What a difference a speech makes

I was interested that my brief blog on Mr Cameron’s Europe speech got the biggest ever response. Clearly you do not need my thoughts to get you going, when you are interested in the topic.

Now some of the dust has settled I thought I would put down some of my observations on the EU debate brought on by that speech.

The first thing to say is that all those who think the UK public are not interested in the issue of the EU or are turned off by parties banging on about Europe need to think again. The press and public interest has been big. The Conservatives have gone up in the polls whilst holding a very public conversation about how far and how fast we should go in a Eurosceptic direction. Just as Mr Cameron got a big improvement in ratings when he vetoed any UK membership of the Fiscal Treaty, so too his ratings have gone up during debates over that speech.

The second is to say to all those who want deeds not words, on this occasion the words matter and they were good. The EU world will not be the same again, now a UK Prime Minister has dared to explain that we do not wish to join their union. It is no longer a question of a slower pace of travel in the same direction, no longer a question of a few opt outs.

Many of you will agree with these words:

“We have the character of an island nation – independent, forthright, passionate in defence of our sovereignty. We can no more change this British sensibility than we can drain the English Channel.”

“First, the problems in the Eurozone are driving fundamental change in Europe. Second , there is a crisis of European competitiveness… And third there is a gap between the EU and its citizens which has grown dramatically in recent years. And which represents a lack of democratic accountability and consent that is – yes – felt particularly acutely in Britain.”

“The European Treaty commits the Member states to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe…. for Britain it is not the objective”

“power must be able to flow back to Member States, not just away from them.”

“democratic accountability – we need to have a bigger and more significant role for national Parliaments. There is not, in my view, a single European demos.”

In the UK “People feel that the EU is heading in the wrong direction that they never signed up to. They resent the interference in our national life by what they see as unnecessary rules and regulation. ”

“It is time for the British people to have their say… I say to the British people: this will be your decision”

The third observation is this speech has made many on the continent think again. They were happy to ignore UKIP polling 3% in a General Election and 20% in a European election, with a Conservative Eurosceptic choir in Parliament demanding change. They first realised there was something more serious when 100 MPs voted for a referendum. It is altogether more serious to have the leader of the largest party and the Prime Minister saying that the EU is not working for the UK and offering a vote on whether to leave.

Heavyweight German opinion has let it be known that they agree with various criticisms Mr Cameron has made of the EU. They have also indicated that if the UK electorate did vote out, they would of course want a proper Free Trade Agreement with us to defend their most important export industries. Dutch opinion has included voices who like Mr Cameron’s idea of Member States having much more power and say over a wide range of policy. Some have spoken out about the tribulations the Euro is now causing its members.

It is early days. Much will happen before we get our promised and much needed referendum. However, the game has changed. It is difficult to believe that Mr Miliband can hold his position for long that Labour neither wants to negotiate a new relationship nor wants to give the UK electors their say. If electors respond positively to the pollsters saying they want this referendum and want a new and different relationship for the UK with the EU, we could see more progress.

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179 Comments

  1. Elliot Kane
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    I think what most Brits want is what our parents & grandparents (And very occasionally we ourselves! :D) actually voted for in the first referendum – a free trade agreement.

    We don’t want any of the rest of it.

    Cameron summed us up perfectly with his “character of an island nation” description. We look outwards, not just to the nearest landmass, but to the whole world. To Brits, Europe is no more ‘us’ than Asia or the Americas. They are ALL foreign lands – and hopefully, also, foreign friends.

    I like to think that we Brits wish the peoples of Europe well, just as we wish all other peoples well, but that doesn’t mean we want to become part of a federation with any of them.

    We are a trading nation – “a nation of small and medium sized businesses” as Boris re-coined the phrase. We want to trade with everyone, not to be stuck in a declining, protectionist trade block that sees everything outside of itself as a threat to trade rather than an opportunity.

    Reply: I voted No in 1975 because the Treaty of Rome was very clearly not a free trade agreement.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      Indeed nothing more than free trade and some common standards to enable free trade.

      To reply – well done I would have voted no too, had I been old enough. But it was clearly portrayed dishonestly by the government, the BBC and the Shirley Williams types as being just a common market trade agreement. Only those who went into detail and the sense from the no side knew any differently. It is hard to win when most of the parties and the media were for staying in and most voters felt they must know better than them. No doubt Cameron will be a Shirley Williams type this time, if we do ever get the referendum.

      • Nicol Sinclair
        Posted January 27, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic. I was old enough to vote. I did vote. Ashamedly in hindsight, I voted to stay in as I, too, fell for the ‘Common Market’ argument. In my defence, I have to admit to being much younger (31) then and ever-so-foolish at the time believing all that was told to me by our politicians.

        I am now older (70) and wiser and will not fall for that trick again… Be careful politicians. The Brits are a more adult people now.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 27, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

          I just found the argument of the no side Tony Benn, Michael Foot, Peter Shore and Barbara Castle, Eric Varley, most of the Ulster Unionist Party and Enoch Powell so much more intelligent and rational than the pathetic emotional appeals of the yes side. Not many in the dreadful Tories of the time were against it.

          Just as I find the rational argument on economics are on the Hayek side and the rational argument on global warming are clearly on the, lets wait and see if it is really a problem, side of the argument.

          Anyone who appeals merely to irrational emotions, envy and religions such as tv evangelists Gore and Cameron all the libdems and most of the labour party are highly suspect.

          Reply I argeud No in 1975. I read the Treaty of Rome which was clearly about much more than a common market. I also was asked to produce a paper for my employer on the economic consequences of staying in or leaving. I did calculations on the huge cost in terms of membership fees and balance of payments deficits with the rest of the EU in manufactures which led me to vote No.

      • Disaffected
        Posted January 27, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        Christopher Booker highlights in his article in the DT the inadequacies of what Cameron is trying to claim he would do in his ifs ands pots and pans scenario. Unfortunately Mr Cameron needs to enter the real world and understand what is happening for himself instead of believing his civil servants and doing what he is told. There is no rational logic to Cameron’s comments after his actions in October last year to prevent an EU referendum and when he sacked Tory politicians for wanting an EU in/out vote.

        As I said the other day, UNECE decides regulations relating to motor cars and Norway has an equal voice to the EU. The UK voice being lost among the other 26 countries and only 8% of the vote. Norway does not produce cars the UK does. The EU is making the UK uncompetitive. In fact Booker’s article also highlights how it forced the Royal Mail to be uncompetitive- lamely allowed by Cameron and his pro European cabinet.

    • Bob
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      “Reply: I voted No in 1975 because the Treaty of Rome was very clearly not a free trade agreement.”

      Then why did the BBC, the press and the political establishment pretend otherwise?

      Is it because they are all corrupt?

      Reply I suspect they did not bother to read the Treaty they were recommending – they just listened to the spin of Mr Wilson’s governemnt. I read the Treaty.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      John,

      I recall some of the arguments of the day, and the claims that a ‘yes’ vote would ultimately lead to a Europen federal super-state, were summarily dismissed as scaremongering.

      More recently, prior to the GE of 1979, I received Michael Heseltine’s personal verbal assurance at a meeting in Hinckley, Leicestershire (and I have since reminded him of the occasion, and have both his and my own correspondence should you wish to see it) that we would not give away our powers to the EU. Then came the Single European Act in 1986, and of course the Maastricht Treaty, and we all know who was in power then, don’t we John!. So I think people are right to be sceptical of those who now wish to appear Euro-sceptic.

      It might be the case that God loves a sinner who repenteth most of all. Unfortunately, I don’t have his fortitude, nor his faith that bad people who turn good, can’t then turn bad again. Doubting Thomas I may be, but I tend not to be deceived that way. The only people I trust absolutely on this issue, are the ones who have been consistently Euro-sceptic all along.

      Tad Davison

      Cambridge

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        Assurances from Heseltine are clearly not worth very much rather like Cameron.

    • Elliot Kane
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Well done, John. I think you must be one of the very few people in Britain who were NOT fooled by Heath’s lies. I wish there’d been more like you. This whole mess with the EU might have been averted if there had been.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    “Much will happen before we get our promised and much needed referendum” – indeed we almost certainly never get it. This as the next election is virtually lost. Even if the Tories did win (and were still under Cameron) there is a very high chance he would find an excuse renege again. Just as he clearly and blatantly did renege, before the last election, over Lisbon. The Lisbon referendum was clearly needed even more after ratification not less. Indeed had the treaty never been ratified the referendum was clearly not needed at all.

    The further problem is there will clearly be no serious negotiation going on before the next election and then only in the very unlikely event the Tories win. Will the new parliamentary boundaries even be put in place one wonders?

    Cameron could not even beat Brown with all the cards in his hand at the time. At the next election he will go to the nation against Miliband. This having failed to get any growth, failed to cut the debt, (failed even it seems to understand the difference between debt and the increase in debt often), and having been shown to be untrustworthy on the EU, on taxes, the Osborne IHT threshold promise.

    People now know very clearly that Cameron is a pro EU, fake green, high tax, big state, more regulation, no growth soft socialist – why would they vote for that? They clearly want cheap energy, small taxes, a smaller state, less EU, fewer regulations and real growth.

    Cameron absurdly claims to be a low tax conservative, just how stupid does he think the UK electorate actually are? The combined UK taxes can rob perhaps 80% of someone’s capital in under 15 years. Not much of an incentive to move back to the UK – unless you are nondom with special rules of course. Or if you just like watching the state waste your money on pointless nonsense and often overpaid parasitic activity – all over the place.

    Perhaps the debate has indeed shifted. I see however that the BBC is already doing its very best for the pro EU side. But then what does one expect from the BBC – Cameron appointed Lord Patten to oversee it.

    How can one have any confidence in Cameron on the EU when he does that, and even retains him in position after all the Saville and DG selections farces that he was partly responsible for?

    Reply A majority Conservative party in the Commons after 2015 would not let its Leader rat on the promised referendum.

    • JoolsB
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      In fairness to Cameron and I’m not a Cameron fan, when in opposition the cast iron guarantee was to give us a referendum only if the Lisbon Treaty hadn’t been ratified by the time the Tories came to power. At the time the Czecs were holding out but then signed at the last minute which gave Brown the green light to literally sneek in and sign it on our behalf without consulting us. Cameron never promised a referendum if the treaty had been ratified and like John says, now he has made an in/out promise, there are too many Tories who would not allow him to renege on it.

      The main worry is Labour who will almost certainly find a reason to change their position before the next general election on a referendum. Now they have seen how the poll ratings have gone up for the Tories, they will be panicking and you can be sure a great deal of their time will be spent in the coming weeks discussing how they can come up with a story to convince the public that they really are in favour of a referendum after all all and then once elected one thing is certain, they will stick their two fingers up at anyone who tries to keep them to it.

      Reply: You should also remember that many of us Conservatives including the Shadow Cabinet urged the Czechs to hold out for just a little longer so we could get into office and hold a referendum here, which would have torpedoed the Treaty for everyone if we had delievered the No vote we sought.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 27, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        You say “In fairness to Cameron and I’m not a Cameron fan, when in opposition the cast iron guarantee was to give us a referendum only if the Lisbon Treaty hadn’t been ratified by the time the Tories came to power.”

        He put no such caveat in at all. Anyway what a stupid caveat it would have been. If the treaty is in place there is clearly even more reason to have a referendum not less.

        Had he not caved it on this issue, before the election and idiotically given Clegg equal TV billing, and put a proper Tory agenda he would probably have won a clear Majority. Then we would not have had the quack green, tax borrow and waste pro EU libdems to put up with. But then he is, in essence, a Libdem too.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 27, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          Claimed (absurdly) after reneging on his Cast Iron pledge that:- “It’s no longer a treaty, it’s been incorporated into EU law,” adding that “the new posts of president and foreign minister were now being created.”

