The UK’s future world role

I was asked to contribute to the BBC’s website on this topic yesterday. They commissioned me to write this piece with a tight deadline, which I did. They then failed to post it and said they had changed their mind. I will therefore share it with you, and leave you to wonder why the BBC behave like this. They now say they might post it some other day, after I complained.



The UK is the crossroads of the free world. Bridging the time zones of east and west, London makes the markets and leads many of the debates about how the world should change.

The UK belongs to many clubs and networks. As a member of the Security Council we will  undertake peacekeeping and armed intervention where the world community thinks it is needed. As a leading member of NATO we will be at the side of the US where we are happy with the common cause. Through the Commonwealth we create one the world’s great meeting places for an attractive diversity of countries and cultures, to strengthen the impulse to democracy, free trade and the rule of law.

The UK needs a new relationship with the European Union, as we cannot become part of a united Euroland. As the single currency seeks to create a country to love it, the UK has to reassert its independence. We need a relationship based on freer trade and political co-operation with the European continent, not one based on common government.

The UK is at her best when we take to the five oceans and the adbundant airspace over the globe. We are a nation of free traders, advocates of freedom and democracy, supporters of the oppressed and fighters for justice. We know the world does not owe us a living. We also know how to earn our living by working with the sources of power and wealth as they shift decisively towards the emerging markets. The UK is at its best creative, innovative and energetic. It will need to be all three as the world becomes more competitive in the years ahead.


I would add to my word limited comments:

The UK’s stature was enhanced by Parliament’s debate on Syria. Not only did the UK Parliament persuade the Coalition government to favour diplomacy over a  military strike, but our example helped influence the President of the USA to call the Congress for advice. I think many around the world will be glad that instead of a rash limited cruise missile strike against some Syrian targets, the main protagonists are now seeking a diplomatic solution to the problem of Syria’s chemical weapons.  It was a good example of how the “mother of Parliaments” can still show the world the important role of a deliberative assembly in influencing and changing government and speaking for the people.

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  1. colliemum
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    IMHO, the BBC didn’t publish your post because you had the temerity to write that we (the UK) cannot become part of a united Euroland.
    That’s done it for you, as far as the BBC is concerned!

    It is important that we look further afield than the stagnant EU. Take Syria, take Kenya: where was the EU? Did the USA talk to Mr Barroso and Madame Ashfield, or to Mr Cameron and Mr Hollande?
    Exactly …

    Btw – at the moment there is a fantastic filibuster going on at the US Senate, which started 12 hours ago. Anybody interested might hear the outstanding new Senator Ted Cruz of Texas on c-span filibustering …

    • sjb
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      I think the following url will bring up the relevant page on the BBC’s website:

      Robert Oulds, director of the Bruges Group, and others appear to cover some of the points made by JR. Nevertheless, JR appears to have been badly treated so I hope he pursues the matter further.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      The current US record for filibustering is 24 hours and 18 minutes and was set by Strom Thurmond, who was opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1957. So Ted Cruz still has some way to go if he wants to set a new record.

    • wab
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      Not that it matters that much, but it was not a filibuster. And what he was arguing for was to defeat consideration of a bill from the House that he supported. And after his “filibuster” he then voted to advance consideration of the House bill, like every single other senator, in spite of arguing for 21 hours (including not understanding what Green Eggs and Ham was about) that this should not happen. If Cruz is your latest right-wing fantasy hero, you need to find a better hero. It’s hard to believe that the Republican Party could plumb new depths of inanity after Bush, Jr., but they manage this day in and day out.

  2. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Nice piece, with the single comment that all this is also possible while remaining part of the EU as it could add rather than take away from the British role. E.g. the French often sees the EU as adding to its stature and, obviously, so does Germany.

    • REPay
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Peter, the French view the EU as their creation and club and co-opt it when it suits them and ignore it when they don’t. Les regles sont pour les Anglo-Saxons…:)

      PS I admire your tenacity on this web site. I want to make the EU work better rather than leave it but I think the euro means that is hard, but perhaps I am a Romantic like you!

