The UK is no pariah

 

The recent reactions to Mr Cameron losing a vote in the EU sum up one of the main reasons so many UK people do not like the way the EU  works. It is not democratic. Opposition is  condemned and public disagreements are unacceptable to the true believers. What we need is an open and active opposition within the EU constantly challenging the need for new laws and the form those laws take. Instead we have a conveyor belt to federal control, a machine for putting all of human life under EU law.

In the UK the Labour minority in Parliament regularly disagree with the government, push it to a vote and lose. The media do  not then run endless stories saying “Labour isolated” or ” Labour a pariah”. When Labour do it they are simply doing their job of providing opposition. Often I think them wrong in their view, but I think them right to press it to a full argument and vote. Occasionally  I agree with them. Opposition gives MPs choices day by day, and gives the public choices election by election.

The UK’s view that we want to trade, be friends and have scope for political co-operation with other EU countries  happens to be our view as a country. No serious party now recommends joining the Euro or stands on a platform of more EU law and more EU control of our affairs. It is therefore imperative that our leaders put the UK view in EU Councils. It does not make us a pariah. It simply means the UK is a democratic country which wishes to be largely self governing. Judging  by the comments of others after the Juncker vote we are not alone anyway. There are forces within all the main EU countries that think the EU presumes and does too much, and there are forces within other member states governments that recognise the lack of democratic accountability in the way decisions are often taken by the EU.

I understand those parties peoples and countries that want to create a United States of Europe whose democratic accountability will come from its own elected Parliament. We are not there yet, as member states governments and Heads of government still have more democratic legitimacy and accountability than the various blocs of votes in the European Parliament.  We are arguing over how the hybrid structure we have today can work, and how it can straddle the wishes of those who want a United States of Europe and those people and countries like the UK who do not.

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66 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    The EU is clearly set up to be totally anti-democratic, with a superficial but largely meaningless (but very expensive) democratic veneer of MEPs. Indeed there is not even a sensible Demos with many common interests or a common language.

    It is largely about well paid jobs for career bureaucrats, types who have usually been rejected by voters such as Lord Patten, Lord Leon Brittan, Lord Kinnock, Cameron? types. A conspiracy between the bureaucrats (and large multinational business) to enslave the populous and enrich themselves. Also about the over regulation of almost everything, to create more and more pointless (but well paid) parasitic jobs for parasites in regulation and licencing, taxing and public mugging activities.

    Reply Brittan and Cameron were not rejected by voters.

    • Hope
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Come on JR, who are you kidding in para. 3 of your blog? This is spin. Cameron allowed £18 million pounds of taxpayer money to promote closer union to the Eau, you were at the debate. Cameron opted into the Eau arrest warrant in the last few weeks. Allowed fiscal pact without anything in return. And so it goes on. Clarke is a member of hue he government is has already countered Cameron, Heseltine and Major are part of the Tory party and still think the UK will join the Euro. They demonstrated to me they would put the EU before party when they stood on a platform with Blair to advance their point.

      JR, it does not wash.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      Cameron threw the last sitting duck election with his EU ratting and Clegg on TV and seems determined to do it again against the hapless Miliband. Brittany surely would have been rejected had he had the chance.

      Even if we get all the vague stuff Cameron has not really set for negotiation, it is clearly no where near enough to want stay in the EU.

  2. Mark B
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    John Redwood MP said;
    “What we need is an open and active opposition within the EU . . . “

    Err, no ! The is the way it is because, that is they way the Europeans like it.

    Have you ever stopped to ask yourself Mr. Redwood MP sir, whether or not other member states actually want to be part of a Federal Europe ?

    From a Continental European point of view, whatever the short comings of the EU, they, and indeed we, have signed up and negotiated the treaties / rules by which we are now governed and, if you do not like it, tough – LEAVE !!!!

    And the ONLY way, and it is, the ONLY way, to do that and seek a new relationship based on trade and cooperation, is to invoke Article 50. Referendums are not worth a bad of excrement to the Continentals. To them, you are either in or, OUT !!!!

    • Bob
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      @Mark B

      “And the ONLY way, and it is, the ONLY way, to do that and seek a new relationship based on trade and cooperation, is to invoke Article 50.”

      Article 50 would be a poor second choice. The most effective method would be to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act.

      Article 50 would place the terms of our departure into the hands of the EU, whereas repealing the European Communities Act would get us out on our terms. We could then decide which EU legislation we would wish to keep and which to lose.

    • Hope
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Merkel made it clear in her press conference closer union would apply to all 28 states. She also made it clear this selection process will be the way forward. Therefore heads of government are ignored as well as the populations of the nation states. What part does the Tory party not get?

    • APL
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Mark: “Err, no !”

      Seconded.

      JR: “What we need is an open and active opposition within the EU . . . “

      Prominent Tory Eurosceptic advocates further integration of the UK into the EU.

      Dog bites man story.

  3. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    JR: ” We are arguing over how the hybrid structure we have today can work, and how it can straddle the wishes of those who want a United States of Europe and those people and countries like the UK who do not.”
    It cannot work and you must know that those who want a United States of Europe will never compromise – the “project” must achieve its goal. When you say “we are arguing” do you include yourself? I thought that the structure we have today was considered by you and your party as unacceptable and if powers cannot be returned to the UK then we should leave. Sounds as though you are softening your position – not surprising as it was reported that at your meeting with Shapps before the EU elections you took the lead in pledging loyalty and not rocking the boat after UKIP won the election. Party or country which is it to be?

