Catalonia, Crimea and Scotland

 

The Spanish Parliament with the support of the EU has decided that Catalonia will not get a legal referendum on whether to stay in the Spanish state or become independent. The Crimea has just had a referendum which the EU condemns as illegal, and the Ukrainian state with the support of the EU failed to offer Crimea a legal one. The Crimea has left the Ukrainian union regardless, with the help of the Russian army. The EU is right that this was not done legally or by agreement, but maybe wrong to imply a majority of the Crimean population would have voted NO to the move in any legal referendum.  Maybe Catalonia will now hold its own referendum, creating a clash between the Catalan and Spanish governments.

Scotland has been given a legal referendum on whether to stay in the UK or not. The EU does not seem to approve of that process very much, threatening Scotland if she dared to vote to be independent. All this implies the EU does not believe in the democratic self determination of people. They need to change their mind and be more accommodating, as do the European states who wrongly seek to block the free expression of opinion about identity within their current territories.

There is a paradox about the EU’s approach. In the earlier days of its long journey to superstatedom the EU seemed to encourage regional government and regional identities. It saw this movement as a way of weakening the member states from below, and claiming greater affinity to the people of the EU by identifying the EU more with the regional interests. As the EU has grown in power and taken more control over the member states, its enthusiasm for regional identity has waned where  it looks like becoming a movement for new smaller independent states.

I believe in the democratic self determination of people. I am glad we are about to see what Scotland really wants. We should then accept the verdict and get on with implementing the consequences either way. Allowing a vote when there is a serious question to answer is an important part of democracy which the EU seeks to stifle. Continuous referenda on the same subject until  one side gets its way, having lost in the past, is not such a good idea. Indeed, when the EU is forced into referenda that is their style: to keep on voting until they get the answer they want.

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136 Comments

  1. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    “They need to change their mind and be more accommodating”

    No. They are not English! The Germans have a totally different history to us – half Prussian, half Bavarian. The French look back to Napoleon and Louis XIV. The Poles and Germans are the historic bringers of civilisation to the badlands of the East. The Spanish are the heirs of the Roman emperors. And they are all proud of their forebears too – just as we are.

    It is us English who have to change if we are to stay in the EU. We have to abandon our Common Law. We have to accept a Germanic Second Reich Parliament. We have to accept a Commission which is based on the Continental Socialism of Monnet. We have to accept the fact that government ought to be done by professionals and that power rests on their expertise, not on our own preferences.

    Get used to it.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      I’ll never get used to it Mike! And that is why I am not going to vote for any party that has brought us to this, or acquiesces to it and tells us it is a good thing. There is something else at work here, something corrupt and unseen. There has to be for any politician who is in favour of the EU to renounce their democratic principles, and I do so hate subterfuge and conmen.

      Tad

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        Tad,
        Well said. I should think that the majority of contributors to this site agree with you.

        • Hope
          Posted April 12, 2014 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

          The fairy god mother is not going to grant JR his wish. The only realistic prospect of change is UKIP. People must vote with their feet and conscience, Cameron was given the benefit of the doubt against Brown. He has failed in every regard along with his incompetent friend Osborne.

          I seem to recollect reading it was Letwin who created the idea of the poll tax which saw the Tory vote decimated in Scotland. Major, Clarke and Heseltine European fanatics, yet Cameron has them around in Cabinet and as advisors. Who in the Tory party really believes a word Cameron says on Europe? It is fantasy, pure fantasy.

    • uanime5
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      We have to abandon our Common Law.

      Care to name the EU treaty/regulation/directive that requires this. If you can’t then it’s clear that we don’t have to abandon common law.

      We have to accept a Commission which is based on the Continental Socialism of Monnet.

      Why exactly would a Commission made up of members from each EU state be still continue to use the “Continental Socialism of Monnet”? I suspect you don’t have any evidence to back up this claim.

      • Hope
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        The EU arrest warrant bypasses the UK law as citizens can be arrested for offences that do not exist here and be treated under legal systems which are alien to our own. It bypasses our laws, including common laws, so that citizens of this country can be held without any of the rights afforded to them here. That seemed to escape the treacherous mind of Clegg during his TV debte claims. What sort of right would a person have if an arrest warrant was instigated in Hungary for the arrest of a UK citizen? Look at the people who could instigate such a warrant then you realise what utter rubbish you write.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    It is not so much a paradox as the pursuit of raw power. They will encourage localism, (and indeed even nearly dead local languages) only where it helps to weaken the large unit. They will buy politicians with high wages, special tax laws, expenses, “jobs” and pensions, they will do anything at at all to draw more power from voters an give it to undemocratic bureaucrats. Anything which destroys national identity on a larger scale such as the UK or England is most welcome up to a point.

    This is attacked by mass movement of people, control of banking, endless silly regulations/fines, CAP, Control of fishing, energy the carbon tax and any other methods they can think of.

    It is not the localism they wish to encourage so much as the weakness of the larger unit. It is not intended to go as far as independence just to weaken the larger part. To then divide into subservient regions too small to break away alone.

    The charge is fronted by superficially “nice” people, Shirley Williams, Chris Huhne, Ed Davey & Nick Clegg types with their pro EU, quack greenery & ever larger state lefty beliefs, useful idiots for the cause perhaps.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    • zorro
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      It’s a very Roman tradition though……. ‘Divide et impera’

      zorro

    • Edward2
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      A quite brilliant post LL, which I fully agree with.

    • Excalibur
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      Shrewdly analyzed, Lifelogic. However, you forget the more important issues like the retirement of Bruce Forsyth, the Oscar Pistorious trial and the Geldof family’s travails.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Indeed all vital issue that demand at least 90% of the BBC news output time!

  3. Mark B
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    I do not agree with your view that the EU is somehow threatening Scotland. If they were, it would more than likely have the reverse effect. What I believe the EU is doing, is making its position on this matter perfectly clear. The SNP want to be part of the EU. The EU have said something like;

    “Yes, that’s all very well but, will only look upon you as a new member and apply the same terms and conditions to you as we would with anyone else. And no special treatment or favours will be granted.”

    As for Spain and Catalonia, well, this could turnout to be quite nasty. The Catalan’s are a distinct people. They have different language and culture. They still retain much of history and heritage. Spain, like the EU, would struggle to keep together if Catalonia left. The Basque region would almost certainly want to follow, I think. So there is rather more at stake than just our little Union.

    Its seems, despite the best efforts of the EU to foister a common European identity, they have in fact opened a Pandora’s box of nationalism .

    As for Ukraine ? Could this be the next Yugoslavia ? If so, how many Ukrainian refugees will we be expecting to take ?

    • John E
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      I think their problem is that Catalonia is moving before the EU is ready. Once there is an EU defence force in place with a common foreign policy to go with the common currency, then they will be happier to see the nation states break up into regions. After all what will then be the purpose of the nation state? As others have said that appears the ultimate goal – it’s just that some regions are getting ahead of the game.

      This is tied up with austerity – Catalonia is approx. 25% of the Spanish economy with 15% of the people and fed up paying out to the rest.

    • Jagman 84
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      All of them. Irrespective of wether we want them or not. Why any different than before. We are turning into the “Johnny English” scenario with the UK turned into a (home for ed) Europes’ unwanted.

  4. Old Albion
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    “I believe in the democratic self determination of people”

    When do you expect this to be extended to the English?

    • Bryan
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Hear hear!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      When the government thinks they will vote the way they want them to – so probably never or only when (due to uncontrolled immigration) the then population would vote the right way.

  5. Dee
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    I thought you DIDN’T believe in the democratic self determination of people when those people are the people of England who want the same rights as their neighbours in the UK? That is, the right to elect our own government to our own Parliament.
    You definitely don’t believe in an equal democratic process for England in the UK. Or have you changed your mind and now realise the unfairness of it all is just … well, unfair?

    Reply I have always wanted the same approach for all parts of the UK – English votes for English issues, Scottish votes for Scottish issues etc.

    • JoolsB
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      John,

      English votes for English laws is a sop and an absolute insult.

