Of course Mrs Merkel was not going to offer much now to the UK

 

I did not understand why there was so much hype about Mrs Merkel’s visit. She is a cautious politician who always prefers to put off decisions or difficulties where possible. Her speech did not say Yes and did not say No. It was a model of ambiguity.

Given Mr Miliband and Mr Clegg’s position that the UK should stay in the current EU without renegotiation and with no referendum to allow us to leave, Mrs Merkel rightly concluded the UK problem  can be deferred until after the 2015 election.  Only if Mr Cameron wins will she need to have a new approach, when she will then want to try to keep the UK  in, knowing that many UK people just want a vote to get out. She will then face a united UK government that cannot accept our current relationship.  There will be no offer to the UK all the time the UK Parliament is short of a Eurosceptic majority.

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86 Comments

  1. Duyfken
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    And we would have scant chance of a eurosceptic majority by voting Conservative.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      “There are only two genuine, honest positions any politician can take on the EU. You can either be in, or you can be out. If you are in, the full package will always apply. If you are not, you can make your own terms. ‘Euroscepticism’ is a delusion. No such political position actually exists. It is made entirely out of wind, and written on water.”

      Peter Hitchens in a brilliant blog post today.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 28, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        Indeed the sensible solution is out but with cooperation and free trade with the World in general a Greater Switzerland on Sea. Cameron’s position is clear, to be in but pretend to be an EUsceptic for “cast iron” electoral reasons just before elections.

        His position is dishonest to the very core, you may get away with it but only once. He would have had he not ratted on it before the election. Try it twice and you have no chance at all.

      • Bellevue
        Posted February 28, 2014 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

        And why cant J Redwood SEE this? Why do so many MPs talk about re-negotianion/changing the relationship? Are they stupid…. or do they think WE ARE STUPID????
        With so much information on the internet, we can see what is going on.
        Its you MPs, MEPs and the EU commission who are stupid now…..

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    The EU is getting more and more urgent.

    The immigration figures are soaring. The floods were deeply affected by the waste Directives. HS2 is initiated by DG Move. Scottish independence has a lot to do with DG Regio and John Prescott’s attempted regionalisation.
    Almost every major “issue” can be traced back to the EU.

    You are so right about Mrs Merkel.

    Now what? Unless UKIP and the Conservatives join forces somehow, Labour is going to walk the next election.

    • Jennifer A
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      “Almost every major “issue” can be traced back to the EU.”

      I disagree.

      The problems come from within our own country.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 28, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        “The problems come from our own country” perhaps in signing up and agreeing to all the insanity from the EU. I assume that is what you mean. Also having the BBC to distort democracy with their absurd agenda of indoctrination.

        • Jennifer A
          Posted February 28, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

          Yes, Lifelogic. Among other things – including using the EU as a cover-all for situations which are unpopular with the public but, at the same time, convenient for the ruling elites.

          Had there been the will there would have been the way and that way would have been marked ‘OUT’.

          We remain IN – ergo it’s what our politicians want.

          “You kept voting in pro EU candidates.”

          Did they wear EU badges at elections ? No. Did they display EU flags on their campaign literature ? No.

          We voted for the people which the parties offered us and none of those parties offer us OUT.

          The EU is just doing what the EU always has done. Our own parties masquerade as sceptics and complain that their hands are tied when it comes to injustices.

          It’s all their fault.

          Let’s not go blaming the EU for that.

          (I offer this as my answer to those good enough to respond to my first comment.)

        • Hope
          Posted February 28, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          Kjellstrom made it clear in a letter that most of our laws come from the EU and effect our daily lives without the public knowing about it. Look at FCO paper 30/1048 and you will not help form the opinion how deceitful politicians have been towards the public knowing the truth about the EU and its intentins all along.

          You might be correct to say MPs have brought this EU mess upon us by specious, deceitful means and lying to the public. They were/are in a better position to know the truth before they speak or write.

      • Sean O'Hare
        Posted February 28, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        Mike Stallard gave some reason for his assertion. Perhaps you would care to give us your reasons for disagreeing with him?

      • Vanessa
        Posted February 28, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        Then you do not know much about the EU Directives. Have a look at EUReferendum.com where he often lists the directives involved in all sorts of problems.

        The EU governs us and therefore everything is a result of their legislation. Our government is just a rubber-stamp.

      • yulwaymartyn
        Posted February 28, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        Jennifer: I agree. There is a limit to how much the EU can be blamed. Slippery slope etc.

        • Mark B
          Posted February 28, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

          Of Course the EU cannot be blamed for everything, and no sane person would do so. But the EU compounds issues. It applies a one size fits all approach, and nullifies the democratic process, by design. The flood we have seen can and, may indeed happen again because we no longer have any control over how we categorize silt. The EU has made it far too expensive to depose of where, in the past, it was used to fertilize the land from whence it originally came.

          Reply We did not flood the Fens, which are under the same EU laws as the Somerset levels. Some of the bad judgements are still made in the UK.

          • D K McGregor
            Posted March 1, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

            I understood that the Fens were not controlled by the EA and were looked after by a more local management who made a considerably better job of it than the EA , based in London and responding to every EU dictat.

