Mr Juncker interferes to say they should interfere less

When Mr Juncker tells me the EU interferes too much I assume he is getting worried that the EU might lose the UK referendum. I look forward to more direct EU interventions in our debate, as it is all about them and the way they behave. One of the worst features of the EU is our national inability to cross examine and fire if necessary the Commission that governs us.

What Mr Juncker’s mock humility and apparent outbreak of concern  masks is his continued  failure to talk about what really matters to UK voters. He does not tell us they take too much of our money and we should get it back. They do not grasp that we want to control our own borders and think EU policies have resulted  in too many EU migrants. Whilst he now claims to understand we want to make more of our own laws, there is no EU Commission list of major EU laws and powers to be repealed.  I guess if the polls deteriorate further for the EU side in the referendum we might get some proposals or suggestions of how they might start to tackle their unwarranted interference, but I doubt they would survive long if as a result the UK was foolish enough to vote for the EU.

The EU claims to have offered the UK a deal on having more control over the VAT rates we impose, yet as we saw earlier this week their consultation on how to reform VAT is more about centralising it further. There is no mention in the document of the promises made to Mr Cameron and no legislative proposal that would deliver what we want. Now Mr Juncker’s mea culpa comes with no action attached to make a decisive change to too much EU interference in law making. One of the reasons is Mr Juncker and the Commission have considerable power to increase and enforce EU law, but seem powerless to repeal and reduce EU law largely because there is no EU political will to do so. Clearly the EU hopes to get through its UK referendum with fine words but no firm promises. It also seem to be unwilling to take specific action even to implement the weak UK negotiated new terms. Where is the draft Treaty change about ever closer Union? Where are the amendments to VAT law? Where is the schedule of repeals to make the EU less bureaucratic?




    April 21, 2016

    Mr Juncker was President of a country for a very long time. About the size of the greater populations of two Yorkshire Metropolitan Boroughs. Half a million people. One tenth the size of Yorkshire. So he is still probably finding his way in the huge EU in whatever title and role he might have.Who knows. The people of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg no doubt know who he is and what he is for.

    Mr Cameron should be commended for his love of foreign opinion too. But he does not explain at all why our economic competitors in the USA and elsewhere should want us to out-produce, out-sell, out-export them with our goods and services obviously to the detriment and impoverishment of their own peoples and electorates. Do the out-going American President and former US Treasury personnel hate and detest their own people that much? There are millions of American on food stamps with many of their veterans literally sleeping on the streets and begging food from passers-by.

    1. bigneil
      April 21, 2016

      “with many of their veterans literally sleeping on the streets and begging food from passers-by” – Isn’t England the same? We have ex-soldiers with limbs missing, homeless – yet people from Afghanistan, Iraq etc can jump out of a lorry and be handed lives that WE have had to pay taxes for. Those people who jump out of the lorry here could even be the very ones that planted the home-made bomb that blew the soldier’s leg or arm off – but – in what WAS a sensible country – the bomber is rewarded with a free life – and the ex-soldier is left to rot. What a great country the do-gooders have turned this into. A haven for those who hate us and our culture. Osborne wants millions more here to “get us back in the black” – may God ~ other deities are available – help us.

    2. Hope
      April 21, 2016

      If Junker was sincere Cameron could have actually achieved something. The same man boasting how Cameron went to him on bended knee to help him with his self inflicted problem! This is about showing the EU to be understanding when the exact opposite is true. Once again, look at facts against empty hollow dishonest words.

      I note Andrew Neil picked up on the figures in the Treasury report.

      The false numbers did not include or were divided by the predicted number of households in 2030, it was divided by the current number despite highlighting 3 million more emigrants. Nor has the Tresury used GDP to household income previously. Osborne set up the OBR qua go to stop the treasury reports being manipulated by the chancellor of the day and then he did exactly that!

      1. Hope
        April 21, 2016

        I recently visited the US. It demonstrates to me just how left wing our country has gone. People in the US would not tolerate it. Similarly people and politicians of the US would not tolerate or entertain one jot of sovereignty being given away. Let alone allow people to live on welfare as life choice. Before each sporting match patriotism is displayed and the national anthem sung. Everyone stands up and joins in. Underhand deceitful politicians here would class this as nationalism and conflate with patriotism to give away our country to a foreign power. As we have seen, divide the country by alleged devolution and also to prevent EVEL to provide a level playing field. Whatever happens at the EU elections I hope the Tory party is finished and there is no where for the Tory traitors to perpetuate their treacherous behaviour.

      2. Narrow Shoulders
        April 22, 2016

        The 3 million immigrants will all live in the same house to perpetuate the stereotype and relieve some of the pressure on housing.

