The Euro means the death of national democracies

 

Some say it is democracy – but not as we know it. It is true the Euro is a great device for bringing down EU member states governments. Recent victims include Ireland and Portugal, with the Greek government hanging by a thread.  Electors can still change the people who are in a government, and sometimes get more opportunities to do so thanks to the rolling economic and political crises the Euro causes. The difference is they do not get to change the policies.

Electors swept aside the governments of Portugal and Ireland. They might be about to do the same to the Spanish government. The French President now has a big fight on his hands to survive. The Euro is devouring the governments which support it, only to see them replaced by more governments who support it, wanting their share of the common economic punishment.

The officials, Central Banks, IMF, EU Commission and other unelected bodies now have more power and elected governments much less. When a Euro area government falls in a member state in economic trouble, the incoming new government has to subscribe to the terms of the “recovery” plan already in place. Ireland, Portugal and Greece are on financial support schemes from the EU, Euroland and the IMF.  Their governments believe they  have no choice, and meekly follow the policy arranged by the government which they displaced. Italy is moving towards that position, accepting IMF surveillance of its economic policy and agreeing to cuts and tax rises which Euroland requires.

Democracy relies on the consent of the governed. The majority who support the government are broadly happy, because their team is in power. The minority who want a different government are usually happy with the system, because they know they will have a future opportunity to change government if the government in power disappoints more people . Coalitions complicate this position, because electors often get no chance to vote on the Coalition programme. As a result they need to work harder to gain and  keep consent to their programme.

 A healthy democracy needs a strong opposition with a different policy approach. The Opposition can lobby and campaign for the government to adopt more of its views and ideas. The government may do so if they prove to be popular, or if the government’s chosen course is not working. They can put it all to the people in a General Election, and if they win they can then have  opportunity to implement it.

Strong opposition with an alternative programme is important to national hope. Those who don’t like the government can live in hope of change. Those who don’t like individual policies of their current government live in hope that Parliamentary action  by the Opposition will force a change of policy anyway.

In crucial areas of government policy that help determine prosperity, living standards, inflation rates, returns on savings, jobs, and business success, the level of public sector spending and borrowing, the Euro scheme takes most of the decisions away from democratic debate. The individual  Euro member state can no longer call the shots and make changes in these crucial areas. The Opposition in Greece cannot offer a different view on  interest rates, borrowing, public spending and the rest because they have had to buy into the terms of the EU/IMF control of the economy.

The Euro destroys a big part of national democracy. The issue then is how do people change the policy if it is not working or they do not like it? Democratic consent relies on the ability to change policy as well as personnel and on  the hope of a better tomorrow. Euroland politicians have a big task in maintaining  that consent. Blocking the Greek referendum was a political mistake.

Euroland politicians also have a big challenge to set out a compelling vision of how this can work and why it might be better. If they do not allow sensible democratic opposition and proper consultation of the people affected by their one size fits all policy, people will find other ways of dissenting. That is how we have reached the point in Greece where many do not see the need to pay their taxes.

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112 Comments

  1. Mike Stallard
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Everyone assumes that other people think roughly the same as we do. Europe ought, therefore, to be a bit like the Commonwealth. Every nation ought to have its own personality and the government should reflect that. The people are the basis of the state. We are nice so we trade, but we do not interfere. Above sits HM the Queen whom everyone loves. But she reigns. She does not rule. Individual freedoms are taken for granted and when they are denied, or when people cheat at cricket, we are appalled.

    Just 22 miles across the Channel the way of life is very different. There, it is obvious that, just as brain surgeons, rocket scientists and Chanel do what they do, so talented people do politics. They always have done so. The duty of people is to obey. Germans run the economy because that is what they do best. The people need a strong lead from experts. And, according to Dan Hannan who lives there, that is how it works. To go against the experts means that you are not being sporting – communautaire.

    Meanwhile our poor politicians are faced with the task of selling the continental idea to the British as if it were true. Hence the lies, the half truths, the pretence, the spin which has destroyed our previously pretty straight talking politics.

    And the joke is that it has worked! Europe is boring. It is unmentionable. People just think that everything is as it always was. It is rather like a storm in Hungary, far away, destructive, lots of bangs and lightning. But irrelevant.

    • Boudicca
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      That is very perceptive comment, apart from the final paragraph.

      That USED to be the case, but not any longer. The British people are waking up to the theft of their independence and democracy. They resent the diktats and imposition of ‘foreign laws’ by ‘foreign’ Eurocrats but haven’t quite understood – yet – that this has only been possible because our political class and Whitehall have willingly gone along with it, happily sidelining and ignoring the people who have expressed a contrary view.

      But the issue of the EU (Europe is not the same) is now discussed daily in the mainstream media and in increasingly hostile language. UKIP membership is surging; we are poised to overtake the LibDems in the polls and – sooner or later – we WILL get our In/Out Referendum.

      The political class/Establishment of the past 50+ years have betrayed the people they were supposed to serve. They must now be made to listen to the Will of the people.

      • uanime5
        Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        All the member states of the EU provide ‘Eurocrats’, such as MEPs, Councillors, and Commissioners. These laws aren’t foreign but were made with a British input.

        It people are waking up to anything it’s just how much nonsense is constantly spouted by Europhobes.

      • sjb
        Posted November 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

        Boudicca wrote: “UKIP membership is surging; we are poised to overtake the LibDems in the polls and – sooner or later – we WILL get our In/Out Referendum.”

        If the mean age of a UKIP member is still 60, then we must hope it is sooner 😉

        In pursuing your demand that the Establishment “be made to listen to the Will of the people” can we be assured that common law principles of natural justice will not be cast aside?
        see UKIP v Hardy [2011] EWCA Civ 1204 at http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2011/1204.html

    • Disaffected
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      It was always the sole aim of the EU project to achieve a single pan European state by stealth, with or without public consent, with Germany and France heading the new country. It should understood that a two-tier system cannot work because the majority (17) will vote for their interests against the remaining 10 that includes the UK. The Lisbon Treaty voting system will ensure this by 2014.

      Clegg and his Lib Dem colleagues’ fanatical obsession for the UK to become part of a pan European state will continue unabated. He claims there will be “economic suicide” while some us think perhaps he needs to question his own logic or sanity of argument.

      He claims it would be economic suicide not to be in the EU and that the UK cannot influence on the margins- really. First, the UK would be bankrupt if we were in the single EU currency as Huhne aggressively promoted and denounced those who spoke against him (like Clegg is doing now). Second, we are on the margins already and have very limited influence, as one of 10 EU countries outside the single Euro currency, and if the inner group develops further into one country we will have no voice at all to the 17 who will vote in their interests (Lisbon Treaty- Cameron promised us a vote on it). So Clegg has started to deride anyone suggesting the UK ought to renegotiate or get out of the EU. There is absolutely NO substance to what he says. But he is very committed to making the UK part of a single European state.

      I have come to realise that the only option is in/out because people like Clegg are fanatical and will do all he can to make the UK part of a pan European state. He has denounced the culture of Britain and the way we live on more than one occasion and he appears determined, like some of his colleagues, to use strong emotional language to deride those who do not agree with an EU state. It was always the sole aim of the project to achieve this aim by stealth and I will not trust any MP to act in the national interest over their own fanatical political ideology.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Given that the EU produces laws to protect the rights of everyone in the EU, while the Commonwealth can do nothing to stop human rights abuses it is clear which system is the superior one.

    • Rebecca Hanson
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      I think there are countries within Europe who may be content to surrender part of their democratic rights in order to be part of a joint currency.

      Who are we to say they mustn’t if that’s what their people want and it’s right for them? It may well be right for some of the smaller countries.

      What’s needed is open discussion to establish:
      1. Which rights need to be surrendered to a single greater authority by countries for a single currency to be stable.
      2. What the nature of such a single authority might be.
      3. Which countries would like to be part of a single currency given 1 and 2.

      All three conclusions are, of course, interrelated which explains what any discussions which explored them would be very complex.

      Which is why you need the huge benefits of well structured mass online discussion and the disciplines of cyberrhetoric to help (discussed here about 40% the way down the page: http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2011/10/29/how-do-you-turn-13-bn-euros-into-a-trillion/)

      • APL
        Posted November 7, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        Rebecca Hanson: “their democratic rights in”

        Interesting in the world of international affairs ‘rights are ‘tradable’, yet in the world of ‘uman rites’, everyone has rights that are inviolable. One wonders what you mean by ‘rights’?

