Improvement in the German position on UK membership of EU?

 

After years of irritating lectures from Germany on how the UK has to put up with  unacceptable EU controls of our borders, with the deeply damaging dear energy policy, and  with constant raids on our tax revenue to pay the EU’s bills in return for being able to buy Mercedes and BMWs on EU terms, I read today Germany now thinks the UK should leave the EU.  I guess that’s progress.

If Germany cannot see the need for the UK to have a new relationship because we are not part of the Euro and do not wish to join the political union, then the UK people may well vote to leave.  Then Germany can have the pleasure of paying the bills for the rest of the EU without our help.

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137 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    I see the Conservatives in London have suggested switching off some traffic lights in London overnight to speed up the traffic. Certainly the endless lights hold up traffic (which was clearly how they are designed and phased). The traffic certainly moves much better when they are broken down I notice day or night.

    The largely empty bus lanes and huge islands add a further absurd constriction.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Couldn’t agree more Lifelogic.
      The Germans have been flashing amber at their traffic lights during off-peak times for years now and actually permit their drivers to make judgements for themselves. Traffic lights which include provision for pedestrian crossing allow drivers to filter left on condition that they give way. German drivers are also more considerate towards cyclists.
      There is about as much chance of these provisions being made here as a ban on the burqa.

      • Hope
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

        Good blog JR, you need to bring this coalition to an end it serves no purpose. By the results to date Cameron has only brought change to your party and failed all policy promises. He had the right to veto as well as Clegg and has failed to maximize its use ie economics, EU, energy, immigration, gay marriage. Your party lost in the coalition deal and you all still follow.

      • Billbog
        Posted November 4, 2014 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        Brilliant point Max !
        A wonderful example of rules allied with an increase of responsibility.

    • acorn
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      In some states they switch a junction’s traffic lights to steady yellow (proceed with caution), when there is little traffic.

      Anyway, I think we should think of a clever way to turn the 2015 general election into an EU in or out vote. If there are no ideas, we may have to put up 650 paper candidates. You could always resign if you accidentally get elected. There again, you might fancy the job, but you will have to promise you won’t hang around for decades, going for the full gold plated pension.

      Every politician runs out of ideas (local or national) after eight years and should face re-election every two years. The latter keeps their minds on the voters requirements, not party Whips.

      Frankly, the economy is the most important factor. ALL parties are “Deficit Hawks”. They still haven’t got a clue what part the deficit plays in the private sector demand and saving equation; so we are going to lose there anyway.

      • Bob
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        @acorn

        “Anyway, I think we should think of a clever way to turn the 2015 general election into an EU in or out vote.”

        It already is. UKIP wants us to leave and the rest want us to stay in.

        • acorn
          Posted November 3, 2014 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

          Bob, UKIP got circa a million votes last time, spread too thin to get any seats. I have no idea how many they will get this time but, probably more; and, maybe a few seats.

          I am saying the EU in / out vote has to be reflected in the size of the popular vote. The national electorate for 2015 will be circa 46 to 47 million, with a turn out of, say, 65%. That means upwards of 15 million voters have to indicate clearly, within a standard general election format, that they want out.

          650 paper candidates would have only one item on their manifesto, leave the EU immediately if not sooner. They will write the rest of the manifesto as they go along. You don’t actually need MPs, except on a few constitutional occasions. You ask the Belgians, 589 days without an elected government after their 2010 election; didn’t seem to do any damage. 😉

          • Tad Davison
            Posted November 3, 2014 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

            Acorn,

            The electorate also needs to be properly informed in order to make the right choice. We on the right side of the argument have to constantly counter a mountain of misinformation and BS from places like the pro-EU BBC, the Lib Dems, and Labour. If we had a level playing field, it would be easy!

            Tad

          • Bob
            Posted November 4, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

            @acorn – understand your point about one clear issue etc.

            I would just like to point out that things have changed since 2010, and any comparison to that election is pointless. At that time we had suffered 13 years of the disastrous New Labour government and now we’ve had four years of Tory/LibDem coalition with it’s serial failures to control the debt, immigration or law and order and the redefinition of marriage without voter mandate:

            A quick look at recent by-elections illustrates my point, the ukip vote has hugely increased and the old legacy parties have collapsed.

            Examples :
            Party / 2010 / 2014 / change

            Middleton and Heywood
            Lab / 18,499 / 11,633 / -37%
            UKIP / 1,215 / 11,016/ +807%
            Tory / 12,528 / 3,496 / -72%
            Libs / 10,474 / 1,457 / -86%

            Clacton
            UKIP / 0 / 21,113 / +21,113
            Tory / 22,867 / 8,709 / -62%
            Lab / 10,799 / 3,957 / -63%
            Libs / 5,577 / 483 / -91%

      • William Gruff
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

        Every politician runs out of ideas (local or national) after eight years …

        That is demonstrably untrue – most of them are completely clueless so cannot run out of ideas and those who are of some value, to their constituents and the country, are invariably kept away from any position in which they could achieve something worthwhile.

        That aside, re-election every two years is not, in my opinion, desirable. However, no MP should be able to sit for more than three five year terms at most and most of them should be ‘churned’ after one, ensuring a healthy supply of fresh and uncorrupted faces. General elections should be abolished so that over time, with deaths, imprisonment, recall, resignations and so on, a state of continuous bye elections comes into being, MPs elected with the intention of sitting for a fixed five year term.

        We might also prohibit lawyers from ever sitting as MPs.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 4, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

          Lawyers, PPE graduates and perhaps Archaeology and Anthropology (Nick Clegg) and Economics (Vince Cable), this as so many of these come out believing in economics of the magic government money tree.

        • Vanessa
          Posted November 5, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

          If the politicians got it right and made things work better (as I think John Redwood’s constituency) why do they need MORE ideas?

          It is because their ideas make things worse so their time in office is piling ever more tweaks to try and make it better but nothing works for a completely messed up system – and this isn’t just roads.

          Someone with good ideas needs to come in and change with a new broom, not tinkling around the edges. Take most of the “furniture” off roads for a start. Motorists only have 2 eyes and can only take in a certain amount. If there was SO MUCH information he might start making better judgements of his own.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    I think a lot of the problem is that we British could well be living in the 1930s when Germany was still in disgrace. No. We are a tiny minority of one in a group of 28 Council Ministers. The Council itself seems to be at loggerheads with the Commission where the power lies. In the Commission we have one representative, who nobody seems to have heard of, out of 28 and he has taken a vow to be European not British in his outlook. Let us face it: in Europe we are nothing. Nothing.

    So please may we join EFTA and the EEA now? We do not need a referendum. We do not need Mr Cameron pretending to face down the German Peril. Then we need to play the Article 50 card which will give us just two years to get our house in order.

    Aunty Ang will just have to watch as we do it. And, do you know what? I do not think she will be that bothered.

    Reply No and No – every government measure needs the approval of Mr Clegg and Mr Aleander who do not wish to change the UK’s relationship with the EU in any way other than those required by the other members.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      @Mike Stallard: Switzerland (EFTA member) cannot just put a cap on immigrants without breaching agreements with the EU and thus get into trouble. The same would be true for the UK in EFTA.

