Solving the EU problem

 

       Many of you want a simple solution. You say you just want the Uk to pull out. You say we just need an In/Out referendum, and the public will do the rest. If it were that easy it would have happened by now. You need to ask not what do you want, but what can you  get, to start to push matters in the direction we want.

       The Uk electorate have never voted into office any party running on a Come out platform. They have  never elected a single representative of UKIP or English democrats or other pull out parties to Westminster. It is not a question of one more heave and they will. There is not a shred of polling evidence to suggest that in a Westminster election, as opposed to a European election, they are about to.

          Nor could you guarantee that  the Uk electors would vote for out of the EU if we  were treated to an In/Out referendum. As in 1975 all the main poltical parties would  line up to tell us we should stay in. I have supported referenda, but have always thought it better to ask a question like “Would you support further powers passing to the EU under this proposed Treaty?” or “Would you back a thorough going renegotiation of our relationship to bring powers back?” or “Do you agree we should accept the renegotiated terms the Uk government  has secured?”

       The proposal I have put to colleagues is designed to try and build more support for a change of direction, a move away from more and more power flowing to Brussels. Of course it is not as much as pull outers would like. The problem with it is not that, but probably it still goes further than  the bulk of the Uk political establishment wishes to go. I want to see a wider consensus constructed to make use of this unique time when the EU needs UK support for a major strengthening of Euroland powers which we cannot possibly accept for ourselves. The mixed response to it on this site is symptomatic of continuing Eurosceptic splits which has always left majority opinion in this country on the EU with much reduced power to influence events and turn them in a sensible direction.

     If you do wish to help build a consensus for a different direction, then write to your own  MP asking him or her  to support demands for a renegotiation for the Uk to run alongside the building of Euroland economic governance. This should apply to Labour and Lib Dem as well as to Conservative MPs – they all need to know the strength of Eurosceptic feeling on this crucial matter.

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181 Comments

  1. Public Servant
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood I could not agree more strongly with your proposal. Political parties should campaign for what they believe in and not what they believe the electorate will stomach. Only that way does the electorate have a distinctive choice at the election. If the majority of your party members want to come out then that should be psrty policy. If the leadership want something else then let them either stand aside or find or form a party which supports their views. This should apply to all parties. Personally I am pro EU but that does not detract from the principle.

    • Tim
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      If you are pro EU. What benefits are you supporting? Is it the 70% of our laws undemacratically imposed on us at a cost of £9 billion a year? Is it the £13.5 billion NET costs to the UK for the benefit of foreign farmers and infrastructure? Is it the 1000,000 16-25 year old British workers who are undercut for jobs by their Eastern European neighbours in the job market? Is it the CAP that costs us all £ billions in extra food costs to help foreign farmers? Is it the £40 billion trade deficit last year and £262 billion over the last 10 years? Is it the European Court for Human Rights that allows foreign criminals to remain in the UK despite their despicable crimes? Is it the loss of an entire fishing industry (400,000) for the benefit of foreign fishermen? Is it the £12.5 billion bailouts for the Greeks, Irish and Portuguese?
      So other than a cash cow, a lead weight around our necks what’s in it for us, please remind me!

      Reply: Indeed, good questions. That is why I voted No.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        I think a small clue could perhaps lie in the screen name of the previous writer.

      • Martin
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        The fishing industry was lost when Heath and the civil service made a complete bungle on the subject of 3 & 12 mile limits re the Icelandic (not an EEC country) Cod War. The result was our(UK) negotiating position was useless and the rest is history.

        Re CAP – our own farmers/agri-business benefit from this. See http://farmsubsidy.org/GB/ for figures !!!!

        Re ECHR – this is not an EU institution.

        • Tim
          Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

          The fishing deal was part of the conditions of our entry into the Common Market (now morphed into EU) even though Heath was responsible and I have read many times that we cannot come out of the EUHR until we leave the EU. Any more of the above issues not correct? The trade figures were published but not discussed by the Government as they want us to believe we should remain for this purpose. I’m told we have about 40% of our trade with the EU but this isn’t factual as a lot of our exports go via Rotterdam but are counted as EU exports.

          Reply: The 40% figures is after taking off the Rotterdam trade with non EU areas (as estimated by Global Britain). It is ,however, just trade in goods. Trade in services is less dependent on the EU

      • wab
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        “70% of our laws undemacratically imposed on us”

        It depends what you mean by “undemocratic”. That tends to be a term bandied around by people who complain about one level of government making decisions that they don’t like, where another level of government might make opposing decisions. Is it “undemocratic” that national government makes laws that my local government does not like? Is it “undemocratic” that local government makes laws that my ward does not like? The people who run the EU have been directly or indirectly elected by the citizens of the EU, so are democratic in any real sense of the word.

        “16-25 year old British workers who are undercut for jobs by their Eastern European neighbours in the job market”

        Perhaps because our European neighbours are better educated and/or harder working.

        “£40 billion trade deficit last year and £262 billion over the last 10 years”

        You want to blame this on the EU???

        “European Court for Human Rights”

        You want to blame this on the EU??? (Or do you not distinguish between the EU and any generally European body?)

        “£12.5 billion bailouts for the Greeks, Irish and Portuguese”

        Well, this is weakly an EU issue, but it is more a Euro and European banking (and that includes UK banking) issue.

        So I would say that most of these are not “good questions”. But a couple of them are. In particular, the disastrous EU fishing and CAP policies. (Not that the UK would necessarily do things much better in isolation, given the useless politicians who run the country.)

      • Posted August 31, 2011 at 12:26 am | Permalink

        You’ll struggle to get anything coheret out of most of them. I recall the gist of a conversation I had with a colleague from a different council:

        Him: “We don’t enforce the Trade Marks Act”
        Me: “Why not? It’s a statutory duty?”
        Him: “The public where we are don’t care about counterfeiting”
        Me: “So if you saw a few thousand Czech fags in an off licence would you seize them?”
        Him: “Well of course, that’s different”
        Me: “Why is it, smokers don’t care about duty free fags?”
        Him: “It’s tax evasion.”
        Me: “Do counterfeiters pay tax?”

        He liked the EU too.

    • waramess
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      @ Pubic Servant. The electorate are of course incapable of individual thought and even if they were they do not matter. What matters is the executive, who will tell the electorate what they might have. Or is this a paraphrase too far?

      For my part the electorate is what democracy is all about and settling for second or third best or even the art of the possible is most definitely not.

      Faint heart and all that stuff….

      Settle this matter once and for all with an IN/OUT referendum and give or remove from the government the legitemacy of their policies.

      • waramess
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        Actually Mr Redwood I think, after reading the article and then the comments I think that you are having us all on. What a larf.

        At least, I hope you are having us all on.

    • Richard Calhoun
      Posted August 31, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Telling this comment is from a public servant, the EU is manna from heaven for you guys

  2. lifelogic
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    They cannot elect a party “on a come out platform” because a section of the voters will always continue to vote, as an act of faith or in relation to their upbringing, for the three main pro EU parties. Also there are many other issues competing for their single vote and most area are safe seats anyway . Also the Tory party pretend to be Euro sceptic before elections and many are taken in.

    Anything would be better than nothing but Cameron is not even facing the right way.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      “they all need to know the strength of Eurosceptic feeling on this crucial matter.” I do not think the MPs are in any doubt on the strength of feeling – that is why no referendum has been granted on this issue.

      If they thought they could win one then they would certainly grant one and bury the issue.

      • sm
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

        It so obvious – anything but referism and real democracy. I may not like it but the a lot must have and they may be right or wrong but hey at least its real democracy not our sham.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Bonfire of the Quangos?

      Quango bosses double their pay.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8729962/Quango-bosses-double-their-pay.html

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic

        Yes, bordering on the criminal, the way government seems so impotent at controlling spending.

        Some of these bonuses are many times greater than the average yearly wage.

        Seems like the more you hear, the worse it gets, with more and more people getting bonuses for just doing what they were employed, but more importantly, expected to do in the first place.

        Once again one is forced to ask, does government have any control at all over these events, and if they do not, who does, and who are they responsible to.

        The civil service and the quangos seem to be a law unto themselves.

        • Geoff not Hoons
          Posted August 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

          Alan, agree totally and if they do eventually get paid off one day guess what salary incl. bonus and other perks will be used to do the sum.
          Yet again it appears government is either powerless or unwilling to do anything about such use of our money.

          • Mike Stallard
            Posted August 30, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

            In a way their pay is but a small thing compared to their wrecking tactics of anything that they do not approve of – like our free school, for instance.

          • lifelogic
            Posted August 31, 2011 at 7:57 am | Permalink

            Indeed our taxes used to pay people large salaries and pension jsut to bash us over the head periodically or indoctrinate us with propaganda.

  3. norman
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    I have a lot of time for UKIP, enjoy their newsletter and support them when I can but I don’t know why you continually bring them up in these threads.

    For the true Eurosceptic UKIP is also part of the problem, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve read that they are not really Eurosceptics, we’d be better off if they didn’t exist, Nigel Farage is this, that or the other, etc. Which may all be true, as an outsider I’m not privy to what goes on behind closed doors so I can’t say, but what I see I like.

    It’s one thing to say ‘all or nothing’ but we seem to be ending up with ‘nothing’ all too often.

    • javelin
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      I think the problem with UKIP is they take a rather simplistic view that we should be out or in. In reality we have to deal with the “structure of the actual situation” – which is not only a cage of legislation, but also cages around all our soveign partners. If we eject from the EU we will have to start again with the negotiaions, treaties etc. If it far more practical to simply get an opt out clause.

      We give flexiblity to the EU to move forward and solve their Euro crisis, in return for the EU being flexible and allowing us act in a way that suit our slightly different British interests.

      I see no reason to to ditch alot of the business benefits of being in the EU.

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        You’re suggesting that we ‘re-negotiate’ an opt out clause (an opt out of what exactly?); that by allowing the rest of the EU to get on with further integration, they will allow us a unique position of not being as much ‘in’ as the rest of them. What makes you think this is possible? Why would France and Germany ever agree to this, let alone the other members?

        I’m sorry but it can only ever be in or out, as if you are in, you are inexorably drawn bit by bit into full political federal and economic integration; into a united states of Europe – ruled from Brussels under the leadership of Germany and France. The EU has no other aim, and to think otherwise is missing the whole point of the damned thing.

        Reply: The point I am making is that France and Germany need something – our agreement – we need to extract substantial improvements for us in return for lettign them press on with their project. There are so few of these veto opportunities now. The danger is this Coalition governemnt will not seek anything substantial in return, which is why I am trying highlight this now. The responce on this site shows why it is so difficult to turn this drift to EU power round – because a minority of strong Eurosceptics just shout traitor at anyone who wishes to negotiate something better. They are quite unable to pull us out of the EU, quite unable to get a single UKIP MP elected, yet they keep on about that being the answer.

      • sm
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

        Please explain the business benefits lost?

        I can understand losing the benefits of central action against secrecy jurisdictions like Switzerland which i believe helps subvert democracy in the UK and elsewhere but that would preclude the imho retrograde secrecy-tax deal with Switzerland. (Time will tell- i predict this is a UXB for later)

  4. James Morrison
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    John, you often repeat (unfairly in my opinion) the mantra that we, the humble electorate, have never voted “into office any party running on a Come out platform” when *NONE* of the three main parties have ever run for office with that agenda.

    However *ALL* have run on the promise of a referendum on the matter, or have played with words to imply they’d hold a referendum, and all three have reneged on that promise once in office.

    If ever there was a mandate to do it, it would be now, with the Tories having pretended they’d hold a rerendum on Lisbon, and the LibDims saying they favoured an “in out” referendum. But no, as always, once in power MPs are somehow seduced by the EU, and the offers are withdrawn.

    So now we find ourselves with the laughingly called “Eurosceptic” Tories handing over more powers more quickly than Labour ever did.

    We, the humble electorate, are rarely offered “eurosceptic” candidates! Except for established MPs like yourself, the party machines ensure, wherever possible, that new candidates tow the party line, and that is invariably *not* “eurosceptic”.

    • ed t
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Jamaes Morrison has it right there. I think it is disingenuous of JR to argue as he does. It’s clear that a policy of leaving the EU would overshadow every other item on an election manifesto. The electoral habit is geared towards schoolsnhospitalsneconomyinnit and a party that puts the EU question foremost is sidelined on these issues. It’s politically unfeasible to run on it not because it is unpopular per se but because it savages the expectations of the electorate of a plenary discussion of our social conditions and how to improve them.

      What we find however is that the election promises of leaders are increasingly subject to the EU agenda and therefore the leaders frequently overpromise and underperform, constrained by the EU frameworks which they knowingly conceal from the public. Because the EU finds it convenient to hide the democratic deficit, our leaders dissemble and hence we lose respect for our own representatives. Clearly the EU issue is a block to our full democratic participation and therefore must be dealt with outside the standard electoral framework ie. through a referendum.

      The shame of it is that the professional politician considers the EU hierarchy and his place in it to be evidence of his political skill and thus the inevitability of the EU is tied to his own sense of inevitable personal success. In past generations, politicians were more zealous for our sovereignty because they felt they owed their position to our society. Our socialised, pampered “modern welfare state” elite consider that they got there by their own merit and therefore give freely away what is not theirs to give.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        In 2009, nearly 4m people voted for EU withdrawal parties, with UKIP the 2nd largest party. It is conceivable at the next EU elections UKIP will be the largest party. With a large proportion of the Tory vote supporting EU withdrawal, but tied to party loyalties, this will surely be a milestone that the political elite cannot ignore.

