EU and UK laws – what a different approach to framing them

Over our years in the EU growing volumes of legislation have been passed by the EU. Some of it is directly acting through EU Regulations requiring no UK Parliamentary endorsement. Much of it is embodied in Directives, which require the UK Parliament to pass a UK law to achieve the stated aims and reproduce the detailed proposals in the Directive. Some of these measures have replaced good UK laws, and reflect a general wish to have high standards of employment law or environmental regulation. Some have been meddlesome and damaging, as with the fishing regulations. I do not wish today to go into the balance of good and bad law that came from the EU. I fully accept that some EU law is good law we want anyway and all of it after we have left becomes UK law to ensure immediate continuity. I want instead to examine the very different approach legislators have adopted to these two types of law.

Parliament has not been able to consider or amend any Regulation. Opposition parties in the UK have very rarely objected to Directives that have come from Brussels. They have accepted a form of approval which prevents amendment to the draft law. However long and complex the EU Directive is, it is embedded in UK law as a Statutory Instrument using what are known as Henry VIII powers for government to press Parliament to pass something with little debate and no amendment. These powers are normally reserved for the detail needed to implement primary legislation which has been through a long, argumentative process with plenty of scope for amendment in the UK Parliament. In the case of EU law this does not happen, as the enabling Statute is the European Communities Act 1972 which created the most massive Henry VIII power of them all allowing any legislation from the EU to go through as an SI. Opposition parties have also always accepted government advice that they have to pass the relevant SI because it is a requirement of Brussels, backed up by the threat of court action in the ECJ and fines if we do not comply. Parliament has never turned down an EU Directive. Domestic legislation requiring SIs to implement them does sometimes encounter refusal to enact with the government having to take it away and rewrite the SI or abandon the attempt to push it through. The more law we have that comes from the EU, the less Parliament can amend and improve in future. Parliament’s role in updating and improving ourlaw codes has become more and more impeded by the rapid growth of EU competence and law.

Recently the Commons was asked to enact the EU’s General Data Protection legislation, even though this was already a directly acting Regulation, so keen was the civil service to see it fully into effect. I have no problem with the principle that governments and companies holding and handling data should be careful with it and protect people from harm from its theft or inappropriate use. There were already laws in place before the GDPR to do this. Maybe they needed improvement and updating. What I thought was interesting was there was little opposition attempt to amend or criticise the EU approach to this task. Small charities complained that it was very heavy handed, forcing them to spend a lot of money on advice and new systems to carry on holding lists of their supporters and communicating with them when they were not in any way unhappy or threatened. Small businesses were concerned about their marketing lists and often had to spend a lot of money on advice and systems when they had caused no problems before. If these proposals had been a UK government initiative requiring normal primary legislation I am sure the opposition would have put up much more of a fight to try to improve the legislation.

In the endless and repetitious iterations of Project Fear 2 all we hear about is trade and trade deals. We need to remember one of the central tasks the public want us to do. They want us to restore a fully functioning Parliament which properly probes and amends government legislation on all matters before the Parliament including all those that are currently fixed in Brussels and not subject to any decent scrutiny.

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131 Comments

  1. Mick
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    The biggest problem that as been for the last 40 odd years is that we implemented nearly all laws coming from the dreaded Eu and we the British people allowed it to happen because we didn’t know what was going on, well now we do and enough is enough we are going to take back control and if the remoaner mps don’t like it tough, do what we voted for or you’ll be joining the dole queue come the next GE

    • Peter
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      We voted for a ‘Common Market’ and then got a good deal more than we expected in the years that followed. Getting rid of MPs who do not deliver Brexit will be scant consolation though after the euphoria of the referendum victory.

      Mrs. May plays her cards very close to her chest until the last moment. Members of Parliament often tell others what they want to hear and then act differently.

      So how it all plays out is not certain. We know Boris has a big speech planned after his next weekend newspaper column. This is predicted to feature prominently in several days news coverage. What we will not know is the impact this has on Conservative MPs.

      Other Leave groups will plan accordingly – as will Remain groups.

      Currently Number 10 is sticking to the message that Chequers is still viable. We don’t know if there are other plans yet to be declared, or preparations for a volte face with soothing words to justify it.

      I have no idea what will happen next.

    • Hope
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Lawyers for Britain make clear the U.K. will be subservient to ECJ jurisprudence as any UK law or case decision for goods and agri products will have to comply with the ECJ jurisprudence, please read article for clear understanding. This point needs to be made absolutely clear so that the current lies promoted by May in her papers that the UK gets back control of its law is a down right lie. And she knows it! Therefore the consequence of any potential trade deal the other country will know the U.K. has no control over its products, labelling and some services that follow it. Former US ambassador to the WTO made the point very clear in conhome, please read for clear understanding. It makes any future trade deal with the UK very unattractive when it cannot control any of its products and has no voice to change the situation.

      While JRs point is valid and shows the rot of the remain debate by the likes of Clegg debating Farage denying the extent of EU law applied in the UK, that debate was had and is known to be utter rot otherwise why the huge changes to rid the communities Act from the UK?

      Since the referendum, including last week, May has allowed our U.K. troops to have the EU flag emblazoned on their arms! UK troops under UK control by a foreign policy. May’s security deal on security and defence proposals must also be stopped. Lives of our British citizens should not be put at risk for unelected EU bureaucrats even training for them not us.

    • eeyore
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      I’d like to support a campaign for a Brexit respecting the referendum result. Can our host or anyone else recommend one?

