Negotiate and decide – tackling our bad relationship with the EU

 

Recently Mr Cameron set out more of the details of his proposed renegotiation with the rest of the EU, should the Conservatives win the General Election in 2015. He proposes negotiating over seven main areas:

 

  • “Powers  flowing away from Brussels, not always to it
  • National  parliaments able to work together to block unwanted European legislation
  • Businesses  liberated from red tape and benefiting from the strength of the EU’s own  market
  • Our  police forces and justice systems able to protect British citizens, unencumbered by unnecessary interference from the European institutions
  • Free  movement to take up work, not free benefits
  • Support  for the continued enlargement of the EU to new members but with new mechanisms in place to prevent vast migrations across the Continent
  • And  dealing properly with the concept of “ever closer union”, enshrined in the  treaty, to which every EU country has to sign up. It may appeal to some countries. But it is not right for Britain, and we must ensure we are no  longer subject to it.”

This week the Chancellor has added to the task the need to protect UK interests from further centralisation of powers stemming from the Euro scheme and the need for its members to sign up to increased Brussels control over their economies and banking systems.

There is  now an opportunity to discuss this list. Some will wish to go further, others will see this as a substantial agenda to be getting on with following the election in 2015. What it should be easier to agree is the need for a referendum, so those who want out can vote for Out and those who think the new deal – however far it goes – is sufficient to warrant staying in can vote to stay in.

Many bloggers on this site repeatedly ask for full control over our borders again. The Conservative proposals seek to stop benefit tourists arriving and claiming, and would impose new restrictions on future migrations of workers. Some will want to go further. They will point out that during the Labour years we needed to build a new city the size of Southampton every year to cater for all the additional people arriving, many of whom came from the rest of the EU. This will be an important part of the debate over the renegotiation.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

100 Comments

  1. arschloch
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    John sorry this is off topic, however headlines like this morning just show how far standards have dropped in UK politics http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/10729984/Maria-Miller-to-have-to-repay-thousands-of-pounds-and-apologise-over-expenses-claims.html

    To see how bad things have got lets look at the case, for example, of John Belcher. Belcher was one of Attlee’s ministers who was found to have received a suit, a cigarette case and a fortnight’s holiday in Margate from “super spiv” Sidney Stanley (one of his many aliases). Despite the pathetic nature of the gifts received, especially in comparison to whats up for grabs in contemporary politics, Attlee immediately sacked him from his government and Belcher was soon forced to resign as an MP too. Belcher later died in disgrace after he returned to his old job as a railway clerk. There was no regular column in “The Guardian” for him like Huhne now has. Nowadays though whenever a scandal hits a minister they will cling on until the bitter end and hope that the issue at hand just goes away. If found guilty the best the voters can hope for is that they will be leaving parliament at the next election, no matter how many years away that may be. Its also interesting to see what happened to Sid too. Papers were immediately prepared for his deportation with no reference to whether he had the “right” to a family life or that he could not be deported because he had lived in the UK (illegally) for thirty odd years. Sorry but many of the fundamental problems with democracy in the UK have their origins in Westminster and have nothing to do with the EU
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Belcher_(politician)

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      She never stuck me as being remotely competent nor remotely a conservative, more like a female version of Cameron but without the gift of the gab. Clearly she should go even regardless of her expenses. But then Cameron has taken David Laws back into the cabinet, so he clearly has no judgement. He even kept the appalling Chris Huhne in cabinet for months on end after the position was very clear to all but the deluded Chris Huhne.

      • Hope
        Posted March 29, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        Her greatest success is that gay marriage starts today. No legislate mandate from the public, Cameron did not include 600,000 votes for a referendum and yet JR expects us to believe his blog today. We could add the EU is taking the UK to the EU court to stop any changes to benefit tourism and Cameron already lost the last EU court case over the city. The French are reported to veto any changes that was put into the MSM yesterday about the German fiancé minister agreeing to some change. It is all pure fantasy to get votes with disappointment on the horizon. JR might like to comment on Cameron’s cast iron guarantee from 2007 if he ever came prime minister and the serial ratting ever since. Good grief change the gramophone for jam tomorrow row nonsense based on fact over the last four years Cameron always fails to deliver.

        In elation to Miller Cameron was going to sack people like her in 2009 when he had his scar chamber, he also promised the right to recall for people like her and he ratted on that this year. He cannot be trusted.

        Reply I have often set out the promise for a referendum on Lisbon prior to its ratification, and how the whole Conservative party kept that promise by voting for one. Some of you are so negative it’s as if you want to lose. I am trying to get us a referendum.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 29, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

          Cameron will never grant a referendum unless he thinks it will come down on his pro EU side. His heart is not in it not even in the renegotiation as can be seen from this pathetic list.

          He offered the country a “cast iron guarantee” to put any treaty in front of the voters. His blatant ratting on that using the pathetic fig leaf that “it is no longer a treaty once ratified nonsense” and his allowing Clegg equal billing in the TV debate threw the last sitting duck election.

          If Cameron wins an overall majority (chance say 1/30 the system is against him as is his ratting, tax increases and green crap) and if he keeps his promise (and can hold the 50%+ pro EU Tory party to it) chance about 1/100 and if the BBC, EU, Labour, CBI, big companies, the Libdums and all the rest do not swing the vote with their bias, scare stories & propaganda then perhaps we will get out of the EU chance about 1/3.

          Overall chance of escape perhaps 1/9000 or so!

          There was a real chance, but Cameron deliberately blew it with his tax borrow and waste, absurd greencrap, pro EU, heart and soul and IHT ratting.

        • acorn
          Posted March 29, 2014 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          The May Euro election is an opportunity to have a primary type referendum on the EU. If you think there is strong chance the next government will successfully renegotiate AND NOT renege on a referendum, don’t vote UKIP. Otherwise, vote for UKIP.

          The EU vote result is democratically valueless for eurosceptics, so there is nothing to lose.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 30, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

          I do not doubt that you John, are trying for a referendum but half of the Tory party and its leaders are clearly trying not to have one with all their hearts and souls.

      • Stevie
        Posted March 29, 2014 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        Has the PM the power to sack Lib Dems if he has, why hasn’t he used? His deputy would be my first chose.

        Reply No, he does not have that power under the Coalition Agreement.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Thanks for that.

