What should be in Mr Cameron’s EU speech?

 

            There are various options open to Mr Cameron, given his stated aim of negotiating a new relationship with the EU.

1. Say he will campaign on a platform of seeking a new and looser relationship in the 2015 General Election, to get a mandate to do so. This could be followed by a referendum on the results of the negotiation.

2. Wait until 2013-14 in case a new Treaty is proposed, and then use the new Treaty demands to insist on very different treatment for the UK, seeking powers back in return for allowing the others to go further in the direction of full union.

3. Hold a mandate referendum soon, asking the British people the question “Would you like the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on trade and political co-operation?”. Assuming a strong Yes vote he could then start negotiations with the clear support of the British people. The voters would then  be given  their chance to judge the results of the renegotiation.

There are also two popular proposals for readers of this site which I will consider:

4. Table a motion for an In/Out referendum immediately

5. Repeal or amend the 1972 European Communities Act

          Mr Cameron will not regard either of these as sensible options. There would be no majority for either of these measures in the current Parliament. Labour and the Lib Dems have made clear their opposition to an early In/Out referendum. A large majority of the current Parliament does not wish to pull out of the EU at all, or wishes to negotiate and then decide on membership, so there would be large vote against repeal of the 1972 Act. If there were a different Conservative Leader as some of you suggest  he or she would not be able to win either of these proposed votes, even if they wished to.

         The idea that we should defer everything until the 2015 election may fit the UK Parliamentary circumstances, but leaves it too late. The EU is changing rapidly now, and in the wrong direction from the UK’s point of view. Mr Cameron is being urged to recognise that Option 1 is too little too late. Although Mr Cameron did not offer a referendum on Lisbon in the his last manifesto, many have spread the lie that he did. The  Lib Dems have switched their position on referndums, resulting in the Lib Dems no longer wanting an In/Out referendum now they are in government.  Labour did not vote for the backbench proposal last year for an early referendum. All this adds to  the distrust of promises for a future Parliament.

            Waiting to see if another Treaty comes along before popping the question of the UK’s relationship will also fail to satisfy the public mood and the urgency of the issues. It invites the question why the Fiscal treaty was not used as this opportunity. Making it the policy is also likely to persuade the continnetals to get by for longer without a new major Treaty.

           Which leaves us with the Mandate referendum as the best option given the political realities of the current Parliament. Two issues have been raised to question its wisdom. The first is, why bother when it is obvious the British people would say “Yes”. You should never take people’s votes for granted, and some will oppose. The main reason for doing it, however, is to show the rest of the EU that they are not just dealing with a government which should  be out of office in two and a half years time (each political party wants the end of the Caolaition) but they are dealing with the British people.

           Some also ask if it could pass in the current Commons and Lords. I cannot believe all the non Conservative parties in the Commons would want to vote down this measure, given its likely popularity. Nor would the Lords, so soon after their victory over Lords reform in part through using an appeal to the need for a referendum, seek to thwart the popular will on this.

            In a difficult position for Mr Cameron, boxed in by the current disposition of the current Parliament, I see the Mandate referendum and the opening  of negotiations with the EU as the least risky and most sensible course.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

139 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Well, he has indeed boxed himself in by losing the last sitting duck election (through his personal incompetence), by being a EUphile while pretending for political reasons to be a EUskeptic destroying his credibility in the process. No one, who utters the words, I do not want a Greater Switzerland or who describes UKIP members as fruit cakes and closet racists and will not even contemplate leaving the EU can be trusted on anything at all. Certainly not any EU negotiation.

    As you say, the Mandate referendum and the opening of negotiations with the EU is the least risky and most sensible course. But the battle is lost no one will not be believe anything Cameron says and the next election and probably the one or two after that are lost already. No recovery in sight (nor remotely likely given his economic, tax borrow and waste policies). He is John Major II but without the excuse of vacuity and has learned nothing from the Major disasters.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Sorry “But the battle is lost, no one will believe anything Cameron says, and the next election …… are lost already” was what I intended to type.

      • Single Acts
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        I have to agree. The PM may have personal credibility issues no amount of spinning and friendly editorials will change. The only hope for the conservatives is to ‘drop the pilot’ so to speak.

        I doubt enough of its MP’s have the backbone and this we can ‘look forward’ to Ed Milliband as PM (sic) in 2015. God help us.

        • lifelogic
          Posted December 22, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

          Indeed they could not even summons the courage to drop the hapless John Major as he drove them all over the cliff for three terms. Anyway I do not think “dropping the pilot” would even work. They still have the Libdems with all their absurd soak the rich politics of envy and their mad quack green energy plans calling the shots – thank to Cameron.

          They may well not even get the fairer boundary changes in place.

          I am not often pessimistic about anything but Cameron will surely bury the Tories just as Major did. He had a huge opportunity open to him against hapless Brown and he blew it with his pro EU, quack green, moderniser, socialist drivel. Perhaps 10 years of Milliband and 75% tax rates like France. I am glad I have left but it is sad for the UK and my UK interest and the staff I still have there.

          • uanime5
            Posted December 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

            I don’t see how the Conservative punish the poor, unemployed, and disabled policies are any better than the Lib Dem ones.

        • alan jutson
          Posted December 23, 2012 at 7:12 am | Permalink

          Single Acts

          I agree unless Cameron holds a referendum IN THIS PARLIAMENT, then no one will believe he is serious about anything to do with repatriation of powers from the EU.

          I really do not care what the question is.

          In /out.
          Then we know we leave or stay

          Or

          Trade and VOLUNTARY co operation only.
          Which strengthens any negotition stance (which must include a fixed timescale), before a second take it or leave it referendum on those negotiations.

          But any first referendum must be held BEFORE the next election.

          Any second election if the negotiation route is to be used, must have a date for the second referendum enshrined in law, to avoid Political manouvering and to make sure it is binding on the government at the time.

      • Sue
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        The only way anyone is going to believe Cameron is, if “The Manifesto” becomes a legally binding document.

        Other than that, he could promise anything and I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him.

        Ultimately, he’ll promise the earth and once he’s won, he’ll do exactly as he pleases instead of what the electorate want. His only goal is to please the EU and prance around the world giving OUR money away just when we need it to clear our deficit.

        • Posted December 23, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

          Cameron is offering a false hope of powers back.

          In theory, getting powers back would revolve around getting EU ‘competences’ redefined as ‘national’ under Article 48 of the Lisbon Treaty.

          Only problem is that the EU reserves the right to tell Member States how to use their ‘competence’ and can legislate even where it is ‘national’. So in practice, ‘reserved powers’ do not typically exist, and Member States are obliged to work within the context of the EU goal of ‘ever closer union’.

          There is a very good summary of how EU law on ‘powers’ works in the European Journal of Legal Studies, with lots of references. It is written by Loic Azoulai, Professor of EU Law, at the European University Institute in Florence, http://www.ejls.eu/9/116UK.htm

          Azoulai observes “…the language of ‘competence’ is henceforth associated with the Member States, while the language of the ‘rule’ is associated with the Union. This is not just wordplay.”

          [Competence is loosely defined by the EU, and seems to be more like ‘responsibility’.]

          So I favour a clean break, but becoming good neighbours.

    • JimF
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      All barbed but all true.
      Which is why neither you nor I are politicians.

      Cameron is not a PR pro for nothing… Of course he will wait until it is too late and then declare that picking up some crumbs from the table is the best possible solution for Britain viz

      2. Wait until 2013-14 in case a new Treaty is proposed, and then use the new Treaty demands to insist on A SLIGHTLY different treatment for the UK, seeking powers back BUT GETTING NOTHING OF CONSEQUENCE in return for allowing the others to go further in the direction of full union.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        At the end of the day a sewage plant is still a sewage plant, even if the super brilliant PR men call it the “Daisy Bank Purification Centre and Wild Life Park” or similar. It still smells, most judge by reality not spin. It will still be called the sewage plant with that silly new name.

        Get the reality right and the presentation is easy. Get it wrong, like Cameron, and you can spin like a top but to no effect.

        • Bazman
          Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

          And cheap labour conservatism is still that however you try to dress it in respectable clothes.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted December 23, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

            All three of the main parties are in favour of importing unlimited supplies of cheap and biddable foreign labour to depress wages, however they may try to dress that policy in respectable clothes.

    • Timaction
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      I think that Mr Cameron cannot be believed on anything to do with the EU or his real intentions. His credibility is zero. He’s already stated he doesn’t see a time that he would ever want to leave the undemocratic costly political monster. A negotiating strategy similar to Browns publicity by telling the markets he was going to sell Britains gold reserves BEFORE he did it!
      The mainstream Parties have proven over 40 years of continuous lies and deceit on the EU that they simply cannot be trusted (FCO secret briefing paper, 30/1048 of 1971). Don’t let the plebs know what the politicians are really letting them in for (ever closer Union by stealth)!
      Unfortunately we all remember the tidying up treaty exercise, no real differences in the Lisbon Treaty from the proposed Constitution etc. All blatant lies.
      There is only one party that will really change our relationship with the EU and it isn’t any of the mainstream.

  2. Duyfken
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    If there were a mandate referendum (and assuming it is possible to re-negotiate, which I doubt), I suggest the question should be:

    ““Would you like the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU based solely on free trade?”

    reply The wording we are pushing for is designed to widen the potential support, and to reflect the realities that we would need to co-operate in various spheres with continental countries.

