The argument that the EU stops wars

I find it worrying that some advocates of the UK staying in the EU claim that we need the EU to stop a future European war. This I think is a most unfair aspersion to cast on our continental allies, that somehow they would be launching aggressive military actions against each other or against us if there was no EU.

Modern Germany is a country transformed, compared to the Germany of Hitler. Since the defeat Germany has followed the democratic path, upholding civil liberties and the rule of law, and turning against racism and genocide. The western allies worked with the West German state to rebuild it after the huge damage done by the war, and welcomed Germany back into the family of western nations. Most commentary has concentrated on blaming the Nazis for the horrors of the holocaust and the general brutality of the Hitler regime.

All that has been helpful in ensuring a peaceful history in western Europe  after the end of the 2 nd World War, something a more penal peace did not achieve after the 1st World War. The fact that all the main western countries became democracies was crucial to a prolonged peace, as was the presence of US forces as guarantors  of the security of western Europe. There is now a strong habit of co-operation between France and Germany which removed the relationship that caused most tension and war in the past.  It is important to remember, however, that whilst many Germans may not have known of the full horrors of the genocide, all Germans did know that their government was unleashing violent forces against all the neighbouring nations of Europe with a view to conquest and occupation, and knew that the regime was removing Jews from their homes. The absence of any effective or wide ranging opposition to Hitler, and his strong showing in a couple of elections before he closed down the Parliament and governed as an autocrat, is part of the record.  So is the coercion used by the Hitler government to suppress criticism from those who were affronted by what happened. This makes the change to German attitudes even more welcome and important since 1945.

I found when I was Single Market Minister making frequent trips to the continent to negotiate ever more laws with fellow member states of the EU that some of my fellow Ministers from smaller countries on the continent had a difficult relationship with Germany. I was content to have a professional and friendly approach to the German delegation, and sometimes found the UK was in agreement with them. Quite often other countries would approach me and ask me to oppose the German position as it did not suit them. I told them to oppose it themselves, but they would say they did not feel able to do so. They saw that the UK was willing to make a case it believed in, whichever country of countries agreed or disagreed. We were not afraid to oppose the consensus, or to oppose the Franco-German common position which usually had been agreed before the rest of us met, and was frequently expected to go through by the Commission and some of the other parties. When France and Germany disagreed there was more scope for change and productive exchanges.

The issue of Germany’s leadership of the EU has become a much more central one since the unification of East and West Germany made Germany comfortably the largest and richest economy on the continent. The completion of the Euro has made Germany’s role even larger and more contentious with other Euro members. Some think Germany should share more of her surplus with the poorer countries. Some think Germany should relax the austerity policies that have characterised the Euro since its  birth. The UK has been more observer than participant in this debate as a  non Euro member. One of the main reasons I think the UK leaving the EU will be helpful to them as well as to us is it removes the different UK perspective from the Euro issues which matter greatly to the zone. All the time the Eurozone shares a budget with the rest of the EU, and faces a UK wanting a smaller EU budget, it distorts the debate about how big a budget and how many transfers a successful single currency needs. Germany may lose an ally for smaller EU  budgets, but it is Germany who has to answer the fundamental question how much money do you need to transfer round a currency zone so that it can work fairly and well.

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202 Comments

  1. duncan
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Anti-democratic forces are determined to overturn the decision taken by the British people that the UK should leave the EU and return the country to its previous state of being an independence and sovereign nation. Arguments against such a state of affairs are little more than various forms of moral blackmail designed to tarnish, libel, slander and portray supporters of the United Kingdom as extremist, xenophobic and racist

    Such tactics are now so transparent, vacuous and well worn that I myself simply switch. The BBC was removed from my Freeview box many moons ago. Its coverage is simply unacceptable

    • NickC
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Duncan, Headline in the Telegraph at 1:50pm 21st: “Theresa May asks EU for ‘open-ended’ transition period”. The text reports Gerard Batten, UKIP interim leader, saying: “This is Brexit betrayal at its contemptible worst.” Presumably Mrs May had to hit the Tory poll resurgence somehow.

    • Loudbarker
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Democratic forces require that I am able to continue to are for the UK remaining in the EU, and that you accept that UK citizens are changing their minds and deciding they want to stay to in.

      I note in passing that some of my posts have not been accepted my moderators here. All I did was note that Mr Redwood’s original post is actually an argument for our staying in the UE – demonstrating the benefits of breaking any potentially detrimental alliance of other powers. That is one of the many good reasons for remaining in the EU, and has after all been Britain’s policy since the days of Good Queen Bess, if not before.

      • libertarian
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        Loud barker

        Swapping what you personally want with what was voted for in the largest mandate ever produce by a UK vote is not how democracy actually works.

        Maybe your posts are failing moderation because of the atrocious spelling and typos?

        • Loudbarker
          Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

          I am not swapping what I want. I am try to persuade people that we should make fnsl decision on Brexit when we know what the deal actaulklky is (that typo is just for you).

          As someone said, if democracy is anything, it is the right to change one’s mind. It seems to me your idea of democracy is that you will accept it only if it delivers the result you want.

      • NickC
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Loudbarker “demonstrating the benefits of breaking any potentially detrimental alliance of other powers“??? Like other Remains you don’t seem to be able to make a cogent argument.

        • Loudbarker
          Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

          Like other Outer’s you don’t seem able to follow a cogent argument. Fair enough: the out case is based (in my view) on emotion rather than logic, and that is a legitimate reason for making a decision. I will try again.

          There are lots of nation states on the continent of Europe. Individually none of them is likely to be able to dominate the continent. In alliance (such as the EU) they can, probably to the detriment to nation states not members of that alliance. There for it is the interests of nation states (eg Britain) to influence the formation or direction of such alliances (the EU). A shorthand is “divide and rule” and it has been a fundamental part of British foreign policy since the Union of the Crowns.

          • NickC
            Posted February 22, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

            Loudbarker, As someone else said, you torture English until it gives up. Your explanation eulogises power which itself is an emotion. Unlike you I have no interest in helping to determine the management divisions within the EU’s rail system, for example.

            We can influence the EU, and indeed other countries around the world, far more out of the EU than in it. We do this by making alliances with other like-minded world countries rather than being overwhelmed by our self-declared enemies within the EU, which has been our experience for 45 years.

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          Nick,

          Your self-professed categorization of everybody under the sun , does not make your arguments more valid, they actually make them much less valid.

          • NickC
            Posted February 22, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

            Hans, I’m still waiting for a cogent argument from self-professed Remains for us to give up our independence and be subsumed into an EU empire.

          • Loudbarker
            Posted February 22, 2018 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

            NickC.

            I am not eulogising power. I don’t want other countries kicking mine around and am thinking about how best to stop that.

            What on earth have railways got to do with anything on this thread?

            “We can influence the EU, and indeed other countries around the world, far more out of the EU than in it.”

            Good luck with that. Can we have some argument please to support your assertion? How do you feel, for example, about the US Government seeing Brexit as a God given chance to steal trade from the UK? And wouldn’t entering into new alliances just be pooling sovereignty again?

            “being overwhelmed by our self-declared enemies within the EU, which has been our experience for 45 years.” ROFMLOL

    • Ian Saunderson
      Posted February 22, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Well said. I did the same.

  2. Ian wragg
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Far from preventing war, the EU is most likely to be the catalyst for conflict. The way they behave is most likely to start civil strife within the EU.
    Junckers militia will be used to maintain order much like the Stasi.
    NATO has been the cornerstone of European security and no amount of posturing by Brussels and the Remainiacs .can change that.

    • Hans Christian ivers
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Ian

      This is rubbish and you have no evidence for this statement about the EU

      • ian wragg
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        I think you write from the Brussels bunker.
        You talk absolute rubbish.

      • NickC
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Hans, Ian Wragg’s points seem very fair to me. Or don’t the threats to send in German/EU tax collectors, or the existence of misery and violence/riots in Greece, Germany, Sweden and France due to EU policies count with you? And when is the replacement of the Hungarian PM Oban due to be implemented by the EU?

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

          NIckC,

          You know as well as I the EU does not have this sort of power? or nor do they wish to

          • NickC
            Posted February 22, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

            Hans, The EU never has the power, according to Remains like you. Until it does. The installation of Mario Monti is a precedent.

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      NATO,or to be more precise the people behind it,have had more to do with the Ukraine crisis than the EU.It’s purpose is not to protect Europe-it’s certainly not doing it’s job on the southern frontier if that’s the case – but as Lord Ismay put it in 1949 to “keep the Russians out,the Americans in and Germany down”;just another arm of American-led globalism,like the IMF,World Bank,etc with all the mission creep that implies.

      The EU was supposed to be a counterbalance to the US but,and this is something I gather Tony Blair takes credit for,it has become a vassal of the US,probably due to the inherent weakness caused by the introduction of the Euro.

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Ian,

      there will be no civil strife within the EU and there has not been one since it was created as th Coad and Steel union in 1953

      • libertarian
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        hans christian ivers

        Oh dear, read a history book theres a good lad. Since the formation of the coal and steel union in 1953 there have been more than 30 wars, insurrections, revolutions, coups, separatist terrorist engagements and civil uprisings in Europe.

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

          Liberaitarian

          Liberitarian,

          I was referring to the members of the Coal and Steel Union till 1972 and not all of Europe.

