Dr Spendlove likes the way it’s all going

 

         I have been fortunate indeed to receive a second leaked letter from the heart of government. Dr Spendlove is writing to his boss, Dame Lucy, about civil service preparations for the next government…

 

Dear Lucy,

          I am concerned that the Lord Chancellor and the Welfare Secretary are putting too much pressure on us  to proceed in ways that could be illegal under European Union laws and our Treaty obligations. I can assure you I am making clear to Ministers, and through the Attorney General’s advice, that we must not knowingly trigger infraction proceedings against the UK by being insouciant towards the European requirements on fair access to benefits. Nor must we drift away from our strong commitment to human rights, as manifest by the UK’s signature on the European Convention and the subsequent buttressing of this position through EU law as well. The protections we put in with colleagues in other European countries in the Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties should  work well. The UK would both look bad and would ultimately lose if Ministers persist in challenging the settled position on these matters.

          Thinking of these important issues has led me to suggest that we should soon start contingency planning for the next government to be elected in 2015. Whilst in current conditions we must plan for a  variety of outcomes, we know the measure of the Conservative and Liberal Democrats through their Ministerial positions in coalition. We will continue  to brief Conservative  Ministers of the crucial importance of keeping to EU law in the context of what they are wishing to do already, and suggest to them they should not have high expectations of what is achievable in the renegotiation they wish to undertake.

         The current opinion polls point  in the direction of a Labour government with a substantial majority, with the anti Labour vote split three ways between the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and UKIP. Of course this could change and we must not take a view that is anyway partisan. However, I think we can conclude from what we see so far that a government which wishes to seriously disrupt our European relati0nships is not very likely. It does look as if Eurosceptic voters have decided to split their forces in a way which may make them irrelevant to the conduct of proper government. Things will  be more difficult if there is a majority government that holds a referendum on membership of the EU.

         I appreciate it is quite early to seek permission to talk to the leading Opposition party about their programme and transition to government in the event of their winning. However, with European elections coming up and  the temptation for vote hungry parties to say things that are simply unrealistic in the European context, I wonder if we should not put out feelers now? If the official Opposition party, ahead in the polls, remains committed to the UK’s  current relationship with the EU and is not pledged to a referendum, it will make matters much easier from the point of view of the continuity of orderly government.  I think they should know the realistic assessment of the strength of the UK negotiating position that we have drawn up to guide Ministers who are too eager to suppose we can suddenly reduce EU competences.

        Conservative Ministers of course believe they can win a majority thanks to economic recovery, their offer of a referendum  and other government successes. We will continue to serve them faithfully , by reminding them of the realities of office  in a full member of the EU at a time of growing need for international solutions to the big problems like climate change and the mobility of labour. The Liberal Democrat Ministers we serve usually accept the EU legal advice seriously and willingly.

 

 

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73 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Indeed another depressing letter, but largely quite true one imagines. A Labour victory or a Lib/Lab coalition is surely now inevitable thanks to Cameron (and the fact that he lost the last election). If he could not even beat the sitting duck brown 2010, then what chance has he got in 2015? This after all his ratting and incompetence on the, expensive energy green crap (now finally admitted), the EU, his cast iron and IHT ratting, daft “investments” like HS2 and his endless tax and regulation increases.

    Cameron has failed to get fair voting constituencies, he says he does not want a Greater Switzerland (but gives us no reasons), will not even tell us what powers he wants back from the EU and his “heart and soul” is in the EU. We might as well just have Miliband and Unite they can not be far worse and we might get a real Tory party in 10 years time. He richly deserves to be destroyed after his ratting & complete and utter contempt for his core supporters.

    People in ambulances, for up to 6 hours at A&E it seems too and HSBC sensibly planning to move largely away from the UK it seems.

    Reply The 6 hour ambulance wait was in Labour controlled Wales.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Indeed it was a mere 3 hours in the UK I understand. One assumes these are people who are in quite a serious condition too, or they would have had to walk in to the waiting room and just sit there for hours on end instead.

      It also prevents the ambulance (and expensive ambulance staff) from doing their next job.

      What an inefficient way to run anything.

      I see the attempts are being made to justify the MPs proposed pay rise on the absurd grounds that it brings them up to the level of other similar level, sector jobs. But the state sector on average (pensions included) is already paid 50% than the private sector. They also work fewer hours, take more sick leave, have better working conditions and retire earlier. What is needed is something to level this 50% out, not yet more overpaid at the state sector level.

      Anyway, what other state sector jobs allows you to do countless other jobs and “consultancies” earning, often far more, on the side?

    • Hope
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Spend love was pleased that Osborne failed to mention the extra £2.2 billion to the EU this year and an additional £8 billion over five years to help the struggling Eurozone countries, the public has not picked up on it yet. An omission is not a lie but is in reality equally deceptive to hider actsf rom the public who do not have the time to find out and rely on politicians to act in their best interest. This is particularly satisfying when UK pensions are at the bottom of European state pension league tables and Osborne has now increased the pension age when his two main counter parts in Germany and France retire much earlier. Therefore the gullible UK public has been conned by the Tories once again, well done Cameron and Osborne. They financially help other countries to retire earlier with better pensions than their own countryman. To think MPs have froze everyone’s pay or freeze public sector pay at 1 percent and have an 11 percent pay rise themselves,brilliant just brilliant. All in it together eh.

