What do you like and dislike about the EU?

Amidst all the arguments about the EU in the UK there is rarely much attention to what the EU really does and what people like or dilike about it. All we hear is from people who like trade who wrongly claim our trade is dependent on EU membership, when we can see many non EU members trading very successfully with the EU. So I am offering people for and against to tell us what they like and dislike about the EU.

I will start this debate by explaining the things I most dislike about the EU.
1. Its unqualified support for the Ukrainian government, which has been busy killing some of its citizens as its response to losing control of the east of its country. The rebals have resorted to violence, but the government kills too many with some of its indiscriminate violence.
2. The mass unemployment, particularly of young people, which EU policies have created in several countries. I think the disinterest in the consequences of the Euro for young people in Spain, Greece and elsewhere is a moral outrage. 50% youth unemployment is not a price worth paying for their integrationist dream
3. Dear energy. The EU’s crazy energy policies have driven more people into fuel poverty, as Labour calls it, and have driven many industrial businesses with their jobs out of the EU altogether.
4. The lack of democracy. There is no effective opposition to new proposals and laws in the EU – they proceed by cosy consensus, with the unelected Commission initiating and drafting the laws. The laws should be initiated by the elected Parliament, and vigorously opposed by parties and individuals there.
5. The lack of democracy in my country that flows from the way EU rules and laws accepted by one government cannot be repealed by a new government after an election. The EU has gravely damaged our democracy, especially because one Parliament does now bind future Parliaments if it accepts EU laws.
6.The overweening arrogance of the EU, poking its nose into all too many features and facets of our lives for no good reason.
7. The high cost of government in the EU, with too large a financial contribution placed on the UK.
8. The lack of control over our borders.

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116 Comments

  1. Brian Taylor
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    I agree with all your list and would add,
    The cost of The CAP on our food bills
    The loss of control of the Fisheries around our coast
    I agree with Winston Churchhill if we have to choose between the EU or the seawe must choose the Sea!!!!!

  2. Mark B
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    There is only one thing I dislike about the EU. And that is, our commitment to EVER CLOSER UNION. Remove that from the treaties, and I’d be happy.

    😉

    • oldtimer
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      There also needs to be a roll back of powers already ceded. Stopping where we are now is not enough.

  3. formula57
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Aside from the view that the elites in control of the EU do not want to relinquish their power to a democracy, as explained by Yanis Varoufakis (Professor of Economics at the University of Athens and a close advisor to Syriza, the new Greek government we expect after today), my overarching dislike is that I do not see how the EU can ever meld the disparate cultures into a union within which the UK (and doubtless others too) could be content. Were there to be even fair prospects for success, it might be an experiment worth pursuing. Meanwhile, great harm is inflicted by the EU which, as you say, is a moral outrage.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Indeed all those plus the over regulation of almost everything, the absurdly complex VAT system, the idiotic distortions of the market like the gender neutral insurance & annuities nonsense. CAP, common fishing policy, the restrictions/tariffs on some worldwide trade & much of the OTT health and safety nonsense. The break up of the UK into regions and with perhaps more to come is also a result of the EU. The complete lack of any real democracy or even a sensible demos within the EU and the endless proliferation of more and more expensive levels of government which does do much to render the EU uncompetitive in world terms and destroys jobs and growth.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Indeed is there anything much that EU has actually improved for UK citizens at all? Certainly we are far poorer as a direct result of having to accept open door immigration rather than selective points based immigration. Far poorer too due to the expensive energy religion, restrictive world trade and bloated incompetent government and the over regulation (and totally incompetent regulation) of almost everything from vacuum cleaners to say the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Regulations 2013, which are calculated to cost the economy £1.5billion a year with no benefit and the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004, which costs industry £41million also with no benefit whatsoever.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 26, 2015 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        You have had the vacuum cleaner one explained to you before have you forgotten? Watts consumed is not an indicator of suction in short. The consumer needs to be protected from this and so do you as you clearly do not understand.
        Over regulation and incompetent regulation is not something you understand as it is regulation as we can see with you comment on any regulation of hedge funds. As for immigration who will do your no minimum wage no rights jobs without an open door policy.
        Consultation of Employees Regulations. Employers have a duty to consult with their employees, or their representatives, on health and safety matters.
        Before the formation of the HSE there was 1300 death in British industry or about 3 a day no there is about 133. Is this the poor regulation you are talking about hedge funds to be allowed to do what they like as workers die?
        Your posts become more deluded and idiotic as you repeat the same unfounded nonsense based on any regulation being bad. Except banking which should be regulated, but not hedge funds in which the taxpayer should pay for any losses.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted January 28, 2015 at 8:28 am | Permalink

          Watts consumed is actually an “indication” of suction power (though clearly not a perfect one) as some are more efficient than others at the conversion. Fine if you want perhaps make them put suction power on the box or show efficiency ratings. This though clearly varies as the bags and filters block up anyway. A manufacturer would not want to put a higher power motor in but then run it inefficiently anyway as it would then cost more to manufacture.

          The reduction in death rates is not in the mainly due to the HSE but to better technology, better knowledge, fire detectors, electronic monitoring, more use of machinery and far better practices. Employers and employees hardly want to injure or kill themselves or other people. 1700 die on the roads every year so they must be excluding the many of those who were working at the time in the 133 figure. You are confusing coincidence with cause and effect.

          Who said the government should pay the losses of Hedge funds? Certainly I did not.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 28, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

            You just don’t give up do you? Many manufactures have been using higher power motors consuming more energy for less suction. Tests standardised to make the playing field level for all manufactures, so don’t try to muddy the waters with nonsense.
            The death rates for building sites, factories and shipyards have fell due to advances in technology? really? Most are due to falls, crushing, electrocution or overriding of safety mechanisms or practices leading to such events. They also include diseases incurred during work such as asbestosis cancers unequivocally linked to some chemicals and metals. Education, regulation and penalties are the main reason not technology and goodwill. You clearly have never worked in these areas and stabbing yourself with a pencil in the office is not the same level of risk.
            Again you try to obfuscate and confuse the issue by combining road deaths with deaths in industry which is also a problem and these figures and can be found out along with each industry, but fatal accidents involving workers travelling on a public highway (a ‘road traffic accident’). Such incidents are enforced by the police and reported
            to the Department for Transport. Likewise fatal accidents involving workers travelling by air or sea; these incidents are the responsibility of the Air and Marine Accident Investigation Branches of the Department for Transport, and reported accordingly.
            No banking regulation unless it effects you is what you mean.
            It would be holding back wealth creation of course. Like Heath and safety, workers rights and minimum pay levels do.

  5. Rita Webb
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    What do I dislike about the UK?

    1. Its unqualified support for the US government e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan and given the chance Syria.

    2. The mass unemployment, particularly of young people. Compare the youth unemployment rates of the UK and Germany. Where else in the EU do kids carry such huge amounts of student debt?

    3. So its somebody from Brussels and not Westminster that is forcing the erection of windmills and solar farms all over Cumbria?

    4 & 5. The lack of democracy. Whats the point of voting if all three main parties have essentially the same economic plan? That is of course that you have not been locked out the polling station in the first place.

