Leaked Letter to Dame Lucy shows worries in civil service

Dear Lucy,

Just when I thought Ministers were learning of the compromises and commonsense government needs to progress, I am alarmed by some recent developments.

Our carefully crafted compromise over the EU designed to keep the Coalition together is in danger of being broken by the Prime Minister’s latest speech. Many of us are deeply unhappy about his new language. The UK does not need a new relationship with the EU. There is nothing to put to the British people in a referendum, as there is no new Treaty in the making that the Uk is going to sign. Some of us think it a pity we did not join the Fiscal and Banking unions, but understand the political sensitivites at the current time. We think ti will be very difficult to maintain our position at the European table with all this ultra sceptic rhetoric flying around.

The Foreign Office has rightly been saying under this government that it is in the British national interest to be a full member of the EU and to stay engaged. It has been long standing policy of all three main parties that the Uk needs to be a member of the single market. We need to explain this more to some of our current Ministers. They seem to think it is or should be a free market or even a free for all market. That was never the idea. It brings duties and responsibilities. The European single market is about regulation to combat climate change, regulation to ensure high labour standards, regulation to ensure it is a social market, regulation to promote more environmentally friendly methods of travel, and regulation to ensure high standards of health, safety and cleanliness.

We need to explain to the Environment Secretary that the agricultural and fishing policies are to do with solidarity and sharing around the whole European space. These were not entered into lightly, and cannot suddenly be renounced by the UK. We need to tell the Welfare Secretary that the UK does have obligations to people coming to the UK from other member states. We cannot have a welfare state for poeple already here, but deny it people arriving from elsewhere in our Union.

I do hope the Home Secretary’s wish to pull out of many of the Justice measures so carefully compiled in recent years will be tempered by the need to re-enter many of these agreements. We need to co-operate fully on justice matters with our partners, and need to grasp the requirement to share intelligence and enforcement with our partners now most of the border controls have been dismantled within the Union.

I will pass over our major worries with the Education Secretary, who seems to think he needs an alternative civil service to carry out his duties. I would be grateful to hear from you what we can do to prevent the march of unreason over EU matters.

I would also be grateful for guidance on how much we have to accept from the new arrivals in the form of senior Ministerial advisers from outside the service. We must avoid traffic accidents and misunderstandings , which become more likely if Ministers do not trust and confide in us, their faithful servants. The last government wrestled away control of media and communications from us, which was just about tolerable. It is not possible to govern well if they wish to take away control over policy as well.

Yours ever

Roy

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102 Comments

  1. Posted February 24, 2013 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    I trust Dame Lucy can sort out these concerns at the next COREPER meeting.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    “The European single market is about regulation to combat climate change, regulation to ensure high labour standards, regulation to ensure it is a social market, regulation to promote more environmentally friendly methods of travel, and regulation to ensure high standards of health, safety and cleanliness.”

    In other words it is about forcing industry and labour in the EU to be uncompetitive and industry to move away. Very effective it is proving too.

    “The European single market is about actually about the generation of over paid (largely pointless or worse) jobs and pensions, with special tax rules, for friends and relatives of the powerful. That is the real driving force.

    I see any question have the usual bunch of lefty “bbc think” loons this week. They are seemed to believe in the Magic Government Money tree. Interestingly they did not seem to think jurors needed to speak reasonable English nor have any tests on ability or understanding. They did how ever think this same population of potential jurors were to dim even to be able to control what they ate or control how fat they were as that was all the fault of the rubbish sold in supermarkets. And of course we should all pay for others to have endless children on the state.

    Personally what constitutes “reasonable doubt” seems a sensible question. If for example DNA showed someone had only a 1 in the million chance of not being the murderer is that “reasonable doubt” or not? What about 1 in the billion? Perhaps the judge could define it.

    Also now we have majority verdicts of 10-2 so can we assume that the descenting minority are clearly “not reasonable”. One sixth of the jury can think the accused is not guilty, yet it has still been proved beyond reasonable doubt.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      lifelogic–If no definition is possible as is clearly the case here (the idea that the judge or anyone else could put a number on it is not one of your best) it is for the jury to form a view on what is reasonable. Cannot grasp what is so hard to understand about that.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 24, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        Well yes perhaps but words are vague and mean totally different things to different people. Is it better for 10 guilty men to go free than one innocent man be convicted or 100 or 1000?

        I suppose we we get lots of pure DNA type of cases we will need to define the odds. It will become case law defined eventually.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      So any improvements in cleaner more sustainable cleaner energy, higher labour standards and good safe working practices etc is going to make us uncompetitive? Thus confirming you belief in a race to the bottom. The idea that the free market is ever going to supply this without regulation is a dream. How about you right wing lunacy of a regressive tax system, cutting funds to infrastructure and no regulations of anything. Oh! Except banking now you have seen how lack of control has been bad for the country. Previously you supported the banking system blindly, but have little to say on the regulation of the food industry strangely other than they are without responsibility for the health of the population which beggars belief. More religious beliefs pretending t0o be factual from you.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 24, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        The country and the £ seem to be going to the bottom rather well with the current plan of tax, borrow and waste, over regulate, a massive parasitic state and the expensive energy religion.