      • Tad Davison
        Posted September 25, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        I wish some realist, rather than a romantic, would explain to me how we can make the EU work better, and then show me how we can make that happen when the other members don’t seem the slightest bit interested.


      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted September 26, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        @REPay: The euro, to me, was always a partly political decision in the early nineties in the wake of the iron curtain falling. The crisis has shown that the political drive to stick together is strong and although it may seem to make the recovery in the EZ slow, I think it is a price worth paying. Even little incidents like Gibraltar show us how easy it is for countries to descend down a path of animosities.

  3. lifelogic
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Once we return to a meaningful democracy resting on the natural UK demos we can return to being the positive force in the world you suggest. As an undemocratic region of the EU with no meaningful democracy and no cogent demos we are largely doomed. We also need to abandon the “expensive energy by government decree” religion and stop exporting and destroying jobs pointlessly, all based on bogus computer projections which have already been proved wrong and were always certain to be wrong.

    You cannot predict the chaotic & unpredictable. Alas with Cameron’s failures, Miliband to follow shorty and still all in the thrall to the global warming catastrophe god, the UK seems to be fairly doomed in the medium term anyway.

    A quote from the very sensible Physicist & Mathematician Freeman Dyson:-

    “What I disagree with very strongly, is the idea that climate is predictable, that we can sort of do things 100 years in advance knowing what is going to happen.  That is just not…  That is just not the way it is.”

    • Bazman
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      That does not mean do nothing and carry on in a fatalistic do nothing right wing pollution fantasy does it? The expansive energy it seem is coming from the energy companies billing themselves and then billing us in a smokescreen of tariffs, not green issues. Angela Knight? Yeah Right. Remind us again about how the banks need to do what they like to make banking profitable and safe?
      The Reason for you opposition to pay day loan companies exploiting desperation and poverty but not employers it seem has come to me! As a landlord you see these companies as sucking up rent as the debtor decides what is in their best interests to pay first from their poverty pay. Of course how indeedly simple!

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 26, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        No one ever really benefits from a 4000%+ APR payday loan. They do from a roof over their heads.

        I agree on the confusion marketing on energy we need a simple comparable tariffs done on a standard basis, like APR on loans perhaps.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 26, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          Loan sharks are bad Rachman landlords are acceptable by this logic?

    • uanime5
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      Given that the average global temperature has been rising for 100 years, as has CO2 emissions, it’s reasonable to believe that the average global temperature will continue to rise as long as CO2 emissions continue to rise.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 26, 2013 at 6:55 am | Permalink

        You miss out two important facts in your post Uni.
        One is the average temperature increase during the whole of the 20th century is 0.7 degree centigrade. Which is less than predicted in the original doomsday warnings.
        And two, since 1998, defying all the dire predictions of runaway temperature rises, the rate of increase has slowed dramatically and for the last 15 years is not behaving as predicted.
        Just thought some actual facts rather than predictions should be mentioned.
        Care to explain why Al Gore’s islands are still above water?
        No response from you despite several requests.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 26, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        Given that peoples have been getting taller for all the time co2 concentration has been increasing, is it reasonable to assume that is due to c02 too? Correlation is not proof (or even indication often) of causation, millions of things affect the weather not just c02 can you not see that?

        • Bob
          Posted September 26, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

          “millions of things affect the weather not just c02 can you not see that?”

          Evidently not, she thinks it’s just CO2 driven, despite the evidence to the contrary.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 26, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

          Things can be cross referenced against historical data such as trapped air and water and other solid references. Like most other scientific subjects the variables can be ascertained to make sense of the information.
          James Delingpole your poster boy is not a scientist no matter how much you want him to be. He has an MA in English Language and Literature from Oxford University and no scientific qualifications. Tell us again about these sorts of graduates and their shortcomings..

