Is that it? My response to the Tusk letter, reproduced from the Politeia website.

Is that it? asked Bernard Jenkin of the hapless Minister sent to explain the government’s renegotiation to the Commons. In that simple phrase he summed up the disappointment of many who had hoped for fundamental reform of the UK’s relationship with the rest of the EU. The many admirers of the Prime Minister’s Bloomberg speech wondered how it could come to this, the letter to Mr Tusk that did not seem to seek much change.

The government’s case is they will settle four of the main issues they see causing stress in our current relationship. They will seek a stronger role for national parliaments. They will try to protect the UK’s position as the Euro area moves towards political union and may caucus against us within the wider EU. They seek reductions in our welfare payments to workers coming here under the free movement rules of the EU. They want promises that the EU will both press on more rapidly with market integration in some areas, whilst cutting the burden of business regulation at the same time.

So what’s not to like?

The problems with this list are twofold. There are all the things that it leaves out that are unsatisfactory in our current relationship. Then there is the lack of any convincing mechanism to give authority back to the UK in the chosen areas, to lock in any success in negotiating them.

There is nothing in the proposals to allow us to repatriate our much ravaged fishing grounds, nothing to restore sanity to our farm subsidies under rules that help UK farmers rather than small scale continental farms, nothing to tackle high cost energy under EU energy policies, nothing to stop free movement of people and put all under common migration controls alongside our controls on the rest of the world.

Asking for a stronger role for our national Parliament should be fundamental. At the heart of the Bloomberg speech was a statement that said democracy resides in national parliaments. Fundamental to UK liberties and democracy is the notion that UK voters can influence and lobby their government to do as voters wish. If governments refuse to listen or disappoint, they can be changed by the voters to a government that does as electors want. EU laws and executive programmes are not accountable in this way. If UK voters want to change an EU law they need not only to influence the UK government to want to, but have to help the government influence 26 other governments to push change through which never happens. Uk voters want the UK government to meet its pledge to cut inward migration to less than 100,000 net. That means the UK government and Parliament settling welfare and border policies that can bring this about. Asking for groups of member states to be able through the wishes of their Parliaments to stop a future EU proposal does not tackle the underlying lack of accountability and democratic control over the huge body of EU law and executive action we already have.

It is difficult to see what means there can be to stop Euro area member states outvoting the UK and the other Euro outs anytime they like. We have already faced a big bill to lend money to Greece after a political agreement we would not be involved in any Euro bail out. Without clear Treaty guarantees there can be no solution. Even with Treaty guarantees, we will still find the Euro area is on a wild ride to political union, and we will often lose votes as they sweep along.

The EU may grant us much of what has been asked for on welfare benefits, after much huffing and puffing against it. We were told when past treaties were signed that welfare and tax remained “red line” issues, under our continuing control. The reforms of welfare do not go far enough, and do not last beyond the immediate specifics. We need to restore our own control over our own substantial welfare spending.

The EU regularly promises deregulation, but every year which passes sees more regulation, longer and more comprehensive regulations. Regulating and passing laws is what the EU does. It will carry on doing it. The UK does not suffer from a shortage of law. The Minister put it very well when he said many people see the EU as something that happens to them. That is exactly how it feels. Many of us do not buy into the EU because it does not do what we want, and does not give us a working democratic way of controlling it.

The modern EU has as its centre piece and main driver the Euro. It is on a wild ride to political union. That is not a journey the UK wishes to embark on. We do not need an emergency brake. We need to be on a train to a different destination.


  1. Lifelogic
    November 13, 2015

    Well is was always clear that the renegotiation was just a fig leaf, long grass, tactic by Cameron, but even so I expected far more that this from the dreadfull, serial ratter, tax increasing, Heathite Dave. Surely he cannot expect to win with this pathetic list of complete nothings. He is surely deluded perhaps by scraping through the last election. The people of England did not vote for Cameron at the last election they voted against Ed, SNP – they surely will not fall for this will they? The more they understand the EU issue (as the referendum progresses) the more they will want to leave. Even the appalling bias of the BBC will not swing it I suspect.

    Even if he gets everything he asks for it is virtually worthless and could and would be overridden shortly after. It does not even begin to scratch the surface. Voters have waited 40+ years for a say on the EU issue and this pathetic letter from Cameron is all we get? Does he really expect the people to vote for staying in, on this pathetic list of demands?

    1. Lifelogic
      November 13, 2015

      Having mentioned the dreadful bias of the BBC and watched Questiontime, who exactly is Paris Lees and why on Earth did the BBC think she should be a panellist on Questiontime? Are they really that desperate?

      1. Mike Stallard
        November 13, 2015

        Please do not insult a cisfluid person. Everyone has heard of Paris Lees.

      2. turbo terrier
        November 13, 2015

        Life Logic.

        Bang on the money. These people are not credible. What do they not understand? Even without a deterent if there ever was a massive fallout in more ways than one, we will be affected. The deterent does what it say’s on the tin. Not one of the panel mentioned the National Debt of trillions of pounds. We really do seem to be living in the world of LA La Land when it comes to programming by the BBC. Last night QT Paul Nuttel appeared to be given a hard time by the chair and it appeared to break up the mans thought process. They maybe didn’t like what he might be saying?

        Off Topic.

        If the loons of Holyrood keep to their threat not to sign off the Smith package then England had better prepare for some 700k residents up here moving South if the poll taken before the referendum was even near correct. Holyrood just don’t seem to appreciate what sort of signals they are giving out. They seem incapable of keeping to a deal or their word. Should bode well when they try and get loans etc in the real world. Again this is the result of weak leadership across the Westminster parties when all the leaders panicked and never thought out the real process of cause and effect.

      3. Brian Tomkinson
        November 13, 2015

        Quite; I had never heard of her and hope never to hear her again.
        Once again Dimbleby showed BBC bias against UKIP continually interrupting Nuttall.

      4. Paul Cohen
        November 13, 2015

        Think she actually had a ticket for the ELO performance next door, and went to the wrong studio.

      5. Bob
        November 13, 2015

        “why on Earth did the BBC think she should be a panellist on Questiontime?” Because he she ticks all the BBC boxes, pro EU, pro big state, pro open borders, anti austerity, thinks the Trident budget should be thrown into the black hole aka the NHS etc. etc.

      6. Sean O'Hare
        November 13, 2015

        From Her/His Wikipedia entry:

        Paris Lees, born 1980, is a British journalist, presenter and transgender rights activist. She topped the Independent on Sunday’s 2013 Pink List, came second in the 2014 Rainbow List, and was awarded the Positive Role Model Award for LGBT in the 2012 National Diversity Awards.

      7. Johnnydub
        November 13, 2015

        She’s a Transexual and activist, so fits the “Zeitgeist”

        Although as she proved, she definitely is no rocket scientist.

      8. Denis Cooper
        November 13, 2015

        Google is your friend and will explain all.

      9. Denis Cooper
        November 13, 2015

        “We need to be on a train to a different destination”.

        Yes, and that is true whether the train we are on now is an express train or a slow train stopping at every station on the way to where we don’t want go.

        1. Denis Cooper
          November 14, 2015

          This was intended to be a separate comment on the last line of the article, I don’t know why it has appeared here.

      10. Lifelogic
        November 14, 2015

        Thanks I had not realised all that. It explains rather a lot. Perhaps the BBC should be forced to introduce a minimum IQ test for the programmes contributors and indeed for BBC presenters in general.

        That might usefully keep many people like(names deleted ed) away too.

    2. James Sutherland
      November 13, 2015

      “Does he really expect the people to vote for staying in, on this pathetic list of demands?”

      Sadly, yes. Remember his only real job before becoming a politician was as a PR drone: his entire career has consisted of token gestures to placate people, so he thinks entirely in terms of such gestures, and throwing money at problems to make them go away.

      One analysis this morning contrasted his paltry “demands” with the results of an opinion poll on what the public wants. A fundamental error I think: he wasn’t aiming to reclaim real powers, or to deliver reform the public wants – he was aiming to stage a “victory” he can lean on as justification for his predetermined outcome of continued EU membership, whatever the terms.

      I was reminded of a TV plot from a few years ago, where two young men hatched a plot to impress one’s new girlfriend: the other, wearing a mask, would pretend to “mug” the couple on a date, but he would “bravely” stand up to his disguised friend and pretend to “defeat” the mugger who would run off empty-handed. Indeed, it was already leaked earlier this year that this was precisely the plan: stage a mock “fight” with some EU entity, probably France, giving a fake victory to point to later.