          • Chris
            Posted March 1, 2014 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

            Reply to Mr Redwood’s reply to Mark B: the two regions are not comparable in the way you suggest and therefore your argument is flawed. I quote from an expert on the EU, who has made a rigorous investigation of the flooding disaster in the UK, and the role of the key players. This is his response to your assertion:
            “It is important to appreciate that the situation in the Fens is not similar. First, the tidal range in the Bristol Channel, at nearly 40ft is the second highest in the world. It creates the need to store large amounts of water in the rivers to be let out as the tide falls. Secondly, the total area of land which drains through the Somerset Levels is four times that of the Levels themselves, compared with a ratio of only two to one in the East Anglian Fens. Then, the average annual rainfall is greater in Somerset than in East Anglia, imposing a greater load on the system. This makes the situation in the Levels unique.”

        • APL
          Posted February 28, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

          yulwaymartyn: “There is a limit to how much the EU can be blamed. ”

          No, the EU is the Malignancy in the body politic, the tumour has spread to the extent that many people either; make their living directly because of the EU ( the Kinnocks, Pattens, Mandlesons, hundreds of lesser minions too ), or can’t imagine the UK as a self governing entity. It has been forty years!

          Which of course was the plan all along, when Heath lied to Parliament all those years ago.

      • Chris
        Posted February 28, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        It seems that Bjorn Kjellstrom, Head of the UK Office of the European Parliament would disagree with you, Jennifer A. This excerpt from his Press Kit to British journalists whom he apparently accuses of not giving full enough coverage to EU matters in the UK (thanks to Guido Fawkes for this):

        “…“not all citizens are aware that possibly a majority of the laws that have an impact on their daily lives are decided on by MEPs in the European Parliament.”

        • Martyn G
          Posted February 28, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          True, but the fact of the matter is that MEPs effectively do little more than rubber-stamp directives etc that largely originate at Commission level. That is bad enough but far worse is the fact that the UK Civil Service gold-plate and sometimes add more detail to the Laws pouring out from the EU – typically extrapolating an 8 page EU directive into a UK version perhaps 40+ pages long.
          I think that although the EU is behind many of our woes many of the problems arising are self inflicted on us by our rulers, and that is where most of the blame lies.

          Reply MEPs can now veto or amend EU legislation, if they turned up and took their jobs seriously.

          • Bob
            Posted March 1, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink


            Reply MEPs can now veto or amend EU legislation, if they turned up and took their jobs seriously.

            I’m surprised a you John, considering the fact that you never voted on the Climate Change Act.

            That’s the pot calling the kettle black.

            Reply Had I voted NO we would still have lost by a country mile, so your point does not affect my argument.

          • yulwaymartyn
            Posted March 1, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

            SJR – hear hear. The ultimate folly is an elected representative who does not turn up but takes the money instead. My money. Your money. UKIP – party of scroungers.

          • Bob
            Posted March 1, 2014 at 6:16 pm | Permalink


            Reply Had I voted NO we would still have lost by a country mile, so your point does not affect my argument.

            Why not?
            The numbers are equally unbalanced in the EU Parliament, and the bulk of MEPs don’t even bother to read the reams of legislation they’re rubber stamping (they even don’t have time if they wanted to).

        • Mark B
          Posted February 28, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

          They maybe decided by the EU Parliament but, they are created by the Commission who we have never elected. The EU Parliament may be able to reject somethings but the Commission has other ways and means of getting its way. Hardly democratic.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 28, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        Jennifer A

        Whilst indeed much of the legislation does come from the EU, it also comes from International Organizations, such as the UN, WTO, Codex and others. The EU is signatory to many international agreements, which it signs on behalf of the 28 Member States, including the UK. It then turns these agreements into Directives, which intern, we pass into UK Law. At this point it gets really interesting. Yes, certain bodies like the EA tend to give favour to certain EU Directives over others and, because the EU has overarching bodies on many of the Competences (powers) it holds, can act as a back channel to the ‘Regional’ (ie Member States) bodies, bypassing democratically elected Government, Parliament and committees.

        Not being part of the EU would mean that we would still be bound to many international agreements but, we would be able to sit and influence many of these bodies for our own benefit, much as do other nations. We would still have the problem with the Quango’s but, because they effectively have no higher authority than our own democratically elected Government they would be much easier to administer and control.

        What people do not understand is, that leaving the EU will not in itself solve many of the problems we face. We must also address the issue of democracy with in our own nation

      • Jagman 84
        Posted February 28, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        Yes. Socialism. It pervades every crevice of public institutions. Even a change of Government makes little difference as the socialist machine has placed ‘their people’ in key areas to prevent change of direction (Chris Smith at the EA, for example). Frankly, without a purge of the Civil Service of such ‘placemen’, this country is doomed.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Well at least Mr Cameron was not caught by the cameras nodding his head enthusiastically during her speech.
    The fact that Clegg and Miliband were doing so, and smiling as well, says it all really.

