Follow the polling?

I am told that there is a new welcome emphasis on the public’s views at Downing Street. They are taking polling more seriously. It was worries by the public about the Health reforms that lies behind the recent decision to consult again and if necessary to change the plans.

I trust they will also follow the polling in other respects. Polling shows that a majority do think the deficit is a big worry, and a majority think the state needs to live within its means. I suspect if the public were asked, they would also say charity begins at home.

The British public are generous to people in a crisis or in great poverty. They like the fact that the UK is a generous donor to try to prevent starvation or to help clean up after natural disasters. They should be asked, however, if they think this country should give £80 billion over the the lifetime of this Parliament by way of EU contributions and overseas aid. I suspect they would say economies could be made in these big programmes, whilst continuing to respond warmly and generously to humanitarian and natural disasters around the world.

The Secretary of State for Overseas aid has himself said that many of the inherited programmes did not do the job intended or did not offer good value for money. As he cancels or streamlines those, couldn’t we save the money for a year or two whilst we get the public finances back into more robust shape? Wouldn’t new programmes that offer better value for money be improved by taking a couple of years to think them through and consult on them before committing the cash?

The Prime Minister fought to limit the increase of the EU budget. With the EU wanting UK support for their new programme of economic governance, wouldn’t it be a good time to ask again for cuts in the EU budgets?  As every Euroland country in trouble is told to slash its own spending, isn’t it time the EU as a whole agreed that cuts could best start at the EU level? Why is the EU unable to show by example how to control public spending, when its main message to all its member states is to get the deficits down? Bail out packages do not seem to solve the problems of Greece or Ireland, so why should we go on contributing to them? Don’t they need pro growth policies? Aren’t the weaker banks of the Euro system the responsibility of the European Central Bank  who can lend them what it takes?

I suspect this would all poll rather well. Let’s hope for some action. People would like this deficit reduction business over more quickly.

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69 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Asking the public for views on how to run the NHS is a bit like asking them how to design an airliner. I am not sure I would want to fly on it but it would probably be better than the current NHS anyway. The should start by charging at the point of use and lowering taxes to compensate.

    I see the BBC has gone into overdrive to justify the Portugal bailout – we have current obligations, it is in out interest from trading point of view, we are only giving a guarantee not actual money, we will almost certainly get it back etc.

    No mention of how it will push up the interest on UK debt and that the reason they need the loan is that no one sensible will lend it to them at these rates due the the high risks involved.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 8, 2011 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Radio 4 also seem to be running promotions and adverts for some singer called Adele. Is this part or their remit to promote certain singers with the licence fees or are they now just taking paid adverts to keep the money flowing in to pay the top brass, who seem to be currently overpaid by a factor of about five for producing this pro EU, pro the green religion, left wing dross.

      Reply: There is no policy to take paid adverts on the BBC

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 8, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        Well they give every appearance of being BBC adverts and promotions perhaps they should indeed be receiving payments for them – if not why are they being done?

        Perhaps the BBC should stick to actual programs rather than such back door advert/promotions.

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted April 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

          I’d like to know what Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music have over Radio 2

          His music is always on. (What is ? ed) going on there.

        • Kenneth
          Posted April 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

          I always find it strange the BBC can advertise cd, dvd and cinema releases as well as theatrical productions (and anti-cuts rallies) but cannot advertise toothpaste.

          Talking of anti-cuts rallies (which you were not), I wonder if the BBC will publicise the Rally Against Debt on 14th May 2011, 1100am?

          Will it provide the same support it did for the cuts protest.

          This was found on the BBC website just before that protest:

          “What’s happening and where
          Marchers assemble from 1100 GMT on Victoria Embankment and Lower Thames Street
          People are advised to join the march late, up until at least 1400 GMT, to avoid long wait
          Starts moving at 1200 GMT towards Hyde Park
          Rally in park from 1330-1630 GMT
          Speakers will include Labour leader Ed Miliband”

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 8, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      “I am told that there is a new welcome emphasis on the public’s views at Downing Street. They are taking polling more seriously”

      So we will be leaving the EU, getting out of all the wars, stopping all the green energy and equality guff and not bailing out any more over indebted countries I assume. I think not.

