Uk foreign policy and the continent of Europe

 

           I have written before that for centuries one of the main aims of UK foreign policy has been to avoid one single power dominating the continent of Europe. The question today is why has the modern Foreign Office changed its mind on this fundamental issue? Why is it now UK government policy to welcome a single country with a single currency controlling most of the continent?

          In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the UK fought against Spanish domination of the continent. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the UK successfully opposed French domination. In the twentieth century the UK with the help of the USA successfully resisted German domination.  

          The UK used to fear that if a single country came to dominate, they could close the continent off to fair trade with the UK. There would be the ever present danger they would want to take us over as well.

          Today the UK goverment tells us encouraging the emergence of a single government for much of Europe would secure our trade and improve our relations with the continent. It is difficult to see why they believe this. All those people who for years have been telling us Europe is “going our way” and under Labour how “we have influence in EU matters” now have to explain how it is most countries in the EU are poised on the edge of substantial further economic and political integration, with the UK on the outside with no clear view of how its relationship with such a new country might work.

             There is evidence of protectionist tendencies in the bureaucracy of Brussels. It is ever ready to impose taxes and regulations on business, to create barriers to entry and to seek to control or reduce UK successes from the art market through to various financial services. The Franco-German architects of the current phase of ever closer union are no friends of the finance sector, the one which just happens to be the UK’s most successful.

             The truth is it will be more difficult for the UK to protect herself from EU rules and regulations if there is further integration and the creation of a strong inner Euro bloc within the EU. The Foreign Office should have thought more carefully about the economic dangers of more Euro integration, as outlined here yesterday. It needs to follow up that thinking with more thought about what the UK should demand and insist on to protect against the obvious dangers of a more powerful and more integrated Euro  zone emerging as the UK government claims to want.

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97 Comments

  1. norman
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Wow, quite an eye opener. Here we have it folks, a senior MP hinting that the mandarins in Whitehall don’t just take the path of least resistance /aim at whatever direction the latest cheque book waving lobbyist points them but actually make decisions based on reasoned thinking and logic.

    Given that info things are much, much worse than we thought. At least when we thought they were just stumbling around blindly there was some hope for the future, now that we know this path has been deliberately chosen it’s looking decidely bleak.

    Unless the final paragraph is wishful thinking. Make up your own minds.

  2. Mick Anderson
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    it will be more difficult for the UK to protect herself from EU rules and regulations

    Especially with the holders of the top posts in the UK government being so enthusiastic for further Euro support.

    JR will observe that the electorate keep voting to Europhile MPs, never for UKIP. However, with only one relevant vote every five years and the three main parties holding all the aces, we are not really being offered a viable Euro-sceptic option.

    The only way to confirm what the public really wants on an individual subject is to ask a specific question in a referendum. They were happy to spend money on one for electoral reform that nobody wanted, but not on the EU, which tells us all we need to know about the disdain in which our views are held.

    Reply: I suspect Parliament will soon debate a referendum, but I also suspect a majority of MPs will vote one down unless Labour changes its stance in time for the vote.

    • Mick Anderson
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      JR. Yes, I suspect you are right. That’s a consequence of Europhile Parties offering largely Europhile candidates, and little chance for representitives of minor Parties or independant MPs to be elected.

      Much as I would like the referendum, it’s rather a shame that the only likely reason it might be offered is if Her Majesties Opposition are playing political games. Westminster would be far better served if it did the right thing for the right reason.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 14, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        Westminster would be far better served if it did the right thing for the right reason.

        That looks somewhat unlikely.

  3. Mike Stallard
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Our government does not insist on anything much, I don’t think. It is obvious even from the BBC that Angela Merkel and Mr Sarkozy are best friends and that together they are setting up policy while Mr Barroso is there in the background planning in his own way with his own power base. I don’t think there is a hot line to London and, honestly, I don’t think London is even being consulted, at least at the top level, on anything that matters.

    But – hey – it is all being done in secret so what do I know?

    PS – Don’t forget the Acquis Communitaire which makes it anathema for Brussels to “give back” any rights and privileges which have already been granted. No! Instead the EU exists to ratchet up its power until the thought of war and disunity are history!

    • Paul H
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      No, until it has created a new casus belli. Those who claim a single country guarantees peace have clearly never heard of civil war – eg Yugoslavia, to quote recent European history. Once the internal pressures build, war can only be avoided by the most extreme repression – and not always then. I fully expect this to be the route our EU masters would take.

  4. lifelogic
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    The EU, which claimed expanded using the common market as a ruse, is in fact all about distortion of markets and control of free trade – in a conspiracy against their peoples. We see it with CAP, fishing, energy, sugar, butter, meat, VAT and countless other areas of protectionism with power going to more parasitic bureaucrats.

    You say “The Foreign Office should have thought more carefully about the economic dangers of more Euro integration, as outlined here yesterday.”

    The Foreign office does not have a good record on thinking it has been wrong on the EU, the ERM, the pointless wars, the distorted “green” AGW agenda and countless other issues. In fact the foreign office is, rather like the Liberals, a good way to check if something is wrong headed and daft – if so then they are probably likely to agree with doing it.

    • Derek Buxton
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      The Foreign Office amongst other Civil Servants have been the leading lights in getting us into this EU mess. The governments, all of them since Heath are in collusion with the Civil Service and the EU, so do not expect any change. We are ruled by Brussels, make no mistake about that, whilst our politicians make our lives a misery because that is all they can do. Parliament need to get round to supporting British interests not the EU, and if Cameron doesn’t like it tell him to go. It is past time for a peaceful revolution lest thing get so bad that it is too late and the real trouble starts. People are fed up of this arrogant group of educated idiots treating them with contempt, the People are Sovereign, get used to it.

  5. alan jutson
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Invasion and robbery via the back door, with inside help ?.

  6. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Why should an emerging “ever closer union” on the continent be such a friend of the financial sector? After what has happened since 2007 I really fail to see that. In the single market there were rules for all kind of products meeting standards, but apparently there was one sector, the financial sector which was very deregulated, in which products did not meet standards, and a sector which created havoc in the whole western world. The financial sector, just like any sector in the single market, DOES need some regulating.

    Also, why should the UK put itself always in opposition of the continent (and try to create divergence)? There are very good possibilities of cooperation with the continent which would give Britain a relationship as it wants.

    • Jose
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      You’re right of course Peter, the financial sector does need regulation. However, the Commission and the leaders of Germany and France have committed the ‘cardinal sin’ of wanting to impose a financial tax that will largely penalise the City. It’s not a question of divergence but more one of common sense and fairness or would you rob us further to meet the debts of the eurozone countries? This proposal is a ‘lazy’ solution to their problems albeit a sound one if every financial centre can be persuaded to join.
      The EU should try wooing the UK rather than always to be seen as extracting as much contribution as possible. We are net contributors so you can hardly accuse us of being bad Europeans.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 14, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        If the F.T.T. is applied in the eurozone only (the UK vetoing a wider application) it wouldn’t hurt the City, but it would still help the lobby for a global application of this tax at the next G20. One has to start somewhere . . . The UK has allies in the EU and from where I stand I don’t see that the EU is particularly harsh for the UK. The Netherlands is an even larger (per capita) net contributor and on top of that we help with the stabilisation of the eurozone, which then will give a nice single-currency markets for businesses in the UK.

