The EU budget negotiations

The Foreign Office is already sounding the retreat over the EU budget discussions. They imply that we cannot do more than work with Germany to keep the increase under control. They say that whilst we can veto the budget, the EU can always go on to month by month budgets if there is no long term agreement.

I think the budget is the best possible time and topic to highlight the difference between what the UK wants and what most Euro members want and need. A club advertised and sold to the UK people as a trade arrangement has become a project to create Europe as a federal country. The UK has to state clearly it wants no part of that mission. We want to trade with them, be friends with them, have sensible arrangements over flights and ferries, pipelines and communications links, maybe do some things together where both sides want to. We do not wish to be governed by them, be subject to a common wide ranging law, have to follow a foreign policy laid down on the continent or an immigration and criminal justice policy designed in Brussels. We want a different kind of relationship with them, or at the very least the veto restored over all important policy areas, so we can still make up our own minds if we wish.

The UK should state clearly why we regard much EU expenditure as marginal at best. In a budget crisis cutting EU spending would be an obvious relatively easy way of making some of the cuts we need. As a sovereign nation we should be able to do that. Just as Margaret Thatcher negotiated us a rebate, so this government needs to demand a cheaper membership for the UK wishing to be a trade member but not a fully integrated member of the EU, Euro and new political union. I appreciate many of you would rather just withdraw from the whole thing. There would still need to be negotiations over the issues of overlap if the UK electorate did vote to come out. As you appreciate, I have been trying to help secure us all a vote on this central issue of membership of the present EU, but a federally inclined Parliament refuses. The budget negotiations are likely to predate any new attempt to get a referendum, as nothing much has shifted in a Parliament which voted strongly against a referendum recently.

The UK could also set out how the overall budget could be cut for the benefit of all. It is unlikely they will see it that way, but it would highlight the paradox of the EU. The EU lectures states to cut spending and cut deficits, whilst making the task more difficult by putting up the bills.

If there is no agreement, moving to ad hoc monthly stand still budgets will not be comfortable for the Union. The UK should dig in and demand a better deal for us.

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139 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Indeed the UK should dig in and demand a better deal but we are lead by cast jelly and worse still the Libdems that Cameron saddled the country with by his pro EU, fake green, soft socialism at the election against sitting duck brown. He has no chance next time even against the hopeless Miliband.

    Is a country sovereign nation when they cannot even fix the VAT rate on insulation products or decide who comes to live in the UK. Certainly a country led by Cameron is just taking orders from the EU high command. His job seems to be just to put the best gloss he can on them.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      “led” not “lead” but perhaps I was thinking of dead weight.

      • Robert Christopher
        Posted September 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        …. and poisonous!

    • zorro
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      It’s quite depressing listening to the debate and our seeming powerlessness in trying to effectively influence views. Anyway, has that foul mouthed yob resigned yet?

      zorro

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        It seems he denies saying “pleb”, perhaps he did not abbreviate it?

        I cannot however think it is the role of the police to allow this information to leak to the press. Any complaint should have been an internal matter.

        The plebs I see were the general body of free land-owning Roman citizens (as distinguished from slaves and the capite censi) in Ancient Rome. They were the non-aristocratic class of Rome, and consisted of freed people, shopkeepers, crafts people, skilled or unskilled workers and farmers. Members of the plebs were also distinct from the higher order of the patricians.

        Nothing wrong with being a pleb then it seems they were the ones doing something useful.

        Reply: I was pleased Eric Pickles said he was pleased to be a pleb.

        • zorro
          Posted September 23, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

          Mark Anthony was Tribune of the Plebs in the Roman Republic for one year. It was an important political position…

          However, calling someone a pleb now has negative, patronising context like some other words which might have been used in the past….

          zorro

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      I see that Comedy Clegg is going to follow Denis Healey in “taxing the rich until the pips squeak”. Healey denied saying this but we clearly had 83% and even 98% tax rates. It achieved nothing positive as anyone sensible would have predicted. It just pushed the rich, their taxes and their money, out of the country just as it would this time, should Cameron foolishly goes along with it (in order to get his boundary changes in place).

      He will need rather a lot more than boundary changes to win next time at this rate.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        Also another pathetic gimmick “Liberal Democrat leader reveals parents and grandparents can use pension funds to guarantee mortgage deposits for first time buyers”.

        Oh well, I suppose it is slightly better than nothing, if you still have a pension fund after Brown’s mugging and the restrictive investment rules, forced annuity purchase, high management costs, equitable life and the reduced contribution limits imposed. I suppose it might help one or two but with doubtless be complex and restrictive.

        • alan jutson
          Posted September 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

          Forgive me but I am not sure I understand this Pension fund proposal.

          I cannot use a Pension Fund for anything other than for a pension for myself, not even if I was in dire financial straights and need, are they really proposing that you can now lose your entire pension fund by allowing underwriting of another persons finances.

          This seems an absolute nonesense of a change of rules if true.

          • lifelogic
            Posted September 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

            Doubtless it will be so complex and restrictive (and few lenders will accept it) so it will be like most government initiatives a PR stunt with little effect, if any at all.

            That is if it ever make it into law. I am still waiting for the £1M each IHT thresholds as promised by Osborne and the referendum promised by all the parties. Perhaps we need an YouTube music video apology from him too (and Cameron). Over 55 you can usually draw your pension already anyway and use the 25% tax free cash to lend or give to children (usually tax free so long as you live 7 years or are below IHT levels).

            The main problem is the the banks are not lending much even with good guarantees and security at the moment.

          • Brian Tomkinson
            Posted September 23, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

            Anything government does in connection with private or company pensions results in disaster. I wonder if John agrees with the LibDems proposal?

            Reply:I would want to see the detail. It is important that any losses on such a scheme do not jeopardise an acceptable level of pension for the saver.

          • APL
            Posted September 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

            alan jutson: “are they really proposing that you can now lose your entire pension fund by allowing underwriting of another persons finances.”

            Anything to prop up the housing ponzi, that our politicians have manufactured over the last twenty years.

            The fact that hardly anyone outside the civil service has a pension seems to have escaped the attention of the child Clegg.

          • JimF
            Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

            No, you can lose your tax-free lump sum of 25%.

            So they are suggesting is that if you’re under 55, have kids/grandkids who want a house and can’t afford one, you can put 25% of your pension into a “safe” account, with the bank paying you next to no interest I guess, so that your kids can pay a few percent interest to the bank.

            So the restrictive pension laws are being suspended to help the banks out. Brilliant!

            Obviously if you’re over 55 you might as well take the lump sum and lend it to them and cut out the middleman.

          • JimF
            Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

            The logical and honest way to organise this if they wanted to do it would be to allow an appropriate % of a personal fund (maybe 20% maximum) to be placed into residential property for kids/grandkids without leverage. The problem of course is that with prices as they are and pension fund restrictions as they are this 20% wouldn’t buy much of a house with most folks’ funds.

      • Bazman
        Posted September 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        As pointed out to you a number of times and the evidence being of the London property market, the rich ain’t going anywhere and you belief in undermining democracy to accommodate their threats is a non starter. More lazy fatalism from you in an increasingly divided Britain where economic growth is not helping the majority of the population especially the middle income earners.

        • lifelogic
          Posted September 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

          As I pointed out to you the money in London is largely rich Non Doms for whom the UK has a very sensible tax regime namely tax of 30-50K and tax only UK income not their World income.

          Extending that to everyone would be a very good plan or better just put an income tax cap at say £200K PA per person, abolish IHT and watch the money, jobs and investments flow in.

          • uanime5
            Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

            How is it sensible for Non Doms to pay 30-50K in taxes for a house in a country where they don’t work?

