Europe again – it’s always there to trouble us


           Yesterday the Commons was asked to debate the massive Trans European Networks plans. As the super state lumbers on its way, they now set out grand plans to link the cities and states of the new EU empire by rail lines, roads, canals  and broadband networks. They mention subsidiarity in passing, but you can detect the bureaucratic impatience to complete the links and centralise the new Europe. There’s every wish to spend lots more money.

           The Coalition government tabled a suitably sceptical motion. It pledged to negotiate less spending on this area of work than the Commission wanted. There were plenty of Conservative backbenchers there to say or to cheer any idea of the EU spending less and leaving more to individual member state determination. Some also wanted to remind the Commons of just how expensive the surrender of the UK rebate by the last government is proving, and how there has been none of the  promised reform of the CAP in return.

           I used the opportunity to ask the Minister about the status of the UK’s HS2 project. He confirmed what I have been telling many of you. HS2 is a project which the UK can and does decide for itself. It is not mandated by the EU, and is not on the maps as a crucial part of the EU’s European networks. Critics of the scheme should attack it on its domestic merits and defects, not as a further illustration of too much EU power. There does not seem to be any wish by the EU to find EU money raised from member states to help this project.

              There was plenty of other material in the voluminous documents for TENs to display just how much power the EU already has in these areas, and how much it wishes to obtain. The request for a larger budget is one more manifestation of its power grabbing tendencies. You would have thought that after all its homilies to member states to spend less and to rein in budget deficits, it would have applied the message to itself.  It should see that this area of transport infrastructure is best left to the member states, who have to fight through the routes and find  most of the money. You would have thought that at a time of such necessary restraint on public spending throughout  the EU the EU itself would show a bit more restraint.

                   Yesterday’s debate also gave me the opportunity to ask Labour if it still opposed extra money for the IMF, given that it might be used to bail out Euroland countries. The Labour spokesman declined to answer. It feels as if Labour are going off the idea of voting against more money for the IMF. Meanwhile, we all wait to see whether there will be G20 agreement to more money for this institution. The UK government has made two caveats about possibly increasing funding. It has said it does not want IMF money bailing out a currency. It has said the UK should not commit more funds unless China, the US and other non EU G20 members are going to do so as well.

                  I am happy with the rubric that the IMF should not bail out a currency. I think that should mean no bail outs for Euro member countries who do not leave the currency at the time of the bail out. It is difficult to see conventional IMF remedies can work without a devaluation. I am not sure that’s how the government interprets that phrase.

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  1. Single Acts
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    “The Labour spokesman declined to answer”

    Possibly because he/she didn’t know what today’s policy is, ha, ha. We have had the various positions, viz:

    Labour 1.0 ~ No need for cuts, debt is sustainable
    Labour 2.0 ~ Need for some cuts but government going too far, too fast
    Labour 3.0 ~ Okay the cuts were bad but we won’t reverse them but we will borrow an extra £38B for some hastily made-up five point plan because that will make all the difference, in some way….

    Labour 4.0 (post milli minor) ~ New reality, which means

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Latest Labour version seems to be:- “The Coalition cut too fast too hard (even though they have not cut overall at all) this inhibited recovery, and thus reduced growth and tax revenue. So, by cutting even less, Labour would have had more taxes to spend.”

      The true position is that they did not actually cut the state sector, taxes are far too high, banks are still not lending, the state is too big for industry be to be competitive so growth is non existent and unlikely to return quickly. Confidence is further hit by Cameron’s lack of a smaller state vision and the likely loss of the next election through this lack of vision.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      I seem to recall the Conservatives saying that they would cut the deficit in one Parliament, yet when high levels of growth failed to materialise they had to change to borrowing £100 billion more over 5 years.

      • APL
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

        uanime5: “yet when high levels of growth failed to materialise they had to change to borrowing £100 billion more over 5 years.”

        You really don’t get it do you?

        We haven’t had true organic growth in the economy since … probably 1986.

        What you call ‘growth’ has been entirely government borrowing.
        To get your ‘growth’ yesterday, we are poorer today. Now we are paying the price.

  2. Antisthenes
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    “I am happy with the rubric that the IMF should not bailout a currency. ”

    The EU has time after time proved that laws or rules do not apply to them and that any means justify it’s ends. Referenda that do not have a result that they want are redone until they do. Budget rules are disregarded when it suits hence the large sovereign debts and current crisis. CAP renegotiations ignored, France would never allow renegotiation as even inept Labour should have know when they gave away the rebate. The ECB is not allowed to bailout states but is doing so by financing banks so that they do. The IMF bailout is precisely to save the euro and will be breaking IMF rules in the process but is going to be dressed up as not doing so. Osbourne’s pledges about UK IMF contribution is so much hot air and with a bit of spin and a lot of arm twisting the loan will be made. So the euro will live to crash another day, the EU will continue it’s relentless march toward a soviet style superstate and no European will live happily ever after.

