Better Stay in Europe seeks endorsements by the people who get it wrong

One of the most bizarre features of the Better Stay in Europe (BSE)  campaign is their wish to line up business and political endorsements for staying in from the very people who have been continuously wrong on the European issue for many years. As the European Exchange Rate Mechanism and the Euro has shown, the UK has been too engaged with the rest of the EU to its own great cost. It has not suffered from  too little engagement.

John Major and the CBI were cheer leaders and prime movers in taking the UK into the European exchange rate mechanism in 1989. They told us that would give us a golden scenario of lower inflation and faster growth. Instead it delivered a devastating boom/bust cycle. Trying to keep the pound down in the early days of membership meant a rapid build up of loans and cash in the economy, boosting inflation. This was followed by the flight from sterling leading to cripplingly high interest rates and a nasty recession.

A few of us opposed it at the time, but were told we were wrong. I wrote a pamphlet explaining how we would either have a run away credit fuelled inflation or a nasty recession from the ERM  – only to find  we got both!

These same people then either recommended the UK join the Euro at its outset, or thought we should keep open the option of joining as they thought it could prove to be a good idea in due course. Fortunately the band of opponents to joining the Euro was larger than the group opposing the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, and we won. Just look at what happened to Ireland going into the Euro. The UK would probably have had a similar boom/bust experience, and may have brought the whole Euro down.  I suspect  they would have refused to support our commercial  banks, with overextended credit thanks to the rules of the Euro and the low interest rates that would have fuelled too much credit growth  in the early days. Ireland and Spain had severe boom/bust cycles thanks to the Euro. The Euro was just like the Exchange Rate Mechanism, with the added nightmare that you could not get out easily.

 

Now the same people, or people with similar views, tell us we must stay in the European Union as it has now evolved. They seek to play down the central importance of the Euro and the common borders to the whole project, deny the Five Presidents work on the need for political union, and try to keep the debate centred over technicalities about how we would carry on trading. They ignore the fact that 170 other countries round the world trade perfectly happily with the EU, and ignore the ability of the UK to regain her own seat on the World Trade Organisation and other bodies to have more influence in the world. The Leave campaign does not need to waste much time on scares about jobs and trade. The Germans have made clear they do not want to impose new tariffs and barriers on trade with us, as they sell us so much more than we sell them, so what is the problem?

Our task is to positive about taking back control. We will regain our freedoms and be better off. As always there is no positive case for membership from the Stay in people. They either spread scares, or spend their time refusing to defend the Euro, the common  borders, the welfare controls and the endless laws and regulations that make up the modern EU.

 

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36 Comments

  1. Posted December 23, 2015 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Off topic but its sort of relevant to life in Britain in the here and now. Its really confusing to understand as to which party stands up for traditional British values at the moment. One party leader’s greeting card has a typical Winter scene with “Merry Christmas” written prominently across the front. Another party leader only has a photo, taken in May, showing him and his wife and a triumphal grin on his face. When I am out and about doing my Christmas shopping. One local authority, in a post-industrial town, has a nativity crib outside one of its offices and pictures of the baby Jesus on display in the library window. However when I go shopping in a more prosperous rural area, the local authority only has a website promoting its “Winter Festival”. It makes you think doesn’t it?

  2. Posted December 23, 2015 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Yes, some twisted logic coming out of the woodwork. An early award for William Hague’s argument that Britain must stay in the EU in order to make the EU stronger. Huh?

  3. Posted December 23, 2015 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The one thing that really bugs me about those who wish the UK to remain in the EU, is that they never really want to have an open debate. Sir John Major and Lord’s Mandelson and Heseltine all appear on the BBC or radio talking of dire consequences should we leave but, they are never sufficiently scrutinized over their claims and, never sit opposite someone who is a genuine Eurosceptic who can oppose their views. What are they scared of ?

