The Brexit debate

 

Last Thursday morning I debated Brexit with Alastair Darling at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research where we are both Governors (an honorific post).

I wished to get across two main points. No-one I know of a Eurosceptic persuasion wishes to damage our trade with the rest of Europe in any way. We believe we can have a different relationship which does  not entail us being part of their political and currency union, whilst maintaining strong trade links on decent terms. The second is that the UK has a large balance of payments deficit with the rest of the EU, which makes it even more likely the other member states will want to do all they can to protect and buttress trade with the UK, as they are the winners from it.

The minority of British  people who want to stay in the EU enough to argue it is a good idea to belong, nearly always go on about trade. There are few in the UK who argue for full participation, few who want us to join the Euro, few who believe in a political union, few who want common taxation and welfare policies at the EU level. I would have more respect for advocates of our membership of the EU if they did come out and say they wanted to belong to a United States of Europe, and if they would explain why they thought that was both possible and desirable.

I argued that whoever wishes to help form the government in May 2015 needs to recognise that the EU project is hurtling on to full political union, as they wrestle with the troubles of the Euro. They are out to complete a banking union, they are edging towards a welfare union, and already assert considerable control over budgets and economic policy on Eurozone members. The UK does not want any of that, so it needs to define a new relationship now. That relationship should be based on trade.

The UK is in a strong position to create a new relationship based on trade. We are the customers, as we buy so much from them than they buy from us. To those who say there are dangers if we no longer are round the table when they make up their laws, I reply that we are not round the lawmaking table when the rest of the world makes their laws,. We run a surplus with them!

Many businesses want to be able to export, but do not like all of the controls and regulations that have come from Brussels in recent years. Dear energy is one of the worst features of the EU regime, which hinder many businesses. For the sake of business, we need a relationship based on trade and market access, where we do not have to take all of the high cost and negative parts of the EU policies for our trade at home or with the rest of the world.

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192 Comments

  1. Brian Taylor
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Easy if you have the Will.
    Invoke article 50, join EFTA and EEA the latter will allow us to put a Brake on Immigration, with us part of EFTA and EEA we will have real clout with the EU and have 2 Years to renegotiate a New arrangement.
    Dr Richard North who has put together the best plan under the name FLEXIT, is where I have got the above ideas.

    • Hope
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      All good points JR., but wasted in your Tory party. I suspect Cameron will use any welfare change by the EU as a claim he negotiated it! You cannot believe a word he says. I am surprised journalists and interviewers have not challenged him properly. At the moment we have loony left Labour back under Miliband, centre left Blairite Cameron and Clegg somewhere in between depending on what Cable says. The only centre right party is UKIP. You will not get the changes you seek with Cameron. Look at those he chose to surround himself with, look at his actions over five years. Carry on beating your head against the proverbial wall.

      • Peter Stroud
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        But UKIP is not a significant political party, and will never be until it is able to recruit high quality PPCs, and show them to the public. Unfortunately it has neither the MSM or local press on side, so this will be difficult. The best current way to work towards Brexit is with a Tory government.

        • BobE
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

          I refuse to use tactical voting. I will vote where I want us to be, I will vote my belief. That is pretty much out of Europe except as a trade area. If Ukip gain enough ground then the 2020 election will be a chance again.

          • JoeSoap
            Posted March 31, 2015 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

            I agree.

            It isn’t worth sacrificing the end goal in order to allow some left of centre bloke like Cameron to claim that they won on 40+% of the popular vote, when this will allow him to run fast and loose with the electorate for another 5 years.

            The one thing you can say about SNP voters in Scotland, however misguided they are – they don’t say “let’s vote Labour to make the best of a bad job”. They learned that lesson – the more you threaten to vote SNP/UKIP, the more Labour/Tories will do to help you!

            It might take years and even a Labour minority administration but we will get there.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 8:35 am | Permalink

            I would vote tactically, but only in certain tightly restricted circumstances. As I said only the other day, if I lived in Wokingham and I thought that JR was at risk of defeat then I would very seriously consider voting for him rather than for the UKIP candidate. But that is only because I believe that he is sincere in his opposition to the EU and is not one of the numerous Tory pseudosceptics, if I thought he was then I wouldn’t care if he did get booted out even if he was displaced by an openly pro-EU candidate. And if I lived in Scotland then I would seriously consider voting tactically to try to block the SNP, something which it seems many of the residual Tories there are reluctant to do.

        • Richard1
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          It does seem the only argument the pro EU side can advance is there will be tariff barriers for the UK to EU markets if we pull out and ‘3 million jobs’ depend on EU membership. Almost certainly neither of these things are true, but both are asserted with such force and regularity (Labour’s big ad in the FT being a recent example) that the majority will probably believe it. Best therefore is a fudge under which the UK remains nominally ‘in’ the EU, continues to have a commissioner and MEPs – and pays the sub to the EU unfortunately – but is exempted from all but the trade related regulations. Not ideal, but far more achievable than Brexit, which is unlikely ever to command a majority.

          The good thing is circs for a renegotiation could hardly be better – the UK has the fastest growing economy and the eurozone needs to integrate. So the Tory renegotiate plan backed up by a referendum is the best bet.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted March 31, 2015 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

            The EU is an old hand at realigning competencies Richard.

            Under your solution all EU regulations would be deemed trade regulations.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 8:25 am | Permalink

            Of course the most favoured option is to stay in a reformed EU. However that is a bit like saying that you want your marriage to continue but with your wife miraculously transformed from the ugly old shrew who’s lying next to you into a delightful young beauty whose only desire is to please you in every way, and it’s just as likely to happen. At least, not without witchcraft, and even then the transformation is only a temporary illusion.

        • Timaction
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

          We are a relative newcomer on the political block but we are making significant gains. Watch this space on 7th May (£).
          The ONLY party who seeks what Mr Redwood states are UKIP. The only party that tells the truth. You are in the wrong party Mr Redwood as your leader is always carping on about the fabled renegotiation without stating his redlines. He will also support membership following his “Chamberlain” moment, regardless.
          We had the usual 3 million jobs at risk baloney yesterday from Mr Milliband. No doubt tomorrow we’ll have the “no voice in the world” from Mr Clegg. Remember the vote on Junker (26-2) and the majority findings in the EU Human Rights Court!
          We have 8% of the vote and shrinking for the privilege of £14.5 billion (11%) net annual membership fee to pay for foreign infrastructure and farmers and a £77 billion annual trade deficit. UKIP would put that fee to use in defence and our NHS.
          Open borders to 485 million people who will continue to come and use our health, education and housing until UKIP are elected.
          The only thing I have heard from Mr Cameron is restrictions on in and out of work benefits to prevent mass migration. We all know that won’t work. UKIPs policies are the only policies that will.
          UKIP can’t cant be argued on policy as you will see on Thursday!

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted March 31, 2015 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

            If we are one of few net contributors that 11% must be too low.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          Peter Stroud; “Unfortunately it has neither the MSM or local press on side”

          Not sure that is completely correct, there is at least one Daily national newspaper who Express very anti EU opinions, the only national title admittedly that has a europhobic editorial line, I’m sure that if UKIP was actually a credible political party then that title would back then to the full extent possible.

          @Timaction; “[UKIP] are a relative newcomer on the political block”

          Utter nonsense on stilts! UKIP has its roots back in 1992, has been a political party since 1997, 18 years is quite long enough to be able to significantly change the UK’s political foundations. As a compression, back in the early 1980s the SDP had won by-elections, gained 6 MPs in 1983 general election, kept 5 MPs at the 1987 general election, true by 1992 their influence was on the slide (because they had forced Labour to start modernising) but they and the Liberals took the brave decision to merge and form the LDs. It has taken UKIP 18, arguable 22, years to achieve what the SDP managed in months (winning by-elections) and have yet to win a single seat at a general election that took the SDP a mere 2 years to achieve.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

            Well, hardly anybody reads newspapers these days and so it doesn’t matter if they are all pro-EU and anti-UKIP, apart from the Express. Likewise the broadcast media are old hat, hardly anybody pays attention to what is on the TV or radio; what really matter now are Facebook and Twitter. Isn’t that right, Jerry? Oh, and by the way, wasn’t the SNP founded between the wars? Yes, in 1934.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; Indeed the press media is less important, except that they all; have a web presence, many with social media im,put – hum, Denis, you do realise that social media is more than just the Twitters and Facebooks of the internet, indeed our host is using social media on this very site…

            The Title in question has a quite lively Europhobic social media, I’m surprised have not discovered it!

            As for the SNP, unless you are suggesting that UKIP is a England only political party I don’t understand your point?

          • Timaction
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, Get real. We all know the date of origin but UKIP has taken off in the last “few” years because to anyone with a brain it is obvious that the legacy parties are so close on policy to be the same! (Energy, Human Rights, foreign aid, EU, climate change etc.)Especially as over 65% of our laws are now made by the dictatorship. As Einstein has said, the first sign of madness is doing the same things and expecting a different outcome. I know that I shall be voting for UKIP, the ONLY patriotic party who wants to Govern on behalf of the British people, not the EU!

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

            The point is obvious, Jerry, that the SNP achieved next to nothing for the first thirty years of its existence.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

            @Timaction; The point you miss is that another five years of a split eurosceptic vote, five years of a europhile Labour government and at least another five years of “UKIP getting there” might be to late, I want a referendum in 2017, not 2027… UKIP have so far spent 18 years doing what the SDP managed to do in months back ion the 1980s, get a couple of MPs elected at by-elections (never mind then winning seats at general elections), how much more time do UKIP want for goodness sake?!

            “UKIP, the ONLY patriotic party who wants to Govern on behalf of the British people”

            Tosh, the UKIP elite want to govern for UKIPs sake not the British People, it’s called an ego trip, and there is nothing patriotic about being responsible for ever more Europe due to splitting the eurosceptic vote and thus voice ion the UK Parliament and then boasting about the fact the morning after the 2010 general election.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

            Denis Cooper; “The point is obvious”

            Only to paid up UKIP members perhaps, to the rest of the population your logic appears from some place on Mars.

            The SNP still have not achieved a single election win in England either, nor will they, thus your point was what again, unless you are claiming that UKIP is a England only party just as the SNP are a Scottish only party – although I seem to recall UKIP standing in all four of the UK nations though. Also I suppose, judged by this logic from Mars Denis, PC have also failed because they have not won any elections in England, Scotland or NI…

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 8:19 am | Permalink

            OK, Jerry, as you insist on muddying the waters in your usual style, let me adjust that to:

            “The SNP achieved next to nothing in Scotland for the first thirty years of its existence.”

          • Jerry
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; Trying to change the words you use doesn’t change the fact that the SNP is not a direct comparison to UKIP, unlike the SDP who were a nominally UK wide party, not just a party standing in just one of the four nations that make up the UK.

            Even if one does take your UKIP/SNP comparison, the SNP actually did better than you give credit, as you say, founded in 1934 they had gained their first MP (at the Motherwell by-election) by April 1945, so a good 8 years or so quicker than the 18 it has taken UKIP (not forgetting of course that by 1945 there had not been a election GE for 10 years and that the world had gone to war for 6 of those years), ho-hum…

            Denis, before going off on a political rant, even more so when attempting to “guild-the-lilly” it’s always best to check your political history, stop digging! 🙂

      • Bob
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        The FT reported that Clegg’s support for a referendum would depend on him helping to determine the question posed, the timing of the event and who would be allowed to vote. He is also demanding that millions of EU migrants should participate, as well as 16-17 year olds who are more likely to hold pro-EU views.

