The UK needs a new relationship with the EU


           We have seen that the UK’s foreign policy has lurched from wanting a divided Europe with no one power dominating our near neighbours, to accepting the drive to European integration. This has never been put honestly and openly to the British people, who have been told sovereignty and power still rests with them, as it is wrestled away to Brussels.

           The crab like approach to European integration has proceeded on the basis that the UK will be a late joiner, but will in the end sign up to the whole menu. The UK was after all in the second wave of entrants to the EEC. She delayed joining the full criminal justice package but is gradually opting in, delayed entry into common borders but now is governed by some of the common measures, delayed joining the social chapter but later did so, and says she is against a common foreign policy yet backed the growing diplomatic corps of EU officials.

           Many on the continent thought it would only be a matter of time before the Uk joined the Euro. Maastricht gave us an opt out, but also left the door firmly open for us to join. I used to be the object of Germany briefing and persuasion, as various senior protagonists of European integration sought to persaude me to change my mind about the single currency.

          Today we are on the threshold of a new reality that cannot easily be hidden. Euroland intends to deal with its stresses and strains by pushing on to much fuller political union. The UK will not be in the Euro, and has a government which says it does not wish to surrender more power to the EU. Temporarily all three main parties are united in agreement that we should not currently  join the Euro, but disunited in what else we should say and do.

              The old nightmare of UK foreign policy is about to come true. France, Germany and the low countries, our nearest neighbours, will be a united single power. It is true they will have the bills and troubles of the south to worry about. There at last will be the powerful European sovereign authority that eluded the Spanish, The Holy Roman Emperors,  the French and the Germans at the height of their miltary power when they all sought to unite Europe by more violent means. It will be closer to the days of the Roman empire, when Roman rule stretched far and wide. They had a single language, latin, for administration, a single gold currency, a common system of government and enforcement by a very active army.

             I do not think the UK should try to stop this more modern and peaceful  union, as they seem to want it badly. I doubt it will last a thousand years, or even a hundred. I fear the Euro will do more damage to jobs, living standards and tempers before it is finished. We should warn them that we think there will be great troubles ahead as they press on with it. It will cost far more and take far longer than they expect. They will ignore our warnings as they did over the Euro.

             It is time for the UK to adjust to this new reality, and to set out what we want and  how we intend to proceed.

            We could begin by saying it has more chance of success without us in it. We could stress that by staying out the UK is acting as a good neighbour. With our state debts, large  running deficit and semi nationalised banks we would impose huge and possibly terminal stresses on the Euro project. It is better for them that we remain out.

               We should go on to say we will co-operate in creating the new political and constitutional architecture they want. They will need us to vote for it. We should do  so , as long as our interests are protected. Tomorrow I will talk about what we should want in return for approving the next big step in the project to create out of Euroland a United States of Europe.



  1. Sue
    July 26, 2011

    You politicians seem to miss the point as far as our relationship with the EU is concerned.

    It really shouldn’t be up to ANY OF YOU to decide. We are supposed to be a democracy!

    The taxpayers of the UK pay for this project, the majority of which are now doing so, unwillingly!


    That means a referendum.

    1. forthurst
      July 26, 2011

      Surely the purpose of being a politician is to act against the desires of the people, otherwise they wouldn’t be necessary, surely?

    2. Tim
      July 26, 2011

      I don’t know anyone, save our politicians who want to remain in Europe or what we gain from it. All I ever hear from them is how important our 40% of trade with them is. Well for the record we had a £42 billion net deficit with them last year and £262 billion net over the last 10 years. I’m told the 40% is exaggerated as a lot of our exports go via Rotterdam and that apparently counts!
      Our NET contributions for our unloved membership costs us £13.5 billion to improve foreign infrastructures and subsidise their farmers, a 74% rise in our contributions last year alone. No change in the CAP that restricts trade from outside the EU but costs us billions in additional food costs. We’re the cash cows paying for Westminsters vanity.
      The EU have decreed that we will have 20% renewables based on unproven science by 2020. It is costing us a hidden 20% on our energy bills to build windmills that don’t work because of fears around CO2. This gas accounts for 0.036% of the Earths atmosphere and only 3% of that is man made, the rest from volcanoes, our oceans, and animals. Its actually a food for plant life and essential for photosynthesis. Total madness.
      A whole fishing industry lost and 1000,000 young people unemployed as they are undercut by Eastern Europeans. Businesses want this but don’t pay additional taxes to support the unemployed they are making or additional cost to our Health and other public services.
      It should be about trade only and that is the only vote the public have ever agreed. The rest has been by dishonest politicians who lie and treat us as fools (Mr Redwood and a few others excluded). I’m 52 and have never had the chance to vote on this monstrous undemocratic organisation. Referendum please.

    3. APL
      July 27, 2011

      Sue: “That means a referendum.”

      And not just one, either. We should have yearly referendums until a pro British mandate is established, then mysteriously they will stop.

      See, the EU is a good teacher.

  2. Alison Granger
    July 26, 2011

    I. for one, don’t care what reasons we give to stay out of the nightmare, just as long as we’re out. We should withdraw completely and immediately from the EU. It offers no advantages to us and huge disadvantages. What is amazing is that Dave and Co. can’t see how popular that would be.

    1. APL
      July 27, 2011

      Alison Granger: “What is amazing is that Dave and Co. can’t see how popular that would be.”

      Alison, you assume ‘Dave & Co’ are there to work for the people of the Uk, You know like in a democracy.

      I am afraid they are not. They are there to serve their masters in the EU first then themselves second.

  3. lifelogic
    July 26, 2011

    But thanks to the big state Cameron-Heath approach the “Tories” lost the election and are stuck with the LibDems who are wrong on virtually every issue of substance from Green Energy to the EU to Economics and policies for growth. (Though right on the wars and occasional civil liberty issues).

    So Cast Iron-Cameron & Clegg and the rest will do as they are told for a quiet life.

