Owen Paterson’s speech


Owen Paterson made an interesting speech yesterday. He was right to say the UK has no wish to pursue the political union being created on the continent, and right to say our future must lie outside the federalising treaties, as  many of us have been arguing for years.

His best section drew attention to the way there are now important global or international standard making boards and councils which the UK used to be part of, where now we are represented by the EU. As he says, these bodies often influence and decide the direction of legislation and regulation for whole industries and areas of life. It would be better if the UK outside the current EU could regain direct influence by having seats at the tables of these bodies.

Given the influence of these international bodies over the EU, let alone over individual member states, he is right to say the UK needs to change the bodies it sits on to have stronger influence. Which leads one to ask about the single market. As many of its standards are derived from global bodies above it, surely it is more important for the UK to sit directly on the superior global bodies?

The detail of how Mr Paterson wants to get to the UK being in the single market but out of the political project is less important than this central perception. I would add that we want free trade and sensible trading arrangements, but it is better to help shape the forces which shape the single market by being on the global boards that control business and industry through their moves to global standards and regulations. Mr Paterson cannot, of course help get us to this outcome until we have a majority UK government that wants to renegotiate and offer a referendum.


  1. Mark B
    November 25, 2014

    Good morning.

    It is great to read that you are talking the kind of language that many like me who just want to trade and not be ruled from the continent. We need to talk about the positives of leaving, not the how much we will save meme, which is getting us no where.

    One small gripe though. You somewhat spoiled a short but good piece with your last sentence. Actions speak louder than words, and no amount of voting for a Party and a PM that does not deliver on its promises is going to move people to vote for you.

    1. Hope
      November 25, 2014

      Well said. Good post.

  2. Brian Taylor
    November 25, 2014

    The Centre Right parties would have a majority at the next election, please believe me, you will. Not be forgiven if you let this chance to have a referendum slip, and with Owen Paterson you now have the blue print to do so.
    I repeat do not let the country down.
    You have no excuses.
    You have been warned!!!!!

    1. APL
      November 26, 2014

      Brian Taylor: “The Centre Right parties ”

      In my opinion it is a mistake to talk of left and right when discussing today’s political landscape. It would be more accurate to discuss our political spectrum in terms of its extremes of totalitarian and authoritarian.

      And from that perspective, there is very little to choose between the Labour party, carrying out the International socialist diktats of Brussels, and the Tory party carrying out the International socialist diktat’s of Brussels, but with a bit more whinging.

  3. Peter van Leeuwen
    November 25, 2014

    Most jobs are created in small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It will be interesting to watch how Mr Paterson c.s. , in a higher boards and councils, will reduce the regulatory pressure on SMEs in the Single Market, which he wants to remain part of. That doesn’t quite add up for me.

    1. Mark B
      November 25, 2014

      Most SME’s in the UK trade with one another and not the Eurozone. Anyway, more and more regulatory laws are made outside the confines of the EU, such as Codex or ISO.

      Outside the EU, the UK would be able to sit at the top table with other free and independent nations, a shape the laws that the EU will adopt

    2. libertarian
      November 26, 2014

      Peter v L

      You are absolutely right. Most jobs are created by SME’s, and 80% of GDP too and as 82% of economic activity is internal, the Single Market is a myth that can be safely put aside as unneeded. For the most part the international boards agree on standards and common practice rather than trade

  4. Lifelogic
    November 25, 2014

    Well a majority government in favour or leaving the EU is perfectly possible all that is needed is a volte face by Cameron on nearly all issues and some sensible accommodation with UKIP. The public is crying out for it.

    Miliband it seems is wanting to mug private schools by attacking their charitable status I see. Does he not realise how much they save the sate sector by educating 7% of the population at no cost to the state sector and doing rather well in general. They should be giving away education vouchers to encourage more to go. More pathetic politics of envy from this lefty, chip on the shoulder, dope.

    There are however plenty of dubious charities, mainly on the left, that are little more than huge scams and pressure groups with over paid staff and doing little of value. These could usefully have their tax breaks attacked.

    1. Peter Davies
      November 26, 2014

      Apparently Germany does this well – I read somewhere you get a tax reduction if you choose to not rely on the state for your child’s education.

  5. Mick
    November 25, 2014

    Good Morning Mr Redwood, yesterday Mr Paterson said this in is speech Mr Paterson will call on the Prime Minister to invoke article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, triggering a two-year period of negotiations if Britain wants to leave the bloc.

    He is understood to believe that threat would ensure that Brussels give Britain the reforms it is demanding to freedom of movement rules.

    So just do it and stuff the lib/dem’s they are a nobody party now and to be frank the public are getting abit cheesed off with the lame excuse every time you need to do something you blame the lib/dem’s

    1. David Price
      November 25, 2014

      Actually, he says “There should be a manifesto commitment to invoke Article 50 after a successful General Election. Such a commitment could be enormously attractive to uncommitted voters and would give our negotiators a very clear mandate. “

      As the action would have such a major effect on treaties I suspect you would need a majority government to do this – Labour and the Libdems would certainly not agree to this nor I suspect the SNP.

