Don’t be afraid of trade – the EU needs us more than we need them

The tired old Foreign Office and Lib Dem line is we have to go along with what the EU wants for the trade. It bedevils the debate again about whether we can negotiate a better relationship for ourselves, or whether the UK would be better off out. We constantly hear the refrain that we have to pay the subscription to be in the trade club, you have to take some rough with the smooth, we have 3.5 million jobs dependent on EU trade.

It means we have to repeat the counter sound bites time and again.

The EU sells a lot more to us than we sell to them. They would not wish to risk that.

Whatever we do on renegotiation and membership, Germany will want to sell us her BMWs and France her wine.

If the rest of the EU did get protectionist with us, we could take them to the WTO and demand international action. Or we could propose a supertax on imported wine and imported cars here in the UK in retaliation.

They say we need to be fully in the EU to influence the rules that affect our business. The question is how much influence can we have, when we seem unable to resist a torrent of new rules which we neither asked for nor need. It feels like we take the rough with the rough, and end up worse off.

The advocates of staying in on current terms have to answer this increasingly difficult question – isn’t the single market becoming a means of lumbering us with uncompetitive costs and rules which Chinese or US or other non EU companies do not face when selling into the EU market?

If the EU moves towards more political and economic integration for the core countries, the UK will have to demand a different arrangement for us to justify our consent to the new Treaty.

If Euroland instead tries a new Treaty for just 17, they will discover all sorts of legal complexities between the 17 and the 27. It will pose all soerts of problems over use of staff, facilities, and payment of bills. We will still need a different relationship, so we still need to sit down and negotiate one either way.

The UK needs to be making this clear, now Euro integration or break up is on the agenda.

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98 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    The single market is indeed a means of lumbering us with uncompetitive costs and rules which Chinese or US or other non EU companies do not face when selling into the EU market.

    The only arguments put forwards, for the UK being in the EU – by the usual Libdems, BBC, Shirley Williams, Clegg, Cameron and Ken Clark types are:

    Influence – one seat in 27 is not very much, our influence mainly comes from being a large, albeit rapidly declining, economy.

    Trade – which is clearly a red herring as we would trade anyway.

    Prevention of wars – at the moment it looks more likely to create wars than prevent them.

    The BBC pro state sector union coverage yesterday was a total outrage. The Billy Bragg line they seem to like to follow is absurd. If there is one think that is damaging the UK hugely it is surely the BBC line on politics, the EU, the over large state and the green exaggerations. These set the country on the wrong path with the wrong debate and politics every time.

    How can the BBC defend 7 times higher pensions and higher pay for state sector workers paid for by people with no pensions and earning less (and not even mention these basic facts)?

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 2, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      As the end game of this EU created Euro disaster begins it seems clear to me that cast jelly Cameron’s main concern is not the interests of the UK but trying desperately trying to avoid any referendum for the sake of the coalition he lumbered the country with.

      I see that nearly 5000 complained about Clarkson’s unfunny comment yesterday – he should have known that socialists have little sense of humour, even when you do say something funny. I am sure far more would complain about the absurd BBC pro state sector union bias – if they thought anyone at the BBC would take any notice and were not to busy working to pay taxes.

      Far worse than the original comment was a later attempt that I heard to brand him as an evil right wing racist that I heard (The left seem to confuse the two when racism is usually far more common on the left in my experience).

  2. norman
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    You can’t be too harsh on the Foreign Office and Lib Dems.

    After all they have to say something, they can’t just shuffle their feet, look at the floor and mumble something about being ‘good Europeans’ so they have to invent some kind of scare tactic.

    Heaven forbid they’d use actual facts, the number of Eurosceptics would leap 20% overnight!

  3. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    When the eurozone house is on fire, there may not be too much time to have tea with one of the (ten) neighbors and discuss the relationship. Simply announcing that there will be a price for UK cooperation may be more sensitive, maybe adding that it will amount to an “a la carte” relationship for the UK without specifying. That leaves room for dealing within the coalition, once it becomes clear how the eurozone intends to move to further integration.

  4. Atlas etc, etc
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Yes to what you said AND we must have a Referendum – this is too important for the Lib-Dems to be a block on the road to freedom.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 3, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Given that the Conservatives also blocked the last referendum it’s unfair to solely blame the Lib Dems.

      • Derek Weston
        Posted December 3, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        It does appear that the ‘liberal wing’ of the conservative party are just as besotted with the Euro as the Lib Dems and many in New Labour.Asking the people by referendum is anathema to these people’ who know best’.I have little hope for a referendum as the outcome would be ill informed and more of an X Factor vote. Unfortunately our people have been dumbed down by the Media and the BBC in particular.

  5. Boudicca
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    There is no economic justification for the UK remaining in the EU. It is costing us £51 million a day just to be a member, before we start adding in all the costs of complying with the endless stream of regulations, bailing out the Euro and all the other associated costs.

    The only possible justification is the vague notion of ‘influence’ – both in Europe and the wider world. The last 30 years have demonstrated that the UK’s influence in the EU is minimal; the EU was designed to be run by Germany and France and (unsurprisingly) that’s what they do, to suit their own countries’ prorities.

    Our influence in the wider world is decreased by membership of the EU. We now have the pathetic Baroness Ashton speaking for the UK on foreign affairs and the damp rag Rumpuy on anything else: neither elected in the UK.

    It is obvious that you don’t need to be in the EU in order to trade with it. Otherwise, all the world’s nations that aren’t members would have a trading problem – and they don’t.

    The pro-EU political elite have NO logical and persuasive argument for us to remain in the EU, which is why they refuse to make one and put it to the people in a free and fair Referendum.

    We are being bled dry by Brussels: whilst Osborne is imposing austerity in the UK, Cameron has just agreed a 2% budget increase for Brussels. For the Commissars and Eurocrats in Brussels, the gravy train is still rolling along nicely.

  6. Mike Stallard
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Why is the EU so frightened of losing Great Britain? Mr Sarkozy (for one) pretends that we are better off out, even though he said it is Berlusconi to Mr Cameron.

    Is it really a logical demand that Europe must be totally united under Brussels as M. Delors planned so carefully?

    Is it because the banks are about to go belly up? I really would like to know how exposed our English Banks are to Club Med bonds.