        I note that all the endless regulations, after BSE, foot and mouth, swine flu, all the movement orders and tracing did not even stop the horse meat (or worse) it just creates more pointless jobs in general and makes mean more expensive – thus the horse to lower the costs one assumes.

        I do not want no regulation just a few sensible ones.

        On banking the government was taking a position in guaranteeing bank deposits – to do so without controlling and charging for the risk is absurd.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      In other words it is about forcing industry and labour in the EU to be uncompetitive and industry to move away. Very effective it is proving too.

      Except for industry in Germany, which is not moving away and is rated as one of the best in the world.

      They are seemed to believe in the Magic Government Money tree.

      It’s called QE.

      Personally what constitutes “reasonable doubt” seems a sensible question. If for example DNA showed someone had only a 1 in the million chance of not being the murderer is that “reasonable doubt” or not? What about 1 in the billion? Perhaps the judge could define it.

      The problem is that it’s for the jury to decide what constitutes a reasonable doubt, not the judge, as the jury has to determine the facts of the case. Also if the defendant felt the judge’s explanation of reasonable doubt was inaccurate then this would be grounds for an appeal (misleading the jury).

      Perhaps the Government or the Supreme Court could create a precise definition of things such as reasonable doubt and gross negligence, which judges could use without being at risk of prejudicing the trial.

      Also now we have majority verdicts of 10-2 so can we assume that the descenting minority are clearly “not reasonable”. One sixth of the jury can think the accused is not guilty, yet it has still been proved beyond reasonable doubt.

      Unlike the US, where you need all the jurors to agree, the UK has allowed majority verdicts for a long time. Though unanimous verdicts are preferred.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      @Lifelogic: “If for example DNA showed someone had only a 1 in the million chance of not being the murderer is that “reasonable doubt” or not?

      Depends on who the court is dealing with, identical twins (as would someone and their clone) are almost certain to have the same DNA signature [1] – of course such problems could be dealt with within the letter of the law but I suspect it will be a brave person who tries to do so, as Leslie says, best just let the Jury form a view.

      [1] in fact there has recently been a case in South of France were this happened with identical twins

  3. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Brilliant! Well written!
    People spout on about the “democratic deficit”. There is no means of unseating Dame Lucy and the other EUphiles.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      “Democratic deficit”? Do we not need some actual democracy first, in order to have a “democratic deficit”.

      One vote every five years for people who will rat on their promises once in power (as we have seen very clearly with Osborne, Cameron and Clegg) and where most of the power has been given away already to EU (and UK) bureaucrats. And this without the voter’s authority, hardly counts.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Mike–Personally I hated it because it rang all too true and these maniacs are so well embedded.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 24, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        I think they are too embedded for the politicians to control them, even if they were to try. Cameron clearly is not even going to try.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      So it’s only a democratic deficit when people support something you don’t like. How undemocratic.

      Regardless as long as the UK is part of the EU it’s the duty of the Civil Servants to tell ministers what they need to do to comply with EU law, rather than ignore EU law to appeal to europhobes.

      • M.A.N
        Posted February 24, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        It’s the posturing nature of the socialist elite that grates, and thier dire lack of empathy with ‘normal’ working folk. They are not ‘bringing people along’ with the project, what I see now is that we are almost living in a communist country, or close to it, but they are trying to do it by consent, and not fear a la china and the former USSR. This will not work. What you have is a sort of self employed strike, with people opting out of the tax system purely to spite the government. Do they not get it? we don’t actually CARE about ideology, we don’t have guaranteed jobs and future proof pensions, where’s our bribe to tow the party line?. What’s in it for the acerage joe. It’s almost like government has forgotten what happens at ground level is what matters, not shuffling pieces of paper.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 24, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

          @M.A.N: “It’s the posturing nature of the socialist elite that grates, and thier dire lack of empathy with ‘normal’ working folk

          Whilst the left say exactly the same thing about the right and Capitalism! Also if you think we are living like Communism then you need to go and ask some of the older Polish migrants that are in the UK if they think it is like communism…

  4. acorn
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    About ten years back, the European Banking Federation said we could join the Euro at €1.3 to the Pound, that is 77 pence to a Euro. Have we now missed our chance at €1.16 ?

    I need to get the price of a BMW M3, in Euros (Help please), at a Stuttgart dealer and compare it to the £ price in UK; to work out the purchasing power parity exchange rate. (A bit like the Big Mac index.)

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Acorn–Your M3 apart, in that not everyone is a buyer, do we want the rate higher or lower?? Are you lobbying to join the Euro or just perhaps a revivified ERM??? Say not the struggle naught availeth.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      The Pound/Euro rate is perhaps heading for parity under this governments appalling misdirection- and that is against a very weak EU economy.