            Also lowering taxes or IHT won’t bring in money, jobs, or investments. When companies seek to invest in a country they’re concerned with how much profit they’ll make, how much money the Government will give them, and whether their are suitable employees. The income tax rates of employees have almost no bearing on this decision and IHT has no effect because the amount of tax employees pay doesn’t effect the profits of the company in any meaningful way.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

            Sensible for whom? Money laundering with little benefit to the state. Another silly horses and sparrows fantasy. They will pay or live in the Isle of Man. Which will be enforced. Ram it.

          • lifelogic
            Posted September 26, 2012 at 6:41 am | Permalink

            NonDoms do not pay the 30k/50K for a house they pay it on top of tax on their UK income. They then do not have to pay it on their world wide income. They are perhaps paying about 4+ times (more if high UK earners) what the average tax payer pays.

      • Bob
        Posted September 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        Comedy Clegg quote lifted from Dan Hannan’s blog:

        “Here, to remind you, is what the Lib Dem leader had to say about the euro in 2002:

        The euro has done more to enforce budgetary discipline in the rest of Europe than any number of exhortations from the IMF or the OECD. If we remain outside the euro, we will simply continue to subside into a position of relative poverty and inefficiency compared to our more prosperous European neighbours.

        I’ll bet he “so so sorry” he said that!

        • lifelogic
          Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

          Rather like the Major Government days before the Black Wednesday saying if we come out of the ERM interest rates will have to go up. Just before we did and they fell like a stone and the recovery started.

          The Lords is stuffed with warmist fake greens, Europhiles and believers in quack economic who have all been proved wrong time and again. Meanwhile the people who were right are just sidelined. No one like people who are logical and proved right it seems.

          They want “sustainable” superficial dreams and Hollywood type lies and pie in the sky “renewable” visions.

      • uanime5
        Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        Given that the wealthy didn’t leave when there was a 98% tax rate it’s clear that higher taxes don’t send the rich abroad.

        • lifelogic
          Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

          They did, or they restructured, moved money abroad or they stopped working hard hence the poor tax take from the higher rates. Meanwhile when Thatcher reduced the rates revenue rose.

        • Richard
          Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

          uanime5,
          Wrong again, you need to check your facts, the wealthy did leave these shores in response to the 98% tax rates.
          There was a “brain drain” as it was called at the time, with many top entertainers, film stars, pop stars and business people leaving to set up in the USA, the Channel Islands and South of France.
          And bear in mind, its much much easier to set up elsewhere and still do business now, than it was in the sixties and seventies

        • outsider
          Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

          Dear Uanime5,
          I am afraid that many of the rich did leave. Some went to the Americas or Switzerland, rather more moved to the Channel Islands and sold their UK companies out tax free. These very high rates were very destructive of enterprise and investment was grossly distorted by tax considerations.
          You may recall that some of the Vestey family effectively moved to South America and you will later recall that Sir James Goldsmith lived in Mexico and a well-known Conservative benefactor was in Belize. Many more decamped to Caribbean islands to devote their energies to leisure and local developments. .
          You should also know that there were far more loopholes than there are today, ranging from tax-loss farming ( even including Labour figures-ed) to paying company directors abroad (Mr Heath’s “unacceptable face of capitalism”).
          Family trusts were at that time much more effective in minimising tax. Many of the wealthy also became “Names” at Lloyd’s of London, enabling them to avoid stringent exchange and defer tax more or less indefinitely. The Lloyd’s scandals arose from the ensuing “don’t ask questions” climate.
          The rich are few. There were far more ambitious young professionals (perhaps facing 75 per cent tax) leaving the country, particularly academic scientists and top doctors going to America.
          One of the reasons why Nigel Lawson’s big cuts in income tax yielded much higher revenue was because he simultaneously axed large numbers of tax shelters and loopholes. The tax cuts also led to the wealthy focusing on business and investment rather than devoting their energies to tax avoidance. Not edifying perhaps but true.

  2. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Publishing an alternative 2014-2020 budget (e.g. higher on innovation research and low on CAP) might be a way to make clear the British Conservatives’ position. Hasn’t the Fresh Start Project yet made such a budget?

    • Disaffected
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Pro-EU Drivel to make mischief. Why would anyone (politician) in their right mind give back a rebate that took so much time to obtain? Personal gain? This half-hearted suggestion should be seen for what it is: fragment and divide opinion that there might be a way to negotiate a better deal and stay in the EU until it is too late to get out. Negotiation is up, it is either in or out.

      We saw time and again how the likes of Major, Heseltine, Blair, Mandelson etc want more Europe by stealth. Even anti European Labour MPs were given EU jobs and pensions to keep them quiet.

      Today we learn that a sixth of the oversees aid budget is given to the EU to spend as it chooses. Unsurprisingly it is spent on middle income countries that the UK would not consider merits any aid- what has the Pro European Foreign Office done about it? Sweet FA I suspect. And the puppet Hague sits quietly.

      When will Cameron understand that I do not want to pay taxes so he can borrow and give it away to millionaires and underserving countries? I need my money for my family. If I wanted I could give my money to charity, I do not need all the government departments to collect and spend my money- cutting out the departments would make saving in itself. The UK does need need DfID. Alternatively, as a sixth of foreign aid is given to the EU to spend as it pleases it should be easy to cut DfID by a sixth.

      And they should be ashamed to put my children in debt to pay tax on the money the borrow to increase, with interest, their silly public school boy notions. Do not keep telling me that we cannot afford elderly care, education, pensions and the rest, when Cameron/Clegg waste so much of our money- my money!

      John, you must realise that the government, and more to the point Cameron, is not listening to you. I suggest they are, quite wrongly, dismissing your point of you. Cameron needs to go or you and others need to join UKIP.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        “Why would anyone (politician) in their right mind give back a rebate that took so much time to obtain?” Did he not get a “cast iron” promise on reform of CAP in return? What a great negotiator!

        Reply Indeed – one of the things this government should do is reinstate the rebate on the grounds that the EU did not delievr their side of the bargain. We could knock the full rebate off the money we send them.

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted September 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

          We could but Cameron won’t!!

        • uanime5
          Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

          I though the EU had until 2014 to reform CAP. So we won’t know until 2014 whether the reform has failed. Much like we won’t know until 2015 whether the Government will fulfil it’s pledge to cut immigration down to tens of thousands.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted September 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        I believe UKIP now scores some 5% support and it has never in two decades even managed to get one single MP (out of 650) elected in the only parliament which could decide to leave the EU!

        • Jon Burgess
          Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          Depends on the poll, but there was one this weekend that suggested UKIP has 12%. The LibLabCon can ignore and belittle UKIP as much as they like – it seems to help their support.

          • Jon Burgess
            Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

            Forgot to add and that could be enough to decide the next election.

        • Bob
          Posted September 24, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

          @PvL

          Your figure of 5% for UKIP is way off beam. Try doubling it.

          The British people are slowly waking up to fact that the three old parties have nothing to offer apart from more tax, more regulation, and empty promises of jam tomorrow.

          You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can fool all of the people all of the time.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted September 24, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

          Jon Burgess is right. UKIP are now polling double digits and it’s most polls that are saying it.

          Whatever else you say about the Conservative Party, they know how to stay in power. For the next general election, up and down the country Conservatives are saying that it’s the UKIP supporters wishes that we need to address. The LibDems are a busted flush.

  3. Posted September 23, 2012 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Quite right! The problem lies in your second paragraph in the use of your word “We” at the start of the last two sentences. The majority of Britain’s voters can now be included in that “We” but as ever the leaders of the three main poltical parties cannot. They want continuing personal wealth and power which they still believe can best be obtained by them via the EU.

