Sir John Major bangs on about Europe

It is good news that Sir John Major now recognises the need to change our immigration policy and for the UK to gain control over who we invite in to our country. When he rightly negotiated our opt out from the main point of the Maastricht Treaty, the Euro, he was also insistent that the UK kept control of its own borders. It is a pity Labour did not follow his wise course on these matters.

It is a sign of how seriously he takes it that he should make this the main topic of one of his rare interventions in UK public debate. He used to believe that we should not bang on about Europe. Instead today he acknowledges the central place migration and the EU has come to take in our national conversation.

The problem for those who wish us to stay in the EU is it is not just a question of migration and borders. Our current membership of the EU is incompatible with self government and full Parliamentary democracy, as so many decisions are made for us by the Brussels government. That is why the Conservative party opposed the Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties on principle and voted against all three.

Our current membership is damaging to our living standards, with the high fuel bills, the weak Eurozone economy and the downward pressure on wages. Our current membership is very bad for business. The EU’s energy policy is leading to the loss of plants in major heavy energy using industries, the fishing policy has led to the run down of our fishing ports, the tax and regulatory attack on financial services is beginning to push business outside the EU.

So our current EU membership does not just pose a problem over the pace of migration. It is bad for business, bad for living standards and bad for democracy. All these things need to be debated and addressed in a new relationship with the rest of the EU.

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97 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    John Redwood MP said;

    All these things need to be debated and addressed in a new relationship with the rest of the EU.

    Or, we can just invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, and negotiate our, ‘new relationship’ that way.

    But it won’t happen, will it ?

    Reply Not from this Parliament

    • ian wragg
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      And not in any other Parliament overrun by LibLabCon Europhiles (except for a few weeks before an election).
      Jam tomorrow is finished John the public are not ready for 5 more years of lies and deceit.

    • APL
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      JR: “Not from this Parliament”

      You might just as truthfully say, not from this [Tory] party.

      • Hope
        Posted November 15, 2014 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        JR seems to forget that Cameron, once again, broke his promise again over an EU issue namely a vote on the EAW. He tried to deceive the public that he halved the £1.7 billion extra payment to the EU. That is just in one week. Let us add the no ifs or buts about immigration, we will not let the matter rest here about the Lisbon Treaty, we will not bail out EU countries directly or indirectly, he would not promote closer Union with the EU and spent £18 million pounds of taxpayers’ money doing exactly that. Three line whip to prevent an EU referendum, implemented gay marriage without a mandate and treated the electorate with contempt when they signed a protest for a debate. EU contribution quadrupled under Cameron. High energy prices from Cameron’s fixation of the EU. High food prices from Cameron’s fixation to implement the EU CAP. Every piece of land being built on for EU mass immigration. Overseas aid out of control for corrupt regimes and to find India’s space programme! All borrowed money that we, the taxpayer, are expected to pay so he can give away when our public services are overwhelmed through mass immigration. This is Cameron’s Britain. Straight choice LibLabCon presenting EU rule or UKIP.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Nor in the next parliament.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      Or the next one. Or the one after that. etc etc.

      It is a ‘Political Project’ for politicians, and only politicians. That is why we joined, and we still remain. The trade aspect is just a sop.

      • APL
        Posted November 16, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        Mark B: “Or the next one. Or the one after that. etc etc.”

        Yes, I like John Redwood. But the promises of his imaginary friend the EuroSceptic Tory party: ‘plenty of jam tomorrow’ has been repeated ad nausium for the last thirty five years, now.

        I for one am bored of it.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Before John Major says anything more at all he should perhaps apologise for taking us into the entirely predictable ERM disaster as chancellor. Apologise further for the homes repossessed, the many businesses (and lives) destroyed, the suicides and all the families broken & destroyed by his idiotic ERM vision.

    Further for burying the Tory part for three + terms (so far) by destroying the parties reputation for economic competence. Then he should apologise for ramming through Maastricht without any authority from the voters whose democracy it was (it was never his to give away).

    John Major only ever won an election by being Mrs Thatcher’s (very misguided) choice. Once people had rapidly realised that he was a Ken Clark/Cameron style/no nation Tory, a pro EU, high tax, fake green dope he lost hugely to Blair.

    The question is why is Cameron so very keen to repeat Major disastrous approach?

    (words left out ed)
    As you say EU membership is indeed a problem for uncontrolled and unselective migration, it is bad for business, bad for living standards and bad for democracy. Not just for the UK but for the whole of the EU.

    So too is the huge UK over regulation, ever higher taxes, bloated government, the incompetent NHS, second rate schools, duff legal systems, payment to augment the feckless, poor criminal justice system and all the expensive energy green crap endlessly also pushed by Cameron’s dreadful socialist leadership.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      It is hard to belief that someone so hapless as Miliband is actually going to be PM shortly thanks purely to Cameron repeating all John Major’s errors and lack of working compass.

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted November 15, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        On current trends could there be a situation after the next general election such that if all the minority parties came together as a coalition they would have the largest number of MPs. Of course, they are never going to agree to form a government, but they could bring a government down.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      LL

      Anyone can ‘say’ sorry. But very few ever mean it. So I for one do not want an apology from, Sir John Major or the Conservative Party that, due to various reasons, and not just those that you state, lead to the of, Tony and Gordon, and all that came after.

      But what I do want, a now see, is the slow and continual distruction, mostly by their own hand, of that party that has brought us to this sorry place.

      Revenge is a dish best served cold. But is all the more enjoyable when those who are the source of your spite have to endure it for a near eternity.

    • Vanessa
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      The ERM, of course, was something the Business Community said would be a disaster if we did NOT join ! What idiots !

      They are, at present, saying it would be a disaster if we left the European Union – what do they know ??

      Of course the EU is holding Britain back and is determined to do so, they have always envied us our ability to bounce back but now they can keep us shackled to their dying project !