          So I will leave the books in the library

      • ian wragg
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        Funny that, recently we were in Greece and there were demonstrations on a daily basis, many of them violent.
        There already has been civil strife and of course our good BBC chooses not to report it.

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

          demonstrations are not the same as a real civil strife

        • rose
          Posted February 25, 2018 at 12:57 am | Permalink

          Nicolas Ridley foretold all this strife and was made to resign for it.

      • alan jutson
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        hans

        No strife in the EU ?

        Came rather close in Greece and Cyprus recently.

        Lets wait and see shall we, because the natives are getting restless !

      • Alison
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        Interesting phrase, ‘civil strife within the EU’. The example of civil strife in the EU that springs to mind first is the fair amount bother in Greece, unhappy with the European Commission/IMF austerity programme

        I anticipate more discord between member nations with the increased use of QMV.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      ‘NATO has been the cornerstone of European security and no amount of posturing by Brussels and the Remainiacs can change that’

      – This is NOT true. And our grandfathers who fought in WW2 deserve more than this.

      NATO / America has only ever been able to CURE conflict. Not PREVENT it. Just look at history of Europe in the 20 century. Nazis. Communists. Civil Wars. The Holocaust. The Blitz. WW1. WW2. The IRA.

      League of Nations / America failed to prevent these. The reason we don’t get all these now is mainly because of prosperity in Europe (because prosperity breeds peace and democracy – economic poverty and chaos breeds war and dictatorship). And the EU has played a key role in creating prosperity in Europe.

      It could be argued that global capitalism is really behind the prosperity of Europe now. To a degree, that’s certain true. But the EU has still played a key role. The question now is what kind of jolt Hard Brexit would cause the UK, considering our debt, lack of productivity, and so on. And how this would affect our politics. Economics. And society. As well as Europe’s and the rest of the worlds. History shows that jolts can have serious, unintended consequences. And we mustn’t allow anything like that to happen again.

      If people want Hard Brexit. Fine. But first let’s build up our economy, get the country behind Brexit properly, get a strong leader and strategy. Better, would be to try and reform the EU back into the EEC. Many Brexiters would support that. And, more and more, signs are appearing that this could be possible.

      Then we truly get to enjoy the best of both worlds!

      • Andy
        Posted February 22, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        The real reason why there has been (comparative) Peace in Europe has undoubtedly been because of NATO. As was said it ‘Kept the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down’. Ever since unification in 1871 Germany has had one over riding foreign policy objective: hegemony over Europe. She tried to do so by military means in 1914 and again in 1939, but she has now adopted a different policy of using her economic strength. And why invade when you have ‘freedom of movement’. Why invade when you can have Eastern European workers toiling away in factories you can build in the East ? And that stood in the way of this dream was, as per usual, the UK. Now the UK is leaving the EU Germany can dominate it and exploite it for her own ends, which is what she will do and is busy doing now.

  3. Dave Andrews
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    One of the benefits of being in the EU is that individuals feel European solidarity. This makes for good relationships at the citizen level, which translates to no appetite for aggression.
    At the national government level, there are economic benefits and rewards in having good relations with fellow EU members. That also helps to make conflict less likely.
    Just because I want to leave the EU on balance doesn’t mean I have to be blind to its benefits.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      What a load of rubbish. Being shackled to the rotting core of the EU does nothing for solidarity. Try convincing the Italians, Greeks Hungarians and the rest of the Visegrad countries.
      The EU is a Franco German protectionist racket.

    • NickC
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Dave, Obviously this “European solidarity” (don’t you mean “EU solidarity”?) isn’t solidarity with the southern EU countries youth who have experienced up to 50% unemployment to bolster EU politicians’ lifestyles.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        NickC

        Please prove the fact about the politicians life style as we would all find that very interesting?

        • NickC
          Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

          Hans, The EU is an artificial, arbitrary, political construct with supra national control of many areas of policy. The EZ nations economies have moved differently since the exchange rates were fixed on entry. This has caused German mercantilism and Greek unemployment (Greece cannot devalue), amongst other dire effects.

          Without the EU, EU politicians would have to get a real job, or be actually democratically elected in their home nation. Therefore EU politicians lifestyles are paid for off the misery created by the EU. I am constantly amazed at the ignorance of you Remains.

          • hans christian ivers
            Posted February 22, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

            interesting but rather subjective answer with no real facts, categorizing people in particular boxes, that fits a particular world view, does not suit you very well, Nick

          • NickC
            Posted February 22, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink

            Hans, It’s not difficult, even for Remains like you. National politicians in a democracy can be held to account and removed by the people. Remote, unaccountable eurocrats can’t. The EU is a political parasite stealing money, power and rights, off European people to feed itself.

    • Kenneth
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      On my travels through Europe I have not detected that the eu is a catalyst or a focal point for any kind of unity. It is seen as a remote institution. I do not detect any emotional attachment.

      As for good relations, we had those before we belonged to the eu notwithstanding our relationship with France which was always up/down before and during our membership of the eu.

    • sm
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      I wonder how often wars start because of citizen-level aggression, rather than because of:

      1. threats of invasion from neighbours about boundaries (eg Alsace Lorraine)
      2. threats of invasion from powerful empires further away (eg Ottoman aggression in Eastern Europe)
      3. threats to an area’s long-term identity and ownership (eg the Schleswig-Holstein question)
      4. megalomaniac rulers (eg Emperor Charles V, Louis XlV, Napoleon, Hitler etc).

    • Mark B
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Switzerland is not in the EU, and has enjoyed peace whilst the rest of European nations has been at war with each other for the past 200 years.

  4. Peter Wood
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Dr. Redwood, you touch on perhaps the most important issue facing Europe, post Brexit. You outline a positive and benign future, with a benevolent Germany playing its participatory role. However, there is much to be concerned about for the smaller EU nations. After our departure, by far the largest net donor to the EU will be Germany; what will they want for that generosity? Will the German voter be happy to give away such large sums, when their own population ages? In any political system great power needs a constraint and management, who will provide that – France, Italy? What will constrain German ambition (compensation for its generosity)? After all, Germany does have ‘form’ in the regard. The smaller states should be worried.

    On a more pressing note, you said in your speech on the Withdrawal Bill, “We can trade under World Trade Organisation terms and put in place, over the next 16 months, all the things we need to do, on a contingency basis, to make sure that if we just leave without an agreement, things will work.”
    Its the ‘put in place’ bit that concerns me, are we doing so, I’ve not heard of any activity? Without it we will surely have a disaster of a Brexit.

    • Loudbarker
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      “After our departure, by far the largest net donor to the EU will be Germany; what will they want for that generosity? ”

      A great reason for staying in the EU: to prevent the nearby land mass being dominated by a political entity. We fought tw0 world wars in the 20th century to stop this happening. It’s a reason why the EU helps prevent war.

      • libertarian
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        Loud barker

        Read a history book, The EU has NOT prevent war in Europe, there have been more than 30 wars, revolutions, coups etc since the formation of the forerunner to the EU.

        Read a geography book. If you want a landmass ( I take it you mean Europe) not to be dominated then Russia is a far bigger European country, are you suggesting we should have been in the Warsaw pact?

        • Loudbarker
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 12:21 am | Permalink

          Rwad my post. I said ” helps prevent war” and not ” has prevented all war revolution and coups”.

          Please also correct my ignorance by providing a list of the wars (not revolutions or coups because I was talking about wars) between EU member states since the founding of the EEC (what I presume on mean by the forerunner to the EU).

          Regarding geography, you make my point for me. We do not want the nearby landmass to be dominated by any power be it Russia, France, Germany or any combination of them. Obviosuly joining the Warsaw Pact was not the way to prevent domination by the USSR since it was driven by the military strength of the USSR that Britain old not compete with alone. The way to deal with the USSR was by the pooling of sovereignty y that was and now is NATO. Since the other EU contries are (more or less) of only slightly greater, equal, or lesser power than the UK. None of them alone can easily dominate the UK, but in alliance they can. Since they follow the rule of law in the EU membership of the alliance (the EU) is the bet way to manage the concentration of power of such an alliance.

          • Loudbarker
            Posted February 22, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

            Libertarian

            I am still waiting for the list of wars between EEC/EU members………….

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        Loudbarker–If that is the extent of your knowledge of why we fought two world wars then your knowledge is limited at best–Bit more to it on any basis and in any event since you refer to Geography we are not exactly moving further away–Don’t know how old you are but I just read that one in five of our youth think that WWI was against France.

      • A Briton
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        Loudbarker: There’s a price to pay isn’t there – our Sovereignty. WE are not a Nation of ‘one size fits all” and we are certainly not a Nation prepared to be governed outside our own borders any longer. Whilst you may settle for ‘woof’ or indeed meow WE will ‘roar’.

        • Loudbarker
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 1:45 am | Permalink

          A Britain

          I agree with Churchill when he said: “the Conservative and Liberal Parties declare that national sovereignty is not inviolable, and that it may be resolutely diminished for the sake of all the men in all the lands finding their way home together.” Hansard 27 June 1950 column 2159

          I go further: in an interdependent world a company cannot keep all its sovereignty to itself and hope to exert influence and be successful. We dilute sovereignty by being members of NATO, by submitting to the judgement of the WTO, and by all the other agreements and treaties we enter into. We cannot hop[e that the world wide problems of international crime, mass migration and global warming can be solved without international cooperation and thus dilution of sovereignty. And in economics we end up bein rule takers, not rule makers when we deal with big and/or expanding economic powers like the EU, the USA, China and India.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted February 22, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

            Loudbarker–The odd (trade) treaty is one thing–Complete (political) subjugation is another

      • NickC
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        Loudbarker, No, we fought two world wars to save national independence and democracy, not to throw them away on an arbitrary and undemocratic re-construction of the Roman Empire.