    6 The overweening arrogance of HMG, poking its nose into all too many features and facets of our lives for no good reason. Whats GCHQ up to at the minute?

    7. The high cost of government in the UK. Nearly HALF of my wages disappear in various taxes, usually to provide free money to other people.

    8. The borders still being left wide open to anyone from outside the EU who makes his way out of Sangatte.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      “HALF of my wages disappear in various taxes” Are you sure only nearly half? You are getting off lightly?

      NI employers and employees circa 23%, income tax 20-45%, vat 20%, council tax, CGT 28%, vehicle tax, stamp duty up 12%, alcohol duty up to 60%, fuel duty circa 60%, insurance premium tax 6%-20% and when the grim reaper finally arrives another 40% of your total assets. You might well find they take nearer 60-90% of you potential assets over your lifetime.

      While of course (& on top of all this tax) depressing wages and efficiency due to the bloated and largely incompetent government, open door unselective immigration and huge misguided over regulation.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Once again Dame Rita you cite your beloved Germany as an example without bothering to check your facts.

      Youth unemployment in UK is LOWER than youth unemployment in Germany. The UK has the lowest unemployment rate in Europe. I agree with you on the student debt issue however once again you failed to check. Until last year Germany also charged students internally tuition fees and in fact Lower Saxony still does although thats due to end in 2016.

      Totally agree with your points 4,5,6,7 & 8

      • Rita Webb
        Posted January 25, 2015 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        Proof please from a recognised source, once again your “expertise” in employment matters appears to be lacking

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted January 25, 2015 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        Libertarian – are NEETs and interns not included in unemployment figures ?

        What about compulsory education to 18 whether suitable for a person or not ?

        What about those (50%) at university nowadays ? Not earning and amassing huge debts.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      It is reported to day in the Telegraph that student loan now may cost over £100K to repay. This when many graduates many well only earn £1M or less in take home pay over their entire working lives, so it may well take over 10% of this.

      From the remaining £900K they also need to provide for a pension, get to and from work, bring up a family, provide accommodation for their family, eat, keep warm, bring up children etc. for say 40-70 years. Anyway such a high proportion of UK degrees are almost totally valueless. Nearly all of them at some Universities.

      • Bazman
        Posted February 1, 2015 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        You want road tolls and private healthcare too?
        Do you think most will be able to afford the fees or do you not care if they cannot?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Of course this may not matter to the 50% of so who will never repay the loan especially the EU students. Better value for women in general who are rather more likely to take career breaks.

  6. matthu
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    I hate most the deliberate deceit of successive UK governments over many years in leading the country down the path towards ever closer union while doing everything possible to avoid open debate or a referendum about what the end-game is, the complicity of the media in suppressing debate about the EU, about immigration or about the “settled science” of climate change which allows the EU to impose a higher cost of energy on all of us, and the infiltration of pro-EU elitists into so many charities, media organisations including the BBC, non-government organisations, the civil service and the House of Lords.

    • Timaction
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      I agree with your comments. The legacy parties have lied to the British public for over 40 years on their true intentions of creating a United States of Europe by stealthy incremental Treaty change. Ever closer Union anyone?
      We should have some show trials for treason of those primarily responsible, so it could never happen again.
      What’s to like about an unelected dictatorship? Friendship, limited cooperation and trade is all we need. A lone voice out of 28 is not accountable sovereign democracy!
      The costs of our membership are extreme:
      1. Loss of our democracy. Having no mechanism to remove unelected tyrannical EU Commissioners/President or their imposed laws. Passed through by a non accountable EU Parliament and rubber stamped by Westminster.
      2. Net costs of £14.5 billions and rising for a £77 billion annual trade deficit. We don’t have to be in it to trade within it. Ask China, USA, Japan etc.
      3. Regulatory costs to our businesses. These run into the billions for SME’s yet only 8% (and falling) of our trade/GDP is dependent on the Euro area. The CBI receives funding from the EU as does the BBC. Propaganda anyone?
      4. Free movement of people harming our heritage, culture and way of life. Billions more in health, education, in and out of work benefits, child allowances.
      5. Overcrowding, congestion and building on pour beautiful greenbelt to accommodate 4 million EU residents. 100,000’s who are claiming benefits here whilst 30,000 Brits in the EU. In Poland less than 10 people!
      6. Increasing financial regulation of the City of London and interference by the EU. (Investment banks ed)(Pro-EU) also (helped? ed)Greece into the EU whilst Greece hid its true financial position to gain entry!
      7. Common Agricultural Policy supporting uneconomic farming in France and elsewhere. Costing us billions in additional food costs and restricting trade from outside the EU. Blair gave up a big proportion of our rebate for alleged reform that has NOT taken place.
      8. Fishing Policy costing us billions in lost revenues and 400,000 jobs. What a deal that was by our legacy parties. Giving up our fishing industry to foreign control for what?
      9. No means of negotiating our trade deals with the rest of the world? As the 5th largest economy this is mind blowing stupidity by our politicos.
      I could go on and on as there are no benefits other than pensions and non jobs for political has beens.

  7. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,
    Assuming that tomorrow you are going to list all the things that you like about the EU ( 🙂 ) let me join the dislikes:
    1 – I dislike the huge (youth) unemployment in parts of the EU
    2 – I dislike there being too much power with large business and financial sector lobbies.

    I’m sorry not to participate in further debate, today is just a bit too busy. Without my further help, I’m sure that enough dislikes will be found.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      “list all the things that you like about the EU” are there any things that could not better be achieved by mutual agreements between the counties, without any EU?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      I rather like the fact that they do not have capital punishment, but then you certainly do not need the EU for that. Indeed you do not need the EU for anything at all.

      All you need is free trade, mutual cooperation between democratic & sovereign countries and a sensible UK based democratic government.

    • petermartin2001
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      PeterVW,

      I fear there may be a short list of “likes” but I’ll give you one to start it off.

      1) The relatively free movement of people across borders. The ability to retire to wherever we like and work wherever we like.

      Having said that, there cannot be totally free movement. There needs to be approximate reciprocity. Any one country experiencing a large imbalance should have the right to regulate immigration in ways it deems appropriate to its economic and other circumstances.

      There also needs to be some control to prevent the free movement of criminals. Those guilty of violent crimes, drug trafficking, people trafficking etc should not be entitled to free movement. Those guilty of committing serious crimes within a certain period of time after migration , say 5 years, should be liable to be deported after completion of their sentence at the host country’s discretion.

      • petermartin2001
        Posted January 25, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        Should be Peter VL ! Sorry for the typo!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 25, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        People have alway been able to retire to most places in the World if they have the money. It is hardly something the EU has brought about.

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    What do I like about the EU, I can think of almost nothing? I do like Europe greatly but the EU and bloated, incompetent and totally misguided government, at every level is bringing it to its knees. The very many good things about Europe are all despite the EU & certainly not due to it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      One think they could do rather better than they have done is stop the rip off data and mobile phone roaming rates across the EU and the constant need to swap SIM cards and phone numbers all the time. They do not even seem to be able to do this competently.