  3. Timaction
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    We understand a minority of backbench MPs support your view but unfortunately you have little impact on the executive. They are pure and simple Europhile fanatics who put personal and party interest above our National sovereignty, democracy and right to self determination. We all know the economic facts and experience the negative impact on our culture, heratige and way of life .
    If there were any REAL benefits to our continued membership of the EU dictatorship they would have been stated. Therefore we MUST conclude it is all about the creation of a political union by incremental stealthy treaty change e.g. EU Arrest warrant, no trigger of the Referendum Lock!
    As the tired legacy parties only offer us more of the same with minor adjustments they must be removed and replaced with representatives who WILL deliver the will of the people and sack those quisling mandarins who are against us. The truth is out and no matter how much the Liblabcon squeal they need to move to what the people want or get out.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      TA,

      I am convinced that if the people really knew the truth about the EU, a big majority would want out of it altogether. The scandalously duplicitous political class have played upon voter apathy for very dubious ends. Telling lies and conducting a disgraceful campaign of misinformation.

      I liken our membership of the EU to this hypothetical situation. The sign of a good business manager is the ability to delegate. Voters delegate the responsibility for the proper running of our country to professional politicians and tend not to concern ourselves with the minutia or day-to-day running thereof. When that sacred trust has been mishandled, it is like a manager giving responsibility to a junior who then does something completely different and gets the company into a mess. The manager finds out, and net result is that junior gets sacked for their incompetence.

      The difficulty comes when the manager seeks a replacement but all the candidates for the subsequent vacancy are just as useless. He’s then in a difficult position. His company cannot move forwards until he gets the right people.

      But with the EU it’s even worse. People are conditioned to be acquiescent to mismanagement and bad practises, or they’re just plain useless but that is somehow seen as a strength. It’s like a little closed-shop trades union. Well we broke that dominance once, and freed ourselves from its yoke, and we need to do it again with the prescriptive and restrictive European Union.

      Tad

      • Vanessa
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        Tad – well said, I could not agree more. All should read “The Great Deception” the truth is in the title.

  4. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Are words enough. We are going round in circles.

    • DaveM
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      No Margaret, words are not enough. But the middle class zombies in this country will only ever do anything via the ballot box. Which means that, until cohorts of real Tories (like our host) and some sensible Labour MPs defect to a party like Ukip to give its administrative and economic policies real credibility and thus the trust of the electorate, we are stuck with LabCon.

      And until the working classes are denied huge benefits and can therefore see the unfairness of their working conditions, and the detriment of mass immigration to their wages and lives in general, there will be no civil disobedience to change the status quo.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Words from Cameron are rather like his last manifesto, something to be used as loo role a day or two later.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Margaret – The Colchester hospital ‘major incident’ seems to be that the place is overwhelmed with demand.

      Hospital cancellations are being reported around here too now.

      Thousands upon thousands of new homes being built in the area – more and more people shipped in. Yet no more resources being provided.

      We are sinking fast – right now.

      Major’s epiphany is way to late. And he would not have had it were it not for the threat posed to the Tories by Ukip.

      All talk. Not enough action.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 15, 2014 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        The NHS is dreadfully organised, administered and managed. It only copes at all because of a few excellent and dedicated medical staff. The system and administration is just appalling and mainly designed to ration delay and push people away & to other sections of the health service. Also to avoid and evade legal liability for incompetence which is everywhere.

        You could easily die in an A&E waiting room before anyone even glanced at you that is if the ambulance turns up in time. The hospitals in London I have used have been filthy, understaffed and full of drunks and drug addicts.

        The first thing needed is to charge at the point of use for everyone who can afford it drunks & drug addicts clearly can it will give them less to spent on drink the next time.

        Then they might need to do less rationing and pushing from pillar to post. Also people (who are not emergency patients) might visit the GP (who should also charge). After all people pay for hair cuts. Then the GPs would not make it difficult and inconvenient to attend as they often do.

        It is free at the point of rationing that is the problem. Needless to say Cameron like this. That is why his priority “in three letters N H S” is such a total death trap. Who oh why are Cameron, Clegg & Miliband so very wrong on every issue?

  5. Mike Stallard
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, we all are beginning to recognise that what is on offer is not what we want in Europe. Mr Major was PM 20 years ago: we live now. There is a healthy consensus building. Mrs Thatcher (NO!NO!NO!) was right!
    What is never asked, even by Ukip, is what happens after we leave?
    We need to keep our trade and we need to lose the political union.
    So we ought to join EFTA and the EEA. That will save our trade. Then we ought to go for Article 50 which will give us 2 years. We do not need a referendum.
    Is that enough though? Of course not! That is why we need to get some really useful and dedicated people together to negotiate with all their skill for a better deal.
    At the moment, I sense promises and drift and empty threats and determined division of the Eurosceptic/conservative drive. We need action!

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Re; “What is never asked, even by Ukip, is what happens after we leave?”

      They have done much more than ask, they have provided the answer.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      ‘What is never asked, even by Ukip, is what happens after we leave?
      We need to keep our trade and we need to lose the political union.’

      I watch loads of speeches by UKIP on YouTube, and they have said pretty clearly that we need to trade with the EU (and all other nations) but we don’t need to be governed by them. I see nothing wrong with that.

      Tad

  6. Ian wragg
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Problem is John your leader has no intention of negotiating anything meaningful. Just a lot of waffle before the election.
    We saw the despicable behaviour on the EAW and this is a sign of things to come. .
    Traitors the lot of you especially Major

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Cameron is just as bad as Major where is the difference (judged on his actions)?

  7. Mick
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Isn’t it funny how nearly all the torys are coming out about immigration, is it because there’s a GE looming or next weeks by-election, probably both, makes no difference because after you loose next week your ship is going to sink and a new dawn in politics is going to shine

    • A different Simon
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      That is a bit cynical Mick .

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      You wouldn’t tease an old man would you Mick?

      I hope you’re right, I really do. I have been loyal to this country all of my life and I want what is in its best interest. It is so frustration when we can see it going to the edge of a precipice but those we entrust to guide our nation cannot, or flatly refuse to alter course.

      Tad

      • APL
        Posted November 16, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        Tad Davison: “we entrust to guide our nation cannot, or flatly refuse to alter course.”

        Why would they alter course, Tad? They are navigation the course they have wanted to for the last forty years.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      Oh I am quite sure the election has nothing at all to do with it. How could you be so cynical?

      Then again did not some Labour party person say “today is a good day to bury bad news on 9/11” can one ever be too cynical?

