Giscard D’Estaing seeks end to veto

I heard Giscard give a clever speech this morning to the GlobalVision/Telegraph conference. Apparently offering the UK special status, the true intent was to get rid of the UK’s veto on Treaty changes and to drive ahead with integration of defence and foreign policy before the Conservatives get into office.

When you have a veto you do not have to put up with anything you do not like. If you depend on opt outs you depend on the goodwill of other states to let you have them. I am just glad to hear EU professionals posturing ahead of a possible change of government in the UK – they seem to realise the easy times of pushing the Uk into any federal scheme they like will be over.

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

40 Comments

  1. Eddie Allen
    Posted September 8, 2008 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Calling for an end to national veto is a pathetically unveiled attempt to do away with our sovereignty altogether and is a whinging carping cry from federalists who want nothing but power to the bureaucratic swindlers in Brussels.

    This must be stopped if it is ever attempted with an immediate pull out by David Cameron of the EPP, a firm delivery of intent to scupper UK membership altogether with a referendum on our continued entry and a loud rebuff which says "offside".

    I thought Blair had given our veto's away at Lisbon already however ? – (not all of them – ed)

    I don't see a swap of veto's in return for nondescript "red lines" which are in essence and opt out as opposed to a big flat NO, are conducive to the sport of politics which is supposed to represent the views of the British people's wishes to hold the sovereign rights to keep saying no if and when it suits them.

    As for Giscard D’Estaing, he is a speaker at the Bilderberg Group, he lost public support within his own country, he returned (words left out -ed) to create the biggest constitutional fiasco ever imaginable with the unmitigated disaster "The Constitutional Treaty" noone could read and noone wanted even when they could read it, and he's got absolutely no ground to stand on to shout that Britian should have or not have anything at all !!

    What's up with these people, can't they keep their noses out of our business at all or is it some occupation I haven't heard of where you get paid massive amounts of non-taxable income for uttering diarrhea noone wants to hear ?

    (Comments about named individuals left out -ed)
    I'm wondering where William Hague is these days, I haven't heard a peep out of him since I saw him at the do ?

    Has he lost his voice or is he away taking French lessons ??

  2. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 8, 2008 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    JR: "they seem to realise the easy times of pushing the UK into any federal scheme they like will be over."

    I don't think so! Why should they take this view based on what little your party has said about our relationship with the Europe Union?

    • David Hannah
      Posted September 8, 2008 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      It's all academic. Lisbon will be a done deal by the time the Conservatives take over the provincial government. No pending ratification, no referendum; isn't that the official Tory position?

      As far as D’Estaing and his fellow travellers are concerned, Britain already has a special status. We pay the bills.

  3. Pete Chown
    Posted September 8, 2008 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Brian: the Tories have said that they will renegotiate Lisbon even though it has already been ratified by the UK. A party that was interested in joining lots of new federal schemes would not do that. I do agree, though, that it would be nice to hear a more detailed description of the kind of EU the Tories would like (or alternatively that they would like the whole organisation wound up).

    The single market is often held up as an EU policy that has worked, but I think the approach was wrong. Free trade should mean that you don't discriminate between foreign and domestic producers. For example, the British three-pin plug isn't used anywhere else in the world as far as I know, but this does not discriminate against foreign companies. Anyone in the world can manufacture three-pin plugs and import them into the UK, provided they meet the relevant safety standards. We have free trade in three-pin plugs even though they are only used in the UK.

    By contrast, the EU approach is to standardise everything. Soap is not like three-pin plugs, because there is a common standard that applies across the EU. If your soap preparation contains water, you must call it aqua, because the EU says so. If your soap will deteriorate six months after opening, you must show a "6M" symbol on the packaging, even though no one outside that industry knows what it means. If your soap is a bar, you must print the expiry date in a special way, so it is still legible even when people have washed their hands with it a few times.

    The whole thing is a designed-by-committee mess, and worse still, it is an affront to democracy, because voters don't get to decide how much of this red tape is appropriate in their country. Instead, wouldn't it be so much simpler if the EU countries just agreed to apply the same standards to foreign soap manufacturers that they apply to domestic ones? This is especially true because packaging has to be printed in the local language anyway, so you can't simply sell the same product EU-wide.

    • David Hannah
      Posted September 8, 2008 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

      While I am in no doubt about the sincerity of John Redwood’s position on these matters, the problem I have is that I have no confidence in David Cameron’s ability to deliver the necessary changes. I do not believe that he shares John Redwood’s point of view on the EU, despite the reassuring mood music. I know this, because one of David Cameron’s first acts as leader was to ditch the Conservative policy on the withdrawal from the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. If Mr Cameron believes that one of the most disastrous manifestations of EU decision making should be left in the hands of those responsible for the disaster (and this manoeuvre suggests that he does), then what chance of any other powers being repatriated? David Cameron could kill the Lisbon Treaty tomorrow if he really wanted to. A firm commitment to a post-ratification referendum would render Irish ratification politically impossible (as well as bolster resistance in Eastern Europe), so why doesn't he do it?