      Compare that to Scottish votes for Scottish laws by Scottish Members of Parliament in a dedicated Scottish Parliament where the interests of Scotland alone are paramount. Likewise Wales & NI. Bizarrely the UK MPs squatting in Scottish and Welsh seats at Westminster have very few votes for Scottish and Welsh laws. EVEL will not deliver parity to England, only an English Parliament the same as Scotland, Wales & NI already enjoy will do that.

      • John
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        Well said Jools. The stench from Westminster on the English question is overwhelming. Only an English parliament will put our consideration first. Back room deals will always crush English democracy in the British State.

    • The PrangWizard
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      I take your reply to mean Mr Redwood, that you are therefore opposed to the Scottish Parliament, as you think EVEL will do for the English without a parliament. There can be only such an interpretation surely, the alternative is simply hypocrisy. Are you prepared to make your position crystal clear? It is very important that you do.

      Unless you can declare otherwise I must take it you will never accept that the English are entitled to a parliament of our own and will never agree to one. Thus you deny the very thing in which you claim to believe – self determination of peoples.

      You believe it is legitimate to oppose the UK being ‘ruled by the EU in Brussels’. Well, I object to England being ‘ruled by the UK in Westminster’.

      Reply I think if the Union of the UK stands then devolved powers should be exercised by dual mandate MPs in each part of the UK. I have always said devolution to other Parliaments is likely to lead to the break up of the UK. I now say we want a way to govern England in the devolved areas without Scottish votes.

    • JoolsB
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply;

      John, if you really believe in English votes for English laws, does that mean you will be more verbal about it from now on? It’s funny but as someone who regularly watches BBC Parliament and never misses PMQs, I don’t remember you or any of your colleagues in English seats raising the subject let alone demanding an end to the undemocratic and insulting practice of 117 Scottish, Welsh & NI MPs voting on matters which affect your constituents whilst having no impact on those they are supposed to represent.

  6. Timaction
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Indeed. The EU has morphed into an undemocratic dictatorship where the Commission imposes 70% of our laws. The MEPs merely ratify their power grab.
    Westminster and the legacy parties only exist to place a false veneer of democracy.
    The indigenous population are ignored and fed false promises of something in the future that never arrives.
    We must act to remove those who want to imprison us and impose mass migration upon us. As an older Russian said recently” I have lived your future”!

    • uanime5
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      The EU has morphed into an undemocratic dictatorship where the Commission imposes 70% of our laws.

      1) We elect MEPs so it’s no undemocratic.

      2) The Commission can’t pass any bill without the support of MEPs.

      3) 9% of the UK’s laws come from the EU, not 70%.

      The indigenous population are ignored and fed false promises of something in the future that never arrives.

      Are you talking about the EU or Westminster?

      We must act to remove those who want to imprison us and impose mass migration upon us. As an older Russian said recently” I have lived your future”!

      Care to explain why so many Eastern European countries want to join the EU. Could it be because it’s nothing like the Soviet Union.

      • Timaction
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        unime5 wrong as always.
        MEP’s are elected but they do NOT create any laws. They merely vote them through their parliament at the behest of their unelected dictators, known as the Commission. It is therefore by any standard a veneer of democracy.
        Mr Clegg was called a liar on national television by Mr Farage as the records he quoted were disingenuous and the Governments own calculations in the same paper estimated 50% but EU and Germany calculates all legislation created at between 75-80% from the EU.
        The reason the Eastern States want to join is OUR money unime5. Taxed and borrowed from us to give away in building foreign roads, infrastructure and subsidised farms and fisheries. Go take a look at our tax pounds building infrastructure all around Poland and elsewhere via the structural funds of the EU. Nice pictures of the EUSSR flags at each project.
        The EU is all about political integration by stealth against the wishes of the indigenous population and it becomes more obvious to the “sheeple” each day.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        “3) 9% of the UK’s laws come from the EU, not 70%.”

        Are you sure you want to use the 9% lie rather than Clegg’s 7% lie?

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        ‘Care to explain why so many Eastern European countries want to join the EU. Could it be because it’s nothing like the Soviet Union.’

        Mikhail Gorbachev would give you an argument! You must surely be familiar with his famous quote:

        “The most puzzling development in politics during the last decade is the apparent determination of Western European leaders to re-create the Soviet Union in Western Europe.”

        But then denial of the truth always was your forte wasn’t it Uni.

  7. Alan
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    As a supporter of the EU I should be seizing on the contradiction in Mr Redwood’s last sentence – we have already had a referendum on the EU and therefore having another one is not, in Mr Redwood’s words, a good idea.

    But actually I think the error in his argument lies in his statement that referenda are an important part of democracy. That may be true in some peoples’ minds but in reality referenda are a method of the people endorsing their governments’ policies. That is why countries which vote against, say, a treaty change are usually asked (by their own governments, not the EU) to vote again: the government is saying, you can’t be serious, we understand you want to protest, but really we have to do this, and the people usually agree in the end.

    If the UK votes to leave the EU expect the same process. People like me will argue that the question needs to be re-examined: I don’t know what detailed arguments we will use, and it won’t matter, because the government is almost bound to be saying “you can’t be serious; think again”. Within a few years we will have another referendum, probably reversing the “decision” made in the previous one. Then the Eurosceptics will demand another referendum, whilst we Europhiles will argue that it is totally unnecessary – the people have spoken, etc., etc.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world, indeed the rest of the EU, will move on.

    I expect that leaving the EU would not be a short easy process, it would be a long drawn out painful one. Joining it (we have only half joined so far) is also not short and easy, it is taking a long time and proving painful. There is no easy answer here.

    Reply We had a referendum about belonging to a “Common market” not about belonging to the now emerging EU superstate. It was 40 years ago.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      “we have already had a referendum on the EU”

      That is not true, as you must know.

      In 1975 we had a referendum on whether stay in the EEC with eight neighbouring countries. Now we are in the EU with twenty-seven other countries, some of them not near neighbours but on the far side of Europe, and we have never had a single referendum either on any of the radical changes to the arrangement to which the British people had consented in 1975 or on the extension of that arrangement to nineteen more countries.

      This is why I argue that our government and Parliament would not be under any moral obligation to hold a referendum before withdrawing us from the EU; if we had directly approved the present position in a succession of referendums then there would be a strong moral argument that we should be asked directly whether we now wanted to reverse those previous decisions; but as we were never directly asked about any of the massive changes since 1975 there is no moral reason why we should be asked directly whether we now want to reverse the lot, as far as I’m concerned the government and Parliament could just do it.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt – FUD !!!

      Classic Europhile. Nothing new, nothing original.

      “That is why countries which vote against, say, a treaty change are usually asked (by their own governments, not the EU) to vote again: the government is saying, you can’t be serious, we understand you want to protest, but really we have to do this, and the people usually agree in the end.”

      The people do not ask the question, it’s the Government that does. They hold referendums, because they are constitutionally obliged and the Government would be acting illegally.

      The EU do not ask for referendums, but they have to comply with the constitutional constraints of various member states. If, like here in the UK, there is no written constitution, then the Government can do what it likes. A referendum in this country was only offered by, Wilson, as a lure to the electorate. It was sold to the people as a Common Market or a trade arrangement. Of course they should have read the Treaty of Rome, but few wanted to purchase a copy much less read it and absorb its contents.

      I have always wondered why some people seem to think that MP’s, many of which do not know their own briefs, seem to know more about the EU than the people that elect them. There have been many famous examples of MP’s not doing their jobs – former New Labour Europe Minister, Caroline Flint MP, I am thinking of you !!

      How one leave the EU is subject to debate. Article 50 has to be issued and that gives a 2 year period for exit. In truth, it may take a little longer than that, but if we go down the Flexit route (see EUReferendum), this can be achievable with little impact. An EFTA/EEA agreement would suit very well to begin with and would till maintain good trading relations with the rest of the EU.

      The EU is a political project and, we can only discuss it in those terms in order to have a full and fair debate. Economics is important, but secondary.

      The people of these islands, trusted the Conservative Government of the day, an believed that their would be no loss of Sovereignty. This, as has been shown from release Whitehall papers, is untrue.

      I wish the laws that I and my fellows wish to live by, be made by OUR elected representatives, and NOT from a Supranational Government.

      Thank you.

      Reply The EU has encouraged other countries like Ireland to re run referenda where they dislike the original result

      • Mark B
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        ” . . . obliged and the Government would be acting illegally if it did not..

