How should we judge the deal?

One of the reasons the EU cannot be democratic is the inability to change its laws and policies following a General election in any particular member state. Mr Cameron has on this occasion tried to deal with some of this by having a one off renegotiation for us. The EU is very keen this should not become a routine for every country following a change of government, as the EU would do little else. The EU is a strong bureaucracy advancing by making ever more laws and common policies which cannot be changed or can only be changed after great efforts with a majority of member states wishing to do so.

UK voters expect a new government to be able to change any laws and policies of the old government that the voters by majority no longer like or are not working. The UK Parliament could do so, until the weight of Treaty commitments and EU laws became such that a newly elected government found it was unable to make the changes people or the government itself wished.

Mr Cameron won the election with three important popular pledges that are especially relevant vis a vis the EU. He promise to make a major reduction in inward migration to the UK, but has come up against free movement of people and the overriding rules of the EU. He promised to cut welfare benefits, including removing all benefits from recently arrived migrants for their first four years so they pay some tax before gaining entitlement, and promised to remove Child Benefit payments from children of migrants not living in the UK with their parent(s). It turned out both these promises are illegal under the UK’s binding treaty commitments in the EU and under EU law. So Mr Cameron rightly saw he had to try to persuade the other member states to let the UK government regain rights to do these things, or had to change the common policy to make them legal.

We know that it has proved impossible to stand by all three of these important Manifesto commitments. The EU will not budge on freedom of movement at all, so the Uk is likely to continue to experience more net inward migrants from the rest of the EU than Mr Cameron’s world total for net migration. Nor will the EU give the UK back a single power from the Treaties. It has agreed to very modest changes on benefits on a temporary basis, but these fall far short of the policies the Uk government wishes to follow. UK taxpayers will still have to pay some Child Benefit to children not living in the country, will still have to pay benefits to recent migrants and will still have to accept unlimited numbers of migrants under the freedom of movement rules.

There is an even bigger way in which the deal falls short of what is needed. The Conservative party in opposition spoke strongly against the Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon treaties. These treaties surrendered the veto over more than 100 areas of policy., That means in 100 important areas of government spending, policy and lawmaking the Uk can no longer do as it wishes, but has to do what the majority of member states wants. Many Conservatives who will vote to leave wanted us to get back those lost powers. Without them there are huge areas of life where we no longer have a democracy in the UK capable of making the decisions and fixing the problems.

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163 Comments

  1. Horatio
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    ” The EU is a strong bureaucracy advancing by making ever more laws and common policies which cannot be changed or can only be changed after great efforts with a majority of member states wishing to do so.” Not true JR, all you need to be is a strong leadership of a net contributer nation and this is easy. See Merkel. This is what makes these shenanigans so galling. We had a strong hand but never played it. Weak!

    I notice the first point BBC reporters always put to true Eurosceptics is that they would’ve voted out regardless of the negotiations. This method is often used to obviate the need to discuss what thin gruel the negotiations really are. None of this is going into law anyway and thus is likely subject to change post referendum. Q1 in debate to CMD: is any of this deal legally binding or can any of it be changed post referendum? Is it worth the fag packet its written on?

    Just looking at what the EU has done and is doing to Greece is shocking. Who would want to be a part of that? I have many friends from Australia and the commonwealth who find Britain utterly unwelcoming these days; a symptom of the elite preferring to be European rather than British in an old fashioned sense.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      @Horatio

      Your first paragraph does indeed sum up the root of our EU malaise. Not since Mrs Thatcher obtained our rebate have we negotiated strongly for our own ends. Even Mrs T was blinded by her desire to create the single market into giving away our sovereignty.

      Since Mrs T we have capitulated too easily with Blair giving away the rebate, Brown allowing Lisbon and Cameron allowing the fiscal pact (what veto?).

      Without great negotiation from a position of strength I fear for the outcomes of flexit or Brexit or indeed staying in. Whatever the result of our referendum we need hard nosed intransigent people acting on our behalf with little consideration for the other 27 countries.

      Who might that be and will they get the chance?

      • Hope
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        Why would Cameron start from an illegal failed position to negotiate if he was sincere in his aims? Only an idiot would do such a thing, with huge amounts of resources at his disposal, unless invoking article 50. It was to pull the wool over your party’s eyes. Some of you need to wake up and smell the coffee. Cameron’s word like your manifesto cannot be trusted it has failed far too often.

        Tim Montgomery summed it up in resignation article from the Tory party, he is a Tory without a party. He will not be part of the Cameron project.

        Blaire states this week that mass immigration is good for our country and the U.K. Should cede more powers to the EU. He would also not give the public a vote. He actually sums up Cameron’s position quite well, sadly Cameron does not have the guts to tell us, a bit like his imposed gay marriage. Ignoring proper procedure and those who put him in office. It should be no surprise he will achieve nothing because of his clear Europhile stance. His cabinets always selected heavily to outnumber any potential Eurosceptic view- they could never win a show of hands for a Eurosceptic view.

        • eeyore
          Posted February 18, 2016 at 11:27 am | Permalink

          Here’s a thought: Mr Cameron returns from his continental jolly and announces that no deal was secured to which he could recommend acceptance, and that therefore the policy of Her Majesty’s Government is to be content to accept the decision of the people, whatever it may be, in the forthcoming referendum on June 23.

          As for himself, he will leave the two opposing camps to speak for themselves, and remain above the fray.

          Mr Cameron may be a bit short on judgement sometimes, but he is cunning as a bag of weasels that have gone to Cunning University, and he likes to win. Don’t put it past him.

          • Hope
            Posted February 18, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

            Like I won’t pay the extra £1.7 billion and paid £2.9 billion when it went quiet! He is like an unwanted turd popping up all around Europe, including the UK.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 18, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

            I’d eat my hat, but my hat is unconcerned by that extremely unlikely contingency.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      “We had a strong hand but never played it.”

      We had a very strong hand in October 2010:

      https://euobserver.com/institutional/31163

      “‘Small, small, small’ EU treaty change to deliver ‘quantum leap'”

      “European leaders have given way to German demands for a change to the European treaties, but the procedure for the change and its size has been calculated explicitly to avoid the danger that it could provoke referendums in some EU states.

      In a significant victory for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, early on Friday (29 October), EU prime ministers and presidents backed “a limited treaty change” to deliver tighter fiscal discipline and allow for the creation of a permanent bail-out fund for members of the eurozone.”

      “Virtually all EU member states had vehemently opposed any treaty change going into the summit, but in the end they were convinced by Germany’s need for the change in order to avoid a legal clash with its Karlsruhe-based Constitutional Court.”

      But Cameron decided to give Merkel that EU treaty change without asking for anything substantive as a quid pro quo.

      What he got was a political promise that the UK would not be expected to make any contribution to future eurozone bailouts, which he falsely presented as “the bail-out power” being clawed back from Brussels when a) there was not even any such “bail-out power” to be recovered, in fact the EU treaties forbade bail-outs, and b) in July 2015 the EU Commission proposed to include the UK in another Greek bail-out and the UK had no legal power to prevent that.

      • a-tracy
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        Denis they should put you on the top table of the Brexit campaign. I especially enjoy your back up and evidence to support your views.

        Just what changes have been led by Germany and France and just why do these two nations (seem to?) have so much control?

        Who decided the UK couldn’t trade with any other nation it chose to? What restrictions are there to stop us trading to the world even if we stayed in the EU?

        How does Merkel just suspend the immigration rules when it suited her, without going through the hoops the UK has to go through?

        Why did we have to fund Ireland’s bailout and Greece’s bailout when we’re not in the Euro? Who is capitulating with our taxes and wealth whilst telling us there is no money for elderly care and the NHS in our Country?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 18, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

          We got sucked into those bailouts because the Greek crisis came to head in the period between the 2010 general election and Cameron becoming the new Prime Minister, and Darling consulted Osborne, and rather than the latter saying that the proposed bailout would be a gross breach of the EU treaties and therefore once he had become the new Chancellor he would be duty bound to repudiate any UK involvement in it unless Parliament gave him express authorisation the two of them agreed that the UK would participate, and in any case part of it was decided by QMV thanks to the Nice Treaty and so Darling could not have vetoed it even if he had wanted to.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    You say:- Mr Cameron won the election with three important popular pledges that are especially relevant vis a vis the EU ……… It turned out both these promises are illegal under the UK’s binding treaty commitments in the EU and under EU law.

    Cameron did not so much win the election as Ed Miliband and the SNP delivered it to him – he was simply the slightly less bad option than a Labour dog wagged by the SNP tail.

    It did not so much “turn out that these promises were illegal under EU law”. Mr Cameron and his advisers must have known full well at the time they were made that these could not delivered. He knew they were totally false claims, a fraud and a total deception of the electorate. But he thought they would win him a few votes.