    Happily the decision looks likely to soon be removed from their control, we are being eased out, and not too discreetly either. See the Polish Foreign Minister’s plea from Blenheim made this week.

    In my blog today I plead for a National Government which need must be seen as increasingly obvious as the party conference proceeds. Would I could suggest a likely leader, it clearly cannot be Cameron!

    • Timaction
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      ……………”A club advertised and sold to the UK people as a trade arrangement has become a project to create Europe as a federal country”. Exactly. The people have been lied to by successive Governments (Lab/CON) for over 40 years and only now is the truth being revealed when it has become so obvious. We can’t have a few lone voices like Mr Redwood stating the facts when our quisling and traitorous parliament act against the English national interest. They must be removed and replaced by genuine patriots, UKIP who will do as we want. The EU budget is an irrelevence, the issue is our membership as all Governments have talked tough and acted like slaves to their EU masters. They will agree what they’re told against our explicit wishes. Parliament does not act in our interest.

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    “A club advertised and sold to the UK people as a trade arrangement has become a project to create Europe as a federal country. ”
    Wrong! It has always been this only the real desire has been very carefully hidden. Hence the title of Christopher Booker’s book: “The castle of lies.” This tissue of falsification has now become quite normal in British politics too as Mr Clegg ruefully recognised the other day.
    Look, if Mr Cameron and the LibDems don’t do something pretty fast, the right is going to split right down the middle and become totally unelectable. Maybe that is what they want?
    The Labour Party has a wonderful programme. What we need, you see, is more investment so that we can get the economy back on track. Vote for us and you will get Tony back as in 1997. Add to that the swindles of postal votes and the boundary boondoggle and you are faced with Mr Wilson and the IMF all over again.
    Do something! Show us the carrot!

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      Tony Blair

      He was the reason that the Tories failed – not because of Tory policy. He was young and photogenic, a great orator and (through Alaistair Campbell) a master media manipulator (even The Sun supported him.) The Tories had nothing to offer in this regard.

      Many people believed they were living through good times despite all the outrageous things he and his party were doing. They were having jam today and did not think that it was going to end because Gordon Brown said it wouldn’t.

      There was – despite reservations – broad contentment throughout the land. “Oh well. There’s always football, restaurants and the holiday to think about.” Now the bill has arrived things are different.

      Time for the ‘right’ to show its colours and stand or fall on what it believes in.

      (Twenty five years ago what has been cast as right wing today would have been centrist then.)

      • cosmic
        Posted September 24, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        Yes, and there was a favourable world economic climate, pre Credit Crunch, and lots of cheap goods from China giving the impression that all was well. The good times were flowing on the back of huge debts and obligations.

        The Conservatives were mesmerised by the success of Nu Labour and were reduced to twittering about ‘sharing the proceeds of growth’.

  5. Alte Fritz
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Having followed this issue for forty years the most striking feature has been the iron consistency of the establishment in supporting membership, no matter where where it leads, and an equal consistency in depicting opponents of, or even sceptics about, membership as being deranged and extreme. Those words are chosen with care.

    The only interruption in this was Margaret Thatcher, but she let the Single Market legislation through. So here we are, still with the most undemocratic European system since the fall of the Soviet bloc, and still with an establishment which fails to do its job of looking after the country.

    The EU establishment risks, day by day, now for years, global economic meltdown rather than abandon or even halt the project. Who is deranged? Who is extreme?

  6. Leslie Singleton
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Good Morning John, I agree totally but what would be nice to know (perhaps one or two of your usual suspects with strange sounding names might oblige) is how anybody could possibly see it differently. I must have missed it but I have never seen anything resembling an adequate case for a view different from yours today. What on earth is wrong with the generality of our MP’s? Why is Cameron such a drip?? I refuse to believe they are all happy ISQ waiting for some plum super (non) job in Brussels.

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      ” is how anybody could possibly see it differently.”

      I assume you were talking about John’s political colleagues but this is one of my concerns when it is extended to the population at large .

      All the EU have to do to win in their battle for a federal Europe is put off and put off until people like you an me pass away or get sent to the gulag or an asylum . The new generation have never known nothing different so EU federalism will succeed by default .

      All this stuff about heading towards “world government” is tosh . We’ve had it for at least the last 25 years , the people at the top just haven’t had the courtesy to tell us yet .

    • alan jutson
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Leslie

      After spending the last two weeks sunning myself in Mallorca and talking to some of the locals (Spanish not UK expats) there, it would seem many of them think exactly the same as most of us on this site do as well.

      I was informed
      Their huge construction boom of past years did not favour local residents, instead it sucked in immigrants from eastern Europe and northern Africa, who now the boom has ended, still remain, and are prepared to work for less than half the normal going rate, putting many local well established businesses out of business, much as is the case in the UK.

      They are fed up with Government borrowing, wasting and spending money on so called government initiatives, and raising taxes to pay for it, like us here in the UK.

      They are fed up with the government bailing out Banks with taxpayer money, as is the case in the UK.

      They are fed up with many of their politicians making money out of the gravy train at public expense, and then being able to retire on gold plated pensions.

      They are also fed up with the EU.

      All of the above comments initiated by them, I just agreed “its the same in the UK”

      The only thing they all agreed on was that Mallorca was slightly better for employment than mainland Spain, simply because of tourism, villas still needed maintainance and cleaning, and work was available, albeit at low wages in shops and restaurants if you really were prepared to look for it.

      The alternative economy is also growing, so fed up are the people with government wasting taxes, again much like here in the UK

      Most of those who I spoke to informed me that they had to work long hours sometimes doing two jobs to make any sort of sensible standard of living.

      Time here for someone who has a pair to simply stand up and say we are not paying any more, so chuck us out if you do not like it !

      Sad fact is we lack any Political leader of any real conviction, and that is the problem.

      Nigal Farage talks a good game, but has little or no influence or indeed power, but his views (along with many other eurosceptic politicians, including our host) are now spreading, although not yet fast enough.

      Sad as it is, until the BBC start broadcasting the honest views of eurosceptic politicians and give then an equal amount of air time, things will not move forward or change much.

      We still have a long way to go before we reach a tipping point.

      • Richard
        Posted September 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        Alan,
        I heard many similar opinions when speaking to Greek, German and mainland Spanish people on recent trips.
        There was a great deal of hostility towards the EU voiced, whereas just a few years ago all I heard was praise for what the EU was doing for them.

        When things were going well the EU was seen as a beneficial layer of extra Government, but now with standards of living falling and unemployment rising in Europe, the EU is rapidly becoming very unpopular.

        • Bob
          Posted September 23, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

          @Richard
          As Maggie once said, “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money”

          • uanime5
            Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

            Though capitalism ran out of other people’s money in 2008 and the banks needed to be bailed out.

          • APL
            Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

            Uanime5: “capitalism ran out of other people’s money in 2008 and the banks needed to be bailed out.”

            We weren’t practicing Capitalism, QED.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted September 24, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

            Yet again, the banks didn’t need to be bailed out, Labour chose to bail them out. The Labour government forced a bad merger with HBOS on LLoyds, then paid too highly for RBS and Lloyds shares without doing due diligence. The shares are now worth half of what they were bought for.

            I’ll spell it out one more time. By its actions, Labour has forced a loss of £33 billion (and counting) on taxpayers that should have been born by shareholders. That isn’t capitalism; that’s favouring your buddies.

      • Bazman
        Posted September 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        Workers willing to work for less causing unemployment and the collapse of business? Now there’s a thing.