        Rebecca Hanson: “Who are we to say they mustn’t if that’s what their people want and it’s right for them?”

        It is of course up to them. But I imagine your idea of surrendering democratic rights, is to an eternally benign organization with the best interests of its population at heart. Well, what do you do if that benign organization doesn’t last for eternity but turns into a malign organization?

        Better to maintain your rights while you have them rather than have them removed by stealthy words and blandishments that – judging by the whole sweep of human history, are little more than pipe dreams and wishful thinking.

        Rebecca Hanson: “Which rights need to be surrendered ”

        I see you have already made up your mind that rights belonging to me should be surrendered. Let me tell you now, no thank you!

        Rebecca Hanson: “single currency to be stable.”

        Why are you worshiping at the shrine of the single currency? Who cares if it is stable? Why should a currency that after all reflects the changing fortunes of its economy be stable anyway? It should fluctuate in value as the fortunes of the economy fluctuate.

        There have been many previous attempts at monetry union in Europe, each has failed. What is so different about this latest attempt?

  2. lifelogic
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Indeed the EURO and EU structures were always anti-democratic the EU is desperate to avoid real consultation of the people – rather like Cameron. The outcome will be people reluctant to pay taxes with no respect for the government and state as now in the main (why should they pay if they have little say in how it is spent or more often wasted).

    Without this democratic control only the street are left to the people.

    Furthermore the growth of large single block eliminates competition and evolution between government systems so the good efficient governments (Swiss, Singapore, Norway, Hong Kong) do very well and others less well. The worst could learn from the best – on the size of the state and the best systems to use.

    All will die under the EUSSR – that pleasant people like Shirley Williams, Ken Clark and Nick Clegg push us slowly towards.

    • lifelogic
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      I see Harry and Kate are to move to Kensington Palace with its helicopter pad. Good luck to them both but given its size and age it will cost rather a lot in “carbon emissions” to heat and light -not to mention the helicopters.

      I trust therefore Harry will not choose, like his father, hypocritically to lecture us all on green issues – which will be a welcome relief.

      • lifelogic
        Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        Sorry – William and Kate – Also should William go into the posh mince pie grocery trade he needs to use rather better pastry and only about 1/4 of the amount of it relative to the filling.

        • nicol sinclair
          Posted November 6, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

          Still irrelevant (and irreverent).

        • Bazman
          Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

          nicol sinclair is probably is an M&S man and I suspect Prince Charles uses the same factories as the discount supermarkets, but whacks on a heavy percentage for the Royal Crest.
          Less irrelevant but still tenuously linking food to currency like lifelogic. Have you noticed that the German discount supermarket Lidl chocolate coins and bank notes used to be in Euro denominations, though recently have changed to pound Stirling. Can’t detect any change in the taste and are not sad enough to say whether the value by weigh/price has changed, but like gold coins it is possible to test their authenticity and cocoa content in a pirate type way by biting one. It it’s good to Lidl as a company keeping it real and I suppose they can only cope with so much hate mail from UKIP and other weird individuals with to much time on their hands.

      • lifelogic
        Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        William Kate and Harry too apparently.

      • nicol sinclair
        Posted November 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        Irrelevant. Or, do you mean Prince William & the Duchess of Cambridge? In which case, your comment is still irrelevant…

    • lifelogic
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      It is reported that Ed Milliband says only the most reckless will ignore the message of the St Paul’s campers. Could he or anyone else tell us what their message (and proposed solutions) actually is?

      Non of the campers seem to have a clue – nevertheless the BBC, the Bishops and Joan Bakewell all seem to be fully behind them – even though they too do not seem to have a clue what they actually want?

      • alan jutson
        Posted November 6, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

        Ah yes, perhaps he should be a little clearre on what that message really is.

        At the moment I understand that it is something about capitalism that they do not like, but would this include the benefits sytem which is paid for, and funded by the private sector tax take.

        If they do not like capitalism, then do they support communism and/or socialism, because that has also been proved to be a failure.

        Perhaps simply causing an obstruction to others by camping in any open space is their mantra, if so where do they wash and go to the toilet, perhaps they use the capitalist toilets in food outlets which are nearby Or indeed the public toiletswhich are paid for out of council taxes.

        I have no problem with peaceful protest and freedom of speech, but when it obstructs normal life, and use of a public space, for more than 24 hours at a time, then it is time for them to be moved on.

        • uanime5
          Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

          The protesters are objecting to the rich who pay themselves salaries several thousand times the salary of most of their employees.

          I can’t recall socialism being proved a failure. Can you name any socialist countries that have collapsed and gone back to capitalism?

          Reply How about the USSR to start with, and the rest of Eastern Europe?

          • APL
            Posted November 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

            uanime5: “I can’t recall socialism being proved a failure.”

            JR: “How about the USSR to start with, and the rest of Eastern Europe?”

            And if that is too far to the left for uanime5, how about Greece, topical and a failure as a self sustaining state.

    • lifelogic
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Now it is reported that Cameron can give away £40Billion (£2000 per family) without a commons vote. Is it true or is this just to make us feel better when Cameron only chucks half this sum down the drain?

      Much is being made of the claim that we have not lost money in the past lending to the IMF before (I suspect in real terms or in lost opportunity costs we have in fact) but on this issue the IMF is clearly doing something very new, very risky and surely almost certain to create a huge loss and perhaps put the IMF in serious difficulty.

      Our leaders see totally insane do they have good jobs at the IMF in mind perhaps?

    • uanime5
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      If the EU is anti-democratic why do they have MEPs who are elected using proportional representation and Commissioners made up of ministers from member states?

      Also isn’t the Government of Hong Kong now part of the Chinese Government?

  3. FatBigot
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    All very true, Mr Redwood, but it leaves out of account an important factor.

    Greece has been beset by strikes and protests. One might hope the cause for complaint to be chronic overspending by the Greek government for many years, but not so. The complaint is that the government should not submit to calls for a balanced budget or even for a budget that trims overspending at the edges.

    When people are offered a free lunch they tend to say yes, even though there is said to be no such thing. When they have been served what they perceive to be a free lunch for many years the idea that they should pay for the bread roll this year and the soup in two years time, with the cost of main course and pudding lurking in the future, is met with foreseeable resistance. Others have paid for it so far, so “they” must pay for it again.

    The real battle is against the view that governments can magic wealth (not money but wealth) out of thin air.

    It doesn’t help that GDP is the favoured measure of wealth and a drop in GDP is perceived to be harmful. GDP measures turnover not affordability. When a substantial part of turnover is paid for from borrowed money GDP is an illusory and misleading measure, yet it is the measure all western governments seem to use to assess the health of their national economies.

    The true position is that millions of Greek citizens (and, for that matter, millions of people in the UK) receive an income higher than the real value of their work because the balance is paid out of borrowed money. Allowing a national economy to be run by an unaccountable supranational body is unattractive, but it carries the hope of external contributions to help maintain the overspend. Taking back control of the national economy necessarily cuts that possible means of maintaining the unaffordable status quo. It might be the sensible thing to do but it will hit ordinary people in the pocket – and how many ever vote for that?

  4. Jose Zapatero
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Exactly the same could be said about the UK and it isn’t even in the Euro! Democracy in the UK and the remainder of western Europe is a very strange thing as it really doesn’t exist except at election time. In between elections, the majority of your colleagues for example chose to ignore the people and we have now become used to pre-election promises not being kept. The question really should be why do we continue to support the 3 main parties when there seems to be hardly hair’s difference between them and their policies. It appears from the outside that they really do struggle to put the interests of the UK first and there is a political class which has no experience of the ‘outside’ world and real work.

    We need REAL change in the UK.

    • alan jutson
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Jose, I agree.

      John you must also see yourself and your thoughts to a degree being marginalisd by the current system, and by the current people who are in charge of each Party.

      Yes I am aware that perhaps at last we have a growing movement (albeit slow) within the current system and Party’s, and whilst you may not change, the fact of the matter is the selection process is in the hands of the leaders of the political party’s, and placemen and women are often parachuted into safe seats to be lobby fodder for the leader.
      Thus real democracy is denied to the voters, who may well have chosen a very different pehaps local candidate.