    • Duyfken
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply: In which case, sir, and with respect, the wording you are pushing for is not worth a candle.

      • mike
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        Hear him, hear him.

        Cameron’s gamble is that he can spin it, con the electorate again and trot on as usual.

        UKIP’s central message however appears to be taking hold, not that they are anti-EU but pro-democracy, liberty and completely against the state’s use of force or subterfuge to achieve it’s petty aims.

        At every juncture he shows his illiberal colours, he has no respect for the common man and seeks to con, lie and subjugate. An attitude John which is apparent to voters on the doorstep.

    • Sue
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      “we would need to co-operate in various spheres with continental countries” – It seems other countries seem to manage:

      “Lord Stoddart of Swindon put down the following Written Question:

      To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Statement by Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint on 6 December (WS 76-7) on the European Union Foreign Affairs Council, whether the outcome of the negotiations with Japan, Canada, Singapore and Morocco will require those countries to adopt all the legislation and regulations that apply to countries in the single market.

      The Statement had enumerated all the countries the EU had signed or was about to sign or hoped to sign FREE TRADE agreements.

      HMG in the shape of Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint replied:

      It is NOT THE CASE that as a result of these trade negotiations the countries concerned will have to adopt all the legislation and regulations that apply to EU member states.

      The aim of these negotiations is to eliminate, as far as possible, duties applied to trade in goods and to address non-tariff barriers that affect trade in goods in services-ie rules, regulations and practices that affect market access. Non-tariff barriers can be overcome through a variety of methods. These include the adoption of international rules, mutual recognition of approaches to testing, standards, et cetera, and commitments to end discriminatory practices”.

      I’m sure most of us would be happy with the same deal as these countries!

  3. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    What does your proposal offer? We give the government a mandate to renegotiate a new relationship. What is the likelihood of anything significant being achieved? Very little in my opinion especially since we have political leaders who never want to leave the EU. Whatever the outcome they will proclaim success and either try to avoid a subsequent referendum or else use all the propaganda at their disposal to ensure another vote to stay in as happened in 1975. This will all of course take several years. Is this what is called kicking the can down the road? A favourite tactic of the EU. What you are really telling us is that in Parliament there are MPs who have more loyalty to the EU than the UK and its people. They and their predecessors have given away powers with which they were entrusted by those British people, without their consent, to a foreign body which is anti-democratic and intends to become a super state.

    Reply The British people choose a pro EU Parliament in 2010. Eurosceptics remain in the minority.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply
      What choice did we have? All the three main parties are in favour of staying in the EU. That is my point; the British people should be allowed to decide if they want to stay in the EU and be governed by people over whom they will have no democratic influence. MPs are not representing the wishes of the people by denying them an In/Out referendum. Why do MPs claim democracy is so important to uphold or intoduce in other countries whilst giving it away in our own?

    • Boudicca
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      That’s got a lot to do with a Conservative Prime Minister who blatently lied about his Eurosceptic beliefs; a LibDem leader who went into the GE with a pledge to hold an In/Out Referendum and who then ditched it; and 3 parties who deliberately refuse to discuss the EU during a GE campaign.

      That won’t be happening in 2015 – thanks to UKIP.

    • A Different Simon
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      The three main parties fielded Europhile candidates .

      It is disingenuous to suggest that the electorate had a choice .

    • matthu
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      The British people choose a pro EU Parliament in 2010.

      You mean there was a choice?

      All 3 major parties contested the last election promising a referendum. All 3 voted against a referendum.

      There is and was no mandate for the Lisbon Treaty.

      • Sean O'Hare
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        To be fair Cameron had ditched the idea of a referendum on Lisbon before the 2010 GE. Do you not remember the “No Referendum No Vote” campaign? What Cameron obviously did not realise was that so many of us really meant it. I have voted UKIP in EU Parliament elections for a number of years, but 2010 was the first time in my 67 year old life I have not voted Conservative at a GE.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

          Yes, after years of (initially unqualified, later qualified) promises of a referendum and/or blustering threats that “we would not let matters rest there”, Cameron formally announced his abject surrender over the Lisbon Treaty on November 4th 2009, hoping to get that out of the way in good time before the general election.

          His stated reasons boiling down to the false claim that because President Klaus of the Czech Republic had finally been bullied into signing off the treaty it no longer existed as a treaty, and so it could no longer be put to a referendum; even though his party had said again and again that without a referendum it would lack democratic legitimacy in this country, and nothing that the Czech President did could possibly rectify that deficiency.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        Indeed.

    • ian wragg
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply. The public had all but 3 stayed at home would have voted for a Euro federalist party because thats all that was on offer. Not so now. UKIP will cost the Tories dearly in 2015 and rightly so. Anyway Cameroon isn’t bothered he’s just dusted off the road tolls nonesense to ensure you lose the next election.

      Reply I seem to remember UKIP stood in many seats in 2010.

      • ian wragg
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        Thats before we realised what a lying thieving buch the present Tories were.
        Cast Iron and his rubber spine….

      • matthu
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        In 2010 we voted believing that we would be offered a fair referendum: no spin, no tricky questions, no fudging.

        Never again will we believe Cameron (or Clegg).

      • JimF
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        Yes but UKIP stood in seats against Tories and LibDems offering a referendum. There was the vague appearance of scepticism. These particular greens cannot be boiled twice.

      • Timaction
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        Mr Redwood the public didn’t know how Europhile your leader and party was then. Now they do. Anyone who is politically aware will not be voting for the mainstream anymore, they simply can’t be trusted.
        Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        UKIP stood in many seats in 2010 – yes they did but political inertia and the party brand are decisive with the always have always will voters.

        Try taking on Coca-Cola and see how you get on. Especially with the BBC against you every step of the way.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

        Reply to Reply–Dear John, It’s a moving picture and what happened in 2010 is losing relevance by the day. Farage is getting it together fast, looks sounds and indeed is trustworthy and more power to him. UKIP’s share of the vote edges upwards at every turn. It doesn’t have to edge up much further before good things start to happen. Cameron is simply not going to be able much longer to brush UKIP aside with his style of PR, innuendo and disingenuous subterfuge. I have little faith that his forthcoming speech will have anything of substance in it. Let’s hear it for Greater Switzerland.

    • Posted December 22, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      “The British people choose a pro EU Parliament in 2010″.Well they had very little choice given the parties, the combination of issues with only one vote to be cast, the pre-election lies told by the politicians, the party apparatus, the voting system, the BBC indoctrination and the many (always have always will vote X) voters. Anyway the Tories got the most votes and they pretended to be EU sceptics – until the day after the election that is.

      It is party inertia and tax funded indoctrination of the masses not democracy.

    • Chris
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      No we did not choose a pro Europe party. We did not have any MPs offering what we wanted i.e. out of the EU. UKIP did not have the financial resources nor structure to operate on any scale to provide us with that option. Furthermore, as lifelogic comments above, Cameron put himself forward as eurosceptic, and he was happy for the electorate to believe that he would offer a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and he made no effort to disabuse them of those views (there are still links available to a speech where he said this, unqualified). People voted for him on these grounds, but he did not gain an clear majority. He would have had a landslide if he had gone into the election promising an IN/OUT referendum, and radical policies with regard to immigration (which could only be undertaken if we left the EU). He would have satisfied the majority in the electorate by negotiating fresh trading terms with the EU, once we had withdrawn. Many MPs are completely behind the curve with regard to the electorate’s view on the EU membership, as Bernard Jenkin, I believe it was, so rightly stated in the H of C EU budget rebate debate. MPs’ inaction on the EU cannot be blamed on the electorate. It is entirely the choice of the MPs not to act in accordance with the clear wishes of the electorate.That is what the electorate is so concerned and puzzled about.

  4. Kevin R. Lohse
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    The pertinent parts of the 2010 manifesto are:
    “We will be positive members of the European Union but we are clear that there should be no further extension of the EU’s power over the UK without the British people’s consent. We will ensure that by law no future government can hand over areas of power to the EU or join the Euro without a referendum of the British people. We will work to bring back key powers over legal rights, criminal justice and social and employment legislation to the UK.”
    and:
    WE believe Britain’s interests are best served by membership of a EU that is an association of its Member States. We will never allow Britain to slide into a Federal Europe. Labour’s ratification of the Lisbon Treaty without the consent of the British people has been a betrayal of this country’s democratic traditions In Government, we will put in place a number of measures to make sure this shameful episode can never happen again.
    and:
    “in future, the British people must have their say on any transfer of powers to the European Union. We will amend the 1972 European Communities act so that any proposed future treaty that transferred areas of power, or competences, would be subject to a referendum – a ‘referendum lock’. a Conservative government would never take the UK into the euro. our amendment to the 1972 act will prevent any future government from doing so without a referendum.”
    Thats 3 manifesto commitments, John How many of the 3 have been enacted or are under active consideration? Terrorists still cannot be deported thanks to the EUCHR. EU directives are still allowed to interfere with our daily lives, and the majority of EU legislation is entered on the statute books without even a cursory glance from our legislators, and where are the measures to ensure that the UK will never join the Euro without majority consent. Cameron is, as our american cousins say, “All hat and no cattle” on the big issues.

