Last month 500 British business leaders, including the likes of Next boss Lord Wolfson, Ocado chief Sir Stuart Rose and Phones4u founder John Caudwell, announced that they were backing a campaign for ‘real change in the EU’ and urged ‘all political parties to join in committing themselves to a national drive to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s EU membership.’ Havingreceived a warm welcome on these very pages, as well as elsewhere, Business for Britain set about changing the debate on how the EU impacts upon our home-grown industries.
Today a letter has appeared in the Independent, signed by Roland Rudd, Richard Branson, Martin Sorrell and others, which seeks to defend Britain’s membership of the European Union, offering up small changes to a relationship they see as providing more positives for Britain than negatives. The signatories are the same people who, back in January before the Prime Minister’s Bloomberg speech, were expressing concerns that any attempts to renegotiate our membership of the EU could create ‘damaging uncertainty’. They are the same people who, at the turn of the century, were urging Britain to join the Euro.
What the letter’s signatories fail to grasp is that simply deepening the Single Market will not make the EU more competitive, especially if the wider concerns that business has about the status quo in our relationship with Brussels are not addressed. Blindly promoting the benefits of our membership with no examination of the underlying problems is dangerously complacent. The debate business wants to have is about what changes are needed, and fixating on the In-Out dichotomy instead of addressing the root cause is putting politics ahead of economics.
A process has been put in place by David Cameron. It is sensible and backed by the vast majority of the British public and British business people. Those who have the most to gain from the EU will seek to frustrate it. We must be united in pushing forward the changes that are absolutely vital for Britain’s economy and seek to get a better deal for Britain rather than getting side tracked.
By Matthew Elliott via Conservative Home website