      The selection process needs to be changed, as does the whipping system.

    • Tim
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      I agree with this comment. Many promises were made by Mr Cameron that he simply hasn’t delivered. His excuse is the coalition when the reality is that is just an excuse to hide behind. Many people have woken up to political reality as there is NO discernable difference between all three national parties and what we experience on the ground every day. There is more public spending, particularly on the undemacratic EU, no reform of the CAP or fisheries policy (just hot air), more unmanaged immigration and hot air from Mr Green, particularly why he is waiting until April 2012 to restrict student visas (100’s of thousands every year) on bogus courses who come unsupported with their entire families! No reform or removal of Human Rights Act (criminal charter), more foreign aid (£11.5 billion) to nucleur powers who choose to have massive armed forces instead of supporting their own citizens. etc. etc. If Parliament can’t hold the executive to account and make real changes what is the point of voting for the mainstream in the future?

  5. John Page
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    John, this morning’s post was going so well until your last sentence.

    The Greek middle classes have never seen why they should pay taxes. Greece has been run on political favours for years and years. It is “institutionally” corrupt.

    Italy & Greece aren’t governable by the types Mike Stallard describes. They could only live within their means with a depreciating currency. That’s a perfectly possible democratic choice of the type of society they want.

    Italian would-be technocrats hoped governance by the EU would transform their country by providing the firm steer their own politicians couldn’t give. But the EU waited for a useful crisis. The correction now needed is too sudden to be acceptable to Italian society.

    By the way, Richard North has set out in some detail this morning why Mr Cameron’s cry for repatriation of powers is sure to come to nothing.

    http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2011/11/homework-fail.html

    Presumably Mr Cameron knows this and is guilty of political cynicism rather than blind ignorance?

    • Tedgo
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Re your link

      This is why I advocate a one page treaty change which restores full Parliamentary sovereignty over all EU diktats past, present and future.

      Call it a la carte or cherry picking, our Parliament should have the ultimate say over all legislation in this country.

      • uanime5
        Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        There’s no point in the EU making laws if no one has to obey them. EU laws will only work if all nations have to implement them and are punished for failing to implement them.

      • lifelogic
        Posted November 6, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

        Call it a la carte or cherry picking – no just democracy – where an elected parliament can make decisions to reflect the interest of the voters.

    • Mike Chaffin
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Mr North is quite correct.

      There can be no repatriation of powers, Cameron is, to be generous, misleading us.

    • Tom William
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      As a chief economist (I think of UBS) said to Jeff Randall on Jeff Randall live last week ” if you let countries like Greece and Italy into an economic union don’t be surprised to find that taxes are not paid”. Randall had a clip of him interviewing a wealthy Greek by his boat who said words to the effect of “you British pay your taxes and expect something in return. We Greeks know that if we pay our taxes the money ends up in politicians overseas bank accounts, so I stopped paying taxes years ago to keep the money in Greece”.

  6. David Cooper
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    “That is how we have reached the point in Greece where many do not see the need to pay their taxes.” And not just to find a way to show dissent. This is arguably another illustration of the law of unintended consequences, in that Euroland chiefs throw money at Greece to try to explain to them the need for austerity, but Greek “might-one-day-be-taxpayers” think to themselves that there is no need to pay for their government if Euroland does. What a smoke and mirrors trick this is becoming.

    • Gary
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Why should the greeks, or anyone, pay taxes for corruption and graft ? Greeks figured out a long time ago that they were paying money to the govt who embezzled the money, so they just refused to pay it. It was not the Greek people who went along with the not-to-be-named investment bank who colluded with the greek govt to write derivatives to fudge the books to gain acceptance into the EU. The greek people were sold into bondage by their govt. This constant slurring of the greek people is lazy and easy. The same traits for which the greek people are accused.

      Who loaned all the money to every govt in the world ? The banks. Who has a monopoly on the creation of credit ? The banks. Let us not erect strawmen arguments, let’s focus on the problem : the banking system. The EU collapse is the product of the banking system. The collapse was overdue, and if not in the EU, it would have come from somewhere else. Remember, default by money printing is also collapse.

  7. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Of course the Euro means the death of national democracies in the Eurozone – that was its purpose; to be followed by the death of democracy in the other member states of the EU who had stayed outside the Euro. The United States of Europe, which we have been continually told was not the objective, is looming more clearly into view. My opposition to the Common Market,EEC, EU, call it what you may, has been based on the removal, without consent, of the democratic rights of the people in the member countries. This “project” we were told was to prevent future European wars but again it always seemed destined to result in conflict.

    • theyenguy
      Posted November 7, 2011 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      A United States of Europe has been God’s ordained plan from eternity past.

      Regional economic government is rising to rule the world as destructive economic, political and investment factors destroy democracy. The money, that is, the currency of regional economic government will be diktat. This new money is coming as the new Beast Regime of Neoauthoritarianism, replaces the Milton Friedman Free To Choose Regime of Neoliberalism.

      Out of sovereign crisis will come new sovereign authority. Under Neoliberalism, the greatest sovereign authority resided in two nation states, the US and the United Kingdom. Under Neoauthoritarianism, sovereign authority resides in the Banking, EU Leader, and IMF Troika, and other forms of regional economic government, as well as regulatory bodies, that is stakeholder groups, formed out of government and industry.

      Those living in the Eurozone are now vassals of the vassal state. A eurocracy is effecting a coup. Sovereign individuals, sovereign nation states, democracy, freedom and choice, are concepts of the bygone regime of Neoliberalism. In as much as nations are loosing their debt sovereignty, and their fiscal capability, sovereign leaders and sovereign bodies, such as troikas, are rising to rule in the Beast Regime of Neoauthoritarianism which features diktat, fiscal surveillance, structural reforms, pension overhauls, bank nationalizations, austerity measures and debt servitude. The Europeans will now have identity and experience in a totalitarian collective. totalitarian collectivism, not free enterprise, is the EU’s future.

  8. Dennis
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Don’t forget the smaller states. It has brought down the Slovakian government too. As an aside, a check out lady at the the local supermarket who happened to be Slovakian was complaining that such a poor country as hers has to contribute to the bailout fund to help Greece.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      There are ten EU countries that are not in the Eurozone. There are 17 of them in the Eurozone. Yet we only hear what is being said in the UK, France, Germany, Greece and Italy. What do the others think and what are they saying. Are the Dutch happy about all this? What do the Poles think?

      • sjb
        Posted November 6, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

        backofanevelope wrote: “There are ten EU countries that are not in the Eurozone. ”

        Yes, but only two – Denmark and the UK – are (currently) not committed to join. So all this talk about the UK forming and leading a non-euro bloc appears to be wishful thinking.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 7, 2011 at 10:11 am | Permalink

          That is true, and according to this Bagehot article in the Economist:

          http://www.economist.com/node/21536568

          Sarkozy actually pointed it out to Cameron.

          “At a Brussels summit last month, the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, told Mr Cameron that euro-zone leaders were “sick of you criticising us and telling us what to do”. For good measure, the Frenchman reminded the euro “outs” that – apart from Britain and Denmark – they were all committed to join the single currency, so it was not in their interest to side with Mr Cameron. Several failed to contradict him. Some in Britain talk of leading a block of ten “outs”. No such block exists.”

  9. Martin
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Will you be asking for a referendum on British bankers’ bonuses or are referendum on financial disasters only for far way countries with currencies that some folk don’t like?

    Reply: I have just asked for a referendum on our relationship with the EU.

    • nicol sinclair
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Dear Mr Redwood,

      As you will now have gathered, I am not an elector of yours – more’s the pity – as I have the dreadful Ms Osborne.

      Nevertheless, I fully support your call for a referendum on our relationship with the EU – no more, no less.

      Moreover, you state above: “Democracy relies on the consent of the governed.” How very, very true and it seems to me at least that perhaps the majority are being ignored (no one will know until there is a plebiscite) in spite of the fact that we were promised a referendum on “Europe” by all parties – the Lisbon Treaty (amended constitution) – with weasel words and then your Leader? reneged with some considerable sleight of hand.

      |Arrrgghh! Politicians? A curse on your House.