  8. A.Sedgwick
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    In broad terms the current Conservative MPs are probably split into three groups on the EU: Eurosceptics, Europhiles and fence sitters. The survival of the Party so split could depend on an early referendum, which would resolve the matter for a generation or more and perhaps create a unity with the Party, the Country having decided. It is completely disingenuous to expect any EU outer to vote Conservative without a 2015 referendum date in the manifesto. The political scaremongering of allowing Labour in is very weak politics.

    • libertarian
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Actually the Conservative Party is finished on more levels than just the EU. They are unelectable in Scotland, have no representation in NI ( a One Nation party, really?) and struggle in the North of England. Now they are even turning their heartlands in the South East over to UKIP. I had lunch with a local Tory MP yesterday he told me he probably won’t stand again next time as he will lose to UKIP anyway. The leader of a local Tory council has just announced he won’t stand again either, which is irrelevant as he will lose to UKIP too.

      Their once sound attribute economic management is in tatters. New technology has exposed how most of the party at ALL levels especially in local government are in fact Keynesian social democrats.
      We need a NEW party that is prepared to stand on a platform of completely and totally overhauling what laughingly passes for democracy in this country. What we need is a directly elected central government, closure of the House of Lords an English parliament and the removal of one tier of local government and MORE local retention and raising of local taxes. Then a system of referenda on the major issues that arise from time to time such as going to war, major change in sovereignty or to ask for major structural change to things like the NHS for instance.

      This is the ONLY way to engage the next generation in 21st century politics. The old centralised 20th century politburo style so beloved of Westminster and Brussels is dead in the water

      • DaveM
        Posted November 15, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        If there was a ‘like’ button on this site I would have ‘liked’ your comment.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 15, 2014 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        Indeed Cameron is destroying the party even more effectively than Major did.

    • A different Simon
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      A.Sedgewick ,

      I would categorise the groups differently . In descending order of size :-

      1)- Lobby Fodder
      2)- Traitors
      3)- Rebels

      The lobby fodder do what the traitors tell them so in reality only the traitors have influence .

      The rebels are an irrelevance . They are laughed at by the traitors , lobby fodder and MSM .

      The Conservative Party survives only in name and the same can be said for the Labour Party too .

      The Cameron’s , Clarkes , Mays , Heseltines and Yeo’s have won .

      • A different Simon
        Posted November 15, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        To paraphrase , Europe is NOT a toxic issue for the Conservative party .

        They are united in their support for the project .

  9. JoeSoap
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    John Major is not the best example of a man with predictive intelligence. He would struggle to see a bulldozer careering towards him at 12 feet away. He is one of those people who uses his personality, which is charming and affable, to get along rather than raw intelligence. The problem with that is that nothing gets done, because while you’re being nice to everybody all the time you’re paralysed into inaction. This is particularly so when you haven’t got much in the way of conviction about anything.
    So just when even the most flaky Libdem is conceding that we might be introducing too many people to our crowded island, Sir John pipes up to agree.

    I really wouldn’t take too much notice. A follower, not a leader.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Indeed the main thing you want from a leader is someone with a working compass. Certainly niceness is very over rated in a leader. The problem with most Prime Ministers is they get nearly all of their input from the state sector work force, bureaucrats, charities and businesses wanting something or organisations like CBI. The state sector are only about 20% of the workforce (all be they 50% over paid with pensions) and produce very little of net useful output. Probably a net negative in most cases on balance.

    • Stephen Berry
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      The election of John Major to the leadership of the Conservative Party symbolised to me that the ‘modernisers’ had won hands down. If this modest man, whose father sold garden gnomes could rise to the top of the Conservative Party and wow the Tory faithful, anyone could do it.

      Yes, the ERM disaster was entirely predictable, and indeed I predicted it, making some small gains as a result. I therefore have always had a sneaking affection for this avid cricket fan. The fact that Sir John resigned as Leader of the Conservative Party and then immediately announced he would contest the resulting election was also noteworthy and strange, even by the standards of politicians.

      So John Major gets to go to Berlin to tell the Germans that the EU is not so popular in the UK. I think they may have already worked that out. In Italy recently, I saw a book prominently displayed in a major book shop in Livorno entitled ‘Il Quarto Reich: Come la Germania ha sottomesso l’Europa’ which roughly translated means ‘The Fourth Reich: How Germany has subdued Europe.’ So, the EU is not that popular in parts of Italy and that’s not so surprising given that Italian GDP figures are heading south to year 2000 levels.

      But what can the Germans going to do? My guess is they will plough on regardless until there is a crash – a bit like John Major with the ERM in fact.

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Is this perhaps the same John Major who tried to trick us with “Subsidiarity”
    The principle of subsidiarity is defined in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union. It ensures that decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen.

    Surprisingly “as close as possible to the citizen” always seem to be Brussels on every issue usually for entirely bogus health and safely, competition or single market reasons.

    • ChrisS
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      This is the perfect example of everything that is wrong with the EU.

      The Council of member states agree and sign up to one thing, in this case the definition of Subsidiarity which we would all agree with, then, the Brussels Mafia make yet another power grab and interpret the wording in a way that you and I would not recognise but hands them control of almost everything.

      We are probably a lonely voice of protest and are ignored. We rarely take the issue to the European court because we know we would lose. This is because almost everyone working for any organisation prefaced with the word “Europe” is an avowed supporter of the Super State we are being herded into, slowly but surely.

      If we want England and/or the United Kingdom to remain a recognisable, functioning Sovereign Country there is really only one course of action open to us and that’s to leave.

  11. Ken Adams
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    You make a very good point Mr Redwood, I can see there is an attempt to make immigration the sole anti-EU Issue.

  12. agricola
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    We know and understand all the arguments in favour of leaving the EU, so when are all the vested interests in staying in going to be outed and shown to be fallacious or solely out of self interest. What has been promised to CMD for him to perpetuate such an illogical and anti British position.

  13. me3
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    “That is why the Conservative party opposed the Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties on principle and voted against all three.”

    Easy to pretend you’re against something when you know your vote won’t make a difference. The Tory party is as pro-EU as the other 2 cheeks of the Westminster backside.

