100 MPs at a meeting

 

           More than 100 Conservative MPs attended the meeting yesterday. There seemed to be general agreement that we need a new and different relationship with the  single currency area/country emerging on the continent. Expect to see and hear  more from this group led by George Eustice.

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69 Comments

  1. HarryR
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Can I ask :
    Were there any non-Conservative MPs ? (Or were they not invited ?)
    How many of the participants will be willing to vote against their whips ?
    How can we constituents help stiffen their spines ?

    Reply: It was a Conservative meeting. Time will tell how many will vote against the advice if needed. There are quite enough Conservative Eurosceptics to win a vote if the Opposition parties also vote against more EU measures at the same time.

    • Kenneth
      Posted September 13, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      How is this group going to nurture those from the Left? Does it not have ambitions to become a broader church or will it stay within the Conservative Party?

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted September 13, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        First of all, congratulations in sticking to your principles! Very well done the lot of you!

        Secondly, get all the Labour people on board too and you will be twice as strong. Hegel?

        • lojolondon
          Posted September 13, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

          The Labour guys are not interested – they never asked for a vote on the EU, their backbenchers never pushed for it, too busy feathering nests.

  2. Robert K
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Excellent. Just read the insanities that are going on in the Greece bailout debacle to see why we should insulate ourselves as much as possible from euroland. Interesting to note that the Finns have insisted that they receive collateral in exchange for their contribution to the Greek bailout.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted September 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      And the strategic defence baloney.

  3. lifelogic
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Good luck to them but I do not have high hopes.

  4. Amanda
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    There are claims that this group is only acting as a ‘fig leaf’ for the Government’s continued euro integration plans. What stricks alam bells in this news is the term

    “different relationship with the single currency area/country emerging on the continent.”

    Where is mention of the EU? We want a different relationship with the European Union, in whatever form it takes in the future?

    Or am I just being suspicious??

    For too long the British people have had the wool pulled over their eyes ; we have been led into integration we did not want, and against our interests, through back door methods, slights of hand, and down right lies. It is time for openness and honesty with us, if this is to be a democracy.

    Reply: happy to say we want a different relationship with EU

    • Amanda
      Posted September 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Excellent. Thank you.

    • APL
      Posted September 13, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Amanda: “Or am I just being suspicious?? ”

      You are right to be.

      JR: “For too long the British people have had the wool pulled over their eyes ..”

      So, John Redwood, who was pulling the wool?

      That wouldn’t be politicians by any chance would it? And if it were, why should we trust you lot now, after being gulled so many times before?

      It this was a true EUrosceptic organization, we will see invitations going out to known patriots on the Labour benches any time now … waiting ….

      • APL
        Posted September 13, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        wrong attribution: JR: “For too long the British people have had the wool pulled over their eyes ..”

        For which I apologize.

        JR: “happy to say we want a different relationship with EU”

        Frankly that is far too weaselly.

        Would that be independence?
        Would that new relationship be vassal state?

        Which is it?

        Reply: Don’t blame me, I voted No to staying in, and have campaigned ever since against transfers of power to the EU.

        • Mike Stallard
          Posted September 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

          He is all we have got.

        • APL
          Posted September 13, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          JR: “Don’t blame me, I voted No to staying in, and have campaigned ever since against transfers of power to the EU.”

          I am not blaming you on your track record, I do blame you for your ‘we will renegotiate the terms of our membership’ line.

          THE EU WILL NOT RENEGOTIATE!

          They have no need to, since the political class has given it everything it wanted anyway.

          You attempt renegotiation and before you can say ‘popup’ up pops Ken Clarke to threaten the split of the Tory party.

          We’ve seen it before and we know his precious European Ideal is more important to him than the country that gave him succor and such a affluent lifestyle.

          Mike Stallard: “He is all we have got.”

          Perhaps that’s what they said about Chamberlin.

          By the way, the Tory party isn’t going to be our instrument of deliverance!

  5. Alan
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    As one of the few contributors to this blog who supports the EU and the euro I would like to give my views on the formation of this ‘Eurosceptic’ group.

