Is the UK about to resume its usual role of opposing centralised power in Europe?



UK foreign policy in recent decades has not been true to our history or our normal beliefs as a nation.  Instead of standing up for the self determination of peoples in Europe, the UK has gone along with those who wish to centralise power and control under an EU government. Instead of being the true friend and ally of the smaller countries and the outs, the UK has turned a blind eye – or has kept quiet in public – to a massive move towards Brussels control with one flag, one anthem, one court, one currency and one much else.

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries England, then  Britain, was a leading voice and power to allow people the right to choose their own religion. Britain backed the Dutch in their revolt against the Catholic hegemony,  and supported the smaller German states who wished to be Protestant. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries Britain stood against French military conquest and domination of smaller counties in Europe, and fought wars to prevent French control. In the twentieth century twice the UK fought with allies to prevent German control of the continent. The UK did so because we have a long tradition of freedom,believing peoples and countries have a right to govern themselves, choose their own laws and settle their own beliefs.

Today mercifully we are  not called upon to fight wars for these freedoms in western Europe. All the main countries accept these things should be settled by arguments and votes, not by bullets. This does not mean we have to proceed by consensus or accept beliefs and laws we do not like or want. It should mean greater freedom and diversity for the peoples of Europe, safe in the knowledge that the large countries no longer wish to conquer and dominate by force of arms.

Post the Juncker vote I hope the UK can return to its historic role of being the voice and the votes for freedom – freedom for individual countries to govern themselves and choose their own laws if they wish. EU co-operation and common action should be neither coercive nor expected. If countries willingly want the same laws that is fine. The EU scheme seems to have gone too far in creating too much central control, then intimidating or coercing by words and threats of legal and economic sanctions too many countries and governments into accepting what they do not really want.

The UK in this post military EU world needs once again to free Europe by its exertions. Let small countries flourish. Let business thrive without so many laws. Let us celebrate diversity, rather than seek to impose a compromise driven conformity which could well end in fewer jobs, less prosperity and much more political frustration.

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  1. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Oh dear, Putin from the east and Cameron from the west, great powers are out to divide this poor EU democracy! 🙂 The European parliament must be overruled, countries are not to seek association with the EU! Doesn’t seem to work yet though.
    Of course smaller countries like mine want Britain on their side when it is in our own interest, but Mr. Humphrey in “Yes Minister” failed in dividing the EU by increasing its membership so far. Another problem for the UK would be that smaller coutries favour a strong European parliament and in EU matters often prefer the supranational approach above the intergovernmental approach.

    Reply If the EU cannot offer the UK a relationship we want then we will leave. We do not want to be part of a United States of Europe, and we are not heading in the same direction as the rest at a slower speed.

    • Alan
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:48 am | Permalink

      I think in his reply Mr Redwood goes too far in saying that the UK will leave the EU if it is not given the relationship it wants. There is no consensus in the UK on what relationship the UK wants, and no agreement on what to do if we do not get whatever Mr Cameron is going to ask for. We do not yet have agreement even on whether to have a referendum (since Mr Cameron’s promise is conditional on his winning the general election) and we certainly do not know what its outcome would be.

    • Hope
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      Oh JR come on. The UK has no voice in the EU it has a small whisper that is overwhelmed by the other nations who are net beneficiaries of the cash cow the UK has become to the EU project. He only country that appears to have a large say is Germany. This is becoming very much a German led EU and the auK told to fall in line and pay up.

    • oldtimer
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      If the smaller countries in the EU choose this route, then that is their prerogative. Some evidence (such as past repeated referenda) suggests that the EU does not take No for an answer. In the UK even the promised referendum on the Lisbon Treaty was not offered. As the Finnish PM recently remarked, it is time to smell the coffee; but not just for the UK but for the rest of the EU too.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      JR: “we are not heading in the same direction as the rest at a slower speed”
      But we are and that is a major reason why so many of us want to leave.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      PvR: “great powers are out to divide this poor EU democracy! 🙂 The European parliament must be overruled, countries are not to seek association with the EU!”

