The problems with a German led EU

One of the reasons so many voters are unimpressed by Mr Cameron’s renegotiation is he did not stand up to Mrs Merkel.

It looks as if he asked her advice and was told to ask for very little. His demands fell far short of the requirements set out in the Bloomberg speech, and did not include gaining control of border policy with the rest of the EU. She then gave him even less than the modest demands he made.

Much of it was presented as the UK negotiating with Germany, just as the Greek crisis is usually presented as Greece negotiating with Germany, and just as the Turkish Agreement and migration arguments are usually led by Germany. Whilst some of this is media simplification, much of it is true. Germany is the lead country by a long way. It is German policy which dominates the economic policies of the Euro area, and German policy which has dominated the border issues. It will be thus, because Germany runs a massive surplus not just with us but with most other countries in the EU and has become the paymaster of the Eurozone.

The problem is German policy is proving damaging and destabilising to much of Europe. Germany’s insistence on austerity policies for the southern and western countries of the Eurozone left them deep in recession for much of the last eight years, and with high unemployment in most places.

It has destroyed the life chances of many young people, leaving as many as half of all young people of working age without a job in the troubled parts of the zone. Germany will not accept the need for larger transfers of money around the zone that are normal in mature single country currency unions, whilst Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy are unable to make themselves as competitive as Germany and sell enough back to Germany to right the imbalances. They cannot devalue as they used to, and wage cuts so far have not succeeded in removing their deficits as Germany suggests should happen.

German migration policy has sent conflicting signals. First Germany offered a welcome which brought many more migrants into the EU, then Germany bowed to political pressures and proposed a less welcoming policy. Various countries decided to ignore the Schengen rules and impose new fences and walls at their borders, inviting migrants to find new and more dangerous or longer routes into the EU.

It is important to understand Germany’s view of the evolution of the EU. She sees the Euro and the common borders as central features and thinks all countries should join them in due course.She sees these main policies as part of the so called single market, which is much more than a trade arrangement as far as Germany is concerned. Germany believes that if more power over weaker countries is exercised from Brussels they will become stronger and will not need more transfers from German taxpayers.

In the meantime Germany is apprehensive about the Euro 600 bn of accumulated surplus she holds at the ECB matched by the accumulated deficits of Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal. The Greek part of that is unlikely to be repaid in full and on time, and that could set a bad precedent.

Whilst in more recent months there has been some recovery in Spain, the Eurozone still struggles. None of this is stable. The UK leaving will help, as the last thing the EU needs at the moment is a semi detached member taking attention away from the big issues that the main EU centred on the Euro and Schengen need to tackle. The UK will be a good European if we leave and let them sort it out without the complication of a large non member of parts of the scheme always wanting something different.

I can’t see why we would want to stay in a German led Europe where there have to be bigger transfers to the poorer areas.

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116 Comments

  1. bigneil
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    The EU shouldn’t be led by ANY country – it is supposed to be a union – NOT a German dictatorship which it clearly is. Who is it that is ALWAYS there at any event? . . MERKEL.
    As for Boris’s comment – the end result of the EU is the same. German rule – and Cameron fully expects to be part of it. That’s why he is so committed to the EU.
    A very nasty man.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      Is Cameron nasty or just foolish? I am not sure what drives him. He just seems to be a career politician and spin doctor who says anything he thinks might help at the time, but then does the compete opposite.

      He is a good presenter and good on his feet but lacks a working compass. His direction of travel is consistently about 180 degree out. Like John Major and Ted Heath he is just leading the British and the Tory party over a cliff.

      He certainly is a man who can only be judged by his actions. These are nearly all totally misguided. Look at his green crap lunacy, his cast iron lies, his no if no buts lies or his priority in three letters the N H S.

      The NHS was a disaster when he came to office and is far worse now. It can never work as currently structured, it kills thousands and leaves countless more waiting in pain.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 16, 2016 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        Andrew Neil made David Cameron look like an absolute jerk yesterday when the Sunday Politics Show played clips of what Cameron said recently, compared to what he said just a few months ago. Little wonder his credibility rating is so poor. Yet another Europhile who pretended to be Eurosceptic to cash-in on the popularity of being the latter just to get elected, then turns his coat when the chips are down. This is one of the biggest electoral frauds ever perpetrated against the British people, and I bitter resent that. Who the hell could possibly believe anything Cameron says anymore?

        Those that do either have something lacking, or harbour an ulterior motive. It’s frustrating to watch, because these people hold the very fate of this nation in their hands, but have little idea of the significance or even the consequences of following Cameron and his cohorts in wanting to remain.

        Should anyone ever doubt how dangerous the EU is, they might like to go onto Youtube and search for ‘Brexit Why leave the EU’. Yanis Varoufakis (2 minutes 25 secs in) sums up the undemocratic way the thing works, and the inordinate amount of power the Germans have. They effectively run the place, and people need to wake up to that fact and where it will ultimately lead.

        Tad Davison

        Cambridge

      • Hope
        Posted May 16, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        Cameron stood. Y while there were coups of democratically letter governments in Greece and Italy. Our ancestor fought the Germans to prevent is. I repeat he stood idly by, but in contrast went further than the UN mandate to illegally implement regime change which made Lybia a basket case where hundreds of thousands have suffered as a result of his actions with the French? Look at his lame excuse to invade Syria, he was helping the alleged opposition which turned out to be ISIS! Using our taxes to do it. They were digesting people who are the hearts of the Syrian army. Just imagine what the EU army would do and our citizens fighting, being mamas in its name not our country or our priorities. I ally think he ought to be investigated for war crimes. Similarly I am not convinced of any justifiable legal argument to vaporize two Suspected Muslim terrorists on far off shores, where was the imminent threat to us in the UK? A poor re run of Blaire.

        • Hope
          Posted May 16, 2016 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

          JR, Guido Fawkes running an article showing the BBC publishing remain camp adverts in breach of the rules. Suggest a senior figure like yourself make the appropriate complaint.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 16, 2016 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

            The BBC is blatantly biased and to a huge degree. But as they are totally unaccountable a complaint will achieve nothing. Perhaps the first clear sign that Cameron was not a Conservative was when he ratted on his “Cast Iron” promise, but when he appointed the dire EUphile Lord Patten to chair the BBC trust then we knew for sure he was a wrong’un.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted May 16, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Cameron is an odd one, he has seemed entirely without any guiding principles other than getting elected, just when you think he has some ideologically-driven policies, like free schools & academies, or taking on the BBC, or NHS changes, or benefits cuts, he U-turns and throws the ministers concerned under the bus at the first serious opposition. The only policy I can see he is willing to defend at all costs is staying in the EU – he REALLY REALLY wants to stay in – I have no idea why.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 16, 2016 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

          Nor do I have any idea why he want to stay in. Why does Mrs May too given her recent speech at the party conference.

          The demands in his Bloomberg speech were very weak indeed and his renegotiation did not even come remotely close even to those. Is it just a religious gut feeling, rather like all his climate alarmism, green crap, hug a husky & windmill subsidies?

          Why too does he employ an economically illiterate chancellor who thinks he should fix wages for companies that he know nothing about and even want a sugar tax?

          • Roy Grainger
            Posted May 17, 2016 at 6:04 am | Permalink

            I am beginning to think he’s simply in thrall to celebrity – so he lets Jamie Oliver set tax policy and Hugh Grant set press regulation policy and even though Obama directly insults him over his Libyan policy he still fawns over him when he is here.

        • zorro
          Posted May 16, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

          So much so, that it puts his previous stance on the EU with regards to having no problem with leaving if he didn’t get concessions in an extremely bizarre light. From the way he is speaking now, nothing on heaven or earth would have persuaded him that he should leave the EU! I honestly have never heard anything like it, and do wonder how anyone can respect or trust his point of view on anything.

          zorro

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 16, 2016 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

            Respect and trust for Cameron? You cannot believe a single word the man utters. You just such people on their actions only.

