It’s our democracy, stupid – what we want from the EU negotiation

Restoring our democracy

The historic 2015 Parliament has as its prime task the restoration of the powers of the British people. We need to change our relationship with the EU so that when the people speak in elections, their elected representatives can carry out their will.

Today we can say confidently “It’s our democracy, stupid”, that lies at the heart of our political debate.

The renegotiation is about who makes the ultimate decision.  If we wish to decide who comes to our country, or who receives welfare benefits, can we have a relationship with the EU that allows the UK Parliament to do so?

We see growing unrest on the continent as countries locked into the Euro seek change to economic policy at the ballot box only to find their new governments cannot make the changes they want owing to Euro area rules. The UK wisely kept out of the Euro so we could remain self governing.

It comes as a shock to many voters to discover that their wishes on issues as wide ranging as welfare, border controls, energy and justice may be against EU law and beyond the power of their Parliament to remedy. Today there are all too many areas where the UK has lost its right to self government.

The renegotiations are about the growing gulf between what a once sovereign people want, and what their EU controlled Parliament can now achieve. Throughout the EU now,  it’s not so much a democratic deficit, as a democratic disaster.

The Prime Minister rightly identified this damage to our democracy in his Bloomberg speech, and  called for a new settlement. He is happy to negotiate a restoration of national democracy for all members, or just for the UK as a non Euro member of the EU. He has pointed out that as a non Euro member it is vital the UK is protected from creeping EU government power which they may need to run the Eurozone but which should not apply to us.

Some say this cannot be negotiated. I say it must be negotiated or we should leave. The EU prides itself in the long democratic traditions of some of its members, and the shorter though no less prized democratic histories of the rest. Each country fought to achieve its own freedoms. It is vital these treasures are not damaged in a rush to support the Euro or to give in to the bureaucratic consensus, which may be wrong and is often unpopular.

Other states may agree that there are many matters that should ultimately be settled by national Parliaments. They may agree that a member state should have the ability to override EU law or policy where the public and parliament so wish. They may accept that the UK has a case for a range of special opt outs, building on its large opt out from the Euro.

The collision between the popular will and the EU consensus policy is at its most intense today in Greece. This may spread to Spain and Italy, as opinion polls show. It lies behind the growing strength of the National Front in France. The UK’s disagreement is contained within a mainstream party recently elected to govern with a majority. Whilst the EU would be wise not to underestimate the power of UK feelings about borders and welfare as expressed in our recent election, it allows an easier solution for the rest of the EU than the concerted forces now ranged against the Euro scheme in the southern states. With the UK the EU has the option of simply solving the UK problem as a non Euro member  by  opts out and treaty changes for the UK alone, or solving the problem more generally for all states. For its part the UK has a realistic solution of leaving the EU if no relief is forthcoming, whereas Eurozone members have better grounded  fears about simply leaving as they are so dependent on each other within the zone.


Isn’t demanding more rights to veto and opt out tantamount to leaving the EU?

The EU used to work  with a large number of vetoes for individual countries. In more recent years these vetoes have been removed by treaty or eroded by legal and administrative practice.

It all depends what type of Union other countries want. If all the rest wish to become part of a United States of Europe with a wide range of centralised policies and controls, then it would indeed be best for the UK to leave. If, as they say, they want  trade and co-operation  but not a single state, then there could be ways of reconciling member state sovereignty with mutual agreements. Now is a good time to sort out which it is to  be, as the Euro area contemplates what more it needs to do to achieve growth and harmony within the currency zone.


Does this risk our EU trade?

The good news is our trade with the rest of the EU is not at risk. The German government has made clear they would want a free trade agreement with the UK if we left the EU. As the EU sells us so much more than we sell them, they have every interest in continuing with what we have on the same or similar terms.

The common external tariff is now very low if by any chance we ended up having to pay it. The 10% tax on cars is unattractive, but I am sure Germany would have no wish to have to pay 10% on every car exported to the UK so it would be simple to agree for neither side to impose it.

The UK has no intention of taking its trade deficit elsewhere. UK consumers will still want to buy German cars and French wine, and will be able to do so on good terms. In return anyone making things in the UK for sale to the continent will enjoy similar terms.

Our trade is not at risk, but our freedoms are if we stay inside the present EU. The joy of a new deal or exit is they offer us the continuation of our trade and the restoration of our freedoms. The 2015 Parliament will be the Home Rule Parliament. Just as Scotland and England deserve and need more self government, so our United Kingdom needs to restore the sovereignty of the British people and the strength of its once mighty Parliament.



  1. bluedog
    May 31, 2015

    ‘The collision between the popular will and the EU consensus policy is at its most intense today in Greece. This may spread to Spain and Italy, as opinion polls show. It lies behind the growing strength of the National Front in France.’

    Yes indeed, Dr JR, the EMU bloc of the EU is a pressure cooker. Nationalist feeling will grow as the great EU recession drags on, destroying the hopes of a generation of European youth. All but the most ardent supra-nationalists must see that the EMU model has failed and there can be no shame in seeking an alternative way ahead. The EU parliament is completely ineffective and has no control over the misguided EU executive. Only national parliaments can deliver results for national electorates, and the EU is a state but not a nation; an important distinction.

    Dr JR, with David Cameron acting as his own Foreign Minister one is not entirely sure what he is actually doing, or whether he even understands what he is doing. There seems to be a Cabinet split, Cameron versus the Cameron Government’s Cabinet. Once this little problem has been ironed out, and David Cameron realises that his best chance of success is not to negotiate on the presupposition of getting a Yes (stay in the EU) vote, a great opportunity presents itself for the UK. It is just possible that the great democratic yearning of which you speak within the EU will find its leader in the improbable figure of a Europhile, the British PM. Quite how Cameron would, or could, act as agent for a large constituency that opposes his own beliefs remains to be seen. It would certainly be a remarkable test of character.

    1. Hope
      May 31, 2015

      Cameron’s actions are all a damp squib to silence the issue in the UK and to stop the rising of nationalism and UKIP in 2020. It is straight forward, either in or out of the political project called the EU to become a superstate, the UK being a region of it, or an independent self-governing nation trading with the world including the EU like all other countries in the world. The majority of countries in the world are outside the EU, there are no benefits to the UK being in.

      The EU cannot reform from where it has been heading for forty years by stealth and deceit to the public. Do people want self governance for the UK or be controlled by a foreign power.

      1. Jerry
        May 31, 2015

        @Hope; “Cameron’s actions are all a damp squib to silence the issue in the UK and to stop the rising of nationalism and UKIP in 2020.”

        Of course UKIPpers are going to say that but how the hell is giving the UK (what their party wanted, as a manifesto pledge in 2015 no less) going to silence the issue never mind “stop the rising of nationalism [1] and UKIP in 2020”, it’s more likely to do that by 2017!

        The way angry UKIPpers are going it will be they who are likely to scupper any chance of an out vote, in the same way as those who left the Tory party before the 1992 GE, because they couldn’t get their own way, almost scuppered Majors win in that election, thank god Kinnock blew it.

        Time that UKIP buried the hatchet, but of course UKIP will be largely irrelevant if they do…

        [1] what ever you might mean by that

      2. yosarion
        June 1, 2015

        The UK is not a region in the EUSSR, it will not exist we will have Landers AKA Regions, Scotland Wales N Ireland London NE NW etc, then the super Regions that cross old borders Trans Manche Region Atlantic Region etc. Resistance is futile we have had Zis planned for decades.

  2. Lifelogic
    May 31, 2015

    All well and good but in the real world what is happening is Cameron is asking for nothing more than fig trivial leafs. He clearly intends to try to push though a yes vote with nothing more than these for cover. This with the help of the BBC/Lib/Lab/60% 0f Con/SNP/CBI plus the usual well funded suspects.

