B1 Intermediate UK 1600 Folder Collection
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We the people are being cajoled, fightened, and bullied into surrendering our democracy
and freedom. This film is a rallying cry.
We must fight for our independence - for the right to determine ourselves the laws under
which we live, and for the freedom to shape our own future.
This is the most important voting decision that any of us is gonna make in our lifetime.
With general elections it doesn’t really matter who you vote for, Conservative or Labour,
because you know that in four years’ time you can change your mind. This time you can’t
change your mind, this time is for keeps.
In this film we’ll see how the EU works It’s like heaven for the politician or bureaucrat,
because it’s power without accountability. It was devised to make sure that the great
mass of the people could not control government, ever again.
The EU is turning into a dictatorship- this is not overstating it.
We will see what the EU had done to Britain.
The EU has just obliterated the English fishing industry altogether.
The European policies that we face are really the single biggest threat to our competitiveness.
We’ll see why fortress Europe has been such a calamity for the European economy
What we see is the EU bringing up the drawbridge
The European Union has become an economic basket case.
Certainly it is not in our economic interests to remain within the European Union - no way
We will look at the risks of tying our fate the failing EU.
Extremism at both ends is being fostered by the anti-democratic nature of the European Union.
Far from it being safer for us to be in the
EU there are dangers that go along with us being members of the EU being dragged into
situations we don’t want to get in. And we look at how independence could transform
Britain We have huge, huge scope for creating vast
number of new jobs Outside of Europe we could have prosperity
on a level that we can’t even imagine now. We are being asked to give up the right to
govern ourselves. What we are being offered in return. That could possibly be worth it?
It just shows utter contempt for what they think people are like, because they really
do believe that these little trinkets are going to buy us off.
What really matters is that you should have the power to remove the people who govern you.
We’re about to choose how we wish to live our lives.
This is the single most important political decision any of us will make in our lifetime.
It’s been more than 40 years since we were last asked. It could be half a century before
we’re asked again, if we’re ever asked at all.
I think this is the last chance that we’ll be able to vote on EU membership when we still
have a recognizable identity as Britons, and what makes it scary is that if we go the wrong
way, we’re in it for certainly my lifetime and probably my kids’ lifetime.
I’m on my way to Brussels to better understand the deal that’s on offer:
This is about our ability to say to ourselves that we are a genuinely democratic and free
people. That’s how important this is. In return for our democratic rights we’ve
been promised prosperity and security. Are these promises convincing?
The choice before us is all about democracy, and how highly we value it.
The word ‘democracy’ comes from the ancient Greek. The demos is the people. The people
are meant to be in charge, not politicians or bureaucrats. They’re meant to serve us,
not rule us. We have given them some power, but only temporarily, and we can take it away
from them if they displease us. That’s the theory.
Uh, the EU, s’il vous plait.
Straight off there’s a snag. On my quest to understand the EU, my first challenge is
to find it. There are over 90 EU buildings here in Brussels,
and load more Strasbourg and Luxembourg. As impressive as the modernist buildings is the
number of directorates, councils, commission and ministries which occupy them.
But here, the EU slips its first cog. For a democracy to function, there needs to be
transparency. We the people need to know how the system works.
People might not understand exactly how the functions of the British constitution work,
but they get the gist of it. Once every five years, we go down the school hall or to a
church, we put a cross in a ballot paper, they’re all counted up and the chap with
the most votes wins. We get that. You try working out how a European Commissioner is
appointed. It’s positively Kafka-esque. You can’t actually get your head around
who does what, why and who is answerable to who.
The European Union, which imposes laws on 28 countries, is made up of 7 main institutions,
which include the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the Court of Justice
of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Parliament.
Do you know the difference between the European Council, the Council of the European Union
and the Council of Europe? It’s a very good question.
*European parliament translator chatter* Tell me how many presidents there are in the
European Union. How many presidents?
Yeah. I’d guess at one.
There’s two presidents for goodness sake, I don’t know what the difference between
the two- -Four
-presidents is, there’s four presidents you say?
There are squads of committees and presidents of this and commissioners of that.
The expression I really hate is ‘pooled sovereignty’. It’s bollocks- the people
of Slovenia have no more idea than the people of the UK and the people of Sweden or the
people of Spain what in fact is going on. I wouldn’t profess to understand the detail
of how it all works and I think part of that is deliberate.
One side knows, if one side is a priesthood and knows how it all works and the rest of
us ordinary citizens don’t know how it works, a massive transfer of power takes place.
It was devised to make sure that the great mass of the people could not control government
ever again.
Problem #2: for a democracy to work/ function?, you need to know who’s running it.
A democracy only works if you know who your representatives are.
David Cameron? Toff, tries to hide it, probably quite a nasty piece of work. Tony Blair: oily,
if there’s only room for 1 in the life boat: Tony Blair.
The ordinary voter, who’s gonna hand them all this power, can make up their mind whether
they like them, dislike them, ‘cause they see them in the papers, they hear them on
the radio, they watch them on the telly. Do you recognise this man?
No Do you recognise that man?
No I challenge you to name almost any of them.
Do you recognize this guy? No.
Well, there’s that chap Juncker, is he one of them?
I didn’t know whether it was just the British being a bit thick, so I thought I’d ask
some folk in Brussels. Ah yeah, uh, that’s uh, oh
Martin… Martin?? Martin Sch…
Can you tell who that is? No
No No
Who are all of these eurocrats? Who are they answerable to?
Ah but here we come to Problem #3: Accountability. Would it help if you knew who they were – because
you don’t have any power over them, so what’s the point?
In the EU there’s a thing called a parliament, but it’s not a parliament in the sense that
we know it. In the EU, the parliament isn’t in charge.
Have you ever known anyone know who their MEP is? Nobody does. It’s because we know
that they’re not actually being voted into a meaningful position of law making.
This is the only parliament the world’s ever invented where you cannot initiate legislation,
propose legislation or even the repeal of legislation. All of that comes from the unelected
European Commission. So you can’t propose a law and try and get
it passed? No, absolutely not.
