Lord Lawson recommends a freer future for the UK

Lord Lawson was right to say in the Times on Monday that the Euro means an ever closer union in the EU, with ever more government from Brussels. He is right that the UK does not want that and cannot accept that. Some of us thought the EU bossed us around too much before the Euro. The Euro has clearly made it a lot worse.

The EU Trade Commissioner decided that made it a good day to launch an attack on Europsceptic MPs in the UK for not understanding the EU. I suspect our problem from his point of view is we read too much and understand too much, not the other way round. There is no point in Commissioners trying to threaten the UK with the tired old lie that we will lose 3.5 million jobs dependent on EU trade if we pull out. As they well know, the rest of theEU, especially Germany, sells us much more than we sell them. They will need to carry on with that trade, so they will be asking the UK for arrangements that allow that to happen.

If the EU was indeed a friendly partner and supporter of the UK , it would now be asking us what we need to allow us to trade and be friends with them. It would not be lecturing us, but would be listening sympathetically to what it is about the EU that we do not like. The fact that they do not do this, shows  some of them  do not think it is our club as well, and shows they have little wish for us to improve its performance and alter its masively over intrusive rules.

The big problem for business with all the single market rules, is they apply to everything we do at home and everything we sell to non EU countries, as well as applying to our exports to the EU. If we were a free country again, the EU rules would only apply to things we sold to them, making it easier for us to compete in the rest of the world’s growing markets.

I was asked to make my own position clearer. I cannot see how I can make it clearer. I have repeatedly said that I voted against continued membership in 1975, and that if we had a referendum today on In/Out on current terms I would vote for Out. I also want us to negotiate a relationship based on trade and political co-operation. Many of you tell me that cannot be achieved, in which case I would vote for Out on any referendum that followed such a negotiation. Those who just wish to leave need to accept there has to be a negotiation over which common rules will still apply so ferries can run, planes can fly etc. I have always thought the costs and legal impositions of membership were too high, and that it was always a political union in the making which we did not wish to join. That is why I voted against Rome in 1975, and opposed all subsequent treaties one way or another, as being incompatible with UK democracy and sovereignty. The whole Conservative party rightly voted against Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon, which is why we cannot accept the current arrangements.

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157 Comments

  1. Brian Taylor
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    In 1975 I voted to stay in The Common Market. As it was all over the BBC and press that to stay in would be good for job’s and trade.
    Unless the new arrangement give theUK back control over our Law’s and border’s,I will VOTE OUT.
    I hope I live long enough to have that vote!!

    • Life logic
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      The evil bbc yet again. I would have voted no, had I been old enough, this as the no people were clearly so much more rational. But emotion always wins over reason.

  2. Mark W
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    I’ve never quite understood why EU officials threaten and speak to us as of we were a small child in need of scolding. Culturally we are too different.

    The pro EU side have previously had a good run with smearing sceptics as some sort of demented little Englander xenophobe. It’s a dirty trick to avoid engaging the points.

    There is no negociation I could ever trust. Even if JR and Farge conducted it. The EU is made of weasels. Within months they’d be adjusting rules to suit. Like this new UK specific tax called a financial transaction tax.

    When the vote comes, I will vote out whatever is promised. Then I will burn an EU flag in the street and party. One day I hope the other peoples of Europe will be free to do the same.

    • Andy
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree with you. I’m afraid I no longer trust the Continental Europeans because I do not think they keep their word nor honour it. I’m fed up with the whole nonsense and I too would vote to leave.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      @Mark W: “I’ve never quite understood why EU officials threaten and speak to us as of we were a small child in need of scolding. Culturally we are too different.

      And that Sir is the route cause of all the problems, whilst the UK is obviously both geographically and via our human ancestry linked to the European continent, culturally we are an island nation that in more modern times has had more in comment with North America and the English speaking countries of the Southern Hemisphere / Asia – we no longer actually have very much in common with “Europe”, what so ever, nor does Ireland – even the bases to our legal systems are incompatible…

      If the UK had to, for economic and trade reasons, be in a ‘group’ (or block) then it would probably make more sense to -try and- join NAFTA

  3. Nina Andreeva
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Please could you clarify what you mean by “political cooperation”? Presumably here we will be exempting ourselves when there is a direct conflict with British interests, like during the Falklands when a few of our European sisters were quite happy to trade with the enemy?

    Its nice to see that Cathy “could not be elected to anything” Ashton will be picking up a pension ten times bigger than what Mrs Thatcher was be entitled to

    Reply Political co-operation is agreements to work with EU countries where we wish to and on terms we agree or can veto, as we do with other foreign countries.

  4. Tim Chick
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    What a great pity you are not Chancellor of the Exchequer!

  5. lifelogic
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Indeed and Nigel Lawson was initially an enthusiastic supporter of the idiotic ERM experiment and earlier shadowing the EURO hence his bust up with Alan Walters, Lady Thatchers adviser at the time.

    Now however he now seems to be sound, both on the EU and the absurd man made global warming exaggerations. Why do all these people have to get so old before they can develop some wisdom and see the blindingly obvious? All this was obvious to me in my twenties as the Lawson/Walters battle developed. You just apply some basic logic, maths and a little thought to the issue.

    Still at least the Parliament’s Transport Committee says that Britain should expand London’s Heathrow airport by building a third or even fourth runway. So there is some logic & sense about. It should have been done many years ago, we need more hub capacity and need it now. Heathrow or Heathwick is the best, quickest and the cheapest option by far.

    • Bazman
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      Pity you do not apply any base logic to your arguments such as cutting the state in half with no effect, no loosers and no repercussions as well as many of your other political fantasies of an entirely self balancing world.

    • Willy Wombat
      Posted May 11, 2013 at 2:45 am | Permalink

      Would that Alan Walters had been ennobled and made Chancellor on Day 1 of the Thatcher administration!

  6. James
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    At the risk of turning away from this tired subject, where the only impetus for change will come (and it will come) from the democratic upsurge of a party other than LibLabCon, let’s look for one minute at the RANK HYPOCRISY of this government hounding so-called “rich” people, who have either inherited or made their money in honest and straightforward endeavour. Your colleagues in the Treasury are running this smear campaign whilst, according to the Daily Telegraph, making taxpayer-funded bounties on selling second properties. (personal allegation about a Minister removed-ed)

  7. Andyvan
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    So why is Dave not getting on with sorting it out then? All we see is lots of talk, zero action. Why wait years to even start negotiation? We all know the situation, we all consider that it needs to be properly decided, even the pro EU faction.
    As usual inactivity reigns. No meetings with EU Commissars, no discussions with other governments, no setting down our minimum terms, nothing. It’s like swimming in treacle, every movement takes forever. What possible advantage is there in waiting except to try and gain some advantage next election to shore up the Conservative party’s shriveling share of the vote? Political advantage. That’s why Conservatives supported joining, that’s why they’ve taken us further in time after time and that’s why people are fed up with them saying one thing and doing the opposite. Do what’s best for the country instead of the party and maybe Dave will get re-elected.

  8. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    It appears that more are ‘coming out’ in favour of EU exit. For years I have been badgered to express myself more simply to accommodate others who use monosyllables. How much more can we bend to suit everyone else , whilst providing a home for others whose own country hasn’t been as generous as the UK. We cannot foster everyone and simultaneously dance in the corps de ballet.

  9. Steve Cox
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Why pay so much attention to whatever nonsense Karel de Gucht spouts out at any moment in time? Just look at the list of the current UK EU commissioners – (list several including some who are n ot Commissioners any more-ed) – all of them arrogant, self-serving, left wing, sometimes dishonest (etc ed), and we should probably simply ignore everything these useless Eurosycophants say and do. Europe, and not just the UK, is rapidly dividing itself up into two blocs. The people who live in the real world and see the damage that the EU causes, often because it has harmed them personally, and the ruling elites (including David Cameron) who can personally see no evil in the EU at all, no matter what blather and nonsense they may come out with to make them appear to be in touch with the first bloc. The EU Commission is almost identical in its mannerisms and disconnection from the people to the Supreme Soviet, and in the end it will go the same way.

  10. Narrow shoulders
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    I look forward to the back bench brought bill seeking the referendum but caution the sponsor to word it in such a way that cabinet members are unable to use the coalition agreement to avoid voting for it. This may require presenting a “stalking horse” bill as it were to flush out intentions and to highlight those committed to the meaningful renegotiation or out agenda.

    Good luck, Mr Cameron’s cabinet is rapidly becoming outflanked on this issue.

  11. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    John: Your own position on EU could not be more clear. However, as a Westminster insider I think you are probably unaware of another aspect of UKIP’s appeal which is their “anti politics” aura. The reason I say that you are not attuned to this mood is this:

    “This House respectfully regrets that an EU Referendum Bill was not included in the Gracious Speech”

    I am sorry, but such a feeble and pointless motion is just seen by many people as a pointless exercise in playing politics and a total waste of time. It is badly misjudged.

  12. The PrangWizard
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    I have a dream, of a day when there is some kind of rebellion. A refusal by people to impliment Directives. A Statement from government that we have a civil crisis in housing health and education which requires that our border must closed to immigration except on our terms, and the like. My instinct tells me that the consequences would not be serious and well within our ability to manage. Let us act now as if we were free.

    I watched Sky News last evening on the subject. It was about ‘Tory splits’, ‘same old story, where have we heard this before.’ Ha, ha, ha!

    What is it with these tired journalists? Laziness and cliches by the bucketload. It’s not just the BBC which refuses to show a balanced and accurate view.

    It’s time they were shown that the matter needs to be taken seriously.

    • Christopher Ekstrom
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Politics can be rather fun! Ignoring quangos & snubbing directives. Smoke in your local. Enjoy! Being a (non conformer-ed) today is a proud achievement. Simply ignore the health & safety (enforcers-ed). Walk the walk, let’s make the sissy lot throw fits. What glorious good fun!

      Reply This site does not condone law breaking. I seek law changing by democratic means.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      A refusal by people to impliment Directives.

      Given that the UK is involved with writing and voting on these directives any such refusal won’t be viewed well.

      A Statement from government that we have a civil crisis in housing health and education which requires that our border must closed to immigration except on our terms, and the like. My instinct tells me that the consequences would not be serious and well within our ability to manage.

