Replying to the foreign policy debate

 

            Spending a week on foreign policy has stimulated a lot of replies. Many have commented shrewdly on  the problems the UK faces, and many have agreed we want a new relationship with the emerging United States of Europe.

             A few have defended the EU and claimed that we will have to follow their laws anyway, so we might as well stay in to influence them. This is a misreading of the position. We do will not have to obey their laws here in the UK unless we stay under full EU control. We do not  have to follow US or Indian laws here in order to be able to trade with them. Of course exporting companies have to meet customer requirements, including any requirements necessitated by local laws in the country to which they are exporting. International trade agreements and law is designed to prevent any country or regional grouping making these anti competitive or unfair to exporters.

         It has always been a nonsense that pro EU campaigners have implied we have to stay in and go along with the EU’s ways in order to be able to trade with them. Germany wants to sell her BMWs to non members of the EU as well as members. It has also been misleading to say the EU has kept the peace in Europe since 1945. The peace has been kept because the main western countries are now all peace loving democracies, and because the US army and missiles were stationed  in the centre of the continent.If there had been no EU, Belgium would not have invaded Holland, and Germany and France would have lived in peace together after the bruising experiences of three wars.  The EU did not keep the peace in eastern Europe.

          Many have used this opportunity to demand that we leave the EU altogether.Some seem to think it is my fault that we do not! As I voted “No” in 1975 when some of my current critics voted “Yes”, I think they are more of the problem than  I have been.  I tried to persuade Margaret Thatcher to only surrender vetoes over single market matters for a temporary period and for specified measures. I fought within the Major Cabinet for free votes and a referendum on Maastricht. I voted against Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon  in  the Commons. I have continuously and consistently made the case for sticking with a common  market relationship which the people  voted for, and against any move into the federal union. I helped make the case against surrendering our currency, and am pleased to say we won that crucial argument.  As a democrat I accepted the vote of the people for a Common Market. I was a good loser.  I do not think it was a vote for a federal EU. I would like a new vote on our relationship with the EU, preferably after a renegotiation.

         The small band of UKIP supporters tell us all would be different if Conservatives would now join them. They are wrong. UKIP has spent years and two failed General Elections setting ever higher Eurosceptic hurdles for Eurosceptic Conservatives to jump, instead of wooing Lib Dem, Labour and Green voters to their anti EU cause. In European elections they have been able to split the Eurosceptic vote sufficiently to win a few seats, but in General Elections splitting off a small bit of the Eurosceptic vote just helps the federalist Lib Dem and Labour parties more.

         Some of these UKIP supporters live in a dream world. They think there is a majority of the British people who agree with them, yet that same imagined majority just never get around to voting for them. They think the best attack is to target and seek to undermine the most Eurosceptic Conservatives in the most Eurosceptic areas, wrongly thinking them the problem.

             Just for the record, I am not following a secret pro EU policy to stay in with some secret cabal within the Conservatives that wants a federal outcome. I do not have to change my Eurosceptic  views in order to keep my pension entitlements. Nor am I planning a leadership bid, as one correspondent suggested. I am urged to speak out on the European issue. That is what I do regularly, as this website shows. The views get into the older media, as on Any Questions recently. This site is not irrelevant, nor some Conservative party approved humouring of the Eurosceptics.

              I understand the frustrations of some that whatever we do or say EU powers have increased, are increasing and ought to be diminished.How will the tide be turned? By mobilising public opinion. How can that happen? By those of us who think the EU has too much power striving to explain to our fellow voters why it matters and how it can be changed. It will not be changed by very Eurosceptic people complaining that other Eurosceptic people are not Eurosceptic enough. You do not create a majority by detaching some votes and MPs from  one large party to a party which has failed to make any electoral impact at Westminster.For MP s there is nothing to join. If you are elected as a Conservative you should not switch to a defeated party between elections, as you have promised to serve as a Conservative. If an MP did decide to switch parties  to one defeated at the previous election, they should  resign, and  fight to win back the seat as UKIP or whatever. How do you think that would work out if anyone tried it?

            I cannot  take UKIP seriously, as when I need other MPs to vote against EU powers, there are no UKIP members to do so. Politics is about numbers and tides of opinion as well as about having the best policies and the most telling arguments. When you ask me what can you do to advance the cause I say spread the word and support all of us who make the case in Parliament and on the public airwaves. If Eurosceptics keep arguing amongst themselves, you should not wonder that the cause lacks political influence or the numbers to make a difference to our laws.

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101 Comments

  1. Sue Marsh
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    The thought of not being under EU law any more frightens me.

    Whilst I accept the lack of democratic accountability arguments – they are shocking – I think the EU has been a force for greater equality& justice. As the USE comes closer to reality, I find it hard to see how we could retain 0ur influence alone with the economic headwinds the West are about to sail into.

    I think when it comes to convincing people like me (which seems to be thrust of piece) I don’t think you can do that without a promise to maintain the better aspects of Europe. As many on the right think the things ordinary people value about Europe are “a bit leftie” I can imagine that you can resolve this conflict.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted July 30, 2011 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Equality does not equal justice.

      Any Tory should know this.

      • rose
        Posted July 30, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        The more cruel and inhuman the Soviet Empire became, the longer its charter of human rights grew. A small independent civilized country has no need of such a thing.

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted July 30, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      “The thought of not being under EU law any more frightens me”

      Assuming this is not satire, I feel very sorry for you. Personally I do not need French judges to make my laws that Italians ignore.

      • APL
        Posted July 30, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        Sue Marsh: “The thought of not being under EU law any more frightens me”

        The Isle of Mann isn’t under European Law, they seem to be doing alright.

        Stuart Fairney: “Assuming this is not satire,”

        I hadn’t considered that, but now as you mention it, it’s a distinct possibility.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 30, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Life is not equal or just and never can. Justice is not equality often the opposite. Should a mass murdered have equality of wealth and the freedoms of some one not so inclined. Should someone who refuses to work and thieves have equality with a disabled person who works very hard indeed. Why?

      Equality is the last thing we need.

    • Andrew Smith
      Posted July 30, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      The EU does not promote greater equality and it certainly has nothing to tell us about justice; if you are tempted to disagree just consider (a) Andrew Symeou, (b) the qualifications for office of the ECJ.

      As to influence, that is not gained either by absolute GDP nor military power. It is certainly not increased by handing over trade negotiations to a foreign bureaucrat whose instructions are given by a committee of which we have about 9% of the votes. We have quite distinct interests in trade as in foreign affairs, from the other members of the EU. At least we would if we were allowed any longer had any interests at all distinct from the EU.

      Anything “good” which is associated with an act of the EU is something we could have done and could do in the future for ourselves and often better. Health and safety laws, for instance, have been applicable in Britain for well over a century and deaths in many industries have long been lower here than in many EU member states.

      You are right that the EU (not “Europe, please), is viewed as left, but more important it is authoritarian and anti-democratic. It is insular and antagonistic to other large nations; such is not the way to international understanding and harmony.

    • lojolondon
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      Sue, you are mistaken. You want to be under EU law?? Perhaps you think the European Arrest Warrant is just or justified in any way?
      My country, the UK had the oldest and best democracy, until the EU came along, we have gained nothing from the EU.
      If you can think of any benefit of being in the EU (which I can’t) I can guarantee it is worth far less than the £15 Billion every year that we spend (and fast doubling) on the corrupt, wasteful, self-serving and harmful EU.

  2. Sue Marsh
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Sorry, should end *can’t imagine*

    • APL
      Posted July 30, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Ah!

      The professional political class – otherwise the new aristocracy – have inflicted a lot of damage.

  3. ExYank
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    I sometimes think this ‘struggle’ is similar to the one with which Wilberforce fought for so many years. It requires tenacity and you’re right, support of the people. This will only be gained when enough of them are aware of what it actually means to them and their futures. As you rightly pointed out this week, we have a truly proud history and should have no fear of working outside the EU; it would simply reflect our position over many years.
    Long live the United Kingdom.

  4. Bill
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    John, my MP (Mr Djanogly) appears to either be pro Europe or just falls in with the party line. How can my encouraging my friends and neighbours help us to extricate ourselves?
    Also, as apathy is taken as consent how do we energise the general public. I take your point about UKIP being nothing more than a protest vote, but there appears to be no other recourse.

