The UK’s relationship with Europe

The UK has a long and difficult history in its relationship with the rest of Europe. For much of the last millennium UK policy was based on the proposition that we had to prevent a single power dominating the continent, as they were likely to be hostile to us and opposed to free trade. Our need to preserve our right to choose our own political and religious views led us into war against Spain, the European hegemon of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Our wish to preserve our independence and trade led us to fight many wars against France, culminating in the epic struggle for our own survival and the future of our continent in the long Napoleonic wars. In the twentieth century it was a necessity to stand up to German aggression and dominance. Spain, France and Germany all attempted invasions, and all failed. The Dutch pulled off an invasion by agreement with a substantial part of the British establishment.

If our neighbours had been less keen on fighting for control, or if at times we had been better at diplomacy, we would saved ourselves a lot of blood and treasure. The long and damaging European wars held us  back as well as the continent, destroying wealth and diverting effort.

Since the 1960s the UK has decided on a different European diplomatic strategy.The UK establishment, with some notable exceptions, has decided to allow and actively promote a new European hegemon to emerge called the European Union. This is against the whole run of our past policy and experience, and is a very dangerous experiment. I have no wish to go back to a policy of continuous wars between nation states,  but fortunately the main European countries are now peace loving and respectful of each other’s borders.  I do  worry that this so called cure for these wars   is not the right way to extend and preserve the peace. It is not in the UK’s national interest, and is bizarre as France and Germany would have no intention of invading us if we were outside the EU.  There is danger in the EU developing an aggressive state personality of its own, and an obvious threat to our hard won liberties from placing ourselves under EU control.

Indeed, I think there is clear opportunity for the UK to be independent, and free of wars against major continental countries. The fact that all the major countries of western Europe have at last decided they do not want to fight more wars, and no longer assert rights over each other’s territory means we have that opportunity for peace which does not depend on accepting ever greater political union with the continent. We should seize the moment, and welcome the conversion of our neighbours to the paths of peace. It is far better they beat ploughshares than swords. That peace will be more prosperous and extend for longer if it respects the independent minded nature of the UK. We do not wish the UK to become some forgotten fields controlled  on the edge of  a new European empire.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

110 Comments

  1. Mike Stallard
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    The EU is a 20th century idea which is now past its time. It no longer fulfils the Zeitgeist.

    Why? Today we have new problems: the coming bankruptcy of USA, the total bankruptcy of Greece, the economic decline of our continent, the shift of power to Asia, the corrupting influence of the Welfare State, the decline of the family, the consequent influx of anyone and everyone from all over the world to partake of our welfare – in short ……….. – the decline of the West.
    None of these problems is solvable by the EU grandees for all their preening.
    We need to move to join EFTA – and fast, so that we can perform our historic role of Saviour of Europe.

    • acorn
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      It can’t be long now before civil insurrection breaks out in the Eurozone. The UK will have to decide which side to be on (a) German-Austrian-Hungarian; or, (b) Southern Europe. The EU / CoE economy, in aggregate, is the largest on the planet, its continuing decline will have major impact on world trade and geopolitics. The current structure of the EU is not viable and probably not repairable. But it will probably “muddle through” for a few decades yet. (See BBC WS “The Inquiry”).

      Like wise the USA and the UK will muddle through. None of them will go bankrupt; there will be no paradigm shifts in their democratic structures. Eventually, they will regulate themselves to a standstill. Their whole populations will be members of panels of enquiry into anything and everything, including enquiries into other enquiries.

      What the UK is going to do outside of the EU has yet to be defined. Most world trade in goods and services involves US Dollars and Euros; Sterling doesn’t figure much nowadays. Yet large quantities of Euro trade / settlement goes through London. Outside of the EU we will be a “third party” country and have to comply with EU financial directives and regulations as a non-member with no clout. Conservative party sponsors won’t be happy with that, so leaving the EU is not going to happen.

      I have just listened to Cameron telling blatant lies to promote his election poster; “we were on the brink of bankruptcy” he says. NO we were not and nowhere near it! “a nightmare deficit”; NO it wasn’t, it still isn’t and it never can be in a country that issues its own sovereign currency and allows it to float.

      • libertarian
        Posted January 2, 2015 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        Acorn

        The pound sterling is in the top 4 traded currencies ( hint 3 of which AREN”T European ) Blimey it makes you wonder how China, Japan, Canada, Russia etc survive without being in the EU !!!!

        The Worlds 7 major financial centres are London, New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, San Fransisco, Tokyo & Zurich how many in round numbers of these places are in the EU acorn?

        • acorn
          Posted January 8, 2015 at 10:41 am | Permalink

          Since the introduction of the euro, two currencies are dominating the world market for currencies. Other currencies such as the Pound Sterling and the Yen are still important but are regarded as no substitutes to the US Dollar and the Euro by the markets. (WTO May 2012)

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Well many people do not wish the UK to become “some forgotten fields controlled on the edge of a new European empire” but very many seem to want exactly that. Labour, the Libdems, half the Tory party and its leadership, the BBC, the CBI, Obama and many larger businesses all seem to want it.

    Still some good news from this dreadful coalition. Finally some real action on payday loan companies. Even so the caps are still far to high. Why has this misery causing industry been allowed to continue for so long? Did they contribute to party funds or “consultants” or something?

    Reply No. The government does not generally like price controls, but has seen the need for unusual actions in this difficult case. One of the dangers is people moving to borrow from illegals at much worse rates.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      I too do not generally like government interference in the market some such as the gender neutral pensions and insurance is clearly idiotic. But in the case of payday loans this was really a misery creation industry exploiting the desperate and helping no one. Almost no one really benefits from loans at 1000%+ APRs even the new limit of circa 250% APR is far too high.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      The illegal loans are not enforceable, other than by clearly illegal threats and violence. This should be dealt with by the police and criminal justice system. With some real deterrents (that are now so rarely a feature of UK justice). Which is perhaps why burglary rates in the UK are about twice the EU average.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Interesting that this is the only exploitation of the weak and vulnerable that you believe exists in the market. Landlords and employers have no case to answer it seems!? You of course as a landlord see these as a threat to rent payments being the obvious answer.

      • libertarian
        Posted January 2, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        Bazman

        Everyone has the right to choose where they live and where they work in a free market. Its therefore not possible to exploit people unless THEY choose to be exploited. Everyone has the right to become a landlord or employer.

        In a free market contract law upholds rights. Its only in socilist, fascist or dictatorship systems that people are exploited.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 2, 2015 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

          Maybe you believe that the migrants on the boats to Italy are not exploited. They had a choice as to whether they go on this luxury cruise costing thousands or not? What makes you think we all have a choice where we live or work in this country clearly we do not.
          Its called circumstances and like to migrants many have no choice.

          • libertarian
            Posted January 2, 2015 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

            Bazman

            Try reading what I put. The immigrants being illegally trafficked into the EU are NOT from free market countries. They are escaping or attempting to, exploitative states. Yes of course they DID have a choice, they chose to spend their meagre money on an illegal chance to enter a free market west because the risks were outweighed by the potential benefits in their estimation.

            Which is why people like you whining about stuff when you already have all the benefits they seek at no personal cost to yourself is so demeaning .

            You clearly have a choice where you live and work. Give ONE shred of evidence or a reason why you couldn’t move from Cambridge to Canterbury or Camelford. Give one shred of evidence why you couldn’t change employer, job role, place of work or anything about your career. To claim people are trapped is pathetic.

          • yulwaymartyn
            Posted January 3, 2015 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

            well said. A suitable answer to one of the silliest posts of the year (last year!).