    Reply: The government has enacted its Referendum lock.

    • Kevin R. Lohse
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      One out of three is a start. Will the other two be enacted before the end of this parliament?

    • Posted December 22, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      The referendum lock is another Cameron PR deception, with suitable escape routes built in to cheat the public again – as you surely must know very well.

    • Chris
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Denis Cooper has carefully demolished the referendum lock in earlier comments.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Reply–Sorry John, but a lot of us can scarcely contain their indifference to the so-called Referendum Lock–we simply do not believe that this Government wouldn’t find a way of avoiding it.

  5. Chris
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    The very serious issue is that whatever Cameron promises noone will trust him – that is how serious the situation is with the leadership and the electorate. Secondly, he is not leading the Party into a win at the next election as sufficient numbers of former Conservative supporters will not vote for him, so whatever policy he advocates will not need to/will not have the chance to effect that particular policy. The supreme irony of the situation is that only the offer of an IN/OUT referendum before the next election has any chance of redeeming David Cameron and the Party in the electorate’s eyes, and giving the Party a chance of winning at the next election. You have said quite clearly that MPs are not prepared to entertain this option. It seems therefore that the defeat of the Party at the next election is guaranteed. Andrew Pierce’s article yesterday in the D Mail is essential reading for those who are not aware of the demise of the Party. The situation is dire, whatever those in the Westminster village may believe. It is utterly frustrating for those who want a Conservative Party to survive and be in government to see the tragedy of what is happening to the Party and to witness the denial by so many Conservative MPs as to the actual cause of the problem, and their refusal to act.

    Reply Even if all Conservative MPs voted for an In/Out referendum we are still in minority.

    • Posted December 22, 2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      “Even if all Conservative MPs voted for an In/Out referendum we are still in minority”.

      Indeed all thanks to Cameron’s idiocy in putting a tax borrow and waste, soft socialist, pro EU, quack green agenda to the country. Then selecting wet MPs kicking out some sensible ones and giving Clegg equal TV billing in the TV debates.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        Given how unlikely people who vote Lib Dem are to vote for the Conservatives if Clegg wasn’t invited to the TV debates some Lib Dem votes would have gone to Labour.

  6. A.Sedgwick
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I am sorry to write that you still do not get it.

    10% percent and rising of the electorate are voting UKIP and a similar number of ex Conservative voters also want Cameron and Clegg out almost at any cost.

    The Conservative Party’s only hope is to ditch Cameron, probably for Gove, and really pledge with dates an in/out referendum in 2015 after the election.

    Anyone who thinks we can renegotiate a deal of substance with the EU is simply wrong.

    Reply: It is you who do not get it. If after all this only 10% might vote UKIP we are not about to have a Parliament with 330 MPs willing to repeal the 1972 Act. I have to work with the Parliament people did elect, not the one you wanted. I want action before 2015, ending with a vote for all of us on whether to accept the new deal or to leave. If the EU offer us nothing worth having the UK electors might then vote to leave. In 2010 the electors did not vote for a pull out party , and in recent by elections they have preferred pro EU Labour.

    • Single Acts
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      It is not the bilateral choice you (JR) present. If you could pick up the UKIP vote, you win outright. UKIP are essentially a protest so the key is surely to appeal to UKIP supporters and again, win outright.

      Instead the tories offer Cameron and Clegg. It is not surprising many former tories have no stomach for this menu.

      • Graham Swift
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        UKIP is no longer a protest party. It is the only realist party as far as the EU is concerned . Cameron has destroyed the Conservative party which will be in the wilderness for over a decade post 2015.

        • cosmic
          Posted December 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          Not only the EU but also the only party with anything sensible to say on immigration and the green energy policy which is set to damage the economy enormously and bring hardship to millions.

    • Paul
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      John, the only Conservative MPs who ‘get it’ are the 14 (maybe more now) who have called for a vote of no confidence in David Cameron. This may or may not include you, I hope it does. The only Conservative MP we know for sure who has called for David Cameron to be ousted is Patrick Mercer. Given Mr Mercer’s other publicised comments about our useless PM he is an MP who certainly gets it and realises the only way the Conservatives have any hope of power in 2015 is with a different leader. The Conservative Party is so devoid of talent that it cannot find itself a decent leader to replace David Cameron. No wonder the Conservative Party has lost more than half of its members since 2005. You know things are bad when your party leader makes Ed Miliband look like a credible PM. Let’s all vote UKIP and let Labour in – only then the Conservative Party might sort itself out.

  7. Paul H
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    “Although Mr Cameron did not offer a referendum on Lisbon in the his last manifesto, many have spread the lie that he did.”

    Which only further proves that his “cast iron” promise was cynical sophistry. It is also worth pointing out that gay marriage was not in the manifesto, but he is quite prepared to expend massive amounts of energy and political capital on it. And all without a “cast iron” promise to the gay community.

    Incidentally, I think you, Hannon and others over-simplify the trade point. From a rational economic viewpoint you are correct, but it underestimates the capacity of the European elite to be spiteful – if only to send a message to others. We have already seen how they allow the political ideal to trump the economic reality. Realistically the economic cost will be borne by the European “pleb” whilst no feathers will be plucked from the nests of the elite. However, I still agree we should leave.

  8. me2
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Whichever principle the focus groups instruct him to adopt he must remember to give a cast iron guarantee.

  9. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    The Mandate referendum is fine as a tactical measure but then we need to follow through as rapidly as possible by defining what our negotiating position and bottom line will be in 2015. Does everybody agree with me that repeal of the Maastrich, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon Acts of Accession is the MINIMUM that is acceptable to the UK?

    To make sure we get to 2015 with our options still open, we need to veto, veto and veto again, and to induce as many countries as possible to leave the Euro zone. If we have a trump card in this regard, it is to allow beleaguered Member States to convert their Euro debts to reinstated local currency, with an agreed maximum inflation rate. It’s all about showing that we mean business.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      No, we should free ourselves from all of the EEC/EC/EU treaties, right back to the original Treaty of Rome.

      That 1957 treaty, to which the UK acceded on January 1st 1973, has as its very first line:

      http://www.eurotreaties.com/rometreaty.pdf

      “DETERMINED to lay the foundations of an ever-closer union among the peoples of Europe”

      We can now see where the drive for “ever closer union” has lead and inevitably will lead in the future, and hardly any of us want to be part of it.

      • Sean O'Hare
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        Denis, I agree with you that we need to repeal the EEC/EC/EU Treaties, but it is inconceivable that that can be done overnight. There would be utter chaos in the markets and UK trade would suffer badly – even if not as badly as the Europhiles threaten.

        It is ironic that the hated Lisbon treaty should provide a manageable means of escape, but it does. We must invoke Article 50 announcing our intention to leave. Once this is done the EU has no alternative but to negotiate a trade deal acceptable to the UK, while leaving EU legislation in place until it can either be repealed or replaced by home grown variants. The other 26 EU member states have no incentive to negotiate anything otherwise. Why would they? They are already signed up to all the crap so why let the UK off the hook?

        For that reason the only referendum acceptable to me would be a straight In/Out Referendum (no 3rd option). It would also have to be made clear that if the “OUT” side won then Article 50 would be invoked immediately. If the “IN” side won then we would be signing up to the full works including the Fiscal Treaty and being part of the Eurozone.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

          “Once this is done the EU has no alternative but to negotiate a trade deal acceptable to the UK”.

          Firstly, while those negotiations under Article 50 might well lead to a withdrawal agreement which was “acceptable” to the UK, in the sense that the UK government decided to accept it, that doesn’t mean that the UK would necessarily get everything that we would want.

          Secondly, Article 50 is double-edged insofar as it could be used either to facilitate withdrawal of a member state, its ostensible purpose, or to impede and delay the process of withdrawal in the hope that there would be a change of government and the new government would rescind the notice of intention to withdraw before the process had been completed.

          Thirdly, however, it remains the case that the UK is a sovereign state and as a last resort a UK government determined on withdrawal could respond to any such delaying tactics by other member states by summarily abrogating the EU treaties in their entirety, including Article 50.

    • bluedog
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Excellent comment. It would be a fatal error for the UK to simply reduce it’s relationship with the EU to a free trade agreement while leaving the EU intact as a monolithic political and economic bloc.

      If the UK wishes to claw back sovereignty it should simultaneously attempt to create a concert of like-minded powers that work collaboratively towards the same goal. The Danes, Swedes and Irish could potentially be persuaded to join this initiative in the short-term. If Britain is to leave the EU it should be a parallel policy objective to destroy the EU.

      In the medium term it seems extremely likely that the EU will fragment into northern and southern economic blocs. In this event any political union now proposed could be expected to fragment and re-coalesce along economic lines.

      John Redwood is correct to identify that trends in the EU and the UK political cycle are well out of alignment. On the EU and on other matters the Westminster parliament is well behind public opinion and incapable of leading that opinion due to a complete lack of trust on the part of the electorate.

      This lack of trust creates an extraordinary opportunity for a competent political entrepreneur to exploit, setting aside existing tribal allegiances and re-ordering British politics along the lines of shared values. It remains to be seen whether Nigel Farage has the vision and ability to succeed in this regard, but it could be done. One can confidently say that David Cameron doesn’t begin to understand the opportunity.