      In that same remote era, the Labour Chancellor Hugh Dalton resigned for leaking details of his budget:

      http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/mar/20/budget-leak-uncanny-echo-dalton

      “Budget leak uncanny echo of famous incident from 66 years ago”

      • arschloch
        Posted March 29, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        Yes reputable politicians in the UK disappeared with Lord Carrington during he Falklands war. They always have some BS excuse for clinging on.

        Reply If resigning on principle is a sign of good conduct, several of us did that after Lord C.

        • arschloch
          Posted March 29, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          There is a difference on resigning on principle and admitting you have fouled up as Lord C did. Modern politicians are infallible

    • Tad Davison
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      I wonder why the right of recall was conveniently pushed aside by dear old ‘cast-iron Dave’?

      Could it be that these latest revelations are just another tip of an even bigger iceberg?

      Wouldn’t that be good just before the Euro-elections, and the 2015 GE!

      Tad

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 29, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        “the right of recall”

        Yet more Cameron ratting on top of the Inheritance tax thresholds and the huge Cast Iron (election throwing) giant rat of all rats.

        Does anyone really want to have to watch him rat again next term?

    • Boudicca
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Well said.

      If she had an ounce of integrity, she’d resign. If Cameron had any respect for the electorate he’d withdraw the Whip from her immediately. It won’t happen though because she forced the Gay “Marriage” bill through the Commons for him.

      Reply We have not yet seen the Report – you should not sack someone on a newspaper story unless and until it is backed up by results of the investigation and confirms bad behaviour unsuitable in a Minister.

      • arschloch
        Posted March 29, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        What even if its all within the rules and she has done nothing wrong you think there is no ethical problem in an MP making a million from tax break that is denied to the rest of us?

        Reply MPs are under exactly the same CGT rules as anyone else.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 29, 2014 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        She is not up to the job anyway, even before the expenses issue. Why was she ever even a Tory candidate. She is not a Tory.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    “Our fatherland is now Europe. Our national anthem is Ode to Joy. And our flag is that of the twelve yellow stars on an azure background.”
    “A clear victory for the pro-Europeans at the 2014 elections must herald the creation of a real constituent assembly, with the aim of establishing a truly federal Europe.”
    “A majority of people want more Europe, not less. The Constitution was not rejected because it was too ambitious but because it was not ambitious enough.”
    “The euro crisis does not in any way indicate that the introduction of the single European currency was a mistake.”
    “The ultimate consequence of identity thinking is the gas chambers of Auschwitz.”

    Guy Verhofstadt.

    The Conservatives are simply not listening. All these goodies which Mr Cameron rightly wants are just not on offer. It would also be lovely if the sky was always blue and Britain moved to Hawaii.

    Reply Then we can vote for Out.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      Well that is a truly pathetic list, even if he if offered them all. We clearly just need to vote now and save the three years pointless negotiation. Not that Cameron will be in a position to negotiate anything after 2015.

      Do you want out of the anti-democratic, EU superstate now or do you want the pro EU, no greater Switzerland, heart and soul, ratter Cameron to try to negotiate this pathetic list of nonsense?

      Who would vote for that.

      I certainly do not want free movement of people to take up work, I want selective movement of just the higher paid and skilled workers who will earn enough say £50K+. Thus pay sufficient taxes for the services they use. I would prefer a highly skilled person from China or India to an unskilled, non English speaker from the EU. Cameron’s EU only approach is surely racist and economic lunacy too.

      • Hope
        Posted March 29, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        EU arrest warrant did not have to be enacted. It allows citizens from this country to be arrested for offences that do not exist here, andwithout evidence, and taken to EU countries where their system of justice does not compel them to take speedy action to bring before a court. That seems to have slipped Nick’s mind the other day, as for his safety sophistry, people could always be arrested for offences committed here and extradited here. How does he think the UK managed before the EU arrest warrant in 2010 and what does it have in relation to the original idea of economics and commerce that the people of this country were originally asked to vote for? He seems unable to portray the true facts, you cannot believe a word he says.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 29, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          Sophistry is perhaps too gentle a word for Clegg.
          His tricks and choice of words might seem clever but they are so transparent.

          What on earth will he say in the next one?

    • Timaction
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Trade and friendship. Nothing more. Work permits for “skilled jobs”. Not Serving in fast food establishments, hotels or other service industries!
      Free movement is not wanted or needed by the electorate. Only the legacy parties and media see advantage in the EU.

      • Hope
        Posted March 29, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        Because of in- work benefits and their wages being subsidised by the UK taxpayer. Clegg seems to have forgotten this as well.

  3. Mark B
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    None of that, of which you write, is achievable. You are back amongst the fairies.

    Reply The referendum is achievable, and if as you think there is insufficient progress on the negotiation then you can vote for Out.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      Comment on Reply–The faint prospect, and only on the distant horizon at that, of being able to vote Out doesn’t satisfy: it’s as simple as that. For a start the aims above (impossible anyway) do not go anywhere near far enough to stop us wanting Out and secondly Cameron’s plan is so blatantly just a way (he hopes) of tempting people to vote Conservative when they otherwise don’t want to that it won’t work. A better hope is a breakthrough by them and him who cannot be named in May when with an ounce of luck all bets will be off for the Election.

      Reply The most likely alternative to a Conservative government giving us all the chance to vote for Out is a Labour government not giving us a vote at all. It is difficult trying to help many of you.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 29, 2014 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        I agree we will get Labour, but I would rather have Miliband than reward the dishonest serial ratter, fake green, 299 tax increases, socialist ratter Cameron and then watch him rat again. This list is totally pathetic and vague. It is a waste of time to even try to negotiate it, especially under heart and soul serial ratter.

        Even if he got everything is is worth virtually nothing.

        Just look at the people Cameron has around him Justine Greening on Questiontime the other night, Maria Millar and countless more – half the party are simply not Tories just pro EU, socialist, fake green, career politician mouthpieces. We might as well have Miliband.

        The referendum is so clearly just a long grass, con tactic from a serial ratter.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 29, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

          Anyway if Cameron could not beat Brown he will clearly not beat Miliband now we know what he is. He did not even get fair boundaries organised through his total incompetence.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 29, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        I wouldn’t make that assumption about a Labour government not giving us a vote at all, but if Miliband meant what he said in his recent speech then it might not be a vote that many people, especially Tories, would want.