      • zorro
        Posted January 25, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        It’s getting better. I am currently being charged £11.02 pcn for 10GB data on a MiFi device which I bought in the UK (free). I can use that in multiple foreign destinations and it comes off my UKK allowance without any extra charges which is great. We just need to see that more consistently with phone/text data 9although I know that there are some options available).

        zorro

      • Bazman
        Posted January 26, 2015 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        That would be absurd regulation. If they are to expensive people will not use their phones and prices will fall due to competition. Just like rents do with property.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted January 28, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

          For competition to work you need to make the comparison process simple. Confusion marketing and restrictive practices and rip off tricks the telecoms industry (insurance, energy and other industries) use do need to be addressed.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 28, 2015 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

            Comparison site are able to do this effectively and the restrictive practices are their own. Why should they not be allowed to run a cartel if this allows them to make the most profits? Don’t use their services if you don’t like it.
            If you don’t want to rent a certain property then do not look elsewhere. Its a free market…

  9. David Cockburn
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    My objection is historical.
    Back when the Pope was in Avignon, his huge new palace was largely paid for by taxes on places like England. It took us 400 years to break away from the control of the continent. They spent the next 500 years trying to re-assert that control while we resisted Spain, Holland (agreed takeover), France and Germany.
    Now a combined effort by France and Germany has largely succeeded in re-asserting that control and it appears we don’t like it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      And now the Pope want to punch us in the face should we want to say what we might be thinking.

      “It’s normal. One cannot provoke. One cannot insult the faith of others. One cannot make fun of faith.” he went on to say.

      Why should rational and true opinions be open to criticism but not belief systems. It will not be long before we will legally prevented from pointing out that the hugely exaggerated, anth. global warming claims have no valid science behind them.

      • Man of Kent
        Posted January 25, 2015 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        Not only legally prevented ;but subject to a EAW .
        [ Equivalent to extraordinary rendition?] if we venture such an opinion while on holiday in say Romania/Bulgaria.

        We have been told before that the EAW is necessary to combat terrorism, it’s not a big step before it is used to enforce groupthink throughout Europe.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      David

      I think you will find that our enemy this time, was a bit more closer to home.

  10. rick hamilton
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Agree with your entire list, plus –

    Dislike:

    Napoleonic law versus our Common law and system of precedent.

    Destruction of our fishing industry by allowing all comers to catch in our waters.

    Ignoring their own laws when it suits them (Euro bail outs) but enforcing every
    other rule however stupid.

    Expensive, unnecessary diplomatic service and its blundering uselessness (Ashton, Ukraine).

    Massive waste of money everywhere, especially promoting the EU itself,
    moving parliament Brussels to Strasbourg every month, no attempt to be frugal when millions are unemployed, auditors cannot sign off accounts.

    Ignoring the wishes of voters in referendums time and again.

    Its structure mirrors the democracy-hating USSR (Commission = Politburo, Parliament= Supreme Soviet, Council of Ministers = Council of Ministers).

    It is a socialist construct through and through, mostly for the benefit of political and bureaucratic true believers who think they are ‘elite’.

    Like:

    Being part of a trading bloc which has more international clout than any one country.

    The fact that we could still be in the single market and out of the political trap if only our ‘leaders’ had the guts to do so.

  11. Old Albion
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    It’s simple really JR;
    I dislike my country being removed from the map of Europe by unelected eurocrats.
    I dislike the (dis)UK elected Government being reduced to a puppet Gov.
    I dislike the EU open borders and uncontrolled immigration policy that has brought intolerable strain upon every public service in England and caused unnecessarily high unemployment here. Particularly among our own young people.
    I dislike my taxes being paid to people who have never paid a penny into the pot here. With some of it being sent overseas to fund a relative ‘high-life’ in poorer countries.
    I dislike the constant meddling in every facet of our lives, by unelected eurocrats who want to turn us all into a homogonised Euro-race.
    I dislike the imposition of idiotic ‘green’ policies that have destroyed much of our manufacturing ability as well as massively raising the cost of energy.
    I dislike handing over £50m a day for the ‘privilege’ of my country being destroyed by idealogues.
    My father fought to protect our independance. My Grandfather died doing the same. The EU is gaining by stealth the very thing that could not be forced upon us by war.

    I like …………… absolutely nothing about the EU.

  12. Richard1
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    2 good things: 1) it assisted the fall of communism by being a beacon for liberal democracy for the oppressed peoples of Eastern Europe in the decades before 1989; 2) especially in the protectionist era of the postwar period the common market meant more and freeer trade than there would otherwise have been.

    And 2 bad things: 1) in a post communist / socialist world it is the last remaining bastion of big govt and high taxes as a ‘solution’; 2). It has been captured by the Green blob and threatens ruin through ridiculous expensive energy policies.

    In the UK we want the trade and the friendly political relations but not the big govt high tax interventionalism and not the green crap

    • Mark B
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      The fall of Communism had nothing to do with the EU. It was NATO and the US / UK position regarding that regime. The US simply out-spent the USSR on military and effectively bankrupted the country. STOP rewriting history, that’s what Socialists do !

      The EU did not open up trade. There is a thing called a Customs Union which puts tariffs on goods and services coming into the EU. It is this Customs Union which is destroying SME’s outside the EU and causing poverty, starvation and is a major contributor to MASS Immigration.

      The EU has not been taken over by anybody. It is NOT a trade block as you still seem to think its is. You are still in denial. It is a proto-federalist superstate in the making. If you have any love for your freedoms, democracy, rule of law and country, then you will have nothing to do with the EU.

      Your fake Euroscpeptasim serves you no good.

      • Richard1
        Posted January 25, 2015 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

        What a silly post. Of course the common market promoted trade within the EEC, although as you say it has external tarrif barriers. Get out a little and talk to people who lived in Eastern Europe under communism. Sensible eurosceptics – that is the ones who have some hope of winning the debate – recongise that there will be valid arguments on both sides, its a question of the balance of advantage.

  13. Eric
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    What I most dislike about the EU is British membership therein. No mandate was ever given by the British people. Next is the shameless and repetitious lying to which the British people have been subjected by politicians from all three of the main political parties. There seems scant point complaining about the “token” EU Parliarment and the deliterious affect of EU policies like the euro, when we are planning to resume independent self-government of these isles.

  14. Leslie Singleton
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    1) The divisions created: we would not have to be worrying about Scotland’s becoming independent had it not been for “Scotland in Europe” and such as Catalonia and Crimea; these divisions will only get worse.
    2) England, far and away the best country on Earth, no longer even appearing on a map.
    3) Immigrants unable to speak good English and knowing nothing of our History, Culture and Laws and never likely to because they didn’t go to School here.
    4) Unrelenting pressure on the NHS, Schools, Welfare, Roads and Housing and a lot else besides–I yesterday stood for an age in a long and growing queue in a country village Post Office because the man at the head had no English
    5) End of Habeas Corpus by reason of the European Arrest Warrant–a truly frightening development with 28 countries involved which would be bad enough if one had heard of the country involved
    6) Each and every country needing to approve Treaty change
    7) Inherent and increasing instability as Germany starts to decide it is time to stop feeling guilty
    8) The Continent’s unarguable animosity towards London as the World financial centre–nobody gives a toss about Frankfurt
    9) The idea that “one size fits all” when (socialists ed) like Hollande and this latest Greek gentleman, not to mention Miliband, can operate freely while others strive to act sensibly
    10) The extra layer of legal baloney and the resultant bizarre and highly foreign decisions–they can keep their homogenisation–that might make sense on the Continent but what has that to do with us?