          • Edward2
            Posted September 27, 2013 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

            You like to discredit Mr Delingpole,,but he just reports facts that the IPCC and others don’t want to see published.
            Thank goodness for journalists like him who are prepared to argue an alternative view and maintain the fragile freedom of the press to say things many do not agree with.
            One day someone like him will be arguing the things you want aired that desperately need saying.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 28, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

            Delingpole just writes how it is not on any subject and when he is checked against what really was wrote or happened the wheels fall of his arguments as he writes for those such right wing believers this does not matter as they will not check up on him.Things that are observed are seen as ‘ad hoc’. Steady and unsettled as ‘runaway’ and so on. He rejects science in general when it goes against the free market and the individual to do what they want an in all cases His stance on the anything is ideological, not scientific, as his conclusions are formed on existing prejudices instead of the evidence.
            He is in fact a professional (entertainer? ed) like Clarkson. Ram it.

  4. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Good piece John. I know how you feel . I have had a long, long time of meeting targets and completing work for the goal posts to be changed again and again and then changed back to the original . Then they want to know years later how you knew what THEY were going to write.

  5. Excalibur
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    The final paragraph of your BBC contribution sums up succinctly, John, our national characteristics. Little surprise that the BBC declined to post it. They are wedded to the leftist dogma of ‘obsolete nationalism’ and EU hegemony. When is government going to trim their sails ??

  6. Bob
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    The current political establishment do not have the courage to deal with the BBC problem. They saw what happened to Murdoch when he challenged the BBC’s dominance.

    It’s really up to us individual to vote with our checkbooks and stop buying their TV Licenses.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Indeed you are right, Cameron even strengthened BBC think, pro EU, fake green, lefty bias and their bloated wastefulness by appointing Lord Patten of all people. Little doubt how Cameron thinks, whatever his mouth utters!

      If you do not watch “live” TV you are fine not to pay the licence fee propaganda tax, so just watch a little later on line if you must.

  7. Acorn
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    So, if we are so good, how come we are broke?

    PS. Obama was influenced by heavy negative telephone polling in the US. The UK decision was purely coincidental.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      The telephone polling and mood was surely affected by Miliband and some sensible Tories excellent stand on Syria.

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Acorn ,

      Same reason the U.S. and Europe are broke .

      Because successive generations of politicians handed the keys over to the financial services sector .

      That is if they ever really held the keys in the first place .

      Nothing which the man in the street can do will lead to a different outcome .

      No matter how hard we all collectively work we won’t get any closer to that carrot which is being dangled .

      Lloyd Blankfein talks about “doing God’s work” but I’m sure Jesus extolled Peter and Andrew to become “fishers of men” , not “farmers of men” .

      John , very good piece indeed . I don’t know why the BBC didn’t print it .

      • REPay
        Posted September 25, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        The problem is not the financial services sector…it is politicians buying votes on the backs on future generations!

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 25, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        You don’t know why the BBC did not print it! Well it is not “BBC think” is it and it does not mention anything offensive (to some) like “Bongo Bongo Land” or “the North East is full of desolate places for fracking”.

        When the BBC approach someone from JR’s rational side of politics they just what them to say something they can take out of context, cut and frame and then present as a newsworthy outrage to the public.

    • Acorn
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      JR, it is being reported on RT, that Brits are being deported from Ascension Island, to make way for a bigger US military base and a spy satellite ground station. Have we sold the Island to the US do you know. Years ago I met some RAF guys who had lived there.

      • Martyn G
        Posted September 25, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

        Ascension remains ours and is a British dependency with, of late, its own governance albeit somewhat limited in scope. Wideawake airfield was built by the US in WWII but, as Maggie said to Ronnie early on in the Falklands war (I know this for a fact because Maggie told me during her visit to Ascension on the 10th anniversary of that war when the US objected to our increased use of the airfield) she called him and said “Ronnie, it is our island and we will land as many aircraft on it as we please”. And we did.

