The EU problem

For most in the EU it will be business as usual. In large countries like Germany and Italy the mainstream parties won the Euro elections. Overall federalist parties of the centre left and centre right which belong to the main groupings won 70% of the seats. They will claim a mandate and continue to pursue their integrationist strategy. The so called socialists and the so called centre right in the EU will grow more and more together, becoming a united federalist team, exploiting all the manifold divisions in the anti and less EU parties in the rest of the Parliament.

In France where the NF came first with just one quarter of the vote the Socialist and pro EU President will try to gain concessions about growth and budgets but hope the rest of the problem goes away. The President’s main right of centre opposition remains damaged and weak.

In the UK UKIP’s first place on 27% of the vote gave them 24 seats to Labour’s 20 and Conservative’s 19 is a rare case of a country where voters have by a majority preferred two parties (UKIP and Conservatives) that do not belong to either of the two main federalist groupings. The vote will reaffirm the Conservatives decision to offer a negotiation and a referendum on the result of any negotiation in the next election. UKIP say they would simply withdraw from the EU, but they could only do that if their party held at least 326 seats in Westminster and if they thought they could do it without any referendum to ask people if they agreed. The idea of trying a renegotiation first makes it more likely the Out side will win a referendum if critics of the strategy are right and the EU offers little or nothing to the UK. If instead the EU offers us a good deal then people will have the chance to decide if it is good enough to warrant the continuing surrender of various rights and powers of self government which will still be needed as a sacrifice under any likely deal.

As Conservative MEPs and UKIP do not belong to a federalist grouping, so the UK offers the biggest block of anti federalist votes in the Parliament. UKIP does not wish to work with the National front in France. It will be interesting to see if UKIP does work with AFD in Germany. UKIP will presumably offer immediate pull out from the EU again in the General Election, whilst Labour is still wedded to putting up with all the current EU powers and measures, and remains against a referendum. Labour hopes UKIP will do more damage to the Conservatives than to them and will allow them to win on a small share of the total vote. This would cement the federalist position and rule out a referendum.

In future posts I will examine more issues surrounding the role of the new MEPs, the best way for Eurosceptics to unite their forces from here instead of fighting each other to a standstill, and the ways in which the UK could start to wrestle powers back in crucial areas before we have the chance to settle the matter at the 2015 General Election.

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105 Comments

  1. John E
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Surely it’s only a matter of time before the Euro is finished? Growth is not happening, and youth unemployment is blighting a generation. I have believed for a while that it will eventually be the French who kill it off.
    We need to have plans ready for the impending crisis. The markets are all behaving as if the crisis is over. The VIX ” fear index” is at rock bottom. Meanwhile the pressure in the Euro volcano builds and builds.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      The Euro will not fail. There is far too much political capital invested in it.

      Meanwhile, Germany seems to be doing rather well.

      • Hope
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        Will Cameron opt out of the European arrest warrant and other home affairs and justice measures in the next few weeks? This is has nothing to do with jobs, economy or national interest. So what excuse will he have this time? This is all about further loss of sovereignty to the EU without any benefit to the UK.

        So where is the referendum? Or will he speciously say it is not significant for a British citizen to be arrested for offences that do not exist here and be treated under totally different legal systems in foreign lands and at the behest of the European Public Prosecutor? Judges will not have any power to overrule.

      • Posted May 30, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        I agree with John E,

        To survive in its present form, the Euro requires total integration of all the economies within it including, crucially, central control of the budget, expenditure and taxation.

        The French at least will never go along with this because, however it’s dressed up, everybody will know it has to be rigid, central control by the Paymaster General, Germany.

        This is why it will eventually fail.

        It will be after a long and painful illness, but fail it certainly will.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        M. Barroso wishes to see the Euro adopted by every single nation within the European Union except UK. He said this in his speech at the University of Berlin this year. If you want to see a two speed Europe with UK left out, this is your option.
        I think we ought to leave Europe to get on with it, join EFTA and the EEC and then go out and trade with the whole world.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted June 1, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink

          When Merkel said that she made no exception for the UK.

      • Neil Jennison
        Posted May 31, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        The Euro has failed – what you mean is it will not be allowed to collapse. In this you are absolutely correct.

        The Europhiles will stop at nothing, spending vast amounts of our money to make sure it continues to exist.

        • Mark B
          Posted June 1, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

          Neil

          That is how I see it.

          These people do not see that they are in a hole. Their only answer to the problems that the EU and the Euro face is; “We need more Europe !”

          But it is precisely this policy of ever closer union that has created the problems we see. Much like Local and National Governments, they see problems, some real, some imagined, most created by them in the first place, as an opportunity to put the world right.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    “At the European level, national politicians can ask for much more than at home, without needing to take responsibility for subsequent adoption and implementation. The temptations and opportunities to shirk responsibility are manifold. And I could tell you from my experience, it’s common to see the same party saying one thing in their capital and completely the opposite – not just something different but the opposite – in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.”
    These words are those of the retiring President of the Commission, M. Barroso, at the University of Berlin recently. In the speech he outlines future plans of “the work in progress” and they do not include David Cameron’s handing back powers or Nigel Farage’s Brexit.
    But nobody seems to be listening (cp 1938 and Mr Chamberlain).

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    The only way forward from here (that can avoid Miliband and his bonkers rent act) is for Cameron to have a complete change of direction. Let us hope UKIP overcome the huge majority in Newark and this will finally wake him up.

    I see true to form Cameron has decided to fully castrate the Chilcot Enquiry and keep hidden the true reasons for Blair’s hugely counter productive, (lots of ed) lives lost, £Multi-billions spend to make the world less safe, war on a blatant lie. Hardly a surprise from Cameron types.

    I see our not so wonderful legal system has £1.3 Billion of insurance fraud PA, much of it from staged accidents encouraged by the duff balance of risks in the legal system.

    Reply Difficult to blame the legal system for fraudsters who cheat the insurance companies!

    • Hope
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Major states it would cost billions to leave the EU, leaving the UK isolated etc and that UKIP is intolerant. The man who presided over black Wednesday costing the country (us) literally billions, costing jobs, ruining business and loss of homes. Has he looked at Southern Europe to see the sort of mess he tried to create in the UK?The tolerant man who called his opponent B…stands. The man who led the Tories to oblivion for 20 years through sleazy government. Why does he just not shut up. He has no credibility and can only do the Tories harm. Once more, a person who will boost the UKIP vote by his ridiculous remarks.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        If John Major and Tony Bliar would both shut up or just go away I would be most grateful. Why do the BBC think such proven disasters with a history of incompetence have anything useful to say on anything at all – I have never heard either say anything which was not either a: so obvious as not to be worth saying at all, or b: just plain wrong or c: a direct lie.

