden of regulation to prevent "unfair" competition has created a closely regulated market with employment and social legislation in line with the high tax and social welfare spending of EU economies without parallel in the rest of the trading world which does not have to bear its cost.

The lies about leaving the EU (3): Loss of EU exports cannot be made up in global trade

We do not need to be a member of the EU to trade with its member states.

Our trade with the EU26 is far less than the two strongest European economies. 80% of Norway's and 60% of Switzerland's total exports are with the Euro area. Yet they are not in the EU. The USA exports more to the EU than the UK without being governed by it.

Can we be confident that our global trade will improve if we leave the EU?

The EU is a customs union not a free trade area.

The EU prohibits Britain entering into free trade agreements with other countries. Yet even so we had a 2011 surplus on overall current account with non-EU countries of £17billion, against a deficit of £46bllion with the EU27.

The Lies about leaving the EU (4): We are stronger for being in the EU

Does our voice in the EU make us stronger?

We joined in 1973 when we were just one of nine with a veto on most issues. Now we have just 8.4 % of the votes in the Council of Ministers with 26% needed to block legislation. On trade and business regulation we have lost our veto entirely.

But are we not too small to prosper on our own through global trade?

Of the 14 countries with the highest GDP per capita, 11 are also in the top 14 of purchasing power parity per capita . But of these 11 states only two (USA and Canada) are among the 50 of the world's most populous nations. The four very small states of EFTA have a GDP per capita 210% greater than the EU.

Over to you Liberal Democrats, oh and Labour and Conservatives too, please justify your misinformation.