The state of the Union

Mr Juncker’s State of the Union address this year was downbeat and worried. He said the Union needs a vision. He offered to supply one drawn up by the Commission. It will only be available next spring. The urgency of his words about the need to pull the union together does not seem matched by the laid back timetable for the basic words. Surely the Union needs a vision now?

Mr Juncker’s speech combined the very general and wide ranging, with the specific and detailed. In his general remarks he complained that there was now a yawning gap between what many voters and member state governments want, and what the EU is serving up. He condemned populist politics, as if the voters expressing a view different to that of the Commission is some crime or ill considered liberty. The Commission still does not get democracy, or prefers administration of the elite by the elite for the elite of big government and big business.

In a way I am glad he did not go on about Brexit, yet a speech on the future of the EU without any substantive comment on the departure of one of its largest members over the issue of too much EU power seems curious. Nor did he sketch out how with the departure of the one major country that always had grave reservations about creating a political union with military capability it might enable the remaining states to make more rapid progress towards their goal.

He did reflect on how his role as President of the EU differs from that of the President of the United States, without pausing to mention the obvious difference that one is elected and has a popular mandate and the other is not. He seems rueful that the EU still does not mirror the powers of the federal government in the USA, yet is aware of the strong forces seeking to divide the 27 members of the present Union.

The extraordinary thing about the speech was the absence of any proposed ways of sending more money from rich to poor, of beefing up spending programmes to foster public sector led growth, or fixing the banks more quickly to foster private sector led increases in employment and output. Nor did he have a way forward over the vexed questions of the borders and migration.

The speech seemed to be delivered into a vacuum. The voters of EU states cannot engage, and the national Parliamentarians cannot engage. The rules of the European parliament seem to conspire against holding Mr Juncker properly and daily to account. Organising a procedure which lets a President’s speech go out unchallenged, may just create a sense that the President’s speech does not matter. It is the endless noise and criticism of Prime Ministers and Finance Ministers in lively democracies that amplifies their message, acts as a check on their actions, and forces them to have answers to main criticisms. Mr Juncker’s speech in contrast seemed to pass most people by.

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117 Comments

  1. Newmania
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Yes well he is no a powerful man and has little power to do any of these things , thats what you wanted I thought. As for not worrying about us well thats the way of things , if you wereto revisit Kafkas Metamorphosis you would find it a rather amusing parable of Brexit.
    In the end the family are greatly relieved when the insect man dies but the telling part is how quickly shock turns into boredom and then , life , in all its tedious detail simply continues
    I feel the same , its all just a bit sad now , but one has got used to being disppointed , with the country and the people in it

    • Hope
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      I note the sore loser Osborne, who failed every prediction or pledge he made, acted like a traitor in talking our country down to get his own selfish way, claims no one voted for a hard Brexit. He is now vainly trying to distinguish what we voted for! We voted for a hard leave, Gideon, you lost get over it.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 23, 2016 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        Above all we surely voted against everthing Osborne stood for. The “vote remain or I will put your taxes up even further” and I will put your mortgages up too. The delightful IHT ratter, landlord, tenant and pension pot mugger, tax until the pips squeak (then waste most of it on nonsense) the dire ex-chancellor George Osborne.

        Why on earth does he not just go away, as Cameron has had the sense to do.

      • Richard1
        Posted September 24, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        Well in fairness to him some people probably voted for ‘£350m pw extra for the NHS’ (aka “600,000 more nurses”). It was clear at the time that this fatuous and mendacious slogan by Vote Leave would come back to bite, whichever side won.

        Reply The distinction between gross and net contribution was endlessly debated before the vote!

        • Anonymous
          Posted September 24, 2016 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

          Richard 1 – The Leave campaign had plenty of airtime to dispute this and did. I voted Leave and in no way expect all of this money to go on nurses.

          It is wrong for others to claim that there should be a soft Brexit or second referendum because those who voted Leave weren’t made aware of the situation.

        • Richard1
          Posted September 25, 2016 at 6:34 am | Permalink

          Reply to reply: true but the foolish slogan was written on the bus. Those who authorised it must have known how misleading and foolish it was.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Newmonia disppointed (sic) ?

      Good.

      Your side simply wasn’t good enough – despite being backed up by the President of the US of A landing Airforce 1 on the Brexit movement at a critical moment.

      You had all the airtime, most of the press on your side, so do stop telling us that people voted Brexit because “…they didn’t know what the Single Market was.”

      They DID know what the Single Market was. They DID know what the threats were.

      It was patronising and condescending people such as YOU who turned them against the EU – not immigrants.

      LOOK IN YOUR MIRROR.

    • Richard1
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      But do you have any arguments to refute the points JR makes, which are, inter alia, that the state of the Union address in the EU is given by Someone with no democratic mandate, and that the address doesn’t mention the central issue – the unsustainability of the EU’s overarching policy, the euro, in the absence of fiscal transfers, cross-guarantees etc?

    • DaveM
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Well you could either try making it better because you’re clearly far cleverer than, and superior to everyone else, or you could move to somewhere like Brussels.

      • Anonymous
        Posted September 24, 2016 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        DaveM – If there is no rush to sell SE housing then if follows that Remainers in that region are putting their money behind Britain, despite them saying that Brexit will be a disaster.

    • graham1946
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      Oh Dear..

      As Don McClean said in the song ‘Vincent’:

      This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you……………They would not listen, they’re not listening still, perhaps they never will.

    • libertarian
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Newmania

      Time for bed said Zebedee

    • Frank1
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      New mania, your post is difficult to read, muddy, even obtuse. It is also descending, laborious and directionless. A bit like the EU.