    I have both here and elsewhere argued with people who want to remain in the EU. I am no expert, there are those who know much more than I ever will yet, I have been very successful in winning my arguments. Why ? Because I truly believe that the UK, and even the EU would be better if the UK were to leave. It would allow us to take our place on the world stage and, allow the EU to get on with the job of, EVER CLOSER UNION.

    Leaving the EU is not just about trade and immigration, it is about being to govern one’s self and hold those who govern for and on our behalf to account.

  4. Posted December 23, 2015 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    John Major said that if voted for out we would have to live with the consequences as though it were a dire warning. If an out won and I hope it does, how soon would the change be effected?

    • Posted December 23, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Very slowly indeed I suspect. I have no confidence at all that Cameron types and the pro EU machinery of Whitehall would act in accordance with any referendum “out” vote at all, let alone act quickly. When have they ever acted quickly on such a thing?

    • Posted December 23, 2015 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      I have to point out yet again that the EU referendum Act is silent on what would ensue from a vote to leave the EU. JR assures us that if we vote to leave the EU then we will leave the EU, but that still leaves unanswered the question of why the Act does not say that when it could have done.

      The Act ordering the AV referendum to be held made it clear what would happen in the event of a vote to change to the AV system, and the same could have been done in one way or another for this EU referendum, but it wasn’t.

      As the most obvious example of a clear statement which could have been put into the Act, it could have said that if there are more votes to leave than to stay then the minister must put in the formal notification that we intend to make an orderly withdrawal from the EU through the relevant treaty provision, Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, and that he must do that within a short time.

      A period of six weeks is allowed for legal challenges to the referendum result, and as the notice of withdrawal would be irrevocable that would have to be taken into account when specifying the maximum delay before the minister must act.

      Assuming that the government decided to start off with the Article 50 route for withdrawal then the maximum period allowed for negotiations on the new treaty arrangements would be two years, unless it was agreed to extend that:

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

      “The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.”

      Reply I’ve spent the last two years dealing with people on this site who told me Mr Cameron would rat on his promise to hold a referendum. He didn’t. Now I am told he would ignore any result. He wont. Conservative MPs will insist on us leaving if it’s a vote to leave, and I am sure that’s what the government will move to achieve.

      • Posted December 23, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        Well, we haven’t actually had the referendum yet, and whether or not we will have it does depend on the House of Lords agreeing to a date for it …

        However supposing that we do have the referendum, and supposing that the result is a vote to leave the EU, what could Tory MPs like yourself then do to compel Cameron to start the process of our withdrawal?

        Politicians can always find some excuse for going back on their word, and what if he said:

        “The result sends a powerful message to Brussels that the terms on offer are simply not good enough, and therefore I will shortly start a fresh round of talks with our partners on ways in which the terms could be improved so that they would be acceptable to the British people”.

        I’m sure many of the other Tory MPs would be prepared to go along with that and give their leader another chance, and as for the Commons he could rely on the support of most of the opposition MPs.

        Reply Of course not. Out means Out.

        • Posted December 23, 2015 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

          @Denis Cooper; “Well, we haven’t actually had the referendum yet, and whether or not we will have it does depend on the House of Lords agreeing to a date for it … “

          O stop talking utter nonsense, you are starting to sound worse than the worst of the SNP! For one thing the EU referendum Bill/Act was a manifesto commitment and thus it is exceedingly unlikely (to the point of causing a constitutional and parliamentary crisis) that the Lords would block it. They might well attempt to amend it, but that is their job after all, but in the end the Government will get its way, in the same way as Labour’s Hunting Bill did.

          As for your suggestion that a “out vote” will get interpreted as a wish for anything by the current Conservative leadership, OK we know that Mr Cameron will not be contesting the next election (certainly as leader and probably not as a PPC either) but I’m quite sure that he will still want a Conservative victory in 2020, not hand the election on a plate UKIP or worse (by then) a born-again anti EU left-wing Labour party lead by Mr Corbyn.

