The state of the renegotiation with the EU

Some have wrongly argued here that the government has failed to set out what it wishes to achieve from the current renegotiation with the EU. This is not the case, so I will remind people of what the government has said about its plans.

My view is I want “the fundamental change” in the UK’s relationship with the EU that the PM talked about. I want to trade and be friends with them, but to be outside the centralising treaties which force laws and policies on us that we would not choose for ourselves.

More recently the government has identified four big areas for change. They say they are negotiating over each of these areas.

Competitiveness and Regulation – the government wants an EU based on the primacy of more jobs and prosperity, that regulates and interferes less

Sovereignty and competences – the government wants powers back and more ability to stop mandatory policies from the EU through the actions of national Parliaments

A new and clearer relationship with the Eurozone – so the Uk does not have to accept Eurozone requirements on banking, finance etc

More UK control over migration and access to welfare – removing the “pull” factors that are swelling migrant numbers into the UK.

The current debate is over whether the government is asking for enough to satisfy the many voters in the middle of this argument who have not made up their minds on whether to leave the EU or not, and whether the EU will give the UK anything meaningful under these various headings to enable the government to recommend the deal. The government recognises that Treaty change will be needed, but may settle for a promissory note on treaty change which then raises the issue of the powers of the ECJ, what happens in the interim, and the ability of the rest of the EU to deliver given the complexities of securing the consent of all 28 to treaty changes.

Many will conclude leaving is an easier way of resolving the lack of power and democratic control the UK currently suffers from under the present treaties. If it looks as if the UK will vote to leave there will be more chance of securing that fundamental change Mr Cameron has talked about.

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104 Comments

  1. Duyfken
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    This for me is not enough, because it is still so imprecise. JR speaks of an EU which “regulates and interferes less”, our government with “more ability to stop mandatory policies”, and “[m]ore UK control over immigration”, but how much more/less? Since it is accepted that treaty changes are needed, I would expect to be told the wording of all such changes as are being sought. Without that there is certain to be too much equivocation.

    • Chris
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      I would agree, Duyfken. Even when politicians make clear commitments (cast iron comes to mind yet again) these do not materialise, and the politicians concerned seem to think they can disregard or “reinterpret” these whenever they choose. Such is the corrupting influence of power, I believe.

  2. Mark B
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Competitiveness and Regulation
    Get rid of the green cap, borrow and waste mentality of central and local government. White elephant state funded projects, high taxes and the country will return top ccompetitiveness again. As for regulation, that is handled by the multitude of international regulatory bodies that the EU sit in on our behalf. Outside the EU, we would be able to sit on the bodies and make the rules to suit ourselves much like Norway does.

    Sovereignty and competences
    Once a power is ceded to the EU, it can NEVER be returned. It is a founding principle of the EU. If the UK started demanding powers back, others would too. Look at Schengen and Germany. As soon as the German’s decided to close their borders the others quickly followed.

    Clearer relationship & Immigration
    To trade with the EU and not incur tariffs, we have to be part of the EEA. Here the Four Freedoms of the EEA come into effect. Leaving the EU but maintaining access to the EEA is essential, but it comes with a small price. We have to accept workers from other EEA members. But I do not have a problem with that. What I have a problem with, is our politicians and civil servants not enforcing the rules properly. It is freedom of movement for workers, not spongers. And in any case, it is non-EU immigrants that seem to be causing a lot of problems.

    Altogether, it would be much simpler to issue and Article 50 and begin negotiations on our withdrawal.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    A promissory note on treaty change from the EU would be totally worthless. Merely a fig leaf to trick voters into voting to remaining in. Rather like Cameron’s cast iron fraud before the 2010 election. A note might provide a worthless piece of paper for Cameron to wave in the Chamberlain manner.

    Progress on the four big areas you list is clearly never going to be offered in any meaningful sense. Certainly not with Cameron’s current superficial and largely invisible approach to the renegotiation.

    Cameron will wave his promissory note and tell us we can delay benefits to new arrivals (for perhaps a day or two after they arrive). Our socialist, central wage control, tax increasing chancellor would have denied the UK voters any referendum at all.

    Interesting to read the study of business views on the EU from the Federation of Small Business. It seems in England at least that views are fairly evenly balanced, the Midlands are very sound and London, Wales and Scotland need to wake up.

    http://www.fsb.org.uk/policy/assets/fsb%20eu%20research%20project%20-%20september%202015.pdf

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 5:59 am | Permalink

      I see that “BBC think” favourite, Sandi Toksvig was on Question Time last night, now something in the Women’s Equality Party it seems.

      She posed the question why is there any gender pay gap at all? No one bothered to answered her.

      Well there isn’t any pay gap for women without children, they are better paid already. The pay gap for the rest is because women (on average) simply choose a different work life balance, different professions, more part time work, different subjects at school, different degrees…… and are perhaps rather less motivated by money. Choices they freely, and often rather sensibly, choose to make.

      Is this really too hard for Sandi to grasp? The pay gap could only be eliminated by more & huge legalised discrimination against men. Often the men who are husbands of these women beneficiaries.

    • Bob
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      @lifelogic

      “Merely a fig leaf to trick voters into voting to remaining in.”

      That shouldn’t be difficult, the bulk of UK voters have proved time and time again how gullible they are.

  4. Timaction
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    All very could be might be. Like the time we weren’t guarantors for another Greek bail out but then your leaders were instructed that we were and the previous arrangement wasn’t binding. Enough, after slyly paying the £2.3 billion surcharge over two installments your leaders have NO credibility on anything and should go. What are we paying £12 billion net for? It is just a charade for the creation of a superstate and your leaders still can’t and won’t admit the truth. A promissory note from the EU is worthless! The legacy parties are the enemy within who have sold us out. It’s way past time to just get out and restore our borders. Trade and friendship only. I,d rather be speachless than a member of this dictatorship. We only have to tell the truth, your parties have to continue to lie!

  5. S. Mitchel
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    It strikes me as disingenuous to pretend you have any interest in any other conclusion than a complete British withdrawal from the European Union. Under what terms would you possibly wish to remain a member? Further your various reflections on the possible economic advantages of Brexit remind me nothing less than an aggrieved spouse fantasizing about a divorce settlement that somehow leaves them all the assets and no liabilities or difficulties.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted September 19, 2015 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Re all the assets with none of the liabilities.

      I would imagine that there are some separations where the aggrieved spouse allows continued conjugal visits and convinces the other ( potentially more out of shape, having let itself become oversized in the wrong places) party that continued regular contact is worth the assets.

      Our £80 billion trade deficit seems to me that we are bring regularly “conjugaled” by this union and so the other party may like that arrangement to continue.

