Mark Pritchard reflects the growing Conservative frustration over the EU

 

        Mr Pritchard is right to point out the damage our current membership of the EU does to UK democracy and the economy.

        The high payments the UK has to make into the EU bduget, the large transfers now being required to bail out Euro problems, and the vast burden of EU regulation are all damaging to our economy. The constant intrusion of EU lawmaking into so many decisions of government undermines the democratic accountability of national and local government.

            When is the Coalition government going to do something about it?

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72 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Clearly under Cameron/Clegg/Huhne/Alexander & Clarke nothing much positive will happen.

    • Single Acts
      Posted September 19, 2011 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      We pretty much know what we are going to get from them by now.

      Windmills, tough talk on the EU and deficits but no action, high taxes and uber-interference. Add to that foreign wars and even the lingering conservative instincts diluted and defeated by the Liberals in government and all you end up with is pointless alleged titilation about the Chancellor twenty years ago.

      So to answer in a word ~ Never, whilst Mr Cameron leads you anyway.

      • APL
        Posted September 19, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        Single Acts: “whilst Mr Cameron leads you anyway.”

        Never! It’s nothing to do with Cameron, he is a symptom but the problem is the Party.

        The Tory party is an EUro supporting party. Yes, it periodically allows people like John Redwood to articulate not very enthusiastic noises about the European Union, he can occasionally pop up and say ” I voted against Niece, Amsterdam, Maastricht” .. etc, etc, but taken as a whole the political party is pro the European Union.

        What we hear is chat, dribble and blather.

        For the Tory EUro Sceptics to have any credibility at all we need to see some aspect of the Tory EUro policy given a real tangible setback in the commons.

        What we get are empty words!

        • Paul Cadier
          Posted October 5, 2011 at 10:23 am | Permalink

          I am afraid you are 100% right. The Tories are there to rob UKIP of support.

      • Disaffected
        Posted September 19, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        Correct. A change is required. I voted Tory all my life, I will not do so at the next election. I will vote UKIP . While I accept some might view this as a wasted vote at least it will please my conscience that i voted for a party that correlates with some of my views. At the moment the Tory party disappoints on a daily basis and I will not be conned again by them. Cameron chose his cabinet ministers because they are wet liberals- Willetts, Clark, Landsley, Greene etc. All of these have proven to be useless in their ministerial post, failed to make any difference over the last 18 months (in most cases the policy for the department has got worse!!) and have not promoted any Tory view or value that I would expect. Messrs Redwood and Tebbit, sadly, are isolated voices. There has not been any difference in office between Labour, Tory or Liberal. UKIP for me.

  2. Duyfken
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Not so pessimistic as lifelogic, I suggest the way things are going it may soon be a matter not of whether a referendum should be held, but what precisely should it be about – the wording of the question will be all-important.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 19, 2011 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      If a referendum is ever granted it will be only at a time and with a wording chosen so that government believe it can win approval.

      I do not therefore see that one is likely in the short term nor probably in the long term.

    • Martyn
      Posted September 19, 2011 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Aye, and therein lies the rub – as Willie S long ago put it.
      Obviously the question should be simple – ‘do you wish the UK to leave the EU (yes or no), but not doubt it will framed as be a convoluted question suggesting various options, the result of which can be claimed as statistically unreliable and things will stay as they are.
      Would such a referendum be binding on Scotland, Wales and N Ireland, one wonders?

      Reply: there is unlikely to be referendum given the Euro-enthusiast majority in the Commons

  3. Mike Stallard
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    The problem for people like yourself who actually are expert in the ways of parliament must be that you know the majority of MPs in the past – especially those in power in an elected dictatorship – are totally in favour of the EU as it is. Nick Clegg, I read, is mad keen to be a Commissioner. Big pay rise, lots more power, return to living in Europe with his Spanish wife, and all that. I would not blame him: I would certainly go for an opportunity like that at his age. Look at Lord and Lady Kinnoch for heaven’s sake! In-laws to the Danish PM!

    So do you compromise or do you attack?

    Easy for us outsiders to say “Attack!” But you insiders realise it isn’t that easy.

    I am sorry to have to say that the attitude of wait and see is beginning to look very much like Appeasement. I am waiting for the invasion of Poland…….