    Reply Two lies about me in one piece! I have made clear I want a referendum and want out of the current treaties and arrangements. What do you not understand about that? Why do you always want to criticise people who are trying to get you what you the right to decide this issue?

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      What I don’t understand is how you can support a party whose leadership and the majority of its MPs are determined to keep the UK in the EU regardless of the terms.Cameron’s ploy is a re-run of Wilson’s deception in 1975. Sir Malcolm Rifkind was laughingly introduced as a Eurosceptic Conservative MP on Newsnight last Friday, when asked how he would vote in a referendum if there were no changes to the current terms of membership he, without hesitation, said he would vote to stay in. That is the position of most of your colleagues – you know it and yet you play along with their charade.

  4. alan jutson,
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Just returned after a two week holiday in France and am pleased Mr Cameron stood his ground and voted for what he thought right.

    I have to say I thought the coverage by the BBC of the events (the only coverage we saw whilst away) and the reporting of its presenters of the situation was rather pathetic, and one sided as usual.
    Do they not want our government to stand up for the UK !
    Do they want us to capitulate totally to the EU !

    So Mr Cameron lost a vote, but perhaps he at last is beginning to see the problems in Europe first hand himself.

    I wish him well with his future renegotiations (if it ever happens) but suspect he will return with so little, that he may then have a magic moment and realise we are better out after all, and campaign for that result in the end.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      His heart and soul will, I suspect, never let him come to an out conclusion he has alas LibDem genes.

  5. Chris S
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    On the 14th November 2014 there will be a dramatic loss of UK sovereignty when we will lose our right of veto across a massive range of policy issues decided at EU level when they switch to qualified majority voting. These are :

    Initiatives of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Administrative co-operation – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Asylum – Nice: QMV; Lisbon: QMV
    Border controls – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Citizens’ initiative regulations – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Civil protection – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Committee of the Regions – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Common defence policy – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Crime prevention incentives – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Criminal judicial co-operation – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Criminal law – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Culture – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Diplomatic & Consular protection – Nice: Unanimity Lisbon: QMV
    Economic & Social Committee – Nice: QMV Lisbon: QMV
    Emergency international aid – Nice: Unanimity Lisbon: QMV
    Energy – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    EU budget – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Eurojust – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    European Central Bank – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    European Court of Justice – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Europol – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Eurozone external representation – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV

    Foreign Affairs High Representative election – Lisbon: QMV
    Freedom of movement for workers – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Freedom to establish a business – Nice: Unanimity Lisbon QMV
    Freedom, security, justice, co-operation & evaluation – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Funding the Common Foreign & Security Policy – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    General economic interest services – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Humanitarian aid – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Immigration – Nice: QMV; Lisbon: QMV
    Intellectual property – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Organisation of the Council of the EU – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Police co-operation – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    President of the European Council election – Lisbon: QMV
    Response to natural disasters & terrorism – Lisbon: QMV
    Rules concerning the Armaments Agency – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Self-employment access rights – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Social Security Unanimity – Nice: QMV; Lisbon: QMV
    Space – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Sport – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Structural & Cohension Funds – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Tourism – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Transport – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV
    Withdrawal of a member state – Lisbon: QMV

    In the current climate this is something we surely need to stop. Things have moved on from Lisbon which was distinguished by Brown signing the treaty all on his own in an attempt to keep it from the British public.

    There is a clear majority here saying that the transfer of powers has already gone too far so calling a halt now, in anticipation of the renegotiation, is logical.

    • matthu
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      It is probably worth pointing out that the only reason David Cameron has been so keen to emphasise how he managed single-handedly to veto the EU Budget last year … is because he will never manage to be able to do it again as it moves to QMV.

      Never again will the UK be able to veto the EU Budget.

      And please explain how withdrawal of a member state can be subject to QMV?
      What does that mean?

      Have our MPs tried to explain any of this to the electorate? Tried to explain whether any of this is beneficial to us?

      John: here’s your opportunity!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        The annual budget has been decided by QMV from the start; it is only the Multiannual Financial Framework where each member state has a veto, and, no, that will not disappear on November 1st.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      The hare keeps running, with ordinary batteries it would have stopped long ago but with these superior batteries charged up with suspicion it keeps going …

      On November 1st there will be a change to the system used for QMV, which will probably work to our disadvantage, but there will be no extension of QMV to new areas of decision making where it does not already apply.

      All the vetoes directly abolished by the Lisbon Treaty went when that treaty came into force on December 1st 2009, they are not still hanging around waiting to be abolished when a delayed action clause kicks in on November 1st 2014, because there is no delayed action clause in the treaties to do that.

      For example:

      “Space – Nice: Unanimity; Lisbon: QMV”

      is connected with what was a new Article 189 TFEU in the present treaties as amended by the Lisbon Treaty:

      http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.C_.2010.083.01.0001.01.ENG#C_2010083EN.01001301

      “Article 189

      1. To promote scientific and technical progress, industrial competitiveness and the implementation of its policies, the Union shall draw up a European space policy. To this end, it may promote joint initiatives, support research and technological development and coordinate the efforts needed for the exploration and exploitation of space.