      • Anonymous
        Posted September 24, 2016 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        Frank 1 – Newmoania’s prose is probably clearer to the more (allegedly) enlightened generation, you know, recent sixth form leavers who have since forgotten the referendum (having not bothered to register to vote in it in the first place) and who are now chasing imaginary monsters around on Pokomon Go.

        • Anonymous
          Posted September 24, 2016 at 8:46 am | Permalink

          … or puking in a gutter somewhere during fresher’s week.

  2. Brexit Facts4EU.org
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    We’re pleased you have given publicity to President Juncker’s second State of the Union speech, Dr Redwood.

    We have previously called for this to be compulsory viewing in our schools and universities. Viewing Juncker’s first and second annual speeches might help to counteract the EU-funded propaganda being inflicted on our young people. Anyone doubting this can look at the videos, linked to in our article here:
    http://facts4eu.org/news.shtml (7th item down).

    You ask “Surely the Union needs a vision now?” Naturally the answer is yes. Normally the vision follows the agenda of the EU-elites who can usually be relied upon to fall into line no matter which EU state they’re from. (The wishes of the people of each country are of course not relevant.) Over the past year, however, this has become more difficult for Germany, France, Italy, and the EU Commission to achieve.

    Here are three quotations from the last week, from 3 key EU leaders :-

    “I cannot hold a press conference with Merkel and Hollande. I don’t agree with their positions on immigration and the economy.” – Matteo Renzi, Italian Prime Minister, at EU leaders’ summit where he refused to share a platform with Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande.

    “We agreed that Europe finds itself in a critical situation after Brexit”– Chancellor Merkel, at the same EU leaders’ summit last Friday.

    “Our European Union is, at least in part, in an existential crisis…. Never before have I seen such little common ground between our Member States. So few areas where they agree to work together.” – EU Commission President Juncker, opening his ‘State of the Union’ address to the EU Parliament last Wednesday.

    If it weren’t for the fact that the BBC doesn’t report such things we would hardly need to publish any more news, as the EU is doing a very good job of defining the word ‘dysfunctional‘ all by itself.

    Happy 3-month anniversary of the Referendum vote to you and all your readers!
    Best wishes, the Facts4EU.Org Team

  3. McBryde
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t have said it better! 😉

    That should be published in every newspaper. You put it all in a nutshell, and I hope as many people in this country as possible will read it.

  4. Peter Wood
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    The Commission is an abomination – if the other 27 sent the same quality of individual to this organisation as we have – Mandelson, Kinnock, Brittan, Ashton- then is it any wonder it’s a club that is only interested in its own power and pocket.

    May I suggest a 21st century EU negotiating tactic – USE THE INTERNET! Our approach should NOT be back-room discussions trying to thrash out a deal that the politicians can proclaim is ‘the best deal possible’. We should publish our position on the internet (which should be something along the lines of ‘we will not tax or prevent free trade with any party based in the EU, UNLESS the EU puts a tax UK business trading with any party in the EU) Then let democratic forces work on the political leaders to do their jobs.

  5. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Interestingly, between Theresa May and Claude Juncker, Mr. Junker is the elected, Mrs. May the unelected one, be it that Mr. Juncker’s election was against the wishes of Mr. Cameron, proving the increased isolation of the UK within the EU! Was it clever that Cameron proved his disrespect for the directly elected European Parliament?
    There were deep division within the 27 to be bridged, which will take some time. Also, Mr. Juncker is only the head of a meager civil service and has to take his cue from the European Council (heads of government). It doesn’t strike me as if the UK has a clear Brexit plan or vision, beyond the Brexit is Brexit oneliner. I hope the British chaos will soon be resolved, and the article 50 will be triggered.

    Reply Mrs May was elected by the people of Maidenhead, and then elected by Conservative MPs who are all themselves elected.

    • Know-dice
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      @PvL

      Part of the basis of my vote to leave (And Leave means Leave) was that the division between the 27 could not be bridged. The gulf between North and South and Rich[er] and Poor[er] I don’t believe can be resolved 🙁

      Co-operate with Europe, not be engulfed by the EU… 🙂

      BTW, once again I had a very pleasant stay in Bussum and always get on well with the Dutch people, although to my embarrassment my Dutch is still almost non-existent 🙁

    • James Munroe
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Please clarify the ‘British chaos’ that you refer to.

      The EU and other Remainiacs wish that it were true…

      On the other hand, the EU chaos is clear to all.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted September 23, 2016 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        @James Munroe: Is chaos too strong a word for a government which still has no plan on timing or content and were ministers get slapped down immediately if they dare to give any hints, something which has now happened a few times already? Not too mention the legal challenges and a minister not realising that he cannot make separate trade deals with separate EU countries.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 24, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

          Does the EU have a plan?

        • James Munroe
          Posted September 24, 2016 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

          That’s not chaos, that is the British making good headway, from a standing start.

          Mr Cameron left his successors everything to do, because of his complacency, that the voters would believe Project Fear. He had a track record of success, with fear and the Scottish Referendum.

          We British always ‘keep calm and carry on’….we leave the ‘chaos’ to the poor old EU.

    • Narrow shoulders
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      addendum to reply

      Mr Juncker was thus elected in the same way that Mrs May was PvL

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted September 23, 2016 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

        @Narrow shoulders: Not quite (IMHO) because many people could also have voted for e.g. Martin Schulz, which would have made S&D the largest party and him the EC president. I grant you that the difference is small.

    • Kevin
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      “Mr. Juncker is only the head of a meager civil service”

      A “meager civil service” that, as Wikipedia puts it, “differs from the other institutions in that it alone has legislative initiative in the EU” (italics added).