      If the UK refuses to let anyone from outside the UK into the UK expect every other country to respond in the same way by preventing UK citizens living in their country. So how exactly is this not a serious consequence of your poorly thought out plan.

  13. Boudicca
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    There is a mechanism by which the negotiations you mention should be triggered. It’s Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which signals that we will be seceding from the EU.

    No-one is claiming that negotiations won’t be required. We just know that no meaningful negotiations can take place from within the EU because all the Treaties signed by previous Governments (without a mandate) signed us up for Ever Closer Union and Acquis Communitaire.

    Various senior representatives from within the EU and other member states, including Merkel and Hollande, have made it very clear that we cannot ‘pick and choose’ terms of membership. It’s IN on their term, or OUT. If we want out, we have to invoke Article 50.

    It’s Cameron who won’t admit this and who is trying to obtain a mandate to keep us IN …. by fair means or foul.

    Denis Healey has now also said that membership is not in our interests. I wonder how long it will be before Mili-the-Geek decides to pledge a Referendum as well …. thereby negating any advantage Cameron may have got through his “offer.”

  14. Tad Davison
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    John,

    That is absolutely spot on! I couldn’t have put it better myself. In fact, and I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to print it off, and shove it under the noses of some of the die-hard Europhiles I am unfortunately acquainted with, because they refuse to move from their entrenched position.

    And of course, the list of those who actually CAN see the wood for the trees, is growing. The former Labour chancellor of the exchequer, Denis Healey, has joined the fast-growing group of former political heavyweights who have declared against Britain’s continued membership of the European Union.

    Channel 4’s Michael Crick says:

    Lord Healey told me from his home in Sussex tonight:

    “I wouldn’t object strongly to leaving the EU. The advantages of being members of the union are not obvious. The disadvantages are very obvious. I can see the case for leaving – the case for leaving is stronger than for staying in.”

    Lord Healey, who was chancellor at the time of the last referendum of Europe in 1975, added:

    “The trouble about Europe is what I call the Olive Line, the line below which people grow olives. North of the Olive Line people pay their taxes and spend public money very cautiously. South of it they fail to pay their taxes at all, but spend a lot of public money.”

    http://blogs.channel4.com/michael-crick-on-politics/healey-case-for-leaving-europe-stronger-than-staying/2494

    Where I might disagree with the former Labour chancellor, is where he states we in the North spend public money cautiously, as that hasn’t always been the case under Labour governments, if at all!

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Bazman
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      I wonder how he sees Britains ‘Olive Line’ if that is what he is saying. Would make an interesting political statement. Hard working Southerners and Lazy Northerners. Of course unlike Europe he would not get away with it though it is what he is saying.

    • Life logic
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      My goodness even Dennis, let the pips squeak, Healey perhaps we should restrict mps to those over 75 it seems only then do they have any sense with the jr exception.

  15. Dan
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    You leave it open the that you might vote IN.
    My opinion is that you and your eurosceptic colleagues would indeed do that. You’d take the deal offered. You’d settle.
    No thanks.

    Reply No, I would n ot vote into the current Treatuies or a variation of them. I would vote Yes to free trade and co-operation deal between an independent UK and the EU, as long as we retain our veto and right to change our mind over all parts of it.

    • matthu
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Why on earth would we need to be “IN” to enjoy free trade and co-operation with the EU? What would the “IN” give us that would be better than “OUT”?

    • Gary
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      “Reply No, I would n ot vote into
      the current Treatuies or a
      variation of them. I would vote
      Yes to free trade and co-
      operation deal between an
      independent UK and the EU, as
      long as we retain our veto and
      right to change our mind over all
      parts of it.”

      ah, some sanity. The knee-jerk out at any costs chorus is ridiculous. There are many economic advantages of being in the largest trading bloc in the world, let’s try and get a good deal and stay in it, preferably on our terms.

      Economic isolation is a disaster. Companies exporting into Europe won’t bother with yet another layer of legality to negotiate to also trade with us, they already have negotiated access to the one- stop 500 million person,richest market in the world. Countries within Europe seem to have no problems exporting to the rest of the world. Germany’s biggest trade partner is China.

      It may even save us from ourselves by dissuading us from printing ourselves (further) into the poorhouse.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 11, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        You need to understand that a “free trade and co- operation deal between an independent UK and the EU”, or any other such deal “between” an independent UK and the EU, means that the UK would no more be in the EU than any of the other countries which have deals with the EU.

  16. Richard1
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    This is a good summary. Lord Lawson is making a magnificent contribution to public affairs in his retirement, starting with his forcing of a proper debate on policies driven by fear of global warming.

    One trap Conservatives should avoid is an In-Out referendum before the election. The result could well be ‘In’ with all the scare-mongering about jobs etc. In that case, and should there then be a Labour or Lib-Lab govt after 2015, we can forget any re-negotiation or future referendum. We would be locked in as a subservient province of the EU for good. Committing to hold a referendum after the election achieves 2 things: 1) makes a Conservative Govt more likely, and 2) gives real negotiating leverage in seeking a Switzerland-type ‘membership’ of the EU, which probably would command public support and would be better than what we have now.

    • Bazman
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      So if you do not get the result you want it will all be down to scaremongering by the BBC?

    • uanime5
      Posted May 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      gives real negotiating leverage in seeking a Switzerland-type ‘membership’ of the EU

      Switzerland has to implement almost all directives even though it has no influence over these directives. Something the eurosceptics keep forgetting.

      • Richard1
        Posted May 11, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        There will be trade-offs. The UK’s ability to affect EU policy seems to be very limited, so having a say on directives might not actually be worth much. Perhaps the freedoms from being out will outweigh the benefit of the limited control we have over such directives from being in. Right now I’m not sure which way I would vote in a referendum. But all recent developments in the EU strengthen the argument for out.

      • Bob
        Posted May 11, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        @uanime5
        ” it has no influence over these directives”

        The Swiss population is less than a tenth of the UK’s.
        Even London has a bigger population.

        So maybe not a good comparison.

        The UK market is too big to ignore, and often referred to as “treasure island” by continental business leaders. I’m sure we’ll continue to trade and take our holidays around the Med., as we always did even before the EEC, EC and EU.

  17. Steven Granger
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    You conveniently omit to mention Maastricht and the fact that it was the Conservatives who took us in. Leaving this aside, the point you need to make clearer is why you believe you can essentially change the whole purpose and raison d’etre of the EU by changing it back to a relationship based just on trade and co-operation. It was never just about that and was always since day one about the ultimate goal of political union. You even admit in your article that they are showing little wish to negotiate and they have made very clear that they will not change the treaties. Those of us that know that the only solution is to leave are not suggesting that we do so unilaterally and it is of course true that there will have to be extensive negotiations. The only way this can be achieved is under Article 50 – anything else is just wasting time and a fudge. The most likely ultimate outcome of what you suggest is a faux renegotiation with some minor concessions that are exagerated in the extreme, followed by a rigged referendum during which the establishment (backed up by all main parties, the Unions, big business,etc) will scare people into voting yes. That will then set the Eurosceptic cause back a generation. Is this not what happened in 1975? What you need to make clearer about your position is why you believe that a renegotiation can succeed despite the evidence to the contrary. What you also need to explain is why you have confidence that Cameron is sincere about wanting this to happen and is determined to succeed, despite all evidence to the contrary.

    Reply The negotiation can succced as long as the political will by the UK is strong and as long as it is clear we intend to leave the existing EU as we find its Treaties unacceptable.

  18. A.Sedgwick
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    The BBC on the World Tonight had a junior minister, unknown to me, spouting the propaganda that our leaving would be financially ruinous, 3.5 million jobs at risk and the calamitous loss of the EU negotiaiting our international trade deals as if numerous centuries doing our own deals we need them, perhaps like a hole in the head, and no one on the programme to refute this rubbish.

    • Bazman
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Companies might leave if tariffs are enforced on Britain and how can anyone buy anything especially a BMW without a job? Take a look at your own propaganda of much is fantasy of Britain standing alone in the world. Add to this your beliefs in social justice and welfare we will be on a race to the bottom with the poor and unemployed to blame and the employed facing lower wages and conditions to make us ‘competitive’. More thick fantasy from those who do not have to live with the consequences as they are retired, rich or living, ironically in Europe. Ram it.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 11, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        You warn us Baz, of falling standards of living and rises in unemployment if we leave the EU
        Have you seen the falling standards of living and rising unemployment in the EU?
        Spain now over 60% youth unemployment.

        • uanime5
          Posted May 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

          These problems were caused by the 2008 financial crisis, not the EU. Also these problems will get worse, not better, if the UK leaves the EU because alienating your largest trading partner is bad for business.

          • Edward2f
            Posted May 11, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

            You are such a supporter of all things EU Uni, that you just cannot make the connection between the the effects of EU economic policies and the effects of being in the Euro on member nations.
            It’s all either their own fault or the fault of the bankers.
            None so blind that will not see.
            Presumably you feel 60% plus rates of unemployment are a price worth paying to keep your vision of a socialist Europe on course.

          • Bob
            Posted May 11, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

            @uanime5
            “alienating your largest trading partner is bad for business.”

            We wouldn’t alienate anyone.
            We would still be open for business.

          • Bazman
            Posted May 12, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

            Open for business with less companies as they have relocated to Europe Bob instead of paying EU tariffs. Much of which they sell is sold to Europe anyway and the advantage of operating a European owned company from Britain is gone. Have a think why car companies operate from here is it because of our high taxes, poor education system crumbling transport system and poor links to Europe hindered by the sea and ‘absurd’ regulations? Answer that one in your open for business fantasy. You cannot? Then have you changed your mind.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

            Baz you leave out the bits about the UK’s easy hire and fire of staff you often tell us about and our low tax rates for high earners and low corporation tax rates all of which will help keep these companies here.
            There is also the opportunity for us to threaten to apply high tariffs to their imported goods if they were thinking of moving.
            We also have a very good home market for these businesses to supply.
            You see only the negative side of the deal.

          • Bob
            Posted May 12, 2013 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

            @Baz

            Have a look around next time you go out.

