Diplomacy and politics are better than wars

 

Diplomacy is an up market kind of politics. It is smart talking paid for by the state and directed by politicians.  Today both politics and diplomacy are derided by many, condemned by cynics as lying at the public expense. I want to make the case for them both. Done well they are the means that we reconcile our  differences, create and uphold the peace, and make progress as individuals and nations. I would far rather jaw jaw than war war. Diplomacy and politics are much better than civil or international war. The covering of civilisation in any human society rests on the successful conduct of politics and diplomacy. We see in all too many countries what happens when politics and diplomacy break down, as in Syria, Libya, Iraq and the Ukraine today.

I want my diplomats and politicians to do two things above all else. I want them to promote peace and demonstrate democracy. Of course internally a state has to be firm to maintain the rule of law.Those who commit acts of violence against others and the state, or who steal or damage the property of others have to be prosecuted and punished.  Externally a state has to show it has the means and the willpower to defend itself  should need arise. A large and powerful state like the UK should also be willing to use its power with allies and through the UN to deal with rogue states that disrupt the peace of others, where  the use of military force is necessary and can improve the situation. The UK was right to liberate  the Falklands,  and Kuwait with its allies.

The EU which now presumes to be a state with embassies, a foreign policy and interventions in other countries fails both my tests for diplomacy. It often fails to  promote peace, and it does not demonstrate democracy. Its interventions in the Balkans during their period of civil war and war between the emerging states at the end of the Soviet era were far from helpful. More recently its decision to back those who wanted the fall of an elected President of the Ukraine and wished to bring their country closer to the EU started a chain of events which led to the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the civil war in eastern Ukraine.

I am no supporter of the Russian actions nor of rebel violence.   The only good news is the most recent statement of the EU that there can be no military solution to the civil war in east Ukraine which mirrors what President Obama is also now saying. When will the EU pursue its interest in the Ukraine by offering to help broker a peace between the Kiev government and the armed rebels? If the EU does not like Mr Putin’s peace proposals, where are their own?  Why does the EU seem to think it is acceptable for a European government to be shelling its own people, instead of trying to find a way of restoring peace to its troubled country?

Which brings me to the EU’s main failure, its failure to be democratic or to advance democratic causes. The EU dislikes Scotland having a free referendum on whether to stay in the UK or not. It has intervened in the debate on the side of the Union not because it likes the UK but because it is worried that the Scottish precedent will catch on. The EU which did so much to foment tensions within member states in the early years of its existence by encouraging a Europe of the regions, now wishes to suppress separatist movements. The EU does not want the Catalans to have a free vote on whether to stay in Spain. They do not welcome the idea of Venice or Lombardy voting on whether to stay in Italy. They clearly do not see the need for the UK to have a vote on whether it stays in the EU or not.

The EU has designed a thoroughly undemocratic way of legislating. Deals and arguments between the Council, the Commission and the Parliament, many of them conducted in private, result in a  torrent of new laws. In any individual country these laws are in effect immutable, however much they may be disliked or however bad they may be. One of the main principles of UK democracy is that no Parliament can bind its successors. If a Parliament enacts a law which is unpopular or proves to be ill thought through, the people can vote that Parliament out and replace it with people who will change or repeal that law. Now today a new UK government cannot amend or repeal much of the law it inherits from the previous government, because it is made in Brussels.

 

This is based on a speech I made yesterday to the “EU Foreign Affairs” conference at Europe House.

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79 Comments

  1. Brian Taylor
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    We do not control our borders with EU.
    We do not control our Laws
    We are not an independent country
    I voted for a Common Market in 1975, not sure I will live to have a chance to vote on the EU

    • Richard1
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      On the subject of diplomacy we read that Sir Paul Nurse, a botanist (and self proclaimed leftist) thinks scientists and others who are sceptical of global warming, or the EU imposed policies trying to mitigate it, such as subsidies for wind farms, should be ‘crushed and buried’. Leaving aside the absurd and anti intellectual virulence of his language, I hope this will at least mean he agrees to enter open debate on this issue, eg with such scientists as Profs Lindzen or Curry. We can’t have public policy determined by this kind of shouty mob rule.

      • oldtimer
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        His remarks are unfitting for the President of the Royal Society. They dimish him and the RS itself.

        • Atlas
          Posted September 6, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

          I agree oldtimer, such comments hardly clear the air as to what may be going on. In fact the comments have more in common with religious extremists (eg the Spanish Inquisition and more recent groups in the Middle East) than with real scientists.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        Richard, I missed that one, so many thanks for letting us in on it. These people trouble me, they really do. Whether the climate is changing or whether it isn’t, it needs to be debated openly, without duress, and these lefties give themselves away every time by trying to stop or ban anything they might disagree with.