  6. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    In some of these four areas, The Netherlands could be an ally:
    Certainly the first one. The Netherlands e.g. has a commissioner (Timmermans) continuing the work on less and better regulation.
    More power for national parliaments is also shared. The Netherlands thinks that some power could be decentralised again through subsidiarity. The UK actually should negotiate for the status quo, as that is what its big two year survey, now hidden in the deepest draw in some government back room “The Balance of Competences” had as outcome. 🙂
    On the eurozone, we should not accept any special privileges for the UK, which Cameron rightly failed to achieve at the December 2011 summit. There is scope for fairness to no-euro countries I would imagine. In access to welfare, the EJC has already ruled in favour of the UK, so it may just be more a matter of changing UK national legislation.

    • Chris
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      You really do not seem to appreciate the situation in the UK, PvL (you advise us to “negotiate for the status quo”). Can you not understand, PvL, that we do not want the status quo, as witnessed by all the efforts by UKIP and other Eurosceptic organisations and MPs over the last few years to get Cameron to give us a referendum.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Peter v L

      Incase you hadn’t noticed your beloved EU project has just gone seriously tits up.

      First it went economically awry – now it’s going socially and culturally awry too, on a spectacular scale. I have serious concerns for the survival of European civilisation.

      You could not have been proven to have been more wrong than you are.:)

      I think it’s gone beyond a bit of tinkering by some bureaucrat with a name that we’ve never heard of – and without a face, as they seem to like it in the EU. 🙂

      I suppose we should let you opine on the holed-below-the-waterline EU if it makes you… feel better 🙂

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      It’s funny. The more I read of what you write – the more I want to leave the EU.

  7. petermartin2001
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    “More UK control over migration and access to welfare – removing the “pull” factors that are swelling migrant numbers into the UK.”

    Is there any evidence that migrants to the UK are motivated by welfare payments? In my, admittedly, limited experience I’d say the motivation is almost entirely one of a quest for employment. Simply there aren’t any jobs back home and there may be jobs in the UK.

    So there have to be two objections to withdrawing or reducing welfare entitlements. Firstly, any reduced entitlements are mean spirited if they apply those who are genuinely looking for work. Secondly, and more importantly for many readers of this blog, they aren’t going to make much difference anyway.

    • Bob
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      “Is there any evidence that migrants to the UK are motivated by welfare payments?”

      The evidence is queuing up in Calais waiting for a chance to cling to an HGV axle or walk through the Chunnel.

      “any reduced entitlements are mean spirited if they apply those who are genuinely looking for work”

      How long do you think someone needs these “entitlements”. Some people have been “looking for work” for their entire adult life without success.

      • petermartin2001
        Posted September 19, 2015 at 4:34 am | Permalink

        But are the people in Calais looking for welfare or jobs in the UK?

        Has anyone asked them?

        • APL
          Posted September 19, 2015 at 7:21 am | Permalink

          petermartin2000: “Has anyone asked them?”**

          Who cares? By their behavior they are no longer acting as refugees, they are in a friendly country France, trying to force their way into another non hostile country the UK.

          That, is more usually described as an invasion. Which action as it turns out our supposed ally and partner France is complicit.

          **Of course the BBC has asked some of them, like the (word left out ed) woman who ( just happened to be in the vicinity of an assault on the perimiter fence around the CT rail terminal ) the BBC claimed was a human rights lawyer*** in her home country. Demanding her human rights.

          She might have been better served working in her own country for the human rights of her countrymen.

          *** Although how the BBC could verify this since most migrants have disposed of any identifying documents.

          • APL
            Posted September 19, 2015 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

            JR: “(word left out ed)”

            Curious to understand why the term ‘migrant’ is now deemed beyond the pale in a discussion of migration.

        • Bob
          Posted September 19, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

          @petermartin2001

          “But are the people in Calais looking for welfare or jobs in the UK? Has anyone asked them?”

          Yes, the majority want free healthcare, free education, free housing and cash benefits.

    • David Price
      Posted September 19, 2015 at 3:39 am | Permalink

      Even if they are genuinely looking for work why must they be allowed to come here? If we already have a significant number of unemployed why should we encourage more to come here? August reports show an increase in unemployment while more jobs are being taken by immigrants than locals.

      For example see http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/aug/12/uk-unemployment-labour-market-job-losses

      Are you seriously suggesting that a significant number of those queued up at Calais are surgeons, scientists or engineers, professionals and craftsmen who will immediately generate a net contribute to the economy. If that were the case surely they would have tried a legitimate route to immigration.

      Secondly, where is your factual and quantitative evidence that such an influx won’t make a difference for “many” readers of this blog? In any case, regardless of personal circumstances, some of us will have children and have friends who have children who will be disadvantaged by this trend. Or am I now required to have more of a responsibility towards someone else’s child than my own?

    • Timaction
      Posted September 19, 2015 at 5:31 am | Permalink

      Why should English taxpayers pay in and out of work benefits to anyone who chips up here? I shouldn’t have to pay for their health, education and housing. That’s why they are queing up at Calais, it isn’t to fry burgers or serve sandwiches at fast food joints on minimum wages. That’s the jobs our EU migrants are taking whilst the Government allows over 900000 young people to sit at home claiming benefits as they can’t find work. All minimum wage jobs and no benefit to the English people!
      Please remind me how the Home Secretary is doing removing the estimated 2000000 illegal immigrants?

    • petermartin2001
      Posted September 19, 2015 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      “Even if they are genuinely looking for work why must they be allowed to come here?”

      Because of the EU rule that requires free movement of labour. That’s not going to fundamentally change.

      Anyone legally settled in the UK will qualify for “free” education, “free” health care etc except as we all know these aren’t free. They are paid for out of taxation.

      As far as I know there’s no suggestion that Mr Cameron is asking for any changes in this respect. And, indeed, it would be absurd to allow anyone in to the country, allow them to take up employment, ask them to pay taxes, and yet deny their children access to state schools and/or deny them access to health care and other social benefits.

      As I understand it, what Mr Cameron is asking for is a limitation on entitlements to unemployment benefits. I’m asking if this is going to make much if any difference to the numbers wishing to come to the UK? If not, why do it?

      It’s petty minded and will lead some unscrupulous politicians to lead some gullible people to think a significant concession will have been wrested from the Brussels bureaucrats .

  8. Anonymous
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    “If it looks as if the UK will vote to leave there will be more chance of securing that fundamental change Mr Cameron has talked about.”

    Then let us hope that he doesn’t get that change.

    A vote to leave will not result in us leaving. It will result in “Right. OK. This gives us a chance to go back and negotiate.”

    We are imprisoned in the EU.

  9. Loddon
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    When David Cameron announced three weeks ago that the UK would take in 20,000 refugees there were howls of disappointment from some quarters, and criticism from people in the EU comparing the declared generosity of Germany with the stinginess of the UK.

    The true generosity of the UK when compared to the self interest and greed of Germany has not been recognised.