    • Chris
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Reply to Mr Redwood:
      5 hours 51 minutes in East of England. Not something to be proud of.

    • Old Albion
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Yes quite so! Perhaps ‘lifelogic’ doesn’t understand there are four NHS in the (dis)UK.
      NHS Scotland/ NHS Wales/ NHS N.Ireland and NHS (dis)UK.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 9, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        Indeed and doubtless this division increases running and top management costs hugely (just the translations in to Welsh for the endless forms, the computer software and signs must get pricey. How many lives are lost and operations delayed due to the costs of these?

        Do the drugs have Welsh names I wonder and do all the staff have to learn some must do wonders for efficiency?

    • uanime5
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      I hear that people are having to wait in ambulances because waiting rooms are overcrowded because of:

      - The closure of several A&E departments have resulted in more people going to each A&E department.
      - The closure of several walk-in clinics have resulted in more people being sent to to A&E departments.
      - Fewer staff wanting to work in A&E departments because they can get the same money and a lower workload by working in any other department.

      So I’d have to say the Conservative policies of closing A&E departments and walk-in clinics hasn’t been successful. It seems in some cases you can’t do more with less.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 10, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        You should tread carefully here, because some of us have memories longer than that of a goldfish and know that this started under Labour.

        I don’t know where you were or what you were doing in February 2003, maybe you were busy with your GCSE’s, but here is a government paper from that time, now buried in the archives:

        http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130107105354/http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@en/documents/digitalasset/dh_4085947.pdf

        “Keeping the NHS Local – A New Direction of Travel”

        And, guess what, on page 16:

        “Why services may need to change – European Working Time Directive”

        “The requirements of the EWTD for continuous rest periods, and the ruling of the European Court of Justice that time spent resident on call counts as working time, (the SiMAP judgement), mean that it will impact most strongly on services which require 24 hour cover. Currently much of this cover is provided by doctors in training. If working patterns stay the same, compliance with EWTD would imply a sharp rise in the number of doctors needed to run a 24 hour service. This would present real problems for many smaller hospitals with limited staff in individual specialties.”

        I remember what went on with the reorganisation of hospital services in Buckinghamshire, and that there was hardly any mention in the local media that much of it was being driven by this decision of unaccountable and almost entirely foreign judges sitting in Luxembourg, apart from a few rare references such as this in February 2006:

        http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/688716.health_chief_defends_trust_over_changes/

        “Neither hospital had enough junior staff to run emergency rotas under the European working time directive – surgeons can’t work more than 56 hours a week, including being on call.

        Hospitals could not just take on more trainee surgeons if there were no jobs for them once qualified.”

        There is no need for you to reply to this, because I already know what your response will be – that the way we do things in this country is often rubbish and thank goodness we have foreign lawyers to put us right.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 10, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        Nothing to do with the huge increase in population nor the failure of GP’s to work outside basic office hours obviously.

        • Mark W
          Posted December 11, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink

          That’s the real problem. I’ve had to nervously go to A&E with my toddler just to get peace of mind after phoning the useless 111 (which defaults by covering itself with go to A&E) and the fact that if i could see a doctor or nurse from my own GP practice on a Saturday or Sunday morning that would be that.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 11, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

            My new local health centre is a great improvement with more Doctors, longer opening hours, a Chemists, Dentists and Physio available, together with several Nurses to take care of things like inoculations, flu jabs, blood tests, dressings changes etc.
            But it still remains shut weekends and evenings and over holiday periods, which put a strain on A and E departments as you have mentioned Mark.
            Having sat in A and E recently like you, I feel it would be a very good idea to charge those who have injured themselves by drinking too much a fee, for wasting doctors time.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Absolutely brilliant! Well done. A* star (with custard!)

    I particularly liked “knowingly trigger infraction proceedings against the UK by being insouciant towards the European requirements on fair access to benefits”

    • Timaction
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Excellent analysis but I would add that to continue to vote LibLabCon is continuity politics as all the leaders are Europhiles and follow our true Government in Brussels. I was reading the Commission website yesterday and they are already lining up Turkey and Macedonia as accession Countries in the not too distant future. I notice that the OBR have predicted another £10 billion increase in the UK’s contribution to the EU budget 2014-20 to add to our annual £14.25 billion gross contribution. For what?
      The EU is a political construct for the stealthy creation of the EU superstate. It has all the trappings of a Country and Mr Cameron and Mrs May have to ask permission to implement tiny changes to our welfare policy. They won’t agree to stop the free movement of people. We are therefore no longer a sovereign Nation despite the politicos pretending otherwise. Renegotiation has already been ruled out by our President Barosso. So if we want to be free from the unelected dictators how should we vote or do we want more of the same?

      • Hope
        Posted December 9, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        The EESA, the EU foreign office, consumes £452 million each year to duplicate or takeover from the FCO. Why is the Britsh taxpayer expected to pay for two foreign offices? The employees are on huge salaries, more than the PM. The EU defence force is building up nicely. Presumably this is why Cameron is keen to cut the size of our armed forces.

