Response to Eurosceptics

So many of you do not grasp the reality of the situation, and then lash out against people most likely to sympathise with your views. I voted No in the referendum of 1975, and have ever since tried to get the political classes to accept that British people only voted for a common market, not for an ever more powerful EU government. That is why I support powers back, a sensible set of trade arrangements, and a referendum to ensure the popular will is affirmed. As a democrat I have to accept the will of the people in a referendum, unless and until that is reversed by another referendum. This has all proved impossible in recent years because we have had a succession of Parliaments with Euroenthusiast majorities, chosen for whatever reason by the British electorate.

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58 Comments

  1. Disorganised1
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    I voted Yes in the 1975 referendum , but would now like to change my mind. The EU has developed exactly the way Tony Benn predicted it would at the time.

    Like many others I voted for a trading organisation, not a political union.

  2. John Broughton
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    The electorate have not deliberately voted for euroenthusiastic parties/parliamentary majorities but have had little choice given the candidates offered to them by the mainstream parties. The given being that parties such as UKIP are simply not credible – yet.

    This, as you well know, was compounded when parties offering a constitutional referendum reneged on their promises just as DC broke his cast iron promise. The courts having decided that election manifestos are not enforceable we are left with no redress.

    When the overwhelming will of the electorate is flouted by all the parties it is no wonder so many voters abstain.

  3. oldrightie
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Good for you John.

  4. Tapestry
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Is the promise of a referendum on losses of sovereignty cancelled?

  5. pipesmoker
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Sir James Goldsmith gave the people of this country their opportunity in 1997 and driven by party loyalties, with the exception of around one million, they didn't rise to the occasion so they deserve their fate in the EU.

    Why would Parliament be realistic about membership when there are so many job and pension opportunities for those who fail to get elected by the people of this country and after a spell there get a seat in the House of Lords.

    It sucks!

  6. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    But in advocating the repeal of the Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties, I did not ask about the current parliament. I asked how we were going to get what we want into the NEXT Conservative manifesto. I accept that if you try and prevail, the coalition might collapse, but in any event it is necessary for both the Conservatives and LibDems to separate about a year before the election, in order to re-establish their own identities. We can not go into a Gereral Election proposing a continuation of coalition.

    I will concede that you are doing far more than I am. But I am not an active politician. If I were to attempt it, I would be told that a 20 stone Glasgow born male was not Cameron short list material – not to mntion the threat of divorce.

  7. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    The problem is that the referendum confirming membership of the Common Market has been used by successive governments to surrender more and more of our sovereignty to what is now called the European Union. The very way in which the name of this anti-democratic organisation has changed from Common Market to European Economic Community to European Union illustrates the endless movement to the formation of a European super state. This ultimate destination has been denied by all politicians since Heath betrayed us and lied about the true purpose and consequences of joining the Common Market. Today we have a coalition government in which the junior party is rabidly pro-European and the majority party is said to be Eurosceptic. Regrettably, there is little evidence to support the supposed position of the majority party i.e. the Conservatives and many of us fear that rather than stopping further integration we have yet again another government which will, without seeking the permission of those who have temporarily entrusted our sovereignty to them, continue down the relentless road of integration and surrender of what sovereignty remains available to the people of the UK.

    • Derek Buxton
      Posted August 3, 2010 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      The rush to apply more EU rules is already happening, the EIO for example which May "opted" into. Don't listen to the talk, watch the actions, that is why I did not vote for Cameron's party although that was what I normally did in the past. Now I have no one to vote for..

  8. Cliff
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    From what I have read on here, it appears people grasp completely the reality of the situation.
    The "referendum" of which you speak, was about a common market, a trading block….There was no mention of a centralist political union which is what we now have…..So as a democrat, you would be justified to fight against further political integration into the EUSSR as it was never mentioned nor put to the public..
    The problem with the modern party system, a la Blair/Cameron, is that it does not allow debate within the parliamentary party; You are either with the leader and agree with him 100% or you are "not one of us."
    Sadly for many of us, the longer politicians put off a referendum, the more likely the politicians are to get a yes to the EUSSR. Kids are being brainwashed by our education/indoctrination system to be pro EUSSR and pro socialism.