      • Gary
        Posted October 14, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

        Oh, suffer the thought that the city should be punished ! After all why would anyone want to punish a sector that had contributed to bringing the world to the edge of ruin ? The city grew at the expense of productive enterprises. This quango makes the economy a zero sum game.

        It is not what they give us, it is what they have destroyed that is many times greater.

        I cannot believe there is one single apologist for banking, as it is currently practiced, left walking this earth.

        Thank goodness the market is in the process of decimating it. Even this hobbled market. Unfortunately the price to be paid is our future.

    • Derek Buxton
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      No there is not, the EU has one aim, to become a single state and the ones who wanted it knew that Great Britain would not accept their dominion over us, nor will we. The EU is a corrupt, fraudulent, anti democratic political entity bent on ruling us all. It has no Demos and no mandate so to do.

    • APL
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Peter van Leeuwen: “There are very good possibilities of cooperation with the continent which would give Britain a relationship as it wants.”

      Being told by directives from Brussels how to order your own countries internal affairs can not be described as ‘cooperation’.

      In the case of the UK we are obeying a foreign power, which just happens to be unconstitutional. But our current nest of ruling vipers don’t seem to care about the lawful exercise of power.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 14, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        Please realise that you (the UK) are actually part of this “foreign power”, having willingly signed and ratified each and every treaty (with or without opt-outs). Rules upon the Dutch from Brussels also come from British civil servants in Brussels, implementing those treaties. In your own UK democracy you must be a minority, otherwise this treaty signing wouldn’t have happened.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

          “In your own UK democracy you must be a minority, otherwise this treaty signing wouldn’t have happened.”

          A majority of the people are against but have not been asked for that very reasons – but a minority of those in power and the BBC who have all been bought or bribed.

        • Nick
          Posted October 14, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

          Peter – you confuse the government with the will of the people. We, the electorate want nothing to do with the EU monstrosity. It has become an abomination. The government, acting directly inpposition to the electorate, have done what suits them.

          We want a referendum. They don’t. We want out. They want in. Look at the polls. We do not live in a democracy. The suggestion of recall and referendum is anathema to most officials. These ‘treaties’ have been signed without our consent.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 15, 2011 at 8:28 am | Permalink

            Nick, maybe you’d be happier with a Swiss-style direct democracy with many referendums. Although I’d respect that, personally I feel happier in a democracy based on proportional representation, where MPs or government will often enough not do as I would like.
            For your country (the UK) I could see much more perspective in a gradual redefining of its relationship with the EU (repatriation of certain powers), than in a media-controlled referendum. Wasn’t Margaret Thatcher correct in quoting an earlier politician that “referendums are tools for demagogues and dictators” ?

        • APL
          Posted October 15, 2011 at 9:15 am | Permalink

          Peter van Leeuwen: “Please realise that you (the UK) are actually part of this “foreign power””

          Yes I do Peter, you might have noticed that the thrust of my posts on the topic tend, to how we (the UK) shouldn’t be or how we can extricate ourselves from the artificial construct (the European Union).

          Please do not take away the idea that I bear any ill will to any of the constituent countries of the EU. Quite the contrary.

          Nevertheless, countries, governed by people of good will can coexist and cooperate on international matters without interfering in the internal affairs of other States. That is my ideal. A sort of mutual appreciation society.

          In this modern age we there is a lot of talk about diversity – I don’t know if that is the case in the NL. But the EU seems as one of its aims the eradication of diversity within its sphere of influence.

          The three things we in the UK have been subjected to:

          1. Cultural cleansing
          2. Interference in our internal affairs.
          3. The creation of a ruling nomenklatura utterly without restraint or control other than by its own self referential frame of reference.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 15, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

            @APL:
            ad 1) mainly USA influence in our country
            ad 2) something to remain vigilant about
            ad 3) a direct result of signed and ratified treaties. I understand and respect that you disagree with these treaties.

      • Posted October 14, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

        Hi APL,

        Many thanks for your reply to my comment about mass online discussion the other day. I did reply in full, desribing both some of the details of why abuse occurs on forums and how it can be miliated against, the authentication of identity and the interaction between mass online discussion and political structure, but my reply did not appear.

        Anyway – if you want to see some of the answers in action – I do again suggest the thread on Palestine! If I can chat to people with many different extrememe views around the world constructively on this issue in a way which generates collaborative insights, surely that provides strong evidence that it is possible to resolve the problems you were concerned about?

        • APL
          Posted October 15, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

          Rebecca Hanson: ” .. but my reply did not appear.”

          It’s there, I have just read it. Thank you. I may pop along to your linkedin forum.

          Did you see the link I posted a while ago, a series of videos by Prof. Albert A. Bartlett?

          I found it both thought provoking and a little disturbing.

          Re: Palestine – I will abide by our hosts request and decline to discuss the issue here. Other than to say, the topic is so loaded with preconceptions and prejudice that that one word ‘Palestine’, already tells me how an individual approaches the topic.

          • Posted October 15, 2011 at 11:10 am | Permalink

            It is indeed now there APL, many thanks. I didn’t see your link but are you talking about the videos on exponential growth?

          • APL
            Posted October 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

            Rebecca Hanson: “are you talking about the videos on exponential growth?”

            The very same.

          • Posted October 15, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

            Energy is a colossal global challenge. To meet this challenge we will need huge international cooperation, such as that at ITER.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITER

            Many very important and creditable things have been achieved through our foreign policy in Europe and beyond.

  7. ChrisXP
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    “to protect against the obvious dangers of a more powerful and more integrated Euro zone “.
    Presumably the next step is that government will claim we in the UK are now so severely threatened by this new integrated block of countries, that the best thing to do would be to join it, rather than fight it.
    It’s all looking rather obvious as to what they’re up to and why.

  8. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Is it not the case that the plan is to form a political union in the Eurozone on the basis of economic necessity and then force those other members of the EU to join up also, on pain of denial of trade? Our politicians will cave in to this blackmail and we will be presented with the opinion that we have no choice but to agree with this removal of all governmental democracy and rule by a foreign organisation. The lie that there was never a plan to have a United States of Europe will at last be clear for all to see.

  9. javelin
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Further integrations will require a Treaty and that will require a referendum.

    There will be a political backlash.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      As I’ve said so often over past months that I’m now getting bored with it myself, EU leaders have already agreed to a major EU treaty change through European Council Decision 2011/199/EU of March 25th:

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

      That now awaits final ratification by all 27 EU member states, which in our case will require an Act of Parliament but according to Hague’s “opinion” not a referendum, as formally announced by Lidington yesterday:

      http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=News&id=669465982&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%253A+FcoLatestNewsRssFeed+%2528FCO+Latest+News+RSS+feed%2529

      From Lidington’s statement:

      “This Treaty change will provide a solid legal basis for euro area members to set up the European Stability Mechanism to provide financial assistance to euro area countries in crisis.”

      That’s because they know that there’s no solid legal basis in the EU treaties for the present eurozone “bail-out” schemes; indeed there’s no attempt at all even to cite such a legal basis for the EFSF, and the claimed legal basis for the EFSM relies upon gross abuse of Article 122(2) TFEU.

      (As Christine Lagarde cheerfully admitted in an interview with the WSJ last December:

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704034804576025681087342502.html

      “We violated all the rules because we wanted to close ranks and really rescue the euro zone.”

