The Conservative party


On Friday night I spoke to the annual dinner of a Conservative Association. The 80 people present included professionals, senior business executives and entrepreneurs as well as retired people who had worked hard and saved during their working years. There was little old money, some new money, and a lot of people who just take responsibility for their own lives by working and saving for their retirement.

Just as in my own constituency, I found them well informed about the political and business worlds, concerned for the future of our country, and keen to offer public service. Several of them were Councillors, and many of them wish to see improvements in their local area which will help the many. I am happy to represent people like them, and to work with them to try improve the UK’s public services and economic performance.

It is true that they think we need a new relationship with the EU, because they see directly that in many areas now the UK cannot take the action it needs to take owing to EU law and controls. It is also true that there is a range of opinions about how to tackle it, from those who just want to leave tomorrow to those who wish to negotiate a sophisticated package that  enhances trade and allows good relations on a whole range of matters with the neighbours.

I see having people like these members as a strength for any political party. They are a source of good advice as well as people who do a lot to ensure the smooth running of their local communities.


  1. lifelogic
    May 19, 2013

    I am sure they are an asset to the party, it is just a shame that many close to Cameron clearly think that Tory party activists ‘swivel-eyed loons’.

    A shame too that Cameron thinks the parties’ now ex-supporters in UKIP, are mainly closet racists and fruit cakes. Also that Ken Clark thinks they are clowns. At least Nadine Dorries has realised that a Ukip alliance is now the only way to beat Labour. Even with a deal it will be a big struggle, as the party is stuck with a heart and soul pro EU superstate leader.

    Albeit one who will not actually say why his heart and soul is in favour of membership.

    Cameron’s approach and foolish desire for the UK to be subsumed in to an undemocratic EU socialist superstate does not even seems to have won him support from Lord Howe who is basically another “Cameron think” person at heart.

    Perhaps the lesson for him is that if you pretend to be a Cast Iron EU sceptic but then rat and do the exact opposite you will probably be despised by both sides and certainly never be re-elected. Even with UKIP to make Cameron, perhaps slightly more trusted, it will still be a great struggle.

    1. lifelogic
      May 19, 2013

      Meanwhile the EU is rather more concerned with the vital issue of banning refillable olive oil bottles in restaurants. Major’s promised subsidiarity again one assumes. Will bowls/bottles of vinaigrette be banned also? Will all salad dressing and pizza chilli oils now have to come pre-bottled from huge EU approved companies? What about the knob of butter perhaps that need to be in a clear factory package too? What about the oil added in the kitchen before service?

      1. matthu
        May 19, 2013

        What about carafes of wine?
        Jugs of water?
        Baskets of bread?
        Are we to demand bar codes of origin on our quail eggs?

      2. A different Simon
        May 19, 2013

        What about tea pots Lifelogic ?

        A polystyrene tea pot would at least have better insulating properties .

      3. livelogic
        May 19, 2013

        Can we assume that bread rolls will be next, perhaps having to be long life and served in sealed Mother’s Pride bags. Perhaps all restaurant food in the EU should just come from Nestle/Heinz or similar and in branded, sealed bags, tins and packets. This in order to protect the consumer from having anything pleasant to eat unless they eat at home.

      4. Hope
        May 19, 2013

        And demanding £1.2 billion more from the UK that Osborne could do nothing about. Next QMV makes UK politicians no more than regional presenters of EU law with the UK public paying through the nose without a say on how much or what their money will be spent on. Lord Howe clearly worried by Eurosceptics reading his scaremongering article today.

        JR is sincere and is also trying to limit damage control, however some of us remember the Turnip Taliban insult made by CCHQ. Cameron and the Metropolitan elite are destroying the Tory party and this will be his only success. Good article by Jacob Rees Mogg on press freedom in the DT. I doubt Cameron will agree it as he favours parliament regulating the press after he initially claimed otherwise, but we are used to his forty odd U turns and failed promises. He is toast and an electoral disaster.

        1. Tad Davison
          May 20, 2013

          What this needs, is a new leader with a new and disciplined team, that can actually unite the party, rather than rip it apart. Ask people right across the political spectrum what they think about the issues of the day, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more were against Cameron’s views, than were actually for them. That doesn’t bode well for the Tory chances at the next General Election, and the consequences of another Labour government doesn’t fill me with any confidence.


      5. Denis Cooper
        May 19, 2013

        Some Italian was yacking on about how Italy was leading Europe by getting this important measure translated from Italian law into EU law.

        Imposed of course by the transnational majority voting system that Margaret Thatcher insisted was the way forward, and which the Tory MPs of the time endorsed when they voted to approve the Single European Act.

        Without thinking that maybe we should be asked directly whether we as a nation were content to be made subject to transnational majority voting when in 1975 we had consented to remain in the EEC on the clearly stated basis that:

        “The Minister representing Britain can veto any proposal for a new law or a new tax if he considers it to be against British interests.”

        In principle, the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1986 to approve the Single European Act:

        was more destructive of our national sovereignty and democracy than the European Communities Act 1972.

        In principle when the government has a veto on an EU proposal then our elected representatives in our national Parliament can say to our national government:

        “Don’t you dare to allow that proposal to go through; you must veto it”

        but once our national government has lost its national veto then so too has our national Parliament, and so too have we as a nation.

        I expect JR will respond that later treaties were more important than the Single European Act in terms of the destruction of our national democracy – indeed effectively the self-destruction of MPs as law-makers in ever wider fields – but who set the precedent followed in those later treaties?

      6. uanime5
        May 19, 2013

        Refillable olive oil bottles have been banned because they’re unhygienic. That’s why their non-refillable counterparts are still legal.

        1. lifelogic
          May 20, 2013

          What about refillable plates, knives, salt and pepper pots, forks and bowls then are they next?

          1. Jerry
            May 20, 2013

            @lifelogic (and the rest): Have all of you forgotten about the Olive Oil contamination scandals of only a few years back, far to easy for unscrupulous restaurant and bar owners to buy cheap unbranded (of unknown origins) olive oil by the barrel, commercail bottlers have a traceable record of where their olive oil originated, from tree to press to bottle.

            OTT perhaps but understandable when drizzling your tapas with olive oil might land you in hospital or with a slow death sentence…

          2. stred
            May 20, 2013

            The dodgy oil and wine with antifreeze was in labelled bottles. Did you know that in Italy, there are very few boarded up shops, that their tax aviodance accountants can charge 3x what ours charge, that the mainland mafias are still operating, and that CAP fraud is the most expert in Europe? Smart people!

          3. lifelogic
            May 20, 2013

            Jerry I was not suggesting it should be legal to poison people. But you do not need refillable bottles to do that you can just put it in the food!

          4. Jerry
            May 20, 2013

            @Lifelogic: The point is Lifelogic, this should effectively bring the trade in cheap (and thus unbranded) olive oil of unknown origin to an end, even more to if the restaurant and bar owners had to show the same traceable record – which will be automatic were branded oil is purchased.

            As I said, these regulations might appear a little OTT but surely the only groups of people who will be complaining are the those who sell a ‘doubtful’ product and those whose businesses are in a questionable state if they can’t afford to buy food-stuffs that have a traceable history…

          5. Jerry
            May 20, 2013

            @stred: Not all of it was in fraudulently labelled bottles as you suggest, a bigger problem occurred when people were taking their own bottles/containers to the wine or oil seller and then have them filled from the barrel – this is very common behaviour in the more rural parts or traditional urban areas in southern european countries, hence the reason for the ban on refillable bottles when used in restaurants and bars…

        2. Denis Cooper
          May 20, 2013

          But your fellow eurofanatic Danny Alexander has broken ranks by saying that this new EU law is “pretty silly”:

          However, not a reason to leave the EU, he adds.

          Well, I actually agree with him, to the extent that while this new EU law is “pretty silly” it is also “pretty trivial”; where I depart from both him and you is in thinking that it makes a mockery of our national democracy for Parliament to agree that the government must always enforce whatever edicts may come from Brussels, and moreover agree that those edicts may be imposed by transnational majority voting over the opposition of our government.

          In my view it is both nonsensical and deceitful for anybody to stand for election to the House of Commons pretending that they want to help govern the country, when in reality they are perfectly content to delegate much or most of the government of our country to the EU institutions, alienating the legislative powers which have been lent to them by the people.

          Far from being allowed into the Commons and into ministerial positions, Danny Alexander and all of his kind – which covers a lot of the present MPs, to varying degrees – should be purged from the Commons and preferably be handed a lifetime ban on holding any public office at all, and they should think themselves lucky that the present treason laws do not criminalise their activities directed towards stripping all power from our national Parliament.

      7. Electro-Kevin
        May 19, 2013

        Lifelogic – The broadcast media ‘war’ cannot be won by the Eurosceptics.

