Conservatives and the Coalition

 

           When Mr Cameron makes his speech today welcoming the Coalition’s decisions so far and saying what they wish to do next, he intends to tell Conservatives that they should  be happy with what is being achieved. We are told  he will acknowledge ” Conservative frustrations” about the Coalition, but say that this is a radical reforming government which will do many good things.

           It is true they are busy reforming welfare, schools and some other public services. So why are some rank and file Conservatives so unhappy that they are worth a special briefing by the Prime Minister’s team to reassure them? The Prime Minister’s own message to Conservatives who say they now do not want to vote Conservative   is “I think I understand why you’re frustrated and I want to try and win you back”.   Will this new speech do the trick?

          There are two main reasons why some Conservative grassroots members  are unhappy or have gone elsewhere – Europe and money.

          Conservatives  want to be out of the EU altogether, or want a new relationship based on trade and co-operation where the UK can always say “No” if it disagrees with a proposal.  They are unhappy that many more powers have gone to Brussels thanks to the ever more energetic legislative programme pouring forth from the EU, unhappy with decisions of both the ECJ and the unrelated European Human Rights Court, unhappy about unlimited EU migration, concerned about EU judicial powers, dislike the scale of the EU budget and much else besides. They want a referendum now on whether to stay in or not.

           Here Mr Cameron is in no position to deliver what they want. As leader of a Eurosceptic party without a majority  in a more federalist Parliament, he does not have the votes for decisive action over the EU. Much is riding on his speech. He has to strain to use what power he has as a Coalition Prime Minister to point the country more rapidly and firmly towards a new relationship with the EU, and set out how as a Conservative Prime Minister after 2015 he would rapidly bring this about.

            When it comes to the money, he has much more scope to do as Conservatives wish. Many in the party feel the government needs to do more to be on the side of the strivers, the prudent, the hard working. If you drive or go  by train to work you are taxed and charged to death for daring to travel. If you earn more you are taxed heavily on your success. If you make a  capital gain you pay 10% more than under Labour. If you are  in the middle income you move more rapidly from 20% to 40% tax, and more rapdily lose your in work benefits. When you need to burn energy you have to pay the price of the energy policies being pursued.

          The government can say it is now cancelling Labour’s fuel duty rises, seeking to exploit  cheaper energy,has taken many people out of Income Tax altogether, and has kept the cap on train  fare rises the same as Labour’s.

        If the deficit had been removed and the debts were under control Conservatives would be happier. Some  Conservatives are worried at  just how much extra current spending continues under this government. The government  promised to eliminate the deficit in one Parliament. Now it will take almost two Parliaments. They said in opposition Conservative MPs would be queueing up by mid term to demand an end to the cuts. Instead Conservative MPs are queueing up to demand cuts to overseas aid, cuts to EU budget contributions, cuts to automatic   benefit entitlement  for recently arrived EU migrants, cuts  to public sector employees earning far more than the Prime Minister, cuts  to the still over mighty quangos and nationalised industries, cuts to expensive energy generation, and much else besides.

       Mr Cameron is right to want the Conservative party to be proud of the government he leads. Some grassroots members of  the  Conservative party and some defectors  say in response they want the government to do as it promised – eliminate the deficit, promote a vigorous recovery, and create prosperity based on private sector revival. That will take mended banks, a tax system that rewards enterprise, and a benefit system that is generous to those in need but not open to all regardless of their circumstance. I wish him well with the task. I am sure it is one he wishes to bring about, so his critics should understand he does want what they want.  Following his  speech about the Coalition,  the speech on the EU and a speech on the future  has to start to set out how a Conservative government would make a bigger difference faster.

 

 

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108 Comments

  1. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    I do wonder whether the European issues are so important to Conservatives or the British public as you suggest. For the average Brit, an ECHR decision is a far more distant issue than being subject to a cut in child benefits. Maybe Mr. Cameron will try to emulate Mrs. Thatcher’s “Bruges” impact by delivering his speech in Holland? Will he be addressing the continent or the UK? He may have a friend in the Dutch prime-minister (utterly pragmatic to the point of having no vision), but the UK concerns will remain peripheral to the EU issues that e.g. the eurozone countries are involved in.
    Just trade (no UK MEPs, commissioner, or council member) in a special “privileged partnership” for the UK might be easy enough for continental EU members to accept, but Cameron’s big friends (the City, big business and the US government) won’t accept that so easily.
    At least it is not too early for continental lobbyist to already start luring businesses to relocate from the UK to the continent, whatever the content of Mr. Cameron’s speech, as some further disengagement seems certain.

    • sjb
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      @Peter van Leeuwen

      You are right to wonder: even with voters attracted to UKIP future relations with the EU only ranks fifth.[1]

      [1] http://lordashcroftpolls.com/2012/12/the-ukip-threat-is-not-about-europe/#more-1866

    • Horatio McSherry
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Are you in fact Peter van Mandelson?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        @Horatio McSherry: Nice try, but as a Dutchman, I feel closer to Nick Clegg. I actually think that he, more experienced than his coalition partner, should also give a speech on Europe, but we’d have to send him to an EU country of which he doesn’t yet master the language (are there any left?) Maybe Italy? A Liberal sermon from Rome on European issues by Nick Clegg would certainly go down well in Europe and might make some friends for the UK.

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

          Peter,
          I have long thought that your hero, Clegg, was planted here by your beloved EU.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted January 7, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

            A nice man indeed, I don’t think he was planted, you’re too suspicious

          • APL
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

            Brian Tomkinson: ” planted here by your beloved EU.”

            Along with Mandleson and the (family)Kinnock, ad nausium.

            I doubt you could ‘swing a cat’ in the Palace of Westminster without hitting a somebody in the pay of the European Union.

            In the fifties, sixties and seventies it was the Soviet Union ( a few) were all paid by, now it is the European Union. What is it about the British Establishment that makes it so rotten?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 7, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        Although it should be possible to find out we have no idea who he is; whether he is in fact a Dutchman who thinks he should be constantly interfering in our affairs on behalf of the EU, or indeed whether he is a he and not a she; whether his/her comments originate from a computer in the Netherlands, or in Brussels, or in London – it could be the old Tory party offices in Smith Square, which appropriately enough have now been taken over by the European Commission, or the new Tory party HQ wherever that may be, or possibly the HQ of the Labour party or the Liberal Democrat party – or anywhere else in the world; we have no idea whether he’s doing it off his own bat from his deep eurofederalist convictions, or he’s being paid to do it, or both; and if he’s being paid to do it we can’t be sure who is directly or indirectly paying him – it could even be the CIA, as happened in the past, or it could be the US mission to the EU, as previously turned out to be the case for another prolific pro-EU propagandist, or it could be some other body – including the British Foreign Office, with or without the knowledge of its committed europhile Secretary Hague – or a company or lobbying group or whatever.

