What does business want from the EU?


           Today I will give my full support to David Cameron for using the UK veto. His requests were modest in return for accepting a new Treaty for the 27. Indeed I thought his offer was too generous, and I would have been very unhappy if France had accepted and we were lumbered with a new Treaty.The French did not want to do a deal. He had no alternative but to say “No” to their proposals.

                   62% of the public agree, and only 19% disagree. Most of you have written  in support. A few are trying to make out he did not veto the Franco-German proposals. Everyone else knows he did, and the French clearly behaved in a way which shows he did. Please try to keep your comments sensible.  UKIP could occasionally say “Well done” instead of carping at everything. They would have had something to complain about if a deal had been done on bad terms.

                It is said to be  axiomatic that the UK needs to be in the EU in order to be in the single market.  It is implied we would lose all 3 million jobs said to be dependent on exports if we fell out with the EU. We are told that business would never forgive us if we lost influence over the rules and regulations affecting business and trade.

             As someone who has in the past led industrial businesses exporting from the UK, these comments seem very unrealistic. When you export to a foreign country you expect to have to comply with their rules and with the customer requirements.  The UK has no special influence over the rules and laws in Asia, Latin America, North America or Africa, yet we export substantial amounts to those places. The UK exports far more goods and services outside the EU than within it, and even in the case of physical goods the true total is around 60% of our exports go to non EU territories. It shows that having a say over the rules is not crucial to winning an order. Nor would France and Germany want to lose the very profitable trade they enjoy with us if the UK demanded different arrangements with the EU.

             The danger for us as the  EU tries to become a unitary highly regulated state is that the EU imposes rules and regulations on us which as a member we will have to follow at all times. This means applying their expensive   demands even when  making for export to non EU countries, or for the home market. Our competitors outside the EU do not face similar impositions. Whilst business people put up with regulatory demands in important customer countries where all competing there have to comply, they do not like us facing higher costs and controls when exporting to parts of the world where no such similar rules are enforced.

           The Uk needs a new relationship with the emerging Euroland country on the continent. We would like arrangements to facilitate trade, and allow friendly collaboration where it makes mutual sense. The Lib Dems seem unhappy about the use of the veto, and will doubtless try to prevent  a move towards the renegotiation we now need, or to a referendum so the UK electors can express their view.  They should look at the polling. The Uk electorate is keen to have a looser and more worthwhile relationship with the continent. The Commons may still have a federalist majority, but this is wholly unrepresentative of the public view on the question of the EU. I doubt the Lib Dems want an election anytime soon.

           I will turn to other topics tomorrow, but the EU has been the dominant news issue for the whole week-end.



  1. Simon
    December 12, 2011

    Good luck this week! Britain (and the world) would be much different if politicians of all persuasions actually understood the mechanics of business and how much hard work is actually involved in reaching profitability.

    1. Disaffected
      December 12, 2011

      Let us hope the people of Feltham and Helston give the Lib Dems the thrashing they deserve. When they vote just remember how Clegg thinks we Britons are “Pygmies”. it is not enough to cast insult after insult at British culture, now Clegg thinks he will win votes by denigrating British people and use language of fear to win his fanatical dream for the UK to become part of a pan European state.

      First he claimed that the LIb Dem in/out Eu referendum was better than the Tories, then he made a three line whip to prevent the British people having the referendum and now he calls us Pygmies because cameron vetoed one element of a proposal!! Clegg continually insults the British public and culture and then expects us to vote for him and his sordid party. He claimed he was going to clean up politics and shut the gates of Westminster- when is he going to sort out his own MPs or refer (any bad ones-ed) to the police for investigation (names and possible examples left out-ed)?

      Clegg is a horrible person who keeps insulting the British people and insults our intelligence by never fulfilling a pledge or promise.It started with his unequivocal promise on university tuition fees and continued ever since. (words left out-ed) man leading a sordid little party. Feltham and Heston vote with your feet, Clegg thinks you are “pygmies”.

      Reply: As we now know UKIP failed to dislodge the Lib Dems in the battle for third place. Still, UKIP did manage to beat English Democrats in the scramble to split the Eurosceptic vote again.

      1. Disaffected
        December 12, 2011

        John, is there nothing that can be done about the wretched BBC bias and propaganda. I really object to paying a licence fee in this day and age. ALso could pressure be brought to bear on Patten as the Chair of the Trust. The rules of his EU pension conflicts with his role to be impartial at the BBC.

        1. pete
          December 12, 2011


          Fair question about Patten – he is supposed to be a Tory so Im sure JR could find some answers here

          I read it on this blog somewhere that the BBC are now partially funded by the EU….

          Is this true, if so something smells….

          1. APL
            December 12, 2011

            Pete: ” .. BBC are now partially funded by the EU….”

            The definitely took soft loans from the EU some while back, don’t know if they rolled them or paid them down. As with everything the EU offers there are strings attched – think funding for local projects and fines for not displaying the EU flag on publicity for projects.

            Not sure why a State funded organization with a known income stream would have needed to take such funding, but they thought the did.

          2. Kenneth
            December 13, 2011

            The BBC also won an award some while ago from the eu for their eu coverage. Can you imagine any governmet giving the BBC an award for ‘government coverage’

          3. outsider
            December 13, 2011

            I think the EU funding is just for the feed from the European Parliament on BBC Democracy. And very illuminating it is too.

          4. APL
            December 13, 2011

            Outsider: “I think the EU funding is just for the feed from the European Parliament on BBC Democracy.”

            “soft loans and payments amounting to 258 million euros over the last five years were paid by the EU to the BBC”


            Seems like an awful lot of money for a couple of transmission feeds to BBC democracy channel!

          5. outsider
            December 13, 2011

            APL: You are not wrong. More research beckons.

        2. Robert Christopher
          December 12, 2011

          It is stopping interesting discussions between with different opinions on the “right” and non-Marxist left (??? I haven’t forgotten the honourable working class before the Marxists took over?), being aired so that ideas cannot be developed in view of the nation.
          This could be done by offering RT and Fox a regular slot each week, and be open to other offers, including new comers.
          The BBC could use the Strictly Come Dancing set up to gather in the votes. We could even have ‘experts’ to point out some of the tricky steps that were not performed correctly.

          1. Robert Christopher
            December 12, 2011

            This is in reply to the post above: Disaffected, Posted December 12, 2011 at 9:36 am, about the BBC bias.

          2. Robert Christopher
            December 12, 2011

            Testing again

          3. Robert Christopher
            December 12, 2011

            The reply button is not working.
            The message is placed at the end of all the messages, not within the replied post.

          4. Martyn
            December 12, 2011

            Testing your test to see if it applies here……

            Sorry, couldn’t resist it!

          5. Disaffected
            December 12, 2011

            All the panel will be socialist or Europhiles. The BBC peddled out Jonathan Powell tonight as well as Ashdown against a Jnr Tory MP- that’s BBC balance and fairness for you. Both hysterical but neither could put a cogent argument what the EU summit achieved to save the Euro. It was all about using the summit as an excuse to form a pan European state. Good article by Janet Daley in the DT on 10th. Well worth a read. That includes ALL BBC bias news editors and Patten.

        3. Mike Stallard
          December 12, 2011

          Fascinating, too, how the Old Peoples’ Homes have been raided. Mr Heseltine was on yesterday. Then today we were treated to Lord Leon Britton. Both were presented by the BBC as “Tories” who agree with the EU.

          Who next? Lord Kinnoch? Lady Kinnoch?

    2. outsider
      December 12, 2011

      A key benefit of being squeezed out of the EU, and hopefully losing political influence throughout the world, would be that the British government and elite might finally focus on the desperate long-term weakness of the UK economy and make the support and promotion of British industry (whether private or public) a top priority for most of the Departments in Whitehall, including Local Government, DECC, Defra, Transport, Culture and Defence as well as the Treasury and Biz. Otherwise, the next generation with be saddled with far worse a legacy even than huge debts.

    3. Frederick Bloggs
      December 12, 2011

      What treaty ? There was no treaty. Read Richard North to know what happened because John doesn’t know.

    4. lifelogic
      December 13, 2011

      Many politicians understand only too well. They just like to use them as cows to be bled and use the money drained to try to buy votes, promote themselves, fund their (usually daft) pet projects/religions or just to employ a few of their family/mates on good salaries/pensions. Preferably with legislative tax advantages as for EU staff.

      Alas the cow is now in intensive care due to lack of blood.

  2. Mike Stallard
    December 12, 2011

    As far as I can tell, the Labour party is just screwing their eyes shhut and maintaining that Europe is boring to the people on the doorstep. The behaviour of the LibDems is sad because they really have blown it this time. Little things – see how Mr Clegg talks about “The United Kingdom in exactly the same terms as the Brussels Bureaucrats do! They really will end up in a taxi again. Meanwhile, on Dan Hannan’s blog there are about 1300 comments.

    At the end of this week, I go to Switzerland, near Davos with my son and daughter in law who live far away from the land of Brussels, in poor, distant Singapore. Switzerland, as we all know, cheats because it has huge reserves of oil and illegal banking and cuckoo clock manufacture (JOKE!) so that is why my son and daughter in law will be buying all the train tickets, gluwein etc etc.

    Brussels is really not the centre of the planet. Honest.

    1. alan jutson
      December 12, 2011

      Beautiful part of the Country Mike, had the good fortune to go on the Glacier Express (funny term given it averages 22mph) in good weather a couple of years ago.

      Agree with you, Brussels is not the centre of the World, unless you have a no limit expenses Credit card, then you might think it is wonderful.

      1. Mike Stallard
        December 12, 2011

        Thank you! I cannot wait to see it.

    2. lifelogic
      December 12, 2011

      Brussels is just the centre for people looking for well paid, special low tax, state sector paper pushing over EURO jobs. It is also the centre of endless anticompetitive and just plain daft regulations that handicap much of the Europe and prevent it from competing in the world.