With parliamentary democracy, once every five years you can throw everything out the window
and start again, with this, once something is European law there is nothing through the
democratic process the voter can do to change it.
The people whom we elect to go to Brussels have almost no power at all. They do what
they’re told. They’ve got even less power than the House
of Lords for goodness sake. Our votes for these people are pointless.
They are fundamentally pointless. The European parliament is an irrelevance.
The European Union bureaucratic structures who are appointed not elected have all the
real power. The real power in the EU, including the power
to legislate resides not with the parliament but with EU officials.
They debate their laws in secret. We are not allowed to hear or read their deliberations.
Do you know the name of Britain’s European Commissioner?
Have you heard of Jonathan Hill?
Did you vote for him?
Did I vote for him?
(laughs) No.
The curious thing is that only last year we
were celebrating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the founding charter of English
Freedom. The history of democracy in Britain has been the history of taxpayers demanding
the right to determine themselves how much tax should be taken from them, and how it
should be spent. If I’m going to be asked to pay taxes, I
want to be told where they’re going, and if they’re spent badly or stupidly, I want
to be able to remove from power the people who are spending them.
What made Britain rather different from most other countries was that at an early stage
we said that no government could pass any law or impose any tax without first getting
the authority of the British people. So it’s a major thing that we can be taxed by other
people without our say. We are now subjects of a vastly complex state
machine, run by anonymous officials who we didn’t elect, but who have the power to
impose on us laws that we haven’t debated and have no democratic means of repealing.
People who say to you that the European Union is undemocratic fundamentally misunderstand
the European Union: It is anti-democratic.
But to EU officials and politicians
It's like a warm bath.
It’s like heaven for the politician or bureaucrat, because it’s power without accountability.
The reason why all the major political parties are massively in favour of Europe, is because
when their careers are blown out of the water here – they’re stumbling around for a
job – no commercial organisation is going to hire them. They know what a collection
of shits they are – there’s only one place that will hire them.
They can get a job there which gives them a freedom not to have to face the electorate.
It’s extremely well paid, it’s more or less permanent, they don’t have any constituents
and they don’t have any worry about being thrown out at elections
So they say ‘stay with the European Project, I’ll be making myself two, three hundred
grand a year, it’ll be fantastic, and at the end of it I get a peerage, it’s great.’
Since they’re not directly accountable to the taxpaying public, EU politicians and bureaucrats
have understandably been more than generous to themselves in pay and perks. This is the
much talked-about Brussels gravy train, and here’s my handy guide:
This is the shopping centre But this is all for politicians and bureaucrats
- it's not for members of the public No
So you get your own hair salon, and your nail bar
- get your nails done There's a sauna, there's a massage parlor
here as well Yeah
Why would they not want to stay here, living a life of luxury?
There are a number of people here who are paid more than the British prime minister.
Ah, you might say, but how many? Four? Ten? A hundred? Ten thousand. There are ten thousand
people here paid more than David Cameron, that’s 1 in 5 of everyone who works for
the EU. If you’re an EU official, There’s the
relocation allowance, the household allowance, the family allowance, the entertainment allowance
, the private healthcare allowance , the private education for your kids allowance . The healthcare
allowance includes free Viagra - you would have thought would come under entertainment….
If you’re an MEP you get an extra 250 pounds a day for being good enough to turn up , another
41,000 pounds a year on top of that to cover phone bills and computers, and another 225,000
pounds a year on top of that to cover staffing costs , which in years gone by often meant
spouse or children. To cap it all they’ve decided to charge
themselves a special low rate of tax.
But it’s not just officials and politicians who benefit
The EU also diverts rivers of taxpayers’ cash to the tax-munching middle class intelligentsia
in our sprawling publicly funded establishment. The European Union is very good at purchasing
the loyalty of powerful and articulate interests in all the member states
When we hear the heads of great public institutions, quangos, museums, campaign groups, waxing
lyrical about the EU, we have to remember, the EU gives them vast amounts of our money.
The EU gives shed loads of our money to local authorities and to universities and to art
groups and opera companies. And that then provides this chorus of noise
in favour of the European project. Every charity over a certain size is getting
money from Brussels, every NGO. We see EU largess effectively buying opinion.
You know what we see here is really a racket, it’s become a very good way of taking money
from the general population and handing it to people who are lucky enough to be working
for the system. The EU likes to advertise it’s generosity,
here in the North East for example. “European Union investing in your future”,
isn’t that good of them! I wonder where they got the money?
The SAGE arts centre at Gateshead we’re often reminded was built with the help of
EU money But what you’re not told is that if you
live in the North East for every £1 that comes from the EU you have to pay the EU £2.30
in tax…
But that’s not the only price the Geordies have paid for EU membership. I’m heading
down the river to the mouth of the Tyne The reward for giving up our sovereignty,
we’re told is greater influence in Europe. To see how much influence we have I’ve come
to the place I grew up. For centuries fisherman’s huts called Shields
lined the River Tyne, from them came the names of the towns that straddled the mouth of the
river, North and South Shields. The seas here are rough but the water’s rich
in mackerel haddock , salmon , herring , cod , skate , and shrimp.
By the early 20th Century 14 thousand tonnes of fish a year was being landed here at North
Shields. There is a daily fish auction here still,
in a building part-funded by the EU.
24 in, 25, 25 pounds…30 pounds, 31, 31, 32…37 pounds
In a corner of one of the halls sits fewer than a hundred boxes part filled with fish,
a dozen or so fishermen and merchants surround them.
74 year old fish merchant John Ellis has been buying at this auction since the 1950s
When I started working down here there was about 200 firms working on the quay, there
was haulage firms on the quay who had 30 and 40 wagons that used to ship the fish away.
And how many boxes would there be in the market then?
In them days there’d be…..8, 10, 12 and then you’d get also-
Martin: -twelve- - thousand-
-twelve thousand boxes a day- -so a different place
-Oh, you couldn’t get moved. Now this, well I think the average for the year would just
be about two hundred boxes a day , so it’s practically nothing isn’t it?