      • JoeSoap
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        You are twisting the facts.
        Every foreign national working in Switzerland must have a valid work permit. Work permits are usually granted together with residence permits. They are applied for by the employer rather than the prospective employee.
        See
        http://www.internations.org/switzerland-expats/guide/working-in-switzerland-15505

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted November 3, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          @JoeSoap: sorry for you, but I’m not, the problems with Switzerland date from early this year. Just Google with this search term:
          “EU warns Switzerland of consequences after anti-immigration referendum”

          • JoeSoap
            Posted November 3, 2014 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

            Well, let’s also say UKIP and Switzerland warn LibLabCon and the EU of the dangers of ignoring democratic decisions! We might be small players right now but that doesn’t mean democracy is wrong!!

          • libertarian
            Posted November 3, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

            The EU threatened the Swiss with cancellation of access to EU trade area following the democratic vote of the Swiss people to cap immigration. That was back in February. So far the EU has done nothing and nor will they. You see the EU is a busted flush it hurts their little project far more to throw people out of the trade agreements. Its a beaurocratic talking shop run by a talentless bunch of failed politicians. Going nowhere and threatening to take their ball home when anyone challenges them.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted November 3, 2014 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

            @libertarian: your reading of events is different from mine:
            1) in hte referendum the Swiss governments was given a lot of time to work out a solution
            2) the access to the Erasmus program for Swiss students was alredy affected
            3) Switzerland came back on its earlier decision not to allow workers form Croatia
            4) Swiss business leaders are warning about negative effects of a looming second referendum on immigration
            5) Switzerland is still in danger of having to renegotiate all it other agreements, having breached the underlying principle of free movement.
            What more do you need to prove that being in EFTA doesn’t guarantee you can do as you like with the priciple of free movement.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted November 3, 2014 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

            @JoeSoap: These aren’t issues of democracy but being reliable partners to international agreements. If the democratic decision is to get out of such an agreement, fine, just accept the consequences as well! Nobody on the continent is able to prevent the UK from leaving the EU (and EFTA and the EEA) and become like say China.

          • Billbog
            Posted November 4, 2014 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

            Peter Van Leeuwen.
            1.. Dont try and lecture other countries about which rules they should and should not obey.
            The effect of rules can have a vastly different effect in different countries . In a flying visit to your country I asked myself this:Why do none of your cyclists or horse riders wear hard helmets ,placing an enormous burden on additional head injuries to your health service ?
            I don’t know the answer but I don’t get on my high horse and tell you to change your ways for the good of us all.

          • libertarian
            Posted November 5, 2014 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

            Peter

            Thanks for your long winded post. I’m glad you agree in your own way, the EU has done ZERO to hurt the Swiss, and nor will they. If the EU threw the Swiss out of EFTA they would be in massive trouble. The Swiss would also then ignore all of the EU’s new restrictive banking rules and just about every European bank would move its operation to Switzerland.

            This is the problem with you EU types your always only think in terms of one side of the argument

      • peter davies
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        Switzerland is not an EFTA member.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted November 3, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

          @peter davies: Sorry for you but the current EFTA membership comprises: Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, see wikipedia.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      We should remember why the EU exists. To stop war in Europe through a certain nation’s predilection for expansionism.

      Who on earth might that be, then ?

      Under their dominance the EU has expansionist tendencies.

      Peaceful ?

      We are closer to conflict with Russia than we ever have been since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

      • Andy
        Posted November 4, 2014 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        The EU has not kept the peace in Europe. That has been kept by the American Army, the British Army on the Rhine and NATO.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      To reply: But David Cameron is essentially just the same as Clegg and Alexander but pretending not to be as the election is rather close.

      An election he seems rather determined to lose badly.

    • alan jutson
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply

      I do just not get this argument John, that everything HAS to have Mr Cleggs approval.

      Does not the cabinet vote through things as a majority after full argument of the facts.

      Has Mr Clegg got a veto over every single Government policy, if so that was just plain and utter stupidity on behalf of the Conservative Party negotiators.

      Reply Yes, Mr Clegg has a veto over everything

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply,
        Such is Cameron’s feebleness.

        • Hope
          Posted November 4, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

          Lib Dumbs 9 percent of the votes 50 percent of say what goes on. That is Cameron’s negotiating skills for you. It was all about changing his party. If had any political courage he would have followed Steve Harper in Canada, gone it alone and if the public liked what they saw had an early election to get a substantial majority. However if he went in government alone he might had to deliver on his promises including the EU.

      • alan jutson
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        reply – reply

        Simply Unbelievable that the Conservative party could be so stupid !

        • Hope
          Posted November 4, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

          Not stupid, planned to change his party. What I cannot understand is why all the other Tory MPs went along with it. Are they that gullible? If so they do not deserve to be in office.

          • Richard
            Posted November 4, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

            Career politicians representing themselves and not their constituents.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply: Clegg’s veto like a 51% stake in a company? No wonder we are in a mess with weak government.

        • Lifelogic.
          Posted November 3, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

          Hardly any difference between Clegg and Cameron anyway. Both are tax, borrow and waste, expensive energy, fake green crap, EUphiles to their core.

          • fedupsouthener
            Posted November 7, 2014 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

            Love the comments Lifelogic. Always sharp and to the point and couldn’t agree more especially on the energy front. This government has lost the plot! UKIP get my vote on this and much more. Where are the voices of reason in the Conservative camp?

        • JoeSoap
          Posted November 3, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

          Not really because the 49% holder here could unilaterally liquidate the Company and start up again on his own, as his partner seems out of touch with reality. Given however that he himself has no closer relationship with reality that doesn t happen

      • Bryan
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        Re Reply to Reply. Puts Mr Clegg in charge then!

      • The Prangwizard
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        How the hell could anyone in their right mind agree to such an arrangement? What’s Clegg going to do if someone with a backbone stood up to him? Cameron hasn’t one; he’s weak, just pretends to be strong with his shouty style. I suspect he’s happy to go along. He’s a fake leader.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        To reply

        Really? Who agreed to that? I fear for our re-negotiating our arrangement with the EU in that case.

        Why do we pay EU nationals in work and out of work benefits. Let the EU bring a test case when we stop paying. In the interim we save some money and maybe the influx will reduce.

        I particularly object to Italy handing out EU passports to non-EU nationals who then move here for a subsidised lifestyle

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        And after the next UK general election there’s a fair chance that the SNP will have a veto over everything, and then we would find ourselves being driven into a corner where only those people who wanted to break up the UK and/or keep us in the EU would be happy.

        UK Polling Report’s projection has now moved to a hung Parliament:

        http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/ukpr-projection-2

        with Labour one seat short of an overall majority; but that’s on a uniform national swing and does not reflect the full losses that the SNP is likely to inflict on Labour, and also on the LibDems who as coalition partners for Labour would at least notionally be another British Unionist party.

        But I do wonder whether either of those parties would still be British Unionist parties if they no longer had so much to lose in electoral terms if Scotland did separate from the rest of the UK.