    Mrs Merkel perhaps would like to keep us in for no other reason than it may help her to get Germany get some modifications that they also want out of the EU, it may just be as simple a reason as that.
    They have a lot more to lose than us, and it would be far more complicated for them, because they are tied in financially with the Euro.
    Thus she is perhaps playing a game that may suit Germany, and who could blame her, shame our Government are not so single minded

    As you say John, she will offer nothing yet, because we have not asked for anything, so don’t ask, don’t get, is the simple message.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Cameron has not even told us what he intends to ask for has he?

      • Hope
        Posted February 28, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Exactly, Lifelogic. Nor has he committed to what he will do if he does not get the result from the referendum either. Only one choice to vote if you want the UK out of the EU, vote UKIP. You are either for the EU or want out of the EU the is no other alternative based on its rules. Euroscepticism is a sham.

    • A different Simon
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      My contempt for fifth columnist Mr Clegg matches his professed disdain for Britain and it’s history . He should be (locked up? ed) with many of the familiar faces in the Commons .

      Mr Milliband seems to be the only one of the three with any sort of moral compass . His education and career is far more interesting than Cameron and Clegg and I suspect he is smarter than both put together .

      What a tragedy that he comes across as a hostage to flawed ideological thinking from years of Oxford PPE brainwashing .

      I’m not convinced that he has fallen for the common socialist trap that the ends justifies the means . Deep down he must know that massive state power like the EU always ends up in an abuse of the individual and tyranny .

      • Hope
        Posted February 28, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        And perhaps influenced by his father.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 28, 2014 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        Ed Milliband is the same man who introduced and gold plated the Climate Change Act that will see this country be de-industrialized.

        He is also a millionaire despite only ever working in the public sector all his life.

        Not bad for a son of a committed Marxist.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 28, 2014 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        Well Clegg read Archaeology and Anthropology at Robinson College after Westminster so he is unlikely to be an Einstein.

        Cameron is quick on his feet in debates but just lacks a working compass on nearly all the main issues. Does he have any real beliefs at all one wonders? He seems to be totally lacking in numeracy, logic and science or any understanding of real power politics, negotiation skills, the fake green scam, how to create jobs or how to win elections.

        You surely have to lead and have sound principals. Not dip your toe in the water, feel the temperature and go with the flow all the time. A levels in History of Art, History and Economics with Politics are perhaps not ideal for a PM.

        Miliband went to a state school yet still achieved reasonable A levels and in sensible numerate subjects. A in maths, an A in English, and Bs in further maths and physics. Might as well go with him as the best of a bad bunch even if he is a bit geeky. Shame he has the state sector unions behind him.

        Still all three seem daft enough to want ever more EU, ever more government, ever more taxes and ever more (at 3 times the price) quack energy.

        Perhaps Cameron never covered competitive advantage/disadvantage in his Economics.

        • Hope
          Posted March 1, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

          None of the three of three appear to have a great amount of emotional intelligence or experience of life by standing on their own two feet. Everything handed to them on a plate by their fathers. Intelligence to learn subjects is totally different and is by no means an indicator why they are suited to high public office when they all fail on moral judgments. (Look also at the MPs who have failed ed) as we have seen ie when it comes to basics like expenses for MPs.t Hera re many successful captains of industry without a PPE from Oxbridge who were brainwashed by their lefty lecturers.

      • Bob
        Posted March 1, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink


        fifth columnist Mr Clegg matches his professed disdain for Britain and it’s history . He should be (locked up? ed)

        What’s the point? They gave Chris Huhne eight months and he was out in two. The sentencing system has fallen into disrepute.

        A forty year old autistic man was punched to the ground and later died in an unprovoked attack in Bournemouth. The murderer was sentenced to four years, which means out in two years (when translated from liberal “new speak”).

        The same Judge (Keith Cutler) led a 20-second silence by lowering his head and clasping his hands together at the Mark Duggan inquest.

        etc ed

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      She can offer nothing as it is not within her power to do so. All she could offer would be her backing and from her previous pronouncements she is not even prepared to do that.

      What we saw on David Cameron’s face was disappointment, bordering on disbelief, that his sham renegotiation meme had been blow out of the water much earlier than he had expected or hoped. He only had 14 months to string the electorate along. So close, but a loser all the same.

  4. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    The more immigrants and second and third generation immigrants there are, the less likely it becomes that there will be support for any other than Europe.Wandering the nations has been good for them and soon another generation of highly motivated competitive youngsters will be ready to take their places as Doctors or lawyers. Let us be realistic,if these people are prepared to travel around countries to get what they want , then no loyalty will be shown to the host country at a particular time and nothing will stop them trying to take control and press their values on us.

    • Jennifer A
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      We have had mass migration for around 50 years now.

      I am not saying for or against but the fact is that we have slipped out of the top twenty in the academic leagues for literacy and numeracy and the country is bankrupt and getting more into debt.

      Reply The two paragraphs may well be unconnected.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 28, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        I suspect the migrants have improved the figures on balance.

      • Jennifer A
        Posted February 28, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply:

        Everything’s connected.

        Margaret speaks of the great dynamism of many migrants – and I support that – but that isn’t the whole story.