      • Hope
        Posted September 6, 2018 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        There were venues published today where leave MPs will be calling rallies. One is at Bolton with David Davies, Kate Houey etc. Others to be held around the country like Torquay etc. Obviously Tory conference needs to be a focal point for a large gathering to make it clear to chuck chequers and act on th democratic vote of the public to leave the EU not make our great country a vassal state of the EU.

        No one voted for EU policies to,contuemqithout a voice or veto as May lies in her non regression clause or her submission to give away control on defence, security and intelligence. May original claimed mutual recognition. She has a very poor memory or forgets it is lies.

        May has claimed what other ideas? She could have remembered her Lancaster speech, her red lines and its white paper, and her following comments. Leave was the mandate from the public not half in half out or remain in parts, as she stated it would not be leaving! Not stay in at any cost making specious, claims about the Irish border or making trade the central issue to be an EU colony was ever mentioned!

        So leave on WTO terms in March 2019, if the EU wants a Canadian style trade relationship so be it. Any agreement on equal terms. No transitions required or warranted, that is now clearly recognised as a way to keep the UK in the EU without a voice or veto to use as a punishing lever to get the public to change its mind. Never.

        Withdrawal colony agreement to be voted down. There is absolutely nothing for the UK’s benefit. Our waters and fishing stocks returned March 2019, no ifs or buts.

        Get a competent civil servant on it ASAP. Robbins need not apply. He has shown to be compromised for bad deal. Possibly not his fault as May is in charge of him, or should be.

  2. Ian wragg
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    And under the Chequers Agreement May wants to continue the tradition of being a rule taker from Brussels.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      According to Open Europe France and Germany are willing to accept more vague text to get the Withdrawal Agreement signed. I bet they are. If Parliament sign this surrender document we will be bound to the EU for ever.
      No doubt they are worried they won’t get the £39 billion and Mays ongoing not vast amounts of money annually which will turn out to be remarkably similar to our net contribution.

      • Hope
        Posted September 6, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        The money is far higher, the worse parts are under the non regression clauses subjudicating our country to a host of EU policies that the UK has no voice or veto. Colony status freely given as an opening offer by May! After her Lancaster speech it shows the upmost treachery and false promises made by her. To us normal souls a liar.

    • Drachma
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      Chequers agreement as mrs May would have it is a dead duck..everyone knows..it’s only a matter now of facing up to the music..the cliff and WTO await..so hang onto your seats for the next episode..the blame game

  3. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Much of the legislation forced upon us is ignored by other EU countries. Laws are also ignored. The fishing saga with the French is a good example. It seems we are always fined if we take a small step out of place. We voted for taking back control and being able to pass our own laws. We are perfectly capable of meeting and often exceeding anything the EU legislates on. Our animal welfare standards are a lot higher than those in the EU. We don’t need another country telling us what or how to do anything.

  4. Graham Wood
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    As always a good and accurate comment. I would only add that the capacity for a national government to make or unmake law is a fundamental one reflecting sovereignty and cannot be ceded to unaccountable outside bodies carte blanche. (International agreements are an exception and a separate discussion)
    It was fully understood by the electorate that our full law making powers should be returned to our Westminster parliament from Brussels. Government agreed and declared it would implement the will of the electorate.
    That is a further reason why PM Theresa May’s Chequers plan must be rejected entirely as it denies that all important capacity to exercise our national sovereignty once again.

  5. Mark B
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Not all EU legislation starts its life in the EU. Some comes from international bodies and would in so.e form be adopted by the UK.

    The second from last paragraph is for me, the most telling. It highlights the cost to smaller concerns that legislation brings. As highlighted by myself and many others here and elsewhere, the EU is used by large greedy corporates to lobby for legislation that works to remove competition. One only has to Google the, Round Table of Industrialists to find out more on this.

    Things will not necessarily be better after we allegedly leave the EU. The government can still produce bad and damaging legislation such as the Climate Change Act.

    What does leaving the EU mean in this regard, is that parliament and ministers cannot blame the EU. And that is why so many in the Palace of Westminster and Whitehall are so scared. The tide is going out and a few people have been bathing with no costumes.

  6. Richard1
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    MIFID 2 is another example. 1 million paras apparently. Who can possibly know whether they are compliant with it all? Those arguing for regualtory alignment (single market and customs union – probably where we will end up with Chequers) need to remember this avalanche of laws will continue but with the U.K. having had no input at all. Chequers minus is therefore worse than remain.

    In the case of GDPR what businesses are doing is just insuring themselves against a breach – an example of how massive regulation increases business costs. Which is why we do need it properly scrutinised and debated.

    It’s an excellent explanation you’ve given anyway.

  7. GilesB
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    There are far, far too many laws and regulations.

    A basic tenet of justice should be that an individual can only have intent to break a law, if they know that the law exists. Nobody could possibly read all of the legislation, regulations, guidelines etc. Westminster itself is bad enough. Brussels is ten times worse.

    Living with the worry that one is unknowingly breaking a law of which you have no knowledge, is as bad as the exercise of arbitrary absolute power by a monarch.

    We need a modern Magna Carta to limit the power of the administration. All law should be less than 100,000 words and known and understood by everyone. Less than one day a year should be necessary to keep up with the changes.

    • eeyore
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Giles B – Since the Roman Empire ignorance of the law has been no excuse, for the obvious reason that, if it were, everyone would plead it.