    • Timaction
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Mr Redwood. The legacy parties are the problem NOT the solution. They got us to this sorry state and are not capable of getting us out of this German led political union. Do you notice how every time Germany voices an opinion it is immediately adopted as EU policy whilst our Country is ignored and given bigger club fees and surcharges.
      We don’t have to be in the EU to trade with it. The truth is out, now get us out!

    • stred
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      That would be ex-public school PR for a TV company with Scot’s Blood in his veins man C, with dad in law with a windfarm and a toy one on his own roof, vetoed by ex-public school and EU University, EU MP, half Dutch man C2, with Spanish wife involved in windfarms, and also vetoed by ex PR man A, who worked for for the Highlands Tourist board, where they have lots of windfarms, which we have to pay for. And they all decide and veto what English MPs may wish to decide and vote for. How ever did we find ourselves with such a bunch of (people ed) in charge?

      • stred
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        What was rude about ‘wonders’ with the middle letters missed out?

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    It is a shame Cameron is determined to stay in the EU come what may, and has no intention of any serious renegotiation. This even if he did win a majority in 2015, which look about as likely Ken Clark ever voting for out. Ken it seems still thinks the Euro (even for the UK) was a good plan but the rules needed to be obeyed – what planet is he on? The same one as Cameron it seems alas.

    Reply Not so. Mr Cameron knows that if he does not obtain a good new deal we will vote for Out.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      To reply: Well so far Cameron has not even asked for a good deal nor anything like a good deal, nor has he outlined any serious demands. I assume he is planning to lose the election as his every action seems to indicate that.

    • agricola
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply.

      I suspect it is your loyalty to the conservative cause that drives you to support the idea of re-negotiation. It has been spelt out many times by Barosso, Merkel et al that the fundamental aspects of the political EU we do not want to be bound by are none negotiable. I can understand their point because everything they have created could then unravel. So why do you persist with this myth.

      If you truly want out as you keep hinting then why not promote an in out referendum before Autumn 2015 and if the vote is to leave, the immediate invoking of Article 50 followed by a real negotiation on trade and aspects of the EU we can cooperate with.

      The runes suggest you will not be forming a majority government after May 2015. A coalition with the SNP is ridiculous, they are more left wing than Labour and will not produce the government the people of England want. I suspect your only hope is a coalition with UKIP, but to effect this you will need to ditch your leader and all the touchy feely left wing, out of touch with reality, none sense we have had to put up with for the past four years.

      Reply I and my colleagues did move an amendment in 2011 to a government proposal to get an In Out referendum and we lost. There is no current majority in the Commons for an immediate In Out referendum. I don’t hint – I say clearly if the choice is current membership or out, I will vote for out.

      • agricola
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        Furthering the Conversation.

        Thank you, I now understand your position and accept the lack of a current majority for a referendum while you are in power. How about an unequivocal promise in BOLD TYPE in your next manifesto that a referendum will be held on in / out before the end of 2015 given the current position of the key players in the EU. I realise that it is not in your gift, but it might do something for Cameron’s lack of standing with the electorate and your chances in May 2015

      • libertarian
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        JR

        “There is no current majority in the commons for an out referendum ”

        True, therefore we need to ensure there IS after 2015 and that will mean voting against most of the Conservative Party candidates

        • Lifelogic.
          Posted November 3, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

          There will not be a majority for a rapid and fair referendum even after the next election – without a UKIP/Tory deal. A deal that is not going to happen as Cameron prefers to lose.

          Even if it did it would be touch and go.

      • JoeSoap
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

        Was there a Parliamentary majority in favour of a Scottish in-out referendum? I think it was a government proposal, but was it ever put to the vote as such?

        Reply Yes, of course.

  4. Gary
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Now we can QE forever without those pesky Germans droning on about monetary discipline.

    Handing out gobs of free money to bankers through the front door or back door in the far east will make The City grow unimpeded, if nothing else.

    Zimbabwe.

    Reply There is no sign of the extra money created causing an inflationary problem in the UK at the moment. If future inflationary tendencies re-emerge then the authorities can take action to raise rates/ sell more bonds.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      Comment on Reply–I find it astonishing that, apparently, the ONLY consideration these days concerning the level of interest rates is inflation, and predicting inflation at that, which is is a joke in itself. What about the good stuff about how bad it is that the Country does not save enough or (the opposite?) the equally good stuff about pensioners not spending thus lowering Demand blah blah?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        It’s not the ONLY consideration, but by the Bank of England Act 1998 it’s the PARAMOUNT consideration:

        http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/11/section/11

        “11 Objectives.

        In relation to monetary policy, the objectives of the Bank of England shall be –

        (a) to maintain price stability, and

        (b) subject to that, to support the economic policy of Her Majesty’s Government, including its objectives for growth and employment.”

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted November 3, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

          Denis–Thanks for that. Is one to infer that there are Objectives in relation to OTHER than monetary policy? If so what are they? And of course what exactly does “price stability” mean? A target of 2% inflation does not mean stable prices.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted November 4, 2014 at 9:09 am | Permalink

            Yes, because the Bank has other functions.

            As the Act says in its next Section:

            http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/11/section/12

            “The Treasury may by notice in writing to the Bank specify for the purposes of section 11 –

            (a) what price stability is to be taken to consist of, or

            (b) what the economic policy of Her Majesty’s Government is to be taken to be.”

    • Gary
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      there is no sign of inflation because none of that QE money is leaving the risk free bond trade, and all other risk money is piggy backing on that bond trade. Why should any money be committed in the economy at any risk when it can be deployed in the bond market without risk? The central bank has guaranteed they will be the buyer of last resort of bonds.

      If you think that this cannot ever end and that it is a good thing, then that is astonishing.

      This ends when trade counterparties refuse to accept as payment any paper bid up into a bubble in a false auction.

      This is a terrible, desperate, immoral and unsustainable policy.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        Four whole years of the annual CPI rate of inflation coming in above the Chancellor’s 2% pa target, month after month from December 2009 to December 2013:

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10612209

        Nearly 8% extra added to CPI by £375 billion of QE, just by extrapolating the Bank of England’s estimate for the inflationary effect of the first £200 billion:

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/bank-of-england/10773681/QE-has-boosted-UK-growth-by-3pc-says-Martin-Weale.html

        “The pair focused their research on the impact of the Bank’s first wave of asset purchases in 2009, when it hoovered up £200bn of gilts. Previous Bank analysis suggested that “QE1” had boosted growth by 2pc and raised inflation by 1.5pc. Mr Weale and Mr Wieladek found the first phase of QE raised real GDP by 2.5pc. They also calculated the impact of inflation was much more significant.

        Asset purchases equivalent to 1pc of GDP generated a corresponding 0.3pc rise in consumer prices inflation, they said. This means the Bank’s first round of asset purchases pushed inflation up by 4.2pc, which is almost triple the Bank’s 2011 estimate.”

        4.2% divided by 200 and multiplied by 375 = 7.9%.

      • stred
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        The money from QE that is used to pay government salaries, pensions and HS2 etc will come back into the economy. If it is not causing much inflation, it must be because it is balanced by the money created by banks is being reduced by regulation of leverage.. ie taken out of the private sector enterprise and the money being stolen from savers by negative real interest rates. ??

