The EU's Bloated Budget - Jonathan Arnott MEP conference speech

Published Sep 26, 2015

Jonathan-Arnott-photo-682x1024.jpgLadies and gentlemen, I’ve been in the European Parliament for just over a year. I work out there to hold them to account, pointing out when they’re breaking their own rules and working with my colleagues to provide some much-needed opposition in that place. Almost as soon as I was elected, my name was chosen at random to scrutinise the ballot for election of the Commission President. I stood up for the first time in the chamber, and said that I wouldn’t take part in an undemocratic sham where we had the choice of ONE candidate by a secret ballot so our constituents don’t know how we voted.

We often vote hundreds of times in a single voting session. There’s a red button, which we press to vote NO to something. There’s a grey button, which we press to abstain. And there’s a green button. I’ve been there over a year, and still none of my colleagues have been able to tell me what that’s for.

But seriously, one of the things that I do is make points of order. In one vote, they actually disabled the red button. We could vote Yes or abstain. But we weren’t allowed to vote No. I stood up and pointed out that the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure didn’t allow them to do it. Of course, they gave some excuse and then did it anyway. That’s how it works: they ignored the rules as well when I tried to cancel the rest of the day’s proceedings as a protest against the undemocratic way they dealt with the TTIP issue. The rules required them to call an immediate vote; they allowed almost an hour for our opponents to pack the chamber against us.


Now let’s get rid of this nonsense media stereotype that UKIP MEPs don’t do any work. But I’ve spoken more times in the Parliament than any British MEP of any party. My voting record out there is 98%, and I’m 2nd in the UK for asking Parliamentary questions on behalf of my constituents. Best of all, I think Martin Schulz probably hates me.


This week in the Budget Committee we’re voting on amendments to the European Union budget for this year. I’ve submitted 142 amendments, every one designed to cut waste and unnecessary projects and save the British taxpayer money. Conference, how many of my 142 motions do you think will pass?


There’s really an embarrassment of riches for talking about EU waste. There’s the stories that you might have read in the press about over £½ million pounds of taxpayers’ money being spent on telling university students that when they’re cold, they should put a jumper on.


The Budgetary Control Committee was discussing immigration schemes not so long ago. They had commissioned a study to work out how EU money – or as I prefer to call it, British taxpayers’ money – was being spent on immigration controls. They wanted the money to be spent on innovative schemes, which actually is a nonsense in itself when you’re dealing with essential national security. But they found that the money wasn’t going where it was supposed to go, wasn’t being spent in accordance with the rules, and one case of fraud. They found that most of the time, money was being ‘mainstreamed’ back into the member states’ budgets. So I spoke up in the Committee. I pointed out that it’s absurd for countries to send the money to the EU, for it to be sent back to be used for the exact same purpose that they’d be using it for anyway. And then you have all the administration, studies, discussions, mismanagement and fraud to pay for. They just don’t understand that some things are best done by ourselves.

But to me, one of the best examples of EU nonsense is the ‘what if’ machine. This is over £1 million of taxpayers’ money, spent on training computers to ask the question ‘what if’. My taxes, your taxes, spent building a computer able to invent and evaluate fictional ideas. It’s all online, so I went on last night and asked it to come up with a ‘what if’ about an animal that finds something. Your taxes came up with this suggestion: “What if there was an old snake who found a sword that he could use instead of a rock for smashing scissors?” Do we think we’re getting £1.24 MILLION worth from our taxes?

But if you think that ‘what if’ was a bit surreal, just wait till you hear the rest.

What if….the Labour Party chose a completely unelectable Leader? Who wouldn’t sing the National Anthem, who wants to open our borders, who appointed a shadow farming minister who wants to make eating meat as unacceptable as smoking tobacco? The steaks are too high. We must keep Labour out.

A leader who’d give senior roles to one person who’s supported terrorism and another who’s a convicted arsonist.

Personally, I thought the one about the snake was more believable.

When Foot was Labour leader, Newcastle Central voted for Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives. Corbyn is worse than Foot, and those who don’t learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it. But it’s not the Tories that are going to gain those seats in the North next time. It’s UKIP in places like Hartlepool where I trust the Tories won’t make the mistake of splitting the UKIP vote again.

What if…the European Union were to change the definition of a refugee and invite hundreds of thousands of people to make dangerous journeys, risking their lives travelling from one safe country to another? What if it were to announce that it would give Greece and Italy €500 each for each refugee that lands on their shores? What if it were to give €6,000 of taxpayers’ money to each country that takes in one of those refugees? We’re actually using taxpayers’ money to encourage people to risk their lives, whilst ignoring the millions of genuine refugees, the most vulnerable people – the elderly, women and children left behind in countries like Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. The ‘what if’ machine strikes again!

What if…the United Nations were to give Saudi Arabia the chair of a Human Rights Committee? A 17-year-old took part in protests against their government in 2012. He’s set to be beheaded and crucified within days. Conference, we in UKIP stand for justice and against the barbaric Saudi Arabian injustice system.

Do you remember last year, when the EU sent us a £1.7 billion bill because they’d recalculated our payments going back to the 1990s? They wanted to include charity and voluntary work, drug deals and prostitution, in the calculations of our national income. But voluntary work and illegal activities don’t bring any money in to the exchequer. So the EU wanted to tax us on it. That’s right, they wanted to tax us on money that we’d never had in the first place. And David Cameron came back from Brussels promising to fight it.

What if, in the last couple of months, we learned that he’d paid it in full?

But with the front pages of the newspapers that we’ve seen over the last few days about David Cameron…I have some sad news. The ‘what if’ machine has exploded.


It just couldn’t cope with all the porkies.

The bottom line on the EU budget is, that we would be better off outside than in. Even after every bizarre example of EU spending, this year we’ll give the European Union £11.3 BILLION more than we get back. Even after every single pound of EU spending that the Europhiles like to mention, on top of that we spend A FURTHER £31 million a day on EU membership. That’s not my figure, it’s an Office for Budget Responsibility figure.

We need to win this referendum campaign. The lessons to learn from my experiences out there are simple:

* One-size-fits-all laws for 28 countries make us all uncompetitive

* We’re spending massive amounts of money on the EU, and we get very little back

* The money we do get back is often wasted

If we weren’t members of this organisation, nobody would pay to join it. But we’re paying year in, year out. It’s time to regain our prosperity, regain our freedom, regain our sovereignty and I can promise you that UKIP MEPs will be the ultimate turkeys voting for Christmas.

Agree? Share!