Sometimes they listen

Very often people write in to ask what is the point of all these words? The point is to help and hasten change for the better. Sometimes that happens.

The Chancellor is now more exercised about dear and scarce energy, as we have discussed here.

The regulatory authorities have recently announced a relaxation of the ever tougher cash and capital rules for the time being, to allow more money to be lent to the private sector. Bank balance sheets are much stronger than in 2008. The banks need permission to make a bigger contribution to recovery, and now seem to be getting some of what is needed.

The Prime Minister is now talking of the need for a new relationship with the EU. I regard this as good progress. It is not yet coupled with the referendum many want, nor is there an immediate agenda for talks with the EU over how that might develop. It is however significant that for the first time since Margatet Thatcher got the rebate on our contributions, the UK is formulating requirements for us which will be very different from the rules and requirements on Euro zone countries. The Euro is bound to force change. The UK needs to be clear we wish to move in the opposite direction to the centralisers out to create a political as well as monetary union. Mrs May has agreed to opt us out of all the criminal justice measures, reflecting MP pressure to do just that.

The fresh start group of MPs has worked with the Foreign Office on the wide range of powers currently held by the EU which do not suit many of us in the UK. There are over 100 Conservative MPs now likely to vote for a referendum, and far more who agree we need a new relationship with the EU which would look very different to the current impositions of full membership. Many also now accept across the political spectrum that the UK cannnot join the Euro, nor the emerging political union. That should force a rethink. Over the weeks ahead I will set out how the Uk might play its hand from here, to move to a relationship based on trade and political co-operation, instead of one based on being part of the emerging governemnt of a centralised Europe.

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101 Comments

  1. Andrew
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    A re-negotiation of EU membership or a withdrawl cannot happen soon enough. Big noise is made about British democracy, it is time our elected MPs gave the puboic the chance to have a binding refurendum on our future in the EU

    Just on an economic basis the EU is not strong enough and the UK should be free to persue stronger favoured terms with the Commonwealth and BRIC trading areas.

  2. Nina Andreeva
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    There is no need for the UK to ask for a new set of terms all we have to do us is stop being the mug who comes to the top of the list of member states for rigorously enforcing every directive etc that comes out of Brussels. Nothing seems to happen if you do not accept the diktat. I have not read anywhere about France being hauled up in front of a court and fined after they bussed out a load of Romanians that they considered to be a nuisance in their country. No consideration for the human rights of a bunch of petty criminals there, however the country that loves to get pushed gets stuck with the likes of Abu Hamza, Abu Qutada and co.

    However I would have thought the Euro is the last thing to worry about as the world’s capital market seem to be treating it as a dead duck. As for example Volkswagen have just issued a bond, and in order to make it attractive, they have had to add in a condition that promises repayment in any successor currency to the Euro.

    • John Doran
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Nina hi.
      Have you seen Archbishop Cranmer’s blog on the appalling miscarriage of French justice in the case of the 15 year old girl repeatedly gang raped by (words left out-ed) youths?

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        My kids are Eurasian so I prefer to avoid stories such as this, especially when references are made to “packs of Muslim youths”

    • uanime5
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      France paid the Romanian to go, so they willingly left.

  3. Brian Taylor
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Keep up the good work.
    On the EU, what are your thoughts on using Article 50 to get a negotiated settlement with the EU.
    On energy how is it Germany are building coal fired power stations and we are supposed to close ours,because of Fracking in the US,and more gas fields the price of gas has stabilised with combined cycle gas power stations why are still putting up and paying for expensive wind power.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Germany can build coal fired power stations because they’ve exceeded their targets. The UK is closing power stations because we haven’t met ours.

      • Disaffected
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        Fictitious targets that are costing us all a fortune. I suggest you read an article by Mr Booker in the DT today.

      • libertarian
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        Wrong !

        Total nonsense from you as usual. Germany is no nearer hitting its ridiculous targets than we are in the UK. Germany has just built/ordered 22 new coal fired power stations. It aim to shut its 20 nuclear power stations by 2030 however a large part of Germanys energy consumption ( by far the largest in Europe) is from non German nuclear , coal and gas power plants

        • Bazman
          Posted October 22, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

          Germany has one of the top ten coal industries. I wonder if the coal miners work for minimum wage?

      • Mactheknife
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

        Yet again you show little appetite for the truth and your ignorance is astounding. But hey….the liberal left have always been that way.

  4. lifelogic
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Well perhaps, but they are still giving absurd subsidies to wind and pv when they do not make any sense economically, in engineering terms or even environmentally.

    The banks are still restricting and calling in lending for no reason. Government owned RBS in particular has behaved appallingly. Simply not lending, even where there is a good plan, good security, a good track record and a sound business. They are just inventing contrived and artificial reasons not to lend and trying to call the old loans in, wherever they can.

    On the EU we shall see, but Cameron has brought in the absurd gender neutral insurance laws and all sorts of other red tape from the EU. He clearly cannot be trusted. Ed Davey and Vince Cable and clearly rowing in totally the wrong direction on energy and employment laws. Real action was needed two years ago but still nothing. Now finally a few more sensible words, here and there, but still no effective action.

    • John Doran
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      HSBC bank are behaving very similarly, calling overdrafts & loans on every pretext.
      & they are a healthy bank.

    • Disaffected
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Sometimes they listen, overwhelmingly they do not. Arrogant, out of touch and incompetent. two and half years in office and we could count on a couple of fingers what they have partly achieved to create spin to deceive the public.

      T number one priority, deficit and debt, will be kicked into the next parliament. As I said previously, Cameron and chums are in it for the kudos, talk a lot about what they are going to do, but never talk about what they have achieved on the promises made to the public before the last election.

      Let them tell us about:
      Spending cut achievements? 80/21 split on cuts and taxation is this on target? EU sovereignty achievements? EU contribution achievements? Mass immigration achievements? Law and order achievements? Cleaning up politics achievements? Middle East war achievements? You name it they have failed to deliver on it.

      And now, after two and half years they hint at doing something, when it should be well under way and achievements in sight, and you claim they sometimes listen?? JR, this is optimistic in the extreme. And some would say pure sophistry to help the poll ratings.

