I don’t agree with Nick – and I don’t believe him either


The second EU debate was bad tempered and  repetitious. The strange thing about it was the posture and tactics adopted by Nick Clegg.

Like the other small band of vocal pro EU politicians in UK politics, Nick promised us he would make the case for the EU but spent most of his time minimising  the EU’s importance and playing down or denying the EU’s main strategic aims and direction of travel.

There will be no EU army , he promised us. What about the 60,000 troops available as a Rapid Reaction force already? What about the call for the EU to have drones and border protections? What about all the features of the Common Foreign and Security Policy?

There will be no more big transfers of power worthy of a referendum any time soon, he assured us. Has he not noticed the big transfers of power to complete the EU’s control of banking and financial services going on on his watch? Has he not seen the latest moves to extend and strengthen the EU’s climate change and energy policy? Has he forgotten that he is advocating within government a big transfer of power over our Criminal Justice system through a series of proposed opt ins? Has he not understood the significance of the ECJ gaining power over European human rights?   Why do none of these warrant a referendum?

He told us he is against so much EU red tape. When did he last secure the repeal of any of it? Why has he gone along with a big increase in the volume of Directives, Regulations and consequential UK Statutory Instruments, if he thinks there is already too much red tape?

Just like last time, he concentrated on the big lie that we would lose jobs if we left the EU because they would deliberately damage their trade with us. He does not explain why he has such a poor opinion of our EU partners that he thinks they would spite themselves to do us harm, yet he wants to be in ever closer union with these self same countries. There is no way Germany will want to stop exporting to us as they sell us so much more than we sell them, so their Finance Minister has already said there would have to be a good trade agreement between the UK and the EU.

He added the extraordinary claim that just 7% of our laws come from Brussels. I guess he gets to that very low figure by leaving out the bulk of EU law which is implemented in the UK by means of Statutory Instruments under the 1972 Communities Act. No-one sensible accepts his definitions, and some will also querying his counting. The majority of UK law comes from the EU these days on most definitions.

I could understand someone with passion making the case for the full blown political, economic and monetary union that will be the completed EU. I would not agree for the UK, but could appreciate the vision. They would want the Ode to Joy to take precedence over the UK anthem, want the European Parliament to make most of our laws on the advice of the Commission, want there to be a common foreign and security policy which we supported and helped, want there to be s single currency and economic area, and would accept free movement of people. That agenda is the agenda of most of pro EU Europe.

Mr Clegg tried to make out such an agenda does not exists. He should get out more, and travel to the continent more often. Then he might find out the true nature of the cause he claims to support, and might then come home and make the case for the EU as France and Germany  wish it to be. It is no good the pro EU people continuing to disguise it as some greater trade area, when it has gone far beyond that in design, ambition and even in execution.

Until he does that, I and many others will not believe him.


  1. Lifelogic
    April 4, 2014

    Clegg simply has no valid arguments to put and sounded both pathetic and dishonest. He even claimed in desperation that Farage would claim the moon landings were fake. Clegg is pathetic and wrong on nearly everything he touches.

    Cameron would however have sounded even more pathetic in such a debate, with his say one thing do the complete opposite dishonesty.

    1. JoeSoap
      April 4, 2014

      In essence Cameron and Clegg are at one on this; Clegg has now blown the gaff as Cameron’s stooge in this debate. Our host, meanwhile, hangs on in the same team but plays a totally different game….

      1. Jennifer A
        April 4, 2014

        If things really could be changed from within the EU then there would be a lot more riding on the forthcoming EU elections. As it is we could elect as many Ukip MEPs as we like but it would make no difference to our position in the EU because the European Parliament is entirely undemocratic . The main event is still the general election and the EU elections are merely seen as an indicator of future performance .

        If our MEPs are meant to be so vital then why ?

        There is as much chance of the UK government influencing Europe from within as there is Tory Eurosceptics influencing the Tory party from within. Without the threat of Ukip they would not be listened to at all.

        Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband ought to face Farage in public. If they don’t then we will draw our own conclusions.

        1. Jennifer A
          April 4, 2014

          Mr Miliband might not want Farage taking part in the Leaders’ debate but very many people in Britain do.

          You all know how popular Mr Farage’s views are.

          (Notice how much the BBC has been reporting on positive EU news items in recent days ?)

        2. sjb
          April 4, 2014

          The main event is still the general election and the EU elections are merely seen as an indicator of future performance .
          Let us consider historic UKIP percentage share of the votes:

          EU 2004: 16.2
          GE 2005: 2.2
          EU 2009: 16.5
          GE 2010: 3.1

          If UKIP comes top in this year’s EU election with, say, around 30%; what do readers think UKIP will obtain in the GE?

          1. Denis Cooper
            April 5, 2014

            I think that when about 12% of opinion poll respondents now say they intend to vote UKIP at the next general election UKIP will get more than the 3% it got last time.

        3. ciconia
          April 5, 2014

          It is hard to imagine any way in which the European parliament could bring about any change; it exists simply to authorise the commission’s wishes. It’s a very expensive rubber stamp that will never resist the broad front invasion of everything by the eu.
          Symbolism giving the impression of democracy without interfering with the programme.
          It is also unfortunate for the recent debate that Mr Clegg decided to concentrate on personal attack & obvious demonstrable untruthfulness. This despite his clear advantage with decades of involvement in the eu project & massive back-up from party & taxpayer funded researchers.
          The arrogance of the ‘we know what’s best for you’ elite?
          Mr Cameron has since sought advantage by claiming that Clegg & Farage are two extremes. He may convince his followers within the Westminster club of politicians and their dependent media poodles that change can be negotiated; I don’t think the electorate feel any need to climb aboard this particular theme park ride.

    2. Hope
      April 4, 2014

      Totally agree with you JR. Clegg cannot be believed on anything he says. Now here is the problem, no one believes Cameron either and he has surrounded himself with ministers and advisors like Clegg from the Tory party.

      Yesterday we could read the ill-tempered article from Malcom Rifkin, where he wrote an article in which he calls Farage a buffoon ( and by implication the majority of the public who supports his views) he needs to look in the mirror or read your blog today and it becomes quite clear who the buffoon is.

      The public no longer trust politicians and look to read facts from sources which can be believed or verify what politicians say. Similarly we can read Heseltine’s latest interview where he claims the UK always resists by gets there in the end. He was referring to the Euro and still believes the UK will join it. he ought to read am rose Evans Prtichard article yesterday of the woes of Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy because of the Euro. Then he might advise Cameron that those who still believe in the Euro are the true fruitcakes!

      Finally, we have lost faith in Cameron, and politicians like him, when we have the farcical investigation of Maria Miller where MPs overrule the investigator to water down the outcome- this is self- governance and clearly makes an absolute farce of IPSA. This is from a government, and minister, who has imposed state regulation of the press because they cannot regulate themselves! When Cameron says he has faith in her, after making bold statements about the expense scandal in 2009 and promising the right to recall as early legislation, what does he think the public make of him? Fruitcake, buffoon or that you cannot believe a word he says? The same for the £18 million pounds of taxpayers’ money he spent on propaganda for closer union to the EU while telling the public he would never do this and also saying he is a eurosceptic. You need to worry about MPs closer to home.

      1. Tad Davison
        April 4, 2014

        Spot on!


      2. Bryan
        April 4, 2014

        Mr Cameron clearly continues to think that us lot who went to a State school are uneducated idiots. Unfortunately for him, his core vote mainly went to grammar school or secondary moderns and as well as getting a first class education, were taught logic and how to apply it.

        Oh! and how to spot a wally!

        That describes Mr Cameron and his chums perfectly.

        If he wasn’t before he really is toast after this Miller scam.

      3. AG
        April 4, 2014

        Very very true.

      4. zorro
        April 5, 2014

        That will be the Malcolm Rifkind who described himself as Eurosceptic as JR when in an interview with him discussing the events in the Major government….. You really couldn’t make it up!


    3. Timaction
      April 4, 2014

      I’m afraid it’s not just Mr Clegg. Messrs Cameron and Milliband are the same. All the legacy parties are pro EU and Federalism and lie and deceive at every opportunity to hide their true intentions from the public. This was laid down in 30/1048 of 1971 where all parties had to pretend responsibility for any unpopular EU decision. The powers you list were agreed on the Tory led Coalition.
      So what’s different with the Labour or the Conservative leadership? Nothing. There is only one solution and the public are waking to that option.

      1. Tad Davison
        April 4, 2014

        It’s amazing, this disparity between the public and the political classes. The public want one thing, but the politicians want another, so they plough ahead with their ‘we know best, so you’ll have what we say you’ll have’ arrogance. There must surely be a case for the legitimate overthrow of any government that does as it likes, and not as the people want.


    4. oldschooltie
      April 5, 2014

      It is easy to see why the pro-EU camp do not want the EU debate to be aired, they simply cannot make the case for the EU.

      That arch-europhile Heseltine believes Clegg made a fundmaental mistake in challenging Farage says it all.


      Like most europhiles Heseltine prefers to smear those who question EU membership as ‘isolationists’ in the same way as those who question uncontrolled immigration are smeared as ‘racists’. The pro-EU camp can only offer FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) but numerous bloggers are discrediting tha FUD with ease
      We no longer beleive the political elite and the MSM who are in league with the politicos. The internet allows us to research and form our own opinions and the establishment has not woken up to this simple fact.

      Clegg has inadvertently put the EU question firmly on the political agenda and no amount of ‘scaremongering’ will close that debate down.

  2. Lifelogic
    April 4, 2014

    The BBC of course (and indeed Cameron (in his actions) if not his empty words) have almost exactly the same absurd views as Clegg. Wrong on almost everything – the EU, the green energy crap/the Anth. Global Warming exaggeration, ever more tax, regulation, every more parasitic government and the absurd enforced “equality” agenda.

  3. Mark B
    April 4, 2014

    All very true but, your leader and your colleagues in your party did not have to go into coalition with them, did you ?

    And remember. All this is happening whilst your good friend, the Prime Minister, maintains the current relationship, both with the Lib Dems and, the EU. To my mind, you are all guilty by association.

    The dream of a united Europe (EU) is not new. Its a very old idea and goes back quite sometime. The idea of a Customs Union, I think, goes back as far as Napoleon, and his desire to starve the British into submission.

    But the modern idea comes from people like, Salter and Monnet. They knew that their ideas would not be readily accepted, and so, they sought to use lies and deception to achieve their aims.

    It has even been said that, during the Second World War, the Nazi’s came up with the idea of an European Economic Community.

    So the EEC/EC/EU has a somewhat chequered past, and not one that I would tend to favour.

    This has been carried on regardless, and I find it quite amusing that our kind host, and others, are prepared to liable themselves over the subject of our membership of the EU yet, the self same host, will not permit us to say the same of a dead man, who cannot sue us, even though the said deceased, openly admitted he lied to get us into the EEC in the first place.

    How therefore, does our kind host reconcile with this dichotomy ?

    Reply My advice to Mr Cameron in 2010 was not to join a Coalition. I have often pointed out that we Conservatives cannot sit easily in coalition with federalist EU Lib Dems as we disagree fundamentally on this huge issue. A dead man cannot answer back and I do not know the quote where he admitted a lie.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      April 4, 2014

      Comment on Reply–Although I cannot remember his exact words or when he said them (I’m sure someone will) I do remember that in a response to a question on the point, Heath did indeed (he did not use the word lie) publicly say, and bullishly, that of course he didn’t believe at the time that what he had said was true. He pretty much admitted that it was necessary as he saw it to pull the wool. When dealing with traitors like him the usual de mortuis rule does not apply.

      Reply Having read the debates on the UK’s entry into the EEC I seem to remember Mr Heath was the one who did admit it would mean losses of sovereignty

      1. Eric
        April 4, 2014

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

        – Prime Minister Edward Heath, television broadcast on Britain’s entry into the Common Market, January 1973

        1. Tad Davison
          April 4, 2014

          There ya go!