        I imagine that Cameron would not need much encouragement from Clegg to rig the outcome.

        If you’re serious about the referendum, then you should be announcing BEFORE MAY 7th, what the question would be, what the renegotiation red lines are, who will be eligible to vote, and whether it will be binding.

        I won’t be holding my breath!

        • Jerry
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

          @Bob; You appear to despise democracy, even leaving aside the question of (legally speaking) 16 and 17 year old children being allowed to vote.

          • Hope
            Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

            Utter rubbish, again, Jerry. Bob makes no such point. And yes, UKIP are a relatively new party compared to the established ones.

            The key for everyone is that if you vote for the cartel you will let them set the agenda. People who voted for SNP learnt this. The deceit used by the LibLabCon is gradually being seen by more and more people, as it is across Europe. The cat is out of the bag. Guido rightly points out, Sod the lot of them attitude is growing, the polls show people do not believe whatever the cartel promise.

            I am in a swing marginal: I will not be voting Tory again in this lifetime. Borrowing twice the amount of Labour, deficit at £90 billion, debt £1.4 trillion, huge tax rises small spending cuts, gay marriage, overseas aid at £14 billion (and growing) entrenched in law while public services and defense in a mess without similar guarantees, open borders to any EU criminal, immigration three times the amount it was before Cameron came to office and much higher than under Lablour! Overwhelmed by EU control in every form without a murmur from Cameron. His record is appalling.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

            You appear to despise our nationality, Jerry. I take the opposite view, that only UK citizens should be allowed to vote in any public election or referendum in the UK. Which is actually a very common position around the world, many countries do not allow foreigners to vote, and especially they would not allow them to vote on questions such as whether the country should be broken up or should be subsumed into some larger country or federation. Why should people who are not citizens and who owe no allegiance to a country have a voice on its future? That’s absurd. If they want the vote they should apply to become citizens, and moreover they should relinquish their previous citizenships, and so give their undivided loyalty to their new country.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 9:00 am | Permalink

            @Hope; @Bob makes no such point. And yes, UKIP are a relatively new party compared to the established ones.@

            So why was he objecting to UK tax payers and UK passport holders having a vote?… Oh and these UKIP supporters never objected to those people voting in the EU elections did they, no because they knew full well that they were likely to split the pro-EU vote and thus allow UKIP to gain seats via the PR system. Hypocrites!

            Even in human years UKIP is an adult, 18 years is a eternity in politics when most accept that a week in a long time, as I said back in the 1980s the SDP had won seats, changed the face of UK politics in the time UKIP spend finding a leader who could work with the membership never mind the voters!

            The only people talking nonsense here, as usual, are the UKIP supporters hyperventilating on their own parties spin.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; You (again) miss my real point [1]. If UKIP were so confident that they have an overwhelming majority a few thousand votes from eligible European migrants is hardly going to make much difference to the other 40 million odd votes from UK citizens eligible to vote come what may. Oh and quite why some people think that an 18 or 19 year old will vote differently to someone a year or two younger when that age group are all being affected by the same issues is bordering on daft, perhaps you would rather move the age of majority up to 25, after all that is the age that medical science suggests that the human brain becomes fully mature?

            [1] Also, perhaps our host needs to find a emicon for us to use when “Playing the Devils Advocate”…

          • Charity
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, medical technology has advanced marvellously, despite the misguided efforts of the left-wing. But it isn’t yet advanced enough.

            It follows that you, Jerry, should hope UKIP win. UKIP will subsidise and encourage students of medicine and science, and so probabilistically enhance the breakthrough needed (for better future medical care ed).

            And we, unlike the rest, will have the funds with which to so do.

            After all, we’ll save £20bn per year on EU fees, and an additional £50-150bn per year (if their accounts weren’t so fake we’d have better idea) on other EU-sourced and EU-caused costs, inefficiencies, thefts (fish from our waterare the least smelly of that story), frauds, etc. so we’ll have plenty of dosh.

            Want a membership form, mate? 🙂

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

            “a few thousand votes from eligible European migrants”

            More like 2.7 million, but in any case it’s case a matter of principle that only UK citizens should be allowed to vote in public elections and referendums in the UK.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

            Charity; “medical technology”

            Err… What does medical technology have to do with nature, the average age of the human brain becoming fully mature and the (perhaps) correct to achieve majority etc? Saving the equivalent to our entire national GDP won’t change those facts, never mind what ever the nett savings of a Brexit might turn out to be, nor be able to change nature.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Perhaps, Mr Taylor.

      The YouGov poll shows Labour ahead by 4 points. This is incredible considering the Balls/Miliband idiocracy. The Tories should be steaming ahead in a fashion that is clear for all to see. There should be no doubts about the outcome of this election yet it is being touted as the most unpredictable and exciting in centuries. (I’m already weary of it)

      Why ?

      Because all major parties stand on a pro EU ticket. The distance between each can be measured on the head of a pin.

      My own position is this. I refuse any longer to vote for the party I dislike least in order to keep bogeymen out – I’ve done this dutifully and maturely at least three times now and am sick of it.

      (contrast how my choice to vote Ukip is treated to the respect and deference shown to certain disruptive parts of the community)

      I refuse to vote for a party which is pro EU. This choice is guaranteed to be taken as a mandate for continued EU membership and more of the same. There will be no way of counting those who voted Tory because they wanted Brexit and this feeling will be buried – a wasted vote.

      If Mr Cameron really wants to save the country then he has a red button he can press but he really needs to do it soon.

      We want a referendum NOW. A fair and impartial referendum must be the main feature of the Tory manifesto.

      We want tough and selective immigration forthwith as the current situation is scaring the hell out of a people who are quite used to immigration but not at these levels.

      A pact (not necessarily an alliance or coalition) with UKIP could see Labour off in emphatic style.

      • Stephen Berry
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

        “My own position is this. I refuse any longer to vote for the party I dislike least in order to keep bogeymen out – I’ve done this dutifully and maturely at least three times now and am sick of it.”

        You are not keeping ‘bogeymen’ out, Mr Mondeo Man. The danger is real. We have the prospect of the most left wing government since the 1970s and this will likely be propped up by an anti-unionist party which is intent on causing mischief. The potential for damage is considerable. I doubt if there has been a more significant election since 1979.

        With the Tories you get a referendum on the EU, with UKIP you get a wasted vote. The present electoral system will ensure that. I have a bet with a friend that UKIP will get less than five seats and I expect to collect.

        I agree with you that the Tories should be steaming ahead by now, but they are clearly being hurt by UKIP. Also the ways of the great British public can sometimes be quite mysterious. At the end of 1978, strange to say, Labour and Prime Minister Callaghan were enjoying a recovery and there is a school of thought which thinks that if he had called an election then, Labour would have won it. He didn’t, the ‘Winter of Discontent’ intervened and the rest is history. But history could have been different.

        • Mondeo Man
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

          Stephen Berry – I disagree. This ‘recovery’ is a blip.

          The average person is going down in the long term and has nothing to lose by voting Ukip.

          This is not a wasted vote. Think 2020 and not 2015. A short blast of Labour – and their rejection – might precipitate the Brexit we need.

          • Mondeo Man
            Posted March 31, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

            PS, Without Ukip we would not have been offered a referendum by the Tories.

          • Mondeo Man
            Posted March 31, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

            PPS, to Stephen Berry.

            I realise what is at stake. I said so in my first comment

            “If Mr Cameron wants to save the country…”

            Over to him.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 31, 2015 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

            @Mondeo Man; What ever the actual facts of the current ‘recovery’ (and no I do not follow Mr Osborne’s optimistic line either), the point Stephen Berry was making is that splitting the right-wing/eurosceptic will risk nothing but allow in a very left wing government, I disagree with him that it will be the most left wing since the 1970s, if Labour end up being propped up and with a clear working majority by the SNP and perhaps the Greens it is obvious that we could be in for a period of radical left wing policies not seen since 1945.

            Voting UKIP in 2015 is a very high risk game of Russian roulette…

          • Mondeo Man
            Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

            Response to Jerry at 5.30

            I’m not playing a ‘game’.

            Playing a game is what we do when we vote tactically.

            I am now of the firm belief that we should only ever vote the way that we want to.

            The Tory Party is no longer mine. I will not vote for it.

            I will not vote in support of a party with a pro EU leader.

            Labour gets in ? Well that’s democracy. And a failure of the Tories and Ukip to make a pact to keep out of each other’s way where they can win marginals.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 8:56 am | Permalink

            But Jerry doesn’t seem to understand democracy, Mondeo Man, any more than he understands our constitution.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 9:12 am | Permalink

            @Mondeo Man; Well that all just fine and dandy then, your principles are left intact even if your face is missing something. Don’t come complaining when you are without your own nose and the UK is signing up as a member state in a United States of Europe, and/or the economy is in the hands of a IMF/ECB lead “Troika”…

          • Stephen Berry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 9:17 am | Permalink

            @Mondeo Man
            In the long term the average person is going to be better off, the last 200 years tells us that. But it’s the short term which bothers me. I do not want a reprise of the disastrous 1974/79 Labour government or the one President Hollande is at present inflicting on the French.

            We can now see that the major significance of the ‘breaking the mould’ SDP in the 1980s was to split the vote on the left and allow Mrs Thatcher to canter home to a couple of electoral victories. Will that be UKIP’s legacy to the right in British politics?

            @Timaction
            The numbers seem to be pretty clear already. UKIP will get many votes but few seats. Too few seats to have any influence in the House of Commons but enough votes to help ensure we suffer economic mismanagement for the next five years.

            @Sandra Cox
            I guess, you are right that a coalition with UKIP would not be top of David Cameron’s wish list. But does he really have to worry about this when UKIP will be getting seats on the same scale as Plaid Cymru?

            @Denis Cooper
            Sure, UKIP get some votes from disaffected Labour, but who is being damaged more? If UKIP were proving to be a major problem for Miliband, why hasn’t he offered a referendum on the EU if elected?

        • Timaction
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

          ………….With the Tories you get a referendum on the EU, with UKIP you get a wasted vote……….
          The legacy parties are just stooges for the EU who now make over 65% of our laws. Westminster play the game pretending to be the ones who initiate but they just do as they are told by the dictatorship. I don’t want to be a star on someone else’s flag. The EU is and always has been a plan by the legacy party politicos to create a United States of Europe by incremental stealthy Treaty change (FCO 30/1048 from 1971 sets out the plan they followed).
          I and UKIP want our freedom and sovereign democracy restored.
          Where is the difference with the rest? Energy Policy? Human Rights? EU? Gay Marriage? Foreign Aid? Climate Change? Mass Migration? The choice is clear. Either UKIP or the LibLabCON Party. We’ll see on the numbers……….The people will decide.

          • Sandra Cox
            Posted March 31, 2015 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

            I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cameron cosying up to absolutely any party in order to keep UKIP out, including a grand coalition with Labour!