    I see Osborne is talking of tax cuts again will these perhaps be just before the next election to be reversed post election as usual. Probably by Labour due to the lack of growth caused by his high tax big state regime having buried the Tories again Major style.

    1. uanime5
      July 26, 2011

      How exactly are the Lib Dem’s to blame for Osborne’s failed plans for growth?

      1. lifelogic
        July 29, 2011

        Osbourne and Cameron are certainly mainly to blame but that lack of a majority (resulting from Cameron’s lack of small state vision and idiotic green wash) do not help.

  4. Electro-Kevin
    July 26, 2011

    People would be a lot happier if it were democratic.

    If, for example, there were a referendum here and the people voted for full integration then our people would have made a clear choice which could not be argued with. Most Eurosceptics would accept that decision and start pulling with the team.

    As it is we don’t believe that there is a majority in this country (or many other majorities in the EU for that matter) which want devolvement of power and dilution of vote to a centralised, supra-national, body – particularly one which is widely thought to be corrupt and unaccountable.

    Then there is the secondary problem of the interpretation of EU law within the UK which makes the EU highly unpopular here. It always seems to benefit and further entrench the Left. It always seems to run counter to the English sense of justice and fairness.

    1. Electro-Kevin
      July 26, 2011

      Those cherished English characteristics which you outlined in a previous post are going to have to be changed somehow for the EU system to work here.

      We’re clearly going to need education of some kind.

      I note in particular signs for development projects stating ‘Funded by the EU’. These are quite widespread. They fail to communicate that we put more money into the EU than we get out of it.

      For every library which closes down due to cuts may we have ‘Denied by the EU’ fixed to the building ?

    2. uanime5
      July 26, 2011

      We have an elected dictatorship in Parliament, and unelected upper chamber, and referendums only occur every few decades. Why should the people get a vote on joining Europe when we never have a choice on anything else that’s important?

  5. alan jutson
    July 26, 2011

    John, your post has some interesting points but:

    It would seem that every UK government so far has not had the will, or strength of mind, to argue our case successfully, and has capitulated on almost everything the EU as introduced. A delay has been regarded as a victory, which clearly it is not.

    Until we have a leader who has the balls (and I do not mean Ed) to stand up for our interests, and is prepared to remove us from membership unless we get some real benefits, then we will get nowhere.

    At the moment we are simply being bullied into submission on almost every aspect of the so called EU dream, which is slowly turning into a nightmare scenario.

    Whilst it may be nice to perhaps be able to pick and choose what legislation with which to agree, it surely would be far more clear cut to get out, and simply have a trading relationship agreement with the EU, and thus save the constant and ongoing day to day negotiations that will continue to take place until Europe is either one Socialist entity, or simply fails, probably bankrupt.

    1. uanime5
      July 26, 2011

      What we need is not someone who will oppose everything European but will actually assess which European policies are good for this country and which need to be modified to mitigate any harm they cause. Believing that every country in the EU will accept the UK’s position on everything because it’s the UK’s position is at best arrogance and at worst ignorance.

      Given how most of the worker’s rights in this country have come from the EU it would be far better if the Government had less influence in the EU until they start representing the people of their country, rather than big businesses.

  6. Javelin
    July 26, 2011

    You are absolutely right to look at this at a historical level. I so enjoy reading this column.

  7. Stuart Fairney
    July 26, 2011

    If they had a gold currency not the fiat Euro they would be stronger. If they were not wedded to statist socialism they would be stronger, if they had an army worth a damn they would be stronger (oh no, a combined Italian/French expeditionary force has landed at Dover, we are concerned our guys might die laughing).

    If they wish to plunge headlong into an uber-statist nightmare, of poverty and central control, let ’em. Just don’t drag us along.

  8. Peter van Leeuwen
    July 26, 2011

    If the UK were to reclaim the EU debate back from the tabloid hyperbole (now is the time) it could have a much more sensible and relaxed debate about its relationship with or within the EU. It could stay outside the euro and Schengen forever but still work to improve the single market. With a more positive attitude it could have offered its best diplomatic talents and taken the EU lead in foreign affairs.
    Why suggest that a United States of Europe will emerge (it will not), instead of a “multi-speed hybrid structure based on opt-in policies” which is much more likely and is in several ways already happening.
    When I read that your party-colleagues John Major and Douglas Hurd plead for some “Unelected Ministers” in the UK (!!!, expertise beating populism), than maybe the Channel isn’t a thousand miles wide after all. (source: )

  9. Anthony Harrison
    July 26, 2011

    Well, yes, agree entirely, nice summary Mr Redwood. But what progress are you making in persuading your Party’s leaders that yours is the correct analysis? I don’t know whether to think of them as pitifully indecisive, or criminally irresponsible.

  10. oldtimer
    July 26, 2011

    In modern times the UK has managed to live with a large (and friendly) USA, a large (and unfriendly) USSR. It will have to get used to the idea of living with a large (and presumably friendly) Euroland but without becoming a part of it. Like just about all preceding empires, Euroland will have its day, flourish and then decline. I happen to think its days will be relatively short lived – not least because of the obvious financial and political difficulties that it now faces. The UK will be better off out. We have enough problems of our own which we must solve. Huddling together with other troubled countries is not the way to solve them.

    1. Denis Cooper
      July 26, 2011

      Well, we’ll be faced with constant external pressure from foreign politicians like Merkel, who made her position clear last May:

      “our goal must be that all EU member States join the euro one day”.

      And we’ll also be faced with the untrustworthiness of our own politicians.

      So there’ll be the perpetual risk that sooner or later one party or another will get itself a Commons majority and use it to bounce us into the euro, even if it had said nothing about that in its election manifesto; and as there’s been no attempt to entrench the European Union Act against easy repeal it could do that without having to hold a referendum.