      Cameron’s job is not to put his finger up to feel the mood wind but to quickly implement systems that actually work well. The public will recognise it when they get it. Namely a small, efficient and honest state sector that does not leak money like a sieve in every direction on fashionable nonsense, new initiatives and corruption.

    • Jose
      Posted April 8, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Re. the NHS and your comment:
      “The should start by charging at the point of use and lowering taxes to compensate.”
      As a taxpayer, sounds good but really sounds like you want to abolish the NHS rather than change it; let’s turn the clock back to pre-1948. I have benefitted from the NHS like many other taxpayers and non-taxpayers and believe the concept to be correct. It’s the administration of it that’s the problem and if we wish to reduce the ‘costs’ to the taxpayer then we need to re-think the funding process. There are plenty of examples around the world that we take and use in this country, the main issue is convincing the public it needs doing as the NHS is the ‘sacred cow’.

      • Andrew Johnson
        Posted April 8, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        I doubt that anyone can reform the NHS. It is full of “professional” and union self interest groups who have manipulated the system so that the NHS puts them first and not the patient. No offence intended to the many hardworking professionals who do their best. Do not understimate it’s power to resist change. It is the largest employer in Europe (1.3 million) and the third largest employer in the world.
        RIP Andrew Lansdale.

        • Andrew Johnson
          Posted April 8, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

          Whoops! That should of course be Andrew Lansley and my RIP refers to his genuine desire to reform the NHS.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted April 8, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        the nhs is a failed concept, it just doesnt work, the service is just far too bad for large proportions of the patients

        if it produced decent service for the patients then maybe but it doesnt

        just turn it into a state backed insurance company with minimal staff, give patients cheques when they need treatment according to need, and collect premiums via taxes according to ability to pay BUT please get the state out of the business of running providers of healthcare because the state is seriously bad at doing it

        the sooner the patients can take their insurance cheque to any provider at any stage of the treatment cycle the better

        and let the providers face the realities that if they mess the patients around they can and will take their cheque elsewhere, normal competitive pressure with patients calling the shots is the only way ahead

        and yes a few tweaks for rural areas and A & E, but not much more complex than making sure the rural buses run from a business perspective

      • Simon
        Posted April 8, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        I’ve benefited too and don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water .

        If we’ve got enough money to subsidise our parasitic financial services industry so it is profitable we’ve got enough to look after our fellow men , women and children .

        • Iain Gill
          Posted April 9, 2011 at 9:32 am | Permalink

          Yea but at the moment the NHS is open doors to half the third world clogging up its wards, just take a look around the wards in London

          We cannot afford this, and our priorities are wrong

          Nobody without British citizenship, indefinite leave to remain, or from a country with reciprocal arrangements for brits in their country should be getting free treatment – they can pay insurance like brits have to in their countries!

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 8, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        The money need to follow the patient otherwise the NHS will just try to put people off, delay operations, do minor unneeded ops (such as on knees and hearts when full replacement/by pass is needed). Or ration treatment and drugs in some other way by making it hugely inconvenient not treating the elderly as is done now. Making you wait in casualty for several hours for example to deter. From what I have seen in London it must be very possible to die in casualty while waiting for 3 hours or more waiting for someone to even take a look at you!

        As soon as they pay one hospital would become fast and efficient and the others would have to compete or have no patients.

        The money could follow the patient via the state but still be free at the point of use to the patient but I do not think this would work as well as the patient paying. As soon as the patient pays he demands proper service or he goes elsewhere a part patient and part state system might work.

        Clearly some safely net is needed in some form for the genuinely unable to pay.

        As someone else said it is easier to get your animal treated quickly at the vets!

  2. norman
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Still ‘banging on about Europe’?

    This government is perverse in that it is ignoring all the things that people who could be persuaded to vote Conservative want in order to try and portray itself as ‘progressive’ (a word that sends a shudder down my spine) due to some misguided concept that this is what needs to be done to recapture the Thatcher votes that went to Blair.