            In November last year, Cameron was urging the Labour and LibDem party supporters to vote tactically against the United Kingdom Independence Party in Rochester and Strood.

            In November last year, I posted this comment and, for me (slightly modified), it still stands:

            “We have to face it, this confirms that the future of our country is the United Kingdom Independence Party vs the “LibLabCon Party” and the “Rest”.

            Don’t let’s forget that on Armistice Day 2014, the Prime Minister confirmed we have a straight choice: a sovereign country or rule by the EU.”

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

          “I agree with you that the Tories should be steaming ahead by now, but they are clearly being hurt by UKIP.”

          Times have changed; for the past two years and more it has been Labour’s turn to be hurt by UKIP.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 31, 2015 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; “Times have changed; for the past two years and more it has been Labour’s turn to be hurt by UKIP.”

            The full unabridged stats suggest otherwise, the problem for UKIP is that whilst they have indeed taken some Labour votes, more than enough disaffected LD voters have gone over/back to Labour to make up the losses, couple that with the fact that the rest of the LDs lost votes going to parties that are natural to prop up the Labour party in the case of a hung parliament and the picture is not at all rosy for the hopes of UKIP and bleak for eurosceptic generally….

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 9:34 am | Permalink

            Wrong way round.

            It was a problem for the Tories that when support for the LibDems collapsed most of those people switched to Labour and few switched to the Tories; that was the main reason why support for Labour overtook that for the Tories by the end of 2010, and one reason why it went on to a peak of 43% support around the end of 2012.

            On the other hand it has been a benefit for the Tories that since then UKIP has helped drag Labour down from 43% to its present level around 32%, while the Tories have more or less stood still over that period.

            It was quite amusing that so many tribal Tories were unable to see the obvious, that the collapse of the LibDems and the greater consolidation of the leftish anti-Tory vote on Labour was bad news for their party, as it is quite amusing that so many tribal Tories are still unable to see the obvious, that UKIP has been indirectly helping their party by doing what it could not do for itself, sapping support for Labour.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 11:55 am | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; Only in the UKIP land of dreams, spin and hope, everywhere else the statistical facts are somewhat different – even your favoured poll-of-polls shows it…

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

            None so blind as those, like you, who choose not to see.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; Indeed the average UKIP support does seem to be some what blind to the facts!

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

            Now you’re getting to be boring, again.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; “Now you’re getting to be boring, again.”

            Of course in the UKIP lexicon when something becomes “boring” what it actually means is “Oh sh**, we’ve been proved wrong again Nigel, let’s try and change the subject!”. What ever…

      • fedupsouthener
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Myself and my husband both feel the same as you do over tactical voting. It gets us nowhere. We (unfortunately) live in Scotland and I will NOT vote Labour just to keep the SNP out even though I see them as a threat to the UK as a whole. I would love to see Salmond get wiped out. We are going to vote UKIP as they are the only party with a sensible energy policy and immigration policy. I too cannot vote for the 3 main parties who are intent on keeping us in the EU. I know many of our friends feel the same way too. Cameron could do far worse than throw his lot in with Farage. I just hope others have the courage of their convictions to vote for what they really want. From what I see on this blog, many are dissatisfied with the Tory party but they must stand firm and show the party that what is proposed just isn’t good enough. Cameron must start using common sense and get rid of our energy policy which is so destructive and a switch to fracking would help our economy, make our bills cheaper and create jobs faster. We would be more competitive than our European neighbours.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

          @fedupsouthener; “Myself and my husband both feel the same as you do over tactical voting. It gets us nowhere.”

          But that is exactly what you are doing by voting UKIP!

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 1, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

          Your decision, but if it was me I would hold my nose and vote for the candidate most likely to beat the SNP candidate. There should be other elections in the future when you can follow your heart and vote for UKIP, but not if Scotland is no longer part of the UK. I see that Sturgeon is now hoping for another “once-in-a-generation” or “once-in-a-lifetime” independence referendum before 2020.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        PS to Jerry at 5.30

        That Mr Cameron won’t enter a pact with Ukip tells us one thing.

        He’d rather a Labour government than rotate his party back to real Conservatism or stand clear to allow Eurosceptic Ukip MPs to enter Parliament.

        Therefore the referendum promise is huff and puff and it won’t be conducted properly or given at all. He wants the EU and it’s what we’re going to get.

        • Jerry
          Posted April 1, 2015 at 9:27 am | Permalink

          @Mondeo Man; You (and others) seem to think that UKIP are still a single issue party, I personally do not dislike UKIP because they want out of the EU, I dislike UKIP because of their other policies, far to many of them are for the political right what the Militant Tendency was to the political left in the 1970s and early 80s – bad for the majority of people and businesses in the UK.

          • Timaction
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

            Go take a look on their website. UKIP CANNOT be argued on policy, hence why its all smear and no substantive arguments by the cartel LibLabCON party.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

            @Timaction; I have read the UKIP polices, I will also read they 2015 manifesto when they publish it, and you are wrong that they can not be argued on policy because that is actually a matter of op0inbion and not fact.

            The only people using smear is UKIP, hence your accusations of smear – you might need to think about that…

    • Jerry
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      @Brain Taylor; You make to many assumptions, Article 50 might see the UK out of the EU sometimes in the next ten years, there is no certainty that we will be accepted into either the EFTA or EEA and if we are then the UK will still have to implement EU laws and regulations, and might not be able to take existing opt-outs with us. I have often said that a clean break is needed if we are to leave, we simply state that we wish no longer to be a member of “Le Club” (using the UN fundamental charter [1] with regards a nations right to self determination), stop paying the fees and take our reserved seat again at the WTO and perhaps use our special relationship to join NAFTA. As John says, the EU will not suddenly stop wanting to trade with us, there is unlikely to be any trade wars etc. Nor will EU member countries start kicking our ex-pats out unless we start doing like wise. Unlike a certain europhobic party I do not place much credibility upon increasing our trading ties with our Commonwealth partners as one of the reasons there was almost political consensus back in the 1960s for joining the EEC was a reduction in our trade with our Commonwealth partners and remaining Empire.

      To reply to our host, I’m not a European-federalist but I do believe that the UK should either be 100% in or 100% out, but that doesn’t stop me expecting huge reforms to the EU and if not then voting to be 100% out – why, because as is so often pointed out, political union (the USoE) has been the goal since the signing of the Treaty of Rome (TEEC), you don’t join -never mind remain a member- a Football club if you want to play Cricket!

      @Hope; “All good points JR., but wasted in your Tory party [../etc/..]”

      Then we can vote to leave, something that we will not be able to do should europhile parties enter Downing Street via the back door on or after May 8th, far better a eurosceptic party that fails to deliver meaningful reforms but does deliver a (pledged) referendum, than a europhobic part that fails to deliver anything!

      Anyway, I suspect that this election is actually shaping up to be about anything but the EU and our membership, I suspect that Mr Osborne has done no favours to the Tory cause with his (reported) comment about there being no figures on were likely benefits spending cuts will fall until after the election – of course publishing them now might do no good to the Tory cause either, few will believe that the plans have not been made and signed off…

      • Timaction
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        I agree with the main thrust but UKIP isn’t Europhobic. We love Europe and its peoples, we loathe the EU dictatorship. Trade and friendship, control over our own borders and our sovereign democracy restored is not anything other than common-sense lost by the legacy parties treachery to the British people, particularly the English.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

          @Timaction; “UKIP isn’t Europhobic.”

          Sorry, perhaps we need to spilt hairs now, UKIP are EUrophobic. Another “ism” invented to pacify the pedantic few at election time.

          As for national boarders, well perhaps I should repeat
          my call for wanting the Kingdom of Wessex back, I don’t want us to be a part of the Kingdom of England any more (never mind the UK), they are totally undemocratic because they never do what Wessex wants and why do I have to have a UK passport an not a “Kingdom of Wessex” passport, were is the KoWXIP party when I need it 🙁

          Talk about that Little Britain complex!…

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 10:19 am | Permalink

            Wessex TOOK OVER the rest of England, so what’s your gripe? As a Kentishman I have more cause for complaint.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

            Denis Cooper; “Wessex TOOK OVER the rest of England”

            Yes and we have suffered ever since, you lot spent all our taxes, devalued our currency to the point that there had to be invented a new one, never mind mentioning the mass migration here that took all our jobs and homesteads!

            Detecting sarcasm is not one of your strong point, is it Denis?… 🙂

            The concept of what a nation state is has always been a rather fluid concept throughout history, but for far to many here in the UK if it is permitted to exists at all it seem that it can only be a one way thing, the UK can expand its “Empire” but can not consider being a part of another, europhobes in the UK chastise the French (amongst others) for the Treaty of Rome that wants to create a USofE but forget that in relatively recent history parts of France were ruled from England…

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

            Not yet seen any of your strong points …

        • Edward2
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

          Very well said Timeaction.

          • Timaction
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

            Thank you. Jerry doesn’t do patriotism, like the legacy parties I’m afraid!

          • Edward2
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

            You are welcome Timeaction
            In a few words you defined my own feelings about the EU and Europe.
            I also feel that many other European nations are having very similar misgivings about the EU and its drive to destroy the nation state against the proud and peaceful insticts of its people.
            There is a depressing and incorrect assumption, on the left mainly, that by destroying the nation states of Europe a permanent peace will be created.
            My view is the opposite is the case.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

            @Edweard2; What is your thoughts on the Old British Empire?…

            For far to many British people national patriotism is a one way-street, their own nation can expand its influence into as many other nations (sometimes by force) as we wish but no nation shale even dare to suggest that we might benefit from our own social-political-economic medicine and if any UK citizen should suggest such a thing then they are being unpatriotic if not committing an act of actual treason.

  2. Leslie Singleton
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Agreed of course but what puzzles me is your and others’ coming on strong all of a sudden with this “they export more to us” argument. I confess my memory may be wonky but has it not always been that way and has it not always been the case that they have decided that this argument carries little weight with them? Not difficult to see why as their exports to us are so much smaller in proportion than ours to them. It is simply not that big a deal to them when laid alongside their other goals. What I have just said no doubt does not apply so much as regards Germany but I doubt that will be enough.

    • agricola
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      I think you have it arse about face. They sell us more than we sell them. Do you think that the bosses of BMW, Mercedes, VW/Audi/Seat/Skoda, Opel, Porsche, Fiat, Renault, Citroen/Peugeot, and my favourite Ferrari would allow the Merkels and Junkers of the EU to jeopardize their trade with the UK. Europe is financially screwed up without the added imposition of disadvantaged trade with the UK.

      They trade with Norway and Switzerland without all the political interference, so I fail to understand what you are trying to say.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        Dear Agricola–Blimey what a cranky reply and we are on the same side but I’ll say it more simply for you, viz WHAT’S NEW that we should hope that they will change their entrenched and long held position? Their exports to us are small in relation to their overall exports. The cry will go up “In or Out”. Whatever we do must come from ourselves meaning don’t expect much help from across the Channel. Sounds as if you have been gulled in to believing Cameron.

        • acorn
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

          Leslie, have a look at https://www.uktradeinfo.com/Statistics/EUOverseasTrade/Pages/EuOTS.aspx .

