My contribution to the debate on the European Union Referendum, 29 February

John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): I welcome a fairly early date for the referendum. I do not know about you, Mr Speaker, but there is only so much that I can take of all the stories of the pestilence, famine and plague that are going to be visited upon us by the very European Union countries that the Government say we love and work well with. The Government have this strange vision that those countries would suddenly change and become extremely unpleasant were we to want a relationship based on friendship and trade rather than on the current treaties. I personally think that 16 weeks would be quite enough to do the job that I would love the Government to do, which is to win it for the leave campaign by using this highly inappropriate tone and by constantly slanging off our European partners by telling us just how unpleasant they would be. I would have thought that a Government wishing to encourage us to stay in the European Union would want to be rather more obliging about our European partners and to paint a picture of how things might be better were we to stay in, rather than concentrating only on ascribing false futures to the leave campaign.

I am interjecting in this debate because I am worried that 16 weeks might not be long enough for the Government to carry out all the tasks necessary to fulfil the requirements of the legislation. In particular, I have been moved to that view by listening to my hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Sir William Cash), who is often absolutely right about these points and their salience. The Government have an important duty to provide impartial information to the public as part of the task of preparing them for the referendum. Having seen their work so far, I am afraid to say that it fails by all standards. It is not impartial, it is not well researched and it is often exceedingly misleading. I am using parliamentary language, Mr Speaker; I might use richer language were I not inside the House. It seems to me that the Government are going to need a lot more time to work with their ever willing officials to come up with balanced, mature and sensible information about what the future might look like under either scenario.

One thing that the Government have clearly had no time to prepare so far—this is a particularly worrying lacuna—is information on what the future might look like if we stay in. We have had no response from the Government on how they would respond to “The Five Presidents’ Report: Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union” or on how they would handle demands for capital markets union, banking union, full economic and monetary union and political union. Would such a situation immediately trigger a requirement for us to veto the next treaty, would we seek a comprehensive opt-out from it, or would the Government want to work with their partners and agree to some modest treaty changes that would affect the United Kingdom, in the spirit of “The Five Presidents’ Report”? Any such changes would be triggered after about 2017, so probably within this Parliament. Could we then look forward to a second referendum if we stayed in the European Union?

Under the European Union Referendum Act 2015, there would need to be a referendum on any treaty changes made as a consequence of “The Five Presidents’ Report” and the clear desire of our partners to go along the route to political union.

Sir William Cash (Stone) (Con): Has my right hon. Friend had the opportunity to see not only the White Paper that was produced a few days ago but the latest jewel in the crown from the Government, which is entitled “The process for withdrawing from the European Union”? It contains page after page of tendentious remarks, assertions and assumptions that cannot be substantiated. I can see the Minister for Europe wriggling around a bit on the Front Bench, because the bottom line is that he will not be able to answer these questions, but they will be tested before 23 June.

John Redwood: That is why, in my amiable way, I was suggesting that the Government might like to rethink their position on the timing of the referendum. Having seen that piece of work, I agree with my hon. Friend. I was frankly ashamed that such a document could come from the United Kingdom Government. It bore no relation to what the leave campaigns are saying about how we would like the Government to handle the British people’s decision if they decide to leave. It did not give any credence to the idea that we would be negotiating with friends and allies who would have as much interest in a successful British exit as we would, should that be the will of the British people.

Ministers never seem to understand that the rest of Europe has far more exports to us at risk than we have to the rest of the European Union, because we are in massive deficit with those countries. I have had personal assurances from representatives of the German Government, for example, that they have no wish to see tariffs or barriers being placed in the way of their extremely profitable and successful trade with the United Kingdom. To issue a document implying that all sorts of obstacles would be put in the way of such trade over a 10-year period simply beggars belief.

Sir William Cash: May I give my right hon. Friend an example? These documents contain scarcely any serious objective analysis from bodies such as the Office for National Statistics or the House of Commons Library, and their arguments are tendentious. I am sure he will remember, because this is at the forefront of his mind, that in current account transactions relating to imports, exports, goods and services, we run a deficit with the other 27 member states of about £58 billion a year, and that Germany runs a surplus in those same goods, services, imports and exports. If that is a single market, I’m a Dutchman.

John Redwood: I am sure that my hon. Friend is many fine things, but a Dutchman is clearly not one of them. He has, however, revealed an important fact, and it is the kind of fact that we would expect to see in a balanced document setting out the position on trade. I hope that the Minister will leave enough time in his urgent timetable to ensure that those sorts of important facts—

Sir William Cash: With references.

John Redwood: With references and proper statistical bases. Those important facts should be put in front of the British people. Indeed, the Minister would be wise to do that from his own point of view—perhaps I should not help him as much as I am apparently trying to do. The Government have been rumbled on this. The press and a lot of the public are saying that they want factual, mature and sensible information setting out the risks of staying in, the risks of leaving and what it would look like in either case, but that is not what we are getting.

We have had another example in the past few days. We have been witnessing a long-term decline of the pound against the dollar for many months, because we are living through a period of dollar strength. In the past few days, when Brexit was in the news, we were told that the pound was going down because of fears about Brexit, whereas that was clearly not the case on other days when the pound had been going down. However, on those same days, the Government bond market had been going up. The prices of bonds had been rising and our creditworthiness was assessed as being better, but I did not hear the Government saying that the idea of Brexit was raising Britain’s credit standing. We could make that case just as easily as we could make the case that the fear of Brexit was leading to a fall in the pound.

That is the kind of tendentious information that I hope the Minister will reconsider if he wishes to keep up the normally high standards of Government documentation and use impartial civil service advice in the right tradition, which we in the House of Commons would like to see. I can see that a few colleagues are not entirely persuaded that those high standards are always met, but I shall give the Government the benefit of the doubt. I have certainly seen many Government documents that achieve higher standards than the ones on this matter.

I again urge the Minister to make sure that he leaves enough time in the action-packed timetable to produce high-quality, balanced information that includes the risks of staying in and the wild ride to political union that others have in mind, as well as what he sees as the risks of leaving. For instance, the Government should point out that if we stop paying the £10 billion of net contributions—money we do not get back—that will immediately improve the balance of payments by one fifth next year. Would that not be a marvellous advantage? I do not see it being pointed out in any of the current material in order to show some kind of balance.

Mrs Anne Main (St Albans) (Con): My right hon. Friend is making a hugely powerful argument. The answer is quite simple: the Government do not want the facts in there—they do not want the British public to know. The British public will come to that conclusion, and it is not a good conclusion if we are to have a balanced debate on the referendum.

John Redwood: I fear that is right, but I also fear I am beginning to give the Government too much help. Obviously, I would like them to lose on this occasion, because I think we will be much better off if that happens. I will therefore vote with the Government, because 16 weeks is quite enough of “Project Fear” and of people misrepresenting a whole lot of things that are going on by saying, “These are the results of the fears of Brexit.” That will do the job I would like the Government to do and help the case I am trying to make, but the Government have a long way to go in the interests of good government and in meeting the legal requirements that they have placed on themselves to provide impartial information. I just trust that in the next few weeks they can lift their game.