      But that is the problem, the EU (as currently being run by the eurocrats) is not democratic, those referendums held in some countries with regarding the then “EU Constitution” proved that -the EU didn’t get the correct answer so the countries were made to vote again and again until the correct answer was achieved, and why does the President of the Commission, the President of the EU etc. have to be appointed, is the President of the USA? Citizens of the USA not only get to elect their President but their senate and their congress (along with their state governments) – all the peoples of the EU get is to elect are MEPs who have very little real power and no power outside of the discredited parliamentary grouping system.

      • Alan
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        I think you are misunderstanding what has happened. We did have an election for the EU Parliament and the leader of the winning group will become President of the Commission.

        The majority of voters voted for parties that want the EU to continue more or less as it has been doing. There was an increase in votes for EU sceptic parties, but they did not achieve anything like a majority across the EU as a whole. Even in the UK EU sceptics did not achieve a majority.

        • John Chaytor
          Posted June 30, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

          Quire correct Alan.

          Although I will almost certainly vote to leave the EU if there is a referendum those parties across the whole of the EU who support the general thrust of the EU far outnumbered the EU sceptic parties.

          As a country we have to make a decision one way of the other. The idea that we are going to create a looser EU is a nonsense.

          I just hope that, if and when we have a referendum, that is the end of the issue for a couple of generations. I will accept the vote either way and avoid all political discussions on this matter.

          I agree with the main point in JR’s original article. We should look to the rest of the world to maximise trade. As Daniel Hannan keeps pointing out, Europe if the only continent in the world who’s GDP is not growing.

          • Timaction
            Posted June 30, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

            We also need some honesty by our legacy parties to expose their true desires. Either we have a United States of Europe a s they wish or we leave. There is no half way house without a new treaty and that has to be agreed by all 28 members in an existing process that would take years. Certainly beyond the fabled 2017 Cameron referendum date.
            The problem is the legacy parties cannot admit or expose their treachery to date!

          • Jerry
            Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

            Timaction: “The problem is the legacy parties cannot admit or expose their treachery to date!”

            We also need the new “kids on the block” parties and their supporters to stop using hyperbole emotion in their arguments.

            Were people like Powell, Benn and Foot etc. also complicity in this treachery in relation to the EEC/EU, if not then surely the electorate had available all the information but yet still voted for parties broadly supportive of the “European Ideal”, if there has been any “treachery” it has been on the electors side, for not reading the available documentation. As a matter if interest, the Labour manifesto of 1983 -as bad as it was in most other aspects- gave many reasons as to why they wanted the UK to withdraw and many if not all are as valid today as they were in 1983 if not 1975, in fact (having just had a quick re-read of said document) much of the EEC withdrawal rational could be cut and pasted into a UKIP style manifesto!

        • Mockbeggar
          Posted June 30, 2014 at 10:11 am | Permalink

          I bet when the EU election took place, very few British voters realised that they were voting (indirectly of course, but then evreything to do with EU democracy is indirect) for the new President of the Commision. Most of them had never heard of Mr Junker. Most people voted for the motley collection of candidates (blessed if I can remember who they all were) listed under the party of their choice.
          I have no idea who my ‘MEP’ is or what they can do for me if I have something on which I need help. I do know who my MP is and how I can contact her if I wish.

        • libertarian
          Posted June 30, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

          No Alan

          I think its you who doesn’t understand democracy. There where NO groups or group candidates on the ballot paper, there was NO leader of ANY political group listed anywhere. Actually the majority of eligible voters DID NOT vote to continue as is. A huge percentage abstained in protest for a start. Blimey you EU apologists really dislike democracy don’t you

        • Eddie
          Posted June 30, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink

          Maybe so, but the key question is: “Do we really want European voters to decide what we do?”

          Also, don’t forget that although Cameron wants to stay in the EU, his party left the EPP and joined a Euro-Sceptic grouping, so I would very much say that there is a large majority of voters in the UK who want less Europe, not more.

