Mr Cameron wisely declines to rely on Labour to drive through a new EU Treaty

 

           Mr Cameron did the right thing to veto the Treaty for 27. It was clear there was no wish on the part of our partners in the EU to take our growing frustration with the drift of the EU seriously, no wish to help the UK at all. Our demands were modest. They were  for the EU to interfere with us less. They were not demands that cost money or  tried to change the way anything works on the continent. Many people in the UK will remember how they treated us, for what comes next. I am glad the extensive lobbying and arguing by the Conservative Parliamentary party before the meeting helped shape the debate and influenced the decision.

          We always need to remember no single party won a majority in this Parliament. Recently Conservatives have been very frustrated about the EU issue, making this clear through various rebellions on votes for EU measures, through the vote for a referendum, and through various speeches, articles and questions. The feeling against current EU policy with the backdrop of the Merkel German Europe plan is stronger today than at the time of the referendum rebellion. Recently elected Conservative MPs are being radicalised by events, and pressurised by Conservative members and many non party constituents, into speaking out for  UK democracy.

            The government can often ignore rebellions as it has a large inbuilt majority. So far it has not mattered if  30,40 or even 81 Conservative MPs defy the whips on the EU, because Labour has always been there to swell the government’s vote, or has abstained, leaving the government with enough votes  to do the business.

          Mr Miliband finds himself  with choices. He can continue his party’s stance of the last fifteen years, to be a federalist party and loyally support the Coalition government on EU matters. EU measures can then pass the House easily.

             Alternatively, Mr Miliband can decide that Labour too has had more than enough European integration, and that his party is now going to vote against the Merkel scheme for a German Europe and whatever else the EU has in store for us. If he does this the Coalition is wise to accept they have no majority for any EU measure, unless they have Mr Miliband’s assurance in advance. The numbers of Conservative rebels will doubtless wax and wane, but there is now a hard core of at least 45 who are likely to vote against unsuitable EU measures, meaning the Coalition needs some Labour support or help should they want to put through more EU decisions.

             Appeals for party loyalty to get an EU agenda through are unlikely to  work. When Conservatives  disgree within the  party about health reform, or benefit upratings, or tax rates, or railway lines, there can be give and take. Those who are on the losing side may come to accept the view of the leadership or the majority, safe in the knowledge that the decision can be revisited, the issue rejoined, at a later date. You might decide to be loyal today, thinking you might win tomorrow. You might genuinely be swayed by colleagues.  The EU issue is altogether more toxic because if you lose something  you lose it  for a long time. The scheme is a ratchet. It goes to the heart of whether our country, people and Parliament are allowed to make the decisions at all. That is why it does not permit the same kind of compromises or understandings that normal domestic politics thrives on.

              It is these points which mean Mr Cameron was very wise to refuse to sign a new Treaty yesterday. It would need a Parliamentary majority to put it through. Conservatives would be most reluctant to help.

                Now the UK is confirmed as being out of the room on Euro matters – as it was thanks to Labour’s wise decision to continue with the Euro opt out Conservatives had obtained – the Uk government needs to turn its mind and energy to negotiating a new relationship with the EU. What some thought worked with a grouping of 27 does not work once 17 decide to press on more rapidly towards full political and economic union. It is not Mr Cameron’s decision to veto a Treaty that has created this. It was created by the thoroughly different aims of the Euro countries and the UK. The Euro countries want to press on to a be in a coutnry called the EU. The UK has always said it want to be in a common or single market. It is fast approaching the time to sort out this huge difference.

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154 Comments

  1. Posted December 10, 2011 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Good post John. Of course Mr Cameron is running a little scared of UKIP as well. I know they’ve not been themselves lately, but they worry him, certainly in the run-up to elections.

    Perhaps, though, he should worry more about the don’t knows. As they win more support than any single party I’m surprised they haven’t formed a government yet.

    They could make Mr Cameron’s next minority government even smaller.

    • Disaffected
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      The Lib Dems need to wake up and smell the coffee. The public did not like their policies or views on the EU, immigration and a host of other key policy issues. That is why they came a poor last at the previous general election.

      The Lib Dems are out of tune with public opinion and need to remind themselves where they will be at the next election- wipe out springs to mind. Simon Hughes is now crowing that Tories ought to calm down as it is a coalition government. I don’t know where he has been or whether he has complete contempt for the British public, but it is clear the public do not want to part of a pan European state as he and his liberal Democrat MPs want (and vote for). Moreover there are more Tory rebels than there are Lib Dem MPs in parliament. I hope the Lib Dems pull the plug on the coalition and spark a general election as it would become and in-out election, just what the EU dictators and the Lib Dems do not want. The Lib Dems and the Eu dictators cannot afford for the UK or other nations within the EU to hold national elections. Let us see if Paddy has the courage to act to be an independent nation once more.

      Advice to Cameron- stride on towards repatriating powers and agree a new relationship with the EU. Your boss (we are your boss and you the hired help, as Clegg puts it with CEOs) demand you do so. Lib Dems, socialists and a few extreme tory nutters are in the very minority who want the UK to be in a pan European state, the public do not. The irony being at this time that parts of the UK want more independence not less.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        “The Lib Dems and the Eu dictators cannot afford for the UK or other nations within the EU to hold national elections.”

        Ireland recently held national elections and the EU didn’t stop them.

        Also just because you want less EU does not mean that everyone in the UK wants less EU. UKIP didn’t win any seats in the general elections because people don’t support UKIP’s policy of leaving the EU.

        • Michele
          Posted December 11, 2011 at 5:10 am | Permalink

          Opinion polls have shown that the English (and remember that Cameron would not be where he is today if it were not for the English voters) are the most Eurosceptic nation within the EU.

          Disaffected is entitled to his opinion, as are you, but he comes closest to what the public believe than I fear you do.

      • rose
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

        The Irish are in an interesting dilemma – do they go with their pockets and the old enemy, or do they stick with their new impoverishing masters?

    • Tim
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Mr Redwood, do you think Mr Cameron vetoed this treaty because he thought it in the national interest or because he fears a leadership challenge and may have triggered the referendum lock law that was recently made law?

      • zorro
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Did you have tea and cakes with Mr Cameron yesterday too along with your MP colleagues after his triumphant return and was he waxing lyrical….

        zorro

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        I think the referendum law has enough escapes mainly that the PM can pretty much decided if powers are being passed over.

        I wonder is the other member had conceded to the Cameron demands (on protecting the UK and the city) how binding these legally binding agreements would have proved to be in the European Court of Justice, with such strong anti UK feelings in the other countries. I am sure they could find some good legal reason to ignore them – health and safety or the environment or something.

        • lifelogic
          Posted December 10, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

          Having tried to protect the city from EU insanity will Cameron still be inflicting the absurd “gender equality” insurance and pension laws on the city? I assume so.

  2. Posted December 10, 2011 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    The UK must now fight hard to ensure that any subgroup doesn’t use the union’s facilities to run its bloc-within-a-bloc. A veto has to be respected as if it were a unanimous agreement of all 27 nations. General de Gaulle showed that. If 17 or 23 or 26 EU nations want their own organisation, let them fund and run it. The union is for all members, not just some. The UK should, if necessary, go to law about this.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      No chance of this happening as in all political organisations sub-groups occur (even political parties). The UK choose to be outside this group so we have no right to complain about anything that happens in this group.

  3. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    To me, the UK veto is monumental, but no real surprise. Pro-European voices have been largely silent or absent in the public debate in Britain. What is a surprise to me is that the UK will probably be in a minority of 1. That bodes well for European integration on the continent. The Dutch will try hard to keep the UK included in as many discussions as possible, but when 26 heads of government will be meeting on euro-plus issues, who is going to prevent them from discussing world issues of the day as well? This summit may well prove to be the start of the great divide, and as such another 1955-1957 moment in time, when Britain left the talks between 6 continental countries.

    • APL
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Peter van Leeuwen: “To me, the UK veto is monumental, but no real surprise.”

      Then Peter, you are easily pleased.

      There was no treaty, Cameron did not veto a treaty, he may have refused to be party to the discussions about another treaty or not.