    An idea summed up in the three most toxic words in modern politics: deconaminate the brand.

    Anyone who takes that phrase seriously should be kicked out of the Party.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 8, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      He (together with Heath and Major’s ERM disaster – still no apology) destroyed the brand which should stand for economic competence, a small independent democratic government and what actually works.

      That is why he lost the election. Even most of the people working in the state sector and on benefits know the current tax,waste and huge benefits system is totally mad.

  3. Euan
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Why do we need to be in the EU at all? It contributes nothing that couldn’t be done through trade agreements at enormously less cost and restricts us in so many ways with useless regulations.

  4. Javelin
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Democracy has been getting weaker and weaker – even after Lord Hailsham called us a democratic dictatorship the Government has lost powers to the BofE MPC, the EU, quangos, judges etc. We are a democratic shell – no wonder there is so little between Labour and the Conservatives – except a couple of percent in tax and spend.

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted April 8, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Well said, we are not a democracy, we merely get to change our masters every five years. We are no less tax slaves especially since there is so little between the parties on substantive issues.

  5. APL
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Apologies Mr Redwood:

    Of topic. On Radio 4 this morning.

    ‘Portugal is virtually bankrupt’, this is the same PRAVDA BBC that has been holding the line, ‘Portugal will not need a bailout’.

    So now we know, when we hear on the BBC that default is not an option, pretty soon it will be being reported as fact and by the way British loans will be described as ‘charitable donations’.

    • norman
      Posted April 8, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Thank goodness Spain has assured us overnight that it has no need of a bailout!

      Of course, Spain is completely different to Ireland, Greece and Portugal, the same way that Ireland was different to Greece and Portugal was different to Ireland.

      The only economy with any sense is Iceland that told bond holders ‘go fish, if we pay you it will be when we can afford it but don’t hold your breath’.

      Of course, in the UK our government backed all bond holders as, no doubt, the Iceland banks were ‘too big to fail’. Or maybe it is that after supporting one bank (Northern Crock) it would have been ‘unfair’ to let others fail, which shows that the banking system here will never be reformed.

      • APL
        Posted April 9, 2011 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        Norman: “Thank goodness Spain has assured us overnight that it has no need of a bailout! ”

        Phew!

        Now everyone, Spain doesn’t need a bailout. BOLT YOUR WALLETS TO THE FLOOR!

  6. Iain Gill
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    yes and a PM who gives away 600 million to schools in Pakistan in a day has badly lost touch with the feelings of his own people

    • norman
      Posted April 8, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      But all the problems in Pakistan are the fault of the British Empire so it’s only ‘fair’ that we shoulder our fair share of the responsibility.

  7. John Ward
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    This ‘deficit reduction business’ will never be over until it gets started. And it will never get started as long as we are in the EU, and have a PM incapable of sticking to his guns.

    We are running out of time, and the appetite for bailout is waning throughout Europe. Balm about the ‘length’ of our bond repayment debt is false reassurance if everyone wants their money back at once.

  8. alan jutson
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    If polling is taking place, then let us hope that it is done with sensible questions, not ones loaded with the idea of getting the answers you are seeking.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 8, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      The most open poll of all, is either a general election or a referendum.

      I suppose it depends upon the number of questions you want answered.

      Clearly a general election is a no go atthe moment.

      No reason why you cannot ask a whole series of questions in one referendum to reduce the cost.

      Do you want to still this country to be part of the EU.

      Should we bail out other countries who are in debt.

      Do you want to replace the existing voting system with an alternative.

      Do you want to give prisoners the right to vote.

      Do you want your country to live within its means.

      Do you think the planned defence cuts are wise.

      Do you think our tax rates are too high.

      Do you think we spend too much on public services.

      May not be exactly scientific in its feedback, and may be a very, very broad brush approach, but at least it could then give a direct feel of public opinion.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        Do you think you get good value from BBC licence fee tax?

        Do you think the BBC has a political bias?

        Do you think we should pay 4 times the true cost of energy for imagined “green” reasons?