          And I use the word “voters”advisedly, because counting votes against the “electorate” rather than the “turnout” is an old trick – you can’t possibly know the opinions of peope who don’t vote and furthermore, because they don’t vote, it is not unreasonable to assume they don’t have opinions!

        • Jerry
          Posted June 30, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

          @Alan: Sorry but you are the one who doesn’t understand.

          If voters were really (indirectly) electing a new President of the Commission or indeed that of the EU then surely the party groups would be on the ballot paper [1] but they are not, we vote for our own national parties who then form groups once elected as MEPs. As I said, the President of the USA isn’t elected on some sum of the elections to Senate and/or Congress – this is why the EU is undemocratic, everything is done via little clubs or groups, often with deals that the citizens know nothing about, it’s all around the wrong way, the groups (AKA parties) should chose their Presidential candidate, like they do in the USA, and then the peoples of the EU should vote directly for their chosen President.

          [1] MEPs would stand on their EU groups Greens, EPP or EFD etc.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        @Jerry, and then when first steps are made to achieve an elected EC president, with various government leaders supporting spitzenkandidaten in their own European parties (Merkel → Juncker, Hollande → Schultz, Rutte → Verhofstad, etc. etc.) Cameron despises it and want to crush it. There have been several power grabs by Dutch parliaments in the past, not to the liking of kings, queens and governments, but they happened nonetheless. It is an aspect of developing democracy. Personally, I see disadvantages to an elected EC president (chairman), but who ever listens to me? 🙂
        P.S. It may have slipped your attention, but half of your own parliament is still unelected and the other half unrepresentative of the popular vote. Just a few imperfections to turn your attention to, and I’ll have other for you if you so wish.

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

          @PvR: [re the Lords} Sorry Peter but you plainly do not understand how the second chamber works (or very out of date), it is merely a reviewing chamber, it is actually very difficult for the Lords to actually block legislation that a majority elected government is determined to pass or was a manifesto pledge. These days the members of the Lords are their on merit of being an expert in some field or someone with great political experience, Parliament would actually be less democratic if the second chamber was elected, perhaps even ending up with lame-duck executives…

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted July 2, 2014 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

            @Jerry: Your dear Lords just blocked a private members’ bill. They also were involved in the ratification of every EU-treaty.
            Your comment that elections make less democratic is a very interesting myth. You only have to look at other countries to realise that. But for something you happen not to like – the EU – there have to be elections for the EC (just guardians of the treaties)? And then when there is an elected president/chairman, the UK wouldn’t accept that because it wants horse trading in dark European Council dealings?
            Strange . . .

          • Jerry
            Posted July 4, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

            @PvR: “Your dear Lords just blocked a private members’ bill.

            No they did not, they will have sent the private members Bill back to the Commons for further consideration of some point or other, if the Commons then can’t find further time to consider the said Bill that is not the fault of the Lords. As I have said, since 1911 it has been virtually impossible for the Lords to block the will of the Commons.

            Would you prefer having laws and policy made on the nod, rather than have it scrutinised, perhaps you would, after all that is how so many EU laws and regulations are created…

        • Edward2
          Posted June 30, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

          Our first past the post has its critics Peter I grant you, but at least we the people, get to vote directly for a known local representative and can get rid of them as well as see them locally and complain to them.
          I have never had a chance to vote for anyone who has real power in the USE.
          Why cannot you and I vote for an EU Commission President?
          In the USA they vote for a President.
          And with QMV coming in soon and the UK just one nation out of 28 I feel the democratic deficit will just get worse.
          Perhaps each nation in the EU should have votes in proportion to the amount of money they put in?

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted July 2, 2014 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2: Ask Cameron – he is dead against anything that looks like an elected EC president. The UK just wants to appoint him/her

          • Edward2
            Posted July 3, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

            Ridiculous comment Peter
            Cameron tried to get his choice preferred but had no support.
            Such is the way things go, he has never said he wanted the power for the UK to choose.
            My wish is for all of us to have a direct vote in these matters.
            Proper democracy not stiched up deals done by people in the EU weve never voted for.