      Cameron’s values are alien to those of the electorate.

      • Single Acts
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        “it should be a parallel policy objective to destroy the EU”

        Isn’t that like plotting to demolish a building that is on fire?

      • Sean O'Hare
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        There is no way that we can claw-back sovereignty without invoking Article 50 and leaving. Destroying the EU is a nice thought, but the UK staying a member in order to attempt to do so is far too dangerous to contemplate.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        Why would the Irish join when they’re part of the eurozone? Why would the Swedes and Danish join when it offers them almost nothing, they’ll lose access to the single market, and they don’t want to destroy the EU?

        Perhaps you should start by getting support from EU countries that oppose the EU. Oh wait there aren’t any, that’s why they dislike the UK for constantly hampering the EU.

  10. Boudicca
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Whatever Cameron says in his much-trailled EU Speech should be taken with a shedload of salt.

    ALL of LibLabCON have form when it comes to the EU. They have all promised Referenda and they have all reneged. The only course left open to him now is ACTION if he ever wants to be believed on anything ever again.

    Option (3) – a referendum to get the peoples’ mandate to renegotiate now is probably the only viable option since he made such a hash of everything leading up to the 2010 GE and failed to get a majority.

    But he needs to spell out exactly which powers he wants back – and if he doesn’t get them, then we withdraw completely. The outcome of any negotiations should then be put to the British people together with a clear OUT option.

    In my opinion, we want nothing but a Free Trade Treaty from the EU. We can co-operate on other issues, when it suits us, but not under the control of any pre-existing Treaties. We certainly need rid of the Free Movement of Peoples – as we are being ‘blessed’ with far too many Eastern Europeans.

    I want OUT. I don’t trust the EU one little bit; and I certainly don’t trust our Political Elite to put the interests of the British people over and above those of their ‘friends’ and Masters in the Bilderberg Group and international Big Business.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      Sounds like you want the UK to have the same relationship with the EU as the USA and China.

      • Posted December 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        Not necessarily – just the same relationship as other non-EU European countries.

      • Edward
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        Yes please uni, sounds good to me.
        Several billions saved per year, what was it 3000 laws you said we had no choice but to “obey” every year.
        Don’t notice any shortage of Chinese and USA goods in the shops in the UK, nor the EU.
        And given unemployment in the EU is well below USA and Chinese rates what not to like?
        But perhaps you feel more than 50% youth unemployment in the EU is a price worth paying?

        • uanime5
          Posted December 23, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

          Not sure why you think youth unemployment is the fault of the EU, especially since it’s occurring in so many developed, non-EU countries.

          • Edward
            Posted December 24, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

            You just can’t bring yourself to see how badly the EU’s economic management and policies are affecting millions of poor people and especially the young.
            If the EU were a multi national company you would be leading calls for the board of directors to be sacked.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 12:07 am | Permalink

      When the head of the Bank of France wants to strip London of its title of financial centre, who needs enemies?

      And we are supposed to work with them!

      Who does he think appointed London to this position?

      • Robert Christopher
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        Telegraph today: He [Mr Schäuble] also urged Britain to avoid a referendum on EU membership that would create “uncertainty”, but cautioned that any attempts to “blackmail” Germany with threats of a British exit would not be tolerated.

        “would not be tolerated”, from a German! Is it April 1st?

        Can the Spanish top the French wanting to strip London’s title of ‘major financial centre’ and the Germans’ ‘would not be tolerated’?

        No wonder we ceased to be in the European Community. Some community! More like dysfunctional family!

        Though, come to think about it, I don’t want a referendum on EU membership that would create “uncertainty” either.

        We just want out!

    • Posted December 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Hear! Hear!

  11. Old Albion
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    John, let’s just clear up a few things;
    The EU will not allow one country to dictate it’s own rules for remaining in.
    We know how the vote on a new treaty issue goes. ‘Vote and get the answer right or you’ll have to vote again’ Ask the Irish!
    Any apparent concessions ‘won’ by any government of the (dis)UK will simply be smoke and mirrors. The public simply don’t believe a word (most) politicians utter.
    We, the plebs out here, want by a large majority a simple in/out vote ASAP.

    Reply I understand that and have voted for one, b ut Parliament does not agree. The renegotiation ends with an in/out referendum.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      What about Greenland? They voted to leave and no one made them vote again.

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:12 am | Permalink

        The economic powerhouse that is Greenland did of course leave the EU in 1985, but that was before the Single European Act, Maastrict, Lisbon etc. Since 1985, there have been some notable referendum results that the EU chose to, er, let’s say ignore, and the offenders were asked to provide another (opposite) answer. That is how today’s EU prefers to work.

  12. Alan
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Unless the economy recovers dramatically I think it will be difficult for the Conservatives to win the next election. If they are divided amongst themselves over the EU they will have very little chance indeed in my opinion.

    If a meaningless referendum, like the one that Mr Redwood seems to be proposing, would unite the party it might I suppose be worth having, just for that purpose. But I don’t think either the Lib Dems or Labour will support a referendum whose main purpose is to unite their political opponents and which opposes membership of the EU. I don’t think it agrees with their political philosophy or is it to their electoral advantage. As I understand it they have sufficient MPs to prevent a referendum.

    So I fear the Conservatives will enter the next election with an economy that has failed to recover and without a clear policy on membership of the EU. I would expect them to lose, and for Labour to get a clear majority. I want us to be in the EU so I suppose I should be pleased, but a pro-EU Labour government isn’t what I want. I wish we could have a pro-EU Conservative party, willing to take an active part in developing a future for Europe as a whole and steering the EU towards an active free market economy.

    The EU question seems to be doing as much damage to Mr Cameron’s premiership as it did to Sir John Major’s.

    • Graham Swift
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Why don’t you go and live in Europe if you like it so much ? Wait for the explosion in Spain and the total disintegration of the €uro which is an absolute certainty. Sooner we are out of the EUSSR the better.

  13. Wilko
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    The chaos of complexities & dissatisfaction that now prevail resulted from previous bad decisions.
    Whatever circumstances one is in, there is choice. If John, you are formulating a strategy based on the best assessment of options, you deserve support.

  14. Iaindowns1 twitter
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    John,

    The point is well made that there would be greater support in the house for a referndum on point 1. The problem is that this would be seen in the country as an exercise in delaying tactics. I accepct your tenst that this would give thema nandate to go and renegotiate but with whom ? It is already clear that the commission wold have none of it and the council of minsiters even less truck.

    If you accept that parliamnet is out of sync with the British people than to tabel a motion on an in/out referednum is the right approach. It would force those MP s who intent to vote for us to stay in to make their case to the people and be damned if they dont. Dnt fancy that many of the Tory and Labour Mp s that claim to sit on the fence and listen tk public opinion would be able to support voting down such a bill. I think we would be suprised at just how many would have to vote this was rtaher than feel the wrath of the electorate.

    So i still belieive that point 4 is the correct approach. To justify this not happening is to justfiy Cameron’s stance. Pro EU but not prepared to risk losing.

  15. Pete the Bike
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    What would be good is, instead of following their own prejudices on the EU, MP’s represented the opinions of those poor serfs that voted for them and manned up to the EU. Don’t approach the negotiation as though we were asking permission. We are supposed to be a sovereign state that can make it’s own decisions. Say to the Brussels elites that Britain is not happy with the current arrangements and tell them what we will accept instead. If they will not agree we leave. If our leadership has not got that much courage and confidence what the hell use are they to us? We are the country that told Napoleon and Hitler to b***er off, now we run scared of Rumpey Pumpey and Barroso. What a shower of spineless losers we are now. No wonder the country is a bankrupt, politically correct, nanny state.

    Reply Of course the UK has to be willing to leave if they do not offer us a sensible arrangement.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      Sorry, John, but I don’t accept that any of our political leaders would do that. They would insist that any arrangement was sensible as they don’t have the courage to leave the EU.

  16. John Bracewell
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Renegotiation with the EU is a non-starter. A referendum on whether the UK should renegotiate is simply a device for kicking the EU can down the road. France and Germany have expressed the view that what is needed is more EU not less EU and are heading for a single state, Eurozone first then drag in the rest of the EU. If the UK try to renegotiate our EU terms, the answer will be NO followed by if you do not like it then leave, knowing that our EUphile PM has stated ‘he will not leave the EU’. The only hope of getting out of the EU is if the EU pushes the federalisation of the EU too quickly and the people of the UK realise that means total loss of UK sovereignty and wake up to this constant drip feed of ‘more EU’.

  17. Martin Ryder
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood you often say that the position that Parliament takes on the EU question, and I suppose every other question, is the electorate’s fault for voting for Europhile MPs. In theory this is correct but in practice it is not.

    In 2010, as in previous years, I voted for the Conservative Party candidate, because he was the Conservative Party’s candidate, not because of his views, which I did not know, on the EU. I had no other choice; other than to vote for the UKIP candidate, which I am not yet prepared to do.

    If the Conservative Party had held an open primary and allowed the people in my constituency to choose between possible candidates based on their views on the EU, gay marriage, fiscal rectitude, etc then I could have voted for the most Eurosceptic one. If an alternative Europhile candidate was selected then I would have had the choice of supporting him/her or a candidate from another party. If I had voted for the Europhile then I would be partly to blame if he/she voted in favour of the EU Commission governing the UK.