        • Acorn
          Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

          “Sign this e-petition
          Introduce Primary Elections in the UK – candidate MP’s should be chosen democratically by the public and not by the political elite.”

          I think this is one change to out sclerotic electoral system, that just might change things. An addition would be the ability to “recall” a sitting MP, who has strayed badly from his personal manifesto.

  5. Posted August 30, 2011 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    “The Uk electorate have never voted into office any party running on a Come out platform”

    This is a total inaccuracy. There has never been a party offering this option. And please don’t refer to the idiot Labour Party under Foot. That is different, he also demanded unilateral scrapping of nuclear weapons and it was THAT and other loonie left policies that consigned him to the scrap heap of political comedy. It was nothing to do with his EU policy at all.

    Let’s just say that as more people become aware of that fact that Hannan, Carswell, you and a few others are revealed to be pseudo-sceptic the better chance the will be for a true Euro-Sceptic Out-of-EU party to gain some traction. I see only good coming out of the slow erosion of the smoke and mirrors act of Tory euro-scepticism.

    The risk is though that the idiots in the labour party jump on the bandwagon (Like they do for all their policy making these days) and adopt the mantra of “Withdrawl from the EU” as a core policy. The British Sheeple are stupid enough to forget the damage that Labour did in power and vote for them only to be disappointed when they once again find out they have been lied to. (Like Cast Iron Dave’s Tories did)

    • sjb
      Posted September 4, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      MockTheLeft wrote: There has never been a party offering this option [withdrawing from the EU].

      Labour’s February 1974 manifesto stated they would renegotiate the UK’s entry terms. If successful they would seek the public’s endorsement otherwise they would consult the public “on the advisability of negotiating our withdrawal from the Communities [forerunner of the EU].” [1]

      In their October 1974 manifesto the Labour Party (now in government) went further and pledged to “give the British people the final say, which will be binding [emphasis added] on the Government – through the ballot box – on whether we accept the terms and stay in or reject the terms and come out. “[2]

      [1] http://www.labour-party.org.uk/manifestos/1974/feb/1974-feb-labour-manifesto.shtml
      [2] http://www.labour-party.org.uk/manifestos/1974/Oct/1974-oct-labour-manifesto.shtml

  6. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    I am extremely lucky to be married to a wife who is completely normal. Her views on the EU are these. She finds it boring and I am not allowed to mention it. Other matters – global warming, fox hunting – she gets very excited up about. The EU, however, she just ignores. Down at the gym, you can moan about corrupt politicians, you can bind on about high taxes and red tape. But as soon as the words “EU” pass your lips, you can see the eyes glaze over.
    Add to this a mass of inert bureaucracy run out of London and the BBC propaganda unit and, yes I really do agree that there is no for local appetite to leave the EU – yet.
    It took ages for people to get worked up about Napoleon, the Kaiser and Hitler. Years, even decades, in fact.
    Sad, but true.
    Our MP is someone who votes for what he is told to vote for – I have checked. I shall nevertheless write to him, mentioning this blog.

  7. Posted August 30, 2011 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    I disagree, first, with the suggestion that polling shows the electorate is not about to elect a UKIP MP. The last couple of by-elections UKIP has contested have shown a massive increase in support for the party and UKIP have finished ahead of the Conservatives.

    Secondly, your idea that we should renegotiate is all well and good but it can never happen. The EU is on a one-way street, it’s not possible to repatriate powers from Brussels. Any superficial repatriation of power will require a much bigger handover of power to secure it. Taking back any power from the EU requires the unanimous agreement of all EU member states and that will never happen because they’re all lead by eurofederalists.

    Thirdly (and most importantly), there will never be a meaningful change for the better in our relationship with the EU because your leader is raging europhile himself. He supports ever-closer union, he supports the continued loss of sovereignty to the EU, he supports the massive bailouts we can’t afford to keep the euro afloat, he supports the continued £77bn annual financial cost of EU membership and he abhors the idea of democracy. Maybe if you could purge the Conervative leadership of europhiles I could just about believe that there was an outside chance that the Conservatives might possibly make a vague effort to at least stem the tide of lost sovereignty to the EU but with this bunch of europhile traitors, there’s more chance of Greece getting a AAA credit rating by Christmas than there is of the Conservatives becoming even vaguely eurosceptic.

    You’re not naive John so I can only assume that you’ve decided to follow Dan Hannan’s lead and try and con the electorate to prop up your party.

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      Seconded!

      I shall not bother my MP and just continue to vote for UKIP, as more and more people will keep doing. The Tories lost me at Maastrict (and no I never voted for Blair or Brown, thank God).

  8. BarryS
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Thr first paragraph is (unusually for you) entirely wrong in that you must start with the end goal in mind. Then break it into achievable sub-goals in exactly the way the federalists did many years ago, taking us from a coal and steel union to the EU in many smaller steps barely noticed by most.
    There is no equilibrium to be reached we are either in or out. I want out, the question is how to take the small steps to get there?

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      We don’t need small steps. We just repeal the Treaty of Rome and get on with looking after ourselves.

  9. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    As I see it, a piecemeal repatriation of powers to the UK would have much more chance of success, would keep relations with the rest of the EU o.k. and give have a higher chance not having to compensate (pay) for national advantages gained.
    Likewise, it would be much better to attempt reforming the Council of Europe from within than leaving it and being compared with a pariah nation like Belarus.
    Some of your problems stem from your electoral system, which often leads to disproportional representation and doesn’t give a fair chance to smaller political “flavours” like Greens or UKIP. In proportional systems, the influence and power of such parties is far greater.
    Lastly, is it the word-processor’s auto correction, which forces Mr. Redwood into a new “humility”, writing Uk with a small kingdom? 🙂

    • Winston Smith
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Compared to Belarus? Why not Switzerland or Norway?

      • oldtimer
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        I noticed that comparison too. A calculated offence?

        • sjb
          Posted August 30, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

          Gentlemen, Switzerland and Norway are both members of the Council of Europe. Neither is yet a member of the EU.

          Like Tim’s contribution above vis-a-vis European Court of Human Rights, you both appear to be confusing two great European institutions: the Council of Europe and the European Union.

          • sm
            Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

            I like the sound of this Belarus, we like independent minded friends and allies! Vive Belarus.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        Maybe the following picture will help?
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Supranational_European_Bodies.png
        The Council of Europe is connected to the European Court for Human Rights (EHCR) the court of last appeal for 800 million people. The EU comprises only 500 million people.

  10. Duyfken
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    You rightly point out that a referendum may not produce a result favourable to Eurosceptics, despite polls showing present overwhelming public support for a withdrawal or re-negotiation. Even if the result were otherwise, the governing Party of the day could well continually prevaricate and circumvent such expression of public will, such that no change would eventuate.

    It is not the will of the people which should be in question but that of the politicians. No referendum should be necessary – the polls clearly show the public sentiment. The Conservatives at Westminster may find reasons for backing up or not overtly objecting to the policy followed by the present leadership, so it should be for the respective Conservative Associations and MPs’ other sponsors to put some backbone into their chosen representative. I again stress that no referendum should be necessary, just a change of heart and direction by the government.

    After a long and courteous exchange of correspondence, my local (Tory) MP and I decided to agree to disagree. I found no way to shift him from total and unquestioning support for the government’s professed policy about the EU. He may be sincere but since he is a junior government Minister, he presumably is obliged to toe the party line anyway. So what more can I do? Perhaps I should now make contact with the local Conservative Association, except that since I am not a member, such interference from outside may be taken amiss.

    • oldtimer
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      I also write to my MP on a variety of subjects – probably too often for his liking. The chances of shifting his thinking on anything seem remote to me. MPs are voted in on party platforms. The differences between the parties on several key issues are slight. The power of Prime Ministerial patronage is huge. The columnist Matthew Parris once described the UK as a one party state. On many issues this is close to the truth. There is little real opposition as opposed to synthetic opposition, of which there is plenty. There is a prevailing mindset within the HoC which may accurately be described as group think. It exists on Europe as it does on the causes of global warming to name but two examples.

      I will write to my MP as requested.

      Reply Things are different with a Coalition government. Conservatives are n ot getting what we put to the electors on the EU owing to the Coalition. MPs may wish to vote for the Conservative view.

  11. Tim
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    This is John Redwood prior to the last election:
    “As a Eurosceptic who wants self government for the UK under a UK democratic system, I think the only course of action is to vote Conservative to secure a Conservative majority.”

    That same message was repeated as nauseum by Conservative candidates prior to the last election, but what do we get? A handover of more powers to the EU at a rate that exceeded any time under Labour.
    Mr Redwood can now accurately be described as a Judas goat.

    We are told that voting for what we want (ie UKIP) is a wasted vote and that a vote for the Conservative party is the only way to secure our goals. So we follow our respective Judas goats into the polling booths and then post election they turn around and say: “Hey look, no one voted for the the In/out parties, so that shows we should stay in!”

    This is worse than hypocrisy. This is democtratic fraud and Mr Redwood now appears to be the most adept at demagogic decit.

    Reply: On the contrary. We did not get a Conservative majority, so our Eurosceptic agenda of powers back was a casualty of coalition. I was elected as a Eurosceptic Conservative, and have voted and spoken as one this Parliament. We need more Eurosceptics in Parliament so I can help win some votes.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      To the reply:

      I agree full that the conservatives are the only faint hope but Cameron is clearly rowing in the wrong direction. I suspect not just because he lost the last sitting duck election (due to his lack of vision I suggest) but because he is a LibDem at heart anyway. This explains his other green, hug a hoodie, tax and waste, pro EU agendas so far.

    • APL
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      JR: “I was elected as a Eurosceptic Conservative, and have voted and spoken as one this Parliament.”

      And as we have seen in the past with people like Howard Flight, who was forced out of the Tory candidature because he wanted more cuts to public spending that were then being articulated, right wingers are purged from the party, but treacherous fanatics like Ken Clarke are still in the party.

      One can only assume that as you are still in the party and still hold the whip, you speak as a sort of authorized dissent. A lightening conductor by which means, those against the continued subservience of the UK to the European Union think we have a voice in the Tory party and Parliament.

      • APL
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        ” Union think we ”

        are led to believe ..

    • Tim
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your reply Mr Redwood. At the Lisbon treaty vote the LibDems justified their support saying that they supported an in/out referendum. If that position has changed would you kindly ask them to tell us. If not then it can only be the Conservative part of the coalition standing in the way.

      reply: The Lib Dems n o longer want an In/ Out referendum – if only.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        They never did want one – they just thought it would win votes. They assumed it did not matter what they promised since they never expected to be in power anyway.

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      We need more Eurosceptics in parliament – couldn’t agree more. I’d love to see the likes of Ken Clarke replaced with someone eurosceptic, but I’m not holding my breath for that one.

      Presumably you’d be happy with UKIP MPs getting elected instead of most Labour, Tory and all Lib Dems then I guess? There’s more chance of that than ‘new’ eurosceptic Tory candidates getting onto the candidates list with the EUton boys in charge.

  12. Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    We don’t live in a democracy, we live in a bureaucracy and the bureaucrats decide and implpiment the rules. They love the EU because it allows them to have lots of meetings to discuss new rules, changes to old rules and how those new rules can be enforced.

    I agree with John’s theme. We need to present as list of areas where we wish to make our own rules to the EU and tell them this is our price for allowing them to make their own rules in other areas, like the finaincial government of the Eurozone.

    Once we do this, we will still be run by the bureaucracy, but at least some more of that bureaucracy will be subject to the notional control of politicians elected by us, rather than be run by Brussels for Brussels.

    In terms of campiagning for this, we need to be much more robust in citing the examples of where bureaucratic horse-trading behind closed doors has robbed Britain of its fishing, its farming, its train making and other industries – and now threatens our last remaining world leading industry, financial services.

    The general populace may hate “bankers”, but they will rue the day they let them be scared off to Switzerland and Singapore by EU taxes, especially the cleaners, secretaries, photo-copier engineers, decoraters, builders, bar staff, waiters, baristas, tailors etc etc etc

  13. Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    I’m in the camp of people who believe that power should be placed where it best used in the interests of citizens. If one level of governance is not operating properly in specific areas power should move.

    Like Isiah Berlin, I disapprove of universals such as a ‘we should devolve power’ approach. We should devolve power where Europe is faililng and leave it in place where it is not.

    Anyone else in this camp or shall I just light my own fire and cook some dampers? Perhaps I should move to Scotland. It seems to be how people are thinking there.

    • Geoff not Hoons
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Ms.Hanson, one here in your camp.

    • APL
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Rebecca Hanson: “We should devolve power where Europe is faililng and leave it in place where it is not.”

      The ‘a la carte’ menu you would like? It’s not avaliable! In the European Union you get what you are given and better be satisfied with it.

      Now if we were an independent country, we could look at the best things the European Union was doing and implement policies and strategies to mimic those thing either in cooperation or in competition with the European Union, that would be determined by what was best for the British people.