  14. Andyvan
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    So a superannuated politician that helped get us into the EU disaster now recognizes that it might have been a mistake. Great.
    Our history is one long litany of political and military miscalculations and attempts to put them right by the same useless bunch that caused the problems in the first place.
    Lets just have “leaders” that don’t sign us up for things we don’t want, don’t squander billions in their attempts to buy votes and don’t get us involved in American wars. Perhaps between them they could just keep the roads repaired, the lights on and let us get on with our lives.
    Or maybe not.

  15. Old Albion
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    As it stands, the 650 MP’s who pop into Westminster when they fancy it. Are no more than a puppet government. The strings are pulled by the EU.
    As will be demonstrated when the European court of Human Rights backed up by the EU inner circle, tells Cameron, he can’t exclude ‘British’ Jihadists from returning ‘home’
    By the way John,what has happened Re. the bill from the EU, demanding £1.7B ??

    • Mark B
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      We are going to pay one half after the next GE. Then the rest will be deducted from our rebate.

      1.7 Billion paid. But not on December the 1st as stated, just a bit later.

    • Old Albion
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Would you be good enough to answer my last question please JR?

  16. Atlas
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    What can one say to your points John but “Agreed”.

  17. Bill
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    There were huge contentious issues in the 19th century (Great Reform Bill, Repeal of the Corn Laws, Catholic Emancipation, etc) and what seems to happen is that ginger groups outside Parliament begin to fight for their causes and, if these are picked up by political leaders, then organised political groupings within Parliament can bring about change.

    In a way, we could say that this is happening now over Europe. It seems to me that various futures are discernibly open to us including life within a ‘reformed EU’, life outside a ‘hostile EU’ and life within a dismembered United Kingdom cowering under the shadow of a vast and assertive EU bureaucracy.

    Outside the EU, there are forces at work that may shift the tectonic plates. Russia is flexing its military muscles, Islamic fundamentalism may bring down the Royal House of Saudi Arabia and China may seek to wrest control of the financial world from the USA. It seems to me that these larger threats push the UK back into the EU. For myself, I should be happy if the UK became more formally joined to the USA…or at least set that debate going as a way of providing a contrast with crass Europhilia and bad-tempered Scottish Nationalism.

    • bluedog
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      ‘I should be happy if the UK became more formally joined to the USA’

      No, no and a thousand times no.

      A formal union with the US would lead to the UK becoming submerged as a couple of states in an enlarged US federation. In a practical sense this would be scarcely different to becoming a member of a federal Europe, with the distinction that Washington is nine hours flying time instead of one, to Brussels. If there is to be any non-EU grouping it should, if possible, incorporate the old dominions of Canada, Australia and NZ, all of whom share the monarchy. Collectively and with the addition of the UK, such a group has a GDP slightly higher than that of Japan, which is currently the third largest economy in the world. Thus UK and old Commonwealth could immediately emerge as a genuine global power, big enough to rival the US.

      But emerging as a rival to the US is not something that the British political class will ever again contemplate after the political debacle of Suez in 1956. We seem to know our place. If we ever regained our self-confidence, things could be very different.

      • Bill
        Posted November 15, 2014 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        It is worth discussing. At least the USA’s default position is not the soft-left talk of the EU aggrandisers.

        I should be happy to speak about a revived trading block based on the old empire but would be surprised if we have the magnetic power to sustain that or the ability to resist a storm of criticism from right-on post-colonialists.

        • bluedog
          Posted November 16, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

          ‘At least the USA’s default position is not the soft-left talk of the EU aggrandisers.’

          Ever listened to anything Obama says? It seems not. Obama is Clegg’s brother, politically speaking.

          ‘…a revived trading block based on the old empire but would be surprised if we have the magnetic power to sustain that’. Magnetism has nothing to do with it and the imperial trading block has dissolved with the passage of time as the old dominions have successfully sought new markets after their betrayal by the UK in 1973.

          You will recall that the termination of imperial preferences was a US imposed condition of Lend Lease in 1941. Completely different of course to NAFTA and the currently proposed Trans Pacific Partnership, in which a US led cluster of Indo-Pacific allies will exclude China from a trading bloc..

  18. oldtimer
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    From his reported comments, he has commented mainly on the issue of immigration. But as you point out…
    “The problem for those who wish us to stay in the EU is it is not just a question of migration and borders. Our current membership of the EU is incompatible with self government and full Parliamentary democracy, as so many decisions are made for us by the Brussels government. That is why the Conservative party opposed the Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties on principle and voted against all three. ”
    …it is more than just immigration.

    I see no prospect of the UK government renegotiating a position which meets your criteria and yet remaining a member of the EU.

    Reply If we cant negotiate what we need then we can vote to leave

  19. Vanessa
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    John Major, with all the rest of them, have done no research and therefore know nothing about how Britain would flourish outside the EU. (allegation left out ed)
    What is it about people in “power” (our Servants!) that makes them so unable to recognise how the EU is holding back business in this country, drowning us in directives, destroying our democracy and our hard won freedoms. Why, when we have been a free democratic country (not state!) for thousands of years before we joined this “club” do they not believe we could make our own laws rather than wait for the EU to do it for us; we could take our seat at the WTO rather than let the EU sit there on our behalf and have more influence with NATO in MAKING laws rather than being handed these laws by the EU.

    It is astonishing that these people seem to think we are incapable – we used to rule half the world, for God’s sake!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      “It is astonishing that these people seem to think we are incapable” perhaps they just assume everyone it like them?

  20. ChrisS
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Dear John ( Redwood, not Major ) .

    Can you answer one extremely simple question :

    Do you think that it will be possible to agree with the other EU States and the Brussels Mafia, a renegotiated package that will provide us with an unambiguous and satisfactory solution to all of the areas you say above that need to be addressed.

    Reading the list, the answer appears to me to be No.

    If that’s the case, it looks like we will both be campaigning on the same side as Nigel Farage, probably with Philip Hammond, but in the opposite camp to David Cameron.

    Reply I have always said I think it will be difficult to negotiate what I want and it may need the UK voters tovote for Out before we get the relationship based on trade and co-operation which I think we need.

    • ChrisS
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      Any chance of a straight answer to this very straightfoward question ????

    • ChrisS
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the very straight answer.

