I agree with Nick – up to a point

 

When Nick Clegg says he wants to “keep Britain propserous, safe and strong” I say I agree. When he says he wants to stay in Europe because that “means in work” I ask  has he looked at the unemployment statistics in much of the EU recently?

He trots out the old fib about keeping 3million jobs in our export industries by staying in, as if we would lose our trade with the EU if we have a new relationship or simply left. Germany is very keen to keep the same arrangements as at present for trade so she can continue to export so much to us, whether we leave or stay in.

He should ask why so many of the Euro area countries are blighted by very high unemployment. Why are Spain and Greece cursed with unemployment of around a quarter, more than three times our rate? Why is youth unemployment at the shocking rate of 50% in parts of the zone? Why has Euro growth been non existent for the last three years, when the UK has managed 3% and the USA 8%?

It is good to see the Liberal Democrats coming out to  explain their views. Whilst they do so in ways which are often unflattering about their Conservative partners in government, it does confirm that this Coalition has been riven by major disagreements, especially on the question of the EU.

The Liberal Democrats may not be good allies. They do seem now to want to stress just how many disagreements there are.  There is no sense of Ministerial unity or common purpose in a series of statements from senior Lib Dems in recent days.  There is none bigger than over the EU. The biggest disappointment for most Conservatives about the Coalition is summed up in the juvenile defence of our membership sent out this week by Mr Clegg. He is wrong that prosperity and stability have been assured in Euroland, when the opposite has been the case thanks to the Euro crisis, mass unemployment and lack of growth. He is wrong to say the EU offers and guarantees us jobs, when the decline of the EU market has adversely hit our exports, and when countries outside the EU have been offered as good or better terms to trade with the EU than we have as an inside  member.

There is indeed, Mr Clegg, a big disagreement between the two parties on the EU and our future in relation to it. It is a huge pity Mr Clegg stands in the way of getting on with renegotiating  our relationship immediately. That could lead to more jobs and more stability for us, backed as it is by the option of leaving if a sensible relationship is not on offer.

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121 Comments

  1. Arschloch
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    John you are becoming as delusional and out of touch as Nick when you churn stuff out like this. You are comparing the UKs economic performance against states that were fascist dictatorships until the mid 70’s. Why not pick on someone our own size like Germany? Its a bit of a different story there, especially with regard to youth unemployment. Lets have a look at UK national average earnings are they going up or down in real terms? What about all these new jobs? Do they come with loads of perks like BUPA and a DB pension scheme or more likely a zero hours contract? I wish you would write with your professional head on. As things stand as you provide a commentary on the UKs economy on a par with Pravda’s of the Soviet one.

    Reply What nonsense – |I have often written critical articles on UK economic matters, but when some things improve I am allowed on my own site to say so! If my commentary is so useless, why do you read it?

    • Richard1
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Arschloch your point is wrong, the comparison is entirely reasonable. If anything you would expect countries which had been subject to socialist / fascist dictatorship to show faster growth as they emerge into the global economy. This is indeed what we have seen in Eastern Europe, where free market policies have been pursued.

    • Arschloch
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Its not useless it just confirms to me that the political class has nothing to offer, more than than the failed prescription of QE (which is making things worse) and a hope that something will turn up. When it comes to the crunch, as the people on the Levels are finding out, the leadership is just not there. It is busying itself with non issues such as windmills, blaming everything on Brussels etc

      PS Does it not look that Dave is having his “Hurricane Katrina” moment by not being down in Somerset? His diary should have enough space, as he is not in Sochi, presumably because he disagrees with Russia’s record on gay rights. What more important issues are on his mind at the minute?

      • Richard1
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        Arschloch the point you make above is meaningless. It is entirely reasonable to compare the UK with other European states. To the extent other states were under socialist / fascist dictatorships you would expect them to show faster growth as they emerge into the global economy.

      • Bert Young
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        I think your ” nom de plume ” is very appropriate !

        • Arschloch
          Posted February 7, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

          Keep drinking the Kool Aid Bertie! When things come to ahead it’s the retired on a fixed income like yourself who will feel the worst of it

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Presume you mean ‘fascist’ Spain? It may be of interest to compare their unemployment figures of the 70s to today but probably of no real relevance.
      And Germany?

    • libertarian
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      Arschlock

      It would help if you had the first clue about employment in the UK Germany or anywhere else….you don’t.

      How many UK jobs are zero hour contracts? Answer less than 1% How many zero hour contract jobs in Germany? About the same .

    • APL
      Posted February 8, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      JR: “but when some things improve I am allowed on my own site to say so! ”

      Perhaps I may be allowed to tell you what it’s like at the coal face.

      In the last four years, I have taken an 80% drop in my salary, had frequent months without income, scratching around for any job, in the mean time, my savings have dwindled – because despite being a fairly responsible fellow, my costs – gas electricity, council tax and, since I am a human, food for a family of four have all increased.

      You, in the public sector, facing a pay rise from £64,000 to £74,000 might thing things are improving, but I can assure you, ‘things’ aren’t improving.

      Just a polite message to planet politician, from the real world.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    I think this is an important observation although at first it seems irrelevant:

    I work on Thursday nights teaching immigrants English. I am not paid. I thoroughly enjoy the lessons and I think they do too. We laugh a lot and it is fun. They come back.
    On Wednesdays I work for a big organisation and am paid. I have (honestly) an inch of A4 paperwork to fill in. I am checked up on by several people who know very little about teaching. I do what I am told on some more paper. Out of a two hour lesson, one was wasted on filling in forms. Lesson preparation goes by the board.

    I wonder how farmers feel with the CAP? I wonder how businessmen feel with all that 1000 pages of tax returns? I wonder how state employees feel all the time with compliance? I wonder about what used once to be trusted professionals – doctors, teachers, vicars – now working as puppets?

    No wonder there is high unemployment and economic stagnation!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Indeed it is not just the huge & largely parasitic over paid state that does the damage. It is just as much the top down over regulation, that diverts & wastes so much time of the people who are actually are productive. They could be so much more productive if just left to get on with the job.

    • bigneil
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Please don’t take this as a personal attack – you make the point of high unemployment, yet you are teaching immigrants English -for free ! Aren’t you actually helping to raise the unemployment figures for the English?

      The vast majority of people coming here are coming for one thing only – their benefit, not this country’s. (no financial pun intended).

      • JoeSoap
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        No, I see it as positive that immigrants wish to learn English.
        It means they want to integrate and probably work.
        Infact turning this the other way round, if we could swap those who are here and can’t/won’t learn English for the same number who would, we’d all benefit (and the ones who can’t integrate too).

    • Graham
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Mike,

      Laudable as you feel it is I can’t help but suspect that you are not, in the wider scheme of things, helping the country (and even the local community) by providing indirect encouragement for more immigration.

      Having said that you are obviously a good guy!!!

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Why are you teaching immigrants English when you could be teaching the English English?

      • Bob
        Posted February 8, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink


        Why are you teaching immigrants English when you could be teaching the English English?

        Top comment.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    “This Coalition has been riven by major disagreements, especially on the question of the EU.”

    Well not really between Cameron, most ministers and the Libdems as most Ministers are essentially Libdems on this issue (and indeed most issues anyway). Perhaps just some disagreement with the largely powerless, circa 100 on the sensible Tory wing.

    The defence of the EU is almost never made (they are too scared to make it knowing it is politically unpopular and has so little merit). When it is made it is always made in juvenile terms. The 3 Million jobs and “a say in the rules” nonsense are trotted out and not much else.

    The only real reason to stay in is that the EU will gang up on the UK if we leave. But they do this anyway and far more effectively with the powers they have now been given by our pathetic governments over the last 40 years – all without the proper informed consent of the people.