    My hope for the EU is that it will evolve methods of cooperation between states that are more efficient than those that result from bilateral relationships and international conventions, but not so close as result from forming a federal state. I think there are a lot of people who share that hope. I want to maintain the national differences within Europe (and indeed further afield) but I want us to be an efficient economic area. I think the UK badly needs to improve its economy and I hope that the EU will help it to do this, and I think the UK economy is too small to compete adequately in the modern and future world and that being part of the EU will offset that.

    I don’t see the formation of the Eurosceptic group to be incompatible with this, but I do fear that instead of promoting diversity within the EU it will concentrate on obstructing everything. The idea that we get powers back by preventing others doing what they want when it doesn’t even affect us directly, sounds to me like politics that is too clever by half. We already “punch far below our weight” in the EU, and this policy sounds to me like a way of making that worse. We are continually being sidelined, or even worse, sidelining ourselves.

    Before getting into this we need, in my view, to agree on what powers we want back. That is surely a fundamental question that should have been addressed at the start. Most of the opt-outs that we have negotiated so far, such as staying out of Schengen and the euro, seem to me to have cost us money. Things like setting our own specifications for bananas or returning to Imperial weights and measures may please xenophobes but won’t increase our productivity. What specific policies does the group actually want?

    • forthurst
      Posted September 13, 2011 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      “I think the UK economy is too small to compete adequately in the modern and future world”

      Are you sure you’ve thought about it?

      2010 $ GDP (PPP) 21010 from wiki

      1 Qatar 88,559
      2 Luxembourg 81,383
      3 Singapore 56,522
      4 Norway 52,013
      5 Brunei 48,892
      6 United Arab Emirates 48,821
      7 United States 47,284
      — Hong Kong 45,736
      8 Switzerland 41,663
      9 Netherlands 40,765
      10 Australia 39,699
      23 UK 34,920

      Apart from sitting on a lot of oil whilst successfully avoiding incorporation on the Neocons’ shopping list of countries to attack, I suggest the main determinant of success is firstly education, secondly being pro business, and thirdly having prudent housekeeping.

      Sadly this country is unqualified to be successful because of the treachery and incompetance of our politicians. Education – needs of the mediocre and misbehaved dimwits put before clever English children; Business – crooked banks, Eurotape, windmills; Housekeeping – encouraging the importation of parasites, paying people for not working and deliberately putting others out of jobs, shipping large chunks of our wealth to Brussels and anywhere South or East of Suez, acting as fig leaf for Neocons’ foreign adventures.

      • Alan
        Posted September 13, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        I think it is total GDP that makes a country influential, although I agree it is GDP per capita that matters to its citizens.

        I accept the UK is not that small, but the world is being shaped by the USA and China. That is partly because of their military power but it is also partly because of their economic power. In economic terms my impression is that the EU is quite influential, although clearly in a bad patch at the moment because of the euro crisis. So I’ll stand by what I said.

        I agree with much of what you say about education, pro-business, prudence, but I do part company on your last paragraph, most of which I totally disagree with.

        • forthurst
          Posted September 13, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

          You seem confused. I think you mean that although a small country can be economically successful, unless it part of a larger grouping, its smaller size might preclude its politicians posturing on the world stage and being taken seriously. British politicians have been far too active on the world stage on the whole and most of their activity has diminished and demeaned us.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted September 13, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        I often feel we have taken a suicidal course.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 13, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      “The idea that we get powers back by preventing others doing what they want when it doesn’t even affect us directly, sounds to me like politics that is too clever by half.”

      It’s a perfectly legitimate bargaining strategy, and one which the governments of other EU countries would adopt without a moment’s hesitation.

      If the evolution of the EU treaties has left us with some legal right, such as a right to veto what others now want, then we should drive the hardest possible bargain and extract the maximum price for surrendering that legal right – not just give it away for nothing, as your compliant sort always would.

      So, to take the topical example, the French and the Germans were allowed to have their single currency on condition that no country would ever be expected or allowed to bail out another country; now having blatantly broken that solemn agreement through illegal eurozone bailouts they want the right to set up permanent arrangements for eurozone bailouts and much more besides, legally; we have an existing legal right to stop them getting that new legal right they now want, and we should insist on the highest possible price for relinquishing our right to stop them.

