More EU or better EU?

Mrs Merkel went to Ventotene yesterday to meet the Italian and French leaders to try out her latest sound bite. She says she wants a better EU, not more EU.

The meeting however was full of images and associations pointing to more integration and more EU. Ventotene itself was chosen as the island where Spinelli and Rossi wrote their manifesto for a federal Europe. The three leaders commemorated his impulse to EU integration at his grave whilst there.  They highlighted the work of the Garibaldi, the Italian aircraft carrier leading the EU Sophia naval mission to tackle migrant smugglers and assist with Libya. These were not convenient or easy venues, so someone wanted to make strong points that with the UK leaving the EU can get on with more integration and more common foreign policy , more common borders  and security policy.

In practice France and Italy do want to press on with more EU involvement and integration, but they also want to relax the German controls over the purse strings. France wants much more EU infrastructure investment to boost economies. Italy wants to relax the 3% budget deficit ceiling imposed on Euro area members and strongly recommended to non Euro members. France too would probably welcome fiscal relaxation at the national level. Germany will be unwilling, feeling that more borrowing by less prudent states will end up with Germany paying more of the bills. Germany is always ready to remind anyone who will listen that they get on just fine in the Euro with a large balance of payments surplus, so why don’t the others?

Mrs Merkel will return from her needlessly complex travels in Italy to receive various EU leaders at Schloss Meseberg near Berlin. There she will have to reassure the Scandinavian EU members and the Netherlands that their worries about too much EU interference and too much migration will be tackled, just after hearing the case for more integration in Italy. They will  be followed by eastern European leaders wanting to know that freedom of movement will still be untouched and that subsidies will still flow to the lower income countries after the loss of the UK contributions.

The French President is in a weak position domestically, with polls pointing to his exit at the forthcoming Presidential election. He now faces an opponent from the left wanting to restore more national independence, as well as the attack by the National Front. The Italian Prime  Minister has committed himself to a constitutional referendum which he may  not be able to win, which is damaging his standing.

When the three leaders say they want a reset, a new EU rebuilt from the bottom up, they are all acknowledging that the EU project is losing support and traction in their own countries and making their political positions difficult. Yet when you listen to what they want to do about it, they sound boxed in. They cannot easily change the Treaties or relax the laws that bite from the EU. They are unable to sort out the migration issues posed by common frontiers.  They cannot even agree amongst themselves to relax the controls on spending and borrowing. So they stand on an Italian aircraft carrier talking of more co-operation, when their grip on events is loosening.

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154 Comments

  1. Posted August 23, 2016 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    Indeed.

    A better EU not more EU. A better EU would surely be as little EU as possible.

    Has Mrs May decided what Brexit means Brexit actually means yet?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/22/the-vast-forces-of-the-anti-brexit-elite-are-already-regrouping/

    It Mrs May one of these?

    Or is she still trying to bask in the reflected glory of the Olympics? Or is she perhaps still pushing ahead with her idiotic proposals relating to the (essentially non existent) Gender Pay Gap and workers and customers on boards?

    Perhaps she should start to do something with the appallingly structured NHS as Jeremy Warner suggests. After all it has deteriorated even further under “my priority in three letters the NHS”.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/08/22/our-nhs-is-struggling-to-survive-in-its-current-form-time-for-a/

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 5:25 am | Permalink

      Is Theresa ever going to make her mind up on Heathrow and Heathwick too? Rather less than four years left until the next election after all and changes take time to have any effect. What is she waiting for? Put those silly walking poles away and get on with something sensible for a change. Set a low/simpler taxes, cheap energy, bonfire or red tape, small government agenda and get on with it.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/08/22/why-a-third-runway-at-heathrow-would-help-the-uk-thrive-in-a-pos/

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        What can you expect? That “speech” outside number ten was a statistical list of what Bevin would have called “clitch after bloody clitch” and who compiled it? For that matter, who leaked the honours list? Sir Coverup is to enquire so we may or may not find out.

        • Posted August 24, 2016 at 5:08 am | Permalink

          Indeed it was rather dire, lefty and still in the dire Cameron mode. She even said:-
          “I have just been to Buckingham Palace, where Her Majesty the Queen has asked me to form a new government, and I accepted.

          In David Cameron, I follow in the footsteps of a great, modern Prime Minister. Under David’s leadership, the Government stabilised the economy, reduced the budget deficit, and helped more people into work than ever before. But David’s true legacy is not about the economy, but about social justice.”

          David’s true legacy is having used tax payers money, all the arms of government, threat of higher interest rates and emergency budgets and project fear to try to trick the voters into staying in the EU. Thank goodness he failed and we hopefully will finally escape.

          A fabulous thing but achieved despite his effort not because of them. He lied, cheated and deceive the voters using their own money to try to destroy the remaining, residual UK democracy for ever. His other legacy is an NHS that was poor when he started and is even more dire now. This despite it being his priority in three letters.

          A man with some superficial PR/sales skills in the dodgy second hand car dealer mode, but using a compass that was always 180 degree out. What sensible person would have employed George Osborne as Chancellor for example?

          https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/political-parties/conservative-party/news/77261/prime-minister-theresa-mays-full-statement

          • Posted August 24, 2016 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

            You don’t mention homosexual marriage which she hailed as the last PM’s legacy. In fact it was pushed through by her and by Lynne Featherstone, at the latter’s insistence. It wasn’t in the manifesto and it involved a lot of going to the Continent to push it through tactically that way. They took the Conservative Party by surprise and then people didn’t like to oppose it in case other people made them out to be homophobic.

            What on earth did they think they were doing when there was so much serious and urgent work to be done at the Home Office? Our borders, the patrol boats, the morale of the police, the million plus illegal immigrants, the trafficking of schoolgirls across England, including their torture and rape? The growth of a parallel legal system and no-go areas? You can no doubt add to it. As for their obsession with “hate crime” which doesn’t include real misogyny and racism…

            I am grateful to the last PM for inadvertently giving us the chance to get out of the EU. I still can’t believe he did it. But his appointment of token women, of which she is the chief, didn’t benefit any of us and they haven’t shown him gratitude. Mrs Thatcher, Mrs Rumbold, and Mrs Shepherd all got there on merit, and in spite of being women.

          • Posted August 25, 2016 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

            I am afraid the motive for her time consuming volte face on homosexuality was her longstanding ambition to become PM. She had voted against a string of homosexual reforms in the past but then realized this wouldn’t look good in the Bubble. So she started manoevres on the subject in an underhand way that paid off. The upshot was that she was passed off by her spin doctors as socially progressive while Mrs Leadsom who had adopted an idealistic and sincere position on the question of marriage was made out to be the opposite. This was crucial in the struggle to get to number ten unopposed.

            How much better it would have been had she and Lynne Featherstone shown some concern for the national emergency of out of control mass immigration. Non EU mass immigration was and is higher than the EU influx. Or the scandal of 100,000 schoolgirls, some as young as 11, being kidnapped, raped, and tortured.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 5:50 am | Permalink

      Dear Lifelogic–Yes, Lord Tebbit was brilliant as usual, my one quibble being that he has jumped on the social mobility bandwagon re grammar schools. The way I see it mobility might be an added benefit but not the main event at all, which is academic excellence pure and simple, including compulsory Latin.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        Hear, hear Leslie. We want excellence in education for its own sake, to keep it alive [have we even got an educated class left to teach in the possible new grammar schools?] for the good of the country. Communist countries always understood this which is why our Eastern Europeans are so much better educated to this day. No obsessing about social mobility for them.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        As someone who suffered compulsory Latin for 5 long, tedious years – all I can say to you is ‘NO THANKS’. I really don’t know why Caesar didn’t just wipe out the Belgians. It would have saved a lot of my brain that could be used to know better things than how to conjugate verbs in 6 tenses and which of the any 36 ways of using the same adjective is correct. Utter bloody madness.

        • Posted August 24, 2016 at 3:41 am | Permalink

          Dear Mike–OK–It takes all kinds–I had a good and thorough education (not PPE though) of which virtually nothing remains in my head. Latin on the other hand I use without fail every single day and wish I could learn more. It was a blow a while back to learn that Councils no longer give Evening Classes.

          • Posted August 25, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink

            “I had a good and thorough education” Clearly not Oxford PPE then! It surely goes with saying.

          • Posted August 25, 2016 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

            Postscript to Lifelogic–Half right

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        I was grateful for my classical education including compulsory Latin and non-compulsory Greek, and I should like to see similar opportunities made available to any child that could benefit from them; but there are other excellencies as well as the purely academic that we should be encouraging. The 1944 Education Act which helped youngsters like me to go to an excellent grammar school also planned for technical schools which never seemed to get off the ground. This is a pity. We need young people with technical skills to be identified and nurtured for the benefit of the individual and the country. Germany’s pre-eminence in engineering and manufacturing is not an accident. They encourage practical and technical skills in specialist schools. We need to emulate them. We are an incredibly inventive and ingenious nation with talents that should be exploited.