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted February 28, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        I have loved many of the inward migrants in my professional life , can see many of their cultural norms as being useful. I admire particularly some of my female older generation Asian patients,who have suffered, are humble and deserve more recognition as human beings, yet by the rule of their own they will be seen as second class citizens and money amongst their own will be seen as prestigious rather then equality and fairness.I do not want my children and grandchildren to glorify the wrong things in their lives.

        • Jennifer A
          Posted February 28, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

          I agree, in loving many of the inward migrants, Margaret. Once or twice closely – in my prime and unmarried, of course.

          I disagree, Lifelogic. That we are broke means that we cannot discount any of the policies which led us to becoming broke – this will include concealing our own deficiencies in education with imported labour, enabling white people to choose a life on the dole, the removal of recruitment and examination standards in the interests of diversity.

          Then there is the impact and economic cost of crime, welfare and health tourism, the supply of housing and services.

          On balance I think a disbenefit and the dire economic figures seem to support this.

      • APL
        Posted February 28, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        JR: “The two paragraphs may well be unconnected. ”

        Yea, but they are not.

        Teachers may have to cater for up to ten languages in one school. Hardly surprising educational standards have fallen.

        A while ago, the amount spent on translation services was exposed and turned out to be shocking.

        The rise in the population, unplanned for, fifty years ago, has put a strain on the infrastructure; water, electricity, gas supplies, road traffic is higher because there are more people on the road, we need to build ever more housing because the population is increasing.

        They two thing may be unconnected, but they are not!

        You and your party have done the country a disservice by steering clear of the topic, or discussing it in terms that were a god send to Labour. It was always race or color, but in fact it should have been the ability of our country to cater for the demands of such a massive influx of people.

        Your party is an utter failure, and deserves electoral oblivion.

  5. Iain Gill
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Do you think Cameron has taken John Majors warning that he needs to pay more attention to the working class and North seriously?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      The Tories are virtually dead in the north. Cheap energy and easy hire and fire would be a very good start, but Cameron (it seems) is a believer in the green crap, 3 times the price, renewable energy religion.

      • BobE
        Posted February 28, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        And along the HS route

  6. Old Albion
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    You thought she sounded ambiguous! I thought she made it quite clear. There will be NO renegotiations.

    Reply No, she did not say that

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Not quite but very nearly.

    • Timaction
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Frankly I don’t care who said what or what they may or may not have concluded. I just want my Country back so that we can elect those who will rule by our consent and we can deselect if they don’t. It’s called democracy that has been given away and lost by incremental stealth and Treaty change over time, hidden in the guise of a trade market in the EU. All this was done by the LibLabCon legacy Parties. The EU is a POLITICAL project to create a united states of Europe by “ever closer union”. We don’t have to be in it to trade with it. Ask Japan, China, USA, etc. We paid £8 billion net last year for a £43 billion trade deficit. We are being overwhelmed with immigration and costs of public services from everywhere including the EU. Our services are starting to fall apart through sheer over use and shrinking budgets.
      We cannot trust parties who talk about potential unknown changes at some point in the future when it will be too late. There is only one solution.

    • Chris
      Posted March 1, 2014 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Mr Redwood’s reply to Old Albion:
      Merkel is interested in reform, but not the sort that you and fellow Eurosceptic MPs are being led to believe. She is not interested in fundamental reforms of the key planks of the grand project, including freedom of movement, reclaiming/repatriation of powers or cherry picking. The sort of reform she is interested in is laid out in the draft treaty (Spinelli group) and it concerns stimulating growth in the Eurozone, and trying to make the EU appear more democratic, including citizens’ forums, and appointing a dedicated commissioner, I understand. I believe that Conservative eurosceptics are being seriously misled, and this is easy for someone like Cameron to do as so many MPs seem to be ignorant of the contents of the various treaties and what we have signed up to – they have even admitted not reading them! Not good enough.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    JR the referendum in 2017 is a complete con as you must surely know. Just as the cast iron guarantee & IHT threshold promise were a complete con. Since when did a treaty stop being one once ratified?

    In the hugely unlikely event that Cameron obtains a majority in 2015, he will either rat again (perhaps because we are at war somewhere or the EU has changed so much it no longer is needed, or by a further delay to the next general election as negotiations not complete). Or he will just negotiate a silly fig leave or two and then the biased BBC, the and the other pro EU parties will con and/or frighten people into a stay in vote. If they vote the wrong way for him, they will simply be told to try again with a few more fig leafs thrown in.

    The man’s heart soul and even genes are pro EU, innumerate fake green, tax borrow and waste, lefty, anti business, BBC think to the very core. Anyway the half of his party that is like him and the other parties will prevent or just ignore any out vote.

  8. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    JR: “There will be no offer to the UK all the time the UK Parliament is short of a Eurosceptic majority”
    In the unlikely event of your party forming the next government, the UK Parliament will still be short of a Eurosceptic majority (as most of your MPs, including your leader are dedicated pro-EU supporters) so presumably we can conclude that there “will be no offer”.
    Yesterday I highlighted the abject failure of your government in controlling immigration but you chose not to post it even though it was relevant in relation to Mrs Merkel’s visit. Trying to bury bad news?