When Britain joined the common market it lost control of its fishing grounds.
When quotas were imposed several other European countries lobbied the EU for Britain’s fishing
rights to be divided up between them. The British government was powerless to stop this.
The EU has just obliterated the English fishing industry altogether. The quota system they’ve
got now is just , it’s just mad. Local fisherman were now banned from fishing
in waters they’d fished successfully for centuries.
Oh! Just beyond the pier over there. In fact it might be there today, this great big Dutchman,
well that Dutchman’s got 25% of the whole quota of all of England, it’s only 3 or
4 miles off the Tyne catching herring and mackerel. The local fleet can’t catch herring
and mackerel and it’s right on our doorstep. There is still a prospering North Atlantic
fishing industry but only in countries that have retained their independence.
Well look at the Icelandics and the Faroes and the Norwegians . They sell millions of
pounds worth of fish to us . And they’re outside the common market - will you tell
me a common market country that buys fish off us, but they’ve had the fishing boats
in the North Sea, they catch our fish…it’s just madness…
The EU has been paying British fishermen to destroy their boats
They say to fishermen if you want to get out the industry, we’ll give you a lump sum.
This here looks like an old boat that’s been destroyed. You just watch ‘em with
chainsaws, cutting the old wooden boats up and burning them.
The EU pays fishermen to leave an industry and to destroy their boats?
That’s right. While at the same time giving rights to people
elsewhere to fish the same waters. Aye, that’s right, uh-huh
For the fisherman here, being in the EU does not mean that Britian has greater influence over European
affairs, it means Europe has taken control of our affairs. We have not gained power,
we’ve lost it. Over the last couple of decades, Britain has
voted against 72 measures in the European Council and been defeated 72 times.
How will you be voting in the referendum? Oh, definitely Out. Definitely Out. I’ve
known that as soon as I ever got the chance I’d vote Out.
For many in Britain, the EU sticks in the craw. EU regulation seems absurd and intrusive.
We don’t like being bossed around by a bunch bureaucrats. For the British it seems to go
against the grain. There’s a huge cultural difference , I’ve
seen it for myself when I was in government - when I went to meetings of the council of
ministers, they thought I came from another planet.
There is still in many parts of the continent a notion that the way that society should
be organised is to have a class of wise, experienced, public-spirited experts who will run things
in the best interests of all. The British historically have been deeply sceptical of
this kind of approach. Britain I think does stand out within Europe
and one of the odd things is why they want to keep us in the club given that they’re
always complaining about us. Why are the British the cussed ones in Europe.
Why are we so attached to our independence and freedom? Why do we take so badly to regulation?
Where does it all come from? The British freed themselves from suffocating
feudal regulation, centuries before the Europeans. While serfdom still existed in large parts
of Europe, the free British were carrying out the great commercial and industrial revolutions
that gave birth to the modern world. In the 19th Century, unregulated Britain was
the pioneer of global free trade, workshop of the world, dominating the world economy
like a leviathan. Even on the eve of the First World War, Britain
was building around 60% of the world’s commercial ships, and owned almost half the world’s
cargo-carrying ocean-going steamers. But the 1st World War changed everything.
New ministries were set up, as the government extended its control over every aspect of
British life. Industry became heavily regulated, first shipping, then the collieries, railways,
canals and agriculture. The Great War is in this as in many other
respects a great watershed in British history. During the war there’s incredibly detailed
state control of a whole range of industries, by the end of the war there’s a feeling
that there needs to be much more permanent regulation and control of society by the state.
A company was no longer private property, it was a national asset to be directed from
above. The government increasingly thought that it
should plan, it should control, it should regulate.
When the war was over, so was the excuse for government regulation, and many were scrapped,
but not all of them, and not for long. British governments sought to deliberately
cartelise and control the major sectors of the British economy, by basically checking
the spirit of initiative and innovation that had been such a dominant feature of the British
manufacturing sector in the 19th century. With World War II regulation increased still
further. War planning gave politicians and administrators
unprecedented control over our lives. And after the war they were unwilling to hand
back their power. We won the war, so we think that governance
must be pretty good, and as a result everything is then planned.
How we build houses, what the houses should look like, how they should be decorated, who
should live in them, virtually every area of life. We had boards of experts working
out the best way to do things. ‘A young couple has dropped in for advice
on setup homes…’ First, they’re shown how to avoid overcrowding
a room. Always allow at least 18 inches between chairs and other furniture’
Everything from heavy industry down to clothes and food and children’s toys were regulated.
‘If you didn’t manage a doll at Christmas, this is probably why. All restrictions on
toy-making have been lifted, but export has the first claim.’
Britain became perhaps the most state controlled and regulated economy in Europe. The regulation
of business, trade, commerce of all kinds was much, much greater than anywhere else.
Regulations, price-fixing, protectionism, supporting failed industries…
A heavily regulated economy ordered from above, the politicians assured us would be a screaming
success. But the very opposite happened.
The purpose of regulation was to end wasteful competition. But it was competition that had
kept industry efficient and innovative. Nimble entrepreneurs, who were rewarded for
success and punished for failure, were now replaced by plodding bureaucrats, ticking boxes.
Productivity and output plummeted. Shortages pushed up prices
‘The buying power of the average wage, 5-6 pounds, has shrunk at an alarming rate, but
first among offenders in increasing prices was the government itself. Coal rose, affecting
other industries, electricity charges went up.’
‘As soon as we get more money, everything goes up, don’t it?’
‘It must be this inflation they’re all talking about.’
For ordinary British consumers life was grim, goods were either unavailable, unaffordable
or heavily rationed. ‘Good news came with a sticky end to sweet
rationing. For nine years mouths had watered for this
great day, and it was too much of a tummy ache for the country’s economy, and soon
personal points came back.’ (child screams)
Over in Germany, it was a different story. The war had left Germany little more than
smoking rubble. West Germany would receive some Marshall Aid, but only less than half
the amount sent to Britain. At the end of the 2nd World War, Germany was
a ruin. If you see the old footage – it was absolutely flattened.
