A way out in Europe?

 

        Yesterday I spent the morning being interviewed by Danny Finklestein at an event at One Birdcage Walk discussing the economic future and the future of Wall Street and London as world markets. I joined a panel in the afternoon at the FT/You Gov conference on the future of the EU.

           We had before us the polling from You Gov which shows that a large majority of UK voters now wish to see a return of powers from the EU in all the major areas. It shows majority opinion is against any further integration of the UK with the EU, and in favour of a new looser relationship of the kind I have been arguing for. I was asked by Irish and German representatives why I did not argue for the UK playing a more central role in the EU, and introducing our famous  democracy into it. Even strong protagonists of EU integration are sensing the absence of proper democratic accountability is a growing threat to the fabric of the Union.

             I explained that most UK people had no wish to be drawn into a deeper EU Union, and most of us wished to have many powers back so we govern ourselves again. I explained the irony in their remarks. The very cause of damage to our democracy, the EU and its growing power, is now urging us to sacrifice even more of our remaining self government in order to introduce democracy to the EU! I can’t see how that would work. If you want a democracy first find a demos. Who is the demos in the EU? Haven’t they noticed the sharp differences of opinion between countries, and growing tensions between countries that the Euro is fostering?

            During the course of the exchanges I explained that the big majority of the UK electorate is now Eurosceptic. Some wish to leave the EU immediately. Others wish to negotiate a new relationship, taking powers back, but retaining common trading arrangements and the capacity for some joint action where it is volunteered by all parties. Very few wish to join the Euro.  All understand that joining the Euro is the big step, the one which requires a country to join a political union to back up the ailing currency.

              We were asked to forecast what might happen. I would be interested to hear your views on what might happen, rather than on what you would like to happen.

1. How many members of the Euro  will there be in 2020?

2. What relationship will the UK have with the EU in 2020?

3. Will the EU move to an elected President?

4. Those who want the Uk simply to exit might like to tell us how they think this could come about, given the present parties and voting patterns.

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123 Comments

  1. Duyfken
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    1. If it still exists at that stage, probably just a rump of half-a-dozen or less.

    2. Distant, and no longer a member.

    3. Of little importance.

    4. Although I want the UK to withdraw from the EU, it is not up to a lay person such as myself to provide a plan to implement it – that is the job of our elected representatives! But I suggest it will come about only when some cataclysmic event in Europe triggers a change of heart within the parliamentary Parties – hopefully within the next 8 years.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    As you say:

    If you want a democracy first find a demos.
    Even strong protagonists of EU integration are sensing the absence of proper (SURELY ANY) democratic accountability is a growing threat to the fabric of the Union.

    The questions you pose are impossible to answer. I tend to think that with Cameron and the current powers that be both in the EU and UK that we will end up subsumed into a dis-functional, totally undemocratic oppression of the people, by an uncontrolled state and it will end in much blood. Doubtless we will still have to listen to Major, Patten, Heseltine, Blair, Cameron and the other causers of the bloodshed, on the BBC explaining (in their usual I am talking to dim 5 year old’s way) where it all went wrong and what the solutions are. This as the blood and bodies lie all around. The BBC will also doubtless be making documentaries on the great green scam/delusion. Ignoring, of course, their key role in the scam.

    It is not just in the UK they want a looser arrangement either. It is in France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Ireland and even Germany.

    Still on a brighter note Osbourne (at last) wants to make state sector pay regional as clearly needs to be done. The unions have used a shortage in some tiny areas to push up pay all over and it needs to stop. You also need to pay teacher by subject and regional supply and demand. Otherwise you have as now few decent physics & maths teachers.

    You cannot go on paying the state sector (including pensions & benefits) nearly twice the going rate just so they can (in the main) inconvenience and over tax the wealth creators on half their pay.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      The government puts the average gap between state and private sector pay is 5.2 per cent. But in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland it is 10.6 per cent, 7.6 per cent in the North, but in the South East just 1.3 per cent.

      These I assume do not take into account the better pensions on top of this. With this the difference is often well over 50% higher. Then they usually take more sick days and get better pay offs, working hours and terms and conditions too.

      It would be interesting to see what pay reductions (if any) the BBC made in moving to Salford&Manchester where houses prices are well under a third of those in West London. I assume none given the BBC’s record.

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Unlike central London, where there are pockets of high wealth residential areas i.e. Islington, Maida Vale, Chelsea etc., high waged workers in Manchester/Salford live in areas such as Hale, Bowdon, Prestbury, Knutsford etc. I can assure you the properties there are a similar price to those in the South East if not more so if you compare like for like locations (and measures such as good none selective state schools) and availability.

        • lifelogic
          Posted March 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

          I am not convinced similar size properties in Hale, Bowdon, Prestbury, Knutsford are as expensive as Hampstead, Chelsea or Notting Hill. Anyway it would be good for the BBC, champagne, lefty types to get in touch with reality for a change. Perhaps taking homes in some of the poorer bits of Salford or the old mill towns north of Manchester. It would do them all good.

          • Bazman
            Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

            The point is that there is some very expensive areas in the north and to use the London house price market which is artificially inflated by wealth foreigners to push down the wages of millions of public workers across the country is outrageous. Should people in one of the richest countries in the world live in poverty? A fundamental question. As I have pointed out to you before the idea of a British peasant living off the land is a not real.
            What about champagne fantasists like yourself living a right wing wonderland of the market and never having to live in the realities of your beliefs.? Ram it

          • lifelogic
            Posted March 18, 2012 at 4:25 am | Permalink

            Of course there are expensive areas in the north I grew up in the north and know that only too well. Nevertheless on average, for similar houses, the North is much, much cheaper than London just look at the land registry or Halifax figures.

      • uanime5
        Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        I wasn’t aware there were private police officer, firefighters, and judges to compare salaries to.

        Also if state teachers and nurses earn on average 5.2 per cent more than their private sector counterparts why do people want to work in private hospitals or schools?

        • lifelogic
          Posted March 18, 2012 at 4:22 am | Permalink

          There are certainly comparable jobs in the private sector.

          Why work in the private sector – well perhaps because they are more pleasant places to work and far better run in general and less frustrating. Perhaps they feel their time is put to far better use and they are doing more good there.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      I think Osborne’s regional sector pay move is dangerous. If there is not total privatisation, or at least a removal of all payscales (so at least each individual negotiates his/her own) then regionality becomes another (/is an increased) area for Government patronage. I believe these third way approaches are dangerous.

      Removing all payscales with a shift to individual negotiation, but for this to happen union strength might need to be weakened. In several careers some are members of unions because the employer fails to protect them (e.g. pupils and students being favoured over teachers nad lecturers), and so union membership is needed. Govt first needs to act on this necessity union membership.

      Removing national payscales is a good aim, but the pathway has to be carefully considered, who knows whether Mr Osborne has the knowledge set / ability for this?

      (Mind you, politically the Govt does manage to fog the signals – localisation and yet rebalancing, and now regionalisation.)

      • Disaffected
        Posted March 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        A financial catastrophe will do the job: no growth, industrial collapse, unbearable unemployment while the state cannot provide- a bit more serious than Greece at the moment, not a lot, just a bit more.

        No wonder Spain is refusing to strictly comply with the orders from the EU masters. Not much time for them before collapse beckons.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

          Once Spain needs a bailout they’ll obey everything the EU tells them.

        • Bazman
          Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

          What you will see is a social catastrophe by creating an even more divided and unequal country as wages plummet and a mass exodus of which has largely happened from north to south of anyone young enough and smart enough to move. I moved from a geographically isolated blackspot in the 90′ to a growing town and area and see many people who have done the same.

    • Bazman
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Prices are pretty much the same all over the country. Remind us what is cheaper. Housing? Oh really? Rent is about the same and The cheapest houses in the North are around 100k. Fuel? No. Food? No. Etc etc. This is just an excuse to lower pay in areas of high unemployment. Will this lead to large pay rises for cleaners working in central London? You know the answer. In keeping with your ideology of making the desperate more desperate and thinking that some good will come out of it. A race to the bottom, but as we have discovered you do not understand what this is.

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        The bed terrace in Shepherds Bush/White City circa £550K three bed terrace Salford under £100K what are you talking about?

        • Bazman
          Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

          Central London. What about the rest of the prices?

          • lifelogic
            Posted March 18, 2012 at 4:29 am | Permalink

            Nonsense rents are much higher in London too and comparing similar houses the South East is far more expensive than the North just look at the statistics for one.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Osbourne is of course two years too late with this regional pay proposal. Will he get it actually in place before he loses the next election? – He is also too late with the abolition of 50%, the easy hire and fire, halving the state sector, charging for the NHS, the extra runways, cheap energy and all the rest that is so clearly needed to get some real growth.

    • Disaffected
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Until politicians learn to be honest and act with integrity your question is impossible to answer. Who would believe a word Mr Clegg says after all the false promises he made? Who would believe Mr Cameron after all his cast Iron U turns and his specious language? And no one at the moment will believe Labour because of Mr Brown’s personality failings and Blaire’s Iraq war. There are those who will vote Labour because they have always voted Labour. And that is where the other two parties will be at disadvantage in 2015.

      The best possible prediction I could offer is that a crisis in one of the European countries will trigger an event that is impossible to overlook and set in train the collapse of the EU as we know it and some spineless MP will claim it was their view all the time. Then all the parties will claim they were Eurosceptic all along- accept those present and past who personally benefit from the EUs existence and they will do all they can to keep it.

      Cleanse Westminster of corruption, greed and self-serving interest; convince the public that standards of honesty and integrity exist in Parliament would be the first step in convincing people that their vote is not wasted, MPs will act in their constituents interest and Governments will act in the national interest. Until then ministries, your select committees and the political machinery are expensive and totally pointless. All these will achieve nothing. You could discuss Fisheries again in a select committee, but it will not achieve anything.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      If below 50% of the population vote in a UK election does this mean that there isn’t a demos?