        • wab
          Posted April 8, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

          If by “true” cost you mean excluding all indirect costs due to pollution, then yes, for vehicle fuel (and vehicle fuel alone) you are paying many times the “true” cost of it because of the whacking great fuel duty.

          For most energy (e.g. gas and electricity in your home) you are barely paying any additional tax, and so your factor of 4 is just fanciful, even ignoring the cost of pollution.

          If you really want to talk about the true cost of energy, then it should include the (indirect) pollution cost.

          (I don’t believe the so-called environmentalists reckoning over what the cost of pollution really is, but that is another matter, the issue here is that for most energy it is pretty much completely ignored.)

          • lifelogic
            Posted April 11, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

            The four times comes from the cost of PV (feed in tariffs) and small scale wind costs that the government is, for some mad reason, subsidising indirectly.

            I do not regard C02 as pollution in any real sense but I agree some pollutants do need fiscal deterrents.

      • English Pensioner
        Posted April 8, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

        All these questions should have been asked in the Census and being compulsory would probably have given something nearer the truth than a referendum.
        They did claim the purpose of the census was to allow future planning, and without answers to these questions how can the government plan anything?

        • lifelogic
          Posted April 11, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

          Oh they do not want those sort of answers certainly not!

  9. oldtimer
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    It makes no sense to increase spending on foreign aid while we remain so deeply indebted, nor to engage on new military ventures while trying to get defence spending under control. Unfortunately we live in a world where governments think they know best, regardless of the people in whose name they govern.

    The Carbon Plan, which you referred to recently, is another example of a government policy which, I suspect, does not command the widespread support that it requires. How many understand the high costs (measured in billions per annum) involved in duplicating with fossil/nuclear fuelled generating capacity all the useless schemes for wind farms and solar farms? In addition there are the extra billions required by the National Grid to connect these useless farms to the existing grid. At a time of acute national danger, exemplified by the ballooning national debt, all the main the political parties are determined to add barbed wire to the hair shirts we are all required to wear. This is the most extraordinary example of Parliamentary groupthink that I can recall.

  10. Geoff not Hoon
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, Few who write here will disagree but why can we not be honest for once on the amounts going to the various dictators we fund. Mubarak was but one. When one reads he has in excess of £2B hidden away isnt it obvious where it came from. The recent monies for Pakistan, whether over 4 years or 20, is as likely to be spent in the area’s stated as it is in my back garden. Over and over we here suggestions for a tradeable credit scheme with overseas aid, why is this refused? obvious isnt it but we can’t seem to say no.

  11. Scottspeig
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I also suspect that it David Cameron decided to pay attention to the poll re: the EU, he would realise that we would leave.

    On the other hand, he must have since he refused the poor Mrs Bone (and especially Peter Bone since she was demanding he get it!) If a Conservative MP can’t persuade the Prime Minister with 300,000+ Daily Express (Daily Express!?!?) readers, then what hope have I got?!?

    I’m going to repeat this idea to all Eurosceptic Tory MPs, please resign en-mass and switch your loyalties to UKIP (You would have a greater involvement of policy decisions there) – Please?!? (I know asking to defect is a lot, but the Conservative Party has lost its way and refuses to listen – even to its own backbenchers!)

    • norman
      Posted April 8, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      UKIP, in the words of the PM, is full of ‘fruitcakes’, ‘little Englander’s, banging on all the time about Europe’.

      In other news, the PM this week said he is going to cut back on regulation, so maybe he is going to leave the EU? Or maybe just another pointless soundbite from this most pointless of politicians.

      I’ll stake my mortgage that we have more regulations in 4 years time than we do now.

      BTW, if all the Eurosceptic MP’s left for UKIP there wouldn’t be enough to form a quorum (40 MP’s), as Bill Cash’s recent amendment, when Labour abstained, showed.

  12. Susan
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I don’t believe there is any subject which incenses the public more, than when it sees our Government handing money over to other Countries. At this time of cuts it would seem very inappropriate indeed. Overseas aid should be abolished altogether, as many of these Countries have the ability, but not the will, to look after their own people.

