Fishing for subsidiarity – or for freedom


       Yesterday the Backbench Business Committee showed its worth once again by putting on two good debates. In the first the Commons agreed unanimously that it did not like the idea of charging taxpayers £15 to go up Big Ben.  Many of us feel that free access to the Palace of Westminster is part of our democracy. Big Ben is a symbol around the world of the Mother of Parliaments. British taxpayers deserve free access to it along with the other main public parts of the Palace. They pay enough for it through taxes.

      The second was more fundamental. The House wants a better deal from the EU over our fishing grounds. The disgrace of the Common Fisheries Policy has united most MPs, whether from coastal towns or inland locations, whether from Conservative or Labour, in wanting a new approach. We arel united in condemning the absurd discard policy, where fihermen have to throw dead fish back into the sea where they have been caught against quota rules. Yesterday there was universal agreement that the UK should have much more control over its own fishing grounds.

         My view is we need to cease to regard our fishing ground as a common resource. I do not just want some greater power to manage the grounds. I want the full power back to decide on who has access and on what terms. One of my colleagues, arguing for subsidiarity rather than for freedom in these matters, said that the fish in British waters did not swim around with a UK flag on them. I responded that nor do they swim around with the twelve stars of Europe on their backs.

          Fishing is a classic example of a common policy organised by the EU which has conspired to do harm to the fishermen, to the fish buying public and to the fish. It has been bad for conservation and bad for business.  It should be well up the list of powers we want back. It is one of the best examples for those making the case that the UK would be better off out. The Commons motion did not go as far as I would have liked over fish, but it did remind the government that even this Parliament is in a mood for more UK self determination. The latest polling shows that by a large margin UK voters want the UK Parliament rather than Brussels to make important decisions over our borders, our defences, our economy – and our fish. It is now up to the government to see what power they can bring back. They have aroused expectations. They will need to be firm of purpose in negotiating a new approach.


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  1. paul toplass
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    you know that to sort out the fishing that we’ll have to come out of the eu.i just wonder how many conservatives have to defect to ukip before the pm addresses the situation.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      More than ever will defect I suspect. Defecting will not help the only hope is a proper Tory government next this looks rather unlikely at this rate with Cameron in charge.

      • Disaffected
        Posted March 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        Lack of a Tory party is totally depressing.

        Dr Fox (in trouble over behaviour-ed) When will the so called leaders of the political parties clean up politics, rid Westminster of the pervasive corruption and self interest??????

        At what point do MPs get referred to the police? I thought criminal investigation come before internal discipline? Some cases do not even get referred to the police, I can think of a few Lib Dem cases.

        Reply Several MPs have been investigated by police and prosecuted. MPs, like anyone else, are referred for police investigation when there are serious allegations to look into.

        • Disaffected
          Posted March 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

          302 MPs were overpaid or fiddled their expenses, less than a handful appeared before court.

          An enormous amount of false accounting and I suggest a policy decision was made not to prosecute the vast bulk that should have faced criminal charges.

          It is scandalous at a time when Mr Cameron rants on about broken Britain and does not have the courage to act against white collar crime at Westminster. How many thieves get the opportunity to pay the money back rather than appear before a court? How many members of staff do MPs need to submit their claims properly? How many employees would be allowed to steal and then be allowed to continue to work for the company?

          MPs are definitely NOT treated the same as the public. And who actually refers them? As soon as their is a suspicion of crime the police should be called to investigate and after their investigation Mr Lyons could be asked to look at any internal discipline issues not the other way around.

          Can you categorically tell me that a policy decision was not made to limit the number of prosecutions?

          reply NO, there was no decision to limit prosecutions. Many of the people who paid money back did so because retrospectively the authorities decided that legal claims honestly made and paid were no longer acceptable as the scheme had been too generous.

          • APL
            Posted March 18, 2012 at 9:24 am | Permalink

            JR: “Many of the people who paid money back did so because … ”

            How often to thieves get the chance to pay money back and the police and courts will just forget about the whole thing?

            Does the criminal justice system work like that in real life?

            Does the tax man let you pay your due taxes late without penalty?

            Every organ of the state uses a sledgehammer to crack a nut, except where the nuts are MPs or Peers who, these days rarely bother to scrutinize the law they make or make special provision for themselves.

            Reply: Many who paid back money did so voluntarily, despite the fact that they had been paid the money following honest declaration and payment of their claim which was within the rules of the scheme then applying. This does not make them cheats. The parallel would be a company which had paid its employees for meals whilst away on company business, later saying they no longer could afford to do this and would like some of the money back they had previously paid for this purpose.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    “Subsidiarity” was a ruse used by John Major to ram the appalling Maastricht Treaty down voters throats before he finally buried the Tory party for three elections. In practice it means that virtually everything is decided at EU level and all power is sucked upwards. Not at all what Major had claimed at the time.