  5. zorro
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    ‘We cannot have a welfare state for poeple already here, but deny it people arriving from elsewhere in our Union.’……..So, Romanians can draw their social security allowance from Romania in the UK and vice versa with the Brits in Romania……thought not……..

    Dame Lucy and Roy Spendlove…….’if Ministers do not trust and confide in us, their faithful servants.’……LOL…..you are a very naughty man, Mr Redwood, yes you are!

    zorro

    • Bazman
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Would you also stop it for British nationals who had not paid or paid enough into the system? This being your argument? Or would it just apply to non British?

      • zorro
        Posted February 24, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        There is an argument for contributory benefits implicit in your first sentence, however, that was not the thrust of my argument.

        I was trying to highlight that Romanians having paid much less in Romania would not be getting what they would be entitled to in Romania but would get UK rates of benefit. If someone from the UK went to Romania, having contributed to their national system, they would get far less there…..It is a ridiculous pull factor.

        The crime statistics and the impact made by Eastern Europeans has been increasing at a worrying rate which is reflected in the growing percentage in prison…. It is wholly discreditable that no sensible preparations or predictions are being published, but oh so highly predictable with the current government.

        zorro

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        Only a very small minority share your view that British citizens should be deprived of any preferential status in their own country; unfortunately we have been lax in allowing such persons to attain positions of power, but that can still be changed.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      exactly.. We have been paying full taxes and full NI insurance for 40 years and can’t deny the benefits to the new comers? why not? if I pay private isurance for 40 years and someone pays for one year ..well need I say more.

    • Bob
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      “The NHS paid more than £1million last year for pregnant Polish women to give birth in Poland, it was revealed today.

      Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2283699/NHS-foots-1m-Polish-expectant-mothers-living-England-return-home-birth-thanks-bizarre-EU-laws.html#ixzz2LpLVKNza

      • Jerry
        Posted February 24, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

        @Bob: From the cited Daily Maul article (my emphasis);
        “A European Economic Area agreement means people who pay tax and live in one member country can go to another for treatment, with the former picking up the bill.

        Patients must have Government permission to obtain an E112 form, which means a patient can plan to receive treatment available on the NHS elsewhere.

        Thus these might not have even been Polish women at all, and had these UK tax payers stayed in the UK to give birth what would the cost to the NHS have been in any case – it is even possible that the NHS has saved money?

        Please Bob, next time, try actually reading further than the xenophobic headline… :(

        • Tom William
          Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

          Yes, we all recall busloads of pregnant British women going abroad to give birth.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 25, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

            @Tom William: So how many bus loads of pregnant Polish women did you witness?…

          • Tom William
            Posted February 25, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

            Here is another comment, called sarcasm in case you don’t recognise it. Everyone knows that the NHS sends women to Poland to give birth.

        • Bob
          Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:55 am | Permalink

          @Jerry
          The NHS are paying for private maternity care in Poland.
          In view of the dire standard of treatment in NHS hospitals, what Polish mother would not want to get private care in their own country at the British taxpayers expense.

          The NHS pays out £100 million p.a. to other EU governments for treatment to “UK nationals”.

          How many British expats do you think would return to their mother country for treatment and then get the NHS to claim the costs from their country of residence?

          Try none! A system like this cannot work when the UK is the only country offering treatment free at the point of delivery.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 25, 2013 at 10:22 am | Permalink

            @Bob: (personal abuse removed-ed)
            This is about people who are UK tax payers and thus have paid in for UK state health care insurance, not just UK nationals, thus any treatment (not just giving birth) in a EU country needs a E112. Also there are any number of reasons why a mother might wish to give birth, or end up giving birth, in their own or any other EU country but because they have not paid into that countries health care system they need to claim via the the E112 issued by the country were they pay tax or are a national – understand now?

            I suspect that Bob has never actually left the UK, certainly not to any EU member state, otherwise he would understand how the E112 document works -regardless as to actually having to claim on it.

          • uanime5
            Posted February 25, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

            Is it cheaper or more expensive for these UK nations to be treated in the EU country they’re currently in rather than the UK? If it’s cheaper then this system is saving the NHS money.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 25, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

            May I apologise to Mr Redwood or loosing by cool in my earlier reply to “Bob”, that he might or might not publish in time (edited or not) but it is clear that Bob doesn’t understand the whys and wherefores of the E112 form and how it relates to those people paying tax in their country of residence.

            Also he (and others) seem to be missing the fact that had these Polish migrants remained in the UK to give birth then not only would the NHS have paid the cost in any case but the child (and thus parents) would have an even stronger call on the UK’s health, benefits and other government services…

          • Bob
            Posted February 25, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

            @Jerry
            The clue is in the headline (my emphasis):
            NHS foots £1m bill for Polish expectant mothers living in England to return home to give birth thanks to bizarre EU laws

            Nobody has suggested that this is not within the rules, we are just questioning the sanity of the rules. If these people feel that they want to give birth in Poland, then that’s their choice, but why should the NHS have to pay the Polish hospital? and please don’t say “because it’s within the rules” (where have I heard that before?).