        • Andy
          Posted July 1, 2014 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

          But that is NOT what the Treaties say. The power to appoint the President of the Commission belongs to the Council, not the Parliament. The Parliaments power is to ratify the choice not to nominate. And that is the point of the argument.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted July 2, 2014 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

            @Andy: I know Andy, this amounts to a bit of a power grab by parliament. We have had power grabs by the Netherlands parliament (not to likes of kings, queens nor governments) but they do happen when democracies develop. The EU democracy is still somewhat in its infancy, and I’m not even sure that I like this last move (without being a king) but I can see some of the reasoning behind it.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted July 3, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

          We don’t want a permanent European president, we don’t want a European foreign minister, and we don’t want the Lisbon Treaty – especially the parts that authorise military co-operation by Member States. If you don’t believe me, check out the summary of the Lisbon Treaty on the Europa web site.


    • Anonymous
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Peter Van Leeuwen @5.52 – What EU democracy ?

      • Alan
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

        The one that has just held an election, I suppose.

        • libertarian
          Posted June 30, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink


          Who is the leader of the official opposition to the the EU controlling “party” ? If you really believe that MEP’s and the Euro parliament has any part to play in a real democracy you are deluded

          • Alan
            Posted June 30, 2014 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

            David Cameron? Nigel Farrage? Madeleine Le Pen?

            I suspect you have some definition of ‘real democracy’ that excludes the EU, but you can’t get away from the fact that the Parliament is elected, by a widely accepted method. One that for all its disadvantages gives a more accurate representation of the people than does the UK’s first past the post system.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

            No Alan, if there is any official opposition within the EU parliament it will come from one or more of the groupings, not a national party leader.

            What is more these groupings are undemocratic as the public vote do not actually vote for these groups, just their chosen national parties, who once elected only then divide into the groups, who then decide their policy positions, thus the public do not actually know what they are voting for most of the time! Also, as has happened, even when the likely grouping and policy positions are known it is at the whim of the national party leadership to remove their MEPs from one group and join or form another grouping and another set of positions.

            Oh and by the way, a certain German leader between the two wars was elected, by a widely accepted method… Elections per se are no guarantee of democracy!

    • APL
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      PvL: “great powers are out to divide this poor EU democracy!”

      If you are at all interested in factual accuracy, you’d erase the word democracy from that sentence.

  2. Richard1
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    There’s a diklema here. On the one hand, as you say, the UK’s historic policy has been to oppose centralizing power in Europe. On the other hand Conservatives such as George Osborne agree the EU needs to pursue the ‘remorseless logic’ of the euro, which requires further economic integration. Which is it to be?

    • Alan
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      The UK’s policy of opposing centralised power in Europe may or may not have been the best course in past centuries. It certainly did not produce a happy outcome in the first half of the 20th century, whilst the policy of basing our defence on a centralised alliance worked in the second half of the same century.

      Times have changed. With modern communications it is no longer sensible to think of ourselves as a country which can have only minimal interaction with others. The question is how do we go about institutionalising this need to cooperate – lots of negotiations with separate nations, or establishing methods, such as the EU, for how we come to a general consensus among many nations at once.

    • Hope
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Cameron writes in his article he accepts eurozone countries will integrate further. He has tried to avoid the obvious that it will involve the UK as well. The UK did not escape the bail outs, it paid up directly and indirectly and by way of loans to Ireland! A small whisper for huge amounts of taxpayers’ money. Where did Junker get his mandate from? Who elected him? It certainly was. To any citizen of this country. Yet he can earn/ get $ 440,000 which w help to pay for.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Freedom, diversity, fewer regulations and far less parasitic government please. Freedom of religion and no religion pushed and paid for by taxpayers through schools. Also religion should have no special place in government with Bishops in the Lords. Nor should the Bishop of York pushing the his living wage drivel. Freedom of religion should also mean the freedom of children not to be indoctrinated nor mutilated as children.

    • Hope
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      What has become clear is that we have a puppet Government controlled by the German led EU.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      @Life;logic: “Also religion should have no special place in government with Bishops in the Lords.”