          For non EU data have a look at https://www.uktradeinfo.com/Statistics/NonEUOverseasTrade/Pages/NonEuOTS.aspx .

          No country has the right to export more than it imports. Germany, with its large export surplus would not be sustainable outside of the Eurosystem. Germany ends up with large quantities of other countries currency, that it has to find something to do with. Those currencies are no good for paying German wages.

          It currently has the advantage that it can convert it back to Euro to bring home, without driving up the price of the Euro. Greece; Spain and the rest of Club Med are holding the Euro down for it.

          Greece is not the Eurozone’s biggest problem, Germany is.

          • petermartin2001
            Posted March 31, 2015 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

            acorn,

            I normally agree with you but I’m not sure about:

            “Germany, with its large export surplus would not be sustainable outside of the Eurosystem.”

            Denmark is outside the Eurosystem and runs a slightly higher surplus (7.5% of GDP) to Germany’s (7% of GDP). The surplus is of course in money terms. They both run a deficit in the trade of real goods and services.

            I’m also not sure about:

            No country has the right to export more than it imports

            The corollary would be “no right to import … ” which I wouldn’t agree with either!

            If Germany wants to swap 5 of their pigs for 4 of our equally valuable sheep, year in and year out, and to take our IOUs to make up the difference, why not let them?

            Having said that, they have to accept Spanish or Greek IOUs too. They don’t seem to have a problem with US or UK IOUs when they are in a different currency, to their own, so why the problem if they are in same currency?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 10:31 am | Permalink

            I’ve read that Germany has no right under EU law to run such a large trade surplus, and certainly the preamble to the TFEU states:

            “RECOGNISING that the removal of existing obstacles calls for concerted action in order to guarantee steady expansion, balanced trade and fair competition”

          • acorn
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

            Peter, keep in mind that Denmark pegs its currency to the Euro. The Danish Central Bank as issued about 100 billion krone lately, to buy foreign currencies to keep that peg to the Euro.

            Its CB policy rate is heavily negative and it is to stop issuing Gilts (Treasury debt) to keep more cash and reserves in circulation, forcing up the price of Gilts to suppress interest rates. The Germans are considering doing the same, that is, stop issuing Gilts.

            Denmark is going the same way as Switzerland. It will have to drop the peg eventually. Denmark will amass foreign currencies by the boat load, which won’t pay Danish wages. The subsequent shortage of krone in the Danish domestic economy will slow it down.

          • petermartin2001
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 3:30 am | Permalink

            acorn,

            I agree that Denmark should revalue its Krone. It really doesn’t make any economic sense to run very large trade surpluses and very large deficits in traded goods and services. The Krone is at a lower level than it would be if the Danish government didn’t interfere on the foreign exchange markets.

            That can only be done by creating huge numbers of Krone as you say. It represents a huge Danish subsidy to everyone but the Danish themselves. A lower Krone means they have to pay more for their imports than they should. They also have to pay more taxes than they would need to counteract the inflationary pressure of all those created Krone being spent into the Danish economy.

            I’m sure Danish politicians are painting this as a success story. It really isn’t.

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        Agricola

        Think you will find JR probably Missed out the word “more”

        “….as we buy so much MORE from them…”

        It then reads the way JR has always argued for many years.

        The second paragraph reads, we have a large trade deficit with the EU.

    • aelitaman
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      As has been shown with the Greece negotiations it is not what the EU wants but what the individual countries want, or more truthfully what Germany wants.

      If we left the EU beareaucrats may have a desire to punish us but I am sure that the large exporters to us Germany, NL and Spain would want the trade to continue u nnhindered. France may be unpredictable and volatile but as soon as the French farmers and Winemakers take to the streets their politians would come round and support the free trade export of all those fine wines to us.

    • Hope
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      Leslie good points. However, they can hardly say we are deceitfully joining an EU superstate by stealth without setting out our true intentions or seeking a proper mandate from the people. The last opportunity was the Lisbon treaty and Brown signed it behind closed doors without a referendum, Cameron broke his promise and false claims he would not let the matter rest there is he could have made changes to the treaty at the beginning of 2010 and decided not to, he could have negotiated changes for the fiscal pact Merkel sought and decided not to, he could tried to stop Eurozone countries using EU institutions as he claimed for his alleged veto and chose not to, he could and should have not bailed out Eurozone countries as he peomised but did, he has used taxpayers money to promote closer union to the EU when he promised not to and he did not allow a parliamentary debate on the EAW when he promised his MPs he would. There is a bit of a theme here.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        Dear Hope–I agree more than you do!! But as I said again in reply to agricola I cannot see what is new in the relative exports point

      • Timaction
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        Do you think that Mr Cameron is being disingenuous Hope?
        The legacy parties can’t tell the people the truth……….We’ve actually all lied to you for over 40 years on our true intentions of creating a superstate by stealthy incremental treaty change. We sold it on trade and tidying up exercises.
        Remember Edward Heath and his promise to the British people of no loss of sovereignty before the only referendum?

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    You are exactly right, but you have Cameron as your leader and you even voted for him. He is essentially a Libdem and does not think remotely like this. As a result of his past ratting and tax increasing/soft left.fake green agenda he is about to throw a second election. We may well even get the disaster that is Miliband/Balls/Salmond and Sturgeon that almost no one wants.

    This despite the fact that the electorate clearly wants a proper and more UKIP like Tory party with nearly 50% of the electorate support between them and Miliband’s Labour are doing there very best to lose too.

  4. Mark B
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    I am afraid you are muddying the waters a little bit here. The EU and the EEA (Single Market) are NOT the same thing.

    Being a member of the EU automatically qualifies you for membership of the EEA. But you can also be a member of the EEA and NOT the EU. The EU is the Political Aspect of all this, and has always been. EVER CLOSER UNION means exactly that, and for as long as we are members of the EU, we are bound to full committal.

    Reading between the lines, what I read is, FEAR !!! There is real fear in certain circles that the UK and its financial sector will be used to cover the debts of the Eurozone. That the monies generated from it will be diverted too countries like Greece. It is no secret that the EU wishes to see a common tax regime, and to achieve this there must be more central control over member countries.

    Welfare is another area. The EU already exerts some control over this through various schemes and through the EU Citizens Trojan Horse signed by, John Major and the Conservative Party in the Maastricht Treaty.

    What you seek, is to be part of the EU but not necessarily part of EVER CLOSER UNION. This cannot and never will be accepted by the other member countries. That is by some people try and push nonsense like, EU-Lite. You are either in, or out ! Which is it to be ?

    If you leave, you will first have to evoke Article 50. Then you will have to negotiate a withdraw. After that, you fall into the EEA and quite possibly, EFTA / EEA like Norway. This would still give you access to financial services through TWO of the Four Freedoms of the EEA.

    You would have control over what goes on through the Bank of International Settlements (BIS). And if you look at this list, you will see a name at the top who some might be very familiar with.

    https://www.bis.org/about/board.htm?m=1|2|2

    Through the BIS and other International bodies, the UK would be making the rules, and not the EU.

    Try Google ‘FLEXIT’ to get a flavour of what life might be like outside the Political UNION !!!

    All thanks to Dr. Richard North over at EURef’

    • M Davis
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      … Try Google ‘FLEXIT’ to get a flavour of what life might be like outside the Political UNION !!! …

      Excuse me but I believe it is FLEXCIT!

      I wonder what JR makes of it if, indeed, he has even read it?

  5. Ry Grainger
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Just out of interest does Alastair Darling support a referendum on the EU ? It is odd that many Euro-enthusiasts are opposed to having a referendum, if they won (very likely in my view) then that would stop all the arguments (for a while). I don’t recall many people arguing that the Scots shouldn’t have been given a referendum.

    • agricola
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      It’s just the same as having an analytical financial discussion about HS2. Because the pro lobby cannot produce a logical argument they refuse such and bulldoze it through backed by a lot of career hopeful MPs, who should be damned for being so spineless.

      • Sandra Cox
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        Re a logical argument on HS2, there may be a simple explanation! As Dame EUgenie OutatheBottel said, in her whimsical missive to Dame Lucy Dolittle at the beginning of this year:

        “You might have realised that the EUBC (Oops! For the moment we are still calling it the BBC) and other media outlets are suppressing stories of unrest in other EU regions. We know only too well what those bolshy United Kingdomers are like, but do not concern yourselves with small pockets of resistance. Europol, our law enforcement agency, can offer a flexible response.

        However, to speed things up in the future, it is vital you get on with HS2, and don’t let’s forget we can also use it to speed up our EU Gravy Train Special – always leaving from a platform near you!!”

        Many a true word spoken in jest!

  6. A.Sedgwick
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Again you comments are plain and simple common sense, why doesn’t the Conservative hierarchy rectify their 2010 mistake and realise a guaranteed EU referendum within 12 months will win an outright majority by diminishing Ukip to the political margins again.

    • agricola
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      Because senior politician have an undisclosed agenda with big business, the banks and the EU hierarchy to benefit when their political career ends.

      • Hefner
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        Why are all the Lab/Lib/Con/UKIP politicians keep talking about the 2008 crisis without making reference to the oh-so-light-touch regulation of the financial industries?

        When there is a new scandal following the post-6 April change in pensions?
        The worse, for me at least, is that there is not even an undisclosed agenda. It is simply that once one gets to Westminster, one just breathes a different air, stops thinking like “the rest of us” and will therefore find normal to move their past MP experience to benefit the “superstructure”.
        Given the accumulated number of blunders (King & Crewe, 2013) in the last 30 years, it is not surprising that those or ones along similar lines keep being repeated.

        How many former MPs have ever in history gone back to the rank of “simple citizens” and not exploited their address book?
        What about a bit more Citizen Engagement in decision-making?

    • forthurst
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      While there are any patriotic Englishmen living in England, there will always be the need for a political party that takes the fight to the unpatriotic Europhile parties; the EU and immigration is the major issue facing this country and there needs to be at least one party that acknowledges that fact.

      I will never vote for a party whose leadership wishes Turkey to join the EU. The basis of the purported qualification for Turkey to even be in Europe, is its prior occupation by conquest of parts of Thrace, left uncorrected after WWI when the Ottoman Empire was unbundled.etc ed

      • Know-Dice
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        An interesting situation developing there…

        What reward are the Kurds going to get for their part in fighting against ISIS?

  7. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Sound sentiments Mr Redwood. Did your position convince many? Did Mr Darling move minds? Or were those listening already in possession of entrenched views which did not change during the debate?

  8. Douglas Carter
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Are you aware of an online location to see the exchanges John?

    No disrespect, but on this occasion I feel this is an incomplete entry since you’ve discussed your opinions of the EU clearly and comprehensively and many of us agree with the points. However, in this blog entry, we don’t see the reaction from Mr. Darling.

    I’d wish to know that since more than anything, I’d be interested to hear evidence he so much as verbally acknowledged the argument you put forward, let alone constructed a coherent counter-argument to it. From long observation now, I see the Europhile camp attempting to justify their stance on the basis of doggedly refusing to even acknowledge the withdrawal arguments, let alone attempt to stand properly and contest the matter on the legitimate points at hand.

