Why do the EU elites and governments all disagree with the Eurosceptics? Might they be right?

 

          This was the most difficult question I was asked on Thursday following my lecture in Oxford.

          My reply reminded the audience that so far the EU elite had been proved wrong about the economics. Their plan to bring the economies together through the Exchange Rate Mechanism was shattered by the markets. Instead of proving the economies of western Europe were converging, the ERM reminded all but the most ardent federalist that the economies of western Europe are very different. They had different growth rates, inflation rates, and public debts. In consequence their currencies fluctuated and changed when allowed to do so, and burst out of a scheme designed to restrict them. They thought the ERM  would bring together inflation, debt, performance. The opposite happened.

           Instead of accepting the warning, the EU decided to leave out the necessary long period of encouraging convergence of performance and move directly to a single currency. They reasoned that this was the ERM countries could not be forced out of. If the problem with the ERM was the market ability to sell currency A and buy currency B against the wishes of the EU, then if they removed those currencies the new scheme would be market proof.

          Some of us warned them that the new pressures were bound to arise elsewhere. Some of the pressures would be painful in the real economy. Some areas would have very high unemployment. Others would have high inflation and hyper activity or bubbles. So it proved. We also warned that if they did not keep to their promised debt disciplines there could be similar pressures in the debt markets to the ones which had destroyed the ERM in the currency markets. So it proved. We are now living through just such a crisis. There are unwanted new built homes in Ireland and Spain, huge debts throughout the southern countries, and the aftermath of a bank and property bubble in several countries.       So my answer as to whether  they can  be right was simple. No, they were not right in the past, and they are clearly not right today.

                So why then do so many powerful and intelligent people, officials and governments want to be wrong? Why do they revel in being wrong? Why do they specialise in ridiculing and belittling their critics, who have been proved comprehensively right so far on the economics of their various schemes for merger?

               The answer lies in the politics. There are many who strongly want a united Europe. They decided the trade, financial and monetary route was the best way of doing it. They did not fancy their chances of holding  a series of referenda in members states to gain approval to the establishment of a new country called Europe. They decided on a crab like sideways approach to union. They still want it. They plan to use the crisis of the Euro not to break up the EU but to have more EU. They see it as an opportunity, a chance to persuade the cowed and frightened peoples of Europe that more EU is the only option. 

                There is now the immense power of vested interest. The EU commands substantial resources. It makes many grand sounding and well paid appointments. Many in the political elite exchange jobs with those in the administrative EU elite. Why would they want to damage that? That’s why when the EU says all member states must cut their own budgets, they put the EU budget up. That’s why, when the markets say no-one should go on lending to some of these countries, the EU belatedly decides to lend, having secured control of the member state’s economy first. That’s why , when countries vote “No” in a referendum they are told to vote again. That’s why now the EU favours unelected governments, and moves rapidly to deny any referendum.

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100 Comments

  1. English Pensioner
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    To me, the answer to all the points that you make is one word: “Arrogance”.

    • Paul H
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Completely right. Their sense of superior ability and entitlement to rule the hoi polloi overrides any cognitive dissonance they might otherwise feel. They believe they are right by definition and hence entitled to be rude and patronising to those who either disagree with them or are too small to be significant in the great march of human progress. Cameron is of course a fully paid-up member of this club (which is one of the reasons I will no longer vote Conservative for as long as he is leader).

      However, in a strange sort of way they might be right, or could argue that they might be right, because their ultimate experiment of a single country has not yet been tested. The fact that everything in history tells us it will fail and end in bloodshed, with an en-route stopover in repression, is completely lost on them. After all, they are right and history is wrong. Civil wars are for other people.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted November 28, 2011 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        I agree with EP too. The fact is that these people never think that they’re wrong. They think that, if things aren’t going right under their rule, it’s because we need more of their policies.

        ‘Could they be right ?’

        If the people were given the right to a referendum it wouldn’t matter. So long as the referendum was fair most Eurosceptics would support the outcome and accept that, maybe, they were the ones in the wrong.

        In fact we’d line up to make the best of Europe if that’s what the people wanted.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      True, but with enough knowledge and competence, arrogance can be just about bearable! (or even amusing?)

      However, where incompetence, ignorance and arrogance are present, they only reinforce each other – hence the current Euro-crisis.

    • Disaffected
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Iceland appears to be doing fine. Ambrose Pritchard in the DT shows the figures.

      • sjb
        Posted November 28, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        “Why is Iceland not doing better? External devaluation minimises the economic costs associated with a slow adjustment to wages and prices. Unemployment will typically be lower amid such adjustments, and it has been lower in Iceland.

        External adjustment cannot, however, solve problems with other, perhaps structural, causes—and sometimes it even exacerbates them. Take banking, or indebtedness of households and firms. The Icelandic banks are still, as far as Icelanders are concerned, far from being a healthy basis for the economy. Households are still struggling under the weight of inflation-indexed loans, and debts in foreign currency have increased in value with the result that firms are heavily indebted as well.”
        http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2011/11/euro-crisis-6

  2. Martyn
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    “There is now the immense power of vested interest. The EU commands substantial resources. It makes many grand sounding and well paid appointments. Many in the political elite exchange jobs with those in the administrative EU elite”.
    Delete ‘the EU’ and insert ‘the UK’ and you make equally perfect sense, but what can any UK politician or government do about it? Nothing, I suspect.
    OT – BBC Breakfast is repeatedly saying that a new poll shows that 60% of those questioned think that the strike on Wednesday is justified. I wish that they had asked me…

    • lifelogic
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Did the BBC commissioned survey just pole outside state sector offices or in the BBC canteen perhaps or just amongst the very poorly informed?

      • alexmews
        Posted November 28, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        well – it depends on the Q the BBC asked.

        if it was general – ‘do you support the principle of an employee’s right to strike?’

        …then i am sure 60% would say yes. if not more.

      • Bazman
        Posted November 28, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        The polling company was Comres. Lets see how accurate they are by the size of the walkout. The fact that many are walking out is telling. Most of the strikers are hardly NUM material. The ones on the street are losing a days pay to tell the government to ram it, a little bit at least. Interesting to see what the people who oppose the strikers do for a living. Cushy middle class jobs for sure, probably with the state. Got to laugh a Tory voting teachers and the like going on strike though.

      • Kenneth
        Posted November 28, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

        I am amazed that a respected polling organisation would ask this question:

        “Public workers are justified in going on strike over changes to their pensions?”

        Although I disagree with the strike as I suspect a majority do, I would have answered “Yes”, because in law they are indeed justified.

        I suspect the BBC’s embarrassment over this has led it to drop links to the item. I dare anybody to try to find it using BBC links. It has all but disappeared!