      It would be a concession on our part which would clearly diminish the power of our Parliament, by abolishing yet another right of veto within the EU – even if none of the power lost by our Parliament was actually transferred to the EU, acccording to the spurious test devised by the Tory party leadership to avoid referendums – and our MPs should demand major treaty changes we need in our national interests in exchange for agreeing to the major treaty change other countries want.

      Of course they wouldn’t have to agree to what we demanded: they could decide that instead they’d prefer to stick with the present “no bail-out” treaty provisions and either start to obey them, or shamelessly continue to break them.

    • eddyh
      Posted September 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Our own fisheries back, our own agricultural policy and freedom from ridiculous rules such as the maximum 48 hour week which is ruining surgical training for young doctors.

      • Alan
        Posted September 14, 2011 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        Thank you for answering the question I posed. I wonder if the Eurosceptics group will ever get round to providing a similarly succinct list.

    • David Price
      Posted September 13, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      The pro-EU groups have had how many decades to get things right and establish a situation where the EU acts and appears more welcoming and beneficial. Why should they have so many more decades? It is merely a opportunity for France and Germany to expand their borders.

      I suggest going the other way. We get everything back, fisheries, agriculture, energy etc and then negotiate what to cooperate on.

      If anyone has been “too clever by half” I suggest it is the pro-EU civil servants and politicians who decided to ignore the electorate on the grounds we weren’t clever enough or sophisticated enough to appreciate the true wonder of the fully federated EU.

  6. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Less than a third of the parliamentary Conservative party attended. I expect Cameron and Osborne will have written you off already as they seem to prefer their buddies in the LibDems. At least you are trying to do something to prevent the continual capitulation and transfer of powers to an anti-democratic body but so far your voices are inaudible except on blogs such as this.

    • APL
      Posted September 13, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Brian Tomkinson: “Less than a third of the parliamentary Conservative party attended.”

      This of course is the new really really EUro-skeptic Tory party that John Redwood is promising will materialize at some point.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted September 13, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        It just is emerging and you aren’t noticing.

        • APL
          Posted September 13, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

          Mike Stallard: “It just is emerging and you aren’t noticing.”

          I hope so Mike. But I doubt it.

          I have heard the refrain ‘The Tory party is more EUrosceptic ” for the last thirty five years, but it never ever comes to anything. I’ll be dead before the Tories pull us out of the EU.

          Which is probably what they want, I mean, there can be very few people left who have any idea what it was like before we joined the EU.

          Our ‘great hope’, William Hague is now a fully paid up EUrophile.

  7. norman
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    It’s certainly a decent show of strength. Assuming that Labour would vote against the coalition on everything then this group would be enough to defeat any pro-EU legislation the coalition may put forward – assuming all 100 would rebel which some, e.g. whips, ministers, wouldn’t but would still be enough.

    The right complain about the 57 Lib Dems having undue influence in policy making as their votes are vital for the progress of government, let’s hope this group of 100 try and exert at least as big an influence on EU matters as these 57 do on everything else.

    • David Price
      Posted September 13, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      Agree, this is a good start and if the group lives up to it’s stated intent then it should be far more effective than any UKIP vote.

      I wonder when the first opportunity to test it’s solidarity might be ..?

  8. English Pensioner
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I’m glad that something is happening, but I just wonder how many of the hundred MPs are prepared to take a stand on Europe in the face of the whips and the loss of a possible promotion.

  9. Jose
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Were there really just Conservatives and nobody from the Labour or LibDem benches? I sort of expect no better from the LibDems but surely to goodness there must be some Labour MPs willing to join a cause that is actually for the good of the UK as opposed to the EU.

    Without MPs from other parties, the Whips will always have control and party loyalties as opposed to country loyalties will hold sway.

  10. javelin
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I would be looking to expand – send scouts to the LibDems and Labour. Euro love is no longer a credible state to hold.

    The French banks couldn’t borrow enough US dollars yesterday – yesterday they were trying to create a market in overnight Euros. A lot of Americans have decided that the latin Euro area is not a safe place for their cash. Unless they find some cash from somewhere their credit book is going to dry up very rapidly and the (French?) tax payer will be on the hook again.