          • Bazman
            Posted January 3, 2015 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

            ‘Cos when you’re laid in bed at night watching roaches climb the wall If you call your Dad he could stop it all.
            You’ll never watch your life slide out of view, and dance and drink and screw
            Because there’s nothing else to do.
            A lot depends upon age if you have a family say in a geographically isolated place where there is one main employer where you have produced multiple children and then lost your job due to facts beyond your control such as mass redundancy due to government policy you are telling me that it is easy to just move your whole family and yourself to another area especially when you are in your fifties? No it is not and why should you? Or you are a young person maybe with a child you can just move to another area with a better paying job or a job?
            That any person can just simply find another higher paying job or get the qualifications to get one personal circumstances and background play no part? Often your upbringing can bring you up or down. Helped by the or hindered by the middle class social security system.
            The East Europeans often cites as examples of work ethic are as we have seen young driven intelligent and looking for fun. The older ones more desperate and wanting to send money home to their families or bring them here. Highly driven at least. Many are not.
            I left my home town due to a lack of work and managed to build a better life at the age of 29 with no wife or children in the 90’s, much more difficult to do the same now with property being three times the cost and my wages the same. Yes the same to the penny.
            Blaming everyone for their own lot is just deluded and real Tory stuff put forward by often privileged people or those who climbed the greasy pole and think everyone else can do the same. No amount of positive thinking can help in some cases and you need to look at the facts as I did.

          • libertarian
            Posted January 4, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

            Bazman

            Oh please. ALL the reasons you cite are the very reasons why any sensible person would up sticks and move if they weren’t able to survive where they currently are. In this day and age you don’t even have to physically move. You can quite easily live in Cambridge and work in London. Hell you can even just work from home if you have decent broadband. You don’t have to move your family if you don’t want to.

            If you are still earning the same money now that you were in the the 90’s then you really are in a poor state. As I’ve shown you many times there are loads of well paid jobs on offer in the Cambridge area. Grow a pair and stand up for yourself, stop blaming everyone else for your circumstances. Get out there and make a difference .I won’t bore you with my life story which is similar to yours except I left my town when I was 17 due to the miners strike closing the factory i worked in.

            As I’ve repeatedly told you I’m not a Tory and don’t support, vote or agree with the Tory party. I have also told you many times that I work as a volunteer finding work for ex offenders and those with mental health issues so I don’t agree with you, it is perfectly possible to change ANY circumstance, you’ve just got to want to do it.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 2, 2015 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        The best way to help tenants is to make sure there are plenty of properties available to them. There are of course other exploitative practices in other industries I have never said otherwise.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 2, 2015 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          Both of the above must then apply to pay day loan companies a point ignored it seems. Laughably exploitation is the fault of the exploited libtard. Exploitation does not exist is what you are saying. Not worth tackling as it is such a stupid statement. Poverty does not exist too one presumes? Just shortage of money in lazy people. Keep going.

          • libertarian
            Posted January 2, 2015 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

            Bazman

            So what you’re saying is that the bottom end of earners in our society are too simple, ignorant or unaware to take responsibility for their own lives? They lack the wherewithal to make effective decisions and they depend totally on other people making decisions for them?

            Poverty does not exist in the UK in any meaningful way. I spend a lot of time in Africa if you want to understand real poverty you should come and work with us there dealing with hard working people who don’t have access to clean drinking water even. You would be ashamed to utter the word poverty in their presence .

          • Bazman
            Posted January 3, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

            Poverty does not exist in the UK it exists, but in different way. It is not possible to live in this country on less than £400 a month. Bedsit £60 a week all bills paid the rest on food and clothing. Not possible. For many their lives do seem beyond their control and with good reason. Low wages, zero hours contracts, high prices for being poor such as rent,credit and energy. It called the poverty trap? No such thing? Go away.
            How could a person live like they do in the third world without being a homeless tramp? Not a real comparison is it?
            The reality is that if you live in the western world or want to live like a westerner you need western levels of income. No if or buts. No fantasy that life cheaper in the third world. It is if you live like a third world person. More expensive than here not to as often in places like Russia which is second world they face the double whammy of poverty wages and high prices. Russia is like being in the past a feeling that often comes to you there in attitudes and money. Many earn about $30 month living in a city working full time. Cheap what? Nothing is cheap believe me. Cooking oil electricity,vegetables etc are more expensive than here. A brutal and often short life made worse by vodka. Their own fault. Get real.
            You are comparing life in 15th century Britain with modern day life. At least you will not starve or die of plague is what you are saying. Always a bonus and how many poor people in the UK thank the government in power for this every day? Must cheer them up no end and drive them onwards and upwards to greater things? LOL!

          • libertarian
            Posted January 4, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

            Bazman

            Nice rant. However what I told you is poverty is relative.

            In the UK EVERYONE has access to clean drinking water, free health care and support for the vulnerable is fully available by social services, welfare, health and benefit support.

            Of course lots of people have tough lives, with not enough income, health issues, addictions and all the other problems that humans face. Not one of those problems will be solved by taxing people more or by government wasting money on pork barrel projects. I do recognise the issue you raise about the cost of living do you know what I did when I was trapped in that place 40 odd years ago? I got myself 2 jobs one during day and one during the evening. I earned enough to pay for somewhere to live. It would have been easier to do if we had zero hour contracts back then too ! The fact is no government of any political persuasion, no political system will ever solve that problem. The fact is that there will always be people at the lower end of income in society whatever the level is. The ONLY way to escape that is to work and grow.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 4, 2015 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

            Its different type of poverty and as I have pointed out, having clean drinking water does not make up for this. However it is not the same hardship as having to drive a ford instead of a Bentley. As for my own situation and millions of others should we become surgeons or take to the stage? More seriously it is very difficult for most to increase their income by a half or even a third and even more difficult now as we did years ago. No government can make you, but right wing elitist ideology is certainly not helping anyone. See Russia for details and get real.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted January 4, 2015 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

            Very interesting exchange chaps; both of your arguments have merit.

            @Libertarian I would venture that it may be easier for an African to improve their lot by hard work and application than certain Europeans whose circumstances conspire to hold them at their current level.

            If you have enough to get by the gamble to completely up sticks and move on may backfire, whereas if you have nothing there is no gamble.

            As a singleton I happily walked away from jobs that I did not like and was upwardly mobile without much effort. As a married father of several I find it much more difficult to walk away from a role which provides for my family but offers little in the way of future prospects bar survival and PAYE servitude and offers no satisfaction at all. Sometimes one has to consider others above oneself.

            If I lost the current job then moving would have more appeal as there would be no gamble. @Baz with his comment about “getting on your bike” being a right wing ideology is partially correct. Much easier to get on that bike when cronyism, nepotism and the old school are in the mix which is why many of our politicians believe it is readily available to all.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 7, 2015 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

            More difficult to make a quid in second world countries such as Russia simply because there is less of them about. Most live on an absolute pittance so this idea of getting them to pay for anything other than absolute necessities is not real. It like saying if you open a chippy in the third world you could make a fortune as they are all starving.
            Another point missed is local Mafia ‘taxes’ making business in many cases not viable. If you renovated a old house it is more than possible it would be just confiscated after you had finished the work or protection money has to be paid for a garden centre or large shop. Do you think no person can see these business opportunities in these countries!?
            Armchair business men like libtard would not last a day. Not a day…

  3. Bob
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Well said Mr Redwood, and I’m sure that the majority of your readers and contributors will agree with you; such a shame that most of your party do not.

    I hope that 2015 will ring in the changes that we would both like to see to regain our independence.

    All the best.