    • lojolondon
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      Bill,

      Go to this website, they give you the tools to put pressure on your MP. The danger is that he may be an unquestioning sheep, who follows the whip on every occasion. This website helps you remind him that he is accountable to his constituents.

      http://www.peoplespledge.org/

      • lifelogic
        Posted July 31, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        He may, theoretically, be accountable to his constituents but in the real world the party nomination is what matters to him in terms of re-election.
        Voters come a poor second at best.

  5. Mick Anderson
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    The Public were recently shown that a very high percentage of MPs were cheating a lax system to their advantage, and very few have been adequately brought to book.

    We then had a general election, which has resulted in virtually no change to the ambitions of those in Government. Don’t blame the Coalition, because when you look at what was offered by the three main parties there was precious little difference. Please consider that there is a good reason that 35% of the electorate didn’t vote for any of the candidates offered, and it’s not just laziness.

    A politician might say that this is because that proportion of the voters don’t care, but they should consider that there simply wasn’t a candidate that this part of the electorate felt was worth voting for. Regrettably, most constituencies don’t have a John Redwood (or equivalent) on the list of propsed MPs – the one in which I live certainly doesn’t.

    • rose
      Posted July 30, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      The 35% who don’t vote are not united in what they want.

  6. alan jutson
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    A good comment John.

    I think your right, too few a number of people had the EU as their major cause for concern, but I think the tide is slowly turning, the news media are the secret here, once they start to get the bandwagon rolling then it will gather pace.
    The Daily Express seems to have started a European awareness programme, it cannot be too long before others join in.

    The recent high publicity by all of the media to the Euro crisis of debt, seems to be also making a case, and increasing public awareness.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Acorn
      Posted July 30, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Alan, don’t forget from next April the “European Citizen’s Initiative” comes into force; courtesy of the Lisbon Treaty. The EU Commission is still doing its best to stop it mind you. The democratic deficit will be solved at a stroke – not.

      PS. Not to be confused with the new “e-petitions” thingy re-introduced by the Leader of the House this week.

  7. Electro-Kevin
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    I’ve never voted UKIP for the simple reason that they are not a viable party.

    Your critics probably don’t blame you for Europe. They blame you for remaining part of a Europhile party which no longer seems to offer even the pretence of being Tory anymore.

    In all honesty I’d love to see the Real Tory Party emerge with you somewhere close to (if not at) the top of it.

    I would never – not in a million years – vote for the BNP. This is proven by the fact that you can count the readership of ‘right wing’ newspapers and compare those numbers to the votership of the BNP. Not even a fraction of one percent of Sun, DM, Express readers I shouldn’t think. This despite almost overt provocation from this government and the previous in recent decades.

    The Left never credit the British public with any intelligence or decency. They maintain that it is the Murdoch press controlling public thought when, in fact, he couldn’t make money if he didn’t reflect public opinion rather than try to form it.

    His power over David Cameron and Tony Blair was thus:

    On the eve of general elections, before a naturally conservative (small c) British public, the Left-Wing Tony Blair had to convince large swathes of the electorate that he was a Tory disguised as a Labour leader.

    On the eve of a general election, before a naturally conservative (small c) British public, the Left-Wing David Cameron had to convince large swathes of the electorate that he was not a Lefty disguised as Tory leader.

    The Murdoch endorsement applied a veneer of conservatism to the favoured candidates which assured conservatively minded people that they were voting for leaders who would not persue Leftist policies .

    They were mislead.

    It’s your invovlement in Left-Wing Government which has probably caused the personal criticism, Mr Redwood. Not your personal record.

    • rose
      Posted July 30, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      But what else can he do, other than try to influence policy, as he did for instance with his meticulous document exploring ideas for reinvigorating the economy? And from the back benches? His idea for reforming inheritance tax was taken up by GO before the election and turned the tide. If the front bench had any sense, they would learn from that episode and build on it.

      Reply: Thank you for your observation. It is quite possible to influence policy from the backbenches, and to help hold Ministers to account. That is what keeps backbenchers going.

      • rose
        Posted August 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        And has our B Sky Thinking Bicyclist heeded your document too, judging by his kite flying?

        It seems so obvious to get rid of paid maternity leave. If PWC and BP want to pay it of their own accord, then let them. But small businesses starting up should be able to employ whomever they like, for as long as they like. If they find a loyal and trusted employee is to have a baby, they will naturally wish to accommodate her, but they shouldn’t be forced to act as sugar daddies to strangers just taken on.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 30, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      If Murdoch has supported the left wing Tony Blair and David Cameron does this mean he’s secretly left wing and is trying to replace right wing politicians with more liberal candidates?

      • rose
        Posted July 31, 2011 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        His power and influence are absurdly over-stated by the commentariate, especially the BBC and their friends in the Guardian and Independent. (The Independent and other papers owe their very existence to him.) Broadcasters have far more influence over people’s minds, which is why the BBC don’t want to lose their near monopoly and brazenly pulled out all the stops to save it. The public and politicians were idiots to be sewpt up into this agenda.

        There is nothing secretly left wing about Murdoch. He joined the Labour Party very early in life, as a teenager. he was left wing at Oxford, and the Sun was always a Labour papaer which pilloried the establishment. and only abandoned the Labour Party itself when many other socialists did too: when Mrs T came along to clear up the mess left by them and her conservative predecessors. When she was assassinated by her own side, he went back to his natural friends. Anit elitism is his main creed, together witha search for effective individuals, so a sort of left wing meritocrat. He has always been openly republican too. He said himself that the politician he spent most time with was Gordon Brown. That he did, may well explain why Brown went against the rest of the establishment, left, liberal, and right, and kept us out of the Euro. As Murdoch said, he and Blair used to argue about that. He didn’t say they argued about anything else.

  8. lifelogic
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    I agree with much of what you say but the get out of the EU (or perhaps just free trade agreement or similar) cause does have the support of the people. That is why no referendum is granted. All the the parties with any hope of election, the BBC, the say one thing do another cast iron leaders are all against it. As such democracy is denied to the people. They only have one vote, on a basket of issues, for only party selected MP’s and MP’s who say one thing and do another. Further they have schools, the BBC and EU dripping misinformation and propaganda on their heads using their taxes to fund it.

    There is simply no democratic mechanism to change this even if 90% of the people felt very strongly on it. Just as I am very sure that 90% of people do not think that MP should have one of the most absurdly generous pension schemes and expenses schemes in the country and special tax arrangements. But there is nothing they can do about it so it will doubtless continue. In what sense is this democracy.

    You are right on UKIP under the current absurd system they do more harm than good except perhaps at MEP level where all are virtually powerless.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 30, 2011 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      I see that the police now refuse to investigate a very high proportion of many serious crimes – as reported today in the papers. Not only this but they very often find absurd reasons not to even take the crime reports in the first place (even when the evidence is clear and clearly worthy of investigation in my personal experience). After all far better to deter reports of crimes as it helps the reported crime figures a lot and save a lot of work if they do not bother to report.

      Even if someone is in your house, downstairs, actually burgling you while you sleep they may not bother to turn up for several hours. After all it would only create extra paper work for them. Best to wait until he has gone then say not really worth investigating and post a silly victim of crime leaflet instead.

      So hospitals not treating people in the hope that they die or go private and police not investigating serious crimes – even where arrests could clearly me made.

      Do we get anything much of any value for our huge taxes at all I wonder. Perhaps some of radio 3, the rubbish collections, pot holed streets and the odd library I suppose?

    • APL
      Posted July 30, 2011 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      lifelogic: “That is why no referendum is granted.”

      We want a referendum, just not one referendum. Like the Irish and in the manner the European Union taught us, we want as many referendums as it takes us to get the decision we are looking for.

      One referendum: the BBC*, the Guardian, the Mirror would all be in paroxysms of hysteria for their pro EU cause.

      The EU would be pouring cash into their campaign too.

      *The orginisation this so called Tory government has had more than a year to do something about, but have done nothing but put a Pro EU puppet into the top slot.

      • lifelogic
        Posted July 31, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        Indeed judge them by their deeds not their words.

    • lojolondon
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      The UKIP does some good – they are the only contrary voice in the European Parliament, where almost 100% of laws are voted through without hesitation, thought, criticism or protest.