      For what it’s worth, I completely agree with you : what we want is not compatible with membership of the EU. Even though they will want to continue to benefit from our net contribution of £11Bn a year ( and rising ) they won’t bend as far as we need them to bend.

      Once we’ve voted for out, I’m afraid that the Europhile vested interests: Big Business, Politicians of all parties except UKIP and the Civil Service will be just like the SNP and will look for every opportunity to get another vote to get us back in.

  21. Javelin
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    The EU manufacturing output has been flat for years. In the US has been growing strongly.

    The EU is not only a drain on us but on all it’s members.

    My problem is that these negotiations are taking longer than a war.

    They should take months not years.

    The whole situation is a farce c

  22. Antisthenes
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    At least you recognise that the problem of UK membership of the EU is not just about immigration. In fact the free movement of workers within the EU is a good thing economically it is those immigrants from outside the EU and benefit tourists(but then the ECJ have just pointed out no EU member needs put up with benefit tourists and never have had to) that are an economic burden and quite considerably so. Free movement within the EU does of course throw up problems socially as all immigration does but it is more in the perception than in the reality. Except for non EU countries where there are considerable cultural differences particularly where the religion is a major difference and ethics, standards and values are also so different.

    The danger is that the likes of Major and UKIP making immigration the major issue on EU membership is that the far more undesirable aspects of membership are being ignored and in the end forgotten. This will allow Cameron to gain a concession on free movement and claim a victory and brush every other issue under the carpet. Another political slight of hand to as usual to detriment of long suffering British public.

  23. Alan Wheatley
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Re: “When he [John Major] rightly negotiated our opt out from the main point of the Maastricht Treaty, the Euro …”

    Norman Lamont, in his autobiography, has it that it was he who clearly understood what was at stake, took the initiative and did all the negotiations, and all John Major did was sign the document.

    It was John Major who wanted the ERM, forced bad policy on his Chancellor when it was all going wrong, and then let Lamont take all the blame for his doomed but loyal attempts to make the impossible possible.

    I think John Major is one of the last people we should be taking note of with respect to the EU.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      Indeed after all he did say – “When your back’s against the wall it’s time to turn round and fight!”

  24. Tad Davison
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    There’s nothing quite so galling as listening to a failed politician warning about the dire consequences of an appalling situation their policies helped to create by increment and by stealth, drip by pernicious drip. And speaking of which, who could ever forget the disastrous Exchange Rate Mechanism – the ERM – John Major’s baby that was supposed to pave the way for our accession to the single European currency?

    ‘He used to believe that we should not bang on about Europe. Instead today he acknowledges the central place migration and the EU has come to take in our national conversation.’

    That clearly shows his extraordinary lack of foresight, when so many people both at the time and since, were trying hard to warn of the disasters these pro-EU policies would actually lead to, but instead, Major wanted them to conveniently stay silent whilst he and his cohorts got on with their subterfuge.

    So how about this for a possible not-too-distant scenario. There are riots on the streets of several European countries, so clearly the EU is not working for its people just as many of us predicted. Even the powerhouse, Germany, has low growth. The people of the EU want jobs, so those who can take advantage of the EU’s free movement of labour and come to the UK. The EU itself no longer has the money to pay for our goods and services, so our own growth forecasts are downgraded as our own economy slows. Unemployment stops falling and begins to rise again, and the UK is on the hook for a massive benefits bill so borrowing goes up.

    I think we can see where this is headed. People have been right all along to warn of the dangers of the EU and bang on about Europe, not just some Johnny-come-lately.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      “Unemployment stops falling and begins to rise again, and the UK is on the hook for a massive benefits bill so borrowing goes up.”

      And with more people arriving this will lead to more people becoming unemployed later, they will remain because our benefits are better here than at home. In fact they will consider Britain to be ‘home’.

      After Brown is anyone going to claim to have ended boom and bust ? Of course not. So there will be a bust and we’re going to be in a far worse position to deal with it because the EU’s unemployed will become our additional unemployed – entitled to full welfare – when it happens.

      Can the people celebrating the arrival of the EU’s dynamic youth not see this ? And this is not to mention when the second generation become disaffected, claiming discrimination and special rights as has happened here before.

  25. Leslie Singleton
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Never get any reply how/why Canada vis a vis the US manages excellently without all the EU baloney. Their situation is very closely analogous to ours on any basis as is absolutely unarguable; indeed one would have thought that the ‘pressures’ on Canada for unlimited access and the dreaded “closer union” and all the rest might be larger for obvious reasons (same language for a start) but if you were to suggest to a Canadian that he give up his sovereignty in the way we have he would (and did last time I tried–I lived on the border) think you were mad.

    I had vaguely thought that maybe Canada didn’t export as much to the States as one might have thought but, No, I learnt last night (just from Wiki–nothing fancy) that in 2009 73% of Canada’s exports went to the US. The EU is unnecessary at best and at worst a complete nightmare. The Continent should be encouraged to homogenise to its heart’s content and we should get the Hell OUT. Our “influence” these days is zero.

  26. DaveM
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    I can understand why the French, Germans and Dutch would want to enter an alliance designed to prevent the repetition of European wars.
    I can understand why the Luxemburgeois and Belgians would want to be part of a larger political alliance which enables them to project political influence on a global level.
    I can understand why the meds and the eastern Europeans would want to be part of a union of any kind which would enhance their political and economic standing in Europe and the world.
    I can understand why the UK would want to be part of a trade agreement which would benefit the UK economy.

    What I can’t understand is why the govt of a proud and fiercely independent island nation would give away control of its laws and sovereignty to a foreign power when we’ve spent centuries resisting just that.

    And I can’t understand why a man like John Major (and others like him) would spend most of his life battling – against the odds – to get to the very top of his tree, then hand that power away to people who do not have the best interests of his country at heart.

    The only explanations I can find are:

    (2 alleqations against JM which he would deny removed ed)

    Either way, if he was to be plonked in front of the nation, injected with a truth serum, and asked why he had signed the Maastrict Treaty, and came up with either of those explanations, neither would be remotely satisfactory to the population of the UK.

    Do something John, for the sake of your party and the sake of the nation.