            You might like to consider my question above:
            “How many British expats do you think would return to their mother country for treatment and then get the NHS to claim the costs from their country of residence?”

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 25, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

          What, read further to:

          “Last year around 500 Poles living in the UK went back to their native land to give birth.”?

          The key here is 500 Poles “living in the UK”, when we were never asked whether we wanted 500 Poles to be given the automatic right to come and live in our country, let alone 500,000 or whatever the total may be.

          If they weren’t living here then there would be no question of us paying for the delivery of their babies, wherever that took place.

          That is, apart from the odd case of a visiting Pole woman who went into early labour, who of course would not be left to have her baby without any medical care.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 25, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

            No Denis the clue is the bit that says UK tax payers, and had they given birth in the UK it would still have cost the NHS, so please do feel free to explain just what the fuss is about if it is not just hyperbolic xenophobia on the part of the Daily Maul and their readership?….

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 25, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

            Yes, Jerry, but if they are UK tax payers why is that?

            Would they be UK tax payers if they had stayed in Poland, or if they had migrated to Germany rather than the UK?

          • Jerry
            Posted February 25, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: “Yes, Jerry, but if they are UK tax payers why is that? [../cut/..]

            Denis, at least you are no longer hiding your xenophobia… :(

          • Jerry
            Posted February 26, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: “Yes, Jerry, but if they are UK tax payers why is that?

            Because they live and work in the UK, just like people from the UK live and work, thus pay taxes, in Ireland, Germany, France, Spain, Sweden -even Poland etc. etc…

    • John Maynard
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      I hope this doesn’t mean that Mr JR has given up any hope of becoming a minister again and is now free to be rude about the mandarins !

  6. Roger Farmer
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Without doubt, the senior civil service, Brussels, and the socialist elite led by Cameron Clegg, and Milliband with the aid of the BBC have made a total nonesense of democracy. You and the 600 plus others in Parliament are totally emasculated, many having been bought off by the promise of promotion or by the money of lobbyists and movements who wish to buy influence, and in doing so subvert democracy. The electorate are but cannon fodder in the process.
    Osborne will shortly tell us that reducing the deficit while increasing our national debt by 50% is a success story. More of the same you happy people while we in control continue to rip off the nation in every way conceivable.

  7. Old Codger
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    We should never have left the Seven to join the Six. Unfortunately Heath was still in a fit of pique having been rejected by de Gaulle earlier. His sulk at being rejected continued throughout his life.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Indeed a long sulk – a bitter twisted man – listen to him on the Desert Island Disks Archive for prove. Strangely he chooses Topol – If I Were A Rich Man as one choice.

      • zorro
        Posted February 24, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know why he sulked so much, he got what he wanted……the UK in the EU on a superstate course…….perhaps he preferred to go on adventures in his yacht.

        zorro

        • Jerry
          Posted February 24, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

          @Zorro: I didn’t think Heath sulked before he lost the elections of 1974 and then the leadership, what was worse was that he lost to a woman, when ever interviewed he could hardly bring himself to mention the Mrs Thatchers name…

  8. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Nice try, John, but your party is wedded to keeping the UK in the EU whatever your leader and your pretend civil servants here may say. As for the ‘promise’ of a referendum I give that the same credence as “We will safeguard Britain’s credit rating with a credible plan to eliminate the bulk of the structural deficit over a parliament.”

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Indeed or “I will raise the IHT tax threshold to £1M”. The party is history after 2015 perhaps for 2-3 terms and justly so given it and Cameron’s performance.

    • Graham Swift
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      The day we are allowed an in/out referendum on EUSSR membership I will become a Trappist monk.

  9. Posted February 24, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Although I am grateful to hear that people within the Conservative party are now becoming aware that there are problems with the way Michael Gove is behaving I gravely concerned that they do not properly understand cyberspace, social media and what’s actually going on and that they still have little insight into what’s actually going on. I’m worried that people might thing that shutting down one Twitter feed might actually make a difference.

    If anybody would like to understand this better please do feel free to get in touch with me through commenting on my blog or through linkedin (just search for Rebecca Hanson education).

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Credit where it is due. Our ghastly, scandalous Comprehensive (Special Measures for some five years with as many Heads) has actually been turned round by becoming an Academy. The behaviour is, I understand, much improved, the “students” wear uniforms, there is a sixth form.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 24, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

        @Mike Stallard: Why did it need to become an Academy to achieve this, smacks of withholding funds etc. to recruit new staff or improve facilities and the like. You don;t turn failing school around simple by changing a name!…

  10. Posted February 24, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    It is not and has never been in the interests of the people of this country to allow 5 million immigrants in to create a pool of cheap labour, undercutting wages and conditions and taking jobs. It is not in our interests to let in another 4 million (romanians-ed) and bulgarians.

    Our current energy crisis has bee caused by the inactivity of previous governments, and massively exacerbated by the EU forcing us to close Power Stations before we can replace the lost capacity, and out bills are higher because we are forced to comply with EU Renewable Energy targets. The EU is an unmitigated disaster for the UK and we need out asap.