        Tad

        • Richard1
          Posted September 6, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

          Indeed. I hope before we are all crushed and buried at the behest of Sir Paul he will explain to us in a clear and scientific way why it is the global warming forecast by the models, and consequent catastrophic events, haven’t happened yet.

          I wonder also whether had he called, eg, for his opponents to be beheaded rather than crushed and buried he wouldn’t have attracted the attention of the police?

      • Bazman
        Posted September 6, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        ‘We need to be aware of those who mix up science, based on evidence and rationality, with politics and ideology, where opinion, rhetoric and tradition hold more sway. We need to be aware of political or ideological lobbyists who do not respect science, cherry picking data or argument, to support their pre-determined positions.’
        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2743255/Climate-sceptics-crushed-buried-Sir-Paul-Nurse-attacks-politicians-distort-facts-global-warming.html
        (abuse deleted – in future comments with abuse against someone else will simply be deleted ed)

        • Richard1
          Posted September 6, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

          It is interesting that Bazman’s reply had to be deleted because it was abusive. Sir Paul also resorted to abuse of his opponents. Being an intelligent man, Sir Paul must be very short of good arguments to feel the need to do this.

          • Margaret
            Posted September 6, 2014 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

            Abusive language is wrong and moreso when it is directed, however it doesn’t follow that there aren’t alternative words or arguments for bloggers to use.
            This sort of put down is almost as bad. It reminds me of old snobbish buffoons who always thought themselves superior to any other and really couldn’t grasp basic unwritten rules of debate thyemselves .

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      I agree.

      I have always been against fascism too Brian, but it seems with the bull that’s coming out of Wales right now, we have a government that supports and is complicit in the expansion of a fascist conglomeration, whether we like it or not. But least the BBC was a little more even-handed today. They finally conceded that Russia had steadily been surrounded and encircled by NATO since the latter broke their agreements following the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union. That shows who was really the progenitor of the present crisis.

      I am now clearly seeing that the riddance of the three main Westminster parties is so vital, our entire world may depend upon it.

      Tad

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    All perfectly put especially:-

    “The EU which now presumes to be a state with embassies, a foreign policy and interventions in other countries fails both my tests for diplomacy. It often fails to promote peace, and it does not demonstrate democracy.”

    But what is your party actually going to do about it?

    At the moment you are just being led over the cliff on 7th May 2015. Only perhaps a 13% chance of victory and perhaps having smashed the Union first too. With a leader who will not even address, discuss or mention the EU issue, in any meaningful & serious way.

    Will he even be visiting Clacton?

    Do the Tories even have a candidate yet? What member of the sensible wing of the party would even want to stand against Carswell?

    Doing nothing as advised by Andrew Roberts in the Spectator as below just will not work:-

    “to do nothing. The British people are a fair-minded lot; they will give him another term in office because he and George Osborne have delivered the best growth rates in Europe despite the monstrous overspending and boom-bust of the Blair-Brown years. Every newly incoming ministry since the war has been re-elected — except Ted Heath’s, which broke all the rules anyhow — and this one will be too.

    They were a poor third in the last EURO election, the voting systems is against them, Clacton will be lost badly, and they are unable (stuck with the LibDims) to take any decisive sensible actions. Cameron’s word is rightly hugely mistrusted, they will not win with the current direction, they will do even worse than John Major.

    Reply The Conservative party will choose its candidate next week in an open primary, the very system Mr Carswell used to recommend but now denies as the imposed UKIP candidate. Mr Cameron will I am sure visit Clacton.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Let us hope he says something that gives some real hope on the EU issue when he gets there, and something we can actually trust.

    • Bob
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink


      “Mr Cameron will I am sure visit Clacton. “

      Has he ever been to Clacton before?
      Will he equal or surpass the number of visits he made to Newark (4)?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      JR, perhaps you could say how many Tory candidates have been selected by the open primary method that Mr Carswell used to recommend? As far as I’m aware the answer is “one”, Dr Sarah Wollaston, where all registered voters in Totnes were invited to take part in a postal ballot. Not invited to a public meeting – there have been some of those elsewhere – but invited to vote in a postal ballot.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Comment on Reply–Of course he will go because he has to but whether he will do any good is another question

  3. alan jutson
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Your last paragraph sums up our problem.

    So if parliament cannot stop laws from Brussels, and does not like what is coming from that place, then they should simply dump Brussels, and take on the responsibility they are elected and paid for.

    Aware that your good self and a few others are trying, perhaps a few more should also wake up.

    I can only conclude that those who support the EU in all of its forms, like in effect to be handcuffed, gagged, and lead by someone else, which is all rather strange given most I assume want to be elected to make a difference.

