How the EU removes normal democratic government

Western democracies have traditionally produced two main parties, one centre left and one centre right, who compete for power. In sovereign states the party out of power can offer an alternative in big matters like how to run the economy. Those who dislike or disagree with the government can rally round, hope to win the next election and then see the major policy change they want if they win. Sometimes centre left parties adopt more of the centre right agenda to win as with New Labour. Sometimes centre right parties adopt some of the policies of their rivals to win.The important things are they must offer genuine choice and can change things when elected. Sometimes it is because they sell a convincing message of change that they win.

Belonging to the Euro and the EU alters all that. Belonging to the EU without joining the Euro has changed quite a bit of that. As we have seen in Greece, it does not matter what economic policy the voters or the winning parties want, they end up with EU policy which does not change. Greek voters used recent elections to issue a strong protest, but ended up with the same EU austerity policies they rejected. In the EU, now there are large areas including energy, fishing, agriculture and the EU budget and tax requirements that cannot be changed by a change of UK government.

As a result we are seeing in the Euro area the collapse of the traditional parties as frustrated electors seek a change which will still be denied them. Ireland has now followed Spain in producing an election result that does not produce a stable government owing to the decline of the two main parties. Even Germany has the two main parties governing in coalition with each other. In Greece the two old main parties have been hugely damaged by events.

In the most recent results in their respective countries the two main traditional parties managed to poll just 34.4% together in Greece, 40.7% combined in Spain and 49.8% in Ireland. Such is the impact of recent events and of EU policy and the Euro on their economies that now more than half of all voters in each of these three countries rejects both traditional alternating governing parties of the last century and the previous decade. In the UK where the absence of the Euro has allowed a better economic recovery from the crash, the two main parties received the votes of 67.3% of voters, well down on the much higher proportions in past decades. In Germany too, despite being relatively well served by the Euro compared to the badly damaged countries of the south and west, the two main parties only managed to get the votes of 67.2% of those voting in the last election.

The two main parties look hard in each country at seeking to prop up the EU/Euro establishment by entering coalition together,to keep the challenger parties who want a change of policy out of government. Junior partner parties in coalitions often do badly in subsequent elections, so not every country goes this route. It will be interesting to see what the two traditional lead parties in Ireland do now they are faced with this dilemma. Although the UK has not yet needed or wanted a grand coalition, in practice we have experienced a grand coalition of Labour, Lib Dem, Conservative front bench and SNP to drive through many EU measures which Conservative Eurosceptic MPs have fought against. Labour is usually keen to avoid all discussion of the EU, and in office refused to set out just how much power it was surrendering.

What the voters seem to be saying in many Euro and EU countries is they want changes to policy which the EU will not allow. Only the UK so far has tried to get changes to the EU following a General Election result producing a win for a party that represents the UK voters worry about EU policies on welfare and borders. The lack of success in negotiating proper change will confirm many people’s views that the EU cannot be made democratic. The UK model is also one which other countries will not be allowed to follow. The EU as it stands cannot face a renegotiation of membership terms with each country following a General election. However, unless it does so and allows proper changes, the wishes and views of electorates from Greece to Portugal and from Cyprus to the UK will be ignored.


  1. JJE
    February 29, 2016

    I propose a competition to identify and hold up to ridicule the most absurd article or headline in the press or online media warning of the dangers of Brexit. Project Fear has become very silly and is best combatted with humour.
    I am brought to propose this by today’s Bloomberg headline “Brexit: bad for your wardrobe”

    1. Lifelogic
      February 29, 2016

      There is bound to be loads of these along the lines of:-

      Supporting Brexit makes you impotent, gives you cancer, reduces you sex appeal, makes you obese …..

      The one think I find remain supporters nearly all have in common is the fact that they lack any arguments for why they feel as they do.

      They just “feel” they want to remain part of “EUROPE” and feel it in their hearts & guts. Reason and logic play no part in it. It is just how they feel they want to be in the large club of Europe.

      As Carl Sagen put it:

      “But I try not to think with my gut. If I’m serious about understanding the world, thinking with anything besides my brain, as tempting as that might be, is likely to get me into trouble.”

      1. Lifelogic
        February 29, 2016

        Similar to the catastrophic warming religion in this respect – a gut feeling and belief without evidence or reason.

      2. Lifelogic
        February 29, 2016

        Interesting to see the BBC (showing its true colours) on the daily politics today with the EU flag places in front of and largely covering the British flag as a backdrop.

        Lest anyone were in any doubt about where the BBC stand.

        Though Andrew Neil is actually about the only impartial and sensible presenter & interviewer that the BBC seem to have.

        1. old salt
          February 29, 2016

          A Neil is fast becoming like the other presenters who interrupt the Leavers and give the Remainers free reign. Could it be the 3million EU funding. Something about pipers and tune.

    2. Paul H
      February 29, 2016

      On one hand we are told that the UK too small and puny to survive on its hand, then told that the departure of this tiny country will help trigger global economic catastrophe.

      Chris Grayling was quite good during the short slot allocated to him on Today, eg shooting down the Easyjet argument (pun intended) about the end of cheap flights. However John Humphreys was quite argumentative, adopting the “you can’t prove it” schtick whilst seemingly accepting government propaganda as not needing proof and by definition unbiased.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 29, 2016

        Marr was putting the absurd 50%? of our trade 17%? of theirs argument the other day too. It is obviously the magnitude of the trade that counts not the %.

        The BBC Bias is just appalling.

      2. Hope
        February 29, 2016

        Good article by Major General Thompson in the DT. He knocks the scare stories by Cameron about security right out of the park. A must read.

        1. Lifelogic
          March 1, 2016

          Not hard, the claim it will make more dangerous is clearly complete drivel.

    3. Timaction
      February 29, 2016

      I note how Project Fear has one after another stupid stories of what will happen to us if we leave the EU dictatorship except missing out that we will get our independent sovereignty returned here where we can elect and deselect those who make laws over us! I’m fed up with foreign dictators telling us what to do at £55 million a day.
      Mr Redwood it is time to remove Mr Cameron and put him straight on his non reform of the EU. His deal is not a treaty that is legal or binding as is stated here:

      Gideon is manipulating all sorts of international and Government bodies to support their bullying tactics. It is not acceptable and their behaviour now needs public challenge daily. Get rid of them for the sake of the Country. Mr Duncan Smith quite rightly said yesterday on the Marr show that the nation takes precedence over any cabinet post or personal career. The same cannot be said of your top team and supporters of the EU!

    4. bluedog
      February 29, 2016

      The fact that Anna Subry is an enthusiastic supporter of the EU and Remain should be seen as enormously positive for the Leave campaign. It can only be a matter of time before M/s Subry over-reaches herself again, as she did in her comments about Nigel Farage. Indeed, one could suggest that M/s Subry should be awarded the accolade of Preferred Panellist by Leavers. Putting M/s Subry under pressure could yield excellent negative publicity for Remain.

    5. Chris
      February 29, 2016

      I think Lidington’s claims about the fate of expats was ill judged and inaccurate. I fear his claims will be dealt with quite severely, and rightly so.