            You will notice that we buy far more cars from other EU members than they buy from us.

            Why would they want to erect trade barriers?

      • Bazman
        Posted May 13, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        Low tax right wing fantasy based on, well nothing other than low taxes.What about infrastructure. How is that going to funded? They will not stop here as the countries infrastructure crumbles and is not added to. Not much industry in the Cayman islands you will note. How about the education system and all the other costs on maintaining a country fit for business.

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      Why is it that someone who is putting forward the facts as they see them is described as spouting propaganda where as someone who spouts propaganda in favour of getting out of the EU is described as putting forward the facts.

      Please accept that there is a case to be put forward for both sides of the argument and what we need to do is balance the facts to come to the right conclusion.

  19. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    It is such a shame that you are not handling the negotiations.
    A lot of people on this Site wish you were!

  20. WitteringsfromWitney
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the clarification of your views.

    We both know that renegotiation and repatriation of powers and thereafter remaining a full member of the EU is not possible due to the Acquis.

    We also know that with the asdvancement of QMV in so many areas the UKs ability to influence is minimal.

    If we want a trade and political co-operation only arrangement there is only one way to do this and that is to give notice of exit, simultaneously applying for membership of EFTA/EEA. This would mean that business would be unaffected and negates the cries from that quarter. It would then be possible to start negotiations for similar bi-lateral agreements such as Switzerland has.

    It is all very well you stating that if we cannot get that which we want you would vote for out, but as you say arrangements would still need to be made to allow ferries and planes to operate – a seamless move to EFTA/EEA would allow this. I note that Douglas Carswell has been informed by UKREP officials that no moves to start renegotiation, etc or even discuss it have begun as it is not government policy.

    On the subject of our having no inflluence in EU law making – we would, because we are a member of UNECE and would be able to take our place, speaking in our own right just as Norway does, instead of the EU speaking for us as is presently the case. It should be remembered that UNECE affects much of the “law” that is passed by the EU. By framing those laws at UNECE level it would mean that we had influenced that which comes from Brussels.

    On top of which, as a member of EFTA/EEA we would have the ultimate sanction of refusing to implement an

    • Tedgo
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      Why on earth would we want to join EFTA/EEA, seems sort of out of the pan in to the fire.

      Norway is in EFTA and is signed up to the EEA agreement with the EU and seems to pay a very high price for the privilege. Switzerland is in EFTA but has not signed up to EEA. It has many individual agreements with the EU and is constantly being cajoled to sign up for the EU proper. One should really research EFTA and EEA before one advocates joining them.

      If we left the EU I would hope we would aspire to being like Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea and many others truly independent nations.

      If we invoked Article 50 there would be a period where all manner of arrangements would carry on as before until negotiations where complete. Negotiations should centre around reciprocity, if the EU wants to slap duty on our exports to them then we would do the same on their exports to us, plus we would keep the Spanish fishermen out of our waters etc.

      We have many cards up our sleeve to get the deal we really want.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 11, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      If we want a trade and political co-operation only arrangement there is only one way to do this and that is to give notice of exit, simultaneously applying for membership of EFTA/EEA.

      EFTA/EEA countries have to obey nearly all EU directives even though they have no influence over these directives.

      It should be remembered that UNECE affects much of the “law” that is passed by the EU. By framing those laws at UNECE level it would mean that we had influenced that which comes from Brussels.

      While UNECE may make the bills voted on by the EU Parliament, the final laws are decided by the EU Parliament who is free to change these UNECE bills in any way they want. So the UK’s influence will be minor.

  21. WitteringsfromWitney
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Apologies – hit send button by mistake.

    Post should end – “by refusing to implement any directives with which we did not agree.

    Perhaps you would be kind enough to add that to the original?

    My thanks

  22. frank salmon
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Well said. Europe will not want to lose us. I think we would need to announce our intention to leave before the EU would do anything in our favour. In a game of brinkmanship we should announce our intention to leave very firmly. Only then is the EU likely to make concessions.

    • Bob
      Posted May 11, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      @frank salmon
      “Only then is the EU likely to make concessions.”

      Such concessions would only be temporary of course, until the British Spring subsides.

  23. oldtimer
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    The VW Group might well view the prospect of a UK exit from the EU with some concern. In 2012 it achieved a 19.8% share of the UK passenger car market. VW also reported 434,000 deliveries of cars and light commercial vehicles in the January-September period of 2012. The UK is easily VW`s biggest market in Europe after Germany itself and only dwarfed by deliveries in China (2,812,000), Brazil (780,000) and the USA (596,000) as a destination for its products. In each of these other countries, of course, VW has well-established manufacturing operations – unlike the UK where it has none.

    On this evidence I do not think that VW would be at all keen on tit for tat duty impositions which would impact on its business in the UK in the event of a UK exit. Nor for that matter would BMW or Daimler Benz. Germany enjoys a truly massive balance of trade advantage in the automotive sector.

    • Bazman
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      The car companies might just pack up and head for cheaper European countries as thy are mainly foreign owned anyway should a EU exit end up in increased taxes for British goods. You seem to think we have some British owned manufacturing base.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 11, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        Yes Baz, they will run off to be near to the booming markets of Italy Spain Portugal Cyprus and Greece.

        • Bazman
          Posted May 12, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

          Or Slovakia to employ cheap labour and more near to Germany? As the largest car market in the world is America and Russia and China growing every year. Britain is not geographically relevant. As for Italy and Spain. they still need cars like they need washing machines.

          • Bob
            Posted May 12, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

            @Baz
            I believe that Turkey has preferential trading arrangements which give them duty free access for non agricultural products.

          • Bazman
            Posted May 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

            Turkey is not and EU member and without massive political reform and advancement never will be.

  24. Ian Wragg
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    John, even yesterday your boss Cameroon was spouting the line, “we are better off in the EU”.
    I listened to the Jeremy Vine show with Douglas Carswell who made a reasoned and logical argument for leaving. He was opposed by that silly Tory MP for somewhere in Essex who kept on about influence and being in the biggest trading block in the world.
    She made not one positive reason why we should stay in. True to BBC standards, the only 2 listeners questioned where a Welshman from Cardiff who thought EU grants would stop and a builder retiring to Spain shortly who said he may lose free healthcare in Spain.
    With this mindset do you think it’s remotely possible that you can win the next election?

    • Life logic
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      BBC. Bias as usual

  25. sjb
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    The EU rules also apply to Germany. Yet their “exports to China, per capita, are more than four times the UK’s.”[1]

    Lord Heseltine claimed: “[i]n Mumbai there are 100 employees of the German Chamber of Commerce. There isn’t a British chamber of commerce in India.” [2]

    Perhaps improving trade is not just down to changing the rules.

    [1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22432001
    [2] Sunday Telegraph, 5 May 2013

  26. Hope
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Cameron has become delusional. An educated person who has significant poor judgement and makes stupid decisions that has resulted in over 40U-turns and many failed promises. He talked about pessimists, they are not:they quite rightly do not have any faith in Cameron, his judgement or decision making.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Cameron worries me. He’ll make one U-turn too many and disappear up his own posterior!

      Why he persists with the line that Britain is better off in the EU, surely tells us that he will do everything in his power to keep us in it, and to stop the British people having their say.

      I don’t trust Cameron, and will even go as far as to say, anyone who does trust him is a fool. He’s another Major, but perhaps he doesn’t shout about the single currency as did he who wears his underpants on the outside, as he knows he’s on a hiding to nothing, but under the surface lurks a real Europhile in Eurosceptic clothing. He’ll rat, and find some excuse not to go through with his promise, just like Brown did with the Lisbon treaty. Mark my words!

      Cameron is an impediment to advancement, especially on this key issue. Any leader whose heart and soul was into giving a referendum on the EU, would move Heaven and Earth, and pull any string, to make it happen. At the very least, they would be persuaded by the powerful if not incontrovertible Eurosceptic arguments, and come out in favour of withdrawal. By not saying and doing the right things, reveals his true intensions.

      I see the legislation that would have given the electorate the right to recall their MP if they weren’t cutting it, was put firmly on the back-burner, or we might even have got rid of Cameron that way, and replaced him with somebody who could deliver.

      Tad Davison

      Cambridge

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted May 12, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Dear Tad,

        You may be right but there is one outstanding plus. David Cameron’s speech laid out 5 principles of a new relationship between the UK and the EU. There is enough in those principles to be clear that the commitment to ever closer union and our Accession to the Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties are incompatible with those principles.

        Mr Redwood and his fellow backbenchers are in a position to spell out the details, both inside and outside the Commons, week after week, never letting it fall outside of the public eye. I may make an effort along these lines myself by writing to David Cameron and posting the letter on this blog site.

        Many contributers to this Blog site are content that an IN/OUT referendum in 2017 is all that Eurosceptics need. Put not your faith in referenda. Even if one is delivered, there will be massive and blatantly dishonest propaganda from the EU and Europhiles in favour of an IN vote. I would be much happier if we put a pistol at the heads of France and Germany in any negotiation. The attitude should be “These are the Acts of Accession we want to repeal, these are the powers that we want to recover. Any negotiations will take these changes as bedrock. And if you say ‘no’, then it’s OUT without a referendum.” That statement should be written into our 2015 manifesto.

        If that requires a new leader and the expulsion of all Europhiles from the candidates list, so be it. The Conservative Party is not nearly nasty enough.

  27. Leslie Singleton
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Agreed but, in the nicest possible way, you aren’t saying all that much today. In particular, many will never agree that waiting five years solely because of the idiotic confused 1% 7th place Liberals makes any sense at all. The Coalition should be broken up instanter and a new election forced come what may. Off on a tangent , there is not much for us to learn from the Italian way of doing things but maybe there is something in favour of their giving a 50 seat bonus to the winning Party, presumably minimising the frequency of Coalitions, which unfortunately stand to become more frequent if we have to have four-party politics–another reason to cremate the Liberals ASAP. BTW, never were truer words spoken than by Lawson saying that the Eurozone countries are always going to vote (jealously, often) in a bloc against us. We simply do not want to be homogenised with them. There is a world of difference between negotiations before and after we leave. Cannot believe that ferries etc will be any kind of problem and personally it wouldn’t worry me much if they were. Another BTW, does anybody know why a Referendum was not in the Coalition Agreement, given that, so I understand, it was in the Liberals’ Manifesto? Surely it wasn’t Cameron’s idea to exclude it, though of course anything is believable with him.