  15. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Costs too much for what it is. No need for it anyway.
    Does not complete finance audits properly. Standard stuff anywhere.
    Financially incompetent. Constant calls for more money.
    Consists of too many people. MEPS and all hanger ons.
    Has a military arm. Why?

    What good does it do might be a question also. I have no idea really.

    Goldman Sachs, now there’s a thing. The piece about UK leaving the EU sounded to be a bit of a threat to me. They are responsible for quite some damage, so best to do the exact reverse of what they say. Greece looks to be about to?

  16. DaveM
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Your list is a good start.

    But the overriding things are:

    1. Lack of our own sovereignty and self determination.
    2. Enforcement of laws which do not suit the people of this country.
    3. Border control.

    To be honest, even if the EU was perfect in every way and made us all richer, prevented any kind of immigration, stopped all wars, stopped all illness, etc, the point is that I want my government to be comprised of UK citizens who make decisions and laws in the UK for the people of the UK with no outside influence whatsoever.

    I could live in the most luxurious mansion in the world and have all the money in the world etc, but if I had to do what a council of my neighbours told me (including giving them my money and letting every Tom Dick and Harry move in to my mansion if they wanted) I wouldn’t be happy. That’s what it’s all about.

    • DaveM
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      PS – contrary to what the EUphiles might say to my little contribution, that doesn’t mean I don’t like my neighbours or their houses, and it doesn’t mean I don’t want to sell them things and buy from them, I just don’t want to be told what to do by them!!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 25, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        Especially when most of the things they tell us to do are so patently daft!

  17. Liz
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    The lack of democracy isthe main defect in the EU – betraying our history but which politicians secretly love as they would not have given so many powers away (without permission) if they didn’t
    The CAP
    The Euro
    Open Borders
    Unaudited accounts
    The fisheries policy which has destroyed our own industry with the connivance of British Governemns – shameful
    The European Arrest Warrant. We should not have agreed to this without the safeguard of Habeas Corpus in EU countries.
    Dominance of Germany – something we spent the 20th century trying to stop
    There is in fact very l;ittle to like about it.
    Europeanism is just the latest political idea that Europe has produced after the failures of communism and fascism. European fanatics determined to tell other people how to live their lives even if it causes misery as in Greece,Spain etc.

  18. Douglas Carter
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I’m reminded of an apocryphal tale with regard to Stalin. He’d become convinced by a Scientist that crops could be ‘trained’ to grow even in the depths of winter – even when lying under layers of snow.

    Naturally, having become official Communist party policy, it was a required factor that these crops would now need to grow. That the ‘science’ was now accepted (and therefore ‘fact’) meant that a failure of the policy could be blamed on neither Stalin, nor the scientist, nor the policy itself.

    When the inevitable failures occurred, the farmers were blamed and horrific measures applied against their ‘Anti-Soviet activism and sabotage’.

    What I don’t like about the EU is that it is fuelled by the same dogmatic evangelism. It is a creature of the pipe-dream that the chattering classes thought up a century ago in the wholesale absence of the necessary facts underpinning their delusion – that the landmass of Europe was an obvious conglomeration of peoples who could be united under a single extremely simplistic – if not child-like – label of ‘European’. Nobody who has ever carried out anything in excess of marginal travel around Europe will know what nonsense that obviously is. When the ‘facts’ of the EU fail, it’s blamed on respective electorates and National Governments – no matter the platitudes and scraps rarely tossed from the Brussels table, there’s no real appetite for genuinely considering whether there’s something profoundly wrong with the project itself – if there’s a problem, it’s literally everyone else’s fault.

    We see the consequence today in Greece. Only a decade or so ago, for reasons of the same dogmatic evangelism, it was politically desirable for Greece to join the Single Currency. The ‘facts’ that they were unready to do any such thing just a tedious and disposable irrelevance. It was necessary for the Greek Government at the time to lie, the administration of the EU wanted them to lie, helped them to lie, were complicit in the lie, and encouraged other national Governments to endorse the lie. (As did, dutifully, the UK Government of the time in that).

    But the fallout is solely the fault of the Greeks? It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. If there was to be a single example of the unsuitability of the EU to exist, it would be that.

    What I do like about the EU is that it has shown with ruthless savagery the inadequacies and malign aspects of UK Democracy, in its weaknesses and in the capacity of all-too-many of its Politicians to act in profoundly anti-democratic methods.

  19. eeyore
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    I read that Athens is wreathed in wood smoke as desperate Greeks burn their own furniture to keep warm. Such is the mess that Europe’s politicians, ever keener on the theory than the practice, have got their continent into.

    What does pragmatic, practical England have in common with people who can do that?

  20. agricola
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the opportunity.

    Like.
    The idea that post WW2 nations that trade together are less likely to wage war on each other.
    At this point I think you should put maximum pressure on your leader to explain in detail what it is that he likes about the EU

    Dislike or more accurately appalled by.
    1. It has become a career opportunity for failed national politicians. I’m sure you know their names so I won’t offend you by mentioning but a few.

    2. The democratic deficit. The European Parliament has no power, it is mere window dressing.

    3. The EU decided to run as a political entity before it could crawl as a trading partnership.

    4. It is now a totalitarian dictatorship.

    5. It is a tool whereby national politicians are bribed for support. The EU has created nations of dependents.

    6. Euro strictures of one size fits all have led to unemployment on a massive scale and a wasted younger generation. You as an MP see it as a statistic, I see it as people begging outside supermarkets, career opportunities in directing motorists to free car parking, a marked increase in overt prostitution, and people selling oranges and lemons from abandoned orchards to restaurants . Pharmacists are regularly paid six months in arrears by the government. I suspect this is the tip of an iceberg in a very shaky economic situation. A black economy that grows daily.

    7. Insane dear energy due to misplaced green worship. Windmills are totems around which green advocates should be forced to dance naked for the amusement of those who pay the bills.

    8. The destruction of UK democracy. Government is hobbled and Parliament is just a cypher.

    9. The distortion of agricultural prices and consequent destruction of segments of that industry, and the UK’s inability to buy freely in the World marketplace.

    10. The rape of the UK fishing industry.

    11. Open and totally uncontrolled borders. We cannot specify who we might wish to come to the UK.

    12, The European Court of Human Rights, though strictly not an EU creation, but when combined with open borders does not prevent the influx but prevents the expulsion of professional criminals and terrorists.

    13. The EU’s complete lack of financial accountability. After twenty or so years no one is prepared to sign off their accounts. This suggests fraud and corruption on a massive scale.

    14. The astronomic cost at around £14 Billion and constantly rising, for what return.

    15. The EU’s practise of buying support even within our own broadcasting service.

    16. EU ambitions beyond it’s competence level, in being desirous of a foreign policy to which all member states should adhere and an ultimate toy of status in a European army. As Victor Meldrew stated “You could not believe it”.