      Cameron’s judgment is so out of whack it would be delusional to think otherwise:
      Spend and waste- where are the cut backs???
      Remain in EU at whatever cost (and by gum it is costly to the taxpayer-£50,000,000 each and every day), thereby having no bargaining chips for Article 50
      mass immigration to change our culture- numbers are soaring
      gay marriage, not in the manifestos to change culture
      Get rid of crosses in the workplace- he claims he is opposed when the government solicitors are working to exact opposite brief- are they rogue solicitors or Cameron not telling the truth?
      Soft on crime and disorder- praise given to a burglar and early release is the norm- no consequences for criminal or anti social behaviour. The same in schools. We have police officers based in schools for goodness sake! What does this say about discipline let alone poor educations standards. The answer from Cameron is allow Cable and Ebdon to dumb down university education to make it as bad!! Free university education to EU students and £9,000 for tuition per term for English ones!!
      Energy policy is a complete mess, likely to have black outs in three years while it is costing us all fortune so Lib Dems can have intermittent electricity from wind farms which are 30% more expensive to build and not efficient in the remotest of conclusions.
      Infrastructure- £32 billion pound build for one railway line to help a single journey, that is at best, is likely to save 30 minutes on one journey. You have to start to question the intelligence of these ministers. they might have received a good education, but it does not mean they are the most intelligent. Clueless springs to mind.
      Expense scandal in 2009. Now we have expense cheats/fiddlers back in cabinet and the Lords and no action taken on the Kelly report. Standards??? Example to society nil. And minister who admits to swearing at the police and thinks it is alright to stay in post to earn £140,000 and Cameron supports him! Listening to the public was he about MP expenses was he or how about the claims he made??? Is his memory that bad? Like his evidence to Levison Cameron appears very forgetful.

  5. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    The magic of how to play one’s hand for a new, loser relationship would be all important. Realising that this high priority for the UK is not high on the agenda of countries, busy to agree with their fellow eurozone countries. As any suspicion of a wreck and paralyse attitude might back-fire, it would be better for the UK to promise real cooperation in exchange for its demands for its “a la carte” relationship with the EU. Although the EU, especially the eurozone, will still be struggling with the current democratic deficit for some years, the typical preaching by the UK (ECR) wouldn’t go down well. The UK may be an old democracy, but rightly or wrongly, many in northern European democracies look down a bit on deficiencies in the British system. Positive suggestions about strengthening democratic procedures in the EU would be far better.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      Is the UK really a democracy? The democratic element is very marginal. MPs are far more likely to respond to consultancies or party than to the public anyway as we have seen what they say before an election and what they do in office have little or no connection.

      • Bill
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        There are different descriptions and definitions of democracy but one-person-one-vote and the possibility of removing the government by the ballot box rather than by revolution is what counts. That is democracy.

        The battle goes on in the airways with information and misinformation swirling about.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

          If you can only remove them once every five years and then by replacing them with virtually the same or very similar, is that democracy and in what sense?

      • Manof Kent
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        The Battle of Waterloo was fought and won to stop the Code Napoleon being spread across Europe and preserve our case law and way of governing ourselves.

        It is ironic to think that nearly 200 years on the seat of the modern day Code is Brussels ,11 miles or so from the battleground.

        What plans will Cameron et al have for the Anniversary in 2015 ?
        Public Holiday ?
        or,

        Apology to the EU for having been undemocratic and warlike in the past and fervent wish to be aligned with the ‘modern’ Nobel Peace Prize ?

    • Duyfken
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      The comments by Mr van Leeuwen indicate how sour the UK – EU relationship has become. Just how can our country continue within the EU with there being such criticism and ill-feeling as seems to exude from across the Channel? And why would we want it?

      A break with the EU releasing the UK from the commercial, political and judicial straitjacket would allow normal good social relations to resume with our European neighbours, and allow the UK to revive and enhance traditional relationships elsewhere and everywhere.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

        @Duyfken: The break you’re suggesting would in principle still be possible if another, to be negotiated “à la carte” deal for the UK would be judged unsatisfactory. I don’t exclude the possibility of a win-win result of such negotiations. I recently saw that this OpenEurope lobby group had analysed various outcomes, a report which is still available under a “latest research” heading.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Peter,
      I presume you meant a “looser” rather than a “loser” relationship but knowing your unswerving devotion to the EU perhaps not. A starting point for a positive direction for strengthening democratic procedures in the EU would be to ask the peoples of the member states if they want to give up their current democracy to be governed directly by the EU. The problem there is that, whenever a country has a referendum result with which your beloved EU disapproves, it is ignored and that country is forced to vote again. Democracy and the EU is an oxymoron.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        Since when has having democratically elected MEPs and Councillors to represent your country been considered being governed durectly by the EU.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

          The MEPs clearly just toe the line and have no real power, the input from the individual governments is also very weak in practice. The vote every few years for MPs/parties who then elect a government, who then send representatives to do deals in the EU is rather like trying to steer on oil tanker by having the right to choose the colour of the outfits of two menial members of the crew one day every five years.

        • libertarian
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

          Since the very start, you see MEP’s have absolutely no power whatsoever, none, no influence at all. Councillors ( by which I assume you actually mean commissioners) who actually dream up and pass the legislation aren’t elected by anybody they are appointed.

          So we are in fact governed directly by an unelected politburo

        • outsider
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

          So you do not think we (like other member states) are governed by the EU in most areas? Do you not think perhaps that there is an observable difference between, say, taxation on one side and water quality standards, fishing rules or insurance policies ?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

        @Brian Tomkinson: I meant “looser” and was too late when I discovered the typing error.
        To start my reaction, let me copy a quote from some report:
        “From the European Economic Community to the possible unitary European Union, development has been characterised by a delicate creation called the institutional balance. Representative democracy has been allowed to take root only gradually and cautiously.”
        I’m afraid the same path will be followed with the further integration within the eurozone, partly because various options for accountability would be available. Personaaly I migth favor a parallel eurozone parliament made from a subset of the national parliaments (e.g. finance committees), but others favor giving more power to the European Parliament.
        Your version of the referendum process is popular in certain blogs, but doesn’t stand detailed scrutiny. After all referendums (like Nice, constitutional treaty, Lisbon treaty) there have been negotiations and improvements in the texts, which apparently satisfied the parliaments or people of the countries concerned. Was Ireland “forced” to vote again on the Lisbon Treaty? Having to face up to the reality of probably 53 x “yes” while you are the one “no” may provide a compelling argument for voting again, but is strictly speaking not the same as being “forced”.

