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May 27, 2015updated 29 Jan 2016 6:41pm

The UK needs the EU as much as it needs the 'CBI rip-off network'

By Spear's

Stephen Hill takes aim at the FTSE 100 chairmen defending Britain’s EU membership

PM Dave is whizzing around Europe testing how far he can kick the rotten EU barn door in, thereby indicating he has no preset red lines to force down the throats of Angela and Jean-Claude et al, but is fully aware that his politics is driven by the art of the possible.

If he cannot achieve enough to avert a Brexit, however, it’s going to be very hard to set the referendum question: in or out, or Dave’s in-between abstract mirage? We will know the phrasing of the question, however, when the Referendum Bill is published, possibly as early as this week. Then the real war of words will begin.

The phoney war of the In merchants continues in the meantime. The latest serial chairman to wave the EU flag from the Europhile ramparts is Richard Baker of Whitbread, Virgin Active and DFS Furniture.

Instead of promoting the EU, why doesn’t Baker consider the full financial effect on UK industry of EU legislation on the Social Chapter, of the huge costs on food derived from the CAP, the damage done to our farming industry, the working-time directive, the damage done by an over-zealous EU-driven health and safety culture on food transport, storage and preparation (based on rules set for the Mediterranean but not our northern climes), of the percentage of our VAT that goes straight through to Brussels and what-not else.

The implausible Baker was speaking to the British Retail Consortium, telling them to frighten their retail workers into losing their jobs selling goods to their fellow-UK citizens, unless they voted for the EU. How daft is that?

His contribution to the debate is worse than pathetic, it’s downright misleading and ill-informed. Please, Mr. Baker, go and stay in one of your Premier Inns for ’29 per night and snore your head off just like Lenny Henry in your hilarious adverts, and don’t wake up until it’s all over.

Beware these serial FTSE 100 chairmen who have been told to spread the gospel: they are part of a CBI rip-off network and need to be exposed about their day-job old-boy network, who often end up getting fired for something or other they knew nothing about, and collecting millions in compensation under their contracts, as they jump like crickets into their next FTSE 100 role with another parachute contract. British business, and the great British public, doesn’t need them.

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