    But then I suppose the whips offer a similar if smaller type of EU control over Party members..

  4. Leslie Singleton
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    I was hoping for an article about the GDP figures being rubbish and the differences between them being even more rubbish with the effect that all the talk about them has been misleadingly depressing and counterproductive not to mention just plain wrong. Apparently there is no limit to what is now to be included if prostitution and drug trafficking are now to be included. Was murder and burglary to be included?…….I gave up reading about it at that point.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Well as we include the entertainment industry in GDP, surely drugs & prostitution should be in there to. There are lots of things included in GDP that clearly cause net positive harm, government motorist mugging activities, wind/PV farm subsidies and their installation, HS2, over regulation of virtually everything ………

  5. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Although I disagree with most of the arguments in this post, and while I don’t have a high opinion of UK democracy when compared to EU democracy, I do agree that the EU should be focussed much more on diplomacy and completely non-military approaches in its policies. The safe regime change in the ten Central European countries that wanted to join the EU in 2004 were all created without shots being fired, similarly to Spain or Portugal joining the EU. Military approaches in countries like Iraq, Lybia and Afganistan haven’t been very successful. The description of what happened in Ukraine seems rather flawed to me, but I do agree that Barroso should never have expressed his opinion on the Scottish referendum. Even though most people like the UK to stay as one, you simply can not just evict 5 million European citizens against their will, and some special EU negotiation fudge would keep an independent Scotland with the EU after all.
    Now that a new Commission has to be vetted by the new European Parliament is a good time, via your MEPs, to press for staying away from wars and military approaches, which take away from the EU’s strength. Most important when vetting Mrs Federica Mogherini.

    • sjb
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      Agreed and most of the Balkan countries I think our host is referring to are either now members (Croatia and Slovenia) or candidates for membership (FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia). So that augurs well for peace in that region.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      The whole point of the EU, I thought, was to avoid Europe stumbling into another World War.
      Now, thanks to the chaotic organisation of the EU under a committee of some 28 Ministers and Heads of Government each with their own very different points of view and, no doubt, each with their special egos to consider, and fronted up by a woman who has absolutely no experience of foreign policy – she was a minor apparatchik in the NHS – we are drifting towards World War III.
      But – hey! – we are democratic!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        Avoiding war was the ruse for the EUSSR (that and the single market).

      • Peter Van Leeuwen
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        @Mike Stallard: I don’t see us drifting towards WWIII.

    • Bill
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      I am assuming that when you say you do not have a high opinion of UK democracy you mean that you prefer proportional representation as a system of voting?

      If this is the case, all that I can say is that proportional representation disempowers ordinary voters because they do not know what they will get from the politicians for whom they vote: they do not know which combination of political blocks will eventually form a government.

      I agree, of course, that many of the advantages of the UK system disappear if politicians do not enact the manifestos on which they are elected. If that happens, voters rightly feel betrayed. Having said this, the argument is also made that voters vote for a person (rather than for policies) and put their trust in his or her political judgement. But, this said, political judgment is also shown in the writing of manifestos. So, either way, voters ought to know in advance what their politicians will do once they are put into power.

      • Peter Van Leeuwen
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        @Bill: I indeed favour proportional representation. In order to do what a popular majority wants most, coalitions and thus compromise are indeed needed, sometimes that is also the case in a fptp system (your 2010 election result) My Dutch party (part of a “grand coalition”) could very well argue what they had achieved and what they could not achieve, and I was quite satisfied with that and don’t see these compromises as a breach of trust.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Peter van Leeuwen “I don’t have a high opinion of UK democracy when compared to EU democracy” how can you possible think this? UK democracy I grant you is slim, but EU democracy is just non existent. It is anti democratic and often removes democratically elected governments.

      The EU does not even have a valid Demos, let alone any democracy. It only tiny democratic legitimacy comes from through the elected government leaders of individual countries.

      The election of MEP makes no difference to anything at all. Even if the UK elected UKIP MEPs 100% nothing would change. It is just an expensive veneer/democratic con.