    EU has indeed conspired to do harm to the fishermen, to the fish buying public and to the fish stock. It has been bad for conservation and bad for business. Rather like CAP and almost all the other areas they touch. It has gone on for decades I do not imaging it will change now, particularly not with the Europhile Cameron in charge.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      With regard to charging for Big Ben I do not have strong feeling either way. But I observe that the UK state sector are masters at charging for everything many times over.

      Firstly through taxation, secondly with charges, thirdly with fines for failing to file over complex forms or obay complex rules, fourthly with parking charges then huge fines for being a minute late or having a car too wide for the bay or similar, fifthly by wasting a lot of the citizen’s time in complying with over complex laws/rules and sixthly in an over priced and slanted legal system that wastes further time and money should the state feel you are getting above yourself and want to teach you a lesson.

      All this to over pay and pension a lot of people many doing nothing other than inconvenience the other citizens. Dust bins are a good example.

      • Andy Man
        Posted March 16, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        lifelogic, you’re my hero.

      • Bazman
        Posted March 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        You forgot the banking system and utility companies to name a few private ones that are in effect a tax on all business and individuals if you want to look it like that.

        • lifelogic
          Posted March 18, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

          Re. The banking system and utility companies – I agree they need more competition and better and more sensible regulation. They have been allowed to get away with far too much.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Also it is reported in the telegraph that the LibDems have finally kindly conceded to the abolition of the (lets shoot ourselves in the foot) 50% tax rate.

      A study by HM Revenue and Customs is next week expected to reveal that the top rate of tax – introduced in 2010 by Labour – is raising far less than the £2.6 billion in revenue the Treasury had originally forecast. It is also no doubt deterring far, far more from coming in and encouraging far more other taxpayers to leave.

      It give out entirely the wrong message as does the absurd employment & tribunal laws, Cameron’s no retirement rules, the ill on holiday tax on its way, the gender neutral insurance rules, the new capital rules that are pushing the Prudential away, the restrictions on pensions, the high stamp duties, the 40% inheritance tax, the lack of sensible banking and all the rest of the anti business measures Cameron has in place.

      There is talk of a government guarantee for bank lending to small business but the banks are not lending even when good security is already available. They are inventing sill rules and reasons (unrelated to risk) to turn most applications down. A £190 billion business funding gap is reported – this would not surprise me in the slightest. The banks seem to need the cash rather more than the businesses do.

      • Robert K
        Posted March 16, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        You can bet they will claw it back some other way – NI increase probably. And you can also bet they won’t restore the erosion of the tax allowance over £100k

      • uanime5
        Posted March 16, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

        Don’t expect the Lib Dems to support removing the 50% tax rate without a similar tax on the wealthy.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      The government seem very happy to charge large sums for parking at the (free at the point of rationing) NHS hospitals and for many of these charges to double last year. Why not just charge for the doctors and medical care that people want. It seems far more sensible to me (for all save the ones who really cannot pay who could be given a loan or similar).

      Give some power back to the NHS consumers and then start getting taxes down to sensible levels.

      The NHS will not get any better until they do.

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 16, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        I assume we will now get Archbishop (Dr) Sentamu as head of the C of E. He always struck me as a bit of a dope in all his silly pronouncements but then so does the current one.

        I suppose it just goes with the position. Perhaps it is in the job description that they should be left wing and never say anything very sensible or workable?

        • Bill
          Posted March 17, 2012 at 4:27 am | Permalink

          Depressing really to read this knee-jerk dismissiveness of both Rowan Williams and John Sentamu. Williams is undoubtedly clever (if his ability to work in several languages, to write poetry, to function in several academic disciplines and so on is anything to go by) and John Sentamu comes from Uganda and knows what it is to survive against the odds. He was imprisoned by Idi Amin.

          If you allow your perception of Williams and Sentamu to be shaped by the standard British media outlets, you are going to be deceived. The best strategy these days is to take one’s information from a range of sources, which is one reason why I read from and contribute to this blog.

          • lifelogic
            Posted March 18, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

            My perception of Williams and Sentamu comes from the many daft and unworkable lefty public statements they make. But then that almost goes with the job nowadays.

            I am sure they would be bright and interesting were they free of the shackles of their religion and came to supper.

            Alas and the need to please their (often incompatible, irrational and emotional) believers and being tied to an old book rather ties their hands.

            I only said “dopey” “silly” and “unworkable” announcements which are clearly true. I would not wish to be without them as I find them both quite amusing and like their outfits too.

      • uanime5
        Posted March 16, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        Actually private companies own the car parks, not the NHS, so the state has no control over parking charges. Yet another example of how the privatisation results in increased prices to inflate the company’s profits.

        • Bob
          Posted March 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

          And how do you think the private firms gained access to the car parking income stream?

          Do you have any commercial experience?