          • Posted December 24, 2015 at 8:57 am | Permalink

            1. The date of the referendum will be set through a statutory instrument, and that will need to be approved by the Lords as well as the Commons to come into force. That is a simple legal fact, check the Act for yourself. It’s perfectly conceivable that the Lords might object to a particular date, for example they might say that a June referendum would be too soon after the May elections, and if they declined to pass the necessary resolution then there would be nothing the government could do about that any more than they could do anything about the Lords’ rejection of the changes to tax credits.

            2. Similarly some people offered the reassuring argument that Brown would have to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty because of the huge political and electoral damage to the Labour party if he didn’t. He didn’t hold the referendum and the electoral damage was slight.

            3. If there really is no reason to doubt that Out would mean Out, why hasn’t the government put that in the Act so that it would be legally bound to take the necessary action?

          • Posted December 24, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; For goodness sake, even if the ‘custom’ of the Lords not opposing a manifesto pledge was done away with there is still the Parliament Act that trumps what the Lords might wish. As for writing things onto the face of the Bill, yes “Out means out” could have been written into the Bill but there would also have had to have been a clause to the effect that “In means in” – I can just hear the howls of protest from the likes of you and UKIPers etc. had that happened!

          • Posted December 26, 2015 at 9:52 am | Permalink

            Wake up, Jerry, the Bill received Royal Assent last week and therefore the Parliament Acts are now irrelevant. The date of the referendum will be set through secondary legislation, to which the Parliament Acts do not apply, and as agreed by MPs as well as peers during the passage of the Bill the Lords have the power to veto any proposed date. MPs did not need to agree to the Lords having that power, but they did, and now they cannot reasonably object if the Lords choose to exercise it.

      • Posted December 23, 2015 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        “Conservative MPs will insist on us leaving if it’s a vote to leave, and I am sure that’s what the government will move to achieve.”

        That only leaves the House of Lords to be overcome then?

      • Posted December 23, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        Comment on Reply–A referendum that’s rigged, which is what we will get if Cameron has his way, is worse than no referendum at all. BTW, JR, have you given us the benefit of your opinion yet of Cameron’s straightforward lying through his teeth with his ridiculous “I rule nothing out”? Combined with his ‘form’ I for one don’t blame anyone for doubting his word at every turn.

        • Posted December 24, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

          Unless it is legally enforceable, and easily so, then you cannot really trust any promise from any politician. The days are long gone when it would be reasonable to take them at their word, not least because the EEC/EC/EU project requires constant deceit and this has crept into our own political system.

          As Cameron himself said about Brown in that famous Sun article in which he gave his unqualified “cast-iron guarantee” that he would hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty:

          “The final reason we must have a vote is trust. Gordon Brown talks about “new” politics.

          But there’s nothing “new” about breaking your promises to the British public.

          It’s classic Labour.

          And it is the cancer that is eating away at trust in politics. Small wonder that so many people don’t believe a word politicians ever say if they break their promises so casually.

          If you really want to signal you’re a break from the past, Prime Minister, do the right thing — give the people the referendum you promised.

          Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: If I become PM a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations.

          No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum.”

      • Posted December 24, 2015 at 7:45 am | Permalink

        I have to point out yet again that the EU referendum Act is silent on what would ensue from a vote to leave the EU.

        The reason that the Act is silent is that the way forward is so relatively complex and intertwined with EU legislation so this will be a question put to the Leavers during the campaign. They better have a good narrative covering not only trade but dismantling of CAP, scientific investment, energy, border control, fishing, human rights, immigration, universities, NHS etc. etc.

      • Posted December 24, 2015 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        The best way to ensure speedy withdrawal is to stop the flow of cold hard cash. Immediate publication of the schedule to reduce funds to be gifted to the EU will sharpen everyone’s minds. Of course the foolish European MEPs will be braying to cut us off from our ‘benefits’, so bring it on, the sooner the better!