        And here you can think of me trying to help your party, JR, not sure why I should do that, because it would have the rug pulled right from under its feet if a Labour government held a referendum on whether to join the euro but the referendum question was framed as “Would you prefer to join the euro or would you prefer to leave the EU?”, and so the Tory party’s officially preferred status quo option of staying in the EU but not joining the euro did not appear on the ballot paper.

        Apart from that crucial case of a referendum related to the euro, there’s a list of other cases where a proposed change involving a transfer of power would trigger a referendum, but under Miliband’s alternative “referendum lock” it would always be an “in-out” referendum, not a referendum just on the proposed change with EU membership continuing irrespective of the outcome of the vote. Obviously it would be much easier get people to vote the way the government wanted, for example on whether to accept an EU Public Prosecutor, if the alternative was leaving the EU altogether.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted March 29, 2014 at 10:54 am | Permalink

          Denis,

          I suspect Labour are keeping their powder dry until after they see the results of the forthcoming Euro-elections. If they think they have lost out to UKIP, they will change their policy towards Europe. But that won’t be out of any transformation of their political thinking, just out of political expediency. They are just as much a duplicitous crook as the other two main Westminster parties.

          For me, any re-negotiation is likely to be strew with ambiguities and pre-conditions. These things have a nasty habit of being fudged. The best way, is to get out of it altogether, have no political links at all with the EU, then just co-operate in areas of mutual interest.

          I see nothing at all wrong with that, but perhaps the pro-Europeans on this page might like to tell us why it would not, or could not work?

          Tad

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted March 29, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

            Now that Miliband has formally stated his position I doubt that it will change before the general election. And as it is a formula which is potentially lethal for the Tory party, even though they seem not have noticed that, there would have to be a more compelling reason to change it than some Labour candidates failing to get into the EU Parliament.

          • Posted March 30, 2014 at 1:24 am | Permalink

            ” perhaps the pro-Europeans on this page might like to tell us why it would not, or could not work?”

            I’d just make the point that there is a difference between being pro-European and pro-EU.

            Supporting the criminal economic austerity programs imposed by the EU led Troika in Greece, Spain, Italy etc may be being pro-EU but it isn’t being pro-European.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 29, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink

          Miliband will offer a vote if he has too anyway. People will trust him rather more than someone who has already serially ratted.

          A UKIP deal and a new compass for Cameron’s brain, that is the only hope.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted March 29, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        Reply to Reply–Your last sentence about helping us is condescending and patronising, which is unlike you. Besides, on this you are not trying to help us but your Party. The issues are easy to understand and we disagree that the chances are as you say. Roll on May and/or it is time to break up the Coalition (Perhaps unless the Liberals agree to fair boundaries as a quid pro quo).

      • Duyfken
        Posted March 29, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        Reply to JR’s “It is difficult trying to help many of you.”
        Perhaps JR you might care to look through the other end of your telescope, and see that it is we who are trying to help you. Your mantra is that if renegotiation does not work, we shall then have a vote, but we patiently or perhaps impatiently encourage you to realise no renegotiation of value can be achieved. Unless of course Article 50 were to be invoked. That is what you should be striving for, rather than pussy-footing around with ideas of renegotation and/or a referendum.

        Reply We are miles off having a majority for using Article 50 in the Commons so we have to proceed in the way I am recommending. If Eurosceptics will not trust their friends in the Commons it will make it less likely we can win.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted March 29, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

          Reply to Reply–It is a question neither of trust nor friendship: more a question of distrust and dislike of Cameron

        • Duyfken
          Posted March 29, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          You seem to imply that were a majority to be more likely than at present, then you would pursue that. I do not recall any MP in the Commons advocating the Article 50 route so it is unsurprising there is a lack of support. If you push for renegotiation simply because there is more chance of obtaining an HoC majority, I would not demur, but only were you and any other like-minded anti-EU MPs also to be outspoken in advocating the use of Article 50 as the best way forward. Why not?

          Reply Happy to see that tried, but there is nowhere near a majority for it.

      • Daisy
        Posted March 29, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        Then why not give us the referendum while he is still PM, in this Parliament, so that it can take place at the same time as the 2015 GE?

        His wish list goes nowhere near solving the problems caused by the EU, so why wait for the outcome of these pointless negotiations? Why not spend the remaining year in power having the debate we all want culminating in the vote which the country desperately needs?

        Reply Because we do not have a majority for a referendum this Parliament!

        • Daisy
          Posted March 29, 2014 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

          I wonder. After last Wednesday’s debate it might be thought that the political climate has changed enough to make it difficult for MPs of any party, whether Sceptic or Philiac, to vote against giving the electorate the right to have a direct say at the first possible opportunity, if Cameron were to propose it.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted March 29, 2014 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

          Reply to Reply–Any danger of another attempt to explain why a majority (anywhere) is needed? It is only a question after all. Did the referendum that Sir Jimmy Goldsmith tried to set up need a majority? I could be wrong but I do not remember it so.

          Reply His referendum did not take place because there was no Commons majority for it!

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted March 30, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

            Reply to Reply–That is not much of an answer. I repeat that it is just a question, which, had I the resources would be asked this afternoon and MP’s could just follow on behind. I take it it is not illegal to hold a referendum.

      • Boudicca
        Posted March 29, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        Better to have no Referendum … and therefore no mandate to keep us in …. than a rigged Referendum on Cameron’s limited agenda. Once they have their mandate, that’s it …. our country will be lost forever and we’ll never be asked again.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 29, 2014 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

          Indeed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      Even if it were achieved it is virtually worthless. Get out now and negotiate free trade and anything else we need later. It is the only way, but Cameron has blown it with his serial ratting and throwing of the last election.

    • M Davis
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply to Mark B

      Unfortunately, the ‘Wayne & Waynetta’s’, who are not interested in politics and know next to nothing about what is really going on, will fall for the BBC’s vote IN propaganda and there are far more of them than there are of the more informed.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 29, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        Indeed and Cameron put Patten at the BBC surely for that very purpose.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 30, 2014 at 6:14 am | Permalink

        Its not just the Wayne and Waynetta’s of this world. Its also the Tim’s and Tamara’s (nice but dim) of this world also.

        Stupidity and zero political awareness has not class distinction.