Germany needed a miracle, and this was the man who performed it.
In the first free elections after the war, Ludwig Erhard, the son of a shop keeper became
Minister of the Economy, a post he held until 1963.
Ludwig Erhard began the Wirtschaftwunder - the economic miracle by completely scrapping all
of the controls that he’d inherited from the Third Reich, and he did this against the
strong advice from his British superiors you might say – in the occupied zone.
Erhard revolutionised the German economy because he just got rid of regulations on a massive
scale – he got rid of production controls, price controls – he got rid of trade barriers
They were happy to have open and free trade, a deregulated economy, they want to see industries
stand on their own two feet, and those that can’t must make way for those that can.
Germany was open to the world, had much more free and easy entry into business and commerce
and the professions in Germany – and the result was that the German economy became
much more dynamic, much more innovative and ultimately much, much more successful.
Just look how quickly Germany pulled itself off the floor
Industrial production soared. In Britain there were shortages and rising
prices. In Germany goods were abundant and wages rose steeply.
The result for the ordinary person in Germany was sensational, because the production of
all consumer goods rose, the prices came down – Britain - who won the war, was still rationed
for year after year after year, whereas Germany, who lost the war – rationing was abolished.
Before you know it, just a decade or two of this approach, and it’s a powerhouse of
Europe. Contemporaries described it as a ‘miracle’.
By the time Erhard left office he had transformed Germany from a pile of smoking ruins to the
3rd biggest economic power in the world.
Then came something called The Common market. In the greatest free trade experiment of modern
times – the barriers are going up between 6 European countries. Barriers up, tariffs
down. That is the meaning of the common market, formed by France, Italy, Western Germany with
Holland, Belgium and Luxemburg. They will reduce and eventually abolish trade barriers
between themselves and at the same time maintain a common tariff against the world outside.”
Joining the EEC seems like a great idea – it meant escaping the dismal, dreary confines
of post war Britain. In the 70s we had terrible problems, we had
double digit inflation , the three-day week , prices and incomes policies , and we looked
across the Channel and we thought ‘these chaps are doing something right’.
At that time Britain was a very centralised place, a very ove- bureaucratic and regulated
place, Europe was a much more competitive and free trading place and it looked like
the future. Europe was the future. Europe meant sun, and wine, and fancy food
like pasta. It meant going out into the world and opening
up, and hopefully becoming more like power house Germany .
But the architect of the EEC was not German, he was French
– Jean Monet was steeped in the French bureaucratic big state tradition –
Indeed, he had spent the 2nd World War in Britain helping to create the very regulations
which all but destroyed the post-war British economy.
When Britain joined in 1973, we should have seen what was coming – when the documentation
was brought in for signing, it took two strong men to carry it.
Of a new and a greater united Europe … It soon became clear that the common market
was so much more than a trade deal. Shiny new buildings kept appearing, the administration
grew - and the price of membership kept going up, as the EU assumed greater powers and demanded
more money from member states. Inevitably, this burgeoning bureaucratic machine
reflected the values of the University educated people who ran it and who benefited from its
generous funding Staying in the EU is the right kind of thing
because it’s what civilised, sophisticated people do. If you believe in the EU you believe
in the arts and arts funding. I think there is a mind-set amongst the cultural
and political elite that their role on the planet is to direct the lives of the rest
of us. They think that ordinary people need to be
controlled and looked after, they think the world needs to be ordered from above and that
they should be the ones doing the ordering. There’s a tremendous snobbery built into
the whole project, the idea that you are part of the elite which should decide how the little
people live their lives. These people up here, the intellectuals looking
down on the plebs, and saying you aren’t bright enough to decide the future of your
country. As the EU’s power steadily increased, so
did the number of regulators, and the volume of regulation
The bureaucratic class can find no area of human life that they don’t want to write
a rulebook about. What vacuum cleaner you’ve got , where you
get your hair cut , what kind of size your shoes are.
And those rule books stack up one on top of the other, such that no reasonable human being
could now possibly have an understanding of all the rules they need to obey.
You’ve got thousands and thousands of bureaucrats, civil servants and administrators, and their
job is to push paper, write on paper, have rules on paper, pile up more and more paper
– you just get a mass of growing telephone directory-sized rules and regulations, one
after the other. Ceaselessly, endlessly – that is actually
what the bureaucracy sees itself as there to do.
If the list of EU rules could be put into one document today it would take more than
2 men to carry it on. Such a document would reach as high as Nelson’s Column.
Regulation is so vast and complex even the EU is unable to tell us how many laws there
are covering different areas of our lives. So we’ve used some helpful EU databases
to make the best estimate we can….. Here is regulated EU man, waking from his
regulated slumber to start his regulated day. You wouldn’t think you’d need a law for
pillowcases but the EU has 5 - but that’s nothing, the pillow inside is subject to 109
different EU laws. As far as we can tell there are only 11 EU
laws pertaining to radio alarm clocks. There’s around 400 governing the other stuff
on Jo Citizen’s beside table. You can’t be too careful with duvets and
sheets, so there’s around 50 laws governing those.
There are 65 laws covering bathrooms - but that doesn’t include the contents.
How they managed to think up 31 laws for toothbrushes is beyond me, but let’s face it toothpaste
is a bit weird so 47 laws sounds about right. Mirrors have been known to crack and get dirty
so they’re covered by 172 laws. As for the shower –well, we’ve all seen Psycho – murdering
girls like that is now strictly prohibited. Shampoo can get in your eyes and cause discomfort
– 118 laws. EU bureaucrats seem terrified by towels for some reason- slightly more relaxed
about radiators. There are 1246 laws relating to bread, but
just 52 covering the crazy anarchic toaster. Just 84 laws covering fridges, but an impressive
12,000 laws covering milk - after all it might go off. Bowl 99 laws, Spoon more than 200
laws , same for the orange juice, but the coffee - whoa, stand back grandma! This toxic
jungle juice can keep you up all night. The best dog in Britain is unaware of the
odourless fog of canine legislation - but careful Ruby, ignorance is no excuse.