    The EU experiment has failed and no amount of keeping it on life support will change this. Why the British Government always believes it has to pay to keep those Countries which are sinking ships all over the World afloat, is beyond my comprehension. Japan and disasters of this sort are a different matter. However, Countries whose Governments are guilty of incompetence in running their economy, should sort their own problems out. It is not about ‘ charity begins at home’, it is about taking the right measures to see Britains economy back on track to a more prosperous future. Over the years, Britain has thrown away a lot of its possible wealth, by interfering in other Countries, it is now time for the UK to take a back seat in all these issues. Germany is the power house of the EU, and holds its position not only because they run a good economy, but because they have resisted getting involved in any issue, in the World, which was not in their own interests as a Country. Much the same can be said for all those Countries which run good economies. Even Obama, who is in my opinion one of the worst Presidents of recent times, seems to be learning this lesson. Yet the UK continues to get itself involved in very expensive projects in other Countries, and give away money at regular intervals. The UK then ends up paying for the mess that usually ensues.

    Cameron has broken all his promises made before the Election on the EU, our contributions to what is merely an expensive club for unaccountable to anyone members, have gone up. It is now time for the money flow to stop, the regulations coming down to cease and for the UK to run its own Country again. Britian should leave the EU altogether, and I dare say, this would be one of the most popular policies with the public, the Government could ever make.

  13. Winston Smith
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Those that support Cameron’s decision to give away yours and my money to educate Pakistanis argue increased access to education will prevent terrorism. If we do not give money to Pakistan then we will be victims of terrorism. Its demanding money by menace. What these patronising liberals and socialists conveniently forget is the fact that almost all those indulging in terrorism in Europe and elsewhere and those that have been trained/indoctrinated in Pakistan are very well educated and from middle-class backgrounds.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted April 8, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      yes yes yes x 1000

  14. Damien
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    A similar scenario is playing out in Washington over the need for serious cuts to government spending but the coalition here means that this debate is stifled . I cannot see how cuts to overseas aid and the EU budget can be agreed and promoted by the government.

    I am amazed that the cuts program seems to have slowed and be suffering a death of 1000 cuts. Chris Greyling should be praised for bringing forward the pace of reviews for the 1.5m on Incapacity benefits. Even if 500,000 remain and the other 1m go onto the jobseekers allowance that would save £1.3bn per year.

    The PM spoke last year about lifetime tenancies being abolished however we have an even worse injustice with these taxpayer subsidized tenancies being bequeathed to those who would not qualify for council housing in their own right. It may only be 90,000 homes valued at £9 billion but again if they were correctly charged the market rate that would save the taxpayer £300m per year.

    I think it was Michael Hesseltine who introduced council house sales under Margaret Thatchers government. Over the years Labour eroded the right-to-buy discounts from 70% to just 16% and with rising prices the incentive to buy was unattractive and unaffordable against the subsidized rent option.

    The figures show that one fifth of households in council housing earn above the national average, being about 500,000 out of the 2.5m total. Surely now is the time to be bold and reintroduce the 70% discount for those council households ? This would bring in over £5 billion capital receipts. With 70% equity these households would be prime borrowers and importantly it would get 500,000 onto the housing ladder that Labour excluded.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8072078/More-than-90000-live-in-inherited-council-homes.html

    • Bazman
      Posted April 8, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Should they loose their home if and when they earn above a certain amount? Unbelievable as it may seem many are Tory voters.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 8, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        No they should just pay the market rate as should all tenants. Then they have no incentive to state there for ever.

        • davidb
          Posted April 9, 2011 at 8:39 am | Permalink

          No. They should pay a percentage of their income in rent. That way the poor are subsidised and the better off incentivised to move to cheaper private provision. We have a responsibility to look after our fellow citizens, but people who can afford to look after themselves should accept that responsibility as the quid pro quo.

        • Bazman
          Posted April 9, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

          The market rate would be to withdraw all housing benefit to all people. To pay a percentage of their income we would need to establish this in real terms without housing benefit. Quid pro quo. Do you propose the withdraw of all housing benefits and benefits in general in people who are as you say ‘capable of looking after themselves’ and how would you establish this? Maybe it could be established as anyone with the means of traveling abroad? Do let us know.