        Almost every major dormant volcano has had its top trimmed flat, upon which sits a vast range of comms and satellite kit. Wideawake was an alternative airfield for space shuttles and the USAF base has room for expansion (though don’t know what is planned or going on there) and most of the non-USAF people there are St Helenians, who live in Georgetown or Two Boats village. I can think of no reason why they or the RAF or the UK contractors (I worked many times on Ascension both in the RAF and as a contractor) should UK citizens be asked to leave. Their accommodation is at UK-built ‘Travellers’ Hill’ and having resided there on many occasions for up to 6 months at a time, I doubt the Yanks would want to take it over!
        The Ascension newspaper (‘The Islander’) makes no reference to Brits being kicked out – it would undoubtedly (unless it happened today!) make a great deal of such an event.

  8. Roger Farmer
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    It neatly précis what quite possibly the majority of the electorate think ,and as such runs counter to BBC think and what it sees as it’s role in promoting political EU and it’s metro socialist agenda. Look upon their rejection as a compliment.
    Because the BBC has proven itself incapable of balanced broadcasting, it should be returned to the market place. It has lost it’s case for public funding. It is no longer impartial. In fact you will get a much better idea of what is going on in the World by watching Al Jazeera or RT.

  9. Bert Young
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    I’m not surprised at the BBC deciding to “put off” your piece . The political scene is hotting up and they would be disinclined to include a strong and well thought out “Conservative” contribution . It would be a great advantage to your leader to have the benefit of your wisdom in his inner sanctum . I await to see what Cameron has to offer in the forthcoming conference .

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Indeed had he listened to JR on his pre-election EU ratting and giving Clegg equal billing he would have won the election and been a real Prime Minister. Had he listened to him post election he could have been heading for another victory, rather than sinking the Tory Party again in the John Major style.

  10. John Bracewell
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Great stuff, Mr Redwood. It is so true yet so far away from BBC groupthink that as you imply it is no wonder they did not use it. Another example of BBC editing rather than reporting views on current affairs. If, as seems unlikely, the BBC do use it in future you should carefully vet the context they put it in, that’s if they tell you it has been used.

  11. Mike Wilson
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Have to say I would have mentioned something about the fact that despite whatever shortcomings this country has – it is still a place where many, many people around the world would give their right arm to live.

    So, we must be doing something right.

  12. Hope
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Very good piece. Outside of the BBC remit to publish/broadcast anything detrimental to further integration of the UK to an EU superstate. That is why no political party has changed the propaganda machine. The same is true with your party leader. Therein lies your problem and the problem of our nation. A few EU fanatics taking away our country, sovereignty, culture, religion, values. At some point you and other fellow MPs will have to drastic action to bring about change, if that means leaving your party and putting the country first then you should it.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      The piece yesterday about UKIP MEP fallout illustrates what can happen when an organisation’s growth outstrips its personnel. It is disappointing that no heavyweight MPs or Lords have been tempted to follow their beliefs. Unfortunately they seem content to pay lipservice to Cameron and stay with his version of the Conservative Party. Miliband really has to do a Kinnock to lose in 2015, but we will have had 10 years of Cameron whereas Major was still fresh. Nothing much seems to have changed in 20 years.

  13. Peter Davies
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Clearly they have more important things to report on like their idol labour party wanting to take the UK back to the 70s

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Perhaps tomorrow you will comment on the drivel espoused by Miliband yesterday?

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      All the usual drivel lefty emotional drivel, price controls, threats to property developers, energy producers, landlords, the rich and the likes. Rather like Heath and Camero and Mr Morally Repugnant in so many ways. Will we get power cuts and a three day week this time I wonder, better buy some candles?

