“Banging on about Europe”

 

One of the myths of some  commentators is that politicians and parties should not  “bang on” about the EU because electors are not interested.  It is true that if you ask people if the EU is one of their main issues, or if they want to hear about the EU, the  large majority will say they have other matters which they think are more important. Those matters are often jobs, immigration and energy prices.

That is why, of course, political parties who want to meet the wishes of the people do have to “bang on” about the EU. The feature of migration which most worries people presently is the open border with the rest of the EU. Many want the government to stop benefit tourists coming here from elsewhere in the EU. Others want to stop workers moving here to undercut wage rates or take jobs from local people. There has to be an EU/UK  policy answer to the worries about jobs and migration.

The same is true of housing policy. As someone wisely said in a posting here, maybe the UK has a migration problem more than a housing problem. As we have been inviting in an additional 250,000 people a year during much of Labour’s time in office, that means we have to build a new city the size of Southampton every year to accommodate them. We have not been building anything like enough houses to keep up with the large numbers of new arrivals. This means they have to face poor quality housing,  living too many in the same property, whilst house prices generally are driven up by the extra demand.

People rightly want cheaper energy. They want to know the lights will stay on. Labour not only put through UK legislation that means dearer energy ahead, but also signed us up to EU directives and regulations which force us to close cheaper fossil fuel power stations and rely much more on expensive and unreliable wind energy. To solve the problem legally we need a new policy in the EU as well as at home.

The commentators also say that the Conservatives have to keep quiet about the EU because the party is split on it. This is no longer true. The Conservative party as a united whole voted against Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon, and the associated large transfers of powers to the EU under those Treaties. The Conservatives have been long united in opposition to the UK joining the Euro, and are the one major party which says never to joining the Euro.

Being in government with the Lib Dems has not changed these views. We still think the Nice Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties were wrong. We either want a new relationship which gets rid of the large powers the EU holds, or a vote to leave. Conservatives want to tackle people’s worries about jobs,  migration, homes and energy prices. All these now have a large made in Brussels element we have to change.  The commentators are wrong to churn out their silly soundbites that people are not interested in the EU and the Conservatives have to keep off the subject.

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66 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    The reason the pro Cameron wing of the Tory party does not want people banging on about Europe is because they have no single rational argument to put on their side of the debate – just as we saw with the Nick Clegg/Nigel Farage debate.

    Hence Cameron and Miliband dare not touch the subject, other than in vague and meaning less speeches and terms. I see reported in the Telegraph that Switzerland actually have better access to the EU free market than the UK does.

    Can Cameron give us one valid reason for not becoming a Greater Switzerland with sea ports?

    • acorn
      Posted March 31, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      You say: “We EITHER want a new relationship which gets rid of the large powers the EU holds, OR a vote to leave.”

      Is this a change in policy? Who specifies the “new relationship” and judges it acceptable; such that it negates the requirement for a referendum?

      Reply NO! For heaven’s sake. My recommendation and Conservative policy is a referendum whatever happens. The contrast I was making was between wanting to exercise the vote to come out or accepting we had a new relationship that works.

      • APL
        Posted March 31, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        JR: “My recommendation and Conservative policy is a referendum whatever happens.”

        By the way, I don’t want only one referendum. If the vote goes against us the first time, we should like the Irish, get the opportunity to vote again until we get the result the EU doesn’t want – then the referendums stop. Because that’s democracy EU style.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 31, 2014 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      I see reported in the Telegraph that Switzerland actually have better access to the EU free market than the UK does.

      How exactly does Switzerland have better access to the EU’s market than the UK? We both have the same access to the goods market yet Switzerland doesn’t have access to the services market (including the financial sector).

      Can Cameron give us one valid reason for not becoming a Greater Switzerland with sea ports?

      Well unless we can get access to the financial sector of the EU the City will lose access to the EU’s financial markets.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    “We still think the Nice Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties were wrong.”
    Well you ain’t seen nothin yet.
    Please do re read M. Barroso’s state of the union speech. Listen to Viviane Reding. Hear Guy Verhofstadt. They are quite open about “More Europe” and how they want us to be just one big country like the USA. They see nationalism as a dirty word which caused the world wars. They see referenda and “Populism” as bad. They are simply horrified by all the nationalism – Golden Dawn, Front National, Ukip – that seems to be springing up all round them.
    Meanwhile useful things like NATO, upon which our very safety depends, and our once strong relationships with the real USA are being quietly replaced by – nothing much really.
    And then Russia is stirring again…

    I hope to vote Ukip in May. After that, I shall be looking very carefully at the Conservatives.

  3. Douglas Carter
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    ‘Some Commentators’ are lent an agenda from political parties for whom they are generally known to act on behalf of as initial communicators, and continuity commentary.

