The deal text – much ado about nothing

The text of the Council meeting is wordy. The preambles make clear that the agreement is entirely within current EU treaties and law. It says it is seeking to clarify, not change. Language affirming a multi currency union did not survive the Council. Instead the UK had to settle for a recital of the opt outs that the UK and Denmark enjoy and the conclusion that all the time those derogations remain “not all member states have the euro as their currency”.

The preamble goes on to recite UK opt outs from the common borders policy, and some criminal justice measures. Four pages remind us of the current legal base and the areas where the UK already has opt outs. Then we get into the Decision of this latest Council. This begins with a balanced statement for the UK vis a vis the Euro:

“(UK) will not create obstacles to but facilitate such further deepening (economic and monetary union) while this process will, conversely, respect the rights and competences of non participating member states”

The more detailed explanation of banking rules is also similarly balanced. Whilst member states not in the Euro are accorded some freedom to regulate their own markets there is also a statement that “this is without prejudice to the development of a single rule book and to Union mechanisms of macro prudential oversight for the prevention and mitigation of systemic financial risks in the Union and to the existing powers of the Union to take action that is necessary to respond to threats to financial stability.” The current position sees an increasing amount of common EU regulation and rule making for all financial institutions and markets within the wider EU, where the votes and needs of Euro members can hold sway.

The addition of the right for the UK to request a rethink of an unhelpful rule does not convey any veto or prevent the EU Council simply affirming their intention to press on with such a measure.

The competitiveness section is short and is a repeat of existing Union policies. Pledges to better regulation and some repeals are imprecise and similar to past statements.

The section on sovereignty does say “ever closer union” will not apply to the UK. It also goes on to state ” These references do not alter the limits of Union competence governed by the principle of conferral, or the use of Union competence governed by the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality”. In other words no powers are transferred back, and the general powers of the current treaties remain in place.

The addition of the right of 55% of member states Parliaments to request a rethink on a new law is a very weak power. It would still be easier to seek to block a new law by getting enough support around the Council table in the normal way. None of this relates to current laws or the occupied field of activities which can be extended by secondary legislation and ECJ decisions.

The section on social benefits and free movement is also weak. The document reminds us that ” Free movement of EU citizens under Article 21 of the TFEU is to be exercised subject to the limitations and conditions laid down in the Treaties and the measures adopted to give them effect.” In other words, no change.

The issue of whether all this is legally binding is not important, as so little new has been granted. Most of the text is a restatement of existing powers and requirements under the current treaties.

The EU promises secondary legislation to allow Child Benefits to non resident children to be paid at a rate related to the conditions in the child’s home state. This falls well short of the UK request to be exempt from paying child benefit to non resident children. The EU also grants an emergency brake provision to allow a member state to limit in work benefits for EU migrant workers , tapering them in over a four year period. Again this falls well short of the UK request for no benefits to be payable for the first four years.

The EU also promises eventual treaty change on ever closer union, but this will not result in powers returning to the UK.


  1. Horatio
    February 23, 2016

    The document is an absolute disgrace and the people will see through it.

    I certainly thought Boris on Sunday (and others, especially Grayling) have been far too gracious about Cast Iron Dave and his awful deal, what deal? Perhaps Cast Iron Dave’s ungrateful and spiteful attack on Boris yesterday will inspire a little fight and less flim flam.

    I keep reading or hearing that other traitor Hague witter on about party unity. Perhaps he should remember that the grassroots whom the parliamentary party purport to represent are intensely Eurosceptic. What people like himself, the supine Hammond, tax & spend, pension-thief Osborne, coward Javid and Cast Iron Dave are doing is betraying the people who voted for them. The people of England, who are mostly Conservative, have had just about enough of all the lies, the green crap, the bloated state; foreign aid, the Barnett formula, mass immigration, constant defacation on our history, the BBC, political correctness, Brussels and the broken, promises. Now it seems we must suffer the disdain, contempt and arrogance of Cameron and his lackeys. Their lack of confidence in the ability of this great nation to keep innovating, growing and out- performing for our relative size in the world, as we have always tended to do, is in itself a disgrace and betrays a lack of ambition. They are not fit to lead us in the new world post-brexit.

    How they think they will sit in the Tory party post referendum, let alone next election is beyond me. The patience of the majority; the decent, hard working, over taxed people of this country is wearing perilously thin.

    1. Richard1
      February 23, 2016

      Is this splenetic language really called for? The majority of people are in favour of Remain according to polls. Now it turns out the large majority of business people – small companies as well as large – oppose Brexit. The usually sensible IoD has come out against Brexit. Sterling weakness in the last few days indicates they might have a point. I do not think Leave will win this referendum by arguing that anyone who opposes Brexit is a fool / traitor / communist etc.

      Reply It does not turn out that a large majority of business people oppose Brexit. I will analyse the Times list tomorrow.

      1. a-tracy
        February 23, 2016

        Richard1 from what I’ve heard – I don’t believe your statement of a majority of small business people supporting remain is correct, where did you get this statement from? Who did the research?

        How can the IOD come out against Brexit when it hasn’t authority from its members to?

        1. a-tracy
          February 23, 2016

          From a brief check they asked 672 business people. What is their full membership over 30,000, on their website they claim you can connect with 35,000 business leaders? surely to be authoritative on this every member should have had a simple yes/no vote.

          1. Horatio
            February 23, 2016

            Exactly a-tracy. Mutton dressed as lamb as usual and supported by the BBC whole heartedly today.

      2. Mitchel
        February 23, 2016

        The sterling weakness (that the BBC et al want you to believe is due to Brexit fears) is actually the dollar strengthening against most other currencies.

        1. Richard1
          February 23, 2016

          Sterling has fallen against the dollar the euro the yen and the Swiss franc by 10-15% over the last three months and against all those and other currencies again in the last few days. Doesn’t mean it’s right and doesn’t mean it’s permanent. But it does point to a negative market view of Brexit, which is in line with such evidence as there is of ‘business’ opinion. Therefore the onus is on Leave to come up with a very rational, calm and well argued case.

          1. JoeSoap
            February 23, 2016

            Well first weakness is exactly what every sovereign nation with its own currency has been trying to engender for the past 8 years. The Swiss would LOVE their currency to weaken.
            Second, in the teeth of Brown’s management of the economy before a referendum was even a glint in our eyes, the Pound was close to parity with the Euro. So how is it weak at EUR 1.30?

          2. graham1946
            February 23, 2016

            Richard1, this is what financial markets do. They just look for a trigger t either force currencies up or down. It’s how they make their money. Without volatility, they make nothing. The last thing markets want is stability, despite what some so-called experts on the radio say, as one of them did this morning. Watch the markets and learn You may be able to make some money as well. Follow the big money, they control all the markets, even forex which is supposed to be too big to fix but which has been proved to be a fiction.

          3. hefner
            February 23, 2016

            “Therefore the onus is on Leave to come up with a very rational, calm and well argued case”.

            Yes, I had started to recommend this site to people around me. I am going to stop as I cannot condone the type of indiscriminate remarks from people like Horatio or at times Lifelogic.

          4. Horatio
            February 23, 2016

            Sterling also fell briefly when we refused to follow the cabal and into the Euro.

        2. hefner
          February 23, 2016

          Get to , check UK pound vs. US dollar, then euro vs US dollar, finally euro vs. UK pound, and conclude for yourself who is talking rubbish.

          1. Denis Cooper
            February 23, 2016

            The dollar trade weighted index has been trending upwards for the best part of two years, to be more exact it has risen by 22% since the end of May 2014. By definition, other currencies must have been trending down against the dollar, and that includes both the pound, down 15%, and the euro, down by even more, 20%. Relatively small day to day fluctuations have to be seen in the context of those more extensive trends.

          2. Richard1
            February 23, 2016

            USD/GBP 1.53 to 1.40; EUR/GBP 1.42 to 1.27; JPY / GBP 185 to 157; CHF/GBP 1.55 to 1.39 all over 3 month period.

        3. Denis Cooper
          February 24, 2016

          Hefner, in those around you are so sensitive you’d better advise them not to watch the television or read the newspapers in case Cameron comes out with another batch of gratuitously offensive comments about people who want to leave the EU.

          1. hefner
            February 25, 2016

            Fair enough comment. But how one can judge whether Grayling had been a good or bad Justice Secretary when Gove seems to have spent a lot of time unraveling what Grayling had previously done, when now Gove is said to be wrong by the present and the previous top Government “lawyers”.

            I am afraid that to be informed one has to read a very wide range of materials, certainly not restricted to this blog (even if your contributions to it are usually top-notch).

      3. A different Simon
        February 23, 2016

        Richard1 ,

        I export my services and find that the pound is too strong relative to other currencies .