      • Peter Van Leeuwen
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        @Lifelogic: Granted that EU democracy still has a lot to be improved, let’s see how far we got:
        1) The European Council consists of elected government leaders (no kings or queens or unelected persons)
        2) The European Commission consists of national candidates, vetted and approved by the directly elected European Parliament. How these national candidates are selected is a national question. If e.g. would want to elect its candidate commissioner, that is entirely possible. As far as I know, all (democratic) governments chose to appoint these candidates. No kings, queen or hereditary people, and always for a limited, renewable period of five years. Practice shows that individual commissioners and whole commissions have been sent home by parliament.
        3) The directly elected European Parliament has to agree to almost every piece of regulation, co-decising with the relevant Council of Ministers or European Council (on balance more power than ordinary parliaments). Both parliament and council have an indirect right of initiative, requsting the commission to propose certain legislation.
        4) Like Switzerland, the EU is made up of various peoples, distinguished by language and culture, but able to function democratically under the same authority. Different from Switzerland, the EU is a hybrid construct (partially intergovernmental)
        5) Citizens have a vehicle to directly voice their concerns via citizens initiatives ( 1 million signatures spread over 7 EU member states)

    • Bryan
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Peter, if you truly believe that the EU is more democratic than the UK then you really must get out more!

      • Peter Van Leeuwen
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        @Bryan: getting out is always good advice. :)

    • Tom William
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Your views on EU democracy remind me of Gorbachev’s comment to Giscard d’Estaing when on a visit to Paris:
      “The most puzzling development in politics during the last decade is the apparent determination of Western European leaders to re-create the Soviet Union in Western Europe.”

      • Peter Van Leeuwen
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        @Tom William: I’ve never seen that rather insulting parallel.

    • peter davies
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      @PVL

      I struggle to understand how a system of legislators who seem to be open to big company lobby groups to create laws which the rest of us have to swallow with little or no proper scrutiny is democratic.

      As a case in point it might be worth Googling James Dyson and his point about hoovers

      • Peter Van Leeuwen
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        @peter davies: I’d suggest that the UK government, the US government and many others (including all their parliaments) are lobbied as well.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      “you simply can not just evict 5 million European citizens against their will”

      Nobody is forcing them to vote to leave the UK and thereby automatically leave the EU under its present treaties; it would no more be an eviction than a group of tenants agreeing to take a vote and the majority decision being that they should all leave their present shared flat and find alternative accommodation.

      • Peter Van Leeuwen
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper: They (the tenants alias Scots) may want to split the apartment into two apartments, but they don’t want to leave the football club and why should they if the club doesn’t object them staying?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 6, 2014 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

          If they bothered to read the present club rules they would find that a vote to leave their flat is also in effect a vote to resign from the club; and some of those who make the club rules have made it very clear that they would be opposed to changing the rules for their benefit, and in any case there would be a charge levied.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted September 7, 2014 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

            @Denis: that is where the (hated by you?) EU-fudge comes in . .
            Ask the Swedes if you want the Scots to stay within the rules, their option is already available

      • bigneil
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        evict 5 million European citizens against their will” – -or from the other side – -we had the same amount put in here against OUR will – add on the influx of non-EU people asking for protection, then – going straight back to worship what they claim they fled from – and the British citizen AGAIN has just been trampled over – led by the very people elected to look after them. – We are finished -the “elite” will pocket their gains and fly away – when they realise that the only thing the people coming here want is – our money. The destruction of the British will carry on and the traitors who organised it will settle somewhere else.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Peter – You don’t have a high opinion of our democracy in comparison to the EU.

      We know.

      I presume you are a Dutch citizen and not an English one ? Only I wouldn’t dream of contributing to a Dutch political website (despite knowing that language is no bar to debate among most people there.)

      I see it as absolutely none of my business.

      • APL
        Posted September 6, 2014 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

        Anonymous: “Peter .. I see it as absolutely none of my business.”

        hint hint.

  6. Posted September 5, 2014 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Democracy always needs that process which corrects problems which arise out of law. The peoples of the EU are changing mainly due to sociological reasons. We can not prevent these changes unless there is criminality ;it therefore follows that the laws must change to gain some sort of equilibrium.There cannot be any exact equation as we are dealing with the mutable , yet if one side remains fixed and the other side changes , the parity between what is happening in the EU and suitable laws becomes grossly distorted.

    We see this gross conflict when abiding to religious text . Historical writings of the internal struggles of the day, metaphor used to represent science unknown at the time etc. To be a realistic diplomat is to understand change and put it in a modern context which will not offend those people who learn text and take each word as it would have been taken centuries ago without the new knowledge.

  7. Andyvan
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Diplomacy and politics are the means that one group uses to impose it’s will on another. Most clearly Britain, then America have sought to impose their imperial policies on the world for hundreds of years. Other players have come and gone, France, Germany, Russia and others. All seeking to grab a piece of the action for themselves. This has led to unceasing war, famine, revolution, sanctions (blockade) and starvation. Britain and France created the Middle East as we know it after the First World War and we have continued to interfere there, now mostly as Americas poodle. Our meddling, interference and violence (which you call diplomacy) has been utterly catastrophic.
    At home the meddling and interference (politics) has ruined the economy. It has created a society of dependency where most people cannot even see just how much government steals from them but only what they get back in the form of very poor “services” and bribes (benefits).
    Politics and diplomacy are the means of control by division and conflict not the means to reconcile differences. Until we see things as they are we are doomed to live in a violent and repressive world.