  9. Roy Grainger
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    “Of course Mrs Merkel was not going to offer much now to the UK”

    You sound a little like Alex Salmond. “Of course Osborne is not offering currency union – but he will after the Yes vote”. Maybe the situation is the same, Mrs Merkel is not offering much because she hasn’t much to offer and never will have.

  10. Mark B
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    I agree with the first paragraph, but totally disagree with the second.

    I am afraid our kind host, like so many others, prefers to live in a world where, a man can happily stand on a platform and say, “I will campaign to remain in the EU”, and yet still believe that self same individual actually wants to take the UK out of a ‘Political Union.’

    He (our host) also wants us to believe that there is a, ‘third way’. There is no such thing ! You are either part of the EU, or not.

    Reply I have never said there is a third way. I just want an In/Out referendum and am trying to secure one for us all.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      I never said that you said, “There is a third way”, I implied that is what you push for. Isn’t that what you mean by ‘renegotiation of a new relationship ?’

      I know I and many others do come over as terribly mean but, you must understand that we are not as näive as you at first might think we are. You have supported Cameron position of renegotiation then referendum but, it is becoming increasingly obvious that we witnessing an ill thoughtout sham of an idea. This, as Cameron was alleged to have said sometime ago, was designed to give your party some ‘red-meat’. ie something to chew over. Well he and your party have dined long enough on this and we are growing impatient. Scotland is having a say now over whether or not it wish es to remain in this union, we on the other hand are being offered an never-never deal as 2017 is seen as totally unrealistic.

      Reply I have spelled out what I mean by a new relationship, which is outside the present Treaties and based on trade.

  11. Bryan
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Whatever ‘renegotiation’ takes place it will be heralded by Mr Cameron as a major victory and therefore prove that we can reform the EU from within.

    Politics is now clearly the art of hoodwinking the people.

    Mr Cameron however is not as good at it as Mr Blair which is why he will lose the next election.

    So no referendum!

    • Bob
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      The Liblabcon leadership looked like a bunch of doting pop fans admiring the German Chancellor as she told them there will be no renegotiation of membership terms for what’s left of Britain.

      Peter Hitchens sums it up well:

      The ridiculous expectations of Mrs Merkel’s visit, drummed up by the Tories, do make me laugh. Do they really still not understand that the EU never gives back the powers it has gathered in, because that is the whole point of it? Do they really still not grasp that Germany has abandoned national glory and imperial power in exchange for a different dream, of a Europe in which Germany dominates everything but never raises her voice or actually asserts her power in public?

      If Britain wants to be part of that, Germany will be polite to us, even flatter us, and allow us various trinkets and tokens to soothe those who still like to think we were the victors of 1945. But the great sausage machine of ever-closer-union will continue to mince up the gristly and bony remains of national sovereignty, and turn them into the smooth, bland, pink paste of ‘Unity in Diversity’, with which the Euro-Sausage is so tightly packed. If Britain seeks to be a serious obstacle to the sausage-machine, then she will be crushed, overborne in the Commission, slapped down in the Luxembourg Court, regulated to death and eventually compelled to accept total submission by joining the Euro and abolishing what remains of her national borders, and signing the Schengen agreement with trembling fingers as her new masters look on, smiling benevolently.
      ………
      So, in the part of Mrs Merkel’s speech delivered in English, these words could not have been clearer:

      ‘Some expect my speech to pave the way for a fundamental reform of the European architecture which will satisfy all kinds of alleged or actual British wishes. I am afraid they are in for a disappointment.’

      The qualification which followed was, by comparison, tricky and ambiguous: ‘Others are expecting the exact opposite and they are hoping that I will deliver the clear and simple message here in London that the rest of Europe is not prepared to pay almost any price to keep Britain in the European Union. I am afraid these hopes will be dashed.’

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        All true, so what are the available counters?
        (1) Leave the EU; OR
        (2) Renegotiate with a pistol at the heads of the European powers by defining ‘red lines’ in our renegotiation stance and being prepared to act unilaterally to attain them.

        There is no future in wringing our hands and grovelling and saying that we cannot break EU law. Of course we can break it – into little pieces of necessary.

  12. Leslie Singleton
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    It is not I think just nitpicking to say that unfortunately you mean she WOULD then face etc; rather a big would perhaps. You did not like my comments yesterday on Cameron’s negotiating skills; I suspect Merkel will show him how to do it.

  13. Bert Young
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    The realists among us expected nothing else ; why should she come over here and say things she would not have said in Germany – or , other parts of Europe ? The only hope that existed was a glimmer that Germany was fed up and also wanted change with the EU . As I now read things , UKIP has been given another strong boost to its Spring conference and it will shout long and hard about immigration from Romania and Bulgaria . I received through my door on Monday a pathetic letter from the Conservative Party urging me to arrange a postal vote ; the arguments used focussed on 3 points that Cameron wanted to emphasise – you could drive a coach and horses through each of them ( eg he claimed he had negotiated a reduced contribution to the EU budget ! , were that so , why are we actually paying more ? ) ; to make matters worse , the reverse side of his letter showed a picture of him signing it ! . Whoever is advising him on his pre – European campaign must have rocks in their heads ; the last thing anyone wants to be reminded of is his image ! The Germans are keeping their powder dry ; the euro currency provides substantial cover for their export trade and their dominant economic position gives them an enormous whack in the running of the ECB . Of course they want us to remain in the EU because they realise that without us its voice in the world would be diminished and the lack of our financial contribution would make it much worse for the German taxpayer . If we want Germany to stand with us , we must withdraw from the EU and give them a tougher perspective of the real world .