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted September 23, 2016 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        @Kevin: In theory – yes, but you might have noticed that in current practice the EC president really steered (managed if you like) by the European Council and Council of Ministers. They tell him what initiatives to take. E.g. end of 2013 the government leaders decided that arms industries needed support and told the EC to take initiatives for legislation (As a civil society we now try to oppose that via MEPs)

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      “the directly elected European Parliament”. But Europe is a continent, not a nation. There is no democracy because there is no demos.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted September 23, 2016 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

        @Lindsay McDougall: This is a rather theoretical and invented objection (first by Václav Klaus former head of the Czech Republic). There are various peoples (demoses?) in both Switzerland and India, differing in culture and language, while both countries are said to be democracies.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 24, 2016 at 2:49 am | Permalink

        Exactly. There is no democracy because there is no demos and can not be.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted September 24, 2016 at 10:38 am | Permalink

          Both Switzerland and India comprise several peoples with different cultures and languages (demoses?) like the EU, and both are considered democracies. This theoretical invention by former Czech president Václav Klaus has run its course and should be buried by now.
          (P.S. His equally weird and even more damaging denying of climate change will hopefully soon be thrown out as well. Amazing what some eccentrics have in common!)

    • a-tracy
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      What British chaos?
      We’re just waiting on Mrs May to press to button after legal challenges have been resolved.
      Perhaps we just don’t want to let our European friends and competitors know what our plan and vision is for the future out of the EU. Why would we reveal our hand?

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted September 23, 2016 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        @a-tracy: Okay – and every time a minister gets impatient and tries to give a hint, he is corrected within hours by Downing street 10. What you state could indeed be the case. (it doesn’t mean that I believe it to be the case, I believe there simply still is no plan).

        • a-tracy
          Posted September 24, 2016 at 10:31 am | Permalink

          Europe has said we can’t officially negotiate with other Countries until after we leave, all we can do is prepare because of Europes rules, your EU set the agenda not us.

          If I were a Brexit minister I would ask May for a press line and just say that’s all I can say until after the Oct legal case is concluded, full stop. We cannot reveal our plan until negotiations have concluded but we have the brightest and best working on this very project.

          We could be the UK iPhone to the EUs Blackberry…

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted September 25, 2016 at 1:16 am | Permalink

          Actually, Peter, I have written a completely coherent two page letter to Mrs May telling her exactly what Brexit is not (joining the EEA) and outling the main steps towards a hard and rapid Brexit. It’s not the Brexiteers who don’t have a plan; it’s Mrs May dithering.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      So what would happen if Juncker vacated his office, for whatever reason?

      The election which supposedly gave him a popular mandate, albeit indirectly, was the general election of MEPs in 2014; so if he went would there have to be a fresh election, or would somebody else take over the office until the next scheduled EU Parliament elections?

      Well, Article 246 TFEU and Article 17(7) TEU give the answer, which is that there would not be a fresh general election of MEPs, instead somebody else would take over until the next scheduled elections in 2019.

      Which is a bit like the way that Theresa May has become Prime Minister …

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted September 23, 2016 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper: Good point! You’re correct on this one I suppose.
        Actually I don’t really object to the way she became prime-minister. In the Netherlands at this moment, ahead of the March elections, some politicians are becoming party leaders unopposed. The leader of the largest party (after the elections) will get the right to try and for a coalition government.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted September 25, 2016 at 1:21 am | Permalink

          It’s not fairness to political parties that matters. It’s fairness to individual electors that matters. That is why first-past-the-post, with its automatic localism, is more popular than you like.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Reply–Mrs May’s election, such as it was, was nothing short of a fiasco. If the Leader had arisen as in the past from senior Conservatives reaching, and rapidly reaching, a consensus, that consensus would have started from the obviously correct proposition that the next PM should have been a Leave. Anything else would have been preposterous which is the adjective that best qualifies the position we find ourselves in. Mrs May cannot rid herself of the taint of being a Remainer by washing the Conservatives’ dirty laundry of Cameron and Osborne, good though that might be. She could re-rat at any point especially if the going gets rough.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 24, 2016 at 2:52 am | Permalink

        She also assured the nation during the referendum that we had control of our borders through Schengen. So either she is very foolish & misguided indeed or she is a blatant liar. I can see no other sensible explanation.

    • Hope
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Junker was not elected by any member of the public in Europe. Akin to the polit bureau elections and nominations Comrade. Like the USSR the EU will hVe the sMe fate.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted September 23, 2016 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

        @Hope: People voted directly for (groupings of) parties in the EU and the leader of the largest party appeared to be Juncker. If people vote for the Tory candidate in Wokingham, making Tories the largest party in the country, they get their party leader (David Cameron) to be appointed as prime-minister by your queen. Te EU has no queen – so the European Council appointed Juncker, who’s EPP won the elections.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      The true PvL revealed.

      I had you sussed years ago, mate. 😉

      • Anonymous
        Posted September 23, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        “Reply Mrs May was elected by the people of Maidenhead, and then elected by Conservative MPs who are all themselves elected.”

        Which makes her more democratically representative than Claude Junker. Doubtless she’ll have a full democratic mandate soon.

        At least we can reject her !

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted September 23, 2016 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

          @Anonymous: The European Parliament, if it so wanted could send Juncker home, I thought you knew that.
          Most commissioners (forget the UK with its unelected H.o.L) have won elections in their home countries, so if you’d wanted to compare the elected/appointed home secretary Mrs. May to e.g. Frans Timmermans, you’d have to compare Maidenhead with the Netherlands.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 24, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

            Most of the Commission are politicians who have been rejected by their domestic voters.