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 11, 2013 at 4:39 am | Permalink

      Surely both Cameron and the Libdems wanted to exclude a referendum from the agreement but to blame it on the other. This in the usual dishonest manner we have come to expect. The Libdem manifesto was a case of say whatever you think may win votes as they clearly never expected to have any power and have to implement any of them.

      This is why many were so daft. The Libdems will only give a referendum if they think it can be won by the pro EU side that Clegg supports so strongly for unspecified reasons. Perhaps because EU is great news for multilingual lawyers and bureaucrats and such bad news for almost everyone else.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted May 11, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        lifelogic–If it is just a question of the perfidious Liberals shooting their mouths off then not delivering (as with Student Fees) why haven’t they been skewered to the wall on their pledge of a Referendum? There are after all other parts of the Media than the BBC.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 11, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      The Coalition should be broken up instanter and a new election forced come what may.

      According to current predictions Labour will gain seats, while the Conservatives and the Lib Dems will lose them. So you’ll either end up with another Coalition or a Minority Government.

      Off on a tangent , there is not much for us to learn from the Italian way of doing things but maybe there is something in favour of their giving a 50 seat bonus to the winning Party, presumably minimising the frequency of Coalitions

      The Italian and Greek electoral systems uses PR, so to prevent there being several parties with a small share of the votes the largest party gets an additional 50 seats. This policy is not to prevent coalitions, which are the norm in these countries, but to ensure there will be one dominant party in a coalition.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted May 11, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        unanime–I don’t read your comments any more except as here when you respond to mine. Your first paragraph ignores UKIP, some coalitions being more acceptable than others, and my suggestion of an Italian-style bonus might do as I said it might and minimise frequency of coalitions which is all I said–this irrespective of different way of doing things in Italy. It’s called putting forward something for consideration about which you would know very little. I cannot guarantee to read any more from you today or ever.

  28. Douglas Carter
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I’d agree fully with your comments Mr. Redwood, and would note that indeed you have been a consistent and relentless opponent of EU integration with all the instruments you have ever had at your disposal.

    Out here in debate land, one facet I come up against with some curious frequency, is the matter of ‘Schengen’. Mainly on two badly-understood points.

    1. That a British Government withdrawing from the EU and negotiating an associate treaty would be compelled to adopt Schengen.

    2. That Schengen is a blank-cheque freely open borders policy which would lead to chaos and anarchy at our borders.

    On the first point, a UK negotiating body sincerely opposed to adoption of Schengen would negotiate on that basis, I see no compulsion in any respect.

    On the second, having visited Norway on numerous occasions during work in the Oil industry, I note that the Norwegian ports and land crossings are comprehensively and politely staffed by Norwegian officials, no matter your entry or exit via land, air or sea. In fact, in spite of their alleged handicap of Schengen membership, their scrutiny of their borders is of greater efficacy than I’ve ever observed in the UK.

    Being it’s one of the main straw men waved our way, should you ever have the opportunity publically, would you observe to any interviewer the proper nature of Schengen, rather than the preferred mythological version? That in fact Schengen awards full rights to any member nation to protect their borders against criminal activity as would be expected by any non-Schengen state?

    Reply Of course we need to be outside the common borders. Conservatives did get us out of that originally but Labour opted us in to it under the usual one way ratchet.

    • zorro
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      ‘That in fact Schengen awards full rights to any member nation to protect their borders against criminal activity as would be expected by any non-Schengen state?’…….This is an interesting interpretation of Schengen. A lot of the countries (Germany for one) currently within Schengen despair of their inability to properly control their borders. It is based on a supposedly strong external frontier (highly debatable) and ID cards for the internal frontier. We do not have them (either ID cards or strong border control) in the UK and it would be a disaster for us to join Schengen with our (lack of) border security arrangements….

      The so called protecting against criminal activity at borders of countries within Schengen has plenty of caveats to circumvent before it can be implemented.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area (Note section on ‘Controversies’)

      zorro

      • Douglas Carter
        Posted May 11, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        Zorry – whilst I appreciate your comments and link, my own observations in Norway suggest that a country that is signed up to Schengen has an extremely comprehensive protective border. If they can do it, so can everyone.

        I would suggest due to inconvenient (and incoherent) political dogma, other nations (such as Denmark, within the matter in your link) choose to take the path of least resistance, rather than act in sensible interests for their own populations.

        Not that I would ever recommend membership of that treaty article for the UK – I’m only trying to illustrate it’s something of a red herring for Europhiles to claim it’s a compulsory free-for-all.

        But I don’t believe for an instant that Cameron is sincere about his renegotiation plan, and I believe that due to that lack of interest on his part, he’d barely blink if Schengen were waved through in the British ‘renegotiation’. My observation is that his grasp of detail is very tenuous.

        Which is why I agreed with the issue of the ‘Mandate Referendum’ – which could act as a framework of references under which Cameron could refuse – with Parliamentary and electoral mandate – articles not acceptable for the UK.

  29. Chris
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    With regard to your comment:
    ” Those who just wish to leave need to accept there has to be a negotiation over which common rules will still apply so ferries can run, planes can fly etc..”
    there is a procedure set out in Article 50 on how to do just that, and I would suggest that most of those advocating a completely different type of relationship with the EU are well aware of it. Even the EU recognises that a member state needs to have a stepped withdrawal and accommodates this in Article 50.

  30. Timaction
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Thank you Mr Redwood for clarifying your thoughts. The problem however is that your leadership are fully behind the political project of an EU super state by stealth at our expense. We all know the lies peddled by the Europhiles, 2-3 million jobs at risk, no voice, trade etc. Mr Clegg peddled this to a tame journalist the other night. The facts remain that many of our problems stem from our membership of this undemocratic expensive demon. Mass migration, a £50 billion trade deficit for £11 billion net membership fees, CAP, fisheries, youth and general unemployment, provision of free housing, health, benefits and education for foreign nationals paid for by native Britain’s.
    The ONLY reason (after 3 years) your leaders are talking about it is because the UKIP cat is out of the bag and the truth is now out here. Continued membership with a super state final or independence and our Country back.
    Your contribution to the Queens speech was excellent, unfortunately the Eton boys are not listening.

    Reply Mr Cameron stayed to hear my speech and nodded in agreement at several points.

    • Life logic
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      Yes but Cameron is not to be trusted on thou on anything.

  31. Sean O'Hare
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Those who just wish to leave need to accept there has to be a negotiation over which common rules will still apply so ferries can run, planes can fly etc.

    Those kind of negotiations can take place once Article 50 TEU has been invoke signalling our intention to leave. They have to negotiate under Article 50 if they want to abide by their own treaty. They will not negotiate our terms of membership – there are no other terms available under any EU treaty.

  32. Peter Davies
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    “I suspect our problem from his point of view is we read too much and understand too much, not the other way round.”, Quite right Mr Redwood – even plebs like us who bother to read literature and may not of course see the whole picture understand too much, this is precisely why there is so much opposition.

    I hear the Tories are going to allow a free vote tabling an amendment to the Queen’s Speech, I wonder if the other parties have the courage to offer the same so we can all see who the mad EU federalists are in the HOC.

    If Mr Cameron wants a majority in 2015 then this is one of the issues that needs sorting out now – I am sure if you have one party in the HOC paving the way to an EU referendum by actions rather than empty promises and words most sensible people will know who to vote for in 2015. The Tories have an open goal here, they need to grab it, Milliband can’t even hold his Christmas party on time so will no doubt in 6 months time be trying to offer the same once he has cleared it will his Union bosses.

  33. Atlas
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    John – well said !

  34. Shade
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    “a relationship based on trade and political co-operation”.

    John, as has been pointed out before, this is a proposal open to massive misinterpretation. You could say that this is the arrangement that we already have with the EU. Far better to leave it at “trade” – we are then free to cooperate where it is in our interests. However, this is all somewhat irrelevant since the only question that matters is “in or out” – which none of the 3 main parties are going to give us anytime soon.

    I think we would be far better off out because the upsides would significantly outweigh the downsides.. Those advocating “in” would effectively be voting for the UK to become fully integrated into a Federal Europe and to adopt the euro in the not too distant future.

    • Chris
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      You are right, Shade. Also, you have to be careful even with the term “trade” – the Customs Union type arrangement that the existing trade is based on is stifling and way out of date. We need a completely new approach to trade. That is why, quite apart from the legal requirement to do so, we need to use Article 50 to approach any renegotiation.

      For some fascinating detail on the nature of this out of date Customs type union that the EU is based on see Daniel Hannan:
      http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100186074/the-eu-is-not-a-free-trade-area-but-a-customs-union-until-we-understand-the-difference-the-debate-about-our-membership-is-meaningless/
      “The EU is not a free trade area but a customs union: until we understand the difference, the debate about our membership is meaningless…Welcome to Fortress Europe
      Here’s your starter for ten: what’s the difference between a free trade area and a customs union? It might sound like a technical question, but it goes to the heart of our relationship with the EU. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that lots of people, including economics correspondents, don’t really know the answer, which makes it hard to have a meaningful debate about our options.

      A free trade area is a group of states which have eliminated most or all tariffs and quotas on their trade. Sometimes, their agreement covers only manufactured goods and commodities. Sometimes it applies to services, too. In a few cases, it incorporates free movement of labour. Examples of free trade areas are Nafta (Canada, the United States and Mexico) and ASEAN (ten South East Asian states).
      A customs union involves internal free trade, but also a common external tariff. Its members surrender their separate commercial policies, and give up the right to sign trade agreements. Instead, trade negotiations are conducted, and treaties signed, by the bloc as a whole….

      The two models coexist in Europe. EFTA is a free trade area. Its members buy and sell unrestrictedly with each other and with the EU. They can also sign commercial accords with non-European countries. Switzerland, for example, has signed a free trade agreement with Canada, and is negotiating one with China.
      Britain, despite its historical links to Canada, can’t sign such an accord. Nor can it press home the advantage of its growing exports to China (up 40 per cent in two years, as the PM delightedly told his party conference). In both cases, it must wait for the EU to negotiate on its behalf.