      There is indeed a lot of law but most of it does not apply to most of us. We know only the little bits that concern us and the rest is, as the lawyers say, otiose.

      The problem with EU directives and regulations, as our host explains, is not their content nor their bulk but their source in an unaccountable bureaucracy under no obligation to consult before it legislates. This is an excellent way to make bad law, as well as being rather insulting.

  8. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Exercise of Henry VIII powers by the Conservative government to impose laws without any parliamentary debate was what Remainer Andy voted for.

  9. Prigger
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Mr Corbyn’s contribution yesterday to Mrs May’s forceful condemnation of Russia was curt

  10. Nig l
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Yes and this shows what nonsense it is for Theresa May to claim, as she has supporting Chequers, that there would be a parliamentary lock protecting us from unwanted legislation, post Brexit.

    Talking of unnecessary cost, nanny state proposals to put calories against restaurant food has made me seethe. You only have to watch people in supermarkets, in the main totally ignore the information on the back of packets and continue to load their trollers with ‘junk’.

    Apart from the cost for thousands of wonderful small cafes and restaurants, incidentally will that spawn more jobsworths to check whether the figures are accurate, eating out is a pleasure and I do not want that spoiled by being made to feel guilty about how many calories I am eating.

    No one/very few weigh the food they prepare at home and add up the calories. the logical extension of this policy.

    It is utter rubbish and another example of the givernment losing touch with reality.

  11. Dave Andrews
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    As if we don’t have too much law already, there is now a move to criminalise misogyny. It’s not just the EU who loads up the statute book.
    More law for less police to act on, when they really need to focus attention on violent crime.

  12. agricola
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Yes for the past I do not know how many years parliament has been on a soft ride with the EU doing all their work for them. No doubt many like it that way , but come Brexit in April 2019 they are going to put the hours in as legislators.

  13. BCL
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    I wonder if Making Tax Digital is also EU inspired like GDPR. It is one of the least thought through, invasive and ultimately pointless changes I have ever seen.

    • hefner
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      It has to be recognized (at least by me) that the HMRC website for self-assessment has moved by leaps and bounds in the last 18 months. In two evenings, I can now get everything sorted and it appears to be correct and accepted by the “authorities”, and that without involving a “tax specialist”. Praise where it is due.

      • eeyore
        Posted September 6, 2018 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        I’ve used DVLC and Passport Office websites recently. Both were excellent. There seems to be a strange outbreak of competence at HMG.

  14. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Authoritarianism v democracy.

    Our parliament and the EU prefers the former.

  15. Pragmatist
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    “In the endless and repetitious iterations of Project Fear 2”
    Project Fear I, was effective only to devout politicos of the left tendency.I didn’t know it had a sequel as Project Fear 2.
    Odd ideas of remainers that Brie might be in short supply despite cheese makers here, tiny producers, can increase production in a short time to massive production could not cause fear also because Brie is not our main diet and many do not know what it is anyway. Is it a Swiss ski resort?

  16. JimS
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    We need fewer laws. A law can only be observed if people are aware of it and currently not even our MPs know what laws we have or they wouldn’t keep trying to create new offences that already exist.
    I seriously believe that if some MPs suffered from a dripping tap they would try to put in a law ‘against’ it, Canute-like.

  17. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Of course.
    Laws, borders, money.

  18. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, on page 2 here today:

    http://dev2.cityam.com/assets/uploads/content/2018/09/cityam-2018-09-06-5b905efb5ea10.pdf

    CityAM is pursuing the story that our government is now conniving with the German government against us, presumably mostly in connection with the Irish fudge which it previously reported was being cooked up by the 27 EU member states:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/08/31/chancellors-policy-to-hit-the-car-market-works/#comment-958332

    Of course as Olly Robbins and Dominic Raab helpfully explained yesterday we peasants are not allowed to know anything about this because of the confidentiality of the cabinet room as well as that of the negotiating room, both of which are closely akin to the sanctity of the confessional unless it suits politicians or civil servants to arrange for breaches of that confidentiality which invariably go unpunished.

    We just have to wait and see what happens, for example in a few years time when Theresa May’s successor announces that the oxymoronic “status quo” transition period is being extended indefinitely, and if we don’t like that then we can lump it because he/she can command a majority in the House of Commons and there’s no mechanism by which the hoi poloi can interfere to recall their MPs and trigger a general election.

  19. NigelE
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    You refer to Statues then SIs. Are they the same thing?

    Reply SI s are Statutory Instruments – laws passed quickly . Statutes are Acts of Parliament, passed slowly and carefully

    • Nig l
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      And presumably post Brexit under Theresa Mays dictat, the EU who either ignore or evade everything that gets in its way, will send all legislative changes as an SI thus getting round the so called parliamentary block.

  20. Posted September 6, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    If we entered the European Free Trade Association, then we could do what you suggest. Norway, for example, has the choice on Directives and can refuse them.

    The effects of the GDPR on our local Church have been these:
    1. Our prayer list has been banned. This is honestly true. Our local Priest (Catholic) has been to the Rural Dean to ask.
    2. When I needed to know the address of another parishioner so I could send a reply to an invitation, that was refused too by the same priest. I should add that I have been attending the same Chruch now for fourteen years and more.

    • Den
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Open EU passport-free borders are our problem there.

    • Andy
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      What you actually need is a new priest – not a new law. He is giving out misleading advice – probably having received misleading advice himself.

      The EU is not seeking to stop you from praying.