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Very little free money has been handed to bankers through the UK’s programmes of Quantitative Easing. Private investors who sold some of the previously issued gilts that they held to the Bank of England, and then bought nearly equivalent new gilts from the Treasury to replace the ones that they had sold, probably made a small risk-free profit on each turn of that “money-go-round” or they wouldn’t have been prepared to get on it. However most of the gilts bought by the Bank were not bought from banks but from insurance and pension companies, so only a small fraction of that free money would have gone to bankers.

      This shows where most of the £375 billion created by the Bank ended up, after it had been passed to the Treasury via the gilts market and then used to fund the government’s budget deficit, one pound in every four spent in 2009:

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/tax/11204213/Voters-to-get-letters-showing-how-much-of-their-money-is-spent-on-benefits.html

      “HM Revenue & Customs will begin sending 24 million people the first Annual Tax Summary, showing exactly how their money is being spent by the state.”

      • stred
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        You seem to have nailed it here Denis. Our pensions have bought the dodge. Meanwhile, we all pay for inflation and increased taxation, to pay for the government machine.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Hmmm, JR, “at the moment”, but you seem to have forgotten that previous long period when month after month inflation was well above the 2% target set by the Chancellor. Back in July my estimate, based on the Bank’s own research, was that the full £375 billion of QE had added about 8% to CPI. To quote from my own comment then:

      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2014/07/13/state-debt-and-the-bank-of-england/

      “So an unconventional monetary policy originally advertised as being necessary to ward off impending deflation has actually caused excess inflation, which we saw in practice each month when the MPC repeatedly overshot the 2% target set by the Chancellor; that has devalued earnings and been a main cause of the “cost of living crisis” for which Labour blames the coalition government.

      Those with money on deposit have also suffered that erosion in the value of their savings, while some wealthier people with investments as well as cash savings have had the compensation of rising asset prices through low interest rates.

      It hasn’t been the Weimar or Zimbabwe hyperinflation catastrophe that some feared, and nor did it trash the external value of sterling as some expected, but the inflationary effect has still been significant.”

  5. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    I gear that here the world is turned upside down: being part of the EU, you are co-responsible for the four freedoms, they are not a German invention. There will be universal agreement that “irritating lectures” always originate from Britain, the continent just points to treaties that all governments and parliaments have agreed with. If some opposition party votes against some treaty, that is of no consequence in democratic countries, where majorities decide.
    It will be interesting to see how this will play out in Britain between the populist right and the rest. A similarity with the Netherlands is that the fear of immigrants is much larger in purely white towns (like Clacton) than in large, integrated towns (like London). I for one, would like more immigrants in the Netherlands, as they will boost the economy (as independent figures show) and help pay for my pension.

    • DaveM
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      “the continent just points to treaties that all governments and parliaments have agreed with”

      Indeed. However, most of the governments in Europe made it quite clear to their electorate what they intended to sign up to, and made it part of their policy and manifesto. Blair and Brown did it without telling anyone, knowing full well that the majority of people in England would vehemently oppose any more transfer of powers to the EU.

      And to continue on the theme of treaties and Germany, they haven’t exactly got a shining record in that department either. Versailles.

      The history of Europe is characterised by a series of treaties signed and broken to suit the powers and governments of the time. The Eurocrats would do well to read the history of the continent. Strange how they think that a piece of paper nowadays is any different and more unbreakable than a piece of paper 1000 years ago. We may have iphones and central heating but the DNA of the people is still the same.

      And if they think we can’t renegotiate terms or leave altogether, they should have a look at what would have happened if Scotland had voted “NO” to a 350-year old treaty.

      Ironically, the Entente Cordiale – which has lasted well over 100 years and which led to the longest peace between the UK/England and France in history – is more threatened by the EU and its Mickey Mouse agreements than it has been by anything else in recent years.

      There was a great empire which existed 2000 years ago on this continent, and when the lawyers of the time thought they could control its population with laws and bits of legal garb and paper (or equivalent), it all went a bit wrong…. They then tried to control it with a common religion, which in turn led to more wars than ever before and a major rebellion in N Europe. Funny how history repeats itself, and funny how the word “Rome” always seems to pop up.

    • stred
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Surveys about immigrants in large cities like London, with almost half the poulation not born in the UK and more who are children of the same, tend to vote in favour of immigration more than in towns like Clacton, where many of the original population have moved to. Not surprising when you think about it.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        @stred: maybe they shouldn’t have moved: I read that the Clacton (nicknamed: “poverty on sea”) unemployment rate is about 50% , a higher figure I suppose than in London.

        • stred
          Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

          I am from the Midlands, via the Westcountry, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Sussex and Essex. I have friends of all races and a European bird as my Mrs for 10 years. However, most of them from Essex and London think that they would be much better off if there had been less mass immigration. I suspect would most of your Dutch neighbours would too. I could not tell the blog what the translations of conversations are that I hear from my informer after coming home on the tube.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted November 4, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

            @stred: When I was in the Midlands last summer (Stoke, Birmingham), I could well imagine that, just like in Holland (Rotterdam), there are serious problems in some inner cities. Finding scapegoats (EU, Islam, colour, language) is always easy but you cannot shut out a fast changing world. Grievances have to be taken seriously (that is where populist parties like UKIP and PVV (Wilders) or the Dutch Socialist Party have their use) but one should not fall for the simplistic “solutions”.

        • libertarian
          Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

          Peter

          There are 2168 people on jobseekers allowance and unemployment benefit in Clacton, so your smugness is a bit rich coming from an EUphile where much of NATIONAL youth unemployment in the PIGS is 50%. Oh and for your information one of the largest areas of unskilled immigrant workers is Eastern England which includes North Essex where Clacton is situated.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted November 4, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

            UK youth unemployment July 2014: 15.8%, in the Netherlands 10.4% and in September 2014 down to 9.8% in spite of our rather stagnant economy.

          • libertarian
            Posted November 5, 2014 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

            Peter

            Afraid not old son

            Youth Unemployment FELL by 206,000 in the last quarter

            https://www.gov.uk/government/news/record-fall-in-youth-unemployment

            Even so that has nothing to do with you smug post about Clacton, and you didn’t address either issue I raised about your post

        • James Matthews
          Posted November 3, 2014 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

          Many of them moved because they didn’t like the social and cultural changes that mass migration brought to London. Now people with the British equivalent of your mind set want to ensure that there is nowhere on this island where they can escape those changes, so they are, very belatedly, beginning to fight back politically. That should not be the surprise to our political class that it seems to have been.

          If mass migration continues for another forty years in the way it has for the last sixty there will be little remaining that is recognisable as England (Britain is already dead on its feet) except the name and a debased form of the language.

          The same fate awaits the Netherlands if you have your way, but I guess you will be happy with that so long as your pension is safe.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Surely most moderate Dutchmen would prefer more Netherland in the immigrants than more immigrants in the Netherlands.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      Peter – In Britain even the immigrants think there are too many immigrants.

      (There is no such thing as an ‘independent’ survey btw – they are all paid for by someone.)