    2. Norman Dee
      July 26, 2011

      We will not be alone for long, I am convinced that the first one to blink and get out will tip the scales for other countries, my personal favourite to be first would be the Dutch, followed by the Scandinavian countries in no particular order.
      Then we can have a North Atlantic Association of people we really do have things in common with.

  11. Julian White
    July 26, 2011

    Euro-sceptics have been arguing this for decades and too many Conservative MPs became too focused on this issue in the 1990s much to the irritation of the electorate.

    We weren’t forced to give up our opt-outs that John Major secured by some nasty European Union, they were given away freely by the disastrous Blair and Brown Labour Governments. They could have said no.

    The answer, to me, is to continue to follow John Major’s policy, which is what the current Government appear to be doing. That was always clear – indeed Major’s policy was constant from when he entered Parliament through to today – fight for Britain’s interests within the system we have, but reserve the right to simply refuse to join the bits we don’t like. Then allow for a wider European Union to prevent a deeper European Union.

    By that wider European Union it means that there will inevitably be a two-speed system where countries go at their own speeds. But as more countries join the EU, it seems madness to me to walk away and a sign that Britain can’t stand up for herself.

    Britain could leave the UN, NATO, the IMF, the EU and so on and we’d be superbly independent. But without influence or relevance. There is a choice between standing firm and reforming institutions we don’t like or just giving up.

    1. Denis Cooper
      July 26, 2011

      It should be obvious by now that Major’s superficially clever policy of “allow for a wider European Union to prevent a deeper European Union” has not only failed, it has actually backfired on us so badly that we now have a European Union which both wider AND deeper.

      Which may be what he always intended to happen,

    2. sokdraw
      July 26, 2011


    3. Stuart Fairney
      July 27, 2011

      “Britain could leave the UN, NATO, the IMF, the EU and so on and we’d be superbly independent. But without influence or relevance”

      Who do you wish to influence and why? How do you believe our ‘influence’ has been in the UK interest in say the last ten years? Personally I would rather have the £9B to the IMF back and not be able to ‘influence’ Greek finance. I would rather not be able to ‘influence’ Libya via NATO and not have the blood of kids facilitated by my taxes, I would prefer not to be able to ‘influence’ EU policy and not have to abide by straight banana laws, and like Switzerland it wouldn’t matter a damn to me if we couldn’t sign up to UN resolutions that everyone ignores anyway.

      Seems to me you are thinking under the influence.

  12. Denis Cooper
    July 26, 2011

    Estonia became the 17th member of the eurozone on January 1st 2011.

    Some Estonians argued that such an important decision should be put to a referendum, but they were told:

    “The decision to join the European Union, which was approved at the autumn referendum of 2003, expressed also support for accession to the euro area.”

    True, in legal terms, because of Article 4 in the Act of Accession for the 10 new countries which joined the EU in 2004:

    Which exemplifies the flaw in the supposedly clever British strategy of pressing for the widening of the EU to prevent its further deepening, when the governments of other countries took the view that widening would actually increase the need for deepening and made sure that it was their alternative strategy which was enshrined in the treaties.

    In 1993 when the Maastricht Treaty came into force, and the EU, as such, came into being, it had 12 members, of which 2 – the UK and Denmark – had obtained legal “opt-outs” from having to join the euro.

    Although as far as the euro-federalists are concerned these and all other legal “opt-outs” are always regarded as nothing more than temporary expedients to allow the EU to establish a new norm, with the expectation that eventually all EU member states will conform to that norm.

    As a Vice President of the EU Commission, Margot Wallstrom, once rather cryptically but accurately observed, “an opt-out is also an opt-in”.

    Now the EU has 27 members, and the claimed strategy of promoting widening to prevent deepening has backfired so badly that under the treaties at least 25 of them must end up as part of the federalised eurozone that George Osborne wants.

    Croatia will soon be the 28th EU member state – once again the British people will be allowed no say on that – and it too will be legally committed to join the eurozone once the conditions are deemed correct.

    The Poles were reminded of their legal commitment back in 2006, when President Lech Kaczynski suggested that Poland might hold a referendum on the euro in 2010, whereupon an EU official pointed out:

    “… Poland doesn’t have choice, when it comes to the euro. The adoption of the single currency is an obligation under the accession treaty.”

    Why didn’t John Major demand that all EU member states, present and future, must be allowed a free choice on whether to join the euro, and insist on having a statement to that effect enshrined in the Maastricht Treaty?

    Why secure an “opt-out” for your own country, albeit under pressure from your backbench MPs, but effectively close down the possibility that any country which subsequently joined the EU could also have an “opt-out”?

    Why then press for more and more countries to join the EU, knowing that eventually they must all become additions to the eurozone and potentially united against your country?

    And why then urge them to “get a grip” and become even more closely united, and so even more of a threat to your own country’s long term national interests?

    1. Julian White
      July 26, 2011

      John Major secured an opt-out from Britain from the single currency, which any other country could have followed at the time. Accession Treaties are not all alike and are based on negotiation, and numerous countries have joined after Maastricht was signed and they haven’t joined the Euro.

      But this is exactly why Major was right to negotiate for Britain on the single currency. Some suggested he had no involvement and that we should rule ourselves out for ever, but if we had done, we would have had absolutely no influence on the direction of the single currency, which as a major nation we should have, even if we don’t join it.

      1. Denis Cooper
        July 27, 2011

        ALL the EU member states which joined post-Maastricht were placed under a legal obligation to eventually join the euro, even if not all of them have yet joined.

        See what the EU official said about Poland and its Act of Accession, which is actually the same Act of Accession as for the nine other countries which joined in 2004:

  13. Mike Stallard
    July 26, 2011

    Hooray! At last the stopped clock is telling the right time!
    History is back!

    So let’s sort out some historic parallels.

    Rome is a pretty desperate parallel – honestly! Is Brussels civilized and we are not? Rome was much more like us Europeans during out Imperialist Phase (now history). Perhaps the Ottos would be a better parallel, and we could be King Alfred! (were they contemporaries?)