    Reply: Eurosceptics have been arguing, proposing amendments, seeking to veto laws and Treaties for years. We are very happy to attack, and often do. To win we need more troops.

    • Posted September 19, 2011 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Indeed to win you need more troops but possibly also better targeted weaponry and a recognition when selecting your ammunition that it is an enemy that you face, not allied troops posing as aggressors in a battlefield exercise. So far we have been firing blanks as we have incorrectly defined our opponents!

      On Saturday morning I posted on the damage that the false decisions across the energy field will likely cause for decades ahead, what the foreign owned power utilities in Britain appear to be undertaking will severely damage any chance of our recovering a solid manufacturing base.

    • alan jutson
      Posted September 19, 2011 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      John looks like more troops are slowly getting on board now, but what you really need is some full hearted Labour supporting members to speak up more loudly, aware that some do from time – time, but at the moment they are too silent.

      Once you have real cross party support it will be more difficult for the Europhile opposition to try and divide the Conservative members.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 19, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        Indeed we are winning more converts – even Sir Max Hugh Macdonald Hastings, whom I have always regarded as a rather pompous (etc-ed) and rather boring & tedious on most subjects that he addresses seems to have changed his earlier views on Europe as below.

        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.

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2036704/EU-disaster-blighting-lives.html#ixzz1YNrRPeL2

        Glad he has finally caught on.

        • lifelogic
          Posted September 19, 2011 at 9:20 am | Permalink

          Perhaps there is hope for Danny Alexander to see the light too eventually. Hopefully we will not have to wait until he is 65 too before he acquires such wisdom.

        • Derek Buxton
          Posted September 19, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

          He hasn’t, he has still got it wrong. You cannot renegotiate with the EU, it is a one way street, sign up once and you are in. Before any talk of a referendum, there need be a full debate, honestly conducted, the last bit ruling it out. The people must be given an impartial report on the EU not the lies peddled so assiduously by politicians of varying colours, and impartial it must be with facts and figures. We all know the lies that are being peddled even as we write these comments.

  4. matthu
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Add to your list the practice of law-making in secret behind closed doors, the sheer and utter wastefulness of running parliaments in two separate locations, the unwillingness to get their own accounts signed off for over sixteen years, the whiff of sexual scandal that permeates all levels, the unaccountability, the conceit, the continual alarmism about carbon dioxide in many cases funded by the EU, the windmills ruining our landscapes.

    Everything we ever wished to rid our own parliament of, we find ourselves saddled with in Europe but at far, far greater expense.

    And all tacitly supported by our own government. That is why it is so dangerous to the Conservatives.

  5. Posted September 19, 2011 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Can you give us some specifics on the recent intrusions please?

    Alex Salmond is doing a much better job at you lot at getting the public on his side for the removal of powers from Europe because he talks about specific issues which he has worked at relentlessly to resolve.

    Thanks.
    Tax, environment, planning,social policy, emnployment etc

    • Single Acts
      Posted September 19, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      EU to Alex Salmond; the accent is different, the rest is the same.

    • APL
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 12:03 am | Permalink

      Rebecca Hanson: “Alex Salmond is doing a much better job at you lot at getting the public on his side for the removal of powers from Europe .. ”

      What? Alex Salmond & the SNP are raving EUrophiles. ‘Independence within [the] Europe [ean Union]” was I seem to recal.

      Why don’t they try an alternative, Independence within the United Kingdom?

  6. Peter Campbell
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    When is the Coalition government going to do something about it?

    Better ask Nick Clegg and Vince Cable as most of the governments current policies are Lib Dem. If you do they’ll say never.

    Don’t hold your breath for Dave to stand up to them, the EU or anybody else except some rioters that he can use for PR purposes.

    • Single Acts
      Posted September 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      If the rioters wished to avoid condemnation from the PM or Boris, shouldn’t they have donned top hat and tails, joined a dining club and shouted ‘buller, buller’ whilst smashing things up?