  2. Posted August 23, 2016 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    That different groups of countries (Nordic, South, Visegrad) want different things is nothing new and no reason for me to be concerned. This is also always the case within the various countries and just part of western democracy. In difficult times a way forward has always been found and it will not be different this time. It will be slow, and it would not be good for one group of countries to completely dominate the debate. It would actually be good for some of the British friends to stop hoping for EU disintegration and start working on its own project, restoring British democracy, which may easily take another ten or twenty years: abolishing the unelected House of Lords, changing in the voting system at UK level into something more democratic, representative and proportional (maybe the Scottish system could be a way forward for the UK), deal with the too great inequality in the class-based society and find a new, post-EU identity.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 5:52 am | Permalink

      A new post EU identity? Kindly get knotted.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      I will still hope for EU disintegration because I believe it would be better for many of the countries involved and I don’t see it as being in our long term interests to have the rest of Europe consolidated in a potentially hostile federation.

      However there is a difference between passively hoping for something and actively seeking it, and I don’t see it as being in our shorter term interests to actively work for the rest of the EU to break up.

      Part of Cameron’s “deal” was a pledge that the UK would not try to impede the further integration of the other EU countries, and although under its own terms that “deal” became a dead letter when we voted to leave the EU I think we should stick with that attitude at least for the time being.

      We don’t want to give other EU governments any reason for intransigence during withdrawal negotiations, making them think that they should attempt to inflict that “punishment beating” predicted by one Labour MP, even though that would hurt them at least as much as it would hurt us.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        @Denis: I won’t deny that I see serious issues in the remaining EU and eurozone which yet have to be resolved. At the same time I believe that there has always been too much disconnect between the British and continental mindsets to go for British advice. These mindsets are currently simply too different and if I had more time and space I could try and illustrate it from recent history. I don’t see any “punishment” on the horizon, there may be tough negotiations but in business terms there is far too much common interest.

        • Posted August 24, 2016 at 8:14 am | Permalink

          Why don’t you just face reality ? The UK has never belonged in the EU because the UKs history and culture are so radically different. You Continental Europeans should acknowledge this simple fact and seek to form a realtionship with the UK of mutual interest.

        • Posted August 24, 2016 at 8:56 am | Permalink

          Banning burqas on beaches we British would not do. It is the antithesis of Britishness.

          What on earth do the French think they are doing ?

          We had to abandon habeas corpus to converge with the EU justice system.

          The EU was designed to prevent a Continental problem: ie the emergence of strident dictators and to prevent Germany invading France for a fifth time.

          None of these problems have afflicted Britain. Our ‘tabloid minded’ people were able to prick the grand designs and pomposity of dangerous leaders through lampoonery in the free press – by blowing raspberries rather than having full-on revolutions.

          The last revolution we had was the Industrial one – which brought massive good to mankind.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      PvL

      One thing at a time.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      EU disintegration is about the only way we’re getting out of it.

      As I’ve said many times before. The most oppressive and determined EU officials are in the British Government, the British civil service and the British judiciary.

      For this reason readers must get used to the idea that we are NOT leaving the EU.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        There is certainly some doubt about whether the will of the British people as expressed in the referendum will be allowed to prevail. However I think that while there are enemies of our national democracy trying to overturn the verdict of the people oddly enough they are in this country, rather than in the rest of the EU as might have been expected on precedents. Those leading the other countries now seem resigned to our withdrawal, and would like us to get on with it, and will not take kindly to any attempts to negate the referendum decision. This may come as something of a surprise, but on reflection I suppose that if they really cared about keeping us in the EU then they would have given Cameron worthwhile concessions rather than sending him back with a “deal” which invited ridicule.

        • Posted August 23, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

          I believe you are right that the key national leaders in the EU are reconciled to us leaving and probably want us gone ASAP to remove a distraction.The problem is definitely here where we still appear to have an imperial class in search of an empire to run.

        • Posted August 23, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

          Nonesense.

          The reason they didn’t offer Cameron any concessions was because they thought we would never leave (as did Cameron).

          They’re about to lose a major proportion of their income – it’s they that must negotiate with us, not us with them, because we hold the trump card – money.

          • Posted August 24, 2016 at 6:26 am | Permalink

            Well, our net contribution to the EU budget is about 8% of the total spending. That is to say, if you take our contribution off the revenue side but also take the money we get back off the expenditure side then there will be a shortfall of about 8%. I’m sure they’d all prefer not to have that shortfall but on the other hand there are advantages for some of them in no longer having us in the EU dragging our feet and holding them back.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        There is another route, but little known or publicised. Perfectly legal, legitimate, and far quicker than the elephant trap of invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
        It is to invoke rather the Vienna Convention on Treaties and two Articles directly apply to the UK in the present situation post referendum – that of Article 49 (to do with fraud by any one party – in this case the EU and also our original accession to the EEC).
        Then Article 62 – to do with “a fundamental change of circumstances” having taken place in the UK since our accession. These fundamental changes are many and have accumulated over a period of years due to the growing power and input of the EU into our domestic affairs, but also principally the result of the biggest referendum turnout recorded in the referendum and its significance for UK/EU relationships.
        It is time to invoke the VCT to avoid at least two more years of barren and expensive EU membership and interminable “negotiations” for possibly two years which is now totally alien to all that we voted for.

        • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

          @Graham Wood: Each and every treaty change has been co-designed and voted through by the UK governments and parliaments of the day. Not much chance for your course of action, but please try if you wish.

        • Posted August 24, 2016 at 6:50 am | Permalink

          If you’re talking in terms of so-called “international law” then the only legal route out of the EU is through Article 50 TEU. That is because when the UK ratified the Lisbon Treaty we agreed inter alia that if we or any other member state wished to leave then that would be the procedure adopted, and that specific exit provision enshrined in the EU treaties takes precedence over any general provisions in the Vienna Convention. However if the other governments proved obstructive during the Article 50 procedure ultimately the UK is a sovereign state and could simply abrogate the EU treaties.

          I think it has to be borne in mind that we want to make agreements with other countries around the world and it is crucially important that they see us as a trustworthy counterparty. Agreeing that if we wanted to leave we would use Article 50, but then deciding not to use Article 50 without any arguably good cause and justification, would certainly damage our international reputation.

          Reply Art 50 says we can leave using our own constitutional arrangements, so lets just do it.

          • Posted August 24, 2016 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

            No, it doesn’t say that, it says that we can DECIDE to leave in accordance with our own constitutional requirements, that is to say we do not have to ask any external body for permission before we make that decision.

            Then having taken that unilateral decision that we will leave we notify the European Council that we intend to leave, and that starts the process of withdrawal.

            http://www.lisbon-treaty.org/wcm/the-lisbon-treaty/treaty-on-European-union-and-comments/title-6-final-provisions/137-article-50.html

            http://www.lisbon-treaty.org/wcm/the-lisbon-treaty/treaty-on-European-union-and-comments/title-6-final-provisions/137-article-50.html

            “1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

            2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention … ”

            Reply IDont agree with your reading.We can leave according to our own constitution. Whats not to like

          • Posted August 27, 2016 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

            Under the terms of Article 5o it is the member state’s decision to leave which will be “in accordance with its own constitutional requirements”, that is to say a unilateral national decision to leave, rather than the withdrawal itself. That subsequent step will obviously need the other member states to agree to new arrangements if it is to be an orderly withdrawal, as intended.

            This is just a variation on a standard formula which has been used ever since the Treaty of Rome, “in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.”

            Reply Not what it says.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        If you’d agree on having been cheated twice (1975, 2016) why not a third time? Still, I don’t expect it to come to that.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      The EU cannot even claim to be democratic or a union of equal countries whilst Germany tells everyone else what to do,fixes things to her own advantage and ignores the rules when it suits her. no matter what damage it does to other EU countries (inviting unlimited immigration). It is all very well these leaders cosying up together for self important jollies to plan the future of the EU but is it what their citizens want -and do they care if they do or not? They certainly will not ask them.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        @Liz: I don’t think that the British referendum has been really an advert for a truthful referendum, it doesn’t make me a big supporter of referendums. For complicated issues we have representative democracies. The “cosying up” leaders have all been democratically elected. The one unelected government leader (Theresa May) is not among the cosy club anymore.

        • Posted August 24, 2016 at 6:52 am | Permalink

          If it had been a completely truthful referendum then there would have been a much greater majority for leaving.

        • Posted August 24, 2016 at 8:20 am | Permalink

          No. ‘Remain’ lied, lied and lied again. The reason we ended up having a referendum was because the political class (present company excepted) more or less as a whole were completely out of step with the publics wishes, just as they are in the Netherlands. You recently had a referendum on the Ukraine cooperation agreement, which you all rejected. Your government has ignored that result. You also rejected the EU Constitution (Remember that ??) but you had it rammed down your throats anyway as the Lisbon Treaty.

          • Posted August 24, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

            The Referendum campaign also suffered from having a partial civil service obscuring the facts and peddling lies. They were instructed by their head, Sir Jeremy Heywood, not to pass any relevant information to ministers who were speaking for Brexit. Other officials were co-opted to the Remain cause who should have been strictly impartial and kept so by the head of the civil service – the Governor of the Bank of England and others.

            We should have been given lots of information such as how many people were coming in from the EU, how many from outside the EU, what they were all claiming, how much was being sent home, how many were in prison, hospital, schools, council houses and flats etc., how many were tax payers, and how much?

