Mr Barroso tries to defend the indefensible

Mr Barroso says more UK politicians should speak out for UK’s  membership of the EU. They do not, because our current membership undermines  our democracy and damages  our economy. The EU burdens us with heavy costs, a high tax bill and dear energy. It is left to an  EU official  to lecture us on why we should stay in. The more they lecture us, the more UK voters will be suspicious of the EU and the large bills and instructions it imposes on us.

The so called case to stay in is based on three errors. The first is Germany and France would not sell us their goods any more if we left. Germany has of course confirmed they would want continuing access to our markets so we would keep access  to theirs. The second is western Europe would be fighting itself with no EU. It’s not even worth refuting that nonsense.  The third is the UK would have no influence in the world outside the EU, when we would be able to speak for ourselves again in the main world institutions  instead of having to depend on the EU to do it.

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111 Comments

  1. Mike Stallard
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    I think you are missing the point.
    M. Barroso believes passionately in More Europe. Mr Cameron believes in Europe too. As I understand it, the Conservative Line at the moment is to go for a radical reform of immigration policy before 2017 when there is going to be a referendum.
    M. Barroso came on TV yesterday (a very rare occurrence) and baldly said that any negotiation of the four freedoms was out of the question.
    He really means it and it is no good saying that he is about to come to the end of his tenure: Mr Juncker is just as determined to keep Europe together.
    Where this leaves the conservatives is anyone’s guess. (Deliberate small c).

    • Kenneth
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Keeping Europe together would be much easier if we could rid Europe of the eu. IMHO

    • John Moss
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Polls suggest that a referendum today would see a narrow vote to stay in, but one following a substantial renegotiation would produce a much larger vote in favour of remaining members. No polling appears to have been done on the potential outcome should that renegotiation fail, but I suspect it would switch the numbers to a majority to leave.

      Faced with losing our financial contribution, the EU will either negotiate sensible reforms, or it will cut off its nose to spite its face.

      If the latter is the case, so be it, I will vote to leave. But to fail to try will leave us where we are now, ie, with a small majority wishing to stay in. That is the flaw in the position of those demanding an immediate referendum. They would probably lose.

      Reply Thank you for helping explain the obvious to people who do not want to understand the mood of the country. The country is Eurosceptic, thinks there are many downsides to our current relationship, but apprehensive about simply leaving. We do need to have a conversation about whether the EU can fix the things we most dislike, at the same time as seeking to show the waverers that leaving the EU would be a sensible choice if they do not offer us a better relationship.

      • Bob
        Posted October 20, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        @John Moss
        Mr Barroso has essentially slammed the door on the idea that David Cameron could negotiate anything more than a few cosmetic changes before staging that referendum in 2017.

        We have new arrivals coming in at the rate of about 500,000 p.a. and they will want our borders to remain open for the sake of their friends and relatives who want to come here.

        About 250,000 are emigrating, many to places like Australia, Canada and the U.S.

        What effect do you imagine that another 3 or 4 years of that rate of demographic change will have on the outcome of a referendum ?
        +++

        @Mr Redwood
        The only better relationship would be an arms length one, otherwise whatever “concessions” are “negotiated” will be surrendered to the EUtopian meat grinder further down the road to the Super State. Make no mistake.

        The referendum that can prevent the UK from being subsumed will be held next May.

        At that time a vote for LibLabCon would be a vote for rule by Brussels for fifty more years until the whole EUtopian Empire collapses under its own weight just like the USSR upon which model it closely resembles.

        • outsider
          Posted October 20, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          For many years Bob, the National Health Service has been actively recruiting abroad for staff. It has been the quiet policy of successive governments, while limiting training at home. In the past 3 or 4 years, recruitment targets have switched from Asia and Africa to EU countries, thus massaging the figures by slimming non-EU immigration while boosting “uncontrollable” movement from the rest of the EU.
          Whitehall’s overall stance on immigration is, I think, conditioned by the needs of the NHS, which is controlled by Government and presently in the hands of a Conservative Secretary if State.
          This policy could be changed without any violation of the freedom of movement principle. No breast-beating over cutting immigration will be credible while this NHS policy continues.

          • Mondeo Man
            Posted October 20, 2014 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

            Outsider – No breast-beating over immigration or European re-negotiation will be credible whilst Eurosceptics remain consigned to the outer fringes of the Tory party.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 20, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        However the mood of the country is largely conditioned by the widespread misconception that somehow our politicians might cleverly arrange for the UK to remain a member state of the EU, but without subscribing to some of the founding principles of that international organisation.

        That much is evident from opinion polls such as this from February:

        http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/pv0teijo60/YG-Archive-140221-OpenEurope-British.pdf

        with 15% wanting the level of EU integration to stay more or less as it is, and an even more deluded 37% wanting it to be less integrated.

        That was over half of the population having been duped into believing in one fantasy or another, either that the UK could stay in the EU but not be subject to the process of “ever closer union” to which all of the member states must commit themselves, according to the very first line of the 1957 Treaty of Rome establishing the EEC, as subsequently reiterated in the preamble to the Maastricht Treaty establishing the EU, or even more fantastically that the UK could stay in the EU but with some of the past operation of “ever closer union” having been reversed.

        The question I would ask is this: are certain politicians doing us a service by actively spreading the delusion that they could achieve this, or would it be much better for them to come clean and admit to us that we need to decide whether we want our destiny to lie in becoming a subordinate part (or parts) of a pan-European federation, or we would prefer our country to remain an independent sovereign state in perpetuity?

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Exactly, but where is the Tory leadership on this issue. They seem just to have decided to give up. This is a clear attempt to undermine Cameron’s position of “renegotiation”. It does not need much to undermine it as it surely will not work in its present half baked long grass form.

    Falling at the first fence of losing the election unless they do a UKIP deal. It seems (from the Spectator) that Cameron refused a good UKIP deal last time & then threw that last the election as a result.

    • Timaction
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      UKIP do not want and will not do any deal with the Conservatives. Whilst UKIP may have members who were former Tory voters it is NOT the Conservative Party in exile. We have a raft of policy’s that the vast majority of the public agree. The EU, mass migration, energy, Human Rights are just the headlines and we invite people from across the political spectrum to join us.
      Mr Redwoods comments today are right. Unfortunately his leader and the other leaders of the legacy parties are disingenuous and rabid Europhiles. They consider themselves beyond democracy as a region of the United States of Europe and are European citizens who all have the same rights.
      No mention is made in any of these debates about our culture, heritage and very way of life that has been given away by the legacy parties, deliberately to destroy us. We will keep telling the truth and the rest can carry on spinning. The public are catching on quickly.

      • John Moss
        Posted October 20, 2014 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        It is strange that you accuse the Conservatives of regarding themselves as “beyond democracy” when UKIP do not propose a referendum on our membership, just to repeal the ’72 Act and thereby leave immediately.

        • Matt
          Posted October 20, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

          I’m unlikely to vote UKIP myself, but surely if they put that policy into their manifesto and then win the election, there’s no need for a referendum as well.