          Well it is still very clearly a treaty and as it is now taking effect there is even more reason for a referendum. He was very clearly just lying to break his Cast Iron promise. Since when does a treaty stop being a treaty when it takes legal force?

          Nowhere did he make the caveat he used as an escape route clear and certainly not in his main announcement in the Sun. The man has no credibility on the issue at all. Anyway he is in favour or staying in come what may as he has made clear.

          Well Lisbon is still very clearly a treaty (and as it is now taking effect there is even more reason for a referendum). He is clearly just reneging on his promise with this as a transparent fig leaf. Since when does a treaty stop being a treaty when it takes legal force. He clearly cannot lead the Tories into the next election other than to a huge defeat.

          • John Wood
            Posted January 28, 2013 at 1:25 am | Permalink

            Of course Labour would never put something in their manifesto, then renege on it AND THEN have to go to court to ‘in effect’ prove that they were liars would they?

        • A different Simon
          Posted January 28, 2013 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

          Lifelogic ,

          That (disloyal to our country-ed) Clegg who is on record as hating Britain (possibly more than Obama) and thinks British people should not have a say in it’s constitution should be given all the air time possible so people can see what a (unpleasant? ed) ambitious parasite he is .

          What would have happened if Farage had been given equal TV billing ?

          Reply So would the SNP, the Ulster parties and the Welsh Nats so the debate would have been hopeless

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 27, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        I’m afraid you’re wrong about the “cast-iron guarantee” and more generally about the sequence of events.

        When Cameron wrote in his signed article in the Sun on September 26th 2007:

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

        he did not qualify that pledge in any way.

        He could have added a few words such as:

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

        but he didn’t.

        That condition was only attached some time afterwards, when euromaniacs in his party had put him under pressure; they knew that Brown could and would avoid holding a general election before the treaty had come into force, and then Cameron could have an excuse not to hold a referendum.

        It was a shock to Cameron just as much as to Brown when the Irish blocked the treaty in June 2008; neither had expected that the issue would still be live so close to the latest possible date for the UK general election.

        In the autumn of 2009 the Irish were made to vote again, just as some of us had predicted, and afterwards the resistance of the Czech President was the last obstacle to the treaty coming into force; not only had Brown signed it in 2007. but the UK’s instrument of ratification had already been deposited in July 2008:

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/2419464/UK-formally-ratifies-European-Unions-Lisbon-Treaty.html

        “The final stage of Britain’s ratification was reached on Wednesday when legal documents were deposited with the Italian government in Rome, the city where the Treaty was first proposed at a summit.”

        As for JR’s reply, it was obviously asking a very great deal, far too much, to expect President Klaus to delay signing off the treaty for over seven months from the second Irish referendum to the latest date for the UK general election, and the Tory leadership must have realised that.

        The UK Bill to approve the Lisbon Treaty, the European Union (Amendment) Bill 2008, had not completed its passage through both Houses of Parliament when the Irish voted against the treaty on June 12th 2008:

        http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2007-08/europeanunionamendment/stages.html

        and at every stage as the Bill went through Parliament the Tory party said that without a UK referendum the treaty would lack democratic legitimacy in this country; June 13th 2008 was the day that Cameron should have been bold and statesmanlike and said very loudly and clearly:

        “Do not try to make the Irish vote again, because whatever happens in other countries if I become Prime Minister I will make sure that the British people have their own say on this treaty, unless it is now abandoned as it should be”.

        Reply: However, Mr Cameron did try to get a stay of execution on the Treaty so we could have a vote on it. That is not the action of a closet federalist.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 27, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

          That is not the action of a closet federalist – well he appointed Lord Patten, Ken Clarke and Heseltine and says he want to stay in the EU come what may! He clearly is a federalist, not even a very closet one. Had he not been a fake green, big tax, big state closet federalist then he would have won the last election instead of just giving it away.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 28, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

          How did Cameron try to get a stay of execution?

          If Cameron had wanted to actively support President Klaus, rather than just praise him, then he would have said that even if Klaus was pressured into signing off the treaty before the UK general election then as Prime Minister he would still hold a referendum on it.

          Instead he waited until Klaus was forced into surrender, and then announced his own surrender.

          • cosmic
            Posted January 28, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

            Cameron and Hague allowed people to believe something they knew not to be true but which suited them. When pressed, they went to all lengths to avoid stating their position clearly and let the hope live on.

            Now Cameron in particular is saddled with the reputation of being untrustworthy and treacherous.

            It was a serious failure of judgement. Attempts on the part of Tories to point out the small print, don’t help.

          • lifelogic
            Posted January 29, 2013 at 7:45 am | Permalink

            Denis Cooper – Indeed you are right the facts and record are very clear and rather damming.

            Cosmic – I agree fully. Dishonesty by a clear intentional failure to correct the impression given to the voters.

        • APL
          Posted January 28, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

          Denis Cooper: “President Klaus to delay signing off the treaty for over seven months from the second Irish referendum to the latest date for the UK general election,”

          And anyway, what a mealy mouthed spineless bunch of scoundrels! Why can’t they do what they are paid to do, govern the country, instead of trying to get a small harmless country to make the difficult decisions for them

          What is the point of Westminster?

      • sjb
        Posted January 27, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        @JoolsB

        The poll ratings went up temporarily after Cameron’s previous foray in EU matters (the Fiscal Pact Treaty ‘veto’ about a year ago) … but then the ratings declined. [1]

        Labour would be crazy to commit to a referendum now. All they need do is sit back and watch the Conservative Party tear itself apart over the EU – the electorate tend not to vote for divided parties (e.g. Labour in 1983, Tories in 1997).

        [1] http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/voting-intention-2

        Reply The electorate usually do vote for divided parties – e.g. Conservatives 1079-87, strongly divided between Wets and Dries, and Labour 1997 to 2005, strongly divided between Blairites and Brownites.

        • John Wood
          Posted January 27, 2013 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

          The Tories won’t tear themselves apart over this referendum before the next election. The ‘philes will want the opportunity to lock our membership in Europe – especially with some sweeteners – for another 40 years. The ‘phobes will be confident that the UK population will vote out. Since both sides will want the referendum there will be no problem.

          Of course in 2018 it will be ‘cry havoc’

        • sjb
          Posted January 28, 2013 at 12:03 am | Permalink

          “by 1996 the Conservative party was even closer to aggregate public opinion [on European integration], when compared with its main competitors [...] divisions over Europe helped turn this potential electoral asset into a liability [...] it is likely that the European question will have resulted in electoral costs rather than the benefits it could have produced. One implication of these findings is that if the Conservatives hope to do well on this issue they will need to adopt a consistent Eurosceptic line, but such a strategy is unlikely to be easily maintained.” [1]

          Published in 1998. What are the chances there will be a consistent line in time for the next election?

          [1] Evans, G., Euroscepticism and Conservative Electoral Support: How an Asset Became a Liability. British Journal of Political Science 28(4), 573-590
          http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract;jsessionid=F60AE00620117D6548B4B14E2DAE82C3.journals?fromPage=online&aid=1345
          (but £3.99 to rent, or £20 to buy)

          Reply: I disagree with the findings of this. The Conservatives EU policies were far more popular than Labour during the Opposition years, which is why the Conservatives used to win the European elections easily in those days. It was the rest of the policies especially to do with the economy that caused the problems in General Elections.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      To reply: Well they did let him rat on Lisbon even before he lost the last election.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 27, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        Correct.

    • zorro
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – It is difficult to see how the Tory Party would hold him to account in the next Parliament even if they got a working majority. As you often say, you have 100 votes yet there are over 300 Tory MPs and the largely federalist Labour/Lib Dems. They will still be there after the next election too…..There is a lot of time and events before the next election and plenty of scenarios which could allow Cameron to water down his pledge. This is a tactic to deliver votes at the next election. If he had held a majority in this Parliament, he would not have held a referendum either…..

      zorro

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 28, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink

        Cameron will only hold a referendum if forced too. We need a leader who actually wants a referendum and wants just free trade or out. Cameron just can’t cut it. Even if he did now pretend to be in favour of retaining some UK democracy, he has no credibility have ratted once already and having appointed Lord Patten to the BBC trust. His position is very clear from his actions.

        Can you trust this man – very clearly not.

        • zorro
          Posted January 28, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

          Not ‘The Charmer’, but rather ‘The Chancer’…..

          zorro

    • Tad Davison
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      There’s a point here that seems to need clarification. David Cameron said we’d get a referendum IF the treaty hadn’t already been ratified by the UK parliament. The sleight of hand, was that he knew full well it would be ratified, before the election, so he wouldn’t have to deliver.

      Now call me an old cynic if you must, but I smell a con-man at work. If Cameron REALLY wanted to, he would, even now, with a coalition made up of woolly Europhile liberals, move Heaven and Earth to give the British people the right to have their say at the earliest opportunity.

      To understand the mindset of others, I often put myself in their place, and think what I would do. The first priority is to lead, and that entails making the case as I see it, and demolishing the arguments of those who take a different view. Mr Cameron has gone part of the way with his recent speech, and we now see opinion polls turning in his favour, and against people like the Lib Dems who really haven’t got a Clegg to stand on.

      I just wouldn’t stop ‘banging on about Europe’ as it is possibly the most important issue facing our nation, and has been for the last fifty years. To give it anything other than the highest priority, says to me, that the Prime Minister isn’t as committed as he should be to the cause. I’d be giving the people their say right now, and if the woolly liberals got humpty about it, well they could always put their pro-EU argument forward to the electorate and have it tested.

      But to give the people their say now, takes guts. And what’s telling us?

      Tad Davison

      Cambridge

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 27, 2013 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        In politics one can rarely be too cynical. Even I would never have quite expected the 9.11 “today is a good day to bury bad news” email.

        Or that such a high proportion of MP’s would be claiming expenses under clearly false pretences. I might have though 5% maybe up to 10% but nearly half! Not to mention the ones adjusting laws for the interest of pressure groups and against the interest of everyone else.

        Reply “The nearly half” were MPs who claimed openly and legally with receipts, but were asked to repay money when it was decided to change the rules retrospectively over what you could claim for – they were not cheats or fraudsters.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 28, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink

          Laughably these are the same people who are guffawing about benefit claimants.
          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5581638/MPs-expenses-25-most-ludicrous-claims.html

        • RB
          Posted January 28, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

          Sorry Mr R but that really doesn’t fly.

          The fact is that the Rules were drafted from a position that assumed MPs to be honourable members and well able to use their own judgement in what was right and what wasn’t. MPs as a group entirely failed to live up to the quite basic level of trust the Rules placed in them.

          Many acted in a way that was quite obviously against the spirit of the Rules. They might not be fraudsters in any legal sense but they are and were complete failures in living up to what the Rules were trying to achieve – a system where men of the world through their own experience were able to see what was appropriate and what wasn’t. The fact is that the Rules such as they were envisaged men and women of honour. What they were broken by was men and women with no scruples whatsoever and no understanding of what the Rules actually required of them as mature and reliable public servants. What we got was very grubby indeed and showed that MPs in this modern age do not deserve any assumptions or expectations that they will act with probity or that as a group they have any understanding of their duty as public servants. Rather, many of them and Lords too showed themselves to be much much less than we expect and than the Rules gave them credit for.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 29, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink

          To reply, true some things were rather minor matters, but we now have clear offenders such as David Laws (offending done even after all the revelations were public) being put back into the Cabinet by Cameron.

          It is hardly encouraging.