        Radio 4 today – Sandy Toxvig’s A Tomb with a View gave the most spiteful but witty depiction of a Eurosceptic and celebrated his death, which was caused by his choking on a brussel sprout (of all things.)

        Would such hatred and willful misrepresentation be allowed to be directed at any other group ?

        1. nina Andreeva
          May 20, 2013

          On the contrary that is just the sort of output the Euroskeptics need from the BBC. The electorate needs to associate the EU with people like Ms Toskvig i.e. educated at an elite university, (words left out ed) completely dependent on their licence payments for an income. Perhaps they can get Stephen Fry or another off putting “Labour luvvie” to do a follow up next week.

        2. lifelogic
          May 20, 2013

          BBC comedy is the worst of the lot for lefty, pro EU, global warming bias and not even funny with it.

    2. livelogic
      May 19, 2013

      Excellent interview JR on Andrew Marr just now, in the few minutes available you made all the right points. It was indeed Major’s economic incompetence on the absurd ERM that buried them for three terms not the EUsceptics or the Tory split on Europe.

      The problem is Cameron is essentially the same as Major, just less dim, no sense of direction and he will need to be led kicking and screaming to take the right line. Even a change of leaders now would not really help it is too late and the Libdems Cameron lumbered the party with would not accept it.

    3. Bazman
      May 19, 2013

      If they have your views they have your views they are swivel eyed loons.

      1. Electro-Kevin
        May 20, 2013

        How does Bazman go unedited for this ?

        Am I allowed to call him a (not very nice person – ed) ?

      2. lifelogic
        May 20, 2013


        Perhaps having “swivel eyes” enables one to see the full picture in the round and make sensible suggestions to the benefit of all.

        1. Bazman
          May 22, 2013

          You only ever see the trickle down effect which is a fantasy for most especially when tax avoidance is rife. It cannot trickle down from tax havens and bank accounts can it? The banks invest in property bubbles not industry. A swivel eyed loon point of view.

          1. Edward2
            May 22, 2013

            I’ve read many of Lifelogic’s posts and I can’t recall him talking much about “trickle down” Baz.
            I do recall Lifelogic talking about the UK being a more prosperous nation via much less state red tape, borrowing, spending and waste, leading to much lower taxes for all and greater freedom for companies to expand and take on staff.
            But I may be wrong.

    4. Leslie Singleton
      May 20, 2013

      lifelogic–Howe’s comments amounted to his saying that Cameron should ignore his MP’s and were just plain demented. We can do without leadership that is heading in multiple wrong directions all at once. As for comments from the “the times have changed” brigade, even if that were right most of us think that that is exactly the problem and that we should strive to turn them back again.

  2. Acorn
    May 19, 2013

    The trouble is your audience is getting older, and you are a party of old white men. Ok you have got a few token blacks and a few token women. Just look at the average age of your Local Councillors. The only young ones are spivs who just want to get closer to the planning committee. Crikey, the morning after the local elections your party had to have a coup d’état, to remove its 80 year old Council Leader, who had just held his seat and Hampshire County Council.

    The conservative Party story, just like the Republican story in the US, particularly how Mitt Romney strove for the right and lost the middle; needs to decide if it hunting with the hounds (gay bashers) or running with the hares (gay marriage).

    And remember, nutters vote as well!

    1. Amanda
      May 19, 2013

      Have you taken a look at the TUC recently?

      I don’t think the traditional Tory Ladies would recognize your description. And, you obviously have no idea about the inclinations of many of the Indian people who now live in Britain.

      Even the BBC had to note the number of younger people at Mrs Thatcher’s funeral. Apparently being young and thinking good of her was weird, but being young and calling her a witch was natural.

      ‘nutters vote as well’ – mmmmmmmmmmm, your name is Acorn, right?

    2. Edward2
      May 19, 2013

      Acorn, I think its more now to do with developing popular policies rather than trying to occupy the left, right or that mythical centre ground.
      Policies that simply make people feel better off.

      Examples:- to be seen to be making a concerted effort with the chronic housing shortage or to reduce overseas aid, or to remove ourselves from pointless expensive overseas wars, or to be seen to be controlling immigration levels or to be seen to be controlling the very high salaries and golden goodbyes in the public sector and loss making private companies.
      It doesn’t always need more Government spending, as most things could be achieved by legislation or just getting the Government out of the way or by simply creating incentives for citizens to get going.

    3. David in Kent
      May 19, 2013

      I am struck by the diversity of views in our local conservative association. There are some retired white businessmen but there are also gay entrepreneurs, housewives, schoolteachers, ex-council employees and the positions on the questions we debate in our CPF meeting are equally diverse.

      1. stred
        May 20, 2013

        David. Sounds a bit like the LibDems. Whenever I try to get any help from Conservative councillors when dealing with bad or incompetent practice by officials, all I get is a bland reply and nothing else. The same councillors wave through new spy cameras to trap motorists, residents parking schemes with more permits than spaces, and £200k pay packets for the Chief Administrators. Then they take home expenses which are larger than most people’s annual income. The Council has a Conservative majority. A bunch of collaborators and expense jockeys, no better that Labour and only slightly less mad than the Greens. Swivel eyed? Fixed eyed and brain dead more likely.

        Having recently had a spy car ticketing guests parking across my own parking crossover and been caught by a new black painted camera behind a tree on a ‘no U turn junction’ with poor signing and an identical junction before which permitted them, I would not vote conservative if you paid me.

      2. Acorn
        May 20, 2013

        “I am struck by the diversity of views”. You have just described the Tory problem!

  3. Electro-Kevin
    May 19, 2013

    Being able to save for retirement is a luxury that most young people are unable to afford these days. They are having to live day-to-day either paying huge rents or huge mortgages.

    Were they represented at the meeting ?

    1. Andyvan
      May 19, 2013

      Not just young people, some of us old ones will have to work until we drop if we stay in Britain, land of the never ending tax demands and unceasing bills.
      The instant you get a few quid in your hand it goes, usually to some branch of government or state sponsored monopoly. If it isn’t one of those it’s to some private company that has had it’s costs trebled by the dead hand of political meddling and taxation. Make no mistake we are all poorer for politics and the way the state is regarded as a good thing in Britain. If you can’t save that’s where the blame should go.

    2. A different Simon
      May 19, 2013

      Electro-Kevin ,

      Exactly .

      If everyone was compelled to save the money it couldn’t go into puffing up house prices , residential rents or mortgage interest .

      Look at the oft presented trends in house prices expressed as a multiple of wages . People use the gross wage , never the gross wage + value of pension benefits provided by the employer .

      If instead they used the value of gross wage + value of pensions benefits provided by the employer , then house price/earnings ratio’s in the early 1970’s would have been below 3X . i.e. the ratio has not doubled it has more than doubled in the last 40 years .

      The CBI’s successful campaign to destroy vocational pensions ostensibly to make British manufacturers more competitive was actually nothing more than a short-term stimulus to the FIRE sector (finance , insurance and real estate) .

      The long term effect on the real economy has been devastating and may prove fatal .

    3. Credible
      May 19, 2013

      That is a very good point.

      John, you live in some fantasy world in which the good citizen works hard and then buys a house and raises a family and saves for retirement. I think you need to take a look at the real world where, for many, mortgages (and rent) are out of reach, childcare is more expensive than salaries and saving for the future is impossible.

  4. Nina Andreeva
    May 19, 2013

    I am surprised that there are any of them left. Why bother staying if you views are going to be ignored and if truth be told be told, because you do not come from the correct background and hold the same opinions, you are thought of being children of a lesser god?

    Cameron is dud as a leader and a PM because of his background. Though there are plenty of politicians who had the same and overcame it and developed superb political antennae to know what was itching the electorate and where to scratch it. Everything has been put on a plate for him from birth, so it’s impossible for him to know how the average man in the street is struggling with at the moment.

    My next door neighbour failed to get her child into the primary school of her choice, because the catchment area ran to 200m. She has been offered a place at a sink school on the other side of town (unlike Sam she does not have a sinecure and has a real job and has to get into work on time) Do you really think she is going to vote Conservative when basic issues such as this are ignored and parliamentary time is gobbled up on minority ones like gay “marriage”?

    1. Hope
      May 19, 2013

      Or Clegg’s hypocrisy of making a manifesto commitment against faith schools and then sending his son to the Oratory like Blaire and Harman. Today we are told the speaker will be paid more than the PM. First he is not worth it, second Cameron was going to stop this and bring public sector pay under control. I wonder why people are fed up with the the Lib LabCon and seek a fresh alternative in tune with the public.

    2. Litle White Sqibba
      May 19, 2013

      …the catchment area ran to 200m.