        Customers tell me I’m expensive yet in sterling terms I’ve reduced my rates by 8% over 8 years .

        Wages in the UK are typically 5X those in developing world . That gap needs to be narrowed if jobs are to remain here .

        What other way of remaining competitive is there other than devaluing the pound relative to other currencies ?

        Yes this will increase the cost of imports but that pales in comparison to the negative influence on our balance of payments of increasing the population so far beyond the carrying capacity of our tiny islands .

        Our nation produces perhaps sufficient food for perhaps 30 million westerners and in the last 40 years the population has climbed from 50 million to 70 million . Thus we are forced to import food for 40 million people instead of 20 million .

    2. Lifelogic
      February 23, 2016

      I tend to agree but perhaps this really was the best deal Cameron could get from the appalling EU and the bureaucrats.

      What Cameron can be blamed for is his meek acceptance of such deal. Still he has at least give the people a say. I do not think the people will be fooled again this time.

      Vote leave to leave or vote leave for a better deal. Why would anyone vote to stay with this deal?

      If you love Europe it is surely your moral duty to vote leave.

      1. alan jutson
        February 23, 2016


        Richard Littlejohn wrote an excellent article in the Daily Mail today.

        Outlines a spoof Conversation trying to describe our negotiations with the EU to an American, who in turn attempts to use simple logic in return to question the outcome.

        Sometimes comedy is the best and easiest way to describe this farce.

        1. Lifelogic
          February 23, 2016

          Indeed. Littlejohn usually get to the nub of any issue, illustrating the absurdity of the governments (usually totally indefensible) position. This while amusing his readers too.

        2. graham1946
          February 23, 2016

          Yes, Alan, I particularly liked the piece where the American said, ‘Surely any country forced to pay taxes to a foreign power and unable to make its own laws isn’t a real country at all. Holy ragatoni, that’s why we Americans had a revolution’.

          Nicely sums up the whole of the absurdity that Cameron is pushing on us.

    3. oldtimer
      February 23, 2016

      Thank you, Mr Redwood for this clear analysis of what is actually in the text of the Council. Watching and listening to Mr Cameron`s passionate statement in the House of Commons yesterday, we were asked to believe that it represented “fundamental reform”. Clearly is does not. For all practical purposes nothing much has changed. To borrow the brutal phraseology of US politics, he was trying to put lipstick on a pig.

      1. graham1946
        February 23, 2016

        Or in anglo saxon ‘to polish a t…d

    4. Iain Moore
      February 23, 2016

      And I gather the Government has just handed the Scots another very very generous settlement, where they get to keep income tax revenue, but get no corresponding cut in the Barnet formula.

      It seems that while all English councils are getting cuts, and expect higher council tax bills the Scots get another windfall. If correct sickening.

    5. Steven Jackson
      February 23, 2016

      Sir. I agree with your comments 100%

  2. The Active Citizen
    February 23, 2016

    A superb demolition JR, which should be circulated to all your colleagues and the leave campaigns.

    After listening to the PM over the last few days, including his statement and answers in Parliament yesterday, I started on a piece of work which might be useful to my fellow-readers?

    Mr Cameron seems to be inventing a new language on a daily basis. This language uses the same words as English, but don’t be fooled. It’s new because the words have different meanings to those of widely-used and accepted English. Don’t worry, in the next few months you’ll get the hang of it.

    Cameronish-English Dictionary
    “Sovereignty” – The process of passing all rights to legislate own laws to foreigners.
    “Safer” – The feeling after Frau Merkel suddenly decided to invite millions of people from the Middle East and Africa to join you in the EU.
    “More secure” – The satisfaction of knowing that a fat Belgian policeman is monitoring groups of Islamic terrorists in a Brussels suburb. Also used in military terms to denote that an EU army of French, Belgian, and Italian soldiers are ready to stop Putin from more expansion into Europe.
    “Stronger” – What you feel when foreign governments take over the burden of all decision-making from you.
    “Weaker” – The feeling when denied English breakfast, lunch, and dinner until you give up and sign something.
    “Better off” – The warm feeling of knowing that you’re paying billions each year to subsidise the lifestyles of the people of other countries, and paying over 10,000 unelected EU officials more than the UK Prime Minister earns.
    “Legally-binding” – A document attractively-bound by a secretary in an EU Commission office.
    “Irreversible” – A sophisticated form of joke: a cross between irredeemable and risible.
    “International law decision” – Form of obfuscation with no basis in reality.
    “Treaty” – (Also written as Treat-ee.) An incentive offered to a child, as in “If you’re a good boy you might get a little Treat-ee”.
    “Mayor of London” – Enemy of the state.

    I hope that when completed this will become a useful work of reference for your readers, JR.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      February 23, 2016

      Brilliant Active Citizen. Can you also think of an alternative for the phrase “A reformed Europe”? We constantly hear this phrase from Dave and Co and yet I don’t see how anything has been ‘reformed’.

      1. Jagman84
        February 23, 2016

        I believe that it translates to “empty promises”. For example, the Common Agricultural Policy.

      2. stred
        February 23, 2016

        Fedup. A reformed Europe- A Europe stretching from Kerry to the Urals, including Ukraine, Turkey, Moldova, Georgia, Armemia, xxxxxstan, xxxxstan, xxxxstan and anyotherstan. But not Russia WHICH IS THE ENEMY.

        Re D. Cameron

        1. stred
          February 23, 2016

          EAW- The legal means by which any British citizen can be instantly sent to corruption free countries in Eastern and Southern Europe on the say so of an inexpicably rich policeman or official.

          1. stred
            February 23, 2016

            Other. A fictional donkey.

      3. BOF
        February 23, 2016

        ‘Reformed Europe’ – Re-formed Europe, Europe with all national boundary demarcations removed.

    2. agricola
      February 23, 2016

      Stick with it, satire is an effective while entertaining weapon.

    3. Horatio
      February 23, 2016

      Excellent work. I ‘like’ the definitions for better off and treat-ee best!

      Pity the Greeks , their best home was a hot summer and lots of tourism. Fenced off, bankrupted and hung out to dry! Lesbos looks like a suburb of Kabul. How is that an acceptable way for a civilised union to treat one of it’s own.

    4. oldtimer
      February 23, 2016

      A nice list. Mr Cameron, it can be said with confidence, is outperforming Mr Blair in redefining the meaning of ordinary words.

    5. Lifelogic
      February 23, 2016

      Always remember a treaty or even a Treat-ee is not a treaty once ratified according to Cameron. That way cast iron guarantees can just be ratted on as and when needed.

      How is the promise of a bill of rights and the ECHR promises coming along? Also a meaningful MP recall bill? Any progress here at all?

      1. Lifelogic
        February 23, 2016

        How is Cameron’s promise to be a low tax conservative at heart coming on too.

        Is Osborne even now planning to mug pensions tax free lump sums and tax reliefs while ratting on his IHT promise and further increasing it by the back door probate tax? We will find out if Cameron (contrary to all indications so far) really is a low tax conservative at heart. The budget is on Wednesday 16 March 2016. I suspect he is neither.

      2. M Davis
        February 23, 2016

        – “How is the promise of a bill of rights and the ECHR promises coming along? Also a meaningful MP recall bill? Any progress here at all?” –

        And what happened to the ‘Bonfire of the Quangos’?

    6. Paul H
      February 23, 2016

      Excellent – deserves wide circulation as mickey-taking is an effective weapon.

      And “Cast Iron Guarantee” should have an outing.

    7. stred
      February 23, 2016

      Active. Thanks for this. Still choking on my coffee.

      JR. Could you get an internet competent person to put this on a site where it can be clicked and emailed. It would go ‘viral’ very quickly. I have at least 6 addresses but don’t know how to save and send, and My Bird would be cross if she found out I was not exactly keen on the international dream.

      Reply I am happy for this to reproduced and sent on as people wish. That’s why I publish it.

      1. stred
        February 23, 2016

        Please correct the typo of Armenia before tweeting.

    8. forthurst
      February 23, 2016

      “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

      ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

      ’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

      History records the tragic fate of Humpty Dumpty although not whether it was an allegory of a man whose fall from power was occasioned by unbalance occasioned by moral turpitude.

    9. Vanessa
      February 23, 2016

      Active Citizen – you might be interested to know that I have copied your Cameronisms into a document and sent them round to a number of people who, I hope will appreciate them. I thought they were very amusing. Thank you.

      1. fedupsoutherner
        February 23, 2016

        So have I!!

