The veto was a veto

Yesterday the 25 countries signed up to the fiscal pact Treaty. The Uk did not sign it. That sounds like a veto to me.

The veto had three good consequences. The first is this is now an intergovernmental Treaty, not an EU Treaty. They wanted an EU one and Mr Cameron exercised the veto. Their legal grounds for using the EU institutions are as a result insecure or non existent. The UK intends to push the legal issues further, as it has to do.

The second is it has helped force a referendum on this Treaty in Ireland, where the decision to hold one cited the fact that this is now a different legal arrangement from the EU treaties as one of the factors swaying them in favour of a referendum. This delays this Treaty coming into force. The delay gives time for France or others to demand a renegotiation or scrapping of the Treaty.

The third is it has started what will be a long process of the UK setting out an alternative course for the EU and for the UK’s relationship with it. Twelve countries agreed with the UK that the EU needed to deregulate to help growth and jobs, but were ignored by the Franco-German-Commission axis this time. It starts to build support for a different approach. Mr Cameron was right to explain in public that this latest summit has not done enough to promote growth, and has chosen the wrong policy mix for the situation.

Even Euro friendly commentators agree that the intergovernmental Treaty is unlikely to do much for the Eurozone. It is widely seen as a fig leaf for German public opinion. It is not widely wanted or liked by other weaker members of the Eurozone, and it is difficult to see how it delivers the desired goal of lower budget deficits, more cuts and higher taxes all at the same time.

None of this will cheer people who simply want to pull out tomorrow. As I constantly remind them, some people have wanted that for the last thirty years, but it has never happened. The pace of change is slow, but at least this time we are travelling in a better direction. It would have been wrong to have signed this Treaty. It would have been wrong not to seek a better set of freer market policies to try to stimulate growth and jobs. The UK has sought to explain that this latest Treaty is not the answer to Europe’s economic troubles. She now needs to press on with defining a new relationship with the EU that avoids more damage to us from the greater austerity zone they are creating.

I ask Mr Cameron’s strong critics what should he have done about this Treaty? Surely you agree it was better to refuse to sign it? Surely it was right to table alternative approaches for progress? Mr Cameron told you before the General Election he wanted powers back but did not want to pull out, so he has not cheated you. He voted with the whole Conservative party for a referendum on Lisbon prior to its ratification, as promised. He did not promise an In/Out referendum in the Manifesto as many of you wanted. His coalition partners want a lot more Europe, which stands in the way of the progress moderate Eurosceptics want, let alone what strong Eurosceptics want.

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118 Comments

  1. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    I am so pleased with the slowly slowly approach because half a loaf is better than no bread.
    What is so heartening is the support which more sensible and thoughtful countries have about being regulated by an unelected, unaccountable and, yes, pig headed and possibly corrupt group of people in Berlaymont.

    And let us with heartfelt joy congratulate our President, Hermann von Rumpuy, on his unanimous election for another 2.5 years of uninterrupted success!

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      “Possibly corrupt”? And when were the accounts last given a clean bill of health and signed off by the auditors?

      • uanime5
        Posted March 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        Last year. The Council of auditors has never refused to sign off the EU’s budget despite what the Europhobes believe.

        • Bob
          Posted March 4, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          @uanime5

          And how much money had disappeared without a trace this year?

      • bluedog
        Posted March 4, 2012 at 2:27 am | Permalink

        There is no Euro-parliament Hansard, either.

        • Disaffected
          Posted March 4, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          Oh dear John, you know perfectly well there is not a veto. He chose not to vote because the consequences of the compact will come into effect over the next couple of years in any event. Hence the two legal actions by the Treasury against the EU to limit its extent.

          Most importantly, Mr Cameron decided not to vote to prevent a referendum in the UK as the law would require him to hold one, as you perfectly well know. He made sure a referendum did not take place in October last year and he was not going to disobey his European Masters to have one a few months later. The compact was only ever designed to buy time against the markets.

        • sjb
          Posted March 6, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink
    • forthurst
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Softly, softly is best. We have already had our riots, after all, so we are not due for any more yet, although the English in the main didn’t riot, too busy as they were, packing their bags or putting out the correct recycling bins, to catch a train to London, where they used to live, in order to provide action shots for the superior non-MSM TV channels.

      However, were Germany to parachute in a Technokrat to sort out our finances, change could become more painful, painful, that is for the enemy within which has assiduously been filling out country with foreigners and ceding our powers of self-governance away to anyone else, as the English finally wake up to what has been done to them and their country.

      • Bob
        Posted March 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        They keep voting for the politicians who dance to the Brussels tune so I’m not convinced that they have woken up, on the contrary they’ve become a nation of boiling frogs.

    • Disaffected
      Posted March 4, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      When you claim Mr Cameron has not cheated Tory voters, which cast iron U turn are you referring to? There are so many it is difficult to understand you point.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted March 7, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Yes, indeed, thanks for both Baron von Rumpy Pumpy and Baroness Whats-her-name, both of whom are a charge on the EU budget that wasn’t there before the Lisbon Constitution (sorry, Treaty).

      How Messrs Cameron and Hague can stand this pair of clowns pissing on their turf is utterly beyond me.

  2. Duyfken
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Regardless of what it is called, the objection made by Cameron has indeed had good results as you have indicated. It had not occurred to me that one good effect was the need for Ireland to hold a referendum on the FU.

    The plea for deregulation is also to be applauded, and it is only to be expected that the axis powers of Germany and France would try to sideline it. That shows how those two countries will always want to control the EU and ensure that their joint or several wishes are never frustrated, in the long-term at least.

    The EU is a Franco-German duumvirate and the UK (and others) will never be free from being under their cosh, despite small victories as Cameron has now won. I remain still a member of the BOO brigade.

  3. Posted March 3, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    The “deregulation” cited by Cameron is a red herring. There is not a scrap of evidence that excessive regulation caused the crunch. Indeed: quite the reverse – more bank regulation of the right sort would have meant no recession at all.

    That’s not to say that unnecessary regulation should not be removed. Obviously it should be. But that is a blindingly obvious truism that applies given a recession or no recession.

    • Bob
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      @Ralph Musgrave
      “…more bank regulation of the right sort…”

      I think you could probably drop the “..more..”.

      More is not necessarily better, and sometimes less is more.

      • Bazman
        Posted March 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        We need less bank regulation as these regulations forced the banks to lend to the poor causing the credit crunch. Thus more taxing of the poor to rebuild the banking system is the right policy?

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Indeed I see that employers now will soon be to expected to pay for people when they are sick or drink too much when on holiday – is this part of the “deregulation”.