      We are being asked to place our trust in a leader whose views have not been articulated in terms any more more substantial than “we will not let matters rest there”. I’m afraid that the ‘it’ll be alright on the night’ approach doesn’t really fill me with any confidence. I cannot be expected to vote for vague assurances on the basis that said assurances sound more preferable than the status quo. Thus, I want to know precisely what (if anything) is up for renegotiation, and why fisheries have been excluded. I also want to know what action will be taken if (or rather, when) these negotiations fail; and why the Conservatives have hitherto regarded it important to offer the British people a referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon, but not on any of its preceding treaties (the chances are that many of us opposed to the Treaty of Lisbon are also opposed to the treaties of Rome, Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice). Thus, why no referendum on the nature of our relationship with the EU? The body of evidence suggests it's because of the answer we'll give.

      • Pete Chown
        Posted September 9, 2008 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        Presumably Cameron doesn't want us to leave the EU, and he knows that this might well be the outcome if Britain ditched Lisbon after everyone had ratified it.

        The readers of this blog are probably pretty eurosceptic, but in the country opinion has been behind EU membership until fairly recently. Even those people who are opposed to membership might be scared of making the change, if it seemed as though it might actually happen. This means that cutting the EU's powers is almost certainly a vote-winner for the Tories, but if they seem to be campaigning for Britain to leave, it could lose them the election.

        You can be sure that Brown would try to scare voters with this. "The Tories would take us out of the EU, costing us our largest export market, in the middle of a recession…"

        Tory policy on the Lisbon treaty suggests that they will be the most sceptical government since we joined the EU, and I'm happy with that (for now). I'd rather have the Tories in government, pledged to do most of what I want, than in opposition pledged to do all of what I want.

  4. Hal
    Posted September 8, 2008 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    The Conservatives are fully paid up members of the ruling political class that so recently ceded political power in the U.K. to Brussels. They proudly stand shoulder to shoulder with their brothers-in arms, the NuLab and LibDim partners. Please do not try to pretend otherwise.

    Reply: I take that as a personal insult. Try supporting those of us who do resist the extension of Brussels power.

  5. Ken Stevens
    Posted September 8, 2008 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Brian Tomkinson
    "..what little your party has said about our relationship with the Europe Union.."

    Oh, but we have been given a cast iron guarantee of a referendum.. subject to caveats.. or not at all, as the case may be at any given moment.

    Reply: We promised to vote for a refernedum, and voted for one, unlike the Lib dems and Labour. We will vote for one again – the Treaty cannot be ratified all the time Ireland holds out.

  6. Susan
    Posted September 8, 2008 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    And if Ireland succumbs to EU blandishments? What then for the UK? Our government has already signed, sealed and delivered us – I hope Brown chokes on his EU porridge on the morning Great Britain & N Ireland become a satellite state. The Conservatives have no cause to feel smug either since there's is the party that pushed us into this debacle in the first place. Why all this short-termism and concentration on self rather than country? Can politicians sniff no further than the trough? Mr Redwood, I take you as an exception – an honourable fish in the polluted waters of politics. However, knowing that doesn't help me or my family. If only DC could run such a blog as yours – it would help us gain insight and there are many who are unsure of his true political aspirations.

    I know the GE is, officially, not until 2010 but surely, given that the country is crying out for a change of direction, the Conservative Party could publish a Manifesto now given the turmoil in the Labour Party itself. I understand the reluctance to take office, given the state of the country, but the Conservatives, and we, have no choice so the sooner you get on with it, the better.

  7. Susan
    Posted September 8, 2008 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    So sorry, it should, of course, have read, 5th line down "their's".

  8. Freeborn John
    Posted September 8, 2008 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Giscard D’Estaing seems correct in identifying that the trajectory towards political union favoured by French & other Continental political elites is not one that British public opinion will live with. It seems to me that the challenge facing the UK is that the Continental federalists have a clear (if simplistic and undemocratic) idea of what they want but that we have a surplus of alternatives from which we seem unable to choose. We might for example seek any of the following:
    (i) to simply negotiate the return of as many powers as possible from Brussels, perhaps in multiple phases of negotiations/treaties,
    (ii) a reduced form of EU membership akin to the pre-Maastricht EEC, i.e. EEA membership but with voting rights on single market legislation,
    (iii) Norwegian-style EEA membership,
    (iv) Swiss-style EFTA+bilateral treaties,
    (v) NAFTA membership + Free Trade Agreement with the EEA/EU as per Canada & Mexico,
    (vi) etc.

    I feel a Conservative government needs to use its remaining time in Opposition to identify two positions, (a) a preferred relationship with Brussels that it could actively negotiate towards, and (b) a fallback position should re-negotiations with Continental partners break down. Frankly I would favour (v) as the fallback position at least but I wonder what negotiating position you believe the Conservative party might most easily be able to unite around and sell to the country?

  9. Man in a Shed
    Posted September 8, 2008 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    The problem with opt outs etc is what the EU means by them is delayed acceptance.

    If Britain can't direct the whole EU – using whats left of its veto – then the EU will direct Britian.