      1. uanime5
        May 20, 2013

        Either you have to live within 218 yards of the school or the catchment area’s distance isn’t correct.

    3. John B
      May 19, 2013

      “Cameron is dud as a leader and a PM because of his background.”

      How could the party have elected Cameron when they had the chance of David Davis? I know it was a long time ago, but I still bang my head against a wall about this “incomprehensible” decision.
      Not of course truly incomprehensible. Cameron was elected because of his background, and Davis not because of his.

    4. John B
      May 19, 2013

      PS: Davis also had the advantage of working (very successfully) in the real world of business, before entering politics.

  5. alan jutson
    May 19, 2013

    Your audience sounds like typical traditional supporters of your Party.

    They may have much in common with you and your ideas, but little now with Mr Cameron.

    He needs to remember that savers (from recent reports) out number the borrowers by about 6-1.
    Yes the savers are mostly middle aged to older people who have lived within their means for years, they have been through the very expensive years of purchasing a house, starting a family etc, they know the true value of money and of attempting to live within their means.

    Why does the Conservative Party in its present form continue to dump on them, and then expect their support ?

    1. alan jutson
      May 19, 2013

      Younger people are now finding it ever more difficult to get and retain a job, yet we continue to import hundreds of thousands of people into our Country.

      Many younger people have been failed by the education system for nearly 40 years now, and in many cases are not fit for work.

      Many families have generations who have never worked, but continue to lead a life style way above their ability to gain a similar income, so they say, why bother to work.

      The State is now getting close to spending more than half of the total GDP, yet still expects private industry and workers to fund it all.

      The justice system is in melt down, with hundreds of thousands now getting cautions for criminal acts.

      The government has privatised many industries, but they still require State subsidy.

      Big brother seems to be everywhere.

      Yes fully aware that the Conservatives are not responsible for all of the above, but is it any wonder that support for all of the traditional Party’s is falling, and falling fast.

      1. uanime5
        May 20, 2013

        Many families have generations who have never worked, but continue to lead a life style way above their ability to gain a similar income, so they say, why bother to work.

        Can you provide some figures to back up these claims. Make sure you take into account that you can still claim child benefit and housing benefit if you’re working in a low paid job.

        The only situation I’ve found where this occurs is when you’re working between 16 and 37.5 hours in a minimum wage job due to the rate benefits are withdrawn. However the universal credit system, which withdraws benefits at the rate of 66p per £1 earned, will fix this problem.

        The State is now getting close to spending more than half of the total GDP, yet still expects private industry and workers to fund it all.

        Well tax credits do benefit private industries as they allow these companies to pay low wages. Workers in low paid jobs also benefit from tax credits and housing benefits. Your claims would only be valid if those who work didn’t get any benefits from the taxes collected.

        The justice system is in melt down, with hundreds of thousands now getting cautions for criminal acts.

        This is due to a mixture of a lack of prison places, prison not rehabilitating people, and prison being expensive.

        1. Tad Davison
          May 20, 2013

          I bet I could solve the crime issue, and it wouldn’t cost anything like what it costs at the minute!

        2. alan jutson
          May 20, 2013


          Welfare Benefits
          Do you really believe I need to give you examples of such an obvious problem.
          Do you not see countless interviews on the TV with people that simply do not want to work, because they admit they would be worse off if they did.

          Tax Credits.
          You have answered your own question.
          Why should the State subsidise a private commercial business payrole ?
          It just encourages Businesses to keep their wages low, and encourage them to ask their workers to claim tax credits.

          The Justice system.
          The answer is to simply build more prisons, then we have jobs for construction workers, and for those who are going to staff them, at the same time we keep the criminals off the streets.

  6. matthu
    May 19, 2013

    The Independent poll underlines the shallowness of the debate – a shallowness the Conservative Party are happy to maintain.

    So we are told that when asked how people would vote “if some EU powers are restored to the UK” 43 per cent said they would vote to stay in the EU, and 24 per cent said they would not. Cameron’s negotiate-and-stay-in policy could be a winner.

    But no discussion about what powers we may be looking to restore to the UK, because that would entail compiling a shopping list. A long shopping list.

    Cameron is hoping to bounce us into voting for his negotiated changes without sufficient time to reflect on the powers that he has failed to restore to the UK.

    By the way, when did we give the EU the right to dictate to restaurants how olive oil should be presented to their customers within the UK? Will this directive need to be approved in the UK parliament? And if so, will it carry the support of the house? Or does it slip in the side door?

    1. Tad Davison
      May 20, 2013

      Hence my point on an earlier thread about the repatriation of powers meaning all things to all men. The danger is, we could have a classic EU fudge, and I smell another Cameron con. He said he would give us a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, if we voted for him, except, that he qualified it with the caveat, ‘if it hasn’t already been ratified when he takes office’, knowing full well that he would be.

      I personally do not trust Cameron, of anyone else who practises to deceive. If he was REALLY against the Lisbon treaty, he’d be moving Heaven and Earth even now to get us out of it.


    2. Denis Cooper
      May 20, 2013

      You ask some pertinent questions, but usually answering such questions involves too much time and tedium.

      As a first step it would be necessary to identify the EU legal act – the Telegraph and other media are rarely any help with that – and then it would be necessary to look at what legal bases in the treaties are cited in that legal act, and then it would be necessary to go back through the treaties as they have evolved over the years to discover when those legal bases or their precursors first appeared.

      Depending on the nature of the EU legal act it may entirely by-pass Parliament, so it becomes immaterial what MPs think about it as they will never have the chance to debate it. Even if it is a Directive rather than a Regulation, it may be possible to implement it without consulting Parliament.

      In the words of Denis MacShane, back in 2002 when he was Minister for Europe, explaining why it is very difficult to calculate what proportion of our new laws are imposed from Brussels, and therefore he would rather not attempt it:

      “It would entail disproportionate cost to research and compile the number of legislative measures enacted each year in the UK directly implementing EC legislation.

      The picture is complicated. Some EC measures are directly applicable in the member states. Others require incorporation into national law. This is sometimes done by legislation, but on other occasions by administrative means. In yet other situations, domestic legislation which is being amended for other purposes, may also incorporate changes to reflect EU directives. This makes it extremely difficult to determine how many legislative measures have been introduced in the UK as a result of EC measures.”

    3. uanime5
      May 20, 2013

      The directive needs to be turned into a UK statute by parliament. But unless there’s strong objections for a valid reason it will pass without any problems.

      1. Edward2
        May 20, 2013

        Indeed Uni, many thousands of such “directives”, that we must obey, are routinely turned into UK law without proper Parliamentary scrutiny every year.

      2. Denis Cooper
        May 21, 2013

        “The directive needs to be turned into a UK statute by parliament”

        That may not be the case; to quote from Denis MacShane’s Written Answer reproduced above:

        “Some EC measures are directly applicable in the member states. Others require incorporation into national law. This is sometimes done by legislation, but on other occasions by administrative means.”

        Reply Directives need to be put into UK law.EU Regulations are directly acting.

        1. Denis Cooper
          May 21, 2013

          JR, do you know whether this is a Directive or a Regulation?

  7. oldtimer
    May 19, 2013

    One of the more damaging comments of the last week, in my opinion, was that by James Forsyth when he said that Cameron has not worked out what powers he wants back from Brussels – in short he has no objective, no strategy let alone any tactical plan. Is his comment soundly based? If it is then the Conservative party’s problems have only just begun. We know that Cameron does not want to leave the EU – he has said so. But if he remains so vague and unfocussed he will get nowhere with those he has to negotiate.

    Today it is said some 70% of laws and regulations are decided at the EU level. UK vetoes and opt outs have been abandoned for little or nothing in return. QMV is on its way. After being bound by hand, foot and finger, the death of UK sovereignty, its parliament and its democracy (by a thousand cuts) will be complete. That remains the intended course of the three main parliamentary parties and is the outcome we must expect unless there is a political earthquake to break up the established order.

    1. Denis Cooper
      May 20, 2013

      “QMV is on its way.”

      QMV arrived long ago; every time a national veto is abolished, decision-making in that area moves to QMV.

      Or maybe it should more helpfully be described as TMV, “Transnational Majority Voting”, because getting bogged down in the details of the system for “Qualified Majority Voting” in the EU diverts attention from its essential characteristic that by being TRANSNATIONAL Majority Voting it enables the representatives of foreign countries to dictate our NATIONAL laws which previously would have been determined through majority voting in our NATIONAL Parliament.

      At the end of the last page here:

      there is a summary of how successive treaties have abolished national vetoes and moved EU decision-making to TRANSNATIONAL majority voting.