            The Civil Service should have prepared for Brexit and not allowed the PM and Chancellor to say this shouldn’t happen. There must be many occasions on which Sir Jeremy has got his way in the face of different opinion coming from the elected executive. This was the clearest sign that they intended to win the referendum by fair means or foul.

            Then we should have been told how many companies were relocating to EU accession countries on EU grants and favours at our expense.

            We should have been given clear figures for the tariffs charged on food and other goods coming in from outside the EU, e.g. 32% on Chilean wine. Instead, the Remainiacs kept talking about “the Free Market” – as if it were one, and the only one in the world, to which we were privileged to belong and which we were throwing away. We should have been given figures for what it was costing us in aid to compensate for African farmers being shut out of “the Free Market.”

            We should have been told that the contribution was for ever going up and also had to be added to on demand; that the rebate had already been halved by Tony Blair caving in, and was likely to be abolished at the next renegotiation.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Peter why are you so interested in what we do.

      We had a vote on AV in 2011 and the will of the British people was 68:32 NO.

      We have never been asked about the House of Lords, it should be a wise, experienced council, however, it now can seem to be a home for many failed politicians and the favoured few who don’t have the qualities they should have, but that’s just my perception from newspapers and tv news and may not be reality.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        We had a referundum in the North East of England about regional government too. The vote was overwhelmingly against another layer of regional government. So much so that similar referendum in other parts of the country were abandoned. Sadly Osbourne (and Ms May) seem determined to impose a similar layer of bureaucracy with their “Northern Powerhouse” nonsense, very much against the will of the people. The last thing we need is the sames clowns running the rationing of all three of schools, healthcare, and housing.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

        @a-tracy: My interest is because most of my family is British and lives in the UK. Don’t worry though, since the referendum I have felt my interest receding already. The AV referendum was not a clever wish (from the Libdems). You still have an overall majority government in parliament based on less than 38% of the electorate, you’ve got 12.9% of the electorate represented by 1 MP and 4.9% of the electorate represented by 56 MPs (do I need to go on?). That is not as close to representative democracy as to a farce (no offense intended but I have to say what I believe in this case).

        • Posted August 24, 2016 at 7:53 am | Permalink

          It was a genuine question about your interest Peter, I see people being rude to you but I sincerely just wanted to know what your interest is and why you keep coming back for more.

          I’m always interested in alternative points of view to mine and I like to read your opposite thoughts. Blogs like this wouldn’t have any spice if we all agreed all the time.

          From what I’ve read I’m not particularly keen on the voting systems in France, Spain or Germany and the resulting collectives, no one has to apply manifesto promises after the votes because of coalitions – we had a taste of that with the Con/Dems (no thanks). Please don’t get me started on the unfairness of the English representation that is something that could be sorted out but doesn’t seem to want to be done.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      The problem is that “way forward” which has been found, just hasn’t worked. Living standards in many EU countries have fallen. That is a way backwards, not forward, for the people.
      The EU is like the USSR…failing for its people, but its leaders cannot get the courage to change.
      Having immigration policy unilaterally decided by Merkel was a flavour of the future for the EU.
      The UK never belonged in the EU; the mindset is entirely different.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        The USSR’s leaders did finally find the (considerable in my view)courage to change but it was too late,centrifugal forces were already at work by then.I suspect the same will be the fate of the EU.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        @mickc: with the mindsets being completely different I can agree, but that is about all.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Well well here’s the fully paid up EU mole back again.

      Under orders to stir unrest in the majority who voted against your project?

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      The Conservative Party is far too concerned over how to negotiate trade terms with the EU and other countries to give attention to the UK’ constitution, and in any case it benefits from the poor voting system and the House of Lords. The only route to constitutional reform would be if the Conservatives fall apart over how to leave the EU, cause a general election, and Labour are elected. Not completely out of the question, although very unlikely. Labour might well want to change the constitution, at least by abolishing the House of Lords.

      In more realistic terms, dealing with our international trade is almost certain to occupy the almost total attention of our politicians for a long time to come.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        Abolishing an upper house has been done before, and my suggested 20 years is a long time.

        Croatia (2001), Denmark (1953), Egypt (2013), Greece (1935), Hungary, South Korea (1960), Peru (1992), Portugal (1976), Sweden (1970), Turkey (1980) and Venezuela (1999) once possessed upper houses but abolished them to adopt unicameral systems.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      @PvL
      So Germany, France and Italy want to form a unified army eh? #Déjà vu

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        @Bob: I hope for no unified army. But when did you see these three countries form a unified country before?

        • Posted August 24, 2016 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          @PvL
          You hope in vain, the EU Army is work in progress, currently being offered as a “security force” and bulwark against Russian aggression.
          #Déjà vu.

          The indendence of your nation that you seem so happy to sign away was achieved at great cost and loss of life, you should treasure it.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      “A way forward?”.

      Each step takes eu member states further away from democracy. I would say that they have been going backwards not forwards

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        @Kenneth: Then, just be happy that you live in Britain.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      You seem to be rather over invested in our political system.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        @Alexis: Don’t worry, I’ll soon be gone again from your blog, leaving you with your outdated miles, gallons, inches, H.o.Ls and winner takes all democracy.

        • Posted August 23, 2016 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

          Well, you should probably put your own house in order before investing so much effort in criticising your neighbours, Peter.

          I’ll ignore the strange jibe about inches and gallons; I’m sure it means something to you, if not me.

        • Posted August 24, 2016 at 3:00 am | Permalink

          And take with you your Five Presidents, the only one of whom I could name (actually all of a sudden a chappie called Tusk also comes to mind) being Juncker and he only because of the “beyond parody” blather he spouts. America gets by with Imperial units BTW and I for one very much prefer Winner Takes All. The House of Lords admittedly has been ruined and needs attention–we do not claim perfection. Bye.

        • Posted August 24, 2016 at 6:43 am | Permalink

          Like USA

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

      Indeed, we could make it like Dutch democracy, where referenda are ignored (or re-run if the answer’s ‘wrong’). That’s if the govt deigns to offer a referendum in the first place.

      Or maybe the French model, where opposing parties gang up to ensure the ‘wrong’ person doesn’t win.

      Perhaps the German model where the dictatorial govt muzzles the press and prevents the police doing their job in the name of Political Correctness.

      I tell you what, why don’t you invent a Magna Carta, a Common legal system, and a democratic model for govt and we’ll give it a bash. Oh sorry – you’ve already done that – it’s called the EU. We’ve tried that and, er….., no thanks.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        @DaveM: Just be proud of what you’ve been spoonfed to be proud of. That is fine with me, as I don’t live in your country.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Well you may not have noticed but the disintegration of the EU has started with our withdrawal. I hope and wish for the best in the rump of the EU but I don’t think that can happen all the time the Euro exists.
      Its all very well if you have money and a secure job but the huge elephant in the room is the mass unemployment in the southern states.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        @Mark Watson: Spanish unemployment is now lower than e.g. in 1995 and has always been higher than in Nordic countries. Amazing that the UK always likes to compare itself to Greece instead of e.g. Germany (compare e.g. youth unemployment, as that is a serious destruction of human capital).
        I do think that the Nordic countries have to do more for the Southern countries in the EU and would subscribe to suggestions and advice I heard by Joseph Stiglitz to repair the eurozone. Whether such developments will happen is still an open question, but I’m actually hopeful because there is simply too much that binds the continentals, not easily seen from Britain.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      When the Club Med youngsters, eventually find out how the “troika” destroyed their allotted time slot on this planet, they are going to be very angry. The utter stupidity of the Maastricht economic and monetary union (EMU), is beyond belief.

      Insult was added to injury by the involvement of the IMF, a division of US global hegemony Inc. An organisation that should have been shut down in 1971. An organisation that had no further purpose once world commerce, came off the Gold Standard, and adopted FIAT currencies. An organisation that has no idea how to use a fiat currency to maximise the use of resources, for the benefit of the little people. An organisation that invented the “austerity” weapon to wipe out the little people.

      I have never understood why 200+ million people in 19 sovereign nations, all uniquely culturally different as you can imagine; agreed to give up their own currencies and adopt the Deutschmark, (renamed the Euro to disconnect it from history).

      You can’t be a culturally unique sovereign nation, if you do not have your own sovereign fiat currency, in this sovereign fiat currency world. Ask the Africans who still use the Franc pegged to the Euro. Ask the US States that still depend on federal handouts.

      The Euro currency area needs to be shut down and its assets and liabilities, distributed on a per capita basis, to its 19 national central banks and treasuries, that would reintroduce their original national currencies. Yes, FX markets would be allowed to go wild for a while until they were pulled into line by currency issuers.

      There are far too many supra-national bureaucratic organisations, lording it over 195, possibly 205, uniquely culturally identifiable sovereign nations. Somebody needs to press Control Alt Delete and reboot this planet.

  3. Posted August 23, 2016 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Why on earth do politicians & governments do so much of the terrorists’ work for them?

    With the German government is advising citizens to stockpile food and water, the French cancelling load of events & street markets and the Met organising Robocop, PR photo opp sessions for the press. Just how stupid are these people?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-37155060

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      Merkel “Refugees welcome !”

