Leak! What the official government is saying.

I have come across this letter from Dr Roy Spendlove to his opposite number in the Foreign Office, Marc Notte

Dear Marc,

              In my capacity as Head of Special Projects I find developing and preserving good relations with our partners in the EU is fundamental to the work we do. As you will appreciate, we so often need EU permission to go ahead with projects. We may need consent to suspend state aid rules, we may need a waiver on EU competition rules, we may need understanding over changes to specially designated EU planning zones, we may need access to EU money and we may need to co-operate with other countries and EU companies to bring our task to fruition. The EU does now lay down  much of our environmental, industrial , trade and energy policies, as well as of course maintaining its lead role in fishing and farming. We should keep stressing how crucial EU trade is to our wellbeing.

               I am finding in recent months that it is more difficult now to gain consent and to preserve the necessary friendly relations with continental colleagues, owing to the new aggressive Eurosceptic tone coming from some parts of the government. We look to the Foriegn Office to do more to stress to Ministers the need to preserve and foster good relations. We do not wish to lose our reputation as a better European, which was much cultivated by the previous government. Their approach of going along with most of the EU plans for new laws and further integration helped a great deal. Their realism over open borders, over the Treaties of Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon, and their welcome for EU  legislation in areas a diverse as the environment and the finance sector got over some of the damage done to our relationships by the rows over the Euro after Maastricht.

                Today my opposite numbers in France and Germany express concern that the UK has for the first time refused to join in a new Treaty at all,  preventing the rest of the EU from using the EU framework for the Fiscal Treaty they are planning. Whilst they can get round this problem, it is a legal nuisance for them that they have not faced before. They are unhappy about the way the UK government places the concerns of the City of London above the need for better centralised banking controls through the ECB and the European Banking Agency. They are particularly unhappy about the UK’s refusal to assist with the new bail out funds needed by the  poorer EU countries. The Germans have some more sympathy with the UK’s refusal to counteance any increase in the EU budget, but this is causing considerable antagonism amongst the majority of member states. There are worries now that the UK is moving away from proper observance of the EU climate and energy policies with its new emphasis on carbon based gas. There is relief that the UK is still accepting the common borders, a crucial part of the whole move towards greater union.

             I am writing to make sure you are aware of this rising tide of discontent with the UK in the EU. We look to the FCO to steady the position. Could you perhaps get Foreign Office Ministers to make speeches reaffirming the importance of our EU membership, and mitigating the attacks upon the EU position that some see in recent decisions and positions adopted by the Coalition government? I appreciate that the Foreign Secretary always used to confirm that membership of the EU is in the UK’s national interest. Today the Prime Minister has changed this position to the much more alarming statement that the UK needs a new relationship with the EU. It is most important to make sure the FCO does not seek a major renegotiation before the next General Election. This would be especially destabilising, threatening to destroy the good work we have all put in over the last decade to build new bridges to Europe and to become good Europeans. Whilst we of course remain strictly neutral on political matters, we do need to plan for the possible return of a Labour government as UKIP claims to  be able to stop the Conservatives getting a majority. It is important that such a  replacement government reverses the policy of seeking a new relationship and abandons ideas of   opting  out and loosening ties. Current Labour policy is more committed to our European membership.

 

Yours ever

 

Roy

 

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108 Comments

  1. Brian Taylor
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Oh how we laughted at Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister,but we are not laughing now!!
    If we cannot rely on our own civil servants to negotiate a new deal with the EU,perhaps we should invoke article 50,which would require the EU to sor out what arrangement we want!

    • Disaffected
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Douglas Carswell was right about the Sir Humphrey syndrome and Cameron 100% wrong- poor judgement as normal. In fact, Osborne so besotted with power thought it was okay to leave the budget to the civil service when he went on a jolly to the US to fly in his big gas guzzling plane. Oh, how the stream of U turns followed.

      Clegg travels, at taxpayers’ expense (legitimate on this occasion), to the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to watch the EU be awarded a prize it thoroughly does not deserve. Remember he told us he would give a better in/out EU referendum than the Tories- who believes a word Nick says? Tuition fees ring a bell? Another SSSSSsorry song coming out soon.

      Today he talks about fuel poverty in a disingenuous way. What about saying sorry for increasing everyone’s electric and gas bill to subsidise wind farms or Ed Davey borrowing and giving away £2 billion of taxpayers’ on wind farms in Africa. I hope every pensioner in the UK will remember the Lib Dems when they open their electric and gas bill this winter and more importantly when it is time to vote at local elections in May, EU elections in 2014 and general election in 2015. Wasting taxpayers’ money is the name of the game for Lib Dems- Welfare 5.2% pay rise this year, EU £17billion, overseas aid £13 billion, public services for mass immigration but not for elderly care and DECC and their hopelessly wasteful energy policy that costs us all a fortune. Yes, and Cameron is happy to let them continue to change the Tory party image as a bunch of wasters as well. Never mind the priorities of the country the coalition is more interested to concentrate on Lords reform, AV and Gay marriage. And we all thought Gordon Brown was incompetent, he makes these look good.

      (etc)

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      You can blame a civil servant if he deliberately misinforms or disobeys his minister.

      But if he’s just doing what his minister wants, and you don’t like it, then you should put the blame where it properly belongs, with the minister.