    Having energy at three times the price of the USA, because of Cameron’s absurd exaggerated greencrap religion is not very helpful for growth or competitive advantage either. Not for keeping our OAPs warm in winter.

    The endless pro EU and ever bigger state drivel from the BBC causes a hugely distorted debate on the EU, economics (and on green issues). Once again this is cheered on by Cameron and his man Lord Patten.

    Cameron is essentially a Libdem why is he in the Tory party? The reason surely is he thought is was the best bet to get to power and advance his career.

    Reply You are wrong about Mr Cameron. He sides with the 100 on the big issues, making the renegotiation and the referendum this country needs Conservative policy against the wishes of the Lib Dems who stop us doing it now.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      No old style Conservative would have agreed to Clegg being anywhere near an election debate never mind having a coalition goverment with him and then giving away the store to the Libdems in Cabinet. Cameron’s election to party leader was fair but too many were deluded by his slick delivery as most were with Blair. I am glad that neither fooled me. Miliband is a racing certainty for next PM.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Well why did he throw the last election with his Cast Iron ratting, why did he appoint Lord Patten of all people to the BBC, what has he actually got against a Greater Switzerland/Norway and why can he not tell us, why did he keep 50% and now 45% income tax rates destroying jobs and growth, why did he rat on IHT thresholds, why has he appointed so few of the sensible 100 to his cabinet,
      why did he resist having Jacob Rees-Mogg as a candidate, why is he still paying huge subsidies for the economic and environmental nonsenses of intermittent wind and PV energy production, why are government departments still so incompetent and so hugely wasteful, why is the in three letters NHS still so hugely disfunctional, why can he not eventell us what powers he want back from the EU?

      Why does he think governments should set gender insurance premiums and annuity rates? Market distortions and big government all over the place making everyone poorer and killing growth and jobs as a direct result.

      Now he want a big increase in the minimum wage I hear too. Perhaps even daft laws to try to control the price of holidays in school holiday times next?

      He is simply not a Tory in his genes. With A levels in History of Art, History and Economics with Politics and then on to Oxford PPE he lacks any science, logic or maths, is he even remotely numerate?

      Surely if he were remotely numerate he would realise the huge damage that his endless market interventions & daft gender insurance laws do.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Idiotic, uneconomic tidal energy lagoons now proposed for Swansea bay I see. How much tax subsidy will Cameron give to this nonsense – hopefully non.

      They cannot even protects a few metres of mainline railway in Dawlish and they want to build a six mile new wall in the sea just to generate almost no electricity.

      Get fracking now and kill the greencrap.

      • behindthefrogs
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        It is estimated that 20 such lagoons would generate 30% of the UK’s electricity requirements, hardly generating no electricity. We need to find every means possible of stopping the import of coal, gas and lpg. Fracking is hardly the best option.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 7, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          It will cost far more to build and maintain the lagoons than the (true) value of electricity that can ever be extracted. The physics of the energy production is quite simple it has not changed as far as I know – about two tides a day, certain tidal range X area enclosed X a constant. To get a lot of energy you need a very large area enclosed which means a long large wall or barrier. Then you have to maintain it through all the storms and keep the generators running.

          Just do the sums then get fracking.

          My Guestimates:

          The web site say vaguely capable of generating predictable, renewable electricity for over 120,000 homes for over 120 years.
          No actually output is given and it is not on demand electricity just “predicable” note. What I wonder do they expect to happen in 120 years?

          The greens usually use just light consumption for lighting and appliances (not heating) and many modern small flats & houses. So let us say £15M PA for the wholesale value of electricity PA and (not even on demand electricity in fact so worth less) though quite regular. Cost to build seems to be £756M on the web site.

          Depreciation, maintenance, interest, perhaps £200M PA so losses before subsidy and leisure/other income -£185K. Payback never on electricity. One assumes they want to build flats, houses and leisure facilities and get government fakegreen tax payer cash really!

          • Lifelogic
            Posted February 7, 2014 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

            Sorry losses £185M PA not £185K.

          • behindthefrogs
            Posted February 8, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

            I think you need to check your maths. It is so wrong that it is not worth further comment.

        • Richad1
          Posted February 7, 2014 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

          Really? What would be the cost of subsidies for this?

          • Wonky Moral Compass
            Posted February 7, 2014 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

            Too much!

            According to yesterday’s Guardian:
            “Tidal Lagoon Power has put in a development consent order under the Planning Act 2008, but must convince the government to provide subsidies of £156 per MWh – even more than that going to offshore wind farms”

          • uanime5
            Posted February 7, 2014 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

            Less than the subsidies for fracking because they won’t have to build a new wall every year (fracking wells start to run dry after a year).

      • David Price
        Posted February 8, 2014 at 4:27 am | Permalink

        The project FAQ states that development is being funded through private investment, albeit part of the initial stage includes EISs so there are some tax rebates to investors involved, but this is no more special than is available for any other risky tech/business venture.

        If this is truly a privately funded venture then your adminishments are premature.

        As far as sea walls go, the Dutch have been doing this for quite some time, I am not a civil engineer but I would imagine there are enough technical precedents to mitigate many of the risks.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      Strange how so many of us “are wrong about Mr Cameron”. Have you ever wondered why so many people who voted Conservative have abandoned your party since he became leader and Prime Minister? I know you will not openly criticise him on your blog but asking us to ignore the evidence and blindly accept your assurances is too much to ask.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        Party membership has nearly halved under Cameron, for the general election you need local activists & boots on the ground. He has virtually destroyed this in most areas.

      • Hope
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        Well said. They acts and evidence do not correlate with JR’s reply. The list of failed promises and U turns do not need to be rehearsed any more. We have made our minds up. Cameron has the chance of an EU referendum and ordered a three line whip against it taking place, he did not alter the Lisbon Treaty when he had a chance and he did not have to enact the Eau arrest warrant. He is currently content for £1 billion pounds of taxpayer money to be spent by the EU on the dictator of Belerus to use against dissidents than provide proper infrastructure for this country. As JR has pointed outraged recently on this site, the EA costs £1.2 billion pounds and very little on service delivery, we all remember Cameron’s pledged for the bonfire of quangos, four years no progress. Six new ones were announced in the last Queen’s speech!

        The same with overseas aid and the £55 million pounds each day given to the EU. If that was not enough he has enacted state press control while giving £18 million pounds tot he EU to promote closer union with the EU, something which his own MPs highlighted he had promised not to do. No, Lifelogic is not wrong. You have a misplaced sense of loyalty to someone who does not represent our national interest out he Tory party or its supporters.

    • Timaction
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      We will have to continue to disagree over the Europhile credentials of your leader who has consistently favoured our membership regardless of the outcome of some mythical renegotiation of some unknown competencies at some point, if elected after the next election.
      He is an undemocratic federalist (LibLab the same) through and through and needs to be removed.
      The Government is always banging on about the need to observe laws when there is a desire to throw out foreign criminals or get us out of the Human Rights Act and the need to follow a legal process.
      The same applies to the EU which has a well rehearsed process of renegotiation that requires agreement between the majority of the 28 nations then inter Governmental meetings/conferences and years of negotiation before a new Treaty is agreed. This is well beyond the 2017 date set by your leader that is frankly not achievable and he and everyone with even a little knowledge knows it.
      It really is time that politicians were held legally accountable for their stated policy or unachievable promises. They should, as others, be as accountable in public office with appropriate sanctions whether that be criminal or civil remedies to stop all these lies. It discredits themselves and politics and leaves most of us disillusioned with the current political class who are not all the same.