      • Bazman
        Posted March 5, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        If you fall sick during your two week holiday the in companies that provide sick pay you can claim that time back as holiday already. You would have to be committed to your position though. As you believe there should be no sick pay or any other pay than other than what the employer can get away with. Not the market rate as this is not what many employers want to pay, then I suppose you will not be in favour of this?

    • APL
      Posted March 4, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Ralph Musgrave: “…more bank regulation of the right sort…”

      Regulation number one. A bank that levers its balance sheet to dangerous levels will never be rescued by the State.

      Regulation number two. Where contravention of regulation one results in a bank becoming insolvent or no longer economically or financially viable, its management will be subject to a number of existing legal and criminal sanctions, not limited to the following.

      1. Trading while insolvent.
      2. Submitting false accounts.
      3. Conspiracy to commit fraud.
      4. unspecified charges under the Proceeds of crime act.
      5. unspecified charges under the Money laundering regulations.

      et all.

      Sentences if any will run consecutively, not concurrently.

      For some odd reason, with the whole of the western worlds financial system in ruins, there have as yet been no more than about four prosecutions.

      Explain that.

    • frank salmon
      Posted March 4, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Anyone conversant with the stream of regulation issuing from the EU and rubber stamped by Parliament will know that such regulations are hugely expensive and they create a criminal underclass.
      That chap, Brown followed the wrong inflation guide and reduced the quality control on banks so that he could raid the till to finance his over spending.
      So, deregulation is good when it makes us more competitive, richer and less criminal. It is bad when it is used as a political expedient to finance the corporatist state.
      The French and Germans still don’t understand this. I don’t think you do, either.

  4. Mick Anderson
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Surely a veto would have prevented the other 25/26 from signing the treaty. The UK has excluded itself from the arrangement – not the same thing.

    I don’t mind what the other EU nations agree amongst themselves, as long as I am not expected to fund their many mistakes.

    Reply: The UK veto has stopped the UK being in this.

    • zorro
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      ‘Yesterday the 25 countries signed up to the fiscal pact Treaty. The Uk did not sign it. That sounds like a veto to me….’

      John,
      No, it is not a veto at all. Yes, Cameron refused to sign up the UK to this treaty. As a result, the UK will not be participating.
      It would have been a veto if the treaty had not been able to proceed because of the UK’s opposition. The treaty is able to proceed so the UK’s opposition cannot be considered a veto.
      A veto (Latin -“I forbid”) is the power of an officer of the state to unilaterally stop an official action, especially enactment of a piece of legislation.
      The veto can be absolute, as for instance in the UN Security Council, whose permanent members (China, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and the United States of America) can block any resolution – recently the Russian/Chinese veto on action against Syria is a good example.

      John,
      I cannot understand why you are insisting on stating that Cameron used a ‘veto’ on this treaty arrangement. Cameron simply did not commit the UK to this treaty. He vetoed nothing. You know what veto means in international legalistic terms and it is not what Cameron did.

      As for progress on getting a better deal for the UK, I have always agreed that something is better than nothing and the direction is what is important. You just need to keep Cameron’s nose in the hay trough and keep him trotting forward….

      zorro

      • APL
        Posted March 4, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        Zorro: “I cannot understand why you are insisting on stating that Cameron used a ‘veto’ on this treaty arrangement.”

        Cameron must be one of the most unpopular Tory leaders in a long line of unpopular Tory leaders.

        This was an opportunity to make out that the Tory party is becoming more EUrosceptic. The Tory party knows this is popular, Mr Redwood knows such policies are popular.

        It was a cheap shot to try to game some additional PR points in the polls.

        Que politicans whining: “We can’t understand why people hold politicians in such contempt?”.

  5. me
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    According to my Webster dictionary a veto is to forbid or prohibit something, or prevent legislation.

    Cameron did veto (prohibit) other european nations from using the machinery of the EU for the FU, promising this wouldn’t be allowed.

    But then he caved in.

    • Timaction
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      Call me a cynic but wasn’t Mr Camerons “veto” really about stopping us from having our referendum under the arrangements now made into referendum lock law? He could hardly sign a new EU treaty and then pretend it wasn’t one triggering a referendum. I’ll believe the repatriation of powers when I see it. We live in an age of provable actions by our leading politicians who never deliver their promises on the EU, immigration, Human Rights Act. After two years where are we on these issues?
      Of course deregulation would be good for businesses but when is this happening?……………another promise into the long grass!!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        Well, last March 25th Cameron agreed to a major EU treaty change wanted by Merkel, and on October 23rd Hague laid a formal statement before Parliament explaining why we won’t be having a referendum on that:

        http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/eu-section5-statement

        “In my opinion the European Council Decision of 25 March 2011 amending Article 136 TFEU with regard to a stability mechanism for Member States whose currency is the euro adopted under Article 48(6) TEU does not fall within section 4 of the Act and no referendum is required in the UK.”

        If Cameron had agreed to the further EU treaty changes Merkel wanted in December than probably Hague would have used the same arguments to block a referendum on those EU treaty changes as well.

  6. lifelogic
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    The “veto” is clearly better than nothing, but not much better, we will see if anything positive comes of it in the end. Cameron might comment on the lack of EU growth policies but what about his anti growth policies in the UK?

    • Bazman
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Will that be his austerity policies?

  7. Alan
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I wish it were true that we were embarking on a process of the UK setting out a course for the EU, but I fear we are actually just making noises on the sidelines, of no interest to anyone but ourselves (no harm in that of course, but we shouldn’t deceive ourselves).

    People like me, who want the EU to exist as a lose collection of states that agree on somethings and disagree on others, lose out to those who have clearer objectives, such as creating a superstate or abolishing the EU altogether. I don’t really fear a superstate since it would be almost impossible to create one out of the diverse nations that make up the EU, but an awful lot of effort and money could be wasted in trying to create one. I do fear its complete destruction, which might not be too difficult at the moment.

    I would love to see Mr Cameron set out a sensible set of objectives and work effectively to persuade the EU to adopt them, but I can’t imagine it happening. I think we have little influence and have no alternative but to wait and see what the others decide to do and then decide whether we can accept it (I imagine we will say ‘no’, and then start to change our mind as we begin to appreciate the consequences).

    • APL
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Alan: “I don’t really fear a superstate since it would be almost impossible to create one out of the diverse nations that make up the EU .. ”

      And that comment is the mark of the success of the European Union to achieve its aim by stealth.

      You are still under the delusion that we govern ourselves. We do not.

      To all intents and purposes our Westminster Parliament is a puppet show, they do what they are told by the Brussels Bureaucracy.

      • Alan
        Posted March 3, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        Well, I accept that I am naive, but I really don’t see much sign of the Westminster Parliament being a puppet show, nor do I see the MPs doing as they are told by the Brussels Bureaucracy. I would have thought the number of ‘opt-outs’ that the UK has negotiated (usually mistakenly in my view) shows that it is hardly doing what the EU wants.