    Germany has a rapidly falling birth rate, declining population and lack of productive workers and is seizing the opportunity to address these serious problems for the German economy. By saying that it will take refugees who have proved their fitness by walking across several countries Germany knows it will be taking mostly fit, young and capable workers who could be contributing to the German economy within months.

    Contrast that with the UK declaration that only, or mainly, it will seek to help the vulnerable, those needing most care and support and the young. By definition this means these refugees will not be able to contribute to the UK economy for many years and will be a significant cost to taxpayers for many years.

    The German economy earns a surplus in trade each year and is said to be sitting on massive reserves. Contrast that with the UK economy which is still losing around 100 billion pounds each tear, the deficit, and sits on a Government debt of 1.5 trillion pounds.

    When Cameron announced that the UK would pay for its 20,000 refugees out of the overseas aid budget there were protests from Harriet Harman, in the House, and Yvonne Cooper saying that we should pay for these refugees out of the reserves! What reserves? We are 1.5 trillion pounds in debt. How can we also have reserves?

    Cameron is right to say that we will pay out of the Aid budget but we taxpayers need to know exactly how this will be done, how much each refugee will cost and how the ongoing cost for many years will be met without it becoming a burden on Council Tax payers.

  10. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    You put it rather politely…nicely perhaps? I’d prefer completely out and with original requirements trade only in place. All fees to cease and borders secured….business as usual with friends. After that we view the EU from a distance and if after sometime we identify advantages we negotiate. Find a good negotiator if you can?

    If negotiation is anything like President (in waiting)Trump says in the US then don’t do it, and I certainly believe him. What’s happened between wars in Europe should be recognised because fixing it again is costly in more ways than one. No need to talk of war is there?

    O/T: I note fires/smoke around Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are not being reported adequately, yet California gets news privilege?

  11. Loddon
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Correction —

    EYVETTE COOPER not Yvonne !!!!

  12. DaveM
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    I want TOTAL control, not “more” control.

    Leaving is the ONLY way.

    “If it looks as if the UK will vote to leave there will be more chance of securing that fundamental change Mr Cameron has talked about.”

    I disagree – they’ll make lots of promises then break them once there is a STAY IN vote. Cynical, maybe, but that’s politicians’ reputations these days. It’s a reputation that stems from things like Sturgeon promising to accept the NO vote for a generation, and Cameron’s promise to give England a fair political deal. All just hot air and lies.

  13. JoeSoap
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Take just one of these:

    “More UK control over migration and access to welfare – removing the “pull” factors that are swelling migrant numbers into the UK.”

    First, sovereignty = complete control not just more control

    Second, if I were on the other side of the negotiating table with that as an aim I would offer breadcrumbs because nothing definitive has been requested.
    The start point, at least, should be COMPLETE CONTROL and NO ACCESS TO WELFARE.

  14. bratwurst
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    It looks like ‘renegotiation’ is the latest strategy to crash. The EU looks to be heading to treaty change to bring about closer political and economical union, which would probably take at least 4 years to complete and include some form of ‘associate membership’. Cameron & Osborne are trapped by the indifference of the “colleagues” who are more concerned with other matters and will be disinclined to expend effort on negotiations when a new treaty is in the offing.

    Gradually, the options open to the British Government have been closed down. A referendum in late 2017 is looking more and more likely, with the offer of “associate membership” on the table. Cameron will probably spring the ‘associate membership’ on the electorate at the last possible moment as allowed under purdah and claim that it leaves the UK in the ‘market EU’ but not the ‘political EU’. However, such an arrangement is likely to lead eventually to the UK joining the euro and ending up on the slow track to further integration.

    Leaving is the best option as even if associate membership was considered satisfactory neither Cameron or the ‘colleagues ‘ can guarantee to deliver in a future treaty change (or be trusted to do so).

    • Chris
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      I think you are right. I believe the goal for Associate Members would be to join the euro, and eventually integration, so it will not be the optimal solution that Cameron will try to claim. The Out campaigners will have to make it clear to the electorate that AM will not in fact lead to any restoration of sovereignty or freedom from the relentless step by step process towards the goal of a United States of Europe, which Barroso, Schulz, Juncker et al are apparently set on.

  15. Loddon
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    The UK has declared that it will take in 20,000 vulnerable and young refugees during this Parliament. The cost of a refugee has been estimate at a minimum of £50,000 per year. However, vulnerable and, disabled or young refugees may cost many times that figure.

    That means a minimum cost to taxpayers of One Billion pounds per year.

    What cost is actually being forecast by the Government?

    The Government has said that the cost will be met out of the Overseas Aid budget for the first year only. How will the cost be met in all the subsequent years that these young and vulnerable refugees are unable to work, and will be a cost to the economy and to taxpayers?

    How will the Government ensure that the additional cost will not fall on Council Tax payers during the first year and all subsequent years?

    • Bob
      Posted September 19, 2015 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      @Loddon

      ” How will the cost be met in all the subsequent years”

      Tax, borrow and QE, how else?

  16. Antisthenes
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    That is more than I thought David Cameron was asking for and if it succeeds, although the devil will be in the detail, I will be satisfied. However I cannot see the EU accepting those demands even if they did I can see some member states vetoing the proposals. As for promises that it will enacted at a later date they will not be worth the paper they are written on. The EU has a history of promising things only to renege on them later on.

    Treaty change is coming but after 2017 anyway to accommodate greater integration of the euro-zone and I suspect we will be offered associate membership which will allow some limited opt outs not to the scale of these demands and they will also be time limited.

    The EU will make all sorts of promises but as treaty change will take quite a few years to complete they will rely on circumstances changing and tying up the UK in ever more regulations that leaving the EU by then will cease to be an option for the UK despite not making much in the way of concessions. The EU is good at can kicking and they will use this tactic again and again until they the EU get what they want and we will receive little in return.

    I cannot see any alternative other than to invoke article 50 as that is the only way that serious negotiations are certain to happen and we will know exactly what we will receive if we stay in.

    Invoking article 50 does not have to mean that the UK has no other option but to leave the EU. That will be down to the EU and how much they want us to stay in which in my opinion is considerable. If they are not fussed then we would be better off out anyway.

  17. MickN
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Well my take on it is this. I fully expect that the EU will throw us the odd scrap so that Cameron can “sell” it to the public that he has had a huge success and we must stay in.
    History shows us that the constricting nature of Europe means that the ratchet effect will ensure that any gains are taken back with interest over time from future governments.
    My conclusion is that whatever we are told when Cameron stands on the tarmac waves his “piece of paper” in the air the only way to ensure our future is to vote to come out.

  18. Anonymous
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    John. I’m watching the news. Not just the 1984 style bias but the sheer volume of young men making their way here.