      When a politician changes his tune on the EU once he has taken office, as often happens, there would normally be two alternative explanations:

      a) He’s fallen under the malign influence of his eurofanatic officials; or

      b) He’s now showing his true colours (blue and yellow).

      Explanation a) is a comfort to party members and supporters who believed, and who would prefer to still believe, that he is a true British patriot and opponent of the EU, but in reality b) is by far the most likely explanation.

      Of course at present there is another convenient excuse for Tory turncoats:

      c) If the Tories had a Commons majority then he would take the much stronger line on the EU that he would like, but he is prevented by the LibDems.

      The problem with c) is that for those who paid attention at the time Cameron started to show his true colours (blue and yellow) within months of becoming the Tory party leader, long before the 2010 general election when nobody was thinking about a future coalition with the LibDems (apart perhaps from Cameron and his immediate circle), once again something which is very painful for some Tory party members and supporters to have to admit.

  2. ian wragg
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Quislings all of them. Bring back treason and send them to the Tower. What a bunch of tossers.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      This rather seems to be the case I suspect. Alas all cheered on by Libdems, 90% of Labour and perhaps 70% of the Tories. I tend to think UKIP now the third main party will come second only to Labour in the MEP elections shortly before Cameron’a Tories are destroyed in the next election for 2 terms? (no doubt to take up some EU reward position). It will be interesting for him to see how those he calls “fruit cakes and closet racists” can do against socialist, fake green, big state, pro EU loons currently controlling the Tories.

      This despite the absurd bias of the BBC against UKIP (I see they even got a dig in against Patrick Moore’s sensible views on the EU issue reporting on his sad recent death). I do not suppose he would have ever been given a job with the BBC nowadays.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Since when has it been treason to tell politicians that what they’re currently doing is harming the country’s long term future?

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        It is treason to take your orders and to be controlled from a foreign power whilst pretending to have Britain’s interest foremost in your mind. Or at least it was until Tony Blair got twitchy and changed the law.

        • uanime5
          Posted December 18, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

          The civil servants aren’t being controlled by foreign powers, they’re being controlled by ministers who want to remain in the EU. In this case disobeying the minister’s orders would be treason.

          • Jon Burgess
            Posted December 18, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

            I’d have thought disobeying your boss was only grounds for dismissal – not treason! Then again, things may have changed in the civil service…

          • Edward
            Posted December 18, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

            No uni, that is not treason !
            It might just be a resigning matter but thats about it.
            Look it up first… and then you will get your facts right for once.

  3. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    :) Isn’t it great to see the lost UK sheep returning to the flock so close before the shepherds watch their flocks by night once again. Good tidings indeed, be it by coy Roy. I’m so relieved that it is now understood that special City protection would fly in the face of fair competition and the ideal of a single market. It is still a bone of contention whether this sheep should be allowed equal profit from these huge single market, when it has done damn all to help to eurosheep in need and has just been standing apart, bleating about the euro-collapse which never came. But friends, it’s almost Christmas, let’s realise that all sheep have lots in common, and forgive me my sheepish and woolly language.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Yes Peter. Our beloved City needs protection just like the state industries of old. Single market and competition? leave that sort of thing to Frankfurt.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

        @yulwaymartyn: trying to protect is no longterm solution, which the current troubles in the French cae-industry nicely illustrate.

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted December 18, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

          Peter – agree entirely. each to stand on his/her own merits

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Peter,
      Not so much a story about the nativity but more of a theatrical pantomime.

    • Disaffected
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Let’s not beat around the bush Peter, the EU socialist dictator machine is not for the UK. There are too many leeches sucking off the taxpayer already. A small handful of political scroungers will do everything to keep the UK in the EU, but the people have had enough.

      Daniel Hannan wrote an exceptionally good article yesterday about how the UK would better off without the EU- better to be like Norway or Switzerland than the current UK position of borrow and waste on everything pathetic in the EU. We do not need 3,000 useless laws each year (for the past 40 years) to make the country less competitive, we do not need petty bureaucracy- the dim-wits at Westminster can do this by themselves, we cannot afford the EU full stop. The £40 billion trade deficit each year will be a good motivator to trade with the UK. So stop all the scary talk about what the consequences would be for the UK id we left. It might even stop the Lib Dems giving billions of taxpayers money and jobs to the EU to build wind machines. Certainly I would like to know the exact numbers of jobs it has brought to the UK- with hard evidence to support any claim. A prime example is that the EU gives away a sixth of our overseas aid to countries the Uk would not consider, this is at a time when pensioners cannot afford to heat their homes. The game is up, we cannot afford the EU. Even Roy knows it.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        @Disaffected: in my comment I don’t think I have tried to scare the UK, if it were to leave the EU. I won’t be offering arguments for the UK to stay either. That is up to parties and lobbyist within the UK. I don’t read over-the-top Hannan.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted December 19, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

          Peter van Leeuwen–If you have not read Hannan’s recent absolutely brilliant article in the Telegraph (Sorry I am not very high tech and do not know how to send you one of them links I think they are called) you are missing something. If you read this (how far back is the etiquette each day??) I have commented further as you will no doubt see in comments on today’s Diary cum blog.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        Norway and Switzerland have to obey nearly all of these 3,000 laws per year, even though they don’t have any influence over them. Funny how people keep forgetting this.

        Also a trade deficit isn’t a magical bargaining chip that will allow the UK to win any argument. All it shows is that the UK is very dependent on the EU for its goods.