    Any opt outs issued to a future Conservative government will just be surrender by the next Labour government ( eg Social Chapter and EU Budget rebate ). The opt out route is just a ratchet to an EU superstate.

    PS Why doesn't someone ask Brown what we got for surrendering our "British Cheque" (drawn on our own money of course) a few years ago …

  10. mike stallard
    Posted September 8, 2008 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    We have, on this blog, discussed the fact that Europe is not England. It has little or no history of democracy. The European Parliament is framed to be toothless and it has no rough edges like our parliament. It is a power ploy for rich politicians to stay rich. And they are ruthless those European politicians.
    Daniel Hannan's blog tells us about this. And there was a fascinating little piece in the Telegraph where a mere teenage assistant to Nigel Farrage was persecuted by phone calls at 3.a.m. That is just mean. Like all those horrid little meanies collecting their unearned money from the pay-out caught on TV.
    It stinks.
    But, neverthless, I am hopeful about Giscard's attitude. I am hopeful about the Irish and their little plan for the Libertas party in the elections. I am hopeful that David Cameron will take a little time off from the economic disaster that he will face when (and if) he is elected, to make plain our distaste as a nation for the ghastly EU.

    • Puncheon
      Posted September 9, 2008 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Re Giscard – beware of Frenchmen bearing gifts…. as Virgil should have said.

  11. Eddie Allen
    Posted September 9, 2008 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    I know where people are coming from wanting clarity on this and to find out where the Conservative Party actually stands but let’s not forget they were the only party to want a referendum on Lisbon ( That’s one point ). However I can see no earthly reason why they chose not to vote for the LibDem bill which sought a referendum on IN or OUT, perhaps only that they knew a majority could not be achieved ? ( Point two ).

    Point three is the patently unclear position of “we’ll have a referendum if it’s not ratified”, “we think ( hope ) it won’t be ratified but if it is, we’ll “negotiate”. – What can they negotiate ?

    In order to negotiate they’d have to get 27 ministers together….impossible.
    Then they’d have to get the majority to agree with them ( about what when we already have red lines ) ?

    The situation I feel must be made clear here by David Cameron.

    a ) We do not want nor do we agree to the Treaty of Lisbon.

    b ) It matters not if it is ratified ( Ireland is sold a pigeon and capitualtes ), because we will not have it and will withdraw.

    c ) We will withdraw to the position we know we have a mandate for from the British people – EFTA.

    David Cameron should also make his mind up on whether EFTA is even warranted these days when we have a massive growing trade deficit which clearly proves we need to cut down on EU imports and find bigger trading areas without the restrictions placed upon us by this oligarchial non-elected, undemocratic bureaucratic federation of nonsense which hums a tune of free “global” trade whilst tapping its foot to a song of protectionism. “Either we’re global or we’re not global so which is it to be” ???

  12. Stephen Southworth
    Posted September 9, 2008 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    On the subject of re-negotiation of the British position, would it not be almost impossible to unpick the years of EU related Statutory Instruments and Acts/Treaties? Surely it would take as long to reverse the position as it did to arrive at the sorry mess we have at the moment? The option to simply repeal the originating 1972 Act sounds great, but surely the country would be thrown into chaos.

    If the above is a non-starter, how could we possibly re-negotiate our position with the EU without being stone-walled and/or endure literally decades of eurocratic delaying tactics.

    If Lisbon is ratified, the powers of the British people will be lost forever. I hope that the Conservatives will offer the British people what they so dearly want – the chance to vote for a free trade area without the Federal superstate.

    • David Hannah
      Posted September 9, 2008 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      'The option to simply repeal the originating 1972 Act sounds great, but surely the country would be thrown into chaos.'

      Quite the contrary! I do not regard government and legislation as being synonymous. European Union law is the root cause of much of the general malaise within our society. We are better rid of it. Thus, the deletion of 100,000 pages of bureaucratic regulations and other commitments will not result in wild horses galloping down our streets. Belgium survived recently despite the fact that they did not have a Government for over 100 days. Law was maintained, and Duvel was still on tap!

      In fact, without EU regulations and other obligations, we will be able to control our borders properly, deport foreign trouble makers with ease, and punish criminals without having to worry about their “human rights”. The vision for a future extra-EU Britain should be as follows. We will be able to adopt an energy policy that suits our needs, rather than pandering to the hysterical obsessions of our ruling elite from our candlelit homes. We will be able to restore weekly rubbish collections without our councils facing extortion. Our local councils will subsidise our rural Post Offices if they wish, and market traders will be able to sell goods to their customers in denominations that their customers want, without fear of prosecution. We will abolish the EU’s VAT and replace it with a genuine local sales tax. We will restore the virtues of the British justice system that the rest of the English-speaking world values, and rid ourselves of the EU’s creepy Corpus Juris, European Arrest Warrants and trials In Absentia. We will embrace free trade with the world, and restore our cultural links with the Commonwealth—and we’ll all be the richer for it! We can spend the first five years’ former EU budget contributions on building a national Maglev rail network, and the rest on tax cuts.

      Of course, that is not to say that the process of withdrawal would be easy. A widespread audit of all EU law would be required, on the premise that all of it would be repealed unless there is an overwhelming case for its retention, whereby it would be drafted as a new British law. Most EU law is bunkum, so it might not take so long.