        • REPay
          Posted November 29, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

          This is a loaded question…to get the positive answer the organization paying for the poll wanted. Can someone wake up Lord Patten!

    • A different Simon
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      So the BBC want us to believe that support for the strike is higher amongst those outside the unions than in those unions which balloted their members ?

      Yeah , right .

      • lifelogic
        Posted November 28, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

        Seem very unlikely – but I could not find how the the actual questions had been worded or what the sampling system actually was.

      • John Wrexham
        Posted November 30, 2011 at 12:26 am | Permalink

        That could be possible. It’s quite easy to support a strike if you aren’t losing a day’s pay. Also you have to allow a hefty percentage for those who talk the talk, but would never actually do anything.

    • nicol sinclair
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      And me

  3. lifelogic
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Indeed what is amazing is how so many well meaning people such as Williams/Clegg/Clark/Heseltine types, nearly all Libdems, perhaps 60% of Tories and 80% of Labour go along with this even now – after all it’s proven failures. Are they stupid or just after a good Euro job? Or are they just taking in by an “EU is GOD” religion, as the same people are often also taken in by the global warming exaggeration religion too.

    I see that it is reported that Heseltine with his record or being so wrong on almost everything important backs the Boris airport plan. So I am further confirmed, in my belief, that a extra runway at Heathrow and Gatwick and a quick train link between the two is by far the more efficient and cheaper solution. Putting them where they are needed as a “single” large hub airport in the right place.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Even better would be another runway at Stanstead and an upgrade of Southend. You could then encircle London with a new rail link. This link could escape from The Rocket era and use early 21st century technology. But “they” won’t do it because they are totally unimaginative.

    • michael mcgrath
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Your comments about Michael Heseltine are interesting….live on BBC he was asked last week, in view of the present Euro mess, if he regretted his strong desire that we join the Euro some ten years ago.

      His response?

      If we had joined, this current mess would not have happened!!

      Follow that

      • lifelogic
        Posted November 28, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        Well I suppose it is true what he says – it would not be the “current mess” just an even larger more damaging one. He still seemed to want to join, even now, as I recall.

        You cannot teach an old dog new tricks – even if now that you are obliged to employ them until they are 106+ thanks to Cameron’s anti-business anti- growth agenda.

    • Disaffected
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      I suppose Cameron and Clegg will be able to point out that despite serious issues they failed to deliver on for the country they pushed balmy social equality further than Labour and managed to change the law so gay people can be married in church and that the eldest child of the monarch, irrespective of sex, will become King or Queen. They fail to consider that it not their business to interfere with thousands of years of religion, the faith of people or the church for a the sake of a social whim by them. If they undermine the long standing traditions of the monarchy then people, like me who want a monarch, think it is best to scrap the institution all together. After all look at the complete mess politicians made of the House of Lords. Hereditary peers swapped for political cronies who were dubiously appointed for services rendered and who are not fit to hold a decent job. I did not agree with hereditary peers, but I prefer them to this lot of rubbish.

      • lifelogic
        Posted November 28, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        I agree the appointments to the house of lords are absurd. Your best chance is to be a female, a muslim, black, work in charity, talk rubbish about quality, be famous on tv, and worship the green rotating (sometimes) wind churches and the EU and contribute to part funds.

        If you most of those you seem to be home and dry.

        • lifelogic
          Posted November 28, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

          Sorry “equality” I meant not quality – it also seems to help in the Lords or Parliament if you have very little knowledge of engineering, science, running things efficiently or sensible economics, to have a suitable PC/BBC use of language – such as “chair”, “business people”, “people holes”, “obscene wages”, and do not use words like hysterical, feckless, criminals and coconut as these are likely to get you banned or at least interrupted by a Dimbleby or similar.

          In general politicians should not to say anything much certainly not something true – other than something that everyone agrees with such as “we want and integrated, coordinated, well planned, well funded, smoothly functioning XXX “. As opposed to the direct opposite that clearly every one else was demanding – before the wise Lord or MP kindly enlightened them.

    • lojolondon
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      I believe that is a big mistake – to concede that the Europhiles could be well-meaning but foolish. I am well past that stage, I cannot believe they are anything but power-hungry, ambitious, selfish thieves of democracy, not capable of gaining power through elections, they go through the back door, the meetings in darkened rooms, secret handshakes and favours for the favoured disciples.

      • Tim
        Posted November 28, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        The EU is all about ideology and NOT economics. Its the three main parties trying to argue our need to remain in because of trade! Nonsense. We have so many disadvantages of being in this montrous grouping e.g. net £10 billion contribution and rising, £50 billion trade deficit last year and £262 billion over 10 years, the unreformed CAP, loosing the control of our fishing industry, 1000,000 youth unemployement, our open borders. All so a few politicians can go off to Brussels for more non taxed gravy train. It is plain madness and people are waking up. Mr Camerons being allowed a little repatriation of powers is a nonsense. We want out!

    • John Wrexham
      Posted November 30, 2011 at 12:30 am | Permalink

      Perhaps we could build an extra runway, double or better still treble air passenger duty tax and introduce an aviation fuel tax and use the money earned to cut taxes on those who are really contributing the long term future of UK plc, eg cut taxes on small businesses, middle and low income earners, simplify VAT and raise the threshold for registration, exempt small businesses from red tape and put a ceiling on tribunal payouts.

  4. James
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Some of this language really irks me.

    For example why is it (in the title) EU elites and Eurosceptics? Shouldn’t it be Euroelites and EU sceptics? Remember, the elites of Norway and Switzerland and Croatia still want to join the EU.

    You did it again in this sentence:
    They see it as an opportunity, a chance to persuade the cowed and frightened peoples of the EU that more Europe is the only option.
    Surely it should be persuade the peoples of Europe that more EU is the option!!

    That said, there’s nothing Liberal about the LibDems…

    Reply: I agree with you about the second one and have amended.

  5. APL
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    JR: “The answer lies in the politics. There are many who strongly want a united Europe. ”

    Yes and No.

    The answer lies with the whole idea of a political class distinct and insulated from the life the vast majority of the population lead.

    There is no democracy in for example the UK because the people we elect are representatives not of us the average man or woman in the street, but of the Political machine and political class that they are drawn from. You lot, you represent yourselves!

  6. Martin Cole
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    In the beginning, they possibly imagined, that just as theybelieved they could legislate away market forces and make a common currency workable by edict, so too could they legislate away human nature and several centuries of Europe’s historical proof that such is an impossibity.

    Clinging to such nonsense, in the face of the ever-growing evidence of their gross errors is becoming an ever greater error and affront!

  7. norman
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Of course we’re all forgetting the most important thing. The elites have learnt the lessons of the past and then will apply these lessons going forward so that things will be different next time (one thing I have in common with politicians, neither of us ever tire of repeating that line).

