What should the UK say at the Euro summit?

The UK government should say something like this:

“In 1972 the Uk joined the EEC. This was known as the Common market in the UK. In 1975 the then Labour government gave the UK public a referendum on whether they should remain in the EEC. The whole scheme was clearly defined by the leading politicians in favour as simply a common market that would promote more free trade and allow there to be more jobs in export industries for the UK. The public was told there would be no loss of sovereignty. Rumours of a gradual move to political and monetary union were downplayed or denied. The public voted Yes to such a Common market.

There was no majority then, and no majority subsequently for the UK to join a political and monetary union. The UK refused to join the currency union, negotiating an opt out from membership at Maastricht. The UK successively negotiated opt outs or preserved a veto for the Social Chapter, the common borders, common defence and security, common taxation and criminal justice. The Conservative opposition voted against the Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties on the grounds that they still gave away too much governing power. The Conservative majority in the present government believes the UK needs a different relationship, as it does not accept the large transfers of power that have occurred in recent years.

We now find the Euro area members wishing to move further and faster towards a political union. They seek a banking union and a fiscal union of sorts. The UK cannot possibly join member states in such a move. As so many of the arrangements and Treaty agreeemnts are once again being reviewed, the UK wishes to review its relationship with the emerging political union it cannot join.

We seek a relationship based on trade and friendship, where the Uk will join other member states in doing things together where it is mutually advantageous so to do. If our signature is required on any new Treaty, we will need amendments for us that give effect to this wish for a different relationship.

The UK has been a good European by not joining the Euro. UK membership might have badly damaged the single currency by now, given the size of UK banks and the need for frequent currency adjustments both ways against the Euro over the last decade. As far as we are concerned the EU is a voluntary association of democratic states. Just as some states now want more EU power over them, the UK now wants less. It is important to accommodate both sets of wishes, to have a happier and more successful EU.

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67 Comments

  1. Gerry Dorrian
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    Brilliant! I hope we’re out of it soon and friends again with our cousins on the Continent.

    • Bob
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      good fences make good neighbours

      • alan jutson
        Posted June 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        Bob

        Good High Fences.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted June 28, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

          Lol Alan

    • Timaction
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Spot on Mr Redwood. Now can you make your leaders LISTEN. I fear trouble ahead if they don’t act on the wishes of the vast majority of the people.

      • Bernard Juby
        Posted June 28, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        Such a pity John that you are not in the Cabinet – I keep trying to push it in the monthly questinnaire we get from Central Office – or that you are not the official “response draftsman” for the Government!

  2. Adam5x5
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    What the UK should say to the EU:
    “Hold on chaps, we need to consult our population to determine the nature of our future relationship and allow us to proceed with approval.”

    What is likely to be said to the EU:
    “Whatever you want, we will do. More money? No problems. Further powers through the back door? Feel free.”

    What is likely to be said to us, the public:
    “We’re taking a tough stance and protecting Britain’s interests/economy.”

    Of course, I could be wrong and we could see the shock announcement of a snap EU referendum…
    But chance would be a fine thing.
    Me, cynical?

    The EU is an anchor weighing us down with ridiculous burdens of red tape, economic mismanagement, excessive costs and resource waste (see CAP, fisheries).

    The UK government should put the position to a vote to decide what our position should be – although the upcoming Scottish referendum raises an interesting question which I would like to know your answer to Mr. Redwood.

    Should the EU referendum take place before or after the EU one?

    I believe it should be after as that way we will know if the Scottish people get a vote in the EU referendum – if they vote to approve independence, then they should not get a vote on the EU matter. If we have the vote before, it opens up the possibility of the UK staying in because Scotland voted to stay in, then leaves the UK – hardly democratic.

    Reply: I think Scotland will vote to stay in the UK so I do not think it matters whether we hold an EU referendum before or after.

    • Adam5x5
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:35 am | Permalink

      Should the EU referendum take place before or after the EU one?