        I’d say that this is a problem with the internet, except that it was going on long before the internet came into existence.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

          @Denis Cooper: Denis you disappoint me as you left out the possibility of an alien! :)
          From our previous encounters (not of the third kind) and your usual scrutiny you could have deduced that I’m a simple Dutch pensioner, living (6m below sea level) near Rotterdam, that I have never worked for the EU, that I support a quaker NGO in Brussels, that I speak a few languages and follow a few media, more really isn’t needed to write what I do. And of course I have a large Dutch and equally large British family, none of them fruitcakes or loonies. You take an attitude as though I’m a christian daring to enter your mosque. If you only want to be among “believers” aren’t you taking the risk of turning into a zealot? Why don’t you pay me? Nobody else does.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

            Why should I suggest that you might be an alien, in the extra-terrestrial sense, when there is no credible evidence that such beings, if they exist, have been promoting the EU?

            There is on the other hand solid evidence that all kinds of parties who believe they have an interest in promoting the EU have been doing so both openly and clandestinely. Even the BBC broadcast a programme some years ago about the covert funding of the European Movement by the CIA to try to swing British public opinion in favour of first joining, and then later staying in, the EEC.

            Equally, I would add, some supposed opponents of the EU may not be what they seem and claim to be, and I don’t just mean Tory MPs who claim to be “eurosceptics”.

            You say you are X, and so you may be, or equally you may not be; but if what you say is true then you are an alien in the sense that you are not a British citizen, and yet you have no hesitation about sticking your oar in on behalf of the EU; maybe one day it will occur to you that continuous and increasing foreign interference in our domestic affairs is one reason why so many Britons are now fed up with the EU.

      • Disaffected
        Posted January 7, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        What a dismal performance Cameron and Clegg made of their press interview. Come the end he did not even answer the question about dumbing down universities or why he allowed it to happen. Clegg did not even want to be part of that aspect of the conversation. Unbelievable incompetence. No sane person could vote for these two, even without their contempt for the public.

        And Cameron thinks UKIP people are odd, grass root Tory supporters were labelled Turnip Taliban when he was leader of the party (2009) and Clegg thinks all nations have a cross to bear, and none more so than Germany with its memories of Nazism. But the British cross is more insidious still (2002 Guardian). What a delight they both are.

        Perhaps Cameron ought to reflect how he intends to get the public to vote for him before he calls people odd or fruitcakes or goes into partnership with people like Clegg.

    • Acorn
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      J’entends chuchoter à travers le continent européen, that there is a move by French, mainly; and German Banking and Finance staff, to learn English. This to ease pulling current City of London business into Paris and Frankfurt, when, it is assumed, that “renegotiation” will mean that the UK will be forced to leave, as part of the price, the ESCB (ECB plus the ten non Euro central banks). The same lot are learning the English law that covers extra-national finance and banking contracts, for the same purpose.

      The threat is that if you want to do business with a €16 trillion GDP trading block, you have to bank with it as well. If the UK ends up after “re-negotiation” like another Switzerland, then the UK could end up pegging the pound to the Euro; just like the Swiss had to do with its continuing currency war with the Euro.

      • davidb
        Posted January 7, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Deviation. From English as it is spoken.

        The Swiss had to peg to keep the Franc from appreciating. I doubt we’ll be seeing that problem again any time soon in the UK.

      • Dr Dan Holdsworth
        Posted January 7, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        The Swiss are not engaged in a currency war with the Euro. What they are engaged in, and highly concerned about is capital flight from the Eurozone to Switzerland causing the Swiss franc to appreciate and ruin their balance of trade. This capital flight is happening because most rich people are either intelligent in and of themselves, or are smart enough to buy the services of accountants.

        Said accountants, upon observing the hideously enormous debts within the Eurozone and the headless-chicken behaviour of many Eurozone leaders when confronted with these figures, plus the worrying lack of comprehension of several other leaders, doubtless advise their patrons to harbour their money somewhere safe. This is also the reason that Switzerland and indeed many similar financial capitols are running out of vault space for gold bullion; rational caution on the part of businessmen is what is happening here.

        • Acorn
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

          That is what I said in a lot less words. Capital flight it is; but, is it private sector or could it be public sector. The latter we call currency manipulation. When a country manipulates its currency to maintain a 12% positive current account balance. That is a currency war in today’s hyperbole riddled language.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Peter–I for one tire of all these pseudo in-depth analyses of the EU quagmire. The main issue could not be simpler, it is one of ideology. Look back at the Falklands when the wonderful Belgium refused to sell (repeat sell) us needed ammunition. I am not about to criticise them for that, you may be pleased to know, because from their point of view it was, so they decided, the right thing to do. But it very much wasn’t from our point of view. The two ideologies are miles apart. History is very important. Why did Nelson and his Band of Brothers Captains fight so unstintingly and courageously, hurling themselves at the enemy every time even when it didn’t make sense? It was because then as now, they and now most of us again, having seen what the EU is becoming, which we had no reason to expect, simply hated and hate the prevailing ideology on the other side of the Channel.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        The continental ideology hasn’t changed, read the first page of 1957 Treaty of Rome and you’ll see. The supranational nature of the project was already there in 1952!
        The current intergration is forced by the financial markets, and as you can see, now that the (Anglo Saxon?) speculators have been discouraged the whole integration project has been switched to a much slower gear.
        Anyway, as I suggested in my post that you’d leave stock and barrel and just trade (that’s if you want to) you should really agree. All you’d have to do is convince the City, UK business and the American government :)
        I’m not sure how to view your ideology and I don’t want to be rude either, but the EU is not a military project.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:29 am | Permalink

          Peter van Leeuwen–If my simple truth above gets under your EUphile skin all I can say is that it is about time much more notice was taken of people who don’t want anything more to do with your “project”. Try and understand that the UK majority consider the project to have failed and we have become entirely uninterested in, indeed contemptuous of, EU so-called presidents and what have you of one alphabet soup or another making pronouncements about us. Supranational trade and trade alone was what we were mendaciously sold and, to the extent that there was more than that involved in the original intention, then we have changed our mind.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 7, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        The ideologies of the UK and Europe haven’t always been different.

        England once controlled large parts of France from 1066-1453.

        The Dutch Prince of Orange became King of England, deposing the British king and forcing him to feel to France.

        Prussia, Russia, and Austria also opposed Napoleon.

        Claiming that the UK has always been ideologically opposed to Europe is nothing more than a delusion based on ignorance. The UK has and always will be ideologically close to Europe.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted January 7, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

          Unanime5–Of course (vide my “prevailing” and my specific reference to the time of Nelson) I never wrote nor ever meant that our ideologies have always been different (though that’s not too far wrong). What you have to get your head round is that the majority here now increasingly do not want to know any more.

          • uanime5
            Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

            What you are unwilling to accept is that the majority are apathetic about the EU, rather than opposed to it.

    • Bob
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      @PVL
      “I do wonder whether the European issues are so important to Conservatives or the British public as you suggest.”

      Our politicians will usually tell you that the majority of the British people are happy with our present EU arrangements.

      In October 2011 our Parliament held a vote as to whether or not to have a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU and the party leaders were so scared of the prospect that they imposed a three line whip to compel their members to vote against letting the British people have their say.