    Now that America is permanently on the rocks at last, we need to compare ourselves to small countries that do very well independently without a big brother.

    I have just relished reading the brilliant Lee Kwan Yew’s biography of how he managed to separate Singapore from both Indonesia and Malaysia when it became obvious that GB was finished for ever.
    I reckon Japan and China present a pretty good parallel too. The difference is that Japan was fatally inward looking and we most certainly are not.

    Hong Kong? Maybe that is all we can hope for if all the back slapping and conviviality of Brussels get to our politicians’ hearts…… Or we might well end up like “Independent” Ireland and Poland as provinces – as usual? Or, even worse, with our massive bureaucracy, like the 19th century Spanish Empire under the British Empire/ the USA?

    Perhaps Norway, or Switzerland are the most realistic possibilities?

  14. Graham Cook
    July 26, 2011

    Unfortunately, excepting you, we do not have any politicians with the skills to pull this type of thing off – even ignoring the fact that most actual want to proceed to full integration.

    Half in/half out (notwithstanding what you may say tomorrow) is surely a close second worst option and we should go for full withdrawal in one go and focus back on the UK again since membership is at the root of so many problems both econcomic and social.

  15. Mr Leslie Smith
    July 26, 2011

    I agree with the above. The EU Machine should look carefully at Mr Redwood;s advice and take the lessons of history on board. Greece and Italy, nor Portugal, nor Ireland, I would suspect want a full fiscal and political union, to follow in the EU further deliberations. They know that German Hegomony, supported by their Entente Cordial with the French, will be an efficient and ruthless machine, where the rest of us would be left on the beach. (Germany could not achieve this b y conquest but those -ed) whose weapons are pens and spin talk may possibly achieve this Pan European German Goal. We had better wake up and “smell the roses”

  16. forthurst
    July 26, 2011

    I think you had overlooked our historical concern for the threat a powerful continental neighbour would have offered (and frequently did) to our colonial ambitions. Where was the rationale for that policy, in the old world or new?

    Now that Africans and others have learned how to run countries much better than we ever could, surely it is time for us to relearn the art of governing ourselves rather degenerating by default into a third world rathole operated by Cultural Marxists in Brussels, the Liberal Party and the BBC.

  17. EJT
    July 26, 2011

    Please keep saying this, Mr. Redwood. Calmly, loudly and clearly.

  18. rose
    July 26, 2011

    Nothing illustrates this crab like approach more than the recent addition of the 15th August to the Church of England calendar. The Protestant Church of England had hitherto been most particular about disancing itself from this particular feast day, and its doctrine, though the othe feasts of the BVM continued to be celebrated. But it was always a big occasion on the continent, especially in anti clerical France – as big as Christmas here. Now it has been slipped in, without a word to any of the Anglican congregations. Do you know Mr R, if the Supreme Governor of the Church of England was consulted on the point, as her loyal subjects certainly weren’t?

    1. forthurst
      July 26, 2011

      But what is being celebrated, the Assumption or the Dormition?

      1. rose
        July 28, 2011

        The Assumption, as the Slavs haven’t taken over yet.

  19. Ross J Warren
    July 26, 2011

    ” We could begin by saying it has more chance of success without us in it. We could stress that by staying out the UK is acting as a good neighbour. With our state debts, large running deficit and semi nationalised banks we would impose huge and possibly terminal stresses on the Euro project. It is better for them that we remain out.”

    This may well be true, but the Europhiles might argue that this great Nation has a great deal to offer, despite our current deficit. If we take account of the many trillions of pounds of art works, that this Nation has, we do have something tangible to offset our debt.

    In the 1980’s we saw a period of creative accounting, some of which was brilliant and helped the economy to recover. This is a period of great fiscal stress, isn’t it now time to put all of our cards on the table,even if that results in some of the Nations treasures being “up for grabs”.

    If I was in debt I certainly would consider selling my collections before going cap in hand to the bank manager for a further unaffordable loan.

  20. William Grace
    July 26, 2011

    Good Lord John, you have stuck your head up! To bad it is WAY TOO LATE AND WAY TOO LITTLE!
    While I am sure you would always reply, better late than never, it doesn’t work that when when it is an entire country you and your party have screwed into the ground.

    Simple facts you will never admit to.

    1. It is always possible to have a referendum.
    2. No laws are written in stone, it is always possible to go back and change things or stop things.
    (Honestly it really is, I know as a politician you will not believe this, but really, it is true)
    3. Doing a David Davis is not stupid. Standing your ground for your principles will get you remembered. (I know you’ll be thinking it gets you out of a job, means less money because other politicians don’t respect that sort of thing, but maybe, just maybe, it means you get treated with a little bit more respect? I shall attempt to read you mind – who care – I was right wasn’t I)
    Here is a challenge for you John, stand up give a speech and say what you full well know is true. You where wrong not to give the public a referendum, regardless of what had been decided by others, it should have been done, you should have truly gotten the opinion of those you are voted in by.
    I’ve got another reading of your mind. (No Way am I doing that!)
    Sink back down John, Sink back Down!

    Reply: Why do you have to attack the MPs who are trying tol help you? I voted No in 1975, I have consistently asked for a referendum and voted for one on Lisbon. I am n ot your problem.

    1. JimF
      July 26, 2011

      Not the problem but also not unfortunately the solution. At some stage this has to come to a head. Your question is, is it better to put your head above the parapet now, or keep your head down until the sway of opinion truly changes and then jump?
      In other words, a leader or a follower?

    2. William
      July 26, 2011


      Help me?

      I live in a country where, when broken into twice (I live 300 yards from a police station) I never saw a police officer, but I did get multiple times a, how to deal with crime letter. (I complained, no MP, mine Reading West, doesn’t even answer emails)

      John, honestly, if you want to help the people, actually listen to them.