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115 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    It seems unlikely the government will lift their game, this as the only have project fear, it is their only weapon. The polls will surely move against them over the 16 weeks and they will pump out even more of these absurd scare stories.

    What scares me far more is remaining in the sclerotic, anti-democratic EU with open door, unselective immigration, the EURO still in a dire situation and its history of failures in every area they touch.

    I am at a loss as to why so many in government actually want to remain in such a proven disastrous experiment, yet seem to be unable to find any sound reasons for their position. Why too is Labour so much on the remain side. Is it just because of the damaging and counterproductive, employment “protections” they force on the UK? Protections that do so much to harm productivity and job availability for workers?

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      It is perplexing why so many politicians want to stay in. After Brexit if Labour were elected they could introduce any workers’ protections they wanted and also subsidise loss-making industries like steel which the EU expressly prohibits. It is clear Corbyn is very anti-EU but is choosing to defy his MPs and party policy on Trident only and is going along with their EU position in a lukewarm and counter-productive way for the Remainers.

      The timing of the referendum is also perplexing as the migrant invasion will be in full swing by the Summer.

      I see in the attest absurd scare story the Remainers say every UK citizen living in Spain will be deported the day after the referendum- it is genuinely pathetic how they can only come up with blatant lies to support their case.

      • Dennis
        Posted March 2, 2016 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        “..the Remainers say…” who are they? Give a few examples please so we can correct them.

      • Paul H
        Posted March 2, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        My favourite yet is the Easyjet CEO informing us that, as a result of leaving, flying would be the preserve of the elite (although David Lidington’s claims the other day put him in a strong second place). “Budget airlines” exist all over the world outside of the EU, and I believe were invented in the USA. It is not even the case that the previously higher fares charged by airline oligopolies were totally unaffordable to the masses.

        I sincerely hope that someone is assembling a compendium of ludicrous claims and contradictions made by the Remainers so that, at the optimum moment, they can be replayed and exposed to well-deserved ridicule.

      • Dennis
        Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        From the withdrawal process 2.3 below, if this is not correct or likely have you or are going to challenge it line by line in a forum in TV/radio so that millions will know?

        2.3But the process is unprecedented. No country has ever used Article 50 – it is untested. There is a great deal of uncertainty about how it would work. It would be a complex negotiation requiring the involvement of all 27 remaining EU Member States and the European Commission. Before negotiations could even begin, the European Commission would need to seek a mandate from the European Council (without the UK present). The withdrawal agreement would also require the consent of the European Parliament. Uncertainty during the negotiating period could have an impact on financial markets, investment and the value of the pound, and as a consequence on the wider economy and jobs.2.4The UK’s withdrawal from the EU would mean unravelling all the rights and obligations – from access to the Single Market, to structural funds for poorer regions, to joint action on sanctions – that the UK has acquired both during our accession to the EU and over our 40 year membership. As well as negotiating its withdrawal, the UK would also want to negotiate its post-exit arrangements with the EU. 2.5The complexity of the negotiations, and the need for the UK to negotiate adequate access to the Single Market after it leaves the EU, would make it difficult to complete a successful negotiation before the two year deadline expired. Any extension to the two year period set out in the Treaty would require the agreement of all 27 remaining EU Member States.2.6If the UK was to reach the end of the two year period specified by Article 50 without having reached an agreement, and if any of the 27 other Member States vetoed an extension of this period, this would lead to the UK leaving the EU with no immediate replacement agreed, without any protection under EU law for the rights of UK business to trade on a 1 Prime Minister’s Statement on the European Council, Hansard, 22 February 2016, Column 24. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm160222/debtext/160222-0001.htm#16022210000001

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        “The timing of the referendum is also perplexing as the migrant invasion will be in full swing by the Summer.”

        It’s the quickest they could do it and they’re hoping for the best. Expect a BBC blackout on immigration in the weeks preceding.

        This crisis is not going to stop until Europe is in the same sorry state as the countries the ‘refugees’ come from.

        How bad can it get ?

        Well. Peter Mandelson – the face of the EU. He’d fit into Mr Cameron’s team and it’s curious as to why he’s not been told to mind his own business.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 2, 2016 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

        They “remain” side only have blatant lies and project fear to work with.

  2. Richard1
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    The Bank of England ought to be asked to produce a dispassionate analysis of the pros and cons of EU membership for the benefit of the public.

  3. Margaret
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the text. I didn’t guess it all right whilst you were speaking. I couldn’t understand why you seemed to agree with Bill Cash on the length of the preamble from April to June and then said that you were with the government for 16 weeks. I see now.
    I would also like sight of the document Mr Cash refers to.

  4. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    “… or on how they would handle demands for capital markets union, banking union, full economic and monetary union and political union.”

    Don’t forget the military union, JR, it may seem more distant and indeed back in 2007 the present German Foreign Minister said that it might take 20 or 30 years:

    https://www.allianz.com/oneweb/cms/www.allianz.com/en/press/news/commitment/community/news_2007-01-15.html

    but they’ve made a start with Eurocorps:

    http://www.eurocorps.org/

    “EUROCORPS – A Force for the European Union and NATO”.

    And if we vote to stay in the EU in this referendum then it is highly probable that we would not be allowed another referendum over that timescale, if ever.

  5. Mercia
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Thank God for real Conservatives, they are the only ones fighting for our dignity and holding the treacherous Cameron regime to account. That made superb reading.

    • stred
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Congratulations to you and Sir Bill on the most literate and cogent piece of Parliamentary language for a long time. If the Civil Service and front bench of stooges succeed in deceiving the largely ignorant public to vote to join the EU project, run by the likes of Verhofstadt and Cohn- Bendit, then it and hopefully other equal contributions will be a fitting epitaph for our ancient democracy.

      • Sean O'Hare
        Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        Err, I think we have already joined this European Project. The name of the game is to leave it.

  6. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    I notice that before that debate a question was asked about EU membership and national security:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm160229/debtext/160229-0001.htm#16022911000018

    and that Fallon’s responses carefully skirted around the existence of Eurocorps, and also ignored the fact that even if he has not heard “a fellow European Defence Minister call on us to help to create any kind of European defence force” he must surely be aware that the German Foreign Minister and the German Finance Minister, and also the President of the EU Commission, have all called for the creation of a European Army.

    • Chris
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      It is stretching credibility that Michael Fallon is not aware of this:
      http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/648052/EU-referendum-Brussels-plot-military-merger-UK-stay-in-British-Army-UKIP
      End of the British Army? EU plots ‘scandalous’ military merger if UK votes to stay in.
      THE EU is to launch a £3 BILLION defence research and development programme with the ultimate aim of merging the continent’s militaries into one gargantuan Euro army, Express.co.uk can exclusively reveal today.

      “Brussels bureaucrats are railroading through contentious plans to vastly expand the European Union’s military scope which could ultimately end with the British army being subsumed into a vast continental force.

