Tory Eurosceptic froth and bubble
It transpires that the UK has been requested by the EU Commission to pay welfare to all EU nationals, which could cost us up to £2.5bn. So much for the Coalition’s welfare reforms: as our elected government squeezes British nationals and forces the indolent into work, our unelected government obliges us to fork out for ‘benefit tourists’, who will readily find British benefits to be vastly more beneficial than those of Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Hungary...
Yes, if life is just a bit too hard on your Polish peasant farm, come to Britain and we’ll give you a house, pay your rent, pay your council tax, feed your kids, educate them, give you a GP, limitless healthcare, a dentist, pension credits and sundry loans, all before you’ve paid a penny in tax. We tried to stem the tide with the ‘right to reside test’, but that’s now been ruled ‘discriminatory’. In the EU, you see, all citizens are equal: we all have the right to reside wherever we please (except, of course, for citizens of those countries who joined in 2004 who may be subject to temporary restrictions in, say, France and Germany).
Essentially, Britain’s rules on welfare discriminate against foreigners. But in the EU, there are no foreigners: we are all Europeans. Ergo, the British Government may not impose any ‘right to reside’ test upon any EU citizen which it does not apply to its own citizenry.
And now we have two months to bring our rules into line with the EU norm, otherwise we’ll be dragged (again) to the European Court of Justice and humiliated (again).
So, lots of irritation from the Eurosceptic press; lots of indignation from Eurosceptic ministers. All just in time for the Prime Minister to spout about national sovereignty, British resistance to the encroaching superstate and our inviolable red lines.
If the European Court of Justice upholds the Commission’s request, economically inactive people will be able to move between EU member states just to claim benefits, without any intention of working or contributing to the member state’s system.
It’s ever closer union. As long as we remain an EU member, it’s as unavoidable as the rain.
So, before you get caught up in revived hopes of the rise of Conservative Euroscepticism, please remember that we’re in a coalition with the most rabidly Europhile party in Britain, and that it has to last until 2015. Please remember that last year, a European Court judgement forced David Cameron to agree to allow prisoners to vote. Please remember that there has been no promised examination of the Working Time Directive, despite its disruptive effects on the NHS. Please remember that despite promises to decimate (at least) red tape, EU regulations keep pouring in, strangling British businesses. Please remember that the Prime Minister agreed to a 2.9 per cent increase in our EU contributions, despite promising to Parliament and the Country that there would be none. Please remember that one of his first acts was to opt in to the ‘European Investigation Order’ which obliges British police forces to act on the orders of other EU police forces, with or without primary evidence, and even for actions which are not criminal act in the UK.
And please remember the Conservative Party conference of 1999, when John Maples proudly proclaimed the party’s intention to renegotiate the Treaty of Rome. To deafening cheers and rapturous applause, he declared:
One of our first acts in government will be to negotiate an amendment to the Treaty of Rome, to allow each country the freedom to decide for itself whether or not to apply new European legislation outside that core.Pantomime. Playing to the gallery. Froth and bubble. Pure sophistry. You can expect a bit more of it over the coming week. By their fruits ye shall know them.
This will stop the slide to a superstate. No longer will Britain be bound by every anti-business, nanny state, interfering regulation dreamt up by the Commission.
...If the European Union develops into a Federal Superstate, then Britain will simply be a province of that superstate. The single currency could well lead to a single tax policy. The social chapter will lead to a single social policy. The common foreign and security policy will lead to a European Army.
That is where Mr Blair is leading us. If he wins the next election, he will do it. How will we explain that to our grandchildren? Are we just going to sit back and watch a thousand years of history signed away? Is that the way to honour generations who gave so much for our freedom and independence?
It is our duty and I believe our destiny to stop that ever happening. When our grandchildren ask “What did you do to preserve Britain’s independence?” let us make sure we can say, “We won the 2001 general election. We created an open, outward looking, free market Europe. We leave to you the same free and independent Britain that we inherited."