    • Andy
      Posted November 4, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      Four freedoms eh. Well I don’t see you Continental Europeans honouring the free movement of services. Seems you only honour treaties if it suits you – see also the ‘No Bail Out’ rule, deficits below 3% etc, etc, etc. And free movement of workers is not the same as free movement of people.

  6. Freeborn John
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    As someone who has lived in Germany I am frequently struck by how badly British politicians negotiate with Germans. Typically British politicians assume if they give a little bit then the other side will also give a little bit, whereas the Germans will immediately interpret an early concession as the British not being serious. I see this inept UK negotiating style time and time again and it has led over time I believe to the Continental perception that they never need to concede anything because British politicians will always give way. Even president Putin says no one listens to Cameron. At this stage i see no alternative to ‘banging the table’ with the Germans in order to demonstrate that we are serious.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      In my experience, out host doesn’t like references to certain events in Germany, but history shows you could well have a point John. We seem disinterested when we really ought to take a tougher line from the start.

      They’d get no change out of me! If I was in Cameron’s position, I’d lay it on the line that the present situation is intolerable, make it a red line issue, and accept nothing less.

      Continual expansion of the EU always was going to change the dynamic of the principle of the free movement of people. And taking note of the ridiculous way the EU is run, and that it was always destined to get into trouble sooner or later and throw millions of people out of work, this problem should have been foreseen and headed off long ago.

      But hey, we’re talking about politicians here!

      Tad

    • Rob
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      It’s absolutely true what you say about “banging the table” with the Germans. A Swedish paper factory MD friend of mine frequently tells people the story of how he believed that giving in from time to time with German bosses would help him. The result was that they just pushed for more and more, and never gave anything in return, and started talking to him in dictatorial tones.

      One day they asked for too much which resulted in him going to the meeting and demanding that because of their behaviour that the meeting will take place in Swedish (and not in English as was usually the case) The result? He gained huge respect even though they didn’t understand a word of what he said, and they ended up being the ones who started giving in to his demands from that point onwards!

      Anecdotal I know, but an interesting story which backs up your comment.

      • Richard1
        Posted November 4, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        I worked for many years in a German company with ultimate German bosses. I had the opposite experience to those reported here. I found them, by and large, highly accommodating and keen to find workable solutions – and btw not the least nationalistic!

    • ChrisS
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      David Cameron should look back in history :

      There is only one way of negotiating with our “friends” in the EU :

      The Thatcher Method. Any compromise they see as weakness.

      Hence nobody anywhere in he EU ( or Britain ) has any respect whatsoever for Clegg.

  7. Douglas Carter
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    ‘Then Germany can have the pleasure of paying the bills for the rest of the EU without our help.’.

    I’m sure – even after having withdrawn from the EU – the cultural aplomb of which Westminster’s Civil Service are famed will ensure that somehow the UK ends up paying even more into the EU than we do already.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      You’re right Douglas!

      We need a clear-out of the old guard and replace them with people whose views are more representative of public opinion, but we could also say that about the House of Commons and the House of Lords that have given us this mess. The difference now though, is there is a fourth option in the form of a different political party, and people are gravitating towards it in numbers.

      This from the pro-EU Open Europe this morning (which repeats something we have been saying for ages):

      ‘The Office of National Statistics’ 2014 Pink Book released on Friday revealed that the UK’s net contribution to the EU budget in 2013 was £11.3bn – much higher than the £8.6bn initially forecast by the Treasury and a 32% increase on the previous year. The figures also showed that the UK’s net contribution to the EU budget had more than quadrupled since 2008.’

      Good behaviour paying for someone else’s failure! What a way to carry on! What would we do if this was a business?

      The answer is to sort out the unprofitable parts and get rid of poor practises, or break them up and sell them off. Only blinkered people or those with a vested interest in keeping the gravy train running, could fail to see that the EU is a money-eating catastrophe that cannot survive long-term without reformation. No point in hobbling the good bits to pay for the bad bits, otherwise everybody goes down. If only we could get politicians and civil servants to see that.

      Tad

  8. Bryan
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I did not read it quite in the way you suggest Mr Redwood.

    My understanding is that Mrs Merkel told Mr Cameron last month that if he persisted in his plans to put a break on immigrants from the EU then Mrs Merkel would stop helping him to keep the UK in the EU.

    A silly question. If the EU is a matter for the Foreign Office, why cannot our subscription fee come from the overseas aid budget? With the latest demand to subsidize France and, yes, Germany, they clearly are in need of our largess.

    • Bryan
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Oops, sorry, it is of course ‘brake’ not ‘break’.

  9. alan jutson
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Why is it that I fear that Mr Cameron will throw away victory with our leaving, and throw in the towel instead, and simply agree to stay in at almost any cost.

    I should be cheering from the rafters this morning, but I am not.

    Why is it that I have lost so much faith in our ability to negotiate hard.

    Perhaps it is because politicians of the past have been so useless at any sort of negotiation.

    I really do hope that I can have reason to cheer in the end.

  10. Richard1
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    We must expect plenty of pre-negotiation positioning. Of course Germany will put forward an intransigent face prior to negotiation. As in any negotiation, a deal will be struck at the 11th hour. This also shows that the only way to get any new deal with the EU will be to have a referendum back-stop (note to anyone thinking of voting UKIP at the general election: there’s only going to be a referendum if there’s a majority Conservative govt).

  11. mick
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Reply Not so. Mr Cameron knows that if he does not obtain a good new deal we will vote for Out.
    Come off it John the British people are not fools, there is going to be NO renegotiation on any thing including free movement of any kind, what Mr Cameron should do is call for a referendum before the general election which would i think call the bluff of lib/lab and back it,

  12. DaveM
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Fairly good news from what I can tell. However, I’m slightly irked about the fact that Germany is regarded as the ruling authority in all things EU when in reality they have no sovereign power on these shores, despite what some may think.

    Yes, they have influence through their control of the Eurozone, but we’re not in that – despite the wishes of Clarke and his buddies. Our political influence on the world stage is still considerable and we should be using that for leverage perhaps.

    Mike Stallard:

    “we British could well be living in the 1930s when Germany was still in disgrace”.

    Maybe so, but not as much as large chunks of the rest of the world. Think Israel with its influence in the US, eastern Europe, Russia, etc. Germany has a fairly shady recent history of brutal colonisation and memories are longer than people nowadays like to think. They were in disgrace for most of the 20th century really.

    The fact that our one rep in the Commission has no influence destroys the myth that we have to be “in it to win it”!

  13. James Matthews
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    We should take Frau Markel at her word and go. Will our electorate, never mind our politicians, ever be that decisive? Well hope springs eternal.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      James,

      You have more faith in our politicians than I have! I look back over the past fifty years to some of the decisions they have taken, supposedly on our behalf and in our best interests, and monkeys could have done better!

      Tad

      • James Matthews
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        Sadly not Tad. I cling to hope, but have zero expectation.

        Oh and better make that sixty-five years.

  14. Mondeo Man
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Business leaders were wrong on the ERM – completely and provably wrong

    Business leaders were wrong on the Euro – completely and provably wrong

    Business leaders ARE wrong on EU membership now. The proportion of taxation given over to welfare shows how their ‘freedom of movement’ is subsidised by the taxpayer – especially on in-work benefits.