          • Anonymous
            Posted September 24, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

            I have very little idea of who is in the EU Parliament. I couldn’t recognise their faces in the way I could lots of our MPs so have no idea who would be sending Mr Juncker home, nor would I really know if it had happened nor who had replaced him.

            It really isn’t news that the British people follow.

            I have no idea (nor care) who Frans Timmermans is.

            The EU is too big and its politics too remote – its size, anonimity and remoteness is what our people have voted against.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted September 25, 2016 at 1:23 am | Permalink

            For Edward2. Yes, indeed, and Lord Kinnock is the most prominent example of that.

    • Malcolm Lidierth
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      He’s not often quoted on these pages I suspect, but here are Tony Benn’s eminently sensible tests of democratic power from Hansard 22.03.2001
      “In the course of my life I have developed five little democratic questions. If one meets a powerful person–Adolf Hitler, Joe Stalin or Bill Gates–ask them five questions: “What power have you got? Where did you get it from? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? And how can we get rid of you?” If you cannot get rid of the people who govern you, you do not live in a democratic system.”

      In the normal course of events, the electorate would know who will be the PM after an election. But all PMs holds office by merit of having the confidence of a majority of MPs in a directly elected parliament to whom they are accountable. Cameron ‘won’ a general election, but held office as PM via this mechanism. Parliament can get rid of Mrs May should she lose their confidence and the people can rid of the MPs at the next election. But how do we get rid of President Juncker? And whose interests does he serve? Those of the 28 member states or those of the “meager” bureaucracy he heads.

    • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: an “election” with no opponent doesn’t give very much choice! That is why media have branded it a coronation rather than an election. Mr. Juncker had at least two opponents at the time of the European elections.

      • Anonymous
        Posted September 24, 2016 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        PvL “Mr. Juncker had at least two opponents at the time of the European elections.”

        Without resorting to Google I’d like people here to attempt to name either of them.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted September 24, 2016 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

          The ones I remember by heart are Matrin Schulz and Guy Verhofstadt and I confess not to remember the Green parties candidates.
          Why should British ignorance continue to be an excuse to have an opinion about anything and everything? No wonder you’re so easily deceived by media and politicians.

          • Anonymous
            Posted September 25, 2016 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

            PvL – On a national level democratic remoteness is already stretched to its limits. Take it to a supranational level and we start to lose interest entirely… which I think is the EU’s modus operandi – bore the people into submission.

            We weren’t deceived by media an politicians, most of which were in support of Remain. We rebelled against them despite the threats.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      Indeed alas she was not challenged by Boris thanks to Gove’s absurd stupidity and Leadsom’s lack of courage.

      Let us hope she has now seen the light, I rather doubt it but will give her until the Autumn statement to cancel HS2 (and Hinkly), all the greencrap subsidies, get on with Brexit, fracking, cheap energy, lower simpler taxes and the two new runways needed.

    • petermartin2001
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      @Peter VL,

      Mrs May has democratic legitimacy in the UK. There’s no doubt about that. Mrs May can also be instantly deposed as PM if she loses a vote of confidence in the House of Commons.

      But how can we Mr Junker deposed? How we can be rid of someone is at least as important as how they came to be appointed in the first instance.

      I understand that the EU Parliament can’t set its own agenda. That’s set by the EU commission. So can the members table a motion of no confidence in the EU President, which would have to lead to his resignation, should the need arise?

      Incidentally, this isn’t a rhetorical question. I genuinely don’t know the answer.

  6. sm
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    I thought the EU had a vision: ever closer Union, primarily designed to try and stop France and Germany ripping each others’ throats out, whether economically or militarily.

    • Mitchel
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      And there was the Left’s vision that the EU was going to challenge US global economic hegemony and the model it was based on.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Dear sm–It has been well said that the EU exists because the French fear the Germans and the Germans fear themselves

  7. alan jutson
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Your post outlines exactly why the EU will eventually fail, but not until the majority of the combined population of those Countries who are members, wake up to what is actually going on.

    Not that I really care, but I wonder who will pick up the shortfall of contributions when we eventually leave ?

    • horatio
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Turkey?

  8. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Its just what the likes of Verhofstadt loves..so it must be right. Its an organisation that sucks in money and selectively throws it about, lavishly creaming off in the process. No formal audit sign off for over 15 years. As such no confidence…europe again!

  9. DaveM
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    I think the event of the speech in itself speaks volumes about the EU and about politicians like Juncker himself. It puts me in the mind of people who are trying to start a new religion but being ignored, and are therefore using bigger and more elaborate ceremonies to convince people that it’s bigger than it really is.

    No-one listened to Juncker’s speech because no-one cares. As you say, he is unelected and unwanted; some kids in this country may want to grow up to be like David Cameron (or even Jeremy Corbyn), some girls may take inspiration from Theresa May, but I find it hard to believe anyone wants to be like Juncker. Most people don’t even really know who he is, and those who do generally regard him as a laughable character.

    In some ways it’s easy to understand how EU fanatics like him and Verhoffstadt, who come from small countries but who see themselves as talented politicians (and are frustrated by the ceiling imposed by the political insignificance of their native countries) look to the EU as a way to climb to the top of the world stage.

    To put it in sporting terms, one would imagine that talented rugby players like the Italian, Parisse, who come from smaller rugby-playing nations, would be far more enthusiastic about a European rugby team than would players from England or Ireland. The B&I Lions has always been embraced far more by the Welsh than it has by the English, for example. (Not because Wales are a poor team, but because the opportunity to have genuine strength in depth for once is a luxury which they only enjoy every few years.) However, people respect the Welsh and the Italians because they continue to fight tooth and nail for their countries and as a result they overcome goliaths like England and France. But Juncker has abandoned his native country, and rather than trying to advance Luxembourg against the odds, he has tried to neuter the big boys, like the UK, by creating something artificial and sneaking his way up through bureaucratic channels. As a result he is neither liked nor respected – I don’t know how the Luxembourgois view him, but the few Luxemburgers I have met are proud of their small country and they or their fathers/grandfathers fought and died in its defence during the 2nd World War and I find it hard to believe they welcome total subservience to Germany.