      • uanime5
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

        An EFTA/EEA agreement would suit very well to begin with and would till maintain good trading relations with the rest of the EU.

        An EFTA/EEA agreement would require that the UK obeyed almost all EU laws, yet we’d have no influence over these laws.

        I wish the laws that I and my fellows wish to live by, be made by OUR elected representatives, and NOT from a Supranational Government.

        Something you won’t get with an EFTA/EEA agreement.

        Reply The EU has encouraged other countries like Ireland to re run referenda where they dislike the original result

        You seem to have ignored that the EU was rewriting this treaty to make it more acceptable to the Irish. However when the Irish needed a bailout, something covered by the treaty the Irish had rejected, there was less incentive to rewrite the treaty.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 13, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

          Wrong, wrong, wrong.

          You just make it all up, don’t you?

  8. alan jutson
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    The simple fact of the matter is that the Eu is now far too large, with far too many nations in it , with far too many nations run in different ways, with far too many National traits.

    Thus the solution is to allow, indeed encourage free movement of people in order to dilute those National traits (multiculturalism), so that all Nations become less different over time, and at the same time deny real democracy to any Nation who wishes to go their own way withdrawal of the power of veto’s.

    The simple fact is until all Nations follow exactly the same rules for everything that includes, regulations, laws, taxes, benefits, currency, working and pension arrangements, and have a European Army, Navy and Airforce they will never be satisfied.

    Knowing that few Nations would agree to such at the outset, it continues to capture that power by stealth, a little at a time, in the hope that in the fullness of time the power of each Nation will be so eroded, that they will eventually agree that since they have lost their own independent power and the ability to make their own laws, they will simply just agree to be rules by the so called elite.

    Its the old trick of slowly, slowly, catchy monkey.

    Most of our and other Nations Mp’s are blind to this plot because the Eu spends huge amounts on propaganda, and by bribing them with our own money.
    Most Mp’s see no problem with this as they themselves have been doing exactly the same within their own individual Nations.

    As for them running a balanced Budget or economy, forget it, they think you can always borrow or print to pay for them to tell you what to do.

    It will eventually end in tears as the people wake up to see what is being done in their name, with their money.

    • uanime5
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      at the same time deny real democracy to any Nation who wishes to go their own way withdrawal of the power of veto’s.

      Well if countries can veto any law they dislike the only way anything will be passed is if there’s consensus among all 28 members. Congress in the USA shows just why allowing vetoes results in a minority hindering democracy.

      Most of our and other Nations Mp’s are blind to this plot because the Eu spends huge amounts on propaganda

      So the reason most MPs don’t support your position isn’t the lack of evidence but due to some conspiracy.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        Only countries who pay in to the EU should have a veto Uni.

        It isn’t democratic to have the majority of nations who do not pay in, voting for things just a few nations are then forced to pay for.

  9. Andyvan
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    The people of the Crimea voted overwhelmingly to become part of Russia in a referendum organised by their elected representatives. They did so because the legal Ukrainian government was overthrown by Nazi’s and criminals backed by Washington who then get immediate recognition from the EU and US as a “legal” government.
    Exactly how is the EU correct in saying that the referendum was not legal?
    Legality and democracy only seem important when it suits the purpose of western governments who care nothing for the tax slaves they seek to exploit.
    There is not a single government in the western world that could hope to get a fraction of the support that returning to the Russian Federation got in the Crimea. Our current gang is governing (when they’re not fiddling expenses and sexually harassing someone) on the basis of no majority at all. Any politician or government that seeks to invoke legality, morality or democracy in their attempts to start wars or dominate people are so hypocritical it would be funny if it were not so tragic.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Good points Andy, the people of Crimea have had things like pensions raised to Russian levels and have subsidised energy prices. The people of Ukraine are having their living standards cut, and will be subjected to all manner of draconian impositions by the IMF in order to get their bailouts. No wonder the Russian speaking people of Ukraine want no part of it. They want prosperity, not to become another basket case like Greece. They’ll soon see that the good old EU and USA doesn’t work in their interest. This was a western-backed coup, and one that is sure to back-fire as it will only deliver the misery that it has delivered elsewhere. Let’s just hope it doesn’t trigger a bigger conflict in the process, and the yanks are just itching to have another go somewhere.

      Tad

    • uanime5
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      The people of the Crimea voted overwhelmingly to become part of Russia in a referendum organised by their elected representatives.

      While thousands of Russian soldiers were in the country and the opposition boycotted this referendum because they considered it illegitimate.

      They did so because the legal Ukrainian government was overthrown by Nazi’s and criminals backed by Washington who then get immediate recognition from the EU and US as a “legal” government.

      The president was impeached by the parliament and this parliament appointed a new interim president. The leaders of the protesters didn’t for a new government, which is why this government was considered legal.

      Exactly how is the EU correct in saying that the referendum was not legal?

      It wasn’t approved of the by Ukrainian government or parliament, and was held while thousands of Russian soldiers were occupying Crimea.

      There is not a single government in the western world that could hope to get a fraction of the support that returning to the Russian Federation got in the Crimea.

      Well that’s because most western government don’t send thousands of soldiers onto the streets to ensure people vote for them.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        “The president was impeached by the parliament and this parliament appointed a new interim president.”

        You should take the trouble to check out the constitution of Ukraine, and in particular the provisions about the impeachment of a president and the appointment of an interim replacement president and what powers he can then exercise. Or, if you can’t be bothered to do that for yourself, then you can take my word for it that the present government in Kiev has not been formed in accordance with the constitution of Ukraine and is therefore a revolutionary government.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        Those troops on the ground did an amazing job Uni in managing to ensure an 85% turnout and a 95% vote in favour of being a part of Russia.
        Care to explain how they did this feat?
        Peer reviwed evidence only, if you would be so kind.

      • Mark B
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        Many of the Troops that were there, were part of the what was already there under agreement. The Russian’s also could increase the numbers if they so wish, and they did when the President was overthrown.

        The Parliament impeached the President, because they were under pressure from Left-Wing Nazi’s supported by the EU.

        Where did you think they got all those EU flags from ?

  10. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    One senses that the EU tries to ‘grind em down’ . With the growth of power and considering that as J R comments we are “being sucked in” , how much worse might the situation become should we fully integrate. Personally ,I am not convinced that referenda truly represent majority views anyway and due to past experience, in many matters of justice, am sceptical of methods of collecting opinions for a consensus.

  11. Richard1
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    In the case of Scotland all sides must accept the decision of the Scottish people. If they go independent there will be hard headed but hopefully friendly negotiations. If they decide to stay the nationalists must accept the decision – Scotland will be as much a part of the UK as any part of England. There must be no second referendum, at least for a century or two.

    • Monty
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      “If they decide to stay the nationalists must accept the decision – Scotland will be as much a part of the UK as any part of England.”

      They will never accept the verdict until they get the verdict they want. So we will be dragged through this corrosive cycle again and again until they finally leave. Better it were done sooner than later.

      • Richard1
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

        Not sure about that. Look at Quebec or the Australian Republicans. If the Scottish nationalists lose now they should be finished.

  12. oldtimer
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    This is yet more evidence that the EUrocracy is, at heart, an undemocratic institution. It is power hungry and power obsessed and will not tolerate opposition to the accretion of power by others. Its aim is the destruction of the nation state in Europe and their replacement by the self selected, self appointed and extremely well-remunerated EUrocracy. Clegg is but one prominent member of this “elite”.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      I agree wholeheartedly OT, but it isn’t just Clegg and his Lib Dems, every Westminster party has got them. I have no time for Clegg, but at least he pins his colours to the mast and we can see what a buffoon he is. The thing that irks me the most, is that some of them, like the Conservative Party’s William Hague, will tell us they are Eurosceptic, when they are no such thing!

      Every time we hear a politician describe themselves as ‘Eurosceptic’, we need to dig into their background and check their voting record. My idea of a Eurosceptic politician, is one that has seen how undemocratic and authoritarian the EU is, realises that it is a shambles that has only ever delivered misery and unemployment, and wants out of it altogether.

