So, according to Nick Clegg, if the UK were to ever consider leaving the European Union, some three million jobs British would be at stake, around 10% of our total workforce, which should make us all stop and think about what we'd wish for, right? I mean, ever since he's quoted that suspiciously high figure, newspaper headlines and forums around the country have been awash with posts from members of the Euro-supporters community, berating those who would rather have us outside of the community, categorically stating that three million British jobs aren't just at risk, but will definitely disappear, if anyone dare suggest that we leave the EU, never mind put it to any sort of publicly binding vote.
However, perhaps not surprisingly, when one tries to investigate the accuracy of Mr Clegg's claims, it is a very different story; and it quickly becomes apparent that the Deputy Prime Minister has chosen to deliberately misrepresent an old set of questionable statistics, ostensibly for his own political advantage. In other words, Nick Clegg has taken an out-of-date set of employment figures, amended the wording of the results; and falsely turned an estimate into a statement of fact, turning a could be, into a probably is, into a definitely will be. Put another way, it's little more than sheer political propaganda, orchestrated by a man who has already proved himself to be completely devoid of principle; and who will say or do anything in support of his beloved European Project, even if that means misleading the British public.
The truth of the matter is that there appears to be one single source for these fabled three million job losses and that is a report issued by the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), which estimated that some 3.2 million were linked DIRECTLY or INDIRECTLY with British exports to the EU. As you will no doubt notice, in the report there is a clear distinction being made between jobs that were linked directly or indirectly to Britain's EU membership, with no specific figures being offered to identify those that were entirely dependent on our membership of the community. It is also worth pointing out that these figures will undoubtedly include British jobs servicing non-EU customers, as well as those overseas markets affected by the Rotterdam Effect, where goods being delivered to non-EU customers are transported through European ports and are therefore treated as European exports, as opposed to anything else; and artificially inflating the amount of British exports being delivered to the European Community.
The excellent "Full Facts" organisation has also investigated several other sources to find out the truthfulness of Mr Clegg's statement, including a report from 2000, which was produced by South Bank University. However, "Full Facts" found that the report in question was unreliable at best, given that the authors had failed to include and calculate a number of significant factors regarding Britain's overall trade figures.
Yet another report considered by "Full Facts" was the one issued by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), which found that an estimated 3.2 million British jobs were directly associated with the UK's membership of the European Union. However, as with the earlier South Bank and the later BERR reports, the authors of the NIESR report were forced to admit that there was no clear evidence that any or indeed all of these jobs would be lost in the event that Britain withdrew from the European Community.
"Full Facts" also looked at a report written by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in 2006, to see if that had been the source for Mr Clegg's lost jobs claims. After careful investigation by their reporters, it was found that that the BIS had not actually issued a formal report as such and departmental officials were unable to provide any statistical data to underpin their own assertions. There was a suggestion however that the Lib Dem leadership might have used figures released by the European Commission themselves, although that body's response actually stated "the single market has contributed to increased growth of at least 1.85% and the creation of 2.75 million jobs across the EU since 1997", which is hardly a ringing endorsement of the community, in terms of creating widespread employment!
At the end of their investigation into the specific claim made by the Deputy Prime Minister with such certainty, the "Full Facts" reporters were inclined to believe that the direct job benefits for the UK, resulting from its membership of the European Community, was marginal at best, equating to only around 1% of GDP; and indicating that a UK withdrawal from the EU would be equally marginal, which is not what the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, was telling the people of Britain during his radio broadcast.
In reality, nobody truly knows what the likely job outcome would be, in the event that the British people were finally offered a national referendum on the European Question, although that is highly unlikely to happen, given the current mindset of our two major political parties. That said though, it goes without saying that IN or OUT of Europe, Britain and its continental neighbours will continue to trade with one another, now and in the future, although on what terms remains a mystery. Consider this however. The top 20 importers into the UK, a market of some 60 million people, include the likes of Germany, who are top of the list of our trading partners, as well as the Netherlands, Norway, France, Belgium, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Poland, and Denmark. The question is; would any of these countries want to fall out with the UK, one of their most important markets, just because we didn't want to belong to their club anymore? According to the Euro-supporters club in Britain, the Europhiles like David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Michael Heseltine, et al, if we were to choose to go our own way, these historic trading partners and defence allies might choose to punish us by imposing tariffs on our goods or services going into their community! Why? Why would any modern state choose to initiate a series of trade wars that benefit nobody; and certainly not their domestic manufacturers, who rely on their markets in Britain to generate commercial profits, to pay their worker's wages and buy their raw materials? To suggest that any such actions would be taken by our near neighbours in order to punish us, is pure fantasy politics, dreamt up by the likes of Nick Clegg, David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls to scare us all into a nervous compliance, whilst they busy themselves with building their longed for United States of Europe.