      “Treaty of Rome (plus extensions) 38

      Single European Act 12

      Maastricht (Treaty on European Union) 30

      Treaty of Amsterdam 24

      Treaty of Nice 46

      EU Constitution 68

      Treaty of Lisbon 68”

      Of course the original EU Constitution never came into force, but its legal contents were decanted into the Lisbon Treaty and hence they both have 68 as the number of vetoes abolished.

      Reply Very helpful reminder of how much went in the last decade.

      1. oldtimer
        May 21, 2013

        Thank you for the correction and the very revealing link.

      2. Denis Cooper
        May 21, 2013

        Yes, JR, but Labour was following the precedents set by the previous Tory government, as indeed Labour spokesmen frequently pointed out. If there had been a referendum on the Single European Act – as there was in Ireland after the Crotty legal challenge – then it would have been more difficult for Major to deny a referendum on Maastricht, and more difficult for Blair and Brown to deny referendums on the subsequent treaties.

      3. Lindsay McDougall
        May 21, 2013

        Thank you, Denis. To summarise, if the Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon Treaties were to be scrapped (unilaterally if necessary), some 168 items of QMV would disappear and only 50 would remain. Sounds worth doing to me, particularly since this is the MINIMUM repatriation of powers that the UK could accept.

    2. uanime5
      May 20, 2013

      A report by the House of Commons found 7% of statutes and 13% of statutory instruments were due to EU law. The 70% figure was made up without any evidence to support it.

      The UK can only veto treaties, not proposed directives or regulations. Though MEPs can vote against these proposed directives and regulations.

      1. Edward2
        May 20, 2013

        You missed off all the directives Uni.

        1. sjb
          May 21, 2013

          The directives are transposed into Statutory Instruments, Edward2.

          1. Edward2
            May 22, 2013

            You missed off all the regulations made by the EU too.

      2. oldtimer
        May 21, 2013

        I see you misrepresent what I wrote – again! My 70% estimate/guess referred to “laws and regulations”. As the ever helpful and knowledgeable Denis Cooper has pointed out earlier in the this thread no one actually knows the precise proportion and it is not worth the effort to be that precise.

        1. Denis Cooper
          May 22, 2013

          Unfortunately my comment, submitted a couple of hours after yours, has not yet been published.

          1. Denis Cooper
            May 22, 2013

            And has still not been published.

      3. Denis Cooper
        May 21, 2013

        We’ve been through this before, back in February; I gave you the link to the 2010 House of Commons Library Research Paper, and pointed out that when Regulations were included the average came out as 47% of our new laws being imposed from Brussels, but not taking into account the effects of ECJ judgements; and of course not including other cases where there is no EU law as such but there is clearly EU influence.

        So why are you now reverting to this deceitful line?

        “The UK can only veto treaties, not proposed directives or regulations.”

        There are still some areas where the veto on a legislative proposal has not been abolished, although they are now far and few between.

        As an enemy of our national democracy no doubt it is a source of immense gratification to you that our national Parliament, the still sovereign Parliament of the British people, has got itself into this position where it can so often be over-ruled by transnational majority voting.

        Regarding which, I see that Minister for Europe David Lidington is again promoting the flawed and failed concept of subsidiarity, with a small twist that the present system should be modified so that national parliaments could have a “red card” on Commission proposals, but once again with the essential feature that it would be “parliaments”, plural:

        “Perhaps we should lower the threshold for national parliaments to take action against initiatives from Brussels; perhaps we should introduce the principle of a ‘red card’ so that a given number of national parliaments can block initiatives from the [European] Commission.”

        To which my answer was:

        “To hell with that transnational nonsense; our national Parliament is sovereign and I want it to have its own red card, aka “a veto”.

        I don’t really care whether other national parliaments also have their own red cards, that’s up to them.”

      4. Denis Cooper
        May 22, 2013

        JR, is there a reason why I am not permitted to point out that we went through all this in February, and uanime5 was wrong then and is wrong now?

  8. Cheshire Girl
    May 19, 2013

    As you will know, there are people like them up and down the country, but their numbers are getting fewer. Many of them have toiled long and hard for the party ( and many of them are the older ones). As you say they feel their concerns are not important to the Government and they are losing faith. The PM has surrounded himself with mostly young people and although I know the party is badly in need of younger members, it shouldn’t be assumed that always know best. Unfortunately the people who are leaving the party are those who do the practical work in the constituencies and they are not being replaced. They feel that their contributions are not valued and they have better things to do with their time. They are sad about this but I can see it continuing in the future if things don’t change.

  9. Dan
    May 19, 2013

    You’d think by now at least a start would have been made on negotiating this sophisticated new relationship with the EU……..

  10. A.Sedgwick
    May 19, 2013

    My guess is there would have been 160 there eight years ago.

  11. Tim
    May 19, 2013

    You say Mr Redwood that some

  12. Acorn
    May 19, 2013

    As my links are suffering a high attrition rate lately, here is part of the best explanation of how our sovereign fiat currency economy’s government, spends money; and, how the private sector saves some of it creating what coalition neo-liberals call the national debt, which it isn’t. Neil Wilson wrote it, he understands accountancy as well as economics, this is the first part of it. You won’t find anything like this in the H0C, too difficult.

    How the government’s super-platinum credit card works.

    “Modern Monetary Economics” [by Cullen Roche – Acorn] shows us that monetarily sovereign governments (like the US, UK and Japan) are able to spend money before they receive any tax. That’s what puts the ‘fiat’ in fiat currency, but it appears at first glance to be counter intuitive. How can that be?

    If you think about it most of us come into contact with this concept every day – its called a credit card. So if you imagine that a government does all its spending on its credit card, then you’ll have the structure about right.

    There are differences though. A monetarily sovereign government is able to get the best credit card deal in the world. It is a super-platinum credit card with the following benefits:

    It has no spending limit. Certain individuals can get ‘no pre-set spending limit’ cards, so its hardly surprising a sovereign government with full tax raising powers and it own currency can get one (unlike the Greeks who have a spending limit set by Brussels).

    It can repay itself. The government issues its own credit card (unlike the Irish, who effectively have a German one) so it can settle the credit card bill and any interest charges with the same credit card. If you had the ability to settle your credit card bill with a credit card you’d never have to fund it with anything real either.

    It has the best cashback deal in existence. The key benefit though is the cashback system. You might get a measly percentage when you spend money at Tesco, but when the government spends at Tesco not only does it get a percentage, but when Tesco pays its staff the government gets another percentage, and then when the staff buys beer at the pub the government takes another chunk. And so on until the initial government spending turns entirely into cashback.

    For the government it is a cracking cashback deal – for every £100 it spends, it always gets £100 back in cashback. For everybody else it is known as taxation, and besides death it is the only certainty in life.

    So with this in place the only time they will run a balance on the credit card would be if people out there haven’t spent everything they’ve earned. In other words a balance on the credit card is caused by people saving.

    That balance on the credit card would then be known as the ‘national debt’ and the change in the balance as the ‘deficit’. But the cause is still the same – people saving.

    If only I had one of those. Now just think what you could do if you had one of these cards: you could spend as much as you like anywhere where the card is accepted.
    you’d never have to fund your spending. You’d never worry about the balance because you don’t have to pay it off, it doesn’t affect your credit limit, and you know you’ll get the cashback to cover it anyway when people spend their savings.

    So what’s the catch? “the possession of great power necessarily implies great responsibility”. (Spiderman fans may prefer this of course. No it’s not me doing the acting – I have a doppelganger.)

    Although you can never run out of money on your super-platinum credit card, you can run out of real things to buy. So you have to make sure you use the money wisely in a manner that encourages production of real stuff. That way there is more for you to buy. [Without causing inflation – Acorn]

  13. stred
    May 19, 2013

    Turned on the telly this morning to hear that Lord Howe had told us about the dangers of leaving the EU and that Mr Cameron should ignore sceptics, lack of influence etc. Then you popped up as the representative of MPs cowering before the swivel eyed and played a good bat. Next the journalists review of the papers and it was pointed out that we should remember that you stood against John Major. The fact that you had explained that the ERM disaster was a reason for losing the election and that it would not have happened if you had won had not crossed his mind. Then they chose to pick out the pinko papers rubbishing of UKIP as racist loons. Next, lefty celebrities. At least it saves paying for the Observer.

  14. Javelin
    May 19, 2013

    Politics today reminds me of the Bose-Einstein condensate – that they won their noble prize for. It said that when matter reached absolute zero degrees then all the subatomic particles in an atom would superimpose themselves at a single point in space.

    Well isnt that what national politics feels like? The LibLabCon parties feel / to most people from a distance like the same policies from the same Oxbridge colleges and same looking men chasing by the same the same key marginal seats. I’m going to coin a phrase.

    This is Zero Degrees Politics.

    There is no energy in the system. Nothing. All parties take the same position.