  4. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    The last comment about free movement is indeed the most contentious. Whilst we have too many very well qualified people of British Nationality, not able to get jobs due to other nationalities flooding the market , there is another growing problem , particularly in the health service. We have many excellent Nurses and Dr’s from other nationalities in GB. In the UK we have always been careful not to show our preference for any one nationality over another. This is not so (amongst some groups of employees ed) , where (others from the same origins ed) are employed at the expense of original Brits. Whereas we accommodate other languages and try and get interpreters , The excuse why English speaking peoples are not employed can be because we do no speak the language.Secondary Care is not open to this at present.
    We can turn a blind eye to this or understand that whilst we have our standards of employment to demonstrate what is right or wrong in employment our migrants have come from areas where these standards do not apply.They will continue to follow the example of their own upbringing.

  5. JoeSoap
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    “•Free movement to take up work, not free benefits”
    Not very ambitious, is it?
    So what happens with the “self-employed” windscreen washer from Romania?
    I think we need a work permit system, as proposed by UKIP. My vote is already out.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Joe,

      It makes me sick when I hear people like the Lib Dems’ leader, Nick Clegg, tell us in a much televised debate that immigrants make a valuable contribution to the UK economy. Some with special skills of which we are short, might well be an asset, but he skips over some of the more glaring problems with his open-doors’ policy.

      Whilst there are people on the dole in the UK, we don’t need anyone from Europe (or anywhere else for that matter) to come to Britain to do low-skilled jobs, so this policy of free movement of labour is plain wrong.

      Personally, I won’t patronise the people you mention, as it isn’t clear if they actually pay UK tax and NI contributions, or live outside the system. And just for the record, a significant number choose the latter option, as their entry into the UK hasn’t been properly recorded. They therefore have an advantage over, and can undercut properly registered and accountable businesses.

      Mr Clegg also says immigrants (presumably he means the legitimate ones) don’t claim anywhere near as many benefits as the indigenous population. Others have already made the point that if the job is a low-skilled one, they are likely to receive tax credits, so we should ask Mr Clegg, what is a tax credit if it isn’t a type benefit?

      I think you’re absolutely right to want a work permit system. Floods of unchecked immigration puts our infrastructure under colossal pressure, and is bound to make housing more expensive as demand outstrips supply.

      The bulk of Westminster politicians just don’t get it, otherwise they would have seen this coming long ago and stopped it in its tracks. We have just got to get a better class of person to represent us in future. Clegg, Cameron, Miliband et al just doesn’t get it!

      Tad

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 29, 2014 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Tad

        I have to say I agree with the points you make in your posting.

        I too have seen the hard evidence in action, much like you.

    • bigneil
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Read that 60% of the Romanian and Bulgarian people who came here went straight to the dwp and claimed they were “self employed” – and this entitled them to much more benefits – instantly. So much for controlled immigration. This country is pouring cash down the drain to anyone who walks in here, while the English are being told they don’t qualify and that they have to live more to a house, just to free up houses for foreigners.

  6. matthu
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Never have the people seen a vaguer set of aims – setting aside, of course, the last Conservative Party mainfesto.

    Powers flowing away from Brussels, not always to it
    Woolly in the extreme, unless you list exactly what powers you intend to see being returned. What about all those opt in clauses that future governments are currently unable to undo once exercised, will we be able to opt out again?

    National parliaments able to work together to block unwanted European legislation.

    You truly mean they are currently prevented from doing so? That’s not to say they will be successful, mind you, but they are welcome to work together. That is about as far-reaching as giving employees the right to ask for six months’ leave.

    Our police forces and justice systems able to protect British citizens, unencumbered by unnecessary interference from the European institutions?
    Who gets to decide what is necessary and what unnecessary?

    Businesses liberated from red tape
    Has this never been promised before?

    Businesses able to benefit from the strength of the EU’s own market
    We need political union in order to do that?

    What about the freedom of the UK to sign bilateral free trade agreements with any of the rest of the Commonwealth?

    What about all those self-amending clauses in the Lisbon Treaty ensuring that the EU can steadily gain more powers without the requirement for any further primary legislation?

    What about ensuring the primacy of British law over EU laws?

    What about an end to tax harmonisation?

    What about ensuring that we are never again subject to uncompetitive energy price policies enforced across in Europe?

    What about ensuring that we never again have to prop up bankruptcy brought about by the Euro zone?

    What about all the stupid laws, regulations and working time directives brought in under the guise of health and safety?

    What about all the green and environmental crap forced upon us?

    Will we finally gain control of our borders?

    Will we be able to deport whomsoever we decide we need to deport?

    No doubt the BBC will in due course trumpet David Cameron’s success in achieving each of his listed aims, but that wish list just does not even begin to do it for me.

    • miami.mode
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      matthu

      Agreed, but unfortunately this is the way of modern politics – always leave the door open for the result you are really seeking.

      All a bit reminiscent of Gordon Brown’s 5 tests for joining the Euro.

  7. Old Albion
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Mrs Merkel has already told you (us) there will be no re-negotiation.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      And what (she ed) wants, (she ed) gets!

      Tad

  8. Gary C
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Cameron’s wet dream of a utopian €urope is just kicking the can further down the road, if he believes Europe will give the UK special treatment he is obviously deluded. Renegotiation will be never ending . . . . . . . . . yawn! The sooner we have the vote the better.

    Re; “Should the Conservatives win the General Election in 2015.”

    Fever veiled promises and more action on this issue may help produce a win.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Gary,

      I bet Cameron adds a caveat in the small print that reads something like this…..’should the Conservatives win the General Election, and the sun not rising in the morning.’

      He’s already told us that he is committed to the EU. Why would we expect a spouse to advocate divorce when they are committed to keeping the partnership alive?

      Anyone else smell a rat in the making?

      Tad

      • bigneil
        Posted March 29, 2014 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        all of us.

  9. Alan Wheatley
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    There are two (at least) far more fundamental and significant issues than the Conservative Party list of negotiating proposals.

    First there is the question of democracy. In the EU there is no democracy. There is no EU demos. The EU Parliament is inconsequential. There is no practical and possible means where by the electorates of the EU Nations can discuss an issue of common interest and through their votes determine policy. The diversity of languages makes EU-wide popular debate impossible. I want to be governed through an accountable Parliament in Westminster, and that is impossible within the EU.