      2. To contribute to attaining the objectives referred to in paragraph 1, the European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall establish the necessary measures, which may take the form of a European space programme, excluding any harmonisation of the laws and regulations of the Member States.

      3. The Union shall establish any appropriate relations with the European Space Agency.

      4. This Article shall be without prejudice to the other provisions of this Title.”

      Where it says “… the European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure …” that means a simple majority in the Parliament and a qualified majority in the Council of ministers, and it’s called the “ordinary” procedure because that is what it has now become, most decisions are already made by QMV in the Council; and that already applies NOW to space in Article 189 TFEU; there is no veto NOW, there isn’t a veto on that waiting to be abolished on November 1st.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      And as for:

      “Withdrawal of a member state – Lisbon: QMV”

      Article 50 TEU on the voluntary withdrawal of a member state can also be read at that link, and the use of QMV is only for the remaining member states to decide their common position for the negotiation of an agreement with the withdrawing state to apply after it has withdrawn.

      It is NOT a vote on whether that member state can leave; and in any case even if it proved impossible to conclude a withdrawal agreement the EU treaties would automatically cease to apply to the withdrawing state after two years, unless all the parties agreed to extend that period for further negotiations.

    • alan jutson,
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Chris S

      A big list indeed !

      Do I hear the key to the referendum lock being placed in position, ready for giving us a referendum on giving away more powers to the EU.

      Or

      Is it the noise of squeaky floorboards as our politicians try to tip toe away silently from the front/red line.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        No, because all those vetoes went when the Lisbon Treaty came into force, nearly two years before the “referendum lock” was put in place.

    • matthu
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      These are evidently the sort of “minor” transfers of power brought about by the Lisbon Treaty that none of the three main political parties felt worthwhile bringing to the attention of the electorate or subsequently putting to a referendum.

      These are some of the changes Gordon Brown secretly signed into law as a last act of defiance before being booted out of No. 10, that Cameron and Clegg subsequently acquiesced to.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        The ones which are true were not a secret, there were numerous articles pointing out how many vetoes would be abolished by the Lisbon Treaty and attempting to count them – 68, according to this:

        http://en.euabc.com/upload/Final_Tables_by_Klaus_Heeger_pdf.pdf

        And all of them have already gone, they are not lingering in some death row waiting for their final despatch on November 1st.

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I see that Alexander Stubb, Prime Minister of Finland has said “In the U.K. some people really seriously need to wake up and smell the coffee. The EU is a very good thing for the United Kingdom. Over 50 percent of the trade of the U.K. goes to the EU… if that is to be cut off, I think the continent will be cut off seriously.” However, he added that he believed the tensions with the U.K. were salvageable. “David Cameron is a very principled man and he has felt strongly that Juncker is a little bit too federalist for his liking. But I think we can all make amends. I think we can all solve the situation,”

    How deluded can you be:-
    “a bit too federalist” as opposed just to Cameron federalist light I suppose
    “Cameron is a very principled man” – well he got the gender of the serial ratter right, has he ever heard of Maria Millar or David Laws? Does he think the long grass EU renegotiation ruse is principled?
    50% of UK trade goes to the EU – no it doesn’t, but even if it did so what? We import far more anyway? Will this lie become perhaps 55%? should Scotland leaves the Union?

    • Hope
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Hannan made it clear how ports in Ireland Amsterdam etc, for onwards transportation of exports to the rest of the world distorts the figures to the EU. Europhiles always use this lie just like the 3 million job lie. What is shocking is that the Tory led government does not correct this fabrication.

  7. matthu
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    None of us wants a conveyor belt to federal control, a machine for putting all of human life under EU law.

    But that is why it is so concerning to read Nigel Lawson’s view of what is likely to happen.

    From The Independent: Is it possible, I ask, if Cameron wins the next election but gets little out of renegotiating k Britain’s deal with Brussels, that he might change his position and argue in the 2017 referendum to leave the EU?

    Lawson’s response will cause consternation in Downing Street: “He might do a Harold Wilson – whether the public will believe it as they did in 1975 is another matter. What Harold Wilson did, and David Cameron is following in his footsteps, he said that he didn’t agree with the terms that Ted Heath had negotiated, he was going to renegotiate the terms and then put it to the people in a referendum. Through the long renegotiation, we got absolutely damn all – indeed, I doubt there’s anyone alive today who can remember what he did get out of it, it was so trivial – but he presented it as a great success, and people bought it. I think David Cameron could try to do the same; he will get very little and he will present it as something.”

    Perhaps he could at least threaten to withdraw in the run-up – that’s his final card in a way? “Yes, but he hasn’t. That is what’s surprising, that he’s made it quite clear that he doesn’t want to exit, which doesn’t strengthen his negotiating hand… If David Cameron had said, ‘Well I’m not sure how to vote, it depends on what I am able to negotiate’ – that would have been a stronger hand. But he’s actually made it clear he’s going to vote for ‘in’ irrespective, so he has no negotiating hand to speak of.”

    Lawson believes that the British people will vote to remain in the EU in 2017, but will then “bitterly regret it” and leave later on.