    If as I suspect in advance, Mr. Darling retreated his argument into a doomsday scenario of financial apocalypse and social catastrophe as is traditionally the case from the Europhiles then things remain much the same. But it’s becoming disturbing that the press media have no apparent appetite to permit the argument to proceed beyond that form of propaganda. There does seem to be a clear pro-EU Media narrative. ‘Brexit’ clearly threatens that as a counter-narrative and it seems the only trick in the Euro-book to defeat it is to refuse to even acknowledge it’s existence.

    Did the stance of Mr. Darling fall outside the posture of my expectations?

    Reply Mr Darling spoke a bit about the Scottish referendum, and explained that he thought we should stay in the EU for trade and business reasons.

    • agricola
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Then Mr Darling, who I respect more than most Labour politicians was selling a red herring. Norway and Switzerland benefit superbly well from a trade only relationship, why not the UK.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      We know all the pro EU fake arguments.

      Better to have a seat at the table and be constantly ignored and out voted there than have “no influence”.

      50% of out trade ….

      The saved us from wars nonsense

      None of them makes any rational sense after about a minute of thinking. A greater Switzerland on Sea with free trade, voluntary but selective cooperation, real UK democracy and selective immigration is a far, far better option for the UK.

      The EU will, without doubt, spit the UK (and England) up, over regulate absolutely everything, ram electric cars, HS trains and expensive energy on us, destroy the city and suck out as much money as they possible can.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        @LL; “We know all the pro EU fake arguments. “

        Indeed but there are also all those fake anti EU arguments, many seemingly based on something a totally different German nation and peoples did 70 plus years ago…

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          The main anti EU argument is that it is profoundly anti-democratic indeed there is not even a sensible EU demos. That the absurd green crap and the innate top down command socialism the EU exhibits are the main problems.

          Few think British politicians are much better that EU ones but at least you can get rid of them and they do have some understanding of the UK history, economy, its peoples, languages and some common interests with them.

          They EU can clearly do far more harm to the UK if we subject ourselves to their idiotic laws, uncontrolled open door immigration and endless regulations from choice. If we left and made our own laws they could do rather less damage to the UK even if they wanted to.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

            @LL; But Mr LifeLogic many people here in the UK think the UK is profoundly anti-democratic too! You do realise, don’t you, that to be anti-democratic something or someone needs to do more than prevent you -via their larger elected majority- from getting your own way as and when you demand it?!…

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 10:36 am | Permalink

            Those people should learn some history and qualify their views. Despite its manifest imperfections the British system has avoided a descent into brutal dictatorship, which cannot be said for most of the other EU member states.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; For some in the UK that is a debatable point, and they do not need to study history books either, for them it’s within their living memories!

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 8:24 am | Permalink

            Maybe for some in the UK that is a debatable point, but then some in the UK are very foolish and misguided. You can see some of them commenting on the Guardian website.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; In YOUR opinion of course…

  9. Steve
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    One of the great lies that is allowed to go unchallenged is that if we leave the EU it means we can’t trade with Europe. We can be in the single market without being in the EU, thus avoiding giving up our sovereignty to them in the More Europe.

    Plus as more and more regulations about trade are made at a World level, the single market itself is fast becoming an anachronism.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      @Steve; “We can be in the single market without being in the EU”

      Indeed but you clearly do not understand the implications of being a part of either the EEA or EFTA, we can not be a part of the “single market” without also playing by the rules made by the EU. Half the issues with TTIP is that the USA wants to have access to the EU single market, as indeed the EU wants increased access to the USA markets, but neither wants to play by each others rules, thus they are attempting to mash-up a new set of rules.

      • ian wragg
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        TTIP is the USA’s last ditch effort at their idea of world government. France will make sure it never comes to fruition as it entails the EU adopting US standards not the other way round.
        America refuses to join common standards for Autos which is why so few are sold in Europe.
        We should negotiate a FTA with Europe or individual countries. China doesn’t have to accept TTIP or free movement or pay a subscfription to trade with the EU. Why should we???

        • Jerry
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

          @ian wragg; “world government”

          Yes and your comment is hopefully the last conspiracy theory before May 7th…

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

          Well, in his autobiography Truman explained how he saw the UN as an embryonic federal world government and hoped that it would come to fruition, so it goes back at least that far.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; But first one has to define what is meant by “World Government”, is it -as I suspect many conspiracy theorists think- a means towards a single autocratic elite; or a means to for the UN to over-see that all nations of the world have their own national governments who agree to obey minimum standard of democracy and civilian rights via the use of international law.

            Also the definition of “federal” could be open to interpretation, even more so when translating from US English to UK English, many the same words but many a different meaning and nuance.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 10:48 am | Permalink

            I suggest you get hold of his book, “Year of Decisions, 1945”, and read it. Truman said in several places and in several different ways that he hoped the UN would develop in the same way as the US, into a world federation with a supreme world government and “a world parliamentary set-up along the lines of the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States”. But as he deceived himself about the nature of the US federal system so too he deceived himself about the nature of his proposed world system.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

            Denis Cooper; Try actually understanding what I said rather than just carrying on posting your conspiracy theories. Are you a fluent native US English speaker Denis, unless you are then what you claim Truman meant is nothing more than an opinion, even more so when in text form.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 8:26 am | Permalink

            Read his book; he was after all the US President, not some nobody whose opinion was of no importance.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; I note that you did not answer my question, so I take it you do not read US English as a native adult raised and educated in the USA would, thus you are reading into a US authored book, that was written for an intended US audience, an interpretation as some words or phrases have distinct differences in their meaning and nuance -as I have tried to point out and you have totally ignored.

            Just taking the single word “Federal” could have several different meanings, even being shorthand for a ‘Federation’, which the UN is in effect but is not a “world government”.

            Tell me Denis, if you were to enjoy a well cooked meal as a guest in an American family home and after the usual post dinner cordial discussions that attempts to put all the worlds ills to rights, would you do as so many British do, offer to help your hosts wife wash-up before leaving? Serious question.

  10. Duyfken
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    JR, you have chosen to support Cameron in his professed intention to negotiate significant changes to the terms of the UK’s membership of the EU. When challenged by doubters (such as me) that nothing of substance is likely to be achieved, you reassure us that then of course we can have a referendum.

    No matter how futile negotiation may prove to be, it seems all too apparent that a Cameron-led government would in a referendum still advocate and support the UK remaining within the EU. We know that Labour and the LDs would do likewise, so all of the present (or is it erstwhile) main three Parties would lobby the public against Brexit. That would present an enormous wall for the EUsceptics to scale—and success seems increasingly unlikely.

    To have a fair chance of the UK public deciding to vote for Brexit, it would need the support of at least the sponsors of the referendum, ie the government of the day. In the Conservative Party, there are but a handful of truly EUsceptics as candidates at the GE. To varying degrees some give lip-service but there are none who, in my estimation, could be committed to Brexit and likely to be part of any Conservative future government.

    The obstacle of course is Cameron and his clique.

    The strength of UKIP has been augmented by these circumstances. There is now no thrust in your previous exhortation that “a vote for UKIP is a vote for Labour”, since a referendum appears already lost.

    With much respect, I urge you to reconsider the path you have decided to take. If you, with like-minded Conservatives, cannot forthwith regain control of the Party from Cameron’s liberal left, then you should weigh the alternatives (eg go independent, form another Party, or join UKIP even it sticks in your throat) and act accordingly.

    • Paul
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      A renegotiation may not be a bad thing after all. If at the end of it (as will be the case) there is no change to the free movement of people, this will be massive in terms of David Cameron’s failure to get a good deal and will surely make it more likely to get what we want – Out. If a referendum was held today, a vote to stay In would probably be more likely as any issue related to the EU, including immigration, is not resonating with enough people. I used to think an immediate referendum was the only right way forward, but in the long run, a renegotiation may be better for those who want Out.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      @Duyfken; “it seems all too apparent that a Cameron-led government would in a referendum still advocate and support the UK remaining within the EU.”

      Your point being what exactly, other than you seem to think that the vast majority of the UK population are “sheeple”, dutifully voting for what the ‘Great Leader’ wishes, on the other hand the very reason Labour and the LDs do not want a referendum is because unlike UKIP they know all to well that the electorate are anything but.

      UKIP really are a rabbit caught in the headlights of the very real fact that they have managed to make themselves utterly irrelevant! If eurosceptics do vote for them then the UK is likely to have a very europhile government after May 7th that may well sign us up to even “More Europe”, if eurosceptics do not vote for them then the UK gets a strong eurosceptic Tory government and a binding In/Out referendum on our EU membership…

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        Please explain how not voting for UKIP will lead to a strong Eurosceptic Tory government. I am planning to vote for UKIP, even though I see no chance that the UKIP candidate will win here, but I would really like you to explain what difference it would make if instead I decided to just stop at home and not bother to vote.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          @Denis Cooper; If there was no UKIP were do you think the average “capitalist” [1] anti EU vote would go, it’s hardly likely to go to Labour or the LD, even without that “No! No! No!” late 1980s style of Thatcher’s leadership the Tory party would be the only natural party of choice even if not explicitly europhobic – unless you REALLY are going to claim that people like you would sit on your hands (I suspect that vast majority would not), for that is the true and very lonely road to cutting your own nose off to spite someone else!

          [1] I make the assumption, based on your other comments and presence here on our hosts site, that you are actually a Europhobe capitalist rather than a Europhobe left-wing socialist of the sort who forced Wilson into the 1975 referendum

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 10:58 am | Permalink

            You make two false assumptions there: firstly I find that I am more left than I am right, but more importantly even if UKIP were to completely disappear that would be of little net benefit to the Tory party. But you have failed to answer my question, which was how NOT VOTING FOR UKIP will lead to a strong Eurosceptic Tory government. Are you suggesting that all those millions who plan to vote UKIP should instead stop at home, or they should spoil their ballot papers, or maybe they should not even register to vote, or what? Or would you prefer it if all votes cast for UKIP were cancelled, with all those ballot papers put in the bin? None of that seems very democratic, does it?

          • Jerry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

            Denis Cooper; You really do not seem to understand either percentages nor the FPTP voting system, that is very clear. No wonder you have such difficulties in understanding what opinion polls are actually telling you. 🙁

            UKIPs, and thus your own, argument appears to be based on a PR voting system, were indeed all votes count, not the TPTP system were the only votes that count are those of the PPC with the highest number, even if it’s a mere single vote – for all the other the votes gained by other PPCs their supporters might well have indeed stayed at home and sat on their hands, that is why so many consider TPTP as undemocratic and why splitting a section of the vote should not be done lightly or out of spiteful dogma just to boost or hurt a parties ego.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 8:28 am | Permalink

            You still haven’t answered my simple question, Jerry: how NOT VOTING FOR UKIP will lead to a strong Eurosceptic Tory government. Off on all kinds of tangents, clouds of squid ink ejected into the water, but no answer.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; I have, try actually understanding what I said.

            Although I suspect your real problem, is that you understand all to well, but simply do not like the harsh facts, even more so when Mr Farage understood that his party -by managing to split the Tory vote in 2010- was the cause of the hung parliament and boasted all over the media the following morning “it was UKIP who caused it”

      • Timaction
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        I’m at a loss to understand what difference it will make regardless of the legacy party numbers post the election as there is so little between them.
        Utterley irrelevant? Really. Who won the European elections? Why do you imagine there is a discussion on the EU at all? I’ll spell it out. UKIP. The only patriotic party.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

          @Timaction; “Utterley irrelevant? Really. Who won the European elections?”