      • mancunius
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 12:36 am | Permalink

        Mike did not refer to spoken prayers in church but to ‘prayer lists’ – i.e. church weekly newsletters in which the names of the sick are printed for fellow parishioners to keep them in their private prayers.

        Following the idiot GDPR regs, such a list may no longer be circulated even among parishioners, except with the express written permission of the individuals concerned.

        The Information Commissioner has told the churches that they must each time get specific written consent from any individual whose name is to be published, either on a noticeboard, a church mailing list or parish newsletter.

        Declan Kelly, lead advisor for the Church of England on GDPR said permission would be needed “if the information were to be published on a website, leaflet or social media.”

        • Prigger
          Posted September 10, 2018 at 4:32 am | Permalink

          @mancunius
          Yes but we can be sure those granting the permission know better than us and are by definition not us at all and therefore sick.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      So, Mike, when was the last time Norway exercised its theoretical right to refuse an EU law, what was the EU law, and what were the consequences?

      This may help you, from Martin Howe QC:

      https://brexitcentral.com/dont-fooled-efta-eea-membership-not-let-us-take-back-control/

      “If we tried to change our rules or refused to adopt new rules, we would be bullied into submission by EU threats of loss of market access. That’s what happened when Norway refused to follow the EU’s Postal Directive. They soon fell into line.”

    • Know-Dice
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Since GDPR has come in to force, I have noticed a large increase in “speculative” emails of course with the Click Here to Unsubscribe link, which I tend to avoid as this is a sure way of showing that your email address is valid 🙁

  21. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Confirmation, if any were needed, that most MPs like the cosy life of doing as they are told by Brussels and use them as a convenient excuse if called to account for their actions. They have become well paid social workers happy to be instructed by an outside body – no wonder so many are desperately trying to reverse the result of the referendum.

  22. oldwulf
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    We wish to be governed by someone who is accessible and accountable. If the sole or main purpose of the UK Parliament were to become the rubber stamping of EU imnstructions, then there would be little or no point in its continued existence.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Oldwulf

      Exactly!

      UK Parliament – Turkeys voting for Christmas…….quickly springs to mind?

  23. Adam
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    We can think & act for ourselves as we think fit. What idiot would need a remote control in a foreign territory to decide what they can & cannot do? Those misguided EU zealots need a sensibility injection to sort themselves out. The sound of their brains creaking as they think up new regulations is as cringe creating as fingernails scraping on the surface of a blackboard.

  24. NHSGP
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Wrong.

    We want to stop you ordering us around.

    We want the right of consent so we can say no to you without fear of violence

    We want the right to know what you are doing. For example how much debt you have accumulated.

    We want you to pay out when the state screws people over. None of this the victim shall pay.

    That’s completely different from what you want.

    You want cheap servants and you want us to pay for them.

    You want to order us around and you are prepared to use violence if necessary to get your hands on our money. You don’t care about consent. Even Hannan doesn’t think we should have the right of consent. We should hand over the cash, and if we don’t the boys will be sent round to rough us up and get it.

    Brexit is largely a symptom. Same as Trump. They are a reaction to the mess you’ve created.

    As an MP you have to take collective responsibility

  25. Norman
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Thank you for that clarification, John.
    I have some experience of applying EU Directives and Regulations, and the philosophy of the Single Market. In its own way, it’s an impressive edifice of post WW2 and post Cold War political reconstruction, and I’m not surprised the EU cannot compromise (I believe J R-M recently said as much). The PM’s well-meaning ‘Chequers’ brief would therefore seem to be ‘mission impossible’, as it also proved for Mr Cameron.
    Meanwhile, a radical Brexit, which is what 17.4m British people boldly opted for, is hugely challenging to the legislature, which concedes Brexit in principle, but baulk at it in practice. Yes, IT IS a huge challenge, but if we value our historic freedom and identity, the people have said they think it’s worth it. The death of Parliamentary democracy as we’ve known it is certainly in view – such an irony for our elected representatives!

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Parliamentary “democracy” as we’ve known it (one of the least, sometimes _the_ least, representative parliaments in the G20 in the House of Commons, and the largest unelected legislating body in the entire western world, second globally only to the Chinese Politburo in the House of Lords) needs to die, and the sooner the better.

      • Norman
        Posted September 6, 2018 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        The Mother Of Parliaments grew out of our history, and must be understood in that context. The Monarchy and House of Lords may not be strictly democratic, but taken in context, they have served the nation well, in terms of continuity and balance. Much good is done by the House of Lords that barely ever gets mentioned. Modern aberrations should not be a reason to rubbish the whole. Also things work better when there’s a sense of good will and purpose operating. Look around elsewhere, before talking it down!

        • Peter Parsons
          Posted September 7, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

          Norman, I am fully aware of the balance in the current system. The failings and shortcoming of a Commons which is not representative of the electorate is counter-balanced by other failings of a Lords which is not representative at all. The whole thing needs dragging out of the 19th century and in to the 21st.

    • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      @Norman: And Britain was part and parcel of building this edifice since 1973, although many try to see it as some foreign power, which it will now become as from next year. Thatcher’s warning against referenda, “a device of dictators and demagogues”, was well illustrated in the demagogue-like campaign on both sides in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

      • stred
        Posted September 6, 2018 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        British civil servants love the EU because it gives them a chance to make a nuisance of themselves across a continent and not just in the UK. When your car springs are broken and neck cricked after going over a speed hump or nearly colliding head- on in a short one way priority stretch in the South of France, it was probably thought up by some loony in Whitehall.

