A new relationship with the EU?

Mr Cameron’s article yesterday in the Sunday Telegraph did represent an important advance in government thinking. He now agrees with those of us who say we need a new relationship with the EU. He agrees it is not just a case of saying “No” to future transfers of power, but getting powers back that have already been ceded.

I also agree with him that holding an In/Out referendum soon would be bad news if the In campaign won. The Uk would then have little bargaining power to get a better relationship, and would have lost the chance to leave the EU if things got worse. Mr Cameron also made it clear that in the unlikely event of an In/Out referendum soon taking place, Ministers in the Coalition would side with Labour, the Lib Dems, the CBI and probably the TUC in an attempt to make it a re-run of the 1975 referendum to secure a Yes vote. Many Conservative members and MPs would of course be campaigning for a No vote if the only thing on offer was In on the current terms or Out.

The government needs to add to its new realisation that the UK needs a different relationship with the EU to defining that relationship and getting on with negotiating it. MPs have done a lot of work in the last two years listing all the many powers the EU has taken, appraising the poor performance resulting from many EU policies, and setting out what the UK needs to get back to become once again an independent country. The Foriegn Office is aware of all this work. It is high time Mr Hague set out in a speech what a new relationship based on trade and friendship rather than common governemnt would look like.

The government is wrong to say we cannot make a move now owing to the problems of the Euro zone. We need to make the move now for just that reason. The UK needs to be free of any financial liability from the Euro troubles, and free of the extra government the EU will now seek to impose to try to “save” the Euro. As the EU will need UK consent to their pushing ahead for a more comprehensive union, the UK is well placed to say as they want more EU power over their lives we intend to have less. We should travel in the opposite direction.

The governemnt should see what it can negotiate and then put it to the vote. The referendum question should simply be “Do you want to stay in the EU based on the new deal on offer?” The fact that it would be put to a vote would put some pressure on the rest of the EU to offer us a relationship we can accept. The fear of loss of a very lucrative export market for France and Germany, and the worry that we might no longer make any financial contributions to the EU if we decide to leave, should persuade them to offer us something sensible. The choice anyway will be ours, and many UK people are fed up with the EU so would like to be out altogether.

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162 Comments

  1. Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    Mr Cameron’s article was skirt twitching as you surely realise.

    He’s getting a lot of flak and now says he really agrees with the Euro-doubters and will do something ‘when the time is right’ Hardly a cast iron pledge.

    And you may recall the last time a conservative leader talked about doing something when the time was right? Mrs Thatcher (as was) on entering the ERM. Left to herself she never would have done so of course, and several biographies now claim it was only when John Major was appointed Chancellor he forced her hand by threatening to resign immediately if we did not join, (you may recall how well that turned out).

    So ‘when the time is right’ is vacuous emptiness personified, thus one can be left in little doubt the work is original to the author.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Indeed even if he had promised one written in blood while holding his personal religious book (the green religion I assume) and within ten days – I would not believe him. Saying he does not rule on out, but the time is not right, is so worthless as to be not even worth uttering. He clearly will have taken the party over the cliff in 2015 just as major did in June 97 for three + 1/2 terms so far.

      If you search on Google “Cameron promises” you get endless promises that he has not kept and usually done the reverse. It is hard to find one promise he has actually kept without caveats or escape clauses – can anyone suggest any.

  2. norman
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    I read a piece by Dan Hannan yesterday praising UKIP and the pressure they have applied as one of the main forces of bringing the Conservative Party leadership to this point. This despite them not having one MP at Westminster.

    Speaking for myself I’m not going to believe any promises any of the three parties make on this issue but until an actual date is set, or negotiations begin in earnest and we start to see the shape of the new relationship, I’m treating the whole subject as an attempt to pull the wool over our eyes.

    Time will tell.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Indeed and the Coalition, Labour, the Lib Dems, the CBI, the TUC and the BBC would all be pushing for a yes. It was interesting to hear Niall Ferguson on radio 4 say “we do not have the rule of law but the rule of lawyers”. He is quite right, the profession is honed largely for the enrichment of lawyers and often provides little of value to the public. It is yet more or the parasitic sector, like so much of government, the EU and the finance/banking industries.

      • DaveF
        Posted July 3, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        The finance/banking industries were not parasites all the time they were providing money for Gordon and Tony’s vanity projects though were they.

    • Johnny Norfolk
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      I think you are spot on.

  3. Brian Taylor
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Yes we need to start the process ASAP, the worry is who will be in charge of the negotiations,would you be able to tell us which gov. Department would have this honour, and what mix of civil servants and MPs(if any) would be involved.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      I suggest that Dame Lucy Spendlove will be in charge. With her excellent record of government service to this government and the two previous ones, she is in poll position.

    • Timaction
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      I’d be happy to negotiate as I don’t think our present Government or its “Sir Humphries” are fit for purpose. They are all left of centre or socialist Labour appointee Europhiles. We need right wing patriots and I can’t see any evidence of them in power right now, so any deal would not be good enough!
      How can they be happy with mass migration, £9 billion net give away, millions of jobs to foreigners whilst we pick up the public service, health and housing costs? It beggars belief in the idea of a nation state and that’s what its all about.

    • Bob
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      “…who will be in charge…”?

      Ken Clarke.

      Don’t underestimate the Tories ability to elect traitors into leadership positions.

      Google “Edward Heath DVD”

      • Tad Davison
        Posted July 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        Bob,

        It’s easy to deride a dead man. I haven’t yet seen the DVD, although I fully intend to. Until then, I’ll reserve judgement, but here’s something that might lend credence to it.

        Back in 1990, Heath said on the BBC’s Question Time programme, at the time we were taken into the EU, he knew we would drive towards a fully-integrated Europe. Yet at no time did he tell us that was his aim all along.

        If that isn’t a traitor, I’m afraid I don’t know what is!

        Tad

  4. colliemum
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    I confess that, thanks to your diary, I have changed my attitude to an EU referendum, from IN/OUT now, to the re-negotiation approach advocated by you as the one most likely to bear success.
    However, there must be a set timetable, which must be short. Events in the EU and the € zone are not going to vanish, and proposed EU legislation looks more and more undemocratic, the ESM Treaty being one of them.

    So while I agree with this:
    “The government is wrong to say we cannot make a move now owing to the problems of the Euro zone. We need to make the move now for just that reason. The UK needs to be free of any financial liability from the Euro troubles, and free of the extra government the EU will now seek to impose to try to “save” the Euro.” – I was rather astonished to read that Mr Hague seems to think we need to do exactly the opposite!

    It seems to me that the situation in the € zone demands an urgency to re-negotiations. A ‘review’ of what and where relations could be re-negotiated is a sign of the ‘kick-can-down-road-itis’ prevalent in EU circles, which seems to have infected Hague, Cameron and the FO.

    • Posted July 2, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      I believe that Palmerston, shortly after becoming Foreign Secretary asked a colleague: “Please tell me – whose Foreign Office are they ?”

  5. zorro
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    John, with regards to the EU, this government couldn’t negotiate its way out of a paper bag!

    Zorro

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Not even in the rain.

  6. zorro
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Was I mistaken or did I hear Cast Iron mention that 3 million jobs depended on our membership of the EU?. …That tells you all you need to know.

    Zorro

    • Lord Blagger
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      Will that be 3 million migrant workers. :-)

      • lifelogic
        Posted July 2, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Probable it would be – if the £3M were remotely true.

        The EU actually causes a net loss of jobs as it saddles industry with pointless regulations, parasitic overheads, expensive energy and the like. Rather like the mirage of “green jobs” one job created 2+ lost due to the higher energy prices and taxes that result.

        • uanime5
          Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          EU regulations don’t seem to be causing job losses in Germany. Perhaps this is because they run their economy better.

          • davidb
            Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

            Thats because they ignore some of them, and the ones they obey are how they do things anyway. Much legislation in the EU sets standards already set in Germany. They have elected powerful Greens. They manufacture the cars and much else besides, and lobby for their method to be the standard.

            I have wandered through a building site in Cologne as an unprotected civilian. You try that one in the UK without a high viz and a hard hat.

          • libertarian
            Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

            Yes, by having scrapped EU employment regulations for small businesses in Germany and lowering their tax rates.

            Germany like the UK employs over 70% of its workforce in SME’s. In Germany they have special treatment, in the UK we have massive taxes and regulations.

          • lifelogic
            Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

            Excessive and bad regulations clearly less efficient industry, causes people to earn less pushes more jobs to go abroad – how could they not do?

            Germany may well run things better, but it could be better still with a smaller state, fewer regulations, lower taxes less EU and with cheaper (non green religion) energy.

          • Foxie
            Posted July 3, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

            I’m afraid they are. Germany’s lunatic renewable energy policies are driving their heavy industries to the wall… a few weeks ago Voerde, their second largest aluminium producer went bust. Most of their other energy intensive industries are (struggling-ed).

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted July 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

            davidb has a point. Does anybody remember UK research into the ‘lean burn engine’, an idea that would have achieved 90% of what catalytic converters do at 10% of the cost? Germany persuaded the EU to make catalytic converters compulsorary.

      • The Remittance Man
        Posted July 2, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        If they actually exist*, I suspect he means the army of bureacrats, bag carriers and other useless mouths who suckle at the eu teet (at our expense).

        *I strongly suspect that if anyone goes looking for them, they will find this veritable army is as mythical as Bill the Plumber, (etc etc -ed)

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Indeed

    • David Price
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Wonder how many of the 3 million are public sector bureacrats, lawyers and other busy bodies dependent on the EU for workflow as opposed to trade.

    • Andrew Johnson
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      You are not wrong, that is indeed what the PM is reported as having said. Says it all really doesn’t it?

  7. Posted July 2, 2012 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    The fact that Cameron would clearly be on the side of remaining in the EU, on present terms, says it all. He is clearly quite happy with a non democratic, over regulated, over taxed, expensive fake “green” energy EU. A business suffocation system of government that help no one but government parasites. This in direct contradiction to his very many empty pronouncements (or lies to the voters as most will surely see them).