      Also expect the Conservatives to lose a lot of votes in areas where people’s pay is frozen so that private companies can get away with not paying a living wage. It seems losing votes in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland wasn’t enough for the Conservatives as they’re now trying to lose votes in the north and west of England as well.

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        No it isn’t the demos if the voting population do not speak the same language, have no clear common grounds or interests to pursue and defend.

        If one lot speak French and want endless CAP subsidy for their farms over regulation and a huge state and the other lot speak English and don’t. One lot wants to vote for a French politician and the other lot don’t understand a word – then like the EU is not really a functioning demos. It is just a war by another name and with, hopefully, fewer bodies.

    • Timaction
      Posted March 18, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Political necessity will drive change. So if UKIP start to gain significant numbers in the 2014 Euro elections our mainstream Lib/Lab/Con Europhiles will start to talk about change but in reality do nothing as always. The only answer is a vote for conservative ideas and values (UKIP) even if it means more of Labour. It will take true poverty and civil unrest to make any real differences. Cameron is more interested in gay marriage and banning Christian crosses (not Burkas) than Europe or anything else. Osborne would rather be in America fanning his ego than preparing a budget. I don’t recognise the current Conservative leaders as Tory in their policies and actions any longer.
      After two years where are we on any of the major Tory issues of concern?
      Public spending up, no growth, immigration up, foreign and EU aid up, no reform or repatriation of any powers from the EU e.g. fisheries and agriculture (the latter was purportedly why “President”Blair gave up our rebate), EU employment interference, EUHR interference, Human Rights reform (none), the world health, education and housing costs up. Most of our Cities are now foreign places.
      The Lib Dem led Coaltion is not doing very well.

      Reply: UKIP got a higher share of the vote in the last European elections, and some MEPs elected, but they made no helpful difference thanks to their conduct and the abiltiy of the European Parliament to marginalise them.

  3. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    How many members of the Euro will there be in 2020?
    27.

    2. What relationship will the UK have with the EU in 2020?
    It will be drawn even closer into Europe which will become increasingly dominated by Germany and France. The CAP, fishing rights and the Euro will remain the bedrock of the EU, unquestioned, undiscussed, inviolable.

    3. Will the EU move to an elected President?
    In no way. And the Commission, too, will have its own President who may, or may not, be the same person. The danger is that a really horrible person might get chosen who will start using the existing powers (in a famine, war or economic collapse). President Rumpuy’s scornful, wrinkled nose when attacked by Nigel Farage told me a lot.

    4. Those who want the Uk simply to exit might like to tell us how they think this could come about, given the present parties and voting patterns.
    I honestly do not think leaving is possible given the umbilical links between Berlaymont and our all powerful Civil Service. Governments come and go, but the Civil Service remains and it is very, very skilful. Most of our laws are now simply passed down through Berlaymont and it would mean unravelling our entire legal system, our civil service, our Ministerial responsibilities, our banking system and our laws governing employment and work.

    O tempora – O mores! (Latin cry of despair in case you think I approve).

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      What a defeatist you are. Perhaps being an adherent of the Church of Rome makes it easier for you. As for point 4, do not despair. Read up the story of how Alexander the Great undid the Gordian knot.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      The Commission already has a president; José Manuel Barroso. He was re-elected in 2009 for a further 5 years by the European Parliament.

      Also what ‘existing powers’ are you worried about the EU President using? All the current 3 presidents do is chair meetings.

  4. Caterpillar
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    4.

    (a) All eurosceptic Tories (and non-Tories, irrespective of party) to come out and campaign for UKIP candidate Lawrence Webb in London Mayoral elections, 3 months before global coverage of Olympics.

    (b) Change general election system to mixed member proportional represnetation.

    3. Don’t know
    2. Independent Scotland will be a member. EWNI unclear.
    1. Zero, over 25 or split into Northern Euro and Med-Euro.

  5. Bernard Otway
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    I was in South Africa from 1980 until 2008,therefore during Apartheid ,the state of emergency after P.W.Botha’s RUBICON speech at Durban city hall,where I was actually present,AND I was married to an Afrikaner in 1985 who had a very large extended family.
    All of whom plus the wider white electorate said IF the non whites took over there would be Chaos or as I put it to them “they thought “”THE SKY WOULD FALL IN” “. I said it definitely would not and explained in detail WHY. I exited that marriage in 1988 and by 1994,I was married to a “COLOURED” South African lady breaking Apartheid LAW,in the run up to
    the election of 1994 when Mr Mandela was elected President and the ANC took over,many south africans including a lot of non white Coloureds and Indians,they also mostly thought the ‘SKY WOULD FALL IN” and panic bought candles in case the electricity failed when the ANC took over and food etc etc,I did NOT and explained to all my non white relatives “WHY”,my ONE concession to my wife was to buy two parafin lamps and fuel,
    in the ensuing events NOTHING happened AND SA”s stock in the world went up,these LAMPS I then called our MANDELA lamps and we still have them to this day in pride of place,we will donate them to a museum somewhere soon with their STORY as a reminder.
    The same goes for our membership of the EU and all that this entails we must UNILATERALLY pull out ASAP,I predict we will “FLY LIKE A BIRD”,BUT CAVEAT
    all the political class with a few exceptions are doubting THOMASES and too wedded to the status quo with some eyeing future high office or jobs in this DOOMSDAY machine called the EU,and are like rabbits caught in the headlights,the DENUEMENT when it comes of them will not be PRETTY,my wife does not call me a PROPHET for nothing,mark my words.

    • Bob
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink


      “Nothing so much prevents men from entering the strait gate, and becoming true followers of Christ, as the carnal, soothing, flattering doctrines of those who oppose the truth. They may be known by the drift and effects of their doctrines.”

      Matthew Henry

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

      I fear for SA when Mandela goes. I wouldn’t want to be there, that’s for sure.

      • Disaffected
        Posted March 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        Mandela is heralded as the saviour, but what has he done to change the disproportionate amount of black poverty and white wealth as well as changing the status quo so that black people have jobs equally as good as the white people? Not a lot springs to mind despite the hype. I suspect he might be a nice fella, but not a lot of change to the financial situation and jobs inequality. His family appeared to have raised their standards though.

  6. Bill
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    John, I would say that the best way to answer some of these questions is to look at polling data among young Europeans. I have seen figures which suggest two basic reaction (a) among highly educated and confident young people who speak more than one language (the top 5 or 10%, say) the EU is a place of opportunity (b) among others it provides an excuse for people from other countries to come in and take the jobs they want.

    The big spur to social change in the 1930s was massive unemployment. While this remains at manageable levels, the EU will surely continue as it is. If unemployment rises, people will either leave (as Greek doctors or Irish computer engineers go to Australia) or demonstrate on the streets and eventually force change. The disaffected many will force the hands of the elite minority.

    I should be amazed if the current generation of EU bureaucrats voluntarily surrender a particle of their power.

  7. colliemum
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    I don’t think we can ‘guess’ what the state of the UK and the EU will look like in 2020, it is an exercise in futility. After all, events have a way of messing up such predictions.

    It is far more interesting to take the You gov poll, which says that “a large majority of UK voters now wish to see a return of powers from the EU in all the major areas” and look at your question No 4.

    Don’t you think that it is time for the ‘present’ parties in Parliament to take notice of the opinion of their constituents and start thinking and voting on what they want? As you must know, they/we ask for an in/out referendum.
    One would like to think that Parliament and government might recall that it is they, representing us, who supposedly tell the administration, that is the mandarins of Whitehall, what to do.

    Therefore, those who got us in – those who did the negotiations – can work on how to get us out. If this takes the form of a slow withdrawal, of a lessening of our involvement, then, as long as there is a time table, that is the way it will be.

    Perhaps – one can dream – it will even encourage other EU countries to re-negotiate their involvement.

    Reply Some of us do what you ask – but remember the large defeat we suffered when proposing a referendum recently.
    After all, being ‘governed’ by the commissars of the EU without their being accountable at all to anybody, in the EU as a whole or in their own countries, is not democratic.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Indeed JR it is “not democratic” but clearly the government & most MPs like it to be “not democratic” and seem determined for this condition to remain. They are happy to say one thing at elections and do the opposite in power.

    • Bob
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      You suffered a defeat on the referendum vote because the three main parties invoked a three line whip.

      Cameron and Clegg’s posture prior to attaining office misled the public to believe that they would favour a referendum. Pure deceit.

      Judge them not by what they say, but rather by what they do.

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        Indeed and what they do is appoint Heseltine, Clark & Lord Patten the direction is clear.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      John what do you mean by ‘commissars of the EU’? If you’re referring to the 27 European Commissioners they have to be nominated by their member state, approved by the European Parliament, and can be fired on mass if the European Parliament passes a vote of no confidence. Ministers in the UK are far less accountable they don’t need the approval of Parliament.

      It’s been proposed by the European Parliament President that Commissioners should be directly elected by member states, rather than nominated by the leaders of these member state. In your view would this make them more or less accountable?

  8. Mike Stanley
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    My guess is that the number of EU members might increase by one or two, Serbia for instance. The attractions of the EU to Eastern European countries is quite strong. They want to reinforce their democracy, provide a bulwark against Russia and may hope to take advantage of economic opportunities they think the EU offers – even though the latter may be illusory.

    I fear that the UK’s relationship with the EU is likely to be much the same as now. Unless there is a crisis most electors are happy to ignore the EU and what it is doing to the UK and the authority of Parliament. While the UK public is broadly eurosceptic the large majority of elected politicians seem reluctant to rock the boat. The forces of inertia are powerful.