      The UK military could also be forced to share highly sensitive weapons technology – which we have spent millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money developing – with the rest of Europe under an agreement to boost military cooperation between member states.
      Britain would also be expected to contribute around £375million to the scheme – enough to rehire all of the 20,000 soldiers the Government sacked in its last defence spending review. …”

      For full details see dossier/report put together by the EU’s Institute for Security Studies (ISS). Perhaps Mr Fallon should have read this report before commenting?

  7. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    “The Government have this strange vision that those countries would suddenly change and become extremely unpleasant were we to want a relationship based on friendship and trade rather than on the current treaties.”

    Presdident Juncker and even the people in the Spinelli Group realise that there is a British Question. They suggest “Associate Membership”. So this remark is sound.

    Allow me to point the way forward:
    Article 50 – EEA Membership secured – EFTA Membership assured (temporarily) – full and frank negotiations about the terms and conditions of our Associate Membership. Europe (we hope ) will always be there and we will always have to negotiate our relations with it. It is a fact of geography!

    Well done for standing up for the truth.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Associate Membership, in whichever form, is not what we want for the UK. You need to get it straight in your mind that EEA membership is not the same as Associate Membership of the EU. There is a world of difference and you are just muddying the waters.

    • Chris
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      AM for the UK, would be a disaster, I believe. Put simply, we would still be in the EU, and subject to all that entails i.e. still shackled to an out of date/decaying enterprise, which would continue to strangle us with its bureaucracy and drain us of our resources.

  8. Mercia
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    To issue a document implying that all sorts of obstacles would be put in the way of such trade over a 10-year period simply beggars belief.

    >
    If Mi6 worked for us and not foreign powers then the Cameron regime would all be under investigation now for conspiracy to harm our nation in alliance with foreign powers.
    Michael Fallon was at least honest when he said the reason we had to stay in the EU is so we could lead the way with sanctions against Russia by persuading everyone in the EU to follow American neocon policy. And that just about sums it up. We have to stay in the EU to “lead” disastrous neocon American foreign policy which is to create a “strategy of tension” between the EU and Russia and expand the EU into Russian spheres of influence. Cameron is number one useful idiot when it comes to that, as was Blair before him.

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Cameron,or whoever puts the words in his mouth,so obviously betrays his neo-con leanings when he talks about a Europe stretching to the Urals.It’s not an EU thing – Angela Merkel,when she used to speak in a similar expansionist mode talked of an EU stretching from “Lisbon to Vladivostock” which obviously doesn’t imply the dismemberment of the Russian Federation.Cameron is more in tune with Madeleine Albright who (allegedly) claimed that Siberia had too many resources for just one country.

      • Mercia
        Posted March 2, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        Well seeing Mr Fallon has now gone public in telling us all the reason we have to stay in the EU is to do US neocon foreign policy, perhaps we can now finally have a grown up debate about it? I wrote the following on youtube channel which seemed quite popular…

        “We need a grown up discussion before it is too late about alternatives to the policy of containing Russia. I am sometimes told by MI6 type ‘pragmatists’ that Russia is the real threat and must be contained due to its imperialist expansionist nature. I am told this despite the evidence that it is Germany who is the expanding empire and the likes of Soros that campaign for expanding the EU and NATO into Russian spheres of influence. By trying to contain Russia we look threatening to Russia and create a self fulfilling prophecy. I am in favour of giving Russia time to build up some soft power, Sochi was an attempt by Putin at doing that.””

      • stred
        Posted March 2, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        The centre of Cameron’s intelligence is his mouth. When he goes off piste, his true motives become apparent, as when he visited Kazakhstan and forgot that his words would be recorded. His statement that he would join the EU if offered his polished turd was another example of the fact that he has always been a Europhile in disguise. His next door neighbour is a craftier agent.

      • Mercia
        Posted March 2, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        Cameron is more in tune with Madeleine Albright who (allegedly) claimed that Siberia had too many resources for just one country.

        >
        McCain refers to Russia as ‘A gas station masquerading as a country!’
        It also happens to be a place where lots of really nice but very poor people live, who I do not want to further impoverish with sanctions.

  9. Richard1
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Mervyn King, governor of the BoE for 10 years, thinks the eurozone will and should collapse. I would like to hear from the BoE (preferably) or the Govt, what the effect on the UK would be of this, and whether our membership of the EU would make a difference one way or the other.

    • acorn
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      My fellow number crunchers around the EU, to a man and woman, agree with Mervyn King. The UK is, currently, the second largest economy in 43 nations of Europe, behind Germany, which has a considerably larger population.

      The UK is 19% of the EU GDP. Brexit will be a big hit on the EU, IMHO it will be enough to destabilise the Euro currency. The ECB will have to intervene heavily to keep it together; yet, there is no elected Chancellor of the Exchequer for the, virtual, federal government of the EU. There is no guy, that can issue a legitimate policy statement, like say, Osborne for the UK or Lew for the USA.

      The most beautiful thing that could happen is, that on the day the UK votes to leave the EU; Portugal; Spain; Italy and Greece, declare they are nationalising their own central banks, and will forthwith start issuing their own Euro currency.

      The ECB will have to decide, if it is going to shutdown interbank clearing for those four renegade currencies. If the ECB does, then there will be four more, floating, Euro currencies in the FX market. The FX market will price those currencies at the speed of light; it will be a bit of a shock but worth it. Four countries can start clawing their way back into the real world as sovereign nations.

      PS. Brexit will need a considerable amount of “budget deficit spending” by the UK government, for a few years, (it won’t hurt a bit, I promise). The Osborne “budget surplus” plan, will be the very last thing the UK will need. Eurosceptics, should they be successful in the referendum, should think about that. Osborne’s ideology is incompatible with Brexit.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 3, 2016 at 7:39 am | Permalink

        I draw the opposite conclusion. If the UK opts for Brexit it will be essential to ensure confidence in the financial markets and competitive tax policies to attract capital and skilled labour. The last thing we need is a big borrowing big spending govt. Switzerland does very well outside the EU – and has the strongest currency in Europe – due to having no budget deficit & tax/GDP at c 30%.

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 3, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

          Richard 1 – That’s as may be. But we can’t choose who is allowed to come here and that is proving to be the biggest reason why people want to leave the EU.

          To simplify:

          “If we leave we’ll lose 3 million jobs”

          to which,

          “And if we stay we’ll have to take 10 million people”

          There is no justification for an unpointed immigration system and one senses that the people who do advocate it are the hypocrites getting the best from it and not the worst.

          If we leave the EU then these are the people who need to look in the mirror to see who’s to blame.

        • acorn
          Posted March 4, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink

          It has the most expensive currency in Europe. It also has a current account surplus of 7%, compared to the UK at minus 5%. It gave up trying to cap the Swiss Franc to the Euro at 1.2; it couldn’t print the Francs fast enough; now it is heading for 1.0. Its GDP is dropping and it has negative 1.4% inflation. Other than that yes, it’s doing great.