      • A different Simon
        Posted January 28, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

        Since coming to power Clegg has shown what a truly (unpleasant?-ed) piece of work he is .

        etc

    • Nicol Sinclair
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      In error! Wrong place…

  3. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    As the program of the new Dutch government spells out the wish for repatriation of some competences via the subsidiarity principle (no cherry picking in Holland nor island thinking) the Cameron speech could help in a European debate about this, as is the Dutch wish for closer involvement by national parliaments. If Cameron is serious, he will take up the invitation to present and discuss his ideas with the European parliament, being prepared for a tough debate, but in the knowledge that e.g Germany has nodded willingness to look for some accommodation of UK concerns. In the end, the results will fall far short of what UK eurosceptics will want, but such is life. The choice to leave will still be there.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Ah yes John Majors subsidiarity principle/total lie – where everything even gender insurance premiums, seems to be controlled in Brussels with no democratic control at all.

      • Posted January 27, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        It wasn’t John Major’s idea of subsidiarity but a Brussels wheeze to disguise ever more intergation with the ratchet. It has largely been ignored by the “Brussocrats”

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 29, 2013 at 7:56 am | Permalink

          It was waved by Major, as a great lie, to deceive people into believing they would retain power on many issues. Alas they can hardly now breath without an EU licence.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 27, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        The gender neutrality for insurance companies has nicely passed through the democratic European parliament, which now even has co-decision powers. You cannot expect to be a majority by virtue of being British. Whether this should be subject to subsidiarity stand to reason if youat least want to respect single market rules. Imagine a Britsh insurrane company were to offer discount premiums to women in the Netherlands, where gender neutrality is respected by all companies, that would certainly amount to unfair competition. Better to have the same principles across the single market.
        Subsidiarity is not a lie, it may be underused.

        • JimF
          Posted January 27, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

          I think most British minds think this legislation is quite mad. Why not also then have age neutrality in insurance, and location neutrality? Why should your human rights be so eroded as to have to pay higher premia when you’ve had numerous accidents and convictions?
          The whole point is that insurance is a risk-based business, not a risk-averaged one.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted January 28, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

            @JimF: the whole point about insurance is to spread the risk, and not to apply discrimination.
            How about letting pensioners pay 3 x more health insurance? How about raising the health insurance premium of those who have recovered from cancer or of whom is known that they carry a higher risk. We don’t want American situations on our continent, thank you.
            Mind you, the real point was that losing a vote in the European Parliament is viewed as un-democratic.

          • dpc
            Posted January 30, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

            First sensible remark I’ve seen on this subject in months.Of there are many ways to maintain the earlier difference in premiums using the risk assessment concept correctly. the insurance companies can quite easily adjust things on any basis they choose under this guise. Ignore the EU ignoramuses.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 28, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

          Subsidiarity is a lie, and the EU Parliament is not democratic.

          As our Prime Minister has correctly said:

          “There is not, in my view, a single European demos.”

          and there cannot be democracy without a demos.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted January 28, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

            The directly elected EUropean Parliament is a proportional representation of the peoples in the EU and is wholly democratic. By virtue of being a proportional representation it is , in fact mre democratic than your h.o.c. in which a mere 30% of the popular vote (the opinion of your sacred “demos”) can command an overal majority and rush through measures in a kind of dictatorial manner
            Try and find a good dictionary definition of “Demos” and you’d understand that it is largely a Euroosceptic invention. Who is to judge the difference between cultures? You already have different languages within the UK, and so does the US, Belgium and various other constructs where elections are held.
            Already around 1850 (that is before modern means of transport) Switzerland constituted as a confederation of 4 different peoples, with 4 languages and regional cultures, and (interestingly) decided on a common currency.
            Cheap sloagans like “no democracy without demos” betray a weakness in understanding what democracy entails, which could be forgiven, as it comes from a country of which the democracy runs on one unelected and one unrepresentative house.

          • uanime5
            Posted January 28, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

            It’s entirely possible to have democracy without a single demos. Democracy works fine even if there are multiple demos.

            Reply Where?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted January 29, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

            Reply to Peter:

            So now I’m being lectured about the meaning of “democracy” by somebody who avidly supports the EU, which was set up by elites partly to neutralise the political power that ordinary people had gained through the spread of the universal franchise, which treats with contempt national referendum results that it doesn’t like, and which has now taken to intervening in national elections to ensure the installation of its own puppet rulers.

            It’s simple enough: I find it difficult enough to agree to be ruled by my own countrymen through a system of national elected parliamentary representation; I certainly don’t consent to have Dutchmen and Germans and Finns and Slovenians and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all voting on the laws I have to obey in my own country through any transnational system; nor can I envisage that I would ever consent to that.

            If you’re happy with that kind of transnational system, bully for you, and no doubt you’ll be overjoyed when the Turks are finally recognised as being part of your fictitious “European demos” and can start voting on the laws which must be obeyed in the Netherlands; but don’t think that your views are those of anything more than a small minority of the total population of Europe, any more than the similar views of the Yugoslav federalists were ever the views of more than a small minority of the population of Yugoslavia.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 29, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

          Peter

          “the democratic European parliament” what is that.

          If insurance does not reflect the real risk then no one, who is a low risk, will take it out unless forced to by law. The premiums then rise so no one can take it out at all. Gender neutral insurance is insanity on stilts. Insurance is not part of the social security system all are not equal and never will be.

          • dpc
            Posted January 30, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

            Common sense at last. Well done

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 27, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        Here’s part of an October 2008 report by the European Scrutiny Committee, belatedly dismissing the supposed enhancement of “subsidiarity” by the Lisbon Treaty:

        http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmselect/cmeuleg/563/56305.htm

        It was “belatedly”, because the Bill to approve the treaty had already gone through Parliament.

        There is some mild amusement to be had from this quoted statement by Andrew Duff MEP, the President of the Union of European Federalists:

        http://www.federalists.eu/

        “there is a danger that, in assessing the Treaty of Lisbon, national parliaments become obsessed by the early warning mechanism on subsidiarity. It was understood by those of us involved in its drafting and, then, re-drafting that the mechanism, although a necessary addition to the system of governance of the Union, was not really intended to be used. It is, in Bagehot’s terms, more a dignified part of the European constitutional settlement than an efficient one.””

        “… the mechanism … was not really intended to be used.”

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

          @Denis Cooper: Lisbon is almost history (outdated) and European Federalists are just one of the political persuasions. What is important is that the subsidiarity priciple (as a two-way street) is already there in the treaties (and of course it will often boil down to a political decision) and thus its interpretation, application and implementation can easlity be enhanced. Nationalistic angling for opt-outs would not be the way to go.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted January 28, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

            “Lisbon is almost history”

            No it isn’t, it’s a treaty which we have imposed on us and in force without democratic legitimacy in this country.

            You’re very keen on this “interpretation” business, Peter; pray tell me, which body of eurofederalists has the final say on the interpretation of the EU treaties and laws?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Peter–Can you really believe that the British people will be satisfied with “some” competences repatriated and “some” accommodation of their concerns? Forget it. The EU has insidiously foisted itself on us and many in Britain are only just coming to appreciate the extent of what has gone on because it is all so incredible. Only wholesale change has a hope. And it will be no good trying to scare the man in the (British) street about Trade–like me he cannot grasp why, apparently, there are people who think we are too small, or inferior or whatever it is they mysteriously think, to leave and negotiate our own NAFTA or ASEAN lookalike. The only way negotiating such an agreement would be a problem is if the inchoate country over the Channel wanted to be irrationally hostile towards us. I see no reason for that – and certainly not as regards Germany. I suspect Germany is losing interest in selling to the South and only getting back money that they, the Germans, are having to give them to do so.

      The only problem we EUphobes have now, and it is a big one, is that Cameron has made so many ridiculously wrong decisions and pronouncements, has dissembled so much, has come so late in to the field on the referendum (I think Nigel Farage should be Knighted forthwith) that I cannot see him winning the next election.

      • sjb
        Posted January 27, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        Leslie wrote: Can you really believe that the British people will be satisfied with “some” competences repatriated [..]

        Well, consider two opinion poll’s conducted after Cameron’s speech. The YouGov poll has 50% voting to stay in the EU, providing Cameron recommends a ‘Yes’ vote following his renegotiations; 25% want out. The Angus Reid poll has the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ votes tied at 34%, on the basis some powers are won back.

        Source: http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

          Unanime5–Personally I’d prefer them not to modify their demands because that will maximise the chances of Brexit. I accept the danger to the Brexit cause from slippery Cameron merely coming up with “some” cosmetic changes.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

            Postscript–The above belongs after Unanime5′s effort after next–dunno how it ended up here.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

          sjb–Stick around till the relief after Cameron’s speech wears off.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted January 27, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        Postscript–I have just seen on the Mail front page (naturally I buy the Telegraph) that Cameron faces a challenge–Good. The present situation is ridiculous with that nobody Clegg with a ridiculously small position in the country being able to change our Constitution and all the rest of his idiocies just because he has the balance of power. As I have said before, what if it were 49.5%, 49.5%, 1.0% would it make sense to allow the 1.0% any say at all, never mind any kind of whip hand? Cameron is responsible for this, allowing as he did in his conceited fashion Clegg to appear as an equal on TV. Proof positive that when given his head Cameron is hopeless.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 28, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

          Unless you want the 1.0% to vote against you then you need to offer them some reason to vote for you.

          A small party has every right to vote however they want. It would not be a democracy if you could ignore the votes from small parties.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted January 28, 2013 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

            Unanime5–One of your dafter comments–It’s a matter of common sense that the 1.0% should not have such disproportionate or even any significant power. Aiming to propitiate the 1.0% would be impossible and crazy.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 27, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        @Leslie Singleton: I can read your anger. Whether the figures will stck up in your favor is another matter for another day (2017?). In a recent yougov poll expecially the younger people were quite in favor of staying in the EU.

        • Bob
          Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

          @Peter vL

          Did you know that the YouGov President Peter Kellner is married to Baroness Ashton?

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted January 28, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink

            @Bob: And . . . ? Fraud?

          • Bob
            Posted January 28, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

            @pvl

            Is that the first thing that entered your mind?

      • uanime5
        Posted January 27, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        Who is the UK going to negotiate their own NAFTA/ASEAN agreement with?

        It can’t be anyone in Europe because they want to remain in the EU.

        It can’t be the Commonwealth because they only make up a small percentage of our exports and imports, thus the economic benefit will be low.

        So the UK is unlikely to be able to create a trade bloc that will be more beneficial than the EU.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

          Unamime5–What are you talking about? What I am talking about is the EU minus the UK becoming a country in all but name and the UK negotiating with that country (Just like Canada negotiating with America). Who can doubt that the Continent will become a new country (perhaps without Germany but that’s another story)? Why isn’t that the obvious way for us to go?

    • uanime5
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      As long as eurosceptics wish to phrase the issue as UK against the EU there’s not much chance of them modifying their demands in order to gain the support of other EU countries. Even when these countries have a favourable opinion.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        @uanime5: I agree. Still I could imagine some smarter building of alliances than before, the fact that Merkel was so conciliatory in her comments shows that the two had been in contact beforehand.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      @PvL

      The Commission will NEVER allow any powers to be to returned to Nation States – NEVER !!!

      To do so would mean that other Nation States would ask for more and more back, which would intern lead to the disintegration of the EU.

      I believe it is called the, acquis communautaire.

      http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/areas/industrialrelations/dictionary/definitions/acquiscommunautaire.htm

      Reply: They did agree to the Uk gaining a substantial rebate on our contributions when Mrs T demanded it.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        @Mark B: The European Commission under Barroso is not as powerfull as the European Council under Van Rompuy.

    • A different Simon
      Posted January 28, 2013 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

      “as is the Dutch wish for closer involvement by national parliaments.”