    Is it because our Civil Service and the vast Brussels Bureaucracy are joined at the hip?

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted December 2, 2011 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      Sorry meant to be “said it in Berlusconi”…….

  7. backofanenvelope
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    I expect the Franco-German alliance will take the Gordian Knot approach. They will just implement their policy, whatever it is, and we’ll have to take the medicine. What can we do? Sue them?

    The problem is, as with all EU problems, France. It is her banks that are in trouble and all this manoeuvring is designed to save them.

  8. Single Acts
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Mr Sarkozy’s speech last night was opaque but quite stunning. He has apparently now discovered that too much debt is a bad thing as this needs to be repaid at some pint and in order to do this, one needs to produce goods and services that can be sold.

    Welcome to the party, we rejoice at the conversion of anyone to the obvious even if we might have hoped he realised this thirty years ago.

    But the proposed solution (a new treaty with Germany) would have chilled the bones of my gallic body were I a Frenchman. I have no idea what he wants, but the way the language has been flowery in the past few days suggests its profound, perhaps the Endkampf for intergration. What will be left of French sovereignty after this? who knows, but one suspects Pierre Laval would be able to accept it.

  9. Posted December 2, 2011 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    As I argue on the web site Orphans of Liberty this morning a better solution will be to actually do something about tackling “the tired old Foreign Office” itself, along with all the other “problems” who have advanced as a result of the EU conspiracy.

    http://www.4liberty.org.uk/2011/12/01/now-what-about-the-eu-pensions-of-the-nationals-of-withdrawing-nation-states/

  10. lojolondon
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Hear, hear! Or, of course, we could have a referendum. It would not be binding on parliament, but it would be a powerful motivation and excuse (because he obviously needs one!) for Cameron to negotiate forcefully with the EU.

  11. Martyn
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    The time needed to renegotiate the 17/27 treaty and aligning the interests and needs of the nations involved makes that unlikely to be a timely solution to the Euro disaster. Germany and France will be forced to take yet more desperate measures to save it, into which the UK will be dragged whether we like it or not. Our government has a track record of reneging on promises and I have no doubt that what little remains of UK independence will be sacrificed in order to preserve the UK’s position at the EU top table, regardless of the cost or damage to our economy.
    Hard currency has no value other than that inspired by our trust in the promise made to repay on demand the sum it represents and using notes and coins to represent that trust is little different to using beads or cowrie shells as others have done in the past. When trust in a currency is lost it inevitably fails, which is pretty much where we find the Euro today and it seems to me that the faster EU and our politicians fiddle, the the faster it burns and what appals me is that our government seems bent on casting the UK into the fire, regardless of the cost to us as individuals or that of the nation as a whole. I fear that if, somehow, the Euro is saved and the UK has been cast into the fire in doing so then Sterling will be next in the firing line. Before too long after that happens it will be announced that the only solution is for the UK to take up the Euro and surrender itself to the EU lock, stock and barrel.

  12. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Slightly off topic: It’s an absolute delight to listen (live) to the speech by “the velvet lady”. Angela Merkel makes a lot of sense and should have deserved more attention from the international media today. After all, “wie betaalt, bepaalt” or in English “he who pays, determines”, which will mainly be Germany.

    • Derek Weston
      Posted December 3, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      The German People suffered a huge confidence trick when the Grandiose scheme of the Euro united Europe was floated.Angela Merkel is doing her utmost for Germany and to keep it in a position which it warrants similar to that before the disastrous European Wars.

  13. ian wragg
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Well how about you challenging Roon and doing just what you propose. You know full well that the shower at the top have no intention of standing up for Britain. Roon is feathering his nest for an EUSSR posting after the tories become totally unelectable in 2015 (or before).
    You would have the majority of the country behind you.
    Where is leadership when we need it?

  14. Steven Granger
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    “If the EU moves towards more political and economic integration for the core countries, the UK will have to demand a different arrangement for us to justify our consent to the new Treaty.” As I said yesterday, your government has already capitulated and said it won’t be demanding anything of the sort. The necessary treaty changes are to be forced through by way of inter-governmental agreements thus avoiding any referendums and the government that you prop up will simply allow this to happen. What are you and the 80 other so called Eurosceptics going to do about this other than mutttering from the sidelines? I asked yesterday for some comment on the government’s capitulation on this issue but the silence was deafening.

    Reply: We are asking for a renegotiation and for a referendum. As you see, we do not have the votes to enforce this.

    • Steven Granger
      Posted December 3, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      You don’t have the votes to enforce this but if you all got together and threatened to resign en masse I think Cameron might just be forced into taking notice. If you were serious about achieving anything that’s exactly what you would do. I shall not be holding my breath!

      Reply: Resign from what? It seems to me better to stay in Parliament and make the case, as we said we would when standing for election.

      • sjb
        Posted December 3, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

        I think Steven means resign from the Conservative Party and cross the floor of the HoC. Persuade another 25 Eurosceptics (Carswell, Cash etc) and the Coalition would lose its majority.

        Reply: Such action would make no difference to the government’s majority. When they do the wrong thing on the EU we vote against them, but Labour gives them a large majority. Why can’t you grasp that simple truth? This is a federalist Parliament, whatever the Eurosceptic Conservatives do.

        • sjb
          Posted December 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          Yes, we have a federalist Parliament – but the matter leading to a confidence motion need not be about the EU. For instance, Callaghan’s defeat in 1979 arose from a dispute about Scottish devolution. Although the Conservative Party & SNP held different views on devolution they went through the same lobby on the vote of confidence.

          If the electorate agree with the views promoted on this site (particulary with regard to the EU) then in the General Election that follows your new party of former ministers and senior policitians would surely do very well indeed, probably even mopping up most of the UKIP vote.

  15. A.Sedgwick
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Very good piece – you and others need to keep repeating this detail. I hope that you are moving to the only solution is out view and recognising that even if it was likely that we could negotiate a swift repatriation of key areas it would minimise our membership to being pointless.

  16. frank salmon
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    John
    You are quite right, but are you taking a tougher stance? You don’t normally talk in terms of leaving the EU. To talk about it you need to mean it, and to mean it you may have to contemplate pushing the UK in that direction or forming some kind of movement which takes us in that direction. Dare we think the unthinkable?