    He has already started to slope the playing field with the blatant bias of a YES vote for staying in.

    Reply Then try helping the Out campaign

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      May 31, 2015

      Reply to reply,
      Highlighting the duplicity of Cameron’s position is helping the Out campaign.

      1. Jerry
        May 31, 2015

        Brian Tomkinsonl “Highlighting the duplicity of Cameron’s position is helping the Out campaign.”

        No it doesn’t, at least at this stage, it is merely coming across as sour grapes from the (failed, UKIP style, unilateral) Brexit camp, being seen as people who have written off any attempt at renegotiations before they have really started (indeed having done so before they had started).

        1. Lifelogic
          May 31, 2015

          No real attempt at renegotiation is being made. This surely clear to anyone who is taking any interest.

          1. Jerry
            June 1, 2015

            @LL; “No real attempt at renegotiation is being made.”

            Wow Mr LL, you are more powerful than I thought, or at least you have the ear of at least one of the governments Cameron has so far had discussions with? How do we know anything more than what any of the governments have placed on the record in the public domain, in sort, we don’t, you don’t and perhaps even our host isn’t privy to everything!

            This is surely clear to anyone who is taking any interest, well at least those who have no vestige in damaging either the government or at least the PM.

      2. Leslie Singleton
        May 31, 2015

        Brian–Couldn’t agree more. What John cannot grasp is that one cannot invent belief or trust if it is not there, and to many people it most certainly is not. Hard to be upbeat in face of that but I must say I was delighted to read this morning that already a second referendum is being planned. That’s the spirit and the EU cannot possibly have a problem with that idea because, as has been proved, it is part of their own knee-jerk MO–the obvious way to go. One thinks of sauces, ganders and geese. The biased question (the opposite way round from the Scottish one) is a disgrace that needs to be fought in every possible way–perhaps in the House of Lords.

        Reply Just get on with trying to win the first referendum. No-one is currently planning a second. Be positive. The Outs have as much right to state their case as the Ins, and will be judged by how optimistic, confident, outward looking they are.

        1. Lifelogic
          May 31, 2015

          To reply:

          The out have as much right to put their position, but alas not the tax payer backing, EU finance, or BBC backing/airtime. Nor is it a fare question.

          1. Jerry
            June 1, 2015

            @LL; “The out have as much right to put their position, [../etc/..]”

            Once the referendum campaign starts the Out grouping will have equal broadcast time, and most likely statutory equal funding, so might I suggest that rather than rant against the broadcasters you reflect on the damage that will be done by the pro EU biased press (some of which is on the right of UK politics), never mind negative effects of anti Cameron europhobes taking to social media…

            “Nor is it a fare question.”

            It is a non partisan question, nor do we know what the final HMG recommendation will be [1], the only other way to ask it would be to give two clear options rather than question with a a Yes/No answer, asked in such a way that maintains neutrality, but even then people like you will complain that your favoured option is not listed first and thus it’s not “a fare question”. 🙄

            [1] the fact that it is to accept (Yes) at the moment doesn’t mean a lot, obviously one doesn’t tend to go in to such negotiations telling the other side before hand that you are going to reject come what ever!

          2. Denis Cooper
            June 1, 2015

            It would be possible to have half the ballot papers printed with one option first and half with the other option first.

          3. Jerry
            June 2, 2015

            @Denis Cooper; What would that do, other than just swap which side of the argument is complaining in those areas, nor could you mix up such ballot-papers in each counting areas as that would be a recipe for counting errors!

          4. Denis Cooper
            June 2, 2015

            A similar thing has been done in elections in some countries, Jerry, to avoid the bias which comes from alphabetical ordering of the candidates.

          5. Jerry
            June 2, 2015

            @Denis Cooper; “the bias which comes from alphabetical ordering of the candidates.”

            I suspect that it is done in other countries to confuse, not to avoid confusion, but what ever. Also you must also think very dimly of the average UK voter if you think they can’t cope with alphabetical ordering! 🙁

            People are likely to smell more of a rat if the ballot paper is not printed in the accepted standard English or alpha-numeral way. Then of course there is the little issue that you side-stepped about problems with and perhaps legal challenges to the count/result. Once the polling stations close the national and international markets etc. will want to know the result within 24 hours, 48 at most (remember that the far east markets open late Sundays our time), not 24 to 48 days later…

    2. majorfrustration
      May 31, 2015

      Who is leading this campaign and where does one join. Its not as simple as democracy its totally about Sovereignty

      1. DaveM
        May 31, 2015


    3. Timaction
      May 31, 2015

      We all know that Cameron’s promised renegotiation was a fob to delay and hoped he’d never had to deliver. The surprise success at the election was based on fear of the Milliband/SNP NOT any policy from the Tory’s as they hadn’t really expressed any other than fear. He’s now in a position where he will have to deliver the referendum whilst pretending to gain some major renegotiation which we all know will be his Chamberlain moment.
      We need Churchill or Farage but unfortunately we have………….. a weak no ifs or buts Europhile Cameron.
      The establishment and legacy parties are against the British people and want a United States of Europe which has been their plan all along (FCO 30/1048 from 1971). The lies continue unabated about the 3 million jobs at risk, a voice in the world, trade, influence etc.
      Unfortunately the legacy parties have deliberately dumbed down our Nation to an extent that very few either know or care about their collective futures. There is however a core of people. Like this blog, who are well informed and will never let it rest if CMD gets his desired outcome. Millions gave up their lives to keep us free whilst I watch the legacy parties pretending patriotism whilst giving away our sovereignty to foreign powers. European Arrest Warrant anyone?
      Letting Cameron negotiate on Europe is a joke, like asking Turkeys if they want to continue with Christmas!
      You are in a Europhile Party Mr Redwood as are the other legacies and as such are part of the problem, not the solution.
      UKIP will continue to be the ONLY party of opposition!

      Reply My decision to fight and win as a Conservative gives you a referendum and a chance to get out. UKIP gave you no such chance. You can’t do much with one MP.

      1. Hope
        May 31, 2015

        Do not be ridiculous. He broke his promise to you to allow a debate on the EAW in Parliament, you would not pay the extra £1.7 billion demanded by the EU, he did- did he listen to you- no of course not. If not for UKIP you would be still be that lonely quiet voice outside cabinet. You are not a threat to Cameron. The elections across Europe, the four million votes for UKIP and result of nationalism is worrying for Cameron.

        Reply We had a debate on the EAW as part of the debate on the criminal justice opt ins and opt outs. I remember voting against the Coalition on it. I am neither lonely nor quiet, and belong to a party which offered an In/Out referendum and is now delivering an In/Out referendum. UKIP has delivered nothing to help us.

        1. Hope
          June 4, 2015

          It has given you the referendum. Cameron does not listen you.

      2. Leslie Singleton
        May 31, 2015

        Reply to Reply–One is bigger than zero. I am positive but in my own way. For example let’s hope for a By-election or three soonest when I suspect you yourself, John, if you could just look forward instead of roping in irrelevant history as is your wont, would agree UKIP have a very significant chance of gaining more MP’s. In such a By-election there would be no need for hesitant UKIP’s to worry about Labour & SNP forming a Government. I myself experienced scarcely believable pressure which simply will not be in play as I say at next By-election. Then roll on 2020.

        Reply UKIP have yet to win a by election by taking a seat off another party. They just won two when Conservative MPs wished to relabel themselves, which made no difference to the voting balance of the Parliament on EU matters.