    A senior present-day figure at ‘The Times’, for example, has been described as an individual who ‘visits Downing Street up to five times per day’. In The Sunday Telegraph, Matthew d’Ancona continued the fairly plaintive bleating berating those who ‘bang on over Europe’ in an article which was fairly bereft of analytical substance – however, that article merely a sub-annex of a similar article Ben Brogan penned some days before – and at the time of Brogan’s accession to The Telegraph, there was some authoritative commentary from elsewhere that he was Cameron’s preferred placeman in a paper justifiably given the long-term nickname ‘The Torygraph’.

    Neither Labour nor the LibDems will openly discuss the EU in terms other than evasion or concealment. There is a tendency among the patrician and ‘wet’ groupings in your Party Mr. Redwood that they would also rather not discuss the EU. Hence the efforts to portray the discussion of anything to do with the EU as unwelcome, and if that doesn’t stem the discourse, then to accuse those who persist as extremist obsessives. That would be bad enough at any other time, but for journalists with known ‘political associations’ with senior Politicians to collectively elicit the sentiment in the run-up to a European Election, and scant twelve months before a General Election, is a strange phenomenon. EU competence over policy making has become so encompassing a subject, that to wilfully contrive to stifle legitimate open political scrutiny of those matters is a crass abrogation of representation in terms, and a betrayal of the public trust.

    The EU ultimate ambition is for a single legal entity. A single nation – a United States of Europe by any other name. Eventually if you were to contest any UK political policy in those strict terms, you’d – by definition – be ‘banging on about Europe’.

    So I’d suggest a change in the terms of the trade here. When the pitiful phrase ‘banging on about Europe’ is once again repeated, remind the user of those words that what they really mean is ‘banging on about accountability’ – because that’s the hidden agenda behind the contempt. There’s nothing some of our senior politicians would love more than to be divorced from the obligations of being held to account.

    Reply I do not think Mr Brogan is Mr Cameron’s special or favourite journalist on the Telegraph. Nor can you say the Telegraph is any longer the media wing of the party – the Telegraph reflects a broad range of views, knowing its readers are also diverse in political outlook these days.

    • Chris S
      Posted March 31, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      The Telegraph is certainly no longer the “Torygraph”

      The current leadership of the party is far to the left of the Telegraph and, regrettably, most of its supporters.

      These days DC must be more comfortable reading the Indy than any other paper.
      He could probably even live with the Guardian as long as he avoids that infuriating Toynbee woman!

      Reply Mr Cameron is the man who cut the EU budget, vetoed an EU Treaty, made the Bloomberg speech, is backing a referendum for 2017 and supports tax cuts – hardly an agenda to endear him to the Indy/Guardian.

      • Paul
        Posted March 31, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        Is that the same Mr Cameron who will fight with all his “heart and soul” for an in vote if we have a referendum?

      • arschloch
        Posted March 31, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        Dave is very much following the “Guardian” agenda. Remember who introduced gay “marriage”, keeps the borders wide open so the UK remains multi cultural, keeps taking more and more of your money and generally treats those who work, obey the law and pay their taxes with contempt?

        Reply The PM is seeking to limit inward migration and is negotiating to tackle EU benefit tourism. He leads a government which has a tax cutting party alongside a larger state party, the Lib Dems.

        • stred
          Posted March 31, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

          There was a very sensible and interesting article from Brian Sewell in the Telegraph about gay marriage. He describes himself as ‘queer’ and explains how it was necessary to stop discrimination and allow civil partnerships. However, he is against gay marriage and says that it has been obtained owing to pressure from a vocal minority. Libdems, gay Tories, most women and young people seem to regard it as a great leap forward. He also points out how the original marriage ceremony was about procreation and fidelity, wheras most weddings are more to do with expensive dresses, hired suits and cars. David Starkey was also against, but the average supporter regards this as odd.

          Almost all the homosexual friends I know seem to follow Brian Sewell’s line. One of them told me that he thought it was better to get on with it quietly and not push it. Some of the critical comment in my local paper about promiscuous homosexual activity in certain public places came from other respectable ‘gays’.

          Can you imagine how heterosexuals would feel if a minority of us decided to run a Heterosexual Pride day, with carnival floats of scantily clad men and women dressed like they were going to a tarts and vicars party? Or having back rooms of pubs given over to celebration of the more extreme sorts of sex, as happens in my town. If we did, the pub could lose its licence. Wheras, the police join the parade for the Gay carnival.

          Messrs Sewell and Starkey have reminded us that this was forced through by the likes of Cameron with disregard of the wishes of majorities of all.

          • forthurst
            Posted March 31, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

            In what is a beautifully wrought essay, the essential point that Sewell was making was that Matrimony was one of the seven sacrements of the Christian Church, but that a Civil Partnership was indistinguisable from a Registry Office ceremony.