    • ian wragg
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      John, you know as well as anyone that there isn’t a snowball in hells chance of any renegotiation by 2017.
      If it was going to happen it would take 10 years to get all the countries to ratify the changes.
      The next change will be us relegated to an inferior associate membership on worse terms than now. Paying the same subscription but outvoted by the Euro block every time.
      Taxation without representation. Holland is now (Wilders) studying the adverse effect of membership and a critical mass may form.
      Cameron, Milliband or Clegg will tell us that associate membership is good and hope we are all completely stupid.
      Why do you continue to pedal this nonsense and why is it not being emphasised that flooding the Somerset levels was and is government policy??

      Reply IF there is no satisfactory negotiation then we simply vote for Out.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        If Cameron is elected with an overall majority and if he does not rat a second time and if he finally lets us know what powers he actually wants back ………… rather a lot of unlikely ifs for heart and soul, no greater Switzerland.

        Let us see what happens in the Withenshawe by-election.

      • Bob
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink


        Reply IF there is no satisfactory negotiation then we simply vote for Out.

        Unless of course the government lies to the voters like they did in the 1975 common market referendum.

        “no loss of sovereignty, blah blah blah…”

        Ted Heath – David Cameron – What’s the difference?

      • Hope
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        Good grief, Cameron will not even say what powers he wants back, what he will do if he loses the referendum vote, other than say he will not lead the UK out of the EU and fight heart and soul to stay in. Meanwhile work is underway to form closer union. Event he German Supreme Court has fudged making a decision over bond buying.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 8, 2014 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        John Redwood MP said:
        ” IF there is no satisfactory negotiation then we simply vote for Out”

        Why do we need a vote ? You just invoke Art. 50 and negotiate leaving terms, that’s all.

        Reply How many more times do I have to explain that the UK electorate did not vote into Parliament enough MPs who want to withdraw!

    • JoeSoap
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      Mr Redwood you are making a strawman out of Clegg to cover Cameron.
      Cameron has already ceded his negotiating position in any future “negotiations” by saying that he wants to stay in the club. Wouldn’t it have been better as a tactic to at least pretend to be anti- but subject to persuasion. Then at least you might have half a point here.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 8, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        Cameron only said that to let his ‘Masters’ know that he is still one of them and has not gone native like Mrs. T.

  4. Andyvan
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    “Why has…the UK has managed 3% and the USA 8%?”
    Massive money printing, even larger borrowing, financial fraud and blatant statistical lying is my guess. Of course this sudden phony growth has done nothing to ease the colossal public and private sector debt or unemployment or the over-sized and overbearing public sector in either country. What it does do is give politicians the chance to posture as saviours and crow about how successful their policies are at solving problems (that they created). Nothing to do with engineering a pseudo boom just before an election obviously.

    • APL
      Posted February 8, 2014 at 12:24 am | Permalink

      Andyvan: “Massive money printing, even larger borrowing, financial fraud and blatant statistical lying is my guess.”

      Yep, if things are so rosey in the USA, why are several US metropolitian arears either declairing bankruptcy or on the verge of declairing bankruptcy?

  5. Martin
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    I wish you would all note that house price inflation is not a boom or recovery. This has been a persistent output from Westminster for decades.

    Reply No-one has ever said it is – but more homes being built and more people buying their own home is a recovery.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Selling expensive houses to rich foreigners is a good export industry and helps generate jobs and bring money in. But I agree we need more jobs, less parasitic government, fewer regulations, lower taxes, less augmentation of the feckless, easy hire fire and energy at 1/3 of the green religion cost too.

      • Arschloch
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        We also need improved standards in our schools and universities too if this comment is anything to go by

      • JoeSoap
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Net net selling expensive homes to foreigners probably is neither here nor there. Youngsters lose, oldies gain but really no net benefit as things stand.
        In extremis all our property and banks are owned by the Chinese paying 0.5% interest to the BOE and charging us all 4-5% rent. Great.
        If this is the best we can do as an export industry God help us.

    • ian wragg
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Theres no shortage of housing, just too many immigrants. How goes the 10’s of thousands. That will be 50 times 10,s of thousands annually I assume.
      Please don’t quote the net figure as this is bogus.

      • Hope
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        Also the government has no control over who leaves. It does or should have a say who comes in. Also no mention of the calibre of those coming in against those leaving. A judge made criticisms again this week over the lack of border controls after sentencing the same Albanian for the third time when he was meant to have been deported!

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      We need to take advantage of these foreigners who purchase large houses by making them pay more council tax. The sooner we introduce two or three higher council tax bands the better. We also need to reduce the rebate on single occupied and unoccupied properties to the rate applicable currently to band c for all properties. This could also help those living in band a and b properties.

  6. JoolsB
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    John,

    The duplicitous and petulant Lib Dums have proved over and over again that they are totally unfit for high office. They failed to keep their side of the bargain on fairer boundaries in return for a vote on AV and they have also betrayed England’s young (as have the Tories) on tuition fees. Let’s just hope the whole lot of them are totally annihilated at the next election. It will be no less than they deserve!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Indeed but Cameron is clearly a LibDum, fake green, pro EU, over regulate, tax borrow and waste man to the very core. He just mouths the odd Tory thoughts occasionally but never actually does them and he cannot even win sitting duck elections.

      Reply Is that why he cut the top rate of tax to 45% against Lib Dem wishes, put in a policy of reducing migration numbers against Lib Dem wishes, cut the EU budget against Lib Dem instincts, required a cut in energy bills against Lib Dem advice, and adopted a referendum as Conservative policy against Lib Dem wishes?

      • Posted February 7, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        I hope both major parties will include a referendum promise in their 2015 manifestos.

        Hope isn’t expectation though. The present day Labour Party is much different to the Labour party the 60’s and 70’s. Much worse too!

        If the present day Conservative Party had really wanted a referendum, the obvious quid pro quo with the Lib Dems would have been that they could have their referendum on PR , or the AV, but the Conservatives should have their referendum on the EU.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        It was rumoured in the press that Mr Cameron had said that he would rather govern in a coalition with the LibDems than with a small Conservative majority. That has the ring of truth to it. I’m sure he feels far more comfortable with fellow members of the liberal metropolitan elite like Clegg than some of the UKIP-leaning provincial members of his own parties awkward squad. I think his support of an EU referendum is mere politicking, privately I suspect his view is little different to Clegg’s and he would campaign very strongly to stay in irrespective of the outcome of any renegotiation.

      • Old Albion
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        You mean a referendum on the EU ?
        Whatever happened to that ?

        • uanime5
          Posted February 7, 2014 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

          The Lords amended the EU referendum bill but there wasn’t enough time to debate it in the Commons so it failed.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        Very, very little in the right direction, 45% still far too high especially with NI and VAT at 20% and 299 other increases. Anyway we are only lumbered with the Libdems due to Cameron’s cast iron ratting, incompetence in giving Clegg TV billing and his general big state, right on, fake green agenda that he put to the nation is the last sitting duck election.

        Judge him by his actions the Lord Patten appointment, the failure to cut waste and taxes, his daft “equality” agenda, the Green Crap, HS2, Ken Clarke, Heseltine and his A list candidates:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A-List_(Conservative)

        Even now the government are still paying huge subsidies for absurd white elephant offshore and on shore wind and PV drivel. We had Chris Huhne and still have Greg Barker and now Ed Davey. Even the proven fidler the Rt Hon David Laws MP back in government.

        Cameron is perhaps better than Clegg and Miliband but the difference is very marginal. Miliband is numerate, less pro war, more likely to kill HS2 and might well surprise when he gets in. A shame he is largely handicaped by the state sector unions. We are clearly going to find out anyway as Cameron has clearly given up on 2015, and will not, it seems, do a deal with UKIP.