        • Sean O'Hare
          Posted October 20, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

          It is not UKIP policy to “just repeal the ’72 Act” as you put it, although some (e.g. Gerard Batten & Ray Finch) are so minded. Nigel Farage has stated publically on more than one occasion that we will follow the withdrawal procedure set down in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, because that is the law of the land. UKIP will only walk out of Article 50 negotiations if it becomes obvious that the EU are negotiating in bad faith.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 20, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

          Hold on, the Tory position was always that referendums are a perversion of our representative democracy; according to Thatcher, Atlee may have been right when he dismissed referendums as “a device of dictators and demagogues”; you can see her saying that here:

          http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/102649

          and you can also see her arguing that if referendums were part of our system “immigration would have been stopped” – how right she was about that likely consequence, but how wrong to object to it; she didn’t bother to ask us whether we agreed to the wholesale abolition of national vetoes through her Single European Act, even though that destroyed part of the officially stated case for voting to stay in the EEC in the 1975 referendum, when she had campaigned vigorously for us to stay in; Major refused a referendum on his Maastricht Treaty on European Union, and had to be forced into agreeing in principle that there should be a referendum on whether the UK should join the euro, which he personally wanted to do while pretending that he would wait and see before making up his mind; so when did the Tory party reverse its position and become a convinced advocate of the need for referendums on EU issues? Oh, when it was a Labour government in power and agreeing to new EU treaties, and there was some electoral mileage in saying that the people should be allowed to decide, that’s when; and even then there was Cameron’s shameless pretence that the Lisbon Treaty had somehow ceased to exist which he offered as an excuse for avoiding a referendum on it, and later on in government Hague actually used his so-called “referendum lock” law to block two referendums which by rights that we should have had; and yet after all this long history of Tory hypocrisy and deceit you now have the nerve to criticise UKIP for saying that they might just take us out of this bloody EU mess without a referendum?

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 20, 2014 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

            Well said Denis. You have just described the very things that make me fume!

            And you know what? They’re still at it!

            Tad

        • Timaction
          Posted October 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think we could make our policy position any clearer. Do you want me to write this in capitals which apparently equates to shouting on the internet?

          I also don’t remember any referendum on any of the amending Treaties since 1972 to effectively create this United States of Europe by deceit and stealth with our loss of sovereignty and democracy.

          Please (Google) read FCO briefing paper 10/3048 from 1971 and tell me the British people weren’t lied to and that the legacy parties can be trusted at all?

      • Vanessa
        Posted October 20, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

        Well said and completely agree. Nobody trusts Cameron least of all UKIP so no deal.

        The referendum is ONLY promised if and only if the Conservatives achieve a majority next year which looks unachievable bearing in mind the present boundaries which give Labour a 7% lead. There is not a hell’s chance of the tories getting a majority so NO REFERENDUM and certainly no renegotiation.

        We know which side Cameron lives on and it is not Britain’s interest side.

        • fedupsouthener
          Posted October 20, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

          Have to agree with you Vanessa.

          At least UKIP are not afraid to show they are on Britain’s side! We will just get the same old, same old from the other 2 parties and we all know where that will get us! Many of us feel it is time for change but I would be in favour of a deal between Cons and UKIP.

        • Timaction
          Posted October 20, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

          …………..a quote from MP Douglas Carswell’s piece in the Guardian yesterday:

          “So why walk now? “Because Cameron’s not serious. It’s a smoke-and-mirrors referendum. His advisers told me the plan; it’s to work out from focus groups and pollsters what it would take to get the soft ‘outers’ and the undecideds to stay in, to offer them that, and once that hurdle is cleared to stick with the status quo.”

          That s from an insider. Who would trust Mr Cameron now? Surely Mr Redwood you and other Eurosceptic MP’s must know this?

          Reply Mr Carswell is not an insider. He did not attend the meetings I attended to discuss the Bloomberg policy before Mr Cameron agreed it, and clearly does not understand what the Conservatives are seeking to do to restore UK democracy.

          • Brian Tomkinson
            Posted October 20, 2014 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

            Reply to reply,
            JR: “Mr Carswell is not an insider.”
            What an admission; he wasn’t in your little clique so you didn’t tell him what you were planning and yet he was a prominent Eurosceptic in your so-called Eurosceptic party. No doubt you all arrogantly thought that he would just do as he was told. This conveys so much about what is wrong with your party – if you treated your own party colleagues with such disdain what hope is there for the poor old voters?

            Reply I did not treat him with disdain or keep him out of some clique! He was keen usually to work on his own rather than working with us.

          • Kenneth R Moore
            Posted October 20, 2014 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

            With all due respect to Dr Redwood, Mr Carswell’s source is hardly going to divulge to a prominent outspoken Euro sceptic backbencher, the PM’s prefered plan.

            David Cameron needs to keep Dr Redwood, Mr Bone and others with capacity for independent thought and principle on side. When faced with a problem his instinct is to say how can i manipulative my image..rather than do anything of substance. He is untroubled by strongly held beliefs or principles as he doesn’t really have any.

            He will pledge whatever is needed to maintain your loyalty – the only ‘insiders’ that really seem to matter are those that sit on the No 10 sofa.

        • outsider
          Posted October 20, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

          Exactly Vanessa. For Mr Cameron’s “new” European policy to be credible to voters, he would have to rule out a continuing Coalition with the Liberal Democrats before the election. Sadly, the calculation will be purely over which tactic is more likely to leave him in office, regardless of whether he is, as Norman Lamont once said, “in power”.

    • Sam
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      LifeLogic,

      I once thought as you did, but it seems that the current “hype” surrounding Ukip obscures the disdain within which they are held by large sections of the electorate. See, for instance: http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21625880-moderate-voters-not-ukipers-will-decide-next-years-general-election-we-are-89?fsrc=scn/tw_ec/we_are_the_89_

      Equally, I suppose, the non-ideological protest votes that are swelling Ukip in the polls would melt away if they became affiliated with a party that might actually end up in government.

      Open collusion between the top-brass of the two parties would be counter intuitive. The best response is organisation at the grassroots, assisted by third party mediation. A body like the Freedom Association should prepare a tactical voting map to stop Labour. The common goal of keeping Britain free and getting Brussels’ hands off us should trump party affiliation.

      Barroso, incidentally, clearly misunderstands the British temperament.

      • Bob
        Posted October 20, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        @Sam
        Congratulations on getting a hyperlink through Mr Redwood’s “firewall”!

        What’s the secret?

      • Sean O'Hare
        Posted October 20, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        That Economist article is unbelievably biased against UKIP. Especially that “Allergic to Fruitcake” poll result. They do not say how or where the poll was conducted although they do earlier refer to an old YouGov result. They go on about Harlow and suggest that the people of that commuter town are generally anti-UKIP, but on the other hand tell us that the town has recently elected 5 UKIP councillors.

        • Bob
          Posted October 20, 2014 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

          “That Economist article is unbelievably biased against UKIP.”

          Ahh, so that’s the secret!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 20, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        So the Tories should not worry so much about UKIP, then, it’s just a brief upsurge of mainly old and discontented voters and even they will see sense at the next general election. Hold on to that thought, do.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted October 20, 2014 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        Sam – UKIP voters are moderate too (apropos the economist saying that ‘moderate voters’ form the majority and will determine the 2015 election.) UKIP voters have eschewed the far right BNP and have chosen to express their desires through due democratic process. I am a UKIP voter and happen to support gay marriage and like black people.

        What’s ‘extreme’ about me then ?