  10. Antisthenes
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Has it always been thus that politicians are totally amoral and ruthless in pursuing their ambitions or is it just a reflection of modern trends. Certainly David Cameron and other stayers are exhibiting these attributes and it is pretty despicable to behold. The Dennis Skinners and Corbyn’s of this world it is expected of but from a PM and a Conservative one at that shows that politics is plummeting to new depths. Heading for the sewer or has it arrived there.

    These people should hang their heads in shame at the deceit , obfuscation, misinformation and FUD that they are churning out. If they cannot win the day fairly then they should stop fooling themselves that they have a case. More importantly stop trying to make us believe that they have. If they win because of these tactics their names will go down in ignominy as posterity will judge them harshly. Is that the legacy they want?

    • Chris
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you, Antisthenes. I have found the whole spectacle of Cameron and Osborne in government, and their government machine, of huge concern. I have nothing but contempt and disgust for how they have behaved and for what they seem to have done. I think they have destroyed the Conservative Party, and that will be Cameron’s real legacy.

  11. Mercia
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The Government have this strange vision that those countries would suddenly change and become extremely unpleasant

    >
    Are they trying to tell us something?
    So by not agreeing to join their socialist club we should expect such extremely unpleasant behaviour? This tactic only works if you can also con the public into believing the UK is a tiny weak country (something the BBC have been trying to do for years) in preparation for this day. Mr Cameron and his regime find the idea of metaphoric foreign gun boats off our coast helpful to him as he negotiates our terms of surrender. This is treachery!

  12. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I notice that 59 MPs voted against the Statutory Instrument to set the referendum date as June 23rd, with the referendum period starting on April 15th and the designation period starting on March 4th, etc, Division No. 201 here:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm160229/debtext/160229-0002.htm

    I see Kate Hoey’s name, but I take it that most of the rest were SNP?

    Reply Yes, it was SNP opposition that caused the vote.

  13. Mercia
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Cameron’s project fear strategy ensures history will remember him very badly. Does he not care about that?

    • MikeP
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      I’m sure part of his discussions in the EU over recent months will have cemented a number of fine opportunities for employment in Brussels once he steps down as PM, if Mandy can do it and set up a super pension for himself I’m sure Cameron can. Boris may have another agenda but it’s far from certain that Cameron hasn’t despite what he said in PMQs last week !

  14. Mercia
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    It did not give any credence to the idea that we would be negotiating with friends and allies who would have as much interest in a successful British exit as we would, should that be the will of the British people.

    >
    So what does it say that the elite of this country, Eton educated, have now given the Europeans the idea and almost the legitimacy to punish us if we leave the EU? These things should not be spoken out loud, never mind used in campaign. I am still gobsmacked and in shock this was the strategy they came blazing out with.
    Who on earth gave them the idea this was ok? I am not sure I will ever get over it.

    • bluedog
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Not sure how Cameron is described in his passport, but ‘Collaborator’ may be more appropriate.

    • hefner
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Things that have not been discussed here and might be important:
      – most of the trade deficit of this country with the EU is indeed with Germany and Spain, the effect of a Brexit on other countries is likely to be much smaller;
      – after Brexit, the rest of the EU will try very hard to “avoid contagion”, and one way to do just that would be to be tough on the UK;
      – EU migrants are more likely not to come from the original EEC Six. Given the one country/one vote system, why should the more recent EU countries want to be nice to the UK if after Brexit EU migration to the UK is heavily restricted?

      Isn’t it to have rose-tainted glasses to just say that the rest of the EU will obviously placate us after Brexit?

      • stred
        Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        Hef. With large numbers of their population already here and earning good money+benefits, do you think the Poles and Romanians will decide to turn nasty? Would they want them back home and lose the remitted earnings? If they turned nasty, so could we. But no-one will want that and things will continue much as before, but with some controls decided by us rather than Spinellys.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Indeed the “remain” argument seems to be do not leave your partner if they are beating you up because if you do they will beat you up even more. Why stay marriage where the other parties are like that.

      Surely the voters will not fall for it again will they? With the stay side putting forwards not a single sensible argument for four more months.

  15. Anonymous
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Indeed the INs argue as though the EU is in a completed steady state.

    It is no such thing.

    The EU is a political, economic and migrational disaster zone – and it’s getting worse.

    The true horror lies in Remain and this will become obvious when boating season gets fully under way – hence the earliness of the referendum.

    “A return to normality – not a leap in the dark.”

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Anonymous

      “…………..as though the EU is in a completed state”.

      Exactly.

      I was pleased to hear JR bring up the fact that we cannot compare the EU as now (bad as it is already) with Leave, but we need to compare the EU as is being proposed (which is much worse) with Leave, as that is the true comparison which has to be made.

      If leaving the EU now is a leap into the dark, then staying in as the EU moves forward, is a leap into the abyss.

      Shame so few members were present to see the Debate, but al least it is on record.

  16. oldtimer
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Excellent speech!

  17. Bert Young
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    I do congratulate John on a calm and rational contribution . Of course it is the responsibility of the Government to present the public with cases for and cases against leaving the EU . At the moment it is propaganda scaremongering . There is international faith in the value of the £ and there is little point in referring to the deals Noway and Switzerland have . Our size , our state of the economy , the strength of the City and our place in the world from the size and effectiveness of our defence forces place us in an entirely different bargaining position .

    The EU is most anxious that we stay in ; if we leave they know full well that it will disintegrate and , without our financial contribution , it will face bankruptcy . The ECB is pumping huge sums into the Euro to keep it afloat and the IMF want the Euro to continue ; without it the IMF system of ensuring that loans to Greece will be repaid will fail . The IMF itself would then be in grave danger of also falling apart. The public must be given the facts in a straightforward no nonsense way .

  18. zorro
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    John,
    I was going to ask if you had read the following document https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-process-for-withdrawing-from-the-european-union but it appears that you have had the dubious pleasure. It is certainly worth a read to see the government’s rationale, but is a little bible of ‘Project Fear’.

    zorro

  19. Tom William
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Mr Cameron is touring the country stressing the dangers of ever leaving the EU and has virtually stopped trumpeting his “successful renegotiation”. Not so long ago he was claiming that “nothing was ruled out” and that at heart he was a Eurosceptic. He tried to muzzle his cabinet and has managed to influence the civil service to support the Stay position. He is allegedly wanting to close down many rural Conservative Associations.

    He reminds me of several South American dictators who are elected on one platform and then follow another, trashing their opponents. At least he can’t have them arrested for opposing him. Unless he is succeeded by a genuine democrat (Osborne is the same ilk) I will not
    vote Conservative again.

    • Timaction
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      I’m glad that you have finally seen the light. Flashman and Gideon have God syndrome and believe they were born to rule and know everything through their righteous views. Riding on Airforce one before the last American elections instead of overseeing the budget preparations or going on a freebee sponsored trip to the Superbowl (allegation left out ed), they have no moral compass. Lying about facts and manipulating everything and everyone in this referendum will destroy their party. Sham Cam is even prepared to destroy his grassroots as he leaves to get Gideon to replace him. I know I thankfully voted for the only patriotic party.