    10. Trevor Butler
      February 23, 2016

      Up on FB

  3. Graham Wood
    February 23, 2016

    JR. I agree that this document is indeed a wordy one, apparently non-binding , and more important, significant for what it omits. It clearly omits, ( because Mr Cameron did not request them ) any substantial call on the EU for the return of essential powers of governance back from the EU to the UK.
    So in all, as you say, it was ‘Much ado about nothing’ and nothing of importance has changed and therefore the British public will, I think, have noticed that, drawing the conclusion that leaving the EU is the only option.
    Let us hope that sufficient numbers recognise this to vote ‘leave’ on the 23rd of June.

  4. Lifelogic
    February 23, 2016

    Indeed nothing of any real substance or value to the UK whatsoever.

    I heard Anna Soubry yesterday, (famous for he comment that :-‘”I always think he looks like somebody has put their finger up his bottom and he really rather likes it’) now calling for a grown up debate on the EU! Then I heard her claim that the EU had give the UK “many benefits” but she seemed unable to detail any of them.

    If Soubry is the best the remain side can come up with we will surely leave.

    Meanwhile the NHS is telling people at NHS casualty to come back in the morning unless you’re dying. The NHS, free at the point of rationing, non treatment and endless delays.

    The problem with this is patients often do not know how serious a condition is. Indeed even after seeing the doctors having the relevant tests the NHS often still gets it very wrong.
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    1. Lifelogic
      February 23, 2016

      The remain side seem desperate to get the message over that there will be no further renegotiation after a leave vote. Radio 4 even dragged out an academic expert to explain this to the listeners. This is clearly nonsense the EU, the establishment & the remain side will not give up that easily. A “get it right this time” referendum is very likely indeed as we have seen in the past with others.

      So whether you are for “leave” or “remain” you should clear vote “leave” in this one and wait for the better deal. Then reject that one too. Scots who want to leave the union should also vote leave as then they might get a second chance at an independence referendum. Only those who wish to damage the UK and destroy UK democracy permanently should vote “remain” in the first referendum.

      1. Graham Wood
        February 23, 2016

        Lifelogic. “So whether you are for “leave” or “remain” you should clearly vote “leave” in this one and wait for the better deal”

        I think you should have added the important rider:
        ‘a better deal – OUTSIDE THE EU’.

        If a vote to leave the EU results from the referendum then any further better terms can only be negotiated once we have left – not from the inside, or leading up to a second referendum on a later ‘deal’.
        On that the PM, wrong on so many things EU in these bogus negotiations, – was surely right.

        1. Lifelogic
          February 23, 2016

          The establishment and the EU will not give in that easily. A new deal will follow as night follows day. It will have a new name “associate member” or something similar.

          We should reject that too.

          1. Qubus
            February 23, 2016

            Didn’t Ireland have a second chance to get a referendum correct? And what about Denmark, although I may be wrong.

      2. Alan
        February 23, 2016

        What you are asserting is another example of the Leave campaign claiming that voting Leave will not change anything: everything will be as before but everything will be better. I doubt that that is true: if we vote Leave, then we will almost certainly leave. I think it very unwise for someone who wants us to stay in the EU to vote Leave.

        A “Get it right this time” referendum is obviously not out of the question, but I think the politics would make it very unlikely in the UK after a vote to leave. The only exception that I see would be if the negotiations on leaving went so badly that even the Eurosceptics thought it was clearly better to stay. Legally we can change our mind up to the point at which the agreement to leave is enacted, I think.

        1. Denis Cooper
          February 23, 2016
      3. Know-dice
        February 23, 2016

        Certainly the BBC et al have got it the wrong way around.
        Its not the Leave campaign that will come back for re-negotiation, its the EU that will come “a knocking”…

        BBC bias again yesterday with the UK contribution and Welsh farmers, the suggestion was that the EU “magic money tree” gives more to Wales than they contribute…rubbish again – Its a UK wide contribution and although some regions in the UK may get more back than other regions, it’s all UK money in the first place.

        1. Lifelogic
          February 23, 2016

          Indeed and what comes back if far less than sent and come back with daft strings attached and so does far less good too.

          1. yosarion
            February 23, 2016

            Hats not fare LL, what about all those Non Jobs sorting out all that EUSSR Red Tape

    2. stred
      February 23, 2016

      I heard what was supposed to be a debate between Anna Soubry and Nigel Farage on Ch4 News yesterday. Nigel seemed to have his fingers clear but could hardly speak a word without interruption, even when answering her own questions along “just give me one reason” lines. I thought John Snow was being biased as usual but then realised he couldn’t get a word in either.

      etc ed

    3. graham1946
      February 23, 2016

      Lifelogic, As regrettably, a regular user of the NHS, I can assure you it was not anything like as bad prior to 2010. Not perfect of course, never will be, but many times better than today after 6 years of Cameron who ‘loves the NHS’ . No doubt another Cameronism. Not forgetting of course, the masterly 3 billion re-organistaion (downgrading in Cameronese).

      1. Lifelogic
        February 27, 2016

        It is deteriorating rapidly. Try a London casualty department late on a Friday and Saturday, too many patients, a dreadful system & poor organisation. The only way they have to deter demand is to ensure long delays and poor service so that is exactly what happens.

  5. Margaret
    February 23, 2016

    It is what we expected. How can we interfere or prevent further economic or monetary union though?

    1. agricola
      February 23, 2016

      Vote Leave Margaret Vote Leave.

    2. fedupsoutherner
      February 23, 2016

      Take a look at this. A presentation from a resident of Calais.

    3. Margaret
      February 23, 2016

      Yes we can all see this coming Mercia. It is so sad. When I was younger the patter was the next world war would be due to the east and Arab countries. It is so plausible that we must get out and take control

  6. David Edwards
    February 23, 2016

    The PM has got things wrong with the deal, he is starting to cause the country harm by rubbishing it and is being quite unpleasant about things rather than genuinely debating. Is it not time he went?

  7. formula57
    February 23, 2016

    An impressive analysis: thank you!

    This makes clear that Mr Cameron has obtained all he wanted or needed: the ability to honour the promise to hold a referendum but not to see anything actually change (unless the voters are wilful of course). What a triumph!

  8. lifelogic
    February 23, 2016

    Ken Clark on Newsnight last night was also desperate to rubbish the idea that there will be a new negotiation after a leave vote. He is surely talking complete and utter nonsense, as has been his lifetime custom, the EU and the establishment will certainly not give up that easily.

    1. a-tracy
      February 23, 2016

      Ken Clarke also said the people wanting to leave were zealots, this sort of thing has got to stop. It is people like Ken who do damage internally within the party and Dave playing the man (with Boris) rather than the ball his doing him damage in my eyes. This is about more than him and Boris and he needs to leave Oxford one up man-ship and concentrate on his own argument, you don’t win by just slating your opposition and that is a lesson that some of the more virulent Brexit people like Nigel needs to understand too. (Nigel watch Nicola, you can be strident and make your point and stress what will improve for us British)

      1. Lifelogic
        February 23, 2016

        They do not have any arguments other than.

        a. The EU will gang up on use if we leave and be very nasty.
        (but they do this anyway and more effectively using the EU courts already and anyway is that a reason to stay in a marriage – they will beat you up more if you dare to leave)
        b. 50% of our trade will be at risk
        (this a clearly complete drivel as the balance of trade gives us the stronger hand anyway in any trade deal).
        c. Being in the EU with open borders to EU members makes us safer from terrorists!
        Yeah sure!
        d. The Calais encampment will come to Dover and we cannot control our borders anyway!
        Yeah sure!
        e. It is a leap in the dark, off a cliff, under a bus, into a well, into a back water ….. and this sort of vacuous guff.

        Love Europe, leave the EU. Trade with all the World, have selective immigration and restore UK democracy and government efficiency & accountability. Save the EU fee, cut taxes, get cheep energy and have a real bonfire of the absurd red tape. Get some real productivity improvements going.

  9. Mike Stallard
    February 23, 2016

    Mr Redwood, you have (like me) studied political theory at Cambridge. We both know that what binds the state together is a contract that every citizen is equal and that each does what we can to support and strengthen our country under God. It is the social contract I am talking about.
    I have a social contract with the country of my birth – one nation under God. My own school had inscribed on the gateway: “Fear God, honour the king, love the brotherhood.”
    That is what I have tried to do all my life. And so has Her Majesty, I understand.
    “Under God” is important. My humanity and my dignity as a human being are not given by man – but by God at my birth. They cannot be generously bestowed by any government (or taken away by any government) because they are not the property of any other human agency. They belong to God.
    I have no such contract with the political set up in Brussels.
    Politicians sitting round a table all night defining the rights of my country assume, when they need, that they have the right to change those rights. This is not a binding treaty, just the minutes of a meeting. And Spinelli is in the background (Boris Johnson mentioned “Associate Membership” yesterday, I believe.)

