Thursday, 28 October 2010

An Increase Is Still An Increase

The EU is dominating the news this morning and that is, as Michael White points out, bad for Cameron:
Watch out! Europe is back on the front pages. That's always a sign of trouble ahead – just what the coalition could do without, because it's a dividing line between the Conservatives and their Lib Dem civil partners...The PM now realises it is too late to prevent an increase in the EU's central budget – welcome to the real world
So much for Cameron's pledge of no bust up with Europe. The problem is that technicalities like this can glossed over but the budget increase is about something we can all understand; money. The anger in newspapers' comments is palpable, although much of it ill-informed, and not always a good barometer, there's no disguising the criticism. Even my wife, who's not politically interested, expressed her disgust this morning at the possible increase (expletives deleted).

Cameron will probably think that negotiating a reduction down to 2.9% or even 2% will be an achievement, but the problem is that unless Cameron can freeze or cut the budget then a rise is still a rise even if it was only 0.1%. And as Richard North points out Cameron is utterly powerless to even achieve that because it's the EU Parliament that will have the final say.

Our powerlessness will be exposed for all to see and at a time of deep anger with public sector 'cuts', a rise in our contribution to the EU is only going to help the eurosceptic camp.

Our exit has just got ever closer.

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