      That should be:

      Should the EU referendum take place before or after the Scotland one?

      Please can you change?

      • alan jutson
        Posted June 28, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

        Adam 5×5

        Or, The Falkland Islanders one.

        Indeed it is now being suggested even the Germans may have to hold one, due to their own constitution rules.

    • Adam5x5
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Reply: I think Scotland will vote to stay in the UK so I do not think it matters whether we hold an EU referendum before or after.

      For the sake of completeness/argument, while I agree that it is unlikely that Scotland will vote to leave the UK. What would happen if the Scots did vote to leave after an EU vote?
      Surely we would have to re-run the referendum to ensure that it accurately represented the view of the populace.

      Which would mean that any EU vote should wait til at least 2014 (or whenever the Scotland referendum is…)

      Reply: We could count the Scottish votes separately

  3. Pete the Bike
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    What the UK will actually say is more like “Yes to whatever you want, just let us have a few sound bites that make it look like we’re protecting UK interests. Oh and would you like any more money?”

  4. lifelogic
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    You claim “The Conservative majority in the present government believes the UK needs a different relationship, as it does not accept the large transfers of power that have occurred in recent years.”

    But is this true? How many have actually voted in accordance with this, just a tiny handful. Anyway cast rubber Cameron has saddled them with the Libdems and Labour from 2015 it seems. It is difficult to believe that a loss to Labour in 2015 is not actually part of the plan. They seem after all to be arranging this with every anti business and growth move they make so far.

    What about the gigantic LIBOR market manipulations by Barclays and other banks to rob customers JR? Have I been over charged on my Libor linked loans for years I wonder? My parent are still waiting for the Equitable compensation to come after 10+ years so I won’t be holding by breath for compensation here. Then there is the loan insurance “mis-selling” and not to mention the £30 a letter and excessive charges for going 30p over limit for ten minutes and the pointless payday loans at 3000%+ APRs for the desperate and innumerate. Some “sensible” regulation is needed like a cap at say 25% APR for example. Above that you are better of without the loan in general

    • forthurst
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      This is the tip of the iceberg. There have been credible reports of long term manipulation of markets in oil and other commodities, stocks, the selling of fraudulent products, (etc etc). Most of this fraud has taken place in London, yet the UK authorities seem reliant on the USA to take action, either none, usually, especially if the suspect has paid enormous contributions to US politicans, or simply a fine which is dwarfed by the illegal gains. The result of all this is that (some?) international financial institutions are now institutionally corrupt and see London as a safe place to perpetrate their crimes. If the UK authorities believe they can continue to turn a blind eye to a situation whereby crooks make huge bonuses at the expense of other market participants or the end users (us) of the products that are being manipulated, they are being extremely naive: there are other financial centres that would love to steal the City’s enviable position in finance and would be prepared, amongst other things, to offer a robust response to market manipulators and transgressors in order to ensure a level of trust which used to exist in the City, but which has now all but evapourated.

      • zorro
        Posted June 28, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        Don’t forget alleged market manipulation in Gold and trade in Gold ETFs….

        zorro

        • forthurst
          Posted June 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          Quite, not to mention Max Keiser’s hobby horse: a list by exclusion, perhaps?

    • sjb
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      With regard to Equitable Life, I hope your parents do get compensation.

      The letter I received two days ago from the Equitable Life Payment Scheme stated: Although the policies set out below are eligible under the Scheme rules, you do not qualify for a payment. It only listed one of my policies so perhaps further letters are on their way … but, like you, I will not be holding my breath for compensation.

      Fortunately, I am much younger than most policyholders. The ones I feel desperately sorry for are the families of those that died.

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 30, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        If they were just told what they were going to get and when that would be a great improvement. They get no information.

  5. norman
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    It doesn’t matter what the UK (via politicians and mandarins) say. This time it will be up to the people. Thanks to the much vaunted ‘Referendum Lock’ (or whatever it’s called) we’ll finally get a say!