    A Europhile is little more than atraitor to these islands.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

      Mr Lionheart, you really have missed that elephant standing on your left foot, the real problems are not the migrants but have been caused by teaching our youth that they are to good to pick the veg from the farmers fields, thus we get migrants coming to the UK to fill the labouring void, and that so many Brits seem to know the value of everything but the worth of nothing, thus they will happy give a someone in China a job but not someone in the UK…

      • Tom William
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        Totally agree.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        I see, so it’s entirely our fault that the successive governments have opened up our country to mass immigration without so much as a by your leave.

        Some people might think that’s a bit rich, but in a way I agree with you: it is our fault that we’ve continued to vote for political parties whose leaders clearly loathe and despise us, and especially loathe and despise those of us who are English.

        And in case anyone assumes that I mean just the Labour and LibDem parties, I don’t; if Hague had any respect for the British people then he would not have carefully written his so-called “referendum lock” law to automatically exempt EU accession treaties, a provision he has already used to deny us a referendum on whether we want Croatia to join the EU:

        http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/eu-act-croatia-stmnt-020212

        and which he would have no hesitation in using to deny us a referendum if it was any other country.

        Turkey springing to mind, as one which the Tory party is desperate to get into the EU to provide a fresh source of cheap and biddable labour for its donors and supporters.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 25, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

          @Denis Cooper: You seem to be replying to something I neither said nor implied, did you mean your comment to be a reply to RL?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 26, 2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink

            Nope, it was a reply to you.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 26, 2013 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

            @Denis: Then you did reply to something I neither said nor implied…

    • John Maynard
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      I know UKIP people feel obliged to use “noble” names from our past for their user IDs, but Richard Lionheart ? wasn’t he French ?

      • Bob
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        Are you suggesting that there is something ignoble about being French?

        In any case, I believe he was born in England.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      The UK has had 25 years to replace the power plants that are going to be closed in 2015, so we have had time to provide additional capacity.

  11. electro-kevin
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    The control of media and communications is key to any successful military campaign. That’s why television and radio towers are knocked out in preliminary air strikes.

    In Britain the system has been targetted via the universities, Guardian recruitment pages and party networks.

    The recent BBC activities over Savile – in contrast to their treatment of the tabloid media – has been nothing short of Stalinist. I feel moderately at risk of losing my job or being imprisoned at some time for holding the ‘wrong’ views or using unapproved language.

    I have a horrible feeling that the Left wing establishment will, one day soon, turn very nasty indeed. They include some of the least tolerant and spiteful people that there are.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

      Kevin, let me spit that back at you; I have a horrible feeling that the right wing establishment will, one day soon, turn very nasty indeed. They include some of the least tolerant and spiteful people that there are.

      Ho-hum, now you might realise how silly your comment sounds…

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 7:42 am | Permalink

        Jerry – I think history is on my side. Throughout the world the Left have proven to have a far higher kill rate than the Right.

        It certainly feels as though a political and cultural coup has taken place in this country.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 25, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

          @Kevin: Historically there has been also quite quite a few very right wing Juntas, how many ‘disappeared’ in south America, how many in Argentina alone, I would suggest that it runs pretty equal. As for political and cultural coups taking place, indeed, in the UK two of the most recent were in the early 1960s and then again in the 1980s – I would have no problem living back in the 1950s or 1970s but I’m not so sure that you (and others on this blog) would, you seem to rather like the freedoms you have, being able to buy your own house, that 40″ TV, own a car (or cars) etc…

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:02 am | Permalink

        Jerry – I’m first to admit that I can say (and write) some rather silly things. It’s one of the reasons why I would never enter politics and have respect for those who do.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 25, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

          Kevin, no problems. :) Writing or speaking from the heart and then being able to debate the issues calmly is OK, and I wish more politicains would be allowed (by party and society) to do so, it’s when people just spew out political dogma that the problems start.

          • Electro-Kevin
            Posted February 26, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink

            Jerry – I remember the ’70s well. They were harsh times by comparison. I was the son of a police constable (a good job) and we were truly impoverished. The photos prove it.

            “…you seem to rather like the freedoms you have, being able to buy your own house, that 40″ TV, own a car …”

            The problem with that is that, after 13 years of Labour, most people under the age of 30 haven’t a hope in hell of getting those things and my generation are at serious risk of losing them.

            I say this having inferred that you seem to think I should be thankful for what the Left have given me.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 26, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

            Apologies to John for the length of this comment, but I do get feed up with people talking down the 1970s as if they lived in poverty, a little perceptive is required…

            @Electro-Kevin: “I remember the ’70s well. They were harsh times by comparison. I was the son of a police constable (a good job) and we were truly impoverished. The photos prove it.

            Yes and as a police officer he was entitled to a police house (if he wished), he just needed to keep his nose clean and await retirement on full index linked pension at -what- age 50?