  7. Alan
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    In my view Mr Pritchard’s article is a good rant, but it is not any more serious than that. I think it is full of vague and unsubstantiated assertions about the EU. I suspect if one challenges any of his assertions rather minor and obscure examples will be produced as substantiation. “Cheques drawn on the backs of struggling British taxpayers”, “blank cheques for workers in Lisbon”, “an occupying force”, “Britain has become enslaved to Europe”, “Self-inflicted Mediterranean origins of Europe’s financial crisis” – it is all good invective but to my mind it makes no sense.

    And then he ends up by asking for a referendum. I don’t mind the right wing of the Party wasting their time over this, but I don’t want them wasting everyone else’s time. Forget about a referendum.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted September 19, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Forget about a referendum.

      I agree. Repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and get us out. Now before it is too late!

  8. Electro-Kevin
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    The constant intrusion of EU law making appears to suit our Leftist establishment very well.

  9. A.Sedgwick
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    The Coalition will do nothing – it is time for the 120 “Eurosceptic” Conservatives to vote down this undemocratic Government. As I didn’t vote for Cameron, not that it made any difference in our skewed system, I cannot bleat but I do wonder what percentage of the Cameron vote expected and would have endorsed a coalition with the lefties – very small my guess. A Nulab/Lib coalition yes, definite bedfellows, in fact Brown was visibly working at it in the Commons for months. History will show Cameron’s ego bigger than his limited Conserative principles or as Groucho said – you don’t like my principles, wait I have more.

    Reply: Your own numbers show why this cannot happen – 120 cannot vote down a government where there are 650 MPs, and a majority of pro EU ones. Labour usually votes with the government on these matters.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Are you really saying that the 258 Labour MPs would not be whipped to down the Government?

  10. Richard
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    There won’t be a referendum during the lifetime of this Parliament because any vote in the Commons would be lost to the Euro enthusiast majority.

    However there is hope on the horizon, because the overspending and overborrowing member states could well bring down the Euro currency and slow down moves towards a United States of Europe quite soon.

    Like the fall of the USSR it was eventually running out of (other peoples) money that caused the end of the empire.

    • Javelin
      Posted September 19, 2011 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Agreed – Governments can’t buck the market – the rise of the BRICs has (as predicted), brought liberal socialism to its knees – as we in the West did to the USSR.

      • Single Acts
        Posted September 19, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        The crash when it comes (‘you ain’t seen nothing yet’ to quote Reagan) could very easily blow away some or all of the major parties. God alone knows who takes over then.

  11. James Reade
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Why aren’t you railing against the high pay-outs the South East must make to bail out North East problems? Why aren’t you railing against the mindless regulations coming from Westminster (and more would come if the EU wasn’t there to take the blame for putting in place the ones Westminster would do otherwise)? Why not, say, rail against the MPC at the Bank of England? That’s not democratically elected yet it sets the interest rates we all face on mortgages.

    And why, if you understand economics, go on about national sovereignty? You would know all about interest parity conditions which tell us that we don’t actually have any ability to set our own rates – we can only follow what the global markets are doing, given we don’t have capital controls.

    I guess the bottom line is that you’d like the stupid decisions (mindless regulations etc) at least to be made by British politicians rather than European ones? Is that the sovereignty you’re after?

    Reply: Yes, I want democratic exercise of power in a single country with a single currency. If you have a single currency you ened to send money from the richer to the poorer parts of the union – that’s the whole point about the Euro argument. My country is the UK, not the EU.

    • James Reade
      Posted September 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      But democratic exercise of what power? Is the MPC democratic? Even if it were, power to set our own interest rates? Do you think interest rate parity doesn’t apply to the UK and/or that we drive where market rates are?

      And just because the UK is your country, does not make it an optimal currency area…

  12. oldtimer
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    The Coalition will never do anything about it. That is clear from past statements of the Prime Minister and others. He, and they, will always claim that it will be in “the national interest” to support the EU. Nothing will be done to undermine that increasingly shaky structure. They will not want to be the ones to bring down the house of cards. Events may do so, such as the inexorable pressures of the bond market, but this Coalition will want to keep its hands clean on this existential issue.

    Other issues might well make life difficult for the Coalition, and even could cause its downfall. An example is the Great Wind Farm Swindle that is whole heartedly supported by the three main party leaders and offered up as the route to national salvation. One day the public will wake up to the full implications of this scandal. When they do, political life for those leaders will become very difficult indeed.