    It would not surprise me if there was an elected President. The conceit, ambition and detachment from the public mood of the EU elite knows no limit.

    If it is accepted that the Conservatives will remain largely Eurosceptic, the way forward will have to rest with Labour. They are showing signs of panic in that they are not inspiring the public to vote for them and might look for a populist cause to appeal to the electorate. There is no hope that the Liberals will take a sharp Eurosceptic turn, although there are more Liberal Eurosceptics than many people realise.

    • Bob
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      @Mike Stanley
      “there are more Liberal Eurosceptics than many people realise”

      Where did you get that idea from?

      The is the party that allowed the EU Constitution through by abstaining from the vote and claiming that nothing less than a full in or out referendum would do.

      They are all MEPs in waiting and the simple reality is that they do not trust the electorate.

  9. Martin K
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    4. When Italy and Spain find there is no magic Greek style write off of debt and implode the UK might wake up and wave goodbye.

  10. A.Sedgwick
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    The EU will implode when the few contributing countries’ electorates and establishments can impress on their governing parties sufficiently that they can neither afford or want to continue to finance the many freeloading states directly or indirectly by funding their emigres, nor to obey the regulations, laws and bureaucracy emanating from Brussels. It is akin to the realisation here by our political parties that the benefit system has to change. We have been in the phase for some years where the public knows the EU is a disaster but Government has yet to get the message, just like Afghanistan but not as tragic.

    How will it by happen? Much as you deride UKIP it is the catalyst for our exit and I suggest you will look back and realise this – maybe you really think this already. The mechanism will be the European Elections, which reflect the will of the people more than our General Elections. Ironic that the undemocratic EU gives us the best chance of expressing our views. UKIP in 2014 will win the most seats, unless the Labour Party makes a decision prior to commit to an in/out referendum. I suspect they will wait to see the result and it will be in their 2015 Election Manifesto. The Labour Party/Trade Unions are nothing if not streetwise and opportunistic. Cameron will lose but he has got his five years in power – job done. UKIP and the real Conservative Party could emerge as a single unit and the Cameroons end up with the 10% Liberals.

    • Bob
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      The Tories are two parties in one, and they’re both pulling in different directions, but the Libertories outnumber the Conservatories.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      A.Sedgwick

      I certainly agree with your first paragraph that the peoples of Europe will eventually decide that politicians of the present Parties in control are out of touch, and that perhaps newer opposition Parties (like UKIP in the UK) will either form or grow stronger, as more and more people realise that nobody in the present system will want change or give up their power.

      UKIP and other like Parties itself may never get into power, but its threat is that it will eventually take a huge amount of votes from the existing parties (due to voter exasperation with present policies) to such an extent that the growing threat of losing votes to such like organisations will eventually change the thinking within the existing parties.

      How long will it all take ?.
      No idea.

      How many will be at the core of Europe ?
      Again no idea, but I would forecast fewer than now, as more and more countries realise they have been hoodwinked with financial gifts and incentives that will eventually require payback in loss of self determination.

      One thing is for sure Germans and the UK populations are getting fed up with paying, if many of my recent conversations whilst on holiday recently are of any guide.

      I just hope we wise up, sooner rather than later.

      Keep up the good work John.

  11. Stewart Knight
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    In answer to 1 I would say I have no idea and it very much depends on the fortunes of the French and the capacity of the German people to finance the smaller and more profligate economies. I think Greece should be out now, and Ireland and Portugal, with Spain a possibility and Italy too, but they are being held in by the French, and I do think it is the French and not the Germans driving the determination to hold on to the Euro, both economically and politically. Without the Euro, and other benefits, like CAP, the French would be just as much a basket case as Greece and they must at all costs, any costs, stay in the Euro and at the centre of EU decision making. France takes almost 60% of the CAP herself, and given the size of CAP subsidies inside the EU budget, means France alone takes almost 40% of the whole EU budget, and we wonder why other, smaller economies are struggling? The upshot of all this waffle is that what we do is very much a sideshow and subsidiary to what France and Germany are determined to make happen. I hope the EU as a political union will collapse and the Euro with it, but don’t think it will as France and Germany will cling on to it.

    As to 2, I think we will get ever closer to the EU and little will have changed by 2020 as Cameron, along with most senior politicians, have no idea or inkling of what serving the masses means and will continue to pander to the minorities of the UK, including europhiles, as they seek to scrabble for every grubby vote and take for granted their voter base. They have no idea what it is like in the real world. Privatise the BBC or renegotiate the relationship with the EU…….they will make the right noises and spout platitudes and give the impression of doing the right thing and what the people want and demand, but will make every attempt to maintain the status quo…that is why you’ll find Osborne and the like rubbing shoulders with Mandelson and his ilk. No Mr Redwood, little will have changed except to keep the masses from rebellion.

    3 has already been implemented anyway; Rompey can enact it at any time and wait for it to happen as an addition at the next elections following a Brussels diktat.

    Parties and voting patterns? What relevance do they have apart from how they resist the will of the people? The EU doesn’t hold our monetary reserves yet, so short of war have little real power to stop us doing anything we want. But what we want and what the liberal and political elite who know little of the real world actually do and support is two different thing.

    The EU is doomed in the long term, but 2020?

  12. CLOG
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    No John,No John,No John No,We don,t want looser ties we want out.If we want to make a trade treaty or defence treaty or any other treaty we can sign up with individual countries of our choice.We don,t need a central arbitter or parliament to do that,that is like an overblown comittee that meets every week and feels obliged to bring up something in order to account for they,re position.usually complete tosh.It,s bad enough being subjucated to some authoritarian office you can get to vote out every 5 years without looking down the federal route.As for how to leave just stop paying the rent they,ll soon ask us to leave.

    Reply: Try reading what I write. I said many now want out completely. Remember I voted No in 1975, because I read the Treaty of Rome and realised this was not just the Common market described to us by the leaders then. The issue for those who want out, is how do you think it will happen, given current voting patterns and the composition of Parliament? I and some of my colleagues wish to have a new referendum on the issue of the EU, but we were recently heavily defeated when putting forward that proposal.

    • Bob
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      You would not have been heavily defeated if your leaders had allowed a free vote.

  13. Alan Wheatley
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    As to the UK’s exit from the EU, the primary requirement has to be a substantial majority of the population saying that is what they want to happen; probably nearer 2/3rds rather than just over half if exit is to be a unifying event rather than a divisive one.

    Given that members of parliament are elected to represent their constituents it should follow that the majority view in the electorate will be reflected by a majority view in the Commons. Electors can choose which candidate they think will best achieve this.

    Much will depend on what happens between now and a 2015 general election. The UK demos should be active on the EU and the impact on the UK. Those that are pressing for the UK to leave the EU must not just highlight all the ills of UK membership but paint a picture of the UK outside the EU that is far more attractive. There may be a dominant view that life in the “frying pan” is not liked, but when it comes to the election the voter has to be confident that the leap is not into a “fire” but somewhere far more attractive. The Commonwealth is the obvious and best place for a happy landing; indeed it looks like the future where as the EU is stagnant and backward looking.

    No doubt the three main parties will try and put the dampener on the EU as a demos topic, like they did at the last general election. The vital demos ingredient next time could the 2014 EU elections for, as we all know, the European Parliament counts for nothing and so is an ideal opportunity to kick the establishment and there by force the EU front and centre.

  14. Martin Cole
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Questions 1 and 2 do not require my guesswork.

    Question 3 on an elected President I would guess such will probably be introduced as a token response to the democratic deficit as once conside by VdGd’E in his convention. A useless sop IMO!

    Question 4 the interesting bit. The present UK, its system of governance, its national structures, its faith in the monarchy, civil service and present political parties are all in the process of being destroyed by the reality of what the EU has become.

    Elected Mayors and English independence following devolution possibly involving ancient concepts such as lawful rebellion might play their part!

    On the other hand our MPs could begin to perform the functions for which we pay them, ie by first restoring parliamentary governance.

  15. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    I presume you mean what is most likely to happen rather than what “might happen”. Who knows and, just like the EU, I am more interested in seeing the result I want than any other. Talk of democracy and the EU is an oxymoron. This is an institution which is not just undemocratic it is anti democratic. As for our “famous democracy” your party leader shows scant regard for that. There will be no movement to bring back powers in this parliament as it is prohibited by the coalition agreement so please stop talking as though this was possible when it is not even under consideration. Ever since membership of this authoritarian regime was first raised, the British people have been lied to by politicians about what it means. I remain convinced that one day the whole thing will result in the very opposite of what was claimed to be its main purpose and rather than promote peace and harmony it will provoke unrest and violence.

  16. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    OK, I have read all the above comments (including my own) and can see broad agreement on the fact that the EU will still be there in roughly the same form in 2020.
    I also see resignation and total lack of enthusiasm for the European project.
    I take your point about the political situation not being right and I take the point about the recent defeat. I also know that the EU is an unmentionable topic.

    So let me ask once more – what do you Conservative politicians intend to do about it? Beyond, that is, what you are already doing about it? (UKIP is not a viable option at the moment – I agree). We seem to be haunted by the (Conservative) Mr Heath.

  17. Leslie Singleton
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    1. How many members of the Euro will there be in 2020? TWO OR THREE FEWER THAN NOW

    2. What relationship will the UK have with the EU in 2020? NEGOTIATED FREE TRADE

    3. Will the EU move to an elected President? NO

    4. Those who want the Uk simply to exit might like to tell us how they think this could come about, given the present parties and voting patterns. REFERENDUM WITH VARIOUS OPTIONS AND PROCEED ACCORDINGLY

  18. frank Salmon
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    We will probably leave the EU only when we are forced out – as with the ERM. Unfortunately we will have to wait for the markets to give us the wake up call, or hope for a politically cataclysmic event…. It won’t happen through democratic means because there are too many vested interests in the UK and in Europe.

