With Young Dave and his jolly good chaps now returned with a majority, their commitment to giving the electorate a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU is set to become a reality, and perhaps sooner rather than later. So it is that the Europhobes have begun to spin, with distinctly mixed results: some of the knocking copy is lame, while most of it is very lame indeed. And it will surprise nobody to know the source of the very lamest.
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Yes, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog have joined the No campaign this week in no style at all, as Jeremy Wilson, aka Techno Guido (the one who showed off his lack of technical knowledge when pontificating recently about London’s Underground), has told “EU Forces Government To Renege On Queen’s Speech Promise”. How true is that? Not true at all, sadly.
Here’s Wilson’s spiel: “The government will be forced to back track [sic] on their Queen’s Speech promise not to raise VAT following a European decree. The decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union to ban the UK’s 5% rate of VAT on the supply and installation of energy-saving materials will force the government to raise VAT to the standard 20% rate”. But he had already spun it differently.
He links to another post which opens “The Court of Justice of the European Union has banned the UK from reducing the rate of VAT on the supply and installation of energy-saving materials”, which is not the same thing, before sniping “So we have to tax an industry if it intends to prevent an old lady from freezing to death, but it’s fine to waive the tax if the service is provided as a handout”. Won’t they think about the elderly?
But the actual court ruling gives the game away: this has nothing to do with forcing the elderly to freeze, and nor does it force the Government to raise taxes. The VAT Directive (to which the UK is signed up) “permits the application of a reduced rate of VAT solely to the provision, construction, renovation and alteration of housing which relate to social housing or to services supplied as part of a social policy”.
What it does not allow is cutting the VAT rate for renovating private property - which would give an unfair advantage in what is a competitive market. It would be great for providers of the materials concerned in the UK - they could undercut all their mainland European competitors and clean up! Yes, the Fawkes folks have failed on a matter of basic economics, which tells you all you need to know about their abilities in that area.
On this fortieth anniversary of the last referendum, where the electorate voted by a two-thirds majority to remain part of what was then the EEC, the starting gun has been fired for the next referendum campaign. So there will be yet more of this low-grade propaganda from the Fawkes rabble for another year at least. It’s to be hoped that they will raise their game and make dismantling the spin more challenging.
But, knowing the abilities of those spinning, I doubt that will happen. Another fine mess.
It would seem that the unravelling of some of the 'out' brigades economy with the truth is being reflected in the growing support for staying in. A recent poll (YouGov?) showed over 45% in favour of staying in, against 36% for opting out.
There may be an honest argument for leaving the EU but while the supporters of opting out include Guido Fawkes et al, their muddying of the 'facts' will work against it. Their rationale for mistelling seems to be 'if we say it loud enough and long enough, people will start to believe us'
Fats Domineering Staines and Chubby Cheeks Checker Cole aka The Spinners Mk0
would like to give you:
We "work" for The Sun
For Stephen Abell and Dunn
But we struggle each day
To find those "stories" that pay
We lost our way
With despicable pranks
Manufactured the news
With unroadworthy tanks
Our stories have never tried
To be even handed and fair
But now we're behind the blues
Reds better take care and beware
We twist the facts
To confuse our readers
We spin gossip
Or make it up ourselves
Do you remember when
We were really something
Now as Murdoch's sycophants
We are just plain pants
Round, and round and round and up and down we go again!
That wine and beer makes our heads go around and spin again
So let's spin again,
Obfuscate for Rupert,
Come on, let's spin again,
Spinning time is here!
Can we go back 4-5 years. The UK standard rate of VAT was 17.5%. Who insisted on putting it up to 20% ? Clue: it wasn't the EU!
The ruling against the lower rate for some insulation is made even worse by having the high standard rate as the bench mark.
A bit misleading of your article. You imply that this ruling is banning the UK from reducing VAT on these items and saying that is not the same as ordering us to raise the tax. In fact the reduced rate has been in effect for some time so in banning it the tax will be raised, on the orders of the EU. VAT on home insulation is now 5%. It will rise to 20%.
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