    6. Denis Cooper
      February 29, 2016

      What surprises me is that is has become so silly so quickly, we haven’t even got into the official campaign yet. I can only suppose that Osborne still has a goodly stock of even sillier arguments which he can deploy later on. I’ve referred to Osborne here because as I understand he is master minding the Remainders campaign behind the scenes, even though Cameron has the public role of de facto leader.

    7. Jagman84
      February 29, 2016

      Maybe the apparent fall in Sterling is due to the fear that we may vote to stay in the EU? All the facts point to a better UK economic performance as an independent nation.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 29, 2016

        Indeed and the odds suggest 70% chance of remain.

        I think that we will vote leave and the odds on Brexit are a good bet. The more people understand and the more they hear of the debate the more they will vote leave.

        If we ever do leave is a different question.

    8. agricola
      February 29, 2016

      Bloomberg should realise that few people in the UK have a wardrobe, they shop at Jacamo.

  2. Lifelogic
    February 29, 2016

    Exactly, it is a profoundly anti-democratic, hugely inefficient and a very dangerous form of government. So why do half the Conservatives, Cameron, Osborne, Hammond and those largely in charge like it so very much?

    I heard some dope on the BBC yesterday suggesting that lower powered kettles were part of a sensible EU energy conservation plan!

    How can anyone be so stupid as to think you can save any energy by having a lower powered kettle? Why not go the whole hog and have one that uses no electricity at all then?

    The lower the power the longer it takes to boil, you still need the same amount of energy in the water before water will boil. In fact you use more energy as heat losses will be higher over a longer boil period.

    We seem to governed (and broadcast to) by total scientific ignoramuses. Ones who bombard us with hugely exaggerated climate alarmism, yet do not even understand the operation an electric kettle.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 29, 2016

      In fact gas kettles are far more efficient, this as you avoid all the energy losses in electricity generation and transmission – about half the costs and half the energy use.

      It also avoids those peaks of electricity demand where people all put their kettles on at the same time – after some popular TV programme or half time in the football or similar.

      1. Know-dice
        February 29, 2016

        Not only that, but those flames licking around the sides help to heat up our cold kitchen…nothing gets wasted.

        It should all be about efficiency to do a particular job not absolute power, which as we know corrupts…absolutely.

        1. Tango India Mike
          March 1, 2016

          Even better if you have a wood burner and a very thick stove kettle.

          Even if you live in a smokeless zone you can still use a defra approved stove

          or if outdoors when the weathers nice use a homemade rocket stove.
          i built one out of steel cans.

          shred your old newspapers and put them in a briquette maker
          surround the briquette with a few twigs an viola enough fuel to make a drink.

      2. stred
        February 29, 2016

        But gas kettles and hobs will kill us because of NOX gases, according to the latest campaign, whereas wind lecky is so clean we will live for ages. Hang on a minute, they can’t afford us to all get old……

        EU know it makes sense. God bless Spin and Spinelly.

      3. acorn
        February 29, 2016

        Ranting up the wrong path again LL. The Eco Directives measure energy consumption in “kettles” worth, that is 0.17 kWh per average boil. The UK turned the Directive into the following for lay consumption. “Turning off standby appliances [saves] 64 kWh/year, 376 kettles”.

        It is currently being talked of because of the probable requirement for “load shedding” over the “darkness peak” (5 -6 pm weekdays) power generation demand; in future winters.

        1. Lifelogic
          February 29, 2016

          Not at all they are discussing lower powered kettles etc. which is a nonsense as a lower powered kettle will just take longer to boil and use the same (actually slightly more) energy.

    2. bluedog
      February 29, 2016

      Hammond would appear to have been captured by the FCO.

      With its heart in Tuscany and the Dordogne, the FCO would be shuddering in well-bred indignation at the possibility of Brexit. Brussels no more! The prospect of seeing rather more of the ghastly Americans and those even more unspeakable colonials in what is euphemistically called the Old Commonwealth is enough to make one bring forward one’s retirement. Careers built on manoeuvring through the labyrinthine legislation the emerges from Brussels and advising HM Govt. on its implications will suddenly be as nothing. A way of life in one of the finest sheltered workshops yet devised by European civilisation is at risk.

    3. Tad Davison
      February 29, 2016

      Absolutely agree LL, especially with the last paragraph. The public deserve to be kept informed by people who are themselves, well informed, but how can it be that so many ill-informed people worm their way into society’s most influential positions?

      I suspect most of us already know the answer to that one!


  3. formula57
    February 29, 2016

    Perhaps the worst problem of all is that not only do very many voters Europewide “want changes to policy which the EU will not allow” but that the EU, anti-democratic, ossified and self-satisfied, is itself incapable of changing in response.


  4. Bert Young
    February 29, 2016

    A very good analysis today of the political weakness developing in every country of the EU from its centralised bureaucracy . It is not now – nor ever has been , possible to drive the politics of EU member countries with a “one size fits all” approach ; the inevitable consequence of a political coalition is to look elsewhere for direction . Removing the power of alternative argument drives at the very roots of democracy ; when voters want change they must have that alternative before them .The situation prevailing in Greece gets nowhere near the will or sentiment of its people .

    We have recently witnessed a coalition Government regime between the Conservatives and Liberals ; we gained nothing but compromise and indecision from it . Moving from one sort of political direction to a sort of “neutralised” result created confusion and frustration ; we certainly don’t want that again . Equally when a Party decides it is better to move the the “centre ground”, it is equally frustrating to the majority of the members of that Party . Cameron made this mistake and the result now is a sharp division in the Conservative ranks . Conservatives stand for free open markets , low taxation , a strong work ethic , freedom of expression and THE RIGHT TO MAKE OUR OWN LAWS !.

    1. Hope
      February 29, 2016

      No you are quite wrong. The current Tory party under Cameron stand for no such thing. Look at the facts not what Cameron or Osborne tells you. Cameron went into coalition to change his party, he gave away far more than even the Lib dumbs could believe. JR is also wrong, it w not just the EU but also his part leadership, you simply cannot believe a word Cameron says, his manifesto, what is not in his manifesto he makes it up as he goes along. He dropped most of what he was going to negotiate i.e. Social and justice policy. We now read changes to Human rights is kicked into the long grass not to upset the EU! He got nothing and he still persists not to upset the EU! I loathe to watch him more than Gordon Brown. The posh boys make Brown look positively good.

  5. eeyore
    February 29, 2016

    One fears that things might not end well. The English constitution, they used to say, was “aristocracy tempered by rioting”. Is the European one to be “elitocracy” tempered by revolution?

    Historically, Europe seems to need a major war about every 120 years. They happen when an old order falls apart under pressure of its own contradictions, and a new one is born amid flames and suffering. Let’s hope that the ties of mutual dependency are stronger than the tensions that will result from collapse of the EU.

    On a less portentous note, the absence of the British Labour Party from the debate is strange and striking. They seem to have nothing to say, no words to say it in, and no one who wants to hear them. Has any great party ever become so irrelevant so quickly?