        • alan jutson
          Posted September 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

          Bazman

          Yes thought you may like that one.

          Problem is that the businesses which are going out of business are usually those who are trying to play by the rules, have insurance, pay taxes, pay workers through the books, and that means their overheads and costs are higher than those who do not.

          Thus the better and more honest Company’s (and there are very many) cannot compete with those operating outside of the normal standards laid down.

          Thus the faster the growth of less honest businesses, the faster the race to the bottom for everyone except those business owners who work in such a manner.

  7. Duyfken
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Amen.

    Two points:
    1. Since it would be unwise to trust any member of the EU organisation, and similarly just as unwise to depend upon the intentions and competence of UKREP and of government Ministers and Departments, it is surely preferable to make a clean-cut from the EU and then, if desired, negotiate new trading arrangements with the Europeans and others.

    2. Mr Cameron claims the UK is best served by remaining in the EU, but I am yet to learn of the particularised reasons for this opinion. Should he not be confronted with specific questions (such as does he see the UK at some stage forming part of a federal EU state) to test the value and true nature of the policy which his government is presently following?

  8. A.Sedgwick
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    As Peter Mandelson said – you have to keep repeating something until sick of doing so for people to take notice – substantive renogiations and repatriation of powers are not going to happen, our only salvation is out.

    On this theme of wilful blindness this article in the DT again shows the waste in the EU and our Overseas Aid. Whether it is Afghanistan, EU, immigration, energy costs, welfare abuse, soft prison sentencing, defence(BAE proposed merger – current disaster looming), Human Rights Act, Government is always years behind public opinion and common sense.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9560326/British-still-giving-hundreds-of-millions-of-pounds-in-aid-to-wealthy-countries.html

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      For once I agree with Peter Mandelson – Yes. I am utterly sick of saying it.

      More so than people are of hearing it, I’m sure.

    • Bazman
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      As they are with tax evasion and giving more to the rich as you did not seem to mention this. Any reason?

      • outsider
        Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

        Dear Bazman,
        Please try to distinguish between high earners and the rich. A pensioner with £1 million invested in government bonds would be lucky to get an annual income of £30,000, including basic state pension. Still well below the 40 per cent income tax threshold and not index-linked.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 29, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

          A pensioner with a million quid in the bank? How many of these miserable peole are there?

  9. Alan Wheatley
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Lets run with the ideas you put forward, JR, that the UK government should dig in over the EU budget for the reasons you state.

    I accept there is unlikely to be an EU IN/OUT referendum in the current parliament, and therefore the forthcoming budget negotiations could provide the next opportunity to highlight the difference between a UK chosen course and that of the EU. Negotiating under the banner of a better deal for the UK, even though meritorious in it own right, is in reality of no significant consequence for we know from bitter experience of the EU that any short term gain is followed by long term pain.

    What budget negotiations could do is to highlight the differences between the EU visions and the UK vision. Budget negotiations will not fail because of a disagreement over numbers, they will fail because one party has a vision of what it wants to do with the money that is at odds with what the other party wants to do. And on that basis I do agree the UK should demand a better deal.

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      I don’t disagree with Mr Redwoods suggestion, but this is nothing more than hot air and waffle. No-one with any influence in these negotiations is listening. We could do this we should do that- but we’ll end up as we always do, going along with anything that’s demanded of us. I for one am sick and tired of being ignored.

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Do you really expect the EU to stop increasing spending when your own government refuses to? Apart from you and a few other Conservatives, no one in your party ever seems to mention the EU. The Conservative leadership (if you can call it that) will do nothing to upset their masters in Brussels. Re-negotiation was specifically excluded from the coalition agreement. Face facts, the leaders of the three main parties are all quislings happy to be subservient to the EU. In well honed EU tradition they refuse to allow people to express their views. This is just a taste of worse to come if they get their way and complete their abject surrender of our sovereignty to the EU.

    • zorro
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      They won’t negotiate and it won’t matter after 2014 because it will be too late….

      zorro

  11. Pete the Bike
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Why is it that Britain is quite prepared to indulge in undermining foreign governments, joining illegal and pointless invasions and generally behaving like a drunken bully yet is completely unable to even argue a point of principle with the EU?
    Maybe the Foreign Office is still packed with the likes of Burgess, MaClean, Philby and Blunt? Maybe they are just grossly incompetent? Either way it’s time for a shake out. Sack all the incumbent mandarins and I mean all. If they can’t find anybody prepared to stick up for Britain then close the department. No Foreign Office at all is better than the one that has sold us down the river for decades.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Pete,
      “Why is it that Britain is quite prepared to indulge in undermining foreign governments, joining illegal and pointless invasions and generally behaving like a drunken bully….”
      The irony is that most of these actions are said to be in support of democracy and self-government in those countries whilst in this country they are actively dismantling both and denying the people any say in the matter.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Completely agree. I recall seeing film of the late Robin Cook showing visitors from abroad around the Foreign Office. The bemused guests were subjected to Cook’s sneering and dismissive remarks about the protraits of previous British statesmen (imperialists) that hang there. There were, I believe, suggestions made that they be removed at that time.

    • zorro
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Like all bullies, they only attack those who they think won’t hit them back…..says it all really.

      zorro

    • cosmic
      Posted September 24, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Reminds me of the old joke.

      A foreigner wandering about in the street where the FCO is asks a policeman, “Which side is the Foreign Office on”?

      The policeman replied, “They’re supposed to be on ours, but it’s often difficult to be sure”.

  12. merlin
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    If you vote Conservative you stay in the EU.

    If you vote labour you stay in the EU

    If you vote Liberal Democrat you stay in the EU

    There IS NO choice, all 3 main parties are in agreement that the future of the UK is in a totalitarian regime where democracy has been abolished. UKIP is the only party that will give you that choice, UKIP will be the dominant party at the next round of the Euro-elections. If you vote for the 3 other parties that will be the end of the Uk as an independent nation, after all most of our laws are made in Brussels and the UK parliament is an arcane side-show. The other 3 parties were the future once, UKIP is the future and the only hope for the future of this great nation.

    • ChrisXP
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      I agree. The main aim now should be to try and convince voters to drop their eternal habits of tribal voting and start thinking with their own brains for once, instead of following great-grandad/grandad/dad in the same old, tired-out family tradition. That’s the trouble; these patterns have been instilled into people over generations. It takes immense pressure to make them change their minds. They need a spiritual awakening.

      • Bob
        Posted September 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        @ChrisXP

        The BBC’s role to keep them mesmerised with soaps and propaganda. It stops them from thinking too much.

    • zorro
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      It’s just preparing us for the reality of EU democracy…..several parties but no real democratic choice…

      zorro

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      I’m afraid UKIP is simply a protest party, and full of disaffected Tories, just a different arrangement with same British Establishment history. What if Scotland votes for independence, or if they go devo-max, where are UKIP then, because that means there is no Union. We should be demanding an English parliament and preparing for completely new constitutional arrangements. There is a party which is organising on this basis.

      • forthurst
        Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        What would be the point of a English parliament when there would be no country called England? If the Scots leave the union, that surely would mean an exclusively English parliament became less necessary? Did not UKIP wish to change its name, only to be told by some official body charged with preventing free democratic expression, and presumably infested with the usual suspects, that they couldn’t?

    • uanime5
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      Given that the UK currently has a Parliament where in one house you can obtain a majority of 30 with 35.2% of the votes and the other house is unelected we will be in a totalitarian regime even if we leave the EU. There’s a reason why the UK is said to have an “elective dictatorship”.