      “The Greek and Irish rescues – €110 billion and €67.5 billion, respectively – and the creation of the bailout fund were, Ms. Lagarde said, “major transgressions” of the Lisbon Treaty that is the European Union’s governing document. “The Treaty of Lisbon,” she says, “was very straightforward. No bailing out.” “)

      So the EU treaty change agreed by EU leaders on March 25th would give the governments of the 17 eurozone states a licence under EU law to establish “a stability mechanism” to “safeguard the stability of the euro area as a whole”, and anticipating that the necessary EU treaty change will come into force they’ve started to do that by agreeing this ESM treaty just among themselves, an intra-eurozone treaty signed on July 11th:

      http://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/1216793/esm%20treaty%20en.pdf

      As the UK is not a party to that intra-eurozone treaty it has no say over its contents, has no veto the use or threaten to use, and will not be required to ratify it in any way, with or without a referendum.

      Meanwhile the Irish government has decided that neither the EU treaty change involving all 27 EU member states, nor the intra-eurozone ESM treaty involving just the 17 eurozone states, will require a referendum because they both fall outside the scope of the Crotty judgement.

      So whether or not there would have to be another EU treaty change involving all 27 EU member states is a moot point, depending on how far the governments of the 17 eurozone states could go by bending and stretching the terms of their licence granted through this EU treaty change; if they could proceed as far as they wanted just through intra-eurozone treaties and agreements then the UK would not be a party to any of them; but even if there were to be another EU treaty change involving all 27 EU member states in order to expand the terms of the licence granted to the 17 eurozone states then no doubt the UK government would once again claim that there was no legal requirement for it to be put to a referendum prior to UK ratification.

    • Nick
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      Do you honestly believe David Cameron will give us a referendum? He’ll ensure that anything else is dressed up as an ‘amendment’ thus avoiding a referendum. Cameron has also not defined this in law. He never will, either.

      Far more sensible would to to demand the power of recall were instituted on all public servants (from cleaners to the PM – especially the PM) and referism, so we must be consulted on, and able to reject, utterly, the budget the government proposes. This is our money: not theirs.

  10. Posted October 14, 2011 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Most people in the UK do not realise that, historically mainland Europe has been a struggle of the left – between Communists and Socialists. Read “Clochemerle” and “Clochemerle Babylon” . That is why Labour love it so much. The ratchet Socialism inherent in the EU allows them to push through laws which would be otherwise unacceptable to the British people.
    Although a National Referendum is what’s needed otherwise solve the Midlothan question by getting rid of the Scottish domination of Labour seats at Westminster and let ENGLAND take a separate vote.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      If Europe is so left wing then why are the Tories mainly in favour of more integration?

      Also which EU laws are unacceptable to the British people? The majority of the public didn’t object when temporary workers were given the same rights as permanent staff. Did you mean unacceptable to the rich and business owners?

      • Mick Anderson
        Posted October 14, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        If Europe is so left wing then why are the Tories mainly in favour of more integration?

        Because much of the current parliamentary Tory party is left of centre. They might be to the right of you, but that is not the same thing as being right wing.

        Also which EU laws are unacceptable to the British people?

        Any law that is imposed by an organisation outside the UK over which our electorate cannot eject is unacceptable. So, everything imposed by the dictats of the commission.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 14, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

        Because the Tories currently in power are very left wing.

        They may not have objected to the temp. workers directive – because most did not know about it in the main – but all will be certainly be poorer as a result of it.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 15, 2011 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          Care to explain why we will all be more poor for not short changing agency workers?

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 16, 2011 at 9:33 am | Permalink

            Yes – but surely it is blindingly obvious – it pushed up costs and pushes some jobs abroad. Fewer jobs lower pay.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 16, 2011 at 11:12 am | Permalink

            Again your answers lie in a race to the bottom. A race that cannot be won.

      • Nick
        Posted October 14, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        uanime5 – because for all intents and purposes the modern ‘politician’ is not a public servant beholden to the electorate. He sees his job as a career, where the EU is simply the next step upward. Let’s be honest: there is no difference between the Cameron Conservatives and the Labour party. Both sides are disinterested in the public will, neither interested in rebuilding the economy and all seeks to make the state larger, larger and larger because it is their power base.

        All politicians crave power. Some for the belief they can do good. Others simply for the sake of it. The EU promises endless power without the annoyance of the the electorate. It is (especially for the current crop) a politicians wet dream.

        I have used far harsher words on the Telegraph site but as I respect Mr Redwood as one of the few MPs who actually not only understands the problems but also would do the right thing for the economy, regardless of political consequence to himself I’ve restrained my usual vitriol.

        It is a terrible shame that because of both competence and common sense that Mr Redwood will never be allowed into the echelons of government where he could make a difference – apologies Mr Redwood. You should be running the country, not the *rude word* Cameron.

  11. Iain
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    “The Foreign Office should have thought more carefully about the economic dangers of more Euro integration,”

    They didn’t because the FCO wanted to sell us out to the EU. The FCO is the enemy within.

  12. Richard
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    The logic of the Foreign Office is that we need the protection and political strength that membership of a large trading block like the EU provides, for the UK to succeed in a world where the USA and China are such powerful trading nations.
    This view is undertandable but wrong.

    With the world shrinking due to the effects on communications brought about by the internet, companies and individuals can now trade successfully all over the world, furthermore they can base themselves anywhere in the world and do business.
    The future will be one where smaller nations, smaller companies and individuals will be the ones who will thrive if they are able to adapt quickly and meet needs of their customers.

    Therefore, at this time in particular, we should be releasing ourselves from the choking grip of the EU, an organisation which is slow to change and is only supported by the biggest business corporations who see the EU’s protectionist attitudes as being beneficial to their own continued monopolistic positions in the marketplace.

    We should be busy trying to trade with all nations, forging new trading partnerships instead we only have eyes for Europe.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Given that most small companies cannot compete with large companies I doubt that small countries will be able to compete with the larger ones.

      Also outside of Europe there are very few developed countries, so it makes sense to focus on Europe.

      • oldtimer
        Posted October 14, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        I think your understanding of how businesses compete is incomplete.

        Smaller companies, like smaller countries, differentiate their products to compete against larger ones. Countries do the same. The Scandinavian countries are a good example; they have done well in the mobile phone market with both software and hardware.

        Your comment about markets outside Europe also misses the mark. Countries like India and China may only be in the early stages of development, yet they have a growing middle class and wealthy class who buy goods sourced from the West, particularly branded goods. There is every reason to seek to sell to these markets, not to ignore them. That is where the growth is. A business that merely focuses on Europe can expect to stagnate.

      • Richard
        Posted October 14, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        I think you will find Apple, Sony, IMB and even Toyota were small once.

        Outside Europe I think you will find thriving nations like Brazil, Singapore, Venezuela, Australia, New Zealand, Canada etc

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 14, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

          In Europe too, but outside the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Channel Islands, IOM. Indeed being outside the malignant EU seems to be one of the main keys to success.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      Richard, I agree. I would only add that long before the “shrinking World” Britain did very well trading around the world using sailing ships.

      • Richard
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 12:01 am | Permalink

        You are absolutely right.
        We should regain confidence in our national abilities.
        Trade with all the world.
        Forge a new open and free world order.
        At present we are concentrating our trade efforts into the narrow conduit which is the rapidly failing EU

  13. oldtimer
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    This is a perceptive post. The balance of power argument versus other European powers has long been a dominant thread of British foreign policy. The evolution of the EU created a new situation in an ancient scenario, a supposedly benign force compared with the potentially hostile forces of old. Yet this supposedly benign force has turned into a Leviathan controlling more and more aspects of our lives. That is the source of the problem. Attempts and claims to be able to reform from within have proved to be worthless. The Eurocrat mindset is set in stone, and its tax free benefits, and is impervious to argument.