    We would have been better off with Labour still in power. At least then we would have had the possibility of a sensible Tory party in 2015. All we have now is the virtual certainty of Labour in 2015 (and Cameron with some post in the EU no doubt).

    After all if he cannot beat Gordon Brown with his socialist, fake green, pro EU agenda how can he be expected to beat anyone else. Especially now he has destroyed any credibility he ever had. Nothing he says can be believed. We have heard it all before and yet all the actions are in opposite direction to his words.

    His aim seems to be a trash on UK voters and treat them with compete contempt, at every turn, and seek an EU job in 2015. I can see no other explanation than those of a self interested, pro EU, career politician.

    • Bill
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Cannot agree that ‘we would have been better off with Labour still in power’. They would have done further damage and might have left us in a position from which there was no escape at all.

      • lifelogic
        Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        There is, I suspect, no escape anyway. Cameron is clearly locking all the fire exits while pretending to be checking that they work.

        If he were an honourable man he would make the case for what he clearly believes. Namely that the EU is a good think and we should be locked to this non democratic, high taxing, socialist union. He prefers to deceive and trick people into a trap – as has been done by Heath, Wilson, even Thatcher, Major, Bliar, Brown and all the Ken Clark types. What are the real reasons they think the EU is such a good thing – can they not be honest just for once?

    • Posted July 2, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      “If he can’t beat Gordon Brown…”: That is what he didn’t want to do! SamCam was always aiming to be a coalition government. This PM is (untrustworthy-ed) to his toes. Not a WORD of his means anything. UKIP has them spinning & lying to the point that perhaps even the dumbest Tory blind loyalist will see the light. Oust SamCam now!

  8. Old Albion
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    The people of this (dis)United Kingdom are sick of the EU meddling in our lives. Sick of handing over money to a corrupt organisation with the sole aim of a new country called EU. Governed by a German/French axis.
    Referendum now. One question. Should the UK leave the EU. Yes or No.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      Where do our water, our electricity and HSBC find their head offices though………

  9. Duyfken
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    It is right at this stage to acknowledge with thanks the good efforts by yourself (and so many others, such as Messrs Carswell and Hannan, and of course not forgetting Farage) in keeping the EU issue alive and now making Cameron and co undergo contortions.

    The fight is far from won despite the more favourable utterances from the Tory side of the government, which utterances I fear just mean nothing at all. There will be so many ways that Cameron can vacillate, excuse, delay and kick the ill-used can down the road, that there should be no cause for becoming encouraged.

    An MP would just say these shenanigans are just normal politics and to be expected. But those outside Westminster must see it differently and look upon it all with disdain and some despair. Apart from the EU issue itself, it has also become an issue of Cameron, since he has been exposed as double-dealing, snide, and untrustworthy.

    I claim the problem is Cameron. I hope never again shall Tory MPs (and MEPs) be taken in by any of his promises, nudges and winks, or by his grandstanding on visits to the Continent. Remove Cameron and we in the electorate may have a chance.

    • dan
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Nonsense. The credit for keeping the issue alive goes to Farage and very few others. He’s been very clear and has not hedged his bets. He has spelt out the disaster of this EU from the start, and hasnt bottled it plain speaking by placing an each way bet on ‘renegotiating our relationship’. He knows that isnt a runner.

      John Redwood can claim (nor, to be fair, have I heard him claiming) credit for keeping the issue alive.
      He has been flushed out on the issue and unfortunately his stance will leave us trapped in an expensive club.

      Reply: More misrepresentation of my position. I am trying to get us all a vote which would enable us to leave if as you think they do not offer us a sensible deal. What is there to dislike about that?

      • Foxie
        Posted July 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        Well said. It’s real men like Nigel Farage, Geert Wilders and Timo Soini who are standing head and shoulders above all of them.

        I was watching Cameron’s statement yesterday and had one of those lightbulb moments… Our real Government is in Brussels and our Opposition is UKIP. Neither of them present in our museum piece of a Parliament. Hang your heads in shame MPs… all of you, you’ve betrayed us.

        BTW Geert Wilders has just announced he would leave the EU and dump the €uro. Let’s watch the Dutch opinion polls over the next 8 weeks. Any increase from third party should give the Conservatives pause for thought.

      • Foxie
        Posted July 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        In reply to the reply JR — what is wrong is that it will take us past 1st November 2014 as you know full well.

  10. Mick Anderson
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    holding an In/Out referendum soon would be bad news if the In campaign won

    This seems to be the latest reason to not offer a referendum – Ministers seem to think that it closes the argument.

    The Uk would then have little bargaining power to get a better relationship

    Like now, then.

    the EU will need UK consent to their pushing ahead for a more comprehensive union

    Do we have an effective veto on that sort of thing? Even if so, do we really believe Mr Cameron would apply it?

    The government should see what it can negotiate and then put it to the vote

    Set a referendum date a couple of years away, perhaps at the same time as the general election (if only to save money). That gives a defined (and generous) time for these negotiations – there’s nothing quite like having a deadline to sharpen the mind. If (as I expect) nothing will be achieved over the couple of intervening years, it should be obvious to the most ardent Europhile just what the EU thinks of the UK.

    If the Party leaders complain that they can’t write a manifesto when they don’t know what the future relationship with the EU will be after the referendum, we only have to observe that their actions rarely have anything to do with their promises….

    • matthu
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      (perhaps this will close the italics block)

      • Duyfken
        Posted July 3, 2012 at 6:18 am | Permalink

        Good try but the reversed tag “i /” needs to be removed altogether it seems.

    • Foxie
      Posted July 3, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Setting a date after 1st November, 2014 for a referendum or renegotiations of any sort is completely useless. November 2014 is when the full enforcement of the Lisbon Treaty begins. I’m very surprised John Redwood hasn’t raised this matter

      QMV means that all 26 other EU member states would take a vote on whether to allow the UK a referendum. As in the event of our leaving, they’d have to fund the shortfall of our contributions (we are the 2nd largest net contributor) naturally they’d vote against.

      Once people understand the significance of this approaching doomsday, Cameron’s motives and actions, from his first few hours in power — setting 5 year fixed-term Parliament — to this latest obfuscation over a referendum, become clear as day. Make no mistake, it will be the Norman Conquest all over again, without a (bow) shot being fired.

  11. Electro-Kevin
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    “The time is not yet right”

    Enough said.

  12. ChrisXP
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Getting powers back that have already been ceded…….I have been led to understand that this is impossible. So why is the government pursuing this idea, if this is true?
    We do not want Brussels rule and we do not want to pay £50 million a day, or whatever it is, and we do not want the euro, and we do not want open-door immigration…….so why therefore remain as an EU member at all, since all these things seem to be part of the membership package?
    I can see and understand the ideas behind the tactics, but I do not believe Brussels is interested in playing chess. Stalemate, for them, is not an option, any more than losing is.

  13. APL
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    JR: “He now agrees with those of us who say we need a new relationship with the EU.”

    This really is tiresome Tory deceit.

    We, that is the political entity that was once the United Kingdom is governed by the European Union.

    There is no new relationship to be had. Thanks to you, our politicians, the EU owns the United Kingdom.

    The only new relationship worth having, is that of independence, where we collectively own ourselves.

    You people, our so called representatives, lie and pretend, to disguise the truth. So long as you are all willing to continue to so lie and disguise the truth, you are all part of the problem and an impediment to democracy.

    Tell the truth for once John Redwood, you’ll find it immensely liberating.

    Reply: Do stop misrepresenting what I am saying. Yes of course coming out is a new relationship, so is joining the EEA rather than the EU, so is a relationship based on a Trade Agreement, and membership of the EU with the veto restored over everything etc etc. I want a new relationship based on trade and friendship which clearly means not belonging to the EU as currently constituted. What part of that can you not understand? I also want everyone to have the choice not to belong to the EU in a suitable referendum.

    • APL
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      JR: “What part of that can you not understand?”

      What part of THE EU HAS NO NEED NOR INCLINATION TO RENOGIATE don’t you understand?

      They have us by the ‘short and curlies’ and will not let go!

      Yes, we could renegoiate if we left the EU tomorrow.

      But today, we are in the EU, we are bound by the treaties successive governments have signed, and those treaties leave no room for renegotiation.

      Even if the EU wanted to renegotiate, which having everything it wants, it doesn’t.

      The only way we could renegotiate would be to leave and reapply for membership.

      Once we had left, why the hell we would want to reapply for membership, when we could trade within EFTA or WTO is anybody’s guess!

      Reply: The UK and the EU have to negotiate if the UK is pulling out as you wish. To pull out the UK first has to elect a Parliament which will vote to pull out, or vote in a Parliament which will give us the referendum I have been seeking. It would be a good idea if you supported those of us who are trying to sort this mess out.

      • APL
        Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        JR: “To pull out the UK first has to elect a Parliament which will vote to pull out, ”

        So the political class, because they don’t represent me, want to stay in the European Union. That’s a good thing to know.

        JR: ” It would be a good idea if you supported those of us who are trying to sort this mess out. ”

        Believe me Mr Redwood, I’d love to believe you! However you are one man in the utterly compromised Tory party which has been the instrument of European Political union in this country.

        The Tory party is like the little boy that cried wolf, each time your party has tried to garner a little bit of support by sounding slightly more EUrosceptic, then having achieved its aim, a couple of points in the opinion polls, it backs off from the aspirational position, no doubt to smoke filled rooms chuckling to yourselves, ‘managed to gull those fools again’.

        Nope, not this time.

        I’d trust you, but the organization you represent is a fraud.

      • lifelogic
        Posted July 2, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        I support “those of you who are trying to sort this mess out” but in the Tory party there are only about 100 tops and perhaps in parliament less than 130. So you do not have much chance, most are career politicians like Cameron they just look for a job and a good pension, preferably with EU tax breaks.

      • Posted July 2, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        Mr. Redwood: TEAR DOWN THIS WALL of lies around his most vile PM. Call out the traitors! Our version of the politburo must go.

      • cosmic
        Posted July 2, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        In theory, there’s a way of renegotiating our membership of the EU under the existing arrangements, but it involves a number of unlikely assumptions and possibilities unattractive to the other member states or the EU bods.