      Meanwhile similar countries outside the EU do, relatively, very well indeed.

  3. lifelogic
    December 12, 2011

    Indeed let us hope Cameron will seize the day and moves towards a sensible, trade only, arrangement or gets out. Also that he will start to reduce the absurd burden of regulations and huge over government that so often prevents UK businesses competing in the world.

    1. lifelogic
      December 12, 2011

      Perhaps the most absurd thing to come out of the RBS report today is that only three people were overseeing RBS at the FSA one of the largest banks in the world. Perhaps £300,000 or so spent supervising a bank of this size is absurd. Particularly with all the accounting rules which allowed the accounts to be so opaque. The would hardly have had time to go through and understand the annual accounts of all the subsidiaries or even spend a few hours with the auditors of each of them.

      The blame is seems to me to lies mainly with Labour & G Brown, the FSA, the directors of RBS, the auditors and accountant of RBS, the accountants at ABN Amro, the accountants involved in the RBS rights issues, the shareholders of RBS.

      But mainly with the FSA and the accountants (and the accounting techniques I assume allowed by the professional rules) which enabled them to produce accounts which bore so little relation to the true risk position of the bank.

      Interestingly the report says that the balance sheet has been shrunk by £1 trillion since 2008. I do not know how much of this is in the UK. Some companies I know about have had facilities reduced by RBS/Natwest around £1M (not related to any real risk position). This reduction alone has cost or delayed about 7 jobs. On the similar basis this £1 trillion would have cost or delayed £7 million jobs. This on top of the 27,500 at RBS/Natwest itself.

      Do we need to look much further than RBS/Natwest to see the main reason why UK growth is so poor? The other banks are certainly still not very keen to replace this huge loss of capital to UK industry either – and certainly not on sensible terms.

      Reply: It was a failure of regulatory judgement. Some of us could see from the outside without spending £300,000 that RBS made too many acquisitions and had too weak a balance sheet. Pity the regulators did not stop some of the mergers.

      1. lifelogic
        December 12, 2011

        I am sure, as you say, that it was clear from the outside (to anyone, such as yourself with relevant skills and who was actually looking in detail) that there were substantial difficulties and weaknesses at RBS/Natwest. Nevertheless, the accounting rules still enabled them to get rights issues away and for banks ABN Amro and RBS, worth virtually nothing in reality, to continue to trade at a high market capital. Even Barclays were convinced ABN Amro had considerable value and were lucky to escape.

        The accountants, accounting rules and the analysts clearly need to act and get proper accounting that reflects the true position and cannot be manipulated by accounting trick and directors – thus helping to prevent a recurrence of this disaster.

      2. outsider
        December 12, 2011

        Do not underestimate the personal factor here. I do not think it a coincidence that the chief regulator of the time, in his previous job as electricity regulator, presided over the bankruptcy ( or forced rescue) of nearly half the power generation industry, which should normally be one of the safest in the country. When the present incumbent took over he only made things worse by slavishly following Whitehall priorities.

    2. lifelogic
      December 12, 2011

      Interestingly the stock markets have reacted rather well since Cameron’s EU veto. They seem to believe, correctly I think, that a more detached relationship with the EU is a jolly good thing for UK businesses in general.

      I feel sure that those in the EU would also react well to looser arrangements and fewer regulations throughout the EU too.

    3. Disaffected
      December 12, 2011

      Let us hope we will leave the Eu altogether. I still think the Tory party has until March to get rid of Cameron. I understand the support to Cameron from Eurosceptics, but it would be a folly to believe Cameron will repatriate powers or get out of the EU.

      The EU pressure started at the weekend and will continue until they get their way. The reality is the summit did nothing to change the financial crisis or help to sure up the Euro, it was about using the crisis to gain ground to become a pan European State.

      John, Boris, David Davis, Carsewell, Eustice, Tabbit and the rest will have to work hard to counter fanatics like Clegg, Cable, Huhne, Heseltine and Clark. Depose of Cameron while you are ahead and before March 2012.

      1. The Realist
        December 12, 2011

        Please it was not a Summit but European Council meeting,t here is a big difference!

      2. lifelogic
        December 12, 2011

        I am not sure Cameron can be very good indeed at presentation – he has many of the skills needed in a politician. He just needs a working compass or someone to keep him pointing in the right direction. Perhaps now he can now acquire one.

    4. Bob
      December 12, 2011

      “move towards a sensible, trade only arrangement”
      We would need a general election first because the Lib Dems would never support a sensible trade only arrangement. They want full dictatorial powers for Brussels.

  4. norman
    December 12, 2011

    Whether or not there was an actual treaty on the table is irrelevant. A lot of us expected Cameron to capitulate and walk away saying that Britain would implement the necessary changes (although we’d be excluded so we could weasel out of a referendum) as and when required. That he has categorically said this isn’t going to happen is praiseworthy, regardless of the political reality behind it.

    The real fun starts now though. He’s done the easy part now comes the juggling act of keeping the Lib Dems happy while trying, somehow, to extricate ourselves from the impending disaster on the continent and freeing us from what is going to be an ever growing stream of regulations implemented under Lisbon in an effort to save the Euro. Needless to say nothing was acheived to that end so we’re back to the tried and trusted formula of kicking the can down the road for a month until the next meeting when the world will be saved for a couple of days only to find out that it hasn’t been and so on.

    1. Disaffected
      December 12, 2011

      Heseltine pointed out that Cameron had no choice because of the Tory rebels. He would not get it through parliament and he also knew the public has strong feelings on the subject. He is discredited by his actions on 23rd October and had no choice. No juggling act required, if the Lib Dems break the coalition they are history. It will also become an in/out EU general election. Lib Dems have got it spectacularly wrong and all the language of fear used by Clegg will not change that position. I cannot think of any one who has called so many wrong shots as Clegg- tuition fees, AV vote, EU, immigration, defence, green energy policy and crime and disorder. Completely out of touch.

  5. Dan
    December 12, 2011


  6. Antisthenes
    December 12, 2011

    The Bundesbank is already challenging the IMF central banks funding idea and I suspect that the 26 states that when they go home and study the new proposals in the cool light of day many will start to lose their enthusiasm for the new set of proposals. If one steps back and looks at the goings on in Europe now and in the past 4 years one can only come to the conclusion most of the European leaders are acting in a manner that one normally associates with a primary school playground. The euro has not yet collapsed because bond holders are just as much wanting it not to do so as the those in the euro-zone and will clutch at any straw or scrap of hope thrown their way. They have pined their hope on a white knight riding to the rescue mostly in the form of someone pitching in enough money to shore up the bonds. They believe all the rhetoric because they want to about not letting the euro fail will eventually be backed up by action. It is when it is deemed that that is not going to happen then the stampede out of bonds will begin. At the moment it is only a canter as central bank intervention and rhetoric has had a soothing effect. Europe’s lack of competitiveness is the underlining cause that has caused the euro crisis and the very real likelihood that Europe is going to go back into recession. The EU has attempted to tackle this lack of competitiveness by throwing up a barrier French style to keep external competition to a minimum and build an internal market large enough to keep European or at least Germany’s and France’s citizens in the style to which they currently enjoy. I make this comment considering it to be sensible, I would of course, only others can be the real judge and if they consider that is not then my apologies.

    1. alan jutson
      December 12, 2011


      Certainly agree that the 26 may start to have second thoughts when they go through the fine print, this proposed plan is a long, long way from being settled. The whole thing could still come undone.

      The Lib Dems reaction not a surprise, they are just showing why they have been out of power for the last 60 years.

      Cameron has at last taken the first small step, albeit a very important one, to show we will have a say in the future of the EU, or we need new terms. Certainly the momentum and Public opinion is now with him in the UK, and we should build on that, if he does not take advantage, then it will be an opportunity lost.

      1. Antisthenes
        December 12, 2011

        You make an important point that far from being isolated with no say this stance by Cameron (it cannot really be called a veto as the stage the meeting was at as there was nothing to veto) may make the UK’s voice more readily heard. After all every step of the process of the forming of this laughingly called inter-government agreement is not going to avoid changing existing treaties in some way or another. This will give Cameron further opportunities to be awkward if he so chooses especially as his actions have given him the backing of the majority back home. France may yet regret it’s manoeuvring of the situation if Cameron plays his cards wisely and causes the maximum amount of frustration that can be channelled back at the French.

        1. Acorn
          December 12, 2011

          Nice thinking Anti’. We could start an “EU Spring” with a little luck and judgement. We need a good marketing campaign to sell it to the 26. Particularly the Germans; stuff like “… and you thought annexing East Germany was expensive …”. And the French, “… er, who lost their country to the Axis in forty five days which took the Allies three years to get back; and, are about to (give it away peacefully-ed)”.

          Hussman has a plan for Eurozone countries that offend; convertible debt. As the EU has proved useless at enforcing anything, the market would do it. Default and your Euros turn into Drachmas, what a nightmare. http://www.hussmanfunds.com/wmc/wmc111212.htm

      2. uanime5
        December 12, 2011

        2 of the 26 are unlikely to have second thoughts, given their input on the treaty.

        5 of the 26 are unlikely to have second thoughts, due to their need for a bailout.

        9 of the 26 are unlikely to have second thoughts, as they don’t currently belong to the Euro.

  7. NickW
    December 12, 2011

    Perhaps the central question in this debate is;

    What features of Germany’s economy and society enable it to run a successful and dynamic manufacturing economy, despite the fact that Germany is subject to the same European regulations as everybody else?

    I suspect that one of the major reasons is that German Unions and German manufacturers see themselves as having common interests and cooperate with each other in achieving a well run and successful enterprise.