  5. Posted December 23, 2015 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Endorsements from learn-ed personages.

    Not sure how many people will take heed of any of them. Depends to some extent on the turnout in the Referendum. Contrary perhaps to the ego-think of elected representatives and those in the House of Lords who are not elected nor representative of anyone, the 30-40% of people who “do not bother” to vote at any time actually refrain from doing so largely because amongst other reasons they have no confidence whatsoever in the aforementioned “learn-ed personages ” and would point out precise geography and method and strength of delivery of where any endorsements in regard to anything should be pushed.
    “These people” ( the term applied by representatives to potential voters not still wet behind the ears ) care even less for the nobodies in Europe than they do for ones domestically reared.
    The many doorstep campaigns from political party activists fail to record accurately if at all the views of “non-voters”. They are neither “Silent” nor a “Majority” but they ARE 40% of the electorate.

    Oddly, terrorism could play a major part in the Referendum. Rightly or wrongly, EU membership brings suspicious neighbours, in the minds of many, to their own streets. Worth a one-off vote to feel safe irrespective of endorsements from people bulging with personal security who live in dwellings opposed to houses with electronic gates and nightclub bouncers leering at even the postman.

  6. Posted December 23, 2015 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Indeed. Why follow the people who have been proven wrong and so very predictably wrong. Why follow a duff compass like John Major for a second time when he has not even admitted to (still less apologised for) his hugely damaging ERM fiasco and his burying of the Tory party for 3+ terms. Why to do the BBC fail ever to point this out or question him on it.

    He won his first and only election because people thought he was Thatcher’s choice would follow her direction (with perhaps a softer/kinder edge). In fact he did the opposite and inflicted huge damage on people’s businesses, lives, marriages and homes. Where is his “subsidiarity” lie now? We have top down EU regulation or virtually everything. Someone save us from these no nation fake Tories and their bogus long grass “renegotiations”, serial ratting and their endless tax, borrow, over regulate and waste. While delivering complete and deteriorating dross by way of “public services”.

    The only things that can be said in Major’s defence is that he was clearly not very bright and so perhaps has an excuse. Also that although he took public spending and waste up to absurd levels relative to GDP (and increased tax rates hugely to pay for his ERM and other errors), he did not take them as high as the appalling George Osborne. Osborne had government spending & waste getting close 50% of GDP at one point.

    A man who cannot even keep a minor IHT promise he made years ago. Yet totally dishonestly pretends he is doing. A man who thinks private tenants should be made to suffer though yet more taxes. A man whose absurd levels of tax and hugely increased tax complexity is doing vast damage to the real economy. Creating a nation of tax planners and little else. A man who wanted to prevent the people having an EU referendum at all it seems.

    Reply John Major is a bright man with considerable political skills as demonstrated by his rise in the Conservative party. He was catastrophically wrong on the ERM , which probably began as his wish to show he could make Mrs Thatcher bow to the establishment wishes. Taking us into the ERM meant he spoke for the civil service, the CBI, the TUC and most of the great and good.

    • Posted December 23, 2015 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      I object in principle to the very concept of “subsidiarity”. But as far as the practice goes, the plea now is that the mechanism hasn’t yet been perfected, however there is now a very good idea around on how to improve it. So after a couple of decades of it not working presumably we should be prepared to give it another couple of decades to see how well the improved mechanism works. Then, if necessary, another couple of decades to see how well some further improvements were working, and so on … until we are all dead and gone, and the UK is also dead and gone as an independent sovereign state, which is the ultimate purpose of the exercise.

    • Posted December 23, 2015 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      I think history will be kinder to John Major than most who blog on this site. Mrs Thatcher was PM when we went into the ERM not John Major. Maybe she had doubts about it, but if you are PM and you think something is fundamentally wrong you either stop it or resign. At the time the argument for joining was it would cure inflation, then still a major problem. True, there was then a recession which resulted – as has the Brown Great Recession – in a ballooning spending/ GDP ratio. But by the time Major left office the budget was on its way to balance. He left a sound legacy which was wrecked by Blair and Brown. Let us remember also that if Mrs T had stayed PM the Conservatives would have lost the 92 election as she would have stuck with the poll tax. True, if Major had resigned in 95 there would have been more of a chance in 97 – as pointed out by JR at the time. But Michael Hesletine would have won and become PM following Major, and who knows, we might have ended up in the euro!

      reply Major forced Thatcher in to the ERM. he then put taxes up against jus Manifesto promises.