      • Neil Jennison
        Posted May 31, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        Well said.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      To reply: The criminals are also to blame of course. But the inefficient legal system with no pay no fee and a poor risk reward structure encourages litigation when there is no merit. Just as we get in employment tribunals and many injury claims. Injuries such as you might get when you trip over one of those countless wet floor signs they leave lying about all the time or hurt yourself erecting expensive scaffolding because you no longer can use a ladder legally thanks to the EU.

      Just look at all the endless TV adds to encourage claims. They know they will usually settle as it cost them more to defend so endless claims are the predictable result. Some one who understand game theory need to address it. The courts and lawyers of course like it as they need an endless stream of litigants to keep them expensively and largely pointlessly employed.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 31, 2014 at 6:22 am | Permalink

        The legal system is largely designed and honed by lawyers, politicians and the court system in the interests of lawyers and fee income. The interest and convenience of court users come very low down the list of priorities.

        Even getting the courts to actually answer the phone and give you basic information is often a problem. They just assume you have all the time in the world.

  4. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    A little off topic but apparently Alex has come out and stated that Scotland is one of the richest countries in the world.One can now see why he thinks he can stand alone . Perhaps he thinks that Scotland could be the leader in Europe.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Scotland could indeed be rich if it were not so appallingly socialist, did not want to stay in the EU and had much lower taxes. Small countries can indeed be rich Switzerland, Norway, Hong Kong ….

      • bigneil
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        Our country will never be rich again, we are making cuts to all the services while a non stop stream of people walk in for their “entitlement ” to a house, benefits and healthcare, all paid for by the English taxpayer. This is blatantly unsustainable. And deliberate.

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        Can be is different than is.

    • Mx Dunbar
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      The trees up here are normally dripping with rain and not money – or have I missed something?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 31, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      But now there’s a rather pointless argument over whether Scotland would be the 14th richest among the 34 countries in the OECD or only the 20th:

      http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/scottish-independence-richest-country-claim-disputed-1-3428333

  5. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Considering that the Tory party also harbours a pro-EU wing, and that anti-EU votes more likely went to UKIP than to the Conservatives, the popular pro-EU vote in the UK wasn’t all that different from the continent, which bodes well for a In-vote in a maybe referendum. Your own eurosceptic lobby group “openeurope” expects either a slim or a large majority In-vote in such a referendum, depending on what kind of reform-deal the UK will manage to strike.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      First things first – Welcome back !

      Secondly – ” Your own eurosceptic lobby group “openeurope” expects either a slim or a large majority In-vote in such a referendum, depending on what kind of reform-deal the UK will manage to strike.”

      Openeurope are not a Eurosceptic. More Europlastic !

      Thirdly – There will be no renegotiation and no referendum. The EU is, what the EU is. And that is, our Supranational Government.

      Just accept it and move to the next stage. Which for those like yourself is federalism, which is fine. But for people like me, I choose independence / self governance.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        Mark, you are not the person choosing the options.
        What the EU want – and agreed to apparently (Dan Hannan) at the Dinner on the day after the election results – is More Europe. The European Arrest Warrant is about to be implemented, on accordance with the desires of Viviane Reding, Justice Commissioner. Then will come the growing unity which the President of the Commission announced in his Humboldt Speech.
        We should leave the rapidly centralising European government and join the Common Market (EFTA). Then we should go out and trade with the whole world.

        • Mark B
          Posted June 1, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

          I agree !

          But people still see the EU as a trading block / customs union. To a certain extent it is but, its much more than that, and yet people are largely ignorant.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

        @Mark B: I do expect there to be “reform”. This word I prefer over “renegotiation”. Renegotiation with whom? With 27 nations? New treaties aren’t expected anytime soon. The UK will manage to find allies with whom certain reforms can be pushed through. That could be sold as a better deal back home.

        • Mark B
          Posted June 1, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

          The EU was created by a treaty (Rome) and is therefore a creation of a all subsequent treaties, and thereby is what it says it is in its own treaties.

          You therefore cannot change that which is enshrined in law. And as you said, there will be no treaty anytime soon, so no real fundamental change.

          That’s not good enough !!

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted June 2, 2014 at 5:37 am | Permalink

            All these treaties have been signed by lawful UK governments and ratified by its lawful parliaments, whatever UK minorities of the day may have thought. Such is democracy (in the UK as well I hope). Besides that, a lot of change is already possible before any treaty change. Finally, the UK is always free to leave.

            Reply The Parliaments which signed up to Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon had large Labour majorities who denied any serious powers were being transferred. The UK now wants to debate leaving and many want to leave because many people feel they were not told the truth about the huge transfers of power.

    • APL
      Posted May 31, 2014 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      PvL: “Your own eurosceptic lobby group “openeurope”..”

      Thank you Peter, good to have a hearty laugh first thing on a Saturday morning.

  6. acorn
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    The trouble is JR, by the time the renegotiation finishes and there is a referendum; the EU will have moved on considerably, particularly the Eurozone bit with its “Banking Union”.

    The Single Resolution Fund, IMHO, is the start of a single “fiscal authority” for the Eurozone 18. It contains a “resource sharing” plan which I think will morph into an EU Federal Treasury for fiscal policy; to go with the federal central bank, the ECB, for monetary policy. The prospect of EU Federal debt instruments replacing 18 different national debt instruments, would be the next logical step. Frankly, that is exactly what the Eurozone needs in socio-economic terms; regardless of the UK being in or out of it; the existing system is not sustainable.

    “Where this leaves EU member states that are not in the eurozone will increasingly become a matter of debate. Already George Osborne and Wolfgang Schäuble, the finance ministers of the UK and Germany, have warned that the rights and interests of non-euro states must be observed and protected. But there are also dissenting voices – one governor [Spain I think] of a major eurozone central bank recently questioned London’s role, saying that it was neither natural nor acceptable for the main centre of euro-denominated market activity to be in a city outside the eurozone.”

    An EU Federal Treasury, naturally raises the question of an EU federal tax system, orchestrated by the now more powerful 2014 EU Parliament. I reckon that the remaining non Euro currency states in the EU will come to have the status of Switzerland. The renegotiation for the UK, needs to involve them as well.