    • Timaction
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      Couple of points. Labour gave away some of the rebate as Tony Blair hoped this would enable him to become the first EU President on leaving office. The CAP won’t be reformed and tarifs still imposed on food products from the rest of the world. Bailouts of Countries were illegal under the Maastrict Treaty. They retrospectively changed the rules and that was agreed by William Hague.
      All mainstream party leaders want more EU. For the life of me I do not understand why. There are no benefits of EU memberships. We can trade and be friends with our continental cousins but don’t need the regulation, costs (£10 billion and rising), jobs lost to our young people, loss of a fishing industry and our borders. Enough, when will our politicians listen to what we want? We want that referendum. They will still want our £50 billion trade deficit with them.

  3. Steve Cox
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    So if the EU, and particularly France I should imagine, are refusing to reform the CAP, then why are we still allowing the EU to withhold the part of Thatcher’s rebate that was part of the CAP deal? Surely the government should simply state its case clearly to the EU Commission, cc’d to the Elysee Palace, and then withhold payment of that part of its contribution to the EU budget equivalent to the rebate given back by Tony Bliar? Tell them that once we see the desired reform of the CAP actually occurring, then we will reinstate our full budget contribution, but until then we will take the full Thatcher rebate, thank you and merci beaucoup.

    • Graham
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      Good point since we control the cash.

      Unfortunatly that would take leadership and we don’t have any.

    • Antisthenes
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Wont work. The EU will simply state that it is not that they are not dealing with it they are not dealing with it yet because of the crisis or some such excuse. There will always be an excuse.

    • Bob
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      There was no deal to reform the CAP.
      The deal was to make TB the EU president, but I don’t think he can hold them to it, not that he cares (it didn’t cost him anything).

      • A different Simon
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        TB = Tony Butterfly ?

        He would have got bored with it in 6 months and started looking for something new like he did when he became our prime minister .

        Short attention span , big on concept , thin on details .

        Looks much better in Powerpoint than Excel .

    • uanime5
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      We should have negotiated that we would give up part of our rebate when CAP was renegotiated. Wait, wasn’t that what we agreed to?

  4. lifelogic
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    If as they claim HS2 is a project which the UK can and does decide for itself then the UK government is clearly mad. The project clearly makes no sense whatsoever on any rational basis. This can be shown in minutes – why is it being so pushed? Is it just a way of paying big consultancy fees to friends? There seems to be no other realistic explanation.

    Clearly, as you imply, unless Germany is going to pick up the bills for everyone in the Euro area then a devaluation is needed in several EU countries. The sooner the better for all concerned – any bailouts without this are surely pointless and costly.

    We shall see what happens but I have little faith in Cameron or Clegg doing the right thing. After all they have not done so on the absurd 52% tax rate, and the 28% capital gains tax (without inflation relief thus on non existent gains) even though they must know they are totally counter productive and both cost jobs and tax revenues.

    • BobE
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, By making large grandious projects that will last many years then as MPs loose their seats they can reap directorships and consultancies. The large, getting larger, funding will ensure that companies will want to recruit from the ex political class. This worked with BR and BT. The EU is another retirement home for failed politicians. N.Kinnok and wife, many others and soon of course Mr N.Clegg. Thats just for the ones that don’t get on the Upper Classes benefit that is provided by the House of Lords. The entire system is corrupt.

  5. JimF
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    It would be interesting to know what you perceive to be the risks and rewards for the UK from a possible bail-out of a post-Euro bailout of a Greece, Portugal etc.

  6. Pete the Bike
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    What does the UK gain from being a member of this ghastly charade? We pay for projects on the continent that are of no benefit to us whatsoever with nothing in return, we pay for bailouts of other economies when our own economy is a disaster area, we loose vital industries to their vindictive regulations, we pay huge sums into a bureaucracy that cannot even produce a set of accounts that wouldn’t get any company a Revenue investigation. All this for the benefit of those that gain, or seek to gain, financially from the Brussels empire- yes Nick I mean you and your kind. Are we really that stupid as a country?

    • zorro
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink



    • uanime5
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      The EU does pay for some projects in the UK.

      Our own economy is in disaster due to the banking crisis and our Government’s failure to adopt a sensible plan to reduce the deficit.

      We are losing manufacturing because the UK’s management is poor (too many accountants, not enough engineers), and it’s cheaper to produce goods in India and China. It’s obviously not due to EU regulations as Germany is subject to the same regulations, yet is one of the strongest manufacturing nations in the world.

      The EU’s account have been approved every year.

      • Disaffected
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        Rose coloured glasses and always in denial.

      • Robert Christopher
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        “The EU’s account have been approved every year.”

        Approved by whom: the EU Commission?

        What about passing an audit? Even one audit would be progress!

      • zorro
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        Who has approved the accounts?…..The EU Parliament?…..How about the independent auditors?


      • Richard
        Posted January 21, 2012 at 12:36 am | Permalink

        You are entitled to your opinions, however it is a matter of fact that whilst the EU has approved its own accounts, unfortunately the EU’s auditors have not approved its accounts for a number of years.

        And when you say “the EU does pay for a number of projects in the UK” please remember that the EU has no money of its own , it only redistributes member states contributions after taking a large percentage of the original sum for itself.

    • BobE
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      Its a gravy train.