    We are so SO (badly affected ed)

    Our civilisation is in the greatest peril since the Battle of Britain.

    This EU issue needs sorting with utmost urgency before our country is destabilised beyond recovery.

  19. Know-Dice
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    It’s “poker” and CMD doesn’t seem to be a good poker player ;-(

    And remember “The EU needs the UK more than the UK needs the EU”.

    And remind me, when is a actual date for the referendum?

    Oh, and did I say, England would be better off without Scotland… 🙂

  20. Mike Wilson
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    The four items you have outlined are vague and Cameron can claim he has achieved anything he fancies – it will be in similarly vague terms.

    Let’s be honest, leaving the EU wouldn’t even be on the agenda if it wasn’t for immigration and, in particular, the number of people moving here.

    If we had no immigration from outside the EU, net immigration would be ZERO! I have asked you before Mr. Redwood, but you do not answer … why were over 300,000 people from OUTSIDE the EU allowed to come here in the last year?

    The area of immigration you can control is not being controlled. Why?

    • James Sutherland
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      “If we had no immigration from outside the EU, net immigration would be ZERO! I have asked you before Mr. Redwood, but you do not answer … why were over 300,000 people from OUTSIDE the EU allowed to come here in the last year?”

      Those who come from outside the EU generally have to jump through hoops and meet high standards for entry: actually making a positive contribution, in particular. Yes, we could reduce immigration numbers by banning our most valuable immigrants, just as an overweight patient could lose weight by chopping off a limb. In both cases, though, there is a more rational and less harmful way to achieve that change.

      Perhaps immigration is a driving force right now, but I assure you many of us object to the EU for very different reasons from that, and indeed would still object even if the UK had net emigration instead. It’s not about immigration, it’s about the right to determine our own laws, taxes and benefits policies.

      • Flyinthesky
        Posted September 18, 2015 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        One must be mindful when using the descriptive “our most valuable immigrants” Let’s remember that these “valuable immigrants” that we bribe to come here are a loss to the nations that invested in educating them. A much better way would be to recognise these shortfalls and conditionally sponsor the education of the required people ourselves. A graduated sponsorship system to fulfil the shortfall.

        As you infer the greater issue lies somewhere else, self determination, there can be no meaningful democracy at all whilst the people we address are, constrained by the eu, dancing to someone else’s tune. Unrepresentative democracy rules. Unrepresentative democracy could also be described as elected dictatorship.
        If we had actual democracy most of the issues we face would be non existent.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      And, still, no response …

      Why were over 300,000 people from OUTSIDE the EU allowed to come here in the last year?

      • Bob
        Posted September 19, 2015 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        @Mike Willson

        “Why were over 300,000 people from OUTSIDE the EU allowed to come here in the last year?”

        Here’s a clue, Coudenhove Kalergi Plan Agenda 21

  21. Gary C
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    There is not enough time available to obtain worthy agreements on these headline grabbing areas for change so I’m guessing we will go into the referendum with nothing more than promises which will fade away shortly after.

    Hopefully voters in the middle of this argument will see through this renegotiation scam and vote to get us out of this sorry mess.

  22. Alan Wheatley
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Leaving aside the uncertainty of what the Government is seeking to achieve, and the much greater uncertainty of what they will actually achieve, in any case this is a reversion to an early form of being “in” the EU. And we know for a fact that the more appealing form of being “in” the EU that we recall from the past was step by step changed to the unappealing form we know today.

    So, it seems to me, that no matter what deal David Cameron achieves it is very unlikely to be the end of the matter. There will be unrelenting pressure to pull the UK closer to the EU mainstream.

    And even if the UK resists that pull the rest of the EU will not stand still and move progressively further away.

    My conclusion is that staying “in” the EU, no matter what improvement the UK achieves from the renegotiated terms, will be at best a temporary respite from belonging to an organisation that has different objectives and different methods from those appropriate to the UK.

    Further, there is no point being in an organisation if one’s terms of membership are so far removed from the other members that “in” looses all credible meaning.

    Time and resources spent attempting the impossible would be better spent arranging for the UK’s future as an independent nation with a World view; a future of full democracy and prosperity.

  23. AndyC
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Eh? The only thing the government wishes to achieve is an ‘in’ vote in the referendum. The four points you mention are all well and good, but any declared progress on them is meaningless if not accompanied by the repeal or substantial amendment of the 1972 EU Act. Leaving is not an easier way, but the only way to resolve the lack of democratic control.

    Promissory note?! Sheesh, who’s expected to fall for that? I’ll believe there’s any real attempt at renegotiation going on when there’s any evidence presented for it. Who are we negotiating with? On what basis? On what timetable? Silence. Airy statements of intent do not convince!

  24. David Murfin
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Yes, but …
    “an EU based on the primacy of more jobs and prosperity, that regulates and interferes less” “Sovereignty and competences – the government wants powers back ”
    What specific powers would be withdrawn?
    “A new and clearer relationship with the Eurozone”
    “More UK control over migration and access to welfare”
    Too vague to be assessed, unless some specific features are defined.
    You may say that to define requirements would hamper negotiation. My experience is that to say ‘We want a deal. We understand you want X, and agree, but we wish to have Y and must have Z’ is a good starting point. It soon becomes clear whether a deal is possible, and whether it is accepted depends on how much Y is obtained.
    Of course there are many who look at the past and present behaviour of the EU, and do not want a deal which leaves us in any way subject to regulations set up by the EU, any more than we wish to be the 51st state of the USA.

  25. Antisthenes
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Corbyn has done a U turn and is now going to campaign to remain in the EU. Which I am very pleased about as apart from him being a liability for the leavers if he joined us anything he approves of would have left me wondering whether I was wrong about leaving if renegotiations fail. As we know he is wrong about everything else.

    He has now thrown the cat among the pigeons as he has said that whatever David Cameron achieves in his negotiations with the EU he will reverse if he becomes prime minister. It is not a foregone conclusion that he will never become prime minister or somebody like him many in the Labour party would do the same.

    It may be that the referendum and renegotiation is a pointless exercise as nothing will be binding (the EU and/or Labour will undo any achievements later on) except that we will be committed to ever more integration and the loss of the little sovereignty we have left.

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    “My view is I want “the fundamental change” in the UK’s relationship with the EU that the PM talked about.”

    Well, JR, actually he talked about fundamental changes to the EU as a whole, not just to the UK’s relationship with it, to “deliver a more flexible, adaptable and open European Union in which the interests and ambitions of all its members can be met” according to his Bloomberg speech back in January 2013.

    And it was no accident that he was proposing to change the EU for the benefit of ALL its members, not just the UK, because he was hoping that by doing so he would more easily find allies among the governments of the other member states.