          • lifelogic
            Posted April 12, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

            Clearly the housing benefit affects the market rates somewhat but why should two people, both earning the same, but with one living in a council flat have perhaps £150PW difference in disposable income just because one has obtained subsidised housing?

            Renting properties out is not very profitable anyway, especially since all the extra pointless regulations were dumped on landlords by Labour.

      • norman
        Posted April 8, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        Baz, you’re always keen to ask lifelogic for details of his plans, so how many tenants do you know who’ve lost their homes because they earn too much?

        Unbelievable as it may seem, many people who work hard and earn very little actually want to keep more of what they earn, take responsibility for their families and would rather do this than feed the insatiable beast then stand on a Friday afternoon with their hands held out.

        Not everyone asks what their government can do for them. Although I admit that the proportion is steadily creeping higher.

  15. Norman Dee
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    “The Prime Minister fought to limit the increase of the EU budget.”
    he went to stop the increase in budget, now even you are presenting the second or third prize he came back with as a victory, whose side are you on ?
    It’s become very obvious that some opinions he is not going to listen to, and if you and your colleagues seriously want change then waiting for him to listen to us is a non starter. If all the eurosceptic mps threatened to resign or cross to UKIP, that would seriously intimidate his majority, then he will listen. so it’s money where the mouth is time ! we are powerless you are our elected representatives get on with it.

  16. Steve Cox
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps they should poll people, especially those who voted Conservative at the last election, for their views on inflation and whether the Chancellor should force the Bank to honour its remit of controlling inflation, something that it has spectacularly failed to do these last four years? I myself and most of my friends are becoming ever more disillusioned with Mr Osborne’s and Mr King’s pathetic failure to even start to get to grips with the problem of the slow-motion, state-sanctioned theft of our savings. More and more we are telling each other that we will never vote Conservative again – and we are core Conservative supporters. If UKIP is the only party that is actually propounding sound money, then so be it, they will have my support if the Coalition fails to act soon.

  17. forthurst
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    There is a grave danger in too much political imput from oi poloi: we might end up like Switzerland, too conservative, outside Europe, outside Nato and almost entirely focused on the defence of its own realm and its own interests.

    Luckly we are endowed with a political system and politicians who, in the main, rightly regard the people as entirely unreliable arbiters of their own destinies such that if they the politicians don’t hold a strong opinion for the next ‘initiative’, which they should, because all their Humanities lecturers, with their posters of Trotsky and others who have inflicted great misery on the world, did, they know someone who has given money, set up think tanks, demonstrated commitment to our betterment: much more reliable than polls.

    Europe is a socialist enterprise so, much like the Labour party, it understands that the more money spent, the more dependency created; each turn of the ratchet reduces the autonomy of the client government and the client people.

    I am unclear as the the purpose of foreign aid; in particlar, we are a poor country living beyond our means and some of the recipients do not seem to merit our largesse. I would far rather we focused our attention on foreign emergencies caused by natural disasters and in supplying effective emergency logistical support. Was Libya really a more deserving case for our compassion than Japan? Do we really need to teach anyone else to speak English?

    • Scottspeig
      Posted April 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Erm “we might end up like Switzerland” – You mean a democratically run wealthy country that looks after its own interests and enjoys prosperous trading with the EU but not having to pay for it? What’s not to like?!?

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 8, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        And a sound currency, good opera, good medicine and good skiing. The only negative is too many London bankers & hedge fund managers are fleeing there as instructed by Cameron’s through his idiotic 52% tax.

        Also they do not cross the road until the green man lights up, even when there is not a car for miles, which is perhaps oddly worrying.

      • sm
        Posted April 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        Like Switzerland!

        They hold referendums on things like
        1) EU membership – tick.
        and they
        2) Don’t appear broke -tick
        3) Have a hard currency – tick
        4) Control inflation
        5) Pretty good economy
        6) Dont appear overpopulated.

        not sure if they gave £xxxm to Pakistan or £xxx million to India instead of ensuring our own long term stability first.

        Perhaps we should copy this country a little more.

