An interesting, if unsurprising, finding over the weekend was the result of a YouGov that revealed privatisation of the Royal Mail is just as unpopular with voters as launching a military attack on Syria.
Only 20% of voters questioned support the Royal Mail privatisation (page 10 of the survey). But one wonders how many of the 70% who oppose the privatisation plan (and the rest who don’t know what they think) realise it is only happening because the EU said it should. A safe assumption is that it is a very small number.
Once again we see the all-too-living hand of the EU making full use of the power given away to it by the politicians in Westminster. Despite the party political bitching on the subject and David Cameron’s verbal drivel about an independent Britain, just try finding a politician who openly concedes the origin of the privatisation plan is Brussels and the plan is a direct consequence of the UK being a member of the EU.
While the parties get their little helpers, hangers on, proxies and useful idiots to loudly spread industrial scale quantities of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) by falsely claiming the UK will be adversely impacted economically just by leaving the EU (by conflating that with access to the single market) they are resolutely silent on the real world adverse impacts politically of continued membership, such as Royal Mail privatisation. And that is the issue. The urgent need to get out of the EU is a political imperative, which is entirely separate from the economic issues constantly thrown up as a fear-stoking smokescreen by those who see Britain’s place as being ruled forever from Brussels.
The reality is that unlike Norway, a non-EU country but member of the single market, which vetoed the EU’s 3rd Postal Directive (2008/6/EC) the UK cannot opt out of the Directive. So no matter how many strikes there are by postal workers, how much disruption is experienced by households and businesses, or even which political party a Briton votes for, the UK is stuck with having to obey the EU’s demands. The Royal Mail will be privatised because the EU has told the UK to do it. Discussion over. End of subject. Case closed.
It is essential that people are not conned into thinking that leaving the EU means the UK has to give up economic benefits of trading within the customs union. By exercising Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the only guaranteed way of initiating a negotiation with EU bodies, the UK could secure an agreement that maintains the existing trade rules while putting an end to rule from Brussels. The political and the economic would thus shown as distinctly separate.
The ‘out’ campaign today, and in the future in the event of any referendum on EU membership, needs to focus all attention on the political issue at hand. Leaving the EU is all about ensuring political decisions affecting the UK are made within the UK by people that only Britons vote for. At this time there is little benefit to that because the British people have no democratic control over elected representatives. But the principle is clear.
The EU in its present and former guises always has had and always will have but one destination – ever closer political union. It was not created for the purpose of free trade, it was not created as a customs union. It is a simply a political entity. Nothing else. That is what we need to leave and that is what we must focus attention on. The Royal Mail privatisation issue should be used to help people understand what any future In-Out referendum is really about.