      Within months of them arriving : Merkel “Stockpile food. Prepare for disaster !”

      The timing is hardly sensative to genuine refugees is it ?

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        Exactly both are absurd things to do. Anyone sensible would have told Merkel so after about ten seconds of thought. Alas she never rings me to ask my thoughts, I would make no charge. Nor did John Major ring me before he joined the obviously idiotic ERM, rammed through Maastrict against the will (and interest) of the public or any of his other idiotic decisions. Not did Osborne and nearly every action he took patently was idiotic after about ten seconds of thinking about it.

  4. Posted August 23, 2016 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    And then there’s that buffoon Juncker talking nonsense on borders–as if politicians recently decided to bring them in to being, which is of course nonsense. Did, according to him, politicians just invent separate languages? I don’t think so, and without borders how would schools for instance exist if it wasn’t made clear by borders which languages various countries should bring their children up speaking, not least as I say in schools? Not everyone wants to spend their lives learning languages. The idea of all people seamlessly slopping over in to each other on matters of culture, religion, history is plain insanity. Juncker is a dangerous man and should be thrown out, closely followed by the Commission. We should pray for Exit results in the referenda that seem likely in Italy and the Netherlands. Forget more or better, I vote for no EU at all, certainly in anything like its present form.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      Leslie

      Forget more or better, I vote for no EU at all, certainly in anything like its present form.

      Absolutely correct, the wheels are slowly coming off the whole project.

      The forthcoming elections over there will set the alarm bells ringing.

      Hopefully all those still wanting to overturn the vote of the people will have their hearing aids turned right up and start working for the country and not against it

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      “Juncker is a dangerous man and should be thrown out”

      I agree, he’s held a position of immense power for far too long, I suspect when he does go a corruption enquiry will quickly follow.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        Like the one Marta Andreasen managed to instigate?

        • Posted August 23, 2016 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

          Hmmm, I see your point Rose.

  5. Posted August 23, 2016 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Great post !

    The EU has grown too big too soon. I was only talking to my half French, half Portuguese colleagues about this yesterday.

    When the EU was small the conditions to the problems that we have today simply did not exist. Leaving will undoubtedly give many in the EU much to think about. No longer can we be used as we have been to act as a break for others, they are going to have to do that themselves.

    They may not think it now, but they are going to miss us 🙂

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 6:03 am | Permalink

      Dear Mark–Agree strongly about the unfortunate expansion but unfortunately “we” (via our lousy governments) were always leading the charge for more countries to join from the East. I thought it demented then and I think it even more now. Cameron as usual had it arse backwards with his ‘to the Urals’ ideas. Where are the Urals anyway and why should we care? Once the EU has broken up we should find a way to work much more closely with Germany and to Hades with the Hollandes of this world with their socialist so-called investment in so-called infrastructure, which latter I think, but am not sure, means Public Works.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Hopefully we (the people/the voters/taxpayers) will be advised soon that we will in fact be leaving – have no trust in May still.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Of course they will miss us: that’s why they are having the meeting.

      Of course we could have made a great contribution to building the EU: that’s why it’s a shame we are leaving, and a shame that we did not seize more opportunities for leadership whilst we were a member. Our politicians have let us down.

      Of course the EU should be bigger and better. I hope it will be.

      • Posted August 24, 2016 at 7:05 am | Permalink

        Our politicians have indeed let us down, but not in the way you think.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      ‘They may not think it now, but they are going to miss us ?’

      – They’ve already said they will miss us. They’re not in denial. We’re in denial if we think we won’t miss the EU. We will. And the Conservative Norwegian PM has said the UK will hate being out of the EU (and other right-wing politicians across Europe have said the same).
      We’re the ones in denial here. Not the EU.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        Plus the EU have already given loads of concessions to us. Why would they give more and risk unravelling the EU (which would cost far more to Germany and France than a not-so-nice trade agreement with the UK – they’ll be nice but they are not going to be so nice that it risks unravelling the EU and the huge cost of this).
        Meanwhile, we’re going to struggle trying to sell those products and services which are easier to sell and cheaper to transport to our nearest neighbours in the Europe than Japan or wherever – and that’s whether we have good trade deals with countries outside the EU or not – since not all products and services are equal, something Brexiteers seem to have totally ignored).

        • Posted August 23, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, Ed but this is all a complete load of nonsense. Most of our trade is within our boarders and, our biggest single trading partner is the USA. Most of what goes through as exports to the EU is actually going elsewhere but is for some reason included as exports only to the EU.

          If you have something to sell at a price someone is prepared to pay, you have trade. Simple economics.

          • Posted August 23, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

            Mark,
            Surely if you’re going to make controversial claims about our trade, you need to support them with some arguments/facts/evidence.
            OEC (yes, you can debate the OEC – but let’s start somewhere) states our top exporting destination is, yes, USA (at 11%) but this pales when we look at the EU combined and/or our main exporting destinations in Europe: Germany (nearly 10%), Netherlands (7%), Switzerland (7% – not part of EU but almost), France (nearly 6 %), Ireland (5%), not forgetting, Italy, Spain, Nordic countries, and elsewhere in EU.

            ‘If you have something to sell at a price someone is prepared to pay, you have trade. Simple economics,’ No. Not that simple. You forget:
            1) that not all products are of equal quality / brand value – some are more difficult to sell and cost more to ship further afield, and so on.
            2) tariffs
            If you’re Apple Inc you have no problem selling your products anywhere. But if you’re a typical UK manufacturer of furniture, say, you’re going to find it more difficult selling your sofas to somewhere such as Tibet than Tim Cook selling his iPhones (things aren’t that black and white, nevertheless the example reflects the reality of quality of goods / differences in brand value between different products).
            Regards.

        • Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

          Ed Mahony

          Thanks for yet another demonstration of your lack of knowledge about business, trade and real economics .

          70% of trade is in services it costs no more to sell services to Australia than to Calais . You also seem blissfully unaware that digital business ( one of the fastest growing areas) has been severely curtailed by stupid VAT rules and the soon to be implemented GDPR regulations within the EU . The USA is a biggest single customer . Dealing outside the overbearing archaic regulations of the EU will be a positive boon for UK exports

          Your nonsensical statement “not all products and services are equal, something Brexiteers seem to have totally ignored” is beyond parody .

          • Posted August 24, 2016 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

            Fair enough to SOME of your points (and you’re simply not responding to some other points I make).

            Regarding services, I still maintain that not all service providers are equal in ability. And it would be much easier for some service providers to focus on say Germany, Netherlands, France and Nordic countries than say Japan, Brazil or China. For many reasons: language, culture, distance in travel for business people and workers, and so on (you still can’t get away from actually meeting your clients and selling your business).

            My father did most of his business in Japan. Shipping goods to Japan wasn’t a problem for him. He said the real problem was cultural. He said it took him years to understand doing business with the Japanese. And many Westerners failed to crack the Japanese market for this reason. Maybe things are a bit different now. But don’t forget the human factors in doing business, whether services or products.

            My cousin, who works in the City, recently came back from China and said he didn’t like doing business there (the place he was visiting was a dump, had to spend a long time away from family – he couldn’t get away quick enough). You’ve got to take in these human factors.

            Setting up businesses in any country isn’t a problem for some/many people in business. But not all businesses are the same. Not all people in business have the same abilities. And the same applies to services as it does to products.

            Also, what’s to stop service providers doing business abroad whether in the EU or not? The reality is that lots are doing so now successfully. Whether we’re in the EU or not is irrelevant to them. They just get on with it.
            Whether we’re in the EU or not is not going to dramatically affect trade in the short-term. But what could help trade more in the longer term future is geopolitics. By focusing our trade, and contributing to the EU, we help build up Europe as a trading block. For our long-term economic benefit as well as peace and security.

            If I’m wrong, tell me. But don’t just focus on one part of my argument and try to rubbish my argument overall because of some error in part of my argument.
            Regards

          • Posted August 24, 2016 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

            libertarian

            Your comment about me being beyond parody is unfair when I think you fail to grasp the challenges of small to medium sized businesses doing business abroad.
            Yes, it’s much easier for big businesses (perhaps your experience is in big business) but not for smaller businesses. Selling / starting up in Europe is so much easier than doing the same in Japan or China or Brazil say for a whole of bunch of reasons (knowing local government law and tax issues, cultural business issues, distance of travel, language and so on).
            So my challenge to you is that you’re not really thinking about small to medium businesses but more large businesses (many of whom would find it more difficult doing business further afield than in Europe, anyway).
            What’s your field of expertise? Not all services are the same. I’m more convinced than ever that Brexiteers are just being idealistic about the harsh realities of business outside Europe.
            And, anyway, if you’re running a really successful business, what does it matter if you’re in the EU or not? The argument is what helps most businesses – focusing on Europe more than the rest of the world or focusing on the rest of the world more than Europe?
            And, yes, I might be wrong. But at least I’m exploring / thinking about this unlike many Brexiteers I speak who appear more-a-less blank about details about why Brexit is going to be such a glorious success for this country in terms of prosperity, peace and security (as well as reducing immigration).