    • Timaction
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Whilst we all totally support your sentiments Mr Redwood it is action NOT words that we want to see on the EU and our political leaders. I’m afraid we’ve had soundbites and good intentions on the EU for years. All we get told is how wonderful for trade and how we would loose trillions of jobs if we left. All total hogwash with a trade deficit of over £50 billion with our “friends” in Europe. The problem with our friends is they expect us to pay £10 billion net to the EU for NO net benefit and are constantly trying to disadvantage us with regs and Court rulings. We are definately better off out..

      • uanime5
        Posted March 16, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

        If the Government supported manufacture, rather than finance, and the UK went back to actually producing things we wouldn’t have such a large trade deficit.

        • Bob
          Posted March 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

          Tax, red tape and the unions frightened the manufacturers away.

    • Disaffected
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      And he is an advisor to Cameron the same as Mr Heseltine.

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        Great no wonder they are so useless!

  3. danniapearl
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Fishing is a classic example of a common policy organised by the EU which has conspired to do harm to the fishermen, to the fish buying public and to the fish.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      Can you explain why the EU, made up mostly of countries that have a coastline, would want to harm their own fishermen and public?

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 18, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        Power and because they can!

  4. Martin Cole
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    The EU has quite deliberately as a matter of intentional policy been destroying the fish stocks around the British Isles. I have been reugularly blogging on this fact since 2003 without any affect.

    This is a prime example of the hidden agenda of the EU to economically pillage the British Isles. Had they thought that the British people would not eventually reclaim their assets in their surrounding seas they would never have condoned such action in consideration of their known long term interests. It is good to finally see the Backbench Business Committee now consider such a proposal.

    There is a typical example of one of such posts from 2oth October 2003 quoting the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) report on the destruction quoted in full on Ironies Too this morning, in view of its length.

    I would wager the Continentals who planned this pillage are amazed that our politicians are so inept we have allowed this plundering to continue for so long!

    • Martyn
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      I so agree! Not many people know that the EU as a whole operates the largest number of bottom-dredging trawlers that create havoc and cause immense damage to the sea bed. So much for fish-stocks and nature conservation – the Kiwis not so long ago were up in arms about it going on in their part of the world and blamed EU bottom-dredgers for damaging the environment.

  5. Robert K
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    I agree with all of this. Our fishing fleet should be more aware than anyone of the need for sustainable fishing in UK territorial waters. It is in none of their interests to over-fish.
    Along with the hateful fisheries policy, would it be great to ditch the equally hateful CAP?

    • eddyh
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      This piecemeal approach is no good.We need to get out of the EU and rule ourselves.

  6. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    In Spain, I personally have been to Mercadonna in San Pedro (a fishing port) and bought hake that were nine inches long. the prot is thriving.
    Go to Whitby and see that thriving too. (Ahem).

    Look, best of luck with Europe. I can just see the sneers on the faces of the other 26 countries’Functionaries as the dear old trusting Brits make their appeal – in secret natch.

  7. norman
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Still banging on about Europe?

    I thought the whole (only, in fact) point of the so-called veto was that the EU political situation could be diffused and spare Cameron the embarrasment of having to try and push a Bill through the Commons with Labour and Lib Dem help. With his EU europsceptic credentials established and a useful line to use against waverers thinking of UKIP (to join ‘Labour would be worse’) we can now forget about all things EU related until 2015 and carry on with business as usual?

    How’s that 2-year MOT plan coming along by the way? Hilarious.

    No wonder the powers that be want this Committee castrated.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Indeed why do we not have the 2 year MOT yet what is holding it up? Also get rid of the bits that have nothing at all to do with safety like tiny cracks on number plates and windscreens.

      • uanime5
        Posted March 16, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

        The problem with 2 year MOTs is that they would have to be even more strict that a 1 year MOT. Any minor fault that might become serious after 1 year would have to be fixed, rather than re-evaluated in 1 year as under the current system.

      • Bazman
        Posted March 17, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        This could lead to cars travelling more than 100k miles without any checks. Not acceptable. Another lowering of standards to save money and another example of your race to the bottom.

        • lifelogic
          Posted March 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

          Owner would still be responsible for the vehicle being safe.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      He will still have to get a Bill through Parliament before the UK can finally ratify the radical EU treaty change agreed through European Council Decision 2011/199/EU of March 25th 2011.

      In his formal statement of October 13th 2011 Hague wriggled out of holding a referendum on that EU treaty change, but it still has to be approved by a full Act of Parliament:

      Amazingly I’ve finally managed to get a reply, albeit a not particularly helpful reply, about the timing of that Bill from somebody in the FCO “EU Bills Team”:

      “The December 2010 European Council agreed that the amendment to Article 136 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union should enter into force on 1 January 2013. We are working towards ratification by this deadline and will introduce the required legislation as soon as is practicable.”