    • formula57
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      @ Andyvan – So if politics and diplomacy are rejected, to what means will we resort to reconcile differences?

    • libertarian
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Excellent post Mr Van

  8. Old Albion
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Perhaps it would be best to invoke ‘article 50′

    • Bob
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      @Old Albion

      “Perhaps it would be best to invoke ‘article 50′”

      This would place the terms of our exit into the hands of the Commission. They would no doubt demand a heavy price.

      It would prove far better to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act, and then we would be free to negotiate with the EU on whatever is in our mutual interests.

  9. agricola
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Jaw, jaw is better than war, war, and the EU is totally undemocratic with aspirations beyond it’s means either militarily or politically. Tell us something we do not already know.

    The big question is why are we still part of it. Please explain to us all why Cameron, Clegg and Milliband are so enamoured of it. What is in it for them. Are the real money brokers in the World controlling them or are they after a bigger and better pension than they can expect from their current jobs. There must be something for them to behave in such a traitorous way against all logical argument. I can understand an argument for a war free, harmonious collection of states all trading together from a common rule book. We have almost the opposite with the additions of vast unemployment, population drift to avoid the worst aspects of the EU economy, and a dictatorship in control in Brussels. So I repeat my question, what is in it for this trio which we the people of the UK are not privy to.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Good question to which I fear you will receive no answer from our host.

    • outsider
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Dear Agricola, The answer is simply that those whose main aim is to get on in society, to win the glittering prizes, usually embrace the prevailing orthodoxy whether or not they really believe in it. That orthodoxy was once protestant Christianity, which is why the Disraelis and several London banking families converted (like the Marx and Wittgenstein families in Germany). Later, until 1914, you had to believe in the superiority of British culture and democracy and in the moral value of the Empire. Since 1950, you have needed to embrace the welfare state and the National Health Service and since the 1975 referendum and Left’s later conversion by Jacques Delors, it has paid to believe in the necessity of our EU membership and in the moral and strategic imperative of a single, united, secular liberal social democratic Europe (which is also desired by all responsible American thinking). The 1980s, when Mr Redwood made his mark, are seen as an aberration.

  10. stred
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    If it is possible to repeal an Act made by the UK Parliament and not made by the UK, would it be possible to repeal the decision by G.Brown to increase the carbon emission targets beyond EU levels and for these to be binding for 30 years?

    Also, if it is not possible to make binding future law beyond a Parliament, then why should it be possible to change law retrospectively, affecting citizens acting under previous laws. For example, someone makes plans for retirement savings or a business and is then has tax allowances taken away for the period when making those plans?

    • stred
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Sorry- not made by the EU.

  11. Ian wragg
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Sure the EU fails on all counts as an undemocratic, unaccountable entity run by power mad ex commies. Still CMD says it’s good for us and will campaign tirelessly for our continued subservience.
    More bleating about the ills of the EU but you still support a party that is 80% pro.EU..

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      Ian,
      “More bleating about the ills of the EU but you still support a party that is 80% pro.EU..”
      It helps assuage his conscience.

      Reply I am seeking to move public opinion so we can win a vote on the EU! You could try helping instead of constantly carping.

      • agricola
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        With respect it is not public opinion that needs moving, it is the Lib/Dem/Con/Lab metro elite that are wedded to the EU whose opinion needs to be moved. Explain to us please what it is that they find so attractive about this obscenity called the EU.

      • formula57
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        @ Reply – Well said!

  12. stred
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Re. EU foreign policy. The Nato conference on the Middle East and Ukraine has seen the Head of Nato, Mr Rasmussen making various statements about the Russian support for the Eastern Ukrainian rebels. Looking at the Wiki page it is stated that Mr Rasmussen was a Liberal PM of Denmark in a coalition government, he admired Tony Blair and was for all for the Iraq War. He has been President of the EU when it was run on a Buggins turn basis. In fact he is a fully immersed EU politician. We can therefore safely assume that Nato is not going to be too unwilling to help the EU with its expansionist policies.

    Also, looking at the Clustermap on JR’s blog, it is notable how many readers there are now in Eastern Europe and Russia. There is a particularly big red blob where Moscow is. If Vlad reads it perhaps he could consider finding where all the money stolen from the Ukrainians by the previous Oligarch is. This could be handed back, under supervision of non-oligarchs, and then a peace deal could follow quickly and stop the disastrous civil war as soon as possible. The reduced cost of EU support would be welcome, especially as they don’t have any spare cash at the moment.