            He was always a green crap, big government, high taxing, EUphile. Essentially another pathetic Libdim, but pretending not to be before each election.

        • getahead
          Posted May 16, 2016 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          He wants to stay in because that´s what his corporate masters want.
          He is beholden to the bankers, big corporations, the CBI, Tony Blair, Richard Branson and all his other elite cronies.
          He is simply a spokesman for these people. He has no political ideology of his own. The electorate do not come into his consideration.
          He is a man not hard to hate.

    • eeyore
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      A German Empire such as Frederick the Great, Bismarck or Kaiser Bill hardly dreamt of. Under Kyffhauser, Barbarossa is stirring.

      • Mitchel
        Posted May 16, 2016 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        Except whereas Barbarossa sought to usurp the Byzantine Emperor as successor to the Caesars(and had his army destroyed at the gates of Constantinople in the process),Merkel seems to be happy to play the role of (friend ed) to the Turkish Sultan.

        We may have to hope that Russia,the third Rome(“a fourth there will not be”according to the mediaeval prophecy),once again puts a stop to Germanic ambition.

    • Hope
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      Heff wrote a good article in the DT about the Fourth Reich of Germany’s dominance over Europe. It is also considered why there is EU expansion east to the Ukraine as it was always been Germany’s aim. The Euro is skewed to make Germany rich and its alleged partners poor and therefore subservient to Germany. In relation to Cameron, he is a traitor giving up our right to democratic self government and he is still lying, being deceitful to achieve his aim to make us controlled by unelected officials in Brussels.

      The bottom line is Cameron did not negotiate anything of substance or even tried to fulfil his Bloomberg speech, he gave away a UK veto of fiscal and political union that entwines and makes the UK less influential in the EU.

      Now it looks Cameron poor judgement is alienating Trump from Britain. Better to have an ally with the US than being tied to a dead organization which is making us poor. EU spending our taxes on exotic island schemes while we have food banks!

  2. Mark B
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    To be fair, the German’s use the EU and its institutions to good effect. Promoting its business and political policies. We on the other hand are very poor in this area. The establishment and political class has lost its nerve. They no longer wish to govern and be held accountable for it, they wish others to do it for them and not be held accountable. So long as they have some assemblance of power they are happy. Hence why Cameron goes to Merkel for ‘advise’. He like to be told what to think, say and do. (words left out ed)

    If we stay in things for us are going to get worse, not better. They are going to force us to take some of the immigrants they invited in. They are going to put up the bill for our membership. They are going to take more powers from us. They are going to take more of our industry and wealth from us. All to save their dream and keep Germany on top. But they can only do this if they have a compliant PM and Parliament. If we had a PM and a Parliament worth the name, we would never have joined and, we would never have to suffer the indignities we have to.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Clearly Cameron’s renegotiation was a long grass political strategy (post his throwing of the first election through his Cast Iron ratting and lefty green crap agenda). This was followed by a farcical, non renegotiation of anything significant at all, not even legally binding either. His Bloomberg speech was fairly vacuous anyway, his actually renegotiation pathetic. But this surely makes leave the only way to go for everyone. Post a Brexit vote some real renegotiations will actually start. The establishment and the EU will not give up easily. The UK voters should continue to reject anything that does not restore UK democracy. Free trade, with as much as the world as possible, is all we need to thrive.
    Assisted by an economically literate chancellor. One who does not believe in centrally dictated wage laws, who wants smaller & far more efficient government, lower taxes, cheaper energy, wants to reverse Osborne’s ratting on his IHT pledge, want two new runways at Heathwick, some decent roads, more freedom, lower taxes, selective quality & migration only, easy hire and fire, relaxed planning, no fee to the EU, sound finances and a bonfire of all the EU and other damaging red tape.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 6:25 am | Permalink

      I too cannot see why we would want to stay in a German led Europe where there have to be bigger transfers to the poorer areas. So why JR do so many in your party (and especially the leadership of your party) want to be subsumed in this disaster waiting to happen? Despite pretending to be EUsceptics before elections?

      What is driving the establishment, the BBC, most of the state sector and academia to elect for EU serfdom and an end to any real democracy and control over our own affairs? Is like just a dream illusion or religion rather like the green crap dream? Or is it group think insanity like the ERM and EURO. Or is it just self interests of the bureaucrats, politicians, BBC etc. looking after their salaries and gold plated pensions?

      Do they really think we will be governed better by Brussels bureaucrats with little interests in the UK voters at all? People the UK voters cannot even influence or remove democratically?

      If we do not vote for Brexit then the UK perhaps deserves all it will get. But surely they will see through Carney, Lagarde, Osborne, the BBC bias, the Treasury forecasts and all the rest of the establishment lies & drivel?

      • stred
        Posted May 16, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        What is driving so many in the party, academia, big business chiefs and other guests at Davos to put up ex-GS Carney and ex-French minister and IMF chief, in trouble for over compensating a rich French businessman, to frighten us with doom? Boris has another excellent article in the DT.

        Personally, I don’t think the ordinary Germans have any plans for taking over Europe and heading for the Urals. It’s just that a lot of them can’t help being more efficient. My female German friend likes to take over when I am assembling Ikea stuff and I can’t keep up. Even when they take over the Mini they can’t help making them bigger than other medium sized cars. They are not only cheaper because of the Euro but better to work with, as they don’t stich firms up with American style lawyers.

        But with politicians it is scary. Eural made his feeling clear when visiting Stanland. He has a chief helper in no 10, Daniel Korki, who was seconded to help Condleeza Rice when developing her transformational diplomacy (re wiki), which involves going east and installing US and EU democracy, as we tried in Iraq, Libya and Syria.Even the admired Barrack with his peace prize was employing Mrs Nuland to help the EU, with theirs, to help Ukraine join the fold. Unfortunately she became impatient with our unelected EU foreign minister and let her language slip. If anyone really enjoys a scary video just put the Spinelli president Guy Verhofstedt on Utube telling the EU Greek yoofs how they need to have more EU in order to get a job.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/15/of-course-our-city-fat-cats-love-the-eu–its-why-they-earn-so-mu/

        • stred
          Posted May 16, 2016 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

          Apologies. AS Dennis Coopers post points out below, it was the £90k/pa Eural aide Daniel Korski and not Korki who was helping Baroness Ashdown to not expand the EU into Ukraine and writing about Germany not wanting to be Eurofederal. He also had nothing to do with phoning the BCC and ending John Longworth’s job with them after he gave his unapproved pro- Brexit speech. etc ed

  4. Antisthenes
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Once a free trade area and a mechanism was set up to facilitate cross border cooperation that should have been it. It should not have continued on the path to political and economic union. By doing so the EU has made massive problems for itself and it’s members. By leaving well alone and allowing each member state to cooperate or not collectively or bilaterally the common market would have worked.

    As it stands it allows only one country to benefit from it Germany but even that is at a price that in the long run the Germans will find unsustainable. She cannot for ever prop up failing states. Austerity is her only safeguard against that but it does not work for some like Greece and those effected by it will not readily accept it more than once. The EU has turned into a nightmare project and will slowly but surely unravel it cannot keep having crises that it cannot address properly let alone solve.

    • getahead
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Antisthenes, you can´t say that the EU should not have continued on the path to political and economic union.
      The EU was a political undertaking right from the beginning. The common market was just a cover for greater ambitions.

  5. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    “It has destroyed the life chances of many young people”. You could almost be describing your government’s policies. An education system that constantly slips down the world rankings and leaves around 20% of them functionally illiterate to become zero-hours fodder. While those who emerge from the universities do so with a load of debt and only a 50% chance they will land a “graduate” job. Now what are the rates of youth unemployment in the UK and Germany again?