      Where do you think Europe is failing?

      Reply: The Uk used to dine a la carte – no borders policy, no social policy, no currency, different financial arrangements etc

      • APL
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        JR: “The Uk used to dine a la carte .. ”

        Yes, until the Tory Edward Heath ….

        Reply: And after Mr Heath, by opting out of common borders, common social policy, the Euro etc

        • APL
          Posted August 31, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

          JR: “And after Mr Heath, by opting out of common borders, ”

          Point taken, but you politicians opted into all those things subsaquently.

          Yes it may have been the other lot, so some of these things you can lay at the door of Blair/Brown. However since 1973, I never heard anyone, no one, in a casual conversation say; ‘Oooh, that nice Mr Major, Blair, Brown is going to open the borders next week, isn’t that great? My little Johnny is so looking forward to learning Polish/Czech/Slovac, he’s especially interested in chatting to the new Czech girls that are joining the school next year.’

          Never!

    • James Matthews
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      “We should devolve power where Europe is faililng and leave it in place where it is not.”

      Now that is the mind set which exemplifies this mess. Devolution implies handing down power from one body to an other. Europe can not hand down power to us. It belonged to us in the first place, we should take it (all) back.

      You probably should move to Scotland. I am not sure five million Scots will carry huge negotiating weight with the Brussels, but, pending independence ,you will be able to enjoy £1600 or so of extra public spending per head, courtesy of the UK tax payer.

      • lojolondon
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        James, let us say, pending independence, you will be able to enjoy £1600 LESS public spending per head, courtesy of the English UK tax payer. (Ya-hoo!!)

    • lojolondon
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Rebecca (or anyone) – please enlighten me, in which area is the EU NOT failing?

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted August 31, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        Good question lojolondon.

        Has anyone got a diagram or document which maps out what powers lie where?

        It’s human nature to be very aware of the reasons for change and very unaware of the reasons for the status quo (hence the need for pilot studies, professional consultations and so on).

        It’s exceptionally unusual to have someone with so little insight into these issues allowed as much power as Michael Gove has given himself.

        • APL
          Posted August 31, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

          Rebecca Hanson: ” .. maps out what powers lie where?”

          Rebecca, at the risk of being flippant here is my power map:

          Power —–> Brussels

          Clown show —-> Westminster

    • waramess
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      Who makes the decision and on what basis?

    • Rebecca Hanson
      Posted August 31, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Many thanks for your thoughtful replies.

      I would agree that the ‘a la carte’ option is not working effectively.

      I don’t think pulling out completely would make it though.

      Instead I’m in favour or re-examining the processes by which decisions are made and by which both those with designated power and those seeking to challenge the efficacy of such power are challenged to widen and deepen their perspectives on the issues for which they are legislating (both in Westminster and in Europe).

      I think that mass online discussion will prove to be a valuable tool in pursuit of this aim and fully support our political bloggers like John who are pioneers in this field.

      In mass online discussion the perspectives of the participants often widen and deepen rapidly as they have multiple encounters with other interested parties, an opportunity they would not have during traditional consultative processes. And, of course, online mums like me can also take part!

      I’m working on how this powerful tool for democracy can be properly harnessed, it’s problems militated against and the intellectual capital it generates mapped (while cooking breakfast and trying to sort out Ofsted with my other hand).

      Anyone who’s interested is welcome to get in touch. Hope to chat here again soon.

      Rebecca
      mathseducationandallthat.blogspot.com
      http://www.scribd.com/doc/55142332/Exploring-Discussion-Forums

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    JR: “Nor could you guarantee that the UK electors would vote for out of the EU if we were treated to an In/Out referendum.”

    Cameron disagrees with you, as he is reported to have said that this is the reason he will not hold such a referendum. Democracy seems to be something special to be presented to countries in North Africa and the Middle East whilst it is rotting on the vine in the UK and Europe aided by the so-called political elite.

  15. me
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    How many seats did the Tories lose because they lost crucial votes to UKIP at the last election?

    The continuation of this trend will force Tories to either adopt UKIP policies or face electoral defeat.

    Realistically when you vote UKIP you are not doing so in expectation of UKIP forming the next government, you are doing it to force the the Conservative party to come to its senses.

    Reply: A strategy which manifestly has not worked. The leadership looked at the numbers and saw there were more votes to be won from disaffected Lib dems than from Ukip.

    • me
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      It is an ongoing strategy that is working. Tories can either adopt UKIP policies and win the next election outright, or carry on as they are and get buried next time.

      Reply: The leadership do not believe that to b e true, and with the very low level of past UKIP votes it would be difficult to persuade them. You can undermine a cause by showing how little support it has when it comes to votes.

    • norman
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      And that strategy also failed.

      Maybe we should have a Conservative Party, that instead of thinking ‘how can we deconaminate the brand to pinch a couple of percentage points from this or that demographic’ we had a leadership that stood on principle and presented a coherent platform?

      A rhetorical question, not looking for an answer.

    • Winston Smith
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      That was disastrous strategy because it failed to recognise the 3/4m ex-Tory voters. Some have moved to UKIP, less so to Labour or the LDs but the majority do not vote through disillusionment with soft policies. I know because I am surrounded by family and friends who used to vote Tory, but now beleive the parties are ‘all the same’. A strategy that attracted back voters on the EU, immigration, welfare, etc, would have produced a Conservative majority. Only a party run by out of touch ex-public schoolboys could have failed to see this.

    • Bickers
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      However, this trend to vote UKIP may accelerate as Europe implodes and UK voters at last begin to realise they’ve been duped by their so called reperesentatives, who see the EU as a career path

    • Javelin
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      A deeper problem with UKIP is that they take a (literally) immature view of the world. In child psychology development goes through a phase of seeing a thing in the world as “good” or “bad”. Excuse the context – but Kleins most common example is good breast vs. bad breast. As the child develops they begin to synthesise a more sophisticated view of the world – that things can be good and bad. Indeed a mature view of the world is that everything has an upside and a downside. If you can’t see one or the other then you’re probably not looking.

      The point being that Europe has it’s advantages commercially and disadvantages politically. Those furthering EU integration have traded commercial interests for (undemocratic) power. John is absolutely right to argue for staying in the EU but to throw off the parts that do not suit us.

      Looking at it another way. As soon as we leave the EU we will want to get back in to take advantage of the commercial aspects. If we leave it will be 2 steps (economically and politically) out then one step (economically) back in. Far better to in terms of effort just to take one political step out.

    • lojolondon
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      They lost at least 20 seats, and the election because of this stupidity. Because Brave Dave was determined not to give us a referendum, even as he pretended he would. All true-blue, solid Tory seats. Labour lost no seats to UKIP intervention, as Labour supporters by an large do not have any problem with the EU, it is more of the same.

      Reply: Mr CAmeron did not imply a referendum during the election – he very clearly ruled one out.

      • lojolondon
        Posted August 31, 2011 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        Agreed, John, I should have said although he previously criticised Labour for their ‘flip-flop’ and promised that when in power the Tories would ‘ask the public’, then he did not promise one during the election.

  16. JimF
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    You seem to be putting forward what, in your view, is the most practical course to a return of sovereignty to these shores. I can appreciate what you say; a straight in/out vote might not actually win the day, and anyway getting to such a vote is riddled with political difficulties.

    Something is wrong here though; you are riding with the level of democracy that we have at present rather than campaigning for the level that there ought to be.

    I’d therefore pose the question, disregarding the EU question – would you prefer a direct democracy in which a specific number of citizens (say 100’000) can legally demand a referendum? Or do you prefer the current system in which an elected oligarchy can deny the electorate of such demands?

    Reply: Given the damage done to our democracy by Eu overrides I would like there to be a referendum

  17. Electro-Kevin
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    There is no viable party offering a pull-out and that’s why we have not voted for it. The sensible among us (clearly the majority) seek a rounded party and also vote on parochial issues. This is why UKIP have failed.

    Despite outright provocation through an assault on our living standards and culture the British people have refused to vote BNP – not even as a protest vote. Instead of being credited with this we are told that our moderate voting patterns have been interpreted as a mandate for more EU integration and more immigration.

    I think most of our problems within the EU are derived from the extreme interpretation of edicts and directives by our own judiciary and our own parliament. This coupled with American style no-win-no-fee litigation has been disasterous. It’s as though our whole establishment has been taken over in some left-wing coup and whichever way we vote we get red “We can’t do anything other than what the EU tells us.” a convenient evasion.

    We’re not even scratching the surface here on this site. We’re just trying to convince one of our own politicians to admit that we did not vote for any of this. We have been unable to gain ground by one inch – with one of our best politicians ! And in the meantime it goes on … even ‘debate’ works in the Europhile’s favour. The juggernaut is not halted whilst issues are worked out and discussed – by the time it’s those discussions are concluded the damage is done and they’re too late.

    Cameron’s EU referendum promise a case in point.

    Reply: All I know is when I vote in a Eurosceptic way in the Commons I am usually in a minority – that is the frustration for me – then some of you seem to think I am the problem rather than the large number of MPs who voted federalist!

    • scottspeig
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Indeed John.

      I do not doubt your motives nor voting record, and if you were my MP, I would gladly vote for you.

      The problem of course is that I am beginning to place withdrawal at the top of my priorities, which is why I have signed “the pledge” (if only the BNP candidate in my constituency signs it, I will hold my nose and vote for him) and will continue to badger one Nadhim Zahawi to move over to your camp rather than toeing the party line. Maybe you could have words as well? 🙂

    • APL
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      JR: ” .. then some of you seem to think I am the problem rather than the large number of MPs who voted federalist! ”

      We can’t understand why you are still in the Tory party, stand as an independent Conservative. I am sorry, but you do not, from the outside appear to have that much influence with Cameron.

      What we need are independent non party affiliated representatives in Parliament.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        I wonder if there is any chance that the Labour party which once was terribly Eurosceptic and which is currently looking round for something to believe in might perhaps be interested?

        • APL
          Posted August 31, 2011 at 8:09 am | Permalink

          Mike Stallard: ! .. the Labour party which once was terribly Eurosceptic .. ”

          It’s a point I have made on this very site in the past, the main threat to the UK is from the European Union, that transcends party politics.

          Surely politicians from either party can agree to oppose EU measures, then once we have our independence back, get back to ‘fighting like cats in a sack’ about issues they will at least now be able to influence.

    • Anthony Harrison
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      ..some of you seem to think I am the problem rather than the large number of MPs who voted federalist!
      No Mr Redwood, I believe most here trust in your good faith, and are aware that the problem is a Conservative Party which it is too frequently claimed was, or is, or is about to become any moment now, “Eurosceptic”, when for decades it has been pretty well supine & acquiescent in its attitude toward the EU. It is the gross hypocrisy of this which so offends people, and causes many including myself to vote UKIP. Recent murmurings notwithstanding, I see no sign of significant changes anytime soon, so I shall have to keep on voting UKIP, “wasted vote” or not. I loathe & despise the hypocrisy, the wicked dishonesty, of politicians who claim to believe one thing but follow a contrary path.

      • Graham Cook
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        UKIP fo rme too – its the only way to register a dissenting view.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      We’re not blaming you, John. But you’re one of our best hopes and here we are having to explain to you why the political default mode is towards mass immigration and EU integration – all of it against the will of the majority.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        As an aside: the news about the housing shortage crisis.

        Nothing to do with the fact that we have net immigration of 250k and rental prices are propped up by welfarism.

        Otherwise how has this situation become so desperate so quickly ?

  18. Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    What we should really have, then, is a multi-question referendum, much as Scotland had for devolution: 1. should we remain members of the EU in the first place? 2. if we do, should we permit …? The followup questions could approve further powers being granted, or prohibit it and veto those powers.

    A majority ‘no’ on question one would terminate EU membership and render the subsequent questions moot (just as a no on the Scottish referendum would have blocked the creation of the Parliament in the first place, rendering the followup question about its fiscal powers academic), but in the event Europhiles won that, we could at least constrain future power grabs with the later option(s).

    Sadly, Parliament is unlikely ever to allow their employers a say in this – one reason the new petitions site needs to bypass them entirely, as in Switzerland, with successful petitions being put to the electorate directly.

  19. Frank Salmon
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    John
    Your worst post.
    Tinkering with the EU is not the solution. Isn’t it Clegg who has mollified Cameron’s stance on Europe? We don’t need a political party to stand on a platform for withdrawal from the EU. We just need a free vote on the terms of our membership, including the possiblitiy that there be circumstances under which we might leave…..

    Reply: Fine – so how do you propose to secure that? There are only around 40 of us in the Commons who will vote for a referendum in this Parliament.

    • Robert
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      You have answered your own question. We will never get out of the EU with our existing parties and MP’s. In the last 40 years our Parliament has voted yes to everything the EU has asked of it.

    • scottspeig
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      John,

      You want to know how to do it with only 40? This is a huge gamble which you and the other 39 will have to weigh up.

      You should all resign the whip en masse, resign as MP, seek re-election under UKIP. (Or A N Other party (independant Conservative perhaps)). All this just months from a general election.

      The media storm that follows will inevitably bring a large attention to your party and will allow you to gain traction in the election.