    • Colin Hart
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      He may not be trumpeting his successful renegotiation but in Suffolk last week he was still referring to a ‘reformed EU’. It has not been reformed and probably never will be. If we stay, the best we can hope for is that it falls apart. However, even if that happens and it becomes totally dysfunctional, the legal basis for its continued existence is likely to persist

  20. ian wragg
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Together with his mindless support for the EU and wanting to trash the Tory Associations, I think Cameron realises he is in his death throes.
    Project Fear is going badly as the public don’t appear to be as stupid as he thinks. Most people are aware that we pay an awful premium for access to the single market which over 140 other countries don’t have to.
    With the likelihood of Trump being the next US President and the calamity of the EU, I think we live in interesting times.

  21. Jerry
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    I don’t suspect you will publish this comment John, I don’t expect you too.

    Reading the comments on your site over the months (and more recently since the Brexit debate really took off) many comments have different user names but very similar posting styles, either in how they are written or in how people seem to post random thoughts multiple times, sometimes in reply to each other – time for a proper registration system, perhaps with IP number recorded for site-admin purposes? I suspect it might cut your workload down if, as I suspect, people are actually ‘debating’ with or supporting themselves as much as with anyone else!…

    • ian wragg
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Jerry, didn’t you used to post as unimeg something or other.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 2, 2016 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        @Ian Wragg; No I most definitely did not, nor have I had any need to use any other name user name on here, for one thing I took it for granted that our unique IP addresses would be collected as there is no actual email authentication/verification process. Beside my point is not about someone changing their user name but using two or more user names in the same debate to bolster their own or someone else’s argument, or more inexplicable to argue against themselves!

    • stred
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      You seem to attract a number of people who argue with you Jerry, but they do not seem to be in the same style.Why would anyone change their anonymous identity?

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Jerry – I have the very reverse of that problem.

      Seriously. Does it matter ? We’re not talking a Guido type blog with thousands of contributions, are we ?

      I find most of the comments here to be cogent and pertinent.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 2, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        @Anonymous; “Seriously. Does it matter?”

        Other than to our hosts workload [1], it depends…

        “I find most of the comments here to be cogent and pertinent.”

        I’m sure they are! I wasn’t talking about trolling, I was talking about possible sock-puppets, people who bolster their own argument by posting their own “Me Too” replies, perhaps to court even further popular support.

        …a bit like one person having two, three or more ballot papers in their hand when entering the voting booth, not all that good for the image of democracy.

        [1] I suspect that those Guido type blogs are first automatically spam-filtered and then retro-moderated, the later based on user reporting, thus totally different to our hosts site

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 3, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          Jerry – I do not sense that people comment in different guises – Lifelogic appears umpteen times a post !

          Are you a bit perturbed that there might, in fact, be a large number of people with different opinions to your own ?

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        If there is an issue with trolls then our capable host moderates them. If there is an issue with libel or unpleasantness that is moderated too.

        Otherwise if people want to comment in various names (probably because they are embarassed that they may be hogging the comments) then so what ?

  22. shieldsman
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    One of the many scare stories relates to the freedom of travel and the continuing right to residence of expats within the EU.
    We have the Doctrine of Acquired Rights, backed up by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
    In all of this one needs to look to history, quite simply what took place before the EU came into being and Schengen.
    As we are not in Schengen, certainly if we travel by air we have to present our passports to each Countries immigration control. They have the right to refuse entry.
    Again prior to the EU many UK citizens especially retirees chose to live (the word was) abroad. This was at the discretion of the host Country such as Spain. The boom and bust in southern Spain was due to building for expats. Now I am sure they would not want to exacerbate the situation by causing the flight of expats, unlike the French who have caused it by putting up taxes.

    The problem is entirely due to the freedom of movement within the EU for its citizens. Freedom of travel is acceptable, it is the freedom to reside in another EU country that is the problem. It limits our ability to control our population, it should be at our discretion as the host country, and likewise within the EU.

    Mr Cameron is recommending we stay in Monnet’s great socialist experiment the EU, a political union.
    One of the greatest migrations in history is underway. An uncontrolled migrant invasion of Europe is taking place, a great hole has been blown though Schengen to which the Brussels politburo has no answer. It is a disaster unfolding and hopefully for us may foretell the end of EU and our seeing sense in pulling out.

    It is not a democratic union, Germany has acted unilaterally fomenting the problem for Greece and the other transit countries.

    Cameron has failed in his pledge to reduce migration, he cannot see beyond tomorrow what will happen when the new German citizens spread their wings again and join the flow of Eastern Europeans. An example are the Somali’s that were taken in by Holland, they decamped to Bristol.

    • stred
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Spain has a million Brits resident and France 1/3m. There are many in France, including French, who have left in order to avoid Hollande’s wealth tax on worldwide assets, including any belonging to children. Just owning a large house and savings is enough to be hit. British just use designate their French residence as a holiday home and come home to their small British house or flat once a year. French live in the UK, Belgium, Switzerland or Monaco and drive back and forth, paying taxes ‘abroad’. There is nothing that France or Spain can do to stop this. Nothing will change.

      As regards freedom of travel, something puzzles me. What is there to stop a family from the EU coming here on holiday, bringing grandad, who suddenly develops a serious illness, requiring a scan and treatment. Then they all stay for 11 months while he is treated under the NHS and recovers. Will anything change in this respect?

      • Jerry
        Posted March 2, 2016 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        @stred; This touches on my point about the many EU wide bilateral health care agreements that I made in another debate, if the likes of the EHIC and S1 agreements breakdown then no, that family coming to holiday in the UK with granddad who ‘suddenly’ develops a serious illness which needs immediate care will not have a right to access the NHS unless they have taken out health insurance [1], nor will retired ex-pats or posted-workers from other EUropean countries be able to obtain health care by way of the S1 form, what is more the same will be true of British citizens visiting, living or working abroad in the EU, hence why I warn that post a Brexit we might yet see UK ex-pats returning to the UK.

        [1] whether the NHS would refuse to treat someone with such a medical condition, would society endorse a governmental policy of no treatment without (proof of) payment up front, are separate arguments

        • stred
          Posted March 3, 2016 at 9:20 am | Permalink

          From what I am told, most Brits in the EU take out private health cover, wheras many EU visitors here do not, and the NHS is useless at recovering costs. If Brexit puts this right, then oui s’il vous plait.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 3, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

            @stred; From what I know, I respectfully disagree, at least amongst the officially retired UK ex-pat population in Spain. As for your last sentence, indeed, but that is my point, one ‘problem’ gets sorted but two more are created;

            1/. people fully entitled to care under the NHS returning to the UK to receive it in person, which will use actual hospital resources, rather than the NHS just being billed by another provider, if might even result in more ‘bed-blocking’ because there will be no (suitable) residential accommodation to discharge a patient to so that they can continue their treatment as out-patients.

            2/. a possible social housing supply issues should, in effect, homeless ex-pats decide that they need to return to the UK permanently due to the collapse of EU bilateral agreements post a Brexit, as I said before (in the other debate) it would be very doubtful that a government decision to exit the EU could be classed as these people making them,selves voluntarily homeless.

