Will no-one defend the Euro?

When I was working with the BBC on the Analysis programme about single currencies (to be broadcast again on Sunday at 9.30pm), I could find no-one well known in the UK political world to defend the Euro. The BBC asked on my behalf various senior Labour and Liberal Democrat politicians to come on the programme. They explained that we were looking for someone who would either defend the Euro as it is currently structured, or who would say what reforms they thought the EU should make to create their ideal Euro. These were not trick questions. It was not an invitation to an unfair or unpleasant party political debate. It was a chance for a well know EU enthusiast UK politician to tell us what they like about the modern Euro.

Their refusal sums up all that is wrong about the EU debate in the UK. There are no well known advocate who will ever come on and make an honest case for the UK being properly involved in the complete and true European project. There was not even anyone prepared to defend what much of the rest of the EU wishes to do together without us. As the Euro is now at the heart of the EU project it is difficult to keep defending the EU without acknowledging the prime role of the Euro and at least arguing it is right for those in it. They will not acknowledge that you need to belong to the Euro if you are part of the aims and ambitions of the EU. They do not wish to talk about political union, though it is a major topic for our partners. Some go so far as to deny that ever closer union means just that, and confine themselves to saying we are not going to join the Euro. They of course wanted to do just that not so long ago.

Many of the defenders of the EU are also strong critics of austerity policies who believe in large state transfer payments. It is curious that they lose their principles and their tongue when it comes to the harsh austerity policies visited on Greece, Spain, Portugal and others as part of their Euro discipline. It is also curious that there are few voices of condemnation of the mass unemployment and the high youth unemployment in the south of the EU, and no remedies ventured within EU and Euro rules on how to right those wrongs.

I tried again in the Commons yesterday to encourage the parties who favour our continued unchanged membership of the EU to defend the institutions of the EU and the policies being followed in the Eurozone. No-one even tried.

You can listen to ‘Currencies and Countries’ here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06mcfdp.


  1. Lifelogic
    November 4, 2015

    Indeed, furthermore there is no one who really puts forward anything positive arguments about the EU. They might constantly say we get “huge benefits from EU membership” but can never point out what these benefits are. Furthermore the advocates of the EU were all proved totally wrong on the benefits of ERM and the EURO in the past. Would any one sensible take advice on Economics or indeed anything from John Major, Tory Bliar or Ken Clark types?

    Other than the absurd claim that free trade and 50% of our exports depend on it.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 4, 2015

      Seeing the “…………… Lord Mandelson on Hard Talk yesterday makes Corbyne seem relatively attractive.

      Even if Corbyne does belief in bonkers magic money tree economics. He also has the advantage that he is against pointless bombings and virtually unelectable.

    2. Baroness Rita Webb
      November 4, 2015

      LL you need to realise that HMRC has a tax code that is deliberately complicated and a “helpline” that is equally unhelpful because by being so they know that they can screw you for more £££s through penalties. Which intellectual giant came up with the idea of “pensions simplification” a few years ago? Prior to that I knew exactly how much I could put into a pension. It was related to my age and “net relevant earnings” meant more or less anything that came into my paypacket. If I had any unused allowances I could use “carry back/carry forward” to mop that up with a mathematical formula anyone with an “O” level in maths could contend with. However now I have to contend with a lifetime allowance, an annual allowance, “tapered” annual allowance, “carry forward” for three years only etc. If I put a foot wrong with my calcs I get hit with a charge. FFS why bother saving up for your old age so you are not a burden on society?

    3. Bob
      November 4, 2015


      Talking of benefits
      David Cameron is backpedalling on restricting them for new migrants.

      1. Lifelogic
        November 5, 2015

        Indeed that the restriction of benefits is virtually worthless anyway. He is it seems asking for nothing of any substance what so ever it seems. Not that he will tell us.

  2. Antisthenes
    November 4, 2015

    The EU and the euro were the products of the political classes who meant well and who saw a rosy, secure and prosperous future for the peoples of Europe by introducing them. It has not turned out that way and is now having the opposite effect. These good intentions are going the way that so many good intentions go. Badly.

    This fact is obvious to EU/euro-sceptics and it must also be to to those in the other camp but will they ever admit the fact? Of course not just as the left will not accept that their socialist ideology is not the worlds panacea but the architect of most of it’s ills because to do so would destroy their credibility and erode their influence. Only decent people admit freely that they are wrong and make amends. Non decent people would rather continue the charade that they are right regardless of the damage it may cause. There is of course elements of the delusional involved as some cannot see the obvious even if it hits them in face.

    So no no EU/europhile will come forward to defend their position in a truthful and positive way but they will still remain an obstinate obstacle to correcting the serious imperfections of the EU and the euro. They let genii out of the bottle and now refuse to help in putting it back in. So compounding their gross errors.

    1. oldtimer
      November 4, 2015

      My conclusion is that they have lost the argument and do not want to be seen to have lost it. It is the consequence of group think that turns out to be wrong or misplaced.

      By borrowing and adapting another definition it might be defined thus:
      “If you create group think on an issue and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The group think can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the group think. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the group think, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

      This definition was borrowed from Dr Goebbels, but substituting group think for big lie. The big difference is that the architects of the euro are entirely honest about their aims and ambitions but, for many EU citizens, the consequences are dire. It can be argued that the architects of the euro project over reached themselves in admitting states that were not adequately prepared for the disciplines it imposed and required for the project to be a success. It is argued, notably by JR, that the success of the project really does depend on ever closer union. Yet the present guardians of the project are unwilling to commit to significant transfer payments between the member states, instead relying on migration of people to where the work may be found. It would be as well for the UK public to note this when they are invited to exclude themselves from ever closer union while accepting the free movement of people as one of the four freedoms.

  3. Lifelogic
    November 4, 2015

    Much talk on the BBC about HMRC failing to answer the phone 50% of the time. This might not be too bad if you could leave a message for them to call you back or if you got an engaged tone. What actually happens is you waste time and money holding for 15 minutes or so then they just hang up on you. I assume it is some policy designed to increase people’s anger and blood pressures.

    Further more you cannot usually email them and letters take them many months to answer usually if indeed they even bother to do so. You are usually only calling as their system is so absurdly complex to navigate in the first place. Simplify the system and buy an answer phone and accept emails. These are the simple solutions.

    1. agricola
      November 4, 2015

      The top floor of HMRC knows little or nothing about tax. Their mantra is that they can manage, however they cannot, and for some of them it is not their first failure in their civil service life.

