A series of unofficial strikes broke out across Britain today over plans by oil companies to give jobs to construction workers from Portugal and Italy. The contractors were to work on the giant £200m Lindsey oil refinery at North Killingholme, North Lincolnshire.
The basic background is that any contract over a certain size must be put out to tender right across the European Union. If a foreign company, employing foreign labour, makes the best tender, then they get the job. There's no way that, in Gordon Brown's words, we can have "British jobs for British workers". Because the EU rules simply say that we can't.
This is bad enough of course but think about what happens next. Alistair Darling is talking about spending tens of billions, perhaps hundreds of billions, on infrastructure projects, shiny new trains, lots more windmills, perhaps a Severn Barrage and so on. And yes, part of the argument for this is to pull us out of the recession, to create jobs so that we don't have millions upon millions of people languishing on the dole.
And it will be us taxpayers who have to pay for all of this of course. It might be paid for by borrowing now, but the bill will come home in the future.
Ah, yes, you've spotted it. We want to spend this money so as to provide those British jobs for British workers. That's the whole Keynesian idea of a fiscal stimulus, of the infrastructure building. But under the EU rules, we can't make these jobs only for the British. They have to be advertised right across the EU.
So what we'll end up with is, as Godfrey Bloom has pointed out, "British taxes for foreign workers".
It's about time we left, don't you think, and we ran our economy for us?