Another nail was driven into the coffin of British industry recently but who is to blame? Thatcherites, China that’s what you’ll hear in the media whilst the silent assassin gets away once again. This assassin is none other than the European Union which has once again with its endless number of edicts and decrees damaged this country’s future. Redcar Steel has shut after one hundred years in operation leaving 1,700 men and women without a job along with Tata Steel closing two plants in Scotland. Gareth Stace, director of UK Steel described the event as “terrible and distressing news” calling for an “emergency summit with government.” (Source: The Guardian) Any summit however, would be simply futile gesture as due to EU State Aid Directives the British government is once again left impotent. A European Union document entitled: “Communication from the Commission — Rescue and restructuring aid and closure aid for the steel sector (notified under document No C(2002) 315)” seems to be the culprit for this catastrophic loss of industry. The document makes the point that “rescue aid” is not “compatible with the common market.” Despite this, the Conservative and Labour parties continue to insist that Britain is better off inside Europe due to increased trading opportunities.
This argument however, seems invalidated when an independent Britain could strike a trade deal with the EU whilst not being subjected to rules that mean government cannot intervene when commodity prices fall. Outside of the EU, Britain could in fact have the best of both worlds, with free trade and the ability to intervene when the value of our communities must be put above our free market outlook. It seems therefore justified to assume that this is another symptom of the creeping federalisation of the EU with Brussels appearing to view the heavy industry of each nation as its own property thus rendering national governments powerless. Another issue that must be examined when considering why our government is seemingly powerless is energy prices. Heavy industry needs cheap energy to thrive which is impossible to achieve with the EU’s energy policy which advocates the drastic reduction in carbon emissions and more subtly the de-industrialisation of Europe.
Britain pays twice as much for energy than its French and German rivals (Source: The Telegraph). Whilst Germany has increased its energy generated from coal from 45% in 2011 to 52% in 2014 (Source: Bloomberg) we are ceasing to build such facilities with devastating effects on our industry. Only 28% of energy in this country is generated from coal (Source: energy-UK). The hysterical obsession with climate change has caused Britain to invest in the far more expensive wind turbines that serve only to drive up energy costs. No wonder the head of US fund management has described such policies as “nuts” (Source: The Telegraph) whilst the US has seen a fall in energy prices due to a shale gas revolution. It seems grossly unfair that Britain is subjected to a policy that the Germans and French avoid and disheartening considering it was Britain who after all in the past led the world to an industrial future. A final point that must be made is the fact that the European Commission who we have surrendered much of our control to has done very little to nothing to prevent Chinese dumping of steel onto the European market. This seems to be a severe blow to those who argue that everything is better when we work together when in reality a cycle of weakness has emerged. The British government is weak and gives in to the commission, the commission is weak so fails to stand up to China, China is strong so exploits the weakness. The only way this cycle can be broken is if the British people decide who runs their affairs like they did before 1992 and Maastricht.