      The downside to losing would be less eurosceptics in Parliament.
      The downside to winning would be the division of the Conservative Party
      The upside to losing would be that you could earn more money and feel good about your motives
      The upside to winning is that there would actually be a eurosceptic party in the Commons and would (imo) grow within a short time to replace the Conservative party.

      The trick is to make sure it is en masse. It would require all of you to do it…

      Reply: If I had thought being a UKIP candidate would be the right approach I would have asked to be one in the last election. Instead, I defeated a UKIP candidiate, who once again demonstrated how few people will vote UKIP.

      • Daisy
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        Well, of course you defeated UKIP: I am surprised they even bothered to field a candidate, because you are exactly the sort of MP real conservatives want. You may have seen that last week’s Conservative Home poll identified you as second only to David Davis as someone who should be in the Cabinet. I wonder if you realise how many of us wish you were Chancellor?

      • norman
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        This is complete fantasy to think that these MPs would do that or that it would acheive anything other than the destruction of the last cadre of conservatives in Parliament. An election would have to be called almost immediately and the Conservative vote would be split in all these seats allowing others to come in.

        I wasn’t even born at the start of the 70’s but I wouldn’t be surprised if, with the magic of google, I could look back in time and try and find voices from that period decrying Ted Heath, saying that Conservatism was dead, it was time for real conservatives to for break away groups, etc.

        Instead they stuck with it, laid a foundation and we saw a conservative revival. A similar thing happened in the USA and a similar revival is taking place in the Republican Party just now being driven by TEA party activists.

        In the UK we seem to talk a good game then expect others to do all the heavy lifting and demand impossibilities from them.

        As an aside I’m sure if money was a motivation to any of these 40 they could leave Parliament tomorrow, or simply abandon their duties and pimp themselves in the words of one former Minister as a ‘taxi for hire’, and earn however much they fancy.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        Hardly a level playing field, though, is it? Gloating over a ‘Man Utd victory against Rochdale’, will win you no firends.

      • Robert
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Enough people voted UKIP at the last election to deny the Conservative Party an overall majority. From Oct 2009 when Dave ditched the referendum the Conservative poll ratings fell from 42% to around 35% and never they recovered. Dave lost an unloseable election. He will lose the next one as well.

    • zorro
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      So currently 40 MPs will vote for a referendum…..so just over 10% of the ‘Eurosceptic’ Conservative party. At that rate, if you had won 500 seats and a massive majority, we would probably have 50 MPs prepared to vote for a referendum. So in other words, it wouldn’t have made any difference under ‘cast iron’ Dave either way.

      In fact, if the Tories had won every seat in Parliament bar one for the Monster Raving Loony party, it would not have made a jot of difference because they are not Eurosceptic, they are all talk and no trousers (bar you and a few others).

      Zorro

      Reply: Had the Conservatives won a majority then the leadership would have been obliged to implement the Manifesto policy of powers back.

      • zorro
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        So if the Conservatives had won a majority they would have been obliged to try and get powers back from Europe…..would we have expected that to be done as effectively as the Coalition government has managed not to succeed in implementing its agreed positions. I think that any pledge on negotiating powers back from Europe would have gone the way of their migration pledge i.e. probably in the opposite direction.

        If Cameron was serious about his Eurosceptic position he would have made more of an effort to win the election outright. His performances in the debates were weak overall and he missed some sitting duck targets. The Conservatives should have walked that election, and could have implemented the policies that the UK needs. I don’t think they did because I think that Cameron is closer to Clegg than he ever will be to your point of view.

        zorro

      • APL
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        Zorro: “In fact, if the Tories had won every seat in Parliament [snip] it would not have made a jot of difference because they are not Eurosceptic .. ”

        Next step is to wonder why that might be. It couldn’t be because the PARTY has a stranglehold on the candidates that can be selected, could it?

        JR: “Had the Conservatives won a majority then the leadership would have been obliged to implement the Manifesto policy of powers back”

        And because the Parties have gerrymandered the candidate list, there would, as pointed out still not be a EU sceptical majority in Parliament.

        The problem is the PARTY.

        Reply: Not so. There is no central control over Associations choosing candidates in the way you think. The new intake is a very Eurosceptic generation of MPs if you study what they said before election.

  20. javelin
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I agree with John – the EU remains as an asset as a trading partner, but a liablity as a administrative partner. The two aspects can be separated and the British interests can be forwarded.

    Looking at Germany there may well be a crisis brewing in their Parliament with the vote to allow the European Stablity Fund to buy bonds in the secondary markets. The new law to be passed may be passed by Merkel’s own party (the CDU) and the with the support of the opposition. However it will not gain the support of is sister CSU party which it is in coalition with. This vote could well bring a vote of confidence in the German Government. Reading the news I sense the CSU is preparing a coup in the CDU – to oust Merkel and replace her with a more euro sceptic leader.

    The Bundesbank and CSU are certainly on the same page politically and I read today that a discussion is planned by the CSU on finding an exit mechanism for countries from the Euro – largely supported by senior Bundesbank staff. The discussion paper obtained by Reuters doesnt mention any specific country or critieria, but focuses on the exit mechanism – which could be a PIG or Germany. This ties up with rumours I mentioned, on this site a few days ago, that plans were underway to make an exit from the Euro by the German central and commercial banks.

    • oldtimer
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your posts with evidence of what is happening at the coal face (or should that be the trading screen?). Your reference to the exit mechanism report suggests that the slow motion denouement of the euro is, at least, giving some people time to consider how this may be achieved.

      It looks as though any change in the UK relationship with the EU will not be triggered by the UK government. It might come as a consequence of action by the bond market on the states in euroland but only if the UK government is ready to act. Unfortunately reports by people like Tim Montgomerie suggest that the strategy for Europe is little more than a blank piece of paper. I hope this is not true.

    • zorro
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      I’ll believe that when I see it in the white of their eyes. They are stringing it out for the best deal. The EU is not an asset. In a free economy we would still trade with these countries in the same way. Bearing in mind the regard for EU law already shown, any show of confidence in it is touching….We will see how the German Constitutional Court fudges it…..

      Zorro

    • Susan
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      javelin

      I think most of us agree that the EU is an asset as a trading partner, but a liability as an adminstrative partner. You state the two can be separated, my question to you is the one we all started with, how?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      I’d be interested and grateful if you could post a link to that discussion paper or a report thereof.

      The creation of an exit mechanism for a country to leave the euro should be the top EU treaty change demanded by the UK Parliament as a condition for approving the major EU treaty change already agreed on March 25th:

      http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:091:0001:0002:EN:PDF

      The others being that the 8 non-euro EU member states which are presently under a legal obligation to join the euro once conditions are deemed correct should be relieved of that obligation, and that the EU should cease to impose that condition on new EU member states, and possibly that the UK’s “opt-out” protocol should be strengthened so that the UK would not be allowed to join the euro unless that decision by the UK government and Parliament had also been approved by a national referendum.

      Reply: All sensible additions, but I still think getting our veto back would matter more.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 31, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        Well, the EU treaty change agreed on March 25th is about monetary union, and my suggested other treaty changes to accompany it are also just about monetary union, and moreover they’re reasonable proposals which would be in the interests of other countries as well as the UK (apart from the fourth, which would be just for our benefit).

  21. Sheumais
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I hardly see that it matters what a party campaigned on, it will regard the mandate as complete authority to do as it wishes, unless held back by being forced into a coalition. Though Gordon Brown was foolish enough to openly admit a manifesto has little to no influence on government policy, it is clear contemporary politicians have no intention of being bound by the implied contract with the electorate a manifesto represents.
    Whilst you argue none of the major parties would entertain a campaign to leave the EU should a referendum be granted, even when they do offer a referendum on a significant issue such as the Lisbon treaty/Constitutional Treaty, they renege upon that when in office. It would be some comfort if anything approaching a majority had read and understood the treaty they ratified, but why bother, we can’t really stop them, can we?
    What if you are wrong and the British electorate do wish to remove our country from the unaccountable control of the EU, but feel addressing economic issues are more pressing, irrespective of the economic effect of EU dictat? Who would the increasingly disenfranchised electorate turn to? UKIP is Nigel Farage, so it can’t be them, no matter how sensible many of their policies appear, so who else is there? The answer is no-one. Your party stands for nothing in particular, just like its rivals. How about giving it a purpose for existing?

  22. Acorn
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I never met, on a doorstep, anyone who hit me with the EU as their number one concern. The vast majority don’t have a clue what impact it has on the UK. I had a group of ladies who thought an MEP was a deputy MP! If you don’t know what it is; what it does and why we are a member, then don’t expect them to get excited about it.

    The best thing that could happen to the UK is for the EU to legislate that you can’t be a member, if you don’t join the Euro currency system. That would be an understandable “in / out” decision for the UK electorate which is EU ignorant. And, don’t be surprised if not having to change your holiday money for a trip to Torremolinos, is top of its list.

    Our politicians know all of the above. Ignorance in the population means that politicians are never likely to be held accountable for what they do. The Eurosceptics are going nowhere and; have no intention of going anywhere that will lose votes for the party. The EU – or any supranational organisation – does not sell on the doorstep. We are never going to become a Switzerland. A State that does better out of the EU than we do; and isn’t even a member. Are we missing a trick here Eurosceptics?

    • Derek Buxton
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      And you know full well why they do not mention the EU on the doorstep, don’t you? Because the three parties in collusion with the BBC and other MSM and of coursde, the EU have consistantly lied to us, largely by omission. Hence the information is not readily available. I think if more people realised just what our politicians had done in our name there would be a lot of trouble. Our Sovereignty was given away for nothing in return and without our consent. A Constitutional change of that magnitude requires the Peoples consent by definition. I fear that the longer it goes on, more will realise the effect on us, and the worse the response will be.

  23. David
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    “They have never elected a single representative of UKIP or English democrats or other pull out parties to Westminster. ”
    That is because we don’t have a free market in politics. First past the post makes it very difficult for new parties to start.
    Under our system there could be an English Geert Wilders someone who argued with his own party and started a completely new party and ended up in Government. Even less an English Pym Fortune.

    The problem is that although people in all parties want a free market in food etc – they want us to have as little choice as possible in politics.

    If you want the UK to become less involved in the EU – why vote for the party that supported the Maastrict Treaty?

  24. Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    This debate seems to assume that the objectives of the EU, post Lisbon, are being achieved with popular support continuing all across mainland Europe, and none of the elected leaders of the former nation states are at any risk, whatsoever, at their next elections, on the topic of the EU. This is entirely false, political careers are in the gravest danger all across the Euro Zone!

    I regularly post on my blog Ironies Too, sometimes even hour by hour detail of the signs of collapse of the EU, now appearing on every side.

    The Coalition Government, prodded by the few Conservative backbenchers, such as Mr Redwood, who retain a clear view of the true workings of the monster the whole of Western Europe has created, should be preparing for how Britain may best weather the coming turmoil.

  25. Mactheknife
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood

    I don’t know anyone who wants to pull out of Europe, but the fact is the original purpose of joining the EU has been lost over the years. The EU as a trading alliance is fine and I have no problem with this, but over the years we have let the political elite hoodwink us into believing that successive treaties would have minimal impact on us, when in fact it has lead to an exedous of UK powers to Europe.

    I certainly agree that there needs to be some sort of referendum on renegotiating the treaties and returning powers to our own parliament. However, as I believe the UK will take the EU presidency in a few months time, this is an ideal opportunity for the UK government to act.

    We have seen some EU countries take unilateral actions in support of there own economy in areas such as border controls and migrant workers, which are against EU law. So why do we always blindly follow EU directives ?

    Having written to MP’s and ministers on previous occassions the response has been polite but non-commital. A recent reply from Gregory Barker at DECC was so politicaly correct and scientifically wrong it was laughable.

    How can the public engage when politicians have their head in the sand ?

  26. Robbo
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Interesting view, John. It seems to me you have put your finger on a major failing in our democracy, that when the party leaders (and the political class that supports them) are all more or less agreed on something, it will happen regardless of the wishes of the electorate.

    Personally I see this terrible situation eminently fixable by increased use of referendums, and I am appalled that any MP or peer would take it upon themselves not only to frustrate the will of the people in Parliament, but to actually prevent the people from expressing their will in the clearest and most direct terms by referendum.

  27. W Ferguson
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    I doubt the EU elite would accept any statelet in a half way house situation, even though they occassionally sneer and threaten a two speed Europe. Even if Britain could negotiate some sort of concessions, on the never ending take over, we would still be in and like Blairs red lines they would eventually dissolve into nothingness. The only answer is out.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Norway?
      Switzerland?

  28. Robert K
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I want an in/out referendum not least because it was something that was put on the mainstream political agenda by none other than Nick Clegg, in the argument over the EU Constitution. (I may recall this wrongly, but didn’t David Cameron support it at the time?)
    I do not think exiting the EU would be a simple solution. It would cause enormous upheavals and the undying enmity of the euoracracy. It may damage relations with an important trading bloc and in many ways make life more difficult in the short term. Sometimes, however, the right decision can have difficult consequences.
    It is true that the electorate has never elected a UKIP MP, but that is because national elections need to cover everything the state does – given a list of issues including the health service, education, defence, policing, social security, pensions and so on, it will always be hard for a single-issue political party to get a vote. The fact that UKIP has won seats in Europe, despite its less than inspiring candidates, suggests to me that there plenty of people in this country who want out of the EU.
    The main political parties no doubt would line up behind continued EU membership. That doesn’t mean they represent the majority view in the country. Indeed, the fact the Coalition doesn’t want a referendum suggests they are worried about the result.
    I have no doubt your tactics are correct in terms of building more support for a change in direction, and I will contemplate a letter to my MP. However, inertia from the political establishment is, it seems to me, a good reason to be sceptical about relying on Parliament rather than a referendum.