          The pro-EU people have a proven propensity to lie to get their way. Little wonder Nigel Farage feels the way he does, and he has my wholesome support for telling it like it is! Commeth the hour, commeth the man, and a pox on all the pro-EU liars!


          1. Leslie Singleton
            April 4, 2014

            Tad–Agree totally; but whilst sure that your support is indeed wholesome I reckon you might have meant wholehearted!

        2. Leslie Singleton
          April 4, 2014

          Thank you Eric; and what I was referring to was an answer much later (perhaps, though I am not sure, just before he died) along the lines that of course he didn’t believe what he said when he said it. Don’t forget he just gaily gave away our Fisheries. which, ownership apart, have being going down hill ever since.

        3. Denis Cooper
          April 5, 2014

          And when it came to the referendum in 1975 the government’s official pamphlet urging a vote to stay in the EEC:


          had an entire section on “Will Parliament lose its power?”

          Of course the answer was that it wouldn’t, because:

          “The Minister representing Britain can veto any proposal for a new law or a new tax if he considers it to be against British interests.”

          Forty years on, there are now few cases where the British minister can still exercise a veto and instead he has just 8% of the votes in the Council of Ministers, and government sources brief journalists that a proposed amendment to a Bill would be “illegal” as if our national Parliament was no longer a sovereign body but was subject to some higher legal authority.

    2. ian wragg
      April 4, 2014

      Of course Cameron can sit easy with the pro EU Limp Dumbs, he’s one of them. Millipede is the same so don’t wonder why people are attracted to Farage. etc ed

      1. Leslie Singleton
        April 4, 2014

        ian–Pray that there is a by-election shortly after UKIP’s wiping the floor next month.

    3. Kenneth R Moore
      April 4, 2014

      Professor Redwood,

      I note that you advised Mr Cameron against forming a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. I can only presume that Mr Cameron used the line that the economy was broken and he was forced to form the coalition to ‘clean up the mess’ left by labour..’.right thing to do ‘ etc. blah blah blah…
      As Mr Osborne has been even more spendthrift than Labour ever planned to be, and with the deficit still stubbornly high, do you not feel you were misled ?.

      Reply No, I was not misled. I set out for you all in 2010 from the government’s own figures the fact that the Coalition would continue to increase current public spending, and they have done so as forecast.

      1. Kenneth R Moore
        April 4, 2014

        Reply No, I was not misled. I set out for you all in 2010 from the government’s own figures the fact that the Coalition would continue to increase current public spending, and they have done so as forecast.

        Thanks Mr Redwood, my point is the deficit has not been eliminated – that was the central aim of the coalition to eliminate the deficit in one parliament and on that score the coalition has failed.
        So on that point you (and many other Mp’s i suspect) were misled by Mr Cameron’s tough posturing on the economy in 2010 in order to justify his cosy relationship with the Lib Dems.
        I agree that spending plans may have been stuck to – but surely spending should have gone down when the growth wasn’t as strong as forecast (by the fantasists at the OBR) in order to keep the deficit reduction plans on track ?.

  4. arschloch
    April 4, 2014

    Its nice to see that Maria got away with it, without even with the aid of a big hanky and a raw onion. All you MPs are so delusional that you think that you just need to keep on going as you are, everything is fine, you are worth every penny. But just remember its your activities from within that is destroying parliamentary democracy in the UK not what comes out of Brussels.

    1. Lifelogic
      April 4, 2014

      What on earth makes Cameron think he should have both Maria Miller and David Laws in the cabinet. It reflect appallingly on him.

      Miller is not even sufficiently competent anyway. Let us hope the electorate react to correct this even if they have need denied democratic recall of MP by yet another Cameron ratting.

      1. Tad Davison
        April 4, 2014

        You’re right LL, but we only need to consider their stance on the EU, whilst men like JR are excluded, to find the answer.

        And if Cameron can rat on the right of recall, might he not rat on the promise of a referendum?

        (red rag to a bull!)


    2. alan jutson
      April 4, 2014


      She is doing a great job, and has been cleared of doing anything illegal, says Mr Cameron.

      So thats all right then !

      Forgetfullness when it involves self interest seems to be very popular and convenient excuse in the HOC on occasion.

      The lady is tainted goods and not fit for purpose, simple as that.

      I wonder what her constituents think of their representative attempting to be unco-operative with the investigation.

      Hey Ho only a year to go, and she will find out.

      RIGHT TO RECALL NEEDED yet again.

      1. Hope
        April 4, 2014

        I am not sure this is correct. She has not been investigated by the police so I am not sure her actions could be described as legal or illegal. The perverse outcome in parliament is that internal discipline takes place before any police investigation, it should be the other way around so that the police are not influenced. This week we read a select committee heard evidence from a police officer how he was influenced to let a suspect murder go in Ireland by
        Political pressure.

        We also read how the select committee overruled the censure given by the investigator to change the outcome. This is not independence by anyone’s standards. It is a complete disgrace, if we take Cameron and Clegg at their words following the expense scandal.

        Reply Mrs Miller’s actions were legal, as are all our actions unless and until proven illegal in a court of law. The Standards Committee reviewed the evidence of the investigator and censured Mrs Miller for the style of her response to the enquiry. The Enquiry itself found against the complainant on the main issue of improperly using public money to house her parents, finding Mrs Miller not guilty.

        1. arschloch
          April 4, 2014

          JR presumably you are putting down Basingstoke down as a Lab gain at the next election? You really think people are going to vote for someone who has made a million quid through a property deal that was supported by a tax payer, because MPs need a second home? At best all we can hope for is she will be leaving in 2015 by which time she will helped herself to more of our taxes.

          JR here is a direct question which I will hope you will answer. As you know I am a NHS hospital doctor. If I am on a call overnight I am provided with a room which contains a bed, desk and wash basin, there is a communal shower down the corridor. My job over involves keeping people alive, what do MPs do that is more important and makes them think that they are entitled to something a lot better?

          Reply How often are you on call overnight at the hospital? IPSA came to an independent determination of the best value way to provide accommodation for MPs, needing 100 nights plus a year, and concluded that renting a small flat would often be best. It was not the MPs who settled this for the current Parliament. Some MPs stay in hotel bedrooms, but this can prove more expensive.

          1. arschloch
            April 4, 2014

            JR go down to the hospital in Basingstoke and ask the doctors there. If you are on call you need to be available within twenty mins. How many people actually live so close to their place of work as that? Whats wrong with a Premier Inn for MPs or are is it always five stars all the way?

            Reply No, it is certainly not 5 star London hotels! IPSA are an independent body and they have set maximum reclaimable rates for overnight stays or for renting a small flat.

          2. ian wragg
            April 4, 2014

            Whilst in full time work I travelled and stayed away. For 6 years I kept a flat in Yorkshire which was not tax deductible. Later the company paid for accommodation but after a year I had to pay myself as it became taxable as a benefit in kind. Why different rules for MP’s John.

          3. Stevie
            April 4, 2014

            Hear Hear Ian Wragg. I have worked for 50 years with 30 of those years living in either in B&B’s then in later years in cheap hotels costing about £30 per night when I could afford it, I travelled home every four weeks for a long weekend with my family. That was normal for a skilled journeyman all my meals and whatever I drank was paid by me. My employer allowed me £5 at night lodging allowance rising to £25 over the years that was until the taxman declared it was a benefit so I then paid tax on it. Wake up you MP’s and smell the coffee your so out of touch.

        2. English Pensioner
          April 4, 2014

          Mrs Millers actions were legal because a committee set up by parliament said so.
          The Phrases “Well the would, wouldn’t they” and “There but for the Grace of God go I” come to mind.
          I just wonder if a benefits claimant would get off with just making a small repayment if they were caught over-claiming.

          Reply Mrs Miller’s actions were legal because she has not been found guilty in a court of law of illegality. MPs expenses are subject to exactly the same criminal law as anyone else’s expenses, as the MPs sent to prison for fiddling can tell you.

          1. Hope
            April 4, 2014

            I think you are missing the point. She was never investigated by the police to prove or disprove if she committed a criminal offence. Unless this happens we simply do not know. It is not for IPSA to define a criminal offence has or has not been committed that is ultimately the responsibility of the CPS if the police puts a case to them for a decision. This has not happened to my knowledge. Presumably that is why Labour has written to the police.

        3. Leslie Singleton
          April 4, 2014

          Reply to Reply–I think, John, that that was one of the silliest replies you have ever made

          1. Leslie Singleton
            April 4, 2014

            Postscript–I didn’t realise that my earlier effort would come next

        4. Lifelogic
          April 4, 2014

          Indeed Cameron stance on Millar is absurd and very foolish electorally. Millar is clearly not up to being a minister anyway, even before this over claiming of expenses. Her adviser (who threatened the reporter over Leverson) is (unwise ed), totally lacking in guile or common sense just putting petrol on the fire.

          I am not surprised by this threat being made at all, but I am by the half witted stupidity of the way it was delivered.

          Reply They say they were not threatening the media but seeking to protect Mrs Miller’s father. The Telegraph tape also seeks to do this with selected bleeps.

          1. zorro
            April 5, 2014

            So what was the reason for the not very coded threat re Leveson then……?


        5. A different Simon
          April 7, 2014

          John ,

          Mrs Millers thinly veiled threats to newspapers following the Leveson enquiry show what sort of person she is and it’s not one the British people want representing them .

          She has no future in politics and might last till the next reshuffle but should have been sacked last year .

          The mind boggles that she was not given her marching orders then .

          (line left out ed)

          I only hope she doesn’t receive a sinecure in charge of a quango .

    3. Leslie Singleton
      April 4, 2014

      Another misjudgement by Cameron

      1. arschloch
        April 4, 2014

        Yes he is so useless he thinks we are going to look on him better because his cabinet contains a woman who went to a state school FFS. Along with Laws and few others, him and his cabinet makes most people with any common sense think completely differently. You can see now why he bent over for the Liberals and their demands for a fixed term parliaments. This lot should have been out on their ears months ago

        1. Hope
          April 4, 2014

          Certainly sown of them would have earned the right to recall from their constituents which would bring the fixed parliaments into a mess. Perhaps that is why Clegg and Cameron dropped their promise for early legislation on it, kicked it into the long grass and killed it before the next election. However it is safe to say that based on the this you cannot trust a word either of them says whatever jam tomorrow promise it might be.

    4. Jennifer A
      April 4, 2014

      Arschloch – If what they say is true – that the EU is so influential that our own political parties are prevented from doing what our people want – then forget scrapping the expenses system (as is suggested later) scrap our own Parliament instead !

      What is the point in paying for two governments ? Think of the savings !

      1. APL
        April 5, 2014

        Jennifer A: “What is the point in paying for two governments ?”

        Agreed, with minor alterations. Like you, I don’t see the utility of two parliaments like bodies doing mostly the same thing. I reach the same conclusion, we only need one. I differ in that I maintain we should scrap the imposter – the Brusberg* Parliament.

        *The founding articles of what is now the EU, stipulate that France should get her share of the EU gold and the EU Parliament must sit in Strasbourg as well as Brussels. Now if that isn’t an utter waste of money, I don’t know what is. But no one can change it because it is entrenched in the treaties.

        How stupid is that?

    5. Denis Cooper
      April 5, 2014

      “But just remember its your activities from within that is destroying parliamentary democracy in the UK not what comes out of Brussels.”

      As far as public perception is concerned that is true, because it is relatively easy to understand that an MP has been cheating the taxpayer or a minister has allowed his personal financial interests to unduly influence policy, while the machinations of the EU are much less easily understood. But clearly those in Parliament who bring it into public disrepute are always indirectly helping the EU to undermine our parliamentary democracy if even that never entered their heads as a motive.

    6. Handbags
      April 5, 2014

      Don’t be so naive.

      She’s being targeted because she is the Minister for Press Regulation. Anybody in that position would be attacked and undermined by the press.

      However, having said that, she does seem to have questions to answer.