      It goes without saying therefore, that I don’t buy into David Cameron’s idea of re-negotiation. What we have seen from him thus far, doesn’t go anywhere near far enough. There’s only one effective solution to this, and that is for Britain to get out of it altogether. Anything else is just a fudge.

      Tad

  13. stred
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    An objection of the EU to the Crimean referendum was that it only offered joining the Russian Federation or a regional government within Ukraine. There was no option to scrap the regional government and just be part of Ukraine. Perhaps the EU could pay for this option to be offered in a second referendum, as they often go for this option if the result is not to their liking. They may get a few percent.

  14. Ray Veysey
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Once again Mr Redwood joins the brigade of politicians and public figures who are satisfied with standing back and pointing at the unrolling disaster that is the EU and refusing to support the only party that can, and will do something about it. His continued support for the vapour thin promise of a referendum from a man who probably won’t get re-elected and will campaign against an EU exit anyway is pitiful.

    Reply The only party that can let us get us out of the EU is the Conservative party, as only that party is offering an In/Out referendum which it can deliver if its wins the next election. The party you favour has never won a single seat in the Commons, yet we need 326 MPs to vote for a referendum.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      So what argument will you use when the Conservatives do NOT get a majority at the next election in 13 months time? That we wait yet another 5 years for yet another false dawn?
      Sometimes the salt cellar has to be shaken to unblock the holes. Some of your contributors realised that before the election in 2009. Most of your contributors now agree with that position. Will you be the last contributor to your own website to realise that?

      Reply “Shaking the salt cellar” prior to 2009 was one of the factors that stopped a Conservative majority. I do not make public plans based on a bad outcome of the 2015 election for Eurosceptics – I work to achieve a good outcome. We need a majority of Eurosceptics in the Commons after May 2015 to do what needs doing. The only way I can see of doing that is to back the Conservatives. No poll shows any break through in Commons seats for UKIP, but some polls do show UKIP gifting the election to Labour who will not offer a referendum. How does that help?

      • Ray Veysey
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        EU if you do, EU if you don’t ! there was a time when labour and the SDP had no MP’s either, change has to start somewhere and change we must have, either help to change or cling desperately to the hope that your world will stay the same. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made, what keeps you clinging to the remnants of a conservative party that has clearly left you behind?

        Reply The chance of winning, as I have done with others on keeping us out of the Euro and now the promise of a referendum. I did resign from a Cabinet job to help save the pound, so I do not need lessons in sacrifice.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply:

        No-one seems to be mentioning QMV these days. How might that affect Mr Cameron’s proposals to re-negotiate our terms of membership?

        Tad

        Reply It has no impact, as a renegotiation is by definition a unanimity measure. Unless all other member states agree to the substantial changes the UK needs, they will not happen and we will vote to exit.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 12, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

          Well if we are clearly going to vote to exit then the sooner the better.

          Just the rating traitors Cameron, Clegg and half the Tory party, the Libdems and nearly all the Labour Party standing in the way.

        • Hope
          Posted April 12, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

          A pipe dream. Cameron has stated quite clearly he will never lead the UK out of the EU.

          • sjb
            Posted April 13, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

            But if Scotland votes ‘Yes’ do you think Cameron will survive as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party?

      • JoolsB
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply:

        ” but some polls do show UKIP gifting the election to Labour who will not offer a referendum”

        No Mr. Redwood, the party calling themselves Conservative but under Cameron’s stewardship are proving to be anything but, are doing that all by themselves.

      • APL
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        ““Shaking the salt cellar” prior to 2009 was one of the factors that stopped a Conservative majority. ”

        Ok, this is getting boring.

        That may have been one reason.

        But other reasons in no particular order;

        The Tory party is riddled with EUrophilliacs including your leader.

        The Tory party has come to be recognised as stuffed with career professionals who are in it for the money rather than the country.

        The Tory party has broken too many promises, too many times.

        The Tory party has brought forward irrelevant legislation or the wrong legislation to address a problem only about one half of one percent of the population gives a damn about.

        On the one hand the Tory party claims to want to cut the deficit, on the other hand it proposes to spend money on stupid projects like HS2.

        The Tory party wants to increase overseas aid to countries like India that have said they don’t want the aid, nor need it.

        The Tory party has got us into a bombing campaign in Libya and left behind a country that is nothing more than a collection of feuding mussleman fiefdoms.

        The Tory party refuses to address the problem of immigration and its impact on the UK infrastructure.

        The membership of the Tory party is falling like a stone.

        Nearly nobody, wants your party. Which to be fair could be said equally of the Labour and Lib Dumbs too.

        Reply Most of the things you complain about happened after 2009 so were not factors in the 2010 election.

        • APL
          Posted April 14, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

          JR: “Most of the things you complain about happened after 2009 so were not factors in the 2010 election.”

          But they will be in future.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Comment on Reply–Dear John, I hate it when you dissemble. You know full well that the history of the Party favoured is irrelevant given that it is so new. You also know that said Party is going to do exceptionally well next month and with any kind of luck – perhaps a by-election soon after – all bets are off. This business of no MP’s: are you saying that the present Party structure (against all history) should be preserved in aspic; and how confident are you that there won’t be a few favoured-Party MP’s next chance, which is all that matters? Not very, I’ll wager.

      Reply I do not dissemble. I agonise over how to get a referendum for the UK on the EU and how to win it for Out/a new relationship based on trade. I have now with colleagues got to the point where one of the major parties which can win a General election now backs an In/Out referendum and will grant it if elected. I do not welcome “help” which threatens to destroy what we have achieved, by trying to gift the election to federalist pro EU Labour. Eurosceptics have to unite to win, as I have often pointed out. If we don’t we stand a good chance of losing, despite having a majority of the country on our side.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply:

        If UKIP do well in the May elections, might that not indicate the mood of the people, persuade the Tories to change tack, and kick out the pro-EU federalists (which seems to include your leader and most of the cabinet)?

        I do so doubt it!

        Had Cameron been truly Eurosceptic before the last election in 2010, he would not now be sharing power with anyone, and we could already be out of the EU. Had the Tory party been Eurosceptic back in 1990, they wouldn’t have embarked upon the spectacular slide from popularity, to unpopularity, and there would be no need for UKIP. Surely, this is telling us something.

        But alas, UKIP are doing the work of Labour, the Lib Dems, and the Tories, and giving voice to millions of disaffected, disenfranchised people who are not presently being catered for. And should we really be expected to accept the word of a man like Cameron to deliver on his promise, when he has already declared that he believes in the EU and in the event of a referendum, would campaign to stay in?

        I know, let’s vote for a burglar who promises to put back all our goods and property – if he gets caught.

        Tad

        • Aunty Estab
          Posted April 12, 2014 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

          The EU is not the only reason for voting for UKIP, we need to show these arrogant people who run the three main parties that people have had enough of being ruled by these incompetent , mainly public schoolboys who will not listen to the electorate. Mr Redwood you have stated your reasons for staying with the Conservatives but if they were to get back in we will just get more of the same. People need a genuine alternative to this Liberal elite and if you and like minded MPs were to give a lead you would find out how much Cameron & his cronies are detested.

        • Hope
          Posted April 12, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

          Excellent post. Exactly right. But Cameron can I pose gay marriage on the country without a mandate and he must think he is more important than. Christian an faith to so it. I have nothing but utter disgust for him. No difference between Labou r and Conservative despite all JR’s rhetoric. He is clinging beyond belief to hope that the fairy god mother might come and grant his wish. UKIP is the only choice for us Eurosceptics.

        • Mark B
          Posted April 13, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

          ” I agonise over how to get a referendum for the UK on the EU and how to win it for Out/a new relationship based on trade.”

          Why base it on trade ? Why not base it on Sovereignty and Governance ?

          The trade aspect can be easily dealt with through EFTA / EEA membership.

          Reply A relationship based on trade, not on membership of federal treaties!

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        Reply to Reply–It is your continual knee-jerk and irrelevant reference to UKIP’s entirely understandable lack to date of an MP that grates. OF COURSE they haven’t an MP, yet, but I for one am in the camp that believes the chances are they soon will. I notice you made no prediction on the point. Be sure to take fully on board that Farage is not going to take votes just from the Conservative Party: Labour too are going to get it in the neck in terms of lost votes for their despicable behaviour and recent hard-to-believe announcements on immigration, which they themselves facilitated and encouraged, inter alia causing their supporters to suffer lower wages and higher unemployment.