      Sure enough, he now “demands” some vague trivia which will happen anyway, like “cutting red tape”, plus one carefully chosen topic he can “fight” over, tweaking benefits rules a bit. Dressed up to look big and scary, like the room-mate impersonating a mugger. Sure enough, Mr Tusk is waving his water pistol around, pretending to be intimidated by EuroDave, saying it is not just tough but “very, very tough” (as quoted in the Mail today). Really scary words, so we can all be impressed how big tough Dave is standing up for us in this “fight” he staged.

    3. Lifelogic
      November 13, 2015

      I see that the legal profession is broadly in favour of the EU. Hardly surprising, the more complex, arbitrary, absurd and multi level the legal and court systems are the better it is for lawyers and the poorer everyone else becomes. The fact that their profession is in favour is a very good indication that we should get out now.

      Some BBC “expert” on the radio the other day saying that even if we left the EU the many EU laws would remain on the UK statute book having being incorporated in UK law (things such as the working time directive) and would have to be repealed one by one.

      Why one by one? Just repeal them all with one bill immediately and boost UK productivity instantly.

      1. Bazman
        November 14, 2015

        You think that making the conditions worse for working people will boost productivity? It quite possibly will make it worse. I for one will not be working for less pay in worse conditions. Sack me? Not if I sack you first. You will need a never ending supply of desperate people and where will you find these when the borders are closed? Less benefits for the poor and more for rich. There will be some correction legal or otherwise. History shows this.

        1. Lifelogic
          November 15, 2015

          Decreasing regulation can make things far better for workers not worse.

          1. Bazman
            November 15, 2015

            Such as not having holiday pay, safety, and minimum wages? That will improve their jobs no end. Its like saying that womans rights give them less right forgetting why this legislation was required. Your beliefs in such thing border on religious nonsense and irrational thought you talk about so much.

  2. Antisthenes
    November 13, 2015

    We said that the negotiation would not amount to much and we have been proved right. Unfortunately they did not have to amount to much to satisfy enough of the public to vote to remain in.

    Remaining in or leaving the EU is not of deep concern to them because unlike tax credit reduction they see no direct link to the money in their pocket whatever the outcome. The finer points of democracy and sovereignty for most are just abstract philosophical arguments best left to politicians and academics.

    Immigration and welfare payments are of concern but if the crumbs that Cameron is after and the EU gives him half of them that will be enough to satisfy most voters.

    1. Ian wragg
      November 13, 2015

      I’m not sure this is correct. Daily working in a charity I hear people complaining about immigration. We have just had our old police station refurbished and turned into 10 flats. They have been fully furnished and are being given to immigrants. Many quite tolerant people are astounded that we are cutting services and reducing tax credits but have unlimited budgets for foreigners.
      Angela did the out campaign a shed load of good by flooding Europe with immigrants. We need to get out before they all pitch up here

      I see Juncket ordered Dave to hand over 275 million quid to bribe Turkey. Which constituency does he represent John.
      Shysters the lot of them.

    2. Mockbeggar
      November 13, 2015

      I got to discussing the EU the other day with a friend who is a smallholder and market gardener. He claimed to have been told that if we leave the EU the government will withdraw all support for all farmers in the UK. I tried to persuade him that no such ruling has been made, but he was adamant. Is this another example of scaremongering by pro EUs – the NUF, perhaps? I’d be glad of an authoritative answer so that I can put him right.

      1. Lifelogic
        November 14, 2015

        Indeed. Post Brexit the government will be able to keep all the money they send current sent to Brussels, and use it far more sensibly at home. The best use of it would be to cut taxes for all, so individual can spend it themselves on that they know they need most.

      2. Antisthenes
        November 14, 2015

        If we leave the EU then CAP goes thank goodness. However logic dictates that there is nothing stopping the government if it cares to from introducing a UK version from the money saved by leaving the EU. It has to be wondered why this fact which is so obviously a solution is not picked up straight away after some scaremongering europhile makes such a comment.

    November 13, 2015

    Hard to believe any MP actually expects fundamental reform. They sound very intelligent on the box. Not what they say of course but how they say it. However, such flowery clever language does not impress a European. They secretly laugh at it. Laugh at us.

    Best thing to do is to withdraw all MEPs from Europe. Close all our Embassies. Recall all trade missions, cultural exchanges; immediately cancel all sporting events, fixtures and freeze the bank accounts of European Embassy staff. Then announce in Yorkshire dialect: ” Wi nor avin it. ” ( We are not having it ) . Call the Referendum and pose the rhetorical question : “Wi nor avin it ar wi ” ( We are not having it are we ) which does not require an answer of yes or no, leave or stay. But means “We’re leaving ( full stop )”
    Now that is leadership. A country away from Mr Cameron.

    1. Bazman
      November 14, 2015


      1. Edward2
        November 14, 2015

        Caps lock is on Baz.
        Best left off.

        1. Bazman
          November 15, 2015

          Thanks for that advice EDWARD2. BAZMAN.

  4. Mark B
    November 13, 2015

    Good morning.

    As was the advice to Ministers at the time before we entered into what was described as the, Common Market; “We should swollow it (EEC) whole !”

    You are either ‘in’, or ‘out !’ And the sooner people on all sides of this debate realise this and understand exactly what it means, then we are going to get nowhere fast.

  5. beecee
    November 13, 2015

    The only surprise is that some thought we would ask for more.

    Oliver Mr Cameron is not.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 13, 2015

      I thought even Cameron would ask for a bit more that this. These demands for nothing are just a complete and utter joke even by his standards.

    2. Mitchel
      November 13, 2015

      We have a Petain when what we need is a Putin.

    3. Timaction
      November 13, 2015

      I’m surprised you expected more Mr Redwood. Your leader and his sidekick are avid Europhiles and we’re only having this referendum due to UKIP and its success at the European elections. Until that point your leader repeatedly stated we were not having one (See You Tube). He believes in a United States of Europe and NOT Britain. Particularly the English. Judge him on his actions, not words. He surrounds himself with Europhile fanatics like Heseltine, Clarke, Major whilst removing Mr Patterson. He never intended a serious renegotiation and just wanted to kick the can down the road as long as possible. It’s time for patriots to stand up and for those who claim to want out of this undemocratic monster to remove Messrs Cameron and Osborne.

  6. matthu
    November 13, 2015

    There are all the things that it leaves out that are unsatisfactory in our current relationship. Then there is the lack of any convincing mechanism to give authority back to the UK in the chosen areas …

    Not really unexpected, given how the UK signally failed to extricate itself from various EU options when it had the opportunity recently. Cameron has NO wish to roll back any legislation giving authority to the EU. He quite clearly prefers legislation being formulated out of reach of annoying electoral influence and oversight.

    That way he can effectively also control (via the Speaker) what topics can be raised in parliament.

  7. JoeSoap
    November 13, 2015

    To be honest, you were warned. The Bloomberg speech was always made before a time when tough decisions on these things had to be made. Your leader has always been a man for tough words followed by no action. He has a track record, and you should have realised this.

    Unfortunately. you are hitched to the wrong wagon here in much the same way as the UK is.

    1. Duyfken
      November 13, 2015

      I have been increasingly persuaded that our host has taken a Machiavellian approach to this, by loyally supporting his leader’s idea of trying to re-negotiate EU terms and with the knowledge that Cameron was likely to fall flat on his face. Of course to admit such, would defeat the object!

  8. JoeSoap
    November 13, 2015

    It is crystal clear that under the current political set up UKIP offers the only guarantee against weasel words, a stitched up deal, and media campaign to stay in. Your colleagues in the cabinet appear to be arguing that their points DO amount to fundamental change.

    We need to hope that Cameron and the Tories become more unpopular in many other areas before a vote.

    Reply Is that the same UKIP that only marshalled one vote in the Commons for the referendum that makes all this possible? My strategy of persuading the Conservatives to let us vote for Out has worked. Good job I didnt take the advice hear to join UKIP, as that might have stopped the Conservatives winning enough seats to put through the referendum.

    1. Mike Wilson
      November 13, 2015

      Mr. Redwood – 3.8 million people voted for UKIP – despite knowing that under the First Past the Post system their vote would be wasted. Why did the Tories promise a referendum in the first place? Because they wanted to? Because they thought the British people should have a say? Like the say they were given on the Lisbon Treaty which ‘if ratified, we will not let the matter rest there’.

      The Tories promised a referendum – and are now having to reluctantly deliver it – BECAUSE OF UKIP!

      Reply Not so. I was there in the PM’s room when he was persuaded to hold a referendum. No Ukip rep was present! It was the 80 plus Conservative MPs who spoke and voted for a referendum that proved decisive.