      Peter , with respect you don’t know this .

      Until proven otherwise by referendum this is only the opinion of people who think like you .

      Isn’t it time the Dutch had a say in their future too ?

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    John Cruddas is given top posting on Labour List when he discussed the speech.
    Let us hope that Mr Cameron honours his own words and that this is not just the same trick that Mr Wilson pulled way back in the 1970s. (Peter Oborne).

    • Bob
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      @Mike Stallard

      “Tory loyalists and voters, swoon repeatedly into Mr Slippery’s unreliable arms? Time and again he dumps them rudely on the floor. Time and again they come simpering back like besotted suitors.
      I know that it is usually hopeless to try to explain to the lovestruck that their beloved’s greasy smile hides a cheating heart”

       Peter Hitchens

      • A different Simon
        Posted January 28, 2013 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

        Too true .

        The same could be said about New Labour and it’s supporters .

        Not sure about the Lib Dem’s . They are a strange alliance of libertarians , progressives (who insinuate anyone who does not think like them is regressive) and statists .

  5. Brian Taylor
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    There have been blogs about our say in the EU and how Norway has a voice in trade aggreements and we as one of 27 EU member states have to go along with what ever the majority decide?
    And if we repatriate power will our contributions be reduced to reflect this?

    Reply: I want the issue of financial contribution to be one of the items for change.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      What will the country pay to the EU in fees and absurd regulation costs in the five years until we might get a referendum? Perhaps £40,000+ per family might it not be better just to leave now and arrange the free trade later.

  6. Richard Ede
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    In his Speech on Europe David Cameron spoke of “A new Settlement subject to the democratic legitimacy and accountability of National Parliaments where Member States combine in flexible cooperation, respecting national differences not always trying to eliminate them…” This could equally well apply to the Union of the British and for David Cameron not to say that it might suggests that he is keener on preserving the existing Union than creating a new. This would be confirmed were the Referendum in Scotland in 2014 to proceed without the Scots and all others being invited to consider such an option. Were the Centenary in 2016 of the Rising in Dublin to come and go with the British still not able to consider such an option it would suggest something even less worthy on his part, for whilst in his speech David Cameron was able with pleasure to refer to the ending of the partition of Germany there was no reference to the continuing partition of Ireland. This suggests a certain inconsistency and failure of perspective on his part. Germany’s offence was to start a second World War. Ireland’s was a refusal to accept Government by the English.

    The opportunity that presents therefore is for the British to do as the Europeans have done, but better. It is for a Union of the People of the British Isles along the lines of the European that embraces all the Irish and is not in the European Union.

  7. WitteringsfromWitney
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    How pray do we repatriate powers when the Acquis is set in stone? To do what Cameron wants, even if the other 26 would agree, would necessitate a treaty change which would involve an IGC which means that his time frame could never be met.

    I note no mention by you of the lie Cameron told about the status of Norway viz-a-viz the EU, nor as Brian Taylor above hinted at, that Norway has input into legislation long before it even reaches the EU.

    You talk about the British people having their say – how can they have their say when they know not all that is involved and how can they have their say when that which they are being told is not true?

    You, with your knowledge of the EU,, know full well that this repatriation meme of Cameron is totally unachievable – you can not be a partial member of the EU and still have the “rights” of full membership.

    If Cameron wants that what he says, then he has only one option which is to invoke Article 50 and immediately negotiate for trading membership through EFTA and the EEA. Involved in that will be one hell of a lot of preparatory work involving the 1000+ treaties to which we have been signed up by the EU and which will need renegotiation to enable us as a country in its own right to continue trading.

    Methinks you are being a tad economical with the actualité?

    Reply: I am trying to deal with the actualite of the present Parliament and the views of the voters. We are still far off having a Pull out Parliament.

    • David in Kent
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      You may regard the Acquis as set in stone. I say that in a democracy what has been ‘set’ can be unset if the people so choose.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      I do not think we will ever get “a Pull out Parliament” because too many MP’s are simply bought men and women looking only after their personal or consultancy interests or just toe the party line. Perhaps thinking of the voter for a month or two every five years then just forgetting them.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      That is as may be, but we are far closer to having a ‘pull-out’ electorate, if it doesn’t presently exist already.

      So there, laid bare, is the disparity between what the public wants, and what the poiticians force us to have. By extension, what legitimacy does an elected representative have, if they fail to recognise the will of the public, and just do their own thing anyway?

      Little wonder that the proposal to recall an MP who isn’t cutting it, has been put on the back-burner. There’d be nobody left!

      Tad Davison

      Cambridge

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      I wonder if you could please provide links to Richard North’s past blog articles about the need for prior renegotiation to enable us to continue trading. As I recall he went into some useful detail about the practical obstacles to trade which would arise if we suddenly severed all the legal ties which are now part and parcel of the EU treaties without first agreeing new arrangements so there could be a seamless transition, but I can’t locate his articles.

      • WitteringsfromWitney
        Posted January 28, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        Do I have to do everything round here? (Grins)

        • WitteringsfromWitney
          Posted January 28, 2013 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

          Denis,

          I did provide the link but our host has chosen not to provide it – nothing like transparency, is there?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted January 29, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

            Thanks, it’s a pity that the link hasn’t been published.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      As long as the EU has the final say over EU legislation it can override any input from Norway.

      • APL
        Posted January 28, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

        uanime5: “it can override any input from Norway.”

        Wrong again.

        Norway as an independent country with its own seat on the international bodies that frame the international treaties, can greatly influence the treaties that are then implemented into EUropean ‘law’.

        In fact your scenario is the very reverse of the real world situation.

    • Andyvan
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      I really cannot see why it is so much work to renegotiate trade agreements. Why do we not offer completely free access to our markets in exchange for the same to foreign markets? No extra duty, no reams of paperwork. Just simple honest trade without the state interfering and taking a huge cut every time. I would guess that a large slice of the world’s trade would be coming our way. But I suppose that nobody would think that really free trade was a good idea.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 28, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        The reason is simple; if one country is able to make cheap goods by allowing their companies to treat their employees badly then the countries where employees are treated well will be at a disadvantage. So the result will be a race to the bottom on a global scale.

        By using tariffs and quotas countries with good working conditions can force countries without bad working conditions to improve.

        • Edward
          Posted January 28, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

          Uni,
          The opposite could also happen,where tarrifs are applied by the EU, the effect may be for that country to react by lowering their wages even more to be able to compete in export markets.
          And who says what is a “pittance” as you call it?
          A few hundred dollars a month maybe a pittance to you and me in the cosy EU, but a good wage for someone in parts of China, Africa or India.
          Tarrifs and quotas may have an unintended consequence and end uo by forcing poorly paid people back into unemployment and real hardship.
          The fastest growth in wage rates and standards of living is currently in China when once many called for tarrifs and quotas to be applied to them.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      The reason for this could well be ignorance of the utter stupidity and pig headedness of the EU politicians. I honestly do not think that the Great British Public has any idea of the bone headedness of the leaders of Europe. They feel that being reasonable and nice members of the “Club” will get everyone over to our British point of view.
      What a load of bunkum!

      The Icelanders think that when they join, they will be allowed to keep their sacred fishing waters! One born every minute!

    • WitteringsfromWitney
      Posted January 28, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

      Mr. Rdwood, it is not the “now” that should concern you, but the future!

      I note, with regret, that true to form you disregard the questions and points that I raise.

      Now shall we, on your blog, get down to a debate? I’m more than willing, however were you to decline then I can only presume you feel uncomfortable with such a scenario and are thus unable to debate.

      Your move.

  8. JoolsB
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Cameron’s ratings have gone up thanks to his promise to try and repatriate powers back from Europe before giving us at long last a referendum. Either way the people will decide.

    Just imagine how much more the Tories ratings would go up if they would take a similar stance on the undemocratic way in which England is governed and give them a referendum to decide how they wish to be governed post devolution, the only ‘nation’ never to be consulted. The Tories are dead in Scotland and yet Cameron recently defended their right to self determination and their right to choose how they wish to be governed whilst blatanly continuing to ignore the English Question. No doubt if the Scots say no to independence, which they almost certainly will, Cameron will throw even more powers and goodies their way at England’s expense whilst still continuing to ignore England’s rights.

    As important as Europe is, Cameron and the Tories are commiting political suicide if they continue to refuse to champion the democratic rights of the people of England, the very people who they rely on for their support. By continuing to ignore the undemocratic and discriminatory manner in which England is governed both politically and financially by successive UK Governments including this Tory led one, since Labour’s lopsided devolution act which deliberately and cynically left England out proves to the electorate that the Tories are as anti English as Labour.

    An in/out refernedum on the EU is great but it is time Cameron stood up and promised a second referendum to the people of England asking them if they would like the same level of self determination that the rest of this un-united Kingdom already enjoys. Whatever happens in Europe, only when the English Question is addressed, will we be able to call ourselves a democracy and if the Tories really care anything about democracy, then it’s time they addressed it.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Well said.

      Tad

  9. me
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    UKIP brought us this far, and UKIP will be the only alternative when Cameron inevitably betrays us again. The only question mark is the nature of the betrayal.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      He clearly wants to betray and he surely will if he can. He says he want to stay in, he is negotiating in an absurdly ineffective way. The EU, like everyone else, do not expect him to be in power after May 2015. No one, who reneges, so dishonestly and quickly, on a “Cast Iron” guarantee given to the people and someone who can appoint and retain Lord Patten, to oversee the BBC, can be trusted over the EU issue. Other than to rat again on the voters.

      Judge him by his actions not his weasel words. His action are very clear, just look at his selections of ministers for example.

      • APL
        Posted January 28, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

        lifelogic: “He clearly wants to betray and he surely will if he can.”

        I am afraid the Tory party is irredeemably rotten. If one must vote Conservative, even though doing so is meaningless these days, then vote independent Conservative.

    • Robert Eve
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Correct.

  10. colliemum
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    This is all well and good, and perhaps there will be more of a shift towards the British position, but all politicians, not just the Tories, must be aware of the reasons why we, the public, are not exactly jumping with joy, and are rather cynical in our attitude.

    Here are some of the reasons – and I’m not even going to mention the ‘cast iron’ promise:
    • anyone who hasn’t lived on an island with no TV and no papers will know about the way the Greek € disaster, and in the wake of that the financial disasters in Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Italy, has bee dealt with, namely only by kicking the famous can down the road for years.
    So we know that the EU is unbeatable in prevaricating, and in smooching politicians while doing absolutely nothing. Thinking that our renegotiations will be dealt with in exactly that manner is surely pragmatic.
    I don’t see that the ‘deadline’ of a referendum in 2017 will change this: deadlines can and have obviously been changed before.
    • It is now overdue for Tories in local government and in Parliament to refute the arguments about us losing trade and jobs. Instead, they must show how much the regulations and directives cost us, locally and nationally, in fines and in accommodating them.
    • It is time for Tories to point out that Big Business, which can always deal with regulations, is not the only business in the UK. It is time to show how much our small businesses are losing out by being subjugated to the EU.
    • It is well beyond overdue to challenge the EU ‘renewables’ directives, it is time to scrap the Climate Change Act, given the evidence that there is no warming. The energy costs we all have to bear because of this are literally killing people.
    If Cameron is serious, repealing that act is the first step showing us that he and his advisers are serious.

    So yes, while the words were nice, we must see deeds now!

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      I do not expect deeds and would certainly not hold my breath for them. Cameron does not even “say” the right things on energy, regulations and the likes yet. He has just put “equal gender insurance and annuities” in place. What could be dafter and more damaging than that? It will even cost many lives all for the “forced equality” religion.