            Sewell believes the desire for homosexual ‘marriage’ has been promoted by a noisy minority; Sewell may be unaware of its true nature, part of the ongoing assault on our culture by peope with which Cameron likes to surround himself, those who hate our Christian tradition and, in fact, hate our English culture and our determined to erode it piece by piece.

        • forthurst
          Posted March 31, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

          “Reply The PM is seeking to limit inward migration and is negotiating to tackle EU benefit tourism.”

          Why did the Conservative Party actively promote the extension of the EU Eastward? Why does Cameron want the EU to extend to the Urals? Why does the EU wish to engulf pre-existing parts of the Czarist state such as Ukraine? Why offer them full membership to EU, instead of membership of the EEA, if economic migrations are to deprecated? In order to limit the influx of migrants, why has there been to halt to third world immigration which is purpotedly controllable, as being outside the EU’s competance; why on the other hand has Cameron been actively promoting immigration from India, a third world country?
          What is a benefit tourist? Anyone who comes to this country in order to seek benefits which are more generous than they receive from their own poorer state in top ups to income and for free services; on that score, anyone earning less than £40k is a benefit tourist. Benefit tourism is enshrined in EU law, since it is a consequence of free movement and the inequality of benefits across the EU. Is there any reason why we should fund layabouts living off the taxpayer simply because they possess British passports?

          • sjb
            Posted April 1, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

            forthurst wrote: Is there any reason why we should fund layabouts living off the taxpayer simply because they possess British passports?

            It is difficult to see any party cracking down on the ‘grey’ vote.

          • forthurst
            Posted April 1, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

            sjb’s silly little joke:

            “It is difficult to see any party cracking down on the ‘grey’ vote.”

      • matthu
        Posted March 31, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        As far as I can remember, in Feb 2013 the next seven-year budget was cut from €942.8bn to €908.4bn. A cut of €34.4.

        But then in Oct the European Parliament endorsed €2.7 billion in extra money for the European Union’s 2013 budget in order to avert disruption of EU business.

        In Dec there was another top-up of €11.2 Bn.

        Last month the EU discovered another hole of €23.4 Bn Euro related to Cohesion funding that will require a top-up.

        So altogether, top-ups have amounted to: €37.3 Bn

        Not much saving at all then. And meanwhile, I believe the auditors have not signed off the accounts for the last eighteen or nineteen years …

        I would tend to keep quiet about the EU budget.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted March 31, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Chris–The Torygraph is indeed Tory and who knows where the Conservatives are these days: no-one, certainly not me, is saying that the Torygraph is the mouthpiece of the Conservatives. You know who has it right as usual, viz Cameron stands for nothing at all except perhaps stuff we hate

      • ian wragg
        Posted March 31, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        Then why are we paying more to the EU John. If that was a reduction there must be a snow storm due in Saudi Arabia. Whatever they say they are reducing they continue to overspend and top up the coffers using QMV which we will always lose.

      • Timaction
        Posted March 31, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Mr Cameron helped cut the overall budget but increased our contribution! He knows the EU is a political construct for ever closer union. It is NOT and never has been about trade. Turkey is in the customs free area but is NOT a member and doesn’t contribute £Billions. China, USA, Japan and many others trade with the EU and are not members. Once the trade excuse is removed, what’s left? Nothing! We don’t want or need millions more economic migrants from the EU. Time limited work permits only for specialist skills.
        How much longer do we have to tolerate the undemocratic EU dictatorship and the legacy party puppet Government in Westminster?

        • uanime5
          Posted March 31, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

          Turkey is in the customs free area but is NOT a member and doesn’t contribute £Billions.

          But does have to obey, even though it has no influence over this law. Just like the EFTA countries.

          China, USA, Japan and many others trade with the EU and are not members.

          Though they’re subject to tariffs and quotas.

    • Douglas Carter
      Posted March 31, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply.

      Just on a small detail, I made no claim Brogan was a ‘favourite’ or ‘special’ journalist – I merely repeat comments made by well-known inhabitants of the Westminster\Media bubbleworld. The specific phrase ‘banging on about Europe’ originates with this Prime Minister, after all…

      However, you’d have to concede even excluding that matter (quite in addition to your comments above) that to berate political parties from ‘banging on over Europe’ in the run-up to EU elections holds an identical bizarre logic to complaining about politicians ‘banging on about policies’ in the immediate run-up to a General Election?

      Reply: I agree that condemning people for banging on about Europe in the run up to a European election is bizarre, seeking to deny democracy the oxygen of debate.

  4. Narrow shoulders
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Might I suggest that all Conservative spokesmen (women are also available) be instructed to add “and these effects are magnified by current EU policy by which we are bound” as a sign off when discussing or pronouncing about any subject where EU policy makes life more difficult for the electorate?