    The dilemma being touted by the Tory party is “vote Ukip get Labour”.

    My dilemma is “vote Tory get Cameron”.

    • DaveM
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Of course he’d deny them John – hence the requirement for a truth serum.

      They weren’t allegations, they were – as I explained – the only reasonable conclusions I could reach for why he fought to get to the top then passed his power away.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      JM betrayed his lovely wife.

      If a man can do that he can do anything.

  27. Bert Young
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Yesterday I replied to PvL that there is a point when it is necessary to get up from the table and leave ; today I see in the press that Foreign Secretary Hammond makes the same observation .
    I fully endorse all the negatives that Dr. JR makes – I regard each of them as “walk-away” points . The attempts to unite Europe economically and politically have failed . The bureaucracy supporting the movement is ridden with its own need for survival – its costs are disproportionate with auditors refusing to sign off its accounts .
    We cannot negotiate the changes we need and we should acknowledge this . Our voice in the world must be recognised and valued for its independence .

  28. Mondeo Man
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    One of the problems I have with Mr Major is that he disclaimed by prefixing his statement with “I HATE to talk about this subject. Literally HATE to talk about it…”

    As though the rest of us LOVE to bang on about it.

    We are NOT racists. Never have been. We know a darn sight more about how to racially integrate than most members of the Labour and Tory party do.

    In the meantime a ‘debate’ goes on… while mass immigration continues.

    This is rather like Father Bear finding Goldilocks eating his porridge. Instead of being decent about it and stopping eating his porridge Goldilocks continues to tuck in while he or she argue the toss over whether or not she has a right to be eating it.

    It gets to the point where Father Bear says feck it ! There’s no point in arguing anymore because there’s so little porridge left.

    This is why we’re so angry with the Tories. Not angry with the EU, not angry with the immigrants. But angry with the party that should be protecting us during this state of emergency.

    David Cameron clearly doesn’t think or feel like us or he’d have done a lot more than he’s doing now.

    We don’t trust him.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      should be: he and she

      Thanks.

  29. Shieldsman
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Does the Conservative Party have a death wish. Go into the 2015 election with Cameron as leader and you will lose to Labour.
    As A. Sedgwick points out, in broad terms the current Conservative MPs are probably split into three groups on the EU: Eurosceptics, Europhiles and fence sitters.
    David Cameron has failed to unite the party on Europe.
    The electorate are not fooled by Cameron’s suggestion that he can renegotiate the freedom of movement directive 2004/38/EC. How many times do the ‘colleagues’ have to tell him it is non-negotiable.
    Read the ‘Irish Times’, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan in London, warning that it is virtually inconceivable that David Cameron will achieve changes to the rules.
    Miliband, even with his low rating appears to have the backing of his party and they are all for staying in the EU. They will have admit more immigrants will come to the UK.
    In May, Labour will fall back on their old promises of more money for the NHS, more houses, more of everything. Caroline Flint will promise to freeze energy prices whilst at the same to achieve the impossible of de-carboning the electricity industry by 2030.
    What will David Cameron promise?

    • Richard
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

      Shieldsman :

      “Caroline Flint will promise to freeze energy prices whilst at the same to achieve the impossible of de-carboning the electricity industry by 2030.
      What will David Cameron promise?”

      Mr. Cameron has also signed up to the legally binding target to de-carbonise electricity production by 2030 (and the even more impossible target of reducing ALL greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050).

      As I write the total power being provided by wind is a mere 1.2% of current needs :

      http://www.bmreports.com/bwx_contact_details_page.htm

      • Richard
        Posted November 16, 2014 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        Sorry, the correct page of this website which shows electricity production figures is :

        http://www.bmreports.com/bsp/bsp_home.htm

        Currently as I write again this morning wind is providing only 1.7% of the total energy being produced with an average of 1.4% over the last 24 hours.

        If “decarbonising electricity production” means that there will be no fossil fuel generators – even for backup purposes – I would like to know what are our leaders plans for when the wind does not blow.

        18% some days, 1.4% on other days, is a large variation to handle.

  30. fedupsouthener
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I’m fed up with all the waffle from all sides. Basically what it boils down to is no party will do anything constructive as far as the EU is concerned and what we think we are voting for will be completely different after the election. I don’t believe any promises made and certainly not the promise to do something about subsidies. We don’t need a change in the way money is given to wind developers, we need it to STOP right now. I hear today that people in parts of Scotland and now asking food banks to provide food that does not need cooking as they cannot afford the heating and cooking bills. This is one big issue that this government needs to clarify with the people and actually tell them how much money is being thrown at a completely unnecessary money making scheme for the rich. (Some rich people ed)are raking in millions when they are already wealthy and they don’t give a damn that the poorer in society are paying for it through their fuel bills. Immoral doesn’t come into it. Yes, Major is right. Our industries are struggling the same as families are with high bills but what are they doing about it? Sweet nothing! The grotesque practice of giving away millions to turn off wind turbines still goes on. The carnage where wildlife is concerned still goes on and everyone just turns a blind eye to the fact we have a madman in charge of energy. Ed Davey. Everyone is so apathetic to what is going on and now we hear that there is a good chance of getting the SNP into a coalition with Labour. Good God, we are certainly doomed. I just wish we could get out but where to go? The whole of Europe is in a mess and not one party has the guts to do something positive and say enough is enough. The whole debacle is a disgrace. No wonder UKIP are doing so well and I say good for them. If nothing else it might give everyone else the incentive to get up and DO something instead of standing in the limelight preaching a load of nonsense.

  31. Hefner
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the web, it is now very easy to go back and read the comments over past years. In October 1990, there were a lot of people delighted with the UK entering the ERM, among them loads of UK Conservatives. The idea at the time was to allow the UK to benefit as much as Germany was doing from the European Union, and it did benefit from it for a while.
    Nowadays, it might look as if the UK might be better off outside the EU. It might, but as is usually said, “the value can go down as well as up”. I am still waiting for a proper economic assessment of what the UK situation will be out of the EU. For the time being, we get very nice words, yes, but they are only words.

