Voting on the EU

One of the first votes I cast was a vote in the EEC referendum in 1975, when we were asked whether the UK should stay in or leave the EEC. My employer asked me to research the consequences of a Yes and a No vote. I constructed an economic forecast based on the two scenarios, read the Treaty of Rome, and started my lifetime study of the EEC/EU and all its doings.

As a result of this research I concluded that the UK should leave the EEC for two main reasons. The first was the content of the Treaty. It made it clear this was no mere common market. It stated the aim was “ever closer union” and sketched an ambitious project which duly unfolded in later years of creating a state called Europe. I realised that the main political parties were all arguing that this was just a free trade relationship, a common market, when it was something very different. They sought to reassure us that no powers of self government were being taken away, when that was the express aim of the wider project.

The second reason I decided against was the economic impact. My forecasts showed that we would run twin large deficits inside the EEC. We would run permanent large trade deficits – as indeed we did. They decided to liberalise the trade in goods where the continent was strong, and to resist proper liberalisation of trade in business and financial services where we were stronger. This asymmetry led to big import penetration of our markets, and loss of Uk industrial capacity. VW and BMW flourished whilst BL floundered. It was also likely to increase our state deficits, as the EEC required substantial and rising financial contributions from us. I did not forecast any introduction of a budget rebate as I did not foresee such a successful negotiation by a later UK government. Even after the Thatcher rebate the large contributions added to our budget deficits.

After the loss of the referendum I accepted the verdict of the people, and spent the next 25 years trying to ensure the EEC/EU was primarily a common market. By the 1990s this was demonstrably impossible, and I turned into an opponent of the centralising Treaties that followed, and started then campaigning for a way out via another referendum. Attending 21 Council of Ministers meetings, mainly as so called Single market Minister, confirmed my view that this was not primarily a common market. I disliked the absence of democratic challenge and accountability to what we were doing, and the use made of the so called common market to further a massive legislative programme that by passed national democracy.

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142 Comments

  1. Duncan
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    I for one appreciate your efforts and contribution in this most important debate.

    The west and its culture of freedom and openness is under attack from the threatening left and It takes courage to put your head above the parapet and speak your mind on issues such as the EU that have deliberately been turned, by the left, into issues regarding race and ethnicity.

    This poisonous tactic, embraced even by the Remain camp in the Tories during the EU Ref. is designed to threaten, intimidate, slander, shame and then silence dissenting views

    Of course many are still in the dark about what the future holds for the UK and its relationship with the EU and many would like to see undeniable evidence, a physical document of some sort, that confirms once and for all that we are again a sovereign independent nation

    Thank-you

    • nigel seymour
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Agree 101%. I’m still of the opinion that Brexit will just be a fudge and Farage may well be right when he say’s we will leave the EU in name only. I’ll be attending HC on 7th Sep for the GRB debate and will be keeping my fingers crossed as we await the division vote (possibly) on the 11th.

    • forthurst
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Once again we have a false left/right dichotomy: this is a battle for survival of the European people and their nations against the ‘globalists’ who have the necessary degree of evil to believe that they have the right to destroy our nations using their vile agenda of hatred against the people of Europe: if you imagine the Tory party is not heavily invested with globalist fellow travellers then it is time to wake up and smell the coffee. Did you not notice that after the Tories took office in 2010, the mass immigration, undermining of normality, wars of aggression justified by deliberate falsehood, continued?

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    I was too young to vote but was convinced by Powell, Shaw, Benn and the likes that we should leave. They had all the sound arguments. The remain camp just relied of pathetic appeals to “lets be together” emotions.

    It was never just a common market it was always a dangerous attack on democracy. Nothing since has changed my mind.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      The best ’emotion’ on this subject is pragmatism / realism. That is there are great economic and geo-political advantages of being in the EU. As well as great disadvantages. The pragmatic / realistic position is to go with the good, by remaining in the EU, whilst, just as importantly, facing up to the bad, by going hard for reform of the EU (something which we haven’t really tried before – we really haven’t).
      So Remain BUT with Reform (as opposed to Remain in the status quo or Leave). That’s the best emotion for the long-term future of our country.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        Reform of the EU – Yeah sure! Rather like reforming the laws of physics. But of course the greenloons, May and Gove now even think they can do that.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted August 26, 2017 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

          You unintentionally honour mere mortals such as Guy Verhofstadt by your comment ..

          With a bit of imagination, ambition and fire in the belly, the EU can be reformed.

          • mike fowle
            Posted August 27, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

            No. It. Can’t.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted August 27, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

            ‘No. It. Can’t’

            That’s exactly what lots of people said about IBM when it was riddled by bureaucracy and mediocracy, ready for the scrap heap—until Lou Gersnter came on the scene, and totally reversed the fortunes of the company.

            The EU is not governed by the same laws of the universe. The EU can be reformed. Just requires imagination, ambition and fire in the belly like Lou Gersnter with IBM.

            Regards

      • Alexis
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        No chance of reform. 25 years plus of trying to get it – nothing. David Cameron goes in hard for reform before the vote – nothing.

        Trying for reform is not pragmatism I’m afraid, much more like magical thinking.

        Regarding great economic or geo-political advantage, I’m afraid that is also a mirage. The EU and its big bloc thinking was the way forward ….in 1950.

        It’s over.

    • Richard1
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      I was too young also, but I remember handing round leaflets and stickers for Britain in Europe. It had a good feel to it and the stickers looked nice. I remember thinking to myself at the time that I had no clue what the issues were other than that ‘Europe’ sounded nice. I think of this whenever arguments are made for lowering the voting age.

    • Richard1
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      I think I would have voted in to the EEC in 1975, as at the time it would have been a move towards freer trade, albeit with only 8 other countries, than would otherwise have been the case in a very protectionist world.

  3. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    The (page 1) of the 1957 Treaty of Rome: “closer union between the peoples of Europe” – is clearly political but it doesn’t equate to creating a “state called Europe”.
    You again disregard its built in hybrid nature which is here to stay. Isn’t the failure of (UK) democracy that gullible people were sold on a misguided promise of “only a trading club”, later on “a single market” only?

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      PVL No, the failure is that we were all told that the whole of Europe would benefit when really only Germany has done well. I was speaking to a Greek man on the flight back from London the other day and he now lives in London and works there. He told me he got his university education free in the UK as he came from a poor country. So on top of our generous contributions to the rest of Europe we are also funding the education of the rest of Europe while our children have to be saddled with debt to pay for it all. My son has a £27k debt to pay back while this man is free to work here having had it all for nothing. In it together??? I don’t think so. He actually said to me that if Germany paid back what they owed Greece from the spoils after the Second world war Greece would not be so in debt and could recover. He feels Greece will come out eventually together with Poland. A very interesting chat. I am glad we are coming out.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        @fedupsoutherner: Leaving the EU might be the best for the UK in its confused state, but who knows, we may see your application again in say 20 of 30 years.
        The Netherlands is benefiting from its membership in spite of its much higher net EU contribution per capita than the UK. I really don’t mind helping to pay for bright students from other countries like Greece, a country that may be in much need of bright people to make it grow again after so much hardship. So many people in this blog are “coming out”, it makes me smile.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Yes we were lied too just as we have at every juncture in between.
      Always being told various treaties were just tidying up excersises when in fact they were transferring large tranches of power to EU institutions.
      Well the Lisbon Treaty was the final straw and we’re off. Goodbye and God Bless.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        @James Matthews: Thank you James, you certainly have a point there. However, look at the development of that idea: The now most powerful EU institution (the intergovernmental ‘European Council’) wasn’t even predicted or thought of at the time of the Treaty of Rome and only became a formal institution in 2007. Although the hybrid construct underpinning the European idea is pushed forward in different directions, federalism is only one, less likely direction and a ‘state’ I really never hear about (apart from in anti EU rants).

