Continuing loss of sovereignty

The decisions of recent years in giving so much power away to European institutions are becoming very visible. Today the government announces that prisoners will be given the vote. This was a policy they opposed strongly in Opposition, but now accept the international court will make them do it. This week we hear of moves towards greater defence collaboration with the French, whilst being assured that we will keep our sovereignty. Yesterday Parliament was reminded that the UK cannot stop increases in the EU budget even when it wishes to and needs to.

The Foreign Office shows no signs of wanting to use the Franco-German request for a new Treaty to demand powers back. It is only when we have a veto, as we do on this, that we have real leverage and should use it. The Foreign Office is going along with a major expansion of the EU diplomatic service and its budget. We are not being offered a referendum on the transfer of powers under the Criminal Justice decision.

Meanwhile in the Commons Labour predictably offers help to any Coalition MPs who want more powers for Europe, leaving those of us who want to stop the juggernaut once again with far too few votes.

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39 Comments

  1. Colin D.
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    What right has the Government to start this defence ‘collaboration’ without having put it in their manifesto? This is a critical move towards a common European defence force, which is exactly what our masters in the EU want.
    If I wanted more ‘collaboration’ and sharing of forces, I would do it in the context of NATO. That our Government has failed to do this, implies a hidden EU agenda and further loss of freedom, independence and patriotic values.

  2. Mick Anderson
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    And we’re still expected to believe that the Conservative leadership is Euro-sceptic?

  3. alan jutson
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Must make you almost feel like giving up !

    Please do not, we need someone, (or better still 360 people) to fight the UK corner, but what do you suggest is the solution ?

    Can I just ask a very simple question.

    Why do we (the UK) still pay contributions to an organisation which cannot show any approved and Audited Accounts for the last 15 years.

    What other organisation would be allowed to get away with this ?.

    As I understand it:

    Any Ltd Company in the UK which fails to send in Yearly Audited Accounts to Companies House is struck off, after perghaps first getting fined. In addition all Bank accounts are frozen, and monies taken by the Government pending an appeal.

    Any Company which knowingly trades in an insolvent manner has its Directors listed as unsuitable, and they cannot hold a another Directorship for two years.

    Aware that the EU is not Ltd, but that is really the core of the problem, it is TOTALLY UNLIMITED.

  4. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Sounds rather defeatist but confirms what I and many others recognise, which is that there is no political will amongst any party to protect the sovereign interests of the people against the antidemocratic EU. Whoever takes office and despite all the fine talk in opposition, politicians continue to give away the powers that we the people have temporarily given them to exercise on our behalf. Perhaps they and we should take a look at what is happening in the USA elections where the people are equally sick of being subjected to overbearing federal government.

  5. lifelogic
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    J.R. we all know the problem and most agree fully.

    But given the lack of any real UK democracy, the on going total dishonesty of politicians from Heath onwards, the vested interests of the F.O. and big government, cast iron “jelly” Dave and now the Liberal stance too what can actually be done here short of a revolution?

    I do not however think getting prisoners to vote is such a bad thing at least it might get MPs to visit, look at, and perhaps improve the prison system. And anyway their voting (as most in the UK) is very unlikely to change the electoral result or anything much about the ways of government.

    Clearly a decision for the UK to take alone though – remind me what was John Major’s “subsidiarity” all about.

  6. Nick
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Another transfer of powers took place today.

    Cameron has lied about no more transfers. Today, he’s transferred the right to decide who is in the electorate to the EU.

    Subsiduarity? Doesn’t apply. Quite why who votes in the UK matters to the EU at all is irrelevant.

    Lies, Lies and more lies.

  7. electro-kevin
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    I’m sure Mr Cameron would prefer that you weren’t writing this and that you would think more along his lines.

    The Eurosceptics’ moment has nearly passed.

  8. Bob
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    We’re so busy try to bring democracy to Afganistan and Iraq, but we seem to have overlooked the UK!

    The Tories are no longer conservative.

  9. Collis Gretton
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Sceptics impotent – Rejoice

  10. Milton
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    In response to an earlier of your blogs – Bill was to the point

    1) Veto

    2) 2nd biggest contributor to EU funds

    3) Trading deficit with the EU

    If that’s not a good basis for negotiation…..
    But Mr Cameron doesn’t seem inclined to take it

  11. Alan
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    It’s a bit much to imply that the Court of Human Rights is the result of ‘decisions in recent years’, since it was set up in the 1940s.

  12. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, this so-called “giving powers away” actually happened before you were born and I’m pretty sure that Churchill agreed to it:
    The European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is a treaty signed in 1950 by the then members of the Council of Europe The UK was a founding member of the Convention and was very influential in its design. It was amongst the first states to ratify the treaty. This treaty now results in the court upholding the human rights of prisoners. Is that a reason to claim “loss of sovereignty”?

