Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 27 February 2016
My head hurts
I don't really want to add to the ongoing misery of the debate about Britain's membership of the European Union, but I find myself in the extremely unusual position of having absolutely no idea what to think about it because there are so many things to think, and so little time left to think them.
Also, talking about it can help to clear the head, as well as possibly producing some enlightening comments from you lot. I take absolutely no notice of whatever any politician has to say about it, because - for them - it is just another power-struggle, and for MEPs it is a matter of keeping their well-payed jobs.
On the one hand, you hear farmers saying that without the subsidies many of them would lose their farms and we would all starve to death, and the French appetite for British lamb would suddenly dry up. On the other hand, half of British farmers say that the market for everything would magically open up and we wouldn't have to be punished by EU welfare regulations when competing with Denmark in the supply of pork.
The Managing Director of Tate and Lyle sugar has explained that British produced cane sugar is heavily financially penalised by the countries which produce sugar from beet, France being the most punitive, having the most belligerent agricultural lobby. I don't know who controls the East Anglian beet, but there is a traditional hostility toward cane sugar because of the slave trade, so they don't get much sympathy from EU supporters in any case.
Half of all the banks and businesses say that the City of London would become impotent after all the offices move to Frankfurt, and yet HSBC has committed themselves to London for their global headquarters for years to come - way beyond the referendum day. Someone suggested that this move just before the referendum was actually to show confidence in the EU, so I still don't know what to think, especially when the other half say that Britain would thrive without EU regulations.
Then there is the EU inspired Human Rights laws - not always a good thing when people like Abu Hamsa uses them to avoid deportation on the grounds that he would be parted from his cat, and his cat would suffer psychological trauma as a result.
The minimum or living wage has to be a good thing, doesn't it? Well, it is of no real consequence to global giants like Starbucks, but to small, independent British businesses, another £20,000 a year on their running costs - on top of city centre rents and rates - can mean the difference between surviving and bankruptcy.
The banks want interest rates to be set higher right now, but they would, wouldn't they? Repossession means little to them so long as they can pay dividends. Ironically, exports would become more profitable for the country if interest rates were to rise, but on the streets life would become even harder for people who are are already struggling on 40 hours per week.
Dyson vacuum cleaners have been ecologically downgraded by Brussels after Bosch pointed out that they seemed to use more power than they admitted to on the box, but the tests to establish how efficient the Bosch ones were were done using a brand new bag which was not clogged with dust, and not with a half-full bag. There is now talk about banning all vacuum cleaners in the EU which do not meet the exacting standards set by Bosch and Hoover during the first 30 seconds of use. Bosch and Hoover are German and American companies. Smell a rat?
Well, 'Dyson gets what he deserves for moving the production out of England to Malaysia', is how his jealous enemies talk, but don't forget that he was forced to by Malmesbury Borough Council, who refused to allow the expansion of the facility on the existing brown field site. No wonder Dyson is dead set against EU membership.
The only thing that I know for certain is that all businesses and financial markets are run on the most pragmatic principles possible, and nobody is going to cut their own nose off to spite their face. Britain will not be punished by anyone just for the sake of it no matter what the outcome - the ordinary French gourmets are not going to suddenly lose their taste for good, British lamb just because Brussels decrees they should, but they might if the farmers get uppity.
The last British super-car manufacturer - Aston Martin - has just announced that they are siting their new production facility in Wales, having scoured the world to find the right place. Most of these cars will be for export, being almost £200,000 each, but export to where?