        No citizen in the 27 nations of the EU voted for any of those like Ashton, nor any of the decisions she makes. Amazing really, yet our government throws more of our money at this creation and fails to tell us each time they do so.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 9, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        No, we are still a sovereign nation, it’s just that we are a sovereign nation which mistakenly keeps electing MPs who do not believe in our national sovereignty and who have no desire to exercise it on our behalf.

        That’s why with a few honourable exceptions it’s pointless to vote for any parliamentary candidate approved by those leading the three old parties, who have transferred their primary allegiance to the EU.

        The ConservativeHome website has been running articles on the selection of candidates for the next election, and whenever I ask a simple but in my view fundamental question:

        “Do any of these people actually believe in the sovereignty of the Parliament to which they aspire to be elected?”

        there is never any answer; there may be indignation that somebody has asked what it seen as an irrelevant question, and there may be personal abuse, but there is never any answer.

        So I feel at liberty to conclude that the British Conservative party is once again selecting parliamentary candidates who are not committed to the sovereignty of the British Parliament as the representative of the sovereign British people, and that it would be pointless voting for them.

        • Hope
          Posted December 9, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

          Absolutely. Dennis a simple answer that they feel they do not want to answer. It could be viewed they are being deceptive with their intentions, not a sure footing to ask for votes. A bit like Cameron going into the last election, no one knew what he stood for but gave him the benefit of the doubt. He has lost that this time around.

          • Hope
            Posted December 9, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

            Or to put it another way. The Tories keep asking for us to let them finish the job. What job? Have they started the spending cuts? Have they settled the structural deficit? Have they kept the triple A rating? Have they used sound money? Have they cut taxes? Mass immigration stopped or cut significantly? Big Society and family? Have they reduced the cost of politicians? Reduced the cost of SPADS? Is parliament cleaned up and the gates of Westminster reopened? ECHR got rid of and replaced with British rights bill? No more bail outs to the EU directly or indirectly- IMF and Ireland? Lisbon Treaty forbids bail outs, but it is okay to have a fiscal compact. EU can mission creep beyond treaties but the UK cannot, why? Cameron opposes the Lisbon Treaty and all threats that it brings to UK sovereignty, when he had a chance to change it he did not bother. What are they finishing and does this mean a total sell out to the EU?

            Dennis, you are correct not waste your vote on the Tories.

            But gay marriage is now legal, I cannot recall where this was promised?

          • lifelogic
            Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

            Gay marriage yet, but not civil partnership for male/female relationships! “Equality” has its limits.

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted December 9, 2013 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

          Denis,
          It is noteworthy that our host declines to proffer an explanation for this lack of response by his party too. We must therefore conclude that it is indeed pointless to vote for a Conservative candidate.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        As Turkey has been trying to join the EU for over 60 years it has always been likely that they’d eventually join.

        • Timaction
          Posted December 10, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

          Do you think that’s a good thing? Being the resident leftie I would suggest you do with all the further implications of more mass migration and public services overwhelmed!

  3. Gary
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    If economic recovery is measured by more govt debt which inceases govt spending which increases gdp, record private debt and people drawing down savings at a record rate, then we are winning and God help us.

    • stred
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Add subsidised mortgage borrowing to inflate house prices and you have summed up the whole racket in one sentence.

  4. Alan
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood’s publication of a confidential government internal communication clearly breaches the Official Secrets Act. He must be prosecuted and convicted without delay. His sentence should include a term in a Greek jail, followed by many years of community service as an advisor to President Hollande on the further integration of the EU community. He should be required to speak French at all times, and forced to cross borders that have no immigration controls. All his money should be converted to euros.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      I agree with everything you said, Alan.* All except the last sentence. That did rather seem excessively cruel.

      * ;o)

  5. Chris S
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I am not a UKIP supporter ( Christopher Chope is my MP ) but there is a stark truth lurking in this email : if the Conservatives allow the right-of-centre vote to be split we will get a Labour government with a large majority.

    It is a fact that UKIP will not back down without a deal, largely because, rightly or wrongly, they don’t trust the current PM to deliver a referendum and a fair outcome.

    Most people don’t have any faith in renegotiation – it will simply give David Cameron a fig leaf to hide behind. Can you honestly believe he will actually recommend we leave the EU, no matter how little he brings back ?

    It will be Neville Chamberlain and Munich all over again. At best the piece of paper will contain promises to “review and consider”. In EU terms, we all know what that will mean !

    Members like you, John, need to look what is happening away from the South East and start calling for a deal to be done. Yes, I know UKIP will win, at best, a handful of seats but crucially their vote, up and down the country, will put Miliband in Downing Street.

    A majority of the electorate is likely to vote for a right-of-centre government in 2015 but without a deal, Eastleigh showed us what is likely to happen.

    UKIP and the Conservatives polled 58% of the vote in Eastleigh yet the LibDem won. F

    You have less than 18 months to prevent Labour destroying all the hard work done since 2010. Do you really want to see Miliband standing outside No 10 ?

    A deal is the most certain way of stopping that happening.

    • Chris
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Agree absolutely, Chris S. However, there are many Cons MPs, particularly apparently Eurosceptic ones, who would never countenance a deal with Nigel Farage. To those, I would say, please put your personal animosities aside and act for the best of the country and in line with what Cons grassroots want and not the Westminster village.