    Reply: If you cannot influence Parliament you do not get a referendum! Mr Cameron never supported an In/Out referendum. He suported and voted for a Lisbon referendum prior to its ratification.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      UKIP got 13 MEPs because MEP elections use PR, rather than FPTP. Also the Conservatives got 26 MEPs, Labour got 13, and the Lib Dems got 11.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Robert K

      You view UKIP as a one-trick pony only because that is the way the MSM continue to portray them because they all support one or other of the Lib/Lab/Con. If you care to read their policies for yourself you will nodoubt be pleasantly surprised.

      I am now of the opinion that the only means of influencing Parliament is the equivalent of storming the Bastille.

    • Javelin
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      But when you leave the Eu – don’t you want to get back in to take advantage of the free trade, visas, etc. And if that is the case why not just opt for a flexible veto and let the democratically elected politicians then decide which aspects we adopt.

      • sm
        Posted August 31, 2011 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        ‘Free trade’ as it is will continue – we import more than we export with the EU.

        How this is breaks down within the industry sectors may be informative on potential short term losers and probable long term winners. We could buy our own British manufactured without all this hotair if we chose to do so to maintain strategic capability.

        I would imagine finance has potentially most to lose in a realignment of trade intentions but there is a whole world and GATT out there.

  29. Tedgo
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    One British characteristic is that we like to moan about things that are unlikely to change, a bit like moaning about the weather.

    If real change is threatened then we become apprehensive and argue for the status quo. Change frightens us and we find every possible reason not to go down the new path. Look at metrication, we have been doing that for 40 years now, but many still use inches and ounces.

    The reaction to JR’s proposal is a typical of that characteristic. Currently, that characteristic, would also lose us an IN/OUT referendum.

    Most people associate the EU as having a common currency and no border controls when they travel in Europe. They can also bring home cheaper booze and fags. My brother pointed out that because of the EU it is now easier to get your money back on faulty goods. Many people are happy with the EU and don’t see the need for change.

    One thing that did surprised me, in the responses to JR’s proposal, was that it was undemocratic, we would be doing the dirty on other EU states. I do not see that, other states have exactly the same bargaining power as the Uk and could demand the same rights if they so wished.

    So to the Eurosceptics has anyone got a better practical plan than JR’s.

  30. Patrick Harris
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    ” The Uk electorate have never voted into office any party running on a Come out platform. They have never elected a single representative of UKIP or English democrats or other pull out parties to Westminster. It is not a question of one more heave and they will. There is not a shred of polling evidence to suggest that in a Westminster election, as opposed to a European election, they are about to.”

    Really!, should I mention the phrase “cast iron” used by the leader of your party or would that be to embarrassing in light of what you wrote above.
    And,
    As you are in a coaliton with the Liberal Democrat Party – An IN/OUT referendum was part of their manifesto.
    Can you at least attempt to tell the truth?

    Reply Don’t get angry with me. I campaigned for a referendum and voted for one. Mr Cameron did not put it in the Conservative manifesto. I am not responsible in any way for the attitudes and actions of Lib dems.

  31. alan jutson
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    John

    I think the reason for a simple IN or OUT argument is probably born out of complete frustration by most of us.

    Day by day we see more and more influence being gained by the EU over our lives, day by day we hear that our Chancellor cannot do this or that in his budget because of EU rules and restrictions, day by day we hear of us gold plating EU rules in this country, where we seem to take to extreme, any regulation or legislation put forward. Day by day we hear of the cost of our membership rising.

    Travel or holiday in Europe, and you do not see the minor rules applied as they are in the UK.

    Example:
    Visit an open air market, do traders wear gloves to handle food, then take them off to handle money, then put them back on again when they handle food, take them off again when they handle money, etc.
    Do their food traders have to have been on a food hygiene course and have a certificate, do they take the temperature of cooking food with a temperature probe, do they have to record such times that the temperatures are taken.
    Do they have a supply of fresh water available at all times to wash hands.
    Does food have to be kept refigerated at a recorded temperature until cooked.

    The answer is a resounding NO

    I am aware this is perhaps trivial stuff, but this is what you have to comply with if you are a local charity trying raise money for any good cause in the UK. Fail to do so and you can be fined by the environmental health officer (who do actually check this sort of operation at village Fetes, Carnivals and the like)

    Day in day out we see stupid, stupid rules being introduced to protect the stupid. No one has accidents any more, they are always someone elses fault, and the claim culture of no win no fee ambulance chasers are rewarded at huge general cost (insurance claims and premiums) to us all.

    Aware that the EU is not responsible for many of our ills, as that is often self inflicted, but the fact that our Government seems to have a hand in all of this crass control type legislation, certainly causes much frustration.

    By contrast, the Government seems impotent to act against legislation from outside (the EU) an organisation which we pay very heavily to belong.
    So its double frustation. We pay to be controlled by someone else, other than our own Government.

    So frustrated are most of us, that we just want out, pure and simple, get us out and perhaps some of the nonesense and cost may be reduced.
    When we have control back within the UK perhaps, just perhaps, we stand a chance of getting some commonsense back into politics and policies.

    Fully appreciate your stance (and probable frustration) that we do not seem to have enough MPs that are Eurosceptic enough to vote us out at the moment, and fully aware that millions of people are not interested in UK politics in any way, let alone the European angle on politics to be bothered.
    Also fully aware Rome was not built in a day, but most people, (except perhaps those on benefits) are aware of how much tax they have to pay. and if substantial savings could be made on their tax bill by us coming out of Europe, they may be interested in that.

    So by all means go the slowly, slowly catchy monkey route, but why not introduce into the argument, the amount we could save on our tax bills if that were the case.

    I also take up the thread offered by others, that the choice between the main parties is negligable, and that there is no choice to vote out of the EU available, other than with a fringe party.

    I am fortunate in that you are my MP, so my vote is not a wasted one, however I could not understand why UKIP put up their own unknown representitive against you, that was just bloody silly, as you, even as a backbencher, will have far, far more influence over the Government (at least I hope so) than a minor fringe party member who would be just ignored.

    So keep up the good work by whatever method you think (having intimate knowledge of how the parliamentry system works) that offers us the best opportunity to get eventually all of our powers back, with the financial savings to boot.

    Reply: thanks. Of course I feel the frustration. I want to belong to a Parliament which can improve the Uk without having to comply with Brussels dictats.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      I guess that when UKIP put up a candidate to stand against Mr. Redwood they had in mind what Mr. Redwood has been saying about UKIP.

      When Mr. Redwood says what he says about UKIP I guess he has not forgotten that UKIP put up a candidate to stand again him.

      All this UKIP chat is getting us nowhere and I am bored by the very mention of the words. I suggest this blog is declared a “UKIP free zone”, for there is plenty else to learn and enjoy, including on the EU.

      We will do what we will do when it comes time to vote.

      Reply: Indeed. My main argument against UKIP is they allow other politicians to marginalise Euroscepticism by attracting so little support, allied to concentrating their venom on Eurosceptic Conservatives they wish to unseat instead of taking the battle into federalist heartlands. .

      • JimF
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        There is a fundamental paradox in your position, which you are continuing to deny, and without meaning to be personal you are letting political expediency overrule your intellect.

        Fact 1
        If UKIP were elected they would undoubtedly put the referendum you think is fundamental to our Country’s future.
        Fact 2
        If the Conservative party are elected as outright victors in the next election, they won’t.

        That’s why you receive many references to UKIP on this site. A Party should be run by its beliefs, not by expediency. We are still suffering from Blair running the Country on expediency, and it’s time for a change from that.

        That’s where you come in.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      ..I could not understand why UKIP put up their own unknown representitive against you, that was just bloody silly

      UKIP leader Lord Pearson made an offer to disband his party before the last EU elections if Cameron would allow a referendum on the ratified EU Treaty. He declined the offer, so silly or not the Tories could hardly expect UKIP not to stand against them wherever they could field a candidate.

      Reply: Nor did I Ask the UKIP candidate to stand aside – I therefore find it bizarre that having won against a UKIP candidate UKIP now seem to expect me to resign and stand as a UKIP candidate! It would be letting the electors down to switch to UKIP, not having stood as a UKIP candidate.

      • Sean O'Hare
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        a comment on John Redwood’s reply.

        It isn’t UKIP that are asking you to join them it is the majority of people who want the UK to leave the EU, which I would hazard a guess form the majority in your constituency. For reasons stated by others here UKIP do not get much of a look in at general elections as the MSM don’t give them air time even proportionate to their share of the vote. Admitedly they don’t help themselves by focusing exclusively on the EU when they do get air time. They could well do with someone who is well respected as a politician and with good organisational skills. Could that be you John?

        Reply No.

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        You could always join UKIP, stand down and have a by election and let the voters decide.

        Reply: they would vote against UKIP as they did in 2010, and then there would be one less Eurosceptic voice in Parliament!

        • Jon Burgess
          Posted August 31, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

          I really don’t believe they would. Your constituents would vote you in again, Mr Redwood, probably with an increased majority exactly because of what you think on the EU and other matters, and by joining UKIP (or standing as an independent) you would be highlighting the fact that you have lost faith with the Tories – something that the media couldn’t ignore.

          You never know, but this could then lead to other MPs following your lead and doing the same and before you know it there is a new right wing movement to challenge the left wing political consensus…

          Do you have so little faith in the public to believe that a fresh conservative candidate would stand a chance against you in these circumstances?

          Something like this has to happen soon, or there will probably be a Labour majority at the next election, and then so much less chance of ever getting out of the EU.

          The point I and others keep trying to make is that your views haven’t changed, but your party’s have. They no longer agree with you – it’s not your fault this has happened but you must recognise this yourself? To remain in a party that ignores you and would rather you weren’t there just seems crazy to me when UKIP would welcome you and even has the same aims as you.

  32. Bazman
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    George Osborn pursuing tax dodgers in Britain Switzerland and beyond what rabid left wing policy is this?

  33. Susan
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, I understand your frustration on the issue of the EU, in fact I share it. However, there are no real Eurosceptic splits as such, just differences on how the main goal of curtailing EU power can be achieved. This I feel is the norm on big issues such as the EU.

    A solution cannot be found in using the same methods as the EU would itself. Telling the EU it may take another Countries democratic rights away by allowing more integration in order to achieve rights back for Britain, is just such a method. Plus it is not a viable solution to the actual problem.

    In answer to your question, there is very little that you can do or any of us for that matter until the power is in the hands of those who wish to withdraw completely from the EU. As it stands this is not the case. The public are not interested in the EU debate and as you point out yourself no party has ever succeeded in gaining power on a come out of EU mandate. The political elite seem in favour remaining within the EU embrace, so there is very little that can be done.

    There is a further problem for yourself and the Conservative Party. If the public get the impression that the Conservative party is more interested in the problems of the EU than solving the UK economic issues there may be negative reaction from the public. The most you can do, I believe, is to keep pointing out, as you always have, the gradual power creep towards the EU.

    I also believe that the problem of Scotland needs to be addressed, as I think a lot of the public believe they hold far too much power within the Union, let alone the EU.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      there are no real Eurosceptic splits as such, just differences on how the main goal of curtailing EU power can be achieved

      There is the crux of the problem we EU outers face. The Eurosceptic Tories encompass variations in the scale of curtailment, but not total abolition of EU power which is what we must have if we are to survive as a nation.

      The political elite seem in favour remaining within the EU embrace, so there is very little that can be done.

      That statement is far too defeatist for me. I shall fight on!

      If the public get the impression that the Conservative party is more interested in the problems of the EU than solving the UK economic issues there may be negative reaction from the public

      That is because the Conservatives do not explain to the public that our woes, economic and otherwise, are inextricably interwoven with the EU and that by leaving it a great weight would be lifted from our shoulders.

      I also believe that the problem of Scotland needs to be addressed, as I think a lot of the public believe they hold far too much power within the Union, let alone the EU

      If the SNP do win Scottish independence it will be very interesting to see how much power Salmond wields in the EU. Not a lot a I suspect!

      • Susan
        Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

        Sean O’Hare

        Sorry Sean, that last remark was not as I intended about Scotland. I meant to say that the public in England is much more concerned about the power the Scottish Government holds within the Union of the UK than it is about the amount of power the EU has over the UK. The Scottish problem needs to be resolved sooner rather than later. Of course the SNP does have a pro EU stance which could prove a problem should the UK Government make any moves to sever ties with the EU. I agree that should Scotland get its Independence and move to the heart of the EU as Alex Salmond has always said he wants, they will be a very small fish in a large pond.

        I always look for solutions rather than just saying what I would like to happen, as finding a way forward is necessary if any conclusions are to be reached. By all means fight on, but you must have something in the armoury to fight with. The EU debate can never really move on if the public are not engaged in the fight, the political elite are not on your side and there are no means by which you can change policy to remove Britain from the EU, that was really my point.