          Do you want the over hyped party spun answer or the cold light of day answer reflection in the mirror answer, how about the latter;

          No UK political party, as non now belong to the EPP group in the European parliament (who have the most MEPs at 221), the UK political party with the most influence is Labour with their 20 MEPs belonging to the S&D group (with 191) who came second, then comes the Conservatives with 19 MEPs in the ECR group (with 70) which came third – so were did UKIP end up, well the EFDD (was EFD) group came last if we discount the independents/non-attached, thus for all the hype about UKIP “winning” here in the UK they have very little real influence beyond being able to make some noise on the floor of the EU parliament. Heck the UK LibDems, being a part of the ALDE group (with 67), have more influence and they only scraped a single MEP seat here in the UK at the last European elections.

          So are UKIP “utterly irrelevant”, indeed yes, both here in the UK and in the EU…

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 11:06 am | Permalink

            Transnational groupings in a transnational assembly making decisions by transnational majority voting; much the same idea as a monarch bringing in foreign mercenaries to crush domestic resistance, but you buy into it.

          • Timaction
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

            The Commission decide the laws. The Parliament (MEP’s) rubber stamps those laws, they don’t decide or implement them. The democracy bit is a charade for the “sheeple”. They just forgot the bit about seeking our consent for those laws by getting elections for the Commissioners. In other words a dictatorship! Just saying!

          • Jerry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; @Timaction; Tim you asked a question, you and Denis might not like the answer but that is the answer never the less. I didn’t pass any judgement on the democratic worth of MEPs but that said, unless UKIP are just in it for the money, UKIP must see some benefit from being present in the parliament with their 23 (was 24) MEPs as a part of the EFDD group.

      • Richard
        Posted April 1, 2015 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        Jerry :

        “A strong Eurosceptic Tory Goverment” ?

        From where please do you get the idea that a Tory government would be “strongly Eurosceptic” ?

        Tory voters as a whole may be “strongly Eurosceptic” but certainly not the majority of Tory MPs or the Tory leadership.

        Mr. Cameron says quite clearly that he wants us to remain in an EU which includes Turkey and all the countries between the Atlantic and the Urals.

        I can no longer vote for a party with these aims. Neither for a party happy to continue with mass immigration (both EU and non-EU) and the Climate Change Act. Voting for a party holding these policies clearly gives them, quite rightly, the view that their policies are popular.

        It makes no sense to vote Tory just because you think you may be eventually offered an EU referendum.

  11. agricola
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    You elucidate the case for Brexit very well. It is now incumbent on you friend Cameron to explain why he is determined to stay in bed with the EU. Bet he shirks that one like a proposition in Shepherds Market.

    From recent Labour propaganda we are led to believe that quoted industrialists are keen to stay in the EU. A number quoted have recanted, saying they do not wish to get involved in politics. It is understandable that Siemens being large and German are happy because they can play a major part in writing the rules for their particular industry. On the other hand I think I have read that such as Dyson have said that belonging is irrelevant to trading in the EU. Put simply if the EU wants yellow four pin plugs then worldwide industry will provide them. It is called customer satisfaction.

    The damning part of belonging to the EU is that it enables them to control our trade worldwide. I find it unbelievable that any UK government should have allowed this to happen.

    Energy is the blood supply of industry. The fact that industry has been allowed to fall hostage to the totally fallacious green lobby is equally damning. It only goes to show that politics seems to attract many with very limited knowledge or the ability to question available information.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Exactly.

  12. alan jutson
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    All sound common sense reasons.

    So why do the majority of MP’s think the opposite.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Alan,
      Good question.
      Why do most MPs stand for Parliament but when elected are apparently incapable of governing without being told what to do by an anti-democratic foreign organisation? Is it contempt for our sovereignty and democracy or just idleness and incompetence? Most of them seem very happy to act as lobby fodder and glorified, overpayed social workers.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        Sorry, I meant overpaid.

    • agricola
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      They do not think the opposite, if they think at all. They act the opposite because they have ambitions. Bit like laughing at the bosses jokes. They know that if they fail to tow the party line, any promotion is out of the window. Democracy and representing the views of their electorate go on the back burner when promotion is a possibility.

    • graham1946
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      The majority of MP’s don’t think. They take their line from their leaders who give them their opinions and they are mostly supine cowards (a few notable exceptions like JR and Carswell and Reckless, who of course never get anywhere). They have their eye on getting rich in some way beyond their ability. Outside politics, most of them wouldn’t be given house room by business. They trade on the contacts they make. Can anyone really believe Blair would have made all his money and be taken seriously by the world had 9/11 and the American wars not happened? He was and is lauded in the US, whereas he is reviled here and would have been just another run of the mill ex PM.

      If by some miracle someone like JR was to become leader, they would all then follow his views, but too many powerful fingers are in too many lucrative pies for anyone to rock the corrupt EU boat.

      • ian wragg
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        There lies the problem, someone like John could never be elected to lead the Tory Party, the grandees wouldn’t stand for it.
        Look what happened to Margaret Thatcher when she began to get really Eurosceptic. The grand and the good public school boys had her removed.
        Hague was supposed to a Eurosceptic but went native at the first hurdle.
        There is too many making a career out of the EU for the concerns of the electorate to be considered.
        Just like the Soviet Union and China.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

          Indeed very much like that.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

          @ian wragg; With the uppermost respect to our host [1], there is little point in any party electing a leader who the general public will not vote for, Labour leant that lesson the painful way back in the early 1980s. The Tory party did not dump Thatcher because of her Euroscepticism, she had become a liability due to her domestic policies (something I seem to recall our host advised her against). Unlike so many root and branch party members most MPs tend to be far more in-tune with the popular vote, they have to be as otherwise they get handed their “P45s”, or at least have to hand back their ministerial cars and red boxes etc…

          [1] Ian, if you wonder why I said that then you need to check your political history books

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 11:08 am | Permalink

            The timing of her removal being purely coincidental, and Howe going off at a tangent with his resignation speech.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; I suppose the “Poll Tax” riots and continued civil resistance to paying it [1], coupled to a long standing low (personal) opinion rating -that was actually lower than that of her party, that the opinion polls had shown that by Sept. ’90 Labour were leading in the polls by 14% and by Nov. ’90 the Conservatives had been trailing labour for the last 18 months, this perhaps no more than six months ideally (and no more than 18 months) to the next GE, nor the fact that the UK had by Nov ’90 entered recession with interest rates something around 15%, not to mention a lost by-election [2] in Oct. weren’t issues?

            Geoffrey Howe indeed resigned over the ERM issue but he also made it very clear in “that” resignation speech it was not a single issue but her style of leadership, otherwise why had he had a “tragic conflict of loyalties with which [he had] wrestled for perhaps too long” or was he measuring it in hours and days rather than weeks, months or years! Also Thatcher in the end did not block entery the ERM as by the date of Howe’s resignation on the 1st Nov. the UK had been within the mechanism for almost a month.

            Denis, studying political history is oh so much more interesting and fulfilling than inventing political conspiracy theories, even if it is a little boring at time, you should try it…

            [1] the BBC reported on 14th Aug ’90, “One in five people in England and Wales had paid nothing towards their community charge – or poll tax – by the end of June, a survey has revealed.”

            [2] a by-election caused by the murder of Ian Gow

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

            Absolute tosh, Jerry, as anybody can see by going back and reading what Howe actually said in that speech; and I suppose it was just another coincidence that the man who then promptly challenged for the Tory leadership was the raving eurofanatic Heseltine.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; Oh right so political, historical, facts are “tosh”, what’s the weather like on Mars Denis?

            “anybody can see by going back and reading what Howe actually said in that speech”

            If one takes any speech, even more a single sentence, and lift it out of the historical context in which it was made, you can make it fit any argument, and indeed Denis you usually do!

            “I suppose it was just another coincidence that the man who then promptly challenged for the Tory leadership was the raving eurofanatic”

            As for Mr Heseltine, my overriding memory of the time is that he was an outspoken opponent to the “Poll Tax”, a policy that was rapidly spiralling out of control with not only wide spread civil disobedience but growing opposition within the Conservative party due to that civil disobedience and the falling opinion poll figures, such was the feeling towards the parties “Poll Tax” policy that all three eventual leadership candidates pledged to abolish or radically change it should they be elected the new leader.

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    What is your reaction to reports that your leader is conspiring with the LibDems to rig the EU referendum?
    Do you agree that it would be unfair if millions of EU migrants were allowed to vote in Britain’s referendum? Aren’t plans to extend the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds clearly intended to tilt the result as school-leavers are much more likely to have been recently exposed to heavily pro-EU views?

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Brian

      I would not be at all surprised if the kitchen sink was also allowed to vote in any referendum, the Europhiles will do almost anything to get the so called right result.

      They will probably take a year to get the right wording for the simple question.

      The fact of the matter is it should be British Nationals only who should be allowed to vote, given it is about sovereignty and self rule.

      General elections perhaps should be on a similar basis, given transient workers will not be paying taxes for too long here, before they return home.

      • ian wragg
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        correction….. transient workers who never make a positive contribution to the exchequer…….

        • Jerry
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

          @ian wragg (replying to @Brian Tomkinson; @alan jutson);
          “transient workers who never make a positive contribution to the exchequer”

          Perhaps then only those entitled to a UK passport, who are working and thus dutifully making their tax returns (either via PAYE or self assessment) should be allowed to vote in elections and referendums, after all if all you do is pay taxes via VAT and other indirect ways why should you have suffrage…

          Labour (perhaps irrationally) claim the Tories want to go back the the 1930s, some of the utterly irrational ideas from (likely) UKIP supporters appear to suggest that UKIP wants to go back to the 1830s! What next, only allow those who own property to vote. If you live in the country, pay taxes, and are over the age of majority and have not been legally disqualified from voting why shouldn’t people have their say?

          • Timaction
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

            Do you imagine anywhere else on Earth that this would be acceptable? You have been brainwashed by the cartel. It’s not backward to want our sovereign democracy returned and a choice over who we allow into our Country for the benefit of the indigenous population!
            Don’t think I would be allowed a vote in the USA, Japan, China or anywhere else in the circumstances described. You have been conditioned Jerry. Don’t worry, UKIP will enlighten you and the rest of the Country on the …………truth.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

            @Timaction; If I satisfied the legal requirements to vote then yes I would be able to vote in any of the countries you mention – Duh!

            What UKIP want to do is to change who can vote, as a democrat I have to ask why…and…so far I have not had a coherent answer.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 7:46 am | Permalink

            The legal requirements in these other sovereign nations are considerably more onerous on new arrivals wanting firstly, right of entry, secondly, citizenship and thirdly the right to vote.
            Timeaction is correct.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; You are still arguing for the sake of it, what ever the specific requirement are is irrelevant, if the immigrant satisfies the requirements they would be allowed to vote – QED.