      There is the small point that this EU treaty change is legally necessary before the eurozone states can proceed with their intra-eurozone ESM treaty, and that the same Angela Merkel who insisted on that enabling EU treaty change, and who agreed to that 1 January 2013 deadline for it to come into force, has now changed her mind and wants the ESM up and running this summer.

      Meanwhile in Ireland the government is still persisting with its intention to ratify both the enabling EU treaty change, and the ESM treaty itself, without referendums, and to complete that process BEFORE the referendum on the “fiscal compact”.

      As ratification of the ESM treaty would irrevocably commit Ireland to paying into the ESM, but in its most recent version that treaty would deny ESM assistance to any country which had not also ratified the “fiscal compact”, the Irish will be voting on the latter “with a gun to our heads” as an Irish journalist has put it:

      Not that any of this concerns the British government; while they love the Irish enough to help them out with a loan, they are not in least bothered that the Irish government is foisting the vile anti-democratic ESM treaty on the Irish people, or that this “manoeuvre ” by the Irish government “extinguishes any democratic content from the impending referendum”, as the same Irish journalist puts it.

  8. Mr. Frost
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Keep on keeping on, John.

    But the reality is until we leave the wretched EU, we’re not going to get those waters back…

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      Yes keep on plugging away John.

      Just back, after a week in the sun.

      Seems to me the comparison should be with North Sea Oil and fish, as they are both found in the north sea, if it (the North Sea) belongs to all of the EU, why do we only have rights over the oil, not that I am suggesting we give it up, just get control over fishing back, as we have always had over oil exploration in our waters.

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 16, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

        Talking of oil.

        Petrol in Lanzarote this week 105 Euro’s per litre, diesel even lower.

        Given that Lanzarote is hardly an oil producing island and would have to import every single drop, how can it sell it at such a low price.

        Ah yes Government tax !

        Makes even more silly the statement that Cameron made when in the US this week, about our prices being too high, so we need to sell some Oil reserves, when all you have to do is just lower the Tax !!!!!!!!!

        • alan jutson
          Posted March 16, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Permalink


          Decimal point missing

          Should be 1.05 Euros per litre, still not got my fingers working after carrying cases. !!!!!

  9. Antisthenes
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Where fishing grounds have been put in private ownership fish stocks have increased. As it is to the benefit of the fishermen who fish those areas not to overfish and put themselves out of business. Another example of how insane EU control is based as it is on so much left wing policies and practices.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Indeed the “Tragedy of the commons” as it is called.

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 16, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        Or the bleeding obvious and my grandfather would have said.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

      Actually under private ownership fishermen were overfishing and even now they complain about quotas because these quotas stop them overfishing. Until conservation is placed above making large profits people will continue to overfish and fish stocks will continue to dwindle. The EU needs to create sustainable quotas and stop caving into pressure for large companies.

  10. Bernard
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    I’m sure you know that ‘Big Ben’ is actually the name of the largest bell in the Tower of Westminster. A wee bit difficult to climb up the bell. I’m glad common sense has prevailed and we won’t be charged £15. Thanks.

  11. Mrs C Young
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Well said! We are always hearing that the UK want to take back decisions that affect us from Brussels. Yet this Government haven’t done anything about it!
    I believed David Cameron when he said this was his intention at the last General Election.
    I have voted Conservatives for 33 years and whilst I do appreciate that we are in a Coalition Goverment I do not believe a majority win for the Conservatives would have made any difference on this matter.
    Sadly this means I shall be looking for a party that most meets my aspirations at the next electon and hope I don’t get misled again once I have made my choice…

    • John Fitzgerald
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      So that’s you not voting in the next election then as you could not get a cigarette paper between the 3 main parties now they look so alike! Unfortunately the British public have the government they voted for! I am seriously considering UKIP as on principle I will always vote!

  12. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Haven’t you heard? According to the LibDem tail of this coalition the “coalition agreement” basically keeps the status quo – no going forward or back. Now I’m sure the LibDems will have no problem in breaking that part of the agreement to give more powers to their masters in the EU but the Conservatives won’t dare do anything to upset the EU or, more importantly, that LibDem tail.

    • John Fitzgerald
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      For the first 18 months of the coalition that is what I thought and I gave Dave the benefit of the doubt. However the events of the past months have left me with a bad taste in the mouth and I now doubt Dave’s credentials!

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted March 16, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        John Fitzgerald,
        I am afraid that, despite all the claims to the contrary, Cameron is just another Europhile and seems happier pleasing the LibDems than Conservatives.

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

          I note yet another of my responses awaits moderation. I wonder why?

  13. backofanenvelope
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Surely the Tory party had such a fishing policy. It was one of the first things Mr Cameron threw overboard when he became your leader. Perhaps you could publish the policy for us.

    • APL
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      backofanenvelope: “It was one of the first things Mr Cameron threw overboard when he became your leader. .. ”

      Yes, they did and Yes he did. But I guess Cameron has, after his pretend veto of the fictional treaty, has discovered two things.