      But what we do know, is that the public pronouncements have been very much tailored for each countries domestic audience. This tells me a couple of things.

      1. Merkozy both are unpopular at home and facing elections, they would like the UK to vilify.

      2. Cameron too would like to be able to boast about being ‘EUrosceptic’, he calculates that this little fracas will soon be forgotten. But will probably sign up to the new EU treaty in due course.

      3. The general public in three of the larger economies in the European Union are becoming more and more disenchanted by the EUropean Union.

      This is one for the mass online discussion that Rebecca is so fond of. Where the politicians take us with this tack could be extremely dangerous. Under these circumstances can they control the creature they nurture?

      The people of Europe need to keep a very close eye on their respective political classes.

      • Posted December 10, 2011 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        @APL is perfectly correct. No veto, No treaty.

        If you would take the trouble to read what occurred it was simply a political declaration – a statement of intent. It has no legal status and is not enforceable.

        Whether this was a token show of Eurosceptism on Mr Cameron’s part, I can’t comment but if he thinks people will be fooled for long, I think he’s mistaken.

        When everyone has woken up and actually read the “small print”, they’ll realise it was to shut the Eurosceptic’s up for a while.

        Reply: The intention was to agree an outline Treaty, then do the details in subsequent meetings. DC vetoed this effort, so now they are trying to find some other legal means of doing it that does not involve the UK.

        • dan
          Posted December 10, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

          and what about the bit where any agreement of the 26 is to be incorporated into existing treaties asap…
          are you eurosceptics so easily pleased that you simply ignore that glaring and continuing threat to the UK?

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted December 10, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

          Sue – I think you’re wrong. The City of London spoke.

          Cameron has a stark choice between saving the euro and saving his own country. He can’t have both under the present terms. This is no bluff in my opinion.

      • Disaffected
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        Cameron knew he would not get this through parliament with the number of Tory rebels against him, even Heseltine has accepted that Cameron had no choice. Thank goodness for the Tory rebels that our sovereignty and independent nation was temporarily saved. Left to the Lib Dems, Labour and weak Dave and we would be part of a pan European state led by Germany. Do not rejoice too quickly the game is not over.

        Look at the language of fear being used by Ashdown and Oakshot. Two out of touch losers if ever there were.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        @APL: Cameron will not be involved in the intergovernmental treaty. I cannot see him signing up to a treat he even hasn’t been involved negotiating. It would imply huge loss of face.

    • Tedgo
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      I know its early days but I wonder how your Dutch socio-democrats view yesterdays events. Will they support the Dutch government.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        @Tedgo: I’m afraid I already see some back-pedaling in the first reactions. There are at least 6 opposition parties in the Netherlands and most were angry at the social democrats for possibly calling for elections in crisis time (forming new governments takes notorious long over here). Maybe the social democrats calculate that it may not be to their advantage right now (not very principled!) as without support from others they wouldn’t succeed (in a subsequent no-confidence motion). Still, it’s early days as you say, between now and March 2012 more will become clear.
        (6 opposition parties, 2 parties in minority government and 2 parties broadly supporting the government, in total 10 parties)

    • APL
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Peter van Leeuwen: “Pro-European voices have been largely silent or absent in the public debate in Britain.”

      Please! The BBC is continuous background pro European noise.

      Such an assertion is incredible.

      • Bob
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        Quite so! The BBC have been throwing their toys out of the pram and giving airtime to all the usual suspects that will read the BBC script “we don’t have a seat at the table”, “we’re isolated”, “they’ll remove us from their Christmas card list!”.

        I think Pete may have been on the sherry a little early this year.

        • Mike Stallard
          Posted December 10, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

          And that Stephanie Flanders was at it again last night with her “discussion” aiming to divide the LibDems from the Toooories.
          The smug smile on her face when she successfully concluded the ensuing screaming match was nauseating.

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

            Honestly, with the faces on some of the presenters yesterday, you’d think that the Queen had died!…..Mind you for the BBC it was the probably the equivalent.

            zorro

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted December 10, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

            @Mike Stallard: I think that’s rubbish – she was accused by this eurosceptic MP of not focusing on the content after she’d been doing exactly that for 98% of the time. It looks like a concerted plot to black-sheep the BBC.

        • lifelogic
          Posted December 10, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          BBC coverage has been absurdly biased (as is usual on the EU issue, green issue and big state high tax issue) and yet they cannot even come up with any real positive benefits of the EU. All they can come up with is isolation, seat at the table and trade. No mention of migration, CAP, regulations, fishing policy, cost, the EURO fiasco ……………

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        @APL: I certainly don’t view the BBC as pro-EU. See how much airtime their programs give to politicians with extreme over-the-top views, like Farage (from a zero-MP party) and Daniel Hannan.
        Also more principled national politicians like John Redwood and Bill Cash are often seen. I also don’t see the BBC as anti-EU by itself, they just give a voice to both sides. I DO notice some BBC-intolerance from certain eurosceptic politicians, which they have in common with the Dutch anti-Islam party (“freedom of speech – but then just for us please”)

        • zorro
          Posted December 10, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

          Do you really think that the BBC include Farrage, Hannan, Redwood and Cash occasionally in order to give a balanced view? Might it not be to potentially try and stir up trouble and try and show the Government as lacking unity?

          The BBC in its presentation, I think, is certainly pro Europe. Listen carefully to the presenters….I have heard the following a number of times when they discuss the European issue. The presenter will say…..’Let me play the devil’s advocate’ and then the presenter goes on to present a Eurosceptic view. It is somewhat subtle but consistent, you rarely hear the opposing view expressed in such a way.

          zorro

        • lifelogic
          Posted December 10, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

          Nigel Farage and Daniel Hannan just seem middle of the road sensible and realistic and like me love Europe and want all the countries to do well without the handicap of the mad socialist EU manacles.

          BBC coverage is very biased – it is the way they frame the debate before and summarise after the interviews in particular.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted December 10, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

            @lifelogic: Your perception of “middle of the road” is a little different from mine. Just to show you how far you’ve moved to one side, let me give you an opinion shared by many on the continent, the short-hand of which would be “better off without”, and you can read it in Der Spiegel’s English section. It is called “The Failure of a Forced Marriage” (no link to facilitate moderation, it’s easy to find)

          • lifelogic
            Posted December 11, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

            The would all be better off without without Greece Portugal Italy Ireland and the rest. And the individual countries would be better off without the power and money grabbing EU that inflicts such damage on them all.

            I like Europe very much. Indeed I have an Italian wife and have had a house in France for 20 odd years. Most there are against the EU, its incompetence and corrupt version of command economy by regulation socialism too.

        • APL
          Posted December 10, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

          Peter van Leeuwen: “freedom of speech – but then just for us please”

          As is often the case, the Left Liberal portrayal of reality is at variance to the the reality the rest of us experience.

          I have actually lived under Islamic rule, six years in one of the wealthier Mid east Arab states.

          Try your freedom of expression there, or perhaps you might wish to openly practice your religion.

          Try being a Copt in Egypt – a people being (badly treated-ed) NOW as we sit comfortably before our computer screens, or a Christian in Lebanon, once upon a time a majority Christian country.

          Lets see how far you get with your freedom of expression!

        • Tom William
          Posted December 10, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

          An enquiry as to the BBC’s balance on EU reporting chaired by Lord Wilson, a former Secretary to the Cabinet, did find that it was unbalanced. They now make more effort to invite speakers they would previously have ignored but the lack of balance is still there.

          Yet an internal review by the BBC in 2009 of their coverage of the Lisbon Treaty admitted that it was unbalanced and concentrated on the difficulties it posed for Eurosceptics while making virtually no attempt to explainthe details of the Treaty.

          In particular the slant put by interviewers and reporters is much harder to quantify statistically and anyone who listens/watches regularly will recognise it. Not really surprising as like recruits like.

          Sadly the BBC has lost the respect of much of the “thinking classes”, not just over the EU but on many other issues. It appears to have an institutional “we know best” attitude.

          • lifelogic
            Posted December 11, 2011 at 8:16 am | Permalink

            The BBC do indeed have an institutional “we know best” attitude. This might not be too bad but on the major issues of the EU, AGW “green” energy, the ever bigger state/ever bigger taxes, the NHS, enforced equality laws, over regulatin, crime and similar they are usually completely wrong.

