“I have a dream”

 

           Martin Luther King’s great speech 50 years ago still reverberates across the decades. It is good that the nasty aparteid in South Africa and the unpleasant racial divide in the USA has now gone. The world is a better place for their passing.

          All of us in politics need a dream to keep us going. My dream is that one day we will live again in a self governing democracy here in the UK. I look forward to the day when UK electors can influence a UK government, free from overriding EU laws that we disagree with.

          I was brought up in a free country. One Parliament could not bind its successors. People could demand new laws and changes of government, and get them through the ballot box. It is still the best system.  6 European Treaties later, much of our independence and liberty has been replaced by EU controls, and rules we cannot ourselves change or amend in the light of experience.

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35 Comments

  1. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    How about “The world cannot stand by” ..who voted on this? How is it we can stand by for many of the horrors ,yet some are pinpointed to prick our collective consciences more than any other. How do we feel when Luther says on that old recording that we should be judged by our characters? It was a good speech but loose in the respect of what compromises a good character. Are we’ good’ to intervene in a situation, as Wokingham mum says, where we are not exactly sure of the truth of the situation and who, as you say stokes up which side of the conflict? Is it good to cause more strife or leave well alone?
    Are we sure that it is Assad who used the weapons or as Putin says that this accusation may be a guise to get a worse leader in? If the world doesn’t stand by and hits Assad as a stand alone target are we actually getting the right one?
    My dream ……I have many and suspect that they will stay dreams , but many share these dreams which will ultimately become someone else’s reality

  2. Atlas
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    “Amen!” to all you say.

  3. lifelogic
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I share your dream, but alas it seems it a mirage. Cameron was probably the last hope with his cast iron guarantee. He quickly ratted on this and thus missed the wide open goal that Gordon Brown presented to him.He then turned into a sort of loopy, Ken Clarke type of Libdem.

    A “BBC think”, pro more undemocratic EU, tax borrow and waste, enforced equality of outcome, PR is everything, economically incompetent, PIGIS bailout funding, counter productive warmongering, husky hugging, fake green, expensive energy, unscientific, ever bigger state, irrational lefty.

    One of the worst sort to boot, and at a time when the country actually needed the exact opposite to each of the above list.

  4. Martin
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I have to disagree. The threats to liberty in the UK come from panic reactions to horrible crimes or acts of terrorism.

    Who passed all the police state anti-terrorism laws in the last few years? – Westminster.

    Which EU country has more surveillance camera than any other? The UK. All courtesy of Westminster.

    Then of course there is the database police state. Again from Westminster.

    I don’t feel I have lost any liberty from being in the EU. Try talking about anything vaguely political to citizens of certain Commonwealth countries. The locals clam up, scared that the secret police might over hear and duff them up or worse.

    Perhaps we get all this police state crap from the Commonwealth.

  5. Mike Wilson
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Your party is trying to kid the people it can bind its successors by promising a referendum on the EU in the next parliament.

    Have to say, I don’t think it has fooled anyone.

    I share your dream of us having a self governing democracy again.

    My dream extends to a democracy constructed such that every vote counts.

  6. alan jutson
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Indeed, the EU dream is turning into a nightmare for many people and many Countries.

    The problem is, it is real for all of us.

    Those few still living in the dream world appear to be the MEP’s themselves, who are it would seem shielded from the realities of their own policies..

  7. matthu
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    By “your dream” do you mean that perfect outcome that you desire more than anything else, that thought that most occupies your mind, an overriding ambition that keeps you in politics? Or do you mean a fanciful notion that is playfully tucked away as something that is unlikely ever to happen?

    Because if that was my dream, I would align myself with a party that shared the same dream and disassociate myself from those who conspired to prevent my dream from ever being realised.

  8. Cheshire Girl
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I have a dream that one day Governments will listen to what the people want and put their own country first, which is what they were elected to do , but I’m not holding my breath!

  9. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    A commendable dream but I fear that is all it will remain with Cameron leading your party, regardless of his promise of renegotiations and a referendum. The nightmare would be that he succeeds in conning the people, as Wilson did in 1975, and lock us into this anti-democratic foreign organisation for our lifetimes.

  10. Bob
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    “My dream is that one day we will live again in a self governing democracy here in the UK.”