    Knew I shouldn’t have stayed so long in the pub last night, talking more gibberish than usual today.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      “Referendum Block” is an alternative description.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      I think the referendum lock is manufactured by Cameron in cast rubber I put little faith in it or him.

      • zorro
        Posted June 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        plenty of wriggle room for Cast Elastic….

        zorro

        • alan jutson
          Posted June 29, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

          zorro

          Cast iron is brittle, it has huge compressive strength, but is easily broken by a hammer blow.

          Wrought Iron is much tougher, perhaps one of those promises would have been better.

          • lifelogic
            Posted July 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

            Perhaps someone else making the promise is what is needed.

  6. colliemum
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    I so wish the government would indeed say exactly this at the summit!

    Nothing needs to be added to or taken away from this statement.

    • zorro
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      Wish is all we will get…..Cameron will never utter these words (well certainly not at any EU summit)…

      zorro

  7. backofanenvelope
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    You say that the UK cannot possibly join an EU fiscal/banking union. Why not? It must at least be a possibility. In fact, if we wanted to bring the whole thing to a grinding halt, we should announce we had decided to join in. It would then be so complex a project that it would never take place.

  8. Chris Rose
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    What you say is an admirable statement of the UK position. The problem is that I cannot see that a group of people whose mental faculties are blinded will, or even can, respond to it.

    The Eurozone has structural imbalances in trade and in cash flows which can only be solved by breaking it up. The past year has seen exhaustive analysis of these problems, not least on this blog, and yet the leaders of the EU cannot see them and have shown themselves incapable of responding to them.

    The EU is to its leaders a faith in an ideal. They cannot let themselves accept that a project they have for so long put their faith in is flawed or destructive. To admit that the EU might become no more than a trading bloc would be to contradict everything they believe in.

    To put your well argued case to them would be to cast pearls of wisdom before swine: they would be incapable of comprehending. Instead, the PM should cry: Let my people go! Then perhaps these Pharoahs across the Channel might relent, be thankful to be rid of us and grant us the relationship we seek.

  9. Alan Radfield
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    What they will actually say is this: ‘We wish to retain some ‘influence’ with our European friends at the Top Table. This is because Brussels has provided a wonderful late career path for so many of our friends – Mr and Mrs Kinnock, Mr Mandelson and many others. We too wish to have the option of building a £5m pension pot in just a few short years of attending summits and gala dinners. We will regulate the City for you, and would you like a raise in the UK monthly Club Dues cheque, and can we give you your share of our oil and gas to fix it for us?’

    • Atlas
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget, I think ‘Tone’ still fancies being President of Europe… all that ‘big picture’ stuff eh?

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Send troops (ill equipped) to a pointless counter productive war on a clear lie and then become president of Europe I do hope not. Wonder how all his tax planning is going and what Cameron thinks of it?

  10. oldtimer5
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    That is a very clear statement of a desirable outcome. Unfortunately it is questionable whether it reflects the balance of opinion in the HoC (you can judge this better than me), in the civil service who negotiate the details (I suspect it may not) and still less in other EU countries faced with the turmoil and fallout from the EZ crisis (they have their own priorities and agenda to think about). Its achievement will require a single minded intent and determination that is lacking in the coalition and appears doubtful in the current Conservative ministers in the government. Nevertheless it is a sound foundation for a committed Conservative leadership (if one can be found).

  11. History Lover
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Thank you John for a clear, easily understood precis of our history in EU. Hopefully the Government will take note.

  12. alan jutson
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Excellent JR, but it will not happen,

    According to press reports this morning Cameron has already promised another
    £ one Billion to help stimulate growth in the EU area.

    Makes you want to weep.

    I see our Banks in whom Mr Osbourne is putting £140 Billion of his trust in to distribute fairly (with their 5-10% margins added of course), have now been found out to have been organising the LIBOR rates to their own advantage.