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        Ed

        The Norwegian government have tried on numerous occasions to railroad their people into the EU. That is why they are stuck in the EEA. So I will take a hefty fistful of salt on what they say.

        In what way do you thing we will miss EVER CLOSER UNION and all that it entails ?

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        Ed – Actually very modest concessions on freedom of movement would have halted Brexit in its tracks.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Mark B, you are absolutely correct the EU has grown too large. It was probably quite manageable when it comprised six, or even nine countries: but with over twenty it has become far to cumbersome to ever be efficient. Kenneth (now Lord) Bakers expressed this view this morning on the BBC radio. It has to morph into the United Staes of Europe, or fail. Thank goodness we are getting out of it, we want nothing to do with membership either in its present state, or reformed.

  6. Posted August 23, 2016 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    If the EU want to modify the way it works, should they not hold a meeting where all 27 Countries take part, so that they can all have some input ?

    • Posted August 24, 2016 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      That will come in three weeks, Bratislava on September 16th.

      Incidentally some of the media are saying that will be the first meeting of the leaders of just the 27 without the UK, forgetting this is on June 29th:

      http://ec.europa.eu/news/2016/06/20160629_2_en.htm

      “Together with the Presidents of the European Council and of the European Commission, EU leaders met for the first time today without the United Kingdom at the table. They expressed their regret for the referendum result but showed determination to forge ahead with current priorities.”

  7. Posted August 23, 2016 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    The BBC seem very excited about the gender pay gap today. Women tend to earn less after having children they say, quelle surprise! This despite the fact that girls out perform boys at school as the BBC points out. Well yes they do, but this is rather heavily slanted towards languages & art subjects, as is very clear from the A level gender subject breakdown.

    If you adjust for this subject bias, the sort of jobs they choose to do and the work life balance choices they make (mainly after having children) then I suspect the gender pay gap is actually on balance anti-male. But of course the BBC would never be interested in looking at anything outside their usual “BBC think” agenda or beyond the superficial.

    Hopefully the new Prime Minister will not be as daft as Cameron who announced his plans to “end the gender pay gap in a generation”. There is effectively no real gap now. You could only end superficial gape with huge legal anti-male discrimination. This would damage women, men and the economy in general.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Absurd discussions today on the BBC about this gender pay gap. Is it a requirement that people on the BBC have to be totally innumerate or daft art grads?

      They do the same jobs they said! Well no men and women do not do the same jobs (on average) at all. They do not even study the same subjects at school.

      They then posed the question why is there a 10% pay gap (even before they have children)?

      Well on average women are:-
      less likely to have a science background
      less likely to be as motivated by money
      less likely to wand to do very hard physical labour
      less likely to want to work unsociable hours or travel too far
      less likely to work on a building site, oil rig or in engineering
      Clearly many women do these jobs & very well indeed, but on average, they do not. Can the BBC and politicians not get over this and stop pushing these lies?

      Many of the women I know want their partners to earn more so they can work less and spend more time with their children. They are often not aspiring to earn more but to have more time.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        Clearly there should be equal pay whether you’re a brain surgeon or arts and crafts teacher.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        @lifelogic
        If women were cheaper to employ than men, why would anyone employ men?

        Why did the BBC employ ex Labour Minister James Purnell (male) on £295k p.a. to replace Helen Boaden (female) on £352,900 p.a.?

  8. Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Whilst arguing that the EU was terrible thing Mr Redwood simultaneously argued that most of the benefits of being members remained unharmed provided it continued to exist.
    None of this is true ( most notably because the long term aim of the EU must surely now be to transfer a significant part of UK`s financial Services within its border )
    Nonetheless, to drool unbecomingly at its difficulties makes no sense even if you accept the need to ethically cleanse England of Poles and Bulgarians ( in a humane way of course).That we have destabilised the West and undermined free trade is yet another Brexit non achievement ( or triumph from the Redwood /Corbyn point of view )

    When you look around at the rise of the dumb from Brexit to Trump to Isis to Marine Le Pen I start to wonder of we are witnessing some sort of backward step in the human condition , a sort of counter-renaissance. Such things have happened, the fall of Rome, the religious revival of the Victorian period the appalling slaughter of the counter reformation, the spread of leftish 20th century creeds denying the nobility of the individual … progress is by no means inevitable.

    Perhaps , as in the barbarian period small groups of us will be obliged to hide in Monasteries and keep a small flame of civilisation alive whilst the memory of peace prosperity and International cooperation dies .

    I blame the internet

    Reply The main advantage of the single market, that one specification works in all countries, helps non members as much as members. Your comments on Poles and Bulgarians are wrong and unpleasant. We have not undermined free trade and will be pursuing freer trade once we control our own trade arrangements again.

  9. Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    “Germany is always ready to remind anyone who will listen that they get on just fine in the Euro with a large balance of payments surplus”. Present surplus > 8%. EU rules permit a maximum of 6%. Germany fine, but not the rest of the EU. German trade stimulated by Euro exchange rates. Deutschmark value would have risen limiting surplus. See Gavyn Davies’ FT blog here(*sometimes demands subscription).

    Most significant German export to rest of EU is therefore unemployment particularly to southern members as Euro is too high them.

    EU reform will take two routes:
    [1]. Decreased centralisation: member states appear to have more say.
    [2]. Increased centralisation: move towards a political union.
    Political pressures seem to be leaning towards [1]. Change will be cosmetic. Because the central problems are Eurozone/EU-wide, national governments would need eventually to seek a central solution. Decreased centralisation is therefore a Trojan Horse that will create increased centralisation as required by federalists. President of Bundesbank is ready-and-waiting to climb inside: see his interview with Die Zeit.

  10. Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    What none of these leaders are doing is paying heed to the thoughts and wishes of their own populations. In an age where information is abundant this is a very dangerous omission.

    These leaders cannot accept that they have led their peoples into an unelected dictatorship run by the EU in Brussels. There is a growing chasm between the people of the EU, their elected leaders and the Brussels EU that has overall control. Within this are the seeds of political extremism of the sort we experienced in the 1930s, for which ironically the EU was created to avoid.

    The key to the financial ills of the EU is the ill conceived Euro. The USEu. solution might work ,but I cannot see the German people or the people of similar national economic performance accepting responsibility for the whole of the Euro area. At the same time there is a reluctance to accept the breakup of the Euro area into two groups, those of equal performance and those who would be better left to run their own economies with their own currencies. The political leadership of the latter are hooked on dependency to the same extent as a woman with ten children by ten fathers.

    All the time that this political charade continues the people who suffer the consequences are becoming increasingly resentful and moving towards extreme solutions.

  11. Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    As Merkel and Co. did not, would not and could not bring themselves to consider any change to the way the EU behaves with the threat of Brexit hanging over them. Why would they now ?

    When Parliament returns after the ridiculously long summer recess. I hope to hear those in Westminster who supported Brexit speaking up and pushing it along. Mrs May seems to dragging her kitten heeled feet in the hope of creating a ‘not quite’ Brexit.

  12. Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Merkel would swap places with May if she could, out of the sorry mess it’s become.

  13. Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    A very good summary of the political moves afoot in the EU, thank you.

    The biggest factor affecting the UK is of course the Eurozone and its continued problems caused by the fundamental issue of trying to make a currency work without fiscal union. It seems, however, that Chancellor Merkel is happier trying to regain lost ground with her domestic electorate by talking about border controls rather than financial controls.

    Given the terrorism crisis in France and the renewed migrant crisis in Italy, both President Hollande and Prime Minister Renzi were happy to go along with Frau Merkel yesterday.

    Nevertheless, all this is window dressing and fluff, against the mounting Eurozone financial problems which wouldn’t make for the same reassuring headlines for EU voters. Sooner or later these problems will have to be addressed. One has to assume that Frau Merkel and Finance Minister Schauble have a plan, because it’s doubtful that these can be masked up until her campaign for re-election next year.

    Let’s hope so, because the biggest direct effect on the UK of continued EU incompetence is if a solution to the imbalances of the Eurozone economies can’t be found. This will inevitably require a great sacrifice from the German people, at a time when there’s a gradual realisation in that country of the huge cost of the ‘all welcome’ migrant policy of last year.

    Just yesterday, a German policy institute for education estimated the cost of schooling its recent migrant arrivals to date at €67 billion. To this will be added hundreds of billions more, for the collapse of Schengen, the cost of housing, unemployment and social benefits, adult education, policing, and many more areas of extra expenditure.

    It’s in the interests of the UK for the leaders of the top 3 Eurozone economies – Germany, France and Italy – to find a solution. We will need a continuing market for our goods and services on the European continent, until we slowly augment and partly substitute these with all the world markets which will open up to us when we finally exit the EU.

    Best wishes, the Facts4EU.org Team
    http://facts4eu.org/news.shtml

  14. Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    It would have been more representative if they were standing on the deck of the Titanic.

    They are locked into a course that will inevitably end in disaster . The sclerotic nature of the EU , that is bedevilled by inertia , will inevitably end badly. Trouble is they aren’t big enough politicians to recognise the problems they face.