        I do see a lot of propaganda by anti-EU newspapers. And, as we are learning, the newspapers can be puppets of those who do not live in the UK and whose interests are not necessarily those of the British people. Maybe it is not me that is deluded.

        • APL
          Posted March 4, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

          Alan: “Maybe it is not me that is deluded.”

          Maybe Alan.

          But by your own metric, organizations outside the UK probably shouldn’t have a say in how we run the UK.

          You select, I presume the Murdoch press for opprobrium. I would rather choose the organization that has compelled us, in collusion with our political class to take measures that are inimical to the best interests of the UK.

          That is not to say there isn’t a very good argument for an international forum, just that the EU, an international body that has usurped the right to decide domestic law in the UK, is not that forum.

          On international matters, we would be better served by the EFTA, or WTO for example.

    • Posted March 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Even the French public want to see a free co-operation of independent States, each running their own countries (whatever happened to the famous “subsidiarity” that was trumpeted about???) but with a free trade agreement – the original idea of a “Common Market”.
      Not this thick-skinned, ever-enlarging, european superstate we have now. The skids are under Sarkosy and support growing for Françcois Hollande.
      In John’s last para. though – the one thing that Cameron did promise was to Repeal the European Arrest Warrant and the one-sided US Extradition Treaty. Neither he nor the Home Secretary are doing anything about it!

    • uanime5
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Don’t expect the EU to disappear. It exists because it is beneficial to every European country, which is why countries outside the EU keep trying to join it.

      The main advantage of the EU is that it provides an effective way to pop the Westminster bubble and prevent MPs from removing any fundamental rights they consider ‘inconvenient’.

      • APL
        Posted March 4, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        uanime5: “It exists because it is beneficial to every European country”

        I agree that it probably will continue to exist but for a different reason, that being the EU is beneficial to every European Union bureaucrat.

        They will keep it going regardless of the damage it does to Europe.

      • Bob
        Posted March 4, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        uanime5
        “It exists because it is beneficial to every European country”
        +++
        For sure! The Greeks, Italians and Spanish have been celebrating in the streets, I’ve seen it on the news clips, although I couldn’t understand why the riot police were hitting them with batons and firing tear gas at them – is it some kind of southern european custom?

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted March 8, 2012 at 1:59 am | Permalink

        In the UK we had a very good set of rights, established well before the European Union was even thought of.

  8. A.Sedgwick
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Roger Helmer,MEP, has left the Conservative Party to join UKIP. For the sake of the country we can hope that others see the light in Westminster and Strasbourg. The EU is increasingly a farce as every non meeting takes place and the detail of your piece shows.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      I forgot the “election” of Rompuy for two more years.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted March 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        The danger comes when someone more determined and more vicious and less well intentioned is elected as our President, or even worse, the President of the Commission. Maybe both at once?
        You see, there is nothing to stop the Stalinisation of Europe constitutionally at the moment. It is only the third rate nature of the leaders that is preventing the EUSSR really coming into being.
        In Greece, it is already here.

    • Alan
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know about the EU being a farce, but I do believe that the performance of some UKIP MEPs in the European parliament is clownish, unhelpful, counter-productive, and often impolite or abusive. I wish they were not representing our nation.

      • Bob
        Posted March 4, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        @Alan
        “I don’t know about the EU being a farce”

        Really?

        How about moving the circus back and forth between Brussels and Strasbourg? That’s pure common sense to you I suppose?

        • Alan
          Posted March 5, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

          OK, you make a fair point: moving the Parliament around is farcical.

          In fact I’d agree that a lot of what the EU does is farcical, but in my view that is in the nature of political affairs, especially international ones. I was trying to say that I thought on the whole it does a serious and useful job, not that everything it does is serious and useful.

  9. Old Albion
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Instead of pretending your party is is Eurosceptic. Why not give us a referendum, you know the one Cameron ‘bottled’ out of?

  10. Tedgo
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Do the 12 really side with Britain, it would have been nice if they had not signed the treaty. I suppose they are just sitting on the fence to avoid having to suffer Mrs Merkels anger.

    I see if Ireland fails to vote yes in the referendum they will be no longer be eligible for further bailouts. Blackmail.

    • Tedgo
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      I see Spain is already planning to breach its budgetary targets, on the day it signed the new treaty.

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 3, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        Tedgo

        I think the Netherlands are also worried, if press reports are to be believed.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      It’s not blackmail, it’s a sensible policy. Why would the EU give bailouts to countries that refuse to fix their economies?

    • Alan
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      As I understand it, it’s only blackmail in the sense that if you are lending people money you tend to impose conditions on them returning the loan. You would hardly expect the Eurozone to go on lending to a country that did not accept the conditions of the loans.

  11. AJAX
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    ‘None of this will cheer people who simply want to pull out tomorrow, as I constantly remind them they’ve wanted that for the last 30 years but it has never happened’

    There’s nothing simple about England withdrawing from the suffocating embrace of the EU, it’s an audacious grand history proposition which requires great political statesmanship & daring, & is fraught with risks of the unknown, the simple thing to do is just quietly drift along with the general tide of this remarkable entity that is the EU whilst occupying oneself with arguing trivia about the next treaty, ever hoping to use “influence” to change the nature of the beast from being inside its digestive tract, a policy which has yielded little other than failure for 3 decades

    It (being England freeing itself from the EU) hasn’t happened yet because the Labour & Conservative parties have sold the pass on this issue & are content to go gentle into that good night

    Enter UKIP upon the scene

  12. APL
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    JR: “That sounds like a veto to me.”

    Oh dear!

    If you want to delude yourself into believing that exercising a veto on collective action means that everyone else gets on and does what they were going to do anyway but with out you, then carry on.

    Right thinking people shouldn’t be trying to contort the language for their own political ends, especially for the short term political benefit of the Socialist who happens to have been elected leader of the Tory party.

    Reply: The UK used its veto to ensure none of this applies to us, and to seek to ensure they cannot use EU institutions to do it – where I accept time will tell if we can make that stick. So far, so good. This is not an EU Treaty, because we succeeded in stopping them have a new EU Treaty. I am not saying we have won or are now in a great position, but you need to understand where we started from and how much worse it could have been.

    • Bob
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      @JR – Re your reply to APL
      Do you mean that if one member of the UN Security Council vetoes a resolution for action in say Syria, that just means that the resolution can be passed, but the member exercising the veto will not take part in the action- is that correct?

      Reply: No, the UN then passes a motion outside the Security Council in the General Assembly which is not legally binding like the Security Council one – a perfect analogy for what has happened with the EU

      • zorro
        Posted March 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        Not really John, the EU (French/Germans) have got what they wanted no matter what Cameron did. The same cannot be said with regards to Syria.

        zorro

      • APL
        Posted March 4, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        JR: “The UK used its veto to ..”