      So, UKIP had better get busy converting lots of Labour and Libdem seats to purple if they want this to happen.

  6. Lifelogic
    November 25, 2014

    Well on the plus side for Cameron at least David Mellor is no longer an MP.

  7. petermartin2001
    November 25, 2014

    You might want to taunt the Labour left about the EU issue. Because UKIP and the Tory right are leading the Eurosceptic movement they have decided to go walkabout on the question. The left happily used to be Eurosceptic when there was much less to be Eurosceptic about.

    The old Common Market / EEC operated relatively successfully for many years as a free trade group and, of course, it made more sense, in previous decades, to want the British economy to share the benefits too. So if they could find it in themselves to be Eurosceptic then, why the change now that the EU, and in particular the Eurozone, has turned into an economic disaster area?

    There is barely a word of criticism towards the EU from anyone on the British left and particularly since the passing of Tony Benn earlier this year. That’s a gross dereliction of their international socialist responsibility. They need to wake to themselves and speak up for everyone everywhere who are being oppressed by authoritarian and anti-democratic regimes.

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      November 25, 2014

      @Peter you last sentence answers why the left has converted. The left loves authoritarian do as I say not as I do diktats. A free market allowed the populous and business to make its own decisions without overbearing legislation. The left hated that.

    2. Mark B
      November 25, 2014

      Never interrupt your adversary while they are making a mistake.

  8. oldtimer
    November 25, 2014

    I note that you do not comment on his proposal, as I understand it, that the way ahead is to invoke Article 50 first before the negotiation rather than after they have been completed.

    1. Daisy
      November 25, 2014

      That was the point that I was hoping Mr Redwood would address. There is no likelihood that the Conservative Party would include the immediate invocation of Article 50 in its GE manifesto (though UKIP might), so where would the mandate be for such a step without a prior referendum?

  9. Tom William
    November 25, 2014

    Were Owen Paterson’s proposal to be in the Conservative manifesto the scepticism which many people feel about Mr Cameron’s unspecified “renegotiation” and the likelihood of any substantial “renegotiation” would be removed and doubters, and many UKIP supporters, would return to the Conservative fold for the election.

    But will it happen?

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      November 25, 2014

      You know the answer is a resounding ‘NO’.

    2. Lifelogic
      November 26, 2014

      Will it happen? Not under Cameron I suspect. It seems he would rather just throw a second election.

  10. The PrangWizard
    November 25, 2014

    It seems that the Tory party has prepared itself for Mr Paterson’s proposal. Here is a strategy which shows some backbone and decisiveness, and yet the ‘backing off’ from him has begun. Express agreement with the objective, but not the method, a classic tactic of feigning agreement. Dominic Raab was interviewed yesterday and he seems to have the same line as you – don’t rock the boat. Lets not negotiate hard, they may agree.

    There are too many in your party who claim to be sceptic, for many it is a pretence. What is that expression – all bark – no dog?

    And you say in a reply to my comment yesterday that there is only a handful of Euro-enthusiasts in the party? Really? Kenneth Clarke is one, Dominic Greave is another – maybe you could name the other two or three for us. Are you including too many sceptic ‘pretenders’ in your claim the Tory party is euro-sceptic?

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 26, 2014

      “Lets not negotiate hard, they may agree.”

      That was precisely the line that civil servants recommended to Wilson in 1975:


  11. Bernard from Bucks
    November 25, 2014

    The UK government may ‘want to’ renegotiate the non negotiable. This seems to me, to be not a mere uphill struggle, but an impossible task.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      November 25, 2014

      Bernard–Disagree–The Four Inviolable Principles are neither inviolable nor principles–Now if you wanted to say that our influence is nil because we are so different from the Continent and will always get outvoted close to 27 to 0ne – so much so that there are never any such votes in the first place, all simply doing what Germany wants–that would be true but is something different

  12. Ian wragg
    November 25, 2014

    A very good speech wasted on CMD and his cohorts. They would rather have their nails pulled than do anything remotely in the UK interest.
    Camerons negotiation strategy is nonsense as he well knows. About 24 weeks until the GE and still not a hint of what he intends to negotiate.
    I believe his strategy is to achieve nothing and hope by 2017 he has resigned or there are enough foreigners to out vote us

    I see we have had another resounding defeat at the EU. That makes zero we’ve won in 20 years
    Reform from within yeah right.
    Idiots we are not.

  13. Chris
    November 25, 2014

    Richard North has been highlighting this crucial issue (about having a seat at the top table instead of the EU representing us and 27 others) for some years on his blog and in presentations, both here and further afield. More recently he has detailed this in his Flexcit plan, which gives details of how we could engineer, what he believes to be, the best possible exit from the EU. It is the politicians who have been very slow in realising this key concept. Many in the electorate have been well ahead of them thanks to the internet.