    3. Hope
      April 21, 2016

      Good to see that Osborne failed to achieve his target for public borrowing. Once again, highlighting that he is consistent in his failure to predict or achieve anything. As John Humphriesbasked him what do you have to do to get sacked! £74 billion deficit, £1.6 trillion debt. He stated he would have balanced the deficit by May 2015. Not a reduction to GPD. Over 300 tax rises, taxed three times for flood relief this year- EA. £1.5 billion,binsurance premium tax and local authority levy for flooding!. This must be a record.

    4. Lindsay McDougall
      April 22, 2016

      Now you know where Donald Trump’s support comes from.

  2. Lifelogic
    April 21, 2016

    Indeed as you say – one of the worst features of the EU is our national inability to cross examine and fire if necessary the Commission that governs us. Though “worse features of the EU” is clearly a rather competitive field.

    Farage tried to point this out in his “appearance of a low grade bank clerk, who are you” question. He was fined, one assumes to discourage any one else from asking such sensible questions.

    I think we can be confident that even Cameron’s worthless long grass deal will not be delivered in any meaningful sense.

    Off topic, I heard the other day about a London NHS consultant who was complaining loudly about how the EU was destroying the NHS. How they were forced to take poorly trained EU staff in preference to far better qualified non EU staff. Also how a new patient who had just arrived from within the EU and who needed (and indeed would get) ongoing treatment likely to cost the NHS over £500K. This having paid nothing into the UK system at all.

    Just where does Osborne think all the money needed is coming from?

    1. Know-dice
      April 22, 2016

      Nigel Farage made reference to this in the BBC program Europe: Them or Us.

      His comment was something like “He was fined for this because Herman Van Rompuy was not an elected official”, which was precisely the point he [Nigel Farage] was making…a lack of democracy in the EU

  3. Denis Cooper
    April 21, 2016

    Of course the eurocrats have said all this before, on at least one occasion, but it has never had any significant effect on the inexorable process of “ever closer union”. At least, not beyond the short term; there may be a brief pause during which they make a public show of exercising restraint, but then it’s back to business as usual.

    But then that is what the eurocrats have been told to do by the member states, through their treaties; and even if something was eventually put into the treaties to say that the UK had opted out of further unwanted integration, which may or may not happen, it is noticeable that none of the other member states seized the opportunity of Cameron’s display of “renegotiation” to say that they would also like to opt out of the principle of “ever closer union” – not even the Netherlands, which we were told would be a strong ally for Cameron in his mock endeavours.

    However we have a problem as far as the referendum is concerned, in that most of the voters are too young and/or have been too busy with other things to recall that this is not the first time the eurocrats have expressed contrition and promised to do better.

  4. Denis Cooper
    April 21, 2016

    I note that the supposedly factual and impartial Treasury economic analysis repeatedly refers to the UK’s “special status” within the EU, no less than 12 times in fact, eg:

    “In considering the UK’s membership of the EU, Section 1 starts by explaining the UK’s special status in the EU as a member of the Single Market but not the single currency.”

    “At the 18-19 February 2016 European Council, the Prime Minister secured a new
    settlement for the UK in the EU. This settlement secures all the UK’s objectives, set out by
    the Prime Minister, and gives the UK a special status within the EU, as well as setting the
    EU as a whole on a path of long-term reform.”

    “The United Kingdom (UK) has a special status in the European Union (EU). While it is a
    full member of the Single Market, the UK will not join the single currency.”

    A few days ago somebody making a comment here disputed a statement that all of the EU member states must eventually join the euro, apart from the UK and Denmark, the only two member states which have treaty opt-outs from ever having to do so; in fact the government has now taken that a step further by claiming this “special status” for the UK but not extending it to Denmark.

  5. The Active Citizen
    April 21, 2016

    Another in your daily output of strong messages, JR. Goodness knows how you keep this up, and moderating our comments too. I echo other readers in saying that I wish you were more prominent in Vote Leave’s official line-up. You’ve been highly effective in your recent TV appearances which seem to be from your own initiative.

    Two constructive suggestions for Vote Leave: can they not afford a teleprompter? Michael Gove’s speech was full of good stuff but it would have been so much more powerful if he’d delivered it to camera instead of looking down and reading it.

    Secondly are there any plans from Vote Leave for a team of top speakers available on each day to the media, and regular morning press briefings? And can you please be part of the top team?

    Thanks again for all you’re doing – much appreciated by so many.

  6. Antisthenes
    April 21, 2016

    Presumably the EU was designed so that it had absolute power because an accountable democratic EU would not be able to achieve the aim of political and economic union. Not in the time scale or in the way the designers wanted at least. It would not be able to impose EU law in the way it does. Democracy has the terrible habit of curbing politicians and bureaucrats powers and that would not do it would inhibit the relentless march to the creation of a superstate. A superstate that was to be dominated by Germany and France.