  7. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    JR: “the best way for Eurosceptics to unite their forces from here instead of fighting each other to a standstill,”
    Unsurprisingly, your leader and MEPs are not amongst them as Breitbart reports:
    “Conservative Party Leader David Cameron is trying to sabotage UKIP’s influence at the European Parliament, just days after trying to appear sympathetic to euroscepticism by telling the British people that their message at the polls was “received and understood.””
    Our EU problem is that your party is determined to keep us in it!

  8. JM
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Labour’s position is entirely cynical. They calculate that the EU is a very real problem within the conservatives, which makes the party look divided and (they hope) rebounds to their electoral gain.

    The EU issue is a boil that needs lancing. The country was lied to when we were asked to vote in 1976. We were promised a common market. We have got a putative nation state. Most of the electorate was too young to vote then or not even born.

    Whilst I consider that overall we should stay in, hopefully in a modified EU, I do think that for the good of all of us, now that we can see what it is that we are buying, a vote one way or the other would settle the issue for very many years to come. Therefore a referendum is essential. There is nothing wrong with trusting the electorate. Provided that the arguments are fairly put (am I being naively optimistic?) we can trust the people to arrive at the right answer.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      “am I being naively optimistic?”

      Without wish to sound rude, yes you are being naively optimistic. In fact, I would go as far as to say, you are being totally ‘unrealistic’.

      The words; “Ever closer UNION’ are at the very heart and soul of the EU. It commits member states such as the UK, to FULL political, economic and monetary UNION, and there is only one direction of travel !

      The only way, and it IS the only way, that you can have a ‘new relationship’ with the EU, is to leave. And that can only be achieved via Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. No need for a referendum or anything. Just let the other member states know that you intend to leave, that’s all.

      Reply And where are the 326 MPs who think they have a mandate to do that and are willing to vote it through?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        To reply well only about 100 of them are in the Tory party and Cameron is not one of them alas.

        • Hope
          Posted May 31, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

          Where is the mandate? The same mandate that forced through gay marriage, the same mandate to take the country to war in the Middle East when there is no noble or national interest, the mandate to allow countries who join the EU free unreserved free access to all public services without paying into our, over taxed, UK tax pot. The mandate that did not exist to take away our national sovereignty and independence by stealth to join an economic union not EU superstate in the first place. Come on JR, this must be one of your silliest remarks ever.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply

        Where was the mandate from the people or Parliament to give Edward Heath the right to sign the Treaty of Rome ? Or in fact any treaty by any government since ?

  9. Iain Moore
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    “UK could start to wrestle powers back in crucial areas before we have the chance to settle the matter at the 2015 General Election.”

    When you read that , but also know we are losing vast chunks of our sovereignty to QMV (qualified majority voting) on 1st November, shows the lack of reality that exists in the Westminster village, including those you expect better of.

    From the 1st Nov these powers go over to QMV.

    Initiatives of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs –
    Administrative co-operation
    Asylum
    Border controls
    Citizens’ initiative regulations
    Civil protection
    Committee of the Regions
    Common defence policy
    Crime prevention incentives
    Criminal judicial co-operation
    Criminal law
    Culture
    Diplomatic & Consular protection
    Economic & Social Committee
    Emergency international aid
    Energy
    EU budget
    Eurojust
    European Central Bank
    European Court of Justice
    Europol
    Eurozone external representation
    Foreign Affairs High Representative election
    Freedom of movement for workers
    Freedom to establish a business
    Freedom, security, justice, co-operation & evaluation
    Funding the Common Foreign & Security Policy
    General economic interest services
    Humanitarian aid
    Immigration
    Intellectual property
    Organisation of the Council of the EU
    Police co-operation
    President of the European Council election
    Response to natural disasters & terrorism
    Rules concerning the Armaments Agency
    Self-employment access rights
    Social Security Unanimity
    Space
    Sport
    Structural & Cohension Funds
    Tourism
    Transport
    Withdrawal of a member state

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      A very depressing list.

      And hot on the heels of the EU elections it would would be helpful to be reminded as to what say the MEPs have on a QMV decision. My understanding is NONE, unless anyone knows any better.

      So, voting for your MEP is not so much democracy in action as a sham to obscure the lack of democracy within the EU. As Farage said, “a free hit” in the sense that the people elected are largely irrelevant, irrespective of their political allegiance.

      Reply In many areas the Parliament has co-decision making powers with the Council. So I hope UKIP MEPs will work with others to try to block or amend unwanted legislation as Conservative MEPs do.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply,
        Sorry to have to repeat myself but as Breitbart reported: ” Conservative Party Leader David Cameron is trying to sabotage UKIP’s influence at the European Parliament”.
        Doesn’t sound as though your mendacious leader wants any support from UKIP. How can you bear to tolerate and support such duplicity?

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted May 31, 2014 at 5:46 am | Permalink

        Re Reply.

        I think you will find that UKIP MEPs have a good voting record as they “… try to block or amend unwanted legislation…”.

        My understanding is that Conservative MEPs have voted in favour of legislation many of us would consider unwanted.

        But leaving aside the voting record of the UK MEPs, I would like to know on what occasions throughout the life of the EU Parliament it’s vote has blocked legislation that we would agree on as being “unwanted”.

      • Sean O'Hare
        Posted May 31, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        UKIP MEPs will try to block ALL EU legislation. That is what we elected them to do.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      No, that isn’t right. All the vetoes abolished by the Treaty of Lisbon have already gone, they went when the treaty came into force on December 1st 2009.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        Was that the one we were give a Cast Iron guarantee on by ratter Cameron? The one that is no longer a treaty apparently according to him once ratified as was claimed in his absurd fig leaf.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted May 30, 2014 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

          That’s the one, the treaty that ceased to exist at the same instant that it came into force, an unusual thing for a treaty to do.

        • Mark B
          Posted May 30, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

          No, I think that was the one by both the Labour Party and the Lib Dems ?

          Come to think of it, I think they ALL said they would let us have our say.

          And they wonder why people like myself are so cynical of them.

      • Iain Moore
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        I will happily be corrected .