    • Qubus
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      DRW:
      ” While those who emerge from the universities do so with a load of debt and only a 50% chance they will land a “graduate” job.”
      Perhaps they should study medicine !

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 16, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        Not easy to get a place on medicine. Cheaper for the NHS to import doctors from the EU.

        Given the absurd complexity of Osborne’s tax system 50% of the population will need to be lawyers, government bureaucrats or tax accountants soon. Leaving only one or two left to do real & productive jobs.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Are 20% of the 18 year old school leavers ‘functionally illiterate’? Where did you get this information from? What areas of England? Have the children been in the British school system for the full 14 years?

      • Dame Rita Webb
        Posted May 16, 2016 at 3:49 pm | Permalink
        • getahead
          Posted May 16, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          It was (reputedly) Anthony Crosland´s dream to destroy every effing grammar school. That worked well.

        • a-tracy
          Posted May 17, 2016 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          Thank you, that article was six years old though. I wonder if any progress has been made by the High School pupils since the Conservatives took over in 2010, they will be the children taking their GCSEs this year and Michael Gove’s changes would have taken a bit of time to get going, it will be interesting to see if all of these changes he forced through have made any difference at all after the 20 years of static progress noted in the article even after the 13 years of ‘education, education, education!’ to 2010 when the article was written.

  6. Martyn G
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    John, re the establishment of a EU defence force, it seems that Germany has already been made a head start on it, when we see that:
    2014: The German Rapid Forces Division took over the Netherlands 11th Airmobile Brigade.
    2015: The German 1st Panzer Division took over the Dutch 43rd Mechanised Brigade.
    2016: Germany and Netherlands agree to combine naval forces.
    Naturally, it is said of course that this was the interests of mutual respect and friendship but it is quite clear that Germany commands this embryonic defence force and if we remain in the EU I suspect that Mr C, despite his oft-repeated statements that our armed forces will not be surrendered, will do so at the first opportunity.
    Boris might have chosen his words more carefully but, in essence, he was quite right because Germany, already the economic engine of the EU, intends to eventually command all EU regions (i.e. previously known as individual nations) with the establishment of the new German superstate backed by command of the so-called EU Defence Force. Dare one mention the word ‘Reich’ I wonder?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      It comes down to two questions:

      1. Can we be forced to accept this under the EU treaties that we have ratified?

      2. Will our politicians accept this even though legally we don’t have to accept it?

      Past experience shows that the second question is as important as the first.

      • Martyn G
        Posted May 16, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        Denis, I don’t know if we could be forced to join the EU Defence Force but there is little doubt that the present UK leadership would want to do so to show ‘solidarity’ in the best possible way.
        There is already a EU Navy to which part of our RN is committed and so far as I can see its HQ is at Northwood here in the UK. Quite how it all works I also know not!

        • Richard
          Posted May 17, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink

          I think you are right. We did not have to re-join the European Arrest Warrant, but we did anyway.

    • Bob
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Martyn G
      By the time people wake up to Germay’s military aspirations they will no longer be aspirations and it will be too late.

      When Nigel Farage first raised the issue of militarisation he was told by Nick Clegg that it was “dangerous fantasy”. Maybe it’s time for Mr Clegg to release his next “I’m so sorry” YouTube video.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 16, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        Nearly everything Clegg says (rather like Cameron) is wrong he needs a lot of I’m so sorry videos.

        So sorry – about the mess that is the NHS, the climate alarmism, the EU, the ERM, the EURO, the “renewable” energy, the magic money tree economics and the rest. Civil liberties is about the only thing he is occasionally right on.

    • bluedog
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      The word Reich is entirely appropriate. It would be unfair to accuse the Germans of deliberately taking over the EU, but their self-interest in the geographic centre of Europe somehow demands that they should. They have emerged, as always, as the senior partner.

      One hesitates to draw another parallel with past events, but it’s there too. A former journalist with a strong sense of history, very much part of the Establishment yet not trusted by it, is once again a voice speaking out against the government of the day. For all his faults, Boris is to be congratulated for raising the level of the debate to a point that undoubtedly leaves Cameron profoundly uncomfortable.

      There is an element of truth in the idea that Boris joined Leave as an exercise in product differentiation in his rivalry with Cameron. But having done so, he seems to be giving very deep thought to the matter at hand and is certainly pulling his weight. This writer has long urged a move against Cameron before the Brexit vote, and one sees renewed speculation on this possibility, but after the event. Why not before? Without Cameron, Remain collapses. It is frankly irresponsible that he refuses to debate his opponents on TV so the public can make comparisons about the competing offerings. The parliamentary Conservative Party should demand that Cameron participates in a live debate with Johnson, Gove or our blog host. If Cameron refuses, sack him. This is a matter of absolutely critical importance to the future of the United Kingdom.

      TheParliament next sits between 6th June and 15th June, and it will be interesting to see what transpires in that last session before the referendum.

      Reply There would not be a majority of Conservative MPs to vote Mr Cameron out of office at this juncture.

      • bluedog
        Posted May 16, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply. One must hope that the referendum will be the catalytic event that brings epiphany.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Martyn,

      Cameron will just do what the others have done who have gone before. They leave office and their EU mess behind them and congratulate themselves for doing such a wonderful job. They will carry little or no responsibility for the erroneous decisions they make, but will reappear from time to time to tell us what a fantastic institution the EU is, and that we should accept more of it.

      We need to hold these people to account for their falsehoods and treachery. Were laws in place to do just that, they might not be so keen to push us down the road of further integration in the first place. We’re just rubbing rags. Plebs to be manipulated on behalf of the corporate lobby. Only some us ain’t buying this pro-EU bull, and never will.

      Tad

  7. agricola
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Germany has benefitted from a weak Euro, in that she has earned much from exporting. You say that she will not accept large transfers from the rich to the poor parts of the EU. Effectively this means that she does not accept the responsibilities of being in a single currency covering areas of disparate economic performance.

    One can sympathise with her people when you read of the irresponsible way in which some members of the EU/Euro have run their economies. The real fault lies in allowing countries of poor performance and fiscal irresponsibility into the Euro Zone in the first place. Greece being the prime example.

    Problem was, and still is , that the EU is run by not overly bright politicians with eyes bigger than their bellies. They seemed to think that there is strength in numbers alone, not realising that by importing weak economies they were sowing the seeds of their own demise. Many still cannot see this and continue to gather doubtful nations about them.

    The simple way out is to contract the Euro Zone to countries of comparative performance and fiscal integrity. The EU could continue as a free trade area with all remaining counties running their own economies with their own currencies. If and when they get up to speed in all respects they could then consider joining the common currency.

    The EU must also tackle the democratic deficit. Without the consent of the people it is an improvised explosive device. In doing so they must also realise that within the Euro Zone the dominance of any one nation over the others is a recipe for disaster. It will be hard for Germany to accept that she has no more power than say Norway or Holland , but that is the way it has to be in an area of common currency. As we well know , it can at times be fractious within the Sterling area, but on balance it works.

  8. Horatio McSherry
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    John,

    While being wholly a Brexiteer, I love Europe deeply and I particularly have a soft spot for the Germans (who, for obvious historical reasons, generally get a bad rap in the press). I feel sorry for them as I genuinely don’t think they set out to be the over-arching force in the European Union; in fact I think they probably pushed closer union to show that they didn’t want that. Unfortunately you can’t change nature, and with a bit of forethought it was always going to happen, that a very industrious, technologically advanced nation would rise to be more powerful than the….sunnier…nations where it’s all a bit too much hassle. The more sinister political manoeuvring of the last decade by the German politicians I do think has been wholly planned, and that’s where the sympathy must end, as the more ambitious German politicians do see it as an excellent empire-building exercise.