    1. stred
      February 29, 2016

      According to Mz Eagle on her uninterrupted Marr eulogy, Labour appreciates all the employment right legislation, that would be abandoned by the worker hating Tories and could not be brought back by Labour if they were elected.

      Stayers always ask “Could you give me ONE example of EU laws which affect you? Here is one. At( a stated ed) workplace a key administrator has been off sick for 6 months, for the second time. As a result, senior staff are tired out as they already work long hours and now have to do the ever increasing paperwork themselves. The management have to pay the administrator during absence and are having to cut other staff. The most amazing part of the farce is that the employee knew about her illness, which was non apparent, before she took the job and it is illegal even to ask whether the applicant has any condition which may have an effect. Another case a few years ago was a highly paid woman who took the job and became pregnant soon after, leaving other staff overworked.

      Today we are reminded that employers cannot even advertise for barmaids and may have to take on a big male lump to ploe dance and serve drinks to city slickers.

      1. stred
        February 29, 2016

        The internet reveals interesting images for ‘ploe dancers’ but I meant pole.

        1. stred
          March 1, 2016

          Suggest moderating corrections too if the corrected post is moderated

    2. Roy Grainger
      February 29, 2016

      The absence of the Labour Party from the debate is not that surprising when their leadership in the form of Corbyn and McDonnell have decades of anti-EU rhetoric and campaigning behind them but prefer to grandstand and attack their own MPs on other issues such as Trident.

  6. Know-dice
    February 29, 2016

    I’m really disgusted by Philip Hammond’s attitude.

    We the people have the right that our elected representatives (MPs) should have full access to ALL Governmental information at all times relating to a referendum regardless of which way they wish us to vote.

    He will need to go the day that we vote Leave…

  7. alan jutson
    February 29, 2016

    John it absolutely amazes me that many of our Politicians either cannot, or will not see that they are fast becoming no more than elected dummies.

    First we have the whipping system which almost forces them to vote the way they are told, and often against their, or their constituents wishes and beliefs, this is nothing to do with the EU.

    Then we have them giving away more and more powers with every new EU Treaty to a collection of foreign Countries.

    We then have them allowing the judgement of our laws taken away from our own judicial system with one that is offshore, which is reported as not even having qualified judges in place.

    Is there something in the tea at Westminster which is clouding the minds of our elected representatives, or is it the spirits in the Bar.

    I simple fail to understand, why so many of our politicians fail to understand.

    Thank goodness there are still some around, including our host who are attempting to change things back to a more sensible arrangement.

    1. oldtimer
      February 29, 2016

      Do not underestimate the power of patronage and preferment. Young, career politicians have been told they must make a choice between future jobs or a future in the political wilderness – between climbing the greasy pole or sliding down to the bottom of it.

      It will be illuniating to see, as the campaign evolves, who actually speaks out on either side of the argument and who keeps their head down. It is why, although the parties want to stick to the issues, it runs the real risk of degenerating into personality contests (aided and abetted by the media as it makes better copy).

      I do not exclude Mr Cameron from this, even though he is not standing for election again. I doubt he will retire to cultivate tomatoes. It would not surprise me to discover he has been appointed to some supranational position (beyond the reach of the electorate) once he leaves office.

    2. bluedog
      February 29, 2016

      The problem may lie not so much in the Parliament but in the civil service in Whitehall. The empire came and went. Now it seems the EU is going too. Where next to escape the drudgery of polishing a seat? One needs a little Project to make the heart sing.

    3. Mike Stallard
      February 29, 2016

      Alan, the problem is that when in the European Union buildings, the MPs and Prime Ministers all talk the talk and say they want ever closer union. When they get home, they have to pretend that they want independence for their country.
      The MPs talk the talk in parliament and pretend that they are ever so Eurosceptic – which is noted in the constituencies where they come from. However I suspect (how can I know?) that in the secret meetings, they talk the talk of Europe to please their employers.)
      When the chips are down, which will they support? Poor old Mr Cameron has been hung out to dry in the European Union and is now piggy in the middle.

      The trouble is that this demands half truths, pretence, hypocrisy and the occasional lie. We Brits do not like liars.

    4. BobE
      March 1, 2016

      The third European war is being fought with economics and spin.

  8. JM
    February 29, 2016

    1) If the Prime Minister does not stop his stupid policy of denying those who want out access to Government papers on the EU, and if he wins, he will be open to a charge that the vote was rigged and he will have failed to lance the boil that he hoped to lance when he introduced his referendum policy.

    2) Why would anyone want to be part of an organisation whose auditor refuse year after year to sign off its accounts?

  9. Pericles Xanthippou
    February 29, 2016

    According to the polls Britain is, as things stand, more likely to vote to leave the E.U. Yet, as is clear from the words of a Mr. Hancock on the Toady programme this morning, the Prime Minister and his government are making no preparations for the work that would be necessary following such an outcome.

    This might be acceptable — although irresponsible — if the government planned to resign in the event of success by the British side. But it doesn’t: it plans to carry on even if defeated on what amounts to the principal plank of its campaign platform.

    What the Prime Minister is saying is: “We want to remain in the E.U.; if you, the British people, want to do something else … you’re on your own, mate!”

    This is grossly incompetent and, should it continue, will lead to the Conservative Party’s losing the next election … despite the apparent ineligibility of to-day’s Labour Party. Conservative M.P.s must make it clear to the Prime Minister that his failure to lay the ground for a British exit from the E.U. pari passu with work assuming a British defeat will lead immediately — should Britain win — to a leadership contest.


    “… scientific ignoramuses …” Nice one, Lifelogic. Quite right.

  10. Vanessa
    February 29, 2016

    You have forgotten to mention that if a country is in the eurozone but displeases the powers in the EU then they can walk in and replace your ELECTED government and prime minister with a beaurocrat of their own. If that happened in Britain I think we would vote to leave !!

    1. Pericles Xanthippou
      February 29, 2016

      Given the current elected government, Vanessa, I’m not convinced it would make much difference!


  11. rick hamilton
    February 29, 2016

    I can see that any continental country that has been invaded, occupied, divided, run by dictatorships or military coups would want to join the EU so as to avoid the same thing ever happening again. I can see that poorer countries in the south and east would join to get massive infrastructure projects subsidised by richer countries in the north and west.

    But why on earth would British governments want to sign away their own power and hand it to unidentifiable committees in the EU? John Major called it “a profoundly undemocratic institution” but signed Maastricht anyway. Did our ‘leaders’ really chuck away the principles of Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights just for some utopian expectation of a slightly better GDP? What were they thinking?

    I hope there was more to it than that, and I hope it wasn’t just the gravy train and the prospect of prancing on a bigger stage that motivated them. However Major, Blair and Brown have never explained adequately why they gave our sovereignty away – ours, not theirs.

    Read Booker’s “Nine Deceptions” piece but take your blood pressure pills first.

  12. ian
    February 29, 2016

    As I have been saying, the only way to get what you want is to not vote for parties at election, vote for people who will carry the areas vote into parliament, it call the will of the people.

