A few months ago I met an old school friend in a café in London. Her political views are very left-wing. She told me that, disillusioned with the Labour party she now votes Green. She confronted me with the discovery that I had joined UKIP and had even been a candidate in the May election. She was thunderous in her disapproval.
We spent the entire evening having a furious political argument. Among other things I told her that it does not make sense for British people to be paying to destroy their own jobs. How do we do that? By paying subsidies to the EU, which provide the so-called "Structural fund" out of which private companies get funding to move to areas with lower corporation tax and cheaper labour. This means that jobs here in Britain are being scrapped. So as well as paying the tax which created the problem, we then have to support them on the dole. It is a lose-lose situation.
I tried to tell her all this but she denied it. She would not listen to me. In fact she shouted and shouted until she had shouted me down. She resorted to bringing accusations that UKIP is a racist party, accusations which are of course completely unfounded.
TV rarely dares to criticize the EU - particularly bearing in mind that there are laws against doing so - but last Monday night the Dispatches programme reported on EU corruption and money-wasting and included a detailed account of how the Twinings tea company of North Shields in Tyneside just got £10 million of EU “structural funds” to move their factory to Poland where they will take advantage of cheap labour. They supported it with documents and personal interviews with some of the 286 workers who face redundancy.
The same cause underlies the closure of the Corus steel works and countless other examples. So we ARE paying to destroy our own jobs.
Meanwhile in Eastern Europe, companies set up with EU funding proceed to hire cheap Chinese workers, creating protest and scandal among the local population there:
Of course this issue is nothing new. For a decade we paid huge subsidies to Ireland where firms which could have operated in Britain set up and enjoyed a short-term delusory boom with our money, undercutting our products. The so-called Celtic Tiger was bred at our expense. Now we are expected to bail it out.
In the present economic climate, the Twinings and Corus workers are unlikely to get another job. Do they want to move to Poland or Romania? The so-called free movement of labour is not freedom for them at all. It may become coercion very soon.