    • nicol sinclair
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      I thought that I had commented on Mr Redwood’s reply but it seems to have become lost in the post (pun intended…)

    • Amanda
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      So you do you feel about your money bailing out French bankers??? Because that is the result of this ‘wonderful’ EU relationship we have. Some of us don’t think this is right, and so Mr Redwood and others like him are supporting a referendum on all this.

      The issue of British banks owned by the taxpayers is another matter – but then who decided to bail them out? Not Mr Redwood.

  10. radsatser
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    John.

    The eurozone members are just symptomatic of the malaise of our whole political establishment, the arrogance of believing they alone know what is required. Like children they alway want to be part of the bigger group, the gang, never confident enough to plough their own furrow, despite the repetitive evidence of history.

    We are outside of the Eurozone, not because of a wise decision by the political establishment, but rather because of one powerful individual who believed he alone knew best, as he was determined to prove later by signing the Lisbon treaty behind our backs.

    Despite millions of people trying to do their bit by voting against the undemocratic nature of our democracy in whatever is most effective way in their area, they cannot do it alone and need leadership from people like you.

    Senior politicians from across the political spectrum, having earned a good living from this debasement of our democracy, have to consider leaving their comfort zone, and joining the process of change with a little more effort than just talking the talk.

  11. RD
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    The EU is corrupt, fraudulent, and largely criminal. Why was Greece alowed to join the Euro? It wasn’t just the Greeks that comitted the fraud; the Commission colluded. What were the bank stress about? Another fraud attempted to con the markets. But so what? They are immune from prosecution! The first Greek bailout was a ‘one off’ remember?

    Now we are told we will not be able to veto Eurozone policies and future changes to the Lisbon Treaty. Just when we liberated Eastern Europe we are about impose a new Soviet style system.

    Furthermore every Minister who has agreed to every ‘Directive’ is guilty of what amounts to treason. The alliegance of a Minister and Parliament is to the Crown. They do NOT have the right give away sovereignty to a body that owes no alliegance to the Crown.

    I’m afraid I am done with the European apologists who say we need to be ‘influence’ by being in it. It is corrupt and dictatorial. We must get out now and re-arm while we can.

    Reply: The originakl gift of powers in the Treaty of Rome was approved by referendum. Each subsequent gift of powers was made by a UK government, which usually got re-elected despite it. People never voted in large numbers for a pull out party.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      “The alliegance of a Minister and Parliament is to the Crown.”

      Ever since the Glorious Rebellion Parliament is supreme, so Parliament is free to decide that EU law supersedes national law. Though Parliament is free to leave the EU whenever it wants.

      • APL
        Posted November 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        uanime5: “… so Parliament is free to decide that EU law supersedes national law.”

        I think you will find you are mistaken again.

        The only reason EU law has effect in this realm is because the UK parliament enacts it. Now that might be by statutory instrument or by actually passing legislation, but EU law does not supersede UK national law it becomes part of UK national law.

        By the way, establishing law from outside the domain of the United Kingdom that takes precedence over domestic law would be treasonous and I believe Parliament should it attempt to do so would be acting ‘ultra vires’.

        • APL
          Posted November 8, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

          John, just a quick question?

          What is the basis of the statutory instrument?

          Reply: An SI is a law passed by Parliament. Parliament can do so under general powers granted by a preceding Act of Parliament. Much of our detailed law is in the form of SIs.

  12. zorro
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    The EU is fundamentally anti-democratic, the club from which there is no escape. Let’s face it if they had any sense Greece would have been ejected a long time ago, if their single currency had any economic sense.

    It is like the Borg it assimilates everything it touches…its never ending wish to expand and control, and woe betide any nation which dares to consult its people about it.

    However, this undemocratic nature was always implicit in the Treaty of Rome and the expanding ever closer union thus making direct democracy all the more difficult. It looks like Orwell’s supranational anti-democratic structures march on.

    zorro

    • uanime5
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      If the EU is anti-democratic why do they have MEPs who are elected using proportional representation and Commissioners made up of ministers from member states?

      Reply: Commissioners are n ot Ministers

  13. Boudicca
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Speaking in the EU Parliament on the subject of the Euro 18 months ago, Mr Farage told Barosso and Rumpuy “in order to save the Euro you are prepared to remove even the remaining vestiges of democracy, you are happy to destroy democracy to keep your dream alive ………. if you rob people of their identity, if you rob them of their democracy, then all they are left with is nationalism and violence. I can only hope and pray that the Euro project is destroyed by the markets before that.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsgrfQ-4zRg&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL25C2B02782BA45CF

    He was right. The events of the past week have shown the EU (for which read France and Germany) at its most dictatorial and authoritarian. They completely humiliated Mr Papandreou and started the same process with Mr Berlusconi.

    It is disgraceful that our own Government – Cameron and Osborne – is encouraging the EU to take complete control of the Eurozone nations’ economies. It will, eventually lead to civil strife or worse.

    The UK should not be paying a penny, via the ECB, directly to the nations involved or via the IMF as Cameron has proposed, to keep the Euro alive. France and Germany should pay.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      Given that the successful France and Germany are paying to prevent the economically poor states Greece and Italy from collapsing it’s only fair that France and Germany dictate the terms for their help. Hopefully Greece and Italy will learn from the more successful countries.

      • alan jutson
        Posted November 7, 2011 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        uanime5

        “Hopefuly Greece and Italy will learn from the more successful coutries”

        Perhaps Germany and France will allow them a reduction of 50% of their debt as well (like Greece), then they can loan them even more money.

        Where is the incentive to put right your economy when there is no stick, but all carrot. It just simply happens again.

  14. startledcod
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I believe that one of the purposes of the origins of the Common Market and the creation of the forerunner to the EU was the prevention of specifically war but generally international tensions. Certainly it is my understanding that his experiences of war were the driver behind Ted Heath’s ruinous ‘in-at-any-cost’ mission and his belief that the Europeans coming together would ensure peace.

    Unfortunately as things are currrently headed, the opposite will be likely be true. Do you think the Greeks will thank the Germans for the vast sums that the latter will be obliged to transfer – no. As the enver ending grind of increased austerity continues they will resent the Germans who have imposed them (not the EU). Will the Germans be happy to continue to shovel vast sumsof money to the ‘ungrateful’ and lazy Greeks, of course they won’t, they’ll resent (them-ed).

    Far from bringing countries together the botched creation of the Euro will lay the foundations for some horrid, and potentially explosive, nationalism. (etc etc)

  15. Paul Danon
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Brilliant post. Currencies don’t need initial capitals, thus pound, dollar and euro.

  16. Alan Wheatley
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    In the Referendum Debate, only one person spoke primarily and clearly in favour of “democracy”, and you can read his speech on this site. Of the remaining 80, the impression I was left with was that it was more a case of weighing up the pros and cons, rather than on the fundamental principle.

    There are so many issues that affect the UK’s relationship with the EU that to come to a balanced judgement is all but beyond the whit of man, but if you concentrate on the principle all becomes clear. You can not live in a democracy and be IN the EU. I’m for democracy.

    • alan jutson
      Posted November 7, 2011 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Alan

      Excellent point.

  17. lifelogic
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Treasury minister Danny Alexander said the euro zone debt crisis was hitting business confidence he clearly intends that circa £20Billion is going to be thrown away and is softening up the country.

    Business confidence is mainly hit by the fact that those that advocated membership or the EURO still hole positions of power and the usual failure to cut regulation, taxes, the state sector, green energy and the pigs.

    But at least we can apparently save the £20Billion about to be thrown away and the British countryside too just by getting rid of Huhne’s mad windmill subsidy plan.

    • lifelogic
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Business confidence is mainly hit by the fact that those that advocated membership or the EURO still hold positions of power and are still happily repeating the same mad ERM type errors.

  18. Sue
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    “I have just asked for a referendum on our relationship with the EU”

    Indeed, if the 17 Eurozone countries are to be joined in an inner circle with a majority vote on almost any new regulation, statute and law, then it is necessary that we leave the EU altogether.

    We can’t possibly survive being ruled by a dictatorship.

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    JR, what do you make of this?

    http://playpolitical.typepad.com/liberal_democrats/2011/11/there-is-a-maximum-of-40-billion-we-can-make-available-to-the-imf-saysdannyalexander.html

    According to Danny Alexander:

    “We in fact have two sorts of money that we give to/for the IMF, there’s a 20 billion ceiling for each, so there’s a maximum of 40 billion that we can make available to the IMF.”