    I cannot bring myself to support a leader so seemingly bent on a path leading to bitter regret, and yet even a mind as astute as Lawson’s considers this the most likely outcome of Cameron leading us to a vote in 2017.

  8. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    As far as the EU is concerned most of the British people are living in a fantasy world, JR, a kind of Matrix created by the politicians with the aid of compliant and often lazy and incompetent journalists and commentators.

    Things are rarely as they are presented, and sometimes the reality is the opposite of what the public is being told, but because people are so busy with their everyday concerns – family, work, mortgages, schools etc – the politicians can get away with it time and time again; and as most of them are morally deficient they have no scruples about duping those they are supposed to be representing and whose interests they are supposed to be protecting.

    They may be better dressed and better spoken than the shysters they themselves sometimes warn us against, those who go round door to door trying the swindle the elderly and vulnerable, but morally most of the politicians we foolishly keep electing are no better, they too are unscrupulous shysters.

    There are of course exceptions, Honourable Members who really are honourable, but they are few and far between; and among those who succeed in climbing the greasy pole to the level of Right Honourable there are even fewer who are honourable.

    And that is why when I look at the predicament of ordinary British people regarding the depredations of the EU I lay far more blame on our elected politicians, of all three old parties, than I lay on the politicians elected by the peoples of other countries.

    • Hope
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Excellent post.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely, Denis. And coming from a highly esteemed commenter such as yourself that’s gotta hurt – even one of the few honourable Honourable Members.

      So long as it is a Michael Hesseltine Tory party then it is no good those who want out – those who voted Tory in the EU elections, because they were promised a referendum, have not been counted . The ‘Eurosceptic’ feeling in the UK is described as ‘a large minority’ of people. Because many Eurosceptic votes are now hidden. What did they vote for ? Pro EU Cameron ? Or did they vote for an EU referendum ? We’ll never know if they’re a ‘minority’ or not.

      Were the votes of those tricked into voting for Ukip-a-like parties (created to split the Ukip vote) counted and added to gauge the swell of anti EU feeling ? Nope. Has there been any attempt to evaluate how many people voted Tory because they see it as the only way out ? Again. Nope.

      What a shabby way to treat people.

      Cameron’s 2017 referendum is a dodgy ‘post dated cheque’ promised because Mr Cameron probably won’t get in 2015 – as Peter Hitchens says today.

      • Excalibur
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

        Two predictions. The Scots will vote to remain in the United Kingdom in September, and a majority will vote to remain in the EU in 2017.

  9. Timaction
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I agree with your arguments but unfortunately since 1972 we have had one after another legacy party making claims in public that are at best disingenuous but in reality outright lies to their true intentions on the political union now known as the EU. It was created to get a United States of Europe by stealthy incremental Treaty changes, so not to frighten or worry the sheeple. Are you suggesting the Conservatives didn’t know this? They signed us up to various treaties including Maastricht. Cameron had an opportunity to amend the Lisbon Treaty in 2010 but chose not to. He has also signed us up for the EU arrest warrant (Like marriage, wrecking habeas corpus in one stroke) whilst claiming it to be a means of fighting terrorism!
    I’m afraid the legacy parties cannot be trusted on the EU. They have been sadly wanting for a very long time. With the advent of the internet your goose is cooked as the mainstream press can be bypassed to spread the truth not lies and spin. We want our Country back. Sovereignty and democracy returned to these shores and our borders secured. The Legacy parties are incapable of doing this as they would have to tell the truth and apologise for their lies over generations. We don’t want over 70% of our laws imposed by unelected foreign dictators. Simples.

    • Bob
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      @Timeaction

      “They signed us up to various treaties including Maastricht. Cameron had an opportunity to amend the Lisbon Treaty in 2010 but chose not to. He has also signed us up for the EU arrest warrant (Like marriage, wrecking habeas corpus in one stroke) whilst claiming it to be a means of fighting terrorism!”

      It’s all about subverting the nation state, and the Tories are at the forefront of creating the new EUtopia.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      I know someone who was working in Parliament on the day of the signing the Maastricht Treaty.

      A jubilant Neil Kinnock burst into the corridor and exclaimed, “This is a GREAT day, lads ! Remember it for as long as you live !”

      Remember. This was under a Tory government.

  10. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    “I understand those parties peoples and countries that want to create a United States of Europe whose democratic accountability will come from its own elected Parliament.”

    In which you must include all three of the old parties in this country, JR, even though two of them may pretend otherwise.

    And it is understandable that they do so pretend, because when the leader of the third thought that it would be a good idea to publicly crush the UKIP leader in televised debates it was he who got crushed, and it was his party that lost more support rather than recovering any as he had hoped.

    Last week there was an Open Europe article about some frankly barmy views expressed by Lord Owen on the matter of the President of the EU Commission, which suggests that he has been asleep for several decades while successive British governments involving all three parties have willingly gone along with a eurofederalist agenda even while one of them has loudly protested its opposition to eurofederalism:

    http://www.openeuropeblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/lord-owen-legislate-to-ensure.html

    And you can see my impatient comment on that article and his letter to Dominic Grieve, starting with:

    “For crying out loud”

    and continuing:

    “If Lord Owen wants to see the UK primary legislation which approved the original increase in the powers of the EU Parliament in this respect then here it is … ”

    with the link to the 1993 Act which approved the Maastricht Treaty.