      Whilst I agree with LL that religion should be disestablished, I do not agree that Bishops etc. should not be in the Lords, they should, but they should hold no special place or privilege, being their to speak and vote on behalf of their followers, just as scientists speak for science for example.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        Surely being in the Lords is indeed a special place and privilege. If they want to speak for or to their flock surely can they do it in their churches, write books, go on TV or write articles for the papers and magazines just as everyone else has too.

        Then they would not be able to legally stop me from buying a book or some artichokes early or late on Sundays.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          @Lifelogic: “Surely being in the Lords is indeed a special place and privilege.”

          No, not any more at least, it is a place of work, reviewing and amending government legislation.

          “Then they would not be able to legally stop me from buying a book or some artichokes early or late on Sundays.”

          They don’t, it is the government and MPs who do that.

  4. Alan
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood talks of the freedom of individual countries, but I think we should concentrate on the freedom of individual people. The EU sceptics’ policies of opposing membership of Schengen and the euro have increased the power of the UK state but diminished the freedom of its people. We cannot move around without hindrance and we cannot protect our savings from devaluation.

    I think we need to be full members of the EU, not half in and half out, and use our influence to guide it in a directions that benefit all its people.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      You could always use your present freedom to move to a country like Greece where you could enjoy all the benefits of the euro. Or the Netherlands, which is a wonderful country by all accounts. As you seem to have no particular attachment to this country and its people it shouldn’t be a problem for you as an individual to make full use of your personal freedom in that way.

      • Alan
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        People whose income was in pounds sterling and moved to Eurozone countries suffered badly when the pound was devalued. That is an example of how EU sceptic policies have diminished individual freedoms.

        I think Greece, the Netherlands, and the UK are wonderful countries and I like being in a community that includes them.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

          @Alan: “People whose income was in pounds sterling and moved to Eurozone countries suffered badly when the pound was devalued.”

          Just as people have suffered (or benefited) from exchange rates all over the world, it’s called life, otherwise your rational would suggest having a common UN created currency – I know, we could calling the “Unro”!…

  5. The PrangWizard
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Let’s start with England. If ‘we’ mean it and don’t wish to look like hypocrites, why not campaign for a true parliament for England with members elected directly to it and to no other, on a similar basis as granted to Scotland, and not the half-baked cheap compromise which has been suggested. Only the former will resolve the problem of lack of self-determination for the people of England – the compromise will not. At the moment our nation is not legally recognised, and our single identity it is being denied to us, indeed there are those in positions of power and influence who would continue to suppress it, with threats too. But there will be no renaissance, no contentment, in England until we have our identity restored.

    • JoolsB
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      My thoughts entirely. Cameron and the Tories lecture others on the rights to self determination and freedoms whilst continually choosing to ignore those same rights to the people of England, the very people they rely on if they want to get back into power. It seems these rights only extend to the rest of the UK and other nations of the world, anywhere but England. And we know what will happen to England if God help us Labour get back in, especially if they only do so on the back of the already self determining Scots & Welsh vote, they’ll stop at nothing until they completed what they tried to start last time around – i.e. the balkanisation of England, something they are already make mutterings about and as usual, not one of our useless supine self serving politicians squatting in English seats can be bothered to do anything about.

  6. alan jutson,
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Having just returned from one week in southern France and another in Normandy where our family visited a number of War museums and Cemeteries.
    Where the fight for freedom and self determination was recorded, celebrated, and sacrifice remembered.

    Thus I was struck even more than usual by the complete and one sided media coverage, and reporting of Mr Camerons so called reported failure in Europe during that last week.

    Does the media not want our government to stand up for our Country any more ?

    Does the media just want us to accept all things EU?

    Those millions who died for freedom in both the First and Second World wars would be turning in their graves, given the way politicians now want complete control of our lives, and the media instead of just reporting, attempts to manipulate opinion with its own agenda.

    One telling film on the D Day landings (Pegasus Bridge Museum) showed a British soldier who for the second time, was in action liberating Europe having served in both Wars.
    The old film commentator said let us hope this will be the last time he will have to do it.