      • Richard
        Posted September 24, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        unaime5,
        A dictatorship would be more likely when one party in parliament had a huge majority and could do whatever it wanted with no regard for minority parties views.
        A Government that only commands support of just 30% of the vote and has a small majority has to tread carefully to avoid either losing a vote in the Commons or being expelled at the next election.

        We get the Parliament we all vote for, it is a reflection of how we have voted.
        If we really, really, wanted a different outcome we would be voting for it.

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Well said. Please all take note and don’t give your votes to those that will sell you into slavery for their own personal gain.

      • Bob
        Posted September 24, 2012 at 7:44 am | Permalink

        hear hear!

  13. oldtimer
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Agreed.

    The FO position is feeble. The UK should exercise its veto and let the EU get by with month to month budgets until a satisfactory new arrangement can be agreed. It is clear that the EZ members want a new, evolving federal arrangement even if the means of achieving it are unclear. A bigger budget contribution from the UK is obviously expected to help pay for the Commission`s ambitions. We should have no part in it.

    It is perfectly understandable why no EZ politician wants to be seen to be responsible for the breakup or fracturing of the EZ. There is every reason for every responsible EU politician to pay the closest attention to the EU budget – not least because, as I understand it, not a single set of EU accounts has been passed as true and fair statement by EU auditors for many years past. Does any other international organisation have such a record of financial incompetence and mismanagement? And yet we are still asked to pour more and more money into it. And into a cause which is not supported by a majority of the UK populatiion.

    It beggars belief that the political class continues to nod ever increasing Commission budgets through as if all was well with its competence in handling such huge amounts of our taxes. They look more and more like nodding donkeys then serious politicians.

  14. Acorn
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I can imagine Alex Salmond writing the same post substituting Scotland for UK and Westminster for Brussels / EU.

    Look guys, I am no fan of this EU thing. Its structural design, from a democracy point of view, is worse than the UK, but not that much; compared to the stuff I posted on Washington State primary system. (I would vote for a party that offered that as its only policy. Or a second one for UKIP).

    Anyway here we are frothing at the mouth about an EU organisation that has less staff than Hampshire County Council and a budget about the same size as the UK government deficit, never mind the other twenty six countries.

    Don’t vote for any incumbents unless they swear on a stack of globally recognised religious documents, to run an IN /OUT EU referendum. The biggest fear any politician has is the thought of not getting re-elected and having to go and find a proper job. That means local; EU and national elections.

  15. Leslie Singleton
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Fortified by brekkers, I read that some chappie called Ed Davey has decided he doesn’t approve of certain anti-green Tories. Let’s hear it for the anti-green Tories, I say. This is on point with your recent EU comments because we have for very obscure reasons (mostly I reckon because of a guilt complex that some people seem to have about doing what comes naturally as regards energy) based on negligible evidence (and what there is decreasing all the time–they will be predicting an Ice Age again anytime soon–plonkers the lot of them) allowed ourselves to be roped in to the EU baloney on the subject at nothing short of gargantuan cost in a time of financial crisis yet–which latter many people will never believe exists while we can waste so much money on such twaddle (not to mention overseas aid otherwise known as burning money).

    Clegg says the Tories didn’t win the election but misses the fact (poor English – sorry) the Tories won it a lot more than he did (despite his shameless lies on student fees). Off point, but do I understand correctly that under the Liberals’ so called mansion tax proposals 1% is to be paid in cash each year (with naturally no credit for same against other tax)? So if the proverbial little 65 year old lady perhaps of successful family (very much including generations past) and with say 25 years to live chooses to stay in her house (mansion or otherwise–none of their business) she would have to pay at least £500,000 E & E O cash during her retirement (assuming house valued at £2 mio or more)? Where is she supposed to get that from?

    If I have this half way right, for all their moral high ground posturing I find that a combination of bonkers and highly unfair verging on evil. Are not the death duties (by another name) that she will have to pay (high because it’s a mansion, right?) not enough?? If not why not? Pray that the Liberals are annihilated soonest. BTW I live in a rented converted cowshed and have not the slightest hope of (again) living in my own mansion.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Ooooops. Proof readers thin on ground and should have been as every invoice used to know E & O E. Apologies.

    • Steven_L
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      The ‘poor widow’ argument is always trotted out against land value taxes. The fact is that the ‘poor widow’ is depriving everyone else of access to an exclusive location. She hasn’t created the location value, the work and taxes of everyone else around her has. She’s just getting fat off it like a latter day feudal baron.

      It’s only fair people pay society a rent on the land they enjoy exclusive access to if you ask me. That goes for poor widows, rich widows, foreign plutocrats, tax exiles, the working classes and everyone else. If she wants to stay in her house she can always rent her 4 spare bedrooms out to people who work nearby to cover the bill.

      As a bonus, once people realise that there’s no government backed free ride to be had on land speculation, they can turn their efforts to doing something productive. Banks can go back to lending to actual businesses rather than funding a giant pyamrid scheme too.

      Reply There are many more people in Central London than a few poor widows who find themselevs in flats with very high capital values whilst they remain on relatively low incomes. They do n ot suddenly have the money to pay high Council Taxes or a special wealth tax, just because their three bed flat is now worth £2m. They are only rich if they decide to sell and move to somewhere much cheaper.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        You can’t just dispel the old lady because she has something others want, that really is the politics of envy.

        I do not agree with a tax on paid for assets, how many times does one have to pay to accommodate the spendthrift nature of government with little influence over who benefits from those taxes (that includes the rich on one sides and benefit fit claimants on the other). Unfortunately the mess that we have allowed ourselves to get in (most used excess credit so I think we is correct) may mean that a one off or short term tax becomes necessary (income tax receipts are falling worryingly).

        The little old lady whose property has risen as she resided can be shielded from hardship by levying the tax on the value at acquisition. Inherited wealth is captured but those who use their property to live are protected at the level at which they could afford to purchase.

        • Steven_L
          Posted September 24, 2012 at 12:04 am | Permalink

          I’m not sure that you can simply dispel any debate about land ownership and land taxes as ‘the politics of envy’. It might be nice to own all the land and charge everyone else a rent like the Sheriff of Nottingham. It’s just not feasible politics these days. Wasn’t ‘the right to buy’ pandering to the ‘politics of envy’? Land is central to our economy, and speculation on it central to this crisis we find ourselves in.

        • Bob
          Posted September 24, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

          @Narrow Shoulders

          The government need to focus on the expenditure side of the equation, and stop dreaming up new ways to steal money from those that have been prudent with it.

      • Steven_L
        Posted September 24, 2012 at 12:35 am | Permalink

        Best put our land assets to their most productive use JR. If that means a few MP’s have to move out of the central london houses they bought in the 80’s and 90’s on expenses, well it’s a small price to ask really isn’t it? I’ve recently left the south east because of the high land rents, it’s not the end of the world.

        1% on properties worth over 2m is just a small step in the right direction. Once we’ve replaced VAT, payroll taxes, CGT and corp tax with 5% on everything over 80k (the rebuild price of a 3 bed home) we might even get the real economy growing as opposed to just MP’s London property portfolios.

    • Bazman
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      There’s that mythical old lady again living in her multimillion pound mansion that we are supposed to feel sorry for?How about the millions in cramped accommodation being attacked with cut down services and no option of moving? Where are they supposed to get that from?

      • outsider
        Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        Dear Bazman,
        Do you not think it would make more sense to raise the same amount of money in “fair taxes” by increasing the Employers’ National Insurance Contribution rates on pay of more than three or four times the national average? It might also discourage “excessive” pay. Even better if that was used to cut rates for young people at the bottom.

        I do not own a £1 million house but I recall my late auntie, aged 90, living on a widow’s pension in a small suburban terraced house whose value had multiplied ridiculously simply because the area where she had been born, brought up and lived all her life had become fashionable among yuppies.