    1. A different Simon
      December 12, 2011

      Here are some others :-
      – a functioning education system
      – respect for engineering profession
      – proper regulation of rental sector avoiding the pwopertee disease and leaving people with surplus income to save for old age
      – a regulated financial sector that does not sap the life out of the real economy like ours does
      – more even distribution of the proceeds of businesses

      – reasonable amount of hydro electric energy
      – low population density

      For all the waffle on procurement I believe the EU , and it’s agents in member countries , has preferred suppliers and that many of them are German .

      Just look at the recent rail debacle where Bombardier lost out .

      1. Tedgo
        December 12, 2011

        I think a lot of what you say also applies to Holland. I follow Dutch shipbuilding, such as IHC who build large dredgers. They seem to have very good long term relationships with their banks so they can quote for and build ships with confidence about cash flow support.

        I think that’s where Bombardier lost out, the lack of longer term financial support.

        1. A different Simon
          December 13, 2011

          Tedgo ,

          I think Siemens are one of the EU’s preffered suppliers and that it had nothing to do with the rate at which Bombardier could borrow .

          What saddens me is that Bombardier spent a massive amount of time and money on producing their proposal .

          It wouldn’t have hurt for a British civil servant to pull one of their directors aside and quietly let them know that they were wasting their time .

          Problem is civil servants win every way and have no interest in the outcome .

      2. Winston Smith
        December 12, 2011

        Only 60 years of democratic freedom, preceded by 15 years of totalitarian national socialism and all its evils for the majority. Only 20 years of democratic freedom preceded by 45 years of totalitarian socialism for the minority. I spent Friday evening with a German friend has this undoubtedly has had an effect cultural attitudes. People do what they are told in Germany.

        Despite the shame of their past their is no inate self-hatred amongst the chattering classes, such as exists in England and which has dramatically affected our institutions since the 60s.

    2. Paul Greenwood
      December 12, 2011

      because of the exchange rat of the Euro, Germany was operating with an undervalued currency
      this made their product more affordable for export
      if they had to stick to the Deutschmark the currency value would be very different than the average of the euro pot

    3. forthurst
      December 12, 2011

      I think it goes much deeper than that. Those who have ruled this country have always believed that our greatness was due to their fancy footwork and commerce from London rather than from the industrial might in our industrial heartlands. That is why they were prepared to watch as Trotskyites wrecked much of British industry and why Thatcher lost no sleep over the loss of our machine tool industry and much besides, but all stops were pulled out, indebting all of us hugely when the banksters ran out of cash.

      Now Cameron and Hague posture on the international stage, sucking up to the neocons in their criminal adventures whilst our old industrial regions progressively (change for the worse-ed).

      Pathological incompetance or outright treason?

    4. Andrew Johnson
      December 12, 2011

      After WW2 , America and the Allies gave an enormous amount of money to rebuild Germany. Most of German industry was flattened, so new factories and infrastructure were built. National Socialism, destroyed the power of the unions, and the class system. Unions now work in partnership with Employers. Germany was a divided country and the Western part was in the front line to be invaded by Soviet Russia. A powerful incentive to keep your focus. The Germans did not lose faith in heavy industry, but subsidised it, both directly and indirectly by ensuring major contracts somehow always went to German companies. Since WW2 Germany has paid a very small percentage of its GDP on national defence and has not involved itself in the many major conflicts since then. When the Soviet Empire fell, Germany reunited and although this incurred huge costs (mainly in welfare and reconstruction) it had a ready supply of relatively skilled cheap labour. By good fortune, design, or a combination of these, Germany has massively benefited from a Euro set at a rate well below what the Mark would have to be. This has provided an enormous ongoing boost to its exports, but at the expense of much poorer EU zone countries. Add to this mix, a fear of inflation so great that prudence will always rule ok in fiscal matters and there you have it. A very different situation to Britain’s. Of course there are many other factors, but in making comparisons, I’ve found it best to always try and compare apples with apples. I hope this is of some help.
      I think we should be willing and eager to learn from the good practice of countries anywhere. My vision for Britain is for it to return to being a free trade nation, trading as and how it wills. Alongside this, my desire is for British politicians of all parties to have pride in our country and make their primary aim to always try and act in its best interests.

      1. Winston Smith
        December 13, 2011

        An excellent summary. Thanks.

    5. lifelogic
      December 12, 2011

      They are not doing all that much better, but they do have the advantages of a larger scale, more land per head and better land connections to suppliers and markets than the UK. Also low cost manufacturing supply and support bases to the East. A currency held artificially low by the absurd Euro construct and an historical reputation for solid well engineered products. Thus also the inertia this gives to the industry and its supply chain.

      Also a country where the brightest do not all aspire to work in protected and/or overpaid areas such as the city, law, accountancy, financial services, banking or medicine.

  8. Dr Alf Oldman
    December 12, 2011

    I agree with John Redwood’s analysis. It is timely to take a strategic look at the EU relationship.

    Full marks for David Cameron is getting a difficult judgement call right – it shows leadership.

    On the other hand, I am disappointed with Nick Clegg’s response.

  9. Alan
    December 12, 2011

    Personally I find the euro crisis a fascinating topic but it seems to me that one of the great dangers at the moment is that the Conservative Party, or indeed the UK Parliament as a whole, could become dysfunctional because of divisions over whether we should leave the EU, which is not where the UK’s main problems lie.

    When we were considering joining the euro the Eurosceptics said that if we did so it would result in disaster. Well, we did what they said, and here we are with a financial disaster. The lesson is that it was not the euro that made the difference, it is how we ran our economy.

    Similarly we are now being told by some people that if we do not distance ourselves from the EU it will result in disaster. I doubt it will make that much difference: our problems lie with the lack of productiveness of our economy and our politicians need to deal with that.

    Reply: We were correct in saying the Euro as constructed would cause a financial disaster. The Uk would have been more damaged if we were now in the position of Italy. The UK does have to sort out its competitiveness issues. Some of those are worsened by Euro regs.

    1. Alan
      December 12, 2011

      Ah, to be in the position of Italy; where our savings and pensions would have retained their value; where our government has to run a balanced budget because it cannot borrow money because interest rates are too high; where harsh austerity measures are necessary to cut government spending; where we can hope for money from the German taxpayers; where the wine is cheap and delicious.

      What a contrast to be in the UK; where our savings and pensions have been devalued; where our government has to run a balanced budget because it cannot borrow money for fear that the interest rate would become too high and instead gets the Bank of England to print money to finance its borrowing; where harsh austerity measures are necessary to cut government spending; where we have no hope of rescue from the German taxpayers; where the wine is expensive and delicious.

      I’m only joking; I would rather live in the UK.

      1. Antisthenes
        December 12, 2011

        Although you comment tongue in cheek there is some truth in what you say. Italy’s position although far from wonderful does have the prospect of being better than it could be and even better than the UK’s by the fact that a fairy god mother in the form of Germany could appear and give financial assistance. However it now appears to me that after seeing the results of the last summit and weighing up all the available information that the fairy god mother is never going to appear. It is now my belief that the euro is going to be ditched as raising sufficient funds to save it is being quietly agreed is not possible or even if it was would not in the end cure the problem. All that is holding up the demise is the right moment to do so and agreeing a way that causes the least amount of damage and disruption.

  10. Amanda
    December 12, 2011

    “UKIP could occasionally say “Well done” instead of carping at everything.” – quite so. Nigel Farage made himself look small in moaning. He would have done better to explain why Mr Cameron was right, even if he then went on to explain what else he thought the Prime Minister should do now or could have done. It was, ‘badly done’ done of him. He would be wise to try an build his party up to overtake the Liberals in public opinion, that would be something very useful he could do.

    Business does not want more EU regulation, or even the regulation we have. A young business woman friend of mine, asked me what the veto meant for us. When I said, it meant a path to getting rid of business regulation she jumped for joy !! There is much latent economic growth in the SME part of the economy just waiting to blossom, as soon as the shackles are taken off. The ‘shopkeepers’ of England can again outwit the French – after all the battle of Waterloo was won on the level playing fields of Eton !!!!

    1. Robert Christopher
      December 12, 2011

      “UKIP could occasionally say “Well done” instead of carping at everything.”
      OK, I agree! Well done to Sarkozy for ensuring Cameron didn’t give too much away!

      And well done to JR for stating my position (and for consistent sanity on this site):
      “Indeed I thought his offer was too generous, and I would have been very unhappy if France had accepted and we were lumbered with a new Treaty.”

      “Very unhappy” would have been an understatement!

      It would have been the end of Cameron, and the Tory party, with British sovereignty disappearing, along with any hope for the future and fruits of our labours!

      By a shear fluke (or was it judgement 🙂 ) Cameron has shown just how bad it is pretending we are in a community.

      If he doesn’t change his approach, he will be left behind by others in his own party, a well as from outside.

      You have been warned. No! That’s not true! You have been encouraged!

    2. uanime5
      December 12, 2011

      Don’t expect to have less regulations. Only large companies get reduced regulation as they can afford to make donations to politicians.

      1. David Price
        December 14, 2011

        What is your specific evidence of specific incidents to back up such an assertion?

  11. Nick
    December 12, 2011

    0.5% of GDP cap on deficits.

    The question to ask the Lib Dims and Liebour, what would they cut (140 bn) to meet the criteria?

    1. Richard
      December 12, 2011

      Nick, you have hit on a key point with your post, which has been ignored by those in this country who would happily have signed up.
      EU budget controls would have made for extra cuts in Government spending and as you rightly say, just where would Mr Clegg and Mr Milliand find these savings.
      As Labour are currently opposing all the Coalition’s “cuts” how would they manage to remain “at the heart of Europe” whilst being forced on pain of fines from the EU, to implement a further £140 billions worth.
      I think we deserve an answer from them.