  19. John Bracewell
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    4. Only a catastrophic event, probably related to the Euro currency causing massive recession and rebellion in probably the Med Euro countries, will ever stimulate a UK government to cut ties with the EU. The event would have to be serious enough to render the so-called current economic advantage totally transparent so that it can be seen for what it is, a drag on the UK’s trading with non-EU countries. Especially if the proposed ‘solution’ to that significant event is more political union in the EU as they seem to have decreed during the latest Euro debacle.

    The other 3 questions are insignificant and irrelevant.

  20. Peter Richmond
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Sadly I think Mike Stallard will, at least in the short term, be proved correct. Our politicians seem to take no notice of their the views of the electorate. And most of the electorate seem happy to continue to hope all will be well as they are continuously deceived.
    That being said, given the way the Spanish have chosen to ignore the 3% target set by Brussels and fix their own target of 5.6% in relation to GDP ratios, why do we not simply unilaterally ignore a few of the constants put upon us. Let’s put our own cap (preferably zero) on our annual payments to Brussels; let’s set our own fishing rules. What will Brussels do? Send in jackboots? Impose a new brandy tax on exports to us?

  21. oldtimer
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I found the survey to be very revealing in several respects, notably
    1 the majorities in favour of national referendums to determine each countires relationship with the EU;
    2 the association of the EU with bureaucracy;
    3 appreciation of the freedom to travel, study and work in the EU;
    4 no strong urge to withdraw (even in the UK at only 20%);
    5 acceptance of an automatic right to leave the EU if a national majority voted for it.

    Germany and Italy came over as much more pro-EU than the others. Their respective national histories appear to have something to do with this.

    To answer your questions:
    1 Grecce, Portugal and Ireland ought, in my view, to leave the EZ but will try to remain in it; Greece will fail. The EU will do whatever it takes to keep Spain and Italy in the EZ.
    2 The UK should continue to press for a looser relationship at every turn, using its veto and the referendum mechanism on proposed treaty changes. This will be resisted at every turn by the EU/UK bureaucracies and the political establishment so they will win the day. The UK will inexorably be sucked in closer to the EU.
    3 No. National identities will prevail over an elected EU presidency.
    4 Exit will only be possible if a key issues arises which requires a treaty change and a referendum vote on its acceptance or rejection. In such circumstances the more likely outcome will be compromises to keep the UK within the EU. It would require extreme circumstances to win a majority for exit from the EU; that is why a relentless campaign is needed to continue to press for relaxation of the EU rules and regulations that constrain the UK.

  22. David B
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    I think it is impossable to speculate on what the EU will look like in 8 years

    The issues that need resolved are:

    1. What do the public want – as you have said before the public are euro sceptic but vote for politicians who want to remain in the EU. These politicians are afraid to articulate this policy as they fear the consequences. Look at Ed Milliband position over the stability treaty. Criticise the actions of Caneron but refuse to say what he would do. Lets not even speak about the lib dems manufesto pledge. Until we have transparency on what the parth policy is the public cannot decide preferring debate on NHS, etc

    2. Economic reality versus political need – when the euro was formed political considerations overruled economic reality and many countries were admitted that were not ready. (including France?). This political need is still ruling the euro. France and Geemany appear to have to much political capital invested in keeping the euro together and are willing to smash economies to save the project and their legacy

    3. Outside events – Will the lenders continue to lend or will they go on strike? Will there be an economic shock (an oil crises) that will hit the euro in waves? Will the Greek people continue to accept the plan or will the reject it violently?

    In looking at your questions the answer is we may not get the decision, it will probably be made for us

  23. dan
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Its nauseating to read that supposed ‘eurosceptic’ John Redwood still promotes this nonsense that there could be renegotiation and return of powers from EU to UK.
    That simply cannot happen.

    We need a clean break, out of this despicable union … and then start again agreeing trade deals on our own terms.

    Its all a bit diffucult for you now John isnt it?
    When those who previously thought of you as potentially leading the demand for the way out, now see that your ties to your party and comfy existence mean you just cant bring yourself to state what you must know is the only way for the UK to look after its own affairs again.
    You’ve been rumbled
    A busted flush.

    Reply: Ill placed abuse of the worst kind. I opposed our original membership. I voted No in 1975, and want us to negotiate the best deal and the let the electors decide now. If we simply leave as you wish – an impossibility given the way people vote and the MPs we have – there would need to be a negotiaiton over our future relationship. You people who say we need to leave never tell us how.

    • Antisthenes
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      You forget that John Redwood is a politician with principles not many of those in parliament these days and also he is constrained by the environment in which he has to work. I suspect if he wishes for withdrawal from the EU it is not for the same reasons as you as he does not rush to knee-jerk reactions. Principally I believe he sees the EU as an admirable concept but deeply flawed in the way it is being directed and constructed. He would like the EU to work but within a framework that does not undermine sovereignty and based upon democratic and free market capitalism that is not predicated upon integration but flexible cooperation. If that is not possible then he will happily remove the UK from the EU but will be sadly disappointed knowing that the EU if properly constructed properly could have been of enormous benefit to the citizens of the UK and of Europe.

      Reply: Not so. I voted No in 1975 because I did nto want “ever closer union”. As A democrat I accept I lost in 1975, and accepted the UK voters wanted a common market. I do not think they ever voted for an EU. Since then I have opposed moves to greater power for the EU, and have urged us to get back to the common market the majority said they wanted. I would now like a new referendum.

    • dan
      Posted March 18, 2012 at 12:05 am | Permalink

      Oh get over yourself. It was not ill placed abuse.
      Dont be so precious.

      Your way and those of your colleagues is achieving absolutely nothing.
      In your position, with 50-60 like minded colleagues, its time you made a stand. Resign from the Conservative Party.

      Thats the leadership this country needs at this time. Nothing is more important than getting out of the EU.

      Form a new party. You’d have the country behind you in no time.

      Reply: The last thing Euroscepticism needs in another small splinter group party! It needs power, not irrelevant stage strutting.

      • dan
        Posted March 18, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        No, it needs politicians prepared to make a stand.

      • dan
        Posted March 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        ‘irrelevant stage strutting” .. best description I’ve read yet of the failed antics of so-called euro-sceptics in the Commons.
        Bill Cash has been at it for 20 years to no avail.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 18, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      To be honest, I’m not sure which side you’re really on. An intelligent person who genuinely wants to get us out of the EU wouldn’t propose that a like-minded MP and ally like JR should commit political suicide. They might stand against him in Wokingham as an opportunity to make their own arguments against the EU, knowing that he got a large majority at the last election and calculating that as the official Tory candidate he’d survive their challenge and they wouldn’t be helping to replace him with a strongly pro-EU Liberal Democrat. Which has happened in some other cases, most notably with UKIP idiotically helping the well-known eurofanatic Huhne into the Eastleigh seat. If JR did what you urge and instead stood as an independent candidate, or the candidate for UKIP or a new party, the Tory leadership would move heaven and earth to make sure that he wouldn’t be returned to Parliament, and they’d be quite prepared to see the Liberal Democrat elected instead if that’s what it took to keep him out. This depressing lack of basic strategic thought on the part of some withdrawalists is one reason why I can’t see how we’ll ever succeed in getting out of the EU.

  24. Robert Eve
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    What price UKIP come first in the next Euro elections?

    I know that this will change nothing at EU level, but we have to be patient.

    The really depressing thing is that the electorate at large don’t seem very interested.

    • Bob
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      That is because of the years of conditioning through state education and the BBC. They lack the capacity to see beyond the next episode of EastEnders.
      When you have a one man one vote system, you have to control the minds of the voters if you want to rule them.

      During the Cold War the USSR planted it’s sleepers throughout the British establishment, choosing carefully education, the media and the civil service.

      The communist system failed in the USSR, but not before the seeds were planted. Just like a giant oak tree, it’s acorns have been spread far and wide and will continue to cause problems for us for years to come.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      Most people aren’t interested in the EU because they don’t understand it. Perhaps if political parties stated more often what their MEPs were doing people might be more interested in the EU.

      Of course given how rotten the voting system is in the UK with MPs being elected with 30% of the votes it’s no surprise that people don’t care about democracy.

      • Bob
        Posted March 18, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        uanime5
        Agreed, but the last thing the Tories want is for people to find out what Tory MEPs are doing, Dan Hannan aside, as he provides a good smokescreen for their dastardly deeds and makes them look conservative, while he himself is fairly impotent within the party and avoids directly criticizing his boss, to be honest he should join the real conservatives (UKIP) and then he could tell people what the Tories are up to without fear of retribution.

  25. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    1. At least six, at most 12.

    2. A relationship that is equivalent to repealing the Lisbon, Nice, Amsterdam and Maastricht treaties.

    3. The rump of the Euro area will have an elected President. The EU will divide into an inner ring (federal) and an outer ring.

    4. It won’t, but we shall be free or die who speak the tongue that Shakespeare wrote.

  26. lojolondon
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    John, the correct answers would be :
    five or less
    neighbour
    no
    no idea!

    What I find outrageous is that German and Irish voters would almost certainly vote ‘no’ if given the chance. So these people are ‘representing’ the EU, not their voters!!!

    Again, that is treason in my book!!

  27. Faustiesblog
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    It is more likely that the debt time bomb will kill off the EU. There are trillions of worthless debt instruments on bank balance sheets which simply cannot be repaid.

    Think about it. Our ‘money’ is created out of debt, and yet banks refuse to lend. So if no (net) new money is being created, where is the money to come from to pay for all the toxic piles of existing, hidden debt?