      • yulwaymartyn
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        JR – agreed. These rants every morning are spoiling your blog. I want intelligent discussion on this blog; not hysteria.

        • Posted February 7, 2014 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

          Well said – and it’s the same people every day.

          I know they can’t all really be Victor Meldrew – but they are very, very sad people.

          Negative, destructive moaners – serial whingers the lot of ‘em.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted February 7, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

            I am not sad, nor a negative moaner, I just know it could be far, far better with a competent government and far, far less of it.

        • Mark B
          Posted February 8, 2014 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          Oh the irony and the hypocrisy of that post !

          Moaning about the moaners.

          What I, and many others get angry about is, when a post is made, either by our kind host or, someone else and, has been already debunked yet, we still hear the same tired arguments over and over when, the opposite has been shown to make that which they say, untrue !

          • Posted February 9, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

            Commenting on something once isn’t moaning – banging on about it endlessly is.

            To post a rant five or six times to the same article – or even worse, to post multiple times to every article every day of the week just comes across as ‘swivel-eyed’.

      • ian wragg
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        Why are we paying more into the EU budget. When I tell my wife to cut back, it means a reduction in real terms, not a 5% increase.

        • bigneil
          Posted February 8, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

          I’ve met your wife -you wouldn’t dare tell her that !! – –

          ONLY JOKING !!

      • JoolsB
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        Can’t imagine Cameron would have initiated any of these on his own. More likely he was pushed into it against his will by his back benchers, afterall Cameron doesn’t usually like to upset his Lib Dum chums. As for the EU referendum, we all know that it’s purely down to UKIP that he’s allowed that one.

        UKIP are also offering fairness and democracy to England in the form of an English Parliament, something Cameron refuses to countenance. He (and all the other Tories with English seats) can’t even say the word England let alone demand equality for it. No doubt when England transfers their votes from the anti-English Con/Lab/Lib parties to UKIP at the next election, Cameron and the rest of you will suddenly be converted to standing up for England for a change – unlike now.

      • matthu
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        Would it be truer to say that Cameron cut the EU budget (although not the UK contribution) against his own instincts?

        (Also: the government will likely assure you that there has been no softening of their resolve to increase energy bills: the last decade has seen the highest energy bills ever, and the previous highest decade was the one before. The rise in energy bills over the next decade will be relentless owing to subsidies already agreed for renewable energy already in the pipeline.)

      • JoeSoap
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply
        No, but he can read elementary figures which show UKIP are polling at TWICE the Libdem support. It doesn’t take a genius not to follow your mates down the rabbit hole.

  7. Posted February 7, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    “Why has Euro growth been non existent for the last three years, when the UK has managed 3% and the USA 8%?”

    Because the more Keynesian the economics the higher the growth rate!

    Keynesian economics aren’t possible in the Eurozone of course.

    • libertarian
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      Ha ha ha that made me laugh out loud. Fabulous satire Pete

      • Posted February 9, 2014 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        There an interesting discussion here titled “Why is their recovery better than ours? (Even though neither is good enough) ”

        http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/speeches/2012/speech560.pdf

        I should say that not arguments in the paper are in line with my one line assertion on economic stimuli , some of them are. I particularly agree with the point made about increasing VAT to 20% which looks quite unnecessary.

        If 50% income tax is going to bring in less than 45% , isn’t 20% VAT going to bring in less than 17.5% ? Aren’t buyers going to try even harder to avoid VAT by buying on line from overseas? The real invoice is sent by email, the one enclosed with the goods is is well understated. I think that’s how it works!

  8. alan jutson
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Afraid Mr Cameron made his own bed in which he now lays.

    He chose to get into bed with the Lib Dems instead of attempting to go it alone.

    His negotiating team were clearly worse at their job than were the Lib Dems, who seemed to have punched well above their weight, given the power, positions and policies they hold.
    This does not bode well for our negotiations with the EU (if it ever happens) does it !

    He allowed the voting reform referendum before boundary changes, then failed to impose the original agreement.

    He put a whip against his own Party members on the first EU referendum vote.

    Of course the Lib Dems are claiming all of the good stuff down to them, and all the pain down to the Conservatives, that is how they work, not only in National Government, but local as well.
    They have always promised the earth, but have never delivered it because they were never in power, now they use the Conservatives as a convenient excuse.

    Mr Cameron has reaped in many cases what he has sown I am afraid.

  9. Posted February 7, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    I really don’t agree with Nick!

    Nick doesn’t understand basic economics. Nick doesn’t understand that the Euro is only a good currency for net exporters like Germany. Nick doesn’t understand that for a net importer like the UK it would be a disaster to adapt the Euro. The UK, along with the US, acts as the world’s banker by selling bonds. It can only do that by allowing those who wish to buys those bonds to acquire £’s by exporting their produce to the UK.

    It would be crazy for the UK to try to change that.

  10. Gary
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    “When
    he says he wants to stay in
    Europe because that “means in
    work” I ask has he looked at the
    unemployment statistics in much
    of the EU recently?”

    So, you believe an unsustainable, crack up, credit fueled job boom has no consequences for jobs in the long run?

    That the shedding of jobs is one necessary, but very unfortunate consequence of the previous excesses and subsequent restructuring, is a fact of life in a prudently run economy. Most of the jobs created in a crackup credit boom are in businesses that cannot exist without unnaturally cheap credit. In a prudent market these businesses are liquidated and so to lose these cheap credit dependent jobs is the economy cleansing itself for a sustainable future.

    To simply issue another credit card in the form of money printing, when the previous card is maxxed out and then turn around and say, “look how many jobs we have!” is folly. The reckoning is postponed but it will always arrive.

  11. Bill
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I wish the Conservatives had governed with a minority administration rather than doing a deal with the Lib Dems. Who knows what a Pandora’s Box has been opened? The most most unpleasant result in 2015 would be a Lab-Lib Dem coalition, but that is a real possibility. Mr Cameron needs to open backdoor discussions with UKIP and to do so quickly.

  12. Max Dunbar
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    The Lib-Dems allies? More like the enemy within. I would not like to be a Lib-Dem if there were a revolution as some of your recent bloggers would like.

  13. oldtimer
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    We have heard much political posturing from the LibDems in recent weeks. This, we are told by the political commentators, is intended to differentiate themselves from the Conservatives ahead of the general election. If they want to do that, why not do the job properly and resign from the government? But that, of course, would mean giving up the ministerial cars, salaries, pensions, the photo ops and the attentions of assorted flunkies.

    We also know that Mr Clegg was an MEP and therefore fully signed up to the EU project, with the prospect of an EU pension. My understanding is that if he speaks out against the EU, he will lose this benefit. Is this true? It would certainly count against him when seeking to secure further employment on the EU gravy train. In my opinion, Mr Clegg has the interests of the EU closer to his heart (and wallet) than of the UK. Anything he says is tainted by this and should be taken with a pinch of salt. His assertion about the loss of 3 million jobs is the most egregious example of this.

  14. Bert Young
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    The gulf between the Conservatives and the LibDems is a wide one and is growing . A very wise friend of mine this morning suggested now is the time for Cameron to pull the plug or just simply ignore they are around him . In the wind up to the election the gulf will grow and the war of words increase , so, what will be the point in the Coalition continuing ? . In my reply to my friend I said that if the Conservatives could manoeuvre into a relationship with UKIP I believe it would result in a winning formula . If I were Cameron I would swallow my pride and get on with it . Restoring Home Rule is paramount to the whole of Great Britain ; it is time to put Mr. Clegg out of focus .

