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Matt Ridley on Brexit: Brits should give foreign aid to EU (with strings) as parting gift

Matt Ridley writes the letter Theresa May should send to the EU

For 40 years Britain has propped up the EU with nothing in return but complaints and insults.

The fifth biggest economy in the world can offer foreign aid to the failing EU but on the same terms as other needy states.


Dear Angela, Emmanuel and others (cc Donald, Jean-Claude, Michel),

I enclose a cheque for £40 billion as agreed. However, you will notice that it is post-dated March 30, 2019, and that it will bounce without a free-trade agreement between us, as I mentioned on the telephone. We are delighted to be in a position to be so unilaterally generous, and sorry that you find yourselves in such dire need of our help.

We cannot help feeling that a little more financial discipline on your part might have avoided the need for such a large sum.

For instance, we notice that all Eurocrats can draw generous final-salary pensions when they get to the end of their lucrative careers, throughout which they will have had handsome allowances and expenses and have paid specially low income tax at a flat rate. In Britain we regard this as regressive, or “unfair”, and are unhappy that hard-pressed British workers in, say, Sunderland should now be asked to guarantee the pensions of such wealthy people, when they have no such guarantee themselves.

Is manners to much to ask for?

We realise you cannot agree among yourselves whether to cut the budget or increase the national contributions once the second largest net contributor leaves the European Union, so you are desperate for us to help you out. That we have filled your coffers for 40 years in this way, always giving more than we received, might in some circles have elicited a measure of gratitude. However, we are surprised on looking back through the files to find no such letters of thanks, but rather quite a few reprimands, insults and aspersions.

Let’s call British support what it really is:

You will also notice that the cheque is drawn from our foreign aid budget (given the political chaos in Germany, Italy and Spain, this seems appropriate) and counts towards our 0.7 per cent of gross national income spend on aid. This means you will have to fill out forms certifying that the money was not wasted. These must be returned to the Department for International Development punctually, and failure to comply may result in fines. I am sure you will understand that this is necessary given that the money would otherwise have gone to help starving and sick people in Africa.

Read the whole fabulous letter with his digs at the BBC,  at The Rational Optimist

Matt Ridley for PM, I say.

h/t mothcatcher

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