      They also offered to support the Conservative Party in the last UK General Election, on the single condition that Cameron would guarantee an election on the EU. Brave Dave refused this offer, and that decision cost the Tories AT LEAST 20 sure seats, and overall power. How I chuckled when I watched him sweatily running from meeting to meeting, hoping that Clegg wouldn’t start mating with the disgraced Liebour party!

      Reply: UKIP has had problems keeping its MEPs for one reason of another. There are some excellent Eurosceptic Conservative MEPs who provide a very lively opposition to EU laws.

  9. Anne Palmer
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Fact: We have three major political Parties that want to remain in the European Union. Fact: The people want out of the EU-and is there one British MP that cares about what the people want? I think we can give that a “NO”.

    We pay for our MP’s to govern us according to our Common Law Constitution John and there is no getting away from that fact. To do otherwise is contrary to our Constitution.

    After having a Labour Government for all those years the people were hoping that the Conservatives would be true to their country-they soon found other-wise. You see, after Labour, you were their last hope-soon to be dashed. This CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT may even be the last government this Country may have because if the Localism Bill becomes EU/UK law-ENGLAND WILL JUST SIMPLY BE EU REGIONS.

    Since the last war, the people already pay towards the extra layer of Governance to the EU. Billions and billions of pounds-British pounds- have been paid to an organisation that is set on destroying sovereign Nation States and turning them into its Regions. Now the EU expects the people to pay even more money towards and extra layer of its EU Regions with elected Mayors, full Cabinets etc. THE PEOPLE CANNOT AFFORD TO PAY THESE EXTRA LAYERS OF GOVERNANCE ESPECIALLY WHEN OUR FORCES ARE BEING CUT TO THE EXTENT THEY ARE. Are they being cut John so they cannot defend our Country?

    If this extra layer of governance goes through, are we STILL supposed to vote and pay all those that fill two Houses in our Parliament? Cutting fifty out of the Commons is no good at all-we would not even need 50 left.

    • Sue
      Posted July 30, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      We have a Conservative Government that is NOT CONSERVATIVE! We have a PM who pretends to be right of centre when infact he’s very much a socialist/federalist!

      The whole party has betrayed the people who voted in good faith for the policies on your manifesto. After years of enduring Blair, Brown et al, the hope was for a government who would speak for them. Over half of Britons want either a referendum or want out of the EU altogether. You are not doing what you are paid for.

      It was no surprise to me that almost every single promise has now been broken. I knew even before the election where Cameron was heading, so I voted UKIP. It was either that, or not vote at all.

      Any comment on the latest let-down, the DNA database? Another u-turn, another lie….

      Funny how this Europhile Government of ours manages to go way over the top complying with EU statutes when it means ripping us off (countless taxes and red tape) and completely ignores them when it happens to infringe OUR HUMAN RIGHTS!

      Conservative MP’s who claim to be Eurosceptic achieve nothing either. You just talk the talk and there’s never any action. Just more of the same rhetoric. One would think you’re just there to continually dangle the carrot every now and again to keep us little peasants happy!

      If UKIP are so unimportant Mr Redwood, why do they seem to bother the Conservatives so much?

      • uanime5
        Posted July 30, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        EU law isn’t allowed to infringe on human rights. If you have found a violation of your human rights you just need to raise the issue with the courts. Due to the Human Rights Act courts have the power to interpret all laws so they are in accordance with human rights, even European ones.

        • rose
          Posted July 31, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

          Just try getting them to uphold your right to trade freely with the rest of the world.

    • Tim
      Posted July 30, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      The fact that all the current mainstream parties lie about the EU and its benefits. Equality and justice? What lefty rubbish is that Sue Marsh?
      The EU costs us NET £13.5 billion for foreign farmers and infrastructure.
      £9 billion to implement its laws and directives annually.
      An entire fishing industry lost, stolen by the Spanish.
      £ billions on our food bill due to the restrictive CAP and stops third world trade.
      Untold immigration and 1000,000 English young people undercut in the jobs market by Eastern Europeans.
      20% hidden on our energy bills to pay for the 20% renewables by 2020, EU directive.
      EU courts overruling our own to give criminals and terrorists their Human Rights.
      Only 40% of our trade is with the EU, I’m told it is less than this as a large proportion of our exports go via Rotterdam but it counts on the statistics.
      So the benefits are………influence? What total hogwash. We’re just a cash cow to be abused byt the EU.
      We want trade and friendship with our European friends. No more!!

      • uanime5
        Posted July 30, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

        “£9 billion to implement its laws and directives annually.”

        How did you calculate this figure?

        Our poor regulations lead to Spain being able to register it’s Spanish ships as British ships and fish in British waters. We only have ourselves to blame for the problem with our fishing industry and the Factortame litigation.

        Humans rights aren’t governed by the EU, they’re Governed by the ECHR. They’re completely different institutions.

        • APL
          Posted August 3, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

          uanime5: “We only have ourselves to blame for the problem with our fishing industry and the Factortame litigation.”

          Actually, we have that treacherous Tory Edward Heath to blame for the loss of our internationally recognized right to fish in our territorial waters.

  10. JimF
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    “I cannot take UKIP seriously, as when I need other MPs to vote against EU powers, there are no UKIP members to do so”

    You are arguing in a circular way here. You are saying Eurosceptic Conservative MPs shouldn’t jump ship to a new Party because there are no MPs currently in that Party. Yet you are also saying you can’tt ake UKIP seriously because there are no MPs in it.

    Well personally I find it difficult to take a Party seriously which promises a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty then abandons it, in Coalition with a party which promised an in-out EU referendum then abandoned it.

    I find it difficult to take a party seriously which U-turns at every difficult juncture.

    I find it difficult to take a Party seriously which promises to regulate into a competitive banking sector aand doesn’t.

    I don’t think folk contributing here are under the impression that there is a massive majority for UKIP in the Country. 3 months ago the public perception of the NOTW was of a crusading good-for-the-common-man newspaper. All we are doing, like you, is lifting the stone of this Government to expose the sometimes verminous and sometimes changeling behaviour thereunder.

    • Paul H
      Posted July 30, 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      +1

    • alan jutson
      Posted July 30, 2011 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      If UKIP were serious in their arguement about Europe, then why did they put up a candidate against John Redwood at the last election.

      John is my MP, and as far as I am concerned he is far, far more effective and influential, even in this very poor Conservative Government than any UKIP member would be.

      • APL
        Posted August 3, 2011 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        alan jutson: “John is my MP,”

        Then you are lucky to have him as an MP.

        BUT What about the change from within the Tory party that John Redwood was always promising us?

        Frankly I see EUro infiltrators like Kenneth Clarke, Theresa May not to mention David Cameron himself voted into his position by Mr Redwood himself holding positions in authority in the cabinet. Then right wingers like Redwood and David Davis on the back benches.

        As someone who is ideologically disposed to vote Tory because I want policies that are in the interests of Britain, I simply cannot vote for the nest of vipers that constitutes the modern Tory party.

  11. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    I intend to vote UKIP next time, for the first time just to get us out of the EU.

  12. Freeborn John
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Keep up the good fight John, but don’t ask EU-sceptics to vote for cast-iron Dave. The argument you make here though should be beneath you. You cannot credibly argue for the removal of supply-side restrictions in every industry except the one you work in, i.e. defend the ‘restrictive practice’ of FPTP in the recent AV referendum, and then complain that there are not enough EU-sceptics in the unrepresentative duopoly that is Westminster! The EU problem is about a political class that is distorting and emasculating the democratic process because it is their own interes to so, despite the disconnect this leads to between govenors and governed, and the resulting poor policy outcomes that arise from policy-makers insulated from the ballot-box. And your arguments for FPTP show you to be as guilty of that too. 

    So don’t complain about a lack of EU-sceptic MPs when you support the unrepresentaive duopoly that causes this. Or ask us to vote for the duopoly that continues to allow power to seep to Brussels.

    • rose
      Posted July 30, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Beware of what you wish for. Rainbow coalitions could be a nightmare of corruption and closed government. Once countries have that system, they never get rid of it. Ask any Greek or Irishman.

      • uanime5
        Posted July 30, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

        It hasn’t caused any problems in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, or Canada.