        Reply I have predicted that UKIP would not win Eastleigh or Wythenshawe, two recent by elections. That proved to be right. I predict UKIP will not win a Commons seat in 2015, just as they won no seats in 2010. I remember predicting Mr Farage would not win in Buckingham even though there were n o Conservative, Labour or Lib Dem candidates. Even I did not expect him to come a poor third, behind a Europhile independent. The issue in 2015 will be can the Conservatives win so we get our referendum, or not. Why is UKIP’s failure to win Buckingham or Eastleigh understandable if you are so sure of them?

        • JoolsB
          Posted April 12, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          John,

          After 13 corrupt and incompetent years under Labour, voters in 2010 didn’t dare vote UKIP for fear of letting Labour back in. In 2015 and after 5 years of Liberal Dave and his equally incompetent inner elite, voters will not dare not vote UKIP for fear of letting the pro-Europe, anti-English Lab/Lib/Cons back in.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted April 12, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

          Reply to Reply–Being right as to who is going to win individual seats is neither here nor there and at the time I would have agreed with you; and my memory is that UKIP did much better than expected, perhaps even by you, which is something in itself in the struggle. Predicting that there will be a (small) number of UKIP MP’s out of 635 (if I’ve got that right) is a different matter entirely, especially as things are changing as we speak and definitely in favour of Farage. I only realised yesterday that Farage has a column in the Express on a Friday these days. More power to him. I doubt the Express’s circulation will suffer. All three of Cameron, Miliband and Clegg seem to be getting it wrong all the time which will help. If UKIP win big next month, anything could happen, especially if a suitable by-election comes along soon after.

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      I fail to understand how anyone can vote for UKIP MEPs who will show their contempt for Europe and the UK by taking their seats and expenses and then fail to look after UK interests in the parliament by not participating.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        Here we go again.

      • Ken Adams
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        That is the reason! Why would you expect an anti EU party to vote for more powers for the EU.

        They are there to represent us, we vote for them because they are anti EU not to sit around and debate the issues the EU wants.

      • Jagman 84
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        Its a Parliament only in name. An MEP cannot raise any legislation, only rubber-stamp what is put in front of them by their puppet masters. No opposition or democracy is permitted or tolerated.

        • uanime5
          Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

          Its a Parliament only in name. An MEP cannot raise any legislation, only rubber-stamp what is put in front of them by their puppet masters. No opposition or democracy is permitted or tolerated.

          In most parliaments MPs can’t raise legislation because they’re part of the legislator. Only the executive can propose legislation.

          Also the MEPs can reject or amend bills, so they’re not just rubber stamping them.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 13, 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink

            “In most parliaments MPs can’t raise legislation because they’re part of the legislator. Only the executive can propose legislation.”

            Utter twaddle.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        behindthefrogs–At a guess, I suspect you are not a member of UKIP; but you obviously have some idea from your mention of contempt for the EU, not “Europe” BTW: the sooner the EU gets that message the better.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        I fail to understand why people who want to leave the EU should be told that they should definitely not to vote for a party which wants us to leave the EU, but instead they should waste their votes on one of the parties which wants to keep us in the EU and actively “participating”, for which may be read “collaborating”, in our legal subjugation within the projected European federation.

      • Mark B
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        The other MEP’s vote from a list they are given by their parties. That’s hardly sticking up for anybody, especially when they do not know who or what they are voting for.

        • uanime5
          Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

          The other MEP’s vote from a list they are given by their parties. That’s hardly sticking up for anybody, especially when they do not know who or what they are voting for.

          The same could be said of MPs who vote for whatever the whips tell them to vote for.

          • Mark B
            Posted April 13, 2014 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

            No, not always ! Many Conservatives worked together to defeat HoL reform. It happens if there is large enough body against. And our MP’s get to see what is coming.

  15. stred
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Part of Catalonia is in France. My house is there and I would be pleased to say goodbye to French taxes and join Catalonia, as would most of the locals.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      lliure de Catalunya !!

      That’s free Catalonia – for the benefit of our kind host.

  16. Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    It should come as no surprise to even a casual observer that “the EU does not believe in the democratic self determination of people.”

    You only have to look at the treatment of the citizens of those few countries who have dared to challenge the omnipotence of the Brussels elite by voting against the Lisbon Treaty. They were all simply told to vote again until they came up with the “right” answer.

    So it is with the Euro and everything else. If you want to join, you have to accept the Euro. Want a different economic policy ? Brussels will impose an unelected technocratic Government on you. Want to even think about leaving ? Forget it !

    There has been much mention of Catalonia lately. Even before a vote has been called, support for independence within Catalonia appears to be a lot stronger than it is in Scotland half way through the campaign.

    Yet contrast the two situations : Spain will not allow a referendum and it would actually be illegal for the Catalan Government to hold one itself. The President of the Generalitat, Artur Mas i Gavarró, has said that he won’t break the law. Instead he intends to try and make their next round of Regional elections a de facto vote on independence.

    Things appear to have gone quiet in Italy but the Northern League is merely biding its time despite recent attempts to resurrect Venice an an independent state.
    Northern Italy has a much stronger case for going its own way because the economic divisions between North and South are so huge with Rome firmly in the impoverished Southern region.

    Attempts by the EU to diminish the role of nation identities will inevitably lead to areas such as Catalonia and Northern Italy wanting to become autonomous regions. The inevitable result being increasingly contrasting areas of poverty and deprivation all over Europe.

    Put simply, in the long run, will it be any more possible to persuade rich and successful regions in Europe to continually subsidise other, poorer regions than it is to persuade the taxpayers of Germany to make huge fiscal transfers to the basket case economies of the Club Med countries.

    I think the answer is going to be no.

    It won’t be too long till North Sea oil runs out and then Scotland will be in the same situation as Southern Italy, or worse : they don’t even have the nice weather !

    If the Scots vote no, and without the oil money coming in, I’m certain that the taxpayers of England will be unwilling to indefinitely bankroll a profligate socialist Scotland.

    That’s one reason why England needs Devomax even more than the SNP.

  17. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    JR: “Indeed, when the EU is forced into referenda that is their style: to keep on voting until they get the answer they want.”
    Quite; so please explain how your much vaunted In/Out referendum will be any different, especially when your leader has told everyone that he is determined to keep the UK in the EU.
    When you write: “All this implies the EU does not believe in the democratic self determination of people” you are telling many of us what has been transparent for years. The EU is anti-democratic and your leader is fully signed up to keeping us imprisoned within it. You must know this and yet you keep up the pretence that anyone wishing to leave the EU must vote Conservative, which is totally disingenuous.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      And the style of the UK government is to refuse to hold referendums and so avoid possibly getting the wrong answer and then needing to hold a repeat referendum to get the right answer. By my reckoning our politicians have deprived us of at least 25 national referendums about the EEC/EC/EU project which by rights we should have had since the single one we had in 1975: that is just on the basis of 6 for the radical changes to the treaties since then, and 19 for whether we wanted the treaties in force to be extended to each of the additional countries. And thanks to the fiercely eurosceptic Hague it is now enshrined in our law that we will never have a referendum on whether we want an additional country to be allowed to join the EU, despite the consequences for our country and its citizens; he has already used that fine print in his “referendum lock” law to prevent us having a referendum on whether we wanted Croatia to be allowed to join, and it would be exactly the same if it was Turkey, or for that matter Ukraine.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        Exactly Denis! They did not have the mandate to give away our powers in the first place. People need to realise just how much our politicians have conned them, and when that happens, expect a real upheaval, just like the storm caused by the expenses scandal.

        Tad

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        Denis,
        Not satisfied with the actions you outlined Hague (another of our host’s so-called Eurosceptics) Hague and the bosses of Iain Mansfield, who won the Brexit prize for his submission of how the UK could leave the EU, have now decided to intimidate and silence him. Multiple press interviews have been cancelled as a result and he has effectively been put on lockdown. As I said in a previous post, the North Koreans must be watching with admiration. Yet our host still swears blind loyalty to those who lead his party! Worse still he expects us to be foolish enough to vote for them.