    France is falling by the way side so it will only be Germany that calls the shots. All the rest will have quislings as the nominal heads of their regions/former independent states. Once the union is complete no doubt the intention is to make it more accountable and democratic but I doubt it will change much from what it is now. When power has been given or taken it is seldom given back without a fight.

  7. Ian Wragg
    April 21, 2016

    Juncker is the arch Eurocrat. As he is reputed to have said…when things get tough we lie.
    He will say anything to keep the gravy train on the track but nothing will translate into action.
    Federal Europe here we come.
    We still have no idea why the great and good want us shackled to this corpse.

  8. John Bracewell
    April 21, 2016

    There seems to be a rush from all and sundry foreigners to tell the British people how we should vote in our EU referendum. Have they been invited to speak up by the UK government? or have they spoken out of the goodness of their hearts to ensure we do not mess up the vote? Since all those who have spoken have their own country’s interests (USA, Australia, New Zealand) as their foremost concern why would they tell the British people something that might be against their own country’s interest? It makes me suspicious when PMs or Presidents of other countries offer advice and all in the same week. I think that these actions can be interpreted as they think there could be some benefit to the UK to Leave the EU and in benefiting that there may be some detriment to their own countries. People in other countries do not bother to give advice unless they have been put up to it or there is some detriment to their own interests.

  9. alan jutson
    April 21, 2016

    Mr Junkers words are cheap, action is real.

    Many in the EU say they want reform, but when the second largest contributor actually asked for some (otherwise they may leave) they all turned their backs on that opportunity and said no.

    Enough said.

  10. Iain Moore
    April 21, 2016

    These mea culpas admissions only occur when the EU is under pressure, but never sufficient for the EU to change their ways. Juncker’s statement is just a holding operation until they can get back to normal service , for we have the example of the Birmingham summit in 1992, when they agreed to subsidiarity , then when the attention had moved on, they got on with implementing Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon centralising treaties.

  11. agricola
    April 21, 2016

    I do not argue from the proposition that I think Juncker and his four presidents are malevolent. I suspect that they have been in the Brussels political bubble for so long that they have convinced themselves that what they are creating is wholly for the benefit of Europeans. His placatory noises are occasioned by a very recent realisation that “All is not well in the state of Denmark.”
    An anti democratic EU reaction to the outcome of the election in Portugal.
    The rise in dissent in Spain, to the point of problems in forming a government.
    The rise of the National Front in France.
    A referendum in Holland leading to the rejection of EU policy over Ukraine.
    Dissent in Italy
    A basket case of financial problems in Greece that sees no end.
    Growing dissent and unrest in Germany, mainly centred around the effect of immigration, and a growing realisation that Germans are the ones expected to pay for the follies of the EU.
    Rejection around Eastern Europe of Angela Merkel’s totally inept solutions to immigration and it’s downside manifesting itself on the streets of Germany
    The Swedes saying enough is enough regarding further immigrants.
    The very real prospect that they will lose their second largest contributor following our referendum in June.
    The horrendous levels of unemployment throughout southern Europe.

    It all adds up to a series of tank traps that the Five Presidents Report comes nowhere near addressing. I find it’s English version to be lacking in clarity and nowhere does it even begin to answer the question of the deficit of democracy in the construct of the EU. If it fails to take the people with it, it fails completely.

  12. The Active Citizen
    April 21, 2016

    O/T: I’m sure the following will resonate with readers who’ve spoken to people about Brexit.

    Yesterday I had a business lunch with a hospital consultant and his wife – both highly intelligent people who had some knowledge of the Referendum debate from TV and to some extent the papers. Their inclination was for Brexit but they had concerns.

    At one point the consultant said that our opt-out from Schengen meant that we could control our borders and immigration. I had to explain that being out of Schengen didn’t mean we could stop EU migrants entering – that they all have a right to come, live, and work in the UK.

    He took some convincing, because of what he’d heard the PM consistently repeat about Schengen and because of their daily diet of BBC TV news. He and his wife equated the PM’s constant replies of ‘Schengen this, Schengen that’ to all immigration questions, to mean that the UK’s Schengen opt-out somehow made a difference to EU immigration into the UK and our ability to control it. Their BBC TV diet didn’t help them of course.

    Lesson: Let’s never assume that even bright people – who might only have a passing daily interest in politics – are clued up on the basics. People have busy lives. JR, readers of your diary are in a tiny minority in being more knowledgeable.

    We need to reach out with very simple, very positive, repetitive messages, assuming people have no knowledge of the Referendum debate at all.