    70 years later, it looks like we will now have to liberate ourselves.

  7. oldtimer
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    I support your analysis and your view.

    In the latest developments, Mr Cameron is right to to speak plainly. What he must watch out for will be the fudge and compromises that will be offered that fail to answer the issue of the fundamental transfer of sovereignty that has been surrendered by successive governments. The last, but not the first, of these was the Lisbon Treaty on which Labour failed to offer the referendum they had promised.

  8. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Politicians took us, under false pretences, into an organisation that has at its very core the aim of centralised power and control under an EU government. There is no hope of ever removing that objective and for the sake of our freedom and democracy we must leave. Renegotiation is not possible, except in the eyes of the liars and charlatans who intend to keep us imprisoned in this foreign organisation and see this as a suitable ruse to complete the process of confirming their ambition of making this country fully subservient to an anti-democratic EU government.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      There’s a nice Cummings cartoon on the front of this leaflet from 1971:

      With train conductor Heath telling a worried Britannia to sleep on the journey, he will reveal the destination when they get there.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        Denis, that is a hilarious cartoon indeed! It does show though, that there was awareness in Britain back in 1971, that this ‘EEC’ was heading for more than just a common market. You’ll still be able to disembark in 2017, if that is what most Brits want.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted July 4, 2014 at 7:46 am | Permalink

          There should certainly have been awareness by the time of the 1975 referendum. During the 1970-1974 parliament, Enoch Powell voted against his own government in no fewer than 115 divisions, including one that was essentially a no confidence vote. Of these, 80 were against the passage of the European Economic Communities Bill. Enoch then said “Vote Labour” in the February 1974 General Election. After losing the referendum vote by a margin of 2:1, Enoch then wrote a defiant piece in the Daily Telegraph entitled “So, is Britain now obsolete?”

          The British electorate had no excuse for not realising how profoundly political the Treaty of Rome was. They were told ad nauseum.

      • Martin Ryder
        Posted June 30, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

        I didn’t see this cartoon at the time. I wish that I had. My father voted ‘no’ and I voted ‘yes’. My Dad was right.

        • Edward2
          Posted June 30, 2014 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          Similar to our family Martin.
          It was the Common Market back then and the vote was largely split along political lines with right wingers wanting in and left wingers wanting out.
          How times have changed.

  9. David Cockburn
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    I agree with this historical perspective on Britain’s role in the world.
    Might we also say that our foreign policy stance should be to ally ourselves with the second most threatening power against the first. Threatening that is to our own independence and prosperity.
    After WW2 it could be said that the USSR was the biggest danger facing us so we had a choice of allying ourselves with the US or Europe. We decided that actually Europe was more dangerous to us so joined the EU to try and control it from within. I leave you to judge if we succeeded.
    What is the power most threatening to us now? The EU, the US or China? Many people are coming to the view that it is the EU. So whom should we ally ourselves with? China or the US?

  10. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Post the Juncker vote, will Cameron be demanding a treaty change to remove or at least qualify the veto over the appointment of the EU Commission that was granted to MEPs through the Maastricht Treaty with the support of his predecessor Major?

    The present Article 17(7) TEU could be changed, for example, so that if the European Council proposed the same person twice then he would become the President of the Commission even if the Parliament objected, rather like the way the Parliament Act works in the UK.

    Cameron has complained:

    ‘The fundamental principle of the EU is the democratically elected leaders of the member states have the right to decide these issues. In making Mr Juncker president, you are going back on all of that.”

    “The Commission is becoming the creature of the parliament.”

    So shouldn’t he now be seeking to restore that “fundamental principle” by enshrining it in the treaties, reversing the surrender of power agreed by Major?

  11. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    “Instead of being the true friend and ally of the smaller countries and the outs, the UK has turned a blind eye – or has kept quiet in public – to a massive move towards Brussels control with one flag, one anthem, one court, one currency and one much else.”