      • Posted December 23, 2015 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

        Is it credible that John major, newly promoted from nowhere, ‘forced’ Mrs Thatcher, 3 time election winner and by then well established as a world-historical figure, to do something she thought fundamentally wrong for the country? Obviously you were much closer to it, but – without knowing any of them personally – I find it hardly credible!

        I think any govt finding itself in a recession ends up having to extract more tax. Major at least recognised budgets had at some point to be balanced, a lesson forgotten in subsequent (Labour) years.

        reply. Mrs Thatcher faced the resignation of Chancellor and Foreign Secretary if she held out. she judged she would be forced out if they had resigned.

    • Posted December 23, 2015 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

      Reply John Major is a bright man with considerable political skills as demonstrated by his rise in the Conservative party. He was catastrophically wrong on the ERM , which probably began as his wish to show he could make Mrs Thatcher bow to the establishment wishes. Taking us into the ERM meant he spoke for the civil service, the CBI, the TUC and most of the great and good.

      An interesting account.

      It seems Major had his hand set on undermining and eventually ousting Mrs Thatcher from an early stage.

      I seem to remember Thatcher looking favourably upon Major at one time as a potential successor ..only for him to turn on her when she began to see the Eu for what it is – ‘a German run racket designed to take over the whole of Europe’.
      Appalling treachery.
      If his views were so at odds with Mrs Thatchers he should never have accepted her appointment or moved to the Labour party instead.

      The big question is what motivated Heseltine and Major’s wish to see her conform to establishment views. ?. What were they (and the establishment) so afraid of that she had to be stopped ?.
      Over to you on that question Dr Redwood.

  7. Posted December 23, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    Joining the single currency would, is, a premise of mind boggling idiocy which only those dedicated to effacing what remains of British sovereignty would advance.

    On trade, Britain has traded with Europe since the end of the last ice age. If we choose the sea, there will be no problem with trading between the nations of Europe and Britain, to aver otherwise is to maintain an obvious and most egregious falsehood.

    I deem that, there are very troubling matters which more deeply concern me. Inexorably, we are losing the battle and in a big way but we do not sense it, we do not see the ceaseless attacks going on behind closed doors, it is an onslaught and the UK is being hollowed out from within. Here are a couple of things to chew on.

    I could wax long on the EU and the insidious ways, of bending the nation to the will and edicts issued out of the Berlaymont palais, Strasbourg, Luxembourg and wherever else the five loons are.

    It is, a slow drip process which now permeates Britain and therein all of our institutions. A chat I had recently, where I was to choose my words and act ever so off hand disinterested by pretending a casual air. A chinwag with a rather senior civil servant, and on the number of individual visits over the years made to Brussels. Beneath a studied indifference, my mind working furiously I formulated that, if these ‘educational’ visits are extrapolated across the gamut of the UK administration and I’ve no reason to suspect otherwise, then indeed Brussels is running our country through ways and means which we do not know of, cannot see but indubitably are facilitated through and by Brussels protocol, I had to and do conclude that, ‘our’ administration is being paid for by us but no longer acts [gives a monkey’s] in the interests of the British people.