      Also, a great deal of expertise in self government has been lost. Decades of outsourcing of our trade, environment, energy and foreign policies to an unaccountable polyglot bureaucracy has weakened the calibre of our civil service markedly, and it will take time to restore. The grand facade of our Westminster Parliament has become a hollowed-out edifice, devoid of the importance its stature suggests. The “mother of all Parliaments” cannot even legislate on what kind of light bulbs we shall use. It’s high time this was rectified and if anyone can do it, we can.

      • Eddie Allen
        Posted September 10, 2008 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        Very inspirational post there I have to say, and one I completely agree with. Well done !

        Also, to another poster, I agree there'd undoubtedly be political difficulty and a dogfight in parliament if the party emphatically said it would withdraw from Europe, but I don't think that needs to or even should be said.

        Clearly there is now a "problem" as earmarked already by Sarkozy, and numerous opponents of the Lisbon Treaty have also spoken. Czech Rep president for one and of course Cowen has an immediate issue of trying not to be the European black sheep whilst simultaneously getting the thing right for the Irish constitution.

        Noone in Britain is helping him make his mind up !

        There most recent poll conducted on the Irish having another referendum is 71% against and a swing to a further 16 points would vote NO if they were asked to do it again.

        From the commissioners question on the europa forum on what to do, ( check this link ) –
        http://forums.ec.europa.eu/debateeurope/viewtopic

        It is blatantly obvious the EU itself doesn't know which direction to take it, indeed it is ASKING the people to comment on it yet I hear no politicians raising THEIR voices.

        Please check the questions from the commission on the above link !!

        As the party ( TORY ), has already stated it's intention it now needs to shout up that the thing has turned into a complete farce and should go back to the drawing board because the EU don't know what to do and Ireland has been placed in an untenable position.

        There's NOTHING wrong with looking at it again, and there's no political loss to asking that question.

        If sufficient noise is made about it then others may raise their heads too, and my guess is the government would be seen even more undemocratic and unreasonable if they fought against a revisit of the treaty.

        I also think there are many problems caused now due to the recent Georgia fiasco, and I think many WANT to revisit it and would be glad if someone with a bit of sense and clout in politics ( an incoming government ), actually got the ball rolling for them.

        The next step simply has to be delay and no renegotiation would be necessary because it would be on the table for the Tories to do the actual negotiating due to parliamentary timing.

        Who knows, it could even start a general election !?

    • Eddie Allen
      Posted September 9, 2008 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      As I see it the Act only needs to include a passage to ensure the sovereign decision of parliament can never be removed by government. Hence a bill is required to ensure a treaty which negates a veto and rathcets up competencies without passing through parliament would be illegal and parliament would have to then "pick through" to make amendments where IT feels necessary, thus giving the points of negotiation mandate.

      OR, it could simply scrap the whole lot and return to EFTA whilst keeping what laws it wants to keep within our own parliamentary system along with bills it wants to keep and scrap any bills it doesn't.

      I don't think parliament should be put off either simply because the task seems daunting as that's just a red herring the Europhiles will use.

      I think a parliamentary committe chaired by Mr Redwood and / or Bill Cash and some others of course could look at it in the spirit of a "Root and Branch Review", saying as that's a neat catchy phrase being bandied about number 10 at the minute….LOL

      Hey Gordon, you know we really like this root and branch thing you mentioned !!

  13. Robert
    Posted September 9, 2008 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    It's all words with no promise. Unless the Conservatives pledge at the very least a referendum on Lisbon whether or not it is ratified at the next election then I will not be voting Conservative in my marginal Labour constituency.

    Under present circumstances I will not be voting for any of the main parties at the 2009 Euro election unless one of them breaks ranks on Lisbon.

    The EU has poisoned politics in this country and is bleeding us dry. We must have an end to it. It is up to the Conservatives to take the first step or alternatives weill have to be found.

    • mike stallard
      Posted September 9, 2008 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      We all know how the country feels about the ghastly EU.
      We suspect, too, that we know how David Cameron feels.
      My question is this:
      What is holding him back?
      I suggest fear of losing our new European friends and allies on whom, apparently, we depend for our armaments, our trade (we do nøt actually, but that's what they think), our safety under police and justice and our standards in food.
      I suggest that if the Europeans are crossed they will get furious. This fury will include Press Releases of the most unpleasant and very personal kind, furious (press covered) visits to London, secret threats, total isolation in Europe (Mrs Thatcher's No No No) and, possibly, a revolt within the cabinet.
      It is working in Ireland as we speak.
      I think this must be the kind of thing that he is thinking about.
      And, do nøt forget, he will, if elected, have to cope with one of the hugest debts of any nation in Europe, possibly the whole world.

  14. Puncheon
    Posted September 9, 2008 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    I am far too old to really worry about this personally, but what continental Europe has done to us with the EU is pretty well what we did to Ireland in the 18 century – colonised it in exchange for a few infrastructure projects. And we achieved it by bribing the Irish political class to agree to their demise- parallels there methinks. The results will be the same – impoverishement, economic exploitation and mass emigration. Not that I have any, but our grand-children and great grand-children will come to hate the UK political class that brought all this about.