        I happen to think that the Labour party is extreme. I suppose it’s a matter of viewpoint. But any party which curtails debate by controlling the language of it (political correctness), by influencing the media messaging (the biased output of the BBC) and who describes those who disagree with it as deranged and racist is behaving with all the traits of a radical communist state.

        What has the level of disdain for UKIP to do with anything ? People who dislike UKIP don’t vote UKIP and so can have absolutely no effect on their support.

        We’ll see if votes melt away if there is any ‘risk’ of UKIP sharing power but I doubt that very much. I think ‘protest’ voters will be excited by the prospect that something previously unachievable could actually turn to reality.

        It is more likely that it will increase UKIP’s market share.

  3. Alan
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Has Germany really made an official declaration that if we left the EU we could continue to have access to their markets on the same terms as now? I doubt it.

    Reply Yes, the German Finance Minister made that clear. They have so much trade at risk.

    • Alan
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply.
      I very much welcome Mr Redwood’s statement that Germany will allow us the same access to their markets as they do now. I think this, especially if it can be extended to other EU countries that we export to, will do a lot to assuage the fear that leaving the EU will result in a period of market turbulence.

      It doesn’t convert me to being against the EU, since I think it is important to take part in the development of the EU and to exert our influence in what I expect to be a major economic and political player in the future, but it does make me fear less the immediate impact on our economy if we have to leave, and to decrease the uncertainties that could arise as we get closer to a referendum..

  4. alan jutson
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    He only speaks for the EU because our money helps pay his salary, his expenses and his wonderful pension.
    There are thousands of others like him, feeding from the same trough.

    Most do not seem to be able to see further than all things EU, forgetting there is a bigger world outside of their control.

  5. Bernard from Bucks
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    “The more they lecture us, the more UK voters will be suspicious of the EU and the large bills and instructions it imposes on us.”
    True, but still Mr Cameron insists that remaining a member of the EU is in Britain’s best interest.
    I think you will find many UK voters are very suspicious of Cameron’s motives.

    Reply Mr Cameron has moved on to saying that it is for us to decide.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      “Moved on”??? Yes, we know Cameron is a consummate changer of mind, but not in this I fear…

      This is not rocket science.

      Mr Shapps says that the EU will negotiate, which means he thinks they will change their position.
      Mr Barroso clearly says the EU will not.

      Now, which of these people speaks for the EU?

      Reply Neither speak for the current EU, but I think Mr Shapps is the better forecaster of these matters.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 20, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        Both are unworthy of trust and pretty repellent, but Barroso has the better track record for accurately stating how things are with the EU.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted October 20, 2014 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        So why are you still on the back benches, Dr Redwood ?

        • Mondeo Man
          Posted October 20, 2014 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

          “And it is to the US’s benefit.”

          That we recover our pride and identity.

          (Even Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan omitted to show that the landing craft pilots on Omaha beach were British – Montgomery got a bad mention though, the only look-in the British got in this D Day epic.)

      • Tad Davison
        Posted October 20, 2014 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        Not rocking the boat eh John? Towing the party line? I’d stick two fingers up to the Tory whips and tell it like it is, but that’s me, not you!

        Tad

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 21, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

          Toeing, Tad, not towing … the line is a line marked on the ground, not a cable attached to a barge or truck.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 22, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

            I was given to understand it related to the latter Denis, coming from a town that is situated on the Ashby canal. Lots of Bargees used the term, but I won’t split hairs. You’re right on most things, so I won’t take issue with you on a triviality. Keep up the good work.

            Tad

    • Ken Adams
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Mr Cameron can say what he likes, but he has not said he will campaign for us to leave if his negotiation fail. He has not said what powers he wants returned so that we can all judge if they are enough or even if he has achieved his aim.

      Just leave it all to me and I will tell you what I want you to know when I decide is simply not enough, Cameron is asking for a blank cheque.

      Also is it really feasible to ask us to support someone who wants to keep us in, in the hope that he will win an election, but then go on to loose a referendum and then be the one to negotiate a withdrawal.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but how much scaremongering will be dealt out to the British public by the 3 main parties even after we don’t get the deal we want? We know how Clegg feels and also Miliband and we cannot be sure Cameron will be advising us to leave! As with all things the BBC and others with a vested interest will scare the British public into staying in.

      • Alan
        Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        Phew! Thank goodness for that. I was worried the right wing press and UKIP would scare the public into leaving.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 21, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          Yes, worried that we might go back to governing ourselves as we did before the Tory party treacherously ensnared us in this project for a European federation, rather than merely hoping to influence the way we are governed by the EU as now. And it’s nothing to do with right and left, rather it’s all to do with right and wrong; you are totally wrong on all levels in your personal belief that the British people should not both possess and control their own country, just as Thatcher was wrong in that belief until she began to see the light towards the end of her career as a not-exactly-left-wing politician.

          • Bob
            Posted October 22, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

            “Thatcher was wrong in that belief until she began to see the light towards the end of her career as a not-exactly-left-wing politician.”

            Quite possibly her career was terminated because she saw the light.

  6. Sandra Cox
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    John, your two articles today highlight the grip the EU has on our media, institutions, big business and, even more worryingly, on our parliament and on our cabinet.

    Mr Barroso says more UK politicians should speak out for UK’s membership of the EU. Why?

    Surely, many of our politicians don’t need to speak out – they just need, quietly and slyly, to do what they have been doing for decades – sleepwalk us into the EU federal nightmare! The problem for them and for the EU is that we are starting to wake up!

    My concern is the influence the EU is already buying from our MPs and members in the House of Lords, in terms of their EU pensions for past service, and future lucrative job offers etc – eg, The Kinnocks, Patten, Clegg. I’d love to see a full list of these so-called EU-funded UK representatives in our parliament, civil service and other government-linked organisations. My understanding is that these people are not allowed to speak against the EU. Doing so would put their pensions or future job prospects at risk!

    John, how does any of this in any way represent democracy for our nation?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Indeed “the grip the EU has on our media, institutions, big business and, even more worryingly, on our parliament and on our cabinet.” indeed and how out of touch this is with the people and the smaller businesses that employ the majority.

  7. Douglas Carter
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Sometimes it’s partially educational to listen to debates in the HoL with regard to the EU. Some of the more venerable members were – in their earlier political career – the figures who made the decisions which brought us into the body which eventually became the EU. Their reasons for remaining in are somewhat more pedestrian. ‘We are in’, some of them will essentially explain, ‘because we decided to join fifty years ago’. Apparently there’s something which is self-evidently justifiable within that. Not that I can spot it.

    On the broadcast media, being pro-EU has become the love that dare not speak its name. One politician attempted to fight an election earlier this year on a stridently pro-EU ticket and that party polled fewer than 2% of the entire UK qualified electorate. Being the Labour Party made an intentional choice in 2014 to ignore even mention of the EU for the European elections, and had barely fought that campaign in 2009 similarly, it’s becoming fairly plain even those in the political class least possessed of self-awareness have begun to notice that their traditional extreme pro-EU stance is categorically a vote loser. Hence those politicians will invariably decline to attend interviews in which they might be compelled to disclose pro-EU instincts.