  11. niconoclast
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Someone needs to explain why all Tories are against our exit from the EU. Is it because as P Hitchens claims they are ardent supporters of it? Even Eurosceptics are pro EU.Perhaps you can explain this connundrum John. Can I be a vegetarian and still eat meat? Can Tories be anti EU and still want us to remain inside?How long will anti EU Tory voters put up with this intellectual dishonesty?

    Reply: There is a spectrum of opinion amongst Eurosceptics – some want to pull out on any terms, some want to negotiate a way out, some want to stay in a common market, some want what we have only a bit less etc.
    I understand purists constantly saying Pull out, but that is not about the happen. What some of us are trying to do is to change the direction of travel for a start. We need all Euosceptics to help – there are not enough immediate pull outers.

  12. AndyC71
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Good, this looks like a first step in the right direction. Is a list of names of these 100 available anywhere?

    Reply No

    • andyC71
      Posted September 13, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      … thankyou for the reply, but therein I suspect lies the problem with this exercise.

      I hope to be proved wrong, and that a sizeable proportion of these MPs will put their head above the parapet. Then the positive arguments that most of us on here are agreed about can be made widely and publicly.

  13. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    A definitive test will be the attitude of these MPs to the Bill needed to approve this radical EU treaty change, to which Cameron far too readily assented on March 25th:

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

    European Council Decision 2011/199/EU, “amending Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union with regard to a stability mechanism for Member States whose currency is the euro”.

    It’s unlikely to be the first test in terms of actual voting, because as I understand the government doesn’t intend to introduce that Bill until next spring, but if these MPs are really serious then they should make it clear now that they’re prepared to vote en masse to block that Bill and insist that Cameron goes back and negotiates a quid pro quo, other treaty changes designed to protect our long term national interests.

  14. fake
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    You cannot negotiate from a position of weakness.

    These people want to “renegotiate” the EU relationship, but they are not prepared to take the nuclear option (pull out of the EU), without that option, they have no negotiation power.

    • APL
      Posted September 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      fake: ” .. they have no negotiation power. ”

      Absolutely.

      And that John Redwood has adopted the negotiation route is a sure sign that he has capitulated to the European Union cancer that has been gnawing at the vitals of this country for the last thirty years.

      Reply: Nonsense – it’s time Eurosceptics could work out who are their friends and who their opponents.

      • Sean O'Hare
        Posted September 13, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        JR: What chance is there of renegotiation? It would require the other member states to unanimously vote through changes to our terms of membership. It just isn’t going to happen is it? The only way forward is to pull out lock, stock and barrel and negotiate an arms-length trade agreement with the EU (if it continues to exist once we’re out!) and at the same time re-establish favourable trade relations with the Commonwealth we abandoned as well as China, India and Brazil.

        Reply: How do you get a UK elected government to do that? They point out that UKIP still has not won a single seat at Westminster after years of putting that idea to the public.

        • APL
          Posted September 13, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

          Sean O’Hare: “The only way forward is to pull out lock, stock and barrel and negotiate an arms-length trade agreement with the EU .. ”

          Yes, but ..

          We don’t even have to do that, we pull out of the EU and stay members of the World Trade organization. Bingo! trade problem solved.

          John is, for reasons best known to him, putting obstacles in our way of leaving.

          1. We don’t need a referendum – our treaty partners have abrogated their obligations under the treaties. What’s more we have strong indications that some of them joined knowing that they hadn’t met, nor had any intent to meet, the preconditions for accession. In short we were duped.

          2. We don’t need to negotiate with the EU at all, there are numerous other inter governmental organizations that can perform one or other of the roles he seems to think the EU must perform for us.

          We are in the World trade organization.
          We are in the United Nations
          We could probably join EFTA if it still exists.

          I doubt Australia would say – no we are not going to accept your order for AUD20bn worth of anchor butter because you have just left the EU, do you?

          Rerply: For heaven’s sake I put no obstacles in your way, but try to introduce a air of reality into your view. This Parliament is not going to pull us out of the EU. Of course Parliament still could do this, but this one has abosolutely no intention of doing so, like the last one and the last before that.