    • forthurst
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      I agree that there is a democratic deficit in the UK; this is caused by the first-past-the-post elctoral system, in which elections are decided by outcomes in a small number of marginal constituencies, leaving the majority of the population effectively disenfranchised and preventing smaller parties emerging and receiving fair representation.

      As to negotiationing a new relationship with Europe, the present position is that Brussels informs us of our new laws; what we need to do is to inform Brussels of our new relationship which they can either take or leave; if they decide to ‘leave’ it, they presumably would try to ‘enforce’ their existing laws with penalties, in which circumstances they would be the belligerent party, but I don’t think they would do that because it would be an extremely risky strategy which would almost certainly fail rather quickly.

      As to making positive suggestions for strengthening European democracy, the response to date has been to tell us to mind our own business and just keep handing over the money to bolster the de facto authoritarian regime that rules Europe and of course maintain French farmers in the manner to which they have long been accustomed.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        Most of the problems stemming from the FPTP system could be removed if the UK Parliament adopted the system used by the Scottish Parliament; where parties receive top-up MSPs based on the number of votes cast. This is why the Conservatives have 15 MSPs in the Scottish Parliament even though only 3 constituencies voted for a Conservative MSP.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

          We need less power to parties and more to the people. A party list system is even worse.

        • outsider
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

          The Conservatives should have only 3 MSPs because only three geographical communities wish to be represented by people who happen to be Conservatives. Democracy is about real people living in real communities choosing real people as their representatives, not about opinion polls and undemocratic party lists.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        @forthurst: I believe that there are legal obligations that the UK has entered into so that change would have to be negotiated. One of these obligations (article 50 Lisbon Treaty) is that even a complete UK exit would have to be negotiated. It doesn’t imply that it would have to be a very painful exit, just an orderly one. But the UK is large and important enough to reach special treatment by the rest of the EU.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted October 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

          “Special treatment by the rest of the EU” carries the implication that the rest of the EU is homogeneous in its desires. Germany wants a full political union of at least 17 Member States, with joint fiscal, monetary, foreign affairs and defence measures. As far as Germany is concerned, it is not just about policy but about implementaion and operations.

          Peter van Leewen has said that he doesn’t like the military part of Germany’s agenda. The French President says that France is a sovereign nation and that control of its budget is France’s alone (though they are happy enough for other nations to assist in financing it). Spain seems most unwilling to accept a German bear hug and Greece is rioting against it. So let us drop the pretence that it is only the UK that needs special treatment.

          The only acceptable EU federation is one limited to about 8 nations (say a population limit of 200 million) and no military capability. The UK cannot be comfortable with a single power dominating continental Europe.

    • Little White Sqibba
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      … a new, loser relationship…
      We’ve already got one.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

        I did mean “looser” though 🙂

    • Muddyman
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      One problem is that the Government is in fact a number of senior ‘Public Servants’ who direct the Minister, the ‘Briefing Papers’ they clutch are a control mechanism.

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      I do find it amusing when people ruled by permanent coalitions they can never kick out bleat about our ‘inadequate’ democracy. So far we British have not succumbed to revolution, communism or facism and we have avoided civil war for over 350 years. We have not succumbed – yet – to the imposition of the illiberal code Napoleon. Our electoral system suits us very nicely, thank you very much, and we supported it by a massive majority in a recent referendum. All we ask is that busybodies in Brussels who have no mandate, no popular support, no democratic legitimacy whatever, cease their damned interfering and leave us alone.

      I do have a suggestion for how to improve European democracy. When they lose referenda, they should accept it and not carry on regardless with their centralising madness that the voters do not want.

      “Promise real cooperation” i.e. just shut up, pay up, and do what Brussels says. Well, we don’t want your centralised state with a European Army, Interior Ministry, Foreign Ministry, and no doubt eventually a Gendarmerie to keep us all in line. You can get lost.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        You do realise that UK’s common law system is more illiberal that the Napoleon code (civil law) because courts aren’t bound by the decisions of the higher courts.

        Just because FPTP beat AV doesn’t mean that FPTP preferred over every other voting system. As the House of Lords reform was also passed with a majority of over 300 MPs it’s clear that there’s a lot of discontent with the current voting system.

        Who exactly are you referring to in your rant against Brussels? The democratically elected European Council, the democratically elected European Parliament, or the European Commissions which is appointed by the European Council and Parliament?

        If the EU loses a referendum, then wins the next referendum doesn’t this mean that the people want more centralisation? If so then the people’s wishes should be respected.

        • Sebastian Weetabix
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

          The “democratically elected European Council”??? What planet do you live on? When was the last plebiscite for membership of it? Oh wait. Heads of government are automatically members. And we have no veto on what they decide. There is virtually no democratic accountability within the EU. None. It functions as the USSR did.

          You clearly neither understand the principles of common law nor the reality of how people with no mandate or consent impose law on us.

        • Martyn
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

          “the European Commissions which is appointed by the European Council and Parliament”? Ah, but when the Commission rules all obey and the EU parliament (unless it decides to kick out the commission in toto) is but a fig leaf of democracy.

          The present system is a mad, bad arrangement without the nations of Europe – especially those in finincial difficulties – can find themselves with governance imposed, not elected but imposed by the EU Commission or, as seems most likely, Germany who pays the bills.

          What is there to like about that?

        • outsider
          Posted October 21, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

          “If the EU loses a referendum, then wins the next referendum doesn’t this mean that the people want more centralisation? If so then the people’s wishes should be respected”.
          Dear Uanime5, you are obviously an intelligent person (assuming you are one person). It would really be more interesting if you said what you, from the Left, actually believe/want to happen rather than simply act as a rebuttal service.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

        @Sebastian Weetabix: Not succumbing to revolution, communism or facism isn’t defining democracy, otherwise Singapore or Saudi Arabia would be examplary democracies. Your referendum was the rejection of a certain alternative, not implying any great love for your current system. Your ideas about the EU are about “they”, denying the fact that you (the UK) are part this “they” and thus carry some responsibility for it as well.