  13. Cheshire Girl
    February 29, 2016

    I see that in the Daily Telegraph this morning, David Lidington, the ‘Europe Minister’ has said that Brits will be ‘forced’ to stop living in France or Spain if we vote to leave the EU.

    You really could’nt make up the scare stories they are putting out now. It just reinforces my intention to vote ‘Out’!

  14. Pericles Xanthippou
    February 29, 2016

    The more I reflect on this matter, the more obvious it seems that the Conservative Party — by which I mean the real Party (including those former members that have recently been pushed in to the UKIP camp), not the collection of pseudo-Lib.-Dems. that have run it for the last ten years — needs to resume control.

    If our version of democracy mean anything, ‘grass-root’ members need to make it clear to their ‘representatives’ that they expect those representatives to work in the electors’ interest … not in their own.


    1. Lifelogic
      February 29, 2016

      Exactly. The only think Cameron should do after the Brexit vote is fire the tax borrow and piss down the drain Osborne & resign himself. Hopefully they can find a proper conservative somewhere to lead them.

      1. Pericles Xanthippou
        February 29, 2016

        Thank you, Lifelogic. I have some sympathy with the Chancellor: there’s the poor bugger — patently ignorant of Keynes’s basic tenets but trying to square the circle created by ‘neo-conservatism’ — finding himself against the socialist mentality of our age but tied to supporting the principal socialist organization of it: the E.U.!

        I’m sorry to say, given his ability to rally the populace, that to the rôle you adduce I find Boris inadequate. He’s good at raising support but, I suspect, too unstable.

        Might I suggest David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden)?


  15. Ray Veysey
    February 29, 2016

    The problem with the 2 party system as described at the beginning is that the beliefs of the 2 parties can overlap in a way that is not the best for the country but best for them. We have that now in the UK and in France is that both the mainline parties have been bought and packaged by the EU and they have used the EU and their combined strength to prevent anyone from changing that. This means that conservatives like John Redwood who whilst wanting to get out of the EU cannot contemplate any method of achieving that, that threatens the status quo of the 2 party, cyclical governmental system. Which is why despite the length of his article, he can discuss SNP, because purely by the nature of the beast they will not change Westminster directly (although they certainly helped Cameron to win last time) he will not even admit the existence of UKIP. Totally regardless of the fact that without them we would not be having a referendum, and anyone who says different is a fool, and that they won the European elections by a clear margin.

    Reply I gave often talked about other parties. The issue here is what is happening to parties test used to be able to command majorities

  16. purpleline
    February 29, 2016

    What we see happening is the dismantling of democracy and teh rise of multi party states that have no power to save their countries.

    As Diane Abbott would say it is a matter of divide and rule the EU divides national political parties creating small parties that have to group together in the end they get no respite from the march towards one super state the United socialist republic of Europe.

    The UK with a strong monarch can never surrender to the EU we need to save Europe from these europhiles or see the demise of europe as a safe prosperous continent.

    Britain has saved Europe many times it is now time for action

  17. ian wragg
    February 29, 2016

    The EU is an arm of a fledgling world government which was 1970’s thinking. The idea being to get rid of nation states and have a central supranational government.
    It is no coincidence that many of the top echelon in the EU are ex communists and fellow travellers.
    The problem is today we have instant news and more than the state propaganda arm (BBC) from which to see the world.
    The 28 countries in the EU are being held back from growth by the idiots who run the show their only objective being absolute power.
    The latest directive (suspended) on electric kettles should have everyone worried about the direction of travel of this monstrosity which is the Soviet Union without the muscle.
    I really believe that the people who support Brussels have a personality disorder.

  18. behindthefrogs
    February 29, 2016

    Those involved in local government have exactly the same problems with national government. Taking Wokingham as an example, if it wasn’t for national government we wouldn’t have the current major problem of our countryside and parks being destroyed by the need to meet government housing requirements.

    The UK government and the devolved governments of Scotland Wales and N Ireland are in general much worse than the EU with regard to their impositions on local government. We need the EU to moderate their strong arm tactics in many areas.

    I would like to see the EU a little more democratic but it is preferable to UK government on many fronts.

  19. graham1946
    February 29, 2016

    Perhaps we need to remove the log in our own eye at the same time as seeing the mote in the eye of others.

    UKIP got more votes than SNP and got 1 seat against 50.

    Even your literary skills and oration will surely be hard pressed to spin that out as democracy. Yes, its the way our system is geared, as you say, mainly by the big parties to ensure they don’t get rivals, much like the EU is set up for corporates to avoid meaningful competition, and they change boundaries to suit them when required as well. We were offered the AV system, but that was a con which the public saw and was rejected. Cannot understand why Clegg stood for it. Doesn’t mean we are all in agreement that all is well with our system. Unfortunately, even in the event of ‘leave’ this will not change and it will be a return to the old musical chairs of the two main parties.

    1. Richard
      March 2, 2016

      I used to think similarly about FPTP, but my opinion has now been reversed. The problem that you mention is due to the main parties no longer reflecting public opinion rather than FPTP itself, and FPTP has some qualities that make it far superior to the alternatives (in my opinion mainly that in normal circumstances an unpopular party is completely booted out of office).

      See arguments here:

  20. Antisthenes
    February 29, 2016

    Stayers scare tactics appear to be working. Ask the average person in the street what they most fear about Brexit. They will reply losing their job. When in fact the only jobs UK nationals will lose will be ones directly linked to the Brussels bloated bureaucratic machine and the EU political and other institutions. All those diligently working away either in drafting legislation that we have to abide by but have no control over or those implementing it. Mostly in the public sector, government etc but of course those in private sector too as all this extra government necessitate extra unproductive staff for them to deal with it’s demands.

    Losing those jobs may not be too good for the individual but they are usually highly skilled and qualified people so only a temporary nuisance. However it will do wonders for our economy as another costly item is removed.

    Removing the EU has so many cost benefit advantages. And as you rightly point out removal would turn a current disadvantage that of there being no means for the UK citizens to exercise their democratic rights or even hold the EU to account when they are dissatisfied or for any other reason.

    The EU has five unelected Presidents. The EU parliament has two locations not one to keep the cost and inconvenience down and is a body that mostly consists of overpaid rubber stampers and ……. What on earth is that all about? Seems like jobs for the boys etc ed. It also appears that the EU is one vast gravy train with it’s generous salaries, expenses and pensions. It’s costly bureaucratic apparatus churning out oodles of red tape lemming like as it seeks to destroy the wealth creators that pay for it all.

    It is easy to expose all the faults, failings and the costly dangers of the EU. I could write for hours about them as this only scratched the surface. It is not easy for the stayers to give reasonable reasons for remain in in fact they have none. So they have to resort to scaremongering and FUD. Unfortunate so far too many are falling for it.

  21. ian
    February 29, 2016

    The wishes of the people are ignored now, in or out of Europe you will still be ignored by all parties. politic between the parties is all that counts.

  22. matthu
    February 29, 2016

    Brilliant exposé, John.