      She bought the house before she was an MP – it’s obviously her first home – she seems to have called it her second home simply to claim the mortgage on expenses.

      But the primary motivation is the fight against Leveson.

      Public opinion is being manipulated – wake up!

      Reply She claims it was her second home, as she spent more nights in Basingstoke.

  5. Mike Stallard
    April 4, 2014

    I am not someone who cynically believes that all politicians are in it for the money. Or that they are all liars and cheats. It is just silly to think that. I follow our own MP, for example, and notice how he works tirelessly and intelligently for the good of the people he represents.

    So it came as a genuine shock to find Mr Clegg, who, after all, represents the political party which just a hundred years ago ran the country, saying these things. He also spoke about Mr Farage being out of date. Actually, it is Mr Clegg who is the 20th century politician putting forward those 20th century ideas which were so revolutionary in the 1930s and so hot in the 1990s that they had to be kept secret. Gordon Brown had to sign the Lisbon Treaty in a private room, away from the other leaders.

    Seeing someone lying – a very strong word for a very unusual thing – and doing it so very convincingly and seemingly sincerely took me aback.

    1. APL
      April 4, 2014

      Mike Stallard: “I am not someone who cynically believes that all politicians are in it for the money.”

      Mike, you are obviously ‘old school’ – there isn’t anything wrong with that. But I suggest you are thinking of the older generation of MPs who occasionally entangled themselves in some scandal or other and when found out promptly resigned.

      Today we have the ever creative ‘it was within the rules defence’ for, for example, Maria Miller who inexplicably is still in the government.

      If Denis MacShane was guilty of fiddling and warranted a criminal investigation, how is it that this latest scandal doesn’t?

      Or Vickey Pryce who has a criminal conviction and is inexplicably back in government.

      Do you remember when the jackals in Parliament all fell as a pack on Derek Conway? We know know that was just a diversion, he had to be crucified to cover up their misdeeds.

      The whole place is rotten.

      Reply The facts of Mrs Miller’s case are different from MacShane. Neither the independent investigation nor the Standards Committee saw any criminal case to answer in her claims.

      1. Tad Davison
        April 4, 2014

        Reply to reply:

        The expenses scandal served to re-write the rule book, and make it clear to every MP what they could and could not claim for. So it still doesn’t alter the fact that if she could get something so simple and clear-cut as expenses, so wrong, she could get a lot of other things wrong too, and that must surely include her view towards the EU. Her position is therefore untenable, because she has shown herself to be incompetent. We cannot have faith and trust in incompetent people. That’s how we got in this God awful EU mess in the first place.

        But that sets an uncomfortable precedent. If we got rid of all incompetent MPs, we would have a massive (but necessary) constitutional crisis, because there’d be so many of them walking the plank!


        1. Lindsay McDougall
          April 4, 2014

          What we need to do is to get rid of the entire expenses system. Treat MPs as grown men and women and pay them a salary plus allowances for offices, secretary, fact finding missions, research, rent of a one bedroom flat near Westminster etc. In fact, simplest is best – one salary and one global allowance.

          That way, we can sack all the usual parasites – lawyers, accountants, bureaucrats, committees etc – that administer the current scheme.

          Reply People would not like that, as someone like me who claims well below the average on office and other expenses would be a winner from it. I assume from your description MPs would be able to pocket part of the allowance instead of having to spend it on legitimate items.

          1. matthu
            April 4, 2014

            Ah, you miss the point, John.

            All other MPs would be expected to manage on well below the current average, just as you do. People would love it! Of course, a few MPs would need to tighten their belts.

      2. Leslie Singleton
        April 4, 2014

        Comment on Reply–Cannot understand what legalities or criminality have got to do with it. Even if what I just said is wrong, all that proves is that our legalities and criminal laws are inadequate on the point. She would once have had her head summarily chopped off.

  6. Old Albion
    April 4, 2014

    If only we could have a referendum on our membership ! Then we could show the Westminster puppet government what we think of the EU…………..if only !!

  7. alan jutson
    April 4, 2014

    All Clegg attempted to do was attack Farage and try to make him out to be some sort of a nutter.
    In doing so, he made himself look like an uniformed petulant schoolboy.

    The biggest moment came when Farage was prepared to call him a lier on National television programme with his 7% crap.

    Given Cleggs very poor performance, I do wonder if the LibDems will now think of telling him to fall on his sword before the next election, so they actually have a chance to repair the damage, because only an idiot would vote for them now.

    The other stupid comment Clegg made was that Farage was in a taxpayer funded Job in Europe.
    Does he not realise that he himself is in exactly the same position, as indeed are the other 649 MPs that hold court in our Parliament.

    Mp’s are supposed to work for our, and our Country’s interests, not their own.

    The so called debate showed one thing, Farage was prepared to answer questions, like the answers or not, which is a bit of a revelation in politics.
    Clegg was all about evasion and insults which sadly we have come to expect as the norm..

    The other very worrying fact is that Cameron thinks both hold extreme views.
    So the likes of yourself, Bill Cash, Douglas Carswell and a number of your other colleagues would seem to have be labelled John, given you all hold many of the same views on Europe.

    Farage now has momentum behind him with two good debate appearances, and a one hour programme last week entitled “Who is Nigal Farage”, which also exposed the shocking amount of financial waste and undemocratic workings that is the EU.

    The results of the EU elections will be very interesting.

    Perhaps the best thing Cameron could do would be to invite Nigel to be in charge of his renegotiation policy !
    Or look in house and use his own extremists.

    1. JoeSoap
      April 4, 2014

      I think the “you are taxpayer funded” really was a last resort. I’m willing to bet Farage has taken less from the taxpayer for his work than Clegg throughout his career, and made more in private industry too!

      1. Leslie Singleton
        April 4, 2014

        Joe–I for one was and remain genuinely puzzled by Clegg’s comments about taxpayer-funding–for a start I thought he liked taxpayer-funding??

      2. behindthefrogs
        April 4, 2014

        The members of UKIP who were elected MEPs have in general accepted salaries and then taken little or no part in the European Parliament. This is surely much more dishonest than anything Mrs Miller did. We should only vote for MEPs who are prepared to participate in the parliament.

        1. Tad Davison
          April 4, 2014


          Whilst that might seem valid, I’d like to know how many MEPs actually read in depth, every piece of legislation they are asked to vote upon, and then do so according to their own conscience, rather than just being told to do so by their own party.

          I am given to understand, there just isn’t time to go through it all to any depth, so we could argue that those who merely rubber stamp all the bilge that place produces, are guilty of collecting a salary for doing very little. We could get a man off the street to do that! But as long as the EU looks like a working democracy, that’s alright then. I should coco!


          1. APL
            April 4, 2014

            BTF: ” This is surely much more dishonest than anything Mrs Miller did.”

            For an europhilliac party, like for example the Tory party that embraces Eurofederalism, it would be dishonest.

            But a party that wishes to withdraw from the Pretend Parliament in Brusberg – why would they care if they make a mockery of the organisation?

            After all, it’s not as if they can influence the European Union through its faux democracy is it?

        2. Denis Cooper
          April 5, 2014

          It’s not for you to tell people how they “should” vote; I will vote for UKIP because I agree with UKIP’s core policy of withdrawal from the EU, not because I want UKIP MEPs to help the EU work better or more efficiently or in any other way “participate” in the EU Parliament except insofar as it furthers the cause of withdrawal.

          If I wanted MEPs who would be adamantly opposed to withdrawal and would instead be willing collaborators in the EU project then I would vote for another party, any one of the three old parties would do from that point of view.

    2. Bob
      April 4, 2014


      The other stupid comment Clegg made was that Farage was in a taxpayer funded Job in Europe.

      I agree with all you say and would add that unlike Nick “small print” Clegg, the ukip meps are campaigning to abolish their own jobs.

  8. Gary C
    April 4, 2014

    Nick Clegg’s constant aggressive interruption along with his distorted use of figures the misuse of Nigel Farage’s statements and a vacuous argument as to just what if any benefits being in Europe has given us achieved nothing other than to strengthen my views on the need for a directly asked in or out referenda.

    He would have been better employed making his own case positive rather than trying to humiliate his opponent, this was a clear cut case of bad tactics that were badly executed, he lost all credibility as a politician in my eyes.

    1. Richard1
      April 4, 2014

      I agree with this. Clegg was pathetic, focusing on rushing out pre-prepared jokes, all of which flopped, and on making distorted claims as highlighted above as to the extent of EU ambition and influence. There is a coherent case to be made for EU membership, and it would have been good to have a proper debate over the issues. Clegg attempted to win it by silly personal attacks on Farage. If that’s the pro-EU argument the Outs will win this one by a country mile.

      One thing we should all remember though: there is only going to be a national debate on this issue and a referendum if there is a majority Conservative government in 2015.

      1. ian wragg
        April 4, 2014

        Not is Cameroon is in charge.

      2. Bob
        April 4, 2014


        David Cameron wants us to stay in the EU. That is his stated “heart and soul” position. The referendum ploy is another trick to save his political career.

        1. The Tories cannot win an outright majority with Cameron as leader

        2. The EU will not renogotiate our membership terms while we remain in, although I dare say that the EU Commission would pay lip service to some temporary concessions in order to swing the vote Cameron’s way (i.e. to stay in).

        3. Even if a referendum were held under Cameron’s terms it would be delayed and postponed as long as possible to give the EU more time to increase the number of migrants here from other EU countries (currently running at about +500,000 p.a.) in order to bolster the “in” vote.

        In other words it could only happen if the LLC thought they could get a decisive “in” vote, the EU will not under any circumstances allow a referendum unless they can be assured that the outcome preserves the status quo.

        UKIP is our last and only hope.

        I suggest that we review the situation after the elections this May.

        Reply We need votes in the Commons to have an In/Out referendum – MEPs cannot deliver that.

        1. Bob
          April 4, 2014

          Yes John of course, but what I meant was that if the ukip results this may are as good as we’re hoping for it will stiffen the spines of those people who are susceptible to the old LLC “wasted vote” ploy and encourage them to vote for the party that they actually want rather than their second choice.

        2. Leslie Singleton
          April 4, 2014

          Comment on Reply–Still have no idea (none is ever given) why we need votes in the Commons (or anywhere else) to have a referendum. A (consultative) referendum is only a question and if we had one this afternoon the result would almost certainly make the sclerotic EU sit up and notice. Negotiations following might then actually produce something after which we could have the politicians-driven formal binding referendum that would count.

          reply There is nothing to stop UKIP and their supporters holding an unofficial referendum any time. What I am trying to secure is an official referendum, for two reasons. The first is an official one has more authority and is likely to get more people voting, as it uses the machinery of the state to arrange and supervise the votes. Secondly, its result could then be binding on Parliament to act following its verdict.

        3. Richard1
          April 4, 2014


          To your points:-

          1. With a neo-Marxist as Labour leader and a threatened return to the Blair-Brown borrow and spend disaster I think there is every chance the Conservatives can win.
          2. The EU may very well prefer to renegotiate with the UK than see the UK leave. With the UK not being in the Euro nor committed to join, there is every justification for a special case
          3. EU migrants will make no difference to the result. EU migrants do not have a vote in general elections and I assume would not in an EU referendum

      3. zorro
        April 5, 2014

        The trouble is that the Tories will not have one with Cameron in charge.


  9. Narrow shoulders
    April 4, 2014

    New strapline for Eurosceptics to be repeated ad nauseum.

    “Given the chance to make the case for the EU your representative was unable and resorted to scaremongering and abuse, evidently there is no case which benefits the majority”

    Unfortunately not a pithy soundbite maybe someone can condense it.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      April 4, 2014

      Shoulders–I agree with you, but make it ad nauseam please

      1. Narrow shoulders
        April 4, 2014

        Hoist by my own autocompete I am afraid. Apologies all round

    2. ian wragg
      April 4, 2014

      “If you want your country back…Vote UKIP…”

    3. cosmic
      April 4, 2014

      Clegg wants us to stay in the EU, but doesn’t know why.