    I don’t bother watching Marr’s mediochre TV outlet – I think his programme is simply too bland and sterile and there’s essentially no possibility of a useful political debate occurring in its slot. However, whilst I didn’t watch the programme, I got the impression from the few clips I saw that, once again, a pro-EU figure was presented with no real-time opponent to challenge his views (other than the otherwise tacitly sympathetic Marr – he, when editor of The Independent, possessed of views which would have brought the UK into single currency membership in the first wave).

    So, kind of on-topic, but displaced: John, I know you take a keen interest in the BBC. There are observers who would contend that the reputation the BBC has in that it seems biased to the political left are somewhat justified – in particular in its News and Current Affairs programming. It might be useful for them to produce a once-weekly roundup – maybe a late night affair solely on the Parliament channel? – on which the running order of their news bulletins, the nature of stories included, a list of stories excluded and the reasons for which they were not included, and a consideration of guests invited to conduct interviews and explanations. A consideration as to why that guest was not required to conduct their appearance under an opposing narrative by another qualified observer. (Some years ago it was revealed that Lord Mandelson refuses to attend live interviews where he may be required to undergo questioning by a qualified opponent. Somewhat inexplicably, the BBC conceded his demands, and continue to do so…) That might make the activities of that department a little more transparent?

    On maybe an arcane associate point, I know there are several senior Labour Politicians who want to make voting compulsory, and who want the taxpayer to fund Political parties. In consideration of the vote in the HoC over the EU Referendum bill, why would voters be compelled to vote and to fund a party which doesn’t see it as compulsory to even contest a policy they disagree with? Nor would use that compulsorily-extracted tax money to develop a publically-accessible policy on certain inconvenient matters?

  8. DaveM
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    You just pretty much summed up my sentiments on Barroso’s utter nonsense and lies. Absolutely laughable.

    A permanent member of the UN Security Council. One of the only two NATO members who ever actually does anything. Quickest growing economy in Europe. Centre of the world’s financial markets. Population of 62(ish) million. India’s elderly uncle. No influence? – hahaha.

    If you happen to run into him John, would you be kind enough to tell him to get out of our country and try sorting out his own failing nation’s problems before he presumes to lecture us on what we should and shouldn’t do?

    OT – apparently the government isn’t doing enough to help jihadists returning from Syria and Iraq. If you’re too busy in London, just send them down my way….

    • peter davies
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Well said that man…………

  9. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Mr Barroso has at least called Mr Cameron’s bluff. Day after day his dog whistle tactics about immigration are loyally reported by your friends in the MSM. No details are ever given just reassuring noises. A major speech is promised but today, having had the bluff called by someone from within the EU, we now hear on the BBC that the much trawled speech may not see the light of day. No real surprise as all of this reeks of party politicalpositioning. There is a by-election so let’s deceive the voters in order to see off UKIP; the same tactic which has been used regarding the EU referendum in 2017. More and more people are seeing through the deceit.

    Reply Not so. The PM is working on a new migration policy and did not promise a speech for today. Various ideas are being examined, some in public as we have seen. This is just like the run up to the offer of the referendum and the Bloomberg speech.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      I did not mean his speech would be made today but I am pretty sure that Nick Robinson on Today said that the speech, which the media had been briefed would be given soon, may not be given at all.

      Reply Not what you wrote. The PM has not yet said he will make a speech on this topic. Policy work is underway, fleshing out the general promise to fix our borders and to explain more of what the PM wishes to renegotiate under the Bloomberg policy. He might make a speech, he might hold a press conference, he might put it into the Manifesto. These are second order questions. He is rightly concentrating on trying to get the policy right.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted October 20, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply,
        But he isn’t “concentrating on trying to get the policy right” he is briefing the media regularly to give the impression that he is doing something. As usual, confusing words with action but with the specific intention of swaying voters in the by-election.

        Reply No, he himself is working on the policy with colleagues. The briefing reflects the fact that he is testing out various ways of doing this. The briefing does not announce policy because the detail of the policy is not yet settled.

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted October 20, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

          Reply to reply,
          Just as I said earlier – dog whistle tactics (inspired by Lynton Crosby) for by-election purposes.
          Incidentally what will Mr Cameron’s future be if, as I hope, Mr Reckless wins the Rochester and Strood by-election. I don’t suppose you will be one of the 46.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 20, 2014 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

            As for Cameron, I am curious to know why now, when it’s been patently obvious since Labour signed us up to this pig’s ear of a policy, that it was going pear-shaped and needed to be put right?

            It’s fire-fighting, but worse, because Cameron was content to let the matter go on and on, and only when he belatedly saw a serious threat coming up on the rails did he move to do anything.

            That is cynical and should be a warning to everyone that the man is not sincere and cannot be trusted, but then, those who are the least bit savvy can already see that for ourselves.

            Tad

    • JoeSoap
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      Well if you are correct he is making incredibly hard work of something he should find easy to say, viz:

      “If the EU will not renegotiate to our satisfaction X, Y and Z we will recommend an exit in 2017”

      What is so difficult about Just Saying No (unless you are weak and a victim of your party’s Old Guard, and against the will of the people. In which case you for one should be moving to UKIP because this will never resolve by 2017).

      Reply I often say I want to leave if what is on offer is today’s deal or something like it!

  10. Martyn G
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    But what else would one expect from Mr Barroso? His future is secure, come what may.
    Alternatively, one might think upon the content of Boris Johnson’s article in the DT today, wherein he says that the biggest single export market for the UK is the 17% of our trade we send to the USA. And that despite the ever increasingly restrictive market and banking regulation and directives being imposed upon the UK by the sclerotic EU.

  11. Roy Grainger
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Barroso in one particularly droll section of his speech will say that UK would be less able to deal with “threats such as Russia” from outside the EU. As the EU approach to Russia is firstly to annoy them with EU expansionist ambitions in Ukraine thus generating a “threat” in the first place, and then to be scared of imposing any strong sanctions in case they cut off Germany’s gas supply, it is hard to see how UK would be less able to “deal” with Russia outside the EU. It is UK’s membership of NATO which provides it with an influential voice in foreign affairs concerning Russia, not it’s membership of the EU which has a fatally weak and incoherent foreign affairs policy.

    One issue I can agree with Barroso on is that full mobility of labour is very important for the EU, especially within the Eurozone. It is impossible to imagine them conceding ground on that during re-negotiations without an explicit, credible threat to leave to a fixed timetable.

  12. ChrisS
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    After 10 years in Brussels Barroso and his colleagues have become every bit as institutionalised as they would have been in prison.

    This is because there is no effective opposition in Brussels : almost every country selects predominantly Europhile candidates for their European constituencies and it would be impossible to get a job in the commission or civil service unless you are firmly on message. Brussels must be a hostile place to work if you’re a Eurosceptic !

    Furthermore, only unknown politicians from the smallest countries are ever considered for the top jobs in The EU so they are far from being out of the top drawer.

    Barroso and his ilk work in a goldfish bowl in which these political minnows swim in ever decreasing circles, all in one direction. They simply cannot comprehend why anyone could hold any other point of view. They obviously impatiently pretend to listen to Eurosceptic arguments and immediately dismiss them between themselves as soon as the door closes.

    You need to look no further than the breathtaking arrogance of telling Prime Ministers and Presidents that their countries needed to vote again until their citizens come up with the “right” answer.