        • Edward
          Posted December 18, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

          The UK is an important market especially for Germany and France the EU’s biggest players.
          I can just see these two nations walking away from trading with us in a fit of pique whatever the relationship over the EU became between us.
          Is it 3000 laws per year now Uni, that the EU spews out, amazing, what a revelation.

    • Timaction
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      All the UK gets for its membership of the EU is an annual bill of £10 billion net for a £50 billion trade deficit. No reform of the CAP or fisheries policies and mass Eastern European migration and all of their public service costs paid for by the English taxpayer. So remind me with only 9% of our GDP dependent on the EU and declining and 11% and rising with the rest of the world, why should we shackle ourself to the EU? Ever closer union. No thanks.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

        @Timaction: pro-EU forces in the UK aren’t doing a very good job explaining the CAP reforms that have taken place, that for trade deficits the UK only has itself to blame, and make the case for the EU in general. One cannot whine one’s way to progress, the UK would have to become more active, inside or outside the EU is secondary to me. ( I think that leaving the EU would be a strategic mistake, similar to the 1955 mistake to abandon ECSC talks, but hey, you’ve got every right to make your own mistakes)

        • Timaction
          Posted December 18, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

          Thanks Peter,
          “………but hey, you’ve got every right to make your own mistakes”
          We do. Its called democracy and we don’t want the socialist dictatorship EU. The ground swell over here is enough is enough. The game is up. Why not just trade and friendship? There is nothing else in it for us other than massive costs, regulation, immigration and bureaucracy for the benefit of …………..other Europeans.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted December 18, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

            @Timaction: European democracy may be still far from perfect, but compared to yours it is still better. Old isn’t the same as good.

    • forthurst
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      “eurosheep in need”? Lambs to the ritual slaughter on the alter of the Almighty Euro, whose jealousies of the false gods of Sterling, Drachma etc are boundless.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        @forthurst: If you fairytales were more than just that, why didn’t the Greeks chose to go back to the drachma and the Irish to go back to the pound sterling (or a currency connected to it)?

        • Tom Cobbett
          Posted December 18, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

          Mainly – Because that would be to admit that they made a catastrophic mistake joining the euro in the first place.
          But also – Because the Irish are eejits and the Greeks cling to the euro to give themselves the delusion that they are not a tin pot banana republic.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted December 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

            @Tom Cobbett: Next Latvia and Poland to join the euro? Why doens’t anyone ever listen to the UK priests? :)

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Peter–Free Trade I think they call it and only a big deal when efforts (cartel walls and the like) are made to block it.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        You don’t know what a cartel is do you.

        Also after WW1 the UK introduced tariffs to prevent free trade and encourage people to buy British products.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

          I believe from memory but wouldn’t bet my life on it that “cartel wall” was in general use meaning continental tariffs against us imposed by the Common market, till we joined, as an extension of its rather modern corporate meaning, which is only recent itself–etymologically it was a much more general term. Look it up and while you are it research Napoleon’s attempted trade blockade of the UK which is when you write back saying it was our fault for winning Trafalgar.

    • David Price
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      Peter: not quite damn all as I seem to recall the UK doubling it’s IMF commitment in 2011 and helping out Ireland at one point and so reducing the burden on the other Euro countries. However, I don’t recall Euroland leaping to the UK’s assistance when our banks had their small problem … if anything it has been the reverse with demands for increased contributions as a time of reducing national incomes.

      Does the EU empire have some divine right of existance we are not aware of?

  4. Sue
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    As is usual in current UK Government thinking, the electorate are never mentioned. It is we, the people who want out of the EU.

    We simply want our country back and the sooner the politicians and bureaucrats acknowledge that fact, the better.

    Apathy and complacency will very quickly turn to civil disobedience. It only takes one last straw to break the camel’s back.

    • Alan
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Respectfully, I don’t think you should claim to speak for the people. You need to be elected to claim that authority.

      You and others may want out of the EU. I, and many others, do not. I don’t think that any party advocating withdrawal from the EU has won even one seat in the Parliament.

      • David Price
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        I think you mean you and “others”, not “many others”. You don’t know if there are more of you than those wanting out because there hasn’t been a referendum yet.

        As to parties advocating withdrawal, I believe all four had a referendum in their previous manefestos, if so your last para isn’t strictly accurate.

    • Paul
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      The voters have the option of getting out of the EU at every general election by voting UKIP. Look at the polls at the moment – two major pro-EU parties (Labour and Conservative) are attracting nearly 70% of the vote. UKIP continues to gain support but is only on 14%. Conservative MPs who genuinely care about this country and believe it should be independent need to defect to UKIP to maintain and increase support for the one truly anti-EU party.