    • matthu
      Posted March 31, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Excellent suggestion.

  5. lifelogic
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    You are not likely to solve the energy problem legally with people like Ed Davey in place. In the interview with Andrew Neil yesterday it is very clear he has not got a clue about the economics and engineering involved in energy production. Mr Neil would do a far better job as would almost any decent half engineer.

    • Atlas
      Posted March 31, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      I agree with you lifelogic. Davey was like a fish out of water.

  6. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    I don’t know how you have the patience. Why cannot people see the link between these things.I used to bang on myself about specialisation, about too much focus on Phd projects, about areas which call for certain amounts of knowledge for a given role as written down in bullet points and from that stance assumptions made that that is the limit of input.(of course that is to reduce the credit and pay for those employed who have more knowledge than the managers).
    My argument therefore is that it is impossible to focus on one or two aspects of life without an ability to see the bigger picture and place the issues within a satisfactory context. Can you imagine if a car manufacturer was to design a luxury car seat only to find that when it was completed it did not fit into the car it was being made for.

  7. Boudicca
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    It is not true to say that Conservatives want a new relationship which gets rid of the large powers the EU holds, or vote to leave.

    Most Conservatives may want these things; a majority of Conservative MP’s may want these things (although their voting records on The Bruges Group website tend to indicate otherwise). But the Conservative Elite are prepared to settle for only minor changes to “our relationship” with the EU and will campaign and propagandise vigorously for us to stay in the EU whether they get them or not.

    30+ years of so-called Eur0-scepticism by Conservative backbencher has achieved precisely nothing. It was the Conservative Party that dragged us into the EEC; the Conservative Party that created the Single Market; the Conservative Party that rammed through the Maastrict Treaty, creating the EU and getting rid of Mrs Thatcher in order to do so.

    You are, of course, quite right that most significant policy areas are either completely or significantly controlled by the EU. So when people say they are concerned about the economy, immigration, welfare, energy, housing etc there is little the Government can do about it.

    But the only way we can recover control of these policy areas – and the rest – is to leave the EU and THAT’s why Cameron and the rest of the EUphiles don’t want to discuss it.

  8. Nick
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Then give us the referenda, and give it to us now. Not in the future.

    It was in the manifesto and its none existence means the Tories lied.

    Reply No referendum was in the Conservative Manifesto. The party did not lie. There will be one in the next, which we will deliver if we have a majority.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 31, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      There was a promise of a Referendum in the Labour Manifesto on Lisbon, but they reneged on it and, when taken to court, we found out that such promises are not worth the paper they are written on. And so shall it be with the Conservative Parties pledge, much like all the other pledges.

      Reply: I can assure you that Conservatives will propose and vote for a referendum in the next Parliament, so we will have one if we have a majority.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 31, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

        If only you could speak for those leading your party, JR, your assurances would carry greater weight. But of course you can’t, because your views are those of a minority in the upper echelons of the Tory party.

        We are told by the Mail on Sunday that scores of Tory MPs intend to put withdrawal from the EU in their personal manifestos for the next general election, irrespective of the outcome of any renegotiations that Cameron may attempt:

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2592487/Conservative-party-descends-civil-war-100-Tory-rebels-prepare-defy-Cameron-EU.html

        But even if that turned out to be true, rather being just an exaggerated story planted in the media in preparation for the EU Parliament elections in May, 100 would still be only a minority of the Tory MPs and they could easily be out-voted by the other 200 plus going along with their leaders.

        Reply Why is disagreement over the EU a civil war, yet all the disagreements in Labour about most things are not?

      • APL
        Posted March 31, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        JR: “I can assure you that Conservatives will propose and vote for a referendum in the next Parliament,”

        ‘the next Parliament’ – is that like ‘tomorrow’, it never comes?

        We’ll always be in the current Parliament, thus the form of words you use constitutes a neat ‘get out’ clause, so as your party never has to deliver.

        Reply Nonsense. Conservatives have voted for a referendum in the next Parliament in recent months and will do so again if we have a majority next time.

  9. Mark B
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    If people were better informed and not mislead, they would place the EU much higher up on their list of priorities, as I do.

    If they knew that the EU is responsible for so much that goes on in their lives, from the water that comes out of their tap, too ho they work. The Food on their shelf, too the environment they live. Its all to do with the EU and the laws which govern us. That is how important the EU is to our lives and we show little regard for it and just roll our eyes upon its mention.

    When things like immigration begin to encroach on peoples lives, either through lack of employment opportunities or the cost of living, then people will begin to see its importance, and necessary it is for us to leave and become a self governing nation.

