President Obama is wrong-again

President Obama is wrong about the UK and the EU.
If letting foreign countries impose laws on you, levy taxes on you, and spend your money is such a good idea why doesn’t he create an American Union so Mexico can have common borders with the US, Cuba can spend US tax on herself, and Brazil can impose laws on the US the US does not want.
If he did that to the US and it worked then he would be in a stronger moral position to lecture us on having common borders with Eastern Europe, having Greece spending our money and having laws the Germans want but we don’t.

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53 Comments

  1. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 23, 2015 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    For goodness sake, don’t let President Obama see these suggestions; he’s quite capable of taking them up. Hopefully, America will have a more understanding Republican President by 2017.

    To be fair to Obama, he has reduced the number of American led wars and has worked hard at creating peace with Cuba and Iran.

    • Hope
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Obama is no friend of the UK. The U.S. is an ally nothing more. We have seen that Obama acts to the detriment of our country politically and commercially namely, his stance against BP. Considering Bohpal and other U.S. disasters it was nothing more than vindictiveness. He is looking after US interest, and the UK Govt. should look after the UK. We also have seen other U.S. Presidents ignoring UK PMs even Major over his standpce with the IRA. How would the U.S. Public feel if the UK lobbied and pressured the auS Govt. for a a Good Friday agreement to let out the Boston Bombers? When the U.S becomes a province of Canada and is subordinate to the Parliament of Canada then he might have a point, until then it is clear he wants to subjudicate the UK to the EU. The UK also wants to be a land of the free.

      • anne mcgregor
        Posted July 25, 2015 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        Why was it okay for Obama to interfere in the Scottish referendum, but not the UK referendum? Just asking!!!

        Reply I think he was wrong to interfere in both of them. I made more of his second intervention because I disagree strongly with what he was advising us to do. It was up to pro independence Scots to attack him for his Scottish intervention.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      I wouldn’t pin my hopes on a Republican President seeing things very differently, given that allegedly Bush was set to publicly praise the EU Constitution until he was diverted into a more neutral public stance through intensive lobbying efforts by conservative elements on both sides of the Atlantic.

      From February 2005:

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1484521/How-British-and-American-conservatives-united-to-stop-Bush-endorsing-the-EU-constitution-as-favour-to-Blair.html

      “How British and American conservatives united to stop Bush endorsing the EU constitution as favour to Blair”

      “President Bush’s speech to European leaders last week was toned down at the last moment to avoid giving his support to the proposed EU constitution, after a strenuous lobbying campaign by conservative activists in Washington.

      Leading British Euro-sceptics were enlisted to help win a battle within the White House over how far Mr Bush should go in endorsing a more unified EU, after reports began to circulate in Washington that his planned speech would express backing for the constitution.

      Members of the staff of Dick Cheney, the vice-president, are also said to have intervened with Mr Bush’s speechwriters to ensure the removal of language which, conservatives say, would have given a powerful and explicit boost to campaigners for the EU constitution.

      “The speech was being drawn up along State Department lines, with a view to backing the draft constitution,” said one Washington official with close White House links.”

      Well, I doubt that “State Department lines” will have changed a great deal since then, as European integration has long been and still is not just a commercial but a far wider and more important “geostrategic” issue for the US, just as much as it is for the committed eurofederalists in Europe.

    • Mercia
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      To be fair to Obama, he has reduced the number of American led wars and has worked hard at creating peace with Cuba and Iran.

      >
      Since when has the electorate given the political elite permission to make friends with undemocratic regimes? Cuba, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China etc, they have no right to do this and the very fact they think it is acceptable proves they do not hold democracy and freedom as the highest ideal or they would also despise such regimes.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted July 25, 2015 at 12:00 am | Permalink

        Do you think that democratisation is driven mainly by external forces or internal forces?

        • Mercia
          Posted July 25, 2015 at 11:25 am | Permalink

          Do you think that democratisation is driven mainly by external forces or internal forces?

          >
          Both, in the same way as Christians are driven by an external example (Jesus) and then try to apply that in our lives.
          We seem to have given up promoting democracy, we are now promoting human rights, primarily gay rights.

        • Mercia
          Posted July 25, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

          Do you think that democratisation is driven mainly by external forces or internal forces?

          >
          Internal, but I seem to remember the Vatican funding Solidarnosc in Poland in the late 80s.

  2. Martin Conboy
    Posted July 23, 2015 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    Bang on the money. Obama can shut the ____ up. His decision on relaxing sanctions on the Iranian regime over nuclear development are equally sh!the but we won’t find out just how bad for another decade or so.