        1. Leslie Singleton
          May 31, 2015

          Reply to Reply–Here we go with the history again. UKIP have barely got going. People will start to believe, because it is true, that voting UKIP gets UKIP. Especially does this apply if their already large vote at the Election is augmented by the very many who felt the need to prioritize guarding against Miliband/SNP at the Election. You would be the first to say that people do not have to fear a change in Government at By-elections, especially not with a fixed term parliament.

      3. fedupsoutherner
        May 31, 2015

        How can any responsible leader keep us in knowing what we all know and particularly without gaining all the changes he supposedly wants? If Cameron does not succeed in getting these changes will he encourage a No vote????? I doubt it. Just happy to sell us down the river.

      4. Timaction
        May 31, 2015

        As has been pointed out on this website before. There is insufficient time to get any major Treaty change agreed and ratified by 28 nations and have referendums in those Countries where their constitutions must have ratification by its peoples. It will be interesting to see how that is spun! There is not enough time to complete the process.

        1. Denis Cooper
          June 1, 2015

          Firstly the UK referendum would follow a formal agreement with the governments of the other EU member states and be based upon it, but precede full parliamentary approval and final ratification of that agreement by the other EU member states, should either or both of those steps be required. There would be no point in 27 other countries starting to go through those processes until it was known that the UK electorate approved of the agreement.

          Secondly it is a myth that EU treaty change must be a long and slow process. It took just five months from Merkel demanding a treaty change in October 2010 to it being formally agreed in March 2011, and if we had been allowed a referendum on it then that could have taken place within a couple of months.

          Thirdly there is the so-called “Danish option” of the referendum being held not on actual treaty changes but on the promise that the agreed treaty changes would be implemented the next time that there was a revision of the treaties for more general purposes.

          So there are three reasons why it would be a mistake, potentially a grave error, to think that the referendum must be far away in the future; provided there was enough political will to give Cameron at least some of what he wanted it there would be no insuperable technical problems in getting to the referendum stage by next spring, with reasonable grounds for pencilling in May 5th as the preferred polling day.

    4. Lifelogic
      May 31, 2015

      To reply:

      I think pointing out that Cameron is clearly not serious and the unfair/biased nature of the battle/playing field does help the out campaign.

      Now that is it clear Cameron is seeking nothing of any substance at all perhaps I will help, but the battle will be very hard to win, the dice are clearly loaded and will be more so by the time of the referendum.

      How does one best help the out campaign one wonders?

      Perhaps the best way is to get the current “YES” public to understand that if they vote no they will anyway be offered a better and better deal each time by the EU. So they have nothing to lose anyway.

      Just as in Ireland were, and Scotland was in Cameron’s last minute panic when he thought he might lose.

  3. David Price
    May 31, 2015

    I agree about the democracy part, I want our elected MPs and civil servants to be responsible and I want them to be fully accountable.

    All I’d want with the EU is a free trade agreement. Staying in and relying on eroded veto powers has already been demonstrated as a failed strategy. Our professional politians and bureacrats have also demonstrated their inability or unwillingness to secure our interests when they are part of the club.

    Continual membership is a blank cheque for the EU and I don’t see why we must prop up the French agricultural community and increasing numbers of net fund recipients.

    Discard everything else, re-assert our territorial rights especially over fisheries and marine resources and only join the activities and projects we choose through subscription or treaty.

    We should be trading with everyone, not be constrained or dictated to by the EU.

    1. Hope
      May 31, 2015

      The free trade agreement is what the rest of the world already has, it is portrayed as something really important and special by those wanting us to stay in the EU. How does the rest of the world manage and why are countries outside the EU so much more better off!

      1. DaveM
        May 31, 2015

        Indeed – how on earth does Japan survive without being part of the US of Asia?!

  4. agricola
    May 31, 2015

    Here Here, no clapping please.

    There are mechanisms already in place, tried and tested, so the change you suggest could be effected rapidly and with a minimum of problems.

    I am off on a weeks holiday in northern Spain, keep the pressure on in my absence.

  5. Douglas Carter
    May 31, 2015

    From what I understand, the Utopia of European Union is a peaceful, non-prejudicial, non-sectarian brother-and-sisterhood of willing, peaceful democratic nations woven together by the common bond of legitimate electoral endorsement.

    Presumably, should any member nation decide to similarly proceed with an identical process of peaceful democratic negotiations for change of that EU, or even to withdraw from the EU under the same legitimate electoral endorsement – that matches that EU model in precise fit? So frankly it comes of something of a surprise to learn that to do so is apparently an affront to the project itself, and any nation conducting itself thus can expect the reaction from the EU as taking destructive punitive measures in a pique of its magisterial magnificent munificence (There’s an alliteration for you, John!)? That doesn’t sound very democratic to me? Does the EU believe in a nation conducting itself with proper accountable and democratic instruments? Yes or No?

    In fact, it rather sounds (i) Like complete drivel, and (ii) like an organisation we should never have had anything to do with in the first instance?

    The Europhiles are going to have to do a great deal better than their traditional Maginot line defence on these matters.

  6. Antisthenes
    May 31, 2015

    Nicola Sturgeon is apparently going to say today in Brussels that we must remain in the EU or lose jobs. So many other europhiles pedal the same lie. Are these people totally intellectually challenged or just being deceitful? I suspect it is both as that notion is obviously untrue. Trade will continue as you rightly say as it is in nobodies interest to do otherwise. My belief is that there would be more jobs if the shackles of EU regulation and energy policy were removed.

    To me nearly all the reasons for there being an EU have not been met. We are not any more secure externally or internally. We are not any more prosperous. We are paying for an additional layer of government that is an undemocratic technocracy . Although in general agreement with the free movement of labour and greater intergovernmental cooperation. I believe it should be in the remit of individual states on how those things are implemented.

    1. DaveM
      May 31, 2015

      Sturgeon’s desire to stay in the EU is (I hazard a guess) motivated entirely by her hatred for England. She doesn’t want Scotland to be independent, she just doesn’t want to be ruled by the hated Sassenach. Does she not realise that the Germans and the modern day French ruling class are made from the same DNA as the dreadful Anglo-Saxon?

      Maybe we should have a “two birds one stone” second referendum in Scotland, if the UK votes to leave the EU. Here’s my suggestion for a question:

      “Do you want to be ruled by Brussels, with 1 MEP rather than 59 MPs, with the Euro as your currency, with the EU deciding your fiscal, foreign, and domestic policy, and with no political, social, or economic ties to England?”

      The SNP could then champion the YES campaign, explaining to the Scots why Berlin is imposing austerity measures because the PIGS need bailing out. The SNP could also explain why Scots who are married to English folk need a passport to visit their in-laws and why their children have to choose between English and European nationalities. And why their fisherman and farmers can no longer freely sell their produce to companies like Tesco etc. And perhaps why their young men are dying in E Europe while the English forces are training and preparing to fight wars which affect their own country rather than someone else’s whose language they don’t understand.

      Just a thought.

      1. fedupsoutherner
        May 31, 2015

        Some very good thoughts too!

    2. Hope
      May 31, 2015

      The rest of the world do not lose jobs by not being in the EU. However, look at the countries in the Eurozone and see how much unemployment there is, destitution, lost business, homelessness and it becomes quite clear what a deceitful sham the political construct called the EU is. Self serving greed by a small number of politicos who think they know best.

      Look at your own town and see what is happening to public services because of the collapse of business and trade in the Eurozone. A third of patients at one of my local doctor surgeries are foreign born. Half the school population at one of my local schools are foreign born costing a fortune to help them speak English and holding back the education of indigenous children already up against a static education budget! No local priority clauses for local people, the mass house building continues to accommodate the immigration crisis. Cameron needs to get real. Our public services cannot cope with his mass immigration policy, yet he still moronically gives away £14 billion in overseas aid!