      • matthu
        Posted September 6, 2018 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        But there was never any transparency, was there? Right from the beginning the aim was to conceal the ultimate destination from the British electorate.

        Such a pity.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted September 7, 2018 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

          @matthu: Whereas the direction of travel may have been concealed to the British electorate by its own politicians (unlike in the Netherlands), there is no ultimate destination!
          There have been and are some federalists, some confederalists, there have been free marketeers, there are now populists, it is all in the mix. What the ultimate optimum balance between intergovernmental and supranational will become is still unknown and may also change through time.

  26. Lifelogic
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Indeed

    I too fully accept that some EU law is good law we want anyway – perhaps 1% of them at best.

    Mind you we have loads of hugely damaging and pointless UK laws, especially from (incomes and price controls, regulate to death) Appeaser May and (tax to death, grim reaper and Carney supporter) Hammond.

    The latest idiotic suggestion being enforced calorie counts in restaurants. This would be fine for Mc Donalds type of outfits and hugely damaging and costly to decent small restaurants. So we get ever more industrial restaurants with dreadful industrial food and the more interesting small restaurants are put out of business.

    Best to eat at home already now, far more civilised, far cheaper, far better food and drink plus less VAT, NI, income tax, rates, travel costs and other taxes for Hammond and May to piss down the drain on HS2 and the likes.

    • Andy
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Calorie counts in restaurants is an idea from the UK government – which last time I checked – is run by the Conservatives.

      • libertarian
        Posted September 6, 2018 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        Andy

        Actually is an idea from USA where it has been mandatory for some time, which is why Maccie D and KFC have it on their menus here already

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      LL

      Recently heard the term “high street factory Restaurant chains” ….in essence Restaurant chains that are supplied from a centralised food factory that manufactures standardised meal packages based on a very strict ingredient sizing model….no more real kitchen cooking (not in all restaurants clearly) but merely packaged microwaved meals originating from an assembly line. Moreover, a highly controlled pricing strategy.

      Clearly, with the recent closure of hundreds of restaurant chain sites throughout the UK, people are fed up with high prices, reduced quantity and inferior food quality….and are now voting with their feet!

      Customers have the power; nice to see them voicing their disapproval by staying away from corporate led mediocrity and investor greed…..profit Britain striking back!

  27. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Apropos of the subject matter of this article, there were some interesting exchanges between Dominic Raab and Bill Cash, the chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee, yesterday, for which there is no transcript but which can be viewed in this four minute extract:

    https://goo.gl/ZXN9UA

    which starts with Bill Cash saying:

    “Now, on the “parliamentary lock”, it’s really more apparent than real, isn’t it …”

    and continuing to point out that over his thirty three years on the committee there had only ever been one occasion when MP had voted down an EU proposal, and that was due to a mistake by the government whips.

    Moreover he pointed out that Theresa May is well aware of this situation, having written a pamphlet about it in 2007, and she will be hoist by her own petard on this.

    Personally I am utterly disgusted that Theresa May and Dominic Raab and others in and out of the government are so lacking in basic integrity that they are prepared to try to pull the wool over the eyes of the public on this, and I will certainly do whatever I can, however little that may be, to ensure that they are punished.

  28. Lifelogic
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Idiotic discussion on radio 4’s PM about the daft economic suggestions from the loony left (charity) & “think” tank economists and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Why do the BBC have discussions without anyone from the sensible side of the arugment there?

    “Raising taxes would make people happier”, says Archbishop of Canterbury.

    Well it would certainly make the country far poorer and lead to far more unemployment and less to spend on health and the likes. Start perhaps with higher taxes on the Churches (who do not pay any inheritance tax one assumes), the many bogus charities and benefits in kind tax charges for people who get to live in palaces as a free perk of the job perhaps?

    • Norman
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      I suppose its inevitable that the Established Church will pronounce on issues that affect the poor. Sadly, this is misleading, because it’s putting the cart before the horse. In the days of evangelical revivals, e.g Methodism, the Gospel was lived out by ordinary people, with dramatic effect across all areas of human welfare. That Gospel changes people from within, and revives whole nations. But this modern ‘Social Gospel’ will never do that – it is a distraction and a counterfeit of the real thing.

    • stred
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      It must be worrying for sensible Christians to think that when they die and go to heaven, Welby might be there, talking crap for eternity.

      • Norman
        Posted September 6, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        Very funny, Stred. But I am 100% confident it will not be an issue, probably for different reasons than you.

    • Prigger
      Posted September 10, 2018 at 4:44 am | Permalink

      @Lifelogic
      “Why do the BBC have discussions without anyone from the sensible side of the argument there?” Because it is in accordance with BBC tradition.

  29. Iain Gill
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    So the government has given in to France and the EU on the Scallop fishing issue.

    Sold out by our own political class yet again.

    I hope some senior politicians speak out against this treachery.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Did anyone think this government would do anything else? Is intentionally endangering UK fishermen’s lives not a criminal offence of some kind?

  30. Mark Cannon
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    The GDPR expressly envisaged legislation being passed by national Parliaments to flesh out some of what it enacted. So the Data Protection Act 2018 did not just enact the GDPR. But the whole thing is a terrible waste of time and money and results from the EU’s approach: rather than identify the particular mischief it adopts a blanket approach so that taking a mobile phone, pad or lap top out of the EU is a potentially serious problem if you are a “data controller”.