    Being ‘The Active Citizen’ and a volunteer at I acted, and wrote a very quick and very simple summary of what Schengen means, which should go up on that site today.

    I’m going to point the hospital consultant and his wife to that site, and to this one for a more considered and deeper understanding of the issues. I have a feeling we’ll have two more voters for leave. They were Brexit-inclined and only need accurate information to tip them into being definite Leave voters.

  13. Javelin
    April 21, 2016

    Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Makes a very contradictory argument in the Telegraph today entitled “Brexit means blood, toil, sweat and tears”

    In the article he says the the European Court is making up its own laws then he says if the UK left the EU it would collapse into 1930s style nationalism.

    I agree with both of his points. I have been making this point to you for the past 10 years. I have been describing the EU as a undemocratic fortress that could be captured by the extreme left or right and has been reliant on a politically stable centrist public.

    My point is that leaving the EU may well cause Europe to fracture into 1930s style nationalism but staying in Europe will prevent 1930s style supra nationalism which would look more like a Nazi victory than a Nazi defeat.

    To tackle middle eastern and sub Saharan immigration as the price of oil collapses in the face of disruptive energy technology the EU will set continent against continent. The peaceful and centrist public will be encouraged to build barriers and fight wars.

  14. MikeP
    April 21, 2016

    Ronald Reagan was famous for a particular phrase concerning the negotiations with President Gorbachev – “Trust but Verify” and I used that mantra for years as a project manager. By all means trust the goodwill of someone saying they’ll do something but until you’re sure they do as they say you must follow up.
    How hopeless our media are in holding the Government and Brussels to account. We got the celebrated announcement from Osborne’s camp that they’d found a means of sorting out the “tampon tax” yet it drags on and if anything goes in the wrong direction. And how many times have we had a “commitment to reduce red tape” or to “focus on competitiveness”? Now Juncker admits that Brussels meddles too much, so why doesn’t this get reported and challenged? Why don’t the teams from Newsnight, Panorama, Tonight on ITV or Channel 4 News push these politicians for committed plans to do what they say, it’s pathetic.

  15. MikeP
    April 21, 2016

    Until the EU announces a plan to close one of their two Parliaments – I don’t mind whether it’s Strasbourg or Brussels – they can not be taken seriously, yet they force austerity on everyone else. The grotesque waste of running both buildings with MEPs claiming their inflated expenses to trudge between them with their papers and scores of hangers-on serves as a perfect illustration of the gravy train.

    1. Denis Cooper
      April 22, 2016

      Oddly enough this did not even figure in Cameron’s attempt at “reform”.

  16. Shieldsman
    April 21, 2016

    I picked that up on yesterday, but the biased broadcasting corporation has its blinkers (filters) on. It is worth a read: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker today admitted that citizens had lost faith in the EU, during a speech at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

    Record 60% of Europeans ‘tend not to trust’ EU
    The number of Europeans who distrust the European Union has doubled over the past six years to a record high, with bailed-out Greeks and Cypriots having the least faith in the bloc, according to a new Eurobarometer poll.

    The former Luxembourg premier said, “Today we are facing very tough times. We have the global refugee crisis, we have attacks on our free societies, all of our institutions are under immense pressure today and sometimes are really pushed to their limits.”

    It is a pretty damning appraisal of the failure of the EU, which is the greatest risk – staying or getting out.

  17. eeyore
    April 21, 2016

    “One of the worst features of the EU is our national inability to cross examine and fire if necessary the Commission that governs us.” An important point, and one worth making much of in interviews and debates.

    Europe, which historically has few democratic credentials and many illiberal and autocratic ones, is in the habit of falling into the hands of dictators. When the next Louis XIV or Napoleon arises – or heaven forfend the next Hitler – their path to power will be made all the smoother by the irresponsible bureaucratic structures of the EU. In such circumstances it has been Britain’s traditional role and duty to restore freedom to Europe. How will we do that when we ourselves are part of the problem?

  18. a-tracy
    April 21, 2016

    We’ve already seen Mr Junckers contempt for the UK and David Cameron, I don’t believe a word he utters.

    Yesterday in the Guardian they were decrying rising unemployment, they never comment that we have rising numbers employed and we are very successfully soaking up economic migration from poor Countries in Europe. If this is throwing our own older aged workers out of work, when cheaper competitors using sub-contractors drop prices, then this is a massive problem about to explode.

  19. Denis Cooper
    April 21, 2016

    Off-topic, anyone worrying that we will need visas to travel to the EU countries after we have left may like to consider why that would apply to UK citizens but not Ukrainians:

    “EU says Ukraine meets visa-free standards”

    “The European Commission on Wednesday said Ukraine has met all technical benchmarks to obtain EU visa-free travel. “It is an important achievement for the citizens of Ukraine,” EU commissioner Avramopoulos said. A sizeable majority of EU states must back the step politically for it to enter into force.”