        Reply I have never called Mr Hague a Eurosceptic.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted April 12, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

          Comment on Reply–Here we go again: a truth that means nothing–Hague is a very Senior Cabinet Member and former Leader of The Conservatives, that well known “Eurosceptic Party”, as I suspect you know.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted April 12, 2014 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          Maybe not, but Hague certainly described himself thus, and that is precisely what we mean when we use the term ‘conmen’. They kid the electorate, get elected, then do everything they can to appease their masters in Brussels. And people are heartedly sick of it to the point of rebellion. If they imitated a police officer that way, they’d be sewing mailbags and eating porridge!

          Tad

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply,
          What is he in relation to Cameron and Clarke? Europhile or Eurofanatic?

          • APL
            Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

            Brian Tomkinson: “Europhile or Eurofanatic?”

            What does it matter, all three of them despise this country and its people.

  18. ian wragg
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    You will be glad of the verdict of what Scotland wants……
    I don’t think the beloved leader will be, he will be offering all manner of goodies to the Jocks which wen (the ENGLISH – remember them?) will have to underwrite.
    The EU only likes regionalisation of ENGLAND (that word again) as they see us as an obstructive force in their march for totalitarianism.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      We fought against that in 1939 Ian, and I expect that when the British people finally wake up to what has happened, the results will be similar.

      Tad

  19. JoolsB
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    It would seem ENGLAND has got a lot in common with Catalonia in that the UK Government with the EU’s bidding will NOT allow ENGLAND to have a referendum on it’s future either. Meanwhile, Scotland, Wales & NI have been given multiple referendums but ENGLAND forget it. Whilst the rest of the UK and western world have been ‘allowed’ their own self determining legislatures, England continues to be ignored by an out of touch self serving bunch of UK politicians, not one of whom will even say the word ENGLAND let alone demand a fairer deal for it. 500 plus spineless MPs squatting in English seats who can’t even bring themselves to utter any words of protest at 117 unelected and unaccountable Celtic MPs making decisions for their English constituents which don’t affect their own.

    ” All this implies the EU does not believe in the democratic self determination of people.”

    Could say the same thing about the UK Government. UK politicians should STOP lecturing the rest of the world on these matters until they get their own house in order and that means addressing the ENGLISH QUESTION instead of ignoring it as they do now.

    The Tories have done absolutely nothing to address the second or even third class treatment of their English constituents despite owing their very existence to them. BIG MISTAKE. Thanks to their utter contempt for England, England will probably find itself being governed by yet another anti-English Labour Government in 2015 whether she votes for them or not who with the aid of their Scottish & Welsh MPs will stop at nothing until they have completed the EU’s bidding in balkanising England into nine regions and the supine Tories will have stood by and done absolutely nothing to stop them.

    The whole lot of them deserve our contempt.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Fourth class when the Northern Ireland Assembly is operational.

      Scots, a devolved parliament.

      Welsh, a devolved assembly, could be renamed as a parliament.

      Northern Irish, a devolved assembly, its bicameral predecessor from 1921 to 1972 was actually called the Parliament of Northern Ireland.

      English, no elected assembly for England to exercise devolved powers – apparently the English don’t deserve one, everyone else does but not the English – and with Westminster MPs from outside England having casting votes on the laws to be imposed on England.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      ‘The whole lot of them deserve our contempt.’ I agree Jools, and with a bit of luck, in the May elections, the three main Westminster parties will see that writ large. I’m voting UKIP.

      Tad

  20. Longinus
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    The irony of smaller regions breaking from member states to preserve their cultural identities which the EU wants to destroy is delicious. Legality only holds the will of the people for so long.

  21. A different Simon
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    John ,

    I’m enjoying your series of articles on devolution and the self determination of people and learning a lot from you thanks .

    Who could have predicted the Crimea situation in the run up to the Scottish referendum .

    What has surprised me the most has been the absence of condemnation of the expansionism of the EU from the left wing press and BBC . Matches their silence on the designed to be abused by the state European arrest warrant .

    The press and BBC have derelicted their duty and shown that the end really does justify the means in their eyes .

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      The European Arrest warrant has noting to do with the EU. If we were not in the EU it would still apply to our citizens as it come from completely different treaties.

      Reply Not so, the EU Arrest Warrant is from the EU

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        “The European Arrest warrant has noting to do with the EU.”

        I can hardly believe that you’ve written that, how can somebody who is such a fervent supporter of the EU be so ignorant about it?

        • Douglas Carter
          Posted April 13, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

          Experience and observation demonstrates that fervent support of the EU is solely achievable by applied ignorance of its nature.

  22. Atlas
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    John,

    The comment by many historians about “those not learning from history are condemned to re-live it” makes me ask whether you consider there has been a previous similar situation from which we could profitably learn? Remember, the EU is an exercise in putting into practice what Aristotle theorised about in his “Republic”.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Well, we could look back to Napoleon’s very nearly successful attempt to establish a pan-European empire and how Pitt reacted to that deadly threat to our national interests. But while Hague has actually written a biography of Pitt he has taken no lessons from him, in fact he has reacted in exactly the opposite way by actively supporting the preservation and strengthening of the eurozone, even dipping into our national treasury to aid that, and doing nothing at all to prevent its expansion until we too are engulfed by it a some later date. You really could not make it up, nobody would believe a story in which the British Foreign Minister was helping to bring about the subjugation of our country to foreigners, would they?

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        And Hague and the FO have been quick to silence the winner of the Brexit prize to find an amicable way for the UK to exit the EU – Absolutely scandalous!

        I really don’t trust them to deliver on their promises, despite the assurances of our host. Hague, Cameron et al are just too bound up with the EU project not to interfere with the process somehow, in order to fudge the issue and deny the rest of us.

        Tad

        • uanime5
          Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

          And Hague and the FO have been quick to silence the winner of the Brexit prize to find an amicable way for the UK to exit the EU – Absolutely scandalous!

          Are you referring to the Brexit plan that involved the UK being able to decide which EU is obeyed and having complete access to the single market? As this plan has no chance of every working it’s no surprise that it’s been criticised.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted April 13, 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink

            You pro-EU lefties make me sick. Take your head out of the sand (or wherever else it might be) and get real! Defending Hague are we now?

      • Timaction
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        They it why the last Government repealed Treason as an offence. It was a deliberate and calculated act as they and the other legacy parties are well aware of what they are doing by stealth. Unfortunately in the age of the internet their goose is cooked even with the mainstream media in their pockets!! Change is on its way no matter what.

  23. James Matthews
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    ” believe in the democratic self determination of people.” Don’t we all, until we start to try to determine who can legitimately claim to be the “people” of which geographical area. That is where the bloodshed starts.

    Scotland seems relatively straightforward, but even here there are issues. Should the inhabitants of the islands ceded to Scotland by Norway be treated as a separate people with a right to self-determination? What about Rockall? Currently treated as legally part of Scotland, but claimed for the United Kingdom, by the United Kingdom. comparatively recently and occupied by no one. In the event of Scottish independence would the rest of us not have some claim to it and its territorial waters?

    Does the re-establishment of the State of Israel, almost two thousand years after the diaspora, trump the rights of those who lived on that land in the intervening period? A Palestinian wide state including the territory of Israel would of course have an Arab majority. For the past six decades the matter has been determined by firepower and no doubt that will continue.

    Closer to home, in the event of Welsh independence, does the English speaking population of Monmouthshire and its previous association with England make it right to give the county a plebiscite as to whether it it is part of England or Wales?

    There are some even more uncomfortable scenarios for this island where the people living in some parts of it might, at some point in the not too distant future, decide that they constitute a separate ethnic and cultural majority with a right to self-determination. As you have censored this possibility in the past I will not elaborate.

    • Martyn G
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      That which you describe is, I think, the ‘aim of the game’ which is to divide and conquer, preferably without those involved realising it until far too late.

  24. APL
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    JR: “There is a paradox about the EU’s approach. In the earlier days of its long journey to superstatedom the EU seemed to encourage regional government and regional identities.”

    No paradox.

    Prior to Lisbon, the EU was still attempting to gain ultimate control from the member states. Post Lisbon it has that power, and now seeks to protect it.