    As unbelieveable as it sounds, even during this crisis I’ve read comments from the EU elites more or less saying that if they can somehow muddle through this crisis then they can apply the lessons going forward so that there won’t be a repeat performance.

    And even when it does go horribly wrong (as we’ve seen with our stagnating growth) the responsible parties only need to shrug their shoulders, dismiss their critics with ”I told you so isn’t a policy’ and tell us that, however bad things are now, if we don’t carry on down the same road it will undoubtedly be worse.

  8. Alan
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Neither the supporters nor the opponents of the euro provided an accurate forecast of what would happen. The supporters hoped for a long period of calm and prosperity to enable the economies to converge. That was thought to be optimistic.

    The opponents expected that over this long period of calm and prosperity the economies would diverge. That was thought to be realistic.

    Neither foresaw a short period of boom, fuelled by false accounts, naive regulation, and lax lending, followed by a collapse in major parts of the financial system. That was unthinkable.

  9. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    While the UK is in the process (struggle?) to hold on to Scotland, on the continent a much more difficult process is taking place, of countries and social-economic cultures like that of France and Germany struggling to come together. Obviously, we’re going through a very difficult patch on that path, but the path itself was chosen in the fifties and has always had the support of majorities of the electorates. Issues about money are difficult in the best of families, but like the recent, overwhelming vote in the Bundestag has shown, the direction of the path is still the same (slightly different from the British zigzagging since the nineteen-fifties). Not all British may understand continental representative democracies very well, but, contrary to the UK, these governments are supported by majorities, not minorities of the electorate.

    The caricature of “the elite” versus “the people” wouldn’t wash for most continental audiences. If all people of merit, be they business executives, politicians or civil service executives are to be branded “the elite”, people wouldn’t have a hard time identifying Mr. Redwood as one of the elite.

    It’s not uncommon to call for a referendum when one’s votes in parliament don’t stack up, so where is this referendum in the UK, before bemoaning these poor people on the continent? Any EU treaty change would still required 54 x yes to become law. Fortunately there is also the Schengen method (coalition of the willing) when some countries need to move faster than others.

    Reply: The UK is not in a struggle to hold on to Scotland. Most of us think this is a matter to be settled by referendum, and are urging Mr Salmond to get on and hold the vote he has promised to see what the answer is. I assume he is delaying because he does not think he can win it. Most English people I know will be happy to live with the result. Some think England too should have a vote on it.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Mr Redwood. Van Leeuwen should ask himself why his countrymen and the voters of France rejected the proposed constitutional treaty. A treaty that was supported by his elite but not by his fellow voters. Unless of course, he is a member of the Dutch elite.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted November 29, 2011 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        @backofanenvelope: I have posed myself that question of course. See my response below to Denis Cooper. The division between “elite” and “the people” doesn’t do it for me and sounds too much like the old communist propaganda. Reality is far more complicated.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_European_Constitution_referendum,_2005

      “The governing and major opposition parties, making up 80 percent of the country’s members of parliament, all backed the Constitution, along with the major newspapers. The parties of the coalition – Christian Democratic Appeal, People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, and Democrats 66 – all campaigned for a “Yes” vote, as did the opposition Labour Party and GreenLeft. The Socialist Party, Pim Fortuyn List, Group Wilders, Reformed Political Party and ChristianUnion all campaigned for a “No” vote.

      The result is notable, since the largest party to campaign a “No” was the Socialist Party, with 6 percent of the votes during the last elections. The “Yes” campaign was supported by all major parties …. ”

      “Official results say that 61.6% of voters rejected the Constitution, on a turnout of 63.3%.”

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted November 28, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper: you are right. I trust that you will also read the section “reasons for rejection”, which illustrate that referendum results aren’t clear-cut and need to be interpreted. Unfortunately, the wiki page doesn’t tell about the follow up:
        Although this referendum was legally only a non-binding “advice”, the prime-minister declared the constitution “dead” and a period of reflection followed. At least 2 years later the Dutch government engaged in negotiations with other EU members (flag dropped, anthem dropped, increased role for national parliaments, orange card procedure) and asked advice from the highest Dutch court. The advice was that a new referendum wasn’t necessary as this was an “amending treaty” which also had lost some of the “constitutional elements”. You may think that it was all a big stitch-up, and the socialist party might possibly agree with you, but the Dutch electorate did have three chances (2006, 2009 and 2010) to vote for one of the eurosceptic parties in the Netherlands, which is the real way to affect change.
        Lastly, don’t think too highly of the quality of debate and thus the result of a referendum, as you may remember from your AV referendum. I remember that in 2005 I had great trouble to dissuade some well-educated friends from the campaign idea that voting for the constitution meant that bull-fighting was to become legal in the Netherlands. Referendums, a tool for dictators and demagogues? I seem to remember this to be a quote by British politicians.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 29, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

          Yes, Peter, I do think that it was all a big stitch-up, not just in the Netherlands but across the whole of the EU, and if truth be told so do you.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. Maybe I got carried away a bit on this one, as I wanted to emphasize how complicated it is to bring the continental economies and cultures come together.

  10. Sue
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    The trouble is, we’re not frightened, we’re downright angry.

    We’re angry that our right to govern ourselves has been usurped. We’re angry that because of the “project” our quality of life has deteriorated.

    Most of all, we’re angry that the people who we elected to govern our country while we went to work and lived our lives each day, betrayed us.

    It’s time you put things right.

  11. Richard
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    The EU elite can have all the enthusiasm and determination to continue on with their project that they want, but it will fail because the money is running out.

    This centrally run, command style organisation with its high tax, high borrowing and high spend style does not suit the modern world.

    The EU’s economic policies and in particular its single currency project are simply not creating the employment and economic growth that is needed and the amount of borrowing being undertaken, at rapidly increasing rates of interest is not susutainable.

    Its just a shame that millions of people in Europe will see their standards of living ruined before the EU elite finally realise they have failed.

  12. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    The concept of democracy as we have practised it is clearly anathema to the so-called EU elites. They know what is good for us and will brook no opposition. In this respectwe might ask how different are they from the autocratic regimes around the world against whom they rail and even use violence to overthrow in the name of – wait for it – democracy and the will of the people! Many of our governments have been poor but we have the opportunity to replace them. If, as the EU is planning, we were subsumed into a United States of Europe our government would become the equivalent of some council in this country but worse still the real government would be conducted by individuals whom we would be virtually incapable of removing from office even if the “elite” decided to introduce some form of government election for the member states. This process has already begun in the eurozone without any direct reference to the people of the countries involved. It is in effect a coup d’etat and one that our own government is actually encouraging.