  15. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    The German position on free movement is entirely logical (and in fact essential for the Eurozone). Given this there is no need to delay the referendum till 2017 as there is no chance at all of negotiating a compromise on this particular UK “red line”.

  16. Bert Young
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    The German position announced in their papers is the truth of where the power lies in the EU . The EU has followed whatever the German leadership has indicated making nonsense of the , so-called , democratic base ; it is almost as if they won the war and can dictate their wishes . We should really thank Angela Merkel for stating her case because it makes our exit more straightforward . If Cameron had led this country with the determination and vision of a Thatcher , we might well have secured the terms of continuing in the EU without its dominance over our independence ; he has lost our respect and that of his European “pals”.

  17. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    JR: “If Germany cannot see the need for the UK to have a new relationship because we are not part of the Euro and do not wish to join the political union, then the UK people may well vote to leave.”
    They don’t see the need to have a new relationship because they, along with many of your colleagues, intend that in the longer term we will be forced into the Euro and political union whether we want it or not – that is the EU’s modus operandi. Your party and its leader have no intention of allowing the UK to leave the EU and Frau Merkel knows it. You know it too but through blind party loyalty you are prepared to put party before country and pretend otherwise.
    At least your colleague Jacob Rees-Mogg MP is quoted in the Mail as saying:
    ‘It is looking increasingly unlikely that it will be possible to get a successful renegotiation.’
    ‘I’m afraid it leaves me very suspicious about what the Prime Minister is trying to do. Signing up to the European Arrest Warrant raises questions about whether he even wants a successful renegotiation.
    ‘On immigration I think there is a question about whether he is making statements he can actually deliver.’
    Do you agree with him?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      I have a lot of sympathy with that Brian.

      Looks like we have both been bitten by the same snake and that makes us very wary of going anywhere near it in the future. It’s history repeating itself. Endless tough-talking glib platitudes intended to dupe the public into the belief that Cameron is the man to deliver us from the EU madness – reconstituted, reconstructed, or otherwise.

      He and his kind may succeed with the new generation of voters to some extent, but we old-stagers have seen it all before. As Big Daddy Pollitt once said in that famous film, A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, ‘That’s 100% bull and I ain’t buying any’.

      Tad

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      “… they, along with many of your colleagues, intend that in the longer term we will be forced into the Euro”

      Correct, and clearly Cameron, Hague and Osborne are among those colleagues of JR, or back in 2010 they would have demanded a quid pro quo for switching their support from “Save the Pound” to “Save the Euro”, at our expense.

  18. Max Dunbar
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Germany must look at us and wonder with whom they will be dealing. England? England and Wales? Scotland? The UK? How they can take us seriously at all is questionable.
    They re-unite when the occupier withdraws – we split apart on our own volition.

  19. Atlas
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    When you consider how much we are paying into the EU then perhaps Cameron would do well to recall that adage “He who pays the piper calls the tune” in his EU dealings.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      If only!

      Tad

    • sm
      Posted November 4, 2014 at 12:23 am | Permalink

      Does the payment of EU taxes and the new EU tax require a majority vote in parliament or can payment just be withheld indefinitely by the non-action by the government.

      If the EU will kick us out..bingo.. no need for a referendum..job done. If they threaten penalties then retaliate in any way possible until we exit.

      However we know they wont kick us out and we know the LibLabCon have no regard for the electorates vies. Only how they can manipulate those views so as to continue ever closer union.

  20. John E
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Perhaps Mrs. Merkel watched Mr. Cameron’s abject panic over the Scottish referendum and resolved not to go down the same path with regard to the UK leaving Europe?
    I don’t think we can expect her to negotiate in such an amateur way.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      There is no “same path” for her to go down or not go down.

  21. bigneil
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    ANY so-called renegotiation will leave us still linked to the financial black hole called the EU, with the inevitable further demands for more and more money, which DC will happily hand over, knowing his promised reward for continued “membership”. Also taking into account the amount of times DC has said one thing -and it has found to be total “weasel words” -and not worth a penny, then any claim of success should be treated as a lie, pure and simple. We have been lied to for years, regarding the EU, purely for the politicians and their big business buddies personal and business benefits. We should have total control over everything here – DC wants that gone, and he wants to be seen lording it in his Brussels job, then can come home, looking down on his serfs and subjects, all ordered to doff their caps as he sweeps by in his Euro-Limo or the white elephant HS2.

    • Richard
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      Continuous and increasing payments to the EU with the threat of financial collapse occurring should we leave the EU feels like we are paying Danegeld all over again.

  22. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Who has said this?

  23. Mitchel
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    The future of Europe in its widest sense will be determined by Germany and Russia,with everyone else reduced to bystander or,increasingly,vassal state status.Both these powers with their complementary strengths are successfully turning East for their future development and I believe,Germany’s current reluctant sanctioning of Russia notwithstanding,they will grow closer together and ultimately challenge US hegemony which will cause grave problems for the Atlanticists.

    It is time for the UK to assert its political independence through departing the EUand also seek better relations with Russia-something impossible to achieve with Cameron and his ilk-btw,does he still think the EU should expand its borders to the Urals?Not exactly a Eurosceptic sentiment and no wonder we are treated with derision in Moscow.

  24. Qubus
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    The problem is that whilst Mr Cameron is a highly intelligent man, with lots of other gifts, he is not a conviction politician; he is not even a conventional Tory. He wanted the job of PM because he thought that he would be good at it and had enough connections to enable him to achieve that aim.
    What we now need is someone like Margaret Thatcher on our side; someone who will bang the table on behalf of the UK.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Someone who will loudly and ostentatiously bang the table on behalf of the UK, but more quietly press for the abolition of swathes of national vetoes and not think that this should be put to the British people in a fresh referendum as it undermined the basis for the popular consent extracted in the 1975 referendum, and also agree to admit new countries to the EEC and not think that this merited a fresh referendum to ask us whether we were content for the contract with eight other countries that we approved in 1975 to be extended to other countries – the first of which was Greece for God’s sake, and look how that has turned out – and also agree that there should be progress not only to a European Union but to a European Economic and Monetary Union with a single EU currency.

      No, thanks; I’ve had more than enough of being duped into thinking that because a Tory Prime Minister shouts at foreigners he or she must be on our side.

  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I’m a bit concerned that some of the language in the media reports on this could leave people with the impression that we need Merkel’s permission to leave the EU.

    Of course that is not the case; as the UK Parliament has legislated for us to be in the EU the UK government would need the permission of the UK Parliament before it told the governments of the other EU member states and the relevant EU institutions that it was terminating the EU treaties, but it would not need permission from Merkel or indeed any other foreigner, irrespective of their position in a foreign government or parliament or in an EU institution including the EU’s Court of Justice.

    However, clearly Merkel or her successor would have a predominant influence on the terms of the new treaty arrangements which would apply from the instant that the EU treaties ceased to apply to the UK, and importantly if our exit was through Article 50 TEU then the governments of the other EU member states would settle their common position through Qualified Majority Voting.