        This of course, is the Joseph Goebbels school of public relations.

    • Chris
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Mr Redwood, I had read that David Cameron had recently “quietly” dropped his opposition to EU institutions being used. Is there any record in the public domain of any definite legal action, or proposal by David Cameron of specific legal action he is taking, to prove this otherwise? Simple statements by David Cameron that he plans to do something are not satisfactory for the following reason. Cameron has a very large problem with the electorate, whether justified or not, and that is that they perceive him as untrustworthy. Extremely serious for the Conservative party, but sadly true. It began, rightly or wrongly, with the issue over the Lisbon Treaty, and this is a fact that has to be accepted by CCHQ, however “wrong” they believe the perception to be. It is there and it has to be addressed and very quickly indeed.

      Reply. Yes, he has sent a letter warning the eu against using their institutions for the new treaty.

      • Bob
        Posted March 4, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        “he has sent a letter warning the eu against using their institutions for the new treaty.”

        Did they quake in their boots, or was their response more like that of the French soldiers in Monty Python’s “Holy Grail”
        +++ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9V7zbWNznbs&t=1m38s +++

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    The pace of change isn’t slow and it is generally in the wrong direction. Today we read in the Telgraph that: “If a worker becomes ill during annual leave, employers will have to give them the extra time off after they have produced a sick note. The new legal regulations will be introduced in October and the Government estimates that they will cost employers more than £100 million annually. ” How is that helping companies or the coutry to grow? Your coalition partners and rabid EU fanatics happily carry out the wishes of their Brussels masters whilst the s0-called EU sceptical Prime Minister plays along. He will never take action to relieve us of this yoke and is hardly capable or interested in preventing us being mired further in this anti-democratic dictatorship. When he talks, as he did yesterday, of wanting more countries to join up to this madness he is unlikely to take this country away from it.

    • Bob
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      “…at least this time we are travelling in a better direction…”

      It’s not a new or better direction.

      It’s like a temporary traffic diversion which takes you around some roadworks, and then back onto the main route to your final destination, which as we all know is totalitarianism.

      BTW congratulations to Mr Van Rompuy on winning a new term as EU President. It was a close run contest, but the best man won (I suppose).

      • zorro
        Posted March 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        Yes, far better than the other candidate (invisible man)…..

        zorro

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      This is typical of this government and those before it. Someone who has just spent a week lying on a Turkish beach will turn up with a sick note from a Turkish Dr saying they were too sick to lie on the beach.

      Perhaps we need a national crash course in simple arithmetic – if you spend £650 pounds but only have an income of £500 you are borrowing £150. And £50 of the £650 is interest on what you have already borrowed.

    • zorro
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      That concession won’t be abused, will it….? Legislate, legislate, legislate…their answer to everything Let’s hamstring business a bit more so that the only ones that can operate are the big cartels who own the politicians. Why don’t we give them free labour too? Oh, they are already trying to do that.

      zorro

    • uanime5
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      This might surprise you but the EU prefers to protect employees rather than big businesses, unlike the UK government which panders to them.

      Making work even worse for employees isn’t going to promote growth, it will hinder it as more people choose to remain unemployed.

      • Bob
        Posted March 4, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        uanime5

        1) “Making work even worse for employees”
        Why is continuing with the status quo “Making work even worse”?

        2) “the EU prefers to protect employees rather than big businesses”
        And that is why so many jobs have moved abroad and there is such high unemployment in the EU.

        • APL
          Posted March 4, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

          Bob: “And that is why so many jobs have moved abroad and there is such high unemployment in the EU.”

          And in doing so illustrates the futility of government action trying to ‘protect’ jobs.

          Youth unemployment in Spain hovers around 50%

          The employment protection legislation in Greece has worked wonders, don’t you think?

          Job security comes through competitiveness not legislation. In fact legislation actually burdens industry making competitiveness worse.

  14. Joe Ashley
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Stealth and bullying by France, sarkosy is loving belittling us little englanders.
    We can play the long game because of the lib dems
    We don’t break laws and rules like the Europeans do daily. We should stop ratifying they dictates or hold them up in Parliament

    • Barry
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Just illustrates how ineffective we have been in dealing with the French (and probably the whole of Europe).

    • uanime5
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Actually the UK is responsible for a high level of human rights violations because governments of all shades believe they have a divine right to treat people in any way they see fit.

      The UK also has a lot of trouble complying with laws that other European countries don’t have.

      • APL
        Posted March 4, 2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        uanime5: “because governments of all shades believe they have a divine right to treat people in any way they see fit.”

        If true it’s not an argument for another layer of government (the EU) but rather support for us the population taking control of our, frankly out of control, political class.

        In my opinion, that means we should stop blindly voting along party lines anymore.

        If you are Labour, choose an independent Labour candidate.
        If your political preference is Tory, choose an independent Tory candidate.

        • Bob
          Posted March 4, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

          Better still vote UKIP.

          • APL
            Posted March 4, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

            Bob: “Better still vote UKIP.”

            I would certainly consider it.

            However in my constituency we have about nine flavours of ‘extreme’ socialist and blue labour aka the Tory party.

            No sign of UKIP

          • Bob
            Posted March 5, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

            @APL
            Are there no non-socialist candidates at all?

  15. rose
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Off topic, but what a delicious exchange between you and the obtuse John H this am. Or it would have been delicious if it were not so worrying that people like him in positions of enormous power and influence, unelected, unrepresentative, unqualified, and for life, with 3 hours a day at their disposal to brainwash people at their most receptive, still can’t get the most simple points, no matter how carefully they are explained. Worrying too how much more time they devoted this am to gossiping amongst themselves about hackgate.

    Reply: Thanks. Yes, he was obtuse on the point I was seekign to make. They are programmed to believe several untruths about taxing and spending, and it is very difficult to correct them.

    • Bob
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      Sums up the BBC problem.
      The are supposed to inform, educate and entertain, I wonder which of those words would describe Mr Humphry’s performance this morning?

      Yesterday, they ran a report that a huge number of adults are innumerate and then this morning he said “50p is more than 40p”. John, you can understand how people who struggle to work out their change out the supermarket checkout will just say “of course it is!, what is this Redwood chap on about?” especially with the mocking tone of Humphry’s delivery.

      Do the Tories not understand why their policies like work experience, NHS reforms and welfare reforms constantly get de-railed by the Labour dog whistlers.

      If the BBC are allowed to get away with this socialist drip drip indoctrination you will never be able to frame an argument for sensible tax policies because your average East Enders fan’s concentration cannot span more than an average sound bite, like “50p is more than 40p” , “it’s our NHS” or “tax breaks for their chums”.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Re reply: my sympathies.