      Still he was sound on Syria and they are going to cancel HS2, so in some ways better than Cameron? If they promise an EU referendum and stop the green energy drivel they might even be believed, unlike Cast Iron. Cameron is surely history, the only question is will he bury the party for as many terms as the foolish and still totally unapologetic John Major.

  15. Leslie Singleton
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Especially given that you put the phrase in quotes, allow me to point out that it is England that is the Mother of Parliaments. Also it is not clear whether the BBC decided against because they didn’t like it. I suspect they did not.

  16. Man of Kent
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    You didn’t really expect the BBC to publish this did you ?

  17. John Wrake
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    An excellent article. It is no wonder that the BBC pulled it, since it runs counter to the attitudes which control BBC output. I am afraid that the impartiality which was once the hallmark of British broadcasting has long disappeared and has been replaced by the excesses of Socialism and political correctness.

    John Wrake

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      I do not think they were ever that impartial. They were always pro a bigger state sector indeed the voice of the state sector.

      But now they are quack green, anti real science, pro EU and usually totally dumbed down & moronic too.

  18. Tad Davison
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Easy – you mentioned the ‘E’ word!

    The BBC doesn’t like anything that goes against their Utopian idea of a federal super-state. Put forward a good argument against it, and they find a way to bury it.

    Tad Davison


    • Bazman
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      How does the BBC differ in this to SKY then. Give examples. You cannot can you? More RWC and fantasy from the usual right wingers who should really just shut up.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 25, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

        Whilst as the left are always correct, so debate and any alternative views are not needed.
        By law if possible.
        How very democratic you are, Baz and Co

        • Bazman
          Posted September 26, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

          Thick right wing fantasy that cannot be upheld when questioned as it is left wing thinking for the rich is not debate or democratic. Notice when they are put forward any argument that they cannot answer, go silent, but then repeat the same point of view later on. As I said they need to shut up and stay shut up as they are wrong and they know it, but like any bigots, cannot.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 27, 2013 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

            Its a feature of left wing politics that debate really means attacking opponents with personal abuse and shouting down argument so any form of proper debate is stifled.

            Your opinions, I can tell you, appear just as repetitive and just as bigoted when read by others.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 28, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

            Blaming the blamer will not help and my point is that any debate is ignored as they know what the outcome will be. Aways happy to hear a better argument. Me.
            A prime example is that we can compete with the third world meaning on wages and conditions, but in reality cannot even compete with East Europeans living five to a room car. When pointed out, no reply, but then it is repeated later we need to compete with the third world again not said but implied on wages and conditions. How does not matter we just should. How? Doesn’t matter we should. How? By lower wages and conditions. Huh?! How? etc etc. They know full well the argument but choose not to believe it. What does that tell you and who is the bigot?

  19. Richard1
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    There will have to be a reappraisal of the UK’s role if Labour get in. miliband has revealed himself as a neo-marxist. I am reminded why I was pro EEC / EU in the 1980s and early 90s – it was a potential bulwark against a socialist govt. With miliband wanting to return to a prices (& incomes?) Policy, and proposing powers of expropriation of property, we need a route to be able to get out of the UK. The Eu at least allows free movement of people and capital. Should we all become Eurofederalists if it looks like Red Ed and the New Nasty party might get in?

  20. The PrangWizard
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Could you let us know what you think? Why do you think they pulled it? What do you think should happen to the BBC? You have had many, indeed enough, of our views surely by now. Isn’t it about time you let us know? I do hope you have made up your mind.

  21. Terry
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Is it any wonder the BBC turned it down? You did not say what they wanted to hear, John. Shame on you but well done, a fine summary of what is good about Britain and exactly what is good for her and her people. We love being an island.

  22. oldtimer
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    The action of the BBC does not surprise me. They accept cash from the EU. The sooner they are required to go back to their origins as a subscription service the better off we all shall be, and the better the BBC will have to be.

    Your article makes excellent points.

  23. cosmic
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    For the BBC this would be far too celebratory of the UK, “the UK at its best”, talk of markets and all the rest.