    Unfortunately while it is a polite diplomatic fiction that all of the member states are equal, irrespective of the sizes of their territories and populations and economies and armed forces, each still being a sovereign state and each still being able to veto any changes to the treaties which subsist between them, the political reality is that most of them count for little, very little in some cases, and they will tend to follow whatever line the German government chooses to adopt for the advancement of German interests, with perhaps a small nod in the direction of France more or less for old times’ sake.

  27. Ian wragg
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    The proposals offer nothing tangible. There is no way the electorate can gauge if we are in fact getting anything at all. More control over immigration. What does that mean without the abolition of free movement which is a non starter.
    Reclaiming some powers. What powers, list them.
    Camerons is waffling and everyone knows it. He has outlined some aspirations and cannot be ever accused of failure as there are no goals

  28. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Clear as mud. Mere generalities, no specifics identified and you talk of fundamental change!
    When, as he will, Cameron tells us, just as his mentor Wilson did in 1975, that he has achieved much if not all he set out to do and urges the British people to vote to remain in the EU most of your colleagues will put party before country and join him. Failure would be a resignation issue and that would never do, would it?

    • Bert Young
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Excellent reply . What we want to achieve should be specifically spelt out and not put in adjectival terms . Of course Cameron wants “elbow room” in what he negotiates, but , he should still clearly make known what the bottom red lines are .

      The fact that he has publicised his own wish to remain in the EU puts him at an enormous disadvantage . In the forthcoming “In / Out” campaign he will line up – and probably lead , with whatever and whoever make the propositions for staying in. In taking such a position he , clearly , cannot represent the people of this country who , as the most recent polls suggest , want “out”. Before the referendum he should resign .

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Indeed that is surely what will happen and is currently being carefully choreographed I suspect.

    • DaveM
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Brian,

      Remember that most people don’t trust politicians and will make up their own mind. In the last GE, the BBC and Labour and the Unions all told us to vote for Labour, but we didn’t because we didn’t trust them to run our country. I would wager Labour’s pro-EU stance (at the time) and anti-English stance also tipped more floaters to the Tories than the BBC and the Govt might admit.

      People who want OUT are more inclined to vote than those who aren’t really that bothered, and they will not be swayed by vague generalised concepts, such as those described by Mr Redwood in his blog today.

      I am confident we will vote to leave. Living in the provinces (rather than the Bubble), where I speak to real people, most people genuinely think that Cameron has given up on negotiations, and most people – outside of football and soap operas – are far more concerned about the current chaos in Eastern Europe (and the effect it may have on us), and therefore see control of our borders as the No 1 issue with regards to the EU.

    • Flyinthesky
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Bit of a typo there Brian, no specifics “intended”

  29. Graham Wood
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    The only issue is that of national sovereignty. It is not something that is “negotiated”, but rather asserted via a further sovereign Act of a British parliament when we come to repeal the European Communities Act.
    How can a Prime Minister, duly elected through a real and democratic parliament and with the possession of a Constitution some centuries old, possibly negotiate with a 40 year old jumped up organisation, having not a shred of democratic legitimacy, self appointed, and accountable to no one?
    Sovereignty is the central issue for all else is contingent upon our country being able to make or unmake our OWN laws – in fact that is the real meaning of what we call the rule of law.
    The EU is outside that order and therefore the tedious process of “negotiation” about relatively minor areas of policy are largely irrelevant as they do not confront this central issue.
    Mr. Farage and a number of Tory MPs understand that, and no doubt you JR also, as probably also the mass of British people do .
    Mr Cameron does not, for it is a fundamental difference of political ideology which cannot be reconciled. The EU and British democracy therefore are incompatible and mutually exclusive. We must leave.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      The EU is indeed incompatible with UK democracy and democracy in the rest of the EU members.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Graham,
      I think most readers here know this ‘renegotiation’ is a charade. I witnessed Wilson do exactly the same in 1975. He didn’t fool me but he did fool the majority. We are witnessing a repeat of that not so golden oldie.

  30. Shieldsman
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    The idea of a promissory note for treaty change is plain stupid and I think most of your contributors will agree.
    As I pointed out yesterday, the four big areas for change the Government has identified are non starters according to Mr Juncker.
    “I want to ensure we preserve the integrity of all four freedoms of the Single Market (freedom of movement) and at the same time find ways to allow the further integration of the Eurozone to strengthen the Economic and Monetary Union(regulation of the City)”.
    There is only one way to achieve what you say the Government wants and that is to leave and start with a clean slate.
    Trade with and be good neighbours.

  31. Old Albion
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Cameron will rely on ‘smoke ‘n’ mirrors to fool the British public. No in/out referendum will ever happen.

  32. ChrisS
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I perfectly understand that you need to maintain a policy of awaiting the outcome of the renegotiation before making a public decision as to which way to campaign in the referendum.

    However I and almost everyone else posting here knows that the PM has no chance whatsoever of achieving anything like even the minimum number of changes we want to see :

    Return of full UK sovereignty which means control of our own borders ( i.e. the end of free movement ) and a national UK veto over existing and proposed EU policies.

    A substantial reduction in our net contribution to the EU budget.

    The end of political interference in UK internal matters.

    Protection for our Financial Services Industry.

    It’s never mentioned, but I would add the end of the Common Fishing Policy which has decimated the fishing industry of England and Scotland.

    In other words, we want to go back to what we were told we were originally signing up to : a free trade agreement which limits our relationship on all other issues to cooperation and with no political dimensions.

    Does anyone think that anything less is acceptable ?

    The problem is that this list is completely unachievable because so many EU national leaders have come out and unequivocally stated that most of these requirements are not even going to be on the agenda.

    Anyone who therefore thinks that the “renegotiations ” are going to result in something that will satisfy the majority of the British public is totally delusional.

    As every poll over the last five years has given immigration as the most important issue, it goes without saying that any agreement has to properly address free movement.
    Fiddling with benefits as proposed by the PM is never going to reduce net migration into the UK to the “tens of thousands and everybody know it !

    Frau Merkel’s irresponsible and ill-thought decision to unilaterally change the migration policy of the whole EU without any consultation, let alone the agreement of other supposedly equal members has brought the issue to the fore with everyone.

    There can be no doubt that the million economic migrants likely to arrive in Europe this year will end up with EU papers. They will then be free to come to the UK and, as so many speak English, a lot of them will. Thanks to Frau Merkel and the utter chaos right across Europe she has caused, it is extremely likely that as many as 1.5m or even 2m will attempt to make the journey next year.

    An end to free movement to the UK is the only way the PM can get the net migration figure down to his stated target. I would remind you that to do this, he also needs to do something about the 50% of migrants he could so easily tackle : those that come from outside the EU.

    Although a majority Conservative Government COULD do something about this we have seen no proposals whatsoever to tackle this part of the problem. Why not ? In my view Cameron has no intention of dealing with the matter.