      Your buddy Dave Killed the when he got into power, its still down. If you want to help the people, actually listen to them.

      We send money to countries that have nuclear arms. If you want to help the people, actually listen to them.

      Your Buddy dave hires an ex Rag man to advise him? I mean before any of this BS, that was stupid. If you want to help the people, actually listen to them.

      John, you and your fellow MPs, have never listened, You know full well I could provide list after list of MPs saying one thing and then doing another, and just not bothering.

      You use the best for the country garbage all the time, but simple thing work. A hammer hits a nail, and it works the same way for most things. Simple works.

      It is NOT rocket science, stop making out that it is.

      What I am attacking is this. You have a great standing, you have been around for years, YOU have the ability to MAKE A STAND, others should and would follow you. If you feel, honestly feel they way you say, STAND UP AND SAY IT! If your being held back by Dave and Co. Say it, Let others know.

      I’d put money on you backing down.

      In other words Rock the Boat a little.

      1. APL
        July 28, 2011

        William: “Your buddy Dave Killed the when he got into power”

        And so he should have.

        It was another constitutional innovation to pettition [by Blair] the prime minister.

        You’re correct port of call for legislation you would like to see is your MP. If you want to petition anyone, it should be the Crown.

        Blair (unflattering description)

        A bit like his former sidekick Gordon Brown, seems to spend more time abroad than actually representing his constituents.

  21. cosmic
    July 26, 2011

    The EU has come this far by disguising its intentions as economic measures, bribery of one sort or another.and high-handed action. Greece etc have been given a bait, which was irresistible and they are now discovering the hook. The intention is to create a state run by bureaucrats with democratic politics turned into an empty sideshow. This is very dangerous. National identities are to be dissolved into a Euro identity, or so goes the plan. A good question is whether it’s a good idea to be part of something which can only bring about its ambitions by dishonest means.

    It’s far too easy to regard the EU as coherent whole which we will have to deal with as a united empire. It may evolve that way, but I think will probably miscarry as nationalism asserts itself and the full implications of the Euro become apparent. There is no EU demos. The possibility of the EU coming apart is on the cards. It would have been more stable had the pace of expansion been slower and had it been restricted to similar economies. Doing things by consent rather than deception would have helped.

    I don’t believe the UK can stop the EU or the Euro or influence it to any useful extent, either inside or outside the EU. Talk of reform is futile. We have to think of ourselves, which is what British governments are supposed to be elected to do.

    It’s a question of choosing one way or the other. We are either part of the EU and accepting the federal plan wholeheartedly, or we are an independent sovereign nation dealing with the EU as an external state. Either way, it would be a good idea to ask the public what they want. For years we’ve had governments attempting to pretend that the EU can be diverted from its ambitions to become a single European state, or pretending that serious changes are ‘tidying up exercises’, which has amounted to the UK being dragged along with the plan complaining.

    1. Michael Gilbert
      July 27, 2011

      I’m sorry Cosmie but you couldn’t be more wrong-the EC/EEC/EU has ALWAYS been open about its intentions, there has been no lie from Brussels, the lies have always come from Westminster.

      A Federal Europe is the clear and unambiguous aim of the EU Elite. denying that this is the case has always been a lie spread by Westminster from Macmillan onwards and of course especially with the likes of Heath.

      Blair was actually quite open about his EUphile tendencies as was Major. Alas poor Maggie was lied to by the likes of Howe and Lawson and especially Major.

      The FCO has throughout this time actively sought to undermine British sovereignty and can there ever have been a worse nest of vipers than UKREP?

      No, Brussels and the message from Brussels has always been about the single minded pursuit of ever closer union. The traitors are within. As Cicero said:

      “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.”

      Today that quote applies to the Heseltines and the Clarkes, the Garel-Jones’ and the Howes.

      John Redwood, Douglas Carswell and others need to make clear to Cameron that this golden opportunity to renegotiate our position must not be squandered to appease Clegg.

      Time to govern ourselves once more.

  22. Craig
    July 26, 2011

    Hi John,

    Just a quick note to say keep up the good work. You are most definitely not alone.

    Despite being labelled by the press as ‘little-englanders’, I am hard pressed to find a ‘bloke down the pub’ i.e voter, that wants us to have anything at all to do with Europe. Despite this, we have instead a completely undemocratic elite, conceding ground and making our minds up for us, whilst offering weasel words to keep us ‘calm’.

    It strikes me that the only part of the country who are in favour of the train wreck that is Europe, are those sitting in the first class carriages on it’s gravy train.

    This debate goes to the nation’s sovereignty, yet the nation has no voice. Obviously, a referendum is the answer. Hopefully a suitably chastened media will provide us with more facts for the debate as opposed to its own brand of self-serving opinion.

    Some hope, eh?

    Best wishes,


  23. Slim Jim
    July 26, 2011

    You are right, it has never been put honestly to the British people, has it? I have no doubts that it never will be. We saw the conniving and conspiring to scupper any chances of a referendum on Lisbon by our political class. We have witnessed the dishonest way the eurotwats have ignored the wishes of other nations when they voted no. I have absolutely no doubt that whatever ridiculous promises this government (or any other ) makes to ‘defend our interests’, they will simply be seen as rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. We need a referendum John. In or out, nothing less. If Conservative Party policy is really about localism and handing down more power to the people, then how on earth does staying in the EUSSR promote that aim?

  24. Derek Buxton
    July 26, 2011

    I do hope that the government remains steadfast against the EUro, but I do not share your optimism. Too often have they been going to resist but three days later we find out they have capitulated. I do not find this surprising as the EU was founded on precisely this principle, buy the national politicians and there is a ready made fifth column with the power to do as the EU demands. This has been the most shameful thing about the whole deal. hollow out the traditions Country by Country and hey presto, you have yourself an empire albeit with no democracy but that is ideal for their purpose. We must stay out, or we cease to exist!