    Crack that nut, and you will be on the path to freedom.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 31, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      I need to get some more sleep ! Who’s flipping idea is it to keep changing the bloody clocks ?

    • uanime5
      Posted March 31, 2014 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

      When things like immigration begin to encroach on peoples lives, either through lack of employment opportunities or the cost of living, then people will begin to see its importance, and necessary it is for us to leave and become a self governing nation.

      When non-EU immigration causes the same problems it’s clear that the EU isn’t the main cause of this problem. As long as companies want to cut employee salaries as much as possible and refuse to train employees lack of employment opportunities will remain a problem.

  10. oldtimer
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Your position is crystal clear. I am not so sure about the position of those actually running our affairs.

  11. lojolondon
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    John, the voters WANT to focus on Europe. Unfortunately all three main political parties are Europhile, and agree on Europe (witness the debates before the last election, where all three agreed not to discuss Europe!!), as does the MSM, particularly the BBC. When you question them on it, they will say we are ‘banging on about it’. But focusing on Europe is a vote winner!

  12. Iain Gill
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I wish there was a mainstream politician prepared to “bang on” about immigration like the ordinary voters do.

    There is such a massive gap between the public and politicians on this one.

  13. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    As I’ve pointed out before, with references to the opinion polls, only 10% of UK citizens want any further EU integration at all, among which 10% about 3% would be content to see the establishment of a full-blown pan-European federation, a federal United States of Europe to parallel the federal United States of America.

    And yet despite the fact that so few of us want it the process of EU integration continues inexorably, day after day; as Nigel Farage correctly pointed out, this is not by a constant stream of new EU treaties but by the determined exploitation of the legal opportunities provided by previous treaties, until such time as their provisions have been stretched and bent up to and beyond breaking point and it becomes necessary to have a new treaty to retrospectively legitimise what has already been done and open up new opportunities for further integration.

    Then, when it has been decided that a new EU treaty really has become necessary if only to preserve the myth that the EU is based on the rule of law, somehow it always, always, works out that the small minority in the UK who are euro-enthusiastic can contrive to prevent the large majority who are more sceptical and even hostile having any direct say on that treaty in case they stop it; indeed for the radical EU treaty change agreed on March 25th 2011 they even contrived to prevent the general public in the UK becoming aware of its existence, and of course it was covered by a convenient exemption in the much-vaunted “referendum lock” law.

    This is not democracy; it may be and usually is technically legal, but it is still fraud by a small minority against the great majority of the people, and those responsible are part of what in other circumstances would be described as “conspiracy to defraud”; and yet they then have the gall to tell us that we should stop “banging on” about it as though it doesn’t matter and it is not worthy of any discussion in a free democratic society.

    • matthu
      Posted March 31, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Implicit agreement by JR, I sense.

  14. APL
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    JR: “One of the myths of some commentators is that politicians and parties should not “bang on” about the EU because electors are not interested.”

    This is progress at least, you seem to have changed your stance from previously, the EU doesn’t sell on the doorstep.

    Of course as far as intergrationistas or European Unionists are concerned, the less we hear of the EU, on the doorstep or anywhere else for that matter, the better. The covert revolution can continue in …. stealth.

    As we see with the Somerset levels, the EU does impact the ordinary man or woman in his or her home. Despite a comprehensive cover-up, it emerged that through a combination of EU regulations and UK politico jobsworthy incompetence the Somerset levels were flooded.

    Reply I have not changed my stance. I was writing books highlighting the threats from an expansionist EU before UKIP was invented. E.g. “The Death of Britain” which seems to be attracting some attention again because it also warned that Scottish devolution would help the cause of independence, not bury it.

    • stred
      Posted March 31, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Apparently, the Land Tax and disposal of dredged mud is not required by EU rules. See comment below.

      • APL
        Posted March 31, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        JR: “I was writing books highlighting the threats from an expansionist EU before UKIP was invented. ”

        I am not a member of UKIP so I don’t much see the relevance of this part of your reply.

        stred: “Apparently, the Land Tax and disposal of dredged mud is not required by EU rules. ”

        I heard differently. In any case, it illustrates the nature of modern government. Each citizen needs a full time personal assistant simply to ensure his very existence doesn’t contravene this or that obscure regulation.

        Flooding of the Levels was government policy, as the infamous statement by Baroness Young in 2008, ‘just add water’ illustrates. The intent to return them to their natural state and foster biodiversity and promote natural habitats is according to Booker and North, part of the EUs ‘Natura 2000′ strategy. Although how flooding the land and drowning the fauna promotes those aims is anybody’s guess.

