Movement on the EU?

 

If the USA, Germany and Ireland all think it’s worthwhile lecturing and hectoring the UK to stay in, we must be onto something with our proposal that we need a new relationship.  The change of government language seems to be waking the rest of the EU up to what a smashing deal they get out of  the UK’s current membership. They are understandably very reluctant to lose it or see it changed.

The EU gets large sums of our tax revenue to send to other parts of the union. They get great access to our fishing grounds. They make our companies follow detailed rules for everything they sell not just in the rest of the EU but also at home and in every other world market, whether those markets want those regulations or not. They get access to our labour market for anyone from the continent. Continental companies can have good access to our lucrative consumer market, and use it to sell us more than we sell them.

We are used to be threatened and being sent the bill.  I have lost count of the number of times I have been told “You will not have any influence” if the Uk demands some changes. My response is that we have no wish to tell Germany or France what to do, but we do wish to govern ourselves without EU controls on so many areas of policy.

I am sick  and tired of having to counter the lame threat that they will not trade with us anymore if we dare to ask for better terms or if the British people  vote to head for the exit.  They have no counter to my polite reply that I am sure the UK will wish to carry on buying BMWs and Mercedes after we have left the political, fiscal, banking and monetary union which is the new EU. Of course France and Germany will want to protect their trade with us and will understand that that requires mutual agreement and co-operation.

The government is right to point out that the UK cannot possibly join the banking, fiscal and political union now being created. We are not in the Euro and have no intention of joining it. It is in the EU’s interest to find a way of permitting good trade between the Euro area and the UK without expecting the UK to join the political union. The EU has to understand that there are two different types of member, Euro members and non Euro members who do not plan to join the currency. They have created the divide by making the EEC into such a centralised powerful international government. The UK never voted for that and most in the UK have no wish to belong to a United States of Europe.

The British people will ultimately decide this. In the meantime the UK government is right to explain the problem to the  other EU members and suggest it is in our mutual interest to sort it out amicably and sensibly. Lecturing us, hectoring us, or threatening us, is not the way to win the UK people over  to full membership of the EU. It is the way to drive a further wedge between Euroland and us.

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162 Comments

  1. Steve Cox
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    There may be two sorts of member as you say, John, but the part of the club that we are in is awfully small. Just us and Denmark in fact, and the latter country is rather wobbly on Euro membership. Sweden is legally bound to join the Eurozone eventually, though they will probably stall for as long as they can.

    You know, the EU has a way of getting what it wants, by hook or by crook. From the overthrow of Margaret Thatcher to the EU Constitution, aka the Lisbon Treaty, it may take it longer than it had planned, but eventually it gets what it desires in one form or another, regardless of what voters may wish.

    Now here’s a nightmare scenario. Many forecasters are predicting a run on Sterling this year as the focus shifts from the Euro. Our appalling current account deficit, a triple-dip recovery (Q4 output down 0.3%?), and rising gilt yields all look rather ominous. What if the USA and the EU secretly stitched up a deal to cause a major run either on gilts or on Sterling (or maybe on both?), forcing us into a crisis of 1976 proportions, or even worse. We could go to the IMF cap in hand again, but their resources are now so stretched that they could not bail us out alone and so would have to call on the ECB and possibly the Fed for help (we’d be beginning to understand how Greece feels by this time). Sure, they’d help us out, not too difficult in fact as unbeknown to us they caused the crisis in the first place. But the cost of bailing us out would be a once-and-for-all commitment to the EU and all of its rules and institutions, as well as joining the Euro ASAP. Bingo, crisis fixed and both the US and EU get exactly what they want. Unlikely? Maybe, but then in 1989 who would have thought that our powerful Prime Minister could have been toppled by a plot actively encouraged, if not actually initiated, by Brussels?

    Sweet dreams.

    • zorro
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Just by coincidence, we have Lord Heseltine giving his objective advice on our EU membership…….

      zorro

    • Rupert Butler
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      The part of the club where we have been for a long time is the whole of the rest of the world. We used to own a large part of it. Where that was true we now mostly have good friends still.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      To borrow JR’s language, “I am sick and tired of having to” repetitiously point out that the UK and Denmark are the only 2 of the present 10 non-euro EU member states that are free from the treaty obligation to join the euro, and so under current treaty law that eurozone “core” of 17 must expand to become at least 25, with at most a thin “skin” of 2 member states of the EU which had not yet adopted its currency.

      Major agreed that all new EU member states must automatically accept that legal obligation to join the euro under their treaties of accession to the EU, and now rather than objecting to that norm Cameron has supported it by agreeing to the same condition being applied to Croatia; so as the EU grows further towards N member states, let us say N might be 40, legally it must also head towards a minimum of (N – 2) or 38 in the eurozone “core” and at most 2 in the outer “skin”.

      Moreover the Tories’ allies in the Czech Republic have publicly stated that they want their country to be relieved of the legal obligation to join the euro, but have been ignored by Cameron; similar concerns have emerged from other countries in eastern Europe, but have been ignored by Cameron.

      Plus the Dutch Prime Minister Rutte said recently that the EU treaties should be changed to allow a country to leave the euro without having to leave the EU, and that has also been ignored by Cameron.

      So what will happen when all the other member states of the EU, in fact close to all European countries, are lined up against the UK in the federalised eurozone that the UK government wants to see created?

      Hint: the European Union Act 2011 supposedly guarantees that we would have a referendum on whether to end our “isolation” by joining the rest of Europe in the federalised eurozone, but the present UK government refused to countenance any amendments designed to make it difficult for a future government to get that Act repealed in order to avoid a referendum.

    • Gary
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Astute post. There is no such thing as independence anymore, the Big Beasts in the capital markets create reality and at the moment that is the Fed and the ECB. One call to the ratings agencies and there goes the gilts.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Given how every economist was telling Osborne that his Plan A wouldn’t work and would make economy worse I’d have to say that the current economic problems are likely to be home-grown, rather than due to some foreign conspiracy.

      • libertarian
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        These would be the same economists that never said a word or had a clue about the causes of the 2007 crash then. So I wouldn’t bother to pay too much attention to them either

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        They certainly are, Uanime5. We have Balls, Blair, Brown to thank.

    • Duncan Black
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Mr Redwood, there must be some Churchillian hero who can lead us through this wilderness – to freedom? I would go to ANY lengths and endure ANY discomfort to free us of the stultifying shackles of the EU.

  2. Brian Taylor
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Why is it that no MP is prepared to say that by invoking Article 50 (which demand a renegotiation of terms) this would get things started.
    Why not join the EEA and EFTA others would want to join us giving those organisation s a very large voice in the EU.

    Reply:Some MPs can and do, but it is such a small minority it is not practical politics

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      In short the MPs in the main represent, themselves, their career prospects, their “consultancies”, their party line and in some cases even the interest of the EU. Only rarely do voters have much influence and even then, once the votes have been garnered, they will simply be ignored and lied to by cast iron types.

  3. Adam5x5
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    I must have missed the story about Ireland lecturing us on the need to stay in. I find the idea highly amusing – after all membership worked out so well for them didn’t it…?

    The EU has to understand that there are two different types of member, Euro members and non Euro members who do not plan to join the currency.

    I thought that was pretty much just us now?

    Also do we have any idea when we are going to get this long promised speech from Cameron on Europe? It’s getting a bit silly now, he’s been promising a speech for months.

    The change in language from Downing Street and the government is promising. Perhaps they’ve been listening to us and have realised that if you to to negotiate a change in membership conditions from a viewpoint of “We don’t want to leave.” it’s basically a non-starter.

    I still can’t help seeing this ‘tough’ EU stance as a cynical ploy to try and win back some voters from UKIP. Unless we get a referendum before the next election, I won’t change my mind either – another promise from ‘Cast Iron’ doesn’t hold much water with the electorate.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      I see the Irish are clearly grateful for the UK’s loan to bail them out of their incompetence – in joining the EURO.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Apparently the date will be January 22nd and the place will be somewhere in the Netherlands.

      I can only presume that the chamber of the House of Commons was so heavily booked for other events that no suitable date could be found for his speech, and so he’s having to go abroad to tell a foreign audience about his plans for our country.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        What a devious p***.

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Do you know what? This is one of the very sanest comments I have heard recently. Well said indeed!

    (PS Remember that just because people have honour and position and power it does not mean that they act sensibly. The EU grandees, in their little bubble, can say or do whatever they like. They are not elected or even accountable. We must never forget Lord Acton, now must we.)

  5. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    The way I read the comments from Germany and the US is rather different from you. The world has the recent experience that Cameron can misread an international situation, as he did in December 2011 (unless isolation was his original intent), and they want to warn him not to make similar mistakes with his speech. Cameron may think this is about domestic party politics (keeping UKIP at bay), but the outside world sees wider consequences, and rather wider than the narrow aspects treated in this blog. I never read on the continent that anybody worries about losing any trade with the UK. The current deficit already shows that some continental EU and eurozone countries are more competitive than the UK and so, it is not too early for companies to consider re-location to the continent, if the UK’s relationship with the EU will become a big question mark over the coming years. Germany, the Netherlands and some other countries do want the UK in the EU, but as their post summit comments in December 2011 showed, they will happily drop a UK that behaves like a spanner in the works.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      “they will happily drop a UK that behaves like a spanner in the works” – indeed they will do this regardless of membership or non membership. So we might as well have the latter and not pay or have the absurd regulations, carbon drivel, CAP and the rest.

      Last night on any questions Simon Hughes MP said every family is £3000 better off, 1/10 of our jobs and goods are £500 less per household PA due to the EU. Clearly like most Libdems he clearly lives in an insane dream world. He even still seems to believe in catastrophic warming, which no one sensible, and even the absurd met office have given up on now.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        @lifelogic: This figure of ₤3000 I have recently seen on a UK government website. It is about two thirds of to what the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) has calculated for the Netherlands (advantage of trading in the expanded single market). In the Netherlands these figures are not disputed by any of the 11 political parties (we too have eurosceptics), and I cannot believe that the UK would be totally different from e.g. Our country. On the other hand, you may not lose all that advantage if you are outside the EU but e.g. In the EEA, because the single market will still be there. If only there could be an institution in the UK which every politcal group would believe, then the debate could be so much better informed.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

          no idea about Netherlands but here in UK 85% of ALL economic activity is within the UK, so the mythical benefits of the EU really don’t stack up.