      • Posted December 9, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        We clearly aren’t going to see any hint of a possible deal until after the Euro elections although the Conservative side would have more to gain by acting sooner.

        UKIP supporters need to realise that getting the most votes and seats in May 2014 is going to turn, at best, into one or two seats at Westminster in 2015. The first past the post system will see to that.

        We can only hope that both parties will see sense after May :

        The Conservatives know they have no chance of wrestling seats away from Labour in much of the North but UKIP has a real chance of taking some seats in the region but only if they are allowed to run unopposed.

        Similarly, the Conservatives can win Eastleigh and other seats from the LibDems and Labour but only if UKIP agrees not to put up candidates against Eurosceptic Conservatives.

        The very possibility might encourage a few local Conservative Associations to deselect a number of Europhile candidates ! Could this be one reason why Tim Yeo was deselected ?

        For any deal to look attractive to UKIP, the Conservatives will need to give UKIP a clear run in up to 50 seats, either by running a joint candidate or allowing a UKIP candidate a clear run, unopposed.

        In the case of the latter constituencies, they can be seats that the Conservatives can’t hope to win – as long as there are a significant number in the total that UKIP would have a real chance of winning.

        I can see no reason why Cameron couldn’t run with UKIP members in the cabinet although he might struggle with the concept of Nigel Farage as Deputy MP !

        If in the last year of the parliament the Conservatives plus UKIP are running at significantly over 50% in the popular vote, both parties should be pressurised into heeding the wishes of the electorate rather than sticking to their own rigid dogma.

        Neither will be forgiven if they put Miliband in Downing Street.

        Reply UKIP currently have no MPs so Mr Cameron cannot put any of them into government Ministries. I do not understand how any of you think this deal between UKIP and the Conservatives will be struck. Mr Farage seems to have said there is no deal if Mr Cmaeron leads the Conservative party, and most Conservative MPs have confidence in Mr Cameron. It is also doubtful that Mr Farage could enforce any deal on his party, as local activists may well insist on running a candidate whatever. Unless both Mr Cameron and Mr Farage enter discussions in good faith to achieve a deal, it is not going to happen. At the moment neither wish to do that.

        • zorro
          Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply – ‘most Conservative MPs have confidence in Mr Cameron.’….. Does that include you John….?

          Chris S wasn’t suggesting UKIP would have Ministers now, he was molting the possibility post an election. I am not a UKIP supporter, but it is Tory pig headedness which would allow in Labour at the next election.

          zorro

          • zorro
            Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

            Mooting even….

        • Chris S
          Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

          Nobody, least of all me, is suggesting any UKIP members enter government before the General Election.

          If the polls are to be believed, a clear majority of the electorate seem to want a right of centre administration committed to either a referendum on leaving the EU or carrying out a renegotiation prior to such a referendum.

          If the two parties want to keep Labour out of power and see a renegotiation and/or a referendum take place, their best chance, probably their only chance, is to cooperate to give that majority what it wants.

          The outcome of the Euro elections next May will surely concentrate minds. The polls will make Nigel Farage realise he can’t win more than a handful of seats, at most, and many Eurosceptic Conservative MPs will look at the numbers and see early retirement coming in less than a year.

          If they have any common sense at all, past animosities will be put to one side and some kind of “arrangement” will emerge.

          If it doesn’t, you both deserve to be defeated but the country will suffer another disasterous Labour administration led by Miliband and Balls.

          It is completely unrealistic to expect UKIP to stay at home and Farage to endorse the Conservatives.

          I wish it wasn’t so but the problem is arithmetical : David Cameron made a huge miscalculation by not giving the highest priority to ensuring the equalisation of constituencies went through Parliament.

          As a direct result, Labour retains a built-in advantage of at least 20 seats and David Cameron has only the slimmest of chances of winning in 2015.

          Surely a UKIP / Conservative coalition is eminently preferable to a Labour government or even worse, a Lib/lab one ?

          Reply I have not offered a solution to this central problem, as I think it is genuinely difficult for both parties, with a high risk of no solution given the personalities and viewpoints on both sides.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted December 10, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

            You’re on the wrong track here.

            Firstly because a party which is constitutionally committed to removing us from the EU and restoring (and then hopefully improving) our national democracy is very unlikely to enter into any kind of deal with any party whose leaders are utterly committed to keeping us in the EU at all costs, which means all three of the old parties.

            And secondly because UKIP has been extending its support across the political spectrum; it is true that originally UKIP mainly pulled support away from the Tory party, but that is no longer the case and now even if UKIP were to completely disappear from the political scene the net benefit to the Tory party would be small.

            It should hardly need saying that by far the greatest obstacle to the Tory party winning a majority at the next election is the Labour party, not UKIP; because the Tories failed to win an overall majority in 2010 they haven’t been able to get the boundary changes they wanted and therefore need to be about 6% ahead of Labour; instead they are consistently about 6% behind Labour, meaning that they must persuade at least 6% of the electorate to switch to them from Labour; and even if UKIP completely disappeared, with only a fraction of its supporters returning to their party and another fraction returning to Labour, the Tories would still need to persuade maybe 5% of the electorate to switch to them from Labour.

          • Hope
            Posted December 11, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

            Do you support and have confidence in Cameron.