    We need no lectures from Barroso.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but the European Commission regards itself as “guardian of the Treaties”:

      http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/glossary/european_commission_en.htm

      and presumably its members and supporting lawyers have bothered to read them, unlike certain UK politicians, Kenneth Clarke and Caroline Flint to name but two who openly admitted that they had not actually read respectively the Maastricht Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

      ‘Barroso and his ilk work in a goldfish bowl in which these political minnows swim in ever decreasing circles’

      Interesting metaphor there Chris, and we know where that ultimately leads. Listening to Barroso, I rather think his head is already firmly located in that dark and uninteresting place.

      Tad

  13. Iain Moore
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately when confronted by the Cameron Conservative party, defending the indefeasible isn’t that hard to do , for when offered a barn door to hit they will miss it by a mile.

    A for instance, Bernard Jenkins, someone who is usually pretty concise and able to cut to the issue, this morning when debating with some chap from Portugal on the Today program , went off on some side issues instead of confronting the Portuguese politician with the reality of our problem and told in……. ‘I am sorry , but Britain having net immigration of 250,000 is unsustainable, and it doesn’t matter if EU treaties say we can’t control who comes into our country, it becomes critical that we do!’ end of debate. But instead we get Conservative politicians who are incapable of nailing an issue, and waffle around issues leaving me either shouting the radio or throwing verbal bricks at the TV.

    Mr Redwood, are Conservative politicians lobotomised from making common sense arguments the moment they cross the threshold of Westminster?

    Reply Bernard did well on the Today programme, offering a unilateral UK way of regaining control of our borders which the pro EU person did not know how to handle.

  14. oldtimer
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Mr Barroso`s remarks display all the signs of a man emerging from a bunker, wearing blinkers. I await with interest to hear if Mr Clegg takes up his invitation to speak up for the EU.

  15. Peter Richmond
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Mr Barroso says we shall make an ‘historic mistake’ if we leave Europe. The historic mistake was continuing to be involved with the European mainland ever since the Plantagenets bankrupted the country with its wars against the French. Since then we have had nothing but trouble by being closely involved with Europe. First Spain, then the French so-called ‘Sun King” followed by attempts by Napoleon to isolate our country. And more recently we have had Germany’s Kaiser and then Hitler seek to undermine the UK. Now under the guise of economics rather than war we have the EU and Barosso. Historic mistake? Bah humbug!

    • DaveM
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Peter, (tongue in cheek here) I must point out an historical inaccuracy in your argument – our island’s wish to stave off European power and influence goes right back to Roman times. Even THEY never settled here that well, and their negative influence is still apparent – we wouldn’t have brick houses which needed central heating (and thus astronomical fuel bills) if we’d just stuck to our northern european building habits – look at Scandinavia!

      You also neglected to point out that, despite what some ignoramuses might say about the Break With Rome being “because Henry wanted a divorce”, it was actually a long-running resistance to the Pope and the Holy Roman Empire’s unwanted influence in this country via its Bishops and Cardinals. Sounds familiar, eh?!!

      Oh, and as a point of note, the only three really successful “invasions” were the Saxons (creating a divide with the Celtic nations), the Danes (creating a north-south divide) and the Normans (creating class resentment). All of those are still apparent today! Their only saving grace was that they did it by military might, not some snidey, cowardly economic/legal/political/backdoor method. I think we’ve just about come to terms with the aforementioned divides to the extent where we are a UK, but I think we’ve got the point across – we’ve never managed to get on as part of a federal Europe, and we never will.

  16. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    It is certainly not indefensible to have more UK politicians speaking out for UK’s EU membership, it is a matter of democratic debate. If there are no pro-EU politicians left in the UK, that would be OK with me, but I think that they exist but are just keeping too quiet.

    • Douglas Carter
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      ‘I think that they exist but are just keeping too quiet.’.

      Specifically in the UK Political sense, it’s intentional Peter, not an accident. Tony Blair’s tenure took place under a situation where the most controversial aspects of the EU at that time – for example, single currency membership and the Lisbon Treaty remained undiscussed, and hidden behind promises of Referendums – referendums we eventually learned from Blair’s own EU Minister Keith Vaz that there was no intentions in any respect to actually hold. The strategy is to conceal any pro-EU processes behind obfuscation to ensure they remained off the headlines.

      If you have sufficient interest, look to the recent past UK press on the Labour Party’s campaign in the EU elections. They made no policy nor campaigning mention of the EU. None whatsoever. It was an intentional strategy by their Campaign head – a Labour MP by the name of Douglas Alexander – and the strategy was to withhold EU debate ‘so as not to put off potential voters’.

      TV appearances by pro-EU figures are now almost wholly occupied by industrial figures. No accountable Westminster politician who actually represents a possible future Government will attend public interview with specific regard to matters EU any longer where he or she is representing a pro-integrationist stance. It’s not because the press are hostile – in many areas they most certainly are not. It’s to ensure the public remain dispossessed of the nature of the relationship between the Westminster Parliament and that in Brussels, and the future of that relationship. As we’ve discussed before, the UK electorate still believe in the lie that the EU is simply a trading zone. The pro-EU project in the UK despise the thought that the debate might move beyond that point. They’ve learned they can’t lose a debate they won’t engage with.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 20, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        @Douglas Carter: I agree that the UK public is misinformed (uninformed, mislead etc.), actually both by the pro-EU as by the anti-EU side, which have the foreign owned tabloids on their side. The EU has always been also a political project, and the pro-EU case is easily enough to make and is made in most EU countries. What I see is a measure of panic, now that UKIP is finally breaking through. In the case of Scotland the In-vote almost left it too late, that should be a warning to In-vote (pro-EU) supporters.

        • Bill
          Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

          ‘The EU has always been also a political project…’

          That really was not made clear to the British public and, if I understand correctly, the political dimension was very much in the background which is why we spoke of the Common Market not of the European Union. It was meant to be a ‘market’ for trade not a superstate. I can recall the debates in 1975 before the referendum in which Britain voted to join, and these debates were actually either about keeping the peace in Europe (Ted Heath spoke of this at the Oxford Union and Helmut Kohl had lost a brother in the Second World War) or about the prosperity enjoyed by trade between Germany and France.

          It seems to have been Jacques Delors, a French socialist, who renewed the political agenda.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 21, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

            @Bill: Maybe Jacques Delors helped to bring the political dimension more to the fore but the EU never was and never will be a “superstate”, that is just populist waffle. The EEC/EU has always been a hybrid between inter-governmental and supranational cooperation by a group of nation states.

  17. Bert Young
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I have only read reports of the Marr/Barroso interview and concluded that it was nothing more than a pathetic attempt to discredit the UK . Barroso seems to believe that only the UK has a negative view of the EU and that there is harmony and praise with the other members . As I read it France is at war with the EU because it will not accept the discipline of economic restraint , Greece is strangled to death by various forms of EU discipline , Hungary rejects most aspects of EU discipline , Spain has made it abundantly clear it will not fall into line with the time scale of required EU reforms – and so on and so on . So , where is this great harmonious society of the EU ?
    Northern Europe is a vastly different place to that of the South ; the cultural divide has been tempered by the sun and generations of different forms of livelihood ; the differences cannot be overcome by saying ” Europe is one and can be made to conform to a common standard ” . Germany controls the purse strings and simply will not allow other countries to live off its wealth ; it wants their markets and the result of the Euro making its products competitive , were it not for this and – perhaps the psychology of guilt in its past , the EU would not exist . The argument that Europe is a safer place together and has more worldly punch is balderdash ; there is no integrated European Armed Force and no such thing as a common European voice . The only rattling that goes on in world affairs are voices and utterances from Eurocrats who believe that what they say is for a United Europe ; this is a far cry from the underlying truth .