    Without any further vote in Parliament.

  20. James Reade
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    “The Opposition in Greece cannot offer a different view on interest rates, borrowing, public spending and the rest because they have had to buy into the terms of the EU/IMF control of the economy.

    The Euro destroys a big part of national democracy.”

    You’ve gone from EU/IMF to Euro here. The fact is the IMF has imposed conditionality on many countries, and many non-euro countries have struggled to live up to their commitments, implicitly backed by the electorate. Again, I’ll use the example of Iceland, which is inconvenient for those of you that wish to blame the euro for all the world’s ills.

    Additionally, it’s hilarious how right wingers laud Papandreou for calling the referendum as if he was whiter and purer than snow in offering this, not using it for political machinations at all, when the fact is blatantly he was using it as a pawn in his political game. Is that really, really democracy?! It would be nice if there was a referendum, but the point is it wasn’t offered in good faith by any stretch of the imagination, and to suggest otherwise is classic right-wing disingenuity. Papandreou got what he wanted out of the decision to hold a referendum and then he pulled the plug on it.

    • James Reade
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      And I didn’t even start to mention again your blatant misuse of economic theory that I’ve pulled you up on before. Greece, even outside the eurozone, could not offer a different view on interest rates. It is not a market leader, and hence it follows what its larger neighbours do. Interest parity is a fairly central part of basic international economic theory.

      So, what you advocate is that oppositions could propose an unachievable alternative to their voters that they will not later deliver on. How is that democratic, exactly? How does that foster trust in politicians, exactly?

      Or am I just carping again John by pointing out where you deceive and mislead with your attempts to use economic theory?

      • Tom William
        Posted November 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        Since when is welcoming a referendum (whatever the motives of the originator) “right wing”?

        Outside the Euro Greeks could have their own exchange rate and thus also their own interest rate.

        Simples!

        • James Reade
          Posted November 7, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

          Tom – glad someone on this blog bothers to reply now given John’s stopped bothering. He clearly doesn’t like talking to those who have coherent arguments that challenge his ideological beliefs.

          The point regarding accepting the referendum isn’t really to do with the referendum, it’s to do with how those on either extreme have to interpret things. White as snow, credible evidence, if it supports their prejudices, corrupt, discredited evidence if it counters them.

          As for own currency and own interest rate, sure, they could call it a drachma, and have their own interest rate. But I presume you’ve done some analysis to look at just how much ability small open economies have to set their own interest rates? The economic theory you should search up on Wikipedia is interest rate parity. They may have an illusion of an ability to set their own interest rate, but the reality is they don’t and they just follow the level that international interest rates are at.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted November 7, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        “So, what you advocate is that oppositions could propose an unachievable alternative to their voters that they will not later deliver on. ”
        Apparently they can do it on the grounds that we didn’t trust Gordon Brown to fix the economy (I work in education).

        “How is that democratic, exactly? ”
        On person one vote. Who cares what the experts and the people who work in the area and will have to implement the outcomes think? They have far fewer votes that those people who never do more than read a Daily Mail headline. Therefore it is more democratic to choose the policy which leads to Daily Mail headlines people will like because that ticks the box for more people and is therefore more democratic.

        “How does that foster trust in politicians, exactly?”
        It doesn’t. It makes us distrust them intensely. Which is a bit of a problem when they are trying to achieve cuts.

        How are you suggesting we fix the Eurocrisis James?

        • James Reade
          Posted November 7, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

          Oh I’m not proposing solutions, I’m just carping Rebecca! 😉

          On point (1) it would appear all parties are particularly good at screwing up education on one level or another.

          On the rest I don’t think we disagree at all really.

          Solution to the eurozone problems? Thankfully, I’m not someone who needs to propose solutions. I just carp from the sidelines.

    • reynard
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

      Iceland? A country that was able to devalue its currency, set its own interest rates and chose not to bail out its banks with its taxpayers money.

      Yeah, it would have been allowed to do that if it had been up to its nuts in the EU wouldn’t it?

      • James Reade
        Posted November 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        Again, “choose its own interest rates”? Have you looked at Interest Rate Parity recently?

        And it Iceland doing well for that devaluation? Check out http://www.tradingeconomics.com/iceland/gdp-growth if you want to look at real data that suggest that devaluation hasn’t been a panacea, and I’m happy to talk you through interest rate parity and again look through some data suggesting that Iceland has next to zilch independence, this supposed independence right wingers laud.

  21. Damien
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    JR: Having just watched Jin Liqun, supervising chairman of China’s sovereign wealth fund in a 25 minute interview on the topic of the Euro crisis I must say he shares many of the views expressed frequently on this blog. The interview is unusually frank and the UK would do well to carefully consider his constructive criticisms.

    Jin Liqun states “If you look at the troubles which happened in European countries, this is purely because of the accumulated troubles of the worn out welfare society. I think the labour laws are outdated. The labour laws induce sloth, indolence, rather than hardworking. The incentive system, is totally out of whack.”
    “Why should for instance, within eurozone, why should some members people have to work to 65, even longer, whereas in some other countries they are happily retiring at 55, languisihing on the beach! This is unfair! The welfare system is good for any society to reduce the gap, to help those who happen to have disadvantages, to enjoy a good life, but a welfare society should not induce people not to work hard.”

    • Tedgo
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      I have no time for the likes of Jin Liqun, (dpn’t-ed) thousands of miners (die at work-ed)each year. Are you advocating turning the clock back 100+ years.

  22. George Stewart
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    The Arab spring was brought about by the revolution in communications. Instant information through the internet.

    Reflect on the EU and Euro for a moment as they were conceived at a time when the media was controlled by print and the BBC where the information was heavily filtered, a day late and lacking in interaction.

    Open instant communication is the downfall of the “european project” as it was conceived in dark rooms away from daylight.

    The best way to disinfect a room? Sunlight!!

    The best way to disinfect the european project? Sunlight!!

    I am sure there are many former DDR (East German) functionaries working in the EU that would love to censor and control the internet.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Here is the 90 debate in the Second Delegated Legislation Committee on July 4th, which I read in its entirety at the time:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmgeneral/deleg2/110705/110705s01.htm

    I haven’t had time to re-read it all, but I’ve picked out the statements by Mark Hoban, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

    There’s nothing in what he said to the Committee which remotely resembles:

    “We in fact have two sorts of money that we give to/for the IMF”

    If he had said that, Committee members or the other Tory MPs who attended the meeting might have asked some searching questions.

    He did say:

    “Our quota share is about 4%, but the way it works is this: we lend money to the IMF and it goes through our quota or it goes through the new arrangements for borrowing”

    But he also said:

    “We have an agreement to fund up to £20 billion, broadly speaking.”

    An agreement to fund up to £20 billion, not £40 billion.

    In my view Mark Hoban misled the Committee, and its members should join together to propose some motion to take him to task over that and demand that the subject be re-opened.

    Moreover, as I’ve argued before, any increase in resources provided or committed to the IMF for the purpose of bailing-out eurozone countries should properly require authorisation through a full Act of Parliament expressly disapplying the “no bail-out” clause which was inserted into the EU treaties through the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, not just through an Order under the 1979 IMF Act.

    • APL
      Posted November 7, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      Denis Cooper: “Act of Parliament expressly disapplying the “no bail-out” clause which was inserted into the EU treaties through the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, not just through an Order under the 1979 IMF Act.”

      That is choice! How are they get out of that one ?

  24. BobE
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    “Reply: I have just asked for a referendum on our relationship with the EU.”

    John would you mind expanding on this a bit. Is it a private members bill or some such mechanism?
    Anyway I thank you for trying and also keeping the EU at the top of the heap.

    Reply: Two weeks ago many of us voted for a referendum in a Commons motion which the government plus Labour plus the Lib Dems defeated.