      What does that tell you Peter? Do you think the British taxpayers are happy to pay £50,000,000 per day to support their own subjugation by a bunch of overpaid, anti democratic, interfering, self serving bureaucrats.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

        @Bob: There are regular polls in which people are asked to rank issues in order of importance. They speak for themselves.

    • Timaction
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Peter,
      You are willfully blind to the fact that regardless of foreign states like the USA or the Bnaks or whoever, we the English people have had enough and either the mainstream deliver our exit from the EU superstate we will vote for another party who will. UKIP is in a trajectory to get rid of the old tired EUphile parties. Its all about politicla union NOT trade and friendship and we don’t want it. Its simply called democracy, forget the rest or this will become ugly!

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        @Timaction: You should read my post again, as I actually suggest in it the “divorce” that someone like Farage is promoting! How you, or your government deal with the US, the City and with business is really not my concern, I’m far more interested in British business relocating to the continent. And not to worry, we will always keep trading. As a matter of fact, as BMW will start production of Britain’s Mini in the Netherlands next year, we’d love to export them to the UK, sporting the UK flag and all, and with the sales slogan: “Buy British, in Holland”. Just don’t talk to me about “democracy”, I don’t particularly like yours. Calling it self-determination as a country is ok with me, that may well be a particular British characteristic.

    • Disaffected
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Let us hope the EU will cast the UK aside, Germany and France can (argue with-ed) each other again, and again.

      MEP Clegg originally claimed he came back to the UK to become an MP to exert more influence for the EU. Pity he did not stay where he was. Nevertheless, the voting record for Lib Dems are always pro EU, he sanctioned a three lined whip last October to oppose an in/out EU referendum. However this is in stark contrast to his voting record and pledge before the election that the Lib Dems would give a better in/out referendum than the Tories. Gilding the lily, misleading, sophistry, deceit or just plain lies? No wonder he got fewer votes than the previous election and fewer MPs. If he had not gone into coalition he was toast.

      I think the public have woken up to Clegg’s false promises, his determination to change British culture ie mass immigration, Lords reform, AV voting, gay marriage, succession to the throne, free university tuition to EU students and voting for English students to have a huge increase (Ming Campbell, former Lib Dem leader, even awards free degrees to EU students). It does not make sense why he is so interested in these matters other than promoting EU socialist drivel.

      JR how come it is okay for MPs to have subsidised meals and drinks at Westminster when they are paid too much and most are rich, according to current language from Politicians, and, yet , Clegg brings pensioners benefits into discussion?
      Wipe Lib Dems off the political map they want to be the equivalent of over paid local councillors for the EU superstate.

  2. Leslie Singleton
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    All good stuff, but allow me to say that you have omitted a very important word. I think it crucial to emphasize – I doubt you disagree – that it is not just the strivers, the prudent, and the hard working that should be able to rely on the Government – any sensible Government – but also very much deserving a mention are the risk -takers. Anyone setting up a business in this country and this age and making a go of it gets all my praise but somehow socialists seem to want to pillory and place scarcely believable burdens on our entrepreneurs whilst of course regarding it as obvious that if these people do succeed they should be taxed even more than they are already, which is saying something, not to mention being forced to pay more than they think is right, in their own businesses, this to hire people (voluntarily, yet), which simply doesn’t make sense. Many are just going to give it up.

    • oldtimer
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      I think you are right about this. There is a deeply embedded hostility towards business success in the UK. As Bazman commented the other day – the socialist view of the world prevails in the majority of the voting public and it is deeply embedded in public institutions like the BBC. It has been like that through most of the post WW2 years. In my view it is one of the reasons that there is no equivalent to the German Mittelstand in the UK. It has been substantially wiped out, folded or voted with feet and wallet for friendlier climes. For that reason any swift recovery or building the export markets on which recovery and growth depends is most unlikely. Nor will devaluation do the job, as the last few years of a 20-30% devaluation has demonstrated – exports have more or less flatlined. Further devaluation might persuade more foreign investors to buy cheap assets but they will hardly view the UK as a base from which to mount an export drive. The outlook is flatlining at best, but gradual decline is the more likely outcome.

  3. Steve Cox
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    David Cameron is hopelessly out of touch with the majority of people who vote for his party. From his much-touted interview with Matthew D’Ancona at the weekend:

    “Mr Cameron said there would be no turning back on policies unpopular with his party’s grassroots, such as same-sex marriage, the imminent child benefit cut for the better-off and the protection of foreign aid spending.”

    As he evidently feels that grassroots Conservatives are so unimportant that he can happily ignore the policies that (he feels) are frustrating them, why on earth would they bother voting for a government that regards them with such contempt? Surely it’s much better to chance a vote for UKIP, or simply to abstain from the whole tawdry political mess. What is the difference on any major policy area between Cameron Clegg and Miliband? All I see is three clones, none of whom actually represents what the people want, but what choice do they have? None.

    I think Paul Goodman of ConservativeHome was getting close to the truth in his article this morning:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ukip/9783950/The-PM-should-have-more-respect-for-Ukip.html

    I quote:

    Surveys by YouGov and Lord Ashcroft have separately established that the EU is not the top issue for Mr Farage’s voters… Rather, their main concern is immigration, with crime coming second and the EU only third. Studies of Ukip’s supporters find pessimism about the country’s future and rage against the political class. These very angry and predominately male voters won’t come back to Mr Cameron if he gives them what they want on the EU. Indeed, many of them are so furious as to be unwilling to return at all.

    I can certainly identify with that, though personally it’s the failure to cut the deficit and the continued debasement of people’s savings and pensions via ZIRP and QE that anger me the most.

    And unless Christopher Booker has got his facts wrong, something I very much doubt in this case, it’s clear that the PM can not and will not negotiate any significantly different new relationship with the EU. I won’t labour the point, but it’s clear enough from this article:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9782021/David-Camerons-EU-dream-is-doomed-to-failure.html

    that when he talks of a new relationship, Mr Cameron is being disingenuous.

    And to add insult to injury, this morning he is quoted as saying that it’s not the AAA rating that matters, or even the speed of deficit reduction, it’s low interest rates that count. Since the low interest rates are a direct result of BoE/Treasury policy and endless money printing, it’s not really much of an achievement, and we all know that in the end we will pay a high cost in inflation caused by all that extra money in the system when a recovery takes off. If that’s Mr. Cameron’s own gauge of his success then it doesn’t say very much for the Coalition.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Steve,
      Well said!

    • Alan
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Or just possibly it is UKIP and the Eurosceptics who are “out of touch with the majority of people who vote for his party”. In my view they are certainly not helping his party to stay in power, but then maybe nothing – except a big improvement in the economy – can.

    • oldtimer
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      I used to think that Cameron was a shrewd politician. No longer.

      • Patrick Loaring
        Posted January 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        I also used to think Cameron was a shrewd politician. But not anymore!

        • sm
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

          Lets suppose his aims are strategic not operational or tactical.