    Now if you’d written about post-colonial guilt, the need to spend more money on something or other – as long as it was useless, and the pressing need to micro-manage national decline, that would have been right up their street.

  24. Alte Fritz
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    It is hard to take issue with anything you say, but does it all amount to a world role? I do not think so.

    The USA certainly has a world role by default. China is acquiring one by economic brute force. In truth, though, everyone else has a walk on part. In our case, as you rightly illustrate, it can generally be for good rather than ill.

  25. lojolondon
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Dear John, they don’t need your input because you dared to suggest there could be life outside the EU, and your view on the independence of Westminster. Try writing an article about the massive scam that is “global warming” or anything good achieved by Israel in the last 30 years, and see if it is published.

    The BBC is NOT a place for open minds, it is a place for left-wing propaganda.

    • Bazman
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Seem to have very little to say when pulled on your propaganda and small minded outlook lojo like your fellow fantasist and chunterer ligogic. You just write what you think without thinking and hope to get away with it. You do not.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 26, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink

        You may well disagree with many of the contributors, but continually abusing them without showing how your own opinions are the correct ones, just makes you look like someone who just heckles and boos instead of debating in a civilised manner.

  26. Dvid Price
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I suspect you are not surprised.

    The BBC were reporting this lunchtime on “Labour Strategy” and making much of Milliband’s promise to freeze the energy costs to stop those naughty energy companies making a profit.

    Not one mention of the fact that Milliband as the previous DECC minister was the one who imposed the price hikes in the first place aka “government obligation levy” and is responsible for the woeful lack of provision of energy supplies.

  27. REPay
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I just heard Nick Clegg on WNYC (New York public radio) sounding very grown-up about the role parliament played in avoiding Syrian entanglement and echoing JR’s sentiments above on that historic vote. It did have a big impact here according to all commentators I have heard.

    I didn’t hear Clegg say anything about the EU of course…

  28. Chris
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Membership of the EU is increasingly irrelevant in that global organisations are the powers that are determining our direction – the EU is simply acting as a “distributor” of regulation and legislation, which has already been decided higher up in the hierarchy. We should be having a seat at the top table in these global organisations in our own right, as the UK, and not represented by the EU. That is one of Norway’s advantages as it has its own seat at the global negotiating tables, instead of being represented by the EU (as is the case in many situations with regards to the UK, where we have handed over powers to the EU to negotiate not only on our behalf but in the combined interests of all the other EU members). Norway, unlike us, is thus in a position to influence legislation in its formative stage, well before it filters down to the EU level. Unfortunately by that stage we, in the UK, just have to accept what the EU passes down to us. It is we who has fax democracy and not Norway. See Richard North’s excellent blog with many contributions on the power of global organisations, relative to the UK/EU, and Norway. He clearly sets out the principles of the globalisation agenda, and explains how little power the EU has in determining the direction of that debate, and how, as a member of the EU, we are simply at the receiving end of legislation, unable to exert meaningful influence. We are just too low in the hierarchy of power, having surrendered most of our negotiating powers to the EU. Latest article concentrates on the current airline emissions debate, but the basic principles are clear:
    “Global governance: hiding in plain sight”
    “…When Mr Cameron says we need to have a seat at the top table, therefore, it is to Montreal that we must go when discussing civil aviation, where the UK is a member of the 36-member governing council. There, it regulates a $708-billion global industry, greater in value than many countries, handling a collective budget considerably larger than the EU.
    A mere Regional Integration Organisation, such as the European Union, is there only to do as it is told by the global players, which just happen to include Norway. “

    • uanime5
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      You seem to have ignored that in many “global negotiating tables” the UK is represented by the UK and the EU. You’ve also ignored that what is agreed at these “global negotiating tables” and what becomes EU law are often very different.

