The Spanish election confirms the trend – Euro austerity policies are very unpopular

The Partido Popular  (Conservatives) and the Socialist party (Labour) have been the two major parties alternating in government in Spain for many years. Last week-end they managed to secure just one half of the vote between them.  The “winners” got under 29% of the popular vote, and were left well short of a majority of seats.

Two new challenger parties shot to prominence. Podemos is as party of the left against austerity, which also argued for a referendum on Catalan independence. They secured 21% of the vote. Cuidadanos, a party of the centre right, gained 14% of the vote. As a result there is no obvious stable coalition that can form the government. The only two parties with sufficient seats to form a coalition government are the Partido Popular and the socialists.  Unlike Germany where such a grand coalition has been constructed by Frau Merkel, it seems unlikely these two opponents can work together.

Part of the solution to the problem of how to govern Spain now rests in the hands of the Catalans. The attractiveness of the Podemos offer of a referendum on Catalan independence reduced the numbers voting for independence parties. The Republican left of Catalonia won nine seats, and the independence party called Democracy and Freedom secured 8 seats. The Catalan nationalists and their friends in Podemos will presumably try to gain an official referendum on independence as their price for co-operating in any government. Podemos is in the paradoxical position of wanting a referendum but wanting to oppose independence, and now has 12 Catalan seats which places it in the middle of this row.

It seems unlikely that a minority government of PP and Cuidadanos would be willing to do a deal on a referendum for Catalonia, as they are strongly against. This makes it more difficult for them to win votes as they seek to build from their strong minority vote, which would be thirteen short of winning on its own .

In contrast a coalition of the Socialists and Podemos could just get over the line if they could reach agreement with the Catalan parties. That would be no problem for Podemos, but would require a change of heart by the Socialists.

Catalonia may still not get her referendum, but this result has put it back in play. It serves as  a timely reminder of how the EU project can be very destabilising of member states. The dreadful economic performance visited on Spain by the Euro, the austerity policies and the poor regulation of her banks by the Euro authorities has undermined support for the two main pro Union parties. I am myself, of course, entirely neutral on the constitutional future of Spain and Catalonia. It is a matter for them. The recent election has shown yet again how damaging to traditional parties the EU scheme can be, and how that in turn then leads people to question their loyalties to country. It makes working out why these traditional major parties are so keen on this political project, when it does such damage to them as well as to their countries. We saw this in Greece with the collapse of the two main parties there, and may see this spreading to France and elsewhere in the Eurozone.


  1. JJE
    December 22, 2015

    I would also note that the two newer parties are led by younger leaders and not yet tainted by perceptions of corruption so there is a generational shift happening.

    Podemos have said they will not back a Socialist party government under any circumstances. Ciudadanos will vote against in the first vote but are leaving their options open thereafter. Although they are originally a Catalan based party they strongly oppose Catalan independence.

    The negotiations are likely to be lengthy but I forecast there will be no binding independence vote in Catalonia this side of another election.

    1. JJE
      December 22, 2015

      Oops – should have said Podemos will not support PP – Partido Popular.

  2. Margaret
    December 22, 2015

    You make the point that it is difficult to understand why the scheme is so popular with the major parties when it is so damaging to the Country and JJE comments that the newer parties are led by a younger generation. This fragmentation is the theme in the UK with the SNP and devolution. Why is it happening when divide and rule is the oldest power gaining tactic known. The EU scheme is an oil and water project ,yet over the years we have come to sympathise with many of the problems our European friends are experiencing and can regard the way they handle the present with the knowledge that citizens all over the EU cannot understand what is happening to them.

    Why is the John Lennon ‘ Imagine’ world as one song , not the new golden age as he saw it. Different mind sets have their power to influence . We older people can enter into new situations with the combination of the traditional , recent historical and can compare with the new. The younger generation can only live with the present stronger influences which shape their perceptions.