  17. martin sewell
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    John, How confident can we be that the PM and the Europhiles will deliver on a referendum on this occassion?

  18. barry laughton (@kil
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    As usual, you are so right, particularly about the trade refrain, almost as if it is said enough times, it must be true. But one wonders if the Europhiles have any other strings to their bow. Certainly, (as I keep on going on about) at £50,000,000 sterling a day every day it is a very expensive trading club. Most people probably wouldn’t trade on E-Bay at that sort of membership fee.

  19. Paul H
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    “It will pose all soerts [sic] of problems over … payment of bills.”

    Somehow I suspect that the UK will still be paying a lot of them, given the craven mentality of a prime minister who couldn’t win a coin-toss with a two-faced coin.

    (disobliging comment re Mr Cameron suggesting a lack of sincerity-ed))

  20. Posted December 2, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    I have no objections to us belonging to a European Trade bloc, which was what I believed that I voted for, and would be happy to remain part of one. But trade should not mean political interference, as numerous other countries around the world have told us from time to time.
    If the true objective is trade and jobs, then the money we spend on EU membership (less the cost of the benefits, if any) could be spent far more effectively in securing even more trade around the world, which would provide extra protection for this country from the ups and downs of the global economy.
    Unfortunately the EU and its regulations (zealously enforced by our Civil Service), is causing industry’s costs to rise at an alarming rate. A year or so ago I met a US businessman at a social event and he told me his electronics company was doing more business than ever before in parts of the world that were previously considered the preserve of the European countries, particularly in South America. He put it down to the EU goods and services having risen in price at a far faster rate than his company’s , apparently due to EU rules and regulations.
    We are allowing the EU to price us out of World Markets, leaving trade with the EU the only option, this must be stopped.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 3, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      I hear that they can make good cheaply in the USA because they have a large prison population who they can force to work for very low wages. This would be illegal in the EU as it would be considered forced labour.

  21. Electro-Kevin
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    One area on which the EU seems much looser is the transfer of labour. Remarkably there appears to be little red tape on this.

    Is it the case that our own leaders choose which red tape to ignore and which red tape to adhere to ?

    The point on youth unemployment was missed entirely on QT last night. There is no shortage of work in the UK. There is no need for new apprenticeship schemes to get kids off the dole. All that is needed is basic literacy and numeracy and a good work ethic as thousands of Poles (with a bare grasp of our language) prove to us every year.

    (For that matter there would be no shortage of housing either.)

    Instead we get index linked benefits which will incentivise indolence, heighten the expectations of our own youth whilst subsidising the choices that domestic employers can make. Certain coffee chains and fast food outlets can lay no more claim to wealth creation than the public sector – they are able to pay minimum wage to foreign nationals because the taxpayer is being forced to pay for our own workers to stay at home.

    Welfare is our highest expenditure by far. The Coalition has just added £2bn to it by some estimates.

    (NHS is second)

    What difference does talking about EU ‘red tape’ make when quite clearly it’s our own people who are shafting us ?

    Plan A: Print money/Raise welfare

    Who’d-a thunk it ?

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted December 3, 2011 at 12:58 am | Permalink

      I take the ‘awaiting moderation’ as a complement then.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted December 3, 2011 at 1:04 am | Permalink

        ***John. I’m on your side.***

        I leave it up to you to print this.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 3, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      “All that is needed is basic literacy and numeracy and a good work ethic as thousands of Poles (with a bare grasp of our language) prove to us every year.”

      Along with working for the low salaries that Poles are paid.

      “Certain coffee chains and fast food outlets can lay no more claim to wealth creation than the public sector – they are able to pay minimum wage to foreign nationals because the taxpayer is being forced to pay for our own workers to stay at home.”

      Maybe if they paid more than minimum wage the people of this country would be able to afford to work in these places.

      Also the taxpayer has to pay those who work minimum wage jobs tax credits and housing benefit because their salaries are too low to live on. But given that tax credits are being frozen while benefits are index linked expect more people to choose not to work.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 3, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        I keep pointing this out, but of course the fantasists do not want listen as their ideas would collapse. The East Europeans in general are young, desperate and fast footed. Not mention having intelligence and wit. They are the middle classes if you like. They come here looking for fun, money, sex and adventure. Many return after this expedition. How a working class middle aged man with three children who has lived in the same town all his life is supposed to compete with them is a mystery that the answers lie in the brains of right wing people who themselves would not last a day in the conditions they prescribe for everyone else.

    • Alexis
      Posted December 3, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Is it the case that our own leaders choose which red tape to ignore and which red tape to adhere to ?

      To an extent, yes.

      It’s called ‘gold-plating’ and the EU does not approve of it, apparently.
      http://ec.europa.eu/governance/better_regulation/glossary_en.htm#_g_gold_plating

      You may not like the sound of the solution, though:

      To avoid gold-plating, EU regulations may be a powerful simplification tool. The use of a (directly applicable) regulation removes the scope for Member States to elaborate on the EU rules, enables immediate application and guarantees that all actors are subject to the same rules at the same time.

      Source:
      http://ec.europa.eu/governance/better_regulation/simplification_en.htm

      So in order to simplify regulation, they will just tell us exactly what to do directly, and in clear terms. Then there is no need for Governments to bother themselves with interpretation.

      There, that’s an improvement, isn’t it. ;-)

  22. Alan
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    It’s one of the irritating things about economics that we seem to have to take decisions on the basis of information that is so imprecise that in many cases it might as well not exist. I presume each company could make a reasonable assessment of whether it gains or loses from membership of the euro, but we don’t seem to have a good assessment of whether the UK as a whole gains or loses. Mr Redwood clearly thinks that it loses and therefore we might as well either leave or at least threaten to leave so that we improve the conditions of membership so much that we start to gain from membership (how much would that require, by the way?).

    Then there is the question of whether as individuals we gain or lose, which is distinct from whether the country as a whole gains or loses. Clearly being in the euro and in Schengen would facilitate our travel in the euro and Schengen areas. Having our savings in euros would mean they would retain their value instead of being eroded by devaluation. Many UK citizens work in the EU: they would probably lose if we left. But UK companies would not be able to employ people on low wages, kept down by periodic devaluations, and the poor might have to move to other countries to find work. Almost certainly some of us are gaining and some are losing, but we don’t know how many are in each group.

