Once again today we hear pro-Brexit ministers claim that all the things that are funded via the EU will continue to be supported, from the Treasury. So, according to Farm minister Eustice, things like farm subsidies will stay the same (or get bigger) alongside support for UK scientific research, social action and so on.
The Brexiteers are claiming that there is a £8Bn annual “dividend” for leaving the EU – and that there is enough money to give the NHS an extra £100M a week in funding.
But an excellent piece of research by Desmog UK this week, has revealed that there is a very small Nexus of people actually running the Brexit campaign, or influential behind the scenes. They are all hard-line neoliberal or neolibertarian ideologues, and they are also all climate sceptics or deniers.
They believe that the state is fundamentally a bad thing and should either be abolished, or kept very small and out of people’s lives. The names in the Nexus will be familiar to regular readers of this blog: Viscount Matt Ridley, his brother in law former Secretary of State for the Environment Owen Paterson, Global Warming Policy Foundation chair Lord Nigel Lawson, neoliberal thinktank funders Nigel Vinson and Michael Hintze, former Tax Payers Alliance CEO Matthew Elliott, former Conservative Home editor Tim Montgomerie, outspoken Tory MEP Dan Hannan, you get the gist. Strangely, all of their organisations are based in the same building – 55 Tufton Street, in the back streets of Westminster.
The idea that these people would want to continue to maintain the level of public expenditure channelled through the EU, after a Brexit vote, is laughable. It’s not even laughable, it’s absurdly risible. This group of influential people want to reduce public expenditure on anything, as far as possible, ideally to zero. As far as they are concerned, anything currently funded by public expenditure, should be replaced by a market-driven private-sector approach, driven by the search for profit. This is what neoliberalism means.
This group represent a tiny proportion of the UK population, and they have an extreme ideological agenda, which they plan to force onto the rest of us. Indeed, they and their fellow travellers have been gradually imposing their ideology on us for the past 30 years. That imposition has accelerated since 2010 and accelerated further again since 2015.
Figures from the respected Royal Society show that the UK paid in €78Bn between 2007-2013 and received €48Bn back over that period. For scientific research, the UK paid in €5.4Bn and received €8.8Bn back. Which means that being in the EU has helped the UK to build its scientific research and development industry substantially. Some of this funding went to climate change-related research.
Anyone who is taken in by the idea that somehow the public funding which the UK receives via the EU – for research into climate change for example – will continue after Brexit, is living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.
Let’s be perfectly clear. This UK Government has been and continues to dismantle the public sector in the name of ideology. With a vote for Brexit, this dismantlement project will be given a massive steroid injection.
Is this really what you want?