      Their answer to the perceived failings of the employees of HMRC is to run leadership courses for people in positions of leadership , who should not have to go on a course to find out how to operate. Consequently morale in HMRC is at an all time low and I would guess that the people who are supposed to be answering your phone calls are away on one of these courses.

      1. stred
        November 5, 2015

        Some 12 years ago, I met a lady who was a senior HMRC official in Whitehall. She was fed up with the courses she had had to go on, which included horse riding in Devon and caving. She was quite happy doing her job but did not appreciate the teamwork and physical exertion. It all sounded very expensive and pointless. I wonder how many departments also spend their time learning how to ride and other expensive hobbies so that they can do their boring jobs better.

    2. Richard1
      November 4, 2015

      In Sweden – which admittedly doesn’t have an optimal tax set-up (though it has eg abolished inheritance tax) – the principal source of tax advice for private individuals is the tax authority. You can ring it up, speak to someone immediately and get a clear answer as to what the tax rules are. What a contrast to our own bureaucratic edifice at HMRC! There seems to be a leftist campaign for more ‘resources’ for HMRC as rich people are not paying enough tax apparently. More sensible would be a massive simplification of the tax system and a corresponding cut in the cost of collection. Why not privatise collection in any event while we are about it? I’m sure it would produce a better service.

      1. graham1946
        November 4, 2015

        Time was when you could simply walk into your local Tax Office without an appointment and meet someone face to face who actually understood the system and could sort out your problems there and then. That, of course was before politicians decided to stick their oar in to anything and everything even though they have no understanding of it and the cry was for cuts, cuts, cuts, due to their inept handling of the economy. Local offices were shut down and now, wherever you live, the ‘local’ office is at the other end of the country so you can’t go there for a sort out. Same with HM Customs – if you had for instance a VAT query or needed some import advice you could get it quickly and easily. Then genius Gordon put them all together, again to save money, but actually costing lots more in inefficiency and delays. They don’t care what things actually cost, as long as they don’t see a bill for it. The current hooha over the NHS junior doctors will go the same way – a cost cutting exercise that will cost much more. If you keep spreading jam on more and more bread, the jam gets thinner and less tasty.

        Same with all the other things that used to run reasonably well, NHS, Education, the Forces, Police. All cocked up by know nothing politicos and morale in all these areas is rock bottom and services worse than ever before, whilst costing more and more and at the bottom of it is one consistent factor – politicians.

        1. Lifelogic
          November 6, 2015

          Indeed I used to find HMRC quite efficient some 25-30 years back. Now they are a complete disaster area. They much waste £billion and £billions of (otherwise) productive people’s time.

      2. backofanenvelope
        November 4, 2015

        Didn’t we used to have privatised tax collection? Tax farmers? Or was that pre-revolutionary France?

    3. Antisthenes
      November 4, 2015

      The operation of an organisation is dependent on it’s systems and it’s employees. The most efficient organisation have both well designed systems and motivate and properly train employees to adhere to those systems. That is how the best organisations work in the private sector. However HMRC is a public monopoly that demands endless amounts of funding as the only way to give a better service. It is of a mind set that it is better to perform badly to make a good case for extra funding than bother to work harder. There is no thought that they should give the best service by improving performances and have the best people employed and then proving lack of funding that way. If that is truly the reason.

      All government bodies have this affliction and nothing much can be done about it except in the worst cases like HMRC that probably cannot be handed over to the private sector to run. That is to replace some or all of the top management with more competent ones because only that way can improvements be made. If top bosses are made more fearful of losing their position if the organisation does not perform well then at least they will try to do something about it. Without the profit and accountability motive true efficiently will never be achieved.

      Wherever possible government should have no part in provision of products or services they are very very bad at it.

    4. Know-Dice
      November 4, 2015

      I think the various Chancellors (in particular Brown & Osbourne) should take full responsibility for creating a complicated tax regime.

      Complicated – Means more staff at HMRC to administer and try to understand what has been changed and added…Empire building 🙁

      Complicated – Means more opportunities to evade and avoid tax.

      Keep it simple, reduce bureaucrats and civil servants – save everybody money…

      1. Bob
        November 4, 2015


        ” reduce bureaucrats and civil servants”

        But what else can they do if they have spent their entire career in the public sector and have no useful skills? We already have a large number of unskilled people headed our way and a clearout of HMRC would just exacerbate the problem.

    5. stred
      November 4, 2015

      Just imagine doing business with a very large company, with a CEO who had been headhunted after failing miserably in another. This company has just been given a direct debit facility by your bank manager, without your permission, to take as much as it wishes, without any prior justification. The company sends bills which you cannot understand and seem to be wrong, but its customer care line does not answer and the website only answers you don’t want to ask. And at the end of the year you have to pay the bills on the company’s website by putting figures in where it tells you to, pressing a button and being shown a figure which seems wrong and you can’t check.

      At least you could ask for the manager to be reprimanded and change your bank.

      1. stred
        November 4, 2015

        oops- answers questions….

  4. Bernard from Bucks
    November 4, 2015

    Is it not the case that those in line for massive EU pensions cannot be expected to speak out against ‘the Project’ for fear of losing their retirement pot?
    “In dangerous times a wise man is silent.”

    1. Vanessa
      November 4, 2015

      Bernard – How right you are!! To hear Clark and Mandelson extolling the wonders of being in the EU is only to hear their Oath which they took when they worked for the EU (which is timeless) being reiterated. Nobody tells you this but anyone working in that horror of a place has to swear allegiance to it – although they had earlier in their careers sworn allegiance to the Queen. It is astonishing how fickle MPs can be when millions of euros are waved in their eyes.

      Of course this is why the BBC has its own agenda on our membership of the EU. It receives huge amounts of handouts from the EU in the guise of “loans” but if it is a “good boy” and says nothing against the EU, it does not have to pay them back. Simple!

      reply Ken Clark has not held a paid post in the EU and does not support the UK joining the Euro currently

  5. Roy Grainger
    November 4, 2015

    Bit parochial of you John, why didn’t you just find a German politician who speaks good English to defend the Euro ? There must be several. For the purposes of the programme it was surely not necessary that the speaker was already known to a UK audience, it is the arguments that are interesting – in fact getting a German view would have been far more insightful than if someone like Mandelson had been brave enough to speak up.

    Reply Exactly what I did!

    1. Roy Grainger
      November 4, 2015

      Great minds think alike. Now I will listen to it …..

    2. Dennis
      November 4, 2015

      What are their names ?

  6. Margaret
    November 4, 2015

    I am not surprised that no one will defend the euro against your Austen style approach to issues.