          Perhaps they are;
          1) Maintain the status quo – the veneer of democracy, the money system and current economic crony capitalistic rent seeking model.
          2) Keep us in the EU and maintain integration (possibly pause it for decades)

          The election of another party pro the above hardly matters in the grand strategy- the money masters are in control.

          Unless the FibLiebourCon party system of control, of our captured democracy is wrested away.

          This must mean more direct democracy, with the electorate being able to veto legislation.

          Parliament would still be a lot of expensive hot air but probably cheap at half the price.

    • forthurst
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      People like Ashcroft and Goodman are being deliberately disingenuous by implying that UKIP members really like the EU; it’s just all the other stuff which by pure co-incidence arises directly from our membership, but which all other parties go out of their way to hide, to which UKIP supporters object.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      I suspect the triple A rating is no longer being praised because the UK is about to lose it and it will cause major problems for Cameron and Osborne if they continue to attach their reputations to it.

    • zorro
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      It’s the point in your last paragraph which really does make me worry for Mr Cameron’s stability……On several occasions he has stated that the low interest rates we enjoy (sic) are a result of his successful economic policies in ‘paying down the deficit’….Well, the only people enjoying these rates are the banks, government, or people fortunate enough to have BoE tracker mortgages….Everyone else is paying realistic or extortionate rates so that the banks can replenish their coffers….

      zorro

      • APL
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        Neither is his administration ‘paying down debt’.

        This much vaunted low interest rate policy is bankrupting people living on their savings, actually driving people who have saved for their retirement or for a ‘rainy day’ into poverty.

        It destroys the accumulation of capital – that is the source of a vital capitalist economy – in short it is destroying the British economy.

  4. Robert K
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    My income has gone down since the days of the Labour, and a higher proportion of that income goes out in tax than it did under Labour. The deficit has gone up and the national debt has increased and continues to rise. We have a new Bank governor on the way who seems to think that inflation can be ignored.
    Why, for heaven’s sake, would I vote Conservative, unless it was for a candidate such as JR or Douglas Carswell (not in their constituencies) or Dan Hannan, who are prepared to see reality for what it is?

  5. alan jutson
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    John

    The simple answer is, he has the power to try to act on his wishes, Coalition or not.

    If he wanted to get a vote through on Europe and it was structured the right way, he may very well succeed.
    At least we could see he tried!

    He says he wants to encourage strivers and savers, but at every turn he screws them more.

    He says he wants to stop the welfare culture, but they all got a 5.2% tax free rise last year.

    In short his actions do not follow the words. its as simple as that, thus more words are just water off a ducks back, why should we believe anything he says.

    • Disaffected
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      He could have made child benefit linked to self assessed tax returns so that anyone who wanted to claim child benefit could so by filling in a form so that any person or couple on a set amount either gets or not get child benefit. Not hard to implement. This way it would be fair as joint incomes taken into account. However, part of his/Clegg’s culture change is for partners not reaffirming marriage and family as he promised before the election. This means divorced couples are likely to be better off than married ones. Remember what Cameron said: this is who I am this is what I believe in- yeah right. He says one thing and acts in a completely different direction. You cannot believe a word he says.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted January 7, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        tax returns are retrospective. child benefit is paid before it is clear how much the couple will earn that tax year. so pretty silly to mess with it like this. many folk genuinely dont know how much they will earn in a tax year until the last few days of it. in any case currently the mothers pension is tied to having claimed child benefit.

        personally i am one of those who will end up having to pay it back, i am also one of those the wonderful folk at hmrc have failed to inform via letter or any other means, i only know about it because of the press.

        i think its a massive own goal by a bunch of trust fund holders who have not got the faintest idea what its like in the real world.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Alan,
      You are correct he has no credibility.

    • oldtimer
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Exactly – actions not words are what count.

  6. iain gill
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    its not just the EU and money its also immigration more widely masses of indian nationals on ICT visas getting free NHS and school places for their family and being taxed less than brits etc

  7. Posted January 7, 2013 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Having listened to his interview yesterday (conducted in the usual pro EU, and pathetically undemanding BBC style), I am left with the impression that he could not negotiate his way out of a paper bag and clearly would not even want to try. The Tories are not, in the main, a Eurosceptic party at all – other than for occasional political advantage at election times. The voters will not be taken in by Cast Iron a second time. Labour is clearly worse but only slightly. Cameron has wasted the huge opportunity that landed in his lap. First by losing the last sitting duck election, then by his absurd pro EU, fake green, print, over tax, borrow and waste policies. His record is so poor it should bury the Tories for many terms. At least it has buried the pathetic Libdems.

    • Mark W
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Sitting Duck Election?

      I wonder whether that was the last chance in a generation for the centre right. If Cameron had ditched the lentil munching rubbish and gone more red blooded to the right, like Thatcher in 83 and 87, then he may have had a majority.

      There’s a lot of people who don’t bother voting, and a lot who have previously and more that in future will use the protest vote of UKIP. They were there for the taking by a conservative which Cameron doesn’t appear. More obvious today when child benefit is stopped exclusively for homes with a stay at home parent (once a conservative principle) on a good income but not for both parents working with all that tax allowance and 20% band still intact.

    • P O Pensioner
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      The Lib Dems have always been basically more left wing than Labour. We’ve now got a coalition government that is putting in place all the policies that are either left wing or left of centre. No right of centre policies get through.

      I cannot for one moment envisage that the Conservatives would win an overall majority at the next election with Cameron in charge because he has shown us all very clearly that he says one thing and does something else. He is not a solution to the disenchantment with politicians but one of the main problems.

      The Conservative core vote will be lost at the next election and the Lib Dems will lose their core vote as well. We will see a landslide victory for labour even though they have spent the last two and a half years trying (possibly succeeding) to convince the electorate that the huge cuts being made to public expenditure are due to heartless Conservative “posh boys” who are out of touch with the real world.

      Labour don’t need to apologise for landing the country in this financial mess because by the next election the attention deficit electorate will have forgotten all about who created the original mess. Labour has been trying to bankrupt this country for the last nearly 70 years and it looks as though they’ll succeed at last.

    • zorro
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      If he did try to negotiate his way out of a paper bag, he would probably end up in a plastic one….

      zorro

  8. Colin D.
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Why do you bang on about ‘eliminating the deficit’.
    The deficit is a relatively minor issue and talking about it is just a smokescreen.
    The real problem is the National Debt which is increasing all the time and will have increased by £600 billion over the term of this government. My children and grand children are going to have to pay back more than £1300 billion and the interest will be an absolute millstone.
    What is this government’s policy to start REDUCING our overseas debt? Why is this awful problem not given more priority by financially knowledgeable people such as yourself?

    • forthurst
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      The way to pay off the “National Debt” is by using a fiscal surplus to fund the repayment of gilts on maturity whilst not issuing further replacement gilts. The “National Debt” has been increasing because the deficit has been increasing. There is no other reason for eliminating the deficit. It would be good if the deficit could be eliminated by reducing government waste rather than increasing our taxes.