        It would be interesting to establish a list of the Sovereignty we have lost and when. I doubt if any of that useless lot in Parliament would know what powers they have or have lost. I don’t believe we can have a rational debate about what powers we want renegotiated unless we have an audit of what remains of our sovereignty and what we have lost. If we don’t establish this then we are well on the road to being sold a Cameron con.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted June 1, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink

          Iain, somebody having set this hare running it runs and runs and seems unstoppable. Whenever I see it I have to decide whether to try to shoot it or not bother because in the end people will believe what they want to believe. Because of the way the Disqus system operates to put blocks of comments on separate pages it becomes virtually impossible to have a sensible conversation about it on any thread which attracts hundreds of comments, and nor do I think JR would welcome a protracted discussion about it here, so I have posted my rebuttal on somebody’s article about it on their much quieter Telegraph blog .

          etc ed

          Reply I think you will find what changes in November 2014 is the way the Qualified majority is calculated. The Treaty of Lisbon saw Labour give away another 45 vetoes over policy areas, as a further give away after the substantial veto abolitions of Nice and Amsterdam. These I think have already been implemented. In November we move from a QMW requiring a majority of countries (50% plus 1), 74% of the weighted country votes and 62% of the population, to a system requiring a 55% majority of the countries, and 65% of the population. In other words what changes in November is the abolition of the weighted vote, where the UK currently has 8.4% of the total votes. A weighted element of course remains in the population requirement.

    • lojolondon
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      There is zero chance of regaining any powers from the EU – as Merkel, Hollande, Baroso, van Rumpoy and Schultz have repeated again and again. So the whole argument is entirely fake, and merely an excuse to delay the referendum we want.

  10. Richard1
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    It is becoming increasingly clear that the choice for the EU is have the UK in but with exemptions from almost all of the integration other than access to the customs union, or lose the UK. The Conservative renegotiation strategy does therefore have a chance of success. The UKIP position of straight withdrawal with no attempt at renegotiation would be unlikely to win a majority in a referendum.

    People who really want either a much looser relationship with the EU, or to see the UK leave, need to vote Conservative.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Nonsense ! Except about the bit on UKIP – they do not have a plan, but neither do any of the other parties, because they ALL want IN !!!

      It is highly unlikely, under the current arrangements, that the UK will ever get a sort of associated membership of the EU. For this to happen, there has to be a new treaty and, that is a very long way off. Certainly beyond 2017.

      Dr. Richard North, who was in part short listed for the Brexit prize, has produced a far more comprehensive document, that he calls ‘Flexcit’. This I believe could form the basis of a plan to extricate ourselves from ‘Ever closer union’.

      And voting Conservative is not the answer either !

  11. Alan Wheatley
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    On the Today Programme this morning we heard an interview with John Major. He argued that the Scottish Independence debate should be about higher and longer term issues than calculations over finical gains or losses. I agree, and pleased to hear someone making that point.

    He adopted a similar theme regarding the UK’s membership of the EU, the Conservative Party strategy line, with which I disagree.

    Part of his argument was that it was entirely possible for David Cameron to negotiate a better deal for the UK, and one of the justifications cited was his success regarding the Maastricht Treaty. However, this line of argument was rather undermined by an argument he had used earlier in the the interview: the principle of subsidiarity introduced in Maastricht had been undermined by the Commission ignoring it.

    He also said that he had negotiated successfully to keep the UK out of the Euro, where as I think Norman Lamont would argue it was he who pushed the principle and did all the negotiating, all Major did was sign the finished document. But then this is to be expected of the eurofile, John Major, who along with his eurofile mates got us into the ERM, and we all know wisdom of that judgement.

    We need to bear in mind that the Conservative Party believes as a matter of principle that the UK should be in the EU, and there are plenty of Conservatives ready and willing to support that principle.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Major also tried to claim that he had negotiated an opt out from the Social Chapter , something that the EU has sought to implement via other means

    • Richard1
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      John Major did achieve a successful negotiation at Maastricht, exempting the UK both from the Euro and the Social Chapter, the most significant (and negative) components of that treaty. The rebellion against Maastricht which did so much damage to the Conservative Party was therefore a waste of time.

      The Conservative Party is made up of its members like ay other party, and its ultimate decision making body is its elected MPs. So if Conservative MPs reach a conclusion that there should either be a much looser relationship with the EU, or that the UK should leave the EU, then the Party’s policy will change accordingly.

      After all, the argument of many Eurosceptics is that the balance of advantage has changed.

      Reply Yes John Major did negotiate an opt out from the central point of Maastricht, which has stuck to this day as we still have the pound. The Conservative Parliamentary party does want a new relationship with the EU, and fully understands that being out of the Euro we need a different set of arrangements to the political union that has to go with the Euro. We are discussing how far the renegotiation should go and whether it would still be better to leave, where there are various views in the party as in the country.

      • Narrow shoulders
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        Did Maastricht not also deliver freedom of movement within the EA with all the “benefits” that brings both parties?

        If only an opt out from that right had been negotiated too.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        I do not believe it was an ‘opt-out’, more of an ‘opt-in’. We can still join the Euro and Gordon Brown MP, when he was PM reaffirmed that commitment too the Euro.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        Cameron still want frees movement of people within the EU, his list of things he want to negotiate is totally pathetic and he would campaign to say in anyway regardless.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 31, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Major negotiated a treaty opt-out from the euro just for the UK. Then the Danes had to be given one as part of the promised changes to persuade them to approve the Maastricht Treaty in their second referendum. The problem now is that while Major was compelled to secure a euro opt-out for the UK at the same time he allowed euro membership to become the accepted norm so that every new country which joins the EU has to pledge itself to also join the euro at the earliest opportunity. As none can ever leave, the inevitable, intended, end game will come when the UK is the only member state of the EU left which has not yet adopted its currency.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Major said that the EU Parliament elections would strengthen Cameron’s hand in these putative renegotiations, but much more effective in doing that would be a referendum on whether we want to continue further with the process of “ever closer union” first prescribed in the preamble to the Treaty of Rome and then reiterated in the preamble to the Maastricht Treaty.

      Cameron has repeatedly said that he wants us to be freed from that commitment, in fact he said it again on May 11th on the BBC Andrew Marr show:

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/201411051.pdf

      “We achieve those negotiation changes. Perhaps the most important is getting Britain out of the clause that says the European Union must be committed to an ever closer union.”

      “I don’t accept that. I don’t think the British people want to accept that.”

      Well, he says that he doesn’t accept that and he says that he thinks we also don’t want to accept that, so why not ask us to confirm that in a referendum?

      He’s had plenty of time to do that, and there’s still enough time to do that before the general election; but of course he won’t do that because he doesn’t really mean it and he wouldn’t want to lumbered with a referendum result saying that we the British people did mean it.