    • SJB
      Posted August 3, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      The 1975 Referendum Pamphlet mentioned the aims of the Common Market:
      bringing together the peoples of Europe; raising living standards and improving working conditions; promoting growth and boosting world trade; helping the poorest regions of Europe and the rest of the world; maintaining peace and freedom. Much more than just a trading bloc, Cliff. http://www.harvard-digital.co.uk/euro/pamphlet.ht

  9. forthurst
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    OK, so our essays have just been returned annotated in red ink, "Stop crying for the moon!"

    The question is, "Why do our parliamentary representatives persistently vote against the wishes of their electorates?"

    Tell us, John, how representative of Conservative voters are those that drew up the 'A' list? How representative are the constituency parties that had been able to select candidates? How representative are those very generous party donors, or put another way, "what did they want for their money?"

    What we have is a travesty of democracy, not only in the processes in which our representatives are selected and encouraged to vote: in so many areas in our national life including the education, media, and the law, effective control of the discourse has been appropriated by like thinking individuals who will freeze out anybody who would not conform and think like a typical Conservative, who by the way males up the majority of the intelligent people in this country.

  10. FaustiesBlog
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Again, you are wrong, JR.

    Most of us do grasp the reality of politics today. I.e., it doesn't matter how we vote – we get more EU integration anyway.

    Perhaps what you have to learn is that your power as an MP is zilch. It doesn't matter what the people want – the EU will win.

    … unless you MPs get creative.

    Failing that only a revolution will restore our sovereignty and democracy.

  11. Autonomous Mind
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    John, respectfully, while you support powers back, a sensible set of trade arrangements, and a referendum to ensure the popular will is affirmed, the reality is your party leader (our PM) and his senior team do not.

    You may very well claim to accept the will of the people, but David Cameron will not give people the opportunity to express their wishes. In May this year many people believed they were voting for a Conservative party that would stop any further expansion of EU power. Events over the last 11 weeks have demonstrated that the Eurosceptic noises made to court votes from frustrated voters were a deception.

    The Conservatives will not be trusted again. They have made the mocking name Blue Labour a reality.

  12. Freeborn John
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    No-one is blaming you John. I have only voted Conservative once in a general election in my life. If Cameron had been serious about returning powers from Brussels I would have voted for him. But he wasn't. He didn't deserve my vote and he didn't deserve a majority. The country wanted Brown out but not cast-iron Cameron. That is what May 6 was about.

    The next election will be about getting rid of Shameron. There is no difference between him and Milliband as far as I can see. Nobody from the LibLabCon will get my vote, even 2nd preference.

  13. Socrates
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    We won't get fooled again" as the philosopher Townshend put it, does rather sum up the stance of many Eurosceptics.

    The debate over PR/AV voting system does highlight the democratic dilemma for those who feel that they have been had politically.

    Firstly there is the problem of whether to vote for a party or against one.

    Supposing that you wish to vote for a party, say in Labour terms, would you be voting for Michael Foot or Roy Jenkins. Translating that into Conservative terms for example Margaret Thatcher or Edward Heath.

    The second problem is the weight given to the alternative or further preference. In both STV and AV the next alternative, if it is counted, has the same value as the first preference which does not seem to reflect reality. The enthusiasm fro a party being expressed by a further vote is not equal to the original vote otherwise it would have been the first preference.

    I have always believed that it is best to be able to vote for one person in a straight choice against others of differing opinions.

    To a(n) Eurosceptic, voting Tory is often an unknown. I have no idea whatsoever what my Tory MP's stance is on Europe. Indeed, I feel that CCO would feel that it's censorship of election addresses had failed miserably, if it allowed anyone to tell.

    Followers of Townshend won't get fooled again – they just won't take the chance of discovering that they have voted for a reincarnation of the Grocer by voting Conservative unless they know the candidates views personally.

