What's going on?
As we reported this morning: "David Cameron is facing a fresh mutiny over Europe after Tory backbenchers and Labour demanded a real-terms cut in the EU budget." This will be discussed in parliament too; but the real question, as ever, is about our relationship with the EU. Should we remain in it, leave it altogether, or perhaps radically renegotiate our obligations to it?
In July our Economics Editor, Ben Chu, went through the implications of leaving the EU in a brilliant and much-discussed analysis.
It covered the implications for our Exports, Imports, Growth, Immigration, Budget, Business, Banking, Agriculture, and Politics.
Case For: Sovereignty
The EU is a bureaucratic, sclerotic beast which wastes precious money and undermines national sovereignty. Its historic function, which was to stop French and German people killing each other, was long achieved; since then, the march of the federalists - whose pet project was the catastrophic Euro - has been a disaster for European democracy.
Case Against: Realpolitik
Europe, as our American friends enjoy telling us, is a shrinking power. We need to punch above our weight in geopolitical terms against rising powers such as China, India and Russia. Only closer Union can achieve that, and in any case given how deeply our economy depends on free trade and the free movement of ideas and people in Europe, leaving the EU would be counter-productive economically, as well as politically destabilising.