    I have often made the point that we are not outside the animal kingdom and we only need to observe herds and shoals and collections of creatures to get a glimpse of how natural instincts and behaviour dominates. We can as humans think we are different and superior , but forces outside our control urge us to fight for survival, either by aggression or grouping and the mind is not greater than the body’s need for survival.

  3. Mark B
    December 22, 2015

    Good morning.

    This all started with the Scottish referendum. If a country like the UK can be mature enough to hold one then why cannot Spain do the same for her want away regions.

    The Catalans do not want to leave the EU, just Spain. This in my view is NOT independence and just like the SNP here in the UK they are not true nationalists. If the Catalans do get a referendum, and I for one hope that they do, then I would like for my country, England, to have one also. It is only right.

    Turkey’s do not vote for Christmas. Spain, amongst others have enjoyed a lot of other people’s money (mostly UK and German) via the EU thrown at them. Their politicians form the two main parties have been able to spend and essentially buy votes. Now the money seems to have dried up and that this largess has all but stopped, it is now that the reality of what is beginning to happen. The EU uses money much like a drug dealer uses drugs. Once a country is hooked on high spending it is very hard for it to come down. Everyone is in love with the EU and the main parties when the high is on, but as soon as the cash is withdrawn that’s when the problems start.

    The EU needs to start to print money and inflate the economy. Problem is, the Germans will not allow this, so everyone must now cut back and people do not like it. The national governments cannot inflate their way out of trouble like they use to as they no longer control the currency and the interest rates. The various economies simply cannot share the same currency and behave as they please and expect others to pick up the tab unless, as in the case of the UK, they have an in place working arrangement.

    The future does not look particularly bright. If various mainstream parties cannot pull Spain together then she will begin to fragment. One people start to believe, rightly or wrongly, that they are better of going it alone, then they will push for independence. If you deny them this the desire not only becomes stronger but, the resentment becomes deeper. This does not bode well for the future.

  4. Mike Stallard
    December 22, 2015

    Every now and then Political Theory breaks out and makes sense.

    If you run a country with an unelected, unaccountable set of second raters pretending to be the elite and you do not check on their ideas or question their assumptions because you cannot, then you must expect that things are going to start going badly.
    You must also expect that opposition will grow up. Being impotent, it will get more and more angry and more and more people will come to see that it is right.
    Eventually you have got two choices: change the system (Mr Cameron) or else start using brute force to suppress the opposition (that will, no doubt, come later as things deteriorate).

    In Europe we have the elite (Commission) doing what it knows to be right (even though it isn’t) and it is making huge mistakes. It is now saying that it needs a lot more power to put things right by continuing with the same policies.

    In Spain, Germany, Italy, Greece, UK and now even in Sweden we have opposition parties springing up…

  5. alan jutson
    December 22, 2015

    I know nothing of the politics in Spain, or indeed in many other Countries, but we certainly seem to be having a run in recent elections all over Europe where the old established Parties are being dumped by voters in large numbers, in favour of rather newer versions.

    The worry factor is that the new parties all seem to want either more socialism, more borrowing, more taxing of the so called rich, but less so called austerity, or, a rather stronger right wing Nationalist agenda which appears to risk civil confrontation, and or some form of independence for certain regions.

    The common factor seems to be a run against those promising ever closer Union and EU policies, and the establishment in general.

    I wonder how long it will take for the people to realise that all these promises have to be paid for, by somebody if it is not themselves.

    Are the people now becoming so desperate with politicians and their policies that they will vote for anything, but the same again lot.

    December 22, 2015

    I wonder if all the 800,000 or so British ex-pats living in Spain are thought of as a bit of an electoral nuisance.The ones eligible to vote that is.

    Most are retired not contributing so much as a pickled dog’s eye to the Spanish economy. Inflating house prices by buying decrepit old farm houses and proclaiming with a triumphant dopey smile that “It’s got potential”. I bet their ages make them proportionately more dangerous when driving. Also their use of medical facilities no doubt makes ordinary Spaniards more than angry.
    I just wonder if British ex-pats in Spain are not creating social friction and instability. Few seem to have made any attempt whatsoever to assimilate to Spanish values and way of life. You’d think if they decided to go live in a different country they’d not stick together in “communities” like chocolate to a blanket.