        I am for AV as the current system is non viable.

        • forthurst
          Posted April 9, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

          I seem to recall that when the decision to opt for the AV system for the May pole was decided, Peter Bottomley (as he was then), came on the telly and explained that the AV system had selected because “it would keep out the BNP”. In other words, the AV system has a specific bias inbuilt; it is not designed to reflect the range of opinions of the electorate with equal weight; it is not about ‘proportional representation’ at all. I suspect it is designed to give more weight to ‘middle’ parties such as the LibDems, so if you are a LibDem I suggest you vote ‘yes’.

  18. Robert
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Norman Dee – well put – it is time for action not words – sadly being inside the Tory party has been like trying to influence EU from within , a failure!

    • APL
      Posted April 9, 2011 at 6:09 am | Permalink

      Robert: “being inside the Tory party has been like trying to influence EU from within , a failure!”

      It’s early days yet, to be fair to our host, who advocates ‘change from within’ we ought to let him tell us how successful the strategy has been.

      For example, I have been voting Tory largely all my adult life, the Tory party has certanly changed during that period, it’s just that it seems to have moved in exactly the oppsite political direction.

      Viewed from the outside, the Tory party appears to be a hulk, hollowed out and infested by socialists and people who appear to hate the United Kingdom.

      I suppose when I first voted Tory, Thatcher was leader. So pretty much anyone who came after has appeared to be a whinging sniveling lickspittle.

  19. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    The other day I watched some of the Lords debate on the EU bill. Mr Redwood, what precisely does clause 48.6 of the Lisbon Treaty say? A lot of the debate was about whether the EU bill negates it and whether the UK is entitled to negate it.

    Roughly speaking, it seems that it allows “minor” amendments to the Lisbon Treaty without the “tiresome” business of negotiating a new Treaty. Labour seemed to want to avoid overriding clause 48.6. Lord Howell was having none of it, probably because he has zero trust in the EU keeping any amendments “minor”. If so, he was very wise. The European Courts will always rule in a pro-federal way on any issue on which there is the slightest doubt.

    Assuming that the EU bill becomes an Act, there will doubtless be a challenge to it in the European Courts and we must be ready to tell them to go to Hell. Our requirement for a Referendum on any Treaty changes is replicated in many EU member states. We are not alone.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 8, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      To be precise, it’s Article 48(6) of the Treaty on European Union as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon, and Article 48 starts on page 41 here:

      http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2010:083:0013:0046:EN:PDF

      “1. The Treaties may be amended in accordance with an ordinary revision procedure. They may also be amended in accordance with simplified revision procedures … ”

      48(6) defines one of those simplified revision procedures.

  20. Bob
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Suggested poll:
    1. Do you want a referendum on AV vs FPTP voting?
    2. Do you want a referendum on whether we should withdraw from the EU?
    3. Do you know when the last set of EU accounts passed an audit?
    3. Do you have basic numeracy skills? (followed by a few maths questions to test the respondent – disregarding all responses for people scoring below 50%)

    • norman
      Posted April 8, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      If we were to ask the HoC the questions the answers would be:

      1) Only the Lib Dems (8%)
      2) Overwhelmingly No, maybe 30 Tories would rebel
      3) Who cares? Possibly the 30 Tories in Q2. It’s other peoples money, it really doesn’t matter.
      4) I can add my expenses up, that’s all I need

  21. Electro-Kevin
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    The manifesto that would have ensured a landslide election victory is known to everyone but we weren’t offered it. Populism is a dirty word.

    So why the interest in polls now ?

    Or is are we just talking those polls which happen to support an agenda ?

    What say there were polls on membership of the EU, uncontrolled immigration, hanging ?

    Would Mr Cameron take those seriously ?

  22. John Bracewell
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    It is an affront to keep getting told we have to have austerity measures at home and then to find money is being given for bail outs to Euro group members, schools in Pakistan, weapons for the Libyan air exclusion zone, Overseas aid, aid to India -a nuclear force countryand many billions every year to the EU incompetence fund.
    Our government still think we can punch above our weight at the same time as having one of the worst deficits in the developed world. It is madness.