    Just as he thought claiming to have his priority in three letters of the NHS or being “a low tax conservative at heart”, alas never in his actions, or his promise that they would increase IHT thresholds to £1M each or his cast iron referendum pledge were all total deceptions too. These were claims he could actually have delivered on under EU law – but he just decided to rat on them and his lick his supporters in the teeth instead.

    I see that the new preliminary figures, from the Office for National Statistics, suggest that mortality rates last year rose by 5.4 per cent compared with 2014 – equivalent to almost 27,000 extra deaths. The increase is the highest since 1968 and took the total number of deaths in 2015 to 528,340.

    So much for the in three letters priority N H S.

    • Hope
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Actually Cameron is a poor imitation of Blaire. At his height he was far more convincing and underhand. Like all con men they get caught out.

      • RB
        Posted February 21, 2016 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        Actually Cameron is a poor imitation of Blaire. At his height he was far more convincing and underhand. Like all con men they get caught out.

        >
        Blair used to go all camp sounding and effeminate when he was deceiving, while Cameron puts on his posh sounding voice and pouts his bottom lip.

        The moment Cameron got everyone to applaud Blair as he left was the moment I should have realized we were only going to get more of the same.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7025958.stm

      “But Mr Cameron poured scorn on Gordon Brown for making promises he could not possibly hope to keep, such as “British jobs for British workers”, which he said was against EU law.

      “If you treat people like fools, you don’t deserve to run the country let alone win an election,” said the Tory leader. It got one of the biggest cheers of the afternoon.”

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        Well Cameron is certainly treating people like complete fools. We shall see just how gullible they actually are. The BBC is certainly doing it best to try to ensure they are fooled/scared into remaining.

        A stay vote will be the final nail in the coffin of any residual UK (or indeed any other) democracy.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 18, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          A nicely balanced panel for Question Time tonight, not.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

            Indeed well such is the BBC, how do they get such an unbalanced audience too.

            Panellists include Conservative international development secraary Justine Greening, Labour’s shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy, the SNP’s John Nicolson, broadcaster June Sarpong and businessman and former Dragon Theo Paphitis.

            We shall see, well if I can stay awake long enough.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    As you say remaining in the EU destroys virtually all democracy at UK or individual country levels, There is also virtually no democracy at EU level. The MEP have little power beyond being an over paid talking shop. The EU anyway is not even a sensible & coherent demos upon which a democracy could sensibly rest. Too many different groups with very different histories, religions, languages, economies and interests.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      I see that the BBC this morning has wheeled out the elderly & totally failed politician Neil Kinnock to impart his pro EU, BBC think, “wisdom” to the nation on the EU. No sensible questioning of the man from the interviewer, more of a pro EU advert.

      He gave us (yet again) the entirely bogus argument that 51% of our trade goes to the EU and 9% of theirs goes to the UK. He then absurdly argued that they would thus have the upper hand. This despite the fact that their trade with us is far less in total value.

      Is this is the sort of bogus logic they teach on industrial relations courses at the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire? Or did the man he work it all out for himself?

      Why was he the first of the Kinnock family in generations to go to university? I assume because by that time such universities would take almost anyone onto industrial relations courses. Perhaps they did not cover the logic and balance of power in negotiations.

      • a-tracy
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        Well then the BBC needs holding to account for not pointing out the values of trade both ways during the interview. The BBC doesn’t just represent the stay in group!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

          Yes they do.

      • Richard1
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        It was frustrating listening to such an interview. Lord Kinnock is even more of a windbag these days and was very difficult to follow at all. What is bizarre is the way such people are not questioned when making these assertions. If the BBC will not question people properly when interviewees are speaking in line with the BBC’s views, they should at least arrange a debate – have someone with an opposing view on at the same time.

        • Dave
          Posted February 18, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

          Kinnoch and his wife are in receipt of EU pensions which come with a condition that they never under any circumstance utter a single word against the EU. Always keep that in mind when listening to any pro-EU propaganda

          Reply Where is this absolute censorship written down and how enforced?

          • JoeSoap
            Posted February 18, 2016 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

            Reply to reply
            Well it’s pretty obvious that if you’re being paid your pension by the EU and that’s where all your old mates are, you’ll back them.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

            They would say the same utter drivel anyway I suspect.

  4. Jerry
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    “One of the reasons the EU cannot be democratic is the inability to change its laws and policies following a General election in any particular member state.”

    Come on John, you can do better than that for an opening salvo and then build the rest of your diary entry on such fails hyperbole! Let me rewrite your argument, just to test it, would you still stand by your comment?..

    One of the reasons the USA cannot be democratic is the inability to change its laws and policies following State legislators elections in any of the 50 member state.

    Any of the US State legislators can change and enact local state laws, so long as they comply with and are not trumped by Federal law, the same is and will carry on being the case in the EU. If the UK or any other member country/state wishes to change ‘federal law’ that is why we have both MEPs and higher representatives in Brussels etc, and like the USA if we want change we need to build support within, just as Senators etc have to do on Capitol Hill.

    The EU’s aim is, and has always been, for the creation of a USoE – and it will happen, what is more we are in the end game on this, the Lisbon Treaty set the seeds, and if anything the international banking crash of 2007-8 and the subsequent European credit/Euro crisis have watered the those seeds a plenty, and of course once there is a single country called “Europe” many of the current strains caused by the refugee problem will vanish along with the internal national boarders in thre same way as once in the USA migrants can move away from those southern boarder states with some ease, just as citizens of the USA can.

    Reply UK people have never signed up to being in a United States of Europe where all the important matters are settled in Brussels.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Oh and to add, Mr Cameron’s (and the reactionary right-wing of his party) silly idea that the UK should be able to stop or limit Child benefits to those migrants whose children are not actually living here in the UK. This will not stop the numbers of legal economic migrants, far from it, the numbers will increase as wife’s and children also turn up, all needing to be housed, their health cared for and the kids educated, what is more because they are now in the UK the State will still have to pay out the same Child benefits!

      Sometimes this government doesn’t know joined up thinking from their populist sound-bites… 🙁

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

        @Jerry

        Not to worry all these well paid contributing to the economy immigrants will be earning over sixty thousand a year so will not be eligible for child benefit.

        Won’t they?

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        Jerry – That’s why many people want complete Brexit. I can’t understand a PM who claims to love Britain not wanting Brexit either. Therefore I infer that he wants us subsumed by the EU.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:21 am | Permalink

          @Anonymous; A Brexit will not stop such migrants (those who need to claim child support or housing benefits etc.), our economy needs them… Unless of course we are also going to give a sharp wake up call to our own youth and tweenty-somethings to get out of bed weathers and in all get out picking little or cabbages, or what ever from sunrise and before!

          • Anonymous
            Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

            Jerry – I advocate Brexit and some tough love with our own youth.

            We don’t need the youth of other countries to run our own. That path leads to an ever more crowded country. And one that is ageing. At a time when all we hear of is ever more automation of jobs.

          • JoeSoap
            Posted February 18, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

            And why the hell not????

          • Jerry
            Posted February 19, 2016 at 7:32 am | Permalink

            @Anonymous; @JoeSoap; How are you going to make someone do a job that they simple do not want to do, even if you were able to make them turn up. Would employers even want such people turning up, perhaps then being extremely disruptive, perhaps also being ripe for radical political indoctrination and the such that has not been seen since the 1970s.

            I’m not saying you are both wrong, I agree with you, its just that it is going to take a generation to get back such work ethics, school kids today, their parents and perhaps even their grandparents have all been promised the Moon and they expect to get it, not a pair of galoshes, a cabbage cutting knife and a bad back! Until then people, who are physically fit, are still going to have to do such work, that almost certainly means willing, able and perhaps already (agriculturally, or what ever) skilled migrants.

      • Hope
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        Well said Jerry. Unusually accurate analysis.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        Exactly.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      In May 2005 the French got their say in first and denied the British the opportunity to say that they didn’t want to become just a state subordinated within a sovereign federal United States of Europe. The Dutch did get their say, because it was too late to cancel their referendum, and they agreed with the French.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper; Did not the UK have a GE in May of 2005, did not UKIP stand, whilst the Tories were lead by a Eurosceptic and much of the Tories election theme was related to our relationship with the EU and its desires – to say that the UK did not have a say seems strange, but then perhaps the Tories were just that unpopular back then, even the many problems with our EU membership being better than the alternatives!

        Of course UKIP might just have done in 2005 what they later did in 2010, kept the UK in (an ever worsening) relationship with the EU…

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 18, 2016 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

          Don’t you the difference between an election and a referendum?

          • Jerry
            Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; There’s no difference if the new government would not have signed the Lisbon Treaty. If UKIP had won an outright victory at a GE do you really think they would have bothered with a Brexit referenda, or would they have taken the UK out of the EU (how ever actually done) by way of their manifesto pledge, and their parties reason for being?!