    • agricola
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Can I add,

      17. The European Arrest Warrant which destroys the very basis of English Common Law and Habeas Corpus.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 25, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. Thanks again for that Cameron.

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    There’s nothing that I like about the EU. Occasionally there is some EU law or other EU action which happens to align with my own preference on that particular matter – if you keep rolling a pair of dice then eventually you will come up with a double six – but that doesn’t mean that I am in favour of it being done through the EU, or that I feel more favourably towards the EU as a consequences, or that I am moved in the slightest towards supporting our membership of that anti-democratic organisation.

  22. Mondeo Man
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood lists all of my dislikes for the EU.

    I can think of nothing that I actually like about it – though I LOVE Europe, have travelled it widely and gained many photos and great memories[ and my travels were undertaken long before the borders came down. I loved Europe enough to have studied one of its cultural aspects (music – from Spain, Germany and Italy) to almost fanatical levels.

    Perhaps Mr Van Leewen could explain to me what it is I am meant to love about the EU (and Europe now that it is being turned into a homogenised region) and let’s not include “the EU kept us from war” NATO did that.

    And whom might the EU have protected us from if that were the case ? Which country had explosively expansionist tendencies in the last century ?

  23. oldtimer
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    In addition to your list and the several additions added by other commentators:
    (1) the EU is inefficient, and out of control (not one set of its accounts have ever been approved as representing a true and fair view). Corruption is a characteristic of many of its programmes – olive oil anyone?
    (2) it shamelessly seeks to buy influence and manipulate public opinion by funding NGOs and other bodies to say things or promote causes it wants to further, using the taxes paid by those it seeks to influence. The BBC is one such recipient.
    (3) It bureaucratic, unaccountable nature makes it a cosy place for corporate interests – especially international businesses and NGOs (such as Greenpeace and WWF) – to manipulate directives, regulations and subsidies to their own advantage. The EU`s energy agenda is a prime example.
    (4) The way it imposed new governments on Italy and Greece reveals it to be fundamentaly undemocratic.

  24. David Cooper
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Reasons for dislike can probably be summed up into two core ones: –

    1. The infliction of laws and policies that are contrary to British interests and lacking in common sense;

    2. The squandering of UK financial contributions on bottomless pits, vanity projects and the maintenance of the high life for the EU political class.

  25. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    What is there to like about being governed, without our consent, by an unelected anti-democratic foreign organisation?

  26. They Work for Us
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Thanks Dr redwood for a very good post and an opportunity.
    All of the above and EU interference in
    Water Supply – we should have built additional reservoirs but got water meters instead.
    Landfill Tax – dearer and complex waste disposal.
    Motoring costs: adoption of catalytic converters instead of lean burn technology.
    Ever more complex motor cars with electronics that lead to expensive repairs, early scrappage (is this green sustainability?) and the inability of many to do their own car repair and servicing as many did.
    On lots of little issues like still allowing different DVD regions, the EU is silent.
    In short the system is geared to benefit big business not the consumer.
    Others have or will cover the green blob of windmills and energy supply.

  27. Excalibur
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I am dismayed, JR, that you put the lack of democracy so far down your list. I should have thought that ‘dislikes’ 4. and 8. should have been 1. and 2. You also fail to mention the total lack of accountability regarding the expenditure of EU funds.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      He does not say they are in any particular order of importance!

  28. sean
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I hate the fact that we have to have a referendum to leave the Eu Money pit. Yet did we ever have a referendum to give up our sovereignty in the name of trade. I hate everything the Eu Hell-hole Has taken from us.

  29. Bert Young
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Dr.JR your list is a formidable one and I do not disagree with the detail content . At the top of my list is the loss of our sovereignity and consequent loss of independence – our EU membership makes a mockery of democracy . I abhor the fact that it costs us a huge amount to belong to a bureaucratic mechanism that adds nothing to our values , our culture or future . I am horrified at uncontrolled immigration ; it has added to the congestion in schools , the NHS and housing problems – the benefits system has been equally abused .

    I see no future in our continued EU relationship and I disagree with those who think that our voice will be a weaker one in world affairs if we exit . In fact the opposite – the , so-called “foreign policy” of the EU has led us into the Ukraine debacle and other unsettled relationships ( eg -Iran uranium enrichment ). It has made our Foreign Office subservient to unnecessary consultation and influence .

    The list can grow and grow , today however – and this year particularly with de Monfort , Magna Carta and Waterloo heavy in our diaries , we would do well to put the seal on our exit ; we may well thank Greece for the headlines .

  30. Iain Moore
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    There is nothing I like about the EU.

    And my visceral dislike can be summed up in the damage it has done to our democracy and country.

    In a wider view than just the UK, the EU is disaster for all the peoples/nations of Europe, with everything locked up in treaties that are beyond the ability of the people to change them, and something the political class can’t comprehend, it has fossilised progress in Europe. To have a system which takes 40 years to make changes to the Common Fishing policy is an absurd way to organise a society.

    Worse the EU is damming future prospects of the peoples of Europe. One great of the strengths of Europe was the diversity and competition ideas , which gave one a lead only to have others take up the ideas and modified to their own interests. The EU in its one size fits all it killing off diversity, and in the tectonic slowness of its response to change it is stifling the prospects of Europe.

  31. ian wragg
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    What I dislike immensely is the way the EU can only operate through lies and deceit. The LibLabCon all pretend they are governing us when we know well that Brussels controls the majority of competences in our life.
    Cameron lies about forthcoming renegotiations and looks set to lose the election rather than honour his pledge. The dimwits Milipede and Clogg don’t think the plebs should have a say on our membership.
    Lets just hope Greece gets ejected from the Euro (how does that work when there is supposedly no mechanism for leaving) oh! I forgot, Angela can change rules and treaties if she wants but no one else. Says it all really.

    • bigneil
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Firstly can I say Ian really does dislike it immensely – we get on about it whenever I go round for a cuppa and a delicious home made scone.
      Secondly -I get the feeling John you are asking for a list so your leader can make a load of promises( which NOBODY believes he would keep), to use in his election campaign. Yet more promises ( quickly broken) to claim that someone else says he can’t do.
      As I’m typing this Grant is on the Sunday politics saying about “controlling immigration”. Is this the same immigration control that was going to get it down to “tens of thousands”, but is still dishing out taxpayer funded houses, benefits cash, NHS and schooling for their offspring, to many times more? Why stay in your own country when you can have a totally free life by walking into England?
      And as was posted in the Telegraph, foreigners can walk in here and watch their new “slaves” going out to work, just to pay taxes so hundreds of thousands of people, can have their free, non-working, non-contributory lives.

  32. Francis Lankester Ph
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    The one thing I do like about the EU is its tweaking of Putin’s nose-it should do it more & provide sufficient weapons to Ukraine to crush the eastern traitors and demonstrate to the Russian people that their strongman leader has feet of clay. This would save a lot of lives in the future.

    Regarding democracy-it surely doesn’t matter if the EU is the most accountable organisation on the face of the planet. Conservatives believe that democracy is rooted in the nation state. Nobody in any other countery has the right to make laws on our behalf.

    The Euro is a disaster and needs to collapse so all its victims can cope with their own economic problems rather than be straightjacketed. It’s hard to understand why any Conservative wants the Eurozone to succeed as it is a deadly threat to the kind of Europe we have always said we want-a “Europe des Patries.”