  9. Stu H.
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    If the deficit had been removed and the debts were under control Conservatives would be happier. Some Conservatives are worried at just how much extra current spending continues under this government. ….. Instead Conservative MPs are queueing up to demand cuts to overseas aid, cuts to EU budget contributions, cuts to automatic benefit entitlement for recently arrived EU migrants, cuts to public sector employees earning far more than the Prime Minister, cuts to the still over mighty quangos and nationalised industries, cuts to expensive energy generation, and much else besides.

    Well, I think that just about covers it.

    If we cut the automatic payouts to EU migrants, the migration problem may well sort itself overnight.

    I float around a few comment boards, and the overwhelming anger points are:
    Banks, EU payments, Immigration, Auto immigrant payouts, Foreign aid payments… oh, and tax and the fact they all think they are going to lose out in the benefit shake-up.

    Change is a series of small steps.
    (Plug the holes in the bucket, and there should be enough water for everyone.)

    I find the general level of knowledge on this site very encouraging, with reasoned arguments from all sides.

    I do not believe the ‘general population’ is as well read about the root causes of our current situation. Most of the blame for this must land at the doorstep of our ‘celebrity tabloids’ in my opinion.

    etc
    Stu-H.

    • Bob
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      “Most of the blame for this must land at the doorstep of our ‘celebrity tabloids’ “

      I would allocate most of the blame to the BBC, after all the tabloids are not funded by tax or charged with a duty to educate and inform.

  10. Bryan
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Mr Cameron, the heir to Blair, follows the latter in thinking that an initiative a week can replace policy and a good speech can replace action.

    Making Ed Miliband look good will however go down as his only achievement as a Conservative, one term, Prime Minister.

    • Posted January 7, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Indeed the only good think that I can see in Cameron, relative to Blare, is that he has not taken the country to counter productive wars on a blatant lie – so far. He is clear a Heathite, a John Major type of leader, but without the excuse of being dim, just totally misguided. Good on his feet and with presentation but at the end of the day it is the compass that matters his is 180 degrees out.

      • zorro
        Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        ‘Indeed the only good think that I can see in Cameron, relative to Blare, is that he has not taken the country to counter productive wars on a blatant lie’…..For Cameron, that would only have been because of a matter of time and circumstance. They are making strategic errors in the Middle East….

        zorro

        • forthurst
          Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:32 am | Permalink

          I don’t think the policy’s changed as yet, just the tactics: destabilisation rather than ‘shock and awe’ for Libya and Syria with the MSM focusing solely on the despot du jour, although it will be interesting to see what impact if any arises from Chuck Hagel’s appt as Secretary of Defense.

    • M.A.N
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      This will not work any more. During the Blair era the general public were largely placated by rising house prices, endless credit, cheap imported Chinese tat , and cheap energy prices. They now literally have nothing to be glad about. Witness the pathetic attempts at patriotism over the royal wedding, I have no problem with the royals by the way , it’s just the infantile way it was presented as a sort of ‘pick me up’. The time for staged events is gone , ditto two weeks of Olympics, ITS NOT IMPORTANT!.

      For Pete’s sake, someone in Whitehall get a grip, before we drown in a sea of tax, if the government won’t cut it’s cloth accordingly, and reduce its outgoings, then the private sector should revolt and minise it’s turnover. How on earth can public spending be increasing. I feel like I have woken up in some bizarre Alice in wonderland film.

      • zorro
        Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        Don’t worry M.A.N you have the ‘royal baby’ event to look forward to perhaps……

        zorro

  11. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Quite. Does he write the speeches himself?

  12. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    JR : “The Prime Minister’s own message to Conservatives who say they now do not want to vote Conservative is ‘I think I understand why you’re frustrated and I want to try and win you back’. ”
    Just where did he say that? I wouldn’t believe it even if he did say it. His interview with Marr yesterday only reinforced my belief that he is the wrong man for the job and showed he had no intention of trying to win us back. He has repeatedly made clear that he is not eurosceptic as you keep saying but as determined as Clegg and Clarke to keep us imprisoned in the EU. I expect nothing from his much trailed EU speech other than an attempt to con everyone, as Wilson did back in 1975. He has let us down massively on the economy and shown that your party is little different from Labour and the Lib Dems. To me he would be happier leading the Lib Dems but they are too small for his enormous ego. Just what will he and you do to stop large numbers of immigrants coming here from Bulgaria and Romania from December 2013? The answer I expect is nothing, as has already been stated by Theresa May. Cameron has lost my trust and I see no way he will win it back – he most certainly will not with his mendacious oratory. I have judged him by his actions and as I have said before he has been found inadequate for the task. Conservative MPs will however carry on with their blind party loyalty and so I expect the UKIP bandwagon to keep on rolling in 2013. Please don’t tell me that will ensure a Labour victory in 2015 because in reality it will make little difference, the three main parties are all basically the same.

  13. MajorFrustration
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Agree with most of what you say – other than a section of the final paragraph concerning Cameron’ mind set. Frankly I am not convinced that Cameron is on the same political pathway as suggested in your article. He has had two years or so to tackle many of the issues/shortcomings mentioned by you and made no progress other than waffle – you know the sort of thing ” difficult decisions” ” bonfire of the Quangos” Unless you and like minded MPs stop hiding in the bushes and talking in the tea roooms and tell it as it is in the House there will be no second term as disaffected Tory voters will be voting with their feet.
    At best Cameron has twelve months to come good.

  14. Winston Smith
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    The Coalition should be remebered for their attack on traditional single income families. Today they are removing nearly £2k (2 children) from many families where the mother looks after the children and are proposing to give £2k to families in childcare vouchers so the mother can return to work. Its a policy designed to favour the metropolitan elite and further screw aspiring working-class and lower middle-class families. Another nail in the coffin for the Conservative Party.

  15. Paul H
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    As a loyal Conservative member you clearly have to carry high hopes for your leader and wish him well, although I suspect that you secretly despise him. The rest of us are not constrained in this way – we hold him in contempt, not because we want to, but because of his de haut en bas behaviour combined with rudeness and contempt towards those with differing views to his. It might be a little forgiveable if he demonstrated good sense and judgement but, on the contrary, he compounds this error with repeated poor judgement.

    The latest example of this is, of course, the “pretty odd” jibe yesterday. Even coming from Cameron this set a new standard in stupidity – I had to sit down in disbelief. Does he not realise what a high proportion of those currently indicating support for UKIP are normally Conservative supportes who would probably sigh in relief given half a reason to “come home”? Schoolboy error. And has he not taken an honest objective look at some of the Conservative party members and supporters – let alone his partners-in-crime, the LibDems. Pots, kettles, black, glass houses, stones, etc.

    If Cameron can’t get these simple basic politics right, no wonder the government is such a shambles.

    • cosmic
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      As for the “pretty odd” jibe, it was hardly a glowing example of how to win friends and influence people, and as you say, it was far from a one-off. Mr. Cameron seems to go out of his way to alienate people who might otherwise be natural Conservative supporters.

  16. adams
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    That is it John . Talk up your conviction free Leader and keep up the pretence that the ex-Con party is worth staying a member of . Peter Hitchens has never been more right .

