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My Bennite Grandfather would be proud: Tim Martin of JD Wetherspoon slams EU Customs Union as a "protection racket"

By Tom Winnifrith | Wednesday 9 May 2018


Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from ShareProphets). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.


Once again Tim Martin is the hero of the day. As the parasites of the CBI, who have never created a cent of wealth as risk taking entrepreneurs, and low grade career politicians lecture the 17.4 million about what we really voted for, Tim reports back from the coal face. This man is a great British hero of whom my Bennite grandfather from the 1975 campaign, Sir John Winnifrith, would been proud. Tim opines in today's trading statement from JD Wetherspoon (JDW):

"A debate is currently taking place as to whether the UK should remain in the EU's customs union post-Brexit. I feel sure that the UK should leave. This will enable parliament to eliminate taxes on non-EU food and drink imports, reducing prices in the shops, which will immediately improve living standards.

It makes no sense for the UK to continue to impose taxes on New World wines, coffee, rice and thousands of other products, and then to send the proceeds to Brussels. The EU masquerades as a free trade organisation, but it is really a protection racket which imposes import taxes on the 93% of the world's population that is not in the EU.

The UK should copy countries like New Zealand, Australia and Singapore, which have successfully adopted free trade policies, rather than being beholden to the undemocratic EU and its unelected presidents."

Spot on. This is exactly the point my grandfather, who knew a bit about food and farming as the senior civil servant in what was then MAFF, made in the 1975 Referendum. What Sir John, Tony Benn, Peter Shore and others realised is that the EU, a Customs Union, jacks up food prices in the UK in a way that screws poor producers outside of Europe and poor consumers within. It is indeed a racket which enriches the rich, big business and big farmers, within the EU at the expense of the poor everywhere. Thee sooner we are out, and free trade helps drag more folks out of poverty, the better.

Those who support the Customs Union advance the same arguments that supporters of the Corn Laws advanced almost 200 years ago. Then it was the Irish who starved as a result, today it is Africa. And the British working class suffered as well.

How anyone who claims to be progressive can support this system defies belief. Tim Martin is bang on the money again.

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