          You really do need to open your eyes and look around you to a larger world too. Trade does NOT occur only in federal blocks or indeed in trading blocks. The REALITY is that people trade with other people anywhere. There isn’t a single country outside of Cuba maybe where any one is prevented from buying their goods.

          The EU ming dynasty is an anachronistic throwback to the old days of Empire which thankfully are now long gone.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted January 13, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

            @libertarian: An annual beefit of ₤3000 per household isn’t all that big, so why mythical? The annual EU contribution isn’t that big either. I agree that trade is perfectly possible without being a member of any trade-block.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Peter,
      We don’t want to be governed by the EU. We want self-determination. Is that being a spanner in the works? I guess it is, as the destruction of the European nation states has been the goal of the EU since its inception.

    • JimF
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      “The current deficit already shows that some continental EU and eurozone countries are more competitive than the UK”
      So your dream of nil competition across the EU isn’t working? Perhaps that is because we are hobbling ourselves in the UK with rules and regulations which are given scant consideration in much of Europe. Perhaps if we didn’t have agency directives, working time regulations, maternity/paternity holiday time rules, were able to control the number of people in the country taking welfare out of the working pot etc. etc. we would be more competitive.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        Every EU country obeys the rules and some countries, such as Germany, have even stricter rules. The difference between these countries and the UK is that unlike the UK their companies are better run and their Governments aren’t focused solely on the financial industry.

        • Bryan
          Posted January 12, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

          Do you really think that France obeys the rules?

          Hmmmm

        • eddyh
          Posted January 13, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

          Every EU country obeys the rules Like France deporting the Roma

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        @Brian Tomkinson: I don’t believe that the EU wants to destruct nation states but rather build an extra layer of pooled sovereignty on top of it (hence “hybrid of intergovernmental and supranational cooperation”). Were Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland ever “destroyed” by being incorporated into the UK?
        As I assume you don’t want any pooled sovereignty, the only way would be to leave the EU, in which case the UK wouldn’t be a spanner in the works either (ämicable divorce”).

        • libertarian
          Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

          Peter

          The UK did the Empire Building thing a long time ago and much more successfully than the EU has managed. Imperialism is not a very pretty system these days, so no we don’t want an extra layer of imperial pooled sovereignty on top and I can’t for the life of me see what benefit you think that will bring to the Netherlands or any where else for that matter

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

          Peter,
          You may not have noticed, but Scotland is to have a referendum on whether they wish to remain in the UK. Why do you think that may be? For some crazy reason those politicians advocating an independent Scotland want immediately to hand over their independence to Brussels. The Scots won’t be asked if they agree with that though.
          Incidentally, I am all in favour of your offer of an ‘amicable divorce’ how soon can we start?

        • Stirling English
          Posted January 14, 2013 at 3:28 am | Permalink

          We have more than enough ‘layers of government’ within the UK already. There are countless levels of useless jobsworths interfering with our lives – from the local council to the health and safety to the national governments.

          We certainly don’t need yet another bunch of otherwise unemployables telling us what to do

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        @JimF: I do favor competition in the EU, lots of it! You do need a level playing field to have fair competition.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 13, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

          How can there ever be a level playing field within an EU which is constantly seeking to expand to take in poorer countries, ensuring that capital and jobs flow out from the existing member states and goods and people flow in the opposite direction?

          For most of my life and before the UK was paying through the nose to defend western Europe, including the Netherlands, from the threat of the Soviet Union and hopefully release countries in eastern Europe from Soviet domination; having paid to achieve that, now we pay more to bring them up to the living standards previously denied to them by Communist ideology, and moreover we find ourselves subject to foreign domination through the EU.

          I don’t blame them, or indeed the Dutch – and, yes, I would still accept bread rationing in the UK to help stave off starvation in the Netherlands, do you remember that post-war episode, Peter? – because I know that the blame properly rests with our own elected politicians, above all those in the Tory party – which still demands that Turkey be admitted to the EU, for God’s sake, and has even passed a law to try to make sure that the British people would not be allowed to prevent that through a referendum.

          (For those who aren’t yet aware of this, see Section 4(4)(c) of the so-called “referendum lock” law, the European Union Act 2011:

          http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/12/section/4

          and Hague’s statement past February, in which he used that provision to block a referendum on the accession of Croatia:

          https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/35465/eu-act-croatia-statement.pdf

          and realise that this exemption would apply just as much to Turkey as it does to Croatia.)

          And therefore it could be said that the blame ultimately rests with us, for having been so foolish and excessively trusting that we voted them into our Parliament; but increasingly that period of folly on the part of the British people is coming to an end.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted January 13, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

            @Denis: Allow me a few remarks.
            1. The EU has “pooled sovereignty”, which means you Are the EU, as being a willing part of that pool, in spite of your personal feelings about “foreigners”
            2. The Dutch net EU contribution per capita is higher than the British one, but many of us view this sending money to the east as a good way to develop markets over there, which indeed is borne out by the facts (google for CPB and .nl and seek for English language section for the relevant reports)
            3. Level playing field refers to having the same regulations. If the UK were to think that it could apply some social dumping like certain emerging countries, that should not be allowed within the single market. So please outperform German industry and trade (not impossible in certain sectors), but under the same rules.

    • Timaction
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Peter, Please drop us as I would rather be poor and in charge of our own affairs and borders than rich and under the heal of the undemocratic Franco/German led EU. Germany can loose its £20 billion net trade deficit with us in its favour and the EU £50 billion. Impose trade tarrifs? Bring it on we can buy vehicles from other countries. It’s called democracy and you clearly don’t understand the will of the English people. Our politicians are waking up late as always! Still they’ll do as we want or they will be annihilated at the ballot box, even those Europhiles in Westminster know self interest only too well. This is no longer a fringe issue as all roads lead to the EU superstate.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        I’d prefer to be rich and part of the EU, than poor and under the rule of a wealthy elite in the UK.

        Given how much the UK imports from the EU any tariffs will just lead to an increase in the price of most, if not all, goods. It’s nothing but foolishness to assume that if the EU raises their prices you can buy the same thing from another country at the original price.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

          ????

          Do you just make it up as you go along? Have you done ANY research? Do you know who runs the EU and the ECB and all the other institutions of Europe?

          Anything made by EU countries is also made by non EU countries, oh and you do know that mobile phones, Apple products, microsoft, popular music, films, books etc are ALL predominantly from OUTSIDE the EU as the EU currently doesn’t really have ANY companies making these kinds of products. 3 of the top 5 car manufacturers are non EU. I can’t be bothered to list any more stuff as your post is just too silly for words

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 12, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

          I would prefer to be poor and out of the EU but that is not the choice – we will be richer too like Switzerland and Norway are.

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted January 13, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

          Uanime5

          And what about the prospect of being poor under an EU elite ? You omit to mention this outcome (of course.)

          The truth is that ordinary people like me see nothing but impoverishment resulting from continued membership of the EU. Clearly this is where the open border policy is taking us.

          At least out of it we’d have some self determination.

          We are bankrupt anyway. Our trajectory is downwards. We have nothing to lose.

          • Electro-Kevin
            Posted January 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

            Of tariffs and their effects on the price of EU goods.

            Nonsense.

            The EU will quake in its boots a the thought of the loss of trade with us.

            My sanity and decency (accusations of racism) is frequently questioned over my sceptic position on Europe. Knowing how hurtful that is I shall refrain from calling you stupid on a matter which Mr Redwood has been at pains to explain many times over.

            Mr Cameron, however, has managed to alienate a large proportion of his core support.

        • Timaction
          Posted January 13, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

          Uanime5. Do the maths. The UK runs an annual trade deficit of £50 billion with the EU. Who stands to hurt the most if tariffs are imposed? Who’s going to pay the £12 billion net annual shortfall in EU budgets when the UK leaves? As to your allegience to the EU it shows us patriots your allegiance and reasons for your quisling views.
          Most of us do not believe we are beyond democacy as you and Peter see it. Good luck to you as we don’t want any part of it and wish you well.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        @Timaction: Leaving the EU has to be initiated by the Ukitself , the “dropping” only means the UK losing allies in the EU (as it did in December 2011), and being overruled. I have a different idea about democracy than you, and don’t see the UK as such a perfect example of it.

      • Duncan Black
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        “I would rather be poor and in charge of our own affairs and borders than rich and under the heal of the undemocratic Franco/German led EU.”

        Indeed, TimAction, indeed.

    • John B
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Import/Export deficit shows that one Country buys more from 26 Countries, than 26 Countries buy from just one. Could that have anything to do with production capacity, I wonder and scale? It says nothing about competitativeness.

      Import\Export figures are skewed anyway by the so-called Rotterdam effect.

      Why did those companies which might now locate to the EU locate in Britain in the first place, I wonder, rather than elsewhere in Continental Europe?

      Logistically it makes no sense as there is water between the UK and the rest of the EU, and the margins of the EU are farther away than if located in that paragon of industry Germany and that paradise of commerce, France.

      So must be some other compelling reason(s) apart from EU membership.

      Most of Europe’s high tech electronic goods are assembled in China or non-EU Countries, why aren’t those businesses relocating to Continental Europe?

      Where a business is located is determined by a variety of factors which may change from time to time, but I do not believe membership of a Customs Union, or trade bloc is that high on the list.

      I think this fetish about exporting to the EU as being the entire argument about EU membership, is an unhealthy preoccupation and distracts from the real issues of freedom, democracy, free trade and that Continental Europe is not the whole World and increasingly a less important part of it.

    • Bill
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      I agree that the UK needs to understand domestic opinion in Germany and France. We are given simplified views and sound bites conveyed to us by the BBC.

      It seems obvious to me that the eastern European countries in the Union want net contributor countries to stay in and are reluctant to change any rules that would weaken the benefits they receive.