  25. David John Wilson
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    The major problem with the European Parliament is that it is not really democratic. We need a parliament which has the major and final say in European legislation. We also need our MEPs to be part of the main political groups within that parliament. Perhaps we should stop electing MEPs who belong to national political parties in favour of MEPS who belong to European political parties. This would have the huge advantage that European elections would be about what the candidates are going to do in Europe instead of their historical records in national government.
    I have in recent years refused to vote for MEP candidates whose fliers tell me nothing about what they intend to do in the European parliament. This on the last two occasions ruled out the three main parties, amongst others, including yours.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      The major problem with the European Parliament is that it exists.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      It’s unfortunate that most of the major parties don’t explain to the electorate what they plan to do in the European Parliament. I guess it’s because they don’t want the public to know how the EU can be good for them.

    • Kenneth
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

      Only a small amount of people vote for MEPs.

      As this is clearly a constitutional issue, surely we should first ask the People if they will accept any representation from this ‘parliament’ at all.

  26. James Lipp
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Well, while you’re bleating about it I hope your thoughts are far ahead to the next election. How can you stay with the Conservatives, do they represent anybody who’s a real Tory in the party anymore?

    You may not want to defect to UKIP but as a recognisable character, and one with a clear 13,000 majority (with the LD dead at the next election and Labour in limbo) you could run as an independent to show your dissatisfaction.

    What’s it going to take?! The fall of Britain, you should resign right now, on principal and reposition yourself as an independent – others would follow.

  27. forthurst
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    “Democracy relies on the consent of the governed. The majority who support the government are broadly happy, because their team is in power. The minority who want a different government are usually happy with the system, because they know they will have a future opportunity to change government if the government in power disappoints more people.”

    That is the most disingenuous statement I’ve ever read on this blog; either that or there is a total disjunction between the producers’ view of their product and the users’ experience. Notwithstanding that, we would be much closer to achieving satisfaction had this country followed the blogger’s overall prescriptions.

    When a million people thronged London in solitarity against a war with Iraq, Israel was quietly reassured that the elite decide, not the people; and so it transpired that parliament voted against the people and for sending our finest to fight and die in a war of agression on behalf of a foreign power. In order to obviate a repeat process, Cameron declared war on Libya, but failed to inform us of the fact; presumably, any British casualties will be a state secret. It remains to be seen how this will develop once Libya moves into an inevitable civil war.
    (para left out)
    We live under laws we do not want, we are obliged to share our country with people we do not want; in a world where an international crime syndicate has all the money and is legally enabled to use it to purchase others’ destinies, there is no possibility of achieving any outcome beneficial to the English people.

    Reply: I agree the politicians were mesmerised by Mr Balir’s talk of an urgent threat which turned out to be untrue. However, 1 million people on a protest in a country of 60 million does not mean the politicians have no mandate to vote the other way to the 1 million. Despite the poor experience with Iraq, the UK democratic government retained consent to the system of government – and even retained office for several more years despite un happiness about this issue.

    • forthurst
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t it sad that professional politicians are apparently far more gullible than some concerned citizens of this country? Possibly politicians need to upgrade their sources of intelligence away from the MSM and more toward the blogosphere where fairy stories get their wings pulled off. Furthermore, the deliberate suppression of discussion of the event used as an excuse for launching the ‘War on Terror’ is a matter of ongoing concern to more and more people.

  28. Chris
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Have just read Richard North as suggested by John Page above. In a linked article, also by North, there is further detail about why repatriation of powers is not possible, relating it back to the Craxi doctrine, which apparently Maggie Thatcher was ambushed into accepting. It would seem that Cameron is powerless – even if he actually wanted to repatriate powers, he will not succeed
    http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2011/10/who-do-you-think-you-are-kidding.html
    He states that Cameron ‘ “is now talking about exploiting the need of the “colleagues” to hold an IGC in order to push through the treaty changes needed for the management of the eurozone.
    Theory has it that, once the IGC is declared, the UK can introduce on the agenda its own requirements – amounting to substantive treaty changes which will repatriate powers. With the eurozone members needing our approval for their changes, we can then barter – their approval of our amendments in exchange for our approval of theirs.
    Unfortunately, this Janet & John appreciation is somewhat at variance with the political realities of the European Union. Specifically, they lack any knowledge of the history of the Union, they are unaware of the “Craxi doctrine” which emerged from the 1985 Milan European Council, where Thatcher was ambushed, with the “colleagues” agreeing to an IGC against her will.
    At the time, the rules for convening an IGC dictated that there should be consensus amongst member states, but what Craxi established was that, in the case of dispute, this meant simple majority voting by the leaders of the member states.
    What has since emerged also, honed and refined during the shenanigans over the EU constitution and the Lisbon treaty, is that the agenda is also determined by “consensus”, with the EU commission holding the pen. Thus, whether the UK would even be able to put her demands on the agenda would be a matter for the rest of the “colleagues”…….’

    • uanime5
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Then the solution is simple. If the UK wants to repatriate powers we need to convince half the EU countries that repatriating their powers is in their best interest, rather than demanding the we be a special case and have special powers.

    • Tedgo
      Posted November 7, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      There is some selective editing going on with the North article, two paragraphs on North points out –

      “This, of course, will leave The Boy stranded, with but one option – then to veto the conclusions of the IGC, blocking any new treaty. That would make him about as popular as an Israeli ambassador at a Hamas convention. Cameron would have to decide whether to incur the wrath of the entire collective, or cave in. And we know exactly what the result would be.”

      So if Cameron was determined he could block all Treaty changes until the others accepted his Treaty changes.

      Equally he could block budget changes.

      Re uanime5

      I do not think anyone is advocating repatriating powers exclusively for us Britain, all other like minded members states should be encouraged to contribute ideas.

      • Chris
        Posted November 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        See the next paragraph following on from your quote from Richard North, which would have given the whole picture regarding the issue of repatriation: http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2011/10/who-do-you-think-you-are-kidding.html
        “Thus, whatever the political motivation of The Boy is pursuing the current line – and we’ll explore that in another post – it is not going to happen. As always, the only real options are two-fold: all in, or all out. Repatriation is not an option … not through negotiation, anyway. It is smoke and mirrors, not political reality.”

  29. oldtimer
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I read that the PM submitted a paper to the G20 called Governance for Growth. Do you know if this was adopted by the G20 or was it buried under the euro crisis?

    It seemed to me, after a quick and jargon filled read, that this was another recipe to enable the mandarins to get control of the agenda from the political leaders nominally in charge. More bureaucracy, less informal meetings was to be the order of the day, with no democratic accountability at all, but plenty of opportunity for special interest groups to influence deliberations.

  30. Ralph Musgrave
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    One of the best comments above is Fat Bigot’s. However, I don’t agree with the claim by Fat Bigot or Jose Zapatero that the UK is in a similar situation to Greece so far as national debt goes. The big difference is that the UK is indebted to no one in the sense that the bulk of UK debt is held by UK nationals or UK entities. Plus there is a world of difference between debt denominated in one’s own currency and debt denominated in some other country’s.

    Plus JR’s article contains some flaws. E.g. his last sentence claims “That is how we have reached the point in Greece where many do not see the need to pay their taxes.” If the suggestion is that Greeks’ are refusing to pay taxes because of their current plight, I beg to differ: they’ve been a nation of tax dodgers for decades. That is part of their problem.

    Also I think JR overdoes the extent to which being in the EZ takes important decisions away from national governments. JR says “In crucial areas of government policy that help determine prosperity, living standards, inflation rates, returns on savings, jobs, and business success, the level of public sector spending and borrowing, the Euro scheme takes most of the decisions away from democratic debate.”

    I suggest that as long as a country keeps its debt to reasonable levels it is free to determine the proportion of GDP allocated to public spending. Of course if a country gets excessively into debt, then the creditors and bailiffs will start ordering it around. If I exceeded my overdraft limit, I’d get similar treatment from my bank, and the bank would be within its rights.

    As to determining inflation rates, it is accepted worldwide that an inflation rate of about 2% is optimum. Is there some country in the EU where everyone is hankering for a 17% rate or a minus 10% rate? I don’t think so. I live in Durham City where we use the pound sterling as currency. Durham City residents (unlike Greeks) are not under the illusion that they can double their pay in terms of pounds and not pay a penalty.

    • Gary
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      Actually, a better rate of inflation is zero. A slight deflation, that increases the value of savings, is even better. Growing the money supply at an equal rate to the growth in the economy is non-inflationary growth.

      Who told us that it is best to skim savings at the rate of 2% ? The central banks.