      I just heard him say “We are paying down Britain’s debts” what drivel he talks. Is he lying or just very, very stupid – or does he have some small print, under the table, written in invisible ink again?

  11. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    It is difficult to see how Cameron can argue that we don’t want to be part of an ever closer union, when that is the very purpose of the EU, and yet remain a member of it. Talk of repatriating powers, I fear, is a political conjuring trick. It is rather like Westminster allowing the local council to make a few more decisions but still ultimately remaining under the control of central government which in this case would be Brussels. I still think this seems just like a re-run of Harold Wilson’s tactics back in the 70s. Just like Wilson, Cameron has a split party on the subject. Just like Wilson he has declared his desire to remain in the EU(or EEC as it then was) and, just like Wilson, I predict he will achieve very little but claim he has succeeded and recommend the British people to vote to stay in the EU, harnassing the full panoply of propaganda sources to secure his victory. I don’t want to be governed in any way by the EU; I want self-governance and world trade.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      Yep, it may be five or more years off, it may never happen, but already it’s looking like an attempted re-run of 1975.

  12. Brigham
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    I would rather be governed by British crooks than Continental crooks.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Indeed that is the choice and the better of the two evils.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 28, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Where do you want it? In the head or on the head? Is this some sort of dinner party conversation?

  13. Norman Bond
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Now that David Cameron has started the conversation, we may find others in Europe prepared to put there heads above the parapet and want the similar changes as the UK. So therefore, there may not be the mayhem all the doom and gloom merchants are preaching.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      In recent years the EU has been THE thing to be in, hence the number of countries wanting to join. Its a bubble! If the UK leaves that will open eyes to an alternative, and it may have wider appeal.

      • APL
        Posted January 28, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        Alan Wheatley: “Its a bubble!”

        Look at Greece, Portugal and Spain to see what happens when the bubble bursts.

  14. a-tracy
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    We have a situation where those EU countries that are net recipients get a greater say than the minimum number of UK MEPs voting to expect the cloth to be cut because we can’t just keep paying in more and more to Countries who expect their social payments to remain greater than ours. This should be one of the first changes and balances required if they want to remain in the club.

    The government must have statistics of the value of exports from Britain to each of the member states and likewise the amount we import. Rather than just insist we benefit from membership, give us the facts. If its irrefutable give us the figures to see just how much we sell to Latvia, Spain, Portugal etc. and what they sell to us.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely! See Margaret Thatcher’s Bruges speech on how having rolled back the state in the UK, we shouldn’t then have it re-imposed on us by the EU.

      The Thatcher Conservative government turned our economy around from ‘the sick man of Europe’, and brought about prosperity. And when Labour came to power in 1997 as a result of Major’s incompetence, it was as if all their Christmases had come at once! They couldn’t believe they had all this money to do the things they had always wanted to do, and as we saw, they blew it more spectacularly than most of us ever thought possible. But then, that isn’t without precedent. The British people have a propesity to vote Labour in the good times, and Conservative when they’ve messed it up.

      We have to get back to what we had, and if anything, improve upon it. Acceding to the scourge of undemocratic, uncompetitive, left-wing socialism isn’t the way forward.

      Many have expressed concerns about employment law, and fear that if Britain were to go it alone again, our workforce would somehow be down-trodden, oppressed, and subjugated. I take a different view. Any company’s biggest asset, is it’s workforce, and if a person is worth having, they’re worth paying, and worth looking after. It’s in a company’s interest to do so. That, to some extent at least, makes it self-policing. Where companies are presently faced with not being able to get rid of a trouble-causer, or an inefficient employee, it makes them reluctant to engage people in the first place in case they make a mistake – it sure as hell would me!

      So again, the perceived advantages of EU membership are really a false representation of the realities.

      Tad Davison

      Cambridge

      • Bazman
        Posted January 28, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        How do you explain revolving door recruitment policies used by many companies Tad? They are just so stupid as to employ a stream of troublemakers and inefficient employees or no such companies exist?

        • a-tracy
          Posted January 28, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

          Bazman, most of the companies that didn’t want to adopt legislation still don’t, they engage sub-contractors.

          There is no sense using revolving door recruitment and I certainly can’t imagine a situation where a company would actively pursue this as it is very costly to advertise, interview, induct, train and clear new employees. Have you interviewed people before and selected employees?

          • Bazman
            Posted January 28, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

            They just use agencies.

          • a-tracy
            Posted January 29, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

            Bazman, do you know how much agencies charge per employee?
            Or even temps how much per hour they charge?
            Then if you take the temp on how much you have to pay the agency for the transfer?
            The fees are 15-20% of the annual gross starting salary and if they leave after a couple of months your investment has gone.

            Most SMEs can’t afford agencies.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

            As almost all work in small companies is done by agency workers and the proliferation of agencies cutting each others throats to compete in slashing pay. I find that information very hard to believe. They take a percentage of the hourly pay in most cases.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      The CIA already has those figures on their website. Though they don’t list imports and exports that account for less than 4.5% of the total amount a country imports and exports.

      In 2011 the following percentage of the UK’s exports went to these countries:
      Germany 10.9%, US 9.9%, Netherlands 7.9%, France 7.4%, Switzerland 7.1%, Ireland 6%, Belgium 5.3%.

      In 2011 the following percentage of the UK’s imports came from these countries:
      Germany 12.5%, China 8.2%, Netherlands 7.1%, US 7%, France 5.7%, Belgium 4.8%, Norway 4.7%.

      Given that only 7.9% of the UK’s exports go to the Netherlands this means that the Rotterdam effect cannot apply to more than 7.9% of the UK’s exports.

      https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/uk.html

    • dpc
      Posted January 30, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      It is important to realise that there are no nations (countries) in the EU. There are only regions of the EU; the aim is for all national identities to be abolished. The same is true of the Big Business lobby, they want globalism and are happy to go along with all the supranational standardisation and trade agreements, (and Agenda 21) emerging from the UN. This unhealthy alliance between Frankfurt School Marxism (the EU) in cahoots with Bilderberg and Big Business lobby is the death knell of the first world. The laughable thing is that this unholy alliance
      is killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

  15. oldtimer
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    The speech does indeed change the terms of the debate. What I have found surprising, arrogant and indeed downright offensive are the comments by some politicians and some journalists, both here in the UK and abroad in the EU and elsewhere, that the British people should not be permitted to express their view about this in a referendum. The fundamental right to determine the way we are governed was fought for for hundreds of years and was enshrined in legislation over the centuries. The past thrity years has been a subtle, back door attempt to subvert that history by a large element of the political and civil service class. There is now no way back for Cameron on the referendum promise.

    The three to four year timespan that is expected before a referendum provides the opportunity for a focussed discussion and negotiation of the terms of the UK`s continued membership of the EU. It also provides time for the UK electorate to understand, much more clearly than they do now, the fundamental nature of the choice they will be asked to make. It seems to me to be most unlikely that Miliband will be able to maintain his opposition to the idea without suffering political loss. The Labour party today finds itself in a very bad place – on the wrong side of history buttressed by its unsavoury reputation as the party that reneged on its promise of a referendum on the Lisbon treay.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      Labour is currently ahead in the polls by 9 points and the current predictions are that in 2015 they’ll have a majority of 48 seats. So Miliband has no reasons to offer any similar pledge.

      Just because you don’t like Labour doesn’t mean everyone else in the UK disliked them or likes the Conservatives more than Labour.

      Reply: On a recent poll the lead is just 5%. Opposition parties need a lead of 20% on past evidence to have a decent chance of winning.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 28, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        Given that the Conservatives do not currently have a majority a lead of less than 20% may be enough to win the next election.

  16. Acorn
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    From Team Manager Bruxelle Sprouts FC.

    Game Plan EU v UK first leg.

    The UK centre forward says he is going to rush down the middle, (showing off-ed). We need to put up a heavy defence outside the penalty box to keep blocking him. We have to slow down the game to a crawl at every opportunity. A lot of Oscar winning dives feigning injury will get the medics on. Always act as if the UK players are your best ever friends; a kiss and a cuddle after a dive, will embarrass them (words left out ed).

    Kick for touch at every opportunity, our ball-boys have been told to lose the ball in the crowd when you do. Remember this is a home game for the Spouts.(I think you mean the EU-ers-ed) The object is to get the UK to the second leg with nothing; not even a free non-EU regulation hot pasty.

    Second leg after the UK General Election 2015 (assumed in the absence of a military coup before time).

    The lack of any UK score in the first leg; and, more importantly, not even looking like he will score in the second leg, will have caused a possible complete change of team. We know the UK second eleven, play a more Sprouts like game, which may give us less of a problem.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      While playing dirty might work in sports in politics it leads to everyone allying against you. If the UK doesn’t play fair all we will do is alienate potential supporters, leading to a crushing defeat.

      • Acorn
        Posted January 28, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        I must have written this wrong. (1) The Sprouts are the EU. (2) It will be the EU that does not play fair, it has nothing to lose except a pain in the ass neighbour. “Not playing dirty in politics” ……… OK; you had me going there for a few seconds; good one u’5.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted January 28, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        Unanime5–”Crushing defeat”? Are we at war then? I have written a number of times stating that if we leave and wish to negotiate the only reason that might be a problem would be if the residual EU were to be hostile (and irrational) towards us. There is no concept of defeat here. One cannot even talk about a worst case because that would in your eyes I assume mean Brexit and most of us want that and more still will want it as a spotlight gets increasingly played on the unnecessary intrusions and idiocies of the EU. Not that I think this festering nonsense couldn’t start a war, unfortunately.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 28, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          If the UK acts badly before leaving the EU will be hostile towards us, so any trade deals will not be favourable.

          • Edward
            Posted January 28, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

            Not only must we obey them, as you keep telling us Uni, but now you seem to be saying they are going to be hostile, spiteful and revengeful towards us.

            Nice organisation this EU is turning out to be.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted January 28, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

            Unanime5–Wanting our country back is not acting badly nor even close

  17. Posted January 27, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    One of the problems is that there are a lot of us who won’t trust the negotiations. I have this image of Cameron coming back from Brussels or Berlin claiming that a new agreement has be reached. I can’t get the vision out of my mind of Chamberlain, standing on the aircraft steps, waving a bit of paper and claiming “peace in our time”, being replaced by Cameron with another piece of paper and “Europe for Britain.”.
    Face it, I don’t think any prime minister would ever come home and say the negotiations had failed!
    We need a published list of points to be resolved prior to the start of negotiations and afterwards a statement as to how many of them have actually been agreed. Only then will we know whether to vote In or Out.
    No 1 on my list is the control of our own borders and the ability to deport unwanted people from Europe, but I’m sure others will have different priorities.
    Perhaps you should consider producing such a list from your readers and constituents comments.

  18. KY
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    The only problem is that DC has already shown himself to be untrustworthy on the issue of an EU referendum. The financial crisis affecting the EU will destroy it way before our promised vote.

  19. alan jutson
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I see Peter Hitchens has summed up quite well what many of us think in todays Mail on Sunday.

    For my own thoughts, its all promises for tomorrow, but only if you give me your vote at the next election, and only if I win, and only if I am still leader.

    Sorry John, but I believe that the negotiation strategy is simply wrong.

    Its simply weak. It looks weak, it sounds weak.

    Mr Cameron has now realised that people do care about the EU, as the immediate jump in the polls show.

    You have explained many times that the numbers do not work for an in out referendum to be held in parliament at the moment (without government support) But surely if Cameron or anyone else is serious about negotiating a simple trade only deal with the EU. They simply say “we are leaving” because we only want a trade only agreement.

    Sad to say, but I do not trust Cameron, I think he would campaign to keep us in, even if he only gained a few crumbs from any negotiation, if indeed proper negotiations ever happen.