    It’s such a shame that you and your like minded colleagues are so heavily outnumbered within the Tory Party, especially at cabinet level.

  11. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    “free from overriding EU laws that we disagree with”

    They’re only “overriding” because Parliament agreed that they would be “overriding”.

    In particular, a small majority of the MPs we elected in 1970 treacherously agreed to it, and an overwhelming majority of the MPs we elected in 2010 still agree to it.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted August 29, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      @Denis Cooper: Denis, why would it be treacherous to agree to the “The European Communities Act 1972”? Isn’t this just because these MPs diverge from your opinion? There must have been several thousand MPs who, up to this day agree with this Act. I cannot even remember serious attempts to revoke this Act. Maybe there is some common sense underpinning this Act which goes unnoticed by you.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 30, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        Peter, every Tory MP had been elected on a 1970 election manifesto which said:

        “Our sole commitment is to negotiate; no more, no less.”

        That election pledge could not possibly encompass not merely negotiating but then going on to sign us up to legal subordination in a proto-federation without any reference back to the people, not even through another general election let alone a referendum.

        It was treachery, if not technically treason.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted August 30, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

          @Denis Cooper: Well, I seem to remember that there WAS a referendum shortly after, the 1975 referendum. I know your story about people having been mislead in that referendum, but I never hear you say that people in the Netherlands were mislead in the 2005 referendum, even though they were told that “if you’re against bull fights, you must vote against this European Constitution” and a lot of other nonsence.
          It seems to me that MPs should take their responsibility as they did in 1972, and because a parliament cannot bind its successor, the next H.o.C. and the next and the next, could all have revoked this 1972 Act. The fact that this never happened, doesn’t plead for you, it means that lots of sensible UK politicians apparently disagree with you. I expect that come a 2017 referendum, you’ll be a (respectable) minority once again. My hopes are pinned on yourger British who appear to be more pro Europe than the older generation.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 31, 2013 at 6:36 am | Permalink

            “Well, I seem to remember that there WAS a referendum shortly after, the 1975 referendum.”

            Yes, Peter, the operative word being “after”, and under a Labour government, a retrospective referendum during which most of the Tories compounded their previous treachery.

  12. Iain Gill
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    And I mean this very seriously, I think the UK has extreme prejudice and discrimination its just rarely based on race or colour, its normally based on regional or class based accents and is so common and deeply engrained that people don’t even realise its happening. I find the segregation of school kids into the best and worst schools based on the religion their parents pretend to follow upsetting in the extreme, and the segregation of pupils at school by religion very divisive and building up stores of trouble for years in the future. There is also a lot of open discrimination against white people, which the politically correct bubble never complain about, I find it as upsetting as any other racial discrimination.

    I’ve lived in the States and in many ways they still have massive problems that Martin Luther King would recognize if he were around today. They sure do have run down neighborhoods populated only by one skin colour, they sure do have expensive lifeguards protecting the white folk on the expensive beach while people are begging for food and in a real life and death battle with poverty a few streets away. But on the other hand they have sorted things a lot better than we have, nobody but nobody asks which school or uni you went to in a work environment and so on.

    There is a long way to go on both sides of the Atlantic.

  13. Bazman
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    From The Hood John what kind of facts are those?
    The problem with your dream is it might turn out for a large number of the British population. as for MLK would now be waging a crusade against the marginalization of black lives in America. 99 Problems.

  14. Richard1
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    I think it would be a good idea if credible Eurosceptic voices in the Conservative Party – you certainly qualify as all would agree no matter their view – would set out what a majority Conservative Govt should and could seek to achieve in a re-negotiation sufficient that the Eurosceptic majority could and should vote Yes in a referendum. It seems clear that on the present arrangements, No is the answer of those who want free markets, free trade and self-governing democracy. So what would we need in this 2 1/2 years of Conservative led re-negotiation to turn that into a Yes?

    Reply I want out of the federalist treaties, replaced by a free trade and co-operation agreement.

    • Richard1
      Posted August 30, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      That sounds like Switzerland’s arrangement. Could that be achieved whilst remaining nominally in the EU so as to save face and allow a referendum to pass, and other EU govts to support the new set-up? ?