        • James Matthews
          Posted August 26, 2017 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

          I think you are making distinctions without a difference PVL. The EU quite visibly and increasingly looks and behaves like a state, albeit one dominated by its two largest founder members. An established common currency (without, as yet, the normal obligations of fiscal transfer which would make it less attractive to the richer members), embryonic plans for Armed forces, freedom of movement, progressive harmonisation of taxes et al. The direction of travel is manifest.

          A hybrid construct it may be, but what is being constructed is, by any plausible criteria, a state. Of course its supporters are canny enough to avoid the term. That is par for the course. Fool us once ………………………………….

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted August 27, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

            @James Matthews: James, I don’t dispute the direction of travel, but possibly the distance.
            I don’t want to seem arrogant in any way but making proper distinctions is crucial. I don’t want to fall for the over-simplification of quite a number of brexiteers who are challenged to comprehend the European integration process, while still struggling to find their own new, post-imperial identity. It rather challenges the imagination to even think that countries like Poland or Portugal would ever happily merge into one “state”. Their languages and cultures are far apart. A more important distinction to make is: a “state” is not necessary! The EU will blossom well without making it a one state or “superstate”. It requires study beyond the interest of the average Englishman to understand that the EU is a unique, 100% voluntary membership organisation, not to be confused with the USA, the USSR, the British Empire or other such constructs. I might not be alive in 50 years from now, but don’t be surprised to then still have the EU of sovereign nations, voluntarily pooling some of their sovereignty, something which six of them have done since 1952 (ECSC)!!

            Reply If it is entirely voluntary why then does it try to make it so difficult to leave?

    • matthu
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      misguided promise = deliberate concealment of the truth?

      Rather like Blair deliberately concealing the deliberate increase in inward migration from the EU?
      Similar to saying that renewables are all about lowering the price of energy?
      Similar to denigrating first petrol cars, then diesel cars?

      It all has a financial motive – and we are not the benefactors.

    • Alexis
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Here to stay! Hardly.

      As for ‘gullible people’ it was reasonable for the British population to trust its own government in that era. It WAS one of the most trustworthy establishments then, and people did not have easy access to information as they do today – you had to work to get it, you had to know where to look.

      So I absolutely refute your derision and your accusation of gullibility- I doubt that you know anything about the UK in that era. Our own PM lied to us: I have nothing positive to say about the man.

      That was not our fault and voters were sold on the EEC under utterly false pretences.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        @Alexis : “Here to stay! Hardly ”
        So you expect the intergovernmental part of the hybrid construction to ever disappear? Then you don’t know the strength of all these nation states. It will simply not happen. In 50 years from now there still will be all these distinct nation states, for a simple reason. There is simply no necessity to do away with them and the many different languages, cultures and national democracies will all survive and at a pooled sovereignty level we will still cooperate as one. The software describing something complex like an EU may be more difficult to understand than a more simple formula describing say Malta’s democracy but complexity cannot really be avoided here.

        • Alexis
          Posted August 26, 2017 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

          There is no such concept as ‘pooled sovereignty’.

          You either have it or you do not.

          You and we may co-operate, that is nothing new, but it will not be under the aegis of the EU or an EU like structure. That is over.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted August 27, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

            @Alexis: ‘pooled sovereignty’ has existed since the 1952 ECSC (European Coal and Steel Community)! Not comprehending something doesn’t imply that it doesn’t exist.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      PvL–Your mere assertion about what the original words meant, and more important what they mean now to most people, is nonsense–the ghastly step-by-step only-one-way ratchet is as plain as a pikestaff (Do you foreigners have pikestaffs?), especially the desire to be part of a superpower like the US. I have long thought (in vein similar to some Frenchman once saying that he wanted all Americans – including the dead ones – off French soil) that Continentals actively resent the enormous help and sacrifice of America in WWII.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        PS Above could be misread. “such as the US” would be better.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted August 27, 2017 at 3:22 am | Permalink

          PPS–“to become a superpower” better still…and “not be reliant on the US” better yet

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        You don’t need to be a ‘state’ to have some power – e.g. NATO is not a state. The EU’s power is largely economic (although in the Netherlands we consider it a community of values, hence are we unhappy about developments like in Poland)

        • Andy
          Posted August 27, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

          But what happens in Poland is not your affair so why do you seek to meddle in Polish domestic affairs ??

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted August 27, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

            @Andy: And there is me thinking that Poland signed up to our joined Copenhagen Criteria in order to qualify for EU membership. Some more study required, Andy!

          • Andy
            Posted August 27, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

            PvL, Nothing the Polish Government have proposed would violate the criteria you quote. Again, this is an internal matter for the Polish State and people. It is none of your damn business.

        • rose
          Posted August 27, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink

          Dear Peter

          Your disdain of the patriotic Poles reminds me of the refusal of your politicians and others in the EU, mostly in the North, to accept the Italian Commisioner because he was a Roman Catholic. An Italian, a Roman Catholic! You couldn’t have that.

          The Poles wish to preserve the Christian identity of both Poland and Europe, and to purge the corrupt communist mafia from their legal system. That should not make you unhappy. It should be supported.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted August 27, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

            @rose: See my reaction to Andy above.

    • James Matthews
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      To iterate your quote more fully PVL “determined to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe”.

      The “ever” is crucial. Where can that go if not to a state? That foundation has of course been much built upon, notably by QMV and the establishment of the ECJ, in ways that make a European state not just a distant aspiration, but a visible destination.

      Substitute “dishonest” for “misguided” in your last sentence.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        @James Matthews – I placed my reaction to you higher up by mistake, please look for it.

    • Richard1
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Yes that’s more or less right. The pro EU side in the UK have always argued it’s about trade and industrial/economic efficiencies and have always downplayed the political dimension. That’s the problem really in the UK.

    • margaret
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Come on PVL.. and we will be one big happy family with no Country trying to dominate another. Perestroika at the downfall as many as we can con !
      When it is the EU ;’ we want it to work for all ( which it isn’t) :If there is a way out then we want that to work also . That is democracy being made.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        @margaret: the downfall of the EU, the eurozone, the euro, has been prophetised so long, often and in vain, complete with comparisons with the former USSR that it tires me a little. Let’s see where we stnad in 10 years time. And – I’m sure that you (UK) can do well outside the EU (once all the Brexit damage is forgotten)

  4. Bryan Harris
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    JR – you’ve just reiterated what many people feel about the EU – It was a total stitch up and we were lied to constantly, apart from anything else we have systematically been robbed and put at a disadvantage…..

    Your logic is good – just wish more MP’s could see it as you do.