  7. Mark B
    November 4, 2015

    Good morning.

    The problem with the Euro is that it is not a finished project. For it to be fully functional, it requires additional elemets to be added, namely, fiscal, financial (currency transfers) and of course, POLITICAL UNION !!! And it that last point that is most telling. Because once you have acheived all three, you effectivly have created and central European State, and that is harder to sell and hide, hence why no one really wants to talk about it let alone defend it. And it why I believe this whole project will one day fail. It is built on lies, deceit and a minority view of the world.

  8. Richard1
    November 4, 2015

    Interesting and a sign of great weakness in the In campaign which seems to be saying ‘we know all sorts of aspects of the EU are bad news but don’t worry we are going to obtain all sorts of guarantees and opt outs for the U.K.’. If it can’t be defended other than with vague claims that we will lose trade and investment, this is not an argument likely to command support.

    I think the strongest argument for In could be that EU membership might provide a cloak to force through needed reforms which don’t work politically in the UK. We read that Nicky Morgan has caved into the blob and is to reverse Michael Gove’s defiant policies to improve education in the teeth of vicious opposition from the Blob. The doctors’ unions are trying to prevent the NHS being obliged to offer sensible 24/7 coverage, clearly in the interest of patients. Perhaps EU agreements on fair access or agreed standards could be used to force these and other self interested producer groups to serve the public interest rather than their own, just as EU rules now effectively prevent the socialist policy of nationalisation?

    1. forthurst
      November 4, 2015

      “I think the strongest argument for In could be that EU membership might provide a cloak to force through needed reforms which don’t work politically in the UK.”

      Really? Needed by whom, exactly?

      1. Richard1
        November 4, 2015

        To take today’s example, needed by patients of the NHS and taxpayers against the power of unionised employees defending entrenched interest in a monopoly service.

    2. Denis Cooper
      November 5, 2015

      So you don’t care about the sovereignty of our national Parliament.

      1. Richard1
        November 5, 2015

        One of the main reasons the EU has been popular in Southern Europe is the decades of incompetent and corrupt government people there have suffered. The same could happen in the UK if the likes of Corbyn and McDonnell get elected. Rule from Brussels and Berlin could start to look quite attractive by comparison.

        1. Denis Cooper
          November 6, 2015

          This is an argument that Heath used privately to justify joining the EEC to some of his colleagues. But then Heath didn’t care about our national sovereignty and democracy, in fact the opposite he wanted to destroy them. Now you are ready to follow him down the same path, some would claim a path to treason, just because you’re worried that your party might lose a general election.

  9. Ex-expat Colin
    November 4, 2015

    Don’t have to do they…anybody? If its anything like Climate cr*p its a done deal and the likes of yourself and a few others are a side show…I think.

    Common sense is absent in almost all important topics. Cows got the BBC bashing this morning. They have an unexpected habit of defending their territory it appears. I blame Walt Disney.

  10. stred
    November 4, 2015

    If no-one will defend it, here are some positive points.

    When going on holiday in the Euro area, any money left over can be stuck in a drawer and used next time. It can be used in different countries when passing between. It must be particularly useful for economic migrants on their way to Merkeland. On the other hand, do not do as I did and open a Euro bank account to service a property, then find that the French bank kicks you out and have to open a British euro account, only available in the Isle of Man, devaluing with no interest and no cheque book.

    The high unemployment in countries to the south has some benefits. Last year, my son and I were working to renovate a house, where I had allowed a sub letting Spanish waiter to stay on. We found the place full of lovely young Spanish ladies some days, who had come around for a coffee morning. They were very friendly and decided to sunbathe in the garden. One of them had a degree in law and was working on the pier. If the Euro had not been so useless they may not have come here.

    On the other hand, large companies seem to be able to pay bills in Euros, pounds, krona or whatever without any problem at all. They have accounts in each country and swap money around without exchange charges. My bird works for one and they did not even ask whether she wanted to be paid in sterling.

    1. Hefner
      November 4, 2015

      I am a bit surprised by your story. If you have a property in France, you must be paying Taxe d’habitation and Taxe fonciere on it, in which case I cannot understand why a French bank has kicked you out. It should have been happy to set up some Versements automatiques to pay for those. I am not a “large company” just an individual and am able to have such facility.
      And I notice that French notaire, and the local bankers are, in my case, quite happy to deal with me, and it costs me so much less than dealing with one of the British-based “French properties” offices.

      1. stred
        November 5, 2015

        It was after money laundering regs came in. My 26 year old account is still ok, but I wanted a new one which was not joint.

  11. alan jutson
    November 4, 2015

    Perhaps, just perhaps John, you may have caught the BBC unawares for once.

    Two possibilities here come to mind.

    Politicians who favour the EU do so out of blind loyalty to the leader, but know absolutely nothing in detail themselves, and thus put themselves (to climb the greasy pole) and hence Party before Country.
    They are frightened to be in a debate with well informed Eurosceptics like yourself, for the fear of being shown up.

    In all of the “genuine debates” that I have seen or heard, not one Europhile has put forward a positive argument for staying in, its all about the fear of leaving with statements which are simply half truths and lies which contain very few facts.

    A vain hope I know, but were the BBC surprised, disapointed, rather annoyed that they could not find anyone who supported there view.

    Keep up the excellent work.

  12. agricola
    November 4, 2015

    The Euro would be a viable currency were it used in a fully integrated state such as the USA or UK who have the Dollar and the Pound.

    I have pointed out before that it’s only virtue is to those in Brussels as a tool of control across a range of Eurozone countries which they would not have without it.

  13. Ian wragg
    November 4, 2015

    All the proponents of the Euro/EU constantly tell us how we benefit from membership and how we influence proceedings when in fact the opposite is true. The remain camp are entirely negative telling us how the world will come to an end if we leave.
    The default position for politicians is to lie. The fact so many have supported membership when it is obviously not in our interest make me believe there is a hidden agenda.
    etc ed

  14. Douglas Carter
    November 4, 2015

    At the beginning of 2014 I was researching a completely disassociated matter which prompted me to scan some LibDem and Labour List-associated blogs. At that time (from late January 2014) there were extended, and fairly acrimonious debates held in plain language and in plain sight over Douglas Alexander’s strategy with regard to the 2014 European Parliament elections. (Alexander was the Campaign chief at that time). Allegedly – and according to the nature of the debate – he had already, or was about to decree that the Euro elections would be fought solely on domestic issues. That there was to be no mention of policy or intent towards the EU ‘….So as not to put off potential voters’.