        • Robert Christopher
          Posted December 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

          You must be watching the repeats … again and again and again!

          And Daniel Hannan not as principled as John Redwood ?

          Coming from you, I am not sure who is being insulted.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted December 10, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

            @Robert Christopher: to be fair, I could rephrase this as: Hannan having some extreme principles. He does express them in an over-the-top manner, which is a sure way to attract attention.

          • Bob
            Posted December 11, 2011 at 11:52 am | Permalink

            Peter,

            There is plenty of evidence of BBC bias, not least their refusal to publish the Balen Report.

            If you enjoy a bit of debate on the subject I would suggest you take up the challenge on the Biased BBC blog, they’re always happy to hear from a BBC bias denier.

        • uanime5
          Posted December 10, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

          I agree. To many people here seem to think that anti-free speech means ‘not promoting my views’. They also tend to blame the left for some reason.

          • APL
            Posted December 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

            uanime5: ” .. to blame the left for some reason.”

            Funny!

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted December 10, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

          Peter – “Extreme” and “over-the-top”

          That’s a matter of opinion. What they say resonates with the majority in Britain (according to polls).

          That they are wheeled out as such by the BBC is indicative of the bias.

          That Farage and Hannan are bang on the money and not ‘over-the-top’ is manifest in the dire state of the EU at this very moment.

          • Electro-Kevin
            Posted December 10, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

            And in anticipation of your rebuttal:

            The British public have ‘voted’ by abstension or even emigration rather than placing their crosses by single-issue parties.

      • Clare Hickling
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, given that 80% of the population claim that the BBC, either radio or TV, is their main source of news, this constant negative drumbeat is a cause for concern.

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Thank you for shining a clear light into the corridors of Westminster. The enigma that is the Labour party must be very difficult to calculate!

    Mr Cameron ought to be congratulated very warmly for boldly doing the right thing and not signing up. I have worked with Dutch and German and French people both as colleagues and as an underling. I found that it meant that you did exactly what you were told immediately without arguing. If you didn’t, you were met with a completely uncomprehending stare.
    He resisted that. And after all the vilification on this blog by commentators, I think we owe him an apology.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Those who hurled ad hominem attacks should apologise anyway!

      Perhaps Cameron HAD to play things close to his chest, it might have been the only way, but that is why the rest of us have had to be so vocal.
      Without the sceptics in three of the four main parties, there are none in the Lib Dems are there :), his hand would not have been so strong.
      And beating off the BBC is going to take its toll.

      • A different Simon
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        One Lib Dem did vote in favour of a UK referendum in the recent motion .

        • Robert Christopher
          Posted December 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          Was he a Euro-sceptic ?!?!?!?

        • Phil Richmond
          Posted December 11, 2011 at 1:21 am | Permalink

          The Lib-Dem traitor who voted for a referendum is in a marginal seat in Devon which is the most Eurosceptic county in the UK.
          ALL LIB-DEMS ARE (dishonest-ed) QUISLINGS!

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        I do not think I hurled ad hominem attacks at Cameron unless you include Cast Jelly but I am delighted he has take a small step in the right direction.

        It is however very difficult to judge some one who was (nearly) elected on Cast Iron promises but whose actions, until now , have been very clearly in the opposite direction.

        He even appointed Lord Patten to head the BBC trustees for goodness sake.

        • zorro
          Posted December 10, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

          Let us hope that the decision he took was a matter of conscience type decision and not a purely political one for domestic consumption. In any case, we will know soon enough as the denouement unfolds….

          zorro

        • Robert Christopher
          Posted December 10, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

          I wasn’t accusing anyone of ad hominem attacks; only that they were the only people with cause to apologise.

          My point was this:
          1) Cameron the Eurosceptic would get support from Eurosceptics
          2) Cameron the SECRET Eurosceptic could NOT get support from Eurosceptics because they wouldn’t know he was a Eurosceptic!
          With them demanding that he became Eurosceptic, he would know he was onto a winner but the Eurosceptics, ignorant because they hadn’t been told, would not know he was onto a winner. Therefore their cries were valid and correct, so no need for them apologise.

          Perhaps “He played a blinder” would be a good response.

          This is assuming that he is has been a SECRET Eurosceptic and not, now, a SECRET Europhile, waiting to change direction at the last ‘last moment’!

          But be generous, it fooled Merkozy, so let us celebrate this week’s good decision!

        • Robert Christopher
          Posted December 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

          “He even appointed Lord Patten to head the BBC trustees for goodness sake.”

          If it going to sink, you might as well get as many on board as you can :)

          (hopefully!)

    • Disaffected
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      An apology, not quite yet. There will be pressure over the coming weeks to get him to change his mind, even another summit to allow this. The EU has previous for not accepting no first time around. My view on Cameron has not changed. He is a populist. The trouble with Germany and France is that they have elections in the near future. Some German politicians and bankers were singing and dancing after the summit yesterday, as they know it has actually not solved anything.

      My advice to Cameron watch out for treacherous people like Clark, Cable, Heseltine etc.

      • APL
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        Disaffected: “An apology, not quite yet.”

        Agreed. This is one ray of sunshine on an otherwise overcast day.

        Disaffected: “My advice to Cameron watch out for treacherous people like Clark, Cable, Heseltine etc.”

        Assuming of course that Cameron, Clarke, Cable & Hestletine are aligned against Cameron.

        You state that even Hestletine is resigned to Cameron’s action. Well if he is getting support from avowed EUrofedarists then WE NEED TO COUNT ALL OUR FINGERS AFTER SHAKING HANDS WITH CAMERON.

        • rose
          Posted December 10, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

          As with the Irish, Heseltine is in a dilemma: does he stick with the City or the EU? He can’t do both. My money – and probably his – is on the City in his case.

    • Bob
      Posted December 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      We’ll see.
      For what it’s worth I think Merkozy and Cleggeron deserve an Oscar for this bit of play acting. Watch out the the ducking, diving and backtracking to come.

  5. Freeborn John
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    I do hope Labour rejects Euro-federalism. I voted Labour while Gordon Brown was chancellor and kept the Uk out of the Euro. (The Conservatives had no credibility on Europe having been serial sell-outs to Brussels), but the lie in the 2005 Labour manifesto about a referendum on the Eu constitution was unforgivable. For the first time a party had promised one thing in its manifesto and then ordered it’s MPs to vote against the measure they were elected on, and done so on an international treaty which could not be repealed simply by electing a new government. Labour have lost my vote (and I am sure that of many others) until they realign themselves with the British people in our fight to return powers to the parliament we elect.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      We didn’t have a vote on the EU constitution because it was scuppered by a referendum in another country. There’s no point in having a referendum on something that has no chance of happening.

      • Bob
        Posted December 11, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        @uanime5
        The Lisbon Treaty is the EU Constitution with some minor cosmetic alterations. It was a con trick. It’s the way the EU works, they never take no for an answer.

    • Posted December 10, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Labour is not goind to kill the EU goose that lays its Socialist golden eggs for it. I have said before in other posts that mainland europe is mainly Communistic or socialistic in its outlook. The Labour Party just has to sit back and let Brussells do its work for it. The UK voters are getting tired of it – so watch out Labour!
      We have always been in a minority, even if we have been at the table so what difference will it make.
      Perhaps, having at long last nailed our colours to the mast, we can get with running our own country to our own advantage and without the millstone of the cost of the EU around our necks.

  6. Duyfken
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Had it not been for the intensity of the sentiment expressed by your colleagues and yourself to the PM, I suggest there may well have been a different result. So with congratulations to Cameron for eventually taking the right step, albeit aided by some duress from the usual suspects, I also thank those, including yourself, who have played their part in this start down the right path.

    • alan jutson
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Duyfken

      Agreed

      • Bob
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        The EU doesn’t usually take no for an answer.
        Expect Dave to get a second chance to say yes… and a third, fourth etc.
        No doubt some compromise will be found to justify Dave’s change of heart, like a Tobin opt out (temporary of course).
        The salami slicing will continue. Bank on it.