  3. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted July 23, 2015 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    A bit like the Head of Sky TV saying ” No ,don’t change your service provider from Virgin Media. It’s in the interests of Sky TV you make Virgin Media powerful and more competitive.”

    Is there something about the EU other than an economic union?

  4. Mercia
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    Obama used the words “we want to make sure” Britain stays in the EU (he said Britain stays strong but he meant by staying in the EU), these words “we want to make sure” means what and how exactly? I watched it twice, he used those exact words. That is totally unacceptable and a message needs to be sent that such an interference in our democracy is totally unacceptable.

    • zorro
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      You just need to identify who the ‘we’ is…..

      zorro

  5. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    He was right about gun control and his failure as overnight events demonstrated.

    Maybe he should concentrate on his own country rather than worrying about the UK influence in Europe which is one QMV voice at a table of 28 dominated by Germany and France. We can’t even prevent benefit tourism or child benefit being sent abroad or non Euro zone funds propping up a Greek bailout. That is how much influence we have.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Margaret Thatcher thought that massive extensions of QMV would serve the UK’s commercial interests by more easily creating a Single Market, and I guess that the US government also believes that QMV serves the commercial interests of the US and doesn’t care about all the other rubbish that is now imposed upon us without our Parliament and government being able to veto it under the EU treaties.

      However when it comes to foreign and security and defence policies that may be a different matter, there it may be seen as in the interests of the US that the UK still has a veto over those EU policy areas, as laid down in the EU treaties.

      If you look at the Treaty on European Union, here:

      http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:12012M/TXT

      and do a word search for “defence”, you will see in Article 24:

      “1. The Union’s competence in matters of common foreign and security policy shall cover all areas of foreign policy and all questions relating to the Union’s security, including the progressive framing of a common defence policy that might lead to a common defence.

      The common foreign and security policy is subject to specific rules and procedures. It shall be defined and implemented by the European Council and the Council acting unanimously, except where the Treaties provide otherwise. The adoption of legislative acts shall be excluded … ”

      And:

      “The Court of Justice of the European Union shall not have jurisdiction with respect to these provisions …”,

      with some exceptions.

      Wiser heads in the US administration may wish to keep it like that rather than seeing movement to QMV and the possible emergence of the EU as a rival or even hostile single military power, but of course the UK can only exercise its veto on such matters as a proxy for the US while the UK itself is in the EU.

  6. Mick Anderson
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Perhaps he considers Texas and California to be foreign countries.

    • A different Simon
      Posted July 26, 2015 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      I bet he’s as popular as faeces floating in a swimming pool down in Texas .

      Even State Capital Austin which I love would not have time for him .

  7. Graham Wood
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Absolutely! I could not fin far more apt or better comment on Obama’s arrogant and intrusive intervention yet again.

  8. John miller
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    The Falklands is British, Mr Obama. Hawaii is Polynesian.

    Now,, about giving away far-flung islands to the nearest country?

  9. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    I was wondering what influence the English have now as part of the EU.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      The English, or more accurately voters resident in England, elect 82% of the MPs in the UK Parliament which notionally controls the foreign relations of the UK, including relations with the EU and its other member states. If they feel that the present MPs they have elected are ignoring their views then notionally they will have the option of voting in different MPs at the next general election.

  10. Mick
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Obama wants to keep his bloody nose out of our affairs, what right as he to say we should stay in the failed EU, just back off and anybody else who thinks we should stay in it, I want OUT and the sooner the better.

    • DaveM
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Hear hear.

  11. agricola
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    It is a fact that most Americans do not know what is going on in their adjoining states, and a good proportion of them do not want to know. On the World scene they are fairly inept, even if at times well meaning. I do not give much weight to what Obama thinks about our relationship with the EU. At best I imagine he thinks of us as a useful Trojan horse, the EU might agree with him apart from being useful. I do not think we should get too fussed about what the most useless US president we have experienced thinks about anything.

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Indeed just as one has come to expect of the man and worse still the dreadful Hillary is favourite to be next.

    I will be surprised if she wins myself, I cannot stand her. She seems so artificial, contrived and wrong headed on every issue.

  13. Ian wragg
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Coming from the worst president certainly in my 70 years, I wouldn’t worry too much. His endorsement should help the NO vote.
    90% of Americans couldn’t pinpoint Europe on a map

  14. alan jutson
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Obama would like us to stay in the EU because it suits America to have some influence in Europe via us.

    Its much easier and cheaper for them if we are part of the set up.

    Just imagine the cost to them of trying to get the same sort of influence directly without some of our input.