  5. margaret
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood does not need to make his case for forecasting the EU becoming a dominating force as far as I am concerned. Without reading treaties 30 years ago or more , it seems common sense that the drive of the more powerful seek to enlarge their perimeters of function and mark their territories accordingly. Before they are marked the infrastructure has to be destroyed and this is what has been happening with immigration . It has been allowed to be so.
    I myself have forecast many things which have come into being 30 years later or more , but the arrogant usually shout one down , rubbish it and then turn it around to being a personal thing.In more important issues you will see the might of the law clamp down on you as they live well on their earnings from the reflected work of others and claim responsibility and superiority all along the line .
    We can see how the EU is clawing everything it can at present and the resistance only leaves me to believe that they are frightened of our future success.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      ‘they are frightened of our future success’

      – You don’t have to be in or out of the EU to be successful. You just need to offer great services and brands that people are willing to pay that extra bit for.

      So if you want to focus on our future success, focus on the quality of our services and brands not on trade agreements around them (important as they can be).

      Lastly, it is the business community who are the most skeptical of hard Brexit. Because they know trade is really about the quality of services and brands. And how competitive the world is in offering these and how difficult it is to create great services and brands that people abroad want to buy! They’re not worried about economic disaster. But they are worried about economic decline. And it’s people in business we should ultimately be listening to on this – not politicians.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        ‘And it’s people in business we should ultimately be listening to on this – not politicians’

        – What does Boris Johnson or Liam Fox have in terms of hard-won business experience? Squilch.
        David Davis has more. But he appears more flexible on hard Brexit, at least on transition etc ..
        Lord Heseltine, on the other hand, is a politician with real business experience, having set up a successful publishing brand – both here in the UK, as well as abroad in the US, Germany and Asia.

        Reply And I chaired a large quoted industrial group, led the turnround of a global motor component group and set up an investment business with two others.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

          ‘Lord Heseltine’

          – BTW, i challenge him for not challenging the EU enough. Above all, for not calling, strongly, for reform of the EU.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 26, 2017 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

            You can challenge him all you like.
            His opinions were not accepted by the majority of voters.
            The EU will never reform.
            It is in the grip of people who are several layers away from the voters.
            They have a plan.
            They will not alter this plan.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted August 26, 2017 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

          I wasn’t suggesting, Mr Redwood, you’re not a businessman. You are. I was generalising although there is some value to that generalisation i think.

          Not just that, but you argue your case for Brexit in some detail, which i and others respect you for (however, without naming names, i’d like to see some other leading Brexiters in politics argue their case for Brexit in more detail, and more consistently and frequently).

      • margaret
        Posted August 27, 2017 at 3:28 am | Permalink

        No argument there , but we would not have to go through agreements and restrictions and it would be British , not European a disjointed arm of the EU.

  6. Posted August 26, 2017 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Such nonsense. Where, in any of the Treaties, is there any hint of a “state called Europe”? And ever closer union refers to peoples, not states. I doubt you have ever even opened the Treaties.

    Reply What a silly lie. There are plenty of quotes from the Treaties in my writings, and as a legislator I and my colleagues had to wade through Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon when Labour was forcing them into UK law when we were against.

    • Helen
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Perhaps you could address Londoner’s points then, Mr Redwood

      • margaret
        Posted August 27, 2017 at 3:30 am | Permalink

        He has addressed them already in the article and the reply ????

    • margaret
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      This is exactly what they do !

  7. formula57
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    “…. the main political parties were all arguing that this was just a free trade relationship, a common market, when it was something very different” – has it ever been explained why they misled us?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      In her books, especially “Britain Held Hostage”, the historian Lindsay Jenkins has done a good job explaining how and why large sections of the British political elite came to the conclusion that the United Kingdom no longer had much future as an independent sovereign state. But as this was not a popular position they knew that they had to proceed through deceit. There was a belief that by the time the British people realised what was happening it would be too late:

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/9233096/Europe-alienates-us-all-as-foretold-40-years-ago.html

      “I am reminded of a document I discovered in the National Archives at Kew in January 2002, when sifting through papers released under the 30-year rule relating to Britain’s negotiations to join the Common Market. It was a confidential 1971 memorandum, clearly written by a senior Foreign Office official, headed “Sovereignty and the Community”.

      With chilling candour, this paper (from FCO folder 30/1048) predicted that it would take 30 years for the British people to wake up to the real nature of the European project that Edward Heath was about to take them into, by which time it would be too late for them to leave. Its author made clear that the Community was headed for economic, monetary and fiscal union, with a common foreign and defence policy, which would constitute the greatest surrender of Britain’s national sovereignty in history. Since “Community law” would take precedence over our own, ever more power would pass to this new bureaucratic system centred in Brussels – and, as the role of Parliament diminished, this would lead to a “popular feeling of alienation from government”.

      It would therefore become the duty of politicians “not to exacerbate public concern by attributing unpopular measures… to the remote and unmanageable workings of the Community”. Politicians of all parties should be careful to conceal the fact that controversial laws originated in Brussels. By this means it might be possible to preserve the illusion that the British government was still sovereign, “for this century at least” – by which time it would no longer be possible for us to leave.”

    • forthurst
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Obviously because traitor Heath et al knew perfectly well that the British people would never have agreed to surrender their sovereignty in return for a trade deal, hence Heath lied that it was just a trade deal.

    • getahead
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Has it ever been admitted that they misled us?

      • sm
        Posted August 27, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

        In a very interesting and serious political BBC documentary televised sometime after last year’s Referendum, which consisted of excellent interviews obviously conducted for historical purposes, Heath openly, unapologetically and clearly admitted to lying about our entry into the Common Market.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 27, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        Allegedly, in 1990:

        Peter Sissons: The single currency, a United States of Europe, was all that in your mind when you took Britain in?
        Edward Heath: Of course, yes.

  8. Alan
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    I’m a bit surprised that one of the reasons given for leaving the EU is that we run a trade deficit with it. In fact we run a trade deficit with the whole world. On this argument we should cease trading with every country. Then we would have no balance of payments problem.

    The real answer is to make our trade with other countries more efficient. Leaving the EU will make our trade with the EU (and other countries with which the EU has trade agreements) more inefficient. We will almost certainly get poorer by leaving the EU, not richer.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      If the trade between the UK and the EU does become less efficient, as you predict, then that will only be because the EU has deliberately set out to make that trade less efficient than it is now, in flagrant breach of numerous articles in its own EU treaties as well as other international commitments it has made. As far as we are concerned we seek no new impediments to trade with the EU, despite the chronic and massive deficit we run on that trade, which is very much to their economic advantage; so if there are new obstacles to trade they will be obstacles demanded by the EU.

      • Alan
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        No, it the UK that has decided to leave the EU, not the other way round. It is up to us to solve the problems that we have caused.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 27, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

          The UK has merely decided to take advantage of a provision inserted into the EU treaties by the Lisbon Treaty. You may recall that first there was the EU Constitutional Treaty, which was rejected by the French and Dutch peoples in national referendums, but notwithstanding that clear expression of democratic will the Empress Angela then insisted that almost all of its legal contents, including that exit clause, be decanted into a new amending treaty, the Lisbon Treaty; and when the Irish people voted against that she insisted that they must vote again and get the right answer.

          The relevant treaty provision, Article 50 TEU:

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

          starts:

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

          and that is what we are doing, in conformity with the treaties; there is nothing in the treaties about “the withdrawing state must solve any problems which may arise”, or “the withdrawing state must pay an exit charge to be determined by the Union”, or “the Union must ensure that the withdrawing state shall be worse off after it has left”, or “the detailed course of the exit negotiations will be determined by the chief negotiator appointed by the Union”.