    The Tory Party hierarchy are determined not to have candidates whose opinions are known, and preferably ones who don't actually have any in the first place, so that they will do as they are told. In the end it isn't very surprising that Cameron secured, in round numbers, a good 3,000,000 less votes than Margaret Thatcher in any General Election.

    Actions will speak louder than words. It has to be said that Theresa May's choosing to opt into part of the EU plans for criminal justice is not a good start.

    • Alan
      Posted August 3, 2010 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Maybe the reason you do not know your MP’s views on the EU is that he sees no point in telling you: if his is a safe seat the views of the electorate are of little importance to him compared to the views of influential people in his local party and at the national level. It is they who will determine his future, not his electorate.

      Whether or not AV is a good voting system, it does have the effect of changing a lot of ‘safe’ seats into marginal ones. That gives more power to the electorate than to the party. If you want your MP to think your views are of importance then vote for AV. If you want him to go on ignoring you, vote for First past the post.

  14. Mark
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    The reality seems to me to be that there is a slight but clear Eurosceptic majority in the country, but most voters don't rate the issue very highly alongside our economic woes or the impact of poorly controlled immigration, which topped the issues most worrying voters during the election. It is a good argument to make that both those issues are adversely affected by EU regulation, but there aren't so many that are prepared to invest the effort in understanding cause and effect. That makes for a frustrating time for those who do take the trouble to understand the issues.

    Of course, matters are not helped by having party machines that see MEP and Commissioner as an alternative career to Westminster. There is a tendency to suppress Eurosceptic candidates that trades on the fact that the public doesn't place Europe high on their personal agendas, much as with capital punishment.

  15. English Pensioner
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Which is possibly why the Conservatives did not secure a majority in Parliament. How many Tory voters either didn't bother to vote, because on this issue there is nothing to choose between the various party leaderships, or , like me, voted for UKIP (although in my case it could only be a protest vote in view of the huge majority of our sitting MP, of whom I have nothing against other than he doesn't have a blog!)
    .

  16. Chris W
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    I don't think anyone is lashing out at you personally, I can't find any comments that criticize your stand on the EU issue.
    But I think that in blaming the voters for electing a euroenthusiast parliament you have misplaced the blame and touched a very raw nerve. The 'reality of the situation' for me – and I think for others – is that the voters have been deliberately and explicitly denied a vote on the issue.
    That's not your fault of course, but why are you trying to deflect blame for the vagaries of the voting system and the limited choices it allows back to the public?
    As a result you are of course seeing a groundswell of genuine anger and frustration. It's mostly directed at those MPs who pretend they have the moral authority for their euroenthusiasm and at your party leader who has already broken his already feeble electoral promises on the issue but it's strength is surprising isn't it!

    • SJB
      Posted August 3, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      Surely if the public were as angry as you and others suggest then why have we not seen any demonstrations? The Countryside Alliance managed to get four million people to march in London to protest about the (then) proposed ban on fox hunting and anti-Iraq War demos got a million plus on the move. It seems to me that most of the anti-EU sentiment comes from people aged 55+.

  17. Patrick F.
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Won't euroscepticism be a bit quaint in 15 or so years time when China (1 billion +), USA, India (1 billion +), Japan, Russia, and so on dominate the world economic stage.
    I'm off to learn Mandarin … See you.

    • Kevin Peat
      Posted August 3, 2010 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      I can't see how being a powerless satellite of a corrupt and unaccountable superstate will make our position any better.

  18. Amanda
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    What is the purpose of this, and the previous post, John. You know as well as anyone, that the Conservatives did not get a majority, because of their 'pro-EU' stance. You know many a Tory vote was obtained for hatred of Labour, not for any conviction about Cameron – whose promise, by the way, was no more power to the EU, and getting some back – hardly a pro-EU endorsement.

    You have only to look at the last EU elections; or the Stuart Wheeler organized vote to see the way of the wind. If the EU thought it would win a UK referendum, it would have one in a trice !!!

    The only way to know the wished of the British people is a referendum on the EU. The election was no substitute for it. But, you know this, so why these posts?

    And, by the way, my vote in 1975 was a positive one, I was for the Commonwealth, rather than the Common Market. Any vote now would be totally against a tyranny, not one of us non-politicians has ever voted for.

