My column last week seems to have stimulated quite a debate over the EU and whether we need to stay or go, so here’s the second part of my EU investigation.
The UK pays just over 1% of its total spend to the EU and we receive about half of that back as direct subsidies. Now to me, that doesn’t sound like a bad deal but Carla suggested that a true investigator would check what these subsidies comprise of.
I hate the fact she’s usually right but anyway, I followed her advice and found out that details of the subsidies are contained in the House of Commons online library, so I downloaded the appropriate document and started to read. What a boring document, it’s no wonder we see MPs falling asleep in the Commons when it’s televised! I wonder if their library is under threat of closure like ours are? Probably not.
Anyway, regardless of what Carla says, I won’t be doing that again. In future, if the internet says something is true, that’s good enough for me. An interesting fact I did discover however, is that in the 2003 EU elections, there were 11 million UK residents who voted. In the same year, 22 million UK residents voted in the final of Big Brother. Perhaps this shows the importance that UK residents place on the EU although, to be fair, this was a relatively long time ago and the referendum is much more important than the 2003 vote.
Businesses, of course, are also trying to sway public opinion. Many big businesses have already come out and said that leaving the EU would have serious cost implications for them, although most would like to see the UK taking back some power from Brussels. Call me cynical but could this have something to do with the EU employment law which protects workers’ rights? I think we all know the EU is overly bureaucratic. Producing a document to list the permitted materials for use in toilet paper, which is one and a half times as long as the UN Declaration of Human Rights, proves this beyond a shadow of doubt.
Another interesting fact which cropped up during my research is the fact there are 13,000 uninhabited villages in Russia; this is a bit of a bizarre fact and I can’t think why this is, although if Donald Trump gets to be President of the USA and Putin is still President of Russia, I can imagine a lot more people will consider moving out of Russia in case the rockets start landing.
The best fact I came across during my research, was about Liechtenstein, one of the smallest countries in the EU. During their last military engagement they sent out an army of 80 soldiers and when they returned they had 81 because they’d made a friend in Italy! Now that’s my kind of battle, a few beers, a sing song and make a new friend.