  15. adam
    Posted September 10, 2008 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    On this blog we are anti european but a majority of people in this country are vaugely pro europe and many are are very pro europe.

    The best political strategy right now is surely to remain quiet and let Labour destroy themselves. Raising Europe would be a dangerous strategy and give new ammunition
    to the left.

    Once in government just bringing the juggernaught to a standstill would be a significant achievement after decades of integration.

    • David Hannah
      Posted September 10, 2008 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      I do not think that maintaining the status quo of 80% of our legislation emanating from an unelected, unaccountable bureaucracy, rather than 100%, to be any kind of achievement at all.

      BTW, I'm not anti European, just anti European Union – a very different thing altogether. Supporting the nation states of Europe in all their glorious diversity, and abhorring their liquidation by a vast polyglot kleptocracy, is pro-European in my book.

  16. David Eyles
    Posted September 10, 2008 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    This is a very short article, and yet the number and tone of the responses indicates, as it has done in every other article you have written about the same subject, that the matter is a serious one for many, many voters. Go to any other centre right blog and increasingly to places like the Guardian, and you will find the same.

    The only time I have seen a comprehensive outline of Tory policy on this was in your article of 31st July. Many times, I have seen acccusations of the Conservatives remaining supine on this issue, so it is quite clear that if Conservative party policy really is as you say it is, then David Cameron and William Hague need to come out and proclaim their policies loud, clear and repeatedly until the message sinks in.

    As things stand at the moment, many including myself, are concerned that thinking on this issue has stopped at shadow cabinet level because of poll complacency. Continued silence only reinforces this impression. Perhaps, Mr Redwood, you would like to give us an update?

    Reply: The Conservative party in Parliament voted against Lisbon throughout its stages, and voted for the referendum all parties promised. We will hold a referendum to ditch the whole thing if it is not in force when we come to office. If it is in force we will take other steps to get powers back and change our relationship with the EU.

    • David Eyles
      Posted September 12, 2008 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Thank you for that reply. Your last sentence in particular appears to leave the door open by just a smidge. But it reinforces the point of my comment that insufficient effort is being made by the leadership to clarify, loud, repeatedly and clearly the extent of that change in our relationship. Your reply also begs the question of what happens if a referendum is held in the UK and there is a 'No' vote. What happens afterwards?

  17. Eddie Allen
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Some of you may remember my saying ( on John's Lisbon Treaty speech notes to the right of his blog ), that I'd written to my MP recently ( third and latest occasion ), when I discovered Margaret Thatchers archives – gathered together from information and reports, memo's and such like under The Freedom of Information Act ?
    http://www.margaretthatcher.org/archive/heath-eec

    To cut a long story short, these records show recorded minutes meetings between President Pompidou of France and Prime Minister Ted Heath of the UK, held in 1971 to discuss the future entry of Britain to the then EEC. The files are marked Top Secret.

    The minutes show an intention of both parties to converge the political and economic directions of both countries rather like what we see today but with quite a bit said of a joint feeling that primarily economic detachment should be made with America as to paraphrase President Pompidou, "Billions are floating around the world looking for good investments, and our economies must have the ability to control it so we are not adversely affected" ( my words not his however they do sum up their intention ).

    They also, pointedly make the case for non-disclosure to any of each others parliaments, or to the German and Italian Parliaments or to America and indeed the outside world when issuing a jointly acceptable letter along with press statement, which "left out" the bits "We can't we've discussed prior to our meeting in Brussels because they ( other members ), would be suspicious".

    Some talk was also said about how to get acceptance by the British Public and obviously without giving the point of the "secret" talks away.

    So with this information I tackled my MP and asked what the governments position is, now knowing the British Public and all other country members had been misled by the Prime Minister Ted Heath, ( who later in his own memoirs admitted this ), and whether they like me felt this to have been treasonous.

    Quite a clear question I thought ?

    Today I received a reply following up an earlier acknowledgement of having received my letter ( email ), which has been given through the UK Minister of Europe Mr Jim Murphy.

    The letter is very comprehensive in stating "what's good about being in the European Union", however it does not address the issue of the British Public having been misled and whether this was a treasonous act by a Prime Minister.

    I don't intend to place its contents here except for the penultimate paragragh, which reads :-

    "Finally, I would like to assure Mr ________ that there is no question of a threat to British Sovereignty. The Lisbon Treaty makes clear that the European Union remains a bloc of 27 sovereign member states"

    ______________________________________________________

    Given this reply, which omits to answer both my questions of the British Public having been misled and of the ex Prime Minister Ted Heath having committed treason ( by acquiring consent of the expressed wishes of the sovereign people on the basis of a lie ).

    Clearly, it produces no grounds to say sovereignty has not been and is not now placed "under threat" when the Lisbon Treaty clearly gives agreement to a ratcheting up of competencies, jurisdiction over the law, acceptance of government of decisions made elsewhere by decision makers who I don't elect on the basis of majority voting, in matters of :-

    Foreign policy, legal jurisdiction, security, and domestic law, and a whole area of controls which will continue to be decided without the expressed wishes of the British Public.