    PS On a very sad note: Our Centre which once welcomed Poles is now, I am told by the Manager, a place where Lithuanians can come and receive their benefits. This is very dangerous indeed. Benefits tend to corrupt and absolute dependency (thank you Professor Parker) tend to corrupt absolutely. We also have a Kiddies Play area where the Lithuanian (and Eastern European) kiddies can be corralled under a responsible adult while Jeremy Kyle is going on downstairs.
    I find this terribly sad. They did not come over to receive benefits, but to start a new life in an uncorrupt country (they often say this).

    Reply I did not study anything at Cambridge.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 23, 2016

      Never mind john there is still time for you to go to a proper university and study something useful.

      Perhaps physics, maths, natural sciences, engineering or similar?

  10. Narrow Shoulders
    February 23, 2016

    As usual Mr Redwood precise, forensic analysis which will raise the hackles of confirmed leavers and make us ask why others just can’t see the futility of staying in.

    The arguments that we can still trade with this large area, share intelligence and cooperate on borders are disregarded.

    Do we really want to be rid of our resentments, our anger, our fear? Many of us cling to our fears, doubts, self-loathing or hatred because there is a certain distorted security in familiar pain. It seems safer to embrace what we know than to let go of it for fear of the unknown. 
    (Narcotics Anonymous Book/page 33)

    Much like the Scottish referendum this issue will be decided not by those who campaigned for the referendum but by those who give it little thought. That we will be better of out is in doubt by many and these are the people who need convincing.

    A simple time line of likely events on exit is required. That includes the granting of permission to stay for those already legally here and working and models of trade with the EU and other countries. The continued distribution of our repatriated EU funds must be shouted from the rooftops and how our energy prices will fall.

    Out must no longer be abstract it must be detailed. This gives remain ammunition but if the plan is good it will see that off. Make the unknown known

  11. alan jutson
    February 23, 2016

    I have not read any official Documents on the so called renegotiation agreement as yet, but what you outline does not surprise me.

    A few weeks ago one of your fellow party members described such negotiations as trying to “polish Poo” when he was speaking in the chamber.

    Perhaps the best outcome would be for the media to actually publish the full text of this agreement with simple explanations, so that all of us simple souls in the real World can decide for ourselves how fantastic it really is, or if Dave is really trying to polish poo and hoodwink us at the same time.

    Reply Our EU government has published the full text on its website.

    1. stred
      February 23, 2016

      When running education, Michael Gove tried to deal with ‘The Blob’, or the educational leftist/green/ pro EU establishment which trains and filters teachers, who then indoctrinate their pupils. I think the late Chis Woodhead invented the expression. So we had the Blob ensuring that young people admired the Polished Turd, brought back from Brussels. No wonder Eural sacked his friend as soon as he went off message.

      Now the poor chap is having to implement coffin robbing as dreampt up by his civil servants in the Ministry of Justice and Equality.

  12. agricola
    February 23, 2016

    Thank you for that explanation. Hopefully it will be published on the internet for our further edification.

    Much has been said about sovereignty. Cameron and the stay in side were yesterday implying that every time we sign a treaty or trade agreement we dilute our sovereignty. This is smoke and mirrors, the purpose being to say that every time we accept EU legislation, mostly without scrutiny, it is to be equated with a trade agreement. This is the equivalent of a pre-op anaesthetic to cover a blatant lie.

    Sovereignty is the holding of supreme power within a state, supreme political authority, which in the case of the UK the people vest in Parliament.

    The lie is that the competences which successive governments have signed over to the EU are not a diminution of our sovereignty. The treaty that we had with Poland may have led to our declaration of war on Nazi Germany, but it in no way affected our sovereignty. Trade agreements we may have had with New Zealand to buy their lamb in no way affected our sovereignty. A trade agreement we may in the future have with China must at present be negotiated by the EU, and we are not allowed to negotiate one direct with China. This I would maintain most definitely does encroach upon our sovereignty.

    Successive UK governments ,with accelerating effect under Cameron, have seriously diminished our sovereignty by enmeshing the UK in the legal web of a totally undemocratic EU. As sovereignty is the key to all the competences we have surrendered we need to get it back. Brexit is the only way to achieve this, as Cameron has so ably demonstrated in his fruitless grand tour of Europe.

    Reply I have published it on the internet!

    1. Alan
      February 23, 2016

      The EU does not affect Parliament’s sovereignty. The supremacy of EU law over UK law is a consequence, I understand, of the European Communities Act 1972, which can be repealed by Parliament. So Parliament has allowed the EU to enact legislation that applies within the UK, but it can withdraw this permission whenever it wishes. Parliament can enact any law it likes and its decisions cannot be countermanded by anyone or anything else. That’s sovereignty.

      If Parliament wished to negotiate an independent trade deal with China I think it could do so. I don’t think it wishes to do so.

      I’m not arguing it would be sensible to ignore EU legislation, just that it is perfectly possible if Parliament wishes to do it.

      1. agrticola
        February 23, 2016

        In a nit picking technical sense you may be quite right. The European Communities Act 1972 is an enabling act, in military terms I would describe it as a self inflicted wound. It was used by disreputable politicians as a means of achieving their ends, which were to create a Unite States of Europe. The electorate were dishonestly sold the idea that the UK was entering into a trade agreement.

        Having got it on the statute book by subterfuge it has been used to enable the passage of EU legislation below the horizon without due scrutiny by the H o C. As such I see it as a means of eroding our sovereignty. The electorate, who entrust sovereignty to the H o Cs have been duped.

        The H o C have had their own varying agenda over the years, but it has rarely been in tune with the electorate who I hope have now awoken to the deception that has been perpetrated in their name. True this act could be voted off the statute book, but I heard no mention of the possibility from Cameron yesterday because it is not in his agenda. He prefers to try to frighten the electorate as to the consequences of us leaving. I hope that between now and 23rd June the electorate wake up to what has happened in their name.

      2. Denis Cooper
        February 23, 2016

        I agree with you on all of that. Where we differ is that I want our Parliament to not only possess sovereignty but fully exercise it, while you are content for it to have agreed to accept whatever rubbish comes from Brussels usually decided by transnational majority voting.

        I would like to see Part 3 of the European Union Act 2011 very simply amended to include a statement that Parliament always reserves the right to expressly legislate in breach of the EU treaties and laws, notwithstanding the European Communities Act 1972.

  13. alan jutson
    February 23, 2016

    I see that Mr Cameron has reverted to trying to bribe us with our own money, with his letter in the Times today, paid for out of our taxes.

    Thought there were some rules about being not being able to use the civil service in this way at election and referendum times.

    The offer of Senior Jobs to all who would support him seems to have failed, (honour to those who refused) so he has now resorted to insults, but wants everyone who disagrees with him, to be very honourable themselves.

    Nothing so embarrassing as a man who is so desperate they will try anything.

    He is quitting politics because he knows he is finished, people have at last started to find him out.
    All front and no substance.

    1. stred
      February 23, 2016

      Yesterday, I wrote that Sir Hugh Orde, BA in Admin and member of Common Purpose, (wiki) had called for us to Stay because we would be safer with the European Arrest Warrant and he seems to think that, if we were foolish enough to Leave, then EU plods would not cooperate if we told them about terrorists and would not tell us about theirs. We can exchange criminals more quickly, so that’s worth having to wave any possible criminals with an EU passport through and find out about them later.

      I thought it wrong for a public official to intervene, but now realise that Common Purpose can send retired high and mighty to spout rubbish instead.

      1. A different Simon
        February 23, 2016

        Common Purpose’s stated aim is to promote “Leading beyond authority” .

        They clearly don’t think Common Purpose “graduates” are accountable to the public .

      2. Lifelogic
        February 23, 2016

        Exactly co-operation does not mean you have to give control to others.

        Cooperation of course – rule by never again.

      3. Horatio
        February 23, 2016

        There are countries outside the EU like Iceland which also operate the EAW. It is not exclusive to membership of the EU

  14. Anonymous
    February 23, 2016

    The BBC are keen to emphasise the numbers of business leaders who have signed in support of staying In rather than those who didn’t sign at all.

    “Jobs will be lost”

    What people must understand is that (despite what Mr Cameron says) the EU wants:


    Indeed, freedom does come at a cost. And if these businesses are promising more jobs from the EU then they are failing to mention that present arrangements mean that every EU citizen is free to come and live here to compete for those jobs – and get welfare and services.

    If that’s the deal then I’d sooner do without those jobs. We’ll never actually feel the benefits of having them – only the pressures on land and resources and our own culture.