  7. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Interesting to see how a eurosceptic politician will perceive the EU as some foreign power, if not occupying empire. The article itself though reads like subsidiarity in practice, which is at it should be. I don’t see how interconnecting implies centralizing, it could equally have an opposite effect. Within that context, has the eurostar project (under Mrs. Thatcher’s government) lead to only more centralizing from Brussels?
    With regard to the IMF. Swedish finance minister Mr. Bildt (one of Britain’s non-euro allies) declared last week that “The impact of the global financial crisis would have been worse on the EU the euro had not provided the necessary monetary stability”. He drew a comparison with 20 years ago, when “we had a situation in Europe in the early 90s when we had a country devaluing every two weeks or something like that,”. And he added: “Now we have gone through a very severe economic crisis but we have had monetary stability.”
    Hurray! Support for the stabilizing impact of the euro currency. Because the UK has also benefited from this stability, I would certainly expect a more than generous IMF contribution from mighty Britain. Is Britain going to disappoint us once again?

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Dear Peter,

      Sorry we are broke – same as the rest of you.


      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 21, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        @Sean O’Hare:
        Come on Sean. you’re AAA cum laude, you could safely borrow a bit from the City and send it our way? 🙂

        • alan jutson
          Posted January 21, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink


          We could, but why ?

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted January 21, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

            @APL: Your economy is (still) inextricably linked to the eurozone’s fate, and your banks are badly exposed to eurozone debts.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Your problem Mr Leeuwen, is that you are living in a fantasy world. You have been living there for some years now, but it has turned into a nightmare.

      We in the UK are in the same position of course. It would be nice to think we were waking up from our nightmare, but as Mr Redwood often points out – we are not.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        @backofanenvelope: While I could agree with you that the value and trust we give to strips of green paper ($ billets), shares, bonds, currencies, “the financial sector”, are rather intangible and could turn dreams into nightmares, I don’t view as equally intangible being a large exporter of cars (Germany) or the world’s one but largest agricultural exporter (Holland). That’s why I don’t like your Bank of Scotland commercials on Dutch TV and would much prefer commercials about the British blue stilton or a single malt whisky. If nothing else, it would keep in high spirits about the crisis being dealt with eventually.

    • APL
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      Mr. Bildt: “The impact of the global financial crisis would have been worse on the EU the euro had not provided the necessary monetary stability”

      Greece is bankrupt, Italy probably so, Spain in a very precarious financial position with ‘stable’ levels of unemployment.

      If this is the sort of stability the Euro has brought, frankly, I think we can do with out it!

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 21, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        @APL: I agree that Mr. Bildt offers an interesting perspective, too little noticed in the British media. So does a recent McKinsey study, which calculates that the euro has increased the eurozone’s wealth by €332 billion between 2002 and 2010. Greece may be going through a restructuring of its debt, but I keep an optimistic perspective for Italy and Spain, which both seem to make deep structural reforms in their economies. So I thought I would bring you this message of hope, as no doubt you too want nothing more than the euro to succeed! (or not?)

        • APL
          Posted January 21, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

          Peter van Leeuwen: ” message of hope ..”

          Thank you Peter, in return I would wish you a prosperous 2012.

          Peter van Leeuwen: “McKinsey study, [] increased the eurozone’s wealth ”

          That must be analogous to the concept in astrophysics of ‘Dark Matter’ the means to reconcile the visible matter in the Universe with the theoretical explanation of the Universe, which it seems, requires a lot more matter than can be currently accounted for.

          Hence EUrozone ‘Dark Wealth’.

          PS. I care not for the Euro one way or another except for my countries membership of the EU. If it succeeds, good for you, if not, I regret the trouble that may cause.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted January 21, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

            @APL: You’ve been watching physicist Brian Cox lately? (who, being so intelligent and international can only be a europhile). McKinzey doesn’t confirm your beliefs? I’m sorry for that.

          • APL
            Posted January 22, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

            Peter van Leeuwen: “McKinzey doesn’t confirm your beliefs? I’m sorry for that.”

            The study confirms your belief? That the Euro has increased the Eurozone wealth?

            Spanish youth unemployment the highest since Franco, I doubt many but the top echelons of the civil service feel wealthier, nor Italy where the economy may be experiencing actual depression conditions.

            The Euro did not promote growth nor the production of wealth, what it did was allow countries that otherwise wouldn’t have been able to, to live off Germany’s good credit.

  8. alan jutson
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink


    Why is it that all of our UK governments over the years fall at almost any hurdle which involves confronting the EU about finances (yes aware of Camerons recent so called veto)

    If our rebate was given up because CAP was going to be renegotiated, and it has not been renegotiated, then any sane and sensible person would surely say that agreement has not been upheld, and would take action to reduce our contribution by the amount of the original rebate. Its so bloody simple.

    For the life of me I cannot understand why we always cough up, when these deals turn out to be nothing more than a one sided con trick.

    France will never agree to renegotiate CAP unless it has a financial gun put to its head.

    Likewise I cannot understand why so many of our own MP’s don’t get it either, did they all fail maths at school.Can they not read and uderstand a document, or are they such weak lobby fodder that they simply do as they are told.

    More simple solution just leave.