  13. javelin
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    John, you sound like you beileve the EU “Elite” are in control. The captian of a sinking ship has no control at all – only his station.

    As Moodys pointed out this morning there are likely to be multi defaults in the EZ. The reality is that referendums will be needed and the EZ elite need the peoples agreement.

    However the real power lies in the the people who hold the money – the pension funds, hedge funds and investment funds. Governments hold no money ONLY debt. The fund managers are more powerful that the EU Governments at the point in time and for the next five years.

    Governments are WEAK and POWERLESS because they have come to rely on borrowing other peoples money to stay in power. Governments are little more than SNAKE OIL salesmen making grand gestures in the town square. It is the money lenders who control their fate and the money lenders have deemded them to be charaltans who have run out of the means to pay their debts.

    Call the politicans for what they are – INCOMPETENT- stand as CLOSE to them as you can to get the best view of them. Remind them they are helpless. Remind them they have already failed and are just sitting in a fiscal gibbet awaiting their fatefull execution. Make the most of the next few months. Tell them that you intend to get comfortable, as close as possible to see the expressions on their faces and enjoy a close up, slow motion nihilism of their unsustainable political beliefs.

    • oldtimer
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Anyone with a pension fund stake had better watch out. Cable and co have plans to get pension funds to invest in the UK projects that the private sector will not invest in on its own volition.

    • sm
      Posted November 29, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      I would think it would be closer to say the money men can only control in concert with parliament and law. Allowing fractional reserve banks the right to create money along with limited controls has allowed the situation to arise.

      The advent of QE, money creation by central banks is a direct result of debt destruction – too much interest debt money had been created. The debt based money needs to be squeezed out, replaced by more debt free money.

      If CDS were banned and casino banking was legally seperated, the debt issues would have been faced at an earlier point. As someone pointed out if CDS are worth less the price/interest is marked directly to the bond.

      Crunched by deflation of your assets and inflation of your expenses and taxes irrespective of your ability to earn.

      How much does a Speakers Pension cost the nation in borrowing?

      How are the Bank of England pension assets getting on? as they probably dont get a cast iron promise from taxpayers.

  14. Andy
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    It is quite extraordinary that so many supposedly intelligent people can behave so stupidly. To those who lived through the last War, such as Edward Heath, I can understand why they wanted to create this structure to try and make war in Europe impossible. The trouble is the idea they had of peace and plenty within this structure began to spin out of control. Like many Tories I was in favour of the Common Market, but over the years I have come to see the now EU as nothing more than an embryonic Fascist State and fiercely oppose it. You will note how those on the Left have gone in the opposite direction: they opposed the Common Market and now adore the EU.

    Ultimately the EU is edging towards authoritarianism and will become a tyranny. This month they have already engineered overthrowing two sovereign governments, so now they have a taste for that sort of thing. That is a terrible warning to us all. But gradually the EU will not be a place of peace and plenty, but one of famine, pestilence and war. It is the law of unintended consequences.

  15. Peter T
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I can understand the Euro Elites in their attitudes but I cannot understand why Members of Parliament, especially Ministers/Shadow Ministers follow in their path. What we see, almost daily, is Government Ministers passing more and more powers to the EU. Passing powers in this way means that Government Ministers are divesting themselves of the powers they once held and diminishing their own importance, status, standing . I do not understand this. Politicians voluntary divesting themselves of power? What does the EU promise that makes politicians act against their very nature?

    • Kenneth
      Posted November 29, 2011 at 1:15 am | Permalink

      Yes, perhaps they will only have learned a lesson once Parliament is a mere regional council and ministers and MPs are being forced by the eu to take drastic pay cuts commensurate with their lowly status

  16. Mazz
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    There should be huge billboards throughout Britain stating these facts, on the size of the ones that said career women make bad mothers, a while back; that raised hell with the feminists. Where are the rich philanthropists? These facts are for the benefit of mankind.

  17. oldtimer
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    You politely omitted to mention the significant financial advantages that the EUrocracy award themselves, such as substantial tax free incomes and benefits. I do not understand why the beneficiaries of these arrangements, who are members of the HoC or HoL, are not required to declare their personal financial interests when speaking in support of EU measures – especially as, I believe, their continued access to them (such as pension entitlements) are conditional on not speaking against the EU and all its works.

    Are you able to confirm that they enjoy such arrangements? Do you believe that they should be obliged to declare such interests? They do not appear to be required to report them on the HoC Register of Members Interests.

  18. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    It is always essential that we remain critical of the conclusions we have reached: re-examining them regularly in the context of our changing society and, most importantly emerging technologies.

    I agree with your conclusions John but would, as ever, recommend that you keep a close eye on the emerging capabilities of mass online discussion and the potential they have to reconnect people with each other in the critical analysis and reform of their ‘elites’. I don’t think they will make the Euro viable, of course, but they remain an important new and potentially very powerful tool in the box in the democratic management of Europe. This gives some indication of the multilingual collaborative software coming along: http://news.commons.gc.cuny.edu/2011/11/22/the-cuny-academic-commons-announces-the-commons-in-a-box-project/

    I went through a similar critical analysis of whether the previously established conclusions were still robust when Michael Gove emerged on the scene. Given the way most online discussion in education was being managed at the time it was exceptionally difficult at first to assess whether established conclusions (that a sudden and substantial move towards free market economics in education would be an expensive folly that would have to self correct and that the real constraints on freedom in education are inappropriate central intervention, a seriously flawed inspectorate system and issues with assessment in education) were still robust or whether there was new intelligent insight which made it reasonable to consider that they might not how hold.

    Here’s the eventual result of just one of those explorations which eventually happened on multiple education discussion forums where free discussion is allowed:
    http://www.linkedin.com/groups/TOP-TRUMPS-State-Education-in-126310.S.69072770?qid=1aad8820-bfb6-4d30-b52d-78702d623fd1&trk=group_most_popular-0-b-ttl&goback=%2Egmp_126310

    In brief – same conclusion. It’s so sad. I don’t want it all to be a mad and wasteful. As well as looking at politics and vested interests John I would also look for bubbles of the kind described in that wonderful book about the financial crash written by 2MPs which you recommended a while ago. It’s a human sign I’m afraid.

  19. Nightmare on Elm St
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    John,

    Your reply to the Oxford question is one that resonates with me. But what I find difficult to see is how to stop the EU creep without all the civil-unrest that you mention is the usual outcome.

    I know you do not support voting UKIP, but with the Cameron’s of this world acting the way they are, can supporting the Conservatives be anything more than reinforcing its present leadership?

    • Nightmare on Elm St
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Typo: for Cameron’s please read Camerons

  20. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    The euro is part of the wider EU project, which is above all else a political, in fact more accurately a geopolitical, project.