        I do believe there are dangers for the Conservative Party should they become too obsessed with the EU question. The public is more concerned about getting the UK economy back on its feet than it is interested in the EU, therefore the Conservatives must be seen to be making this their first priority.

        If however you have a solution to the EU question that has not been thought of, I will be happy to change my opinion.

        • Sean O'Hare
          Posted August 31, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

          If however you have a solution to the EU question that has not been thought of, I will be happy to change my opinion.

          If I did have a solution I would undoubtedly feel more frustrated about the UK’s position that I do as I would be powerless to implement it.

          If the Conservatives were genuinely Eurosceptic then they would have undertaken and published a thorough cost-benefit analysis a long time ago. They would then be able to establish in the public’s mind that the economic costs far outweigh the benefits and have them sit up and take an interest in things EU. I think it sad that it is necessary to make the anti-EU case purely on economic grounds when the loss of sovereignty we have suffered is by far the most painful experience to my mind.

  34. John B
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Is it a valid argument to say that because the UK voting public has not supported single issue fringe parties, that there is no real NO vote to be had in the Body Politic?

    A referendum asking the sort of questions you suggest Mr Redwood – Would you prefer to be struck over the head with a lump of wood 8 times instead of 12 times? – are so futile that I doubt many would turn out to vote except the Party faithful probably returning a result, ‘Yes please Sir, hit me again I really like it’.

    Surely a better course of action would be for you and the remaining Conservatives in the current ersatz Conservative Party to build a majority within, and make sure it fights future elections on extraction from the EU.

    And whilst you are at ti, make a stand against the Climate Change scam and the odious extra taxation, fuel poverty and despoilment of rural Britain that is causing for no good purpose.

    Of course Dave would have to go, but that would be only a blessed relief.

  35. Gary
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    There is a distinct possibility that in the near future an online crypto currency such as bitcoins, will make it impossible for govts function. They will not be able to levy taxes effectively. An economy will be added to the already huge black market, and govts will be bypassed. Govts will have as much success shutting it down as they have had with illegal file sharing. New network technologies already being developed that will be unstoppable. The EU will be gone with a whimper, without a single referendum necessary. The genie is out of the bottle.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      You sir have made my day. Thank you!

    • Bob
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      Bring it on!

  36. Richard
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you Mr Redwood, because politics is all about what you can actually achieve and with euro-enthusiasts Germany and France realising that membership is becoming increasingly expensive for them, there is a changing mood and one which can be expolited to the UK’s benefit.

    I think Javelin (9.56am) put it perfectly for me:-
    “I agree with John – the EU remains as an asset as a trading partner, but a liablity as a administrative partner. The two aspects can be separated and the British interests can be forwarded.”

  37. Alan Wheatley
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I detect a worked example in the political art of the possible.

    But the electorate are not politicians, and should say what they want.

    The trend is such that before long what is wanted will be possible.

  38. Mike Spilligan
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I support everything said by James Morrison (7:16) and Tim (8:35) and want “out” as there is no half-way house with the Commission, and their ratchet keeps turning so that even standing still takes us nearer to final union, and no say at all, ever again – as summarised by Cameron in June 2009.
    What hasn’t been said, or not clearly enough, is that local party organizers have clear instructions from CCO about not only who may be a candidate, but who may become party members; so no wonder that membership is decreasing when only the totally compliant are allowed to be involved, and only interbreeding of Europhiles is permitted. There will be surprises to come if the Party remains so pro-EU; people are reaching a point where they will not care if they let in Labour at the next election (which could easily come quicker than many suppose) and at least we will go down honourably by voting UKIP. Cameron tricked us last year but we won’t be tricked again, and it was clear from opinion polls that the day he changed his mind on the referendum was the signal for a decline in the lead that he had – victory thrown away, and the point in future that will be seen as the start of the demise of the Party. What troubles me as much as anything is that Cameron recently tried to persuade us that the 1975 referendum was on membership of the EU, leaving us to decide if he is ill-informed or merely hoping that we are.

    Reply: Don’t write such rubbish. 93% of Conservative memebrs in the latest poll are Eurosceptic. We do not vet people wishing to join to ensure they are Europhiles!

    • Graham Cook
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      John,

      If 93% are sceptic where is it all going wrong then. Surely this should manifest itself better than it does.

      Reply: The members need to hold their MPs to account

    • Mike Spilligan
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      Mr. Redwood: Thank you for the very direct response, but I’m right, irrespective of the 93%. I know two members of my local party who told me that there’s no room for dissent and who follow our MP’s line of not upsetting the philosophies of Cameron and the “inner circle”. (The MP is a good consituency man.) As individuals they are Eurosceptic, but just not allowed to be when it comes to challenging policies.
      Wokingham constituents are exceptionally lucky, or blessed.

    • Richard Calhoun
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      If 93% are euro sceptics why are you all so spineless?

  39. Posted August 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Writing to my europhile MP is a complete waste of time. He (Jo Johnson) just spouts off the party line, which is so full of BS, it’s not worth reading – because I’ve heard all the spin before, thousands of times over.

    UKIP has failed to gain a seat in Parliament – not because it is unpopular, but because of FPTP. The system is rigged against smaller parties gaining traction.

    Appeasement leads nowhere. We’ve tried that for decades. Having our “feet under the table” leads nowhere – we’ve tried that (so they tell us) for decades.

    Agreeing to fiscal union in the eurozone, as Osborne did, will eventually result in our being subject to whatever rules the integrationists agree on – over time. Why? Because their goal is to have Britain join the Euro.

    This monster needs to be kneecapped and the best way of doing that is to leave.

    The three-party collusion in ever-closer union, against the will of the electorate, is nothing short of a conspiracy.

    Before you edit my words, JR, please consider their truthfulness.

  40. Matt
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    EU membership isn’t big on the priorities of the public so, you’re right, no point picking battles that can’t be won, best take little steps in the right direction.

    The “no camp” would bang on 3 million jobs lost and frighten the horses, particularly at this time. That’s if you could get a referendum.

    JR was a leading light in the rejection of the Euro, by the UK, in the 90’s and has gained much credibility for that and for the forecasts of what was likely to happen. Public are against our membership of the single currency.

    The powers that were needlessly surrendered by Mr Blair to “gain influence” grab them back, in return for agreeing to a two tier EU, to allow a federal EU to emerge. Although this push may cause a few Lib Dems ministers to resign.

    Though I think the chances of a federal EU working are remote.

    • Russ
      Posted August 31, 2011 at 2:12 am | Permalink

      That’s right, setting out to gain achievable targets.

      If the core of the eu becomes one nation say Europa, then it’s inconceivable that one set of laws apply across the eu (Europa) and fringe members (UK)
      A chance for the PM to make his mark.

      As for UKIP, how can anyone consider that they can achieve anything? They haven’t even a chance of getting one MP elected. They give anti eu a daft image

  41. Javelin
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Reading thru these posts I get a strong impression of living in the past, not the present or future. In the present all we can say is the EU is in a precarious position of becoming very weak if the Euro fails, and in the best position of being very weak for a few more years.

    Today – another run on the Italian banks after a very weak bond auction. Every time I see Italian banks up on the screen I curl my toes and wait for an accountant to mark their books to market and go running to the ECB.

    • Posted August 30, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      …and even if democracy is put to one side and the Eurozone becomes a true monetary union, how could it possibly work politically?

      The French will not take orders from the Germans; the Germans will want more power in return for their diluted economy; weaker economies will resent this.

      On the face of it George Osborne and John Redwood are right to advocate the union but in reality we would be even worse off.

      What a mess. It’s almost as we have found the surest way of breaking up Europe.

  42. backofanenvelope
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    There are actually two threads here. First of all membership. Personally, I think the electorate would vote to stay in.

    The second thread is the matter of a referendum. Opinion polls show in excess of 70% think we should have one. Mr Cameron thinks we don’t need one because he thinks we are better off in. He is not willing to argue the case.

    The whole business is poisoning the Tory party; poisoning our attitude to the EU and poisoning their attitude to us.

    Get it over with; I for one will accept the verdict.

  43. Michael Clark
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Mike Stallard is correct. The reason however why the eyes galze over on the EU is that people have never been taught about the British Constitution. The Electorate is gulible as one down-to-earth lady from West Bromwich said to me many years ago,”If you put up a cabbage they would vote for it.”

    Holding a Referendum on giving up the Crown-in-Parliament, in effect to a German dominated EU, would of course be a constitutional illegality. In effect a treason against posterity. Having already reached the point where some 80% of our laws are made in Brussels, we are approaching a point where another Cromwell is needed to shake out the reality of what is now at stake.

    It will be 40 years on October 28 since the fateful ‘decision in principle’ was made by Parliaament in 1971 to ensare Great Britain and Northern Ireland with a yoke of bondage that is now proving insufferable to us all. Forty years of wilderness wandering trying to seek a role which has been predictably illusive.
    However, as the immense financial disaster of the eurozone looms before us, we must trust to Providence that Jonah-Britain is about to be regurgitated from the mouth of the great EU fish upon the shore of our responsibility and destiny. This, proven by history, being to lead the nations in peace and freedom under the Common Law.
    John Redwood has a very significant birthdate, June 15 – the anniversary of the signing of the great Charter of Magna Carta. Perhaps he will be our new Cromwell-style leader in Parliament to “frustrate the knavish tricks” of the past 40 years?

  44. Michael Clark
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    (typo correction)
    Mike Stallard is correct. The reason however why the eyes galze over on the EU is that people have never been taught about the British Constitution. The Electorate is gullible as one down-to-earth lady from West Bromwich said to me many years ago,”If you put up a cabbage they would vote for it.”

    Holding a Referendum on giving up the Crown-in-Parliament, in effect to a German dominated EU, would of course be a constitutional illegality. In effect a treason against posterity. Having already reached the point where some 80% of our laws are made in Brussels, we are approaching a point where another Cromwell is needed to shake out the reality of what is now at stake.

    It will be 40 years on October 28 since the fateful ‘decision in principle’ was made by Parliaament in 1971 to ensare Great Britain and Northern Ireland with a yoke of bondage that is now proving insufferable to us all. Forty years of wilderness wandering trying to seek a role which has been predictably illusive.

    However, as the immense financial disaster of the eurozone looms before us, we must trust to Providence that Jonah-Britain is about to be regurgitated from the mouth of the great EU fish upon the shore of our responsibility and destiny. This, proven by history, being to lead the nations in peace and freedom under the Common Law.

    John Redwood has a very significant birthdate, June 15 – the anniversary of the signing of the great Charter of Magna Carta. Perhaps he will be our new Cromwell-style leader in Parliament to “frustrate the knavish tricks” of the past 40 years?

  45. lojolondon
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    John, I understand what we want to do with a hammer, you want to do with a feather – but if you are correct, then why, oh why have Blair, Brown, Cameron and Clegg ALL lied to us, wanting a referendum, offering a referendum, promising a referendum, giving a cast iron guarantee, etc. and then reneged, every one?? I think we could just find that the UK, like the Dutch, French, Danes, Swedish and others could just vote ‘NO’.
    Now, that will shift the whole game along, won’t it??

    Reply: First you have to secure your referendum – I see no sign of Lab/Lib/Coalition Conservatives wanting that.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      How about the poor old voters wanting a referendum? Oh I forgot, we don’t count until you want our votes again to secure your own jobs.

    • lojolondon
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      I agree, John, it is a total corruption of the principle of democracy that democratically elected representatives refuse to fulfil the wishes of their electorate. VERY frustrating!!

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      in reply to John’ reply

      That’s the whole problem isn’t it? There is no sign of “them wanting” an in/out referendum, even though the majority of the people want one. How is that democracy John? They / you are duty bound to want whatever the people want – that’s what you and they were elected for! How dare the coalition refuse something the people want? Who do they think they?

      The anger level is rising. Somewhere between p**d off and seething. One day soon the pan will boil over

      Reply: I do not think a large number of people do want a referendum as people writing in here do. I was not pressed to support a referendum (which I do) during the last election campaign – people’s priorities were about taxes and public spending.

  46. Vanessa
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Next year we will have been paying for the privilege of being a member of the EU for 40 years. John, I would be amazed that you cannot see that it has been bad for Britan, for our democracy, for our sovereignty and for our trade . The glaringly obvious question now to ask is “….exactly what do you lot do in parliament, except tinker around the edges?” With virtually ALL our laws / legislation coming from Brussels now all you are left with is….banning circus animals !!!! Is that what we pay you your vast salaries (compared with the rest of us) and your gold-plated pensions for? If this is truly the case then, like Belgium, do we really need you? Personally, I think you are all too expensive , dishonet, corrupt and criminal. If you think I shall vote for some twerp to fill his pockets with my taxes so he can clean his moat, put his parents in a house I have to pay the mortgage on then you are very much mistaken.

    Reply: At least I have been in Parliament to vote No to Amsterdam, No to Nice and No to Lisbon. Pity there weren’t more of us to do so.

    • Posted September 4, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

      “At least I have been in Parliament to vote No to Amsterdam, No to Nice and No to Lisbon. Pity there weren’t more of us to do so.”