    Improvements to the status quo need not, and should not, be limited to membership of the EU. There are other options for the UK. The UK is of sufficient stature to be able to stand on its own as an independent country on the World stage. Without the shackle of EU membership the UK can form relationships of its own choosing; in particular with the Commonwealth, which as a coherent group is on the way up and offers a much better prospect for trade and social links then the EU. In the days of sail Britain flourished through trading world-wide – it is nonsense, in the days of the World Wide Web and intercontinental airliners, for the horizon to be Europe.

  10. alan jutson
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Sorry John

    If that is Camerons wish list.

    Then may I suggest he does not even bother to waste his , their, and our time any more.

    Just have a referendum now and get it over and done with.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Indeed.

  11. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Forgive me for not falling for a repeat of the Wilson con-trick perpetrated against the Bristish people in 1975. We know, because he has told us and those with whom he is supposed to be negotiating, that Cameron is determined to keep the UK in the EU. I see his motive as intending to secure the UK’s imprisonment in the EU rather than the giving us the opportunity to throw off those shackles. The problem is that for decades most politicians have been untruthful when discussing the EU. The arguments for membership are always made on economic grounds and yet, when offered the opportunity to consider a free trade arrangement, they suddenly have a whole host of other ‘political’ considerations which are even more important. We have MPs who are happy to be subservient to an anti-democratic organisation, wish to be given their instructions from the EU and see their role as implementers. Such people are not fit to be members of our Parliament.

  12. The PrangWizard
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I forecast that whatever the outcome of any negotiations, Cameron, should he be in any position to do so and listened to, will recommend we stay in.

  13. Roger Farmer
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry John but I think you are approaching what I will call “The problem of the EU” from the wrong end. What Cameron says he wants is not going to satisfy everyone, so no one ends up happy. At best you end up with a dogs breakfast, probably open to varied interpretation with consequent dissatisfaction all round.
    Better, I believe, to think what we as a nation want from Europe and what in turn can we contribute. This would mean starting with an absolutely clean sheet of paper, or put another way to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
    From this point of detachment one can then say these are the areas where we think cooperation would be mutually helpful.
    As I have pointed out before, all the rubbish that Clegg has spouted about trade and jobs is just black propaganda because trade is of greater benefit to European companies than it is to us in financial terms. European politicians will not be allowed by their own industries to throw it away.
    My approach assumes that there will be a conservative or UKIP government in the UK after the 2015 election. I think that even a coalition of the two is a very distant prospect so prepare yourselves for a five year dose of red Ed who will fit into the Marxist socialist mind set of Europe very comfortably.

  14. Freeborn John
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Cameron is aiming far too low with that list. He should have the courage to tell Merkel that we want an EEA+ arrangement, i.e. membership of the single market with voting rights over single market legislation. Power over everything else must be returned to Westminster.

    Cameron is instead taking the approach of Harold Wilson seeking trivial changes that he hopes to win a referendum on which would leave the political unification project on course. He has to be stopped by turfing him out at the 2015 election. After that the Conservatives can either elect a new leader prepared to negotiate for EEA+ or you can elect another mouse too timid to ask for what is necessary and see yourself fail to win a majority yet again in 2020.

    You are rapidly ceasing to be a party of government having failed to win a majority in the 22 years since Maastricht and fully deserving to be permanently replaced by newer parties.

    • Aunty Estab
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Exactly right Freeborn John,the Conservative party is so full of Liberals it soon won`t be any more likely to win an election than they are! We need a proper choice not three parties with the same EU, Westminster “we know best” philosophy.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 30, 2014 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      We can get ALL of that just by issuing an Art.50 declaration. The EU will then be FORCED to renegotiate the terms of our exit. They will NOT play silly games, because if they did, we can leave the negotiating table with an EEA agreement by automatic right.

      All we need is, EFTA membership, with EEA / Single Market access. EFTA currently has a trade deal with China, a huge market. But the EU does not. Think about that one.

      • sjb
        Posted March 30, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        They [EU] will NOT play silly games, because if they did, we can leave the negotiating table with an EEA agreement by automatic right.

        Is that a legal right or a moral right, Mark?

        The legal opinion I read claims: “[a] treaty regulating the terms of accession to EFTA and a [treaty] to deal with the accession to the EEA [would be needed]. The latter would require the approval of the EU and its member states, the EEA-EFTA countries and the departing/joining country.”[1]

        [1] Łazowski, Adam (2013) How to withdraw from the European Union? Confronting hard reality

  15. Tedgo
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I see the EU wants to take over our Pension Funds,

    http://euobserver.com/news/123668

  16. matthu
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    By the way, is Cameron’s pledge to reduce net migration to tens of thousands still a worthy aim and, if so, would it be any more achievable were he to be successful in his EU renegotiation?

    Is Theresa May’s plan to shorten visas by as little as one day to avoid having to describe them as migrants worthy of this government, or is it another weasel action to enable Cameron to claim he is making progress towards meeting his pledge?

    And if Cameron shows he is prepared to tolerate weasel actions to meet his pledges to the electorate, how many weasel actions is he proposing to make in order to be able to claim he has been successful in negotiating with the EU?

    Remember all the previous red lines that were never going to be crossed?
    The vetoes we have given away?
    The reductions in the UK rebate that were agreed to in order to secure a thorough overhaul of the Common Agricultural Policy – that never happened?

    Did you notice this month the further 23.4 Bn euro hole in the EU budget (and apparently related to unpaid invoices to do with Cohesion Funding) which has been exposed just 3 months after a similar 11.2 Bn top-up which itself followed Cameron’s claim that the EU budget had been successfully frozen?

    Do you imagine that, when the European Commission has shown it is not only unwilling but also completely unable to live within the means previously agreed, the UK will successfully resist transferring any more cash?

    Is there any provision in Cameron’s areas of negotiation for the European Court of Auditors to give the EU a clean bill of health before we continue our membership?

  17. matthu
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Roger Helmer on his blog makes another important point about our lack of influence in Europe (and puts it so much better than I would be able to, so much for the argument about needing to remain at the top table):

    “Right on cue, we get a report from Business for Britain pointing out that since 1996, the UK has opposed 55 measures in the European Council. And how many did we manage to stop? Precisely none. Zero. Zilch. How’s that for influence? The same report points out that over the period, the UK’s voting weight in the European Council has slipped from 17% to 8%, with a similar reduction in the parliament. So much for “influence”. And increasingly decisions are made by qualified majority. That 8% doesn’t go far in creating a blocking minority.