    • zorro
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

      Indeed…..the Cameron Delusion….

      zorro

  17. Leslie Singleton
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I see Prince Charles is being quoted as speaking against the proposed changes to the monarchic succession. Hurrah for him. This is just another of Cameron’s fatuous ideas, this time presumably in an attempt to please women. The women I know have less than no respect for him and stunts like this and his ridiculous, almost blasphemous, views on non procreational “marriage” aren’t going to help him, rather the opposite.

  18. DaveK
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    John

    A current hot topic seems to be the potential increase of “EU” benefit claimants. Perhaps you could enlighten us as to whether IDS Universal Benefits system has a section on eligibility.

    I would hope that conditions such as:

    1. Claimants already in receipt as of a set date.
    2. Contributors for greater than 5 years.
    3. Resident (legally) for greater than 10 years.

    etc. Would form a common sense part of his legislation to prevent benefit tourism. This hopefully would still fall in with EU regulations as to treating everyone equally.

    Reply The government has been waging a legal battle about EU benefit eligibility.

    • alan jutson
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      Reply – reply

      Who is winning the legal battle so far ?

      Will it be resolved before the new benefit arrangements are introduced.

      Amazing that we as a Country cannot fix our own benefit rights to include or exclude who we like without the EU being involved..

      Why not just make it contribution based ?.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      Requiring that someone has to have contributed for 5 years is ageist, as it disadvantages the young who have had no opportunity to pay into the system. Given that there’s 1 million people aged 18-24 who are unemployed all your plan will do is push a large number of young people into poverty or crime.

  19. Ilma
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Cameron has fundamentally lost the power to lead, and is now in ‘defensive’ mode in order to stay in power and appear to stay credible. The coalition was perhaps the wrong strategy at the outset, as whilst all the words spoke of cooperation and benefit, time has demonstrated that in reality he has surrendered to the LibDems, despite their own support having collapsed, and caused government to be ineffective and wandering in the wind, where high-profile but futile and unimportant policies are attempted but fail.

    The rise of UKIP is no surprise therefore, as they are focussed on policies born out of strong belief and no political niceties (correctness) to accommodate.

    If Cameron had any backbone, he would call a GE without delay, and allow his party to campaign on its traditional beliefs, many of which are expressed by JR here in this column.

  20. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I can not in future vote for a party that offers a 5% increase to non-working benefit recipients (and incomers) in the same year as taking up to 5% income reduction from those earning £60K or more. Where is the incentive to take responsibility?

    I am amused by the glee with which the lower paid have greeted the removal of child benefit (child benefit charge). Quotes such as “with that amount of money you should learn to live your life less extravagantly” abound.

    I look forward to the day that me and my ilk move into their less expensive areas as part of our newly less extravagant lifestyles thus pushing up their hosing costs which with the cap on housing benefit they will no longer be able to afford.

    Quid pro quo etc

  21. Normandee
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    16% in the polls, with a potential loss of 51 seats at the next GE, and he continues the name calling, can you imagine how many floating UKIP voters he just cemented in place. Which after his “kick the can down the road again” speech he will no doubt give later this week (if he makes one) must make you doubt his desire to win the next election at all.

    • zorro
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

      I would expect that he wants to win the next election as a Conservative as much as he wished to win the last one as a Conservative against Brown……i.e. not very much

      zorro

  22. Barbara
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Well Mr R, I’ve listened to your leader and believe me he is not inspiring me at all, in fact he makes me depressed. He’s hell bent on doing what he wants and not what the country wants, and that’s a serious misjudgement on his part. We don’t want immigration at such levels, and the new intake in the EU will bring more and more, mostly (people) who have no education, no skills, nothing. Who will keep these people? Where will they live? Why are they having access to our services when they’ve paid not one penny into them? This is the kind of thing that is angering people, especially those ‘strivers’ who are paying tax. Then we come to foreign aid, how dare he expect this nation to fund such a big amount. Its not his money, he as no mandate to do it, and we have our own begging in food banks each week to survive, most have children to feed and clothe. Many have not got winter clothes to wear, its a disgrace to see and hear.
    Then you wonder if people who have joined UKIP will return, I don’t think so. I’m one of them who will vote for them although not joined the party. As I see it to join a party it has to have your aligence, and any party as to earn such devotion. The main three are losing members by the thousand, and can you wonder why? Their devotion appears to fleece their own till they drop or go abroad to escape the ever demanding governments.
    If you run a household, you don’t give money away before you pay your debts, and if you do have spare money you encourage savings for another day. You tackle your debt problem by working and paying those debts off before embarking on more debt. Its called old fashion ‘thrift’.
    Cameron can talk all he likes; can call this meeting today regeneration of the coalition, if he likes, the nation will see it for what it is, two desperate men trying to establish their beliefs on a nation who don’t want to hear such rubbish. We want a referendum now, as its clear Cameron won’t win the next election; so the decision would be made by the people. We want all monies leaving these shores to stop, and most of all future immigration from EU countries should cease till we can afford to take them. No job no entry, its as simple as that. We won’t get it but we can hope, or vote ukip.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      We don’t want immigration at such levels, and the new intake in the EU will bring more and more, mostly (people) who have no education, no skills, nothing. Who will keep these people? Where will they live?

      They’ll probably work in unskilled labour jobs that pay minimum wage and live 14 to a house, just like the Poles did before the pound devalued so much that it wasn’t economical for them to work in the UK anymore.

  23. John Orchard
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I would think that behind his facade Cameron is petrified of Nigel Farage. This guy tells it like it is not as a lying duplicitous person who has never done a days honest work in his life. How can the likes of him and Osborne run a Country yet have never ever in their alleged working lives have employed people and run a successful business. That actually is the problem with most Politicians. They have risen through being attatched in some way to the system of politics and never been out in the real World. Lets face it we have had useless Government for decades.

  24. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    “Conservatives want to be out of the EU altogether, or want a new relationship based on trade and co-operation where the UK can always say “No” if it disagrees with a proposal.”

    That may well be true for the majority of grassroots members of the Conservative party, but it’s certainly not true for those at the top of the Conservative party, or indeed for a majority of the Conservative MPs, let alone the Conservative MEPs.

    Cameron, Hague, Osborne – none of them are prepared to contemplate ever leaving the EU, which is of course a great weakness when trying to extract concessions from their counterparts in other EU countries, and nor are they prepared to publicly recognise and denounce the reality that the EU to which they are so incurably attached entails a solemn commitment by ALL its members to the process of “ever closer union” between ALL its members mandated by its founding treaties.

    Recently Osborne tried to give an American audience the false impression that the UK is somehow not bound by this commitment to “ever closer union”:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9764032/George-Osborne-wants-single-market-role-in-EU.html

    As if addressing other EU countries, especially those in the eurozone:

    “We are happy to be part of a single market, we are happy to be part of a free trading zone, we are happy to have the policies that come around that – and indeed other polices that are part of the EU — but we are not part of your single currency, we do not need to be part of your ever-closer union, and there are things that we want back.”