  31. George Brooks
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Absolutely right as many of these directives particularly in fishing and farming are against us and for the benefit of other countries in the EU. A continual drip-drip to reduce this country’s power and influence

    It is essential we break free and govern ourselves

  32. graham1946
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    The 1972 European Communities Act allowing EU legislation to go to SI.

    What about the ‘principle’ that one parliament cannot bind the hands of successive ones? Parliament’s hands have been bound by the EU since 1972. Is this another EU case that
    ‘rules is rules’ unless the EU says they don’t count?

    What really has been the point of Parliament anyway when acting as a member taking orders from a superior body in Brussels? It seems to be not much more than a parish council, although vastly more expensive.

    • graham1946
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      4.50 pm – Waiting moderation again? Why? What’s contentious or libelous about this? Plenty more later items lower down with longer pieces.

      Is it really worth contributing to this blog?.

  33. Mockbeggar
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    I have long accepted that when we leave the EU (properly, and not via some half baked Chequers proposal) there is likely to be some short term reduction in UK/EU trade; mainly because of inefficient or ineffective border controls and red tape. But trade will recover fairly quickly as businesses adapt. After all, trade between the UK and the USA recovered within three years of the US war of independence (and that was a war with blockades and sanctions, not a series of agreements). I’m quite sure that if we want to buy German or French cars, they will be delighted to sell them to us and they they want to buy our aero engines we will be pleased to let them. Business will continue in spite of the politicians and Brussels bureaucrats.

    No, knowing this, I voted to leave for the very reasons spelled out in your article. To take back control of our legal system in which all proposed legislation is open to challenge.

  34. Newmania
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    They want us to restore a fully functioning Parliament which properly probes and amends government legislation on all matters before the Parliament including all those that are currently fixed in Brussels and not subject to any decent scrutiny.

    Deluded at all ?
    John do you actually live in this country , I mean have you spoken to anyone in it recently? If you could walk down the street and find me one person in a hundred who cared about our constitutional arrangements I would be impressed.

    Reply 17.4m share this view!

    • sm
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      I would estimate that having been an MP for more than 30 years, John has met and talked to many thousands of people who care about/are affected by our constitutional arrangements.

      You, on the other hand, are so utterly deluded by your hysterical assumptions of superiority that you have convinced yourself that you alone know the meaning and truth of everything.

      • Anonymous
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 7:48 am | Permalink

        +1000 !

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Newmania. I think most of the people writing in JR’s diary are interested.

    • Richard1
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      A very weak comment – you have not disagreed, as indeed it would be impossible to do so, with this clear explanation as to how and why EU membership damages and reduces democracy, and national elections become increasingly irrelevant. This is the best explanation for the strong rise of populist nationalism in Europe -except in the U.K., Switzerland and to some extent Norway, funnily enough….what could they have in common?🤔

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      Actually 17.4million got sick of being told that nothing could be done about imported criminality because of EU Human Rights.

      They wanted our government to stop making excuses and so decided to take one away – the EU.

      Our constitutional arrangements were definitely to the fore in the minds of most Brexit voters.

      • Prigger
        Posted September 10, 2018 at 4:50 am | Permalink

        I think remain voters alone should be given a second referendum because they did not know what they were voting for. That’s what MP Remoaners say, though they probably have changed there mind on that one

  35. Shieldsman
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    What is going on in the EU – will immigration split the EU?
    We are arguing about the effect on Trade on our leaving the EU. It will bring back Migration control into the UK.
    The Government are now proposing limited time non resident visas for itinerant Farm labour. This worked in the past and could do so again.
    Our NHS is relying on non EU migrants as Care Assistants. Germany has a similar problem with an aging population and Angela Merkel wishes to provide carers by allowing in non-EU immigrants.

    Italy and many other EU Counties do not have a labour shortage, more a job shortage and do not want other ethnic migrants. Italy is saying we cannot cope.
    Salvini describes the non-governmental organisations that transport migrants at sea as being bound up in the same ‘business’ as the mafiosi who guide them on land. A would-be African immigrant no longer needs to hire a boat that can get him to Europe — all he needs is a boat that can get him to the charitable rescue ship, funded by some billionaire, that you can see from the North African coast. ‘They won’t see Italy unless they see it on a postcard,’ he promises.

  36. acorn
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    The UK hasn’t had a “fully functioning parliament” since Henry VIII; nothing to do with the EU. Henry was the original “no-deal” Brexiteer; he took back control. (Restraint of Appeals Act 1533).

    Kings and Queens hence have ruled by decree when it suited them. The Royal Prerogative has been usurped by 10 Downing Street, which is not far short of legislating by decree. Henry VIII would be all in favour. The EU Withdrawal Bill demonstrated that the UK parliament has no capacity for a “meaningful vote”.

    It’s about time the whole country got to vote for at least one of our Queens. Queen Elizabeth is non-exec Chairman of UK and CEO of the UK Royal tourist division nowadays. Queen Theresa is CEO of everything else. Parliament is a sideshow.

    This ain’t no management system to run a post Brexit UK.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Newmania – In layman’s terms; They toid us criminals could come here because of their EU (human) Rights. That our Parliament and courts could do nothing, so we voted Brexit.

      • Andy
        Posted September 6, 2018 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Their human rights are also YOUR human rights.

        Three points.

        – Free movement is a qualified right. We are under no obligation to allow serious criminals to come here.