    “Look at it another way. While we have an 8% voice in the Council, EU Commissioner Viviane Reding has recently confirmed a statistic widely quoted in euro-sceptic circles, that 75% of our new laws come from Brussels. Is that a good trade? We get an 8% say in EU law-making, but in exchange we’ve given Brussels a 75% say in our own affairs. Sounds like a loss of influence to me.”

    UK influence in an ever-widening EU is unlikely to increase as the result of Cameron’s negotiations.

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      If our UKIP MEPs actually took part and voted in the European Parliament we would have a better chance of defeating some of these motions

      • matthu
        Posted March 30, 2014 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        I imagine you have evidence, do you, that the votes were close enough for the 13 or so UKIP MEPs to have defeated one or more of the 55 motions?

        (I imagine, had that been the case, the outcome would have made national headlines in this country. So i will assume that you are mistaken.)

  18. Posted March 29, 2014 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    The PM’s wishlist misses the point. There is no point in the PM starting his negotiating round with a list of feeble concessions.

    It’s quite simple: we need a ‘common market’: a tariff-free trading zone.

    The trouble is that such a simple proposition means the dismantling of most of the eu structures and the PM is well aware – most of us are aware – that this will never happen while we have the current vested interests and entrenched structures.

    In truth, the easiest thing to do is to form a new common market from scratch. I think the PM and other nations should start on this straight away.

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Open Europe has run through those seven targets that Cameron laid out in his article in the Sunday Telegraph, and concluded:

    http://www.openeuropeblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/the-closest-cameron-has-to-got-to.html

    “Interestingly only the point about removing the commitment to “ever closer union” would definitely require treaty change.”

    With the agreement of other member state governments all the rest could probably be dealt with through possibly inadequate, but more importantly only temporary, fudges without the need to change the treaties.

    And they would only be temporary expedients, because while the EU treaties include that fundamental commitment to a process of “ever closer union” they cannot represent an enduring stable “settlement”; it is, and has always been taken as, an instruction from the member state governments to the EU institutions – the Commission and the Court and the Parliament and all the others – to constantly seek ways to further integration, and in any “concessions” that Cameron may extract will sooner or later be swept away by the tide of that unrelenting, unlimited, unpredictable and largely uncontrollable process of “ever closer union”.

    That is why above everything else, all the temporary fudges and expedients designed to bamboozle the public, I would be looking to see whether Cameron had actually managed to get the radical treaty change necessary to “ensure we are no longer subject to it”; and that would not mean that it was still in the treaties but reworded or put in a different place – Jack Straw tried that on over the EU Constitution – but that there was a clear statement in the preamble to the revised treaties that whereas in earlier treaties all the countries had committed themselves to a process of “ever closer union” some countries had now decided not to proceed any further on that basis but were determined to retain their sovereign independence in perpetuity, plus explicit directions to the institutions including the ECJ that they should cease to believe that they had a duty to further “ever closer union” and should instead always respect the contrary intention expressed by those countries.

    If Cameron hadn’t achieved that then he would have failed; of course I don’t suppose for a moment that all the other EU member states would agree to it, so I am 99% plus sure that he would fail even if he attempted it.

    As I’ve mentioned before, opinion polls consistently show little support among the British people for any further EU integration at all, at the 10% level, of which 10% about 3% actually want the intended end destination of a pan-European federation, a federal United States of Europe to parallel the federal United States of America.

    Reply The polls also show many people want to stay in the EU even on the basis of the current unacceptable relationship.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      That could be because only about 27% fully understand that “ever closer union” means exactly what it says and must inevitably lead to the legal subordination of all EU countries in a federation, a new country called “Europe” just as the federal United States of America is called “America”.

      The other 73% still harbour delusions about being able to stop the process of EU integration where it is now (15%) or at some later point of their choosing (7%) or even putting the process into reverse (37%) or just don’t know (14%).

      Figures from this poll last month:

      http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/pv0teijo60/YG-Archive-140221-OpenEurope-British.pdf

      but splitting the first category according to previous polls so that 3% actively want a pan-European federation.

  20. M Davis
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    I do hope that Mr Cameron reads the comments on this blog. If he does, he just might learn something. Not that it would make any difference, of course, because he has already made up his mind to stay in the EU.

    • stevie
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      Can we get rid of Mr Cameron can the MP’s who elected him can they not dismiss as well?

      Reply, Yes, Conservative MPs can force a vote of No confidence in him if they wish. They do not wish to.

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted March 30, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      I’m afraid it would appear Mr Cameron spends most of his time playing something called ‘angry birds’ and watching dvd box sets. The chances of him reading this column are slim.

  21. Max Dunbar
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Dr Redwood, why are you expending so much energy on the subject of the EU when the fundamental issues are right here in the UK?
    We have not only the prospect of the break-up of the nation in the near future but the likelihood of a fundamentalist Marxist administration running the country after 2015, helped to power by Scottish MPs who may remain MPs just long enough to prevent a Tory win.
    The issue of the EU must be subordinated to more important questions concerning the way that this country is run now and in the near future, otherwise the debate on IN or OUT is a distraction.
    Furthermore, the worrying way in which the police and judiciary have become increasingly politicised must be a factor to take in to consideration when viewing the prospect of a change of government after the next general election. Possibly, the EU may even help to save us from our own government under a Red-Ed regime.

    Reply I expect Scotland will vote to stay in the UK.

  22. bluedog
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    JR says ‘Support for the continued enlargement of the EU to new members’.

    Surely the debacle in the Ukraine will suggest that a period of consolidation is in order. That’s not just to prevent more reckless adventurism by the EU foreign service, but to prevent the further dilution of the existing nations within the corpus of the increasingly imperial EU. It should be clear that if the EU adds even more satrapies in the Balkans and on the fringes of the Steppe it is not really European so much as Eurasian. The disparate interests of the EU’s vast number of fiefdoms can only be managed by an overarching bureaucracy, something that automatically sidelines the underlying nation states completely. Thus as the EU enlarges, Britain’s prospect’s of exercising ‘clout’ shrink. Of course, the French see the EU as their own creation and thus anticipate that this time there will be no retreat from Moscow, notwithstanding Vladimir.