    With this level of thinking being displayed by one of our respected elder statesmen, previously an MP and a Foreign Secretary and a party leader, and now an unelected legislator-for-life, it is perhaps no great surprise that we have got into a mess.

    • Hope
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Excellent.

    • APL
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Denis Cooper: “For crying out loud”

      It’s starting to look as if the 650 or so in the Commons, and the 760 or so who sit in the Lords are so utterly ignorant of the implications of the legalisation they have passed there may be a case of misfeasance in public office to answer.

      Of course, since they’d appoint themselves or their cronies to judge the case …

  11. Andyvan
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    In the end it’s squabble about who gets to run the tax farm. The cattle get little or no say in it as evidenced by all the referendums that are ignored or rerun until they get the “right” result. Stubb is right, we should wake up and smell the coffee. We are watching the same old game that used to be played by kings and nobility, then demagogues and lunatics now suited gangsters pretending to be leaders and statesmen. They let us think we have a say in how we are ruled because it makes us more productive and willing to endure higher taxes. It certainly isn’t because they believe we should be free.

    • Gary
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Isn’t it pitiful? The sheep have been well trained. Squabbling over who will have them for dinner.

    • Hope
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Good analogy.

    • Alan
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      You provide a thought-provoking description of our leaders, but I think probably a bit harsh. I suspect most of them are people who are interested in how our country (or the EU) should be run – which is after all an interesting problem – and somebody does have to do that job.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, but I do not think that is quite what Stubb meant by wake up and smell the coffee.

  12. cosmic
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    “What we need is an open and active opposition within the EU constantly challenging the need for new laws and the form those laws take.”

    It keeps coming back to an often forgotten, but fundamental point made by Enoch Powell years ago, that the EU cannot be democratic because there’s no EU demos.

    Certainly the notion of pan-EU political parties representing strains of thought within the EU rather than different approaches to national politics hasn’t really taken off, despite the attempts with groupings in the EP, etc. People don’t look to the EP as their parliament, which is part of the reason why turnouts for Euro elections are so low, across the EU. They certainly don’t look to EP groupings as their parties or in any way important.

    So what we do have is an artificial construct set up to achieve a goal by stealth and deliberately avoiding permission, which has elections to a largely toothless assembly. Opposition to its agenda has been deliberately designed out.

    The only way this thing can straddle the wishes of those who want further integration and those who don’t is some sort of two tier structure, but essentially this is going to be taking those who don’t want political integration (the basic aim of the project) in that direction, but more slowly and more stealthily.

    The only sensible options regarding the EU are to be in it, and go along with its objective of integration, or to be out of it

  13. Bryan
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Yesterday Mr Miliband repeated the lie, many times, that if we left the EU then 3 million jobs would be at risk and tens of thousands of companies could go out of business.

    Today he called the Prime Minister a ‘clear and present danger’ to the economy.

    Does he not understand the implication in the use of such words?

    Is anybody in Her Majesty’s Opposition actually batting for the UK?

  14. ian wragg
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    John, a neighbour tells me her Grand Daughter cannot be enrolled in the local school until the school knows how many immigrants they have to cater for. She has been given a place in a village 4 miles away which is under subscribed although she lives on the same street as her local Primary.
    We saw the article about a 95 year old lady being bumped from her surgery because of the pressure from immigration. Why are we not surprised UKIP is doing so well.

  15. The Prangwizard
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    And the broadcast media too, not just the BBC, trotting out with the ‘isolated’ line. Cliché after cliché. Poor journalism. Sloppy journalism. Biased journalism.

  16. mick
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I for one don`t believe a word what Mr Cameron says, what happened to the “i will bring the referendum forward if Mr Juncker is elected “from the Mail 2nd June 2014, and all you so called anti EU fall into line behind him saying what a wonderful job he did, well he did`nt and the people of this once great country wont be fooled by him or any body else in your party.

  17. Bob
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink


    “No serious party now recommends joining the Euro or stands on a platform of more EU law and more EU control of our affairs.”

    Is that a sideswipe at the Lost Deposit Party Lib Dem Party?

    Is so then I agree, but I was streets ahead because I’ve never considered them to be a serious party, they only ever survived on protest votes.

    BTW, have the Tories got any ideas to counter ukip’s plan to abolish IHT?

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      Bob – The Lib Dems got into government with less support than UKIP have. The Greens can get an MP but UKIP can’t.

      Just what sort of democracy is this ???

      Reply One where you win if you have the most votes in an election in any given seat! In 2010 UKIP got just 3% overall and got nowhere near getting the most votes in any individual seat. They also lost to the Lib Dems at Eastleigh more recently, and to the Conservatives in Newark.

  18. Neil Craig
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    While it is true that no serious party (the SNP not being serious) recommends joining the euro or increasing the EU’s powers there is reason not to trust to what they say.

    All 3 parties in Westminster stood on a platform of a referendum over the Lisbon Treaty and all 3 broke their promises. The Libs, most of Labour and some Tories wanted to join the euro right up till the crisis and to hear them talk this never happened.