        That the political will exists in the UK government of the day and the wider political and administrative establishment to start and carry it through conscienciously.

        That the others would go along with it, when they have problems enough to deal with, when it would have consequences such as triggering referendums elsewhere and would probably have others making demands of their own. It would break the Aquis Communautaire.

        JR’s position seems to be that this process could be started and if it was rebuffed, or resulted in time wasting, that would be the result to be put to the people of the UK in a referendum. That also assumes a measure of political will I doubt exists, because if it did, it would go straight to an exit under article 50. But politics is the art of the possible and all that.

        I suspect the question will be decided by events outside the UK and British Euroscepticism of all shades will have been a significant but not deciding factor. There’ll be a scramble on the part of the establishment to see the EU rise Phoenix-like from the ashes.

        The question of a UK IN/OUT referendum is a minor but important factor. I don’t believe it could happen with any chance of an OUT result unless wider events had pre-decided the outcome. I can see a government being cornered into some sort of fudge with an in/out/reform option with reform being basically business as usual but with a lot of handwaving about red-lines and such. There’s something seductive about the idea of reforming the EU and returning it to a trading agreement “which we voted for”- except that was never the plan and not what we voted for, only what many of us were lead to believe we were voting for.

  14. A.Sedgwick
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink
    • lifelogic
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Melanie Phillips is right on this, but she has funny mixed views in general sometimes she talks a lot of sense but sometimes she is clearly loses all sense of rational thought or argument particularly in the heat of the moment on say the Moral Maze.

      I suppose religion cannot help as conflicts so quickly arise with any rational approach.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Ms Phillips is clearly a reader of this blog. She says nothing that we haven’t said at one time or another. All credit to her though for telling it like it is.

      Tad

    • Bazman
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      This is the same woman who sees the drug war in America to be successful. I’ve got news for you Mel. The war on drugs is being won by people on drugs.

      • lifelogic
        Posted July 2, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        I agree with you for once – Melanie Phillips does get a little confused on some issues. Logic, rational thought and consistency are not her strong points. But she is sound on many issues.

  15. NickW
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    The problem with the “Referendum Lock” is that Europe works by creep and subterfuge, finding ways to take more and more power to itself without the necessity for member states to take affirmative action.

    The European legislators are well aware of the referendum lock and similar provisions by other member states, and deliberately draft their legislation to avoid the protective barrier.

    The referendum lock is designed in such a way that it will always be possible to find an excuse not to trigger the legislation; e.g. “The transfer of powers was not “Significant”.

    The only effective barrier to creeping subterfuge is “The Line in the sand” technique.
    This requires Parliament to draw a clear line which Europe cannot cross without an automatic referendum, no matter how small the incursion.

    It may be that MPs outside the Government need to establish and draw that line themselves, and make it clear to the Government that they will defend their position with every means at their disposal, even if it means the fall of the Coalition.

    Hague’s position is a sensible and pragmatic one; that there cannot be a referendum while the nature of Europe is in such a state of flux. However, the fact that Europe is in such a state of flux and is acting with increasing desperation makes a line in the sand all the more essential.

    • NickW
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      If the solution to the Euro crisis is “More Europe”, that will have a significant cost attached to it and will result in demands for large increases in contributions from Member States.

      Any line in the sand drawn up by UK politicians needs to include the amount we pay to Europe. There needs to be a different scale of member state contributions for non-Eurozone members.

      I see no reason why we should be forced to pay for European government activities which we do not use, do not help us in any way and which a large proportion of the electorate find repugnant because of their anti democratic and totalitarian nature.

    • Martyn
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      “The referendum lock is designed in such a way that it will always be possible to find an excuse not to trigger the legislation; e.g. “The transfer of powers was not “Significant””. Exactly, and for this reason Mr C and others banging on about no more transfer of power without a referendum is simply hot air.

      Having also already effectively surrendered our sovereignty over just about everything (apart perhaps the control of our finances) to the EU, there is little or nothing else left to give away, thereby further reducing any chance of having to call a referendum.

      This story is going to keep on running and I think that the eventual biggest risk to the UK is that rather than be left outside the core group of 10? Eurozone nations who will really call the tune on how it is all run, the UK government will be desperate to join in at whatever the cost and so take us into the Euro. We are halfway there already, with the amount of bailout money we give them and now that there is apparently going to be a ‘super-pot’ of dosh for any nation to call on without any obvious penalty (apart from the whole thing collapsing), wouldn’t it be nice if the UK could grab a share? Utter nonesense, of course, but that has never put off anything the EU and our government has done, so it might as well be said….

    • Foxie
      Posted July 3, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      What part of — ‘the Lisbon Treaty is ‘a SELF-AMENDING treaty’ — those who trust in Hague’s Referendum ‘triple’ Lock don’t understand, I don’t understand.

      Self-amending means that signatories can amend it by QMV any time they like, without changing the cover-all terms of the Lisbon Treaty. And there’s not a sausage we can do about it.

  16. oldtimer
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Your summing up reflects my view of the evolving UK-EU relationship and the steps that need to be taken to change it in an acceptable way. Voters, who remember these things, recall that Labour promised, but did not deliver, a referendum on the Lisbon treaty. A cynical reader of Mr Cameron`s words on the future possibility of a referendum would consider them little more than weasel words, designed to give an impression of direction of travel, without really meaning it. It is full of escape routes in the reverse direction. No doubt the European parliament elections next year will give an indication on national thinking and will help concentrate minds.

  17. Andy H
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    The big problem with the renegotiation followed by the referendum is that some non important change will be offered and all parties will pretend that this is a significant change and get us to vote on that.

    What about those who believe that we can never have any politically based union and retain sovereignty?

    We HAVE to be out of the union before we attempt to renegotiate. Then it is just about negotiating trade agreements in the same way as we do for any other country.

    If the current leadership don’t want to run the country but would rather outsource it to the EU, then I suggest they stand aside and let someone who is willing and able.

  18. zorro
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    It’s interesting that you consider it an advance in government thinking as Mr Hague seemed to see it as a continuation of policy on Andrew Marr. the PM was very opaque on what powers would be taken back…..

    You mention that he didn’t agree with an In/Out referendum…….but it’s a bit of a non starter anyway if ‘Eurosceptic’ Dave and his ministers line up with Labour and the Liberals, and the other usual suspects. He will never call any such referendum anyway.

    Where is the evidence for the government getting any kind of deal?…. This government could ‘negotiate’ or play hard ball when necessary. He’s known as Cast Iron for a reason and he u turns very easily whenever his strategy pollster tells him.

    Whilst you have been busy listing all the powers where the EU inhibits our ability to trade/compete effectively, the government has been merrily ceding more powers to the EU….and looking to increase more universal authoritarian surveillance measures…….Of course, even though the FO are aware of your work, they have done precisely nothing to give even the slightest hope that they would stand up for the UK’s best interests.

    As you rightly point out, the government, if it really wanted, is in a good position to renegotiate. There could be no better time……but still they are committing money one way or another down the PIGIS black hole….

    Cast Elastic has ruled out any referendum before the election….no one will believe him anyway…….He spins old scare stories about losing millions of jobs….How can anyone think that the PM would actively negotiate for the Uzk to get a better deal on Europe. he would have to confront the EU?….Absolutely no chance whatsoever.

    Zorro

    • zorro
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      It is all of course short term tactical positioning by the PM….let’s see what Mr Fox has to add….

      Zorro

  19. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    JR: “The government is wrong to say we cannot make a move now owing to the problems of the Euro zone.”

    That is just government speak for “we aren’t going to do this but we will keep you thinking that we will do, some day”. There will never be a right time for them as they don’t want to allow people a vote and risk losing it. What would their masters in Brussels think about them then? What would happen if there were an attempt at renegotiation which was rebuffed by the EU? Would Cameron just shrug his shoulders and say he tried but this is the best deal for the country? He most certainly will never suggest withdrawal and any referendum would be with a government recommendation to remain in this anti-democratic organisation which will eventually lead to complete loss of our sovereignty.

  20. Sue
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    It’s quite simple really. Get Cameron to “claw back” one major power like reclaiming our fishing rights or opting out of the CAP and you’ll have your members coming back in droves.

    • APL
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Sue: “Get Cameron to “claw back” one major power like reclaiming our fishing rights .. ”

      They had better do that before we share the Navy with France, otherwise it’s no good saying you have no right to fish within 100 miles of British coast if there is no military organization to back up the threats.

      Sue: “or opting out of the CAP .. ”

      Both your suggestions strike at the root of the legitimacy of the EU ’73 act. Everything EU related rests on that one act, consequently Cameron, the bought and paid for EUrophile he is, wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      C’est impossible! Acquis communautaire!

      The CAP, fisheries and the Euro are at the very heart of the European Project. It is rather like our abolishing football or parliament or Coronation Street.

  21. Lord Blagger
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    1. Take back powers now. Unilaterally.

    2. EU has a choice. Make a fuss, and the referenda is triggered, or accept it.

  22. alan jutson
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    John

    I may trust you, if you were leading the negotiations, but I certainly do not trust Cameron, or Hague.

    For too long we have had all of the Political party’s suggesting/promising a claw back of European powers, as well as referendums, referendum locks, renegotiation of Treaties, but all for tomorrow, in the meantime we have always, but always, accepted more and more control from the EU.

    The problem is, tomorrow never comes.

    The Lib Dems even had a promise of an in out vote in their last manifesto for Gods sake.
    What price that now ?

    Let us face facts the Euro zone is going to do its own thing with or without us, preferably with us, because they want our cash, no other reason.

    The other members who are out of the Euro Zone will be side tracked, and will have less and less influence as time goes by.

    One thing is for certain having a referendum at the same time as a general election will just ADD CONFUSION.

    We need a referendum BEFORE THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION, it is the only way Cameron can regain any form of credibility.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Hague has clearly gone native and cannot now be trusted.

      • Posted July 2, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        How a man like Hague is trusted with high responsibility is simply impossible to comprehend. SamCam found the one oaf ready to “drink the kool-aide” to the full. Mr. Twenty Pints to Madame Kool-Aide in one political lifetime!