    2. Leslie Singleton
      November 13, 2015

      Reply to Reply–You are in denial on UKIP and your own (lack of) role in it. Fat lot of good Bloomberg did you. Cameron has lost the plot. That letter is a good example of the word vapid. Scarcely believable that there is nothing on immigration or return of powers (What exactly did happen to “subsidiarity” BTW?). There is hope from the polls though, no doubt partly because of this silly letter. I reckon the voters increasingly realise that Cameron is just a snake-oil salesman and only in place by reason of the sheer lunacy and inadequacy of the other parties combined with the mediocrity of his competition in most of the rest of the Tory High Command.

    3. JoeSoap
      November 13, 2015

      Reply to reply:

      Well if the vote is actually called AND the out vote wins I agree your strategy will have worked.
      However if one or other of these things doesn’t happen, for whatever reason, you have to agree you and like-minded colleagues would have been better helping to increase that 4 million, 13% of the vote, countrywide, not just in the South, to a more competitive figure.

      Time will tell who is correct – neither of us should be holding our breath.

    4. Iain Gill
      November 13, 2015

      Can you come up with a strategy to get them to sort out non-EC immigration properly, including the intra company transfer visas? Or do we all have to sit here watching our country being destroyed?

    5. Narrow Shoulders
      November 13, 2015

      It is crystal clear that under the current political set up UKIP offers the only guarantee against weasel words, a stitched up deal

      If I do not win this seat in the general election I will resign as leader of UKIP?

      The UKIP executive and membership has asked that I stay on so my resignation is withdrawn even though I did not win this seat

      A paraphrase of some weasel words I think.

      With apologise to Mr Redwood if a politician’s mouth is moving he is likely not telling the whole truth. For this we are to blame as we lap up the media coverage of errors and omissions.

      1. Bob
        November 13, 2015

        What’s the problem? He gave his resignation, he was asked to withdraw it and he did. So what? How does that impact on anyone else (except of course his opponents)? The ukip membership are very happy with him, and that’s what matters.

        Hardly the same as the serial backtracking that we’ve had from the LibLabCon.

    6. Timaction
      November 13, 2015

      4000,000 votes and one MP. More votes than the SNP and Lib Dems put together. It’s the nature of our non democracy that such a situation is possible. The legacies stitched up the system so they could nod through our laws made by the EU. All the legacies are Europhile parties and UKIP is the only party advocating Leave!
      This doesn’t make it right and everyone out here knows it.

    7. Lifelogic
      November 13, 2015

      To reply: You were indeed quite right, the last thing we needed was even fewer EU sound MPs. Nevertheless Cameron was very, very lucky indeed. He won despite of his wet lefty, EU ratting, tax borrow and waste, green crap, soaking wet, lefty agenda not because of it.

      The Tories scraped home mainly thanks to the uselessness of Ed Miliband, the collapse of Labour in Scotland, the richly deserved collapse of the Libdims. Above all the fact that few south of the border wanted to be governed by Labour controlled by an SNP tail. They were a slightly less bad option, but still very bad.

      I think the referendum will go against Cameron if he persists with his current line of asking for nothing at all, let us hope so.

      1. Bazman
        November 14, 2015

        Don’t forget lying and scaremongering gave you a Tory government in the main. Given the choice the average British person would re nationalise the railways, sort out the banks, build more houses and many other socialist ideas you despise. You seem to think that they are all brainwashed in some sort of false consciousness when the evidence is that you are in believing that should there be some sort of right wing utopia all would be well. To expensive as we are seeing. Cuts and taxes for the poor and middle class income of 20k, which you and the organs of the right believe to be the top 4% which pay inheritance tax get given even more. Lying thick right wing fantasy which we are paying the price for.

    8. Anonymous
      November 13, 2015

      Reply to reply: UKIP supporters held their noses and – with what must have been extreme frustration – voted your party to keep the Miliband/Sturgeon monster out of office.

      Carry on insulting their party.

      It will ensure that they do not make the same mistake in 2020.

  9. turbo terrier
    November 13, 2015

    I am afraid that our Prime Minister is being to look a tad weak and silly. Would you buy a car from this man? He needs to man up. Not to the other 27 leaders within the EU but to the people of the UK. He has no place to hide now for the previous term he had the hinderence of Clegg to blame. As to us leaving the EU it has to be a case for him of, sign on or ship out. Time and tide waits for no man.

    1. DaveM
      November 13, 2015


      He doesn’t have it in him to man up. Nor do most of the political class at the minute. They are weak, indecisive, self-centred, and have no confidence in the country they are supposed to lead. Just the kind of bland robot-like humans Blair tried to create.

      Farage had it right when he said there were two types of politician: some who want to make money, some who want to make a difference. Most of them nowadays fall into the former category. They are so terrified of shouty lefties waving their PC sticks that they daren’t disturb the waters in case their career takes a turn. Farage isn’t afraid – and in response to one of Mr R’s earlier replies, yes they did only secure one vote in the Commons, but it’s hardly UKIP’s fault they only got one seat for their 4 million votes where the SNP got 57 for their 1.5 million is it?

    2. Lifelogic
      November 13, 2015

      He would be perfect as a dodgy second hand car salesman. That is essentially exactly the job he is doing in trying to sell the EU.

      He is pretending that the EU is in the UK’s interests, pretending to be renegotiating something real, pretending he is going to reduce immigration to the tens of thousands, pretending to have kept his IHT promise, pretending to be a low tax conservative at heart, pretending to be lowering taxes, pretending we are all in it together, pretending his priority in three letters is the N H S, even pretending to be a Tory and sometimes EU sceptic.

      1. Bazman
        November 14, 2015

        Dead people do not pay taxes.
        He kept some of the IHT promise giving more money to those who have done nothing for it and attempting to increase taxes for those who actually work for their money and reduce benefits for those unable to work via the PIP disability scheme designed to produce savage cuts on them. I witnessed an assessment on a relative. The bias was that she was lying from the start. Not evidence based and the fact that she was able work full time being proof of this lying. Not legally based in that case. Good job I was there. Harassment no less, so stop bleating about how hard life is for the wealthy. You obviously do very little by the tone and the amount of your postings on this site.

  10. fedupsoutherner
    November 13, 2015

    I noted that on QT last night Dimbleby cut in and stopped Paul Nuttal saying all he wanted to. This is the usual stance from him. Let others drone on as Paris Lees did making no sense whatever and shut up anyone that might actually tell the public the truth. Farage gets the same treatment even though what they have to say is far more informative and sensible.

    You are quite correct in what you say John about cheaper energy. Everyone thought the government would treat this issue with urgency and yet as I type this applications for wind farms are still bombarding the council offices. They are still being approved because the Renewables industry hasn’t quite accepted that the government is serious in stopping this. We need security of supply and wind doesn’t give it. When are we going to see something done about it?

    Cameron is in a great position to ask for so much more and yet he sits on the side lines thinking the public will be impressed. I just hope that more and more people are waking up to the fact that it will be up to them and not our illustrious leaders to make this country a better place.

  11. Margaret
    November 13, 2015

    Omission is often worse than misguided action. It can be failing to support colleagues when they make an important point which could have considerable impact .When something is shouted down, for example when Caroline Lucas made the very important point that you don’t borrow more than you can pay back , all could see that the buffoons bellowing loudly were far from sensible. They obviously believe that you should keep borrowing however weak you are.When something is not overtly stated it gives room for much wriggle room. We don’t want to be conned again.

    Reply Colleagues reacted as they did not because they disagreed with that one statement of Miss Lucas, but because it was so unusual for her to admit any such truth

  12. alan jutson
    November 13, 2015

    As I posted a few days ago, PATHETIC is the only way to describe the contents and thoughts behind that letter.

    John, I guess after all of the many years now you have attempted to be loyal, positive and cover for Mr Cameron as best you can, todays post must have been the one you really never wanted to write.
    I guess in your hope of hopes you dreamt that your so called Governments demands (what a laugh) would never ever, ever be this weak.

    Mr Cameron has now shown his true colours to the electorate, to his Party and to the EU.

    Like so many before him he is an EU man through, and through.

    He has shown he is a man with little vision, little passion for his Country, with absolutely no idea of any negotiation skills.

    One thing for sure, the only sensible thing anyone can do, who really wants us to have any chance of controlling our own Country, is to start campaigning to leave right now, because waiting for the results of these pathetic requests is absolutely pointless and a waste of good campaigning time, because even if he got everything he has requested, it is no where near good enough to be a game changer.

    If the Conservative Party splits over the EU, then Mr Cameron can only blame himself for not recognising and understanding the real facts and passion of the arguments.

    PATHETIC is the only word to describe that letter.

    Reply I am pleased that we are getting the referendum. My strategy of persuading the Conservative party to offer one has worked. I have been putting the case to leave for some time – have you not noticed?

    1. alan jutson
      November 13, 2015


      Yes, fully aware of what you have been doing John, but even you must have been shocked at the contents of the letter asking for so little.