        • Loudbarker
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 1:27 am | Permalink

          NickC.

          I agree about WW2. If we had lost WW2 we would have been dominated by a single power from the continent of Europe

          WW1 I’m not so sure there was a real threat of invasion. (But if there had been the above would apply). But there was certainly the threat of domination of the contenental land mass.

  5. Bert Young
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    German dominance of and in Europe is now an economic rather than a military one . Having benefited from the Marshall Plan they quickly rebuilt their industrial businesses and swathed across Europe in an entirely different fashion . Make no mistake , the Germans like being in the driving seat . The only country with the resilience and determination to exist and thrive in Europe is ourselves ; the Germans were very conscious of this and chose to take over and dominate their influence here bit by bit . Were it not for the British Armed Forces occupation of Germany , there would be a very different VW auto business today . ICI – a world leading organisation wilted and died from German infiltration – something we will always regret .

    We have always been highly diplomatic in our dealings and have suffered from some of the consequences ; we must now dig our heels in and show more of the Churchill spirit . This morning the news is that a ” no deal ” will leave us with a much stronger economy to the blushes of the advice previously constructed and given by the Treasury !.

    • NickC
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Bert, The Germans are under the illusion they are successful and wealthy solely as a result of their own national efforts. They thus have little sympathy for the likes of Greece or Italy.

      It is true that one of the reasons for German success has been their work ethic and dedication to quality and productivity. Yet the euro has provided a cushion of mercantilism for Germany. If retained, the Mark would be higher in the currency markets and many German products would be priced out of reach. The Germans do not realise how much they owe the PIIGS.

      • Mockbeggar
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        And, of course, they didn’t have continue to spend treasure on defence as we did. They were thus able to invest in building up their motor car and other industrial enterprises while we were building ever faster aeroplanes to defend Europe from the USSR, and repaying debts incurred during the war to the USA.

  6. Big ears
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    They called it Christendom before it was the EU. Didn’t work then either.

    • Robert Betteridge
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Christianity is passe. The Continent favours Napoleonic Law, Germany adores it and the ‘southern’ temperaments honour it by ignoring it. Beating at the gates is Sharia Law.
      One can never know until after the event but history and the general direction of travel suggest that Germany is itching to have its turn as top dog. Business is war on the commercial front. At the moment Germany is winning. If, in defence of the Euro, Brussels forces Federalisation on the 27/28 there will be ructions, even if Germany is prepared to spread its wealth all over Europe (would France be as generous?). Any system needs a pressure valve or we end up with Syria.
      In this country we have found the best ‘valve’ to be Common Law. We police ourselves by consent, and the Police aren’t generally armed. Is it merely happenchance that membership of the EU, uncontrolled immigration and minimal border control has coincided with a viscious rise in Knife and Gun Crime?
      Continuation of Brussels ratcheting up constraints as it follows a path towards building itself up into a position where it feels it can ‘compete’ with China and the USA has led to Brexit. Brussels fears that this loss of ‘control’ will lead to more widespread dilution of its power. The forces pushing in that direction are Southern European unhapiness towards the austerity inflicted in the name of the Euro, Germany’s AfD right & Merkle’s mishandling of the migrants and stepping on Russia’s toes over Ukraine, Poland’s and Visegrad’s fears in general. If the 27 stay together they will inevitably be left behind in their squabbling protectionist backwater.
      If we manage to escape the Brussels noose, we can join our efforts with the Emergent Nations, the Commonwealth, India, Asia, Africa et al. to build a fairer world. Yes ‘Free Trade’ is a Utopia based on a ‘level playing field’ and balanced inter block trading – rather like Perpetual Motion, but we can try to go in that direction. Much of Europe might be tempted to follow.
      A World based on Nation States with Common Law would not allow Dictators to gas and bomb their hospitals, women & children. Perhaps we might aspire to helping our neighbours & ‘not passing by on the other side of the road’.

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      They called it the Holy Roman Empire (half of Christendom!) before the EU;and it was neither holy,nor Roman,nor an empire.In short,a fraud,just like the EU.

      • margaret howard
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

        More like a fraud just like the British empire.

  7. Eric Sorensen
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    The trouble with the UK leaving is not the missing 15 billion euros, peanuts, but potential copy cat thinking amongst Poland, Hungary, Czech, to mention some. These countries are very upset with Germany dictating everything, including allocation of new citizens originally invited by Germany to Germany. And the EU is happily accommodating Berlin and threatening fines and loss of voting rights if German demands are not complied with. Of course Europeans are scared, and some are starting to realise what’s happening by means of the “ever closer union” which Mr Juncker suddenly is busy denouncing in response to Mr Johnson’s reappearance on the centre stage.

    • NickC
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Eric, Can I have a packet of your “peanuts”?

    • Richard1
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Good post. But if this is the case other EU countries would have done better to support a comprehensive renegotiation which would have kept the U.K. in. Unfortunately EU orthodoxy demanded a paltry Offer to Cameron, who admittedly negotiated badly, and led to the Brexit vote.

    • miami.mode
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      ES…. your comments are exactly why the EU is being so harsh with the UK. “Pour encourager les autres” probably sums it up, although as the EU budget is critical to the Commission, your comment about money is a bit wide of the mark (or franc, or schilling, or peseta, or……).

      PS. Who can ever forget William Hague with his “last chance to save the pound”? He would have been proved right if it was not for the Brown/Balls partnership and their apparent loathing of T Blair.

  8. Mark B
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    A very good piece today. 🙂

    We were not afraid to oppose the consensus, or to oppose the Franco-German common position which usually had been agreed before the rest of us met . . .

    The ECSC/EEC/EC/EU has always been about Germany and France. France has always been envious and a little afraid of German industrial and political might and sought, usually with the help of us, to keep it in check. The opposite being true at the time of Napoleon.

    Both France and Germany through the EU institutions have come to realise that they can achieve their Imperial aspirations through regulations, laws, and treaties. This ‘soft power’ allows them control over other countries. The UK as a very strong independent minded island nation does not take well to foreign domination and bullying from the continent and have been largely free from having its borders being rewritten time and time again.

    The UK leaving the EU is a good thing for those countries. At last they will have to find their voice or leave. The EU (Germany) is already trying to make other countries accept Chancellor Merkel’s ‘Guests’ with threats of funding, voting rights and MEP’s being withdrawn.

    I do not believe that there will be war, but I do believe that the Continent of Europe is still a very fractured place and unless Germany and France mend their ways, it will become more embittered.

    I am glad we are leaving, even if it is in name only, as I strongly suspect.

    • Atlas
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      I agree that the Franco-German Empire is presently an economic one. In a sense they have succeeded where the Militaristic methods of earlier generations of their Leaders failed.

      What will happen in the future is anybody’s guess… A strong NATO is a good idea.

    • Helen Smith
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      It may start in name only, although I cling to the belief that in the end self preservation will ensure the Tories provide us with a clean Brexit, however it will end in Real Brexit, one way or another.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        I sincerely hope so 🙂

        At least I will go to my grave as a Citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and not some EU mongrel.

  9. Nig l
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Yes. Only recently we have seen a report indicating that the German military is not fit for purpose with Mutti reneging on promises to spend more/bring manpower up to strength etc which makes a European army even more of a mockery.

    Once again Euro politicians animus towards all thing American is obvious in their denial of the real reason, namely the strength of NATO and the weakness of the Russian economy.

    What is more risible is their outrage when Trump makes this point and demands it is time for them to contribute more and he won’t stand by if their protectionism weighs on the US inequitably.

    If Germany does not put her hand in her pocket for this, the loss of the UKs contribution and the need to take up any American slack, makes the financial plight of the EU nations or the bloated EU project, much more perilous.

    Daily I seem to hear that access to security satellites maybe denied or our homeland security will be weakened. HMG needs to get on its collective soapbox and trumpet to the EU nations how important our armed forces have been and will be to them and it is about time they acknowledged it.

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Perhaps many Europeans do not see Russia as a threat.No-one seriously believes it’s going to invade.And is the Russian economy weak?-I know it keeps getting trotted out in the press-but budget deficit falling from 1.7%,to 1.3% projected for 2018.Inflation 2.5%,lowest in post Soviet history history.Debt/GDP not much more than 10%.Continuing large current account surplus,reserves growing again,etc;much of which we can only dream of.

  10. Ed Mahony
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    My grandfather (RIP) was in the British army 30 years. During that time:

    1. Shot at by Nazis – Normandy
    2. Shot at by Communists – Spain (in British military intelligence in Spanish Civil War)
    3. And target of others because of his military career

    He was a hero (like millions of others of his generation). He truly knew the horrors of Europe in the 20th century (but not of the Holocaust – the worst). I’m not saying Remainers are right, Brexiters wrong (i think they’re both right/wrong in different ways). But in order to give people like my grandfather the respect they deserve, our country should have a proper debate about Europe, and avoid all this sensationalism in the press and chicanery in Parliament.