    He won’t address immigration or nationalist feeling because he pretends it doesn’t exist. He gets angry when anything threatens the artificial state he wants Europe to be. But the fact remains that whilst there are many people across the continent who want the EU to prosper as a collection of states cooperating and helping each other when necessary, not many are enthusiastic about an EU superstate with a central bureaucracy which dictates laws and seeks to dilute culture and national identities.

    The fact remains that Europe’s borders may be seen as artificial by Juncker and his ilk, but they are historically drawn along tribal, ethnic, and linguistic lines, as well as geographic. And unfortunately for Juncker, all the bureaucracy and speeches in the world aren’t going to change that. New religions grow from the masses at the bottom, not from a few self-appointed priests at the top.

    The figurehead of a new religion is – without exception – someone who fights for his/her people against an oppressor, and who establishes the doctrine afterwards. You can’t write the doctrine first and impose yourself as the high priest – that’s what the oppressor does; he’s got it totally the wrong way round.

  10. Mark B
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The EU can and will do only one thing, and one thing only. Continue the march to EVER CLOSER UNION.

    The fact that our kind host, and others, cannot come to terms with what the EU is I find troubling. To those of us that do, some 17 million, Mr. Junker and others will always say and do the same thing – More Europe ! Which means greater and closer integration and eventual full unity. The term populist is one the EU uses to describe democracy. Considering the founding fathers’ of the EU, Sir Arthur Salter and Jean Monet saw pressure from the people in the form of nationalism and patriotism as the root cause of all of Europe’s woes. They were wrong then, and they are even more wrong today.

    OT

    To answer, ‘getahead’s’ question to me from yesterday. Whatever the EU needs and can do to dissuade others from doing the same thing.

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    But he did promise free wifi across the EU, so that is alright then. Even if it is nothing to do with him and he cannot deliver it. He still tries to play Father Bountiful (with other people’s money of course). This is staple fare of dire lefty politicians and bureaucrats throughout the World.

    Ignore all the serious & main issues please, and I may give you a sweety or two, bought with your own money that I took off you earlier.

  12. Gary C
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Morning John,

    Your first two paragraphs highlight the main reasons I had for voting leave, I predict the EU’s hardline dogmatic attitude will be the reason for their breakup in the next few years, the forthcoming elections will be very interesting.

  13. Ian Wragg
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    The EU is modelled on the Soviet Union which is or was a totalitarian state.
    It can never mirror the ways of the USA because it is totally averse to democracy.
    The forthcoming EU army will probably only be deployed to quell internal dessent.
    It is an idea way past its sell by date and should be put to bed.

  14. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    His chest must be like a pin-cushion. Medals spiked on him profusely like a Second World War Russian General.
    Juncker has 15 National honours, with 54 Academic and other distinctions. They range from European Banker of the Year to Sharpest Blade Prize (City of Solingen) (2008 ).

    But he has not fought in any war at all. But marches nevertheless without the trouble of an electoral mandate from Poland to France to Belgium. European politicians like Juncker always seem to come to a halt at the Channel.

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

      But he’s had a whole army of fifth columnists on the other side of it!

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, JR, please could you ask Boris Johnson not to muddy the waters by suggesting that trade deals with other countries around the world could be linked to freedom of movement of their citizens to the UK, while correctly saying that it is “baloney” for countries in Europe to insist on doing just that? Could we please have a little consistency, not necessarily complete and dogmatic ideological consistency but at least some pragmatic consistency?

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 24, 2016 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Such trade in free movement would be unacceptable to the people too. Britain is full. Leaders repeatedly blamed the EU for overcrowding and the people forced a referendum to leave the EU.

      It is not ‘fortress Britain’.

      It is simply unacceptable that trade should be linked to freedom of movement and our people have realised that with such trade they are getting poorer.

      Our younger generation can no longer afford to house themselves and nor can they afford transport in many cases. Transport costs are through the roof – particularly car insurance as a result of cash-for-crash and whiplash claims.

  16. Lifelogic
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Your last paragraph, in particular, sums it up very well.

  17. Prigger
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Two further frightening Shapeshifts of the Labour Party reached manifestation-point very recently.

    #1# Two leading female Labour members, separately, referred to two male politicians’ moderate expressions of difference of opinion with them as “Using abusive language” and “An abusive attack”. The pc world of Labour with its abject denial of free-speech is entering a new realm. Neither of the two Labour women were of the Corbyn camp so the dictatorial virus must be endemic to both the Party’s DNAs

    #2# The threat to our national security from a possible Corbyn government via its defence policy is as nothing. The far greater terror is if the opponents of Corbyn in the Labour Party get their angry indecisive faltering fingers a’tip the nuclear button. Angela Eagle, Liz Kendall, Mary Creagh.

  18. Shieldsman
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/brexit-to-cost-european-union-billions-a-1111724.html

    How will the Commission rearrange payments to fill the budget hole?

  19. oldtimer
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    SpiegelOnline has posted a revealing article about the close, even cosy, relationship that exists between Commission President Juncker and Parliament President Schultz. It appears that Juncker is actively scheming to secure another term of office for Schultz, even though he was supposed to step down from the role in early 2017.