    Squaring the geopolitical ambitions with the economic constraints has always been a problem, but the geopolitics always takes first place.

    As a geopolitical project it has been born out of hatred as much as love, and likewise out of fear as much as arrogance, and these complex and conflicting emotions can cloud judgement.

    It’s amusing to see a Telegraph columnist today arguing strongly that the US Fed should step in to Save the Euro, when the euro-fanatics have openly and loudly declared their intention that the euro should displace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency – so common sense suggests that it would be in the long term US national interest to take this opportunity to break it up, or at least cut it down to size and contain it.

    The euro could have worked in economic terms if sharing a currency had led to convergence of the constituent economies, as its proponents convinced themselves and each other would be the case despite evidence to the contrary.

    But apart from material differences – geographical location, climate, natural resources, trade patterns, previously accumulated capital etc etc – there are also longstanding and persistent cultural differences.

    A decade of sharing a currency with the Germans hasn’t made the Italians much more like the Germans, which is why Merkel has now found it necessary to instal her chosen man, Mario Monti, in an attempt to accelerate the process.

    As a member of the Spinelli Group:

    http://www.spinelligroup.eu/

    an Italian but with (little-ed) loyalty to Italy as a nation state, Monti is an excellent choice.

  21. libertarian
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Totally agree John, the problem is there is a democratic deficit in the UK. We don’t have a political party to vote for that is a credible alternative to the corporatist/socialism and EU integration on offer from the 3 mainstream parties.

    We need a new Direct Democracy Party

  22. Stewart Knight
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    <>

    Money and power are powerful drivers, and can’t we say the same about socialists and the Labour party? Look at Kinnock and his families blind adherence to the EU after their blind antagonism in the sixties and seventies for the perfect example. Like the Kinnocks, most of the people you make reference too, despite IQ etc. are incapable of achieving power of status outside the political and public service arena.

    Donkeys leading is very apt.

  23. Disaffected
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I have written on this blog many times before making a pan European state is about politics not economics. When Cameron/Clegg says something can not be afforded, what they mean is that they have made a political choice.

    I agree with the comments made by Jeff Randall in the DT this morning about the strikes on Wednesday. They were perfectly avoidable, not likely now. The Coalition made it clear there was no room for negotiation and it was a take it or leave it option. They used language of fear to annoy people in the private sector to denounce those in the public sector.

    By contrast the Coalition deems it right to continue to give £11 billion of taxpayers’ money in overseas aid to nuclear powers like India and Pakistan. Nothing done to get rid of state owned banks, as John has promoted on this site many times. It is not the business of the government to be running private companies. Lunatic rail proposals- £30 billion to save 30 minutes in travel time from London to Birmingham. Carry on with mass immigration policy and the two cities will be joined in the near future without the need of a rail link. It continues an economic illiterate energy policy when it knows how this will impact on the budget and economic recovery of the country. We are informed that the UK will now give Africa £1 billion to help them with green energy! No substantial in-roads made to cutting welfare, stopping mass immigration all which are linked to the budget and public sector services.

    It is as appalling as it is depressing that educated people could act so stupidly without any coherent plan linking government departments to one common goal.

    Importantly it demonstrates that you can not believe a word Cameron says. Unfortunately something he appears to have caught from Clegg.

  24. sm
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Maybe in the very much longer term- maybe another 100 years.

    The observed strategy of manipulating democracy has morphed into sidelining it and effectively removing it.
    This will not work in the medium/long term. In the shortrun they manage an autocratic empire but it will collapse from the top and within.They are only worried about the short-run and themselves. Most politicians thinks short term as do electorates. So where are the checks and balances?

  25. Steve Cox
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Yes, after all we don’t hear any critical comments about the EU from the likes of Chris Patton, Neil Kinnock, Leon Brittain or Peter Mandelson, do we? Some of the most (well paid-ed) politicians in the land, and they all ended up as unelected EU Commissioners, the only people allowed to propose new European laws, which is presumably where much of the EU madness we are subjected to daily originates. The only solution I can see to this sham is not renegotiation of our position within a corrupt and anti-democratic EU, but simple withdrawal.

  26. Neil Craig
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    This is a similar question to one we warming alarmism sceptics get asked.

    If the world isn’t catastrophically warming howcum all the experts we hear from say it is.

    The answer being in both cases that the “experts” are chosen by the state. That the state, the moreso the further from us it is, has an incentive towards enlarging itself and is bound to choose “experts” for their willingness to support that view.

    With more than 50% of GNP spent by the state that power is as great as at any time in European history.

    It has been shown that there is not a single scientist anywhere in the world who supports the catastrophic warming scam and is not paid by the state.

    In the same way I suspect there are hardly any people supporting an ever closer EU who are not under some financial pressure from it ( quotes an example of a successful entrepreneur who might dispute the allegation-ed). This does not mean that all europhiles are purely in it for the money but that, with the best will in the world, few of us find our wishes clash with what is in our interests.

    This is also why I deplore the use of the term “technocrats” to describe those the EU choose to run us. They have no record of successful decisions, as technocrats, by definition, must, and merely have a record of supportng their paymasters.

  27. Demetrius
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Good one and on the ball. You cannot have a fiat currency if you have many different governments adopting wildly different economic and spending policies. Especially if most of them are debt driven and dependent on lending from global markets. Add to that extractive financial organisations with secret operations making lots of the money “disappear” and it will crash.

  28. A different Simon
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    “There are many who strongly want a united Europe. They decided the trade, financial and monetary route was the best way of doing it.
    They did not fancy their chances of holding a series of referenda in members states to gain approval to the establishment of a new country called Europe.”

    This is the crux of the matter ; the elite having contempt for the people of Europe and treating them accordingly .

    The only function the rest of us get to play is to foot the bill for this folly .

    Failure of the Euro will not stop them .

  29. Ralph Musgrave
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    The EU elite were NEARLY right on economics. That is, a system under which uncompetitive countries are forbidden to run excessive deficits and are forced to borrow from commercial banks at elevated rates of interest will in theory force those countries to cut costs and become competitive.

    Problem was that all and sundry were allowed to exceed deficit and debt limits. Plus the impression was given that periphery bonds were 100% safe. I.e. rather than force any country to take a small amount of nasty medicine several years ago (which might have worked) they acted the part of indulgent parents and let the children off taking ANY MEDECINE AT ALL. Now the amount of medicine required is so large that it’s liable to kill the patient.

  30. forthurst
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    The EU has to be judged as a religion based on dogma not as theory based on science. As with all religions it contains happenings and predictions that defy scientific logic or prior experience, otherwise known as miracles. Miraculous events are best kept in the distant future or distant past since science has a habit of being ultimately triumphant against deliberate lies designed to expropriate wealth and power to the high priests of the latest attempt to create a new world order.