    But it’s not just their “ever closer union”, it’s been ours as well ever since the Conservative party signed us to the Treaty of Rome in 1972; and it will continue to be ours as well until either we leave the EU, or the whole basis of the EU treaties is changed so that its institutions stop constantly pushing for further, and supposedly irreversible, integration between its member states until they have been completely subjugated in a European federation and have ceased to exist as independent sovereign states in any meaningful sense.

    Which one can only suppose is what Cameron, Hague and Osborne all want to happen in the end, even they have to make a show of opposition to keep party members and supporters quiet while it gradually happens.

  25. APL
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Is true Strathclyde has resigned? etc

    Reply Yes he has.

  26. Mark B
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood said,
    “As leader of a Eurosceptic party…….”

    That made me chuckle.

  27. David Langley
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Its not Camerons fault that he has never had a real job, or been frightened by personal debt or the very real chance of getting killed by a foreign person who dared to assert his own rights.
    It is not his fault that he grew up within a circle of self indulgent people who looked down on us while we were supposed to look up to them. Well we are where we are and it stinks. I do not like the assertions Cameron makes as if they are both facts and correct. Most of the time they appear to be incorrect and his belief that he has a right to force his opinions down our throats could be that after all we need his wisdom and sense of belief in his priorities, and that we are in the end just Plebs.

  28. Electro-Kevin
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    As I keep saying I believe the biggest issue is mass immigration – regardless of whether it is from within or without the EU.

    There is a housing crisis and this subject barely registers a mention. Welfare is still a huge draw whether directly or indirectly.

    This is the key reason why I won’t be voting Conservative and I suspect the same to be so for very many others. It is a shame as there is much good work being done by some of our ministers though it doesn’t seem to be going nearly far enough.

    The sooner Britain (and her welfare state) goes bankrupt the sooner we can set about rebuilding her.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      PS, It doesn’t matter if Ukip can’t field good quality candidates because of Nigel Farage’s massive expansion in numbers of seats. Wherever they stand Ukip will be seen as a depository for protest votes and most will come from the Tory party.

      I’d prefer to see a ‘None of the above’ box on the voting slips.

      Credit should be given to the British public for refusing to vote BNP in view of the extreme provocation that the political classes have directed at them.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      If the welfare state goes bankrupt expect huge riots as those living in poverty steal to ward off starvation. Making those with nothing to lose more desperate will be disastrous for the UK.

  29. uanime5
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Conservatives want to be out of the EU altogether, or want a new relationship based on trade and co-operation where the UK can always say “No” if it disagrees with a proposal.

    This will never happen. The EU is not going to give the UK the power to veto any law it doesn’t like when no other country is able to do this.

    No Norway cannot veto EU law, nor can any other EEA member. I don’t know why some people believe that the EU would allow EEA members, which don’t pay anything towards the EU, to veto any law that the majority of the fee paying EU members had agreed upon. Seriously check out the EEA agreements; they don’t mention this veto but do include a clause that says these countries have to implement all relevant EU laws.

    Even if the UK leaves the EU and joins the EEA we will still have to obey EU laws, be subject to a European court for failing to implement these laws (EFTA court), and have human rights. We’ll also have EU immigration due to the freedom of movement.

    Many in the party feel the government needs to do more to be on the side of the strivers, the prudent, the hard working.

    Then why aren’t they criticising Cameron over his real term cuts to benefits which will have a huge effect on strivers in low paid jobs (this is being voted on tomorrow) or his shambolic way of removing child benefit for the wealthy (comes into effect today)? It seems that to many people in the Conservatives poor strivers are identical to scroungers.

    If you are in the middle income you move more rapidly from 20% to 40% tax, and more rapdily lose your in work benefits.

    That’s because the Conservatives keep lowering the 40% tax rate so that people can’t benefit from the increased personal allowance. It seems that putting more money in people’s pockets isn’t a Conservative policy anymore.

    The government promised to eliminate the deficit in one Parliament. Now it will take almost two Parliaments.

    That’s because growth didn’t magically appear, like everyone predicted. Instead the Conservatives’ economic policies lead to a double dip recession and stagnation, like the economists predicted.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      What would the position be if the Continent were already a single country, the US of CE (Continental Europe of course)? Would we expect to be able to have direct influence over the laws of that country (Yawn)?–Of course not. Why would we? Moving on, in such case, would we expect to have a relationship with the US of CE similar to that between (say) Canada and the US of A or (as mooted the other day by Unanime5) that between Cuba and the US of A? As best I can understand (else what is the problem?) we are actively threatened with the latter rather than the former (indeed the former is not a problem at all). Comment is invited from the EUphiliacs as to why, if we are all supposed to be so convivial in the wider Europe, we would stand to be treated more like Cuba than Canada. I repeat, all this good stuff about influence simply would not apply in either case and nobody would expect it to. Why couldn’t we simply work out a sensible Us and Them relationship of just about any kind you like with the US of CE? What has the fact that at present it is still inchoate got to do with it?

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        Failed Mods again? Sob!!

    • zorro
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

      The ‘negative growth’ reality was entirely predictable because of the ridiculous squeeze on personal incomes and ongoing credit strangulation to businesses…..but don’t worry the banks and government are OK with QE….

      zorro

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      “No Norway cannot veto EU law, nor can any other EEA member.”

      Well, the EEA Agreement is here:

      http://www.efta.int/~/media/Documents/legal-texts/eea/the-eea-agreement/Main%20Text%20of%20the%20Agreement/EEAagreement.pdf

      and while Norway cannot exercise a veto over an EU proposal for the EU to make a new EU law for the EU member states it can decline to apply that new EU law in Norway, even if it falls within a policy area covered by the EEA Agreement.

      So in the sense that Norway can veto the application of an EU law within its territory, it can be said to have a veto; and maybe some people would be satisfied if the UK had a similar kind of veto, meaning that it could not stop an EU law being passed by majority voting but it could choose not to apply or to actively disapply that EU law within the UK.

      As repeatedly suggested by Bill Cash MP, most recently only yesterday in a debate on the EU Commission’s work programme for 2013, starting at Column 41 here:

      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm130107/debtext/130107-0001.htm

      “… the Norwegians are now getting restless and using their arrangements within the European economic area to challenge directives. I heard only a few hours ago that that was happening … ”

      “Yes, but that one instance demonstrates a principle. For 15 years, I have been advocating that we use the “notwithstanding” formula, and when my party was in opposition, we agreed that we would do so. If we were to use it just once now we are in government, it would send out an appropriate signal.”