        Thus we get government by obscurity at the least, very bad government at the worst – as we saw in the Levels.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted March 31, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      The point is John ;you do not write Mills and Boon stuff.Few read them.I find it difficult to understand economics and financial matters in general. I have just had a conversation with the Halifax call centre. A very helpful lady helped me to decide where to invest next year, however new conditions for investment don’t apply until 6 months after the new tax year,; I suppose allowing them to make their minds about an interest rate according to the first 6 months performance. We can fix a rate , but they would rather not! I was brought up as a female whose job was not even talk about money. Everyone has their own busy lives and are more concerned about getting enough money to pay their bills. Perhaps this is wrong , but time is definitely not on the side of the busy working families.

      I have mentioned that I blog on John Redwoods site to a couple of people as I am trying to understand these matters more. These high standing professionals do not even know who you are.

  15. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    “The commentators also say that the Conservatives have to keep quiet about the EU because the party is split on it. This is no longer true. The Conservative party as a united whole voted against Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon, and the associated large transfers of powers to the EU under those Treaties. The Conservatives have been long united in opposition to the UK joining the Euro, and are the one major party which says never to joining the Euro”.

    I believe that the Conservative party are much more Europhile than Professor Redwood suggests.
    My own Mp (Greg Knight), despite being described as a ‘Eurosceptic’ has a dismal voting record on defending our interests in Europe.

    http://www.brugesgroup.co.uk/mp/division.php?divvy=23&mp=202#top

    Greg Knight MP –
    Holding the EU referendum in 2014 22 Nov 2013 No

    Bill for a referendum on Britain’s EU membership 05 Jul 2013 Aye

    Regretting that the Government had failed to propose an EU referendum bill 15 May 2013 Abstained

    Vote on cutting EU spending: European Framework Financing 31 Oct 2012 No

    EU referendum vote 24 Oct 2011 No

    International Monetary Fund (Increase in Subscription) 18 Jul 2011 Abstained

    The right to a referendum on EU membership if the majority of those voting on a treaty oppose its ratification 01 Feb 2011 No

    Preventing the expansion of EU law over Justice and Home Affairs 26 Jan 2011 No

    An attempt to limit the areas where transfers of power trigger a referendum 25 Jan 2011 No

    Stopping the Government adding to the Eurozone bailouts 25 Jan 2011 No

    More Parliamentary scrutiny and control over when there should be a referendum 24 Jan 2011 Abstained

    Affirming the Sovereignty of the UK Parliament 11 Jan 2011 No

    Ireland bailout payment 15 Dec 2010 Aye

    Vote on EU Economic Governance 10 Nov 2010 Aye

    Motion to stop an increase in Britain’s EU budget contribution 13 Oct 2010 No

    EU External Action Service

    The Bruge group publish an excellent database of Conservative voting records on Europe. Mr Redwood does rather well on 68% (Greg Knight scores a pathetic MINUS 12%) . I urge any readers to look up their own MP, and write to them directly if they are dissatisfied.

    Mr Redwood, do you agree that Mr Knight should consider moving to the Liberal or Labour partys that might more accurately reflect his views ?. Shouldn’t you split from a party that holds so many Europhiles as your views are plainly incompatible.

    Reply I regard my views on the EU as representative of the majority of the party in the country and see no need to leave a party I wish to influence to give us that In/Out referendum we need. Mr Knight must speak for himself.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 31, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      I guess your own views are indeed quite close to being representative of the majority of the Tory party in the country. The problem is that the views of those actually leading the Tory party are not, and they don’t care, and they won’t care until they see a serious threat that they will be thrown out.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted March 31, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Comment on Reply–You may well be right about the majority “in the country” but I do not believe that your views are in sync with the majority even of Conservative MP’s in Parliament; and there is no doubt whatsoever that your views are not held by the Cameron and Hague cohort, nor even close. On any basis loyalty to party should be a very subsidiary thing.

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted March 31, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Professor Redwood,
      I think your chances of ever wielding any serious ‘influence’ over Mr Knight and his ilk, are slim judging by his supreme doggedness in supporting so many unpopular , vote destroying pro EU positions. I believe his 12,000 majority would be cut if the people of East Yorkshire were fully aware of enthusiastic support for the EU .
      I think the days when an Mp can talk up his Euro Sceptic credentials to grab votes , and then hardly raise a finger of protest in the voting lobby,( in order to curry favour with the leadership) are over in the internet age. What part of the disastrous ERM experience (as a senior whip for John Major) does he and similarly minded colleagues not understand?.

      I believe your efforts would bear more fruit changing course – if you are banging your head against a brick wall..banging it harder won’t make any difference when there are a great many in the Tim Yeo, Ken Clarke Greg Knight wooden headed mould.

      All we need is a few CREDIBLE former Conservative Mp’s such as John Redwood and Douglas Carswell to leave and give us a real choice. How can I support your party when in effect, I will be endorsing more European integration by returning another pro European Mp (Greg Knight). Those that decided to leave as a matter of principle would get mine and millions of others votes.