    The question that needs asking is whether we have actually been informed of the central dogma of the EU: is it simply a well meaning but misguided attempt to remove for once and all time the potential for armed conflict on the premise that people are really all the same and therefore once their team shirts have been removed, their difference will dissolve to naught? That is not as innocent as it seems because it has already relied on a central tenet of Cultural Marxism, that perceived national differences are prejudices based on ‘racism’, so the Germans are not better at engineering than Greeks after all; it is not encoded in their DNA, so Greece will be able to compete on equal terms once they have their house in order. Furthermore, to emphasis the point, large numbers of those previously considered far more different than Greeks are from Germans have been introduced deliberately into the mix to demonstrate just how swimmingly everyone can get on, once they receive the correct encouragement (embroidery on this theme left out-ed)
    Did the high priests (of the most inner sanctum) of the EU really believe that the EZ would succeed or had they anticipated an end game, as reported, in which the private secret Fed will ride to the rescue and ride off with the whole of Europe as booty? People should be reminded that the private secret Fed owned by Wall Street banks came into its (word left out-ed) existence in 1913, that the First World War started in 1914 and that the Bolshevik revolution, financed by Wall Street (no evidence given-ed) took place in 1917 leading to the deaths and enslavement of millions.

  31. pipesmoker
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    JR

    You are right. I am not cowed or frightened and I am prepared to suffer the consequences of getting out of the EU. It has to be done and the longer we duck the issue the more painful it will be.

    Business in this country should be looking at world markets rather than those in the EU and some are.

    The EU, while it exists, is a career move for failed politicians and to denounce it is like turkeys voting for Christmas?

  32. Tad Davison
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Amen and absolutely! I have been saying the same for years!

    Just forwarded this to Clegg, and Huppert, but I bet I don’t get a response!

    They back away as soon as anyone challenges their rather perverted logic.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  33. Norman Dee
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    And thats why someone has to be the one to break ranks. It would appear that we can run helter skelter straight at a disaster and seemingly do nothing about it, and anyone who can try to do something substantial seems to be afraid of creating a furor, or upsetting the establishment and just sit back and say I told you so.
    When this all hits the big fan, we will have more than enough people saying “I told you so”, including a lot who haven’t, and how many will say “there was nothing else I could do”. What we want is people saying, “I couldn’t have given up anymore to try”.

  34. pete
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Thats why it needs to be formally renamed to reflect what it really is – the EUSSR!

  35. javelin
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Interesting articles from Swizz Lawyers on the break up of the EZ.

    Originals can be found here.
    http://www.gtlaw.ch/publications.html

    “Thinking the probable: The Break-up of Monetary Union”. Journal of International Banking Law and Regulation. February 2011.

    “Thinking the not so unthinkable – the break-up of EMU”. International Financial Law Review. July 2005.

    “Thinking the unthinkable – the break-up of Economic and Monetary Union”. Norton Rose Briefing. March 1998

  36. javelin
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Alpha ville comments on this legal view point. As I have said on this site the ONLY viable option that everybody can agree on is a DUAL currency (1) Germans get there way (2) Greeks survive (3) EZ survives. Hobsons Choice.

    http://ftalphaville.ft.com/blog/2011/11/28/764211/guest-post-thinking-the-unfolding-the-break-up-of-monetary-union/

    The lawyer writes …

    “It was, and it is still, my contention that serious consideration should be given to an idea suggested when the Maastricht treaty was being negotiated by then UK Prime Minister John Major: a dual currency system. “

    • Tedgo
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      My plan for introducing a new Drachma would effectively mean having dual currencies. My contribution is about 3/4 of the way down in the following blog,

      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2011/11/20/breaking-up-is-easy-and-is-commonplace-currencies-can-leave-a-union

      To introduce the new currency, in an orderly fashion, one would have to try to maintain existing private and business wealth to avoid runs on banks and capital flight.

      This is why in my opinion it is easier to introduce a new Drachma than a new Mark in Germany. In the latter case there would be flight of Euros to other currencies in anticipation that the Mark will go up and the Euro down.

  37. Anne Palmer
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps it is time WE should ask our Members of Parliament whether THEY want to govern us according to our Common law Constitution, as they actually should be doing, or stand down and gets a “proper job” and let the EU Govern this Country forever? The only problem with THAT of course is that the people cannot contribute financially, or in any other way to that at all because it is absolutely contrary to their very own Common law Constitution and far too many loyal and true people, many of them our forces, have given their lives for that same FREEDOM that those in our Parliament now seem to want to actually THROW away-correction, actually pay financially to give away.

    It is without doubt Mr Redwood, by following the European Union method as explained by you above, has brought about disaster, for even Countries like the UK that are not in the Euro-zone, have alleged LEADERS that are intent on still giving our money away, until the British “Penny” drops and they realise they have also
    un-necessarily made this country bankrupt too. We are now going through another method of salvation watching -AND DOING NOTHING-while Heads of State are being removed from once “Sovereign” Member States-perhaps one by one and having “the EU’s place-men” put in their place. Perhaps that is better than what is happening in the Southern Mediterranean Countries-but happening it is.

  38. BobE
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    John, wonderful words.
    Keep on fighting, you may win yet.
    P.S.
    A simple example of the damage done by the euro is the country of Greece. Once it was a very cheap and relaxed holiday option, destroyed when the euro forced its prices to match nearby countries. The people of Greece do not want to be an industrious Germany. The Greek people are relaxed and enjoy the sun, they prefer to be slightly poor, its their way. Going back to their own currency will once again open Greece up to be a valid tourist destination. The countries of Europe should retain their own character and modus. Europe should never be a single country.
    BobE

  39. Steve Tierney
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    So what are you going to do about it?

  40. Alan Wheatley
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting. John, what was the reaction to your answer?

    As to why people continue to believe what they have believed, this is at least in part due to human nature. It seems to be very difficult for human beings to accept that what they have believed to be true is in fact wrong. And the more the belief is based on faith (in the general sense of the word) the more difficult it is to stop believing one thing and start believing something else. Perhaps this is because for humans belief based on faith is stronger than belief based on reasoned argument. In such cases the initial belief was faith based because the individual had neither the time, inclination or intellect to form their own judgement from an analysis of the facts. So belief was acquired from the person saying what seems to be most plausible.

    The EU Project grew out of the horrors of WW2, and it can readily be understood that for those who had been through two world wars in a generation there was an over-riding imperative to make sure it could not happen again. The course set out by the “founding fathers” was no doubt well intentioned, but the plan for achieving the objective was more of an act of faith than anything else.