    2. Brian Tomkinson
      November 13, 2015

      Reply to reply,
      You have continually qualified your comments to support the Conservative party line. I hope you will now be unequivocal in recommending leaving the EU and make your voice heard, because I don’t think it has so far.

      Reply Nonsense. I have given many speeches around the country arguing for Out. When have I ever written anything on this site praising the EU or suggesting we should stay in under the current Treaties?

      1. Brian Tomkinson
        November 14, 2015

        Reply to reply,
        You have regularly given credence to Cameron’s phoney ‘renegotiations’ on this site and been unwilling to clearly and unequivocally recommend leaving EU in referendum.

        Reply I have consistently said I wished to leave the current treaties. Why don’t you help us get out instead of attacking people on the right side?

    3. Leslie Singleton
      November 13, 2015

      Dear John–Since you mention it (and I have written this here before) No I don’t think many people have noticed. No Torygraph the other day so I had to read the Times and I noticed that there were two or three letters from MP’s and the like but I cannot remember one from you ever anywhere. Hannan had an article the other day (and a jolly good one) but one does not see much from you. As I said, I simply cannot understand this. Whether you like it or not everybody credits UKIP with having forced a Referendum.

    4. Narrow Shoulders
      November 13, 2015

      Reply to reply

      Your growing frustration with those leading the negotiation has been evident.

      How will you react if support for staying in becomes whipped in the future?

      Reply I will continue to speak and vote for Out

    5. Anonymous
      November 13, 2015

      Reply to reply: Thanks for your work. But please don’t forget the impact that Mr Farage had.

      I’m sure there would have been more defections from your party to his had Mr Cameron not caved in on the referendum.

  13. Mike Stallard
    November 13, 2015

    We, us, the British.
    Fog in Channel, Europe cut off!

    I have not heard (except for Mr Tusk being diplomatic) one major European player say what they actually want on any TV channel. Have you? I have seen several short clips. That is it. Is anyone listening to what the European leaders are saying? They are really quite vocal. The Five Presidents’ Report is hardly mentioned. You might as well talk about spaghetti as Spinelli.
    Until we start listening, instead of saying what we want, we will never understand the full menace of what the Eurozone stands for.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 13, 2015

      “Heavy Fog In Channel. Continent Cut Off” seems a perfectly reasonable Times headline to me (addressed as it was to UK readers).

      Surely just saying you cannot get to the continent as it is cut off by fog. It has unfairly become a symbol of Little Englanders (or rather Wide Open Worlders as I would see them).

      Surely an Isle of Wight paper might equally say:- “Ferry out of order, England” cut off” – meaning cut off from you readers of this paper.

  14. DaveM
    November 13, 2015

    The famous letter sums up everything about the PM. He wants to chillax his way through the next few years of his premiership without rocking any boats or doing any real work, so he can collect his CBI directorships and EU pension. He makes (what he thinks are) the right noises but does nothing.

    EAW – pushed the vote through in an underhand way to keep the status quo.

    ECHR – made noises but has done nothing.

    Fighting IS – has reduced the UK to a bit-player on the world stage due to weak foreign policy and unconvincing argument.

    Fairness for England – no need to expand on this forum.

    Payments to Brussels – under the table payment after a bit of a rant.

    EU – made up a load of pathetic demands, primed his mates in Europe to make it look as if he’s fighting for the UK.

    The list goes on.

    I’d have far more respect for him if he was honest and said “I like it as it is, I see no reason to change it, but I’ll give you referenda in a year or two; in the meantime I’ll actually get on and do a bit of work”.

    I’m glad his requests (you can hardly call them demands) are so weak. The people of this country, in large part, will focus on the immigration issue. Why? because they’re afraid. Not physically, that’s not in their nature, although they are annoyed by the fact that they can’t defend themselves without being arrested by the same police they pay to protect them from criminals. And they see that as a ECHR issue.

    They’re afraid because they see an unabated wave of humanity heading this way because of Merkel’s madness. They’re afraid because they see their communities and areas being forcibly changed against their will. They’re afraid because they think their kids etc will grow up in a world they don’t recognise. They’re angry because the taxes they pay to improve their lives are being squandered abroad. And the only way they can see to prevent this is by building a hypothetical wall around the country, and they know they can’t do this because of the EU.

    They know the benefit reduction will make no odds – the govt will just find a more expensive way to give immigrants housing, benefits, etc.

    He has no power to stand up to Brussels because he doesn’t want to.

    He’ll be remembered as the PM who legalised same-sex marriage.

    His weak list of so-called demands is a good thing; it is truly exposing the public to the fact that the UK is dictated to by Brussels and that the leader of our country has to beg and scrape and get told “no” by unelected foreign bureaucrats.

  15. rick hamilton
    November 13, 2015

    In a real negotiation you start off by demanding everything you want, however unacceptable the other side finds it. If successful, the negotiation ends up with both sides giving some ground and an agreement is reached which both can live with. If not, they walk away.

    Is Cameron telling them what he will settle for at the start, or does he actually want almost nothing?

    1. yosarion
      November 13, 2015

      Exactly when negotiating you start as far away from your Enemy as possible, so you then give as little as possible, We have started sat in the lap of the EUSSR already sucking its tit.

  16. agricola
    November 13, 2015

    In the past you have tended to give your leader the benefit of the doubts that we your contributors have forcefully expressed. Now I sense a feeling of disillusionment on your part, that having expressed all your loyalty to no avail you have been answered with a bucket of worms.

    Perhaps the shallow duplicity of CMD is much easier to see at a distance than it is when in day to day contact. my hope is that you will put all your intellectual strength behind getting the UK out of this sucking mire by cooperating with all other bodies of the same mind, irrespective of political groupings. The demands of your leader are so pathetic and out of touch with reality that they should be subjected to the most cutting satire that can be mustered.

    1. Anonymous
      November 13, 2015

      Satire is the province of the Left.

      Hence the absence of any when it comes to Mr Cameron.

      It was at its zenith under Mrs Thatcher. There’s a clue for you.

      1. agricola
        November 14, 2015

        A totally fallacious premise. Satire is a vehicle open to anyone to use.

        1. Richard
          November 16, 2015

          What satire do you recall that comes from a right wing point of view? Political satire seems to inevitably mock the right/traditionalists.

          Peter Hitchens covers this pretty well in his book ‘The Abolition of Britain’.

      2. Bazman
        November 14, 2015

        No satire in David Cameron? LOL!

  17. MickN
    November 13, 2015

    Is that it? is also what many of us have said about the so called EVEL fudge. In both instances we English are being sold down the river. I long for the day when this country has a proper leader.

    1. A.Sedgwick
      November 13, 2015

      Perhaps I am thick but how can the SNP scupper the vote for longer Sunday retail opening hours for England and Wales if EVEL is supposedly in place or is this another Cameron damp squib like reining in the BBC and of course this pathetic letter?

      reply. AsI explained England can now block things we don’t like but can’t pass things we want on our own

  18. Denis Cooper
    November 13, 2015

    JR, I wonder whether you have recently heard anything about the “Fresh Start” group initiated by Andrea Leadsom, Chris Heaton-Harris and George Eustice, which was claiming the support of about a hundred “moderate” Tory MPs?

    I’ve searched around but I can’t find any statement on whether or not Cameron’s current “reform” proposals would in their view constitute a sufficiently “fresh” start.

    Reply You wont hear anything. Leadsom and Eustice are Ministers so they are currently governed by collective responsibility. Conservatives for Britain are the key MP group these days, and we do not think the PM has asked for the fundamental change we need.

    1. forthurst
      November 13, 2015

      “Conservatives for Britain are the key MP group these days, and we do not think the PM has asked for the fundamental change we need.”

      Does that mean for Conservative Eurosceptics, the phase of awaiting the results of the renegotiation is now formally over and that the phase of campaigning to leave the EU will begin, irrespective of any further results of CMD’s renegotiation?

      CMD might pull a rabbit out of his hat on migrant worker benefits by agreeing with the EU that they will pay the benefits, possibly for a shorter period, and then the EU will come up later with a bill for an entirely unrelated something else which by pure co-incidence corresponds with the the worker subsidy?

    2. ChrisS
      November 13, 2015

      Reply to Reply

      Having signed up as a supporter of Conservatives for Britain willing to do some work for the campaign, I have heard nothing so far. Is anything actually happening yet to get a movement going outside the Westminster bubble ?

      Reply. yes. Local launches soon I am told

    3. Denis Cooper
      November 13, 2015

      Thanks, that will be why the most recent reference that came up was from nearly a year ago, with Chris Heaton-Harris writing this article:

      “You don’t have to change the treaties to change the EU”

      I find that the Conservatives for Britain website does not yet have any “official” response to Cameron’s letter to Tusk.