    1. Anonymous
      February 23, 2016

      In fact taking some of the heat out of the UK economy could see a rise in real living standards:

      – less wage compression

      – less housing pressure

      – less congestion…

  15. Antisthenes
    February 23, 2016

    The EU project is a wealth and power grab to satisfy the ambitions and to protect the commercial and mercantile interests of mainly two states France and Germany. It has somewhat backfired on France although it does keep her farmers fairly docile although not all of the time. Her industries are mostly immune to outside competition thanks to EU rules and regulations. She covets the UK’s successes and wants to take them for her own or if not destroy them.

    The EU and the euro have in fact devastated much of Europe and have placed most of it’s citizens into servitude and in thrall to Brussels. At the same time impoverished large swaths of them. The fanaticism and unaccountability of the Brussels machine is destroying the ability of the UK and others Germany not so much to compete fairly and has and is increasing injustices, inequality and costs not reducing them. It is forcing all to pay for a layer of government that is unnecessary and so creating another cumbersome, wasteful, inefficient and unproductive bureaucratic body.

    What is to like about the EU and so called deal negotiated by David Cameron? Of course nothing. Both serve no benefit to man nor beast and the legitimacy and usefulness of both are questionable in the extreme. In fact I would go as far as to say they are both con tricks perpetuated by deceit and misrepresentation and therefore are quite illegitimate . David Cameron should be impeached for his role in this great deception.

    1. ian wragg
      February 23, 2016

      Excellent piece.

  16. Bert Young
    February 23, 2016

    It is now very clear from the media that the campaign is all about Cameron vs Boris . This approach is an admission that the “deal” negotiated was vacuous . Making it a personality issue is a great mistake on Cameron’s part because as an individual he is heartily disliked and a failure as Prime Minister .

    Boris’s article in the Telegraph on Monday was a stirring example of his Churchillian style and his capability to see and state the obvious . We all know that Brussels is going to massage its way around the “promises” and continue to drive for a closer Union ; this implies the implementation of a common fiscal and tax regime . The “deal” with Cameron has , if anything , driven this factor into full drive .

    In 5 years the German migrants will have achieved “German” status and will be free to move wherever they wish ; Slovakia and the Eastern bloc of nations need to bear this in mind ; our border controls will have to be completely watertight . The referendum campaign has to be put to the public in clear and simple terms and the analysis in John’s post this morning posted through every door .

    1. Anonymous
      February 23, 2016

      “Ruled by Britain or ruled by Brussels ?”

      That is the simple and honest question that should be put to the public in the EU referendum.

      This is about the abolition of British home rule. After this Westminster reduces to the status of a provincial council and the British public then have, per capita, a twentieth of the representation of some of the smaller countries within the EU.

  17. Horatio McSherry
    February 23, 2016


    You are second to none when it comes to dissecting legislation and untangling dexterously misleading statements – the modus operandi of everything emanating from the EU.

    I have to say, listening to the Commons chamber yesterday, that most MPs have learned absolutely nothing over the last few years and are either oblivious to, or too narcissistic, to care for the electorate’s contempt. The swarm of leading questions and answers purposely asking nothing or missing the point was sickening despite being totally expected.

  18. Shieldsman
    February 23, 2016

    Cameron’s Sir Humphrey has been at work stretching the English language to the point of incredulity.
    In his BBC interview with Andrew Marr, Cameron attempted to put a new spin on the word sovereignty as disclosed by the Daily Mail

    DOMINIC LAWSON: Cameron and the cynical lie that’s festered for 45 years
    On yesterday’s Andrew Marr Show, the current Tory leader and PM, David Cameron,dismissed the presenter’s question about whether we, the British people, would regain sovereignty if we were to vote to leave the EU, arguing: ‘That might give you a feeling of sovereignty, but it would be an illusion of sovereignty.’
    Cameron went on to say that the real meaning of sovereignty was ‘the ability to get things done’.

    This was a pathetic response from a man who got a first-class degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford.

    Sir Noel Malcolm, that great university’s most distinguished historian of such matters, set out the truth in his 1991 work, Sense On Sovereignty: ‘What qualifies a state as sovereign is a matter of plenary and exclusive competence, of enjoying full authority internally and not being subordinated to the authority of another state.’
    On that basis, the British Parliament and Government are not sovereign.

    This was laid bare with devastating clarity by the Lord Chancellor, Michael Gove, when he gave his reasons for joining the campaign to leave the EU: ‘As a minister, I’ve seen hundreds of new EU rules cross my desk, none of which were requested by the UK Parliament, none of which I or any other British politician could alter in any way and none of which made us freer, richer or fairer.

    And with that, David Cameron’s response to Andrew Marr was exposed by his close friend as not just pathetically inadequate, but as the complete opposite of the truth: for it is within the EU that Britain has ‘the illusion of sovereignty’.

    Funnily enough, it was an earlier Lord Chancellor, Lord Dilhorne, who told the truth (but in a private note) to his party leader Harold Macmillan, in 1962, when that Conservative Prime Minister was preparing the ground to apply for membership of the Common Market: ‘These organs have supra-national powers which override those of the national constitutional bodies, and which are also incapable of challenge in the national courts of the member states.’

    I have just read the transcript of Marr with Cameron, and there were those three little words ‘ever closer union’, repeated time and time again.
    Then we come to the wishful thinking “we also have in two vital areas the commitment to treaty change. Treaty change to carve Britain out of ever closure union. So we’re in the bits of Europe we want to be in but out of those we don’t want to be in”.
    You can guarantee that there will be directives to enforce closer union, so can we reject them?
    Will it ever be written into the next treaty that we are excluded and if so will it make any difference?
    On this point Cameron and the remainders (end of line) fight shy of quoting the plans Brussels has for the next treaty. We all know because we have read the relevant documents.

    That elusive ‘reformed EU’ is still being quoted by the PM. You quote the text of the Council meeting and the treaties remain unchanged, so it must be a figment of Mr Cameron’s imagination. Who is going to challenge him.

    Cameron’s non-binding deal and arguments for remaining has more holes than a kitchen colander.

    What Cameron is recommending is the ending of the oldest Parliamentary Democracy in the World. If we stay in the EU we will witness its demise. The last salami slice taken by the EU.

    I have a question for you Mr Redwood. When we vote to leave the EU in June will it create a constitutional crisis? Judging by Cameron’s pathetic negotiations last week I would not trust him anywhere near the withdrawal talks. He could deliberately make a complete horlicks of it.

    Reply No it will not create a constitutional crisis. It will restore the sovereignty of the British people and their Parliament.

  19. Ian Wragg
    February 23, 2016

    Last night I watched the BBC special programme on the EU. I thought it rather telling that the Austrian CEO of Siemens UK was wheeled on as the pro business remain spokesman. More blatant bias from the BBC.
    Alan Johnson was particularly week sighting ruinous environmental laws and mobile roaming charges as reasons for staying in.
    Cameron was nothing better than a playground bully in Parliament yesterday. That should be worth a few votes for Leave.

    1. DaveK
      February 23, 2016

      I too watched the show and apart from our hosts contribution was slightly disappointed by the BBC bias. As a layman I want to hear clear concise answers and not the Soubry waffle. The fact that Evan started by asking for honesty and she couldn’t even bring herself to answer his question spoke volumes.

      Ref the leave side.

      Following the film with the Norwegian PM stating that they had to follow all the rules and paid more with no way of affecting them the response should be short and sweet along the lines of “the pro EU Norwegian government signed up to a deal against the wishes of their electorate to allow that, and as for having no power Norway has it’s own seat on the WTO and also chairs the Trade Disputes Committee which allowed it to protect it’s agriculture and fishing industries, whereas we have a 1/28th say via the single EU representative”.

      And Mr Johnson, yes roaming charges have been reduced, but the companies have increased national charges to cover the losses, therefore customers now subsidise (probably better off) foreign travelling customers rather than the other way round.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 23, 2016

        Soubry is certainly doing her best to help the leave side. Is she really the best the remain side can find to put up?

        She called for a grown up debate. This from someone whose idea of debating is to say (of Farage) – I think he looks like somebody has put their finger up his bottom and he really rather likes it.

    2. stred
      February 23, 2016

      Presumably, this is the same Siemens that is making a lot of those windfarms which DECC is still building in Scotland and out in the North and Irish Seas. There will be plenty of maintenance and repeat orders for the replacement after 20 or less years.

      Possibly orders for HS2 and new power grid worth 9x the old one too. All this depends on EU directives, but don’t Siemens realise that it is British civil servants and politicians have implemented laws and policies to exceed the EU ones? We will be still be ripe for the picking after a Brexit.

  20. Anonymous
    February 23, 2016

    Cameron said a couple of times “no one doubts the loyalty of anyone in this House”, he said this because what he fears the most is to be called a traitor.

    I say he is a traitor and so does hundreds of others on various political blogs. We have no idea what jobs or opportunities he has been offered when he steps down so he cannot accuse Boris of acting in selfish self interest.