          • APL
            Posted September 13, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

            JR: “Of course Parliament still could do this, but this one has abosolutely no intention of doing so ..”

            And in order for it to enter into the public consciousness that the treaties have been abrogated – which they have – we need prominent EUrosceptics to start suggesting so in the media or heaven forbid Parliament. It might be something to have that on record in Hansard.

            It needs to gain currency in the Westminster village, but no one, not even Tory EUrosceptics are ‘putting it about’.

            The best you can come up with, ‘lets renegotiate’, well, it takes two to negotiate and if one party doesn’t feel the need then there can be no renegotiation!

            That’s us with regard to the EU.

            Reply: The whole point is the EU does need to renegotiate,because their currency scheme is falling apart and needs Treaty changes and new powers to try to prop it up. That is why I am trying to get some pressure for a renegotiation now. Why don’t you help instead of jeering from the sidelines?

          • APL
            Posted September 13, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

            JR: “This Parliament is not going to pull us out of the EU.”

            Oh!

            But what about that terribly EUsceptical Mr Cameron? Or that terribly EUsceptical Mr Osbourne?

            Reply: As you well know, they both think we should stay in, and said so clearly before the last election.

          • APL
            Posted September 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

            JR: “As you well know, they both think we should stay in, and said so clearly before the last election.”

            I know, but then I knew when you were telling us that they both were EUroskeptics.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted September 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        Unity is strength.
        Who first said that?

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Another development which this new group of “eurosceptic” Tory MPs should be seriously addressing.

    http://euobserver.com/19/113585

    “A group of non-euro member states led by Poland is a fighting a rearguard action not to be left out in the cold as single currency member states consider going ahead with a eurozone economic government.

    Europe ministers from Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania met in Brussels on Monday (12 September) morning to discuss how best to influence the debate on the future of the 17-nation euro area.

    All seven states are obliged under the terms of their accession treaties to join the single currency but they have little means of making their views heard, being excluded from the increasingly frequent meetings on euro governance.”

    Etc.

    Note:

    1. That these seven are Eastern European countries which the Tory party actively wanted in the EU, saying that “widening” would prevent “deepening” and that having just escaped from under the thumb of the Soviet Union they would be natural freedom-loving, pro-democracy allies of the UK, and in particular of the Tory party, within the EU, and yet Major allowed them to be put straight on the conveyor belt to join the euro.

    2. That three non-euro EU member states did not participate – the UK, which having secured its own treaty “opt-out” from ever having to join the euro apparently wasn’t then bothered about making sure that new EU member states would enjoy the same freedom of choice, and apparently isn’t bothered now about offering any leadership to non-euro countries but instead sides with the leading eurozone countries; Denmark, which also has a treaty “opt-out”; and Sweden, which hasn’t actually got a treaty “opt-out” but likes to pretend that it has.

    3. That the exclusion which bothers these seven should bother the UK as well, and will become worse and worse if the eurozone survives and expands to take in more and more of the EU member states, until potentially the UK could be left as the only EU member state which had still not adopted the euro – and guess what would happen then, sooner or later?

  16. fairweather
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    These comments are very apposite and I wonder if you could show them to the group of eurosceptics tomorrow. I am not sure they understand negotiating different terms for the UK would be impossible (Sean O’Hara post)
    I think a lot of MPs are fairly ignorant i.e. some of them don’t know the difference between the debt and the deficit (Tax payers Alliance video)
    Can you put it to them that OUT is the thing to ask and then negotiate from there

    • David Price
      Posted September 13, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      Why would negotiation be impossible? – it doesn’t seem impossible for France, Germany etc to ignore agreements, the EU’s own regulations and unilaterally re-negotiate terms when it suits them, why shouldn’t we adopt the same attitude?

      • APL
        Posted September 13, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        David Price: “Why would negotiation be impossible?”

        Because the EU has everything it needs from Britain. It simply doesn’t need to negotiate anything, therefor it will take one of a couple of paths open to anyone in that sitution.

        1. We don’t care what you want, you ain’t getting it. Honest but plays into the hands of EUrosceptics in the UK.

        2. Procrastinate – the John Redwood option. (Renegotiation)

        3. Procrastinate – because it buys time and anyone who can remember what the UK was like before the dead hand of the EU will be dead in another thirty years anyway.