  19. stred
    November 13, 2015

    The out campaign could perhaps use the wonderful Peggy Lee song- ‘Is that all there is?’ as their anthem.

    Up early today to see what damage Abigail has done- none apparently.The many lovely weather ladies have started giving depressions female names. Someone said it is because the Irish and Germans do it already. Perhaps it is a policy to make us all like feel Euro citizens, united by trivia. But why should depressions be given names, while ant-cyclones are left as nameless non-entities; it seems very unequal. The ideal way to help us understand the weather would be to give depressions male names such as Storm Andrew, Storm Bert or Storm Cedric and the anti-cyclones, bringing fine or cold sunny weathe,r female names, such as Anti Anne, Anti Beattie, Anti Cath etc.

  20. Douglas Carter
    November 13, 2015

    There are very credible suggestions that what Mr. Cameron is aiming for is a fairly blatantly re-named variant of ‘Associate Membership’ as was suggested a few short years ago; the legislative strictures of which have been under assembly within the corridors of Brussels since.

    If that is true, then ostensibly it ought to put the ‘Leave’ Campaign in a stronger position. The Associate Membership structures as have been suggested thus far almost exactly represent the variant of EU membership that vociferous Europhiles have been warning against for many years. As far as AM has been touted so far, it almost exactly matches the flawed ‘In Europe, but unable to influence it’ that they have highlighted as completely unacceptable.

    And yet, because those same Europhiles – as Mr. Redwood has reminded us of recently – decline to enter the debate in a public manner, they refuse to perceive the discontinuity in their stance. I have no doubt that they will wish to portray this re-named ‘Associate Membership’ – ‘The British Model’ – as essentially identical to continuity EU membership. It isn’t. Specifically as suggested thus far, it’s a diminished, captive satellite status which will doubtless prove unsustainable in the longer term – almost deliberately a tensioned springboard to impel states into full EU membership with signatory status to Schengen and membership of the Single Currency, among other tenets.

    I have no doubt it will prove a dangerously flawed and highly unstable political position to sustain, and similarly it should be fairly simple to demonstrate those flaws and dangers to the electorate. It would also appear that Mr. Cameron’s cards have been shown, and that he intends to attach his political campaigning to the ‘Remain’ side. (Not that I was ever in any doubt to the contrary).

    ‘Leave’ Campaigners should take note that they have effectively been given notice of liberation to commence Campaigning publically – if they have been presented with Party limitations to do so up to this point this week. Mr. Cameron appears to have set his intentions. The truce is therefore ended.

  21. Bert Young
    November 13, 2015

    It seems to me that it would be better to get rid of Cameron before attempting any further negotiations with the EU . He is unreliable , committed to remain in the EU , not prepared to have members in the Cabinet who might have different views and ,above all , not able to recognise the need to restore our sovereignty . Yesterday the faux pas was announced that the Prime Minister of Holland would negotiate for us !

    What a mistake it was to allow this inexperienced boy straight from Brasenose into Conservative Central Office . He may have arrived full of ambition and on the back of a good degree , however , he should have first faced the realities of life by working in the real world , mixing with down to earth ordinary people and earning a living by pitching himself into the conditions of rivalry . His short spell in Public Relations only added to his understanding of bluff and words . Michael Howard should have sent him packing .

    As it stands , I – who only voted for a ” Common Market ” , face the possibility of many more years in the stranglehold of EU bureaucracy and the extent to which we are being milked by the decision of highly paid and pensioned EU staff . The EU auditors have for years refused to “sign off” their accounts due to the many errors and “unknowns” in their dealings , in spite of this , there is no sign of discipline or change .

    For me , whose future is limited by my present years , I can only hope to press and and play a part of getting out of this mess ; I do so because I have a young child who I want to live and grow up in a genuine democracy .

  22. stred
    November 13, 2015

    Please excuse bad punctuation, spelling and word order. My Windows 10, broadband computer deletes and cuts me off if taking more than a minute to check properly.

    1. Bazman
      November 14, 2015

      That will be the FBI monitoring you via Windows 10. Paranoid? Remember all that legal stuff you OK’d? When installing 10? Google it. Never mind you have nothing to hide so what is the fear? I have nothing to say so don’t need free speech.

  23. Old Albion
    November 13, 2015

    From the beginning I said this would be a charade. I predicted Cameron returning to blighty waving his Chamberlinesque scrap of paper.
    He asked for little and will get nothing but a promise or two, which will be forgotten within a year.
    There is no debate. You either accept the EU for what it is and wishes to become. Or you vote ‘leave’
    All voters should consider one thing very carefully. If you vote to remain, you’ll NEVER get another chance.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 13, 2015

      Well, anybody who is minded to accept the EU for what it is should pay attention to what Mario Draghi has just said about what it is, yesterday:

      “Draghi was responding to questions by two senior European Parliament members who urged him to take a stance on efforts by British Prime Minister David Cameron to secure recognition that the EU is a union with more than one currency.

      “The treaty is very clear on this. It says that the union’s single currency is the euro,” the ECB chief said, after saying he did not want to comment on a political question.”

      As the treaties stand anyone voting to remain in the EU would be making a mistake unless they also wanted us to adopt its currency, sooner or later.

      I have been saying for about five years now that the real threat to the UK is not as much from the DEEPENING of the eurozone as from its WIDENING.

  24. Brian Tomkinson
    November 13, 2015

    Most of your readers will have been far from surprised, let alone disappointed, by the letter to ‘His Excellency’. Unlike you we saw no hope for fundamental reform of the UK’s relationship with the rest of the EU whilst remaining members. We have known, and told you again and again, that the Prime Minister’s Bloomberg speech was just the beginning of a re-run of the Wilson 1975 referendum confidence trick even to the extent that it was a Prime Minister struggling with a party divided over the subject.The blueprint is being methodically followed. The main actors have all been given their lines and the charade is moving towards the main scenes and finale.
    I hope that we shall now see much more overt opposition to our on-going EU membership, regardless of the outcome of the meagre ‘renegotiations’, from you and your colleagues and provide clear, unequivocal argument for the optimistic outlook of a self-governing, independent country trading with the world.

  25. jeffery
    November 13, 2015

    It is difficult to see what means there can be to stop Euro area member states outvoting the UK and the other Euro outs anytime they like.

    Is this not the fundamental problem? With the euro central to the EU, what sort of arrangement is even conceivable for the two countries with an actual opt-out?

  26. forthurst
    November 13, 2015

    “Is that it?”

    How has it taken six months to come up with that? I would have thought the sublime genius in charge of the Cabinet Office could have knocked that out during one of his daily perambulations round St James’s Park.

  27. JimS
    November 13, 2015

    The reason most politicians want to be in the EU is that can produce legislation by the back door that binds future parliaments.

    The solution to EU benefit tourism is for payments to be only made to nationals – same rules across the EU – the French pay the French, the Poles pay the Poles, wherever they live in the EU. UK pensioners in Spain don’t get Spanish pensions do they?

  28. Mike Wilson
    November 13, 2015

    Why do people keep wondering which side Cameron will support? Who gives a monkey’s what David Cameron thinks? I don’t. I’ll make my own mind up, thanks.

    That is the beauty of a referendum. One man, one vote. His vote is no more important than anyone else’s.

    Reply Persuading Mr Cameron to vote for Out would be helpful but is not essential to our cause.

  29. Vanessa
    November 13, 2015

    Also what is missing in the whole of British politics is some healthy DEBATE. We are not allowed to debate any of the directives and rubbish from Brussels – no comma, no full stop, nothing can be changed – just rubber-stamped. This is not democracy.

    Nothing seems to have a full and thorough debate in the Commons with all BACK-benchers any longer. Nobody seems to be included in any decisions except the “precious 4 inner circle” Not good enough. Nothing seems to be ANNOUNCED to Parliament any longer but announced to the MEDIA in whatever country the PM is visiting. NOT GOOD ENOUGH. What is the point of the 650 members if their opinions and ideas are not sought? This is American Presidential politics.

    1. Vanessa
      November 13, 2015

      P.S. The Lisbon Treaty has a “self-amending” clause which means any “promise” he does get could be changed in a few months. NOT GOOD ENOUGH !

  30. David C
    November 13, 2015

    Please photocopy this article and send to every household in Britain. It summarises very clearly why we should leave the EU and will be understood and supported by a majority of people.

  31. Colin Hart
    November 13, 2015

    Me this morning over breakfast: “What does Cameron think he is doing presenting such a pathetic list of demands?”

    Wise woman: “He thinks we are all so stupid we will go for whatever he gets.”