        – The European Court of Human Rights is nothing to do with the EU.

        – The European Convention on Human Rights was established after the Second World War by British lawyers and is based on British values. Why do you object to British values?

        Human rights are the sort of thing you only miss when yours have been taken away. Our country is better than what you have made it.

        • Anonymous
          Posted September 6, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

          Do you know ? I never had worries about my rights living in a wonderful country like Britain, the cradle of justic, well, not until up until the last decade – this happened WHILST IN THE EU.

        • Stred
          Posted September 7, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

          Because they altered them to a point where we can’t deport a criminal because he has a British cat and would miss fish and chips.

    • Prigger
      Posted September 10, 2018 at 4:52 am | Permalink

      Henry VIII was not entirely wise. He married once, it broke up. Even after the second marriage break-up he still didn’t get it.

  37. libertarian
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    The EU is a disaster zone as far as the modern world is concerned

    MEP’s are today voting on the implementation of Article 13 , if this insane regulation is implemented it will mean the effective close down of anything useful on the World Wide Web. Following on from the disaster that was GDPR , this is totally and utterly bonkers

    Article 11 of the Copyright Directive will diminish choice and limit your freedom to share online, compromising the free flow of information and make all news pay per view. Dig deep citizens

    Newmania, Tabulazero, Andy, Acorn …. you want to remain in this joke of an organisation? Really ?

    • ian wragg
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Libertarian, it’s all about control, the EU wants to micro manage the internet because it is used as a weapon against them.
      One of the reasons we voted out was because the internet illustrated what a corrupt and undemocratic organisation the EU is.
      They operate under the guise of if they can’t control it, ban it.

    • Jagman84
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Pay-per-view? If that includes the BBC, in all its forms, then count me in! The EU, finishing off one of its most ardent supporters. What a delicious irony!

    • Andy
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Scaremongering claptrap. It might mean you can’t steal content anymore – but that’s a good thing. It means creators of that content – artists, actors, musicians – will be properly protected from internet thieves.

      • Stred
        Posted September 6, 2018 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        If you want protection from worldwide business on the net for services such as design, language or numbers you may have to move to EU. Internet freedom may still be allowed here, in which case you’re doomed. See answers to your remoan of 3.9.

        • libertarian
          Posted September 7, 2018 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

          Stred

          Might pay for you to at least make an attempt to understand the legislation. It actually gives no extra protection to copyright than already exists, it makes it easier to spam and cyber hack and will result in the EU being blacklisted. Try looking up what happened in Spain and Germany when they tried it. Just have a go at understanding it would help

          • stred
            Posted September 10, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

            Libertarian. Then, presumably, it will be better for firms, who compete on the net with others based in Hong Kong, Singapore and even in some US states, to operate outside the EU and not rely on EU rules to protect them, because they will be unable to compete, with VAT, higher taxes and employees working on laptops anywhere at low rates of pay.
            I am not exactly an expert in computing so won’t bother thanks.

      • Longinus
        Posted September 6, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        Content that taxpayers have to pay for twice.

      • libertarian
        Posted September 6, 2018 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        Andy

        Totally wrong. Spain introduced this legislation as a trial in 2015 it only lasted 3 months before the Spanish media screamed blue murder that their business models were collapsing

        What it actually means ………is that you can’t share anything on social media, you can’t ReTweet it and you can’t link to it without paying copyright fees

        Creative copyright for music ( prs/ppl) , photographs, and works of art have been protected by law in the UK for years as they are all over the world. . Its called Intellectual Property Rights .

        Article 13 has nothing to do with creative copyright

        You really need to find out more about the EU Andy

        • libertarian
          Posted September 7, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

          Oh and Andy

          This also shows how incoherent and out of touch with tech the old duffers that run your beloved EU are

          Having just foisted the totally useless GDPR on us to “protect us”

          Article 13 does the opposite . Currently social media platforms show a thumbnail snippet of a headline from a posted link so that you know its safe to click on. Article 13 would make them pay fees every time they do that , it aint going to happen. This is the most moronic regulation since straight bananas . Also it appears that the German courts aren’t too keen on this change either , a legal challenge was mounted after they experimented with this at the same time as Spain

          This legislation adversely affects

          News sites, news aggregators, social media platforms, academic papers, small publishers and it directly contravenes the Berne Convention

          I want to hear from you Andy you blather on about Leavers not knowing anything about the EU , but it turns out its you, you haven’t a clue , you dont understand the impact of EU regulations and you’ve no idea why you want to stay in it, its just virtue signalling because you dont like older people

    • acorn
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      I think the EU Copyright Directive, particularly Articles 11 & 13 are a good idea. Likewise, GDPR. It’s about time those two subject areas were protected more like Patents and Registered Designs.

      • libertarian
        Posted September 9, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        acorn

        Yes but you also think South Koreans are French , so we can safely ignore you. Those of us that work in the Digital Field along with academics and IP lawyers in Europe have a different view to you

        “A bad piece of legislation … would likely impede the free flow of information that is of vital importance to democracy … likely to harm journalists … likely to exacerbate existing power asymmetries in media markets … no protection against ‘fake news’ … no sound economic case for the introduction of such a right” – Open letter from 169 scholars working in the fields of intellectual property, internet law, human rights law and journalism studies.