  5. Leslie Singleton
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    What is it exactly about Continental Europe that causes us to give ourselves so much grief? It cannot be that we “must” be in (because it is bigger than us?) as a glance at Japan/Asia or New Zealand/Australia or Canada/America proves beyond doubt, so why would we want to be in? All the baloney (spouted again by that buffoon Cameron recently) about how a Norway or Switzerland solution won’t work (apart from the small fact that it patently DOES, with Norway and Switzerland unarguably having very high incomes per caput) because we wouldn’t get a (one in 27) vote in EU palavers is truly rubbish as, first, we wouldn’t have much influence ANYWAY, in or out (and it is very unobvious to me why the EU would pay less attention to us if we were out and our own masters) and, secondly, back to the Japan etc analogy, why would we expect different, why should we worry, if the Continent of Europe were already a single country in every respect? We would not expect direct influence over such a country so why has it been so necessary to go to the extremes that we have to try and influence the present melee across the Channel? I don’t see the amalgamation of Continental Europe as being any kind of threat, rather the opposite. The whole construct is there because of the admitted inconvenience within Continental Europe of separate borders and currencies (nothing to do with us) and of course Germany’s guilt. There is no getting away from the latter, for who can doubt that Germany, behaving rationally, would have kept or gone back to the Deutsche Mark in its own interest long ago but for this guilt? In my opinion our Foreign Office has simply misunderstood the fundamentals and been tilting at windmills for decades. Back to the thought experiment of Continental Europe becoming a single country, perhaps some might see that possibility as something to worry about, but if that is indeed the case and if it were thought that an amalgamated Continental Europe would resent us so much, that to me is all the more reason to stay free to do what we want with especially our anglophonic and philic kith and kin in the rest of the world. Soon we will be able to fly to Australia by spaceship and communication is now instantaneous.

    • Gary
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Norway is a useless example. They are sitting on so much oil and very few people that if they were NOT spectacularly successful they would have to be giving the oil away. We had oil and squandered it all on our own. Switzerland is a manufacturing powerhouse, compared to the size of the country. Where do we fit into that ?

    • uanime5
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      You seem to have forgotten that Norway and Switzerland have to obey EU laws even though they have no say over these laws. I suspect this is why being like Norway or Switzerland won’t work for UK politicians.

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        I’m struggling to see how that is any different to our current predicament…
        Better to be out and making our own way in the world with a British Government making decisions in the interests of the British people and no-one else, with no-one else’s input.

        • uanime5
          Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

          The point is that becoming like Norway or Switzerland will result in very few changes.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

        I have forgotten nothing and I note that you don’t, because you can’t, comment on Norway and Switzerland’s huge income per caput. And you also don’t comment, also because you cannot, on how e.g. Japan etc manage so well off the coast of Asia etc without giving them so much as a second thought.

        • uanime5
          Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

          Norway’s and Switzerland’s income can’t be due to a lack of EU law because they have to obey nearly all EU law. Let’s not forget about Germany which has to obey all EU law yet is the powerhouse of Europe.

          Given that Japan is the only developed country in east Asia, historically has had little involvement in Asia, and until the fall of Communism one of the few non-Communist countries it would have gained little by joining ASEAN. By contrast the UK is near various developed countries that it has historically been involved with so it has much to gain by joining the EU.

          I didn’t comment on these things because it was so obvious why you were wrong.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted December 19, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

            Unanime5–Don’t understand your point about Germany–somebody always has to be top and I don’t think Germany’s competitiveness derives from the EU, it’s just that they gain the greatest advantage from the artificial single currency. As to Norway and Switzerland, the point is that they patently manage very well indeed outside the EU which means, and necessarily, that it is not essential for us to be in the EU.

      • Edward
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

        Uanmime5,
        Your repeated use of the word “obey” when talking about how the UK has to behave towards the EU, is a total anathema to UK people.
        We do not need to “obey” anyone, especially a power outside the boundary of our nation.
        Your stark choice of the word “obey” has cristalised in my mind the real worrying future path the EU poses, and has made my mind up, how we should proceed with regard to the EU
        Many thanks.

        • uanime5
          Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

          As long as Parliament wishes the UK to be part of the EU and incorporates EU law into UK law we have to obey these laws, just like we have to obey all the international standards and laws incorporated by Parliament into law.

          • Edward
            Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

            Uanime5,
            Perhaps you don’t remember that far back, but it started off as a common market, a sort of friendly economic club of nation states dedicated towards peace and mutual prosperity and now its grown into a superstate all of its own, that as you say, we must obey.
            Yes we may wish to be part of the EU, its just the way the modern EU has recently changed that I dont like.

            The power was originally held by individual nation members and now it feels as if the entity which was originally designed to be just a serving central administrative body is the one with all the power, telling the member states what to do.
            The servant has become the master.
            With qualified majority voting coming in soon and with just a few nations paying in and the majority of member nations being net recipients that is a recipe for a poor outcome for the UK.
            So I suppose we just keep obeying, as you so often say.

          • David Price
            Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

            The phrase used with international standards is “compliance”, not “obey” and you clearly have no practical experience or knowledge of such matters if you believe the requirement or expectation or practice is 100% compliance.

            As was pointed out to you in detail in a previous post [1], Germany and France both breached the terms of a treaty [2] a number of times regarding debt levels yet they experienced no punishment, so why should we be expected to comply so comprehensively with a set of laws and treaties when others do not?

            [1] 23rd October 2012 13:29 comment on “Mrs Merkel and the UK veto” artcile (22nd October 2012)
            [2] Euro stablity and growth pact 2003

  6. ian wragg
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I’m sure Peter van Leeuwen is related to my ficticious Naval friend Naffi van Driver. He was also a plant of theb authorities.

  7. oldtimer
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Clearly Dr Spendlove is well versed in the art of framing the debate as, no doubt, is his colleague Marc Notte at the FO. That is a primary requirement of their respective jobs – “framing the debate” as in the populat TV series “You have been framed” where a gullible member of the public is made to look silly. Trouble is, we are all being taken for fools by the governing political class and the civil service apparatchiks.