  15. Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Why are they meeting in little fractured groups? Who decides who are the most important Countries to meet in Italy? This has always been one of the biggest problems for me with the EU project the dominance of Germany and France, to be honest I never thought Italy a big player

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Why Germany,France and Italy?It harks back to the temporarily unified realm of Charlemagne,the first incarnation of the Holy Roman Empire of which the EU is the latest.

  16. Posted August 23, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    There is no stronger force than self interest which the EU was set up to oppose. It is possible to keep it in check only if there are sufficient incentives but the incentives the EU brings is being negated by inflexibility, narrow mindedness and by being high handed. It also does not help that it is not a partnership of equals. Unrest and resentment is sure to follow and with Brexit and the rise of groups who are unhappy with the EU and what it does and stand for we can see those emotions coming into play.

    Integration is exposing the sacrifices that member states have to make to complete the project. If those sacrifices are perceived to be greater than any benefit gained or if gained they are not guaranteed then self interest will destroy the project. The EU says integration will give those benefits and will guarantee them. On studying past form no doubt many are cynical about that promise. If not they certainly should be.

  17. Posted August 23, 2016 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    During the Sky press review last night the two invited commentators agreed that there are simply no proposals for an EU army, the intention is just to improve co-operation between the national armed forces of the EU member states.

    It’s difficult to know what to do when supposedly intelligent and well-informed people choose to remain blind to what is in front of their eyes and more or less in plain sight, not even being concealed except perhaps by a screen of the tedious verbiage that the EU can produce to obscure what it is going on. And in this case the Czech Prime Minister is being perfectly straightforward about it:

    https://euobserver.com/tickers/134706

    “Czech PM calls for joint EU army”

    “Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka told a meeting of Czech diplomats in Prague Monday that the EU should develop its own military capability alongside Nato. “I’m convinced that we can’t do without a common European army in the long term … I hope that the autumn European summit will bring concrete proposals and pledges”, he said, the Bloomberg news agency reports.”

  18. Posted August 23, 2016 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Ignore the media sound bites, for that is all they are – to subdue the natives, particularly with elections imminent. Actions continue towards the long-term goal of a country called Europe. Mr Juncker said this week that national borders are the “worst invention ever made by politicians”. He said this just before discussions abbout tightening borders in EU in response to the migrant crisis.
    We made the correct decision to choose independence and self-governance; now our government must get on with it without further delay.

  19. Posted August 23, 2016 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    The EU is a great idea. It’s primarily about GEOPOLITICS (increased prosperity, peace and security).

    PROSPERITY.
    – TRADE. That is to focus on trade with your nearest neighbours in order to build up a strong, trading block for the future (not forgetting many of your products are easier and cheaper to sell to your nearest neighbours – not all products and services are equal).
    – INVESTMENT. It also involves investing in poorer countries in EU.
    Case study: Ireland. Ireland was relatively poor in the 70’s. Now it is relatively rich and one of UK main trading partners.
    Problems. But you don’t throw baby out with bathwater.
    Other points. Countries working closely together can focus on big scientific/commercial projects such as aeronautics, satellite and space travel.

    PEACE / SECURITY
    Prosperity and peace go together.
    Case study. Prosperity is the main thing that has taken the gun out of Irish politics.
    By building up Eastern Europe, we eradicate more the possibility of these countries being ravaged by Communism (or fascism) that has plagued Europe for a century or so. Peace and security is about peace and security but it’s also about prosperity because our country is prone to all kinds of economic uncertainties with wars and conflict in Europe.

    It all takes time. There are problems. And the EU needs constant reforming (in particular, immigration – and no, no-one from the UK has really tried to reform the EU – we’ve had lots of people trying to get concessions or get rid of the EU but not actually reform it – reform it for all members of the EU which benefit all in long term.
    And the medium to long-term rewards are great.

    You can’t have a foreign policy based solely on trade (unless you don’t have a choice). That’s very narrow. Geopolitics is key to the medium to long-term economic future of a country, in particular here in the UK where we have the possibility to achieve that. Geopolitics is about peace/security for own sake, but geopolitics is as much wrapped up with economic concerns (1. building up economic block of trading countries 2. avoiding the economic costs of war and conflicts) as it is about those for peace/security. It’s hard work geopolitics – involves a lot of strategy and diplomacy. But it’s worth it.

    Reply Norway and Switzerland are the two richest countries in Europe and neither members of the EU. You do not have to belong to the EU to be prosperous.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      Other important point, because of geopolitics, your nearest neighbours in the EU are going to be much nicer to you in trade deals and other considerations than countries who are not. Other countries just want access to your markets whilst they try their hardest to deny you access to theirs. They have no real geopolitical interests at all except to ruthlessly get from you what is best for their own country.

      ‘Bad trade deals cost jobs’ – Donald Trump. And he’s quite right. So if you think Germany and France are this and that, just wait for China and the USA (and just hope Donald Trump doesn’t become President for this reason).

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        Ed,

        We’ve heard all of that tosh for years and clearly it doesn’t work (ask most of Southern Europe inc Italy). I think there has been enough time on this political project and ,not knowing your age, I suspect there will still be teething problems when you depart this planet.

        The ideology you espouse is not for us any more we are far better that that.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        TTIP will be an excellent deal for the EU.
        Dealing with the Anglosphere countries will be more productive than our previous interactions with the EU who were intent on protecting German and French industries.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      ‘Norway and Switzerland are the two richest countries in Europe and neither members of the EU. You do not have to belong to the EU to be prosperous’

      – But Norway is part of the Single Market! It accepts free movement of people. It pays into the EU. And has to accept much of the EU laws.
      Plus – Norway has vast oil revenues. And still, its right-wing Conservative government wants to be in the EU and says the UK will hate being outside the EU.

      Switzerland is similar to Norway in that it has to accept free movement of people (despite referendum on this). It pays into the EU. And has to accept much of the EU laws.
      Plus – Switzerland is a much smaller country than ours with a particularly well-established and unique banking sector (compared to other countries).

      And if you’re going to mention Norway and Switzerland (which don’t really support your argument – the opposite), then why not consider Ireland, and how membership of the EU has dramatically increased its prosperity, and making it an important trading partner for the UK – yes, there are probs with other countries in the EU, but no-one said the European project would work overnight or that it would be without problems – big and small – nevertheless, the fact that Norway’s right-wing politicians really want to be part of the EU and only lost out by 2% in the referendum, demonstrates the strengths of the EU).

      Lastly, it’s not just being about prosperous now, it’s also about geopolitics – prosperity, peace and security for the medium to long-term future as well – which Brexiteers are completely quiet on.
      Regards.

      Reply Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada etc are all rich countries that are considerably smaller than us and do not belong to the EU

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        Ed you asked “then why not consider Ireland, and how membership of the EU has dramatically increased its prosperity”

        Have Ireland repaid all of their loans taken out in November 2010 when they went with cap in hand to the IMF the EU and the UK asking for 90 Billion Euros. 7 billion euros from the UK even though we weren’t in the Euro? How are you measuring Irelands prosperity in relation to the UK’s prosperity and is our borrowing money to lend to other countries rather than spend on our communities that are falling behind hindering our progress and costing us dearly. Whilst allowing our closest trading nation to cut corporation taxes to just 12.5% attracting business from our shores.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        You are missing a rather important point. The EU is a bully. It bullies smaller nations both members and non members alike. The Norwegians and the Swiss should actually be looking to form an alliance with the UK and reinvigorate EFTA. That way they could probably gain many advantages and lose the need to accept free movement of people and cough up huge sums for the EU to squander. Free trade should be just that. Nowhere on earth does free trade involve free movement of populations except in the EU.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        Furthermore the current opinion polls in Norway show 70% against joining the EU.Indeed many politicians don’t like the current EEA agreement they have and want to change it.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        Ed – We’ve had the debates and all your points were included. We considered them and voted to leave the EU.

        You lost.

        Get over it.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Those are theories. How is the theory matching up to the outcomes so far ?

      If it doesn’t work as you hope, or there are significant unintended consequences, do you just plough on, arguing ‘it takes time’ (possibly forever , at this rate)?

      Or do you rethink, and take action ?

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      And look what their population numbers are. Are they wanting populations of 60 million plus?

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Hi John,

      But Norway and Switzerland are both members of the Single Market. You are on record for advocating a rapid Brexit with the assumption that you have a fall-back option to WTO.

      I disagree with you on this point, as I still don’t understand how you can see a fall-back to the WTO rules working when even the Leave Alliance (http://www.eureferendum.com/documents/BrexitMonograph002.pdf) conclude that to revert to WTO would be:

      ” so serious that this is not something any responsible person would want to consider. ”

      Unless we have a strong fall-back position we will enter negotiations with the EU on Article 50 in a hugely weakened position.

      I do hope that you can address why the Leave Alliance arguments are flawed. They describe why neither China or the US operate under WTO rules alone and why it would not be an option for the UK. Under the EU Treaties Database there are 65 treaties between China and the EU that cover various topics ranging from Customs Treaties to Nuclear Fusion research.

      Are we really in a position that we can enter into negotiations with the WTO as a credible safety net?

      Reply I have endlessly explained why I think we end up with tariff free trade.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        Switzerland is NOT a member of the Single Market.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        Hi John,

        With respect I have also endlessly read your blogs.