          You’ve spent so long on your knees that you’ve grown to like it.

        • David Price
          Posted August 27, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

          The UK citizenry vooting to leave the EU is a clear failure on the part of the EU though typical for euphilics to blame everyone but themselves.

          Why would the EU put up unnecessary barriers when it has been seeking trade agreements with other countries, why would it willingly give up one to it’s clear economic advantage?

          • Andy
            Posted August 27, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

            Simple answer is they hate the UK. Because the people of the UK are leaving, ‘deserting’ as Juncker said, we have to be punished and severely to stop others leaving and to force us to rejoin as soon as possible.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      “We will almost certainly get poorer by leaving the EU, not richer.”

      That’s another one that goes under the heading of “Britain is a loser, and will never do well for itself without the EU to guide it.” – Which of course is total borrox.

      The EU has stripped us bare of resources and ambition – the fact is we can only do much better outside the EU, and with countries queuing up to trade with us, any problems to do with a balance of payments will soon go away.

      • Alan
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        Well, we are richer now than we weer before we joined. We don;t need the EU to guide us, we just need to take part.

        Of course countries are willing to trade with us: it would be strange if they did not. But any increase in trade will probably not equal what we will lose by leaving the EU. And we still have to make those trading agreements: we haven’t even started yet.

        • Bryan Harris
          Posted August 27, 2017 at 6:15 am | Permalink

          We are not going to lose anything by leaving the Eu, except their brand of tyranny.

          If we are rcher now than when we joined the EU, then it is down to GB – all the EU have ever done is rob us blind and put obstacles in our way – certainly they cannot take any credit for our efforts.

          Oh, you mean, be in the EU to change it, to get a better deal – yes – we tried that, remember?

        • Posted August 27, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

          Alan: “… we are richer now than we weer before we joined”
          I don’t think that’s true. This chart of the real GDP clearly shows a downward trend since we joined:

          https://static1.squarespace.com/static/541ff5f5e4b02b7c37f31ed6/t/573098c201dbae26ddb01526/1462802637165/

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Try this link for more information regarding why the UK becoming a Global trading country is more important than remaining in the insular and protectionist EU:

      https://fullfact.org/europe/uk-eu-trade/

      Europe is important to the UK, but so is the rest of the world!

      • Alan
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        I’m not suggesting that we leave the rest of the world: I was just pointing out that if we are to leave the EU because our trade with them is in deficit then we should logically stop trading with the rest of the world for the same reason. It’s a reductio ad absurdum argument.

    • Robin Wilcox
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      We don’t have to pay an ever increasing membership fee for the privelige of trading with the rest of the world.

      • Alan
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        We were paying for the administration to run the EU single market, to develop the infrastructure, and the EU Parliament and Commission. All these are bound to cost money. I understand that you don’t want them, but I do, and I was willing to pay my contribution.

        I think you’ll find we do pay quite a bit towards trying to make the world as a whole work – there is the UN, NATO, and a good many other international organisations. You’ll find these do cost more and more as the world becomes more and more interconnected.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Dear Alan–Says you–Why don’t you answer the obvious point that trade advantages, if such there be, are swamped by the huge amounts of hard cash we pay over for whatever it is that you would say we get? To talk about benefit without taking account of cost (and by no means just in cash) is childish.

      • Alan
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        But the benefits of trade swamp the contribution we were making, many times over.

        • zorro
          Posted August 27, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

          Show me the money!….. Please quantity in numerical terms what you describe as the economic benefits of the Internal Market in relation to the membership fees during our membership. We are all ears!

          zorrro

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted August 27, 2017 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

          Dear Alan–Who has authoritatively said that?–Absolutely everything that I have read and heard says the opposite. If it were true then for a start the Treasury (remember them?) or somesuch would have waded in with a supplement to Project Fear (except nobody would believe them). WTO rates simply aren’t that large is the thing to get and of course (Yawn) the rest of the World gets by.

    • getahead
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      No Alan. the EU is too expensive. We will be better off under WTO rules.

      • Alan
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        It’s very unlikely that if we rely solely on the WTO that we will be able to trade effectively with the EU. There is a good deal more to be agreed apart from trade tariffs. If nothing else think of the Northern Ireland border.

        But even apart from that airlines, pharmaceuticals, livestock, food, nuclear materials, electricity, and much else all, require agreements to enable them to operate across the UK and the EU. That can be done, but not through the WTO.

        The EU is not expensive: for what it does it is cheap. Look at the USA federal budget if you want to see how much it costs to run a truly united superstate.

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted August 27, 2017 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

          “The EU is not expensive: for what it does it is cheap.”

          Alan, I am struggling to appreciate your personal knowledge of conducting a business in the EU, the cost to UK businesses operating in the EU and with the UK’s membership contribution factored in?

          Can you please explain to me in simple terms your experience of running businesses in the EU and the quantifiable, demonstrable, financial benefits gained vs trading globally?

          This is not a trick question, just wondering how you came to make such a statement that the EU is cheap for UK businesses to do business there?

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted August 28, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

          Dear Alan–The big federal budget–Did you take account of the large number of people in America?

  9. Mark B
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    What our kind host is essentially telling us, is that our joining and continued membership of the EEC/EC/EU was, and still is, based on a lie.

    And the Remaniacs moan about a misguided slogan on the side of a bus concerning money going from the EU to the NHS.

    Words fail me.

    I saw a YouTube clip of Edward Heath clearly state that; “The UK would not lose ‘significant’ sovereignty”, and that was in answer to the question concerning membership of the then EEC. I believe he deliberately told a lie.

    • Helen
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      We didn’t lose any sovereignty. If we had lost any, we wouldn’t be able to leave

  10. Nig l
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    I am not disagreeing with you. What you foretold has been abundantly clear for many years and I do not have the insider access that you have.

    My question, and no one ever even suggests an answer is why are so many eminently sensible people so wedded, so blind to the defects of the scheme that I call them Euroholics?

    Even sceptics seem to be bewitched once they get to Brussels. Is it access to power, plenty of fine food and wine? Maybe you could share some thoughts because I am baffled by this to the point of intense annoyance.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Yes it is very curious isn’t it. one can see why some socialists like the EU because it provides a means of implementing socialist policies irrespective of what part is in power in U.K., but why do Conservatives like it ? Cameron, Major, Osborne etc. Why did they line up to be humiliated by the EU ? What was in it for them ?

    • Alan
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      Maybe it is you that is blind.

  11. Posted August 26, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood – well written! You are one of the very few politicians who can see why we simply have to leave the EU immediately – as indeed the Prime Minister has agreed (with the Article 50 presentation on 29th March this year).

    The big question is this: how do we leave?
    Three alternatives are possible:
    1. Just leave. In which case, we leave the common market. That means, not only tariff barriers but also non tariff barriers will be erected and nearly all trade with the continent will cease for an indefinite period.
    2. Associate membership. This means that we will get absolutely no representation at all. Things will go on roughly the same though, as we get poorer and poorer and our slowly rising contributions are dictated to us. No doubt there will be a lot of pretence about independence (with lots of Union Flags in evidence) while in fact we will be a colony of Brussels (as Mr Barroso threatened).
    3. Join EFTA. In this case we can be free of the CFP, CAP, ECJ; we can negotiate trade deals with the rest of the world; we can pay a lot less to the EU; but our current trading problems with the EU/EEA (including the Northern Irish border question) will be solved. Within the EFTA bloc, we have four negotiating platforms with no time limit on them to decide where we want to end up which must be what you suggest: a common market (which includes the rest of the world).