      1. It’s easy to fool a large contingent of the Tory faithful to believe what they desperately want to believe, that the Tory party is a patriotic force in British politics. It is not.

      2. Thus it’s politically cost free to pretend to be pro British and anti European Union.

      As a result his experience tells him he can say anything, break any promise, pay lip service to any policy, ally his party with a parliamentary party whos policies are diametrically opposed to natural Tory policies , in the sure and certain knowledge that Tory rank and file will continue to vote for his disingenuous party.

      If you must vote Conservative, vote for the Independent Conservative candidate.

  14. Richard Jenkins
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    The giving away of the rights to UK fishing grounds is right up there with Gordon Brown’s sale of gold and PFI in the list of economic crimes committed against this country.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      And “Lending” to the PIGIS, windfarms, PV subsidies, the Olympics, HS2, Millennium dome, Majors ERM ……………………………

  15. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    “It is now up to the government to see what power they can bring back. They have aroused expectations.”

    Those expctations are unlikely to be met as long as we are in coalition with the LibDems. It follows that at some time before the next General Election, we must cut loose from the LibDems and define our own Conservative policy on Europe, including what power we shall reptriate from the EU.

    I have suggested that the right time is after the 2013 Budget has been turned into a Finance Act. We should then be a minority government prepared to accept the odd defeat. The LibDems will also want to recover their independence and their share of the vote. It shouldn’t be difficult to persuade them not to support a Labour no confidence motion. What do other people think?

    • uanime5
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      The Conservative leadership will never accept anything that won’t give them absolute control over Parliament and allows them to pass any law they desire.

  16. Disaffected
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    How long have we waited for something to be done about the Fisheries Policy and the CAP? How much of the rebate did Blair give away in the alleged hope he might secure change? Recently we saw how intransigent the Germans were about reclaiming powers and Cameron turned belly up. The veto that NEVER was clearly demonstrated the solidarity Cameron has for the EU. He prevented an EU referendum in October and he did not sign the fiscal compact for the national interest he did not sign it because the EU deadlock legislation would require an Eu referendum taking place. I hope in the fulness of time you will acknowledge and accept this, as you previously stated it looked like a veto to you. It was clearly not. He blocked backbenchers from calling for an Eu referendum. Back benchers were done up like kippers.

    Farmers are going out of business every day, it is a real tragedy for our infrastructure, landscape, employment. Unsurprisingly our EU counterparts do not comply with rigidly with EU regulation like our farmers, nor do they have enormous quangos to make sure farmers are compliant. However, the British public will consume the produce from the EU because the monopoly of supermarkets will buy where it is cheapest. Our farmers need help ASAP.

    Reply: there was never going to be a referednum on the Treaty he vetoed, as it did impose new obligations on the UK, the government claimed.

    • zorro
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      John, isn’t there an important ‘not’ missing before impose?


    • Disaffected
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      He did not veto any Treaty he simply did not sign it. Had he done so I trust you and others would argue there were new obligations and a referendum would be required. However, he bypassed his backbenchers to make sure the UK was in the EU.

  17. GJ Wyatt
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Fishing is an example of the “tragedy of the commons”. The problem is open-access competition for a depletable resource. Good husbandry is undermined by competition. Whereas in many contexts competition drives beneficient resource allocation, here it is detrimental. A well managed licensed monopoly (“boo” I hear) would nurture the fishery to yield returns in future years. I have attended seminars presented by fishing “experts” who fail to grasp this point.

    A dramatic example is the Californian sardine fishery which at its peak in the 1930s yielded 500000 tons of fish per year when it was controlled by a cartel, the Monterey Sardine Industries, Inc., but was completely fished out by 1952 largely because a court had found against the cartel in 1941 and encouraged open access fishing thereafter.

    • GJ Wyatt
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      the example comes from Jonathan H. Adler, “Conservation Through Collusion: Antitrust as an Obstacle to Marine Resource Conservation”, Washington and Lee Law Review vol 61,1, 2004.

      • Mark
        Posted March 16, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

        Elinor Ostrom won a Nobel in 2009 for her work in this area:

        There are some useful lessons for politicians from her analyses to rank alongside such as Ronald Coase (of the eponymous theorem) and Ken Arrow. Worth a little investigation if you haven’t encountered her work before.

      • uanime5
        Posted March 16, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

        I first became suspicious of this article when it mentioned sardine fishing was yielding 500,000 tons of fish per year in the 1930’s but had dropped to under 20,000 tons in the 1950’s. Surely if the problem was overfishing due to the larger number of fishermen having access to these waters there would be evidence that the number of tons of fish caught per year had dramatically increased, yet this article doesn’t contain any such figures.

        I suspect that the 500,000 tons of fish caught per year was unsustainable and that the number of tons of fish caught started to decline, not increase, after this cartel was broken up.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      The problem with monopolies and cartels is they keep catches low to ensure the price remains high. They also have no incentive to invest in more efficient fish catching technology.