    I think Germany compounded the original problem with wanting to try and show the less industrious nations how it should be done and tried to drag them along when they’re just not capable of such feats. Germany became the overly strict parent that the carefree, spendthrift child despises despite the best intentions of the parent. Like “spreading democracy”, the best option would have been to wait for those other nations to catch up and naturally become ready to join Germany and compete on a level playing field.

    The best result for everyone would be to find a good name for a German Exit.

    • Qubus
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Horatio:
      Good comment. I have many German friends and they are, on the whole, fine people: better mannered and better educated than the Brits.
      I think that, to a large extent, the Germans are still trying to compensate for WW2.

      • bluedog
        Posted May 16, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        The problem is that the Germans are not just compensating, they are over compensating.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted May 16, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        They are better educated because in German state schools there is rigorous selection by examination into different types of secondary school – like the old grammar/secondary modern schools here (but with one extra type). Maybe Germany should force us to adopt this approach in the interests of European convergence.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 16, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps post Cameron we can get back to some sensible streaming by aptitude in schools.

    • Qubus
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      All this reminds me of Francois Mauriac’s comment:

      I love Germany so much that I prefer there to be two !

  9. turbo terrier
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Brilliant piece John for me it ticks all the boxes.

    Is it any wonder that the Euro Zone is in crisis when they are not operating within the accepted guide lines of running big in this case massive organisations.

    Without proper controls and audits that can be seen to be have been signed off can and are very useful tools to identify areas of waste and abuse of the systems.

    The big problem with one major country seemingly pulling all the strings especially those controlling the money is that also like in business there is no form of real ownership within the union.

    The bigger worry it seems to be is fast approaching the critical stage is the state of the financial situation on Italy. Too big to fail? The whole Euro exercise is out of control and the wheels are starting to come off and is it not a train smash just waiting to happen?

    If Greece closely followed by Italy fail is that not going to be the start of the domino effect across the whole union? Again it is all about perception regarding the way these areas are being operated and managed. Unless there is proper accountability then how are they managed? Is it just a lick the finger and hope the wind is in the right direction moment.

    Having lived within the southern eurozone for a number of years I know that the local population had NO FAITH AT ALL in the way their country was being financally managed and a bit like within the UK the perception was that the politicians were only in it for themselves.

    Germany will only do what in the long term is best for them and I do not see them standing alone and taking the hit.

    I along with a lot of others often ask the question “if the UK failed how quick would we have been bailed out and at what price?”

    There is only one road for this country and like major reorganisations within large corporations, double check the figures, and change directions. The only road we have to follow if the country is to survive is out of Europe and find new the new roads to the bigger and better markets.

    OT. If Trump gets elected it will be interesting if the party keeps CMD in light of the news filtering across the pond. It will not only effect Dave there will be a number of high ranking politicians within the UK will wish they had kept their mouths firmly shut, especially here in dictatorship Scotland. Old American saying “don’t get angry get even”

    Ho hum what goes round comes round. The only constant in life is change.

    • Hope
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps Trump could follow Cameron’s actions and implement regime change for us.

  10. alan jutson
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Just like in the UK the general public in all of the Countries who are members have been mislead about the final solution, which is complete unification.

    The poorer Countries who joined more recently were tempted by what they thought was short term easy money.

    The general public throughout the EU are now beginning to wise up.

    Viewed “BREXIT the FILM” on line yesterday, an excellent production which should be screened by the main media outlets.

    Essential viewing for those who still want reasons and facts.

    You just need to google it for access, spread the word to those who are still undecided.

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Sorry folks.

      Should have been.

      “BREXIT the MOVIE”

      • agricola
        Posted May 16, 2016 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        First of all Alan thank you for drawing attention to this excellent film which I have Just spent one hour and nine minutes watching. It is without doubt the best and most comprehensive expose ( Sorry can’t do accents) of the iniquity of the EU I have experienced to date. It should be the task of the Leave campaign to get it broadcast at prime time on both the BBC , ITV and Channel 4. To our host and Leave I would ask what plans you have to achieve this.

        • Bob
          Posted May 16, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

          @agricola

          ” It should be the task of the Leave campaign to get it broadcast at prime time”

          This is a Leave campaign weakness, the film has been viewed mainly by people who already signed up for independence. The pro remainers would not watch it because it might offend them by upsetting some of their ingrained beliefs about the unmitigated goodness of the EU.

          UK broadcasters are largely controlled by trendy middle class champaign socialists (aka the Establishment) who believe it’s small minded and racist to want to live in a democratic and independent sovereign nation, although such belief only applies if you are English, for any other country it is considered a noble aspiration.

          Listening to LBC radio over the weekend it appears that none of the presenters had actually watched Brexit the Movie, and yet most of them profess to be undecided. Make of that what you want.

          The most likely way forward for the BBC will be to produce its own “balanced” and “unbiased” documentary featuring various pro remain celebs and media luvvies that will crammed with subliminal messages to help the voters to decide (to remain).

          The establishment are circling the wagons.

        • oldtimer
          Posted May 16, 2016 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          I think it unlikely that the main TV channels will broadcast it. You have to be “brave” to screen a Martin Durkin documentary in the sense that it could be a career threatening move for the commissioning producer – I think that he has written about this in the past. You may recall he produced and edited The Great Global Warming Swindle c 2006 or 7. This did not endear him to establishment figures because it challenged establishment group think. The best way the to get it seen is to spread the news about and links to the film.

          • Come On
            Posted May 16, 2016 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

            But surely there are loads of tech savvy people in this country or other countries, who could get it on the twitter sphere/facebook/WhatsApp/whatever.
            Obviously the TV isn’t going to broadcast it but youth don’t watch the 6 o clock news or listen to Radio 4. They watch whats “trending”
            Kids can hack into anything.

          • alan jutson
            Posted May 16, 2016 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

            Come On

            Exactly, the most simple thing to do is send the connection to everyone who you know who is undecided, or whom you think will pass it on again to others.

            Its the multiplier effect we need to get going to spread the word.

            Its not difficult, and we cannot simply sit back and leave this to others.

  11. DaveM
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Apart from anything else, why would we want to be part of an organisation led by a country which, since its inception, has succeeded in doing little apart from making itself rich? German statemanship and foregn policy over the past 150 years has been nothing but an unmitigated disaster; the repercussions are still seen in the middle east every day.

  12. mickc
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    The much criticised Nick Ridley was right, as many of us knew at the time.
    Dominic Lawson, now a prominent Outer, should have been ashamed of his conduct at the time, and more so now. But what are principles, compared to the scoop of a good story? No “off the record” as far as he was concerned….

    • Richard1
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      No, Nicholas Ridley, an otherwise sensible figure, was wrong and absurd to describe the EU as a ‘German racket to take over Europe’. If anything it was the opposite – a German attempt to buyr Germany within ‘Europe’. His remarks served only to drive Euroscepticism in the public mind to the extreme for 20 years.

      • The Prangwizard
        Posted May 16, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        If you are correct that they wished to ‘bury’ themselves, why are they so dominant now and making it clear they intend to remain so?

      • zorro
        Posted May 16, 2016 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        I think events since that time would tend to give a lie to your assertion…..

        zorro

  13. oldtimer
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that to vote Remain is as much as “leap in the dark”, to borrow a phrase, as to vote Leave. Voting Remain is a vote for a government of the bureaucracy, by the bureaucracy, for the bureaucracy. That bureaucracy is funded by Germany, its paymaster and principal beneficiary and, currently, to a lesser degree by the UK. I do not see the logic of the UK remaining in the EU and outside the EZ; and there is no logical reason to support the UK joining the EZ.

    It is manifestly clear that UK influence is minimal, as evidenced by the “thin gruel” that resulted from Mr Cameron’ negotiation and the 72 times that UK proposals have been voted down in the Council of Ministers.