  8. Latimer Alder
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Some background would be nice.

    Who is Roy Spendlove…(and who is Marc Notte)? What expertise does he have to judge that

    ‘It is important that such a replacement government reverses the policy of seeking a new relationship and abandons ideas of opting out and loosening ties’?

    And why does he presume that his opinion should carry more weight than that of the electorate on this matter?

  9. Richard1
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    ‘Pro-Europeans’ are saying it is delusional to expect the other EU countries to agree a re-negotiation. UKIP & ‘outs’ agree and saying getting out is the only option. But with preservation of the eurozone now the core objective of the EU, with 17 of the 27 countries in the Euro and another 8 formally committed to join there will have to be a re-negotiation for the UK, as the integrationalist policies required by the euro wont apply to the UK. Cameron should stick to his guns on this one, and offer a referendum once we know the outcome of the re-negotiation. Come the next election the people will not want the re-negotiation conducted by the likes of Ed Milliband – look how Labour let us down on this when in office.

  10. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    “Could you perhaps get Foreign Office Ministers to make speeches reaffirming the importance of our EU membership … ”

    What, like this one David Lidington gave to the European Movement in June?

    http://www.mfo.ac.uk/en/events/european-movement-oxfordshire-branch-open-meeting-0

    “European Movement Oxfordshire Branch open meeting

    Date: Friday 22 Jun 2012 – 19:00

    Place: Maison Française d’Oxford

    The Minister for Europe, David Lidington MP, will speak on “Britain’s Ambitions in Europe”.

    Mr Lidington will speak about Britain’s relationship with the EU and what the coalition government hopes to achieve in the next three years.

    There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.

    David Lidington has been MP for Aylesbury since 1992, and Minister for Europe since May 2010. Before entering parliament he worked for Rio Tinto Zinc and for BP, before working as special advisor to Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd (President of the Oxfordshire Branch). While at University he captained the Sidney Sussex Cambridge team which won University Challenge in 1979, and went on to become “champion of champions” in 2002.

    For more information, please contact: Alan Armitage, Chairman of the Oxfordshire Branch, on 07799-892385.”

  11. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Who is Dr Roy Spendlove ?

    There’s very little information about him on the internet.

  12. Alan
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Dr Spendlove seems to me to worry too much. In his final paragraph he comes close to recognising what appears to be the most likely outcome: a Labour government after the next election that will maintain the ties with the EU and not grant a referendum.

    Mr Cameron will probably seek to renegotiate some of our agreements with the EU, but I imagine with little success. The EU has more important things to worry about and they too will realise that by 2016 Mr Cameron might not be in a position to do anything about it anyway. At the next general election UKIP will quite likely take enough votes from the Conservative Party to give Labour victory, or at least for it to be the largest party. Labour has no interest in granting a referendum because the continued divisions that this policy causes in the Conservative Party is to its electoral advantage, and they think (as do I) that membership of the EU is to the UK’s advantage.

    In the Parliament after that, if the Scots take independence, there could be a Conservative majority. Whether we will still be arguing about leaving the EU, I don’t know.

  13. Little White Sqibba
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    You nearly had me there. (I don’t think Peter van whotsit quite gets it.)

  14. Mike Stallard
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Actually this raises a very important point.

    OK So any country is totally free, under the Lisbon Treaty, to withdraw at any time from the EU. Easy! Join UKIP now.

    But – and it is a huge BUT too – there are so many obstacles to countries who want to leave (like Greenland). Read Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty again.

    First of all the withdrawal has to be agreed by majority voting within the Council of Ministers. This is most unlikely under the acquis and will take a long time and lots of money and cost a lot of political capital too.

    Then, after that, there is the permission of the European Parliament. Anyone – anyone – who has seen the clips on u Tube will know that this is absolutely impossible – we just have not got the influence.

    And then there is a let out clause which provides for an agreement for the decision process to be extended…… This, as we who have tried to set up Free Schools in the teeth of the DfE know all too well, is the best way to dissipate public opinion.

    “Roy”, remember, is in no way on the side of withdrawal even after a 95% result in an in-out referendum. And he is an extremely experienced and skilful politician too.

    And then there is the simple fact that nobody in Parliament wants even to discuss European withdrawal anyway. As the politicians – with a few noble exceptions like our host – do not seem to be in touch with the local parties any more (Labour and Conservative), why should they care about Europe? Why not let sleeping dogs lie until after the election?

    ************

    Me personally, I think we should just leave now.

    I realise this will cost a lot of businesses (also of course BMW, Bosch and Mercedes as well as the rest of the exporters to us who form our deficit with trade with the EU.) I realise that the Civil Service will be in 100% opposition. The lawyers who are doing really well out of it will no doubt come up with quite a lot of arguments in favour of staying in. Then there is the EU itself which is heading up a huge propaganda machine with various agencies in charge of, among other things, grants for my own English classes, regional government in Scotland, candle manufacture and, yes, climate change targets.

    And then there is the all powerful BBC, the Guardian Newspaper and the people who advise the Prime Minister and who sit with him in his private apartments or at his country and family residences chatting and coming up with brilliant ideas like gay marriage and solar panels.

    So for those of us who see the EU as a creeping and deadly cancer, the future looks bleak indeed as the growth and growth takes over more and more of our little country as the lights go out all over Europe.