    • Gary
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      Actually, a better rate of inflation is zero. A slight deflation that increases the value of savings is even better. Growing the money supply at the same rate as the economy is non-inflationary growth.
      Who keeps telling us that the optimum rate to skim savings is 2%? The central banks.

  31. Optingout
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    The difference is they do not get to change the policies.
    ============

    So with no consent and no mandate, don’t expect the electorate to play the game.

    We’ve learned the lesson from those in Westminster. The law didn’t apply to their thefts of other people’s money.

    It’s now legal. There is no reason for me to give money to thieves and cooperate with their game.

    Reply: On the contrary, MPs guilty of theft are prosecuted and punished.

  32. John Wrake
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    John,
    I note your comment that the Euro destroys a big part of national democracy.
    Destruction is not confined to the Euro. The European Union is destroying ALL democracy, for its claim that the European Parliament is the democratic content which confers legitimacy is a sham and a lie.
    The European Parliament is a Parliament in name only. It has no powers to refuse the legislation proposed by the Commission It cannot introduce legislation. It cannot call the Commission to account, for Commission members are immune from prosecution. Despite the shocking record of some Westminster M.P.s, they are not immune from jail, any more than Civil Servants are, in this country. It is a different matter in the E.U.
    If you have any concern for justice and any love for democracy, there is only one
    route to take in relation to the European Union. OUT!

    • Tom William
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      Actually the EU Parliament can sack ALL the Commissioners, but not individual ones. In 1999 they were going to do this because of corruption allegations but they were stymied by all the Commissioners resigning en masse, thus preserving their pensions…..

    • uanime5
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      “It has no powers to refuse the legislation proposed by the Commission ”

      Yes it does. It can also amend this legislation.

      “It cannot introduce legislation”

      Correct. Though most Parliaments cannot do this because they’re legislators and only the executive can introduce legislation.

      “It cannot call the Commission to account, for Commission members are immune from prosecution. ”

      What exactly would any of the 27 Commissioners be prosecuted for?

      Also the European Parliament elects the Commission President, has to approve all Commissioners, and can dissolve the Commission.

      Reply: UK backbenchers can and often do introduce legislation.

  33. Chris
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    It is being reported in one newspaper that EU diplomats are already discussing successor to Berlusconi, saying that he has to go and be replaced by national unity government. Mario Monti, a former European Commisssioner, is considered a good choice…It seems there is a pattern here.

  34. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    “In crucial areas of government policy that help determine prosperity, living standards, inflation rates, returns on savings, jobs, and business success, the level of public sector spending and borrowing, the Euro scheme takes most of the decisions away from democratic debate”

    Excellent point and well made.

    One scary piece of News I saw last week was when it was reported that Prime Minister George Papandreou first announced that a Greek referendum to ask the Greek people what they thought of the Bail out plan and whether they thought that the Austerity measures were worth implementing.

    Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy , Barack Obama and others gasped in horror at the thought of a decision of this magnitude being left to the people to decide. It was quickly withdrawn by George Papandreou.

    The fact that the American President – from the beacon of democracy, would be critical of a democratic act would make Thomas Jefferson turn in his grave.

    So yes, the EURO mechanism certainly does take away democracy. It can only work in a dictatorship.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      Is it any surprise that Merkel and Sarkozy refused to give Papandreou the bailout before Greece voted on whether they wanted to accept it or not. Papandreou left the referendum too late.

  35. nonny mouse
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    >>The Euro means the death of national democracies

    As you have been saying for years, a single currency requires a single government.

    We should not fear this, we should embrace it. Forget the leaving the EU. It is time to tear up the treaties and start again.

    Europe needs a European Federation created out of the Euro Zone. This needs to be based on real democracy, not intra-governmental meetings and unaccountable bureaucracy. It needs a real parliament and elected ministers. Germany has the federal model. It just needs applying to the countries who want to be in the new European nation state.

    We must not let them take over the single market as part of their political union. Europe also needs a wider European Market with a proper representation for all members, unlike the current EFTA. We should reaffirm our commitment to a new European Market consisting of the single market, regulation, competition laws and trade. We need it and they need us in it.

    We need to be in the second, not the first. We should not worry about loss of influence. We should be worrying about not getting dragged into something that would not work for us.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Irrespective of what you reckon “Europe needs”, has it occurred to you that some of the peoples of the (now) 17 eurozone countries may not want to be subjugated in your prescribed “European Federation created out of the Euro Zone”?

  36. uanime5
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Had the Greeks managed their economy better they wouldn’t need to borrow money on the terms of the EU and IMF. They have no one to blame but themselves for their problems.

    Also once the Euro countries get their economies stable and no longer need to rely on bailouts they can go back to controlling their own levels of prosperity, living standards, inflation rates, returns on savings, jobs, business success, and the level of public sector spending and borrowing. So any loss of democracy is only temporary.

  37. sm
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Does ponzi style fractional reserve banking cause wars?

    • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
      Posted November 8, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      “Ponzi Style Fractional Reserve Banking” allows Wars to be funded.

      So – yes; it does by allowing Governments to create all the money they need by borrowing it from Central Banks (foriegn and domestic).

      Is it a coincidence that the Federal Reserve – created in 1913 was quickly followed by World War I? The Fed lent England and France enough money to launch the War with Germany, without this borrowed money, Diplomatic Solutions would have been adopted. The debt created by this War then caused the Second World War. War is Debt and Debt is War.

      The IMF is portrayed as this Global Authority on Financial matters by the BBC when it’s record is truly appauling. The World Bank and IMF should be abolished, and currencies should not be allowed to float inorder to give the likes of George Soros an easy kill on the open markets.

      Can anybody say anything good about the IMF ? has it ever done anything that has actually helped a Country out of debt ? Or is it just a be vulture waiting for a terminally ill Country to limp across it’s path so that it can hook it on debt then help Corporations and Foriegn Governments strip it of it’s physical assets?

      We want less regulation and Governments that have the balls to create their own money. Or are they petrified about what will happen to their Political Careers if they should suggest such a thing? Lincoln created debt free money (Greenbacks) and saved billions of dollars for the American people. Why not here in the UK, or Greece?

      Money is not a commodity – it’s an accounting tool which has been converted into a wealth transfer device where Banks in collusion with Governments (soemtimes with good intentions) are asset stripping the UK Tax payer. We want decentralised Free Market Capitalism, not a centrally controlled, High Tax economy. Why are we taxed so much. Income Tax, CGT, National Insurance, 20% VAT, Import Duties?

      King Henry I realised how important it was for the Country to create and control it’s own money supply in 1100AD – why is it so difficult for MPs to understand this today ? Has there been a sudden drop in IQs over the Centruries? Debt free money means money created by the Government and injected into the economy through normal public spending, without the need to borrow it. This money can still be lent by Banks but only after they’ve attracted enough savers to lend it them first. Debt free money created the United Kingdom between 1100AD and 1826AD. After this, the noose of debt was attached around all our necks.

  38. Kenneth
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    If there is to be a coup in Greece my hope is that the army will lead a bloodless coup and no lives will be lost. Hopefully they can rebuild democracy again outside the eu stranglehold.

  39. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    This time I really disagree with Mr. Redwood’s post:

    1) Even a looming G20 (20 of the most powerful countries) could not prevent that a single country goes in a (be it messy) democratic process to gain better popular or parliamentary support for a bail-out package, agreed by its government.

    2) Other governments including the Dutch one had huge popular support in declaring that until the Greek democratic process about the bail-out had been concluded in a clear way (you’re either in or out, no other flavours on offer from the other eurozone countries), not a single further payment would be made to Greece (a deal needs 2 parties).

    3) Of course present and new governments always had and have the choice to chose differently! It so happens that they keep choosing for the euro (in spite of advice from British eurosceptics).

    4) The parties which have far more power than the national governments are the financial markets. Just remember the daily turnover on the foreign exchange markets – more than the global annual GDP! Would you even dare to suggest that the British government has more power than the financial markets at present?

    5) The lecture on democracy irritates me: it is precisely the UK where for decades the governments were only supported by a minority of those governed, due to its FPTP system. The archaic proposition of democracies with “shout-down” oppositions (long live PMQ???) really has had its time. What is needed is the ability to build compromise and consensus across a majority of the parliamentarians (usually, not always the coalition in power). Gradual policy changes (as seen in Germany and the Netherlands) are far better than the British zig-zagging (Lab-Conning) through the decades. It must be one of the reasons that there is more vocal “hate” between parties in the UK than on the continent.