        • Christopher Ekstrom
          Posted October 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

          How about calling out Cast Iron, JR? That might move from a simmer to a boil!

          Reading of how the UK is judged by the North Euro’s is priceless. Is there anyone still a “sceptic”? At UKIP we are Anti-Euro.

          etc etc

    • Disaffected
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      No, German banking regulation proposals where a Commissioner should be able to overrule any nation state budget. It is time to leave the EU ASAP and build other relationships outside the EU as quick as we can.

      No more EU carbon targets so our energy prices can come down. Cameron does not appear to understand the levy his chancellor will impose on power stations that will make the cost of our energy double. Nothing to do with energy company greed, more to do with Coalition incompetence based on flawed logic and stupidity. The plebs need to wake up and understand what they are talking about before introducing legislation that will have no impact on cost or energy output.

      Gove does not still appear to understand why Mitchell should have been forcibly removed from office. Even if witnesses had different versions of events, it does not detract from the fact that Mitchell accepted he swore at the officers. He gets paid £140,000 in a senior position of government, and as such should be an example of a citizen for others to follow, he is also part of the law making machine that he eluded to when speaking to the officers. There is no doubt Cameron should have sacked him.

      I suspect the behaviour might be acceptable in the Bullingdon Club, as long as Daddy paid for the mess and damage, as it is in parliament.It might be a flawed and misguided culture among toffs. For normal people with values and morals it is not acceptable. Shop lifters are not given the opportunity to pay for the goods stolen and apologise to other shoplifters to avoid prosecution. It is not acceptable behaviour from anyone, especially a person who is an MP and a minister and meant to be the pillar of society.

      Undoubtedly Cameron and Gove’s difficulty in understanding this is perhaps another reason to explain the appalling standards in parliament; why we have people like Laws back in the cabinet, why Fox had to resign, the claims from Cruddas about Cameron holding dinners at No10 at OUR expense, why expense fiddles continue, why Lords who were jailed are back in office. When Cameron makes a speech that includes his father to gain empathy from us, on his record to date, I think it is a pity his father did not teach him better about the values of right and wrong.

  6. Gordon
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,
    These speak volumes for your tenacity, amidst all the frustrations you must suffer, and although it may not always be apparent, sometimes quite the opposite, you do have tremendous support, especially amongst your respondents here. Thank you for your efforts.
    Gordon

    • Caratacus
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Second that, if I may.

      We may sometimes seem to be a cynical bunch, but I am sure that Gordon speaks for many.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        It is very hard to be too cynical when political people send emails like the one saying, on 9/11 – today is a good day to bury bad news (or similar).

    • alan jutson
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      Gordon I agree with you.

      But how do these stupid ideas/policies ever see the light of day in the first place. ?

      What a huge waste of almost everyones time, correcting bad policies which should never have been passed in the first place.

      • Disaffected
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        Lord Tebbit gives a good explanation on why bad policies are made.

        I suspect it is a consequence of rushed policy without too much thought of the consequences. Not understanding the business they are responsible for and leaving too much in the hands of the civil service without checking they have enacted what they were told to do.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 22, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

          That, and having a defective compass clearly pointing to more EU, more tax borrow and waste, more tax, more fake green tosh and more regulation of everything.

  7. Alan Wheatley
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I welcome your intention to set over the weeks ahead how “the UK might play its hand”. I look forward to reading your views, and those of other contributors.

    I am pleased to see that you have an objective for the UK relationship with the EU, that of moving to “a relationship based on trade and political co-operation”.

    One would like to think “a relationship based on trade and political co-operation” is something the UK could have with every country in the World: this is, of course, not currently a practical possibility, but as an objective it is fine.

    Which brings us back to the immediate future and the most consequential issue of our time for the UK – IN or OUT of the EU. The sought for “relationship” can be read in one of two ways: as a member of the EU with other EU members; from outside the EU with the EU. Clearly these are two fundamentally different relationships, and it would be best to know which one we are talking about. However, I suspect that for some a blurring of the distinction is all to the good.

    From previous posts, and without further clarity, I assume the hand to be played will be based on the principle that the UK will remain a member of the EU. So the new relationship will be the result of cutting the best deal that can be achieved. I expect this will be the moment when Cameron, or the then Prime Minister, will answer the demand for the long called for referendum, hot on the heels of a “successful” negotiation that delivered a new relationship for the UK within the EU, timed and promoted to ensure the UK’s continued membership of the EU, as intended all along. There are already clarion calls warning to beware of another stitch-up, and we would be wise to hear that message.

  8. Sue
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    You won’t stand a chance in the next election unless some of your MP’s and their cronies don’t come to down to earth soon. The message coming through quite loud and clear is we are untouchable (new expenses scandal on the way?), better than you are and we still want to ride the gravy train despite “all being in this together”.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2220817/MPs-We-ll-sue-Commons-tax-claims-second-homes.html

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9623075/The-gravy-train-185-MPs-travel-first-class-and-24-claim-for-club-class-flights.html

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9622068/It-is-wind-power-that-will-send-our-bills-sky-high.html

    The majority of people may “not be interested in Europe” (which in my experience is untrue, most people blame the EU for everything) but they do get angry with rich politicians taking the mickey.

    Clean up your act or this will be your last term. Cameron does not need “Bicycling Baronets” (seriously???) to advise him, he needs a couple of people who know what it’s like to struggle paying their electric bills! Energy, petrol prices and your green agenda will finish the UK once and for all.

  9. Alan Wheatley
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Reference to Margaret Thatcher s apposite. The rebate shows what can be achieved by a skilled and determined Prime Minister with a clear and sound objective. Some of her other encounters with the EU show what can not be achieved, and that what you thought had been achieved turns out to be something quite different and far less satisfactory.