Our regulated man leaves his regulated house .
There are only 92 laws about pavements - after all, they’re just pavements - but you get
the idea. EU regulation surrounds us like invisible
barbed wire. When we’re frustrated in our daily lives
by needless stupid EU laws it’s infuriating, but it’s much worse than infuriating if
you’re thinking of starting a new business. It’s like entering a regulatory minefield.
For small and medium sized businesses and start-ups – it’s perilous. Complying with
regulation imposes huge costs, and falling foul of regulation can put you out of business.
Big established firms don’t mind regulation so much. For a start, it means less competition.
Big corporate interests tend to love the EU- it suits their purposes perfectly
All the corporations love the European Union because what it does it creates the regulations
which destroy their smaller rivals Big business loves regulation – don’t
forget that! Big companies can lobby in Brussels – the
amount of money they spent there is staggeringly large.
One of the first things that stuns you are the number of invitations on your desk to
lunch, breakfast, dinner, champagne receptions, and invariably they come from lobby groups.
There are people who make their entire livelihoods out of being professional lobbyists in Brussels.
This is where a lot of the lobbying goes on. So you will see the lobbyists from different
companies, from NGOs. The returns they get by stifling competition
and framing regulations in a way which suits them and keeps other people out is very, very
striking. It used to be called a Rich Man’s Club,
and that is by and large what it is.
But Regulation doesn’t just stifle competition at home – to illustrate this, let us imagine
a less-than efficient European manufacturer. This firm was great back in the day, but over
the years they’ve let things slip a bit. The factory’s a bit shabby, but its homely,
and they like to do things the traditional way. What they lack in efficiency and new
ideas, they make up for in old world charm. Oh crikey – what’s this – a pesky new
rival firm somewhere in Asia. They’ve got lab coats, and just look how
good he is at maths. His mate too, not quite as good.
And they’re checking all the products – the big swots.
At our Euro firm the products haven’t changed much in a while. And what’s the point of
a fancy new machine when you can give customers the hands-on personal touch.
It seems to have worked alright in the past. Oh, but look at these Asian fellas. Their
umbrellas have clever sci-fi buttons to make them open. Oh what? The buttons make them
come down too! How do they even do that? Our Euro firm faces a tough choice. Do they
tidy up the factory, buy some lab coats and give everyone calculators?
Or, do they get the next train to Brussels? Over at the EU Directorate of External Relations
Commission Council, a sympathetic official hears the problem. These blasted Asian brollies
are better and cheaper. Aha! This was just the kind of abuse the EU
was set up to tackle. The official comes up with three brilliant solutions…
One: Tariffs. Let’s slap a tax on all those fancy Oriental brollies.
Two: Quotas. Let’s limit the number of Asian brollies coming in.
Three: Cleverly drafted complex regulations, saying you have to wear braces and eat spaghetti
to make brollies. With protectionism you are basically trying
to protect industries that otherwise wouldn’t do very well in a competitive environment
. Otherwise you wouldn’t bother to protect them.
You only create a trade barrier because someone else has got a better, cheaper product – otherwise
why would you create a barrier? What we have here is something that portrays
itself as a free trade area, but is actually erecting barriers and walls to the rest of
the world. Our inefficient manufacturer is delighted,
but how about the rest of us? If you are propping up and sustaining inefficient
ways of doing business, then the people who suffer are the customers.
You are preventing your citizens from accessing better, cheaper products.
You name it, TVs, laptops , sofas – EU regulation and trade barriers pushes up the price of
everything. The cost of living goes up, Europeans get
But it wasn’t just manufacturers who sought protection, farmers like it when food prices
are high. So when a French farmer say, finds that African farmers are beginning to sell
their produce in Europe, he’s not happy. Our EU commissioner knows the routine.
Tariffs, quotas and regulations saying you need to wear berets and drink Ricard to grow
food. This is particularly pernicious for African
producers of food who find that they face a big tariff barrier when trying to export
to Europe. Now that’s bad for them because they can’t earn money , and it’s bad for
British consumers because their food costs more.
But not content with trade barriers, farmers wanted the EU to drive food prices still higher.
To that end the EU bought gigantic amounts of agricultural produce and simply allowed
it to rot, creating an artificial shortage which pushed up prices.
These were the famous wine lakes and butter mountains.
In Northern France – part of the so called ‘butter mountain’. The British say that
heaps of butter like this are indefensible follies, the French say they’re necessary
and completely sensible. It didn’t take long for people to wise up
to the absurdity of it - and not just its absurdity, its immorality quite frankly.
All this is rotten for us consumers – because of the EU, for decade food and drink has cost
far more than it should. It adds between 10 and 20% to the cost of
But it gets worse, protectionism hurts industry too.
Let’s look at the steel industry. If you’re a steel producer you don’t like
the idea of cheap steel coming in from America or Asia. You’d much rather the EU shove
up some trade barriers, great for steel producers, but what if you’re a steel consumer?
Suppose you make bridges or railway lines or cranes or robots or ships or trains or
cars or space shuttles or a thousand other things made of steel.
YOU now have to pay more for your steel than your competitors, say, in South Korea or Brazil.
Protecting one producer has raised costs for other producers.
The disease spreads. Instead of one uncompetitive industry we now have many.
I’ve come to Tate and Lyle sugar refinery in London. For centuries raw sugar has been
coming into the Thames in huge quantities to be refined in factories like this.
In the Raw Sugar Shed over 60,000 tonnes of raw cane sugar stands ready for processing.
Outside is Tate and Lyle’s own dock. In years gone by this was crowded with boats
from countries like Brazil and Australia and India queueing up to offload their cargo.
The European Union is the biggest drag on the competitiveness of our business.
And what precisely are they doing which is the problem?