      I think the UK has to choose between being a kind of Switzerland or Norway or whether it wishes to sink itself completely into the European Union and work out its destiny as part of this larger block. What appears unsatisfactory is to remain as we are with uncertain influence, unnecessary regulation and rising membership costs.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        @Bill: A lot has changed since e.g. 1988.
        Margareth Thatcher 1988, Brugge: “And let me be quite clear. Britain does not dream of some cosy, isolated existence on the fringes of the European Community. Our destiny is in Europe, as part of the Community. “
        Since that time, the UK didn’t join Schengen, didn’t join the euro, now wants to leave all EU Police and justice co-operation, it really is only a half-member or less in practice. It would seen “logical” to now leave altogether, now that the eurozone will have to integrate a bit more. But I also believe that the various warnings from abroad (US, Germany, Ireland) and inside (City, big business) aer serious and not some political plot. I believe there is genuine concern.

        • Posted January 13, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

          They have seen the light from an increasingly British electorate! And this from a man who believes that peace in Europe came from the EU & presumably knows nothing of the role of post-war NATO. “Pass the sick-bag, Alice”. Now get me my Divorce Lawyer.

        • Timaction
          Posted January 13, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

          Indeed Peter. Where are they going to find the £12 billion net costs we currently contribute when we leave and space to accomodate and pay for the public services of the 3-4 million Eastern Europeans. I’m afraid the English have to educate the Westminster Village idiots in economics and common sense as the leadership of all three mainstream parties have never held proper jobs outside of politics and couldn’t negotiate a settlement with a childrens tea party!

          “……..But I also believe that the various warnings from abroad (US, Germany, Ireland) and inside (City, big business) aer serious and not some political plot. I believe there is genuine concern.”

          I’m afraid the politics of fear don’t hold water anymore. We have had enough!

    • forthurst
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      “The current deficit already shows that some continental EU and eurozone countries are more competitive than the UK and so, it is not too early for companies to consider re-location to the continent, if the UK’s relationship with the EU will become a big question mark over the coming years.”

      The UK’s trade deficit is largely because, despite being one of the largest by population, it no longer owns manufacturing capacity many categories, therefore there would be nothing to move to the continent. We would however benefit from not having to subsidise French farmers to out-compete with our own and be able to build our fishing industry back to pre-EEC (but not pre-Cod wars) levels. If we were no longer subject to costly employment laws from Brussels, we might even become more competitive with those that are.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        Unless the fish stocks massively increase the fishing fleet won’t be able to return to pre-EEA days.

        Given that most European countries are more competitive than the UK yet have the same or harsher employment laws it seems that the employment laws aren’t the reason why British companies are so ineffective.

        • forthurst
          Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

          “Unless the fish stocks massively increase the fishing fleet won’t be able to return to pre-EEA days.”

          Our fishing grounds have been overfished by foreigners, so what is your point.

          On employment, we would have advantages commensurate with much of the rest of the world as well as advantages over EU industry.

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted January 13, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

          Let what happened to our fisheries be a salutory lesson with regard to our banking district.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        @forthurst: I wouldn’t mind if Japanese car manufacturers would move some capacity from the UK to the Netherlands, as we hardly have any car manufacturing and there must be lots of other opportunities. I think it’s only fair that within the single market a level playing field is ensured, so doing away with all employment laws couldn’t be done as a member of the EU or EEA.

        • forthurst
          Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

          One thing is absolutely certain which is that the British people will not be bribed or bamboozled into staying in the EU in reponse to threats from abroad. Continental car manufacturers and others have substantial investments in the UK and will not be interested in cutting off their noses to spite their faces. We want trade and so does the Continent; what we dont want is to have our laws decided by Brussels.

        • Posted January 13, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

          The idea of a level playing field in the EU can be likened to; if one has a broken arms then every-one else should have their arm broken as well. Good-bye entrepreneurship in the process.

    • APL
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      PvL: “I never read on the continent that anybody worries about losing any trade with the UK.”

      It is only EUro maniacs in the UK such as Ken Clarke who keep trying to scare and threaten us with the loss of three million jobs because the EU is so friendly that it will erect trade barriers should we decide to leave.

      The rest of us intend to enforce our free trade under the auspices of the WTO or EEA once the UK leaves the EU.

      PvL: “Germany, the Netherlands and some other countries ………. showed, they will happily drop a UK that behaves like a spanner in the works.”

      Ok Peter, that’s fine by us.

      But it has to be noted that there doesn’t seem to be much influence exercised by the UK in the EU. You appear to be outlining a threat, try to assert your much vaunted influence that the UK supposedly exercises by virtue of being a member of the EU and the rest of us who disagree will throw you out.

      Some influence that, nor does it seem much worth having!

      • uanime5
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        The rest of us intend to enforce our free trade under the auspices of the WTO or EEA once the UK leaves the EU.

        Under George W Bush the USA put tariffs on EU steel. Even though the WTO twice ruled that this was illegal they did nothing. Don’t expect them to help the UK if the EU introduces tariffs.

        The UK won’t be allowed into the EEA unless we agree to implement all EU laws.

        • APL
          Posted January 13, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

          unamie5: “Don’t expect them to help the UK if the EU introduces tariffs.”

          Why would the friendly bloc – we are always told the EU is friendly – introduce tariffs?

          But what does the EU produce that we couldn’t buy the equivalent elsewhere, cheaper? We’d have to stop buying Mercedes & BMW, but could find alternatives from Japan or the USA.

          We can substitute ( if we have to ) French wine with US , Australian or Chilean wine.

          Europe doesn’t produce oil, we could get that from Norway, Saudia Arabia and our gas from Quatar – Qatar pretty much owns London.

          uanime5: “The UK won’t be allowed into the EEA unless we agree to implement all EU laws.”

          Ignoring the fact that we are already in the EEA anyway.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        @APL: If by population, the UK is about 12% of the EU, should it have so much more than 12% influence? I believe that because of Britain’s stature it can have (and has) much more influence (just like Germany has much more than 16% influence), but without building alliances it won’t work. Germany, while powerful, is good at building alliances, but is Britain? Any evidence of that?

        • APL
          Posted January 13, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

          Peter van Lueewen: “Any evidence of that?”

          Good for Germany.

          Now the UK has a ready built network of alliances that we could exploit if the UK government hadn’t been gazing at its own navel, obsessing about ‘EUROPE’ by which it means the European Union this last 40 years. It is called the Commonwealth, but we could stretch out and create alliances with the New states of the former Soviet Union.

          It would just require that our civil and diplomatic service get off their well padded backsides and do some work.

          I don’t think much of your plan ( official EU plan ? ) to allocate influence on the basis of population percent. Sounds too much like ‘buggins turn’ which is the antipathy of excellence.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted January 13, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

            @APL: don’t get me wrong on two issues:
            1) it was just me attempting to estimate Britain’s influence – in hthe EP it would be 75/750, in the Councils officially 1/27 but in practice much more.
            2) Commonwealth is all fine with me, but I was talking about alliances within the EU, to affect EU decision making. There seemed to be the chance for alliances with former Sovjet Union states, but remember december 2011: out of 10 of such, only the Czech republic sided with the UK. That doesn’t reflect a great talent for building alliances.

          • APL
            Posted January 14, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

            Peter van Leeuwen: “Commonwealth is all fine with me, but I was talking about alliances within the EU, .. ”

            I understand your point, but it implies the UK wishes to be involved in the internal affairs of another country – the EU aspires to ‘ever closer union’ doesn’t it, such sentiments are enshrined in the treaties as you have on occasion pointed out.

            So the UK would like to trade with the EU, which trade has been demonstrated on numerous occasion to be mutually beneficial. But we don’t want another layer of government organizing our day to day affairs – we can do that ourselves, more or less efficiently, thank you.

    • ian wragg
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      Peter van Leeuwen as I once said the friend of my equally focticious Naffi van Driver. An EU stooge or a government plant. Didn’t he suggest that Roons speech on the EU should be from Brussels or Holland. Wellnow we know its to be from Holland. Isn’t it time someone traced his origins and exposed him as the No.1 Troll??
      If you want to contact me Peter and confirm your identity I will give you my phone number.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        @ian wragg: As he already offered to translate double dutch into dutch for his coalition partner, couldn’t Nick Clegg be asked to also make your contribution comprehensible to me? :)

  6. Ian
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Why is it possible for other members of the EU, that aren’t members of the Euro to continue conducting their business without the brinkmanship over a referendum. It is lazy tactics from this government and an indictment of David Cameron’s diplomacy and negotiation skills.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      From October 2011:

      http://www.euractiv.com/euro-finance/new-eu-members-break-free-euro-d-news-507564

      “Seven EU members which joined the European Union between 2004 and 2007 are concerned about an obligation to adopt the euro under the terms of their accession and could stage referenda to change their accession treaties, AFP reported, quoting diplomatic sources.”

      Ignored by Cameron, who apparently would prefer to see them all lined up against us in the federalised eurozone he wants to be created.

      Of course they couldn’t actually change their accession treaties through national referenda; that would only give their governments the popular backing to either demand and get the necessary EU treaty changes – which Cameron might well oppose? – or failing that to ignore their treaty obligations.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        @Denis: you might add that after the speculative attacks on the euro diminished this concern has diminished as well. Latvia – 2014, Lithuania-2015, Poland-2016 could soon be eurozone members.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 13, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

          That may be the case, but what is more certain is that the Latvians, the Lithuanians and the Poles will not be asked whether they want their countries to join the euro if they are still under the present legal obligation to do so.

          Anyone in those countries who proposes a referendum on whether to join the euro will be told what the Estonians were told:

          http://euro.eesti.ee/EU/Prod/Euroveeb/Main_Page/left_menu/Changeover_to_the_euro_in_Estonia/12_211205_Euromoju.html

          “The decision to join the European Union, which was approved at the autumn referendum of 2003, expressed also support for accession to the euro area.”