  32. Bill
    November 13, 2015

    I did find an online full copy of David Cameron’s letter instead of relying on the summaries. See It seems to me there is a bit more in his letter than commentators have stated (see the bullet points in the section ‘These principles should include recognition…’)

    I am hopeful, for instance, that the push for more powers to national parliaments would allow other topics to be dealt with – for instance energy costs and fishing quotas.

    But perhaps I have my head in the clouds and cynicism about the negotiating process is a better response? Certainly, when I hear the BBC reporting hostile words from some of the minnows in the EU, I wonder whether this is a set-up and if the minnows will be swallowed up by German support for the UK and that this will allow Cameron to claim a victory against the odds.

    We do need protective mechanisms or institutions to look after the interests of the non-Euro folk.

  33. Chris
    November 13, 2015

    I hope that you will accept this lengthy post as it is something that I feel very strongly about: the issue of us leaving the EU. I believe, Mr Redwood, that you and other Eurosceptic MPs have been pawns in a game/charade Mr Cameron has been playing, and I do not wonder that you are now disappointed.

    I wondered if you had seriously considered another possible interpretation of events which basically revolves round the whole issue of Associate Membership, the Spinelli Group document, and the 5 Presidents’ Report, and the “manufacturing” of a drama in the negotiating process, despite a predetermined outcome negotiated behind closed doors between the UK and the EU bureaucrats.

    The prize for Mr Cameron’s valiant “struggles” will be Associate Membership, which will apparently be spun as precisely what he thinks undecideds/people in the middle will want i.e. a middle way, between 2 “extremes”. He will be portrayed as Mr Moderate. However, on closer inspection of the technical detail of AM, it will be disadvantageous to the UK e.g. further loss of sovereignty, further mass immigration, ever increasing regulation, ever growing commitment to providing money to EU coffers, and ultimately the destination of joining the euro. Also the prospect of being shackled to a dying and outmoded customs union that is inward looking with poor growth or stagnation, and endemic high unemployment in certain Member States.

    You are probably very well aware of Richard North’s blog which has examined this idea of an apparent charade/theatre of David Cameron’s, and it is on this that I have based my ideas.

    It is interesting that some in the Press have picked this up already e.g.
    “…But I have heard senior continental diplomats concede that this particular show must be staged on Cameron’s terms. “Brussels”, they say, must look a little defeated for the prime minister to act the role of conquering hero…”
    “…David Cameron’s strategy for winning the referendum he hopes will keep Britain in the European Union is to present himself as “the man in the middle” between the fervently pro and fervently anti-EU brigades….”

    From a personal point of view, I abhor spin and untruthfulness, which I believe took off in the Blair years and which not only terminally damaged the integrity of the political process, but has left a well nigh indelible stain on the perception of politicians in the public’s eye. I believe that it is highly likely that a broad “conclusion” or deal with EU bureaucrats has already been reached, on the basis of Associate Membership, and that these bureaucrats have agreed to play their part in the theatre, as hinted at by The Guardian source. I will vote Leave in any referendum, not only because I am opposed to the founding principles of the EU as developed in successive treaties, but also because of my complete lack of trust in David Cameron. I simply do not believe a word he says and I will certainly not accept any promissory notes/assurances from him about any future arrangements with the EU.

    Reply I am no pawn and am not disappointed. I wanted an In/Out referendum so I can vote for Out, and that is what I have.

  34. oldtimer
    November 13, 2015

    May we conclude, on this evidence, that Mr Cameron was actually in favour of the treaty of Lisbon, despite what may have been said at the time? IIRC Conservative party policy at the time was officially against the Lisbon treaty.

  35. nigel
    November 13, 2015

    The EU accounts have still not been signed off by their auditors. Anyone, other than a politician, formally proposing that the general public (in the form of taxpayers) continue to subscribe to this organisation, would find themselves banged up for a long time.

  36. Qubus
    November 13, 2015

    Almost nothing asked for that will not, to a large extent, be granted, following an artificial display of energetic bargaining, to be then trumpeted by the UK government as a great achievement.
    The correct bargaining ploy would have been to ask for far, far more than could have been expected, then not to gain the requested concessions and treaty changes and for the referendum to return an “out ” verdict. Then we should doubtlessly have been given a second referendum, when we would have been given far more acceptable conditions, which the voters would have accepted.

    Sadly, our PM is a smooth, superficial, insincere, very articulate but almost characterless politician. Despite the man’s obvious shortcomings, I just cannot see why the civil servants who advised him did not have the good sense to recommend asking for far more than they could hope to get; isn’t it the standard bargaining ploy? Perhaps the PM should have got the BMA to have advised him.
    Oh for a conviction politician of the calibre of Mrs Thatcher. How right she was.

  37. Atlas
    November 13, 2015

    I agree with your sentiments John.

    The contents of Cameron’s letter are feeble. As the author of the letter, this makes him look feeble in turn. A new Neville?

    I’m just grateful that Winston took over from Neville, so that I can be here to say this to you.

  38. adams
    November 13, 2015

    I only was shown Rees Mogg and Jenkin giving the “demands ” a justified hard time .
    Nothing from the Vichy Liebour party . Were they even there for the debate ? What line are they taking on the renegotiation ? Why are they so devoted to Britain being run by the likes of Schmidt and Juncker ? Disgusting !

  39. Paul Cohen
    November 13, 2015

    Mr Cameron is not living in the UK, he is living in La La Land.

    He has already compromised himself and now us by stating he is”heart and soul” in favour of staying in the EU, before consultations have even begun, and he needs to bought to task for doing this stupid act.

    I suspect that yourself and others will have predicted this situation arising and have a plan B ready – I certainly hope so!

  40. Kenneth
    November 13, 2015

    What I found odious was the apparently choreographed position of Donald Tusk who said “it will be really difficult to find an agreement”.

    He takes us for fools.

    There is nothing ‘difficult’ with tinkering that leaves us in virtually the same situation, and he knows it.

    In the Commons on Tuesday, David Lidington used Tusk’s “really difficult” phrase in response to the Jenkins “Is that it?” question. No doubt the Tusk phrase will be used again and again to create a false impression that this is a real negotiation.

    Bernard Jenkins’ “Is that it?” question was widely reported in the press and the BBC followed suit, but the reporting was biased.

    The BBC made this statement on its website:

    “…his demands were met with ridicule by some Conservative Eurosceptics, with backbencher Bernard Jenkin stunning MPs by saying: “Is that it?”

    I have seen the video and did not detect any stunned MPs. The BBC makes Mr Jenkins’ comment appear extreme. No. Using valued judgements in phrases like “his demands”, “Eurosceptics” and “stunning MPs” is simply biased.

    All I can hope is that those who want us to restore our sovereignty and democracy complain and report on this kind of bias every time it happens. It could make a difference.

  41. William Long
    November 13, 2015

    Its an ill wind that blows nobody any good, and the positive I see from Mr Cameron’s shopping list, is that it is so weak it gives real and clear ammunition to those of us who see no future at all in EU membership.
    Let us hope that the ‘Out’ campaigns take full advantage.

  42. MPC
    November 13, 2015

    I don’t feel that contributors to this blog need to be angry or negative. The tide is moving in our favour as more and more people recognise that we have all the detailed arguments in favour of restoring our democracy. I am finding more buy in at work, for example, when trying to persuade colleagues to think differently about our country’s future. Even the BBC seems to be moving slowly towards a more impartial stance, for the most part.

    We all need to play our part in supporting Mr Redwood by being unfailingly polite and persuasive with undecided people at the non Westminster level.

    Another positive aspect is that the privacy of the Referendum voting booth will in due course encourage rational and evidence based voting by those who would otherwise be reluctant to favour EU exit in public.

    1. The PrangWizard
      November 14, 2015

      Mention of the voting booth reminds me that when I voted in the GE the booth itself was no longer what I had been used to. Instead of a fully enclosed curtained cubicle, this one had three sections around a central pole, with not very deep solid dividing positions. The writing spaces could be seen by others in the room, as well as those at the positions if they sneaked a side glance.

      I don’t know which bright spark thought this would be a good idea, but in this physical sense it is no longer secret in my locality.

  43. ChrisS
    November 13, 2015

    Now that the basis for the “Renegotiation” has been formerly announced it is good to see you able to “come out” as it were and announce for certain here that you will be campaigning to leave the EU. Most of us posting on your excellent blog were already sure that this would be your decision, given that it has been obvious for some time that Mr Cameron was unwilling to demand any more than his colleagues in Europe would be prepared to give easily.

    Naturally at the moment they are all throwing up their hands and making it seem impossible to meet his “demands” so that when they do concede on the four points, it can be presented as a big victory for the PM. The whole thing looks very much like a PR stitch up with the outcome agreed in advance. Is that surprising given Cameron’s career prior prior to becoming a politician !

