Europe again

 

              The Euro crisis has not been resolved. It is a rolling crisis, a series of accidents and market falls, often made worse by rows around the Council of Ministers table or by unfortunate and diverse spin from member states governments.

              This week Portugal and the markets have returned to the issue of how that country will finance itself in future. Portugal has to pay more than twice as much as Germany to borrow money. This week her credit status was downgraded again. The Opposition in Portugal do not agree with the latest austerity programme. Many are worried that more cuts, more tax rises, and no final resolution of the borrowing problem leaves the Portuguese economy weak and unable to grow itself out of trouble.

            Last night the UK Parliament was asked to approve a motion to “take note of draft European Council decision EUCO 33/10 (to amend Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union with regard to a stability mechanism of Member states whose currency is the Euro)…”

               The goverment wished to assure that the UK would not be part of the bail out mechanism after 2013, and had to go along with these changes to help Euroland buttress its position. Some of us have asked before that the UK government use their need for our assent to this Treaty change to get some powers back for the UK. We also want clear language which gets us out of all obligations to help bail out Euro memebr states in trouble, now as well as after 2013.

                We were not offered such an approach by the government, so we were not able to back the government’s motion. The Oppositon, of course, did not wish to vote against the government, so there was never any chance of Parliament turning this all down. An amendment which Bill Cash drafted which I supported was not allowed for debate and the vote has been postponed.

               Euroland is rushing towards stronger economic governance, and to some relaxtion of the purse strings so the stronger member states do bail out or support the weaker. The EU wants to press ahead with tax harmonisation, and tougher controls over budget deficits for Euro members. That all makes sense for those who share a currency, but none of this should apply to the UK who wisely kept out.

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36 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    I can only agree fully. Why can so many MPs not see the logic of Bill Cash’s and your position. I note that they rarely if ever put forward arguments in defence of their position. They just quietly give in again and again, often while pretending to do the reverse, because they know the overwhelming views of the voters. Their behaviour is an outrage against such democracy as still remains in the UK.

    How many MPs actually believe in democracy, self determination and an efficient small state – very few indeed it seems.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      David Willetts, yet another PPE man, this morning made the usual MP’s “mistake” of confusing cause and effect on TV this morning.

      Could you perhaps whisper to him that brighter students with better connections and more encouragement tend to go to University because they are brighter and have better connections and more encouragement.

      They also tend to earn more for the very same reasons. Outside a few rather over protected professions they do not generally earn more because they have a degree in Anglo Saxon and a good knowledge of Beowulf from the University of East Wandsworth or similar.

  2. Jose
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Why didn’t Cameron use this opportunity to get something in return? He probably believes he achieved a ‘huge’ amount by freezing current EU budget increases to only 2.9%! He now has just the one opportunity to extract something, why does he insist on refusing to use this leverage? Rest assured the French et al would use every opportunity to extract something that would benefit their nations.

  3. Euan
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    The problem is that the whole idea of using a single currency for such diverse countries is absurd. The creeping takeover of Europe by the Euro bureaucracy is hugely damaging and we have no leadership to prevent it. I was pretty sure that Mr Cameron would be a dead loss and I’m afraid I was correct. We have a marginally more right wing version of New Labour that is looking set to fail utterly in every area that needs courage and determination. I suppose we get the leaders we deserve.

  4. Richard1
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    The only way to solve this crisis is a grand reckoning. 2/3 countries are insolvent – Greece, Ireland & probably Portugal. Their debt must be restructured, with debt-holders accepting losses. Austerity is no solution – the population will emigrate or not bother to be productive. That means many banks will need recapitalising. This must also come from restructuring of their balance sheets so we don’t have another Brownesque taxpayer bailout. Then we will be able to move into a world where investors who buy a bond – either sovereign or bank issued – make a proper assessment of its risks. If banks are to continue to benefit from lender of last resort facilities from central banks then they must also accept much lower levels of leverage. Its time for the UK government to get real on this and take over the lead from the various useless European regulatory agencies (including our own) and grandstanding European politicians.

  5. Ken@Ayr
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    For ordinary voters watching our politicians doing what we really don’t want them to be doing, what are the options? I have voted Conservative for my entire life but I cannot back a party who wants to allow us to be swallowed up by the EU susperstate.

    I’m afraid that UKIP will be getting my vote next time out. Both as a form of protest and also because their stance on Europe is the same as mine.

    I’m scunnered with the entire European nonsense now.

  6. Jeremy Poynton
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Cameron is hopeless. I voted Tory for the first time in my life in the hope of sweeping away some of the damage Labour did to the country, and with a few exceptions (Free schools, for example), see nothing for my vote whatsoever.

    I will no longer vote for any party that does not support a referendum on us leaving the EU, nor any party that does not support YES to such a motion.

    Otherwise, we kiss goodbye to what little is left of our sovereignty.

  7. alan jutson
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Government and opposition position standing up to European policy.

    One word.

    “Pathetic”

    Keep on the treadmill John, its a hard slog, but someday some of them may wake up.