  12. agricola
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    To precis para 2, politicians of all colours lied to us. I can excuse those who as children experienced WW1 and had to fight in WW2. They thought they were voting for a greater good while forgetting the ambitions of other politicians.

    To precis para 3, the EU as it became, aimed at being protectionist. Hence the CAP and the problems in striking trade agreements with others in the World. BL is a different story, doomed in or out of the EU. I had personal experience of it from 1971 until the Chinese bought it. It was a basket case of incompetent management and a rabid workforce. I once had the dubious privilege of conducting a party of Japanese, very senior industrialists round the plant at a time that BL were on strike. They were not impressed with the experience, both in terms of the absent workforce and the satanic nature of the place.

    To precis para 4, it confirmed everything you and a small number of politicians knew all along, but which the majority refused to accept, and still do not. It was only down to a handful of MPs and the driving force of Nigel Farage and his UKIP that finally forced the issue. It is unfortunate, but typically British, that the establishment are eternally ungrateful for his wisdom and drive, and would wish to consign him to the same historic end as Lady Hamilton. I suspect the majority of the people have other ideas.

  13. James Neill
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    You know John, ‘we are where we are’, and thousands through the decades have had their suspicions and doubts just like you but they were never able to harness their thinking at an much earlier time when we could have possibly opted out without having to deal with this awful mess we have right now.

    Next week D Davis has to face the reality of the present situation and that is what we should be focusing on right now. There is no way the EU is going to allow discussion on the future relationship start before the three items for exit are addressed and agreed sufficiently, and that is the reality today.

    So while looking back is a good exercise and no doubt the historians will make good use of how things were, we for our part have now to look to the future for our country and for our children’s future. In a geographical sense the EU 27 are always going to be there just 20 miles away across the channel and that is never going to change- and so that is our challenge now, how to make the best of our present lot.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Where in the EU treaties, specifically in Article 50 TEU, does it say that the EU side shall have the exclusive right to decide what matters shall be discussed during the withdrawal negotiations and in what order?

      Nowhere; we have never agreed that the negotiator appointed by the EU shall act as a kind of presiding officer for the negotiations, laying down an agenda and controlling the proceedings, a role that Michel Barnier seems to wish to assume and that some people in this country are far too ready to concede to him.

      Personally I am pleased to read a newspaper headline:

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4824726/Davis-refuse-talks-Brexit-bill-EU-justifies-it.html

      “Now Brexit divorce talks get really nasty: Davis to refuse discussions on £74bn bill until EU justifies it”

      but once again I would urge David Davis to get his media operation sorted out so that it is fit to fight the propaganda war that the other side, and their fifth column allies in the UK, have already started.

  14. Monza 71
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    It would be hard for younger contributors to appreciate just how little information the average voter had access to in 1975. I for one, swallowed the line pushed by every party that the organisation was nothing more than a common market.

    There was no internet where one could read the treaty and I don’t recall the BBC ever mentioning “Ever Closer Union” even once. Frankly, we were royally conned.

    Fast forward to the 1980s where our host and his then boss Mrs Thatcher tried to push for the completion of the Single Market. All they got for their efforts was more and more bureaucracy which was used to stifle innovation and build the EU superstate by stealth.

    Then we get towards the end of the following decade and were approaching the turn of the Century even that pretense has gone. Brussels egged on by the French, who were still terrified of German domination, no longer hid what they were up to. The Euro was the result.

    The intention of the French was always to assimilate and prevent Germany from ever dominating the continent again through the offices of the EU. It is supremely ironic that the very tool that was designed to achieve this, the Euro, has brought about German hegemony without a shot being fired.

    I don’t believe that Merkel ever intended this to happen, indeed, at the beginning of her term in office, she showed a remarkable reluctance to lead on anything. However, the fatal design flaws in the Euro have brought almost total German domination of the Eurozone the preservation of which is now the main focus of the bloc.

    Merkel knows that her industrial domination and economic success is totally reliant on the continuation of the Euro. When it fails, her exchange rate will soar and the German economy will be very badly hit. As a result, everything she allows to happen throughout the 27 is designed to preserve the Euro, whatever the cost to other member states.

    This is what is preventing a common sense deal being done over Brexit. Merkel cares not one jot about the impact on the French and Italian agriculture and wine industries and is why she is even prepared for the German car industry to take a medium term hit on their trade with the UK rather than work towards a good deal for everyone.

    This is not a healthy situation and will eventually lead to the break up of the currency and the organisation behind it. The sooner this happens the better.

    • Andy
      Posted August 27, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Exactly so. The French, in their arrogance and stupidity, have badly miscalculated. By driving the UK out of the EU they have made themselves vassals in a new German Empire. It was really short sighted out them.

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I haven’t posted any comments for the last couple of days because having seen a headline about the “Brexodus” since the EU referendum I’ve been rather busy reading my Bible, and in particular checking the book of Exodus.

    According to that Moses led almost all of the Israelites out of Egypt, apparently without encountering any significant flow of Israelites in the opposite direction; and afterwards there were far fewer Israelites left in Egypt than before, maybe none at all.

    That is not quite what has been happening here with foreign EU citizens in the UK, where their number has continued to go up, but just not quite as rapidly as before.

    There are a couple of interesting and informative articles on this theme here:

    http://facts4eu.org/news.shtml

    “‘BREXODUS’? WHAT ‘BREXODUS’?”

    “EU NATIONALS RUSH TO STAY IN UK”

    “5-FOLD JUMP IN APPLICATIONS SINCE REFERENDUM”

    I suppose the plausible link to JR’s article today is that in general the coverage of these issues provided by the UK mass media was as poor in 1975 as it is now, and unless you were prepared to delve deeper you would quite likely be misled by it; the difference is that we have now had the four decades of membership to become more enlightened.

    • John O'Leary
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      more enlightened and more entangled.

  16. Michael
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    The most important vote is to come.

    It is unlikely the EU will give us a trade deal similar to the one we currently have. They will undergo economic pain before doing that. The EU will most likely offer us a choice : accept the poor deal they offer or remain in the EU or leave without a deal.

    What does leaving without a deal look like? Will the sky fall in? I do hope work is being done that will articulate a no deal scenario so that it may become better known and understood.

    We should also look carefully at adopting unilateral free trade. We should seek to avoid protectionism. Let it be the EU if they must (not the UK) that puts up border posts in Ireland and imposes tariffs on its most economically important neighbor.

    • John O'Leary
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Have you considered the impact of free trade on UK manufacturing industry?

      • bratwurst
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        And agriculture.

  17. Ed Mahony
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    ‘VW and BMW flourished whilst BL floundered’

    – I thought VW and BMW flourished simply because they produced better cars (for management and industrial reasons). Rather the EEC forced the UK to pull up its socks and become more competitive in general (although for BL too late) as well as providing a bigger market, on more favourable terms than countries outside the EEC, for the UK to trade with.