      Evan Davies is a big disappointment. I hoped that with his financial background the Today Programme would be gaining an interviewer who would be able to ask sensible and testing questions on financial matters, and to take interviewees to task as to the failings of their answers: but no. Is he simply too nice a guy, or is he neutered by the editorial voice in his ear?

      • rose
        Posted March 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        Evan used to read out carefully prepared prose when he was the BBC’s economic affairs bod. The most embarrassing thing about him now is that he can’t ad lib. He hasn’t Edward Stourton’s educated eloquence. (That was why ES was got rid of.) Justin is almost as much of a disappointment, and for the same reason: he used to read out very interesting reports on American affairs, but can’t cope with the variety of subjects on the Today programme. He just hasn’t got the knowledge and experience that ES had. As for JH, he makes a virtue out of his ignorance. But he does love the English language, and together with James N, tries to guard it. For that I am grateful, and when they are gone who will do it?

    • Mark
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      What was the topic?

      • rose
        Posted March 4, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        50p income tax rate.

    • Martyn
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      John, whilst out delivering the parish magazine I also heard you on BBC4 and had to stop and pull over, because I could hardly believe the responses you were getting from your interviewer. When your interviewer said “I must be stupid because….” I thought ‘spot on for a change!’

      For your to have maintained a balanced and reasoned response to him I thought admirable in the face of the pig-headed attitude of your interviewer.

    • zorro
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      BBC indoctrination I fear… I enjoyed QT on Thursday and particularly Dr Starkey’s insightful comments which livened up the proceedings. I thought that John played it a bit safe in comparison. I noticed that Rachel Reeves seemed to be particularly interested in/entranced by the comments from the PFA representative. I can’t think why….

      zorro

      • rose
        Posted March 4, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        My favourite Starkey retort on QT was, “David, if you could just detach your mind from your prompt sheet for one moment…” No wonder they put health warnings all over him whenever they let him on.

        • zorro
          Posted March 4, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

          He left the others standing….or sitting.

          zorro

  16. John Bracewell
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    According to an Irish politician interviewed on the Daily Politics, their Referendum will not matter to this Treaty. As long as 12 countries sign up to it, and they already have, the Treaty is in force. The Irish if they vote NO will not even be asked to vote again until they get the correct answer since the Irish Referendum is set to be ignored whatever the result. It is only being held because it is in the Irish Constitution and the Irish Government lawyers have ruled that a Referendum must be held.

    • Bob
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      In case you haven’t seen it:

      Banker left speechless by Irish journalist

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCHu1kRT6hU

    • zorro
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      That’s the type of democracy the EU likes though, whichever way you vote we win!

      zorro

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      Not quite right – it needs 12 eurozone states to RATIFY the treaty before it can come into force.

      The government of Ireland has SIGNED it, along with the governments of 24 other countries, but none of those states have yet finally RATIFIED it.

      If it came into force without all of the signatory states having ratified it, then it would come into force just for those which had ratified it – apart from one relatively innocuous part about eurozone summits, which would come into force for all signatories including those which had not finally ratified it.

      The treaty may be read here:

      http://european-council.europa.eu/media/639235/st00tscg26_en12.pdf

      and the relevant provisions are in Article 14, which starts:

      “This Treaty shall be ratified by the Contracting Parties in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements. The instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union (“the Depositary”).”

      So there straight off is an example of the Contracting Parties, some but not all of the EU member states, flagrantly making use of an official employed in an institution of the EU without that being authorised by all EU member states.

      And moreover it seems doing that as a deliberate act of defiance and sign of contempt for the UK government, given that past practice right back to the 1950’s has always been to rely on the Italian government as the depositary for the instruments of ratificaton of treaties – from Article 247 in the 1957 Treaty of Rome, through to Article 6 in the 2007 Treaty of Lisbon.

    • A Different Simon
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      There are a lot of people in Ireland who swear blind that vote-rigging was widespread in the second Lisbon referendum .

      Still , they declared the result they wanted which is all that matters .

    • rose
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      And the Irishman I heard said the Irish people will give the “right” answer anyway.

    • Alan
      Posted March 3, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      I think the Irish referendum does not matter to the treaty, but it does matter to Ireland, which will be excluded from the financial support the treaty is meant to offer to members of the Eurozone if it does not accept the treaty. Just as we in the UK are excluded, but then we have less need to be included. So we can go on running a deficit and devaluing our currency, whilst the Irish cannot.

  17. roadrunner
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Why on earth do we have to go cap in hand to the French and Germans to ask them to free up regulations,who made them masters of Europe.This country needs a stronger PM than Cameron is.

  18. Leslie Singleton
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    As every schoolboy used to know, “veto” means “I forbid” in Latin, the wellknown example being Queen Anne’s veto of a Bill she and her Ministers did not like. Forbidding implies forbidding others–“forbidding” yourself from doing something such as becoming party to a Treaty doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. That said, Cameron did the right thing for once in not signing.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 4, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      Cameron said “I forbid” to changes to the EU treaties, so it was a veto.

  19. alan jutson
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    John

    Mr Cameron has made a start, or at least stood his ground, which is far better than simply signing up I happily would agree.

    Now he has shown some determination we/he needs to build upon it.

    I wait and see if he does, and indeed if all those who signed this Treaty cough up the fines that will be put upon those countries failing to come up to scratch.

    My hunch is that when fines start to be issued this Treaty will be modified, thats if it has not been done so before, in the light of an Irish referendum and French elections.

    • Bob
      Posted March 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      @alan jutson

      Cameron’s reason for not signing was to avoid the referendum lock which would have been triggered by a new treaty.

      He wasn’t being tough – he had just backed himself into a corner.

      Reply: Not so, as he believes that as the draft EU Treaty did not apply directly to the UK it did not warrant a referendum under his legisaltion anyway.The issue was to veto an EU Treaty at all, which he did.

  20. Geoff M
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Anyone for a bit of Greece.

    This from CNBC:
    On Friday it called for bids for the exploitation of one of its former Olympic Games venues, the International Broadcasting Center. Built to accommodate broadcasting facilities for the 2004 Games, the IBC has since been converted into a shopping mall. It includes a vacant area of 14,300 square meters (153,925 square feet) and an underground parking area of 7,300 square meters (78,577 square feet).

    The country’s Asset Development Fund issued a tender for the rights of exclusive use, management and exploitation of the facility for 90 years. The offer includes the area currently leased as a shopping mall under a 40-year agreement that expires in 2047, the fund said.

    Earlier this week, Greece launched a privatization offer for its Public Gas Corporation, DEPA.