  23. Bert Young
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Cameron’s so called list for his future negotiations are a political ” spin ” ; he has little chance of pulling them off but believes , by setting them out now , that the electorate will regard them as achievable . His ” cast iron ” promises are still very much in my mind and I do not trust him ; he wants to be on the world stage and will sacrifice his nation to his ego – just like Tony Blair . The list for ” negotiation ” should be our red lines for continuing our membership ; there should be no ” ifs ” or ” buts” about this and any discrepancy should result in an immediate ” In/Out ” referendum . We need real guts in our leadership and we need it now ; if Farage can persuade a respected and significant senior figure to his campaign , he will impact much further on our political scene ; he needs someone like Norman Tebbit to commit himself .

  24. Tad Davison
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    I usually try to avoid posting links, as it takes John too long to check them out, but in this instance, and as he appears in the video itsel, I’m sure he is already familiar with it.

    It is nice to know The Bruges Group is saying precisely what I and others have been saying about EU expansionism, especially in Ukraine, for many months.

    I wonder if the sickeningly pro-EU BBC would care to report on this in an even handed way? (as if).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUq-N8GXvCA

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      After some fifteen years of taking a close and active interest in these matters I thought I was pretty much hardened to it all, but I was staggered by the crassness of the comments made by a certain pro-EU campaigner in that video.

      From 10.30 in: “No, it’s been a big success”, referring to the illegal overthrow of the directly elected President of Ukraine, “We’ve won a big victory”.

  25. Atlas
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I agree with many of your contributors that what Cameron is talking about is far to little. Indeed it has all the hall marks of a 1975 Wilson-like cop-out.

    • cosmic
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      He’s also talking about far too much from the point of view of the EU. They are not going to break the Acquis Communautaire or abandon the drive for ever closer union.

      I believe they have an idea of Associate Membership dropping out of the treaty to fix the Euro, and it will be constructed to their specification, not ours.

      Yes, it all smells like doing what Wilson pulled off in 1975, selling nothing much as something fundamentally different and significant. Note that nothing Wilson was talking about involved treaty change, it was all completely superficial.

  26. Richard1
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    It is depressing that even Conservative ministers and MPs are pretending that high energy costs are due to anti competitive practices in the energy supply industry. High energy costs are a product of EU energy policies (albeit those have been enthusiastically endorsed by all main UK parties). Its no good Conservatives criticizing Ed Millibands ridiculous govt imposed price freeze and then playing the same game. There isn’t any evidence of anti competitive practices in the energy supply industry. But there’s lots of evidence that green crap, including all the costs and interventions, forces up prices and makes for a very uncertain investment environment.

  27. Man of Kent
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I have just received ”Out of the EU into the World” an excellent booklet by William Dartmouth MEP.

    The conclusion being that the UK does not need to be in a political union in order to
    trade , and a number of other inconvenient truths .

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      What else would you expect a UKIP MEP to write. You have to remember that their views are as biased as the other parties’

  28. forthurst
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    “Free movement to take up work, not free benefits

    Support for the continued enlargement of the EU to new members but with new mechanisms in place to prevent vast migrations across the Continent”

    Fundamental to the EU, is the free movement of people in order to destroy national identities; the more different that people are, the more damage they inflict. By wanting to expand Eastward and by importing, entirely without an EU directive, as many from outside the EU as inside, Cameron is clearly wishing to destroy our nationhood; it could not be clearer.

    Fundamental also to the EU, is the right of migrants to the same benefits as passport holders of the country in which they reside. A life on benefits is the right of all British passport holders here; so be it.

  29. Antisthenes
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    At first glance the list does not seem very impressive but reading it again it does address most of the issues that would satisfy me and a lot other EU-sceptics who are not against the concept of the EU but dislike intensely the current construct and objectives of it. If the EU were to accept this list, which of course they will not, then there would be a situation whereby there would be a two tier membership. One involving those who embrace the euro and therefore economic and political union and coalesce into a superstate and those who are merely associate trading partners that cooperate politically when it is to mutual benefit but only as long as it remains so.

  30. Tom
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I’m with Nick Clegg on this one read the small print.

  31. Leslie Singleton
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Never any comment, in the debate or otherwise, why we should not let the Continent form a USE, indeed encourage it to do so if that’s what they want, with an independent UK negotiating a NEFTA with it (meaning Brussels), just as Canada has very happily done with the USA. It is perplexing why some people think we are inferior; or too small (or whatever they think) in some way to do this. Are we or are we not the 6th (or whatever) biggest economy? How do the myriad countries smaller than us, some much smaller, manage without an EU? What chance they are hugely better off? The cash we pay in all the time is more than enough for me to want to get out.

  32. Daisy
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    * “Powers flowing away from Brussels, not always to it”

    I don’t want any power flowing to Brussels at all. Anyway, what are powers doing “flowing” anywhere? Either we are consciously giving them away, which is an outrage, or they are being filched by stealth, which is arguably worse.

    * “National parliaments able to work together to block unwanted European legislation”

    The unwanted European legislation comes from the unelected, unaccountable, uncontrollable, undismissable Commission. Until that is dismantled and the legislative programme is where it belongs, with an elected Parliament bound by strict limitations as to the scope of its powers, we will forever be winning one battle only to lose seventeen others.

    * “Businesses liberated from red tape and benefiting from the strength of the EU’s own market”

    The EU exists in order to create red tape.

    * “Our police forces and justice systems able to protect British citizens, unencumbered by unnecessary interference from the European institutions”

    There is that weasel word “unnecessary”. We will simply be told that whatever the level of interference, it is all strictly necessary and for our own good.

    * “Free movement to take up work, not free benefits”

    Since it is impossible to stop, or even monitor, people coming here in the first place, how do we ensure that the only ones who stay are the ones who are not a burden on public funds? What is wrong with having time-limited work permits?

    * “Support for the continued enlargement of the EU to new members but with new mechanisms in place to prevent vast migrations across the Continent”

    The EU is too big as it is. Countries which are going to be economic basket cases for decades have been admitted and are going to cost us a fortune in subsidies, directly and indirectly, for the rest of the century. And since no one ever tells us the truth about numbers, who will decide how big a migration has to be in order to qualify as vast?

    * “And dealing properly with the concept of “ever closer union”, enshrined in the treaty, to which every EU country has to sign up. It may appeal to some countries. But it is not right for Britain, and we must ensure we are no longer subject to it.”

    The only way we are going to ensure that we are not subject it is to withdraw.