        Tax should always be based on ability to pay.

  16. Alan Wheatley
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    You say “We want a different kind of relationship with them”. We certainly do, but what kind of different relationship? You raise the possibility of the veto restored, which means a relationship within the EU.

    I think any UK optimised relationship within the EU is not worth considering. Even if it is accepted that such a thing could be possible, no matter how unlikely, it does not make any practical sense. It would be like joining a club but accepting only a small part of the club’s rules. Why join in the first place? For the club it looks like a lot of hassle for no gain, so why would the club let you join? Better to join a different club and have mutually beneficial inter club relationships.

    The big disadvantage of pursuing an improved relationship within the EU is that it diverts attention form the main point. The only practical long-term approach is either IN or OUT.

    An “improved relationship” plan could, in theory, have the benefit of highlighting the reality of the EU to an ignorant UK population. It could reveal that improvements the UK sought for itself were not available as they would be seen by the EU as undermining its objectives. Thus it would become clear to all that a UK optimised membership of the EU is not a possibility; the practical choice is stark, IN or OUT.

    However, any attempt at seeking an improved relationship within the EU would, in reality, be to accept that the UK’s future is to sign up to the EU federal project. A “different relationship” within the EU is a continuum with an infinite number of possibilities. It is an ideal construct for talks that never come to any meaningful conclusion. Likely by the time they stop all will have forgotten why they started. Any result can be hailed as success. Any result will be meaningless. Meanwhile the ever-closer-union noose will have been tightening and the UK nation state hung out to die.

    Can we assume a UK government that actually wants to do better for the UK? I will leave all the cynical comments to my fellow posters, of whom I am sure there will be many.

  17. Alan Wheatley
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    The one enormous thing missing from this blog is the alternative vision for the UK.

    To define the UK’s future in terms of what we dislike about the EU is not good enough. To believe that renegotiation is the key completely missed the point that you have to have the vision of the future before you can plan to get there.

    I think that those UK leaders who think the future is the EU have no vision. And so their policy is to stick with the process within which they find themselves. Their vision is of the process, not of the destination.

    But if we are to extract ourselves from the process there has to be a better alternative on offer. Simply to say we want out because we do not like being in is not good enough; such an attitude is unlikely to carry the day in a national referendum.

    Of course, those happily flowing along with the process will not seek the alternative vision, even if they could. So it has to come from outside. It would good to read in the many posts to this site peoples’ visions of the future they would like, and expressed in positive terms: regurgitating all the many things wrong with the EU is easy, but of limited benefit. What are the positive characteristics of a UK future outside the EU?

    For me, probably the greatest benefit would be a return to democratic government.

  18. Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    It’s worrying how Eurosceptics are becoming referendists, and that includes UKIP. It may not be a coincidence that that party has changed its name and abandoned the pound-sign. Supporting a referendum doesn’t mean you want us out of the EU but that you’d abide by a vote to stay in.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Getting out is the goal but not the only goal. We must not make the best the enemy of the good. Even if the vote went to stay in, it is as certain as can be that there would be a huge minority against who will have made it abundantly clear in the referendum campaign that a lot of us detest the present arrangements–which would provide massive impetus for making changes to the present position. In any event where is it written that I have to abide with a vote to stay in?

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted September 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        Pinning everything on a simple in/out referendum is tremendously risky. If we lose, we could be fast tracked into the Euro zone and a German empire. The power of European FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) propaganda, allied to an unlimited budget from the EU, will be very great.

        Much better is to claw back a sizeable chunk of powers from Brussels, first in the 2015 election, then in an Act. Accession to the Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and Libsbon treaties can be repealed without recourse to a referendum – for the simple reason that we didn’t have referenda to sign up in the first place. Much less risky.

  19. Freeborn John
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    The 2014-2020 EU budget negotiations are a litmus test for Cameron’s credibility on EU negotiations. They have long been identified by Cameron and Hague themselves in BBC Today interviews before the last election as the best opportunity to secure a return of powers, including over one of the big-ticket redistributive areas like ‘regional policy’. 

    If Cameron & Hague do nothing on this occasion (as they did on last year’s EU treaty change) it will be obvious to all that their entire EU strategy is a long-grass one where they deliberately seek to shut down domestic pressure to renegotiate by folding all their best hands at the very earliest opportunity. 

    Cameron says we have to put up with EU membership in order to have influence at the top Brussels table. But whenever he is at that table he plays his cards as if deliberately throwing the contest. If he or the Foreign Office can’t negotiate he should vacate the table for somebody who can or admit the obvious that the EU table is tilted against any British negiotator such that we can best pursue our national interests by leaving the EU for other more global forums (WTO, etc) where more of our natural friends also sit.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Set a committee (yes really!) the task of going through it line by line. Withdraw our agreed percentage of anything that the committee throws out including a percentage of the general expense increase if that has been included.

      Add to this percentage our rebate reduction which seems to have been dishonestly obtained.

      Maybe we will be thrown out but only if we have nothing to offer. That would be an interesting standoff.

  20. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Until we say that we are going to repeal the Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon Acts of Accession, without negotiations or referenda, we are going to get absolutely nowhere. The only circumstance in which the EU will negotiate is with a pistol at their heads.

  21. JoolsB
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately John, Cameron, and therefore the Tories are unable to deliver on Europe, maybe because Clegg won’t let him or maybe because at heart, he’s just as Europhile as Clegg. He is a Liberal (in Conservative clothing) after all.

    Poll after poll show the public want an in/out referendum on the EU but Cameron, just like Labour before him, refuses to ask us because he might not like the answer. It’s the same with the English Question which along with the EU, he promised to address before the election and is now allowing the Lib Dums yet again to dictate what they will and will not allow.

    Well this lifelong Conservative voter and activist will never again vote Tory until we are given both a referendum on the EU and one on an English parliament, both of which UKIP are offering and which the Tories shamefully refuse to do and they wonder why their core supporters are turning to UKIP in their droves.

  22. Robbo
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    The EU benefits are not just ‘marginal’. They are hugely negative. We are paying for a lot of clever people to concoct regulations that hamstring our economy. If this was stopped we would not only allow our economy to grow and save the salaries of the bureaucrats but those clever people would have to do something useful instead. Win, win, win. So why is it so hard to just say No, non, nein, nej, nao, etc ?

  23. Max Dunbar
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    How many Foreign Office mandarins speak any German?

    • David Price
      Posted September 24, 2012 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Or Hindi, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish?

    • Jon burgess
      Posted September 24, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      Not sure but I think Ted Heath could. Presumably this was so that he could communicate directly with those that controlled him.

    • Bazman
      Posted September 29, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Probably quite a few. One of the things they are expected to learn one of the ‘hard’ languages like Russian or Chinese.

  24. NickW
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    The aim of the ECB and Brussels is the destruction of the Sovereignty of the individual European States; that takes precedence over everything else.

    Once a Country requests a bail out it ceases to be a Sovereign and becomes a Vassal State under the control of the unelected leaders of Europe, that’s why Europe started with forcing a bail out on Ireland, one of the smallest and therefore weakest European States, and the logical place to begin.

    The Spanish understand this very well, hence their reluctance to request a bailout.

    The policy imperative of Brussels is NOT saving the Euro; it is to engineer the downfall of Sovereign states by any means possible, regardless of the consequences.

    Barroso and Van Rompuy want to see the whole of Europe under their control. They are determined to be the dictators of a Federal Europe.

    Our national policy imperative has to be both to prevent that from happening, and to ensure that the Sovereignty which our armed forces gave their lives to protect is not thrown away by weak and foolish political leaders.