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted March 17, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      It’s not a treadmill it’s a hamster wheel. Pointless to keep running in the cage that is the modern tory party. Now if only twenty of them would get together and join UKIP they could actually make a difference. As it is they are just lightning rods for discontent and the stance JR and others take (noble though it is) is counterproductive.

      • Ken@Ayr
        Posted March 17, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        That’s the whole trouble. I was fairly content to give the Tories my vote simply because no matter what was going on I was hearing that we would be getting a referendum on our EU involvement. Unfortunately we are going to be denied this as we watch our sovereignty disappearing over the horizon inch by inch. There are so many people within the party that have an opinion that sits well with me and others but they are marginalised, just like Johns opinions get marginalised. John has support from the grassroots and a large number of his fellow MPs but they have very little in the way of influence as the government and the EU press on regardless.

        I don’t agree with UKIP on a lot of things but I agree with their basic stance on Europe and I am going to be giving them my vote next time I get the chance. The Tory party leadership need to start listening to people. So far they are rubber earing a large portion of both their voters and party members/MPs. It’s not good enough. I think John is a fine MP but he must be utterly frustrated with political life right now. I urge him to agitite hard and organise his fellow MPs to be heard. Loudly. The political wind seems to be blowing against him just now but the current is with him.

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 17, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        How would it make any difference? I cannot see how it would make much difference at all with Labour, Liberals, half the Tories and all the BBC so pro the non democratic, EU, socialist, superstate.

        The only very faint hope is for the Tories to come to their senses and listen to the sensible wing of the party. Also for them to do sensible things now in order to win the next election outright.

        There is little sign of either so far and so little time left.

  8. Electro-Kevin
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    We’re in the EU and that’s all I need to say about it.

    Euro or no Euro we’ll end up paying one way or another.

  9. Ross
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I’m no economist, but if we had gone into the Euro, when Mr Blair was championing its cause. We may have had more stability here – the BOE wouldn’t have been there to make mistakes on setting interest rates (the European central bank seems to have done a good job here) and we wouldn’t be subject to the wave of inflation brought about because of the devaluation of the pound.

    • Simon
      Posted March 17, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Peace in our time eh ?

    • Robert
      Posted March 17, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Sadly sir that is not correct and I spend most of my working life following European Markets.

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted March 17, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      You are looking at symptoms not causes, what caused the devaluation? Amongst other things, the quantitaive easing debasement exercise. The problem is not the wrong central bank, it is the fact a central bank exists at all. We have no committees to decide the price of bread, why do we have one to decide the price of money? As to whether the ECB has done a good job, I leave it to the people of Ireland, Spain, Greece etc to decide.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Championing by Mr Blair (and Ken Clark, John Major and half the Tory party) the rest we surely would have followed Ireland in an ERM disaster mark II and been powerless to take the action needed to recover.

    • Derek Buxton
      Posted March 17, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      What an idea…..total rubbish of course. Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal such havens of stability they ain’t. Italy is little better. Not only should we not entertain the EUro, we should not entertain the EU. One priority…get our Country back!

    • Alan
      Posted March 18, 2011 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Ross is quite right. The Eurozone is struggling trying to avoid the fate that the UK is suffering – a devalued currency that has lessened the wealth of anyone with savings in cash. People who kept their money in euros are richer than those who entrusted their life savings to sterling. The people who have gained from the devaluation of sterling are the poor, who have no savings and whose chances of employment (at reduced wages of course) are improved, and the rich, who keep most of their savings in equities (which ought eventually to benefit from the low wages of the workers) and possessions. Those who have suffered are those in the middle, who have accumulated some savings that they keep in savings accounts for their retirement and who depend on fixed income. Most people in this last category are worse off than their equivalents in Ireland, Greece, Spain, Italy, or Portugal.

  10. Javelin
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Absolutely. The EU leaders are using the crisis to manipulate countries, who are in a state of peril, into a closer state of union. It is unethical at best. This kind of short term coercion can only end in tears. We need a strong leader to turn this anti-democratic tide.

  11. acorn
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Question Please JR.

    You explained previously why the Speaker does not choose an amendment; I get that. But, could you explain:-

    “”Question put.
    The Deputy Speaker’s opinion as to the decision of the Question being challenged, the Division was deferred until Wednesday 23 March (Standing Order No. 41A).”

    Reply: Nothing happens. MPs vote on the matter next Wednesday on paper instead of at the time in person. It was a new dodge brought in by Labour so MPs could go home earlier.

    Why was this done; what will happen between now and 23 March Division?

  12. Duyfken
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    This reminds me of the justification made by Lord Heseltine for his pro-EU stance. His argument is that the UK is not losing its sovereignty but gaining sovereignty over the other members of the EU. What has happened in fact is that we have willingly reduced the dominance over our own affairs from 100% to less than 10%, with the quid pro quo of gaining the same proportion of “control” over the other States. But why should we want to have any say in how other countries govern themselves? And how does 10% provide us with any effective control anyway? Control only starts with a majority stake. The only effective tool left to us is the veto, but the government fails to deploy any leverage whatsoever.