    As far as I see it, the actions described above against my country in the first instance by the late Ted Heath amounted to a political coup d'etat, and the actions of my present government in its refusal to seek the expressed wishes of the people of Britain, makes its own actions complicit in that act, regardless of its opinion that our continuing entry to the European Union is "good" for Britain.

  18. Idris Francis
    Posted September 12, 2008 at 2:46 am | Permalink

    JR is absolutely right – promises and opt-outs from the EU are worthless, the last 36 years have been littered with them, all broken.

    These people are liars and cheats, and always have been, Giscard and many others not only admit but seem proud of the fact that they re-wrote the failed Constitution deliberately to make it unintelligible so that they could ram it through under another name.

    Rather than cut and paste a long comment I have just filed on Conservative Home on Gisccard's debate with Ruth Lea, the whole thing, covering how we have been lied to throughout and that the only safe place to be is outside the EU, not inside relying on promises, can be found at http://conservativehome.blogs.com/centreright/200….

    Filed at 1.10 am approx

    • Eddie Allen
      Posted September 12, 2008 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Well said Idris !

      "The majority wants integration to continue"

      I think he must have made a mistake.
      That sentence should read "The majority WANTED to join a common market".

      There has been NO popular vote since we were lied to by Heath and people should read Margaret Thatcher archives on this where it is clearly shown his intention was to dupe Joe Public into a federal superstate which he didn't bother telling us about or asking whether we wanted to join.

      Treason in short and a political Coup D'etat, which in no way qualifies it as "the majority wants to integrate further" etc etc.

      Whether there are other leaders of the sort who think to ignore the duty they hold to their own electorates is immaterial to the plain fact the British people were lied to, duped, spun a yarn, kept in the dark, call it anything you like except democracy.

      As for Giscard D’Estaing I care nothing of what he thinks or says. (words left out)

      He's a member of Bilderberg, he's out of politics, he's not elected by me and has no duty to me or to my sovereignty, my parliament or to my monarch.

      My window cleaner is more important to me than this guy and he should shut up.

      As for Lisbon I think people should read what Miliband has said today because clearly he wants to review our position in this botched conspiracy which is going nowhere without the expressed wish of the British people "alive today" who are no longer duped, have all the facts and data about how the country has been ripped off these last 35 years and will crush this brooding mass of treasonous political spouters as soon as they get the chance.

      Europhiles are marking time therefore, they are becoming a small sample of those who remain convinced it is right to ignore people and soldier on to Euro worship without a care, but they WILL care one day for themselves because everyone else will have gone home and left them in a place they frequent on their own.

      Reply: In 3 successive General Elections people have voted for the two Euroenthusiast parties, Labour and Lib dems, by a big margin.

  19. Eddie Allen
    Posted September 12, 2008 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    Miliband Breaks ranks on Europe
    http://news.uk.msn.com/Article.aspx?cp-documentid

    Passion for EU fading – Miliband
    Foreign Secretary David Miliband has admitted people's sense of commitment and passion for the European Union is "diminishing".

    Following the rejection of the controversial Lisbon Treaty by the Irish people, there was an opportunity to "reflect on the gap between support for the EU and its increasing relevance in the modern world", he said.

    But in terms of the institutional debate, "function and purpose" had to be put before EU institutions, he added.

    Mr Miliband repeated the British Government's position that there would be no question of "bulldozing or bullying" the Irish, adding there was an opportunity to "clarify and define the role of the EU" in the world.
    _______________________________________

    The Europuddlian Union needs a root and branch review I would say…….maybe change it to "An Alliance" of friends instead of a dictatorship ?

    But surely this is just Labour doing its normal lie to win support from Eurosceptics ?

    Maybe they can't do that anymore because everyone knows they are liars and traitors and wouldn't vote for them if they were the only party on earth ?

    Maybe Miliband is a plonker of the highest order like the rest of his shower ?

  20. Idris Francis
    Posted September 12, 2008 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    To: irfrancis@onetel.com
    Subject: [John Redwood MP] New Comment On: Giscard D’Estaing seeks end to veto
    Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2008 02:37:11 -0700

    There is a new comment on the post “Giscard D’Estaing seeks end to veto”.
    http://www.johnredwoodsdiary.com/2008/09/08/giscard-destaing-seeks-end-to-veto/

    Author: David Eyles
    Comment:
    Thank you for that reply. Your last sentence in particular appears to leave the door open by just a smidge. But it reinforces the point of my comment that insufficient effort is being made by the leadership to clarify, loud, repeatedly and clearly the extent of that change in our relationship. Your reply also begs the question of what happens if a referendum is held in the UK and there is a ‘No’ vote. What happens afterwards?
    =========================
    I have just added this

    In response to David Eyles’ reply to JR, on what happens if a referendum is held in Britain and the answer is NO (as it inevitably will be)

    Whether in a second referendum in Ireland or a first in Britain, the Lisbon Treaty simply cannot formally come into effect after a No vote, and even the EU would not have the chutzpa to try again. What they will certainly do however is to continue what they have shamelessly been doing since even before the French and Dutch rejected the Constitution, ie putting all the component parts of the Constitution – High Representative, embassies around the world, etc etc – in place piece-meal.