    I believe many politicians are still unaware of the great disconnect between their level of knowledge of things European and that of political anoraks on the internet. This mismatch in knowledge also feeds the distrust the electorate has in politicians because claims by politicians can quickly be verified or otherwise and can be shown to be incorrect or simply out of date. It seems that Owen Paterson and some others, but not enough, are finally catching up. I praise him for making a stand, but it would seem he has little support amongst his supposedly Eurosceptic colleagues. How many turned up to listen to him? Guido suggests two.

  14. Richard1
    November 25, 2014

    The argument about EU membership will come down to whether there are any benefits to EU membership other than access to the free trade area. Of so what are they? The main argument for the ‘Ins’ will be its a huge economic risk to leave – who knows what will happen maybe there will be huge disinvestment. ‘outs’ will need a good answer to this. Uncertainty was what did for Scottish separtism.

  15. Richard1
    November 25, 2014

    The argument about EU membership will come down to whether there are any benefits to EU membership other than access to the free trade area. If so what are they? The main argument for the ‘Ins’ will be its a huge economic risk to leave – who knows what will happen maybe there will be huge disinvestment. ‘outs’ will need a good answer to this. Uncertainty was what did for Scottish separtism.

  16. Richard1
    November 25, 2014

    Another day another fatuous supposedly populist policy from the Labour party. This time private schools are blamed for failure in the state education sector and threatened with extra tax if they don’t ‘do more’ to assist state schools. The BBC has assisted the Labour party by claiming private schools get a tax subsidy (in fact private schools save the state a huge multiple of any loss of tax revenues by educating 7% of children). The BBC also allowed Labour’s Tristram Hunt to shout down an independent education representative, preventing the guy from speaking. Labour should ask why private schools are a success. Could it be because they offer choose and competition? Because the teachers don’t go on strike? Because there is order and discipline in the classroom? Because there is a focus on rigorous academic standards notion politically correct egalitarian brainwashing? Because competitive sports etc are encouraged? All these things could and should be on offer in ALL state schools, not just a few in posh areas like Islington patronized by the Labour aristocracy.

    Perhaps Labour should say private hospitals must ‘do more’ to help the NHS? Perhaps Waitrose should be obliged to ‘help’ the Co-op? Perhaps private companies should ‘do more’ to help the woefully inadequate public sector manage its finances?

  17. Brian Tomkinson
    November 25, 2014

    Despite the best efforts of tv presenters to talk over almost every sentence Owen Paterson made when interviewed (top prize to the awful Evan Davis on Newsnight), I managed to grasp what he was suggesting. You and we all know that there isn’t the remotest chance of Cameron adopting such an approach. It all plays though to the Conservative anti – UKIP tactics.
    What was interesting to me was that Paterson actually articulated, what I have long believed, that if we don’t leave the EU then we will end up in a country called Europe with the euro. That is what has always been planned. Cameron, Clarke et al need to be continually challenged on this and not allowed to dissemble as is their wont.
    Cameron must be made to spell out in detail what he means to renegotiate with the EUand what outcomes he desires. The fact that he never does this merely confirms that this is just a ploy for domestic political purposes. Sadly, such calculations are also foremost in the minds of those few who profess to be Eurosceptics in the parliamentary Conservative party.

  18. agricola
    November 25, 2014

    Please stop pushing the red herring of renegotiation, it is a con. CMD has not intention of it being anything other than a shallow gesture and those who control Brussels have no intention of allowing it to have any real substance. If it happens it will be sold by CMD as a major change in our relationship with the EU but examination of the fine print will prove it worthless. If you persist in this line we can only conclude that you have been conned too. There is only one course of action. Invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and then negotiate over trade arrangements and areas of cooperation.

    The only way you can achieve this course is to hope that in the next Parliament there is a sufficient majority of conservative and UKIP MPs, and that the conservative element is dependant on the UKIP element for it’s existence. You will then be guided down the path of righteousness to the applause of the thinking electorate. The time has come to put an end to the politicians of all parties, the civil servants who run them, and the BBC who act as their voice, who collectively believe that their vision of the future is far superior to that of the electorate who enable them. Time should be called on their activities and their failed experiment, better known as the EU.

    The Paterson speech as reported makes sense.

  19. alan jutson,
    November 25, 2014

    I wonder how many other MP’s also have the same views as our host and Mr Paterson, but keep silent for fear of upsetting the whips and Party leaders. ?

    Election time is coming so perhaps more will start to speak out eventually, perhaps then we should see what their past voting record is like before giving them a second chance, talk is simple, action is rather more important.

    Been away on floating Holiday for the past 3 weeks (sucker for a good deal), many interesting conversations with fellow passengers highlighted the fact that most are fed up with the present party leaders and modern spin type politics in general, very nearly all liked a certain Mr Farage (even if they did not like some of his policies) simply because he is a breath of fresh air, prepared to answer a simple question with a simple answer.

    Me thinks this forthcoming election will prove very interesting, perhaps with the possibility of two minority coalitions with no overall majority.

    Labour and Scottish Nationalists, or Conservative and Ukip

    1. Roy Grainger
      November 26, 2014

      “I wonder how many other MP’s also have the same views as our host and Mr Paterson, but keep silent for fear of upsetting the whips and Party leaders. ?”