    • Simon
      Posted April 8, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Completely agree with you .

      The mystery is why the image conscious Cameron cannot see it .

      Suppose because he has spent his whole life in politics surrounded by politicians .

      • APL
        Posted April 9, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        Simon: “The mystery is why the image conscious Cameron cannot see it .”

        No mystery, it’s what advertising executives do – deal with the aspirational. Reality must (according to the book of Cameron) follow.

  23. Kenneth
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I agree with every word of your post.

    I would also add that, in some countries, we may exacerbate the situation. In the same way as we create benefit dependency in our own country we must ensure that, when providing our funds to other countries we are not reducing innovation and self-motivation.

  24. David John Wilson
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Yes, the budget contribution to the EU should be cut. The cuts should reduce the level of expenses claimed by MEPs and the civil servants, the number of civil servants employed and the costs of the migration of the parliament round Europe. Countries should also be accountable for ensuring that money from the EU is spent on the purpose for which it was allocated. All administration costs should be carried by the country receiving the money.

  25. Terry
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Regarding Polling, well stated, John. Why isn’t the Government listening?
    If you know the answers to to the major questions that should be posed to the people then why doesn’t Dave and Co? But it’s just not our dumb Coalition it is ALL governments.
    After they become elected they wander off on their own agendas without a care for the aspirations of the people who put them there.
    It gives the very clear message that we, the British citizens, count for nothing, once the election is over, until the next time there is to be an election, when the whole phoney process is repeated. And this is supposed to be democracy?

    The Governments of this country should ALWAYS put its citizens first. In doing so how on earth can those other members of the EU, object? Pulling back from our ‘commitments’ to the EU, the ECofJ and the Euro, would be a great place to start.

  26. Martin
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Re the bailouts – isn’t it time that politicians in these countries were told to start accepting responsibility?

    All too often it is left to the EU or IMF or whoever to tell the country to cut expenditure and/or raise taxes. This lets local politicians continue to duck their responsibility and pass the buck to an outside agency.

  27. Jon Burgess
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    I agree with all that you say, Mr Redwood, but you and I know that nothing will change and no truly conservative opinions will creep into this coalition without some decisive action from YOU. The Cameroons are in bed with the Lib Dems; they pretend they are reluctant partners – no actually as I write that I can see that’s nonsense. There’s no pretence – Nick and David agree on almost everything – they said it themselves. As Peter Hitchens rather spookily predicted before the election ‘Call me Dave’ really does have more in common politically with Nick Clegg than Norman Tebbit.

    Rather than wait for non existent referenda, here’s a couple of suggestions (as after all the ball is in your court as an elected memeber of parliament and the representative of the opinions of your electorate):
    – Threaten to leave the Tories along with the remaining ‘rump of the right’ and see the smug look on the Eton boys faces change as they realise their majority would evaporate,
    – Actually leave the Tories along with your like minded colleagues and join UKIP (a party that strangely enough seems to support all the things you want); this might in itself even be enough to create the need for a general election and give you an ideal platform on which to build popular support for all these things you say the electorate wants (without the need for a referendum), or
    – take over the Tory party from within, and banish the Cameroons to the soft yellowy left, where they seem to feel most at home.

    OK, so I admit 3 is unlikley but 1 or 2 are certainly worth a go.

    Reply: 30-40 Conservatives regularly vote against the government on EU matters, but it makes no difference as there is a strong cross party pro EU majoritry in the Commons. Understand the arithmetic and you would see your proposal cannot work.

    • zorro
      Posted April 9, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      John,
      We know the arguments, but you have 30 – 40 votes which can have an impact on a lot of issues. Why not use them strategically/tactically as necessary. They are not treating you or your (our) arguments with respect.

      zorro

      Reply: I do just that

  28. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted April 9, 2011 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    ” Where are the villians of the economic crisis, the institutions that are responsible? Where do they reside? In Bucharest or Vilnius? Or in New York or London? It is actually quite easy to prove that EU spending is the best remedy against the crisis in the majority of countries.” (quote from Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Der Spiegel)

  • 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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