    As for the EU part of Europe, instead of “loss of sovereignty” you could also emphasize your increased (co-)sovereignty over the rest of Europe. I cannot see much wrong with doing things together.

  13. English Pensioner
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Surely for each task taken over by the EU, the appropriate ministry here should have its budget reduced proportionately.
    As we are apparently going to have an EU diplomatic service, the Foreign Office budget should be reduced by the cost of our contribution to that budget, as we certainly can’t afford to support two lots of diplomats. I’m sure such an approach would cause the mandarins to change their minds about passing more powers to Brussels.

  14. NickW
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I have two comments.

    The first is a feeling of rage and fury at having a policy dictated by Europe; being refused a vote on the Lisbon treaty, and having no mechanism for evicting the politicians from office who are responsible for this stupidity. I want a referendum and I want it NOW.

    The second comment; a sensible policy would be to limit voting to those prisoners who are either on the last year of their sentence when the election falls, or who have completed 90% of their sentence.

    This would cater for the need for rehabilitation and might be acceptable to the public.
    Prisoners should vote in the constituency in which they were last registered as electors; thought should be given to not allowing prisoners to register from prison if they were not registered prior to sentencing.

    The risk, (or perception of a risk) that has to be countered is the malevolent vote from the outlaw. On reflection, many of us consider that votes cast in opposition to our own beliefs are “malevolent” but (hopefully) we would not consider taking steps to prevent everybody who disagreed with us from voting

  15. NickW
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Another approach would be to set up a single constituency for prison inmates with an elected MP to represent the interests of prisoners, and only prisoners.

    This would give prisoners a democratic voice whilst preventing the weight of opinion from an unrepresentative section of the population from unduly weighting the result.

    There may well be some former Labour MPs who would make ideal candidates for what might be a less than popular constituency.

  16. Iain Gill
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    you need to pick an aspect that has widespread public support, and then generate a lot of publicity on that one aspect

    so pick an issue that has a groundswell of public anger, where the public feel the press and politicians are ignoring them, and that would be a good place to start

    its not rocket science to figure out what the top voter concerns are which the political establishment routinely skim over

  17. adams
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    You are not looking good John . Still being a member of the traitor Party I mean . You are severely compromised if you remain associated with these lying weasels .

  18. forthurst
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Will prisoners be given postal votes applicable to where they lived before incarceration or more properly will they all be counted as part of the ‘community’ in which they reside? If the former, what will be the situation with regard to those previously of no fixed abode? Will murderers, rapists, paedophiles and the like be able to form their own polical party, for example, to promote the same immunity from prosecution as currently enjoyed by ‘bankers’? Should the human rights of immigrant prisoners be extended to naturalisation of right; after all they do appear to be just the sort of people we need now that we have become ruthlessly, if not suicidally, polically correct?

    As to French military tie-up, is there something we haven’t been told? Are the Germans causing trouble again, beating up French carmakers, perhaps?

  19. EJT
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Fundamentally, sovereignty can only exist at one level – either in the EU or in Westminster. Lisbon is the constitution of the EU state. Either you accept that, enthusiastically, reluctantly, whatever. Or you are a British nationalist who seeks repatriation of sovereignty (forget “powers”) to the UK, via succession from the EU.

    There is no middle ground here. In reality there never was. It’s just that the pretense – ” in Europe, but not run by Europe” and the like – is now transparent.

  20. a-tracy
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    How can the International Court ‘make the UK give prisoners the vote’? If the court is International does this mean that the whole world will be giving prisoners the vote in their local government elections? Who chooses the judges in the International Court? Who ensures there is balance in the court of judgement for us all to abide by?

    What is the point of the UK Parliament if we elect you on a set of promises that you can overturn at will blaming the coalition at every turn? I’m at a point where I would rather there be no coalition so that you have to scrap out every decision and nothing gets done because I haven’t seen much that I support.

  21. Norman Dee
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I repeat what I said in an earlier debate, you are the man who has the votes, we are powerless as things stand. you were put into Parliament by a predominately sceptic public, we want to see more action more efforts to draw attention to the problem out there where they don’t read blogs. Talking to us, the mainly more mature and idle who have the time on their hands to spend time on this and other blogs is wasted time, let’s see some more recruiting amongst your ranks, more Carswells and Cashes, more Hannons in Europe we need enough noise to attract attention in other places where it is not normally heard.

  22. Jonathan Woolf
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood

    Having voted for and campaigned for the Conservatives last May, I suspect I’m not alone in being left feeling bewildered and betrayed by the immediate conversion of the Conservative leadership to supine Europhilia immediately upon entering government.