            Also there has been no referendum with regards the UK not joining the Euro, but wasn’t it one of Mr Osborne’s first acts upon taking control of HMT in 2010 to abolish the the civil service quango that Blair set up to prepare for our full entry into the Euro?

            Reply UKIP was so far off winning a single new seat let alone the election that it us a very good job a government was elected who is giving us a vote

          • Jerry
            Posted February 19, 2016 at 7:41 am | Permalink

            @JR reply; I know, I was just trying to illustrate my point!

            Let me put it another way, something that actually did happen, there were never any referenda with regards either (Labour’s pledge of) nationalisation or (the Tories pledge of) privatisation, both sets of fundamental policies were carried out as manifesto pledges and as such there was never any need for single issue referenda.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 19, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

            Clearly you don’t know the difference between an election and a referendum, Jerry, so rather than waste my time explaining it to you I suggest you do some background research.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 19, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; Stop being silly. I fully understand the process.

            Next you’ll be insisting that there needs to be a referenda about having a referenda, after all the Tories manifesto pledges about enshrining the need to have a referenda with regards a Brexit vote or any further EU treaty changes couldn’t possibly have be enshrined into law (as it has been) without having a referenda first…

    • Jerry
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      @JR reply; The British electorate had indeed never knowingly signed up to the long standing intent to create a USoE, but that has changed upon the advent of UKIP as a national political option and now the forthcoming referendum.

      But even without any formal announcement of intent, it has been plainly obvious since the early to mid 1980s that more and more decisions would have to be made in Brussels, how else was the Single Market ever going to be made to work etc. unless so?!

      Many on the right were quite happy to go along with this until the political left realised that they could use the same system to enhance their own aims and ideals, from that point on -notably Delors 1988 speech to the TUC- the UK political right [1] started to fall out of love with the EEC/EU, describing it as ‘fundamentally undemocratic’ or (the Euro) as unworkable and the such simply because they could no longer shape it in their own image.

      I heard one of your fellow Eurosceptic MPs on Ch4 News last night (17th Feb), typically he wasn’t allowed to fully develop his argument by the presenter, but he kept banging on about “democracy” and the lack of it in the EU, problem is many in the UK think there is a distinct lack of democracy here in the UK and if anything the EU by way of the proportionally elected MEPs allows their voice to be at least heard – be very careful as to what you, the Brexit right, make floating and undecided voters actually start think about…

      [1] but not the European right, due the fact that management and unions are seen as partners, not foes that need to be defeated in the name of capitalism and profits

    • Atlas
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Re the USA and the Federal – State power balance.

      It did not end up there too well in the 1860s with a civil war that killed many, many folk.

    • bratwurst
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Surely we have signed up to being in a USofE – it was just mis-represented to us as signing up to a ‘Common Market’

      • Jerry
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        @bratwurst; “it was just mis-represented to us as signing up to a ‘Common Market’”

        If by, “to us”, you mean the electorate you are sort of correct, the UK’s politicos of the time knew exactly what they were signing us up to and some including Ted Heath made it clear at the time (how even europhobes claim otherwise now), back then I just don’t think the majority of the electorate actually cared, most people had far more dangerous things to worry about, such as the Cold War and Vietnam etc. – it is quite possible they still don’t, we will know by the end of 2017.

    • Dennis
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      Do the UK people ever sign up to anything? Perhaps one could say once in 1975.

      Altho we haven’t signed up to be in the United States of Europe aren’t all important laws now passed in Brussels? What’s the difference?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

        Dennis, if you knew how to summon up the ghosts of the 1832 South Carolina state legislature you could ask them. Otherwise –

        http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/ordnull.asp

        “South Carolina Ordinance of Nullification, November 24, 1832”

        That nearly brought the Civil War forward by 29 years.

  5. Mark B
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    None of this will hit home to the average person in the street until it affects them. Even then they will be misled as to the the true source of their angst just like over the flooding recently.

    To give a simple example of what I mean – Greece. The Greek people so not want EU imposed austerity. Fine. But they want to keep the Euro and stay in the EU, the root cause of their problems. They elect various governments, only to find that they are no better, and sometimes even worse that the previous. They simply cannot connect with the fact that it is the EU that is causing them harm.

    It will all end badly, unless we leave.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      Europe, let me remind you, is extremely good at ending badly.

      • miami.mode
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        Mike

        Quite agree with you and even if we get a Remain win I believe the EU will eventually fall apart not least due to the various government and private debts that are accumulating in the Eurozone.

      • Hope
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        No, Europe is a collection of lovely countries. The EU and the EU project should be reviled by anyone who believes in freedom, sovereignty of nations and the voice of the public for good. Millions died to preserve this for us while Cameron’s charade is a cloak about giving away what they lost their lives for. He is a complete disgrace.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 18, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

          Indeed. But will the people see through him and the appalling bias of the BBC, most of the state sector, some large businesses, much of academia?

  6. Duyfken
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    The UK is already virtually selling the freehold of our nation to the EU Housing Association. Trying to repurchase parts of the property by way of regained but limited veto power would not be a sufficient safeguard or provide recompense for the loss of our real estate. The only safe way of retaining our assets is to withdraw from the sale before completion.

    Riskier would be a temporary lease-hold arrangement whereby we rent out our property to the EU for a fixed term on our conditions, a term which could be extended only after consent from parliament. That at least should have some attraction to both Remainers and Leavers, if not to the EU executive. Any contracts with the EU should contain a sunset clause.

    Fanciful perhaps but it would at least ensure the UK retains a grip on the reins (to use another analogy)!

  7. alan jutson
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Given the above, why is it so many MP’s still want to be chained to this organisation which does not let them manage our Country (the UK) in our own interests.

    I have yet to hear a coherent argument as to why we should give a collection of foreign Countries, power over our own.

    • Hope
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Write to your MP making your views known. I did yesterday. I urge everyone to do so. These greedy over paid part time people should know what the hand that feeds them thinks.

      • alan jutson
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        Hope

        “write to your MP”

        Fortunately JR is my MP so I have no need.

        I posted a rather angry contribution about Mr Cameron’s negotiation stance on this site yesterday, which John held in moderation for a while, probably due to some of the terminology I used.
        But I wrote it because I am frustrated and bloody angry that Mr Cameron has asked for so little, and then has got even less, when we had such a strong negotiation position.

        To make matters worse he is now trying dress it all up as if he has got something tangible.

        Trouble is he will convince many with this sort of duplicity.

        I can only hope enough of us vote leave, and he has to resign or is kicked out with a vote of no confidence.

        Certainly he should not take any part in any further negotiations or leave talks, as he will still have us paying In !!!!!!!

        • Hope
          Posted February 18, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

          Tim Montgomery summed it up, Tory MPs sat silent while Cameron spouted his nonsense in parliament. Hence why he says he is a Tory without a party. How many of us feel like this? Unlike Tim I proudly voted UKIP- the closest to a Tory party. There is no way Imcould vote for The Blaire/Cameron party.

          Look at the nonsense they spout abut convicts reoffending. How many times do they think these people get convicted before even given a prison sentence! Lib dumb idiots.nand how about the serious EU offenders allowed free access to our country without supervision or monitoring? You have to declare being arrested for any drug offense if you wish to enter the US. Kerry needs to stop that harsh nonsense, Cameron wants a Moreno liberal approach to entry to our country and rehabilitation. Forget victims, safety or security.

  8. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    For Dummies (like me):
    The EU aims to get all the european “states” into one big Eurozone run by the unelected group of experts called the Commission in secret. Most European governments, of course, want this. It brings safety, cures the Euro problem and lets Germany and France dominate.

    Mr Cameron wants the status quo, with no movement towards the Eurozone. He thinks things are pretty good, on the whole, at the moment and wants Europe to stay like it is. As he is beginning to realise, this is not an option. He is in a minority of one.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      “Mr Cameron wants the status quo, with no movement towards the Eurozone.”

      If he wanted that he would have sought EU treaty changes to at least restrain the expansion of the eurozone, and possibly prune it back to countries which could comfortably share the same currency if they wanted.

      Instead he has just got some worthless statement of the obvious, that at present there is more than one currency being issued within the EU.

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Personally I do not think that the issue of possibly over-generous welfare benefits for EU immigrants ranks anything like as high as the inability of our Parliament to control both their quantity and their quality.

    As I said yesterday in an overly long comment, the primary issue is the lack of control over immigration from the EU, while the payment of benefits is very much a secondary issue, and the details of restrictions on benefits that are the source of present drama are tertiary or even quaternary issues.

    Somebody on the Sky press review quoted £27 million a year as the paltry sum of money now at stake. I don’t know whether that is true but there is no doubt that the savings for UK taxpayers will be very marginal, while on the hand there is a lot of doubt about whether the changes to benefits will have anything beyond a very marginal effect on the numbers of people who want to come here from the rest of the EU.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      From that figure one assumes social housing and housing benefit is not one of the in work benefits being discussed. A further kick in the teeth for the taxpayer and others affected.