    Of the options that you have outlined above I would prefer Option 3, which should take place in 2014 at the same time as the EU elections. If the people of Britain, and every other country whose citizens are allowed to vote in UK General Elections because they have chosen to live here, choose renegotiation then whoever wins in 2015, probably Labour, will have to take note of the people’s wishes; even if they do not act on them.

    Though I have, in a previous post, suggested that Option 1 is the way to go, I doubt that we can now afford to wait until the next Parliament is elected. Option 2 would mean waiting for the EU Commission to act, which is not a sensible idea. Option 5 is quick, bold and I would go for it but, as you have said countless times, there is no way that this Parliament would have the courage or wish to do it.

    I would vote ‘out’ in an IN/OUT referendum, Option 4, but I am not as sure, as most people on this blog seem to be, that a majority of those who choose to vote in the referendum would also vote ‘out’. Inertia and the status quo are difficult things to overcome, as will be the blast of pro-EU propaganda from the EU, the BBC, the CBI, etc. If the vote is for ‘in’ then the UK will be trapped in the EU until it falls apart, which could be decades away by which time the UK will no longer be the UK but just another Third World country struggling with overpopulation, poverty and internal strife.

  18. Atlas
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    John, your proposal for a mandating referendum seems to me to be most reasonable, and the most realistic – given the length of the road to be trod, knowing that the direction is one that has true democratic consent is the best start.

  19. Alan Wheatley
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Consideration of the five alternatives is playing around with tactics while ignoring strategy. And as for the OBJECTIVE, it is as if that is something that is completely irrelevant: perhaps because it is so firmly established nothing shall change it; perhaps because politicians these days are so focused on short-term practicalities they can no longer manage long-term vision.

    If there is no clear vision of where the country should be heading, the objective, then fiddling about over which is the best tactic is a pointless waste of time.

  20. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    “Although Mr Cameron did not offer a referendum on Lisbon in the his last manifesto, many have spread the lie that he did.”

    Those who live by the sword should know that they may die by the sword, and so I find it hard to care if people spread lies about Cameron.

    The signed article in which Cameron gave his original “cast-iron guarantee” was in the Sun on September 26th 2007; that article has now been removed from its website, but this is what he wrote:

    “Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: If I become PM a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations.”

    He could have added a few words such as “provided the treaty has not already come into force”, but he didn’t.

    A week later he made it explicit that his pledge was unconditional in his speech to the Tory party annual conference:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7023458.stm

    “We promise a referendum and that promise is good, whenever Gordon Brown holds this election.”

    Later that unconditional pledge was diluted to “we would not let matters rest there”, as for example Hague in the Commons on November 12th 2007, Column 423:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm071112/debtext/71112-0008.htm

    “… we would have a new treaty in force that lacked democratic legitimacy in this country and in our view gave the EU too much power over our national policies. That would not be acceptable to a Conservative Government and we would not let matters rest there …”

    And in the Tory manifesto for the EU Parliament elections, May 2009:

    “We pledge that if the Lisbon Treaty is not in force in the event of the election of a Conservative Government this year or next, we will hold a referendum on it, urge its rejection, and – if successful – reverse Britain’s ratification. And if the Constitution is already in force by then, we have made clear that in our view political integration in the EU would have gone too far, the Treaty would lack democratic legitimacy, and we would not let matters rest there.”

    But on November 4th 2009 Cameron announced his new policy, which was that he would indeed let matters rest there, under the pretence that the Lisbon Treaty no longer existed and therefore could no longer be the subject of a referendum:

    “Why? Because it is no longer a Treaty: it is being incorporated into the law of the European Union.”

    Oddly enough the EU does not agree with him that the Lisbon Treaty is no longer a Treaty; it has that treaty listed among the other treaties in its own Official Journal and on its own website:

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/en/treaties/index.htm

    Personally I’d be very pleased if the Lisbon Treaty was no longer a treaty, rendering meaningless the reference made to it in Section 2 of the European Union (Amendment) Act 2008:

    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2008/ukpga_20080007_en_1
    “At the end of the list of treaties in section 1(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 (c. 68) add – “; and

    (s) the Treaty of Lisbon Amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty Establishing the European Community signed at Lisbon on 13th December 2007 …”

    But of course that isn’t the case, and of course in general it would be very peculiar if any treaty ceased to exist just because it had come into force.

    Cameron thought that he could pull the wool over the eyes of a poorly informed British public, and he had no scruples about trying to do so.

    Is it not a matter of concern that we have a Prime Minister who is a proven liar on a matter of such great importance?

    reply Your own quoteds show he did not lie – the promise on Lisbon was always prior to ratification by all member states. Conservative MPs on a 3 line whip voted for a referendum on Lisbon.

    • Posted December 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      He did not lie, he just very clearly intentionally deceived the public by making a promise and then gently shifting his position (pre election mainly admittedly). Thus denying the voters the promised referendum. This on the grounds that it was now ratified. But when ratified there is even more reason to have a referendum certainly not less.

      His promise was not qualified, it clearly still is a treaty that “emerges from these negotiations” and he also promised to pull back from later if enacted.
      He has done nothing of the sort and continues to pour cash down the PIGIS drain and even accepts idiotic things like gender neutral insurance and pensions from the EU.

      The man is a menace and an electoral liability, he lack any credibility whatsoever on any issue.

    • cosmic
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      He allowed and encouraged people to believe things he knew weren’t true, because it suited him. If he now has the millstone of the Cast Iron Promise tied round his neck, it’s his own doing.

      Conservative attempts to point out the small print do no good.

      A charitable view is that he was at least maladroit in his handling of the question.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        A very charitable view indeed – almost a charitable as believing that Blair honestly believed that there were weapons of mass destruction – but just did not bother to ask what types of weapons they were.

        • cosmic
          Posted December 23, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

          Well assuming it was incompetence and not straightforward deceit, a very adventurous assumption, it’s a case of Cameron being as bad burnt as scalded.

          How can someone so lacking in judgement, as to score such a clear own goal, possibly be a suitable leader for the Conservative Party or for that matter be worth taking seriously by anyone?

    • Duyfken
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      I wonder whether JR would go so as far to agree that Cameron misled the country, even were he not lying. Why does he, Cameron, have the sobriquet of “slippery”?

    • Boudicca
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Technically, Cameron may not have lied.

      But to all intents and purposes he did. He set out to deceive the British people about holding a Referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and as a result he is no longer trusted.

      Someone only has to break their word once on a major issue and they forfeit the right to ever be believed again.

      As for the Referendum Lock . …. that too was watered down. Cameron has continued to transfer powers to the EU, but in small chunks that avoid the need to hold a Referendum.

      He – or to be correct his Masters in The Bilderberg Committee – have no intention of ever permitting the UK to leave the EU. They will completely destroy what passes for Democracy in this country before they allow that to happen.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      “reply Your own quoteds show he did not lie – the promise on Lisbon was always prior to ratification by all member states.”

      Not in his September 2007 article in the mass circulation Sun.

      As I say, he could have added a caveat such as:

      “provided the treaty has not already come into force”,

      but he didn’t.

      Nor again a week later, when addressing a smaller but important audience at the Tory party conference:

      “We promise a referendum and that promise is good, whenever Gordon Brown holds this election.”

      Of course he knew that Gordon Brown need not hold the election before May 2010, and he was well aware of the high probability that the treaty would have come into force some time before then, and in fact if it hadn’t been for the delay created by its rejection in the first Irish referendum in June 2008 it would have come into force on the anticipated date of January 1st 2009; nevertheless he made that promise without any caveat.

      If he was an honest man, and a patriot, and a real statesman, he would have stuck with that unconditional pledge, and in 2008 he would have said very loudly and clearly that if he became Prime Minister the British people would have their say on the treaty in a referendum, no matter what had happened in other countries and irrespective of whether or not the treaty had come into force.

      (Unless of course the treaty had been officially abandoned, when it would really have been pointless to put it to a referendum.)

      After all, if the Tory party’s objection that without a British referendum “we would have a new treaty in force that lacked democratic legitimacy in this country” was a genuine objection and not mere words, then obviously that perceived lack of democratic legitimacy in this country could not be corrected by anything that happened in another country, such a second referendum in Ireland.

      I recall Blair mocking Cameron in the Commons, suggesting that he was just going through the motions of opposing the Lisbon Treaty, and surprisingly for something coming from Blair that charge had the ring of truth about it and later proved correct.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        But it isn’t only Lisbon. There was no endorsement by referendum of Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice, or even the Single European Act.

    • JimF
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      reply to reply:
      This is all wordplay- “I will not let matters rest there” is a veiled threat. The implication is that the speaker is emotionally tied to revoking things that have been done, yet technically it could mean that the speaker will merely rebuke whoever has enacted these things and move on. Which is what has happened. That is why your Party has lost the trust of the thinking electorate.

  21. radsatser
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    If the mandate referendum is the likely option that David Cameron takes in January, then he has already lost.

    It is dishonest, simply because there is no option to renogotiate unless we indicate our intention to leave under Article 50, which you don’t seem to be suggesting.