    It is evident, both by words and actions, that this coalition government and its Labour predecessor are content to see this occur, even though they pretend to the public at large that they are not content. One of the most striking phrases in the Strategic Defence Review was the description of the failure to secure agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference at Copenhagen as a “strategic setback” (para 1.30). Agreement there would have established an even more oppressive, undemocratic UN regime than that imposed by EU institutions. The EU was, of course, one of the key drivers of these Copenhagen proposals with the enthusiastic backing of the UK government and its PM. Fortunately for us all, China and India, among others, refused to play ball.

    Denis Cooper, in his post on the earlier thread, has pointed out how the UK has already been carefully positioned on a well-greased slippery slope into the eurozone. It is but a matter of time unless something happens in the meantime. This could result from a eurozone failure itself (looks unlikely at the moment) or a strong reversal of opinion and action by those in charge of our affairs (also looks unlikely at the moment). Your efforts, and those of others in Parliament who share your view, are therefore essential to attempt to secure a decisive shift in opinion where it matters the most – in the UK “establishment”.

    A key question now is whether the EU balance of power issue still has the same force or relevance as of old. It could be argued that it does not. The rise of the BRICS creates a new situation. The idea that the UK has the decisive political or military role it enjoyed in days of Empire or the first half of the 20th C is obviously nonsense. The UK has to live on the wits and ingenuity of its people and the international businesses it is able to encourage and foster here in the UK. The state cannot do it, it is bust. The UK state must live on iron rations for a decade while it sorts itself out and stops telling the rest of us what we are or we are not permitted to do or how live our lives. Unless or until that happens the political class and its apparatchiks will be the death of us all.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      One of the things that might happen (hopefully within the “meantime” you describe) is that come the next Euro elections there will be a massive protest vote in favour of a party (or parties) in favour of leaving the EU. Voting such a way would make good sense if you wished to send a message in terms that political parties are likely to respond to, loosing votes, but at the same time you did not wish to hand governmental power to people with no experience.

  14. Posted October 14, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    How I agree: I too have written the same thing repeatedly. Sadly from Cameron down there is an absence of any understanding of history, not even the most recent like the Second World War.

    This is all of a piece with selling the FCO library and retiring officials with extensive and deep understanding of different parts of the world.

    We are sailing blindfold.

  15. Posted October 14, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    John, I know this is a very important issue for UK foreign policy but is there anyone at the foreign office looking at the discussion thread I recommended before? Please could you check?

    In reading this they might gain some insight into why centralisation of power is so deeply ill advised.

    (Wishes to raise the Middle East issue from an anti Israeli view point. I do not wish to conduct the arguments about Palestine and Israel here on this site, as I have made clear before. It is not my speciality, and would need to be carefully balanced and edited by someone who knows the facts and has visited the area regularly. )

    • Posted October 15, 2011 at 12:28 am | Permalink

      You are suggesting that it is anti-Israeli to draw attention to what 400,000 Israelis are saying over two months in demonstrations on the streets all over Israel as reported with live mainstream news videos? Should I not be using information from the Independent or Russia Today?

      I am trying to draw your attention to the way in which mass online discussion is interacting with accountability at all levels. Basically democracy is not about WHO is in charge it is about whether the decisions made by whoever is in charge are fully accountable and whether people who are affected by them and feel the have information and insight to contribute to them are able to have their points heard so that things can be changed through proper democratic insight and mandate created in action.

      I have discussed the ways in which emerging mass online discussion could be harnessed to enhance democratic process in Europe with some inspirational people to see how we can combine the management of the human elements of conversations with technological infrastructure and systems to track emerging insights and structures of discussions.

      You’ve got a great chance to watch in action people (including you it seems) becoming aware of issues they couldn’t have otherwise understood which you can learn from to see how ludicrously complex issues of distant power can be brought to the people through mass online discussion.

      I thought that interested you from your blogpost. I understand that may not interest you or you may not have time to think about but that’s not need to delete my properly researched and sourced comments as being anti-Israeli! For goodness sake.

      I shall save this post in case you decide not to post it as an example of the kind of thing you censor. (You can delete this paragraph if you post it).

      Reply: I am saying this is not the forum, as I am not an Arab-Israeli expert. Please take your view on this to a site which caters for it, with an audience and expertise that it deserves.

      • Posted October 15, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink

        Thank you for posts and your reply.

        My fascination is with the use of mass online media to enhance democracy which is extremely relevant to the issue of the centralisation of power in Europe. This is an excellent example of that in action. When I return to this them I will use an alternative example.

        Meanwhile specifically on the issue of the centralisation of power in Europe:

        Looking back through history for parallels Rome gives two very striking parallels. The first is the Roman empire. Boris’ Johnson’s book makes it clear that the dynamics which defined it’s rise and fall were entirely dependent on brute force, so while the issues of its lack of integration with local culture give some insights into its collapse they are of very limited relevance to today.

        The second would be the rise in power of the Roman Catholic Church. This draws more interesting parallels because it was done by stealth, starting with the Whitby Synod which promised that agreeing to the Roman calendar for Easter and so on would not compromise the freedom of the indiginous branches of Christianity. I don’t know how much you know about the Christian Church pre-Rome but it was lead by people who lived by faith and in poverty and spent much time in contemplation and retreat. Not people in palaces. What happened to them? Such deeply respected people are a threat to the less spiritually respected who need respect to protect their palaces.

        One of the problems you have, John, is that from our perspective we see Westminster politicians complaining about European politicians but those Westminster politicians do not have our respect. If you want a people’s mandate to take back power from Europe this respect has to be strong. In my opinion such a mandate can be created through mass online discussion if it is justified, but it not being justified has to be one of the possibilities contemplated by all involved in the discussion for that to work.

        Instead there needs to be a focus on a specific alternative vision to what is currently happening and you have made an excellent contribution to this in seeking to analyse many issues such as the practicalities of the breakup of the Euro.

        I think one of the problems we have is the everyone is looking to Angela Merkel to solve this but she is carrying a German guilt complex on her shoulders and is trapped. We need a bunch of wise men (or women of course) working across countries to clearly define an alternative course of action with the understanding that partial or perhaps substantial breakup of the Euro is needed for Europe. If you can get key people in each government onside and with at least understanding if not open support from their leaders it could be achieved. But you should not neglect the importance of communication through mass online discussion now. The public are interested in watching deeply credible and intelligent people talking in YouTube and will discuss what they have to say.

        Unfortunately at present the message about the practical issues to do with the Euro is being wrapped in a dangerously wide anit-europe message from the right which, when we try to pick it apart is paper thin and brings it down. We already know that Europe was set up under false pretences. But we want proposals for specific changes made with rational justification not at general ‘all political leaders in Europe are bad message’ which just doesn’t hold up. The days of mass communication through slogans are over. The detail of the argument has to be right and free from rubbish stuff around it.