      • zorro
        Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        He seems to have been reticent in coming forward for quite some time as if someone/something is holding him back for some reason……clearly no real intention of challenging the status quo just a few very mild ‘Eurosceptic’ utterances.

        zorro

  23. APL
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    JR: “I also agree with him that holding an In/Out referendum soon would be bad news if the In campaign won. ”

    You (politicians) didn’t give us a referendum when you took us into the European Economic community! Yes you covered your embarrasment later with the referendum to stay in the EU, but you just went ahead and dumped us into the EU.

    Now do the same, stop hiding behind the lie of renegotiation, for something ‘better’ that is not on offer, and just take us out of the EU.

    Five years down the road, you can offer us a referendum on, ‘would we like to get back into the EU’?

    Then we could renegotiate new more favorable terms, if we wanted to.

  24. Iain
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    “The Foriegn Office is aware of all this work. It is high time Mr Hague set out in a speech what a new relationship based on trade and friendship rather than common governemnt would look like.”

    Unlikely, the Foreign Office has over seen the haemorrhage of our sovereignty in the EU treaties they have negotiated . They have been the torch carriers for the EU project. It shouldn’t be forgotten that it was schemes hatchet in the FO that saw the challenge to and removal of Mrs T. So don’t expect a speech any time soon from Hague that seeks to change our relationship to the EU, if that change is to limit that relationship, for the Foreign Office mandarins won’t allow it.

    If we need a change in relationship with the EU, and seek to repatriate sovereignty, and we do, then a different department of state needs to be set up with that purpose, that will circumvent the fanatically pro EU stance of the FO, for if we don’t and rely on the FO, then nothing will happen, as we see for it appears even with the chaos going on in the EU, no work is being done in the FO to enable us to draw back from the EU.

  25. Bob
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    David Cameron is reacting to dwindling Tory membership and the rise in support for the true conservative party (UKIP).

    This talk of a new relationship with the EU is just mood music, designed by PR man Dave to soothe the jangled nerves of what remains of the former Conservative Party.

    You’d need to be pretty gullible to be fooled by it.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      Not one sensible person will be fooled by it. It is totally pathetic.

      • zorro
        Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic,
        Can John put you down as a maybe then to vote for Cast Iron at the next election?

        zorro

        • lifelogic
          Posted July 2, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

          I no longer get a vote as I have left than goodness – but I cannot see Cameron getting back in he has no credibility, no sign of any recovery or even recovery measure, nothing he says can ever be trusted. He could not even win against the hopeless Brown that even before he destroyed his own credibility and showed himself to be a Europhile.

          • Bob
            Posted July 4, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

            @lifelogic

            Aren’t you entitled to a proxy vote or a postal vote?

    • Posted July 2, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Right. And the music is about to stop! Is it to be Liam Fox to lead UKIP?

  26. Paul
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Real eurosceptics will see through Cameron’s deceit and support UKIP. Until the Conservative Party gets rid of its hopeless leader, UKIP will continue to grow and grow as all Conservative MPs know. Cameron’s words yesterday meant nothing, he is still not promising an In/Out referendum, which is the only question that could be put to the British people. All this talk of renegotiation is futile. It’s simple, if you want a referendum, vote UKIP.

  27. John C
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    “He now agrees with those of us who say we need a new relationship with the EU”

    I thought Cameron was supposed to be doing this already? Negotiate powers back to the UK. I seem to remember him saying that during his election campaign. No progress though.

    “The fear of loss of a very lucrative export market for France and Germany”

    Surely, this goes against one of the main thrusts of your argument to date. You have often said we can still trade with the EU so the fear of 3 million job losses is scaremongering from the pro-EU brigade. But you use the same argument from the other direction???

    Reply: Yes, because they claim to believe this nonsense.

  28. Atlas
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    John, what you say is reasonable. But do bear with us who feel deceived by a sucession of governments over our relationship with the EU. Cameron has a credibility problem, and Hague’s words yesterday did not have the clarity we usually get from him.

  29. Tim
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I admire Boris Johnson for his amusing policy of “pro-cake and pro eating it”, but is this really now official Conservative policy? Under the acqui communautaire or “ever closer union” that we signed up to, repatriation is not possible. The closest we ever got was Margaret Thatcher’s hand bagging that resulted in a financial rebate with no powers won back. If and when we are told where to go by the EU then an in/out referendum would invoke article 50 of the Lisbon treaty which states in relation to a withdrawing country:

    “the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union”.

    We will then have to negotiate a deal having already failed to do so and weakened our hand accordingly. The Conservative policy on the EU could be more accurately described as “having neither the cake nor the means to eat it”.

    The UK needs a government that can lead it, not this rabble of pussyfooting prevaricators.

    • Posted July 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      You’re right that the ‘acquis communautaire’ militates against repatriating any powers from within the EU. The European Court decided in 1964 that any loss of sovereignty is PERMANENT (for EU members – we can of course leave).

      Even if we stayed in the waiting room for Life After EU for 2 years, like the Treaty specifies, this figure can be cut short by agreement.

      The EU is committed to work for good relations with neighbouring states, and free trade (which would also be supported by our continuing membership of the World Trade Organisation), so life could be quite amicable.

      Under international law (the Vienna Convention) once a treaty is ended (terminated or ‘denounced’), the parties to it would by default carry on working to the existing arrangements, so we would just need an orderly cancellation of EU obligations. It is unlikely we’d lose out, particularly if we sorted out the short term funding aspects and showed reciprocal willingness to be a good neighbour.

  30. Chez
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Agreed

  31. Gary
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Cameron announces the need to have a referendum, of course with numerous caveats, just as the news breaks that LIBOR has been rigged.

    Perfect timing !

    I wonder if this may have something to do with this ?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/exclusive-top-tories-dragged-into-banking-scandal-7901941.html

  32. Leslie Singleton
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Trade okay but I suggest don’t get too excited about Friendship which we should primarily reserve for our kith and kin in the English speaking nations. I do not suggest actual Enmity but as ever we have little in common with the Continent and in times gone by the Cartel Wall that the Continent set up against us would have been comsidered an act of war or at the very least gross ingratitude. All because the French fear the Germans and the Germans fear themselves. Out ASAP I say. That said I think you are right about the risks of losing an In/Out vote what with the drivel that will be spoken like last time in the debate.

  33. waramess
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    David Cameron is not to be trusted, and more and more people are coming to this conclusion. Hard won and easily lost, his words are now carefully scrutinised to see whether he is actually saying what he wishes us to believe he has said.

    “..if the In campaign won. The Uk would then have little bargaining power to get a better relationship,….”. Either this is to be a referendum seeking the opinion of the British people or it is not. Campaigns should not come into it if the questions put are sufficiently straightforward and there is nothing to be afraid of good honest debate. The views you hold will be put at that debate but should not influence the timing or the manner in which the referendum might be held

    You fall into the same trap as the Europhiles: wanting to influence matters towards your own views. If the people vote to stay in without reservation then in we should stay without further re-negotiation of powers. If they vote to stay in subject to a renegotiation of powers then and only then is there a mandate to re-negotiate.

    This should be the subject of a simple majority otherwise there will be the stench of a fix if the level of votes needed to leave the EU were to be set around or above the opinion poll expectations of an out vote, which is where I see from his article his “Stay in EU” card lies.

    We seem to be relaxed about referendums at the moment according to our dear leader so, have an immediate referendum (in the next three months or so) asking three simple questions: In/Out or, In subject to re-negotiation of powers. If the majority feel that we should stay in subject to a renegotiation then have another, after the re-negotiations have concluded, on a simple In/Out, and leave the result as final.

    Maybe this approach would at least flush out where exactly our dear leader stands, as well as providing a full and democratic forum for the electorate..

    Oh, and by the way, forget the cost: if we are able to send 13 billion overseas in AID a couple of referendums, in the interests of transparent democracy should not be an issue.

  34. Phil
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    The only way to ‘renegotiate our relationship’ with the EU is to invoke article 50 of Lisbon. This will force the EU to negotiate what will be the nature of our relationship after we have left. At present we have no relationship, we are of the EU and the EU of us. Politicians in this country will not say this, either because they do not understand, or they understand only too well. This means they do not wish the general public to understand they are being duped or they do not wish the general public to know that they (the politicians) have no real power or say what goes on this country as all laws are made by the EU for the EU.

  35. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Just a reminder that on March 25th 2011 Cameron assented to a radical EU treaty change demanded by Merkel without asking for anything substantive in return, that on October 13th 2011 Hague laid a statement before Parliament making first use of his “referendum lock” law to deny us a referendum on that EU treaty change, that on Wednesday the Lords will complete their consideration of the Bill to approve that EU treaty change without a referendum, after which it will pass to the Commons, and that there is an e-petition calling for a referendum on that EU treaty change here:

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/33825

  36. les
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    “The government is wrong to say we cannot make a move now owing to the problems of the Euro zone. We need to make the move now for just that reason.”

    And what exactly do you suggest we do “now” ???

  37. forthurst
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    “The fear of loss of a very lucrative export market for France and Germany, and the worry that we might no longer make any financial contributions to the EU if we decide to leave, should persuade them to offer us something sensible.”

    So we want to continue to pay for virtual olive trees? No. Friendship costs nothing and trade should be by mutual consent and let us remember it was the EEC which erected trade barriers round our own prior trading relationships with the Commonwealth. The EU has always been protectionist, anti-democratic and corrupt.

    We need to leave the EU but that does not mean we should go for a referendum on renegotiation now. Wars are won by fighting and winning battles. It is within living memory that denying AGW was being marketed as a thoughtcrime because the ‘science is settled’. That war is by no means won, but people now are a lot more sceptical and feel less reticence in ‘coming out’ as ‘deniers’, this as a result of the tireless efforts of proper scientists through their websites and other advocates for rationality. The same war has to be fought over Europe.

    Going into battle against the combined forces of the Eurotraitors in the government, in parliament, in the civil service, the FT, and particularly the BBC will make Eurosceptics, lambs to the slaughter. Even if the country were for ‘Out’ now, it would lose the battle; remember how many marched to stop Blair and the neocons drag us into the Iraq imbroglio?