            Still no coherent answer as to why UKIP want to restrict who can vote though, without any it looks like the party wishing to gerrymander is actually UKIP and not those they have accused, at the very least UKIP are showing just how undemocratic they are, what next to obtain/retain power…as I suggested…allow only those who own property to vote? It would certainly fit their Victorian era, British Empire, outlook towards the world.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 3, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

            Its much easier here in the UK than say in Canada or USA.

            I dont know why UKIP have this policy.
            If you want a coherant answer you need to ask them.

    • James Matthews
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      May I second that question. A clear case of a politician who doesn’t like the electorate seeking to change the electorate (rather than the other way round – once said to be the essence of our democracy).

      None of us can have any faith that Cameron will reject the LD proposal because:

      1. He is clear that he wants to remain in the EU and:

      2. He (quite shamefully) agreed to the same deal for the Scottish independence referendum.

      That being the case, the argument that UKIP supporters should vote Tory to get an EU referendum in the next Parliament completely fails. Better a later referendum than a vote to stay in accomplished on a vote rigged to include millions of foreigners and inexperienced and semi-brainwashed legal infants.

      • Bob
        Posted March 31, 2015 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        The EU referendum is being held on May 7th.
        LibLabCon are pro EU and UKIP want to restore self rule, take your pick.
        Do you trust David Cameron?

        • Jerry
          Posted March 31, 2015 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

          @Bob; With UKIP likely to allow a left wing, very pro EU, government in via the back door on May 7th you are quite correct, this is likely to be the EU referendum.

          UKIP, the best buddies of the EU, intentionally or not…

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Well, I remember this draft Bill for a referendum on the EU Constitution, dated January 7th 2004:

      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmbills/022/2004022.pdf

      Section 3(1): “Those entitled to vote in the referendum shall be persons who, on the date of the referendum, would be entitled to vote as electors in European
      Parliamentary elections.”

      That was presented by the Tory MP John Maples, supported by Mr Frank Field, Mr David Heathcoat-Amory, Kate Hoey, Mr Peter Lilley, Mr Archie Norman,
      Mr George Osborne, Richard Ottaway, Sir George Young, Mr Edward Garnier,
      Mr Andrew Tyrie and Mrs Gillian Shephard, and none of them had seen fit to object to the proposed franchise.

  14. Shieldsman
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    What do you make of “Miliband: EU poll is ‘clear and present danger’ to jobs”.
    Labour have made it quite clear all along that they are quite content to remain under the EU yoke.
    Having made a complete and utter mess of the economy in the past are they trying to toady up to big business. The business argument being that they do not like insecurity, but then who does. Can they turn over a new leaf?
    Whilst the opinion of business leaders is important they do not provide many votes at the ballot box. Being more affluent they generally love a different lifestyle to the average Labour voter.
    Trying to ignore the effect of mass immigration on the indigenous population is impossible. A growing population places increased demands on the infrastructure, which has not been, and is expensive to implement.
    Read Yvette Coopers speech wherein she admits “Yes Labour got things wrong on immigration in the past.
    The impact of migration is unfair, with local workers on low income losing out.
    Low skilled migrant labour is being exploited to undercut local wages and jobs – at a time when those on low income already feel left behind and buffeted by the whirlwinds of globalisation. And communities with high levels of migration are experiencing pressure on public services – at a time when budgets are being cut”.

    Non of her corrective proposals can be implemented whilst we remain EU members subject the Lisbon Treaty. She seems to think that she can wave the magic wand and the Brussels hierarchy will revoke the freedom of movement directive.

    Miliband in effect is promising the Labour voter continued mass immigration from the EU menber states.

    • ian wragg
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Miliband in effect is promising the Labour voter continued mass immigration from the EU menber states.

      So is Cameron and Clogg..

    • stred
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      Mrs Balls may tell us that Labour ‘got things wrong on immigration in the past’, but it isn’t half helping their chances. As the DT exposed when it published the briefing on immigration during the Blair/Brown years, they thought an increase would be ‘socially useful’.

      They must be pleased to see the graphs shown in the HoC Migration Statistics published 26th Feb this year. Chart 3 shows a dip from the high levels at the end of the Labour government in 2010. From the beginning of the coalition the figures have risen steeply and in 2014 exceeded the highest Labour record in 2007.

      The latest net figure was 317k of which the EU accounted for 41.8% and non EU 58.2%. The figures for British emigrating are around 140k over the parliament and returns for non British 183k. Adding the emigrants to the net figure and subtracting the 183k for returns gives an immigration figure of 414k pa. Taking a lower figure of 300k pa as a hopeful average the increase over 2010-15 will be 1.5m. The population is estimated at around 64.2m with 46m voting. The 1.5m is a 3.3% increase in the voting population and many of these will be in cities, where Labour has an advantage because of the failure to bring in fair constituency sizes.

      Many of the increase to 64m may be second generation immigrants, given the huge increase in city school numbers. Also, given the probability that many British emigres would have been skilled professionals or retirees, the loss of Conservative voters makes things even better from Labour’s viewpoint.

      Given the obvious result and the exposing of the Labour plan, did anyone in your party think of doing something about it?

  15. Baltic Pro
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    With the greatest respect, many of the issues are just as much driven by the group-think of all of our young, unworldly political class as by the EU – I do not think that dear energy policies and ‘climate change’ mantras are going to disappear from the strategic thinking at the top of the Conservative Party if we leave the EU. We have no red meat eating leaders with a clear vision for the UK (or England), instead we are led by a bunch of consensus driven quiche eaters, who defer to their dominant wives on social, international (aid) & environmental issues.

  16. Vanessa
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    I agree we have a huge trade deficit with the EU but when we leave that will be reduced. It has only been created because we are not allowed to buy a lot of produce from our old friends, the Commonwealth. When we leave we can beg to set up trade agreements with them and trade at more beneficial rates as we used to.

    Our food bill is more expensive because we have to trade in the single market when we leave we can look around for better and cheaper produce with no VAT added.

  17. English Pensioner
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    And to save money, at the same time as we have the referendum on the EU, perhaps the English could also have one as to whether they wish Scotland to remain as part of the Union.

  18. ChrisS
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Few here will disagree with any of your points.

    Problem is your own party leader doesn’t support you and we all know that even if he did, he has no chance of negotiating a deal along those lines.

    When I hear him come out and state without any equivocation what his red lines are and that he will campaign to leave if he can’t get a deal that delivers them, I may just believe him. I will still vote Conservative but only because Eurosceptic Christopher Chope is my MP.

    As for Miliband, what planet is he from ?

    To say yesterday that threatening to hold a referendum on leaving makes it more difficult to negotiate a better deal beggars belief !

  19. oldtimer
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I believe that Brexit is the right course for this country. In the past I have supported your stance of an attempt at renegotiation, though I do not expect much to come from it. I do not trust Mr Cameron to produce a satisfactory result.

    Perhaps it will become an issue in the election debates. No doubt Mr Farage will seek to make it one. It is potentially fertile ground for him, especially given Mr Milibands stance of opposition to a referendum. The Thursday night debate will be revealing in this respect as a Farage vs the rest event.

  20. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    What was the counter argument?

  21. rick hamilton
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Based upon recent research which peddled the usual gloom and doom about Brexit, perhaps the referendum question should be:
    “Are you prepared to sacrifice our national sovereignty to an EU superstate in exchange for 2.2% of GDP ?”.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      And you could add: “… which would be regained over the following year”.

  22. Bert Young
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I have always agreed with JRs’ views on our relationship with the EU ; it is also good to know that Alistair Darling has a similar approach . The sooner Germany lines up against a politicised EU the better ; it seems that everything Germany decrees Brussels follows . Our independence is the single most important thing to achieve , it would give more meaning to the election we are now experiencing .

  23. Gumpy Goat
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Not sure if it is a minority of British people want to leave the EU actually, the polls seem to suggest when the push comes to the shove they will vote to stay in. This will be seen as Tory affair, do not forget the Tories are a minority with 35% to 38% of the vote and not all are going to vote to exit

  24. outsider
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood, Your argument on trade is strong and impeccable. But the anti-Federalist cause will need much more detailed historical research to destroy once and for all the crude but powerful scare that X million jobs would be at risk if the UK withdrew from the EU.
    It would be great to compare UK trade with the rest of Europe before and after we joined the EEC in 1973 but difficult and time-consuming because the EU/EEC is so different – even Germany was then two countries.Some simpler questions could more readily be investigated.

    What were the UK’s total exports of goods and services as a percentage of GDP before entry (say 1969-71) compared to 2014?
    What were the UK’s exports of goods and services as per cent GDP to (unchanged) France and Italy before UK entry against 2014 and likewise what has happened to imports?
    What has happened to trade with Spain, then in no bloc, with fellow former members of Efta such as Sweden and with Poland (then in Comecon)?
    What has happened to trade with the former two Germanies, not just the balance but as a p[er cent of GDP ?

    Some jobs would be at risk if we left the EU and fear of losing your job carries more weight than the likelihood of unknown future job opportunities that would be created. So it is vital for eurosceptics do far more research to be able to put this into perspective and to counter the immense weight of pro-Federalist propaganda from multinational business.

  25. agricola
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    It would be very interesting this time round to record how many conservative MPs put Brexit down, in their constituency message, as on of their intentions as a future serving MP.

  26. agricola
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    It would be very interesting this time round to record how many conservative candidates put Brexit down, in their constituency message, as one of their intentions as a future serving MP.

  27. Francis Lankester
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I too wish the US of Europe people would come clean, but they won’t. They rely on the ‘3 million jobs’ and “we’ll be isolated” memes. Regarding the Euro, surely all Conservatives want and need it to fail. It’s depressing that any Conservative would actually want the Euro to survive because we know what would happen-there would always be pressure on us to join what would have been proved to be a successful project (which we know is political).

    If Conservatives support the Euro, then they are saying that they don’t believe in ‘Europe des Patries’ which is what we signed up for. They have abandoned this princple-more support (unfortunately) for UKIP I think.

  28. The Prangwizard
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I do not think I will ever understand what you mean by the doubletalk which is the ‘new relationship’ you mention ad nauseam. Does it mean out of the EU completely, or in it a little bit less, or a lot less? Why not be clear? Being not fully in it at present does not seem to temper your criticisms. There can be a new relationship out as well is still in.

    If having argued one of your cases, you said then said that our best interests would be served if we were out of it, then they would make sense. As framed with your ‘new relationship’, they don’t. It can be made to mean anything and I suspect that is why you use it. I fear you would rather discuss endlessly than be clear, unambiguous and decisive.

    Reply I have defined precisely what relationship I want, and explained why the UK cannot be a member of the United States of Europe/Euroland.

    • Margaret Brandreth-J
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

      reply to reply : and Alistair Darling ;how far does he agree with you ?

  29. Shieldsman
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    This election is descending into farce. Who can make the biggest and wildest promises to the electorate, Cameron and Miliband vying against each other.
    Cameron promising 2 million jobs if he is re-elected against Miliband and the Unions with their 1 million GREEN jobs.

    John Redwood and contributors show great logic and common sense here. The great pity is it is not reciprocated by the Westminster bubble.