      A better solution are sustainable quotas, which allow competition and prevent overfishing.

      • Mark
        Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

        That isn’t necessarily so. I suggest you read Ostrom’s lecture, where she shows that government set quotas for fishing (and other exploitable resources) often lead to far more problems than they solve. The fishermen themselves are often the best arbiters, particularly if they are “locals” who know each other through operating from the same port.

  18. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Once upon a time David Cameron allowed it to be believed that he supported repatriation of powers over fishing, but it was one of the earliest of his U-turns after he became leader.

    As recorded on December 7th 2005:

    “This is the policy that was first introduced by William Hague, refined by Iain Duncan-Smith and then brought to its final form in a letter from Michael Howard on 10 June 2004, when he declared that:

    “We are determined that the next Conservative government will establish national and local control over fishing. We intend to raise this in the Council of Ministers at the first opportunity and I believe we can achieve this through negotiation. However, should negotiations not succeed, it remains the case … that the British Parliament is supreme and we would introduce the necessary legislation to bring about full national and local control.”

    This declaration was given clothes by a detailed opposition green paper, launched on 10 January 2005 and, as of last night, still on the Conservative Party website, although probably not for very much longer.

    And when, today, expectant MPs of both sides of the House, look to assurances from Paterson that the policy, endorsed by three leaders in succession, is still in place, they will not get them. The “modern, compassionate” Conservatism of the new leader does not extend to the likes of the Cod Crusaders (left) or any British fishermen, their families or those who depend on them.”

  19. Leslie Singleton
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Agree 100%. We should inform the EU that we are going to take our fisheries back in say five years with adequate compensation and that’s that. Trouble is with all these meetings in Brussels and Strasburg and wherever else our representatives go native and worry too much about what the others think, instead of doing what is right. As you say, the fisheries policy is absurd.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Compensation? After being ripped off for decades, we pay compensation?

      • Bob
        Posted March 17, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        No, I think she means the EU pays reparation to the UK.

        Otherwise we may as well ask mugging victims to compensate their assailants and pay their dry cleaning bills. After all it was the victims blood that caused the stains on the assailants clothing!

    • BobE
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      They go native because they hope to get EU jobs and pensions in the future. Turkeys and Christmas!.

  20. Robert Eve
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    We just need to leave the EU.

    Nothing more – nothing less.

  21. Bob
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I’m sure the £15 admission fee is symbolically important but have you discussed extradition arrangements with the EU and the USA?
    Do you think it’s correct that Chris Tappin was sent to a US prison without any evidence being produced before an English Court?

    Reply: I have raised the issue of lop sided extradition with Mrs May in a meeting. I was pleased to see the PM opened up this matter with mr Obama, and will press them again to change the current arrangements.

    • John Fitzgerald
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      “I was pleased to see the PM opened up this matter with mr Obama, and will press them again to change the current arrangements.” And fetch Chris Tappin back?

    • Atlas
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      I too hope something good will come of Cameron’s meeting with Obama on the lop-sided nature of the Extradition Treaty. I think as a fundamental principle, nobody should be extradited from this country until the evidence is tested in a UK court – and I include the European Arrest Warrant in this.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

      Rather ironically the extradition agreements between UK and the USA was recently examined by a Government department and no changes were recommended.

    • APL
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      JR: ” .. and will press them again to change the current arrangements.”

      Good, I too think the asymmetric extradition agreements are wrong. The curse of Blair strikes again.

      Now if you can change the extradition treaty with the US, what about the iniquity of the EU arrest warrant. That should be abolished too.

      Reply: I agree, and some of us often make that point. The Coalition currently lacks appetite to tackle that.

  22. Winston Smith
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    I’m personally getting fed up reading about debates, discussions and general posturing over such issues. NOTHING WILL CHANGE. Two thirds of Tory MPs are lobby fodder careerists. They will not rock the boat whilst the present regime are in charge. All talk and no action. Everyone can do something. I will now offer my spare time and money to UKIP. The Cameroons are not going o be shifted from within. Lib/Lab/Con are all offering more of the same. The only differences are largely superficial.

    • BobE
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      If we strengthen the UKIP vote, then it might scare the two bigger parties enough to start to do something. UKIP don’t need to win but just represent a viable threat.

    • Bob
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      I came to that conclusion when Dave became Tory leader.

  23. forthurst
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    “One of my colleagues, arguing for subsidiarity rather than for freedom in these matters, said that the fish in British waters did not swim around with a UK flag on them.”

    Brussels exists to expropriate powers from our once sovereign nation. If our Parliament has any function at all, it is to expropriate conceded powers back and to prevent further power graps in future; thus someone sitting in Parliament making advocacy on Brussel’s behalf is a turncoat and traitor.