    • Alexis
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear, Duyfken.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 13, 2011 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      Indeed without the people who voted against the three line whip would he have given in again.

      How are Osbourne’s “profitable” loan investments to Greece and Ireland getting on by the way?

  7. APL
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    JR: “Mr Cameron did the right thing to veto the Treaty for 27.”

    At this stage there is and never was a Treaty. This was an plenary session ( meeting including all parties ) of the heads of government of all European Union Countries.

    This body has no authority to make any changes to any of the Treaties, yes they can discuss the pleminaries to a new treaties or the amendment to an existing treaties. But there was no treaty to veto. In other words Cameron has either been made a fool of by the Merkozy for their own domestic purposes ( each needs a bogyman to vilify in front of their domestic electorate ) or he just doesn’t know what he was talking about. Which is it?

    That you are talking up the untruth that Cameron has vetoed a treaty is very odd. Why is that? We both know there was no treaty on the table ready to be signed at this moment.

    PANEM ET CIRCENSES, Perhaps?

    Reply: The discussion was about the contents of a Treaty, and Mr C did veto it. Don’t underestimate the importance of this moment. Now of course what matters is what happens next, but the UK is spared a new Treaty

    • APL
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      JR: “Don’t underestimate the importance of this moment.”

      OK, But the next several moves by Cameron needs to be consistent. The pressure needs to be kept up on this EUro enthusiast Tory Leader.

      He has Clegg whispering in his ear, and any moment now, we will hear from Clarke – who knows we might be lucky enough to have a resignation from that quarter.

      Of course if Clarke doesn’t pipe up, then that will be even more suspicious!

      Reply: Yes, he does need to follow up, and that is what we now need to concentrate on – don’t criticise him for a right move yesterday, but concnetrate on identifying the next move we need, as n othing can be taken for granted.

  8. Javelin
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    The EU Debts are still here
    The uncompetitive EU is still here
    The declining GDPs in the EU are still here
    The under capitalised banks in the EU are still here
    The undemocratically elected politicians in the EU are still here
    The majority people of Europe who don’t want the EZ are still here

    I vote for the prosperity of the UK not the poverty of the EZ.

    • Robert George
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. This so called wonder deal does nothing to deal with debt, and it does nothing to make the PIGS competitive again. It will take about 3 days for the markets to work this out and then the Euro zone will be on its knees again.

      The PIGS either have to default or leave the Euro. There is, ultimately no alternative. It is still merely a question of time.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Indeed it is just a tiny step and as you say all the problems are still there. I want to see prosperity, freedom and democracy for all the EU as well as the UK.

    • Javelin
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      There are other problems too

      The German Constitutional Court
      The Irish referendum – that may say no
      The qualified majority voting proposed gives power large countries or lots of small countries
      The legal status of the fiscal vetoes. Without all 27 countries and the use of the EI courts etc there is no way to enforce the fiscal compact rules (answers on the back of a post card)
      The IMF, ESFS funding gap – the money is not there.

      This will dampen down the crisis but the key figures to kook out for are growth, deficit and bond yields. I think reality will now come back clearer and harsher on the EZ than the confusion we have had. Clarity will not always give you what you expected. Peering through the fog of the last few mOnths I see things are alot worse than the political machinations and propaganda.

      • Javelin
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        To clarify further I this summit allows an agreed path to be analysed. But I feel the path will bring the size of the debts into focus. The summit encircles the problem with the best solution. It is now up to fiscal compact to prove itself.

        But the solid reality I am looking at from the trading floor on Monday morning is an unpayable debt, dimimishing probabilities of debt being paid off as growth slows. I see promises of funds with manifestation. I think the markets on the next few weeks will take advantage of the fiscal compact as a foundation for calculating the probability of who may default. I certainly can’t see any figures that will stop a default in Italy.

        The Summit has given us the EZs best shot at a solution. It is the start of the end game. I don’t think it will take long for the markets to make their minds up. Traders have already taken defensive positions. The ECB is already bribing bond buyers with their switcheroo scheme. Deficits are already too big to pay back and growth is getting worse. Lowering rates only gives little to take risk away. Changing bond auction policy to stop collateral problems only raises bond yields. This tells me in their heads the central bankers, traders and hedge funds don’t believe the figures. It’s just a matter of acceptance of reality in their hearts so they can start the gruesome business of a default.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      “The undemocratically elected politicians in the EU are still here”

      What are you referring to?

      “The majority people of Europe who don’t want the EZ are still here”

      You mean the Little Englanders, since every country in the Eurozone wants the Euro to remain.

  9. Chris Rose
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    As Peter van Leeuwen says above, the present situation cannot last for long. Britain will not be able to tolerate being in a minority of one. I cannot believe, especially after the events of the past few days, that there is any scope for repatriating powers; that has always seemed a fantasy to me, but surely it is now no longer worth contemplating.

    So the only course for us is to get out of the EU and we must keep pushing for that. I think it likely that there will considerable popular support for that from across the whole of the political spectrum. We should make our case firmly and reasonably, as Cameron did in Brussels yesterday. Politicians usually come to share the views of their electorates eventually.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Take heed of what the Irish Chinaman had to say:

      A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, but I wouldn’t start from here!

      Maybe we do need to start from somewhere else.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      @Chris Rose: I think that over time there will be scope for some repatriating. There is no reason why the eurozone should always have 80% of the financial services in its currency outsourced to some foreign country. Unless bank managers salaries in London will be a lot lower than in the eurozone, I could well imagine some repatriation of control in that area.

  10. Optingout
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    There is one bit about this new EU treaty that hasn’t been discussed much.

    Legally binding cap on deficits of 0.5% of GDP. 1% of government spending. For the UK that is 5 bn a year.

    The deficit is currently 150 bn.

    So what’s wrong with that? Labour and the Lib Dems are in favour of the treaty, perhaps now they can tell us where the 145 bn is going to come from.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      I’m in favour of a law setting down as a general rule that the annual budget must be balanced without additional borrowing, but a national law including provision for that general rule to be over-ridden in exceptional circumstances.

      I’m not in favour of putting it into an international treaty:

      a) without any provision for the general rule to be over-ridden in exceptional circumstances, or

      b) with such provision, but with the UK government having to first get the agreement of other governments.

      Those other governments should mind their own business, and leave us as a nation to mind ours.

    • Bob
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      A printing press?

  11. lifelogic
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    What next indeed.

    We have the Liberal Democrat’s chief whip in Europe, Chris Davies hurling abuse at Cameron and Lord Oakeshott and Hughes hardly any better. I certainly had grave doubts about Cameron. I suspect he clearly decided he could not do anything else given the voting arithmatic in the commons. I still (just by virtue of his absurd appointment of Lord Patten to the BBC trust) do not think that Cameron can be trusted to do the right thing on Europe unless he is forced every time. He has still failed to address over regulation, employment laws, taxation, government spending, lack of growth, bank lending, expensive Huhne energy and all the rest afte over a year and a half.

    Still it is a start. Just a shame Cameron has lumbered the Tories with the Libdems by pushing his green wash, big state, caring sharing, pro EU agenda at the election. Thanks goodness Clegg is sill sounding sensible at the moment.

  12. Tedgo
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I take the view that since the UK has in effect opted out of any future Euro related legislation, there is no obligation on our government or parliament to incorporate such legislation in to our laws.

    Quite a number of people talk about adopting a Norwegian or Swiss relationship with the EU.

    Norway has been forced to adopt hundreds of EU laws and pays the same percentage of its GPD to the EU as full voting members do. They are allowed to keep control of their fishing. The people vote against being in the EU but they still get a raw deal from their government.

    Switzerland is in the same position, I dropped on this article yesterday which is quite eye opening.

    http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/politics/foreign_affairs/Rightwing_raises_stakes_over_future_EU_relations.html?cid=29070448

    The EU is like an octopus with tentacles and suckers smothering the whole of Europe.