  20. Lifelogic
    April 21, 2016

    Leading insolvency firms say that 60000 companies could fail due to Osborne’s living wage. Well done George that should further enlarge you PSBR and your record peace time trade deficit. Tell me is Osborne daft enough to think this is good for the economy or cynical enough to think there is a political advantage for him and does not give a dam?

    It has to be one or the other does it not?

  21. oldtimer
    April 21, 2016

    My guess is that Mr Juncker’s comment is calculated to distract and to mislead opinion in the UK ahead of the referendum. In that respect it is similar to the many other comments from others who have no vote, such as US business leaders, former US Treaury secretaries, spokesmen for the US President and no doubt, tomorrow from the US President himself. They are all orchestrated to distract and to mislead.

    The referendum choice is very simple. UK voters are confronted with a fork in the road. A straight road ahead, with no divergence from the present direction of travel, is not on offer; that road is closed. Instead there is a clear fork in the road.

    One fork leads to ever closer union – political, economic and monetary. The next milestone on that road is set out in the Five Presidents’ Report. If the UK votes to travel that road it can confidently expect continued high levels of inward migration, even more extreme pressure on public services, such as on health services, school places, housing for the extra millions entering the country. It can also expect higher taxes as the EU asserts and exerts control over more and more areas of economic activity – especially over financial services. The power of the UK parliament to prevent this will be diminished. The power of the UK voter to overturn measures it dooes not like will be diminished. It will be increasingly obvious that the UK Supreme Court is not in fact supreme but is a The Subservient Court. There are also significant risk to voting remain, not least how the costs of the unresolved EZ crisis are shared out, how the the million plus refugees attracted to Germany are shared out. The share is unlikely to be a matter of the choice of the UK government but of instruction from the EU. Mr Cameron claims that he has secured reform and opt outs. But he will not be PM for ever. Others will replace him. At some point another PM will be elected who is sympathetic to and a supporter of the ultimate objectives of the EU and that will be it – the end of the UK. That is the ultimated destination of Remain. The idea that the UK, as one voice against the rest in the EU, will remain permanently insulated from such pressures is as absurd as it is wrong. For evidence of this just compare past government statements and assurances with actual outcomes.

    The other fork in the road is to vote Leave. That offers UK voters the opportunity to regain control of their borders, to control the number of incoming migrants and thus relieve the growing pressures on public services, to enable parliament to regain control of its law making and taxing powers, to enable those same voters to boot out governments they no longer want and to enable the Supreme Court actually to be the Supreme Court. It also carries risks of the unknown, including the terms of the final deal that is secured with the EU post Brexit, the success of UK entrepreneurs in making the most of their new found freedom and the success of the government of the day removing the EU imposed rules and regulations that are no longer relevant to life as we want to live it.

    The simplicity of the choice is clear. Noises off (from outsiders) are intended to muddy the waters, to confuse the uncertain and to mislead the uninformed. Keep it simple.

  22. Bert Young
    April 21, 2016

    I too felt that the comments made by Juncker were recognition that the tide was turning against EU centralisation and the possibility of “Brexit”. His intervention was also hard on the heels of the Dutch rejection of the deal with the Ukraine . Whether he will now go still further in modifying the Brussels bureaucracy and give back the right of democracy to the EU member countries , is another matter .

    I sincerely hope that Obama will steer clear of any statement trying to urge the electorate to “Remain”. If he does we must give him a real smack in the eye and remind him how the USA foreign policy has failed . The world does not unite around the wishes and needs of the USA ; each country has its own initiatives and has to pursue its own goals .

  23. ChrisS
    April 21, 2016

    We are constantly being asked what Brexit will look like but nobody in the media is asking Remain, or better still Herr Juncker, what they have in store for us if we vote to stay in the EU.

    As Herr Juncker has now broken cover and stepped into our referendum, it is surely fair game to demand some answers from him ? Our host and regular contributors here are at least as well equipped as anybody to prepare such a list of questions and invite journalists to put them to Herr Juncker.

    Let’s start with those listed by our host this morning :

    The UK has been promised flexibility in setting VAT Rates. Mr Juncker, exactly what flexibility is Brussels prepared to concede, how will it be put into effect and when ?

    What EU laws do you propose to repeal and what powers are you willing to repatriate to member states ? Can we have a timescale for this, please ?

