Isn’t the EU and CAP just a way to rob Peter to pay Paul, leaving the UK billions poorer so we can have a badge saying we’re in the gang?
Sorry but I was looking up a statistic regarding the common agricultural policy and came across an article about the UK and EU and felt the need for a rant.
I will not pretent for a moment I have any real understanding of how the European Union operates or what effects ceasing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) would have but here is my simplistic thinking on the subject of the UK’s membership of the EU and the Common Agricultural Policy.
A (forerunners to EU) creates a club, complete with badges, a tuck shop and everything with the hope of controlling the sandpit and stopping playtime fights
B (UK) decides it doesn’t want to be in the club .. we’ve got control of the roundabout (Suez Canal in Egypt) so can play our own game.
A collects up the club fee’s and then redistributes them among it’s members, charging high tax rates to anyone not in the club that wants to sell fizzy pop or crisps in the tuck shop.
However if club members want to sell their conkers to non-club members they can’t charge the high prices other club members pay, so they sell them at cheaper prices and the club funds pay the difference between club and non-club prices .. the idea being to stop a build up of excess conkers which would go to waste and lessen the retail value of conkers.
The club decided that the members with freckles (farmers) would all look better if they wore matching CAP’s, so funds were collected from each member and distributed to the freckle faced in order to ensure they produced the right quality and quantity of conkers.
As early as 1967 club leaders were questioning why the conkers were costing them so much and asking if the freckle faced really deserved such a chunk of the club funds but did nothing about it.
B then loses control of the roundabout and feels left out so asks if they can join A’s gang.
C (France), club A’s bully, vetoed B from joining saying B’s gang leader’s family eats margarine and we dont know the secret code.
B finally offered a bag of marbles to A and they let us join in 1973.
In 1984 B’s pitbull (Margaret Thatcher) said “hey hang on a minute, we pay higher club fees than you lot but only 2% of our club are freckle faced (farmers) but 80% of the clubs membership funds are given to the freckle faced in the form of CAP’s (Common Agricultural Policy) and it ain’t fair, so there. Also you lot go to grammar school but we’re from the local comprehensive so can’t afford the club fees”.
This caused a ruccus in the playground but the pitbull won the day and A decided that B could pay their full membership fees but then claim a percentage refund which would be paid by other members (about two thirds of the amount of UK payments which exceed EU expenditure .. about 3 billion a year).
Other high membership fee club A members (Germany, Sweden, Austria and Netherlands) also arranged a refund system of up to 75%, leaving D (Italy) and C (France) to pay over half of B’s refund .. that’s what you get for vetoing us twice .. ner, ner, ner, ner-ner.
However, C (France) produces 18.4 percent of the clubs conkers, so gets a much higher number of CAP’s than B, who only provide 6.4 percent of the clubs conkers.
Expenditure on club CAP’s has reduced from 80% of total club funds to a planned 35% by 2013.
Over the years club A have come up with various schemes to ensure the quantity, quality and price of conkers (farm produce).
Freckle faced members were only allowed to collect conkers from a certain number of trees (land set aside and milk quotas), the number of CAP’s you could collect was coupled with how many conkers you produced (subsidiess coupled with production levels .. then decoupled in 2003 and made dependent on enivornmental protection and animal welfare).
CAP reforms have been needed since before 1967 and it wasn’t until 1993 that anything started being done about it but to date it still needs massive reform.
Of our 2% of farmers a huge majority of the subsidies received in this country go to large land owners (whose thousands of acres haven’t seen a sheep or cow for a couple of centuries) and mass production farms.
Willy, Bob and Ben, who each have small farms and produce the beef we eat, the milk we drink and the wheat for our bread get very little out of this club arrangement and are set to get less and less as the years roll on.
What that means for you as a consumer is the cost of food is going to just keep rising, as large scale farms (with their big chunky subsidy cheques) sell their produce directly to the large supermarket chains, undercutting the prices small farmers and local shops need to survive.
For the 30 years, 1973 to 2003, Britain paid 181 billion into club A’s funds but only took 105 billion out .. so being a member of the club cost us over 75 billion.
So, we pay all this money in, then take some out, then get some back from other members in refunds, then x equals 3 and an orange .. but the net result is we were over 75 billion worse off during that period, does that sound like a good deal to you?
Would our farming industry be in the state it is in now if we had simply not joined the gang and spent just a portion of that money on protecting our small farming industry, rural communities and the countryside?
Would our food prices be some of the highest in the world if we weren’t members of the club?
The toffs that hang out and smoke behind the bike sheds (The Foreign and Commonwealth Office) have provided a fascinating list of by being members of the EU club.
They have really encouraging subject headings like:
Freedom to trade and work
Where they admit that “it has also increased the burden of red tape” for businesses, so any gains in lack of tarrifs and new business opportunities are lost in employing people and changing production methods to deal with all the red tape. Strike 1.
Co-ordinated economic policies
This includes the Euro .. which we have opted out of and the British public doesn’t want. Strike 2.
Freedom, security and justice
This is the scrapping of border controls .. erm again we opted out. Strike 3.
Help for Poorer EU Regions
They boast “The UK regions get over £1 billion a year to help parts of the country to restructure and to support economic regeneration, innovation, enterprise and training to help people learn new skills.”
Have they missed the point or what?!! That’s our own money, we pay it in then just take it out again, it’s like a bank account but the interest rate cost us over 75 billion in 3 decades .. maybe we should apply for an EU grant for Ministers to aquire some basic maths skills? Strike 4.
Action on the environment
I agree it is vital for the world, not just European countries, to work together to tackle environmental problems but isn’t that all covered in the Kyoto agreement which our countries signed up to as individuals and not as a club? Strike 5.
A stronger voice in the world
Agreed, 27 member states shouting “get off the grass” is a lot louder than one voice alone. However, all member states can opt out of any foreign policy they don’t agree with .. not sounding quite so strong now as we never all agree on anything but removal of one strike because maybe we will agree on something one day .. 4 Strikes in total.
Oh don’t even get me started on the lies we were told to take us into the Iraq war or the lack of security we now face because of it.
If it stops another WWII between European countries then it will do something for global security.
Total of 4 strikes .. what happened to 3 strikes and you’re out?