    I get the impression that the respective appointments by the two of them to the team that will negotiate Brexit, Barnier and Verhofstadt, is calculated to assure a hard Brexit. This will not necessarily be in the interests of those member states who want tariff free trade to continue.

    • ChrisS
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      I read the Spiegel article as well.
      Why are the regulars here not surprised at any of this ?

      CMD in no way measures up in any comparison with Margaret Thatcher but in one respect he was in a typical Thatcherite majority of one in being right about opposing Juncker’s appointment.

      The man has been an even bigger disaster than any of his many critics imagined. Together with Merkel, we can at least be thankful for his role in helping us win the referendum. Had it not been for Merkel’s very own migrant crisis and had Juncker and Merkel been less bigotted in their refusal to give any ground on FOM to help Dave, Remain might well have won.

      At least we will only have to suffer Juncker until we leave.

  20. Peter Stroud
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    If Juncker really believes that he is in any way similar to the president of the USA, then he is an idiot. He is an unelected bureaucrat, nothing more, nothing less, and his delusions of grandeur put off many in this country and contributed to our desire to leave the EU. The EU can in all probability never be a pseudo USA because of the vast cultural and political differences of the member states. A slowly expanding Common Market might have worked, but an ever closer political union will fail.

  21. Bert Young
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Juncker has a background that has little qualification to justify the position he holds ; I would equate his capability to that of a Town Councillor dealing with fat revenues . During the period when he was the Prime Minister of Luxembourg , many spurious deals were made with international companies to minimise their taxes . He does not show the intelligence or personal discipline required for a position of significance .

    What he says is the result of his speech writers , but what they write is the result of his direction . The people of the EU at the moment need reassurance that they can be positive about its future ; as it stands , there is disarray and huge areas of despondency . There is nothing on the horizon to encourage the poor that they will be better off and for the rich that they will be able to continue their lifestyle . Leadership for the entire EU community needs strong leadership of vision and integrity ; they will not get it from Juncker .

  22. Tad Davison
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    An excellent critique, and I share your sentiments. All that’s wrong with the EU, but that’s their pigeon now. If they can’t see what’s wrong with their institution at this late stage – tough! As long as we have no part of it, and aren’t forced to contribute.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  23. Antisthenes
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Redistribution of wealth and political and economic unions have their place but not to the degree that you or Brussels believe they should be at. As nation states have found out. The clamour for devolved power and/or independence and is growing stronger and redistribution has proven to be far from effecting the outcomes it is designed for and at the same time to be an unsustainable drag on national finances.

    People want more democracy not less and if that is populism Juncker is against then he is just another totalitarian along with the other Brussels elite and EU project loving groups(in reality we already new that). People want to hold onto their hard earned wealth expecting only to part with some of it for equitable reasons. National governments already take too much of it for reasons that taxpayers find incomprehensible. So adding another tax and spend body the EU only creates more demand for that wealth. It is therefore no surprise that populist parties are growing.

    The EU is not an embryo USA. It is not an economic and political union of people with a common background, culture, language and mindset. So it will not build a superstate that is cohesive as common ground is not achievable. It will achieve what other previous unions of this type have and that is to fail and nearly always acrimoniously. Especially when those in power seek to hold it together with force. Brexit and the rising of populism is the proof of failure and Juncker’s thinking and rhetoric is the proof that the EU will not give up the union project without a fight (of course it is unlikely to be bloody but it will not be nice).

  24. Oggy
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Juncker’s speech just showed his and the EU’s ideaology is completely out of touch with many of the ordinary people in Europe and their concerns. With all the major EU’s problems they have of Brexit, the Eurozone and the Migrant crisis their intention is more of the same ie more Europe not less, which is completely in the wrong direction and will further alienate the peoples of Europe. The EU should start to prepare for many other referenda on EU membership unless of course they legislate against countries having them !
    But it’s not all bad – at least the EU will get free Wifi !! (I think Juncker has lost the plot)

    • graham1946
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Free Wi-fi!

      Don’t forget also that other great boon stated by the Remoaners – lower Roaming Charges.

      Wish I hadn’t voted out now, on serious reflection. Well worth 10 billion quid a year.

  25. ian
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    That is a speech that needs to be made in the british parliament for the people of this country to bring them full democracy with ideologies stripped out of ideas and left for the people to vote on.

    • Tim L
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      John, anther difference between our president Juncker and his American rival is of course Obama’s speech is prime time tv and covered by the worlds press.

  26. stred
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    In order to maintain their grip on power, politician need to have the support of the police and armed forces. Hence the rush to create the EU army and navy, previously hidden until the possibility of Brexit passed. The British government has ensured that the chiefs of police are exceptionally well paid and pensioned and that the top officers are politically aligned with the liberal internationalist establishment. They have similarly expanded the Ministry of Defence to a point where numbers exceed the fighting army and politicised the management, as seen during the referendum when all staff were emailed an instruction on how to vote. The civil service has also lost impartiality and the heads are clearly in the same political bracket as the centre ground political parties. Much of the legal profession is the same.

    Leaving the EU will not change this unless politicians are elected who are willing to make big changes and weed out the members of this club. Their weakness is the unreliability of the police and armed forces on the ground. Many police in the lower ranks despise their overpaid and politicised chiefs and the some soldiers are similarly disenchanted, especially now that it has emerged that they are being prosecuted for war crimes supposedly committed when fighting for their lives and for what they thought was their nations interests.

    The creation of EU controlled armed forces and police forces should be opposed by citizens of the remaining EU if they value their liberty.