    Greece hopes to raise 11 billion euros by the end of 2012 from a privatization drive started last year, and 20 billion euros ($26.9 billion) by the end of 2013. The original target had been to raise 50 billion euros by 2015

  21. Posted March 3, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    What we have is an opt-out, not a veto. A veto prevents the whole project from going ahead. By contrast, the 25-nation treaty is proceeding. A veto is like what China and Russia did over Syria. An opt-out is what we and the Czechs have over the new treaty. It’ll be interesting to see if an Irish ‘no’ obtains a veto or yet another opt-out. That treaty must be shown to be illegal because it cuts across EU-unity and governance, as well as usurping EU administrative machinery.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 4, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      No, it’s not an “opt-out”.

      For it to be correctly described as an “opt-out” there would have to be changes to the EU treaties as agreed and ratified by all EU member states, but with provisions which specially excluded the UK from the effect of some or all of the changes.

  22. Alan Wheatley
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    I accept that “at least this time we are travelling in a better direction”. Lets give thanks for small mercies.

    It begs the question as to which countries are travelling in this better direction? It would seem certainly not the French going by Sarkosy’s comments on the letter submitted by Britain and some other countries.

    “Direction” is in fact a key word. There has been endless talk about “fast & slow”, inner & outer” and a pick-&-mix” EU, but the heart of the matter is where the EU is heading, and hence the DIRECTION of travel to arrive there. So, for instance, if for you “ever closer union” is the wrong destination the fact that you are travelling there more slowly than others is no panacea.

    I suppose, in theory, it is possible to imagine a multi-faceted EU; an EU that when you look at it through your chosen facet looks like the EU that you want. If that appeals then you have to explain how such an EU can exist as a coherent whole. United by our differences is hardly a credible basis for success.

    We have already passed may waypoints from which it has been possible to form a view. Euro-outs have seen enough, believe the destination is clear and do not like what they see one little bit. There is no evidence to even hint at a change of destination being possible and no practical possibility of a multi-faceted EU working.

    As for eurosceptics, who are still trying to decide, perhaps they need to travel further in the EU’s chosen direction. Hopefully the more they see and understand life in the EU the less they will like it.

    While waiting for a majority to take us out the time should be spent developing the vision of the UK out of the EU. Much has already been done and should be promoted to become mainstream thinking.

  23. sm
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    A very small and passive step, welcome, but no more. It allows the flow of money to the EU to continue,if it were other, the bluff would be called and the cards would be called for view.

    So we allow the EU 25 to crack on amongst themselves. I have a question why are we not allowed to crack on with deals outside the EU 25?? The reality is DC has withdrawn UK co-operation or agreement to facilitate things it has not prevented the integration of the bloc. We need to address why we should be confined in a not in/not out position where we are not allowed to conduct trade deals with non EU countries.

    No further EU legislation should be passed by SI or otherwise, until we have powers repatriated. The EU-India deal should be dead in the water. We should negotiate on a bilateral basis with non EU25 countries.

    The only veto DC is imposing is on the UK electorate via any real kind of representative government.So the Irish think its a constitutional reason to have a vote. What was that referendum lock promise again.

    Inaction is not the same as action.Whats happened to that George Eustace group?

  24. Posted March 3, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    You are right that, over the treaty, we cannot reasonably ask for much more.

    However I am unimpressed with his call to focus on growth. He knows perfectly well how to get into at least world average growth (5%) and, with the will, much better (cutting regulation, allowing the nuclear and shale gas industries to work & lower business taxes & few minor other twiddles) and despite all the promises & cliches has done almost precisely nothing over nearly 2 years.

  25. Bickers
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    JR,
    You’re blog is a fair an accurate reflection of the UK achieving the best outcome that was on offer at this time. However, the Eurozone crisis has shown (and continues to show) that the EU is undemocratic and operates in the interests of France and Germany, both of which broke the 3% deficit rule, arguably signalling to the other Euro members that the rules were there to be ignored.

    Compared to the rest of the World the EU is economically stagnant and shows no signs of addressing the reasons behind this. The UK is historically a trading nation and we sacrificed/diluted our commonwealth trade ties to join the EU club. Given France & Germany are clearly configuring the EU to suit them why do we remain a member of a club that is stopping the UK becoming a successful trading nation again?

    It is going to take an economic catastrophe to make the electorate wake up and smell the coffee. JR, you will know from your business experience that sometimes you have to put a company to the wall in order to completely overhaul it to make it competitive and grow again, rather then limp from one crisis to the next. I think that remaining a member of the EU will cause that ‘limping’ effect and only when hit with a catastrophe will we undertake the radical surgery necessary to make Britain Great again.

  26. Posted March 3, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Great post – slightly waffling.

    Why have you done nothing to stop Wokingham Borough Council’s illegal mini skinny waste sack stealth tax scam? I sent you a flyer explaining why it contravenes legislation and you’ve done – er, zero.

  27. Barry
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    There are vetoes and vetoes. Russian and Chinese vetoes have an effect and are not ignored. Cameron’s veto has no REAL effect (other than isolating the UK) and is ignored other than exciting Europhobes. Real sceptics would provide better analytical approaches to the European problem to deliver compelling arguments that would result in our more effective dealings with Europe including any use of the veto.

    • APL
      Posted March 4, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Barry: “Russian and Chinese vetoes have an effect and are not ignored. ”

      Well, you are, I assume accidentally confusing two different international bodies. The first the UN, where Russia and China sit as permanent members of the security council and where they like the UK have the right of veto.

      The second, the European Union, where Cameron stupidly claimed he had vetoed the European treaty, where the UK largely has no right of veto, but can decide not to take part. Saying that the UK won’t take part in a particular treaty is not of course as dramatic nor does it galvanize the marginally inclined Tory voters in the UK so much as making the Tory party appear pro British interests for a change.

      Barry: “Cameron’s veto has no REAL effect (other than isolating the UK) ..”

      But it demonstrates, that being in the European Union gives us no influence, demonstrably contradicting Tories like Ken Clarke and David Cameron claim being in the EU gives us influence in that organization.

      The EU just goes on and does what it wants without the UK anyway.

      So ….

      We have a clear demonstration that our much vaunted influence with in the EU is nil, therefor the very raison d’etre for being in the EU does not exist.

      Can we leave now?

      Reply: The UK did use a veto and prevented an EU Treaty. They had to develop a non EU Treaty. Russia used the veto and stopped a Security Council Reslution but could not prevent the others passing a General UN Resolution. It is entirely the same position. The UN General Resolution does not have the same legal force as the Security Council one. We are now trying t ensure the 25 Treaty does not have the same legal force as an EU one

      • APL
        Posted March 4, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        JR re reply.

        Thanks as always for your responses. However I doubt you or I can agree. So on this thread let’s leave it at that.

        However, I would like you to address the point I made, when the UK objects to a thing the rest of the EU wishes to do, they go on and do that thing anyway.