    I say Cameron is a neocon puppet and will spend his retirement doing speeches over their.

  21. The Prangwizard
    February 23, 2016

    I saw the expressions on the faces of backbench Tory MPs while the deceitful and angry Cameron was responding to questions after his statement yesterday. Many could not conceal there disdain, in some cases more than this.

    Surely he is has tested the loyalty of many past breaking point. Just how long can you tolerate the man and his clique? He must not be allowed to survive; when is someone going to call for his resignation? He betrays the purpose of the referendum, that it is a straight choice for the people, he thinks only his view should prevail, he does not tolerate opposition. It shows his grant of one was another deceit.

    The ritual comments that some make that he tried his best and worked hard are getting a bit sickening. Being polite is one thing but this can and is seen by some as weakness.

    We need more people like Gove and Johnson to and inspire us and win over waverers. Softly, softly is not a practise Cameron is keen on, his nasty side could not be concealed yesterday. Why should so many of his opponents hold back against his bile.

    Whilst no fan of George Galloway’s politics he certainly did well in confronting and exposing the BBC’s tactics in attempting to stifle views of those supporting ‘Leave’ on The Daily Politics as practiced by Jo Coburn – more should adopt his approach. And if Tories supporting ‘Leave’ don’t, people will give him political support too.

    I have said many times that Cameron betrays everyone in the end – how much longer will you all stand for it?

    Cameron lies and deceives and misleads with his every breath.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 23, 2016

      Well Cameron has at least given the people a referendum and an escape from subjugation – let us hope they grab it.

  22. The Active Citizen
    February 23, 2016

    Some more thoughts after listening to the PM yesterday :-

    As an independent country we’ll have more influence again
    Mr Cameron says we’re stronger in the EU with a seat at the top table – Really? Which table is that?

    As a member of the 28-country EU we have 1/28th of a voice. In the last two decades the UK has opposed 72 measures proposed at the EU Council. We lost 72 times. How influential does that make you feel? The sad reality is that we might as well be on a table at the back of the room.

    As an independent UK, we’ll regain our seat at the World Trade Organisation and the other bodies where the EU has taken our place. And we’ll still have a place at the real top tables – as one of the five permanent members of the UN’s Security Council, the second-biggest NATO contributor, and the fastest-growing member of the G7 top global countries for the last three years running.

    Putting an end to 41 years of subsidising inefficient French farmers
    Agriculture and fisheries in the UK account for around 1% of our GDP.

    Imagine if 45% of your taxes went on this, how would you feel? Well, around 45% of the EU budget is spent on agricultural and fisheries subsidies, supporting inefficient producers in France and other countries. We pay for this, as one of the three biggest subsidisers of the EU’s 28 countries.

    When we leave, we can support our efficient farmers at home, our food will be cheaper, and we can re-build our fishing industry which has been decimated by the EU – providing jobs and regeneration for our coastal communities. And we’ll still have a huge amount left over to pay for more schools, hospitals, houses, and all the other things we need.

    1. peter davies
      February 23, 2016

      “Well, around 45% of the EU budget is spent on agricultural and fisheries subsidies, supporting inefficient producers in France and other countries. We pay for this, as one of the three biggest subsidisers of the EU’s 28 countries.”

      – Worse than that, the EU has subsidized European fishing companies to build big boats which have decimated our fishing grounds then they probably sell some of them back to us – MADNESS!

  23. Tim L
    February 23, 2016


    Cameron has not said he will resign if he loses and I just wonder if you could press him to make a declaration either way as potentially he could be thinking about hanging on to power and that would make him our chief brexit negotiator!

    That being the case he needs to take his own (repeatitive) advice to the leave side and tell us what deal he’d try and negotiate.

    1. oldtimer
      February 23, 2016

      He said he would stay whatever the result of the ballot. In effect he said he would negotiate Brexit terms under article 50. Given his stated views he should not be allowed anywhere near such negotiations if Leave wins.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 23, 2016

        He cannot remain after a Brexit vote he is certainly not a negotiator. But will this mean that of the Cameron types (perhaps half of the Tory MPs) many will run off to join Labour or Libdims?

    2. Denis Cooper
      February 23, 2016

      Above all I want to win the referendum and therefore I don’t support demands that if we vote to Leave then Cameron must resign. If we lose this referendum we’ll be sunk and I don’t want that to happen because some voters have put loyalty to the Prime Minister above loyalty to the country or for any other reason.

  24. Javelin
    February 23, 2016


    I have to disagree with you. You have looked at this from the perspective of “what the UK got”. I think you need to understand “what the EU got”. Once you get your head around that you will understand the pernicious nature of the agreement.

    Paragraph 3 of the Cameron-Tusk agreement states here that a mechanism allowing full reimbursement from the “general budget” for emergency and crisis measures safeguarding the financial stability of the euro area will be established.

    This is not currently the case as Osborne successfully argued that the UK should not pay to bail out the Greece except for IMF costs.

    Article 272(4) of the EC treaties states compulsory expenditure includes the General budget. Article 268 states the general budget includes “all items of revenue and expenditure and revenue is pooled and used without distinction” and “requires explicit exemption” not to be included.

    The agreement between Cameron and Tusk does not state that the reimbursement for eurozone expenses is an exception to the general budget and is therefore compulsory. This means that the UK will have to pay to bail out any Eurozone failures.

    1. a-tracy
      February 23, 2016

      This is very important, so Dave walked away with another stitch up of our rights. So we have austerity, are prudential and our spendthrift partners can just keep popping back to us for top ups.

      If Cameron and Osborne supported this deal, why do we face austerity instead of just spend, spend, spend, largesse, and when we’re bust going to them for the financial bail out?

    2. oldtimer
      February 23, 2016

      Wow! That is worth an urgent question in the House.

    3. oldtimer
      February 23, 2016

      I have also just read this article on CityAM suggesting that Italy and France are in big trouble. If your interpretation is correct than the UK would be the hook for £billions. Has Cameron just sold the UK down the river? So much for “security” in the EU. The writer also makes good points about the difference between the paid corporates (who signed the letter and want in) and the entrepreneurs (who want out).

      Link here:

      1. ChrisS
        February 23, 2016

        I’ve read the article and it makes some valid points. Particularly about the Euro.

        It’s interesting that only last week Hollande was calling for a single Eurozone Government, budget and Treasury – presumably with the Fiscal Transfers from Germany to France that would go with it. Nothing else is going to save his economy from continual decline because the French as a nation have no appetite whatsoever for modernisation and competition.

        French Politicians know this only too well : Sarkozi tried to introduce reforms and was forced to back down and Le Pen is pushing populist economic policies that are highly protectionist. Her policies would cause a drastically worsening economic situation which is why she wants to exit the Euro : Le Pen knows that an unreformed French economy can survive for some years with a new Franc that can continuously depreciate against the Dollar, the Pound and the inevitable new German-centric Northern Euro.

        It won’t work in the long run, of course, but it will put off the inevitable for, maybe 7-10 years or crucially, a little longer than a single term in the Élysée Palace.

    4. forthurst
      February 23, 2016

      My reading of what you posted yesterday, Javelin, was that we would not be involved in Eurozone bailout decisions but would be involved in paying for them, probably in proportion to our existing relative contributions to the EU budget; in other words, responsibility without power. What a deal!

      Another star performance by CMD in selling the English down the river in order to further the globalist ambitions of his bankster paymasters.

    5. Denis Cooper
      February 23, 2016

      As I said in a reply on the last thread I don’t think this is correct.

  25. Brian Tomkinson
    February 23, 2016

    Interviewed by Marr on Sunday Cameron was unable to explain how benefits would be tapered because it hasn’t been agreed yet. Presumably it will be agreed after referendum. Apart from the theatrics and the meals, what did they do over all those hours in Brussels?

  26. Denis Cooper
    February 23, 2016

    I see that similarly to other mass media outlets the Telegraph, which you might think should really know better, is running these headlines today:

    “Pound hits seven year low as Boris Johnson sparks Brexit fears”

    “The Mayor of London’s decision to back the ‘leave’ campaign sends sterling tumbling”

    Perhaps I missed them, but I don’t recall headlines last spring along the lines of:

    “Euro hits twelve year low”,

    even though that was true for just the exchange rate against the dollar:

    while for the euro trade weighted index:

    it was actually a thirteen year low.

    In fact while sterling has dropped by 15% against the dollar since May 30th 2014, the starting point for the chart on the BBC website here:

    the euro has dropped against the dollar by even more, 20%, as shown here:

    If journalists weren’t obsessed with exaggerating small movements of sterling and then ascribing them to various causes to make political points then they might conclude that the predominant effect over the past two years has been the dollar rising against most other currencies, including sterling and the euro, with the dollar trade weighted index up by 22% since the end of May 2014:

    As for the sterling trade weighted index, yesterday it dropped by just 0.6% from 86.5 on Friday to 86.0, the lowest it had been for only fifteen months, not seven years.