    • uanime5
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      If Cameron dissolves the coalition he will become the leader of a minority government, which will give more influence to the Conservative backbenchers that keep rebelling against him because he won’t be able to rely on the Lib Dems for support against any rebels.

      This minority government also won’t be able to pass any bills without Lib Dem or Labour support so even without the Coalition the Conservatives will need the support of other parties.

  15. BobE
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    I think that Nick knows he will vanish at the next election and so he needs to keep the EU sweet as that will be his next career move. Don’t ex MEPs loose EU pensions if they talk against the EU? Thats the reason they stay with they fantasy.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Well, even though support for the LibDems has fallen to around 10% they are still predicted to keep at least a third of their present seats, including Clegg’s. While on the other hand UKIP would get zero seats even with 14% of the votes.

  16. Roger Farmer
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Why are Spain cursed with the unemployment rates of 26% overall and 50% plus for youth.
    They are in the Euro and have little control over their economy. Ideally they should revert to the Peseta, and then let it adjust itself against other major currencies. Possibly meaning about a 30% devaluation.
    Their biggest industry is tourism, but the market for such is very different from that of the 70’s. For the tourist there are many alternatives and competitive options around the World. Additionally the economies of most northern European countries, from where the tourists come, are such that not so many are coming. Many tourist operators sell all inclusive package holidays which may be good for the hotels but is no good for the independent restaurants and bars.
    The property industry, which can be construed as part of the tourist industry, has been curbed by a number of factors. First there is the lack of spare cash from northern Europeans. Then there is the corruption that has run through the constructors, lawyers, and local mayors offices. During the reign of Franco, and after his demise when his side were in power, his supporters could do as they pleased. Even when oppositions replaced them it became their turn at the trough. It has all been very difficult to correct because too much power is held regionally, and the ECJ do not seem that interested . The only people buying at present are the Norwegians and the Russians.
    An opportunity for UK local government of enterprise exists to buy up large numbers of apartments in Spain from the banks who now own them at very knock down prices. UK citizens could then retire to the sunshine, a good health service that respects the elderly, and a lower cost more relaxed lifestyle. There would then be more accommodation for the influx of immigrants that arrive in the UK daily.
    The factor which discourages the Spanish politicians from choosing to control their own destiny is that the EU experiment has made them dependants. All their nice roads and railways have been paid for by the EU or more accurately by the citizens of northern Europe. Turkeys do not vote for Christmas.
    However in the meantime the people of Spain suffer because they do not enjoy the range of benefits available in the UK. They instead turn to the black economy, living on a day to day basis. There has been a marked and visible increase in people willing to direct you to free but available parking spaces for 50 cents a time, and of course in prostitution.
    The cold hand of regulation from the EU on business has put an end to much of what made Spain attractive in the past. I have in mind the chiringuitos on the beach grilling sardines in old boat barbeques for instance.
    All in all the European experiment, started at the end of WW2 for the best of reasons, has now thanks to the leadership of mediocre politicians become a burden around the necks of it’s “Olive Belt” citizens. It has sown the seeds of serious political unrest among people who largely do not deserve it.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

      They are in the Euro and have little control over their economy. Ideally they should revert to the Peseta, and then let it adjust itself against other major currencies. Possibly meaning about a 30% devaluation.

      I can’t imagine this being popular with the Spaniards who suddenly find everything from abroad is much more expensive.

      Their biggest industry is tourism, but the market for such is very different from that of the 70′s.

      What’s your source for this claim? According to the CIA Fact book Spain has several industries and they also export machinery, motor vehicles, and pharmaceuticals.

      https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sp.html

      An opportunity for UK local government of enterprise exists to buy up large numbers of apartments in Spain from the banks who now own them at very knock down prices. UK citizens could then retire to the sunshine, a good health service that respects the elderly, and a lower cost more relaxed lifestyle. There would then be more accommodation for the influx of immigrants that arrive in the UK daily.

      I doubt that the Spanish would approve of the UK exporting all our old people to Spain. Especially if they can’t speak Spanish.

      It has all been very difficult to correct because too much power is held regionally, and the ECJ do not seem that interested .

      The ECJ only has jurisdiction over EU law, not Spanish law. So it’s no surprise that they’re not interested in an area where Spain is complying with EU law even though Spain is having a problem with their national law.

      However in the meantime the people of Spain suffer because they do not enjoy the range of benefits available in the UK. They instead turn to the black economy, living on a day to day basis. There has been a marked and visible increase in people willing to direct you to free but available parking spaces for 50 cents a time, and of course in prostitution.

      Due to IDS’ war against the unemployed and those in low wage jobs expect this to become more common in the UK.

      The cold hand of regulation from the EU on business has put an end to much of what made Spain attractive in the past.

      Spain was having high growth until the 2008 financial crisis, so which EU regulations are currently causing problems for Spain?

      • Roger Farmer
        Posted February 9, 2014 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        The Peseta might not be popular with the political classes, but the Spaniards I talk to every day, who are subject to the downside of what the Euro has done to them , have a very different opinion. They hate the way their businesses are closing and the fact that their well educated children have very poor employment prospects,
        The importance of tourism is not a claim, it is a fact. Why are the CIA unaware of agriculture, having faith in the instigators of the “Bay of Pigs” would seem somewhat naïve.
        Exporting pensioners is not as daft as you may think. It would shift a lot of dead property assets from the Spanish banks. It would put money into local businesses and the Spanish health service would benefit from the UK exchequer.
        Perhaps you have not noticed that the ECJ takes precedence over UK law which is the source of so much detestation of the EU in England. Much the same pertains in Spain though the Spanish seem to have a much more relaxed attitude to it.
        IDS is doing a great job, you should applaud him.
        Spain’s crisis was brought about by banks lending to the construction and property industries. Now it is the same EU regulation that is a noose around the throat of british industry but then you never sound very sympathetic to the creation of wealth or even aspire to it so I would not expect you to be very sympathetic.

  17. Posted February 7, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    In your reply to Lifelogic at 7.13 you wrote: ” You are wrong about Mr Cameron. He sides with the 100 on the big issues, making the renegotiation and the referendum this country needs Conservative policy”.

    How do you square that with his statement that in any referendum he will be voting to stay in? Is that siding with the 100 on the big issues?

    Mr. Cameron’s call for re-negotiation is as false as every other claim he makes. He knows that re-negotiation of the treaties is not possible. His promise of a referendum is based on an unlikely outcome of an election which he is well on the way to losing by his proven attitudes, which the electorate increasingly recognise as those of a man without either competence or honour.

    If you and others in your Party continue to support him, you will only have yourselves to blame for your involvement in the coming crash.

    John Wrake.

    Reply Mr Cameron’s vote will depend on the deal on offer. He was in that context forecasting a good outcome to the negotiation, as he has to do.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      The man is not even prepared to tell us what he powers he wants back from the EU and has virtually no chance of winning an overall majority anyway – that even if he does a UKIP deal.

      • Hope
        Posted February 8, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        And then Clarke will tell us what Cameron thinks as if he is unable to make up his own mind or express his own views. Clarke is the EU watch dog make no mistake.

        The Europhiles learnt from the disastrous Major government to keep potent Eurosceptics away from cabinet and to hide their real intentions.

        • APL
          Posted February 9, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

          hope: “Clarke is the EU watch dog make no mistake.”

          Still picking up a ministerial salary for doing nothing. Except spy on the British government. (not that that is necessary).

          But we ought to get the answer to the question; why are we paying Clarke for doing nothing?