    Margaret Thatcher is also an example of someone who had a positive and constructive view of the EEC/EU only to learn from experience that no matter how brilliant you were at arguing your case, and irrespective of its merits, if it was at odds with the ideology then you got nowhere. This is a lesson that subsequent Prime Ministers, and others, have ignored in the belief that they would be “different”, only to come face to face with reality. Of course, some have like that reality more than others.

    Negotiation is so British; so fair, so reasonable. But who are we going to be negotiating with? Why start with France and Germany? Are they the EU? Are they likely to agree between themselves, and even if some magic does produce a tri-partate agreement is this then to be imposed on the EU as a whole. If we want a new relationship with the EU why are we not seeking to negotiate with an EU representative?

    Is there anyone who wants to negotiate with us? The Euro zone have plenty to worry about without having to deal with pesky UK, who by the very fact of want to negotiate show that they are not really of the EU project. Opportunities for “negotiation”, as pushed in the UK, come about when “they” want something the UK can stop by withholding agreement. This is not negotiation between willing parities but by coercion, and such agreements are always founded on sand and unlikely to be sustained. Who really and truly thinks negotiating a new relationship within the EU is the way to a better future for the UK? Is not the reality that it is no more than a diversionary skirmish as part of an out-flanking manoeuvre?

  10. Iain Gill
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Get them to stop mass influx of ICT visa workers from non-EC countries with the outsourcers and maybe I would believe you.

    Get them to (change the composition of -ed) the PM’s supposed business advisory committee and maybe I would believe you.

    Allow my child into the best school in town without having to lie about our religious (beliefs-ed)

    Get them to stop foreign workers childrens from getting a free school place here if Brits kids do not get similar in their country

    Get them to tax those organised to pay tax in havens as much as decent British tax paying companies

    Get them to charge foreign workers at least as much tax and national insurance as Brits, no more 12 months free of national insurance or claiming everything as expenses and hence free of tax

    Long way to go

  11. davidb
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    But no matter what you obtain an opt out from, the next Zanu government can surrender it. Anything regained from the EU can really only be enshrined permanently if the public vote in a referendum. It seems only then do oppositions continue with any government policy.

    I have mixed views on the EU. I am neither particularly for nor against, but unless the people are given the final say on the matter it will fester forever on these islands. We either need to be enthusiastically in, or emphatically out.

  12. JimF
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Strange that this co-incides with support for UKIP at 12%? Perhaps arguing from within the Conservative Party isn’t such a good scheme?

  13. John Doran
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Nice to see your good work bearing fruit. Please keep it up.

    I’m trying to understand the present world economic plight, & would appreciate your comments, & other people’s comments on the following:
    1) A YouTube video: a critique on central banking. It’s 3 1/2 hrs, & dated, (1996), but for me was a real eye opener.

    2) UN Agenda 21, a blueprint for the 21st century.

    Thanks.
    JD.

    Reply: I have dismissed before conspriacy theories about the Rothschilds and central banks. The UN is a global organisaiton pushing various global agendas, a kind of world government. Individual countries have to decide hwo to influence it, or how to stay out of Treaties they do not agree with.

  14. David Jarman
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    If they do listen, they only listen to the stuff that doesnt matter. The big picture ALWAYS stays the same and that is also applciable between parties. Take for example the most recent item of “choice” to raise it’s head, Scottish independence. ALL THREE PARTIES want Scotland to stay in GB. Where’s the choice & where’s the democracy? Politics and politicans are a side show to keep you distracted from the fact there is no choice and there is no democracy! But the sheeple keep on voting.

  15. Acorn
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    JR, is the “fresh start group” the same as the “fresh start project” http://www.eufreshstart.org/blog/ . If so, are the “… over 100 Conservative MPs now likely to vote for a referendum …”, forming that group? Are they frightened of Whips by not putting their names on the web-site? What chances are there of it becoming a voting block? (A bit Paxman like, sorry. Do you think it will get me a job on Newsnight). ;-).

    Can we sort out the relationship with the Tory voters first, then do the EU relationship. Am I supposed to be voting for the Grammar school wing or the Public school wing?

    Best regards, Deputy Assistant (expletive deleted) Pleb: Side (expletive deleted) Gate Operator Downing Street, Chief (expletive deleted) Whip for the use of. (Shortly to be promoted to Main (expletive deleted) Gate Operator as reward for services beyond the call of duty).

  16. merlin
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    According to the Daily Mail most voters want to leave the EUSSR now 51% would vote to leave and only 34% would vote to stay in it.
    I fundamentally believe that it is not possible to negotiate with the EUSSR, and any negotiation would be a sham.
    UKIP , the fastest growing political party in the Uk has now reached 12% in the polls 4% ahead of the dim libs which is a great achievement and worth acknowledging , John.
    All we want is an in/out referendum and the sooner the better.

    Reply. I agree and recently voted for one in the Commons, when no UKIP MPs were available to help me

  17. merlin
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink
  18. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    “The UK needs to be clear we wish to move in the opposite direction to the centralisers out to create a political as well as monetary union.”

    I’m not sure who you mean when you write “we” there, JR, as your party leader and his immediate circle are adamant that the UK must remain in the EU, which means that the UK must remain a party to the EU treaties, and under those treaties as presently written every member state solemnly commits itself to a process of “ever closer union”.

    As Spiegel told its readers recently:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/new-path-in-london-leads-away-from-european-union-a-861294-2.html

    “If Cameron also wants to bring other powers from Brussels back to London, it will openly contravene the preamble of the EU Treaty, which the British ratified. In the preamble, all member states pledge “to continue the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe.” ”

    That is why amongst all the alternative questions which could be asked in a UK referendum I have suggested a question which gets to the fundamental issue of whether “we” – as in “we, the British people” rather than “we, the British Prime Minister” – want our country to remain part of that process.

    This is a first attempt at what would be printed on the ballot paper:

    “”Under the present treaties of the European Union the United Kingdom is committed to a process of “ever closer union” with the other countries in the European Union.

    Do you wish the United Kingdom to continue further with this process of “ever closer union”?”

    If the answer was “No, we don’t want to continue further with the process of “ever closer union” with the other countries in the European Union” then that would provide the clarity you advocate and the UK government would have to seek very different treaty arrangements with those other countries.