    I will shortly be spending a week with some French friends who are deeply concerned about the attitutde of the UK towards Brexit … this will be a good argument to put to them.

  23. Mike Stallard
    February 29, 2016

    This is a brilliant summary of what is happening. Well noticed!

  24. The Active Citizen
    February 29, 2016

    Thanks for another great article JR where you make very interesting points as usual.

    Below is the third in my ‘simple summary’ series, on the same subject of democracy. This follows the one on EU immigration, and the one on the economically-failing EU trading bloc.

    Simple Summary For Normal People: No. 3 – Who Affects Your Life?

    Think of something important to you and your family – like shop prices, the cost of energy, your child’s schooling, the risk of local flooding.

    In a true democracy, you vote for someone to represent your interests fully, and they can be voted out too. But an increasing number of decisions are now made for the UK wholly or partly at EU level. And only the unelected Commission can bring forward new draft laws.

    Prices – the EU decides VAT. Electricity and gas – the EU decides costly energy policies. Your child’s class size – the EU decides the uncontrolled immigration policy. Local flooding – the EU decides environment policy.

    Let’s Free The UK – For A Safer, Happier, And More Prosperous Place To Live.

    Thoughts anyone? Rgds, TAC.

  25. ian
    February 29, 2016

    You have only got to look at what has happened with wet & mad in office with his leader, 580 billion extra debt so far with untold assets sales on top with services cut on top, at the end of the day 900 billion extra debt, well over 100 billion of assets sale not including banks and no service left and thousands English people living on the streets so they can look good on refuges and overseas people issues, all you will hear from con party is, if it was not for us thing would of been a lot worsts.

    Keep voting for parties for your own good, all that money has found it way into offshore banking accounts.

  26. William Long
    February 29, 2016

    You refer to ‘the lack of success in negotiating proper change…’, but was it really a proper negotiation, when one party had made it clear that he would vote to stay whatever the result? If by happy chance the vote is to leave, Mr Cameron must have no part whatsoever in the negotiation of our new external relationship with the EU. There is a growing need for the Leave camp to publish its manifesto and tell the country how it proposes our departure from the EU should be managed and on what time scale. I do not think people will be taken in by project ‘Fear’ but they will be given legitimate reason to pause if they are not provided with a clear route forward.

  27. peter davies
    February 29, 2016

    That being the case if you are an EZ member why bother having elections/governments at all? They may as well become glorified local governments and hand over what little they have left to Brussels/Berlin.

    Its should be clear enough to even the most stupid of people that the EU is an apparatus setup with one main beneficiary at the expense of every other’s state sovereignty. I’ve seen an allegation that the recent bailouts to Greece went mainly to German and French banks which had lent when they should not – you just cant make this sort of nonsense up!

    The generational poverty this project has caused some states really cannot be justified, why do their politicians still put up with it?

  28. Denis Cooper
    February 29, 2016

    I think I’d rather not make any comment which might stray into party politics at this time when the referendum should be fought on a cross-party non-party basis.

    Having said that my following off-topic comment should not be taken as party political, it just so happens that one particular party figures very large in it.

  29. forthurst
    February 29, 2016

    “The two main parties look hard in each country at seeking to prop up the EU/Euro establishment by entering coalition together,to keep the challenger parties who want a change of policy out of government.”

    Increasingly the battle lines are being drawn between Western political elites and those they purport to serve, leading to both the emergence of new radical parties and a widespread disenchantment with the political process as a means of addressing genuine grievances.

    In some countries the established duopoly has become bankrolled by a highly unrepresentative group who believe they are entitled to replace their weight in numbers by weight of financial contributions to influence policies and the emergence of those that would implement them. In Great Britain, for almost two decades we have had leaders whose policies are deeply inimical to the interests of the British people through expansion of the EU to include non-European peoples, and stealth mass immigration and foreign wars designed to further the interests of ME obsessives and flood Europe with millions in order to change the continent from a people of European ancestry with European cultural traditions to a multicultural one more resembling that which is in the process of being engineered in the USA by the same interests whose most recent leadership plant has had his actual provenance replaced by an entirely false narrative; it is no co-incidence that some of our recent leaders have had typical establishment educations so succeeding to impart a superficial veneer to those whose backgrounds are far more obscure and questionable and whose loyalties, demonstrably, have not aligned with those who were fooled into electing them.

  30. Shieldsman
    February 29, 2016

    The media and as a result the Public are blind to Cameron’s gigantic 21st Century Confidence trick.
    No.10 has spun out of those three little words ‘ever closer union’ the equivalent of Blair’s ‘WMD’
    The claim to have reformed the EU is one big lie, NO treaty changes have taken place. Look at the European Council meeting (18 and 19 February 2016) – Conclusions, there is a binding commitment to revisit the Lisbon Treaty at some future date.
    His reformed EU is based purely on “It is recognised that the United Kingdom, in the light of the specific situation it has under the Treaties, is not committed to further political integration into the European Union.”
    “The substance of this will be incorporated into the Treaties at the time of their next revision in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Treaties and the respective constitutional requirements of the Member States, so as to make it clear that the references to ever closer union do not apply to the United Kingdom.”
    This is a promise of a treaty change at some indefinite time in the future.

    Even if and when it is incorporated it changes nothing by its self ( the current Lisbon Treaty). It preregisters the United Kingdoms right to be excluded from future treaty changes involving closer political union.

    The Council sewed up the other aspects of closer union:
    “(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 best of both worlds: the United Kingdom’s special status in a reformed European Union was prepared long before Cameron’s deal. Hammond has already argued for its legality

  31. Boudicca
    February 29, 2016

    I suppose there would be one silver lining, if the British electorate are scared into voting to stay in the EU, before long there’s a reasonable chance that at least one of the Establishment Parties will be defunct in a few years so The Establishment’s grip on power will be broken.

  32. Tad Davison
    February 29, 2016

    I hope John forgives me for the length of this post as it needed to be pulled apart.

    This interview surely falls into the category of ‘ill-informed’ perhaps ‘misinformed’ or more likely, a bare-faced con upon the British public.

    In relation to the so-called ‘uncertainty’ that would ensue were the UK to leave the EU, Labour’s Emma Reynolds said on today’s Daily Politics Show that ‘Switzerland is still trying to negotiate unfettered access to the single market.’

    She fails to appreciate that the UK is a vastly bigger and financially stronger country with a lot more bargaining power.

    ‘It certainly is in our interest economically and in terms of jobs and investment to stay in the EU…….we need to point out the risks if we did leave.’

    She couldn’t say. Project fear again!

    ‘There would be a lot of uncertainty and indeed, the pound last week dropped to its lowest value in seven years because of the uncertainty of the referendum and the fears of the UK leaving.’

    Given John’s recent excellent analysis, I wonder who will be the first to pick her up on that one?

    ‘The best way to keep all those conditions, is for us to stay in the EU.’

    Our own independent sovereign parliament could legislate as it pleased. Even matching the present circumstance without the need to give our largess to an economic money pit. Does she mean she’s scared to put her preferred ‘conditions’ to the British people in case the electorate reject them?