    And it’s not about respect to the older generations. It’s also about leaving a strong country for our children and grandchildren (so exciting, not just duty). And that whatever happens, people can look back and say Brexiters and Remainers handled themselves with dignity, that I’m proud of my British Parliament and my country. But at the moment, millions of people look despondently / despairingly on political chicanery in Parliament, on the matter of the EU, as well as sensationalism in the press, verging in cases, on the malevolent.

    • Colin
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      “our country should have a proper debate about Europe”

      We had a proper debate about Europe, over the course of 25 years since the Maastricht treaty.

      Then we had a referendum, and we voted to leave.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        In a legalistic sense, i agree with you. But not in a moral one. I don’t really believe we’ve had a proper debate. I don’t really believe we’ve had a proper referendum and that people really want to leave.

        We are a Parliamentary Democracy. Brexit is precisely the sort of complicated thing why we have MPs in Parliament with the wisdom, experience and intelligence to decide on such things.

        Referendums only make sense for things of a strictly moral nature – such as abortion, gay marriage etc

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 21, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

          Just as we have smart MPs in Parliament to decide about complicated global political things such as Brexit, so we have doctors in hospitals to decide what operation you should have, and barristers in courts to decide the best legal procedure to take.

          Because an ordinary person can’t decide which operation you should have or which legal procedure you should follow, doesn’t make them thick.

          Many things have been abused in recent times over the EU. Most of all, common sense.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 21, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

          And if Brexit is going to be successful and go down well in history, then it must be based on a good, honest foundation, and not the straw of media sensationalism and political chicanery.

          We were ALL born for (true) greatness. Not mediocrity and/or the underhand shenanigans we’ve seen (from both sides) of the EU debate.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Great comment. My father bombed Dresden twice in 24 hours and also destroyed housing projects in Berlin. After the war still aged 19 he believed that all people of whatever type and creed should live as neighbours regardless of their origin. After bombing civilians because they were German he thought the concept of nationality was a con.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        I think nationalism is a con. But not patriotism. They are two different things.

        • rose
          Posted February 25, 2018 at 1:02 am | Permalink

          You don’t need nationalism if the nation is there, and recognized as such by its nationals. If it is taken away, nationalism is what you will eventually get.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        He was not bombing them because they were Germans’, he was bombing them because they supported an evil Left Wing regime and dictator.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Shot at by *Germans*, Normandy. No-one called Germans ‘Nazis’ in those days.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 24, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        Nazi is a German word. An abbreviation of National Socialist and not purely derogatory. Besides, German armies duwing the latter stages of WWII consisted of multiple nationalities (but sll speaking some German). Not the Wehrmacht but the three SS divisions that were destoyed in Normany (ao Totenkopf and Leibstandarte) had Austrians (of course) , but also Belgian Dutch and French volunteers. So most of the shooters were probably Nazi party supporters, but not all were Germans.

  11. Peter
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    The prevention of war is not really a major element of the case for Remain.

    That said, it is nice to see a better relationship between the big continental powers.

    France and Germany were rivals since the unification of Germany. Britain was an economic rival to Germany from the late 19th century when German goods took market share.

    The vindictive and crippling Treaty of Versailles after the First World War and the emergence of Communism paved the way for National Socialism. After the Second World War the victors were careful not to repeat their mistakes and we had the Marshall plan instead.

    I don’t see much likelihood of wars between EU member states but I am not sure that the EU itself is a reason for that.

    • forthurst
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      It is claimed that had the Germans won the war, we would have all been speaking German; what they tend to overlook is that had not the US entered the war, we would have all been speaking Russian and that our stately homes would be occupied by Nomenklatura of Asiatic origin.

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Sensible Germans from Frederick the Great to Bismarck to the Ostpolitikers have understood that Germany’s natural ally/partner is Russia.It is only the nutjobs like the Kaiser and Hitler who thought otherwise.And even the Nazis understood the importance of control of Russia-one of their early influences,the late 19th century strategic theorist,Karl Haushofer,had been a strong proponent of a threeway Eurasian alliance between Berlin,Moscow and Tokyo(with China prostrate and partially carved up,Japan was then the power in the East)-but they obviously thought that they could,against all historical evidence,achieve it through conquest and race displacement.

      When the EU falls apart I expect that something similar will come to pass with a Russo-German axis within a Eurasian alignment with China.Naturally the Atlanticists will do everything in their power to stop this.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Regarding Nazism, you leave out the all important cause of economic chaos in Europe and America in the very late 20’s and during the 30’s.

      Economic chaos in general (and/or who gets to control the economy) is the real reason for the rise of Nazis and Communists / socialists in the 20th century Europe.

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Indeed I agree with all of that.

    As you say Germany has to answer the question how much money do they need to transfer round a currency zone so that it can work also how much democracy can they regions be allow (if any at all).

    Meanwhile Corbyn has decided to go to war with the free press. This rather than answer a simple honest question (that he will surely have to answer). I still cling to the belief (perhaps mistakenly) that he will never be PM despite Theresa May’s best efforts.

    If I thought he would get in I ought to be selling up nearly all my UK assets. I am however already limiting my UK investments. Because May and Hammond are misguided lefty dopes (who absurdly want to stick to the dire EU economic model) and Corbyn and McDonnall are and appalling prospect for everyone – rich or poor.

    • Loudbarker
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Rest of the EU as a whole is growing faster than the UK at the moment. You are probably wise to reinvest in Europe. Somewhat unpatriotic, what?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        Not surprising with May and Hammond’s idiotic socialism and Corbyn in the wings who would be even worse.

      • NickC
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        Loudbarker, That economies rise and fall out of step with each other, not least within the EU, is the reason why the Euro has failed (German mercantilism; PIIGS unemployment).

        The only remedies for such failure are either to abandon the Euro, or to create the United States of Europe. The Euro was designed to force the USE into existence. Whether that will occur without civil violence or even war is moot.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 21, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

          Indeed.

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted February 21, 2018 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

          NIckC

          We need some proff and facts on thie USE theory as well, please

          • NickC
            Posted February 22, 2018 at 12:02 am | Permalink

            Hans, Basic economics. The Eurozone is a fixed exchange rate area, so its disparate economies will sooner or later break apart badly. The only remedies are either: abandon the Euro; or create the United States of Europe. I don’t believe EU politicians want the former. It’s not that difficult to understand.

        • Loudbarker
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 1:18 am | Permalink

          “The Euro has failed”

          Still there when I last looked.

          • Loudbarker
            Posted February 22, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

            “The Eurozone is a fixed exchange rate area, so its disparate economies will sooner or later break apart badly. The only remedies are either: abandon the Euro; or create the United States of Europe. I don’t believe EU politicians want the former. It’s not that difficult to understand.”

            I do not know the answer to this. Why is it inevitable that only a United States of Europe will prevent “prevent the Euro falling apart”?

            (PS I note that in a previous pots you said it had already failed while this one merely implies it is inevitable that it will.)

            PPS One day the Euro will fall apart since nothing last for ever. I am just not convinced it will come as soon as some here expect.

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

          nick

          I am afraid they are all hypothetical assumptions and no more than that.

          I seem to re-call I asked for facts and proof of the assumptions?

      • libertarian
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        Loud barker

        Blimey another subject you’re not too hot on economics

        The fastest growing economies are India and China and a number of African countries, so we are better investing in non EU countries, somewhat sounder trade policies , what?

        • Loudbarker
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 1:15 am | Permalink

          Libertarian.

          Another who doesn’t read what I wrote.

          I compared the EU’ growth rates with those of the UK. I did not mention China or India or Africa, I that the UK should invest in those countries, and see no reason why being a member of the EU prevents us from doing so. It does not seem to hold back other EU countries after all. Indeed, being members of the EU gives us advanges in negotiating free trade deals on good terms. I am sure very one here knows that the EU has more free trade agreements that do the US, Canada, Japan, China, Switzerland and others. In addition the single market is the single largest free trade area between nation states.

          The Idea of the EU being uniquely protectionist is nonsense. Compare tariffs on food products elected by Japan with those erected by the Eu for example.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Plus of course Hammond’s idiotic inheritance tax laws make holding UK assets or investing in the UK rather unattractive in general.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Good letter to the PM I see, at least there are about 60 sound MPs.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/02/20/eurosceptic-tory-mps-set-brexit-red-lines-letter-theresa-may/

      Let us hope May has the sense to take this sound advice. She has conceded far too much already. Also she still retains a hugely damaging chancellor with an idiotic approach to taxation, government waste, over regulation and the economy.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      With most of the rEU27 net recipiants of funds, mostly from Germany and the UK, ie we are subsidising their economies, is it any wonder ?

      Once out, some are going to have to pay more (eg Spain and Ireland) and some are going to have to accept less (eg Poland and Hungary).

  13. agricola
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    The consequences of attacking your perceived enemy is the one factor that acts as a deterrent. The roll call among EU nations suggests too few are willing to invest in defence, and rely on the ultimate deterrent of USA and UK nuclear weaponry. Even on the conventional front many EU nations are unreliable partners in the recent and distant past.

    It is more likely that the EU and it’s disparate members start conflicts than resolve them. They have an inbuilt arrogance that encourages them to provoke beyond their weight. The Ukraine for instance. Fortunately there is at the moment too much internal conflict as to the future of the EU to keep them occupied. They have created a very fragmented family. NATO is the only organisation that has acted as a buffer to war in Europe, but while EU nations fail to pay their membership dues there is a limit to patience within NATO.