    Either alone, or in concert with some of those countries where the peoples also felt that they’d already gone far enough or too far with that process and they didn’t want to go any further.

  19. forthurst
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    “The Prime Minister is now talking of the need for a new relationship with the EU.”

    How much of this talk will survive to the aftermath of the Corby by-election?

  20. DennisA
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    “The Chancellor is now more exercised about dear and scarce energy”

    So why will he still push prices further with the carbon floor he plans to introduce?

    Why do the press not identify the subsidies to useless wind farms as a predominant factor in rising energy prices?

    A reduction in energy costs would re-invigorate the economy, both for industry and consumers.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Given how energy companies keep making greater profits it seems that green energy isn’t the main reason why prices keep rising.

      • Sebastian Weetabix
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

        According to Ofgem’s Retail Market Review energy companies in the UK have been consistently making 1.6% profits annually since 2005. What is pushing costs up is subsidies for renewables. They will go up even further when this ridiculous carbon tax comes in. So-called “green” energy policies are pushing more people into fuel poverty every year, all in aid of the unproven nonsense of CAGW.

  21. Leslie Singleton
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    John, As expected, not a peep, not from the usual suspects and not from you either, to explain why Japan can manage, as islands on their own off a hostile continent, while to listen to the EU megalomaniacs it is out of the question for us, off a relatively much more friendly continent, to decide on our own how to tie our shoelaces. I repeat, the Japanese would (rightly) think that anyone suggesting that they not only give up, but necessarily had to give up, sovereignty to the shore off which they are located, would be sent post haste to the funny farm. And we of course have enormous advantages in the world at large that the Japanese can only dream of. It’s not even as if the wretched EU is working. It exists because the French are scared of the Germans and the Germans are scared of themselves and continue racked with guilt.

  22. Mactheknife
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Perhaps my ears deceived me John ? But at the conference Mr Camerson reiterated that the government were still going to follow the “green” policies which are in place. Ed Davey has also stressed this on many occassions and when questioned by Andrew Neil a few months ago on TV basically unrinated all over any prospect of Shale development – and we all know what has happend to energy prices in the US because of shale gas.

    Until Cameron and Osborne stop talking and DO SOMETHING about our energy situation – then I’ll believe it. Until that time Ofgem has said there is a real possibility that the lights are going out within three years and the Met Office reported a few weeks ago that there has been NO statistically significant rise in global temperatures for 16 years (and yes CO2 has risen in that time).

    So we are dashing headlong into saving the world by crushing our economy and burdening the population with massive fuel costs all in the name of AGW, when in fact the Met Office has essentially said there is no AGW. Politicians eh ?

  23. zorro
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Well done, I just hope that your efforts are not Sisyphean in nature….

    zorro

  24. albert of llangollen
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood.

    The Prime Minister has said, on many occasions, he does not believe it is in the interests of the United Kingdom to come out of the EU. He talk about re-negotiation to bring back unknown areas of government given, without the blessing of the people!, to the EU.

    The only referendum he will offer would be agree with the renegotiations or stay within the EU as we are now. Both options leaving us wedded to the EU.

    Do you believe Parliament would change this to demand an IN/OUT referendum? If not I fear that Ukip will be the beneficiary.

    Reply: I and my colleagues who want an In/Out referendum are trying to change minds. It will require either the Conservative or the Labour leadership to change for us to get one.

  25. TrevorC
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    The prime minister’s talk is just that, all talk.

    Never in a million years will David Cameron present the people of the UK with the simple and unequivocal : Leave the European Union – YES / NO. It is just not going to happen.

    On the other hand he will happily let the Scots decide : Leave the United Kingdom – YES / NO.

    The present Conservative government with a small handful of exceptions are a bunch of amateurs.

  26. oldtimer
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Thank you forthe time and trouble you take in penning this blog. It is a regular and early port of call for me. The comments are worth reading too for the spectrum of views expressed and, often, the helpful additional information and opinions they provide.

    The EU renegotiation promises to be an extremely difficult undertaking for the Coalition. On this side of the Channel, it contains a range of (probably) conflicting views. The national mood is shifting against the terms, implication and cost of EU membership. UKIP will, I think, do very well in the next European elections – pputting on more pressure.

    Within the rest of the EU the pre-occupation is with the EZ crisis. At least Germany, France and others now seem to be more aware of the mood in the UK and the preferred direction of travel of the UK but that does not necessarily make them more amenable to changes that the UK wants. They will play hardball. Unless Cameron is prepared to play hardball too, then he will get nowhere and it could all end very messily indeed.

  27. Barbara Stevens
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    The EU makes a lot of new laws which are supposed to just accept, that is not on. Has for the talk of changes to our membership, I think the country as a whole needs to have a voice on this matter not just politicians. A referendum on changes is not needed what we want is in or out, simple. Its the block by politicians on this that annoys. We should not have to ‘beg’ for our voice to be heard. Coming back to the EU, they will concede nothing, Mr R you know this and we. They are hell bent on creating a new state within states come what may and all the powers that go with it, unelected boffins treating one like dirt. They will not let us off the hook, and will look to the 55 million per day they are having for their coffers, which we could do with here. I’m surprised the Conservatives have allowed this to go on and on without a challenge; or begun the so called changes they keep on about. Churchill must be spinning in his grave at this turn of events. Now to top the cake they intend paying people within the EU to come and find work, £1ooo each, well its no good coming here there is none.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      It is on, but only because Parliament agreed to it by approving the EU treaties.

      Article 288 TFEU describes the different types of “Legal acts of the Union”:

      “To exercise the Union’s competences, the institutions shall adopt regulations, directives, decisions, recommendations and opinions.

      A regulation shall have general application. It shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

      A directive shall be binding, as to the result to be achieved, upon each Member State to which it is addressed, but shall leave to the national authorities the choice of form and methods.

      A decision shall be binding in its entirety. A decision which specifies those to whom it is addressed shall be binding only on them.

      Recommendations and opinions shall have no binding force.”