    And then she trotted out the tired old example of Norway who has to abide by the rules of the single market but has to pay into the EU just to have access to it, whilst not having a say.’

    Why not cite China or the USA?

    When she asserted that ‘the UK would be ‘stronger and more prosperous inside the EU’, the BBC presented did at least challenge that assumption because Emma Reynolds couldn’t provide evidence of that.

    She also said of David Cameron that ‘he did a decent job with his renegotiation’ That is surely the clincher. David Camron’s ‘renegotiation’ appealing to a pro-EU lefty. And I remember him declaring that he was a Eurosceptic. That says it all!

    When the issue of Sir Jeremy Hayward came up, and not allowing those who wish to leave the EU, to have access to certain relevant documents, Emma Reynolds said the following, ‘We see this over again and again…….the Eurosceptics moan and bang on about process…………if they lose the referendum in June, they will claim that it’s not fair, and have a ‘neverendum’ – another referendum – and if they lose that one, they will claim that one’s not fair, so they can have another referendum!’

    These people are either blind, haven’t read modern political history, or are downright deceitful. How many EU countries have been forced to have another referendum, because they didn’t vote the EUs way the first time around?

    She did at least concede that Tony Blair had made the process of EU enlargement easier, and as we know, the more people there are, the more that can come to the UK. Yet I have still to hear one ‘pack ’em all in’ lefty tell us precisely how many people our country can actually take, because there must surely be a limit.

    As a footnote, another guest on the show, Michael Fabricant, commented upon another ‘In’ campaign scare story. The campaign to stay said, ‘If we left the European Union, we’d have a camp like Sangatte, a jungle in the middle of Kent, so I contacted the House of Commons Library………….. it is all governed by the treaty of Le Touquet’ …………it’s all a load of balderdash, it’s got nothing to do with the European Union whatsoever.’

    Tad Davison


    1. Lifelogic
      February 29, 2016

      Indeed is this the best Labour can come up with.

      The endlessly interrupting Shadow Education Secretary, Lucy Powell MP on Any Answers, was equally dreadful. The women on these programmes do seem to get away with interrupting and just taking through people rather more than the men I find. The chairman being rather to gentle with them.

  33. Margaret
    February 29, 2016

    On a lighter note. The blog did not appear until late today . I thought you may have had a bad turn after a female asked you to marry her. There again some would have it that we are making a leap into the dark voting for out.

    1. Pericles Xanthippou
      February 29, 2016

      And, boy, does this debate call for a lighter note! No girl’s likely to make that mistake in my case, Margaret.


      1. Denis Cooper
        March 1, 2016

        Well, you still have Aspasia, but don’t let her start any wars.

  34. Richard1
    February 29, 2016

    I think what Leave needs to do is organise for its more intelligent and articulate advocates, such as you and Nigel Lawson, to give a daily or weekly briefing in simple bullets to those who find it more difficult to get across simple points in clear language. Today for example Lord Lawson explained in 30 seconds that the concept that the UK’s trading relations with non-EU countries would be in any way affected by Brexit is nonsense, as all EU countries – but not the EU itself – are members of the WTO. The EU speaks on behalf of its 28 members, but the members themselves are the signatories. The UK therefore already has all the existing ‘EU’ trade deals with non EU countries. Perhaps these could be improved upon in future years, post Brexit, perhaps not. But we won’t lose them. The only question therefore is what would trading arrangements be with EU members.

  35. ian
    February 29, 2016

    and don’t forget the tax increases apart from lower paid which do not amount to a lot, I would say all in all with borrowings, assets sales, service cuts and tax increases wet & mad with this government will do 1.5 trillion pounds in 10 years. That’s 150 billion a year the same as the mount which being done when they came in to office in 2010, they just done a another way.

  36. Denis Cooper
    February 29, 2016

    Reflecting on the question of freedom of movement of persons, and how it could be split off from the other three freedoms with which it is illogically linked and which we would mostly wish to retain, I don’t recall EU immigration being a huge problem before the poorer countries in eastern Europe were admitted to the EU.

    There were niggles about it, and I believe there was a bit of a spike in immigration from Portugal after that country was admitted to the EU, but the real problems started in late 2003 and then in 2004 with the accession of those new countries with much lower per capita GDP, and much higher unemployment rates, exacerbated by the ideologically motivated decision of the Labour government that it would not apply the permitted transitional controls.

    The Tories had a lot to say about Labour’s failure to take advantage of the possibility of transitional controls when most other western European countries had decided to implement them, but the reality is that seven years is simply not long enough – it is now nearly twelve years since Poland joined, but per capita GDP is still only about half of that in the UK and the Poles keep coming – and in November 2013 Cameron picked up on the sensible suggestion that transitional controls should not last for a fixed number of years but until the economic driving force for mass migration had abated:

    “He suggests imposing restrictions on movement until a country’s GDP per head reaches a certain share of the European average or allowing each country to set an annual cap on EU migrants.

    Cameron will put the ideas at the heart of his proposed renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU ahead of a planned referendum in 2017.”

    And that December he told other EU leaders that he would veto any future enlargements unless some such change was agreed:

    “David Cameron will veto any countries from joining the European Union unless long term and tighter restrictions are imposed on them to prevent another “vast migration” of people from Eastern Europe into Britain.

    The Prime Minister made his pledge following talks in Brussels on the future of European enlargement as Turkey, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Albania line up to begin negotiations to join the EU.

    He told a summit of Europe’s leaders that any “accession treaty” given to a new EU member state would require unanimous support and that Britain would wield a veto unless tougher controls were imposed on free movement.”

    “If new membership is offered to any of the potential entrants, which are all much poorer countries than the western European average, Britain would insist upon lengthy restrictions that go beyond the seven-year controls on free movement.”

    “EU officials confirmed that it would be possible for Britain to require free movement restrictions for an indefinite period or “as long as you like” as part of the conditions of a future accession treaty.

    “Linking transitional controls to the percentage of GDP or wage rates in a new member state would probably require treaty change,” said an EU source.”

    However a year later that idea had been relegated to eighth position on a list of nine proposals:

    I’ve found nothing reported in the media about that demand being pushed during his “renegotiation”, and the issue is merely “noted” in the summit Conclusions:

    “With regard to future enlargements of the European Union, it is noted that appropriate transitional measures concerning free movement of persons will be provided for in the relevant Acts of Accession to be agreed by all Member States, in accordance with the Treaties. In this context, the position expressed by the United Kingdom in favour of such transitional measures is noted.”

    My thoughts here are that we can now do nothing about well-behaved EU immigrants who have already come here at the invitation of our government – that would be unreasonable and unjust – and anyway we are not so bothered about the relatively small numbers from the wealthier member states – there’s a table here:

    giving the breakdown – and it would also be pushing it to get the poorer countries to agree to the restoration of transitional controls now that they have been lifted, but we could make sure that they are the last to be treated with that excessive generosity.

