Give us a vote on Maastricht
March 18th, 1992
A letter to the Daily Telegraph from Mrs Gillian Bush, which was published on 18th March 1992.
We have now been presented with a budget from each of the main political parties, and there has been non-stop media comment on them.
The essential point, however has been missed. Not one of these budgets has a chance of being carried out. Whichever party or coalition of parties forms the next government, it will have to ratify, under present pledges, the Maastricht Treaties later on this year.
This will mean that the European Union, as the Common Market now calls itself, and not our Government’s budget, will decide our economic future.
The new, higher rate contributions that M Delors intends us to pay the European Union will distort all the careful calculations.
Some sort of compromise may be workd out. But the Germans, who are the largest contributors, have problems that will make them keen for others to carry the burden of higher rates. It would be close to a miracle if we do not end up doing so.
In addition, the stated intention of normalising VAT across all our presently zero-rated areas of food, gas, electricity, water, sewage treatment, children’s clothes, transport, mail and books will greatly increase indirect taxation and hit the lower paid in particular – as, of course, the artificially high European food prices do already.
This election campaign should be about the future of our country either continuing as an independent sovereign state or becoming just a region of the European Union, not about tiny changes to the tax system.
Over the weekend I heard Mr Major say twice that the Conservative campaign was about giving people choice. We have no choice at all on the one really crucial issue. He should promise us a referendum on the Maastricht Treaties before they are ratified.