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Why the UK Must Steer Brexit & Not be Steered

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October 2017

by John Brian Shannon

As the UK is a net contributor to the EU, there’s no incentive for European Parliament negotiators to want an early deal

However, yesterday Prime Minister Theresa May ‘called time’ on never-ending Brexit negotiations by informing the EU that October 29, 2018 is the last day to avert a WTO-style Brexit, commonly called a ‘No Deal’ Brexit

UK Prime Minister Theresa May. Image courtesy of Reuters

To understand why there is any debate at all about the UK leaving the European Union, one must understand that the United Kingdom contributes more to the EU than it receives. Over £8 billion (net) per year flows from the United Kingdom to the European Union and people are wondering why the EU Parliament is opposed to Brexit?

That’s a lot of money even by European standards, a continent of 504 million people.

£8 billion is the difference between a rich EU and a cash-starved EU that can’t afford all of its legitimate programmes and its excesses. To wit; The alcohol budget for the EU Parliament is in the tens of millions (euros) per year.

Yes, every government has a wine and spirits budget, but the EU Parliament alcohol budget is bigger than the next ten countries alcohol budgets combined. And it’s not just the alcohol budget that we’re talking about here.

The only country that contributes more to the EU budget is Germany — which pays even more than the UK! — and not a word of thanks to either Britain or Germany for subsidizing almost every policy and almost every country in the 28 member bloc.

Ready for some numbers?

Britain’s population is 65 million, so the net contribution of £8 billion works out to £123. per Briton, per year.

If you want to figure it by workers, who after all are the ones paying this bill, there are about 33 million workers in the UK, and 30 million of them are Britons.

So, let’s do the math; £8 billion, divided by 30 million, equals £266 per worker, per year. Over ten years, that’s £2660 per British-born worker.

What could that amount of money done for each British worker over the past decade? We’ll never know.

So far, so good?

Let’s look at the UK contribution over the past decade, which means we are simply multiplying those numbers by ten.

The net contribution of the United Kingdom over ten years is £80 billion.
Let’s see what the UK could’ve done with that money:

  • 26 Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers, completely fitted-out. (or)
  • 100 more Wembley Stadiums. (or)
  • 146 state-of-the-art UK hospitals such as the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. (or)
  • 183 copies of The Shard, an iconic building in London. (or)
  • 2285 brand-new Academy schools, or 5333 brand-new state-run Secondary schools. (or)
  • Every UK high school graduate could receive a tuition-free PhD education and a new small car.

That’s just the past ten years…

What could be better than any one of those things? Is there anything better? Let us know in the comments section below!

Really, for all the (net) billions that go to the European Union courtesy of the British taxpayer what do Britons get in return?

Not one thing. Because it’s the net amount, not the gross amount. Which by definition means that Britons are getting nothing for that particular £8 billion (annual) or £80 billion (decade) net payment to the union. It’s the net amount. Get it?

Obviously, there’s nothing in Brexit for the EU

How could there be? It’s all in their favour.

Every year that the EU can stretch Brexit out is another £8 billion (net) for the European Union to fund its good and necessary budgets and their unconscionable, wasteful spending programmes. (Bad for Britain, but good for the EU!)

Only the most foolish and irresponsible British government would allow the EU to stretch this out for as long as possible (and who could blame the EU for doing so?) and that’s why Prime Minister Theresa May must be shown respect here.

In Theresa May’s UK, Britain is No Longer the EU’s Cash Cow

Love her or hate her, everyone knew that Margaret Thatcher truly loved Britain — and we’re starting to see a renewed and more confident Theresa May rising to meet the challenges of her time, as did Maggie in her era.

Theresa May has wisely informed the EU that there is a ‘Best Before’ date for Brexit negotiations and that October 29, 2018 is the absolute last date that the proposed 2-year implementation deal can be offered to the European Union.

In the absence of such a signed agreement Brexit negotiators will have no other option but to prepare for a full-blown WTO-based Brexit. (Which won’t be half as traumatic as it sounds as most of the world operates on WTO rules and have done so since 1995)

Therefore, smart EU negotiators will string it along for as long as they can as it’s (obviously) the logical way for their side to proceed. But now that the Prime Minister has provided a timeline to work toward, expect the 2-year implementation deal to be signed one day before the deadline, because that gets the European Union the most British taxpayer cash without actually missing the October 29, 2018 deadline.

Calling ‘time’ on the EU’s negotiating tactics (delay, obstruct, delay some more) is the single best, and strongest thing Theresa May has done since becoming Britain’s Prime Minister — and when combined with her Florence speech where she reached-out to EU leaders and to the European people as never before by a British PM — Mrs. May will earn and thereby guarantee her place in British history as the UK’s Brexit Prime Minister.

Well done on all counts, Theresa!

Related Articles:

  • My mission is a two-year bridge to a final Brexit deal, Theresa May tells MPs (The Times)
  • Brexit divorce lawyers eye up EU’s wine list (Financial Times)


  1. Tim Walker says:

    It has been suggested that the UK seek an Association Agreement, similar to the arrangements that the EU has with Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia.

    However, I suspect that the EU will shoot down any proposal that seems even remotely promising for the British.

    The long term goal would be for the UK to diversity trade away from the EU.

    • Hi Tim,

      That would seem to be a logical step for both countries but it remains to be seen if there is goodwill there.

      As you rightly point out nothing can be accomplished if one side hasn’t any goodwill.

      In the absence of goodwill, what are the alternatives?

      a) UK to be beaten down and Remain in the EU.
      b) UK to be beaten down even further than in “a” as punishment for ever considering to Leave the EU and thenceforth and forever be the EU’s Doormat.
      c) Prove to be better Negotiators.
      d) Full WTO Brexit — which the EU will cause to occur at the latest possible deadline as the UK is subsidizing their operation in the meantime by a whopping (net) £8 billion per year.

      To me, it’s obvious the EU is hoping for “a” or “b” and that they suspect the UK side isn’t up to beating them in negotiations — therefore, “c” is where the EU are placing their hopes if “a” or “b” don’t pan out for them.

      It looks like the final play will be PM Theresa May pulling the plug on negotiations on October 29, 2018 — thereby allowing enough time for the UK to to get ready for a full WTO-style Brexit.

      At that point, I expect the EU to go insane with rage, because it will finally have hit them that they always had it made with cash-cow Britain and the EU managed to duff it up beyond all fixing.

      And being a people that can’t admit error the EU will seek to put the full blame on UK voters and the UK government. Once we reach that point, I expect things to get nasty.

      (No big secrets here, that’s just normal human psychology)

      Fortunately, the EU will only have the EU to blame for its (then) temper-tantrum moment — while the UK will have the rest of the world to trade and engage with.

      And this can’t be emphasized enough; The better PM Theresa May treats other countries in the meantime, the better it will look for Britain at that crucial moment.

      But, hey, that’s just me!

      Thanks again for commenting here at Letter to Britain!!!

      Cheers! JBS

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