    Thus before Lisbon, referenda were used to undermine the nation state, by multiple referendums until the people were ‘browbeaten’ sufficiently to vote the way the EU wanted.

    After Lisbon. they are now protecting their power, so they actively discourage referenda that might nibble that power away.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      No, I don’t think that’s correct.

      I think the “paradox” has arisen because there are different strands of theoretical thought among the eurofederalists.

      I recall that around 2001 when I was on the mailing list for publications from the EU Committee of the Regions there was an article proposing that the Committee should become the Senate in a federal structure, with the EU Commission as the federal government and the EU Parliament as the first chamber of the federal legislature. I can’t remember where national ministers were supposed to fit into this, perhaps it was projected that they would no longer play any role at all at the EU federal level.

      But when the EU Constitution was drafted those ambitions of some members of the Committee of the Regions were largely ignored and it was still to be only an advisory body, not even classed as an EU institution, and that is still the case now under the EU treaties as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon. It was given more powers, as detailed here:

      http://cor.europa.eu/en/about/interinstitutional/Pages/lisbon-treaty.aspx

      but still only powers to be involved and supply a running commentary, rather than powers to decide anything significant.

      I can only presume that during the Convention on the Future of Europe its ambitions were blocked by national politicians who wanted to preserve the integrity of their national power bases and didn’t want to have their positions weakened by their countries being broken up into EU regions, although of course those EU regions still exist and attempts to break up the EU member states have not ceased and never will cease.

  25. Freeborn John
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I think two criteria have to be satisfied (i) the self-determination of a majority of the people in the break-away region and (ii) the agreement of the state from which the region is breaking away from. (i) without (ii) is irredentism of which Crimea is only the latest example of which the Sudetentland is the best known. Where these two principles cannot be reconciled, I.e. a state refuses the settled will of a region to be independent then I ultimately believe that self-determination must trump the right of state to resist boundary change but I would say it is better in such cases is that pressure from the international community should be brought to bear on the recalcitrant state to acquiesce. It would like to see the the UK putting pressure in international bodies (including EU) on Spain for it to accept the right of Catalans to choose the form of government they live under and that we should – in the light of referendum result in Crimea – be cautious about rushing to condemn what has happened there as ‘illegal’.

  26. behindthefrogs
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    The Scottish referendum will not be democratic.

    1) A large proportion of the people affected by the break up of the UK, namely those living in the rest of the UK are not being allowed to vote despite the fact that they will be affected.

    2) The YES vote has been artificially enhanced by extending the vote to16 and 17 year olds.

    3) Areas of Scotland like the Orkneys and Shetland are not being given the chance to show that they have a different preference. The vote will be dominated by what Glasgow and Edinburgh want despite the Scots complaining about one of their reasons for wanting separation being the dominance of Westminster. They are thusmatching what they are complaining about.

  27. Peter Stroud
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I am pleased that I am an old man. Because I will not, perhaps, live to see the day when the EU becomes another collection of generally left wing states, governed by unelected bureaucrats. Like the USSR. I would not be so depressed, if I really thought our government, regardless of colour, will ever take us out of this political quagmire.

    • Ray Veysey
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Are you happy to see it left to your children and their children Peter? not acting because it won’t effect you is a common excuse, and is wrong because you have a responsibility to set things on the right path for the future to come. Responsibility to the people to come, not to a party loyalty as is the only thing on some peoples minds.

  28. forthurst
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    “The EU is right that this was not done legally or by agreement, but maybe wrong to imply a majority of the Crimean population would have voted NO to the move in any legal referendum.”

    There is no legitimate authority in Ukraine, since that which was legal was illegally overthrown with the aid of the EU and the US. When there is no legal authority in a country, there is no legitimate basis on which to describe the democratic decision of a region to unilaterally secede as illegal since there is no legal authority to declare it illegal or otherwise, and the opinions of the EU or the US who are entirely responsible for the situation in the Ukraine have no validity either.

    Why is Ulster not part of Scotland’s dowry? If the Scots believe themselves to be a distinctive group purely on the basis that they had been artificially separated from the rest of the country by a Roman Wall, then the Protestants of Ulster belong with them, not us. That is not to say a Highlander and a Cornishman have very much in common, but that is why, in the bad old days, we had counties administering our affairs, each with its own local flavour, coming together as a nation only to face a common enemy. The destruction of local identitiy at any level is a monstrous imposition by those with contempt for people’s native rights.

    • uanime5
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      There is no legitimate authority in Ukraine, since that which was legal was illegally overthrown with the aid of the EU and the US.

      While the Ukrainian president was overthrown the Ukrainian parliament was not. So there was a legitimate authority in Ukraine.

      When there is no legal authority in a country, there is no legitimate basis on which to describe the democratic decision of a region to unilaterally secede as illegal since there is no legal authority to declare it illegal or otherwise

      Firstly there was a legal authority, the Ukrainian parliament. Secondly if there’s no legal authority then the solution is to elect a legal authority to decide whether seceding is legal. Thirdly seceding is covered by international law, so even if an legal authority can’t be elected an international court or body can decide if this seceding was legal or illegal.

      If the Scots believe themselves to be a distinctive group purely on the basis that they had been artificially separated from the rest of the country by a Roman Wall, then the Protestants of Ulster belong with them, not us.

      The Scots consider themselves a distinct group because they weren’t influenced by the Anglo-Saxons or Normans. You’ve also failed to explain why the Protestants of Ulster belong with the Scotland, rather than be part of their own country.

      but that is why, in the bad old days, we had counties administering our affairs, each with its own local flavour, coming together as a nation only to face a common enemy.

      What about during civil wars such as the War of the Roses or the English Civil War?

      • forthurst
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        More gibberish from uanime5:

        “While the Ukrainian president was overthrown the Ukrainian parliament was not. So there was a legitimate authority in Ukraine.”

        After the 2012 general election, the Party of the Regions was the the largest party in the Verkhovna Rada; the elected President appointed Mykola Azarov as Prime Minister and his appointment was approved by 252 out of 450 deputies. After the President fled to Russia, the Party of the Regions was evicted from the Rada by violent extremists. There is no reason why the people of Crimea should have accepted the Putchists as their legal government, so stop drivelling about international law.

        “The Scots consider themselves a distinct group because they weren’t influenced by the Anglo-Saxons or Normans. You’ve also failed to explain why the Protestants of Ulster belong with the Scotland, rather than be part of their own country.”

        According to uanime5, the East Germans became a distinct racial group because they were incorporated into the Bolshevik Empire, or would they have had to be forced to learn Russian to qualify under his criteria?
        Uanime5 doesn’t know who the Ulster Protestants are because he is an ignoramus.

        “What about during civil wars such as the War of the Roses or the English Civil War?”

        …your point is?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

  29. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    What will we in the UK rump do if Scotland votes YES by 50.1% to 49.9%? Will we accept that as a permanent decision? If not, we will be open to the same accusation that the EU is open to. If we do accept it, we have a right to insist that Scotland is fully independent:
    - they will not share sterling
    - they will not share a fiscal and monetary policy
    - they will not share our monarchy
    - they will not provide military bases to us
    - they will not get military orders
    - they must negotiate alone with the EU (for England will leave it)
    - they must give the Shetland Islands a referendum on belonging to Norway, England or Scotland

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure that I can stand another five months of people in England raving against people in Scotland as though suddenly they are no longer our fellow Britons but instead have turned into potential enemies, just because a majority of them may want to be free from the control of a UK Parliament dominated by MPs elected in England by people who apparently already hate them. It is much the same as I have said about suggestions that politicians in the other EU countries would take a vindictive attitude if we decided to leave the EU; if that is how they really are, basically not our friends but potential enemies, why are we allowing them so much power over how our country is governed? Just listing all these things that you think we should do if the Scots vote for independence you are of course indirectly making it that bit more likely that they will do so, because the message will spread north of the border. I find the sheer viciousness of some of the debates on various websites quite appalling, but of course it is very welcome to those who want to stir up hatred between the English and the Scots with the aim of getting us to break up our country. That was one reason why I thought it would be a good idea to have a referendum in England on whether we want an English Parliament on the same day as the referendum in Scotland, to keep the English occupied among themselves rather than have them free to engage in abusive cross-border exchanges with the Scots, which can only help the cause of the Scottish separatists and so do harm to both Scotland and England.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 12:47 am | Permalink

        Denis, Scotland can have its independence, genuine independence. What it can’t have is its own designer Devo Max, tailored to give Scotland maximum power and zero responsibility. You must know that if an ‘independent’ Scotland is allowed to keep sterling and wants to have higher public expenditure than England, there will a permanent and poisonous row over fiscal policy and over the allocation of assets and debts. For example, who would be responsible (if anybody) for continuing to prop up the RBS zombie bank.