    That could mean, for example, that even if the Polish government was demanding that all its citizens should still have the unfettered right to come and live and work in our country even after we had left the EU then it could be voted down by other governments, and as it has agreed to Article 50 TEU as part of the EU treaties it would be legally bound to accept that majority decision and ratify the new treaty.

    Article 50 TEU may be read here:

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

    There is the small complication that it would be necessary to get the consent of the EU Parliament to the new treaty, but if it was supported by a qualified majority of the other governments on the Council then it is unlikely that the Parliament would block it.

    Oddly enough, while as one would expect the UK would be excluded from the decisions made by the other member state governments in their negotiations with the UK, MEPs elected in the UK would not be excluded from the debates and votes in the Parliament on whether to consent to the new treaty.

  26. Javelin
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I think we have to look at the principle of “Speech Acts” (google it). Which basically say people say things to achieve an effect. So what is Merkel trying to achieve.

    I think the problem for Herr Merkel is that EU economc growth is reducing at such a rate that (1) Germany could be in recession soon (2) the EU will be in recession sooner (3) there will be a lot of southern europeans looking to come to the UK for jobs – currently 40%of EU migrants that come from the EU do not have jobs (4) if the southern europeans can’t come to the UK then they will go to Germany (5) if Germany can’t give them jobs then they will BLAME Germany for their economic woes.

    So I think Merkels comments are to fend off an angry attacks on Germany over the next few years.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      “(3) there will be a lot of southern europeans looking to come to the UK for jobs – currently 40% of EU migrants that come from the EU do not have jobs”

      As it so happens I’ve just had a brief exchange with somebody on another blog who raised Article 45 TFEU, and questioned whether people from other EU countries do actually have an unqualified legal right to come here without the offer of a job and then start looking for work.

      “Article 45

      (ex Article 39 TEC)

      1. Freedom of movement for workers shall be secured within the Union.

      2. Such freedom of movement shall entail the abolition of any discrimination based on nationality between workers of the Member States as regards employment, remuneration and other conditions of work and employment.

      3. It shall entail the right, subject to limitations justified on grounds of public policy, public security or public health:

      (a) to accept offers of employment actually made;

      (b) to move freely within the territory of Member States for this purpose;

      (c) to stay in a Member State for the purpose of employment in accordance with the provisions governing the employment of nationals of that State laid down by law, regulation or administrative action;

      (d) to remain in the territory of a Member State after having been employed in that State, subject to conditions which shall be embodied in regulations to be drawn up by the Commission.

      4. The provisions of this Article shall not apply to employment in the public service.”

      Perhaps JR could clarify?

  27. Eddie Hill
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely right – I can’t tell you how heartening it was to read this from a senior Conservative MP.

    The £1.7 billion bill along with next year’s French budget deficit have thankfully provided what I hope will be the last straws on the camel’s back.

    I read an article a few days ago about the French economy, which according to many observers is “finished.”

    Hollande’s approval ratings are in the high teens but he continues to “move unemployment into the public sector” in an effort to get himself re-elected. This is the Greek and Italian solution, which will just make things worse. On top of stupid salaries for unnecessary jobs, these public sector workers get lots of holidays and extremely expensive pensions.

    As a consequence, the French budget blows EU borrowing limits, which they are apparently allowed to do without penalty from the EU, then the bill gets sent to us.

    This sort of thing is written about in the newspapers every day, but seemingly our leaders either don’t read the newspapers or won’t grasp the nettle.

    This insanity must end and soon!

  28. Mike Wilson
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I am puzzled. I thought Germany was one of 28 EU member countries. Yet Merkel seems to run the whole show – even though she only gets a minority vote in her own country. Why is she in charge?

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted November 4, 2014 at 12:49 am | Permalink

      Perhaps we should all learn German so we can more effectively communicate with our new leader….

  29. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I think the German position in regard to the UK’s possible withdrawal from the EU is future- case of schadenfreude. They feel we will wither and die outside their German soiled economic half-pint bottle garden.

  30. Sam
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    It seems to me that Germany has finally decided that it’s intended direction of travel for the EU (“ever closer union”) will be smoother and less impeded without Britain constantly hectoring it about trifling matters like freedom, democracy, fiscal responsibility, sovereignty and global competitiveness.

    So be it: we both think we’ll be better off as neighbours rather than cohabitants. I do wonder what British policy will be on the escalating crisis between the EU and Russia, once we are free of the former. The Swiss approach would seem wise.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      The upcoming Swiss referendum on gold linking to their currency will be interesting. Unlike Gordon Brown selling our gold for Euros, the Swiss will be obliged to do the reverse – on order from their voters!
      Changing from normal politics to direct democracy via UKIP is not ALL about Europe – it is also about the democratic deficit in our system!

      • Sam
        Posted November 4, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        Thank you, if Ukip were ever to form a government I may actually move to Switzerland.

  31. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to John Major’s failure to veto the Maastricht Treaty, we missed the best chance to forge a two ring Europe, which would have given us the desired relationship more than 20 years ago. Now it’s going to be messier and nastier.

    I’m not surprised at Germany’s attitude. They have always wanted a Federal Europe, with the Council of Ministers as its Executive, the Commission its Civil Service and the European Parliament as its legislator – precisely the combination to which Mrs Thatcher said “No. No. No.”

    Quite a few apologists for the EU are saying that we can control EU immigration via the benefits system. Well, we could say that any non-Briton with no job to go to must deposit £10,000 pounds with the Ministry of Work and Pensions, out of which benefits would be paid. However, that wouldn’t change the effect of cheap imported labour on wage levels.

  32. David Edwards
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    It’s an interesting point in a reply above that DC could if he were serious about negotiation with the EU give an Article 50(2) notice, triggering a two year period for that negotiation, with our exit from the EU assured in the absence of meaningful changes. Personally I believe the EU will fail, without true political union and unless Germany puts its hand in its pockets, so really the issue is when the UK times it’s exit, before or after failure.

  33. James Reade
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    What actually frustrates me most about the path you’re trying to push us down is that you restrict what Brits can do.

    You seek that we restrict free movement here to the UK from the rest of the EU, I’m sure well aware that the obvious implication is that the rest of the EU, should they even allow us to do that (and should it pass in a Commons where such views have nothing even closely resembling a majority, thankfully), will similarly restrict our movement elsewhere in the EU.

    Why do you seek to restrict the opportunities of so many millions of Brits, John? (I can have a guess at the answer: the demographics of your constituency?)

    You see, we can’t have it both ways – we can’t just have the (huge) benefits of union without the (small) costs. Joint bank accounts and all that. Yet you continue to pander to all those, including many of those who comment here, who believe we should be able to.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      Please clarify what you are saying we are going to be stopped from doing.

      So far as I can see, British might want to holiday or retire in EU countries, like we can and do in Australia, NZ, and many other countries. We might wish to work in EU countries, rather like we do in the United States, Australia etc., where we need a Green Card. OK, I agree we might face a tougher call applying for a working visa to work in an Italian, Spanish or Romanian sweat-shop job where we are competing head-on with low-wage local employees, but most of us are willing to live with that in return for a freer run here for minimum wage jobs.