    • Timaction
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Happy New Year Mr Redwood.
      I agree with your article in its entirety. Unfortunately you are in a Party and a Parliament whose leaders do not believe in a free sovereign democracy where we make our own laws and Parliament is accountable to the people of these islands. All three legacy parties have given up the right and desire to rule by consent and want a supra-national body called the EU to rule over us.
      Whilst we have been late in arrival on the scene UKIP has finally given a voice to the people and can deliver the return of our sovereignty, democracy and have a trade only deal with the bully’s in Europe. We just need to keep telling the truth.
      I go further to say we need new laws to prohibit future politicians from entering into any agreements that diminish democracy and the handing over of sovereign powers to a foreign body from Britain without referendum. Forget the sham Referendum lock legislation. Treason and all its accompanying powers should be restored as a sanction to those who think we are beyond democracy. We need to ensure in future that legacy party Politian’s are prohibited by law from lying to the public. The recent £1.7 billion surcharge being a classic case to confuse and hide your leaders true intentions in paying this bill. £850 million could pay a lot of pensions and healthcare for our pensioners or other public services as opposed to some foreign infrastructure project.
      We know from 30/1048 written in 1971 what the legacy parties intentions were with the connivance of the FCO and Home Office. Root and branch reform of these departments are well overdue.

      • DaveM
        Posted January 2, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        We had a Magna Carta and treason laws – Bliar repealed them by stealth to avoid being held to account as a traitor to the very country he swore to protect. Interesting that he was not that bothered about repealing the capital crime of Arson in the Royal Dockyard (which is arguably far more archaic than the treason law!)

  4. JoeSoap
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    In UK politics, outside of UKIP, you’re unfortunately a lone voice in the wilderness.

  5. Peter Van Leeuwen
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    To me this is a somewhat strange reading of history, in what it emphasises and what it leaves out. It carefully avoids mentioning the EU, Schengen, or European values in a positive light. And it has already decided on Britain’s destiny: either forgotten fields on the Edge of Europe or an independent Britain, free of wars against major European countries.
    The British are not the only European people with an independent nature, yet other peoples have so far gone for pulling together. Young people in Britain may well prefer such a direction for Britain too.

    Reply What European values? Big government? More bureaucracy? Stifling free thought and free speech? higher taxes? These are the things that I associate with the EU. I think the UK stands for the best European values, and we have often had to defend them against others who wish to centralise power and control the rest.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Indeed what European values?

      Big government? More bureaucracy? Stifling free thought and free speech? higher taxes? Endless misguided regulation? No jobs? 50% youth unemployment?, no growth? expensive religious energy? absurd expensive train lines?, road blocking as government strategy?

      Almost the only one I approve of is no capital punishment (mainly because the court systems are so often incompetent). Birmingham 6 and Guildford 4 as good examples. Often now the UK state (appallingly) even fails to compensate the victims of this court incompetence financially.

    • stred
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Peter. Your country certainly showed some independence in 1667 when you sailed up the Medway and wrecked the whole English fleet. Strange that you used a defecting pilot called Holland and thought the raid was necessary because Charles was doing a deal with the French. Fortunately, we woke up to reality and did rather better afterwards.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 2, 2015 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        @stred: I won’t base my thoughts too much on events of centuries ago. Staying therefore grounded in today, I see more value in the interdependence of countries than their imagined independence.

    • Timaction
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      European value = Socialism and control.
      European values = Unelected dictatorships with a pretence of democracy.
      European values = High taxes and wasteful spending v free market capitalism.
      European values = Control, interference and regulation v free markets.
      The EU is all about the creation of United States of Europe by incremental stealthy Treaty change for the benefit of a Germo-Franco alliance.
      The reason young people may think differently is they get educated in a left wing environment and have no understanding of the real world where we have to make the goods and services to support our public services or we get into significant debt. Remind me where are we in Europe?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 2, 2015 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        @Timaction: I recognise that, when facing defeat, arguments tend to be made more forcefully. But still, I don’t see your unelected dictatorships (ok, Lord Hill has never held elected office, but he still has been vetted and accepted by the European Parliament). I also don’t see your “socialism and control”. When the British see the EU for what it is in reality (young people may be more EU savy than what you give them credit for) I still think they want their country to remain an EU member.

        • Timaction
          Posted January 2, 2015 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          Peter,

          You are deluded. We have defeated EVERY argument in favour of our continued membership of the EU dictatorship. None of the Commissioners were elected by the people. NONE. They were appointed. Of course socialists can’t see the “WOOD FROM THE TREES” as they always believe they know best how to rule us and spend “OTHER” peoples money on ” THEIR” pet projects until it runs out.
          Let me remind you of the key Europhile messages we get repeated infinitum:
          Trade in the EU – No we don’t have to be in the EU to trade with it. China, Japan, USA etc. get by fine without it.
          Voice in the world and isolated – A joke as we are now only 1 of 28 unequal voices but massive contributions. £12 billion and rising contributions could fund our entire Police service! We could make our own trade deals and sit on international bodies as a lone voice NOT 1 of 28 as the 5th largest economy!
          3 million jobs at risk from our withdrawal – No this was a dated inaccurate study about the number of jobs “linked” to trade in the EU.
          Jobs and industry would loose out – No we have an annual trade deficit of over £40 billion. Half of that with Germany alone. Do you think the EU would want to exclude us from trade? No chance at all as all the cards are held here.
          Regulation helps CBI and other large Companies but hinders SME’s as they also have to comply. 8% (and falling) of our economy is linked to trade with the EU but 100% of our companies have to comply with its stifling unnecessary legislation. Limits on wattage on small electrical devices. New laws on VAT for SME’s anyone?
          Free movement – Millions coming here to claim in and out of work benefits and child allowances. Claim our free British public services whilst the movement of our own is self sufficient pensioners to France and Spain!
          Why are we paying £12 billion for membership for the benefit of this club and foreign infrastructure and farmers? Because our legacy parties are fools and want a United States of Europe paid by us!
          Common Agricultural policy and reform for giving up part of our rebate? Oh no, that didn’t happen. 400,000 jobs lost and most of our fish and our waters actually allocated to a Dutch and other foreign vessels costing us billions.
          EU has kept the peace – No NATO did that and UK as a large part of that!
          I’m afraid I want Nigel Farage and UKIP looking after our interests, not the failed analogue parties who are still unwilling to admit their foolhardy desire to join a 20th Century failing organisation.

          • ian wragg
            Posted January 2, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

            Excellent riposte Timeaction

          • libertarian
            Posted January 2, 2015 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

            Excellent post Timeaction

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted January 2, 2015 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

            @Timeaction: Nobody ever voted at the ballot box for say Theresa May to become a minister for home affairs. Like all other ministers she was a ppointed by Cameron, who himself was only voted for by 0.1% or fewer of the British electorate. He was/is just another spitzenkandidat, i.e. the candidate of the largest party. I fail to see the big difference with the appointed EU commissioners.
            Nato had no role in keeping peace between EU members, that is pure misinformation. E.g. did the UK help as Nato member to keep the peace between Italy and France???? Where did you learn such fantasies? The rest of your reaction is even more off-topic so I’ll leave that for another day.

          • alan jutson
            Posted January 3, 2015 at 9:33 am | Permalink

            Timaction

            If only our politicians (I exclude our host) could argue such a case as clear and as simple as this on TV and in the Media.

            I actually do wonder if many of our Mp’s are aware of the real facts on the EU.

          • Timaction
            Posted January 3, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

            Peter, You write desperately. Give it up. None so blind than those who refuse to see! You’ve lost the argument and so have the legacy parties. In the age of the internet NOTHING is hidden anymore and just makes those being disingenuous more foolish!
            It’s a shame we don’t have many independent journalists from the main stream press even if they are being spoon fed. Political bias over any real accurate reporting of the facts as they are.
            When is Chilcott being published? When is the Westminster paedophile inquiry getting underway? No there must be more smearing to be done on UKIP as an election is on the way!