    I don’t think that the electorate will be so easily fooled and, given that there will be nothing in the agreement that will address sovereignty or the number one issue which is uncontrolled migration, there now has to be at least a 55% chance that we will win.

    They say all political careers end in failure. Cameron was obviously hoping to be the exception to that rule by deciding to leave at the end of his second term as PM. However, when he loses the referendum, history will certainly classify him as having failed his biggest test and I suspect he will be of the same opinion himself.

  44. lojolondon
    November 13, 2015

    Well said, John. you touched on the fundamental reason why a negotiation will never be satisfactory for people who want democracy to reside in Westminster. As long as EU parliament and EU courts take precedence over UK ones, there is no limit to what the EU can do, red lines, agreements, contracts, settlements, commitments – all mean nothing. As we saw with the Euro bailout, a day after signing an agreement with the UK, a bill could pass through the EU parliament and it will take precedence, supported by EU courts. All we want is out, nothing else will do.

  45. BigD
    November 13, 2015


    As you say the current decision is binary – if the UK votes to stay in, it will inevitably end in Euro membership & a political union.

    It is interesting to watch the recent lecture (30th Sept) at LSE on The Future of Britain & Europe, given by Prof Simon Hix, Harold Laski Professor of Political Science, and hardly a Tory/UKIPper, who concludes that, unless the UK throws itself 110% into the EU, re-engaging in the EU Council, joining the migrant burden-sharing scheme & eventually joining the Euro, then there is no difference between being outside the EU (as a Canada, trading with a neighbouring federal United States) & remaining in the EU as a 2nd-tier, non-Eurozone country (which seems to be the PM’s aspiration)

    See: for the video or audio podcast & slides

  46. formula57
    November 13, 2015

    Were I convinced that Mr. Cameron actually wishes the Leave side to win, I would say the letter to our leader Mr. Tusk is a masterstroke aimed at getting the result he seeks.

  47. Bob
    November 13, 2015

    As I said before Mr Redwood, Frau Merkel already told David Cameron in advance what he may ask for. The renegotiation plan was just a sop to conservative Tories.

    I can’t believe you actually fell for it.

  48. Peter R
    November 13, 2015

    So many words so many voices
    so few facts to enable choices
    so many vested interests hidden
    will roughshod over us to be ridden
    stop taking the EU sleeping pills
    awake and see the real true ills
    tomorrows children history too
    undoubtedly will take the view
    we failed to secure a future sound
    but buried our Nation underground
    So lift your heads and vote to GO
    For staying in a resounding NO

  49. AndyC
    November 13, 2015

    Strikes me we’re winning, aren’t we?

    Eurosceptics need to stick together now. Conservatives need to stop regarding UKIP as a bloody nuisance and recognise the huge impact it and its people have had, regardless of the number of MPs it has.

    Equally, UKIP types like myself should recognise that, regardless of the idiocy/mendacity of its leadership, there are good people in the Conservative party, whose efforts should be applauded and supported. Not least our host.

    Let’s win the battle, that’s what matters. Leave the jesuitical arguments over who’s more eurosceptic than who to the memoirs!

    (I now expect a firm kicking from all sides, lol)

  50. bigneil
    November 13, 2015

    “OK Dave – -we give in – – stop pleading – – we give in to ALL your demands – -you CAN have the official EU biscuits changed – -but it will cost you another 200bn a year and you must accept 300 million illegals into Britain. – – -now get off your knees and stop grovelling.”

    Dave returns to tell the people “I got a better deal !”

  51. Lindsay McDougall
    November 13, 2015

    Very thorough and very well put. So now the 64,000 pound question: Granted that the Prime Minister has not asked for any changes of substance, and granted that he may negotiate away even some of the things he has asked for, are you content that this Prime Minister should continue in office?

    I ask this question because there are dangers in not deposing him and because only the Conservative Party’s MPs can do the deed. Only a different Prime Minister would increase the red lines of our renegotiation.

    If Mr Cameron is not deposed, we will experience the full weight of the pro-EU establishment and its EU subsidised media allies using lots of FUD to sell us a rotten deal.

    I remind Mr Redwood how difficult it will be to win this referendum in these circumstances. Cast your mind back to the Farage vs Clegg debates. Nigel absolutely shellacked him and won the argument hands down. Yet the same big lie about 3,000,000 jobs disappearing if we leave the EU pops up again and again. It’s like one of those old trick bottles that has such a low centre of gravity that, no matter how often you knock it down, it resumes the upright position.

    I don’t think that Party loyalty comes into it. Conservative MPs must do what is right for the country.

  52. Denis Cooper
    November 13, 2015

    Even while Cameron girds his loins and whets his sword in preparation for the coming titanic struggle against the fiend of relentless EU integration:

    “MEPs seek to harmonize EU election law”

  53. Denis Cooper
    November 13, 2015

    Scathing, and from somebody on the same side:

    “There are those that claim that Cameron will eventually ask for more things and more significant things. But as matters stand, in his formal public statement of his demands he has not asked for any of the things the Conservatives undertook to deliver, regarding the EU, in their 1997, 2001, 2005 or 2010 General Election manifestos. And despite the Conservative Party objecting to the Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon Treaties, in its formal list of demands submitted to the EU the Conservative government is not asking to repatriate any powers given up in these Treaties.”

    1. Lindsay McDougal
      November 14, 2015

      Quite so, and logically you should add Maastricht to that list.

  54. The PrangWizard
    November 13, 2015

    Cameron is a pupil of the school of telling the audience of the day whatever it hopes to hear. In that way, as I have remarked before, he betrays everyone in the end, even his loyal supporters.

    On the EU, he should be ignored, set adrift, abandoned, and his duplicity rejected. I imagine even the Europhiles are uneasy. He is not to be relied upon on any issue, motivated, as I believe he is, purely by self-preservation and ego, and he’s master of double talk.

    On the issue of our relationship with the EU, the UK’s and particularly England’s only way towards any kind of renaissance, of spirit, will and identity is to be OUT OF THE EU. Campaign for our independence and freedom, VOTE TO LEAVE, VOTE FOR OUT.

    There may be many in the Conservative party who believe Cameron was a big asset in the election, but most people I know voted not so much for him, but as the only place to go to avoid the very likely alliance of the SNP and Labour under Marxist Miliband, which we would have had otherwise. In many ways a vote for England’s identity too.

  55. Edwardm
    November 13, 2015

    The utter lack of ambition in the woefully superficial negotiation desires set out by Cameron can only come from someone who has little concern for the interests and the sovereignty of the country and the people whom he is supposed to represent. And one whom it seems wishes to minimise any upset to the foreign intrusive EU.

    What happened to the promise of CAP reform in return for the money Blair gave away ?
    Why doesn’t Cameron now want to withdraw from the Lisbon Treaty ?

    We need a Prime Minister who stands for his people and governs in his own right, not sub-servient to the EU.
    Time to get rid of Cameron and his clique.

    November 13, 2015

    I hear Mr Cameron at Wembley looks forward to a British-Indian Prime Minister. You seem to have missed it JR by an accident of birth. Most of us have. Up to press anyway.

  57. Jon
    November 13, 2015

    Leaving the EU means appealing to the majority, or also called the Centre Ground.

    It’s not about a group of men rubbing their hands together in anxiety and moaning amongst themselves.

    Whilst I detest the SNP their positive message drive has been shown to work, okay borrowed from the cult and hard sales arena but it works.

    How bad do we want this? A moaning talking shop won’t do it.

  58. Anonymous
    November 13, 2015

    The main worry with nearly all (99.99 %) of people is open borders/mass immigration.

    John. To feel the deep sense of unease and queasiness that opening up the UK to the harshness of global realities brings you have to be a person of normal ability and normal means.

    David Cameron and John Osborne will never understand the feeling. They are protected by wealth and status.

    There are only limited ways in which mass immigration can go .

    Mass immigration means mass competition for jobs, opportunities and resources. Messrs Cameron and Osborne (as Conservatives) will fully understand the wage compression that mass immigration must mean through an over supply of labour.

    There is only one way, therefore, to keep our standard of living where it is. That is by means of state subsidy (hence increasing national debt) or enforced minimum wages.

    Otherwise our standard of living goes into freefall. They young and the very old are already experiencing this.

    I understand that I have no special place in the world and if my country’s leaders decide that I am no different to someone newly arrived from Africa then I have to expect things to get harder for me. After all, what have I done to deserve the good things I have had ?

    What I can’t abide, however, is the lies.

    etc ed

  59. Brian Tomkinson
    November 13, 2015

    Should I take it that by not posting my contributions you are telling me that you do not want my opinions?