  33. Mike Stallard
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    In the EU a small number of unelected and unaccountable commissioners make the law and issue the directives to the local governments. They are unchecked and they indulge in groupthink. That means appalling government for us all.
    Think on this: Scottish independence, HS2, the lack of fracking, the immigration avalanche, the trouble in the Ukraine, the coming energy catastrophe based on the fallacy of AGW, the problems with the Euro, the catastrophe in Greece and Southern Europe, the decline in our position in world trade. All this is down to the EU – made worse by our own gold-plating government.
    Secondly, if you hand over our law to a foreign jurisdiction composed of judges who come from countries with a totally different legal structure and from traditions where judges are chosen for political reasons and where there is quite often a tradition of venality on top of that, then you get unfair extradition, a huge backlog, unjust decisions, little reporting of cases outside the spectacular and ancient rights – habeas corpus and juries for example – dismissed as quaint relics.

    The fundamentals are just that – fundamentals. The rest is symptom.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Indeed.

  34. DaveM
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Having spent much of the morning listening to BBC political programmes, it occurs to me that one thing I really dislike about the EU is that the weak and the PC brigade use silly EU laws to back up their own silly policies when they don’t have the strength of character or depth of argument to otherwise persuade the populace that their ideas have any substance.

    When they hit a strong opponent the cry is always: “It’s EU law!!”

    Nietzsche got a lot of things right. The PC brigade seem very much like the clergy of the middle ages – too weak to do anything real but with a big European power to back them up as they pass silly laws to get their own way and keep the masses from doing well. Those clergy were about as popular as the pro-EU PC bureaucrats by all accounts.

    Couple that with the fact that there is also a bunch of religious fanatics murdering and torturing people who have spotted flaws in their religion and deviated from their religious doctrine, about 1500 years after the religion was founded. Spanish Inquisition anyone?

    Nothing changes does it? Funny thing is, everything goes back to how it was in the end.

    All politicians should have “The Indispensable Man” on their office wall. (We can do a female version for Harriet Harman if necessary!)

  35. Border Boy
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    I agree with the list.

    In addition, or maybe to amplify on the lack of democracy, I dislike the institutionalised deceit which is at the heart of the EU. The determination to pursue ever closer union despite popular resistance to the concept as expressed in referendums on a constitution and, for example, the Introduction of the Lisbon Treaty which is a constitution by any other name.

  36. fedupsouthener
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    What don’t I like????? The whole cost of running the EU. The waste of money by elected members of the EU. The bloated inflated pensions, the expenses, the fact that nothing has to be audited, the way they dictate to us over ridiculous renewable energy, the fact we have crap wind farms all over Scotland, the fact that I am being made to pay for my neighbours energy, the high unemployment in the EU which means many take jobs over here, the lack of housing, medical care, schools etc which is down to mass EU immigration, the fact that our politicians don’t listen to a word the British and more so, the English public say and I wonder why we bother to even fill in blogs like this!!!!!

    I just hope the Greeks decide to pull out and Farage does really well in the elections. We need change and we need it now. I don’t want to be dictated to by the Germans any longer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  37. fedupsouthener
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I just hope my comments made earlier are concise and clear enough. There is no excuse for our politicians not to do something realistic and for Cameron to actually govern without listening to Merkel, the Greens, FOE, WWF etc etc. For him to quote that they will be the Greenest Government ever is an insult. If we wanted a Green government we would have voted for the Greens. Simples!

  38. William Long
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    My difficulty in answering this is that I find it very difficult to see anything at all that I like about the EU as it is at present constituted. The problem is that we were sold it on a completely false prospectus as being a route to free trade, a customs union, when in fact, as its protagonists, in particular Mr Heath, knew full well that its agenda was political union.
    In your list, the first three items are all good examples of the effects brought about by how the EU is governed. The real horror, which will ensure that as items 1, 2 and 3 move away, they are succeeded by other equally undesirable events, is the undemocratic structure amounting to dictatorship. The tragedy is that Free Trade is a very desirable goal while a great many lives were lost between 1939 and 1945 to save us from dictatorship.

  39. Kenneth
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I can’t think of anything I like about the eu I’m afraid.

    I dislike the anti-market policies which will always produce a few rich and many poor including mass unemployment.

    However, my target is not the eu. We have only ourselves to blame for shaping and accepting the rules of the eu.

    What I dislike more than the eu is our membership of it.

  40. BobE
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Can I add.
    The desire to break England up into regions so as to make it loose its identity forever.

    • DaveM
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      England will never lose its identity. The change-obsessives constantly remind us that England has a long history of immigration and diversity and that it does not have the concrete identity of other countries like Japan.

      That IS England’s identity. Even now, the Poles etc are anglicising their names. Look at the names on the England batting line up and the England Rugby team. The 3rd and 4th generation Caribbean immigrants have no other identity than English – why do they have to be categorised as “Black British” etc? Why not just have a box saying “English”? The same will be true for E European 3rd generation immigrants in 40 years.

      The EU – with its puppet court and adherence to ECHR is trying to change it by discouraging immigrants from integrating, but it won’t work.

  41. Tom William
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    There is nothing I like about the EU, a protectionist, undemocratic empire building organisation likened by Gorbachev to the USSR he was trying to dismantle.

    To the lists of dislikes enumerated so far I would just add the European Parliament, an extremely expensive phoney and virtually powerless talking shop where self important (and second rate) MEPs are limited in what they can say, and vote by pressing buttons at such a speed that they often have no idea exactly what they are voting for.

  42. Richard Molyneux
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    There are many points I agree with so will not reiterate them
    We have had a democreacy for some 1000 years and do not need what is essentially an undemocratic corrupt body to dictate to us.
    While the original ideals of the EU were very noble in the ligtht of what happened in WW2 it has clearly lost its way. (The Pope has even pointed this out)
    Britian has had years of democracy. why should it be forced into politcal union with countries that have been accustomed to Dictatortship so recently, Namely Germany, Italy, Spain ,Greece, Pirtugal? Also I understand that the auditors have refused to approve the accounts of the EU for the lasdy 19 years or so. How on earth is this allowe to happen ?
    cear;y we shopuls have no part in this corrupsd and obsolete organisation.
    On another point in the EU’s thirst for global expansion it has brought in countries which should never have joined. If you invite poorer countries in and allow freedom of tyravel it is manifestly obvious that people from the poorer countries will migrate to the richer countries.We still have 2 million unemployed and the market will always use the cheapes labour it can find.

    Till we regain control of our borders we will always maintain this ludicrous situation.

  43. David Williams
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Two things I like:
    Everything about the single market (e.g. harmonisation, standardisation, collaborative research).
    Being able to travel around the EU without having to wait at passport control (except the UK of course).

    Two things I dislike:
    Interference – e.g. legislation the makes us uncompetitive, damage to the City of London.
    The UK obeys the EU to the letter whereas some other countries play the system, e.g. treat the EU as a cash cow, or try to use the EU to achieve their goals at our expense.

  44. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Being told how to run our Country by foreigners.