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Daily Mail: “Up to 100 Tory MPs are set to defy David Cameron by pledging to vote to leave the EU no matter how much power he manages to claw back from Brussels.

    Conservative Eurosceptics are planning to promise in their personal manifestos for next May’s General Election that they will vote for Britain to quit the EU in 2017’s in/out referendum.”

    Will you be one of them?

    Reply I have already made clear that I will vote for Out unless a satisfactory new relationship based on trade and political co-operation is available. I voted against Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon in the Commons and against Rome in a referendum and have not changed my views on those treaties.

  14. Lifelogic
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Perfectly put I concur fully.

    Especially the paragraph beginning:-

    “Which brings me to the EU’s main failure, its failure to be democratic or to advance democratic causes. The EU dislikes Scotland having a free referendum on whether to stay in the UK or not.”

  15. formula57
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Surely the EU fostering separatism within its own sovereign state members would be treasonable as well as destabilizing and likely against international law amongst other serious ills so it is good that “The EU which did so much to foment tensions within member states in the early years of its existence by encouraging a Europe of the regions, now wishes to suppress separatist movements.”?

    That separatists might succeed in their aims would leave the EU in yet another bind as to whether to grant admission (likely impossible in the face of opposition from the state suffering secession) or see (per Peter van Leeuwen’s words above) the eviction from the EU of European citizens against their will.

  16. brian
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Putin doesn’t really worry about what others think. With his forces holding ground he knows it’s a fait accompli. He will not be moved.

  17. formula57
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    As for the democratic credentials of the EU, those were lacking ab initio and create serious problems today, not least in responding sensibly to the Euro currency crisis, so suggests Yanis Varoufakis, Professor of Economics at the University of Athens.

    He says “….the European Union’s bureaucracy was always built as a democracy-free, even a politics-free, zone. Its founding fathers, men like Jean Monnet, harboured a deep distaste for democratic politics and aspired to creating a technocracy in Brussels that would direct Europe’s macro-economy in a corporatist manner in the interests of the Central European heavy industry cartel.” [a cartel given expression in the Coal and Steel community]. He then notes, “In this context, it seems natural that the European Common Market was an attempt at de-politicising the European integration project and subjecting it to the guidance and administration of unelected technocrats who would consistently reduce politics to management and democracy to consultation.”

    Given that history, Varoufakis concludes that turning the EU into a federal democracy would be “a Herculean task” and hence rejects Margaret Thatcher’s fear expressed in 1990 that “Monetary Union is an attempt to usher in Federation through the back door” since the alliance of elites running the EU do not want to relinquish their power to a democracy.

    I for one found all that rather shocking, but it echoes your comments today. The EU is likely doomed!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      According to Lord Tebbit speaking at a meeting some years ago, Heath wanted to join the EEC partly to tie the hands of any future Labour government. So clearly he was not interested in national democracy, or probably in any democracy.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        I think Heath once said something like you cannot govern large nations of a billion+(?) people under a democracy? In reference, I think, to China – but perhaps he thought this of the “common market” too?

  18. oldtimer
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I agree with your views on the role of politics and diplomacy and your acknowledgment of the role of deception – lies in plain language – that can accompany it. Sometimes politicians can get away with telling lies – if the subsequent benefits flow from them and are accepted by those lied to. But if there are no benefits or actual harm results from those lies then that spells trouble for those that told the lies in the first place.

    We are entering that territory on the issue of UK membership of the EU. We find that on many matters, both major and minor, the UK is bound hand, foot and finger by laws, rules and regulations imposed by others (some by QMV) with no means of redress or repeal. This has resulted from successive UK governments surrendering its sovereignty without the specific endorsement of the UK electorate. I think that is an untenable position for any UK government, current or future, that wishes to maintain law and order.

    I think that your observations on the EU make the case for Brexit.

  19. Posted September 5, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Dr. Redwood,

    “Diplomacy is an up market kind of politics. It is smart talking paid for by the state and directed by politicians. Today both politics and diplomacy are derided by many, condemned by cynics as lying at the public expense. I want to make the case for them both.”

    The condemnation of today’s politics and diplomacy is not confined to cynics. They are condemned by anyone with more concern for the truth than for smart talk directed by politicians more interested in their careers than in the good government of those who elected them. It is not politics and diplomacy per se which are condemned, but the way that the current crop of politicians practise them.

    Let me illustrate from your later words. “Of course internally a state has to be firm to maintain the rule of law. Those who commit acts of violence against others and the state, or who steal or damage the property of others have to be prosecuted and punished.”