        Also have any Greeks or the Irish asked for a change in Government type?

        • rose
          Posted July 31, 2011 at 11:35 am | Permalink

          Reforming their electoral systems systems isn’t going to save the Greeks and Irish now. The corruption and maladministration are too entrenched.

          The jury is still very much out on whether the Nordic countries would have done better with another system. Wealth and welfare may not turn out to be enough.

          The Germans’ tragic history is the over-riding factor in their economic success, as it was in Japan. When a country suffers humiliating defeat and devastating loss of currency value as the Germans did, it will not forget those things, but it can pull itself up by finding something other than its history to bond its people and take pride in. That was the strong mark, based on hard work and excellent manufacture. Would they have dispensed with their mark if their government had been stronger? Or did the compromises of coalition drive them to abandon it?

          • Scottspeig
            Posted August 10, 2011 at 9:12 am | Permalink

            Germany is in the strong position it is as the world let it default after the war. Something they are now refusing to let the greeks do.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 30, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

      A good argument. You can’t appeal to the masses to support you when tribal groups can block them. I also feel that the voting system needs to be more representative of the votes cast. Bring on PR, STV, or AV+.

  13. A.Sedgwick
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    If we had a PR system UKIP would have at least 25 seats in the Commons and more accepting your line that some voters regard a vote for them as wasted. FPTP needs a near impossible critical mass to be reached by a fledgling party. The SNP has showed what can be achieved with a fairer voting system.

    Given your forensic approach to matters I am surprised that you ignore the MEP elections and opinion polls. UKIP won 16% of the vote in 2004 and 2009 and 12/13 seats (out of 72) respectively.

    The disturbing fact is the three main parties are going to cling on to power with the present system which sees a general election decided in less than 100 seats and about 1% of the total electorate i.e. marginals and swing voters.

    The main party candidates are by enlarge decided by small party membership, say equivalent to a small golf club, trade unions or are parachuted in by the party leader.

    For all the spin, sorry to have to use that word with your goodself, I find it very difficult to understand how, after many years of the Conservative Party bowing to the EU, how any anti EU MP (Eurosceptic is now a meaningless description) can remain in the Party.

  14. Anthony Harrison
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Your case against UKIP is presented in a balanced way, unlike many Conservative loyalists who snarl and issue foam-flecked invective about the Party they see as “stealing” votes that ought to go to the Conservatives. But I think you’re wrong. I’ve been observing UK politics for even longer than you, and like so many others frankly I lost patience with the Conservative Party years ago, on Europe and other issues, but it’s the EU that looms large: given especially the recent moves toward great central control, “harmonisation” of taxes, formalisation of massive transfers between Northern Europe and the PIIGS that involve us despite our not being in the Euro, and so on, time is running out. Your Party’s leadership appears to many to be carrying on as before: bold PR soundbites to do with “making progress” on redefining our relationship with the EU, but failing signally to play hardball in negotiation, to demand and get substantial concessions on repatriation of powers, to decline absolutely to join these futile but hugely expensive bailouts.
    I don’t trust the Conservative Party! On the basis of years of evidence, I cannot in all honesty trust it to do the right thing. You, Mr Redwood, are one of all too few who say and do the right things: we appreciate your presence in the Conservative Party very much and respect you for clinging to your position. But despite the feeble protestations of some that your Party is actually “Eurosceptic”, and even more improbably that Cameron & Osborne are as well, every time this is put to the test the great majority of your colleagues feebly toe the line and follow the same path of indolence, vacillation, indecision, abject submission to the will of Brussels.
    You say not enough people vote UKIP, which is true. The key here, in my opinion, is that lots of voters share the view that they can’t get anywhere because they have no MPs. It seems to me that critical mass is the key: last year UKIP garnered nearly a million votes, and in the next European elections I would hope they will do very well. As soon as UKIP starts doing even better at the polls, and gaining seats, I bet we will see their success soaring. I voted UKIP last year: I felt there was no alternative. I want England to remain independent and successful, but your Party isn’t doing remotely enough to ensure that. UKIP says the right things.

  15. George Woodhouse
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I have on occasions voted UKIP – not because I agree with very much of what they say – but because it is the only way of protesting my despair with the EU as it is. All three main parties, despite what they say about negotiating change from within, in practise, do nothing to alter anything. On the contrary, the anti democratic bureaucracy has seized more and more power as if it is an inevitable force of nature – like gravity. And it will continue. I believe in groups of countries with a common set of goals forming coalitians for their common good, with few restrictions on membership, but it should be done openly and with the consent of the electorate;and in the full knowledge of what we are letting ourselves in for.

  16. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I don’t expect you to join UKIP, but when you argue that “if Eurosceptics keep arguing amongst themselves, you should not wonder that the cause lacks political influence or the numbers to make a difference to our laws” and devote over half of this post on negative comments about UKIP you contradict your own argument. The frustration is that, whoever occupies 10 Downing St., we seem to move further and further towards a federal Europe despite protestations from politicians that this idea is fanciful. These people must be either mendacious or too weak to be worthy of leading this country. I realised back in the 1975 referendum that the economic arguments continually used as the reason for our joining the common market were secondary to the political, which politicians cynically attempted to hide. This has been confirmed over and over again since then and shows no sign of stopping. I don’t want to be governed by an anti-democratic foreign organisation but Mr Cameron won’t even hold a referendum on EU membership because he wants to stay in the EU and clearly thinks the majority of the UK citizens don’t. We are talking to deaf ears with closed minds.

    • rose
      Posted July 30, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      The question is, if UKIP miraculously formed a government, on their own, and found themselves starting from here, rather than the 1970s, how quickly would they be able to get us out, bearing in mind they would have to be working with the full machinery of government day to day, and keeping the show on the road? It would be the same with the rest of the paraphernalia of modern bureaucracy which has grown up since the war and entangled us all. And what about the minor problem of a fickle and irresponsible media and electorate. They would simply never get into power in the first place. Mr R is right. All realists should unite, to change the middle ground. That can only be done as Margaret Thatcher did it, from within one of the two major parties. But it took a long time, and a lot of maladministration beforehand, from both the main parties.

  17. English Pensioner
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    So for whom do I vote for if the Tory Candidate at a General Election is pro-Europe?
    No way will I vote Labour, the Lib Dems are also pro-Europe (and too green), so all that I can do is abstain or vote UKIP.
    And there is always hope if enough Tories become disillusioned with Cameron (not necessarily over Europe), which seems quite likely, they could turn to UKIP as their only alternative.

  18. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I completely disagree with your paragraph on peace. Eurosceptics like to ignore the peace project that the totally voluntary EU has been for the last 60 years, where the “war theaters” have become the conference rooms in Brussels. Are you suggesting that in 1920 France and Germany weren’t peace-loving democracies and that after one more war (WWII) they spontaneously became each others friends? Stationed armies and missiles may provide containment, but, as seen on the other side (see the Prague Spring or the Hungarian uprising) are no alternative for peace. Peace is so much more than the absence of war. Serbs and Croats aren’t different species from French, Italians and Germans, and without the supra-nationally organized interdependence, old conflicts would easily have arisen again. Some more insight into the nature of peace please.
    Why do you always talk about surrendering instead of pooling. Does the English language provide for “surrendering sovereignty to oneself”? Not much of a “surrender” anyway, if theoretically one simple vote in your parliament tomorrow could start your cessation from this totally voluntary union, that you once signed up for and of which you don’t like the development since.

    • Tom
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      What “war theatres” in Brussels? Please be more specific?

  19. Acorn
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    A fine academic debate guys, but ultimately futile. Our relationship with the EU is not going to change anytime soon. A referendum would give the wrong answer for the metropolitan elite; so, there ain’t going to be one. Those that have spent anytime on doorsteps will know that the average voter has not got a clue when it comes to the EU. Education would have been a wonderful thing, but we did away with that in the seventies. Hence the mainstream media are the “manufacturers of consent” within the proletariat. Unfortunately, the system has had a minor set-back with “Hacker-gate”, but normal service and “relationships” will be resumed shortly.

    But the question you are ignoring this day is; should we continue bombing Libya during Ramadan. Fasting for seventeen hours a day for the next month; can make your aim a bit random and weaken your enthusiasm for being a rebel. Will Liam -keep all the e-mails to Dave for the enquiry – Fox, call a time out?