  15. Martyn G
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    John, exactly so, as you say “6 European Treaties later, much of our independence and liberty has been replaced by EU controls, and rules we cannot ourselves change or amend in the light of experience”.
    To my mind the various politicians who have led us into this situation all, without exception, acted treasonably and for which I condemn them to damnation. What is more, I do not for a moment believe that Mr C will try to recover Parliaments’ lost sovereignty unless and until enough MPs within that increasingly EU-controlled regional government organisation stand up and rebel against it. But, I suspect that it is more likely to see and hear that a squadron of porkers have been refuelled, pre-flighted and are lined up ready for takeoff to perform aerobatics over England……

  16. gareth
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman on the night of February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, United States and the court verdict that followed shows that the dream is still just that – a dream not yet reality.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 29, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      How exactly does George Zimmerman shooting Trayvon Martin in self-defence because Trayvon was pummelling Zimmerman (as confirmed by seven eyewitnesses) mean that Martin Luther King’s Jr. dream is not yet reality?

  17. Max Dunbar
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    It took hundreds of years and a great deal of bloodshed to attain a self governing democracy in the UK.
    A couple of short decades and it’s almost gone. There is no going back to that system. It’s finished for the foreseeable future. New ways need to be found in order that we may continue to live in a country of our choosing and to our liking. The fatal flaw in conservative thinking is that things must be put back; that is unrealistic. A new way forward is needed but the first priority must be ruthless action against the forces of the Left who have infiltrated, subverted and dominated all our institutions.
    We need our own Long March

  18. Mark
    Posted August 29, 2013 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure just how much the racial divide in the US has gone away. When I lived in Washington DC it was three quarters mostly black – NE, SE and SW – and one quarter mostly white – NW (the city is split by the N-S and E-W roads that converge on the Capitol into quarters).

    Researchers at the Cooper Center of the University of Virgrgia have produced a map based on the 2010 US census that has a colour coded dot for every US inhabitant, based on the broad racial group they claimed to belong to. It can be zoomed in to city block level, offering a highly detailed picture of the degree of integration and segregation. It shows strong tendencies for black and hispanic people to cluster in their own areas (mainly in cities), and the Chinatowns of major cities are easily identifiable. Asians (in the US most often of Chinese or S.E. Asian origin) seem to be better at integrating with other populations. The map is here:

    http://demographics.coopercenter.org/DotMap/index.html

    Less geographically detailed analysis by county and state of the 2000 census shows greater detail of origins of the largest populations. After nearly 250 years, there are still concentrations of French ancestry bordering Quebec and in Louisiana. Italians are the largest group around NewYork, and predictably the Irish in Boston, English in parts of New England (and also in Utah). Clusters of Norwegian and Finnish heritage can be found on the Northern borders by Lake Superior where the winters are cold. African Americans dominate the former slave states of the South. German origins predominate otherwise in the rural North. The land of the South West that used to be part of Mexico in times gone by tends to have concentrations of Hispanic ancestry. More detail and maps by national group (including Scottish and Welsh) here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_ethnicity_in_the_United_States

    The point is that the melting pot really hasn’t thawed very much: those of a given national origin tend to stick together. Intermarriage is quite slow to break down the barriers, especially where underlying cultural differences are significant.

    I suspect that similar analyses in Europe and the UK would provide similar conclusions. Humans remain naturally tribal, whatever the wishes of idealists. Some natural human tribes learn the benefits of living co-operatively and peacefully and trading with their neighbours and forming alliances by intermarriage. Others seem to assume that their survival depends on fighting instead. In our past, the British have used both methods pragmatically to get ahead – as other empire builders did before us.

    It is worth noting that the ECSC came into being because of the French annexation in 1947 of Saarland and its coalfields (to which they retained rights until 1981, despite the return of the territory to German control in 1957). Strangely, it was Jean Monnet who was the architect of this annexation designed to bolster France’s economy: the same Jean Monnet who later promoted the formation of the EEC. What was his dream?

  19. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 29, 2013 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    I worked in Apartheid South Africa for 2.5 years and I’m glad it’s gone. I have the same attitude to segregation in the American deep South. But these were anti-black prejudices entrenched in law. What are we to make of positive discrimination and affirmative action in favour of women, ‘gays’ and black/coloured people?