            Kevin, my father grew up in the depressed north during the 1930s, there are no photos to show this because they could not afford a camera, his family lived in a rural two bedroom tided cottage with a well-head water pump, an outside loo and no bathroom, my father and his brothers had to walk 5 miles to school and then 5 miles back each weekday, come rain snow or shine. He only got a decent secondary school education because of his exceptional talent for maths and was thus put forward for a full scholarship, which he achieved, and as a mark of this his mother [1] was given a job and tided “Two up-Two down” house in town by the local feudal “Lord of the Manor” (she then worked at the Manor rather than at the farm) as a reward, so that her son could be closer to the school and thus didn’t need to board.

            So please Kevin, you don’t even know what impoverished means, by comparison my brothers and sister learnt very early to be thankful for what we did have each time we were driven the three hundred odd miles up to see our “Northern-Nan”, not that we were rich, father was just very hard working and careful.

            By the 1970s father ‘owned’ a reasonably large house and garden in a town within the ‘Home Counties’, a company car came as part of his job but he had also managed to buy a second-hand car of our own (I think father bought it as an insurance in case he lost access to the company car), we took either UK or European camping holidays each year rather than expensive package holidays, us kids never had the “latest toys” (although we always had new toys) etc. Father did 98% of the house maintenance or DIY, cheaper to buy a 30ft extending ladder than pay for a painter and decorator sort of thing.

            “The problem with that [consumerism] is that, after 13 years of Labour, most people under the age of 30 haven’t a hope in hell of getting those things and my generation are at serious risk of losing them.”

            These problems also happened between 1980 and 1997 (as indeed it did, to a less extent in the 1970s), basically many of these people have either over-reached themselves or should never have been lured into debt in the first place. Sure it is nice to have that 40″ 3D TV and the flash car etc. but those things are the icing on the cake, the sort of consumer items that many people over the age of 50 used to consider having only after the family had been raised, the house mortgage and the HP (on the average family car) paid off or at least substantially reduced, not things to load onto the credit card at the same time as the mortgage and other more essential purchases, whilst still only earning an average salary.

            [1] by then his father had died due to injuries received during WW1, I think he was ‘gassed’.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 27, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

            Another “parked” comment?

          • Jerry
            Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

            Indeed my reply to Kevin is yet another parked comment :(

            John, why not just close those blogs you have no intention of allowing either further discussion or indeed reply to?

  12. Antisthenes
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Never a truer word(s) said in jest. I have no doubt that bureaucrats and technocrats Europe wide even world wide have a far different agenda to that of their so called political masters let alone the people they are supposed to serve. In the cosy world of public service crass needs such as competitiveness, wealth creation and prosperity are not for them that is for the lower orders. For them high ideals are the order of the day whatever the cost. For them the moral high ground is all that matters and impoverishment and tyranny is for them a small price for the rest of us to pay to maintain that position.

  13. uanime5
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    We think ti will be very difficult to maintain our position at the European table with all this ultra sceptic rhetoric flying around.

    Given that the UK may vote to leave in 2017 it’s understandable why other EU leaders at the top table aren’t going to try to accommodate the UK’s position.

    They seem to think it is or should be a free market or even a free for all market. That was never the idea. It brings duties and responsibilities.

    Specifically harmonising the legal systems and setting minimum standards regarding how employees can be treated.

    We need to explain to the Environment Secretary that the agricultural and fishing policies are to do with solidarity and sharing around the whole European space.

    I thought it was about giving other members of the EU the same rights as the natives.

    We cannot have a welfare state for poeple already here, but deny it people arriving from elsewhere in our Union.

    As required under the freedom of movement (one of the four fundamental freedoms in the EU).

    I will pass over our major worries with the Education Secretary, who seems to think he needs an alternative civil service to carry out his duties.

    That’s what happens when the Education Secretary bases all his policies on ideology, rather than reason. Pity he’s not the only senior minister to do this.

    • Ben Kelly
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      We think ti will be very difficult to maintain our position at the European table with all this ultra sceptic rhetoric flying around.

      Given that the UK may vote to leave in 2017 it’s understandable why other EU leaders at the top table aren’t going to try to accommodate the UK’s position.

      Given that much of your comment is obviously thought through and reasoned I find this post highly surprising. This really is retro-fitting the argument to fit your needs. We were not listened to before we started making noises about secession and probably now have more weight. To use us threatening to leave as a reason why we would no have a voice is disingenuous at best.

      • uanime5
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        On what basis are you claiming that the UK wasn’t listened to? I trust that you’re not going to say that because only the Czech Republic and the UK refused to sign up to the Fiscal Pact that the EU is ignoring the UK.

        In any case during the EU budget negotiations the French used the UK’s threat to leave the EU as an excuse to refuse the UK’s demands because the UK may not be in the EU in 2017. So threatening to leave has weakened the UK’s negotiating position.

  14. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    “Many of us are deeply unhappy about his new language.”

    I find that rather hard to believe, when it’s obvious to most intelligent people here and elsewhere in the EU that he probably didn’t mean it, and even if he did mean it there’s very little chance that anything will ever come of it.