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Mr Cameron has stated that he won’t hold an in/out referendum on the EU because he believes that the UK should remain in the EU. The opinions of the British people are therefore irrelevant to him. His pals in the LibDems who are Eurofanatics (were Clegg and Huhne posted here by the EU?). The answer to your final question is that this coalition will do nothing to stop never mind reverse the tide of transfer of power from the UK to the EU.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 19, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      He won’t hold an in/out referendum on the EU because – he know he would loose it.

  14. Posted September 19, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    ” When is the Coalition government going to do something about it?”
    Never !
    The fact that they refuse to hold a referendum on the EU because, as was said the other day, “we would loose it” shows that the government does not believe in democracy.

    Thus having formally stated that they don’t believe in democracy, clearly they won’t do anything to stop the rise of the EU dictatorship.

  15. AndyC71
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I agree with Mr Pritchard’s letter and wish him well with it, but can’t help feeling that it would have had more force if signed by more than one MP; how many MPs attended that eurosceptic meeting the other week? Hopefully this letter is just the tip of a very large iceberg. Eurosceptics in parliament need to be much more visible to the public at large. We’re told that 80, 100, 120 MPs attended that meeting – accounts have differed – but we don’t know who they were or what they discussed. What’s so awful about this subject that it can’t be discussed openly with the electorate, and a positive case made?

    To answer your question, it’s a good bet that the current coalition will do nothing about this, and I have no faith that a Conservative majority government would do anything either, under the present leadership. Mr Cameron had a golden opportunity before the election to address this issue, and he chose not to. Since then, he and Mr Hague have said one thing and done the opposite. I think they are in a position now where it would be intellectually dishonest of them – it certainly would be presented that way in the media – to attempt to take the steps needed to redefine Britain’s relationship with the EU.

    I’ve reluctantly come to the conclusion that the Conservative Party needs different leadership to progress on this issue. I don’t dislike Mr Cameron from what I see of him, and he’s immeasurably better than the previous PM, but the evidence suggests he’s not the man for the job. I’m not wholly sure who is.

    Repkly: I counted at least 100 (MPs come and go without staying all the time) at the meeting. The mood was to get powers back, but there were many differing views on referenda, which powers, when etc.

  16. Adam5x5
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Your last sentence sums it up.
    “when is the coalition going to do something about it?”

    What are you doing about it? What are we, the people doing about it?

    I have signed several petitions requesting a referendum. Yet none is forthcoming. In my constituency I can’t vote UKIP as the incumbent is judged to be sufficiently euro-sceptic.

    We vote for a party which is supposed to be euro-sceptic, only to get a euro-philic coalition.

    If the parties don’t start listening to the people soon it’ll end badly.

    Bring on the Tory revolt. Maybe it’ll galvanise the government into doing what it’s supposed to…
    Representing the will of the people.

    Reply: I have voted for a referendum in the Commons – and lost. I am willing to vote again.

  17. javelin
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Dont let the UK get sucked in !!

    I would also be very careful of gettnig pulled into any new idea like Synthetic Eurobonds.

    That is a bond demominated in Euros and issued by the ECB that is funded relative to GDP but only guaranteed relative to GDP. I’m sure bankers can financially engineer a slippery slope to fiscal integration.

    Be careful we don’t get boiled like frogs !!!

  18. Mactheknife
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    @ John Redwood

    Question: “When is the Coalition government going to do something about it?”

    Answer: Never

    I’m afraid its up to the EU skeptics to actually DO something in parliament, rather than just forming groups and having a whinge over a single malt in the commons bar. Its time to work out a plan of action to gain some movement on the EU from the government. Perhaps voting against some of their key policies may chnage their views?

  19. Bryan
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Surely, following the considered advice of that excellent man of the people Mr Huhne, all we have to do is shop around and find a group of countries which offer a better deal?

    Simple

    Job done!

  20. Thomas Ec
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    I think you are right on this. The British people should get a say over whether more powers are given up, and ultimately whether they should stay within the EU.

    Although I believe that the EU is a good thing, overall, I don’t want the UK to stop being a sovereign nation, and I do want the UK parliament to be the sovereign institution in the UK.