    • alan jutson
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Peter

      It is not the ordinary European citizen we all worry about.

      It is the Politicians of Europe (including some of our own), who are forever attempting to hold more and more control over our so called democratic freedom and way of life, and who are committing us to future financial ruin with their policies.

      It is all about power, it always has been, the freedom of movement of people simply helps their cause as it dilutes a nations Character and spirit to oppose such.

      If you cannot see that the present set up of how the promise of some golden age for us all in the future in exchange for more and more control now, weakens the individual to do something about it, then I fear you have been suckered in already.

      Most Politicians simply love power, because then they can make a difference, be it power over money, or power over the people, that unfortunately is the lesson of history.

      Few of us live in a truly democratic Country, for most it is an elected dictatorship for a short period at a time, the EU simply complicates what little choice we have left.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply: Mr Redwood, aren’t you confusing European values with perceived EU inadequacies? (I sympathise with some of your criticism).
      If stifling free thought and free speech had been an EU value, it would long have embraced Turkey’s EU membership instead of holding it to the Copenhagen Criteria, of which the first contain some European values. While there is lots of free speech in Britain, there is also (IMHO) more misinformation than in many EU countries. Look at the anti-EU crusades of some of your tabloids.
      The thing I most miss in some British thinking is the continuing denial by some, that the EU was conceived as a (thus political) project for peace, from its very beginning in 1952. The more militaristic British political mindset responded by creating the West European Union (WEU, 1954), common military defence. Germany and a number of EU members were scorned for not joining the more militaristic Britain in toppling Saddam Hussein. Did Britain bring much good to Iraq?
      Of course Britain stands up for many European values, it is essentially European. Might it not be lacking in values is its insular thinking and lack of solidarity? Striving to leave the European Convention and ignoring its human rights defence mechanism for 800 million people in the process is a recent example. The historical quote “Great Britain has no friends, only interests” is also not a European value.

      • libertarian
        Posted January 2, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        Peter vL

        If the EU was conceived as a project for peace it has been an abject failure on that count too.

        Since 1945 there have been 35 wars, insurections, revolutions, coups, terrorist battles and violent seperatist movements in Europe.

        Europe has NO cultural, legal, moral or ethical values of any kind. Europe is a continent of 50 countries all with their own distinct value systems and cultures.

        Oh and for what its worth the largest country on the European continent is not a member and never will be of the EU

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted January 2, 2015 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          @Libertarian: Your rant might actually strengthen my argument: how many wars have there been within the EU? none. Does it follow that Europeans are such peace-loving people in general? No, not if your figures were to withstand scrutiny.

          • Anonymous
            Posted January 2, 2015 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

            NATO stopped war in Europe.

            Tutonic expansionism has contiued under the EU.

          • libertarian
            Posted January 2, 2015 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

            Peter vL

            Its not a rant its a statement of facts something that leftwing totalitarians such as yourself dislike.

            List of armed conflicts in EU countries since 1945

            Greek Civil War
            German Autumn ( Red Army Faction )
            Invasion of Cyprus
            Italian Opposti Estremism
            Cod wars
            Northern Ireland Troubles
            Basque Conflict
            Italian Anni di Piombo

            There have been 10 other conflicts involving European countries who are now members of the EU.

            As we are seeing now not only has the EU failed to keep the peace within the EU or Europe it has actually CAUSED conflict as of now in Ukraine

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted January 2, 2015 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

            @Anonymous: When the war stopped Nato didn’t even exist!

            Nato is/was an alliance to provide a deterrent against a perceived threat from the outside (Sovjet Union) and had no role in forging peace between EU members. I never saw cruise missiles between France and Spain or Germany and Austria, because they that was not Nato’s role

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted January 3, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

            @Libertarian: from your impressive list of “wars” you would have me conclude that the Northern Ireland Troubles and also the Cod wars started AFTER the UK joined the EU???
            And the invasion of Cyprus after it joined in 2004?
            That the Rote Armee Fraktion amounted to a war?
            And the Greek Civil war before Greece joined the EU?
            How different is reality from your “statement of facts”!

      • Timaction
        Posted January 2, 2015 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        Britain certainly has no friends in the EU. Please dont confuse the EU with Europe as we have many friends there. We have been a net contributor in every year bar one since our membership. We rarely win a case in European Courts as its members clearly see it as a stick to beat the anglo saxon free market model whilst always supporting socialism and the yuman rights of criminals and frrloaders we dont want. You wonder why we want out. Just read your own bullying control seeking blogs!

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted January 2, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

          @Timaction: What you say is : not the members of the European Courts and not the EU members (the two are the same but who cares) – but in the rest of Europe you (the UK) has many friends:
          Let’s see: that must be Switzerland, Norway, Vatican City, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Georgia Moldova, and a few more. OK.
          Once the UK believed that the 10 countries which joined the EU in 2014 were its greatest friends (sorry: interests) and would help to keep the EU divided. It seems they have left the UK in the more important instances.

          • Hope
            Posted January 2, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

            Oh Peter, what unsubstantiated deluded drivel you write. You need not bother us with your bail in this country, worry about your own countrymen.

          • Timaction
            Posted January 2, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

            No. What I am saying is we love Europe and Europeans but loath the political dictatorship,also known as the EU. Trade and friendship, nothing more.

    • agricola
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply

      John you are quite correct in your reply, I however would put it more forcefully. We and our allies in the anglosphere took a stand against totalitarianism in 1939 which resulted in 1945 in Europe having the opportunity to go for democracy and more benign relationships with one another. The way things are going they look as if they are heading for a major disaster whose victims will once again be the people of Europe. They deserve better from their politicians.

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      The young are impressionable (more foolish) and more willing to forgive and forget the horrors of the last wars. Those older recognise that Germany never gave up it’s desire for power and dominance in Europe – it just changed tactics.

      Today we should still be in absolute awe of how our forefathers had to design and manufacture thousands of fighter bombers, submarines, tanks etc. in just a few short years in order to defeat Germany’s lust for power. Having made that sacrifice in blood and money we should not be asked to submerge ourselves in the Eu superstate. It is the aggressors that should have to pay any price needed to keep the peace.

      History should teach us to maintain friendly relations..but at arms length with our neighbours.

      The brilliance of the Eu project is that it is having the effect of ‘hollowing out’ member states,piece by piece without anyone really noticing.
      Mass immigration through open borders is having a devastating effect – if a state is no longer made up in the vast majority of those that share a common ancestry, language, values and ways of doing business then it ceases to exist.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 4, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Countries which have European and American values and institutions are the richest in the world. What values do you want? The ones held by Russia and third world countries? As I have pointed out to you before most of you would not last a day outside your comfortable European home supported by your middle class social security system bleating about how we should be a more capitalist country secretly admiring third world values of tax evasion, theft and general banditry.

  6. Matt
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    How confident can we be that the EU will put pragmatic considerations such as trade with the UK, and principled considerations such as the right of a people to determine how they are governed; above the ideals of building a ever greater Europe which seem to drive them?
    I can absolutely believe that the EU would take punitive steps against the UK even if the hurt themselves by doing so. Look at how they’ve been dealing with Russia.

    We like to think that we can re-assert our independence at any time and the EU will grudgingly accept it. Will it?
    They’ve not been shy about trying to pull in ever more territory, even when it is dangerous to do so. Let’s not forget what happened some of the “states” of the USA tried this.
    There are already signs that the legal mechanisms for withdrawal are under threat.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      “Let’s not forget what happened some of the “states” of the USA tried this.”

      Well, there’s no need for the inverted commas, they were and still are states; and Lincoln’s argument that they had never existed as states outside the Union was patently false given that thirteen of them had previously agreed the Articles of Confederation among themselves, in which they described themselves as states, had Article 2 proclaiming that:

      “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.”

      and so forth.