    6) Obviously the euro doesn’t mean the death of national democracies, these have just proven far too strong, which in turn, may be a continual weakness for the euro. Only treaties, once agreed and ratified, and refereed by independent bodies, can prove effective in streamlining the national policies in a way that the overly powerful markets will have confidence. Even then, a national democracy isn’t dead. It could decide tomorrow to leave the EU (and thus leave the euro for those who are in the euro).

    Reply: “Markets” are just many people making their own decisions. Markets only have power in the sense you mean where governments run financial affairs badly, and wish to borrow at unrealistically low rates or where they want to have a higher value for their currency than people think it deserves.
    Democracy means choice over how we are governed. The Euro scheme takes away a lot of choice.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted November 7, 2011 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      Thank you for replying. As I see it, “law of the jungle economies” lack democratic control over markets (hence huge risk taking at the expense of tax payers, billion bonuses, etc.)
      In euro scheme (if by community method), democratic control moves up a level. As the European parliament is still in its infancy and far from perfect we need to keep listening to our eurosceptic friends, but not with the idea to dismantle the EP.

  40. Martyn
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Surely, this says it all as said by another…
    “The European Union is not the problem. Parliament is the problem – and it is to there, not Brussels, that our wrath should be directed. The EU is not a matter of foreign domination, as so many eurosceptics wish to believe. It is what our parliament does to us. Everything else is babble”.

    Reply: Yes it is what the UK Parliament does, and the UK voters who have consistently voted for two parties that wanted the EU and have supported the EU, and for a third party which has members who want a lot less EU but whose official position has always been to stay in. That is why I have wanted a referendum so the people can decide directly.

  41. Anne Palmer
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    You said in reply to RD at 9.21, “Reply: The original gift of powers in the Treaty of Rome was approved by referendum. Each subsequent gift of powers was made by a UK government, which usually got re-elected despite it. People never voted in large numbers for a pull out party”.

    With the greatest repect John, I have read many of those debates from the early 1960’s before we joined the the EEC, and many were the ‘untruths’ that were told then and those that wanted to be in “the Club” far out numbered those that wanted nothing to do with it, just exactly the same as it is today. These are the brave men that tried their best-like you sir, to defend their country then (Proof-Mr S. Silverman 2.8.1961 col 1478 …..puts forward an amendment “to leave out from “House” to the end and to add: “regrets the decision of her Majesty’s Government to make formal application under Article 237 of the Treaty of Rome, as being calculated to intensify the cold war, perpetuate the division of Europe, destroy the effectiveness of the Commonwealth and fatally impair the United Kingdom’s power to plan its industry and agriculture, to assist underdeveloped countries and to further world security and peace”.

    2nd August 1961 Mr Gaitskell column 1500: …….I do now know how far hon, Members are aware of what the Treaty of Rome says and what has happened on this subject. Under the treaty eventually capital movements are to be completely free as between the different countries of the E.E.C. Governments can take protective action in emergency, but what they do can be overruled by the Commission of the Council according to the circumstances.

    This is a very serious infringement of our own rights to protect our foreign exchange markets, and it happens that it is directly contradictory to the Chancellor’s latest proposals in this field, for one of the things he intends to do—indeed, has done already—is to introduce a much stricter control over the movement of capitol from this country to countries outside the sterling area. It seems fairly clear that unless special arrangements are negotiated, the freedom which the Chancellor enjoys today to protect our currency would disappear as soon as the common market was in full operation.”
    Mr Woodburn 2.8.1961 Column 1515. We are discussing the end of Britain as a key unit in the world. We are crossing the threshold and taking part in one of the greatest economic combinations in the world. If we enter the Common Market, Europe will be the greatest economic organisation in the world, bigger than either America or Russia. )

    TODAY? ALL THREE MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES WANT TO REMAIN IN THE EUROPEAN UNION. There is no choice at all. To put it another way, the vast majority of people that put their name to “SERVE” in Parliament and/or allegedly speak for the people that voted for them-which they WILL NOT DO, want the money, the vast expenses, but cannot do the job of actually Governing this Country according to its Constitution.

  42. Bernard Otway
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Nonny Mouse is living proof that Clinical psychiatric observation is very necessary in a lot of instances,it also is proof that with thinking like that still around PLUs the EUSSR fanatics
    this THING is going to end BADLY,for all concerned,even Germany and its fabled export economy,because WHEN it gets either the Dmark back or a new different euro,the Koreans plus the Chinese owned and Indian owned car manufacturers and the new shiny car factories in India and China will OBLITERATE BMW/Mercedes/VW in all the export markets because of the higher value of a new Dmark or new euro.The same applies to everything else they make,has anyone ever wondered WHY Apple Imacs are made in China and not Germany.
    This Euro idiocy was stupid from the start ,should NEVER have started and should be SHUT DOWN IMMEDIATELY,if I was employed in Stuttgart,Munich or Wolfsburg I would be very worried,the Chinese own Volvo the Indians Land Rover/Jaguar and Honda
    and Toyota are at full steam ahead,I once read how worried the German luxury marques
    were at the arrival of Lexus .

  43. BobE
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    Is National Unitity the same as The National Socalilst Party in 1941?
    This is not going to happen again please god.

    • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
      Posted November 13, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      “If he hadn’t attack the Jewish population and sort vengeance – Germany would not have gone to War and they would be a World Superpower. ”

      What I meant to say was:

      “If he had not have sort vengeance by attacking the Jewish population – Germany would not have gone to War and they would be a World Superpower today.”

    • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
      Posted November 18, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      In the 1920s in Gemrany, the Middle Classes were wiped out by excessive
      debt demands put on the Country by the Treaty of Versailles after WWI. Excessive
      Austerity measures and Tax hikes were used to pay off War Debts to the victors.

      Excessive money creation was used to pay off the War debts and divert badly needed
      funds from productive investment. The rise of the National Socialists in 1933 was popular because the
      German Government began printing it’s own money inorder to invest in productive enterprises
      and pay off War debts. This ended the Hyperinflationary period. What went badly wrong it
      that the Germans blamed the Bankers and thought that it was only Jewish Bankers who were
      responsible for the economic collapse of Germany. They were wrong. If they hadn’t attacked the
      Jewish population – Germany would not have gone to War and they would be a
      World Superpower.

      It was only possible for Germany to conquer Europe, Parts of Africa and Russia because they
      created their own debt free money. The economic basis was copied from the American Greenback
      – similar to China today.

      The rampant racism destroyed a sound economic model of creating National Currency
      – debt free; and distributing that to increase goods and services which offset any
      inflationary pressures. It was Keynsian in ideology. What ultimately destroyed
      Germany was an attack on it’s currency in the 1920s from external Foreign Powers
      and the use of racism to unite the people.

      These two irrational enemies of Racism and Currency speculation are still evident today.
      China has – so far; fought off attempts from Western Powers to float it’s currency on the
      Foreign Exchanges and still has a National PBoC – not really a central Bank. Currency not
      the focus of the Chinese national Bank, it is merely a tool to aid production and decentralise
      wealth, unlike in the West where it is used as a wealth transfer device from poor rural
      areas, to rich City areas. (unpleasant view-ed) is now being used by British, American and Israeli Media
      to scare people into accepting an Attack on Iran – a Country that has not attacked another
      Country in 100 (one hundred) years. We are turning into the Germany of the 1920s.

  44. Steve S
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    The Greek government of unity may pass these required measures to get the next tranch of bailout money, but the Greek people will not comply when the state attempts to enforce these additional austerity measures. There will be more civil disobedience and unrest, making the defecit worse and the situation worse. There is no workable solution for Greece within theh Eurozone.

    John, now that Italy is being pressured in the bond markets what is your assessment of the ECB being panicked into becoming the lender of last resort with unlimited resources behind it?

    Reply: it is the obvious next step, save for the fact that germany is still resisting this strongly. The ECB Directors are very worried, I guess, because they need full sovereign back up if they are to go the buy and print route. They do not seem to have that, so they would be wise to be cautious. They already have rather a lot of Italian bonds. Any more could push them well into the realms of imprudence.

  • About John Redwood


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

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