  16. Posted October 14, 2011 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Eh? The “successful” finance sector? Like the one at the centre of the world financial crash and busy exporting our real wealth to tax havens and skiving off as many tax obligations as possible? ~Also it is the EU that has so badly damaged our real economy and agriculture and social structure and has left us with all the dodgy dealers to wreak mayhem. We would be better off out of it and getting down to real business, locally and nationally.

    • A different Simon
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      Agree Demetrius

      “Like the one at the centre of the world financial crash and busy exporting our real wealth to tax havens and skiving off as many tax obligations as possible?”

      Well it has been successful at that hasn’t it ?

  17. Damien
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I recall listening to similar concerns from a chain smoker at his place in Carlisle Mansions many years ago.

    You cannot have power and influence and be broke at the same time. We need to fix our economy to have a strong hand in negotiations with our neighbours. You are right to consider our EU neighbours as competitors who are envious of our position as a global financial centre.

    When it comes to the EU just think of the Serenity Prayer. There are many changes we can make that do not require permission from the EU and would restore our economic strength including welfare reform, immigration and taxes. In reality successive governments have grown the structural burden on UK taxpayers and now IDS and Green Pickles and others are trying to address these issues. I see young people from Ireland and Poland traveling to the UK to take up employment but yet hear that welfare benefits and council tenancies are still hindering labour mobility among young UK unemployed.

    Until we can get a grip on our own public spending we cannot lower taxes. In Northern Ireland , Wales and Scotland they are calling to be allowed to set their own taxes including lowering corporation tax to 12.5% in NI. It is not the EU that is forcing us to have high tax rates and the chancellor has said he would like to lower them. This is an ideal time to incrementally move towards a low tax economy.

    We need to hold ministers feet to the fire and publish their record on controlling welfare spending and targets on immigration and planning reform so that it becomes easier to do business in the UK.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      At present the entire financial industry contributes 7.6% to the UK’s £1.4 trillion GDP. The finance industry has been progressively making up a larger part of GDP due to the decline of manufacturing from 20.5% to 12.6%. Personally I’d rather we moved back towards being a manufacturing nation, rather than a financial one.

      Also the Chancellor cannot cut taxes until the deficit has been removed or the UK’s debt will continue to increase.

      • zorro
        Posted October 14, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        uanime5 – Posted October 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink
        ‘The entire finance sector produces less than 0.1% of the UK’s GDP. It isn’t a major part of this country and never will be.’

        Reply: Nonsense

        uanime5, it’s good to see that that the finance sector has grown nearly 76 fold in the last nine days according to you….higher higher!

        zorro

  18. Posted October 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    The world has changed dramatically over the last century. We used to assert power using guns and protect it with the navy. The world was centered on Europe and the struggle was to be the big power within Europe. No other country mattered – they were posessions not threats.

    Today the empire is gone and Europe gave up leadership, first to America and now to China and other emerging nations. We cannot afford an army or navy big enough to fight for our national interest alone. We do not have a large enough economy or military to be listened to on our own.

    A Britain without an empire needs a way to keep it’s influence on the world. While I would not want to give up and see us as a small part of a United States of Europe I think that partnering with other European nations to promte our shared interests in foreign affairs actually helps us punch above our weight.

    I do not think we should tie ourselves up with what we once were but move on to look to how things will be in the future.

    An isolated Britain would be powerless against America, China, India, Russia and a German/French led Europe.

    Remember that we fought two world wars trying to stop Europe integrating, but they bankrupted us. We are in no position to fight a third.

    Germany and France will integrate whatever we do. We cannot stop them. All we can do is try to keep them tied into international organisations like NATO. The best way to do that is to stay engaged in European foreign policy.

    Conservatives are the pragmatic party who deal with things the way they are not the way we want them to be. I am a Eurosceptic but not everything with the word Europe in it is bad for our national interests, and that includes working with Europe where those interests overlap.

    We should not give up our own foreign representation, but joining in with EU countries where we agree helps us, it does not threaten us.

    As we look to repatriating powers we obviously need to keep our access to the single market, but to me we also need to keep a limited form of shared foreign policy. It is the regulations and bureaucracy that we need to dump. It is the financial drain of the CAP and fishing concessions that we need to dump. I don’t think we should dump the institutions that help us achieve our foreign policies through working together with Europe.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Reading from the bottom up, I guessed who had written this!

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Although the punch may be above the weight that the UK could muster alone, the direction may well be none to our liking!

    • APL
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      NM: “A Britain without an empire needs a way to keep it’s influence on the world.”

      Economic influence. A powerful economy buys influence.

      We don’t need an empire, or overseas possessions. We need a thriving dynamic economy.

      We won’t get that while the government is 49% of GDP!!

  19. Posted October 14, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    ” one of the main aims of UK foreign policy has been to avoid one single power dominating the continent of Europe. The question today is why has the modern Foreign Office changed its mind on this fundamental issue? ”

    Incompetence might explain it but since incompetence explians everything it explains nothing.

    I believe the EU was originally started as part of the counterweight to the USSR which was seen at thje time as the power threatening to dominate Europe.Thus the FO (& USA) pushed us into supporting it. Then they got into the habit without thinking about it again. I have said previously that our support of the German led destruction of Yugoslavia was not merely a crime, agains both humanity and a decisive wartime ally, but a mistake since we thereby helped persuade eastern Europe that we were making these people Germany’s property. We were partly rescued from this by the failure, over the last 20 years, of the German economy. If that had not happened Germany would clearly not merely dominate the EU but control it. Since Germany is going anti-nuclear their decline is likely to continue – never mind.

    The good news is that Europe is no longer even close to being the paramount continent in the world so it doesn’t matter so much if it gets dominated. It wouldn’t matter much (to us) if the EU decided to stop trading with us – we could probably do better concentrating on the rest of the world.

    However if we were to continue Britain’s traditional policy we would now be befriending Russia and Serbia – assuming either would think Britain’s friendship a plank that would bear weight.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Yugoslavia broke up because the Slovenians, Croatians, Bosnians, Macedonians, and Albanians wanted their own countries. Only the Serbs wanted to maintain Yugoslavia.

      There’s no reason to befriend Serbia and unless we want to become a part of Russia we’re better off in the EU.

  20. Posted October 14, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    As I keep saying, our policy should be to stay in some European institutions in order to destroy the embryonic federation from within.

  21. Adam5x5
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Why do the politicians think that they can get away with signing us up to the EU by three back door?
    Do they think we won’t notice until it’s too late?

    Maybe they should stop and think about the results if they actually succeed…

    If the people aren’t consulted before dragging us in, there will be a reckoning – if not outright civil war.
    The UK people treasure their independence from Europe and we are not happy to see it being given away by politicians who do not have the right.

    • Adam5x5
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      That’s THE back door.
      Bloody phone…

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted October 14, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

        Serves you right for getting a Blackberry.

  22. Robert K
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Okay, so we’re all agreed that the EU is the green-eyed monster.
    What is it, then, that motivates most parliamentarians to be so pro-EU? I mean, I’m as eurosceptic as any of you, but there has to be a rational explanation of why the majority is in favour of further integration, when the perils of it are so utterly clear.

    • Bickers
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Just follow the money and MP’s potential career paths within the EU.

    • rose
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      A lot of the older generation have an absurd idea that it was the EU not NATO which protected us from Russian and Chinese aggression, and inter European war. Many of the younger generation have taken this falsehood as an established fact. Rather in the way the same sort of people will tell you mass immigration has made us all much more prosperous than we would otherwise have been.