  7. Richard1
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Yes well let’s hope we all get a chance to debate this issue and to vote on it in a referendum. Could all those readers of this site who think voting UKIP sends the right message, please remember that we only get such a vote if there’s a majority Conservative government.

    • Duyfken
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      No, Richard, no!

      That cry of “Vote UKIP, get Miliband” has lost whatever potency it may have had, since “Vote Cameron, get Merkel” is more plausible. I have no faith in Cameron or in his EUphile placemen to deliver a timely and fair referendum, and it is counter-productive to pursue this chimera.

      The Conservatives have brought it on themselves and if for a time we must endure a Labour government of sorts, then perhaps the Tories might properly regroup and present themselves as worthy candidates for government.

      • Bob
        Posted January 2, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        @Duyfken

        ““Vote Cameron, get Merkel” is more plausible”

        Quite right, we only need to look at the Heywood & Middleton by-elections to see that voting Tory helps Labour, and in Newark Labour supporters voted Tory to avoid a win for UKIP.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      What, vote for the party that got us into this mess in the first place and is still utterly determined to keep us in it? You must be joking.

    • Richard
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Richard1,

      It is not an EU referendum I seek but for us to leave the EU.

      This will not happen so long as we keep voting Con/Lab/Lib/Green.

      An EU referendum bill could not be passed through this Parliament and if we vote for the same Con/Lab/Lib/Green parties again then there is no way such a bill will be passed though the next Parliament either.

      As Albert Einstein said :

      “Insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

      Furthermore, if 90% of the votes go to the Con/Lab/Lib/Green parties, then these parties will have every right to believe that they have the country’s support to not only continue with our EU membership and destroy our status as an independent and democratic nation, but also to continue with their policies of mass immigration (EU and non-EU) to completely change our culture and their policy to attempt to provide 80% of all our energy using mainly unreliable wind power by 2050.

      You may wish to vote to continue with these policies but I am not.

      • Richard1
        Posted January 3, 2015 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        It is quite clear that if there is a Conservative govt there will be an in/out referendum.

        • Richard
          Posted January 3, 2015 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

          Richard1,

          I thought I had already answered this point.

          If the same Con/Lab/Lib/Green MPs are voted into Parliament again then an EU referendum bill will not be passed, just as it was not passed last time.

          The bulk of Conservative Party MPs are no less Europhile than those in the other 3 parties and even if there is a Conservative government there are more than sufficient pro-Euro MPs, such as Mr. Clarke, to ensure there is no government majority for a referendum.

          At the same time you will be voting for 3 parties who are all agreed that the UK should remain a member of the EU (even expanded to include Turkey and all eastern European countries between the Atlantic and the Urals), that mass immigration (EU and on-EU) into the UK should continue, and that we should provide 80% of all our energy needs using mainly unreliable wind power by 2050.

          Three policies which will destroy the UK.

          Reply Untrue. The Conservative party as a whole voted for Mr Wharton’s referendum bill.

          • Richard
            Posted January 4, 2015 at 11:08 am | Permalink

            Mr. Redwood,

            The Conservative Party may have voted for this private member’s bill but it failed.

            If the country keeps voting Con/Lab/Lib/Green then such a bill will obviously fail again in the next Parliament.

            And, what is worse, is that votes for these 4 parties will be seen by these 4 parties as confirmation that the country wishes them to continue with 3 policies which take us back to medieval times (never mind the 1930’s as claimed by labour) :

            – Power generated by windmills and burning wood.

            – Multiculturalism allowing medieval beliefs, intolerances and practices to thrive.

            – England ruled by foreign powers.

          • Hope
            Posted January 4, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

            Cameron made a three line whip to prevent an EU referendum taking place, have you forgotten? This is something he chose to do. It is only since the emergence of UKiP he has tried to get voters back with a specious pledge. No right minded person believes him.

  8. Ian wragg
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    A very succinct and well written article
    So why do you support a party that is 90% pro.EU. Your blog is read generally by people of the same opinion (excluding PvL) the fully funded EU troll

    Join us in
    UKIP and make a real difference
    I voted Tory for 40 years but never again.

    Reply Most of my party agree with me about the EU. We want to win and need MPs in the Commons to do so. UKIP just makes that more difficult.

    • stred
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      JR. Most of your party just voted to ditch Magna Carta and hand British citizens over to foreign courts, often run by ex-communists and, if Eural Cameron had his way, in far away places where political prisoners were boiled rather than tried by jury. They would not even let you have a debate or vote on the subject.

    • bigneil
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply – Of course you want to win – but after four and a half years of false promises and outright blatant lies why should anyone trust your party? Every time, there is some weasel word excuse given out by your party John, to “explain” why your party is not to blame for no follow through of pledges and promises. You blame UKIP for making it difficult – yet in the real world UKIP are there BECAUSE of what you have done. You still don’t seem to realise how angry people are about the waste of taxes, the mass unwanted immigration ( STILL piling in at thousands a month ), Millions in foreign aid given away while we have English people at foodbanks. People here being made homeless while a non-stop queue of East Europeans take a relative fortune in non-contributed benefits back to their homeland. The rest of the world being free to walk in and have all the healthcare they want. The absolute stupidity of any criminal being able to come here for a free life and we can’t deport them. Any non-EU person marrying an EU person gets the right to come here and get everything free – -all this has to be paid for, and not just financially. Terrorists allowed to walk the streets screaming for us to be slaughtered – while at the same time they live off our taxes.

      If you can’t see what is wrong and why people are angry John then should any of you still be in the job?

      • Davem
        Posted January 2, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        Spot on bigneil. I have had similar rants here before, but unfortunately, even if I stood on Parliament Square and said the same through a PA system:

        1. The sound wouldn’t break through the Westminster bubble, and more likely,

        2. I’d be arrested for exercising my Freedom of Speech.

    • DaveM
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      To Reply – but your front bench is killing you, your party, and your colleagues’ good intentions.

      Your post is exactly right, and we all know this. Except maybe “[European countries] … no longer assert rights over each other’s territory” – some areas of Spain might dispute that. The NE of France’s arrangement will never be satisfactory to many. In fact some areas of the UK might dispute that!!!

      I don’t understand why many politicians do not respect history. History happens because of the nature of the people, and it is in our nature, as an island race, to be independent. That will never change. And contrary to what many on the left may think, the non-anglo-saxon/celtic immigrants who come here also develop the same island mentality after a very short time.

      I think our arguments will be moot anyway. I think the EU is on the cusp of disintegrating from the south up.

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Sorry JR, where it counts in the voting lobby, most of your party most definitely do not agree with you. Most Conservatives vote in a Europhile manner as they know it is the best way to ‘get on’ in the party as they have long since jettisoned principle or reason.

      http://www.brugesgroup.com/mpwatch/index.live

      Mr Heseltine was on radio 4 recently saying much the same thing about Mrs Thatcher. She would say favourable things to the sceptic element of her party but more often than not, with a little arm twisting, sign up to whatever treaty or obligation the Eu proposed.

    • agricola
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply

      With the greatest respect John, most of your party do not act as if they agree with you over the EU. If they did they would have long ago had CMD in front of the headmasters desk for a good dressing down and instructions to start acting and sounding like a Conservative. The disaffected conservative electorate are not acting out of spite. They are responding to someone who can voice their views. It would seem to me that the H o C conservative MPs are so in awe of the Prime Minister that they cower in a corner. You and the other like minded 100 have allowed yourselves to be defined as rebels and beyond the pale. If the other 200 showed the mettle you attribute to them we might make progress.