      • Hope
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        Dennis,mouth know better than most that what Cameron is asking for in benefit change could be changed by legislation at home and have far greater impact on the immigration numbers. It is simply not possible to have the immigrant numbers we have over the last six years without government compliance.

        Merkel did not ask the EU if she could invite the world to her country, which she knew was illegal and she would know would affect all countries in the EU, including the UK. Is the EU investigating or imposing fines? No. If Cameron’s stance on immigration was true why did he not say or do anything? Making her deport all those she invited would be a greater number than the piffle he is talking about. Immigration is higher than when Labour was in office and public spending still out of control at the British taxpayers’ expense.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        I don’t know, it was just a figure thrown out by a chap on the Sky press review. Maybe Cameron will be able to come up with some estimate of the savings to the UK taxpayer which may arise from whatever changes he gets, taking into account the possible knock-on effects such as children being brought across so they are eligible for child benefit plus need education, healthcare, etc. But I don’t expect that it will have much effect on the numbers coming.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Denis – The payment of benefits issue gives us a useful argument against the corportations who tell us that EU membership and mass migration is good for our economy.

      It may be good for their businesses as they are getting a taxpayer subsidised work force to work for them on the cheap.

      It is not merely the ‘paltry’ £27m but the whole of the welfare bill. So muddied is the issue that we are unable to assess which of the welfare bill is through indegenes displaced by migrant labour.

      All I will say is that the national debt is getting bigger by exponential leaps and much of it from the welfare component of the UK budget. Far greater than £27m per annum suggested.

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        “It is not merely the ‘paltry’ £27m but the whole of the welfare bill. So muddied is the issue that we are unable to assess which of the welfare bill is through indegenes displaced by migrant labour.”

        And benefits needed to subsidise indigenous wages that are depressed by migrant labour (and the subsidy of increased housing costs.)

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:25 am | Permalink

          But none of the rest will be affected by whatever changes Cameron may get. To really cut the costs it’s necessary to cut the numbers.

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted February 18, 2016 at 11:27 am | Permalink

          Anonymous, you are right about benefits costing more than was announced on the news last night. This whole argument over the EU is not just about benefits though and Mr Cameron is completely missing the point. The UK electorate are fed up with being told what to do and want our parliament to be able to do what they were elected to do. Govern!! At the moment we don’t see much of that. Cameron is the worst thing to happen to the Conservative party in a long time and the sooner he goes the better. Great news that Gove and Boris will probably come out in the OUT camp. That might help us win over a few people that are undecided.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 18, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

          To clarify, the £27 million at stake related just to the payment of child benefit to children who not living here:

          http://openeurope.org.uk/today/blog/deal-d-day-european-council-summit/

          14.02: Pawel Swidlicki: “Dispute over export of child benefit has acquired totemic significance”

          Some thoughts from our analyst Pawel Swidlicki, specifically on the issue of child benefits paid overseas,

          “In the grand scheme of things, the ‘export’ of child benefit for non-resident children is a minor issue when compared against issues of ensuring fairness between euro and non-euro states. As of March last year, there were 19,579 ongoing child benefit awards in respect of 32,408 children living in another EEA member state, costing the UK an estimated £30m. As such, it would be ironic if this proved to be a decisive factor in pushing the UK out of the EU.”

          • Anonymous
            Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

            Denis – It is a minor issue compared to the overcrowding and welfare dependency that this is inflicting on British people.

            Also the fact that jobs generating government policy can never be enjoyed by local people as every job created draws competitors to our shores – state subsidised competitors to boot !

            A side issue is that local workers find it more difficult to rent and impossible to buy in such a crowded market.

            Why any young person would vote Conservative without a stake in society is beyond me.

            This is how Mandelson designed it.

            With people enjoying success Labour can never survive. So the society they designed is one of failure and the Conservative government is building on it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      I think the £27M was just for the reduction in child benefit (if it is paid at local rates some lower some higher). It clearly should not be paid at all for any children not living in the UK.

      I rather doubt if the relevant departments computers and systems could even cope with such a system. They would probably spend more than £27M on extra admin needed anyway.

  10. Antisthenes
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Presumably the EU is trying to emulate the USA but is failing to do so and is becoming more like the old Soviet Union instead. The USA works reasonably well but only because her states were all founded from common roots, language and cultures. The EU does not have any of those benefits and at the same time is building a centralised structure that is against modern trends and is doing so at the wrong time for the wrong reasons.

    Even Corbyn’s Labour is talking about devolving powers and for the left to advocate that (although I doubt they would ever actually carry that through) points to the fact that people want to place more power at local level so the trend now is for more self determination not less. Globalisation is happening whether we like it at not which means more free trade and more social mobility. To cope with the inevitable upheavals that this is causing nation states have to adapt to new trading conditions and absorb new peoples at a rate and in a way that suits them best. Not have it imposed upon them by an omnipotent body who will only have one fits all solutions. No the EU is a totally redundant and irrelevant bureaucratic dictatorship in today’s world.

    David Cameron’s deal would be acceptable if it stated that the UK’s sovereignty is to be completely restored and in future the relationship with the EU would be to trade and cooperate with it in areas that are of mutual benefit. It does not say that or anything like it so the deal is no deal. Even for those the majority in fact covering the whole spectrum from inners to outers who wish to stay in a reformed EU the deal does not do one thing to reform it.

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      “The USA works well but only because her states were all founded from common roots,cultures and languages.”

      Given that Louisiana was purchased from France,Alaska from Russia and large chunks of the SE and SW annexed from the Spanish Empire(and its successor states),that is debatable!

  11. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Rees-Mogg got it right last night on Ch4 News. If you want to change stuff in UK, elect a Corvbyn or someone else…not a foreigner! How much simpler does it get?

  12. Ian Wragg
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Last night I watched a party political broadcast by the Liebor Party.
    They showed 2 families who couldn’t get on the housing ladder due to low wages and high prices
    Corbyn said Liebor would create the conditions to help these people.
    No mention of 3 million immigrants pushing down wages and increasing house prices.
    How is the pathetic EU deal going to reduce 600,000 gross immigrants annually.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Ian – You’re not allowed to mention the migration issue with regard to housing shortages.

      • ChrisS
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        You are quite right, Anonymous.

        We are currently building around 135,000 new dwellings a year.

        Analysis from the 2011 census published by the Town and County Planning Association, shows housing requirements are running on average at around 240,000 – 245,000 new dwellings per year.

        The current shortfall is therefore around 110,000 dwelling pa.

        With net migration running at 330,000, and assuming 2.86 persons per dwelling, ( the figure for the average number of persons per household in the UK taken from the most recent census ), net migration currently generates a requirement for 115,300 new dwellings pa.

        It is therefore obvious that The Housing “Crisis” is entirely down to the failure of successive Governments to get a grip on inward migration.

        We are currently building enough new dwellings to satisfy the demand from the established population. Had Cameron reduced inward migration to the “tens of thousands” as he promised, and generously assuming this means 99,000 pa, the shortfall in new dwellings would be an easily manageable 19,000-20,000 units pa. Again, it is important to note that this shortfall is still entirely caused by inward migration.

        Of course, we all know that the “renegotiation” is going to have no effect on the numbers arriving and the introduction of the living wage is going to cause another large surge in the numbers moving to the UK before the end of this parliament.

        Yet no politician, including our host, appears to want the wider population of the UK to know these facts.

        Reply I have written before about the impact of migration on housing, and this post points out we cannot control numbers from the EU

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Nor in relation to school place shortages, NHS queues delays and shoddy service, strains on the police and court systems, crime rates, congestion, social services, the huge public sector deficit …….

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

          … food and water supplies, sewage and other waste disposal …

      • bigneil
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        On another site a news article yesterday said that a family of migrants had been settled here. The article also said the teen in the family had been part of a gang sexual attack on a 14yr old girl while the lad was in Austria. If this news item is correct why on earth is Cameron allowing people like this here to live on our taxes. Another case of foreigners being well rewarded for destroying someone’s life. Shouldn’t CMD be asked to explain himself – -or is it so blatant now that OUR safety is bottom of the pile – and WE have to pay taxes so foreign criminals can come here to look for yet more victims while we pay them for coming here?

    • Bob
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      @Ian Wragg

      “No mention of 3 million immigrants pushing down wages and increasing house prices.”

      That’s the elephant in the room that we don’t like to talk about. In fact any callers to LBC radio who mention it are usually “red carded”, and any QT panel member mentioning that would received howls of derision from the carefully selected audience members.