    • zorro
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      We have a strong negotiating position. We are paying money into an organisation that cannot produce a verifiable statement of accounts. We are getting to the point where it is becoming more acceptable to officially question this outrage. We need strong negotiators who are prepared to negotiate a fair (in our interests) deal. We want our fishing rights, agriculture policy, and self governing rights back in a practical sense.


    • APL
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      Alan Jutson: “If our rebate was given up because CAP was going to be renegotiated, and it has not been renegotiated, ”

      Our fishing fleet has been decimated to buy ‘influence’ with the EU. As if £10 billion per year isn’t price enough!

      Alan Jutson: “For the life of me I cannot understand why we always cough up, when these deals turn out to be nothing more than a one sided con trick.”

      Because it suits the political elite in the UK to con us this way. Fair’s fair, we let them get away with it every time.

      Cameron never exercised a veto, there was no treaty to veto. What was an embarrassing humiliation to the UK was spun by Tory spinmeisters ( to his lasting discredit John Redwood too ) as a decisive move by a patriotic Prime minister.

      Nothing could be further from the truth.

    • BobE
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      They are buying future jobs in the club. To object is to be cast out.

  9. Richard
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    We hear a lot about the need for further bail outs to be given to struggling EU nations in the media, but little news from Greece, Portugal, Italy etc about how well they are progressing in bringing down their deficits.
    Presumably they are busy reducing State spending and/or increasing their tax revenues as well as embarking on a credible plan for economic growth.

    I wonder if they are doing as well as the UK, ie many headlines of “cuts” but actual increases in spending.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Greece, Portugal, Italy, etc are also reforming their tax system to reduce the amount of money lost through tax avoision and evasion.

      • Richard
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        I am looking forward to when the results are eventually published showing how much they have trimmed from their deficits by reductions in state spending , increased tax revenues and growth.
        I will have a bet with you that it will be much less than they are predicting.

        You say these countries are”reforming their tax systems to reduce the amounts of money lost through avoidance and evasion”
        I see no evidence of that happening but I will wish them good luck because if they succeed it will be the first time anyone will have managed to achieve that elusive ambition.

      • zorro
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        That’s right, they are actually going to declare their real incomes and pat income tax now…..probably.


  10. A.Sedgwick
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I have no doubt that the Coalition will sink more billions into the IMF and EU drains. It is believed that Darling checked with Osborne prior to agreeing the UK contributed to the bailout fund after the 2010 election and he agreed for the forming government. With that credential how can anyone believe this country’s finances are in safe hands.

    Reply: Mr Darling told Mr Osborne of his plan to agree, and Mr Osborne told him it was his decision. He did not say he agreed,nor did he threaten to reverse it should he become Chancellor.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      To your reply that:- “Mr Darling told Mr Osborne of his plan to agree, and Mr Osborne told him it was his decision. He did not say he agreed,nor did he threaten to reverse it should he become Chancellor.”

      Why on earth did he not say:- “it is technically your decision but clear under the circumstance I oppose it and you should clearly not agree or defer it until the new government is formed and can take the decision.”

      Or did he say I would like you “Darling” to agree because really, as you know, I agree but would prefer not to have to take the decision (you know what some of my back benchers are like. Much easier for me to say it is a done deal and blame you for it later Darling hope you do not mind?

      It seems that the second is rather more plausible.

    • zorro
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      ‘nor did he threaten to reverse it’……Well, he should have done so, and make his position clear otherwise how can we put any confidence in him.


  11. Stewart Knight
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Cameron, who I suspect doesn’t have the cojones, should demand a quick timetable for reform of CAP, or say he will unilaterally reinstate the rebate.

    Play Europe, or more importantly seeing as this is a CAP issue, the French, at their own game.

    • zorro
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Agreed….but the Civil Service will throw its hands in the air saying ‘but we will be isolated’ or ‘We will face heavy fines and need to cut services or tax more to pay them’.


      • APL
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        zorro: “Agreed….but the Civil Service will throw its hands in the air .. ”

        Don’t worry about the Civil Service, when we follow Greece around the plughole, most of them will be on the streets demonstrating.

  12. Paul H
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    “You would have thought that after all its homilies to member states to spend less and to rein in budget deficits, [the EU] would have applied the message to itself. ”

    You have been in politics a long time, Mr. Redwood, so I can only assume that as you wrote this your tongue was firmly in your cheek?

    Reply: Of course!