    Those debates and comments long since expunged, it remains a fact that at that time, Labour did indeed conduct their Campaign entirely uncontaminated by any mention of the EU. Solely only the moment subsequent to closure of the polling booths did the first inevitable mentions of ‘we must make the case for Europe’ appear, from the usual suspects. I was particularly interested at that time since similarly, the 2009 Campaign by Labour was also effectively invisible. It seems fairly plain that where it pertains to a proper National Democratic Application, to be found in possession of pro-EU sentiments is a tedious nuisance. (As Nick Clegg found out, fairly unambiguously).

    However, after closure of polling booths in May of this year, one gallant identifiable MP once again found himself in the position of holding the flag for Labour’s pro-EU culture. That MP was one Alan Johnson, so well accustomed of Andrew Neil’s BBC sofa.

    If you’re finding it difficult to select a Labour opposition candidate on the matter John, Mr. Johnson has gone out of his way to provide you with one. I have no doubt that in short order, he’ll be able to put time aside to engage with you properly, and in public?

    But by all means, should you ask him, feel free to note if he agrees or declines within the paragraphs of your weblog entries here? It would make the story more complete.

    In passing, just for indolent notation, there are those who would make voting compulsory. As I’ve illustrated here, there are entire Parliamentary mechanisms in the UK which will withhold from political debate and proper public scrutiny – and solely for selfish party exigency. If voting were to be made compulsory, shouldn’t it similarly be made compulsory for political parties to Campaign on relevant matters at hand?

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 5, 2015

      It has become commonplace for political parties to run election campaigns which are partly or even mainly irrelevant to the particular election, except that they hope to strengthen the overall political position of their party by having more elected representatives of any kind who can speak on its behalf and act in its interests. And we even had a referendum which was nominally about electoral reform which quite deliberately was largely converted into a poll in how much we disliked Nick Clegg … if Labour strategists decided to avoid any mention of the EU during EU Parliament elections then they were just taking that to its natural conclusion.

  15. Denis Cooper
    November 4, 2015

    Just a reminder that today is the sixth anniversary of Cameron publicly announcing an amazing discovery, which by rights should be properly commemorated, perhaps on a new issue of banknotes or on our passports.


    “David Cameron: A Europe policy that people can believe in”

    It can fairly be said that his astonishing, deeply counter-intuitive, insight, that a treaty ceases to exist the same instant that it comes into force, has done as much to shape our modern world as, for example, the internet, which enables me to say that the EU should correct its website by deleting the list of treaties in force since they simply no longer exist, including of course the Lisbon Treaty which was the case he had studied:


    “Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty Establishing the European Community”

    And likewise the references to that treaty in this Act of Parliament to approve it:


    should be deleted, as it no longer exists.

    The good news being that as the Treaty of Lisbon no longer exists we can no longer be bound by it, can we, as matter of principle?

    Which is obviously much better than having to go to the trouble and expense of holding a referendum to reject it, as some wanted.

    Reply This is a silly piece. The Lisbon Treaty ceased to have a separate identity which we could reject when all countries had ratified it. We now need to remove ourselves from the Consolidated treaties which include the Lisbon additions.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 4, 2015

      If it ceased to have a separate identity, why does the EU continue to list it as an identifiable, separate, legal document among all the other treaties? And why do we still have an Act on the statute book referring to it in the same way?

      The process of “consolidation” is just for convenience, so that it is possible to look at the “consolidated” version of a treaty and see the end result of taking the provisions of an original treaty and amending them through later treaties. That doesn’t mean that the amending treaties have ceased to exist, if they did then obviously the consolidated version would be incorrect.

      Here is a simple example of a similar process of “consolidation” with our own Acts of Parliament, rather than with treaties: as presented on the statute law database the Parliament Act of 1911:


      now incorporates the amendments made by the Parliament Act of 1949:


      but that doesn’t mean that the 1949 Act has ceased to exist as a separate Act, or that it could not be repealed separately from the 1911 Act.

      reply The difference is we need the agreement of every one of the other 27 countries to repeal it!

      1. Denis Cooper
        November 5, 2015

        Well, what would have happened if Cameron had stuck with his original unqualified “cast iron guarantee” of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, issued over his signature in the Sun in September 2007, and he had then held the promised referendum on that treaty in 2010 even though it had already come into force, and when asked a majority of the electorate had said “No”, they didn’t want to accept that amending treaty?

        Answer: Cameron would have been forced to go to Brussels and say that the British people were unhappy with the existing EU treaties, so he wanted to renegotiate the terms of our EU membership.

        So what is happening now?

        Cameron has been forced to go to Brussels and say that the British people are unhappy with the existing EU treaties, so he wants to renegotiate the terms of our EU membership.

        All he did through his infamous capitulation on November 4th 2009 was to put off the evil day when he would have to go to Brussels and say that the British people were unhappy with the existing EU treaties, so he wanted to renegotiate the terms of our EU membership, while significantly harming his reputation and his party’s chances at the 2010 election.

    2. margaret
      November 5, 2015

      yet I read that the consolidated treaties do not have a legal force?

      Reply Of course they do. They are supreme in the current UK

      1. Denis Cooper
        November 5, 2015

        They merely state the cumulative current legal position under successive treaties in a more convenient form, so the legal force they have is the same as that of those treaties. The highly inconvenient alternative would be to look at articles in the founding treaties but then always have to check to see if/how they had been amended by later treaties. On the other hand it is sometimes useful to track back to see how a current article originated and how it was subsequently amended, which amendments would of course have no validity if the later amending treaties had ceased to exist.

        That was a nonsensical claim on the part of Cameron, an unscrupulous attempt to exculpate himself by taking advantage of the public’s poor understanding of the technicalities of treaties. However this is not to say in any way that he was the most culpable, clearly that was Brown by a very long chalk because he gave in to Merkel and refused to put the treaty to a referendum before the UK ratified it.

  16. A.Sedgwick
    November 4, 2015

    As a regular listener to Radio 4 I shall look forward to this episode of Analysis. Why were Conservative grandees not approached to defend the Euro/EU?

    File on 4 on the UK’s aid to Syrian refugees last week was revealing but not surprising.

    Reply Because none of the 2 you may have in mind do support the current Euro or our membership of it. Most Conservative grandees are Eurosceptics.

  17. Bert Young
    November 4, 2015

    The value of the Euro is baseless . The positive economies do not equal the total value of the amount in circulation and the ability of the EZ to neutralise its debt level is a figment of the imagination . If the ECB believes that it can recover and subsequently restore stability within a reasonable time span , it is living in cloud cuckoo land .