      Oh I’m sure one or two (two at least I think) in the Conservative whips office have the same views.

  20. acorn
    November 25, 2014

    Wrong way around again JR! “Given the influence of these international bodies over the EU, let alone over individual member states, …”

    The EU is a global standards setter! You can’t supply into the EU without meeting EU single market standards. Emerging market countries have not been slow to recognise and take advantage of the fact. Even the Swiss gave in. The US has recognised the fact also and is desperately trying to dilute the EU’s global affect with the TTIP.

    The US does not want EU type social and environmental protections to spread. TTIP is a Trojan Horse to deregulate in three key policy areas: investor protection, public services and food safety, and introduce into entities like the NHS, US style anti-trust litigation to break it up.

    The UK outside the EU would have little impact on any global standards setting, those days are over, the world has moved on. Unfortunately, our legacy politicians haven’t.

    1. libertarian
      November 26, 2014

      N0 Acorn its you who is wrong.

      There are many international standards boards, most in existence since long before the EU and all of them global. The EU has had no say on a lot of international standards organisations such as CCITT ITU IEEE ISO TIA UPU W3C and more than 20 other international bodies including the Banking Supervisory Body The Basle Committee which doesn’t have an EU representative on its board even The Committee’s members come from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. They set technical standards with which the EU has to comply. The EU has not set any global standards you are confusing the EU’s operation as a closed shop Customs Union which is purely a restricted trade cartel.

      Please explain where the EU has ever been involved in setting standards for X25 or JPEG or MP3 or on the IETF Internet Protocol board or ETSI global mobile telephony standard?

      1. acorn
        November 28, 2014

        The bodies you mention, have non-mandatory status. Until their recommendations are adopted by national standards organisations (BSI in the UK and ANSI in the US), they won’t be adopted into national laws. Which is where the politics of protectionism gets involved. The EU is now a big political player in this game. Keep in mind, that smart phone in your pocket is really a collection of about 1,300 jealously guarded “Patents”, that all collect licence fees for some country or other.

  21. Douglas Carter
    November 25, 2014

    Is there a spare seat for Mr. Paterson on the EU scrutiny committee John? His presence would certainly present great potential?

  22. Bert Young
    November 25, 2014

    I totally agree with the positioning we need to take before and after Brexit ; we cannot ignore the importance of the European market and getting the right influences in place are essential .
    All comments from individuals on the drawbacks of our membership of the EU are helpful ; they disclose the level of dissent that exists with our leadership ; those from within the Cabinet more so . Owen Paterson has stoked up the fire just at the time when it is seasonally worthwhile .

  23. Mike Wilson
    November 25, 2014

    Mr Paterson cannot, of course help get us to this outcome until we have a majority UK government that wants to renegotiate and offer a referendum.

    The EU knows a Tory government is not serious about this matter – they won’t even say what they want to negotiate (it’s TOP SECRET). Any renegotiation by a Tory government will mean nothing because the EU KNOW that they don’t have to yield on anything – and Cameron will still recommend a yes vote in a ‘referendum’.

    Now, if they were negotiating with an UKIP government – the EU would have to take it seriously – or watch Britain leave the EU and, in a year or two, watch the EU fall apart.

  24. Timaction
    November 25, 2014

    Your leader is all talk and no action. Any speech he makes is as useful as the square root of nothing. With an election coming up no one will believe a word he says. His cast iron promises or no ifs or buts pledges have all proven to be empty rhetoric and are commonly joked about out here in the real world.
    I’m afraid that a few back bench Eurosceptic MP’s will count for nothing.
    It’s either LibLabCon for a United States of Europe or UKIP for the return of our sovereignty and democracy. The British people have a choice. I’m afraid it will have to get worse before many finally see the light.

  25. agricola
    November 25, 2014

    Further to my original comment today , I read that Owen Paterson is openly advocating the invoking of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Surprised this was not mentioned or commented on in your diary submission. Refreshing to find that at last some politicians are catching up with my thoughts on the EU.

    This could be a game changer in the fortunes of the Conservative Party whether CMD likes it or not. It could also mark the emergence of an alternative to the leadership of CMD. Anyone who has been sacked by CMD has merit, and if he further articulates the desires of the electorate over the next five months the better the chance of a conservative revival.

  26. Francis Lankester
    November 25, 2014

    I note that on Newsnight the interviewer was in typical BBC mode of hardly letting Mr Paterson ge a word in, & always intruding his own views.

    1. Know-Dice
      November 25, 2014

      Yes, that was a terrible interview – I have complained to the BBC, this is not objective unbiased journalism…

  27. Eric
    November 25, 2014

    Another very important section of the Paterson speech was when he suggested that the Tories should go into the next election with a promise to invoke Article 50 if re-elected. That would conform to Cameron’s (otherwise untenable) two-year timeline for a referendum, prior to which we would have the opportunity to negotiate a new relationship with the EU that is outside of the ‘ever closer union’ Cameron claims to oppose.