  13. Steven Granger
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    At last! You finally mention that great elephant in the room in connection with the HS2 project, the involvement of the EU! Why is our government so determined to press ahead with this project despite the masssive (and almost certainly underestimated) expense, the very shaky economic case, the massive local opposition and the huge environmental damage(most of which you have pointed out yourself)? It all now becomes clear. You say that the government is free to decide for itself whether or not to proceed with this project and you are absolutely right on that. There is no element of compulsion (or at least, not yet). The only element of compulsion (as you fail to mention above) is that, having decided to go ahead with the project, the government is compelled to link up the new railway with the EU network, which is why Greening announced that she “had decided” that it will be extended to link with the channel tunnel crossing (again, at great expense). The fact that Greening pretended she had some discretion in this just illustrates how your government actively deceives the people (with no comment or crticism from you). The fact that the media reported this element of the decision as a” surprise” just shows how useless the media is at informing people properly. You miss a very important point in your article. Namely, that your party tries to make out in public that it is Eurosceptic and that it wants to claim back powers from the EU. The decision to proceed with HS2 shows that, in reality, it is much more interested in pleasing its EU masters regardless of the cost to its own taxpayers. There have been a number of other examples of EU regulations being implemented by your government despite not being obliged to and despite imposing extra burdens on business thus further depressing our economy. The number of SI’s (the way in which EU regulations are implemented into UK Law) has gone up since you came to office rather than down (despite your parties stated wish to reduce regulation). That the government gets away with this contradiction between stated intentions and actual actions is largely down to 2 things. Dishonest (or ignorant) MPs failing to hold the government properly to account (including the likes of you) and a useless media that fails to properly inform the people of what is really going on. The so called Eorosceptics in your party (including you) serve just one useful purpose and that is to your own party. You help give a veneer of Euroscepticism to a rampantly Europhile party. The British (and particularly, the English) people deserve better from those that pay themselves so handsomely out of the public purse to “represent” us.

    Reply I and my colleagues are always on the look out for examples of policy effectively dictated by the EU, and regularly expose it where it is happening. In many fields of law the UK now has little discretion owing the big weight of EU laws and Directives. I have researched the trains carefully and asked questions, and still believe the UK can say “No” to the HS2 project if it wishes – that is all I am asserting.

  14. lojolondon
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    John, you have been in politics for a long time. So I am sure you know the facts.

    When the minister says that the HS2 is not mandated by the EU he is telling ‘the truth’. But in your opening sentence you expose the facts. Of course he is not telling an obvious lie because the EU never TOLD us to build HS2, they just laid out their plans and we decided to fit in with them to show what good Europeans we are. So someone can go to Brussels and boast about how we are crippling the British economy to be part of the club. It is disgusting.

    The only answer to the IMF is NO. Again, we will be bailing countries not currencies etc. but we all know the truth – this is all done just to keep the corrupt MEP’s in jobs. And if the EU runs up a Trillion dollars of debt and the people of Europe are kept in servitude for a hundred years, just to keep the MEP’s in their cushy jobs one month longer then they will do it. It is the most insane, corrupt, self-serving, vile situation.

    Reply|:HS2 is not on the EU TENS map

    • APL
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      JR: “:HS2 is not on the EU TENS map”

      Is Edinburgh, or Glasgow?

    • APL
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      JR: “I put the question of why not Maglev to the CEO of the project. She replied that they do want to be able to use the new track for existing trains if necessary. ”

      So, JR when the CEO talks about interoperability of the rolling stock – did you ask her if she meant interoperability of the rolling stock on the existing London to Birmingham line?

      That of course wouldn’t be to the HS2 specification, that would mean that the HS2 line would run at slower speed as a result of the lower specification of the rolling stock on the existing line.

      If that is the case, what is the point of HS2?

      If she means the rolling stock that is designed for the cross channel link, then that implies a plan to link the both tracks together at some point.

      That smells like a EUro plan to me.

      JR: “Remember this is not going to be built anytime soon – first construciton contracts 2017 if all goes as planned. Clearly there is no rushing need to comply with your fictitious EU demands.”

      The proposals for the EU TEN exist and we agree are not mandatory. But once the UK agrees to build such a line, the specifications must comply with the EU directives.

      It is you that is denying the reality.

      • sm
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        ‘ever closer union’…nudge wink,praise,cajole,bully,divide,conquer,distract,subterfuge, it doesnt really matter what is written down or not… if it quacks,walks like a duck its probably a duck even if disguised.

      • APL
        Posted January 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        JR: “Clearly there is no rushing need to comply with your fictitious EU demands.”

        APL: “then that implies a plan to link the both tracks together at some point.”

        Stephen Granger: “which is why Greening announced that she “had decided” that it will be extended to link with the channel tunnel crossing”

        Quelle surprise!

    • zorro
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Here is a link…..

      Here is a map showing the TENS network links…..

      Funnily enough, it seems to go from London to Birmingham…Manchester and on to Scotland. It must be a coincidence that HS2 is going through the same route…..


      Reply: HIgh speed has a different type of line on the map and HS2 does not show

      • A David H
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps the faint dashes of planned high speed rail, will in due course, be revealed to have been hidden under the dark red of the TENS-T west coast rail plan. Surely not too difficult for an organisation that can financially ‘bail out’ when ‘bail out’ is specifically forbidden?

    • Mark
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink
  15. Disaffected
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Have you read the specious article in the DT by Damian Green and Chris Grayling about 370,000 immigrants claiming benefits? The other day it was reported how a land mark employment case will have further repercussions on the welfare state. It claimed a 27 yr old Romanian with four children who came to the UK in 2007 can claim housing benefit of £400 per week and tax credits because she works part-time selling the Big Issue. Housing benefit of just under £20,000 a year for goodness sake. Could a British national claim this in Romania? Is she counted in the ministers figures of out of work claimants?