    I am worried that Monetary Union has been a complete disaster in the EU, and that in order to fix it, the EU will become more like a nation state.

    That means, in my view, we are getting to the point as a nation where we need to decide whether we are willing to give up sovereignty.

    And, I say this as a Europhile: I don’t want to give up the British nation state.

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    All very well, but why no mention of the immediate issue of 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

    That cannot come into force unless and until the UK Parliament has approved it through an Act, and I read that the government is planning to introduce the Bill next spring.

    Should Parliament approve an EU treaty change which could easily be the last EU treaty change Parliament would ever have to approve “to safeguard the stability of the euro area”, however that may be interpreted, because from then on any new treaties for that purpose would be intra-eurozone treaties rather than EU treaties?

    Even if MPs were prepared to accept that thereafter they would have no say whatsoever on legal changes made in a eurozone which is destined to expand until it takes in the whole of the EU, including the UK, should they not insist that the people must be asked whether they agree that their elected representatives should resign their powers in this matter?

    Reply : It is this Treaty change which some of us are saying must be conditional on a different deal for the UK

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 19, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      To build opposition to an EU treaty change people have to know that it exists, that it has been proposed and agreed by EU leaders and will coming up for approval by the UK Parliament prior to final ratification.

      That’s true whether the people in question are in Parliament, or in political parties, or are members of the wider public.

      Regarding European Council Decision 2011/199/EU agreed on March 25th, the strategy adopted by the government and its allies in the mass media appears to be keep as quiet as possible about it until the Bill is sprung on Parliament.

      That’s even extended to the FCO arbitrarily rejecting an e-petition I submitted, calling for it to be put to a referendum.

      And not once but twice, on both occasions on the same spurious grounds that the issue was already being dealt with through an existing petition – which is simply untrue, as I’ve checked very thoroughly.

    • David Hepburn
      Posted September 19, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Dear Mr Redwood,

      So, how do YOU define a treaty change?

      Reply: Any change to the Treaty that our Parliament has to approve.

      • David Hepburn
        Posted September 19, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        Why have we all suddenly gone into italic? English Pensioner is to blame…

        • APL
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 12:11 am | Permalink

          JR: “It is this Treaty change which some of us are saying must be conditional on a different deal for the UK”

          OK, What different deal, specifics please?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 19, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

        I’d go further than that, because if EU leaders and the EU Parliament agree to a treaty change under the simplified revision procedure in Article 48(7) TEU then it will come into force provided none of the national Parliaments objects, but it will still be a treaty change.

        Page 43 here:

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

        “… If a national Parliament makes known its opposition within six months of the date of such notification, the decision referred to in the first or the second subparagraph shall not be adopted. In the absence of opposition, the European Council may adopt the decision.”

  22. Andrew Duffin
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    “When is the Coalition government going to do something about it?”

    This comes under the heading of Question We Can Easily Answer.

    And the answer is “Never”.

    As for the referendum, we all know what happened when Ireland and Holland voted the wrong way, don’t we?

  23. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    With all due respect I’d suggest that the real problem is with UK democracy itself:
    In spite of all these decades of anti-EU sentiment, you don’t even have a eurosceptic party in your parliament. See how this compares with other European nations where all kinds of views (eurosceptic, anti-Islam, anti-immigrant, Greens, and many other political “flavours”) are properly represented in parliaments, which gives much more political dynamism than the Lab-Lib-Con ping-pong scenes in Britain. I may not like the Dutch anti-moslim/anti-immigrant/anti-Greek populists, but at least I know that our parliament is a fair representation of public views so I accept the verdicts of parliament. So I don’t come across people asking the Dutch prime-minister to be tried for treason or other extreme expressions of frustration. As I see it, at least part of all this British frustration with anything European (be it the 17, the 27 or the 47 countries) is finding an easy scapegoat for powerlessness within one’s own country, the UK.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 19, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      How happy will you feel when the Greeks and other spendthrift members of the Eurozone have bled you dry? I think you ought to be feeling powerless right now and worried about the looming financial disaster.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted September 19, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        The Dutchman Bob Traa (IMF) has just said that Greece has to do more. Of course he’s only an unelected (thus independent) official. I have to accept that I’m only one of 329 million (eurozone citizens) or one of some 10 million Dutch voters. But within those proportions I do have influence at the ballot box. If only Britain were an economic island, it would be immune to what’s happening in Greece. But no country is. Finance has become global.