  13. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    The Labour Party was shoved sick and squealing into promoting the cutting of Child Benefits to migrant families abroad. Through gnashed teeth and with hypocritical heart, they cursed Mr Cameron’s no-ifs-no-buts promise to cut immigration. Did it get into their Manifesto? Many do not care.All kinds of cartoons, scratch cards and offers to sell diamond mines in Nigeria were there if only we provided our bank details.

    So Mr Cameron has a duty to not just honour his own party’s manifesto but the desires of the British people even expressed through a Labour ballot. British people insist on a cut to migrant Benefits. Insist on major cuts to immigration. An unmentioned number but not insignificant, require repatriation of all asylum seekers and migrants. Their voices are never heard except in workplaces, homes,corner shops,pubs and clubs.

    Utter failure by Cameron on asylum and immigration reduction makes more severe and absolutist opinions of otherwise very tolerant and patient people. His failure is a danger to all concerned.

    Reply Very few people wish to see all migrants sent home. That is an unpleasant and damaging suggestion. If people have come here legally and settled we should welcome them and treat them as our neighbours. Some people in the UK welcome unlimited migration, the majority favours a controlled system. The EU debate is over whether the controls on numbers should apply to EU migrants as well as to the rest of the world.

    • CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      In reply to you JR: “Very few people wish to see all migrants sent home” .
      I would say that Very few people, because of feelings of lack of free speech, openly write or say to opinion polls, that they wish all migrants to be repatriated, sent home, encouraged to leave.
      Lack of free speech is unpleasant and leaves perhaps damaging suggestions largely unsaid, publicly. The Eastern Bloc had similar notions of free-speech as the UK does now. Similarly, notions of its own ideas of “pleasant” and “dangerous”. Prior to the Berlin Wall falling, people never spoke the truth,well, hardly ever…
      Lack of free speech ( seen as “acceptable ” free speech ) does not morality build. Nor a nation. Why with such institutional dumbness we could very well end up without Sovereignty. Deservedly so.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      I agree with that for legal immigrants, JR, but what about the illegals?

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – Mr Houston’s point was that if you don’t control immigration then extremist attitudes surface.

      Working class English people need no lectures on tolerance from the middle class, thank you very much.

      • CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        Anonymous
        Not sure your: “Working class English people need no lectures on tolerance from the middle class ” is a rebut of JR as a person or as a politician, or his argument. Personally, I have always considered politicians as lumpenproletariat not by definition but simply “luppen-” has an onomatopoeic and funny connotation for me. As to whether JR is middle-class …I don’t know. Nor care. It’s a pity he is not Prime Minister whatever class he may or may not be. He is intelligent, you see. Rare.

        As to me, I think I am all classes. The working class in England does in fact need lectures according to Mr Corbyn; for, their education is very poor indeed, the worst. The truth is their teachers have low energy. Teachers have never had free-speech in their whole history. Any remark about migrants, politics in general and they can kiss good bye to an upgrade or, even get sacked. One would feel sympathy if one did not know they have nothing useful to say anyway.

  14. Graham Wood
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    How should we judge the deal?

    Answer: By the simple fact that not one single power of governance will be returned to Britain by the EU in these. So called negotiations. How can Mr Cameron “negotiate” what he has not asked for?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      The whole renegotiation has been a long grass, theatrical and meaningless farce and always was, Cameron was never remotely serious. There was never anything of real value demanded by Cameron and nothing was given.

      Furthermore the “nothing” given in not even guaranteed or binding. The whole thing is a joke.

      • scottspeig
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        It would be a joke if it wasn’t so serious. The idea that 49% polled think that the EU is a good idea is down right frightening.

  15. Liz
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    I now have fewer democratic rights than my grandmothers who were of the generation of women first given the vote. At least her vote counted – mine under the boot of the EU bureaucracy increasingly does not. Europe has always secretly liked an elite governing the peasants but we thought we had left all that behind centuries ago.
    At least David Cameron’s negotiations show that may EU countries want us to stay in mainly for the money and njobs for thbeir citizens we bring – he has not played that card at all.

  16. Leslie Singleton
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    These promises, if that’s the word, that Cameron hopes will be made to us, negligible in any event that they are, are presumably to be included, he hopes or will say he hopes, in a Treaty as soon as such can be agreed. Need I say more? It will take years at best and by then other needs for Treaty changes would have arisen , on the Eurozone, on Greece, on migration, on immigration, on everything. I ask you, what chance is there that all 27 (probably more–Bulgaria?, Turkey?) in say five or 10 years’ time will decide to honour mere “political promises” made to us and only us now? Not that of a cat in Hell I suggest. And if they are not to be included in a Treaty, surely somebody is joking. But not Cameron with his “I sure would”.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Some like to cite the Danish and Irish precedents but ignore the Czech precedent – promised a protocol in October 2009, but it never happened.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Post Scriptum–And on Treaty or no Treaty we are reminded by Lawson that Cameron promised not just Treaty change but “proper, full-on, Treaty change”. How easily such words trip off the silver tongue of our thoroughly mendacious PM. It’s a wonder he didn’t include a few ‘no ifs and buts”. or a ‘cast iron guarantee’ or two.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        PPS–When describing Cameron there is at least no need to worry about using mendacious when mendicant is meant, or vice versa, about him because he is manifestly both

  17. ChrisS
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Most of us posting here are confirmed Eurosceptics who have understood for many months that whatever the final outcome of the “renegotiation” it fails to address any of the fundamental issues that the PM said he intended to sort.

    However we also know that the referendum will be won and lost among the crucial undecided voters who don’t appreciate or understand the issues at the moment. To win these people over the BBC and ITV need to present both sides of the argument without bias. A big ask for the BBC when it receives millions of Euros from Brussels.

    I have just listened to the Today program. They had a reasonable summation from their European Correspondent, Katya Adler but followed it with a long interview with Neil Kinnock, whose family, you will recall, are in receipt of massive financial benefits from the EU in the form of one of the most generous pension schemes in the World.

    Of course there was no Pro-Brexit interviewee put up to challenge Kinnock who was given free reign to spout the usual dodgy statistics and assumptions, He started off by suggesting that leaving the EU would be to jump off a cliff and would be “catastrophic” for the UK. Nothing he said was challenged in any way by the sympathetic interviewer.

    At this crucial stage in the debate this is totally unacceptable.

    • Tom William
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      I have just heard of “Brexit the movie”, a project by Martin Durkin a film maker with a good track record for making informative documentaries. He needs a further £35,000 to reach the £100,000 minimum necessary to make it (preferably more). It is something the Leave campaigns should have thought of long ago but he needs to raise the money by March 1st. He is crowdfunding by credit cards which will not be cashed if he fails to reach his target so it is a no lose situation for convinced backers.

      Reply I do not run ads on this site, and have allowed this as it is asking for gifts. I have no idea if this is a good way to support the cause and am not recommending it.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      I am glad I am not the only one noticing this. The BBC’s Today program seems to have decided that the main after 8am interview is to be kept for EU fanatics to make their case, and to make their case without challenge, interruption, or correction, for Kinnock was allowed to massage the figures for our trade with the EU, and spin them into something quite the opposite of the truth, while those advocating the restoration of our democracy are to be shoved into an much earlier slot, as John Redwood was a week or so ago, and as Hannan was this morning.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        Indeed but Kinnock is such an old, failed, (man ed) lacking any rational arguments he rather makes the case for the other side. His 51% of our trade 9% of theirs argument was pathetic.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Indeed Kinnock had no sensible arguments at all so he had to resort to the usual jumping off a cliff, catastrophic, and the entirely bogus trade argument as usual 51% of ours 9% of theirs. The BBC interviewer was a complete disgrace as usual.

    • miami.mode
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Chris

      I don’t normally listen to Today but did catch the slow-motion verbiage of Lord Kinnock this morning without any interruption and no questioning of the hoary old chestnut of percentages and not values of trade between the UK and the EU.

      I assume I am correct in thinking that this was out of respect for an old gentleman and not a quest for some established facts.

      • ChrisS
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        No, it’s the usual BBC Pro-EU bias born of the fact that all the staff are Liberal/ leftie graduate lovies and because of all the money the BBC gets from Brussels.

        The BBC admitted in a letter to a Tory MP that it has received nearly £3 million in grant money from the European Union over a four year period and BBC Worldwide borrowed £141m from the European Investment Bank.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Chris S – The BBC is why we’re staying in.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Sky is just as biased in favour of EU membership.

  18. MikeP
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    John as the media continue their coverage of the Referendum, the public are often asked for their opinions and sometimes mention projects in their locality “that would only have been completed with EU funding”.
    But to your knowledge has there ever been a year where we got more funding back than tax paid in to the EU? If not then quite simply, all these projects have been completed with our own money that they gave us back; so we could have spent the money ourselves and saved the rest going to Brussels for others to spend. Is this right ?