    The utter nonsense of still blaming Labour is beyond belief. We all know Blair had a mass immigration policy, but how long does it take to say stop until we sort the mess out. More immigrants entered the country last year than when Labour were in power. Our public services cannot cope with the huge demand from free loading immigrants who paid nothing into the UK tax pot. The country is broke. We are repeatedly told by useless ministers how there is a need for cuts, but they do not act in concert to bring about change. In the last two years we have had all talk and no action.

    The birth rate is four times it was in 1980. The country and its infrastructure will not be able to cope. The government demands more taxes from us without making any cuts to the current public sector spending burden ie immigration. Two years on and no progress from the useless Mr Green whose only action appears to blame others.

  16. oldtimer
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    In your concluding paragraph you say:
    “I think that should mean no bail outs for Euro member countries who do not leave the currency at the time of the bail out. It is difficult to see conventional IMF remedies can work without a devaluation.”

    What if the EUrocrats come up with this cunning plan, if the private lenders to Greece et al do not accept a haircut (scalping? decapitation?) on their bonds? The plan could be to default, operate the economy without the costs of debt service, yet stay in the euro. EZ banks with losses on such bonds would be bailed out by their governments and/or the ECB; the hedge funds would be stuffed and blamed for not “negotiating”.

  17. MajorFrustration
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    It does appear that on any number of important issues our politicians sit idly by and produce the usual rhetoric encompassing – “we have made it clear” we are concerned” “we are not complaisant” and the classic ” lessons will be learnt”. Essnetially they are not going to do anything.
    Whilst most people may take what a politician says with a pinch of salt it does vex me when obvious wrongs are not righted. No reform of CAP, silly utterings from European Court of Human Rights, possibly more money for the IMF despite the US failing to meet the 2009 quota and so on. Why, as a country, are we so willing so pliable. Are we suffering the politicans we deserve? Thankfully 2015 is getting ever closer

    • BobE
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      Thankfully 2015 is getting ever closer
      But who will you vote for? Arn’t they all the same.

  18. Atlas
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink


    On the topic of EU meddling…

    Is today’s “Daylight Saving Bill” debate at the behest of EUphiles? I can think of no other reason. Even so, the laws of Physics which determine these Solar System events such as the rising and the setting of the Sun are beyond the reach of an EU directive (cf King Canute) – much to the Commission’s annoyance.

  19. David Williams
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    When more than a billion people in the world live on less than 1 euro a day, it is disgraceful that officials are even thinking of using IMF resources to keep the GIPS within the euro.

    If these officials have any doubts about how much money there really is in Southern Europe, they should visit the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month. They will see Spanish and Italian hi tech companies exhibiting. During the breaks they can visit the designer boutiques a gastronomic restaurants (if they book well in advance). They will see lots of pink bank notes in circulation (Spain has a quarter of all 500 euro notes that exist – source wikipedia). They will notice that there is already a national high speed AVE train network which the UK can only dream of. They will notice that this second city’s airport already has 3 runways (Madrid 4).

    If they still have any doubts they should read Lazarillo de Tormes.

    • zorro
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      As you say, they can be very ‘resourceful’ people when necessary. I enjoyed reading picaresque novels at university, particularly Lazarillo and his adventures as a guide to the blind beggar amongst others. I think though that Spain is well past its ‘Golden Age’ now.


  20. Mark
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    It’s worth reading what Chinese credit agency Dagong said in its New Year message about the global sovereign credit risk outlook (two parts):

    It has the advantage of not needing to pander politically to European politicians or (IMF) bankers, so it pulls no punches in forecasting a Euro currency crisis, and asset bubble deflation in emerging economies (including China’s own) causing further distortions of hot money flows.

    As Bette Davis said in All About Eve it’s going to be a bumpy night.

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    As I’ve argued before, MPs should not permit the government to use an Order, secondary legislation, to authorise payments to the IMF when it’s clear that the money would be destined for eurozone bailouts which are illegal under the EU treaties and therefore under UK primary legislation approving those treaties.

    If the government insists on doing this it should only be done through primary legislation, an Act of Parliament which expressly stated that the payments were being authorised “notwithstanding the European Communities Act 1972”.

  22. Iain Gill
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    i liked your contribution in the house “who represents the English” i was cheering…

  23. Martyn
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    “The UK government has made two caveats about possibly increasing funding. It has said it does not want IMF money bailing out a currency. It has said the UK should not commit more funds unless China, the US and other non EU G20 members are going to do so as well”.

    In view of latest reports indicating that the USA, China and others are not going to put money into the IMF to merely save the Euro, then we, too, can say Niet! Nein! a’ bas le Euro! The opportunity would appear to exist so let us just hope that Mr Cameron has the courage to back his words with action and refuse to pay more into the IMF.

  24. Ziggy
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    We on the contintent and particulary in Germany are very amused about important
    backbenchers such as John Redwood MP. I think he’s old enough to remember the
    UK’s bailout by the IMF in 1978. We don’t lecture you Brits in such a patronizing way as you do about a currency you are not part of and never will be, so just do us a favour: leave the EU, it’s easy. Vote for the right people and once in power all what is required is an Act of Parliament. Besides, your not as important as you think you are (empire’s long gone) and we perfectly will do without your precious contributions. But please leave the EU.