    When challenged that they have no legal basis to do this, they either bluster and ignore the complaint, or point at some dusty paragraph in existing Treaties that can be twisted and distorted to give some semblance of authority for what they are doing.

    While in principle therefore the rejection of Lisbon would leave in place all the existing Treaties unamended, in practice we will get the Constitution whether we like it or not, but spread over some years instead of the planned big bang. Indeed, I remain mystified why, after 50 years of incremental success using the ratchet method, the EU decided to go for the remaining piece of the State jigsaw, the Constitution, in one big bang rather than by deceit and fraud as usual. The answer surely lies in part with the architect of the Constitution, Giscard, who is known to have wanted his Constitution to be seen as equivalent to that of the USA, and see himself go down in history alongside the drafters of that immeasurably shorter and better document. In other words, hubris on a grand scale.

    If however Lisbon is fully ratified by the time Cameron becomes PM – and I can see nothing to stop him now – all existing Treaties cease to exist, and what is now the status quo will not be available to return to if we were to hold a retrospective referendum and vote no.

    In this sense and this sense only, Cameron is right to point to the difficulty – or what he and Hague imply to be the impossibility- of holding a retrospective referendum. However, under our Constitutional principle that No Parliament may bind its successor, Cameron is clearly wrong to say that we would not be able to hold a referendum – indeed that is precisely what Wilson DID in 1975, and the effect of a No vote then would have been that Parliament would simply have repealed the ECA1972 and we with one bound we would have been free. Indeed Wilson’s 1975 leaflet stated “Fact No. 3. The British Parliament in Westminster retains the final right to repeal the Act which took us into the Market on January 1, 1973. Thus our continued membership will depend on the continuing assent of Parliament.

    In Constitutional terms therefore – and I can copy at least 3 Parliamentary statements from the last 10 years confirming this – there is no doubt whatever that Cameron CAN hold a retrospective referendum. The issue then becomes a referendum on precisely what, and what the consequences of the vote would be.

    Let’s be perfectly clear about one thing – whatever the formal referendum question, the referendum itself would INEVITABLY be on whether we stay in the EU or leave, not only because the pre-Lisbon status quo would not be available to return to, but because the europhiles know perfectly well that while they would have no chance whatever of winning a referendum to approve the Lisbon Treaty per se, their only chance of winning any referendum on our relationship with the EU would be to warn throughout the campaign that voting no to Lisbon would mean leaving the EU altogether – and in that they would surely be right. The difference is that they would portray that step as an economic and political disaster while we have to be ready and determined to portray it as salvation. Incidentally, the LibDems started preparing the ground for such a campaign a year ago, as we have all seen.

    The real problem however, as has been made clear here, is that no one has the slightest idea what Cameron and Co would do if when they take office after Lisbon has been ratified. Further, they have made it clear that they have no intention whatever of telling us what they will do. Hague has said darkly “we would not let matters rest there” and JR says here “If it is in force we will take other steps to get powers back and change our relationship with the EU.” but (at least from Hague) this is meaningless waffle intended to reassure without making any committment. The same applies (with respect) to JR’s words, though I realise that he has to toe the party line in this respect.

    My personal position is therefore absolutely clear – I simply do not trust Cameron and Hague to hold a retrospective referendum, still less to do so while calling for a NO vote. Instead I expect to see a deja vu re-run of Wilson’s pretended renegotiations that fooled me and the 1/3 of the population that changed its mind during the 1975 referendum into believing that we should stay. But that was then and now is now – another devious and dishonest campaign like that of 1975 will not work.

    Nor, as previously, do I accept the slightest possibility of any meaningful and lasting concessions in response to “other steps to get powers back and change our relationship with the EU.”. Sorry, but that is not what the EU has been plotting for 50 years and they are not going to change their minds once Lisbon is in place. The only way such demands can work is to accompany them with the explicit threat that unless we get what we want, we will leave, and then when they refuse, as they certainly will, carry out that threat.

    Of course leaving now will be much more complicated than it would have been in 1975 – but it takes much less time to repeal laws than to make them! In any case, to those who
    say that leaving now would be too difficult, my answer is that the question is not “Is it difficult?” but “Is it necessary?” Dunkirk, D-Day and the Falklands were all difficult, but they were necessary and we did them. Ditto the EU can of worms.

    If Lisbon has been ratified by the time, Cameron takes over he will have to decide what to do. There is only one opportunity available to us to express clearly and unambigously our determination to leave the EU, and to do so free of the complications of the whole range of other political issues, including choosing the next government, and that is to vote in the June 2009 European elections for a party whose unequivocal policy is to leave the EU.

    • mikestallard
      Posted September 12, 2008 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Do you really think that, with all the other things to do – economy in serious difficulties, police reform, education reform, the NHS, Social Services and the Welfare State – that Mr Cameron, if he is elected, and it is a real if too – wants to talk about the EU?
      I suspect he is hoping the whole thing will go away and not split the party during a time of trial.