    Barclays already having been fined £260 million, which of course their customers will pay for in higher charges.
    Other Banks are under investigation we are told.

    What is it with so many Politicians that they just do not understand the value of money.
    Yes I know the “its not theirs”, so they do not care argument, but most seem absolutely dumb when it comes to finance (JR Excluded).

    Or

    Is it, they simply do not understand human nature, as this would perhaps explain many of their failures on a whole lot of policies.

    • norman
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      They understand human nature. Why do you think they spray our money around so liberally? If there really was an appetite for fiscal sanity Labour wouldn’t be polling at 40%.

      We just have to hope that some sensible voices get a place Cabinet and that politicians occasionally act in the best long term interests of the country. At the moment there’s a complete imbalance between spraying around money and acting in the best long term interest. Realistically I think we all accept there is always going to be waste and largesse but it’s gone way too far under the last 10 years of Labour and the first two of this.

      • stred
        Posted June 28, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        The Germans bankers think, probably rightly, that the majority of EU voters are Wonga junkies or the equivalent. This is why they are foisting non elected technocrats on them.

  13. Alan
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    The question asked in 1975 was “Do you think the UK should stay in the European Community (Common Market)?”

    So people did vote to be in the “European Community”.

    And I distinctly remember the issue of sovereignty being discussed.

    It may be we have changed our minds. It may be the nature of the EU has changed and we no longer wish to be part of it. But let’s not re-write history. In 1975 we did wish to belong.

    Reply: It was the European Economic Community then – not the EU. It has changed so much since that vote.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      I not-so-distinctly remember the issue of sovereignty being dismissed.

      • zorro
        Posted June 28, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        Probably the old ‘pooling of soveeignty’ argument as rolled out….

        zorro

    • zorro
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      “Do you think the UK should stay in the European Community (Common Market)?” …..That was indeed the question….a little bit disingenuous in that the body was the EEC (European Economic Community) and not the European Community which should have sent alarm bells ringing anyway about the direction of travel…..(even if they hadn’t read the Treaty of Rome).

      Once Maastricht came into operation, the EEC was formally changed into the European Community in 1993, and along with the ECSC, and the EURATOM, collectively constituted the first of the three pillars of the European Union (EU). The EC existed in this form until it became the European Union (EU) with the passing of the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009 which merged the three pillars of the EU. The other two pillars were the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC).

      As for what happens to the UK, let’s see what comes to pass in 2014….maybe we might see why Cameron insisted on a 5 year Parliament no matter what…..

      zorro

  14. NickW
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    I agree with everything that John has written but would add a detailed requirement for the Democratisation of European Government in return for the power and responsibility it’s leaders seek to seize from the Democracies of Europe.

    As the Swiss Defence Minister said ” You can lose wealth and regain it, but you can lose freedom only once”.

    The people of Europe are not prepared to lose their freedom in order to save the Euro. Van Rompuy has written a shopping list of powers he wants transferred to Brussels; the sooner someone writes a shopping list of democratisation measures which the people demand in return, the better. That is what is missing from Cameron and Osborne’s unqualified support for “Ever greater Union” and is the reason why the majority of the UK regard Government policy on Europe as foolish and dangerous.

    There would be Pan European support from the people of Europe for a demand for democratisation in return for the transfer of powers to Brussels. It might even save the Euro.

  15. Martyn
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    I suspect that the banking firestorm which is likely to break out over what may transpire to have been fraudulent LIBOR manipulation within Barclays and, it seems, other UK banks, will seriously undermine the UK’s position at the EU summit.

    France no doubt will cry “Perfidious Albion” and Germany will growl that a nation unable to properly oversee and control its banks has absolutely no right to tell others what to do. Mr C and Mr O and their officials are going to have a hard task in maintaining their credibility at the summit – I hope that they don’t cave in to the EU demands because of their and our weakened positions.