    I am a supporter of the EU, mainly on the argument that large economic areas work better than small ones and therefore we ought to be gaining from membership. I think I personally have lost because we did not join the euro since my savings and pension have been devalued, and I find the queues at immigration control because we did not join Schengen and the need to change currency and pay excessive commission on it irksome, and that is about as far as the EU affects me directly. I would welcome a thorough assessment of whether we are really gaining or not, but it would have to take everything into account.

    I also remember what the UK was like before joining the EU and the Single European Act – a constant feeling, similar to the one we experience now in this financial crisis, that the economy and the country are failing and will continue to fail. I don’t want to go back to that.

  23. oldtimer
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Scaremongering, often coupled with attempts to close down debate, is a poor substitute for reasoned argument. We have heard, and continue to hear from some, the same approach over the unreliable, unproven CAGW hypothesis. Unfortunately it seems to be part of the political stock-in-trade.

  24. Mazz
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Cameron is, apparently, not listening to this side of the debate. In my opinion, he does not have what it takes to be a Prime Minister, apart from the gift of the gab and he has plenty of that. It’s action we need, not a ‘wait and see’ attitude and ‘let’s not rock the boat whilst the Eurozone is having such a bad time’.

    • Disaffected
      Posted December 2, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      Budget – more taxation,spending and borrowing. Welfare increase by 5.2% next year. Cameron claimed he wants it to pay to work- yeah course he does.

      EU- continues subservience to the EU with powers being taken away ie arrest warrant, look at budget book. Cameron flies in the face of democracy and pulled every trick in the book to prevent the public having a vote on the EU- Cameron advised by Europhiles Heseltine, Major and Clark. Of course we should believe he is Eurosceptic.

      Immigration- mass immigration continues out of control being a larger burden on the taxpayer and hence the middle class. Of course we should believe Cameron it will be reduced to ten of thousands- yeah right.

      Defence- military being cut without much change to Whitehall or back room staff despite unnecessary middle east wars. More expense on said taxpayers. Cameron previously claimed security of the nation is our first responsibility- yeah right.

      Crime and disorder- Soft on crime Clark continues with liberal/socialist policies of reducing punishment to any well meaning term. 65,000 offenders committing 15 or more offences without any real punishment. ISSP for young offenders an expensive joke on the taxpayer. Cameron claims society is broken- I wonder why?

      Universities and schools- standards deteriorate with social engineering. The UK still providing FREE university education to EU students who are the UK’s competitors, while stinging the middle class to pay £9,000 per year just for tuition (8 hrs on average). China on the other hand has a very good plan to help its future by putting its students in good universities to study engineering, science etc. I wonder which country will be an industrial power house in the future?

      WHS- Health service provided for free to all citizens of EU countries. No checks are ever made to entitlement. Waiting lists rise as others are provided a free service that they are NOT entitled to.

      Public services- reform required but can not be achieved because ministers are incompetent and do not under their brief or find out what is going inside their own department. No joined-up thinking whatsoever to overall goal of reducing costs to budget. Ministers need to learn that you can not spend more than you earn. Constantly putting up taxes is NOT the answer.

      20 months of lost opportunity. Tories continue with Labour’s policies with Lie Dumbs hanging on to the shirt tails. Time for change, vote UKIP.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 3, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Indeed Cameron is very good at arguing black is white and defending the indefensible in the commons and on TV and at silly photo opportunities and distractions from substance.

      Just imagine how good he would be if he actually had a sensible line to defend on the economy, the EU and the green religion – he just needs a working compass.
      Alas I feel his credibility has now nearly gone and it will be very hard to recover it.

  25. javelin
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    ** The SIZE OF THE DEBT is FAR WORSE than the BREAK UP OF THE EURO **

    After the Euro breaks up life will go on. People will find ways of trading. People will find ways of making a living. FX transactions will be needed and London is the center of FX banking.

    The real worry is the size of the DEBT. Owing hundreds of billions is a bigger problem than paying a few billion to exit the Euro zone. The DEBT will denegrate economies for decades. Exiting the Euro will have an impact for the next year.

    LEAVING the EURO now is like getting a divorce before having a child to save a broken marriage.

  26. Caterpillar
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    “We will still need a different relationship, so we still need to sit down and negotiate one either way.
    The UK needs to be making this clear”

    This should go without saying, and the PM has obviously indicated that the time to renegotiate is approaching. Hopefully we will hear something from the discussions with the French President – but I suspect we will hear nothing again.

  27. Disaffected
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    John,

    Totally agree with you, but are the Coalition listening? Or rather, do they want to listen as your views are contrary to what they want to spin to the public. Once again, Cameron has too many Europhile advisers in Heseltine, Major and Clark to contemplate he will take a Eurosceptic view. Add the Loony policies and views of the Lib Dems and your voice will be drowned out. We saw how he snubbed the British public views on an EU referendum, yet in contrast to the 100,00 voters who asked for a referendum he was happy to make the country vote on AV when only 58 Lib Dem MPs wanted it and at a cost of about £80 million.

    On a separate note, I read today that British banks might need further bail outs by the taxpayer. Is this correct? If so, the public should be rightly outraged after banks continue to give billions in bonuses over the past few years.

    Is this why Bob Diamond of late has taken a conciliatory tone in understanding the public view as Barclays will be on the hook if the Euro breaks up? And perhaps why the CEO of Lloyds of late has become too ill to work? I understand the book price of Lloyds and RBS is half what the taxpayer paid for its shares in 2008. Mr Heston is still on about £9 million and recently said it is dumb to buy bank shares. So why hasn’t the Coalition taken your advice and broke up RBS and sold it off?

  28. stred
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    I asked a French friend why they were taking no notice of a new law for the communal swimming pool, brought in after the PM’s nephew had climbed a fence and managed to drown himself. He haughtily anwered that the French do not obey stupid laws. What a silly question!

    How are they going to check whether we are following directives when they are busy avoiding them too. I have not noticed any continentals refusing to buy Chinese goods because of their working conditions.

    • martin sewell
      Posted December 3, 2011 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      There is one law they do enforce and which we could emulate.