    It doesn’t take much of a cynic to see right through this proposal as it stands, and foresee the likely outcome. People will vote for renegotiation, on the assumption that if the negotiations fail Out would be the consequences, rather than simply the maintenance of the status quo. If people voted against renogotiation in a mandate referendum because if wasn’t offering an IN/Out choice, it would be spun by all three parties as a vote for the EU.

    Vote for renogotiations- Political classes win- EU wins- People lose

    Vote against renogotiations -Political classes win – EU wins- People lose.

    • Posted December 22, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      The next election is clearly lost anyway he could not even win the last one.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        You think Europe and a failure to pursue right wing ideology at the expense of the population will be the only cause of loss? The blaming of part time workers to find full time employment and full time workers to find jobs that pay enough not to have to be subsidised by the state. The idea that employment laws are the cause of this. and the stopping of ‘proper’ jobs being created instead of the cause of the lack of proper jobs. You need to take a look at your silly blind fantasies.

    • Boudicca
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Precisely. It’s a heads we win; tails you lose situation ….. and the pro-EU elite win.

  22. Alan Wheatley
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    As to a mandate referendum issues, you say “The first is, why bother when it is obvious the British people would say “Yes”.” I do not think it anything like so obvious.

    There are two, opposite, reasons for voting NO: (1) liking the status quo; (2) wanting the UK to leave the EU (leave on a point of principle, so negotiation is a move in the wrong direction as it implies at least some measure of support for staying in, or leave on the practical judgement that a satisfactory new arrangement can not be negotiated, and so negotiation is, at best, an irrelevant wast of time).

    If there is to be a mandate referendum, then this is one occasion when there must be three choices available: in, out, renegotiate.

    Reply We tried that in this Parliament and were very heavily defeated. We have to work with what is there, not with what you would like to be there.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      I see, MPs will dictate any referendum to suit their own desires rather than those of whom they purport to represent.

  23. Alan Wheatley
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I can understand why “renegotiation” could be popular with some people. It provides the opportunity to clearly show that something is being done, while avoiding the difficulty of being clear about what is being done, and completely ignores the even greater difficulty of being clear about where the negotiations are seeking to take the country.

    It is also a comfort vote for those who have little understanding of the issues. It is neither choosing to stay in the troublesome but bearable frying pan of the EU, nor the leap to the promising but uncertain fire of life outside the EU. It is a bit like voting for jam tomorrow, but with the disadvantage of not knowing which flavour of jam it will be.

  24. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Having downloaded ‘Enoch at 100′ as a Christmas present, I have been struck, not by the strength of Enoch’s opinions (mostly already known) but by those of Angela Merkel:

    “The euro is much, much more than a currency ………. The euro is the guarantee of a united Europe. If the euro fails, the Europe fails.” Speech to the Bundestag on 9 September 2011.

  25. Neil Craig
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Being cynical the fact that there is not a majority in Parliament for an immediate in/out referendum is a very good reason for cameron to propose one. He would then be able to claim to have supported a referendum (as per his cast iron promise) without fearing achieving anything.

  26. Freeborn John
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Option 1: With a new Tory leader this option might persuade some, but an election promise from Cast-iron Cameron on an EU referendum is worthless.

    Option 2: The UK should not in my opinion seek to link its repatriation of powers to a new EU treaty desired by Germany which could (like Lisbon) take a decade to conclude & ratify. We need a seperate treaty revision document focussed exclusively on UK powers that all other states agree to ratify by 2016 at the very latest. The quid-pro quo for other states must be that a full package of repatriated powers would make it less likely a majority of Britons would vote to leave in a referendum that should be held in 2016 latest. Leaving requires a 2-year period of negotiations and this must start in 2016 to be finished before the House of Lords power to block it in the last year of a parliament comes into play in 2019. Any delay to this schedule  signals to the Continentals that have no reason to believe the UK really would leave and will result in them concluding they don’t need to offer a serious repatriation package to the UK if it is bluffing anyway.

    Option 3 has merit, especially considering the likelihood that Cameron will lose the 2015 GE. It could put in place a renegotiation process and referendum that even a Labour government has to deliver on. In that case the timetable set out above remains less vital as an incoming Conservative eu-sceptic PM could enact EU withdrawal in 2020 based on the referendum result in the previous parliament.

    Eurosceptics should work on the assumption that Cameron is going to lose in 2015. Indeed it remains important to vote UKIP to prevent euphiles saying (as they did after 2001) that the Tories lost because they were too EU-sceptic. The UkiP share of the vote must be the proof that Cameron failed to win a majority in 2010 and 2015 precisely because he was not EU-sceptic enough. Hopefully the parliamentary party will elect a new leader who can lead the referendum fight more convincingly than Cameron ever could and secure referendum victory against an unpopular federalist labour leader in mid-term.

  27. Posted December 22, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Nicely argued so Option 3 but make it early in the New Year rather than later – before the electorate gets even more p****d off with politicians.

  28. PETER RICHARDSON
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Essentially everything already said, but too many alternatives offered!
    The British people did not vote for a pro Europe (UK) parliament in 2010 (sorry JR re your response to Brian Tomkinson but perhaps your comment was with ‘tonue on cheek’).
    As you and we surely know, they voted to replace a prolifigate spending incompetent previous administration.
    Conservatives wil be decimated at the next GE unless an IN/OUT referendum is offered and guaranteed now and also ideally by a new leader (if possibley soon!).
    UKIP will certainly send many good MP’s back to non-parliamentary duties.
    What a waste of basic (if not always apparent and disclosed) talent.
    A substantial majority of electors want OUT according to many polls
    That same majority may well vote for UK best interests even if it means voting for…….
    Perhaps, after all, the next GE will be the turning point for UK Ltd or even GB Ltd

  29. PETER RICHARDSON
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    SORRY AS ALWAYS SPELLING CORRECTED
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Essentially everything already said, but too many alternatives offered!
    The British people did not vote for a pro Europe (UK) parliament in 2010 (sorry JR re your response to Brian Tomkinson but perhaps your comment was with ‘tongue in cheek’).
    As you and we surely know, they voted to replace a profligate spending incompetent previous administration.
    Conservatives will be decimated at the next GE unless an IN/OUT referendum is offered and guaranteed now and also ideally by a new leader (if possibly soon!).
    UKIP will certainly send many good MP’s back to non-parliamentary duties.
    What a waste of basic (if not always apparent and disclosed) talent.
    A substantial majority of electors want OUT according to many polls
    That same majority may well vote for UK best interests even if it means voting for…….
    Perhaps, after all, the next GE will be the turning point for UK Ltd or even GB Ltd

  30. Bert Young
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    The time left for us to sort out our relationship with the EU is running out fast and further delay does spell disaster for the Conservative Party in the next election . Immediate action phases : 1) Decide to do a deal with UKIP , 2) Decide what the changes have to be with the EU , 3) Get the agreed changes approved in the Commons , 4) Negotiate the changes with the EU and , subject to the outcome , put it for acceptance in a referendum including an “In /Out” option . These stages ought to be achieved in three months . I believe the public would go along with such a programme if it was put to them this way , if is is not , then the Conservatives have lost it and Labour can rub their hands together . UKIP cannot possibly create enough clout other than putting a block on many Conservative seats during the next 2 years , but , they will continue to win public support unless they are absorbed . You rightly point out that it is impractical to bring about a withdrawal from the EU as the House is presently constituted , so , the problem has to be tackled very much as I have outlined . Good luck in the New Year !

  31. The PrangWizard
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Whilst I don’t understand parliamentary procedure, nor the legalities, I favour the option of repeal of the 1972 Act.
    A much more meaty and clearer campaign can be made in favour of this, and it will be possible it to explain it to the people of Britain more effectively in terms related to our own parliament and democracy. There is not much faith in referenda. They can be run again as we know. And it will not be open to fear tactics or claims by opponents that the EU ‘will not allow it’, which is often said with the option of ‘opening negotiations’.

    I fear ‘drift back’ to the EU with other options.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  32. Normandee
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    If there were a different Conservative Leader as some of you suggest he or she would not be able to win either of these proposed votes, even if they wished to.
    As things stand right, but given a leader who makes it clear what he wants, and can persuade some of the more determined MP’s along with the arse sniffers who do as they are told, then his enemies outside the party (UKIP)can be mollified and hopefully get a working majority in 2015.

  33. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    I wonder whether it is really necessary to hold a so-called “mandate referendum”, when opinion polls show that British voters are overwhelmingly opposed to further EU integration and yet at the same time the UK is solemnly committed to further EU integration through the present EU treaties.

    It’s not a case of opinion polls showing that we’re fairly evenly divided on whether we want further EU integration, something like a 50:50 split for and against which properly needs to be tested through an official poll, it’s more like a 90:10 split against the further integration mandated by the present EU treaties.

    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/parliament/2012/11/tory-mps-want-to-trust-voters-on-europe-labour-mps-do-not.html

    It would be open to Cameron to say that UK public opinion is clearly against further integration, and therefore it would be internally undemocratic and externally dishonest for the UK government to remain committed to the process of “ever closer union” which is fundamental to the present treaties of the EU, and therefore he would be seeking a new and different kind of treaty which did not commit the UK government to that process, and he would be putting forward his draft proposal within the next few months.