      There weren’t more of you to do so because there were so many Conservative MPs, many of whom voted Yes to Amsterdam, Yes to Nice and Yes to Lisbon. You reckon voting Tory helps the Eurosceptic cause? How can that be when most Tory MPs are not Eurosceptic? You yourself said on this blog that there are only 40 Tory MPs who would vote for a referendum after all.

      By all means, tell us other reasons why we should vote Tory. But spare us the stuff about voting Tory to avoid splitting the Eurosceptic vote.

      Reply: It was party policy to vote against those Treaties, so we did so at the request of the whips, n ot against them.

  47. Vanessa
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    P.S. Your leader (PM) does not even seem to realise that England has a Bill of Rights 1689 as he keeps telling us we need one. Perhaps you could direct him to read it.

  48. Posted August 30, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Despite the fact that I agree with many sentiments expressed by contributors to this web site I also recognise that not everybody thinks like us.

    The reasons they do not think like us may well be largely due to a heavy bias towards left wing ideas in the mass media.

    However, newspapers tell a different story. They do not survive by charging money to the public. They rely on their being a demand for their product. The Guardian continues to lose readers to the point of insignificance. The Daily Mail enjoys a relatively healthy circulation. Yet, whereas the BBC is The Guardian of the tv airwaves there is no Daily Mail equivalent. Newspaper circulation tells us that there is huge potential for the UK public to be better informed if only it could be given unbiased television.

    The trouble is we are where we are: whereas I see anyone who supports eu membership as an extremist, the BBC (which has the tv cameras and transmitters that I don’t have) sees eu supporters as mainstream. It is the BBC above all other institutions that has the power to define who is extreme and who is mainstream.

    This leaves those who do not share the BBC’s view of the world with a massive mountain to climb.

    However, we are not going to change the BBC anytime soon. Any MP who earnestly tries to do so will not be an MP for much longer – and will not even be able to sell many books or do much lecturing afterwards.

    Many (including me) accuse the BBC of being so consumed with its own group-think and culture that it cannot contemplate other points of views. The BBC doesn’t mean it; it is just that inviting Polly Toynbee to provide a series of left wing radio lectures is more intuitive than even having John Redwood on the Today programme for 30 seconds.

    However I think we should be careful not to have a group-think all of our own where agree with each other but get absolutely nowhere in the outside world. The only way to climb the mountain in my view is John Redwood’s idea of coming up with a policy that will gather the widest support in Parliament. However I think it is vital that he and George Eustice’s group enlist the support of as many people in the Labour Party as they can muster.

    I hope this group makes some progress. I suspect however that a movement towards regaining our sovereignty will only be successful if it starts on the Left. The BBC will then sit up and notice just as it did when Jack Straw criticized the European Court. Only once enough people on the Left take up the cause will it is seen as mainstream.

    I think it is pointless complaining about the Prime Minister. I think he is a very good communicator. He is a PR man. Once he sees which way the wind is blowing I am sure he will be adept at putting across our new position if and when it becomes mainstream.

    • Posted August 30, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      I said (about newspapers): “They do not survive by charging money to the public” Oh dear…but you knew what I meant!

  49. Bob
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    There is an e-petition calling for a referendum on leaving the EU and it’s got 23,000 signatures. Google e-petitions and search for EU referendum.
    I would post a link, but JR always deletes them.

    Reply: Why isn’t it a million signatures already? Or 10 million? Where is this mass movement to settle this issue I am, told about?

    • Posted August 31, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Hang on.

      Looking at the situation at or near the launch date of the e-petition site:

      1. The riot petition had massive coverage on the media

      2. The Hillsborough petition was part of a BBC campaign along with various prominent people (Joey Barton, Kenny Dalglish etc)

      3. Robert Halfon’s fuel petition was covered extensively (not on the BBC but elsewhere) and had pent up demand carried over from a previous campaign

      4. The campaign for financial education in schools has been backed across the media and particular web site moneysavingexpert.com which is promoted virtually every day on the media. This campaign benefited by cross promotion from tv show ‘Watchdog’ on prime time BBC tv as part of its moneysavingexpert.com /BBC ‘Big Money Test’ promotion.

      5. Petitions for and against capital punishment were extensively covered. The BBC has been very active in debating these petitions.

      6. I have no idea where demand for the ‘keep Formula on the BBC’ petition came from except that Bernie Ecclestone did the rounds of non-Sky and non-BBC outlets pushing the case for “free to air” formula 1. You may wish to draw your own conclusions.

      The referendum to leave the eu was promoted in The Daily Mail and the Daily Express. There is silence on this at the BBC.

      Mr Redwood, please note that, with the exception of no.3 and 6, the BBC has been involved in every petition that appeared above the eu referendum petition and this was BEFORE they had reached the high number of signatures that they now have.

      1, 4 and 5 were featured on prime time BBC tv and no. 2 was covered on radio 5 and BBC Sport (including ‘Football Focus’ on day time tv).

      I agree that the eu petition does not have as large a following as the others, but I would suggest that the reason is that this issue has not had the mass media backing that most of the others have received

      Reply: Time will tell. If you want it to be popular you need to help boost it.

  50. Jon Burgess
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, simple is best in this case. It can only be in or out for me, as the EU only works one way, as you well know. I know you believe the current crises are opportunities for re-negotiation, but few in your own party and even fewer in the EU agree with you.

    It’s a bit rich to say that the UK electorate have never voted into office any party running on a Come out platform. When did the UK electorate vote in any party running on a ‘we will give away your sovereignty but keep it hidden from you’ platform?

    All I ask is that I have the ability to vote in and out a sovereign parliament – that is a parliament answerable to no-one but the British electorate. I could do that in 1970, but because of the conscious deception by successive Labour and Tory Governments since then I can no longer do that.

    So I will not vote Labour or Conservative again and will resign myself to all or nothing with UKIP.

    Reply: The electorate voted for a strongly federalist party to govern in 1997, 2001, and 2005, as I and others pointed out at the time.

  51. Richard Calhoun
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear Mr Redwood has come clean on his real intentions vis a vis the EU.

    It is not credible to say we cannot pull out of membership, it is credible to apply for associate membership which other countries have without the onerous rules and diktats we have to put up with,

    Mr Redwood you have just become another recruiting sergeant for UKIP

    After all these years of your statements on the EU this is a most surprising U turn,but maybe it isn’t

  52. Steve Whitfield
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    We know that there are many, many foolish and short sighted people living in this Country as evidenced by the masses that put Blair in charge three times.

    People didn’t bother to read the small print they just saw a man with a nice grin and a’ pretty straight kinda guy’ persona. Most voters didn’t want to know about the boring details if there house price had just gone up 20k in a year. They didn’t stop voting until all the phoney money ran out. That tells us all we need to know about the depth of thought given to voting by the core of the population.

    Maybe after this is it too much to hope that a more questioning mood might come about and a realisation that politics is too important to be left to politicians?.

    Having said that, to say that there is insufficient popular support for withdrawal from the EU,as Mr Redwood asserts, is questionable in my view . David Cameron is too much of a wet liberal to ever consider leaving the EU. But if he had proposed withdrawal at the last election.. and explained the true costs of EU membership honestly and the meagre benefits we gain from membership the Conservatives would have won with a landslide. It just needs to be presented in very simple terms that explain very directly the impact on peoples lives.
    If we tell the population about the loss of soveriegnty etc. they will switch off..tell joe average he will be better of by £20 a week and he will give you your attention.
    So I believe that the presentation and image of UKIP and the English democrats as fringe partys was rejected, not the policy itself.

    The formation of a new Eurosceptic group has to be a step in the right direction.Maybe playing the federalists at their own game seeking step changes in policy will get us closer to where we want to be….nothing else has really worked so far.

    Reply: There is no polling evidence to support your proposition that had the Conservatives made pulling out of the EU a central plank in 2010 they would have won.

    • APL
      Posted August 31, 2011 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      JR: “Reply: There is no polling evidence to support your proposition that had the Conservatives made pulling out of the EU a central plank in 2010 they would have won.”

      Of course there isn’t!!

      Which party is going to commission a poll containing such a poll? Not David Camerons’ Tories, they want the topic buried.

      The Liberals? The second most rabidly pro EU party after the Tories.

      Labour? That party that has former EU commissioners crawling out of the woodwork. [and nesting in the Lords]. N.B. They may be former commissioners but they are still tied to the role by their pension benefits – so unlikely to be independent.

      UKIP? The party would commission a poll to reveal the majority of its voters are former Tories who would probably go back to the Tory party if that party offered a more robust position on the European Union.

      So there you have it. No polling evidence to demonstrate the assertion because no political party has an interest in that question.

      QED.

      Reply: the Conservatives used polling to try to win the election!

  53. Anne Palmer
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Your second paragraph down reads just as if it came out of the mouth of Mr Cameron, because that is how he manipulates words. Your third Paragraph however holds exactly the words that should be used on any Referendum Paper. However, sadly I would no longer trust any British Politician to hold a true and fair referendum on this particular subject, and it grieves me deeply to write that because there was a time when the vast majority of people trusted one great British Prime Minister with their lives, in fact he inspired many to fight for their Country, and to fight for this Country’s freedom to gover itself completely.

    We didn’t have to ratify binding Treaties that were supposed to last forever as the EU Treaties are supposed to do. We didn’t have to pay billions of pound every year for nothing in return although it did take this Country 60 years to pay back the financial debt to America, which without their help we would have been governed by the Leader of Germany at that time. But there is the rub you see, because you have absolutely no idea who the Leader of the EU might be one day-and there will be no way to get rid of he or she. Even now we have a Prime Minister that is obeying EU orders which will bring about the permanent destruction of the Nation and Country of ENGLAND. The Bill that he is obeying was not in any TREATY either.

    Sadly whoever we chose to vote in out of the THREE main Political Parties John, we vote for exactly the same EVERY TIME, FOR ALL THREE MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES WANT TO REMAIN IN THE EU. They want the money for Governing and the vast expenses but they do not want the responsibility of actually Governing this Country at all. Our Defence has been drastically been cut down through the excuse of not having enough money yet we have enough money for anything the EU wants, even the illegal bail outs for the Euro zone, but they are just the size to “fit in” with the EU’s desires once again. and so it goes on.

    However, the question Government should be asking is, will the British people-and those that have chosen to come and live here in preference to remain living on the Continent-eventually rise up and fight against foreign rule for it is indeed absolutely contrary to the people’s own Common Law Constitution. As a matter of fact, it is their DUTY to do so. We pay our taxes-or at least most of us do-FOR OUR OWN GOVERNMENT TO GOVERN THIS COUNTRY ACCORDING TO ITS OWN COMMON LAW CONSTITUTION. Can you honestly say that is what this present Coalition Government is doing?

  54. Stephen Gash
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    If we are to assume that the English do not want to pull out of the EU because they have not returned UKIP MPs to Westminster, but only MEPs to Brussels, then why do we take any notice of the SNP’s victory in Holyrood? The SNP went into the 2010 UK general election with six MPs and came out with six MPs; no mandate for an independence referendum at all.

    However, the coalition is repulsively fawning all over Alex Salmond who immediately postponed his referendum on Scottish independence, thus dangling a destabilising sword of Damocles over our fragile economy just when we don’t need it.

    If we are to have a change of direction in with respect to the EU, then we should have the same towards the UK. I would recommend a hearty English Agincourt salute to Scotland, but for some inexplicable reason the Tories still believe it is worthwhile continuing robbing England to keep the UK (with its solitary Tory MP in Scotland) than having a Tory majority government in the most EU-sceptic country in Europe, namely England.

    If Tories persist in turning their backs on their natural constituency, then expect to be ousted sooner rather than later, especially as the spending divide between Scotland and England has increased under this coalition, not decreased.

    Reply: Mr Salmond has made clear his intention to hold a referendum whether Westminster likes it or not.He will be able to vote that through. I have not seen the UKIP MEPs (those that have survived and stayed in their party) get a referendum through the European Parliament and they are not likely to.

    • Stephen Gash
      Posted August 31, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      If the majority of UK MEPs were UKIP they would not be able to get a referendum on independence through the EU parliament. The SNP only has six MPs in Westminster, so it has no manate for Scottish independence.

      I still fail to see why the rest of the UK should be kept hanging around for the Scots to make up their mind. The coalition should throw down the gauntlet. Either the SNP calls its referendum now, or Scots do not get one until the SNP comprises the majority of MPs from Scotland at Westminster.

      As I pointed out, the per capita spending has increased in Scotland’s favour, since the coalition came to government, so the rest of the UK deserves a referendum, especially England that is losing out.

      The liklihood of England’s independence would sharpen EU minds, not to mention those of the Scots, Welsh and Irish.

  55. Posted August 31, 2011 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    I am utterly thrilled by your post.

    Before the last General Election I was posting around the blogs that I was of the opinion that “Conservative Eurosceptics” such as yourself, Hannan, Helmer etc.. were pulling EU-Sceptic votes back to the Tories when if people really want to vote their way out of the EU they need to vote for a party that will say just that. UKIP admittedly did not perform as well as I would like, but they denied the Tories a majority.

    The way I see it, it’s more about the question than the answer… When there is talk of reformers, and sceptics there as many people fall to the centre ground as do to either fringe – ultimately this is what maintains status quo.