  45. Leslie Singleton
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Having just watched Andrew Marr interviewing Nigel Farage, I raise my hat to Nigel, indeed I throw it in the air. He had today been dealt a seemingly poor hand but nevertheless he managed to play it brilliantly. I hadn’t previously heard the idea of solving the NHS’s money problems by using the money presently wasted on the EU and think it a masterstroke. And please may I add to my earlier list of dislikes (which so far you haven’t published–question mark) Heath’s having given away our Fisheries, the most ridiculous Government action imaginable.

  46. Bill
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Agree with the dislikes of most people.

    I do like rural France – though it is a few years since we have been over – but the village life, the local wines and cheeses, the farming festivals, the long lunch breaks, the little hotels and the attachment to the soil conjure up an idyllic summer for large sprawling families.

    But, perhaps, all these things are only there because of the much derided Common Agricultural Policy?

  47. zorro
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Good .list John, but I will put mine in order of importance/existential threat:

    1) Foreign Policy intervention – uncritical support of chocolate entrepreneur cum President Poroshenko. I see that the Ukrainian govt are after peace now that their offensive (following build up of arms following Kiev agreement (sort of)) has hit the buffers. This support is dangerous and provocative for all of us.
    2) Lack of democracy in all its facets – we all know the score
    3) Lack of border controls – effective management of immigration
    4) Mass unemployment – not assisted by policies followed under number 3
    5) Ineffective and counter productive law making and standards which hamper industry/innovation
    6) Energy policy – increased costs on industry
    7) Economic policy – currency without sovereignty/inability to react to international crisis effectively
    8) Increased costs of government

    One good thing about the EU…. 🙂 …..Good place to send all our duff/suspect politicians and keep them out of the body politic….. I will list them if necessary

    Every cloud has a silver lining folks!

    zorro

  48. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Like – Sensible cooperation on enviromental and animal health matters.

    Dislikes – it’s hard to know where to start.
    The smugness of Europhiles in their self righteous assumption that it is some way morally superior, modern and ‘progressive’ to be fanatical about the Eu. The overriding ‘all must have prizes’ leveling philosophy underpinning.

    For me, the Spectator interview (for which Nicholas Ridley Mp) lost his job sums up perfectly what i dislike about the Eu . His words are arguably more powerful and relevant today than in 1990. With Dr Redwood’s kind permission, I would like to repeat them here :-

    ‘When I look at the institutions to which it is proposed that [our] sovereignty is to be handed over, I’m aghast… unelected reject politicians with no accountability to anybody, who are not responsible for raising taxes, just spending money, who are pandered to by a supine parliament which also is not responsible for raising taxes, already behaving with an arrogance I find breathtaking; the idea that one says “OK, we’ll give this lot our sovereignty” is unacceptable to me. I’m not against giving up sovereignty in principle, but not to this lot. etc ed
    How right Mr Ridley was!.

  49. DaveM
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    No doubt you’ve had thousands of replies to this today as people think of yet another thing to add to their lists. Whereas it’s obviously unfair to blame the EU for everything, I blame it for changing our way of life, but more importantly our attitude to life.

    My grammar school education and English upbringing taught me that, in order to get on in life, you should follow certain guidelines.

    Among other things:

    1. Make yourself strong and fit.
    2. Get as well educated as you can.
    3. Keep your nose out of other peoples’ business.
    4. You’re only entitled to what you earn.
    5. Look out for those who are less strong than you.
    6. Speak the truth.
    7. Treat everyone fairly.
    8. If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out.
    9. WALK SOFTLY AND CARRY A BIG STICK.

    (This is also a metaphor for a govt’s behaviour perhaps.)

    It seems to me that the EU (and modern socialism in general) have turned these human values on their head.

    Today’s is a very candid blog, Mr R, and one which has no doubt left you open to a day of editing!! However (tongue in cheek here) as a politician you doubtless have an ulterior motive and a hidden agenda – I’m praying against my better instincts that the PM asked you to get this info from traditional Conservative voters so he can include it in his manifesto and election campaign!

    Reply The PM asked no such thing

    • DaveM
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t think so. What a shame!!!

  50. fedupsouthener
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Just finished vacuuming with a vacuum cleaner the EU don’t approve of!!! Naughty but nice! This is just another obscene rule that the EU have lumbered us with. How dare they, just who do they think they are? Half the MEP’s voting don’t know what the hell they are voting for and it’s seems to be a case of damn the consequences.

    Reading through all these replies I cannot for the life of me see any reason to stay in the EU and many of our MP’s seem to agree so why are we still in? What exactly is in it for us? £14 billion could save our NHS. Farage can see this so why can’t Cameron or the other ‘leaders’ see this?

  51. Michael
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    I agree with all your dislikes except that I would put “The lack of control over our borders” at the top of the list as so much that I dislike about the EU flows from this condition.

  52. alan jutson
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Simple really.

    I dislike the fact that our Government is subservient to the EU.

    I understand the EU mantra and idea of ever closer union, but until all things in the EU are covered by one single set of rules on taxation, pensions, state benefits, interest rates, employment law, the rule of law, health treatment, armed forces, police, and subscription based on population numbers, etc , etc,
    I cannot see any of the above happening, because individual Countries will forever be fighting in their own self interests in order to gain some advantage over the rest.

    We should simply leave this organisation, and let them get on with it, because we have and never will really ever fit in, so I have no wish to hold them back.

    Trade and co-operation agreements of course, as long as its is reciprocal.

    Let us simple get back to getting our Government back in control of all things UK.

  53. Henry Kaye
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    What is there to like? All of the arguments have been set out above and I can’t add to them.

  54. Nigel
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    JR: I think I heard the Chairman of Goldman Sachs (on the BBC, of course) saying that if the UK were to leave the EU, it would have a severe adverse effect on the City and the financial services sector. What is your take on this?

    Reply Big business said we would suffer badly if we did not join the Euro and they were wrong then. They are wrong again.

  55. Iain Gill
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    I like the simplicity of taking Eurostar to Brussels, and the Belgian people. I like Italy and enjoyed working there. I like the health systems which are much better than our shambles.

    • DaveM
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      That’s nothing to do with the EU. Most of us here like EUROPE and agree that we can learn from the continentals in many respects, but the good points you note are down to the countries themselves – probably achieved in spite of the EU.

  56. ian
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Having the EU as scapegoat suits MPs just fine, are MPs voted for the energy policies and insisted in japan that EU should up the targets for climate change not the EU. It are government that is behind Ukrainian government with are media with the EU and USA, just as the trouble we see with Russia. Youth unemployment is in southern EU but that because they cannot borrow the money to do what we do, some of are youth do even get paid, it just game they play to keep unemployment numbers down with borrowed money. As for lack of democracy your lot would not what it even if it hit them on head. The parliament has invited EU to poke it nose in to are affairs, you write the EU laws they just give a outline of what it should be, Other EU country do not subject their people to badly written EU laws so why does are parliament. Are borders have been open since the second world war that way are business like it so they sell more goods to people living in this country and it will not change it business. Even if we were out side of the EU, all that EU have past would went before are parliament for debate and we would of been in the same place.