    Not within the next few years, preferably after the next general election when he can renege on his promises, but within the next few months.

  34. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    A Europhile reality check.
    Being late with my comment (Christmas shopping) I find it ironical that after all the frequent scorn about a so-called anti-democratic EU, there are now a few complaints about the UK democracy, especially by those favouring UKIP. If only you had lived in Holland you could have voted (12.9.2012) for a UKIP-like party (PVV) which offered leaving the EU and had before the election already 16% of the MP seats in parliament (like having 104 seats in the H.o.C!). Please remember, that is what proportional representation would do for you.

    Now back to the UK. I’ve earlier mentioned three potentially pro EU forces which seem to be in hybernation. One (USA) is waking up and took the phone to Cameron last week. The other two (CBI and the City) still have to show their muscle, but it should not be forgotten that the City was(will be?) a major funder for the Tories and that Tory campaign funds were 31 x as large as those of UKIP at the last elections. It should also not be forgotten that the power of public opinion is not what determines a decision, like it didn’t when the UK went to war in Iraq against a majority public opinion. Mr. Redwood is right that the H.o.C. voted in in 2010 doesn’t have a majority for anti-EU decisions.
    The best option the eurosceptics can hope for is Mr Redwood’s option three, which may solidify a eurosceptic public opinion before the tide may change: because I expect that the tide will turn after (in my view) a number of eurosceptic failures:
    * eurosceptic speculations to bring down the euro and bring down the EU (2010) : failure
    * “bulldog” attempts to make an EU fiscal compact impossible or unworkable (2011) : failure
    If eurosceptics don’t seize the window of opportunity now, for which option 3 seem the best to me, they will be in a weaker position in a few years from now, which of course I secretly hope for.
    Would the other sleeping giants please wake up and make their pro-EU case?!

    • Posted December 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Alas your “sleeping giants” are what the EU itself calls the 95+% of small and micro-businesses(those with uo to 20 employees) – and they certainly don’t lilke all of the laws & red-tape emanating from Brussels!

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

        @Bernard Juby: I agree Bernard, and some sleeping giant wake up very very slowly, but a bit of googling shows that there may be things happening at last, I paste part of it here:
        In November 2011, the Commission presented a new policy statement, ‘Minimizing regulatory burden for SMEs – Adapting EU regulation to the needs of micro-enterprises’, to ensure that the EU responds better to the needs of small businesses. According to this Report, the Commission will try to exempt micro-enterprises as a starting point of any new EU legislation, or, where this is not possible, introduce special rules to minimize the regulatory burden for them. . . . .etc.

  35. Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    My choice would be option 1, that is a referendum to mandate renogiation followed by referendum on the renegotiated terms

  36. Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to be pedantic but I keep seeing the term “pro-Europe” being used for those who are in favour of our continued and unchanged membership of the eu and “anti-Europe” assigned to the eu-sceptics.

    It’s not just the BBC and non-sceptics that are guilty of this as I have heard eu sceptics using this language.

    Surely those who see the damage that the eu is doing, not just to the UK, but to the continent as a whole should be increasingly described as pro-European.

    The idea that the eu is somehow the symbol or the representative of Europe sickens me.

    The eu is anti European.

  37. Sean O'Hare
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I am really glad that I no longer live in Wokingham. If I did I would be very hard for me to decide who to put my cross against at the next GE (assuming that JR is intending to stand again of course!). I genuinely do believe that John wants the UK out of the EU. He is one of the very few (actually only 3!) Tory MPs that I do believe that of. He is of course extremely sound on economic policies and would make an excellent Chancellor of the Exchequer. If the party mirrored John’s beliefs I would have no hesitation of course, but as things are I would have to decide between him and the UKIP candidate. The latter I am sure will have their heart in the right place, but would be a bit of a leap in the dark and anyway would stand little, if any, chance of getting elected. As it is I now live in a constituency currently represented by a Europhile LibDem. If the previous Tory PPC stands again, he believes we should stay in the EU, then I don’t have a decision to make. There must be thousands like me.

  38. uanime5
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    “Would you like the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on trade and political co-operation?”

    The problem with this question is that it’s not clear what happens if you vote no. Does it mean that you wish to remain in the EU on the current relationship or does it mean that you want to leave the EU?

    The main reason for doing it, however, is to show the rest of the EU that they are not just dealing with a government which should be out of office in two and a half years time (each political party wants the end of the Caolaition) but they are dealing with the British people.

    This will only happen if a large percentage of the population vote in this referendum. I would recommend for the referendum to be valid that the vote would have to be supported by 40-50% of the population (including non-voters). For example if 50% of the population voted in the referendum and of those who voted 51% voted yes then the referendum would fail because it only had the support of a little over 25% of the total population. I doubt the EU would give much credit to a referendum that had more people against it (49% who voted no, and the 50% of the population that didn’t vote) than for it (51% who voted yes).

  39. merlin
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    “What should be in Cameron’s speech EU speech”

    Great Britain wishes to leave the European Union as quickly as possible and I wish to invoke article 50 now.

  40. matthu
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Dear Lord,

    This has been a tough two or three years.

    You have taken my favourite actor Patrick Swayze.
    My favourite musician Michael Jackson.
    My favourite Blues Singer Amy Winehouse.
    My favourite actress Elizabeth Taylor.
    And now my favourite singer Whitney Houston.

    I just wanted you to know that my favourite politicians are (lists senior figures in 3 main parties).

  41. Posted December 22, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    It does seem that the historical events of the most significance enter the stage as “speer carriers” & exit the protagonist. While one can hope & pray (indeed, one should do both) for a Damascus conversion for Cast Iron it really seems he is due to play the villain & catalyst for a total break. It is slowly unfolding but a major crisis for the euro could be just the spark to cause reaction against England at the highest levels. The sort if row that simply can’t be covered up. Then the newspapers get into it. If Davey Boy sees the rats running he may follow & exit stage right. Or, more likely, his partisan Cameroons step up the “unsustainable” (to steal an over-used word of theirs) primrose path detour & simply be removed by Parlimentary revolt. Redwood might even go out an English National Hero should he dawn his armour & slay this hideous EU DRAGON!!!

  42. forthurst
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    What the leadership of the Conservative would wish to do is to take the wind out of UKIP’s sails; to that end it will do anything and say anything to gull the electorate into trusting it one more time, short of actually losing control of events and doing UKIP’s work for it.

    The leadership of all three erstwhile main Parties is in the hands of people who are not interested in the English people or their right to self-determination. The ‘A’ list of candidates ‘more like us’, meaning the complete opposite, and Cameron’s current obsession with ‘gay’ marriage are representative of the adoption by a party called ‘conservative’ of the Frankfurt School cookbook. The insidious process of selecting candidates whose views are abhorent to most English people is why the majority view in Parliament corresponds with a minority view in the country.

    The easiest thing in the world would be to persuade the British people, certainly those of indigenous stock, that they would be better off in a country which controls its own borders and makes its own laws and trades with whom it wishes on equal terms; the problem is that the media, particularly the BBC, and the leadership of the Conservative Party are controlled by a malignant metropolitan ‘elete’ who wish to destroy England and the English people.

    The truth is Cameron and his coterie are losers on the wrong side of history and they will take down with them some who do not deserve to go. Like the Republican Party in the US, those that bankroll and control the Conservative Party believe thay can both usurp its natural supporters and at the same time rely on either their loyalty or stupidity to keep voting for their policies and candidates. For that reason, unlike the LibDems, UKIP is not a protest party but a party that it intends to fill a void created by the Conservative Party which is no longer conservative and has not been for a very long time.

  43. Antisthenes
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    “I see the Mandate referendum and the opening of negotiations with the EU as the least risky and most sensible course.”

    Yes and no it is the least risky but whether it is sensible is in doubt as Hollande has already stated the EU position on repatriation of power and a looser arrangement and that is non, Non, NON. The only bargaining strength that the UK has is it’s contribution to the EU budget the EU will not easily give that up. However while the EU procrastinates and can kicks(we have seen how good they are at that with the euro mess) and it will if negotiations are entered into then the UK must continue to contribute. The only sensible referendum questions should be to stay in or leave and renegotiate entry on terms that best suit UK interests.

  44. Barbara
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    To win the next election will have to be a miricle for Cameron. The Conservatives should therefore plan with them not winning the 2015 election. Once the decision has been made by the electorate no MP or leader could possibly refuse to implement it. We should have the referendum before the election so there’s no letting the country down again, with false promises. I don’t trust Labour one bit, but it looks more likely they will win the next election, and the Conservatives should make things happen and stop the rot that will follow with Labour. Why are they delaying with this, are they so blind to the fact that they are 11 points down in the polls. They owe the electorate the right, who can we trust these days, not many it seems. I despair with Cameron, surely he can see the dangers we are in with Labour, and if the Lib Dems and they get together we will have the eruo as well before long. We are being mislead by all, and I’m fed up with it. My vote will go to UKIP hoping they can stop the rot and lead the Conservatives out of the mire they’ve dug themselves in to.