            Again, I’m not saying that these will be unbridgeable problems and certainly not a Brexit vote breaker, but they do need to be accepted and accounted for as highly possible collateral fall-out of any Brexit.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      @shieldsman; You seem to have used 365 odd words to first contradict yourself and then throw political insults about, and as for your last line, well I mean, as if us Brits have not decamped to various parts of the Europe (not just the EU), or indeed the world – more filthy pots and pans calling the kettle dusty.

      Also, I doubt it will bother Spain if the UK exp-pats do leave, I hear that wealthy Russians are already buying like the Ruble is going out of fashion…

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Sorry to pull you up, Jerry, but ‘expat’ I take to mean someone working temporarily and tax free in another country.

        British migrants I think is what you mean. The misuse of the word expat in relation to British emigrants annoys me for some reason.

        Generally though, our migrants to Europe go self funded, are not looking for work and take a lot of wealth with them. Those that aren’t are often in receipt of UK welfare.

        If a person working here or abroad is not a genuine asset to their host country – when all things are considered – then indeed, they ought to return home.

        If you wish to continue on our present population growth trajectory then you must be fully prepared to share a lot more of your personal wealth than presently.

        If you think free movement of people can be unlimited then fine. But expect to be poor.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 3, 2016 at 7:40 am | Permalink

          @Anonymous; No, you seem to be talking about posted workers, to most people (and certainly within their communities) “ex-pat” refers to people living in an adopted country, almost certainly legally, almost certainly paying relevant taxes (should they be working or have tax qualifying wealth) – ex-pats are not ‘long-stayers’, their are resident in their chosen country.

          I suspect that you get annoyed at the correct use of the term ex-pat because you actuality have little to no understanding about the realities, their wealth, their reasons for moving – and yes quite a few do work, take job opportunities from the locals, even when they start their own business, because like in most areas of commercial life there is only so much capacity in any one sector. It would be so much easier for all if your “El Dorado” view was factually correct!

          • Anonymous
            Posted March 3, 2016 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

            I think I’ve got it.

            The reason I dislike ‘ex-pat’ (especially for retirees) has become clearer.

            The British don’t like to think of themselves as immigrants. The term itself has an almost pejorative quality about it. So they call themselves ex-pats instead.

            I have no problem with immigration where:

            – it is selective
            – it is self-funding
            – it is lawful
            – it does not displace an already well stocked labour supply
            – it does not impinge on the quality of the life of the locals

            Shall we use variants of the word ‘migrant’ to describe Brits abroad in future ?

            If not then why not ?

      • bluedog
        Posted March 2, 2016 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        I hear that wealthy Russians are already buying like the Ruble is going out of fashion…’

        It’s called capital flight. The desperate desire of citizens in unstable nations to secure a bolt-hole in a stable Western democracy has been noted ever since the oil crisis in the 1970s. Wealthy Mainland Chinese are currently some of the largest practitioners and reported to have spent USD 550 billion last year in financial escape from the Middle Kingdom.

  23. MikeP
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    John, a fine contribution to the debate. Could you please clarify a couple of things:

    1 As you say the EU Referendum places a requirement on the Government to provide impartial information, it seems that has been left open to interpretation. Philip Hammond said this morning that they have a legal duty to provide the (supposedly impartial) information they’re publishing today but as it is the Government’s position to stay in the EU, it is up to the Leave campaign to produce information on the benefits of leaving. Is that correct in law ? Surely impartial advice to voters would have to lay out the pros and cons of staying and of leaving rather than being a litany of disaster scenarios of leaving ?

    2 What are the criteria you are expecting to be applied by the Electoral Commission in appointing one of the several Leave campaigns as the official one that gets financial backing ?

    1. Yes, we have had arguments in the Commons about defining impartial info. There is a contradiction at the heart of the government position.
    2. Breadth of support by party, MPs, supporters, grass roots campaigns etc

    • matthu
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      The easiest way to ensure impartiality would be to enshrine the right of pro-Brexit MPs to access and challenge EU material prepared by civil service to government before it is used or published.

      Oh dear …

  24. ian
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    They use fear on the people all the time about everything they do, are you really going to stick around with people like that, no wonder the young people have switched off.
    They never did have anything intelligent to say.

  25. Vanessa
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I am appalled with Cameron’s behaviour in this referendum campaign. No PM in history has behaved so badly to his backbenchers and cabinet. I don’t think we have a hope in hell of winning this “Leave” campaign because of the lies your boss seems to think are necessary to “win”. Needless to say if you win on these lies then the issue will not go away and the tories will be plagued with “Europe” for another generation, unless the EU implodes, which I very much hope it does.

    The EU is bad for our economy, the EU is bad for our businesses, the EU is bad for our society and on and on and on. Have you read FLEXIT on EUReferendum.com ? If not, why not? If yes, then why are you not shouting about its comprehensive plan to leave and flourish?

    Reply Help us win instead of being so negative about our prospects.

    • DaveM
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Vanessa, I agree.

      Obviously not everything you read can be believed, but to me the PM’s behaviour seems utterly appalling, undignified, and desperate. Everything he says sounds like a threat or is an unsubstantiated claim. Heaven knows how he’ll behave if the public votes to Leave – I wouldn’t put much past him right now.

      It’s clear there must be an ulterior personal motive for this, but had he just remained neutral, perhaps mentioning that he favours In, he could have just got on with his real job of being PM and might actually have been remembered as a good one.

      He’s going to end up more vilified than Blair if he carries on like this – no-one I know trusts him at all any more.

  26. Posted March 2, 2016 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    What I see in front of me is a new SDP-like party being formed from those Conservative MPs who have been cowed by minute-to minute BBC propaganda and have pragmatically opted for socialism, high tax, high spend and rule by a foreign power.

    I am sure that many Labour MPs who cannot stomach Mr Corbyn will join this new party in due course.

    This new party is called the Conservative Party.

    We are being hijacked.

  27. Horatio
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Bravo JR, excellent contribution. Andrew Neil absolutely destroyed Hancock and every single Remain argument on the Daily Politics today. This interview was brutal and should be watched by every Leaver who talks to the media. Attacking the lies and negativity is definitely the way forward. Im going to link it to all my friends.

    • Mercia
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Bravo JR, excellent contribution. Andrew Neil absolutely destroyed Hancock and every single Remain argument on the Daily Politics today. This interview was brutal and should be watched by every Leaver who talks to the media.

      >
      I did not know whether to laugh or cry….

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b072fxb1/daily-politics-02032016

      It starts about 7 minutes in.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      @Horatio; “Andrew Neil absolutely destroyed Hancock and every single Remain argument on the Daily Politics today. [..//..] Attacking the lies and negativity is definitely the way forward”

      Which is what Mr Neil is paid to do, be it to the BSE group or the Brexit group, so yes those in the “Leave” camp should indeed take note of your advice as they will be next – but then I expect some people on here will be claiming that the Daily Politics and BBC are institutionally Europhile and politically biased, that something must be done…

    • Chris
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      It was excellent, and quite simply displayed the dishonesty of the claims by the Remain side. Neill did what an interviewer should do (but which the BBC often fails to do) and challenged Hancock to provide the source of the figures claiming that Norway had to accept 70% of all EU legislation. Hancock displayed not only his ignorance but even more disturbingly the utter dishonesty of the Remain claim. Demolition job by Neill comes to mind.
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b072fxb1/daily-politics-02032016
      (short way into programme).