    Even when Cameron had the opportunity to demand treaty changes in return for the treaty change demanded by Merkel in the second half of 2010 he didn’t do so; and while that treaty change had to be approved by Act of Parliament and that was done in open session there was a virtually complete media blackout on its very existence and now we even have some tribal Tories trying to pretend that it never happened.

  12. Leslie Singleton
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    One piece of good news is that the Scots are likely to be no more interested in Juncker than anyone else which, despite Salmond, should make it more likely that they will vote Better Together. A silver lining with any luck.

  13. Antisthenes
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    The Juncker affair puts pay to the myth that the UK being in the EU has power and influence and it is better to be in than out to exercise that influence. It makes it patently obvious that despite the UK’s economic power it has very little say in what direction and in how the EU is structured. Just like the propaganda of 3 million job loses if we leave is pure bunkum so is so much of what else europhiles claim will be lost to the UK on exit.

    Western nations have for decades now been following the path of socialism and it’s ideology and the result is more and more centralisation, statism and crony capitalism. This in turn is leading to a diminishing of democracy and the curtailment of wealth creation. Of course this is welcomed by the left because they seek the socialist Utopia and by a plethora of other vested interest who stand to gain financially(in their own interests at the expense of the rest of us). The tide of left wing ideology is sweeping over us and no more so than in the EU as it is so structured and it’s aims are such that rather than construct a barrier against it it has opened the flood gates. The EU is a government by cliques; the commission, judicial bodies, Presidents and Councils of Ministers none of which are directly elected to their job and an European parliament mostly populated by those who represent more themselves than those who elected them and/or of poor intellectual ability. If the EU really believed in greater democracy, security and increased prosperity for all it would be a grouping of states within a common market with loose political ties and with cross border cooperation as and when needed.

  14. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    In practical terms, this means having as few countries as possible in the Federally minded Eurozone. What are we doing to ensure this? We need first to encourage the remaining ten non-Euro Member States to stay outside. We need secondly to identify Member States that might want to leave the Eurozone if given some inducement, such as being allowed to convert their debts from Euros to reinstated national currencies.

    • ian wragg
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Just recently returned from a holiday including Croatia. When paying in cafes etc nearly all asked for local currency. Had an interesting chat with one business woman who said it is doubtful if they would change over to the Euro as they would lose all control of their economy.
      It seems more of the recently enrolled states will renege on their commitment to join the Euro. Germany won’t like that.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 30, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Apart from Denmark they are all under a treaty obligation to join the euro.

      Back in the second half of 2010 when Merkel started saying that she wanted an EU treaty change to provide a legal base for a eurozone bailout facility, Cameron could have said, “Fine, but I want these other treaty changes at the same time”, and one of them could have been to relieve the non-euro states of any obligation to ever join the euro, but he didn’t do that.

      In late 2011 when his ODS allies in the Czech Republic publicly stated that they wanted their country to be relieved of that treaty obligation Cameron could have come out in support of them, but he didn’t do that.

      When seven other countries mooted the same thing Cameron could have come out in support of them as well, but he didn’t do that.

      When the Treaty of Accession for Croatia was being discussed Cameron could have said that he would not agree to Croatia being put under a legal obligation to join the euro, if that was going to be the case then he would block its accession, but he didn’t do that either.

      There is no mechanism for a country which has joined the euro to ever leave it without leaving the EU altogether, and Cameron is happy with that as well.

      So clearly it would not be Cameron heading up a campaign to ensure that there were as few as possible countries in the federal Eurozone; he obviously has no problem with the eurozone gradually expanding to encompass the whole of the rest of the EU, and in the end engulfing us as well.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted July 3, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        And John Major could have vetoed the Maastricht Treaty way back in 1992. Had he done so, we would already have a two ring Europe and not have all this nonsense.

        You really need to get it into your head that there is nothing special about EU Treaties. We can withdraw by unilateral action and changes in our law whenever we want. Sovereignty has to be SEIZED, not waffled about.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 1, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Comment missed for moderation here, I think.