      • Hope
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        It is lies. He spent £18 million pounds on propaganda for closer union to the EU. JR was at the debate. If Major supports Cameron’s negotiation you know it will amount to nothing as he is a Euro fanatic.

      • Richard1
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        According to current opinion polls the most likely result of an In Out referendum held now would be to stay in. Bear in mind also that in a campaign conducted now, the CBI, trade unions, BBC etc etc would all be campaigning for In. Having then had a referendum voting In there would be no prospect at all of any future renegotiation. Cameron is absolutely right therfore to say renegotiation is work for the next Parliament, with a Conservative govt and allowing a reasonable period of time to conduct negotiations.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted June 1, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

          This would be a “mandate” referendum, as I suggested back when some Tory MPs were pressing for a “mandate” referendum before any renegotiations were attempted.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Alan,
      Isn’t it interesting that now the EU elections are over the arch EUphiles Heseltine, Clarke and Major have all been rolled out to take prime spots on TV or radio, peddling their defeatest EU propaganda. You hit the nail on the head with your final paragraph, which is why no one, who wants to see this country to be independent, self – governing and free trading, should ever risk voting Conservative.

      Reply The BBC chose them, not us! The large Eurosceptic majority in the party has not been offered slots to set out our views.

      • Hope
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        Nor has Cameron chose any of you in his cabinet! Clarke is there writing last week how EU regulation was good for the UK.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply,
        I find it virtually impossible to believe that your party has no say as to whom appears on the BBC representing them. If that is the case, I am quite sure that if you contacted the BBC and asked them to interview you regarding your deeply held views about the failings of the EU, they would jump at the chance and no one at CCHQ would mind in the slightest!

        Reply The BBC are welcome to interview me about the EU, but rarely wish to.

  12. Posted May 30, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Logically the Conservative MEPs and the UKIP MEPs should join forces in the EU parliament as they ought to be able to agree on the reduction of EU powers.
    I regret that this seems unlikely to happen as the Conservatives are apparently trying to block UKIP from joining a “group” which will give them more power and access to funding. The problem is that no one trusts Cameron, he has already said that following “re-negotiations” he will campaign to stay in the EU, which means that he will be offered very little by the other countries as he has effectively said that he wants to stay in regardless of change.
    UKIP would want some gesture of good faith from the Conservatives before they are likely to adopt a joint approach, and I imagine the Conservatives would want the same, so there is deadlock!

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    The real problem is that Cameron simply has not woken up, he is still making just pathetic minor adjustments to his position that does nothing. He could not dare to debate with Nigel Farage because he simply has no sensible arguments he could put. Clegg looked daft Cameron would look idiotic.

    The other day two of my delightful and hard working Canadian tenants gave notice because they cannot extend their UK visas easily. What is the point of the Coalition’s anti (non EU) clearly racist immigration policy? What is wrong with UKIPs fair an open points system?

    In the election campaign Cameron will actually have to answer this point. He will have to say why he will always want to stay in the EU and why he does not want the UK to become a Greater Switzerland, why he like 5 times the price wind energy, why he like gender neutral insurance and pensions ……. what on earth will he say?

    The 50% of our exports drivel simply will not do he is lost without a paddle unless he changes nearly all his daft policies and does a UKIP deal.

  14. oldtimer
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I do not doubt that the default EU position will be the usual one when confronted with a problem: kick the can down the road and hope the problem will go away. For many EU members that will be the chosen “solution”. I do not see it working here in the UK nor, from what little I understand about France, in France.

    Ukip`s success demonstrates that freedom of movement within the EU has clearly emerged as a significant political problem for the other UK political parties. I do not see how that will or can be negotiated away while remaining in the EU. Technically an Australian points style system might work but politically I imagine it is a non-starter while remaining a member of the EU. Is it even on the Conservative agenda? (I read that Theresa May has commented about the need to “review” the free movement rules but what actually is the Conservative position?).

    The EZ debt crisis is essentially unresolved. Free movement within the EU (and remittance money) is part of the solution for those with the skills and get up and go to look elsewhere for work, such as the UK. Indirectly the UK is helping solve and pay for the debt crisis. For the EU it will be business as usual, kicking the can down the road.

    It seems to me that one partial solution for the EU is to abandon its monolithic approach (of ever closer union) and go for some form of variable geometry. Under such a regime, those that wanted more integration should be enabled to do just that while those that wanted a looser non-political but economic arrangement could do that. (This idea was floated by some UK politicians in the 1990s. A variation was recently suggested by the former German President Herzog.) But getting such a fundamental change of direction requires the unanimous agreement of the 28 members. However the rules and institutions of the EU are now so stitched up by a succession of treaties that unstitching them looks a monumental, if not impossible task. It is a 21st C Gordian knot. Who, with the power to do so, will be bold enough to attempt to unravel the knot before someone else comes along to cut the knot?

    • M Davis
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Someone, should cut the knot! The leaders of our Political Parties should all be forced into the position of swearing the absolute truth, in saying exactly what it is that they, personally, want for Britain regarding the EU. If the MSM were as objective as they should be and not so tied up with their own political agendas, they would already be demanding this.

      I think that a huge majority of the British people have just given the ‘Political Elite’ (so to speak), a message but it seems to take forever for them to actually get the message.

      Message to Mr Cameron and the other leaders:
      “YOU work for US”!

  15. Mark B
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    That fleece on the Conservative* ‘Europhile’ Wolf’s back is looking decidedly moth-eaten and threadbare. Time to get a new one, as the current flock is not that easily fooled.

    Its easy for the Europhile parties to unite, they have their little flag with an azure background with it circle of gold stars. The Eurosceptic movement is, as you and Dr. Richard North (EUReferendum) point out, have little in common. But the EP in the grand scheme of things is of little importance, especially when it comes to budgets, eh !?!?!

    I hear that the Commission has demanded from the UK a sum of monies to pay to the illegitimate government of Ukraine. And we were told this thing called the EEC was all about trade and nothing else.

    You do not need a referendum to leave the EU. You just need a Parliament that realizes it become nothing more than a regional power and, to get its sovereignty back, it needs to force the government to issue an Article 50 declaration and begin negotiation to leave the EU.

    UKIP will never have a majority in Parliament, but they may do enough damage to both main parties to force them to rethink their views on the EU.

    * And I said Conservative, not John Redwood MP, so spare me the, “I voted against . . . etc”, please !