      • Mercia
        Posted March 3, 2016 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        I think Andrew Neil lives in France, which is worrying.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 3, 2016 at 10:59 am | Permalink

          @Mercia; Why, do you think that a professional journalist can not leave their personal lives at home in the morning? How Mr Neil might vote is up to him, and quite rightly, but to suggest that his personal opinion or place of residence will affect how he does his job is just trying to look for yet more unnecessary brickbats that will do nothing but harm to the Brexit cause – @Mercia, you sound as shrill as the BSE group do…

          • Mercia
            Posted March 5, 2016 at 9:04 am | Permalink

            Andrew Neil will turn against us before the referendum day, at the moment his ego dictates he has to debunk the nonsense of the government position, but his heart is in France. All you have to do is what his eulogy of France after the Paris attack to see that and to understand that everyone who choses to live in France has also bought into the concept of solidarity.

            Put no faith in him.

          • Mercia
            Posted March 5, 2016 at 9:07 am | Permalink

            All you have to do is what* his eulogy of France after the Paris attack

            >
            watch*

  28. ian
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Yes you were hijacked a long time ago like all the other parties and if you set up a new party that will be hijacked as well just like nigel is try to stop ukip from being hijacked.

    If you want really democracy you will have to fight for it, government by the people not parties, it is easy to do, with proper recall.
    you will fined when left to the people to decide weather left, right or centre the people will make right choice.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      @ian; “and if you set up a new party that will be hijacked as well just like nigel is try to stop ukip from being hijacked.”

      But many would suggest that UKIP has already been ‘hijacked’, something the founder of the party has even hinted at in the past during public media interviews.

      Some might suggest that he is just displaying sour grapes for the party he created and once lead but as his natural politics appear to be somewhere right-of-centre (small “L”) liberal non Federalist it would suggest that it was UKIP that changed direction and not him.

      “If you want really democracy you will have to fight for it, government by the people not parties”

      Sorry but that sounds more like a rabble or worse, oh and the popular choice is not always the best choice, ask 1 million people if they should all be given a 100% pay rise and you know what the answer will be, but who the heck is going to pay for it!

  29. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    There are some parallels between the rise of the (apparently) anti-establishment Trump and the Brexit cause. I think many will take the opportunity just to vote against Cameron and the establishment rather than because they are persuaded by the arguments. I also think the turn-out on the Remain side will be significantly lower than for Leave because there is just not that much enthusiasm for the positive Remain case (such as it is) whereas the Leave voters seem generally to be more committed.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      People are sick of political correctness and posturing celebrities. Hence the rise of the right wing.

      • Chris
        Posted March 2, 2016 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

        Agreed, Anonymous. So many people misunderstand why the rise of the “right” has happened, including many political commentators who completely miss the point, and instead resort to insults.

  30. Posted March 2, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    The Ukraine crisis was manufactured (western influence on Ukrainian politics etc ed) Simultaneously the BBC launched an intense propaganda campaign against Putin, in which everyone was made to hate him as he was not pro gay rights enough and the useful idiots of the political left (Andrew Marr etc) were dispatched to interrogate him on his views on homosexuals (one of the most embarrassing interviews I have ever seen).
    So Putin thought he was going to lose a vital strategic port and moved into Crimea (which I would be insisting needs liberating if not for the overwhelming majority being happy with the new arrangement).

    What American foreign policy fears the most is Russia and the EU (read Germany) uniting or living in peace and friendship with each other. Yet for all I say about the neocons I still love the Americans and do not want to cosy up with the Putin regime in its current form, but neither do I want my country to become a US buffer zone while Mr McCain and his friends play dangerous expansionist games with a large military power. This is the future Mr Cameron has planned for us and our children.

    Clearly the U.S strategy is to expand the German empire while keeping Russia isolated. Russia would become less of a military threat (self fulfilling prophecy), IF we allowed Russia to create her own soft power (another way of influencing her neighbours), but if you notice carefully you will see the UK is yet again leading neocon foreign policy in attempting to remove any hope of Putin developing soft power (the attempt to stop the world cup in Russia), the attempt to ban them from athletics etc etc. This is a strategy that can only end up leading to military conflict in the end.

  31. ian
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    just read about dvla staff being told what to think and do, that your democracy, they only work there but look like they own them as well, robots only need to a ply for government jobs, most must be robots when look at the NHS office staff.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Well, Ian. Talking of robots.

      We are being told that we will be unable to claim our state pensions until our late 70s. The picture accompanying the story ? Old people working tills. The next article ? “900, 000 jobs to be lost in retail.”

      With the new wave of mass unemployment – owing to automation and the internet – the rate of new arrivals is going to drive the deficit to cosmic levels.

      There are so many more people here than before who will all be entitled to welfare.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 3, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        Anonymous; “the rate of new arrivals is going to drive the deficit to cosmic levels.”

        Indeed, something must be done about the high indigenous birth rate…

        “With the new wave of mass unemployment – owing to automation and the internet”

        Well yes, and that is a choice society is going to have to make, but that doesn’t change the fact that unless those indigenous (unemployed) workers are willing to do the less appealing or low paid jobs the economy -like now- will still be dependant on migrants willing to do such work.

  32. matthu
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    DT reports that “Fresh recession will cause eurozone collapse, warns Swiss bank”

    Can we ask the government how close the EU is to fresh recession and if this is a real risk, are we better off inside the EU or outside when the fan disintegrates?

  33. The Active Citizen
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    I watched your speech live on the internet JR and thought it was excellent. It’s even better when written down. Jolly well done!

    Here’s the latest in my series of ‘Simple Summaries’. I always try to ensure the figures quoted are accurate, from official sources, and so they take time to produce. I hope they’re worth it! Please note that these are aimed at the man/woman in the street, not informed commenters. I welcome any comments here before I post more widely.

    Simple Summaries For Normal People: No. 5 – Growing UK Jobs & Wages

    1. You are twice as likely to be out of a job in the EU than in the UK. In the last 4 years the UK has created more jobs than the rest of the EU put together. The UK is better than the EU for jobs and will do better still when we’re not being held back.

    2. Over 2 million EU migrants now have UK jobs and this is increasing every year. Because of EU ‘Free Movement’ rules, EU migrants have the automatic right to come and work in the UK. British jobs are increasingly likely to be taken by an EU migrant.

    3. In four years’ time the UK will have an extra 1.9 million EU immigrants with NI numbers enabling them to work here legally, according to ONS data and assuming current trends.

    4. Many qualified EU migrants will continue to be welcome based on our needs once we leave the EU. But it’s common sense that stopping the growing and uncontrolled EU migration will mean more jobs for UK workers and will mean that employers cannot continue to keep wages artificially low.