    BTW. Who gets to pay the fuel bill for a US based B-1B bomber to fly a 12,000 mile round trip to JDAM a Gaddafi bunker? (To be fair, it was a brilliant piece of logistics and a first for super long range rapid intervention).

  20. oldtimer
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I have never, ever missed an opportunity to vote in an election, be it national or local. For the first time in nearly 50 years I am contempleting abstention or a spoiled ballot paper because of my disapproval of certain key policies and the absence of an alternative party to vote for. It is obvious that the differences between the parties are now relatively small – unlike the 1940s, 50s and 60s. That is, I believe, a powerful reason for the decline in turnout at recent general elections and the alienation of so many people from the political process. In a system that ultimately depends on participation and consent this is not a healthy development.

    Two issues matter to me. One is the absence of a referendum on Europe – a cynical betrayal by all three of the main parties. The other is the Climate Change Act and its consequences, based as it is on a flawed hypothesis and driven by a single issue pressure group (and one, it would seem, far more effective than Rupert Murdoch). I agree with you that, under the prevailing voting system, it would be next to impossible for an alternative party to get itself established. Any change will have to be generated from within the existing party structures – no doubt the reason why Cameron and Miliband are so keen to stitch up their party electoral and candidate selection procedures to embed their personal positions. Those party positions will, in turn, only be changed by constant campaigning with arguments for a shift in public opinion.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 30, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      “based as it is on a flawed hypothesis and driven by a single issue pressure group”

      That’s a funny name for every reputable scientific institution in the world.

      • oldtimer
        Posted July 31, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        The first Climate Change Bill , submitted as a Private Members Bill, was written by Friends of the Earth and brought before Parliament in April 2005. It made no progress because of the general election later that year.

        The science behind the Act is anything but settled; it remains the subject of vigorous debate.

  21. Mark M
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    The problem with UKIP is that, as we only get one vote every five years, there are more issues to be resolved than just EU membership.

    There is a majority of British people who want us to leave the EU, as every poll ever done on the subject tells us, but that majority is made up of Conservative and Labour voters who can see the EU in the context of all other issues.

    If given a single vote to vote on EU membership, they would surely vote OUT. Given a single vote twice a decade to choose policy direction, there are bigger issues at stake than possibly getting an EU vote.

    • sjb
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

      The last two national referenda (1975 & 2011) both voted to maintain the status quo despite polls at the start of both campaigns showing strong support for change.

      Incidentally, the poll I cited on a previous post some months back showed there was a cohort in favour of the EU – young adults.

  22. sm
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    By being elected and voting against further EU integration thankyou.

    Other MP’s are probably less independent of thought and mind and are more subject to party influences which make our MP’s more responsive to the Exec line rather than his constituents on fundamental issues.

    In many cases MP’s may be acting more like social workers by which they can engage with unresponsive government when they have other more important things to do like represent the electors faithfully.

    I suggest it is the disconnect between what the voters (want) vote for in a manifesto ( cast iron fluff ) and what we get are able to vote for with the present system.

    The issue is parliamentary/party systems seemingly directly or indirectly actively suppressing the will of the people with respect to a number of issues. I support referenda much more like a swiss system.

    I seem to remember UKIP offering a free pass to any party or MP which would deliver a in/out referendum? I dont think this offer was taken up – hence a potential critical loss in terms of a outright majority.

    It suggests that:
    1) The party machines believe the EU is not an issue of concern to the voters and they remain happy with ever closer union.
    2) There is a cross party consensus not to put this to a fundamental referendum.

    In the information age – the old style is not fit for purpose – it needs to evolve to utilise these new technologies to follow the electorates wishes more closely.

    I challenge the parties to release ALL their polling data collected on EU membership. If there is none instigate some , if it shows a majority in favour of exit or less EU influence ask the parties to justify politically why this does not feature in active policy.

    I noted you referred to your pension position in passing ( its not you eurosceptics mostly worry about), please could you furnish any comment on the question posed by Mr Mark Reckless previously posted regarding EU pensions and potential conflicts of interest of those who have contracts with EU. Is this a higher house issue or does it concern active MP’s in the lower house?

    Finally keep up the goodwork and hold the exec to account as best you are able.

    I am not comfortable with our current democratic disconnect and deficit.

  23. Neil Craig
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    The reason why there are no UKIP MPS (while many MEPS) is the same as the reason why previous Tories splitting off from Cameron’s party might let in a pro-EU Labour (ignoring for the sake of argument the question of how eurosceptic the Tories really are). Both are because we have the corrupting first past the post electoral system.

    Supporters of that system cannot properly denounce the effects or call on others to vote differently to minimise the problems their position deliberately creates. Accusations of “splitter” so commom on the left, are a 2 way street and a more honourable option would be for all eurosceptics, including Tories, to unite in supporting UKIP.

    Or indeed all those who support nuclear power, really cutting immigration, smaller government, ending the deficit or tax reform.

    Reply: The UK public has just voted strongly in favour of keeping FPTP

    • Scottspeig
      Posted August 10, 2011 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      They voted to favour FPTP over AV – nothing more, nothing less.

      If you wanted to go that route John, you should have had multiple questions. The first being: “FPTP or other?”

      Then more to see which one had the most support. And the only way to have done this without anyone complaining too much would have to have used the Concorde version of voting (only 2 answers on each question)

  24. forthurst
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    “How will the tide be turned? By mobilising public opinion. How can that happen?”

    That is the crux. Is Euroscepticism a right or left issue? The ‘bigotted woman’ clearly was unhappy with some of the consequences our membership of the EU, but no doubt will continue to vote for the Labour Party, come what may. There are just as many Conservatives as tribal in their loyalties otherwise Mr Speaker’s legs might not still be dangling in mid air.

    An overwhelming majority of MPs are actively supportive of an exclusive religious and tribally based state in the Middle East, but are apparently unconcerned that their own state consisting of tribes whose ancestry in this country goes back a further ten thousand years or so is to be incorporated into a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic superstate. Why is sauce for the goose not sauce for the gander?

    What is wrong with the Labour Party and the Conservative Party is that they have been infiltrated by many who do not represent the best interests of their supporters; when the Labour Party finally emerged from its chrysalis to become a fully formed Bolshevik Party, a group who still clung to a democratic ideal split off to form the SDP. In the same way, a group of Conservatives who didn’t want to abolish their country, split off to form UKIP.

    The movement to retain the UK as an independent state is bound to fail if it is seen by voters as an extremity of the Conservative Party. It is essential that the movement to retain us as a country embraces all who are not active traitors like the leaderships of all three main political parties. There needs to be a non-partisan campaign to increase public awareness concerning what their leaders are up to.
    Many people see Europe in simplistic terms: “the Euro is a good idea because I want have to change my money into pesetas when going on holiday” etc. It is important to address the people in language they understand. Eurosceptics should join the main political parties, try to influence their constituency parties and their MPs; they should try to be adopted as candidates; they should campaign against Head Office ‘A’ lists and try to get unsuitable MPs deselected.

    When a truth such as Eurosceptism is opposed, it is done so by lies and smears, not by cogency. When the counter to a proposition is smears, lies, even attempts to incorporate it in law as a ‘thought’ crime, there can be absolute certainty that the counter-proposition has been concocted by a nasty little caucus which has used its money and influence to indoctrinate the people for their own entirely selfish ends. Truth is on the side of Euroscepticism; it is a matter of getting it out over the heads of the vested interests.

  25. James Matthews
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    “Some of these UKIP supporters live in a dream world. They think there is a majority of the British people who agree with them, yet that same imagined majority just never get around to voting for them.”

    That does not seem to me to be a fair and accurate point. It is plain that the first past the post electoral system weights the dice heavily in favour of the large established parties, that is why the large established parties so love FPTP. Millions of us vote for the least-worst party that we believe has a chance of winning in our constituency, not smaller parties with policies that we may prefer, but which we do not think can win locally. Sadly, our system does not allow us to vote for specific policies at general elections – you have to accept the whole package or none of it.

    An Angus Reid poll in July 2011 recorded 49% in favour of leaving the EU and 25% against. Not quite an absolute majority, but as near to it as makes no difference. To that extent then UKIP supporters are not living in a dream world at all. Almost half of their fellow citizens support what is UKIPs core policy and the only reason the party exists all.