    1. ian wragg
      December 22, 2015

      A lot of the coastal economies in Spain would collapse if it wasn’t for the expat community be it British, German, Dutch or whatever. They rely almost entirely on the income and property taxes of foreigners.
      Our friends are about to sell up and leave because they are not given health care unless they pay privately although according to EU rules they should be treated same as the locals. They are also indiscriminately taxed if they rent out their apartment due to laws passed which aren’t applicable to Spaniards.
      Single market it is not.

      1. Paul
        December 28, 2015

        My understanding with regards to Spain (which may be wrong) is that they won’t give you a local Identity Card unless you are either self funding, have a job, or are married to someone like that, and without that, you can’t access the various benefits – until retirement anyway. I think France has a similar issue, because if I went to live in France now I’d have to take out private health insurance to cover the gap.

        Indeed, it is not a level playing field.

    2. Gbeery
      December 22, 2015

      I’m sure those crazed retirees spending their pensions into the economy are not at all welcome! Causing major disruption taking all of Spain’s surplus vitimun d!

      What a dummy!!!

  7. The PrangWizard
    December 22, 2015

    I wonder what your colleague MP Kenneth Clarke thinks of this outcome.

    I heard his comments about Euro sceptics the other day, that euro-scepticism is another word for nationalism – clearly intending that in its most extreme sense. He went on to say that that some euro-sceptics were even, surprisingly, quite intelligent. He may have been directing his insult to you personally in that comment. His extremism may not be new to you of course, but it is to me.

    Welcome to my world. Those who like myself have been arguing for a democratic England, free of the British state, as you argue for an independent UK, free of the EU state, have had to endure insults and expressions of hatred like that from the British Establishment, the state apparatus and the media, particularly the BBC, for years.

    We are labelled as extremists merely for wishing to assert our English identity; logically Clarke will have the same views about us as ‘UK sceptics’, being an ardent Unionist too. He and others will no doubt turn on us far more directly if there is a vote to leave the EU.

    With people like him in your party now publicly showing such hatred against anyone with an opposing view to his, maybe you should join us.

  8. Dame Rita Webb
    December 22, 2015

    Meanwhile in other news four Italian banks have gone under, with as usual, ordinary punters being ripped off with inappropriate investments. Having said that anybody who thinks things are fixed within the Anglo American banking sphere should have a read of Jim Grant’s op ed piece from last Saturday’s FT.

  9. agricola
    December 22, 2015

    PP and PSOE are renowned for their corruption, something that has been a feature of both parties since the death of Franco. Podemos (We Can) for sure and possibly Cuidadanos (Citizens) are a reaction to the historic corruption of PP and PSOE.

    Spain as a net recipient of EU largesse is not particularly anti EU, though disquiet is growing.

    Unemployment is coming down from 26% to 21%. Youth unemployment was 50% and it’s trend has not been commented upon. Financial pressure on government has been no doubt eased by large numbers of qualified Spaniards moving to northern Europe where their skills are welcomed. Unemployment is something that the Spanish are used to. In Andalusia it was never less than 20% in my memory. To balance it there has always been a large black economy. The economy is supposedly set to grow 3% in 2016, time will tell

    I agree with you that the effect of the Euro has not been good. They cannot control their own economy nor can they respond to new pressures. One size fits all does not work. However until the corruption is a thing of the past, the lot of the Spanish will not be improved by switching to the Peseta. Equally until the many ills of the EU are confronted and dealt with the question of Catalan independence is a bit of a side show to all but some Catalans. A Brexit might give many Europeans the courage to re engineer Europe to become a force for the benefit of it’s citizens.

  10. Antisthenes
    December 22, 2015

    Why do politicians and the so called experts (bureaucrats and technocrats) who surround them not see the obvious that the EU and the euro-zone are failures. They keep touting the myth that they are the solution when the opposite is true.