    • waramess
      Posted May 31, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      The Conservatives are a Euro Federalist party. Cameron himself admits to it by saying there are no circumstances where he could envisage taking the UKK out of the EU.

      The sheep’s clothing is provided by 100 Euro sceptical MP’s who provide Cameron with the cover needed to portray himself as sceptic whilst out of the other side of his mouth he appeases the Europhiles.

      When Cameron goes another Europhile socialist minded Prime Minister will be voted in and the absorbtion of the UK into a federal Europe will continue.

      On the other hand to suggest UKIP would require an absolute majority of seats in parliament in order to get an OUT vote is a little unimaginative. A good majority of the British electorate voting OUT in a referendum would be very hard for the politicians to ignore which would explain why they will do anything to avoid one.

      Reply You need to support a Conservative government to get the referendum, as Lib and Lab have said no In Out referendum.

  16. Posted May 30, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    It’s not just about whether we trust the PM to deliver a referendum. There is also a lack of trust in the eu to honour agreements in spirit as well as in the letter.

    Despite Tony Blair giving away a large chunk of our money (so called rebate) to the eu, the CAP has hardly been reformed at all. Despite the UK securing a reduced eu budget we are actually paying more (how does that work?). Not only that but they are now asking for more money.

    Securing concessions is worth nothing without a strict timetable and proper follow-through. In short we should not rely on others but keep control ourselves.

    For what it’s worth I would like to see the eu reduced to about a dozen people working on some cross border issues like telecoms and to abolish the single market; ‘free movement’; international ‘courts’; external relations activities; the so called parliament. I would want to repatriate all laws from Brussels so we can decide which to keep, amend or throw out.

    The follow up would be simple: the UK would immediately reduce its contributions to less than £1M pa to pay for the small office that would remain. We would then not be reliant on anybody else to follow through since we can take all the above actions by ourselves.

    Ending up with an agreement that relies on trusting a third party will not, I fear, be worth the paper it is written on.

  17. Hope
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    JR, once more, paragraph 3 “slags off” UKIP even if it subtle. Nevertheless your paragraph is inaccurate. It would not take 326 UKIP MPs. If, as you say, there are about 100 Tory Eurosceptics willing to to vote with conscience rather than the whip.

    You also keep forgetting some of these federalists history and where they have come from ie dictatorships so the alternative of the honey glazed EU or anything else similar would be more appealing. If it so appealing why does the Lib Lab Con cartel not tell the truth about its real ambitions, and why does the cartel have to implement everything by stealth if not to deceive the public? Moreover, why are intelligent people like you not convincing your politicians in parliament or your party that they should be fulfilling what they were elected for,namely to run the country nor implement EU law, regulation and policy. Better still why vote for Cameron to be leader!

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Hope,
      The answer to your final questions is blind party loyalty.
      When it comes to the crunch, they put party before country every time.

      Reply Simply not true

  18. Bert Young
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I sincerely hope that there will be major change in personalities , attitude and agenda in the next few months before the General Election . If that occurs there will be real opportunity for UKIP and the Conservatives to come to a deal ; at the moment there is little chance – Cameron has not shown any tendency to allow mediation to occur . Norman Tebbit has blogged how a pact could be arrived at by selecting seats strategically targeted by UKIP and the Conservatives working together – such an arrangement would kill off any chance of a Labour win and create a large majority Government much more likely to achieve the sort of relationship we all crave with the EU . The electorate do not trust Cameron and the political establishment . The present alignment of voting forces in the EU will prevent any sort of change that would satisfy our need for independence , so we must concentrate on what we can achieve by ourselves ; UKIP ‘s win has shown the way .

  19. Posted May 30, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Mr, Redwood,

    Some time ago, I wrote that I would cease commenting on your posts, because of the apparent manipulation of comment material. I have, however, continued to read your posts and the comments of others.

    Your post today has caused me to change my mind and comment once again.

    To start with, I note that your first comment on the recent elections confines itself to the elections to the European Parliament and makes no mention of the Local Elections which took place on the same day, now over a week ago. Is it, perhaps, because the local results destroy the logic of your argument in this post?

    You make much of an apparent majority of Euroscepticism displayed by E.U. Parliament groupings, allowing you to add the Conservative vote to UKIP’s, but this is obfuscation.
    The Conservative Party is not a party of Eurosceptics, but one with a leader committed to federalism, together with a majority of his membership, who has neither the will nor the intention of changing anything, His claims of re-negotiation of terms is as hollow as his promise of a referendum, already rejected by the E.U.

    You say that we can only withdraw from the E.U. if UKIP has 326 M.P.s in the House of Commons. You still have not recognised the significance of these last elections.

    A majority of the British people have woken up to the way that their politicians have been deceiving them for years, pretending to act in the interests of the nation rather than furthering doctrinaire policies, supporting their friends in the banks and big business and enhancing their careers. The time of reckoning has come.

    Our membership of the E.U. was brought about by lies, was contrary to our constitution and continues contrary to Common Law. To end our membership is the duty of all who have sworn an oath of allegiance to H.M. the Queen. We are not governed by treaty, especially by unconstitutional treaty, We do not need a referendum to decide the truth of the matter. If leaving causes problems, let those who have fostered the law-breaking sort them out.

    John Wrake.

    Reply I will continue to seek an In/Out referendum for the UK voters as I think this is the only way we will be able to do as you wish. UK voters have shown no wish to vote in 326 UKIP MPs at any time in the past, and GE polls imply the same again in 2015. Even on 22 May in a “free hit” election they only got 27%. The Greens also did well on 22 May but that does to my mind mean we suddenly have to adopt a whole range of green policies. Each party has to sort out its own offer to the electors for 2015, and electors in 2015 not only have to weight what they want, but also how they might get it or something closer to it.
    I also wrote about the local elections in Wokingham on the local pages of my site if you are interested in them. Conservatives won 9 seats and Lib Dems one in the 10 Borough seats contested in my constituency. UKIP came a poor third overall in local elections in Wokingham, despite contesting every seat for the first time.

    • Terry
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      ‘UKIP came a poor third overall in local elections in Wokingham, despite contesting every seat for the first time’.

      Isn’t that more a case of the “Singer NOT the song”? That UKIP received any votes in that Tory Stronghold (thanks to you) is amazing in itself.