      1. Hope
        May 31, 2015

        Furthermore, Cameron has no control over the free movement of people from the EU. This should be abundantly clear to everyone by now. Nor is he ALLOWED to have control of our borders because the EU is in power despite people thinking the general election had any influence in the governance of our country. The LibLabCon cartel gave all major policy issues away to the EU that enable the UK to have self governance!

    3. David Price
      May 31, 2015

      Nicola Sturgeon ignores history, of course some jobs will be lost but the same outcome was guaranteed when our politicians abandoned the Commonwealth in favour of the CM/EEC/EU and it wasn’t an issue for the EUphiles then. Not all the jobs associated with EU business are at risk though and employment levels would recover and grow beyond that now once we control our borders and can seek trade where we wish.

      Reply Why should any jobs be lost?

      1. Hope
        May 31, 2015

        Quite the opposite, the UK can agree trade deals with whoever it chooses and on terms that it decides without constraint or permission from unelected bureaucrats with a Franco/ German bias. Trade will NOT stop with the Europe because the UK is not in a political construct to become a region of a superstate. How do you think Canada, Austraila and poor little old Iceland manage! Iceland said no thank you and are doing rather well, no mention by the BBC for saying NO to the EU. The Swiss and Norwegians are also doing pretty good.

        1. David Price
          June 1, 2015

          Don’t confuse the immediate aftermath with our position after a year or so. You would be misleading people if you claim there will be no-one losing a job if we left the EU.

      2. David Price
        June 1, 2015

        Of course some specific jobs will be lost – joint research projects funded by the EU, any company that is wholely focused on specific EU countries, EU administrative jobs. Are you trying to tell me in the face of past behaviour by certain countries and companies here won’t be some culling of UK jobs by European companies?

        The overall number of jobs will increase over time but there will be disruption, to pretend otherwise is unrealistic.

    4. Alexis
      May 31, 2015

      I believe we are less secure, less wealthy – and that the EU actively costs jobs.

      We have to ask why US student entrepreneurs create huge, flourishing businesses such as Google and Airbnb – just with a few ideas and some energy.

      Whereas for all the so-called ‘investment in innovation’ or ‘jobs-n-growth’ in the UK/EU – there is nothing comparable. All the EU does is take companies to court for breaking some regulation or other. Big whoop!

      Innovation, entrepreneurship and jobs are actively stifled under this regime.

    5. John C.
      May 31, 2015

      I don’t see that either side can make much capital out of “more or fewer jobs”. There are too many variables and imponderables. Economic arguments on either side seem to me to be like gazing into a crystal ball and seeing whatever you like.
      The only real issue is sovereignty; this is the clear choice, the indisputable crux: do you want to be independent and free, or a region in a Federal Europe?

    6. Lifelogic
      May 31, 2015

      Are these people totally intellectually challenged or just being deceitful?

      Clearly as you say a bit of both – as with the BBC.

  7. alan jutson
    May 31, 2015

    Your post today outlines once again, if anyone needed reminding, just how far control has vanished from our own Parliament, and been transferred to the EU by our own elected politicians.

    If we stay in, then so much more will also be lost to those faceless people in charge.

    Those on the europhile side of the argument should bear that in mind.

    Those who want independence for Scotland should also take a long hard look at what being in the EU actually means to them, as they would also be subservient to the EU.

  8. Margaret Brandreth-J
    May 31, 2015

    The Out campaign should be carried out with reason without the high emotions creeping in.Other Countries have already stated or rather reacting to the situation that we, to some extent, find ourselves in so there isn’t any need to inflame the situation any more.The EU isn’t stupid , they can see what we can see ; they want to take control ; we don’t want them to take control of us. Squabbling and putting a spanner into the works of our negotiating machinery will make our engine less effective.

  9. Bert Young
    May 31, 2015

    Same comment as yesterday , the day before and , the day before that . Restore the right to govern ourselves without any outside interference . Our democracy is paramount .

    1. John C.
      May 31, 2015

      Absolutely right, and this must be repeated again and again. No obfuscations about economic growth rates or whatever must blur the issue.

  10. David Cockburn
    May 31, 2015

    We’ve so far seen most of the discussion about the EU focusing on the economic aspects of our relationship with the continent.
    I agree with JR that the critical issue is political. We want to return to managing ourselves in our own way and holding our elected politicians to account when we don’t like the outcomes realised.

    1. miami.mode
      May 31, 2015


      Totally agree with you and surely part of the Out campaign must emphasise that we have no control over our own democracy.

      1. Alexis
        May 31, 2015


        I sometimes suspect the economic arguments are being made very loudly and prominently, to distract attention from the massive political subjugation taking place in the background.

        A kind of political legerdemain.

  11. Iain Gill
    May 31, 2015

    You need to be careful blaming others for decisions your own leadership secretly endorse. Ms May was forever telling us the lib dems were forcing her to keep the immigration floodgates open, but now the lib dems have gone there is no noticeable difference in immigration policy or action.

    Same will probably be true if we leave the EU.

    1. Jerry
      May 31, 2015

      @Iain Gill; Yet this less than a month into the new government, but never mind, who need rational eurosceptic (even europhobic) arguments when finding scapegoats will do…

      1. Hope
        May 31, 2015

        Well said Iain. Perhaps if we were an idependent country outside the EU May would not have to hide or fail to disclose reports on the foreign criminals she is unable to deport and has lost to the system! Abu qatada went of his own accord. Listen to May and you might think otherwise.

        About we gained control of our own destiny, if the current politicians do not want to govern the country, it begs the question why they stood for election, step aside and let someone who does.

        1. Jerry
          June 1, 2015

          @Hope; “Abu qatada went of his own accord. Listen to May and you might think otherwise..”

          Assuming this is correct, what changed, no one agrees to (the very strong likelihood of) spending the rest of ones natural life in prison, so perhaps he knew that he either went with ‘dignaty’ or was dragged to the aircraft in all but ball and chain – no doubt in front of the worlds media. Your comment come over as more illogical UKIP sour grapes.

          “if the current politicians do not want to govern the country, it begs the question why they stood for election, step aside and let someone who does.”

          Of course they do, just not how you would wish to government the country, thank god – If this man wins tonight will the last person to leave please turn out the lights. – time enough for a certain newspaper to dust off that front page once more should any party dance to your tune “Hope”…

      2. Iain Gill
        May 31, 2015

        I want us out of the EU as much as John. I just dont share his faith that our ruling elite would allow it to make much difference. As to JR’s reply’s the Conservatives came first for a bunch of reasons more to do with how useless Miliband was, and how feared a Labour/SNP government was… very little to do with any skill or quality in Cameron and mates… I note he has failed to defend the dismal lack of tightening of immigration since the lib dem hold back was lost…

        1. Jerry
          June 1, 2015

          @Iain Gill; “the Conservatives came first for a bunch of reasons more to do with how useless Miliband was, and how feared a Labour/SNP government was… “

          But were did UKIP come for all the ‘skill or quality’ in Farage and mates, thankfully the electorate was able to see past UKIPs scapegoats, had their been no UKIP there would never have been any danger from a Lab/SNP coalition/pact.

    2. Leslie Singleton
      May 31, 2015

      Iain–The Conservatives impress me less with each passing day. They very arguably didn’t win the Election at all in any meaningful positive sense. Rather, the alternatives had even less, or rather negative, credibility. It was only the Polls that somehow sort of buoyed up the possibility of Miliband’s winning. Admittedly with the benefit of hindsight, what Miliband kept talking about was just gibberish and frighteningly daft. Most knew that, so we got Cameron.

