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Date: 01 November 2014

Today's Topic: £1.7 billion fine for doing well against the odds

Triggers: BBC News Report

My Grump: Brussels want to penalize us for our years of prudence

I don't understand why everyone finds this so shocking. It's not the first time that Brussels has raided the cookie jar, and it won't be the last, until we tell them all to piss off and put their own house in order first. I wouldn't mind betting the clowns at the European Commission would raid their own kids piggy bank if the poor little darlings had anything left to save.

Everyone must agree that we have all felt the pinch during this recession. The greedy banks have all grown rich at our expense and then pleaded poverty when things went wrong for them. They were the victims as well as the perpetrators of a world recession that has affected us all at our very financial foundation.

We are in this ridiculous situation where member countries are about to go bankrupt, and the criteria of bailing them out from the central fund means they have to follow a set of austerity measures to eventually 'balance the books' before they can get any help.

The government is arm twisted and forced to say yes. The people are told they have to tighten their belts. So they riot, go on strike, start marching and generally refuse to do anything to help themselves. But they get the money anyway and things just go on pretty much as they did before, with people and their governments spending money they don't have, and now has been topped up by us richer nations, so they can continue to follow their barmy policies as if nothing happened.

We on the other hand, understood the message and did our level best to make it right. Then when we finally got to a position where things are starting to look good again, we are penalized and asked to bail out the same countries that have failed to take the painful decisions that have allowed us to prosper. Frankly, I say b@ll@cks to the lot of 'em.

Germany? Really, Germany? The country that ships out more cars than the rest of Europe put together, can't make any money? I don't believe they actually need any of our £1.7 billion at all, which would fund an extra 60,000 NHS nurses and pay their pensions.
Euro Banknotes
The United Kingdom has been in recession for years. We have had more housing reposessions than in living history, more small business gone bust, even large high street businesses have fallen, and the banks, well what a fiasco that was, and still is. Many people in this country have not had a pay rise since 2008. This means that for many their earnings have fallen behind by around 25%. It's true that supermarket shelves are filled with food that has gone up and up over that time, but the food banks are empty, demonstrating that people can't afford to feed themselves. People have made hard choices between eating and heating.

Did we riot in the street? Did we block European austerity measures as other countries have done? NO. Did we bitch and moan? Well actually, yes, we have done nothing but bitch and moan, but that's as far as it went.

We have all been aware that we've been spending beyond our means. We can all see the country is in a mess. And apart from some politicians who have treated their expense accounts like their personal slush fund, we have all tightened our belts in an effort to make ends meet.

This has paid off as we now see we are perhaps looking at a slightly brighter future and things should improve overall. The UK economy is currently outperforming the rest of the EU and so we get slapped with this prosperity surcharge, which is never a good idea. If you tax successful countries in order to subsidise unsuccessful countries, you end up with fewer successful countries and more unsuccessful ones.
Palace of Westminster: Houses of Parliament
Thank you Barroso, you've dipped your greedy fingers in our piggy bank once too often and given a boost to the growing number of people in the UK who would love to shove your euro flagpole where the sun don't shine. You are no 'Robin Hood' who takes from the rich and gives to the poor in traditional English folklore. You are the rich sheriff, banker, contractor and landowner, sucking the poor dry with your racketeering and ridiculous demands and giving it back to the leaders of countries that have failed to show any leadership except to spend massively beyond their means.

Britain will always be penalised by EU budget rules. That's because we're still in the middle of it whilst having made the decision to stay out of the euro. This ment we were able to recover more swiftly from the economic downturn than most of the countries that had surrendered their currencies to the rapidly expanded euro.

Update: 7th November 2014. George Osborne says Britain only has to pay half of disputed European Union £1.7billion bill. Which on the face of it seems good for Britain, but the reality is, the bill is a fine for good behaviour. But the proof is in the detail.

Our politicians are distrusted at home and resented in Europe and with good reason. Instead of standing up for our way of life, they rage against the things that they donít like in Europe, but then sulkily go along with them. So George Osborne has declared victory over the European Union and said he's forced Brussels to halve the UK's £1.7billion budget bill.

Right let's see.
The UK will now pay £850million in two instalments in July and September next year. EU rules have also been changed to ensure that Britain can never again be "ambushed" with an "enormous" bill.

In addition, the bill had been halved because Britainís rebate from Brussels is now being applied to the bill one year early. So if, as some European finance ministers have said, our rebate is under threat if we don't pay, but they can take the second half out of our rabate, HOW IS THAT PAYING HALF???

The Government (and the British people) is effectively still paying £1.7billion. But to dress it up a bit more, Mr Osborne said: "Instead of footing the bill, we have halved the bill, we have delayed the bill, we will pay no interest on the bill and if there are mistakes in the bill we will get our money back." But Mr Osborne, we will still be short by the tune of £1.7billion.

The outstanding £850 million will be covered by a European Commission payment, money that would have been due to Britain from its annual rebate in 2016.

How anyone can say this is a success is beyond me. For all the bluster and hood winking, we're still well out of pocket.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts below, thank you.

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