  15. Bert Young
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    At last we seem to be in a position to re-establish a relationship with the EU that makes sense – a Common Market with no further political/federal strings attached . Naturally Germany in particular will be desperate to maintain its exports and trade with us – as you have pointed out so many times Dr. JR , Europe stands to lose far more when we exit and it will try everything to prevent it . The negotiating impetus we now have must be maintained ; Cameron has been handed the means to win the next election . What we must not do is to be sucked into a trap of being wanted in Europe and remain a part of the EU . Farage has delivered our independence .

  16. Eddie
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Sadly, the Britain that used to be is no more – 100 years ago, we had a global empire, armed forces that could defend it, and our teenagers went to France to fight against tyranny. Nowadays, we have neither empire nor armed forces and our teenagers feel they have no option but to commit suicide when someone tweets that they are fat and no-one likes them.

    This is not to say that we should therefore surrender to Europe because we can’t look after ourselves, but to say that we need to find our own furrow and plough it. Like the Swiss, we should find some things we do well and stick to them, and if we do them well enough, we will be fine.

    We should also stop allowing the world and all of their close dependants come to live here and enjoy our freedoms without ever integrating and defending the values that gave us those freedoms.

  17. MickC
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    We do not need to set anyone free except ourselves.

    Other countries and nations, whether in Europe, the Middle East or anywhere else must work out their own destinies.

    The UK, or what remains of it after September, should make it plain to all, that we are out of the “setting the world to rights” industry.

    It costs too much blood and treasure, and the returns are too small.

  18. formula57
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    “The UK in this post military EU world needs once again to free Europe by its exertions” – no, no, no!

    No exertion, no effort, no sacrifice will be too little to avoid – let them pick their own chestnuts out of the fire.

  19. BobE
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    I think DC is waiting for 2017 in the hope that a few million more new people will vote “in”.
    Im hoping that our next D-Day might be in 2015.
    If not then maybe by 2020.
    People do seem to be becoming aware of the desperate need for us to escape from this trap.

  20. English Pensioner
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    The UK in this post military EU world
    Many years ago, when Russia was seen as our main enemy and China was a possible threat on the horizon, I remember being told by a young lieutenant who was studying at Sandhurst that he didn’t believe Russia or China would be the cause of the next war, but that WW3 would be a modern re-run of the Crusades.
    He rose to a senior rank before retiring and I’m wondering what his view would be now following recent events and today’s ISIS publication of a map of their intended Caliphate to be achieved with in the next five years.
    Maybe we won’t be facing military action within the EU (although Spain and the Balkans were shown as part of this Caliphate), but I wouldn’t put any money on us not becoming involved in a major war during my remaining years.

  21. Ray Veysey
    Posted July 1, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    The absolute best thing that Britain can do in these circumstances is to lead the way to the door, because be sure if we go others will follow, and new democratic (truly democratic not what we have now) alliances for trade and cooperation can form. It will not happen however while Cameron is still a federarist which he proved by effectively apologising to Juncker on Sunday. Cameron is the weakness in the UK whilst self centred tories try to cling to their past by staying in a party that has almost already died. If you can’t join a party that TRULY wants out then start a new conservative party, at least then you can cling to the name you desperately want to keep.

  22. Ray Veysey
    Posted July 1, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    You have this vision in your head which is driving you, and will not let you do what you know you should. You’re at a smart drinks and nibbles do in your constituency, as usual you are with some of your friends from the “country set” and the local dignitaries in general, and one of them says “so what do the Conservatives think of this latest move by Cameron ” and you reply “actually I have resigned the whip and changed party, I didn’t think Cameron was doing enough to resolve the imbalance of power between the EU and our national government (ok so far) so I have decided to join UKIP” and then the nightmare, the crowd clears and you are stood completely alone, and faces in the distance are turning towards you and looking shocked, and it’s then, if you have it you will need the courage of your convictions.
    But it’s not going to happen, because that’s the nightmare for you isn’t it, social exclusion, no longer the comfort blanket of “being”, in power or opposition it made no difference you have the soft downy social cushion to rest on. So sod the people, none of them at the party anyway

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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