    I’ve cautioned before against:

    a) only looking at the sterling exchange rate against the dollar and ignoring exchange rates against the currencies of our other trading partners; and

    b) attaching too much significance to short term fluctuations and jumping to unjustified conclusions about their causes.

    1. acorn
      February 23, 2016

      Agreed Denis, the clearer picture comes from the REER (Real Efective Exchange Rate). If the index is going up, you are losing competitiveness. See the gap that has opened up between the $, £ and the Euro.

  27. Antisthenes
    February 23, 2016

    Every sensible European has a dream of a life of peace, prosperity and security. That dream envisaged a vehicle to fulfil it that is controlled by and for the people. They expected that that dream would be brought about by free trade and interstate cooperation. That control by them would be exercised by their freely elected governments making mutually acceptable arrangements by entering into treaties with like minded peoples for mutual benefit. Also to set up agencies to facilitate the administration of those treaties. To be free to pick and choose which treaties they entered into and which agency they wish to belong to.

    They I am sure did not want a government other than their own to decide which was mutually beneficial for them or to have a government once removed control their daily lives. Well maybe they do and for the UK at least June 23rd will tell us which one it is.

  28. Antisthenes
    February 23, 2016

    One major obstacle of the leavers winning is peoples perceptions on the efficacy or not of governments. Until the general population wake up to the fact that governments are generally the worst of all institutions and really only needed to serve a narrow purpose can the EU be eradicated from our lives. Governments are the only place to turn to when something we want to do collectively cannot be done by free markets profitably and/or practically. If they are allowed to do more then that will only be done for their benefit and none other. It is the last place to go especially to decide how we live our lives as individuals. Freedom of choice is our basic human right and it is only governments job to protect us and facilitate us in exercising it.

    Governments in all ways are wasteful, inefficient and unproductive and often useless as well and cause more harm and problems that otherwise would have been the case. We do not need our domestic governments to do as much as they do so we certainly do not need the EU at all.

  29. DaveM
    February 23, 2016

    Off topic but on-topic (sort of):

    Is there nothing that can be done about the BBC bias? (Bearing in mind Mr Whittingdale is not a particularly left-leaning MP).

    I’m not particularly concerned about people being swayed by them – even my relatively apolitical 16-year-old knows they are skewed in their reporting. They are supposed to maintain balance, so why are they making out the Jungle is full of orphans but fail to show those Calaisiens whose lives are being ruined and the constant attacks on truckers?

    Why do they only tell scare stories about leaving the EU?

    Why do they continue to vilify Putin but fail to mention the plight of the Kurds, preferring to focus on Kurdish attacks against Turkey whilst failing to mention Turkey bombing the hell out of the Kurds who are fighting against IS?

    Surely something can be done about it – it’s not even funny anymore, and I’m paying for this ****.

    1. peter davies
      February 23, 2016

      they are going to hit a point if their not careful where masses of people stop paying the TV license.

      The BBC trust needs to be strengthened to hold them to account better

    2. ChrisS
      February 23, 2016

      This really is becoming a serious problem.

      Yesterday the prime 08:10 spot was given to the Remain side so I naturally expected this morning there would be a Brexit politician interviewed.

      No, they had a feature on Virtual Reality. It was so obvious : They could put on anything on any other political topic without raising problems so they they went searching for something completely different : anything they could put on that would not help the Brexit campaign.

      I’ve also been watching the headlines on the BBC News website.
      Most of yesterday it was pro-EU and today is exactly the same, the headline being the pro-Remain letter from FTSE 100 bosses.

      I hope that the Brexit groups are monitoring the BBC very carefully and will pressurise the Trust to deal with the problem very quickly. As I have posted previously, Bill Cash should recall the BBC News editor to the European Scrutiny Committee and ask why he hasn’t fulfilled his promise to ensure fair coverage.

      It will be interesting to see if the PM allows the Culture Secretary to intervene as he is also on our side. Ministers are only allowed to campaign on a personal basis so would that count as campaigning ?

  30. Yosarion
    February 23, 2016

    The reason Cast Iron Dave could not get anything back is because Tony , Gordon ( he was never elected standing as PM and snuck in through the back door at lisbon) Major had given it all away, remember all the red lines not to be crossed,then a couple of years later they are to be abolished at the next treaty but they have another red line that will not be crossed.
    Lord Westlands and Clarke seem to be foreign agents when it comes to what we need as a Country.

  31. Sue Doughty
    February 23, 2016

    Yes, the EU are keeping us in the dark about how we will be allowed to live. Time for a leap into the light.
    Cameron had me shouting at the TV a few minutes ago and I feel bad about that since he is my party leader. 500 million is not the biggest trade area in the world. India alone has a population of around 2 billion! Heathrow will benefit from Brexit as will UK agriculture.

    1. peter davies
      February 23, 2016

      If we left tomorrow we would still have access to that trade area as we do now whilst having the flexibility to seek others. Appreciate there will be bumps in the road and one or two things may be blocked like investment predicated on EU membership but the net effect has to be positive

    2. hefner
      February 23, 2016

      1236 million Indians in July 2014 with a purchasing power parity corrected GDP of $5tn.
      That puts things in a slightly different context!

      1. hefner
        February 24, 2016

        The equivalent figure for the 65 million UK people is a PPP corrected GDP of $2.989 tn.

        It would so much help the “conversation” if such numbers were not bandied around and used by people not aware of their true significance, specially when politicians, at least some, are clever enough to know what the figures actually mean but nonetheless use them as flies-attracting honey.

  32. Sue Doughty
    February 23, 2016

    More secure inside the EU? Paris wasn’t, twice.

  33. Jumeirah
    February 23, 2016

    Cameron is scoring points every minute of every day relentlessly and he (PR man that he is) is brilliant at that.
    It would seem that WE are not ‘off the mark’ yet!
    WHO is speaking for us in front of the footlights because HE appears to have that very large National Stage all to himselfl and if we are not careful that could be ‘Win Win’.
    Delay too long and people will doubt us.

  34. peter davies
    February 23, 2016

    Cut through all the tittle tattle and the fact is that every day the UK stays in and a new regulation, directive or law gets passed we are being sucked into ever closer union.

    The mainland EU wants to integrate and we the UK are the awkward people in the room who need to move aside and let them get on with it.

    Bottom line is we cannot be part of this club if we cant accept Schengen or the Euro, 2 of their main pillars. People can argue as much as they like but the only logical conclusion is an EU state which we cannot be part of so we must leave ASAP.

  35. Atlas
    February 23, 2016

    The title of this post “much ado about nothing ” says it all.

    “EU slaves ye are and EU slaves you shall remain” is Cameron’s vision for this country. It’s not a view I support.

  36. Cheshire Girl
    February 23, 2016

    Yes, the BBC have covered all of his speech, plus several questions from the O2 audience. I think they should do the same if anyone from the ‘Leave’ campaign goes to a Company to make their case. After all, its only fair.

  37. JoeSoap
    February 23, 2016

    Well sadly your efforts will be countered by the most outrageous spin.

  38. JoeSoap
    February 23, 2016

    This is pretty bad actually. It is what Brown got up to after a few months in the job too. At least with Clegg he seemed to hold back this spin and lies feature in Cameron which has recently really come to the fore. Can’t we nail him on just ONE BIG FIB and then extend it to the rest of his case?

    1. Ken Moore
      February 23, 2016

      I’m already tired of hearing:-

      -Leap into the dark
      -Best of both worlds
      -Safer and stronger together etc.

      All terrible lies but where are the slogans from the OUT campaign to expose this nonsense ?

      In 1975 we had ‘i’d rather lose sovereignty than a son or daughter’. Will the people be fooled twice….perhaps we are less deferential to the establishment now lets hope so….

  39. The Active Citizen
    February 23, 2016

    Let’s all learn Cameronish

    Thanks to those who made kind comments earlier. There’s more, but I didn’t want JR to have a long post to moderate early this morning.