    And as for Barclays and possibly other UK banks involved with the LIBOR cheating, we can now expect their to be world-wide condemnation followed by them being sued for damages. That’ll help them to stimulate UK businesses and help the nation recover from depression. Not….

  16. David B
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    You went ahead with the Euro for a political purpose. Now the economic chickens have come home. You caused the problem now you need to get of the fence and solve it. Either go all the way to political union or break the thing up. But you caused the mess and only you can solve it. And you have to cover the cost.

  17. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    You know that no one will say any such thing. Do you really believe that your party’s leadership will do anything but all theycan to help save the euro? A currency which you wrote yesterday cannot be saved. How much longer is this delusion going to continue? How much more of our money is to be sacrificed at the altar of the anti-democratic EU?

  18. Gary
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    John, you spend a lot of time on the EURO, but we don’t hear a peep from you or any other MP over the crime of British banks rigging LIBOR. This is a huge crime. These banks are untouchable. The FSA gives them a slap on the wrist, which the banks see as no more than the cost of doing business for rigging a rate that covers more than $800 trillion in securities and loans , including $350 trillion in swaps and $10 trillion in loans, including auto and home loans, according to the CFTC.

    This is outrageous. Are we living in a kleptocracy ?

    Reply: This story has only just broken. I may write about it when we know some more of what has happened, and find out how many other banks may have been involved. It is clearly bad news for banks and for the City. The Chancellor has made a full statement to the House condemning the banking and regulatory lapses and saying he intends to take matters further.

  19. Tad Davison
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    I think we’re unlikely to get anything other than capitulation, regardless of what the British people demonstrably want. And to appreciate that, we must understand the mindset of our elected representatives.

    David Cameron promised to give us a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, but the slippery part was in the form of a carefully-worded caveat intended to deceive. Only if the Lisbon Treaty hadn’t already been ratified.

    Cameron says he’s a Euro-sceptic. I say he’s just another Tory Toady con-man. A true Euro-sceptic would move Heaven and Earth to ensure the ratification could and would be overturned. There are still honourable people in the parliamentary Conservative party, he just isn’t one of them. He follows in a long tradition of Tory Toadies who have by stealth, given away our sovereignty, so what makes anyone think they’ll do anything else now?

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • norman
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      You watch. We’ll be signed up for this treaty and the reason given for ignoring the referendum lock will be ‘this treaty doesn’t transfer powers away from the UK, it’s Eurozone only so it doesn’t trigger the referendum lock’.

      Then in 10 years time we’ll find that some measures of this treaty are going to be applied to us and the different politicians in charge will say ‘nothing we can do, Cameron signed us up for that treaty and now there’s no way out’ and because we won’t need to sign a new treaty – guess what! – no referendum.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 1, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      “A true Euro-sceptic would move Heaven and Earth to ensure the ratification could and would be overturned.”

      Indeed he should have had the referendum post election just to strengthen his hand. He clearly did not want a strong hand. He is clearly duplicitous saying one thing and doing the other on almost every issue. He clearly should also not have agreed to any bailouts either. No one can think he is Euro-sceptic now, nor even honest surely.

      An election he would clearly have won outright had he put a proper Tory agenda to the nation. Rather than the socialist, green, pro EU drivel he did put to them. He certainly will not win the next one but tories do have a death wish rather like the Heath, Major disasters. Will it be three terms out of power again Major style?

  20. Paul Danon
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    To which the EU replies: “There may have been popular dissent, but the UK has signed-up to all the treaties to date (except the recent illegal eurozone pact). Those treaties and the acquis communautaire all imply ever-closer union, and none allows for the repatriation of powers. Even after your referendum in the ’70s, you could still have backed out at any time once you realised our objective of ever-closer union (which your Mr John E Powell had spotted early on), yet successive British governments stayed with us and came further and further in. We are now in crisis and need more – not less – commitment. Even your supposedly sceptical Conservative leaders have said that the eurozone needs fiscal discipline to survive. You came into this with your eyes wide open and all the treaties are legal in your system of law (arguably unlike German law). It’s frankly too late to complain and, anyway, we have treaty-law on our side.”