    Is the draft Treaty for the further integration of the Eurozone ready ? If so we would like to see the proposed terms before the UK votes on 23rd June. If it is not ready, can we please have a document specifying exactly how the interests of non-Euro Member States will be safeguarded.

    The EU Army
    Mr Juncker, you recently called for an EU army so that the EU can be taken seriously on the world stage. Is your plan for this to be voluntary or will it be compulsory for member states to allocate dedicated forces under EU command ?

    Who will exercise political control over the EU army and approve its deployment ?
    Who will pay for the EU army ? Will the cost be levied just on participating member states or will it be an extra burden on the EU budget for the few member states like Britain that are net contributors ?

    The EU Budget :
    Despite David Cameron claiming that the EU Budget has been cut, the British net contribution seems to be increasing at an alarming rate. The minority of countries like Britain that are net contributors to the EU budget will come under increasing pressure given that all of the proposed accession countries are among the poorest in Europe and, of course, there is Turkey. Can you show us a forecast of the effect further enlargement will have on Britain’s budget contributions with and without Turkey being admitted ?

    The time has surely come for a cap to be placed on net contributions. Would the commission consider this ?

    Can you please give us at least one example where the stated principle of Subsidiarity has actually resulted in a decision-making power being returned to member states? If there are none, are there any being planned ?

    Freedom Of Movement
    Net immigration is the Number 1 concern among UK citizens who will be voting in our referendum. Can you please confirm exactly how you intend to guarantee that the ( minuscule ) safeguards “won” by David Cameron will not be watered down by the European Parliament and other member states ?

    If they do survive intact, do you expect the delay on in-work Benefits and the brake to have any real effect on the numbers arriving in the UK each year ?

    I’m sure that there are many more questions for Herr Juncker, anyone care to add to the list ?

  24. acorn
    April 21, 2016

    It may be that a UK Brexit has been chosen by the Cosmos, to break-up the EU and start putting this planet back on an even keel. The EU could have been a great idea, if it had just settled for being a Confederation, instead of continuing to use a, CIA type, covert operation to become a Federation. A Confederation did not need a single currency, a Federation ends up with one, just like the USA. The latter started out as a Confederation, but the States lost control of Washington and the world has suffered from its meddling ever since.

    Basically, the application of a single currency too early in the EU federalising process, has put the cart, several hundred meters before the horse. The Euro and the ECB have to go, reverting to the 19 national currency issuing Treasuries. I see no chance of this happening; 28 Boiling Frogs. Making it 27, could be the start of something big, let’s hope.

    The big worry for me is the EU messing in Eastern Europe, and being used by the USA, as a forward command post and weapons store on the Russian border; so it can keep poking the Bear with an EU stick. The more the USA (Trump or Clinton versions OMG!!!) can be kept out of Europe, or anywhere for that matter, the better.

    Europe, east and west, needs an intergovernmental voice, not a supranational government. 47 States can trade under the umbrella of the Council of Europe, which needs to take a much much bigger role in world affairs, particularly defence. That might stop the Germans having them post WW2 nightmares.

    1. Mitchel
      April 22, 2016

      You are absolutely right!Once the Soviet Union had been dissolved and it was clear the creed of communism was utterly discredited both NATO and the EU should have also been dissolved and a new,much looser trade and defence architecture,involving Russia and its satellites, put in its place for the Eurasian landmass.That,of course,would be anathema to the Americans.Instead we have now started a new phase in a thousand year cycle of hostility between East and West.

  25. Atlas
    April 21, 2016

    Aye, Junker is ‘much ado about nothing’.

  26. Mitchel
    April 21, 2016

    Re the letter from the former US Treasury Secretaries,I am sure that a number of readers will be aware of the infamous quote from James Paul Warburg,of the eponymous international banking family (which had been instrumental in establishing the US Federal Reserve System),when addressing the US Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs Committee on 17 February,1950:-

    “We shall have world government,whether or not we like it.The question is only whether world government will be achieved by consent or conquest…..until we establish this goal,we shall continue to befog & befuddle our own vision by clinging to the illusion that the present structure of the UN would work,if only the Russians would let it”

    The underlying message of the former Treasury Secretaries is the same,just expressed more subtly and tailored for the specifics of the Brexit debate.

  27. Stephen Henry
    April 21, 2016

    Slightly off topic but still connected to the EU.
    Certain people in the remain camp consistently say that the only way to reform the EU is to be round the table to negotiate any new deals.If this is the case then why did CMD not ask for all the reforms in the so called renegotiation as the UK is in a position of power presently with the referendum on the horizon.Is it because CMD hasn’t got a clue how to negotiate or is it that Tusk and co.would not concede any further reforms.Sorry perhaps I should say Merkel as she appears to call the tune.