    Reply Yes, of course. We are always a heavy net contributor to the EU. As Leave often says, we can guarantee all EU payments after Brexit from our own government, and still be £10,000 m a year better off.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      I read some years ago that the only year the UK has been a net recipient was 1975, which quite coincidentally(!) was the year we last had a referendum.

      I find that confirmed in the chart on page 9 in the House of Commons Library Briefing Paper Number 06091 of 19 January 2016:

      http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN06091.pdf

  19. Bert Young
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Whether I should comment today is a bit of a quandary ; my contributions don’t seem to meet approval and don’t get published . I always enjoy this blog and invariably find myself in accord with the views expressed – certainly that was the case yesterday and the day before .

    Today – like most Brits anxious for some sign that we stand a good chance of having our sovereignty restored , I keep my fingers crossed that Cameron will receive a bloody nose at the Summit and will have to admit his failings when he returns . I fear he – no matter what the outcome , will claim success and so add confusion to the average person in the street . It is the votes of the ordinary mortals that count and the right way of presenting the facts to them are paramount ; so far the messages are not getting across . Please continue to win support for a cohesive and co-ordinated campaign .

  20. oldtimer
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    You ask “How should we judge the deal?”

    The answer to one simple question should suffice; it is “Who will be in control after the negotiation – the EU (the Remain choice) or the UK (the Leave choice)?”

    It is clear that, right now, the EU is firmly in control. Mr Cameron has clearly demonstrated that these past few months. We do not control our borders, our benefits system or our laws. Control has been surrendered by successive governments through successive treaties.

    Although we have yet to see the final deal on offer, it already seems clear, as you point out, that on many fundamental issues the EU will remain in control and will extend that control even further in the future (that was also clear from Mr Tusk’s letter). It seems that the deal will hardly be worth the paper it will be written on – it will not be in a treaty any time soon, it will be subject to the machinations of the European parliament; furthermore the decisions and interpretations the European court will be determined by the treaties in place. It will be an attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable.

    So to repeat. My judgement will be based on who will be in control as a result of this negotiation. I want the UK to be in control, not the EU. I have yet to be convinced that Mr Cameron will be able to deliver the result I want to see.

  21. matthu
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Bernard Jenkins has a pretty sensible write-up in the Guardian – so if even the Guardinistas are seeing the light, there must be an exit to the tunnel ahead somewhere!

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/17/eu-referendum-no-vote-reform-europe-crying-out-for

    • matthu
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Sorry – Simon Jenkins (journalist) it was, not Bernard Jenkins (Conservative MP)!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      “This EU referendum doesn’t matter. But the next one will”

      I would not assume that there will ever be a next one.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        Certainly if the vote is Remain then we are totally screwed.

        But, I would (may be should) put money on if the Country votes Leave then there will be a second referendum…

        • Anonymous
          Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

          Following an Out result (which isn’t going to happen) Mr Cameron will say, “The people have spoken and this gives us room for further negotiation with the EU.”

  22. agricola
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Does the re-negotiated deal give us control of :-
    Agriculture.
    No, through CAP we pay more for food from Europe because we are subsidising inefficient European farmers. We are prevented from enjoying World food prices because we are not allowed to buy where we wish. Bad news for African farmers.
    Fishing.
    No the CFP has decimated fish stocks in the North Sea and vacuumed the Mediterranean. It is , and continues to be an ecological disaster.
    Trade.
    No, we still cannot arrange free trade agreements with China, USA, India, or Australia. EU bureaucrats control who we trade with for protectionist motives. Trade with the EU is shrinking, the potential with the rest of the World is growing.
    Sovereignty.
    No, our parliament is becoming increasingly irrelevant as 70%, and growing, our law is dictated by unelected EU bureaucrats and the ECJ who use their power to override UK law.
    Foreign Policy.
    No, we will still belong to the European External Action Service which increasingly negates our independent foreign policy.
    Right of the Accused/Habeus Corpus.
    No, under the EAW we have no control over who the EU courts might wish to arrest in the UK without legal examination from a UK legal authority.
    Immigration.
    No, we have no control over who comes to the UK from the EU if they have an EU passport, be they terrorist or criminal. Nor can we allow into the UK people from our Commonwealth we may wish to welcome.
    Employment Law.
    No, this is largely set by EU bureaucrats.
    Tax.
    No, the setting of VAT and Tax Rates in the UK is a diminishing privilege.

    Continued membership of the EU does not resolve any of these issues, in fact in time they get worse to the point where the UK ceases to exist as a sovereign nation. My conclusion is that Cameron’s re-negotiation is a cosmetic sham designed to con the UK electorate.

    A bureaucrat starts life with a clipboard, a brazier, and a hut at the side of roadworks. Within four years he has a chrome plated office at the top of the Shard and a thousand people beavering away for his continued elevation, and all at public expense.

    • forthurst
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      “My conclusion is that Cameron’s re-negotiation is a cosmetic sham designed to con the UK electorate.My conclusion is that Cameron’s re-negotiation is a cosmetic sham designed to con the UK electorate.”

      Of course, CMD’s ‘renegotiation’ is deliberately and deviously predicated on a straw man and we are fools if we waste our breath trying to discuss whether his ‘renegotiation’ is going to be ‘successful’ or not since he has made no attempt to address the fundamental issues facing our country through those treaties to which we are already signatories.

  23. AndyC
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    I fear you are being too generous to your party leader. He has acted in bad faith from the beginning on the EU question. First the ‘cast iron’ guarantee over Lisbon, which dissolved in a cloud of sophistry once the implications were realised. Then the ‘referendum lock’ legislation, which said one thing and did the opposite. Then the deception and equivocation over Britain’s rising EU budget contributions. And now a wholly fake ‘renegotiation’ which is making Harold Wilson look like a principled model of democratic probity. I wonder what the PM, and more to the point any sentient members of the cabinet, think they are playing at. The PM has become a laughing stock, and only by voting to leave can Britain avoid the same fate.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      I may be wrong but I think first came quietly dumping the new fisheries policy which the Tory party had recently adopted.

  24. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    As far as I’m concerned there are two distinct ways to judge this so-called “deal”

    The first way is to compare what Cameron actually asked for in the first place, and has then got agreed, with what he and his party had promised to do in the past.

    The second way, which admittedly will only be my way, probably, at least initially, is to compare what he asked for with what I think he should have asked for.

    For the first way, one can dredge up the promises made before Cameron’s surrender over the Lisbon Treaty, and at the time he caved in, and in his Bloomberg speech and on other occasions, such as this article in the Daily Telegraph on March 15th 2014:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/eureferendum/10700644/David-Cameron-the-EU-is-not-working-and-we-will-change-it.html

    in which he wrote:

    “Some changes will best be achieved by alterations to the European treaties – others can be achieved by different means.

    But when we achieve it, we will have transformed the European Union and Britain’s relationship with it.”

    Well, after this “deal” came into effect neither the EU nor our relationship with it would be “transformed”, both would be barely changed, so it’s a “fail” on that criterion.

    As for the second way, in October 2011 JR wrote several articles such as this:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2011/10/31/what-powers-would-you-like-back/

    “What powers would you like back?”

    and I recall that I deliberately left it to others to list repatriation of powers over social and employment policy and return of control over our fishing grounds and so on, and instead provided a list of eight treaty changes just to do with the euro and the eurozone.

    I am not going to copy and paste that entire list here – anyone who is interested can look up the comment – instead I will just reproduce the opening paragraph:

    “Here again is my revised list of eight accompanying treaty changes that Cameron should have demanded in exchange for that EU treaty change wanted by the governments of some of the eurozone countries, above all Germany and France, all of which additional treaty changes relate directly or indirectly to their desired treaty change and all of which are such reasonable demands that even the LibDems might have to agree that they are reasonable.”

    The reference to “that EU treaty change wanted by the governments of some of the eurozone countries” being to this:

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:091:0001:0002:EN:PDF

    “EUROPEAN COUNCIL DECISION of 25 March 2011 amending Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union with regard to a stability mechanism for Member States whose currency is the euro (2011/199/EU)”

    And the so-called “deal” is a “fail” on those aspects as well, even on reversing the change to QMV for Article 122(2) so that the UK government could veto its abuse for eurozone bailouts, a change made by the Nice Treaty as pointed out by Cameron here:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm101220/debtext/101220-0001.htm

    “Article 122 of the treaty refers to help in the case of natural disasters and other emergencies. There are some people who question whether it should have been used in this way to support eurozone countries.

    That argument was had and was conceded under the previous Government in two ways. First, they agreed the establishment of the mechanism. Secondly, if we go back to the Nice treaty, it was the then Europe Minister, the right hon. Member for Leicester East (Keith Vaz), who is in his place, who argued from the Dispatch Box that it was perfectly okay for article 122 to go to qualified majority voting, which is where we are today. So in two ways the previous Government made a bad mistake. As I say, we are clearing up the mess and we will certainly do that from 2013, but the mechanism remains in place till then.”