    The PM is wasting his time and ours trying to get minor concessions which will go nowhere towards solving the essential problem of the EU – that it is a flawed and dangerous organisation fatal to national sovereignty and democracy. I would have more respect for him if he simply said openly that he doesn’t think Britain stands a chance outside the EU and that whatever its faults we are going to have to stick with it . Of course, he would then have to tell us the truth about the depth of the mess we are in, and I don’t suppose he or any other member of this government is going to have the guts to do that.

    You (Mr Redwood) may not want to take a leading role again, but can’t you find someone better deserving of your confidence and support than this fundamentally empty-headed ninny?

  33. Tom William
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Even though the wish list of Cameron is from la-la land he will never get agreement from the whole of the EU even to negotiate it by the end of 2017. Could there still be a referendum ? Or will there be another indefinite postponement along the lines the Lib Dems talk about?

  34. Boudicca
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    What Mr Cameron is proposing is not a substantial reform of our terms of membership. It’s fiddling around the edges, whilst the EU continues to subvert our democracy at every opportunity.

    We never gave Whitehall and Westminster a mandate to transfer our Sovereignty to the EU in the first place. It was done without our consent. We should withdraw from the EU under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treachery and negotiate a Trade Treaty.

    I will not be voting for Cameron’s Renegotiation CON because that’s what it is …. as Clegg said the other day ……… READ THE SMALL PRINT.

  35. lojolondon
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    John, not often I disagree with you twice in one day, but I think you are being deceived here once again. Merkel, Van Rumpoy, Baroso, Schultz and many other EU leaders have insisted again and again – there will be no changing of the rules, no accepting of a special case for the UK, no handing back of powers.

    I believe David Cameron is completely mistaken if he truly believes that he can renegotiate terms. Much more likely that he knows he cannot, and is intentionally deceiving his cabinet and the public, and that this is a ploy to delay the promised referendum – the one thing that ironically could force the EU to negotiate with him.

    Reply I think we need to go on this journey to carry the public. If you are right and there will be no serious change to our relationship, demonstrating that will make it more likely the public will vote for Out. If there were enough votes in the Commons for an immediate In/Out referendum (which there are not) many floaters could be swayed to stay in on the grounds that the Stay In campaign said that of course we would be able in due course to negotiate a better answer on the issues people most disliked from the EU.

    • matthu
      Posted March 29, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Reply:

      At last someone who is able to put forward a rational reason for waiting till 2017. Unfortunately, the mere fact that Cameron is able to claim success over all of his vague areas of negotiation should not be allowed to be put forward as a reason for staying in.

      For example, Daniel Hannan on his blog says: “ It is now clear that David Cameron wants to stay in the EU on something very close to the existing terms. He doesn’t want to take Britain out of the Common Agricultural Policy or the Common Fisheries Policy or the EU diplomatic corps. We will still be bound by the EU’s Common External Tariff, which ruinously diverts Britain’s trade from its natural hinterland to a shrinking European market. We shall still be “Citizens of the European Union”, with passports and driving licences to prove it. Our Commonwealth allies will still queue with the rest of the world while EU nationals zoom past our immigration officers.

      I have absolutely no doubt that the PM will secure all his stated negotiating aims. Indeed it’s clear, looking at them, that the starting point was not “What kind of relationship with the EU do we ideally want?” but “What can we be certain of securing, so that the negotiations can be declared a success?”

      The corollary of all that is that more people need to point out the wholly deficient nature of Cameron’s aims and challenge him on all the big items that he appeasr to accept as unchangeable and part of the acceptable price of membership.

  36. Chris S
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    David Cameron’s list is woefully inadequate. Rather than go through the whole list, I will concentrate on just one area which we all know is second only to the economy in the minds of voters :

    Immigration.

    The South of England is grossly overcrowded and so are many cities in the Midlands and the North of England. At the last count we are being told we need to build 400,000 houses to satisfy future needs. This is something the people of this country do not want to see.

    I don’t agree with Nigel Farage on everything and, if it were possible to gain back control of fishing, energy policy and control net migration while remaining within the EU I would be happy to stay in.

    But It’s clear that David Cameron is not even going to ask for these powers to be repatriated so I’m afraid I’m going to be siding with Daniel Hannan and Nigel Farage in the referendum and I suspect so will you, John.

    The only problem is how to ensure that we get the necessary seats to get the chance of a vote. Without the extra 20 seats DC foolishly failed to gain by his catastrophic handling of the boundary change bill, it’s looking increasingly likely that he will lose in 2015. Probably by no more than 20 seats if Labour continue to stick with Ed Miliband.

    As far as I can see, the Conservative’s only chance is via a deal with UKIP, particularly in respect of seats in the North of England where the Conservative brand is too toxic to get candidates elected.

    Without such a deal, David Cameron better start planning several campaigning visits to Scotland and hope that’s enough to achieve a Yes vote !

  37. Iain Gill
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Re “Many bloggers on this site repeatedly ask for full control over our borders again” it’s NOT just about immigration from Europe, it’s also about the way Europe is engaged in making treaties with other countries which include obliging the UK to offer people from non EC countries entry rights, including work visas, student visas, and so on. Europe should not be able to commit the UK to accept citizens from non-European countries. We should be entirely deciding our own immigration policies.

  38. uanime5
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    National parliaments able to work together to block unwanted European legislation

    How is this going to work in practise? Is each parliament going to have to vote on whether to accept the laws that the majority of MEPs voted for? Will this be decided by a simply majority or will population levels be taken into account.

    Businesses liberated from red tape and benefiting from the strength of the EU’s own market

    That sounds similar to employees being given less rights so businesses can make more money.

    Our police forces and justice systems able to protect British citizens, unencumbered by unnecessary interference from the European institutions

    Without a definition of “unnecessary interference” this statement is meaningless. Also as the ECHR isn’t part of the EU this area won’t cover the ECHR’s influence on UK law.

    Free movement to take up work, not free benefits

    At present only 2% of EU immigrants are claiming benefits, and many of them are in employment and claiming the benefits offered to those in employment.

    Support for the continued enlargement of the EU to new members but with new mechanisms in place to prevent vast migrations across the Continent

    This already exists as the UK was able to prevent migration from Romania and Bulgaria for 7 years. Is Cameron stating that EU immigrants from Romania would have to work in all the countries between Romania and the UK before they could work in the UK?

  • 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.
  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page