    • Loudbarker
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      May I remind you it was a former leader of the Conservative Party that started talking about war with Spain over Gibraltar – an ancient dispute between nation states that the EU has papered over.

      • The Great Ear
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        “..ancient”. ??????

        • Loudbarker
          Posted February 21, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

          British ownership is based on Anglo-Dutch conquest in the War of the Spanish Succession followed by the Rock being ceded to US by the Treaty of Utrecth 1713. There were however later Spanish attempts to retake the Rock.

          • The Great Ear
            Posted February 21, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

            ancient
            ˈeɪnʃ(ə)nt/
            adjective
            1.
            belonging to the very distant past and no longer in existence.
            “the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean”
            synonyms: of long ago, earliest, first, early, past, former, bygone; prehistoric, primeval, primordial, primitive; classical; literaryolden, of yore, foregone

        • Loudbarker
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 12:39 am | Permalink

          So educate me. Why did we fight the two world wars?

          “Britain fought two world wars to prevent domination of the European land mass by a single political entity” will always (I agree) be a simplification, but for one sentence I think it’s pretty good. Can yo do better?

          What”s your point? Mine is that it is not in Briatin’s interest to allow that large close land mass (which is I agree undoubtedly is not getting further away) to be dominated by a political entity over which we have no influence. Indeed Britain has found it necessary to go to war to prevent this happening numerous miles in the last 300 or so years.

          • Loudbarker
            Posted February 22, 2018 at 1:54 am | Permalink

            @ The Great Ear

            “Ancient”

            1 dating from a very long time ago;
            2. Very old; aged.

            Your meaning is listed third in my dictionary and there are 4 other meanings after that. Your dictionary must be more limited than mine.

      • libertarian
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        LB

        Currently Spain is at war with itself, both Catalonia and Basques want out. Meanwhile EU banks are busily setting up brass plate operations in Gibraltar

        • Loudbarker
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 1:58 am | Permalink

          And British banks and business are busy setting up branches/expanding operation ones in the EU27.

          I may be wrong about this but I believe both Catalans and Basques want to sty in the EU. I know Gib wants to stay.

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      There was a very good book on the Ukraine situation published in 2015-“Frontline Ukraine:Crisis in the borderlands”by Professor Richard Sakwa.

      And for those who are interested but do not have the time to read it a good precis review in the Guardian by their Moscow correspondent,Jonathan Steele,dated 19,February,2015which you can google.

      • Mitchel
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        Also,in today’s Guardian a very good article by Ivan Katsev: “Europe is fast facing a potential crisis in the Balkans.It has to act soon”,highlighting the growth in anti-EU feeling generated by Russia and Turkey in the Orthodox and Muslim communities respectively and,something I have been monitoring,China’s rapid takeover of Balkans infrastructure-Port of Piraeus,Athens airport,Belgrade-Budapest railway(linked to Piraeus),etc linked to the Belt & Road project.

        • The Great Ear
          Posted February 21, 2018 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

          Mitchel
          China also took over Weetabix in 2012!!! Take note!!!!
          Luckily we have a great ally …the firm was bought by a US company from the Chinese government last year for 1.4Billion.
          We are safe now. Phew!!

  14. Ed Mahony
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Also, Hard Brexit might be the best thing at some point in the future. But not now. Logic + strategic thinking – the evidence – points to Hard Brexit not possible right now:

    1. Our country can’t afford it
    2. Not enough real support around the country
    3. Not strong enough leadership from Brexit camp
    4. Not a strong enough strategy

    These are all essential whether in politics, business or the military. At the moment, we’re just trying to wing it, putting logic + wishful thinking ahead of logic + strategic thinking.

    If we pull back now from Brexit, then we can watch Europe debate its future over the next few years. I think there’s a strong chance Europe will demand we ditch the political union and return to the days of the EEC. Most people would be happy with that, including most Brexiters. And if Europe says no, then the UK can think about Hard Brexit. But first we have to build up own economy (in particular, productivity and pay of debts), get the country properly behind it, strong leader and strategy).

    How can anyone argue with this approach (if it’s flawed, fine, happy to debate and be corrected).

    • NickC
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Ed, Pretending that you are in favour of Leave but not just yet is deception. You are in no position to offer a (“cast iron”?) guarantee. And nothing you have said addresses the problem of honouring that promise. Your view is entirely self-serving.

      This isn’t 2015. We’ve had the debate already; had the Referendum; voted Leave. You may want us to remain in the EU, but democratic consent will break down if you try that. Nor did we vote for some weird half-in/half-out concoction of Tory/Labour/your wild imaginings.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

        ‘Ed, Pretending that you are in favour of Leave but not just yet is deception’

        – No, it’s NOT, Nick.

        You’re just taking a binary position on it. For me the big picture is that we both need Europe, and Europe needs us, but not too much. For example, i think we should have close, legally-binding, trade agreements and close, non-legally-binding links in other areas such as security and culture.

        Ideally, I favour a reformed, EEC-like Europe that maintains Europe’s prosperity which is good for our economy but also for the peace and security of Europe that also affects us. Now you know my position. Very clear.

        What I’m not in favour of is legally-binding political union that we have now. Nor completely leaving the EU, economically.

        What I’m not in favour of is binary, ideological thinking where you’re bound or enslaved to an ideological position. Instead, I’m in favour of a pragmatic approach with the ultimate goal of being in Europe, economically, but not politically. Very clear.

        Ideology and wishful thinking could jolt our economy and country and the rest of the world, with unknown negative geopolitical consequences. We’ve seen this kind of thing happen many times in history. Human society / culture is really very vulnerable. A jolt too far could have bad to terrible consequences. BUT if we think hard, stay close and work together, persevere, something amazing could emerge, where we get the best of both worlds: the best economic benefits of being part of Europe, but without the political ties.

        It is possible.

        • A Briton
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

          Ed: “what I’m not in favour of is binary, ideological thinking when you are bound or enslaved to an ideological position”. But we are and that’s exactly the point. “It is possible” – no it isn’t because the EU have said from the first ‘onslaught’ that we have to accept their rules. The only way for us to do that is to embrace their ideology completely, full membership, join the Euro and thereby sit at the top table and lead from there. It’s either/or. Halfway is ‘vassaldom’ ( yeah I know but leave Margaret (she of many languages) to pick me up on that on that one!

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted February 22, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

            @A Briton,

            Brexit could have shaken Europe up for the good. That Europe needs to think again about its future – i.e. to return to being an economic cooperation, NOT a political one.

            Europe is now ripe for change. Let’s not blow that by pursing Hard Brexit right now which our country can’t afford and our people not willing to accept the inevitable big jolt to their lives that will inevitably come.

            (And let’s not blow it either – although it wouldn’t be such a bad blow – by some soft Brexit that no-one really wants. Nor by doing nothing, like some Remainers want, and carry on in the EU as if everything in the EU is fine – that would be just as bad as Hard Brexit).

            We need to be extremely careful. David Davis describes Brexit as complicated as a moon landing. And with many unforeseen consequences.

            “The wise man is one who, knows, what he does not know.”
            ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

            Reply There is no such thing as hard Brexit

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

        ‘And nothing you have said addresses the problem of honouring that promise.’

        – The promise made was unclear. Meanwhile, the government never had the moral mandate to make that promise because we’re a Parliamentary Democracy not a plebiscite.

        ‘Your view is entirely self-serving’ – how?

        ‘You may want us to remain in the EU’

        – You’re being unclear / binary in your thinking. I want us to be in a reformed EU. Economic ties. Not political.

        ‘but democratic consent will break down if you try that’

        – The referendum has undermined Parliamentary Documentary already whilst Brexiters have undermined Judges, the Lords, the Civil Service, Business Leaders, Economic Experts, Academics, as well as people in Europe in general we have to get on with whether we’re in Europe or not.

        ‘Nor did we vote for some weird half-in/half-out concoction of Tory/Labour/your wild imaginings’ – I never wanted the stupid referendum. I wanted my Parliament to try and reform the EU—to have an economic not a political union. And it’s still not too late to achieve this. Even though we might now have taken a different route to get there.

        Regards

        • NickC
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 10:59 am | Permalink

          Ed, The EU is enslaved to “ever closer union”. It cannot be reformed as you envisage – we tried to do so for 45 years and failed. Your half-in/half-out version means we remain a vassal of the EU. And Sovereignty derives from the people in a democracy, not from a Parliament.

          • hans christian ivers
            Posted February 23, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

            NickC,

            the level of unsubstantiated subjective views with no underwritten facts ,figures or proof, makes any of your arguments very difficult to really take too seriously and they keep coming.

            WHY? and no I am not a Remainer even if I know you like boxe and categories

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      “Our country can’t afford it”

      Nonsense, if there is going to be a net cost it will be marginal, and more likely the outcome will be slightly positive. I come back to the same thing, Ed, that basically since the last war the UK economy has grown by an average of about 2.5% a year, and there is no evidence of that having been significantly affected either when we joined the EEC or when the EU Single Market was first set up, and nor are there any plausible grounds for supposing that we will be adversely affected over the medium to long term after we have left the EU.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

        @Denis,

        You’re confusing two different arguments. I never argued we couldn’t do well outside the EU in theory. My argument was we can’t get there whilst carrying so much debt, without enough of the country caring enough, without a strong leader and without a strong plan / strategy. Don’t you see the difference?