    • Acorn
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Tedgo. As far as the EU is concerned, it is only a question of time before Switzerland joins the “Borg Collective”. http://ec.europa.eu/trade/creating-opportunities/bilateral-relations/countries/switzerland/

      You have to wonder if the German people have yet realised that they will be funding the PIIGS for the next decade. Still, anyone with money in the Eurozone is moving it into German Banks. Meanwhile, the German Banks won’t lend to any Euro bank outside of Germany so they are all borrowing from the ECB and selling toxic assets for cents on the Euro. Which one will be the first to go bust?

      The ECB will have to print a lot more Euros to keep this show on the road. Euros that they will have little prospect of “un-printing” in the future, so hello inflation, the cure for all debt problems.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Norway has to accept fewer than one in five EU laws.

      Its contributions relate partly to specific projects in which the Norwegian government has decided to participate but from which we would stand aside.

      http://www.eu-norway.org/ARKIV/newsarchives/EEA_agreement_facts/

      “8. Financial implications for Norway: Norway’s total financial contribution linked to the EEA agreement is roughly around 340 million euro pr. year. Roughly 110 million euro are contributions related to the participation in various EU programmes, whereas close to 230 million euro are made available to development projects for reducing social and economic disparities in the EU, primarily in EU 10.”

      About €340 million a year on a GDP of about €300 billion works out at about 0.11% of GDP, and pro rata for the UK with a GDP of around €1900 billion that would be €2.2 billion a year, £1.9 billion at the present exchange rate.

      As we run a massive trade deficit with the rest of the EU, it could be argued that we should be charging them for access to our market.

  13. Amanda
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Well done to you John, and the other MP’s who stand up for Britain. I’ve already written to my MP to give him my support for further action on our EU ‘membership’.

  14. alan jutson
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Well done Mr Cameron, for once we have had someone who is prepared to be unpopular with the other EU Members in order to stand up for the UK.

    It would seem that the rather petulant response of some other EU leaders to our stance, shows where their real feeling (self interest) always was.

    They simply wanted our money, but not our ideas, to help their National cause above all others.

    I now forsee that we will have to renegotiate our terms with the EU, or get out, as they will want to run things to suit themselves, and thus marginalise us, and our thoughts and wishes, in the coming years.

    Eventually we will understand that there is no point in being in a club, paying a larger subscription than most, obeying the rules but having no influence as to how the rules are being made, and where the money is being spent.

    Perhaps the UK has woken up to the truth about the EU and its workings at last, I really do hope so.

  15. Martyn
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    President Sarkozy behaved like a spoilt child in cold-shouldering Cameron. It reminded me of when De Gaulle shrugged and said ‘non’ when the UK tried earlier to join the community and he thought then we would threaten France’s leadership position. Now we have the unedifying spectacle of a some Lib-Dem MPs crying out that “Cameron is mad, an unprincipled spiv who has betrayed Britain” and “this will cost us millions of jobs and result in widespread poverty across the land”.
    Is this at the best they can do at this crisis point, or do they have a crystal ball and can foretell the future? No one knows quite how it is all going to turn out, and although I admire Mr Cameron’s decisive action – the first I can recall since Mrs T’s day – I am not convinced that France and Germany will not extract a terrible revenge on the UK in the not too distant future. That said, if the PM can hold onto his courage he still has two powerful cards to counter that, which is either to state that we are going to reduce the huge amount of money we spend in propping up the EU or threaten to hold a democratic referendum on our membership of the EU. Sadly, PIIGS might also fly…

  16. Robert Christopher
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    BBC News 24 and the BBC web site (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-16122895) have stated:
    “It now looks likely that all 26 other members of the European Union will instead agree to a new “accord” setting out tougher budget rules.”

    Is this true?

    I thought that Hungary were not going along with it and several other countries had agreed to look at the proposals, some taking it details back to their parliament.

    Fallon has just done well in an interview, explaining the situation in words of one syllable, or less!

    Reply: 23 are definitely going ahead with a new Treaty, and another 3 apparently have the old fashioned requirement to consult their Parliaments first!

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      So the “It now looks likely ” IS misleading?

      The BBC should inform us that there are other countries in Europe that refer back to their parliament. It is a practice that is dying out!

      • uanime5
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        Did Cameron refer back to Parliament before vetoing the treaty?

        Given that Hungary, Sweden, and the Czech Republic are all trying to join the Euro they’ll probably want to be involved in a plan to save the Euro.

  17. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Isn’t it amazing how before Thursday we were told that this summit was the last, last chance to save the euro and yet now there is hardly any talk about what has been done, if anything, to achieve that. The media is obsessed with ideas of tory rebellions, coalition breakup and next to nothing about the apparent lack of any substantive action to stabilise this ill-conceived currency. We even had to endure Heseltine this morning, who actually stated that the aim,shared by him, was for a United States of Europe – no more pretence after 40 years of denial. He remains wedded to the project and if you consider the way he was instrumental in Mrs Thatcher’s downfall you can see that is where his loyalties have always lain.

  18. davidb
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Was there a veto? Is that not just spin? No mention of vetoes in the early news reports yesterday morning. Now 26 other members are thinking of taking another path, and indeed seem to be taking a different path. So what was vetoed? At the UN a veto by China or Russia seems to stop the body in its course of action. What exactly was vetoed?

    Are we now just in the EU to provide them with money and a market for German cars and French wine?

    The BBC is being mega Quisling today btw. When will they be brought into line?

    Reply: A Treaty by the 27 members of the EU was vetoed.

    • APL
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

      davidb: “What exactly was vetoed?”

      Nothing was vetoed.

      David Cameron stood up and said the UK will not participate in a Euro Zone agreement/treaty. Now the EuroZone countries are going to try and put something together themselves.

      This is not a veto, it is a refusal to take part. Good, but a different thing.

      Cameron also said that any such EuroZone agreement must be outside the existing institutions of the European Union.

      I can see that happening!!

  19. Antisthenes
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    All those who were fearful the EU was heading towards becoming the Eussr are seeing their fears realised. What was agreed at this summit is protectionist, corporatist and undemocratic that is going to rely on even more bureaucratic central planning and control. Only two nations benefit from this arrangement Germany and France on the backs of and the impoverishment of the others who join this grouping. The EU has never favoured proper free trade and the UK has suffered from it to have not used the veto would have made that position even worse. If the UK truly wants growth and to prosper through trade then leaving the EU is the only option. When looking at the advantages and disadvantages there are few disadvantages but many advantages for doing so. Staying in and renegotiating is not an option because no concessions will be forthcoming and remaining part of the EU only maintains the constraints it is putting upon the UK.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      How exactly is something agreed by the heads of various European states undemocratic? Also what about the new EU treaty was protectionist or corporatist?

      “The EU has never favoured proper free trade”

      Please explain the difference between ‘proper free trade’ and what occurs in the EU.

      “If the UK truly wants growth and to prosper through trade then leaving the EU is the only option.”

      So we’re going to achieve growth by not trading with the EU?

      • APL
        Posted December 11, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        uanime5: “How exactly is something agreed by the heads of various European states undemocratic?”

        Firstly, Cameron isn’t the head of State in the UK. That is still HRH QEII

        Secondly, it’s as Adam Smith said: “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public”

        When all the ministers of European countries get together, they loose sight of their primary legitimate role, and they coalesce into a club the raison d’etre becomes the interests of that club.

        • APL
          Posted December 11, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

          Here is a question for John Redwood.

          There was much publicity about Brown signing the treaty of Lisbon. To be binding on the UK, shouldn’t it have been signed by HRH QEII not Brown?

  20. Alan Wheatley
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    A vital part of sorting out this hugh difference requires that we, MPs and the population at large, need a clear understanding of the options.

    One factor that has loomed large over conversations about the UK’s membership of the EU has been the lack of a clear vision of a future for the UK outside the EU. Thus those who are unsure of what the future may hold, which includes many and probably most of the general population, err on the side of sticking with the familiar rather than changing to the unknown. The feeling that all is not right is given voice in terms of seeking an improved position for the UK within the EU in preference to an improved position for the UK outside the EU.

    If one option to be put to the people in due course is to endorse the best relationship with the EU that it has been possible to be achieve, then the other option has to be a clearly explained relationship outside the EU, which includes, of course, the UK’s new relationship with the rest of the World, particularly the Commonwealth.