    As far as security goes we are part of Nato and would remain so, in or out of the EU, so his concern should not be too great.

    Whilst I understand that in his interview he was asked about a number of different topics, given that we are to have negotiation and a referendum, I believe he should have been rather more diplomatic in his comments.
    We do not need leaders of other Countries suggesting the way we should vote, or the terms we should accept.

    • oldtimer
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      That is how I heard his words, namely that UK membership of the EU helped the US influence the EU. If the UK was not a member, the USA would have a tougher job keeping it on its side versus drifting towards the left and under more Russian influence. As a US foreign policy objective it makes sense. Obama is not too bothered about the impact EU membership has on UK domestic politics.

      The BBC has chosen to spin it differently, namely that the UK would lose its global influence, whereas it would be more likely to increase outside the EU. We can expect this spin to be repeated over and over again. I note that they also quoted David Miliband spinning the same line.

  15. Nick
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    “If letting foreign countries impose laws on you, levy taxes on you, and spend your money is such a good idea why doesn’t he” —
    renounce the American War of Independence?

    • Atlas
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Exactly Nick.

      In Obama’s case it is a good example of “do what I say, but not what I do”.

  16. DaveM
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Quote from the BBC:

    “The prime minister has said he will campaign for Britain to remain in the EU if he gets the reforms he wants.”

    Well, he ain’t gonna get em!! Would it be totally impossible to see him leading the OUT campaign?!!

  17. Richard1
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    I’m not that surprised that the US govt prefers the UK in the EU. Without the UK the EU could become even more protectionist and dirigiste than it is. It is also likely to set itself up more and more as an alternative great power to the US. However David Cameron should now communicate to Obama – very strongly in private but in an emollient way in public – that the question of the UK’s relationship with the U.K. Is for the people of this country. Friendly democratic nations do not interfere in each others’ electoral processes.

    • Mitchel
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      “….is also likely to set itself up more and more as an alternative great power to the US…” That ship has long since sailed ,the EU is becoming a vassal state of the US,militarily weak,financially stretched and politically divided.To compare the two is like comparing Germany and Austria-Hungary at the outbreak of WWI.Of course Obama wants the UK to stay in – and others like Ukraine and others in the Balkans and on Russia’s borders to join.One great undemocratic mass with a politburo government ripe for lobbying by US mega banks and multinationals…what is there not to like from the US standpoint?No wonder the scales seem to be finally dropping off the Left’s eyes in the UK.

      I can only think that the defeatist Establishment’s willingness to toe the line reflects the view that we are fundamentally bust and ,with our enormous indebtedness,twin deficits and comparatively poor per capita reserves, are at the mercy of the financial markets that the US controls.Suez anyone?

      • Mitchel
        Posted July 24, 2015 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        Incidentally,I don’t know whether it was a slip of the tongue but the presenter on BBC Breakfast this morning,Louise Minchin,covering the Obama interview, referred to the “Transatlantic union”.

    • zorro
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      As if Cameron would even dream of doing that!

      zorro

  18. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Lead story on BBC News – major propaganda arm of EU.
    As you say, it’s strange that Obama isn’t proposing transforming NAFTA into a political and economic union based on the EU model which he so admires.

  19. The Prangwizard
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Obama ‘speaks with forked tongue’. In my view he wishes us to be in the EU, not for the reasons he says, but quite the opposite. He is intent on reducing our influence in the world, and keeping us in the EU helps with that.

  20. Mockbeggar
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    When he said that the EU has kept the peace in Europe since the second world war, what he should have said was that NATO had kept the peace. The EU’s single most important foray into foreign affairs was the dreadful interference in the Ukraine’s internal affairs with the dire situation that country has been reduced to.

  21. bluedog
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    After the collapse of the USSR, the US seemed set for a period of unchallenged global supremacy.

    Now one can imagine that the view from the White House suddenly looks mildly threatening on both the Atlantic and Pacific horizons. The rise of China in the Pacific is challenging the settlement that followed the defeat of Imperial Japan, and the US has announced a pivot towards Asia as a result. Having therefore opened up a potential vulnerability in the Atlantic, US planners must be concerned about the general trajectory of the EU. The strategic nightmare for the US in the early part of WW2 was that Britain would fall, so that the RN came under the command of the Kriegsmarine. The resulting Nazi battle-fleet consisting of the combined RN, French Navy and KM would have been formidable. Such a force would have had the potential to dominate the Atlantic, overwhelming the Fifth Fleet.