    The Lisbon treaty, an act of betrayal was mainly disregarded by the British media and deliberately so, as it has been for 42 years [that’s another story] – clarioned as a “tidying up exercise”.
    But if one knows anything about Brussels and the inner machinations of its Nomenklatura, then one would instantly recognize that Lisbon inaugurated a major change in Brussels relationship with that of its member states. Change indeed, not least on matters of Foreign representation and more important than even that – on transEUropa and its jurisdiction thereof.
    Lisbon meant that, British statute was, is being undermined and sidelined by the European courts, namely the ECJ but divining the difference between the ECHR and the ECJ is a challenge of jesuitic nicety and that’s another little Brussels ‘game’ – changing the legal goalposts [Luxembourg or Strasbourg?] the French and Germans love to play. A game it is, to keep them guessing, increasingly though it is one which British barristers and legal institutions are becoming far more adept at, and as the judiciary caves in. Our sovereignty, the prime legislator of Parliament, Strasbourg on the attack to sideline Parliament’s supremacy [ref prisoners voting rights – a legal and political football]. The acquis will win out and thus the usurpation of British jurisprudence, will be checkmate and game over.

    Trade, finance and the € – arguing the toss over these is window dressing, they are not insurmountable problems, but losing our system of law and the consequent loss of sovereignty – that is an existential crisis – Lisbon will be the end of Britain, if we allow it.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    btw, Serenity and salutations at Christmas to you and your near ones Mr. Redwood.

    A good MP and a more importantly a very thoughtful one at that………… a Christmas wish: the UK is most needful of more MPs in the mould of the Rt Hon. Mr. John Redwood.

  8. Posted December 23, 2015 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    These better stay in cognoscenti seem to have the same evangelical approach to the EU as the Cambridge five had to communism in the thirties. The latter died in their belief prior to communism going into self destruct a few years later. I predict that the EU will also self destruct ere long and all the believers will suffer considerable disillusionment. Our departure will I hope act as the catalyst to this self destruction.

  9. Posted December 23, 2015 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    “One of the most bizarre features of the Better Stay in Europe (BSE) campaign is…”

    I bet that groups name will change, once they realise that they share an unfortunate (but some what appropriate) Capitalisation with another mess the UK got herself into!

    As for BSE scare stories, the main one being trade, all the Brexit group needs to keep reminding people of is our trade deficit with the other EU member countries, they (as a part of the collective EU) will not want top stop selling their goods and serviced to the UK post any Brexit. The other main scare story is employment law and workers rights etc, best let the “Labour Leave” group fend off those, anything the Eurosceptic right might say will more likely be incendiary.

  10. Posted December 23, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Those who want to stay in, want to be able to hide behind others when it all goes wrong.

    No backbone to stand up for their own Country.

    Good job these people are not in our armed forces.

    Simples.

  11. Posted December 23, 2015 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    In John Major’s interview on Andrew Marr (worth a catch-up on iPlayer), he re-confirmed that the free movement of goods and services is a critical component of the EU but then immediately conceded that Germany blocks our banking, insurance & technology services. So much for following the rules. Just like French farmers burning our trucks of lamb years ago.

    It was ever thus, the Schengen border policy was sacrosanct until Angela Merkel invited 800,000 Syrian refuges to come to Germany – with no reference to the Eastern European States they’d have to travel through. Germany builds new coal-fired power stations and we phase out all ours and close our last deep mine. We’ve let our steel industry go to the wall while Italy found a way to offer unequal state support “within the rules”.

    Cameron, Hague, Major and the rest of the club need to be challenged more on what happens in practice rather than the theoretical EU la-la land they live in.

  12. Posted December 23, 2015 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    I’ve only this morning got round to reading Rose’s letter in the Sunday Times in which he claims that we export 50% of our exports to the EU whereas we only import 5% of their exports. Where does he get these figures from?

    In the first place, he ignores the fact that a not insignificant proportion of our exports go via the entrepot depot in Rotterdam; so presumably the immediate re-export of our goods counts as an ‘export’ from the Netherlands and not from the UK.

    In the second place, what percentage of other member states exports (the 95% that doesn’t come to the UK) are to other member states and, by the same token, what does each member state import from each other member state. I bet in most cases it’s a lot less than 5%.