  21. Dan
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    John Redwood – Westminster’s most boring diarist.

    Incoherent logorrhea from Spock jnr as ever.

    Reply: It is interesting that you think it important enough to read and condemn in person!

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Dan, it may be boring to you (it isn’t to me!) but at least John’s diary reflects some sense of reality and offers hope (and challenges ahead, not illusions fit only for the unthinking) !

    • Bean Counter
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      And your contribution to the debate is??

      As they say in football. Attack the ball and not the man.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        I for one are not being told how to live by middle aged men who would not last five minutes in the often harsh fantasy world they wish everyone else to inhabit. So I’m all for hacking the legs of the opponents. Good writing John. Interesting, if a little up in the air and to much of European politics. A bit more of the important issues like dog crap on the streets would be good.

    • Atlas
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Incoherent???

      I think not!

    • Posted December 10, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Dan – Although I don’t agree with everything Mr Redwood says, his is most certainly one of the most honest politicians blogs and he actually has the courtesy to reply!

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Dan – Sally Bercow’s diary would be a more suitable read for you.

  22. Tad Davison
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    I notice the unelected Lib Dem, Lord Oakshott, or Bullshott, or whatever his name is, wants ever-closer union with the cursed place, and has criticised David Cameron for standing up for Britain.

    Please God, get Britain out of this nightmare that is the EU, and take away the powers and influence of all those who hold our futures in their hands, whom we cannot remove via the ballot box!

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Bob
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Look, the EU has done a very good job at managing their own budget, so why should they manage the budgets of the EZIPIGS?

      Nurse!

  23. backofanenvelope
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Watching the petulant behaviour of the French President, I fell to wondering how the much vaunted Anglo-French defence deal would fare if he were having one of his hissy fits?

    • A different Simon
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Very good point .

      Maybe it is a microcosm of the whole EU ; we contribute but when we call upon it will get nothing in return .

      There seems to be little point in aligning ourselves with a country whose pinnacle of military achievement over the past 100 years was exocet missiles and illegally sinking the Rainbow Warrior .

  24. David Price
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Mr Cameron certainly did the right thing to stand up for the UK and should be warmly supported for doing so. No doubt there will be convolutions and consequences for some time. What is interesting is how the press and the LibDems are reacting, instead of discussing the facts they are attempting to ridicule Mr Cameron, the UK and eurosceptics. On the morning news today the presenter’s language and questions were all from a position that compliance with EU = right – UK interests = wrong.

    – Why aren’t they criticising Sarkozy and Merkel for putting their political future and desire to take control of European finances ahead of solving the Euro crisis?

    – Why should the UK destroy a chunk of its economy in addition to the funds we have and are providing to save a currency we are not a part of?

    – Why aren’t they questioning how the re-warmed Mastrich requirements haven’t worked, will possibly work now and whether the Eurozone actually has the luxury of 4 months to address it’s problems.

    What I find most puzzling though is why the BBC at al are bleating about not being at the “top table” when going by results we never seemed to be in the first place.

  25. GJ Wyatt
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    According to the Bruges Group’s index of Euroskepticism, based on votes in Parliament, only 36 out of 306 Conservatives are Euroskeptics. Contrast that with other parties: Labour and Labour/Coop 257/258; LibDems 1/57; DUP 8/8; SNP 6/6; PC 0/3.
    Most noise and bluster comes from the Conservative Euroskeptics, but shouldn’t we judge the Party by the actions of its members? Res non verba.

    Reply: How on earth do they get to 257 Labour Eurosceptics? Sounds like complete nonsense.

    • GJ Wyatt
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      On their website, http://www.brugesgroup.com/mpwatch/index.live
      the MPs are ranked by their voting record in the Commons. The index is constructed thus:

      “In important votes in the House of Commons if an MP votes to protect or preserve Britain’s democracy and economy from EU interference they are awarded a score of plus 2. If the MP votes in a way that harms our freedom, prosperity and sovereignty the MP receives a vote of minus 2. In the face of pressure from the Whips acting on behalf of their pro-EU leadership an abstention receives a score of plus 1.”

      From the ranking, which they break down by party, you can count the number who are positive overall or negative overall. A positive ranking suggests “Euroskeptic”.
      By the way, your own ranking is a healthy 64% compared with the PM’s 14% and the Chancellor’s 0%.

      Reply: I have now studied this site. The scoring of abstentions gravely distorts the data. For example, both Nigel Evans and Dawn Primarolo are scored as anti EU with a plus 50 score. They have reached this because they are both Deputy Speakers who therefore have to abstain on every vote. Their abstentions are structural, not an expression of view.
      Similarly some of the most senior Coalition Ministers have small positive scores because they are often absent. Had they been present they would have voted with the Coalition whip, which seems to have given people a score of minus 82 for those who followed it on every vote. Saying these Ministers disagree with their own whip is silly.
      Those who folowed the Labour whip end up with a small positive score. This is also because the official Labour whip often asks their people to abstain, because they do not wish to express a view on the EU. It is completely false to argue from this that Labour is now an anti EU party”!

      • GJ Wyatt
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        Many thanks for looking into this and your thorough explanation.

        Since the Bruges Group claims to “spearhead the intellectual battle against the notion of ever closer union in Europe” it is rather shabby of them to have adopted such a slack methodology in its assessment of MPs’ voting records.

        I am informing them of this exchange on your site.

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    A useful article here on what was and wasn’t agreed at the summit:

    http://euobserver.com/19/114586

    and another article on various legal obstacles to the breakaway treaty:

    http://euobserver.com/18/114585

    Merkel will have to put her foot down and crush this talk of national referendums, which would be a most unwelcome intrusion of democracy into the process.

    If necessary, those responsible will have to be removed from office and replaced by more reliable servants.

    The Telegraph also has an article claiming that lawyers to the EU Council have already warned about “abuse of power”:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8946836/EU-Treaty-new-EU-plan-abuses-power-say-lawyers.html

    “Legal advice seen by The Daily Telegraph warns that the breakaway group of 26 countries cannot use the EU institutions or change European treaties without Britain’s consent.

    The advice was drawn up by senior officials and lawyers working for the Council of the EU, the service that advises governments on the legality of their decisions.

    In an attempt to overcome the debt crisis by strengthening enforcement of the euro’s fiscal rules, the so-called Euro-Plus group will draw up its own treaty. But documents agreed at yesterday’s summit continue to mention “reinforcement” of existing eurozone rules that would require treaty change, and set out enforcement mechanisms to be policed by the EU’s courts and the European Commission.

    “To do this is a ‘detournement de pouvoir’ or ‘abuse of power’ because it changes rules that were agreed by all 27 EU countries,” says the legal advice. “Moreover, any treaty at less than 27 cannot make use of the community institutions if they changed the character of those institutions, and any use of the institutions has to be agreed by all.”

    The controversy is expected to swamp the courts with litigation, including challenges from Britain.”

    The question is how we can do business with these people, who have no respect for the rule of law and place no value on democracy while pretending the opposite:

    http://europa.eu/abc/treaties/index_en.htm

    “The European Union is based on the rule of law. This means that everything that it does is derived from treaties, which are agreed on voluntarily and democratically by all Member States.”

    • Chris
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Excellent. Thank you for keeping us up to date.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      “Merkel will have to put her foot down and crush this talk of national referendums, which would be a most unwelcome intrusion of democracy into the process.”

      Why would referendums be needed? The whole point of having elected leaders and Parliaments is for them to make decisions on behalf of their country. I suspect you want referendums because you believe it will lead to the new treaty being destroyed; along with the Euro, EU, and the UK economy.

      “The Telegraph also has an article claiming that lawyers to the EU Council have already warned about “abuse of power”:”

      Unless there is a law preventing the other 26 members of the EU from making treaties with each other that do not involve the EU it’s not an abuse of power. It also won’t be an abuse of power if they expel the UK and are left with 26 states that agree to the new treaty.

      • Alexis
        Posted December 11, 2011 at 12:57 am | Permalink

        - Referenda are (or should be) necessary, because ceding sovereign powers to a foreign entity has serious implications for the legitimacy of a national government.

        – Using EU staff and infrastructure for a non-EU entity is legally an abuse of power.