        • JoeSoap
          Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply
          Yes you are right on both points. No deal will be done unless Cameron steps down or is forced out. My guess is he’d rather lead your party into the wilderness than step down, so unless sufficient of you see the light and depose him you will be out in the wilderness for a long long time. The minute a sensible replacement could be found, however, i.e. one that Kippers thought would hold their word a deal could be struck. It really is in YOUR hands, you and a large enough number of Tory MPs. UKIP supporters have the belief, the will and the resources. Your guys only have the resources.

    • Bert Young
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      There should have been a PS in the letter to “Lucy” ; the further comment would have been ” Lucy , having re-read my letter , I have now come to the conclusion that a deal between the Conservatives and UKIP is the only sensible way forward ; such a deal would , of course , imply the resignation of David Cameron . I know he would resist , but , the outcome would be a great relief to us all ” .

      Reply Dr Spendlove does not want UKIP and Conservatives to win, nor is there any obvious way of these 2 parties doing a deal.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        “nor is there any obvious way of these 2 parties doing a deal” Indeed not with Cameron as the man could not be trusted on anything.

        Any what there is no way they will win even if they do do a deal.

      • zorro
        Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply – John, necessity is the mother of invention……

        zorro

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Well if as expected UKIP beat the Tories to third place in 2014 then perhaps some of those pesky Tories might do a deal and stop splitting the anti EU membership UKIP vote.

      A Tory vote under Cameron is clearly a vote for a “no Greater Switzerland” and “all my heart on soul to remain in the EU” as he has made very clear indeed.

      Alas there is no escape route that I can see.

    • Hope
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Cameron is copying and gold plating everything Miliband has done, why should anyone worry if he gets into office, at least he has his own ideas even if we do not agree with them. Anyone know what Cameron stands for or would be willing to bet their house on it?

      • Eddyh
        Posted December 9, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        We all know what Cameron stands for. To be Prime Minister with no serious policies or beliefs. Even Milliband who at least has Marxist beliefs would be a more honest PM.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 9, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Well we know where Cameron’s Heart and Soul lies and also that he does not want the UK to be a “Greater Switzerland” on Sea (but he cannot actually think of any sensible reasons why not).

        He does, at least now it seems, finally recognise Green Crap when he sees it, but then so much of it over the past few years has been actually spread about by him. The roofs, countryside and the seas in the UK are covered with it, and all done vast and pointless taxpayers expense.

        • lifelogic
          Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

          Oh and we also know he will rat if needed on any cast iron or other promises at the drop of a hat.

          So nothing he says can be trusted at all, which for a politician is a bit of a negative.

  6. Mark B
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    John Redwood MP wrote;

    ” I think they should know the realistic assessment of the strength of the UK negotiating position that we have drawn up to guide Ministers who are too eager to suppose we can suddenly reduce EU competences.”

    Now there’s an admission I never thought I’d see. It seems someone somewhere, ;o) has grasped the concept of the, ‘Aquis Communitaire.’

    ***
    Note to our host:

    I hope that this post does not take more than 24 hours like the last one to appear. My comments about the BBC were similar to those of others and non-offensive

    Reply The words are those of Dr Spendlove. I support seeing what deal we can negotiate then have an In Out vote so if we can’t get a worthwhile deal we exit.

  7. oldtimer
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    The letter rings true as an expression of civil service groupthink. Occupation of positions which operate the levers of power, legal backing and unremitting propaganda support from the BBC are, in combination, likely to ensure the result that Roy and Lucy so earnestly desire – a pliable Miliband government. But I have no doubt that they feel confident enough to be able to manipulate another coalition to follow their desired course because, at root, there is little difference between Cameron, Clegg and Miliband on the issues that concern the civil servants. This cosy arrangement will only be upset by an electoral earthquake.

  8. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Fashion it however you like, we know that your party, along with their siblings Labour and LibDems, is determined to keep the UK in the EU. Your leader has told us (if we didn’t already know). You can kid yourself as much as you like but don’t expect us to fall for it.

  9. David in Kent
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    For once I do wish that some of those UKIP fans who are usually so vocal on this website would respond to this too-realistic letter from Dr Spendlove.

    • arschloch
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Sorry but I cannot see what the point in voting Conservative actually is? Its a Conservative party in name only. Since Cameron became PM I paying more in tax, I have lost my child benefit and his continuity Nu Labour monetary policy of QE means I am paying more for food and fuel and receiving a pittance from my savings. Meanwhile his greatest efforts were clogging up the parliamentary agenda with gay marriage, what a bloody achievement! The history books will record that in the early 21st Century the British people were lead by a bunch of complete non-entities.

    • Bob
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      @David in Kent

      Don’t get sucked in by these modern day parables.
      They’re designed to put the fear of Labour into you and maintain the three party status quo.

      Vote for the party that you would like to see in government. Anything else is a perversion of our electoral system.

      Reply This is no parable. People need to understand the problem we face if we wish to re establish independent government in the UK. Proponents of greater EU integration are smart – we need to be as well.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 10, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        Well, it would not be smart to vote for a parliamentary candidate who is not committed to the sovereignty of our national Parliament.

        In the past I’ve referred to an event in the last Parliament, when Bill Cash put down an amendment designed to affirm and defend the sovereignty of Parliament against potential attack through the Lisbon Treaty, and only 48 MPs voted “aye”.