    • alan jutson
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink


      Perhaps you will do us all a favour, and help in a vote to exclude us.

      You get your wish we get ours, no problem.

    • sm
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      Quite a lot probably would if given the chance.

      I rather suspect some including Germany may leave before the UK or will we be cancelling all elections in Europe?

  25. A different Simon
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Things are going from bad to worse .

    The EU is behaving as if the laws of nature do not apply to it . The juggernaut is charging towards total union .

    The carbon dioxide tax is being expanded to subjugate every country in the World .

    There is absolutely no way the West can ever pay off it’s debts and it happily keeps spending to increase them .

    Is someone going to call time on this charade one day ?

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      Indeed no sign yet! The people in power at the EU are doing very nicely from the racket at the moment. Plenty of rewards for failure at the EU.

  26. javelin
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Romans they are not …

    As a member of collation of the British Liberation Front and the Liberation Front of Britain … apart from … red tape, uncontrolled immigration, a extra layer of Government, threating taxes, destroying our fishing industry, preventing national support for industries, overriding legal decisions, escalating national tensions and complete financial aramgeddon what have the EU ever done for us?

    .. Cesear would be rolling in his grave at this bunch of incompetent light weights.

  27. Mike Fowle
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Your comments about HS2 are interesting – as was a previous post about the spending plans and timetable. I appreciate some may have serious and possibly well founded objections to the idea – although it seems a good idea to me, but it certainly deserves a more intelligent debate than the “£33 billion to get to Birmingham 30 minutes” quicker level of comment which we’ve seen a lot of. If it is not built, presumably rail and road traffic and congestion will increase elsewhere. Whereas projects like this often generate business around them.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      I am going to be a bit nerdy, I am afraid.

      “Critics of the scheme should attack it on its domestic merits and defects, not as a further illustration of too much EU power. There does not seem to be any wish by the EU to find EU money raised from member states to help this project.”
      No this is simply not true at all.

      Here are the magic words:
      “Member States shall provide the Commission with abstracts of national plans and programmes which they are drawing up with a view to develop the trans-European transport network, in particular in relation to the core network. Once adopted, the Member States shall send the national plans and programmes to the Commission for information.” (Brussels, XXX COM(2011) 650/2
      2011/xxxx (COD))
      And here is the magic reference to the planned rail link which lists the corridor of the core network, it is, in fact, corridor 2.:
      ” 2. Warszawa – Berlin – Amsterdam/Rotterdam – Felixstowe – Midlands Amsterdam/Rotterdam – Felixstowe – Birmingham/Manchester – Liverpool.”
      Brussels, XXX COM(2011) 665/3
      I won’t bother with the references. Just copy the names of the documents and paste them.
      OK so the government has gone along with the Directive, as it had to by EU law and treaty. But the decision was made in and sent down from Brussels, not Westminster in the first instance. All Westminster did was to bow and get on with the directive and the decision.

      Reply: I think you will find it is the existing tracks that are part of the Core network. I have not seen the proposed new High Speed system recorded as part of the network, and the Minister confirmed to me in the Commons that there is no EU requirement to build it.

      • APL
        Posted January 21, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        JR: “I think you will find … ”

        The problem is Mr Redwood, we shouldn’t all have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out what the government is up to.

        Half of the policies are clandestine and deliberately so. You have occasionally lamented the lack of trust in our political class well, this is one reason why.

  28. Anne Palmer
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    You wanted maps, here are road, rail and what they call ‘inland waterways’-the English Chanel all on

    It does take some time to down-load. Page 36 for the UK.

    • zorro
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      Taken from the publication……..

      ‘In 2004, the total cost of completing the 30 priority axes by 2020 was estimated at EUR 225 billion, including EUR 112 billion to complete the 14 original projects. The latest information available from Member States at the beginning of 2005 indicates that the total remaining investment required has increased to EUR 252 billion. If all the other projects of common interest, but not on the priority list, are included, the total cost of completing TEN-T exceeds EUR 600 billion. Although huge, the investment needed for the 30 priority axes represents only around 0.16 % of European GDP, whereas it is estimated that completing the priority axes will bring additional economic growth of 0.23 % of GDP’.

      I suppose that this is their summary of any supposed cost/benefit analysis. This was made in 2005. I wonder what the final cost estimates would be now?


  29. figurewizard
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I see that broadband links are mentioned in this grandiose proposal. If there is a priority in respect of this it should be with respect to the scandalously poor state of the broadband network in this country, principally due the the inertia of BT.

  30. Anne Palmer
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    I answered the Governments form, “The Department of Transport response form to feed into the UK Official reply to the EC Consultation on the review of the Trans-EUROPEAN Transport Network (TEN-T) Policy
    The deadline for responses is/WAS: 10th September 2010

    Question 5 Do you think the comprehensive rail network as defined by the map at in Annex 2 needs to be revised? A rather long reply was given to this.

    I also answered the EU’ Consultation on the same subject. (AS ONE DOES!) All in the certain knowledge that all parts of the EU’s “Trans EUROPEAN Transport Network (TEN-T) Policy” would go through anyway.