  19. Norman
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    What do you suggest we do? I did my bit in the election and the Conservatives couldn't win, when all the cards were stacked in our favour. The Conservative Party will never have a chance to win as easy an election as the one we just had.

    We now have a Party of 306 'Eurosceptic' MP's who are not only completely incapable of taking powers back from Europe, not only totally incapable of stopping giving more power to Europe, they are actively giving away more powers.

    In the words of one of the forerunners of the EU president, 'What is to be done?'

    It's no criticism of you, if their were 305 more (heck, if there were 50 more) John Redwood's in the Conservative Parliamentary Party we'd be in a lot better shape.

  20. JimF
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    "That is why I support powers back, a sensible set of trade arrangements, and a referendum to ensure the popular will is affirmed."
    In these you are at odds with your party line. This really doesn't matter if there are no other parties which represent your views or if the issue is relatively minor. Clearly these issues aren't minor, and there are alternative parties for whom these are core policies.
    The question is whether a possible major change in British sentiment away from the EU in future will propel a Eurosceptic Tory leader into place before UKIP can themselves self-propel into threatening the Tory middle-England vote. This is an open question, but I'd have thought AV will make the latter scenario more likely than now, so will vote pro-AV.

  21. Alan Jutson
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps one of the main Parties will soon realise how powerful a simple statement like. " We will guarantee to hold a referendum on our continued membership of the European Community in three years" will be.

    If and when any Party does this, then they can reckon on a sizable number of increased votes.

    Sorry to be boring with the same old argument , but in this last election it was anyone but Brown as the priority for most of us.

    I cannot for the life of me understand what the large political parties are afraid of, surely it is in all of their interests to represent the majority, if the majority want to stay in (the proper question must be asked this time) then the argument is closed and we can all move on.

    If DC does not come up trumps this term, then another Party (perhaps Lib Dems or Labour) just might.

    It seems so bloody simple.

    • THE ESSEX GIRLS
      Posted August 3, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      David Cameron has gained the praise of many with his plain-speaking and hard-hitting comments on Pakistan. He has basked since in self-ordained 'I say it as it is' credentials.

      Without raining on the PM’s parade why cannot he be persuaded by colleagues to adopt the same policy on countries far nearer home and closer to the interests of the Conservatives who put him on the world stage?

      Why Mr Cameron won't you castigate your European partners who continue to waste billions of your taxpayers' pounds on maintaining a vast and wasteful bureaucracy unsuited to the trading world of today and tomorrow?

      Why are you supporting the new network of enormously costly European Foreign Offices throughout the world?

      Perhaps the contributions from this site can be used to good purpose John?
      as we quote from the open letter from DC and Mr Clegg to colleagues today:

      "Whatever the options on the table, whatever the decision to be made, the same questions must be asked: will it put more power in people’s hands? And will it equip Britain for long-term success?"

  22. Nick
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    I think that half of the problem is that most politicians refuse to acknowledge the EU for what it really is, a wasteful undemocratic bureaucracy, and this infuriates people. Even if you don't agree with that, it is surely clear that being 'out' of the EU is better for us than being 'in'. I really don't see the problem of having a relationship with the EU similar to the one the EU has with Switzerland.

    • SJB
      Posted August 3, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      "As a European commissioner I was responsible for relations with Norway, Switzerland and the rest. My conclusion was clear. They enjoy all the enhanced sovereignty that comes with staying at home while the decisions that intimately affect their own economic life are made by their neighbours in Brussels. We put a diplomatic gloss on it of course. But to enjoy our market they have to follow our rules: rules which they do not make or share in making. When we enlarged the European Union these outer-ring countries had to pay into the funds that we make available to help the poorer new members. I remember a Swiss negotiator telephoning me to plead that this subscription should be presented as a voluntary donation for development in the deprived parts of Europe, not an additional fee for access to a larger market. But we both knew the truth. De facto sovereignty or de jure?" http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2005/sep/12/co

  23. Kevin Peat
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    For whatever reason Parliaments with anti-capital punishment majorities, pro mass immigration majorities, pro Iraq war majorities … were 'chosen' by the British electorate.