  25. Vanessa
    July 26, 2011

    I do not understand why you do not come out and say Britain will leave the EU. What are the benefits of staying in? Switzerland has a very nice deal with the EU and is able to trade without the need to pay colossal fees for the privilege of membership together with the petty fines we have to pay when we, supposedly, break some bloody regulation. Of course, they don’t need to abide by the rules they set (bailing out countries was illegal in the Lisbon Treaty) but we haemorrhage money to these dishonest and corrupt people. Why are you all SO weak and pathetic that you CANNOT or WILL NOT stand up for the interests of this country and its people?

  26. Idris Francis
    July 26, 2011

    Greater honour has no man than to lay down his friend for his life……….

    Unusually I disagree with John Redwood, but n this one – but agree wUith Janet Daley in the Sunday Telegraph.

    What is being proposed here, using the present difficulties for leverage to extricate ourselves at least to some extent in reality means sacrificing the Greeks, Irish and othesr to their fate of decades if poverty devoid of hope, as German colonies whose politicians have no power whatever and whose voters have none either.

    However desirable it is to avoid the worst of the coming EU catastrophe this seems a distinctly shabby and immoral way to do it. Far better, if our continued involvement means collapse for the whole entrerprise and eventually freedom for all, that seems to me to be preferable whatever the shorter term problems.

    The other point is that if, without us, the EU does salvage itself from the wreckage it will only be a matter of time before they are back, trying for the 4th time to take over Britain

    The only moral justification for sacrificing Greece etc to be able to escaoe would be the Dunkirk equivalent, that we had no choice but to leave the French to their fate, for the time being, so as to be able to regroup and come back

    1. APL
      July 27, 2011

      Idris Francis: ” .. the coming EU catastrophe this .. ”

      Firstly, if the Euro collapses, it won’t be the first time a European currency union has failed.

      Secondly, it is unlikely that we will be able to stand on the sidelines and be a spectator. The collapse of the Euro project will lead like in Greece to significant civil unrest in those countries that are directly affected. What government emerges from the chaos probably won’t be too palatable.

      Thirdly, because our government, for the sake of their own pet project, have entered into intra governmental currency swaps with Euro zone partners, when the Euro fails our economy will be severely hit too.

      Fourthly, our economy isn’t in the best of health anyway. When the financial tsunami hits, our government will be facing a very difficult domestic situation too.

  27. John
    July 26, 2011

    A very good start, in prelude to leaving this hated, obnoxious, non-elected union. I and millions of others did not agree to this EU. Our leaders are guilty of treacheress actions.

    1. Julian White
      July 26, 2011

      You may not have agreed to our membership of the EU individually, but the vast majority of voting people continue to back political parties which go to the country at General Elections with a manifesto for our continued membership of the EU.

  28. Anon
    July 26, 2011

    A blog comment on why growth might be slow:

    I’ve also switched a lot more to barter rather than using money. I now trade restaurant gigs for food IOUs instead of cash – otherwise we would not get to eat out. It works out better all round and the restaurants get me cheaper in effect. Ditto guitar lessons for car maintainance – another cash free transaction. I do a lot more of the car repairs myself too and we won’t be renewing vehicles anytime soon. We’ve searched out a second hand washing machine in advance of our aged one packing up.

    All of these money-free transactions which will not register on the Govt books because I utterly resent paying the tax.

    We’ve just been notified that we’ve broken through the tax credit limits and no longer qualify. This is a big hit for us. Despite being careful with our money and earning what seems a lot we find ourselves in the ‘staycation’ bracket. Yet again no holiday this year. Only two proper holidays in 13 years and, like I say, it’s not as though I haven’t been working hard in a decent job. Our boys do not qualify for free school meals and yet we can’t afford to buy them either. Yet there is no Govt support.

    Watched a programme about a single mum and daughter (both midgets) obviously on various kinds of benefits. “We’ve visited 18 different countries.” and by the look of it they don’t go cheap on accommodation or resorts either. The house is packed with various pets including a number of dogs.( We struggle to keep a cat and have just had to cancel his insurance.) The latest electrical goodies and a pad which makes ours look tatty. Driving lessons for daughter (I can’t see us being able to afford it for our lads)

    The story is repeated next door to us where no-one works, most of the daughters have their own flats with no sign of their kid’s fathers – yet taxis and council services seem to be at beck and call. No expense spared.

    So I wonder how much of this is a quiet rebellion and the people getting back what they think is owed to them by dubious means.

  29. William Grace
    July 26, 2011

    LibDems Prepare for Huhne Charge – Better get your head down again John your fine upstanding friends are doing that one rule for you another for us thing again!
    How about making a stand here? Saying Huhne should go? Oh yeah that’s right, too early to say that, wouldn’t want to hurt your chances at a shot for a better job would you?

    1. Mike Stallard
      July 26, 2011

      There a bundle of politicians who this might apply to. I have been following this excellent blog for several years now and I can honestly say that this is not the problem.
      The problem is that the government has not included him, not that he is the ambitious little jerk that you imply.
      Their – and our – loss!

  30. Anne Palmer
    July 26, 2011

    How I wish that all that you have written in your article John Redwood could come true, but sadly, it can’t. It will never happen. Most of the comments above are also very good, but many, if not most of the people in this Country can no longer trust anything that any of these three major Political parties say anymore-for all want to remain in the EU. Many people also recognise that fact now too.

    We remember the first thing the Government did when they came into power was to “opt in” to the EIO when there was absolutely no need to do so. They will also “opt in” to the Euro if the situation changes. We have a Government-all be it a Coalition Government that tries to pass the Localism Bill off as its own ideas. It is an horrendous Bill which will have complete disastrous permanent effects on this Country and Nation of England yet instead of putting their own Country FIRST, they are gaily implementing EU legislation.