    • Mark B
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Great post Bert.

      Without the UK, Germany would be at the mercy of the Club Med States and the Eastern Europeans who would conspire to keep her in check. And the way they would do it, is through wealth transfer.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 1, 2014 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Bert

      Yes I got the same letter.

      Why when so much recent bad press abounds about postal voting, does Mr Cameron want to encourage it further, and bury himself and his Party deeper and more quickly !

      Best thing Cameron could do for democracy would be to stop postal voting.
      In years past even unfit people could be helped to the polls by Party workers
      Problem is he has a shrinking Party because many past workers are fed up with his policies.
      Thus the solution is in his own hands.

  14. James Matthews
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    The Alex Salmond analogy seems apt. Mrs Merkel has nothing to offer now and it is vanishingly unlikely that she will offer anything later. If she did, it would be completely impossible for her to deliver it. Meanwhile immigration continues at a rate which will means that we will not long remain even a recognisable nation, never mind return to being an independent one. We do not have the luxury of time.

  15. Atlas
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    I’d say Merkel gently humiliated Cameron in her speech.

    • bigneil
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      “Gently” ? She probably got the words slightly wrong in translation, but DC will still be telling us changes can be made – yeah -payments to increase probably. Country in debt and still giving millions a day away, wanting the HS2, foreign aid to despots. never mind the constant lies lies and more lies. Does our “leader” have ANY respect for us. Don’t answer -rhetorical !

    • Mark B
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      If she did – Good ! The Boy needs to man up ! We the British (well English actually) voted for Cameron and the Conservative Party and, we expect them to stand up for us. Merkel is giving you a lesson on how its done. Another Lady did the same, but mates of Cameron did stabbed her in the back and betrayed the Nation further over the Maastricht Treaty.

  16. Posted February 28, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Mrs Merkel represents only Germany, whilst it would be useful to have her on our side, what about the rest of the EU countries. The Netherlands, for example, are not happy about immigration as their country is even more overcrowded than the UK. And the EU wants to flood their equivalent of the Somerset Levels!
    With the coming EU elections, the only party to have delivered leaflets so far is UKIP, I wonder why?

  17. oldtimer
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    My thoughts too. In her re-election campaign she carefully avoided any commitments on the key EZ issues that affect German voters. Given her stance then, it would have been entirely out of character to offer any commitment on an issue relating to the UK. Her motto could easily be, on any issue, let us wait and see.

    I would not be surprised to see some minor changes, that other EU members want, to be on offer. These will be little more than crumbs from the EUrocracy`s table but dressed up as five star nouvelle cuisine – all show but no real substance.

  18. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    “I did not understand why there was so much hype about Mrs Merkel’s visit.”

    Don’t you John? You contributed to the hype by writing an open letter to her in a blog devoted exclusively to the subject yesterday.

    Reply I did not hype her visit or suggest it would achieve anything. As I knew the media would go to town on the issue it was an opportune time to restate the position of many in the UK concerning our unsatisfactory relationship with the EU.

  19. rick hamilton
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    In your letter to Angela Merkel you say that the voters ‘did not consent to an ever closer union’. Well you are right that the voters didn’t give their consent, but the politicians certainly did.

    The Preamble to the Treaty of Rome states in the second paragraph that the parties are ‘Determined to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe’. Not only is ‘ever closer union’ the first objective mentioned, it also implies that all Europeans are to be included, not just those who signed it in 1957.

    I would like you to explain on behalf of your party JR, why Heath signed a treaty whose intention to undermine our sovereignty was set out for all to see on page one, and then told us repeatedly that it was just an economic arrangement.

    • Bob
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink


      I would like you to explain on behalf of your party JR, why Heath signed a treaty whose intention to undermine our sovereignty was set out for all to see on page one, and then told us repeatedly that it was just an economic arrangement.

      Mr Redwood,
      Can you respond to this?

      Reply I did not support Mr Heath and voted No the Treaty of Rome when we had a referendum. I do not respond to each point as I do have other work to do!
      I would need to see the quotes you object to, as I do not recall Mr Heath denying some loss of sovereignty, though others like Mr Wilson did I seem to recollect deny it at the time.

      • Bob
        Posted March 1, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink


        I do not recall Mr Heath denying some loss of sovereignty

        Does that mean he admitted there would be loss of sovereignty?
        I don’t recall that.
        I would need to see the quotes.

      • Ken Adams
        Posted March 1, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        Heath said “there is no question of Britain losing essential sovereignty”. we all read no loss of sovereignty.

        In a television broadcast to mark Britain’s entry in January 1973, Heath said:

        “there are some in this country who fear that in going into Europe we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified”

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      I would imagine that Heath was remembering the second world war and his intention was to make peace rather than undermine the UK.