  16. Bert Young
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    If David Cameron had our budget contribution to the EU reduced , no doubt he had some explaining to do when it was announced that our contribution this year had increased !. It is very clear that the voices of the Eurosceptics have become noisier and more noticeable in the past few months – probably due to the increasing threat of UKIP and the Euro election in May; the extent of their influence on David Cameron is , nonetheless , too insignificant for it to change the way the Conservatives are led . David Cameron will not lead us out of Europe , he has committed himself to ” stay in “. Change at the top is the only way forward for the Eurosceptics to win their way and restore dignity to their party .

    Reply The work people like Bill Cash do has been continuous and thorough for many years, predating the formation of UKIP. Our work is unrelated to UKIP coming a good second at Eastleigh or getting a poor result in Wythenshawe.

  17. stred
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    EU directives for dredging wast disposal have been given as one of the reasons for the recent flooding. The Environment Agency had apparently worked out that the cost of dredging became terribly expensive, as the dredged mud could not be spread on nearby fields, as had been done for hundreds of years previously. It was suggested that Landfill Tax made the cost very high and that the ‘waste’ had to be taken away to be treated as landfill.

    An EA person was interviewed this morning on Today R4 about the decision to dredge the river running through the Somerset Levels, following the change of policy. Looking at the long HMRC Guide to Landfill Tax, this shows how it can be paid in Euros (presumably it is handed over to EU coffers?) and section 4.1 tabulates exemptions, amongst which is dredging of rivers. It states that water has to be removed from the mud, or material added to dry it, but there is nothing about it having to be transported away to a specialist landfill site. They do advise that, if in doubt, apply to the…Environment Agency.

    It seems that someone should find out whether the EA itself was creating these daft rules for disposal, which made saving the land for agriculture and homes so much less sensible than turning it into a bird, vole and newt sanctuary. And, if they did so by disregarding the EU directive, then HMG should sack the persons responsible and dock their payoffs and pensions, pending the allocation of blame for the enormous damage caused by lack of dredging and land use change upstream. This change also may be due to environmental policies to use rapeseed for biofuel.

    • forthurst
      Posted March 31, 2014 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      It’s good to know that under Section 4.1, HMRC has extended exemptions from Landfill tax since 30 October 2007 to dredgings from inland waterways and harbours.

      European Council Directive 99/31/EC on the Landfill of Waste, “does not apply to:

      the spreading on the soil of sludges (including sewage sludges and sludges resulting from dredging operations);”

      http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/landfill_index.htm

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 31, 2014 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        The Directive itself exempts:

        “the spreading of sludges, including sewage sludges, and sludges resulting from dredging operations, and similar matter on the soil for the purposes of fertilisation or improvement”

        and

        “the deposit of non-hazardous dredging sludges alongside small waterways from where they have been dredged out and of non-hazardous sludges in surface water including the bed and its sub soil”

        So strictly speaking you can dump stuff that you’ve dug out from a ditch or stream alongside the ditch or stream, but not then spread it around across a field unless that’s “for the purposes of fertilisation or improvement” … I understood from what Richard North has said elsewhere that there can be no “double handling” of dredgings.

        • forthurst
          Posted March 31, 2014 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

          What happened to the sludge in the bad old days? Unless the sludge is downstream of a chemical plant etc, it presumbly has potential “for the purposes of fertilisation or improvement” otherwise that condition would not have point and presumably farmers might accept it as an alternative to being flooded out, or certainly at far less cost than £140 m^^3.

          I’m not sure what no ‘double handling’ means; does it mean sludge cannot be stored at an intermediate location before at its final destination unless that is a Landfill Site, otherwise Mr Barroso will be very angry? Anyhow according to the EURef article there is an expensive piece of machinery that can satisfy the letter of this (stupid) EU rule.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 1, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

            It’s the kind of stupid nonsense that you will inevitably get from a stupid system of government. People asking for the correct interpretation of EU rules reminds me of a website I once came across, where some (word left out ed) cleric was answering questions …… about what was and was not allowed under (religious ed) law. “Is it alright if I take silt out of a river and put it in a truck and then spread it on a field a mile away, or do I have to leave the silt by the side of river?” would be the kind of question that might be asked of some self-appointed expert in the quasi-religious law of the EU, and then he could quote chapter and verse to say whether or not it was OK, and what you might have to do to make it OK if it would otherwise not be OK, and so forth. In this case the answer seems to be that it would be OK provided that you paid a large sum of money, a special religious tax, on the silt that you removed from the river, so faced with that extra cost you would have another reason why you should not do it even if you had wanted to do it.