    Europe has problems it was and is in decline and it had too many debilitating conflicts in it’s past and the threat of recurrence was there so cooperation and trade between states was a necessary goal. However the EU as it has been structured was not the way. Another layer of government that imposes how that cooperation and trade is conducted is not the answer. Certainly an institution was need but it was one that facilitated but did not rule.

    The EU was the brain child of idealists with megalomania tendencies who were seeking the greater glory of Europe by an audacious power grab. Although they would not accept that description of themselves as they would honestly believe their actions were driven by a desire to save us from ourselves and to make a better Europe for us all. How often do bad things happen from good intentions? Very often I would say. By doing so they have sown the wind and we are reaping the whirlwind we need to get out of there before the storm engulfs us all.

  11. Ian wragg
    December 22, 2015

    All over Europe the traditional parties are under siege do to their devotion to the Project.
    The EU is fragmenting and we can only hope this is a precursor to the collapse of this undemocratic entity.
    Cameron is proving ever more devious with his manoeuvring over the referendum
    Trying to insist cabinet members follow his lead.
    I think 2015 was a watershed for UK politics as the voters won’t be duped again

    When we get to 2020 still running a large deficit and immigration still at over half a million annually Britain will clear out the stables.
    Here’s hoping.

  12. Denis Cooper
    December 22, 2015

    Although I have Spanish relations I have little interest in or knowledge of Spanish politics, and my main concern about the potential dismemberment of Spain is that it could indirectly assist separatist movements within the UK.

    However I think it is rather inconsiderate of the Spanish to vote so indecisively when our Prime Minister is working hard to get fundamental reform of the EU and will need stable governments in all of the other 27 member states to finalise the radical EU treaty changes he is no doubt seeking behind the scenes.

    It will be no good at all if we vote to approve his New Deal for Britain in a reformed EU and then there is a problem with getting the deal ratified by one or more of the other EU member states, for example because there has been a change of government.

    I am assuming here that our Prime Minister is planning to take the EU treaty changes to the point of formal agreement and signature by EU leaders, though maybe without quite the same kind of highly publicised ceremony that accompanied the signing of the Lisbon Treaty, and maybe he will be there on time rather than turning up late:

    “The leaders signed the treaty, translated into the EU’s 23 official languages, using specially engraved silver fountain pens as a choir sang Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.

    UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown signed the treaty later in the day after missing the ceremony, citing a prior engagement in the British parliament.”

    The next steps would then involve checking that we British are happy with the deal he has negotiated, before the other countries can go ahead with their processes for ratifying the treaty. It would be unreasonable to expect all the other countries to start their domestic approval processes without knowing whether it was good enough for us.

    There seems to be a story going round that the Electoral Commission recommendations on timescale would prevent the EU referendum being held in June, or even in October, but that is incorrect. However it is far more important that our Prime Minister takes his time and hammers out absolutely the best deal for Britain that he possibly can, and gets the necessary detailed, finalised EU treaty changes agreed and formally signed, than that he rushes the job in order to have an early referendum.

  13. Jerry
    December 22, 2015

    “I am myself, of course, entirely neutral on the constitutional future of Spain and Catalonia. It is a matter for them. The recent election has shown yet again how damaging to traditional parties the EU scheme can be, and how that in turn then leads people to question their loyalties to country”

    Trying to spin-doctor a 80 plus year old problem, the relationship between Catalonia and Castilian speaking Spain (read Franco’s Madrid centric dictatorship and the fail-out), as a problem caused by the EU is somewhat a revision of history to say the least! Even more so when one considers that Catalonia is (in the main) very pro-EU, indeed the region has gained much because of the EEC/EU ‘project’, not in spite of it, just as the rest of Spain has since 1986.

    “It makes working out why these traditional major parties are so keen on this political project, when it does such damage to them as well as to their countries.”