    We need to see a degree of courage and determination in our negotiations with Europe which has, so far, been completely absent.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      Van Rompuy was elected by the European Council, which is made up of the leaders of the EU member states. José Manuel Barroso was appointed by the European Council. Can you explain how either of these people will become a dictator when they only have any power because the leaders of the EU member states supported them?

      NickW your Europhobic delusions cannot even stand up to basic scrutiny.

      • zorro
        Posted September 24, 2012 at 6:48 am | Permalink

        I seem to recall that Barroso was the only candidate…..For argument’s sake, Hitler was elected democratically, and there were other candidates in that election.

        zorro

      • Richard
        Posted September 24, 2012 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        unaime5,
        They are not elected by the people, they are elected by their mates, thats why.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted September 26, 2012 at 1:53 am | Permalink

        And the Lisbon Treaty was ratified by the British people in which general election, in which referendum? Without the Lisbon Treaty, von Rumpy Pumpy’s position wouldn’t exist.

  25. zorro
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Absolutely, no reason at all why we shouldn’t stick by our guns even if it means that they have to go to monthly budgets. You never know it might improve their accounting/audit procedures! Always the same for the FO…..whenever we propose challenge, they always say that this will ‘marginalise’ us or ‘provoke’ the EU or other countries. We have no hope with them fighting for us…..like being savaged by a dead sheep….

    I also see that the Cleggatron (I’m sorry…..I’m sorry) has come out with another government, statist crackpot idea to ‘solve’ the housing crisis….aka keeping house prices at unsustainable levels whilst leaving pensioners exposed….Who in their right mind would touch this with a barge pole…..why not let houses fing their real value sensibly rather than bucking the market and potentially ruining not just new buyers but pensioners too…..

    zorro

    • zorro
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Doubtless Cast Elastic will support so as to buy off the Lib Dems on other issues….

      zorro

  26. Matthew
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Germany and several other EU nations are at least spelling out the sort of Europe that they wish to evolve from this Euro crisis. They are planning to do what suits them.
    The low value of the Euro is a great help to German exports.

    So as the EU changes then like it or not our relationship with the EU is going to change. Yet the British government are not laying out any detail of what they want our future relationship to be. It seems to be a sort of wait and see strategy.

    Mr Cameron has made the task of any renegotiation more difficult by going into the barmy “marriage” with the Lib Dems. Standing as a minority government he could have laid out his plans for a renegotiation on the lines of what is good for the UK – budget savings would catch the voter’s attention. He could have fought another election on these terms.

    (The Lib Dem’s spending their time charging at windmills with this mansion tax just brings it home, if needed, what a bunch of clowns they are)

    Mr Cameron could begin by arguing that the UK shouldn’t be one of the largest contributors to the EU budget, if the UK is not going down the road of further integration.
    There may possibly no better time to go for a renegotiation than now.

    If the Conservative’s go into the next election promising to get tough with the EU much of the electorate just won’t believe them.

    • Bob
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      @Matthew
      “If the Conservative’s go into the next election promising to get tough with the EU much of the electorate just won’t believe them.”

      What makes you think that?

  27. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I’ll just tell anybody too young to remember why there will be so much anger in France and Germany if we become semi-detached from the EU. In the early 70s, France welcomed us with open arms because we accepted – and would help finance – the Common Agricultural Policy (at that time totally unreformed and shelling out loads-a-money to uneconomic small French farmers). Germany welcomed us with open arms because we would become Europe’s second paymaster, taking some of the burden off Germany.

    Why should France and Germany not have thought this way? Because Edward Heath promised them that it would be like that. And there were all of those publicity photographs with Heath and his ministers smiling in the Charlemagne room and on the Elysee Palace lawn.

    It has slowly dawned on France and Germany that Edward Heath did not speak for Britain. For that, they are angry at Britain, not Edward Heath.

  28. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    “The Foreign Office is already sounding the retreat”

    And who has ordered the bugle to be blown?

    Not Sir Humphrey Appleby, as some would like to pretend, but the Right Honourable William Hague, MP for Richmond and Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with overall responsibility for the work of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

  29. Bob
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    It’s a sobering thought that but for the intervention of a pensioner in Rochdale, Labour would have won the last election outright, without the support of Mr Sorry and his merry band of so called “liberal democrats”.

  30. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    For clarification, will the government need to get the House of Commons to approve the UK’s contributions to whatever new EU budget framework is agreed, or will it be another decision taken over the submissive heads of our elected MPs like the decisions on extra tranches of QE?

    Reply There should be an opportunity to vote No to a high budet, but Lib Dem and Labour Mps will doubtless support Conservative Ministers as they always do on EU matters.

    • Bob
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      “Lib Dem and Labour MPs will doubtless support Conservative Ministers as they always do on EU matters. “

      And what better reason is there to kick ’em all out at the next election?

    • sm
      Posted September 24, 2012 at 12:12 am | Permalink

      A cross party consensus in the national interest made by honest statesmen of integrity or more a conspiracy to not represent the electorate faithfully.

      They do it because certain interests control the parties that control the MP’s and the electorate can do nothing (until the next election) substantive to remove them unless the incumbent resigns or they die.

      The veil is dropping and even those that don’t want to see can not fail to see!

      Do not vote for the LibLabCon!

  31. David Langley
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Cameron has kicked this EU issue into the long grass and the next parliament by giving “Hague the Vague” the job of establishing exactly what kind of mess we are in. I am going to kick my Conservative MP into the long grass as well. Nice chap but following the party line like a chicken on the block.
    Lets mention the UKIP conference at least for a minute, now theres a chap for the future and when he gets a few more go getters on side which will happen I am sure we will be talking to those lads across the ditch about a real Europe Agenda. I totally agree with paying for joint services but really they should cancel out as we all pay our share of cross border communication and agreements. John we would all shout like a bunch of footie supporters if we could ditch the Lisbon agreement and get on with building Britain in our Commonwealth.

  32. Boudicca
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    “I appreciate many of you would rather just withdraw from the whole thing ….. but a federally inclined Parliament refuses.”
    —————————-
    Which is why we will not be voting for a federally included CONservative Party – although the few Better Off Out Conservatives will still be supported.

    It will be wonderful to have UKIP as the largest British Party in the EU Parliament in 2014 if all goes to plan, but it is in Westminster where the REAL problem lies – with our own Quisling Politicians who have ignored the wishes of the British people for decades when it comes to the EU (and immigration).

    Today an Opinium Poll in The Guardian has UKIP on 10% (2% ahead of the LibDems). We must build on that. It’s the only way we will get a Parliament that represents US and also the only way we will get out of the EU.

    LibLabCON will never do it.

  33. Peter Richmond
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Yesterday on the BBC parliament channel, I watched a few of the speeches, including that of Nigel Farage, to the UKIP party conference. Reflecting both on what I heard and all the discussion and debate here on JRs blog I decided that unless I perceive real urgency and commitment to changing our relationship with Brussels by this government, I shall at the EU elections cease to vote Conservative. I shall vote UKIP. After then I shall consider my position for the UK general election at which I have always in the past voted Conservative.

    • Jon burgess
      Posted September 24, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      The greatest gift we can all give Cameron and his friends is the lowest poll ratings for the unconservative party at every possible opportunity.

  34. BobE
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    For the third time the UK stands alone against an overrun Europe. Will we find another Churchill?

    • Trevor Butler
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      No – We’ve got “A bunch of college kids on work experience.”