      Reply I was not a candidate in the locals. I thought they were meant to be about how to run the Council. Various parties stood to offer choice, but people preferred the Conservatives in all but one of the 10 seats, where the Lib Dem won on a good swing to them- it was a seat they held before. I do not think the swing to Lib Dems in Winnersh means people there want more EU, but they did like their Lib Dem Council candidate and her statements.

    • Bob
      Posted May 31, 2014 at 7:24 pm | Permalink


      ” I will continue to seek an In/Out referendum for the UK voters”

      The longer we wait the less likely an out vote will result, because annual migration patterns are changing the demographic, added to which the younger generation have been conditioned to accept the post democratic status that we have sleep-walked into.

      This is the LibLabCon strategy.

  20. JoeSoap
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    “The vote will reaffirm the Conservatives decision to offer a negotiation and a referendum on the result of any negotiation in the next election.”

    How can you say that with a straight face?
    If the Conservatives had kept to their word about a referendum in this Parliament you could have swept up the UKIP votes…

    Reply The official party did not offer an In Out referendum or a referendum on Lisbon in the 2010 Manifesto. Those of us who did individually pledge to one as I did voted for a referendum in 2011 when we moved an amendment to try to get one.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      JR: ” Those of us who did individually pledge to one as I did voted for a referendum in 2011 when we moved an amendment to try to get one.”

      Just so we don’t forget Cameron imposed a 3 line whip to vote against such a referendum and stated in the House of Commons: “The question tonight is whether to add to that by passing legislation in the next Session of this Parliament to provide for a referendum that would include a question on whether Britain should leave the EU altogether. Let me say why I continue to believe that this approach would not be right, why the timing is wrong and how Britain can now best advance our national interests in Europe.”
      Is it any wonder that few people trust Cameron? I certainly would never trust him. He wants to keep us imprisoned in the EU and the Conservative party has a majority in Parliament who think just the same way.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:

      This is precisely your party’s problem – a referendum in this Parliament was promised by individual MP s and strongly implied by the party, which then conveniently ignored it in government (as did the LibDems and they are faring no better). Your website said “you will get your referendum” WITHOUT CAVEATS.

      People want a party which implies, promises or just states that something will happen then delivers it rather than slithers out.

      And for referendum we can also add
      IHT threshold
      Taxes generally
      Immigration numbers (the slitherer will say the numbers are down, referring to non-EU only)

      and so on.

      From last week, you haven’t learned.

  21. David Cockburn
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Your post succinctly describes the dilemma for the UK Eurosceptics. While both are skeptical and probably represent a majority of the population they cannot gain power separately.
    Ukips’ efforts to address this problem by taking more votes from Labour with an anti-immigrant argument is disagreeable to many potential Tory voters.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Why is wanting managed immigration “disagreeable to many potential Tory voters”? Didn’t the last Conservative manifesto include the pledge to reduce net immigration to tens of thousands? That pledge has, of course, been jettisoned as it is impossible to achieve whilst we are members of the EU. What it has meant though is that the Conservative party along with the other triplets( LibDem and Labour) has been prepared to discriminate against immigrants entering this country from any country outside the EU.

  22. Atlas
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    … dealing with the EU is like trying to wade through treacle…

    This Government’s position on the European Arrest Warrant will shortly tell us the reality of Cameron’s ‘Less EU’ protestations.

  23. Robert Taggart
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    As one has before on this blog site – there be no denying there be such a thing as Europe.
    Whether Blighty chooses to be in or out of the EU – it will still be part of Europe.
    Europe has evolved several different outfits over the years to consolidate commonality of approach to many different concerns…
    CE, CSCE, EU, NATO (not exclusively European ofcourse), WEU and more ?

    Europe needs to consolidate further – along with Blighty – but without our wholehearted co-operation !
    Ergo, one European institution covering all matters of political life…
    Culture, Defence, Economics, Education, Environment, External Affairs, Finance, Healthcare, Justice, Transit, Welfare.
    This does not mean Governance by Europe – just common rules – to the furthest extent through National Governments agreement.
    Nations will have the right to decline participation – not to allow this will only cause resentment and possibly worse. Therefore…
    Blighty be likely to be the most bullheaded – John Bull style – hopefully !

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 31, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      “This does not mean Governance by Europe”

      What, you mean we could be “In Europe but not run by Europe”?

      :-)

  24. Alan Wheatley
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    The “EU Problem” for the Conservatives looms large. We see a steady trickle of posts from people who are Conservative by inclination but see their chances of a good result at the next election disappearing down the spout. Hence their heartfelt wish for a pact with UKIP.

    A pact makes no sense in any circumstances short of a fundamental change of Conservative policy on the EU.

    The single most important policy issue for UKIP is to leave the EU; it is the raison detre of the Party. Conservative Party policy is that the UK should remain in the EU. I suppose it is possible that the Conservative Party policy could change to leaving the EU in the event that the intended negotiations turn out to be a disaster as far as achieving better terms are concerned, but that is a long shot, AND in any event the negotiations will not even begin until after the next general election.

    So, for anyone who supports UKIP and it’s policy of leaving the EU any help for the Conservatives is a total non-starter. Why help a party that opposes your most important policy?

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      UKIP would contaminate itself beyond recovery if it came into contact with the Conservatives.

      For a start, it is not just made up of ex conservative voters. It has drawn a good many Labour voters too.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 31, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Well, UKIP members could help or at least not hinder trusted individual members of the Tory party without helping the Tory party as a whole.

  25. Anonymous
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    For the Eurosceptics within the Tory party to have much of an influence the Tory party has to win the next election – with its majority of MPs who are Europhile.

    The party is infested with Europhiles as poor Mrs Thatcher found out to her cost.

    I held my nose and voted tactically (Tory) in 2015 and have been frustrated that I did so ever since. Mass immigration goes on unabated and the PM’s pledge to limit immigration from ‘outside Europe’ has proven to be the deception it was.

    In fact the only choice voters have had for the past thirty years or so is tactical voting. None of the main parties offer the policies that the public really want and all we seem able to do is to vote to keep people we dislike out rather than get people we like in.

    Along comes a party suggesting policies which chime with a great many of the electorate and the Tory party goes into overdrive smearing it.

    I refuse to vote tactically (against my wishes) again. It is intensely dissatisfying and all it achieves is ‘centrist’ politics (which is not actually centrist at all) designed to serve the political elite and not the country nor its people.

    UKIP would be mad to join with the Tory party and risk contaminating itself.

    I truly believe that Mr Cameron would sacrifice power to Labour than give the people what they want.