    Is there anyone posting here that thinks that we won’t be campaigning alongside our host to leave the EU ?

    Thought not.

    Reply I do not recall ever saying I wanted to stay in this EU!

    • Chris S
      Posted September 22, 2015 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Late Reply to Reply : ( from a farmhouse in a very wet France ).

      I didn’t remotely suggest that you want to remain in the EU as currently contructed. we all know that you have serious disagreements over it.

      However I cannot be the only one posting here who cannot understand why the PM has proposed nothing to deal with the 150,000 pa of net migrants coming from outside the EU.

      Can you please explain why the number of non-EU migrants is being allowed to continue to increase and why there are no proposals to do anything about it ?

      Reply They have taken numerous actions to cut numbers, and the numbers of non EU migrants fell last Parliament but not by enough. They are therefore trying more measures.

  33. Excalibur
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    I cannot for the life of me, JR, understand why it is necessary to put ourselves on the rack of uncertainty by insisting on renegotiation. The four areas which the government says it is renegotiating are so vital, and their implications so far-reaching, that there is no room for less than a definitive and uncompromising position from us.
    Talk of ‘promissory notes’, the agreement of all twenty-eight members and other determinants are going to result in what I fear will happen — a monumental fudge. The prospect is that nothing will be decided for years.
    Meanwhile the Muslim invasion goes on and our ability to govern our own affairs diminishes……

  34. ChrisS
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    I would just like to add :

    If Cameron thinks a promissory note to make future treaty changes will be acceptable he is badly mistaken. We all know that it will only take one country to say no and it won’t happen.

    Furthermore, Brussels has a long record of not keeping promises entered into. e.g. changes to the CAP in return for Blair agreeing to a reduction in our rebate.

    We had a perfect example earlier this year where Juncker branded a written agreement over bailout funding with the UK as only a “political agreements” and tried to break it.

  35. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    “The state of the renegotiation with the EU”
    I imagined you meant the progress… if any, which has been made on all or any of key points. But nothing.

    With any negotiation there must be give and take. What particular things, general or even vague is Mr Cameron offering to give? What more is he giving to EU? What extra powers or money or resources is he giving as a trade -off?

    In days of yore in was customary in negotiations with foreign states to exchange territories.

    May I suggest we offer them ownership of Glasgow.

  36. Bert Young
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I fully agree that our sovereignty is the most important issue . Unless this is achieved , our electoral system means nothing .

  37. Iain Gill
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    The problem is on the big issues like immigration where the political elite are at the opposite end of the spectrum to most voters the British political class is as bad if not worse than the European political class. If the voters thought they would actually get listened to on these issues then voting would be more dramatic.

  38. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    “Sovereignty and competences – the government wants powers back and more ability to stop mandatory policies from the EU through the actions of national Parliaments.”

    Firstly, note that it is “Parliaments”, plural; while some have called for the UK Parliament to gain the EU treaty right to unilaterally disapply EU laws, rather than as now retaining the sovereign legal power to do that but only in breach of the EU treaties, that is not the position of the UK government which wants what would be in effect just another form of transnational majority voting, whereby a sufficiently large group of EU member state parliaments could collectively exercise a veto over a proposal for an EU law – the so-called “red card” promoted by Hague.

    Secondly, even on that basis it cannot be “more” ability to stop EU legislation because at present there is no ability, under the EU treaties the EU Commission can simply ignore objections raised by a group of national parliaments.

    Which is what it did in November 2013, over the proposal for an EU prosecutor:

    https://euobserver.com/justice/121959

    “Chambers in 11 national parliaments got enough votes to trigger a so-called “yellow card” procedure when they filed their complaints to Brussels earlier this week.

    “An EU official told this website that: “Formally, the number of votes was reached to trigger the yellow card procedure.”

    But they added: “It is the commission that decides if there has been a yellow card or not and what would be the consequences.””

  39. Little Black Censore
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Before he was elected Mr Cameron said he wished to recover control over our fishing grounds. Why is that subject never mentioned now?

    • Flyinthesky
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Not on offer?

  40. Iain Moore
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Cameron did actually set out his renegotiating position in the Guardian…..

    “Let’s end benefit tourism in Europe.
    Let’s make sure that the single market is properly safeguarded.
    Let’s make sure that parliaments can get together and block unwelcome proposals from the European Commission.
    Let’s make a series of changes to make Europe more flexible, more competitive.
    Perhaps the most important is getting Britain out of the clause that says the European Union must be committed to an ‘ever closer union’.”

    Essentially it was a load of waffle, where no real powers, like control over our fishing grounds ( that used to be Conservative policy before wishy washy Dave) are being clawed back, and all stuff the Brussels bureaucracy won’t have any problem circumventing.

    The true nature of Cameron’s renegotiating can be seen in his limited desire to get control over our borders. There are no ifs or buts or any doubt what the British people want over immigration and border control, but this is light years away from what Cameron seeks to reflect in his renegotiation. He sent Major off to plead his case to our over-leaders Merkel and Juncker, to ask them what they would permit. They told him a little bit of welfare control could be permitted , which can be done anyway if he really wanted too , but this is what he presented to us in his big renegotiation, which is an insult, not only for being a complete and utter waste of time that won’t do anything about getting control over the mass immigration crisis our country is suffering from, but he is not even representing us, he is representing Brussels policy to us.

    You don’t have to think too hard to figure out why Parliament is held in such contempt, especially when we see the Government turned inside out trying to be a good lap dog to Brussels, when Germany happily rips up conventions and rules as they see fit.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 18, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      “Let’s make sure that parliaments can get together and block unwelcome proposals from the European Commission.”

      As commented above, it’s “parliaments”, plural, which could “get together” and jointly exercise a veto, when in the 1975 referendum we were promised that our national Parliament would always be able to veto any proposal on its own, without having to “get together” with other parliaments for that to be effective.

  41. Kenneth
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    As Daniel Hannan says in his CAPX post today, parliamentary supremacy should be the key to any EU renegotiation.

  42. A different Simon
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    It finally dawned on my why Cameron is so keen on the EU .

    With Merkel rapidly becoming a busted flush and France going nowhere without Sarkozy , by default David Cameron becomes the most powerful national leader in the EU .

    If I can see the power vacuum , Cameron certainly can .

    However , I don’t think he has the talent to make it happen and I don’t think those on the continent like the UK enough to allow it .

  43. Horatio McSherry
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    John,

    An odd, but serious question here: Jeremy Corbyn has been against being in the EU, and, after becoming party leader said he (and the unions) was open to leaving or staying. We’re told – less than a week later – he has now sent a letter to Labour MPs informing them the Labour party will, in all circumstances, be campaigning to stay in.

    It seems to me that someone has read him his fortune – but who? And what is it that entraps people who move to the front benches? (I’m thinking Willam Hague too).