  28. Kenneth
    April 21, 2016

    The civil servants from the various eu states have allied with the eu and the various courts to create an unstoppable Frankenstein that gobbles up democracy along its way. Mr Juncker is the embodiment of this monster.

    Even if the polls start to move towards Brexit, nobody will be able to stop or even alter its course in time to make any difference. There will be plenty of words but, as you say, Mr Redwood, no action.

    Perhaps Mr Juncker will wake up one night in a cold sweat and say “We have created a monster!”

  29. Denis Cooper
    April 21, 2016

    A couple of items today from difference sources but linked.

    From the New Statesman:

    “The Treasury’s 200-page assessment of the long-term cost of withdrawal will be followed by a second report on the short-term cost, including higher prices and job losses: “the really scary stuff”, according to a source.”

    “It will appeal to voters to regain control of the UK’s borders and laws. Yet polling suggests that concerns of prosperity trump those of sovereignty. In a recent ComRes survey, 47 per cent named the economy as the definitive influence on their vote, compared with only 24 per cent for immigration.”

    From the Daily Mail, a comment by Mervyn King on the economic aspects, urging the public to be cautious of precise predictions of what could happen:

    “I’m old enough to remember the referendum in Britain in 1975 on exactly the same issue. The one thing that both sides of the argument then were wrong about was that it would make a dramatic difference. It didn’t.”

    And I’m sure that Mervyn King is right on that; I’ve been saying for years that the EU Single Market is of only minor economic importance to the UK in the longer term – a projected benefit of about 5% of the collective GDP of the EU countries, benefit actually achieved more like 2%, as the government itself has stated recently on page 38 here:

    and it seems with the UK among those member states benefiting least; and that’s with a UK economy which has been growing naturally with a trend rate of 2.5% a year going back to the 1950’s, without any indication on the chart that the growth rate was boosted by either the Common Market or the later Single Market. So I don’t for one moment believe that it would cost us 6% of GDP to leave the Single Market as well as the EU.

    However I’m also sure that in the short term it would ensure a smooth transition, and so give for our opponents much less scope to invent that “really scary stuff” which they hope will win them the referendum, if we left the EU but stayed in the EEA.

    As for freedom of movement in the EEA, if we can’t negotiate moderation of that principle straight away then there will soon be opportunities to do so, when the time comes for the EU to proceed with its further enlargements to take in yet more economically backward, poor, countries in the Balkans and over towards the Ural Mountains.

  30. Dennis
    April 21, 2016

    Off topic: On Liz Kendall’s email info she says,”… In Leicester West, more than 9,000 jobs rely on our membership and EU funding has supported brilliant local initiatives like Dock.”

    She does not say if that money is UK taxpayers money from the rebate. Is it? Her office staff does not know and has never asked or thought about it when I called them.

  31. ChrisS
    April 21, 2016

    I would urge everyone to read this before it get’s pulled :

    It’s certainly far from being pro-EU yet it is on the BBC website and it’s written by respected WAO presenter Mark Mardell.

    1. Denis Cooper
      April 22, 2016

      The eurozone’s difficulty could be the UK’s opportunity.

      Would they really want a completely unnecessary disruption of trade and collapse of their exports to the UK on top of their existing intractable problems?

    2. stred
      April 22, 2016

      Could you file and re-issue this one JR? Perhaps we could have a whip round for Mark Mardell after he is sacked.

      1. ChrisS
        April 22, 2016

        I thought exactly the same thing.

        Perhaps Mark is already working his notice and so felt able to post something so off-message !

  32. Lifelogic
    April 21, 2016

    I read that Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho is warning everyone that UK digital industries will be hit hard by Brexit. Certainly all those USA ones must be suffering hugely by not being a member of the EU. Rather surprising Obama has not made the USA join the EU so as to help them!

    etc ed

  33. Bryan Harris
    April 21, 2016

    John – I love it when you say it exactly how it is – Great piece, and agree totally.

    The bottom line is that the EU is so full of deceit, whatever their warm words might be, we simply cannot trust them on any aspect of our membership. If we do not leave we will become impoverished and bankrupt, not to mention demoralised.

  34. Bob
    April 21, 2016

    I see that Mr Osborne has used some creative accounting techniques to give the impression that the UK defence budget has been increased to meet the 2% of GDP required by NATO.

    It makes one wonder what other tricks he gets up to in order to deceive us.

  35. Rose
    April 21, 2016

    We have been told what Mr Juncker said and will be told what Mr Obama will say, but we are not told, even by the DT, what Mr Gove said. On the BBC it was wall to wall Laura K. They shoot down Brexit speeches without reporting them.