    • Tad Davison
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Paul,

      Maybe so, and who have we got to blame for that?

      Labour, certainly in part. The Lib Dems, they weren’t in power so for them, EU integration was just an aspiration, although the few that were at Westminster definitely supported pro-EU policies. Now let me see, who does that leave?

      Ah yes, of course, the ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ singing, Union Jack waving, monarchy-loving true-blues! And people wonder why the duplicitous b*******s come in for so much stick!

      At least I can sleep at night!

      Tad Davison

      Cambridge

  21. SteveS
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Or alternatively, we could just tell them “No, No, No!”

  22. Tad Davison
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Open Europe says that both the FT and Conservative Home are reporting that 100 MPs have written to David Cameron to urge him to hold a referendum in the next parliament. But that depends on whether Cameron chooses to listen. And what of the MPs who didn’t sign, are we to take it that they support the EU and are quite happy giving away our money and powers to this insatiable monster?

    There! I told you it won’t happen! It takes the heat off Cameron and gives a Rattlesnake wriggle-room! We need a referendum tomorrow, not after an election that Cameron looks like losing!

    But what does it matter if the Tories lose to Labour in 2015, just as long as they continue with the grand plan to drag us ever-closer to full political matriculation?

    It is also reported that William Hague will this summer, seek to launch an audit of the impact of EU law on Britain. Only ‘seek’ mind you.

    Mere platitudes Mr Hague. More blather and BS intended to snow the public, and worst of all, to con the Tory faithful. That is sick!

    I was right to cease being one of their number, and feel thoroughly vindicated in my decision.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  23. Norman Dee
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    When banks are punished can we actually stop them passing that cost on to the customer ? Perhaps the best punishment is a forced break up of the bank, selling the bits around the industry. Deposits would be safe, but any debts would be paid from the capital, and the balance adsorbed by the state. Responsible executives would lose their pension pots, it too being adsorbed by the state.

  24. Bill
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    The Uk should say that the people of the UK want a Referendum now .we are all sick of David Camerons Lies .Another Billion today to the EU by the back door .

  25. Mike Stallard
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    “The UK cannot possibly join member states in such a move.”
    Why?
    Our (International) Common Law, our jury system, our rumbustious House of Commons, our Queen and (at the moment) our semi-historic House of Lords, even our national Church, regiments and history of being independent all are against it.
    Already London is fulfilling its historic task of welcoming European refugees.

    “The UK successively negotiated opt outs or preserved a veto for the Social Chapter, the common borders, common defence and security, common taxation and criminal justice. ”
    Well that’s OK then. We still have no common taxation – just an ever increasing demand for bigger and bigger contributions to the “club membership”. And the rest?

    Doesn”t ANYONE read Christopher Booker?

  26. Tim
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Reply from EU.
    The UK signed up for “ever closer union”. The request contravenes this fundamental principle and is therefore rejected. If British politicians misled the British people in the 1975 referendum, this is not a matter that concerns the EU.
    If the UK government wishes to envoke the article in the Lisbon Treaty for a withdrawal it is free to do so. If it does not exercise this right then it must remain bound by the existing treaty agreements.

    Or to put it another way Mr Redwood. Stop pussyfooting around pretending a repatriation of powers is possible. In or out is the only option. We can negotiate bi-lateral trade deals as we leave.

  27. AJAX
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    That’ll really shock them to their foundations Johnny ; (

    How about (ruff draft):

    #1 England finds it inclement to its nature to join with the ill-advised, monopolized unnatural entity that is currently being forged in the form of the EU by ill-judged Franco ambition & German delusion born of martial defeat.