    So I find Hezza’s argument borders on deceit. Born an Australian and in my vernacular, I would say to him: “Don’t come the raw prawn with me, mate”, a sentiment I would equally find appropriate for many other proselytising europhiles, including for instance David Lidington in his leading role in last night’s debate.

    • Derek Buxton
      Posted March 17, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      He lied! End of.

    • Iain
      Posted March 19, 2011 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      We were enfranchised by the group, working men, older women, all women etc, but being disenfranchised by the policy In all our Parliamentary democracy lasted for 45 years. from all women getting the vote in 1928 to Heath signing away the first part of our sovereignty to the EEC in 1973. Its clear the British establishment didn’t like us plebs having a say in running our affairs and would rather have another elite , the EU , calling the shots rather than us.

      When Hesletine and other EU fanatics talk about sharing sovereignty, they are talking about disenfranchisng you.

  13. Martyn
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I have voted Conservative since attaining the age able to do so. I am now 70 years old and in view of the pathetic behaviour of this government and its willingness to cede more and more of our democratic entitlement to rule our own country and seemingly hell-bent on reducing Great Britain to nothing more than a set of EU regions, never again shall I vote Conservative.
    In fact, if AV gets through I probably won’t even vote – my single vote is just that, it goes to whom I think to be the best candidate and I refuse to let others decide who it goes to under AV.

  14. forthurst
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Some people are more than happy to accept a reduction in responsibility provided it comes with no reduction in their status or profits. Such people will become even more plentiful in Parliament with the further mission creep of the Eurpoean project. Sadly we also have amongst us those who have sought positions of power and authority for whom the history of this country is about somebody else; they would seek to submerge us in a European superstate in which third world immigration represents a higher and increasing component of the population so that they would themselves no longer appear different, possibly to be discriminated against. Personally I have no sympathy with such people whom I regard, simply as the enemy within my country and against whom all patriotic
    English people should engage with vigour.

  15. Edward.
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    The Vichy Tories like to portray Dave as a Euro-sceptic, it runs well for the braindead Beeb/MSM but, this idea could not be further from the truth, it’s why he gets on so well with Nick.

    Dave doesn’t think we should come out of the EU, that’s the biggest and loudest endorsement I’ve heard for leaving this black hole; for our money, democracy and independent future.
    We are slowly but surely having the British lifeblood</i. sucked out of us by this rapacious EU vacuum of the democratic process.

    Doesn't matter if you vote Tory, Labour or Lib dem, the result is the same, a ratcheted twisting of the garotte, Lisbon the final nail in the coffin of British freedom.
    We are becoming and soon, a maritme province of the United States of Europe, that is the plan now and was the plan in 1972, when Ted dragged us in.
    Our Teutonic cousins running the show, as they do now.

    Dave is part of the problem, never will be a solution.

    • Derek Buxton
      Posted March 17, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      I can only say to you, “well said and perfectly true”.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      I regret that I tend to agree depressing as it is.

  16. Javelin
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    With Japan and the middle East in crisis. The Eu in crisis over a default and the US economy slipping back in recession that leaves dear Old Blighty to take the spoils. The only think I can think of that could nail us is a terrorist attack. Let’s hope MI5/6 isn’t having their funding cut.

  17. English Pensioner
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Three simple questions
    If the rules applying to the Eurp countries don’t apply to Britain, why did we have to help to bail out Ireland?
    And are we likely to have to help to bail out Spain or Portugal?
    And, of course, Who is going to bail out the UK when we don’t get any of this money back and need to pay it back ourselves?

    • J leslie smith
      Posted March 17, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      English Pensioner makes an important point, as the money loaned to Ireland by the UK Government was not insignificant, about £6 Billion Sterling, if I recall. Enough funds to cover all the Tuition Fees to University Students in England. The only reason that I can see, why Osbourne bailed out Irleand with a loan is that RBS and possibly Lloyds, via HBOS, have so many “Bad Loans” in Ireland. They dare not write these loans down, as these Tax Payer owned Banks would crash again. Do you have a view on this UK loan to Ireland and other PIGS John?

      • sm
        Posted March 17, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        Actions speaker louder than words.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Agree we have already lost considerable money of the Irish loan I understand.

  18. Tapestry
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Parliament is an illusion. Government is not real, a created front for the secret government that works behind the scenes. A small of vocal dissent is tolerated to maintain the illusion of opposition. But nothing real. John Redwood still tries to believe in Parliamentary Sovereignty despite all the evidence that sovereignty departed a long time ago while the illusion has been allowed to remain. It would be better to face up to the reality and work from the basis that the Conservative is penetrated to the point of pointlessness, and look at finding out who is really running the country, and what their agenda is. Otherwise it will be shocks from hereon, worse and worse.

  19. zorro
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Good luck John, at least you are trying through your efforts to point out the actions (lack of) of the government on Europe. I wonder if Ted Cameron will give another of his ‘cast iron’ guarantees on the UK not being sucked into any other bail outs post 2013. Do not be surprised if we do not believe his utterances…..

    zorro

  • 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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