      • rose
        Posted October 14, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        PS these two lies were peddled so often by broadcasters and newspapers without being effectively challenged, that they came to be believed. Difficult to challenge a near monopoly of information though.

    • Mick Anderson
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      I suggest that to be selected or to progress within the Party, an eager MP needs to follow the lead of the established order.

      If those at the top are Europhile, those coming along later will tend to have the same opinions as without them there will be no career.

      The only way to change is by revolution, either by having the Party leadership discredited, or by the ideal being destroyed (we can only hope for the demise of the EUSSR).

      So, Mr Miliband has (had) an opportunity to lead in any direction he wants, before becoming fully established. Although, after a year in office, one would hope that this direction was becoming plain. I suppose the recent reshuffle marks the end of the opportunity.

      When Mr Cameron had that chance he went down the “love Europe”, “hug a hoodie” and “green religion” paths. Pity. It looks as though we have to wait for him to lose an election to Labour then be kicked out as leader, and hope that the next New Prospect is more enlightened.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Politicians, like everyone else, are on a career path. There is nothing wrong in this. The Romans called the “Honours’ course”.
      To get to the top of the career path, politicians of all three parties have to be seen to be reliable, compliant and to toe the line. If they do not toe the line, however ridiculous it may seem, then they are out. David Davis? Roger Helmer? Enoch Powell?
      The people at the top have come to believe that the EU is a good thing. Why? Well, it is awfully nice to be part of a huge powerful organisation which has a lot of clout in the world. It is awfully nice to have your back slapped by President Sarkozy and a smile from Angela Merkel. It is really good to find other people who are travelling in the same direction with whom you can do business. By questioning Europe, your back ceases to be slapped and you find yourself in the wilderness like our brave host on this very blog.
      I think that goes a long way to answer your question.

    • BobE
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      EU commisioners earn £150k, plus expenses incluiding first class travel.

  23. Anne Palmer
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Hasn’t anyone else noticed that since the gathering together of the 16 Southern Mediterranean Countries through a Treaty with the EU (ARAB SPRING-“Support for Partnership, Reform, and Inclusive Growth” how it all has gone “Pear Shaped?

    Sadly Lindsey-you are right, we are sailing blindfold only this time we are in a far worse position than we were in 1939 for present Governments have willingly and eagerly obeyed EU laws and decimated our Defence system through the thought of an EU Defence Force-to “fit in” with them. To SHARE an Aircraft Carrier, etc.

    If you want to know what being in a World WAR was like and being bombed to HELL, I can tell you. Yet we are heading that way again and sadly our “today” Politicians have forgotten-or never heeded the advice given by those that came through that war and the promises they were meant to uphold-that never again would we rely on others or be found wanting in the DEFENCE of this our Island Nation.

    Yet what have they done? They have nearly given the complete Governing of this once Great Country away and without a complete DEFENCE Program, our Country is here for the taking.

    If John, “Today the UK goverment tells us encouraging the emergence of a single government for much of Europe would secure our trade and improve our relations with the continent”. If this Country remains in it-they are totally and utterly wrong. Who is waiting in the wings to become LEADER of that Single Government? Allow that and this Country is already lost. Sadly all that will prove is that we haven’t got a true LEADER.

    Millions will have died in vain because Freedom to govern this Country will be gone forever. In fact, to make clear you understand what I am writing, “Your FREEDOM” will be gone forever.” There will be no turning back.

  24. Norman Dee
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    The way you describe the process we are going through, and the likliehood that we can as individual MPs and citizens do anything to prevent this collective treason is frightening, and if as inevitable as it seems then drastic action to prevent this tumble into the pit of deception is required.
    You keep telling us, in effect, that we cannot stop it as things are, then “as things are” must change. You constantly point out that UKIP is ineffectual, if that is true then it needs bolstering, it needs people like you and Carswell and Hannan, and Cash etc. to actual do something. Create a fuss that people will see and hear, get the message out that here are politicians sufficiently moved and motivated, make UKIP a more effectual organisation, give it the stature it needs. it can take the conservative whip on non EU matters, but why not get the anti EU socialists involved, they can take the Labour whip on the same non EU matters. When you have peoples attention you can point out the perilous state we are in, and educate them.

    Reply: the people you mention are continuously raising these issues in Parliament, on the media, on websites, in the press. UKIP can’t take the Conservative whip – there are no UKIP MPs to do so! That’s the whole point. It is not my job to try to buttress a failed party which has never won a Westminster seat, and which each election tries to get me replaced by a federalist.

    • Anne Palmer
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Only NOW are people beginning to realise that ALL THREE POLITICAL PARTIES WANT TO REMAIN IN THE EU. Never before has this been made clear. People like me until the last two general elections ALWAYS VOTED CONSERVATIVE. If enough of you leave the once true Conservative Party, perhaps, and it is only a perhaps, others would join you for they would realise-without doubt the Conservatives would never get into power again. The LibDems are probably finished anyway and who exactly would want to vote LABOUR into power again?

      Never will a better chance be available as it is at present. It would also show the people who exactly are the ones that are really “on side” for freedom and for a Government of a free country once more?

      The people also realise that they have a duty to do-like it or not. They are going to have to fight for their own Common Law Constitution to remain in full. They cannot allow this present temporary Government to destroy it. You really didn’t need me to actually write those words, because too many have died in the keeping of it. The Act of Supremacy is quite unequivocal: “ … no foreign prince, person, prelate, state or potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority ecclesiastical or spiritual within this realm …”.

      There is also another way-in fact it is the people’s duty to protect their British Crown, their Country and their freedom from foreign rule. I pray they never have to use “that other way” for using Magna Carta years ago took away most of the power from our Crown, used against a Government?

      I agree to a certain extent your ‘reply’ Comments for I am not in any organisation of Political Party, never have been and now never will be-, but rather be as I am than in any present political party for there is not one, I can ever respect or trust any more. It grieves me greatly-far more than you know- to write that.

    • Norman Dee
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      If all the so called sceptic mp’s in the house were really serious they would have 40 mp’s overnight, but with the slide getting steeper and no one breaking ranks other than to throw one wasted vote after another we have no way of arresting the inevitable.
      And 40 odd “I told you so’s” are not going to be any good after we have lost our country.

  25. Mactheknife
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Wasn’t it the famous spy Kim Philby that described the Foreign Office as a “hot bed of cold feet” ? It seems there is no change there then.

    I really do despair of civil servants and (some) politicians who seem to think that they are representing the British people’s veiws on European integration. Even Cameron stands up and says the people don’t want a referendum. He does not speak for me and many others I know.

    I have said before that the only option is for like minded politicians in parliament to vote against some government key policies. I’ m sure this would get their attention pretty quickly.

  26. rose
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    As Mr Ridley said to young Master Lawson: if you are going to give in to that lot, then, frankly, what was the point of standing up to Hitler? So he was sacked. Both Lawsons have yet to give a proper apology for this, as have all those other guilty men.

  27. uanime5
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    The UK resisted Spanish, French, and German domination of Europe because it made it far more likely the UK would be invaded and conquered. Especially since Spain (Spanish Armada), France (Armée des côtes de l’Océan), and Germany (Operation Sea Lion) all tried to conquer the UK as part of their plan for European domination.

    Also the EU is unlikely to try to invade the EU and overthrow the Government the danger of the EU dominating Europe us much less.