    I don’t understand why the golden opportunity presented to the UK by the German desire for a treaty amendment is not being seized. We have a fantastic negotiating postion. The Europeans want a new treaty. We have a veto on new treaties together with the threat of certain defeat in any referendum (to which this government is supposed to be committed) on any new treaty which transfers yet more power to the EU. I can’t think of a better circumstance to wrest back some control over our national life than this.

    To argue that this is a distraction from deficit cutting is a cop-out. Freeing British enterprise from the dead hand of employment and social regulation, the dangers of continued French and German attacks on the City, CAP, common fisheries policy, energy regulation and subsidies of exactly the wrong sort of renewables (wind and bio-fuels) would be a perfectly timed boost to growth, tax revenues, and therefore directly benefit deficit and debt reduction. Not to mention the budget increase we could simply refuse to bear.

    Europe is a continent in decline. The future lies elsewhere in the world, in Asia and Africa. We have strong historic ties to some of the most dynamic places in the world and the EU is holding us back. We do not even need membership to get access to European markets on a free basis – membership of the WTO would see to that.

    It is high time we got ourselves on track to some sort of associate membership, with some basic access to markets, freedom to attract the best talent from Europe, some co-operation on trade policy and defence, but little else. And Cameron, Hague and co. are missing an golden opportunity to start down that path. If they do not take it, I cannot see any good reason not to switch support to UKIP.

    Kind regards

    Jonathan

  23. Derek Buxton
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    To give away our Armed Forces is unforgivable and probably illegal. The first charge on any government is “Defence of the Realm”, working with France will make that impossible even if we had the Forces which which “call me “Dave has decimated, now we know why. It must count as an act of treachery.

    Oh, yes he lied about last weekends jaunt to Brussels as well, he cannot influence the EU budget as he claimed.

  24. norman
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Another sad day for freedom.

    What we need are open primaries but turkeys don’t vote for Christmas so that will never happen. We little people are nothing more than a hindrance that politicians pander to with lies once every five years.

    It’s not even worth urging the Eurosceptics (John Major used a more colourful term) to revolt as what would be the result? Chaos at best at a time when chaos is the last thing our economy needs.

    For us lovers of liberty, in the words of one of the EU’s inspirations, what is to be done?

  25. Collis Gretton
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    No Norman, more Heath’s, Clarke’s and Heseltine’s

  26. Gammidgy
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I won’t argue about the urgent need to reclaim sovereignty from Europe, but on the issue of votes for prisoners this Government is in the right.

    Some Conservatives may have opposed this whilst in opposition but not all. Douglas Hurd, a former Conservative Home Secretary, remember, long supported this campaign.

    As one of the campaigners said 5 or more years ago, “It is hard to see what is achieved by denying prisoners the vote: it is neither a serious punishment, nor does it significantly change the result in a single constituency. But it does send out an unfortunate message that prisoners are not part of society. If rehabilitation is to mean anything, we need to move on from this sort of spiteful pettiness.”

    I can’t argue with that.

  27. A.Sedgwick
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    In response to Norman Dee, we had the chance as an electorate to redress the advance of the EU by voting UKIP, only 4% of us did. I cannot see any so called right wing MP even voting against his/her Liberal masters never mind doing a David Davis and resigning to fight a bye election on the loss of sovereignty issue. The writing on the wall was so large about Cameron pre election that basically we have as a nation got what we collectively voted for.

    He has further stitched us up with the coalition and a fixed five year parliament.

    Happy days, jours heureux, glückliche Tage, días felices, giorni felici……………

  28. Underwhelmed
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I shall no longer vote. What is the point when those we elect have no powers?

    No longer will I support the false legitimacy of the House.

  29. Conservative Libertarian
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I suspect I speak for a great many loyal Conservatives when I say – we need a leader.

    It’s all very well Dan Hannan and Douglas Carswell and Bill Cash and your good self pointing out what we all already know – that the majority of Conservatives are not represented by the present direction of the party.

    But nobody does anything about it. Talk, talk, talk.

    Meanwhile, our nation and government’s powers and influence are dissolving beneath our feet.

    I don’t want to go join UKIP. I’m a Conservative. So are thousands of other Conservatives. We want our party back. None of us “small fish” have any ability to do much about it.

    We need a leader. The country needs a leader – before its too late.

  30. Andrew Duffin
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I am a bit surprised that you continue to refer to Mr. Cameron’s outfit as “the government”.

    After all, they no longer control the small matter of who is allowed to come and settle in our country; they will shortly have to present their budgets for approval before being allowed to enact them; they are in the process of giving away control of our defences; they have been forced to agree to an increase in the EU’s budget; they have now been forced to allow convicts the vote for the first time in however many hundreds of years, and many more examples will occur to you and to readers here.

