Tuesday, 11 July 2017


By Mel Cooper
(Arithmetic by Noel Hodson)

Did the men and women who painted on their campaign bus that we would get £350 million a week for the National Health Service and other good causes forget to do the maths? Did anyone on the Remain side ever do the maths? Even if the figure were true – and we all know it is vastly inflated because most of our EU contribution comes back to the UK in grants – the whole total we contribute to the EU amounts to just two-point-four percent of the annual necessary spend of the UK government on all things. Yes, folks, just 2.4% percent of the UK's annual budget will no longer be sent to the EU that will, as they promised, clearly solve all the problems of our health care system, failing pension plans, welfare bills, infrastructure expenses, and education costs, to name but a few.

After we get back all the carefully negotiated special concessions, regional grants, shared Euratom, European Space Agency, Interpol and other vital cooperative projects - less than one percent of the UK's budget is used, with our enthusiastic input, authorship and agreement over forty-years, to support the development of poorer regions of Europe; who we then trade with and export UK goods and City services to - which makes us and them wealthier. 

With that one-percent* will we re-clad hundreds of buildings that are unsafe fire hazards, renew the infrastructure of the railways, fix all the pot-holes in the land, and pay to send all the pesky refugees and migrant workers back where they belong?

That is a whole one percent of the annual UK budgets that you are not going to have to disburse to the EU, to buy our membership of a trading community, of 550 million people, that gives us: 

unfettered access to the largest, wealthiest free market in the world, 

...EU subsidies for our farmers, universities and scientists,

...and many other things, including a strong voice and influence in decisions that are being made about problems like climate change, NATO, security against terrorism and so forth.

To Layla Moran MP for Oxford West and Abingdon - 26 July 2017.

Dear Layla Moran,

I am increasingly alarmed at the irresponsibility of so many members of Parliament over the question of leaving the EU. 

For example, no one has pointed out that the huge figure that we are going not to have to send to the EU in the future actually amounts to between 1% and 2.4% of the total spend of the government in a year on all the things we need to support like the NHS, education, subsidised farming, etc. The figure depends on whether we factor in all the money we get back for subsidies and scientific research, and so on, and in no way is able to factor in all the benefits we get. No one is mentioning how complex and costly undoing the entanglements with the EU will be after 43 years. 

No one, indeed, seems to have the courage simply to say that Project Fear is actually Project Reality Check. 

But above all, no one is talking about the moral reasons for our membership in the EU. The fact is we are retreating into the same kind of Me First nationalistic isolationism that was a feature of UK politics before WWII. We betrayed Europe at least once before when Neville Chamberlain thought that giving the Sudetenland to Hitler would buy us peace in our time. With Europe yet again trembling on the brink of various populist movements that seem to be infecting Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic among others is this really a time to retreat, to remove our voice from the debate, and our influence from being able to sanction these things should they start to get out of hand? 

I am appalled by the hypocrisy of Jeremy Corbyn and his gang -- who claimed to be for Remain and who also are supposed to be the loyal opposition -- for not resisting the implementation of Article 50 as much as I am; by Theresa May and the bean-brained Conservatives who are Brexiteers. These are people of no real vision and a narrow concern for the good of their party that essentially betrays the good of the nation.

I am in despair because I think that sanity will not prevail any more than it did with the Dreyfus Case or the outbreak of World War I. it seems that we have to go through a long and painful period of dangerous destructiveness before the people behind things like Brexit understand what they are doing; and even then they will not actually see the connections, any more than people are willing to see the connection between the rise of hate crimes and the murder of Jo Cox and David Cameron's referendum as being an invitation to a kind of Mob Rule Mentality masquerading as the Will of the People. 

i am sorry to say this because i know we should be respecting the people; and in the main I do respect them. I respect them enough to think that if they were given the real facts they would be able to listen and make an informed decision. But I think they have been gulled by people like Rupert Murdoch, Paul Dacre, David Davis, Boris johnson, Michael Gove and Liam Fox into voting simplistically for a dream of sovereignty and a return to the past that is simply not possible in our world today. I also wonder if there are not hidden agendas involved. Also I am tired of the lies. The EU systems may not be perfect, but the answer to that is to reform them, not to abandon the whole project. It is simply not true that we are not in control of our own destiny because of being in the EU. 

I believe firmly that the real issue is, to paraphrase Jack Kennedy, not what the EU has been doing and can do for us, but what we can do for the EU, for our neighbours, for the future of a secure, prosperous and peaceful Europe. I believe that we are better working and solving things together -- because if the UK is supposedly better together, I do not see how this does not also apply to the EU. At a time when we have to figure out sane, tolerant and humane solutions to the refugee crisis, to famine in Africa, to global warming, to repatriating trillions of offshore pounds so that they can be fairly taxed and help solve our debt problems, to solutions for the future of energy consumption,to defence, to terrorism and many more things, to me the move to Brexit simply means a retreat from responsibility to our world, from compassion for the less advantaged, and from any real moral, intellectual or economic leadership. I am becoming ashamed to be British.