      1. outsider
        December 12, 2011

        Apologies if I am mistaken but the 0.5 per cent limit appears to be just the “structural” deficit. If so then, as Gordon Brown showed, there is infinite elasticity in measuring the economic cycle and therefore the permissible “cyclical” deficit in any year. And would it be a eurozone cycle (making Greece the same as Germany) or an individual cycle for each country?
        If this is correct, the apparently tough limit would actually be a lethal weakness in the fiscal control mechanism, as well as giving plenty of scope for political corruption.

        Reply: The planned 26 rules would if applied to the UK mean £60 bn immediate annual cuts in spending or tax rises

      2. uanime5
        December 12, 2011

        I would want to know what the Conservatives would cut to reduce the deficit., given that they campaigned to remove it in time for the next election.

        1. Bob
          December 12, 2011

          £50,000,000 each day from EU contributions would be a good start!

        2. David Price
          December 14, 2011

          More to the point, what would Labour cut to reduce the deficit. They would have to make cuts if they agreed with the new treaty or be fined/sanctioned by the new EU.

          If they don’t agree with such a treaty then why all the bluster and wind in the House whining about Mr Camerons performance in Brussels?

  12. Robert K
    December 12, 2011

    Can I put in a word for a post-EU settlement? I would like a referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the EU, not because of patriotic desires that hark back to the days when Britain ruled the waves but because I believe that good government is small government. As a supra-national layer of governance, the EU is anathema to this principle. But there would be little point in having extricated ourselves from EU, we were stuck with a state that continued to represent half of GDP and where political leaders were talking in terms of “sharing the proceeds of growth”.
    The urgency is to allow an enterprise economy to evolve in the UK based on principles of enterprise and self reliance.

    1. A different Simon
      December 12, 2011

      Robert K “I would like a referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the EU”

      You make a very important point ; politicians should be more concerned with what the people want than what business wants .

      I think the people want a new deal where they have the opportunity to buy a house at a reasonable price thus allowing them to save sufficient to carry them through to old age plus bring up a child or two .

      For Britain to progress we’ve got to depart from the path we’ve been taking for the last 30 years which has lead us to an economy based on financial services , coffee shops , nail salons , exponential growth in house prices , rent seeking , borrowing to bring forward future consumption .

      1. zorro
        December 13, 2011

        This is so true….


  13. Martyn
    December 12, 2011

    John, as you say, we export more goods and services outside the EU than within and overall around 60% of our exports go outside of the EU to countries over which we have little say in their trade regulations. Existing EU regulation imposed on us is already restrictive, expensive and too often makes us uncompetitive in world markets outside or the EU. Who knows how much more we could export If the dead hand of EU regulation was removed from the UK because, because that alone could improve our competitiveness in the world market.
    Now, however, we face the very real risk of the being sucked into an even more highly regulated state and the imposition of yet more restrictive diktats from a federalist organisation called the EU, the leading nations of which in decades past have pronounced their dissatisfaction and distrust of the Anglo-Saxon way of life and business.
    Mr C was absolutely correct in saying ‘non’, ‘nein’ on Friday and I hope that he will stick to his guns as the future unfolds and do only that which is best for the UK. As for the Lib-Dums and the BBC, I am sick to death of their posturing and misrepresentation of the truth. I expect nothing less from the Lib-Dums, but the BBC ought to be brought to book for its obviously biassed and unrepresentative point of view, and soon.

  14. Boudicca
    December 12, 2011

    This UKIP member has said ‘well done’ to Cameron. He finally did the right thing and stood up to the Merkozy bully. But let’s get this in perspective: all he did was say NO to further transfers of power to the EU. He has got nothing back. We are still paying £50million a day to Brussels; we have no real influence; never have and never will because the Franco-German satellites are terrified of their neighbours, the PIIGS are still hoping Germany will pay their debts and the Eastern Europeans haven’t really appreciated yet that they have joined the USSR Mark 2.

    So – one Cheer for Cameron. As we are now hated for defying Merkozy, he might as well go one step further and refuse them permission to use the EU’s facilities/infrastructure for their FU – unless we get a huge rebate on our Budgetary contribution by way of rent.

    If he does that, I will give him two cheers.

    And when he finally serves notice that we quit the EU – or gives us a Referendum so that we can do the deed – then I will give 3 cheers and maybe return to the Conservative Party.

    Until then, it’s UKIP – because Cameron is still saying that we must stay in the EU and I sense a rapproachment (ie capitulation) in a week or so.

    1. Amanda
      December 12, 2011

      Then this is what Nigel Farage needs to go out and clearly say – if he can find a platform to say it. I agree with you totally. I also want to see UKIP beating the LibDebs in Feltham.

      1. Boudicca
        December 12, 2011

        So do I. I have been out leafleting for the past two weekends (3 days for me as I don’t work Mondays). We are running a good campaign and I have high hopes.

    2. Disaffected
      December 12, 2011

      Totally agree. The BBC propaganda unit is doing all it can to help the fanatics with their dream of a pan European state. Courtesy would dictate politicians better ask the people first.

  15. James Reade
    December 12, 2011

    A real test of popular support is saying that everyone that wrote to you is supportive of the veto. It’s almost as bad as the unnamed poll you cite the numbers from as if they are gospel on exactly what the British public think. Oh but wait, I should keep my comments “sensible”, shouldn’t I? What is sensible John, is it agreeing with you?

    And why are public polls, and public opinion (which you assert the Lib Dems are totally out of sync with), even relevant when your title makes it clear that what the business community wants is what matters. Is it because the public sentiment (as expressed in the tabloids and not in any popular vote I’m aware of yet) supports your view?

    And what business wants boils down to your experience in one firm however many years ago, just like what is needed for growth boils down to one experience of restructuring a firm years ago when interest rates were not at 0.5%.

    If we were out of Europe, provided we were a fully free and open economic entity, I wouldn’t be bothered – but the fact is, you don’t want that do you John? Well, certainly, “public opinion” doesn’t. Given the opportunity, you’d ramp up immigration restrictions to keep the foreigners out. The one big irony of all this is that the European project, apparently just a highly regulated free market, has much less regulation than you’d press for on immigration – to the benefit of the British economy.

    1. norman
      December 12, 2011

      I’ve found a good rule of thumb is never post anything on the internet until I’ve had my first cup of coffee.

      Clears the cobwebs and brings a bit (albeit miniscule!) of reason to my thoughts.

      1. James Reade
        December 12, 2011

        Thanks Norman. After a couple of cups, and re-reading, I wouldn’t change much in that post. It makes my points adequately enough. In case you don’t think so, they are restated here:

        1) John’s measures of public opinion are about as good as me saying “well, my makes think x, y and x”.

        2) Why are public polls relevant when the post asks what business wants?

        3) John’s prescriptions for the economy rely far to much on his own experience rather than simple economic theory.

        4) Nobody on here addresses the issue regarding immigration and the EU.

        1. zorro
          December 13, 2011

          On point 4, yes we do….I have said on several occasions that our social welfare model is far more accessible and exerts pull factor on EU and non EU immigration. As has been shown, the vast majority of jobs created, often lower skilled are being taken by recent immigrants when they should be taken up by the unemployed here.

          It cannot carry on like this, and we must have controls to ensure that young British people are managed into employment.

          We do not live in a libertarian world and the French/Germans ensure that young people are moved into jobs where possible. We cannot afford to soak up the European unemployed in lower skilled jobs. We are storing up massive social problems…


    2. Antisthenes
      December 12, 2011

      I worried that my comment was rambling, incoherent and not sensible. I admit sometimes they are however if my comments have to compete with yours for the dubious honour of being the least sensible I have nothing to worry about. Yours wins hands down.

      1. James Reade
        December 12, 2011

        Thanks for that. Why not actually bother responding to what I write instead of trying to put me down.

        Oh, I forgot, that’s all right wingers ever do when faced with a coherent argument that doesn’t agree with their prior prejudices.

      2. Winston Smith
        December 12, 2011

        Worringly, he is a university indoctrinator, sorry, lecturer in Economics. I like the the initial socialist reaction when confronted with the evidence (opinion polls); pretend they don’t exist.

        1. James Reade
          December 13, 2011

          Thanks Winston.

          I think you’ll find if you read all I write, I’m the one seeking evidence about things.

          And opinion polls do not constitute evidence. When was your last stats lesson? What do you know about a representative sample? What do you know about the procedures polling companies use to get their results, and their attempts to be representative? What are your thoughts on why some polls differ from each other?

          Stop trolling. I’m the one seeking the evidence here, I’m the one trying to shed some light on you sycophants who worship at the alter of John Redwood and can’t cope with someone who tries to expose how paper thin his arguments actually are.

          I’m also not a socialist. But then, you don’t read what I write so you wouldn’t actually learn that.

    3. Martyn
      December 12, 2011

      James, you say that “if we were out of Europe, provided we were a fully free and open economic entity, I wouldn’t be bothered….” but accuse John of wanting to “ramp up immigration restrictions to keep the foreigners out” and “that the European project, apparently just a highly regulated free market, has much less regulation than you’d press for on immigration – to the benefit of the British economy”. I find your take on immigration unpersuasive and wonder why you sought to malign John on this specific issue?
      The UK is already densely and in some areas seriously overpopulated, is in dire financial circumstances, is short of housing and schools, many hospitals are overloaded, our roads are falling to pieces, commuter train travel in England is an overcrowded commuting nightmare and the fact is that no one knows for certain how many immigrants, legal, illegal or who simply got in to take advantage of our benefit system are already here. But the evidence of their existence, particularly in the south of England, is very plain to all. Whereas it is true that our education system has failed far too many young UK adults who, because of that, are barely capable of taking and holding onto a job, allowing uncontrolled immigration as we have further reduced their chances of ever finding one in the first place. That can hardly be said as being of ‘benefit to the British economy’.