  37. agricola
    February 29, 2016

    In the UK governing parties tend to lose election through their ineptitude or being blatantly unfit for power. The current UK government scraped in due to the uselessness of the Lib/Dems and a growing realisation among the electorate that they did not want a financially incompetent Labour party in coalition with a rabid socialist SNP. It was why the UKIP vote was limited to 4 million.

    Prior to the EU, the Greeks ran a fantasy economy. The EU who cannot get their own accounts passed by auditors let them join. After numerous bailouts the EU realised that they had to take control, but the Greeks didn’t like it so they voted in a left wing government who were told by the EU, change your ways or no bailout. Though the Greeks hated this, they liked the Euro, so they are stuck with an emasculated government. All because no Greek politician had the guts to say stuff the debt and revert to the Drachma. They have only put off the day of reckoning or in street parlance, kicked the can further down the road.

    That the EU undermines democracy is a given. It has none of it’s own and does not encourage it in others. The states that are net receivers are the most vulnerable. Those in the Euro will have to succumb to total financial control by the EU. It is the way the Pound and Dollar work and it is the only way the Euro will work.

    As you point out, the UK no longer controls many aspects of it’s governance. Successive UK governments have acquiesced in this despite the fact that we are the second largest contributor to the EU. A litany of acts for which UK government only has itself to blame. I call it treason.

    The referendum we are discussing was not brought about by the three main parties who all promised it , but then reneged upon the promise. I maintain that we only got it because CMD saw UKIP as a very real threat to the Conservative party as one of government. He reluctantly promised it thinking he could orchestrate the electorate. Now he begins to realise that the outcome is in real doubt, the nasty controlling, threatening aspects of his character are emerging.

    I hope our departure from the EU acts as a catalyst to further disintegration. It is a model not fit for purpose.

  38. acorn
    February 29, 2016

    Regarding lunch time news story. The EU is a WTO member in its own right as are each of its 28 member states, including the UK — making 29 WTO members altogether. This is different from IMF, where the EU is not a member, but the States are. Similarly, the EU is not, itself, a voting member of the OECD, it is has “observer” status.

    Brexit will NOT change UK status in these entities.

    (WTO note). “While the member states coordinate their position in Brussels and Geneva, the European Commission — the EU’s executive arm — alone speaks for the EU and its members at almost all WTO meetings and in almost all WTO affairs. For this reason, in most issues, WTO materials refer to the “EU” (or previously the legally-official “EC”).”

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 1, 2016

      Brexit will not change the UK’s position under any of the existing treaties to which it is a party, unless one or more of the other parties insists that Brexit makes such a material change that the treaty must be renegotiated. Otherwise it is a technical matter to make any necessary amendment saying that the treaty will continue to apply to the UK even after it has left the EU.

  39. Qubus
    February 29, 2016

    Whatever happened to Lord Hague’s burning building with no exit?

  40. ChrisS
    February 29, 2016

    “The EU as it stands cannot face a renegotiation of membership terms with each country following a General election. However, unless it does so and allows proper changes, the wishes and views of electorates from Greece to Portugal and from Cyprus to the UK will be ignored.”
    I tend to agree with the first sentence. In Britain the situation was slightly unusual in that there was a substantial percentage of the population that wanted an opportunity to vote on EU membership and one had been promised and reneged on by Gordon Brown.

    That’s not the case in other countries. The EU, and especially the Eurozone, isn’t working and would be even worse with constant demands for special deals and opt outs.

    Unfortunately for Brussels, they know they need to move to full economic integration to have any chance of saving the Euro but there is a huge disconnect between what the Brussels elite and some National leaders mean by “Ever Closer Union” and what the people are prepared to accept.

    Hollande is one of the principle protagonists here, having called for a single Euroland government, treasury and budget only last week. That would guarantee an austerity budget set in Berlin and long-needed modernisation of the French economy.

    There is no way the French would vote for that : all it will do is drive more French voters into the arms of Marine LePen who is highly protectionist and wants out of the Euro altogether.

    As for Germany, her taxpayers know only too well that full integration would mean massive fiscal transfers direct from their wallets to the black holes that are the economies of the ClubMed countries, especially Greece. Merkel is already smarting at the ballot box for her self-inflicted migrant crisis and she knows that German taxpayers will never vote to send massive amounts of their hard-earned cash to prop up ClubMed.

    So there is an impass. The leadership must be hoping that the Eurozone economy will end up on the brink and the people will then be forced to accept full fiscal integration.

    Well, I don’t think they will go along with it.

  41. ian
    February 29, 2016

    Yes the tory elite will ignore the English people if they vote for out and go for another ref and another and till they get the right vote to stay in and tory leader will now not be standing down like he said because wet & mad has mess up and tory elite will fined it hard to fined a replacement.
    Tory party workers are just fining out who runs the tory party and that they have no say at all in what go on, they are just butter up and go out running around streets like fools while tory leader and mates thick as you know what with the civil service and the rest.

  42. StevenL
    February 29, 2016

    Sometimes centre right parties adopt some of the policies of their rivals to win

    You mean like adding half a trillion quid to the national debt every five years and trying to conjure ever higher house prices with lots of immigration and all manner of other bizarre schemes?

  43. Maureen Turner
    February 29, 2016

    JR writes – “What the voter seems to be saying is in many EU euro countries they want changes to policy which the EU will NOT allow.”

    The opening paragraphs of this blog make for an excellent summary of how our parliamentary democracy works which has seen us through the good times and the bad, primarily because it is government for the people by the people and has been adopted all around the globe. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

    Apart from our MEPs the EU is governance by an elected few who we don’t know and can never remove. It recent years it has become more authoritarian using economic fines as a form of punishment on nations who fail to meet the criteria demanded. Conversely out-performing other nations economically requires the payment of cash as the UK discovered in Nov. 2014. Where does this sit with the PM’s love of “strivers”.

    It really is difficult to understand what purpose the EU serves other than to act as an admin. block specialising in extracting money and then dispensing it plus taking a wrecking ball to almost everything it seeks to control. At least the former USSR could boast about its annual tractor production.

    Churchill is credited with saying something along these lines. Democracy may not be all good but it’s better than all the others. That’s ours to remember on June 23rd

  44. DaveM
    February 29, 2016

    What about the right to defend sovereign territory from illegal incursions? What does the EU have to say about that when it has encouraged thousands of immigrants to other people’s homelands?

  45. Anonymous
    February 29, 2016

    The views from the EU borders and Calais are very scary.

    Lots and lots of aggressive young men.

    1. DaveM
      February 29, 2016

      I’m not scared of these “young men” – if they had anything about themselves they’d stand and fight for their homes and families. I’m more concerned about European govts’ reluctance to defend their own people. Do they not have families? Do they not worry about the countries their grand kids will grow up in?

  46. Jon
    February 29, 2016

    The company I work for did research on intergenerational attitudes. Each decade of an age group has a different outlook.

    Your 20 yr old aspires to security and stability. Something the EU does not provide, high rental costs for instance. It seems they respond to facetime Jon.

    The Euro is destined to fail endorsed further by Merv yn King but no such fears for Sterling.