    Another thing to bear in mind is that the more people in your contact group who are reiterating a belief the more courage it takes to advocate a counter point of view.

    • A different Simon
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      More of a case of it growing out of the ashes of WW2 than the horrors isn’t it ?

      Look at the companies which backed the national socialists and now look at the companies which are at the heart of the EU .

  41. outsider
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    To the best of my knowledge only one candidate has ever stood in a UK general election on a platform advocating a single European federal state. That was Sir Oswald Mosley in North Kensington in 1959. He came fourth with 2,821 votes. And although a European state was the policy of Sir Oswald’s Union Movement, I think it fair to say that almost all these votes were probably won by the racist elements in Sir Oswald’s programme, he having chosen to stand there in order to exploit the previous year’s Notting Hill riots.

    Sadly, I now find myself represented in the European Parliament by a Lib Dem member who actively promotes a federal Europe, seeks to nullify the effect of the European Union Act and, as a rapporteur, described the UK’s “Red Lines” on tax as “infamous”. That was not the stated Lib Dem programme but they chose to put him top of their list.

    Reaply: I thought Mr Stevens, who stood for Buckingham in 2010, argued for much more EU government. He drove Mr Farage into third place behind him.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Ah, that would be the same English LibDem MEP elected in a part of England who called for the defeat of the English over what was then the “Reform Treaty”.

      http://www.openeurope.org.uk/media-centre/summary.aspx?id=3105

      “If the English can be defeated then the opposition in Prague will disappear”.

      Another member of the Spinelli Group.

    • outsider
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      Mr Stevens is certainly a very enthusiastic EU fan and favoured our joining the euro, but the two campaign videos I have checked suggest that this was not his platform in Buckingham: it was more ‘elect an independent, clean up Parliament, give the Speaker’s constituents a choice’. But it is doubtless significant, whatever on’e views, that he won more votes than Mr Farage who, I suspect, was a little too brash for the folk in those parts.

  42. Frances Matta
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    As Rome featured so prominently in my “A” level History syllabus, Tudors and Stuarts, British and Foreign, Oxford board, I thought that it would be interesting to read the “The Treaty of Rome” in 1967.
    I did.
    Once was enough to realize that it stank.

    I often re-read C.Gordon Tether’s 1977 booklet “The Great Common Market Fraud”.
    It has come to pass but it is now so utterly scary that one is incapable of even the tiniest gloat.

  43. Bernard Otway
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    That is why all the anti Eu people who are in the majority,like those on here and everywhere,
    must be as RUDE to them as they are to their opponents,I tell any opponent that they are NUTS and WORSE,my friends who doubt have been on the receiving end of lecture after lecture,facts figures etc, my argument is irrefutable like that of JR and the rest of the anti’s.
    The penny has well and truly dropped with my friends especially my best man at my wedding in 1966 [Labour supporter but not now] who when I eviscerated him on Brown’s bottom
    a la GOLD sale,I told him then that Gold would go to more than $1500 an ounce he laughed,
    I DAILY email him the gold price and I mean DAILY,and I have told him I will do so until I go to my maker,if I last as long as my mother another 27 years [HE KNOWS].That is why I
    love Nigel Farage in the europarl and the expressions on the faces of Rumpey and Barroso
    when they are well and truly SKEWARED. my motto is and always has been YOU HIT ME I HIT YOU except I have ALWAYS hit better,that is what we all have to do HIT BETTER
    and before I get [Ed.] that is a METAPHORICAL term.

    • forthurst
      Posted November 28, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      “before I get [Ed.] that is a METAPHORICAL term”. For the purposes of Cultural Marxism or its legal manifestation, thought crime law, there is no such thing as metaphor or hyperbole.

  44. lola
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I love their delusion when they blame ‘market failure’ for their inability to achieve their (expensive) political ends. In fact it is precisely the opposite. It is ‘markets’ (i.e. all of the rest of us) succeeding in passing and accurate judgement on their failure.

    • Kenneth
      Posted November 29, 2011 at 1:25 am | Permalink

      Quite. Very odd when someone borrows money, then more money and then some more and then starts sulking when the lender merely questions their ability to pay it back

  45. Chris Rose
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Reading the notes of your talk at All Soul’s, I wondered whether the Euro is really a common currency at all. Each member state of the euro-zone can print money; there is very little to stop it. How can that be a common currency?

    The Growth and Stability Pact was originally established to try and manage this problem, but it has failed totally. The ECB should be managing the issuing of currency and, as you suggest in your notes, might be strengthened, but by its representative structure it is unable to do so.

    The Germans want to impose sanctions on errant states, but what sanctions can they impose? Fines are unlikely to be effective if a government can print money at will. The sanction that would be effective would be to throw a state out of the club, but that is the one sanction they refuse to contemplate. So disintegration is inevitable.

    Reply: Individual states in the Euro area cannot print money. They can borrow to the limits of market willingness to lend

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

    As long as David Cameron is leader then nothing will change. It seems as though few politicians are willing to be bold on this issue and are content with the status quo or with some vague promise of repatriation of powers – it seems as though the EU has instilled a political apathy in those who should be fighting for the UK as a sovereign nation. Apparently most of our politicians would rather live with the devil they know, and they are hardly challenged on their approach e.g. it seems quite incredible that so many of the electorate are ignorant of the huge significance of the 25 March Council Decision, neither did they realise that Hague dismissed the need for a referendum in October – it seems so easy to keep these things hidden from the electorate. The politicians simply do not talk about them but quietly slip them into the parliamentary agenda.

    What is needed is a dramatic move by those in UKIP and the eurosceptic MPs to come to some sort of arrangement or alliance stating that the electorate that they represent are entitled to a referendum on membership of the EU, with two options: i) IN, or ii) OUT, with a subsequent negotiation of new trading arrangements. A question phrased that way would give most in the electorate a genuine and meaningful choice. The three way choice as suggested before splits the anti EU vote and actually does not give the electorate the chance to express what they really want from Europe.

  47. BobE
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    The only option, if you want to try to stop this, is to vote UKIP in 3.5 years time. I’m in a safe Cons seat but each time the UKIP vote is increasing. There is no other real option.

  48. Martin
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    I must admit when I read about high unemployment, bubbles and hyper-activity I thought you were talking about the UK. We see all of these problems in the UK. Should the Sterling area be broken up into smaller currencies so that the banking quarter of the SE can do its own thing and let the ex-industrial areas of the UK re-industrialise with an initially weaker currency?

  49. Bernard Johns
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Well, John, 65 comments from some very angry people.
    Not much support for the status quo.
    So when are we going to get some action. All I have seen for years is words, words, words.
    Ok, the pen maybe mightier than the sword, but I for one am getting a wee bit tired of just reading about everyone’s moans, groans and gripes without anything being done to put it right. Do we really have to wait another four years before anything can change?
    If so, I shall take up my fiddle, and play whilst England burns!
    (That fiddle could well be a sword – if I had one!)