    4. APL
      December 13, 2011

      James Reade: “The one big irony of all this is that the European project, apparently just a highly regulated free market,”

      Surely James, Highly regulated and free Market are contradictory?

      An for example: The restriction of tungsten filament light bulbs, presented as an ecological and environment initiative the regulations banning them were introduced to benefit one particular European manufacturer which had tooled up for the fluorescent ‘low power’ lamps no one wants to buy.

      That is an example of high regulation, but it isn’t an example of the free market. But it is typical of the European Union.

      1. APL
        December 13, 2011

        James Reade: “a highly regulated free market,”

        Apart from being the sort of contradiction in terms that the left often come up with, the term probably answers John Redwoods question too: ” What does business want from the European Union?”

        A highly regulated unfree market that has significant barriers to entry for their competition.

  16. Brian Tomkinson
    December 12, 2011

    Last week’s summit was supposed to be the last chance to resolve the euro crisis. Nothing substantive was proposed to deal with the immediate problems. In all the fuss about the UK veto this fact has been temporarily ignored. It will be interesting to see what happens this week as the dust settles and when the next last chance summit is arranged.
    Domestically we have seen the normal response from the Lib Dems in this coalition support for the government action followed by total repudiation of it. We can see that their loyalty, and that of all those suddenly appearing on the media over the weekend, is to their masters in the EU and not to the British people. Why was it agreed that Hague should be replaced at short notice by Clegg on yesterday’s Marr programme? That meant that there were three voices raised against Cameron’s actions Clegg, Douglas Alevxander and Marr himself who was fulsome in his support of their views.

  17. Amanda
    December 12, 2011

    ” 62% of the public agree, and only 19% disagree.”

    When Paddy Ashdown (who is what in the Liberal Party?) says that the Liberals will fight the Eurosceptics all the way, does he realize he means he will fight ‘the majority of people in the UK’? I have no idea why anyone is listening to Clegg and Co? Let them go for an election if they are not happy.

    And, for heaven sake, will someone do something about the biased BBC !!

    1. APL
      December 12, 2011

      Amanda: Paddy Ashdown.. “who is what in the Liberal Party”

      He was a failure when he was leader, he was a failure as UN ‘high representative’, he is a failure as an appointed member in the House of Lords.

      You often hear politicians complain business reward failure.

      Well so do Politicians, especially when it is a member of their own club.

    2. James Reade
      December 12, 2011

      Why waffle on about how biased the BBC supposedly is? Just use some other news outlet. Every news channel has its own biases.

      1. APL
        December 13, 2011

        James Reade: “Why waffle on about how biased the BBC supposedly is?”

        Because if I want to watch some other news outlet, I am still compelled to pay for the BBC.

        If I thought the BBC was scrupulously impartial I would be more than happy to pay £150 per year as it represents quite good value for an impartial informative service.

        But it isn’t, either informative nor unbiased.

    3. Chris
      December 12, 2011

      Agree regarding the BBC. I think it is a very serious issue, and they should be made accountable. At the moment they seem to be revelling in their apparent “immunity”.

  18. lojolondon
    December 12, 2011

    I do find it funny how the ratings agencies are being criticised (by European countries) for downgrading the European countries. Surely the criticism has to be that they never saw the weaknesses until it was far too late.

    Proven by their failure to downgrade any of the major banks or countries, until it was too late!!

  19. Frank Salmon
    December 12, 2011

    I am really looking forward to Cameron’s speech today. At last he is taking a leadership role. Eight percenter, Nick Clegg wants to ‘lead’ the majority voters in this country into the European quagmire. He’ll be down to 5% come the election, whenever it is.
    I note the BBC is not giving out the time of Cameron’s Commons speech. Could this be sour grapes?
    Sarkosy amd Merkel obviously want a fight with Britian/Cameron. This is because they have elections and look destined to lose them. They could easily have ceded to British demands. It will be interesteing to see if Merkozy survives because of this intransigence.
    Oh please please please let us become just free trade members and end this corporatist nightmare…….

    1. Robert Christopher
      December 12, 2011

      response to: Frank Salmon Posted December 12, 2011 at 9:16 am
      Straight from the BBC web site:
      “Andrew Neil talks with guests including Allister Heath and Rowenna Davis about Europe and David Cameron’s refusal to sign a new European-wide treaty to help save the euro.”
      What, a new European-wide treaty to help save the euro!
      When was that?
      Last weekend, nothing was done to save the Euro that hasn’t been done before, and failed!

    2. David Price
      December 12, 2011

      Watching Mr Cameron’s speech in the house on http://www.parliament.tv at the mo – BBC Live, however, seems to have problems streaming BBC Parliament.

  20. APL
    December 12, 2011

    JR: “Today I will give my full support to David Cameron for using the UK veto. ”

    So would I if he had, but he didn’t use.

    And according to the Telegraph it seems Boris Johnson is of the same mind:


    Boris J: “They blame David Cameron for “vetoing” a new EU treaty, when really he has done no such thing. It is perfectly open to the other EU countries now to go ahead and form their own new fiscal rules.”

    1. Antisthenes
      December 12, 2011

      Yes Boris is right, I like Boris he brings some colour to politics and he says it as he sees it. I also agree with a lot of what he says it would be unusual if I did not after all he and I are both of the right wing persuasion. This talk about a veto or not a veto is pure semantics and is a distraction and does not detract one bit from what Cameron did at the meeting. I recognise it as a very firm stance equally as important as if it had been a veto and just as praiseworthy.

      1. APL
        December 12, 2011

        Antishenes: ” a veto or not a veto is pure semantics and is a distraction ”
        People are already ill informed (myself include) about the mechanisms of the European Union, a fact often used against us by our opponents. So when it is completely unnecessary to make an error, lets try to avoid making an error.**

        Yes! Refusing to join the negotiations on a new treaty was a good thing and Kudos to Redwood and other Right wing Tories for pushing Cameron in that direction.

        But we should beware of thinking Cameron has had a Damascene conversion to the EUrosceptic cause. He hasn’t, he is just being buffeted between the factions in the Tory party.

        ** See, I am being conciliatory.

        1. APL
          December 12, 2011
  21. English Pensioner
    December 12, 2011

    The EU sells far more in the UK than we sell to the EU. As the EU will still want to sell their goods to us – German Cars, French Wine and Cheese, Spanish and Greek Holidays, etc, perhaps we should start making the rules. They may decide to “cut of their noses to spite their faces”, but they need to remember that there are virtually no “must-have” EU goods, every thing we buy from the EU can be sourced elsewhere if we can’t make it ourselves.
    And we could of course nationalise French and German owned assets in this country if we really want to be nasty!

  22. foundavoice
    December 12, 2011

    “UKIP could occasionally say “Well done” instead of carping at everything. ”

    As a current Ukipper (ex.Tory), I think you are right and congratulations are in order without exception.

    However, I would add that whilst this is a significant step we shall need to wait to see if this one swallow turns in to a summer. If it does, then many Tories will be coming ‘home’.


  23. Sue
    December 12, 2011

    Although I did vote UKIP in the election, I am not a paying member. However, if the Conservatives don’t do their utmost to remove us from this dictatorship, I intend voting for them again.

    The fallout from Mr Cameron’s actions seems to have given the public a new sense of patriotism and hope and it’s about time! For too long we have been made to feel that it is politically incorrect to be loyal to your country and your fellow countrymen.

    It is time for Britain to leave the EU completely. It is obvious the Libdems are so completely out of touch with the public, they are now down to being the 4th largest party in the UK. Has it not occurred to them to ask why?

    The majority of Britons want to leave the EU and these people are not just Conservatives. Everyone is sick of the interference, everyone is sick and tired of paying taxes and having absolutely no say in what happens to them.

    Watching Eurocrats living lives of pure luxury on our money does not add to their appeal!

    We, as a country value freedom and democracy above all else. The reason we fare so badly within the EU compared to say Spain or France is, that we play fair. We adhere to all the regulations and they don’t. If there is something they don’t like, they ignore it. Britain doesn’t, we have a sense of playing by the rules when others cheat.

    It can’t go on.

    1. uanime5
      December 12, 2011

      According to all opinion polls the majority of people do not want to leave the EU. If the polls showed that people wanted to leave the EU they would have been posted in this blog.

      “Everyone is sick of the interference, everyone is sick and tired of paying taxes and having absolutely no say in what happens to them.”

      Are you talking about the EU or UK?

      “Watching Eurocrats living lives of pure luxury on our money does not add to their appeal!”

      Name 10. Those belonging to national government don’t count.

      “We adhere to all the regulations and they don’t. If there is something they don’t like, they ignore it. Britain doesn’t, we have a sense of playing by the rules when others cheat.”

      Factortame occurred because Parliament decided that EU rules didn’t apply to it and as a result we had 5 expensive court cases for 11 years that showed that we did need to play by the rules. As would happen in any other European country.

  24. Atlas
    December 12, 2011


    As somebody who is not a member of UKIP but supports its goals – I have taken the trouble to let my MP know that I approve of Cameron’s action. If Cameron goes further then I might vote for the Conservatives again.

    My dictum is “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” – so if Cameron can prove himself on this matter on a longer time-scale then I’ll believe him. It is called ‘Trust’.

  25. Damien
    December 12, 2011

    It would be great if we could convert this important symbolic event into something tangiable and highly visible. The coalition has undertaken talks in N Ireland with the local parties who are keen to lower the corporation tax rate to 12.5%. These have been delayed in part because of the EU tax harmonisation goal.Why should the EU allow 12.5% over the border in Eire while we cannot set our own rate in N.I? Indeed the Irish PM has stated that the 12.5% rate was no even on the agenda at last weeks talks. The aregument for lowering corporation tax in N Ireland is compelling and the new EU dynamic has added to it immesurably.

