Democrat April-May 1998 (Number 30)
Even God has to pay VAT
Arthur Smelt makes some points
The Church of St Lawrence at South Cove, Suffolk, needed £70,000 to repair its thatched roof. Church members, most of them elderly, worked tirelessly and managed to raise £68,000 in the first year. Over a period of four years they managed to raise £129,000 through scores of coffee mornings and similar small events. The £7,000 VAT bill meant that a hundred or so of these events had gone to pay the VAT man.
English Heritage made them a grant of £15,233 but when the overall VAT bill came to £10,419, it meant that the grant had been virtually wiped out.
VAT is a most iniquitous tax which penalises the poorer sections of society. At the moment VAT in Britain is relatively low compared with some other member states. If as is intended, harmonisation takes place within the EU, we can expect to by paying even more.
Duke attacks EU fishing policy
At a World Wide Fund for Nature press conference held recently, the Duke of Edinburgh is reported to have remarked that British taxpayers are paying out millions of pounds in subsidies so that Spanish and Portuguese fishermen can travel around the world taking fish stocks from the poor.
Claude Martin of WWF said that EU fishing policies which paid out £170 million a year for fishing rights in developing countries was "totally irresponsible".
Suffer little children
Those of us who are concerned with education will know only too well that the targeting of young people with regard to EU propaganda is well under way.
A report in the Guardian newspaper of 27 February indicates the existence of a team of psychologists and cultural experts, recruited by the European Commission to target school children in the promotion of economic and monetary union. Schoolchildren are identified by the team as "strong vectors of information on the Euro" to sell the new single currency to a sceptical public.
Although we have already seen evidence of schools and colleges promoting the EU, it seems that Education Departments of local authorities an similar authorities throughout Europe are now being advised to start preparing textbooks, and teaching aids on the Euro to start in September in time for the next school year so that children can be used to educate their parents.
A report by the team of experts says "it is necessary to combat the negative images generated by European unification". It goes on to say that the single currency should be marketed around arguments which "mobilise ideas of peace, the cohesion of inter-European relations, democracy and a collective project reactivated to create a community which does not replace existing communities but stands alongside them".
Although it is intended to launch the currency publicity in 2002, there is pressure commercially and within the EU, for the Euro to be used in bank transactions from next year. This gives the impression of "the currency of the rich" which has to be dispelled.
The benefits of EU membership are so predominantly evident that these are the lengths which have to be gone to in order to persuade people of these elusive advantages.
How Tony Blair became Toady Blair
When Tony Blair stood as parliamentary candidate in Sedgefield in 1983, in `The New Constituency' his election address contained some interesting promises.
From a number of items picked at random was one which promised to negotiate withdrawal from the EEC, which had drained our natural resources and destroyed jobs. Another item indicated an immediate pension increase of £1.45 per week for single people and £2.25 for a couple. There was also something about phasing out health charges and increasing expenditure by 3% a year. A minimum of £25 weekly allowance for students in full time education.
Mention was made of a "more sane defence policy" which said we no longer needed dangerous and costly Trident and Cruise missiles which just escalate the nuclear arms race.
Is there something about sagacity not necessarily being a concomitant of advancing years, or is it something to do with institutionalisation?