    Apologies if that sounds a little conspiracy theorist, but a “man of principal” no matter how mad we think he is, doesn’t change his mind that quickly. I can’t imagine Tony Benn doing it.

  44. MikeP
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Cameron set out his seven targets for his renegotiation very publicly (Telegraph March 2015). Now I know 6 months is a long time in politics and we’re now post-election but that should give the Government an even stronger mandate to deliver on all seven points.

    So where in your list is the ability for us to “gain access to new markets” like China ?
    Where is the assurance that we are outside the move to “ever closer union” ?
    And crucially where is the liberation from “unnecessary interference from the ECJ” ?

    So, like others here, I’m increasingly drawn to the view that any damp squib of a result is going to be presented as a huge success, and the other EU Leaders may well go along with the subterfuge to keep us in. If we bottle it this time there will never be another opportunity, France and Germany will make sure of that.

  45. Atlas
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I read yesterday in the Daily Mail that Cameron has quietly paid in full that £1.7 Billion that he declared he would not. Man of Straw?

    I look forward to voting to leave the EU.

  46. miami.mode
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    According to my Oxford Reference Dictionary promissory = conveying or implying a promise, convey = communicate and most importantly imply = to indicate or suggest without stating directly, and if you remember a breach of promise in relation to marriage was done away with years ago….not a lot of comfort there. I don’t really like to pour cold water on your post but please bear in mind that you may be dealing with some unscrupulous politicians in the EU and basically the only way is out.

    I am always mystified by lefty types and the SNP who are so fervently in favour of the EU as much as they are against “austerity”. Do they not realise that the awful austerity imposed on Greece is from the EU. In fact it could almost be called the EAU – European Austerity Union.

  47. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    “… may settle for a promissory note on treaty change …”

    A “promissory note” which the government might then assiduously misrepresent as being “legally binding” because it was embodied in a Decision of the European Council.

    It is true that such Decisions are legally binding on those to whom they are addressed, but it is not possible for the present members of the European Council to bind the future members who would be expected to fulfill the promise, or bind the sovereign national parliaments which would have to approve any treaty changes, or bind the peoples in any member states where it became necessary to hold referendums.

    But I suspect this idea may be falling out of favour as the prospect of the UK referendum being rushed through next spring recedes, given more time Cameron might as well insist that the treaty changes, if any, be formalised in detail and agreed by all the member state governments so they can first be presented to the UK Parliament for its approval and then be presented to the UK electorate at the referendum.

  48. Nick
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    You need to specify the things that if you do not get returned, then the Conservatives will all vote no.

    There is no a peep from Cameron on this.

    So what’s the conclusion?

    He’s not serious. He’s going to get to the wire, get thrown a few crumbs and claim that its a success. In other words con the public.

    The problem is the public have worked out its a con. See Labour and Scotland. The public worked out they were a con.

    Next, unless you act, will be the Tories.

  49. Ken Adams
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    As Richard North explains…
    “It is that this is not about detail; it is about principle.”

    “The principle at stake is democratic self-government. It is whether the British people through their elected representatives can make the laws that prevail in this country.”

    All Cameron will produce will be details about temporary arrangements for staying in the supranational system that is the EU.

    We should all remember Cameron will offer a different speed not a different destination, “because every concession on detail can be subsequently reversed.”
    No matter how it is dressed up the stark choice is going in to be to temporarily accept second class status in the EU with constant pressure to join fully including adopting the Euro or to exit.

  50. Peter Stroud
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    The main thrust to the renegotiations seems fine, but the wording relating to sovereignty and migration does not seem strong enough.

    There should be a clear list of the powers that must be returned, then a clear statement that no further powers will be surrendered, unless agreed by a free vote in the Commons. The UK parliament must again become sovereign.

    On migration: the UK should have the power to decide who should be allowed to come into country, based on skills required. If this requires a points system, so be it.

  51. Tad Davison
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Open Europe had this headline this morning………….

    ‘EU calls emergency leaders’ summit as German Foreign Minister threatens to over-rule opponents of mandatory quota’

    Perhaps our domestic leaders shouldn’t promise to do something they can’t deliver. I have no faith whatsoever in David Cameron’s ability to re-negotiate the UK’s membership of the European Union, when there are such powerful players abroad who hold all the aces. He might get a few crumbs from the table and hold them up as something fantastic, but they’re unlikely to fool anyone who understands the nature of the problem.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  52. lojolondon
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Hi John, I am sure you saw the headlines – Merkel demands Cameron drop opposition to European army in exchange for renegotiation”. We all know that Cameron has been told by every single authority in Europe, the Parliament, EU lawmakers and every EU leader that they will not agree renegotiation. So that is not an option. I do hope that we will never put our boys under the authority of a foreign country in order to get a minor concession from Germany, keeping the European Socialist republic dream alive.

  53. Paul Cohen
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I don’t like the sound of “promissory notes” I think we have been there before and been burned.

    What is needed is a clear and tangible response from these talks, followed by a statement from Mr Cameron and his recomendation.

    We ought be sceptical of any apparent concessions as our experience of these are followed by a sting in the tail due to our apparent lack of nous in these debates.

  54. Tom William
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Unless the EU collapses because of the migration crisis there is no chance of a Treaty Change before Cameron’s referendum. So we will be faced with a promissory note that the EU will keep its word. Given its track record only an ignoramus would believe it.

    Another “piece of paper from Munich”.

  55. Tony Houghton
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    John

    I entirely agree with Graham Woods summary above. I understand that you have to make the points you have today because you must not be seen to be rocking the Conservative boat to early.

    I think you believe that the Sovereignty is the main issue as Graham has said and I hope you will be leading the argument for ‘Leaving Europe’ when the time comes – there is not long to go!

    Tony

    Reply I have set out the government’s position because people have asked to see it. I have also made clear my position on many occasions. I want out of the Treaties that take our right to self government away.

  56. Mitchel
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    A promissory note from the EU?I’d have more faith in my Tsarist-era Railway Bonds being honoured!….and at least they look pretty framed on my wall.

  57. Sue Jameson
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    We want everything back except the projects that we choose to participate in and trade. That means fisheries and agriculture too. We want to sit at the “real” top tables (those global bodies like WP.29, WTO, UNECE, Codex, NAFO). We want control of our country back in the hands of the electorate.

  58. Flyinthesky
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    If we cut to the chase this is all fluff and bubbles, the only meaningful way to negotiate is from an out position.

    It all went wrong with QMV so as to circumvent national democracies. The irrefutable is the net recipients, over half of the membership, are almost invariably going to vote with the collective. To all intents they are bought support.

    This phenomenon will also be displayed in any (re) negotiations, the support will be for the continuance. If we take eastern European migration as an example, not only do they get to export their own social liabilities they get the benefit of imported family tax and welfare credits, what’s not to like? There is not going to be an agreement in our favour on this.