    So when the party members – of all 3 – don’t agree with their members and call them loons. To me this feels like the party leaders are frustrated that their party workers are not putting out the same message to capture the votes if the key marginal voters. I believe this is a problem of the PMs mind not the party workers. I think it is true of every party.

    1. stred
      May 20, 2013

      Come to think of it certain politicians are rather like particles, as explained by the Uncertainty Principle. The more you find out about their position, the less you can know about where they are going or how fast. And the more you know about the energy with which they are acting, the less you can know about when they are doing it.

  15. Peter van Leeuwen
    May 19, 2013

    Interesting Andrew Marr show which I happened to see a bit of’.
    Indeed, “the Conservative Party is absolutely unified . . . on the need of a changed relationship with the EU, based on trade.” Sounds nice indeed. That this changed relationship may be
    – as a future member of NAFTA (old dreams reviving? 🙂 )
    – as a member of WTO
    – as a member of EFTA
    – as a member of the EEA
    – as a continued EU member,
    these are minor details which won’t disturb this overriding feeling of unity. I cannot see any united Conservative referendum campaign in 2017. I’ll keep a copy of this reaction to remind you in 2017.

    Interesting attempt to blame the inability to extradite an unwanted citizen on Brussels (rather than on Strasbourg, i.e. the other 46 members of the Council of Europe)

    Reply: The Conservative party is a united Eurosceptioc party who dislike the current EU treaties and entangglements. The ECJ/EU is in the process of reinforcing the ECHR in EU law so we will end up fighting both over the extradition issues.

  16. barnacle bill
    May 19, 2013

    Just as under B-Lair and the Buffty frae Kirkcaldy, when the Labour Party scorned it’s core supporters morphing into the EU loving nuLabor Party.
    Much to the benefit of certain members of the party – Mandy
    So we see Cameroon giving the finger to his own party and it’s central values, whilst becoming more enchanted by the federal/socialist super state evolving across the Channel.

    Time for you to decide where your beliefs lead you John?

  17. alan jutsona
    May 19, 2013

    Off Topic

    Just seen you on the Andew Marr show.

    Your comments made absolute sense to me.

    Why delay negotiations, get on with it.

  18. Jerry
    May 19, 2013

    Off topic: Nice to see you on “The Andrew Marr Show” this morning, briefly, did you have another appointment to dash off to or was it just a very short interview (given the time Peter Mandelson had later…), perhaps the BBC just simply added up the total Tory air-time (forgetting that there were two different opinions being placed) and gave Labour/EU via Mandelson the same total time to air and his single (enforced [1]) POV regarding the EU.

    Nice to know that, according to Peter Mandelson, the world is “Europe” (I think he mean the EU), that any country outside of the EU is isolated – funny, neither the USA or the BRIC countries seem that isolated, in fact if one looks at the EU from the outside it is the EU whoo are the isolated one.

    John, you made a good point in your interview, unlike in 1990/1 when Howe did for Thatcher what he seems to be trying to do for Cameron this weekend, most people inside and out of the Tory party are actually at the very minimum eurosceptic, Lord Howe (like Mandelson) doesn’t seem to understand that the debate has moved on since -and certainly since the Banking/Euro crisis. Last gasps from downing men?…

    [1] due to the EU rules on pension entitlements

    Reply I accepted all the air time they offered.

  19. Leslie Singleton
    May 19, 2013

    All very true but doesn’t get any closer to why the Conservatives now have such very wrongheaded leadership and policies. The good people you mention would serve another party (no name no packdrill) just as well if not better because they would believe in it instead of just going through the motions.

  20. david englehart
    May 19, 2013

    it is all to do with spreading conservative values and persuading those who do not beleive in or understand them that they are sound and worth voting for.
    if today i could persaude 2 people to vote for the party and if every one persauded then went the next day and persauded 2 people to do the same after 20 days you would have two million and ninety seven thousand and one hundred and fifty converts.
    impossible you may say.
    it is becasue there is no coherent strategy.
    some while ago last year my wife and i went to a dinner at the carlton club where the guest speaker was a government minister. the host when making his introduciton speech asked when we could have our EU referendum which is what I hear day in day out from people I speak to.
    he was rudely talked down to and told it was for the polititions to decide these things not the people.
    on the way out I was stopped by 2 men who had been siting near my wife.
    what a women they said and what language.
    she had indeed described the minister in simple anglo saxon as she could not beleive his attitude towards a large gathering of party supporters and the insult towards the host speaker who is a future MP in the making.

    1. Tad Davison
      May 20, 2013

      Careful David, if Bazman realises you have dinner at the Carlton Club, he’ll be on you in a flash! He’s a working class hero you know!

      1. Bazman
        May 20, 2013

        After eating a £100 roast dinner. I once changed to cost of a menu blackboard outside a Michelin stared Restaurant from £50 to £5. Must have been packing em’ in after that!? My beer/steak/pasta night is much better and a fraction of the cost.

        1. Tad Davison
          May 20, 2013

          I’d love to have seen that!

          For what it’s worth Bazman, I like simple food too, and wouldn’t sleep at night if I had to pay sky-high prices. I was once invited to join a dining club at £300, but as I have absolutely no interest in standing for parliament, I declined.


  21. forthurst
    May 19, 2013

    “…those who wish to negotiate a sophisticated package that enhances trade and allows good relations on a whole range of matters with the neighbours.”

    I still don’t understand the difference between that and simply leaving the EU unless of course it concerns ‘co-ordination’ with such matters as further escapades in the Middle East including our current involvement in Syria, in which case, I am wholly in favour of not negotiating that and, on the contrary, resisting the swivel-eyed loons who think our armed forces exist for the purpose of furthering the interests of a terror state in the Middle East run by madmen. As to the quotation which prompted this piece, assuming it was already itself in quotation marks for the sake of argument and therefore authoritative from the highest level, should it be taken as simple PR, or is there truth in the allegation that a significant proportion of Tory ‘Eurosceptics’ are acting tactically rather than from conviction; the same question would also apply to gay ‘marriage’.

    Incidentally, I noted that some simple soul in the Tory Party opined in favour of gay ‘marriage’ on account of it being a ‘private matter’ in which the state should not interfere. Obviously the poor man has never heard of the Frankfurt School and does not understand, therefore, that the legally enforced public approbation for the inversion of every cultural norm of Western civilisation is exactly what it is all about.

  22. Lindsay McDougall
    May 19, 2013

    On Saturday, I went to Frimley Green to take part in the selection of Conservative candidates. In the morning, sitting MEPs gave a presentation and had to get 60% of the votes of those present in the ballot. Daniel Hannan and Nirj Diva were selected; Richard Ashcroft and Marta Andreasen did not clear the hurdle.

    In the afternoon, we had to select 8 of 10 new candidates to complete a full list of 10. The two didn’t make it were a young man who was clearly pro-European, and another young man who was so keen for us to get out of the EU that he said his objective was to work himself out of a job from day one. The 8 selected were all Eurosceptic to a greater or lesser degree.

    Richard and Marta have an opportunity to ‘jump back in’. This would involve a postal ballot of the wider membership. I hope that Marta in particular will ultimately be selected. She is a woman of substance who served our nation well in Brussels by exposing the scandal of the EU’s unaudited expenditure (80% of it goes to individual Member States and is often mis-spent). And she has the glorious achievement of being sacked by Lord Kinnock. That’s a good CV and she is clearly better than many of the 8 selected in the afternoon. Make sure that you vote for her if you get the chance.

    One candidate indulged in audience participation – there were about 160 people. He asked who was happy with our current relationship with the EU. Two hands went up. He asked who would vote to come out of the EU in a referendum held now. About 60% of the hands were raised. The Conservative Party is now deeply Eurosceptic and it is the pro (Federal) Europeans who can be labelled as ‘loonies and closet racists’ if you want to use such language. Lord Howe is out of control.

    A recurring theme was the idea to negotiate trade deals directly with the BRICS countries, rather than let the EU negotiate for us.

    1. Tad Davison
      May 20, 2013

      The thing I don’t get about Howe, is who the hell picked him to serve in government in the first place anyway, and why? They say the Conservative party is a broad church, but that was taking things too far. Howe is no more true-blue than Red Ken Livingston!

      And often, trying to be all things to all people, is to compromise to such an extent, that it suits no-one. Best to have a clear direction, show everybody clear leadership, set the agenda, and let others follow if they want to. And there’s nowt wrong with a properly thought-out and rational argument. The trouble with Howe, is that he never once showed leadership, and never once put a satisfactory case for further and unfettered EU integration, but he damaged Margaret Thatcher, and by extension, all those who thought the EU was a bad idea.

      And he STILL hasn’t won the argument!