    As you describe above, and have discussed many times, the EZ faces an unresolved issue of apparently unresolvable trade imbalances between Germany and most of its EZ partners. Whereas in the past these issues were resolved over time by currency adjustments. That mechanism no longer exists short of exit from the EZ. The risk for the UK is that if it Remains it will be dragged into paying for the costs of resolving the EZ crisis “in the interest of solidarity”.

    Far from being stronger in Europe, the chances are we will be weaker in Europe. That will not just a consequence of direct charges on the Exchequer but because of the curtailment of our freedom of action within the EU regulatory environment.

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      The Leave campaign needs to make it quite clear that if you remain in the EU your job is at risk. Its not hyperbole to say so, just ask the Cadbury’s workers in Bristol and those who formerly worked for LG in Hartlepool. Perhaps other readers can add to my list of jobs exported out of the UK too? As long as a company can arbitrage wages between the UK and Eastern Europe your job is at risk. Workers from Poland, for example, are known for their work ethic, level of education and willingness to work for less. Any factory based their also does not have to contend with the Channel/North Sea to get its products into France, Western Germany and Northern Italy where the customers are based.

      • Know-dice
        Posted May 16, 2016 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        DRW – Ford Transit from Southampton to Turkey.

        • Yosarion
          Posted May 16, 2016 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

          When you go, will you send back
          an apology, from the Bureaucrats

          Fishing no More
          ERF no More
          Foden no More
          Transit no More
          Fry’s no More
          Clarke’s no More
          Woolworths no More

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      You say – It seems to me that to vote Remain is as much as “leap in the dark”, to borrow a phrase, as to vote Leave.

      No it is far more of a leap in the dark and one why you have given up all the controls.

  14. lojolondon
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Yu are absolutely correct, John – Today the Biased BBC has a “Day of special coverage” and one of their key articles is “How global crisis got so bad”. The answer is that there have always been poor people in poor countries who looked to richer countries, but what really escalated this was Angel Merkel’s announcement that turned a trickle into a flood and a free-for-all. This crisis has entirely been manufactured, and it could be stopped within a day, but the people who care are not in power and the people in power do not care.

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Course it has. Remember last July when Mrs. Merkel reduced the little Palestinian girl to tears live on TV telling her that her family had to get out of Germany. Meanwhile Obama has also found a load of unaccompanied children from Central America that need to be resettled in the USA

  15. Bert Young
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Germany uses the EU as a means to its own end ; it is not – and never has been , a magnanimous country . This history surfaced in no uncertain way during the Bismarck period when grabbing for power was typical for most of the European countries at that time ; today Germany wants a low based currency to maintain its export programme and to keep its huge economic balance . Security and safety to a German is embedded in their way of life .

    The ability to hold the EU to ransom is no way for the ideology of a united Europe to succeed ; the cultural and ethnic divides are natural inhibitors for such an ambition as well as the natural suspicion that Germany will always want to be the supreme power . The UK is the thorn in Germany’s side and always will be as far as international clout is concerned ; they don’t want to pull the plug on us because we are their biggest European export market and the means by which the USA relationship is secured . Their falling population is another indicator of how much they depend on keeping their supply lines active – particularly with relatively low skilled labour ; in the past the gap was plugged with labour from Turkey ( is it any surprise that the proposed deal with Turkey has been spear headed by Germany ?).

    A united Europe has a basic appeal to all of us who remember in graphic detail what the horrors were of Hitler and all that he threatened and meant ; naturally we don’t want another thing like World War II again . What we want is co-existence , co-operation and independence for each European country . Helping each other by developing products and markets together and sharing educational programmes is the way to go ; the umbrella of the EU has failed and we had better move on from it .

    • DaveM
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Add to your final paragraph the fact that there is absolutely no requirement for political and financial union in order to assist other european countries with security. I wouldn’t refrain from telling my neighbour that he’s about to be burgled or murdered just because we don’t share a bank account or work for the same company.

      • stred
        Posted May 16, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        Was it correct that German plods did not bother to tell the French when they found the dodgy jehardis in a car with Paris on their satnav destination? Do they have contact numbers?

        • DaveM
          Posted May 16, 2016 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

          No idea Stred. But if that is the case it blows the whole Remain security argument out of the water.

  16. Shieldsman
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Yes , we are a semi-detached member and as such can have little if any influence on the future direction of the EU. That wonderful boast, “Our special status gives us the best of both worlds” is a myth, a meaning less phrase.

    Their is only one world in our EU membership and that is defined by the Lisbon Treaty with its previously negotiated opts out such as monetry union – the EURO. The February Brussels meetings changed nothing, there was no treaty change. So ‘I have reformed the European Union’ is another figment of the PM and the No.10 back office imagination.

    Of the promises made, the emergency benefits brake and the red card are unlikely to ever be enacted, there is too much opposition in the EU Parliament. Not being subject to those three little words ‘ever closer union’ is meaning less, they remain in the treaty to which the other 27 member States are subject.

    The vote.leave organisation are doing a lousy job of informing the Public of these facts -David Cameron is telling lies.

  17. lastchance
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    The intelligentsia have a few weeks to get the message across to the general population.
    The Brexit film is brilliant because it’s simple and clear.
    People in the media, EU officials and beneficiaries of EU largesse have no incentive to speak out. They are bought with super salaries or worse.
    That leaves the people with brains who haven’t been bought to get the message to the masses. especially the young who aren’t stupid, just uninformed.
    No point now debating the rights and wrongs of it all with those who know it’s wrong.
    The message has to go to the young.

  18. Richard1
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    I’d like to hear a properly set out reasoned argument from Leave as to why the loss of the EU financial passporting scheme won’t be a problem for the UK given some 2m people here work in financial services and the City is crucial to the economy. The latest prominent businessperson to assert this as a decisive argument for Remain is the CEO of Lloyds of London. The overwhelming view in the City is trading of euro denominated securities will move to the EU. Osborne is correct to assert – if this turns out to be true – that this means 10,000s of (highly paid) jobs. So far all I’ve heard from Leave is “there is no problem”.

    Reply
    1. I expect we will keep the passport system as a quid pro quo for not lifting car tariffs to 10%
    2.All large companies in London have subsidiaries in other EU countries so they can passport via those anyway, whilst still doing the work in London
    3. The main passported product, UCITs investment funds, are all located in Dublin or Luxembourg, not in London, so no problem.

    • Richard1
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the reply. 2, is the debtable one – whether it will work just to book trades electronically in an EU country whilst conducting relevant work in London.

  19. Vanessa
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    And because Cameron is so weak as to be unable to stand up to Merkel and think about anything in the best interests of Britain he is certainly the WRONG person to negotiate for us should we vote to leave – increasingly unlikely (he will be glad to know).

  20. acorn
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Germany has done really well by being in the Euro area. Without the Club Med countries holding down the Euro exchange rate, the natural order of things would have had the old Deutschmark appreciating, to try and balance out the huge 8.8% BoP Current Account surplus. Hence, Germany consistently breaks the 6% EU export surplus limit.

    The added beauty of this arrangement is Germany ends up with a lot of foreign currency, €600 billion Euro for starters. German workers are getting too small a share of that; hence, they are not spending enough to stop German inflation heading into negative territory. You have to do something with all those Euro; lending loads at cheap rates to fellow Euro users like Club Med is good. Even if some of them might not be able to pay it back. Anyway, that will be Mario’s problem, not Germany.

    Remember that every nation in the Eurosystem, is effectively using a foreign currency. Each of them has no national control over the interest rate or the net financial assets in the Eurosystem; the ECB does. Mario Draghi is both Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Governor of the Central Bank, at the same time!!! Crazy or what??? Currently, Germany is running a government budget surplus of “only” 0.7% of GDP, the above is why it is able to do so. The capitalist corporate sector must be stashing a lot of cash somewhere.