    This applies to all 27 once sovereign Countries. Add up all that each country has paid to the EU in EU Contributions plus what they have paid since then towards EU Agencies-you get the gist and then realise just what each Country could have done with that money if THEIR OWN GOVERNMENTS, FREELY ELECTED TO GOVERN THEIR COUNTRIES ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN CONSTITUTIONS-WOULD THEY HAVE BEEN IN THE FINANCIAL MESS THEY ARE IN AT PRESENT? I haven’t even mentioned the millions of pounds in EU Fines either.

    We survived two World Wars without paying billions to the EU-even though it took us 60 years to pay back America for their help , but pay it back we did. Now we are expected to pay-through the Localism Bill- for yet another layer of Governance we have never had before nor want now. Why on earth are we continuing to pay for a full House of Commons if all they can do is pick over the bones of EU legislation, put and extra dot or comma here and there yet still put the main destructive legislation through anyway-until eventually the EU becomes one great State of European Union.

    Yes! How I wish that all that you have written in your article John Redwood could come true.

  31. lojolondon
    July 26, 2011

    John, the British government could could make loads of excuses, explaining they are better off without us etc. but it is far, far simpler than that!

    Before the last general election, as he weaseled out of an EU referendum, David Cameron promised that the Conservative party were committed to put any major changes in the EU relationship to a public referendum.

    I do, however, hope is that wasn’t a ‘cast iron’ guarantee – because we really do expect that THIS promise will be kept!!

  32. uanime5
    July 26, 2011

    As we have a lower house where MPs can get elected with 30% of the votes and an unelected upper house and grateful for anything that can stop Parliament from acting in an autocratic manner. As long as the EU forces the UK to protect people’s rights, rather than trample on them, I’m in favour of remaining in the EU.

  33. Adam Collyer
    July 26, 2011

    Well, that’s fine – you are effectively arguing that we should leave the EU but stay in EFTA. Unfortunately your party’s policy is firmly to keep us in the EU. As the EU morphs into the United States of Europe, your party will keep Britain at the heart of it – grumbling but in the end going along with it. In fact, I am far from convinced that your leader will even grumble.

    The Tories took Britain into the EU, pushed through the Single European Act, and enacted the Maastricht Treaty. The Tories will never be Eurosceptic. The only serious Eurosceptic leader they have had in recent times, Lady Thatcher, was pushed out of the leadership largely because she was Eurosceptic. And you yourself, despite your extensive experience and credibility, are languishing on the back-benches in favour of incompetent Lib Dem ministers.

    If you really do want Britain out of the European Project, then you could give that cause a massive fillip by coming and joining UKIP. That could really change British politics for ever.

  34. BobE
    July 26, 2011

    A party that offered an in/out referendum would get a landslide

  35. peter geany
    July 26, 2011

    John it not up to you guys, it up to us the people to decide this. There is only one option for us and that is to get out of Europe. Brussels adds no value what so ever anymore and just seeks to create a centralist bureaucracy whose lack of democratic accountability is creating the conditions for a growing extremist fringe. We all know it will not last and that the Euro is the poison pill, but we now have the opportunity to lead for once rather than wait until we have destroyed our economy and are forced out by either reactionary forces or the North Europeans voting us out. We should not give them the chance to blame us for any of their failure, nor should we fail our children by staying put.

  36. Idris Francis
    July 26, 2011

    To pick up on just one point, where John replied to Willian Grace saying that he is attacking the wrong target, attacking somone who is on the same side.

    I have believed for at least 10 years that the greatest problem we face, the greatest obstacle to our leaving the EU, is not tthe europhiles and the usual suspects, but those who, despite the track record of 40 years, still pretend – or for all I know really believe – that some sort of half-way house, semi-detached, a la carte involvement within the EU is possible.

    It never was and it never will be, those behind the project, prepared to lie and cheat and scheme and bluster for 50 years to achieve their end of an United States of Europe, most certainly did not go through all that and wait this long to allow Britain either to call the shots or to choose from an a la carte menu. So let’s stop pretending shall we? It’s either in or out, all that pretending otherwise does is to confuse and mislead the ill-informed.

    One of the most vitally important lessons to learn when driving is “Don’t DITHER”. For example, if you come to a fork in the road and are uncertain which you need – take one or take the other – you can always turn around and come back if you get it wrong – dither and you crash. The same applies here – its time, long past time, to decide. In or out.

    Which reminds me of another point – someone wrote here that euroscpetics will acccept a referendum vote against them. No Sir! Not I!

    Any voter in this country has the right to give away his own freedom – but he most certainly does not have the right to give away the freedom of those who wish to keep theirs, even if they turn out to be a minority in a referendum.

    Nor does anyone who happens to be 18 or older on referendum day have the right to give away the freedom of those too young to vote on that day, or those not yet born – perhaps their own children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. How will they reply when, in years to come the youngster asks “Grandad – why did you vote to give away our freedom”? What sort of excuse will it be to reply “It seemed a good idea at the time?”

    There is not and never can be any moral, constitutional or legal right to give away the freedom of others – especially to an organisation such as the EU which claims that such steps are irreversible. That is why we have had for many centuries the principle that No Parliament May Bind Its Succcessor, and it is for precisely those reasons that Thomas Paine wrote these immortal words in “Rights of Man” 1791/92 at:

    “There never did, there never will, and there never can, exist a Parliament, or any description of men, or any generation of men, in any country, possessed of the right or the power of binding and controlling posterity to the “end of time,” or of commanding for ever how the world shall be governed, or who shall govern it; and therefore all such clauses, acts or declarations by which the makers of them attempt to do what they have neither the right nor the power to do, nor the power to execute, are in themselves null and void.