    Unless there is debt forgiveness, the powers will find it increasingly necessary to oppress the populace: a) financially; b) politically; c) socially; d) via the military – to keep the musical chairs game going for a bit longer.

    It is becoming abundantly clear that various powers (countries, global organisations and corporations) have been waging a financial war for hegemony – which means that debt forgiveness is “unthinkable” to them.

    For decades, only a small handful of right-thinking politicians in our country have been willing to fight for our democracy. They’ve been successfully sidelined by a band of EUphile insiders who “persuade” MPs, via inducements they can’t refuse, to support their line. This has been achieved by centralising power (even in the Conservative party) and by creating ever more makework jobs for pliant MPs.

    So the system is skewed, politically. If we want to win this battle, we’re going to have to take action ourselves – and I don’t mean by the ballot box, although there is still some small smidgeon of use in that.

    We have spending power. Let’s direct it.

    Don’t like bailouts? Well then, withdraw your funds from the banks so blessed and place them in a Mutual, or in gold (being sure to take immediate physical delivery of it).

    Don’t like being done over by large chain stores and supermarkets? Then support your local shop or simply buy a whole lot less. Let’s not forget that these behemoths survive at the expense of local entrepreneurs.

    We need to change the way we think and interact with the world that our successive governments have created for us. I’m appalled at what they’ve done to destroy entrepreneurship in this country by marching towards cronyism/corporatism.

    A sustained effort of the type I’ve described above can begin to strip out many of these often parasitic organisations from our immediate midst. And before the Guardianistas complain about this type of action “killing jobs”, just think of all the opportunities that will come to the fore once local demand makes them obvious.

    Businesses don’t emerge in a vacuum. First, there has to be demand.

    Unfortunately, entrepreneurs cannot emerge unless red tape is slashed. That is a job for MPs and if we feel the need to press our MPs to do anything at all, it should be to take an axe to red tape.

    • Faustiesblog
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      PS: and cut up your credit cards.

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted March 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

        Rather than cut up our cards, would it not be much better for card holders to pay off the outstanding balance every month, which would deny the card issuer the benefit of the interest?

    • sm
      Posted March 18, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Use your spending power wisely.
      1) Cut the BBC bias & EUgroupthink out, do you really need live TV at that price?
      2) Invest in things which give a real return for the risk (Paydown debt)? Grow your veg? beer/Barter. Produce your own power/insulate
      3) Support mutuals if you can?
      4) Bypass the mega pay banks if you can. Vote down all renumeration resolutions?
      5)Withdraw your vote & co-operation from those who frustrate democracy.
      6) Next time organized labour challenges our representative government,you might like to consider your position more thoughtfully?

      This is Labour v debt Capital, our democracy is a sham.

  28. Atlas
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    John, you ask an interesting question as to how to get the necessary parliamentary support. What I find difficult to understand is what most of the present MPs think is good about the EU. Perhaps if we knew that then we could all see a way forward to analyse the issue realistically.

    • Bob
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      @Atlas
      “What I find difficult to understand is what most of the present MPs think is good about the EU. “

      It provides well paid but undemanding employment with a pension scheme which is second to none for failed politicians.

      Neil Kinnock and family will attest.

  29. Nick
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    we govern ourselves again
    ================

    That will be the royal we. MPs dictating to the rest of us what to do, what not to do, and what to pay for the mess you’ve caused.

    Even strong protagonists of EU integration are sensing the absence of proper democratic accountability is a growing threat to the fabric of the Union.

    Same in the UK, isn’t it. Right of recall was a manifesto promise. Now what’s happening?

    Ah yes, the Lib Dems won’t allow a right of recall, because they would have been toast with their lies over Tuition fees. So MPs will act as gate keepers and prevent the public getting rid of an MP. Just as MPs protected all the MPs who committed frauds when they signed their expenses to say their expenses were “Wholly and Necessary” for they jobs as MPs. From duck houses to moats to tens of thousands to keep their boyfriends in their flats, they have been forced to repay the money. That’s clear evidence of fraud. The money wasn’t wholly and necessary, and a fraudulent document was made when the signature was put on the claim.

    However, so many MPs did it, that the unusual were singled out to make the example to protect the majority. Throw a few to the wolves.

    It’s still going on. The rules are clear. MPs shall not give the appearance of a personal benefit, but none have paid interest, and since its borrowed money we lose, and MPs had the effect of an interest free loan.

    So can we exercise any democratic control over this? No. We aren’t allowed.

    Well with this infatilisation of the electorate comes the flip side. We aren’t responsible for the mess.

    All this crap from Cameron about those with the broadest shoulders bearing the burden is just like claiming that we should only jail agrophobics because they are best able to bear the burden of incarceration.

    The public want those responsible jailed and to pay the cost. However, those responsible are MPs, and MPs don’t do MPs.

  30. figurewizard
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    In 1975 it was decided to let the people pass judgement on our relationship with Europe, letting the genie out of the bottle. The question referred specifically to the EEC not an EU. The answer to all four questions is to fall back on that referendum for now until a new one can be put to decide whether what is being proposed these days is acceptable.

  31. nero
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    1) There will be more, can’t give an exact figure

    2) By 2020 the EU will have taken even more powers away from the UK

    3) No, the EU hates democracy

    4) Ideally I would like the UK to leave the EU ASAP but there are too many obstacles to prevent it-
    a) In the present parliament it will not happen, the majority would not vo
    te to leave or take powers back, so things will stay the same for the next 3 years.
    b) Best case scenario, we get a conservative majority government with more politicians like the 81 rebels then there is a possibilty of either leaving or more powers returned to the UK.( not guaranteed though )
    Finally if UKIP becomes the third largest party ( not beyond the bounds of possibility) and they get seats in parliament then it is more likely we could get more powers back or leave.
    I have always been of the view that like any club you should be able to terminate your membership at any time, but with the EU they will use every available law/political machination to prevent any country leaving ever, so trying to get out will require a tumultuous effort even if the political will in this country existed, which I don’t think it does.
    To summarize- ideally I would like to leave the EU today, realistically this not going to happen in the near future and it may not happen for say, at least another 5 years so we will still be in it for the next 5 years whatever happens-unless a sudden unexpected event occurs i.e a massive financial crisis etc.

  32. Jeremy Poynton
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    John,

    The EU is a nascent tyranny, which has already installed puppet governments in Greece and Italy. Our parents generation fought against the likes of the EU apparatchiks now intent on corralling and diminishing the freedoms Britons fought for hard and true. The question I would ask is

    Why would ANYONE who loves freedom and democracy want to belong to a supranational federation that is the enemy of both?

    Not that hard, is it?

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 18, 2012 at 4:49 am | Permalink

      Why would ANYONE who loves freedom and democracy want to belong to a supranational federation that is the enemy of both?

      Why indeed? Either they are very stupid or they have been taken in the BBC propaganda or often they just enjoyed their holidays in Tuscany and the Loire valley and think little further than that. Or they have been bought with taxpayer’s money.

  33. Neil Craig
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    1 – I wopuldn’t even guess if it will be more or fewer. Bosnia, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo would all join. Scotland and Catalonia too. However I think this shows that the numbers do not mean strengthening.

    2 – a more distant one since that is clearly the direction of travel, even among the LudDims. I would prefer either total indepemdence or membership of EFTA like Norway but it depends on the answer to 4.

    3 – It will move to it, in the sense that this will be the aspiration. If it actually gets there it will mean that the elected Presidency has been deprived of real power.

    4 – Either the Tories ditch Cameron and get sensible leadership well before the end of this Parliament or UKIP rise to something at least equal in voter approval to the Tories; at the next election Labour get a majority on about 30% of the vote; the Tories get so discredited by this that they disappear/merge with UKIP who easily beat Miliband’s ridiculous government at the subsequent election. It is up to the Tories whetehr we have to go through a Miliband government & a decade of recession to get there.

  34. Phil Richmond
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    John – A very key point which stops a large majority of the people wanting out of the EU completely is that they have been constantly sold the lie by the BBC/Lib-Dems/Labour that 3 million jobs depend on it.
    I have asked this question to numerous Eu fanatics and NEVER received an answer. The question is “Due to our membership of EFTA & WTO rules (combined with the fact that the EU sells us more than we sell them) if we left the EU our trade agreement would still be in place. Therefore with our trade secured what is the benefit of paying £18billion to remain in this club?”
    John I suggest that the remaining Conservative MPs who care more about this country than their careers ask this question at EVERY PMQs until your treasonous leader comess to his senses!

  35. Martyn
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    1. More than 27 – there are Eastern block countries waiting in the wings to join and some could well do so over the next 8 years.
    2. As it is now, with the UK Civil Service so embedded with the EU hierarchy, no matter what is said to the contrary, our government, no matter who is in power will be able to do anything about either reclaiming at least some of our sovereign rights let alone withdrawal. Put simply, the political power to do so no longer exists and lies in the hands of the civil service.
    3. Possibly. It might even go further than that because a step along the way could be an elected, for want of a better word, EU Cabinet made up of Ministers elected by the nation states to office.
    4. It simply will not and cannot happen unless and until there is a sea-change in the present parties and voting patterns arising, for example, from mass unrest and demonstrations by the UK public of such intensity that the politicians would have to recognize and take action to resolve.

  36. BobE
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Get the UKIP party strong enough to frighten the two remaining major parties. (Lib dems are dead in the water now). Then try to force an unwhipped referendum vote. That last effort was a disgusting display of non-democracy.

  37. forthurst
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    “If you want a democracy first find a demos.”

    One of the objectives of the EU Kommisariat as with an extremely active minority within the UK is to destroy in each country its distictive demos by promoting uncontrolled immigration; the same force is at work in the USA.