    With JR’s permission, it is worth trying to understand “Flow-of-funds and sectoral balances Posted on Tuesday, November 24, 2015 by bill” (Google it).

  21. forthurst
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    A Home Office Minister asserts that three million EU citizens living and working in this country ‘could’ have to be deported on Brexit. On Saturday, I had a conversation with a Polish woman who was concerned she might be deported; I happen to recognise her as she is a teller at my bank. An Italian man who has lived here twenty years and with two children of British nationality, expressed his disgust at what the EU had done to Italy and had not a good word to say for the former, but also expressed his disquiet at the possibility of being deported. As far as I’m aware international law prohibits mass deportations on regime change irrespective of any national legislation.

    How low can CMD stoop that he unnecessarily alarms millions of people who have been living, working and built their lives here? It becomes more and more apparent that CMD needs to go whatever the result since it is clear that he has staffed his regime with liars and incompetents like himself at every level; he needs to be replaced by someone who is not so stupid as to imagine that Merkel is his Auntie.

    Reply That is irresponsible and unfriendly talk. No-one legally settled here today will be deported on Brexit. EU migrants do not have a vote in the referendum so frightening them is not even a clever political calculation.

    • Peter Davies
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      I hope you are able to point this out in the Commons Mr Redwood

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      The EU migrants do not have a vote in the referendum, apart from the Irish and the Maltese and the Cypriots and any who have acquired UK citizenship.

      However many of them are now reasonably well or even deeply integrated, and there will be UK citizens who sympathise with them in the face of this vile threat from the Home Office, who do have votes and who will be inclined to use their votes to make sure that the EU migrants are not put at any risk of deportation, which means that they will vote for the UK to stay in the EU.

      Looking at this:

      https://www.legalcentre.org/uk-spouse-visa.html

      it seems to me that even if a non-EU foreign citizen is married to a UK citizen they still need a special spouse visa to be able to stay in the UK, and apart from the need to apply for it there is no guarantee that it will be granted, and that would be the new position of foreign EU citizens married to UK citizens if we voted to leave the EU and the government then carried out its threat.

      Moreover if the UK government did respond to a vote to leave the EU by ordering all the people from other EU member states out of the country then obviously that would greatly increase the risk that the governments of those other countries would retaliate against resident UK citizens, and of course many of those expatriates will have votes in the referendum.

      That is the despicable political calculation being made the government, JR, that by issuing this threat against blameless EU immigrants who are already resident in the UK, at their invitation, they can harvest the votes of two sorts of UK citizens – those resident in the UK who will sympathise with the immigrants, and the expatriate UK citizens who will fear for their own positions.

      Reply Parliament will not vote to kick out EU citizens currently resident in the UK -there would be nothing like a majority for it – and it would be illegal under international law which allows people legally settled to remain.

      • forthurst
        Posted May 16, 2016 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        “it seems to me that even if a non-EU foreign citizen is married to a UK citizen they still need a special spouse visa to be able to stay in the UK, and apart from the need to apply for it there is no guarantee that it will be granted”

        There was a recent case in which a woman born in this country but having been resident in the USA, had been married to a British subject and both had been alternating their domicile between the UK and the USA; with a child she was threatened with deportation, her visa application refused. Only an intervention deus ex-machina prevented the deportation taking place. Of course, the whole family is British irrespective of what their documentation suggests and yet were to be broken up to be replaced by hundreds of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers whose historical claim on this country is zilch and whose abilty to integrate is hardly likely to compare with someone who has never departed spiritually from their native roots in these islands wherever they may have lived abroad.

      • stred
        Posted May 17, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        The problem is that, as Forthurst points out, the Home Office can be completely irrational and immoral when it comes to who they pick on. They are happy to ignore millions who stay uncounted but use obcure rules to remove people that anyone with any sense would want to stay. Mrs May and Cameron have been responsible for this. The only way to put worried voter’s mind at rest will be to make it clear that if any such attempt were to be made to deport spouses or people who have already come and work, then Cameron and May will be removed and not the people they threaten.

        The 100 conservative Brexiteers should make a stink in the HoC to make this absolutely clear.

  22. Mike Wilson
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    It is worrying. Mr. Redwood’s position on the EU is precisely the position the Leave campaign should be making loud and clear. Yet the Leave campaign seems, to me, to be completely failing to get the point across. The regular commenters on here get it – but the same small number of people agreeing with Mr. Redwood is not going to get the message out there.

    I’d like to see dramatic action. I’d like to see Conservative MPs who support Brexit resign the Conservative Party whip and form an independent group – in protest at Cameron’s and ‘the Establishment’s hi-jacking and promotion of the Remain campaign. Michael Gove, for some reason, is the supposed leader of the Leave campaign. And he is an articulate and convincing advocate of Leave. I’ve seen him on the box once so far – on Marr. I see Cameron all the bloody time.

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Mike

      Can I suggest you google

      BREXIT the MOVIE.

      View it, and then pass it onto all people who you know, who say they want to know the real facts for leaving.

      If they do not get it after viewing this film then they never will.

      Our host even has a small part in it.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    I would be less concerned about Germany being the leading power in Europe if she was the champion of the nation states of Europe, and her established policy was always to act in defence of their individual national sovereignty.

    But that is not the case, in general the elite of German society favours the opposite, the gradual suppression of national sovereignty and the establishment of a sovereign federal United States of Europe, and inevitably that shapes German policy.

    Checking back in my files for a reference to a particular judgement of the German Federal Constitutional Court I happened across a comment that I made on a March 2010 article by one Daniel Korski, who has been in the news recently as one of Cameron’s special advisers, and “the most ‘ardent EU enthusiast to ever work for a Tory Prime Minister’ according to one Tory MP”:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3481342/ANDREW-PIERCE-PM-s-shadowy-hitman-phone-call-ended-career-pro-Brexit-business-chief.html

    The Spectator article is still here, shorn of the readers’ comments:

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2010/03/germany-to-the-eu-no-more-integration/

    “Germany to the EU: no more integration”

    In my comment on this 2010 article by a committed advovate of the EU who has since been advising Cameron on his EU “renegotiation” I mentioned this:

    “Remember that according to the German Federal Constitutional Court last June, the Basic Law “wants” European integration:

    https://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen/EN/2009/bvg09-072.html

    “The constitutional mandate to realise a united Europe which follows from Article 23.1 of the Basic Law and its Preamble means with regard to the German constitutional bodies that participation in European integration is not left to their political discretion. The Basic Law wants European integration and an international peaceful order.””

    The major obstacle to European integration identified by the court being the continued absence of a “uniform European people”, a pan-European “demos” which could form the basis for a pan-European “democracy”, which would then guarantee German citizens all the rights and freedoms that are presently guaranteed under the German Basic Law.

  24. Jack
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    When the ECB cut interest rates and began engaging in QE, portfolio managers (i.e. the Chinese) immediately sold their Euro reserves because they mistakenly believed that the actions of the ECB were inflationary. Real world evidence now absolutely shows that lower interest rates and QE are in fact deflationary via the interest income channel.

    But because the Euro has now been devalued, and Spanish wages have been massively pushed down by fiscal austerity, Spain’s economy has become more “competitive” and there is some mediocre growth as a result. However the export-led growth model is a long-term disaster and a terrible model to follow. The increase in exports by definition works to appreciate their currency to the point where their exports become unattractive again.

    Countries like Germany used to purposefully devalue their currency to get around this problem, but devaluing your currency directly lowers the living standards of your population. The best growth model for a currency-issuing government is to increase the government deficit via tax cuts or spending increases, depending on your political views, and then let the FX sector do its own thing and freely float.