  27. Ed Mahony
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    The problem with the EU is that it is trying to do everything to quickly. Perhaps this is because people want to be recognised for their own achievements in their own lifetimes. Instead of the fruits of their works being enjoyed after they are dead!
    An important problem of the EU is existential. Same for Brexit. I really believe that the way to think about the youth of today and future generations of people in the UK and the EU is for the UK to stay in the EU whilst trying to reform the EU.
    Ultimately, the problem / solution to Brexit and the EU is existential (some might laugh at such a comment, but history shows – time and time and time again – that if you don’t think on this existential level – as well as what is realistically possible and pragmatic – then you’re just going to end up messing things up for future generations (as well as your own but perhaps not to the same degree).

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      In other words it’s not all about power and trade. It’s about power and trade in the context of working with others in your own geographical part of the world to create a place that is prosperous and peaceful overall. You can be sceptical and do nothing but then you’ll be left with the possibility of future economic depressions, and dictatorships and wars in Europe (which no-one in Europe escapes whether you’re in the EU or not). Or you can go the other way, and be too Utopian and idealistic and try and create something overnight. Or else you can take the middle ground, have a goal but not try and achieve it over-night, recognising the need for being flexible and pragmatic and trying and testing things over time.

  28. Malcolm Lidierth
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    “Mr Juncker’s speech in contrast seemed to pass most people by”. A lesson our Government might learn from. The case for Brexit here was won on the doorstep. The UK Government should now be on the doorsteps of our European partners, not just talking to their politicians and the eurocrats. With German and French elections looming, that might ruffle a few politician’s feathers, but they’re fairly ruffled already.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      Dear Malcolm–“Pass most people by” indeed. It would be interesting to know the percentages of people in each country who couldn’t give a rodent’s rear end what Juncker does or does not say.

  29. Richard Butler
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Just in case anyone missed it, here is the link to Peter Lilly’s brilliant Brexit template, essential reading for all;

    http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2016/09/peter-lilley-brexit-should-be-swift-heres-how-to-do-it.html

    • Richard1
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Peter Lilley is very sensible. It is a pity neither he nor JR are in the cabinet rather than the more lightweight Liam Fox and David Davis, neither of whom seem to be very clued up. mr Lilley reminds us that there’s no point entering any negotiation unless you are prepared to walk away with no deal – a point which seems unfortunately to have been lost on Mr Cameron in his renegotiation. A clear understanding – by the public – of the consequences of walking away is therefore essential.

  30. Martyn G
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Interesting observations, John. But I wonder if there might be more behind M. Junker’s speech than might at first be thought. For example, Der Spiegel is running an article implying that he is also much involved with stitching up the EU Parliament and Commission with the assistance of M. Schulz that I find interesting and relevant to your blog. See http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/schulz-and-juncker-a-test-for-eu-democracy-a-1113301.htm.
    The EU and democracy would appear yet again to represent a contradiction in terms….

  31. Lifelogic
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Interesting to hear (on The Papers BBC New Channel yesterday) a BBC favourite lefty “thinker” saying, (in relation to Bake Off’s move) something like:- typical of the man to follow the money and yet the three women sensibly stay with the BBC.

    I wonder if it has occurred to this great “thinker” that, if that is the case in general, it might well have something to do with the alleged gender pay gap that these Guardian think types get so excited about? As of course might the gender bias in A level choices, but I do not suppose this fits with her “BBC/Guardian/Woman House think agenda.

    My question is why were the BBC not benefiting rather than others from the sale of the rights. Should they not have ensured the contract gave them some return as, after all, without the BBC surely it would not have had the same or indeed any success?

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      The BBC pays “talent” much better than the commercial channels – if I was following the money I’d stay with the BBC.

    • graham1946
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      LL

      The fact is, the BBC is just another customer of the Producer Company. The Bake Off is aired in 28 countries around the world. The BBC had no lien on the rights. They made it popular here, by showing it, that’s all, no intellectual input. You could just as well wonder why you don’t get commission on something you buy at the supermarket.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 24, 2016 at 3:03 am | Permalink

        The BBC is in a very powerful position and could have negotiated an interest in the rights or just invented & popularised a totally different and more interesting cookery/game show, but they did not.

        Perhaps even one with less juvenile and pathetic innuendos about soggy bottoms and the likes.

        • graham1946
          Posted September 24, 2016 at 9:42 am | Permalink

          The BBC may be powerful, but not powerful enough to buy its most popular show it seems. It showed some sense in not wasting further amounts of public money, especially as it was going to another free to air broadcaster.

          It is what you say you support – the free market. If the BBC had used it’s supposed muscle to crush a production company, you’d be the first to jump up and down and demand it be privatised and end up like Sky, where we pay a premium and still have to put up with endless adverts.

  32. David West
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I don’t think it’s necessarily the ‘rules’ of the European Parliament failing to hold the Commission to account but ….. and I’ll leave others to contemplate this assessment from Der Spiegel – http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/schulz-and-juncker-a-test-for-eu-democracy-a-1113301.html .

  33. Chris
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    “The Commission still does not get democracy, or prefers administration of the elite by the elite for the elite of big government and big business”.

    A splendid summing up of the core problem of the EU. Thank you, Mr Redwood.

  34. Bryan Harris
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Let’s face it – The EU was designed to limit the effect of democracy on how the EU elite ran things. There is no real transparancy, nor any accountability.

    The commission make up the plot as they go along – they do not work to any considered plan. Nobody analysed the steps required to create a superstate to provide guidance to the little men that now run the EU.

    The whole process was always open to abuse, and that is something we’ve seen many times.

    That the EU is floundering now under the alleged leadership of Juncker should come as no surprise to anybody, and yes, they need to go back and consider all angles associated with taking the EU forward, or whatever direction is best. I fear neither the commission nor national leaders have the nerve, competence or innovative brain cells to do anything really constructive. It will just be “More of the same”.