    • forthurst
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Denis, if we were to fillet our relationship with the EU of everything which we regard as invidious, what would remain other than trade and cooperation on matters in our mutual interest?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        As our host recommends, and indeed back in 2013 he and others proposed that we should have a “mandate” referendum with the question:

        http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2013/03/15/the-mandate-referendum/

        “Do you want the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU, based on free trade and political co-operation?”

  25. Iain Moore
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    It would be good for the Brexit campaign to detail the main powers and sovereignty that has been lost in Maastict, Amsterdam, Nice, and Lisbon treaties, the treaties the Conservative party campaigned against, and compare them against the paltry renegotiation Cameron is engaged in, for though the loss of sovereignty may be obvious to those engaged in the issue, it won’t be obvious to the man in the street, and when you make it clear to how much our democracy has been beggared by the EU, they might just be horrified.

    The ambition that the EU has achieved in accruing powers to itself , might just be the most telling revelation to the general public.

  26. ChrisS
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    “Following my previous post I have submitted a formal complaint to the BBC trust about bias on this morning’s BBC Today program.

    I listened to the Today program from 08:00 to 09:00 this morning, 18th February 2016

    At this crucial stage in the EU debate, the producers and interviewers demonstrated total bias in favour of remaining in the EU.

    After a reasonable piece from Katya Adler, Lord Kinnock was wheeled out to put the case for the EU. No opposing speaker was put up to balance his argument or respond afterwards. None of Kinnocks’ dodgy statistics or comments were in any way challenged by the interviewer who was clearly very sympathetic.

    This was followed by another piece consisting of interviews with young graduates who would be voting to remain in the EU. Finally, we had a segment from Brussels on the damaging effect Brexit would have on the rest of Europe.

    It is well known that the BBC receives millions of Euros from the EU every year for services it provides to the EU and Kinnock’s family receives very substantial pension payments from their past service in Brussels. None of this was mentioned, of course.

    Throughout the campaign, which has effectively started, as a public service broadcaster funded by voters, the BBC needs to positively demonstrate a policy of fairness and ensure that it presents the case for and against Brexit without bias.

    This morning’s Today program fell far short or what we have a right to expect.
    In my view it hit a new low in deliberately biased reporting.

    I would like this complaint to be forwarded to the BBC trust and I would like to receive a formal response from the Trust, please”.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      On the 26 Jan I registered a complaint to the BBC regarding their treatment of the leave EU campaign. It seems to have disappeared without trace.

      “Sir,

      Since the new year I kept on hearing BBC presenters, after interviewing people in favour of the EU , say that the Out campaign argument would be represented at a later date, but it never was. Eventually Nigel Farage was interviewed on the BBC1’s Sunday politics unfortunately most of the interview by Andrew Neil was spent on the issue of which group was going to represent the Outs , precious little about the argument for leaving the EU.

      With that in mind I was interested to see if you gave the Out’s the same opportunity to make their argument as you gave Stuart Rose yesterday, something you promised . Unfortunately we didn’t, while Stuart Rose got the main after 8:am interview, the Vote Leave spokesman got shoved between Thought for Today and the News , that is not giving the two campaigns the same opportunity.

      The interview with Vote Leave was pretty rubbish as well, whether it was the case of Justin Webb trying to get all the points he wanted to raise in the short time available I don’t know, but it resulted in most of the interview being spent with Justin Webb asking questions, with little or no opportunity for the Vote leave spokesman to answer them.

      This is not giving the two campaigns the same treatment, with the BBC already on pretty dodgy ground with the EUsceptics, I am surprised the BBC isn’t even attempting to be scrupulously fair to both sides.”

      • Iain Moore
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        PS I hope you haver better luck.

  27. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    When Cameron ends his meeting on Friday we should all set off across the Channel in boats, row-boats, marine pleasure craft, even water-wings and pick him up off the beach at Dunkirk

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      What a great idea Christopher.

      • CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        fedupsoutherner:
        Fingerprint him first, as part of his registration process and pick out a 5-star hotel in the north of England where he can stay for the next five years while we process his application.

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted February 18, 2016 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

          Yes, there must be some good ones in the Outer Hebrides. Or how about Richard Branson’s space flight?

  28. Javelin
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    This is all dependent on Turkey.

    Turkey is going to be isolated – for example Russia just signed a deal with the Saudis.

    Then Turkey is going to be terrorised – by the home grown Kurds.

    Then Turkey is going to attack Syria, Kurds and Russia.

    NATO will sabre rattle as it is war weary.

    There will be tens of millions of refugees into Europe and the EU will disintegrate.

  29. bluedog
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Oh dear. It seems as though Boris is becoming a British patriot. Dangerous days indeed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      We shall see. I hope he does but I doubt it.

      • The Prangwizard
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        I regret to have to say it but Boris appears to be a complete buffoon, if it’s an act he’s over-played it. And for him to give an impression he doesn’t know whether the case has or hasn’t been made yet is disingenuous.

  30. agricola
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    If Cameron was sincere in his three manifesto pledges he would have realised long ago that their achievement was dependent on leaving the EU. He is either a fool or a con man. Whichever, he has been found wanting and unfit for the purpose of leading the conservative party, the country, or any negotiation after Brexit. It would be akin to inviting Philby back to run MI6.

  31. Shieldsman
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    That reformed EU or reformed Europe as Eric Pickles is seeking – what happened to it?

    Do I detect a play on words. A news broadcast I heard this morning referred to a reformed relationship with the EU being negotiated by Mr Cameron.

    The answer appears to be – NO Oliver take your bowl away, I’m the boss and you get what I give you.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Originally it was going to be not just “reformed” but “transformed”.

  32. NickW
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    In all conscience, the results of the renegotiation constitute a failure to achieve meaningful and necessary reform.

    If the PM were to accept that fact, and lead us out of the EU, his place in history would be assured and he would become a national hero.

    On the Continent, the Governing elite might be utterly furious, but the majority of the people of the EU would come to see him as a Saviour who rescued them from tyranny.

    It might not be what Mr Cameron wanted, but he has tried hard and failed; there is no disgrace in that.

    The question is, “How does he and the Conservative Party want to be remembered?”

    Will Cameron become the Leader that Britain needs?

    Will he become our accidental hero?

    • JoeSoap
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      Well it would be instructive to know just why Cameron didn’t adopt a neutral approach – having won the election, put the manifesto in front of the EU as a do-or-we-leave deal. It would have been win-win for him. Why put himself through all this?

      • Excalibur
        Posted February 19, 2016 at 6:49 am | Permalink

        Because CMD is not neutral. You will recall his attempt to neuter the 1922 Committee soon after he came to power……

  33. Phil_Richmond
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    John – your great leader has been stringing along a number of Conservative MPs and members since 2005. What upsets me is the inability to move against him. Cameron is no different to Ken Clarke in the fact that he is a fanatical Europhile!
    There has been NO negotiation on Britains part just collaboration with the EU to structure a deal to con the British people.

  34. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2714671/FINAL-DRAFT-st00016-en16.pdf

    “While nineteen Member States have already adopted the single currency, other Member States are under a derogation which applies until the Council decides that the conditions are met for its abrogation and two Member States have, pursuant to Protocols No 15 and No 16 annexed to the Treaties, respectively no obligation to adopt the euro or an exemption from doing so. Accordingly, for as long as the said derogations are not abrogated or the said protocols have not ceased to apply following notification or request from the relevant Member State, not all Member States have the euro as their currency.”

    NB, only two member states, the UK and Denmark, “have … no obligation to adopt the euro or an exemption from doing so”, the rest of the non-euro EU member states have a treaty obligation to join the euro and are merely “under a derogation which applies until the Council decides that the conditions are met for its abrogation”.

    Oh, but we also have the startling revelation that until all member states join the euro not all member states will have the euro as their currency.

    Quite recently Open Europe have been trying to argue that recognising that the EU is a multi-currency union will be equivalent to agreeing to relieve the non-euro countries of their legal obligation to eventually join the euro, clearly that is not the case.

  35. Kenneth
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    How should be judge the deal?

    I would judge it – regardless of the outcome (which doesn’t matter) – as a way of diverting our attention away from the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.

    The Remain camp alongside BBC/Labour will continue to argue over straw man issues instead of facing the fundamental problem of our loss of democracy.

    They will put Norway up as an example and then shoot it down. They will raise migrant benefits as a big issue and then dismiss it. They will nit pick at the ‘loss of some bits of our sovereignty’ without dealing with sovereignty as the binary issue that it ultimately must be.

    The negotiations themselves are a prime example of this tendency to magnify trivialities into big issues while ignoring the elephant in the room.

    These are Mr Cameron’s negotiations, not ours.

    The ‘Remains’ will avoid talking about fundamental choice we must make: do we make laws here or in a foreign country?