  28. Bert Young
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Dr. JR , good news is always welcome . I take heart that DC seems to have got the message and I accept that our present stance has to be one of negotiation rather than opt out . There is it seems sufficient strength and interest in the House to keep things on the boil , but , I do agree with Nina that if the French can get away with ignoring the rules then so can we . Interesting times ahead !

  29. Bernard Juby
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    “a relaxation of the ever tougher cash and capital rules for the time being, to allow more money to be lent to the private sector.”

    I’ve said it before & I’ll keep on saying it until something is done about it – give the “grey” voters more of their hard-earned money by stopping this insidious diluting of the money supply by Quantitive Easing and increasing the interest rates on their hard-earned tax-paid investments.

    • alan jutson
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      seconded.

      But why just the grey voters, why not everyone.

  30. Matthew
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Ironic that the issues that you’ve been bringing up in your blogs for the last two years (and some other back bench MP’s) were once wilderness points.

    Now the government seems to be ready to adopt many of these policies.

    Better late than never, but two years lost – and maybe the most important two years.

  31. Merlin
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Getting powers back from the EUSSR is staightforward lie, said Peter Hitchins in the DM and a yes/no referendum would result in a yes so that is a serious future scenario you should consider John. The only way forward is UKIP if we can eventually get the MP’s then there is at least a chance, with the conservatives there is no hope whatsoever. UKIP is the only party in the UK that is completely anti EUSSR and always will be, hope you join us eventually John. What I can say though with some certainty is that we will be the most highly represented party in the European Parliament and we are the fastest growing party in the United Kingdom.

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      If there is an in/out referendum, and the people decide by a majority to stay in the EU, then so be it. That’s democracy. I want us out. I want an in/out referendum. But I believe in democracy so if my side loses the vote, then I will accept it.

  32. stan francis
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I WANT to bring Mitchell back into the frame?>it still needs detailed discussion.
    My only being a Special 20 years ago MEANT I never came across my question, which is:-
    Can Mitchell still be arrested by that Officer, because if apologies now on blatant offences is acceptable, where’s that now place the next villain that says-eff off copper and then later when PUSHED, apologises and then it goes no further that the coppers note book-now if he’s not let off, the Judge will no doubt require DIRECTIONS, directions from whom tho’?-who will decide and what reasons will he give for that decision-will it be he’s a Celebrity-is this why then SAVILLE GOT AWAY WITH HIS no doubt classed as mistermeaners to ensure no case was made?-We cannot let this Mitchell episode go away till we know how the law is metered out in FUTURE on non-celebs, will there be a yard stick whereby certain offences will be overlooked according to position one is in?

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted October 21, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Thank goodness you’re not a special now, if that’s how petty minded you are. If Mr Mitchell had said to the policeman “you’re a f***ing (xxx) then clearly he should be arrested. But just saying “you’re supposed to f***ing help us” is obviously not a personal insult.

      I am considerably more annoyed by policeman who speak of the public as “civilians”. It betrays their mindset that they think they are above the public rather than uniformed – by our consent – to serve us.

      • Mark W
        Posted October 21, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        Indeed.

        Where he went wrong was not wearing Lycra and riding aggressively on a footpath. Or sprawled out in the back of a limo. Riding an old fashioned bike with no trendy helmet had his card marked. Whatever he called the police officer was a useful event for those of us fed up with bullying rude jobsworth officers.

        • stan francis
          Posted October 22, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

          You both I hope will never need the help of a ‘copper’ whether regular, special or PSO-no one’s perfect(do you class yourselevs as perfect and if not admit your faults) but front line are the ones you may well need and not the one’s that create the bad feeling you have. Remember whoever comes to your help-one day, you will no doubt be forever grateful in a situation possibly when you are being assaulted and hanging onto your mobile asking for just ANY HELP AVAILABLE?
          If we use a swear word it’s invariably an assault for swear words are used as agression in words which if not used is the opposite.
          Hope if you do need Police assistance you can hold back from insulting them?

      • STAN FRANCIS
        Posted October 22, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        “you’re a f***ing (xxx) then clearly he should be arrested. But just saying “you’re supposed to f***ing help us” is obviously not a personal insult..HOW CAN’T it be a personal insult when you said YOU’re-Why not say the Police Force is supposed to HELP US if you don’t want it to be taken as personal, either way you swear at an officer who’s there to keep the peace and not to take BAD LANGUAGE!-Further, I suggest you change your names if asked for your name and address at sometime?

  33. Jon Burgess
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    But, alas most of the time they don’t.

  34. waramess
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I suppose if you set your sights really low then you will rarely be disappointed.

  35. Pleb
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    “instead of one based on being part of the emerging governemnt of a centralised Europe.”

    You mean a forth richt!

  36. Antisthenes
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Much is different since Mrs Thatcher renegotiated the rebate at that time the UK had some clout and say within the EU apart from which she was a leader of stature we cannot say that we have the like today. Today the EU institutions are stronger and more robust and entrenched in protecting the EU project. So any attempt by the UK to renegotiate anything is going to be given short thrift. The UK is now held in contempt because it is seen as being a nuisance, obstructive and not wholeheartedly behind the project. The powers within the EU would not despairs they may even rejoice at the UK leaving. It is obvious that every effort now in driving the project forward is made with the care to keep the UK out of the loop and to minimise the UK’s influence. The new integration treaty when and if it comes will most certainly circumvent the UK leaving the UK isolated, toothless and still enmeshed in all the rules and regulations that the politburo in Brussels have and will continue impose upon the member states and that includes the UK.

  37. Jon
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Good is all I can say.

  38. Alan Wheatley
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    I have been struggling to understand the objectives of the Renegotiate/Referendum Group within the Conservative Party (i.e. those pushing a policy of renegotiating the UK’s relationship with the EU and then putting the result to the UK people to decide by referendum if they like it). They seem to be people holding political views with which I would be comfortable. But what is really going on?

    I guess this is the maximum eurosceptic position it is possible to take without running into open conflict with the Party leadership. By creating pressure the hope is to move the leadership closer to their position. It seems the leadership is listening, or is it more accurate to say feeling the pressure, but if there is some movement it is so far inconsequential. And it would be something else to move the Coalition Government.