    Reply Leaving could just be an act of UK political will, enforced by a repeal of the 1972 Act, but it would be better to agree new terms for the relationship with the EU states wee would b e leaving behind.

    • Adam5x5
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      I would have said it would be quite easy to leave.

      Assuming a referendum comes back to leave, repeal the 1972 Act as JR states, withdraw all MEPs, Civil servants, etc and cut the money off.

      Not much they could do outside of a strong letter. I suppose, in extremis, they could invade – but I consider it unlikely.

      Of course, it would be better to leave amicably.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think it will be too difficult for the UK to convince the other countries how much better it would be without the UK. I doubt that the European Parliament particularly wants the UK to remain either.

      Also you forget the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) as one of the groups that wishes to remain in the EU. One can only wonder why a lobby group representing British businesses wants to remain in the EU. Maybe it’s beneficial for these businesses somehow.

      • Edward
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        Because uni, The CBI represents only the very biggest companies and they like the EU because it helps them maintain their market dominence with all the expensive laws and regulations and standards which make life difficult for start up businesses and SME companies.

        Entry into their market is made much more tricky which suits these multi nationals and PLC’s just fine.

        • John Doran
          Posted December 19, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

          Indeed Edward, the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) is far more useful to & representative of the small businesses who together employ more people than the large companies in this country.

  15. Pleb
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Next may there will be council elections. If, as is suspected, the Lib Dems are driven to forth place behind the UKIP party then it is possible that the coalition will fail as the Lib Dems start to panic and force a leadership election. Any Lib Dem MP with a small majority will be at extreem risk of loosing their seat.

  16. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    This must be satire!

  17. Bryan
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    I thought that Dr Roy had been consigned to the outback given the ‘downsizing’ of the Civil Service.

    I’m glad he is still with us, looking after our interests with his similar minded friends.

    We are again saved! Perhaps we should all lobby for a tax increase to improve his salary to show our appreciation.

    Reply: I wouldn’t overdo your gratitude – he’s quite good at getting salary increments during a pay freeze.

    • zorro
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

      Tut tut John, I can assure you that Dr Roy will still be getting bonuses – salary increments are for the little people….I do like your little pastiches which as always touch on the reality of how civil servants know how to frame an argument to their advantage whilst pleading constancy with their minister. Your assessment of the situation is correct, and the Civil Service will continue to push the argument in the direction of better the devil you know in the case of the EU. Remember, they all have a Common Purpose….

      zorro

      • John Doran
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

        Apt, very apt.

  18. Martin
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps as ever if you are so worried about over regulation you could start closer to home with true blue Conservative controlled Westminster Council. That (in)famous body has upset some West End Chefs by going red tape about burgers.

    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/leave-our-burgers-alone-and-sort-out-the-traffic-top-chef-tells-council-8422148.html

    When it comes to over top enforcement of petty rules Westminster leads the way.

  19. GoodnightVienna
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Quote: “I am writing to make sure you are aware of this rising tide of discontent with the UK in the EU.” The feeling is mutual.

    Dr Spendlove need not be too concerned: Cameron is only a faux-eurosceptic and the project will continue. I agree with Brian Taylor, above, about the need to invoke Article 50 if meaningful negotiations are to be made. Without Article 50 behind him, Cameron is all mouth, no trousers, as usual.

  20. Winston Smith
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    There were a couple of interesting stories at the weekend highlighting the incompetence of Govt ministers and the intransigence of the civil service.

    Probation officers have been notifying the relevant authorities and their seniors, since 1988, that prisoners were still claiming a range of benefits, such as Income Support, Housing Benefit, etc. There was a BBC documentary about the scam in 1994. Once again, the issue is being raised. Nothing has been done and up to £100m of taxpayers money has been wasted on false claims, despite State officials being fully aware.

    Secondly, Minsters have failed to keep several promises on making drivers convicted of causing death by driving to serve their driving bans after their release from prison.

    LibLabCon continue to fail us. Its time for a change.

  21. Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Leslie Singleton speaks for me too.

  22. richard lionheart
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    (Silly personal abuse deleted) WE want out the EU, you stupid man, and if the tories dont get there heads round that, they are going to lose millions more votes to UKIP at the next election. In the end, im prepared to man the barricades (etc) to get us out, which I suspect is what it will come to. Cameron, Clegg and Miliband have no regard for the will of the masses.

  23. Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I hope you will be giving this blatant attempt at political lobbying by a senior civil servant an even wider circulation than you can achieve on your excellent website alone. Many more people should be made aware of the bias shown by Dr Roy Spendlove in his influential position.

    • zorro
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

      You should put your readers out of their misery….

      zorro

    • John Doran
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      Please.

  24. uanime5
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Given that the EU is the UK’s largest trade partner it would be unwise to further antagonise them.

    Also the UK shouldn’t be surprised that many countries in the EU are hostile to the UK when the UK is being as difficult as possible. It seems that the UK is becoming the spoiled child of Europe.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      In other news when you factor in the different levels of education public sector employees are paid less than their private sector counterparts (up to 10% less in London).

      http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-myth-of-overpaid-public-sector-workers-8422463.html

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        But a final salary pension must be worth something, don’t you think? Private sector employees don’t tend to get that sort of deal these days, not since Golden Gordon wrecked the private pension provision in this country, but for the public sector it is still the norm.