    Following the Greek debacle and the clear imperative for a political union that leads to a fiscal union within the EMU, a cohesive European political entity is once again on the cards. We can imagine that the ambitious Eurocrats who have already formed an EU Foreign service will also be considering their options in pursuing diplomacy by other means. This leads to the more definite possibility of an EU military and naval force, and thus the emergence of an EU military bloc that could drift away from the US command in NATO.

    Given that the UK is already semi-detached from the EU core by virtue of the retention of Sterling, and that the UK has never considered any military alliance other than NATO, it is hard to see how the UK’s influence in Europe is an antidote to the trends outlined. In effect, the horse has already bolted, and for Obama to demand that the UK remains embedded in the EU to the strategic benefit of the USA is both misconceived and bad politics.

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    One has to consider the real possibility that Obama has come out with this because the UK government used back channels, diplomatic or other, to ask him to do so.

    Given that the UK government will not be neutral in the referendum but will be pressing for an “In” vote by all means at its disposal, and is unwilling to even have any “purdah” restrictions on its own overt interventions during the run up to polling day, I guess that we will see a lot of this kind of thing, with foreign interventions which may seem to be spontaneous but in reality are not only permitted, but encouraged and arranged, by the UK government. In doing that, the UK government will just be copying what the Irish government has done during EU referendums in Ireland.

    Plus we can anticipate that there may be covert funding of groups campaigning for “In” by both the US and the EU. Some people assume that it’s just a ridiculous conspiracy theory that the CIA secretly funded the European Movement in the UK during the 1970’s, etc ed

    • A different Simon
      Posted July 26, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      The establishment will get the result they want one way or the other .

      I’ve come to realise that the only evidence in support of the supposed existence of democracy is when the position of the elite and position of the electorate coincide .

  23. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Good luck with attacking the three (still half sleeping) giants that will keep the UK in the EU (The City, big business and the USA)
    I don’t think you will succeed though 🙂

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 5:22 am | Permalink

      Once again you show yourself up as an (opponent ed) of our country and its people.

      • Peter Van Leeuwen
        Posted July 26, 2015 at 12:50 am | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper: If I don’t expect the referendum to result in “out”, for reasons which I have mentioned a long time ago (I named them the three sleeping giants), that doesn’t make me opposed to Britain or its people! I have entered another comment further down which maybe explains this.

      • A different Simon
        Posted July 26, 2015 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        Denis ,

        I often disagree with PVL but surely he has correctly identified the biggest opponents of Brexit ?

  24. Dennis
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    An excellent point Mr Redwood. I hope you can apprise the US Ambassador here of it to be transmitted to Obama.

  25. Mercia
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    The BBC interview is normalizing the assumption that the USA tells us what we can do. Why else would Jon Sopal totally ignore Obama saying “we want to make sure” the UK stays in the EU? In fact the entire media have just ignored this bomb shell statement and I seem to be the only person who seems stunned by it?

    • zorro
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      It is purely for US geo-political convenience…

      zorro

  26. Tad Davison
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely!

    And to use an Americanism, I wish he’d butt out!

    This leads me to think there is more to this than meets the eye. The US seldom does anything for purely altruistic reasons, and often cloaks some comment or action as ‘humanitarian’ or ‘in our friend’s best interest’. Yeah, right, that’s why Jimmy Carter introduced the Corrupt Foreign Practises Act. Our friends across the water act in their own interest first and foremost, etc ed
    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  27. turbo terrier
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Mr President should be advised that when he has his own house in order he might be better placed to comment on others.

    The only reason he wants us to stay in is the benefit to his country.

    Until then Mr President the second word is off.

  28. Mercia
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    As far as I can tell the US want us in the EU so they can pick up the phone and talk to our PM in English and give him instructions of our join strategy within the EU. Well I am sorry, but our nation State comes before the American convenience of not having to speak German or lose a bit of their influence within the EU. Do they think we are just useful idiots?

  29. majorfrustration
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Interview with the BBC – surprise surprise. If the President feels that the UKs continued membership of the EU strengthens the US/English union then how about the USA making a contribution to our EU costs. Otherwise but out…..

  30. Peter Van Leeuwen
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    Interestingly, when Obama weighed in on the Scottish referendum ( “stay united!”), I didn’t notice the same indignation in this blog. He is quite right serving the eurosceptics here with a reality check and would have said the same thing if he had been interviewed by FOX or RT. He is just expressing a little common sense to people who have been talking too much to themselves: New (looser) relationship within the (to be reformed) EU-fine, leaving the EU all together -is not going to happen!
    Why not focus on the achievable?

    Reply I also thought him wrong to intervene in the Scottish vote

  31. Borneodann
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 1:04 am | Permalink

    So true!

  • About John Redwood


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

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