    There will always be EZ countries who “take” rather than “give” ; Greece highlighted this situation and there are others to follow . The condition is further compounded by countries wishing to sign up and getting on the band wagon . Germany may expand its reach by the present relationship and benefit from a low cost base for its exports , but , in the long run , it is at the expense of its own intrinsic value . The EZ and the EU cannot be cemented together and is doomed to fail .

  18. Brian Tomkinson
    November 4, 2015

    Is it not the case that only the UK and Denmark have opt outs from adopting the €uro? Within the existing 28 members of the EU there are currently 19 members of €urozone. Eventually there will be 26. Any other country joining the EU will also have to adopt €uro.
    I have argued many times that should we be so foolish as to vote to stay in the EU the next step will be to adopt the €uro or become totally irrelevant in EU decision making. Perhaps that is why you can find no one to defend the €uro; at this stage they prefer to pretend that we will not join the €uro.
    This reminds me very much of the 1975 referendum when the advocates for membership talked only about the economic advantages of being in a Common Market and deliberately and mendaciously dismissed any talk of loss of sovereignty and transfer of political decision making from Westminster to Brussels. They conned many people then. We must ensure that they don’t manage it again.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 5, 2015

      If I was a eurofederalist then I would be seeking to do what Wilson did in 1975 and falsely reassure the voters that the euro was completely off the agenda as far as the UK was concerned.


      “There was a threat to employment in Britain from the movement in the Common Market towards an Economic & Monetary Union. This could have forced us to accept fixed exchange rates for the pound, restricting industrial growth and putting jobs at risk. This threat has been removed.”

      I would know that as the EU treaties stand time is on my side, and of course as a eurofederalist I would firmly believe that history was also on my side.

      Andrew Lilico had something to say about this a couple of days ago:


      “Until recently I had argued there was a chance David Cameron and George Osborne might secure more from their European Union renegotiation than most commentators expected. Specifically, I suggested that it might be possible to change the way the EU worked so that there would be a viable, long-term sustainable form of membership for non-euro member states.

      But achieving that would have required three key things. First, the treaties would formally recognise that the euro is not the currency of the EU; that would mean new members of the EU would not be obliged to join the euro (as they currently are) and existing non-euro members would have the option to stay as non-euro members.”

  19. formula57
    November 4, 2015

    It is truly shameful that the Pro-EU and pro-Euro people will not speak up to explain and defend their position.

    Yet they saw what happened to Nick “three million jobs” Clegg when he engaged with Nigel Farage and they may well be expecting a repeat of recent form where a last minute empty vow, this time from our leaders Dr Merkel and Mr Juncker, will be enough to sway a timorous and cautious public into surrendering its future.

  20. waramess
    November 4, 2015

    Whilst not being a defender of either the EU or of the Euro I can see quite clearly that those economists and others who are opposed to a gold standard would be unable to see the benefits of a single currency.

    For a start, observing the conditions laid down when the Euro was introduced, will slow down profligate governments from their favourite pastime; second it might educate the people over time to elect a government that is not constantly seeking re-election by bribing one part of the electorate with the money of another; third, and only over time, it will allow the economy to reconfigure itself from one dependent upon government hand-outs to one dependent on production.

    All this is now happening in very slow motion in the Mediterranean countries because the governments there have had their spending curtailed by austerity measures in order to bring back borrowing and deficit ratios that were meant to be observed before, and would have prevented, the crisis.

    All very painful but, it is not the austerity that has caused the problem but the politicians and their complicit economists that have done so and now seek to absolve themselves of their sin by blaming austerity and it does look as if they are going to get away with it.

    First of all it was a global contraction caused by too little control of the banking system and now it is to be the wickedness of the EU in demanding austerity. Whatever next?

  21. Leslie Singleton
    November 4, 2015

    Even for those who, perhaps secretly, have seen their mistake and would ditch the Euro if they could, nobody but nobody, short of some sort of cataclysm (eg the return of Napoleon), can even begin to see a way in which all the relative countries, presumably all at the same time, could re-introduce their old currencies, so those in the EU camp have no choice but to go on as they are. Never did and never do get any answer why Canada with a smaller economy, and a much higher percentage of exports to its big neighbour, gets by so splendidly. Our own scarcely-existent “re-negotiations” are a joke with, best I can see, them telling us what we are allowed even to ask for. And the very idea of our voting before a Treaty change is itself hugely daft: are we seriously supposed to rely on what 27 countries say when just one subsequent backslider can scupper the whole thing on grounds of “no legality”?

    Reply Eastern bloc countries replaced the rouble quite easily

    1. Leslie Singleton
      November 4, 2015

      Dear John–I believe you but perhaps there were difficulties we never got to hear about. Also I don’t know how many countries were involved but I suspect those in the Euro are more. And if it was that easy how come we didn’t hear (certainly I haven’t heard) anything whatsoever on this at the times recently when the media was mooting a break up of the Euro, albeit perhaps only a “simple”, single currency, transfer back for one country (Whether popular with the people or not is of course another story) which should be duck soup from what you say. Are you able to point to anything discussing this please?

    2. Hefner
      November 4, 2015

      Could it be that to start with they had zloty, forint, koruna, dinar, leu and lev, and not roubles?

      1. Denis Cooper
        November 5, 2015

        Not those which were constituent republics of the USSR.

    3. stred
      November 5, 2015

      The Greek finance minister, who resigned came over recently and explained that to withdraw from the Euro would have meant planning a year in advance and ordering new notes. In the meantime the money held as Euros in Greek banks would have become worthless or unusable. I think this was his argument and otherwise he would have considered coming out. He is an intelligent professor of economics and has been in the ‘hot seat’. Perhaps JR could explain the process of getting out without going bust to him?

      Reply Currency breaks need not take a year. Most money is held as deposits in banks and that can be switched electronically very quickly.The old paper currency could be used pending the replacement during the switchover.

  22. NickW
    November 4, 2015

    The position is then that those who want us to remain in the EU do so not because of the wonderful advantages and positive features of the EU, but because of the risk, (or certainty) of spiteful and destructive retaliation if we try to leave. This seems a reasonable inference if no one will speak in favour of the EU and the Euro.

    BSE accepts then that the EU regards us as a captive which has to be coerced into paying extortion money and staying within the EU because we are afraid to leave?