    #2 It regards the entity being constructed as a potential threat to the safety & happiness of Europe & refutes it

    #3 Her Majesty’s Government will now seek to place before the Parliament of the English a proposal to withdraw from this entity & seek re-admission to EFTA

    #4 EFTA will be the vehicle that England will support to continue it’s policy of maintaining a Balance of Power in Europe, which has saved the liberty of Europe on many occasions from over-reaching ambition over the last 1/2 a millennia, & we believe will do so again when the time arises.

    #4 We hope that Europe once more will, in due course, profit from England’s example.

  28. Jon Burgess
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I know what I’d like the UK to say, but I fear it wouldn’t get passed your moderator.

    But what should be said will bear no relationship to what is actually said, and sadly the whole charade of EU ‘crunch time’ summits will continue into the distance. Markets will rally momentarily on some meaningless soundbite, and then reality will set in again and Spain and Italy will be the next to go bust.

    Don’t these things cost a fortune to put together? No wonder the EU needs higher contributions from member states. Still I suppose the EU leaders get to see a different city every other week.

  29. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Cameron could say:

    “I’m a reasonable man, and I’m willing to help you out with the treaty changes you want about the eurozone, but only in exchange for these other treaty changes I want about the eurozone … ”

    and then perhaps start by running through the eight required EU treaty changes I suggested last October, here:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2011/10/31/what-powers-would-you-like-back/

    but with some modifications and additions necessitated by more recent developments.

    Then he could add:

    “No doubt you’re all aware that I’m coming under increasing pressure to hold some kind of EU referendum, and whatever deal I provisionally strike at this meeting may have to be good enough to withstand attack during a referendum campaign if it’s going to be finally ratified; in fact I may even have to hold a referendum on what we previously agreed at our meeting of March 25th 2011.”

    That’s the radical EU treaty change that the eurozone states need to provide a legal base for the ESM, the amendment of Article 136 TFEU that the Lithuanian parliament recently approved:

    http://www3.lrs.lt/pls/inter/w5_show?p_r=4028&p_d=126379&p_k=2

    “The amendment to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides a legal basis for establishing a permanent crisis mechanism to be resorted to in case of emergency.”

  30. Alan Wheatley
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    A balanced and reasonable argument – from the perspective of the person making it. But, just like the Tango, it takes two to reach an agreement, and the counter-party to this one likely sees things entirely differently. And, unlike the Tango, in this case the partner is not one but an amalgamation of 26.

    So, irrespective of the merits of the argument, you have to wonder what chance there is of talks beginning, left alone reaching an agreement.

    From the EU perspective I would think their horizon is the Euro. The UK wanting to talk about something else at this time is a distraction they do not want, and are unlikely to allow any time for any serious consideration of an alternative UK relationship. And from their point of you you can see that they do have a point.

    As for the need for a UK signature on a Treaty and this being a means of exerting pressure, while true in theory it is likely to count for much in the EU world, where the project is political and expediency is the name of the game.

    Reply: If the 26 do not wish to negotiate or offer the UK anything, then UK voters can vote for Out in a referendum, which would need to follow the negotiation or lack of it.

  31. Alan Wheatley
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    The notion that the UK’s relationship with the EU is not what we really want and we would like to re-negotiate a better relationship is, of course, eminently sensible. Putting conveniently to one side what is meant by “better”, everyone can agree, including the europhiles!

    Timing is important. While there are plenty who would like to get on with it now, others say that while there certainly should be a re-negotiation now is not the time in view of other important EU things currently the focus of attention. The “yes, but not now” argument can, of course, be repeated ad infinitum!

    But neither re-negotiation nor timing is the real issue. Far, far more fundamental is the question of what sense there is in the UK being in the EU at all. Given that the EU policy of ever greater union has already gone too far for the UK, where as for the EU it is still work in progress, clearly the two parties are seeking to head in different directions. Even if in theory an arrangement to which both parties are happy could be conceived, you have to wonder what is the point and why bother. Instead or seek an elusive “fit” would it not be far better to abandon the idea and start again with the UK outside the EU and having a trading relationship with it? That makes far more sense to me.