  18. PayDirt
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    When you say it is a nonsense to claim that Western Europe would be fighting itself with no EU, that may be true in the short term. However many things could, will, happen to affect the relations between the many European nations and peoples. In the not too distant future the financial mess will turn nasty. Western Europe increasingly needs a robust counter to Russian ambitions (as often the case in history). Where is the eastern border of “western Europe”? The EU definitely needs all the assistance it can get. Norway and Switzerland provide nothing as neutral states. The EU must not fall apart, the EU needs to listen to the UK’s demands for reform. The threat to leave is a reasonable negotiating tactic, and they jolly well better listen to us now before it is too late.

  19. Kenneth
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    One line from Barroso/Labour/LibDems as that if we offend other eu members we may not get what we want.

    Are they really that spiteful? If so, we would surely not want to be in this organisation at all.

    In reality I don’t this they are spiteful at all but Mr Barroso and his allies seem to have a very low opinion of eu member governments.

  20. Leslie Singleton
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    The dreaded “influence” again I see. What utter twaddle. Does Canada lie awake at night worrying about the level of “influence” she has over the USA, which in any event I very much doubt is “zero” or even close? And of course we would save the billions that we presently pay to the EU for no discernible benefit, we would be able to rebuild our relationships with the rest of the English speaking peoples, not to mention the rest of the world in general, we would get our fisheries back, and we would be able to stand up straight again. We would soon come to a sensible new equilibrium with Europe, though I am not sure about the EU.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Exactly right!! If the world does not want to listen then we cannot make them. We will have the same amount of influence as we do now – more in countries where they rely on our money!!!

  21. Peter
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Brilliant points John. In the end people like Barroso won’t have power in renegotiation. We are the second largest contributer to EU. Welfare dependent countries won’t want the gravy train derailed and Merkel and the Germans won’t want to carry the economically illiterate on their own.

  22. Terry
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    This mirage, “Influence”, is rolled out each time there is a challenge to their regime. Our “Influence represents just one twenty eighth of the total. An example of that ‘Influence’ was provided when Mr Cameron opposed the appointment of failed PM of Luxembourg as the new President of the Commissioners. 26 other countries voted against us. Therefore, our so-called “influence” turns out to amount to nothing more than, flatulence – it is all hot air.

    Reply Indeed. If we had influence we would be able to get all we wanted in the negotiation.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      “An example of that ‘Influence’ was provided when Mr Cameron opposed the appointment of failed PM of Luxembourg as the new President of the Commissioners. 26 other countries voted against us.”

      But Mr Cameron is quite susceptible to “influence” by that “failed PM of Luxembourg” for as Mark Wallace in conservativehome tells us today: “Downing Street is now applying pressure to get Conservative MEPs to vote in favour of the Juncker Commission, a group who mirror the Luxembourger’s eurofederalism (among other sins).”

  23. MPC
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I work in the energy industry and much of my work is in the area of EU compliance, for my sins. I agree that the EU’s energy policies are unjustifiable/’indefensible’ . However, in many respects the worst is yet to come. I wonder if Mr Redwood has heard about the forthcoming EU gas quality harmonisation standard? This- research evidence has verified for the European Commission – will have a shockingly huge and disproportionate cost impact on the UK.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      We haven’t seen the worst of it yet. Yes, too right. We will end up paying subsidies for gas, oil, nuclear and coal because of the stupidity of having to take power from renewables first, also subsidised more than anything else, ensuring that companies operating fossil fuels power stations will make enough profit to continue to operate. The whole systems stinks.

      • Martyn G
        Posted October 20, 2014 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

        And yet because renewables are clealy insufficient we have STOR (Short Term Operating Reserve) whereby we pay an increasing number of firms to set up diesel generators to take up the slack.
        Interesting to see the blurb for STOR viz:
        The STOR market has been growing in volume and value for several years, due to the reduction of flexible coal and oil electricity generation capacity, and the increase in forms of generation which require balancing, such as renewables.
        Under typical terms (which can be tailored) Flexitricity provides National Grid with run times of up to two hours per call, plus response time. Calls typically last around one hour and amount to approximately 50–60 hours of running per year.
        “For standby diesel generators or gas-fired CHP generators, STOR is the largest incremental revenue opportunity, with the lowest relative impact on generator run hours, and the lowest exposure to fuel price risk, of any premium energy activity”.
        Which I take to mean ‘due to endless government lack of common sense and absence of foresight we now have the opportunity of making a lot of money without having to do very much’.
        Truly, we are ruled by mad people and what, I wonder, does the green blob have to say about STOR? Not a peep thus far….

      • Tad Davison
        Posted October 20, 2014 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

        We’ve got QMV heading our way too soon! That’ll be interesting when Cameron wants to ‘re-negotiate’. The man’s a joke!

        Tad

  24. English Pensioner
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I hope that at some point soon, before the general election, Cameron will tell us what he expects to get from the negotiations in somewhat more detail. If we are not told this, how will the electorate decide whether to support the Tories at the election and then, assuming they get elected, know whether he has succeeded or failed in the negotiations?
    I remember Blair having talks with the EU, and giving up part of our rebate and claiming a great victory. It must have been so great that I can’t even remember what it was! I’m concerned that Cameron will do much the same, claim that he has succeeded in the talks, but when the detail is analysed we’ll probably discover it is something trivial which simply looks good but doesn’t solve the basic problem of excessive immigration from the EU.
    As for “influence” which Barroso goes on about, I’d suggest that Britain as part of the Commonwealth probably has more influence than the EU.

  25. yulwaymartyn
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    How can y0u possibly advise this country to leave the EU when few under 30 can afford to live here. ? 30 years of government mismanagement poor gove have created mass inequality and the young cannot afford to live here. And tuition fees as well.

    Just back from Malaga; lunches with wine are from 5 euros. Properties from £30,000. Its 2 hours away.

    • English Pensioner
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Presumably you don’t connect the high house prices here with supply and demand brought about by the millions of immigrants. Or the reverse in Malaga, where there’s very little work other than in the holiday industry, so people leave, depressing prices due to lack of demand.

      • yulwaymartyn
        Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        Yes I do make precisely that connection. So take advantage of it. I presume you are retired.

    • libertarian
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Blimey Yulwaymartyn

      That takes the biscuit even for you!!!

      That would be Malaga, in Spain right? That would be the Spain with unemployment at 25.6% as opposed to the UK which has unemployment at 6.2% With Spanish youth unemployment at a whopping eye watering 55%.

      Properties at £30,000 that hardly any Spaniards can afford to buy

      Wow you really do have a great argument for us remaining in the EU….Not

      • yulwaymartyn
        Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        Yeah Malaga in Spain. Live there. Its cheap. Work for UK enterprise. Loads are doing it.

        Why condemn a generation of young Brits to ludicrous house prices and equally ludicrous tuition fees.