      The first time you fall into an unauthorised overdraft you get a warning letter: the second time they suspend all bankng rights in France for some years,

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 3, 2011 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        The do not do this any more – not should they. It has happened to me when my UK bank failed to transfer to France, as requested, in time for a debit. Why should I have banking in France suspended due to a muck up or two by my English bank or perhaps I fell ill and forgot. Nor should the banks be allowed to charge huge penal fines for this “service” as they do both here and in France.

        I see that a UK bank customer was charged £80 for going 15p overdrawn for eleven days, which equates to actual interest of more than 50,000% and a theoretical APR in the millions recently.

        • Bazman
          Posted December 3, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

          More competition being the obvious answer….

  29. Damien
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I think we can now all agree that there will be no winners if the euro collapses and that the UK would suffer because of the size of its banking exposure to the rest of the EU. That figure is put at £192 billion of which banks have provisions for 10% default.

    The alternative is that agreements are reached for a new round of treaty negotiations with the prize being that Germany would agree to the ECB back stopping the EZ. It is true that the UK has a veto like all other EU countries when it comes to any new treaty but if the UK overplays its hand by hampering these negotiations then it runs the risk of being left behind.

    I wonder what life would be like if we had to leave the EU altogether ? What would happen to the millions of UK retirees who now live abroad enjoying EU health cover and property rights? What about the 2.5 million EU citizens who have moved here and set up home under their EU passport, would they have to apply for a visa to extend their stay? Would they want to stay? As someone asked last night on question-time ‘how is it that millions of young eastern europeans are able to find work in manufacturing but yet our own young cannot fill these jobs?’ The panel could not honestly answer the question and I doubt that if 2.5 million eastern EU workers were forced to return very few of those jobs would be filled by our millions of long term unemployed.

  30. Adam5x5
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    But do you actually expect this government to do that?

    “Cast-iron” Dave gives the appearance of wanting to drag us further into the EU, not pull us out. He is also egged on by the Lib Dems and Labour.

    But hey, it’s only the electorate who don’t want to be in Europe. What does their opinion matter? Our benevolant masters have decided in their wisdom what is best for us and we better toe the line…

    It does make me wonder what will happen at the next EU election and the effect this will have on the main two political parties (Lib Dems are pretty much finished in my opinion).
    If UKIP gets resounding support in the voting, will Labour and the Conservatives suddenly start to realise we don’t want to be in? Or will they just say “Wrong!” and keep shackling us even tighter to the EU?

    Regarding the statements parroted by the pro-EU lobby – given the current state of the EU, the vast majority of the electorate are savvy enough to realise that the best thing we can do is leave. The parrots are wasting their breath…

  31. Posted December 2, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Bill Cash was just on the telly reminding us of our deficit with the EU and our surplus with the rest of the world.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 3, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Amazing that they still manage to have a trade surplus with the rest of the world – given the size of Cameron’s state sector pulling us all under the water line.

  32. Liz
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    The problem is that since Mrs Thatcher no British Government has stood uo for British interests within the EU – quite the reverse in fact – in the way that the French and Germans fiercely defend and promote their national interest. Can you imagine either of them doing a Heath and destroying one of their industries (fishing) and then lying about it for years.We have had no real influence on anything that has taken place since we joined. Then there is the civil service, fanatically Europhile,which no Government seems able to control.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted December 2, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      Good comment!

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 3, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Indeed

    • Bazman
      Posted December 3, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      It is interesting how the European countries tend to drive their cars from their own manufactures. Japanese still being everywhere. The French cars are suspiciously cheap and always have been. My father drove Renaults throughout the 70’s and 80’s because he found ‘British’ cars like the Cortina to expensive.

  33. Bernard Otway
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    John I have an overwhelming sense from this article,that YOU are at tipping point,you seem to have arrived at the inevitable point at which say a seriously in trouble marriage HAS to either negotiate a way to try and erase the troubles OR do the inevitable,especially for the sake of the other participants in the marriage ie children,inlaws etc.
    Many on this site have said what you have said above for months if not years,I personally have used my own knowledge and experiences in say South Africa where I cited my very good friend the Orange farmer and the 1p [YES ONE PENCE] per kilo orange price,plus i have said
    IF Ireland is our biggest trading partner [as was quouted when helping Bail them out]
    at £29 billion pa to 4.3 million people,WHAT SHOULD we be selling to only the 28 million in Australia and New Zealand,lets say HALF of the factor by which their population exceeds that of Ireland or 3.25 {3.25 x£29 billion = £94.25 billion],and guess what both those COUSIN countries make WINE and believe it or not RIGHT hand drive motor cars of a very high quality ,my Ford Fairmont I owned in South Africa just before I left in 2008 was the best car I have ever owned,I was a senior sales executive in the motor industry from 2000 till 2008 so I know cars backwards,the arguments for trading with the rest of the world are completely IRREFUTABLE.Even Portugal would be better off in a
    trading arrangement with more than 200 million Portuguese speaking Brazilians and as
    it’s former colonies Angola and Mozambique are also growing fast them too,what about Spain and every spanish speaking country from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego 19 countries
    and more than 350 million people. Actually it is the Eu countries WITHOUT natural rest of the world trading partners that speak their languages that should be worried for the future
    the Eu should concentrate on TRADE and forget the other nonsense of rules and stupid regulations,war is NOT at all likely in Europe,interestingly I read in the papers yesterday that CHINA has an estimated 3000 warheads HIDDEN in tunnels,WORRY about that
    Europhiles not whether armies will deploy on the mainland of europe,China once shut itself off from the rest of the world,now it is doing the oppsite,WHAT IF it had a standing
    army of 10 million,I for one would TREMBLE.

  34. pete
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    don’t hold your breath. just somehow can’t see that happening with the Lib Dems in tow…

  35. Norman Dee
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    So it’s more than usually important for some positive action to catch the attention and focus more minds on the situation. I am afraid that Cameron is in Europe right now, bending the knee and giving in to Merkozy, and the “piece of paper” moment is about to be replayed again with Cameron starring as Chamberlain, promising us peace in our time. Which will like all the other promises, like Bliars CAP modifications, will just be a disitraction while we are further and further commited to end up being full members and changing our currency before we know what has hit us.
    We need fireworks that even the BBC cannot ignore, we need cross channel news statements, and we need somebody to front it all up and really motivate against this sneaky European (federalist state-ed) movement to prevent them from succeeding.
    Voting against and making statements whilst we are surrounded by voter apathy is not enough, we need a Churchill who recognises the problem, without whom Chamberlain would have handed us over to Hitler

  36. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    What hope is there that Cameron will do anything other than cave in to whatever Merkel and Sarkozy demand? After all he has surrendered his negotiating position by declaring his intention of staying in the EU come what may. He will be offered the choice of agreeing or leaving and he will meekly submit. If he ever had any intention of restoring any powers to the UK is also a thought that lacks credibility.