    It is entirely obvious to me that a body which can be compelled by another power to act in these ways is not a government in any meaningful sense; clearly the actual government is elsewhere and at a higher level.

    I suggest you use the term “Local Administration” to describe this now-almost-powerless body.

    You could perhaps qualify it by saying “the Westminster Local Administration”, so as to distinguish it from those – equally subservient – in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Chelmsford, or (to pick an example at random) Weston-sub-Edge.

  31. Newday
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Might I suggest that you need to look at the Conservative Party constitution for the solution. Its probably fair to say that the membership is more euro sceptic than the leadership. The constitution gives virtually all power to the leadership and none to the membership.

    A more balanced constitution, and one I might add that would be more in tune with the overall message of giving back power to the people from central insitutions, might mean that the leadership has to pay some attention to its members. That might mean that it might be more euro sceptic than it currently is.

    If you want to make a real difference, see what you can do to change the existing outdated constitution.

  32. sjb
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Colin wrote: “What right has the Government to start this defence ‘collaboration’ without having put it in their manifesto?”

    I suspect it comes under the manifesto promise to “develop a National Security Strategy and oversee a Strategic Defence and Security Review that implements that strategy …”

  33. APL
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    And what John Redwood doesn’t mention is notable by its absence.

    The progressive merging of British armed forces with the French Armed forces in the name of efficiency.

    Good god, if we are going to merge our armed forces to another country, let it be Germany, at least they have a reputation for fighting.

  34. Norman Dee
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    I notice that in this and the debate 2 days ago about europe a lot of people, mainly tories have criticised you and the party and made it quite clear where we stand on the subject and yet on both occasions you have refused to comment or answer the question “what are YOU going to do about it ? ” you know how the membership and people on the right in general (and some on the left I should think as well) feel about europe, you admit the leadership is out of touch with the public so what will you do to correct this?.

  35. Conrad Jones
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I think that when Ted Heath brought us into the European Union most people thought it meant “European Cooporation” not “European Corporation”.

    But who’s the CEO?

  36. Cliff
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    John,

    You may recall that, when the British couple were kidnapped by Somali pirates, I questioned you, in a private email, over Sky and other news organisation’s reporting that the vessel was found by the EU Naval Force. I asked when such a force was created and did the house vote on it. You stated that, in your belief, no such force existed. Sky refused to answer my questions on the matter and some months later, refered to the EU Naval Force again whilst reporting an unrelated matter.
    Is there now, given Mr Cameron’s latest wizzard wheeze, a de facto EU Naval Force and if so, when did the house vote on it?
    Why do politicians want to give away the power they’ve worked so hard to achieve? What is their hidden agenda and what rewards will they reap?
    Regarding Mr Cameron’s victory (sic) over keeping the EU budget’s rise to 2.9%, all this will do is make the amount we pay 102.9% too much.
    What can WE do about the direction Mr Cameron and what was once the UK’s Conservative and Unionist Party’s cabinet is taking us?

  37. sm
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    And the number of MP’s/ MEP’s /Lord etc are acheving exactly what for their numbers?

    If you cant cut the EU budget, then cut the local admin MP’s? and ANY institution with EU funding or Pro EU views.

    I suspect its the only way that some will really care?

    Also can we pass a law which prevent any UK Senior Politician/ Cabinet level joining a Euro funded quangocracy after being an MP for 5 years or so?

    Gravytrains roll on more protected than ever.

    Perish the thought a German constitutional court may save EU democracy.

  38. Vernon Scarborough
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    The formation of an EU Foreign Service has been on the agenda for some time and it was only a matter of time that EU Delegates chnaged hats and became EU Ambassadors. As a consequence the FCO is being sidelined politically and in delivery of its bilateral aid programmes in many countries. The FCO is also being structurally weakened by the proposed cuts which involves selling much of the remaining “family silver”, localisation of overseas posts and the consolidation and centralisation of core activities. I am afraid it shows – it takes up to 6 weeks to obtain a British passport in the USA and even longer in the Pacific via Australia.

    DfID needs to be integrated back into the FCO, it should never have been detached. The FCO now claims without conviction that 12% of all EU programmes are UK funded which whilst true cuts little ice with the recipients who see us as diminished with little in the way of bilateral FCO programmes which were in most cases far more effective then DfID’s and offered better VFM.

  39. adam
    Posted November 4, 2010 at 4:02 am | Permalink

    I wonder how long the elites will go on lying to hide the New World Order from the people.
    Dave said that handing the SAS over to the French was to ensure national security. I would have thought even the most dumbed down peon, (name left out), would realise something is not right with that.

  • 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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