  20. Chris
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Frau Merkel is not in a position to offer treaty change – it has to be approved by the other Member States, with the usual rules for voting.
    Renegotiation is also not an option as the EU are set on ever closer union, and they are not able or willing to alter any of the founding principles. The other Member States signed up to the EU knowing full well the ultimate goal, and they are in agreement with it, and with the fundamental principles, which they are not willing or able to alter. Once powers have been ceded by Member States they cannot be given back, unless of course the MS were to leave the EU.
    Der Spiegel, in an article entitled “Why is Britain running away from Europe?” states:
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/will-straw-essay-on-the-role-of-britain-in-the-european-union-a-956230.html
    “..It is therefore a puzzle that the current British government has diverted its attention from winning the next round of key policy debates in Brussels and, instead, focused on a pointless exercise of seeking treaty change to repatriate powers. Britain should stop wasting its time with this futile endeavour and concentrate on aligning the EU’s institutions with an agenda of growth and democracy…”

    Yes, indeed, it is a pointless exercise seeking treaty change to repatriate powers, and a futile endeavour. What do our Conservative MPs not understand about this?

    Reply And what do you not understand about the need to have an In/Out referendum? Renegotiation is the way to get one and the way to show either that the EU has no intention of accommodating the UK so we vote Out, or does suddenly get it a offer us the kind of relationship we want.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 1, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      It’s hard to believe that the political leaders in any member state were unaware of the intended direction of travel; they didn’t have to read very far into the treaties to see that they would be committing their country to a process of “ever closer union” with the other countries.

      Perhaps some of them deceived themselves and others that they would be able to keep the process under control and prevent it going further than they wished, but they must have known in all member states including the UK.

      However for the peoples of those countries, rather than the political elites, that would have been and still is a different matter.

      There’s an interesting poll here:

      http://www.openeuropeblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/new-oe-poll-shows-merkel-and-cameron.html

      comparing current public opinion in the UK with that in Germany, and straight off it can be seen that while only about 10% of Britons want more EU integration the figure is 38% for the Germans.

      In November 2012 it was suggested that prior to any attempt at renegotiation there should be some kind of “mandate referendum”, and JR was among those calling for such a referendum:

      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2012/11/20/the-double-referendum-on-the-eu/

      The proposed question being:

      “Do you want the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on trade and political co-operation?”

      While my own view was that the question should be more fundamental, about whether we as a nation want to continue further with the process of “ever closer union” prescribed by the present EU treaties; if not, then we should not be a party to those treaties.

      I guess that if such a referendum was held here then the answer would be “no”, if it was held in Germany then the answer might well be “yes”, and it is was held in all of the other EU member states then there would be a mixture of results, with rather more saying “yes” than “no”.

      Open Europe searched carefully through the details of the poll to find potential points of agreement, little rays of hope that Merkel might come under domestic pressure to agree to at least some of the kind of things that the UK government has vaguely indicated that it may want, but clearly there are major differences between the attitudes of the British people and the German people on the most fundamental question of the preferred direction of travel.

    • Chris
      Posted March 1, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      You are answering a question/claim that I never made. We do indeed need an IN/OUT referendum, but well before 2015. Having a referendum is not dependent on first having a renegotiation (which in itself is not possible). We can have a referendum any time that we so chose. The EU does not yet dictate that.

      Cameron has chosen to take us all along the path of renegotiation which he knows is not possible. Yes, Merkel wants some reform of the EU but that is nothing to do with fundamental alterations to the basic tenets of the EU, such as free movement of labour and people, and giving back powers. Once powers are ceded they can never be clawed back – that is the key principle behind the drive towards ever closer integration. For information on the “reforms” that Merkel is interested in, see Der Spiegel article, where the focus of proposed reforms would be connected with promoting growth and altering the perception about the democratic deficit at the heart of the EU.

      There are some highly significant statements in the DS article which those seeking repatriation of powers would do well to heed:
      http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/will-straw-essay-on-the-role-of-britain-in-the-european-union-a-956230.html
      “…If these ideas (regarding repatriation – Fresh Start group etc) became formal British government policy, there is very little to suggest that EU member states would be willing to negotiate with the UK on a new relationship. Commission President José Manuel Barroso has said that there are no supporters on the continent for a British repatriation of powers. One MEP told The Economist that, “goodwill towards the UK is rapidly running out in Europe.”

      “…Over the period that British energy in relation to the EU has focused on repatriating powers, the UK has seen its leadership role in Brussels diminish. ….Figures collected by the Vote Watch website indicate that Britain is losing more votes in the European Council than at any point in recent history……There is a widespread view in Brussels that there are many more instances which do not come to a formal vote when Britain is now on the losing side. This decline in power is mirrored within the Commission where the share of British staff has fallen by 24 percent to 4.6 percent over seven years. Instead of losing votes in the Council, proposing unrealistic treaty changes, and creating bad will, Britain should be working at the heart of Europe to enhance prosperity and democracy….”

      “…These reforms (re encouraging growth and democracy) would go a long way to reviving growth and democratic legitimacy in Europe, but the British government has wasted time by focusing on the party interest of the Conservatives rather than on the broad national interest of the UK. This has been to the detriment of both Britain, which has been marginalised in Europe, and of Europe, which has benefited in the past from an engaged and pragmatic Britain…”

      • Chris
        Posted March 1, 2014 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        The comment I made above was in reply to John Redwood’s reply to me, and was not a reply to Denis Cooper. It is not always very clear from the way the posts are displayed on this site to whom a reply is being made.