    South Africa now operates a system known as BEE – Black Economic Empowerment. To win certain types of SA government work, the percentage of project hours worked by black and coloured people must exceed a fairly high threshold. It doesn’t seem to be an effective tool of demand management. The average income of whites exceeds that of blacks and coloureds by a factor of 8:1.

    We in the UK are not immune from this nonsense. Ken Livingstone, in his time as GLC leader, operated an active policy in favour of ‘minorities’. I once worked out that, by the time you stripped out Ken’s minorities, his ‘majority’ consisted of white, middle aged, heterosexual males with above average income and above average sex drive. No wonder that Ken won his elections.

  20. Old Albion
    Posted August 29, 2013 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    I too have a dream.
    I hope to see England recognised as the ‘proud and historic’ country it is.
    I hope to see England given democracy, equality and fairness within a new Federal UK. Or, failing that, independence.

  21. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted August 29, 2013 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    The difference between GB when we were younger and now is the composition of peoples within the total population. Views are so diverse and they do not derive from the concept of British fairness , which is often mocked in order to undermine our past commanding principles. We are all aware of our own history of imperialism, yet post war , new values were born and for all the talk , morals have deteriorated. Think about the free vote for non derived UK nationals to govern the UK ..

  22. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted August 29, 2013 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    With all respect for the Eurosceptic idealism and dream, may I confront you with mine?
    We now live on a continent where European electors can influence EU laws through the ballot box, through their chosen representatives, through their national parliaments and through citizen initiatives (such as the recent one in which the privatization of “water” was called to a halt).
    I have a dream that the countries which all joined the EU freely and have always been and are still free to leave, will grow more closely together in a more flexible, less bureacratic EU, which, through its attractiveness, will continue to be a magnet for peace, and provide a benchmark for values of human rights and democracy.
    You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 29, 2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    It’s interesting to read the Explanatory Notes for Part 3 of Hague’s European Union Act 2011, which was variously described beforehand as the “referendum lock” Bill – it has turned out to be more of a “referendum block” – and the “sovereignty” Bill.

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/12/notes/division/6/3

    On the one hand, Section 18, “Status of EU law dependent on continuing statutory basis”, ie EU law has no force whatever in this country beyond that granted to it by Parliament, but on the other hand:

    “This section does not alter the existing relationship between EU law and UK domestic law; in particular, the principle of the primacy of EU law. The principle of the primacy of EU law was established in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice before the accession of the United Kingdom to the European Communities. This is made clear, for example, in the judgment of the European Court of Justice in Costa v ENEL [1964] ECR 585 (6/64), and Parliament accepted this principle in approving the European Communities Act 1972.”

    Anyone who understands and accepts that principle of the primacy of EU law over our national law is by definition a euro-federalist, it being the same principle that applies within federations such as the USA.

    Under Clause 2 of Article VI of the US Constitution, known as the “supremacy clause”:

    http://constitutionus.com/

    “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

    So we have a Tory party which keeps claiming to be staunchly anti-federalist, but in 1972 that party knowingly signed us up to what could be called a proto-federation in Europe; and that party still insists that we must remain legally subordinated within it, and has even had its ingrained acceptance of euro-federalism written into the Explanatory Notes for an Act which was supposed to assert and defend our national sovereignty.

    • Barbara1
      Posted August 29, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      ” … and Parliament accepted this principle in approving the European Communities Act 1972.”

      How many of those MPs in the 1972 parliament knew that’s what they were accepting, I wonder? (Bearing in mind they told the country the very opposite).

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 30, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        Oh yes, most of them knew alright.

  24. Pleb
    Posted August 29, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    A lot of equality is illusion. White flight has led to racial groups living together with only a slow overlap. Equality will take a long time yet, but we are getting better at it.

  25. Credible
    Posted August 29, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    John,
    I can’t influence an election result because I live in a safe seat. My vote is pointless. You want that system to continue. Lets get our own democracy sorted out if we’re going to criticise the EU.

  26. Mark
    Posted August 29, 2013 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    At least Parliament has now reflected the will of the people. Perhaps the bureaucrats can now think of better ways to deal with the problems of sectarian wars civil wars in Islamic countries, and concentrate on not letting them migrate to our own shores.

  27. Robert Taggart
    Posted August 30, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    You forgot to add – vote UKIP – Johnny !

  • 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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