        There is no substantive evidence to support the notion that a new treaty could save the euro.

        The collapse of the euro will hurt every economy in the world. No veto, treaty or referendum can change that.

    • Posted December 10, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      “In an attempt to overcome the debt crisis by strengthening enforcement of the euro’s fiscal rules,”
      How do you enforce it? NOT by fining defaulting Countries who haven’t got any money anyway.
      “The European Union is based on the rule of law. This means that everything that it does is derived from treaties, which are agreed on voluntarily and democratically by all Member States.”
      unless they decide to bend the Rules or state that NO means (well maybe, yes
      so we’ll give them another try at getting it right!

  27. Viv Evans
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Now that the dust is slowly starting to settle, it becomes clear that this treaty vetoed by Cameron has done nothing at all to finally ‘save’ the Euro.
    It is, instead, another political milestone toward total integration. It is another milestone on the road of transfer of sovereign rights to Brussels.

    Therefore, the euphoria of the 26 or 23, and their crowing about us having been kicked out (see DerSpiegel online yesterday) will soon be overtaken by the response of the markets.
    How on earth can all those Europoliticians think that the markets will wait upon them, until they get their ‘big bazooka’ going next July!

    I think that events on the international markets will soon overtake any Brussels negotiations, and that the centripetal forces of failing banks, worsening economic conditions and the decisions taken by some parliaments on the back of these failing will consign this treaty to the dustbin.

    Therefore the government, pushed by you and your colleagues, John, must start the necessary negotiations to detach ourselves as fast as possible.

  28. Anoneumouse
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    There was no IGC so What Treaty?, What Veto? There wasn’t even a draft treaty.

    At the GATHERING in Brussels, when the time came all David Cameron did was to “futterwacken”… vigorously.

    Reply: They were discussing a new Treaty in principle. Because the Uk has used the veto there will be no IGC etc. There will be a different process for the 23-26

  29. A.Sedgwick
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Regardless of any other consideration Cameron realised that his immediate political future and any credibility in the Conservative Party depended on the veto.
    What concerns me is we still have all the rhetoric about how we are still serious members of the EU and have a significant part to play. Even Denis MacShane is reported to have said that the sceptics have won and the game is up, we are effectively heading out of the EU. The legal, political and bureaucratic ramifications of the 26 trying to run the EU with Britain raising objections and generally throwing spanners is untenable.

    Perversely I can see Europhiles supporting a call for an in/out referendum because the EU, as we all know, have form in reversing unpalatable decisions or just ignoring the decision and carrying on regardless. My view remains – bring it on.

  30. Posted December 10, 2011 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Short of a coalition of the leaderships of all 3 parties it would be unwise to rely on Labour votes even if miliband gave the assurance. Parties that have broken Manifecto promises (eg on a Lisbon Treaty referendunm) can always find excuses to break what would be a lesser promise. I doubt Labour would, under any circumstances, enter a coalition since their only current selling point is that they are not currently in government.

    • Quietzaple
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      I think you’ll find only the Tories promised a referendum on Lisbon, and that was, as per all Tory promises, subject to Chameleon’s droit de seigneur.

  31. Quietzaple
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Chameleon palliates the Europhobes, hoping to cod them into imagining he’s doing anything but protecting his back. No Major he.

    Let us hope The City doesn’t suffer consequences worse than a Transactions Tax, for which we’d have been setting the rate anyway.

    Let us also hope Grrmany can sort the weaker Euro brethren, and that someone with some vision leads the failing recessionary economies and one or two others by cutting VAT.

    No Growth: bigger deficits: bigger debts: revolutionary disorder: even less democracy and freedom for most of us.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Did I read that the Irish will be exempt from a financial transaction tax, if the Eurozone or the EU introduce one?

  32. Posted December 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    So far, so good. But remember that this hasn’t repatriated one single power to the UK, it has merely stopped the EU having new ones as far as we are concerned.
    Cameron should now become very pro-active, and start lobbying the non-Eurozone EU countries to get them on-side. Perhaps he could hold a London Conference for them to discuss trade issues outside the Eurozone, perhaps some other countries might be invited say Norway, Switzerland, even Iceland which is doing quite nicely since the state repudiated their banks’ debts. We need to re-establish a trading zone, to us that is all that should matter is the UK. We can well do without Brussels instructions as to how to run our pensions schemes (yesterday), manage our waste or look after our fish; we did in the past and we should do so again.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Given that most non-Eurozone EU countries want to join the Euro they’re unlikely to side with the UK. I doubt that Norway or Switzerland will be interested as they can already trade with us.

  33. Chris
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    I believe it is imperative that Cameron acts quickly now to define his next moves. These will need to be bold, and he will need courage as the full force of the EU machine (and apparently the BBC) will be against him. Cameron could choose to approach the issue from a position of real power and advise the EU that our current membership has to redefined, particularly in light of the 17 plus going it alone passing further damaging legislation which, even though it does not “apply” in the legal sense to the UK, will actually be very damaging for the UK. That redefinition would necessitate us effectively leaving the EU first and then drawing up new trading arrangements with Europe (but also expanding/developing our trade with the emerging countries, the Commonwealth countries, BRIC and the so called CIVET group). The EU seems to be saddled with debt and low growth, and strangled by its own bureaucracy and legislation, meaning that it effectively cannot compete with the growing economies. We should not be dragged down by this deadweight, but instead break free, and take the opportunities which there undoubtedly are if we are willing to be bold and expand our horizons. David Cameron has started us off on that road. I hope he can deliver.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      The UK is also saddled with debt and low growth, and strangled by its own bureaucracy and legislation, meaning that it effectively cannot compete with the growing economies.

      Don’t expect to trade much with the Commonwealth countries, BRIC, or CIVET as the majority of the population of these countries have a very low income.

      • Posted December 10, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

        Don’t forget that most of “the bureaucracy strangling Britain” actually stems from Brussells in the fiest place.

      • libertarian
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

        You’re not very well read or researched are you?

  34. bertsanders
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Other than reading commentaries I have no expertise., but feel Mr Cameron was right.
    I expect this to end in a Euro collapse with considerable problem left behind – which we will resolve as we have always done.
    The EU and Euro is a bad idea – I voted for a trading EEC in 1963 and oppose federalism, which might make the Euro possible.
    It seems to me the main benificiary on the Euro has been Germany and if they are returned to th DMark it wiill quickly revalue and become a German problem.

  35. Matt
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Phew!
    I just hope that we continue on this path and the Lib Dems do not deflect the course. Lord Oakshott seemed to be genuinely angry.

    The BBC coverage was sombre and seemed to dwell on the 26 – 1 as if it was a football result. Not a balanced report in my opinion- they didn’t point out the perils of “City trade” migrating to other world financial centres.

    Ironic isn’t it that Mr Cameron has done more than any previous Conservative PM to keep the Euro issue off the agenda – for him to veto this treaty.

  36. BobE
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    When will Greece go bankrupt?

    • libertarian
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Greece is already bankrupt, they will default on their debts and crash out of the Euro within the next couple of months, oh and the markets now think there’s a 60% chance of Italy joining them. The Euro is finished, even its architects now admit that it was doomed to fail from the outset. We are now watching a small group of isolated protectionist unproductive countries politicians manically rearranging deck chairs .

      Game over.

    • Quietzaple
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Bankruptcy only really ocurrs when no more borrowings are forthcoming from any source, so Greece may not become bankrupt.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      Countries don’t go bankrupt Bob. They have revolutions and the creditors can ram it afterwards.

  37. Roy Coley
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Cameron should be applauded for having the balls to stand up for Britain, unlike the Lilly liverd tossers that have gone before him.

    • Quietzaple
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Obviously you insult as you fear yourself to be, way of the world …

  38. Electro-Kevin
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I don’t doubt the effectiveness of the Eurosceptic campaign. The nub of this issue (the main driver of Mr Cameron’s decision) has been the City of London. A Tobin tax was a demand too far – even for the EU.

    So powerful and important is the City of London to Britain that we pulled out of Northern Ireland when the IRA began to target it with massive bombs in the early ’90s.