    To take what I would regard as the most fundamentally important element of what he said:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/9820230/David-Camerons-EU-speech-in-full.html

    “The European Treaty commits the Member States to “lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe” … We understand and respect the right of others to maintain their commitment to this goal. But for Britain – and perhaps for others – it is not the objective. And we would be much more comfortable if the Treaty specifically said so … ”

    If he really meant that, if he really wants us to stay in the EU but with the EU treaties changed to eliminate the paramount commitment to a process of “ever closer union”, then he would be looking for support from the British people before he went into battle to get that fundamental treaty change.

    Which he could do, despite the constraints of the coalition, by arranging for a Tory MP to introduce a Private Members’ Bill for a referendum to be held as soon as possible to ascertain whether we agree with him on that fundamental issue – maybe we would in fact prefer to continue further with the process of “ever closer union”? – and then making sure that there was time for that Bill to be progressed.

    In principle that route is already being pioneered by the Private Members’ Bill introduced by the Tory MP John Baron:

    http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2012-13/unitedkingdommembershipoftheeuropeanunionreferendum.html

    “A Bill to make provision for a referendum in the next Parliament on the question of whether the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union; and for connected purposes.”

    But only provided that whichever party or parties controlled the next Parliament didn’t decide that there would be no referendum after all, and had his Act repealed.

    It appears that Mr Baron is undaunted by the lack of a Tory majority in the House of Commons, the excuse which is usually offered to explain why it would be quite impossible to have a referendum during the present Parliament.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      @Denis Cooper: I don’t quite see why Cameron couldn’t have meant that paragraph. Policians only favour referendums (if ever) when theu expect to be supported by them. I’m sure Cameron is no friend of referendums, but just felt forced by domestic politics to offer the prospect of a referendum. I’m pretty sure that he wants to stay in the EU (doesn’t want to go against either the City or the US government), but that he doesn’t want to get entangled ever more. His chances to achieve that aren’t all that bad either I think. “The continent” (with the exception of France?) doesn’t want to lose the UK and the UK isn’t the only country which wants to move certain competences back to the member states.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        Then let him arrange the referendum and ask us whether we agree.

        Bear in mind that in the 1975 referendum a two thirds majority of Britons voted in favour of staying in the EEC and continuing with an unremitting, unlimited and largely uncontrollable process of “ever closer union” until their country would cease to exist as an independent sovereign state in any meaningful sense, and the fact that few of them fully understood what they were voting for is dismissed as unimportant by supporters of the EU.

        So while Cameron is entitled to his own view, arguably he shouldn’t take it upon himself to tell the world that the British no longer want to be part of that historic process without first checking with us whether that is the case.

  15. peter van leeuwen
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    There is little reason for the civil service to worry:
    We now see that the City of London (majority sponsor of the Tory election campaign) is now joining hands with the European Commission in supporting a big “Policy Network” event in London next Thursday, where speakers like Van Rompuy will declare how much they all love Britain. Considering that Policy Network seems to favour “social democracy” , how long will it be before the City of London jumps ship and will be supporting Labour in a future election campaign. After all, the chances for a Brixit would be so much smaller under Labour.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      The President of Germany loves us so much that he wants English to become the official language of the EU:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/22/german-president-pleads-britain-stay-eu

      You may think that it would be no great inconvenience to yourself to have English as the language of the EU, but you have to realise that it would not be a common language but the Single European Language, and once you’d agreed to use it then after a transition period it would become illegal for you to use any other language including your own “legacy language”, and having started to use it you could never stop using it and revert to Dutch even if you wanted to.

      Be warned.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 24, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper: Good joke Denis, a bit like “the euro is for life, you’ll never have your own currency back”.
        But I notice it in my own life. Although not one of the “young people”, I know I often speak English with German and French friends even though I master both languages. Ultimately, the problem may be more with the British, who won’t own their own language anymore. I often notice my wife’s irritation at all the Americanisms and common grammar mistakes when we continentals speak “globish” (nickname for this “grammar-free anything allowed” kind of English)

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 25, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

          Unfortunately, Peter, “the euro is for life, you’ll never have your own currency back” is not a joke, it’s part of your EU law.

          I know your Prime Minister says he wants that changed but nobody of any importance supports him on that, not even Cameron.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted February 25, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: Denis, have a look at the map or at our key econimic figures and you’ll understand that, before the Netherlands had the euro, it always shadowed the Deutschmark. At least, since the euro with all its benefits and draw backs, the Netherlands did have a seat at the table. It also had Duisenberg at the helm of the ECB and now Dijsselbloem as chairman of the EZ group of ministers of finance. You mention the Dutch prime-minister, who may be strong on people skills, but poor on vision.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 24, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

        Denis, Franco tried for years to stifle the Catalan language (and people), he failed, why do you think that the EU will be any more successful?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 25, 2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink

          Jerry,

          How can you possibly compare the EU to the Franco regime?