    With your comments and that of other “Eurosceptics” recently I hope I will get my wish. The Tories will finally be viewed as I have long maintained, firmly in the staying in camp and this will be more clear to people now. If/when the question is reframed and becomes the binary choice of “in or out” it becomes easier for people to make that choice.

    There were many loyal Conservatives that told me Cameron just couldn’t come out an say what he really felt in the run up to the election, and I would not believe them and was right and so too were many others. Those that have wavered and grudgingly marked X next to the Conservatives can feel a lot easier casting a ballot next time for a party that will either get us out or give us the referendum that has long been sought.

    As to your point about aiming for what you can get, I see where you’re coming from but disagree completely. Firstly, it will not as the post title implies solve the “EU Problem.” And nobody should have to make do when questions of such extreme importance are at stake, such as who really makes our laws, and who controls where our taxes are spent. To compromise is to surrender.

    Resistance is not futile. But voting Tory if you want out of the EU is.

    Reply: And voting UKIP in 2005 and 2010 meant fewer Eurosceptic MPs in Parliament – how did that help?

    • Posted August 31, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Reply to the reply: UKIP stood down candiates in 2010 who were running against who they considered truly Eurosceptic – I think the number was 6. So how were there fewer Eurosceptic MP’s?

      So called Tory “Eurosceptics” have zero tangible achievements to speak of in this fight, their purpose is to keep the impression alive that the party is “Eurosceptic”. Your leadership want you out there talking about reforms and red lines, in Europe but not run by it because it keeps a huge slice of your voting block onside – whilst absolutely nothing is done towards getting us or any powers out. It is all talk. It really doesn’t matter how many Convervative MPs there are in Parliament, they are no more likely to vote for withdrawl, or a referendum than Labour and Lib Dem.

      Reply: We did vote for a referendum

  56. Iain Gill
    Posted August 31, 2011 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    I speak here as a John Redwood supporter
    I don’t think Euro Scepticism should be this high up the agenda
    There are plenty of things which could and should be done on important issues like immigration, the inner cities, the sink estates, the worst schools, the over burden of regulation, the disproportionate public sector, useless nhs, levelling a few playing fields, equality of opportunity, wealth creating, and so on without constantly banging on about Europe
    Ordinary folk enjoy their holidays in France, Belgium, Italy, know people who work in these places, see the benefits of being able to walk into a hospital in Belgium and getting world class medical care (much better than the butchery we tolerate in the nhs), and so on. Europe in many bread and butter ways works for the ordinary folk.
    The confetti like visas to non EC nationals however is different, we cannot get work visas to India (for instance) and see no reason to print visas like confetti for Indian nationals to work here. We cannot get free healthcare in India (for instance) and see no reason for hundreds of thousands of Indian nationals to be in this country (able -ed) to get nhs treatment without ever having contributed. We cannot get our kids into decent schools and we see no reason for schools to be full of the children of foreign none EC nationals here on a work visas from countries which do not provide free schooling to British children when Brits work there. We cannot get equality because the system doesn’t play fair with our class based accent or upbringing, yet we see all sorts of over the top so called equality legislation rolled out to defend wide and varied supposed minorities (who are often the majority in many places in the uk).
    Euroland needs push back from free people everywhere, but we need a different emphasis to win at the ballot box.

  57. javelin
    Posted August 31, 2011 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    It is looking like the Euro has pretty much runs its course.

    Italy cou;dnt even manage to sell a meagre £8 billion of 3-10 year bonds yesterday and it looked like the ECB had to step into the market to bail the auction out. Given most of these bonds will have been bought by Italians rolling over their own debt it looks like even the Italians dont trust their own bonds.

    Italy still has to raise £120+ billion this year – so every month there is an increasing chance that the country will be exposed as being completely propped up by Brussels. When that happens the interest rate will push above the 7% critical level meaning they will have to be totally bailed our or bust.

    Most likely this will become public when an accountant in a bank will call time on their own bond portfolio after marking it to market and have to go to the ECB for a bailout.

    • dan
      Posted August 31, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      I must say, reading Mr Redwood’s opinion and replies this last few days has seen him plummet in my estimation.

      • Richard Calhoun
        Posted August 31, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        He went down in my estimation as he has for some time wavered and waffled on the EU, now we know why!

  58. RDM
    Posted August 31, 2011 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I totally agree with John, re-negotiate a Trading relationship.

    But in the longer term, I still believe that the best re-alignment must involve the UK becoming more of a Liberal Democracy, with a British Bill of Rights and a Banking system that supports the People, support individuals (families) build independent lives, not allowing Banks too require collateral against the family home, and not becoming dependent on the “Social Democracy” Parties (Lab & LD’s), the alternative.

    Would they then vote for a more independent and United country, or Identity?

  59. Stephen
    Posted August 31, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    To make any progress you need to win the argument.

    EU supporters put down Euro sceptics as insular, backward looking, little Britain types, compared to the more sophisticated, modern, cosmopolitan EU Supporters. Also that the UK is ‘too small’ to make its way in the world and implicitly will be ‘safer’ to deal with the rest of the world as part of the EU. These are emotional points, but it seems to make a strong impact. And so need to be challenged.

    The Euro sceptics seem to make more factual points against the EU, pointing out the harm the EU causes in fisheries, food prices, excessive regulation, public safety (human rights for criminals) and from the money it takes out of the UK economy for the EU budget.

    My own dislike of the EU comes not just from these factual arguments, but because I find the EU supporters points are quite wrong and their views to be quite smug and narrow-minded. I view them as ‘Little Europe’ types who fail to look beyond Europe to the wider world where Europe’s regulations put it at a disadvantage that will in time prove unsustainable, if only they would look to the future. Also, that they fail to recognise the UK’s far stronger language and cultural connections to the wider world in comparison with the rest of the EU, which makes for a far more cosmopolitan outlook than the rest of Europe. I suspect, ironically, that the ‘Little Britain’ type jibes carry greater force in the UK than they would elsewhere in Europe, precisely because the public’s views are more cosmopolitan.

    Britain’s relative hostility to the EU is not from widespread insular attitudes, but from the opposite. It does no feel that much closer, culturally, to Europe than the rest of the world.

    There is also good reason why other European countries should be keener on the EU than the UK. Many of them have been net receivers rather than payers of EU funds, and have been made richer as a result of this and stronger economic ties with richer economies. Germany gets a respectable way to engage with the world which revives fewer uncomfortable memories of its destructive past. France with its relationship with Germany, gains a disproportionate measure of control of the EU enhancing its world influence. The other small rich countries, must find the prospect of being outside an EU with which they are physically far closer to somewhat uncomfortable. And doubtless feel that the RELATIVE cultural gap between themselves and the rest of the EU and themselves and the rest of the world is far smaller than is the case with the UK.

    I actually feel that the EU is failing all its member states, with its policies and hence in this respect the UK has interests which are not so different from the rest of the EU. The difference is more that the EU’s disadvantages seem better recognised in the UK and there are far fewer benefits to offset them.

    I do wonder if you make these arguments you might make better progress.

    • Posted August 31, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      The small rich countries (e.g. Netherlands) get the worse deal of all. That is why, if the Euro doesn’t kill off the eu quango, these countries may well do.

      • rose
        Posted August 31, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

        The less well off and influential countries are also happy to go along with the EU because government by their own wouldn’t be any less corrupt or bureaucratic. In many ways they prefer corruption and bureaucracy far off to near at home.

        • Stephen
          Posted September 2, 2011 at 1:48 am | Permalink

          My point was that both within British politics and European politics, the EU supporters do a great PR job of portraying British doubts on the EU to being wholly down to an unthinking nationalism which is peculiar to the UK. I do not understand why I never hear, even from Eurosceptics, the point being that the UK simply gets less out of the EU than other member states and so doubts here are a very, very logical consequence of that fact. The Eurosceptics, like JR, need to counter such arguments otherwise there will always be just 40 of them in Parliament.

          JR, would be interested to know where my own MP stands on this issue. Where is the best place to find this out and what should I look for.

          Reply: Try your own MP’s website or write to him or her.Didn’t the election literature make it clear? I always put my main views in my leaflets so people know what they are getting.

  60. Richard Calhoun
    Posted August 31, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I have recently read that Mr Redwood is looking for a place in government, any chance this sudden commitment to the government line has got anything to do with it!!
    Bring on open primaries, we need these people to be answerable to us

    Reply: Where did you see that, as it is not true

  61. Horse with no name
    Posted August 31, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Redwood like most fake conservatives is reverting to type. He’s now moved on to the ‘two legs good four legs bette’r stage………………..

  62. rose
    Posted August 31, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I agree with all you say about the electorate and the EU – in the recent past. But now people are so desperate about mass immigration – they will start up about it with total strangers anywhere, which they never did before – that I think the things you observe are out of date. They associate mass immigration with the EU, and no matter how much one points out that the bulk of it is coming from outside the EU, they have got it firmly lodged in their heads that if we could only get out there would be no more mass immigration, no more youth unemployment, no more queues for housing and hsopitals etc. They never used to associate all these subjects in the past as strongly as they do now. So if a party ran strongly agains the EU, it would have a huge advantage. Possibly politicians who don’t live in areas heavily affected by immigration, or who only see the good side of it, are under-estimating this very strong change of mood, across all the parties, even among liberal voters. The British people are after all still reticent and polite to a degree, and fairly apolitical, which is why they have put up with it for so long where others might not.

    Reqply: Why then didn’t Michael Howard win in 2005 on controlled immigration and powers back? Why did UKIP do so badly in 2010?

    • rose
      Posted August 31, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      In 2005 the full enormity of the problem hadn’t yet sunk in right across the board as it has now, though it was still of great concern to many. Michael Howard and his team also allowed the media to bully them into toning down the message, presumably because it was fully recognized by the opposing forces that it was a winning one. I know that sounds contradictory, but I remember thinking at the time that the message was too nuanced, not clear enough to people who didn’t normally vote conservative, and that it was also too apologetic.

      • rose
        Posted August 31, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        PS UKIP does badly because people don’t trust it to manage the business of government. It is just a protest vote, like the Liberals.

  63. Chris
    Posted August 31, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood – An interesting and pragmatic approach. The elephant in the room is mass immigration, the majority of which is from the EU. As IDS says, welfare reform is not possible with the scale of immigration we have been facing. In my view, no welfare reform, equates to no economic reform.

    Do you envisage such renegotiations with the EU encompassing controls of our own borders?

    Reply: I would of course include it, but the issue is will there be any renegotiation by the Coalition?

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted August 31, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      re: JR’s reply

      You know the answer to that is “No” so why aren’t you working to break the Coalition?

  64. harry
    Posted August 31, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    It is no use writing to my MP Mr Redwood. He happens to be Jo Johnson: Have you seen his voting record? Too he has already failed me miserably regarding a most serious issue. For these reasons among others; And I for one do not consider “treason” too harsh a word to describe the actions of British Governments over the last thirty years, and likely off and on since the 13th century, I now refuse to either register to vote (thus withdrawing my mandate) or of course vote: the voter does in my view share the resposibility for the actions of those he/she helps to elect to administer the public interests.

    I have followed the research and published intelligence of Christopher Story, AKA Edward Harle in some detail and do most fully realise how utterly iredeemable and corrupt is the EU Collective Dictatorship. From the Global security fund set up through the offices of the 4th Baron Jacob Rothschild to function as a geopolitical slush fund of some 65 trillion dollars, to the legitimate complaints made to the Metropolitan Police and the SFO regarding the (un)lawful payments of public funds to a criminal enterprise. I hope a day will come when someone is held accountable to this complete lack of accountability for treason and criminality.

    I think one or two questions are in order.

    1/..Does Great Britian function at any level as a legitimate democracy..And if so how. All political parties pursue the same seemingly predetermined agenda. Particularly as regards the EU Collective Dictatorship.

    2/..Foreign office documents that surfaced after the EEC referendum in the 70’s showed that the politicians of the day knew with certainty that the ramifications of the 1972 treaty were that the UK would lose sovereignty. Our government were shown to have outright lied to us on a constitutional issue of huge importance. No action was taken and the referendum was not rerun. Treason. I believe one politician, was it Douglas Hurd? was heard to have quipped that: “I will never have to account for it” (or words to that precise effect). This I think needs to be raised in westminster as an example not to be emulated by this inexperienced crew of Party “A” listers.

    3/..If the answer to question 1. is yes (it won’t be. But just suppose) how can it be that the entire population of Europe has been disenfranchised along with us?

    4/..Probably the most important question of all is why the Fourth estate functions as a talking head for the fascist corporate/state synthesis extant. Anybody believing the garbage thrown up by the MSM is living an illusion. Libya is a perfect case in point.

    Westminster and its masters in the City of London (the Crown) is the problem to be solved. So the question is: How is that fascistic power over our representatives to be neutralized?

    Unless the City of London is rendered harmless democracy is dead as a dodo. This would leave revolution as the only tool left with which to restore proper administration. I don’t suppose any of us want that.

    The last question is the Vatican, and the lock step that is easily observable between the USA and the UK. It is not a pretty game these entities are playing.

  65. EJT
    Posted September 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    “The Uk electorate have never voted into office any party running on a Come out platform”

    Did we ever elect anyone on a platform of “Going Deeper In” ? Didn’t we elect against platforms of a Referendum on the EU Constitution ?

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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