    But who said the electorate are rejecting the EU and the political project per se? Surely what it shows, in Spain as in both Portugal and Greece before, is a rejection of the current political policies, be that at the domestic or EU level.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      December 22, 2015

      One imagines that Catalonia is what the ghastly EU would call a Region, with all that implies for further turmoil

    2. forthurst
      December 22, 2015

      “But who said the electorate are rejecting the EU and the political project per se? Surely what it shows, in Spain as in both Portugal and Greece before, is a rejection of the current political policies, be that at the domestic or EU level.”

      What you are suggesting is that the people of Spain, Greece etc are too thick to realise that their unpoplar governments’ unpopularity is entirely due to their being in thrall to EU originated policies.

      1. Jerry
        December 22, 2015

        @forthurst; It is not I who are calling the people of Spain “thick”, it’s people like you who are judging them by your own political ideals. Also as any such EU originated policies are rooted firmly in western capitalist mantra…

  14. Bert Young
    December 22, 2015

    Political groups are not designed to last forever – the moods of the voters really decide who should represent them . Spain is a country that has been striving for stability since the collapse of Franco ; much of it is bathed in the sun producing a laid back attitude and disregard for the world outside .

    The border lines dividing one group from another will be pushed aside in putting a Spanish Government together ; ultimately they will draw away from the constraints of the EU because – like all of the Southern European countries , their way forward is one of freedom from EU discipline and controls . Good luck to them .

  15. Bob
    December 22, 2015

    The LBC presenter whose name I prefer not to mention (the one who pollutes the airwaves for 3 hours immediately after Nick Ferarri) was trying to ridicule you and Nigel Lawson this morning on the subject of Liam Fox and Collective Responsibility. He cited your scepticism about the EU and AGW as reasons why your opinions should be ignored.

  16. oldtimer
    December 22, 2015

    I understand that if no one can form a government there will be a another election in c three months time. That could well produce another stalemate. Cue another opportunity for the Eurocrats to impose its own appointed government (as in Italy and Greece)?

  17. ChrisS
    December 22, 2015

    The Situation in Spain is greatly complicated by the Catalan “problem.”

    Unlike Scotland which is a net drain on our resources, Catalonia is the most productive areas of Spain. something close to 25% of GDP but only 16% of the population.
    You can see why they would want independence and the rest of the country is very reluctant to concede a referendum.

    I’ve read that whatever deal was reached, the rest of Spain would be left with unsustainable debts of more than 110% GDP.

    It brings home the fact that you cannot expect the population of any one region to see a substantial volume of their income drained off to poorer regions every year unless there is really strong glue that binds them together.

    It’s why the Euro will eventually fail.

    If the Catalans can’t be persuaded that they should continue to prop up the rest of their own country, how can Brussels expect the German taxpayer to prop up, not just the former East German Lande ( costing some €84bn a year ) but also the combined weight of the ClubMed countries and those of the former Eastern block. Especially as it would have to continue indefinitely !

    All those essential fiscal transfers will inevitably drag down the German economy and eventually they will kill off the Golden Goose.

    1. Jerry
      December 22, 2015

      @ChrisS; The point you misunderstand about the Catalan “problem” is that they might very well be prepared to continue to prop up the rest of Spain as a member of the EU, it is Madrid trying to demand (despite supposed autonomy) Catalans what they should do that is the modern problem, just as it is here in the UK when the ‘nationalists’ see what they consider a mostly English parliament telling the devolved governments what to do.

      As I’ve said elsewhere, Catalans are not anti the EU, nor are they anti Spain per se, they are anti ‘Madrid’, thus the situation in Spain is greatly complicated by the Madrid “problem.”, ask those in the Valencia or Galicia areas for example what they think! Should Catalonia be the first region of Spain to hold an official referendum on independence I fully expect it not be the last.