    Then, come time for the referendum, the British people would be faced with a meaningful choice: an independent Britain with access to the ‘top tables’ where global trading regulations are actually agreed or full-blooded commitment political union with the rest of the EU and the euro. This should to be a proposal that all can support – europhiles and eurosceptics. Rather than the tedious flim-flam about ‘reform and renegotiation’ that the British public have had to suffer for the past 40 years, we could have a proper debate about where we see Britain’s future and then have the British people decide the case on its merrits.

  28. John Wrake
    November 25, 2014

    Dr. Redwood,

    You write ” Mr Paterson cannot, of course help get us to this outcome until we have a majority UK government that wants to renegotiate and offer a referendum.”

    Neither of those things are necessary.

    What IS necessary is Members of Parliament who honour their oath of loyalty to the monarch by acting and speaking to uphold the constitution. Both oath of loyalty and Constitution make it plain that it is a return to the rule of law which is required and the rule of law is not a matter for votes or referenda.

    We are all – Monarch, MPs and citizens – subject to common law and the terms of our written Constitution. When will true representatives of the people have the bottle to stand up and say so.

    John Wrake.

  29. Atlas
    November 25, 2014

    Yes John, it was interesting to have the point made that we have an embryonic World Government that is growning steadily. For myself I must admit to have not cottoned on to this slow but steady transfer of Power. So really the EU is a side show.

    1. Atlas
      November 25, 2014

      Sorry about the typo: ‘growning’ should read ‘growing’. Please edit it for me.

  30. Ken Adams
    November 25, 2014

    Mr Paterson was suggesting a way which would lead to such a referendum, because it would sideline the UKIP and almost certainly result in a Conservative win at the next election. It is the detail that holds the key, dismiss Article 50 and you are back to Cameron’s failed policy of trying to keep us in.

    Your idea of a negotiation has no traction because we all know Cameron cannot force a negotiation and would get nothing and then we believe he will campaign to keep us in.

  31. Sandra Cox
    November 25, 2014

    “The detail of how Mr Paterson wants to get to the UK being in the single market but out of the political project is less important than this central perception.”

    John, does that mean that you aren’t happy about the detail of how?

    Unlike many better informed commenters here, I, as a member of the public, watching the telly or reading the paper, am not conversant with the intricacies of our EU membership, and I’m certainly not into the exact detail of how Paterson thinks we should proceed. However, may I ask a few basic questions, and please forgive me if they are also naiive:

    1) You say that he is keen on the Single Market – I believe this is made up of the 31-member EEA – but wouldn’t we still be subject to the vast majority of EU regulations, including freedom of movement and wouldn’t we still contribute to the EU budget?

    2) Also, if we invoke Article 50 and seek to renegotiate to rejoin, wouldn’t we need to join the euro?

    3) In an earlier comment on the CBI, I did suggest that it would be useful for the public to have a list of individuals and organisations who might be recipients of EU largesse. Now I’m not suggesting there is anything untoward, but just to know where we stand, would Owen Paterson’s Presidency of COTANCE (the Confederation of National Associations of Tanners and Dressers of the European Community) from 1996–98 in any way benefit him in the future, say an EU pension?

    Thank you.

    Reply I am sure Mr Paterson is in no way motivated by personal interest.
    I have reservations about his advocacy of the present single market, as that could be defined to include free movement and much regulation which we do not like. I think we need to be free to alter that too.
    I trust he would not enter negotiations to rejoin the EU having issued an Article 50, but that is one of my concerns about the possible adoption of this route.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 26, 2014

      Sandra, Article 50 TEU is about the voluntary withdrawal of a member state from the EU, and ONLY about that; and once a member state has put in a valid notice of its intention to withdraw there is no provision for that to be revoked, so if it changed its mind mid-negotiation the other member states would have to take an ad hoc decision on how to react to that scenario; and the final sentence in Article 50 is actually:

      “If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.”

      and that would certainly involve pledging to join the euro, it always does for all new EU member states.

      1. Sandra Cox
        November 26, 2014

        Denis, many thanks for that information. I haven’t had a chance to look at all the comments yet, but do I hope you’ll keep us up to date with the legal details – I’ll be looking out for them as this story progresses.

  32. waramess
    November 25, 2014

    It never ceases to surprise that the left are so in favour of the EU when it has been designed with so many right wing concepts.

    Redistribution of labour rather than of income. It fails because it takes place before the EU has a common language.

    Strict fiscal and monetary budget controls. They fail because they are implemented after massive deficits have been built up and not used to avoid such deficits.

    Extradition policy without cause is a problem because the legal system is not a common one.

    In fact, conceptually there is little that the right should object to and everything the left should abhor.

    The problem is in its implementation the cart is almost always put before the horse.

    It was a nice idea but it is now well past its due date and the sins of the past cannot now be remedied.

    The right want change but, in order to function reasonably, the changes would have to be root and branch.

    The left want to remain but seem not to be very clear about why.