  37. NickW
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    The European Parliament has recently passed a declaration which insists on more democracy to go hand in hand with more power for Brussels.

    If European leaders are to be granted even greater power, they have to have democratic legitimacy too, otherwise their edicts will be rejected by the populace.

    Democracy in Europe will only be achieved if the people demand it, it isn’t going to be handed to us on a plate.

    This e petition is a starting point;

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/24388

    Lack of democracy in the EU and the re-election of Herman Van Rompuy .

    Responsible department: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    We, the undersigned, are seriously concerned about the increasingly undemocratic nature of the EU, and fear that it will worsen without a change of leadership. We oppose the re-election of Herman Van Rompuy in 2012 because of his open opposition to democracy and the catastrophic failure of his policies and leadership. We petition Parliament to debate these matters and we ask Parliament to vote on the following motion; This House requests that the Heads of the EU re- affirm their commitment to democracy and to Government with the consent of the Governed; accordingly opposes the re-election of Herman Van Rompuy as European Council President and expresses the wish to see him replaced by a President fully committed to maintaining democratic principles whatever the circumstances, with the will and ability to restore harmony and prosperity throughout the whole of Europe.

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/24388

    I would prefer to agree with our neighbours rather than disagree, however; I entirely agree with the proposition that if membership of the EU is inimical to our interests, and favourable changes can’t be negotiated, then we should get out.

    The motion is worded to achieve the widest possible support.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 3, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      I don’t see how the EU Parliament could be more democratic since MEPs are elected using proportional representation.

      Also who is responsible for the elections of the European Council President? The European Parliament? The elected leaders of the 27 member states?

  38. forthurst
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Why would the EU be willing to renegotiate our membership? They have a very good deal, which of course means we have a very bad one. From Edward Heath onwards the EU has behaved like a robber baron towards us and successive PMs (apart from Baroness Thatcher) with the full support of a limp wristed FO has caved in at every turn with the occasional symbolic figleaf to cover their indecency in selling us out yet again.

    We pay the EU to plunder our ancestral fishing grounds, despoil our agriculture, encumber our industry with red tape and carbophobia, accomodate their unemployed and unemployable, provide an ultimate destination for the world’s surplus populations and act as a favoured destination for German manufactures and French agricultural produce which we have subsidised. Then of course there is the widespread fraud which we pay for as well because it’s not accounted for separately.

    Such a good deal for them; such a bad deal for us. Renegiation is not the answer since it will always be rejected other than as mutually agreed tokenism; withdrawal is.

    Reply: I propose seeing what is the best deal we can get and then having a referendum on whether to stay in. If you are right there will be no better deal offered, and more people will vote for Out.

  39. REPay
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    The FCO has been dumbed down a lot. I asked a senior FCO friend of mine how British Interests where defined under the last government. His response was that our interests equate essentially to our obligations under treaties and to human rights -I think shorthand for whatever the Guardian likes. I assume therefore that they must have taken the phrase “ever closer union” to its logical conclusion to override other “old-fashioned” or, perish the thought, “selfish national” considerations.

  40. uanime5
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Just a few things John.

    1) The UK is declining because we’re a net importer. We need to start making our own products and selling them, rather than buying from other countries.

    2) The supertax you propose will be as bad for UK companies that sell European products as the European countries that make them.

    3) Non-EU countries have to negotiate trade agreements with the EU if they want to continue trading with them, for example China currently has quotas regarding the amount of textiles it can sell in the EU. So if we leave the EU we can expect to get quotas on our products and the WTO won’t do anything to stop this.

    4) Even if we leave the EU we will have to comply with their rules if we want to trade with them even though we will have no way to influence these rules. To explain why I have provided an example below.

    Company A in China wished to sell their couches in the EU. They make their couches according to Chinese couch laws and try to sell them to an EU company. The EU company refuses these couches because they don’t comply with the more stringent EU couch laws, making it illegal to sell these couches in the EU. So Company A either has to sell these couches in China or make couches that comply with EU couch laws, even though they have no way to influence these couch laws.

    In short you can’t make products that don’t comply with EU law, then expect to be able to sell them in the EU.

    • Tedgo
      Posted December 2, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Most sensible manufacturers design products which meet all the major standards around the world, not just EU ones. Many so called EU standards are not EU at all, they are international standards.

      In the event that the EU wanted to impose quotas on us, there is nothing to stop us doing the same to them, I am a great believer in reciprocity.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 3, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        The point is that even if we leave the EU if we want to trade with them we will have to obey some EU laws.

        Also there are two problems with imposing similar limitations.

        1) The UK is a smaller market than the rest of the EU, so some EU countries may decide it’s not worth making products to UK standards if these standards are difficult to achieve.

        2) Legitimate businesses won’t be able to sell these EU good even if there is demand, so if someone wants to buy them they’ll have go to the black market. Thus the UK government will lose the tax they would have gained if this item could be sold legally.

        Thus we aren’t in any position to make onerous requirements.

        • Tedgo
          Posted December 3, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

          I really don’t understand your problem with this aspect, businesses are always greedy for sales and will continue to supply goods to us. Equally they will buy goods from us, there is no reason to stop trading with us simply because we are no longer in the club. Throwing in arguments about Standards is a red herring, black markets is far fetched.

    • Bob
      Posted December 2, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      Which country would allow you to import goods that do not comply with their laws?

      On the subject of import taxes, since we import more from the EU than we export to them, any protectionism measures would not make sense for them.

      What we need to do now is to install a firewall between us and the EZ, but I’m afraid our politicians have left it rather too late. As always, it’s poor old muggins the taxpayer that suffers, and I’m sure that Merv the Swerve has fully firewalled his pension.