        Division No 120 on March 5th 2008, here:

        http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm080305/debtext/80305-0024.htm

        After the 2010 general election there were stories in the media about how loads of deeply eurosceptic Tory MPs had been elected; so let us see what happened on January 11th 2011 when a similar amendment came up, with MPs being asked to insert the words:

        “The sovereignty of the United Kingdom Parliament in relation to EU law is hereby reaffirmed.”

        into the European Union Bill, Division No 161 here:

        http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110111/debtext/110111-0004.htm

        Result: Ayes 39, Noes 314.

        The Bruges Group provided an analysis of that vote:

        http://www.brugesgroup.com/mpwatch/index.live?mp=0&division=7

        and found that this is what the Tory MPs did:

        Aye – 27
        No – 256
        Abstained – 22

        It is easy to bring up the names of those 256 Tory MPs who actively voted against reaffirming the sovereignty of our national Parliament; of course you will find Cameron and Hague and Lidington and Osborne and Grieve among them; and also my own MP, and does she really expect that I will vote for her at the next election?

        Reply One of many attempts we have made to reassert Parliament’s sovereignty.

    • cosmic
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      I think you are mixing up several things.

      Two obvious ones are the anti-EU vote and the anti-Labour vote.

      There’s also a section of non-voters who are not going to vote Conservative while the Cameron persuasion is in charge. If that’s confusing think about Christian attitudes to Pilate and Judas; Pilate was a Roman who backed away and is thought of as amoral and treated with contempt; Judas was a turncoat and is hated.

      I’d also say that Dr Spendlove and Dame Lucy represent a part of the government which is always there and has its own agenda, which is basically to grow. It’s naturally more inclined to the Miliband view of the world, not because it’s worried about ‘social justice’ or ‘the poor’ but because his basic sympathy for more state interference allows it to grow. He obviously isn’t one of them, otherwise he would have become a public servant. He’s a politician and has to mould and respond to the siren voice of ‘populism’, however, he’s more promising material to work with than a Conservative might be, and no doubt can be brought to appreciate the value of expert guidance, when needed.

      It’s been pretty much inevitable since the days of Pepys that administration would become so complex that no minister in place for a few years could master his brief properly. Given a cadre of experts, always there as elections come and go, it’s easy to see how they could develop their own agenda and easy to see why the EU fits that agenda to a tee.

  10. Posted December 9, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    The semi-disguised plea to “vote Tory or get Labour” is misguided. If the Tories want to dominate the right-of-centre of British politics then they actually have to BE right-of-centre. This means being able to point at a long list of powers repatriated from Brussels; a reduction in the national debt; a reduction in the number of foreigners in the country taking jobs and houses, and a reduction in the number of welfare dependents, especially foreign ones. This govt has only 18 months to run and so far nothing to show for its time in office.

    In his (widely derided) reply to the Autumn Statement, Ed Balls said two things that struck a chord with me: (i) in its three years in office this government has borrowed more than Labour did in 13 years (and let’s not forget Labour doubled the national debt between 1997 and 2010), and (ii) our standard of living has been continually falling for this government’s term in office. It’s not surprising Tory MPs tried hard to prevent him from speaking at all.

    I am currently a BNP/UKIP supporter (depending on what is available on the ballot paper on the day.) To get my vote the Tories need to be setting up a deal with UKIP right now. This means joint-candidates, a single combined manifesto and “giving” UKIP some winnable constituencies. Absent this, likely the Tories will not be in government after 2015.

    I should warn you that the refuseniks out on the far right (such as me) think that the next Labour government will bring down the entire house of cards (sterling crisis, gilt auction failures, typical PIIGS scenario) and this would be a good thing! They will not keep the Tories in power just to avoid a melt-down because they (we) expect a genuine Nationalist/Patriotic government to arise from the ashes.

    • arschloch
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      With his continual advocacy of the homosexual rights agenda I would have thought all you BNP supporters would owe Dave a great debt of gratitude?

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      Many former supporters of the Conservative Party are now out to destroy it. It’s quite obvious from the tone of the responses here that this is the case. They see the destruction of the Tory Party as a prerequisite to a repositioning and rebalancing of our political system. There is no pleasure in taking that line or malicious satisfaction in the demise of a, one great, party. It is felt that the animal must be put down for its own good as well as ours.
      Whether UKIP has the tactical ability to win constituencies in any numbers remains to be seen. They quite obviously lack the efficient election fighting machinery at present but no doubt this will improve – it has to.
      As far as the BNP are concerned, they are a spent force with a leader who could only take them so far and their high water mark was in 2009.

  11. Man of Kent
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I think the notion of UKIP splitting the Conservative vote is overdone.

    In April I went to hear Nigel Farage speak in Gravesend on a Friday evening and then Dan Hannan in Tenterden the next morning.

    The two audiences could not have been more different.

    UKIP had a full house ,I sat next to a 21 yo student from Essex who said he had joined UKIP [but had yet to tell his fellow students !]
    There was a broad range of ages in an audience of 350 or so.

    Speakers came from ‘old labour’ backgrounds ,many black or Asian , also Simon Heffer
    now of the D.Mail .
    Nigel was pitch perfect for the audience .