          Clearly therefore it is to the advantage of eurofederalists like yourself to insist that countries which previously accepted the treaty obligation to join the euro as part of their EU accession treaties must remain bound by that obligation and must perform their promise without any possibility of interference through a separate referendum, while it is potentially to the advantage of the British people that those countries be relieved of that legal obligation and that it should not be imposed on any new EU member states; the fact that the British Prime Minister didn’t press for those changes when he could have done so strongly suggests that he has the interests of the eurofederalists in mind more than those of the British people.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted January 14, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: the countries mentioned did have their referenda on the euro (as part of their EU membership):
            - Latvia – 67.0% in favour (20 September 2003)
            - Lithuania – 89.9% in favour (10-11 May 2003)
            - Poland – 77.5% in favour (7-8 June 2003)

            Obviously, the UK was part and parcel of the decisions about these membership applications and conditions.
            It may suit some eurosceptics in their struggle to undo the whole EU to suggest that treaties aren’t really treaties, but as the sceptics may soon enough find out, the world doesn’t agree with that.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted January 15, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

            Yes, Peter, “as part of their EU membership”, whether or not that was made clear to their electorates at the time.

        • Posted January 14, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

          More fool them then!

      • APL
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

        Denis Cooper: “Ignored by Cameron, who apparently would prefer to see them all lined up against us in the federalised eurozone he wants to be created.”

        The single tactic of EUrophile Tory party has been the argument of ‘inevitability. Once the majority of countries have been swollowed by an EU initiative, they come out and blather … ‘ but everyone else is in the EURO, we don’t want to be left behind …’ bla bla bla.

        How Redwood can stand to be in that rotten party is beyond me.

  7. colliemum
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    It is indeed odd that so many different agents want us to stay in the EU.
    So we surely are permitted to ask : ‘what’s in it for us?’, and say thanks, but no thanks because there really isn’t anything in the EU for us.

    Great post – hopefully you can make your colleagues in Parliament read it, and the commentariat at the BBC, and the pundit in the meejah …

  8. Timaction
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Why do I fear that the deal Mr Cameron will accept will be inferior to all our expectations? I’m afraid he or his advisors simply do not have the knowledge or skills to play “hardball” and the EU officials will know this. His starting position is so wet as to be pathetic. The EU officials will be licking their lips. I’m afraid the English people have woken and we do not want anything other than trade and friendship. Nothing else is in our interests or to our advantage, our borders need to seal. A voice in the world, poorer, sidelined. All laughable. The hectoring voices from our our own quisling group are about personal NOT National interest. We do NOT have to be in the EU to trade with it. Once the Europhiles have their heads around that fact the rest of the negotiations slot into place. If the USA wants influence, let it join in our place and pay its direct and indirect costs from the free movements of people! If all we get is the same lies and stealthy onesided information from the mainstream Parties its time to move onto something else!

    • alan jutson
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Timeaction

      I agree wqith your comments, I do not think Mr Cameron recognises a strong negotiating position when he sees one. (look at the results of the coalition agreement, too much power to the Lib Dems)

      Other things to consider.

      If we leave everyone else has to pay in more, as we are a net contributor to this club.

      If we leave then all those free movement people then can only go to the other countries, or stay at home, as they will not be allowed here.

      If we had a referendum which voted out or even renegotiate, then we simply go to the EU and say we will be going if things do not change for the (significantly) better, then see what they offer to ask us to stay (if they want us) If nothing offered, we go.

      With a two speed EU and that is what it is, with the vast majority belonging to the Euro, we will have no influence at all in the future.
      History proves we had little in the past.
      So the dream mongers who suggest we fight change from within, are in cloud cookoo land.

      Time for the people, our Government, and the Opposition to wake up and smell the bacon.
      We are being turned over, and we will continue to be turned over whilst the present situation continues.

      Change the tactics, change the team members, or sack the manager.

    • sjb
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Timaction wrote: I’m afraid the English people have woken and we do not want anything other than trade and friendship.
      That may be true of the older generation, but how many of them will have capacity or still be alive in 2018 – the mooted date of the proposed referendum?

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Cameron, by saying suggesting he cannot even contemplate a Greater Switzerland (without giving any reasons are there any?) has shown, all too clearly, that he will not be trying to negotiate anything. Anything other than electoral advantage that is. He would doubtless double cross the electorate for a second time – in the very unlikely event that he get the chance.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      “the English people have woken and we do not want anything other than trade and friendship”

      That is undoubtedly true of some English people, and some in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, but it is not, yet, a universally held view. For instance, the Any Questions audience on Friday night voted to stay in the EU – no one voted to leave.

      One of the dangers of communicating primarily with those of similar views to ones own is that the rightness of one’s own views are reinforced, and it is difficult to believe that others (certainly not many others) could possibly come to a contrary view.

      If an IN/OUT referendum was held now I would not like to predict what would be the result, despite the continuing evidence of opinion polls.

      For people to vote for OUT they have to believe that OUT is better than IN, and to understand what OUT will be there needs to be the comprehensive explanation that is currently lacking. OUT as being simply avoiding that which is not liked being IN will not be sufficient.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        “In the Any Questions audience on Friday night voted to stay in the EU – no one voted to leave.”

        That just shows what an unrepresentative audience the BBC attracts and indeed encourages at every turn. No doubt they all thought wind farms are a good idea and the BBC is balanced and independent and the government is reducing government expenditure and waste.

  9. Duyfken
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    It would be useful if they, the Continentals, were to continue to, or better intensify their lecturing, hectoring and threatening, especially from the likes of Van Rumpoy and Barroso. The BBC’s efforts also (for instance in headlining Heseltine’s inane bleating today), the Obama/Gordon stick-waving, the CBI and particularly Branson, and not forgetting the loathsome Blair and Mendelson duo – all of these should ensure that the entire UK population becomes heartily sick of them and wants out of the EU pronto and completely.

    I hope to learn of political party defections following Cameron’s speech, parts of which seem already to have been trailed and which surely has the makings of an anti-climax or may have as much positive impact as the recent Coalition relaunch.

  10. lifelogic
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Indeed clearly we have no real influence as it is anyway. We still have CAP, absurd fishing rules and endless other absurdities and a huge bill.

    But we have pro EU Cameron, Heseltine, Lord Patten at the BBC, Ken Clarke and Dave has saddled us with the absurd LibDems too. Nothing positive will happen, we will have Labour in 2015.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      One assumes Lord Hesetine’s criticism of Cameron’s EU “strategy” has Cameron’s approval or he would take some action? All part of the careful choreography, by the clearly fake (Lord Patten, Heseltine and Clarke appointing) EU sceptic – one must clearly assume.

  11. Alan
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    The Eurosceptics take objection to being told by the USA, the EU, UK business, and Conservative pro-europeans that the UK would be better off inside the EU. They don’t want their assumptions about the world challenged. We pro-europeans must be onto something.

    The small amount of money (less than £100 a year each) that we pay for membership is well spent in building a modern Europe with a well-connected infrastructure that will bring about a thriving and prosperous community.

    The recognition that the seas around Europe need a common management is just a recognition of geography.

    Common rules and regulations minimise the amount of red tape that is needed to run a modern country: just imagine the problems if every country had its own regulations on everything from cars to televisions. The free movement of people, limited though it is by our failure to join Schengen, enables our people to seek work throughout western Europe and makes it easier for our industries to draw in extra workers when needed.

    Our ability to take part in EU decision making gives us influence not only within Europe but also means that we can better influence the rest of the world.

    I am sick and tired of being told by Eurosceptics that pro-Europeans believe that trade with the EU will stop if the UK were to leave: it won’t, but it certainly won’t get any easier. There will be extra rules and regulations (introduced by the UK) that UK business will have to cope with. At the moment the fact that we are not in Schengen or the euro means that travel to Europe involves changing currency and showing passports – these are red tape introduced by the UK, not by the EU, and they are examples of how our businesses will suffer more restrictions if we leave the EU, not less.

    If the UK were to join the common banking and financial regulation, and the euro, our finance business would stand a chance of continuing its leading role into the future: if we don’t join, our finance businesses may become more and more irrelevant to the rest of the world, trading in a currency whose value slowly sinks and is less and less used.

    I suspect it is right to say that the UK people will ultimately decide this, but I also suspect it will not be the way that the Eurosceptics want. This is probably the high point of Euroscepticism, when anti-EU propaganda has been spread by some newspapers without being examined. As the debate develops people will recognise that the Eurosceptics’ policies would hamper ourselves and our businesses.

  12. JimF
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I hope you will continue to direct this at the majority of the Conservative Party, who think otherwise.

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    BBC Radio 4 is leading its “news” with the story that Heseltine has given an interview in the Financial Times and the Times newspapers that to offer a referendum would be ill-advised. Nothing newsworthy about Heseltine’s disregard for democracy and EU fanaticism. It is though more evidence that the battle has been engaged by those who are determined that, come what may, this country will be imprisoned within the EU and the British people will not be consulted or even listened to. I remain very sceptical about Cameron’s motives and expect nothing of substance to come from his much trailed speech on the subject. He has already declared that he wants the UK to stay in the EU.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      The referendum would be ill-advised because the uncertainty will make businesses less likely to invest in the UK. Something that will make the economic problems even worse.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        Uanime5 – Do you believe in democracy ? It certainly doesn’t seem so. I would apply that to most politicians too.

        Mr Cameron is now aware that UKIP is a serious threat to his party. He is being forced to take account of ‘populist’ feeling.

        It doesn’t matter that Mr Farage is short of quality candidates; so long as they are moderate people then erstwhile Tory voters will put their protest votes there.

        I’ve yet to hear any of you Lefties acknowledge that few people vote BNP in this country despite the amount of provocation from the political class.

      • Jon burgess
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        No more uncertainty once there’s been a referendum, surely?

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      “I remain very sceptical about Cameron’s motives and expect nothing of substance to come from his much trailed speech on the subject.”

      I remain absolutely certain that he will look after the interests of the EU high command and ignore those of UK democracy. You just judge on his actions so far and those he has appointed to the BBC and elsewhere. Also his statements on UKIP and a greater Switzerland. The man is clearly a tax, borrow, waste, quack green and fake EU-sceptic, PR and PPE fraud to the very core.