    • JoeSoap
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      But he has no metrics to measure this success in the “negotiation” against. This is what we are dealing with – weasel words with no quantifiable targets. Go on, tell us what you would say would be in a successful negotiation please.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      The deal on offer will just be a fig leaf something like Major’s “subsidiarity”, if anything at all. Cameron cannot even tell us what deal he is seeking. Anyway he will surely be gone in 15 months, he has clearly given up on the next election and has halved his party’s membership in the process.

      He could not even beat Gordon Brown. He is in a far worse position now as we all know where he stands. He is just a John Major type all over again but with the ability to speak in full sentences and wear his underpants inside his trousers.

      Reply I expect Mr Cameron will set out more of his view of the negotiation for the EU elections.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 7, 2014 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        I expect he will. Doubtless it will be very vague full of escape clauses and rather pro EU, just like Cameron’s last Europe Speech.

        Tricks like ha-ha a treaty is not a treaty once ratified fooled you!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      JR, Cameron has already had an excellent opportunity to extract concessions but he declined to make any use of it.

      As your colleague Mark Reckless said on October 24th 2011:

      “The Prime Minister tells The Daily Telegraph today that we should use any treaty change to shore up the euro to get powers over employment and social policy back, yet on 25 March, he agreed to precisely such a treaty change, but did not ask for anything in return.”

      Why should we expect anything substantive from any renegotiation where he does not start from a similar position of strength?

      And of course if the Scots vote for independence, let us hope they don’t, then Cameron (and/or later Miliband) would be put in a position of great weakness with respect to the other EU member states, begging them for an amending treaty to keep Scotland in the EU or at least in the Single Market.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 8, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        Exactly.

      • Hope
        Posted February 8, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        Well said. Spot on as normal.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      “Mr Cameron’s vote will depend on the deal on offer”.
      Meanwhile I am reliably informed by Get Britain Out That “by recently passing the EU (Approvals) Bill, the government has rubber-stamped orders from Brussels for the British electorate to fund the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme. Our government is now obliged to fund propaganda promoting ‘political union’ with Europe. The law also permits grants for projects “directly linked to [European] Union policies, with a view to encouraging participation in the shaping the [European] union political agenda.” Meaning, big fat cheques for EU outfits telling everyone how great it is to stay in the EU!” A mere 22 Conservative MPs voted against but Mr Redwood was not one of them. I wonder why?
      We also now know that ” Brussels has now passed laws meaning petrol has to contain an expensive, cleaner ‘green’ fuel. This will make the cost of motoring soar by £200 a year as well as damaging car engines just a few years’ old. But it is a good illustration of Brussels’ priorities: fuel doesn’t need to get cheaper, it should get more expensive! As ever, the news from Brussels is: formulating ever more creative ideas to rob ordinary people and price Europe out of the global market. Madness reigns.”
      Any comments from our host?

      Reply I opposed this measure by making a speech against it and voting for the 2 rebel amendments which would have prevented the payments. We lost.

  18. Posted February 7, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    There’s a study just been produced which claims the Dutch would be £8,000pa better off per household if they left the EU. See:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/10621264/Dutch-would-be-better-off-if-they-left-the-euro.html

    • Mark B
      Posted February 8, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Whilst this study in itself is no bad thing, I think it important that when is comes to discussing matters in the EU, we should discuss them on the grounds of Sovereignty first.

  19. behindthefrogs
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Surely it isequally a pity that the conservatives are trying to insist on a referendum when their coalition partners clearly don’t want one! Why blame Mr Clegg for highlighting his different views? We are approaching an election.

  20. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Of course, I cannot imagine anyone living in the UK not wish Britain prosperity unless they are political moles.It is a case of management again. How do we achieve it, what personal interests do some have as opposed to collective interest, are we empire building or capital asset building?

    When the ‘journey’ is in progress,what are we trying to achieve , the end product in all its ramifications or more low paid jobs and empty houses to signify improvement?

    If all those with a voice shout “change the EU relationship” whatever party one belongs to then there will be some sort of national agreement. Whoever prevents this democratic process will be guilty of changing the future into a position where we will all suffer.

  21. forthurst
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Lord Smith of Finsbury has announced that he can now dredge the rivers in the Somerset levels as a result of extra cash becoming available from the government, “We will be able to doing a full dredge of 8km of the Tone and the Parrett in the next few months.”

    It was only last week that the same individual was claiming that dredging the rivers would not materially affect the situation, so he was covering up for this parsimonious government, obviously. It all goes to show what an inordinately tight budget that the Lord Smith has had to wrestle with. We can all imagine the good Lord weeping into his pillow every night as he contemplated the cash shortage from government cuts causing him to have to sacrifice the good farmers of Somerset for the greater good (water voles). Sometimes politicians have to establish priorities and make invidious choices: bankrolling French farmers, banksters and nuclear-armed foreign countries with money taken from us in higher taxation, all, no doubt, more deserving than the English, especially the farmers of Somerset.

    Reply I seem to recall at their last balance sheet date they had around £90m in cash, and a £1200 m annual budget.

  22. Atlas
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Cameron wants the Scots to stay in the UK. The issue the Scots have is that they as a people did not vote for the Union, hence the 1715 and 1745 uprisings. The uprisings were followed by a Military occupation. The Scots have long memories and the Conservative Party is now paying the price. So it is with the EU where the UK populace was bamboozled into it and now wants out – hence the UKIP support. I wonder what bit of this history lesson Clegg does not understand?

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      You are correct Atlas. The Scots have long memories and, in particular, the people of Glasgow who had to cough up thousands of pounds to pay off the Jacobite army during the ’45. Provost Cochrane was a staunch Hanoverian and thanks to his efforts the city was not plundered and most of the money lost was reclaimed from the legitimate government in London.
      The SNP rebels are now attempting to pick up where their hero The Young Pretender left. This will cost Scotland and England dear if they succeed.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid, JR, that your attempt to differentiate the Tory party from the other two old parties over the EU doesn’t really work, not least because we know that Cameron is not to be trusted. The difference is between a new party which is committed to getting us out the EU as the primary objective under its party constitution, and three old parties all of which are determined to keep us in the EU at all costs.

    Reply And the other difference is UKIP cannot honestly promise to take us out of the EU or grant us a referendum as no-one thinks UKIP can win a majority in Parliament in 2015. As someone who does want a referendum I only have one choice – to vote Conservative. The latest polling shows UKIP is nowhere near winning next Thursday’s Parliamentary by election, a seat they need to be able to take off Labour if they are to have any momentum.

    • APL
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      JR: “As someone who does want a referendum I only have one choice – to vote Conservative.”

      Someone who does the same thing over and over again expecting a different result is …..

    • ian wragg
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Why do they need to take the bye election. It is enough that they cause a rout of the Tories at the 2015 GE. This will split the party once and for all and the liberal wets can join LabLib when a true right wing party will emerge.
      UKIP will be the biggest catalyst for change in politics for over a hundred years.
      Be ye afraid, very afraid.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 8, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        Many of the ‘wets’ are in safe seats. An alternative theory would be the Conservatives and Lib Dims uniting to form one. Its not as though this has not happened before in political history for both parties.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      And the same polling shows that the Tories are behind UKIP, having lost nearly half of the support they had in 2010, so what does that say about the Tory momentum? At least UKIP will have increased its vote share, about fourfold on that poll, and will not have seen it slashed.

      • Hope
        Posted February 8, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        JR is doing his best to shore up a collapsing vote base, and he knows it. I think the UKIP support is going to be much large than he and others anticipate. We have seen the Osborne/ Crosby strategy of smearing and that has not worked. Yeo making claims how Tories are out of touch with their extreme views by the minority in charge. He is right for a change.