  36. margaret
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    So they won’t budge on free movement yet are threatening to cut of Greece just for that .

    • margaret
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      ‘off Greece’

      • Know-Dice
        Posted February 18, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        I think you are right in the first place… 🙁

  37. ChrisS
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Every journalist at the BBC received compulsory training on the EU ahead of the referendum. This was widely reported in the press in October 2015.

    James Harding, the director of BBC News, told the members of Bill Cash’s European Scrutiny committee that thousands of BBC reporters, including newsreaders and Today programme presenters, will be sent for mandatory retraining. He admitted that the referendum will ‘test perceptions of the BBC’s impartiality’.

    Well, judging by this morning’s Today Program, it hasn’t been very effective.

    I have written to Bill Cash suggesting he recalls Mr Harding and requests a copy of the course notes and get them checked for accuracy and bias…….

  38. Tad Davison
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    If those of us who understand what the forthcoming EU referendum is all about wants to see something really scary, then watch the BBC News Channel’s straw poll taken out on the streets. Most of the people they interviewed simply hadn’t got a clue – yet they’ll get a vote on it!

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Kenneth
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      I wouldn’t dismiss the wisdom of the masses too readily.

      We are told that those with higher qualifications want us to stay in. It seems that those with a hunger for information are being fed plenty of it. In fact, they are fed copious amounts of propaganda by schools, colleges, universities and, when they are older, by the BBC.

      Those who take little notice of politics may be our last hope. They have not been radicalised (or should I say ‘educated’ by the extremists).

    • graham1946
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      The scary thing is that the young who have never known anything different will vote to stay in. Today on the radio, they held a quick poll at Essex University, I think it was, and these supposedly educated young people said almost to a man that they are scared of voting out because the consequences are unknown . We truly have lost our spirit and they don’t seem to have any sense of history, in that the EU only represents 45 years of our existence.

    • alan jutson
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Tad

      Absolutely agree with your worries, saw a similar lack knowledge about the negotiations on Scottish tax raising powers last week.

      No one understood what it was all about, and then just laughed off their ignorance.

      Perhaps we should have a general knowledge test before you can vote.!

  39. Maureen Turner
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    How do we judge the deal? Normally, you judge any deal on its content but having some idea of the rough draft it doesn’t look as though we are going to get very much. In fact rumour has it even the thin gruel draft is being watered down. It is said you play the ball and not the man but if the man’s foot cannot make contact with the ball it’s best to take the ball away and in this case probably the man as well.

    The concessions asked for were weak and as you point out Mr. Redwood some weren’t even possible under EU treaty law which is hard to believe when you consider the number of legal advisors available to the PM. What is going to be interesting should the PM accept the deal is how he is going to sell it to the electorate..

    What has been in vogue for some time now is the legacy thing, ie., how PMs and Presidents will be remembered and it is likely this will influence Mr. Cameron’s decision whether to accept or reject the deal. I sometimes think they almost govern to fit in with their idea of leaving a good legacy.

    One of the most outlandish comments for Remain was made by the F. Sec. last Sunday on the Marr Show. He suggested the UK leaving could cause others to follow with the eventual disintegration of the EU and we might find their replacements less friendly to the UK. The inference here being that we must vote Remain to save a “new free Europe” from itself. Any day now some individual is going to start shouting Henny Penny the sky is falling in.

  40. behindthefrogs
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    We do not expect to change UK laws as a result of local elections so why should we expect to change EU laws as a result of a general election? We elect MEPs for that purpose. I would agree that the power of MEPs needs to be increased but we should be working on improving this situation to make the EU more democratic rather than washing our hands and threatening to leave the EU. Cameron’s renegotiation should have included increasing the democratic powers of our MEPs

    • graham1946
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      But the point is that they don’t want to change – it suits them as it is – it is just not suitable for us. We have been at ‘the top table’ as they like to say for 45 years and yet we still need to have a ‘re-negotiation’. The fact that it is so weak, yet still they won’t give anything tells you all you need to know. How much longer should we should try to change things for – another 45 years?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      You don’t agree with me on that, because I have no time for the faux democracy of the EU Parliament and rather than giving MEPs more power I would like to see the whole caboodle shut down and the building sold off for a better purpose.

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted February 19, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      While we elect MEPs who do not attend the parliament we cannot contribute democratically

  41. The PrangWizard
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    A few days ago Mr Redwood, you asked fellow MPs to look to their sense of honour, and if they had portrayed themselves as Eurosceptic they should vote to LEAVE the EU.

    I would say that it is more serious than that for Conservative MPs. The UK is facing the most important decision it has faced in many decades; as we all know all too well, our future identity and prosperity as a nation is in the balance and has to be decided.

    The question must be, should Conservative MPs who have consistently written and spoken about the need to leave the EU, and fundamentally criticised government policy, not resign the Whip?

    Tim Montgomerie has written in The Times today that he has resigned his membership of the party, citing failures of leadership and ineffectual EU negotiations, and economic mismanagement and broken promises, for example, which have been covered ceaselessly and fairly on this blog.

    Is it not the the time for MPs like Mr Redwood to do the equivalent as an MP?
    Will Mr Cameron be able to continue as PM, whatever the outcome of the negotiations and the referendum vote? Has he not shown himself to be weak and unsuitable, merely posturing?

    Would it not be sad indeed if certain MPs who have campaigned honestly for years, lose their integrity, honour and self-respect by staying on?

    It is not the first time such questions have been asked at times of difficulty, but the scale of the issue could hardly be much higher this time and the question must be asked and aswered, and sooner rather than later.

    Reply The Conservative whip was applied to pass the Act for a referendum, and is now being applied to allow all MPs to declare their own view of Leave or Stay. As I have fought hard for both those principles I will continue to follow the whip that has helped me deliver a referendum. If I and others like me had joined UKIP as some urged we would now be having a referendum, as we would have lost and Parliament would not have had a majority for a referendum.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: I doubt that you would have lost your seat as a UKIP candidate. And by now UKIP would have been a viable third party – with 80 odd Conservative MPs helping to manage it.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      How can you know that?
      Surely had 80 or more Conservative MPs resigned or threatened to, Cameron would have been prevented from this triangulation exercise. As a thin-gruel version of Blair, this has been his route to power.

  42. bigneil
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    “The deal”? – there is never any “deal” with a dictatorship. Cameron is stitching us up. The EU has openly said they can ( meaning they will ) just reverse everything that is supposedly agreed.

  43. Iain gill
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Really we need a referendum on whether to actually do things to properly cut back immigration, as the political class promise but don’t deliver, or whether to accept the ongoing out of control immigration we see all around. We won’t get that referendum because they already know what the result would be by a massive margin.

  44. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Mr Cameron arriving at the Brussels Meeting today:
    ” I will NOT take a deal we do not need”
    Yes he will, and poke around in the diplomatic dustbin for anything else not wholly rotten to the core

  45. Margaret
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Judge not, lest you yourself be judged . How do people make a decision about the referendum if we don’t vote following a judgement. We are all fed up of having our resources stretched and culture changed, our laws and our way of life demeaned, but our decision can affect hundreds of suffering people. due to the’ bad ‘Samaritan stance. If we allow our country to overflow Enoch’s predictions will ensue and many here will suffer. It is a heavy weight to bear either way. Each vote carries more responsibility than many think.

  46. agricola
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    All the faux agonising and brinkmanship I feel is staged for the electorate. Pseudo Hector at the gate posing. Will the EU or won’t they, accept a deal etc. A deal that is of no substance, as far as we can deduce, subject to dilution in the agonising last 24 hours. A deal that is possibly unacceptable to the EU parliament, but even if accepted is subject to the whims of the European Court of Justice. How do you describe nothing that could end up as less than nothing. The square root of foxtrot alpha comes to mind. By Saturday we will know how it has played out and who in the cabinet and media are into charades.

  47. NHSGP
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Sorry but John’s reply is a cop out.

    1. UK government just changes the law. Job done.

    Now what?

    EU sues the UK? UK government says bugger off.

    What are they going to do? Invade?

  48. margaret
    Posted February 19, 2016 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    That depends what interpretation one puts on it Mercia . Semantics is a wide subject . Every law we make is open to interpretation .That is why there is so much squabbling about treaties etc.
    Having studied the philosophy of language in depth at university ,you would not believe what assumptions people make about text and their own beliefs.

  49. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 20, 2016 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    “The Conservative party in opposition spoke strongly against the Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon treaties. These treaties surrendered the veto over more than 100 areas of policy., That means in 100 important areas of government spending, policy and lawmaking the UK can no longer do as it wishes, but has to do what the majority of member states wants. Many Conservatives who will vote to leave wanted us to get back those lost powers.”

    Have you got a list of those 100 areas? It would help immensely on the doorstep if there was a handout.

  • About John Redwood


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

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