  35. Posted September 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Agreed John, but how do we get the b*****s to listen/act? Bring back Guy Fawkes and make sure that you aren’t in the chamber at the time? Put a “None of the above box” on the voting paper – but can we wait that long?
    John Major – he of Maastricht Bastard fame – has just proved that a leopard can change its spots and is now arguing along the same lines.

    Reply A None of the above box solves nothing. People can and do abstain in person already by putting in a ballot paper with no valid votre recorded. I have never seen political party candidates worried by this, as the abstainer makes no obvious impact on the resulty and there is no way of knowing how they previously voted.

  36. Bert Young
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    By the time I receive your blog , all has been said . I know you have taken this up with your technical people , but , please do so again . I can only add my disgust at the thoughts of any of our taxes going to the bureaucracy in Brussels .

  37. Antisthenes
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    We should indeed dig in but I see little appetite at the top to do that so the same old same old will continue. One day the cold embrace of realism will take hold and there will be a flurry towards applying the brakes to stop it all from falling over the cliff. Of course it will be too late it is probably already too late. The EU promised so much a concept that was the right one at the right time but was so badly cobbled together that it now cannot deliver on it’s promise in the least and is making much worse that it was intended to improve. Europe was ailing and failing the EU could have reversed all that but instead built another tier onto a tottering building so that the eventual collapse will be all the more devastating. It was so predictable because if the parts of the whole embrace an ideologue in this case social democracy then the whole will too and as the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts that ideologue will be magnified. Social democracy was not problem per se it was too much of it that caused the problem leading to ailing and failing. The EU was conceived to maintain the level of social democracy and even increase it through a single market that engender greater wealth creation. In that it is failing dismally because the construct does everything but encourage wealth creation in fact it has built an environment that decreases competitiveness and democracy and encourages , waste, inefficiency, protectionism and even nationalism (the failing euro is doing that). The big mistake the EU clique did was to bring into being the euro because it has highlighted the cracks and flaws in nations economies and may be the catalyst that destrys the EU dream. The EU elite may well be hoisted by their own petard.

  38. BRIAN CARPENTER
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    John

    You must find a way of not permitting us becoming the United States of Europe.

    Can they not see that the USA was formed mainly by people who escaped from Europe and did their own thing on the other side of the Atlantic ocean.
    They were successful and it is my belief that the only way the EURO could work is if we do form a USE.

    Let’s face it if we really wanted that we would have emigrated to the USA many years ago. The real charm of Europe is that we are many nations, all with different habits, philosophies, work ethics etc. I want to remain British but most of all English.

    • peter davies
      Posted September 24, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      ….And Prussia then Germany was formed out of a huge array of principalities – the first step was to create a unified currency. Once a country gives up its currency, it loses the main thing that gives itself the right to call itself a country.

      The next step is banks, law institutions, planning – it doesn’t take too many brain cells to see where all this is going. Even a pleb like myself could see this when the EURO was born and most countries in the EU allowed their governments to sleep walk into it.

      I find it absurd that countries like Ireland, Croatia and other former Warsaw Pact countries who so long fought for freedom are sleep walking into a new USSR with an E on the front of it and dressed up in lipstick.

      There’s enough evidence to show that the EU is losing traction with the rest of the world and the likes of China are emerging.

      European governments need to focus on getting their economies going again and stop kicking the can down the road with the EURO and adding more red tape making it hard for business.

      It is making things and providing services that others will buy are the only things that will get us out of this mess, not this socialist spend, waste and being a poodle to failed European politicos.

  39. Jon
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    If the Conservatives don’t dig in on the EU budgets then the UKIP vote will increase and the Conservatives will loose the next election.

    As John suggests, the EU is not in a good bargaining position if put in ad hoc month by month negotiations. Lets start with a 20% reduction in their budgets.

  40. merlin
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    The vision I have for the uk is as follows:-

    1) A completely free nation state that can trade with anyone it chooses to.

    2) A strong army, navy and airforce

    3) A democracy where the elected government, first past the post, rules the country

    4) A monarchy

    It’s as simple as that. We have managed for the last 1000 years with the above why change it ?

    • uanime5
      Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Point 3 hasn’t existed for a thousand years. It wasn’t until 1885 that over half of the male population could vote, wasn’t until 1918 that all men over 21 and women over 30 could vote, and wasn’t until 1928 that there was universal suffrage. So there’s barely been 100 years of actual democracy.

      • peter davies
        Posted September 24, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        It may not have been with us for a hundred years and it may not be prefect but it worked so why change it?

  41. David Langley
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    A bargain or agreement usually means that a “consideration” is involved. I am against giving any money to the EU Budget. We get some back I know and some is also spent on things that we approve of. However we are grown up now and I think we should be able to manage our budget on our own thank you. The flaw in my argument is of course the fact that this government is like a spendthrift wife, wrong in what she does but its my fault for marrying her.

  42. uanime5
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    The UK could always request that countries which aren’t members of the Eurozone shouldn’t have to pay for the administration of the Eurozone. While this would reduce the amount paid by non-Eurozone countries it would exclude the UK from all EU meetings regarding the Eurozone and means that the UK is no longer at the “top table”.

  43. PETER RICHARDSON
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    APOLOGIES FOR SPELLING MISTAKES AND HEREWITH CORRECTED VERSION AND MINOR ADDITION FOR PUBLICATION IF AGREED

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Just back from a news and email free week-end!
    Nice one Mr Redwood!
    Parliament may have ‘voted’ for federalism including perhaps many hopeful and ambitious Conservative back benchers and perhaps a few front benchers, too!!
    How about a secret ballot of all Conservative MP’s on their actual feelings about financing Europe to the present tune with the existing and more frighteningly proposed future constraints.
    Would they then be seen to agree with the populace and how important are they really except at general elections or am I a cynical realist!

    • peter davies
      Posted September 24, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Or how about a free, non whipped, “no consequence for not towing the party line” vote across all parties in Westminster to get the feel of what they think.

      All MPs should be there to represent the views of their constituents, not what Cameron, EU Pensioner Clegg or Union Stooge Milliband directs tell their Whips to vote.

  44. Derek Emery
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    …I have been trying to help secure us all a vote on this central issue of membership of the present EU, but a federally inclined Parliament refuses…

    If Parliament wants to be ‘in’ then its hardly likely that there will ever be a referendum. On the other hand the Eurozone is so badly planned it may never work no matter how much the EU elite put behind it and countries could drop out and de-leveraging begin.
    The concept behind the EU is to look after the interests of Germany and France at the expense of the periphery. It is increasing obvious that the periphery is not just the UK but also the PIIGS. The EU is a one party (or no party state) but that will not stop reactions from the southern states public specifically once the commission is running these countries rather than their elected representatives.

    They are always going to be second class as they can never hope to match German productivity as they do not have and never will have the money to invest behind each man. They are locked to the same currency so need to take cuts year on year as they cannot match German productivity. This will be the role of the commission.

    Even if there is a transfer union they will never get more than charity so must remain poor.

  45. peter davies
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    “The UK could also set out how the overall budget could be cut for the benefit of all”

    They are cutting all public expenditure except for the ring fenced overseas aid much of which is funneled to crooked regimes so they can buy arms and the NHS.

    The UK contribution to the EU budget needs to be cut inline with all other items of expenditure, 5% PA – if we have “austerity” then the EU needs to set the example. I’m sure I said this a few days ago.

    Will they have the backbone? I doubt it

    • peter davies
      Posted September 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      “much of which is funneled to crooked regimes so they can buy arms” I should have put in brackets, I’m not associating aid with the NHS.

  46. Posted September 28, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    There’s enough evidence to show that the EU is losing traction with the rest of the world and the likes of China are emerging.

  • About John Redwood


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

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