    If the out campaign is to attract the young who many of which could buy in, then it needs to include other communication channels.

    I don’t know what Facetime is but there is a demographic that could add to the out vote there

  47. Andy
    February 29, 2016

    If we weren’t already in the EU no one would vote to join it. The trouble is we have a circle that cannot be squared. The UK is not in the Euro zone and is never going to be, but that does not apply to all the others save Denmark. I wish our political class had not been so stupid as to have joined the EU 40+ years ago and stuck with EFTA. It could now be a balance to the arrogance and stupidity of the EU, which seems to know no bounds.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 29, 2016

      Cast Iron, no if no buts, Cameron tells us he would join now on the terms offered.

      He is clearly bonkers or perhaps just lying again.

      1. Denis Cooper
        March 1, 2016

        Terms now offered which would reverse none of the changes made by the three amending treaties opposed by the Tory party in opposition.

  48. androcles
    February 29, 2016

    I am getting fed up with Tory remainians who a few weeks ago were saying “let us wait and see what the PM negotiates”, when asked how they will vote, now using project fear arguements that they could have spouted when originally asked. If leaving the EU would be such a disaster why did they even consider brexit?

  49. Excalibur
    February 29, 2016

    Not only the EU that removes the democratic process, JR. The use of the Civil Service to promote the aims of the Remain campaign, and CMD’s disgraceful plan to axe a majority of the Conservative Associations, are cases in point.
    Unless there is a concerted and effective effort to curb the blatant bias of the BBC and Sky, and to shackle the undemocratic and spiteful machinations of CMD and others, I fear we re going to lose the referendum. Hell hath no fury like CMD spurned…..

    1. Tango India Mike
      March 1, 2016

      And the red top newspapers.

      I am appalled that every EU article in the
      the local papers(Cheshire west and Chester, chronicle and the standard)
      Is a pro EU article.

      Local mp and shadow health minister Justin madders
      has a weekly column in the standard,and he plugs his pro EU guff
      In Every edition.

      Today on the chester chronicles website there was a article
      about all Four Cheshire west mps voting to remain.

      That was predictable but yet again the local trinity mirror rag gets away with
      presenting one side of the argument,and its always the remain side.

      I wonder john if this is the case with all local papers?.
      If so this is totally unfair and a massive gain to the reminders.

      Cameron is attempting to pull off his Biggest scam and effectively its
      probably is final major action as pm as he will leave soon after the 23rd.

      He wants to go out with a victory for his comi buddies,and further enslave the British people into the nosediving EU mess.

      Reply Newspapers are free to be partisan if they wish. They do not receive tax revenue like the BBC and do not operate under a charter of impartiality. People who disagree with particular papers are entitled to expose the paper’s judgement or bias as they wish. Often the papers themselves publish alternative views to their line to fuel the debate. I suggest any of you who want out who live in the area of a pro Remain paper should write/use local phone in etc to set out the opposite case to the paper. Where a local MP is arguing one side, the other side during the referendum period will be able to require equal space/time.

      1. Tango India Mike
        March 1, 2016

        typo “His”

  50. Pericles Xanthippou
    March 1, 2016

    I suspect, Mercia, that a significantly higher proportion of those assembled at the Greece-Macedonia border consists of genuine refugees than at other pressure points.


  51. Wireworm
    March 1, 2016

    Lord Lawson’s remarks on the trade deal question (Today programme yesterday) deserve wider currency. The EU is not a member of the WTO – it negotiates trade agreements on behalf of its member states. In the event of Brexit, the UK would be left with all its trade agreements with non-EU countries intact. In time they could be modified to suit us better. Trade with the rest of the EU is not going to cease on Brexit; the new trade relationship will supersede the current one in due course. It would be in no one’s interest for the transition to be fraught.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 1, 2016

      I haven’t gone through and checked all of them but as I understand the UK and each of the other EU member states is a separate party to those trade treaties, along with the EU as a whole and of course the third country.

      Therefore the only reason why they should not continue after we have left the EU is that one or more of the other parties object to that, so unless the Remainders can produce good reasons why a trade deal which is presently acceptable to all concerned – even if not ideal for all – when the UK is in the EU will automatically become unacceptable if the UK left the EU then they have no case.

      It may be necessary to agree an amendment to each of the existing trade treaties, maybe a short protocol, just saying that it will continue to apply to the UK after it has left the EU, but that would present no greater technical difficulty than making an amendment because a new member state has joined the EU.

  52. Javelin
    March 1, 2016

    I have made this same point for so many years I have forgotten. I first made this point in a thesis I wrote at the age of 18.

    The EU relies on centralist parties staying in power. It’s democratic deficiencies mean it could effectively be taken over by the far right and left.

    So the question is why would “centralism” fail?

    One such way is that as try parties fight for the central ground they marginalise the wings of their parties to allow far left and right to win. Situations sometimes arise. Such as immigration which can unite the far left and far right. Political correctness means such problems are ignored and then in a catastrophic turn of events over a short period of time the far left and far right take power.

    I argue that the situation above could not only happen but that it is inevitable. I argue that catastrophic events (ie catastrophe theory) is preceded by neglect. That there is such s thing as “inevitable neglect” which comes from the current left and right political theories of the time. For example political correctness and globalisation on the left and right caused a neglect in immigration.

    When I write my thesis back in the 1980s my theory of neglect was aimed at unions and capitalism and how public services would be neglected. But today immigration is the neglect.

  53. Tim
    March 1, 2016

    the red top newspapers.

    I am appalled that every EU article in the
    the local papers(Cheshire west and Chester, chronicle and the standard)
    Is a pro EU article.

    Local mp and shadow health minister Justin madders
    has a weekly column in the standard,and he plugs his pro EU guff
    In Every edition.

    Today on the chester chronicles website there was a article
    about all Four Cheshire west mps voting to remain.

    That was predictable but yet again the local trinity mirror rag gets away with
    presenting one side of the argument,and its always the remain side.

    It wont change my mind though im voting to leave.

  54. WHS
    March 1, 2016

    In the 1954 Australian election, around the time the EU was set up, the share of the votes received by the ‘Coalition’ (two Australian right wing parties) and Labor combined was 96.9%. As late as the 1975 election the combined share was 95.9%. At the last election in 2013, the combined share was 78.9%.

    In the 1951 New Zealand election, the share of the votes received by National and Labour combined was 99.8%. In 1972 it was 89.9%. In 1993, the last NZ election under FPTP, that combined share was 69.7%.

    Can Mr Redwood perhaps find a way to blame these collapses on the EU? Or is it perhaps that voter identification with two monolithic parties, one left and one right, is collapsing across the world? Is it that larger numbers of people are demanding more and more from government – demanding, in fact, perfection sometimes – and in disillusionment turn away from the parties that historically have provided government? Or is it just all the EU’s fault?

    Reply It is most acute in the EU. In the USA in recent past elections the two main parties still command the overwhelming share of the vote together. Even Mr Trump chose to try to become the Republican nominee instead of campaigning as an independent or forming a new party.

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