  36. Lindsay McDougall
    April 21, 2016

    Mr Redwood, there never will be a schedule of repeals unless we impose it unilaterally, in order to achieve a fast brexit. Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. The EC, France and Germany want us to stay in for two reasons (1) All that lovely lolly we contibute every year and (b) to control us. There is no other reason.

    Mr Osborne hs circulated some fantastic figures about how much poorer we will be by 2030 if we Brexit and adopt a Canada style trade deal. His figures are based on a return to the high EU external tariff that applied in the years before we joined. That won’t happen.

    I’ve taken the trouble to download the draft proposed EU-Canada trade deal CETA. Under it, 98% of Canadian exports in goods will be tariff free when the agreement comes into force. This rises to 99% at the end of a seven year transition. Where tariffs are to be retained, the rate will average less than 20%.

    So let’s look at the first year after Brexit is achieved. Our goods exports to EU-27 were £148 billion in 2014. The bill for tariffs would not exceed £148 billion x 2% x 20%, which equals £0.6 billion. We would apply no tariffs to goods imported from the EU (turning the other cheek).

    Our services exports to EU-27 in 2014 totalled £81 billion. These have not been created by the Single Market but by market forces. Any barriers against them would be non-tariff in nature e.g. prohibitions and red tape. We can ensure there would be no such barriers by asking the French and Germans “Do you really want to start a trade war?”

    So lets look at the main items in the first year after Brexit is achieved:
    Elimination of cash payments to EU: £14 billion
    Paying subsidies to our own farmers: minus £2.5 billion
    Additional revenue from expanded fishing waters £0.5 billion
    (assumes doubling current fishing revenue of £0.681 billion minus an allowance for naval protection costs)
    Tariffs on our exports for goods to EU: minus £0.6 billion
    Overall positive cash flow £(14 – 2.5 +0.5 -0.6) = £11.4 billion

    So what’s the downside?

    1. Denis Cooper
      April 22, 2016

      “His figures are based on a return to the high EU external tariff that applied in the years before we joined.”

      Are you sure about that? If so it would be as absurd as not taking into account any of the costs of the EU Single Market, a charge leveled by Open Europe.

      1. Lindsay McDougall
        April 22, 2016

        Well, where do you think Osborne got his figures from? His main argument is that unfree trade leads to higher prices which inhibit economic growth. I’ve taken the trouble to look at what’s actually in a technical summary of CETA – the Canada Europe Trade Agreement – computed my numbers from that. Are you arguing – as Osborne seems to be – that we will get a worse deal from the EU that Canada?

        When interviewed on BBC, Kate Hoey had a copy of Osborne’s 200 page tome in front of her, with key passages identified. Andrew Neil and Ed Vaisey deliberately prevented her from developing an arguement around this. It was the Andrew Marr / Boris Johnson type of interview all over again. Whenever an intelligent and articulate Eurosceptic tries to develop an arguement, all the BBC do is to wheel out the names of establishment fat cats who disagree (“My big brother’s bigger than your big brother”). It has happened to Boris Johnson, Penny Mourdant and Kate Hoey. It’s just got to be deliberate.

        Seeing that you raised the issue, we are agreed that the Single Market is not free trade. Free trade in the EU was at its maximum after the passing of the Single European Act. Since then, each subsequent treaty has conceded more power to the unelected and bureaucratic European Commission, restrained only partly by QMV. To look ahead after Brexit, to sell into the Single Market area we will still need to comply with Directives that harmonise what may be produced, but there is no earthly reason why we should follow EU social, employment and safety law.

        There is a 23 year hangover of Directives that have been issued since the Maastricht Treaty was written into EU law in 1993. It is going to take years to decide what is useful and what is not, and the EU needs to apply its mind to this. By failing to veto the Mastricht Treaty, John Major and his government have been responsible for much of what has happened.

    2. stred
      April 22, 2016

      Financial services such as insurance and internet sales are done across continents. Insurance companies like Axa have offices in London, Paris and Frankfurt. How would the EU put tariffs and bans on electronic transactions?

      Re Bob’s point about Osbo’s fiddles, the big accountants kindly donate staff to help out in the Treasury, as civil servants may not be quite as expert at shafting the taxpayer and creative accountancy.

  37. They Work for Us?
    April 21, 2016

    Off topic.

    The Radio 4 Programme “Don’t make Me Laugh”, at 18:40 tonight made gratuitous reference to the HM Queen’s sex life as edgy humour to get a cheap laugh, no doubt the programme editors thought this a fitting contribution to the 90th birthday celebrations.
    The content was very much worse than just bad taste. Who signed off on this material?

    I look forward to programmes with cheap edgy humour based on the sex life of the BBC Director General, Executives and Trust. But oh wait, they might hit back in a career limiting way.!

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