    Mr Cameron needs praise and encouragement at this time; he needs to be aware that his decision is – unintentionally – in line with British opinion; in fact not just British opinion but that of the vast majority of the French and the German public too.

    People are not against the EU because they are xenophobic nor because they are against unity. They are against the EU because it is fundamentally Leftist. Its institutional Left-ness was innevitable as it was – from inception – created, not as a trading block, but as an institutionally biased bulwark against right wing politics.

    If it were a Conservative construct it would be far more realistic in its economic and political outlook – it would not have sought a redistribution of wealth through expansionism and the admission of the PIIGS nations. If it were a Conservative construct it would not have sought a single currency before a single political union. If it were a Conservative construct its courts wouldn’t consistently find in favour of Leftism against common sense and against the public will.

    The EU is failing (as is its currency) because it is Leftist. The western economies are failing because they adopted Leftism (America because Political Correctness begat sub prime.)

    If the EU had every other physical characteristic but that its edicts and judicial findings fell on the side of Conservatism you can bet the likes of the BBC and Neil Kinnock would hate it. But then the EU would be a lot smaller and it would probably be working by now.

    Mr Cameron may not yet get the message. There are still the repatriation of powers to be dealt with. Thus far we have averted something rather than regained what should be taken for granted. There is a delicate balance to be struck between praising him and convincing him that the majority are without voice and – above all else – that they are absolutely right.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted December 10, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      PS. Nick Clegg is entirely wrong to say that we are ‘rubbing our hands in glee’.

  39. merlin
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    3 very simple points

    1) How did the UK manage before we joined the EUSSR
    2) How does Switzerland survive not being in the EUSSR
    3) ditto Norway and Iceland?

  40. Barbara Fairwther
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, brief and to the point.

  41. Barbara Stevens
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I congratulate Mr Cameron, and I apologise, I didn’t think he’d do it, but he did. However, what I cannot understand, we are not in the euro, we’ve told the EU quite plain we have no intention of joining, yet, they think they could encrouch upon our Financial Sector and impose taxes, and we would willingly obey. How wrong they were. Obviously they need money and they saw this chance, well Sarkozy did, that’s why he was so angry when he knew he would lose. He thought we would be daft enough to pay his countries bills via the Tobin Tax. Not being in the euro makes it clear they cannot tax us anywhere, yet they tried with all guns firing. Mr Cameron stood firm and I applaud him strongly. I must admit I waited with baited breath, but sighed a sigh of relief when the news broke. We must protect this nation from this Germanic take over of Europe, albeit peaceful, at the moment, and take steps for an orderly removal of our selves from this expensive club. They will tolerate us for a while, they need our money, but if we rock the boat again, which we will, then they may throw us out, if only!
    Please extend my congratulations to Mr Cameron and tell him I will now considar voting for him and his party, before I wasn’t to sure, Friday changed that.

  42. Chris
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Further comment on the legality of what the EU now wants to proceed with can be seen in Der Spiegel:
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,802678,00.html

    “EU Divisions: Questioning the Legality of a Separate Euro Treaty by Christoph Schult.
    Euro-Zone Treaty May Be Illegal.
    The euro-zone 17 in combination with six other countries quickly began moving forward on their own. But is such a move legal? European Union lawyers have their doubts that the kind of euro-zone fiscal union within the EU would be allowed.

    Changes to the EU treaty, after all, must be unanimous. Furthermore, EU officials in Brussels say, because monetary union is regulated extensively in the Lisbon Treaty, reform can only be implemented within the existing legal framework. The legal services experts of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the European Council, which represents the member states in Brussels, are all in agreement. A treaty concluded only by the 17 euro-zone governments would be illegal, they say.

    Individual countries could only issue a “political declaration of intent,” in which they determined, for example, how they would decide on the use of sanctions against budget offenders. But such a declaration would have no legally binding character and, as officials point out, could also be revoked following the election of a new government. This is principally a reference to France, where the Socialist presidential candidate François Hollande has already announced that he would not accept any incursions into national sovereignty…..
    European Council President Herman Van Rompuy …… feels that it would be difficult to legally enshrine the new supervisory powers of the EU institutions if they were approved only by the 17 euro-zone countries.”

  43. Chris
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Another very really posted article on Der Spiegel website on the continental view of the UK and how they believe the UK never really fitted in to Europe and was more interested in the USA. Lots of criticism of us, and some praise.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,802933,00.html
    “Britain and the EU:
    The Failure of a Forced Marriage
    Was the outcome of the Brussels summit a bad one for the EU? Not at all. The British were never completely dedicated to European unity and the ongoing project of greater fiscal integration is better off without them……”

  44. Paul
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    For once he did the right thing and I applaud him for it. Frankly, it was his only option as euroscepticism in the Tory party and the public is finally growing and he would have been under so much pressure had he gone along with the other 26. However, as Nigel Farage says, we still give £50m a day to this rotten club and we are still not being given our long overdue in/out referendum. Journalists and the media keep saying a referendum is a real prospect – what planet are they on? Unfortunately, despite the veto, our pro EU PM remains as committed as ever to our membership. What are the next steps John?

  45. Chris
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    This quote from another Der Spiegel article also gives a flavour of European reaction:
    ” ‘Cameron Is a Coward’
    European Politicians Slam British EU Veto

    …Cameron’s use of his veto has provided for much discontent within the European Parliament. “It was a mistake to admit the British into the European Union,” said Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, a prominent German MEP with the business-friendly Free Democrats, and vice chair of ALDE, the liberal block in the European Parliament. The UK must now renegotiate its relationship with the EU, he said. “Either they do it by themselves, or the EU will be founded anew — without Great Britain,” Lambsdorff said. “Switzerland is also a possible role model for the British,” he added, refering to the fiercely independent stance of the Alpine country, which is not an EU member….” ‘
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,802823,00.html

  46. Adam5x5
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    I am unsure as to the reason for Mr Cameron suddenly standing up to Merkozy as they seem to be known.
    I am sure that I it is in no small part due to your efforts Mr Redwood, along with a few notable others. these efforts are much appreciated, keep it up!!!

  47. Peter Hargreaves
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    The “eurozone” mess needs to be sorted out and that is in the UK’s interests. However, the decision by David Cameron has surely left the UK on the fringe of the EU with reduced influence and yet we still remain among the largest net contributors to the EU budget and that’s before we get on to liability for funds to the IMF which will be forwarded to the Eurozone. This seems to give the UK the worst of all worlds.

    I also believe that, in the UK, sovereignty rests with Parliament. Thus, do you not think that Cameron should have returned to the UK and put the outcome of the negotiation to Parliament for decision?

    Cameron referred to the EU having many rooms. Well, we are now in the departure lounge. There will be no option but to begin the negotiations for withdrawal from the EU.

  48. Tad Davison
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    John,

    You have given some really good, informative interviews today, that are both intelligent and rational. Your position, (and ours, mainly) stands to reason, but is diametrically opposed to that of the bulk of the Lib Dems, with whom the parliamentary Conservative party share power.

    To the pro-Europeans, I make this plea. We already know how you feel about Europe, and regularly witness your incessant push towards closer political integration, I just haven’t yet heard a convincing argument as to why you think it. Nothing has convinced me that you are anything but wrong!

    But I’m a reasonable man. Please don’t hide your position, and enter into clear dialogue, so that the electorate can finally consign you to the dustbin of history at the next election.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  49. Posted December 10, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Excellent post Mr Redwood.

    Your point about loyalty is spot on. Country first, always!

    We lend MPs our votes; as such they are not MPs’ votes to give away.

    Thank you for helping to safeguard what is rightfully ours.

  50. Ferdinand
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    As Nirj Deva has suggested now that the Eurpean Union is a Fiscal Union it is no longer the EU but the FU. And since the first fiscal union was the USA then it’s the FU2

  51. Peterpanohno
    Posted December 11, 2011 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    The parvenu Liberal party has no sense of what the country basically feels – old dogmas survive despite the ever increasing disaffection of the voters. What all MP’s of whatever creed ought to realise is that on matters of national importance – that decide the fate of the country and its independence – patriotism comes before party and power.

  • 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.
    Published and promoted by Thomas Puddy for John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU
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