  10. Iain Moore
    April 4, 2014

    The true level of Clegg’s delusion/deceit was when he was asked what EU did he expect to see in 10 years time, and he answered ‘not much’ , which contradicts the founding principle written down in the Treaty of Rome…’DETERMINED to lay the foundations of an ever-closer union among the peoples of Europe’.

    So in saying ‘not much’ Clegg is expecting us to believe he is ignorant of the Treaty of Rome, that or he is a bare faced liar.

  11. matthu
    April 4, 2014

    The louder Clegg proclaims the virtues of the EU, the faster we’re counting our spoons.

    “Remind me again how you expect the EU to change over the next ten years, Mr Clegg?”

    “Oh, I don’t think we will notice any change, really.”

  12. Lindsay McDougall
    April 4, 2014

    When pro-EU people like Nick Clegg lose the economic argument, they turn to the benefits of ‘working together’ and power through combined strength. This is without fear of contradiction a pro-Federation military based argument. Unfortunately for him, it is hated by most British people. I grew out of that belief 50 years ago; when is Nick going to grow up?

    It so happens that an early example of ‘working together’ has been the disastrous EU policy on the Ukraine. Consider the facts:
    – Ex-President Yanukovitch did not ‘abandon his post’. He fled in fear of his life from a neo-Nazi mob.
    – The interim Ukranian Government has labelled him as corrupt without a trial. Haven’t they heard of court rooms.
    – The acting Ukranian President has not been elected.
    – The Ukranian government is therefore not legitimate.
    – Russia has understandably reclaimed Crimea, which it mysteriously gave away in 1954.
    – This move has overwhelming popular support within Crimea.
    – The EU has suggested making a loan to the Ukraine which it clearly cannot fund.
    – It has persuaded the IMF, headed by Euro fanatic Christine Lagarde, to offer a loan to Ukraine, without the slightest guarantee that Ukraine can pay it back.
    – The Ukraine has rejected the offer of a bail out by Russia, which is definitely NOT insolvent like the US and EU Member States.
    – The EU is prevaricating over an ill thought out programme of sanctions against Russia without thinking through the results of retaliation.

    If that’s an example of ‘working together’ and combined strength then you can stuff it. Thank goodness that Russia is behaving calmly; I’m glad that somebody is.

    1. English Pensioner
      April 4, 2014

      Years ago I was taught that if you are going to do something that might affect someone else, you should always try to look at the situation from their point of view and try to understand their position before doing anything.
      Seemingly those responsible for the EU involvement in Ukraine were unaware of that concept and didn’t even consider what Russia might do.
      If I were a Russian, I would perhaps view the EU as a new empire trying ever to expand its boundaries. It has already embraced the old east bloc countries and now is trying to embrace part of the old USSR. I think that I would be quite concerned.
      The EU has metaphorically prodded the Russian bear with a stick and was surprised when it retaliated.

    2. Colin Hart
      April 4, 2014

      Bang on. Cameron should add ‘No more common foreign policy’ to his renegotiation shopping list. He won’t of course because that is far too specific. Which is why the renegotiation is a complete sham – though a necessary one because it is only after it has failed that the Out vote is likely to win.

      On Ukraine itself I don’t believe there was anything mysterious about the way Crimea was put back with Ukraine in 1954. This was nothing more than a spot of regional government reorganisation within the Soviet Union. Khruschev never expected Ukraine to be an independent self-governing nation.

    3. forthurst
      April 4, 2014

      “It has persuaded the IMF, headed by Euro fanatic Christine Lagarde, to offer a loan to Ukraine, without the slightest guarantee that Ukraine can pay it back.”

      For an in depth understanding of the IMF loting process in general and as it is to be applied to Ukraine, I recommend, “Western Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun — Paul Craig Roberts”

    4. Tad Davison
      April 4, 2014

      Well said Lindsay


    5. Denis Cooper
      April 5, 2014

      Even I was somewhat shocked yesterday when I came across this:


      “The crisis around Ukraine “is providential from the point of view of NATO,” said Nick Witney of the European Council on Foreign Relations. “It gives it a new lease on life.””

      So we have to keep provoking crises to make sure that NATO has a continuing role, is that it?

      I find that this AP report was also used in the Daily Mail, I must have missed it at the time.

  13. Ex-expat Colin
    April 4, 2014

    Clegg appeared to cringe fairly often when the man from the pub told him some facts about his long experience in both the EU and global business. Farage is a widely experienced man and Clegg knew it.

    Clegg lives in Spain and likely has some big interests there or nearby – he knows.

    I voted for the Common Market and had lived in Holland and Germany 7 yrs at the time. I did not really get it….a group of others had a big and completely different agenda that I did not require.

    Farage is correct and Cameron/Clegg are wrong. Your party messed up big time and Mrs Thatcher was largely right. I think it will be costly for the Tory party and no doubt Labour will return…..another big mess heading our way.

    Reply Mr Clegg currently lives in the UK

  14. Horatio McSherry
    April 4, 2014

    John, it was good to see you there again, although I was disappointed in your disappointment of the debate – I think it did far more damage to Clegg and the pro-EU case than the first debate.

    I was happily surprised that the BBC and Dimbleby played it down the line, and with the chosen questions too. That same can’t be said for the post debate coverage/comment by BBC, Sky, media – were they watching the same debate? Seeing as the public found Farage the winner by a huge margin (it does’t get much bigger in politics) they only managed to find two people who thought he deserved to win the debate.

    Clegg was almost unbearable (even more than usual, which is to be commended): he spoke over Farage and Dimbleby, he spent all his speaking time telling everyone what he wanted Farage to think, what he wanted the audience to think, what he wanted me to think, but not what he thought; his own 7% figure he revised up to 21% very quickly when pressed; and the diatribes about Elvis, the moon landings, Sitting Bull etc. I found bizarre; astonishingly bizarre for a politician.

    The problem with the rise in popularity with UKIP is that they don’t have strength in depth. Without Farage they’re very much just another party at the moment, but it’s the pressure they’re putting on other parties which is the most important part of their existince right now.

    1. ian wragg
      April 4, 2014

      Read Roger Helmer MEP. Another dedicated and educated man. It’s not all Farage, there are some good people in UKIP.

      1. Aunty Estab
        April 4, 2014

        How much bigger UKIPs impact could be if only Messers Redwood, Carswell & co were there to help Mr Farage put across the anti EU case, he`s done well on his own but a some help of this calibre would really stir things up!

        Reply I am not only putting the EU case, but unlike Mr Farage am able to do so in Parliament and vote accordingly!

        1. matthu
          April 4, 2014

          “I am not only putting the EU case, but unlike Mr Farage am able to do so in Parliament and vote accordingly!”

          That would still be true whether you joined UKIP. (Roger Helmer saw the light.)

  15. Brian Tomkinson
    April 4, 2014

    Clegg’s lies were no different from those of the majority of your parliamentary party and your leader. I expect them to be repeated ad nauseam by those who are only capable of implementing the orders from their masters in Brussels. How can you bear to be in a coalition with a majority who will say anything to keep us entrapped in the anti-democratic foreign organisation called the EU?

  16. Douglas Carter
    April 4, 2014

    Stranger and stranger.

    From The Guardian yesterday, I learn that Clegg ‘fully expected to lose’.

    If this was his strategy, I can’t see any purpose in lending him any further political credibility.

    Apparently, at the start of this process, he wanted to ‘debunk the myths and lies’. ‘Have a grown-up debate about the real issues’. He wanted to tell ‘the truth about EU membership’. A once-in-a-generation opportunity to use two hours to propel the pro-membership case into the public consciousness. By all means tell me if I got that wrong?

    What I learned from Clegg’s pitiful performance was that – apparently – ‘the truth’ about the reasons for membership are:-

    Nigel Farage thinks he’s Sitting Bull or Geronimo.
    Nigel Farage thinks Elvis is still alive.
    Nigel Farage thinks we should return to the Gold Standard.
    Nigel Farage thinks W.G. Grace might still open the batting for England.
    Nigel Farage thinks the moon landings were faked.
    Nigel Farage thinks we should return to the nineteenth century.

    It’s traditional for pro-EU figures to desperately avoid the real nature of the EU – that it is a political integratory body, and not an economic or trade zone – and in that evasion, the void in rhetoric filled only by childish caricature of the EUsceptic side. But when the pro-EU figure proposing to capture the debate on his own terms uses such tools to form what was essentially the bedrock of his case is lamentable, wretched.

    I don’t necessarily think Farage did all that well – he missed some blatant open goals, but in a narrow field, Clegg delivered possibly the most incompetent, inadequate and pitiable pro-EU performance I’ve seen yet. No myths debunked, and the lexicon of caricatures and myths of EUsceptics widened. An epic fail. A definitive example of a car-crash appearance. I have a suspicion the LibDem’s chief strategist of recent years will be shaking his head in shame, and I doubt he would have permitted it to occur.

    But they’re not talking to him right now, are they….?….

    1. Leslie Singleton
      April 4, 2014

      Douglas–The way to try and make some sense (not much) of what Clegg is doing is that he is so scared of obliteration next month (with his percentage becoming a good working definition of zero) that rather than be objective and appeal to the country at large he is concentrating on the nutters who agree with him (maybe one in ten if he is lucky??) to shore up what passes for his core vote. Let’s pray even that evaporates next month. His performance was beyond belief pathetic. How can he even begin to tout that 7% figure??? My impression is that it is nearer 107%. Why cannot he see that even if he has latched on to an obviously restricted definition to come up with such a small figure, the country at large instinctively knows that the figure and/or the definition are meaningless.

      1. Denis Cooper
        April 5, 2014

        One in thirty or forty, really, the 2% or 3% of the population who actively want our country to be reduced to a subordinate state in a pan-European federation.

  17. oldtimer
    April 4, 2014

    Indeed. Clegg`s description/version of EU policy and direction of travel is a contemporary example of the Big Lie, (etc ed). His performance was utterly contemptible.

  18. Kenneth R Moore
    April 4, 2014

    I don’t agree with Mr Clegg either. ….

    Mr Clegg in 2010…..

    It is easy enough to explain the mixture of arrogance and insecurity that fuels this peculiar British obsession,” (the second world war)… “Watching Germany rise from its knees after the war and become a vastly more prosperous nation has not been easy on the febrile British psyche.”

    “All nations have a cross to bear, and none more so than Germany with its memories of Nazism,” Mr Clegg wrote. “But the British cross is more insidious still. A misplaced sense of superiority, sustained by delusions of grandeur and a tenacious obsession with the last war, is much harder to shake off.”

    So in Mr Clegg’s eyes, the legacy of committing mass murder is less easy to ‘shake off’ than our role in the war.

    It’s not Mr Farage that is ‘so all consumed with hatred for the EU’..rather Mr Clegg that hates England so much that he wishes to destroy us once and for all as an independent nation. As Mr Redwood recognises, to do this he is prepared to distort the truth on a grand scale.

  19. Denis Cooper
    April 4, 2014

    JR, it’s not just the EU laws which are implemented by Parliament through secondary legislation, Statutory Instruments, rather than primary legislation, Acts, it’s the mass of EU regulations which automatically become law in this country without our Parliament having to do anything at all about them.

    I’ll repeat that: EU regulations automatically become law in this country once they are made in Brussels, without our Parliament having to do anything at all about them, indeed there is no need for them to go anywhere near Parliament.


    “What are EU regulations?

    Regulations are the most direct form of EU law – as soon as they are passed, they have binding legal force throughout every Member State, on a par with national laws. National governments do not have to take action themselves to implement EU regulations.

    They are different from directives, which are addressed to national authorities, who must then take action to make them part of national law, and decisions, which apply in specific cases only, involving particular authorities or individuals.

    Regulations are passed either jointly by the EU Council and European Parliament, and by the Commission alone.”

    I can’t immediately find the reference but I’ve read somewhere that the EU’s Court of Justice has actively tried to discourage national authorities from passing national laws to unnecessarily replicate the legal substance of EU regulations, which stand on their own without the need for any national authorisation or implementation.