    I am sure you will say that is only an opinion poll. Fine, then demand that your party allow us a referendum. We were promised one on the Lisbon treaty as I recall (and the fact that the treaty had already been ratified by Ireland is neither here nor there, Parliament is sovereign and can abrogate treaties).

    Meanwhile, since it would probably be unwise to rely on such an about-turn, I will accept the implicit challenge in your assertion and vote UKIP in future, whatever the likely consequences for Conservative success. No doubt others will do likewise.

    Reply: Even in European elections UKIP does not poll one quarter of those voting.

    • James Matthews
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      In the 2009 European election the Conservative party, with 27.7% of the vote did not greatly exceed 25%. UKIP had the second largest share with with 16.5%, not at all bad for a party which can not remotely match the resources of the Conservatives in either money or establishment base and a result which gives the party serious cause for concern.

      There were two other parties in the election advocating withdrawal from the EU, the BNP and the EDP. Between them they polled another 8% of the vote.

      In any event, even European elections are not a direct guide to public opinion. For many people gut party loyalties still trump their views on withdrawal. That would not be the case in a referendum.

  26. Tedgo
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    I agree entirely with JR that we need a new relationship with Europe.

    The main problem is that the likes of Blair, Cameron and future PM’s what to be big fish in a big pond. Cameron will worry that he will loose influence and status, particularly in the eyes of Merkel and Sarkozy, if he pushes for a different relationship with the EU. If other EU states want the new relationship, and I think many will, he could become the most influential leader in the EU.

    On restoring democracy in the UK, I think fixed 5 year terms was a bad move. Since the current average is about 4 years, people will in their life time be deprived of 3 or 4 elections.

    We need to press on with equal sized constituencies, it annoyed me back in the 1960’s that Edward Short, Newcastle Central, got in with 11000 votes while the guy who came second in Solihull got 15000 votes.

    As to reforming the House of Lords, I would do away with it and embrace the Internet. Democracy demands that the house of Lords should be fully elected and thus would have a legitimacy equal to the commons, leading to stalemate.

    Using the Internet we could have frequent referendums like they do in Switzerland, without it costing a fortune.

  27. Norman Dee
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    We can and do spread the word about the need to leave this European conspiracy, what would be reassuring would be to see you and people like you getting more air time in the media, 90% of people have no idea what happens 90% of the time in Parliament. We need to see you and Mr Carswell on the news and in the papers making your case. We need you to be seen working on the whips fodder that make up your party, calling meetings around the country, talking to people. Attracting attention, get yourself a good marketing man, and get out there, it wont come to you.

  28. Andrew Smith
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    A useful and thoughtful piece, much of which I can agree with. Selfishly (because I want to be able to say in years to come “I did all I could to get out), I agree with this: “If an MP did decide to switch parties to one defeated at the previous election, they should resign,”.

    The reason is that if Mr Bannerman. who resigned from UKIP to join the Conservative Party, were to resign as suggested, I would myself take over as an MEP.

    I shall do what I can to get John’s summary discussed at UKIP meetings. He is right that we do not always act and speak as constructively as we might have done. But the same criticism can be thrown at the successive leaders of the Conservative Party who have used abuse about anyone who did not agree with all their integrationist agendas.

    Given the difficulties UKIP have had in the past and continue to encounter in access to the press and media, I believe we have been remarkably restrained. That is because we are democrats and individually quite serious minded people. You have not seen UKIP members trashing central London as have the left, the greens and various brands of fascist over the years.

    I do welcome a clearer statement of John’s position that I believe we heard in the past (perhaps it was said and we did not hear), and so I believe this blog represents a resource of increasing significance in the campaign to get back out country. Ultimately, however, being a member of any of the three old Westminster parties cannot achieve what is wanted unless the leadership is taken over or converted; I see no prospect of that in the Conservative Party.

  29. Phil
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    For once I completely disagree John. In the last election Camerons soft stance on Europe and refusal to give us a referendum meant that for the first time in my life I didnt vote Conservative. Subsequently the UKIP vote cost the Tories a majority. What I and many ex-Tory voters are trying to do is force the leadership into taking a stronger line over Europe.
    I have concluded that we have been duped by Cameron and until we get a real Conservative leader my vote, my time and my money will stay with UKIP!

  30. Matt
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    UKIP just give the anti EU view a “nutty” fringe or eccentric image- and they haven’t got a hope of getting a Westminster MP.

    Debates about EU membership – rather like debate about the NHS seems to yield little.

    Views are entrenched – certainly amongst many parliamentarians.

    Plainly stupid statements are thrown about – we’ve all heard pro EU MP’s say things like

    “Over 3 million UK jobs depend on our membership of the EU”

    Eh? So all our EU export jobs go then? You tend to switch off then, because if their other arguments are just as daft…

    You long for the interviewer to pick up on this – or at least ask about imports from the EU.

    What’s more these statements often go unchallenged

    There needs to be more analytical debate on the merits or otherwise of EU membership, in Westminster and on the BBC.

  31. Anne Palmer
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    I can only vote for a Political Party that honours their loyal and true solemn Oaths of Allegiance to the British Crown, and through the Crown, to all in this Country.

    If those we have elected and pay to Govern our Country cannot do that, or do not want to do that, I have no alternative but to with-hold all payment to them as is my solemn duty under Magna Carta Clause 61. There is no point in having a Constitution that has lasted over 600 years-unused and lying dormant while watching those in Parliament swear the same or similar allegiance to the British Monarch, yet decides to sign Treaties that should never have been ratified at all -particularly without the people’s consent.

    I cannot just stand and watch while the present Government of this once Great Country gives the governing of it permanently to foreigners. I speak only for myself, not others. Many among the people have lost loved ones fighting for this Country’s freedom to govern this Country forever according to its own Common Law Constitution. We have solid proof that Country’s can work together and fight together without binding Treaties, as the UK and Commonwealth Countries once fought and died along side our American friends in the last war. It took 60 years to pay off that financial debt- so why are we jeopardising that freedom so many died for, today?
    Most thing that this Government is putting through our Parliament “today” stems from the European Union. The ghastliest one of all seems to be the EU’s Localism Bill which divides ENGLAND into Regions. HS2 of course is also part of TEN-T.
    The people may also realise sadly AFTER the EU Regions come into being, there may well be no need of anyone in our wonderful Houses of Parliament. This Country has its own long Standing Constitution-parts of which cannot be altered, unlike Country’s on the Continent that had to write new Constitutions after the last war. Thankfully, our Constitution remained in tact-as so it should in peace-time.

  32. Daisy
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    You consistently make excellent and well-argued points. You are rational, fair-minded and conscientious. You would make a far better Chancellor than the one in post. Yet you are sidelined in a party dominated by conceited ninnies and their vacuous self-styled gurus. I am afraid that unless you can persuade MPs who think like you to join forces to stand up for Conservatism there will be nothing left of the party to make it worth voting for at the next election (which may be well before 2015); and shortly after that, nothing much left of the country either.

  33. Derek Buxton
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    I consider your article very good, making many good points. But like many more I am disenchanted by what Mr. Cameron is doing to the Party and the Country. You are correct that MPs like yourself should clearly lay out the problems caused by being in the EU, as I am sure you do, but most do not and the leadership are the worst offenders. I do not know the details but I do wonder if the PM by virtue of representing the UK in the Council of Ministers is under Oath to support the EU outright. I would consider this to be shameful if it were the case, he is our PM, paid by us. Does the payer not call the tune the piper plays?

  34. Michael Read
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    As other posters have identified, the first-past-the-post electoral system is a frustrating, if not an impossible, barrier to overcome. UKIP would be favoured if electors believed that their support would be translated into representation, as it does in EU elections.

    Off topic, but Labour would have been unable to carry out mass immigration into the country, and the displacement/impoverishment of the existing indigenous population, if it had been bound into an electoral system which better reflected voters’ opinions such as PR.

    Reply: UKIP and Lib Dems were unable to persuade people to have AV!
    Under PR in Euro elections UKIP still does not win most seats.