    Treatment like this indicates a relationship that needs to be terminated as soon as possible.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 5, 2015

      Precisely, the more BSE emphasise the risk of nastiness on the part of our “EU partners” the more they strengthen the case for terminating that partnership.

  23. ChrisS
    November 4, 2015

    Hardly surprising as there are no votes in supporting the Euro and how can one defend the indefensible ?

    I downloaded and listened to your Analysis programme in the car yesterday and it was certainly interesting. I went over some of the interviews twice as the pro-Euro contributors sometimes contradicted themselves.

    Comparisons with German Reunification are valid in my view because Helmut Kohl made the same fundamental mistake as the fathers of the Euro : 1:1 was an entirely inappropriate exchange rate at the time of reunification and caused many of the same problems that the Euro is suffering from. As a result, Western German taxpayers have had to pay massive annual transfers from West to East every year since. Even I was surprised that this is still running at €80bn a year !

    But that would be as nothing compared with the amounts Western and Eastern German taxpayers would have to send South every year if the Euro is to survive in its present form with all current members on board.

    I am planning to come to your Oxford lecture on the 13th but it is a long way to travel and it would be useful to know if the paper you are delivering is substantially different or more in depth than the Analysis programme ? Also, are their other speakers and will there be a question and answer session afterwards ?

    Thank You

    Reply The lecture will have much more material in it, and none of the other voices in the Radio programme. It will also consider the extent of transfers in the UK currency zone, and the present and future financing of our currency union a propos of devolution.

    1. forthurst
      November 4, 2015

      “It will also consider the extent of transfers in the UK currency zone, and the present and future financing of our currency union a propos of devolution.”

      Although there will always need to be transfers if it is accepted as proper that people should be subsidised who live in sparsely populated areas, why is there an inherent need for transfers within a properly functioning nation; was it always the case that Yorkshire needed significant transfers of wealth from the SE? In the bad old days, Yorkshire had thriving conurbations and industries; now most of the the latter have gone and, importantly, not been replaced and many of the north’s more enterprising people have emigrated to be replaced by others whose productivity may not be as economically beneficial. Surely, it has been government policy which has led to the North’s dependence through its deprecation of manufacturing and selective public education and its anti-English immigration policy; at one time the prosperity of our country was far more evenly spread and Yorkshire could have been considered our Bavaria. Transfers of tax money should not be used as a substitute for good governance.

  24. Denis Cooper
    November 4, 2015

    Sarcasm aside, it’s excellent news that Osborne has managed to fit in a trip to Germany so that he could tell us something about what our government wants from its renegotiation of our EU membership.

    However there seems to be some confusion.

    Initially Sky News was clear that the UK government was not contemplating any changes to the EU treaties, which was backed up by the Swedish Prime Minister saying:

    “I don’t think anybody wants treaty change right now.”

    in an exclusive interview with Sky News after he saw Cameron in London.

    But meanwhile Osborne in Berlin appeared to be saying that there would be EU treaty changes, just that they would be treaty changes that Merkel wanted not any EU treaty changes that our government wanted:


    Which of course would follow the two precedents set in 2010, that although supposedly there is no realistic possibility of “re-opening the treaties” because the UK government is dissatisfied with some aspects, they can easily be “re-opened” if Merkel wants that.

    The only apparent difference being that rather than trying to cover it all up with virtually complete media blackouts this time Osborne is openly talking about getting something in exchange for the agreement of the UK government to whatever treaty changes Merkel may want.

    But not EU treaty changes we may want, of course, it doesn’t work like that; some secondary legislation, the odd non-binding declaration which the EU institutions, and especially the so-called Court of Justice, can decide to ignore as being inferior to the provisions enshrined in the treaties, and maybe more political agreements like the one about eurozone bailouts that the Commission decided to break back in July.

    1. ChrisS
      November 4, 2015

      You are absolutely right here, Denis.

      Even on the absolute minimum of changes that a majority of voters would recognise as a successful renegotiation, Cameron is falling short. He is not even asking for most of them !

      The reality of the situation Cameron finds himself is are as follows :

      1. The biggest issue as far as the electorate is concerned is Free Movement ( as a substantial part of their overwhelming rejection of continuing high levels of net migration, currently being ignored by all parties at Westminster except UKIP ).

      We already know that an end to the principle of Free Movement is a non starter.
      Cameron’s proposed changes to benefit payments are probably impossible to get agreement on and in any event are mere tinkering and will solve nothing.

      2. A veto over future legislation, even for a group of countries acting together, rather than the UK on its own, as we would want to see. Even if this was acceptable to most members, the principle members, Germany and France will not agree to it.

      3. An indefinite opt-out from Ever Closer Union.

      4. Safeguards and formal acceptance for the UK and other members outside the Euro that Brussels accepts that the EU has more than one currency.

      5. Safeguards for Members of the Single Market outside the Eurozone.

      Items 2- 5 would all require Treaty Change to be guaranteed into the future and not subject to watering down by the European Court. Even if all four areas were acceptable to other member countries, Treaty Change is impossible to achieve before the referendum. He would therefore have to rely on promises.

      Cameron surely knows that there are plenty of examples proving that promises from Brussels are worthless and he knows that no deal can be delivered if even one member country refuses to sign up for it.

      Furthermore, even these five issues are nowhere near enough : Our electorate and taxpayers want to see a reduction in our net contribution and restoration of our traditional fishing grounds.

      1. Denis Cooper
        November 8, 2015

        Actually there’s ample time for the EU member state governments to negotiate and agree detailed treaty changes for the benefit of the UK, and solemnly commit their countries to those treaty changes to the extent of their signature of an amending treaty or a protocol, but with domestic approval and final ratification by the other 27 countries to come after the British people had agreed that they were enough to justify staying in the EU.

    November 4, 2015

    Ex-Labour PM Mr Brown was always in favour of the Euro but insisted “We” ( He ) would join it when it was most advantageous to the UK (Him). It’s been awhile. Maybe he thinks “We” (He ) should join it now.

    Mr Alex Salmond and the lady who utterly tossed him like an underweight limp caber out of the leadership of the SNP and snatched his paper-mâché crown ; namely, Nicola Sturgeon have both repeated many times they wish to join the Euro. Not a peep from them on the Euro since the Greek fiasco. Also, they are uncharacteristically quiet when it comes to their often shouted: “Scotland will take its FAIR SHARE” of Syrian migrants and other migrants.They got abacuses out of their toy boxes and found that their FAIR SHARE was more than equal to the numbers who voted SNP at the last election.

    SNP MPs provide a vital function in Parliamentary debate. They take the place of what in the heyday of Scotland were called Court Jesters.