    Of course this is not something that Clegg would wish to publicise.

    1. forthurst
      April 4, 2014

      “Regulations are passed either jointly by the EU Council and European Parliament, and by the Commission alone.”

      That’s definitely an ‘or’; the Commission is originating our laws directly without any form of rubber stamping.


      1. Denis Cooper
        April 5, 2014

        Yes, it should be “or”, otherwise I could make it “and (sic)”.

    2. Tad Davison
      April 4, 2014

      Another great post Denis, and whilst there are men like you in this world, we stand a chance of changing it for the better.


      1. Leslie Singleton
        April 4, 2014

        Tad–Yes Denis’s post was good but one of many problems is that posts such as this will be largely incomprehensible to a huge mass of the people, that’s if one could persuade them to read it in the first place even if it were shoved under their nose. I have no answer on this.

        1. Jennifer A
          April 4, 2014

          An amiable bloke in a pub with a pint of beer and a fag on is the answer, Leslie.

          The antidote to identikit politicians and political correctness.

          Brilliant ! Utterly brilliant !

          1. Jennifer A
            April 4, 2014

            …and the complete antidote to all the lies.

        2. alan jutson
          April 4, 2014


          “I have no answer to this:

          You put a storyline on Coronation street and Eastenders which supports your case, and millions will believe it at a stroke.!

          The increasing number of people who have a lack of interest in politics is actually a danger to our Democracy, and is possibly the reason why we have had such useless Governments during the past few decades.

          There appears to be a complete disconnect between Politicians and the people now.

        3. Denis Cooper
          April 5, 2014

          There is no answer, other than steady hard work and full exploitation of all means of communication and especially now the internet, and much individual work can be countered just by a prominent politician making a misleading statement to the opposite effect which gets widely reported in the mass media.

          It is now 57 years since the Treaty of Rome said in its Article 189:

          “In order to carry out their task the Council and the Commission shall, in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty, make regulations, issue directives, take decisions, make recommendations or deliver opinions.

          A regulation shall have general application. It shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

          A directive shall be binding, as to the result to be achieved, upon each Member State to which it is addressed, but shall leave to the national authorities the choice of form and methods.

          A decision shall be binding in its entirety upon those to whom it is addressed.

          Recommendations and opinions shall have no binding force.”

          And we have been subject to that for 41 years, yet I guess that apart from maybe a few hundred thousand people the electorate in this country is still blissfully unaware of these distinctions, and in particular that unlike a directive a regulation is immediately law in this country without our Parliament having to do anything at all, not even nod through a Statutory Instrument just before the House adjourns.

          There isn’t anything fundamentally wrong with a minister or some state official being given the power to make legally binding regulations without any reference at all back to the legislature, when the legislature can still object and withdraw its authorisation and overturn the regulation in any case where the power has been used inappropriately.

          However when that power is transferred to the EU, treating it as a new and superior government, it is no longer possible for a national legislature to exercise any control over how it is used without breaking the EU treaties; as we know, sources in our own government have now even got to the point of briefing journalists that a proposed amendment to a Bill would be “illegal”, expecting our sovereign Parliament to share their subservience.

    3. Excalibur
      April 5, 2014

      Another shrewd summation,Denis. Thank you for that.

    4. Peter Davies
      April 5, 2014

      One learns something new every day. This is worse than I thought then – I thought regulations and directives were the same thing.

      @Dennis – Have you got time to put this into some sort of perspective.

      Perhaps a rough breakdown of the No Of Directive and Regulations that have emanated from the EU over the last 10 years.

      1. Denis Cooper
        April 5, 2014

        Above I’ve quoted from Article 189 of the 1957 Treaty of Rome about what were then EEC regulations, directives, decisions, recommendations and opinions, the first three being legally binding, and that is still the case now for the EU equivalents under Article 288 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, here:


        In particular, again:

        “A regulation shall have general application. It shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

        A directive shall be binding, as to the result to be achieved, upon each Member State to which it is addressed, but shall leave to the national authorities the choice of form and methods.”

        When the House of Commons Library produced a report in 2009 it was immediately obvious that the author’s approach had ignored almost all of the EU regulations; in October 2010 a revised report was produced, which may be downloaded here:


        As it states on page 16:

        “On 25 June 2009 Lord Stoddart asked why the Government had not mentioned in their answers that EU regulations had direct effect, and whether they would “reconsider their decision not to undertake research into the proportion of United Kingdom legislation originating in the European Union”.

        The Government replied that it had always been clear that EU regulations were directly applicable in the UK. However, it has not always been made clear that the 9% frequently cited in parliamentary answers refers only to SIs laid under the ECA and does not include SIs laid under other Acts or the overwhelming majority of EU regulations.”

        And that regulations are the most numerous form of EU law is clear from the numbers in the table on page 12, “Adopted EU legislation 1980 to 2009: number of directives, regulations and decisions”, where as the most recent example in 2009 there had been 1329 regulations while directives and decisions together added up to 1146, in total 2475 new EU laws of which 54% were in the form of regulations and immediately law in this country without Parliament having to lift a finger, or indeed even being able to lift a finger against them without breaking the EU treaties.

        This is why when the author attempted to take the EU regulations into account he came up with the numbers in the final column of the table on page 24, which average over the years to 47% of new laws in this country being determined by the EU.

        Even this may not capture the effect of judgements of the EU’s Court of Justice, and although I doubt that it is correct to say that 70% of our new laws are now controlled by the EU that figure is a damn sight closer to the truth that Clegg’s “7%” which was a blatant lie.

        Plus there is also the fact that even when a UK law is not controlled by the EU through a legally binding instrument it can still be heavily influenced by EU policy, so depending on how it is interpreted “70% of our laws now come from Brussels” may not be so wide of the mark.

  20. Iain Gill
    April 4, 2014

    I note Vince is in the press telling everyone how over heated the housing market is. I suppose in a funny way its nice to see a politician being prepared to be honest about that, not really collective responsibility of a cabinet member though eh. Shame he is in favour of ever more mass immigration which will do nothing to help the housing issues though.

  21. Eric
    April 4, 2014

    Like the other small band of vocal pro EU politicians in UK politics, Nick promised us he would make the case for the EU but spent most of his time minimising the EU’s importance and playing down or denying the EU’s main strategic aims and direction of travel.


    Fantastic blog, Mr Redwood.

    Mr Cameron should drop the referendum pledge and campaign instead to take Britain out of the EU via a negotiated Article 50 settlement. That way, we could trade and co-operate with our European allies without participating in a political integration project, for which there is scant support in the United Kingdom. As you describe, even the most “pro-EU” politician in our Parliament do not argue openly in favour of EU governance, and when invited to do so, consistently dodge the issue.

    Mr Cameron would win the election by a landslide and, at a stroke, become one of the most important politicians in the Britain’s post-War history, up there with Attlee and Thatcher, if he campaigned to negotiate our exit via Article 50. The key is to adopt the “Norway option” of participation in the Single Market/EEA via the European Free Trade Area. The Norwegians and the Icelanders both have consultative arrangements with the and vetoes over European Commission proposals, which they have exercised. This is better than our 8 percent qualified majority vote in the Council of Ministers, where we have no choice but to accept the will of the majority. These two independent nations also have representatives at international standards-setting forums like the UN and WTO, which are the real “top tables”. We would have more power outside the EU, not less.

    1. ian wragg
      April 4, 2014

      Cameron will not invoke article 50 as he doesn’t want to leave the EU and he is prepared to lose the next election to further his aims.
      Politicians do not mention article 50 as they think us all to be stupid.

      1. formula57
        April 4, 2014

        (Having seen how the people behaved in and responded to the Blair years, any politician supposing other than that the people are stupid might be making a serious error.)

        Article 50 should not be invoked pending re-negotiation since all it does is set a two year timetable for exit. That surely would wholly undermine the UK’s negotiating power since all the rest of the EU would need to do would be to await the effluxion of time and then see the UK exit, having won little or nothing so far as post-exit terms for future engagement are concerned. Better to negotiate whilst still a continuing member (and hence able to threaten to stay around and make like unbearable) and then, having cut a deal on exit, demand that Article 50 is implemented with an accelerated timetable.

        Reply Using Article 50 would indeed concentrate the minds of the rest of the EU, but there is no chance of this Parliament voting for such a move, nor I suspect the next Parliament either.

        1. Tad Davison
          April 4, 2014

          Maybe we need a London spring? That would concentrate the minds far more than to invoke article 50.


        2. Excalibur
          April 5, 2014

          ‘the effluxion of time’ — ten points for that one formula57.

        3. APL
          April 5, 2014

          formula57: “That surely would wholly undermine the UK’s negotiating power ”

          We can largely ignore the EU during that two years, we need to be negotiating our re-entry into EFTA.

          formula57: “since all the rest of the EU would need to do would be to await the effluxion of time and then see the UK exit”

          I suppose they can play it that way if they wish. But when we leave, the EU budget is cut by 30%, everyone else is going to have a very cold shower as a result. The Germans specifically won’t be particularly eager to take up the slack, the French can’t.

          1. sjb
            April 5, 2014

            But when we leave, the EU budget is cut by 30% […]
            Our share of the EU budget is 12.4% [1]

            [1] Chart 2.C: EU Budget revenue 2013 – percentage share after rebates by Member State, p11, European Union Finances 2013:
            statement on the 2013 EU Budget and measures to counter fraud and financial mismanagement


          2. margaret brandreth-j
            April 6, 2014

            reply to sjb…This page cannot be found

          3. APL
            April 7, 2014

            sjb: “Our share of the EU budget is 12.4% [1]”

            OK, I don’t much care.

            correction: “But when we leave, the EU budget is cut by 12.4%,”

            The Germans wouldn’t have an appetite to cover that sort of shortfall, the French can’t, Spain is on the financial rack, Greece? Somehow, I don’t think so.

          4. APL
            April 7, 2014

            margaret brandreth-j: “This page cannot be found”

            It’s a pdf that can be downloaded from this page.


          5. APL
            April 7, 2014

            “Greece? Somehow, I don’t think so.”

            Continuing, the only other EU country with an economy comparable to the UK is Italy, is she going to take a 100% increase in her contribution.

            The Italian finances are so precarious that would destroy them.

            No, once we invoke article 50, all the cards are in the hands of the UK.

            Do we have politicians with the cojones to get a good deal in such favourable circumstances?

            That’s the big question.

          6. sjb
            April 7, 2014

            My apologies for problems with the link I provided; thanks to APL for providing an alternative url.

            I am rather confused as to why you appear to think the loss of our £8.6bn (net) contribution would have to be picked up by just one member state. Wouldn’t all or most of the remaining 27 member states chip in, perhaps in proportion to their existing contributions?

          7. APL
            April 7, 2014

            sjb: ” am rather confused as to why you appear to think the loss of our £8.6bn (net) contribution would have to be picked up by just one member state.”

            It is a matter of utter indifference to me how the EU organises its finances once the UK has left.

            So long as we continue to trade with them in an amicable and mutually beneficial way, they can organise their affairs in any way they wish.

            We can get on with unpicking the labyrinthine EU laws and regulations that hamstring this country.

  22. Bert Young
    April 4, 2014

    I am very pleased you have come out so strong this morning in criticising Nick Clegg . Clegg’s performance in the debate was poor and not at all demonstrative of an intelligent man . Cleggs’ attempts to personalise the discussion showed how afraid he was to quote real facts ; in contrast ,Farage kept his gun in his holster and made his case confidently with his usual conviction . Daivid Dimbleby was a good neutral as Chairman and was right to refer to Clegg’s “verbosity” . The outcome of the exit polls was predictable ; the only surprise was the reaction of LibDem supporters who agreed that Clegg had done badly by 30% voting that he had “failed”. What does this all show ? There is no doubt that the public do have very strong anti-Europe views and are vehement that our democracy must be re-claimed . There is a general dislike of the leaders of our political parties and a demand for a strong “man of the people ” individual like Farage in our political movement . The European elections in May will show “protest” and , as a result , UKIP will do well . The election in 2015 is another matter ; Farage has not the depth behind him to carry him into a meaningful %age outcome . UKIP will gain seats at the expense of other parties and will have a much stronger influence in the future . The Conservatives must take heed of this wind of change , get rid of their political “establishment” and show real determination in their case for our ” Magna Carta “. The “Redwoods” of this world will put on their armour and fight the enemy with vigour and purpose knowing that right is on their side . Amen .