    The current government, which has your support, fails on every count. It imposes foreign law, contrary to our Constitution, thus failing to maintain the rule of law. It fails to prosecute, let alone punish, those in public office who commit acts of violence themselves or condone acts of violence by others (Rotherham). It fails to investigate such allegations and those who make them are persecuted (names removed ed). It covers political wrongdoing by failing to inform (the Savill Inquiry) and those are just a few examples.

    Diplomacy, as currently practised by British Diplomats, consists of constantly interfering in the affairs of other nations when those affairs are imperfectly understood, at the behest of our national politicians who are acting foolishly without any mandate from the electorate and frequently against our national interest.

    You make the case against a dangerous and undemocratic E.U. Fine words.

    Why do you continue to support a Party whose leader is firmly committed to keep this country a member of that dangerous and undemocratic construct?

    John Wrake.

    Reply I support a party which will give us a renegotiation and a vote so we can leave the EU as the best way forward.

    • ian wragg
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      Then you are seriously deluded John. CMD has no intention of repatriating any powers and you know that. He will resign before offering a referendum and is prepared to lose the next election. JUST WHO IS PULLING NHIS STRINGS.?

      Reply He will offer a referendum in the GE and will implement if he wins.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        Chance of Tory Majority currently about 13%.

      • Posted September 5, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        reply to reply: I am not a UKIP er yet it doesn’t need 5 beans to see the reason for delay in making a date for referendum will be after the next election

      • Jagman84
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        JUST WHO IS PULLING HIS STRINGS?

        Seeing that David Cameron has praised the fake charity & school for subversives that is Common Purpose, his true political leaning is certainly not Conservative.

    • Bob
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink


      ” I support a party which will give us a renegotiation”

      REALITY CHECK

      Angela Merkel said that she would not support Britain if it seeks a fundamental revision of the EU’s governing treaties.

      Addressing MPs and peers at Westminster, the German Chancellor sought to lower what she regards as the unrealistic expectations that Britain will be able to repatriate a raft of powers from Brussels before the in/out referendum on EU membership David Cameron has promised in 2017.

      The most powerful player on the EU stage said: “Some expect my speech to pave the way for a fundamental reform of the European architecture which will satisfy all kinds of alleged or actual British wishes. I am afraid they are in for a disappointment.”

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      John,
      “Why do you continue to support a Party whose leader is firmly committed to keep this country a member of that dangerous and undemocratic construct?”

      If it helps, in an earlier response to me our host said:
      “I will vote for Out unless a satisfactory new relationship based on trade and political co-operation is available”. In other words he is also quite willing to keep this country “a member of that dangerous and undemocratic construct”.

      Reply Do not lie about me. I voted No in the last referendum and will do so again unless there is trade and co-operation arrangement on offer, not being part of the EU government.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted September 5, 2014 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply,
        I repeated the words you used to me in a previous answer and now you accuse me of lying about you! I notice that this time in your response you omitted the word ‘political’ before ‘co-operation’. I wonder why? I find it very easy to say that I would vote to leave the EU, whatever the outcome of some faux re-negotiations, but you cannot give such a straightforward commitment – that is significant.

        Reply I have made it quite clear I wish to leave the current EU membership which we have and to leave the grip of the current treaties. I do not rule out a trade agreement and agreement on other matters that govern our relationships with our neighbours. It is irresponsible to suggest we do not need aviation rights, pipeline, ferry and interconnector agreements etc.

    • APL
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      jR: ” I support a party which will give us a renegotiation and a vote so we can leave the EU as the best way forward. ”

      Before the election.

      But Cameron will say *anything* before an election. You know that, what makes you think we haven’t noticed?

  20. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    We are so concerned on our island what is here and who is here. Are there jobs here? Are there houses here? Is the money here? Who is here? Are there Polish plumbers here?Are there Romanian nurses here?

    Rather we should ask what is not there? Who is not there? By “there” I mean all those countries from which we so gladly and lightly accept their citizens into our country.

    People still resident in the poorer countries of Europe and indeed the world have noticed it is a tad more difficult to get a plumber to fix a flooded home, to find a hospital with enough staff even qualified to administer a sticking plaster to a infant’s graze. There, there, there is a haemorrhaging of skilled and qualified people, the very bedrock of a sustainable and healthy society and economy. There, are strikes of doctors. There, we as tourists, can lay on the roadside having been knocked down by the car of a fast driven exiting migrant, and remain there for hours as ambulance drivers are no longer out and about.

    If the Conservative Party genuinely desires a referendum on our EU membership, here; then best hurry lest that question be voted upon to our detriment entirely elsewhere accompanied with the consequent diplomatic realignment of Eastern Europe and indeed the Baltics to their traditional and historic trading partner: Russia

  21. forthurst
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    According to James Dyson (in the DT), when the EU was democratically deciding how to constrain consumer choice, he was outvoted by German hoover makers over by how much to reduce the allowable power usage of hoovers, and so for that reason, he believes, we should exit the EU.