  35. Barry Reed
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    John,
    You appear to be the only one with any common sense, I do not think the people of the UK realise the harm that has been done to the UK, especially under Blair and Brown that gave away so much (including our gold Reserves) for nothing in return.
    I voted Conservative as I have done all my life, but I was misled by Cameron. He led me to believe he was a Eurosceptic, even promising a Referendum on the EU Treaty should anything change.
    It appears those in Brussels are rewriting or ignoring the Treaty to suit themselves, and Cameron’s coalition are not telling the whole truth to the people, who after all they are supposed to support and not the EU?
    We cannot affor the mass immigration from the EU, those immigrants have little or no skills, yet we are turning away those who have skills we need to get the country back on its feet.
    I feel because of EU policies and Blair and Brown selling the UK down the river, the UK has gone beyond the tipping point never to recover, and only leaving the EU and to continue as a trading partner might give at least a little hope?
    At present this government is on probation, it has not been as truthful and open as promised.
    Perhaps before the next election I can sing the praises of this Government, I hope so!

    Barry Reed

  36. norman
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    You are absolutely correct not to take UKIP seriously. For an MP they are a complete irrelevance. You are one vote in 650 and UKIP are zero votes in 650.

    Unfortunately, for us lovers of liberty our vote is worth a lot less than 1 in 650, and we get to vote a lot less often than you on matters that effect us.

    So we have to make our vote, if not count, at least try and be relevant.

    That is why a lot of us vote for UKIP when our turn comes round once every five years.

    I’m not one to complain that you stay in the Conservative Party, it’s the only game in town as far as MPs go, and you will do infinitely better there than absconding. However, don’t think too badly of us poor proles if we ‘waste’ our once every five years vote on UKIP.

  37. philipriley
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    I have a great deal of respect for you John, but not for the Conservative Party any more. I feel disenfranchised by all the major political parties, UKIP is the only party that reflects my views, what would you have me do?

    Reply: Each person has to weigh how to vote in accordance with their principles and aims. I am merely pointing how UKIP has so far never managed to get a single MP elected. Without a majority of MPs its claim to take us out of the EU is meaningless.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

      “Without a majority of MPs its claim to take us out of the EU is meaningless.”

      Following this logic, no opposition would ever form and any election would have only one name on it !!!

      UKIP is there to give voters a choice!

      UKIP is more credible than a party whose leader supports a carbon tax to combat climate change. According to The Telegraph (Aug 1st): “David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, has written to Australian leader Julia Gillard in support of her planned tax on carbon to combat climate change”.

      The scientific evidence does not support this economic policy; it is at least “case not proven”, and that is being very generous! It is a waste of human effort, and the consequences will hit the poor more than the rich; it always does.

      Also, this Australian government policy was a reversal of what was fought in their recent election, so that is another reason for our PM to keep his distance.

  38. cosmic
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    I don’t blame you for us being in the EU or remaining in the EU. I don’t blame you for not joining UKIP.

    However the very purpose of the EU is to create a single European state, ruled by a bureaucracy or an oligarchy and with no democratic checks. We’ve seen that this is not only the intent of the treaties but the intention behind them. It has been revealed in the breaking of the treaties and getting the UK to contribute the bailouts, of which you have written so clearly and with disapproval. We have seen it in the referendums which have been cynically circumvented or ignored. You have passionately written of England; the EU plan for England is to break it into regions with Westminster becoming sidelined.

    The relationship we have with the EU is being a member. Bearing in mind that its intention is to subsume us into a superstate, the only practical alternative to being a member is not being a member, not having MEPs, or Commissioners or anything but the diplomatic and other usual channels for conducting relations with a foreign state such as say, Japan.

    I really cannot see that membership of the EU, a club intended to bring these things about, is divisible; if we are a member we are signed up to this and if we are not we can please ourselves.
    Of course, we could not pretend that the EU wasn’t there, but basically it’s question of in or out.

    For a long time the Conservative Party has talked about a pick and choose option of dealing with the EU, but their policy has always been to rule out leaving and they haven’t made any serious attempt to bring this about either, for instance going along with the bailouts without even trying to gain any concessions. They are too easily seen as a Europhile party making anti-EU noises when Europe is topical to keep their supporters onside. Is it any wonder that people are suspicious of them?

    I don’t understand whether your own position encompasses withdrawal from the EU.

    Reply: I voted No in 1975. The UK electorate voted Yes. Since then I have defended their view that we are happy with a Common market,but do not wish to move to a common government. I want another referendum on EU matters, so the UK people can give their view of the current position.

  39. BobE
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    If I vot NO to the EU will any of you agree?

  40. uanime5
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Like many here I feel that your analysis has been fair and balanced, nor do I blame you for the Government’s pro-European policies. I admire that you have been balanced in your arguments and haven’t resorted to either conspiracy theories, such as MPs don’t oppose the EU because they’d lose their pensions, or scaremongering, such as EU demands that all bananas must be straight.

    Regarding why Eurosceptics turn on each other I believe the reason is due to competing ideology. Some Eurosceptics want less EU control, while others wish to leave the EU all together. Unless their is a united Eurosceptic goal there will continue to be conflict.

    One major problem with debating about the EU in the UK is that very few people understand what it is or does beyond ‘we pay if money and it makes laws’. The average person cannot tell the difference between a regulation and a directive; between the Committee, Commission, and Parliament; or the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Most people even refuse to believe me when I point out that the ECHR isn’t part of the EU. Educating people about the EU should be a prerequisite to any debate about it.

    As many people have posted how to reform Parliament to make it more representative I have some suggestions.

    1) The House of Commons should be turned into an English Parliament with similar powers to the Scottish Parliament and the same STV election system. Yes I am aware of the irony of devolving power to Scotland then copying the same system in England.

    2) The House of Lords should be turned into a UK Senate that has all the remaining powers of the Westminster Parliament. It’s main function will be to make decision that affect the UK (taxes, defence, etc). Senators should be elected using PR.

    This will resolve the West Lothian question, and won’t have the same problems of an elected Commons and Lords.

  41. Paul
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    John, I think you and your pro EU party need to start taking UKIP seriously. Was it not the case that at the 2010 General Election UKIP took enough votes from people who would’ve voted Conservative had Cameron not been so weak on Europe to deny your party an outright majority? UKIP, I’m sure, will again take many votes from the Tories at the European elections in 2014 and if Cameron does not want the Tories to become an embarassment he will do something about it.

    Reply: Mr Cameron does not see it that way. He wants to take more Lib Dem and Labour votes, as there are more of those to take.

    • Freeborn John
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      “Mr Cameron does not see it that way. He wants to take more Lib Dem and Labour votes…”

      All polls show the majority of Labour and also LibDem voters want less EU power. So if Cameron is looking for an issue where he can open up a policy gap that will take votes from the other duopoly parties then Europe is it.

      Cameron has to learn that the Conservatives cannot win a majority with his current approach to the EU. He blew what was seen as certain victory in the 2010 election with his Lisbon climb-down. Is he going to blow it again in 2015? How often do the Conservatives need to lose before the penny drops? I havnt voted Tory since Maastrict and you havn’t won a majority since then.

    • rose
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the PM is right. There are more Lib/ Lab votes to take, but lots of them would follow him out of the EU if he only gave the same strong lead he did over the electoral system. He can appeal effectively over the heads of the lumpenintelligentsia when he tries, and he needs to do it more often. The Liberals are a problem for him of course, but he didn’t let them hamper him over defeating PR, and who ended up looking most irrelevant? He needs to form a similar coalition across the parties to get us out. Kate Hoey can’t be alone on the other side of the House.

  42. Martin
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    “We do not have to follow US or Indian laws here in order to be able to trade with them.”

    It is virtually impossible to do business in the USA if you refuse to obay US law.

    1) Ask the Internet Gambling industry about the USA. Some poor bloke got thrown in the slammer for not obaying a protectionist piece of US law.

    2) The old EMI medical scanner business went bust after the USA changed its tax laws to prefer an American product.

    Thats two cases off the top of my head. The USA extracts huge concessions or the privilidge of doing business with it. Our citizens have to put up with entry taxes (ETSA fee) and fingerprinting. Special relationship? No -poodle-ism continues.

    • Norman Dee
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      With the problems that the USA is having, and without the oil to power their enormous and greedy society, we might find the USA becoming less arrogant. However, if the Republicans get back in power at the next elections, we might find we go into a period of “super arrogance” before they have to learn how to co exist again.
      The American market is big, but it’s not the only market , we need to get back to the commonwealth, combined it is a bigger market than the US, and it is growing not shrinking.