  14. Old Albion
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    At risk of sounding like a cracked record. The change of relationship desired by the people of the (dis)United Kingdom is divorce from the EU, simple.

  15. Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    You say that “The British people will ultimately decide this. “
    I doubt it. All the politicians at the top of all parties except UKIP are “hooked” on the EU, it is the country’s future as well as their own personal future.
    If a referendum is held, the money spent by the supporters of the EU, and the EU itself, will dwarf anything that the anti-EU groups can raise. The BBC and all their pundits will be in favour. There isn’t any chance of securing an out vote simply because the “out” arguments will be lost in the cacophony of misleading information aka lies, produced by the pro-Europeans.
    We will never get out, and the sooner we accept this the better.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      “The British people will ultimately decide this. “
      I doubt it too – the BBC and the powers that be will – using our money to indoctrinate and deceive.

    • Jon burgess
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Don’t be so sure. Those who want out are much more motivated to take part in any referendum. For that reason I believe the Outers have something of an advantage.

  16. Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    It is an outrage that eu sceptics have had to get their views over the hard way while today’s Lord Heseltine’s anti-referendum comments get heavily promoted by the BBC.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      The BBC is the outrage.

  17. Douglas Carter
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood – with regard to your comments upon the matter of, as you correctly put it, the ‘lame threat’, in a sense, I rather welcome the barrage of comments from international sources on this subject. However, I wish they had taken their comments to the ultimate logical step of helpfully advising the UK electorate that the EU project is not a trading body, but a process of political, economic and international integration. They will be aware your Prime Minister has no intentions of highlighting that in a public forum, they would, presumably, help matters no end if they took the opportunity to make the british public fully aware of the levels of deceit that have been invoked to push them this far into a political union. A process of deception in which they themselves – naturally – were willingly complicit. At least they might invoke the dignity to admit their part in the fault someday?

    But speaking of ‘threats’, it is unhelpful of many commentators to semi-blackmail voters by asserting that Labour or the LibDems would themselves join the Single Currency. You will be aware there are many senior figures who aspire to British Euro membership, and whilst their enthusiasm has been tempered by recent events, their intentions have been conveniently self-supressed. Doubtless they would join the currency for Political, and not economic reasons.

    As many observers, not least yourself have campaigned, to join the single currency on terms which are anything other than full economic and political parity would be disastrous. Rather than use that as a threat, I would be rather more impressed if Mr. Cameron was to invoke proper legislation on the clear terms of reference the British political system, the pound sterling itself, and the Eurozone must meet before Euro membership could progress.

    I can think of no people more suited to formulate the terms of reference for that more than your good self and Bill Cash.

    Food for thought?

  18. Leslie Singleton
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    The reason for the foreign lecturing is not difficult to find. Germany for instance doesn’t want to be left alone looking after and subsidising the southern periphery not to mention France. Were it not for Germany’s continuing guilt they wouldn’t have joined in the first place. I suggest to them that they adopt a common Associate status along with us as soon as their angst leaves them.

    I totally agree as I have said many times that the influence argument is considerably over-egged. The simple question, how does Canada manage with no influence over America (and the the basic easy to go along with Nafta) gets no answer, except for Unanime5 mentioning Cuba.

    Again I ask why you cannot publish more articles like this. Don’t tell me you ask and are refused.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Postscript–Just seen Heseltine’s unconvincing effort. He of course is hidebound by the self-justificatory need arising from his being one of the reasons we are where we are. Once again though, how come he gets to publish (in two newspapers) whereas you do not?

    • uanime5
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      The UK joined the EC for economic reasons (despite opposition from France), not because of guilt over Germany.

      The situation between Canada and the USA is very different from the UK and the EU. Here are 3 reasons:

      1) Any negotiations between Canada and the USA are negotiations between 2 countries; by contrast any negotiation between the UK and rest of the EU involves negotiations with 27 countries. So Canada can more easily negotiate with the USA.

      2) Canada has a land border with the USA, while the UK does not have a land border with the EU. This makes it much easier for Canada to transport things to the USA.

      3) 75% of Canada’s exports go to the USA because it’s the one of the few nearby countries, by contrast the UK sends its 50% of its exports to various EU countries. So Canada will find it much easier to negotiate trade agreements because it mainly trades with one country, rather than a union of many countries.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        Unamime5–Not terribly convincing–Try thinking ahead to the time not too far distant when the 26 become one and think again.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

          Postscript to unanime5–I have just realised what you said about Germany. What I said, fairly unequivocally I should have thought, was (of course) that it was Germany’s guilt that made Germany feel obliged to join–good Europeans to make up for being bad (in fact very bad) and all that. Also you haven’t explained why, when we leave and the others carry on with their wonderful EU, as they indeed will, our dealings with Brussels should (as you always imply) be any different from what it would be dealing with a single country called the Continent–unless of course the Continentals actively wanted to be hostile, which they might well be from the noises they make. For our part the majority simply want out. We have nothing resembling hostility of course. And if you don’t like the analogy with Canada let’s jog to New Zealand–islands don’tcha know and fluent in English to boot.

  19. Chris
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    The key problem with regard to the whole EU issue is trust, and so many of the electorate simply do not trust David Cameron. The Austrian Chancellor has summed up this problem rather well in the second para below:
    http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/breaking-news/world/austrian-chancellor-attacks-britains-cameron-over-eu-20130112
    “Austrian chancellor attacks Britain’s Cameron over EU
    Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann launched a broadside Friday at Britain’s prime minister David Cameron, accusing him of sending mixed messages when it comes to the European Union.

    What Mr Cameron said depended on whether he was addressing the British people or a meeting in Brussels, Mr Faymann told Saturday’s edition of Austria’s daily newspaper Standard
    Such an attitude undermined his trust in the British leader, said Mr Faymann, a Social Democrat….”

  20. Martin Ryder
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Imagine how well we would have done in the First and Second World Wars if we had entered them with government ministers, most MPs, many business men and the BBC firmly on the side of the Germans. Suppose a very senior government minister had told the British people in 1939 that millions of jobs would be lost if we were to defend ourselves from German aggression. What if many of the most senior men and women in the British establishment were being paid by the German government?

    Of course we are not about to go to war with the EU, heaven forbid, but we can lose our freedom just as easily in the chancelleries of Europe as we could have done on the battlefields of Europe.

    What freedom? One can hear the Europhiles scoff; we have all the freedom that we need, just as long as we do as we are told. Border security? Who needs that? It gets in the way of the businessmen who want cheap labour and those that wish to cover the countryside with immigrant housing? Energy security? The French and the Russians will supply all we need, provided we pay their prices. Freedom of speech? Very overrated; just don’t criticise the EU Commission and you will be OK. And so on.

    The enemy, both foreign and domestic, are gathering their forces together and already the first shots are being fired. The USA, which fought a war to be free from the British Empire, has given Her Majesty’s Government their instructions, as have the German Government. Mrs Merkel has said, according to the Press, that she (not the EU Commission, one should note) is not prepared to make any changes in the governance of the EU. Even the Irish, who let off bombs in the UK in order to be free of the UK, have told us to sit down and shut up.

    The Chinese have a curse: ‘May you live in interesting times.’ The next few years are going to be very interesting, especially with the half-wits and fellow travellers that we have in charge of us now.

  21. David Williams
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Who gets what from the EU:

    The south gets a cash cow.
    The east gets protection against being sucked back into Russia.
    The centre gets its empire.
    The UK gets to foot the bills.

  22. Alte Fritz
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Quite agree. There is a great big, interesting and vibrant world out there. Let’s get stuck in, and make our future in Latin America, India, East Asia and Africa and stop EU navel gazing. What are we frightened of?

  23. John B
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood. I agree with what you have said, but I wonder, since you do not make the point, whether you understand the point of trade.

    Trade is primarily about import, not export; not least because not all imports are finished goods.

    Britain grew rich during the Industrial Revolution on imports not exports. Exports just give us the means of exchange so we can import.

    We exchange the money we get from our labour for things we need and want, and these make us richer. They must be of higher value (to us) than he money we hand over in exchange, otherwise there is no point in the exchange – no point in handing over One Pound to receive another Pound back.

    So our imports make us rich because they must be of more value than what we export, otherwise there would be no point in making the exchange. Value here is perceived value, not value in money.

    In order to get what we value more, we have to have something to exchange which we value less.

    In the days of barter, exchange had to be bilateral… the pot maker had to exchange one of his pots with the cobbler for a pair of shoes, for example. But with money as a token of exchange it need not be.

    The UK could still import from Europe without exporting to Europe, indeed the UK exports less to the EU, than it imports. If the UK increases its export elsewhere, it can earn the exchange to continue to enrich the lives of its people with things from the EU.

    Europe is not the whole World, and in market terms, is a diminishing share of the global market place. Looking beyond Europe would be to Britain’s advantage AND it may be possible to import the things we like, cheaper from elsewhere as our trade with other Countries helps them develop and prosper.

    Of course as you point out, the same applies to the people of the EU. They are richer because of the things they import from the UK.

    Should the EU Politburo wish to constrain imports from the UK by import taxes and quotas, they punish not the people of the UK, but their own citizens who will have less with which to enrich themselves and have to pay more, not just for British goods but for intra-EU goods now with British goods not competing.

    It is a worthwhile point to make to those who talk about loss of trade with the EU.

    The importance of trade is imports, not exports, and I cannot imagine that even the ‘leaders’ of the EU and their acolytes, are mad enough to stop exports to Britain.

    Of course I shall hedge my bets by saying, they are mad enough to believe they can de facto control the entire Earth’s Climate by adjusting the mixture of the air we breath, so I wouldn’t put anything past them.

  24. alexmews
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Thx John

    I feel there is momentum on this topic like never before. Which is great. The status quo will not survive and I hope the outcome is either a better deal or a mutually respectful exit from the EU.

    The UK position would be strengthened further if our own economic situation was in order. Sadly it isn’t and therefore a potentially very strong argument in the future negotiations is not present. This is a real missed opportunity. If only we could rally around the great, enterprising and entrepreneurial trading nation that is the origin of the UK’s prosperity. Instead we still languish in debt with a scarcely reduced deficit after many failed promises.

