Our MEP Gerard Batten continues with the next few answers to the frequently-asked questions you might have about this summer’s referendum.  If you have any further questions, please contact Gerard on gerard.batten@btinternet.com

  1. Why does President Obama want Britain to stay in the EU?

Back in the 1970s, Henry Kissinger is reported to have said, “When I want to speak to Europe, whom should I call?” The story may be apocryphal but it highlights the fact that US foreign policy wants to deal with one central authority in Europe, rather than have the inconvenience of dealing with individual, independent nation states.

After the Second World War, the USA funded, to the tune of many millions of dollars, the European Movement, which covertly worked towards creating a United States of Europe. The release of declassified documents in 2000 showed that that the American Committee for a United Europe was, in fact, a front organisation for the CIA. The USA wanted a bulwark against the Soviet threat, and as stated above, the convenience of dealing with one central political power in Europe. There is evidence that the CIA also clandestinely funded the Remain side in the 1975 British Referendum (The Hidden Hand. Britain, America and Cold War Secret Intelligence, by Dr Richard J. Aldrich. Published by John Murray).

America is primarily concerned with its own perceived national interests and not Britain’s. We know that the USA has interfered in the domestic politics of many nations around the world – so why would they not interfere with ours? We should also recall that President Obama has called for Turkey to become a member of the EU, which would invite another 77 million potential migrants to come to Britain, should they so wish. That is obviously not in the British national interest.

  1. Why are big businesses calling for Britain to remain in the EU?

Some big business are, some aren’t. In February 2016, representatives of 36 FTSE100 companies signed a letter to The Times calling for Britain to remain in the EU. But that means the other 64 FTSE100 companies did not sign it. About 200 companies have committed to the Remain campaign – but that is a miniscule proportion of the 5.4 million companies registered in the UK.

Some big businesses like the EU because they want to deal with one central regulatory authority. They can lobby for the kind of regulation they want and which they can comply with, but which their smaller competitors cannot. They also like the endless waves of cheap migrant labour that the EU’s open borders bring.

Other representatives of big businesses are equally vocal about wanting Britain to leave the EU – for example, Peter Hargreaves, co-founder of FTSE 100 company Hargreaves Lansdown. Writing in the Daily Mail on 25th February 2016 Mr. Hargreaves said: “[EU] red tape and regulations have stifled enterprise in the UK, not helped.” He added that Britain should be “forging trading links with nations that have fast growth rates and dynamic economies. While we are in the EU we must wait on unmotivated, overpaid Eurocrats”. He concluded by hoping that the electorate would “decide to leave this disastrous and stifling union”. ( The Daily Express, Friday 4th March 2016)

Small and Medium Sized Businesses (SMEs) are even less enthusiastic about the EU. Two hundred bosses of SMEs signed a letter calling for Britain to leave the EU because of a “constant diet of unnecessary regulations” from Brussels that raise costs, cut profits and force up prices. The letter concluded that, “We believe that our economy can do better without being held back by the EU, thus we should vote to leave”. The establishment is desperate to stifle any dissent – in March, the British Chamber of Commerce’s Director General John Longworth was forced to resign for stating his personal opinion that we should leave. No one has so far been forced out of a job for saying we should stay in. 

  1. Haven’t some big businesses threatened to leave the UK if we leave the EU?

As stated in answer 23, in February 2016, 36 of Britain’s top companies signed a letter to The Times arguing for Britain to stay in the EU. But almost two-thirds of the 100 top companies did not sign. Those that declined to sign included Barclays, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

Other huge companies, such as Toyota, General Motors, BMW, Volkswagen, Airbus, Jaguar, Land Rover, Honda and Ford have all stated their ongoing commitment to UK manufacturing, whatever the result of the Referendum. John Mills, the millionaire Labour donor and founder of John Mills Ltd (JML), supports Brexit, as do Joe Foster and John Caudwell, the founders of Reebok and Phones 4U respectively.

On 17th February 2016, 80 business leaders, including Pasha Khandaker, President of the UK Bangladesh Caterers Association, Moni Varma, owner of rice suppliers Veetee, and Tariq Usmani, CEO of Henley Homes, wrote to the Prime Minister saying that Britain was damaging trade with the rest of the world. They continued: “As long as Britain’s trade policy is controlled by the EU, we cannot sign bilateral free trade agreements with Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand, or for that matter any other non-EU state.” They added: “Vested interests on the continent sustain a relatively protectionist policy. We apply the EU’s common external tariff to exports to Commonwealth countries – hurting customers and consumers here.”

Aircraft maker Boeing chose Britain for its new European headquarters in March 2016. Sir Michael Arthur, President of Boeing UK and Ireland, stated that “The prosperous partnership between our country and our company goes from strength to strength”. Boeing employs 2,000 staff in the UK and has invested £1.8 billion here.

Interestingly, in 2013 Jim O’Neill, the former Chairman of Goldman Sachs‘ asset management business said, “We should not be scared of leaving it [the EU] and exploring a world without it. The opportunities that arise from a dramatically changing world are huge and I don’t think that a lot people in our area, never mind in Brussels, are that interested or understand it.”

Part 5 was published yesterday.

Part 7 follows tomorrow.

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