      Reply We won in two very positive senses. 1. We have a majority so there are now things we can do 2. Voters positively liked our tax cutting economic recovery agenda, and our offer of a referendum.

      1. Hope
        May 31, 2015

        Ridiculous comment JR. Nothing tax cutting about your party. You even commented here afte the last election how there were tax rises not spending cuts. To claim otherwise now is very disingenuous. Recovery, £92 billion deficit and higher than Greece, IMF believes Osborne will not balance the structural deficit by 2020, the debt doubled under Cameron, yes doubled! He is now entering on more cuts to the armed services while increasing the amount on overseas aid and the EU budget. Remember he claimed he negotiated a cut to the EU budget, but forgot to say that would mean an increase in the UK contribution! Growth? Economic recovery my foot. Even the Bank of England has now said that Cameron’s mass immigration policy has suppressed wages. Goodness me if this is what a recovery looks like.

        Reply Try keeping up with the plot. The Conservative Manifesto in 2015 was a tax cutting manifesto – Income Tax threshold up to £12,500, 40% threshold up to £50,000 this Parliament, and no increases in VAT/Income Tax/National Insurance. It was a popular tax cutting agenda.

        1. Jerry
          June 1, 2015

          @JR reply; “Hope” has no wish to keep up with the plot, his wish is to damage the Tory party and thus make out that UKIP is still relevant, the Tory party could enact the entire UKIP manifesto but that would not be good enough for people like “Hope” as you are the wrong set of faces and thus do not have the same ‘unwritten’ full term manifesto that all parties have.

      2. Leslie Singleton
        May 31, 2015

        Reply to Reply–Your majority, already wobbling, didn’t even get a chance to vote on the Human Rights Act and it’s nice for you that Cameron is a lot savvier than the likes of Miliband on at least a couple of items. Even then I am not at all sure, unfortunately, that people voted Tory because of the referendum. Correlation not causation and all that.

        Reply For goodness sake. We have not yet had any votes in this Parliament, we area still in the Queen’s Speech debate! Mr Cameron made clear he does intend to repeal the Human Rights Act and put in a UK Bill of Rights, but the EU referendum Bill and the devolution bill takes preference.

        1. Leslie Singleton
          May 31, 2015

          Reply to Reply–If Cameron says so it must be true, I don’t think. The vote on the Human Rights Act would not pass so it has been dropped, and despite what he says I’ll bet never to return

          1. Jerry
            June 1, 2015

            Leslie Singleton; “The vote on the Human Rights Act would not pass so it has been dropped, and despite what he says I’ll bet never to return”

            So let me get this right, assuming you are correct, you are complaining that something that you say can not be got through the current parliament should still be put before the house to be voted down and thus used as a brickbat against the right and eurosceptics for the next five years – yeah, that’s logical!

      3. Lifelogic
        May 31, 2015

        Tax cutting who Cameron & Osborne? Today is tax freedom, one day later than last year. We have had 299+ tax increases from the coalition, appalling ratting on the £1M IHT, more pension cap mugging and an absurd increase in tax complexity. Worse still we now have the GAAR (or Robert Mugabe tax). You owe what HMRC say you owe, decided after the event.

        This hugely deters investment in the UK.

        Tax freedom day does not (I believe) take into account the huge overhead placed on business of compliance costs, with that we are probably at about 50% or 30th June.

  12. DaveM
    May 31, 2015

    I don’t quite understand what the PM is trying to achieve either, but I still think his negotiations will be moot anyway, because he is barking up the wrong tree as far as the UK is concerned. It would be so much simpler if he was to stand on a podium and explain why he so desperately wants to remain part of an organisation which is clearly failing in terms of economic growth, failing in terms of security, is subservient to the USA, and whose aim is to achieve a USE via any means. What is the desired end state? And more importantly, why is the end state so important that, in achieving it, the EU seeks to destroy the sovereignty and nationhood of the oldest and most successful countries in the world?

    1. DaveM
      May 31, 2015

      That was meant to be a reply to Bluedog.

    2. Jerry
      May 31, 2015

      @DaveM; “It would be so much simpler if [Mr Cameron] was to stand on a podium and explain why he so desperately wants to remain part of an organisation which is clearly failing in terms of economic growth, failing in terms of security, is subservient to the USA, and whose aim is to achieve a USE via any means.”

      Cough, if he did that and spoke in those terms many, perhaps a majority, might mistake he was talking about the UK and our special relationship with the USA, having miss-spoken with regards the second instance of the abbreviation (read “USA” for USE) and meaning…

      “the EU seeks to destroy the sovereignty and nationhood of the oldest and most successful countries in the world”

      How long is the UK going to try and dine off our supposed past glory, the Empire is long gone, which was the reason for both our social and apparent economic success, basically we traded our goods and services between ourselves to great effect!

      1. DaveM
        May 31, 2015

        1. Fair point, although I don’t want the UK to be subservient to anyone. I long for a PM who has a “Love Actually” moment but fear we may have to wait for a female PM for that. Agreed, the UK’s economy isn’t growing much, but unlike the EU, the UK wasn’t created principally to be an economic powerhouse, so we’re not failing, just struggling at present.

        2. I’m not talking about just the UK. I’m talking about all the countries in the UK, plus Holland, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Hungary, Sweden, and so on. Countries which have had their arguments and fights but which have succeeded at BEING countries; which have formulated their own systems over the centuries. None of them are perfect, but they’ve done better than most of the rest of the world.

        The empire was the reason for the UK’s success – as you said – during the 19th century, but the British (and French, Dutch, Portuguese, and Spanish) empires didn’t just materialise, they were created by the people of those nation states, and wouldn’t have been created unless those nation states had been successful to start with.

  13. fedupsoutherner
    May 31, 2015

    Great post John. From what I can see we are not only having our democracy taken away by those in charge in Europe but from all our leaders, many ministers who are looking forward to taking their place in the European parliament, the BBC and business leaders with vested interests. We, the public, are just minions that can be pushed around and told what to do and how to do it. I wonder why we fought so hard for our freedom if we are so willing to give it away now? This country is very capable of trading with Europe but more importantly, with the rest of the world and leaving the EU would mean we would not have one hand tied behind our backs. So far, all the talk on the BBC is about staying in and how the Yes vote is winning. When are the people with a good case for coming out going to be given some air time? We need some of the nitty gritty issues to be aired and I am sure many people don’t realise we will be sucked into using the Euro in a very short time. I don’t fancy having to support all the countries where they couldn’t be bothered to sort our their own finances.

  14. Sean
    May 31, 2015

    Only The English want out of the EU Hell hole, the rest of the Union will vote to stay in the EU .
    Democracy in England is stupid and shameful.

  15. Iain Moore
    May 31, 2015

    Can’t disagree with any of that, trouble is it is general principles , we are now in the time of detail, but no one has laid out a list of all the sovereignty we have lost to Brussels. This has allowed Cameron to vaguely waffle on about renegotiation when he is really only seeking to get a change of emphasis of protocol , as we saw in the renegotiating position he laid out in the Guardian March 2014

    Nothing I have seen subsequent to that suggests he is going to renegotiate anything worthwhile, essentially the fanatical pro EU Foreign Office’s position, and he will get away with it because no one is holding him to account over the details of the powers we have lost.

  16. Brian Tomkinson
    May 31, 2015

    JR: “The joy of a new deal or exit is they offer us the continuation of our trade and the restoration of our freedoms.”
    I cannot visualise “a new deal” that “offers us the continuation of our trade and the restoration of our freedoms.” I certainly see nothing of that in Cameron’s rhetoric. What I do see is an attempt to convince us to endorse our membership of the EU which is an anti-democratic orgainisation.