  57. peter davies
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Don’t like – v simple. The EU subverts and chips away at national democracies on the sly whilst playing down any consequences so big decisions are taken away from elected officials and given to a system where Euro MPs play a bit part – the real work being done by appointed commissioners who we have no say over.

    What do I like about it? The only positive is the so called free market which could be quite easily achieved with an EFTA style agreement.

  58. Know Dice
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    All of the above plus.

    Our civil servants “gold plating” the edicts handed down from Brussels

    Limiting vacuum cleaners to 1600Watts, where they should have specified a minimum efficiency…

    Day light running lights that are so bright that your attention is diverted away from important hazards like cyclists…

  59. Bob Williams
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    Points 4,5,6 & 7 should all be point number one, which is British liberty and sovereignty is threatened by Brussels.

  60. Jon
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    The pertinent question for me is what do I like as there are so many negatives.

    It would be influence and international trade. However, both of those are diminished or at threat.

    In financial services we face a war against us and it happens to be our biggest earner.

    I have learned not to take heads of businesses opinions as important, not to say it may not be. However they are often wrong as is the case with a leading american investment bank chief.

    A lot of these heads of organisations have a great deal of concern with what may affect their own bonus or earnings from Union leaders to Bankers but both have been consistently wide of the mark.

    I struggle to find positive reason for the EU. It would be nice if someone gave that case other than going on about the tax payer funded jobs in Brussels.

    • Jon
      Posted January 25, 2015 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

      Actually I do like the ease of travel but that’s nothing to do with what the EU today is about

  61. bluedog
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Like: the victory of Syriza in the Greek elections. A massive victory for British euroscepticism.

    Now the UK has a vastly augmented negotiating hand, enabling British leadership in restructuring the entire EU on our terms. An opportunity not to be missed and one that must be seized ASAP.

    Will Cameron recognise the opportunity or is he captive of some ideological loyalty?

    Another like: ability of self and family to travel, work and live freely in any part of EU.

    Dislike: the compulsive move to ever-closer union and associated constraints.

  62. Chris S
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    I would agree on everything other contributors have said but would reverse the question.

    The only thing I actually like about the EU is the ease of movement throughout the Schengen Area.

    In principle I like the ease of the single currency but with credit cards and modern electronic banking it would not be a problem travelling across a Europe with many different currencies. I drive in mainland Europe at least 10 times a year and only use cash for coffees etc everything else is paid for by card.

    We should leave the EU and seek associate status. Our net contribution at £13bn pa and rising, is out of all proportion to the spurious benefits of membership.

  63. David Price
    Posted January 26, 2015 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    I voted no in 1975 and events and attitudes since have only reinforced my view. We have lost far more than easier travel was ever worth while the costs and impositions on us have increased substantially.

    The only people who have gained really are the euphilic and the weak politicians who see the EU as a bigger playground.

  64. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 26, 2015 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    What I like about the EU is unrestricted mobility of labour – I have worked in other EU countries and I have benefitted from cheaper prices for services (eg. builders) in UK. For me the problem with freedom of movement is not the concept in itself but the benefit “tourism” that results under EU laws.

  65. backofanenvelope
    Posted January 26, 2015 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    I like your 8th point. You can’t control your borders unless you know who is entering the country and who is leaving. Your governments inability to carry out this simple exercise is nothing to do with membership of the EU.

  66. Atlas
    Posted January 26, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    My answer is simple: “the whole shebang”.

  67. Terry
    Posted January 26, 2015 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    What do I like and dislike about the EU? Respectfully, Nothing and Everything.

  68. REPay
    Posted January 26, 2015 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    I like freedom of movement to live and work. Not to benefit shop.

    I agree with JR’s list of dislikes…

  69. Cary
    Posted January 26, 2015 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    I dislike the undemocratic nature of the EU and its underhand attempts to take power from nation states. But your first reason for disliking it is extraordinary; for all its faults, the Ukrainian government had not invaded the territory of another sovereign and claimed it as their own nor have they armed rebels to destabilise part of another sovereign state. Those who dislike the EU do themselves no favours by trying, either directly or indirectly, to lessen the nastiness of Putin’s Russia. That the EU is so popular in large parts of eastern Europe is due in large part to the alternative political structure they see when they look towards Moscow.

  70. James Reade
    Posted January 27, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Surely you’ll offer a list of the things you like, also, John, given the title of this post?

    Here’s what I like about the EU:
    1) A common market of 500m customers that our firms can operate into.
    2) A pool of labour of c. 300m workers that our firms can employ without endless red tape being put in their way (c.f. your final dislike).
    3) Being able to move around without bureaucratic barriers like borders holding me (or my inputs/output) up for hours on end.

    The one-sided narrative you offer here is entirely understandable given your stance on the EU, but it is one-sided. Yes, the EU does intervene in what we might view to be internal affairs, but that’s only because we try and isolate ourselves from the reality that many policies are beggar-thy-neighbour, and harm our neighbours whilst supposedly enriching us (although once tit-for-tat policies are enacted by our neighbours, we lose out too).

    It’s a bit like my neighbour using his pressure washer to wash his car on the street in front of our house this afternoon, while our toddler was having her afternoon nap. Our actions have consequences on those around us, and ones we may not even be aware of. Tub thumping politics ensures that, more likely than not, we’d ignore (for example) the French making a request that we stop doing some policy that’s harming them, and hence one solution is some body with a little more power than a talking shop.

    Reply I have given people an opportunity to explain what they like about the EU. I do not myself like the UK’s membership of the current body on current terms, so I will not be trying to make up things to like. The market would still be there whether we are out or in the EU.

  71. Richard
    Posted January 28, 2015 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    To your EU “dislike list” I would like to add its expansionist policy to include Turkey in the EU and “all countries up to the Urals”.

    This policy, which is also the policy of the Conservative Party, means that a further 150 million people (words left out ed) will be able to move and live freely anywhere in the EU.

  72. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted January 28, 2015 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Upon reflection this looks bad John.

    Putting ‘control of borders’ last on your list implies it is not a high priority for you .
    Please try to imagine your not a relatively wealthy Mp, living in a leafy area with the means to buy your own home traveling business class on trains in nearly empty carriages.
    Imagine your a plasterer in Rochdale who has seen your neighbourhood transformed and wages suppressed finding it hard to get a council house. Perhaps border control is a little higher up the list for this individual (and the majority of the people you represent).

  73. Naffygetter
    Posted January 31, 2015 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Surely the basic issue with the EU and the Euro is that the whole concept is based on the assumption that it is logical or possible to equate such disparate countries. It is not possible for countries as different as Denmark and Greece to be governed in the same way. That is ignoring the facts that they are inherently different: low tax vs high tax, Laissez-faire way of life vs a hard work ethic, N Europe “cold” weather (and all that this naturally means for the way of life) vs the Mediterranean approach to things. These were never going to be compatible.
    All the other issues surely follow from that basic illogicality: immigration issues, CAP issues, Fisheries issues, trade differences, fraud (EU accounts haven’t been agreed for many years) etc, etc.
    Then on top of all that is the non-democratic structure where unelected bureaucrats who are naturally pro the EU system look down on the member countries elected parliaments.
    It was never going to be a long term solution without political and lifestyle earthquakes in the member countries.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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