      Tad Davison


      1. Denis Cooper
        May 21, 2013

        Who first picked Howe to serve in government?

        Surprise, surprise – the answer turns out to be “Heath”.

        “Howe represented Bebington in the House of Commons from 1964 to 1966, Reigate from 1970 to 1974, and East Surrey from 1974 to 1992. In 1970 he was knighted and appointed Solicitor General in Edward Heath’s government, and in 1972 became Minister of State at the Department of Trade and Industry, with a seat in the Cabinet, a post he held until Labour took power in March 1974.”

        No need to ask “why?”.

        But Thatcher chose him to be Chancellor, and then Foreign Secretary.

      2. Lindsay McDougall
        May 21, 2013

        The tragedy is that Howe was Margaret Thatcher’s first Chancellor of the Exchequer and in 1980 got rid of forex restrictions at a stroke. Enoch Powell was green with envy: “I wish that I had been able [allowed] to do that.” You may say that Nigel Lawson may have exerted influence as Howe’s Minister but Howe did it. It beggars belief that a man who could do that is so willing to let the EU undo a lot of his work in setting our economy free.

  23. Douglas Carter
    May 19, 2013

    We’re stolidly within that period defined by the old adage ‘It wasn’t the sin, it was the cover-up’. Cameron has already missed the boat on that and the inevitable fall out will damage him to a greater degree due to the avoidance.

    No matter the current headlines, I see no attempt by your party to challenge the journalists who have published the quote on its accuracy. There’s an awful lot of scrabbling and counter-claim on exactly who said it, but no emphatic challenge to authenticate the offending quote. Thereby ‘It Happened – and somebody said it’.

    If team Cameron and his hangers-on can’t percieve that the identity of this somebody will out in future hours or days, then they don’t deserve access to the levers of power. If they can’t work out they themselves should have arranged (as I believe you have insisted Mr. Redwood) that the originator of the quote should be immediately and publically reprimanded then there’s no helping the leadership of your party. They are a self-injury club of hapless journeymen. The electorate deserve an awful lot better.

    Who in their right minds would contribute hard-earned money to your party, or work loyally without reward on its behalf, when comments like that go unchallenged by the main beneficiaries of that money and hard work?

    Hats off to Conservative loyalists, but if you allow this one to pass, and for Cameron to remain sitting on the matter without repair, you really have to start asking yourselves ‘What’s the point?’

    Reply The alleged author of the quote has denied it strongly.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      May 20, 2013

      John, please–It hardly matters who said it–Everyone finds it very believable that someone close to Cameron said such words, and how Number 10 thinks it can be categoric to the contrary I cannot imagine

  24. English Pensioner
    May 19, 2013

    Today we have Lord Howe telling us that Cameron has lost control of the Conservative party, and a report (which has been denied) that a senior party official referred to the members of the local parties as swivel eyed loons.
    In fact is should be the other way round, the party should control its leaders; the local activists who work hard for the party should be telling their elected leaders what they want, and if the leader doesn’t want to do what members want, he should resign from the post.
    This happens with every other organisation that I belong to, we have an AGM, elect our chairman and decide our policy. Indeed, the chairman of one organisation where I am a member has recently resigned because he opposed the policy endorsed by the members.

    Funny, this never happens in politics, once senior party members are appointed they start to believe in their own infallibility, and even if a majority of the party members disagree, it is the members who are wrong, not the leader. Which is why I have never belonged to a political party; what’s the point if you don’t get a say in how the party is run or the policies that it follows?

  25. Ian B
    May 19, 2013

    Mr Redwood, it is reported in the press today that you’ve called for Mystery Swivel Eyed Loon Man to be “reprimanded”. I disagree. He should be congratulated for his honesty.

    It is often hard to convince people that much of the establishment despise the rest of us; our values, our little lives, our incapacity to perceive their greatness and appreciate the policies imposed upon us for our own good. So it is important to hear the true voice of that establishment.

    I think that currently increasing numbers of people are looking for new parties to vote for not necessarily because they see great virtue in those new parties’ policies, but more because they want to vote for people from outside the Westminster Bubble. This may be somewhat similar to the rise of the Labour Party a century ago; people wanted an alternative to alternating between Tory and Liberal. Radicalism in those days was on the Left, so a new Left party emerged. These days radicalism is on the Right, and thus many people want a new Right to vote for.

    If the Conservative Party intends to survive as a major party, it must genuinely reconnect with voters. And that means not consisting of people who consider those voters to be swivel eyed loons.

  26. Normandee
    May 19, 2013

    80, how does that compare to other years ?

  27. Denis Cooper
    May 19, 2013

    I’ve always said that most Tory members are decent patriotic folk, and I guess that is still the case even though many of them have walked away, or been carried away.

    But it does more harm than good being a decent patriotic member of the Tory party if you are going to allow yourself to be led astray by those who have worked their way to the top of your party who are neither decent nor patriotic.

  28. uanime5
    May 19, 2013

    Would these people have been supportive of MPs giving themselves a £10-20,000 pay rise at a time when these MPs are cutting everything else?

    1. Tad Davison
      May 20, 2013

      For once I agree with you. The timing of this couldn’t be worse. It is disgusting, when most of our laws are made in the EU anyway, and that Westminster MPs are so clearly divorced from the real world most of us inhabit. At a time when some of the most financially oppressed and disadvantaged people in the land are fighting to make ends meet.

    2. APL
      May 24, 2013

      Tad Davison: “For once I agree with you. ”


  29. James
    May 19, 2013

    Well done on the Marr show. You made Mandelson, who followed, look like one of yesterday’s men, and somehow pulled Jeremy Hunt to the right side of the argument. The problem his Hunt and his coterie are now playing both sides against the middle, and when the chips are down would still vote with Mandelson on an in/out referendum after no substantive changes.

  30. Martyn G
    May 19, 2013

    John, you say – quite correctly I believe “I see having people like these members as a strength for any political party”. Equally correct, you say “They are a source of good advice as well as people who do a lot to ensure the smooth running of their local communities”.

    Absolutely, but the fact of the matter is that unless their advice corresponds with the latest madcap party line (e.g. windmills, gay marriage) they are at best ignored and worst of all labelled at swivel-eyed loons, bigots, closet racists etc. I resent that, very much indeed and if this is how the CP thinks it will win new friends, aid their supporters and influence people then they are quite out of touch with the real world. Again.

    1. Tad Davison
      May 20, 2013

      I couldn’t agree more Martyn, I’ve been on the end of it! Tramping the streets, calling people up, believing that I was doing it all for a worthy cause, then have the hierarchy totally dismiss my views, even though I could back them up with hard facts.

      People and political parties should never bite the hand that feeds them. Without people on the ground, the Tories are doomed, and judging by how the party membership has declined in recent years, it won’t be long now!


  31. Madmaison
    May 19, 2013

    Mr Redwood your comment above stating “I see having people like these members as a strength for any political party. They are a source of good advice as well as people who do a lot to ensure the smooth running of their local communities” concerns me no end. When did you last listen to me? I have contacted you no end of times by this means, email and letter. Have you run out of words of reply also like the Conservative Party Headquarters from whom I have also had no response. As also stated above from Kevin and Nina, who are these people which attend meetings and get through to their representatives in between their “breakfast meetings, 1 hour stint in the House of Commons, long lunches and early home coming in First Class travel” – We would all long to be in this group especially with extremely well paid pensions for little effort on the benches……..Oh!, and not forgetting the long recesses coupled with holidays which many of us cannot afford

    Reply I listen, talk and write back to my constituents and to local party members regularly. On what subject do you think I have not listened to you? Are you a local Wokingham Conservative party member? If so I look forward to talking to you more about your worries at one of our next meetings.

    1. Madmaison
      May 20, 2013

      As this I not the platform to list party problems I will contact you by email via Wokingham Party Headquarters

  32. David Saunders
    May 19, 2013

    Did any of them strike you as mad, swivel eyed, loons? My other comment is that anyone who thinks the EU can be reformed is delusional. Any return of powers must apply to all member countries, not just the UK, to have any chance of success and this in itself is directly contrary to the original and continuing federalist aims of the EU.

  33. Mark B
    May 19, 2013

    I am sure many of these people are good people but are misguided. This I believe is because the establishment, the political class and the media all actively or passively conspire to keep people such as those you addressed, ignorant of many facts relating to the EU.


    Did you in your address, or in private, ever discuss Article 50, or EFTA and the EEA ?

    Did you explain that the EU is a Customs Union and that sooner or later we would have to join the Euro and become part of a Federal Europe ?

    When people are made aware of the facts, they tend to act accordingly. Keep them ignorant and you can be sure that they will not act at all, thereby maintaining the status quo which has worked for the EU and the establishment so well.