    The simple answer is to hold a referendum BEFORE THE NEXT ELECTION then he has nailed his colours to the mast.

    • Bob
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      @AJ

      Agree, Peter Hitchens sums it up rather well:

      “Does Mr Cameron want Britain to leave the EU? No. He has repeatedly said he doesn’t want us to, and he has never said he does.
      If he fails to win any serious concessions from the EU in his promised talks, will he urge that we leave? Not a chance. The EU apparatus knows this, so why should they give him anything in these discussions?
      IN THAT case, what is the point of the planned negotiations?
      To provide the illusion of change when no real change is possible, short of this country leaving the EU. The EU does not give up powers that it has taken, any more than a crocodile gives up its lunch.”

      http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2013/01/meet-this-weeks-biggest-fake-and-its-not-beyonce.html

    • zorro
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, this is purely a tactic to win votes at the next election. There is no way on earth that Cast Elastic would campaign for a NO vote even if he got nothing except some trinkets from the EU…….. If anyone is in any doubt about this, they have only to look at the very unconvincing performance by David Lidington, Europe Minister on the Sunday Politics show with Andrew Neil……

      zorro

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Indeed an election in 2015 with a promise of a referendum organised by, worded, timed and negotiated by EUphile Cameron is not likely to be trusted or win many votes. He is simply soiled goods and needing immediate replacement.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Peter Hitchens has is spot on.

      Even if Cameron wins in 2015, and even if this time he actually keeps his promise and even if the forces of the BBC, the state sector, the lies, the EU and all the rest fail to swing the vote their way – then all that will happen is that we will be told to vote again after a few more fig leaf concessions. Just like all the other countries have been told.

  20. Chris
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    You state:
    “The first thing to say is that all those who think the UK public are not interested in the issue of the EU or are turned off by parties banging on about Europe need to think again. The press and public interest has been big.” You are indeed right, and I hope that Lord Ashcroft pays heed to your comments.

    The article by Nigel Farage this morning with regard to Cameron and the EU is fascinating and to the point.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2268928/Ed-Milibands-running-scared–UKIP-Labour.html
    There is huge weakness now in the Labour position which UKIP is able to exploit. It seems that although some Conservatives will go back to Cameron as a result of his perceived euroscepticim, there are a very significant grouping who will not return to the Cons until there is a new leader. This trend, together with UKIP making inroads on the bluecollar vote will make for fascinating politics. The Conservatives display anguish about how to reach these voters and those in the northern cities. UKIP has an answer, as David Cameron has, I fear, terminally poisoned the Conservative brand that these voters will never consider voting Conservative. The situation in Scotland is so very serious for Conservatives – relatives and friends of mine in Scotland dismiss the Conservatives straight away and say they are finished. The northern cities exhibit the same trend, albeit at an earlier stage, but the message for the Conservatives is very worrying indeed, and UKIP are in prime position to exploit that. The honeymoon period after the EU speech will be brief, and when it becomes clear that Cameron will not be able to renegotiate anything significant support will rapidly fall off. He cannot address the major problem of mass immigration, as the free movement of labour is one of the fundamental tenets of the EU project. Bulgaria and Romania are only the next in a line of waves of immigrants from accession states, and these waves will continue for as long as we are members of the EU and as long as there are disparities between different “regions” (countries to us) of the EU, which of course generate the push and pull factors for population migration. There is a myth driving EU policy i.e. harmonisation. Individual sovereignty and identity do not fit into that concept, and thus are of no significance to the eurocrats. Rather these separate identities are things to be “ironed out”. This is what the UK has signed up to and David Cameron, as long as we are signed up members cannot alter that. Merkel may offer him a few crumbs, but nothing signficant with regard to the building blocks of the EU project. For UK politicians to claim that other EU countries want serious alteration of the fundamental concepts of the EU is both misguided, and misleading for the UK electorate. Our so-called allies, the Dutch and the Swedish, for example do not and have made this clear in television interviews.

  21. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Within the speech there was rich pickings for those whose selective choice matched their own views. The speech was significant, but we will see in the coming months whether it was no more than a little local skirmish or something or greater impact.

    Cameron’s speech will appeal to those who like the form of Membership he outlined but who are not familiar with the realities of the EU. Any short term gain could well be more than offset by a fall of popularity when the reality is seen not to match the promise.

    A further consequence of raising the EU up the political agenda is that more people will come to realise the extent to which the EU dominates. Many people may currently be more concerned with those things that are far more immediate to their everyday lives, but they will come to realise the limited extent to which the UK can forge its own path to bring about improvements; for instance, immigration and eggs to take two examples from either end of the spectrum.

    Cameron’s reaffirmed commitment to EU Membership is worrying, not so much because of what he says but because, as far as I can tell, it is not backed by a convincing analysis of the pros and cons that have lead him to that view. It is also worrying because, again as far as I can tell, he has not made any attempt to consider the alternatives: the “Swiss” or “Norwegian” models are but two examples of minor relevance. It is as if the EU is everything.

    Another issue to bear in mind is that Conservative policy is to remain in the EU. The speech will do nothing to induce people to vote Conservative who think the best future for the UK is to leave the EU.

  22. adams
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    We want a referendum now or even better the invocation of article50 of the Lisbon Treaty . Your slippery leader has promised jam tomorrow . you will go along with that |John but only because you still owe some allegiance to the untrustworthy Con Party .
    Meanwhile thousands of East Europeans will flood in in 2014 . You make no mention of this . My support for UKIP is strengthened . The only Party offering a way out of the EU Empire

  23. Richard1
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the speech & the idea of having a referendum. Without the referendum it won’t be possible to bring the EU establishment to the negotiating table. But I am concerned about the timetable. There cant be any substantial re-negitation before the next election as the LibDems don’t support it. So that leave 18 months to strike a deal, if we have a majority Conservative Govt in 2015. The EU establishment have proved over many years – and through many different individual leaders – that they are playing a very long game. They might make a few notional concessions to a new Conservative Govt and decide to push substantial / new treaty negotiations etc to 2018 or later, knowing that there is a backstop date by when there has to be a UK Referendum. If the UK has been given just enough at that stage to tip the scales to ‘Yes’, perhaps on an unenthusiastic low turnout, following such a vote the Govt would have no negotiating leverage at all. I think Mr Cameron might need to find a formula for saying the referendum will be held during the next Parliament, so he has more time before the referendum.

    • Richard1
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Sorry I meant 2 1/2 years. Point stands though

  24. Tad Davison
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    That’s fine John, but we still want deeds, not words.

    Words have been broken in the past, and the level of public mistrust is still high.  And let’s not forget that the Conservative party pushed us towards this disaster just as hard as anyone else, but had the audacity to con us into thinking they were actually a Euro-sceptic party.  That is dishonest, and will be hard to live down, which is why mere words will no longer suffice.

    What is totally incredible, is the fact that the present deplorable situation always was highly predictable.  Mounting debt has to stop at some point, and the EU as a whole was, and still is, acruing debt like there’s no tomorrow.  Only, there WILL be a tomorrow and a day of reckoning.  

    Surely, after 40 years, Britain cannot keep pouring money into a failed project that had not a snowball’s hope in hell’s chance of succeeding anyway, by virtue of the fact it was so badly structured.  And it troubles me that everyone else could see it, but most of our political representatives still went for this ill-conceived Utopian idea anyway.

    I see no reason why independent sovereign nations cannot just belong to a trading bloc, and work together in areas of mutual interest, without political matriculation into the EU.  At least if we’re properly governed by Westminster, a person such as myself (when I was still fit enough to do so) could go to the place, button-hole MPs, and get some answers, even from those who don’t represent our local constituencies.  The possibility of doing that at the EU parliament is virtually nil, so there’s much to be said for keeping democracy local.

    I’ll say again, whichever way we look at the EU, it has been, and continues to be, an unmitigated disaster for Britain.  Those nations that want us to stay in, are usually the ones who have benefitted the most from our contributions, or know that if we left, they would have to shoulder more of the burden.  That has caused a dependence upon us, rather than gear their own economies to growth and prosperity.  We’d actually be doing them a favour if we stopped the gravy train.  We’d certainly do ourselves one here in the UK, but we need politicians with guts, determination, and resolve, to make that happen.

    It’s a bit like a school playing field.  Anybody can sound tough, it’s getting out there and actually doing the fighting that counts, and until I see Mr Cameron getting his sleeves rolled up, instead of merely telling us much of what we already know, I’ll reserve judgement.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  25. Simon Jones
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure that Europe is the problem. If you visit any of the other Northern European countries it’s like going to a free country compared to here. There isn’t that air of intimidation with hundreds of jobsworths spying on every move you make just waiting to pounce and fine you for the most trivial of contrived “offences”. They pay less tax than us and get better services for it. Can you imagine Germany paying a TFL jobsworth £857,000 as Boris does or a local government official £467,000 as Kent CC does? Their governments seem to work for and with the people, not treat them with contempt and rob them blind as happens here. There seems to be less corruption and generally a better air of co-operation between people and government. They seem to be becoming more free as we are ever more repressed by what must be the most authoritarian regime in Europe. I thought things might change under the Tories but if anything they are getting worse as the state gets bigger and bigger.

  26. David John Wilson
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see the problem as being one of the need to repatriate competencies. There are two problems which need to be addressed.

    The first problem is one of duplication. Functions that cannot be carried out at the European level must be delegated to the level, country or lower, where they cab be carried out. However this must be accompanied by governments accepting that some functions can be carried out at the European level and do not need to be duplicated and adjusted. We need the British government and civil to stop duplicating and adjusting everything that comes out of Europe. Anyone who, like me, has worked in a government agency is well aware how much money and effort is unnecessarily wasted reproducing, reworking and adjusting European statutes. The result may in some eyes be a small improvement but rarely worth the extra cost.

    The second and much more worrying problem is the lack of democratic accountability at the European level. Once this has been acheived if it ever is, governments must stop trying to duplicating it.

  27. Chris Rickard
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Mr Cameron made an excellent speech, got good press, a good reaction from his Eurosceptic MPs, a much better reaction than could have been expected from other EU leaders (except, predictably, France) and left the Labour & Lib Dems in a complete shambles despite giving them almost a year to prepare a response. However, it all means nothing unless he can hang on to his boost in the polls and build on it to win a GE victory in 2015. Last time he got such a boost in the polls was when he exercised his veto on the Fiscal Treaty and he lost that boost very quickly. He is a hugely divisive PM and with a very divisive agenda coming up on gay marriage, HS 2, UK airports, planning, not to mention the expected influx of Romanian & Bulgarian immigrants which has done nothing to stop, keeping his party together will be a major achievement let alone winning the next GE. Above all, his Chancellor has badly failed him and with that lodestone around his neck, anticipating a long overdue EU referendum seems very premature.

  28. The PrangWizard
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I have said the speech marks an important step. Many things said cannot be unsaid, and they are a recognition and legitimalization of views hitherto attacked as extremist and unrepresentative. It is too much to ask of the BBC for example to start being less biased towards the EU but we can certainly hold them to account much more now.

    I hope Mr Cameron means what he has said, it is a long way from ‘now’ to ‘then’ and he will I’m afraid have to be watched fastidiously, as we must not find ourselves presented with a much watered down version of what he says he wants for us, only to find his claiming it is exactly what he set out to achieve, yet urging us to vote ‘yes’. He must, I think, say now he is prepared to campaign for a ‘no’ if he falls short of the objectives he has set, or to me he is suspect, and may have done this only to burst the anti-EU bubble and take the heat off.