  18. JamesG
    December 22, 2015

    The economic problems were not caused by the Euro but by the same circumstances that left the UK in dire straits; ie the twin daft banking assumptions (copied from the US banking bonus culture) that huge debt doesn’t matter and that house prices won’t ever fall. The reason the Eurozone currently looks worse than the UK is because they are trying to tackle the debt now rather than just allow it to keep growing as the UK and US is doing. It still all has to be paid back at some point though.

    As for ‘poor regulation of banks’, the UK is hardly in a position to project herself as holier-than-thou about that either is she?

    I have seen you crow about the pound versus the Euro when the pound was overvalued due to high personal debt and again when the pound crashed against the euro and now again that the pound is rising entirely due to the government again stoking up the housing market that caused the crash in the first place. For a supposed intellectual you are taking an awful long time to realise that your Euro analysis perspective is based largely on little Englander prejudices.

    Reply Certainly not. My view is based on the firm foundation that you need your own currency to have your own effective democracy.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 22, 2015

      Well, huge debt doesn’t matter so much if you can use another country’s superior credit rating to borrow at lower cost, until the markets wake up and decide that it was a mistake to let you do that. I was reading only today about Lithuania being able to borrow more cheaply now that it is in the euro, so let’s hope they can resist the temptation to overdo that.

    2. Jerry
      December 22, 2015

      JR reply; “My view is based on the firm foundation that you need your own currency to have your own effective democracy.”

      I assume that you do not then consider that any of the 50 states of the USA (never mind any country that officially use the USD as their own currency) have “effective democracy” since non have their own currency?!

      Reply They have it at USA level!

      1. Jerry
        December 23, 2015

        @JR reply; So would the member countries (states) of the envisaged USoE, the Euro is failing because there has been non of the envisaged political union, hence the calls for “more Europe”.

  19. Lifelogic
    December 22, 2015

    Indeed. The damage being done to Spain and especially its youth, through the misguided Euro project, the quack energy agenda and all the other EU inspired insanities is huge.

    1. Jerry
      December 22, 2015

      @LL; Thanks for showing that you know nothing about Spain or its problems, nothing unusual in that though. It wasn’t the EU, the Euro nor “quack energy”) that caused their financial crash but the capitalist/banking inspired building bubble based on virtual ‘never-never’ money…

      1. Lifelogic
        December 22, 2015

        Indeed that too, but this was, in major part, caused by EURO area interest rates that were far too low for Spain at the time. The EU, the Euro, its quack energy policy, over regulation of everything and the many other EU absurdities – plus their inept and incompetent interference in the currency and thus banking systems were instrumental in the disaster that ensued. I agree they were not the sole problem.

        1. Jerry
          December 23, 2015

          @LL; “I agree they were not the sole problem.”

          Without the banking/property crash their would have been no Euro crises in Spain. What you (and others) are trying to do is like blaming BMW for poor driving, or that motorways are by design unsafe roads, because one of their dealers once sold a car to an irresponsible motorist who went on to cause a motorway pile up. Cars are not unsafe, nor are the road, just certain people whoo use them – same with the Euro (or indeed the GBP or USD etc)!

  20. Denis Cooper
    December 22, 2015

    Off-topic, I saw this quoted in the press today and it seemed so unbelievable that I thought it best to go back and check the original source, which is here:

    “We know migration is inevitable, it’s necessary and it’s desirable,” added William Lacy Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration in Geneva.”

    Thanks to past decisions of their own government UK citizens are helping to pay for this organisation which is systematically working against their interests.

    1. Jerry
      December 22, 2015

      @Denis Cooper; Apologies if it is within the original source URL but I think one would need to define what is meant by “migration”, only those steadfastly rooted within a rather dogmatic and simplistic political position would claim that all migration from anywhere to anywhere is bad, wrong or unnecessary.

      1. Denis Cooper
        December 23, 2015

        I’ve highlighted the position of this elderly American chap, who we help to pay to pontificate about what should be done in Europe; I haven’t restated my own position which I have made clear on previous occasions.