    In the 1970’s, Ireland was a relatively poor country (some farmers still used donkeys back then in the West). The EEC was key to Ireland’s growth. And after many teething problem, Ireland has gone from rags to riches in a relatively short period of time. Ireland is now the UK’s 8th biggest trading partner, with the UK exporting £17 Billion each year. Ireland’s prosperity hasn’t just been good for Ireland and the UK, but also in N. Ireland playing the key role in bringing an end to the Troubles there (for the poverty was the main reason behind the violence).

    Ireland is a great example of how the benefits of the EEC/EU from the POV of the economy as well as peace and security (and sure many problems with it that need reforming).

    Reply And the collapse of the economy in 2008

    • Longinus
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Ireland have been a net beneficiary of EU funding but this will change in near future. Modernisation of its agriculture occurred because of wealth re-distribution.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      ‘And the collapse of the economy in 2008’

      – cannot be laid at the hands of the EU.
      Ireland’s collapse (if you meant Ireland) was part of a worldwide collapse, affecting the United States as well.
      Don’t forget that Ireland’s collapse was also brought on by its politicians, bankers and developers, and to a degree, too, by its people over-spending in general (again, nothing to do with the EU).

      So the EU was key to Ireland’s economic success. And this prosperity was key to bringing about peace on the island.

      Reply It was the EU banking system that brought about their crash, regulated by the ECB. There was no similar crash in Canada or Australia

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

        Talking about Ireland, 2oth century Irish nationalism is also a great example of how sentimental, rose-tinted and dangerous nationalism can be (unlike patriotism, though). What did Irish nationalism bring Ireland in the 20th century? Yes, it brought Ireland independence but a big cost:
        1. A nasty civil war
        2. the dour, staid years of de Valera
        3. the violence of the troubles
        Leading up to the shameful screwing of the country by its politicians, bankers and developers during the Celtic Tiger.
        Nationalism can really suck (unlike patriotism).
        And the point is even stronger, of course, for Germany during the 1930’s and 1940’s. (And it was good, old British patriotism – not nationalism – that played a key role in defeating the Nazis – sadly, though, Britain is quickly losing our kudos from WW2, as Europe begins to see us, more and more, as the new bete noire of the continent.

    • Alexis
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      Ireland received an enormous amount of money from the EU. This does tend to help with a rags to riches story.

      Soon Ireland will become a net contributor. They will also be asked to harmonise their corp tax rates with the rest of the EU. This will lead many corporates to think about relocating.

      I intend no disrespect to talented and hardworking people who have helped build Ireland’s wealth, but I think the gloss of EU membership will wear off in the above circumstances.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted August 27, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        I’m not saying the EU’s history with Ireland (and vice-versa) is perfect. All i can say, is that Ireland is a radically different country to that of say the 1970’s when some farmers still used donkeys and some/many people in the West had to go outdoors to go to the loo!

        Not just that, but the poverty of Ireland then also provided a warm bed for the seeds of the violence that sprung up during the Troubles.

        The EU was key in Ireland’s meteoric rise from relative rags to riches, as well as indirectly, helping to end the Troubles in on the island, through the prosperity that more people enjoyed, including with working class Republican areas. Not just that, Ireland has become an important destination for UK exports—up to £17 billion per year.

        The more the rest of Europe becomes like Ireland, the more trading partners we in the UK can have, whilst protected from those outside the EU who could decimate our more vulnerable businesses and companies. Not just that, but the more the rest of Europe becomes like Ireland, the more peaceful and secure these countries will become, making our continent less vulnerable to dictators, war lords, mafia, terrorists and so on (all that impacts us in one way or another, certainly has done in the past).

        Sure, the EU comes with lots of problems, which is why focusing on its reform is just as important as trying to justify its existence.

        Meanwhile being inside the EU doesn’t preclude us from selling our services and brands outside the EU. Germany does this well (although the EU does help to a degree, i admit). But being inside the EU does protect our more vulnerable businesses and companies.
        Regards

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted August 27, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          ‘although the EU does help to a degree, i admit’ – the euro, I meant.

  18. Peter
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    We used to talk of ‘The Common Market’ in those days. Somewhere along the line that term then dropped out of use.

    I note our ministers are a bit more robust now in stating our Brexit requirements. We seem to be less of a supplicant.

    However it is still a big worry. Maybe I should be more patient but I would be happier if we just walked away.

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Could I just repeat that the UK has agreed to use the procedure laid down in Article 50 TEU to seek a smooth and orderly withdrawal from the EU, not because the exit route that provides is necessarily a well-designed route – even some of those who drafted it question that – but because when we approved the EU treaty amendments contained in the 2008 Lisbon Treaty we agreed inter alia that if any country wished to leave the EU in the future then that would be the procedure it, and the other member states, should use.

    In other words by adopting the Article 50 route we are acting in strict conformity with the EU treaties, even though as a sovereign state we would retain the right to simply tell the EU that we are abrogating those treaties in their entirety and so leaving the organisation, and indeed it may well come to that if they keep messing us about.

    On the other hand the EU and the other member states are already coming very close to breaching those treaties, and this is something that our diplomats should be explaining to governments and other influential bodies around the world. If it comes to an abrupt and disorderly separation, as it might, then we need to be sure that the EU takes all the blame for that and we have many sympathetic friends and allies to support us.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      That is a very important point, but I think that delivering the message shouldn’t be confined to diplomats, or even those who are diplomatic!

      What about newspaper columnists, political commentators and even MPs and ministers doing some explaining, on the TV and radio, even if they have to be very robust with their BBC minders. 🙂

    • acorn
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      Give it up Denis, it is not going to happen. Number crunchers sur la continente, are telling me, the UK appears to be trying harder to stop Brexit (with stuff they know the EU will definitely reject), than the EU is!

      There is a post Brexit scenario that says Brexit will make it easier, for the EU to morph into the 98 minus the UK 12, NUTS 1 Regions, to form an EU federal structure. Assuming that is, Scotland; Wales and Northern Ireland, don’t want to stay as EU NUTS ! Regions.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 27, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

        Yes, acorn, and I’m sure that all correct, as with all the rest of your inside information … so what will be done about that Article 50 notice which has already gone in?

    • Andy
      Posted August 27, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      What the Treaty says is that a State has a right to leave in accordance with its own constitutional procedures. In our case we had a Referendum and because we have no written constitution all we require is to repeal the 1972 Act and denounce the treaty. We don’t actually need to spend 2 years messing around with Barnier. And the treaty says that the EU will conclude a withdrawl agreement – we are under no obligation to do anything. Certainly not pay them a huge fee.

  20. Nerwmania
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Yes, as I have previously remarked Mr Redwoods fervent opposition to the EU is not something about which he has been consistent about and it is rather kind of him to finally own up
    He has previously described himself as a supporter of the EU on this very blog albeit a critical one . This is a sane and reasonable position quite unlike the irresponsible populism he has adopted in his old age.
    The excuse ,as I understand it , was that his sheer commitment to democracy would not allow him to do other than accept the result of the referendum . I have no doubt that political inconvenience of being wildly outside mainstream Conservative opinion has nothing to do with it . ( he snarked ..)
    In the Redwood version of history the fate of British Leyland was decided by the EU and no doubt the rest of the promising signs around British manufacturing were similarly snuffed out by moustache twirling Germans ( …yes I know I know ).
    Tony Benn will be laughing in hell to see such a convert to the lame duck supporting Policies he invented and were the only reason that basket case Company lasted as long as it did .