  26. Kenneth
    November 4, 2015

    Although the case for us leaving the eu is obvious, there is still a debate. Why?

    Well, look at how the eu has spread its tentacles: it has built up an army of advocates:

    – charities who receive eu funding;
    – UK regions that receive eu funding over the heads of our elected government; educational establishments;
    – the BBC;
    – commissioners, whether they are current or retired;
    – prime ministers who are wannabe European presidents;
    – much of the civil service (especially the F.O.) whose staff have been weaved into the eu machine;
    – large businesses.

    This is a list of the great influencers and those who have ready access to the mainstream media.

    No they will not defend the Euro is this is too real and they know they will lose the argument. Instead they talk of intangibles such as ‘influence’ and ‘peace’.

    What is galling is that the eu has used our money to undermine our own democracy. Shame!

  27. A different Simon
    November 4, 2015

    I can’t help thinking that this Brexit debate may be a huge irrelevance and a distraction .

    My fear is that world leaders are already agreeing to a world government at the Paris climate change conference which has already started and is due to conclude in December .

    What if Cameron and co return home saying something like this :-
    “Climate change is worse than anyone could have imagined , we have agreed to the UN taxing your CO2 usage . The US will enforce global compliance with global government climate directives with military force”.

    I think those of us in favour of British independence may be in the process of being outflanked and even if we manage to Brexit could find ourselves falling from the frying pan into another fire and not truly independent or free .

    Reply Unlikely – they are trying a “bottom up” self imposed targets approach

    1. fedupsoutherner
      November 4, 2015

      It has been revealed that Asia is building 500 coal fired power stations this year alone. What a waste of money the Paris (fiasco) conference will be.

      We get no answers as to why it will be good to stay in the EU and even less about the Euro so why are our leaders advocating staying in? Do they want the best for this country because it sure doesn’t look like it?

    2. Kenneth
      November 4, 2015

      Reply to reply: Simon (a different one) may have exaggerated to make a more general point, and a valid one at that.

      When the Left cannot win by the ballot box it then uses international bodies such as the UN and eu which are riddled with control freak socialists and greens. They are also backed by massive global charities, various think tanks, unions, educational institutions and other pressure groups that are given public money and regular access to mainstream media.

      The eu is the biggest threat to our democracy, but there are others, such as the UN, which also wishes to bypass national democracy.

      1. A different Simon
        November 4, 2015

        Kenneth ,

        John’s reply is reassuring and correct .

        It is just that the elite have become so emboldened now they have achieved ultimate victory that they seem to feel able to drop the disguise and pretense .

        The West has been conquered already – and the ballot box did nothing to stop it .

        Ironically it is the Chinese who do not have make any pretense about being democratic who are refusing to go along with the script , along with Russia .

      2. Denis Cooper
        November 5, 2015

        “When the Left cannot win by the ballot box it then uses international bodies such as the UN and eu … ”

        It’s not just the left, see the comments from Richard1 above.

  28. majorfrustration
    November 4, 2015

    This article should really form the major part of an open letter to the MSM. Moving on. Anybody out there have ideas on the elderly care cap that was part of the Tory manifesto. If DC can sweep this issue under the carpet what other things will be overlooked? As my mother would say – “never trust a man with thin lips”

  29. English Pensioner
    November 4, 2015

    When the issue of us joining the Euro was at the top of the political agenda under the Blair government, a number of major companies indicated that if we didn’t join the Euro, it was likely that they would in due course have to relocate within the Eurozone. I’m not aware of any that actually left for that reason; some relocated facilities in Europe because labour was cheaper in countries like Poland, but otherwise they seem to have stayed.
    The same tactic is being used by many of the same companies to scare us into staying in the Eurozone; if we don’t stay they will have to put off workers because they will no longer be able to export so much to Europe.
    Just as you can’t find anyone to defend the Euro, it also seems impossible to to find any hard facts on why we should stay in the EU. About all we get are claims of the loss of trade and loss of jobs, without any specific hard facts.
    Perhaps you should also try to find someone who can defend our membership of the EU with hard facts not wild claims. In spite of searching the internet and elsewhere, I’ve been unable to find why all these jobs would go, why Britain’s negotiating power in the world will decrease, why an arrangement like that of Norway won’t work, etc.
    I am always suspicious when politicians want to do (or not do) something, but simply waffle when someone asks “Why?”.

  30. Terry
    November 4, 2015

    Surely, if they are so reluctant to defend their own policy, we must ask ,”What is in it for them”?

    It appears that potential personal gains and rewards are their driving forces and neither the subject matter nor how it would improve the growth of the UK economy.

    The Single Currency was always going to benefit the most efficient Nations and reward them at the expense of the less productive. And so it has proven with the Greek debacle and their failure against the booming economy of Germany whose exports to the EU have taken off in dramatic fashion. The Greeks and the rest of the weaker Euro members have lost the hedge of FX and they have paid the penalty with perpetual high unemployment and the massive loss of earnings.

  31. Peter Richmond
    November 4, 2015

    In my opinion, it seems as if the EU and specifically the Germans need or want us within the EU more than we ourselves need to be a part of the European project. If that is really the case, there must be a good deal to be done in the next few months. But even when such a deal is done, it will remain for the case to stay in the EU to be adequately explained.
    However what I sense is that many younger members of our society are not really grounded in their knowledge of the history of England and the UK nor do they have a critical appreciation of the socio-economic and political differences between us and mainland Europe. To them and many recent immigrants, a common currency and free Schengen style travel seems to make eminent sense. With only a Chamberlain style piece of paper being waved by the PM, ahead of the referendum, good words from our Chancellor and singing of the Internationale by the socialists, this group will almost certainly vote to stay.

  32. TLane
    November 4, 2015


    I heard your broadcast and found it very informative. I love how the French MEP made her view very clear where we are heading: we need to get off the bus!

    By the way, picking up on your recent blog about trade, I watched Dan Hannan versus Nick Clegg recently and noticed how Clegg argues that the single market is good because it negotiates as a single entity.

    Unfortunately he contradicts himself saying the UK will not find it easy negotiating with 27 countries to get a trade deal!

  33. They Work for Us?
    November 4, 2015

    Thank you JR for your informative article. I also firmly believe we should leave the EU.

    Yesterday’s T….graph carried an article by Jeremy Warner that our farmers would lose 60% of their income by loss of subsidies from the CAP and environmental subsidies. This is a new one to me. Is it a Brexit showstopper?
    Any comments? UK govts have always subsidised farmers in the past, would they not be able to do so again?As someone said, food production is the basic strategic industry.