      • David Price
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        Depends on who’s data you believe. The ONS in “Estimating Differences in Public and Private Sector Pay, 2012″ published 27-March-2012 makes allowance for differences in skills and education and still estimates public sector pay being between 7.7 and 8.7% higher than private sector.

        Strange that Mr Blanchflower appears not to have made any reference to that report which would disrupt his conclusions.

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      What nonsense. Seeking a fair deal for Uk taxpayers should be avoided in case it upsets the rest of the EU? I wouldn’t jump at the chance of having you negotiate anything on my behalf, that’s for sure.

      What do you suppose they going to do? Stop selling us their BMWs?

      • uanime5
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        How is anything the coalition is doing seeking a fair deal for tax payers? It won’t reduce the amount the UK has to pay to the EU, it will just let the Conservatives make employment laws even worse to the detriment of employees in the UK.

        Also if they stop selling BMWs then all the British BMW dealers will probably go bankrupt.

        • Jon Burgess
          Posted December 18, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

          Er by not agreeing to the latest EU budget increase, for one. But I do agree with you that the current government is not doing enough to fight Britain’s corner.

          I was suggesting that the last thing the rest of the EU wants is to lose Britain as a market for their goods.

        • Edward
          Posted December 18, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

          Or switch to selling Jaguars and Land Rovers instead.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      As you have never appeared to be shy about antagonising people yourself you are hardly in a position to lecture the government in that regard.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        Well I’m not trading with any of the people I antagonise, nor do I need your support for any laws I wish to create. So the situation is not analogous.

    • Edward
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

      Uni, you say the UK is becoming the spoilt child of the EU…quite the opposite.

      The UK is more like the rich uncle who is getting very tired of paying out huge sums of money for all the spoilt overspending children in the family and never getting any thanks.

  25. yulwaymartyn
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Notwithstanding my rather trite comment above the agreements reached on 13th December between EU finance ministers including the UK include significant measures in protecting the interests of non eurozone countries.

    As the UK is not in the eurozone the UK do not hold voting rights in the ECB. A supervisory board will be set up within the ECB to function as a Chineese wall between the bank’s monetary policy role and its new bank supervision responsibilities.

    Furthermore a double majority principle will be inserted in the European Banking Authority’s decision-making mechanism. According to the agreement, EBA decisions must receive the approval of a majority of members outside the banking union as well as a majority of states inside the banking union.

    I thought this was quite impressive from the UK’s point of view. I thought the government had negotiated rather well. Credit to them.

  26. Pleb
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    UKIP now the UK’s third Largest Party. Lib Dems slump to forth

  27. Mark B
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to be a bit of a doubting Thomas but, is this some sort of ‘Private Eye-esq’ spoof ?

    Who is Dr.Roy Spendlove ? Who does he work for ? What does he do ? Who pays this ‘person’ his salary ? God, I hope it isn’t us !!!

    Just a few points from the letter I would like to raise:

    “…..we so often need EU permission to go ahead with projects.”

    I am guessing that this individual is a UK Civil Servant and, he is having a spot of bother with his ‘real’ masters in the EU.

    “The EU does now lay down  much of our environmental, industrial , trade and energy policies…”

    Basically he is saying that which we all now know but, those in Government and the MSM refuse to admit too.

    “We do not wish to lose our reputation as a better European……”

    If one wishes to know whether or not the British can be considered as “better Europeans'”, one only has to visit the cemeteries and graves of those British and Commonwealth troops, who made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of his European colleagues freedom.

    He goes on to mention the new Treaty:

    “Whilst they can get round this problem, it is a legal nuisance for them that they have not faced before.”

    Actually what he means is that his friends and masters are breaking EU Law by creating a treaty ‘outside’ the EU and Commission framework. NAUGHTY !!!

    “….UK’s refusal to assist with the new bail out funds needed by the poorer EU countries. The Germans have some more sympathy…”

    The UK and the Germans have realized that there is no point in throwing good money after bad.

    “There is relief that the UK is still accepting the common borders, a crucial part of the whole move towards greater union.”

    IE the thinning of national identity and resistance to your little putsch.

    “I am writing to make sure you are aware of this rising tide of discontent with the UK in the EU”

    No **** Sherlock ! They are slowly realizing that we are not going to be paying their bills. We don’t have the money !

    “Whilst we of course remain strictly neutral on political matters”

    All things are political. If you have an opinion and someone has an opposite opinion, you have politics.

    Civil Servants therefore are not allowed to have opinions. They may explain things to Ministers etc. Their sole function is to ‘Serve’.

    In conclusion:

    If Dr. Spendlove does not like the current arrangements, than there is a very simple solution. Invoke Article 50 on the TFEU and leave the EU. We would still have access to the Common Market, he would still have his EU friends and government funding through separately negotiated treaties. And we will have our country and Parliament back.

    Simple.

    Reply Dr Spendlove’s history and past letters have been recorded here. He works for Dame Lucy Doolittle. You can check the back correspondence from the website locate system.

    • Posted December 18, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      I must say, ‘Spendlove and Doolittle’ makes one think of a partnership devoted to spending other people’s money without lifting a finger themselves.