    Keep pushing!

  25. A.Sedgwick
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    As the reality is setting in that there is more than sufficient public support for an in/out referendum the vested interests are beginning to up their propaganda. We can now add the current USA Administration to UK big business (mostly foreign owned), BBC, EU hierarchy, Mrs. Merkel, CBI, trade unions, Brussels pensioners club.

    When the vote comes it will be a dog fight with money pouring in to scare the gullible and there is no way that the Conservative Party under Cameron will lead the exit and as commented ad nauseam the chances of any substantial renogiation are zero, all that could be achieved are minor fudges which would be eroded very quickly.

  26. Tad Davison
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    The BBC must be stopped! And quick!

    Just watching Dateline London with Gavin Esler, and it is just about the most biased piece of journalism I have yet witnessed!

    What right do these people have, to misrepresent the truth, and promote the Euro-enthusiast view, and not represent an alternative view at all?

    I’m sick of paying for this lopsided left-wing trash, and I’m fuming!

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Jon
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Yes it was biased, all 4 were europhiles. But do you think they furthered their cause of the eurosceptics? Most of the population want a different relationship with the EU and those 4 threw insults at the majority. It maybe more beneficial if we paid to wheel them out more often.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      It is an outrage. Take over a county by infiltrating its TV channels and political parties. Not just on the EU either, where was the coverage of the Met Office’s recent admissions that there is no recent global warming and they have been taking drivel? Nothing just more warming drivel from Australia.

  27. Ralph McHendry
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Very well put. I agree completely with your article.

  28. Chris Rickard
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Why is it that it is only the Europhiles, like Michael Hesltine (or indeed David Cameron, Nick Clegg, & Ed Miliband) or self-interested bullies like the US, who are so scared of letting democracy prevail in the UK and allowing us an In / Out referendum. The US position is clear – it suits their own purposes, not those of the UK, to have a US friendly UK within the EU to counter what could be a more contrarian and antagonistic EU if the UK were outside. So much for the specual relationship, which only has meaning to the US when it works in their favour. It didnt help BP or British Banks in the US did it ?

    Is contemplating life outside the EU is just too much of an emotional and intellectual challenge for those Europhiles who are afraid of anything but the status quo .. We run c £ 40 bn pa trade deficit with the EU any pay c £ 10 bn pa membership fee. For this we get nothing back unless its that dubious “influence” we hear so much about from the Europhiles but see so little evidence of. Leaving the EU holds no fears for us. The EU will want to protect their valuable access to the UK consumer market and more fool them if they don’t. UK business does not perform anywhere near strongly enough in its trading with the EU, even after invisibles, for their scare-mongering to hold sway.

    The UK needs to take control of its own destiny and unhitched our future from the deadweight of the EU. Keep pushing for our In / Out referendum – ASAP.

  29. Barbara
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    It appears all is dependant on the Conservatives winning the next election, but all polls show they won’t. So, what Cameron and Osbourne talk about might never happen. If the out come is what is predicted, I’ll never forgive the Conservatives for not for letting us in for another Labour government, and no referendum. It should be decided before the next election so whoever wins is compelled to give the electorate what they vote for. This whole saga as gone on long enough. Its doing the Conservatives no favours not holding a referendum at all; to blame the Lib Dems is a weak arguement. The coalition is on its last two years and the date could be set for the last year of this government, and the question then settled once and for all.
    Why is it that they cannot see this? Mr R your article explains things very well, and I agree, other countries whoever they are should keep quiet. We have never surcombed to threats from any corner, and hearing Labours response is sickening. That lot would cede all our sovereignty without a blink of an eye lid. Can you really believe that Cameron could leave this nation to the hands of Miliband and co without us having our say? I plead to all Conservatives to rethink what they do, remember their history with this nation, and let us make our own choice before it’s to late.

  30. Terry
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    A fine piece, John and spoken like a true Brit. It is rather amazing and somewhat disturbing that the Americans have come out of their closet to show their hand. However, given the way the Obama administration has shown their lack of diplomatic stripes over the past 4 years, it is not entirely surprising.

    When will they and the other Countries and companies who have a vested interest in our continued membership of the EU, have the decency to respect the democratic rights of the British people to decide their own future? Or are they frightened of a born again independent Great Britain?

  31. cosmic
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Van Rompuy and various Eurocrats are simply pointing out that there isn’t an halfway, pick the bits you like, option to the EU. Conservative policy for years has actually been EU federalist, but with the pretence that repatriation of powers is possible.

    As the EU is a political project the very purpose of which is to create a United States of Europe, you are either a member and committed to that end, or you are out of it. It’s an in/out choice and it’s ludicrous to suggest there’s a way to remain a member but be excluded from the fundamental objective of membership, which is political rather than economic.

  32. Bryan
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Mr Clegg says 3 million jobs are at risk if we leave the EU!

    It is worrying that a politician of his seniority in the Coalition thinks that should we leave the EU we would still buy 70% of our imported goods and services from the EU but they would buy nothing from us?

    He should know though, surely?

    And more fools us!

    • APL
      Posted January 15, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Bryan: “Mr Clegg says 3 million jobs .. ”

      Maybe he is more worried about the one job that is worth 3 million to him?

  33. Bert Young
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    The recent interferences are nothing but signs of fear that we will toughen our requirements in our relationship with the EU and that this may bring about further discrepancies in the march towards federalism with other member countries . Germany has the most to lose if we do withdraw and the Brussels central bureaucrats a loss of face and the beginning of their loss of power . We must stick to our guns and defend democracy to the hilt . A jolly good blog which I fully support .

  34. Martyn
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    John, you say “The British people will ultimately decide this”. Forgive me, but I simply cannot see how that can happen. The EU commisars have proven more than once that voters are a nuisance and be trained to vote the way they are told. Since our 3 mainstream political parties (admittedly most not of the same ‘ignore the voters’ mindset as are the EU commisars) are in favour of retaining the status quo with the EU.
    So it matters not which of the 3 main parties wins the next GE – so far as the EU is concerned it will be business as usual and British voters will not ever be given the choice to ultimately decide anything of importance in this area.

  35. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    The quality of the media debate is as depressingly poor quality as usual. We are told that the view being expressed from the USA is the same as that from Germany. But if these views, as reported by the media, are correct then that is clearly not so.

    The USA view is that it suites them best to have the UK in the EU, and is encouraging us to stay in because the “influence” we can bring to bear is more to the USA’s liking.

    Germany is saying do not attempt to get your way by threatening to prevent us from getting our way.

  36. Bob
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    The “Any Questions audience this week virtually unaninimously voted to stay in the EU.

    So why are the party leaders so scared of holding a referendum?

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      They were BBC indoctrinated people.

    • Paul
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      Because the audiences on programmes like ‘Any Questions’ and ‘Question Time’ are deliberately chosen and do not represent the views of the British people at all. 99% are chosen for their pro-EU, pro-green, pro-immigration, pro-climate change, far left views.

    • Bob
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      @lifelogic & Paul

      Jon Dimbleby said that the audience members were randomly selected.

    • APL
      Posted January 15, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Good question Bob, you’d think the EUrophile Cameron would jump at the chance to settle the issue once and for all!

  37. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    It is indeed “in our mutual interest to sort it out amicably and sensibly”.

    One amicable and sensible solution is for the UK to leave the EU and and to agree a trading arrangement with the EU. This does not have to be based on any of the various existing such arrangements, though something could be learnt from them. I think the UK is a sufficiently big player to come to its own agreement.

    I see no sense in attempting to seek a version of EU membership customised to requirements of the UK. This means the UK would, to some extent, be shackled to the EU federalist vision. If not shackled, in what possible sense could the UK still be “in” the EU. What is the point of wearing an “IN” fig leaf? Why give ourselves the aggravation?

    And why would the EU want to waste time and effort agreeing the special UK relationship. They have more than enough to do sorting out the Eurozone. Nor would they want the precedent of a UK relationship as this would only encourage others to do the same.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      Why continue with treaties, solemnly agreed and legally binding contracts between nations, which commit us to participating in an unremitting, unlimited and largely uncontrollable process of “ever closer union” with our European neighbours, if we don’t actually want to be part of that process?

      That’s why I say that we should have a referendum designed to clearly establish whether or not the majority of the British people do want to continue further with the process of “ever closer union”, and that should be a “mandate referendum” to set the basic parameters for any negotiations initiated by Cameron.

  38. Vanessa
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Well said, Mr Redwood. Is it about time you left the tories and joined UKIP ? When will the media, our businessmen and politicians stop telling us lies and tell us the truth. That Norway has much more influence on EU legislation being a member of EEA and EFTA than we do being a member of this corrupt club. That Switzerland and Norway have better standards of living than we do being outside the EU – we would like some of that too please. Somebody gag the USA and the EU “top table” from telling more lies, we know it is because they LOVE our money and the amount they get from us, without having to give us anything in return.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      Norway has no influence over EU law. That’s why eurosceptics can never name any EU laws that Norway has influenced.

      • Douglas Carter
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:15 am | Permalink

        Norway is not a member of the EU. It would be inappropriate for Norway to have influence on its laws and rules.

        By virtue of membership of the EEA, Norway most certainly has considerable influence on the conduct of the single market, however.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 1:57 am | Permalink

        Nuts! How would you know?

  39. Pleb
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    The EU is a forth richt

  40. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I would like a referendum with something like this printed on the ballot paper:

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

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

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

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

    And I’d like that kind of “mandate referendum” to be held as soon as possible, say this autumn at the latest, BEFORE Cameron starts any attempts at renegotiation.

  41. Jon
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    I think there is a general issue for the EU to resolve of countries who will not want be in the federal eropean country but still wish to trade. Its not just an issue for the UK but we will be the one to set the president of how this is worked out. Its an issue to sort out regardless of the UK.