      We suffer disproportionately from the EU’s common commercial policy because we conduct an exceptionally high percentage of our trade outside Europe. In 2011, non-EU markets accounted for 57 per cent of our exports; the equivalent figure for Belgium was 22 per cent. The EU’s Common External Tariff averages between five and nine per cent – higher than Britain had in the 1920s.
      The optimum deal for the United Kingdom is surely to be in a European free trade area but not in a customs union. …”

  35. Acorn
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    There is one good bit in the EU, and that is Eurostat, they turn out some good data for number crunchers. One report is the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure. The UK got another one last month cos we is unbalanced, again. But it is a very good read. Eventually all 27 nations will be on a report, I bet. http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/occasional_paper/2013/pdf/ocp143_en.pdf .

    Particularly Graph 9 shows why the Treasury is having to run a deficit to cover the saving and debt pay down in the private / household sector. (Households described as net lenders [to the economy] means they are saving or paying down debt). Table 2: Top UK Exports by Category of Goods and Services; shows you what we are good at and our share of world exports.

    The Back Bench Business Committee should spend a day discussing this report and start knocking out some ideas and doing a bit less Punch and Judy.

  36. Chris S
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    As you say, John, your position could not be clearer and you have always been consistent on the subject.

    I agree with most of what Nigel Farage says with one important exception :

    We will only have one shot at getting out within a generation. We have to win the referendum against the automatic built-in bias that will exist towards the status quo and as a result we will need to have as many people as possible on side. Nigel and his UKIP friends tend to ignore this at their peril.

    It means that the substantial percentage of the population who are broadly in favour of staying in (but if we can get acceptable new terms), have to be given a chance to see the outcome of the forthcoming negotiations.

    Nigel Farage, Lords Lamont and Lawson, you, I and many, many others might think it’s going to be a fruitless exercise but red lines need to be agreed and a negotiation held before we can bring that faction on board. If we can do that, we will have an odds on chance of victory.

    Fortunately Barosso and his chums are helping us out : His latest speech has received little publicity here but he’s firmly reiterating very clearly and publicly that they still intend to drive the whole EU towards full integration, not just the Eurozone.

    The speech was clearly aimed at waverers like the UK. Now he knows we are looking at a referendum there is no point in continuing to use coded language to disguise the real agenda.

    Interestingly, it also leaves Europhiles like Clegg and Miliband no room to continue to pretend that we are not being driven towards the United States of Europe. They will need to be pressed very hard on the issue and forced to state clearly whether they support the USE or not.

    Barosso’s message to David Cameron is very obvious : no form of semi-detached status is negotiable.

    That’s fair enough, we know where we stand. The negotiations are likely to be short and as a result perhaps we can have the referendum in 2016 rather than 2017.

    Reply Indeed, a poweful point. Holding a referendum and seeing stay in win would not be a great move.

    • Life logic
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      You will not get any fair referendum ever. Cameron, Milliband and Clegg will kill it.

    • sjb
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Chris S wrote: We have to win the referendum against the automatic built-in bias that will exist towards the status quo […]

      Yes and the electorate will want rather more than blustering reassurance, sweeping assertions and fag-packet calculations to be convinced that the UK’s best interests are served by leaving the EU.

      For instance, supporters of leaving the EU will have to deal with the matters raised by >Martin Wolf in yesterday’s FT such as the following:
      EEA – inside or outside?
      WTO – how reliable? Not free trade & EU single market covers services better
      Decline in FDI?
      Restrictions on the free movement of Brits in the EU?
      Loss of London as EU’s financial capital?

  37. MartinW
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Slipped into the detail of the government’s legislation plans for the next year was the European Union Approvals Bill…..Described as a ‘minor technical Bill’, it provides authorisation for the UK ‘to support measures and programmes in the European Union’…Among three programmes listed, it includes Europe for Citizens which according to government briefing notes ‘aims to develop understanding of the EU, its history and policy-making processes and encourage civic participation in the EU’….The scheme, which has a 229 million euro budget for 2014-20 ….aims to increase trust in EU institutions, potentially reaching 5million people across the continent.

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: ‘Hidden beneath the folds of froth Cameron offers a Bill to approve UK taxpayer spending on EU propaganda.

  38. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    All of a sudden it appears that most people want out of the EU, although it has taken a long time for opinion to harden. We may as well start considering what OUT means so that most Conservatives and all of UKIP may join forces at the 2015 General Election. After all, that is the only way that Eurosceptics will prevail.

    (1) There is a Norwegian style deal. However, that has been spoilt by Norway agreeing to comply with EU law, so we need to determine to what extent that applies.

    (2) There is a Switzerland style deal. However, this complex deal has taken 2 generations to evolve and there are many features tailored to Switzerland’s particular needs.

    (3) We could rejoin EFTA and take the bog standard deal between EFTA Member States and the EU. This has the advantages that there would be a lot of ‘off the shelf’ features and that it would be a platform for promoting world wide free trade.

    (4) Go back to the Single European Act, which more or less completed the single market. This is not strictly speaking OUT. It would involve scrapping our Acts of Accession to the Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon Treaties and the commitment to ever closer union in our Act of Accession to the Treaty of Rome. Areas of EU competence and joint competence would be limited to those established in the Single European Act. The supremacy of European courts would be limited to these areas within narrow bounds. All EU Directives relying upon the Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon Treaties for their authority would automatically be null and void in British law.

    Whichever we decide upon, the word ‘negotiate’ is misleading. We need to put a pistol to the heads of Germany and France and say “This is the type of relationship we want and are determined to have.” If they say ‘no’, then it presumably has to be alternative (3).

    • uanime5
      Posted May 11, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      (1) There is a Norwegian style deal. However, that has been spoilt by Norway agreeing to comply with EU law, so we need to determine to what extent that applies.

      Norway, like all EEA countries, has to obey nearly all EU law. This hasn’t changed recently.

      (2) There is a Switzerland style deal. However, this complex deal has taken 2 generations to evolve and there are many features tailored to Switzerland’s particular needs.

      Switzerland also has to obey nearly all EU laws.

      (3) We could rejoin EFTA and take the bog standard deal between EFTA Member States and the EU.

      The EFTA is comprised of the EEA states Norway, Iceland, and Lichtenstein; and Switzerland. So it’s pretty much the same as options 1 and 2.

      (4) Go back to the Single European Act, which more or less completed the single market.

      What you’re effectively calling for is withdrawing from the EU. The EU will not allow the UK to pick and choose which parts of EU law apply in the UK.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 11, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        Uni,
        I find it revealing when you say ” we have to obey” and ” they will not allow” when you refer to the EU.
        Just what is the EU other than a friendly trading group of nations, or at least thats what I voted for back in 75.
        You seem to be suggesting its a superstate with massive powers over us.
        When did that happen?

  39. Christopher Ekstrom
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    The Euro? That’s long gone. Are we supposed to fall all over ourselves because Lord Lawson has discovered that the Euro is a non-starter? Get on with the real work; you voted the right way. We hail you for it. But the game has changed. Now you must be BOLD. Denounce this PM & be done with it. Some who follow this site are pleased to be your Agony Aunt & admire you for the “Good Fight”. Those days have now passed & if you are any kind of leader, & as long-time MP, we expect you to DARE to act to change the PM. Full stop. He must GO. NOW. YESTERDAY! Nigel Farage & UKIP will have nothing to do with CAST IRON. He called us every name in the book; including the A-Bomb of mod politics “racists”.
    There is no coming back from that. This PM also happens to have destroyed YOUR Tory party from within. He is a TRAITOR! Full stop.

    Sir it is time to be a Man. Denounce this PM in the commons & call for a new leader!

    • MartinW
      Posted May 11, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      You put it in uncompromising terms – and rightly so. I’ve tried hard to think of ways that Cameron can regain some of the credibility he has lost in the Party but have come to the conclusion that there are none. His history of poor judgement, U-turns, espousal of ‘Liberal’ values, disdain for traditional conservative voters over his whole time in office renders him un-redeemable. Unfortunately, such is his loss of credibility, that no-one believes any more what he says, and especially ‘promises’ of action some time in the future. He is damaged goods. I now firmly believe that he must either resign for the good of Party and country, or MP must depose him. All is lost otherwise.

  40. John Doran
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Well said JR, spot on.

    I never thought I’d be agreeing with Tony Benn, but on the EU he’s got it dead right.
    It’s not a trading block, it’s a failing political takeover bid by the banksters & multinationals.
    Tony Benn’s verdict on EU at the Oxford Union.

  41. David Langley
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    It is disappointing that you continually talk about “renegotiation” with the EU. It is pretty much a foregone conclusion that no such thing will be achieved. Most commentators home and away seem to accept that is the case but yet you continue to hold against that advice. On what basis do you believe that a negotiation will be achieved that will be substantial in any way?
    We have no idea yet whet Hague,s list of competencies are that he wants to repatriate. what progress has he made in sounding out the possibilities of renegotiation. We have no evidence that this government is minded to do any real withdrawal planning. Am I wrong? Please do say that Camerons referendum planning is any such evidence.

    Reply Fine If they will not negotiate then we can get on with getting out quickly. I think they will, because I think they will want to protect their trade, and it is in our interest to have sensible cross border arrangemetns on various matters.

    • Dan
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Any timescales in your mind before you decide negotiations are a non runner?

  42. Robert Eve
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Wish I’d had the sense to vote NO in 1975.

    One of the big regrets in my life!!

  43. John Doran
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Spot on JR, well said.

    Here’s Tony Benn at the Oxford Union on the EU:
    (supplies link that does “not exist”-ed)
    If the link won’t work go to youtube & put in:
    European Union Tony Benn Oxford Union
    That should work.

    The EU is not a trading block, it’s a failing political takeover by the banksters & multi nationals.

  44. Bert Young
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I have never suspected your position on our relationship with the EU ; your blog today makes it abundantly clear . What I do want to see is an earlier rather than a later solution – certainly before the next election . It is clear that the mood of the country is very much against domination from Europe in all its forms and I am most encouraged that well respected individuals are now putting their signature on the line . Good luck next week when , hopefully , the House will also send a clear message to Brussels .