    Mr Patterson and perhaps Mr Cameron want something that is not on the table and is likely never to be so. The EU see membership as being either an in or out scenario with a communality of shared goals and it cannot achieve this if different countries have different aspirations and, they are right.

    Ultimately you will have to decide IN or OUT and, if it is OUT then you need to negotiate whatever access you might want to the EU markets.

  33. chriss
    November 25, 2014

    Yet another answer to the lies told by the Europhiles saying we world have no influence outside the EU.

    I am very sure that, based on the size of our economy and our historic postion in the world would give us more influence over treaties and trade than as just one member of the EU

  34. Robert Taggart
    November 25, 2014

    A good speech with some interesting ideas. But…
    Did not such EuroSceptics oppose Blighty joining the EEC ? – ostensibly merely a trading block.
    Begs the questions – have said EuroSceptics mellowed with age ? or, has time and tide worn them down ??

  35. Vanessa
    November 25, 2014

    Owen Paterson’s speech was one of the best and honest I have ever heard from a tory. What you need to do is change your leader. We are all sick and tired of being lied to as a lot of us know “renegotiation” is completely impossible within the EU – we signed the treaties.

    Once we say we want to leave we can negotiate all we want. I downloaded the speech from eureferendum and thought it brilliant. Paterson for Prime Minister I say !!!!!!

  36. a-tracy
    November 25, 2014

    I understand everyone gets fed up listening to Conservative infighting over Europe and weakness over the years in representing the UK and signing up eventually to just about most demands.
    The people are confused about what Labour and the Lib Dems stand for on Europe, Labour say with them in power their voice in Europe is bigger than the Conservatives because they join with a bigger block vote (and isn’t block voting what most people are concerned about with the stronger nations who are paying the most in not getting a bigger say). Tell us so we can pass it on.
    Instead of banging on about referendums (we’ve just all seen what that does with the Scottish Referendum in division and unrest as the nationalistic Scots still won’t accept the vote which if it had gone the other way the RUK would have had to suck up so it’s achieved nothing, other than leaving a really bad taste in the mouths of the English). Perhaps more time should be spent exploring just what the alternative parties vote for in Europe and what you’re going to get if you select them, who are the groups they join in the EU what do they push through.

  37. William Long
    November 25, 2014

    It is indeed interesting how long it has taken for somebody to put forward this view; the diametric opposite of the euroenthusiasts who have always assured us that the world will only listen to us if we are part of the EU project and therefor we must stay in it. I have never been able to see why a voice through Europe is more powerful than speaking direct to the world. The lack of national self confidence promoted by the EU lobby is at the heart of much of our current political malaise. Mr Paterson’s speech does nothing to enhance my confidence in the person who sacked him though.

  38. BobE
    November 25, 2014

    I don’t believe that any party will form a majority. This means that Mr Cameron’s promises will fall to one side. My hope is that you can form a Tory/Ukip coalition, without Mr Cameron of course. That coalition will aim at us leaving the EU superstate. We can then change our relationship to be a friendly trading partner with Europe. We can join those other bodies as an independent sovereign nation.
    (Cleggy and CMD can get new jobs in Europe as overpaid commissioners, as did Kinock).

  39. agricola
    November 25, 2014

    Having been away from home and in the UK for the past 18 days I am now playing catch up.

    It would seem that 25% of the current cabinet believe we should leave the EU were we to stay under the current terms. This means that 75% of the current cabinet believe we should stay under current terms. The result of staying is that we become part of a federal Europe because that is the way it is heading and at some stage in the not too distant future we adopt the Euro. If we wish to distance ourselves from the complete subjugation of our sovereignty, ditch the Pound and adopt the Euro, then there is only one option. Invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and then over two years negotiate our trade relationship with Europe and any areas where it makes sense to cooperate with them. The question before the electorate in a referendum would then be do you prefer a EFTA type relationship or do you want complete subjugation within the EU.

    What Cameron has all along planned to offer is a renegotiation of which we are told nothing of substance and a decision on the result which it is impossible to analyse. Put another way go through the motions , make it look good ,and hope that the electorate can be conned. A complete Sir Humphrey solution to remaining in the EU.

    Article 50 gives us a clean sheet solution on which we specify what we want. This way Cameron, or his replacement, might just get another 5 years with the help of UKIP. The electorate are not stupid enough to accept anything less.

  40. Gumpy Goat
    November 25, 2014

    Being a part of the EU gives clout in the global standards and regulations setting. It was not for the EU actually setting some the world standards it would have been a poorer place. Believe it or not the EU has done some good in this field. Sorry folks the empire died years ago. We are a small nation by ourselves and in a world with growing new economies and we are increasingly a less important one, something we have to get used to.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      November 25, 2014

      Gumpy–Canada is a smaller nation than we are in terms of population and she doesn’t have an Empire; she exists adjacent to a large land mass of adjacent states just as we do (countries on the Continent are all but States now): and the percentage of her exports to the US is (at 73%) much large than ours to the Continent–all without any of the EU baloney. How can this be? The only explanation I have is the denigration of the UK by our leaders following WWII and the loss of Empire. The Canadian in the street would think you were mad if you suggested that he give up his country and borders as we have.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        November 25, 2014

        Postscript–Such differences as there are point the other way–Thus Canada has a long land border instead of 22 miles of sea and they don’t have the language problem, which latter one never hears much about from the EUphiliacs

    2. DaveM
      November 25, 2014

      I’d rather be part of a small proud nation with self-determination than a part of a European superstate.