  29. Jeffery
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    The closing paragraph on Syria seems disingenuous. As the quite comical wriggling of British propaganda and politicians indicates, the parliamentary vote was a bit of a global PR disaster, more so than I would have anticipated at the time. Its only possible positive effect was to stop Obama ‘using as little force as possible without being laughed at’ (to paraphrase leaks in the LA Times). No one seriously believes the Assad regime has initiated some degree of cooperation over chemical weapons for any other reason than to avoid a serious application of US air power, even if Congress had passed the buck back to where it belonged.

    • REPay
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Obama’s heart is not in it – he just had to prove that he responded to his “red line” statement on the campaign trail when he was trying to sound tough to counter Romney’s hard line.

    • zorro
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      Maybe….but perhaps the Syrians think that there may be advantages to signing the treaty and putting chemical weapons out of action. Firstly, it would make it difficult for any party to use chemical weapons from now on, andthat includes the ‘rebels’. Secondly, it puts some spotlight on a certain other neighbouring country which is not averse to firing missiles/launching strikes without provocation into other countries, and its conspicuous absence as a signatory on the Chemical Weapons Convention….Thirdly, it takes the wind out of the US’s claimed reason for wishing to launch strikes against Syria.


  30. Alte Fritz
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Since everyone else is having a go at the BBC…..

    Why do they describe Labour as Labour, Lib Dems as Lib Dems but Conservatives as Tories?

    I’m sure there would be uproar if Labour were labelled ‘Reds’.

    In my experience, if a non Conservative describes one as a Tory, it is on the way to being an insult. If I call myself a Tory, it is my choice. Should not news be impartial?

  31. Anonymous
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    A very well reasoned article.

  32. Gary
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    I threw my TV out. I am not paying a license to the BBC, blatant propagandists. Its subtext(and usually the overt) message is reprehensible to me. They must think we are really thick to swallow their rubbish. Maybe we are ? How depressing.

  33. zorro
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Alas John, you obviously forgot to read the BBC’s guidance document for contributing articles or perhaps Chris Patten got wind of it….But you state quite consistently the view of the those of us who are confident of the UK’s ability to project its commitment to freedom and democratic values. We have advantages – experienced diplomacy skills, possession of the lingua franca, pivotal geographical position between two continents, a long term stable democracy/society, historical background which incorporated one of the largest empires in the history of the world, and lasting contacts through it, and global membership of important organisations, including the Security Council which allows us the opportunity to ‘exercise influence’, set an example and give the lead for others to follow. We are strongest when we exercise this reasoned independence of action, rather than mere acquiescence with the USA.


  34. Max Dunbar
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Just a form of put-down and not unexpected. Very annoying for you and they know it. Cost to them? – nothing.
    Another one of the Left’s methods of trying to waste the opposition’s time and attempting to piss them off.

  35. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 26, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I suspect that the BBC thought you were off message – the BBC’s message that is. For a number of reasons, it is fairly clear that a purge of the BBC is needed, starting with that pro EU Church of Rome pseudo-Tory Lord Patten.

    Do you never wonder why some brilliant Eurosceptic speeches of the past are never reprised by the BBC – Margaret Thatcher’s Bruges speech and countless speeches of Enoch Powell? However, Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech was repeated ad nauseum and Kennedy’s lunatic inauguration speech (the Neo-Con wellspring) gets an airing from time to time.

  36. Mike Stallard
    Posted September 26, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    I would like to add that I think the BBC has behaved abominably. If you promise, then you stand by that promise no matter what. If your own remarks had not been fair and true, then all they had to do was to get someone “reliable” like Stephanie Flanders or Michael Crick to write a piece to a tight deadline pointing out where you were wrong.
    Bad manners at the top very quickly leads to general bad manners all round.
    Ask any member of the last government…

  37. Robert Taggart
    Posted September 27, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Agree with the latter comment – of yours – Johnny.
    Blighty does indeed belong to many Global ‘clubs’ – too many methinks – time to merge ? or even move – out ?!

  • 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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