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

          Have you been asked if you want to keep giving more of your tax money to spendthrifts who don’t obey the rules and seem certain to default? I doubt it. Clearly, you are happy to do this and lose your money but please understand that many in this country are not.

    • Mactheknife
      Posted September 19, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately in parliament we have the “whip system” whereby whatever your local MP’s views are on any subject when canvassing for your support, he (or she) is immediately told when, how and what to vote for once in parliament by the government enforcers. Thats the real problem with British politics. I’m sure we have politicians with real beliefs of all kinds but they are never allowed to express them. If they ever do the whips will be on them for being “off-message” or in the case of politicians such as Dennis Skinner or George Galloway they will be lampooned by the press. I’m no supporter of either of these two but I admire the fact that they will speak out and express their own opinions.

      Reply: rebelllions against whips’ views are quite common

      • Mactheknife
        Posted September 19, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        We haven’t seen any major ones recently Mr Redwood.

    • Susan
      Posted September 19, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Peter,

      You have hit the nail on the head. The British are very good at complaining about the EU, yet do not see it as an important enough issue to do anything about it.

      Most people in the UK vote in the same way they have for years, they never really exam what it is the Party actually stands for. Now however there is very little to choose between the main Political Parties on policy which has left people like myself without any real representation.

      What works well in the UK is to give the public someone to blame for everything that goes wrong, it is usually the bankers at the moment. It is never the publics fault for ignoring important issues and continuing to vote for a party that was systematically destroying the economy by overspending, taking us into illegal wars etc, just so that they could continue to have cheap credit. Then when the economy gets into difficulty, a great deal of the public think that the Government has a magic money tree to call on. Why should they accept cuts and austerity measures when it was all the bankers fault. The fact that the UK has massive private debt and the public themselves spent too much passes them by.

      Of course in the end because the Government lives in fear of upsetting the public by cuts, the only people that are punished for the financial crisis are those that have worked hard, saved and have done absolutely nothing wrong, they see their years of work just disappear. Those who have been irresponsible and spent beyond their means are protected, helped and continue to moan about what they feel they are entitled to and are not been given by the State.

      Thats how the British system works.

  24. David Whitley
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Would Mr Pritchard, you and the other 120 Tory MPs be prepared to resign your seats and stand on a referendum ticket or maybe for UKIP? Surely, if you all felt strongly enough about the issue to do it, the threat of it to Cameron might be enough for him to do something. What about it?

    Reply: No, that is a UKIP fantasy. We stood as Eurosceptic Conservatives, defeating UKIP candidates, and our electors expect us to act as Eurosceptic Conservatives. If anyone did behave as you suggest UKIP would lose the subsequent election and the Commons would have one less Eurosceptic MP. What’s the point of that?

    • David Whitley
      Posted September 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      I voted Conservative last time but, as things stand, will probably not do so again until I see some real action not just words.

    • sjb
      Posted September 19, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

      I think David makes an interesting point.

      In 1981/2 just over 10% of the Parliamentary Labour Party defected to the SDP. The SDP hooked-up with the Liberals and as the “Alliance” won a 25% share of the vote in the 1983 general election.

      Applying the precedent, it only needs 31 of you to form, say, the Free Traders Party (“FTP”). You could all argue that you left because the government was not the Eurosceptic animal your constituents elected.

      As with the SDP, a new political party is bound to encourage media attention providing many opportunities in which to expound your doctrine. If enough MPs defect to the FTP, then you may well force an early election.

    • APL
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 12:15 am | Permalink

      JR: “No, that is a UKIP fantasy. ”

      Then resign the Tory whip and stand as an independent Conservative.

      I regret to observe you have no discernible influence in the Tory party.

      Reply: I have no need to stand again, so soon after the last General Election. I stood as a Conservative with views of my own and am acting as one. I think it is my job to offer sensible advice on the economy, EU, energy and the other main topics I deal with to Ministers through Parliament, meetings, the media and this website. You never know which b it of advice might be taken up, but you cannot rule it out. For example, we did not end up with the 40% or 50% CGT the Lib Dems wanted.