  45. John Orchard
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    What Cameron should tell the EU that this Country historically has done more for Europe than any other Nation. Tell them to do the Battlefield Tours and look at the likes of my Grandfather laying in a grave in France. That we had the biggest Empire the World has ever seen and we prefer to rule ourselves not rely on a bunch of unelected idiots that are so corrupt through their mismanagement where the books haven’t been signed off for 18 years. It’s a pity Nigel Farage isn’t PM as at least he tells them like it is not like spineless Cameron who has done more U turns than a learner driver.Too much education not enough work experience.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Given that France created the Napoleonic Code, which formed the basis of the Civil legal system used in most European countries; the German Martin Luther causes a schism in Christianity; and the Italians started the Renaissance I wouldn’t say the UK has done more for Europe than any other country.

      Also the leaders of the EU are elected and their books have been signed off every year. But don’t let facts get in the way of your rant.

      • Edward
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        Err..the books of the E U as you put it have not been signed off for over 15 years. Pro eu propaganda I can put up with from you Uni, but not plainly incorrect facts

        • Edward
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

          Oh and EU leaders are appointed by their nations Governments not elected by the people.
          MEP’s are elected.

  46. Monty
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    You seem to be concentrating on this speech, and our national disposition regards negotiated terms with Brussels. But there is another strategy.
    Don’t make it a question of whether we have referendums, or negotiations. Select a small number of key issues and declare them candidates for unilateral action. There are some issues that have such a strong resonance with the public, that any dissent from the opposition would damage them electorally. They include scheduling bills to be brought before parliament to secure, for example, the following:
    1. Clamping down on the number of EU immigrants whether they are workers or not. Barring entry to citizens of the accession states.
    2. Make decisions of the ECHR unenforcible in the UK.
    3. Protect UK citizens from extradition under the terms of the European Arrest Warrant, and bring in the entitlement to an extradition hearing in all cases.
    4. Refuse to pay any fines or penalties imposed by Brussels as a result of any of the above.

    Brussels could do one of two things. They could simply accept it, thus setting the precedent for us to apply the same approach to any future situations, as we incrementally take back any and all areas over which we want to regain sovereignty.
    Or they could threaten or apply retaliation. Anything, up to and including throwing us out. Any significant retaliation would just cause public resentment to mushroom, and vastly increase the pressure on pro EU MPs, to get us out.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Somehow I doubt that making ECHR judgements unenforceable will improve the Government’s standing. Human rights abuses by the Government are never popular.

      Given that the UK is starting the fight with the EU they will be the one who is blamed for any negative consequences; so don’t expect resentment to mushroom, especially among people who dislike macho posturing by politicians.

  47. Collamore
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    It is a sad commentary on the Cameron-led Tories that the five options are discussed in terms of political advantage for the Tories, not in terms of what is best for the nation.
    That being said, what is the downside for Cameron proposing options 4/5 (get out now) in Parliament? Sure, the proposed bill will fail, but in that case how are the Tories (and more importantly, the UK) worse off?
    And having moved such a bill, Cameron can at least claim some credibility with voters when he subsequently proposes the Mandate Referendum.

  48. Freeborn John
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    The Cameron speech should also set out the powers he wants back. Reports have it that he is aiming low only seeking justice/home affairs (which we can opt out without a negotiation), social policy and fisheries. No mention of either big ticket items like agriculture nor areas like foreign policy which featured prominently in treaties like Lisbon which William Hague opposed but now seems content to let matters rest. If Cameron aims so low, then this renegotiation is a time-wasting charade that will leave most EU powers and budget intact. Never-the-less, the speech must make clear what Cameron is aiming for and not just timelines & process.

  49. Remittance Man
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Labour and the Lib Dems have made clear their opposition to an early In/Out referendum.

    Something I’ve always found somewhat strange considering the Lib Dems put a commitment to just such a referendum in their 2010 manifesto, Nick Clegg promised one in the pre-election televised leadership debates and the official party website was carrying a petition demanding a plebiscite on the very same issue right up to the day before the famous debate in parliament on the subject.

  50. Alte Fritz
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Such a speech would be commendable both in setting out a clear and concise policy and also appearing at least the master of one’s own mind if not of events.

    On this week’s ‘This Week”, Menzies Campbell was let off, with some seasonal charity, on a mumbled reply that the Euro would succeed because it has to succeed. The delusion is as strong or as stronger than ever. We are tied to a ship which steers consistently towards the rocks and is under the command of madmen.

  51. Epigenes
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Great stuff, Mr Redwood. However, you seem to be ‘off message’. Mr Cameron’s priority is homosexual marriage and the EU is a sideshow.
    He is leading the Conservative Party into the political abyss.
    No change – no chance.

  52. Roger Farmer
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    In a factually correct way you point out that there is not a majority in the House of Commons to permit an In/Out referendum vote. What does that tell you about the House of Commons. To me it says that they fail to represent the view of those they represent. The reason for this is that they are beholden to the party that selected them to be a candidate at the last election in the hope of greasing their way up the promotion ladder. Parties are therefore corrupt in that they act in their own interests and not that of the people. The way out is to have a system where candidates first submitt themselves to the scrutiny of the people and are then selected by the people. I think they call it democracy.

  53. Richard
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Since when should a referendum only produce a result that the HOC could accept ? Should it not instead provide the view of the people ?

    Is not your proposed question :

    “Would you like the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on trade and political co-operation?”

    Akin to the question :

    “Have you stopped beating your wife ?”

    For those people who believe we should just leave the EU.

    I think any proposed referendum should ask further questions and not just assume that the country wishes to remain in the EU.

    I would propose that the voters are allowed to place the following in order of preference :

    1) I am happy with the EU as it is now and with its future plans for deeper integration and continued expansion.

    2) I am happy with with EU as it is now but would not like to see further integration or further expansion.

    3) I wish to remain in the EU but would like the UK government to attempt to negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on trade and political co-operation whenever a new treaty is being sought.

    4)I would like the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on trade and political co-operation and then put it to the UK people as to whether we accept this new deal or request to leave the EU.

    5) We should start negotiations now to leave the EU.

    Reply: And how would you assess the results as nothing would have a majority? How would you propose getting that through the present Commons?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      I suppose you could add together the votes cast for 2, 3, 4 and 5, all of which are incompatible with the present EU treaties mandating a process of “ever closer union” – despite some theoretical legal scope for movement in the opposite direction through Article 48 TEU as amended by the Lisbon Treaty – and compare that total with the votes cast for 1 by those who favour the continuation of the process of “ever closer union”, even though it must inevitably lead to the eventual extinction of their country as an independent sovereign state in any meaningful sense.

      Or, you could have a simpler referendum with a single question about whether we want to continue further with the process of “ever closer union” mandated by the present EU treaties.

      Let me guess – after an intensive cross-party propaganda campaign, maybe only 80% of the general public who voted in that referendum would vote against more “ever closer union”, while among those who are supposed to represent them in Parliament it would be the reverse, with 80% of MPs of all the main parties including the Tory party voting in favour of more “ever closer union”.

    • Richard
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      By using the AV (Alternative Vote) system, which I noticed was used for the recent elections of the Police and Crime Commissioners.

      I appreciate your point that the result may not be the one that the HoC would wish for but that does not mean that the country cannot be allowed to have its say if we are to continue to believe that we live in a democracy.

      I would have thought that was the whole point of having a referendum.

      It is the fact that we are not being allowed such a referendum by the HoC that many people are realising that there is really is no alternative to voting UKIP if they wish to halt the process of deeper EU integration and continued expansion.

      By the way, I believe that it is still Conservative Party policy to support the entry of Turkey into the EU.

  54. John Payne
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Your suggestion:

    “Would you like the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on trade and political co-operation?”.

    There is too much wriggle room for the negotiating politicians and civil servants to manipulate deals. The British public need decide to stay in as present or from the base point of an independent Nation wishing to trade with the EU. It is simple. If the British public wish to start from that point that is the only negotiating point for the Government.

    Haven’t you considered by being a member of a EU club who’s objective is solely to form one European state. It’s about time the Conservative party realized that is exactly the whole point behind the EU project. It is clear to me, you are one person who does not wish to break that bond with the EU.

  55. Jon
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    On options 1, 2 and 3 I think

    1. It looks weak and would do nothing to get back the UKIP dissenters. No bargaining power for the immediate terms. Who would trust that?

    2. Very risky, there would be aggressive opposition to the stance from almost all EU leaders, Labour, Lib Dems (still in coalition) and the BBC media. I think option 2 is a suicide option.

    3. Could win back the more intelligent voting dissenters to UKIP and give a platform that gives the electorate a feeling of control. I think it would also give the EU clarity on our position. I think that could ease interim negotiations and allow the EU/Eurozone to proceed on its own path without distraction.

    The first two also present the possibility of aggravating relations with the EU and domestically. If this is to work then we want good relations with the EU to allow us a different relationship. The time frame offers both parties space for this and greater prospect of a Conservative government.

    I am persuaded by the strategy that straddles the next election. I can see more positives in this but would want it written in marble.

    • Jon
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      Also 2014 is when the Scots have a referendum on a fundamental issue with the English. I think it would vex the English to have the same on the EU.

      The English are watching the Eurozone countries wanting to form a new country, the Scots having a referendum on their relationship with us. We look impotent. We need to tell the EU (and the Scots) where we stand. For their benefit, for ours and for interim negotiations.

  • 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
  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page