  21. Antisthenes
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    The only hope eurosceptics have in getting any kind of deal on reform and then it will not be much is that the eurozone is forging ahead with more integration. For those members that do not use the euro there is going to have to be some changes in their relationship with the new eurozone arrangement. No doubt Brussels will try to impose the same conditions on both euro users and non users. This should happen or at least the draft treaty should be on the table before 2015(unless of course they hold back in the hope that RedEd will be in no 10 by then or they circumvent the existing treatises) and that is when the country is at it’s most influential and more than qualified majority voting is needed so the veto will be a powerful tool. Will David Cameron use it effectively I suspect that given his track record he will not citing saving the euro as his excuse.

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think JR can be accused of having helped to blow up the balloon of expectations about what Merkel would say. Others did certainly did that, and now that their balloon has been pricked some of them are still searching among the wrinkled rubber fragments for something to keep their hopes up. It’s quite pathetic, really.

    However, it’s hardly the case that “Her speech did not say Yes and did not say No” as far as Cameron’s stated ambitions are concerned; it was clearly a “No” to that.

    She may have been saying “Yes” to “reform” of the EU; but remember the history, that Merkel’s ideas for “reform” have never involved returning powers to member states or in any other way reversing the process of “ever closer union”.

    What did she call the amending treaty into which she had almost all of the legal contents of the rejected EU Constitution decanted, before it finally renamed as the Treaty of Lisbon?

    It was her “Reform Treaty”:

    https://www.google.co.uk/#q=merkel+%22reform+treaty%22

  23. BobE
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    without a shot fired!!!

  24. Bellevue
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I cant help noticing that you reply most selectively. Every now and then, you reply…..but in the vast majority of cases you remain silent.
    We notice these things, you know.
    We are not as stupid as you think we are…… well, not all of us.
    You politicos have been FOUND OUT by the internet. As have the greenies/global warmists. We are not so easily fooled nowadays….
    And we are cross.

  25. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 1, 2014 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    This simply confirms what we have known all along, that the ‘red lines’ of renegotiation stance must go in the Conservative 2015 manifesto. The only way that the continental powers will negotiate will be with a pistol at their heads.

    • APL
      Posted March 1, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Lindsay McDougall: “This simply confirms what we have known all along,”

      We also know that anything described as ‘red lines’ are politicians equivalent to extruded bovine digested material.

  26. Posted March 1, 2014 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    When the Conservative party become Eusceptic I will vote for it! But you have a leader who has already stated he will do what it takes to stay in the EU.

  27. Posted March 1, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I have commented on Mr. Redwood’s posts on a fairly regular basis for some time. Over that time, I have noticed that unsympathetic comments tend to be relegated to the end of the series and my replies to the host’s replies which have avoided awkward questions seem too frequently to disappear. One detailed comment was blocked on the grounds that it was a repeat of a previous comment, though this was untrue.

    I have therefore decided that commenting on this blog is a waste of time, since the posts by our host and his replies are simply a continuation of his ‘other work’, as he explained to Bob – the work of saying one thing and doing what will negate it in the House of Commons.

    Not being one of Mr. Redwood’s constituents, I offer no comment on his constituency work, which may well be exemplary. His support for his political party and its leader is undoubted.
    It is his consistency in acting in accordance with his stated beliefs which I find suspect.

    It will be interesting to see if this last comment sees the light of day.

    John Wrake

    Reply I am busy so I often leave very long comments or comments with external links until I have more time to study them. It is not about the viewpoint they express, it is about their length.

    • Bob
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      @John Wrake
      I for one would prefer you to persevere John.
      Some of my comments are not published and some are censored and delayed.

      Your contribution has certainly added value to the blog.

      Just avoid hyperlinks, or anything that could be libelous and instead suggest search terms for google or youtube so that the readers can still find the sources that you wish to refer to.

      Stay with us John.

  28. Chris
    Posted March 1, 2014 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    In an excellent article in the D Tel online, “None so blind as those who refuse to see an EU mess”, C Booker explains yet again why renegotiation is not possible:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/10668708/None-so-blind-as-those-who-refuse-to-see-an-EU-mess.html

    “…As I (C Booker) have often tried to explain here – ever since Mr Cameron came up with his notion, a year ago, that he could somehow hope to negotiate a new relationship for Britain with the EU, then put it to a referendum in 2017 – every point on his wish list was just pie in the sky. It defied every bedrock principle of how the EU works: that, once powers of government are handed over to Brussels, they cannot be given back; that, under Article 48 of the Lisbon Treaty, he would never get the required majority from 27 other countries allowing him to negotiate; that the tortuous procedures now laid down for such a new treaty could not possibly be completed by 2017.

    In other words, those millions of words that in the past year have been spoken and written by pretty well every politician and pundit one can think of have been devoted to discussing something that could never possibly have come about in the first place – as Mrs Merkel confirmed on Thursday….”

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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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