    JR extols the superiority of politics and diplomacy over civil strife and foreign wars. However, when politics becomes a tool of special interest groups, civil strife and foreign wars can be the result, quite apart from unnecessary railways, constraints on reliable energy conversion, and the redesign of consumer products; furthermore those that take part in the political process by electing politicians, find themselves powerless to change that which is damaging to their families and the nation at large.

    The problem of special interest groups is especially damaging when these set about making adverse changes, not only through lobbying politicians, but by infiltrating the political process and the state bureaucracy directly, as well as by creating organisations whose primary purpose is to legitimise and promote adverse change. An example of this latter is how changes to our laws on what is allowed to be spoken out loud without grievous penalty, have intimidated many people from doing what they knew to be right by thousands of English children, prayed on with impunity by gangs of those of alien extraction.

    The EU is trying to expand to incorporate the whole of Europe; however, ‘Europe’ is not a meaningful concept; it is not a continent because it is not surrounded by a continental shelf, it is simply a small part of Eurasia, a vast continent whose different nations do not necessarily have anything worthwhile in common at all and there is absolutely no reason why we should wish to be closely associated with any of those who do not share much of our history or culture or economic level.

    Who actually is promoting the EU through diplomacy? Who or what is the the EU equivalent of Sergei Lavrov or, perish the thought, John Kerry? That woman? Her utterances on foreign policy appear rarer than those of the Queen. Who or what is actually driving and promoting EU foreign policy through diplomacy? When NATO meets in Cardiff, are they formulating EU foreign policy to be announced by Anders Rasmussen? Why has the President of a non-member who is currently attacking his civilian population with lethal force been invited to their deliberations? Has the US State Dept, guided by neocons when not actually chewing the carpet, backed by the US military acting though NATO, inhabited an apparent vacuum left by EU politicians or is it simply the case that the EU is an amoeboid organism that instinctively expands to engulf anything outside its own body without regard for its own ultimate welbeing ?

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    There are different strands of thought among the various EU actors; some would like to see the nation states broken up and the fragments collected in a European federation of regions and cities, others would much prefer a federation of the existing states.

    The first line of thought is exemplified by, but not restricted to, the Committee of the Regions that Major allowed to be established through the Maastricht Treaty:

    http://cor.europa.eu/en/Pages/home.aspx

    It has been suggested in the past that this committee should form the basis for a Senate, a second chamber of the EU Parliament.

    The second line of thought is exemplified by at least three national governments in the EU who are deeply alarmed by the prospect of Scotland seceding from the UK because it would encourage separatist movements in their own countries, and who would therefore be unwilling to make life easy for a newly independent Scotland.

    And then there is the Empress Angela, whose own country does not seem to be in any immediate danger of breaking up and who would doubtless be quietly pleased if the UK did break up, who would not want the EU to lose Scotland but on the other hand would not be willing to agree to treaty changes to keep Scotland in the EU unless its terms of accession contributed to the achievement of her goal of getting every EU member state into the euro, as reported here in May 2010:

    http://www.openeurope.org.uk/Article/Page/en/LIVE?id=1092

    “Our goal must be that all EU member States join the euro one day”

    It is quite inconceivable that Merkel would pass up the opportunity to impose the euro on Scotland as a minimum price for her agreement to the EU treaty changes that would be required for Scotland to become a new EU member state, and quite likely also leaning on the Spanish and others if they were being obstructive.

    And as she has no doubt heard Salmond claiming that joining the euro was “voluntary” she would probably want to make quite sure that the Scottish government could not try to wriggle out of its treaty obligation as the Swedes have been doing.

    • Posted September 6, 2014 at 6:48 am | Permalink

      Looking at those pages and the EU it seems as though the division of powers is widespread as typified between England and Scotland .For me this is just as frightening as central power as the paradox is through plurality and control. e.g Mac Donaldisation with differing motives.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Anyway I’ve tried to a bit for the Union, and therefore in my view also for England, by sending a letter to newspapers in Scotland asking why the SNP is so dead set against an independent Scotland having its own national central bank when it is perfectly clear that it would be barred from the EU if it didn’t have one. For some reason this is a question which pro-Union politicians in Scotland don’t seem that keen on pursuing.

  24. DaveM
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    As an aside, and on a similar matter, the EU is considering making the European nations boycott the 2018 World Cup in Russia. I hope they implement that – the whole of Europe will rise up against the Brussels dictatorship!!!

  • About John Redwood

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