        1. Jerry
          December 23, 2015

          @Denis Cooper; Your reply doesn’t define what you, nor anyone else, means by “migration”


          Three related words that have totally different meanings, but which get swapped about as if sharing the same single meaning.

  21. agricola
    December 22, 2015

    I speculate on what might happen as a result of last Sundays election in Spain. Rajoy is disliked more than Franco by the other party leaders because of his association with corruption.

    The claim by the Greek PM that this spells an end to austerity in Spain is wishful thinking. Something that the Greek PM quickly discovered after his election. As currently constituted Spain only superficially controls its’ economy if it follows the line set by the EU. Real control could only come after leaving the Euro. Spain having spent all years since joining the Euro as a net beneficiary is not likely to take such a radical step. It is a big leap , requiring political courage, to move from dependency to freedom.

    There is a possibility that the PP minus Rajoy s’ leadership could align with the Cuidadanos for a total of 163 seats against PSOE and Podemos with 159 seats. However there are another 28 seats split between two smaller parties that would need to be won over by either side. Not knowing what the political inclinations of these other 28 are I cannot guess which way they might go. If they go with the PP and Cuidadanos then there will be continuity of policy and hopefully an end to corruption. If they align with PSOE and Podemos then you can expect friction with the EU.

    December 22, 2015

    There would be need of an austerity policy for Spain even if she miraculously left the EU tomorrow.
    Spain is imposing its own controls on immigration and asylum seekers. Perhaps a delegation from the UK Parliament could be sent to Spain to learn how to do it thus avoiding expensive trips expenses paid all over Europe in Dave’s plane negotiating purposelessly.

    The “rejection at the border” of persons trying to cross Spain’s borders and those managing to get past the border gate are deported immediately . Note not processed for asylum as in Weak Man of Europe: the UK

  23. Original Richard
    December 22, 2015

    “It serves as a timely reminder of how the EU project can be very destabilising of member states……..The recent election has shown yet again how damaging to traditional parties the EU scheme can be, and how that in turn then leads people to question their loyalties to country.”

    Isn’t the EU’s published plan to demolish individual nation states and supplant them with a single Euro state ?

  24. ian
    December 22, 2015

    Zimbabwe to adopt Chinese yuan as legal tender in debt write off.

  25. petermartin2001
    December 22, 2015

    I largely agree with these comments.

    I’d just make the point that all the so-called European “independence” movements aren’t really independence movements at all. The Scottish Nationalists want to keep the pound. The Catalan nationalists want to keep the euro. True independence means having your own currency as the Greeks have just discovered the hard way. You can’t have it both ways.

    For decades, the Republic of Ireland stifled its own economy by first using the pound and later by having its own pound tightly pegged on a 1:1 basis to the UK pound. Later it has had its own ‘punt’ but again it’s made the mistake of first tying its currency to the DM and later adopting the euro which has meant that its monetary policy is decided externally, and even its own fiscal policy is now subject to external controls and permissions. How can that be in any way be called independence?

    1. Jerry
      December 22, 2015

      @petermartin2001; “How can that be in any way be called independence?”

      Because the people, via their elected government, were able to chose if they pegged their currency to the GBP or DM or not – the reason those within the Euro area no longer have independence is because they can no longer choose (short of an exit from both EU and Euro), when told to jump by the ECB they can’t even decide how high as both ROI and Greece found out.

  26. fedupsoutherner
    December 22, 2015

    Not going to comment on the subject John as I feel I don’t know enough about it. I only know the Catalan’s do think they are different to much of the rest of Spain. That much was apparent when I lived there very briefly.

    I would like to wish you and your family and very Happy Christmas and a great New Year. Let’s hope the new year is a good one for all and for the UK and that we can persuade many others to vote for Brexit soon!!

  27. Roy Grainger
    December 22, 2015

    Spain’s net income from the EU is the 3rd biggest, about Euro 4 billion a year, hard to imagine any of their political parties would want to get off that particular gravy train. Their net income is about the same as our net contribution.