    Reply We are still a long way off having a majority in this Parliament to trigger an Article 50 exit. I have ben explaining that the so called single market is just an excuse for a large legislative programme and mroe centralsied EU control.

  34. Antisthenes
    May 19, 2013

    I just watched a video of your interview with Jeremy Vine. It appeared he was not interested in your opinion and did not really want you to air the very real grievances that euro-skeptics have with the EU. He repeatedly ignored your answers and only concentrated on trying to trap you into admitting that the Conservative party was in disarray when the more important matters at hand are the problems of the UK membership of the EU. He was using the usual lefftie trick of using smear and sensationalism to divert away from the unpalatable truths of the failings of the EU. You handled the interview very well and caused a rare occasion that showed up the biased and poor reporting abilities of the BBC which of course is not just confined to the BBC.

    Reply: Thank you. Yes, the BBC regularly wants it to be a “Tory splits” story, instead of seeing this is a massive issue about who governs and whether we still have a democracy.

  35. Christopher White
    May 19, 2013

    One commentator – do renegotiation ‘when EZ crisis solved’. The crisis is CAUSED by EZ policies & will go on until PIGS do 2 other parts of standard (pre D. Strauss-Kahn) package – devaluation & default as well as austerity now doing in a counter-productive way. They will need new governments, time to implement policies and then about 2 years that it takes for economic policies to have an effect – about 2018 – AFTER DC’s referendum deadline.
    EZ will see a renegotiation as a distraction & desperate though Angela Merkel might be desperate to keep us in she will have other matters to attend to. On one occasion when Bundestag was debating a bail-out I gave myself a metaphorical pinch & asked myself why the German parliament is discussing the financial affairs of country X. It got worse – they had a preview of Irish budget though Irish PM denied it was any such thing.
    UK will not reach 2008 peak till 2015 SEVEN years. For PIGS equivalent would be 2025. Also one can see from revised Cyprus package that N will no longer give more loans. Cyprus has to find 110 % GDP while its banking sector is being 1/2 halved. Chairman on FINMIN group Mr ?Djisslbloem blurted out that in any new package risk-takers take the hit ie ALL DEPOSITORS & bondholders – clearly you could say correctly that depositors SAVERS but that didn’t save Cyprus > 100k Euro. He retracted but this is standard German ‘order economics’ approach.
    FRG may no longer be willing or able to help. Including 720 bn loans by Bundesbank to S central banks & FRG share of bailouts & ECB buying of peripheral bonds the total was a TRILLION. Even with CB loans being smaller you’re talking 800 BILLION. If only 1/4 written off that 200 billion & German taxpayer will pay by it being taken from other (necessary) parts of their budget eg healthcare.
    Also N is being dragged down – France on the ‘PMI’ April survey for manufacturing is 44 where 50 = stead-state LAST behind Greece. Federal Republic of Germany is now 49.5. Their economy is tailor-made to resist – big car & machine-tool exports to Asia and cars to US – even they can’t. ‘Forecasts’ are always that recovery will happen today’s date + SIX months – never happens.
    I think the time has come to say we want no part of it. The Q1 GDP figures were good because of exports to BRIC other Asia other Americas Oz. Even pro-EU & Euro Economist praised us. I think we should take Churchill’s advice – if I have to choose between Europe & the ‘OPEN SEA’ ie trade with rest of world ‘I will ALWAYS choose the open sea’.

  36. Major Frustration
    May 19, 2013

    JR – Dave wants to go his own way but overlooks the fact that its not the conservative voters way. Either get out now or go down with him. Go on, make a real stand.

  37. Christopher Ekstrom
    May 19, 2013

    Politics exists to channel the agonal struggle from the arena to rational debate. If your leader takes his own view & scorns the consent necessary to represent his party then what is that called? A dictatorship: today that is what rules the UK. A dictatorship of socialist “modernizing” cross-political nature:LibConLab. The “Con” is just that: a con.

  38. Peter Stroud
    May 19, 2013

    It worries me not that Cameron is an old Etonian, or that he appoints a few school chums into cushy positions in Number 10. But it does worry me if he attempts to compensate for his high class Toryism, by attempting such ‘modernising’ moves as the same sex marriage bill. And attempting to act even greener than his LibDem colleagues.

    He is, unfortunately, a PR man first and foremost; and it is beginning to get very irritating. But, again unfortunately, we Tories are stuck with him. It would be suicidal to go into an untidy and damaging leadership process before the 2015 election. So, let us hope he will see sense and listen to his troops.

  39. P O Pensioner
    May 19, 2013

    I am an ex conservative party member and party worker. I have always voted Conservative but I am not sure what I will vote at the next GE. I voted for my Conservative county councilor this month but I shall probably vote UKIP in the European elections.
    I have been astounded at the, to me, lack of political nous displayed by Cameron. Margaret Thatcher had a tremendous ability to understand and react to the mood of the electorate and this was why she won elections. Cameron does not appear to want to listen and appears to surround himself with people who have no understanding of how important it is to keep the grassroots party activists on side and they display an insular out of touch arrogance.

    Without the local party activists raising election funds, working long hours dropping leaflets through doors, canvassing the vote, collecting voters who can’t get to the polling station I fear that many good MP’s who have reasonable majorities at the last election may well find themselves losing their seats

  40. libertarian
    May 19, 2013

    The Conservative Party is finished, its in its death throws and it will not recover.

    Its a 19th century party in a 21st century world. What we need is a new kind of political party in the UK something along the lines of Douglas Carswells’s iDemocracy vision.

    The whole structure of our political parties ( all of them) is defunct, the ruling leadership are detached and there is no point being a member.

  41. margaret brandreth-j
    May 19, 2013

    People who put their heart into life ,strive for improvement without nastiness, are creative and not envious are a pleasure to have around. These people lift spirits regardless of which political party they drive with.
    It is approx. 30 years since a group of lecturers within a further education establishment would not let any department flourish . The charge was that empire building was selfish !
    I am just listening to David Mellor on the radio and the weather is improving, I have enough food and a beautiful garden . Wagner is playing and it is good to be alive, but the teutonic relationship of music and UK will lose it’s magic if we are forced to be European rather than English..

  42. David Langley
    May 19, 2013

    Did you tell your association that it is highly unlikely that they will ever get a renegotiated relationship with the EU? Do they understand what the ever closer political and economic and financial relationship means. Do they get the fact that we are being bled daily by the EU subscription. Do they believe that if we vote for out that we will be unable to trade with the world and Europe? Has anyone in the conservative party made the case for getting out yet. Do we have to see the spectacle of Mandelson on TV extolling the benefits of the EU while not getting any thing about the benefits of getting out?

  43. matthu
    May 19, 2013


    Can you please try to explain why allowing civil partnerships for heterosexual couples would come with a price tag of £4b?

    Is this perversely based on some hypothetical expected increase in the number of heterosexual couples who might seek to form civil partnerships (and who would not otherwise have considered getting married) thereby creating larger pension liabilities?

    Because I had been under the impression that the government considered it beneficial for couples to form permanent relationships, be they either marriages or civil partnerships – and now I am being asked to believe that extending the right of civil partnerships to heterosexual couples is actually detrimental to the state and must be avoided.

    Does this make sense?

    Reply I look forward today to seeing their arithmetic of why they think so many would form civil partnerships and what financial advantages they attibute to them

  44. Richard1
    May 19, 2013

    It sounds as though someone in Mr Cameron’s circle has made unwise remarks, albeit without much forethought, regarding activists in the party, who are of course needed to win elections. A difficult truth to recognize however is that with party membership down to c. 150,000 from c. 1million 30(?) Years ago, activists are bound to become less and less reflective of wider public opinion. So while senior party figures should be very careful not to insult the Party’s foot soldiers, they would be right to recognize, privately, that policies which please party activists won’t necessarily win elections. Gay marriage is an example of this, unwise as it has been of Mr Cameron to press this issue.

    1. Roy Grainger
      May 20, 2013

      As gay marriage clearly won’t please party activists I assume you are suggesting that it will win an election ? I think you are mistaken. The relatively few Guardianistas who are actively enthusiastic about this policy will NEVER vote Conservative whether they bring in the relevant law or not. The only benefit I can see for Cameron in this policy is that it will win him some kudos (but no votes) with his social circle of the chattering-class metropolitan elite – amongst (for example) Northern city muslim voters it will be actively damaging.

      1. Richard1
        May 20, 2013

        No I don’t think it will win an election. The point I’m making is that the leadership do need to recognise that with the party in the country disappearing between the cracks, the views of activists – important though it is to make them feel loved – are in fact less and less relevant.

  45. Socrates
    May 19, 2013

    I originally joined the Tory party because it seemed to be the only party grounded in the real world with policies based on human nature and experience rather than ideology or some vague belief in niceness.