    There is something seriously wrong with British politics when so many refuse to vote and the rest vote for the least worst option rather than what they actually want. This wrong-ness in the political system is manifest in our national decline.

    And besides. Someone ought to be saying "We really need a referendum on this."

    And if we did what result would you expect on EU membership ?

    • Kevin Peat
      Posted August 3, 2010 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      "And if we did [have a referendum] what result would you expect on EU membership ?"

      That is the measure by which you should judge the peoples' concerns about our sovereignty. The most serious issue facing us today.

      But in truth – we all know that EU law (notably the Human Rights Act) is used by the leftist establisment to further its leftist agendas.

  24. THE ESSEX GIRLS
    Posted August 3, 2010 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    We have always assumed the purpose of this site is not only to put forward your own sound views but to gauge those of your loyal and generally supportive readership. There can be no doubt which way the wind blows on this subject!

    The electorate is looking for a champion who will reflect and fight for the majority view and your readers find it a bit disappointing that you and your 1922 colleagues are unable to find an imaginative and forceful answer irrespective of the arithmetic John.

    For example the proposed AV referendum could be widened to ask the people if;

    A) They support the idea of transferring more powers from Brussels to Westminster and

    B) They favour a referendum on continuing EU membership, or otherwise, in 2015 following a period of negotiation with our EU partners

    Any comments anyone?

    Reply: Yes it could, but only if a majority of this Parliament would vote for such a way of listening to the mood of the nation on EU government.

    • THE ESSEX GIRLS
      Posted August 3, 2010 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Thanks. Any practical suggestions please on how the electorate could persuade them?
      With the next election nearly 5 years away the ballot box seems an impractical answer.

      • SJB
        Posted August 4, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        There are likely to be by-elections during this Parliament. If the voters elected strong anti-EU candidates (e.g. UKIP) that would be tangible evidence of the alleged majority anti-EU mood of the nation.

        Today, the House of Commons Library published an analysis of the fourteen by-elections held between 2005-2010. The highest share of the vote UKIP won was 11.8%. http://www.parliament.uk/briefingpapers/commons/l

    • APL
      Posted August 3, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      JR: "Yes it could, but only if a majority of this Parliament …"

      Right. Given your stated desire to see a EUro sceptic Tory majority in the next Parliament, how do you recommend those people who find themselves in Tory held seats but with notorious EUro supporting MP should vote next election.

  25. s whitfield
    Posted August 3, 2010 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    I'm sad to say the most enthusiastic Euroenthusiast was a Mr John Major.
    His government was so useless and incompetent it saddled us with 13 long years of new labour.

    The coalition is shaping up to be just as wet and left leaning as his was….
    Already they have caved in and adopted Euro police powers…why do these liberal elites never learn the lessons from history ?

    • nonny mouse
      Posted August 4, 2010 at 12:39 am | Permalink

      For all his faults, John Major spoke up for UK interests and got us opt outs for social policy and the Euro. The first was thrown away by Blair and the second would have been if he had got is way.

      The time will come when the EU decides it wants another round of integration and a new treaty. When this happens we have to have a Conservative government able to stand up for our interests and not a Labour government willing to give in completely.

      The country elected Cameron to fix the economy even though it distrusts the Conservative party. We need to show that we are again a responsible party of power rather than infighting rabble that care more about our own interests than those of the country.

      All the carping about minor EU issues like the police powers (which, even if they are odious, are more about police cooperation than a power grab by the Brussels burocracy) risks making a new Labour government more likely.

      John is right. The numbers are not there now. All that can be done is to work towards getting reelected with a decent majority, which means doing a good job on the economy and public services.