    Is that really what Redwood sees when he looks back at the 70s? Similarly does he really look back at the 20th century and see peaceful trading cooperation as the default position in Europe , with no political effort required ?

    In the Nut-box with the creationists you must go, where you will enjoy a good chat with co loon Corbyn who sees the triumph of the planned economy . There is so much rubbish in this post it frankly doesn`t merit my serious consideration .

    Reply You continue to write unpleasant nonsense. Yes I am a democrat and lived with the results of the first referendum for more than 20 years before the power grab of the EU became too pronounced to ignore. I do mot recall calling myself a supporter of UK membership of the EU at any stage. The UK and other non members of the EEC/EU trade quite peacefully with the EEC prior to our joining, as other European non member states continue to do.

    • Nerwmania
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      rise .
      The political subjugation of the half the country is not democracy and ( incidentally) opposition tong the EU is now the majority view following Brexit inflation.
      My jaw droppeth at the picture of happy trading post war Europe. This period was a continuation of the last bout of slaughter and is usually called the Cold war .Much of Europe was a brutal military dictatorship . British Leyland, the would be success story is beyond parody as they say…well I hadly know where to start with the UK in the 70s.
      Without the European Union do you really think the Reunification of Germany would not have been opposed vehemently by France , and then what , to give you just one example ?
      Polls show that the penny is finally dropping , story after story from the magic Irish border to walking away from our debts is colliding with the truth.

      I would sort out your alibi now.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        Calm yourself
        Rewriting history with rude childish rants get you little respect.

      • margaret
        Posted August 27, 2017 at 3:38 am | Permalink

        Newmania : so democracy is simply those who talk stuff and nonsense and agree with you. You may talk of the past , but we also see the present . We are not stuck in in the 20th century , we have the gall to see our future crumbling and need to do something about it . Take off those blinkers .

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      JR, it is unpleasant nonsense, but in a way it’s a complement that somebody like Newmania thinks it is important to write unpleasant nonsense about you …

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        compliment

    • Richard1
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      This post is not fair. JR has certainly been a consistent and vocal critic of EU power expansion. Having said which he was a little coy when questioned on this site some years ago (by me and others) as to whether he actually supported withdrawal. Fair enough as at the time leaving the EU was v much a minority view & regarded as ‘extreme’. It’s not the easy a question, I was a floating voter myself up until the morning of the referendum.

    • getahead
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Newmania, no need at all for that. What a nasty person you are.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted August 27, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      ‘There is so much rubbish in this post it frankly doesn`t merit my serious consideration’

      – This is insulting, though.
      I probably agree with you more than i do with Mr Redwood, in general, but i greatly respect (and grateful to) him for allowing people to challenge him on his OWN blog.

  21. Nationalist
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Across the Pond, America under similar circumstances would have ruled unconstitutional such abandonment of sovereignty.
    Having said that, any US President calling its coalminer unions “the enemy within” and buying in preference to American coal, Polish coal bought from a military dictatorship in a communist state would still be in an American jail, if still alive.
    However, Hillary Clinton, and the record is online, laughed at coalminers losing their jobs and declared with a smile and a laugh “We are going to put coalminers out of work!” So, an American can be a traitor to her own people and nation too.

  22. Bert Young
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    A very interesting expose John . I never voted to be in the Common Market when it was first proposed . I spent many years in the early 60s on behalf of British and American clients who wished to form alliances or new businesses Europe ; my efforts and travels took me all over France , Italy , Germany , Holland , Spain and Belgium and it brought me into contact with most of the leading organisations in those countries . I think I could claim a good knowledge of the ambitions that existed at the time .

    Many deals were struck and manufacturing and service businesses were established – my own organisation grew as the result . As the years passed one sort of petty impairment after another began to emerge – all a reflection of increasing bureaucracy ; it became so burdensome by the end of the 70s I decided to cease my operations there and to concentrate on the USA and Japan . This transfer of geographic interest proved to be very successful and I enjoyed the challenge – it was a decision I never regretted . .

    When the Euro was introduced I predicted that the EU would collapse ; the strains that existed between cultures and economic state were too big between member countries for it ever to become a cohesive whole . I have no reason to think differently and I align with those individuals who believe and think the same way .

  23. Raymond
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    The 1975 referendum was my first vote when I bought the lie from ‘the main political parties (who) were all arguing that this was just a free trade relationship, a common market…… They sought to reassure us that no powers of self government were being taken away’. I recall the two most erudite proponents of leaving the EEC were Michael Foot and Enoch Powell who were branded as ‘extremists’ by the mass media I had access to (mainly BBC). Would that one of them had become prime minister.

  24. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    As an aside, a man who campaigned against the EU for many years, but then worked out that we should only ever leave the EU via his carefully devised multi-stage plan, which to his fury and frustration is not the plan adopted by the UK government, has now reached the point of quoting with warm approval some anti-Brexit tripe published in a newspaper which was set up last July specifically to try to overturn the result of the referendum and prevent us leaving the EU … I’m reminded of how in the film “Bridge over the River Kwai” the British colonel ended up madly siding with the Japanese commandant to try to protect the bridge that his men had been forced to build for the Japanese war purposes … I won’t be surprised if later one his acolytes turns up here saying “EFTA/EEA please”.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      “EFTA/EEA please”.

      We’ll you did ask 🙂

      Time will tell if he right or not. If not, then his reputation is in tatters. If right, he gets to wear the T-shirt that says, “I told you so !”

    • John O'Leary
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      I wouldn’t be surprised if very many people turn up on here saying “EFTA/EEA please” once reality hits.

      • ian wragg
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        Of course, EEA/EFTA is remaining in the EU in all but name. This is the preferred endgame of the remainiacs.
        Just a stepping stone from rejoining.

      • getahead
        Posted August 26, 2017 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        Reality hit on June 23 2016.

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Having read said document I am amazed at the mans naivety, he assumes the EU would accept his route and it is a done deal.
      We can see from Barniers negotiating tactics that he is not interested in a deal and only intent on screwing as much cash from us as possible.
      The EEA/EFTA route would certainly see us paying many £billions more into the EU for sfa.

  25. Prigger
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Big Business has too loud a voice here in the UK. The leftiness of the Labour Party yet still allows mouthpieces of companies, who except for their personal individual ballots as citizens, should not be screened and newspapered disproportionately to their one-each ballot. It is as if companies had a block-vote like trade unions. I have had a vote as member of trade unions for the Leader. Conversely, I have never had a proper vote for a Chairman of a company and found, that again, a block vote, by say a large share holder had more votes than myself. But these company elites do take a massive political risk. When push comes to shove in any society they are just lined up and shot and their children wives and numerous mistresses buried in mass graves at the bottom of their confiscated ultra-large back gardens. Some observers have wondered macabrely whether at the end, they drop the falsetto over-aspirated aitches, and shriek out ‘elp, ‘elp, fer God in ‘eavens sake I ‘ave always bin common as muck at ‘eart!! ” Truth at last.

  26. sm
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    In 1975, I was a young and pre-occupied wife and mother, with additional family responsibilities, so with little time for prolonged political analysis. I therefore accepted Heath’s lie that it was all about trade and voted Yes.