  17. Ex-expat Colin
    May 31, 2015

    “The UK has no intention of taking its trade deficit elsewhere. UK consumers will still want to buy German cars and French wine, and will be able to do so on good terms. In return anyone making things in the UK for sale to the continent will enjoy similar terms”.

    I’ll go for the Oz wine, but that highlights the very fact we should do what we want to do on anything at any time. And at our cost/saving. Why did it have to change from that in the 1st place? VI’s with politicians who thought they knew better.

    Self government….time will tell, but as with most things Gov its very likely to fail on quality. Dread to think of the costs, but that largely don’t figure. Talked about and thats it!

    Junker in Japan last week cracking deals for the EU. I’d like to do that really…not him and the long line of hangers on.

    Russia bars Clegg …funny that!

    1. Leslie Singleton
      May 31, 2015

      Colin–Russia does at least seem to be able to control its borders, which ability I am thoroughly jealous of

  18. Anthony
    May 31, 2015

    I consider myself a eurosceptic but I had never really been convinced of the case for Out as I couldn’t see how it would be a big enough improvement on In to be worth the hassle, given the requirements placed on Switzerland and Norway whose Out positions are the obvious models for us.

    I recently read The Trouble with Europe by Roger Bootle, and I am now a much more convinced Out. The chances of big trade barriers going up seem slim, and the UK will have the opportunity to create trade agreements with the U.S., China and others.

    I am concerned about the City of London though. Our position with regard to the City is the reverse of the rest of our trade with Europe, and by the logic that we will achieve a good deal with the EU on goods because we have a trade deficit, surely our surplus in financial services could lead to us being locked out.

    Perhaps this is an acceptable risk, perhaps it is an assured loss and it is worth it anyway. Perhaps other opportunities would replace those lost in the EU. But surely this point should be addressed?

  19. Jerry
    May 31, 2015

    John, not sure if it’s my browser at fault but the formatting of your diary entry today makes for difficult, almost disjointed, reading.

    “The good news is our trade with the rest of the EU is not at risk. The German government has made clear they would want a free trade agreement with the UK if we left the EU.

    That is good news, but has she said this publicly, on the record. If so then what are the CBI chuntering about?!

    “The common external tariff is now very low if by any chance we ended up having to pay it. The 10% tax on cars is unattractive, but I am sure Germany would have no wish to have to pay 10% on every car exported to the UK so it would be simple to agree for neither side to impose it.”

    You assume that there will significant be ‘UK built’ cars entering the EU after any Brexit sans any free trade agreement. But in any case it will not be the German, Spanish, Swedish or French car industries etc. that pay the UK imposted tick-for-tack tariff but Joe Public via a higher showroom price-tag. The loss of the UK to the European car industry, as a market-place will be hard on them, but there are plenty of emerging nations were they can do business… The same goes for any such products imports from the EU if subjected to tariffs.

    If EU renegotiations fail or stall, and there is a real prospect of a ‘messy devoice’ then I would still favour a Briexit, but we must acknowledge that WTO rules will only help us so far, we need to be also sounding out other options [1] to improve two-way trade links with the RotW post a Brexit (this will also show the EU that the UK is serious about leaving if we do not get substantive concessions if not wholesale reforms), we can not survive economically by only importing Goods whilst only exporting Services and the EU knows it. I now that some countries within the continent of Europe do but they tend to be much smaller economies. Mr Lifelogic often suggests that the UK could be a “greater Switzerland” but Switzerland’s success is as much about her culture and people as it is about her commerce, the UK is not Switzerland and never will be…

    [1] not negotiations, yet, as that would be illegal under EU rules – ‘nough said 🙁

  20. turbo terrier
    May 31, 2015

    Very positive and informative entry John and its a pity that it entries like this do not appear in our national press and on news channels.

    Murdoch is supporting us staying in. What a joke like most yes supporters especially in business they are only concerned with what is best for them.

    It is to a lot of us these faceless wonders that keep pulling our strings who are they? I find it amazing that a lot in Westminster cannot understand the process that has been allowed to evolve over the years.

    You have Empress Nick banging on about Scotland wanting to remain in the EU. I must move in the wrong circles or live in the wrong area because the majority I know want out. The nats think nothing about debating Trident to stop the next generation but think nothing of the impact on jobs and support services in and around Glasgow but again there are a lot up here want it to stay.

    It was bad enough giving Scotland control of education, justice, health and energy loolk at the mess those areas are in up here and they want to remain in Europe? Why? Safety net for them in the future!!

    The money Europe is costing us would go along way to addressing some of the bigger issues across the whole of the UK.

    You mention supporting the out vote but we need a figurehead and a plan to which we can nail our true colours. UKIP have Nigel. Democracy is all about letting the people speak and be listened to.

    I for one do not have a clue how many in Westminster really want us out apart from you and maybe a couple more. Something really needs to be put together to co-ordinate the out vote and dispell fear factors that are being churned out on a daily basis.

    Reply I have done this on BBC News channel recently, on the Daily Politics and on Sky this morning! This website is not some private cut off site – publishing here means the views are published and available.

    1. turbo terrier
      May 31, 2015

      Reply to Reply

      John I do not think for one moment anyone is perceived to be doing so much as yourself.

      It was just the thought that somehow we the “get out voters” have a leader(s) that can get like minded people to flock to the banner. If it needs a fighting fund then so be it. It will get my support no matter what. From the result of the last GE there are 3.8m supporters for UKIP so that is a good base to be tapped into. I think that if the whole anti show is dominated by UKIP it will alienate people. Sometimes to achieve a result you have to strange bedfellows. I do not along with a lot of others have a great deal of faith inthe PM I know he is trying but what actually is it he wants?

  21. Lucy Locket
    May 31, 2015

    We need to regain control over our own affairs and we cannot do that within the EU. I wish the PM luck with his efforts but doubt that he will achieve reforms of any significance.

    Meanwhile please give us all an update on what is being done on EVEL and related matters. Things have gone horribly quiet on the issue of fairness for the English.

    Reply There will be an early vote on changing the Standing Orders of the Commons in line with the Hague report.

  22. alte fritz
    May 31, 2015

    The arguments for freedom and democracy needs to be made again and again. The point does get through to people. The simple practical points about tariffs should similarly be hammered home.

    These positive arguments will determine the outcome far more than the form of question.

    There must be something to laugh about however, and that is the SNP’s policy.

    May 31, 2015

    I disagree. Better to say and, think: “It’s our Country,stupid-what we demand from the EU “negotiation”.

    I hear there are sections of the Labour Party and Trades Unions who intend targeting young Polish migrants with a view to encouraging them to join unions and take up British citizenship. They believe such migrants are naturally anti-UKIP and pro-Labour. Of course this proves Labour is grossly ignorant of the political landscape in the homelands of many migrants where red-flag parties are banned from existence because of previous foul deeds or are equivalent in the minds of the electorate to the Monster Raving Loony Party.
    Seeking democracy , asking for it, begging for it, from a foreign power such as the EU may be in the realms of democratic interaction on the geo-political level. But our country is not up for negotiation or renegotiation. We do not need anyone’s permission-slip to own our Country.
    It is interesting the SNP wishes its “fair share” as they put it of Mediterranean asylum seekers plus an open border to EU migrants. Well Scotland is hugely underpopulated. I wonder if they are prepared to accept 2 million migrants into Scotland to add to their voting population of one and a half million. Like the Labour Party, the SNP has a political mental age of the average 16 or 17 year old.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      May 31, 2015

      Which is why they want the voting age dropped to 16! I live in Scotland and have never heard of most of the Scottish Mp’s. They are acting like a bunch of 16 year old tearaways and I bet they are loving living it up in the capital.