    • Gary
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      as far as I know the d mark was always amongst the strongest, if not the strongest currency. the Germans did it the correct way, instead of short sighted devaluing , they increased productivity and innovation.

      • Jack
        Posted May 16, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Yes, hence why they bought so much foreign exchange (mainly dollars and lire) to keep their currency from becoming even stronger. Otherwise their export-led policy would have been self-defeating.

        All of our politicians have it backwards in relation to trade. They think artificially holding down real wages by devaluing the currency is a good thing because it means more exports, only they don’t recognise that if everyone did this then world trade would grind to a halt because of weak demand.

        Imports drive exports.

  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Rather amusingly there’s actually quite a lot of overlap between what Boris Johnson has just said, causing widespread outrage according to much of the media, and what the then EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said back in July 2007:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2Ralocq9uE

    “Sometimes I like to compare the European Union as a creation to the organisation of empires … the empires … because we have dimension of empires. But there is a great difference … the empires were usually made through force, with a centre that was imposing a diktat, a will on the others … and now we have what some authors call the first non-imperial empire … “

    • Know-dice
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Nice one DC…

      So Remainders are going to get a “non-imperial empire” by the Eurocratic back-door…

      Remain and be assimilated in to the collective “resistance is futile”, there will be no status quo – this will be the last chance of any freedom to control our own destiny.

      There is only one solution, vote leave on the 23rd June…

  26. Peter Davies
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Its funny, someone sent me a translated document the other day which was the template for a European State referred to as the “European Economic Community” which formed the template of what we are seeing under the guise of the EU and originated from the Nazis in 1942. The plan was to create a single customs union and currency, with Vichy states answerable to a supranational govt based in berlin.

    The plan was to de industrialize the UK etc…..

    I’m no historian but the similarities between this plan and what we see now in the guise of the EU are striking and so many of our political classes have swallowed this hook, line and sinker.

    Why anyone in the UK thinks its a good idea to sit with one foot in and one foot out of this block is beyond me. Let the EU do its think and lets move aside and let them get on with it.

    Reply There is no similarity, as the Nazi scheme was based on conquest and mass murder.

    • Ken Moore
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Are you sure about that John Redwood ?. To say there is no similarity is naïve.
      The destination is the same but the route taken is very different.

      Instead of being taken over by bombs and bullets ,those seeking a United States of Europe have switched tactics.

      Bullying was a feature of Nazi Germany ..something it does have in common with the Eu commison…
      http://www.brugesgroup.com/quotes/the-eu-constitution-in-their-own-words

  27. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    If we had been defeated in two world wars.Had our politics decided by Germany, USA and the Soviet Union at Yalta in 1945. Been the devilish subject of every movie and drama of import for half a century and more, showing our humiliating defeats and general extremely bad behaviour of our citizens …picturing us as demons, mass murderers, a big wall dividing London for years. Occupied continually by foreign troops. Hmm:-
    What would be our modus operendi in regard to the EU…overt and covert? Being a thoroughly good egg of course.

  28. Atlas
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Well put John.

    I would only add that the Franco-German EU Empire of a decade or two ago has recently become a Germano-French Empire, with the rise and fall of economic clout.

  29. James Winfield
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    This is why we need to stay in the EU and play a starring role in reforming it.

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      James

      40 years of trying and we have had nothing but abject failure in trying to modify it from the inside.

      Pray tell us what you would do that is different from the past 72 times we have tried to alter policy, when 72 times we have been voted down.

      How many times do you have to hit your head against a brick wall before you decide enough is enough.

  30. Gary
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    “whilst Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy are unable to make themselves as competitive as Germany and sell enough back to Germany to right the imbalances”

    why not? what about specialization, are they do incapable that there is absolutely nothing in their countries that gives them an advantage?

    and devaluation is a fools game. it lasts as long as the input inventories remain stocked and then when they must be replenished with a weaker currency the costs skyrocket and they worse off than before devaluation.

  31. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    One problem with the concept of the EU is that countries such as Germany, France and the UK talk of their “Leading Role ” in it.

    Mr Cameron; a Lucky-Bag of Lib-Dem leaders; and, Mr Hilary Benn have pointed from time to time of Britain leading….etc.

    Looking at the history of each country in the EU and those aspiring to membership …NO..I don’t mean looking at our own history books in regard to them but their OWN histories…they cannot be lumped together as single entities. Each of them and with their various and diverse internal populations has fought fearsome internal and external battles for independence, autonomy. It is the only way they have survived.
    National pride, religious pride, even ideological pride are whether we like it or not prime motivators of a country’s stability and strength. Their reason of being. Their birth certificate and baptism.

    The EU cannot be a sum of its parts and certainly not more than a sum of its parts. If so, its individual constituent parts would disintegrate. Disintegrate the EU.
    This is what we behold in Europe now. Our media this week have failed largely to cover the week-long strike of the labour unions in France. The failure of Greece to pay its due debt to the IMF and others, the strikes in Greece, the declarations from several EU states that their last economic-quarters’ recorded the worst economic performances in their histories;- the very recent sexual gang attacks in Germany post Cologne and the ultimatums to the EU by the Visegrad countries of the EU and a whole host of other EU state developments which cut the Remain camp and their goofy Big Business supporters like snipped credit cards.
    The EU is over, bar the shouting, bar the referendums.

    • peter davies
      Posted May 17, 2016 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      To sum it up it has no “demos”

  32. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    As ever, Germans are superb engineers and businessmen but politically are not fit to lead.

    • peter davies
      Posted May 17, 2016 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      I think you are spot on there. They are extremely mechanical in their thinking which equips them well for process following for manufacturing etc and logical thought for business but may not equip them so well for international diplomacy.

  33. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    The Epistle from Saint Juncker to the Spaniards beseeching them to give alms and succour to their quota of refugees from Syria Turkey and Greece did not fall on fallow ground nor did they react like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear.
    Unfortunately, and not mentioned by our media at all, less than 200 of those under bombing and gas attack have landed on the beloved earth of España.
    The refugees don’t want to go and live in Spain.

    • bluedog
      Posted May 16, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      The Reconquista casts a long shadow.

  34. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Calais is verboten on our TV screens. Less than 600 migrant refugees/migrants were moved to places within France. Others have quickly replaced them living in customary fashion. Total=well over 3,500 and growing.
    Thanks to certain virtue-signallers of the Remain Campaign, it is a safe bet unaccompanied children will be in increased numbers as they can get through the UK borders with the greatest of ease followed by their families and those pretending to be family members.

  35. They Work for Us?
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Thank you once more for a clear exposition on German motives and actions.
    Mischievously, since the Germans are not very popular with most EU countries, an effective UK leader would play the proper EU game.
    I.e. Have a meeting with other EU leaders without Germany, stitch up a policy, present the policy and vote it through by Qualified Majority Voting and inform Frau Merkel of the size of the bill Germany is required to pay. If they refused, call on them to be “Good Europeans” and to show “Solidarity. But wait that would require a UK leader and a Foreign Office that were on our side and acting in our best interests.

    Reply There are limits to the bill allowed under QMV

  36. Ken Moore
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    “One of the reasons so many voters are unimpressed by Mr Cameron’s renegotiation is he did not stand up to Mrs Merkel.”

    Why would David Cameron stand up to Mrs Merkel ?. He’s far more likely to offer them his well used begging bowl than a frank piece of advice.

    As I have said before back when so called sensible people were still describing him as a ‘euro sceptic’…DC is an England hating, anti conservative revolutionary liberal who idolises the life and works of Tony Blair. Sucking up to the Germans and Chinese fits his scorched earth modernising agenda perfectly…

  37. Margaret
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t that just what DC is a semi detached member. We Brexit’s are more detached and know we can make it on our own but amongst all the terraces and flats in the EU the acres of available growth are kept for the German rich. They have the surplus.