    It is so easy, after almost 25 years, and the benefit of hindsight to be strident about John Major.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      It was very easy to see he was completely wrong at the time as many sensible people did.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

      The night we entered the ERM, I was interviewed by Newsnight at the Big Bang Ball (a little worse for wear) bemoaning the fact that our economy was not converged with other European economies. Tying us to similar economic policies to those economies (which at the time did not included the expanded Eastern nations) was likely to lead to higher inflation or pressure on our currency. I opined that I really did not trust the Germans to play for the benefit of Europe but to ensure all policy suited them

      Had I been asked for my opinion about our socialist welfare system (including in work benefits) being made open to countries with vastly lower living standards than ours I would probably have correctly predicted the predictable decimation of our living standards too.

      I am not hugely insightful but one did not have to be.

  32. formula57
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Our current EU membership might be ” bad for business, bad for living standards and bad for democracy” but that is balanced surely by the Eurocrats being very happy with progress thus far.

    Meanwhile in Italy Beppe Grillo’s 5 Star Movement is to petition parliament for a referendum on leaving the Euro, he himself reportedly explaining “So we leave the euro and we bring down this system of bankers, of scum. We are dying and need a plan B. And we are implementing it. We are plan B. This year has become a nightmare. It was never meant to be like this.” Indeed it was not!

  33. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    JR: “Our current membership of the EU is incompatible with self government and full Parliamentary democracy, as so many decisions are made for us by the Brussels government. That is why the Conservative party opposed the Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties on principle and voted against all three.”

    However, the majority of your Parliamentary party, led by Mr Cameron, never mention “self government and full Parliamentary democracy” when stating that they want the UK to remain in the EU. Whatever it is they wish to renegotiate (and perhaps one day they will deign to tell us) it will not restore self governence and full UK Parliamentary democracy. This can only be achieved by withdrawal from the EU. It is time that this farcical pretence by your party and its leader, aided and abetted by you, was ended.
    Let’s have some honesty from your party for a change.

  34. Sandra Cox
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    “he was also insistent that the UK kept control of its own borders. It is a pity Labour did not follow his wise course on these matters.”

    John, it’s a pity that David Cameron didn’t either! Instead, under his watch, the flow of immigrants into the UK continued unabated, either by his agreement or his complete “inability” to do anything about it because of “the LibDems or the EU”.

    I feel that Cameron could have walked the 2010 election, but he and his pals gave it away for reasons best known to themselves at the time. I’ve been a Conservative voter for most of my adult life, but I had to drag myself to the polling station because, although Cameron could talk the talk, I had so many doubts about him and his strategy. However, my real fear was Gordon Brown, so ….

    … four years later, I have even more doubts! In 2014, with hundreds of thousands more immigrants having entered the UK (legally or otherwise) and with the ensuing public outcry, and EU and general elections on the horizon, Cameron and his clique started to wonder what they can do to about it.

    Well, can I suggest a few things, just for starters. We often read in the press about problems relating to EU immigration then, miraculously, they disappear So, I’d really like a government update as to whether any of the following issues have been investigated and/or challenged by our government and its civil servants – there are probably many more, and those listed here are a bit sketchy, but I don’t have time today to look anything up:

    *Child benefit for children not resident in the UK; and what’s happening about the demands of Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic for us to pay welfare payments to migrant workers despite them travelling back to Eastern Europe

    *Sale of EU passports by Bulgaria – to Russians, Ukrainians, Asians etc

    *EU-India Trade Agreement – its present/future affect on immigration

    *Illegal immigrants/asylum seekers coming into Italy and Greece from North Africa and elsewhere, hastily processed and sent on their way north – all a one-way street because the EU has dictated that they can’t be returned to the first country of refuge.

    *Immigrants from other EU countries’ colonies, or immigrants who have entered other EU countries illegally – again, are these people being given EU passports and pointed in our direction?

    John, unfettered immigration is bad enough from a cultural perspective and from the enormous pressure on our services and resources, but why are we now only just learning that a lot of the welfare we’ve paid to migrant EU workers, job seekers, skivers etc wasn’t necessary.

    Time and time again I am alarmed to learn that our government is not interpreting the rules correctly, or are gold-plating them. I have to say that it also makes my blood boil to hear of the greed and selfishness of some of our European partners and some of the practices being carried on. It seems some of our partners are quite happy, not only to sell EU passports to non EU citizens, or to turn the UK into a dumping ground for their own immigrants, their own unemployed, their own social misfits, but some are now demanding that we pay welfare to their people returning home “unemployed” from the UK!

    Surely, until countries like Bulgaria get their house in order, we could/should refuse to accept any of their citizens! Who knows why our government hasn’t gone over the small print with a fine tooth comb and challenged the rulings coming out of Brussels? It’s either government/civil service incompetence or a blind eye is being turned because big business needs these welfare dependent, low skilled, low paid workers!

    Well John, I’m off to the dentist now – it’ll be better than thinking about just how easy it’s been for our governments and the EU to bring our great country almost to its knees.

    • Sandra Cox
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      A bit of a lengthy, hastily written rant I’m afraid – and it would have been even longer, but I missed out the following to the end of my penultimate paragraph:

      “In the meantime, the country fills up with resident EU immigrants who could be eligible to vote in (and greatly influence) a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.”

      John, at some point, would you consider doing a piece on the electoral process – eg, who could/should be eligible to vote in a referendum on the UK’s EU membership? Votes for 16-year olds?

      Thank you for having the courage to continue to print most of our comments and to be on hand to put your side. You do seem to be taking more than your fair share of flack on behalf of politicians in general, and your leader in particular, but that is the downside of having such a popular blog. Our country is going through such drastic changes and we are getting a say only once every five years, so the frustration is growing and this is reflected in your blog. It’s a pity more MPs aren’t even willing to respond to their own constituents’ concerns, let alone invite comments from all and sundry.

  35. Peter Stroud
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Cameron will not be trusted on EU matters, until he again becomes as Eurosceptic as he appeared to be when in opposition.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Peter,
      He has shown himself to be untrustworthy and so his stated views on the EU, or anything else, must be taken as shear political opportunism.

  36. Terry
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Jahn Major did well for us in Europe until he forced us into the EMU. That was really a dumb move for the Pound to be to be aligned to the DMark and therefore under the control of the Bundesbank. That daft decision virtually relegated the BoE to mere office staff.