    Reply: We are all pushing for action – the problem remains a Parliament with a federalist majority

    • Steven Whitfield
      Posted November 29, 2011 at 2:55 am | Permalink

      If the nation can get itself worked up over a few pence increase in petrol duty and protest…why can’t we have an EU protest day ?.

      The debate on the EU referendum in parliament only happened because 100,000 or so people bothered to sign the online petition. Think what could be achieved if a national No! march was organised that captured the public imagination like the fuel tax protest did.

      We can’t leave it all to politicians – even those who speak the truth and go the extra mile like John Redwood.

  50. Mike Stallard
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    The basis of the question is this: can the experts, if unanimous be wrong?

    You might think not.

    But then there are countless cases of the experts being totally wrong and then sticking to their belief until chaos results:
    The ground nut scheme.
    Appeasement.
    Reprisals to Germany in 1919.
    de Lorean.
    Supporting Saddam Hussein against Iran.
    Supporting and arming the Taliban against the Russians.
    Supporting Colonel Ghadaffi.

    I could go on.

    There is nothing quite as imposing as a government balls up.

  51. Jon Burgess
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    I particularly like the last paragraph, but there seems to be something missing, something along the lines of:

    And that’s why we should have nothing to do with this unBritish, undemocratic, sinister, self absorbed European empire and look to extracate ourselves at the earliest opportunity. Better off out!

  52. Fernando
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    John, an excellent analysis. I would add, however, that one of the reasons for the tenacity of the whole euro project, is that many of those supporting it regard it as a moral crusade. They genuinely believe it will lead to a better world. Don’t underestimate the power of this idealism. I’ve worked with many good people from the Continent, people I respect, and many of them sincerely believe in this cause. It’s a dogma for them, rather than an economic option. It’s fed by faith rather than reason. I’ve never met anyone in the UK, even Europhiles, who felt the same way.
    Add self-interest to this sense of moral superiority and you have a passionate and powerful group of devotees.
    I sometimes wished we eurosceptics had a similar sense of conviction and felt as passionately that the future of Europe lay in voluntary co-operation, mutual trade and respect for the diversity. Too often we seem like we want to turn our backs on Europe completely.

  53. Bernard Otway
    Posted November 29, 2011 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    I have emails saying that a poll in the Star of saturday last has UKIP at 11% if that stays until next GE or gets more, many conservative MP,s are out, surely the anti EU mp,s HAVE to take a real stand NOW.The poll had con at 32%,lab at 34% UKIP at 11% and libdem at 12%,SO
    a conservative party commited to BOO would poll 32+11=43% and about 360 mp,s at todays level of 656 seats a comfortable majority and a REAL mandate for proper change PLUS a FULL 5 years to implement it. Just think Frack gas in lancashire supplying electricity
    generation cheaply and electrical use factories on the back of it ,one example Aluminium
    smelting and value added beneficiation,in Richards Bay Kwazulu Natal where I lived for
    25 years Alusaf Billiton built a smelter from scratch 12 years ago based on Cheap electricity
    Initial permanent jobs 4000 supporting at least 10 people per job ==40000,subsequently expanded by another 1800 jobs,the aluminium ingots are sent to beneficiating countries
    but if it was done in South Africa HOW many jobs ??? I guess many thousands,ONE INDUSTRY.What would an extra 100000 jobs do to the north ? the multiplier effect
    is unquantifiable BUT possibly Half a million.

  54. Ian
    Posted November 29, 2011 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    I am sure that corporate (self interest-ed) plays its part too. Those seemingly mad directives appear to be sponsored by large firms from the European Commission, in order to make life impossible for their smaller competitors

    Likewise I do not see “gold-plating” as evidence of civil service overzealousness (as UKIP naively does). It’s more likely that our own bureaucrats have been (helping-ed) large British firms trying to damage their smaller British rivals.

    If large firms can “own” Brussels and Whitehall functionaries, then they can own ministers too. It’s not just a matter of “jobs for the boys”.

  55. Kenneth
    Posted November 29, 2011 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    I would hope that Mr Clegg and his Lib Dem colleagues would show us just what good Europeans they can be by insisting in cabinet that the UK government demands full restoration of the UK rebate plus a refund on lost monies on the basis that the CAP has not been reformed, as was promised.

    Europe needs good Europeans to fight this eu cancer

  56. Steven Whitfield
    Posted November 29, 2011 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I think you have comprehensively shown by your clear headed assesment of the Euro, that it was never really thought out properly. It was politics , not sound economics that drove the Euro project.

    My questions to you would be is ‘Why do the EU elites and government so strongly desire a united federalist Europe’ – what motivates them ?. Is it just to create the gravy train that you elude to in Brussels or are there deeper motives ?.

  57. Jason
    Posted November 29, 2011 at 2:38 am | Permalink

    Debt is the thing that is really killing the Euro. However, the eurozone aren’t alone on that score (see attached youtube video)

  58. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 29, 2011 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    What would happen if a number of EU member states simply refused to pay any money at all into the EU annual budget until they stopped their nonsense? Would they all be expelled?

  59. Dave
    Posted December 4, 2011 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    One reason, perhaps the dominant reason, why so many governments wish to continue with the EU project is because of the momentum of the past half century. The course has already been set for them and governments and the elite don’t like the idea of disruption and uncertainty, not least since it may lead to another elite being formed. Another factor is that organisations set up to serve usually end up becoming bureaucracies concerned largely with their own survival and interests and end up looking for things to do which don’t need doing. The European Commission is a great example of this.

    It should also be remembered that the European project started life as a rather noble concept even with the inevitable cattle trading of the various treaties. Up until the end of the Cold War the European states were largely run by people who had a memory of their country’s occupation and, in some cases, destruction. With some justification, they saw the European project as one of the means of preventing that happening in the future. The recent drive for ever closer unity, following German reunification, was also borne of this fear. The UK position is a little more complicated than that of the continentals. Thatcher’s instincts to resist political integration were quite correct in my opinion though I think her underlying fear of the Germans desire for power within Europe was misguided. Having lived in Germany for a number of years, I was surprised by the number of Germans I met who were pro-Europe but who accepted that the subventions to other states may well make them a little poorer.

    Its a little ironic that ever closer union, particularly in the economic and fiscal sphere – its the economy stupid – will lead to tensions that wouldn’t otherwise have existed had Europe been satisfied with a free trade and mobility arrangement.

One Trackback

  • By Brenna Moller on December 11, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Brenna Moller…

    Muchos Gracias for your blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Cool….

  • 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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