        Your basic assertion of entering negotiation is that you can revert to WTO in the event of an unsuccessful negotiation.

        If that assumption is incorrect then no amount of wishful thinking will lead to a favourable outcome as your opposite number knows that they can reject any requests you make. They will just bide their time until you concede.

        If you go into a negotiation demanding access to tariff free trade, a new arrangement for services, avoidance of costs and control of immigration then you must have a fall back option if it is rejected.
        The Heads of State have already indicated that this wish list is mutually exclusive.

        This is why I ask again. What is the fall back option and is WTO credible?

        Reply Try reading what I write. We have what we want -tariff free access. How can they change it and stay within WTO rules and not trigger worse retaliation? Ee have th cards, not them.

        • Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

          John,

          I take issue with your statement that I do not read with you write. From your blog on July 2nd on a “We have a plan” you state in your section “BEST NEGOTIATING STYLE” that

          ” .. If they have no intention of giving in on money and movement then end the talks and go for WTO. ”

          Other commentators have pointed out why this is not credible. You must be aware of the Vote Leave statements on WTO and why this is not an option. Bogus claims will simply provide opportunity for others to derail any Brexit discussions and it won’t happen. Ever.

          Your last comment makes no sense “We have what we want -tariff free access. ” If we have what we want why are we leaving?

          You know that we only have access now because we have adopted the 4 pillars of the Single Market and contribute to the running costs of the EU. There is zero chance of selectively choosing the bits of the Single Market we like without compromising on Payments, and/or Free Movement. You need to point to a credible plan, not just a series of piecemeal blogs that you then imply has not been fully reviewed by the reader.

          Reply The whole point is they wont want us on WTO given the high tariffs we could impose on their food products, and the 10% on cars, so they are likely to accept we trade tariff free. We start from what we want, tariff free. I don’t think they can agree tariffs that are WTO compliant given our ability to retaliate against their best exports. My various blogs do represent a comprehensive plan to take back control of our laws, borders and money, and carry on trading with the rest of the EU.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      So tell me Ed, how’s Greece doing these days ?

      Ireland did indeed do very well out the EU. Because of the EU, Ireland managed to extort a great deal of money from Germany, the UK and one or two others. I am glad you have nice roads and infrastructure but I am afraid that once we leave (pray God), we can spend the money on our roads and infrastructure.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        Exactly, Mark.

        Most countries prosper when they are fed other people’s money. Temporarily, at least.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      @Ed Mahony

      “increased prosperity, peace and security”

      Prosperity? Tell it to the Greeks.

      Peace & Security?
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/22/german-defence-plan-tells-citizens-to-hoard-food-and-water/

      <

  20. Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Hi John,

    Many of the points you make are not new, they are differing positions that have been at play for decades.

    What is ‘relatively’ new is the single currency and the fiscal constraints that it introduces. Outside the Eurozone it seems that we have the best of both worlds, the full access to the Single Market without the constraints that the Eurozone introduces which is at the heart of your article.

    So I would favour a better EU free of the Eurzone single currency shackles, but one in which free trade is supported.

    In my view we mostly have this regardless of Breixt, – its the rest of Europe who have to deal with the Eur0zone implications and tensions it introduces.

  21. Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    ‘They highlighted the work of the Garibaldi, the Italian aircraft carrier leading the EU Sophia naval mission to tackle migrant smugglers and assist with Libya.’

    Shouldn’t that be the other way round?

  22. Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Italian, German and French leaders are posing for the next their election campaigns.Futile. …guilt by association. Indeed because of association.

    Meanwhile off our TV screens amidst our Olympic victories and the laborious Labour Party outbursts of career jealousies, 3000 migrants/asylum seekers were arrested last month in Serbia.
    In six months 100,000 migrants entered Serbia: 650,000 last year. Many are stuck in Italy and France still not feeling safe enough to apply for asylum, there.
    There is much to do in the EU to build nation states where people feel safe enough to so much as sleep in all the parks of Belgrade, as they still do seeking asylum whole countries away. No room for Olympic training there. Signs in German swimming pools advising Germans to be careful what they say and who they say it to and just general conversation.It seems careless talk still costs lives in post war Deutschland.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      I visited Milan/Como recently and the situation is frightening.

  23. Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Top of Italy’s agenda would have been the crisis in its Banks . The debt mountain there is not going to be attractive to Germany who will always protect its surplus . Of course the prime concern is the disparity within the EU and the accelerating effect Brexit will have had on it .

    Northern EU countries have an entirely different factor in their lifestyles compared to those in the South and the two will never fit easily together . This culture gap has been mentioned many times and all the talk about a common identity and integration will not be able to overcome it . Added to this argument are the extremes in economic standards amongst the EU members . Germany will not spread its wealth until it sees they are all on a par ; meanwhile Germany can enjoy the benefit of a low cost Euro in world markets .

    PvL is an ardent supporter of the EU ideology and I admire the consistent views he writes , but , as one who spent much time amongst the larger organisations in Holland , I do not believe he represents what they think . The Netherlands have always been a nation who were able to exploit their commercialism successfully on an international scale ; they are the last ones who would wish to be held back in any way – we have a lot in common with them .

  24. Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Perhaps one of the biggest failures of the EU was their ‘Fortress EU’ mentality, that controlled and protected the power base at the very centre of the organisation.

    Over a period of 40 years, the EU remained, to this day, a German/French controlled cabal.

    The UK, although a major financial contributor, remained on the outside of the tent, ‘relieving itself towards the inside’!

    I blame the controlling and small mindedness of the EU leaders and the UK’s own attitude, of never being 100% on board with the EU project.

    Someone should have had the cajones to ‘bash heads together’ to make major changes.

    Remainers talk about “being in the EU so we can be involved with major EU decisions” on strategy and direction etc.
    We all know that has never really happened and never would have happened.

    At the time of the Referendum, imagine we had been hearing from UK leaders, at the heart of the EU, and playing a leading role, instead of hearing from the likes of Juncker, Tusk, and the rest. Lecturing us, threatening us, and trying to dictate to us.

    The EU ‘experiment’ has missed the opportunity, to fully integrate the UK, and change and expand the German/French club. They wouldn’t allow it, and so, failed themselves.

    We will never know what the UK’s membership of the EU could have been like, if we had been a true part of the organisation. It would have been very different, but still not something I would wish upon the UK, as our future.

    I am delighted that we have voted for Brexit, we are well out of the archaic, EU clique.

    Here’s to a successful Brexit!

  25. Posted August 23, 2016 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    IMHO the main battle ahead is between member states (the remnants of democracy) and the eu technocracy.

    I just pray that the battle is fought verbally and not on the streets.

  26. Posted August 23, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    The meeting in Ventotene was a good illustration that Brussels has little importance.

    Co-operation between countries is more effective than a top layer of government in Brussels.

    Co-operation between countries can be done directly or via various international bodies such as G20, UN, NATO, ESA, ISO, etc. The EU is not required.

  27. Posted August 23, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    No EU would be better John judging by the news today in the Express about the state of the Eurozone and the level of debt.

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/702873/European-Union-collapse-Euro-Brexit-financial-crash-Joseph-Stiglitz

    Thank God we didn’t adopt the Euro and the sooner we are out the better. Let’s not forget we are nowhere near getting out yet. What is Mrs May doing exactly?

  28. Posted August 23, 2016 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    According to the DT, the trio were in agreement to increase co-operation in defence and security (code for EU Army and Police) to combat the consequences of one of their number inviting into the EU, millions of uncalibrated and largely culturally incompatible aliens.

    Also, according to the DT, “the Garibaldi is coordinating the EU’s migrant rescue operation in the Mediterranean”; yup, its there to help the (migrants ed) in their task when their leaking vessels lack the rugged construction and seaworthiness of Viking longboats.

    The EU is what you get when lunatics take over the asylum. They spend their time holding summits to discuss how to ameliorate the consequences of their own actions, but always agree that far from backtracking on a policy that does not work, the solution is always ever more EU whilst the populus whom they scorn are abandonned to suffer in a silence orchestrated by a controlled press.

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

      Yes, I see the irony.

      Meeting to discuss how to tackle the migrant problem that is being worsened by the vessel they are meeting on.

      Don’t they also understand that they should be urgently trying to prevent people going to sea in the first place and not encouraging yet more loss of life in substandard boats.

      The Garibaldi may be killing more people than it is saving!

  29. Posted August 23, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Another day and another load of rubbish from the Reichstag.
    It’s ironic that they chose the Italian carrier just before Italy goes to the polls voting on the new constitution.
    If the people revolt and the Prime Minister resigns it will probably open a huge can of worms.
    What with Beppi and the Northern League agitating for a return to the Lira we could be witnessing a catastrophy for the Euro.
    Rather than bleating about more integration they should be doing something about the massive youth unemployment.
    Why isn’t Germany encouraging unemployed Europeans rather than importing millions of (people from elsewhere ed).
    It was interesting to listen to the Austrian politician who said 90% of the new wave of immigrants were illiterate.
    Not doctors, dentists and engineers as the BBC would have us believe.