    3. Mark B
      November 25, 2014

      Pop over to EUReferendum, (just Google it) and educate yourself.

      We do not need the EU / Political Union, and never have.

    4. margaret
      November 25, 2014

      Yes G Goat, we are less important and this has been made abundantly clear over the last few decades , however in the global market in comparison with other ‘little countries’ we are doing very well. We should use this as an anchor to grow and not be sucked into annhilation by EU beaurocrats . I am surpised that anyone would let our great Nations of the UK be stamped on by interests which do not take any account of the past we have fought for our freedom and the men who died trying to stop fascism. There is a type of (authoritarianism ed) creeping in ..the EU .. If we are not careful we will succumb to the Orwellian three divisions of the globe and mindlessly allow the controllers to use us all as slaves . Beware of an encroaching challenge to our relatively free will.Stop smelling the lotus flower , wake up.

    5. Anonymous
      November 25, 2014

      Lots of small nations do well on their own, GG.

  41. Denis Cooper
    November 25, 2014

    For those who are interested the text of Paterson’s speech is here:


    Most of it is derivative, in fact much of it has clearly come from Richard North and his collaborator Christopher Booker, but he makes a very serious error:

    “Outside the EU and freed from the writ of the ECHR, “freedom of movement” within the EEA could be limited to free movement of workers, without having to accept dependents and members of their extended families.

    This is exactly what David Cameron wants when he said last year that he thought free movement within the EU “needed to be returned to the original concept, which was the freedom to be able to go and work in another country”. But, if we are to benefit from the Single Market, we must at least accept that provision.”

    I would make three points here.

    Firstly, Cameron is misleading the public by claiming that the original concept was just the free movement of workers. If that had indeed been the original concept for the six countries which made the 1957 Treaty of Rome establishing the EEC then they would have written “workers” in the treaty rather than “persons”, as in its Article 3(c):

    “the abolition, as between Member States, of obstacles to freedom of movement for persons, services and capital”

    and elsewhere. The term “persons” does of course include paid employees or “workers”, but it also includes the self-employed and the would-be self-employed, and pensioners and others of independent means, and moreover it includes their dependents.

    Secondly it was absurd that the migration of people between member states was linked with free trade in goods, dealt with in Article 3(a). It is unusual, to say the least, for one country to tell another country that if the latter wants to sell goods to the former then it must accept unfettered immigration of the former’s citizens into its territory.

    Would we accept that sort of deal to secure free trade in goods with China, that every one of China’s 1,370 million people must have the right to come and live here? Well, maybe some of our politicians would accept it, but the British people would not.

    Thirdly, if we followed Paterson’s prescription then it would have little practical effect on the volume of immigration from EU countries even though we were no longer in the EU; there would still be the same economic driving force for young single people born and raised in the poorer or economically depressed EU countries to move here to seek better paid employment or to set themselves up in some self-employed capacity, genuine or otherwise, and while the UK government could shift its policy from both allowing and encouraging them to come here, to still allowing them to come here but trying to discourage them from doing so, any measures which were effective in doing that would doubtless still be ruled illegal under the new treaty.

    And then even if they had not acquired UK citizenship in the meantime their children born here would automatically be UK citizens, and it would be not only completely unreasonable and brutal to deport any of them to their parents’ country of origin but also legally impossible without a law to strip them of their UK citizenship, and we would in some cases be faced with the unsavoury prospect of breaking up families by chucking out one or more of the parents and leaving the children here, presumably again in some cases in the not-so-tender care of the state at taxpayers’ expense.

  42. Feodor
    November 25, 2014

    A curious argument:

    “As many of [the EU’s] standards are derived from global bodies above it, surely it is more important for the UK to sit directly on the superior global bodies? …it is better to help shape the forces which shape the single market by being on the global boards that control business and industry through their moves to global standards and regulations.”

    Surely someone could retort it is preferable to be on both? Or at least have significant influence on both (which is what we have now)? As opposed to plumping for one and losing all influence in the other? This is why those pesky details do tend to be important, despite your desire to overlook them.

    Reply No, the whole point is that as a member of the EU we are not allowed to sit on these bodies ourselves.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 26, 2014

      To be fair, JR, it’s only 42 years since we joined the EEC and obviously it will take some time for everybody to get to grips with the finer details.

  43. Shieldsman
    November 25, 2014

    As a declared eurosceptic and a believer in exit from the EU by means of a referendum will you stand behind Owen Paterson?
    Paterson has thrown down a gauntlet to David Cameron. He made quite clear his desire for Article 50 to be invoked at the earliest possible moment.
    When you wrote the Eurosceptic split, as in previous papers you were aware that the Conservatives are split three ways. Those for out, those for in and the fence sitters.