    Europe staggers on from summit to summit and bailout to bailout. For many people this is simply the new normality much like their regular soap infusions. Things will need it to get much more exciting to attract their attention. The credibility of the EU must be destroyed by continuing to expose its fundamental flaws and essential incorrigibility.

    Cameron in his piece in the DT says, “it also makes sense to co-operate with our neighbours to maximise our influence in the world and project our values of freedom and democracy. Here Britain makes the running in the EU” Oh really? If Cameron believes that implicating our neigbours in the crimes of his neocon chums constitutes ‘projecting our values of freedom and democracy’, he needs a visit from the men in white coats.

  38. forthurst
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    It appears that LIBOR is attracting the attention of US attorneys. Unlike the well documented crimes of the Wall Street banksters in subprime, just about every other marketplace in which they partake or interfere, ( refers to US banks ability to get on with US political establishment-ed) British banks, having failed to pay their dues are extremely vulnerable to catastophically high damages. As taxpayer owned banks have been implicate in the LIBOR ratefixing allegations, it now imperative to move extremely quickly to dismember our banking assets and float off as new separate businesses, the branch networks and other discrete operations, separated out to their orginal underlying components. e.g. RBS branches should become ‘National’, NatWest become ‘Westmister’ etc. Of course, the IT functions should be taken back inhouse and split as soon as possible into corresponding independent operations. IT is a core function of many businesses whether boards like it or not and should never be outsourced unless they wish to discover the truth the hard way.

  39. Andy Baxter
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    APL is spot on Mr Redwood you are either deluded, ignorant or dishonest?;

    We have NO relationship with the EU we are IN the EU bound by its diktats, regulations and directives by successive treaties and qualified majority voting at EU Council meetings (such as the one on 28th June, NOTE these are not ‘summits’ as the press and everyone else calls them, BUT council meetings of the heads of states) Oh by the way ‘veto’s’ don’t exist in EU council meetings!

    Alas we will forever be so ruled by the EU as long as we remain within and a constituent part of it.

    There can never be any ‘relationship’ with the EU other than one where we are bound by treaty obligations except by withdrawing from the EU under article 50 of the Lisbon treaty.

    We can only have a ‘relationship’ with the EU by invoking article 50 of the Lisbon treaty giving notice to withdraw; that is the ONLY way the EU will negotiate with us because they will then be treaty bound to do so, until then and ONLY then can we ‘negotiate’ the terms of our withdrawal (over a two year period as set down in the treaty) until then they will continue to treat us as part of the constituent whole, expecting us to adhere (by treaty) to the nonsense that is such an artificial construct and of course keep paying for the privilege.

    nothing will change no matter how much hot air is spouted by the politicos, it NEVER NEVER EVER will be any different until we invoke article 50. I’ll take a wager on everything I own it will NEVER be anything otherwise. Just watch this space…….

    There is no other way to ‘negotiate’ and any comments by any politician journalist or commentator otherwise are simply fudge, semantics or downright dishonesty

    Reply: Just more abuse to someone trying to sort out this mess. I ask again just when are you going to elect your Parliament that passes the repeal of the 1972 Act? There has been no sign of that for the last 20 years.

    • zorro
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – no chance of that with the current voting system. It is a very simple idea as I have mentioned before, a majority of MPs to vote to overturn the 1972 Act, unless, of course, we can show that the 1972 Act was ‘ultra vires’, and the House had no legitimacy to effectively sign over sovereignty to the EU….

      It’s just that people find it very difficult to believe that Cast Elastic will be able to negotiate anything. He has singularly failed so far to do anything substantial. I suppose they find it difficult to believe that your strategy will gain traction within your own party any time soon, unless, of course, the PM meets some grey suits….

      zorro

      zorro

    • AJAX
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      A fairly radical Parliment materialized suddenly seemingly out of nowhere in 1980s after decades of torpor. A political scene can change under great pressure in the same way the weather can suddenly transform in the South Seas, i.e. v. swiftly.

  40. nicol sinclair
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    What the hell is going on? Did you all deliberately post in Italic (and will this be posted in Italics?) or has the site gone bonkers?

    • cosmic
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      Someone posted in italics and opened but didn’t close the tag. As far as the software is concerned the tag is still open. It should do better, but there we are.

      I’ll try to close it here.

      I can’t guarantee anything.

  41. nicol sinclair
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Mine, too, is in Italics – sooooooooooo the site has gone off the rails – a bit like the Edinburgh Trams (sorry, light railway).

  42. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Mr Cameron says a lot but does very little. He should force the issue and tell the Lib/Dems he is going to hold an In/Out referendum as soon as possible. That would bring the coalition to an end and he could easily win the new election on the promise of the referndum. The trouble is he is more a Liberel than a Tory so it will never happen. I have judged Mr Cameron on what he does not what he says and he is not a Tory. I will not vote for him again.

    • Bob
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      @Johnny Norfolk

      I can proudly say that I have never voted for him.
      The older I get, the quicker I can spot a con-man.

  43. Sebastian Weetabix
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    As members of the EU we are bound by EU law. The only way to change our terms is to invoke Article 5o of the Lisbon Treaty and give notice of our intention to leave. Unless we do that it’s all just idle talk. All these Tories going on about “in Europe, but not run by Europe” are either stupid or mendacious – that option simply does not exist. In or out are the only 2 real possibilities.

    Since over 60 countries outside the EU have free trade deals with it, I see no reason why we can’t leave and do exactly that.

    • alan jutson
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Sebastian

      Out.

      I have to say this seems the most logical and simple solution.

      Even if we are still in Europe under new terms yet to be negotiated (if they will negotiate) we will start getting involved in European matters once again when anything new comes up. So ore treaties to opt out of, more regulation to opt ouit of, more laws to opt out of, it will be never ending.

      For Christ sake just Hold a referendum, trade with them and let them get on with it.

      The ongoing complication is if we are still actually in the EU, but only for trade, they will still want a membership contribution of £ Millions per year.

      The simple fact is if all we want is trade, then just let us get out and save any membership fee. we can still co operate (with nothing binding) if we like what they do, but then it is up to us to pick and choose what we like to be involved in and what we do not.

    • meerschaum
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Yep, we can invoke Article 50 right now, and sit tight for the 2 year negotiation period.
      Trouble is Cameron thinks his single vote, is more important than that of everyone else in the country, all the millions who pay taxes and want them spent here in the UK.

      Reply: This is more fantasy land politics. This is a pro EU Parliament which is not about to vote for use of A 50

    • zorro
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      John,
      What’s your position on this Article 50 argument?

      zorro

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        Zorro,
        I fear that a lack of reponse to your question or to any other contributor mentioning Article 50 tells us all we need to know!

        Reply: I did answer – there is no sign of a majority in the Commons to vote for exit. If we achiveve a referendum and the people vote for Out then we just leave and recreate a full UK democracy.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Any trade deal the UK makes from outside the EU will be on the EU’s terms, not the UK’s. The UK is far weaker internationally than most people on this blog believe.

      • zorro
        Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        In your eyes maybe uanime5, but not in mine….. We are a permanent UN Security Council member, we have one of the world’s largest economies still with a high GDP per capita income. We speak English and can communicate/trade easily with the English speaking world and our former Commonwealth.

        I believe that my countrty can still be great if it is allowed to, and led by men/women who actually believe in it, and do constantly seek to do it downundermine it and are prepared to sell our birthright for a proverbial bowl of stew….

        zorro

        • zorro
          Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          and do NOT constantly seek to do it down/undermine it and are NOT prepared to sell our birthright for a proverbial bowl of stew….

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      That is a misconception.

      Like any other EU member state government the UK government is free to propose treaty amendments under Article 48 TEU, which could represent such major changes to our terms as the UK government wanted.

      Of course other governments would then be free to oppose those treaty changes proposed by the UK government, which could well lead on to an Article 50 scenario where the UK government gave notice of its intention to completely withdraw from the treaties, but the starting point could be Article 48.

      Starting on page 41 here:

      http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2010:083:0013:0046:EN:PDF

      • cosmic
        Posted July 2, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

        This is very much a route which exists only in theory, and as you say would probably lead to the invocation of Article 50, were it pursued with real determination. May as well go straight to Article 50 and not waste time mucking about.

        I don’t see that the serious intention exists for any sort of renegotiation on the part of any party including the Conservatives. It’s more soothing words and blandishments made in the hope that the problem will go away and it can be business as usual; a drift towards EU integration, making occasional complaining noises and empty gestures, all in the expectation that they can be forgotten or brushed aside further down the road. That’s got a familiar ring to it.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted July 3, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

          No, it doesn’t only exist in theory, in fact it has been used at least twice in the past two years. The first time, the ordinary revision procedure to add a protocol allowing three surplus German MEPs to keep their seats lawfully rather than unlawfully. The second time, the Article 48(6) simplified procedure for the European Council Decision 2011/199/EU of March 25th 2011. There are also two or maybe three other protocols somewhere in the pipeline, promised to Ireland and the Czech Republic, but I’m not sure exactly where they’ve got to so far.

          Article 48 would be the first stage for renegotiation, not Article 50.

  44. David Saunders
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    And you believe what Cameron says? No change, no chance.

  45. Tad Davison
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I am in favour of an ‘In’ or ‘Out’ referendum sooner, rather than later.

    Cameron’s main argument against that, is it might go the wrong way.

    Ok, if it does, let’s have another referendum, and another one, until we get the result we want.

    I seem to recall that isn’t without precedent!

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • sm
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Exactly.

      The mainstream parties and their puppet parliaments have prior form in supporting ‘Ever closer Union’.

      Our own failed democracy, is already subsumed in the EU.

      The question should be do you want to exit the EU and be able to influence and vote on your laws.

      I would rather have a referendum vote and be dammed rather than this spectacle of weasel words and clauses which rival the charms of our banking & finance industry.

      Vote UK Exit – no worries – you will be asked again in short order.( to be sure… ask the Irish).

      Vote for the EU – no worries we will get a chance at the next regional local elections Alex Salmon style.

      Don’t accept worthless words, actions are the only thing that counts.

      At least JR votes where where it can count. The rest need to be cast to the wind.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      Tad,
      Cameron’s idea of the vote going the wrong way in an IN/OUT referendum is a vote to leave, not a vote to stay in!!