  24. ian wragg
    May 31, 2015

    Agree on all points John. Just when will CMD tell us what he is negotiating. I see from todays papers that a second referendum will be demanded by some MP’s if there is an attempted stitch up.
    We can see from his whistle stop tour that he believes a small delay on SOME benefits is necessary. These will obviously be challenged using the HRA and of course it won’t be retrospective so the millions with in work benefits will be exempt.
    How do you anticipate enforcing the no child benefit being paid abroad when they will pitch up with their kids, claim benefit into a UK account and the kids will go home.
    You can’t even tell us how many illegals there are or how much it is costing the taxpayer to subsidise these low paid jobs. We just know that the welfare budget increases linear to the number of immigrants coming in.
    I and most others including some politicians know that Cameron likes the EU as it is because he is a wet liberal.

  25. Michael Cawood
    May 31, 2015

    Why have you reduced the text size in your email newsletter? We don’t all have superb eyesight you know.
    Now I have to fiddle with the settings of Thunderbird.

    Reply I did not know the size had been reduced. I did not ask for that to happen.

  26. Shieldsman
    May 31, 2015

    Restoring our Democracy.
    I am sure we all want that. Is that possible whilst remaining in the EU, I doubt it.
    In January 2013 a group of Conservative MP’s headed by William Hague produced a document titled ‘Fresh Start Project’.
    It has red lines, amber lines and green lines.
    It covered: Trade, Regional Development Funds, Common Agricultural Policy,
    Common Fisheries Policy, Budget and Institutions, Social and Employment Law, Financial Services, Energy, Policing and Criminal Justice, Immigration, Defence.
    These are all areas where decision making has been usurped or eroded by the EU.
    What can I do?
    Whenever an article on EU membership permitting comments appears in the media I shall make my views known. I will assist any lobby groups seeking an NO/OUT vote in the referendum.

  27. Alexis
    May 31, 2015

    Well said, in every respect.

    “Our trade is not at risk, but our freedoms are”

    – an excellent campaign motto.

  28. Tony Houghton
    May 31, 2015


    I read your blog every day and agree with all most all of what you say but there is a danger of you repeating your arguments too frequently. Most of what you said today you have said several times before.

    Am I being an idealist when I think perhaps that your blog each day should not be repetitive but be the succinct case for the ‘No’ vote in the forthcoming referendum!

    Kind regards

    Reply Thanks for the advice. The media are suddenly most interested in the EU issue, and the government is currently listening as it formulates its negotiating position. That is why I need to spend some time at the moment on the case for change in our relationship with the EU. You have read it before, but many have not heard it. Today in the tv interviews I had to go over what is to me very old ground, but it is only now that the media are interested, because change is on the official agenda at last. The piece today is part of something I am writing both as a brief for Ministers and as an article with colleagues which we have been asked to write.
    Making the main issue for Out (or for a new relationship negotiated by the PM) the question of democracy is fundamental to the position many Conservative MPs are now in, We do not see the renegotiation as a question of a few fixes on current problems but sorting out the process for all future problems. In that sense today’s piece is new, and highly topical.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      May 31, 2015

      Keep it up John – you are doing a great job. I just wish there were more like you. Here in Scotland we are very short of serious ministers to approach. We have almost a one party state!! It is refreshing to listen to and read thoughts from a serious minister.

    2. Margaret Brandreth-J
      May 31, 2015

      Reply to reply; I have often thought similar to what Tony Houghton has written, but this is because I read your blog every day . I read some , but not all of the comments every day and it strikes me that those comments may be repetitive also , but I wouldn’t know as I haven’t read them.Comparing these two perspectives from this realisation clarifies that your approach makes sense. A more physical ( but fictional allusion) is Ayesha :SHE ,walking up and down stone stairs for centuries until the imprint of her steps were impressed in stone….although I hope it doesn’t take centuries to get the points over.

      Reply If you have an unresolved problem in a democracy like our relationship with the EU, or Scottish self government, there will tend to be some repetition as well as new material as the debate continues. Before the General Election I used to get complaints because I did not regularly repeat my thoughts on b orders and migration, as some wanted to go over the same ground on that every day.I was told talking about the economy was too partisan!

  29. acorn
    May 31, 2015

    JR, I am starting to get suspicious of your making a big thing about democracy and sovereignty. Let’s face it, the Conservatives of all types, have never been big on democracy. For instance, worker representatives on the boards of companies; citizen initiatives for referenda; local government that is anything other than a Westminster diktat implementer.

    Conservatives are big on sovereignty, where they mean monopoly control for rent-seeking purposes. All the objections you highlight about the EU lording it over the UK, could equally be said of the UK “executive”, lording it over the HoC “legislature”. The UK Parliament is a law-scrutinising rather than a law-making legislature. At the moment, “El Presidente” Cameron, is striding the EU; his Foreign Secretary is nowhere to be seen! The UK remains an “elective dictatorship” form of government. I for one would like some sort of international defence against its actions, should it show signs of going North Korean. The Human Rights Act; ECHR; ICJ etc.

    American courts could strike down legislation if it was incompatible with the values enshrined in the Constitution, not possible in the United Kingdom. The nature of UK Parliamentary sovereignty, if it exists, is still being debated. Is Parliament’s sovereignty “continuing” or subject to the “manner and form” of legislation. (That is, can one Parliament bind its successors).

    So, my suspicion can be summed up by asking, is your clamour for sovereignty and democracy being returned to the UK; have anything to do with the regulation of the UK financial services industry?

    Reply Nothing whatsoever to do with it. I am a democrat who believes in UK Parliamentary democracy. All my writings and speeches over the years have explained how it used to work and how it has been damaged by the EU. The PM is powerful within the UK system, but is very accountable to Parliament.

    1. Denis Cooper
      June 1, 2015

      “The UK Parliament is a law-scrutinising rather than a law-making legislature.”

      Wrong, the UK Parliament is the supreme legal authority for the UK.

      1. acorn
        June 1, 2015

        Could the executive introduce a Bill abolishing general elections and requiring the government to be formed of members of one particular political party?

        Could this current executive introduce a Bill to abolish five-year parliaments and immediately after, introduce a Bill to establish twenty year parliaments? (HT: Cambridge Uni’ Law school).

        What, if anything, could stop the “supreme legal authority” as you say Denis, from doing such?

        1. Denis Cooper
          June 2, 2015

          You know the answers to those questions; Parliament could indeed do such things, but only with all three parts agreeing. That is why any Bill to prolong the life of a Parliament was made an exception in the Parliament Act 1911, MPs cannot vote to postpone elections in which they might lose their positions unless the Lords consent and the sovereign gives Royal Assent. It actually happened in both of the World Wars. Apart from which, at various times in the past Parliament has legislated for maximum parliamentary terms of 3 years, 7 years and 5 years. But note that it was Parliament doing that through Acts, it was not the executive.

  30. John Bickley
    May 31, 2015

    And when did the British people give our supine political a mandate to give control of our country away? Churchill & those that died for our freedoms in WW11 would be both mortified & ashamed of what’s been done to their green & pleasant land

  31. Denis Cooper
    May 31, 2015

    The Sunday Telegraph has a story today about the likelihood of a second referendum if we voted to stay in the EU despite the “reforms” being inadequate.

    I can’t provide any proof at this distance in time, but I’m pretty sure that in 1975 there was a story put around that if we voted to stay in the EEC in that referendum it wouldn’t necessarily be a final decision, because we might have another referendum after an interval of about five years during which we could see how it was all going.