        • libertarian
          Posted October 21, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          YulwayMartyn

          And how long will your property be safe in a country being abused by foreign immigrants whilst unemployment is 55% and rising. Blimey you are a real socialist aren’t you.

          On tuition fees, don’t pay. A university degree is not needed to get a good job of which we currently have 750,000 unfilled.

          You don’t need to move to jobless Spain to get low house prices you can move to the North East or North West and get equally low prices. Its only the high supply demand ratio of South East that has silly house prices here.

    • Mark B
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      Good evening.

      And what if you were told that, even if we did leave the EU, we would still have access to the EEA and houses in Spain ? Would you accept us leaving the EU / Political Union and just remain as a trading partner. I mean, Russia, Arab States and China are not part of the EU yet, their billionaires seem to manage to settle here OK.

      • yulwaymartyn
        Posted October 21, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        Good morning.

        Good points Mark. But it seems that money talks – yes plenty of Russians Arabs and Chinese are here in the UK – these seem to be the ones with money. My point is that relatively less well off British who currently have the right to reside in Spain may have that right removed if we leave the EU. I do not think that it would happen overnight because they bring in too much money but if Spain produced a right wing government looking for scapegoats it could the be the Brits who are on the receiving end. After all we can all see what is happening in the UK …..

        • Mark B
          Posted October 23, 2014 at 4:30 am | Permalink

          Good morning.

          You did not answer my question.

          The freedom of movement is enshrined in the EEA, of which, 31 nations are members. It is this, along with the free movement of capital and money that underpins the Single Market. Therefore, remaining part of the EEA with EFTA membership, would allow us to continue as before.

          My questions is; “if this can be achieved (ie trade etc), without membership of a political union, would you be happy to leave the EU ?”

  26. waramess
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    The fact is that in spite of reassurances to the contrary the vast majority of our MP’s were happy to sign up to all treaties so far enacted.

    This means that we are full members of a club where we agreed to abide by the rules (God help us) and that includes free movement of labout etc etc. None of these obligations were subscribed to under duress and all were in plain sight at the time of signing of the respective treaties.

    The case to stay in is therefore quite clear: the three main parties are each in favour of continued membership (notwithstanding their weasle words) and only UKIP (a minor party) present an alternative.

    Reply Not so. The Conservative party – on a 3 line whip – voted against Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon, and voted for a referendum on Lisbon as promised.

    • matthu
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      The Conservative party – on a 3 line whip – voted against Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon …

      That being so most would expect the leadership to advocate leaving the EU unless they can negotiate certain mandatory changes to the treaties which he would make public up front, not roll over.

  27. They Work for Us?
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Emigration from a poor country helps to maintain the status quo because of the export of their more determined and able subjects (who might otherwise be campaigning for political change). Remittances sent home also help. None of this is to our advantage and interest.
    Gross immigration figures represent the change to, and dilution of, our culture and heritage. Net figures in this respect are a confidence trick.
    On Europe I urge everyone to look at a web site like “They work for you” where you can find out how your MP voted on key isues.
    To my dismay I found that my Hampshire Conservative MP has voted in favour of Europe on every occasion bar one when he was not in the Commons. I look forward to attending an election meeting and asking him to state publically his Europhile sympathies so that the voters understand what they are actually getting. Needless to say Mr Redwood your voting record on the EU is exemplary and stands any scrutiny.

  28. Mark B
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    What both our kind host and everyone here seems to have missed is; the EU cannot give the UK any substantial powers (competences) back to the UK. Because if they did, then every other Member Country in the EU would, quite rightly, demand the same. And that, would be the end of the EU !

    The thing people do not understand about the EU is, that once a power is ceded, it can never be returned, so the ‘ratchet effect’ draws Member Countries too; “Ever Closer UNION.”

    So there is no way that any British Government can EVER get any meaningful powers back. Barroso is merely stating the obvious. Obvious that is, to both Cameron and those who have an understanding of the EU.

    The Four Freedoms of the Internal Market (EEA) are fundamental. And one of those freedoms, is the freedom of movement of people. I do not believe that the UK can opt-out of this one and try to maintain the others, it does not work like that. You have to take it as is. What Cameron could do, is propose amendments that, if put the right way, would maintain the Freedom of Movement, but in a different way. I will not extrapolate on my theory, as I am not going to do Cameron’s job for him.

    But Barroso seems to be closing the door on this one. Maybe, just maybe, Barroso sees the political writing on the wall for Cameron and the Conservative Party. Perhaps, he see RedEd as a better ‘prospect’, if you know what I mean. So why help Cameron when, in less than 9 month, things will be back to normal and, we can all carry on before.

  29. agricola
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    The thing that really irks me about Barroso and all his like minded eurocrats is that in the course of applying their hideous experiment with a template for the whole of Europe, they have destroyed the lives of millions of people , particularly in the Mediterranean countries. How long for instance in Spain, do they intend to continue with 26% unemployment and 50% youth unemployment. One can only assume that they hope to deploy all these unemployed to Germany and the UK. As most are well educated, Germany and the UK may well benefit, but I am very sure that the majority of Spaniards prefer to live in Spain.

    The Spanish government whatever it’s colour, with a predilection for corruption at all levels, has enjoyed belonging to the EU. EU money flows into Spain, making all those in a position to benefit, a dependant culture. You are not yet likely to get them showing the courage to vote against such largesse.

    Europe needs the example of the UK leaving their nasty undemocratic and failed experiment. Maybe this would give some of the others the courage to fly the nest.

  30. petermartin2001
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure you’re right that Germany would want to continue to sell us more stuff than we sell them but I’m just wondering: why should they?

    If they sell us more one year, that that gives them more ££ in their kitty to buy more stuff from us in the next year, which would of course be fair enough. But what is the point of their wanting to continue to do that? They’ll just build up large reserves of UK government securities denominated in ££ which they won’t ever spend. That is, until they decide to become a net importer and that seems totally contrary to German economic philosophy.

    The Germans could do just as well by selling cars to the fictitious state of Atlantis. They could sell as many BMWs and Audis as they liked and just dump them in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. They would get paid in pretend Atlantis dollars which they could never spend of course, but as they seem happy to accumulate large reserves of other currencies which they have no intention of ever spending, what would be the difference?

    Reply Ask the Germans. They love running a surplus with us and with the world as a whole, as they like saving and gaining more financial claims on others.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      You might like to say that it’s a shame we don’t?

      • Margaret Brandreth-J
        Posted October 20, 2014 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        Well said.

      • petermartin2001
        Posted October 21, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        Are you sure about that? The Germans claim not to like the concept of “printing money” Yet their exporters, when they had their own currency, wished to be paid in DM. Their overseas customers wished to pay in $, £ and other currencies. Those currencies were often stored not exchanged due to the imbalance.

        So where did the Bundesbank get those extra DM from to cover their surplus in trade? Yes, you’ve guessed. They were simply ‘printed’ or created digitally, thereby depressing the value of the DM and reducing the standard of living for all Germans.

        Germany hoped that the use of a common currency in the EU would put an end to all that. Sadly it’s not working out too well for them. The model they imposed on the EZ worked for them for a while, but not for much longer I fear. Export customers need money. If they don’t have it then they need to be lent it. Germany needs to lend money to the poorer EZ countries to keep their export markets going.

        That’s the bind they find themselves in.