  46. The Remittance Man
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    the worry that we might no longer make any financial contributions to the EU if we decide to leave, should persuade them to offer us something sensible.

    Not paying billions into the bloated bureaucracy and wastefulness of the eu is surely one of the main reasons we want to change the relationship. It shouldn’t be a bargaining chip, it should be a red line.

    • zorro
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Money talks….

      zorro

  47. Mike Fowle
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    It’s odd, I have been in favour of a referendum on the EU for years, as I have always felt that even if it did not mean we withdrew completely, it would surely have strengthened our negotiating position with them. Now that there is a possibility of a referendum, I am concerned that now may not be the best time, certainly for a simple in or out question. People are deeply worried about the economic situation and what is going to happen. Yes, I’ve heard all the arguments on this site, and yes, I agree with many of them, but I would hesitate to call the way a referendum would go. And the notion that we could negotiate more strongly outside the union or following a vote to stay in seems absurd.

    • AJAX
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I agree, a lot of people are pushing for a referendum in the assumption of an “Out” result, & I’m not sure that’s the way England’s vox pop will jump, paticularly if it’s tied to a general election day & the mass of the fairly unthinking (politically speaking) voters are involved.

      I would have more confidence in getting out via a vote in Parliament with an Anti-EU government “making the weather” on the issue, or a referendum which was executed as a stand alone vote, where only the politically literate in the population would bother to turn out.

  48. Graham Swift
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Why not the same status as Switzerland has with the EU ? Trade and no EU interference.

  49. oldtimer
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I do not like the way the EU has such persuasive influence over life in the UK. I am in favour of an attempt at a renegotiation. Yet it also necessary to recognise that it would not be easy nor would it be likely to achieve the repatriation of the many concessions made by UK governments over the years, now embedded in treaties. My guess is that the concessions on offer would not amount to more than a row of beans – or fig leaf if you prefer to cover the embarrassment of how little the UK negotiators could achieve. The end result would likely be tantamount to an In/Out vote. Still it is a process that would be a needed precondition to such a vote.

    Renegotiation will/would be a brutal process. One has only to read the German press reactions to and analysis of the recent EU summit and Merkel`s concessions. It is difficult even for the leader of a powerful country (Germany) when she comes up against the united front of France, Italy and Spain. Monti is perceived to have played a ruthless hand. Words like “blackmail” and “extortion” are used to describe his negotiating tactic. If that can happen to a German Chancellor, holding strong cards as the EU moneybags,, what is the strength of the UK position? A few billions in annual contributions to the EU budget just won`t cut it.

    In short, I do not expect may concessions to emerge from renegotiation. The case for a No vote would be powerful. That is the way I would vote.

  50. AndyC71
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    I too would favour withdrawing, followed by negotiating – if need be – a new arrangement, to be ratified/rejected by referendum. Anything else isn’t going to work, for the reasons stated elsewhere in the comments here.

    I’d also be in favour of those 100+ MPs who allegedly sent this referendum letter – again, it seems the public is not to be told their names – withdrawing their support from any government business unless and until it changes its mind on this issue. They need not join UKIP.

  51. Graham Palfrey
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Interesting. But I believe that the Govt. spin machine will go into overdrive should an in/out referendum be on the table. From a poll running currently in the Guardian, it’s close, and with a bit of fear mongering by the MSM it could very easily produce the wrong result.
    I was one of people who voted all those years ago for the EEC, it was sold to the public as a trade agreement only. Now that has changed I would like the opportunity to vote again.

  52. AJAX
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Regrettably this seems to be an advocacy of more of the worn old political class 3 shells & a pea game for the unwary who haven’t profited from 40 years of experience in this matter.

    #1 Maintaining England’s presence in the EU but in a state of being semi-detached from its inner councils will merely place it in the governing orbit of being dragged along in a momentous power slipstream that is now established, unable to affect its course but dominated by its actions

    #2 It is also an advocacy of the continued abandonment of England’s age old & v. successful Balance of Power strategic management of the European continent in the co-operation with a centralizing authority.

    #3 Those Tories who ever waffle vaguely on about “reforming the nature of the EU from within” are either cynical, witless, or possibly both. The Parisien & Berlin political classes do not agree (or much care) what sleepy Toryshire -on-Thames wants or doesn’t want, they do not want a co-operative Europe of sovereign states, they want its unification into a single entity, thereby governmentally mastering an entire continent.
    Their vision is highly radical, energetic, urgent & excited in spirit, & admirably inspiring in scale of historical import & ambition, & challenging it with the advocacy of the same T4 decades of failure, sad, down-at-heel, lacklustre policy of “managing decline” & going along with it reluctantly whilst pretending otherwise thru a few opt-outs (which is all the Tories have to offer) is not an option for any1 who’s serious about England destiny, & – perhaps more perceptively – still believes in it

    It’s been clear for some time that the Tories are not up to a challenge of this scale, & the very nature of what that party is from its historic origins says thus was always going to be the case, enter UKIP on the scene as another option.

    England should quit the EU, stop the river of its gold that is flowing into its Treasury in Frankfurt fuelling it, return all of its governing power from what are foreign assemblies & foreign ruling offices, & become the master of its own house again.

    1 thing that is interesting that I’d be interested in a clarification of, is there a legal requirement of some nature that England can only quit the EU on the result of a nationally held referendum, or can it be done solely thru a majority vote for this course in Parliament without recourse to a vox pop?

  53. kfc1404
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Of course this could be Cameron’s attempt at deflecting away from the banking crisis!

  54. Tad Davison
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    A short while ago, I posted an e-mail I sent to the local Lib Dem MP for Cambridge, Julian Huppert. I hadn’t anticipated a response at all, but I’m wondering if his reply to me today, had anything to do with current events, so I’ll gladly share it with you.

    Dear Tad,

    Thank you for your emails about the EU and for providing a link to
    Daniel Hannan MEP’s article in the Telegraph about Lee Rotheram’s
    recent book ‘The EU in a Nutshell’.

    As you will know from our previous correspondence, my views on Europe
    and the EU do differ from your own and I do not think that our
    membership is in conflict with the UK’s best interests.

    I will take your views into consideration however.

    Yours sincerely,

    Julian Huppert
    Member of Parliament for Cambridge

    To which I responded:

    Dear Mr Huppert,

    I am a very fair-minded man, so I’ll give you an opportunity.  If you truly believe the EU is such a fantastic project, and it is in Britain’s best interests to remain within it, you might care to explain to me how.  

    I arrive at my own position by examining the facts.  You presumably do the same.  Quite clearly, there is a divergence of opinion, but I am always prepared to take new evidence on board, that I have perhaps overlooked.  

    As your constituent, this is a genuine request to engage your services.  I would also like to repeat an earlier request, to be provided with the nett amount the UK has given to the EU since we joined in 1972.

    With relation to an earlier matter, that of the ‘scrapping’ of the 3p rise in fuel duty, I trust this was just an oversight on your part, as of course, it has merely been deferred.

    Regards

    Tad Davison

    I await his further communication with baited breath!

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • forthurst
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      I see from Wikipedia that Huppert “has campaigned in Parliament on many issues, including the need to scrap Britain’s nuclear weapons”; why not ask him if he believes that Israel (or any other nuclear country-ed)should scrap its (words left out) nuclear arsenal? Why not ask him also if he is a British patriot and if so to provide the evidence?

    • John C
      Posted July 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Brings back memories of Henry Root!

  55. Bert Young
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Some of the responses so far are too extreme ; I believe the rationale in your blog today has got it right . I think it is far more likely that something positive will emerge if we negotiate first , assess the position and , then decide what the referendum should include . In the past I have always been on the side of an “In/Out” basis , today I would rather see how far we can go . In any event we are where we are and we – unfortunately ,just cannot sideline Cameron in the very near future . The possible alternatives at this stage of the game could well finish leaving us in limbo ; we’ve had enough of that . The Conservative Party have to find a new leader while trying to put all the other EU relationship pieces together .

  56. Posted July 2, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Denis Cooper is quite correct. In the mean-time Mr Cameron agrees to more EU legislation for that seems to be all he has done in his one term of Office. Will he go along with “The Internet of THINGS” I must say I haven’t heard much about it here in the UK. What I am really disgusted about though is the way the Surveillance over all, is going to the EU in this Country. EU Directive 95/46/EC is repealed but the intrusive DIRECTIVE 2006/24/EC remains. Then how exactly can Mr Cameron expect the people to believe him on a promise of holding a referendum? Please tell me how. Come on please tell me for I would love to know.

    Perhaps he is not aware-or perhaps he doesn’t care-just how angry the people are becoming, for all they see is THEY are paying a Government that has absolutely no intention of Governing this Country according to its own Common Law Constitution-ever, and the people recognise that ALL THREE MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES WANT TO REMAIN IN THE EUROPEAN UNION -FOREVER. It is so sad to see a once highly respected British Government contribute to its own demise.

  57. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    We didn’t have referendums to sign up to the Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties, so we don’t need referendums to repeal the accession Acts. Just put it in the manifesto, give the EU 6 months to complete negotiations (put that in the manifesto too) and then legislate unilaterally if need be. Repeal by Act of Parliament will mean that we are behaving legally and will reduce the status of the Euro in British law from a de jure currency to a de facto currency.

  58. meerschaum
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Just

    A. STOP paying anything to the EU right now.
    That will get their attention.

    B. ASK the taxpayer, are you happy with us paying 48 million quid a day to the EU?

    C. Sit back and see how few vote yes.

    For Cameron to sit on his hands for a few more years while the bills mount up, and democracy is trampled underfoot as countries need more and more bail-outs, is just not on.

    Sort the bills, sort the democracy : consult us now not later.

    JR : you are right on the ball. Keep posting !

  59. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I would appreciate your opinion of The People’s Pledge initiative. It appears to be gaining momentum and I have great respect for the opinions of Hannan and Carswell et. al. who support it.

    Could you provide a blog entry or have I missed one previously?