  25. Martin
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    So why not start at home and dump Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) introduced by a previous Conservative government? A vast load of UK paperwork for not a lot of cash.

    Always convenient to blame somebody else.

  26. William Blakes Ghost
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Cameron has managed to provide Britain with the worst of all worlds one where necessary reform is blocked either by the EU or its most asinine cheerleaders the Libdems.

    This Government is a washout and a stain on the Conservative Party….

  27. Susan
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I don’t believe this frustration felt by the Conservatives over the EU, is likely to be relieved anytime soon. The power is not in the hands of those who would withdraw or take powers back from the EU, therefore there is very little chance that policy will change in the near future. Britain has a Coalition Government, one part of which the Lib/Dems, are very pro the EU, this unfortunately was the outcome of the Election, so for the immediate future the EU will continue to have a great deal of influence . All that may happen for the present is that splits in the Conservative party may begin again over the EU. If this occurs a great deal of the public may not thank the Conservatives who brought this situation about, as they themselves are not engaged with the EU debate. Furthermore, if a referendum was granted, there is no guarantee that it would produce the result those who are against the EU are looking for. If the vote did go the wrong way, any chance for the future to withdraw or gain powers back would be lost forever.

    I would suggest that those in the Conservative Party who see the EU as the most important issue facing the UK, must either leave the Party and set up their own, or accept the lead given by David Cameron for now. This seems to be the only solutions on offer at the moment. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but there seems to be no alternative presenting itself.

    For the moment however, it is very important for all our sakes that the eurozone sorts itself out, otherwise economic chaos will be the result.

  28. Elliot Kane
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    A very good question, Mr Redwood.

    I hope Cameron is listening…

  29. Derek Buxton
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    “When is the coalition going to do something about it”, never! they are paid to pursue the EU agenda and will. It will ruin this Country, but then that is what it was all about from the start.

  30. Anne Palmer
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Exactly correct Derek Buxton, it will certainly not be any of the three major Political Parties that will try to save their own Country because ALL THREE OF THEM want to remain in the European Union. They want the money for Governing and the vast expenses, but want foreigners to make all the Regulations and Directives for national Governments to follow. (Certainly not in keeping with our Constitution) I doubt any British Government would know how to actually Govern this Country according to its Common law Constitution any more. None have done so completely since 1972. It will however, be the people that will eventually say enough is enough, and it has started-just by a nudge-not there yet-to get a tad disquiet about what is happening at present. One more massive “Bail out” of our money to the Euro-zone just might light the touch-paper.

  31. James Matthews
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    “When is the Coalition government going to do something about it?”. Surely we should be asking you that question (well actually we do, frequently, but with little hope and no expectation). Anyway we all know the answer – never, though it is remotely possible that a full Conservative government under a new leader might. I wouldn’t hold my breath for that either though.

  32. Chris
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    I believe there needs to be a change of leadership of the Conservative party before any progress can be made regarding Europe. I feel I have been utterly deceived by Mr Cameron and his Conservative party, and I do not necessarily accept that the Lib Dem “influence” is to blame. The supreme irony is that the Conservatives would have won (and would now win) an outright majority with a very strong Eurosceptic line, a complete rewrite of immigration policy, free of the fetters of the EU, zero tolerance re crime, a complete overhaul of the education system bringing back discipline and academic rigour (which they have started), replacing the Human Rights Act with a new Bill of Rights, replacing PC lunacy with common sense and a genuine desire to see a problem solved, and the restructuring of the NHS with removal of excess managers and targets, reintroduction of old style matrons on each ward, revisiting the training requirements of nurses in order to bring back the caring element, and much more. However, the stranglehold of the EU and the mass immigration which has been inflicted on this country are the two central problems which need to be tackled head on. The excessive bureaucracy of the EU will eventually result in European democracies grinding to a halt, making it so easy for the rising stars of BRIC and other countries in south east Asia (who have the necessary drive, ambition and academic training to succeed, but are unfettered by bureaucratic and PC nonsense) to dominate the global stage. David Cameron seems unwilling to genuinely tackle either the EU issue or immigration, and I believe the Conservatives will suffer very severe losses at the next election as a result of this. There is much bitterness and anger among former Cons voters, and a real feeling that there is not now a party that really represents Conservatives. I believe a new leader who is not scared of the Lib Dems and who is willing to advocate bold policies would win the day, and inject new life into the Cons Party. How refreshing it would be, compared with wishy washy compromises all the time which end up pleasing noone. I do not agree with everything that Boris Johnson says or does, but at least he has the courage to speak his mind and doesn’t spend his time bothering about his image.