  28. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    The present government policy is insane; unless the real intention is that eventually we’ll also be forced into the federal eurozone that Osborne says he wants, in which case it makes perfect sense.

    Even while ministers celebrate the fact that we’re not in the euro, they know as well as I do that only one other EU member state, Denmark, has a similar treaty “opt-out”, and that there are eight EU member states which are not yet in the euro but which are under a legal obligation to join it at the earliest opportunity.

    They also know that seven of those countries recently stated that they wished to be relieved of that legal obligation to join the euro:

    http://www.euractiv.com/euro-finance/new-eu-members-break-free-euro-duty-news-507564

    but have offered those countries no support to get the terms of their EU accession treaties revised to give them a free choice in the matter, the same free choice that the UK demanded and secured for itself at the time of Maastricht.

    To the contrary, Hague has agreed that Croatia shall be placed under the same legal obligation through the recently finalised terms of its accession to the EU, so that the day it joins the EU it will immediately be put on the conveyor belt into the euro.

    There are now murmerings in Irish government circles that they don’t want to be part of a eurozone fiscal union, and they are concerned that important decisions are increasingly being made by big countries (read, Germany and France, in particular) and small countries like Ireland are being sidelined until the decisions are handed down to them, but likewise the Irish government can expect no support from the British government.

    Far from signing us up to the Save the Euro campaign without demanding any safeguards, the British government should have recognised that an inexorably expanding eurozone is a deadly threat to our long term national interests, and to minimise that threat they should have sought ways to at least cut the eurozone down to size and contain it.

    One could almost laugh yesterday at the black humour of Minister for Europe David Lidington announcing that the first use of the so-called “referendum lock” law will in fact be to rule out a referendum on the radical EU treaty change to which Cameron too readily assented on March 25th:

    http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=News&id=669465982&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%253A+FcoLatestNewsRssFeed+%2528FCO+Latest+News+RSS+feed%2529

    But taking it seriously one could ask why the government is frightened to ask the British people whether they wish to simply give the eurozone states that major EU treaty change:

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

    free of charge, without getting any other EU treaty changes that we want and need in exchange for our agreement.

    • Winston Smith
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Shameful. I notice our host never responds to your detailed and knowledgeable posts, which reveal the the duplicity and the lies from this and previous Govt.s.

      Reply: On the contrary I think Mr Cooper’s posts are excellent and well researched. My response is in what I write about the EU, and in what I say and how I vote in Parliament. I have been stressing regularly that the UK should use this Treaty change to change our relationship with the EU – why don’t you try reading what I say instead of always assuming the worst?

    • zorro
      Posted October 14, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      ‘The present government policy is insane; unless the real intention is that eventually we’ll also be forced into the federal eurozone that Osborne says he wants, in which case it makes perfect sense.’

      lex parsimoniae – If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck.

      zorro

  29. Electro-Kevin
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Barely a sixty year window in thousands of years of history. And now everything is OK.

    How quickly the zeitgeist changes. And how quickly it can change again.

    I fear that we will live to tell them ‘I told you so.’ That’s if we’re allowed to speak out then.

  30. BobE
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    The third European War is being fought with burocrats, using power point presentations.

  31. Alan Wheatley
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    John, what makes you think that even if the current government used the pressure of the moment to try to obtain a better relationship with the EU that the EU would go along with it? They could reasonably judge that to acquiesce to one country’s individualistic agenda would be to undermine the heart of the strategic plan, and that to do so would be too risky.

    And then, today’s step to greater independence is tomorrow’s backwards step giving up the gain – a familiar shuffle in the world of the EU.

    Reply: I think we need to negotiate with them and put the deal to the people to decide if it’s good enough or not.

  32. Martin
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Well I disagree with your interpretation of history

    16th Century was as much religious as anything else. Later wars with France were colonial super power wars.

    First World War was the last colonial power wars.

    Second World War – most historians would note the major contribution of the USSR against Nazism/Fascism. That war lead to Europe being split between an American dominated west and the Soviet East. Britain’s contribution ended up as junior partner of the USA.

    Since then there have been

    1) those who want a stronger Europe with Britain as a larger or smaller partner
    2) those who want to be some sort of partner of the USA – again with varying degrees
    3) folk who think the Commonwealth is the way forward.
    4) Isolationists

    The only real big show in town for Britain is item 1. Suez showed up item 2. Item 3 is historical, sentimental & cultural and while it has some benefits it will be small scale. Many countries resent their days as colonies. Item 4 is fine for drawbridge makers.

    As for your fears about EU power well I doubt if the present “chiefs” in Brussels are much to fear. Indeed the present structures lead to weak and slow decision making. Had rules about borrowing been adhered to and taxes collected then ….

    Reply: I disagree completely with this defeatist nonsense. The Uk should settle her own destiny, not hitch up to some super power.

  33. Iain Gill
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    why not just replace Liam Fox with a (migrant-ed) in the country on an ICT visa, dont you know we need the higher quality of these (migrants-ed)? there is a shortage of skills amongst our own nationals

    we could make a few thousand politicians redundant and import some (migrants-ed) with great sounding CV’s many having top marks in PPE from mysterious sounding colleges….

    dont you know immigration open doors is great for this country?

    I’ll setup a politician outsourcing outfit and hire a bunch of (migrants-ed) bring them in on uncapped ICT visas and you can then employ them in any capacity you like, of course the national insurance and tax perks they will be given will make them even cheaper than you might imagine, the company profits of course will go through the books in mauritius where much less tax will be payable

    ill open a few sites with government grants where ever the regional government funds come in the best

    and I will expect a seat on the prime ministers “business advisory group”

    I will have saved the country a fortune

  34. Gary
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    I agree with those who resist any big govt. Govt should only be there to make sure that there are no favors.

    There is an hypocrisy running through the anti-EU polemic that is highlighted by its silence. And it is far more than fears of trade wars. The future lucrative trade will be in asia, in any case. The undertone is that there are people carrying water for that other monetary union in dire economic straights, the USA. In my opinion.

    At one stage the euro was a threat to the dollar reserve hegemony. Some say that when saddam hussein wanted to sell oil directly at source for euros, that rang the bell for him. When, not if, the US dollar loses its reserve status , it will go into a severe depression. It is the largest debtor nation ever. They stay afloat by creating external demand for their debt, by maintaining demand for petro dollars.

    The problem is not in monetary unions, even the hypocrites know that . If currencies were free in the market, the whole world would tend to choose the currency that maintained the value savings. We would then be on that natural currency union.

    The problem , instead, is a global system of fractional reserve usury, that has to inflate, and which eventually crashes and pulls everything down with it. History shows that this happens with a probability of 1. Currency union or not, it all comes down. The rabid EU phobes, often cannot see the wood for the trees.

    I don’t want an EU, or USA, or any other big govt. I certainly don’t want this fractional reserve monster, without which, none of these supra states could

  35. forthurst
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    “In the twentieth century the UK with the help of the USA successfully resisted German domination.”

    In the twentieth century, the USA with the help of the UK was only partially successful in resisting the USSR’s domination of Europe.

    Bearing in mind that Germany’s major objective after recovering territories expropriated under the Versailles treaty was to remove the existential threat to itself and Europe posed since 1917 by the USSR, one cannot help wondering whether Germany had a more realistic view of the threats faced by Europe than we did. That did not alter the fact that there were many, far too many who took a naive and idealistic view of the Bolsheviks, financed to the tune of $20M by Kuhn Loeb, believing with much positive published propaganda that they were engaged in a useful political experiment which might well show the way forward for us all.