  26. Sebastian
    Posted August 3, 2010 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    Agreed, but things just keep marching on. On two of your points
    a) the 1975 referendum was hardly a referendum on the EU although the clever wording was actually for the CE not the CMarket.; I can't see that referendum is now legitimate.
    b) which party does NOT have a euro-enthusiast majority so what choice have we had over the last 20 years?

    they all seem to change tune when in power. At least YOU have stuck to your guns. Best wishes

    • SJB
      Posted August 3, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      (a) The question on the paper was: “Do you think that the United Kingdom should stay in the European Community (The Common Market)?”
      (b) UKIP, BNP

  27. Freeborn John
    Posted August 3, 2010 at 2:07 am | Permalink

    Response to lying politicians
    ———————————

    Those who say one thing about the EU before the election and then do the exact opposite afterwards using the same cynical 'tidying up' euphemisms as the last lying government do not deserve our votes.

  28. Michael Gilbert
    Posted August 3, 2010 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    John, when the people of the UK voted to remain in the EEC in 1975 they voted to do so on reduced terms from that of the entry in 1973-thus our EEC "partners" accepted that the Treaty of Rome's "ever closer union" was not overriding.

    But just as no Parliament can bind a successor Parliament not electorate can bind a successor electorate via referendum, you should campaign for an In/Out referendum.

    The ratchet of EU federalism is slowly but surely locking the British people into a constitutional settlement that they neither want nor have ever asked for.

    I just don't understand why our political leaders refuse to listen to the people on this issue. The continent is a low growth aging protectionist area, the growth is over the horizon and that is where our natural trading alliances are. Alone amongst western nations we have unique alliances and ancient ties and friendships with India, Malaysia, Singapore etc.

    • Amanda
      Posted August 3, 2010 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Exactly, and that was the arguement in 1975, to stick with developing the Commonwealth, rather than throw our hat in with the Common Market. Just think, what a much better position we would have been in today if we had done that.

      However, all is not lost, these countries have legal systems, education, and business values, that we British helped develop. We still have a small opportunity there in trade, and we need to take it. Not tie ourselves up with the red tape and blue rag forced on us by the EU.

      By the way John, I've changed my vehicle number plates to get rid of the said 'blue rag', you can take that as my anti-EU vote !!

  29. Michael Gilbert
    Posted August 3, 2010 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Why can't our leaders see that within an aging EU we are shackled to a near economic corpse where an aging population will contrinue to vote ever greater retirement and other benefits to themselves and where the nascent debt union will mean that Germany and Britain-along with Sweden, Denmark and holland-will be expected to pay for the other nations unfunded retirees.

    You know this John-couldn't you be a bit more vocal?

  30. Duyfken
    Posted August 3, 2010 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Since so many governments have failed the populace by denying us an opportunity to vote on the EU, and since now Conservative MPs may be circumspect in speaking out on the subject if they are hopeful of catching DC's eye for some preferment, is it not time some other organisation took up the baton?

    I have in mind that such as the 1922 Committee might conduct a paper poll of Tory MPs – on an anonymous basis – to test their views on the EU argument. Were the result to show a heavily-weighted anti-EU stance and a wish for a referendum/plebiscite, then this might prompt DC to come off the fence.

  31. Robert George
    Posted August 3, 2010 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    John , thank you for the dose of reality. Everyone here needs to appreciate that an organism like the EU will not collapse because of outside opposition … but it will collapse. It will collapse just like the old Soviet Union did, under the weight of its own bureaucracy and incompetence. When… I don't know , but it will happen and when it does it will be very sudden. But it will not happen through the ordinary political process, the oligarchs have too much of their self interest at stake.

  32. backofanenvelope
    Posted August 3, 2010 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    It is surely clear that your readers do grasp the reality of the situation.

  33. tally
    Posted August 3, 2010 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    The Scots and Welsh tradionally vote unionist labour but they were given referenda on devolution and are promised more. Why were they given referenda when they are supposedly pro UK.?
    Tony Blair romped back in to power on a promise of a referendum on the lisbon treaty. So how can you say people are not eurosceptic?. far too tricky are politicians.

  34. Derek Buxton
    Posted August 3, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    M.G., you say "no Parliament can bind it's successor" which I have always believed to be the case, and yet we appear to be locked into the EU by Treaties given by previous parliaments. In addition to which they were signed without the prior knowledge of the people and without the ramifications being clearly explained. That is not Democracy in action.