    Leave the EU – For More British Jobs and Better British Wages.

    [Sources: EU Eurostat official unemployment figures, 2000 – 2015. ONS Employment Tables 2016. DWP: NINo Registrations To Adult Overseas Nationals Entering The UK. Testimony of Lord Rose (Chmn, Britain Stronger in Europe) to Treasury Select Committee, 02 Mar 2016.]

  34. ian
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    I see that Romania and Bulgaria done very well out of being in the EU, (sending 250,000 people ed) or more onto the UK, they been wanting to get rid of them for years. 6 billion a year each and put fences up to keep out the refuges and do as they like and when the money runs out and EU try to clamp down on them for not following the rules they will say thank you very much but no thanks we are leaving and as for that rubbish you hear about Russia wanting them back after off loading on to EU is laughable.

  35. Margaret
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone think that the American elections will impact on our referendum?

  36. ian
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    and as for Russia wanting Ukraine back after EU has turn it into a bask case of a country is also laughable.

  37. Mercia
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Mr Cameron said today “we should never forget that just 70 years ago these countries were murdering each other”. Surely that is implying a moral relevancy? We were not just “murdering each other” as we were not in the EU? and in his conclusion he seemed to be saying the alternative to the EU is that we would not talk to each other and presumably go to war. This was his reply to the SNP complaining about project fear. More fear.

  38. Mercia
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Mr Cameron said today that he thinks “we have nothing to be scared of” in our destruction of one of the ten commandments.

    “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” Exodus 20:8

  39. matthu
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Lord (Mervyn) King, former governor of the Bank of England has apparently said that the Eurozone is doomed to fail and should be put out of its misery as soon as possible.

    The government should be asked to respond to this assertion and under the circumstances comment whether britain is best served by being within the EU or outside the EU when this happens.

    The government should also be asked to comment on whether it is the intention that future Euro bailouts will be funded from the EU Budget or not and if so, the extent to which the UK would be liable.

  40. agricola
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    You wield your scalpel well John. The remain campaign are in search of an angle, the renegotiation having been seen to be a fiasco, so ridiculous in fact that it could well work in favour of leave.

    Put simply there is no proposed treaty revision, no UK veto of anything, and what nuances that might be thought to have resulted from a renegotiation can be overturned by the ECJ. The supreme authority over all nation states who interpret the law as they see fit. Put another way, they make it up as they go along.

    If we do decide to leave we do not have to fit in with any existing form of relationship of which there are many. We tell the EU what we want, a free trade relationship, friendship and cooperation where it mutually suits. We could trade under WTO rules which do not encourage the imposition of tariffs where they do not already exist. There is no responsible suggestion from anyone of consequence in the EU that they do not wish to continue with the existing trade arrangements. As they benefit the economy of the EU by more than £60 billion PA there is no desire to commit commercial suicide.

    We could on leaving race ahead with our own trade agreements with China, India, the USA and parts of the Commonwealth which are at present blocked by the sclerotic negotiations of the EU. Driven no doubt by EU protectionism. The CAP is a prime example.

    With absolute certainty, Cameron , his team, and associated civil servants , must not be let anywhere near the process. Cameron has already proved conclusively that he could not negotiate his way out of a paper bag. They all need to be appraised of the virtues of gardening and fishing, but not for the moment for sea bass.

  41. Mercia
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Lord Green of Deddington made a powerful speech today.

  42. turbo terrier
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Classic John bordering on genius.

    I do not know what you are taking but could you please bottle it and make us all free from this madness.

  43. Posted March 2, 2016 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been away and not in a position to contribute for the last two days but I must say that this report on the Commons exchange between our host and Bill Cash and the last two posts clarifying exactly the amount of our net contribution and life outside the EU have been some of the very best I have read.

    Mike P ( in an earlier post here ) was right in his suggestion about Cameron’s future prospects. I’m quite sure that CMD is on a promise of a big EU job if he can deliver the heads of the British electorate onto a Brussels block.

    We will all have to work hard to overcome the disadvantages our campaign has over resources to compete with the Government machine. I have given my name to various organisations in the last year offering to help with canvassing, organisation etc but not one reply so far, not even from my own MP, Christopher Chope. Perhaps I should have offered to help UKIP ?

    We do not have time to waste !

  44. Mercia
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Lord Fairfax accused the PM of “trying to pull the wool over the eyes” of the British people. A serious charge indeed.

    pull the wool over someone’s eyes
    Fig. to deceive someone.

    http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/pull+the+wool+over+eyes

  45. ian
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    EU, all asylum seekers and refuges who did claim this at the first point entry into EU and came to Brittan to be deported, that all of apart from the ones who came hear by government approval by plane or by ship, even if they now have a EU UK passport, that millions to be deported, of cos the government will disobey this order and try to hold on to them “…………this will be the first order they the government will have disobey from the EU.

  46. ian
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    No doubt it will be all change next week when the con party leader pleads with the EU to let then all stay in the UK only.

  47. matthu
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel-prize winning economist, has said that the UK could be better off leaving the European Union if the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership passes.

    The government should be asked whether, in the light of this, it agrees that TTIP poses a risk to the UK if it remains in the EU.

    • matthu
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      United Nations figures have shown that that US companies have made billions of dollars by suing other governments nearly 130 times in the past 15 years under similar free-trade agreements.

      Details of the cases are often secret, etc ed

      “Every time you passed a regulation against asbestos or anything else, you would be sued,” Stiglitz said.

    • matthu
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      Stiglitz described TTIP as “a massive rewriting of the rules with no public discussion”.

      “The dangers to our society are very significant,” he said.

      I wonder if Mr Hammond cares to comment?

      • Chris
        Posted March 2, 2016 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

        The implications for the NHS are enormous, and something that the Labour Party should have been straight on to if they really cared about preserving the NHS. I can understand why Cameron is wanting to keep quiet as it would mean that his promise that the NHS would be safe with the Conservatives would be exposed for what it is – a great untruth. We will find out too late to do anything about it.

  48. Boudicca
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    There IS no positive case for British membership of the EU. That’s why the Government and FCO are banking everything on Project FEAR and FABRICATION.

    You’re doing a marvellous job, Mr Redwood. Keep it up.

  49. matthu
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Stuart Rose, Chairman of Britain Stronger in Europe, has admitted that wages are likely to go UP if the UK leaves the EU.

    The government should be asked whether this would be something to be welcomed?

    • Chris
      Posted March 2, 2016 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

      All good questions, Matthu. Keep it up!

  50. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 3, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Messrs Cameron, Osborne and Hammond are deeply into fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) about Brexit. We get it from them and from their mates in high places (no doubt responding to a fair amount of arm twisting). The positive arguments for remaining in the EU, so beloved by Ms Nicola Sturgeon, are vanishingly few.

    If this is how they propose to carry on, then I will not be supporting a Conservative Party led by ANY pro-European Tory Wet at the next general election. Remember February 1974 and 1997. In vain will people try to frighten me with the spectre of Jeremy Corbyn.

    The Conservative Party is in the last chance saloon.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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