  23. Kenneth
    April 4, 2014

    I suspect even Nick doesn’t agree with Nick. All I saw was a negative campaign against eu-scepticism rather than the positive case for our membership.

    Why is Nick not making the case for our continued membership of the eu? Because there isn’t one.

    The BBC was quick to put the difference down to ‘personalities’. No! Nigel Farage won the debate, not because he is better in an argument but because he was right and Nick Clegg was wrong.

    NB I learned today that my money has been used without my permission to send a satellite into Earth orbit with no economic benefit whatsoever.

    We must get ourselves out of the eu tragedy.

    1. bigneil
      April 4, 2014

      Regards the satellite -we are told that it is “mapping” – as there are supposed to be several of these satellites going up I ask why we need more than one? – -or are they forming the tracking system that the EU wanted with their proposition of being able to track every car on European roads -to be able to charge per mile and also automatic speed checks, thereby issuing speed fines. It was proposed a while ago that all new cars would be fitted with a GPS signal – Big Brother from space.

    2. Tad Davison
      April 4, 2014

      We need to do something about the BBC bias too Kenneth!

      I saw a piece subtly presented by the BBC’s Nick Robinson, and there were five negatives that related to Nigel Farage, but only one negative that related to Clegg. If that wasn’t an undeclared subliminal pro-EU bias, I don’t now what is. And as sated elsewhere, I’m still waiting for the BBC to carry a story about the anti-EU demonstrations happening in Europe today, that have appeared on foreign news channels.

      We’re talking here about a broadcaster that we are bound to pay for, like it or not. As such, we reasonably expect impartiality, but that is in short supply where the BBC is concerned. And in my experience, they are totally impervious to viewer criticism – the ones who pay the inflated salaries!

      The BBC seems to work the same as the EU. Unaccountable for its actions, unrepresentative, others do it better without the bureaucracy, and it costs people who don’t want it, an absolute fortune.


      1. Tad Davison
        April 4, 2014

        And right after I posted that, there has been another complaint about the antics of the BBC’s Nick Robinson and his demeanour in a totally separate piece on ‘Newswatch’ – not that anything will ever get done about it. He asked Nigel Farage a sarcastic question, knowing full well that Mr Farage was in the middle of another interview and could not respond. Robinson then intimated that Mr Farage had ducked the question. That was (words left out ed) journalism of the worst kind, etc ed!

        I suggest that only those who are seriously deluded could possibly fail to see that for themselves.


        Reply I did not see this and suggest it is taken up with Mr Robinson who may have a different interpretation of what he was trying to do.

  24. English Pensioner
    April 4, 2014

    Clegg insisted that the EU can get better deals if we negotiate as the EU rather than by ourselves. The problem is, all the countries in the EU have to agree on the negotiating position, and with trade many of the countries are trying to protect vested interests which prevents us from getting a deal which would suit the UK. Apparently, recent negotiations with the US concerning the film industry failed to reach agreement because France blocked an agreement which would have suited this country.
    We don’t get better deals through the EU, we get very poor deals because they have to suit everyone.

    1. Mark B
      April 4, 2014

      Also, the EU is yet to sign a trade deal with China, a huge market. If we left the EU and joined EFTA (with EEA membership) we would have automatic access to the Chinese market, as they already have a trade deal.


    2. Excalibur
      April 5, 2014

      Indeed EP, which is why a renegotiation of our membership is a questionable tactic. The masters of fudge and prevarication will prevail.

  25. Gyges
    April 4, 2014

    Dear John

    At some point could you tell us what you think it means to leave the EU? As it stands, leaving no longer means anything. The EU has ingratiated itself into every aspect of our affairs and now tells us to do what we were already doing, or would have done anyway that it is difficult to imagine what leaving means.

    Take safety at work. We have case law from 1933 that protects every worker in this country by placing a non-delegable duty on employers to provide a safe system of work. On top of that we have statutory intrument after statutory instrument (as you pointed out) to tell us to work safely (eg COSHH) which is what we would’ve done anyway. But how can you take away these statutory instruments without weakening or undermining the current protections?

    I post not to receive an immediate response but rather in the hope that you will provide a description of what leaving the EU now means.

    Thanks, etc …

    Reply Leaving the EU means regaining the right to make our own laws and decisions.

  26. Peter Davies
    April 4, 2014

    I didn’t get to see it as I had been called out (and forgot to record it) but from what I have read that having someone holding the post of DPM and prepared to lie on such an important issue is a disgrace.

    The bottom line is that Clegg is part of the EU’s political apparatus and wants to take the rest of the UK with him as do many others in the Tory party – he has been bought and indoctrinated hook line and sinker in the ways of the EU but is only too willing to try to play the whole thing down as he knows deep down this does not fit in with the UK way of thinking.

    The game is up, its time we woke up and started planning a way out. Richard North has published a blueprint on how a UK exit could be managed without damaging the economy. It disappoints me that UKIP given the purpose that they exist do not appear to have put together any detailed policy explaining how they would negotiate an EU withdrawal

    – it seems to me that our institutions are now so far interwoven with those of the EU that a lot of legal & political groundwork needs to happen if we are to pull out with the safeguards of letting UK people who have settled on the continent enjoying the same rights.

    A huge political minefield, as with ALL empires the EU will collapse but not I fear before taking us down the gutter with it.

    1. Denis Cooper
      April 5, 2014

      From the EU’s point of view the whole of our Parliament is part of its political apparatus; the first protocol attached to the EU treaties is on “The role of national parliaments in the European Union”:


      “DESIRING to encourage greater involvement of national Parliaments in the activities of the European Union and to enhance their ability to express their views on draft legislative acts of the Union as well as on other matters which may be of particular interest to them”

  27. Johnny Norfolk
    April 4, 2014

    The whole of the EU is based on lies. They really are The Evil Empire. Clegg was a disgrace.

  28. Oscar De Ville
    April 4, 2014

    Your comments on the “second debate” were superb. Can they be circulated much more widely, especially among the Westminster pundits who still seem blind to Clegg`s complete and possibly final failure ? Is there no prospect of the Tory party, despite its leader`s love-in bias, absorbing and and adopting your views NOW ? If it did so Ukip supporters would flock to its ranks BEFORE 2015. Why do you too personally continue to support the political ruse to buy time to provide an unsure referendum in 2017 when some of us will be dead ? Farage has done us all a service in pricking the Westminster Elite. But when will a leader who shares your views come forward ?

    Reply MY preference is for a referendum now, but I and my colleagues were voted down when we sought that. The only way I can see of securing a referendum at all is to back the Cameron scheme for 2017. My worry is that we do not get a Conservative majority in 2o017, so then we will not get a referendum at all and face another five years of massive EU imposed change in our country.

    1. Jennifer A
      April 4, 2014

      Reply to reply

      If there isn’t a Conservative majority then please don’t blame us. Nigel Farage has such prominence because your party refuses to represent the people that it’s meant to.

  29. Edward2
    April 4, 2014

    The key moment for me, came at the end of the debate when they were asked “what do you think the EU will be like in 10 years time”
    Predictably Mr Farage said he hoped we would be out of the EU and that Great Britain would be prospering, free to trade with all the world.
    Whereas Mr Clegg said he thought it would be very much like it is now.
    This reply, more than anything else he said, demonstrated his total complacency and that he had no understanding of the declining economic performance and high levels of unemployment within the Eurozone countries.

  30. rick hamilton
    April 4, 2014

    I am sure Clegg believes in the EU with an almost religious zeal but what do you expect? His mother is Dutch, his wife Spanish, he speaks several European languages fluently and his only experience outside UK politics seems to have been working in EU politics.

    For him the EU is probably the future being a heaven-sent opportunity for political nobodies like Barrosso, van Rumpoy, Ashton, Schultz, Juncker, Verhofstadt, etc to prance on a bigger stage than in their own countries while escaping from the irritating necessity to seek voters’ approval.

    People like him are the same as the ‘useful idiots’ who admired Communism. No matter that millions were murdered or deprived of their freedom, as long as the dream of worldwide socialism was advanced. It’s the same mentality that drives Al Gore to peddle outrageous lies about AGW: as long as his desired result is achieved it simply does not matter how many lies are told or what price ordinary people have to pay. It is nothing more than intellectual arrogance – and it shows.

    1. sjb
      April 4, 2014

      speaks several European languages fluently

      They’ll be none of that after the People’s Army comes to power 🙂

  31. Tad Davison
    April 4, 2014

    Well said John,

    We could go a lot further still, and completely take the Lib Dem position apart, and indeed blast the arguments of every EU supporter out of the water. With demonstrations taking place all over the place today against EU corruption, high levels of unemployment, and social devastation on a massive scale, that wouldn’t be hard to do!

    The Tories say they are founded upon common sense. Were everyone in the Tory party at one with your own logical view, as it should be, there wouldn’t be anywhere near as much support for UKIP, but therein lies the problem – there are far too many of Nick Clegg’s kind in your party. It sold out years ago to the pro-EU lobby. You even have one as Prime Minister!

    I have not yet heard anything from Mr Cameron that convinces me he is worth voting for, and until I do, I intend to vote UKIP in the European elections. I suspect a lot of others will do likewise. Mr Cameron doesn’t have long to put that right.

    If the Tories get trounced next month, along with Labour and the Lib Dems, no-one can say they weren’t warned. Again, I will use some words from the Late Lord Hailsham that fit this nicely – ‘If we do not give the people social reform, they will give us social revolution.’ People are sick to the back teeth with the EU, and given recent polls, they just might be about to make a political statement to that effect.

    Mind you, it’ll be an ill wind that blows no-one any good. It will give Cameron the chance to kick out the pro-EU Hague who has now shown his true colours, and replace him with someone who is far more in tune with public opinion – you maybe?

    You could certainly galvanise public opinion where the others cannot!

    Tad Davison


    1. Tad Davison
      April 4, 2014

      As a footnote, I heard about the anti-EU demonstrations from foreign television news channels, but at the time of writing, not a word about them on the BBC or Sky News. Plenty about Bruce Forsyth leaving some dancing show and other trivia, but not about the things that really matter to our once great nation. Is this a case of bias or British media manipulation, in order to minimise the damage to our relationship with the EU?


  32. forthurst
    April 4, 2014

    I don’t blame Nick; since when have Europhiles ever been out and proud about the direction of travel or how far we have already gone, or where we are imminently going? They’ve never practiced rehearsing the arguments for the EU, ever; on the contrary, they have simply obfuscated over what is going on in Brussels, “this really is the very last treaty and it is just a teensy-weensy tidying up exercise, anyhow”. The EU is a taboo subject with the main parties, simply for the reason that there are no good arguments for it.

    The issue of the proportion of EU law made in Brussels does indicate the size and scope of the bureaucracy, however, it is a bit of a red herring because it means applying one computation to the ‘Climate Change Act 2008’ and the ‘Alan Turing (Statutory Pardon) Act 2014’, the former Act having devastating consequences for jobs, the balance of payments and for poor people, with the possibility of future blackouts, and the latter Act having no effect whatsoever.

    Another red herring that Europhile politicians love is the concept that we should only be allowed a referendum if there is a new Treaty; as indicated by Denis and others, there is a torrent of legislation emanating from Europe continuously, and second, it is like positing that, as in the bad old days, there cannot be a divorce unless there is a proven matrimonial offence; nowadays people may divorce if their marriage has irretrievably broken down, often because they failed to get to know each other properly before rushing to the altar. Give us a referendum now, Nick; we hate your EU.