    1. A.Sedgwick
      December 12, 2011

      Why just N.Ireland, Great Britain too needs that level of CT and most of us contributing here know how to fund such a reduction and more.

  26. javelin
    December 12, 2011

    The economist is reporting this morning (and they have the original draft put foward by France) that the French asked for too much from the UK. Cameron was squeezed out.

    However the reality is also the the French do not “get it” – the debt that is. The EZ should have been bending over backwards to get the UK to agree a Treaty. I the UK would have had a treaty the Irish and Dutch would have followed. Looking at the “facts” it looks like Sarkozy was trying to blame the anglo saxon banks in time for the elections next year. The reality is the french banks are under capitalized and too reliant on the money markets for funding and over extended on Italian debts.

    Now there is no treaty there is NO legal basis for Eurobonds (they need the EU as a counterparty). There is NO legal basis for full enforcement of the fiscal compact (though article 137 give sthem some support). So there is NO legal basis to support the EZ in the short term and there is no legal basis for a long term solution.

    This is dawning on the markets today as the various legal procedures like “enhanced co-operation” – which requires *unanimity* to allow 9 or more states to go it alone – which gives Canmeron even more power and control over France.

    Whitehall has the phrase “wider not deeper” – it looks like Whitehall has strung the EZ out quote royally.

    1. norman
      December 12, 2011

      I don’t pretend to understand the inner workings of banks but today I read that at the start of 2010 Greek banks had over 200bn Euros of deposits and that’s now been whittled down to 40bn or so. Added to the higher capital requirements of Basle if that type of situation, although not as severe, is happening across Europe you can see why the ECB gave carte blanche for banks to borrow unlimited amounts.

      That to me seems a far bigger story than the so-called ‘falling out’ between the UK and the others and I’d bet will have more of an impact on all our lives.

    2. uanime5
      December 12, 2011

      “I the UK would have had a treaty the Irish and Dutch would have followed.”

      The Irish and Dutch did agree with the treaty despite the UK’s veto.

      “it looks like Whitehall has strung the EZ out quote royally.”

      If true the Eurozone will certainly seek revenge. Especially since the UK is trying to isolate itself from every other EU country.

      1. Bob
        December 12, 2011

        Revenge? Revenge for what?

  27. Piscator
    December 12, 2011

    This is long overdue. I was outraged when Heath shoved us into this mess without so much as a “by your leave”. In 1975 I voted to get out when Labour was decent enough to give us a chance, but in my part of the country, at least, the landed and farming Tories who were to do very nicely out of CAP persuaded the voters by promises of bread and circuses (actually cheap tobacco and wine) which failed to materialise for two decades.

    Ever since 75 I have watched successive Tory governments give away more and more to Brussels. When I tell you that I have spent the last 20 years trying to get a living in the fishing industry after our resources were handed as a “fishy on a dishy” to foreigners, you may understand the depth of my gratitude that at last someone has stood up and refused to play along with this racket.

    1. rose
      December 12, 2011

      I think a lot of people were pro Common Market as it was then because they saw it as a break on the socialism raging here. For instance, our independent schools would have been destroyed without the ECHR, and people tended to confuse the two.
      As it turned out, we got a strong Conservative government here in the following decade, while socialism took off on the Continent. But it didn’t look as if it would be that way round in the early 1970s. Enoch was right as usual, but unheeded. The Labour governments came and went, but the EU tyranny is still there.

  28. Steven Granger
    December 12, 2011

    Thanks for your spin John but allow me to set out what really happened last week. It is a fact that there was technically no veto as there was nothing to veto. A treaty can only be vetoed when it is on the table at an IGC and last weeks meeting was not an IGC. This is semantics of course in that Cameron actually indicated that he would not accept a treaty if presented in the form discussed and so that is akin to a veto. Cameron’s decision suited all parties. He was presented with proposals that they knew he could not accept. This allowed Cameron to claim he had vetoed their treaty and to come home presenting himself as a Eurosceptic. Crucially the fact that there is not going to be a new treaty means that he will not need to hold a referendum. Also, no oppportunity will now arise for any demands to be made for repatriation of powers since such demands can only be made as part of treaty negotiations and, since their won’t be any treaty negotiations, no powers can be repatriated.
    From the point of view of the other EU leaders, they also weren’t keen on a new treaty as they take lots of time to negotiate and some countries require those pesky referendums to ratify them which they do not like as the people have a nasty habit of saying no. They are now off the hook and can blame Cameron’s “veto”. They will now seek other ways of forcing through the measures they believe are required and will do so in ways that avoid the need for referendums. Therefore, everyone’s a winner – Cameron gets to look tough and will hope to hoover up some of the Eurosceptic votes and the EU leaders avoid the need for referendums in pushing through their changes. Meanwhile, aboslutely nothing has changed and Cameron is off the hook with his easily fooled backbenchers. Quite clever really or very lucky.

  29. Mactheknife
    December 12, 2011

    JR : “UKIP could occasionally say “Well done” instead of carping at everything”.

    Indeed Mr Farage said just that on the radion this morning. Obviously it doesn’t go far enough for them but thats something UKIP will have to live with and continue to argue for.

  30. RDM
    December 12, 2011

    What does business want from the EU?

    A man with a straight bat! What else could Business want?

    An Open and Free market!


    DC has drawn a line in the sand, now it’s time to put our own house in order. Let Euroland get serious about saving the Euro or dismantle it!

    For GB we need;

    Urgent reform of the Banking system!

    Startup capital for Technology developers, and SME’s more generally.

    etc …

    Send my best wishes to DC and the gang. Offer them my support and best wishes.

    Merry Xmas,


  31. Peter Richmond
    December 12, 2011

    I was thoroughly cheered up this weekend. I prefer sitting in the by-pass whilst the Euro train goes on towards what seems now an inevitable crash. I notice that over the weekend, reports from Ireland suggest that they themselves are not entirely pleased with where they now find themselves and others may follow. I am reminded of the era of Louis XIV or Napoleon. Now we have Merkozy. Thankfully we are not killing each other across Europe this time round but we must continue to stand our ground and if that means ultimately leaving the EU so be it.
    But as others have commented above; it really would be great if we could do something about the wretched BBC. Privatize the organ and let the socialists pay for it is the way forward in my view.

    1. A.Sedgwick
      December 12, 2011

      Had, for example, Kelvin Mackenzie been made Chairman of the BBC Trust that could happen, but whilst it remains much like the EU Commission, a runaway gravy train, its future is assured.

      1. lifelogic
        December 13, 2011

        No one who tells the truth and does not toe the pro EU, green, big state, PC, Guardian line is likely to get any power at the BBC or BBC trust – it seems.

    2. APL
      December 13, 2011

      Peter Richmond: “Privatize the organ and let the socialists pay for it is the way forward in my view.”

      The Socialists don’t even want to pay for their own broadsheets, they are always seeking cross subsidies viz, the BBC job adverts that appear exclusively in the Guardian. A cute method of channeling BBC tax payers money to the Guardian.

      Or there is the Scot Trust which was until recently a tax shelter for the Guardian, that’s right, the Guardian that vilifies the Tories for their supposedly shady tax affairs.

  32. Antisthenes
    December 12, 2011

    The country is in jingoistic mood however the electorate are a fickle lot is it sustainable one can only hope it can because there lies the UK’s economic salvation. Success on the EU front could lead to much easier tussles on the domestic front and true radical reform.

  33. Matt
    December 12, 2011

    Lib Dems – Britain is isolated

    Well if that’s what “A seat at the top table” gets you – if that’s what “Being at the heart of Europe” gets you – then give me isolation every time

    “Isolation” means having global trading relations, looking out to the whole world, rather than being locked in to marriage with the next door neighbour where our partner seems to lay down all the rules and worse still is intent on building grandiose political schemes – like the Euro – that defy economics.

    The Lib Dems – are on another planet – they were so vocal about the UK being in the Euro at the start.

    They got it all wrong – yet not an ounce of humility is shown – instead their arrogance grows – they now, angrily, try to tell us that we should handcuff the UK to this latest fiasco that’s doomed at the start – only question being how long the fuse is.

    Why should we believe the Lib Dems now?

    1. uanime5
      December 12, 2011

      Given that most of the world outside of Europe is composed of developing countries where the majority of the population has very little disposable income it may be better to continue focusing on Europe.

      1. libertarian
        December 12, 2011

        Ha ha ha ha that is your best one yet. The EU consists of 7% of the worlds countries, you are seriously telling us that 93% of the world is undeveloped?

        Do at least try to come up with something sensible

      2. Bob
        December 12, 2011

        Well the EU’s protectionist policies do keep Africa in poverty.

      3. Jon Burgess
        December 12, 2011

        Not sure the Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, Singaporeans, Hong Kong Chinese and Swiss would agree with you there.

      4. Alexis
        December 12, 2011

        most of the world outside of Europe is composed of developing countries where the majority of the population has very little disposable income …

        Rather a sweeping statement, and not true, as you must have realised after posting.

      5. Bill
        December 13, 2011

        Europe is a market like any other – there are plenty of markets outside of Europe too.

        The UK concentrates too much on Europe for exports, we sell more to Eire than China and India combined – so much for globalisation.

        Developing nations spend vast amounts on infrastructure projects, capital equipment, and civil engineering projects.

        80% of our company exports go to the Far East. (Developing nations have lots of German goods)

  34. ian wragg
    December 12, 2011

    As another tory who now votes ukip I must agree with previous posts. We shall soon see if the salami slicing of further EU regulation continues to swamp our country and if the government will start to repudiate EU regulation.
    Roon says no more powers will be handed to Brussels but there is precious few left after 13 years of labour and 20 months of the coalition.

