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25 October 2014

Cameron’s `EU surcharge’ fiasco: the political tectonic plates are on the move

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Ever since it emerged that the the UK’s contribution to the EU has to increase, the issue has assumed a life of its own.

I have just done two interviews about the surcharge (Radio 5 Live; BBC Breakfast TV link on Home Page) and it already feels as if the initial “why are we being punished for our success” spin from the Tory Party is giving way to an impression of cock-up at the heart  of the Government. There are powerful implications for the UK’s relationship with the EU as the tectonic plates of British political life feel to be on the move.

The UK remains addicted to capital inflows to balance its current account deficit - now exceeding 5% of GDP. This is the highest deficit in the EU and amongst the G20 nations is second only to South Africa. Adding political risk into the mix of influences on decisions about capital investments is a dangerous game for a state in such a precarious position.

So there must be a referendum at some stage to settle this risk - and probably earlier than many expect. There must be a vigorous, positive campaign and that requires all beneficiaries of British membership of the EU to play their role fully. If they sit on their hands and leave it someone else, then disaster is likely. 

With a proper campaign to explain and inform about the benefits of the EU, the British public will vote 2:1 to stay in the EU.

© Graham Bishop

Documents associated with this article

Cameron surcharge fiasco.pdf

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