    We do not have a democracy, and we soon will not have a demos, and nor will the other countries of the EU. Enoch Powell’s argument against the EU is being undermined by ‘facts on the ground’.

    • Iain
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Not just the EU Kommisariat , for we also have the globalist right who doesn’t want anything in their way to make a fast buck out of the country, let alone anyone standing in their way to ship in a cheap labour force and turn the country into a transit camp for their immigrant workforce. Or the internationalist left, who always wanted to tear down the idea of the nation.

      What used to protect the people was the nation, unfortunately with our political classes either in the pockets of the globalist right or internationalist left, and then selling us out to the EU means we have been left with no protection.

  38. sm
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Does it matter so much what we think? Why are they asking now? Is it all falling to pieces? If one large country stops paying in .. its kaput.

    1) I expect the stronger euro countries to leave the Euro. The others will remain in the Euro and or revert in time to national currencies. 50/50 split
    2) The UK or England will have a bilateral (EFTA) type arrangement and reachout to NAFTA or similar.
    3) Probably too divisive.. maybe a politburo may be more fitting.
    4) Given the status quo in the voting systems and party systems. We will watch as some countries integrate, others on the sidelines. They only need our contribution, once that stops, we will be so out, unless we bend the knee!
    My money is on Scottish Independence changing the game in the UK ,if not other EU elections before then.

  39. Antisthenes
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    One thing is certain the EU is not going to change direction, it’s structure or it’s policies until circumstances forces it to. EU nation state leaders are not going to take an anti EU stance because they agree with the the aims and objectives of the EU project as most ordinary Europeans do. Who can disagree with the idea of a large prosperous internal market that also offers strength and security. It is not the concept that is at fault but how it is being achieved. It is being achieved through structures, institutions and policies that are illiberal and economically imprudent because the EU took the social, economic and political models of the social democrats. This is not surprising as nation states have to a greater or lesser extent done so also. EU leaders have not yet woken up to the fact that having followed social democratic policies and practices they have sown the seeds for the demise of their countries and the EU. Certainly they know that there are deep seated problems as the current economies and euro-zone crises are demostrating and are addressing them in a variety of ways. However they are only addressing symptoms and not the root causes and have no plan to do otherwise. This policy if successful enough to contain the crises will allow the the EU to trundle on until it becomes a superstate in the social democrat mould which of course will one day come crashing down as all previous socialist systems have. So under these circumstances the future of the UK and the EU is to be more of the same except with less sovereignty, less democracy and less competitiveness. This may not happen if government policies do not contain the current crises and people become more impoverished and disillusioned. Most people will put up with most things if their lifestyle is not unduly threatened but if it is then they become a force for change and that could well herald the scrapping of all things EU. At the moment in the UK the people are stirring and restless and apathy to the EU is turning to resentment. Euro-sceptics on their own cannot get the UK out of the EU but given encouragement and reason enough the people will.

  40. Richard Cavin
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    1. How many members of the Euro will there be in 2020? My guess is that there will be a core of, say, six or seven members.

    2. What relationship will the UK have with the EU in 2020? Similar to now unless we get a leader who will take us out.

    3. Will the EU move to an elected President? No, that’s too democratic.

    4. Those who want the Uk simply to exit might like to tell us how they think this could come about, given the present parties and voting patterns. It seems to me that all parties except the Libdems take a vaguely Eurosceptic stance to get our votes then pull back from the big step of withdrawal once in power.This is very frustrating for us sceptics. The only way, it seems, is if the electorate defects en masse to fringe parties such a UKIP but I can’t see this happening either. So – status quo I would guess. If the current Euro debacle does not hasten our exit then I despair!!

  41. Andy Man
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    1. Zero I hope
    2. Physically close, politically far apart.
    3. More likely an unelected president given recent coups in Greece and Italy.
    4. Only by major financial and political upheaval as our current leadership lacks almost every quality to be leaders.

  42. Derek Emery
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    1). There may be just s few of the rich countries remaining in the EZ or none. The German public will never agree to the type of funding such as in the US where the rich states (Germany in the EU) give charity year in and out to the perennially poor states.
    The EU elite are King Canute’s who take the somewhat dim approach to politics whereby rules and regulations alone are expected force countries to become wealthy and have GDP growth and have convergent economies. They have no time for experts in any field as they always know best.

    Since they are totally unaccountable to the EU public there is no mechanism to ever make their thinking realistic and related to the real world. They rule by divine right so there can never be any alternative approaches or pressure to force ideas that work in the real world.

    They are incapable of correctly seeing the heart of the problem is balance of payments deficits for the PIIGS. The debt brake did not work before because it’s turning the wrong handle.
    Since there is no learning process possible for the other-worldly EU elite then long term EU economic failure is assured. Most of us see continuing with an experiment that has already failed as pointless but exactly what you could expect from the alien elite.

    2) It is obvious that the EU has to go down the tubes economically big time by 2020 as there is no trade barrier high enough they can erect that will keep out ever-increasing competition from the rest of the world. The rest of the world is close to the same level technologically but will have GDP growth nearer to 10% pa over the next decade; EU GDP growth will be nearer to 0% pa. This translates to the EU left trailing in the dust technologically. Perhaps Germany might keep up but the PIIGS have no chance. They will find it far harder to compete and keep in work in 2020 than they do now.
    The problem in the UK is that all major parties leaders are in love with the EU and isolated from the downside in parliament. The public are feeling the effects from mass EU immigration on jobs and do not like it. UK government has never been about serving the wishes of the public but always of serving the needs and ideology of top politicians.
    Assume we remain locked in the embrace of the decaying EU which will be breaking apart by 2020 from the irresistible forces of globalization. You can assume the UK politicians will be held in even more contempt that they are already see (etc) but I’m not sure they care about the public view.

    There is likely to be massive public unrest over the next decade in the PIIGS because the EU cannot offer them any economic future with jobs for most. Many will come to the UK looking for work which will create even greater public dissatisfaction with the EU here.

    The political elite are firmly in charge here and have an unshakeable belief in the EU since they are isolated from the downside. Who knows what will happen in the face of growing public unrest? UK Politicians are hardly known for having a flexible approach.

    If the UK was a real democracy then the public view would mean we would have a more distant relationship with the EU by before 2020.

    3) The EU was deliberately designed from day one to be democratically unaccountable and ruled by the superior class of a single party of unelected, just as the old USSR was and North Korea is now. That is the whole basis of the existence of the EU so that can never change. An elected president makes no sense because it implies at least two political parties holding differing views. The EU will never allow that under any circumstances.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      1) As long as the PIIGS need bailouts the EU can force them to reform.

      2) Under WTO rules the EU can set very low quotas on products made outside the EU, thus allowing them to resist competition from the rest of the world.

      The majority of the world is technologically several decades behind the EU. Don’t expect the next generation of computers to be invented in the BRICS, though they may be manufactured cheaply in these countries. Also GDP growth and technological growth aren’t the same thing or even related.

      3) Your knowledge of the EU is very poor. Originally it was set up to trade coal and steel between 6 countries after WW2. Also which country does this ‘single party of unelected’ belong to?

  43. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    The way things have been going over the past half century, and continue to go with little or no resistance even if without much enthusiastic support from any UK government of whatever domestic political complexion, eventually although not by 2020:

    1. There will be over 40 notional “countries” in the eurozone, including the present UK as a whole or in fragments, and including Norway and Switzerland and Iceland, and a swathe of “countries” around the Black Sea, including Turkey, and across to the Caspian as well as those in the Balkans.

    To repeat, there are only two EU member states, the UK and Denmark, which are free from the treaty obligation to eventually join the euro, and that legal obligation is automatically imposed on every new EU member state, the latest example being Croatia, and it is still presumed that having joined the euro no country can ever leave it.

    2. The UK, whether the present UK as a whole or in fragments, will be utterly subjugated to the federal EU, and any attempt at secession would be treated as an act of rebellion and would if necessary be crushed by federal military force.

    3. Yes, as a figleaf there will be elections for an EU president, which will attract about as much interest, and which will mean about as much, as the present elections for MEPs. That president will then be able to meet the US President eye to eye and deal with him or her as something like an equal on the world stage. If there is still a British Prime Minister, he will be treated by the world as a person of much less importance, maybe comparable to the Governor of California.

    4. I have no answer to the question of how we could extricate ourselves or otherwise escape this fate, given the most powerful figures in our national political elite either passively accept that fate or actively desire it for the whole of Europe.

  44. Martin
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    I had a quiet chuckle at the question of an elected EU President. Any thoughts who the candidate might be for the Pan European Tax Reduction Party?

  45. Hugh
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    1. How many members of the Euro will there be in 2020?
    A handful more of those queuing up will have been let in.

    2. What relationship will the UK have with the EU in 2020?
    Looser, events are conspiring to unsettle the status quo in the direction the majority desires, probably the UK wanting to reduce its contribution will trigger a minor change which reduces the strains.

    3. Will the EU move to an elected President?
    Yes

    4. Those who want the UK simply to exit might like to tell us how they think this could come about, given the present parties and voting patterns.
    Given the EU history an eruption is unlikely, more probable is an underground internal shift to reduce the pressure.

  46. Barbara Stevens
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    The EU will be very different from what we see now. Countries may be bankrupt and have to exit. Three are on the brink now, other smaller states will not compete with the big three, Germany,France, Holland.
    I hope sincerely we are out of the EU, but remain a trading partner not by 2020, but in the near future.
    As for the Euro, never, never will we accept that, if may not even be used by the year 2020.
    We don’t like the system its undemocratic, and we don’t want further intergration to teach them democracy, don’t they know it already? As for an elected President, NO THANKS, he’s not needed each country as their own elected PM.
    Simply put, we don’t want this over expensive club at all, all want is what we’ve had for generations, tradeing, anything else NO. Freedom yes.