        My first question: How does that bear on the influence the UK is supposedly able to bring to bear on the direction the European Union adopts?

        Do you agree the European Union is becoming more and more lawless in its behavior, it is taking liberties with the agreed treaties and often exceeds its legal powers.

        And is some respects since it refuses to respect legal restraints on its freedom of action it is become to resemble a despotism.

        Reply Of course I think the EU and its federal court the ECJ sometimes move the law in the way they wish as they wish. I do not think the UK has great influence in the EU and have never argued that – in recent years I have argued that given the way the UK has gone along with most of what the federalists wanted the UK has had no effective influence. You do need to use the veto and get tougher generally to have any impact. As we have seen, using the veto does not suddenly give the UK all it wants, or stop the others trying to do what they want. I never suggested it would. It is important, however, that this time we said no to an EU Treaty. Our use of the veto makes it more difficult for them, and will lead to mroe legal wrangles. I assume you did not want Mr Cameron to say “Yes” to the Treaty. Labour said Yes to Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon, and look where that has landed us.

  28. Normandee
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I sense someone has moved back into the Cameron camp, all of a sudden he’s a good guy, and not the fifth columnist that most people still see him as ? Well bravo, so you’re alright at throwing the occasional toy out of the pushchair, but when it comes down to it you are firmly strapped in for the ride.

  29. Posted March 3, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    You write, The third (good consequence) is it has started what will be a long process of the UK setting out an alternative course for the EU and for the UK’s relationship with it.

    I respond, the hegemony of the US, and the UK and EU, will fail, and in its place regional global governance will rise to rule he world’s ten regions, thus forming the ten toed kingdom of regional global governance, as called for by the 300 elite of the Club of Rome in 1974, and as called for by Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy in their August 2011 Joint Comminique for a “true European economic government”. Sovereign debt unsustainability is ushering in the age of regional global governance and the diktat monetary system, to replace democracy and the fiat monetary system. Choice is an epitaph on the gravestone of Neoliberalism. There will be no choice as in making investment decisions and there will be no choice as to who will govern. Furthermore, Libertarianism, with its Freedom, Free Enterprise, and Free Monetary System, is a mirage on the Neoauthoritarian Desert Of The Real. This being foretold in Bible prophecy of Daniel 2:31-33, as I write in linked article The Sovereign Lord God Is Bringing Forth A Diktat Monetary System

  30. uanime5
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    “The Uk did not sign it. That sounds like a veto to me.”

    The Czech Republic also didn’t sign up. Do they have a veto as well? How many of those 3 things would have occurred if only the Czech Republic refused to sign the new treaty?

    John the problem with delaying the treaty is that it prolongs the problems in the Eurozone, which means companies are more likely to hoard money than try to expand their businesses. This is bad for growth in the UK.

    Given that growth has been so sluggish in the UK and that unemployment is constantly increasing is it any wonder that other EU leaders aren’t going to listen to Cameron about how to run a country. If Cameron wants other EU leaders to follow his example he should first fix the problems in his own country.

    • APL
      Posted March 4, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      uanime5: “John the problem with delaying the treaty is that it prolongs the problems in the Eurozone, .. ”

      The treaty will do nothing to resolve the problems of the Eurozone.

      The Eurozone as a whole is bankrupt through excessive leverage.

      This treaty attempts to resolve that by adding more leverage to an already dangerously over leveraged financial system. At best it can put off the day of reckoning by a couple of months but eventually the whole shooting match will collapse.

      The longer they manage to put it off, the worse the final consequences will be.

  31. Bill Quango MP
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Mr Occupy.

    Capitalism and all that. Its a terrible thing and is doing its evil to society
    Some people have more than other people and some people didn’t do much to get a lot more than others. Some were given money and some got a bailout and yada, yada, yada.
    But if I can just point out this.
    That awful,uncaring, heartless society. What does it actually ask from you as an individual? Not very much. And what does it do for you? Quite a lot.

    The callous capitalist west is happy to house you if you want to be housed. It will educate for free from 3 -18 years. It will attend to your medical needs, cradle to grave, regardless of what you do to your own body. It agrees to protect you from hostile countries with a military and from hostile fellow citizens with a police force, whether or not you yourself are a criminal. If you catch on fire it will send someone round to put you out. It will have a justice system to ensure you are fairly treated and will provide a lawyer for you if you need one.
    The state doesn’t care what religion you are. What you call yourself. What you wear or where you travel.
    The state will provide infrastructure every citizen may use regardless of how much taxation that individual has contributed to its development. Anyone may use terminal 5 or New Street station or the M25. . It will give you money every week and ask only that you sign for it once every month. More money if you’re ill. Or if its cold.
    When you’re sixty five or sixty eight it will give you more money if you have never saved or earned any any of your own.

    It won’t even ask you what you’re doing with the cash. It will let you spend it on cigarettes, booze, Cheesy Whatsits, gambling or an E Harmony subscription. The state doesn’t care.
    It won’t demand you serve in the military or a national service labour scheme. It doesn’t even ask you to give blood or take part in medical experiments. Or sweep up the streets or even just sign an agreement that you promise only to say nice things about the government.

    And that’s just a democratic government. Capitalism adds choice. Technology. Medical advances. Communications. Longevity. Energy. Transportation. Travel. Comfort.
    The whole of civilisation has been a struggle to secure enough food to eat and enough shelter to survive. Once mankind has those then life expectancy and general health and happiness increase. China, even after all their recent advances and wealth, is currently only at our 1948 standard of living levels in a direct comparison with the UK. Africa is not even in the 20th century.

    That puts YOU, my camping friends, way ahead of 925 million Africans. Ahead of many of the 1 billion Indians. 143 million Russians and 81 million Egyptians might think that’s a sweet deal.

    1.5 billion Chinese might ask if you have to have a child, as they do, to give you an income in old age. They might be amazed to learn that the state will pay you a sum for eighteen years if you have a child. It will provide birth facilities and free healthcare at any cost and pay for nursery care from 3 years of age. And the evil money grabbing employers will pay the mother a salary for 39 weeks and will keep their job open for her all that time in case she wants to have it back. The mum isn’t even required to say whether she plans to return to work.

    The 112 million Mexicans might wonder if you HAVE to promise to vote for the president of the party to get all those benefits. They might be surprised to learn that you don’t even have to vote at all.

    46 million Colombians might wonder how long a person could stay on unemployment benefit, in a state paid for house. With their children educated and their council tax and national insurance paid for. They might be surprised to learn that there is no time limit.

    76 million Iranians might wonder how restrictive all the state and religious laws are? Be a shock to find out that any sex, race, religion or dress code goes. And everyone, regardless of gender, is treated equally.