  28. Barbara
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Well these mandrins make their own rules up, lie to the public, via their letters, polititians may become complicit in their behaviour, and they call it ‘in the public interest’. EU is not in our interest it’s in theirs, I see in the letter above they mention their sorrow at our refusal to indorse more money for the poorer states, we are not in the eurozone so why should we. I can see, if we continue in this expensive club, we will be expected to give up all our assets and wealth for the poorer states whether we like it or not; lending money which we have to borrow is foolish. Or do they expect us to give them the money?
    No, this mad club is now beyond the remit of democracy and as now become dictitoral, and it’s drawing those who are their to serve us the British public, that cannot be right. Its time we withdrew and its time those in Whitehall began to serve us whom they are employed to serve. Polititians too, must realise they cannot continue to ignore the public or they will face dismissal as well. Labour was guilty of shameful giving in to the EU, and they must come clean on how they will respond as well. Cameron, is ignoring us all and he too will find himself on the sidelines if it continues.

  29. Max Dunbar
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Any relation to Adolf Eichmann?

  30. Adam5x5
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    So the EU is making our government’s life increasingly difficult.

    And our government wants to maintain it’s membership of this group?

    Is anyone else wondering why?

    The public do not want to be part of a greater union (at least that’s my opinion of public opinion).

    How about we get a referendum? Then we can either move closer to, or away from the EU, with a mandate.
    I myself have never been asked my opinion of the EU and whether we should be in it as I am too young to have voted the last time.
    When I have voted, I have voted for a Eurosceptic Tory. But apparently this is construed as voting for a party that supports Europe so is a Europhilic vote.

    I now support UKIP. Well done Cameron/Conservative party. You’ve lost a lifelong voter and driven me into UKIP’s arms.

  31. nemesis
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    This is a spoof – right?

  32. Bazman
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    It’s interesting that a few are a little unsure of the post being a spoof. No wonder right wing fantasy is so prevalent. The Daily Mail and some web sites must seem like gospel truth to these people. As they are so anti BBC who is brainwashing them? The MCSSS that who.

    • Edward
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      Left wing fantasy of course, Bazman, does not exist, it is by definition, not allowed to exist.
      All is truth. Nothing may be contradicted. Burn the heretics.

      Take the pain Spain and Greece, for yours will be the righteous land of milk and honey.
      What is it now 50% youth unemloyment in these nations.

      Just borrow and spend some more, and all will come good.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        Fantasy is fantasy and much left wing fantasy is communism for the rich supported by the right with a few crumbs passed down to the lower orders. Horses and sparrows theory being a prime example.

  33. Romford Dave
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Round objects!

    • R. Downing
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

      The Sir Humphrey reply is too good to resist: “Who is Round, and to what does he object?”

  34. Jon
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Watched a bit of the Scottish Parliament at the weekend. We English are “dangerous” for our euro sceptic views.

    Perhaps we should put one of those yellow and black warning tapes along Hadrian’s wall to warn the Scots.

    Beware, the land of the non EU social chapter, scary middle earth and hobbits. Gollum won’t like it there – Must have the precious. They stole it from us. Sneaky little hobbitses. Wicked, tricksy, false!

    Gollum, you can have it, just tick yes in two years time.

  35. Phil Richmond
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    I would like to know at what point these traitors decided to sell their country and the British people down the river.
    These Quislings deserve to be in the Tower!

    • Duncan Black
      Posted December 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Indeed !

  36. MrDavies
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Tally-Ho Mr Redwood!

    Have you and your colleagues realised yet that Mr Cameron must go before the next election?

    If you (plural) succeed in putting a new and more conservative leader in place before the next election run starts, you may have some hope of winning. As it currently stands you will not even manage to duplicate what success you had in the previous one, and may even be anhillated. Have you heard of UKIP?

    Toodle-oo,
    Mr D.

  37. Public Servant
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Could I perhaps point out one thing to all the regulars here. It is a made up letter. Its what Mr Redwood does when he has nothing to say. He does it in the surefire knowledge that it will rattle your cages and ensure plenty of responses.

  38. David Langley
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Cameron has stated that he wants to stay in the EU as currently agreed by treaty but wants to examine competencies to decide which ones are not required and throw them out by negotiation. I am afraid that when you negotiate with the EU you have to compromise and it is these compromises that have lead us to where we are today. The EU gives time derogations eg a delay in forcing us to accept some loss of sovereignty, and our man comes back with this good deal which becomes crap when the time runs out.
    I have been criticised on other sites for not understanding things like “Comitology” which is the way the EU committees and the Council and the EU MEPs construct these democratic regulations, directives and orders. If they get bounced then back they go until a form of words which generally stitch us up has been agreed then back they come. 99.9% of the time they pass the MEPs by without a glance hence our being up to our necks in regulation.
    UKIP are now the enemy and it is very interesting that even when Farage and his gang do nothing and say nothing (Or not reported) they are still making headway against the tribal parties.
    Labour are sensing that they might just be in the firing line next if they become the party of choice in sheer numbers. I see more rising awareness of the bag of snakes they might get handed if they do not themselves address the EU nightmare.

  39. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    PS The UK Prime Minister is content for the Euro zone to remain at its present size, and to become a fully fledged political Union with its own army and foreign policy, so there is hope that the UK will eventually be persuaded to join it.

    Yours ever

    Roy

  40. John Doran
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Mr R.
    :)

  41. Duncan Black
    Posted December 20, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    John, this is most disconcerting and borders on treason. I do hope you are using your influence to publicise and mobilise forces against it.

  • About John Redwood

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