Oh seriously, do fuck off folks

So the EU demands more money:

David Cameron is fighting to stop Britain being forced to pay an extra £1.7billion to the European Union due to the success of the British economy.

The Prime Minister was ambushed with a demand from the European Commission for the extra cash because Britain’s economy has performed better than other economies in Europe since 1995.

Well, if contributions are based on GDP then perhaps this should have been expected. But why now?

The payment, described by officials as a “surcharge” follows a change to the way the EU calculates gross national income to include previous hidden service industries, including such prostitution and illegal drugs.

So, what we all thought was just a technical accounting error was in fact a mask for a money grab. Quelle surprise.

However, it’s also a gross error. For the government doesn’t actually have to hand that extra GDP being created in those illegal sectors. Sure, it’s economic activity, and given that it’s consensual adult activity it’s, in one sense, entirely legitimate to count it as economic activity (in the sense that we probably wouldn’t want to include the economic activity connected to, say, child porn or slavery, as part of GDP). However, what government has to hand is not economic activity per se, but that section of economic activity that it can appropriate through the tax system. So when we’re calculating what government should be paying we obviously cannot include those grey and black market activities: the definition of grey being of course that they’re not paying the tax due and thus the government isn’t appropriating a share of the activity.

It’s the wrong GDP measure to be using to calculate contributions.

So, just fuck off mateys. And the horse you rode in on.

20 thoughts on “Oh seriously, do fuck off folks”

  1. It does seem sometimes that the European Commission is campaigning on behalf of UKIP.

    Either the EC is stupid, and doesn’t think about the (very obvious) consequences of its actions, or they are not stupid and they want the UK to leave.

    Which is it??

  2. @Portemat

    Neither. They think that a bigger UKIP vote is more likely to lead either to a Labour govt or a paralysed coalition. They know that UKIP won’t win a majority.

  3. Devil’s Advocate here. If we want to be charitable to the EU, perhaps they’re thinking something along the lines of “Well, this is the economic activity going on in the UK, and if the UK government is unwilling/unable to tax it then that’s their lookout. Portugal will make payments to the EU based on a figure which includes drug dealing, and Germany will make payments based on a figure which includes prostitution, so why should other nations be exempt from paying based on these activities merely because the activities have been criminalised in their countries?”

  4. It’s an interesting argument, but it’s really entirely in the British government’s control whether they receive tax income from drugs and prostitution. They have chosen to make them illegal, thus foregoing any tax revenue from them.

    The EU might take the view that that’s the British government’s problem. I’m not sure I could disagree with that.

  5. “They think that a bigger UKIP vote is more likely to lead either to a Labour govt”

    They’re pretty stupid if they believe that because any fule kno UKIP are a bigger threat to Labour than the Tories overall.

  6. @Richard Allan

    They’re definitely fools, though dangerous ones.

    I dunno if you’re right re Labour/Tories though.

    I understand your point, and I think that if Labour voters knew what was good for them they would be switching from Labour to UKIP in droves.

    But they don’t know what’s good for them, otherwise they wouldn’t be Labour voters.

    When the time comes, I think hardcore Labour voters in the heartlands are romantic, inattentive and deeply conservative idiots (or they are of immigrant stock and wrongly fear that Farage wants to boot them all out).

    They, much more than Tories, will vote for the pig with the relevant rosette.

    Not saying Labour are not vulnerable, just that they’re not as vulnerable as the Tories (IMO).

  7. Portemat,

    As per Interested, neither. It’s a display of raw power. Cameron will make a fuss for the papers even as he’s writing out the check. Probably even get a prompt payment discount.

    Plus what Andrew said. Any competent accountant could show that hardly any of your GDP was in your tax base. In the case of Greece, it would even be true.

  8. Dear Mr Worstall

    ” (in the sense that we probably wouldn’t want to include the economic activity connected to, say, child porn or slavery, as part of GDP).”

    Taxation is a politer form of part-time slavery. Governments deal in slaves (also known as ‘citizens’) wholesale, selling them to the EU, perhaps ultimately to be sold on to the New World Order, if such can be brought into existence.

    We are livestock.

    DP

  9. Oh come on, we have seen this sort of scam before.

    It’s a false flag exercise.

    The whole thing is a set up so Cameron can foam at the mouth and thump the table over the weekend. At the end of the day the EU will pretend to back down and it will look like Cameron has had a victory.

  10. The only battle here is in public relations. Camoron is a traitor pure and very simple. He has no problem handing the EU 17oo million. It’s not his fucking money.. It just makes him look like a poodle if he obeys his masters call to heal. They will get their money but only after lots of defiant hot air.

  11. bloke (not) in spain

    Odd. But i find myself agreeing with the EU & disagreeing with Tim. The black/grey sectors are just as much part of the economy as any other sectors. Value created in either passes across the invisible barrier of illegality with little impedance. Importantly, value created in the B/G mostly comes to rest in the lillywhite economy because that’s where all the shiny cars & big houses are.
    It seems to be a blind spot with economists. And legislators for that matter. Economics the other side of the membrane works exactly the same as their side. Apart from not being fucked-up quite so much by economists & legislators.

  12. @Roue le jour
    It’s a display of raw power.
    That implies a controlling intelligence in the EU. An alternative view is that it’s a metastasising bureaucracy as described by C Northcote Parkinson but with zero external constraint (unless and until Putin nukes it). Thus it needs money and will take it in accordance with Willie Sutton’s rule.

  13. bloke (not) in spain

    On the views on the nefariousness of the EU/Cameron intersection:
    Worth remembering the other side of this is France is benefiting from a 700€+(?) handout because its economy is under-performing. (As no doubt other nations). Hollande’s got NF snapping at his heels & there’s a lot of EU disenchantment amongst the froggies. Brit anti-EUness is a feature of the landscape, Brusselsway but French hostility really gets in amongst them where it scares. I’d reckon there’s subtexts to this aren’t necessarily about GB.

  14. So Much for Subtlety

    Anoneumouse – “Oh come on, we have seen this sort of scam before. It’s a false flag exercise. The whole thing is a set up so Cameron can foam at the mouth and thump the table over the weekend. At the end of the day the EU will pretend to back down and it will look like Cameron has had a victory.”

    What Anoneumouse said. It is a joke. No doubt Cameron will bang the desk and scream and shout and yet end up handing over a billion while claiming a great victory.

    The EU is helping him deal with his UKIP flank. No more.

    Meanwhile the EU is taking the first steps to make UKIP illegal:

    http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4804/eu-tyranny-law?anid=7

    We have been here before with the Vlaams Belang.

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