    Cameronish-English Dictionary – Lesson Two
    “Ever Closer Union” – Direction of travel of 27 countries in EU’s second tier, denoting those with lack of EU influence.
    “Top table” – Table positioned at the back of the room, next to the toilets, denoting country with most influence in the EU.
    “Best of both worlds” – Expression normally preceded by “You can’t have the…”, but truncated for political reasons.
    “Single market” – EU’s tarif-free trade area set up for salespersons working for German manufacturers.
    “Fundamental reform” – Trade name for a form of porridge, much watered-down. More commonly known by the North-East Somerset term ‘thin gruel’.
    “Acquis” – Collective noun for totality of EU laws and directives, named after prominent French founder of the EU, the Acquis de Sade.
    Advanced Section – Some Camacronyms
    “TTIP” – Alternative spelling: ‘t tip. Highly secretive, US-owned, backed by Cameron. Believed to be rubbish facility based in Yorkshire England, run from Brussels. Example of usage: “I’m just goin’ down ‘t tip, dear.”
    “CAP” – Expensive delicacy much consumed in France and less industrialised EU countries.
    “CFP” – Formerly known as the Common Fisheries Policy. One of many fishery terms now rarely used in Cameronish. Still widely used in Spanish ports.
    “ECJ” – Collection of non-jurists in Luxembourg specialising in rewriting of UK law.
    “ECHR” – Special court for Arabic speakers. Popular with British legal profession.

    1. stred
      February 25, 2016

      Could someone good at typing put Cameronish together and make it easy to copy? y contributions given freely too.

  40. MikeP
    February 23, 2016

    John, off topic a tad, but can you please clarify how trade would work in the first few years after a Brexit:-
    1 Surely trade with the EU would continue for 2 years on current terms?
    2 Given they export more to us than us to them and we’re their largest export market, wouldn’t it be in everyone’s interests to sign a trade deal on the same or similar “free trade” terms on exit?
    3 Given Germany’s exports in particularly and their EU clout I can’t imagine why they’d want to string out the negotiations for 2 years even ?
    4 Cameron has implied that it might take 4 or worse 7 years to negotiate an EU deal based on Mexico and Canada’s experience but we are much less of an unknown quantity surely ?
    5 He also suggested we wouldn’t be able to negotiate free trade deals with non-EU countries while the EU negotiation was underway, this may be expedient rather than a rule? But surely as we already trade with India, Brazil, Australia, NZ and China amicably (for example) we could continue to do so, again on like for like terms until we were free of the EU’s influence ?
    We just need the political will and the nation’s mojo back to go for that huge opportunity.

    Reply I dealt with this in past posts. Our trade is not at risk.

  41. MikeP
    February 23, 2016

    This has just appeared in the Times letters, notwithstanding Cameron’s assertion in the House yesterday that he will implement the will of the people, is it Constitutionally correct?

    “The referendum result will be advisory, there is no constitutional requirement that MPs take any notice of it. To serve notice on the EU that the UK is leaving will require an Act of Parliament. If only half of Conservative MPs support Brexit the Bill won’t be passed so I’m wondering what all the fuss is about. Labour, Lib Dem, SNP and Plaid Cymru all wish to remain in the EU as do sufficient Tory Europhiles to deny the Bill a Common’s majority.” from Martin Bell, in The Times

    Reply MPs will have to accept the verdict of the referendum.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 23, 2016

      MPs will have to accept the verdict of the referendum.

      Well it will make a change if they listen to the voters occasionally.

      Perhaps we should have a referendum on all the recent tax increases, the pension muggings, the pointless wars, MP’s expenses/pay and pensions, whether they want immigration to be selective or just open door, whether they want HS2, or the over prices green crap energy.

      With modern communication we could have hundreds of referendums and would be rather better governed as a result.

  42. Stephen Henry
    February 23, 2016

    I really enjoy reading JR’s articles and the comments whether they are leavers or remainians (Alan) as I am willing to learn new things re. the EU but I feel the average man/woman (have be politically correct here otherwise I’d be classed as sexist!!) is not remotely interested in this.
    All they want is to feel secure in their jobs,secure in their own country,immigration under control,free NHS for life,a good living wage so they can do what they wish (holidays etc) and have good sound education with sufficient quality schools,hospitals that work correctly and good transport systems including roads and finally cheaper power (gas/electric)
    I may have omitted some basic items but these are their main areas of concern.
    I don’t think they are at all interested in CMD’s so called renegotiations.Most people are not yet tuned into the referendum but if we stand the slightest chance of leaving then we have to appeal to the majority(the average person in the street).
    Let’s put all the positive things they need to hear and not fall into the usual left wing snidey bitching or indeed the remainians fear factor inside CMD’s party.Thats only for those who don’t know what they are talking about or have a constructive argument.Oh I almost forgot Nick Clegg,enough said.

  43. Denis Cooper
    February 23, 2016

    “The issue of whether all this is legally binding is not important, as so little new has been granted. Most of the text is a restatement of existing powers and requirements under the current treaties.”

    Belt and braces, JR; we know that this “deal” is virtually worthless, but no doubt some will be taken in by the loud and repeated claims of the Remainders that it represents major “reform”, and for those people it is important that they understand that it is NOT legally binding and even these weak promises may well not be delivered.

  44. Maureen Turner
    February 23, 2016

    When is a deal not a deal? It’s tempting to say when it’s gobbledegook but more accurately it is more or less – no change with one thing for sure it certainly ain’t a reformed EU.

    So the PM succeeded in getting two concessions (a) Non resident children of migrant workers will have their child allowance made more flexible to take account of living costs in their homeland. Presumably this could be greater than that paid to UK children in some cases. Also what documentation is required to prove these kids exist. Verification of this sounds an expensive business. (b) Even the temporary brake on newly arrived migrants has been whittled down and must be paid in full for four years before the tapering comes into effect. If I’m not mistaken the temporary brake is at the discretion of Brussels and can only be implemented and withdrawn on their say so.

    Is it any wonder the faces in the Commons looked glum yesterday they are the ones who have got to sell this to their constituents.

    Mr. Cameron’s unseemly spat yesterday with his old “friend” Boris didn’t exactly show him in a good light. A bit like that old saying – a woman scorned.

  45. acorn
    February 23, 2016

    Talk about strange bedfellows! JR, you should read Prof’ Bill Mitchell today. Yes, I know he is about as far left as you are far right. He is approving of Maggie, for keeping the UK out of the Eurosystem, which you had a bit to do with. “If I was in Britain I would not want to be in the EU”.

  46. Donna
    February 23, 2016

    Cameron promised that he would negotiate

    Treaty change
    A new relationship between the UK and the EU
    Significant repatriation of powers

    He didn’t achieve any of it.

    An honourable man would admit that he had failed. Cameron is not an honourable man.

  47. adam
    February 23, 2016

    Don’t be afraid to resign from this fight if the vote goes against us. We now have the entire political establishment lined up against saving the UK. If the public votes yes to remain by any margin then I think its time for sensible people to admit defeat and move on. Nobody who knows anything would ever question your public service.

  48. Ken Moore
    February 23, 2016

    Thanks John Redwood for his excellent analysis.
    Do you have a view on Mr Cameron’s conduct ….he says that the deal amounts to a ‘reformed Eu’. It is clear it is nothing of the sort.
    So either Mr Cameron is :-

    – lieing and attempting to deceive the public
    -Ignorant of the facts.

    Surely both conditions would make Mr Cameron unfit for office ?. What other explanations are there for Mr Cameron’s irrational behaviour?.

  49. petermartin2001
    February 24, 2016

    A lower pound is not necessarily a bad thing.

    It is a really a case of choosing 2 out the following 3

    1) A High Pound
    2) A Healthy economy
    3) Low Govt and Trade Deficits.

  50. ChrisS
    February 24, 2016

    Yet again blatant Pro Remain bias on the Today program this morning.

    First, at 08:10 we have Martin Shultz rubbishing Michael Gove and Boris and praising the first Conservative PM to enthusiastically campaign in favour of the EU. ( Something for which CMD won’t be forgiven).

    Then we were promised a piece on Michael Gove’s assertion that the deal is not legally binding. Did they interview Michael Gove ? No, they wheeled a pro-Remain former minister who left the Government over the idea of trying to limit the power of the European Court by introducing a British bill of rights ! Nobody was allowed on air to challenge him when he told the audience that in his view Michael Gove and Boris are wrong and CMD is right.

    How can they possibly be allowed to run this continual PR job for the Remain camp !!!!

  51. Dennis
    February 24, 2016

    Has no one proposed that child benefits should be paid by the country in which the children are living at their usual rates? Or is this too easy and obvious.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 27, 2016

      Indeed far to easy and obvious – mind you many would no doubt claim it in several counties at once and fly their children around.

  52. a-tracy
    February 25, 2016

    Thursday in the Telegraph “One ministerial ally of Mr Cameron’s said: “It is untenable to have a Justice Secretary after the referendum who opposed the legal basis of the Prime Minister’s deal. It just won’t work.”

    How is it untenable surely we’d have a Justice Secretary who would hold the EU to their word and give the Brexit campaigners some confidence that after to roundly assuring everyone of their word that it is kept or that it breaches our membership and we automatically leave.

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