        If we just leave – then we can tidy up the loose ends after from a much stronger position.

        Trade issues can be settled through the World Trade organization.

        Reply: You are so unwilling to confront the reality. I have no wish to procrastinate, but only Parliament can pull us out of the EU and the Parliament the UK people have chosen has no intention of doing that by a large majority.

        • APL
          Posted September 14, 2011 at 8:53 am | Permalink

          Reply: “You are so unwilling to confront the reality.”

          The reality is, the treaties no longer have any authority.

          As another ( I think Dennis ) of your correspondents says, the EU laws and regulations you enact into law are done so because we agreed to do so as a result of the treaties.

          The treaties are now void, yet our politicians are still passing foreign legislation into domestic law, that is illegal under the constitution.

          In the absence of the treaties, what authority does Cameron’s government have to implement foreign diktat into British law?

          None! He does it because its always been done.

          You renegotiate and you reestablish the obligation to implement EU law under a new treaty.

          Bingo we are back at square one. Vassel status.

          Reply: I like you dislike the way the UK often meekly enacts EUmeasures into law which we would nto choose for ourselves. That is the point of my proposal for change, to stop that. However, the UK state and government does believe they have a legal duty to do so. The authority of EU law in the UK is the 1972 European Communities Act and the many amendments, especially those I and my colleagues opposed at the time that Labour drove through Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon.

  17. BobE
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Greece will be a basket case by Monday, (running out of cash). With luck she will default and exit the Euro. Luckilly the money markets have more sense than politicians.
    Maybe Humpty Dumpty will come crashing down.

  18. matthu
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, I was wrong! In this extraordinary recantation, Max Hastings, pro-European all his adult life, admits the EU is now a disaster which is blighting every aspect of British life – and crippling our recovery. All my adult life, I have called myself a pro-European. I deplored Brussels’ follies as much as anyone, but went on hoping for better things. I believed Europe was broadly a force for good.
    However, today, I recant. After much agonising and hesitation, I adopt the conclusion that many of you probably reached years ago: that the EU in its present form has become a disaster, which threatens the future of its major members, unless its terms and powers are drastically recast.

    So says Max Hastings.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2036704/EU-disaster-blighting-lives.html

  19. Tom
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    “Things like setting our own specifications for bananas or returning to Imperial weights and measures may please xenophobes but won’t increase our productivity.”

    Please can we have an informed discussion without using the word “xenophobe” and of a higher level than this example of”red top” thinking?

  20. Tedgo
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    I find it a rather blinkered view that euroscepticism is seen by many as a purely a UK position. In particular that we would have difficulty renegotiating a new arrangement with the EU, as the other 26 members like things exactly as they are and would resist strenuously.

    I believe other EU states might welcome a looser arrangement and want it for themselves too.

    • Kenneth
      Posted September 13, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      Yes, there seems to be growing eu scepticism in the Netherlands and Germany to name two.

      The trouble is, there are cultural differences.

      Other cultures take things as they come, obeying the regulations that suit them and ignoring those that do not. In that case, the ‘club’ they belong to doesn’t matter that much.

      There is a danger (I think it is a danger) that we will eventually end up with two political Europes: the north and the south (with France bridging both).

      There is also the danger of a coup in Greece especially if the military is put on half pay.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 13, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

      Indeed they (nearly all EU countries) want just free trade and all would benefit. Only the BBC pretend it is just the UK against the, top down, rule from unelected bureaucrats in Brussels.

  21. Acorn
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    George Eustice; now, didn’t he used to be a UKIP candidate? Can’t imagine why he jumped ships!

  22. Robin
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations to you and your colleagues John.
    I make that 100 Conservative MPs putting the people of this country first. That is a refreshing change and one Cameron would do well to follow.
    Good luck and best wishes in your endeavours.