  33. Atlas
    April 4, 2014

    I also noticed how Clegg avoided saying what was good about the EU and its present direction of travel. I was less than impressed by his performance.

    However Farage could have done better by giving a short list of things we can no-longer do.

  34. A.Sedgwick
    April 4, 2014

    The loser from the debates is Cameron. Even if I was a diehard EU supporter Clegg’s irascible performances would worry me. The Coalition appeared the desperate second prize for Cameron after he blew what should have been almost as easy a victory as 1997 for Blair. Seeing a glimpse of the obdurate Clegg, Cameron giving away the store in 2010 and putting up with e.g the reneging on boundary changes there is real insight into their association.

    As to NF, this was a big test for him and he did not fluff his lines and his political stock must have risen. Thirteen months is a very long time and the knives are certainly out for him but he could be the biggest post war shock in British politics, unless of course Scottish residents vote yes.

  35. mike
    April 4, 2014

    Certainly on twitter and elsewhere the question which those of a pro EU bent simply cannot answer is why the EU needs an army and surveillance drones. Unfortunately people like Clegg have lied for so long about the true nature of the EU that this cuts to the nub of the argument, namely that the EU has nothing to do with co-opertive trade and everything to do with attempting to build a superpower nation state with all competencies transferred from individual parliaments.

    Clegg wasn’t merely poor, he wasn’t pro EU at all. If you are proud of something then you would not lie to conceal it’s true nature. Indeed I felt rather sorry for those who are genuinely pro EU at having Clegg represent them.

    Frankly I could name ten or twelve names from people who drink in my local pub who could have done a better job. Not only did the public see through his arguments, they also saw straight through him and the political class of which he is the poster child.

    That such a weak and callow person is our deputy PM is truly frightening, especially given his slave like devotion to his pension provider. That this woeful chap trounced Cameron in the 2010 debates should give tories something to think about. If there is anyone out there who thinks of Miliband as a better performer than Brown, in other words if they think Miliband might have put up a decent fight against Nigel, then I haven’t heard from them.

    In the end it was Clegg’s lack of real world experience which was his undoing. Farage believed in his position and arguments as he has lived it. Clegg merely thought a few lines derived from a focus group would be enough.

    This wasn’t merely a trifling loss in a pre election skirmish. It showed that the best of the modern political class simply cannot stand up to scrutiny and isn’t fit for office.

    Regarding Heath he admitted on Question Time somewhere around the year 2000 that he had lied. When asked did you know that the signing up to the EEC would result in what we have seen since his answer as I recall was , “Of course”.

    1. yulwaymartyn
      April 4, 2014

      I think yours is an interesting post . EU supporters would argue that they do not trust or want to rely upon the US conventional forces for their security and that they believe that the US would not support them at a time of need. Dennis Cooper on this blog has highlighted that the EU has significant military resources at its disposal and has had these for some time. I believe that President Hollande in his recent speech reiterated the German – French brigade. There is no secret about it. I thought Clegg should have been completely open about this; indeed if he had said that military forces of some kind have been in existence since about 1982 he probably would have been more persuasive. Farage should not have made out that this is an entirely new endeavour but seemed to for his own reasons.

      1. Denis Cooper
        April 5, 2014

        Farage’s initial point was about the recent development of Ashton wanting drones, perfectly correct and verifiable, but denied by Clegg along with all the other manifestations of the EU’s military ambitions.

  36. Kenneth R Moore
    April 4, 2014

    I welcome Mr Redwood’s tough stance on Mr Clegg’s strange relationship with the truth.
    But how sad that the sceptics have been ignored for so long now we know exactly how weak the arguments in favour of EU membership are.

  37. yulwaymartyn
    April 4, 2014

    As a pro EU person who really is one of the people that JR mentions in his eighth paragraph I can confirm that Nick Clegg was awful.


    1. Kenneth R Moore
      April 4, 2014

      Mr Clegg was ‘awful’ because he was put in the position of defending an extremely weak position – our submersion in the EU super-state.
      Clegg found lieing on the industrial scale needed to support the pro EU argument deeply uncomfortable and it showed.
      In his desperation he clung to the usual ad-hominem attacks on sceptics and told some pretty big pork pies…3 million jobs depend on the EU claim .. 7% of laws come from Brussels etc.

      1. Vanessa
        April 5, 2014

        Why, if Clegg supports and loves the EU, did he deny all that it is doing? It does have an army, it does have a police force and all the other things he denied.

        Most of our laws DO come from Brussels. Why if he loves something did he pretend none of this is true. Some love and support he has !!!!

        I am glad he is not a friend of mine; if he liked and supported me I dread to think what he would say about me in public. He is despicable and not fit to be deputy PM.

    2. sjb
      April 4, 2014

      It did cross my mind that Clegg deliberately threw the contest to boost UKIP, so that more Tory marginals would be at risk in the GE.

      I don’t think Clegg once mentioned that no member state has gone to war with another member state. As we found out in Iraq & Afghanistan, ‘hard power’ can be expensive.

      Clegg was right to point out the EU has much stronger bargaining power than we would when negotiating trade agreements. However, he did not push Farage on the specifics of a post-EU British landscape. It seems unlikely UKIP would accept access to the Single Market, because that would mean having no say at all in framing the rules (‘fax democracy’). If Farage claimed he would rely on our WTO membership, Clegg could have asked him whether the WTO has achieved free trade in manufacturing and services, 75% of our GDP?

      Come the in/out referendum, I think businesses and workers will want much more detail about the precise terms of the trade agreements and that the other contracting party, e.g. US, has agreed.

      1. Steve
        April 6, 2014

        The question for CLEGG is why does he think his opinion should prevail and that the British public be denied a referendum?

        It appears CLEGG is not a liberal or a democrat at all.

    3. Mark B
      April 4, 2014

      Well, at least your honest.

      Which is probably why you’d make a lousy politician.

    4. APL
      April 6, 2014

      yulwaymartyn: “As a pro EU person who really is one of the people that JR mentions in his eighth paragraph”

      There is always the Poly Toynbee option, you could sell up and go and live in Tuscany.

  38. Steve
    April 4, 2014

    Good article JR.

    CLEGG seems to be on repeat when public speaking, he has no debating skills and instead resorts to repetition, lying, interrupting, insults and bullying. His noise level highlighted his lack of content and I feel he came across as vain and incompetent. That he has any involvement in running our country is of great concern to me.

    Why Dimbleby spent 25% of the debate time on Putin was beyond me, the debate was meant to be on the EU. Incidentally, I thought LBC ran the debate far better than the BBC.

    My concern is that Cameron, Millipede and CLEGG are all cut from the same cloth, all pro-EU, all Oxbridge graduates ( as it seems are most of the cabinet/shadow cabinet ), all are married to rich wives and none have much real experience outside of the Westminster bubble. Whilst I fully respect Oxford/Cambridge University’s graduates how can it be sensible to have such a small homogenous group of people making all the decisions?

    Farage seems to break this mould, that is why the three leaders will now avoid debating with him, they don’t understand where he is coming from. CLEGG could not answer the questions because in many cases he did not understand the context of the question.

    JR, I think your recent blogs indicate you may be more closely aligned with many UKIP policies that those of your own leadership, however can your influence be brought to effect?

  39. bigneil
    April 4, 2014

    Having read that Mr Cameron would only take part in a debate if Mr Farage was not there – it does not make him look good as a leader.
    In the debate Clegg actually gave the same answer to three different questions ??? He was ****** awful, to put it politely. And as for the claims afterwards from some, that Clegg had won, I realised I must have severe dementia affecting my maths -the subject I was best at, when at school.

  40. Steve
    April 4, 2014

    Good article JR.

    CLEGG seems to be on repeat when public speaking, he has no ‘debating’ skills and instead resorts to obfuscation, repetition, lying, interruption, insults and bullying. His noise level highlighted his lack of content coming across as vain and incompetent. That he can (mislead ed) so effortlessly and is directly involvemed in running our country is of great concern to me!

    Why Dimbleby spent 25% of the debate time on Putin was beyond me, the debate was meant to be on the EU. Incidentally, I thought LBC ran the debate far better than the BBC.

    My concern is that Cameron, Millipede and CLEGG are all cut from the same cloth, all pro-EU, all Oxbridge graduates ( as it seems are most of the cabinet/shadow cabinet ), all are married to rich wives and none have much real experience outside of the Westminster bubble. Whilst I fully respect Oxford/Cambridge University’s graduates how can it be sensible to have such a small homogenous group of people making all the decisions?

    Farage seems to break this mould, that is why the three leaders will now avoid debating with him, fundamentally they just don’t understand where he is coming from. CLEGG could not answer the questions because in many cases he did not understand the context of the questions.

    It is rumoured that the party machines are now going to aggressively attack Nigel Farage from a personal angle, this may backfire as the British public don’t typically respect underdogs being trampled.

    JR, Your recent blogs indicate you and many of your colleagues may be more closely aligned with many UKIP policies than the policies of your own leadership, can I ask whether you believe this lack of alignment risks voters simply switching to

    Reply I have not changed my views on the EEC/EU from the day when as a young man I voted to leave the EEC. Nor can I stop UKIP borrowing some of my best lines or drawing on some of my analysis. I am seeking to get the people another referendum, as many are too young to have voted, and some who voted in 1975 now think they voted wrongly as they did not understand what I and others were trying to tell them about the project. I want to avoid the tragedy of a split vote in the Eurosceptic position that will stop us having that referendum. I have got the Conservative party to the position where it is against the Euro in principle, wants a new relationship with the EU and will give us a referendum. Now I need it to have a majority! Are you going to help?

    1. Steve
      April 6, 2014

      Dear JR,

      Your consistency and wisdom on the EU and budget deficit is highly respected, and being able to help deliver a referendum would be a valuable use of ones time and support.

      It seems UKIP are treading your advocated path.

      The challenge we all face is that all three parties leaderships are so similar that even valued and honourable MPs such as yourself seem to be denied the influence to solve our EU and budgetary challenges.

      Is it better to influence from within or without? Ironically the EU dilemma.

  41. margaret brandreth-j
    April 4, 2014

    I didn’t watch the debate, but you must admit Ode to Joy is more inspiring than our National Anthem.
    Perhaps we could persuade Clegg that staying in the EU with new trade laws may be acceptable.

    1. The PrangWizard
      April 6, 2014

      England needs something rather more like La Marsaillaise.

      To arms citizens, Form your battalions
      March, march.

  42. matthu
    April 4, 2014

    I asked the bookshop owner for the new book by Nick Clegg.

    “I think I’ve sold out,” he replied.

    “That’s the one!”

    1. A different Simon
      April 7, 2014

      That would imply Mr Clegg had principles to sell out .

      He’s about as far removed from a conviction politician as I can comprehend .

  43. Chris S
    April 4, 2014

    I cannot ever remember watching any senior politician tell so many blatant lies in such a short time.

    The problem for Clegg is that a substantial proportion of those who watched the programme knew he was lying and a lot more will believe Nigel Farage when he directly accused Clegg of it.

    The Deputy PM came out of both debates with no credibility whatsoever.

    Clegg may think that his high profile in the debates will boost his current 9% following in the polls in the same way as his being given equal billing with Brown and Cameron did in 2010.

    He may gain one or two extra votes amongst Europhiles but, whether he intended this to happen or not, the main outcome will undoubtedly be a huge increase in the vote for UKIP in the Euro elections at the expense of the Conservatives and to a lesser extent, Labour.

    It will be a huge personal triumph for Nigel Farage if UKIP do manage to top the polls in May. I always thought this was unlikely but after these debates, they must now have a realistic chance.

    Let’s hope that the Conservative Party sees sense after May and does a deal with UKIP for the General Election.

    In my view, without the 20 seats Cameron threw away with his catastrophic handling of boundary reform, that is the only chance of the Conservatives forming a government in 2015.

