Last night I attended the Spectator’s ‘Is the EU bad for business?’ event. It was a good debate, chaired by the wonderful Andrew Neil, who does it with sharp intellect and humour and something rare in journalists – he’s well read on his subjects, particularly the EU which, unfortunately is still a lazy subject for most writers.
First up was Helena Morrissey CBE, CEO of Newton Investment. She spoke about the gender equality agenda being orchestrated by the EU. To counteract their quota measures she is part of the 30% club which strives to get more women on British company boards through voluntary, business-led change. They are succeeding. She also cited that various harmful directives from the EU to the City of London resulted in her spending a whole year implementing these directives which had no monetary return on the time invested. This is bad for business. Helena’s business may be able to cope with such interruption but many SMEs cannot.
I have good news for Helena – I am joining the European Parliament’s FEMM committee – the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality committee. It is a subject I have spoken and written about for years. The committee is mostly comprised of all women, with two male exceptions. You can read more about their nonsense here:
They’re a dangerous bunch, I will be fighting against the tide, but it’s a job I have got to do.
And you’ve heard it here first, I am setting up a centre right foundation to counteract this biased nonsense, more news anon.
Dominic Cummings from one of the Out campaigns was well versed and a joy to listen to, an alternative to the partisan politicians who are not trusted on this subject.
And then we had Will Straw (son of Jack Straw) and the CBI’s Andy Bagnall for the In side. I know I’m a little biased but their arguments were weak, given that the CBI has taken funding from the EU and only based its research on what it’s chief executive membership think rather than their shareholders. And, because they have an office in Brussels and are ‘fully engaged with Europe’ we should mistrust them, because from what I have seen in the 17 months of sitting in the Parliament, they have done very little to protect British businesses from the onslaught of EU red tape and bureaucracy.
And when Mr Bagnall started praising Jean-Claude Juncker and his side-kick, Mr Timmermans, I pray that they will keep quoting their admiration for this pair.
And Jack Straw Jnr, sorry Will, he didn’t know what the ‘Rotterdam effect’ was when quoting Britain’s exports to the EU. That was the highlight of the evening. Back to the drawing board and nil points for the In campaign.