    Until now, the strength of the Conservative policy offering has been that it is usually driven by experience of the real world not wishful thinking, following common sense strategies. In my experience in business, the most important strategy is to keep your existing client base while trying to attract more.

    Having served as a party officer for over twenty years, I would say that many party members also have a business background and view the world as I do. In many ways ithe Conservative Party is an organisation which is not unlike the John Lewis Partnership, where the members are also its workers.

    The current Conservative leadership seems to have decided that it wants a different product offering and that it would be better off with a new customer base and workforce.

    In normal circumstances, a strategy like that would be extremely courageous, as Sir Humphry would put it. In a market where one of your close competitors is at your throat, offering the old products and hoovering up your employees and customers, it would be more likely suicidal.

  46. Andy Baxter
    May 20, 2013

    Political parties are the past….they and representative democracy are no longer fit for purpose (a more apt description would be “elective dictatorship”) as Lord Hailsham described our current political system in his 1976 BBC Dimbleby lecture and so vividly illustrated in his book published in 1978 ‘Dilemma of Democracy: Diagnosis and Prescription’.

    Political parties in the UK represent via their avalanche like fall of membership less than 1% of a 45million franchise of eligible voters. Yet they, the main three LIBLABCON and emergence of UKIP (if it ever gets elected MP’s in Westminster!) control ALL POWER in this country including the power to take us out of the EU via Parliamentary sovereignty if they ever exercise it again!

    In effect what exactly is their true legitimacy to rule and ordain the lives of so many of us based on a minutia of falling membership AND falling voter apathy based on the knowledge that “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”!

    Sheeple ask yourself this one simple question EVERY time a decision either locally or nationally is taken that affects your lives…

    Where does true POWER lie?

    The answer; it lies with a minority of an ‘elite political class’ lacking legitimacy who care not one jot for the likes of you and I.

    then ask yourself this; WHERE should REAL power lie? in the hands of such an autocracy or in the hands of local people able to influence, control and dictate the implementation of their wishes affecting their locales instead of in the hands of a select few?

    Just look at Switzerland as an example of People POWER.

    In Switzerland central government and its agencies lobby local people and interest groups to effect policy not the other way around because local people in their Cantons and Communes control, dictate and direct policy via true devolved power and referenda on important issues that affect THEIR communities.

    So sorry Mr. Redwood your recent annual dinner just illustrates yet again where true power lies.

    wake up sheeple wake up…..stop supporting such a failed not fit for purpose system of governance and embrace ‘another way’

    1. Tad Davison
      May 20, 2013

      Lord Hailsham also once said,

      ‘If we don’t give the public social reform, they will give us social revolution.’

      I suspect he didn’t quite mean what the present leadership is trying to dish up, but greater democracy, and that surely must exclude our membership of the undemocratic EU.


  47. Loon
    May 20, 2013

    Should these MPs be asked if they are going to get an EU pension before they give their veiws on the EU. Mandelson is one for sure.

  48. Roy Grainger
    May 20, 2013

    It is perplexing to me why Cameron is self-harming on the issue of gay marriage. As this issue was apparently not in the manifesto or the coalition agreement and is opposed by many (possibly a majority) of his party members and potential voters I am at a loss to know why he is pursuing it at this point. I note that there have been massive street demonstrations in France on this issue too – is it a EU-inspired move ? I genuinely don’t know.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      May 20, 2013

      Roy–The fact that one simply cannot talk about some of the issues involved (despite the times having allegedly changed) (words left out ed) Odd for instance in a putative marriage that one cannot define or even discuss consummation. Nobody is trying to prevent the practice as such but what on earth has it got to do with marriage which as much as anything is about children–(etc).

      1. Leslie Singleton
        May 21, 2013

        Postscript–Seem to be getting edited a lot recently but never mind for it is you who should be wondering why you feel you have to stay silent on a matter that is to my mind straightforwardly polluting the concept, still a sacrament, of marriage, already a weakened institution. Look at Milliband’s very obvious view in practice on the need for marriage. Allowing something and then extending that to two men adopting a young child is (wrong-ed). Think of the poor kid going to school. Get your pen out again. I think the less of you, John, for this.

        Reply I consulted my constituents and voted against this Bill at their request.I do not share your antagonism to homosexual couples.

        1. Leslie Singleton
          May 21, 2013

          Comment on Reply–But what has that got to do with marriage or with your blanket editing on the subject? And one doesn’t have to be antagonistic to deny that homosexual couples are identical which is the only way their adopting young children could begin to be justified. It says in the papers today that married couples no longer value their marriage. Who can blame them? You and the rest are taking what’s left of its romance out of it, not to mention any religious significance it might have left. Apart from all else, homosexual couples stay together for much shorter periods on average. Not bad in itself but antithetical to genuine marriage and raising children.

          Reply You misstate my powers! I am not trying to stop anyone having a wedding in Church, nor do I wish to take romance out of anything.

        2. APL
          May 24, 2013

          Jeremy Irons has introduced a new and novel application of male – male marriage. A father and son might ‘marry’* in order for the son to inherit the parents estate inheritance tax free.

          Since it was never contemplated that men might marry, therefor the prohibition against marriage of close relatives is only between those of opposite sex, presumable father son marriage would be legal.

          The law of unintended consequences.

    2. Chris
      May 20, 2013
      1. Denis Cooper
        May 21, 2013

        Thanks for that.

        Of course that report was just a report and not legally binding on anybody; but I think that if enacted the Bill presently before Parliament will fall into the category of “other cases where there is no EU law as such but there is clearly EU influence” that I mentioned above, on top of the 47% plus of our new laws which do derive from actual EU laws.

        I suspect there may be a lot more of this, with private agreements between EU leaders that they will get certain laws passed without giving domestic opponents of the EU the “smoking gun” of an identifiable EU law to cite.

        For many years politicians could claim that some measure “has nothing whatsoever to do with the EU” (© Bucks Free Press, in a letter from South East England Regional Assembly Chairman and Leader of Bucks County Council David Shakespeare published on December 14th 2001) and be believed, but thank goodness with the internet it has become easier to pinpoint the EU sources and spread that information around.

  49. David Price
    May 20, 2013

    At the same time as the “swivel eyed loons” gibe, complimenting the preceeding “backwoodsmen” and “turnip taliban” remarks, I received a letter from Mr Cameron requesting financial assistance for the Conservative Party (40:40 vision) – you really couldn’t make this up.

    Being called names does not upset me but these purile demonstrations coming from supposedly mature people responsible for the country concerns me greatly.

    I wonder how the stalwarts you describe feel about this behaviour and whether they should continue to support such immature leadership

    Reply The loons jibe has been vigorously denied.

  50. Toby Ross
    May 20, 2013

    The membership is a wonderful asset and we need to find a better way to harness its collective wisdom and talents.

    It’s a great opportunity.

  51. Chris S
    May 20, 2013

    I’m very disappointed to see that the Cameron V The Rest battle at the top of the Conservative Party took yet another turn for the worse again this evening with the PM having to look to a squalid deal with Labour to save his same sex marriage bill from being substantially delayed by his own MPs.

    His refusal to accept the amendment supported by more than 100 Conservative MP provides proof if any were needed that the whole issue is about political correctness and gay rights and has nothing whatsoever to do with equality.

    What possible justification can DC have for continuing to discriminate against heterosexual couples by denying them access to a civil partnerships at the same time as granting a form of marriage to homosexuals ?

    Issues such as consummation and adultery have made it impossible for the supporters of same sex marriage to demonstrate that such marriages can be equal to a conventional marriage so why does he insist on annoying such a large proportion of his party by using the term ?

    I have finally come to agree with the critics who have been saying for some time that David Cameron and his closest allies are out of touch.

    Far from being the heir to Blair, DC’s Prime Ministership is increasingly looking more like Gordon Brown’s. Like his immediate predecessor, he certainly lacks Tony Blair’s deft political touch.

    And I’m a Conservative voter.

    PS The one equality issue that does need addressing is the West Lothian question.
    Why has this never even been on the agenda ?

    Surely solving it would be a huge benefit to the Conservative Party and would avoid the need for a coalition with the LibDems to govern England and Wales ?

  52. Normandee
    May 21, 2013

    It’s disappointing you couldn’t answer a simple question about the audience at your meeting, I and others will now assume you have a reason for not answering.

  53. Lindsay McDougall
    May 21, 2013

    EU laws are not anti all business. They are anti new market entrants, UK companies and technologies where neither France nor Germany are in the lead. Siemens and other well established continental companies are content.

    If you look at the list of people who signed that letter, they are leaders in pan European businesses, old industries or up market businesses. The CBI never was representative of British business. None of them were dependent on BRICS trade.

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