  60. Chris S
    November 13, 2015

    This evening I went to our Host’s lecture at All Souls, Oxford followed by one of a series of seminars the University is running on Brexit. The subject of this one was the implications of Brexit for our Financial Services industry.

    It was most interesting to meet John Redwood and several other contributors to this blog. His lecture was an entertaining and interesting expansion of the Radio 4 broadcast that most of us will already listened too.

    The seminar, however, was a perfect rehearsal by the Yes campaign.

    I felt that it was little more than scaremongering masquerading as factual information. Thankfully our host remained to inject some balance into the discussion. It was not the time or the place to engage in detailed argument but at another venue I believe it would have been relatively easy to discredit the points made and to make a satisfactory case for Brexit, certainly enough to undo any damage done by the proponents.

    It is a pity I don’t live closer to Oxford otherwise I would make the trip to the final seminar in the series on the 20th November titled Brexit: The Scottish and Irish dimensions. If anyone who posts here is able to go I am sure they will find it most interesting.

    Thanks to John Redwood and the organisers and speakers for putting on a very interesting and worthwhile event.

    What the evening has taught me is that, in order to successfully win a vote to leave the EU, we are going to have to organise, or go along to, many meetings up and down the country and argue our case against what will be a carefully orchestrated campaign of bluff, scaremongering and dodgy statistics.

    I am convinced we can win the argument as long as the various factions on the No side have the sense to put aside their prejudices and disagreements and coordinate their activities.

    Reply Thanks for coming and for supporting. As always the Stay in people had nothing positive to offer, and seemed bogged down in the legal complications we intend to renounce.

  61. Original Richard
    November 13, 2015

    With millions of people from the Middle East and Africa invited into the EU by Germany and Sweden, and with borders closing a a result, I find it amazing that Mr.Cameron had no proposal for the control of our borders.

    So this means that Mr. Cameron will be quite happy for these people to come to the UK in uncontrolled numbers once they have been given EU passports to take advantage of our very generous welfare and free NHS etc..

    To these migrants we also need to add those who will be coming from Turkey and all the countries of Eastern Europe as far as the Urals when these countries join the EU – an expansion of the EU which continues to be Conservative Party policy.

    [BTW, never mind the “in-work” benefits what about controlling the “out-of-work” benefits ?]

    If the UK votes to remain in the EU based upon Mr. Cameron’s proposals we’re heading for serious problems.

    Without doubt the safest option will be to ensure that we leave the EU as soon as it is possible.

  62. Chris
    November 13, 2015

    I hope that you will accept this lengthy post as it is something that I feel very strongly about: the issue of us leaving the EU. I believe, Mr Redwood, that you and other Eurosceptic MPs have been pawns in a game/charade Mr Cameron has been playing, and I do not wonder that you are now disappointed.
    I wondered if you had seriously considered another possible interpretation of events which basically revolves round the whole issue of Associate Membership, the Spinelli Group document, and the 5 Presidents’ Report, and the “manufacturing” of a drama in the negotiating process, despite a predetermined outcome negotiated behind closed doors between the UK and the EU bureaucrats.

    The prize for Mr Cameron’s valiant “struggles” will be Associate Membership, which will apparently be spun as precisely what he thinks undecideds/people in the middle will want i.e. a middle way, between 2 “extremes”. He will be portrayed as Mr Moderate. However, on closer inspection of the technical detail of AM, it will be disadvantageous to the UK e.g. further loss of sovereignty, further mass immigration, ever increasing regulation, ever growing commitment to providing money to EU coffers, and ultimately the destination of joining the euro. Also the prospect of being shackled to a dying and outmoded customs union that is inward looking with poor growth or stagnation, and endemic high unemployment in certain Member States.

    You are probably very well aware of a recent analysis of this on a website that I am apparently not permitted to name. It dealt with this idea of an apparent charade/theatre of David Cameron’s.

    It is interesting that some in the Press have picked this up already in The Guardian and Independent. I gave the actual quotes and link in a previous posting earlier today that was not apparently permitted. Very puzzling as the information is in the public domain in respectable newspapers.

    From a personal point of view, I abhor spin and untruthfulness, which I believe took off in the Blair years and which not only terminally damaged the integrity of the political process, but has left a well nigh indelible stain on the perception of politicians in the public’s eye. I believe that it is highly likely that a broad “conclusion” or deal with EU bureaucrats has already been reached, on the basis of Associate Membership, and that these bureaucrats have agreed to play their part in the theatre, as hinted at by The Guardian source. I will vote Leave in any referendum, not only because I am opposed to the founding principles of the EU as developed in successive treaties, but also because of my complete lack of trust in David Cameron. I simply do not believe a word he says and I will certainly not accept any promissory notes/assurances from him about any future arrangements with the EU.

    Reply I am no pawn and am not disappointed. I wanted an In/Out referendum so I can vote for Out, and that is what I now have.

  63. bluedog
    November 14, 2015

    ‘..There is nothing in the proposals to allow us to repatriate our much ravaged fishing grounds’. A grievous error, Dr JR. Here is a point that rings a very loud bell in rural Scotland, where so many villages were dependent on the fishing trade before the underlying resource was handed to the EU. In terms of the continuing debate against the pro-EU SNP, no single issue could be exploited more easily to win support for the Union and Brexit. One thing is certain, if an independent Scotland were to join the EU, the fishing grounds would remain an EU common. The SNP would have no chance of repatriating the resource.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 14, 2015

      Does it still ring a very loud bell? If so, surely Owen Paterson would be a good person to persuade the Scots, that is if he comes out for Brexit and he is allowed to campaign in Scotland without being shouted down or beaten up.

      1. Lindsay McDougall
        November 16, 2015

        Talking of Owen Paterson, he is currently complaining that the three Conservative MPs, contrary to House of Commons tradition, have not been reappointed to the European Rules Committee. The reason given by the Government is that the MPs concerned voted in favour of the Civil Service being forced to remain ‘in purdah’ during the run up to the EU referendum.

        I have recently been told by my constituency Executive Committee that the Conservative Party is officially neither for or against leaving the EU. On enquiry, I have been told that I am free to forward e-mails from Vote Leave to personal friends but not to all of the members in my branch and that I may not sign my e-mails ‘Lindsay McDougall, Chairman of Hook Conservatives’.

        Meanwhile, the Prime Minister is completely free to whittle down our renegotiating position to near vanishing point and to hint to the EU that he is prepared to compromise even on that, and he is also free to say that he will vote to stay in the EU.

        Bear in mind that 70% of Conservative Party members want to leave the EU. Does is not seem that the view of the Prime Minister and CCHQ as to what constitutes neutrality is just a teeny bit skewed?

        Needless to say, I am not gong to take any notice of CCHQ’s ruling.

  64. Ken Moore
    November 15, 2015

    Okay with that out of the way perhaps Dr Redwood can reflect on the accuracy of the warnings given that Mr Cameron is a slippery re-treaded Blair creature that in a heartbeat would hoodwink the British public into accepting a phony ‘re-negotiated’ EU deal. His judgement and word is worthless. Just like his hero – ‘the master’ Mr Anthony Blair’s was.

    He talks a good game but never comes up with the goods..perhaps because he has never been involved with making anything tangible in his entire working life. His stock in trade is spin and lies.

    The whole concept of re-negotiation was a sham from the start. The Bloomberg speech (not written by David Cameron) was insincere and a sop to those in his party that were still starry eyed enough to believe he actually had a euro sceptic bone in his body.

    He doesn’t ..Mr Cameron would actually be more comfortable in the Labour party if those inside didn’t object to his plummy voice. The clue is he leaves capable and experienced talent like John Redwood on the back benches then anoints half of the old new Labour cabinet.
    The (word left out ed) Keith Vaz and Mr Millburn ?…what are they doing in a Conservative run government ?

    Actually David Cameron is quite happy and relaxed with the present EU relationship and views the referendum as a minor setback to achieving his multi cultural high fiving Mr Junker dreams.
    The humiliation and erosion of national identity of Eu membership is welcomed by him – payback for the as he sees it…shameful imperial past that he and his Notting Hill friend set so despise.
    He thinks and acts like all Liberals do – he despises his own country, feels embarrassed by his own privilege and wishes to see us submerged into a politically correct socialist super state. He just doesn’t think we are good enough to go it alone.
    He is blind to the problems of mass immigration, unable to grasp simple maths that tells a 8th grade schoolboy you cannot grow a population exponentially over time without courting disaster. He is another disaster for Britain.

    Reply Mr Cameron is getting us a referendum and kept us out of the Fiscal Treaty

    1. Chris
      November 15, 2015

      In absolute agreement with you, KM.

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