        We saw Aiden Burley announce his retirement because of his behaviour- no main stream media attention as would have been if it was a UKIP politico.

        • APL
          Posted February 9, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

          Hope: “no main stream media attention as would have been if it was a UKIP politico.”

          It’s odd that the UKIP politico’s that seem to be getting MSM attention for their ‘antiquated’ views, got a free pass while they were members of the Tory party.

    • Bob
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 11:09 pm | Permalink


      no-one thinks UKIP can win a majority in Parliament in 2015

      I personally don’t think the Tories can win a majority either, not under David Cameron. The Tory Party is taking money and votes under false pretenses, so the sooner the party is dissolved the sooner a genuine conservative party can gain the necessary traction to get Britain rolling again.

  24. MartinC
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    I don’t doubt Mr Redwood’s sincerity of belief in the possibility of a ‘successful’ renegotiation of our relationship with the EU. However, I recall in the build up to each of the Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon treaties Labour ministers saying each one was a mere ‘tidy up’ of existing rules not requiring a referendum.

    So the danger in Mr Cameron negotiating a different relationship, if that proves possible, recommending it to the people and it being supported in a referendum is that a future Labour or Lab/Lib coalition will simply permit key aspects to be undone, consistent with their previous behaviour. For example, it’s possible to envisage a future European Commission proposal which gives any EU citizen the right to vote in the host country’s national elections. Such a proposal would not be fought by Labour any more than they fought the transfers of power under Nice/Amsterdam/Lisbon.

    Surely to avoid any accusation of being disingenuous with the public therefore, it would be better for the next Conservative manifesto to promise Brexit, or a straight referendum on Brexit, without renegotiation?

    Reply I have never expressed an opinion on how likely a “successful” negotiation is. I have always pointed out that if the answer is poor we can vote for Out.

  25. Tom William
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    IF, a big IF, the conservatives win the election and 2017 arrives with negotiations nowhere near finished (almost certain)will there still be a referendum that year (as promised) or will we be told to wait, and wait and wait?

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic.

    At long last the German constitutional court has delivered its verdict on complaints about ECB plans for large scale purchases of bonds and it has given its view that they breach the EU treaties.

    However it has referred the case to the ECJ, where no doubt the plans will be OK’d.

    http://euobserver.com/economic/123048

    “ECB overstepped its mandate, says German top court”

    • Posted February 7, 2014 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      The Euro only really works for an exporting country. It was tailor made for Germany to replace the DM. The ECB has no choice but to buy the others’ bonds if they can’t be sold elsewhere at less than crippling interest rates.

  27. uanime5
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    He trots out the old fib about keeping 3million jobs in our export industries by staying in, as if we would lose our trade with the EU if we have a new relationship or simply left.

    Well it will be reduced due to the tariffs and quotas which apply to all countries outside the EU. It may also lead to companies that mainly export their products to the EU relocating to another country inside the EU.

    Germany is very keen to keep the same arrangements as at present for trade so she can continue to export so much to us, whether we leave or stay in.

    Germany is also keen to trade with the USA and China but they still have tariffs and quotas on goods from these countries. I doubt they will treat the UK any differently.

    He should ask why so many of the Euro area countries are blighted by very high unemployment. Why are Spain and Greece cursed with unemployment of around a quarter, more than three times our rate? Why is youth unemployment at the shocking rate of 50% in parts of the zone?

    Well there was that recession that caused major problems in these countries, mainly because they had to introduce austerity in exchange for a bailout.

    Why has Euro growth been non existent for the last three years, when the UK has managed 3% and the USA 8%?

    John your claim is deeply misleading. I noticed that you compared eurozone growth (average growth of 18 countries which were affected by the 2008 financial crisis to different degrees) to UK and US growth. I suspect you did this because if you compared the growth of individual eurozone countries you have to admit that France, Germany, and most of the eurozone have had better growth than the UK; which is why most have recovered more of their pre-2008 GDP levels than the UK and some have even surpassed these levels.

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

    Though the US has better annual growth than the UK this is mainly due to the massive stimulus Obama introduced in 2008. Had Osborne also introduced a stimulus instead of austerity in 2010 then the UK would have had high growth as well over the past 3 years.

    He is wrong that prosperity and stability have been assured in Euroland, when the opposite has been the case thanks to the Euro crisis, mass unemployment and lack of growth.

    The UK has also had years of higher unemployment and low growth due to the failure of the chancellor to manage the economy, resulting in the UK losing its triple A credit rating.

    countries outside the EU have been offered as good or better terms to trade with the EU than we have as an inside member.

    Care to name these countries and the terms they’ve been offered. Are you thinking of countries such as Turkey which have access to the common market in exchange for implementing all EU law and being barred from making any laws contradictory to EU law. Are you referring to Switzerland which has to obey almost all EU law but doesn’t have access to the EU’s financial markets.

    In other news the treasury has produced a logarithmic graph to make it look like large amounts of money had been spent on preventing flooding, when in reality the amount spent has only been a fraction of the amount spent on energy or transport.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10625168/Treasury-rebuked-over-misleading-flood-spending-graph.html

    • Edward2
      Posted February 8, 2014 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      The EA listened to expert scientific opinion Uni, which from the mid eighties to the turn of the century was telling them that global warming meant rapidly rising temperatures and less rain.
      The chances of floods were downgraded, dredging was stopped in 1994 throughout the UK.
      It only since these scientific experts began linking global warming to climate disruption post 2000 that their warnings of more rain not less, became the new advice.
      The EA did what it was told and acted according to the scientific advice at the time, spending its budget not on flood defences and dredging, but on managing warming and droughts.
      Now we are playing catch up.

  28. Posted February 8, 2014 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    Why are Spain and Greece cursed with unemployment of around a quarter, more than three times our rate? Why is youth unemployment at the shocking rate of 50% in parts of the zone?

    Of course, the cause is their adoption of the Euro. But why is it a problem for Spain but not Germany? I was discussing this with German friend of mine recently and, typically, he wasn’t very complimentary about the Greeks or their tax system but he didn’t have any real explanation for the Spanish troubles. He just shrugged and said that they (the Germans) managed perfectly well with the Euro and he thought everyone else could do the same if they managed their affairs properly.

    So how does it work in Germany? Germany is a net exporter. So there is always a flow of money into the German economy. Part of that inflow is saved by German citizens and private companies but most of it is simply removed by the German government in taxation. Yes, they do run a surplus! The Govt spends less than it receives in taxation. One way of looking at it would be to say that the Germans are simply following the rules of good housekeeping, another way to look at would be to say that the government do not really need this money themselves, but they have to remove it from the economy to keep inflation under control, and also to recycle it to their overseas customers.

    Therefore they buy bonds issued by net importers like the USA and the UK. The US government then spends the proceeds into their economy and can be used, all over again, to buy Audi cars or whatever.

    For a country like France, the UK, Spain or Greece the direction of the money-go-round is in the opposite direction. They aren’t net exporters. Money tends to leave their economies rather than come in. In the UK the government replenishes the money supply by deficit spending. They sell, not buy, treasury bonds on the international market to mop up the excess £ that accumulate there.

    That’s not so easily possible for countries in the Eurozone. The Euro isn’t their currency. The bond buyers know there is a chance of default by Spain, Greece etc so demand higher interest rates in return. They know the UK can never default as the £ is their own currency. They know, too, Germany won’t default but Germany doesn’t need to sell bonds, and has signalled that to the market by offering negative interest rates. In other words they want to charge lenders for looking after their money!

    Net importers in the Eurozne can’t continue the money-go-round cycle in the same way the UK can by deficit spending which means their economies don’t have enough money or spending power for them to function properly.