  21. Idris Francis
    Posted September 12, 2008 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Oops. sorry John – my computer lost the whole of my posting but I had just copied it into an email to a friend. When I cut and pasted it back here I accidentally left in the material at the top – please delete the first part up to "I have just added!

    cheers

    Idris

  22. Lindsay Jenkins
    Posted September 12, 2008 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    I am puzzled.

    Did Ruth Lea invite Giscard here? If not who did?

    And what on earth did she and or they hope to achieve?

    Giscard is a known quanity. Opt outs are a known quantity – his angle was predictable – indeed for what it is worth I posted it on the Telegraph before he spoke.

    Whose money was wasted on the airfare and on the no doubt very good lunch?

  23. Susan
    Posted September 12, 2008 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    With regard to the EU and the EC, I may have hammered on in the past but the fact remains that we need a referendum, not on the Lisbon Treaty but on whether we wish to be a part of a united Europe with harmonised taxes, armed forces, a 3-tier police force etc. Labour has taken us so far down the path, and the Trade Unions are very pro-EU because they think 'strength in solidarity'.

    Where is our way out, Mr Redwood? We need to regain our right to independence of nationhood and spirit – why is it so wrong to think of a Great Britain & N.Ireland as independent and strong?

  24. Andrew Holton
    Posted September 19, 2008 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    It is a wonderful one the argument of Labour's that we cannot leave the EU because 60% of our trade is with them. Are we not in the WTO I ask?

    • Pete Chown
      Posted September 19, 2008 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Because our trade negotiations are done through the EU, I always assumed that the individual countries were not in the WTO, just the EU as a block. I was going to reply and say that, but it turns out that I was wrong. 🙂

      Why is no one else making the point you just made? We could leave the EU and we would still have access to most of the single market, because WTO rules would make it illegal to exclude us.

    • mikestallard
      Posted September 19, 2008 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Government figures are suspect – as ever.
      Open Europe has said that we are net losers in European trade in that we import more than we export to Europe. The figures are somewhere round the 54-46% mark as I remember. I am uncomfortable with exact figures here, of course, because it depends what you count. Banking? Artwork? E Bay?
      But I trust Open Europe when it says that they ought to be begging us, not the other way round. By the way, my son in law works on a Norwegian oil rig. Believe me, there is life in Europe outside the EU!

  25. Idris Francis
    Posted September 19, 2008 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Most will remember the infamous "3.5m jobs depend on EU membership" claim made when Blair, Brown, Heseltine, Clarke, Kennedy etc launched Britain in Europe (now deceased) at thye Imax Cineman. Some may remember that the author of the NIESR report on which that claim was based publicly boycotted the launch because of what he described as the "Goebells-like spin" applied to his work by BiE – despite he, Martin (?) Wheal being a self-confessed Europhile.

    His report, commissioned by BiE in the expectation that it would support their view, was on the economic consequences of leaving the EU. I still have a paper copy but have not been able to find it on the web for years, but it may still be available from NIESR.

    The Executive Summary states that while there are some 3.5 m jobs involved in trade with the EU (pressumably import as well as export) there is no reason to believe that they would be lost if we left. Their estimate was 50,000 to 175,000 jobs lost, but only briefly while we adjusted to the new circumstances.

    At much the same time the IoD published a report, which I still have, pointing out the "Rotterdam Effect", that much of the claimed 60% exports to the EU was shipped to the huge container ports at Rotterdam and Antwerp for onward shipping to the rest of the word – but included in that 60%, so the REAL ratio then was more like 42% – and I recall pointing that out to the Midlands Bank of England Speaker at a Malvern debate when he claimed 60% – a figure he was totally unable to explain or justify!

    It may be that in the last few years the new members of the EU have increased that %, – but on the other hand the massive growth in the Far East must have reduced it. The long term trend is clear – the EU's share of world trade is in inevitable long term decline.

    In any case, whether 40% or 60%, that is only the % of exports, some 20% of our GDP, as 80% of our trade is still internal and a similar proportion of our businesses is never involved in import or export, but have to put up with regulation.

    The late Peter Shore agreed with my point from the floor at a meeting, saying that the only valid reason for the "Common Market" early on was the 30/40/50% tariff levels, but now that the WTO sets maximum levels around 3%, that reason had completely disappeared.

    Even the EU admits that the cost of regulations of the single market exceed any possible benefit by a factor of 3 or 4 to 1, and I for one, as a former exporter, would cheerfully pay a 3% tariff in exchange for being freed from the regulations.

    In any case, the EU would (will) never dare apply tariffs to our exports, as we buy more from them than we sell to them, so the result of tariffs being applied (tit for tat, both ways) would be a net gain for us.

    There can be no doubt whatever that leaving the EU will not much affect the volume of trade, but would be massively beneficial in cost and competitveness terms. Quite apart from the other benefits of democracy, freedom, independence and getting out from under the totalitarian regime that is being erected

  26. Zook
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    great post, thanks for providing so much. Keep up the good posts.! http://www.hoover-f5914900.com

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page