Well you can see behind me on the jetty today that there’s no boat here with raw sugar
and that’s precisely our problem. The boats that deliver our raw sugar here to London,
the sugar on them, the cost of that is inflated by the fact that the European Union restricts
who we can buy that sugar from. And on much of the sugar they also charge us import tariffs.
When inefficient European beet sugar producers asked the EU for protective barriers against
cane sugar producers around the world, it was a blow to refiners like Tate and Lyle.
Some of the boats of sugar we bring in we can be paying anywhere between 2 to 3.5 million
Euros in extra costs- because of the European policies.
As costs have risen so has the price of sugar for consumers, while Tate and Lyle’s turnover
and profits have been hit. It threatens the 850 jobs here in East London,
and it’s meant that we’ve had to downsize the refinery by about 50% since 2009.
How strong is the feeling against the EU at the moment here?
Walk around the refinery – talk to the people here – they absolutely know, that no matter
how hard they work no matter how productive they are, the regulations that the European
Union set can still crush us. Protecting inefficient producers ends up dragging
down good producers. Whereas up to 2009 we were exporting 300,000
tonnes of sugar, because the European regulations have made us uncompetitive not only have we
stopped exporting that sugar but we also now face around 250 thousand tonnes of imports
into the UK, to compete with as well so it’s a double whammy.
And we estimate that probably costs the UK economy 80-90 million Euros a year, just for
this one factory.
Instead of looking out to the whole world what we see is the EU bringing up the drawbridge.
The EU has slid from free trade to into crony capitalism and protectionism.
Protection hurts consumers who have to pay more for inferior products, it hurts industries
whose costs are forced higher - Iin the end, it even hurts the firms who are protected.
Protecting a firm from competition does not make it more competitive. Suddenly you can
relax and put the kettle on. Competition forces you to be sharp and buck up your ideas. Remove
that and it’s like pulling the plug out. By protecting more and more industries year
after year Europe has ended up with a moribund ailing economy.
If you prop up failing, antiquated businesses that can’t naturally compete, you get stagnation
in the economy, not growth Protectionism impoverishes all of Europe,
it makes all of us worse off
Then the shock came when the World Trade Organisation, or WTO was set up.
The walls of fortress Europe began to crumble. From the developed world, to the developing
world, the tariff reductions are expected to sow the seeds of global economic growth,
The World Trade Organisation, where both we and the European Union are members, has made
huge progress in sweeping away other tariffs and barriers .
We have begun to see an opening up of the markets - thanks largely to The World Trade
Organisation. Every major country in the world is now bound
by its rules . Tariffs and other trade barriers were shredded-
as you can see. The World Trade Organisation has driven down
most of the tariffs . In the EU, the average tariff on agricultural
products has fallen to 12 percent, and on manufactured goods just 4 percent.
Europe’s industries now face the challenge of international competition.
I think the European Union is learning a very hard lesson, but if you’re insulated from
competition decade after decade, it comes as a bit of a shock when it arrives.
Growth in the EU, already feeble, has more or less ground to a halt, with youth unemployment
reaching staggering proportions. The EU badly needs its own post-war, German-style
economic miracle. But far from slashing regulation, the mountainous burden keeps growing.
It constantly wants to achieve growth through harmonisation , top-down control and central
direction , and we know those don’t work. It militates against precisely the kind of
individual initiative and innovation that is at the heart of economic growth.
Regulation is the enemy of competition and competition is the engine of growth. Therefore
it is no surprise that the European Union has become an economic basket case.
Every continent now is out growing Europe . When you think of the growth rates in China,
and then you look at the growth rate of the European Union, that tells me that we are
in the wrong place. We joined the European Union and it’s become
the world’s only declining trade block. Far from hitching our wagon to a dynamic economic
locomotive, we’ve shackled ourselves to a corpse.
The people have never given a bigger vote of no confidence in Brussels
Today world markets were nervously watching… the stock markets have not been reassured….
What the EU has become in the 21st Century is what Britain was when it was ‘the sick
man of Europe’ Despite decades of economic decline, but the
EU Elite carries on regardless. They are unmoved by criticism, untroubled by popular discontent.
But the frustration of ordinary people is beginning to show.
We now have to focus on constructing a fire wall to prevent contagion within the Eurozone
What you can see everywhere is a conflict between the visions of a rather narrow kind
of professional middle class which is dominate in European politics and the reaction against
it by the larger bulk of the European population. Eventually if you stuff dictatorship down
the throats of people who don’t want it – they will rebel.
[European Rallies] Unfortunately, in many places it’s taking
a very unpleasant form of right-wing populist nationalism.
Extremism at both ends is being fostered by the anti-democratic nature of the European
Union . What do we see? Far-right parties, Ultra nationalist
parties We don’t know what the future of Europe
is going to look like but at the moment it’s not looking good. We don’t know what political
forces are going to rise in the future, we don’t know what conflicts we might be dragged
into… Far from it being safer for us to be in the
EU there are dangers that go along with us being members of the EU being dragged into
situations we don’t want to get in. Marie LePenn’s far right party came first,
winning 25% of the vote Given the shocking lack of growth in the EU,
the promises of prosperity and security seem empty.
But if we left, could we cope? Are we too small? If we’re outside the EU,
will anyone trade with us? To find out I’m heading to a European country
which has steadfastly refused to join the EU. Switzerland.
It’s very pleasant arriving in Zurich – the station’s lovely, the bit round it’s lovely
– in fact everything’s lovely. But then this is the wealthiest city in the world,
and is ranked as having the highest quality of life in the world.
All the clichés are true: everything is so neat and efficient, the people are so polite
and obliging, and the buildings are beautiful. This place is wealthy, and it’s obviously
been wealthy for centuries. I want to know how the Swiss are managing
to cope without the glorious benefits of EU membership.
So I’ve come to one of Zurich’s many lovely coffee houses to meet the veteran Swiss economist
and writer Beat Kappeler. So Switzerland is not in the European Union
– is that a problem for you? No, because Switzerland has free trade agreements
with many countries in the rest of the world, with Japan, China, Latin America
We’re told we need to be in the EU for trade, but Swiss exports per head are five times
higher than ours – in fact, they’re about the most successful exporting nation in the
world . Then we’re told we need to be in the EU
for jobs We have a very high labour market participation
– 83% of all people of working age work. That’s much higher than the rest of Europe.