  28. Margaret
    December 22, 2015

    Talking of oil; I believe there is a glut in Saudi and oil is being sold off cheaply. Does that mean large profit margins or do we get the crumbs of the rich mans table and get considerably cheaper petrol.

    Reply It means much cheaper petrol, as we are seeing – remember that two thirds of the price is UK tax!

  29. willH
    December 22, 2015

    Seem to remember reading some time ago that EU funding helps to perpetuate the barbaric practice of bullfighting in Spain, would be grateful if Mr Redwood or anyone could tell us the facts, because if true it is yet another instance of EU misuse of our money, so freely handed over to them by our government.

  30. Margaret
    December 22, 2015

    The mail infers that all the cabinet are being quietened on Brexit Is it an imposed silence or a self imposed restriction to be in line with CM’s current thinking?

  31. bluedog
    December 22, 2015

    ”I am myself, of course, entirely neutral on the constitutional future of Spain and Catalonia.”

    Surprising, Dr JR.

    Having campaigned tirelessly and effectively for the survival of the United Kingdom, would the same logic not apply in terms of the federal monarchy of Spain? Why allow the EU’s regional policy an undeserved victory through the destruction of Spain?

    You say, “The recent election has shown yet again how damaging to traditional parties the EU scheme can be, and how that in turn then leads people to question their loyalties to country.” Indeed. And having made this point, one can envisage an enlightened British politician campaigning tirelessly and effectively for the survival of the Spanish union. Or is there a hint of anti-Spanish hostility relating to the matter of Gibraltar?

    Declaration of interest: like correspondent Denis Cooper, this writer can claim Spanish (Castillian) descent, but would never put Spain before Britain.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 23, 2015

      I suppose I may have traces of Spanish blood introduced at some unknown point in my ancestry, but my known Spanish relations are through my wife’s side.

  32. Maureen Turner
    December 22, 2015

    Yesterday Mr. Kenneth Clarke announced Euroscepticism was just another word for right wing nationalism which hardly applies to Scotland or Wales as both are politically left wing but then again the right wing he refers to may not be meant in any political sense.

    Those who want seperation be they the Catalans or the SNP mostly want the same thing the ability to retain that which is best from the mother country and play pick and mix with the policies that suit their ideologies. It’s the old grass is always greener way of thinking where the heart usually rules the head. For around 35 years Scotland has moved further to the left with the rise of the SNP and is now considerably more left wing than even Old Labour.

    Ms. Sturgeon’s policies involve redistribution of assets and immovable wealth (sporting estates etc) to the poorest in society without explaining who is going to create the monies for her grandiose ideas. Almost 50% of all employment in Scotland is in the public sector.

    Even although it is just a year ago since the Separation referendum the garden isn’t quite so rosy with the price of a barrel of oil 50% less than in Sept. 2014 and Aberdeen having to lay off 7,000 but many oilmen quickly found work overseas in the fracking industry.

    Unlike Mr. Clarke I don’t think nationalism in small quantities a bad thing but I’m not a fan of devolution as up here it has been taken as a green light to promote an ugly form of nationalism which hopefully is just a flash in the pan. Let’s see but if not can I please pop over the border and claim asylum – my papers are in order but I may need to be deradicalised.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      December 23, 2015

      Maureen, there are many here in Scotland who will be coming with you. Mind you, it will be difficult for many because in our area properties just are not selling. This has become the norm since the first referendum and I think many people are put off moving here because of the continuous uncertainty about Scotland and its future. It is sad that a once very proud and beautiful nation has been defaced and shattered by nationalism. As you say, they only want to stay where they think they will get the best deal. They could agree to fracking and get more people in the oil industry that have lost their jobs back to work. No, they have to be different to England and are so far refusing to give permission. They just carry on destroying precious landscapes with their wind farms. Stopping the subsidies has not stopped the developers applying for more in Scotland. They are making so much money from turning them off as when they are operational and it just shows that they didn’t need the ludicrous amounts of subsidy they were given in the first place. It’s all been a total rip off.

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