    And beware Conservatives bearing gifts. They may well be a ploy to avoid a split! Or, perhaps to express it more accurately, to keep obscured the split that has been there for decades.

  32. Brentfordian
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Little matter of the Treaty of Rome, wherein:

    [Preamble]: DETERMINED to lay the foundations of an ever-closer union among the peoples of Europe …

    ARTICLE 2
    The Community shall have as its task … closer relations between the States belonging to it.

    Granted, these goals are contained within a Treaty that is otherwise entirely concerned with a single market, but they could (almost legitimately) be used to suggest that those who voted in favour of the Common Market de facto voted in favour of a political union.

    Just thought I’d mention it.

    Reply: Exactly why I voted No in 1975. However, most did not read the Treaty, and that feature of the Treaty did not figure in the media debates and the leaflets put out by the Labour government at the time.

    • APL
      Posted July 1, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      JR: “Exactly why I voted No in 1975.”

      And by the way, many who were alive in ’75 were not old enough to vote in the Referendum and have now very fixed ideas how the issue should have been resolved.

      Why have the politicians conspired to deny these people a say for the last thirty seven years?

      The Irish get multiple votes on every issue, why can’t we?

  33. Bert Young
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I took heart from the blog today and commend you for the way you put it together . I would be interested to know whether you are one of the 100 Conservative MPs who signed the need for a referendum reported on the news .

    Reply: I do not think the names are going to be published. As you know, I do support a referendum, have said so in public and voted for one recently in the Commons.

  34. The Prangwizard
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    In the last few days we have seen a remarkable and many will think an unpleasant sight, that is, Her Majesty meeting and shaking hands with a former IRA commander. I’ll reserve judgement on that myself. There is another dimension which may not have sunk in yet among the English and a lesson to be learned. It is clear from this blog and others that anti-EU feeling is growing and the government and most polititians are not taking it seriously enough, and there is unbalanced reporting, particularly by the BBC, or no reporting at all when there should be. The lesson is that if people who believe they have a just cause are ignored, patronised and lied to, they will at some point take action, and it will be successful and eventaully accepted even when (tough tactics-ed) has been involved. I’m not going to say we should take up arms, but at some point if the British Establishment does not respond adequately on this, ie. withdrawal from the EU, and other grievances, one being, so far, minority calls for an English parliament there will be trouble sooner or later.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted June 29, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      I do not believe you should censor references to matters of fact. The IRA did use severe violence, not merely ‘tough tactics’ to achieve their aims. I was not and am not advocating such actions, merely stating what they did. I censored myself, I could have been even more direct. History is full of such facts whether we like it or not. They shouldn’t and can’t be hidden, and here our leaders are showing us in plain sight that almost whatever you do can be forgiven. You will note I have reserved my judgment on the event itself.

  35. Tad Davison
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Whether or not JR was a signatory to the letter remains a mystery, but his anti-EU credentials are otherwise pretty good. I have to say though, as far as a lot of the rest are concerned, why not nail their colours to the mast?

    We do, on this and other blogs, and our views can then either be agreed with, or criticised when they fall down. At least we have a debate. So what happened to openness, honesty and integrity?

    Are they ashamed of their stance?

    If I were in their position, I would be bursting to tell my constituents that I was listening to their concerns and had responded to them.

    Maybe we’ll learn more in the days and weeks ahead, but this needs to gather momentum, and the best way is for MPs to go public. It may then gather a momentum of it’s own once people have something to rally behind.

    The closed workings of parliament will always be an anathema to me.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  36. peter davies
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Well put – you should be PM – the current one wouldn’t dare nail his colours to the mast in this way.

  • 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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