  45. andrew fairfoull
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    On the EU issue let’s look at some hard facts

    1) All 3 political parties are pro the EU

    2) All 3 political leaders are pro the EU

    3) Big business is pro EU

    4) The unions are pro EU

    5) All newspapers are pro the EU ( 1 exception the daily express)

    There is only one party in the United Kingdom that stands alone in wanting to leave the EU, that is UKIP, which is why I am an activist and a member. If you vote for the other 3 parties you will never leave the EU.

    Reply Most Conservatives are Eurosceptics.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      “Most Conservatives are Eurosceptics.”
      Are most Conservative MPs though? Euroscepticism means various things and too many Conservative MPs, though claiming euroscepticism (even Cameron claims that!) would never take the UK out of the EU.

    • merlin
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      You have stated that the Conservatives are Eurosceptics. This raises the question what is a sceptic? In my opinion a sceptic is an individual who never acts, but remains sceptical ad finitum, in other words a theoretician. In fact, a sceptic never acts, and as a result your party will never act over the EU, in fact it never has in the past. Your leader lied to you and the British people and took us into the EU. Your party followed and is still obeying all the directives of the EU, while trying to con the british people into beliving somehow that you are against the EU. The EU makes the laws in the UK, and the so called Conservative Party obey. In my opinion, you are not in a Conservative Party, you are in a social democratic party, which is similar to the labour and liberal party, you are basically one party. Why do you not become one party the British EU party because that is what you are now. Your party is finished if you remain the eurosceptic party, sceptics never act, do something now.

    • Life logic
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      Most being 80?

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 11, 2013 at 4:46 am | Permalink

      Most Conservatives are Eurosceptics:- fewer than 100 was it not.

      Why did they elect such dreadfully pro EU leadership then?

  46. NickW
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    A relationship maintained only by threats is an abusive one.

    Once a relationship has become abusive it should be ended as soon as possible; it will only get worse.

    Did you read about Europe’s secret intelligence service; growing bigger and bigger and accountable only to Europe’s unelected leaders? There is no policy oversight; no budgetary oversight, and no democratic accountability whatever.

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 11, 2013 at 4:48 am | Permalink

      Rather like the rest of the EU structures then.

  47. Normandee
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure you have read this, but some of your other commentators may not have.
    http://www.brugesgroup.com/mediacentre/?article=91#preface

    Although labour never did anything to stop it when they had the chance, it lays the blame firmly on the conservative doorstep, and will not give anyone any confidence that anything has really changed with Cameron’s Conservatives.

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. Despite the efforts of a gallant few (and I do appreciate what you have done over the years Mr Redwood, despite how my comments sometimes come across) the Conservatives have colluded in this awful scheme as much as Labour & Lib Dems. They (mostly) don’t deserve your votes.

  48. merlin
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    The renegotiation, negotiation fantasy promulgated by the Conservative party, why do you bother trying to con people with this utter nonsense. The option with the EU is either to stay in the entity or leave. There are 3 ways to leave the EU.

    1) repeal the 1972 European Communities Act

    2) Invoke article 50

    3) win a yes/no referendum

    My realistic prediction, none of the above will happen under Cameron or any other Conservative PM. The only long term possibility is for UKIP to form a government, that is the only way. The quiet revolution has commenced.

    • Life logic
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Certainly not under cameron.

  49. nicol sinclair
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Dear JR, To my eternal shame, I voted FOR the ‘Common Market’ in 1975. However, in my defence – like many others, I was hoodwinked by Edward Heath and, as a youngster, I believed what he said. I was 33 – young and (clearly) foolish.

    Were I to have another vote now on the previous terms (at age 70) I would have told Ted Heath where to stick his referendum – where de sun doant shine. And it would not have been pretty!

    Meanwhile, I’m buggered by the decision that I made as an ignorant youngster.

  50. muddyman
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    A major problem is that the Political class are unable to admit to their mistakes!. They cannot be seen to be in error and therefore cling to the known or conventional, they grasp the outpourings of those members of their tribe who can persuade them of any foolishness, and treat it as Gospel . We, the deluded sheeple , are the recipients of their idiocies. When we attempt to point out the problems we are ‘nut cases, fruit cakes, deluded, Clowns’ – well the day may yet come.

  51. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    JR: “The whole Conservative party rightly voted against Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon”
    I don’t think that is accurate. How did Clarke vote on those treaties? You go on to say: “which is why we cannot accept the current arrangements.” Is that really the case? My impressions is that many in your parliamentary party are perfectly happy to accept the current arrangements. Furthermore I remain convinced that Cameron’s so-called re-negotiations, whenever they become more than just talk, will be nothing more than a political tactic. I believe he would never vote for the UK to leave the EU and many of your colleagues would sheepishly follow him.

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Not so sheepishly, lets be honest.

      There are approx 30 hard core anti EU conservatives, perhaps another 50 who are sympathetic, leaving the vast majority of the current parliamentary party (about two thirds) broadly supportive of EU membership.

      Not nearly enough.

    • Life logic
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      Cameron is a fraud as is now surely clear to all.

  52. Max Dunbar
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    The EU commissioners can rest easy. Britain is torn apart by this issue. Until we have a leader who gives clear messages backed up with conviction and the means to carry out such a threat (of leaving the EU) then it is business as usual. Divide and rule.

  53. Kenneth
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Polly Toynbee from yesterday’s Guardian:

    “You might almost feel sorry for David Cameron, as John Major’s bastards return. Zombie politicians of yesteryear are assembling outside Cameron’s door seeking to destroy him for no other reason than that’s their nature.”

    John, this is the kind of juvenile journalism you and Lord Lawson are up against.

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 11, 2013 at 5:05 am | Permalink

      Good old Polly Toynbee that great Guardian/BBC “thinker”. No real arguments put forwards by the pro EU side as usual just abuse. Lord Lawson was pro EU at the time, at least he has become rather wiser it seems

      Even Lord Lord Healey (famous for his taxing until the pips squeak at 98% was it and his IMF fiasco):-

      “I wouldn’t object strongly to leaving the EU. The advantages of being members of the union are not obvious. The disadvantages are very obvious. I can see the case for leaving – the case for leaving is stronger than for staying in.”

      It seems if you start off as Healey did, it takes until you are 96 to finally find some sense. I wonder where he stands on the 50%/45% tax rate?

  54. George
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I understand why you feel unable to give up on the Conservative Party, but we’re giving up on the Conservatives. Get the job done. You and your colleagues need to remove the Euro-fanatic Cameron.

  55. Jon Burgess
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Not strictly true re opposing all subsequent treaties – what about Maastrict?

    reply I opposed it in Cabinet, and subsequently resigned from cabine because they did not guarantee use of the opt out from the signle currency which was fundamental to the whole thing.

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      But how did you vote when it came before the house? For or against?

  56. uanime5
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    There is no point in Commissioners trying to threaten the UK with the tired old lie that we will lose 3.5 million jobs dependent on EU trade if we pull out. As they well know, the rest of theEU, especially Germany, sells us much more than we sell them.

    Given that if the UK leave the EU it is unlikely to receive a trade deal as good as the current unrestricted access to the EU market it’s likely that some jobs will be lost if the UK leaved the EU. Leaving the EU will also prove detrimental to the UK if the EU is able to negotiate a free trade agreement with NAFTA as it’s unlikely that NAFTA will offer a similar deal to the UK.

    If the EU was indeed a friendly partner and supporter of the UK , it would now be asking us what we need to allow us to trade and be friends with them. It would not be lecturing us, but would be listening sympathetically to what it is about the EU that we do not like.

    The EU wishes to ensure that the member states do not try to undercut each other by forcing their employees to work in poor working conditions with no rights. So in order to have free trade minimum standards are required.

    If we were a free country again, the EU rules would only apply to things we sold to them, making it easier for us to compete in the rest of the world’s growing markets.

    This is nearly impossible to do in practise. If the UK could ignore EU employment regulations for products that are being sold outside the EU then how would the EU ensure that the UK doesn’t try to sell these products in the EU. You can’t tell what working conditions were used to make a product by looking at it.

    • Chris S
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      uanime5, you are just as wrong on this as you usually are on everything else you post here.

      The reason Barosso and Co are playing hardball is because if we successfully renegotiated our terms of membership the whole house of cards would fall over because democrats in many other countries would want the same kind of deal.

      Can you not understand the simple concept that the 26 sell us a lot more than we sell them ?

      If we were to give notice to leave, Germany for one would be desperate to ensure there was a bilateral trade arrangement.

      Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Porsche, VW and ZFwould be leading the demand for one.

      • uanime5
        Posted May 11, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        Can you not understand the simple concept that the 26 sell us a lot more than we sell them ?

        Can you not understand that this puts the UK at a disadvantage because we’re so dependent on other countries.

        If we were to give notice to leave, Germany for one would be desperate to ensure there was a bilateral trade arrangement.

        In Germany’s favour no doubt. Given how much larger the EU is than the UK ; and that 50% of the UK’s exports go to the EU, while only 10% of the EU’s exports go to the UK, this means that the UK’s negotiating position is weak. So the UK will suffer more if no trade deal is reached.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 11, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

          At least we would be free.
          Free from having to obey them, as you regularly tell us we have to, or else.
          Its worth a lot in my opinion.

    • Richard1
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

      If this is really the pro-EU argument the ‘outs’ will win. All this stuff about 3 million jobs going and having to be in the EU to comply with trade rules is guff. All exporters have to comply with the rules of all countries they export to. They don’t need to be in political unions to do it. This issue will be decided on a balance of economic arguments. At the moment the disaster of the eurozone, its pervasive dirigiste, high tax policies, its attacks on the UK financial services sector, its ludicrous energy policies and its refusal to pursue the logic of monetary union and restructure debts are swinging the balance of the argument in the UK rapidly towards the outs. It all looks very different than it did 20 years ago.

      • uanime5
        Posted May 11, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        All this stuff about 3 million jobs going and having to be in the EU to comply with trade rules is guff.

        Just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it wrong. Fewer exports will result in fewer jobs.

