With Young Dave and his jolly good chaps still pretending that those ghastly foreigners suddenly dumped their €2 billion plus bill on an unsuspecting British Government at zero notice last week, it should come as no surprise that some of the Tories’ MPs are having difficulty understanding the process that led to the adjustment being made and the extra payment being required.
After all, if the Prime Minister resolutely says things that are not true – he knew the numbers a week beforehand, he knew what was coming, and, worst of all, he knew what the budget rules were and raised no objection for well over four years – then he can hardly object when his back benchers say equally untrue things about the business, even if it’s down to a lack of understanding.
And on those back benches, there is no finer example of misunderstanding than that of (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries, whose knowledge of the EU budget mechanism clearly needs a refresher course. “Any MP who votes for a 1.7 bil EU increase in budget to fund Germany et al because our economy is doing well, deserves to lost their seat” she concluded.
Sadly for the fragrant Nadine, the EU budget is not being increased. The budget remains as before: the share of it paid by each member state, which is calculated according to their GDP, is adjusted if it differs from that estimated. This has, as I pointed out yesterday, led to at least one occasion in the past when the UK was a beneficiary after budget adjustment was completed.
That clearly cut no ice with Nadine, who observed “Wild horses wouldn’t drag me down a lobby to vote for that”. Her Stones back catalogue must be close to hand. She’s sure who is coming off the worst, though: “From the Times winners and losers – guess who is the biggest loser”. Actually, per head of population, the Netherlands tops that category – not the UK.
The confusion of the Member for Mid Bedfordshire is completed by the bizarre “1.7 we could use to pay our nurses/firefighters/teachers sent to Germany, France and Spain to pay for theirs because our economy doing well?” Ms Dorries appears unaware that the EU budget mechanism was voted for in unanimity – we voted for it. We also joined all the other member states in voting down a proposed alternative.
It also does not occur to her – understandable, as most of the press hasn’t stopped to think about this – that the Government would have known for several months that better than expected growth would result in a budget adjustment, and that any adjustment would mean us having to pay extra.
It is worrying when MPs do not understand what is going on – or perhaps do not want to understand. That is, after all, what they are paid to do.