    • agricola
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply

      I rather hope that many more UKIP MPs will give your point of view a fair chance of success after May but I make no predictions.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted January 4, 2015 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      No, Ukip do not make it more difficult. Cameron and his policies have made it so!

  9. David Cockburn
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    There is another way of looking at our political history which is to say that our policy has, for at least 600 years, been to ally ourselves with the second most threatening power against the most threatening to our trade and liberties.
    In the 60s Ted Heath and others were exercised about the dominance of the US, understandably given their wartime experience, so they allied with the EU. Now it is the EU which represents the biggest threat. With whom should be ally ourselves?

  10. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    In the past we had natural boundaries in the seas which surround us .This physical delineation of the land we occupy is helpful with physical invasion if we are allowed to keep those who would wish to abuse us or harm us out of the country.Yet this is not so.We have clans of other peoples entering the Countries in small groups who recollect to form bigger groups who are hostile to the British. We also have the world wide web which allows bad as well as much good communication.Churchill would not have allowed this short sighted approach to securing our independence and out of the control of despots.

  11. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    John mate its our relationship with America that has cost us blood and treasure with regard to unnecessary foreign wars. I seem to remember Schroder and Chirac saw through Rumsfeld’s BS with regard to Saddam having “gallons of anthrax” and “missiles that can hit the sovereign bases in Cyprus in 45 minutes”. While can someone explain why we went into Afghanistan? bin Laden was not there and if had something to do with education for girls and beheadings why are we not paying (other ME countries ) a visit? You cannot blame it all on Blair either. Dave was champing at the bit to get stuck into Syria too. Fortunately the chappies at Porton Down were listened to iwth their explanation that the Syrian army did not use that type of sarin.

    Remember its the metropolitan elite you should be gunning for not the Brussels one. The decision to open the UKs borders to absolutely anybody was a British one. Westminster had full sovereignty over creating an over bloated welfare state. While there was no regulator in Brussels which let the banks run wild, then demanded that HMG put billions aside to bail them out and then let them increase their exposure to derivatives thereafter. Sorry John but you and UKIP atre barking up the wrong tree.

    • BranE
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Quite agree with you, Dame Rita. 40 odd years ago I voted against joining the EU, not because I was anti-Europe but because I feared that it was just another layer of unecessary bureaucracy. Now I am reluctant to leave, not because I like its present form, but because I believe that, when the scales fall from our eyes about the very malign and corrupt influence of the US on recent world affairs, Europe may eventually prove to be our only hope of rescuing ourselves from its deadly embrace. Certainly I have absolutely no expectation of anyone in our present government or in a potential Labour one ever acting in our own best interests rather than simply doing what their masters in the States tell them.

      • DaveM
        Posted January 2, 2015 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        As I have said before, I would rather be small, proud and independent than part of ANY political alliance. This country is more than capable of holding its own anywhere, provided the infrastructure is right and we have the right people in charge.

      • Dame Rita Webb
        Posted January 2, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        I know for definite Dame Lucy’s “leaks” are works of complete fiction. As a europhile she certainly does not work in the FCO or MOD. Its more than a coincidence that our biggest embassies are in Kabul and Washington. It was no suprise to me either that Mr Snowden revelations showed just how much our spies are entwined with America’s. For many years in the RNR it was constantly rammed into me that we provide the brains and the Americans provide the brawn. She probably also does not work in the Treasury either, judging from their efforts with the Bank of England to prop up the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

    • Martyn G
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      I agree – much of what has happened is because in no other EU nation does ‘the establishment’ take a 10-page EU Directive and turn it into 40+ pages of national legislation, often so complex or turgid that other than a few politicians such as our host with wide experience of the real world actually read and understand it. Far too many MP’s fail to read what they are about to put into Law or understand the underlying implications on the public of doing so.
      Of course some of what emerges from the EU establishment is utter nonsense e.g. straight bananas, water cannot be classified as a healthy drink and so on but nonetheless I do think that our establishment civil service mandarins and advisers, coupled with the ineptitude of many politicians, are the root cause of much of our discontent and problems.

  12. agricola
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the history lesson. The danger is not in European countries joining together to create a more harmonious trading entity or eventually a political one. The damnation should fall on the heads of their politicians who could not wait for the evolution of a roughly balanced economic entity, they had to have it today. In doing so with their teetering common currency and without the consent of the people of Europe they have created a monster.

    They have abandoned democracy, and control by dictat. The process has impoverished a vast swathe of their member states. Greece close to leaving, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland are all merely existing. I hate to think what the real situation is in the ex communist states of eastern Europe. These countries are merely existing and have no prospect of doing otherwise for many years.

    Most of these countries thought it was wonderful and continued to do so as long as they were net recipients of the largesse of their northern neighbours. Now reality has arrived, those neighbours can no longer afford them, nor do those countries have any real control of their economies. The result, vast swathes of unemployment and population movement, none of which is sustainable long term.

    I hope, for the sake of the peoples of largely southern Europe that it breaks apart and a new reality takes it’s place. The people of Europe deserve better.

    • formula57
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Although agricola reasonably says “…with their teetering common currency and without the consent of the people of Europe they have created a monster” I am very much less sure of the applicability of the closing assertion “The people of Europe deserve better”.

      In truth, the people of Europe (or more particularly the Eurozone) have shown a passivity akin to recklessness in accepting their miserable fate at the hands of the new evil empire and seem to do so willingly through holding the fond and naïve belief that Euro membership somehow preserves the rectitude of their own national bodies politic whereas in truth the Euro is corroding them.

      Greece, that has more reason than others to baulk at the hand it is forced to play, saw the rise of Syriza (a commendable development) but its leadership in a timorous, shameful volte face now wishes to keep the Euro and so the people, who do not seem to mind, have had their most potent prospective lifeline cut. At lesser extremes, the same passive, docile, acceptance of the morally repugnant policies of the EU and ECB is replicated across the Eurozone. Those people deserve what they allow to be imposed upon them and, in the spirit of a more thoughtful, self-interested pursuit of foreign policy by Britain as advocated here, we should avoid contriving to become some beacon of hope for the oppressed people of Europe. Let them pull their own chestnuts out of the fire, should they wish to try.

  13. Andyvan
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Odd then that the UK government has been so fanatical about supporting the US government in it’s catastrophic attempts at hegemony over the entire world. Given that most conflicts are started by America then separating from Washington is an absolute essential if we really want to be free of wars

  14. PayDirt
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Britain was against foreign despots, not against foreign countries as such. Wars against France etc only inasmuch as they were driven to mad schemes by autocrats. Now the EU is actually a democracy, though debatable how effective. It is there for the European Peoples to have a common voice, not a bad idea considering European history in total. How this EU system is governed and how it develops is crucial, it is up to the UK to guide it and not leave it to the dogs. We and the EU need the changes that hopefully will be renegotiated, eventually.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Of course the EU is not a democracy, and lacking a pan-European “demos” there is no way that it can become a democracy, and there should never have been any attempts to try to pretend that it could be.

  15. Mark B
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The Dutch pulled off an invasion by agreement with a substantial part of the British establishment.

    I mentioned elsewhere on this blog on the dangers of the ‘enemy from within’. So it is nice to have an historical precedence.

    The world is forever changing and we must change with it. Tied to the EU, we are unable to go our own way and do our own thing. We must always bow to the mantra of collective action with regard to the EU. So when the EU blames Russia and starts sanctions, we too must impose sanctions, whether we want to or not. How is that of any benefit ? It might benefit a small weak nation but, if say France and Germany have interests in a country, the historically act in unison, even at the expense of another EU member country. eg the Fiscal Pact.

    Yes it is good that European Continental countries no longer seek to settle matters through force of arms. But as we have seen in Ukraine, they need not to.