      • rose
        Posted August 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        “without the oil to power their enormous and greedy society, we might find the USA becoming less arrogant.” No sign of that happening here with this new motorists’ pressure group to lower fuel tax.

  43. Tom
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    It is unfortunately no good looking at the “what ifs”, but if Jimmy Goldsmith had lived I am sure we would have had our referendum years ago. He would have scared the two main parties in a way that UKIP sadly does not.

  44. Steve Fowler.
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    John, if you truly have principals then you will understand why many of us vote for parties like UKIP now. We do not trust any of the main parties to keep their promises or tell us the truth. Yes UKIP is not perfect and it will time to be a in postion to be serious, starting with local elections.

    You can say that we steal your votes all you want but we are taking Labour, Lib Dem votes to and if you think we in UKIP are ever going away or that if we do leave the EU that UKIP will disband or we will ever trust you not to take us back in or any organization like the EU without the public permission. Then you kidding yourself.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 31, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      UKIP was founded in 1993 and after 18 years has 2 Lords, 11 MEPs, 26 local Governments, and got 3.1% of the votes in the last election. It’s currently not a credible threat to any major party.

      • rose
        Posted August 1, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        But the EU is.

  45. Alan Wheatley
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    This latest set of arguments against UKIP miss the basic point, as have done their predecessors. UKIP are not splitting the eurosceptic vote as they are not a eurosceptic party. Scepticism was long ago replaced by certainty that the what was best for the UK was not a better EU but independence.

    Eurosceptics within the Conservative Party can continue to fight their honourable corner. Whether any good will come of their efforts remains to be seen, but EU history shows us that pressure of events that might lead to a few crumbs being distributed by EU beneficence are but a short term appeasement to be recouped by long term strategy.

    As to how to vote in elections, what do you do given the choices available? If UKIP best represents one’s views it is pretty stupid to vote otherwise. The practical results, so far, may have been minor, but voters too have their principles. Voting for a eurosceptic Conservative candidate is usually not an available option. And in any event a minor increase in eurosceptic Conservative MPs is not going to change party policy.

    As everyone knows who has read Margaret Thatcher on Statecraft, negotiating with the EU without the pre-prepared, credible and well-supported alternative of withdrawal is a waste of time.

    In the long run fine argument will become irrelevant as the EU will not survive. But in the long run, as someone once famously remarked, we are all dead, and as far as I am concerned time has already run out, and so has my patience.

  46. Anne Palmer
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I have never beonged to any Political Party never have and never will. I have-until the last general election however John, always voted Conservative, and many must have felt the same as myself, for after all those years of Labour the Conservative should have got in with a land-slide. Without doubt, we have three political- three major political Parties, that want to remain in the European Union yet still have their pay and vast expenses as if they are doing the job they were elected to do, that isie, govern this Country according to its long standing Constitution. Yet none can do that as long as we remain in the EU because of the treacherous Treaties ratified by Labour and the Conservatives. The LibDems would have ratified them too if they had a chance.

    The EU is however, starting to unravel in certain places/Countries. Here in the UK people are beginning to realise that all the EU wants off us, is our Money.
    Disgustingly so for all the people in the UK can see from this Government is that the people’s money is being used for anything the EU wants but abslutely NOTHING for the good of the people here in the UK.

    You know John, I have not seen anything at all in our papers about the NEW Citizenship consultation whic ends very soon.

    (wants to include cross ref to contribution to the consultation which I did not have time to check-ed)

  47. David
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    If we have PR which would lower the barrier for new entrants to the political free market, UKIP or similar would have MPs as has happened in Finland, Holland etc.
    Sadly no Tory wants a free market in politics as with more choice less people would choose them.

  48. sjb
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    JW wrote: “If there had been no EU, Belgium would not have invaded Holland, and Germany and France would have lived in peace together after the bruising experiences of three wars. ”

    Well, that’s quite an assertion. Why then didn’t they live in peace after two bruising wars? Perhaps if the EU had been formed in the early 1920s …

  49. rose
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    The Berlin Wall didn’t exist in the early 1920s.

  50. Susan
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    I don’t believe you should feel the need to defend your integrity with regard to your stance on the EU debate, as your record on this speaks for itself. If members of the public choose to believe you have a hidden agenda on this issue, they will believe that anyway no matter what you say or do. If I were to criticise you for anything, it would be this curious naivety you seem to have about the sort of Country Britain is now. The UK has changed considerably over recent years, no amount of recalling its noble history or a Royal Wedding can alter what Britain has become. The UK is not respected all over the World anymore, that disappeared long ago. It is not a Country of fair minded people trying to do the right thing. It is a Country where the feckless are rewarded and the hardworking, law abiding are not. Where the prudent are punished and the irresponsible thrive. The justice system is on the side of those who commit crime and not the victims. The public no longer trust the Police or those in authority. A lot of the public live with anti social behaviour from the growing underclass and lack of good education has seen standards drop in the work place. A something for nothing culture has grown up, where the state is expected to provide everything. Unfettered immigration means the UK will most probably never see full employment ever again and a population rise for the future that will put pressure on public services and the state. A pension crisis will also be a problem for the future, as more will rely on the state in old age. Politicians live in fear of public opinion when they want to make changes, which may be difficult for some of the public, but necessary for the welfare of the Country as a whole. So the right decisions are never made by politicians, as they fear being voted out. This is the reality of modern Britain, it is socially and economically broken. Therefore, withdrawal from the EU will not cure all the UKs ills, as some seem to think.

    As to UKIP they are unable to gain a higher profile with the public because they are a one issue party, it really is as simple as that. The public as a whole have many other matters which they are far more concerned about than the EU, such as education, health etc. UKIP have become associated with only one issue and that is withdrawal from the EU. Should they choose to widen their agenda and employ more talent into their party, this may change.

  51. Ryan
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    You should take the UKIP seriously John. They are the reason that the Conservative Party will never again have a majority in Parliament. But the real reason is that the UK electorate have rumbled the Conservatives. They know that the Conservatives are just as soft on the EU, on crime, on immigration, on multiculturalism, on the economy as the Labour Party. They just like to claim otherwise. I don’t know why the Conservatives think the way they do now. They are the party of Edward Heath, not of Churchill and Thatcher. I realised that when Cameron decided not to offer a vote on Lisbon. I realised it again when Conservative Party financiers produced a last-minute leaflet that told us that a vote for AV would kill babies in incubators.

    I will never vote Conservative again, John. In the next few years many more traditional Conservative voters will turn their backs on the party. We are about to see a revolution in political thinking in the UK just as we have started to see in some other countries in Europe. The first past the post system tries to hold back the tide, but it didn’t couldn’t hold back the Labour Party in the early part of the last century and it won’t hold back the new right. I don’t know if UKIP will be the party that rises to replace the Conservatives, or whether a Tea Party movement will take hold within the Conservatives and change the party beyond recognition, but change is inevitable now.

  52. Scottspeig
    Posted August 10, 2011 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    John,

    A rather insightful blog post on UKIP which I appreciate and I’m only just getting round to commenting as I was away on holiday.

    There are a couple of points I disagree with, but I agree that if you defected on your own to UKIP, it is likely you will lose the by-election. However, I believe if the core set of “right-wing” consevatives all resigned at once to either set up a right-wing party or joined UKIP (all together) than I believe it would be a catalyst for a revolution. Of course, the risk is that it doesn’t work and you’d have to go back to making money! 🙂

    If I lived in Wokingham, then I would vote for you, or in Carswell’s constituency, I’d vote for him. However, there are far too many europhiles or career politicians in your party for it to be as you would like. We have agreed on different solutions – yours is to transform within, mine is to bail-out and support someone I believe in.

    A lot of the time, I believe that there is a large group who support UKIP but refuse to vote as they think it a “wasted vote” (self-fulfilling). Whether or not we are just a rather vocal online group is yet to be seen.

    You mention that they should woo lib-dems or labour, but all you are suggesting is moving to he centre ground where we now have 3 parties fighting over the same scraps and not much difference. I believe a time is coming (delayed due to FPTP) where politics will once again split to further extremes.

  • 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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