    I saw Newsweek today, Gavin Esler. The 4 guests were all pro europhiles. As a eurosceptic I couldn’t decide whether it would be beneficial for that program to be balanced. The views and insults that they delivered to the majority of the UK electorate would perhaps do more good for the eurosceptic view.

  42. The PrangWizard
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    As far I am concerned the issue is quite simple, we must get out completely and the 1972 Act must be repealed. If we negotiate some sort of arms length arrangement, we will face the risk of being drawn back in again, so it must be made as difficult as possible. It could also be argued that those wanting a ‘deal’ where we retain a presence of some kind, just haven’t go the courage to go the whole way.

    We must have the courage, what is to be feared in being a fully independent self-governing country? Did we not create our own country and laws and cultural beliefs through our own efforts, why do we always seem to look elsewhere now? It was weak and demoralised leadership which took us in to the EU.

    We must not be taken in by the same weak mindedness and by the merchants of doom or their threats. What kind of people believe that we must be tied to and ruled by a foreign power. There can be no renaissance here in Britain until we a free again, to think for ourselves and act for ourselves.

    We must recognise doubletalk and cry ‘Freedom!’

  43. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Thankyou Steve Cox for highlighting that awful power we all feel , when we know our arguments are valid and legitimate yet cannot get justice.What can we do when we have used every imperial ounce of self control and politeness to fight the agressive lies: if we do an eye for an eye ,we will in effect be joining those tactics, yet are steam rollered if we don’t. Why should we let them have this tormenting control over us? Why should we fight alongside them in the road to ruinous mirror- imaging backbiting.?
    The question is Mr Redwood , how much do WE get from Euroland and could we do without?

  44. Electro-Kevin
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Is there any possibility that we could … *sleep walk* out of Europe ?

    Do you think they’ll let us ?

  45. Michael Read
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Ar hah. You’ve obviously missed it. Tarzan is in on manoevres in the Torygraph.

  46. Iain Gill
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    The badly named “EU/India Free Trade” agreement should be the first casualty of any renegotiation. Its little to do with free trade its main affect will be to force the UK to print ever more work visas for Indian nationals to work here, and family visas for their families. A (possible large) influx which the rest of Europe will be insulated from as almost all folk with an advanced education in India can speak English and other European languages are much rarer, putting a natural barrier in the way of them (mov)ing into other countries.

  47. uanime5
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    If the USA, Germany and Ireland all think it’s worthwhile lecturing and hectoring the UK to stay in, we must be onto something with our proposal that we need a new relationship.

    Most likely leaving the EU will be as bad for the UK as it will be for all these countries.

    The change of government language seems to be waking the rest of the EU up to what a smashing deal they get out of the UK’s current membership.

    What is this smashing deal? So far the main thing the UK does is demand more powers and tries to hamper all attempts by the other countries to achieve a closer union.

    The EU gets large sums of our tax revenue to send to other parts of the union.

    The EU gets this from several countries, not just the UK.

    They get great access to our fishing grounds.

    They get access to our labour market for anyone from the continent. Continental companies can have good access to our lucrative consumer market, and use it to sell us more than we sell them.

    And we get access to their markets and fishing grounds as well. If other countries are using this relationship more effectively than the UK then this is the UK’s fault for being ineffective, not the other country’s fault for being innovative.

    They make our companies follow detailed rules for everything they sell not just in the rest of the EU but also at home and in every other world market, whether those markets want those regulations or not.

    What exactly is your point John? Are you saying that companies that don’t make products they intend to sell in the EU shouldn’t have to follow EU health and safety, discrimination, or employment laws? If you ever tried to implement something so stupid these companies would be unable to recruit anyone because employees would want to work in EU focused companies where they’d have superior rights and working conditions.

    I am sick and tired of having to counter the lame threat that they will not trade with us anymore if we dare to ask for better terms or if the British people vote to head for the exit.

    If the UK leaves the EU and EFTA then any trade with EU countries will be subject to a trade agreement. Given how much more economic power the EU has than the UK this agreement will be on the EU’s terms, not the UK’s. So expect all UK products to be subject to tariffs if sold in the EU, just like goods from the US.

    It’s nothing but a fantasy to believe that the UK can have unrestricted trade with the EU without obeying EU law.

    It is in the EU’s interest to find a way of permitting good trade between the Euro area and the UK without expecting the UK to join the political union.

    The UK could always leave the EU and join the EEA, which would permit trade without requiring political integration. However the UK would still have to obey EU law while no longer have any influence over it.

    The EU has to understand that there are two different types of member, Euro members and non Euro members who do not plan to join the currency.

    Technically there’s three, the third being: non-Euro members who are planning to join the currency. As the UK is currently in a group of two countries which aren’t joining the euro I don’t expect that the EU will consider it worthwhile to give the UK special treatment.

    Also I’ve found an article about a journalist who tried to live on minimum wage (like 11 million people in the UK) which left him with £31 per week for food. This article illustrates why so many people see no point in working for a pittance.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/life-on-benefits-the-starving-of-the-11-million-8448685.html

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      “It’s nothing but a fantasy to believe that the UK can have unrestricted trade with the EU without obeying EU law.”

      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldhansrd/text/121214w0001.htm

      “14 Dec 2012 : Column WA263

      EU: Trade Agreements

      Question

      Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

      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.[HL4061]

      The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint):

      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.”

  48. Terry
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    The EU has taken over Europe without loss of blood. The EU is dominated by Germany who, in the past, has cost us Europeans, buckets of blood and millions of lives.

    Britain halted the growth and the dominance of the German Nazis with the lives of their citizens and their military.
    Now is the time for Britain, once again, to halt the growth and the dominance of the EU neo Nazis (socialists) in Brussels without any loss of life or bloodshed.

    And all we have to do, is withdraw from this loss making behemoth, the chain around our neck when, obscurely and ridiculously, we have to pay them for applying it. Utter madness!

  49. Chris
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Farage rebuts Heseltine very clearly and emphatically.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20999941

  50. Lady Carole
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Bang on as ever Mr Redwood ,do keep up the good work

  51. Jon
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    I read the Germans are a bit irritable about the PM’s speech on the day they want to commemorate a Treaty with France.

    The Germans really know how to throw a party, celebrate a 50 year old Treaty. Lets recite some key passages from it to get the party flowing.

    They could of course commemorate the death of an Empress and daughter of a German princess of Saxe Coburg Saalfeld.

    Or maybe a bit more upbeat, celebrate the number 1 hit on the 22nd Jan 1994 by D Ream – Things Can Only Get Better.

    But lets not forget France, 485 years ago Henry the VIII joined with France to declare war on Italy.

    These things should not be forgotten as we are one bit happy if dysfunctional family.

  52. Merlin
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    38 % of our trade is with the EUSSR and falling, the rest with other countries and rising, I would rather be an independent Nation State, free to trade with anyone.

  53. Posted January 12, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    If we want to have a “New relationship” we can only do this if we invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Only then, can the EU and ourselves begin negotiations. Invoking Article 50 does not mean that we automatically leave the EU. What it means is that in order for the UK to continue trading with the EU we must negotiate and agree to new terms. These new terms need not be punitive, as contained in the treaty are clauses against unreasonable behavior or demands.

    As members of the EU we are automatically members of the European Economic Area (EEA). Membership of the EEA gives us access to the Single Market by right. It cannot be renegotiated or taken away. To repeat, it is ours by right.

    Renegotiation can take up to two years.However, should negotiation prove successful it may take less, or if not, both parties (EU and the UK), if they so agree, may extend this time limit.

    Upon leaving the EU, which is a ‘Customs Union’ and NOT the Single Market, the UK would be solely placed in the EEA alongside Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland. Switzerland is only part of the European Free Trade Association EFTA.

    Because the EEA was only ever meant to be a transitional phase too full EU membership, it does not have its own institutions. Instead, it uses those belonging to the EFTA. Membership of the EEA/EFTA would deliver much of that which the UK needs and that of which the UK Government keeps saying it wants ie Fishing, agriculture, foreign policy, trade etc.

    Membership of EEA/EFTA give access to the EU and the Single Market and also means that the ‘Four Freedoms’ of the Single Market are maintained. Those ‘Four Freedoms’ are:

    1) Goods. Such as cars,food and other manufactured goods.
    2) Capital. Such as Financial Services (The City) and Legal Services.
    3) Services. Again Financial Services and Transport.
    4) Persons. People.

    If you do not believe me, please look at the EEA/EFTA website. link here:
    http://www.efta.int/eea/policy-areas.aspx

    What the EEA/EFTA isn’t, or should I say is, is a ‘Customs Union’ or, to put it more bluntly, the European Union. (see below)

    What a custom union does, for those that are not sure, is a political agreement to place ‘common’ tariffs on goods and services entering the ‘Single Market’

    I do strongly recommend that readers to this blog and our kind host read this following link from the EEA/EFTA website. It is most illuminating.

    http://www.efta.int/eea/eea-agreement.aspx

    I would also like our kind host to circulate this too other members of the House of Commons. If they do not wish to leave the EU, as he himself has stated in his own ‘diary’, than perhaps that is because they are frightened that we might lose the ‘Single Market’ and trade with the EU. This, as the above link shows, is unfounded.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      “Invoking Article 50 does not mean that we automatically leave the EU.”

      Article 50 TEU starts on page 43 here:

      http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2010:083:0013:0046:EN:PDF

      It is clear from that Article that if an EU member state delivers a notice of its intention to leave the EU then it is expected to leave the EU, either when its withdrawal agreement comes into force or alternatively when a period of two years (plus any agreed extension) has elapsed without any withdrawal agreement having been concluded and come into force:

      “3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.”

      The Article is silent on the hypothetical scenario of a member state first giving notice of its intention to leave the EU, and then changing its mind about leaving the EU and rescinding that notice before the process of withdrawal has been completed one way or another, so the other EU member states would have to make an ad hoc decision on their response to that situation.

      They could take the hardline position that once a member state had delivered a notice that it intended to withdraw from the EU then that notice was irrevocable and therefore the process of withdrawal must be taken to completion even if the withdrawing state said that it had changed its mind, for example because of a change of government, and afterwards that country could apply to rejoin through the normal process of accession for a new member state, as envisaged in paragraph 5:

      “5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.”