    I am still for a complete exit, because anything less will lead to our being drawn back in, and there will be powers exercised over us that we will not have approved, just as in the past, unless of course the EU collapses under its own weight in the meantime, something I devoutly hope will happen. Nevertheless I am happy to give my support to the present objective and the later vote, for the present. Let’s hope that previous ‘fence sitters’ and waverers will now come over and create a very powerful movement.

    I am glad to continue to be a part of it, but I must I must take advantage of the following extract from Cameron’s speech which struck me at the time, and which I am glad has been repeated.

    ‘democratic accountability’ – we must have a bigger and significant role for national parliaments’.

    It goes without saying that given my belief that we should have a new parliament for England, this sentence irks. I am in a minority group, an English nationalist, much ignored and often ridiculed, and often accused of the same kind of extremism that anti-EU campaigners have had to endure.

    However, how can anyone who believes in democracy and the self-determination of nations refuse to accept the democratic deficit in respect to England and the English within Britain? If it is right and proper to claim sovereign powers back from the EU for Britain how can we have a situation where England, alone among the British nations is refused control of its own affairs. Proponents of the EU referendum campaign complain about the Establishment acting against them. It, and some of them even, act against us. This cannot be justified. They must not continue to conflate British and English, or Britain and England. They are not the same. Is England the last member of the British Empire?

    If the EU referendum cause is just, so is the right to a single English parliament for the English. I urge MPs who have any sense of justice and fairness to join us and declare now for a parliament for England.

  29. David Saunders
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    We must remember Cameron is a PR specialist and says what he thinks people want to hear – compare his leadership campaign speech to the Cornerstone group and his subsequent actions. He said in his referendum speech that each side must not overstate its position and then proceeded to do just that by extolling the advantages of staying in the EU and the isolation that would follow if not. Many hostages to fortune in that speech but clear that Cameron favours staying in with whatever deal he may be able to cobble together. His hero is Macmillan so say no more; he may win some battles aganst the European federalists but not the war. The EU juggernaut rolls on.

  30. Martyn
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    To anyone interested in seeing how wonderfully well we are governed by the EU Parliament and how much value for money it provides, I recommend you read Andrew Gilligan’s article in the ST entitled “Bingo-hall vote caps classic piece of EU double-dealing”.

    It had me choking on morning toast and if true, as one supposes it must be, the EU Parliament should be held in the utmost comtempt by those who value democracy and proper governance…..

  31. rd
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    It’s really very simple; it’s the ‘single market’ that over regulates British and European business. We get all these ‘directives’ because we are in the single market – it both diminishes British democracy and accountability while also making us less competitive. Cameron’s speech saying he wants us stay in the single market means he doesn’t mind devaluing the worth of our votes since none of our elected representatives formulate the rules of this market. Saying that he wants the single market to be more competitive is clearly contradictory… The point of the single market is that everyone HAS to work on the same rules… by definition it seeks to discourage innovation.

  32. Michael Cawood
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I really do think that Mr Miliband has kissed goodbye to him being PM (not that I wanted it, being a Conservative). He has probably made the biggest mistake of his political career by opposing any vote or renegotiation with the EU.

  33. Neil Craig
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    The “veto” bounce proved temporary as it became clear nothing had been vetoed.

    This one will too as it becomes clear a “cast iron” promise of a referendum long after Cameron has probably lost power is worthless, the”renegotiation” a fraud, just a means of staving off being honest, as the last one was.

    Just suppose Cameron is faced with coalition again. Is there – can there be – any guaratee, of whatever metal that his promise would “with regret” have to be ditched?

  34. JimF
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    You are very bullish, but there should be more “ifs” in your post.

    You have taken one step forward on a steep road uphill where snow is falling, ice is forming and you’ve been told you can’t reach your destination and shelter before nightfall. When you get there there is no guarantee there will be a key available.

    I’d rather be with the group in front of the door holding the key now, even if it means calling more people to join us.

  35. Paul
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    If the Conservative Party is really eurosceptic then why do you have a pro-EU leader? Surely a eurosceptic Conservative Party could find at least one anti-EU MP the public wouldn’t run a mile from to replace Cameron before the next election. The Conservatives clearly do not believe in withdrawal and the majority take the absurd position of pro-EU MP Andrea Leadsom to try and repatriate substantial powers but remain in the EU anyway if that fails. The polls suggest the promise of an EU referendum is not enough – the lack of support for David Cameron is not just down to the EU, it is also virtually every other area of government policy, most notably sheer economic incompetence. UKIP is still solid and will continue to grow.

  36. Piers Garwood-Baker
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I sincerely hope that the Prime Minister will practice what he preaches. Mr. Cameron appears to be a remarkably talent speaker but not a particularly good doer. Whilst I admit he is struggling underneath the burden of the europhilic Liberal-Democrats in the coalition he still needs to prove to us that his speech to the Tory Party Conference and the one he gave on Wednesday are not pure rhetoric but meaningful. If Cameron wishes to claw back the voters who have fled to UKIP he must convince them that he is not captaining a sinking ship.

  37. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I see that Peter van Leeuwen is again floating the idea of “subsidiarity” – and quite rightly he has already got a couple of dusty responses – but this does tie in with what was said by a professor of EU law on the Wednesday edition of Newsnight:

    “… treaty change would be really difficult. But he could for example get a declaration on subsidiarity … ”

    So, JR, if Cameron came back from his long and hard renegotiation of our terms of EU membership and made a fine-sounding but in fact nonsensical claim such as:

    “And we’ve got all the EU leaders to sign a declaration on subsidiarity”

    what would you say about that?

    Would you dismiss that as a completely worthless “concession”, a non-binding declaration when for the past two decades there have already been binding treaty provisions on subsidiarity which have proved ineffective, or would you let it pass?

    Because if you let such falsities pass, that would make it more likely that he would get his way in the referendum.

    Reply: I can’t see a non binding declaration on subsidiarity is anything more than an insult to the UK.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      @Denis Cooper: A mere declaration on subsidiarity of course is a non-result. One need to have concrete items of policy that are mentioned. The Dutch government (rather the VVD coalition partner in it) still has to make its list, but judging recent irritations in the Netherlands, such area could cover pension rights, pension funds, social housing, healthcare, over-regulation of SME’s and consumer products, drugs. This is no authoritative list, just a spontaneous reaction.
      The point here is that it is not seeking exceptions for the Netherlands, just sensible political discussions to make the EU operate better. It is sometimes expressed as: having the EU concentrate on fewer tasks and doing them better.
      NB at the same time the Dutch will go for (slow) further integration of the kind you see in the eurozone.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 28, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Actually I see the very concept of “subsidiarity” as an insult to the UK and the other sovereign member states.

      Where were we thirty years ago?

      It only took ONE national parliament, such as the UK Parliament, to BLOCK a proposal from Commission, as stated in the government’s pamphlet urging a “yes” vote in the 1975 referendum:

      http://www.harvard-digital.co.uk/euro/pamphlet.htm

      “Will Parliament lose its power?”

      “Fact No. 2. No important new policy can be decided in Brussels or anywhere else without the consent of a British Minister answerable to a British Government and British Parliament.

      The top decision-making body in the Market is the Council of Ministers, which is composed of senior Ministers representing each of the nine member governments.

      It is the Council of Ministers, and not the market’s officials, who take the important decisions. These decisions can be taken only if all the members of the Council agree. The Minister representing Britain can veto any proposal for a new law or a new tax if he considers it to be against British interests. Ministers from the other Governments have the same right to veto.

      All the nine member countries also agree that any changes or additions to the Market Treaties must be acceptable to their own Governments and Parliaments.

      Remember: All the other countries in the Market today enjoy, like us, democratically elected Governments answerable to their own Parliaments and their own voters. They do not want to weaken their Parliaments any more than we would.”

      Where are we now?

      Under the treaties as amended by Lisbon it takes NINE national parliaments just to get the Commission to REVIEW a proposal.

  38. Electro-Kevin
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    I hope that you’re right, Mr Redwood. Peter Hitchens might not agree.

    Polls frequently feature the state of the economy as the publics’ top concern.

    The debate needs to be turned to how intertwined the EU is in everything – especially our economy and our national debt. The EU’s impositions on our welfare system have helped to make it the top drain on our taxes.

    I ask again of any federalist politicians. Is it fair to impose upon the hard pressed public the need to fund two governments if decision making is to be outsourced ?

  39. Roger Farmer
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    If you believe Cameron on the subject of a referendum on EU membership you are living in cloud cuckoo land. I will spell it out for you:-
    1. There will be no referendum because Cameron will not be in power after 2015
    2. Even if he was, the negotiation would be a sham. he would tell everyone that he had achieved the repatriation of powers and there was therefore no need for a referendum.
    3. Cameron is a socialist europhile, end of story.
    4. Everyone knows what we want from the EU and that is broadly a reversion to EFTA status with a reversal of all the political baggage we have suffered so far and will continue to suffer.
    5. If Cameron was sincere this reversion to EFTA status could be achieved before the end of this year and a vote on it taken in 2014. Cameron ,the civil service, and the vested interests he answers to will ensure that there will be no referendum.
    Britain is being sold to a totalitarian dictatorship by this coalition of socialism and none of the problems we faced when Labour were ousted have been solved.The country is still spending more than it earns, Sterling is going down the pan, immigration is rampant and we are still stifled with too much taxation and regulation. Cameron’s answer is to force gay marriage on the churches which even his own mother would appear to have told him is a nonesense. If you have any talent get out now and leave the UK to the dependency culture.

  40. Andyvan
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Words are only important of they mean something. Cameron says lots of things but means few of them. He’s made promises and commitments before and gone back on them. Why should we believe now?

  41. Bert Young
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Cameron’s speech has changed things and I feel much more positive that we will negotiate a better deal . I am very worried about the time scale because the uncertainty aspect is bound to have serious consequences ; immediately on the agenda is the Bulgarian and Romanian threat , next is the “run” on the pound combined with a further stretch of “easing” that is bound to follow the arrival of Mr. Carney . I do agree that it is now more likely that the EZ will fall apart – the Euro crisis is far from over , Germany will react to appease its relation with the UK . I cannot foresee things being left for five years .

  42. Antisthenes
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    It was inevitable that a schism would open up within the EU at some point as different ideas of how the EU should function and it’s eventual shape would coalesce into two opposing camps. It appears here that it is the UK spearheading the faction that favours liberalism and a much looser arrangement against those who favour more integration and centralisation . Despite my previous reservations about the PM’s speech it would appear that it has had the effect of bringing out those who are like minded albeit tentatively and the taboo against speaking out against the EU has been lifted and now real debate can occur. The danger is that that the charge for reform will falter as there will be insufficient numbers of allies and the defences will be too formidable to overcome so an opportunity may be wasted and lost.

  43. uanime5
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    I doubt the EU will do anything before the 2015 general election because if the Conservatives don’t get a majority the UK won’t try to leave the EU.

    By Free Trade Agreement does Germany mean the sort of agreement the EU has with the USA, in other words all UK goods will be subject to a tariff?

    Unless the Conservatives start leading in the polls and this lead is attributed to the in/out referendum I doubt that Labour or the Lib Dems will have any reason make a similar promise.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted January 28, 2013 at 1:51 am | Permalink

      The Conservative Party aims to capture about two thirds of UKIP’s votes and a direct crossover of a few percent of Labour’s vote, which is definitely “soft”. It will not get the votes of UKIP supporters unless it makes significant concessions to their point of view.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 28, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

      Unanime5–Apart from the will of the people (huge polling leads in favour of a referendum) not to mention the national interest as seen by most now and increasingly so in the future–the EUphiles have had their chance, have totally blown it and have nothing else to say–now the EUphobes will get a chance to highlight what the EU has foisted upon us.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted January 29, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        Unmoderated??

