20 June 2015. As the EU Referendum Bill makes its way through the House of Commons and the prime minister continues to meet EU leaders ahead of the EU Council meeting on 25th and 26th June, The Hon Bernard Jenkin MP reflects on the week's events.
This week, Politeia hosted the launch in the House of Commons for the pamphlet authored by me, Sir William Cash MP, and Rt Hon John Redwood MP, entitled The UK and the EU: what must change? It was also endorsed by Steve Baker MP, the Chair of Conservatives for Britain. Judge for yourself what we have set out in our paper. You can also read my introductory remarks at the meeting here.
The origin of this pamphlet is a series of papers we prepared for discussions we had with the Conservative leadership and their advisers following the prime minister’s Bloomberg Speech of January 2013 up until the general election. They each set out the consequences for the UK of continuing to be subject to the present EU treaties, if there is no reform of the EU, or fundamental change in our terms of membership.
Grexit – Good or Bad?
The Eurozone would not be seriously undermined by ‘Grexit’
June 12th: Greece is running out of time and money. The deadline to unlock the remaining €7.2bn of bailout funding, without which the Greek Government will surely default on its debts, is the end of June. Default could then be followed by Greece’s departure from the Eurozone (‘Grexit’). But, even though the stakes are so high, Greece is playing a dangerous game of brinkmanship. It seems to believe, or at least gives the impression that it believes, that its creditors will make huge concessions and let the funds flow, such is their desire to keep Greece in the currency bloc. It seems to believe its creditors will blink first. I think they are mistaken.
Respected and Admired - A Rare Politician
Friday 5th June. Charles Kennedy's death has been met with sorrow across the whole political spectrum. Here, Greg Hurst, The Times journalist and biographer of Charles Kennedy, in a special piece for Politeia reflects on his political life. Greg Hurst writes:
Bernard Jenkin MP reflects on Queen’s Speech.
Friday 29th May. In the shadows of the Queen’s Speech are four dark horses of potential apocalypse for the UK.
The theatre and ceremony of the State Opening of Parliament is not just a fantastic spectacle. It is a celebration of what lies at the heart of our extraordinary constitution: a meld of history and the contemporary exercise of power and a demonstration of how our institutions combine both continuity and change. I am less comfortable about how the present government has continued the Blair-ite habit of incorporating the jargon of party politics into Her Majesty’s address. It was a relief that Buckingham Palace or someone sensible stopped short of making her say ‘long term economic plan’, but we still heard her utter the words ‘Northern powerhouse’ and ‘metro mayors’. And we all do wonder why we need to bring forward legislation ‘to ensure there are no tax rises in income tax rates..’ etc., when such an increase can only be made by, er, legislation! So it is about as useful as Labour’s Ed Stone would have been.
The substance of a Queen’s Speech is always ‘can-do’ – and I support the principle behind every one of the measures announced. But it is what is not said in the Speech where the real challenges for this administration lie. Behind the reference to ‘Measures… to raise the productive potential of the economy’ is the real anxiety that the economic recovery has not seen the increase in productivity growth which most economists expected. The commitment to ‘secure the future of the NHS’: if only it were so easy as saying that! But I am confident the government will. There are however four horses of potential apocalypse which are galloping apace in the shadows of this fine prose.
Open letter to Sir Mike Rake, President, CBI
From Ruth Lea
Dear Sir Mike,
I read your recent speech to the CBI’s annual dinner with bemusement. Putting aside the CBI’s appalling track record on key policy matters (support for the UK membership of the euro, for example) or the fact that business is divided on the pros and cons of full EU membership (note Lord Bamford’s intervention), your assessment of the UK, the EU and the global economy is, quite simply, more than a generation out of date.
It is a truism to say the global economy is changing fundamentally. But, crucially, the EU’s share is in secular decline. In 1980 the EU28’s share of world GDP was over 30 per cent of world GDP (Purchasing Power Parity terms), which had fallen to 24 per cent by 2000 and was just over 17 per cent in 2014. Its decline can only continue, reflecting mature markets and adverse demographics in key EU economies. Growth markets, so crucial for internationally focussed British firms, will overwhelmingly be located outside the EU.
Reflecting this key parameter, the share of British exports (goods and services) is also in secular decline. It was over 52 per cent in 2003. Within a decade (2013) the share had fallen to under 45 per cent.
So your statement that we have a choice ‘…between shaping the future or retreating into the past’, implying the EU is the future, is redolent of the 1970s, 40 years ago. The EU may have been the ‘future once’ but it is clearly not the future now.