    When it comes to leadership debates in 2015, I will wager that Cameron and Miliband will do a deal to exclude both Clegg and Farage.

    Limiting the debates to just the two realistic candidates for PM is the only legitimate way they can keep Nigel Farage off the stage and they will want to do that at any price.

  44. Anne Palmer
    April 4, 2014

    The only way for those people that want out of the European Union John, and the time to be able to “GET OUT” is getting very short, for I am sure you realise what is already to come from the EU in 2020, 2030, and even some EU leglisation even set for 2050, is for ALL the people that want to be free from foreign Rule to use the General Election in 2015 as the REFERENDUM the people have been denied since 1975. Everyone realises by now that ALL THREE MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES WANT TO REMAIN IN THE EU-FOREVER, AS LONG AS THEY CAN HAVE THEIR WAGES AND EXPENSES.

    There is absolutely no point in voting for any of those three major Political Parties if those that use their vote, want out of the EU. We would go nowhere and would have to remain in the EU. So, if we want freedom from foreign Rule, use the General Election in 2015 as the REFERENDUM we have been denied. Vote for anyone that wants out.

    Does that include YOU John and the other so called Back Benchers? I used to vote for the Conservatives yet along with many others in the last General Election I gave my vote to UKIP. So did a lot more people. apparently. That is why we have a Coalition now I guess. We obviously have had enough of Labour -without any doubt at all.

    It matters not if none have never “Governed” this Country before, for lets face it, all Governments have done since that 1975 REFERENDUM is obey the orders of the EEC/EC and now EU. We cannot afford to wait for ANY proposed “Promises” that may never come for we have already waited too long to set ourselves FREE. We have to put our Country, all the people in it and its and their freedom from foreign rule and for the sake of the Commonwealth too before any further promises of any REFERENDUM plus, and it is a big plus, the Count for an Election are counted that same evening with all those that wanted our votes remaining until the Country is finished. REFERENDUM counts may be counted the next day.

    Reply I voted for Out in 1975 and have opposed the extension of EU powers ever since. I would have thought my position was well known to you by now! I agree 2015 is a crucial election, and it is important not to lose our chance of an In/out referendum by splitting the vote in ways which give the election to Labour, committed to staying In with n o referendum.

  45. Chris S
    April 4, 2014

    EU Armed Forces : The Proof that Clegg Lied :

    At the European Council in Helsinki in December 1999, the so-called Helsinki Headline Goal was established, setting amongst others the following targets:

    “The common security and defence policy shall include the progressive framing of the common defence policy. This will lead to a common defence, when the European Council, acting unanimously, so decides. ( Lisbon Treaty )

    New political and military bodies and structures will be established within the Council to enable the Union to ensure the necessary political guidance and strategic direction to such operations, while respecting the single institutional framework.

    Co-operating voluntarily in EU-led operations, Member States must be able, by 2003, to deploy within 60 days and sustain for at least 1 year military forces of, the Union will be able to carry out the full range of the tasks gi up to 50,000-60,000 persons capable of the full range of tasks stated in Article 17 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU).

    In May 2003, the Council confirmed that the EU now has operational capability across the full range of Petersberg tasks :

    An EU Battlegroup (EUBG) is a military unit adhering to the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of the European Union (EU). Often based on contributions from a coalition of member states, each of the eighteen Battlegroups consists of a battalion-sized force (1,500 troops) reinforced with combat support elements. The groups rotate actively, so that two are ready for deployment at all times. The forces are under the direct control of the Council of the European Union.

    The Battlegroups reached full operational capacity on 1 January 2007, although they are yet to see any military action. They are based on existing ad hoc missions that the European Union (EU) has undertaken and has been described by some as a new “standing army” for Europe. The troops and equipment are drawn from the EU member states under a “lead nation”.

    In 2008, the EU Battle Group conducted wargames to protect the first-ever free elections in the imaginary country of Vontinalys.

    On 20 February 2009 the European Parliament voted in favour of the creation of Synchronised Armed Forces Europe (SAFE) as a first step towards a true European military force. SAFE will be directed by an EU directorate, with its own training standards and operational doctrine.

    On 18th May 2009 The Council welcomed progress made by Member States in the development of military capabilities, including in the light of the Declaration on Strengthening Capabilities adopted by the European Council in December 2008, which will contribute to enhancing the EU ́s crisis management capacity. The Council called for continued efforts in this regard.

    July 2013 : Daily Telegraph :

    Officials told the Daily Telegraph that the European Commission and Lady Ashton’s European External Action Service want to create military command and communication systems to be used by the EU for internal security and defence purposes. Under the proposals, purchasing plans will be drawn up by autumn.

    The use of the new spy drones and satellites for “internal and external security policies”, which will include police intelligence, the internet, protection of external borders and maritime surveillance, will raise concerns that the EU is creating its own version of the US National Security Agency.

    Senior European officials regard the plan as an urgent response to the recent scandal over American and British communications surveillance by creating EU’s own security and spying agency.

    “The Edward Snowden scandal shows us that Europe needs its own autonomous security capabilities, this proposal is one step further towards European defence integration,” said a senior EU official.

    The proposal said “the commission will work with the EEAS on a joint assessment of dual-use capability needs for EU security and defence policies”.

    It continued: “On the basis of this assessment, it will come up with a proposal for which capability needs, if any, could best be fulfilled by assets directly purchased, owned and operated by the Union.” A commission official confirmed the proposal.

    1st January 2014 European Defence Agency :

    Led by Claude-France Arnould, EDA’s Chief Executive who is supported by Rini Goos, Deputy Chief Executive, the Agency’s organisational structure comprises since 1 January 2014 three operational directorates (Cooperation Planning & Support, Capability, Armament & Technology, European Synergies & Innovation).

    It’s almost there, Nick, isn’t it ????

  46. Bryan
    April 4, 2014

    Given the awful display from the Deputy Prime Minister, isn’t there a case for him to be sacked? After all, he is in charge when Mr Cameron is away!

    Then again ……………….

  47. Vanessa
    April 4, 2014

    Well said, John. Lies, and more lies from the MPs who govern us. When will they learn? If you read “The Great Deception” the lies started in 1970 when Heath so desperately wanted to join and they have never stopped.

    It is astonishing that these people have a brain at all only to perpetuate these lies.

  48. Edward.
    April 4, 2014

    Steady John, steady or you will be drummed out of the regiment Sir.

    Remember the Tories and think Heath, Clarke and Heseltine, Brittan, Patten these gentlemen are EU stalwarts and would never hear of a bad word being spoken concerning Le grand projet! Even as it [the EU] slowly cannibalizes itself, a death through €billions of self inflicted slices – precision butchering – slicing off it’s body parts to feed its own rapacious appetites!
    Southern Europeans thrown, nay sacrificed to feed the north – the EZ is killing Greece as I type – another 11, 000 civil service jobs to claim another useless €10 billion bailout to kick the can not far down the road…..and with deflation gripping the country, people starving and national power cuts – it can’t go on – Greece must leave the EZ………………………..and yet – they allow it to limp on, hardly breathing now it is cruel to do that to a cur, let alone a country.

    The EU = Stupidity married to grandiloquent design – Nick Clegg advocates it too – there’s only one word to describe Federal-EU-philia and that’s insanity.

  49. Max Dunbar
    April 5, 2014

    Why do we bother listening Clegg’s boring and predictable speeches? He is a dead man walking as has been shown by his Party’s performance as it slithers around at the bottom of the by-election tank with the bottom feeders.

  50. petermartin2001
    April 5, 2014

    It’s such a pity that the Labour Party has shifted so much from what it was. Whether you agreed with it or not, it was at one time a party of principle and understood very well the value of Westminster democracy and how sovereignty shouldn’t just be signed away for the sake of a short term trade benefit . At least that was true of most of the party. No longer though.

    Labour voters are still the same. There’s plenty of support for coming out of the EU. They won’t want to vote UKIP and they won’t want to vote Tory, but they might if you don’t scare them off with a right wing manifesto.

    1. Max Dunbar
      April 5, 2014

      Mention immigration to Labour voters and more often than not you will get a ‘far right’ response. Remember the ‘Brown’ episode on the campaign circuit shortly before the last general election?
      They will vote UKIP but not Tory.

  51. Lindsay McDougall
    April 5, 2014

    What next for TV debates? Among the leaders, I think it should be Cameron vs Farage followed by Cameron vs Miliband. That should suffice.

  52. Alan Wheatley
    April 5, 2014


  53. Alan Wheatley
    April 5, 2014

    A big problem with a debate as we had with Farage/Clegg, and others of the same format, is that the audience can be left more confused than before it started. Clegg repeatedly encouraged us to judge the issues on the facts, and then spouted dodgy facts. It is difficult for an opponent to counter “facts”; spouting different facts leaves the audience confused, and the rules of the debate do not permit close scrutiny of what is said as the Chairman wants to move on to the next topic.

    I have a suggestion.

    The debate host should broadcast a follow-up programme about a week later in which they reprise the facts as claimed by the combatants and contrast them against expert analysis: “experts” may not agree, of course, but never the less this can be explained and the audience can then form a better judgment of the claims made as to the facts of the matter.

    I would hope that knowing the facts the debaters choose to present will be scrutinised in a follow-up programme of equal prominence and publicity will mean the facts really do stand up. Well, we can live in hope, can’t we!

  54. Paul Cohen
    April 5, 2014

    What has happened to the Fresh Start Project in 2011 advocated by Andrea Leadsom and others? This initiative was supported by the Conservative Party at the time and seems to have got buried after the Coalition was formed.

    An informative read is “Au Revoir Europe” by David Charter.

    Reply It continues. They have drawn up a long list of things we do not like about the EU.

    1. Denis Cooper
      April 5, 2014

      It’s a sham “project” to string along Tory party members and supporters.

  55. Qubus
    April 5, 2014

    I found Clegg, rude, bombastic, patronising and wrong. I think that he must have gone down in every thinking person’s opinion. I just don’t understand why all these pro-EU politicians get away with the comment that we shall lose 3 million jobs if we leave the EU.
    However, I think that all is nevertheless lost, because the general public are so stupid that they will be scared by the comment and the nett effect, if ever we get round to having a referendum, is that they will vote to stay in. I suspect that even thinking people believe that it has all gone too far for us to get out.

  56. Denis Cooper
    April 5, 2014

    Incidentally, this from yesterday is an interesting article:


    “Secret EU lawmaking: the triumph of the trialogue”

    “Search for any mention of trialogues in the EU treaties and you will draw a blank.

    This is because despite being an accepted part of the lawmaking landscape, in legal terms trialogues don’t exist.

    All trialogue meetings are informal and the timing of the meetings are not known to most MEPs, let alone the ordinary public. There are no formal minutes taken. Some are over within a few minutes. Others can go on all day and well into the night.”

    “The formal structure for breaking the impasse between the institutions mentioned in the treaties is the conciliation committee.

    The conciliation committee, which also features MEPs together with European Commission and EU Council officials, but which is chaired by one of the parliament’s vice-presidents, kicks in at the final stage of the lawmaking process – the third reading.

    But in the post-Lisbon treaty era, in which lawmakers are actively encouraged to go faster in agreeing legislation, the conciliation process has been almost eliminated in recent years. In the 1999-2004 parliament, 89 of the 403 pieces of EU law were completed after conciliation. In the first half of the current parliament term, the figure was down to a mere 4 percent.

    Around 80 percent of EU laws are now agreed at first reading, with research by the parliament estimating that the average law agreed at first reading takes 14.4 months from start to finish.

    The trialogue process, which starts as soon as the institutions agree an initial position on a law, is designed to speed the process up.

    Set up to broker agreements between MEPs and ministers, the number of trialogue attendees varies from file to file but the format remains the same. As a rule the rapporteur, shadow rapporteurs from other political groups and committee chair, comprise the Parliament’s negotiating team on a law.

    Meanwhile, at other seats around the table are officials from the European Commission and either the minister or senior civil servants from the country holding the EU Council presidency.”

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