    Dan Hannan is a brilliant speaker but his audience was 30-40 senior citizens all out of the same conservative mould.

    UKIP reckon that they draw their support pretty equally ,with the added advantage that some 20% of their vote comes from those who have never voted before.

    My limited experience supports this contention.

    UKIP cannot afford to do deals with the Conservatives without upsetting the majority of their membership.

  12. Peter Stroud
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    The whole letter was depressing: but became unbearable when he mentioned climate change. Obviously the man is not only a dedicated Europhile, but he is a CAGW believer as well.

  13. acorn
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Dear Roy
    Please do not over stress yourself. I do not envisage as much change as you do in the politico-economic heading of the nation. We have yet to have clear sight of the weaponry to be deployed for the next General Election. The outcome of the Euro election, will change nothing as far as the Civil Service is concerned; but, it could require re-arming some policy areas in all parties. Formal CS contact with the opposition could be authorised, by the PM, from January. Perhaps we can assess the possible “change”workload next spring after the Euro election.

    Frankly Roy, the chance of another coalition are small, which will disappoint the media who have been the clear winners of the current coalition. Even with changes to a few PPCs there will still not be a Eurosceptic majority. The official opposition seriously lacks fire power in all departments. Other opposition parties are mainly one trick ponies. I expect the Conservative party to put up a lot of suppressing flak should they get into its air space.

    There is an “out-of-the-box” possibility. The “other brother” could come back from the States, guns blazing. This would be a game changer and turn an outside chance of an opposition win, into an evens bet. The Conservatives would have to parachute in BoJo to match that, but he is not an EU in out referendum guy either, so that will save us some man-hours.

    Anyway dearest Roy, as usual, keep your eye on the “oddschecker” site. UKIP is shortening for the Euros.
    Love Lucy

  14. con
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Is this Mr Spendlove for real, or is it a continuing parody?
    I hesitate to make a considered comment for fear of being accused of not seeing the joke.

    • cosmic
      Posted December 10, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      The best satire is basically a retailing of the truth with only a few carefully judged exaggerations.

  15. Posted December 9, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    David in Kent,

    Has it not struck you that those too-vocal fans of UKIP, as you describe them, don’t get too excited about fictional correspondence, but are more concerned with the reality of politicians who are led by the nose by self-serving so-called civil servants because, in their hearts, they agree with their advisers.

    The present government is a coalition of Liberal Democrats, avowedly treasonous, since they wish the destruction of the nation state to which they have sworn allegiance and the Conservatives, led by a man in sympathy with his Liberal Democrat colleagues, who is on record as wanting to continue the take-over of Great Britain by the European Union.

    The best this coalition can offer the electorate is an on-going plea for support to prevent a Labour government in 2015 doing what they are doing themselves, but by different means.

    And the incentive for this support? An appeal to fear of the Labour Party taking away their personal power and further bankrupting the nation.

    If it is realism you seek, you need to get real yourself, first.

    John Wrake.

  16. Gareth
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    This reminds me of the Screwtape Letters.

  17. Antisthenes
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    David Cameron and some of his ministers are either the most optimistic people who ever lived or are deliberately deceiving the people of the UK. Promises are being made that the Dr Spendlove’s and Dame lucy’s must be advising them are totally unattainable because of EU law. In fact they do not need civil servants to tell them because it was already obvious to us laymen so should have been to them. On benefits, prisoners rights to vote, repatriation of powers and renegotiation among others the UK has no control over and will not be given any. The UK sovereignty is as good as gone and have received nothing in return not even that fabled means of influencing how the EU works as the UK is only one voice among 28 and nearly always a lone voice at that and never able to attract the majority or most influential to it’s side.

    If Cameron is relying on the turn round in the economy to let him stay in no 10 then he is going to be disappointed as history tells us economic good news rarely is a major influence on how the electorate will vote. They are more interested in who offers the greatest redistribution of wealth bribes or will best further vested interests pet causes.

  18. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    “The protections we put in with colleagues in other European countries in the Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties should work well.”

    To be clear about this, anything that is in either of those treaties, or any other EU treaty, is only there because MPs supinely voted to approve those treaties in their entirety; if they had had the backbone to insist that some parts of a treaty were totally unacceptable then it would have been impossible for Parliament to approve the treaty and it could not have come into force.

    Civil servants obviously had a hand in drafting the treaties, but MPs had the last word on whether they could come into force and so the blame rests squarely with MPs.

    Reply Indeed – I and my party voted against, Labour and Lib Dems drove it through with their large majority.Ultimately it is the UK voters who determine this by the balance of views in the Parliament.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think you can be allowed to get away with claiming credit because the Tory party made a show of opposing the more recent treaties when those treaties built upon the earlier treaties that the Tory party had pushed through when it was in government. And I well recall that when Blair mocked Cameron in the Commons, saying that the latter was only “going through the motions” of opposing the Lisbon Treaty, that gibe had a ring of truth about it. We really cannot continue with this gross deception of Party A in opposition pretending to be dead against the further EU integration being pushed by Party B in government, and then the two of them later swapping their roles. There has to be a change, and it is clear that change will not come from any of the old parties, all three of which are led by people whose primary allegiance is to the EU and not to this country and its people.