      In the case of the UK the new accession treaty under Article 49 TEU would certainly impose an obligation to join the euro at the earliest opportunity, the current EU norm which Cameron has failed to challenge in the case of Croatia.

      Or they could warmly welcome the news that the member state in question no longer wished to leave the EU, and agree that “normal service will be resumed” with that country still in the EU on its existing terms.

      Alternatively they could agree that the country could remain in the EU, but insist on certain concessions as the price for their agreement; those concessions, for example in the case of the UK that all “opt-outs” including the euro “opt-out” be relinquished, would necessarily be processed through Article 48 TEU on revision of the EU treaties.

      The least likely outcome would seem to be that the other member states agreed to make concessions to the member state which had given notice of its intention to leave the EU in order to keep it in, but in any case once again those would be EU treaty changes made through Article 48 TEU on revision of the EU treaties and not part of a withdrawal agreement made under Article 50 TEU.

      I understand why people are calling for Cameron to invoke Article 50 TEU – which of course they and everybody else, including the governments of the other EU member states, know he won’t do if he can find any possible way to avoid doing it – but it has to be clearly understood that Article 50 TEU is a route out of the EU, not a route to stay in the EU but with treaty changes which could not be obtained through Article 48 TEU on revision of the EU treaties.

      The threat of invoking Article 50 TEU would be one thing, but actually invoking it would be another; in any case we know that Cameron is determined to keep us in the EU at all costs and he will fight tooth and nail to avoid doing the first in any credible way, let do alone the second.

      • Mark B
        Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper

        Thank you for your response.

        The major point of my original post was to highlight the fact that, one does not have to be a member of EU in order to participate in the ‘Single/Internal Market’.

        We can access the Single/Internal Market via the EEA/EFTA, please see the links I have given.

        The EU is primarily a Customs Union and its long term aim is for FULL political (internal and external), financial and monetary control. ie A sovereign country in its own right. Able to make decisions for and on behalf of ALL member states, including the UK. This the people of these islands never consented too. We were told, and have been continually reminded that its all about trade. Whenever Cameron, Clegg or any member of the government talk about trade, they mention the Single Market and its potential loss if we leave the EU. THIS IS UNTRUE !!!

        Access to the Single/Internal Market is not dependent upon EU membership. Its is dependent upon EEA and EFTA membership. If we just want trade and not be ruled by the EU, then the only way out is by Article 50. And yes, I know we do not have a snowmans chance in hell of getting it with Cameron and Clegg in charge.

        Pardon me, but items of your post had the word, ‘could’ in the sentence. You were dealing here with hypothetical scenarios that ‘could’ go either way. I must tell you sir, I am not interested in such things.

        But thank you anyway.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 14, 2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink

          “You were dealing here with hypothetical scenarios that ‘could’ go either way. I must tell you sir, I am not interested in such things.”

          But if you recommend a course of action with a range of possible outcomes then you do need to be interested in them.

          • Mark B
            Posted January 14, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

            Denis,
            I never recommended anything. I started my post with:

            “If we want to have a “New relationship” we can only do this if we invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.”

            Yes, there are other articles in the Treaty of Lisbon which you mentioned. But they require our ‘friends’ in the EU playing ball and wanting to renegotiate with us. If you have been reading a lot of their comments in the news regarding Cameron’s desire to renegotiate powers, then you will realize that it is a non-starter.

            Membership of the European Union is, just that. A UNION !

            http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/union

            Our membership of the EEC/EC/EU has and is being sold to us as a trade association, it is nothing like that.

            If we require just trade, then we must leave. Article 50 is the quickest and most effective route. Should we leave, the question for many is, “Where do we go ?’

            The answer to that question is simple, the EEA/EFTA.

            That is what I am trying to put across.

            If people wish the UK to become a vassal of the EU then fine. But if it is just trade that they want, then all I can say is that you are in the wrong club. And in order to leave that club you must first invoke Article 50.

            There Is No Alternative – TINA

            Membership of the EU requires ALL participating members to, “ever closer UNION.” From the Treaty of Rome

            Cameron can ask for some powers back now, to help him cynically get a few votes at the forth coming elections, but sooner or later, those same powers will be reclaimed by the EU. And we will be back to were we have started or worse. I for one will not be misled and I urge both you and others not to be either.

  54. Sarah
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    THe essential problem seems to me that the UK needs to be part of a trading block that is big enough to deal with China , other Asian Tigers and USA. The only such trading block available is EU.
    The EU has forgotten its origins in trade and has become a mad political body hedged in by bureaucracy, vested interest and poor economics. Thus the UK is faced with Hobson’s Choice – take its chance of survival in a competitive world on its own or wither and die in the context of the EU.
    No politician has the courage to choose the former and the electorate is fast recognising the latter.
    Where we will end up nobody knows!

    • Mark B
      Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      Sarah said,

      “THe essential problem seems to me that the UK needs to be part of a trading block that is big enough to deal with China , other Asian Tigers and USA. The only such trading block available is EU.”

      Sorry, but that is WRONG ! (see link below)
      http://www.efta.int/free-trade.aspx

      The ECSC/EEC/EC/EU was never about trade. Yes it started off that way with the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and then the EEC, but it was always a political project designed to bind the nations of Europe too “ever closer union.”

      We can still be part of a large trading block. If small countries like Iceland and Liechtenstein can sign trade agreements then so can we. Remember, we are part of the G8, the UN, the BIS, and WTO.

      We would also be members of the EEA/EFTA and have access to the Single/Internal Market. We would have a say on the rules of the market inline with the EEA agreement.

      Please take time to read the EEA/EFTA site and peruse the trade links.

      “Knowledge dispels fear !”

  55. Max Dunbar
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 2:41 am | Permalink

    “Lecturing us, threatening us or hectoring us”. Do they? And if so why? The problem is here Mr Redwood, not in Europe or America.
    Thatcher dealt with the defeatists robustly.
    “And how would you like your steak madam?”
    “Rare”
    “And what about the vegetables?”
    “They will have the same as me”

  56. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Speculation.
    There is a Dutch saying: “a cat in distress often makes strange jumps”. As stress is mounting on Cameron and he will want to win his next elections, here is such “strnge jump”scenario:
    1) Offer an In/Out referendum quite soon to be held.
    2) Embarke on a massive In-campaign.
    It would be a gigantic gamble. But with the US, the City, big business, the coalition partner, and possible other allies on his side he may yet win over a sceptical UK public.
    If he does, – he will have dealt UKIP a fatal blow, will proceed to win the next national elections, will have temporarely silenced the eurosceptic back benchers, and will have served his domestic and foreign “masters”(US, the City).

  57. wab
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    “If the USA, Germany and Ireland all think it’s worthwhile lecturing and hectoring the UK to stay in, we must be onto something with our proposal that we need a new relationship. The change of government language seems to be waking the rest of the EU up to what a smashing deal they get out of the UK’s current membership.”

    Mr. Redwood mistakenly assumes that this is a zero sum relationship.

    And of course, by Mr. Redwood’s logic, once the rest of the EU is so fed up with the cry baby UK that they all beg the UK to leave, we should then deduce that we ought to stay.

    Mr. Redwood, in his mad rush for the exit, also conveniently ignores the fact that many major corporations (e.g. car companies) may decide to establish certain future sites in the EU rather than in the UK so that they can benefit from being inside rather than outside the EU. Mr. Redwood can pretend that everything will be better for the UK when the UK exits, but he is sadly mistaken.

  58. Bazman
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    What of all the foreign owned c0ompanies in the UK being penalised for being outside of the EU? Plenty to say by Billy Britains on the sovereignty of the UK, but little to say about foreign ownership and how this is or is not in British interests. Many could leave Britain and move to cheap labour areas of the EU and lets have a think why so many of them are here considering our uneducated workforce with so many rights, the bad infrastructure, the absurd regulations, the high taxes and costs. Add to this penalties from the EU for being outside? Maybe we could compete as a third world country without oil? Ram it.

  59. John Orchard
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    We know that the European Countries don’t want us to leave and take our 53 million pounds a day away from them and the USA is the same as which European Country would be first in no matter the legitamcy of the US cause. We saw how Blair who lied is teeth off with WMD untruth for Iraq but jumped when Bush the younger ordered him and the same as in Afghanistan. Where were the Americans when the IRA bombs were going off, easy, giving aid to them by way of Irish Donations.

  60. derek spence
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    AS John says…under EU law recently arrived migrants will receive the same benefits as people long settled here who have been paying income tax and NI over many years. Is that fair? Can our public services cope? Can we afford it? And at the end of this year 21 million Romanians and 7 million Bulgarians will be able to walk in and be our guests at our expense. Quite a prospect.

  61. David Langley
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    We are up against a massive resistance to leaving the EU from our leaders and the media in general. I fear that the public in this country will be fed lies and propaganda about the real nature and purpose of the EU. I wonder why we would need a parliament of our own when the EU parliament is being geared up already with its comitology to run things when we are all eventually federal states. Getting derogations from various imposts means we give in in the end and then like it or not one day the Euro will slide in and all the other things. Barroso was also overjoyed that all the current 27 governments had agreed with a central banking supervisor as an interim step until the full implementation of banking rules and controls. Our Parliament will vote for the money to the EU and accept all the degradation so that they can survive and pretend to govern. Really they are only behaving like a rubber stamp and its because we still have some powers left that they can act like they do. Eric Pickles being interviewed on the BBC Sunday Politics looked and sounded defeated already by the prospect of the coming East EU (migration). Our government is a joke.

  62. Derek Emery
    Posted January 15, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Is anyone convinced our politicians and bureaucrats are capable of getting a good deal for the UK from the new two speed EU where the UK will be marginalized as matter of course since it cannot be part of the central ruling structure? I’m not as our as our politicians and bureaucrats are only too keen to roll over and give way on all matters relating to the EU even when these are dead against the UK interests. Why should they be any better in future? There’s no history of them being other than useless as negotiators with democracy-free EU.

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  • 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.
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