        It’s like having a great idea for a business, but the person hasn’t done a proper business plan. A business plan would reveal whether the entrepreneur had enough money to finance the business project, strong enough skills and experience, whether the timing was right and so on.

        Lastly, we haven’t been offered a vision of what the UK will be like outside the EU. Will it be like the USA or Singapore or Hong Kong (not politically but economically / socially / culturally). Or like Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark?

        The problem is that for Hard Brexit to work, most people in the country have to strongly support it. They don’t. Most people are more focused on things such as buying a house, having enough money to go on holiday, for their pension and health, and so on, and to feel safe. They don’t want radical changes to their lives. Not just for economic reasons but for psychological ones as well. Only a minority of people have strong views about Brexit. And that isn’t enough for Hard Brexit to work.

        I’m not saying Hard Brexit couldn’t work in theory. But not right now, i don’t think, in the economic/political/social/cultural climate we live today.

        Regards

    • Original Richard
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      Mr. Mahony, what do you mean “the country can’t afford it (Hard Brexit)” ?

      The leaked Government (Civil Service?) impact assessment report which showed a worst case scenario of an 8% fall in GDP over 15 years amounts to a fall of 0.5% per year.

      This is smaller than the “easily affordable” foreign aid budget, which is 0.7% of GDP per year, and therefore must be worthwhile to be able to regain/retain control of our laws, borders, foreign and trade policies, taxation, military, money and assets (fishing grounds).

      • Loudbarker
        Posted February 22, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        Original Ricahrd

        A fall of 0.5% per year is not smaller than the foreign aid budget of 0.7%. You can only save the FA budget once. In a fall of 0.5% per year you have to find the lost 0.5% over again over all of the 15 years.

        A better illustration might be the military. Each year the UK spends 1.9% of GDP on its military. So to make up the 8% fall we have to cut all military spending and then find the equivalent of 3 more lots of army navy and airforce to cut.

  15. The Great Ear
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    When young you want to believe war, so horrific and illogical, is an aberration. …that wars must be caused by some singular madman or a singular mad political ideology …party or group.

    The first thing the nicey-nicey EU did was form a trade protectionist racket excluding fair trade with Africa, Asia and Latin America. There is an ongoing EU huge committee in permanent sitting trying to sort out trade disputes item by item between EU member-states themselves accusing one another of cheating and illegality and more, let alone with the rest of the world.

    • Loudbarker
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      So how will trade disputes between nations be resolved if we leave the EU? After all, non EU nations never EVER say anyone else cheats over trade do they?.

      • The Great Ear
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        “…if…. we leave the EU?” WHEN we leave. Accept democracy!!!!! Then figure out how we did it before.

        • Loudbarker
          Posted February 21, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

          Accepting Democracy means that I am free to argue for remaining in the EU and you accept the people may yet decide that Brexit should be dropped. And if that happens the argument will no doubt continue.

          • The Great Ear
            Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

            Argue for as long as you wish. You will be regarded as a bore and ranked with followers of the Flat Earth Society . But you have the freedom to do that and encourage others to think the same. But we are leaving.

          • Loudbarker
            Posted February 22, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

            @ The Great Ear.

            Thank you for your gracious permission to exercise free speech. Happily it seems people are coming round to my point of view. We will see what happens.

            Does anyone here know who the cabinet minister is who is reported as saying “If we stop Brexit we will stuff the Party. If we leave the EU we will stuff the Country”?
            Or words to that effect.

      • NickC
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        Loudbarker, The existence of the EU does not prevent disputes even within the EU. Nor between the EU and the rest of the world. Trade disputes are a fact of life. The WTO has a perfectly adequate dispute resolution procedure. The EU is superfluous.

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted February 21, 2018 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

          NIckC

          the EU is superfluous for what exactly, please?

          • NickC
            Posted February 22, 2018 at 12:06 am | Permalink

            Hans, The EU is superfluous for sorting trade disputes. That’s what the WTO is for. As I said.

      • libertarian
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        Loud barker

        Its called the WTO ….for goodness sake. Thats the whole frigging point. We dont need the EU to do any of the things you cite as a benefit. Its a political project pure and simple and you’ve fallen for it naively

        • Loudbarker
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 12:46 am | Permalink

          “Ancient”
          1 dating from very long ago
          2 very old; aged

          In my dictionary your meaning is the third and there are 4 others after that. Your dictionary must be more limited than mine.

        • Loudbarker
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 12:58 am | Permalink

          Well spotted. But that was not the Great Ear’s point. GE pointed to the setting up of a trade dispute resolution mechanism as something unnecesssary within a the EU’s single market. Clearly this is ridiculous. Obviosuly if the UK leaves the EU there will need to be some kind of trade dispute resolution mechanism. But that of course involves the surrender of sovereignty to the entity that resolves the dispute which is of course inconsistant with the Outers’ wish for the UK to absolutely determine its own destiny.

          As to the EU as a political project – of course. That is one reason why I argue that the UK must be involved. The first rule of politics is “turn up” or decisions will be made that may affect you it in which you took no part. That is what will happen if the UK leaves the EU.

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

          libertarian,
          Very interesting assumption, I asked a question and now I have an opinion , which you have expressed on my behalf. An opinion that I actually do not support/carry

          Not very helpful

  16. Anonymous
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Oh I’d say EU hegemony has definitely increased since Germany reunified.

    Remainers who bang on about our purchasing as a proportion of the EU miss the point entirely.

    Germany is one of the main the main benificiaries of our trade surplus.

    That’s all that counts.

    • Nig l
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Not only that but the people that bang on about the single market have absolutely no idea how difficult/nigh on impossible it is to sell into Germany.

      • Original Richard
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

        Not only has the SM combined with cheating on subsidies and supposedly open purchasing rules meant that we have a £80bn/year trading deficit with the EU but it has allowed the rules and regulations to be so rigged that Germany has been able to get away with its diesel emissions cheating scam to promote its car sales.

  17. Michael
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    The worry is that the Cabinet will come up with compromises on BREXIT that will be disappointing to those who voted leave in the referendum.

    • NickC
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Michael, If we remain in any part of the EU, the Conservative government will have defrauded us.

      • ian wragg
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        Not only that, they will be slaughtered at the next election. I do believe there is a significant contingent who would be happy to see the Tories binned just to stay in the EU.

        • NickC
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 12:09 am | Permalink

          Ian Wragg, Given the latest leaked document pleading for an indefinite “transition” it seems that Mrs May is happy to see the Tories binned just to stay in the EU.

      • Andy
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        I’m afraid you all need to prepare for disappointment.

        Brexiteers will never be happy. Something will always be not to your liking.

        You’ll always find something to moan about.

        Someone else will always be to blame. It is never your fault.

        Indeed, the most ironic thing about Brexit is that you’ll still be unhappy after it happens.

        Try therapy.

        • Anonymous
          Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

          Anything less than restoration of law, control of borders, supremacy of our Parliament is not what was voted for.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

          Substitute the word Remainers in your post young Andy and it works just as well.

        • NickC
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 12:21 am | Permalink

          Andy, I will be immensely happy when we actually leave the EU completely. And not unless. Quite why you want to trash our independence (remember Declaration 27) so our nation is merely an area of the EU empire you never do explain. You just whine about Leave.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      That is just what has been happening. The question now is whether there are enough Tory MPs who are determined to stop their EU-phile colleagues and the senior civil servants betraying us.

  18. Rien Huizer
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Continental Europeans who have experienced WWII are in their mid to late eighties. Everyone else has learned about it through the lens of very recent history or forms of current affairs. In many cases that would have amounted to propaganda. German atrocities were highlighted, curiously the Holocaust was not given the prominence it deserved – as a crime by a highly accultured people and also abusing industrial technology for “eradicating” unwanted people- and the resistance (for what it was worth blown up into some form of heroism (which must have been present as well). But look at the list of German allies: Finland, Hungary, Romania, Italy. the Slovaks. The countries that had more more military casualties fighting for the German cause than they suffered fighting the Germans: Holland, Belgium. France remains more or less balanced: aggressive and sincere Communist resistance and acquiescence/cooperation via Vichy and the anti-semitic bourgeoisie. Poland and the Czechs may have been the only ones remaining hostile and requiring a more than token occupation force. But the record there may be distorted by subsequent regimes, into the present even.

    WWII was not a war between current EU members (mostly, UK remaining hostile) The initial war in Western Europe had few casualties (but atrocious bombardments on open cities by boith sides) and showed that the lesson of WWI that there is no point in sacrificing millions of young men on the altar of nationalism without the prospect of meaningful gain was learned. The relatively underdeveloped German war machine in 1939 and 1940 was in effect, given a pass. The real war was in the East and later when the Russians and Anglo-Americans got their act together, there was far more intense fighting on Continental soil that the intra-continental war had seen in 1940. The continentals did not resist the Germans very much but did not help them against the Allies either. The end result was that Europe -this time including Britain – became an American protectorate and the East a Russian. The American variety was benevolent and supported by the locals, while the Russian was not.

    Did the EU make Europe more peaceful? Who knows. Maybe if more countries of the former USSR integrate into the EU (not very likely) that would eliminate the space for “civil” warfare. NATO is what keeps the peace and inocculating youngsters against narrow nationalism too.