  23. Bernard Otway
    Posted September 14, 2011 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    I had a conversation today in the doctor’s surgery,as usual a 9.40 ended up being 10.40,with a fellow pensioner we spoke about lots,including all of this and other vital current issues.In talking about BROWN’S LOSS ie “THE GOLD” and showing him how much was lost,he made the comment that the current price of gold was “artificially high” he had no idea that the supply is finite and the demand goes up all the time,which in economic terms means the law of supply and demand comes in to play,I gave as an example the IMPORTANCE of owning gold to Indians ,how it is an integral part of weddings and dowrys,I said to him that 1.2 billion Indians [and growing] will buy more gold the more prosperous they become,and that only one tenth of an ounce per person MORE per annum is 120 million ounces EXTRA which is about 3500 extra TONNES.
    My point is on our EU situation we are making trading with a block that is going to diminish in size to the east in particular,but also to Brazil,Australia/NZ/Canada a priority
    even though we run a balance of payments DEFICIT with them,when we could trade much more with the countries I mentioned. As I have asked before can any enthusiast and
    supporter of our link with the EU as it is explain WHAT????? it is that we GAIN by even staying in,all I can see is that we LOSE in multiples.Even Max Hasting writes TWO pages
    in today’s Mail 13th APOLOGISING for being a supporter of us IN the EU and stating he wants complete FUNDAMENTAL change.Any one that cannot see we have arrived at a tipping point by WE I mean the PEOPLE ,is blind, the whole western world has reached a tipping point in many areas and us with the EU in particular,politicians ignore this at your peril.

  24. backofanenvelope
    Posted September 14, 2011 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, you say:

    “This Parliament is not going to pull us out of the EU. Of course Parliament still could do this, but this one has abosolutely no intention of doing so, like the last one and the last before that.”

    You have put your finger on the problem. You don’t care what we think, so we don’t care what you say. Not a good situation.

    Reply: The electorate constantly elect a Parliament with a pro EU majority – that is the issue which none of you know how to solve.

    • Acorn
      Posted September 14, 2011 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      “Reply: The electorate constantly elect a Parliament with a pro EU majority – that is the issue which none of you know how to solve.”

      Primary elections would be a start! Let the electorate choose the candidate not the party caucus. The Primary candidate manifesto would indicate which Party he is minded to follow; or specific ideological theme he will base his voting on.

    • APL
      Posted September 14, 2011 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      JR: “The electorate constantly elect a Parliament with a pro EU majority –”

      The EU is always managed down the electoral agenda, it is never discussed during the General elections. Also, and conveniently the EU is only an issue with the EU elections. But the people we supposedly* elect during that charade have no authority no mechanism to extract us from the EU nightmare.

      * I say supposedly because we are in reality electing a party not an individual should the individual displease the party, note not the electorate, then the party replaces him with the next on their list.

      If one was of a cynical bent, one might think the system had been deliberately built that way.

      JR: “that is the issue which none of you know how to solve”

      Make the EU an issue at a general election. Connect the difficulties and everyday problems the population feels with the interference with our normal accepted way of doing things.

      NHS – no requirement for foreign doctors to speak english – or have United Kingdom approved qualifications.

      Farming – Destruction of millions of pounds of livestock and destruction of hundreds of poeples livelihood during the F&M outbreak because the EU refused to consider vaccination rather than culling livestock.

      Fishing – we don’t have a fishing industry to speak of because of the EU.

      Industry – Bombardier has lost contracts & its employees their jobs because of a policy agreed by the last government with the EU.

      Industry – Redcar the mothballing of the steelworks there as a result of the insane Green policies implemented by Huhne on behalf of the EU.

      The list is endless, but the General election is conducted on the baisis of which political party will spend more on schools ‘n hospitals.

      Shameful!

      Reply: I always discuss the EU in the General Election and set out clearly my view in my literature. Mr Hague made the EU central to his losing campaign in 2001.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted September 14, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      In a general election the voters vote on a variety of issues, as I am sure you know. Also, we have a very limited choice if we are to elect a government.

      In the Euro elections, the electorate are not voting for a government and UKIP, BNP etc do much better. The electorate is not stupid.

      There are a whole raft of areas where the political classes know what the voters think – and they take no notice of us.

      Reply: Yes, but even on the single issue with PR UKIP still do not win.