      Specifically the Norwegians are restless about the Third Postal Directive; refusing to implement it would in fact be a first, and the consequences are not entirely clear but are explored here:

      http://www.law.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/child-page/205024/doc/slspublic/bersagel_eulawwp5.pdf

      “On May 23rd, 2011, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre informed the European Union (EU) of Norway’s intention to exercise a reservation against the Third Postal Directive. Although Norway is not a member of the EU, it is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), along with Iceland and Liechtenstein, and a party to the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement. According to the terms of the EEA Agreement, EFTA states implement substantially all EU law; although as nonmember states, they have no formal voting rights in the EU. Norway’s announcement marks the first time in EEA history that an EFTA state has announced plans to exercise a reservation. This paper describes the mechanics of incorporating EU law into Norwegian law and the legal basis for the reservation procedure, before addressing the potential legal and political consequences of a Norwegian reservation. Although there is still a possibility that negotiations with the EU will lead to a settlement that will avoid Norway’s exercise of a reservation, the process thus far signals growing unease within Norway regarding the country’s complex mode of cooperation with the EU. Although the EU may prove willing to compromise in order to avoid a Norwegian reservation in the short-term, it risks setting a precedent that may encourage Norway’s growing EU opposition forces to push the envelope again in the future, for better or for worse.”

      And good luck to those growing EU opposition forces, say I; why should they, or we, sit back and let foreigners impose a law that could wreck our national postal services?

      • uanime5
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        It’s seems that Norway’s reservation is the first reservation ever issued. Consequently it’s impossible to know what the outcome of this will be.

        Given that being in the EFTA involves creating a legal system that is as homogeneous as possible I doubt Norway will be permitted to ignore any directive it doesn’t like. That would set a bad prescient.

    • APL
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      uanime5: “The EU is not going to give the UK the power to veto any law it doesn’t like when no other country is able to do this. ”

      Correct, giving the lie to Mr Redwoods pipe dream of ‘renegotiation’.

      But think for a minute, the Political class have ceded our right to govern ourselves to the extent that we have to beg and grovel to ask for some of those rights back.

      Shameful! Utterly, utterly shameful!

  30. davidb
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    What I picked up was more spending. That is not what we need. Lets stop paying child benefit but blow the savings on free child care provision? Duh!

    I heard differing opinions from Labour spokespeople today on the child benefit issue. And I heard a guy who could afford to have 4 kids on his “low wage” of over 50k a year telling me how hard done by he was going to be because he wouldnt get the money childless taxpayers were providing to help him with his mortgage any more.

    Your party’s PR is awful. I did not once hear any spokesperson from the coalition point out that the anomaly of two households is due to the highly desirable, liberating and fair policy of separately taxing both partners in a household. Would the complainers prefer that a wife’s income be regarded as her husband’s for tax purposes? The French tax households, we tax individuals. We gotta start somewhere cutting freebies for those who can reasonably get by without them.

    The group earning 50k plus is inevitably going to be well educated – free by taxpayers until very recently – and is going to be both vocal, articulate and well connected. Please resist the crys of this group and do not back down. I am reminded of the charity tax issue. The Government took on a group which whole modus operandi is to use the media to tug heart strings. What kind of response did you expect?

    One big thing that is urgently required in the child benefit reform. I have heard of a scam where people from other member states of the EU claim child benefit for children they have who are still in their country of origin. Please tell me it isn’t true that we pay out money for children who don’t even live here.

    • zorro
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

      I can confirm that it is very true….an example would be an EU national who is working here and claiming UK child benefit for their child in Poland (living with the grandparent or wife) and also claiming the equivalent Polish benefit. This has been going on for years…..Google ‘eastern europeans claiming child benefit’ and weep…..

      zorro

    • Gwen
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

      It is true!

  31. Remington Norman
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Too late: Cameron has proved untrustworthy on Europe and much else besides. It seems clear that he is a closet europhile and that promises on reforming our relationship with the EU are unlikely to be matched by decisive action. On this, as on much else, he is a ‘reactive’ rather than a ‘proactive’ politician. I suspect that many traditional tory voters have gone well beyond the point of disaffection that a balsamic speech will reverse. The Tory party is a lost cause unless i) Cameron is ousted and ii) a strong core of centre-right MPs take and do what they know what is required.

  32. Jon
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    On the rail fares they have gone up by more than inflation in the South East since I can remember to offset rises elsewhere. This is also related to the previous blog of nationalised industries / monopolies not being good value for money.

    At Moorgate I noticed on the underground they put up a custom advert for themselves that must be 100 foot long and atleast 12 foot high. If they had used that entire platform wall to hire out for private advertisement of that size I could appreciate it. It wouldn’t suprise me if from concept to final fitting the cost is near or over a 6 figure sum. Why does a monopoly need to advertise?

    • Jon
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      regarding that self promotion advert its on the platform that received the met, circle and Hamersmith & City trains – not the Northern Line ones.

  33. Adam5x5
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Cameron has shown through his actions time and again that he is unsuitable for leading the Conservative party.

    Cast Iron promise – reneged
    Quango Bonfire – not ignited
    Help hard working families – helps the unemployed, energy policy increases energy bills & cost of food
    Tax the rich – taxes everybody
    End war on motorist – ever increasing parking charges, still ridiculously high fuel tax levels, proposals to increase road tax after people switch to lower band cars…
    End government borrowing – debt still increasing, albeit at a slower rate
    Greenest government – Barely any advancement on shale gas, which has seen US emissions plummet, but plenty of windmills which are worse than gas over lifetime (not that I believe the AGW/climate change rubbish)

    Why would anyone trust this man again?
    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    I will not fall for this conman again.

    Anyone who spends two and a half years in office and trumpets about reducing their overspend by only a quarter (figure on the Conservative Party website) is obviously not up to the task…

    • Adam5x5
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Also, I wonder about why he thinks taxing the rich is a good idea. Surely we should encourage people to earn more, not penalise success…

      • Bazman
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        The whole point of the tax credits system was to do this incentivising work. If you do not work you do not get tax credits. Whether a millionaire given tax credits in the form of a tax cut is open to question and it could be argued that he just pockets the money and does less. Crching! Thanks.

        • Adam5x5
          Posted January 9, 2013 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          But tax credits are only given to people the government approves of.

          Parents and disabled people for example.

          People like myself, with no children and able bodied, just get rammed for even more tax to cover the short fall.

          Why not lower the tax burden to begin with and benefit everyone?

          • Bazman
            Posted January 9, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

            It’s called civilisation.

    • APL
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Adam5x5: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

      Well yes. But you can extend that to the history of the Tory party since MacMillan.

  34. Bazman
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Strivers? Will that be playboys?

  35. Paul
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Mr Cameron showed how deluded he was at the weekend by stating he hoped to win a majority in 2015 and serve until 2020. Surely he must realise that he has zero chance of winning outright or even winning enough support to lead another coalition. It doesn’t matter if he offers a referendum on the EU anymore – voters, especially real conservative voters, have simply had enough of this useless college kid and are finally starting to realise that the only decent political party around at the moment is UKIP. The election in 2015 will go to Labour and I suspect John Redwood will continue to support Mr Cameron till the bitter end.

  36. Arunas
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Right on the money, Mr.Redwood. However, judging by Cameron’s past performance, whatever nice he has to say (and there can’t be much we haven’t heard before), I’ll be expecting the exact opposite to happen. Sad, really. I think Tories would do well to choose someone with some credibility to lead them into the next election.

  • About John Redwood

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