  35. Sue Doughty
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    The future of the European Union is assured providing they abolish the European Commission and all its privileges and just have a batch of civil servants supporting the talking shop of the European Parliament. The EC should never have been allowed to take sole right of initiative and Europeans, like Brits, have no wish to be ruled by people who cannot be sacked and gone in an instant.

  36. fedupsoutherner
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Great post John highlighting everything that is wrong about the EU. How can anyone wonder why we voted Brexit? I hope and I think it wont’ be long before others join us.

  37. ian
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I see that john recommends full democracy for europe people but not for the british or english people, i fined that quite strange specially when he has fought for 30 odd years in parliament for the people to have a referendum on the EU and now that he won that referendum for the people he is once again turning his back on democracy to save his party so it can rule over the people with the people only getting a say once every 5 years.

    Can that really be right that politician decide when you can have democracy and when you cannot or to fight for it when it suits them.

  38. backofanenvelope
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    As I understand it – if we trigger article 50 we will enter negotiations with the Council of Ministers. Junker can appoint who he likes, we will not be negotiating with him. The Commission is restricted to offering advice. The EU parliament can also appoint who it likes, we will not be negotiating with them. Their role is to approve or disapprove the final deal, if there is one. Given the hostility they exhibit towards us, they’ll probably veto any deal. In which case, why don’t we just leave? No single market and no freedom of movement.

  39. ian
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Going forward Mr Corbyn party is of this moment the party offering democracy to the people, for three pounds you can your say on his party policy, who is going to be the leader of the party every four years and a say in who going to be in the cabinet and after that you can walk away and vote for someone else at the GE if you do not like the outcome.
    You can do all that as long as you have not sign up to another party as a supporter.

  40. Atlas
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Indeed. Like climate change, the EU is a religion so Junker’s speech is to be expected. Can you imagine a Pope telling a conclave of Cardinals that they might be ever so slightly wrong? – I think not.

  41. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    From recent remarks, it is clear that Messrs (Misses) Juncker, Schultz, Merkel, Hollande and that Italian chap still hanker after a European Federal State. The lesson of the British EU referendum result is that they can only succeed if they go the democratic route. It will require popular endorsement via referendums in each of the Euro Zone states and in those legally commited to joining the Euro.

    There is an alternative. They could try to impose Union by “civil war” the way that the USA did. The American “civil war” was so named by the winners. The losers regarded it as a war of independence.

  42. ian
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    The UK parliament has just made public a report on the war on libya that the con party was behind and fines that the war was lead by lies as in iraq and has spread terrorism in africa also lead to opening up of europe for the african people, i leave you come to your own conclusion on that.

    Who is the con party really working for.

  43. a-tracy
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    The EU is a strange beast, in the USA if one state worker crosses into another that has a higher national minimum wage does the state transporter sending the goods for delivery have to pay the NMW of the state they are delivering into, plus have the drivers contract of employment on board and a facilitator to arrange a certificate and designated representative? With fines for 2,000 for the employee and 4,000 for repeat offences, with a total penalty incurred of 500,000?

    I’ve only just found out about the French Macron Law, why didn’t the British government tell all UK operators about this?

    I don’t see anything wrong with European nations protecting their own work-forces or even setting up agreements like this, although this one seems like a very restrictive practice documentation wise when the French drivers can travel freely in the UK without any restriction, but surely there should be some advertisement of this law change to people it affects before they get fined.

  44. acorn
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Humour me with this please. Recently, Mr Carney our BoE Governor, has been raising his profile. This is not the sort of thing central bankers do. But; let’s say, you were thinking of jacking in the BoE job and planning a return to Canada, to pursue a political career as, let’s say, Minister of Finance. In Canada, assuming his election, he would be appointed by the Governor General and serve at Her Majesty’s pleasure. 😉

  45. Dunedin
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Excellent article which prompted me to go and read the speech – I was astonished by the following line:

    “The great, democratic nations of Europe must not bend to the winds of populism”

    What is democracy if not the will of the people?

  46. Anonymous
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    I am so very proud of the ‘oiks’ and ‘knuckle draggers’ for seeing through the crap and voting for Brexit.

    You don’t f*** with the English.

  47. ian
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    I see the libya war report no where to be seen in the media.

  48. Colin Hart
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t aware that the silly little man had said anything till I read it here. Just ignore him. He is a complete irrelevance.

  49. Prigger
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Jim O’Neill, Goldman Sachs chief economist of yesteryear, has quit as Treasury minister and resigned the Conservative whip. The BBC and Sky News reported it all without explanation.

    Did he give a reason? The media did not say he said “no comment” nor did they speculate as to the reasons. It really is like 1930’s Pravda etc ed

    Reply If the government says nothing and the resigning Minister declines to give a reason you believe, what is the media to do? I don’t want them making up reasons – they have to report what the two sides say, if anything.

  50. Ronald Olden
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    This man shouldn’t be making speeches like this. He’s just the hired help.

    Any ‘visions’ for the future of the EU are up to the member States and their elected Governments, not the EU bureaucracy. The way that these administrative non entities call the political shots is the biggest single reason I voted Leave, and why in the end many of the others will finally lose patience as well.

  51. Eddie
    Posted September 28, 2016 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    He said the Union needs a vision. He offered to supply one drawn up by the Commission. It will only be available next spring. The urgency of his words about the need to pull the union together does not seem matched by the laid back timetable for the basic words. Surely the Union needs a vision now?

    Could it be that he needs to wait for Article 50 to be exercised, and the UK requirements to be tabled, before he can put forward his vision? The vision may well encompass some of the demands of the UK, but to announce that vision now would be to weaken his negotiating position in extracting concessions from the UK.

  • 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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