        All exporters have to comply with the rules of all countries they export to. They don’t need to be in political unions to do it.

        If you want to export to the EU without being subject to tariffs and quotas you have to be in a political union.

        At the moment the disaster of the eurozone, its pervasive dirigiste, high tax policies, its attacks on the UK financial services sector, its ludicrous energy policies and its refusal to pursue the logic of monetary union and restructure debts are swinging the balance of the argument in the UK rapidly towards the outs.

        Firstly the eurozone and the EU aren’t the same thing.

        Secondly high tax policies aren’t a bad thing, as Germany and Denmark have shown.

        Thirdly the tobin tax is to raise money to pay for the problems caused by the banks in 2008, not an attack on the UK.

        Fourthly the UK’s high energy prices aren’t the fault of the EU.

        Fifthly the EU’s policies in the eurozone have fixed most of the problems, which is why no one is currently worrying about a country crashing out of the eurozone.

        So it’s unlikely that the economic arguments will result in the UK leaving the EU.

        Repyk Why would leaving the EU result in fewer exports to them? It is the crisis in the Euro which is cutting our exports whilst we are still in the EU.

  57. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    So we cannot “let matters rest there”, then, just as Hague repeatedly threatened about the Lisbon Treaty.

    Eg as he did here in the Commons on November 12th 2007, Column 423, a formula subsequently reiterated including in the Tory manifesto for the EU Parliament elections in June 2009:

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

    “Let me say to the right hon. Gentleman that the best time for a referendum is now, so that the British people can have their promised say. If we did not succeed in forcing a referendum in this House, if we failed to win in another place, if all other EU member states implemented the treaty and if an election were held later in this Parliament – that is a lot of ifs – we would have a new treaty in force that lacked democratic legitimacy in this country and in our view gave the EU too much power over our national policies. That would not be acceptable to a Conservative Government and we would not let matters rest there; the right hon. Gentleman can be assured of that.”

    But on November 4th 2009 Cameron announced that he would, after all, “let matters rest there” and accept all the EU treaty amendments in the Treaty of Lisbon, even though it would still lack democratic legitimacy in this country – it would be absurd to suppose that events in other countries, including the second referendum in Ireland, could in any way change that – and even though it would still give the EU too much power over our national policies.

    Regarding the EU problem, Cameron’s decisive point of failure actually came nearly five years ago, in early June 2008; when the Irish people voted to reject the Treaty of Lisbon he should have seized the moment to speak out and make it clear that in his view the treaty must be dropped, and given a clear notice that if it wasn’t dropped then as Prime Minister he would put it to a UK referendum irrespective of whatever had happened in other countries and irrespective of whether it had already come into force.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      Denis,
      What makes you think there ever was a “Cameron’s decisive point of failure”?
      The man is determined to keep us in the EU come what may.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 11, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        I wouldn’t dispute that, and in fact he began to show his true colours – yellow and blue – not long after his election as Tory leader.

        But in terms of action rather than belief, the days immediately after the Irish “no” on June 12th 2008 presented him with an excellent opportunity to play the European statesman and make a stand, and he would have got widespread support not only in this country but across the EU.

        Having failed to strike while the iron was hot then, his final surrender on November 4th 2009 had become more or less inevitable; maybe that was what he always wanted anyway.

        Blair had mocked him in the Commons on June 25th 2007, accusing him of “going through the motions” of opposing the Lisbon Treaty, and that gibe did have a ring of truth about it.

  58. Pleb
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Excellent. I agree with you completely. So now we need rid of Cameron and get a real Eurosceptic leader in time for May 2015. (Slightly under 24 months time).

    • Life logic
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Alas Cameron is the best available pathetic though he is.

  59. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood’s consistent principled position always demands respect, even though this blog could have mentioned that being united in opposition is not such a big achievement, and that the most significant treaties (Rome, Single European Act, Maastricht) were all supported by the Tories, so any “EU blame” must be shared between Labour and Conservatives.
    Britain’s postwar dichotomy has been described as “having to reconcile a past it cannot forget with a future it cannot avoid.” From my layman’s perspective, Britain missed the (political) boat already in 1955.
    Some Conservative thinking has sometimes been driven by a curious kind of negative hope:
    * hoping the euro would collapse
    * hoping the EU would collapse
    * hoping that the 10 new EU members (former communist countries) would all be in the British camp and, under its leadership, oppose the EU evolution.
    * hoping to be able to take the EU to ransom over the need for treaty adaptations.

    I suggest that the UK problems are almost purely homegrown (just like the current Dutch economical problems) and will continue after a Brixit. Even the conservative OpenEurope states that Nigel Lawson offers no real evidence to back up his opinion that, once free from the shackles of the EU, Britain would do a lot better. It’s more like wishful thinking.

    Reply All the Treaties gave power away but the most powers and veto powers were surrendered by Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Well, Mr Van Leeuwen, you are probably right that we won’t be any better off out of the EU, but we might. In any event, it will be our own mess and not one created by the EU, as at present. It is my opinion that the current state of affairs is bad for us, and bad for you.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted May 11, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        @backofanenvelope: There is certainly an argument to be made that the current state of acrimony and the stand-off on various policies isn’t benefiting the UK nor the EU. But given that there will be quite a few years before the UK can hope to be outside the EU, the UK still has a lot to work for, like a single market for services, like a more flexible EU, etc.
        Being outside a “better” EU will still be better for Britain than being outside a “worse” EU.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Peter,
      Yet again you fail to accept that we do not want to be governed by your beloved EU. We want our own self-governance. You are happy to be a citizen of a country called Europe or a United States of Europe – call it what you like – we are not. As for a lack of real evidence from Nigel Lawson, that’s rich coming from europhiles who have done nothing but state their opinions with unfounded scare stories and lie about the true purpose of what is now called the EU for the last 40 years.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted May 11, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        @Brian Tomkinson: I don’t even have to resort to europhile sources (like britishinfluence-dot-org, or Nigel Lawson’s colleague Tory mastodonte Michael Heseltine in FT this morning) even a quite eurosceptic source like openeurope gives the evidence for remaining in the EU (a reformed EU).
        Self-governance sounds nice of course, but in future you may become quite desillusioned when you’ll find out that the “indepence” as in UKIP, is an i that, at best will stand for “island”, but more likely for “isolationism” or even “illusion”. I wish you luck.

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted May 11, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

          Peter,
          Please explain what exactly you mean by “a reformed EU”. Is it one of ever closer union? Is it one which effectively sees the end of the nation states within it? Do you think all those former Dutch and British colonies were mad to want their freedom and independence from colonial rule? How do other major countries around the world manage without being governed by an overseas organisation?

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted May 11, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

            @Brian Tomkinson: OpenEurope would like to see a more flexible EU, that’s why I added that in brackets. You can find more eurosceptic info at their website.

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      No most of the treaties accepted that we were part of the EU and some of the powers were better invested in the EU than executed in different ways by each of its members. We have an EU election next year. What we must do is elect MEPS who will represent our interests rather than pursue interests that conflict with what is best for the UK.

      This means for example we can’t afford to elect MEPs whose sole interest is to leave the EU and who will follow that interest even if it is to the detrement of the UK in the short term.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted May 11, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        @behindthefrogs: You express a very sensible approach. After all, it is difficult to imagine that the UK could even leave within some 6 years from now (referendum in 4 years, exit completed another 2). That would be a full term for MEPs.
        Though it can be argued that someone like Farage has had a democratic platform in the EU to further his ideals, which he never could have in the UK, his party appears to have a terribly low attendence record when it comes to working for British interests in the many policy committees.

  60. Pleb
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Could Boris be available before 2015?. He would need a drop in seat of course.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      But it has been known for constituents to react unfavourably to being treated like that, and they could refuse to play ball – maybe by voting for the candidate of some other party which doesn’t take their votes for granted?

  61. Barbara
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    I voted No in the first round and would vote No again, why? Its a dictatorship not democracy. Its led by a man who was a committed Communist in his youth, and this organisation suits his Communist ego. Barroso. How can any nation, who values freedom, has fought for it and seen its fellow citizens fall in battle for it, accept this man’s vision of a Europe we fought hard to see free. It spits in the face of all those who died for that freedom. Its not what we signed up for at all.
    Cameron is misguided over Europe, he’s wrong to assume he will engage with other members and regain laws back, they won’t budge. Why? For them to engage and give us what we want will encourage others to do the same, and they won’t allow that. Like Hollande says, you cannot change the rules to suit yourself. That means France will block any motion for repatriation of powers to the UK, the ultimate thing will be leave. Why delay the obvious, lets do it. This country is no fool, it knows full well what’s going on, and all the fudging in the world by Cameron won’t change a thing. A referendum now will settle the question once and for all. Its not for Lib Dems to hold the nation in blackmail, they don’t have that much following or power, Cameron could do it now, what as he to lose? Its his foolish partners who have the most to lose not him, can’t he see that? Conservatives should push ahead and hold the vote and be done with it, if Clegg does not like it ‘tough’ but the will of the people will be heard.

  62. Chris
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    I copy below something highly significant with regard to Tory MPs’ claims that powers can be renegotiated. Clearly spelt out by Christopher Booker is the fact that only by invoking Article 50 can this be done (and Cameron is apparently unwilling to do that).

    Booker refers to the fact that MPs are misunderstanding the basic concept of the acquis communautaire – that once powers are surrendered they cannot be granted back to the member state unless Article 50 invoked:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9383356/Britains-only-EU-hope-lies-hidden-in-Lisbon.html

    “Britain’s only EU hope lies hidden in Lisbon”
    “MPs who fret about Britain’s future in Europe should attend to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. David Cameron could be left helpless, in the outer ring of an EU run by the Eurozone.