    Parliament exists not only to resist power graps from Brussels, but also from other organisations and individuals who feel our country is a soft touch which, unfortunately, it is, which is why we have less freedom, less control over our lives than those that our ancestors fought and won for us; they did that by putting our interests above all others.

    • Bob
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      ““One of my colleagues, arguing for subsidiarity rather than for freedom in these matters, said that the fish in British waters did not swim around with a UK flag on them.””

      True, although we used to have gun boats with British flags, until the Brussels puppets dismantled our navy .

  24. A Different Simon
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    The EU has made a balls up of fishing quotas everywhere in their jurisdiction .

    When told that some species of tuna were on the endangered list with stocks down to 5% of historic levels they went and increased the quota – after a whole lot of unauthentic “consultation” and head nodding .

  25. backofanenvelope
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    My plan for our fishing stocks would be simple. What’s left of the Royal Navy should inspect every foreign fishing boat in our national waters. I am sure that most of them are in breach of various EU rules. Escort them into a British port and hold them till they are legal in EU terms.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

      So detention without trial or any evidence of wrongdoing. Expect the UK to be harshly punished by the EU for not applying the same standards of mistreatment to UK ships.

  26. RCS
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    This is simply an example of the EU Commission’s capacity to generate Galactically stupid policies – the CFP, the CAP, Renewable Energy(!), Biofuels and of course the Euro.

    The problem is that, while everybody knows that EU policies are catastrophic, there seems to be no mechanism for revising them.

    The only solution is to leave the EU.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

      If everyone knows that EU policies are catastrophic why do the MEPs keep voting in favour of them?

      Also any EU law can be reversed by having the 27 European Commissioners drafting a new bill and having the European Parliament approve it. Treaty changes require the 27 leaders of EU countries to create a new treaty.

      • APL
        Posted March 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        uanime5: “any EU law can be reversed by having the 27 European Commissioners drafting a new bill ”

        Perhaps in principle, has it ever happened?

        And if so, what was the timeframe to implement the change?

        • uanime5
          Posted March 17, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

          Not often as legislators tend to amend laws rather than scrap them. The same thing happens in the UK.

          • APL
            Posted March 18, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

            uanime5: “The same thing happens in the UK. ”

            The point I was trying to get across was,

            In principle it should be able to happen in the EU, but given that a regulation made by the EU may have been concieved by an obscure committee fifteen years ago, gone the rounds of bureaucratic scrutiny and been amended, pork added and passed through all the levels of the EU process, it may take a decade to get through the legislative process.

            By contrast a law in the UK parliament may take a maximum of five years – given the term of a parliament, but actually it takes a much much shorter time. Because the legislative session in the UK parliament is usually a season. So three months to get a law on to the statute book.

            I assert that it could take a similar time to repeal the same law if the UK were able to act independently.

            Now I grant you don’t often hear of laws being repealed in the UK these days, but I also assert that is because the UK parliament is little more than the bit of the sausage machine that puts the skin over the ground meat that issues from the European Union legislature.

  27. Martin
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    The assumption on here that the CFP is the sole (sorry) and only cause of the fishing industries shrinkage are way off the mark.

    The price of fuel oil had been a major blow to much of the industry.

    What you also have to indicate is how you plan to conserve fish stocks. For example the SNP have been moaning about EU catch rules for years but have never come up with any viable alternative. If folk don’t like discard rules then I suspect the alternative is a politically difficult 100% exclusion zone.

    Those who support some sort of UK only free for all should note what happened to the Grand Banks fisheries off Canada.

  28. nicol sinclair
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree with your comments Mr Redwood. In the case of the CAP & CFP, we should tell the EU/EC to bugger off.

  29. peter davies
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Well put John – it all comes back to that referendum. These are the types of issues that could be put to the UK public in a single referendum, then the govt would have the authority to go to the EU and point out that they are only carrying out the wishes of the british people

  30. Bickers
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    The Euro debacle has shown those who take an interest in our Country’s sovereignty that the EU/Euro is run mainly for benefit of France & Germany, by France and Germany. It was telling that the big decisions on bailing out the Euro were taken by Merkozy.

    It’s difficult to know what the benefits of membership are anymore, in exchange for what we contribute and the subjugation of our lives and economy to Brussels. We’d be better off out and trade with the EU as does the rest of World (very successfully) under WTO rules. The UK buys much more from the EU than vice-versa, therefore any scare stories emanating from Brussels (and the BBC) regarding the repercussions of our leaving would be so much bluster.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

      Under WTO rules the EU can impose quotas on trade from other countries, such as China’s textile quota. The WTO also didn’t stop the USA from introducing an embargo on EU steel or punish the USA after this embargo was twice ruled illegal. Don’t expect the WTO to protect the UK.