    Reply: I have signed it, but have pointed out that we need votes in parliament – 81 of us Conservatives did vote last year for a referendum so we were well outvoted. THat is not about to change. Just 100 apparently signed the latest letter.

  60. uanime5
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    In 2010 the EU has a GDP of $16.3 trillion, while the UK has a GDP of $2.2 trillion. So the UK made up 13.5% of the GDP of the EU and while losing the UK will results in a notable loss for the EU it will not be a fatal loss. The idea that the UK leaving the EU will somehow cause these countries more problems than the UK will suffer is laughable.

    The UK should not be surprised if when we ask the EU to bend to our will they refuse, for the loss of the UK is far easier for the EU to bear than the loss of the EU is for the UK. Unless the UK can offer the EU something beneficially in exchange for returning powers to the UK will get nothing and have to like it.

    • zorro
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Stop being so dramatic…Who has suggested that we want the EU to suffer a ‘fatal loss’ by the fact that we would no longer be in it? Who has said that the fact that we are no longer in the EU will mean that the EU will suffer more problems. All we have said is that the country called the EU sells more to the UK than the other way round. So they might prefer to trade with us no matter what…..

      ‘Unless the UK can offer the EU something beneficially in exchange for returning powers to the UK will get nothing and have to like it….’…….Are you happy to belong to an entity that would treat your own country like that….like a vassal, like a slave…..

      zorro

    • David Price
      Posted July 3, 2012 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      You are mistaken, we would not be asking the EU to bend to our will, we would be telling them we will not bend to theirs, there is a difference.

      It would be useful to see an accurate P&L to help understand the objective benefits of leaving or staying. I have no doubt there would be spiteful repercussions from our EU “friends” if we left, however the Lisbon treaty in Article 50, Treaty on European Union3, says – “Any Member-State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements…….the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement “with that State……taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union…….”

      The Union’s constitutional obligation to negotiate free trade agreements with states that are not members of the Union is then spelt out in two other Articles of the Treaty on European Union:- Article 3 [5] and Article 8 [1].

      SO the EU is bound by treaty and it’s own laws to support and engage in free trade.

      As to getting nothing, there’s the return of our fisheries, stopping the £17b+ cash subscription, switching our food imports to non-EU suppliers under fairer trade agreements and decoupling ourselves from the EU $39 tillion pension time-bomb.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted July 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Do tell me all about the fantastic hardships being suffered by Norway and Switzerland. Does it ever occur to you that the EU trades with the UK because it is in its interest to do so? Must people caught out taking or writing rubbish have the grace to stop.

  61. Tad Davison
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    How about making public, the names of all those Tory MPs who signed the letter to David Cameron?

    That way, we, the voters, could make an informed choice at the next election. We could sort the wheat from the chaff. We could throw our weight behind those who are truly Euro-sceptic, and let the Europhile rest go to the wall along with the Lib Dems.

    It must surely be in everybody’s interest to know precisely what they’re voting for, and this would be a far better measure, than merely for someone to claim they’re Euro-sceptic when they’re not. And the names David Cameron and William Hague spring readily to mind.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  62. Gewyne
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    I know John is a busy man, and will not be able to respond to this directly, But…

    Is anyone concerned that so many people have written David Cameron off as being – well let’s be blunt here, dishonest ? So many people say they do not believe a word he says, or trust him on pledges or guarantees he may make.

    What can be done to start winning confidence in him back. For people to stop thinking whenver he speaks it is nothing but sound bites and platitudes.

    Do the Conservatives look for some quick/easy policy wins, go for a big game changer, or just carry on as they have the last 3 years ?

  63. Derek Emery
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    I agree that it’s too soon now to have a referendum as we don’t know yet how the Euroshambles will turn out. It will be easier to bargain with the EU when we know what it metamorphoses into; either back to separate countries with ‘The Project’ losing face and steam, or into a German centred EU with German central control behind the scenes setting all financial policies and the PIIGS forming the German hinterland.

    The EU is rather like the USSR but with a different framework. Both favour central control based on ever mounting encyclopaedias of rules and regulations.

    The big difference is that whereas these were mainly directed at and against the populace in the USSR they are mainly directed at and against the private sector business in the case of the EU. In both cases they are directed against those they trust least. The USSR owned all business so all that was left not to trust was the people. The EU is a left liberal entity so maximum distrust applies to private business rather than people.

    The main drive of the left liberal is to create equality between people from strong central control.
    The private sector is based on competition (i.e. winners and losers). As the antithesis of equality it can hardly hope to be popular can it?

    It’s interesting to compare the differences on growth policies between the EU and the US. US policy is to grow the private sector to generate new wealth. EU policy is to further tax the untrustworthy private sector (e.g. Tobin tax) to generate more money that can be “invested” in the public sector. It tells you everything about why the EU was, is, and always will have low growth compared with the rest of the world.

    Perhaps the final goal is to create an all public sector EU similar to that which existed in the USSR?

    • Scary Biscuits
      Posted July 3, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Derek, saying now is not the right time to renegotiate with Europe is a bit like being on the Titanic and saying ‘we need to wait for the situation to stabilise’ to think about lifeboats. The fact is the EU is holed below the waterline and the only stability it will find is when it is at rock bottom. Its omnishambles isn’t a temporary condition; it’s terminal. If now is a bad time to negotiate with the EU, the future will only be worse.

  64. rapscallion
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    John, You and many others keep mentioning this ‘relationship’ we have with the EU. It’s non-existent because like it or not (and I don’t), we are IN the EU – therefore we cannot have a relationship with ourselves. The only way we can have a ‘relationship’ with the EU is to be outside it, and that can only occur if we invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

    It is only at that stage can any meaningful negotiation take place. Whilst we are still in negotiation is NOT possible – the ‘colleauges’ are not going to discuss it. You have to remember their mantra is “ever closer union” and that is diametrically opposed to the repatriation of any powers.

    Reply: if that is true then the public on my proposal can just vote to come out.

  65. Acorn
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Having spent sometime on doorsteps trying to sell a political product; like an energy company salesman, I would say that the 99% have not got a clue what part the EU plays in their daily existence. So, don’t expect to get any sense out of them in a referendum. They will vote according to the last newspaper or TV programme they encountered. The 99% will just follow the political party they normally vote for to camouflage the fact they don’t understand what it’s all about. Some smart guy once said that the only things worth owning are land and knowledge. The 1% elite know this; the 99% don’t. The 1% don’t prosecute each other for fidling an interest rate, unless your name is Jeffrey Archer.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted July 3, 2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Don’t you believe it! The public are becoming more and more savvy. That’s why there is so much disquiet. The EU debate is not media-led, it is anger-driven.

      Tad

  66. Peter
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    This issue will probably break the Tory Party. Support for UKIP at the next election will fracture the right and the Tories will lose and a new type of Conservative party will emerge. UKIP now speak for the people and good luck to them. The world is changing and Britain needs a new approach, finding new Global markets. The people just have to find courageuos politicians to lead us there.

  67. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    I have just seen Mr Redwood ask Mr Cameron in the Commons where the money to bail out Spanish and other banks is going to come from, because the current size of the European funds appears to be inadequate for the task.

    Mr Cameron praised Mr Redwood’s usual skill in pointing out the difficulties, a back handed compliment if ever there was one. Never mind, it shows that Mr Redwood is doing his job properly. Unfortunately, Mr Cameron wasn’t really able to answer the question.

  68. Jon
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    I don’t yet see the argument to push for a referendum at this time with the uncertainty of the Eurozone members.

    Alex Salmonds case for independence is sinking because he can’t handle the increasing number of questions being thrown at the SNP. It makes them look unprepared and give people the vote on what they know or a shambles because there are no answers people I think will vote for teh status quo.

    Now the above issue with the SNP has been brought about through their incompetence and total lack of preparation, self inflicted. Any referendum on the EU would raise a multitude of questions not even thought of yet. The response to many of these would be at best vague or simply don’t know because the EU and the Eurozone is in a state of flux. That constant and frequent lack of answer or clarity would do everything to hurt the EU sceptics and everything to bolster the status quo lobby or even the Europhile lobby.

    So not only do I think that a referendum now would play into the hands of the Europhiles but I think it would be bye bye Conservatives for this reason.

    We are economically in a bad way and more and more people are struggling to get buy. This would be presented by the media as the Tory’s putting the needs of the independence group ahead of everyone else who want them to focus on their needs. Every EU and Euroland country would attack teh Conservatives for the move .

    The reasons why I am sceptical of the move are:
    1. It gives massive ammunition to the europhiles and little defence for the sceptics.
    2. The result will be status quo and we will only get this chance once.
    3. With the present flux the sceptics will look fools because of the many questions they cannot answer.
    4. It will be presented as the self interest of 100 Tory back benchers over the interests of the economic crisis, the benefit cuts and so on.

    I will only get to vote on this once in my life, I feel this move will not give me that proper vote but a foregone conclusion of the status quo. The important thing is not whether there will be a vote but when. My view is that a referendum now is manor from heaven for the Europhiles and those that hate the Conservatives.

    John, you like the economics and are excellent at it. 7/8 years ago I couldn’t believe how the country voted when we had near 20% of entire world debt derived from here amongst other reasons. They voted then because it was unreal until they can see it in front of them. Until they see the new reformed Euroland they won’t see what lies ahead. Then lets have the vote.

  69. Jon
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Cont… There is that saying wait till you see the whites of their eyes.

    What that means is wait till the danger is so close and fearful that the troops will have their blood so raised to boiling they will do what they feared they may not be able to.

    At the moment the Euroland troops are still over the brow of the hill, any ammunition thrown now will be a waste. Lets wait till people can see for them selves what the sceptics were predicting. There will be one referendum, that one bullet in the chamber, just when is it best fired?

  70. Max Dunbar
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if it would be as easy to “claw back” powers from the Scottish Executive as it apparently is from the EU. It would be comforting to think so but I somehow doubt it.

  71. Freeborn John
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Cameron’s approval ratings are going to make interesting reading over the coming weeks. As will UKIP’s poll ratings. I predict that many many voters with whom Cameron failed to ‘seal the deal’ in 2010 will have come to a definitive verdict on the Flip-flop-flip Man this weekend. Your party needs a new leader.