    Reply Vote leave says we will guarantee that all current EU subsidies to UK interests will be paid by the UK government on withdrawal.

    1. margaret
      November 4, 2015

      I presume the subsidies are more than the UK would pay?

  34. Martyn G
    November 4, 2015

    Watching what is going on in Europe towards ever closer union, I am reminded of how the United States of America only became truly united after a long, terrible and hugely costly civil war when the southern states seceded from the union to retain their own independence and sovereignty.
    Are we now not in a similar situation with Europe? I doubt that at some point it will come to war in the armed civil war sense but some nation states are already, I think, sensing that to completely subordinate themselves to a bunch of unelected technocrats to rule their economies might not be a good idea. How their governments and, perhaps more critically their peoples will react is an unknown. Civil unrest and riots, perhaps? Who know but it does not bode well for the US of the EU at the moment.

  35. Chris
    November 4, 2015

    Slightly OT, but what do you think, Mr Redwood, of Richard North’s latest posting on the eurerendumblog about the failures of the Leave campaigns and supporting MPs, and how Osborne and Cameron are running circles round them, having successfully (but wrongfully) demolished the Norway option as a transit stage out of the EU and now paving the way for the Associate Membership a la Spinelli Group. This, as many others have posted here, will be presented as something “new” which Osborne has fought hard for, when in reality it has always been planned by the powers that be in the EU. Furthermore, the A Membership will offer us a situation worse than we have at the moment, although there will be cosmetic tinkering which Osborne and Cameron hope will satisfy the ill-informed and unsuspecting.
    Link to website if permitted:
    Reply. The Leave campaign has never recommended the Norway option so I cannot see what damage Mr Camerons attacking on it did.

    1. margaret
      November 4, 2015

      Just wondering what it is about associate membership which will be worse than our present relationship.

  36. APL
    November 4, 2015

    JR: “well known in the UK political world to defend the Euro.”

    Not even Kenneth Clarke?

  37. Boudicca
    November 4, 2015

    If Ken Clarke won’t oblige, don’t bother asking MPs in the Commons; go straight to the Lords. You’ll find plenty of Euro-enthusiasts there.

    I’m sure Heseltine, Mandelson, Kinnock and umpteen other EU Pensioners will be only too delighted to explain why membership of the Euro is in our best interests.

  38. JJE
    November 4, 2015

    Any thoughts on today’s extreme electrical power shortage? The Grid was offering £2500 per MWh at one point I believe!
    It’s not cold yet…

    1. fedupsoutherner
      November 4, 2015

      Might have something to do with the fact that Scottish wind farms were not working due to the fact that there was no wind and solar wouldn’t have been any better as there was no sun!! Only 53MW was being exported to England compared to the usual amount of 2 – 3000MW. Nobody can say they weren’t warned.

    2. fedupsoutherner
      November 4, 2015

      That should help to keep bills down then??

    3. APL
      November 4, 2015

      JJE: “It’s not cold yet…”

      Don’t worry, we’ve got loads of windmills.

      And if they don’t work, an absolute shedload of secondary diesel generators waiting to milk the tax payer too.

  39. Richard1
    November 4, 2015

    Interesting – congrats it was a good erudite programme which argued a point without being a polemic. Your opponents got a fair hearing (often not the case). It is indeed interesting that no-one in the pro-EU British political and business establishment can be found to defend the central policy of the EU! You seemed to get a little side-tracked in the exchange with Martin Sandbu in which he appeared to be the defender of the laudable concept (which I had thought you supported?) that bust banks should be restructured at the expense of their shareholders and creditors rather than of taxpayers. Of course Mr Sandbu’s argument that you can just have a common currency as a unit of exchange without political union is correct so long as it isn’t a fiat currency. Gold was for many centuries a common currency with no political unions. But his vision clearly doesn’t work if there is a central monetary authority, setting interest rates, intervening in markets, issuing Eurobonds and of course guaranteeing banks. In this clip Mr Sandbu came over as a Hayekian free marketeer – I haven’t read all that much of his writing but I don’t recall him being that.

    The exchange with Henrik Enderlein was extremely revealing of the euro federalist mindset. His point of view can’t have the support of more than a small minority in the UK. Stuart Hosier on the other hand did well arguing eg that Belgium and Luxembourg prospered as independent countries for many decades with the same currency. Perhaps he should lead the In campaign.

    Reply My view is that shareholders and bond holders should take the losses and taxpayers should not put money into new shares. I also think the Central Bank needs to make cash available to all regulated banks, and the CB and state stands behind deposits

  40. RB
    November 4, 2015

    Will this generation of politicians please snap out of their madness and stop giving away our freedoms. Theresa May is bad news.

  41. Iain Gill
    November 4, 2015

    Will no one defend the sick people who need decent treatment and care from the rationed rubbish service of the NHS? All the politicians keep telling us they are pro NHS when it let’s us down every single day!

  42. petermartin2001
    November 5, 2015

    I tried again in the Commons yesterday to encourage the parties who favour our continued unchanged membership of the EU to defend the institutions of the EU and the policies being followed in the Eurozone. No-one even tried.

    Keep up the good work!

    As I’ve said previously, the referendum cannot be won solely from the right. To win a majority, there will need to be significant support for the LEAVE option from what might be termed the progressive left who, hitherto, have been staunchly pro-EU. We should be aiming for more than just a bare majority. We should be looking for a landslide win to settle the argument conclusively.

    Their silence is just the first step towards a change of position which won’t be easy for them. They are well aware of the difficulty in reconciling their rose tinted view of the EU with the grim reality we see on the news reports.

  43. margaret
    November 5, 2015

    What is worrying is the prospect of negative interest rates.. selling bonds and paying the banks for the pleasure of holding the money, which I believe Germany did for the first time ever this year.

    November 5, 2015

    There is something disquieting about arguing for political and monetary union as a principle when we may not be able to get out of the EU ?! Why should you argue for success of the EU politically, knowing that Germany is the king pin and we could stay in?

  45. Lindsay McDougall
    November 5, 2015

    I can think of one person who would have defended both the Euro and ‘The Project’. He is Lord Heseltine.

    I saw you take on all the ‘anti-austerity’ lefties of Labour and the SNP in Parliament. Well done, it was very effective. Not one of them was willing to criticise the Euro for the 50% youth unemployment rate in southern Europe.

    The only way for Club Med to gain revenge on Germany is to stop buying German products and embark on a massive programme of import substitution.

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