    However, it’s not only Immigration that is a problem for us. The spiraling cost of energy hurts the resident and business alike and across the whole of the EU. This has not gone unnoticed in the USA who are relsihing the self-destruction of their main competitor base. This extract from a USA based free financial newsletter explains just how our American cousins see the EU………….. lol.

    “Meanwhile, in the U.S., the incredible efficiency of our energy sector gives us a huge advantage in trade. As more and more of our trading partners abandon cheap energy (like nuclear and coal), our economy’s comparative advantage grows.
    For example, Germany – which forms the backbone of the European currency union – already gets 25% of its electricity from renewable sources. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is determined to increase this percentage to 45% by shutting down all nuclear plants by 2022 and making it nearly impossible to mine or consume coal in Germany. The cost of electricity to consumers in Germany is already twice the average price in Japan and three times the cost in America.

    Europe will bankrupt itself chasing the fantasy of solar power while America becomes the world’s new Saudi Arabia.”

    Will anybody in the Coalition Government take note? Or will they blindly persue the totally inefficient and very expensive “Green Energy” policies dictated by Brussels and their disciples in the Socialist parties of this country?

    Wake up, before it is too late to even make that fresh smelling coffee.

  37. Robert Taggart
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    JM – the most elder of British statesmen – ‘comes home’ !
    The ‘grey man’ has certainly added some colour to this debate – good on him.
    JAR – have you buried the hatchet with him yet ? !

  38. Remington Norman
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    “Our current membership of the EU is incompatible with self government and full Parliamentary democracy, as so many decisions are made for us by the Brussels government.”

    This, and nothing else, is what should drive policy on Europe. It is not a matter of how many of our laws are made in Brussels but that parliament has no power of amendment or, except in rare cases, of veto. No government should be comfortable with this. Yet none has sought to challenge it, nor will it until Mr Cameron and the current Tory cabal are out of office.

    Ordinary people have long seen and loathed our subservience to the EU; why do politicians still believe that we should remain a member of this suffocating, inefficient, self-serving, authoritarian and wasteful club?

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it is a conundrum that most of those who seek election to Parliament and a role in government when elected are only too keen to pass the powers with which they are entrusted to an unelected, anti-democratic foreign organisation without the consent of the British people. Why do they stand in the first place? Many of them must be just incapable of undertaking the responsibilties they profess to desire.

  39. fedupsouthener
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Talk is one thing, action is another. We see no action from any party. They all go on about how bad the Eu is for Britain but nobody does anything except shout from the soapbox. Who will actually do something good for Britain?

  40. know-dice
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    And on another subject….

    I notice that the new leader of the SNP is talking about independence again.

    I guess the Scots will be continually asked this question until they give the right answer…doh…

  41. Chris
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Worth reading Richard North on C Booker’s article in Telegraph: Cameron impaled on his own hook. “Cameron can only get all he wants by first leaving the EU”. I suggest it is required reading for those Conservative MPs who believe in Cameron’s ability to renegotiate. It seems they are inhabiting a fantasy world.
    http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=85314

  42. MPC
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    It’s unfortunate that so many contributors to this site offer quite vitriolic criticisms of Mr Redwood when he has been so clear and consistent in his views over the years.

    I feel that no matter what ‘new deal’ might be struck with the EU, it’s vital that we leave because, irrespective of renegotiation, a future Labour government will be able to resume its acquiescence in the constant growth of EU power if we stay in. Also I disagree with Mr Farage’s recent statements – wanting to have an immediate referendum after next year’s general election as the basis for a possible coalition. Many people are still unaware of the extent of EU influence. We’ll need a period of time to build the case and it will need to be an organised campaign at a number of levels, preferably as apolitical as possible with a non party political leader – maybe someone such as Sir James Dyson whose business interests have been so damaged by EU regulation.

    If the campaign is apolitically led then once evidence about the EU’s influence is made more available then members of the public who have always voted Labour/Liberal will feel more easily able to vote for exit on grounds of loss of sovereignty.

    I’ve never understood why current Labour politicians are so anti democratic in supporting the EU. This contrasts sharply with the views of principled Labour politicians of the past such as Michael Foot and Tony Benn. Having said this, surely Mr Redwood knows a few Labour MPs who might be willing to join the exit campaign should we be given a referendum?

  43. walter barrington
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    You are right — BUT WHY DO WE NEED 650 MPs if they make all the
    laws in EU

  44. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    “That is why the Conservative party opposed the Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties on principle and voted against all three.”

    …… but not the Maastricht Treaty, which gave the Euro de jure status.

    If Sir John Major had vetoed the Maastricht Treaty, the lines of fissure within the EU would have been revealed, and we would by now have the sort of two ring Europe that we yearn for.

  45. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted November 16, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    I watched Mr Major on the Andrew Marr show today with interest.
    An apology from Major to the Eurosceptics and for signing the Maastricht treaty would have been timely. Prophets such as Dr Redwood foresaw the current situation decades ago.

    Mr Major’s position on the Eu is like negotiating to buy a secondhand car – after telling the salesman in advance that under no circumstances will you walk away from the deal.
    Yet we are invited to hold the views of this ‘elder stateman’ with great reverence.
    I do not and so do readers here it seems that remember the ERM.

    His position that Britain will ‘lose relevance ‘ outside of the Eu and have ‘doors closed’ on us is equally absurd. What relevance when Germany and France gets its own way anyway and we are just one voice of many. Will we lose relevance to Germany as a main trading partner ?.No!. His assesment that ‘investment’ will shrink outside of the Eu was just incredible.
    I’m tired of his view that the Britain is such a feeble country that we can only prosper submerged in a giant socialist superstate…. Then he has the gall to accuse his opponents of negativity!.

    Then there is his massive snobbery with his sneering reference to the ‘negativity of the four ale bar’ and UKIP….as if views held by a sizeable number of people are somehow beyond the pale unworthy of consideration by the political elite.

  46. gareth davies
    Posted November 18, 2014 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    How refreshing to see and hear John Major on the Andy Marr show. And what sense he made. It is interesting to compare and contrast the performance of ex-PM’s. I feel that John Major would be a one end of the spectrum and Tony Blair at the other end.

  • 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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