  47. AJAX
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    #1 Less than 10 as the smaller nations are cut loose (or abandon the convoy) in the economic debt storm in order to save the integrity of the capital ship

    #2 Increasingly semi-detached & isolated from the core, but possibly still in it … just

    #3 Yes, but the EU edifice maybe in mortal trouble, assailed externally from world economic conditions & internally at its core by dynamic characters such as Marine Le Pen

    #4 UKIP’s vote increases to the on-going detriment of the Conservative Party.

    The Conservatives adopt UKIP’s position to staunch the haemorrage of their base, or they fracture into 2 separate organisations, the Conservatives vs the Radical Liberals (whom are currently trapped in the Conservative Party vehicle being sandbagged continually by their more slow witted & cautious Tory colleagues after a brief dance in the sun in the 1980s).

    There’s a realignment in England’s politics.

    Labour & the Social (Liberal) Democrats are philosophically already dead men walking & wither away in irrelevance, probably geographically Northwards & South-Westwards

    If the Conservative Party does fracture UKIP & the Radical Liberals from it merge & make the weather on this issue, putting forward a general populist national policy to quit the increasingly moribund Statist unpopular foreign entity that is the EU & re-engage with the world again, with the Anglosphere as a vehicle, with the Tory rump party hardly enthusiastic in its opposition, & the Leftist pro-European Unification elements small in number, highly principled, poorly resourced & seeming out of touch with the common man, i.e. in the same situation in reverse that the “stay-outs” led by the likes of Powell & Benn found themselves in in ’73.

    • Cary
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      There’s little to add to this but on No.4, a key date could be the EU parliament elections in 2014. UKIP may come top of the poll and its ability to split the Tory vote at a General Election the following year could loom large, perhaps even resulting in a leadership challenge to Cameron.

      Even if this does not happen, UKIP votes at a General Election may let in a Labour government. With Cameron gone as leader, there would be a Tory leadership election bordering on civil war, with the most EU sceptic candidate winning the ballot of party members. The new EU sceptic leader would fight the next election (probably 2020) on a programme clearly different from Labour, either proposing EU withdrawal or a referendum on the question.

  48. Normandee
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    You already know the answers to these questions, and you have known for a while but you are still in the burning house, prevaricating and starting a new round of circular arguments. Get out of the house, anyway you like but get out and do something positive, or you will let Cameron get away with the greatest betrayal ever, and your “I told you so’s” will be totally worthless because we have all “told you so” so many times but you still sit on your hands. Please don’t tell us how,many times you have voted against something or raised points of order or whatever these are all weak actions that completely fail to effect any change.

    Reply: How many more times do I have to explain there is no majority in the present Commons to pull us out or even to have a referendum.

  49. John Hill & Co
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    There is a political prize here for the taking for the Conservatives. If the party leadership would adopt a more euro-sceptic position, and fight the next election on a platform of “renegotiation then referendum”, in line with public opinion, then it would differentiate them from the other parties of the centre-ground and help secure an outright Conservative majority.
    If the polls are not looking too good as we approach 2015, this tactic might seem quite appealing to Mr.Cameron.
    Keep up the good work, Mr.Redwood!

    • John Hill & Co
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

      Milton Friedman said something about making it “politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing”. Mr.Cameron may be the wrong person in so many ways, but he could still do the right thing if he thought it would give him five more years in power. Look at the bounce in the opinion polls after his so-called veto. The tide of public opinion may yet win the day!

  50. fkc
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    I am fully in agreement with you Mr Redwaood and hope you are able to keep plugging away at the government to take the wishes of the people seriously amd make serious plans for us to leave the EU. Here are my opinons for what they are worth as I am new to this game!
    1. Next to none as the currency cannot be sustained.
    2. Very loosely connected mainly for trade
    3. Will it matter?
    4. To the ordinary person it is dificult to say how we can extricate ourselves from
    the EU. We must or we will quickly be subjected to a totalitarian state.

  51. uanime5
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t describe the UK as a good example of democracy with our centralised Parliament and first past the post election system. Though the devolved bodies in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are better.

    1) Unless Greece is kicked out there will be at least 19 countries in the Euro, possibly 22 if Denmark, Latvia, and Lithuania also join. The euro won’t fail because it’s simply too important to the EU and all the countries pegged to it.

    2) Probably the same unless we join the euro.

    3) It already does; the EU President is elected by the leaders of the 27 member states. Given that in the UK the head of state aren’t elected directly by the people we’re in no position to criticise how the EU elects their President.

    4) At present even if we leave the EU we will still have to obey EU law if we want to trade with them. So unless the UK doubles their trade outside of the EU (53% of our exports go to the EU) we’ll have to continue obeying EU law whether we stay in the EU or not.

    I also have two interesting news stories. The first involves George Osborne’s plans to scrap national pay rates so private companies that pay a poor salary don’t have to drag themselves up but can implement a race to the bottom on pay. Expect the Conservatives to lose a lot of votes outside the South East and London when people’s wages are frozen.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/budget/9149748/National-pay-rates-will-be-scrapped-in-budget.html

    I also found an interesting story about a private healthcare provider that, according to the judge, tried to maximise their profits by being understaffed, cost cutting, ignoring hygiene, and trying to get as many patients as possible. The net result was patients died and a manager running this care home received a suspended sentence. Something that will become much more common if Lansley’s Health bill is ever passed.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9149296/Bupa-put-profit-first-at-filthy-and-understaffed-care-home-says-judge.html

    • uanime5
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      John regarding question 3 are you saying that the current way of electing the President of the European Council, President of the European Commission, or Presidency of the Council of the European Union is wrong; or that these offices should be combined to create an EU President?

      Reply: No. I am asking if people think the EU will move to direct election of a President to try to deal with its large democratic deficit.

      • uanime5
        Posted March 17, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

        I don’t believe an elected President would help, even if they had to agree to all laws passed by the European Parliament. Though Commissioners directly elected by the people of the member states would make this executive branch of the EU more democratically accountable.

        Due to the role of the democratically elected European Parliament in making EU law and the requirements of all national Parliaments to ratify any treaties agreed by the European Council I don’t feel that there is a significant democratic deficit.

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 18, 2012 at 4:51 am | Permalink

        large democratic deficit = complete lack of any real working democratic mechanisms – beyond superficial theatre.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

          “complete lack of any real working democratic mechanisms”

          Care to explain what you’re referring to lifelogic?

          Could it be the European Parliament? No all the MEPs are elected by member states using proportional representation.

          Could it be the European Council? No all the ministers are democratically elected in the country they represent.

          I guess it must be the European Commission because the 27 Commissioners are nominated by each member state and have to be approved by the European Parliament, rather than being directly elected. But given that the European Commission has no legislative powers and can be removed by the European Parliament only ignorant europhobes would complain that it is any threat to democracy.

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted March 18, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        Re reply, if the European Parliament is such as to allow there to be a “large democratic deficit” then an EU President has no hope.

        Who is promoting the President idea anyway?

  52. Mazz
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    1. How many members of the Euro will there be in 2020?
    A. I see a spplit between the Northern countries and the Southern countries, as some countries cannot compete with the likes of Germany.

    2. What relationship will the UK have with the EU in 2020?
    A. A looser one, politically, than now. The people will be baying for it.

    3. Will the EU move to an elected President?
    A. Possibly but probably not, as they are all extremely undemocratic.

    4. Those who want the Uk simply to exit might like to tell us how they think this could come about, given the present parties and voting patterns.
    A. Playing on a Confucius saying, a psychologist once said, “The way out is through the door but first you have to find the door”. The politicians will only find the door when enough people either start a revolution or else vote in a party like UKIP.

  53. Philip Pritchard
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    All my voting life (age 61) I have voted for the party that stood for what I believed in which has been the Conservative party. My last general election vote went to UKIP though it was not an action that sat well with me. I have also become a member of UKIP which is the first time ever I have joined a political party.
    I think those above who think that UKIP capturing more votes will eventually frighten the two main parties into changing there view on the EU have got it right and I can only hope this happens soon. Another possible way out is for Cameron to be forced to resign with the new leader calling a general election to get rid of Clegg and company.

    • Bob
      Posted March 18, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear!

  54. rose
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    I expect the muddle to continue as governments act in the short term, not the long term. If we are to get responsible long term policies, we must first dispense with our present system of parliamentary democracy, and I can’t see that happening by 2020. But who knows? Something much more catastrophic might have happened by then – civil war, loss of fuel and food supplies….

  55. Gordon
    Posted March 18, 2012 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,
    as a constituent of yours the following does not affect me, because I agree with you on most things, and I do understand your situation. If I may, I will take your questions in reverse order.
    4. Those who want the Uk simply to exit might like to tell us how they think this could come about, given the present parties and voting patterns.

    Last October proved that we cannot, so, “We the people” have to take some responsibility and ensure that at the next election we do not vote for anyone that we are uncertain about whether they will reflect ‘our’ views in the lobbies. This is irrespective of which banner they are canvassing under (hence my opening comment!). I would also suggest that any ‘paid up’ party members make their views known to their local parties commitees, regarding appropriate candidate selection.
    If “We the people” are not prepared to put the effort in, then stop ‘blogging’ on here accusing you of ‘failing us.’

    3. Will the EU move to an elected President?
    If “We the people” do our ‘stuff’ (as above) we won’t care.

    2. What relationship will the UK have with the EU in 2020?
    We will trade with those who have cash and remain friends with all who deserve our friendship.

    1. How many members of the Euro will there be in 2020?
    We won’t care will we?

    “We the people” have to make it happen!