  19. Duyfken
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I think that “we” do not need “an open and active opposition within the EU”, unlike that as suggested by JR. Rather we need to acknowledge that the Continental Europeans being those occupying the positions of power within the EU, will never allow that—their needs and aspirations lie in a different direction. Why so many in this country fail to comprehend the uselessness of trying to change an EU set on becoming a federalist state, is extraordinary.

    JR has nailed his flag to the mast of renegotiation. Misguided though I think this to be, it is doubtless a policy followed with good intentions, but it provides procrastination sine die – still kicking the benighted can down that cursed road. Rather than this achieving anything worthwhile, it just delays the time when the British nation can exercise its collective will whether to remain in the EU or to withdraw.

    But any referendum will not just be a matter of the status quo versus withdrawal. Were an “IN” vote to win, the consequences would not be simply to carry on as before. No, that would allow and encourage the dictatorial oligarchy in Brussels to push through all matter of legislation, in the knowledge that any objections stemming from Britain would be even more ineffectual than as at present.

    There being no likely majority in parliament to repeal the European Communities Act, it seems (to me) the best way forward is to coerce Cameron into taking an executive decision by invoking Article 50. The professed “eurosceptics” in parliament need to up their game and apply real pressure – not simply talk about what should be done.

    Reply I am seeking as many ways as possible to bring pressure. People write into this site asserting all we need to do is to invoke Article 50 or repeal the 1072 Act. I am well aware of these routes for getting us out, but there is no majority for either measure in the current Commons, so we have to do something else awaiting the Election.

  20. Roger Farmer
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    You say ” we wish to be self governing”, but we are not and every day that we remain in the political construct of the EU so our self governance diminishes. You know this, and increasingly the people of the UK are becoming more and more aware of it. Even cast iron Cameron must be aware after last weeks lesson in totalitarianism.
    Any talk of meaningful re-negotiation is pure fantasy. First because the EU will not sanction it, and second because Cameron will not be there to put any referendum into effect in 2017. I for one am getting tired of this Fred Carno’s that you find yourself part of, and the performance of the other two parties is abysmal. It is about time you all in the Westminster bubble responded to the incoming.

  21. Robert Taggart
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Nothing wrong with being a ‘pariah’ – not when you have right on your side.
    Know what tha means Johnny ? – 1995 and all that ?? !

  22. Alan
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Surely there is room for debate over whether the European Parliament or the European Council best represents the views of the people? The Parliament contains representatives elected by proportional representation – a good way of seeing what proportion of the people prefer each party, even if it does have numerous disadvantages. The Council contains one representative from each nation so that Luxembourg – population about 550,000 – has the same number of votes as the UK – population about 60,000,000. That’s not democratic.

    And I wouldn’t advise EU sceptics to be too hopeful that a referendum in 2017, if it comes at all, will provide the answer they want. By then we will have had three years of reminders of WWI, more than enough to make people appreciate that a Europe of separate nations is not a good idea. I think we should be in the EU and do what we can to make it successful.

    • David Price
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 4:47 am | Permalink

      “I think we should be in the EU and do what we can to make it successful.”

      I cannot reconcile myself tho this view. The primary goal of our representatives and civil servants must be to do what makes our country successful and what is best for our citizens. If they are incapable of doing that or do not believe that is should be their goal then they in the wrong job.

      Or would you have us believe that every other EU country’s representatives doesn’t put their own interests first?

      • Alan
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:32 am | Permalink

        It’s entirely possible, in my view, for each nation to put its own interests first and still be in the EU. Interests of different nations do not have to clash: very often the best outcome for two nations is a policy that benefits both.

        And we need to remember that we are not good at forecasting the future in any detail. Countries often pursue policies that turn out not to be in their best interests. The general principle that it is better to be taking part in making decisions about the continent than to leave it to others seems to me more likely to have positive outcomes than refusing to take part because we dislike many detailed policies the outcome of which we do not really know.

        • David Price
          Posted June 30, 2014 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

          For a long time we have been treated with nothing but contempt while having our pockets picked. Time to call a halt.

          I really have no interest at all in what is good for the EU, any altruistic tendancy I might have had was negated by the arrogance of the bureacrats and EUphiles long ago.

  23. acorn
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Fog in Channel, Continent Isolated! About seventy years later, nothing has changed on our side of the channel except, our politicians have all got firsts in being unapologetic pompous and arrogant; always prepared to jump in front of a TV camera and twat it.

    Never mind, the next leader of the Conservative Party, Minister Mr J Hunt, accused some EU leaders of “cowardice” for backing Mr Juncker’s appointment. He said they would have to “work much harder” to persuade the UK that the EU could change.

    The health secretary also said there had been a “sea change” in the wider debate and that EU leaders “desperately” wanted the UK to remain a member and would be open to “concessions and compromises”. (BBC). Unfortunately Jeremy, I think you will find that would require us to join the Euro Area, which both the French and the Germans know we won’t do; they actually don’t want us to, that would mess up the great eternal plan.

    How to win friends and influence people.