    I believe we have a similar problem with the EUSSR; many of its politicians have murky pasts on the extreme left with far too many wishing to enforce revolutionary changes on a sceptical and unwilling populace. We know that they wish to import 50M new immigrants from the third world in order address ‘skill shortages’. What they are actually trying to do is destroy Europe as a group of nations of European ancestry.

    At what point will the scales fall from eyes of enough people to prevent the EUSSR from engulfing us all with its attendant lack of freedom and democracy and with its fanatical marxists and cynical opportunists in the pay of the successors to Kuhn Loeb whose steady drip of propaganda
    has lulled too many with equivalent propaganda to that that was used to sell us the Bolsheviks between the wars?

    The USA is dictatorship of the financial elete; Russia is nor very democratic; China does not pretend to be democratic. The idea that size in any case is compatible with democracy is absurd and patently untrue.

  36. Bob
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    “There is evidence of protectionist tendencies in the bureaucracy of Brussels.”
    The EU have had tremendous success in impoverishing the third world by keeping their agricultural produce out of the EU and dumping subsidised EU surpluses onto their residual markets. We then further undermined their economies with foreign aid.
    I presume our previous governments thought this was the “right thing to do”, as they haven’t made much of a stand on the matter.

    The “right thing to do” would be to hold a referendum for the British people to decide on the way forward (or not) for our relationship with the EU. And contrary to Nick Clegg’s assertion at the time of the Lib Dem’s Lisbon betrayal, it doesn’t have to be just in or out, there are other possibilities.

  37. John Galt
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    Well I guess this is what you get, revisionist history from those that are suppose to be the bastions of sense on the political right.
    School day history used to teach that as a nation the building of empire was a by-product of protecting the Protestant Monarchy of this country against papists. Henry VIII having done what no one has the balls to do today or since Cromwell which was to take on the then known world, which back then and for centuries after was to stand up to and face down the pope. Its a fact that the papists tried for centuries to re-claim England, Good Queen Bess lived the very real possibility of constant terrorist attack much like todays threat from (Islamic terrorists-ed).
    Etc etc There was no altruistic nature in trying to stop a single power domination, it was about self preservation. European countries (OR any other for that matter) that conquered other nations imposed their rule upon the conquered.
    That was how war used to end up, thats where the phrase “victors spoils” came from.
    Only the soft socialist fascism spawned in the aftermath of WW1 and the League of Nations (an institution washed through with socialists) came up with the flawed logic of rebuilding the vanquished, leading to the inevitable victimhood mentality and damage reparation culture that has inevitably destroyed the decadent west.
    But ..
    Hey
    Good luck with the re-write …

    Welcome to the brave new world.

  38. Chris
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    I am filled with dismay on reading the reported comments of William Hague today on the Andrew Marr show, when he apparently says there will be no attempt to repatriate powers as there are no treaty changes in the offing. If one reads the comments to this article in the Independent today, it is clear that there is very grave concern on this issue and complete lack of trust in the Conservative leadership. I find this apparent refusal to heed what the majority of the electorate want is so very disturbing. I just never thought that the leadership would do this to its grassroots membership. I was obviously naive, but I have learnt quickly. The Conservative leadership are apparently not to be trusted, and in that case they will not get my vote again.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/william-hague-no-repatriation-of-powers-from-eu-2371493.html

  39. theyenguy
    Posted October 17, 2011 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    Your write The Foreign Office should have thought more carefully about the economic dangers of more Euro integration, as outlined here yesterday. It needs to follow up that thinking with more thought about what the UK should demand and insist on to protect against the obvious dangers of a more powerful and more integrated Euro zone emerging as the UK government claims to want.

    I reply, Liz Alderman of the NYT, in Europeans Struggle Toward Debt Solution quotes France’s finance minister, François Baroin, saying “The results of Oct. 23 will be decisive.” So there is likely to either be a debt fix or a debt collapse; I believe the latter. The death of the Milton Friedman Free To Choose floating currency regime can be seen in the Dollar, $USD, rising since September 1st.

    I relate that the Sovereign Lord God, in 1974, appointed the 300 hundred of the world’s elite to met as the Club of Rome. They presented regional economic government as the solution for the chaos that would come from deleveraging and disinvesting that comes with the failure of Mr Friedman’s Free to Choose dream. Their Clarion Call, has been heard by globalists such as Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, who in their August 2011 Communique, called for a true European economic government.

    Sovereign armageddon, that is a credit collapse and global financial breakdown, will come out of Gotterdammerung, the clash of the gods, that is the European leaders and the investors together with the rating agencies. This will result in the loss of national debt sovereignty, and extinguishment of state fiscal spending capability.

    God looked down the hallways of time, and has been working his will, drawing out the European sovereign debt crisis. It requires a sovereign solution. One Leader, the Sovereign, Revelation 13:5-10, most likely Herman Van Rompuy, and his banker, the Seignior, most likely Mario Draghi, Revelation 13:11-18, will arise to speak for and to the Eurozone, which will be transformed into a Federal Europe, as leaders meet in summits and wiave national sovereignty, and implement a Fiscal Union, empower the ECB as a bank, and develop a common European Treasury.

    Seigniorage, that is moneyness, will no longer be based upon debt, but rather will be based upon the diktat of structural reforms, austerity measures and debt servitude; people will be amazed by this, and place their faith in it, and give it their full allegiance in accordance with Revelatin 13:3-4.

    Bible prophecy of Revelation 2:27, communicates that God is destroying nations and national sovereignty, so as to reveal the sovereignty of his Son, by providing a Super European Government, as part of a ten toed kingdom of regional economic government as foretold in bible prophecy of Daniel 2:42, where according to Revelation 17:12-14, ten kings will rule in each of the ten toes, that is the world’s ten regions.

    Under Neoliberalism, fiscal sovereignty came from sovereign nations issuing sovereign debt. But under Neoauthoritarianism, where nations have lost their sovereign debt authority, the Sovereign and the Seignior will have both sovereign authority and fiscal sovereignty. Credit will not come from the securitization of debt; but rather from the word, will and way of sovereigns and stakeholders appointed from industry and government. Lending will only go firms that are key to the region’s security and prosperity.

  40. brian kelly
    Posted October 17, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I would think it is mostly fear of economic meltdown in the UK if the Euroland begins to disintegrate, as it is possible to envisage. Our economy is extremely fragile and will remain so for a year or or two even if Osborne’s policies are successful and we want therefore a successful Euroland for us to export to, to help us over this ‘fragile’ period. This policy goes against our traditional foreign policy aims of weakening large groupings of power in Europe. Are we prepared to risk economic meltdown by aggressively pursuing the ‘right’s’ objectives just now? It would be a brave man who advocated that policy. For myself, I would be much more aggressive in clawing back those areas of policy which we consider important for our success – as many as possible. This is because Europe is in a very bad way and would not put up much opposition – not least because there is a large deficit in trade [to the advantage of Europe] between us and they may possibly think this is too important to risk. There would be enormous adavantages to this country in getting ‘its house’ in order as quickly as possible [which includes a ruthless deficit reduction strategy]. It is quite likely that Europe will be held back for some years by the compexity of its problems and it may be that we will grow relatively stronger and by doing so would be in a stronger bargaining position.

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    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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