    Every age and generation must be as free to act for itself in all cases as the age and generations which preceded it. The vanity and presumption of governing beyond the grave is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies. Man has no property in man; neither has any generation a property in the generations which are to follow. The Parliament or the people of 1688, or of any other period, had no more right to dispose of the people of the present day, or to bind or to control them in any shape whatever, than the parliament or the people of the present day have to dispose of, bind or control those who are to live a hundred or a thousand years hence. Every generation is, and must be, competent to all the purposes which its occasions require. It is the living, and not the dead, that are to be accommodated. When man ceases to be, his power and his wants cease with him; and having no longer any participation in the concerns of this world, he has no longer any authority in directing who shall be its governors, or how its government shall be organised, or how administered.”

    If I were asked to define the EU, I would define it as an organisation set up to breach every one of those democratic principles, an organisation of scoundrels, cheats liars, embezzlers and, most of all, people who have no concept of democracy. An organisation
    that includes an European Parliament in which, according to its then President Gert Pottinger, “Dissent is not allowed” – the words he used when fining Dan Hannan and Rogeer Helmer £1,000 each for showing dissent.

    Let us have no more of this half-in, half-out nonsense! Enough is enough, tell the people the truth – and leave

  37. Mr Leslie Smith
    July 27, 2011

    It is interesting to note that almost 100% of those reading and commenting on Jon Redwood’s Blog on the EU are in favour with his comments. It seems that a National Debate now would be a majorty for getting out of Europe altogether, looking at home first to care for our direct National Interests. Europe is not run fairly, financially transparently, nor in the British interest. What on Earth are we doing still there? We are borrowing money to now lend to bust EU Countries who will never repay either the interest or capital on our Billions. We meanwhile, will still be left with this new, huge, debt, pushing the Young of this Country to penury

  38. Paul
    July 27, 2011

    John, you harp on and on about how the UK needs to change its relationship with the EU while still remaining a member. I’m sure you know that there is more chance of the Greens winning the next election. The Tories are as pro-EU as Labour and the Lib Dems. Yes, a few Tory mps are eurosceptip but so are a few Labour mps. What you all have in common is that you cannot make any difference while stuck in the same, failed mainstream parties. What would make a difference is if those mps, if they really cared, jump ship to the ONLY party that has credibility and really wants to save this country from the crippling costs and damage the EU has brought our once great nation. That party, is of course, UKIP.

  39. Harry Randall
    July 27, 2011

    BEST WAY FORWARD: AMEND THE EEC ACT 1972 (Act quoted here and amended folloowing)
    AMENDMENT TO EEC ACT 1972 (Existing Sect. 2.)

    General provision. 2.—From the 1st day of January, 1973, the treaties governing the European Communities and the existing and future acts adopted by the institutions of those Communities shall be binding on the State and shall be part of the domestic law thereof under the conditions laid down in those treaties.
    1972 33 3
    Power to make regulations. 3.—(1) A Minister of State may make regulations for enabling section 2 of this Act to have full effect.
    (2) Regulations under this section may contain such incidental, supplementary and consequential provisions as appear to the Minister making the regulations to be necessary for the purposes of the regulations (including provisions repealing, amending or applying, with or without modification, other law, exclusive of this Act).
    (3) Regulations under this section shall not create an indictable offence.
    (4) Regulations under this section may be made before the 1st day of January, 1973, but regulations so made shall not come into operation before that day.

    General provision. 2.—From the, (new date added), the treaties governing the European Communities and the existing and future acts adopted by the institutions of those Communities shall be binding on the State and shall be part of the domestic law after debate and passed by both Houses at Westminster thereof under the conditions laid down in those treaties.
    1972 33 3
    Power to make regulations. 3.—(1) A Minister of State may present regulations for debate by Parliamentary process at Westminster for enabling section 2 of this Act to have full effect.
    (2) Regulations under this section may contain such incidental, supplementary and consequential provisions as presented to and passed by both Houses making the regulations to be necessary for the purposes of the regulations (including provisions repealing, amending or applying, with or without modification, other law, exclusive of this Act).

  40. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    July 31, 2011

    We don’t want any Political or Economic Relationship with Europe – at least not the Centrlised un democratic one we currently have. We do not want a bunch of faceless Europeans, who we didn’t vote for; passing our Laws. We can trade with them, we can agree some Military Concessions, but we cannot have Economic Debt Ridden Chaos which which only benefits Banks and their Servants.

    Thanks to the EURO, The Pound and the US Dollar, Gold and Silver are now the reserve currency.

    The European Parliament makes the House of Commons look like a Town Meeting, no wonder MPs are so eager to vote for Wars – it makes them feel like real men while other people pay for it with their money and their lives.

  41. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    July 31, 2011

    An example of the craziness of the Masstricht Treaty:

    “The Maastricht Treaty calls for fines to be levied on countries in the European Union that incur deficits beyond the prescribed limits (currently 3% of GDP). Other governments are obliged to limit their budget deficits by the terms of their loan agreements with international agencies.”

    So a Country that is getting deeper into debt is then fined – thereby ensuring that it gets deeper into debt. Surely the answer is to enhance the Educational System and teach basic Economics to people so that when they leave school and vote they will have enough understanding to vote for Politicians who will not attempt fraudulant economic maneuvres to deceive the Public into thinking that the Economy and Stock Markets are doing well when – in real terms; they are both tanking.

    The current system is setup deliberately to deceive, confuse and steal. Many savers will have a deep understanding about how fraudulent Fiat Currencies are (such as the Pound) when it is too late and they’ve lost all their purchasing power.

    It must be the eighth wonder of the World how IMF and Federal Reserve System spokesman can be interviewed and still support solutions to debt as being MORE debt, and get away with it. As these positions are so inportant – shouldn’t these posts only be granted through Elections? Or is that too democratic for Europe?

    During the ERM failure, the City Pounded the Pound half to death and the Government wasted millions of pounds supporting the Pound – all that wealth went into private Accounts and people lost the equity in their homes when recession hit. House Prices didn’t recover until 1996-7. Just in time for Labour to cash in and take all the Credit.

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