  19. BartD
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    We need not be so concerned about how the EU and Germany will do after we leave..my guess is they will make the necessary changes to suit their new budgtry circumstance ..we are leaving behind an economic bloc of 450 million people with huge potential..it’s our loss..we should now concentrate on what kind of a relationship we want with them going forward..It seems to me that a Canada plus deal is is the only option open to us but this will hardly compensate for our loss of trade..but that is what we voted for..so now we should crack on with looking for these new international deals we were promised.. so forget about Germany

    • Andy
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Correction – it is what a minority of the population (and mainly pensioners) voted for.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

        Correction
        We had a referendum.
        The rules were known.
        The result was to leave the EU.
        The fact that nearly 40% of you youngsters didn’t bother to vote is not the fault of those that did vote.

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

        No.

        It’s what *we* voted for, Andy.

        BartD is correct.

      • NickC
        Posted February 22, 2018 at 12:13 am | Permalink

        Andy, Correction – even more of a minority of the population voted for us to continue as a serf nation in the EU oligarchy. Fortunately.

  20. Rien Huizer
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    Let me make another comment: you are right that the departure of the UK (imo long overdue) will chnge the way in which power is exercised, especially within the EUR zone and through the regulatory structure with the ECB at its apex. Whether that will lead to more transfers remains to be seen. Losing one awkward, but contributing and truly democratic member is something. Keeping needy (maybe not as much as in the past) members afloat whilst they revert to their less democratic ways is someting else. The German/French leadership that could develop during this short term lull in electioneering politics may well impact on the governance structure of the EU, which (despite the vitriol in some UK media) has a severe autority vaccum at the top) in such a way that more countries decide to leave or are told that they have to cooperate for a living. That would be an unexpectedly good result. No worries that the Russians will “poach” stray members. They are empty-handed themselves.

    • NickC
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Rien, “Awkward” is in the eye of the beholder. You may think that the UK leaving is long overdue (as I do, too) but the EU is being as awkward as it knows how in the negotiations. So forgive me for thinking that the proof is in the actions of the EU, not in your self-serving words.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 22, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        By “awkward” I mean a member that always tries to have exceptions: rebate, opt outs from Schengen and Euro. All aspects of the EU that would have leveled the playing field even further. Maybe “less than ethousiatic” or “instinctively uncooperative” would have been better. If you are a member of a club you know what I mean. I was not referring to the UK’s exit from the EU; that is a blessing and a recognition that the awkwards member does not belong, however much the remaing members would have applauded a change in behavior.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted February 23, 2018 at 8:16 am | Permalink

        NickC,

        You have described it exceedingly well yourself.

        “SELF SERVING WORDS”

        I need not say anymore about your input

  21. Epikouros
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    In part the common market was conceived from the idea of keeping Germany peaceful and to stop it from dominating the rest of Europe. Ironically when it was eventually launched the former was not in the least bit necessary for the reasons you have given. However to a large degree it actually facilitated the latter as in reality Germany now does dominate Europe. Brussels is very much guided by Germany and because it is based on principles devised by its founding advocates the EU has been built it in a way that protects the interests primarily of Germany and France. It is designed to operate in a way that affords both nations protection of their industries and economies.

    It is only been partly successful for France but no success at all for most of the other nations that have jointed that project. For the UK it has not been successful at all and in fact has put the UK at considerable disadvantage with the added insult of us having to make a considerable contribution to the EU budget for the privilege of being so disadvantaged.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      It was successful for France because De Gaul stood his ground for France.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 22, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      I think you are confusing political rhetoric with economic benefit. The main beneficiaries of the EU system are large corporations, farmers and consumers. One of the problems that England failed to solve during its membership is how to reconcile financial and industrial interests. UK owned manufacturing (large scale that is) was replaced or acquired by foreign owned firms. Continental capitalism was much more cohesive. In my opinion of course because guessing EU benefit is inherently difficult.
      But let me show two examples: (1) what will foreign owners do when the UK leaves the EU suddenly (in 2019) “without a deal”. Your guess is as good as mine but it will require some effort to keep them. (2) German etc firms have contracted out manufacturing all over the world, but kept their technology, design and brand equity. The Uk sold out of most of these. Japanese owners are not going to keep a UK plant in a supply chain if that is not the cheapest solution.

      In other words: UK owners and managers (and unions) did not do enough to keep the country viable as a (in German) “Standort” compared to their continental counterparts. Nothing to do with the EU but everything with short term management.

      • Loudbarker
        Posted February 22, 2018 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        Well said Rien. I would add: in certain sections of British society (mostly English but not entirely) it was found convenient to blame “Europe” rather than recognise failure.

        Which is curious given that Thatcher’s lesson was that you have to complete to survive rather than just moan about the system.

    • Hans Christian ivers
      Posted February 23, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      All of the Nordics and Holland think differently

  22. Roy Grainger
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    The EU’s intervention and expansionist policy in Ukraine is likely to cause a war, not prevent one.

    • NickC
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Roy, Indeed. That is frequently overlooked by Remains and EU apologists.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 24, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        There will be a point where you and your pals will run out of arguments and start singing the national anthem (the English one of course).

    • Chris
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Yes, RG, the EU’s expansionist policies only cause unrest and strife. In my view, it was unforgiveable for the EU to support actively the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Ukraine.

  23. Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Yes, Germany is now ‘’one of us’’ but the impression it gives us through the EU is that it is still an arrogant, implacable, self-serving state, bent upon spreading its own idea of civilisation and empire by bringing other nations into its fold. If, as our host says, other smaller countries are still fearful of it, that’s not a good thing, is it? No – it won’t start another war (I hope) but it certainly has found a better, more productive way of achieving its ends and making itself even more powerful.
    (The words: ‘’…. the huge damage done by the war…‘’ ought to read: … the huge damage it brought upon itself by starting a second world war’’.)

  24. ChrisS
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    “How much money do you need to transfer round a currency zone so that it can work fairly and well.”

    In the case of the Euro “Fairly” and “Well” are two different concepts.

    The Euro, like any currency union, will never work “well” unless there are pretty well unlimited and unrestricted transfers around the Union. In other words, it has to operate as essentially one unit rather than 19 individual countries.

    However, it is obvious in the context of the Eurozone that Dutch, Finnish, Maltese, Cypriot and above all German taxpayers will not regard it as “Fair” for billions of their hard-earned Euros to be heading for the 14 countries in the Eurozone that run current account deficits.

    In practice, the only taxpayers that really matter in this context are German ones because they alone have such an enormous surplus that in itself breaches EU rules every year.
    Nothing is ever done about that, of course, as Juncker and Co would never challenge Merkel on anything.

    Whatever the intention of Schulze and Merkel, it’s hard to see an agreement to a full-blown currency union of the type necessary to make the Euro function properly, getting through the Bundestag and the German Constitutional Court.

  25. Ed Mahony
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Btw, I want Brexiters to be heroes. I like Boris. I like David Davis and Liam Fox and Mr Redwood (one of my favourite Brexiters for various reasons). I like Bill Cash (he can still keep his sense of humour despite all the wrangling of Brexit). I like Jacob (he’s gutsy over abortion, and he’s generally witty). There’s lots of other Brexiters i like a lot. But i just think they’re wrong in their approach to Brexit right now. I want them all to be heroes. But they need to tweak (perhaps more than tweak) their approach. Put Brexit on hold for now. And look to reforming the EU so that it becomes more like the EEC. And if that doesn’t work, then we look to Hard Brexit, but first building up our economy, getting the country properly behind Brexit, and having a strong leader and strategy.

    God Bless our politicians. God Bless the UK.

  26. Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Far from stopping war, it seems to me that the EU is likely to start a war. I feel that the EU policies were at least part to blame for what happened in Ukraine.

    Imagine the EU were on the verge of a war with, say, Russia and that last minute peace talks were being held. Judging by the attitude of the bombastic EU negotiators discussing Brexit and giving their orders about what we must do, I’d suggest that the EU attitude would be far more likely to start a war than prevent one. The only thing preventing them at this time is the lack of the necessary military forces, which is why I strongly oppose the idea of an EU army.

    The sooner we are out of the EU and can make it clear that what they do has nothing to do with us, the safer we will be.

  27. mickc
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    The current Germany is not West Germany. The present Germany is reverting to what Germany always was……. Prussia….and Merkel is indeed Prussian!

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Prussia,at least the most militaristic part-East Prussia,was not originally German at all.It was a crusader state created by the Teutonic Knights in the middle ages-the original local inhabitants-Slavs and Balts (Old Prussians)were exterminated,expelled or germanised.Stalin returned the complement in 1945.

      lavs and Balts

  28. nhsgp
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Simple question to ask them.

    Who invades whom?

    They won’t say.

  29. Chris
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Theresa May plans for an indefinite Brexit? This report, if true, is hugely worrying. A vote of no confidence in May is long overdue if Brexit is to be effected:

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/921922/Brexit-news-indefinite-transition-period-leaked-DexEU-report
    INDEFINITE BREXIT? Shock leaked report reveals NO END scheduled for transition

    THERESA May is planning to ask the EU for flexibility on the length of the Brexit transition period – and is refusing to put a timeframe on the process.

    • Loudbarker
      Posted February 22, 2018 at 1:03 am | Permalink

      It’s good news. May is giving Britain a chace to review the referendum vote as the chaos of Brexit gets ever closer.