          The EU proceeds in much more subtle ways, quietly building up its acquis communautaire step by step, with the willing agreement of governments solemnly committed to a process of “ever closer union”, until one day the Dutch find that not only is Dutch no longer an official language within the EU but it is a banned language, and being such good Europeans they will docilely accept that.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 25, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

            Denis Cooper: “How can you possibly compare the EU to the Franco regime?

            Because they were able to resist Franco’s bullets (of assimilation), that’s why! They will have no problems avoiding reams of paper (or electronic files) from the EU… I make the comparison, having known what the Catalan’s can be like for well over 40 years -this even during the last years of Franco rule, with their stubbornness I sometimes wonder just what would defeat their ‘cultural’ fever.

      • uanime5
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        Given how many countries used Greek, Latin, Persian, or French as the lingua franca or language of the royal court without forcing their people to speak this language it’s farcical to assume that everybody in the EU will be forced to speak English.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 25, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

          Even Peter recognised it as being a joke, but apparently it went over your head as well as Jerry’s … mind you, what may seem to be a joke when it’s first mooted can eventually become reality.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 25, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

            Denis, with so many ‘crack-pot’ ideas being flung about by disaffected voters and party members (both left, right and centre) it is sometimes hard to tell a joke from a wish! What might appear a joke might become horrifying reality, (etc ed)

  16. MasjorFrustration
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    EU,BBC, NHS, MoD,BoE failed Inflation Programme, Immigration, Zomby Banks, Failed Deficit Reduction, – can nobody rid us of these (useless ed) politicans. Again and again its the voters that get shafted.

  17. Jon
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Hold on if the Roy letter suggests the Civil Service is worried about these things then thats good! If I’m not mistaken it suggests there must have been some progress in the power struggle of the elected representative and the civil service machine.

  18. Bazman
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    As I have pointed out more than once. When you right wing retards who have been proved wrong in the open, you should then just shut up. You would not last a second in your own fantasies. This will be Constantly told to middle class idiots on this site. Ram it.

    • Edward
      Posted February 25, 2013 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      If ever there was an example of how socialists end up threatening and attacking people who hold different opinions to their own, then this unpleasant post is it.
      Who says your views are always correct Bazman?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 25, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Bazman–Gratuitously rude nonsense–nobody I know thought it would be anything other than extremely difficult to reduce the demented debt and deficit levels built up and bequeathed by Brown and the irony is when he stuck to the previous Conservative Government’s approach for the first two years (in his artificial prudence mode before he turned megalomaniac) the economy was in reasonable shape. You would have thought that people like you might have learnt something from that.

      • Bazman
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        When you have been proved wrong enough not to be able to reply with any conviction and truth do not post the same nonsense in further posts is my point. It called bigotry and ignorance.

        • Edward
          Posted February 26, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

          Baz you should end by saying at the end of your rude personal attacks:-
          “I am always right so everyone just shut up and listen to me ”
          There is a touch of a left wing dictator in you Baz, its very concerning

          • Bazman
            Posted February 26, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

            If you can prove I have sympathy to left wing dictators then please do. Otherwise. Ramit.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

            @Edward: “I am always right so everyone just shut up and listen to me

            Sorry to say but that smacks more than a little of the pot calling the kettle filthy in that comment, when has the hard right ever listened, those on the political right who do listen are often just branded “Lefty” or “wets” by those on the hard right…

            Whilst uncalled for I read Bazman’s (original) ‘comment’ as more a case of allowing his total frustration to get the better of him -I know the feeling- than any wish to be a dictator.

  19. Freedom Lover
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    “We must avoid traffic accidents and misunderstandings , which become more likely if Ministers do not trust and confide in us, their faithful servants.” So UK Civil Servants may find ways of silencing ‘uncontrollable’ British ministers, may they? Much better if they were to devote their seditious energies to silencing euro-philes in the Commission building of the EU in Brussels!

  20. Duncan
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Please forgive my ignorance but, who is “Roy”?

    Reply Roy Spendlove, a senior official who reports to Dame Lucy. You can see previous leaked correspondence if you type him in on my index system on the website.

  21. paul
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Excellent John.The last sentence says it all

  22. David Langley
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    What you get in a law court is the LAW not justice as a requirement. The lawyers will argue on the basis of law and reasonable doubt about whether the law was broken or adhered to. If you want justice then you present your plea for mitigation when found guilty and then the Judge will refer to his sentencing guidelines. If a jury decides to find someone not guilty because they have already mitigated in favour of the accused then the Judge may decide to advise the jury of their error in law but probably has to go with the majority verdict. The law is an ass only when the guilty are let off scot free, or the innocent are found guilty and banged up or worse.
    (seks to prejudge retrial of Mrs Huhne so comments deleted-ed)
    If juries are composed of people who are ignorant and find proceedings beyond them its a testimony to the increasing complexities of modern life and the crap abilities of many of our current population which will only get worse.

  23. David Langley
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I am afraid Dame Lucy is not going to be of any use to Roy and he better get some new pals with a different agenda, fast. He is peeing in the wind basically and all his previous efforts at getting understanding seem to be wasted.

  • 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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