    So, Occupy and fellow travelers. Give it a rest.
    It isn’t that bad. Even when the cuts really do take hold your cheque will still come. Your home or alternative bedsit accommodation will be available. Your milk vouchers will still be accepted.
    You won’t be asked to do anything or even to justify your lifestyle.

    And of all the thousands of laws in the land probably only ‘no smoking inside public places’ and ‘no camping in the street’ really effect you at all. Oh, and maybe the one about our borders.

    Because if you really can’t take this western, capitalist, neoclassical, oppressive Hell hole anymore its going to cost you £77.50, plus £4 for photos and 58p for a stamp for a passport to escape.

    Those fascist bastards!

    • Bob
      Posted March 4, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      @Bill Quango MP
      “It will have a justice system to ensure you are fairly treated and will provide a lawyer for you if you need one.”

      Have you told Christopher Tapping about this?

  32. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure that the eurofederalists are already alert to the real danger to their plans, which is that the French people may start to ask why the Irish are allowed to vote on the “fiscal pact” but they are not.

    Sarkozy has ruled out a referendum on the blatant lie that it would be too hard for the French to understand:

    “when you’re dealing with a treaty with 200 articles, 250 articles, I can’t see how you’d formulate a clear question”.

    In fact the “fiscal pact” has only 16 articles, not 200 or 250, and at 25 pages of well spaced out large print it’s quite a quick read.

    It can’t be that the Irish are bright enough to understand it and vote on it, but the French are too stupid to do that.

    If in the run-up to the French presidential election there was enough pressure for one leading candidate to give in and promise a referendum, then it would be difficult for others not to follow suit.

    And what if there was then a referendum, and French voted “no”?

    Which they might, because if France ever needed a bail out it would probably be too large to bail out anyway, so the French would not be as susceptible as the Irish to the threat that failure to ratify the “fiscal pact” would exclude their country from ESM bailouts in the future, and so it would harder to explain why they should vote to permanently destroy their own national democratic control over their national budget.

    Ireland may be dispensable for the requirement that 12 eurozone states must ratify the pact for it to come into force, but France is not so dispensable; if the French voted “no” and France was unable to ratify the treaty then almost certainly it would have to be abandoned, at least for the time being.

    Which in turn would impact on the ESM treaty, as its Preamble now states:

    “This Treaty and the TSCG are complementary in fostering fiscal responsibility and solidarity within the economic and monetary union. It is acknowledged and agreed that the granting of financial assistance in the framework of new programmes under the ESM will be conditional, as of 1 March 2013, on the ratification of the TSCG by the ESM Member concerned.”

    The “TSCG” being the “Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union”, the new formal name for the “fiscal pact”.

  33. AN Grey
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,
    I thought you were made of better stuff!
    You sound like Chamberlain when we need Churchill.

    Cameron has got to you too – great shame.

  34. Barbara Stevens
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Its very gallant of you John to support the PM like you do, and of course we realise it’s expected of you has a Conservative MP; but the ordinary people of these islands are fed up with the politicial elite projecting waffle on the EU. Simply, we want out. Yes, the PM vetoed the treaty, and rightly so, but they’ve still carried on come what may, so what as that really achieved? They have the horrible knack of doing as they wish and bedevil the rest. Mark my words they will soon bring in new rules to bring the 27 into line some way or other, even though we haven’t signed this new treaty. The fact is its a club of unelected boffins, over paid via our taxes, corrupt and undemocratic, yet, we have MPs here who cannot see the dangers of this club as it advances into countries unasked, to rule. Mr Cameron may have vetoed the last time, but what about the next time, he may want the EU as it is, but the fact is this nation wants the right to choose in a referendum once and for all. He should not assume we agree, we don’t. I see his refusal of a referendum the same as the EU sending people to rule Greece and Italy, arrogant, overbearing, and undemocratic. Yes there are those who would wish to have more of Europe, but in the end it’s not just for them to decide its for the whole nation. Veto or not, makes no difference the EU still proceed as if we don’t know or care, they will be mistaken the same as Clegg and Cameron, in the end it will be the ‘will of the people’ who make the final decision.

  35. bluedog
    Posted March 4, 2012 at 2:32 am | Permalink

    Brilliant, Mr Redwood, this could be the start of something big, your phrase – ‘greater austerity zone’.

    Now with a little tweaking we get ‘Greater West Europe Co-Austerity Sphere’.

    Sound familiar? Call it GWECAS for short.

    Banzai!

  36. Leslie Singleton
    Posted March 4, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    How come my comment (above) is still awaiting moderation? Not that contentious I would have thought.

    • Bob
      Posted March 4, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      @Leslie Singleton
      Maybe not particularly contentious by also not particularly helpful when Mr.R is trying to help his party by characterising the “opt out” as a “veto”.

      Reply: I am not trying to help the Conservative party. I am trying to come to an independent view of what has happened. This was a veto, and it has stopped an EU Treaty. Now the battle is to stop a non EU Treaty becoming an EU Treaty by the back door, but at least we are fighting it.

  37. Anoneumouse
    Posted March 4, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood it was an ABSTENTION.

  38. Flatpackhamster
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    A ‘veto’ means that nobody can proceed without the agreement of the UK. The other countries have proceeded without the UK. The UK will be responsible for implementing the regulation.

    The veto was not a veto.

    Reply The UK vetoed an EU measure. THe intergovernmental measure does not apply to the UK

  39. Derek Emery
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    The eurozone did not work from its creation and had exactly the opposite effects to those politicians predicted. Rather than making EZ countries economies converge it actually made them diverge to the extent the periphery countries had to rely on debt to maintain their lifestyle.
    The new eurozone with the ring of confidence is the old dead horse resurrected. The only real difference is having much tighter debt limits than before.
    Ahem- none of the EZ countries managed to stay within the old limits so what chance is there of them meeting the bold improved whiter-than-white new narrow limits?

    Sharing the same currency as high productivity Germany killed off growth in the PIIGS.
    There is nothing in place or even being considered that will return growth for the PIIGS.
    However ecstatic EU politicians are about their short term “solution” there is no long growth term plan so the PIIGS are not going to have the growth to pay back their debts.
    It looks very much as all they are doing is digging a deeper hole to bury themselves in because they cannot contemplate that the EZ was, is, and always will be a failure.

    ECB loans are short term so in around 3 years they will have to be paid back. Growth is barely going to change over that period.
    What will they do then or alternatively will the German public put up with another tranche of their money going down the drain? Place your bets, gentlemen.

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  1. […] is 5.8% of GDP and the 4.4% deficit goal is unattainable. And Conservative MP John Redwood, writes Euro friendly commentators agree that the intergovernmental Treaty is unlikely to do much for the Eu…. It is widely seen as a fig leaf for German public opinion. It is not widely wanted or liked by […]

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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