    The project’s core doctrine has always been the acquis communautaire: the rule that once powers are handed over to Brussels they can never be given back. That is why it is futile to talk of Britain negotiating a “new relationship” with Brussels involving repatriation of powers. It cannot happen, because it would be in breach of the project’s most sacred principle.
    There is only one way in which we could force the other EU states into negotiating a new relationship for Britain. If our politicians, led by Mr Cameron, were actually to read the treaty, they would find this power under Article 50, inserted at Lisbon: such a negotiation can only be triggered if we notify the EU that we wish to leave it. Then, and only then, would our EU colleagues be compelled (rather than “persuaded”) to enter into the negotiations necessary to establish our “future relationship with the Union”.
    As I have said before, the very last thing Mr Cameron could countenance is notifying the EU that we wish to leave it – even though the alternative is that, under a new treaty, we would remain impotently in the outer ring of an EU wholly controlled by the eurozone. But unless all the Tory MPs clamouring for the “repatriation of powers” grasp the crucial importance of Article 50, talk of a referendum on a “new relationship” with the EU is just self-deceiving fluff.
    Either we go for Article 50, or we are doomed to become second-class European citizens – that is, until the EU itself disintegrates, because it is incapable of finding a rational solution to the stupendous shambles that its reckless ambition has led it into….”

    Reply Anything can be renegotiated if the UK government makes clear it is going to leave the current Treaties

    • Chris
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      Yes, by invoking Article 50. That is the only legally recognised route by the EU. Anything else, which Cameron may call a renegotiation/repatriation will not be such, as there is no other designated route for this. People will be able to call Cameron’s bluff with regard to what he may call repatriation/renegotiation of powers. If he hasn’t had to use Article 50, then the powers repatriated are not significant, whatever Cameron, and some of his MPs may claim.

      The eurocrats have also reinforced the legal argument, and made quite clear that we cannot cherry pick as this goes against the founding principles of the whole project, and individual member states cherry picking would indeed lead to the unravelling of the entire project, and that is not going to be permitted. Why do our MPs not understand this?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 11, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        The designated route has been and still is Article 48 TEU on amendment of the treaties – by chance, one of the few articles which retained its previous number after the amendment of the EU treaties by the Treaty of Lisbon.

        The current version, as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon, starts on page 41 here:

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

        It says for the ordinary revision procedure:

        “The Government of any Member State, the European Parliament or the Commission may submit to the Council proposals for the amendment of the Treaties. These proposals may, inter alia, serve either to increase or to reduce the competences conferred on the Union in the Treaties. These proposals shall be submitted to the European Council by the Council and the national Parliaments shall be notified.”

        Note that it doesn’t say:

        “The Government of Germany, but not that of the United Kingdom … may submit to the Council proposals for the amendment of the Treaties … ”

        but it does say:

        “These proposals may, inter alia, serve either to increase or to reduce the competences conferred on the Union in the Treaties.”

    • matthu
      Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      Presumably, anything other than invoking article 50 would require acquiescence of all the other member states? Not something that would ordinarily be achievable between now and 2017.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 11, 2013 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      I don’t think that Christopher Booker set out to mislead and confuse people with that article last July, but that was the effect of highlighting the new Article 50 TEU on voluntary withdrawal from the EU while ignoring one of the changes to Article 48 TEU on amendment of the treaties.

      All kinds of weird ideas have circulated, for example that the UK could cunningly hand in its notice to leave the EU under Article 50, forcing the negotiation of more satisfactory treaty terms for after its withdrawal, and then change its mind and stay in on the new improved treaty terms … as if, should any country try that kind of stunt then the other countries might allow it to rescind its notice and stay in the EU, but the best that could hoped for would be that it would revert to its existing terms; and in the case of the UK it would be much more likely that some of the other countries would demand a price for accepting the revocation of the notice, in the form of surrendering our treaty “opt-outs”, including our “opt-out” from ever having to join the euro.

      As I have pointed out before, when Merkel wants an EU treaty change she doesn’t start by handing in a notice that Germany is leaving the EU under Article 50, instead she takes the obvious course of invoking Article 48 on amendment of the treaties, under which any government can propose treaty changes at any time it wishes.

      So Cameron could do the same; he doesn’t have to wait for somebody else to propose treaty change and then react to that, as is often portrayed; instead he can take the initiative and propose EU treaty change any time he likes; moreover as now amended by the Treaty of Lisbon Article 48 has this new sentence:

      “These proposals may, inter alia, serve either to increase or to reduce the competences conferred on the Union in the Treaties.”

      so there is no legal bar to him proposing treaty changes to repatriate powers.

      I realise there is a reasonable argument that such treaty changes would run against the grain of “ever closer union” and the acquis communautaire “ratchet”, and also an unfounded argument that the ECJ would strike down any such treaty changes, but the reality is that the political obstacles to getting them agreed by all EU member states would be far more substantial than any theoretical legal obstacles.

      Personally I don’t see any advantage in erecting very questionable legal arguments why Cameron would not be allowed to negotiate the kind of treaty changes that he says he wants, on the contrary he should be urged to get on and use Article 48 to put in his proposals as soon as possible, so that the genuine political obstacles become undeniable.

      The worst thing he could do would be to wait until the eurozone had sorted itself out, helpfully agreeing to whatever EU treaty changes were proposed while asking for nothing in return to protect our long term vital national interests; he’s already done that once, with the EU treaty change agreed on March 25th 2011:

      http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:091:0001:0002:EN:PDF

      and that once was itself one time too many.

  63. Leslie Singleton
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Agreed but, in the nicest possible way, you aren’t saying all that much today. In particular, many will never agree that waiting five years solely because of the idiotic confused 1% 7th place Liberals makes any sense at all. The Coalition should be broken up instanter and a new election forced come what may. Off on a tangent , there is not much for us to learn from the Italian way of doing things but maybe there is something in favour of their giving a 50 seat bonus to the winning Party, presumably minimising the frequency of Coalitions, which unfortunately stand to become more frequent if we have to have four-party politics–another reason to cremate the Liberals ASAP. BTW, never were truer words spoken than by Lawson saying that the Eurozone countries are always going to vote (jealously, often) in a bloc against us. We simply do not want to be homogenised with them. There is a world of difference between negotiations before and after we leave. Cannot believe that ferries etc will be any kind of problem and personally it wouldn’t worry me much if they were. Another BTW, does anybody know why a Referendum was not in the Coalition Agreement, given that, so I understand, it was in the Liberals’ Manifesto? Surely it wasn’t Cameron’s idea to exclude it, though of course anything is believable with him.

  64. Jon
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Yes the EU bureaucrats do like to threaten and take the high hand. Just like the bureaucrat who threatened to stop trade with Bangladesh. I’m sure he would like to cancel all trade with the developing world in time in that small mind of theirs.

  65. Jon
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Leaving the EU bar trade agreements I think might just make the powers that be look at our regulation mountain and finally be forced to ease back to welcome in the private business that is out there.

  66. Electro-Kevin
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Ought not pro-EU parties be required to display the EU flag on their election literature ?

    More to the point should they be allowed to wrap themselves in our own Union flag ?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 11, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      Yes, they should display the EU flag on their election literature, other publications, websites, etc, to openly declare their subservience to the EU.

      Those running the 1984 Tory party conference made a very good start with this by displaying the EU flag on the backdrop to the platform, and what’s more giving it the position of honour as superior to the British flag.

      Behind Margaret Thatcher, as she gave her courageous and defiant speech after the IRA bombing.

      Reply As one of the advisers to her on that speech I do not recall any such backdrop, and it was certainly not a message we wished to get out on that day of all days.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 11, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        Well, JR, I did give a link to a video of her speech showing it very clearly behind her – the slogan was “BRITAIN WINNING THROUGH”, with the British flag on one side and the EU (or more correctly EC) flag on the other side, actually on the side which under flag protocol is the superior position, and maybe when you’ve had a chance to view that video you’ll agree that what I’ve said is correct and publish the link.

        Obviously that backdrop had been designed and set up some days before the IRA exploded its bomb.

        Reply I hear what you say. I wonder who did it, because it was not something Margaret had ordered or we the speech team had asked for.

  67. Anthem
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Negotiating with these people just validates their position.

    The whole thing is unraveling and for all the bravado from Barroso they are clinging on to threads.

    Free trade does not happen at the point of a gun.

  68. ikh
    Posted May 11, 2013 at 3:39 am | Permalink

    Hi John,

    An excellent article. I agree the we need to re-negotiate with the E.U. But, inherently, this means not as a member of the E.U. But a free trade agreement. Anything else leaves us with far too much legacy baggage.

    For this reason, I would not be happy to base our relationship on the model used by Norway, Switzerland, or EFTA. However, I suspect that the future free trade agreement about to be negotiated with the USA, would be a much better model for the U.K.

    If we want to have political agreements with the E.U. these should be negotiated after the free trade agreement has been agreed and put into a separate treaty.

    /ikh

  69. Javelin
    Posted May 11, 2013 at 4:47 am | Permalink

    I’ve posted on your diary for several years. My education includes Post grad at MIT. I just like to add my very clear observation that Cameron has become very weak because the only advisors he seems to be able to find or trust are his old school friends. I do not see this as acting from a position of strength but from one of intense personal weakness. He seems ‘functionally fixed’ and only able to find trust in his life as a child. I interpret his choice of childhood advisors as a sign of adult insecurity. I believe the reason he is surrounding himself with advisors from his childhood is that is when he last felt secure.

    • Richard1
      Posted May 11, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      Were you a psychologist at MIT? If not this does look rather speculative. The criticism seems to be that David Cameron has appointed too many Old Etonians not that they are childhood friends. Perhaps he wasn’t thinking about where they were at school, just how good they would be? It really is very bizarre that in the UK there is serious debate as to whether a person is or is not qualified to hold a position at the age of 40 or 50 purely on the grounds of the school their parents chose to send them to several decades earlier!

  70. Bazman
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    The main problem of leaving the EU is when we have left and have no part of of it who will be to blame for economic inefficiency. The business leaders and ‘managers’? Of course not, it will be the workforce and the people who depend on the state scrounging and asking for unreasonable wages and conditions being told this from an elite who take no part in society other than telling the rest how to live from country estates and from tax havens as well as miserable pensioners and the ones supported by the middle class social security system and corporate welfare. A sort of EU like Spain but separate. The idea of Britain becoming a middle class county like Switzerland or Germany is not going to happen any more than we would become Hong Kong. Nobody will tolerate Singapore type government. Civil unrest would be justified no matter what the cost to the county or personally. Count on it. Britain is unique country with unique problems much based on class. Ruled by the Bullingdon Club speaks volumes.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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