  30. Peter Martin
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    “……..but it is Germany who has to answer the fundamental question how much money do you need to transfer round a currency zone so that it can work fairly and well.

    The latest figures show that the German surplus is running at around 240 bn euros p.a.
    A surplus should not be thought of as equivalent to a company profit. A profit can be spent. A surplus cannot – otherwise it isn’t a surplus.

    The answer to the question of “how much?” has to be at least that amount, and possibly a little more besides from Germany alone. Then there’s the question of the Dutch and other surpluses. If the EU wishes the euro to be a reserve currency then it has to run a trade deficit, in the same way as the USA runs a trade deficit, so that there are plenty of euros, or eurobonds, out there in the world’s economy to act as reserves. That’s why Germany and the Netherlands may need to borrow a little extra themselves.

  31. Nig l
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Just seen an article on transition period being ‘open ended’ are we being sold out?

    • Andy
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      No. You are getting the monumental mess you voted for. Enjoy it. You will own the blame.

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

        It’s clear that Remainers have made Brexit as difficult as possible.

        You get the blame, Andy.

      • NickC
        Posted February 22, 2018 at 12:27 am | Permalink

        Andy, No. You are getting the “soft” Brexit you demanded. Enjoy it. You will own the blame.

        • Loudbarker
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

          The Tory party gets the blame. For putting party before country.

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted February 22, 2018 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

          Nick,

          stop categorizing people and put them in boxes

  32. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Interestingly there are some who question whether the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community made any significant contribution to securing peace in Europe, even though that was stated to be its primary objective when it was proposed through the 1950 Schuman Declaration which the EU still takes as its starting point.

    https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/symbols/europe-day_en

    “Europe Day held on 9 May every year celebrates peace and unity in Europe. The date marks the anniversary of the historical ‘Schuman declaration’. At a speech in Paris in 1950, Robert Schuman, the then French foreign minister, set out his idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe, which would make war between Europe’s nations unthinkable.

    His vision was to create a European institution that would pool and manage coal and steel production. A treaty creating such a body was signed just under a year later. Schuman’s proposal is considered to be the beginning of what is now the European Union.”

    However whether or not it worked to prevent a new war it certainly set the nation states of Europe on the road to legal subordination in a pan-European federation:

    “… a first step in the federation of Europe”

    ” … the realization of the first concrete foundation of a European federation”.

    Some EU luminaries may wish to deny this, but it is there on their own website.

  33. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I’m looking at the “Private and Confidential” letter that 62 Tory backbenchers have sent to Theresa May, reproduced here:

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/feb/20/tory-mps-sign-letter-to-theresa-may-outlining-hard-brexit-goals

    and I find it very hard to see what grounds another Tory MP, Nicky Morgan, could have for describing it as a “ransom note”, or why a newspaper should think that it is making “impossible” demands.

    Or indeed “demands” of any kind, really, when basically it is supporting what Theresa May herself said in January 2017 in her Lancaster House speech.

    As I’ve said I myself was more or less happy with what she said then, with maybe just a few quibbles, and my objections are to her subsequent attempts at backsliding.

    Well done for signing it, JR and all the others.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Yes, thank you Mr. Redwood MP sir.

    • Winston
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      It contradicts Mrs may’s Florence speech and seeks to wreck the government’s stated aim of securing a transition period. It is both irresponsible and disloyal

      • NickC
        Posted February 22, 2018 at 12:30 am | Permalink

        Winston, Mrs May is being disloyal to 17.4 million Leave voters. That is irresponsible.

  34. VotedOut
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Most UK based thinkers and commentators do not appreciate that most mainland Europeans still have the scars of two wars deeply embedded into their mindset.

    This is important, because all this talk of Germans etc. wanting a trade deal since they don’t want to lose trade is only partly true. Yes they do want to trade, but they don’t want to risk the one thing in their minds that has held Europe together for 70 years.

    We in the UK did not suffer invasion. Our thinking is not coloured by that trauma. It is a trauma that pervades many generations in Europe even now – history really does matter in this context.

    For this reason the Euro will continue to exist until a really big crash forces its demise. Don’t expect rational thinking on this issue. For mainland Europeans it is very very emotional.

    So I do not believe negotiating with the EU will result in any benefit at all for the UK. We need to collectively realise that we do not see the world as they do. We should leave and use WTO terms. But, and most importantly be ready and willing to quickly agree a trade agreement as soon as the mood changes in the EU.

    • NickC
      Posted February 22, 2018 at 12:33 am | Permalink

      VotedOut, That is a very wise comment.

  35. mancunius
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    The EEC was a mere blip on the radar of the Third World War that loomed large from 1945-89. It was the threat of Soviet invasion – and the active resistance and push-back by US and UK NATO forces in W. Germany – that brought about the feeling of pro-German western solidarity.
    This balance of powers and sense of western solidarity was destroyed when the USSR collapsed, Germany re-unified in short order – triggering the eastward expansion of NATO, Germany’s attempt to take eastern ex-Communist satellites under its wing, and the renewed consequently threat from the Russian Federation. German governments since then have behaved solipsistically: Kohl prematurely ordering monetary union with E. Germany, agreeing to ERM at French insistence, but capturing a low ERM rate under the pretext of ‘paying for’ E. Germany’s over-valued 1:1 currency (that Kohl had decided!) and aggressively repressing German domestic demand – this all gave Germany unfair national economic advantages. The uncomfortable fact they ignore is that the rest of Europe (not least ourselves) paid a lot for Germany to become, once again, a huge, mercantile, statist, economic power with a dominating presence in Europe via its large population, and one that now ruthlessly attempts to bully other, weaker European countries.

    This is definitely not the more innocent, tolerant and open Germany I knew in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. All the more vexing to read the smug, patronising media coverage of Brexit by ‘London correspondents’ of the FAZ, whose tales of British post-referendum collapse have an absurdly fictional quality, close to EU propaganda.

    • mancunius
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      ‘renewed consequently’ should read: ‘consequently renewed’

  36. Andy
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    I have not heard any EU supporter say it stops wars. Brexiteers like to make up this claim but it is not true.

    What the EU has done, though, is entrench peace – and only the reckless would wish to risk that.

    I am 44. My father’s generation is the first to have known comparative peace across Western Europe. My children’s generation will – with luck – be the first to experience peace across all of Europe.

    It is less than a lifetime ago when we sent our young me to fight their young men. This has always been the way of things. Generation after generation of often pointless war.

    NATO may have helped end the war but it is the EU which has won the peace. It has spread values of tolerance, of democracy, of cooperation – which Brexiteers treat with contempt.

    Peace is not a given. And the vile jingoistic war talk of some of your number does not help.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      The EU were a disaster in Ukraine and Bosnia.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      Glad to establish that I am not much older than you.

      I voted Leave.

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 21, 2018 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

        The EU was established because of the expansionist tendencies of one nation in particular.

        We (the UK) are not going to invade Europe.

        So who do you think is going to cause problems then ?

    • Prigger
      Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

      EU…” spread the values of tolerance” Yes and I suppose E and U had to pay their taxes and make a long journey, and there was no room at the Inn, so they slept in a stable…. Oh dear, Andy who has put such ridiculous ideas into your brain?

    • mancunius
      Posted February 22, 2018 at 1:04 am | Permalink

      What ‘won the peace’ of the Cold War was the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. A lot to do with NATO and Reagan, western spending on defence, and economic implosion of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact. Nothing at all to do with the EU, which didn’t exist in 1991 and was still a Europe of nations.

      But then, as ever, don’t let facts spoil an unhinged tirade.

  37. miami.mode
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Maybe I’ve missed it, but haven’t seen any EU flags being waved at the Winter Olympics.

  38. Adam
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    The notion of EU membership averting war lacks rationale. Different groups feeling forced against their wishes within what may become a single state might in itself spur civil conflict.

  39. Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    As a banker, would it be pulling the rug from under your own feet to talk about how the ECB/IMF/Bundesbank etc. brought down Greece? Have you read how Yanis Varoufakis was treated by the Eurogroup and the troika? Is it politic to recognise valid/useful ideas from the “left”? Are progressive ideas more important than party politics? (Is support for a party more important than beneficial and creative ideas?

  40. margaret howard
    Posted February 21, 2018 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    A far greater threat to world peace in the last few hundred years than Germany was the frenzied empire building with the aim of world domination between mainly Britain, France and Spain.

    Continents were carved up irrespective of tribal ownership and many native races, like the Tasmanians, Caribbean Indians etc entirely wiped out. Many others like the American Indians and native Australians were reduced to living in squalid enclaves.
    Add the millions of Africans shipped into the colonies to be worked to death over the centuries and the picture that emerges is totally different from Mr Redwood’s idea of history

  41. Juiliet
    Posted February 22, 2018 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    Germany invaded European countries
    Are the EU ignoring Yugoslavia
    Where was the EU?

  42. Lisa Talbot
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Why is it so difficult ,for some to understand the rules of the referendum &what leaving the EU meant. It was so clear & simple. The government asked parliament for permission to hold the referendum. It was granted. The decision was given to the people. The leaflet was clear, lots of info (including info on what we have as a member, membership of customs union & therefore what we wouldn’t have if we leave), added to that information available online , in fact never in the history of mankind has so much information been available. We Voted to leave. This is democracy. To argue for a second referendum is to deny democracy.

  • 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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