        • stred
          Posted April 1, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

          Just as a the silt may add to fertility of a field, it also raises levels over time and reduces risk of flooding. Surely the EA could interpret things differently. What do the Dutch do? Sludge can be pumped, like concrete, only a long way.

  18. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I think that immigration is the one issue that will make me vote ‘No’ when the referendum comes. As things stand, the governments of Italy and Malta (and no doubt other Club Med countries) can grant citizenship to a would be immigrant, whereupon said immigrant is legally entitled to come to the UK. That’s just not acceptable, even if they don’t claim benefits.

    Most other things are negotiable. We might also repeal Maastricht, which gave the Euro de jure status. The Euro zone, if it is a nascent federation, is too large for our comfort. If it can be done, getting some Member States to leave it is a good idea. Reducing the Euro’s status to de facto would help. We should also press for removal of the condition that new EU Member States must adopt the Euro.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 31, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      “The Euro zone, if it is a nascent federation, is too large for our comfort. If it can be done, getting some Member States to leave it is a good idea.”

      Well, you’ve seen Cameron’s seven targets for renegotiation, and while a treaty change to allow that would obviously be a good idea it isn’t on his list.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 31, 2014 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      Lindsay, I hate to burst your bubble but, when it comes to the EU, its a take it or leave it package. If we remain in the EU, we will, eventually, be forced to join the Euro and subsumed into the EU mass. England will be consumed and be no more. And I am not making this up.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted April 1, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Lindsay McDougall, when the referendum comes, beware the phrasing of the question. Do you intend to vote “NO” to remaining in the EU or “NO” to leaving the EU?

      The question must be put such that the answer is “IN” or “OUT”.

  19. Max Dunbar
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Bang on about immigration – bang on about the EU – bang on about regional separation.

    Keep on banging Dr Redwood. We are with you, even if the leadership of your party is not.

  20. Antisthenes
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    One day having given the EU question such a low priority through ignorance and apathy the British people will find that their well being and civil liberties have been considerably reduced. Then of course they will demand action but it will not be any action that the UK government can take as they will be even firmer under the thumb of Brussels so it will be too late. Unless of course by then all the citizens of the EU are horrified by what the EU has reduced them to. We need those coming horrors to be spelt out now but that is not going to happen if the left’s dominance is allowed to return in 2015.

    • uanime5
      Posted April 1, 2014 at 12:47 am | Permalink

      One day having given the EU question such a low priority through ignorance and apathy the British people will find that their well being and civil liberties have been considerably reduced.

      Care to name which civil liberties have been reduced given that the EU has granted UK workers improved employment rights and privacy laws.

      The ECHR also protects civil liberties that the government wishes to remove.

  21. Richard
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    You are correct in pointing out that we are not building sufficient houses to accommodate all the EU migrants who are coming here every year.

    As someone else has pointed out we need to build a new town the size of that recently proposed for Ebbsfleet in Kent every single month to keep up.

    Since we are unable under EU legislation to reduce this flow of migrants, and can expect even more as the EU Empire expands further into Eastern Europe (Mr. Cameron proposing that the EU extends from the Atlantic to the Urals in a speech last year in Kazakhstan), where will all these immigrants be living ?

    etc ed

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Today there have been several media reports about the huge number of jobs we would lose if we left the EU, based on an updated report which gives an estimated total figure of 4.2 million, of which 3.1 million are directly linked to exports to the EU while the other 1.1 million are indirectly linked through the spending of income earned by the exports.

    That report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research is here:

    http://www.cebr.com/reports/british-jobs-and-the-single-market/

    and I will quote the first of the “Important Notes” which seems to have escaped the attention of journalists when they were fed this story by the pro-EU group “British Influence” who commissioned the study:

    “This piece of research does not imply that the estimated jobs would be lost if the UK were to leave the EU; it is an analysis of demand arising from UK exports to the EU.”

  23. Posted March 31, 2014 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think you should be repeatimg Ukip’s line about the EU immigration. 2/3rd of immigrants come from outside the EU so even post brexit the influx will be high. And it’s some nonEU communities which provide a big number of those out of work, benefit reliant and in social housing. The EU immigrants are mainly in work contributing to the UK through their excellent services (it is funny how often we now believe that contribution can only be fiscal) and through tax therefore helping the government reduce the deficit.

  24. miami.mode
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree with your views but unfortunately when pressed by the media many Conservative ministers seem almost to act as apologists for the EU.

    During a recent TV interview Michael Fallon stuttered significantly when asked about the rumour that hundreds of diesel generators are lined up ready to cater for shortfalls in electricity generation and merely said something along the lines that “contingency measures are in place”.

    Only Nigel Farage tells it as it is and I get the impression that Conservative Ministers will not admit that they are virtually puppets to the EU as this will undermine their perceived authority.

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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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