    So far so good. My concern is that renegotiation is the objective; agreement that there should be a process but no agreement as to the destination being sought. If trade and political co-operation is the objective then good, and lets here a lot more about how it would work with the UK alternatively in or out of the EU.

    Further, if one of the possible outcomes being allowed for is that the UK should leave the EU, then that needs to be presented as an entirely possible and practical proposition, and to do so concurrently with renegotiation; ignoring the issue until after a referendum result is not credible. To magnanimously say “let the people decide” without giving them a fair evaluation of the alternative consequences of their decision is to say nothing of value.

    On the BBC programme This Week I heard Andrew Neal stating (it sounded like he thought he was stating a fact) that the Conservative Party is now predominantly eurosceptic. So why is the leadership at odds with the membership? Where lies the real power to determine policy? And he also said that William Hague, as Foreign Secretary, has gone native over the EU to the despair of many, which makes one wonder just what the “fresh start group of MPs” are trying to achieve by “working with the Foreign Office”.

    I hope the Renegotiate/Referendum Group are working behind the scenes on a fair evaluation of all the options and their consequences for the UK with respect to the EU. I look forward to them elaborating the arguments soon. However, there is a major likelihood that all such endeavour will be a complete waste of time and effort. It has yet to be explained why the UK should be in the EU when “we wish to move in the opposite direction to the centraliser out to create a political as well as a monetary union”.

    Reply: Some MPs simply want an In/Out referendum, but there are 500 MPs who do not at the moment, so that rules that out.
    The Fresh Start Group is working with the FCO on what powers the Uk should demand back – it appears that the MPs want a very long lsit, and the FCO a very short list. I see no harm in working with the government to highlight the massive transfer of power which has taken place, as long as the government is clear we want much more than a few powers back.
    What we want is a change in the government’s position , so we could would have a chance of winning some votes against the Labour and Lib Dem federalists on all this. That is why we are trying to change the government’s position. The government has shifted from saying there is no need to consider the EU issue, to sayign all is cured by the “referendum lock” on new transfers, to saying we need “a new relationship with the EU”. So now we need to define that new relationship and when and how we are going to get it.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted October 22, 2012 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Re reply, thank you.

      Are the Fresh Start Group seeking to do for Cameron what the Fresh Start Group under the Chairmanship of Michael Spicer did for John Major in 1995?

      ReplyNo, they are seeking to get powers back from the EU.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      The negotiating position must go in the Conservative general election manifesto. Then negotiations with the EU take place and the resultant agreement (if there is one) is put to the electorate, with a 2-way choice – accept the renegotiated terms or come out. If there is no agreement, it becomes a simple in/out referendum. Do write to your local MP telling him/her what the negotiating position should be.

      For my own part, I plan to remain a loyal Conservative until the Party’s full general election manifesto is published. If the proposed negotiating position does not seek the return of sufficient powers, then I will vote UKIP or abstain.

      In the run up to the general election, there is an election of MEPs in 2014. Unfortunately, the election method is a horrible party list system, so there is no way of saying I like this Conservative candidate and loathe that one. If the Conservatives include even one Europhile in their list, I am inclined to vote UKIP. These 2014 MEP elections are an opportunity to send a powerful message to the Prime Minister.

      In short, far from being powerless, we have lots of opportunities to control our EU policy.

  39. Electro-Kevin
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Whilst we’re waiting for our referendum ought not the effects of EU legislating and interference be halted forthwith ?

    Ever closer union, Mr Redwood. Nothing will be done about it.

  40. merlin
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    To sum it all up simply

    1) there will NEVER be a renegotiation of powers back from the EUSSR ever.

    2) there will NEVER be an in/out referendum ever.

    Politicians hate what I have just written but the above is the truth NOW.

  41. David Langley
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I remember other political parties that were born and then faded away for various reasons. UKIP does not seem like that, it has been based on a very real proposition. This proposition keeps being tested and found to be true. Common sense and logic plus observation continues to inform us that we are being conned into accepting against most of our wishes the current abysmal situation of being part of the EU Project.
    Yes we have no UKIP MPs, but what will happen in the next elections if we have a load? Do we then see a lot of rats jumping ship from other parties and trying to climb on board, regretting they did not stand up for what has been so obvious for so long. Normal voters welcome but opportunists not. Not those who knew that they were doing the wrong thing but hey its a job. Naturally the excuse of being able to help their constituents might be ok but at this stage of the game it would be well to consider ones position.

    • stan francis
      Posted October 22, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      good luck ukip…

    • David Price
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 5:17 am | Permalink

      Looking at your website …
      Why would a pensioner vote for UKIP? You want to increase income taxes for pensioners by 50% to 31% and for those who suffered employer pension fund failure you want to scrap the PPF entirely but offer no alternative at all. You also want to take away any incentive to save into a pension scheme for middle to high earners.

      I can’t find the UKIP England policy so you seem to be just like the other parties in that regard.

      Why don’t you have any MP’s at all? Have you thought about why that might be and why you should adopt a different approach rather than desperately try to get existing Conservative MP’s to change sides to yours? How certain are you anyway that the conservative voters would continue to vote for that person. I am in John Redwood’s constituency and I have never had a UKIP representative call let alone received any UKIP material so how on earth do you know how the electorate will react if you haven’t asked them? If you go off the election results UKIP were way down the table so it probably wouldn’t gain you anything.

      Have you perhaps even considered how the voters might view your childish “join us or else” threats that belong in the playground?

  42. peter davies
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    These are good words, but we’re 2 years in to a new govt and we’re still talking about it – talk about the oil tanker effect.

    The key here is that anything taken back cannot be simply signed away again by any future govt. Despite all this I still feel that the way to go is an EFTA type free trade agreement with the EU followed by an IN/OUT referendum.

  43. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    What you need in the short term is a House of Commons motion that will win the support of over 50% of Conservative MPs. The motion should list those powers that the UK wishes to reclaim from the EU in any negotiation.

  44. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps if our hapless fare dodging chancerer spent less time watching films on trains (at 3pm on a Friday in work time!!) and more time reading Good King Redwood’s blog he might learn something.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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