        What this referendum needs is a debate between Alex Salmond and Nigel Farage, to be held at Ibrox Park two days before polling day, with all Glasgow Rangers supporters invited to attend. That would at least have the merit of coherence and a thorough airing of the real issues. I really cannot take seriously the ragbag of unilateral concessions (completely unsolicited) emerging from the mouths of Messrs Cameron, Darling and Brown.

        • sjb
          Posted April 13, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

          Some of the financial institutions currently based in Scotland such as Standard Life have suggested they might move south – e.g. to London – in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote. If so, our banking sector will then be >5 times our GDP.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 13, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

          Well, I volunteer an apology for the rather bad-tempered nature of my reply to you. Unfortunately after years of watching the Scots and the English being led by the nose to make the terrible mistake of breaking up their union I have become increasingly irritated by the canards being repeated on both sides. If there is a “yes” vote in September then of course the champagne will flow in Edinburgh but it will also flow copiously not only in Brussels but also in Berlin and in Paris; the break up of the UK would be a wonderful gift and they would hardly be able to believe their luck .

      • David Price
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 7:55 am | Permalink

        Perhaps one way to approach things is to look beyond the event and decide what we want the eventual outcome to be. Do we want a relationship similar to what we have with Canada for example, friendly but fully independent across firm borders? In which case wouldn’t the need be the same for us to preserve our interest as I would expect Scotland to wish to preserve theirs.

        The ideal would be for a thoroughly fair and equitable arrangement, however I suspect neither activists nor the principal politicians will suffer this.

    • Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      It’s their decision, if it is 50.001% in favour and they decide to go ahead that’s fine by us.

      For the record, we don’t hate the Scots. What we don’t like is the constant carping and criticism of England and the English.

      I’m sure the attitude of most English people is let them get on with it. We don’t really mind whether they stay or leave, we just want the carping to stop.

      However, if the Scots do choose to leave it has to be a clean break on terms acceptable to us :

      No pound, no subsidies, a fair division of assets and the debts.

      If the Scots do vote to stay, any further devolution should include full tax raising powers and no cross subsidies : taxes raised in Scotland must pay for all expenditure in that country.

      The West Lothian Question has to be properly sorted and all existing and new powers devolved to Scotland must be exactly mirrored in England.

      Nothing less will be acceptable.

  30. Gyges
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    The analytical tool to determine the foreign policy of arrogant dictatorial States is who/whom rather than what. That is, it is not the what, ie a referendum but who/whom; ie, Spain/Basque UK/Scotland, Ukraine/Crimea.

    (Assuming of course that I haven’t made the grammatical error of mixing up my subject with my direct object; if so, I’ll leave it to JR to correct).

    ps The who/whom applies to the US’s foreign policy, too.

  31. uanime5
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Scotland has been given a legal referendum on whether to stay in the UK or not. The EU does not seem to approve of that process very much, threatening Scotland if she dared to vote to be independent.

    What threats are you referring to? The EU telling Scotland that it wouldn’t automatically become a member of the EU, won’t have the UK’s rebate, and will have to adopt the euro? Hardly a threat as they say this to every other country that wants to join the EU.

    They need to change their mind and be more accommodating, as do the European states who wrongly seek to block the free expression of opinion about identity within their current territories.

    Oh the irony. Most of the EU states are more accommodating than the UK because they have a proportional representation electoral system, which means that most of their people’s views are represented in their parliaments. By contrast in the UK our first past the post system results in 66% of the seats being safe seats and MPs who can get elected simply by appealing to the largest minority.

    Allowing a vote when there is a serious question to answer is an important part of democracy which the EU seeks to stifle.

    How is the EU stifling democracy by requiring that an independent Scotland has to comply with the same membership test that every other country wanting to join the EU has to comply with?

    Continuous referenda on the same subject until one side gets its way, having lost in the past, is not such a good idea.

    Does this mean that if the UK votes again to remain in the EEC/EC/EU we won’t need a third referendum?

    Reply The UK has PR for Euro and Scottish Parliament elections. The UK voters decided against PR for national elections – that’s not undemocratic!

  32. Brian
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    EU should act now on Catalonia, now, rather than leaving it too late. Over 80% of people want to vote on their future status, independently of their preferred choice. The immense majority of the 7 million Catalans are pro-EU and believe in the values of EU.
    Hence, either Brussels works to keep these people on board, and uses them to re-install faith in its values and maybe take a step forward, or it risks alienating Catalonia and creating another 7 million Eurosceptics. It’s in everyone’s interests (even Spain’s – if you’ve got a problem, deal with it) to allow the Catalans their say.

    • MSR
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Brian, I am catalan and I fully agree with you – and I guess many more catalans agree with you as well-.
      In my opinion Spain is a failed state which has been unable to change itself to a modern state due to its centuries old oligarchies -always in power- interested in maintain a never chanching status-quo.
      A vote in Catalonia -regardless of results- can help to shack Spain and force it to make necessary changes.
      Maintain Spain how it is now is uninspiring. Currently Spain is an unsustainable country – heavily dependent on European subsidies – and unable to pay its debt.

      To end my long text: Main difference between Catalonia and Scottland is catalans are undergoing a peaceful revolution. Catalan people already said it is enough to be ruled by incompetent oligarchies. We will continue our path to modernize and democratize our political system. And if Spain wants to make itself an obstacle -and EU allows it- , don’t doubt it, catalans will ignore Spain. At this point EU will face its worsen nightmare, a member state unrecognized by it own citizens and unable to control its own territory without use of violence and repression.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      The EU should mind its own business and not interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign country which happens to be a member state of what is, in law, still no more than an international organisation established by treaty between sovereign countries. It already has more than enough on its plate after interfering with the internal affairs of a sovereign country which is not even a member state, Ukraine, bringing us dangerously close to the edge of war with Russia.

      • MSR
        Posted April 14, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        Agreed. now it is an internal affair.
        But in two or three years, if Spanish oligarchies continue its misspending, corruption and blocking of any reform, there is a risk of Spain collapse.
        And this would not be ‘an internal affair’ anymore.

  33. Oscar De Ville
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    The high quality of your articles usually serve to reduce complex issues to matters of common sense. But is this so in that on Catalonia and Scotland ? Do you really believe that it is democratic and allowable for any part of a country to be granted a referendum like the Scots, with only Scots (in residence) voting, so breaking up the country ? Would you do that for Yorkshire et al and call it democratic ?

    Why did we so limply agree to it, and with lower voting age, emotional voting date and so on ? What happened to patriotism, loyalty to the realm and the Queen that many of us once fought for ? Do we not now perceive treason and deal with it when we see it so plainly in Salmond ? Other complications are secondary.

  34. Jordi S
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    First let me say that I’m a catalan pro-indepence and always have been (despite my fathers being born in Spain).

    I am really looking forward to see the Scottish referendum and, obviously, to be able to vote myself in order to decide the future of my country. But I have to be a realist here and I admit that EU will never allow that.

    Spain is too big and if it falls it can take all Europe with them; Europe knows that a Spain without Catalonia could take them to their knees and they don’t care about how European we might feel, because being rich (or having cheap workers) is more important for them than democracy.

    Anyway, we catalans always have sided with the world; we are a country made of people from everywhere and we love being an active part of the world. But today we (the pro-independence since always) rather be “poor” and free than keep suffering Spain just for the sake of Europe.

    Hopefully, the world will see how we have been peaceful and democratic and will defend our right to vote.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      Good luck to you, Jordi and your people.

      The EU does not like people like you. They consider you to be a treat, a populist and a, nationalist. It is these things that they think will bring war. So they will try to stamp it out. Do not let them, be free !

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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