Switzerland has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world, lower than any country
in the EU. Don’t be fooled by the mountains the cows
and the cuckoo clocks, which are German by the way.
Switzerland is an industrial giant. You might have heard of Nestle and Novartis and Roche,
the mining firm Glencore , Liebherr Cranes , the high tech engineering firm ABB, and
of course every posh watch firm you can think of, from Rolex and Omega and Tag Hauer , to
Patek Philippe and Zenith and Breitling. These are all world-beating giants.
Just look at the most valuable companies in Europe, Novartis, Roche, Nestle - they’re
all Swiss, yup Europe’s biggest companies aren’t even in the EU.
Zurich’s also one of the world’s largest financial centres , despite having a population
of less than 2 million, with global firms like UBS and Credit Suisse
Per million of inhabitants Switzerland has more multinationals than I think all other
countries. No surprise then that Switzerland is about
the richest country in the world with a GDP per head around twice as high as ours.
To make the point that if we left the EU we’d be just like another Switzerland I think is
totally bizarre. It is one of the most prosperous countries in the world.
Switzerland doesn’t just do a bit better than us it does fantastically better than
us. Needless to say the Swiss are better paid
than us. With average wages again, around twice as high as ours.
What’s more there is far greater income equality here.
Labour incomes are about as equally distributed as in Scandinavia.
If you think high tax rates lead to equality look at Switzerland. They have far lower tax
rates than we do, but very high levels of income equality .
So, without the EU’s help, it seems to be scraping along just fine. But how do we account
for Switzerland’s truly staggering success? I have come to the offices of the Swiss magazine,
Die Weltwoche , or ‘The World this Week’. The reason why Switzerland is successful economically
is that Switzerland is not a member of the European Union. In the EU it’s politicians
and bureaucrats determining what the people have got to do, I mean – it’s a top down
system in the EU, and Switzerland I would say is the epitome of a bottom-up system.
Switzerland is the perfect opposite to the European Union’s crumbling model.
Switzerland is a kind of super-democracy: far more democratic than Britain let alone
the EU. Switzerland has one of the oldest constitutions
in the world and it’s one of the most democratic. It’s not up to the Prime Minister whether
a referendum should be held – it’s up to the people. You get 50,000 signatures and
they have to hold one. . The people in Switzerland decide everything .
It’s very different to the elite conception of politics – where an enlightened elite
decides and knows better – here the people know better and the politicians have to conform.
Why is the Swiss state successful? Because our politicians are forced to fulfil the interests
of the people The key to their success is the fact that
their class of bureaucrats and politicians, if you will, is kept on a much tighter rein,
a much greater control by the public. You simply cannot get away with the kind of grandiose
plans that you find, say, in France. In Switzerland, the Swiss public, simply will not tolerate
that. The Swiss economy ranks as one of the least
regulated in the world, and according to the EU itself, Swiss industry is also Europe’s
most innovative. Too much regulation stifles innovation, limits
creativity and so we think this should be foremost endeavour of politicians to eliminate
regulations and not to create them. Switzerland is one of the least regulated
economies in the world, and it’s also one of the richest country in the world. This
is no coincidence. Do it like the Swiss – have some arrangements
with Europe but be independent and look to the world.
To trade with Europe, won’t we need a trade deal?
No, there’s so much nonsense talked about trade agreements, the EU is a trade deal and
it’s very bad for us There’s an old fashioned view among politicians
that trade is something that politicians organise – it’s not!
Trade was all about the great and the good from one country signing a treaty with the
great and the good of another country. But real life is starting to leave that behind.
I’ve headed back to South Shields to visit John Mills, one of the Labour Party’s biggest
donors . His company, JML, has hundreds of products
manufactured for them in countries all around the world, and exports thousands of container-loads
of products every year to every corner of the planet.
This business is truly global. Well we export to about 85 countries at the
last count – the majority of these countries are not in the European Union – but it’s
actually no more difficult for us to sell to the United States or to Australia or even
China than it is to sell to the EU . The idea that you have to be in the EU to
trade with the European Union is a total absurdity. Wander into any shop in Britain and you’ll
find goods from all over the world – cameras and TVs from Japan computers and phones from
America - but we have no trade deals with these countries.
You don’t need a trade deal with a country to be able to trade with it . If you go shopping
– what do you do – well you buy Chinese goods – you buy Korean goods – you buy
American goods and yet none of those countries are part of the European Union.
China doesn’t have a trade deal with the European Union, nor does the United States,
nor does India – you don’t need trade deals – trade involves having a product
or a service which other people are prepared to buy at whatever price you can produce it
for. Though we don’t need a trade deal to trade
with Europe, it’s highly likely they will want one for one simple reason:
The EU is desperate to keep its goods flowing into the UK
You go outside, you count – don’t take my word for it – you count the amount of
Audis, BMWs Mercedes, Volkswagens, you’ll find it’s over 30% of our market. The Germans
biggest industry needs us to the tune of 16 billion plus every year .
We are actually the biggest market for the rest of the European Union - We are not a
supplicant, we need a bit of self-belief and a bit of self confidence
Even though we’re EU members, since the turn of the century the proportion of British
trade with the EU has been in steep decline, while trade with the rest of the world has
been rising sharply. There’s no trade deal at the moment with
China, the EU does not have one . But if you look at Anglo-Chinese trade over the last
ten years, say, that has been growing several times faster than Anglo-EU trade where of
course there is a trade deal. Our percentage of trade with the EU is falling
virtually by the minute, I mean it’s tumbling even as we conduct this interview.
Every single year that goes by, the percentage of British overseas business done outside
the EU grows at double the rate of the business we do inside the EU.
They need us more than we need them. Ah, but what if the EU proposes a trade deal
which forces on us open borders, and other stuff we don’t like?