Many years ago someone warned Benjamin D'Israeli that the people would become his master under new voting reforms. His response was to say that in such a case we must learn to educate our masters. I fear that the debate about Remain or Leave was appallingly narrow and self-serving on both sides and extremely venal, concentrating only on shouting about which position would make Britain more prosperous. After a whole year of watching the declines beginning to occur in our economy and morality, I am astonished that people are still echoing the cant about The Will of the People. Of course it looks good superficially  that a company like BMW says they will make their electric cars in Oxford. Why would they not? The motors will be manufactured in Germany and the infrastructure for putting the cars together exists in Oxford, so it is far less costly to them; and they are possibly also taking a gamble on Brexit negotiations doing something intelligent about the automobile industry. 

You can go on reassuring people that everything will be fine, pointing to the promises of Trump for a fine trade deal for the UK (yes, go ahead and Trust Trump!) and ignore the banks that want to move to Strasbourg or Paris, the disasters ahead for companies like Ryan Air, and so forth. 

There is a very fine article in The Independent today by Steve Bullock. I am afraid that I trust what it is telling me far more than I do Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn with their Brexit Means Brexit mantra.  But how many people will actually see it or take it seriously compared to those who read The Sun or The Telegraph? Have you seen it:

Please do let me know if there is anything I can do to help educate our masters. And please see what you can do to put together a coalition of MPs and anyone else who understands that Britain is, because of a narrow vote made with too little information or understanding, heading for an act of incalculable self harm.

Yours sincerely,

Mel Cooper - Oxford - 26th July 2017

Brexit means we do not have to put anything into a common EU pot! Clearly, being a member of the EU means we must be supporting Socialism, or even quasi-Communism. Nigel Farage says so! And Nigel Farage is an honourable man! David Davis, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove: clearly they are all honourable men! Or conspiratorial liars. 

And we may, at present under the current system, be able to go to live in other countries in Europe on a whim, with various benefits, which of course means that they must need us more than we need them, and are happy for us to bring our magnificent culture and history and powerful pounds with us; but it also means that they, those people, can come and take jobs in our country if they want to. Who needs their taxes, their money spent on rent and food and clothes and entertainment? Who needs their exotic food and ways? Who cares if the jobs of nursing, teaching, strawberry picking, house building, or serving in pubs and cafes go unfilled by Brits, who don’t like such work; as long as we don’t have to put up with all those pesky foreigners? Well, at least the UK government won’t have to start thinking about how to welcome them, receive them, help them acclimatise, teach them English, or any of that other hopeless stuff.

We really have done a clever thing voting for Brexit. We are going to get all that sovereignty back for a start; control of our borders; laws on issues like worker’s rights that we can tinker with and dilute to our heart’s content. And we don’t have to sit around in Brussels or Strasbourg any more influencing a damned thing as the EU moves forward on issues such as trying to repatriate offshore money so that it can be taxed. One estimate I have heard is that the UK could repatriate £3 trillion pounds of illicit offshore UK money and solve all its debt problems in one go. But who wants to stay in the EU and help promote Europe-wide back-tax legislation to do that?

So your vote for Brexit is a dream come true. Just ask Rupert Murdoch, Paul Dacre, the Barclay twins, and Theresa May’s husband. Well done you, voting for what they need and believing what they told you!

And of course the Remainers must stop moaning. All this Freedom of Speech is so distracting. If you ask me or some of the Brexiteers I could name, it verges on being downright unpatriotic. Brexit means Brexit means Brexit and we are leaving the EU because the referendum, as everyone knows, definitely has the force of law and is an example of the Will of the People and not a foolish, wasteful invitation to a kind of mob rule.

"Brexit means Brexit" has become a standard joke across Europe, said with a dismissive Gallic shrug, used when nobody has a clue what to do next or how to solve a problem. 

Nevertheless, one thing does sadden me. The whole issue of the dream of a united Europe, living at peace with itself, recognising a commonality of culture and brotherhood and sisterhood, legislating for the best and most humane and kind aspects of humanity and community. We are turning our back on all that, on the idea that we have some responsibility for our neighbours and friends. Well – Ayn Rand would be very proud of us and we should immediately replace every copy of the Bible in schools and hotels and in the country with a copy of The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged, because those texts will be our new Bible.

 *UK Budget 2016 £762 billion. £350 M per week = £18.2 billion; or 2.4%. One percent of UK Budget is £7.62 billion. UK gets back at least 2/3rds of its EU contribution - via policies that Westminster and UK MEPs have proposed and voted for.

More Mel Cooper on Brexit:


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