  35. Jon Burgess
    December 12, 2011

    As a UKIP supporter and ‘carper’ I am happy to repeat what I said on the 9th December:

    “Slightly off topic, but I must put my hands up and say well done to the PM for finally showing some gumption and standing up to the Merkozy double act.
    I hoped he would stand firm, but doubted that he would do so when the moment came, but he did exactly what he said he would. Politician in doing what he said he would shocker, as the Sun might say.”

    But then again, I agree with Boudica’s comments – this veto alone changes nothing – it is what happens next that is now important. There is clearly a groundswell of public opinion on our relationship with the EU that is not represented by any party in Westminster. Will Cameron follow this through and ask the people, or make further demands on repatriation (and test the coalition to its foundations) or will he hold fast and get swamped by the 26’s demands for treaty change and more regulation?

    1. Bob
      December 12, 2011

      Jean Monnet, the Rothschild frontman and ‘Founding Father’ of what has become the EU, wrote in a letter to a friend on 30th April, 1952:

      ‘Europe’s nations should be guided towards the superstate without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation.’

      That is precisely what has happened and is still happening.

  36. javelin
    December 12, 2011

    Excellent tables showing the deficits in the EZ countries. How many countries have > 3% deficits and the size of the debts. Who will be paying the fines next week.


    Look at how fast the debts have been going up. JUST LOOK !!

    Is this all going to go into reverse this week and we all have internal devaluation and the problem will be solved?

    Will the EZ workers accept MASSIVE wage cuts for it to survive, wage cuts as big as any FX fall (20%) ?

    It aint gonna happen. Its going to be VERY painful for those in the EZ. Cameron has been told this. These two tables show this. This summit was a Waterloo moment for Cameron. Napolean Sarkozy just isn’t willing to accept what lies over the horizon.

  37. Quietzaple
    December 12, 2011

    Cameron’s demands were vetoed by Sark and Merk of course, but, rather as trotskyites used to regard any lock out as a Workers’ Strike the media and propagandists insist he has taken manly action & etc.

    His actions will come to be less highly regarded as the recession bites.

  38. Steve S
    December 12, 2011

    A line in the sand has been drawn, now we need to set about advancing that line forwards to regain what is rightfully ours – self determination. This will not be easy, as illustrated by the latest round of diplomacy from Le President who has just issued this statement “We need Great Britain … We’d be greatly impoverished if we allowed its departure. ”

    UKIP might have to start printing permission to leave slips in their next manifesto.

  39. Dr Bernard JUBY
    December 12, 2011

    The bulk of Britain’s businesses (remember that some 95% of ALL EU businesses employ 5 or less) want politicians to remove the bulk of the current legislative shackles. We can only escape this by re-negotiating our position with the EU from the outside.
    It was Theresa Gorman who said that gongs and honours should be given to people who de-regulated. I spent a lot of time in Brussells and Strasbourg arguing on behalf of small businesses. Their entire raison d’etre (especially of the French “enrches’ was to enact legislation. They just could not envisage a state where legislating to remove something was part of their remit.
    Remember also that businesses do not employ people just for the sake of it. It is a huge quantum leap to employ just one since the already onerous legislation magnifies fourfold and thus the administrative “hassle”.
    If you don’t want to see an “Atlas Shrugged” scenario then then remove the shackles and let them get of with the job.

  40. Chris
    December 12, 2011

    Wholeheartedly agree with your analysis, Mr Redwood.

    What can be done with regard to the BBC coverage? Can Lord Patten be approached to register severe disquiet?

  41. Barbara Stevens
    December 12, 2011

    I agree with you analysis, except for the eg. of polls, what I’ve seen it’s been much higher than 62%, in fact in the Daily Mail, like it or hate it, the poll when I voted was 89% in favour of DC and 15% against. The whole country is fed up with the EU, it’s rules and regulatory bodies, we are choked with them. Business needs freedom to seek business where it can, to enable it to employ people and help pay the taxes needed for that country, whereever they may be.
    I’ve heard the Labour parties explanations and believe me they would have capitulated and we would now be tipping our caps to the Germans and Brussels and their unelected boffins. Taxed to high heaven to help pay for the French and Germans plans, and the city decimated. Business would leave and go elsewhere. Cameron was right, we could not allow them to do that. What we must do now is be vigilant even more, for they will come with silly laws they will expect us to obey, I’m not certain if we have to do that yet. If they do impose taxes upon transactions from within the EU, do we have to have them too? If they try that then leaving this madhouse might be the best option. Sarkozy says he hopes the UK won’t leave, they’ve probably done their sums now and realise they may be 15 billion less if we do.
    No, Cameron was right, his tatics were right, and his detirmination is what we expect from a PM. As for Clegg, well, I hope someone gives him his dummy back and shuts him up, does he not realise what this country as been saying for months, we want out, and eventually we will get our way. Trade yes, anything else NO.

  42. Electro-Kevin
    December 12, 2011

    It’s a shame we’re not having a general election now.

    The Conservatives would win by a landslide and Clegg would get burried beneath it.

  43. javelin
    December 12, 2011

    Huge flows from EU banks to US 4 week treasury bills last week indicate flight from danger by EU banks behnind the scenes.

    US 4 week (short term) Treasury bills last Friday tendered $60billion (5-10 times normal). Amazingly $256 billion was bid (1/4 of a $trillion). Which means $1/4 of a trillion Euros tried to leave the Eu but only $60 billion made it.

    Its like the last ship leaving Germany before the war started.

  44. Phil Richmond
    December 12, 2011

    John – No-one has ever explained to me the advantage of being in the EU over a Trade Only agreement?
    I still think Cameron is a Europhile. He makes some tactical Eurosceptic noises just to keep his backbenchers at bay. Either way I dont trust him.
    What needs to happen is Cameron needs to be removed & replaced with possibly David Davies & yourself as Chancellor. Election will be called and a promise of an In/Out referendum promised.
    I have no doubt a Tory landslide would be the result and our country would be on the way back to recovery after leaving the EU.

  45. Samuel
    December 12, 2011

    Two points I wish to make.

    One, David Cameron did not and cannot veto the treaty. All he can do is not sign it.

    Second, Nigel Farage, the UKIP Leader said Well done to the PM. He added that we could’ve have had a lot more if we had threatened a referendum in Britain on our membership of the EU.

    Please get your facts right before YOU carp at people.

  46. javelin
    December 12, 2011

    5 year Greek CDS at 100% (chance of default)


  47. Teilo Sant
    December 12, 2011

    John, you say

    ” The UK exports far more goods and services outside the EU than within it.”

    However, there is hardly a discussion about the EU on the radio or the television when someone says the exact opposite, that most of the UK’s trade is with the EU.

    Where can I get the facts?

    Thanks, Teilo Sant

    Reply: I have set out the figures here in the past. The people who lie leave out all services, and forget goods are routed to the rest of the world through Rotterdam and Amsterdam

    1. zorro
      December 13, 2011

      Indeed, don’t forget that the entrepot factor makes the supposed trade importance even less important in reality…..


  48. javelin
    December 12, 2011

    Found a report onthe story


    12/12/2011 01:33 -05

    “Massive tidal waves of panic capital flight have been overwhelming the Treasury market in never before seen numbers. The indirect bid tendered on the 4 week bill last week was a mind blowing $61.8 billion, or 5 to 10 times the norm! Even more startling, Primary Dealers (PDs) bid $268 billion on that issue. That’s over a quarter TRILLION! One third of the PDs are foreign banks.”

  49. Chris
    December 12, 2011

    Am concerned by Olli Rehn’s statement (as reported in http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2073032/Lib-Dems-turn-Cameron-Tory-backbenchers-prepare-hail-hero-Euro-veto.html ) for many reasons, but two will suffice here:
    i) the threatening nature of it
    ii) the very clear indication of how much David Cameron has signed us to already.

    “….David Cameron’s veto over EU Treaty changes will not save the City of London’s bankers and financial corporations from tougher regulation, the European Commission warned today.
    Mr Rehn was announcing the entry into force tomorrow of a so-called ‘six-pack’ of tougher economic monitoring and surveillance on all European economies, to which the UK had agreed and remained subject to, insisted Mr Rehn.
    The ‘fiscal compact’ agreed at Friday’s summit by the other 26 added tougher measures and sanctions, and sanctions did not apply in the UK.
    But Mr Rehn made clear that regardless of Mr Cameron blocking formal Treaty change at the summit, existing rules via the single market did apply.

    The Commissioner said: ‘If this move was intended to prevent bankers and financial corporations in the City (of London) from being regulated, that is not going to happen. We must all draw lessons from the financial crisis and that goes for the financial sector as well.’

    He continued: ‘I would also like to remind you that the UK Government has also supported and approved the six-pack of new rules tightening fiscal and economic surveillance which enters into force tomorrow.

    ‘The UK’s excessive deficit and debt will be the subject of surveillance like other member states, even if the enforcement mechanism mostly applies to the euro area member states.’…”

  50. sm
    December 12, 2011

    Business probably want to make money and protect a market position?

    Democrats would like faithful representation of the people?

    Now can Mr C continue to resist the EU ‘Borg’ and enable both the above? or be assimilated later.

    Will the 26 leave the current EU to form a EU26bloc?
    Will a small group leave to form an EU group?

    We perhaps should look very coldly at the continued high subsidy we pass to the EU daily and be ready to suspend payments at the first signs of illegal use of EU funded institutions against the UK interests.

    Perhaps they may be a hint of blue steel at the core of DC -if so its well protected by rubbery stuff. Time is not inexhaustible but he seems to have bought some. Lets hope it isnt just PR and showtime stuff.

  51. uanime5
    December 12, 2011

    While all this is going on it seems that MPs are demanding more generous expenses.


    So much for austerity.