  25. fake
    Posted September 14, 2011 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    **The whole point is the EU does need to renegotiate,because their currency scheme is falling apart and needs Treaty changes and new powers to try to prop it up. That is why I am trying to get some pressure for a renegotiation now. Why don’t you help instead of jeering from the sidelines?**

    Ha, pull the other one it’s got bells on it.

    Renegotiation with the EU always goes the same way.

    They say what they want, you lot make lots of noise and hurampah, maybe a few insignificant details are compromised on, but in the end you sign the new deal the EU presents to you, because it’s a take it or leave it option, and you won’t leave it.

    6-12 months later any small parts that the EU compromised on are pushed through the back door anyway.

    **The electorate constantly elect a Parliament with a pro EU majority – that is the issue which none of you know how to solve.**

    Lab – Pro EU
    Libs – Pro EU
    Cons – Pro EU

    The vast majority vote for those 3, and won’t vote for UKIP through a mixture of tribal loyalty, and fear of voting for small parties and vote wastage.

    If you want to call that voting for pro EU parties, you are only technically correct.

    Reply: I see you have no answer to the problem. Blaming the electorate for failing to vote for your choice of party is not going to help. Rubbishing all other efforts to change the current unacceptable situation with the EU is worse than useless. You have to work through the elected Parliament, because that is the best view of the will of the people we have.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 14, 2011 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      I’m not convinced that we’ve ever had a House of Commons with a “pro-EU” majority, in the sense of a majority of MPs who genuinely believe in the EU project, but we always get a House of Commons with a “pro-self” majority who know that their political careers depend upon doing as they’re told by their party leaders, and who have few scruples about putting their personal interests above those of the country and their constituents.

      So it’s enough for the euro-federalists to take over the main national political parties at their highest levels, and then leave it to the national party leaders to control and manage those parties on their behalf, and that is what they’ve done not just in this country but in other countries as well.

      It has to be said that this is a remarkable achievement. Fifty years ago, who would have thought that it would become so nearly impossible for people anywhere in the country to elect an MP who openly and sincerely stated that the UK would be better off out of the EEC/EC/EU project and should withdraw from it?

      There are a few notable exceptions, but they’re at the level of 1% of MPs – not the much higher level suggested by the numbers attending this “eurosceptic” meeting, as most of those MPs stop short of wanting to leave the EU, and many of the minority who would really prefer to leave the EU are too afraid for their own careers to come out and say that openly – so the euro-federalists could reasonably claim that they’ve have been 99% successful in their aim of blocking the election of serious UK opponents to the UK Parliament.

    • fake
      Posted September 14, 2011 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      And this is why I shan’t bother to vote any more, along with millions of others. The complete disconnection of politicians to the people.

      You know that a large portion of people that vote for the big 3 do not vote for them in support of the EU, but on other matters.

      But the big 3 are pro EU, you are not prepared to take us out of the EU, you want us in.

      Work though the elected parliament, with what?

      I think it is a fair assumption to say that the vast majority will want you to properly negotiate better terms with the EU.

      But you simply cannot negotiate better terms if you make it very clear you will not leave the EU, what exactly are you negotiating with?

      It’s not so much that I am rubbishing your attempts to renegotiate, it’s more that you are doing no such thing.

      I’d love to be wrong, but history shows us always getting the bad end of the stick on EU deals, and I see nothing for you to negotiate with.

  26. Hope
    Posted September 14, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Glad to hear Parliamentary Party is seeing sense again.

  27. Steve Whitfield
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    I can foresee a great opportunity for this group if they play their hand well and get more Conservatives MP’s on the Euro sceptic side. I’m sure the tiny minority of Liberal MP’s in the coalition would hate this movement such is their desire to ‘punch above their weight’ but for the sake of balance we need a stronger voice from the right of the party. The messages just aren’t cutting through.

    Everyone wants to be on the winning team – and the sceptics have been proved to be right all along on many big issue such as public spending, the EURO and immigration control. Now is a golden opportunity to hammer the point home, as often as possible, how misjudged the EU fanatics have been.

    The federalists have been well and truly rumbled by their unhinged determination to prop up the doomed Euro project at all costs.

    It will be good for democracy if this group can stay united and face down the liberal/Cameron cliquey consensus type of politics that has choked our politics for too long.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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