    By the early 90’s, I had become both politically interested and very active as a volunteer for the Conservative Party – the debate about Maastricht also introduced me to our host and his views, which made sense to me then and now. Like him (and partly because I come from a European heritage rather than a British one), I want good diplomatic, cultural, social and economic relations with the rest of Europe, but believe the notion of ‘ever-closer Union’ to be fatally flawed, not just for the UK but also for the current members of the EU.

  27. Man of Kent
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I remember the 75 referendum only too well .
    Back then I believed conservative politicians like Ted Heath , disliked trade unions and the labour party so voted for the Common Market .

    Once I found that I and the country had been lied to and that our sovereignty was increasingly compromised I switched round.

    To those who say ‘you are too old to vote about our children’s future ‘ I have taken the line that no one under the age of 65 should have been allowed a vote at the ’16 referendum as they would have insufficient perspective of the history and significance of the vote

    I do now try to read all the source material to form my own view as we go along .
    This blog sharpens those views .Thank you !

    • Edward2
      Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      Excellent post

  28. David Price
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    The 1975 EEC Referendum was my first vote and I voted no to the EEC because many of my family and prospective family were Commonwealth based and the push to go EEC threatened to disconnect us.

    Events have only increasingly reinforced my view that the CM/EEC/EU membership was not the best position for us.

  29. Dennis Zoff
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    John, thank you for your interesting comment.

    A different perspective from Germany; Cologne & Leipzig:

    I have just returned from a three weeks trip to Germany and of course Brexit was briefly discussed, but frankly with little interest? The general consensus, UK just get on with it. It is not seen as a threat to Germany, but merely pragmaticism at work! So very German.

    One interesting discussion came from a middle to senior figure in the Employment and Social Services dept. Nordrhein-Westfalen, Cologne/Bonn/Duesseldorf. We were having lunch and I asked his opinion regarding Brexit.

    This comment from him is loosely translated from German to English:

    >>>

    “From a personal perspective, it saddens me to see the UK leaving the EU, as the UK is highly respected and its political contributions were welcomed as a counter balance between Western European and Eastern European political opinions.

    Regarding the EU, I speak for many of my colleagues and friends in Germany who see the further integration of European states into a strong and culturally fluid singular society as the way forward. I can travel around Europe without boundaries, where there is intellectual openness and a common bond that ensures a future peaceful coexistence. There is a very strong German feeling for this!

    For many Germans, there is an emotional attachment to a wider integration with the rest of Europe and it can be seen, historically and today, the UK does not share these values, but is more Globally inclined and emotionally attached to its cultural and long term trading partners. Anglo-sphere and Commonwealth.

    Yes, there are many issues in Europe that require a resolution, however, the biggest concern today in Germany is not Brexit, but migration and the stability of the Mediterranian countries, which are economically very fragile and becoming politically non-aligned to the EU project.

    In general, Germany is pro-EU, but see many challenges ahead and believe Merkel is the only person with sufficient international creditability to drive these issues to a successful conclusion?

    >>>

    A very brief insight and perspective from the German mentality today.

  30. Terry
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I remember my mistake too well. I was sold a pup by a selfish, avid Europhile. Edward Heath.
    I do recall worries over the “ever closer union” parts but they were brushed aside by the pro-EEC speakers, as meaningless.
    In those days there was no www to be able to read counter arguments, as most Newspapers were all for our joinging the EEC. And that is what I focussed on, The European Economic Community to boost our failing economy. I was ignorant of the finer deatails.
    I should have been more of a lion to challenge those pro-Brussels donkeys that were setting us up for their referendum.
    Release came 40 years after but better late than never at all.
    Here’s to a Great British future.

  31. MikeW
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    From todays reading, it seems the blame game is well and truly underway.

    And as Michael Gove answered on one BBC programme when he was asked….everything will be ok provided we make the right decisions….clever man.

  32. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, I read here:

    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/aug/24/pressure-grows-for-immigration-targets-to-exclude-foreign-students

    “Theresa May’s determination to continue counting foreign students in the government’s immigration target left her increasingly isolated on Thursday night, after official figures revealed that fewer than 5,000 a year stay on after their visa expires.”

    But in fact that is NOT what the ONS has said:

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/internationalmigration/articles/internationalstudentmigrationresearchupdate/august2017

    “Figure 4: Outcomes for non-EU students with a leave expiry date between 8 April 2015 and 7 April 2016, UK”

    193,000 had come, of whom
    122,000 had departed by the expiry of their original permission, while
    58,000 had stayed on after being granted valid leave to remain longer, and
    13,000 had no identified departure.

    • Terry
      Posted August 27, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Well there’s a surprise, the ONS getting its figures wrong. And the Guardian putting up the correct ones. LOL.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 27, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        The point is that on top of the relatively small number who stay on illegally about a third are allowed to stay on after their original date for leaving.

  33. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Blimey, I didn’t know this, we should ask for it back as part of the Brexit settlement.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._9_(Beethoven)

    “The Philharmonic Society of London originally commissioned the symphony in 1817”

    “The British premiere was presented on 21 March 1825 by its commissioners, the Philharmonic Society of London, at its Argyll Rooms conducted by Sir George Smart and with the choral part sung in Italian.”

    Alternatively the EU should pay us royalties for its use …

  34. melD
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Whatever about the past here’s how the future is going to look- the EU are going to lean on us until we squeal then they are going to wait a few years before giving us some semblance of a deal, and in the meantime all of the old slogans like no deal is better than a bad deal and the other one about taking back control will all fade away. It has to be like this because from their point of view the british will have to be shown the error of their ways if there is to be peace and in any case we will never again be as well off as we are right now. So buckle up this is what we voted for and let there be no more talk about new global trade deals..they are just not there..nothing of any use anyway

  35. ChrisShalford
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    This matches my recollection of the 1975 referendum where very very few politicians told us about “ever closer union”. In a sense though, EU supporters got their rightful deserts in 2016. Several ordinary people interviewed on the TV/radio gave their main reason for voting Leave as “we were lied to in 1975”.

  36. Chewy
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    I’ve read these posts regarding the way people were misled in the 75 referendum with interest. They so match what my nan, grandad and mom told me.
    I was a student when Maastricht came about and this turned me politically against the EU.
    And this was the story of the referendum disparity of older vs younger voters. Older voters had the memories of the lies of politicians and the power grabs of the EU. Younger voters had only ever known a world when the EU was in existence and so thought of it as benign; part of the furniture.
    Wisdom vs naivety. Perhaps this is why our top politicians and leaders are middle aged plus as opposed to kids in their 20s!
    Thank you John Redwood for providing principled and at times courageous opposition to the EU long before it hit the political mainstream.

  37. Prigger
    Posted August 27, 2017 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    Labour Party Remoaners are giddy. Soon, so soon their hols are ending. Darn it they feel nothing to say. Too silly for government. Nothingburger theories on what they would negotiate with the EU. Re-entry to EU-World, like a burnt- out 1962 Telstar. Defunct! But the tune was memorable. Before the time of most Labour MPs. Times of upturned corners of triangular nationalised railway sandwiches and bicarb in the frothy tea to make it go further but not the trains 🙂 Heaving on Earth!

  38. hans christian ivers
    Posted August 27, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    sterling’s decline is a consequence of feared economic weakness, not a cause of future economic strength

    Reply So why did sterling decline so much in the 1970s and 1980s when we were in the EU and committed to it?

  • About John Redwood


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

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