    • Disaffected
      Posted December 2, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      And visa versa. Wake up.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 3, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        There are two problems with imposing similar limitations.

        1) The UK is a smaller market than the rest of the EU, so some EU countries may decide it’s not worth making products to UK standards if these standards are difficult to achieve.

        2) Legitimate businesses won’t be able to sell these EU good even if there is demand, so if someone wants to buy them they’ll have go to the black market. Thus the UK government will lose the tax they would have gained if this item could be sold legally.

        Thus we aren’t in any position to make onerous requirements.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted December 2, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      Have you visited Dubai, Bangkok or Singapore recently?
      I am told that South Africa is booming at the moment and also Brazil.
      We are a world trading nation.
      We need to look outside the ancient walls of Delors-Europe and get out there selling our stuff – fast!

      • uanime5
        Posted December 3, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Dubai (UAE), Bangkok (Thailand), Singapore, South Africa, and Brazil are growing fast but these countries still contain a large number of people on very low incomes. These nations still have along way to go before the majority of their population have a western standard of living.

    • A David H
      Posted December 2, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

      Of course your products have to satisfy the local EU laws if you want to sell, as they have to satisfy US laws, Chinese laws or anyone else’s laws that you want to sell to. However, if you want to sell to China, US or anyone else, you don’t have to rearrange your whole lifestyle to satisfy them, or allow into your country an unlimited number of their nationals.

  41. Posted December 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    If the EU moves towards more political and economic integration, instead of seeking a new arrangement in lieu of our consent, why not a new arrangement whereby our consent would not be needed? That would in effect reverting to what’s left of the old EFTA. At least we would then have something more akin to the EEC, which is what this country voted for in 1975.

  42. MartinW
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Of course, what you say is absolutely correct and irrefutable. But this government, under this prime minister will refuses to address these things. Many of us came to the conclusion a long time ago that Cameron is and never was, despite his protestations (some will say hypocritical and shamefaced protestations), a Eurosceptic, but one who is fully sympathetic to ‘The Project’. We have not forgotten what shocking extra powers Cameron and his government have already ceded to the EUSSR. And a PM who appoints Michael Heseltine and Leon Britton to be his advisors is hardly going to be a eurosceptic.

  43. zorro
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Oh just watched the six o’clock news, and didn’t the PM look convincing when he said that he would defend the national interest (in his eyes) in negotiations with the EU over this new treaty idea.

    Of course, no-one was saying anything about demands because we don’t want to play our hand too soon before seeing what crumbs the Germans offer us from their dessert. Oh apart from Mr Grayling intimating that we wouldn’t be asking for anything in case anyone got angry about us not supporting the Euro….

    And, of course, for Mr Cameron, the national interest is to invest all our efforts to make the continent support the Euro so that it can influence the markets and deter them from further speculation and instead turn on the UK. Then Mr C can hold his hands in the air and say we are in dire economic straits and then the EU will offer a deal (our surrender terms) to join the Euro and game over…..And then Mr C can go for his reward.

    I may, of course, have this all wrong and I hope that Mr C takes up the challenge to prove me wrong by zealously defending the UK’s national interest by demanding back powers and economic sovereignty (agriculture/fishing) in a range of fields.

    So fellow bloggers, place your bets!…..Which way will wavy Davy go?

    zorro

    • Adam5x5
      Posted December 2, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      I’ve got a fiver (and the fate of the country) on him waving and being overly accommodating to the EU.

    • A David H
      Posted December 3, 2011 at 12:08 am | Permalink

      Yes Zorro, my expectation too. However, am prepared to wager a monkey that you are wrong, simply on the grounds that if I lose, it will be money well spent.

      • A David H
        Posted December 3, 2011 at 12:11 am | Permalink

        Wait up, did I get the right way round?

        • zorro
          Posted December 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

          A bit of a lose lose scenario there……

          Zorro

  44. alan jutson
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    John

    I get the impression from this post that you are getting as frustrated as the rest of us, with the constant surrender of our government (and all previous ones since joining the EU) to all things European.

    The bulldog seems to have just rolled over to have his tummy tickled, mindless to the fact that his bone is being nicked, time, and time again.

    Cameron says he is going to France to stick up for the UK, some bloody hope. He will return home, just like all of those before him,with the same old excuses, and the same outcome, that we end up giving even more powers away, yet again.

    A New Treaty is being proposed by Ms Merkel, will the Referendum Lock mean we have a referendum on it. I will not hold my breath.

    One is forced to ask, other than the 81 who voted for a referendum a little while ago, what do the other 569 MPs think they are for, because they will soon have no power over anything at all.

    If we carry on as we are, they soon will not be able to prepare Budgets, Tax rates, Finance, Interest rates, Laws, Regulations, Health and Safety, they may even be excluded from Defence decisions. It will be everything Euoropean for the greater cause.

    • James Reade
      Posted December 3, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      “The rest of us”. Speak for yourself, pal. Very typical of all eurosceptics, to simply assert everyone is on their side. x% of this poll, y% of that one. Appeal to arguments not popularity.

  45. Fernando
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    John, matters are more complicated than you make out. I agree that we can trade with the EU, if we left, just as we now trade with the USA and Australia. We could buy French wine and they could buy our whiskey. However, the goods would need to pass through customs.

    There would no longer be a free movement of goods between us and the EU. Although duties have been reduced they still exist and for some pharmaceuticals amount to 5-6%. Goods would need to be processed and recorded through customs. Manufacturers have integrated their processes across boundaries, taking advantage of the single market and the free movement of good. For instance a pharmaceutical company may make the bulk active ingredients in Ireland and pass the bulk to a tablet making plant in the UK which sends the finished product to the Continent for sale. At present all these goods can move easily around the EU.

    Imagine the disruption if the Irish goods had to be imported into the UK, possibly with a duty. Having been finished they would need to be imported back into the EU, again with the possibility of a duty. The whole process would mean extra paperwork and delay and possibly extra duties. The obvious answer would be for the UK to be by-passed and the finishing plant moved inside the EU.

    To avoid these problems we would likely try to preserve the free movement of goods. These are the negotiations which are going to be crucial. It’s by no means certain that we could do this without having to accept the restrictions which apply to Switzerland and Norway.