  72. Ewiak Ryszard
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    London will disconnect from of the EU. Bible says: “And [the king of the north] will go back (to) his land with great wealth [1945]; and his heart (will be) against the holy covenant [state atheism]; and will act [this means activity in the international arena]; and turned back to his own land [1991-1993. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. Russian troops returned to their country]. At the appointed time [he] will return back.” (Daniel 11:28, 29a) Now Russia will return back. It means the financial and geopolitical earthquake; the disintegration not only of the euro area, but also of the European Union and NATO. Many countries of the former Eastern bloc will return to the Russian sphere of influence. Russian troops will be stationed here again. This will be the last sign before the global nuclear war. (Daniel 11:29b, 30a; Numbers 24:23, 24; Matthew 24:7; Revelation 6:4)

  73. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    The EU is about centralizing control to the ECB, IMF and World Bank.

    Many European Politicians have been duped into believing that it was about lowering the risk of another European Conflict or a way of lowering trade barriers in a Common Market.

    Tony Blair was in favour of joining the EURO.
    It’s possible that he now thinks different.

    Gordon Brown thought it was a good idea to sell Gold and buy EUROs.
    It’s possible that he might have changed his mind.

    Woodrow Wilson thought it was a good idea to sign the Federal Reserve Act in 1913.
    It’s definite that he changed his mind, but also too late.

    Abraham Lincoln thought it was a good idea to create debt free United States Notes.
    He didn’t change his mind about that and it was thought to be a better alternative than borrowing the money from Private Banks at 36% Interest. He got it right.

    Politicians are eventually right and can make the right decision. Few do.

    The Referendum question should read: “Should the UK negotiate a way out of the Maastricht Treaty where the Treaty directly affects the sovereignty of the Nation?”

    “Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law”

    “According to the Maastricht Treaty, EU member states are not allowed to finance their public deficits by printing money. That is one reason why the Bank of England will buy government bonds from financial institutions, not directly from the government.”

    The Maastricht Treaty prevents a Nation From creating money but allows Private Bankers – who wrote the Treaty; to create as much as they like.
    Reference: the biggest Global credit creation bubble in History since the Maastricht Treaty was signed. It only allows Central Banks to buy Government Debt from the secondary Market.

    The Problem that the Maastricht Treaty pretends to address is Hyperinflationary Money Printing by Governments when Private Banks – after massive deregulation; Printed so much Debt Money, that the UK Money supply trebled in fourteen years creating the current Financial Crisis.

    “The choice anyway will be ours, and many UK people are fed up with the EU so would like to be out altogether. ” – Yes – but we must remove the shackles of the Maastricht Federalist, ECB Controlled, Workcamp, Debt Slave, Superstate, Anti-Democratic Treaty first. Basically because it was written by people who must have known that it would create the current debt crisis in many European Countries.

  74. Posted July 2, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    With the federalists wanting ever more ‘Europe’, the time for a referendum is now. The euro troubles haven’t stopped the government advocating a Scottish referendum, Lords reform, gay marriage etc. Complete nonsense from Hague who described Maastricht as one of John Major’s achievements as it gave us the chance of joining the single currency (Question Time, 1.7.99).

    I can understand why EU-apologists want to kick a referendum into the long grass. Quite simply, it isn’t possible to stay in the EU and repatriate powers. It goes against a binding legal ruling that the loss of sovereignty is PERMANENT.

    EU treaties are actually engineered to achiever ‘ever closer union’ – economically and politically. If we can’t accept this goal, binding in international and EU law, we should just get out and trade with the EU.

    The Treaty of Lisbon actually promotes free trade and good relations with neighbouring countries, so I’m sure everyone would cope with Life After EU.

    The alternative is staying in under the the cosh of the European Court. Its own remit to promote federalism, so not surprisingly it has decided that no area of national competence (‘power’) is immune from EU obligations. So it’s ‘In Europe and ruled by it’ or a clean break. Only a straight In/Out vote is honest.

  75. waramess
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Mr Cameron is not to be trusted. In much the same way as yout not trust the legendary Devil were you to consider selling your soul, notwihstanding his reputation for an altogether altruistic approach, nor might trust your well behaved cat with the canary in your absence.

    He gave a cast iron guarantee that he would hold a referendum if the Czechs failed to ratify. He knew at the time that the Czechs were no match for the EU and they would certainlynot permit a small country like The Czech Reepublic to derail the project.

    Maybe one thing to promise a referendum making it clear that it would probably not happen; quite another to make a “cast iron guarantee”, words clearly intended to mislead.

    There are so many such instances of attempting to mislead I don’t think need to enumerate in detail however, even when honest mistakes are now made concerning, for example, the bonfire of quangos it is by many perceived to be yet another example of deliberately inflating expectations to obtain support.

    Just politics? I hope that political standardss have not fallen that far.

    So we must now examine with the greatest care every word that is said and to bear in mind that behind it all is a real intent.

    He wants a robust statment by the British people, well that does not imply a simple majority, therefore what does it imply? He is considering the possibility (of a referendum) ? Good old fashioned banking language for we have yet to make any decision one way or another, but it keeeps the customer happy.

    There is little in the article to take at face value and little to provide hope for Eurosceptics however it was designed to appear quite the opposite.

  76. Chris
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    One Conservative MP made the valid point yesterday that David Cameron suggesting that he might hold a referendum on newly negotiated terms is only possible if he were to win the election. As that is highly unlikely, on current showing, then any suggestion/”cast iron guarantee” given by Cameron would actually be meaningless as it would never have to be implemented.
    The point obviously is that the people need a say on the membership of the EU now, effected while Cameron is in a position of power. Airy fairy promises/suggestions by Cameron about possible future action are of no value to the electorate in its current eurosceptic, yet powerless, mode. Neither are any “promises” made by Cameron actually believed by the electorate.

    • Eddie Allen
      Posted July 7, 2012 at 6:10 am | Permalink

      I agree with you that the issue of our membership cannot be left until a general election for a few reasons. One, we have a coalition government as none of the main three gained enough democratic support. Legal mandate perhaps but surely they do not have the moral mandate given their lack of votes as well as the massive amount of apathy of well over 60% no voting at all. (I would suggest this belies the true picture of general feeling of ‘why bother’ because the EU tells us what to do.

      Secondly, if they make a manifesto pledge to negotiate, then what they are saying is we people are not sovereign to decide. We have to ask Europe to agree with us. Yet what are we planning to ask Europe? The fact is, if we are sovereign then we should simply decide what it is we want. A clear choice between more of the same +PLUS more, or do we want to forget all this political connivance and base our membership on the thing we went in for. i.e. Trade only. After all, we are still capable of ‘aligning ourselves with some political decision making there’, if we happen to agree with it.

      Lastly, the coalition maintains itself in power simply because it can, and not because it should. I would argue that the country needs firm leadership and a new direction to get us out of the many messes we’re in. (Not all down to Europe but nevertheless still a mess). And given that the politics of both parties are different on the EU then the Conservative party should be determined enough to seek a mandate now on its own principles. If the LibDems say they will leave the coalition then even better. As then a general election could be made to decide our membership position, and given that the LibDems will have been shown to put their own ideology above the will of the electorate then they will take an even bigger pasting in the polls to the benefit of the Conservative party which would be recognised as principled and democratic.

      I’m afraid however we will instead have a large portion of political fudge again and we’ll end up with the exact opposite of what it takes to get the country, our economy and our democracy sorted out.

  77. Barbara
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    ‘This country quite voluntarily surrendered the once seemingly immortal concept of the sovereignty of parliament and legislative freedom by membership of the European Union … as a once sovereign power, we have said we want to be bound by Community law.’

    Judge Bruce Morgan, judgement in Sunderland metrication case April 9, 2001

    Note that term, ‘once sovereign’. In view of this judge’s comment, I am not quite sure how much re-negotitation we would be able to do. I am therefore in favour of an in/out referendum, sooner rather than later. We were all subjected to the AV Referendum quickly enough.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 3, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Morgan was later corrected by Laws.

  78. Eddie Allen
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Doesn’t a referendum amount to the same choice we were given on the common market? A choice to stay in or a choice to leave. Yet the common market changed from what we voted for didn’t it. Hence we are where we are at now, and where we have steadily been taken to by governments since Heath and Wilson. Bit by bit, drip by drip.

    I have no faith at all in politicians actually telling us the truth any more. And if there is a referendum, then the only sensible choice would be to leave. This referendum (if it ever happens), will never be repeated and yet even if we vote to accept a new terms of membership it will not stop there. The referendum will simply forestall the inevitable and the ultimate goal to create a super-state. Again, bit by bit.

    The only way to avoid their inevitable plans to dominate politics along with democratic sovereign national governments, is to leave. And why do we have to negotiate when there is already an opt-out clause in the Lisbon Treaty. Why is EFTA not the place to be which works perfectly well without all the political mess.

    I say because the people were not asked to be IN a union, then parliament should simply ask us ‘Do you want to remain in the EU’, or ‘Do you want to leave the EU and join EFTA’.

    EFTA would satisfy all voices except those who WANT Britain not to be governed by sovereign government and are willing to give up their sovereignty. In which case all they have to do is to leave the UK and go change their citizenship to a country of their choosing. But saying yes for me to stay in the EU simply won’t do.

    Reply: If the UK voters do get an In/Out vote and vote to stay in then of course governemnts will feel justified or under a requirement to sign us to even more rules and regulations and loss of powers than we suffer from today.

    • Eddie Allen
      Posted July 7, 2012 at 5:47 am | Permalink

      That is my concern. That the UK votes to stay in (even on new terms), and then the government of the day takes that decision and keeps ratcheting us further into it again, and saying well the people wanted to stay in and there is no more referendums. i.e. A real political con trick would have been pulled on the electorate who simply voted to stay in on terms they were happy with only to later find that their government signed yet another treaty and gave something else away.

      This is why I see EFTA as being the most honourable position and is also one which we ourselves could improve for the benefit of its members who recognise that full blown political union is not the way forward for a happy, prosperous and sovereign democratic country.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
    Published and promoted by Thomas Puddy for John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU
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