    The UK has trading links and ties with other parts of the world as least as strong as those on the continent. Why can’t we therefore have one foot in each camp ? An EFTA /EEA agreement is mush more to our needs than political union which is what the EU was, is and will be.

    The Conservatives will only deliver a referendum ‘if’ they get a majority. They won’t ! So no referendum. It is all a scam to reduce the damage the pending GE will do to them.

    Unlike some, I am not so easily fooled.

    • forthurst
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      “Yes it is good that European Continental countries no longer seek to settle matters through force of arms. But as we have seen in Ukraine, they need not to.”

      Is this intended as irony, or is the implication that external interference by US/NATO/EU in the internal affairs of a non-EU (the EU interferes continuously and catastrophically in all EU states) European state in order to initiate a coup d’etat or to provike a civil war is ok.

      It is unlikely that the puppet government in Kyiv will be allowed to back away from resuming the killing and maiming and destruction of buildings and infrastructure in Donbass, even if they wanted to; not, at any rate, whilst the neocons are pulling the strings in Washington. Such action no doubt would be cheered to the gunwales by US/EU/NATO puppets like CMD.

      The very existence of the EU, as it is presently constituted, is extremely damaging to the ability of individual European nation states with patriotic leaders (unfortunately, we do not have one) to speak out and to act boldly for what they know is right for their nation whatever putative string-pullers would want.

  16. rick hamilton
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I have no time whatsoever for the ideology of the late Anthony Wedgwood Benn, but he was dead right on one matter:

    “Why should voters obey EU laws when they are made by people they did not elect, who will not listen to them and whom they cannot get rid of ? “.

    The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta is a good time to be asking that question again.

    • Jagman84
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      The 19th June 2015 would be an excellent date to reaffirm Magna Carta by holding an EU membership referendum, seeing as we will have a majority Conservative Government by then. Or so Mr Redwood assures us.

      Reply I have made no predictions of who will win the election and do not intend to do so, as is my usual practice over an election where I am a candidate. The Conservative party is offering a referendum after negotiation. Labour and Lib Dems are not offering one at all. I do not know what UKIP and the Greens think about a 2015 referendum. I will predict that the next Parliament like the current one is unlikely to contain a majority for a 2015 In/Out referendum.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 2, 2015 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Or a 2017 referendum, of any kind.

  17. DaveM
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    I have no doubt that in the fullness of time Europe will go back to how it always has been. It is divided as it is for reasons of language, ethnicity, and closed economies which have developed to support themselves rather than other countries. What troubles me is that in this so-called UK “democracy”, the wishes of the majority are overridden by the ambitions of a few people who have lied their way to the top and who are almost untouchable. If, as you assert, the majority of your party is in disagreement with most of the policies being relentlessly pursued by your leadership, why haven’t you done anything about it? 60 million people can’t be held to ransom by a dozen out-of-touch politicians who are in the pay of a foreign power.

    The appetite for war is not present just now, but the ever-changing political attitudes inherent in Europe, and the shortening of memories as generations die out, may lead to more war in my grandchildrens’ time. The nature of the people hasn’t changed. We all thought medieval-style tyranny and brutality had gone forever…look east young man.

  18. bluedog
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    ‘While can someone explain why we went into Afghanistan?’ Afghanistan represents a potential land-bridge between China and Iran, having borders with both. A Western presence in Afghanistan denies China easy access to Iran and the energy resources of the Gulf.

    • DaveM
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Mmm. Have a look at the US plans to establish a pipeline through the Caucasus, bluedog. Also explains US reluctance to mediate in the Pak/Indian dispute and Russia’s over-reaction in South Ossetia. All very interesting, and straight from an American horse’s mouth (in Kabul in 2009 incidentally – with lots of documentary evidence). the US South Asian expansion plan was also detailed in a series of articles in the Asian Times but I couldn’t find it online last year when I was looking for it again.

  19. Bert Young
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Very good blog this morning . Those who ignore history and fail to make the present transparent to the past are ignorants .

    You are right to point out the dangers of bureaucracy . People who are in a centralised job have to justify they are doing something ; more often than not their ideas and subsequent activities do not represent the will of the electorate or those of their bosses . The consequences have a devastating effect on our day to day lives and it is difficult to correct things without some sort of political turmoil . The “bosses” become protective and , normally , defend their position . There is only one solution and that is to avoid it in the first place .

    The EU is rife with bureaucrats enjoying high salaries and pensions . Centralised activities are devoid of front line experience or knowledge of the consequences in real life . I have witnessed many idiotic schemes that have resulted in exploitation and without any means of recourse when such schemes come unstuck . I am sure that the discoveries I made can be multiplied many times by other responders . The biggest fault line is in the application of the Common Agricultural Policy .

    Brexit please ! .

  20. Atlas
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    John, I worry that the EU has already developed a ‘life of its own’ – emergent properties anyone? – for you of a complexity theory bent.

    I also worry about the Eastern border to the EU – the Russian Bear has come out of his hibernation – with a sore head it seems.

  21. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    As long as I have been on this blogsite John many bloggers have said that they want article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty invoked . To me this is a fairly straight forward article which works in accordance with article 218 and has a clause in article 49 which says any nation can rejoin.There is not written permanance in anything.So the answer lies withthe public and the political masters of our country.Cameron has given assurances publically that he will address the problems of growing integration, Miliband has not, so whether we trust Cameron or not he is the only possible chance of getting a renewed relationship. We are told that a new relationship is not up to us as a nation , but up to the EU and we must fall in democratically ; this is precisely the problem. It is one of lump it or like it.

  22. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Its between wars that the fools (abundantly) arise…certainly get that feel now. Trouble is nothings done that positively negates it prior to disaster. We saw Hitler rise and…nothing. I certainly did not see the EU rise because the Common Market was the camouflage. What is it this month…cool/cold coffee?

    What did George Galloway say…God Damn you Blair !! Don’t think its limited to just that either.

    Don’t know how any politicians can talk our way out of this mess…just don’t ! Anyway, the talking seems to be over with NATO strutting about, and its all too quiet now that they have deployed.

  23. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Taking the long view I expect the EU will fragment and break apart just as many such artificially-created alliances of separate nation states have in the past (The Soviet Union, Yugoslavia etc.). The question only is when that will happen. The establishment in the UK is so pro-EU that this break-up is not likely to be driven by UK, some event in another EU country will trigger the breakdown, for example the election of an extreme anti-EU government in a major member state (France ? Holland ?), the descent into economic anarchy of a smaller state (Greece ?) or external pressure on a member state by another country (Russia on a Baltic State ?) which splits the EU in deciding a response. At that point UK may be forced through circumstances to leave.

    • DaveM
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      Southern Europe will break it, Roy – the Italians have had enough of open borders and the Greeks will soon be rebelling against their German banker masters. The problem is, the idiotic EUrocrats think that bits of paper and foolish old judges in Strasbourg are more powerful than the passions and requirements of the European peoples.

  24. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    “There is danger in the EU developing an aggressive state personality of its own…”

    It’s noteworthy how certain accumulations of Power appear to develop a personality of their own like the sci-fi movie where a computer became “self-aware” and decided on termination of the human race. A turn of phrase too as with “The Dow is trying to reach new highs ”

    I feel Mr and Mrs Germany and Family are behaving quite properly in our neighbourhood. I do not hear or know their conversations in the intimacy of their home when they reflect on family history: the defeat in this fight then the next, the withdrawal from here and there: the loss of markets for their goods as stronger neighbours stepped in. They do seem to have the stoicism of Marcus Aurelius, but without his empire.