    So, in conclusion: the UK would be crazy to adopt the Euro. This will please the Eurosceptics on this blog. What won’t please them quite so much is the necessity for the government to maintain a budget deficit to continue the money-go-round and facilitate the ‘desire’ of the UK economy to net import.

  29. Chris
    Posted February 8, 2014 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    A highly significant article on the EU and the fundamental misunderstanding by our politicians of its provenance and ultimate goal is provided in the Spectator today by
    C Booker. He demonstrates how the whole concept of the USE was “inspired” by WWI, and not as commonly thought WWII. It is a fascinating article, and it also demonstrates so clearly how renegotiation is not an option and why.
    http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9130562/how-the-first-world-war-inspired-the-eu/
    “Among the millions of words which will be expended over the next four years on the first world war, very few will be devoted to explaining one of its greatest legacies of all, the effects of which continue to dominate our politics to this day. One of the best-kept secrets of the European Union is that the core idea which gave rise to it owed its genesis not to the second world war, as is generally supposed, but to the Great War a quarter of a century earlier. It was around that time that the man who can be described as ‘the Father of Europe’ was first inspired to the detailed vision which only after 1945 was he finally in a position to launch on its way…..
    “However carefully this was concealed, the aim (of the Treaty of Rome), right from the start, was step by step to pass ever more powers to the centre, eliminating national vetoes — until their Commission, run by unelected officials, could come fully into the open as the supranational ‘government of Europe’. There was no principle more sacred to the ‘European construction’, as it was called in Brussels, than the acquis communautaire: the unshakeable rule that once powers were acquired by the centre they could never be given back. ……..

    “…But why has all this suddenly become of more urgent relevance to us all than ever before? It is because so little of it has been properly understood by British politicians, including Mr Cameron, that almost nothing they are now saying about a referendum on ‘Europe’ bears any relation to reality. When they talk about the need for the EU to be ‘reformed’ and ‘Britain winning back powers from Brussels’, they have no real idea of how this defies the EU’s most sacred rule, the acquis communautaire; which is why, when José-Manuel Barroso is asked whether Mr Cameron will be given powers back, he merely snorts. Those politicians who talk about returning the EU to little more than the trading arrangement we joined in 1973 haven’t begun to grasp that the Common Market was only ever intended as a first step towards a fully fledged ‘government of Europe’.

    Most alarming of all is that, just when our own politicians are still talking about the need for a new treaty ‘to win back powers’, they seem quite oblivious that senior figures in Brussels are talking about a major new treaty of their own, one designed to take the EU yet another major step towards that ultimate goal. When the Commission’s vice-president, Viviane Reding, declares that May’s European elections will give voters the chance to support ‘a United States of Europe’, what she explicitly has in mind is that same destination Monnet and Salter were talking about 80 years ago. And the reason why our politicians still seem unable to recognise this lies in that crucial decision taken by Spaak and Monnet 60 years ago — that they could only achieve their ultimate goal by concealing for as long as possible the reality of what they were after. That is why, when Richard North and I were for the first time able to put all this story together, we called our book The Great Deception. But now that even senior officials in Brussels feel free to talk openly about wanting to build a ‘United States of Europe’, we really do need at last to wake up to the reality of what we are up against. We are facing the endgame. The time for deception — and self-deception — is over.”

  30. Mike Wilson
    Posted February 8, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    It is very depressing that politicians can trot out complete unfounded statements like ‘We’ll lose 3 million jobs’ and whoever is interviewing them NEVER challenges them to produce FACTS instead of SOUNDBITES.

    Such is our democracy.

  31. Richard
    Posted February 8, 2014 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    I simply do not wish for England to become absorbed into an increasingly undemocratic and ever expanding EU empire.

    This is more important to me than whether or not we are poorer in or out of the EU and the Euro, although I do expect us to become ever poorer inside the EU as our wealth is transferred to the newer entrants through QMV decisions.

    Mr. Clegg wants England’s wealth to be sucked dry just as he proposes to suck dry the wealth within the UK by the introduction of wealth taxes, starting with his “mansion” tax.

    Like all empires, the EU empire will eventually collapse. How devastating will be this collapse will depend upon how many Islamic states, starting with Turkey, along the Mediterranean coast the EU will have mopped up in the meantime. Note that it is Conservative Party policy to promote the entry of Turkey into the EU.

    All three main UK parties wish us to remain in the EU.

    Although Mr. Cameron has promised a referendum in he wins the next GE he continues to tell us that he wants us to remain in the EU. and will continue to fight for this, even if this severely hampers our negotiating position.

    As others have already explained, the fact that Mr. Cameron has so far refused to disclose the return of which powers he would consider adequate, and that the EU and major countries such as France and Germany have clearly stated they have no interest in such negotiations, means that the chances of a satisfactory negotiation are effectively zero. Even if there were the time available to do this by the 2017 deadline.

    So we can forget this approach, particularly as the EU is busy itself preparing its own new more integrationist treaty.

    Furthermore, the Conservative Party has been consistently the most pro EU party since the very beginning of this project mainly because it perfectly suits large multinational corporations who can take full advantage of the free movement of capital and labour coupled with the easy avoidance of taxes.

    So for anyone wanting to leave the EU there is absolutely no point in continuing to vote LibLabCon, whatever the promises made to gain votes, and only gives these three parties the idea that membership of the EU is not considered an important issue by the electorate.

  32. Neil Craig
    Posted February 8, 2014 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    The “e million jobs” claim Clegg has made time after time is obviously wholly and completely dishonest. It would require the EU to refuse to let us export anything to them while at the same time we kept importing the same from them. That breaches the GATT rules as well as many sorts of common sense. On the other hand Clegg says it repeatedly so, by definition it represents his alternative to any trace of honesty. His claim that not to support the EU is treason against Britain is worse.

    (Abuse left out ed) Bearing in mind that they are members of a party that calls itself “liberal” but is absolutely opposed to the principles of liberalism – instead being totalitarians & supporters of (bad things ed) – it is hardly surprising that number is zero.

  33. Alexis
    Posted February 8, 2014 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Clegg’s defence of the EU sounds more desperate by the day.

    I’m not sure even he believes the nonsense being peddled about the ‘benefits’ of the EU. It’s easy to disprove. So why does he bother?

    Does he think if he keeps saying it, that makes it true?

    (and do politicians think the public don’t know about the conditions of an EU pension? …)

    So, once more ….. 3 million jobs DON’T depend on it. They never did, Nick.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newsvideo/uk-politics-video/9822434/Claims-that-3-million-jobs-will-go-if-Britain-exits-EU-a-false-perspective.html

  34. Posted February 8, 2014 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    I am guessing John, that you realise that there is very little time for this, our Country, to extract itself from the European Union which so many British people now want to do. It is a “matter of Fact” that the people cannot continue to pay for two Governments, (one that has to obey the other), and three Parliaments (Two that has to obey the other one).
    As it seems doubtful that the Conservatives will get into Government again and as a great many people also realise that all three Major Political Parties want to remain in the EU-FOREVER, so there is absolutely no point in voting for any of those three. So, they are left with, come the general election in 2015 by using IT as the referendum they have been denied and only voting for those that want out of the EU completely, and in one way, it matters not if none have ever Governed before, for we have to face FACTS that all those we have voted for since 1975 have also to obey all EU orders too.

    Most things put forward in our Government started their Journey from the EU, Yes almost every thing starts its Journey from the EU. What then, is the point in voting for and PAYING for a Government and two Houses of Parliament if even they have to obey the Orders of Foreigners, which, according to our Constitution is FORBIDDEN.

  • 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.
    Published and promoted by Thomas Puddy for John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU
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