    We do buy more from the EU than they buy from us, so you rightly argue that they will want this trade to continue. However, our exports to them make up a much larger percentage of our total trade than their exports to us as a percentage of their trade. The issue would be much more important to us than it would to them, never a good position to start negotiations. Also, by making it more difficult for the UK to take part in integrated manufacturing processes across Europe, the EU could capture more inward investment from the US and the Far East which currently comes to the UK.

    There may be a strong argument that by sacrificing ‘free movements of goods’ we avoid having to accept many of the restrictions which apply Norway and Switzerland. Or perhaps Cameron will be a superb negotiator and manage to retain ‘free movement of goods’ while winning an opt-out from some the red tape and other burdens. Whatever happens, these will not be simple negotiations.

  46. James Reade
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Now, one of those devillish things that damn EU forces upon us is immigration – that lack of regulation on who can and cannot work in a particular geographical location.

    Why will we be better off when we can shut them all out, John? Because the EU is about the only thing between us and doing precisely that, ironically enough.

    • James Reade
      Posted December 3, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Interesting lack of reply, John.

      Of course, I ignored the childish “they need us more than we need them thing”. Trade is something that is mutually beneficial to both sides, so actually, we both “need” each other as much as each other.

      It’s also quite comical that our status as a net importer is something to be trumpeted by one of our politicians. I thought your government was all about reorientating the economy away from imports and towards “export-led growth”?

      I’m sure you can do better with your arguments against the Euro, but I appreciate it’s really hard when you have to keep thinking up new and better arguments to fuel that prior prejudice you have.

    • zorro
      Posted December 3, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely James, I mean Switzerland, Norway and a lot of other countries are having such a hard time outside of the EU trading independently and not spending billions for ‘influence’ and a ‘place at the table’ within the EU…..

      zorro

      • James Reade
        Posted December 3, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        Er, relevance? My point, since you clearly missed it, was that the EU forces us to have a more open immigration policy than we would otherwise have.

        I know that irony is totally missed on most folk here.

        So that’s one detrimental policy Westminster would force on us, that Brussels saves us from.

        • zorro
          Posted December 4, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

          It is a very big assumption to assume that a more restrictive immigration policy would harm the UK’s national interests.

          zorro

          • James Reade
            Posted December 7, 2011 at 8:26 am | Permalink

            No, it’s not. It’s simple economics, borne out empirically wherever it’s been tested over the years.

            If you restrict the movement of factors of production (labour), they end up in unproductive uses, we end up in a worse situation than we could be in.

            Why not allow folk in better suited to jobs than ourselves, so that we can then do other jobs we’re better suited to? We are not in a zero sum game where each job “taken” by an immigrant is gone forever. We need to stop protecting the lazy and get on with “encouraging” them to get off their backsides and do something useful instead of moaning about these bloody immigrants who are prepared to do a decent honest day’s work at a reasonable rate.

            What gives you the right to say some particular job should only go to someone just because they have a bit of paper that is a fluke of where they happened to be born? What kind of method is that for organising an economy or society?!

          • zorro
            Posted December 7, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

            James,
            That sounds rather idealistic and no modern industrial society with a welfare state could afford to run an official immigration policy like that.
            We do need to decrease the reliance on welfare so that a lot of the people on welfare can go into available employment which is currently being taken on an industrial scale by recent arrivals. As you say it is because of the society which has been allowed to develop with regards to welfarism over the last fifty years.
            The supposed addition to GDP by these recent immigrants is illusory when taking into account other social costs which have been gone into in depth in other places. I shall refer you to the authoritative study undertaken by the House of Lords in 2008 with regards to the impact of recent immigration to the UK…..http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldselect/ldeconaf/82/82.pdf

            zorro

  47. sjb
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    Don’t be too hard on David Cameron because he is under enormous pressure from the United States of America to make a deal with France & Germany asap.

    • zorro
      Posted December 3, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Was he elected by the Americans?

      Zorro

      • uanime5
        Posted December 3, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        Well an Australian-American media baron did help him.

  48. Jon burgess
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    There is talk of treaty change – is this is so, does this mean your leader will honour his pledge to put this to the people in a referendum?

  49. Bazman
    Posted December 3, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Funny how super taxes could work when applied to the average person.
    An isolated Britain imposing super taxes on BMW’s and wine? Not real and you know it would not be on luxury goods and if it where would not be paid by people able to afford them. Apparently their is a breed of capitalism that is very pure and popular called ‘smuggling’. How much of the tobacco smoked it Britain is fully UK taxed. Most rolling tobacco is smuggled people who smoke this only buy from the shops when they run out of contraband so they tell me. I lived above an off licence in the 90’s, but never bought any beer from there as I bought it from a man I worked with. He would say: “I make a fiver, you save a fiver, the government looses a fiver.” He was also selling cigarettes and as a none smoker as I am offered me Marlboro at a price I could sell on. The ‘offy’ went out of business and the man I worked with went to prison. The beer was very nice…

  50. giles
    Posted December 3, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    well put. is it not time for you to leave the pro eu tory party and join UKIP

  51. Agincourt
    Posted December 4, 2011 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    John, on present showing Cameron & probably Hague also are never going to really challenge the EU & the other member states into giving back to Britain the powers we so unwisely & recklessly have onceeded in the past. It may in fact be impossibleto succeed in this because of the rules of the acquis communitaire – the EU hates to give back whatever it has gleaned from its member states. But we must try! And if we fail, then we, the UK, should leave the EU.

    But as Cameron & Hague don’t seem to have it in them to fight the EU, then we need Tory leaders who will. Does that include you, John? If so, when will you, or someone who you may think has a better chance of succeeding than you, make a challenge for the Tory leadership – & therefore the PMship? I have seen it suggested that David Davies should be PM, & you Chancellor! How about that? If so, why not challenge now? And if not you & David Davies, then who? And when? A post on this topic would be very interesting indeed!

    Reply: There is currently no mood for a change of leadership in the Conservative Parliamentary party. The Leader does not have to stand for re-election under the rules, unless around 45 MPs make a written request to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee for a contest.

    • Agincourt
      Posted December 5, 2011 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      John, you say that: “There is currently no mood for a change of leadership in the Conservative Parliamentary party.”….But there is outside it!

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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