    With the present Parliament you have been unable to enact a referendum bill.

    In the 2015 Parliament the Conservaties will not have enough MP’s to enact a referendum bill.

    The only hope for a referendum post 2015 is if UKIP gain enough seats from Lib/Lab/Con to force the issue. Who knows, without Cameron the Conservatives and UKIP may be able to invoke Article 50.

  44. John Wrake
    November 25, 2014

    My comment earlier today, though short and, hopefully, to the point, seems to have been redacted. I hope that I am wrong and it will yet appear.

    John Wrake.

    1. Bernard from Bucks
      November 25, 2014

      My comment, equally short and to the point, also did not appear.
      As the total comments this evening, 12 hours after my comment, is at an unusually low 10, I think it is highly likely that there has been a technical hitch? Either that or UKIP has another defector ‘cross the floor’ and John is in a state of shock. (joke).

      Reply I have been too busy in the Commons to keep up with the long postings.

    2. Chris
      November 25, 2014

      Mine too, John. Also someone else on another blog said that his comment has not been posted.

      1. ChrisS
        November 26, 2014

        We need a little patience here, Guys.

        Our host reads, vets and posts the contributions himself which is quite a task for a busy, high profile MP and one for which we should show our appreciation in some way.

        Having been guilty of some long posts, I am now making a real effort to keep them shorter. If others do the same, it will make it all the easier for short, concise comments to be posted sooner. (this might even include you, Dennis !)

    3. waramess
      November 26, 2014

      If that is the case at least it suggests it was read

  45. fedupsouthener
    November 25, 2014

    Mr Cameron made a big mistake getting rid of Owen Patterson. He talks a lot of common sense, something which is sadly missing in the Conservative party now. At least he has an understanding of the futility of our current energy policy and it would seem, a lot more. He would be far better in the role given to Ed Davey. We may be able to become competitive again and trade with the rest of the world. I hear that Clegg is falling over himself to get into a ‘rainbow’ coaltion with the SNP and Labour. We are doomed! Rainbow? Yes, something like the childrens programme of the same name!

  46. Narrow Shoulders
    November 25, 2014

    The benefits to commerce of the single market and immigration are challenged by Andrew Smithers’ research in output growth per capita and per working age capita.

    This shows that despite overall GDP ‘stagnating’ for two decades Japan’s output and per head wealth creation outperforms that of UK (bottom of five nations including France) USA and Germany.

    Anthony Hilton writes about this in today’s Standard standard.co.uk/anthonyhilton where he concludes that cheap labour has discouraged corporate investment. How this secures 3 million jobs dependent on the EU is anyone’s guess but might expose a fallacy.

  47. BobE
    November 25, 2014

    John, I object that my comment has not been posted. It was perfectly fair, is this censorship?

  48. John Robertson
    November 25, 2014

    I got my annual tax summary statement from the Government showing how the tax and NI is spent. I like it, 5th is debt interest, last is EU contribution but as we know it’s not all about what they take in money.

    It doesn’t take into account VAT for obvious reasons however I feel, if I were a regulator, that it should give an indication of say average VAT to add to the Tax and NI bill as it vastly understates what is paid. Good though, may make some more people think.

  49. David Price
    November 25, 2014

    Not sure why Mr Paterson has changed his position, publicwhip.org shows he has been ambiguous towards the EU todate, but I agree with much of what he says in his speech. Particularly the large amount of work that has to be done around planning the exit and aftermath together with convincing the public of the attractiveness of leaving the EU. Despite a lot of work being done by other individuals and groups on the issues we have only heard complaints about the situation from UKIP rather than actual solutions and details. It would be refreshing to see some tangible and convincing arguments on how being better off out would actually be achieved.

    He makes an interesting point about the 1994 signing of the WTO TBT agreement and the replacement of the EU as the sole arbiter of food and agriculture – wouldn’t this tend to erode the primacy of a trade agreement with the EU at all. If the EU erects barriers in contravention of the TBT the UK could simply take their grievance to the WTO or even the ECJ.

  50. ChrisS
    November 26, 2014

    Once again David Cameron avoided asking a direct question at PMQs as to whether there are any circumstances in which he would campaign to leave the EU.

    While the PM continues to duck the issue that has been so clearly addressed by our kind host, Phillip Hammond and Boris, amongst others, is it surprising that many Conservative supporters like myself have no confidence in his intentions ?

    It would cost David Cameron nothing to state that if he does not get a good enough deal he would campaign to leave the EU.

    The fact that he avoids the issue at every opportunity leaves us all in no doubt as to his ultimate objective : for the UK to remain in the EU at all costs.

  51. Ken Adams
    November 27, 2014

    To say it clearly if Paterson`s proposal is made party policy before the election I will vote Conservative and do all I can to get that party elected. If not, then I will do the opposite and try to force a leadership challenge after the election hoping to get rid of Cameron.

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