  31. Electro-Kevin
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the good work.

  32. Winston Smith
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Another day and another EU immigration issue. Will you dare speak about it, JR? 2500 comments this morning on the Telegraph story. Its concerns a lot of people and is often the no.1 issue on the doorstep.

  33. uanime5
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    John regarding the Trans European Networks plans will any new rail lines, roads, canals, or broadband networks have to be constructed in the UK, and if so which areas will be affected? Also what is the projected costs to the UK of the Trans European Networks plans?

  34. Robert K
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    On holiday in Portugal this summer, a local made a pithy point about the grand and hugely expensive railway schemes that had helped to destroy the country’s economy: “They tell you that these projects will transform the country and create jobs – but they don’t .”
    Sums it up for me.

  35. Anne Palmer
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    This is rather old and there is probably a more up to date one but here for you re money for their project 2007-2013 Granting of Community financial aid in the field of the trans-European transport network CALL FOR PROPOSALS 2007. AND AND

  36. Barbara Stevens
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Firstly, H2, I read today, Daily Express, that a high speed train similar to H2 as been built with opposition in Holland, however its gone ahead and its up and running, just. Its under used, tickets so expensive only the well off can afford to ride on it, and it was supposedly to be built and run by private means, the Dutch government as had to bale the network out to keep it on its tracks. Is this what H2 will be here. As they have no tunnels or hills in Holland the building was straightforward, but the cost still went over budget by billions. They are now counting the cost of this prodject and haven’t we here in England something to learn from their expierience. I believe we are about to make the same mistake.
    As for Europe, I despair, we now see from the media we have 350,000 claimants on benefits they have paid little into the system to recieve, while taxpayers here keep funding the bills. Why this govenment does not say enough is enough and cease this practice I cannot understand. We all know they’ll cry blue murder over the Channel, but truthfully, who cares how loud they shout, I care not one jot. Child Benefit is another thing we are being fleeced for when the simple solution would be for all to claim in their country of origin.
    We now, again, have the debate on whether we should continue giving money to the IMF, it is not written in stone that we have to, so why do it? The country does not want it, we cannot affored it, and it’s going to eurozone countries and we all know it. I’m surprised at this Conservative Party allowing the rape of this countries money, it’s bad enough having had the Labour party do it for 13 years, now the EU; where is the Conservative spirit?
    It can be over come but the will as to be there, and it appears the will is not forthcoming at all but the same old tale of, ‘we can’t do it’. We can do anything if we so wish, we are not money slaves to the EU, please John, can you tell us what as happened to your party? Where as the old fighting spirit gone, and with it the trust for the well being of this United Kingdome. I despair, I really do.

    • APL
      Posted January 21, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Barbara Stevens: ” where is the Conservative spirit?”

      Wrong Leader, wrong Party.

  37. Electro-Kevin
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    371,000 foreign nationals claiming unemployment benefit ‘legitimately’ in the UK.

    How do we define ‘legitimate’ in the EU dominated UK ?

    Do politicians think we are pleased with this situation ? Or that we aren’t fully aware of what is being done ?

  38. REPay
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    At least the old empires used to do things that were practical and not just for gesture…and they used to worry about cost. Not our unelected oligarchy in Bruxelles.

  39. BobE
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    John sorry about the “” typo

  40. Jon
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    The EU Parliament has left the world of the sane. I have watched the debates there on the EU budget asking for more, one I believe was for a 6.8 or so % rise.

    The news channels should show some of their responses at these debates. There is not just a complete lack of understanding when countries are in financial trouble and shedding jobs they regard it as an insult that the budgets are subject to sabotage (as they see it) by the individual countries. I remember many in teh EU assembly declaring that the member states should have no vote on their budgets. People need to see for themselves what this self-serving leaching hideous manifestation is.

    Christine Lagarde is muddying the definitions, she is trying to find the pliable words that would permit the IMF funds to bail out the currency. This could be a close call in parliament with teh Lib Dems and Labour.

  41. Vanessa
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    HS2 may not be funded by the EU but embedded in the Maastricht Treaty is the idea to “harmonise” all rail and travel links so our railways are all but controlled by Brussels. We used to have Summer and Winter timetables, but not any more! I wonder why?
    HS2 will be part of this harmonisation and will, if it goes ahead, end up on the continent, somewhere. They do not recognise the English Channel, it is just an inconvenience and must be obliterated, so trains run through Britain and on to the continent.

  42. Derek Emery
    Posted January 21, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    The EU are again setting targets for debt and deficit levels that countries could not meet previously because they were forced to compete directly with Germany productivity without devaluation. They cheated by borrowing.
    How will they be able to guarantee performance levels now? It’s a bit like being told you must run the marathon in two hours with massive fines if you fail.
    EU German surpluses must mean other EU countries having deficits. They haven’t the investment to match German productivity so will always trail behind. To balance books will now mean cutbacks in salaries and wages year on year to stay in limit rather than borrowing. This will be unpopular and will reduce demand so the economy will reduce in size. The solution does not include any mechanism to create growth.

  • About John Redwood

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

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