  31. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    UKIP are not going to win the election. They are gaining ground only.The EU is here to stay unless politicians demonstrate their dislike, more prominently, of central EU ruler ship.The politicians are pussy footing around when decisions have to be made.Cosmetic changes can be useful and put us in a position where we could become more influential.No one will willingly lose trade and a country which fears this, hasn’t much confidence in itself.

  32. Anoneumouse
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Not only………….. but 80% of European Union Countries whose businesses trade by cash transactions prefer £ sterling or $ dollar. In fact you get below exchange rate + -20%. Especially Benelux and France. (in Greece and Italy you can get upto 30%)

  33. BobE
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Just get us out. ASAP

  34. Iain Gill
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Still printing intra company transfer work visas like confetti though John, nothing to do with Europe a 100% UK political decision, completely against the will of the people.

    Expect to feel the pain at the ballot box.

  35. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    I am sure Mr Barroso is a goodly and intelligent man. But the UK media appear to throw him into the circle of discussion in the same way BBC Question Time appears to invite on to its panel one outrageous person per show from the comedy/press/ or TV personality soap-operas fulfilling a court jester function. Sometimes being hilariously funny out of step with current atmosphere, at other times reducing the audience to near tears with a sad yet ununrehearsed truism upon our sometimes callous communality. Other times attempting to taunt and undermine the rare pomposity of our elected representatives.
    No-one finds his views any business but our own

  36. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    It is surprising that Dr Redwood doesn’t acknowledge Mr Barruso’s point about the free movement of goods, services and crucially people being totally at odds with Mr Cameron’s intent to re-negotiate on border control. I had to re-read the piece several times to check I hadn’t misread!.
    It’s about time that this nonsense was put to bed – being in the Eu means unlimited immigration. Full stop. To pretend otherwise is just silly political posturing by Mr Cameron. If Mr Cameron and his wealthy friends want uncontrolled immigration and is comfortable with the population growing to 70 or 80 millions they should say so.
    I do think Dr Redwood is rather stuck in the past on this in his wish to appear ‘moderate’ on migration – seemingly by not talking about it whenever possible . Open borders are leading to a revolutionary change in the make up of Britain – there is nothing ‘moderate’ about his party’s position.

    At one time a state was whipped up by the left where it become unacceptable for immigration to be discussed openly. Hopefully now we have all grown up enough to know that Dr Redwood is not a bigot/racist/zenophobe etc. And i know Dr Redwood will say that he has discussed migration before but to not mention the subject today when it is all over the papers was unwise in my view.

  37. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    John Selwyn Gummer (Lord Deben) was on Radio 2 today putting the case for Eu membership. His arguments :-

    1. Cleaner beaches
    No .This would have happened anyway as environmental awareness increased . Patronising to suggest we need to sign up to a vastly un-democratic and expensive organisation as we are incapable of passing our own legislation.

    2. Cleaner cars ( EEC exhaust emission legislation began in 1970 before the Uk joined ).
    No. Switzerland is not a member of the European Union but it does follow EU emissions laws.
    3. Loss of ‘influence’ on trade talks.
    No. What influence when we are one vote in 27?. We only seem to have ‘influence’ when it suits France and Germany. Without being in the Ec block we would be free to make our own deals.

    Is that the best the Pro Eu side can come up with?. JSG chairs a company that benefits from Eu legislation.Perhaps this has helped colour his judgement ?.
    It really is all about those at the top trying to maintain the smokescreen around the Eu as it has helped their accent of the political ladder. Jobs and money for an elite is what the Eu is about..something that the English instinctively know.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9498568/The-tangled-tale-of-Lord-Deben-and-a-dodgy-Severn-barrage.html

  38. James Reade
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    It’s quite silly to make such a poor caricature of your opponents’ arguments. I guess it makes those of you in your particular position feel a bit better about it?

    I’m interested in what’s so indefensible about allowing firms to employ who they think is the best person for them to employ for a job? I think that’s a pretty good thing to allow – but you would stop firms doing that.

    As you’re so against red tape, I’m intrigued you continue to thus “defend the indefensible” – the increase in red tape that exiting the EU would put before our firms on a day to day basis by requiring all sorts of visas and work permits for a sizeable fraction of their workforce, and put those kinds of red-tape decisions ahead of whether that person from Helsinki is as well qualified as that person from Hereford.

    But OK, let me help you with the argument against exiting the EU, other than the free movement of labour issue.

    1) Yes, there would still be trade with France and Germany – but given that for an identical product, it would cost more to buy it here, it’s rather obvious that trade would be less. Maybe you don’t mind less trade with EU countries, but at least be honest about it, John. There would be less trade, assuming you do actually believe that people buy less when prices go up?

    2) I’m not aware of anybody actually making this argument for staying in the EU – could you perhaps post some links?

    3) You deliberately mis-characterise the important point here – I wonder why? The point is: If we wished to trade with EU countries, we’d still need to abide by all the various product standards that we currently do – that wouldn’t change – we wouldn’t reduce costs in any way. In fact, we’d increase them since we’d add an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy at the UK level (there was me thinking you were against bureaucracy?). The issue is, we’d have no influence over them. I’m sure our firms would love that situation – oh but of course, you’ve already told all those companies that disagree with you to keep quiet.

    I think it would be helpful for you to actually respond to the kind of arguments peopel are *actually* making about staying in a common market of 500m customers vs limiting our firms to 70m (and increasing their red tape).

    • Edward2
      Posted October 21, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      I’m mystified why you say in your first point that goods from France and Germany would cost more ( if we left the EU).
      Are you assuming a trade war with tariffs imposed?

      As someone who has been involved in manufacturing all my life, I can tell you James that the UK has had very little influence on stopping any of the huge number of regulations imposed on it by European politicians.
      Now we have one vote in 28 with even less power to veto due to QMV.
      We have however still managed to make products and comply with all these impositions and sell throughout the world.
      Europe is regarded as a large but declining world market due to its falling standard of living and high levels of unemployment and the focus for manufacturers is now very much on other world markets for export growth.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted October 21, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      James – Employers should be able to employ whom they wish

      I agree.

      But taxpayers should not be subsidising it and Tories should not be supporting subsidies either.

  39. Richard
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Mr. Barroso has again made it clear to us that the free movement of all 485 million people in the EU is a non-negotiable fundamental principle of the organisation and consequently all EU citizens must be treated equally in all member countries.

    So when will our politicians admit to the UK populace that if we continue to be members of the EU it will mean the end our system of free (at the point of delivery) healthcare and our generous non-contributory welfare benefits? Both will eventually become unaffordable.

    Immigration into the UK means emigration from another EU country. That these countries are losing their young and talented people only makes these countries even poorer. So migration will increase, probably even if the finances of the Eurozone improve.

  40. CdBrux
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I moved from the UK to Brussels 6 years ago to take up an opportunity within the company I worked for. As part of the required paperwork to register in the Belgian system (for taxes, services, ID card etc… – and required in order to register to live somewhere) I needed to provide proof I was being employed here. After having completed that process then I was told the local police could well visit my registered address to check I was really living there – I suspect if they did it was just to check my name was on the letter box.

    On Question Time last week a lady in the audience made a similar point about going to live in Spain.

    Can we implement AND enforce similar things in the UK, that you need to show a proof of having a job to register? If not what is stopping us?

  • 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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