  24. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    As your blog today mentions “EU” (of which I’m part) 15 times, allow me as a foreigner but EU citizen to again give a reaction:
    I largely agree with what you write today. I believe there will be more opposition in the European Parliament (EP) over the next five years, which is a good thing. Your own party (ECR, Mr Callanan) was also opposed to the naming of Spitzenkandidaten, but the opposition in the EP was relatively small. In Dutch history (I assume as in British history) there have been more ‘power-grabs’ by our parliament, never much liked by kings and queens and governments, but happening nonetheless. I see it as developing democracy (I know some people respectfully see this differently from me).
    Of course the UK is anything but a pariah. My concerns are different, they are about Cameron’s attitude and strategy. The strategy ended in unintended failure. As far as I’m concerned (Klaus era, december 2011 summit) not the first time. I now personally believe that, by design or failure, Cameron will actually take Britain out of the EU, if he gets another go at the helm in 2015. Will the three giants I once suggested (US, City, UK big businesses), and the potential EU allies think the same? What will the Scots think, if the man who appears on no ballot paper anywhere in Scotland, is going to take them out of the EU?? :)
    Another approach had been possible. Take Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime-minister. I never ever have heard him say anything negative about Juncker as a person or politician. Cameron, following Farage, believes that he has to be very outspoken. Rutte, unlike Geert Wilders, will always be careful about what he states in public. And at the summit, he largely got, what he hoped to achieve with others:
    First talk about agenda- and priority setting, leave the persons for afterwards; EC priority on fewer areas; focus on jobs and competitiveness, more flexibility for SMEs; closer involvement of national parliaments; single market for services; digital single market; more and stricter application of subsidiarity.
    At this moment, Britain is only a partial EU-member (no Schengen, no euro, no judicial cooperation etc.), although with full power. Rejoining EFTA is of course possible (I don’t expect Iceland or Norway to prevent that), but Britain’s standing is worth a more à la carte (customised) relationship with the EU. It will not be able to retain all its present decision power as EU member.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted June 29, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      PvL–Was that a joke about our retaining all our decision-making power? I can understand that from your perspective (a small country part of a big land bloc and with all the history) what you say is how it looks to you but so many of us here cannot begin to understand what it all has to do with us. Suppose the Continental bloc had moved faster to unison (and without us) and was now a single country, why (as with anywhere else in the world) should we anticipate trouble dealing with (or without) that country? As I say we just do not understand. Nicholas Ridley was right and we should have just let you get on with it–but without frightening the horses . Our decision making power is a good working definition of zero and we, certainly I, don’t want any anyway–it is a nightmare of closed-door horsetrading which we don’t like at all. Think Canada and the USA as I keep saying.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        @Leslie Singleton: No I wasn’t joking about decision power. Your decision power is not a working definition of zero, it is something like 10% in the European parliament and I believe even more in the European Council. That is about the same as France and only slightly less than Germany. With UK population size overtaking Germany in future, so will the share of power. The UK is not as different from mainland Europe as it is made out to be by some, and I believe that over the longer term these differences will not increase but diminish. All the same, it is for Britain to make up its mind.

  25. Chris S
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I am prepared to wait for a renegotiation before the referendum because that is the best way of maximising the vote to leave.

    I too fear a Wilson-like fudge or, worse, Cameron giving us a Neville Chamberlain-like wave of a piece of paper signed by Angela Merkel which we all now know will be every bit as worthless as the one signed by one A. Hitler.

    We already know that the renegotiation will yield nothing : The best we can achieve on “Ever Closer Union” is the statement made last week that Merkel and Brussels now accept that member states can move to ECU at different paces.

    Note : they will tolerate no country having an opt out from Ever Closer Union but this is an absolutely fundamental requirement for the UK.

    We all know that without an opt out they will try every trick in the book to tighten their grip through Qualified Majority Voting which is about to expand into 43 important new areas from 14th November ( See my post above ). We will be powerless to prevent it.

    In addition, they have completely ruled out any Treaty Change which, again is going to be essential to give the UK back the powers we need.

    On the domestic front, pressure needs to be put on Miliband and Co to state whether Labour is happy with every aspect of our entanglement in the EU, particularly those changes imposed by Lisbon but not yet implemented.

    If Labour is satisfied with the transfer of every one of the new powers to be transferred in November they they must be made to admit it. No point in asking Clegg, is there ?

    Reply Labour and Lib Dems fully support the transfer of powers under Lisbon, which has already happened. The QMV is already fully in operation. The Conservative party voted against all these transfers of power at the time, and highlighted them.

  26. Bert Young
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    There are many countries within Europe who can and will benefit from more discipline and central guidance and control ; these countries are in the main economically weak , have no tradition and depth of democracy , have inexperienced politicians and little hope of surviving on their own in an increasingly competitive world ; they are seldom going to attract inward investment . We are not one of these countries and we do not need to learn from others how to do things ; we have leading edge companies who are mainly backed up by first class research ; the education system at the base of our industry and commerce is top class and we have a wealth of experience in exploiting international markets . The last thing we need to do is to be guided by less effective direction and control and to give away our hard earned wealth . We are mad to believe we can now make the EU system right ; it wishes to drag us down into insignificance .

  27. bigneil
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Not democratic – anti democratic – -makes no difference – -it is becoming a total dictatorship – and nothing else.

  28. Rods
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    A week in politics is a long time. This time next week all of the pro-EU press will have forgotten this little spat and moved on to the next thing. Dave can then get back to playing the good pro-EU politician again after this weeks bid to capture the anti-EU votes with his grandstanding behind him.

