That bastion of financial and accounting ethical rigour (that has not I hear balanced its books for at least 16 years) has fined the UK a mere £160 million for financial irregularities.

These fines relate to the financing of regeneration programmes since 1997. Part of this is the European Regional Development Fund, the plan to break the UK up into EU regions, coupled with Interreg funding things like the new map, the Transmanche Atlas, which shows part of England as a part of France and the English Channel renamed as ‘Le Pond’, a small inland waterway. (The French ‘La Manche’ means I believe the Sleeve, and the Germans call it the ‘Armekanal or ‘Sleeve Channel’. So why we want to rename it again is beyond me.) The 'regionalisation' programme was comprehensively dismissed by UK voters despite John Prescott's best efforts.

The European Court of Auditors found that the UK had breached procurement rules, had not kept the proper paperwork and could not provide evidence of justification as to how and why the money was spent.

For an organisation that has been unable, through misspending and fraud, to balance its own books for 16 years to come out and throw a charge of financial irregularity at the UK beggars belief.

However well founded these assertions are we should treat them with the contempt they deserve. OK, so it’s technically EU money involved here, but as net EU contributors it was actually our own money returned to us via a very expensive and corrupt circuitous route.

Maybe the EU should start by balancing its own books properly before taking money from member countries and spreading it around and then having the gall to demand proper accounts in return.

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