  33. BobE
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    The third European war has been fought with buracrats, armed to the teeth with power point presentations and led into the fray by consutants.
    BobE, Region 6, EUSSR
    (I now am desperatly hoping that Greece will bring down the entire house of cards).

  34. Paul from MK UK
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Ah, a referendum .. but there’s a problem.
    Prominent members of the other side of the coalition partnership stand to lose their EU pensions if they display any anti-EU sentiments. (Clegg MEP and Huhne were both MEPs from 1999 to 2004).
    So would the coalition survive if Cameron were to actually come up with a properly worded (in or out) referendum? No it wouldn’t, so just forget it.

  35. Anne Palmer
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Chris @5.33. Any new Bill of Rights as any UK Politician knows will be a complete waste of time because the EU will automatically over-ride it. However, if it is put to a referendum and the people foolishly vote for it, they may be led to believe that they have in voting for the “NEW” have destroyed their own Bill of Rights and even Magna Carta, and once it has done the job government wants it to do-THEN the EU will over-ride THE NEW- in other words, it will have done its job!

    Magna Carta, Clause 61 was invoked re the ‘with-holding of tax’ in December last year, and the Telegraph, Daily Mail and the Daily Express could confirm that. The reply from the Palace informed us that our Monarch ‘had been made aware of its (the Letter’s) contents’. So, it is ready to be used if need be.

    However, the only previous time it was used, it removed the power from the Crown from that time forward. If it is used a second time it must be realised it may result in the demise of our Parliament, for all three Political Parties want to remain in the European Union-in other words, allow foreigners to make our laws and everyone-including our own Government-which as you all know-is absolutely contrary to our Constitution. Far better NOT to use it, but we cannot allow our Country to be given away to foreigners to govern forever, can we? The people have a duty to do-for it truly is the people that are “sovereign” and the people have had absolutely no hand in ratifying any of the EU Treaties the contents of which are absolutely contrary to our own Common law Constitution and contrary to the solemn Oaths of Allegiance all make to the British Crown, for the Crown represents the people in Parliament.

    Many people NOW realise that lies were told to the people before most of the EU Treaties were ratified, from the first “There will be no loss of essential Sovereignty”, to Lisbon. Questions should also be put to the Vienna Convention of the Laws of Treaties regarding fraud etc, that is another avenue that should be looked at.
    Far better for this present Government to listen to the people and remove this Country themselves from a Union that this Country should never have been involved in, in the first place. More people than ever before want out of the EU, the numbers will rise as time goes by. Sadly, our present Government is STILL busily putting through all EU legislation even now.

    The saying that, ” Magna Carta will have no “master”, is very true indeed, and THAT above all else has been very much brought home, and I pray this Government wakes up to reality very soon, and long before the people have any need to use it.

  36. EJT
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    “When is the Coalition government going to do something about it?”

    Anyone prepared to bet against me if I say “never” ?

  37. Posted September 21, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood

    There are clearly some very frustrated bloggers on your site. How do we force the Conservative Party leadership’s hand on Europe while we are still in coalition? I think that the only way is for a backbencher of stature to tell the Prime Minister that there will be a leadership challenge in the Autumn of 2012 unless he gives us what we want.

    Reply: In the current situation that would not force his hand as he commands good support within the Parliamentary party.

  38. Chris
    Posted September 21, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    Fascinating comment/analysis by Peter Oborne on the euro, BBC bias, concerns re the BBC Trust, the CBI, and FSA. The remarks about the BBC are of particular concern.
    http://www.spectator.co.uk/essays/7256618/the-great-euro-swindle.thtml

  • 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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