    After all, we had only been in the EEC for two and a bit years at that point, and some of us might change our minds as things developed over the following years, so it would be reasonable to check again whether most of us were still happy to be in the EEC.

    Needless to say that mooted repeat “in-out” referendum never happened; instead Thatcher won the 1979 general election and she promptly set about undermining the basis of the consent given in the 1975 referendum, consent which she had actively helped to extract, by pressing for the abolition of swathes of national vetoes through what became the Single European Act, which she did not put to a referendum.

    The Bill just tabled by the government doesn’t actually say what will happen after the referendum. One might have expected it to say that if we voted for “out” the government would then have to put in a notice that we intended to withdraw from the EU under Article 50 TEU; but it doesn’t, it says nothing and leaves the matter entirely open.

    From that silence it may reasonably be concluded that if we did vote to leave the EU then Cameron would try to get more concessions and then hold another referendum to give us a second chance to get the answer that he wants. Which would be par for the course for EU referendums, as the Irish know very well.

    So the overall conclusion seems to me to be this: if we voted to stay in then that would be that and there would be no repeat referendum, notwithstanding the story that the Sunday Telegraph is putting around today, while if we voted to leave then there would be a repeat referendum to give us a chance to change our minds in the light of the further improvements to the terms that Cameron would extract.

    Reply The second referendum story clearly comes from pro Out sources, not from Mr Cameron. Out means out – if we vote for Out we leave. I do not think there is any serious discussion in government of being able to hold an other In/Out referendum in the following 5 years if the UK votes for In. Lets concentrate on getting the right answer in the referendum we have got.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      May 31, 2015

      Comment on Reply–It does not seem at all improbable that if we vote Out, after a while for that to sink in the EU will produce something significant by way of re-organisation (unlike the peripheral piffle from Cameron) and then says we should have another referendum on the strength of that. Why should it be different this time? In any event the Scots on present form will be agitating to stay In which the EU will be bound to make play on.

    2. Denis Cooper
      June 1, 2015

      “Out means out – if we vote for Out we leave.”

      Then why does the government Bill for the referendum not say that?

      Just as the Wharton/Neill Private Members’ Bill didn’t say what would happen in the event of a vote for Out. As was remarked at the time, when it was compared unfavourably with Clegg’s Act for the referendum on AV, which had a Section 8 laying down precisely what would happen in the event of votes either for or against changing to AV.

      I know, you know, James Wharton and Bob Neill surely both knew, and Philip Hammond doubtless knows, that the preferred route for leaving the EU would be through the Article 50 TEU provided for that purpose in the EU treaties, and that the first step in that process would be for the government to put in a notice that the UK intends to leave:

      “A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention.”

      so why does the Bill not say that if there are more votes for Out than for In then the Minister shall do that within a certain time period?

      In the Sunday Telegraph article, here:

      the story is attributed to “Cabinet ministers” and “high-ranking Tories”, but we cannot know whether any of them definitely want to leave the EU or they would much prefer to stay in a putative “reformed” EU.

  32. DaveM
    May 31, 2015

    John, are you and like-minded, respected people going to form an “OUT” committee of some sort?

    During the GE I am convinced that the electorate reacted as much to the poise and conduct of the prospective MPs as they did to the content of what they said. Shouty slobbering lefties waging scare- and hate-campaigns lost out to grown-ups. The only lefty who maintained a grown-up demeanour was Sturgeon.

    I am likewise convinced that the pro-EU lobby will be shouty and try to scare the general public – composed logical arguments like those you present daily, and which are backed up by facts and figures are the way forward. And I think people are more likely to trust the head of JCB than a couple of luvvies and reformed junkies.

    Reply Yes, there will be an Out campaign in due course, a coming together of various Eurosceptic groups, think tanks and movements.

    1. turbo terrier
      May 31, 2015

      Reply to reply.

      Thank God for that.

  33. adams
    May 31, 2015

    Cameron wants us in the EU and will waffle and spin until the cows come home . People like you John will carp and moo on the sidelines meanwhile another million aliens will have arrived from wherever . One huge U turn is needed by the Con Party who now govern us on 37% of the vote (disgrace ) . Get us out ASAP . The EU is killing my country and Cameron has still not specified what he will renegotiate on . The EU bosses smirk behind their hands because they know he is a paper tiger under a false flag and that he will conspire against us Brits at every turn . And John what will you do ? Complain about noise from the M4 ?

    Reply I have helped get you a referendum to change things with the EU, so will you now help win it instead of criticising me from the sidelines?And yes I will also be working on noise from the M4 because that matters to my voters, and they elected me to do a job for them.

  34. bluedog
    May 31, 2015

    And another thing, Dr JR. Now that David Cameron has arrogated to himself the role of Foreign Secretary it is time to re-orient Cameron’s China policy. From the start of his administration Cameron seems to have had a China fetish. We all know China is a massive trade opportunity but that comes with a price we are now starting to see, including Cameron’s disgraceful prostituting of the Royal Family to promote his China trade dream.

    For some time China has been negotiating to buy the port of Piraeus in Greece as its European trading base. Note that China has allocated an astounding USD 900 billion to build a secure trading route both by sea and by land to its European markets.

    But now we read that with Russian (Orthodox) collusion, China may be prepared to provide a liquidity safety net for the Greeks on their possible default of debts owed to EU creditors. The price for this largesse would be the detachment of Greece from both the EU and NATO. This development would be a geo-political disaster for the West. Do we really need the Russian and Chinese Navies setting up a base in the Aegean?

    Meanwhile in the South China Sea a shooting war looms as China builds an unsinkable aircraft carrier in international waters on a reef that straddles a critical sea-lane to equally important trading partners South Korea and Japan. Not forgetting China’s outrageous claim to the whole province of Arunachel Pradesh owned by Commonwealth member and trading partner India.

    If Cameron is serious about his new job, perhaps he should take advice on who our friends are. China is not one.

    1. Denis Cooper
      June 1, 2015

      “Do we really need the Russian and Chinese Navies setting up a base in the Aegean?”

      No, we wouldn’t want that, and even less would we want them doing it in Scotland.

      It always puzzles me that people who have such a low opinion of the Scots that they say the English should actively welcome Scottish independence are at the same time so sanguine about the prospect of the Scottish government then being free to make its own foreign alliances.

  35. petermartin2001
    May 31, 2015

    Yes I’d agree that the restoration of our democracy should be the main theme of the EU referendum campaign. That’s something all shades of political opinion can support.

    It’s not now the time for the right to be indulging in lefty bashing, or vice versa for that matter. The electorate have probably had enough of that in the recent election, and any more will keep for the next election!

  36. Alex Rantwell
    June 1, 2015

    I recently wrote arguing that welfare and justice were largely domestic matters and Cameron waa using the so called negotiations to announce these policies and bolster his tough guy image.

    You appear to be saying that in fact we already do need to get EU approval for the relatively modest reforms Cameron appears to be chasing in Brussels.

    Either way it is an uncomfortable situation for anyone who believes in British democracy.

  37. Lindsay McDougall
    June 2, 2015

    The self governing status you desire can only be achieved by repeal of our Acts of Accession to the Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon Treaties, which are federalist in nature. Only then will there be any prospect of restoring the supremacy of English law and our own parliament. I have never seen why we need a referendum to do this; we didn’t have referendums when we signed up to those treaties.

    It’s now a hundred years since TS Eliot wrote ‘The love song of J Alfred Prufrock’. There is a line in the poem that is appropriate:

    “In a minute, there is time for decisions and revisions that a minute will reverse.”

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