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ON THE HOUSE: John Penrose MP

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IT was one of those moments which remind you why you're involved with a particular cause or project in the first place. In my case the cause is trying to make Britain – or at least Weston-super-Mare – a slightly better place, by getting involved in politics.

And the moment was when Cameron came home from Brussels with a cut in the EU budget. Not a freeze; or a small rise; or some kind of euro-fudge which could mean anything to different audiences in each country. A genuine, honest-to-goodness "it'll cost less next year in anybody's money" reduction.

Most people thought it was impossible. We'd be isolated, they said. Our influence would be fatally weakened, they wailed. But, instead, we found lots of friends who felt the same way.

Broadly speaking the protestant countries of northern Europe thought it couldn't be right, when voters are tightening their belts right across Europe, for Eurocrats to be the only people getting a whopping great budget increase.

So the Prime Minister has delivered an important victory. He's established the principle that thrift should matter in Brussels just the same as everywhere else, and shown that we can win arguments and allies at the heart of Europe without giving away the store.

He's come up with the goods when the chips were down, and his personal stock has never been higher.

Now put your umbrella up, please, because I'm about to rain on my own parade.

Even though winning in Euroland is wonderful, and long overdue, it's much less important than the journalists and political correspondents make it sound.

Most of us think Europe is annoying and frustrating, granted, but we care about lots of other things more.

Like fixing the health service; or growing the economy; or getting rid of our eye-wateringly large Government deficit; or improving our schools; or cutting crime; or getting immigration under control. Pretty much everything, really.

So, while we're all celebrating this historic cut in the EU budget, the Government has to get on with the rest of the job.

Top football managers are already plotting their next victory while the fans and players are still celebrating the last one, and the same rule applies here too.

Every team is better after a win, for sure; our share of the 80 billion Euro savings will come in handy for a start. But the best move would be to tuck it away and move on.

So: how are those crime figures looking…?

 

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