      Reply In that case expect more of the same.

  19. Posted December 9, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Reply to Denis Cooper at 5.04:

    Mr. Redwood,

    That will not do!

    When someone commits a fraudulent act, whoever suffers the result may be careless or naïve or credulous, but the sufferer is not responsible for the outcome. The responsibility lies with the criminal.

    You cannot blame the present situation on an electorate which has been lied to by politicians of all three major parties, either directly, or by condoning the lies of others.

    It is too easy to blame self-serving apparatchiks or gullible voters. M.P.s are elected to legislate in the interests of the nation and they continue to fail spectacularly to do so.

    John Wrake.

    Reply In a democracy the electorate has plenty of opportunity to blow away MPs and parties who lie to them or displease them. You have to ask yourself why so many of our fellow citizens do vote for parties and people you clearly despise.

    • zorro
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – why do you think that so many people vote for such parties/people?

      zorro

    • Chris S
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      It’s simple, over 13 years Gordon Brown transformed the country in such a way that half a million more people worked for the state and there was a huge increase in the number of people depending on benefits of one sort or another.

      We cannot expect too many of these people to act like Turkeys voting for Christmas.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      I have asked myself that, and it seems to me that part of the answer is that most people are too busy living their lives to spend a lot of time on politics. They may follow the news as presented by the mass media, and they may have thoughts on current developments, but they don’t have the time, or even the inclination, to delve into the details, such as what the person they voted for is actually doing in Parliament. Then if it somehow comes to their attention that the person they voted for is actually working against their own views and interests that is unwelcome information, and indeed something they would rather not know as it means that they made a mistake; and if they have voted for that person or other candidates of his party at a number of elections, it is emotionally painful to recognise how their trust has been betrayed, and it can be a great wrench to vote differently at the next election. I note that even after she had heard Gordon Brown describing her as a “bigoted woman” Mrs Duffy was still prepared to vote Labour at that election, and the same is true for those who habitually vote for the other old parties; it takes a succession of knocks to dislodge them from their habitual party loyalty, until eventually there is the proverbial last straw and they’ve had enough.

  20. Narrow shoulders
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Off topic for which I apologise.

    Those MPs who believe the 11% proposed rise is justified should resurrect the proposed boundary changes scrapped when Mr Clegg reneged on his agreement.

    Following a 10% reduction in the number of MPs an 11.4% rise in salaries would represent only 0.25% more than the current number being awarded 1% on their salaries at this time. A more palatable total cost and productivity outcome for the voters.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      How can boundary changes be resurrected? Parliament voted not to consider boundary changes until after the next election.

      • Chris S
        Posted December 10, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        It’s simple : Cameron and Clegg should allow their MPs a free vote on the introduction of the boundary changes in return for allowing the pay rise through without pressurising members to decline it or threatening legislation to cancel it.

        With an 11% pay rise on offer, I suspect the Lib Dems will vote in favour and the boundary changes would then be in place before the 2015 election.

  21. m brandreth-jones
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    The contingency plans which overtly cast moves and may be counteracted by ensuring the UK will not be back -walled are not the ones Mr A.U.Sterity can see clearly. His perceptual talents are limited to chessboard- like moves where only two black kings and two white kings are included in the game .

  22. uanime5
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    I can assure you I am making clear to Ministers, and through the Attorney General’s advice, that we must not knowingly trigger infraction proceedings against the UK by being insouciant towards the European requirements on fair access to benefits.

    Good to hear that the government is going to comply with the law. Especially since adding a one year residency requirement to benefit laws is all that’s needed to create an EU compatible way to prevent new migrants claiming benefits the day they arrive.

    The UK would both look bad and would ultimately lose if Ministers persist in challenging the settled position on these matters.

    Sensible advice about not picking fights the UK is unlikely to win. At a time when the Chancellor is talking about austerity and cuts the last thing the UK needs is to engage in an expensive legal battle with the EU.

    Things will be more difficult if there is a majority government that holds a referendum on membership of the EU.

    Well other countries are less likely to invest in the UK if we’re likely to leave the EU, due to all the changes that will accompany this. They’ll probably wait to see what happens.

    Conservative Ministers of course believe they can win a majority thanks to economic recovery, their offer of a referendum and other government successes.

    Unless the economic recovery creates more jobs, or stops living standards and wages falling most people won’t consider it a success.

    Speaking of Conservative ministers and welfare the Universal Credit was meant to have 1 million people on it by 2014; it currently has just over 2,000 and has wasted £140 million on an IT system that had to be scrapped. I wonder how Ian Duncan Smith will explain these problems to the Select Committee tomorrow.

  23. Posted December 10, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Reply to reply at 6.00p.m.:

    The many opportunities to which you refer consist of voting for a party with a different name but the same unconstitutional policies at a general election, now organised to only happen every five years. The opportunities are so well recognised that more and more voters don’t bother to vote at all!

    I am aware that you can fool some of the people all of the time, because many ordinary folk do not contemplate that their representatives would lie or prevaricate in the way some do.

    I do not despise politicians because they are politicians – just those who do not act in accordance with conscience, or the best interests of the nation they have promised to serve, or the clearly expressed views of those they purport to represent.

    If you feel this does not apply to you, then do not apply it.

    John Wrake.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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