    The fact remains that we import much more from other EU countries than we export to them. We are, therefore, a most valuable export market. This alone should give us a much stronger negotiating position than we are currently making use of. In spite of his business experience, he doesn’t seem to have learnt the fundamental lesson of negotiating which is that you always have much more power (in the other parties’ minds at least – and in this case in reality) than you think you have.

    It seems to me that Rose is demonstrating an extreme case of lies, damned lies and statistics. Perhaps I am wrong and perhaps you, Mr Redwood, can enlighten us all.

  13. Posted December 23, 2015 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Well the SNP endorsed the EU and how absolutely hilarious the European Court of Justice has banned Mr Salmond’s much lauded ambition to set a minimum price on alcohol. When is the SNP going to wake up? The SNP aimed to solve, from its own perspective…not logic, the terrible alcohol problems /health in Scotland and also to legislate for an economic/commercial measure and has been forbidden by the EU.
    Next time SNP leaders wish to take an aspirin or perhaps dab a little lavender on their foreheads to cope with the aches and pains of being an SNP-er they can ask Mummy EU first .

  14. Posted December 23, 2015 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    My apologies for a typo: the first line of my third paragraph should have read “…what percentage of other states’ exports…” . The missing apostrophe is important here.

  15. Posted December 23, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Partly because of the EU but mainly from other factors decentralisation and therefore devolution is now considered the best way to serve the democratic and political needs of the UK. Other states in the EU are beginning to look to move in that direction as well or already have constitutions that favour that type of arrangement for their country.

    These people who advocate maintaining the centralised powers of the EU powers that do not even have benefit of democratic legitimacy so that misuse of those powers can be kept in check wish that state of affairs should be maintained. They must be very short sighted Luddites/dinosaurs or have a vested interest if they wish to deprive the rest of us of the right to determine our own economic and political decisions. Decisions cannot be taken on the basis of one fits all. The euro-zone is a prime example of how badly that works. They must be in denial as the evidence is there that shows that the EU is not a political structure that works for the many but only for the few and does little to enhance democracy, security or stability. So far the opposite is proving to be the case.

    BSE is well named because it’s promoters are all mad hatters and/or gullible, and/or act out of greedy self interest. If they genuinely believe what they espouse then they are certainly the first one and are doing what mad hatters do manipulating the truth to feed their own delusion.

  16. Posted December 23, 2015 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    BSE. I’m reminded of the adage that “empty vessels make most noise”…

  17. Posted December 23, 2015 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    John,
    You of all people must know and accept that when you are proven right time after time you will receive neither gratitude nor even acknowledgement. Equally, those who have been proven wrong on many occasions rarely admit as much. Despite his reputation as a great Party man I have always had a very dim view of Michael Heseltine as I struggle to think of anything he actually achieved in politics (unlike his business career) or agree with any positions he took, on anything.

    Michael Heseltine and the EU bear out Laurence J Peter’s excellent quote ‘if two wrongs don’t make a right, try three’.

  18. Posted December 23, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Whatever the merits we know that Cameron will use every trick to con the public into voting to stay in the EU, just as Wilson did in 1975. You and your readers might like to sign the following petition:
    “STOP CAMERON spending British taxpayers’ money on Pro-EU Referendum leaflets
    Prime Minister David Cameron plans to spend British taxpayers’ money on a pro-EU document to be sent to every household in the United Kingdom in the run up to the EU referendum. We believe voters deserve a fair referendum – without taxpayer-funded biased interceptions by the Government.We, the petitioners, demand the Government STOPS spending our money on biased campaigning to keep Britain inside the European Union.
    The Great British Public have waited since 1975 for a vote on our relationship with Brussels. No taxpayers’ money should be spent on campaign literature to keep Britain inside the EU.”
    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/116762

  19. Posted December 23, 2015 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    Excellent assessment Dr Redwood. I am sure you would have been dismayed by the failure of Andrew Marr to challenge John Major’s record of failure on his Sunday morning show.

    From recent newspaper reports, can you confirm that as an added bonus to voting out, David Cameron will be dispatched to the back benches ?

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

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