We are nearly a month into the referendum campaign and despite the ‘Remain’ activists – henceforth to be known as the Remainians – having fired every bullet they have, the ‘Leave’ side are holding up well.
But now, despite derisory achievements in David Cameron’s renegotiation, the Prime Minister has now pulled a rabbit out of the hat.
At the St Patrick’s Day summit in Brussels the other leaders agreed to remove the tampon tax.
A British victory. Wow. It is true that UKIP proposed a removal of the 5 per cent VAT charge on tampons in our general election manifesto. It is an issue that the Labour Party and others picked up.
We wrote this with the intention of showing the impotence of the UK government over every day issues that affect people’s lives. Clearly we struck a chord.
So how much of a victory has David Cameron achieved with the other leaders agreeing to remove this charge?
If you take a step back and look at the very picture of a British Prime Minister having to beg to remove tax on tampons it shows clearly the extent to which we have ceded control of our nation.
Once we were a great country and now we have been reduced to this. I am not sure that the irony of this really gets to our PM who is desperate to claim any victory that he can.
But will this really happen? As we pursued our manifesto pledge, one of our Members of the European Parliament Louise Bours put in a written question to the European Commission in June of last year.
She simply asked whether it was legally possible to remove VAT on tampons.
In a long, rambling answer there was a key sentence: “introducing zero VAT rates for sanitary items would not be in line with the VAT directive”. I think I had better send Mr Cameron a copy of this letter.
So what will happen next week is that the European Commission will introduce amending legislation to remove VAT on tampons. Whether this is just an amendment or a wholesale reworking of the massively complex VAT directive remains to be seen. Time pressures would suggest the former. The legislation then needs to go through the committee stage of the European Parliament and then be subjected to a full vote of the plenary in session.
Even if all of this goes swimmingly and it comes back to the European Council for approval there is a problem. Indeed it is the same problem that Dave’s emergency break and the promise of our exclusion from political union will face. It is called the European Court of Justice.
If the legal advice of the European Commission in correspondence with Louise Bours is correct then the removal of the tampon tax may well be struck down and this great triumph for British democracy turned to dust.
We have sunk so low as a nation that we cannot control the tax rates on every day items. And we beg foreign bureaucrats politicians and courts help us.
I want my country back.