      The principle of a sovereign entity being entitled to have some say over who crosses its borders has some merit.

      • James Reade
        Posted November 4, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        I’m not sure what part of “blocking the free movement of labour” you fail to understand here?

        If we have to have a job offer in advance of moving, if we have to earn a particular (arbitrarily set) level of income in order to be able to move, if we have to satisfy particular profiles in order to get enough “points”, that obviously is restricting what we can do.

        On the merit of allowing government bureaucrats to decide what nationality of employers it’s best for each and every firm to employ, I’m yet to be convinced. Please do try and convince me why governments are better than firms at knowing who it is best for them to employ in order to do their day to day business.

    • Ted Monbiot
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      The only restriction I hear about is one restricting welfare benefits for those who are new arrivals.
      And the UK having an ability to deport those who come here for criminal exploits.
      So no real retrictions on freedom to move here at all.
      Just an understanding that you have to stand on your own two feet at least for the early years after arrival.
      Still nowhere as restricted as tryig to enter USA Canada Australia New Zealand etc

      • James Reade
        Posted November 4, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        Sure – if you think that departing from the basic principle of free movement of labour will be acceptable, and all other EU states will just happily go along with it without imposing reciprocal arrangements.

        I’m just not particularly convinced that will be the case.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted November 4, 2014 at 12:00 am | Permalink

      ” …we can’t just have the (huge) benefits of union without the (small) costs. …”

      What HUGE benefits? (that couldn’t be had with a simple trade agreement)

      And the costs are SMALL? You call eleven thousand, million pounds small? Oh, sorry, that’s wrong. It’s twelve thousand seven hundred, million pounds including the latest demand.

      • James Reade
        Posted November 4, 2014 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Mike. What are the huge benefits? Our firms can operate, without restriction, in a market of 500m consumers. They can employ from a pool of willing workers that is 300m large. Both of those numbers are much larger than would be the case if we only had this for the UK. Can I put numbers on how “HUGE” these benefits are? No. But common sense says they are very large indeed – and our firms would surely tell us so, but John’s already told them to keep quiet if they want to speak positively about the EU.

        And on the EU budget you’re referring to, can you tell me how many pounds that is per capita, per year? Can you tell me how large that number is in relation to, say, the amount we spend on health, on education, on defence and so on? (A: It’s very small.)

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted November 4, 2014 at 1:07 am | Permalink

      The Europhiles keep boasting about the benefits of membership..but can’t quite explain what they are (because these benefits are an illusion) . Where there are no facts to back their arguments they just casually make them up. ‘3 million jobs depend on our Eu membership.

      Most emmigrants from the Uk do so because their skills are in demand and have a firm job offer – we don’t need to be in a massively expensive undemocratic club for that to continue. Germany and France would still recruit our skilled Engineers and surgeons if they needed to fill a skills gap.

      • James Reade
        Posted November 4, 2014 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

        Kenneth, I can quite happily talk about the benefits – I suspect though you won’t be prepared to listen.

        Tell me which firm operating out there would prefer a market in which it can sell its goods without tariffs or other cross-border limitations of 70m vs one of 500m?

        Tell me which firm operating out there would prefer to only be able to recruit from 40m odd people, relative to 300m, without endless paperwork and bureaucracy?

        I couldn’t give a toss about the 3m figure some Europhiles cite, and mainly Eurosceptics love to deride – that’s pittance in reality.

        If we left, sure economic activity would continue here, and would continue in the EU, and we’d trade with them. But we’d trade at a higher cost, and I think we’re all aware that if costs are higher, quantities are lower. Maybe you’re happy with that on principle, but I’m not.

        I’m glad, finally, that you know intimately well what leads to those who leave the country doing so. The point though is that John would like to make it a lot harder for all of us to do so – endless additional paperwork and stress surrounding applications for green cards and the equivalents, rather than the current free movement we have around Europe.

        Sure, it’s going to really make us so much more competitive to restrict the market our firms sell into and the market our firms recruit from.

  34. A different Simon
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Will the U.S. allow the U.K. to leave Europe ?

    Up until now the U.S. has been insistent that the U.K. remain a member .

    The U.K. must have the gumption to go it alone .

    Russia would be our only ally on the World stage (Mr Putin being the only World leader opposed to World Govt) .

    • A different Simon
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t it ironic that Russia supposedly wanted to take over the World with communism and now they are the only country with leaders who oppose the move towards World Govt !

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 4, 2014 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      He’s the most overt opponent to the “NWO” but not the only one,most of the BRICS are too,and Russia and China are working with their friends and allies to undermine the Western/US system.Don’t for one minute believe that Russia is isolated…..look at Mr Putin’s travels since the Ukraine crisis began and the actual and putative deals he has been signing.

  35. Richard
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    2000 years ago we were invaded by the Romans.

    1000 years later we were invaded by the Norman French.

    Now, another 1000 years further on, we will be financially and socially ruined unless our Parliament can make a decision to either leave the ever expanding EU or to cease our generous and non-contributory healthcare and benefits.

    Unfortunately our current Parliament can’t or won’t make this decision.

  36. Chris's
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Personally, I would vote to leave but If we are to stay in the EU, there might be a way to reduce our net contributions which, thanks to Blair, are spiralling out of control.

    We could try to negotiate an additional infrastructure rebate to pay for the cost of housing, schools, medical care and other infrastructure costs for every EU net migrant moving to Britain.

    If this were to be linked to a tightening up of benefit rules net migration would be reduced and our own taxpayers won’t have to pay extra taxes to cover these very significant costs.

  37. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted November 4, 2014 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    Memo to Mr J Gummer and Angela Merkel :It’s about the numbers of people and the sustainability of present rates of population increase. They need to stop lecturing and dismissing those with legitimate concerns. Lord Deben was on Radio 2 again today arguing that we need 500,000 people every year otherwise our strawberries would go unpicked!. For heavens sake!.
    Those in favour of the status quo need to indicate what level of immigration they would be happy with..would John Gummer be happy if net immigration increased to 7 or 800,000 per year. There is nothing in Eu law to stop this. No link between the number of Gp’s surgerys, hospital beds or schools places and newcomers. Have we gone completely mad to allow this ?

    Pop. Density per sq. mi:
    1,054 England
    585 Germany
    523 Italy
    381 Wales
    339 NI
    319 Poland
    306 France
    240 Spain
    174 Scotland

    A one size fits all open borders policy is madness whilst there are such large gaps in wealth and population density.

  38. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 4, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    If we continue to allow unrestricted immigration from the EU, it will eventually feed through to non-EU immigration.

    Consider an African family that applies for entry to the UK on the grounds that their government is persecuting them. The UK rejects this and says that they are would be economic migrants. The family then embarks on a hazardous journey across the Mediterranean and lands in, say, Italy or Malta. The Italian or Maltese government grants them EU citizenship on the grounds of persecution. The Italian or Maltese government extracts a fee from the family and is secure in the knowledge that the family will not live in their country but will transfer to the UK with full citizenship rights.

    Thus, countries like Italy and Malta will take our immigration decisions for us. Don’t say this can’t happen. To some extent, it already is. and many Club Med nations are desperate for money.

  • 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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