      The fact that the UK buys much more from the EU than vice-versa overlooks the fact that the UK is 1 country, while the rest of the EU is 26 countries. So the losses from not trading with the UK will be shared among these 26 EU countries, while the UK will suffer the lose of 26 markets. Given that 53% of the UK’s exports go to the EU, and account for £140 billion or 10% of GDP the repercussions of not trading with the EU will be catastrophic for the UK.

  31. REPay
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I seem to recall that the EEC, as it then was, added an unnegotiated clause about access to UK fishing grounds. This piece of last minute skullduggery should be brought up in any discussions. (I heard Ted Heath in an address to a Bow Group dinner say that part of his negotiating stance with Pompidou, in the days when Germany paid for and France ran the EEC, that money was not a prime consideration.) Clearly that meant open season on our fishing grounds…

    • REPay
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      sorry meant to say the clause was added they day before accession to the EEC.

  32. A.Sedgwick
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    “I want the full power back to decide on who has access and on what terms”.

    This is never going to happen whilst we are in the EU. The CFP and CAP are load bearing walls of the EU structure and will remain a requirement of membership/subjugation.

  33. Alfred E PHILP
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    How about adding justice to the list?

  34. John K
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink


    You do not strike me as being a stupid man, far from it. Why then, do you waste your time with the fantasy that the EU will cede any element of control under the CFP back to Britain? The whole point of the EU is that once something is an EU competence, it stays there. The function of the EU is to drain sovereignty from the nations, not to give it back.

    You must surely know that Cameron has no heart for this fight, and will never take back any powers from the EU. Indeed, the action of taking back powers from the EU is tantamount to resigning from the EU, and that is what we must do, and that is what Cameron will never do. You can be in the EU, or you can be a self-governing nation, but you can’t be both.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      Ah, John K.

      Mr Redwood may well be flogging a dead horse over fishing territories and they may well be lost beyond recovery…

      … but doesn’t pushing such an impossible issue provide a salutory lesson in what the EU might do to our banking district and how impossible it would be to get that back ?

  35. Alan Radford
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Edward ‘hullo sailor’ Heath gave away the natural wealth that belonged to the UK, destroyed the fishing industry and eliminated thousands of jobs to curry some slight political favour for himself.

    Every politician today afraid to repatriate our fishing waters is complicit in the same act of treason. Isn’t that right, Dave?

  36. fkc
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    I applaud your efforts to bring our governance back to to our parliament. Our country is being hampered at every turn by edicts from Brussels,many of which make little sense. Could we stop giving money to Brussels – what would they do if we did! Happy thought.

  37. zorro
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    So very true, no matter what is done, however small, Cameron will marginalise the Eurosceptics. It’s a difficult situation. I am only sure of one thing. Cameron has no real intention of repatriating anything.


  38. uanime5
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Well the UK can always try to gain support for a new law in the EU that will outlaw discards. If the Common Fisheries Policy is as bad as you claim it is then the UK should have very few problems convincing other to change it.

    • Bob
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Come on uanime5, join the fight:

      • uanime5
        Posted March 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        I’ve signed the petition. Good to see their are groups working with MEPs and other EU politicians to change the law.

        It seems the main opponents to banning discards are France and Spain.

        • Mark
          Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

          Good too see you doing something sensible.

        • APL
          Posted March 18, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

          uanime5: “Good to see their are groups working with MEPs and other EU politicians to change the law.”

          I don’t think you understand.

          The law relating to fishing issue from the authority ceeded by Edward Heath when the UK joined the EEC (now the EU) in 1973. Thirty nine years ago!

          Since as Mr Redwood never fails to point out, the UK parliament has no appetite to change the basic treaties that constitute our membership of the European Union.

          Thus our ability to change the law which is the cause of over fishing might take another thirty nine years.

          If you really do have a concern about fish stocks in what were our territorial waters, that thought should really give you cause for concern.

  39. Tom William
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately it is not just David Cameron who promised to repatriate the CFP, nor was it William Hague who first thought of it. For at least 20 years (maybe more) the Conservative manifesto has promised this.

    They must have known (at least one would hope so, and they were fooling us) that this is IMPOSSIBLE because of the acquis communitaire. To repatriate the CFP would mean leaving the EU. If only….

  40. Barbara Stevens
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    The EU as expoited our fishing grounds while allowing Spanish fishermen to gather more quotas then they should, we should withdraw from this silly arrangement and have our 200 mile radius round our shores for our fishermen, so they can rebuild the industry once more. Who cares what they want, we are an island and once we had a proud fishing industry which the EU with there stupid laws have eroded over the years. Just drop the Fishing policy and go it alone, if they have the courage to do it. UKIP, will drop it and allow our fishermen the freedom to fish responsibly as they’ve always done. Of course it won’t happen while the millstone of the EU is round their necks, and we haven’t MPs with enough courage to say, ‘we’re out and our fishermen can have their fishing grounds back’. If you can find enough MPs with enough courage John I’ll salute you and so would he fishermen and the public.

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  • 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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