  44. David Price
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    The words may matter but after 40 years just setting the deadline is not enough. Tangible, visible action and progress must be accomplished before then otherwise why should anyone believe the promise?

    Further, Labour and the Libdems have already set themselves against this process, so what better way to defeat them in 2015 than a continual progression of improvement of the UK position that a large proportion of the electorate support.

  45. Iain Gill
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Sure people are interested in the EU they are just more interested in immiration, the 3rd world nhs, the rubbish schools their kids are forced to go to, and so on

  46. Barbara
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    The Conservatives have a problem, convincing the general public they can be trusted. We certainly don’t trust Labour, and Miliband, and Clegg, no way. As I see it, it’s he timing of the referendum that is annoying most people. Many would like to see the question settled ‘before’ the next election, so the nation has made its decision; whoever wins the election would then have to obey the will of the people. Making promises on the assumption a party will win a general election, or the hope that the idea of the election, will bring votes is almost blackmailing the electorate. For the life of me why Cameron as done this I’ll never know. If he had said a referendum will take place within the last 6mths of this coalition people would have given him full support, without hesitation. Now he as laid the seeds of doubt, and that doubt will cause him to lose vital votes to UKIP. To say we can’t hold it before the next election is silly, we can hold a referendum any time we wish, it only takes the will. Business would have been satisfied and would know where it stood to plan for the future. My self, whatever negociations bring, getting out will be the only thing that will satisfy me, and many thousands more. Of course the Germans will accomodate us, the thought of filling the 55 million per day financial gap must make them shudder, and the rest if they were honest, but they aren’t honest are they we all know that.

    Reply I too want an early referendum, but the Conservatives are not in the majority, and the Lib Dems block this government from holding one.

  47. Jon Burgess
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood – the EU speech is nothing more than an (albeit cunning) attempt to stop the flight to UKIP and in these circumstances those who are tempted back to the Tories only have themselves to blame. Labour look very likely to win the next election, either on their own or in coalition with the Lib Dems, so in all likelihood there will still be no referendum, in defiance of what the people want.

    Do you honestly believe that:
    1. Any renegotiation is possible?
    2. That the Out campaign would ever get a fair hearing?

    This does nothing to change my intention to vote UKIP.

    Reply The Speech was not triggered by UKIP but b y the facts of the changes going on in the EU and by the Conservative Parliamentary party. Yes, I believe a renegotiation is possible, and made much more likely by the threat of a referendum on leaving altogether. If the other states simpyl refuse to renegotiate I would expect UK voters to vote for Out. Yes, the Out campaign can get a fair hearing – if you believe it cannot then you do not believe in democracy, the very thing we are trying to protect or restore.

  48. David Langley
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    What I want from David Cameron is before the next election a full list of the powers to be repatriated, and evidence that he is not going to be moved from recovering these from the treaties signed to date. Further that any refusal or attempt to water down these proposals by so called negotiation or compromise will not be accepted. He has to state that in the event of EU refusal to consider and accept all the list he would then immediately ask Parliament to pass the appropriate bills to withdraw support from the EU project. If the list of powers is comprehensive and acceptable to the population and David Cameron explains to the British Public what withdrawal will mean for us and what his plans to re launch the “Outside” the EU Britain considering any immediate effects positive and negative would be, I would find that acceptable and fair. The ridiculously unbelievable proposition he has now put before us is so pathetic and smelling of blackmail and chicanery that my current position has only been reinforced. I have no false desire to lead Europe or any other country but would support them from a strong and dynamic Britain outside the undemocratic and sclerotic deal that is the EU.

    Reply If the renegotiation yields little or nothing we can vote for Out in the referendum and then leave.

  49. PaulDirac
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    “… there is a gap between the EU and its citizens which has grown dramatically in recent years. And which represents a lack of democratic accountability and consent that is – yes – felt particularly acutely in Britain.”
    This has been troubling me for a while, why do the Greek, Spanish, Portuguese etc. people still actively want to remain part of the EZ? At the price they are paying, a rational being would have long pulled out.
    I think that the answer encapsulates our difference, they have become subjects of the “Greater European Welfare State”, they have lost the courage of being an independent nation, they have the pride, but not the guts to face the storm on their own terms, relying on their own ability.
    They are already vassal states to the new European Empire, in their mind the self reliant option is no longer viable, they are relived if some anonymous Brussels bureaucracy makes the decision.
    This is what Labor and the LibDem parties really yearn for, a state where they can rule without responsibility, just the privileges.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 28, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      The Greek, Spanish, and Portuguese people wish to remain in the euro because any new currency will massively devalue while their debts remain in euros. It will also increase their borrowing costs because banks will be less likely to lend to a more risky currency.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted January 28, 2013 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

        Unanime5–Or more likely because they would feel like idiots demonstrating how wrong it was for them to join in the first place, plus everybody wants to pretend that there are no longer borders in Europe, which ain’t gonna work absent huge political change which will probably come but later rather than sooner.

  50. cosmic
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    All I see in this is a Tory leader who’s made it clear that he’s pro-EU trying to manage the eurosceptic problem by scratching, or appearing to promise to scratch, the itch.

    I also get the inpression that Mr. Cameron doesn’t know much about the EU, or hopes that his audience doesn’t.

    He comes out with the same tired, discredited Norway fax democracy nonsense.

    He hasn’t explained how these rengotiations are to take place in the machinery of the EU, what he’s going to repatriate and what happens when the others say no, as they would have to, as any significant repatriation of powers would involve breaking the Acquis Communautaire and defeating the very purpose of the EU, which it has pursued doggedly these many years.

    He hasn’t explained how this fits in with the Acquis Communiautaire and the fundamental goal of the EU which is ever closer union.

    Sorry, it’s inadequate and unconvincing on that alone. Other problems are that the Tories may well not be in office after the next GE and a promise from David Cameron, of all people, is a thing most would regard as worthless.

  51. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    Having got the promise of an in/out referendum, we now need clarity of what the negotiating position will be in our referendum, particularly the minimum powers to be repatriated.

    I have defined it in terms of repealing our commitment to ever closer union and to the Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon Treaties, all of them stepping stones on our road to serfdom.

    I don’t mind if parliamentarians prefer to talk of limiting the powers of European courts, the free movement of labour and regulation, but the job needs to be done – and it is better done sooner rather than later.

  52. C. WHITE
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    It was reported last week that we are now Germany’s biggest trading partner – have overtaken France. This stems from the German success (and great good fortune) in selling outside EU, particularly in Asia.
    1) BMW sources parts for its vehicles from UK plants.
    2) Siemens is sourcing parts for some of its products from UK businesses with our 200-year-old engineering background particularly in W Midlands.
    It was reported last year that some Germans see their economic FUTURE outside the EU and the figures make this obvious.
    Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs wrote an article about UK and German trading with WIDER WORLD. The figures are clear. Obviously you can only sell to customers who have money in the bank or can get credit-step forward the almost exponentially increasing MIDDLE CLASS in Asia – I & C of BRICs. They may also be selling to Brazil and Russia – if not they certainly should be.
    Mr O’Neill pointed out how great the re-orientation is and (perhaps somewhat mischievously) forecast that FRG will have a greater share of its exports outside EU in 2020 than UK.
    Roger Bootle (ex-Oxford economics don and founding member of Capital Economics – C4 News was getting his views 20 years ago and some of his sectoral managers eg Vicky Redwood and Paul Ashworth are now also widely quoted) is normally dispassionate but he wrote recently that being in EU was like ‘chaining oneself to a corpse’ – a bit Over The Top but he has a point.
    Euro-scepticism has been turbo-charged by the ‘slow-motion car crash’ (S. Flanders) of the EZ crisis. Seeing is believing and weekly we see footage of demos or rioting or both in S Europe and our neighbour Ireland has also been badly affected.
    If’ it’s BROKE something went very badly wrong at some point and of course (again fortunately for Eurosceptics though not of course for P I G S & Eire) this has had greater visiblity than could normally be expected because the growth/lack of it in EZ has been the factor at the MARGIN that has been PARTLY responsible for our own economy’ s FLATLINING for 2/3 years.
    The HUBRIS of Mssrs Chirac & Schroder in agreeing to PIGS entry into EZ (when Greece was providing false figures on economic metrics (KNOWN about since 2004 by European Commission) and Italy’s debt/GDP ratio was about 110 % at the time of entry when Maastricht TREATY said that it had to be 60 % ie DOUBLE) and the folly of P I G S govts in seeking entry has done us a great favour. In effect EZ leaders deconstructed their own project – NEMESIS.

  53. C. WHITE
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Me again!
    I am sure that there are millions like me that have been outraged by politicians acting without the CONSENT of the ELECTORATE making IRREVERSIBLE CHANGES to our country. Quentin Hogg Lord Hailsham (Tory Lord Chancellor and intellectual whose relative founded what was then the Polytechnic of Central London – for younger readers) came up with the concept of ‘ELECTIVE DICTATORSHIP ‘ in 1970s – what he meant was that with MPs accepting the whipping system a UK PM could do what he liked – contrast US where the Founding Fathers deliberately put in ‘checks and balances’ so that government needed consent of President House of Representatives and Senate – clearly this has a downside – ‘fiscal cliff’.
    (reference to racial issues removed-ed)
    A book came out in 2005 called ‘The Great Abication’ (imprint-academic.com)by Alexander Deane, BA (Cantab.), Masters in International Relations (Griffith University, Australia) and World Universities Debating Champion. In it he said that UK is ‘the ONLY country in the world where the INTELLECTUALS HATE THEIR OWN COUNTRY’. (Clearly there are PATRIOTIC intellectuals – Mr Redwood, Spectator’s Fraser Nelson and both his predecessors as Editor – Matthew D’Ancona (now Telegraph) and a guy called Boris Johnson – classical scholar, re-elected Mayor of London, Janet Daley etc . but the world view of BBC/universities is overwhelming centrist/Left.
    Mssrs Blair Straw & Plunkett only got round to telling us about the ‘Managed Migration agenda’ SEVERAL YEARS AFTER THEY HAD STARTED IT! Clearly it was outrageous that 2/3 politicians could in the words of Frank Field ‘attempt to SOCIALLY ENGINEER A NATION’, which left him ‘SPEECHLESS’ and tell us about it 3/4 years into the programme. Sunday ‘Times’s M. Marrin wrote on 26.10.09 that to do this ‘WITHOUT TRUTHFULNESS AND WITHOUT THE INFORMED CONSENT OF THE ELECTORATE was (wrong-ed).
    Anyway for 20 years it seemed as if the fates conspired against the silent PATRIOTIC majority but now the opposite seems to be happening. The hubris or folly of EU leaders who accepted or requested P I G S membership of Euro has now come home to haunt them but also to give Eurosceptics priceless ‘ammunition’,whether deserved or not.

  54. peter davies
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid Milliband and their crew are out of their depth on this issue and as you say on completely the wrong side of the argument.

    The sheer impact on the cost of everything due to EU this and that is clearly not acceptable when a basic free trade structure with some common market rules would do the job.

    David Milliband himself was being dishonest himself when he quotes the cost of EU membership being £1 per day per person – he forgets to mention the cost per person when you take into account increased costs, loss of fishing and other industries not to mention trading restrictions. I cant even begin to imagine the true costs.

    All this talk about ‘influence’ and ‘science investments’ is complete nonsense. You know very well that we could sit outside the EU and join collaborative EU programs on an individual basis in the way Norway does without any issue. Furthermore Norway has a seat on many UN Bodies alongside the EU which has the same representation – who has influence?

    • peter davies
      Posted January 28, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Rant based on some telegraph & Guardian articles I came across. They are all crawling out of the woodwork now

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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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