    I think we should assert our independence as the law of committees shows a member can go on for an age without ever obtaining just what he wishes, wants or needs and his personality, his very life, becomes meaningless in an inappropriately enlarged commonweal.

    But we should be aware and on guard, that Time is relative. ” A week is a long time in politics ” yet, A hundred years is a short time in geo-politics. Out their still be dragons.

  25. Jagman84
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    “The Dutch pulled off an invasion by agreement with a substantial part of the British establishment”. Is that not how we have reached our current relationship with regard to the EU? Sold out by the very people entrusted with protecting our best interests. You can understand why the death penalty was removed for treason, in 1997.

  26. Shieldsman
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    One must bear in mind that a majority Conservative government does not guarantee a 2017 EU referendum. It requires a Referendum Bill passed by both Houses at Westminster.
    Take a look at the numbers for and against in last years attempts to get a Referendum Bill on the Statute book. The Conservatives have too many pro-EU MP’s of Kenneth Clarke’s ilk who will vote against the Bill.
    As recently as October Clarke was quoted in the Guardian: “Ignore the daft ambitions of people whose main interest is just getting out of Europe. Let’s look after Britain in the modern world, keep us a modern economy. That means … have proper controls, don’t do things which will damage your economy. We must get back some common sense. I think people have always wanted immigration to be controlled.”
    Here like Cameron and Miliband he shows ignorance of the Lisbon Treaty and the freedom of movement directive. A change would require a Treaty change with the approval of the other 27 member states.
    With a leadership declaring for EU membership and a soubriquet of ‘dodgy Dave’, I could not possibly vote Conservative.
    If the Conservatives did manage a marginal majority, the only hope would be – with sufficient UKIP support to push for Article 50.

  27. paul rivers
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I expect history will show that the EU’s institutions have peaked in their importance and the euro crisis must result in some sort of restructuring of arrangements I do not have great confidence in our politicians ability to influence and negotiate , but surely it is in our national interests to play a role in the restructuring which must occur. Only the UK and France have any real military capability in Europe and the UK accounts for 25% of EU exports ( if we were to leave), combined with our other strengths we should be in a strong position to influence outcomes in the UK’s favour. Ultimately economics and demographics count in the EU and it is mostly failing while the UK is in a much healthier position to help forge a better relationship while remaining engaged.

  28. Ray Warman
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Excellent summation young man, but what happens when we are out of the EU and doing well in the World with a lot of our Commonwealth ties reinforced.
    France and Germany, after bearing the burden of the collapsing edifice of stupidity, decide that they want what we have and start threatening gestures?
    I want out of this extremely expensive club too but this must also be taken into consideration, do you not think?

    • DaveM
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      As a member of the military (if that it what you are referring to) I’m not hugely concerned about France and Germany being threatening.

  29. alan jutson
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I hope someone in the Conservative Party, other than yourself, reads the comments today John.

    The strength of feeling against the EU and Immigration is growing out here (outside the Westminster bubble).

    No, we are not all nutters, racists, Nationalists, little Englanders, or even UKIP supporters, we simply want our Country back and our Politicians (who we elect) to be in charge of our own affairs.

    Any leader or Party who ignores what has been the silent (up until now) majority, will pay for it in lost votes.
    Any leader or Party that acknowledges the situation, will gain votes.

    Simples.

  30. DaveM
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    Call me naïve if you wish, but;

    Ignoring the conspiracy theories, opinion polls, party loyalty/splits, and everything else that sways our thinking, the situation is quite clearly that the public is generally dissatisfied with the status quo and is crying out for a modern, sensible, intelligent and strong political class which will stop squabbling and grip the situation, making the UK strong again. So, is there any reason why publishing something like the following wouldn’t win an election?

    1. We will offer an in/out referendum on EU membership. We will not lie about anything, and we will abide by the result. If you vote “IN” the following will happen (link to PDF), if you vote “OUT” the following will happen (link to PDF).

    2. We recognise the need for constitutional change in light of the Scottish referendum, providing fair and equal devolution to all the home nations, and will look at the Cornish issue as well. This is our plan (link to PDF).

    3. The management of the NHS will be addressed by experts. This is the plan (link to PDF).

    4. This is the plan for the continued recovery of the economy (link to PDF).

    5. We will make no more cuts to the Armed Forces.

    6. We will ensure the police have sufficient manpower and POWERS to keep our streets safe, and we will do away with the ECHR and EAW, thus allowing us to dish out justice in line with common law and common sense and ethics.

    7. We will implement a sensible and low-cost energy policy, and put our brightest people to work looking for a real solution for renewable energy.

    8. We will employ sensible, experienced, and apolitical people to ensure our education system, universities, training, and apprenticeship schemes are the best in the world.

    9. We will put some real work into the transport, welfare, and housing issues currently facing the country (link to PDFs).

    10. We are committed to overseas aid, but we will consider every penny we give away – you can read why we are giving it away and follow the money here (link to website).

    11. As we have filled the HoL with lots and lots of clever and experienced business people, we are actually going to use them to address the (abovementioned) problems.

    12. Ultimately, we need 10 years to sort out this country, and if you give us those 10 years, this is what it will look like in 2025…..If you don’t like it, vote for someone else.

    To summarise, if you lay these plans out for all to see, you will surely have the support of all the relevant “Blue” media, and will have no need to waste time doing down LabLib (or even arguing with them) because they will have no answer. Hell, you might even get Mr Farage to stand on Hyde Park Corner and say “if you were going to vote UKIP, don’t – vote for the Conservatives”.

    I think I’m right – either that, or I’m in a minority of one, I totally misunderstand everything, and should move abroad and weep for the death of my beloved England.

    Reply The devil is in the detail which you do not supply. Politics within parties and within the Commons is about building support for positions so you have the votes to achieve them. There is a continuous noise of lobbying from all sides. If it were as easy as you suggest someone would have done that by now.

    • DaveM
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      No, it’s not my job to supply it, that’s down to the parties who want my vote!

      There is currently no position as far as most of us can see (aside from doing what Merkel tells us and paying out billions for foreigners and immigrants), and nothing seems to happen, that’s the problem. And I don’t believe it’s NOT as easy as I suggest – I’m not suggesting every single detail is laid out, because external dynamics have an effect. What I’m suggesting is that your party produces a vision for the future and an outline of the road to it, because most people don’t see much to be optimistic about.

  31. William Gruff
    Posted January 3, 2015 at 3:03 am | Permalink

    For much of the last millennium UK policy …

    For ‘much’ read less than the last third of?

    For most of the last millennium there was no ‘U’K and one part of what is now a very far from united kingdom made a frequent practice of siding with whatever foreign power was attempting to bring England under its sway. Let’s not forget that (they remember every little fancied slight and injury north of the border, while forgetting, if not actually denying, the numerous insults and injuries they done us).

  32. F.Cunctator
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    There is no EU. There exists a finite number of unelected people known as “Commissioners” for this that and the other. These peole have managed to bring into being a body of legislation , stupidly accepted by the Governments of National States. This legislation has become a body requiring ‘expertise’, only available among the Commissioners who promulgate it. An interesting analogy has been the setting up of the subject of Education in our Universities by just such a method and the wholesale take over of education in the country by the self appointed experts.
    The EU, in so far as it exists, is run not by democratic means. The whole thing is run by the overarching self-created Nomenklatura. They are using Europe as a power playground to satisfy their own warped political utopian ideas based on what philosophy no one is exactly sure. They are like the Chicago gangs in the twenties and thirties, but on a larger and much more self-satisfied scale; the problem is their is only one gang.

    Reply: On the contrary, there is a complex Treaty based structure from member states which has created all the main institutions of an EU state, including its own courts and law making abilities. IT is all both entirely legal and very real. The issue for us is do we wish to stay in?

  • 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.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page