  35. pipesmoker
    Posted August 3, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    All this for £20,800,000 every day! (Source The Democracy Movement)

  36. Paul Marks
    Posted August 3, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood.

    I take it fromyour comments you will be in future voting AGAINST paying the money that Britain sends to the E.U. (vastly more than it did in 1975) and AGAINST any Act that assumes that the E.U. has regulation powers in the areas you hold it should not have such powers. If not your position is contradictory, as the Britsh people have never voted to approve such spending or such regulations (the 1975 vote was about neither of these things).

    Of course this leaves aside your position on "monetary stimulus" (i.e. the false doctrine that banks should lend out credit bubble money – not just money from real savings). But that is a different issue.

  37. APL
    Posted August 3, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    JR: "Response to Eurosceptics"

    Mr Redwood, given that you would like to see more EUro – realist MPs in Parliament, what advice would you give to the constituents of such notoious Europhiles as for example, the MP fo Rushcliffe when they next have the opportunity to vote in a general election?

  38. Max
    Posted August 3, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    The party leadership has shown by its' words and deeds for many years that they have no intention of wanting to change our current relationship with the EU. I don't know why (capture by the political class?) but there we stand. No amount of extra votes for JR, however much we may share his views generally, will change this. So my take is as follows:

    1. Had the Conservatives won an outright victory this year, the issue of our relationship with the EU would have been kicked into the long grass forever and the party leadership would have congratulated themselves for ignoring this issue.

    2. The Conservative party failed to win a majority against a 13-year old, tired and deeply unpopular government, led by probably our worst PM in history. They are proped up by fair-weather allies, with a high risk that their polls will only fall from here as the hard work of rebuilding is carried out.

    3. Almost one million people, nearly all natural conservatives, voted UKIP and many more abstained on the issue of a Referendum.

    4. Very soon the party will need (and I mean really need) to get those one million+ votes or cede power. Never under-estimate the desire to cling to power once the taste is there.

    5. When point 4 comes, we get our referendum in the Conservative party manefesto.

    6. Logically, the only thing to do is cast your vote at every election for UKIP until point 5 is reached and then vote Conservative. Take heart, that day will come and sooner than you may think.

  39. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 5, 2010 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    The problem for me is that the national parliament doesn't reflect my own views. It is very much in favour of being in Europe – that is its strap line. Me, I am a European. But I also believe that when Dan Hannan stands up in the EU Parliament, that he is not in any way supporting a functioning democracy. Ask Maria Andreasen. every day that goes by, more and more democracy is leaching out of my country and my continent. Out now! Europe des patries!

  40. christina sarginson
    Posted August 5, 2010 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I just wonder if this issue will ever go away, we do need as I have said before to build good relations with Europe and not keep going back to the good old days when we had a big presence in the world. I am British and proud of it I love our traditions however I also enjoy the diverse world we live in and am not stupid ernough to think that we can live in the past, the future is uncertain but one thing that is certain is we are a small island and need partners to help us survive.

    • Kevin Peat
      Posted August 5, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      Who is talking about living in the past ?

  41. Tamora
    Posted August 7, 2010 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I live in true blue country. My MP told any audience that asked him that he wanted to be "in Europe" but that he didn't want to be "a part of a political union with Europe". This went down very well with his audience. I despair.

  42. Nick Leaton
    Posted August 8, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    How about referenda on taxes?

    If its good enough for the EU its good enough for everything else.

  43. MarkThackray
    Posted August 9, 2010 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    I do not believe the EU has the flexability to allow different tracks, speeds or any other variation between countries. The tracks are laid down to bring about a federal state. Anything we say of how we can change things from this path are a flight of fancy. I listen to DC and william Hauge and see a goverment that is not eurosceptic but is bent on being central to European development. DC is pushing to bring Turkey into the fold. I have no objection to Turkey I have a lot of friends in Turkey, but this will mean a further loss of jobs in Britain including the closure of the Southampton Transit van factory.
    I do not want to be part of a European Super State.

  • 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.

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