    The ‘Join UKIP’ bloggers should either remember the SDP or if too young, must study history — it will not work. The solution is to get conservative MP’s into Westminster instead of ‘heir to Blair’ and his cohorts.

    In other words vote for the man and not the label.

    • Bob
      Posted March 18, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      UKIP are conservatives.

      If there were more conservatives in the Tory Party they wouldn’t have elected a Lib Dem wannabe as leader.

      Let’s face it, the Tory Party is now a false flag operation.

  56. Paul
    Posted March 18, 2012 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    I know you despise UKIP John, but surely they are key in forcing a referendum/getting us out of this rotten EU which we all want. We have a PM who is more concerned about the non issue of gay marriage than the sovereignty of this country. Well meaning Tory eurosceptics simply get nowhere alone. Bill Cash was outside Westminster 20 years ago campaiging for a referendum on Maastricht. This must be so frustrating for the true eurosceptics in parliament but they cannot bring themselves to abandon the Tory party which ceased to represent their views long ago. Just ask Roger Helmer. More Tories need to defect to UKIP to build on the strong momentum they are currently having. If that means parliament will be even more pro EU then that’s the way it has to be for the time being, it’s not as though any of the eurosceptics are achieving anything in there anyway. UKIP and Conservatives need to come together, not just to highlight the issue of Europe, but to put pressure on this weak, unfit PM who has got so many issues wrong.

    Reply: There were n o UKIP MPs to help us secure the referendum when we proposed one recently. My resignation from the Major Cabinet, coupled with the Maastricht rebel Tory MPs, persuaded Mr Major to offer a referendum on single currency membership. This more importantly led to Mr Blair offering it. Mr Goldsmith’s well financed campaign for popular opinion also helped, though I seem to remember he too failed to win a single seat when he tried to run people for Parliament.

  57. Electro-Kevin
    Posted March 18, 2012 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Apropos UK extraction from the EU:

    The binding forces are within the UK. The repatriation of powers could begin tomorrow – from within the UK. The judicial and political adherences to – and literal interpretations of – every EU edict and directive can begin to be reversed tomorrow from WITHIN the UK – this can be done before any negotiations take place abroad.

    This simply by paying lip service to it all as the French do.

    I don’t blame Europe so much as the politicians who use Europe in furtherance of their Leftist agendas. The EU and Leftism go hand in hand – well such a radical reconstruction could hardly ever be conservative, could it.

    US style no-win-no-fee needs to be stopped and appeals to EU courts curtailed as nothing does more to further embed EU laws within our legal system. The BBC is too powerful and too biased. Cutting the licence fee would be popular.

    My guess is that the EU will end in catastrophe. The mass transference of the young unemployed to the better organised economies (after decades of already intense immigration) will bring it all to a head. There simply aren’t enough riot shields in Europe.

    In the meantime I think it a good idea to cite the disasterous fisheries policies in defence of the UK banking district.

    We have our precedent if not yet our president.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 18, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      “This simply by paying lip service to it all as the French do. ”

      Do you have any evidence to back this up.

      “US style no-win-no-fee needs to be stopped”

      These were introduced so the Government wouldn’t have to pay legal aid.

      “appeals to EU courts curtailed as nothing does more to further embed EU laws within our legal system.”

      So your solution is denying people their right to justice. Don’t expect to get any support from right minded people.

  58. Bob
    Posted March 18, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    @Mike Stallard
    …UKIP is not a viable option at the moment…
    This is the message that is constantly drilled into us by the established parties.
    Cameron called them closet racists and fruit cakes, because he has no argument against their policies.

    As long we keep voting “against the other side”, then this will be a self fulfilling prophecy.

    If we can get past that mental resignation to the status quo UKIP may make some breakthroughs, and that alone would send a powerful message to the other three, and the electorate.

    The next EU election will be an excellent opportunity to shake up the establishment by getting UKIP into first position, after all, most of the Tory MEPs just vote through anything Brussels puts before them.

  59. Richard
    Posted March 18, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Q1 : There will be more members of the EU. We are witnessing the expansion of an empire. It will not matter if the new members are unsuitable just as long as the empire continues to grow. We have already see how countries were able to join the Euro despite being financially or economically unfit to join. Even the “eurosceptic (?)” Conservative party is still keen for Turkey to become a member. So I would expect there to be a further expansion of this socialist empire,particularly as the EU sucks up poor countries with financial bribes.

    Q2 : I do not know but since this empire building has really only just started I expect by 2020 that the UK will have been sucked into a closer union and will also probably also be a member of the Euro.

    Furthermore, despite the undoubted logic that certain peripheral countries should exit the Euro, or indeed the EU, in order to improve their financial status, this will never be allowed to happen. The empire builders will not care that these countries will become poorer – in fact, since poor people vote for socialist parties, this effect should make their position stronger. In addition the transfer of wealth and people from these countries will assist in the planned destruction of nation states.

    Q3 : “No”, I cannot see there ever being a democratically elected president of the EU unless of course you means the sort of elected presidents we see in many other countries where it is simply the selection of the head of a one party state.

    Q4 : I do not know the answer to this question as all 3 main UK political parties are currently keen for the UK to continue to be members of the EU. The longer the EU exists of course, the more difficult it will become to leave. However, I am certain that like all previous empires, this one will eventually fall apart. But it will not happen anytime soon and I am sure it will not be a pleasant event.

    For my part I have decided that I simply cannot vote Conservative again until they change their mind on the UK’s membership of the EU, despite having voted Conservative at every single possible opportunity for the last 47 years.

    I will have to vote for a party whose main policy is to leave the EU, which probably means UKIP.

    Now, I fully realise that such a change will/may lead to a Labour victory as the Conservative vote is split.

    But I feel I have no option as I now feel that leaving the EU is more important than who is in power.

    UKIP received 1m votes at the last election and, should other voters (from both Labour and Conservative parties) do the same, there is hope that this figure can be increased sufficiently for our elected parliamentary representatives to finally concede to a second EU referendum.

  60. Bob
    Posted March 18, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Millions of pounds have been spent on agency doctors so that hospitals can comply with the European Working Time Directive.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9150772/NHS-pays-20000-a-week-for-a-doctor.html

    • uanime5
      Posted March 18, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      Well if the Government let hospitals recruit enough doctors, nurses, and clinical staff we wouldn’t need so many agency staff. Training more doctors and nurses would also help.

      The solution is not to have medics work more than 48 hours per week as this just results in tired medics who are incapable of providing basic care.

    • Bazman
      Posted March 18, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      Interesting how you are b not suspicious of anything else.

  61. peter davies
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    1. How many members of the Euro will there be in 2020?

    – I think it will be your core Northern Europe countries, Holland, Germany, Belgium, France and a few others

    2. What relationship will the UK have with the EU in 2020?

    – Hopefully a new treaty to recover all the major powers, or am I being overly optimistic

    3. Will the EU move to an elected President?

    – I doubt it

    4. Those who want the Uk simply to exit might like to tell us how they think this could come about, given the present parties and voting patterns.

    – An catasrophic event will take place in the EZ, some sort of financial collapse and the political mainstream will be forced to give the UK electrorate a referendum on membership

  62. Bob
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    “Practically all the other votes in Scotland and Wales went to parties that proudly support the EU as it is,”

    I don’t recall Cameron “proudly supporting the EU as it is… at the General Election.

    Rather the opposite, wasn’t it?

    I’ve yet to hear you disagree with UKIP on policy, you appear to be criticising them rather for partisan reasons.

    A few Tories make “Eurosceptic” noises, and this helps them to maintain the appearance of being a conservative party, which I guess is why Cameron allows them to carry on expressing their opinions in public.

    The Tories took us into the EEC, and then the EU and would have taken us into the €uro if George Soros hadn’t intervened, so it’s absolutely clear that the Tory Party is totally committed to the EU project despite expressed opinions of a small handful of Tories to the contrary.

    As for the voting patterns, it’s rather a stretch to believe the voters were voting in favour of more EU, as the three main parties will try to avoid the subject at election time wherever possible, and if they can’t avoid it they just lie.

    The reality is that the electorate are so disillusioned with what’s on offer that they don’t even bother to vote, hence the appallingly low turnouts.

    Also:
    • The public have been conditioned to believe that a vote for anyone outside of the main three parties is a wasted vote. We hear it all the time including on this blog, and the BBC do their level best to reinforce the belief that it’s a three horse race and that there are significant differences in policy between Labour, Tory and the Libdems, when in fact there is virtually no difference.

    • A huge number of people are inclined to vote for socialist policies as they have been induced to do so by generous welfare handouts, which far exceed what they could earn through their own effort, thanks to the dumbing down and deskilling brought about by years of socialism. This is something UKIP will not compete with as it is clearly a destructive and unsustainable policy designed only to achieve a totalitarian outcome, at which point the non-working class will find life under the oligarchs less comfortable.

    The people that could make a difference sadly are being marginalized and many have left the UK and many will follow taking their capital (tangible and intangible) along with them. It brings to mind the exodus from China after the communists took control (and once in control they would kill before relinquishing it). Our electoral system is stagnant and needs reform, but of course the incumbents want to keep it because it works in their favour.

    I hope you will stop bashing UKIP and join the fight for freedom and democracy.

  63. David Langley
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    The reason Farage and Hannan are not liked in the EU is because they are continually pointing out the bankrupt democratic posturings of Barroso and Rompuy. I love watching them in action, and for me they reflect the positive feelings of frustration of many of us in the EU project mess we are in now.
    What we all want to know of our next government is What, How, and When can we withdraw from the project and return to a sensible trading and security relationship with the European Common Market. As for your questions, they are sterile in that I do not care about other countries political aspirations regarding the EU project as long as they do not interfere with ours. The who gets what scenario is what got us into trouble in the first place.

  • 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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