    Our voting choice when it comes to the current main political parities in Parliamant is: Labour – Pro-EU, Lib Dem – Pro-EU and Conservatives – Pro-EU with a small Euro-sceptic wing that is successfully isolated and ignored by the majority of the party most of the time. That’s reality.

    I always judge people and organisations by what they do, not what they say, so lets have a look at the Conservative record: Ted Heath took us into the EEC accepting any terms he could get, resulting in a very poor deal for UK citizens, which has completely changed British society and amongst many other things decimated our fishing industry. He said there would be no loss of sovereignty which FCO 30/1048 shows was a lie. Margaret Thatcher then signed the 1986 Single European Act which fundamentally changed our relationship with Europe. John Major took us into the ERM as a prelude to joining the Euro, fortunately at the wrong exchange rate or we would all now be using Euros and also despite much opposition forced through the Maastricht Treaty. David Cameron talked a lot about a referendum and repealing the Lisbon treaty, when he was courting for our votes, neither of which happened. So lets apply the duck test, if it flies like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is one and on that basis and the Conservative record, I think it is fare to say it is a very pro-EU party with a small Euro-sceptic wing.

    A recent poll puts Labour on 39%, Conservatives on 27%, UKIP on 22% and Lib Dems on 7%. With 6 months of QMV before the General Election in 2015 I’m sure there will be lots of bad EU-press which I’m sure will benefit some parties more than others! Looking at the recent Euro election results and what many including myself will be asking is why vote for a party that judging by their previous record and IMO pretends to be Euro-sceptic when you can vote for the real thing? Where the old political landscape is changing, with more competition for our votes (a good thing for democracy) and which in the past has had our current incumbent political parties treating the electorate with contempt except for a few weeks every 5 years. This thankfully is now coming to an end with all the parties having to work much harder for our votes. This then leads on to another question will the Conservatives finish first, second or third in 2015?

    I was always taught if you are selling something to a customer who has bought the competitions products in the past, you don’t insult them by telling them they are swivelled eyed, can’t send an email etc., and hope to win their business, but to say a very good wise choice (providing they were happy with the previous supplier), but ours is even better and then tell them why with your USPs. The better and why is the challenge for all the current political parties against the new one on the block, the fact that the new one is still gaining ground, shows all of the parties have yet to give any convincing reasons whey they are better and should have our business (vote).

    Reply Current polls show Labour and Conservatives close together, with nothing like a 12% gap as you claim. They also show UKIP considerably lower than your 22% figure.

  29. BobE
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    1914 first attempt to force a European state. Foiled by men of England
    1939 second attempt to force a European state. Foiled by men of England and others.
    2114 third attempt to force a European state. Ongong but being surrendered by weak politicians.
    2015 – Just maybe the start of Englands third resistance.

    • AntiJacobin
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 12:05 am | Permalink

      Don’t forget the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.The French have had their dreams and illusions even longer than the Germans.

    • Alan
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      I don’t think your history is right. There wasn’t much intention to create a European empire in 1914 – it was about teaching Serbia a lesson. And in 1939 to 45 the UK’s contribution to the eventual outcome was dwarfed by those of Russia and the USA.

      One of the reasons for the EU is to make such conflicts unlikely. That’s not a purpose that we think about much in the UK, but I know many people in the rest of the EU take it seriously.

  30. Vanessa
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Anybody would think that Britain did not trade with European countries before we were a member of the EU ! Also again the mind set seems to think that nobody lived and worked on the Continent before we became a member of the EU. They ought to read some biographies and talk to a few people about how integrated our lives have always been except that we did not pay into the EU budget for the privilege.

    What is there to be frightened of when we leave ?

  31. Posted July 1, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Teaching Serbia a lesson in 1914 was simply the excuse to allow Germany to expand to the East by making war on Serbia’s ally, Russia.

    War in 1939 to knock out France and defend his rear was the preliminary to Hitler’s real aim – once again lebensraum in the East and the attack on Russia.

    Should we now be surprised that the E.U. dominated by Germany, wants to spread Eastward and has designs on Ukraine (and others) up to the Urals.

    I think it was Klausewitz who wrote that war was the exercise of diplomacy by other means. Nowadays, those who wish to run the world are aware that, after 1914 and 1939, the existence of atomic weapons has made major wars too risky, so economic warfare has been substituted for the military kind.

    The fable that the E.U. has given Europe peace is just that, a fable. All its actions in the recent past, as in Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine, Albania, has been to increase its influence by bribes, lies, or bullying and to deny the peoples of Europe a voice in their own affairs and increase the risk of conflict.

    A massive investment of taxpayers money has been given over to propaganda and the control of the news. Despite the poor quality of news on offer to the public through the E.U.-supported BBC and the MSM, there has been an attempt to further reduce the exchange of real information by control of the Press in this country through the Leveson Inquiry. Now, alternative sources of news available on the internet are the target for the censors. The actions of ATVOD, the unaccountable quango set up by government, in relation to the U.K. Column News broadcasts are clearly designed to silence anyone not producing the government version of events.

    O what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive.

    John Wrake.

  • 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.
    Published and promoted by Thomas Puddy for John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU
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