If a proposed trade deal is unacceptable to us, whether it’s the EU or anybody else,
we just don’t sign it.
It’s true that British companies who export to the EU will have to comply with EU regulations,
but it’s also true that EU companies wanting to export to Britain will have to comply with
ours. Germans who export to America must abide by
American regulations, likewise for American exporters to China, and Chinese exporters
to Brazil, and Brazil to the EU; every exporting company in the world has to comply with the
laws of the place they’re exporting to. Trade deals make no difference.
One of the arguments put by the ‘in crowd’ –the ‘remainers’ - is oh well you know
it takes a long time for Europe to come up with a free trade agreement – it’s taken
9 years to come up with a free trade agreement with Canada – well, that’s a very good
reason to leave. In the globalised 21st century, you don't need a trade deal
to trade, and yet they’re still useful. The question is: are we more
likely to have bigger and better trade deals inside the EU, or outside?
Let’s add up the GDP of all the countries which have trade deals with the EU – it
comes to 5. trillion pounds Golly, that sounds a lot!
But look Switzerland – 29 trillion. And what about tiny Singapore? They’ve got
trade deals worth 7 times as much as the EU’s And South Korea? 9 times!
Chile- population 80 million, its got 50 trillion… Unbelievable!
But let’s cheat let’s add to the EU pile the value of its own internal market, as if
it had a trade deal with itself. It’s still rubbish!
You can’t throw a shipping container without hitting a country with better trade deals
that the EU.
In fact if you’re trying to avoid trade deals, joining the EU is probably the best
thing you can do. The EU has got no trade agreement with China
or India or Russia or the United States . I mean it’s staggering that they haven’t
managed to achieve that. Of Britain’s top 10 non-EU trading partners,
the EU has trade agreements in place with only 2
As far as trade deals go, being part of the EU cuts you off from the rest of the world.
Our history is a trading, buccaneering history – you know, back to Drake and beyond, and
that’s what we’re good at. At the moment our hands are shackled by being
in the European Union. We’ve got a much, much better opportunity
really for striking good trade deals if we’re outside the EU than if we’re inside.
If we left the European Union we could very quickly establish free trade deals with the
most dynamic parts of the world economy.
Today, Europe doesn’t look like the future; the future consists of nations in Asia, and
America and Africa. Getting stuck in Fortress Europe is the worst thing that could happen
to us. The idea that we have to stay in the EU for
our prosperity is wrong-headed. Why do we need to attach ourselves to the one part of
the world that is doing really badly? Within Europe we know what our future’s
going to be to some extent – it’s going to be pretty stagnant while the rest of the
world roars ahead. We have huge scope, huge scope, for creating
vast numbers of new jobs. Being obsessed with just this corner of the
World is being a ‘Little European’. Outside Europe we could have prosperity on
a level that we can’t even imagine now. Escaping fortress Europe could be a new start
for Britain; a return at last to the global commercial and trading giant we were in the
19th Century If we embrace free trade and escape the stultifying
restrictions of EU over-regulation, there’s the potential for an extraordinary economic
renaissance in Britain is a great country and I think our
economy is poised for much greater things. something really interesting’s happened
in this country. We’ve changed, we’ve embraced entrepreneurialism, young people
now want to go it alone, they want to run their own businesses, they want to be self-employed.
They don’t want to work for these big multinationals anymore, they want to build their own multinationals.
We’re being asked to trade in our freedom – and look what we’re being offered in
return. It’s about bread and circuses, isn’t it?
Bread and circuses for the little people, the political class say to us, ‘you needn’t
worry about sovereignty or any of that stuff, you’re going to get better mobile phone
rates and that’s the good news and you’re gonna get slightly cheaper holidays, and those
are the things that really matter to you aren’t they, because you’re one of the little people.’
I mean would you really trade in your national identity for cheaper mobile phone calls when
you’re abroad? They’re treating us like natives in the
18th century, when Captain Cook lands on the shore and he starts handing out these, these
beads and trinkets and we’re gonna be happy with that and we’re going to sell them our
country for them It just shows utter contempt for what they
think people are like – because they really do believe that these little trinkets are
going to buy us off.
In the referendum we will be asked to choose. Do we want to be governed by an organisation
which we don’t understand, run by people we don’t know and haven’t elected, who
have the power to impose on us laws that we haven’t debated, and have little or no chance
of blocking or repealing. We need to regain the right for British people
to make British laws. If people believe that the best way to strengthen
the United Kingdom is to hand over every year more money, and more power, to an unaccountable
bureaucratic elite in Brussels, then what they should do is campaign to stay in the
European Union. Kelvin: it comes down to the essential issue,
the working man and woman of this country against people who think we have a better
plan and a better mind than you, and if you don’t like it, what are you going to do
– and the answer is, we’re going to vote leave so… *BLOWS RASPBERRY*
There are a number of issues where I believe that we should be leaving…
This is people vs the establishment – people vs the elite – I just hope that the mass
of people who may not go around being interviewed much, may never get a look in on any of the
media or television, come June 23rd will be out there saying this is our chance to get
our own back. Give us back control of our country
With general elections it doesn’t really matter who you vote for, Conservative or Labour,
because you know that in four years’ time you can change your mind.
This time you can’t change your mind, this time is for keeps.
This referendum is the most important political act that has happened in my lifetime – this
is about our future, our freedom, our democracy – our right to govern ourselves.
What really matters is that you should have the power to remove the people who govern
you. The reason why the suffragettes went to all
that trouble to get the vote was because they wanted to they themselves be treated as grownups
and decide their own destiny If I was told I’d be stewing grass to feed
my own family in 5 years time if we left the European Union – I would still do it!
It’s time to regain our freedom and independence – the right to decide ourselves how we live
our lives There’s a lot at stake here – what we
want is democracy. We the people should determine our own destiny. We have the capacity to shape
our own futures. So, my question is: what price freedom?
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Jimmy Raelian Hung published on June 11, 2016
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