    That promised 2017 Referendum will never take place, David Cameron will never muster sufficient votes to get the Bill though the H of C.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      I’m inclined to agree about the unlikelihood that Cameron will be able to muster enough votes to push a Bill for an EU referendum through the Commons.

      On one current projection there is only a 17% chance that Cameron will get any overall Commons majority at all, and the chance that he will get a large enough majority to be able to overcome a rebellion by the sizeable europhile elements in his parliamentary party must be much smaller.

      It seems quite certain that Labour and the SNP would oppose the Bill under all circumstances, and we now have some idea of the price that the LibDems would demand for their support – that not only 16-year-old UK citizens, but also all EU citizens resident in the country above that age, must be allowed to vote, and that they, the LibDems, must be allowed to help decide the question to be asked and the timing of the referendum:

      http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/782eabf2-d6d0-11e4-a99f-00144feab7de.html?siteedition=uk#axzz3VyV1lMfQ

      If Cameron agreed to this then it would once again demonstrate how little value he places on UK citizenship and the associated privileges of UK citizens in their own country.

      But quite apart from the difficulty of getting the Bill through the Commons, it would be then have to get through a House of Lords packed with EU pensioners and supporters and fellow travellers, unelected legislators-for-life who need have no concern about the reaction of the electorate if they resisted the Bill and made it necessary to invoke the Parliament Acts, with the delay that would entail.

  30. Edward2
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    It is sad that the Common Market I really thought would bring increased prosperity has declined into such a failure for its people over the last few decades.
    Low growth, high unemployment and hugely increased laws, rules and regulation.
    It would be great if the EU could again become a reformed powerhouse for prosperity but I see little evidence that will ever happen.

    So for me it is now more about individual nation democracy and freedom rather than trade.

  31. Stuart B
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    If we carry on our present course, we will complete the transition from sovereign state to (several geographically adjacent) semi-autonomous regions within a modern European Imperium, within quite a short time. As such, the issues dominating our elections will quite properly be economic ones. Our politicians will be overwhelmingly concerned with maintaining our regional clout as courtiers at the EU ‘Big Table’ – lobbying and bargaining for our fair share of the Imperial pie, battling other regions for funding, and perhaps favours based on our memories of ‘nationality’.
    Internally, the overwhelming political issues will also inevitably be ‘economic’ ones, in the redistributive or local enterprise senses – how is our allocated slice of the European product to be used? We will be encouraged to define our own particular ‘national flavour’ by developing social and other funding regimes to differentiate us from other regions, and add richness to the Union as a whole by providing ‘diversity’. We will have been relieved of any responsibility for policy in relation to defence, energy, financial regulation, transport strategy and a whole raft of subjects which are frankly not appropriate for janissaries or satraps to administer, so government at our level will be considerably simplified.
    Our situation will be remarkably similar to, say, the provinces of the Roman empire, client states of historical China (or Shanghai in the modern day), most of the Ottoman empire. Or to put it another way, we will enjoy the freedoms of Birmingham under Chamberlain.. We will have become a municipality in all but name.
    If we truly wish to embrace this destiny, we only need to carry on as we are – we must steadfastly refuse to admit that ‘sovereignty’ is anything but an old-fashioned and unimportant issue, which only matters to the lunatic, fascist fringes. We must continue to erode democracy by discouraging discussion on any subject apart from narcosis-inducing economics. We should consistently explore ‘fairer’ political structures which afford smaller and smaller, and more and more alien, minorities to wield disproportionate power over the majority.

  32. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    To me it’s surprising, and not a little depressing, that after all these years so many people cannot simply put “two” and “two” together and come up with the right answer.

    By which I mean, that we are told by Open Europe that at the very worst leaving the EU could cost us two point something of GDP, while in the same stream of news we have the government celebrating that last year GDP increased by two point something; it matters little what numbers follow the decimal points, the simple fact is that even on the most positive estimates of the alleged economic benefits of EU membership they amount to no more than the equivalent of about one year’s natural growth of the UK economy.

    So the question is this: would you be prepared to sacrifice perhaps one year’s economic growth, at the worst, in order to restore our national parliamentary democracy and save our country from its present inexorable slide into becoming a legally subordinate state in a pan-European federation, a federal United States of Europe?

    And my own answer is conditioned by my knowledge that our ancestors sacrificed far more than one year’s economic growth to establish and defend our national democracy; tens of thousands of Englishmen sacrificed their lives fighting for Parliament during the Civil Wars alone, without even mentioning previous and subsequent wars.

    So suppose we leave the EU, and as on the worst Open Europe scenario we are only 10% more prosperous five years later, rather than being 13% better off, so what?

    Give it just another year and then we will be 13% better off, and for the price of that small delay in getting progressively wealthier we will have restored our national democracy, and we will have saved ourselves from being relegated to “just a star on somebody else’s flag”.

    And that, remember, is the worst case scenario; on the Open Europe best case we would actually gain the equivalent of an extra six month’s economic growth by leaving the EU, although once again that seems a trivial consideration.

    • Stuart B
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Yes. Wealth is there to be used – potential wealth too. I cannot think of a better use than to re-establish a strong nation-state with the full capability of dealing with the outside world on equitable terms.
      We need to re-learn that trust of ourselves which is necessary in order give an reply those who say ‘You can’t do that – it’s too dangerous, the sky will fall’. When we can muster a certain amount of grim determination between us, we will perhaps become capable of being a United Kingdom again.
      I might even go so far as to say that there would be support from across the Left-Right political spectrum for this. Although maybe that’s just an agreeable phantasy.

  33. Qubus
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    This is all very interesting, but irrelevant. The fact if the matter is that, unfortunately, the Conservatives are going to lose the election. Hence, there will be no significant EU-reorganisation.This is on account of Mr Cameron: he threw away the last election because he didn’t have the good sense not to veto a debate including Nick Clegg. He made totally stupid promises to reduce migration to the tens of thousands when he KNEW that he had no control over immigrants from the EU. Sadly, he will lose the coming election: he has no real political sense; he is articulate but insincere, I don’t think that he really cares; he is an ex-PR man; he just wanted to be PM because he thought that he would be good at it. His throw-away comment during his kitchen-interview was extremely ill-informed; I really cannot imagine that a capable, experienced politician would say such a thing. He was unconvincing and unprepared in the Paxman interview. He is a likable, political light-weight, with no real further political ambition. This is in total contrast to Miliband, who would sell his own grandmother to achieve what he wants.

    • Robin W
      Posted April 3, 2015 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      @Qubus

      Well said. I recall well a comment from 2005: “There’s a man who want’s to have been Prime Minister”.

  34. DaveM
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Farage made a comment this morning which will baffle (and possibly frighten) the ConLab EUphile hordes:

    “There’s more to life than GDP”.

    Absolutely right.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      GDP is a flawed statistic, indeed at one time Cameron himself said as much and talked about using some other measure to gauge the welfare of society. However there is a correlation between GDP and the tax revenues that the government needs to eventually balance its books and start to pay off its accumulated debts, and so politicians have a strong incentive to play up its importance and look for ways to increase it even if they don’t actually make life better. They need inflation for the same reason, which is why there is so much gloom and doom about the impending threat of deflation even though at present we have just had almost stable consumer prices for a year.

  35. MartinC
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    It would be nice to ask those europhiles who want us to belong to a “United States of Europe” to explain just what exactly they mean by it. In the real United States, individual states have large discretion over their domestic law up to and including whether or not to have Capital Punishment. In the real United States, there is a low Federal Tax and individual states can choose how much other taxes to have, from high-tax California to low-tax Texas, which has zero General Sales Tax (we call it VAT). None of those things are open to a European state. Oh yes, and in the real United States the people get to vote on who becomes president. I dont recall voting for Jean-Claude Juncker, and I dont know anyone who did.
    United States of Europe? its not on offer. Nor is it going to be. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of Europe perhaps.

    • MartinC
      Posted March 31, 2015 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Oh yes, I forgot. In the real United States, the body of government that has legislative initiative, that creates the law by which the United States is governed, consists of elected officials. Its called Congress. If you dont like them you can vote them out.
      In Europe the body with legislative initiative is called the European Commission, and it is an appointed body full of people who know people and have friends in high places. Lord Hill, a known Europhile, is set to become our next Commissioner I believe. I didn’t vote for him. I dont know anyone who did…

  36. fedupsouthener
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    One of the biggest advantages of getting out of the EU would be to be able to change our energy policy to something that actually worked, was reliable and cheap. All the talk about Global Warming and the need to reduce CO2 being rattled out by the ‘green loons’ in Europe is stifling our economy. Here is a snippet of what Christopher Booker says about the warmist theory.

    In 2007 we were told on all sides that, by the end of the summer melt in 2014, the entire Arctic would be “ice free”. Polar bears were disappearing. The mighty Greenland ice cap was melting. Even as late as 2013 the National Geographic warned that the great expanse of Hudson Bay was warming so fast that it would soon reach “tipping point”, changing its ecosystem forever. How have all those predictions turned out? In fact last year’s Arctic ice melt was the smallest in nine years and its thickness is now back to its level in 2006. Several studies show that across most of the Arctic, polar bears have never done better. –Christopher Booker, The Sunday Telegraph, 29 March 2015

    It is high time our leader stopped the renewables race and stopped trying to win the votes of the Greens and got back to reality. We need to start fracking and that would really set us apart from the rest of Europe.

    UKIP is the only party advocating this.

  37. turbo terrier
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Kicking and screaming ha ha we will be dragged further into the mess we know as the EU. None of the leaders apart from Farage want out. handy to be in because if you go t**s up you ar in line for an automatic bail out. Thats why Scotland will told to vote for it, just another belt and braces job. Stalinism is already in Scotland no member of the party can question the policy and their leaders. As in the rest of the EU slowly but surely Agenda 21 moves on and our lot except the usual few will sit back and let it happen

  38. Jon
    Posted March 31, 2015 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    We should be prepared for the Scexit if we vote to leave. Whilst I have connections there, if we want out then Scotland should not stop us, I think Britain could be stronger.

  39. petermartin2001
    Posted April 1, 2015 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    …. needs to recognise that the EU project is hurtling on to full political union…

    The only way the EU project can possibly work is by “hurtling on to full political union.”

    But is this likely? Are German taxpayers going to accept that there needs to be fiscal transfers between the wealthier parts of the Eurozone and the poorer parts, just like there has to be in all currency unions? Even if some agreement with Greece can be cobbled together to keep things together for the next few months, what is going to happen after that when Greece has once again run out of money, and need new “loans”.

    These “loans” are no such thing BTW. It doesn’t make the slightest sense to pile up unpayable loan on top of unpayable loan. The transfers have to be accepted as the kind of fiscal transfers that have to take place in every currency union to counteract the natural tendency of wealth to gravitate to the already wealthier areas.

    You may be right, maybe German taxpayers will start to be more understanding, but I would say it’s much more likely that we’re moving slowly, not hurtling, towards the breakup of a badly designed currency union. Grexit will be just the first stage of that breakup.

  40. Charity
    Posted April 1, 2015 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    It seems rather a picayune observation that Jerry somehow seems to pass the moderation here, but is it indicative of a systemic issue?

  41. Charity
    Posted April 1, 2015 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I’m curious if you know the identity of any of the people behind the pseudonyms here.

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    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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