    Reply Most Conservative MPs are Eurosceptics. The whole Parliamentary party voted against Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon, and has voted this Parliament for a referendum in 2017.
    I do not know how you have managed to vote in 2015 already – time travel must be a great gift. Who won the election?
    The present government has cut non EU immigration and plans to do so further. EU migration needs a change of relationship with the EU which the current Parliament will not let the Conservatives embark on.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      2010 *correction*

  26. The PrangWizard
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    If Scotland votes YES for independence and assuming it becomes so, the UK ceases to exist. Scotland is a new state and so is whatever the remaining nations become together or separately, new states. If Scotland, as has been said, is thus out of the EU as a result, then surely we all are out, unless of course your leader Cameron, creates a new and of course entirely false and fraudulent UK, which will keep the rest of us in. How can he do this anyway? Just how much do you wish to be out of the EU, Mr Redwood, enough to wish Scotland to be independent?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 1, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      We don’t have to break up our country to leave the EU, and nor would breaking up our country create any opportunity to leave which does not already exist, and crucially nor would the present batch of UK politicians want to seize any such new opportunity to leave even if it was created.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted June 6, 2014 at 3:24 am | Permalink

      Logically, both Scotland and the rump UK would have to apply for EU membership because the old UK would no longer exist. Of course, we could simply omit to do so.

  27. Posted May 30, 2014 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Reply to reply at 10.37:

    Mr. Redwood,

    My comments on local election results related to the national picture, which, I suggest, were more significant than the result in Wokingham. You have not referred to the major loss of Conservative seats and the significant gain in UKIP seats overall, which indicate a clear divide between the Parties in the minds of voters.

    You state as your opinion that only an IN/OUT referendum, with a majority for OUT, will achieve what I wish. Your comment that voters have shown no wish to elect 326 UKIP M.P.s in a G.E. in the past is disingenuous at best, because you know that UKIP has not been in a position to put up a fraction of that number as candidates and is completely irrelevant to the present situation. You continue to use past Party strengths as a measure for future action. I repeat, 22 May has shown that things are now different. As an example, voters in the Wealden Constituency in the E.U. election (considered safe Tory territory) turned a Tory majority of 16,000 last time, into a UKIP majority of 1,600.

    I ask you a direct question, since as a former Minister, you will have made your oath of allegiance to Her Majesty.Hhow do you reconcile that oath with membership of a Party committed to maintaining a relationship with a foreign government under a Treaty which has removed Her Majesty’s sovereignty?

    John Wrake.

    Reply The national figures for local elections showed Labour making large gains, not UKIP. UKIP does not run a single Council, and came fourth in seats. I live in a democracy where against my advice and vote the British people decided to accept the Treaty of Rome.

  28. Max Dunbar
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    On a recent visit to Germany, I was able to observe Professor Lucke of Alternative for Deutchland canvassing in the centre of a large eastern town. He spoke well but without the raw edged force of Farage. A covered raised platform with a powerful pa system was employed. A local AforD candidate also spoke. There were a few scuffles with the police from a handful of the usual suspects but the speakers completely ignored these distractions and were well received by a large crowd of passers-by.
    I also noted that there was a plethora of electioneering boards of great variety attached to lamp posts and railings. This is something that one does not see any more in Glasgow and a number of other council zones in Scotland. They were banned after the last Euro elections in areas where the BNP had been active.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      I should also add that there was a question and answer session for the public and that those who were especially interested could meet Professor Lucke personally if they wished, and quite a number of people appeared to be keen to exploit this opportunity.

  29. Iain Gill
    Posted May 30, 2014 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Just been to a party hosted by a Romanian. She voted UKIP, does this tell you anything?

  30. JoeSoap
    Posted May 31, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Well you seem to be on the opposite side of the fence to Major again. From his interview today:

    “Frankly [those calling for Britain to leave the EU] are wrong. Much of this publicity about that is absolute nonsense. We would lose free access to the single market … we’d have to pay for access to the single market.
    “How much inwards investment coming into this country, John, that’s currently helping our economy grow faster than it’s grown in over a decade comes here just for our pretty blue eyes? And how much of it comes here because through Britain they have access to the single market and the European Union as a whole?”

    These grandees will trump your efforts in your party. Time to head for the door.

  31. sm
    Posted May 31, 2014 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Under QMV will the UK be allowed to leave the EU post a 2017 vote?, even with a vote of parliament could they be legally overuled?

    Surely it would make sense to exit prior to QMV taking effect and complicating things.

    If we left the EU before the next election it would cease to be an issue.

    It would mean the EU Federalists would then have to honestly gain the consent of the people.

    In the referendum perhaps we need to revisit those allowed to vote.

    If Scotland exits the UK union that should trigger an immediate exit from the EU and if they stay a full resolution of the West Lothian question and other divisive policies.

  32. John Wilkin
    Posted May 31, 2014 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    AfD have applied to join the ECR group and sit with the Conservatives
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b85e295e-e816-11e3-9cb3-00144feabdc0.html#axzz33J1P2Bps

  33. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 3, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    The BBC haven’t updated their poll of polls data since 7th May. I wonder why not. Nevertheless, I found a web site – ELECTORAL CALCULUS – that contains the average of 7 polls which sampled between 9th May and 30th May. The averages are:

    Con 32.0% / Lab 34.3% / LibDem 8.4% / UKIP `5.7% / Others 9.6%

    What has happened is:
    (1) Between the 2010 election and May 2012, there was a conventional mid-term anti-government swing from Con and LibDem to Labour.
    (2) Between May 2012 and May 2014, there has mainly been a swing from Labour to UKIP, with the Conservative poll % more or less unchanged.

    The conclusion is that Labour support is soft but the Conservative Party is not so far getting the benefit. My opinion is that this has to do with the presence in the Conservative Party of ‘Tory Wets’, pro-European Conservative MPs and candidates who are not too keen on capitalism and who still punch above their weight.

    What is needed is for the Eurosceptic Conservative MPs to assert their authority, to say that following the recent election results “We are the masters now.” They need to define the Prime Minister’s negotiating mandate and the red lines, to say “You need to deliver, this, this, this and this, or it’s OUT – no ifs, no buts.”

    Given that this Autumn is the last opportunity for a Conservative leadership challenge, the Eurosceptic Conservative MPs have only a few months to get this right. Much though I would love to harbour delusions of grandeur that it is me that matters, the truth is that only Conservative MPs and candidates can deliver.

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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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