    From an obverse perspective, our own corporate powers, they get the benefit of a cheap reliable workforce from eastern Europe, sounding good so far, the reality of this situation is the benefits of said are privatised the actual cost is socialised. It has been variously estimated that until an immigrant earns in excess of 35k per annum they are of no net benefit to UK PLC.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 19, 2015 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Next week there will be an EU summit on migration, and Germany intends to try to use QMV to force quotas on other member states:

      https://euobserver.com/agenda/130328

      Fortunately at present the UK has an EU treaty opt-out on this, Protocol No 21, and so there is no legal possibility of a quota being directly imposed on us at that meeting; however as we know opt-outs tend to be either gradually circumvented by the EU or eventually surrendered by the UK government.

  59. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    John, the Government’s position as you’ve described it is nothing more than a vague wish list, much like me wanting warmer summers and more daylight hours in the winter.

    The real message is clear: Better Off Out!

  60. Peter
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Whatever is promised I don’t think is enough. Easier to pull out and retain access to the so called single market under eea rules. Let the eu do their thing and leave them to it

  61. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    The government has identified four big areas for change. In all four of these areas, the EU is heading in the opposite direction, so what other option is there to leaving?

  62. Richard
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Cameron and the Tory Party leadership are the most pro EU of all the existing parties.

    Not only does the Conservative Party want us to remain in the EU but are even in favour of the EU expanding to include Turkey and all the Eastern European countries as far as the Urals.

    This is because the corporates are all in favour of freedom of movement of workers, factories and profits that the EU facilitates and allows.

    Mr. Cameron, to be fair, has already declared that he will recommend remaining in the EU whatever the outcome of his negotiations, as has now Mr. Corbyn, so we can assume that any “promissory note” (which is all that will materialise from these “negotiations”) will be absolutely worthless.

    Upon reflection, this promissory note could prove to be of negative value if Mr. Cameron gives up our armed forces to the EU in return for this “promissory note”.

    I see that Scotland is pressing for another independence referendum. I expect this referendum will only take place after the EU referedum as Mr. Cameron will be wanting Scotland’s pro EU votes for the EU referendum and, should England vote to leave but Scotland vote to remain, then he will allow Scotland to veto the UK from leaving the EU.

  63. Boudicca
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Before being forced to call the Referendum, Cameron has repeatedly said that he will never advocate the UK leaving the EU. There is no indication that he has changed his mind.

    Merkel could offer him a tube of smarties and he’d claim a wonderful victory; recommend we stay in the EU campaign accordingly.

    The areas he is supposedly negotiating have not been agreed with the British people. The vast majority want the British Government to have control of immigration; not a few minor changes to welfare which the Government could do anyway, in order to deter a few economic migrants from Eastern Europe.

    I have no faith and zero trust in Cameron and the Conservative Party. They have lied, deceived and betrayed the country far too much and for far too long for me to ever trust them again.

  64. Mike Wilson
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Reading the comments on here, it seems no-one, but no-one, takes Cameron’s position seriously. Do you, Mr. Redwood? It’s all hot air and waffle and everyone seems to have noticed.

  65. Rita Educated
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    I will vote to leave.

  66. Iain Gill
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Can we have an article on how badly the Dartford crossing is run? Just spent a few hours on the web, and phone, trying to pre pay. What an absolute shambles these people are. The website crashes all over the place. Gives clearly nonsense error messages. The people answering their phones seem unable to understand simple English. So I’ve spent a few hours to pre-pay for a few crossings which in the old days would have been collected in a few seconds at the toll booth. Is this really the best this country can do? Like the parking ticket on the French rugby teams coach the whole experience demonstrates for me what a shambles this country has become. Too much power in the hands of the completely useless.

  67. Iain Moore
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    I dug out my copy of the Chartered Institute of Bankers , Finance of International Trade, 3rd edition, to find out the definition of a Promissory Note, which they said should be considered the opposite to a Bill of Exchange , like an IOU.

    So it is a financial instrument that relies on the integrity of the person or organisation who issued it. Anybody out there have any confidence, in light of the EU playing fast and loose with undertakings in the past , prepared to underwrite a Promissory note from the EU?

  68. David Price
    Posted September 19, 2015 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    I don’t feel Cameron is demanding anywhere near enough and I certainly won’t support a position that relies on yet another promissary note from the continent.

    Pragmatically though, the key point is – “The current debate is over whether the government is asking for enough to satisfy the many voters in the middle of this argument who have not made up their minds on whether to leave the EU or not”

    This is what Cameron and the pro-EU groups are aiming for, the middle of the road voter who is focussed on their family and job and has little time to take in or understand the politics of the EU relationship let alone research any of it.

    He has relied on the same attentuated levls of attention and interest in other areas that should be contentious, for example English devolution where a ridiculously convoluted sop has been conceived that still gives no autonomy to our representatives.

  69. Javelin
    Posted September 19, 2015 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    Is the war over. Political correctness is the strategic weakness. Just like the Trojans the stupid leaders welcomed the enemy in. The skirmish in Syria was nothing but a distraction. Why fight to invade a superior force why they will welcome the settlers in. The war is lost already. We thought guerrilla tactics were the ultimate in modern warfare. How stupid the leaders were.

  70. APL
    Posted September 19, 2015 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    JR: “This is not the case, so I will remind people of what the government has said about its plans.”

    JR: “My view is I want “the fundamental change” in the UK’s relationship with the EU that the PM talked about.”

    So nothing about what Cameron is supposedly negotiating. Just your opinion masquerading as government policy.

    I guess you have to make it up, because as sure as eggs are eggs, Cameron too is dissembling on the topic.

    Reply I put this vision to the electors in May, offered them a referendum if the Conservatives won, and look forward to securing that referendum. Why do you have to keep doubting my intentions and refuse to understand what I am trying to do. I want us out of the centralising treaties, and can help secure you a vote to do so. I did not stand for UKIP because I thought they would be unable to deliver anything on the EU they promised, and I did not agree with all their views. As a Conservative I can deliver a referendum with my colleagues and do agree with their tax cutting recovery promoting agenda.

    • APL
      Posted September 19, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      JR: “I want us out of the centralising treaties, and can help secure you a vote to do so.”

      The government didn’t wait for a vote to go into the EU, why should it wait for a vote to get out.

      And there, you see the problem. The Tory party, is pro EU and anyone who chooses to support them is complicit.

  71. Remington Norman
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    What happened to my comment?

  72. agricola
    Posted September 21, 2015 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    Barely adequate for a first course, and too open to interpretation. Is it soup or vegetable puree. What happens to all the EU law we have acquiesced to. Too easy for CMD to make woolly claims in the run up to the referendum. I hope that UKIP keep the UK public better informed.

  • 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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