  30. Posted August 23, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Yes.

    Prediction: They will talk a lot. ‘Reform, jobs, growth!’ The usual collection of nice words, which never happen.

    The deluded few will get excited.

    Then they will carry on, exactly as before.

    ….(this has been happening for the last 25 years. It gets old.)

  31. Posted August 23, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    “They cannot easily change the Treaties or relax the laws that bite from the EU. They are unable to sort out the migration issues posed by common frontiers. They cannot even agree amongst themselves to relax the controls on spending and borrowing.”

    This says it all. There is simply no concensus on the way forward and therefore no strategy capable of reforming anything. This should be a lesson for all those Remainers that told us we should have voted to stay in and reform the institution from the inside.

    As if the Euro hasn’t done enough damage, The migrant crisis caused single-handedly by Merkel, has pretty well done away with any collective good will. It’s now simply impossible to satisfy the needs of 27 different countries or even come up with an agreed solution to what is the single biggest blunder by any leading politician this century – or anything else for that matter !

    They will continue to fiddle while Rome burns/ Not literally , we hope.

    We are driving down to Lake Como next week where, according to the Today programme his morning, we can expect to see several thousand African Economic migrants camped all round the railway station because Switzerland is refusing them entry from Italy. So much for free movement !

  32. Posted August 23, 2016 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Well put Forthurst. Your post chills me to the bone. We do not want a watered down version of anything to do with the EU. We need and want OUT. Just how many of these aliens will come to our shores before we actually leave and get around to protecting our borders in a proper fashion?

  33. Posted August 23, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Sorry for being off topic but the BBC is out of control:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37164297

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Cameron had the chance to do one small but important reform to the License Fee (Tele-tax). Make it subscription via digital card like BSkyB.

      I have a choice of who provides many services, but I would have to pay the BBC regardless if I wanted their service or not. This is wrong !

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        Mark B: “Cameron had the chance to do one small but important reform to the License Fee (Tele-tax).”

        Because it suits the political elite to have min-truth to broadcast their lies.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Kenneth:-

      A poem :”This Be The Verse ” 1971 by the late Philip Larkin. I, personally, never thought it good. But what is. I thought it gratuitously vulgar. But what isn’t.

      Certainly the Social Work Establishment lost faith in being able to educate parents. They thought Mums and Dads needed professional training. Russian Communism with all the women going to work and “forcibly” leaving their babes in the nasty hands of the state nurseries was a no-no. But then the British Establishment warmed to the idea . Many of them had been stuffed into seamy boarding schools away from a proper Mother and Father . So they were used to depravity, parental neglect and the consequences of a complete abdication of parental responsibility. Hurt people tend to wish to hurt people.But how to convince women to leave home, and hand their kids over to a stranger and one licenced by the State when many women and men had loving parents who would not have dreamed of sending them away, leaving them all alone? Politicians came up with it:-.
      “Tell women/mothers they they are being discriminated against at home” . It worked just fine. Still does. With very very professional women who no real man could genuinely love entering mainstream politics, getting the Women’s vote just by wearing a daft tee-shirt saying ” I hate men persons “.
      Gets them on both front benches of Parliament. They have nothing which they think is better to do.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      I was under the impression that media were obliged to distinguish between ‘news’ and ‘opinion’. Of course, as far as the BBC is concerned they are one and the same thing, both in their written and spoken output such that only those who agree with the beboids get invited to contribute. In my experience, women who take leave to have a family are very happy that they are allowed to return to work part-time; however, they need to be kept off the critical path to avoid slippage.

  34. Posted August 23, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Following the UK’s vote to leave, it must be clear that the only way to form a European Federal State is the democratic way.

    Step one would be to hold consultative referendums in each of the Member States that is either in the Euro zone or legally committed to joining it.

    The question on the ballot paper would be:
    “The European Commission has proposed the creation of a European Federal State, based on the Euro as its currency, the political, economic, fiscal and financial union proposed in the 5 Presidents Report, and the military co-operation authorised by the Lisbon Treaty. Do you wish your country to join such a State?”
    Yes
    No

    Campaign issues would include
    – Strong currency or weak?
    – Fiscal transfers from rich Member States to poor ones?
    – The extent of German dominance

    Once the results were in, everyone would be able to work out whether the will was there to form a European Federal State. I see no catch.

  35. Posted August 23, 2016 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    It is all too easy to mock this meeting of Renzi, Merkel and Hollande but it would have been so much easier if the aircraft carrier on which they stood had displayed a large banner saying “Mission Accomplished”.

  36. Posted August 23, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    EU too big. Too complicated

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      Margaret: “EU too big. Too complicated”

      and now, irrelevant.

  37. Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Off Topic:
    A study by the Institute of Fiscal Studies reports a pay gap between men and women. Given that we are now on our 2nd Prime Minister who is a woman and the first was PM for quite some time, is there a case for making sure in future that men are in positions of the highest authority and power; namely PM, to ensure women get a fair deal?

  38. Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    The problem with Brexit at moment is couldn’t have come at worse timing.
    Whether Brexit good or bad idea, got so much to focus on first:

    1. Pay of huge national debt
    2. Prepare properly for terrorist threat here in the UK
    3. Housing (desperate shortage for young at moment)
    4. Hinkley Point (and Nuclear strategy in general) Heathrow?, HS2, Trident (and where? What if Scotland leaves union?)
    5. Keep the union strong (when Scottish Nationalists trying to fragment)

    Even IF Brexit does make better economic sense, still following to deal with (whilst trying to deal with above)
    1. Finalise trade deal with the EU (could take years, can we afford to wait that long?)
    2. Finalise trade deals with the rest of the world (could take even long, can we afford to wait that long?)
    Not just that but we got no trained negotiators to negotiate on behalf of UK (except for those working in EU – they would have to be trained up). And trade deals are incredibly difficult and complicated (‘Bad trade deals cost jobs’ – Donald Trump).

    Then there is the argument about Brexit offering nothing regarding geopolitics towards rest of Europe (EU is building up rest of Europe for long-term prosperity, peace and security – benefitting us economically as much as anyone else in Europe) and so that we can work together in a global world in a modern age with big scientific projects, aeronautics, satellites and space travel. As well as needing your nearest neighbours to trade with over those products that are hardest to sell and ship further afield (not all products are equal).

    And then there is the lack of Brexit leadership (Nigel steps down, Boris and Michael both stabbing each other – instead of offering leadership and a detailed plan about how to proceed over something pretty complicated and risky – and risk doesn’t have to be bad but you really need to think hard about it and you need leadership in power).

    That’s all going to say for a while if at all on this blog. But the more I look at it, the more of a bad idea it seems to leave the EU (and agreed, the EU needs strong reforming but not like this).
    Regards.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

      (oh and nearly forgot, we also have to try and deal with the nightmares of Syria, mass immigration to this continent from overseas, Russia and Ukraine, and more – all which takes up government time and energy and finance whether we’re in the EU or not).

  39. Posted August 24, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    I fear that you are right: the democratic deficit in Europe precludes treaty change, so we are left with the leaders of major countries effectively taking a huge gamble: either have more integration to impose new pan-European institutions on European people who do not want them to solve the current account imbalances at the heart of the Euro, or face complete collapse of the EU. The Euro was the faustian deal designed to rob Europeans of their democracies by flooding their countries with cheap money in an unsustainable fashion, temporarily creating a ‘wealth effect’ and now fear is being used to try and coerce them into fulfilling their end of this devilish deal.

    Who could knowingly support such a thing! I am never ‘proud’, nor ‘patriotic’, but I am delighted that UK citizens have had the balls to reject this deal and take the risk of exclusion and failure to rebuild our country. Our democracy may be flawed, and also in need of a reboot, but our country and system is still one of the best, most democratic, in the world. It seems that we could and should look at the Swiss model for reform.

    I am

  40. Posted August 24, 2016 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps that Italian aircraft carrier should be renamed the “Titanic”?

  41. Posted August 26, 2016 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Germany is always ready to remind anyone who will listen that they get on just fine in the Euro with a large balance of payments surplus, so why don’t the others?

    I remember a German colleague of mine said almost the same thing to me when I was expressing sympathy with Greece at the height of the euro crisis. Admittedly he isn’t an economist but he is, at least otherwise, a very intelligent person!

    And if he can’t see that it’s just not possible for everyone to run a surplus then what hope is there for everyone else?

    • Posted August 26, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      I have a left wing German friend who just dismisses the Greek and Italian predicaments as “all self-inflicted”.

  42. Posted August 28, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    No EU is the only way forward

    The EU has made an unholy mess of almost the whole of Europe. It will only stop when the EU is disbanded or collapses.

    It is cold war thinking in a modern world, a slug of a project mired in slime, with slime at its heart and slime at the top.

    Angela Merkel and Jean Claude Juncker are the prime examples of everything which is wrong with the EU. The sooner it disappears the better for everyone.

    The people don’t want Pan-Europe. only the power-crazed politicians do (and I will include here all those in the UK that think remaining is a good idea)

  43. Posted August 31, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Bravo for your R4 piece today. Shocked by how bureaucratic Gus O’Donnell was. Thankfully he is yesterday’s man.

  • 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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