  52. bertsanders
    December 12, 2011

    I watched Mr Cameron’s report to Parliament and the entire debate that followed.
    Parliament is indeed tribal and I believe if the veto had not been signed Mr Milliband would have put up an equally powerful arguement that said he should have signed.
    I left the program wondering why these people are paid so much and then try to squeeze more through expenses – it was in my view absolutely unedifying – and the people of Bolsover must be proud of Mr Skinners contribution and the many who were seeking the absent Deputy PM. I hope they never find him.

  53. James Clover
    December 12, 2011

    I thought a “veto” was a means of blocking and preventing other members of a club from introducing something you disagreed with. Surely Cameron’s refusal to agree to Franco-German plans is not a veto; they can apparently march off and cook up some ideas that we cannot now amend.Would someone who says that we are no longer “at the heart of Europe” or some such phrase explain when we EVER were? It strikes me that all E.C. plans and ambitions are Franco-German. When have we ever made policy? We have always been “isolated”.I always feel, whenever returning from Europe, that we ARE different. Our history, a thousand year struggle against central authority, an involvement with  the Americas, then Asia, and briefly with Africa, our distinct love of individuality and dislike of bureaucratic interference- all very different from much of Europe. And of course we are OLDER than European countries; our boundaries fixed by the sea.

    Reply: It was a veto. It stopped them using the EU in the way they wished. They now have to form a new club to do what they want, which is likely to produce more rows between the 26 over how and when and what.

  54. Alan Wheatley
    December 12, 2011

    John, as to turning to other topics, how about the BBC?

  55. Mike Chaffin
    December 12, 2011

    There could be some interesting second order effects at work here…

    The fury of the europhiliacs is entertaining however it does appear to expose their naivety. It is now clear that the EU is pretty much united in their desire to tax the city until it bleeds. Cameron had no option, however those who are currently arguing that we should have signed are making some important mistakes.

    If I were a bigwig in the City I would be watching events unfold with some horror. Every politician giving lukewarm or reserved opinions on whether his actions were right is no friend of the city’s. Politicians need powerful and wealthy friends or else their funding dries up.

    I do believe that the ‘demands’ were indeed reasonable and modest. Effectively we merely refused to triple our contribution to the EU.

    Why would city institutions seek to feed the dog that is trying to rip it’s throat out? Why would they buy bonds, or indeed fund political parties who might acquiesce to such demands? Why indeed would they lend in any way to the EU, it’s banks, it’s supposedly sovereign governments or firms?

    Merkel appears to really believe that the crisis is political rather than financial. I suspect she is about to realise that it is both.

    If the city senses even a shred of weakness in Cameron’s resolve then he is probably finished as PM. He is therefore fighting a corner, though with 26 baying wolves closing in he has few options.

    If I was Mr Farage or our esteemed moderator then I think now would be a good time to re-affirm our inalienable support for the city.

  56. Andrew Smith
    December 12, 2011

    I am not sure why JR is so picky towards UKIP these days.

    Why would you expect UKIP to throw compliments to Cameron any more than Labour or, as it turns out, the coalition partners the LibDems.

    The big complaint about what Cameron achieved in Brussels is that it was so little. He came back and said “I did not agree to a new treaty”. If he had come back and said “I did agree to a treaty to allow the 17+?+? to use certain of the EU institutions for their new compact but with strict exclusion of UK responsibility of subordination, and I have told them this agreement is on the basis the FTT and 49 directives and regs affecting the City will be disapplied here”; now that would have been an achievement.

  57. Kenneth
    December 12, 2011

    What business needs right now, in my view, is that we do not lose the initiative and the PM’s actions retain wide support. Popular support is healthy right now, that is true.

    However please do not ignore the relentless BBC propaganda.

    Until this weekend, I thought the BBC was at least attempting to achieve better balance, especially on the eu. However, the summit seems to have stirred up the old prejudices at the corporation and now the bias is blatant and naked and almost hysterical.

    Headlines like:

    “Cameron defends…”; “Bad for Britain”; “Britain isolated”; “Tory backbenchers”

    ….are bound to have an affect as they are repeated 100’s of times across prime time tv, radio and web pages.

    The BBC’s insistence on hinting that ‘Tory backbenchers’ are the villains of the peace and Lib Dem backbenchers and grandees are wise sages will chip, chip away at public opinion.

    I don’t think the BBC will swing public opinion the other way. However I believe the BBC – not UKIP – was the difference between a Conservative government and the coalition we ended up with. I think the BBC makes a real difference.

    In know time is short and precious when appearing on the media, but I hope and prey that a senior person in the Conservative Party or someone like you, John, goes on the attack live on air over this matter. There is a real risk that you will not be invited back for a long time; however if it cannot be ignored and therefore causes a debate it could go the other way.

    What the BBC did over the weekend was unacceptable and I don’t think it should be allowed to get away with it.

  58. Socrates
    December 12, 2011

    I am having trouble getting to grips with the europhile fears that we are going towards a two speed Europe. Don’t these people watch the news. Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain are already, after ten years in the Euro, in a significantly slower speed Europe than Germany and its getting worse. The euro is the cause of this disparity not the solution.

    They also claim that if we aren’t “at the heart of Europe” our trade will suffer. This may be a good scare for political children but few others will fall for it. In that line of thinking, China must find it impossible to sell anything to Europe since they aren’t members of the EU. Similarly the US and Japan must be completely blocked out of european markets.

    If it actually turns out as europhiles suggest that the EU will close us out of all decision making processes, people here might get round to reasoning that we are wasting all those billions of pounds we give Europe every year and conclude that we would be better off out. The Germans have plenty of money, I’m sure that they would be pleased to make up the shortfall.

  59. rose
    December 12, 2011

    I would like to say to all the carping ones, if they will forgive me, that you did not deliver a Conservative majority. If you had, i.e. not voted elsewhere, and brought others with you, it would be easier for the PM to do what you want now. As it is, he continually has to prevent the Liberals defecting to their natural friends. You may say they would be slaughtered in a general election, but I’m not so sure. An awful lot of people have been corrupted over the years by the big state, and they don’t all vote Labour. The PM has the same problem Disraeli had all through his time as Conservative leader, and before that as election organiser: there just aren’t enough people voting Conservative. Add in the boundary bias as well. Given that this is the position, the PM is the best person to deal with the problem in his diplomatic way. He is not as stupid or as unpatriotic as some people make out. Boris is just fine where he is, and very much needed there.

  60. john w
    December 12, 2011

    john, i wonder if we still have a opposition.Bunch of clowns

  61. Chris
    December 12, 2011

    Have read somewhere that CCHQ are delighted with the label that has been given to David Cameron: the man who said No to Europe. The best ID tag/PR boost ever, apparently. The Big Society did not really take off with Cameron, but here we have a PM prepared to be bold and to stand up for the UK. I think there is a latent and potentially very strong patriotic streak in the electorate, and if David Cameron can tap into it and earn back voters’ trust, then he might just redeem himself in the eyes of many former Tory voters.

  62. Peter van Leeuwen
    December 12, 2011

    “Where is Nick?” There won’t be any calls “where is David” when the 26 meet.
    And already today Olli said that the UK would not succeed in shielding “bankers and the City” from further European Union financial regulation.
    Game set and match for whom?

    1. APL
      December 13, 2011

      Peter van Leeuwen: “Olli said that the UK would not succeed in shielding “bankers and the City” from further European Union financial regulation.”

      I too have reservations about the behavior of some in the Citi, I believe it was in London that the AIG subsidiary collapsed, it was in London that a branch of MF Global failed bringing the whole company down.

      So yes, there are serious concerns about the activities of some in the City.

      Now, that is not to say that many banks away from the City in their home countries are solvent. Quite independent of the City of London, Fortis bank has been nationalized in Belgium, Proton bank in Greece, in fact all Greece’s banks are (financially weak-ed), a sizable proportion of French banks are terribly exposed to Greek debt. In Germany, it’s banks have their fair share of their problems too.

      So while I agree with you the City of London had its part to play, it is too easy to vilify the City and pretend the faults of all the other countries and banks lie at the feet of the City of London, they don’t!

      1. APL
        December 13, 2011

        JR: ” (financially weak-ed)”

        He he he! Mr Redwood you are a wag.

        Greek banks have large holdings of Greek national debt, everyone wants some of that action.

  63. Jim
    December 12, 2011

    BBC bias? Yes, what are we doing about it?

  64. Lindsay McDougall
    December 13, 2011

    What puzzles me is why the other nine non-Euro Member States are not prepared to veto a new Treaty. A veto would be in their interest.

    Kind Regards,


    1. APL
      December 13, 2011

      Lindsay McDougall: “why the other nine non-Euro Member States are not prepared to veto a new Treaty.”

      Perhaps at this stage there wasn’t yet a treaty in existance. Just a thought.

  65. Alan Wheatley
    December 15, 2011

    Writing as interested in farming but no “interest” to declare, I think UK farming wants an even playing field.

    On BBC Countryfile a few weeks ago they featured a farmer who had invested about £1M building new chicken sheds to comply with new EU welfare regulation that come into force at the beginning of 2012. The farmer’s concern was that it was known that similar investments had not been made by farmers in other EU countries, and in consequence their production would not comply with the new regulations.

    Past experience suggested that not only would the regulations not be enforced in other EU countries but that illegally produced products would be imported into the UK, and that the UK would not (or could not?) stop it.

    Obviously, if it cost more to produce to a higher welfare standard such producers will become uncompetitive compared with those who do not incur the costs. The inevitable consequence is that higher-welfare, high-cost producers will go out of business. A further inevitable consequence will be lower welfare standards for more animals – the exact opposite of the intended consequence of the legislation.

    I believe this example is typical rather than unique, and in some instances due to regulations emanating from the UK rather than the EU. For instance, pigs. Milk quotas are another bar to free trade that disadvantages the UK.

    Of course, the regulations are not yet in force and it remains to be seen what actually happens. But watch this space and don’t be surprised if there is a row.

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