It seems a long time ago now since Britain was landed with a bill by the EU as a result of them levying a surcharge based on the size of the economies of member countries. Britain`s bill amounted to £1.7 billion - or £17,000,000,000 in plain language. At the time, Dave Cameron said he was `downright angry` at this revised membership contribution and the public would find it `totally unacceptable.` He wasn`t wrong.
It now transpires that, despite those strident protestations, the surcharge has now been paid - quietly and unobtrusively - in two instalments; one in July and the other at the beginning of this month. Following frantic `negotiations` at the time - about a year ago now - the EU extended the deadline for payment but did not reduce the sum, despite George Osborne claiming to have halved it in talks with Brussels. However, a Commons Treasury Report published earlier this year found that the Chancellor`s claim `was not supported by the facts.`
And so once again, the `value for money` of Britain`s membership of the EU comes into question. Perhaps we are entitled to receive a better service from Brussels for the £58 million we pay them each and every day, never mind the extraordinary `surcharge` we have just coughed up. Europe is in the throes of one of the major refugee crises and the response from the `United Nations of Europe` has been bewilderingly ineffective.
On Tuesday of this week Brussels announced that the heads of EU Governments would hold `an emergency summit` to discuss the refugee issue; however, that `emergency meeting` will not take place until next Tuesday. They clearly have a strange idea of `emergency` and even then they will just sit around and talk about it against the backdrop whereby any sense of `unity` among the EU countries is rapidly being shown up for the illusion it really is.
So we have been treated to yet another bout of smoke and mirrors not only by the EU but also by Dave and George, the UK`s very own illusionist double act, who have behaved dishonourably by throwing yet more taxpayers cash at this failed `project.` As for the EU, it seems they might have a chat about things all in good time, which reminds me that in Cornwall things get done dreckly - like mañana only slower. Surely we have a right to expect better from our elected leaders. Oh, OK then, perhaps not.