  38. ian
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    MRS .T . 1988 Bruges speech, well worth another look, explains why Uk might vote leave and why Europe went wrong.

  39. zorro
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry that you didn’t want to publish comments on BJ’s comments on Germany. I was trying to show that he was being consistent now in that he had said practically the same thing in a DT article in 2002 (see here)…. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/3578741/Whats-Hitler-got-to-do-with-the-euro-Everything.html

    And the other day….. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/14/boris-johnson-the-eu-wants-a-superstate-just-as-hitler-did/

    It doesn’t matter about the means (relevant to the project) it is the result that counts….

    zorro

  40. john Robertson
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Regulators and Globalists and Empireists

    All want one thing

    The easier administration and subduction of the masses

    We have a rare chance to vote on:

    Globalism

    This is not a vote about being European, this is about voting for or against Globalism.

    What regulators and globalists don’t like is eole with a vote. They want to look after a few entities, charge them lots of money and that makes their job easy and well paid.

    Thats what the USA wants.

    They don’t want to deal with 30 or 40 or 50 countries in Euro Asia, they want one entity. They don’t want to deal with my or your vote, they want that diminished.

    A vote against Globalists and a vote for out is a vote for diversity

  41. Chris S
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    The picture of the Chancellor standing side by side with Cable and Balls was a spectacular own goal for the Remain side and George Osborne.

    For the average Brexiteer or Conservative waiverer, there can be no politicians more hated and discredited than Cable and Balls.

    Who can forget having to listen week after week to Cable doing everything possible to undermine the coalition and even his own party leader ?

    Then we have Balls and his constant warnings of dire economic consequences over the whole of the last parliament only for one after another of them to be proved false.

    Both of these losers have zero credibility in the minds of voters, particularly Conservatives, so associating himself with them can only be counterproductive for Osborne. It has a whiff of desperation about it.

    In the unlikely event that Osborne makes it onto the ballot paper for the next Conservative leader, the picture of him with Cable and Balls will be wheeled out to remind Conservative MPs of the depths to which he was prepared to stoop to try and win the referendum.

  42. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    A good ole ironical belly laugh can be obtained by any Conservative minded person and sadness and varying amounts of tears by persons of Old Labour and in fact New Labour when listening to the contribution of Ms Helen Goodman, Labour MP for Bishop Auckland in her questioning of Matthew Elliot, Vote Leave.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07dbwlw/select-committees-14052016

    In my opinion…the irony of a Labour MP arguing against democracy and citing the advantages of monopolistic pharmaceutical companies having a singular regulatory regime of the EU is the most right-wing stance I have ever heard. Further Right than any Labour Party position. Further Right than I have heard expressed by any UK Conservative even those deemed Eurosceptic…in fact, she was arguing against same…Her stance and thread of questioning appeared more right-wing than any of the even fringe right-wing parties and groupings within the UK and within Europe.
    Etc ed

  43. Chris S
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Several contributors have asked why Cameron is so keen to stay in.

    I still firmly believe he has a promise of a top EU job if he delivers the head of the Lion on a platter to Frau Merkel.

    What other explanation can there be for the lies, half truths and downright ludicrous warnings he is putting out during the referendum campaign ?

    For Europe, to have the former Prime Minister of a major EU country as President of the Commission (as long as it’s not Blair ), would be a real coup after the succession of lightweights and former failures we have seen leading Brussels.

    For Britain this would be the most dangerous outcome as Cameron will know every stroke to pull to further undermine our sovereignty and independence and he will use them.

  44. petermartin2001
    Posted May 17, 2016 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    It will be thus, because Germany runs a massive surplus not just with us but with most other countries in the EU and has become the paymaster of the Eurozone.

    A national surplus should not be compared to a company profit which I think is the implication here. Profits can be shared and the money spent. A surplus cannot be spent otherwise it would not be a surplus.

    The German surplus is money entering Germany that does not come out as a payment. It may come out as a loan, but that is just putting those borrowers ie the debtor countries, further into debt which they will never be able to repay because the surplus countries are continually sucking euros out of their economies.

    That’s not being a paymaster.

  45. Chris S
    Posted May 17, 2016 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    I would second Tad Davison’s suggestion above on reading up on Yanis Varoufakis. ( On Youtube search for ‘Brexit Why leave the EU’. )

    I’ve just finished reading his book on his experiences as Greek finance minister entitled “And The Weak Suffer What they Must ?”

    I can’t imagine anybody reading it and voting for Remain.

    Yanis is a Biker like me and although he’s of the far left, in his views, there is a great deal else we have in common.

    In the book he looks at the post war intertwined history of US and European economics and in particular the whole history of the Euro. He confirms that those who proposed the single currency knew it would fail without full political and fiscal integration but that they also knew that Europe was not ready for the resulting loss of sovereignty.

    The proponents of the Euro genuinely thought that the currency would bring those countries together and that then the people would vote for integration. Yanis, however, gives examples to show that in every other failed currency union, the opposite has always been the case and history is repeating itself before our eyes with the Euro.

    The real thrust of the book is the treatment of the Governments of the countries that found themselves in real financial trouble because of the Euro and especially Greece.

    As many of us who read in depth about it at the time know, the Greek bailout was nothing more than a cynical exercise by Merkel to save German and a few French and Cypriot banks. Of the £300m in bailout money lent to Greece, it was a requirement that 90% had to be used to buy back worthless Greek debt predominantly from German and French banks to keep them afloat. The Greek people saw none of that money.

    Instead of a 75-80% haircut which would have been justified, the Greek people, already up to their ears in Sovereign debt, were saddled with the extra €300m from which they can never recover.

    Yet behind the scenes right now a new Greek debt crisis is brewing and the paymasters of the EU are still arguing again for extended terms on existing loans rather than a haircut in order to grant another €80 to repay sovereign debt due in July. The IMF is threatening not to sign up to the deal without debt relief, a real problem for Merkel because IMF participation is a condition for German politicians to go along with it.

    Merkel and Schäuble have already forced the Greek Parliament to drive through a further €3.8bn of austerity measures which again resulted in demonstrations and petrol bombs being thrown outside the Greek parliament in April.

    Heroic attempts are being made to keep this unedifying spectacle largely under wraps until after our referendum, one suspects because it would go down very badly, particularly among the Left, and would likely trigger Corbyn and Co. to break ranks and campaign for what they really want : Brexit.

    Read Yanis’ book !

  46. Edward.
    Posted May 17, 2016 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Very much agree with this post, I’d go further Mr. Redwood, I appreciate that, you cannot.

    What I will say, fortunately for Europe, German ambitions, militarily always thoroughly outmatched her logistical ability to prosecute said ambition.

    However, the German political clique in alliance with the German corporate industrial nexus and which runs the EU through Brussels, writing the rules and designing legislation which suits only Germany, the € which is an economic Godsend for Germany, the single currency, all in: cements the German hegemony.

    Surely it can be no secret that, Berlin runs Europe and the EU. Boris’s artful intervention has set this nation, the country to talking, as it was intended so to do.

  47. Chris S
    Posted May 17, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    IF the Germans were good Europeans in the true spirit of the word, they would be building new factories in the regions where they sell products and there is high unemployment.

    This would go a long way towards reducing their surplus and helping their less fortunate neighbours like Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Ireland to reduce their deficits.

    Sadly all they are doing is adding more production in Germany and a little in Poland while sitting by watching young people in the ClubMed countries lying idle for lack of opportunities. Not everyone wants to live and work in Germany.

    In fact, one major motor German manufacturer is proposing to close a factory in France making gearboxes and move production to China. Not much sign of solidarity there, then.

    It’s also another perfect example, like the transfer of Ford Transit production from Southampton to Turkey, that it no problem at all producing manufactured goods in a country outside the single market and sell goods within it.

  • About John Redwood


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

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