        “There is independent scientific consensus that Article 11 cannot be allowed to stand.” –Leading European Centre researching IP and innovation law

        acorn likes it though, so that fine

  38. Sam Duncan
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Great post. This is why we voted to leave. We can argue about how much scrutiny Parliament really allows, we can argue about how much EU law there actually is, but the fact that any major legislation, affecting all of our day-to-day lives, can be enacted without any scrutiny or oversight, without ever even being seen by our elected representatives, is a national scandal.

    As is the fact that the news media refuse to treat it as such. Indeed, it’s arguably a greater scandal that this emasculation of our democratic institutions has ocurred without becoming a major news story, the media reporting all around the edges without ever actually getting to the heart of the matter. It’s as if, in the 1940s, the newspapers had been full of reports of young men going off to Europe, and people losing their homes across the country, without ever bothering to mention that there was a war on.

    • Andy
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      This is simply not true. No major legislation can be enacted without being seen by our elected representatives. No legislation can be enacted without scrutiny or oversight. You are simply making stuff up.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 6, 2018 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        You are wrong
        Laws created by the EU are passed into UK law automatically of they derive from treaties we have agreed to.
        They are nodded throughout the House of Commons
        Directives and regulations and amendments to existing EU laws go through even easier.
        I’m amazed you don’t realise this is the case.

        • MartynG
          Posted September 6, 2018 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          Quite right – Andy is deluded. Look at Bills ‘passed’ by the HoC – those emanating from EU Directives etc – all start by the responsible Minister declaring that they ‘comply with EU Directive ***’. They then become UK Law without further discussion – nodded through, as you say.
          Worse still, those who write the UK Bill take, say, a 2-page EU Directive and turn it into a gold-plated 40 page edict, much of which ordinary people cannot understand. Many other nations – very often France – simply copy the EU writing, leave it as is and then ignore it if that suits their purpose. The UK is saddled with a Civil Service administration which sees the EU as the font of their power. Democratic? Don’t make me laugh….

      • matthu
        Posted September 6, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        The impact on the UK of joining the Common Market was foreseen by the government of the day as being very likely to lead to a complete loss of sovereignty.

        This analysis was deliberately hidden from the electorate.

      • libertarian
        Posted September 6, 2018 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        Andy

        YOU ARE WRONG

        QUOTE

        “A directive is a legal act of the European Union which requires member states to achieve a particular result without dictating the means of achieving that result. It can be distinguished from regulations, which are self-executing and do not require any implementing measures”

        You are remarkably ill informed about the thing you voted for.

        • Andy
          Posted September 6, 2018 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

          I’m not wrong. The claim made above was that major EU regulations and directives – which affect our everyday lives – are enacted without ever having even been seen by our elected representatives. This is simply untrue.

          UK lawmakers are actually involved in the process in several ways. You could legitimately argue that their role should be strengthened but to claim there is no British involvement at all is just flat wrong.

          Get back to me with your apologies when you’ve figured out the process of how the EU comes up with its directives.

          • Sam Duncan
            Posted September 7, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

            No, it wasn’t. I deliberately didn’t mention Directives. I said “major legislation”. As I say in my other reply, Regulations may, nominally, be “minor”, but their scope has expanded to the point where in practical terms, they’re not. That, in fact, is – almost – the whole problem.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 7, 2018 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

            Involved in the process……? That’s just a pedantic spin.
            Yes they are involved but they have no power to stop EU law becoming UK law

          • libertarian
            Posted September 7, 2018 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

            Andy

            What part of “It can be distinguished from regulations, which are self-executing and do not require any implementing measures” Do you not understand?

            What part of the EU’s operation have you missed when most EU things are implemented as “regulations”

            You as always are wrong, you are wrong about Article 13 too, I couldn’t care less if you apologise or not, what I object to is you posting repeatedly about how important the EU is in our lives without you having the remotest idea how it works in reality

      • Sam Duncan
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        Commission Regulations – which comprise about 80% of EU law and, although theoretically “minor” can certainly concern major areas of life to those concerned – are passed into domestic law by statutory instrument. As are Council Regulations, although they are presumably seen by the Minister concerned at some point. Only Directives must go before a full Parliamentary session. Which cannot alter them.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 7, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

          Thanks Sam
          Andy needs education not an apology.

  39. Andy
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I agree. It is good to move Brexit beyond trade – seeing that virtually no Leave voters voted for Brexit with trade in mind. And also because it has now been proven beyond any reasonable doubt that Brexit will harm trade.

    So let’s deal with your objections to EU law and forensically demolish that case for Brexit too. Plenty of EU law is very good but you are right – some is bad. In this respect Brussels is no different from Westminster. After all, all the scrutiny in the world did not stop you and your colleagues passing Section 28 or introducing the Poll Tax.

    EU law is fully scrutinised – both by the UK and other national governments through the EU Council and also by MEPs who, I need to remind everyone, actually reflect the views of Britain. They are elected proportionally. Unlike MPs – most of whom have safe seats.

    Where Britons have failed is in the calibre of candidates we send to the European Parliament. 1 in 4 of the British MEPs are UKIP. And, as we have repeatedly seen, many of them are genuinely unfit to serve. Nigel Farage, for example, while very eloquent is clearly mainly interested in Nigel Farage. He has one of the worst attendance rates of any MEP. He sits on a fishing committee – but barely attends. He has significantly financial interests outside the European Parliament. I note, however, that he still finds lots of time for his radio show.

    Better people would create better law. Incidentally despite their complaints about EU law it is very difficult to find a Brexiteer who is able to name a specific law to which they object.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Did anyone else bother to wade through this ? No. Me neither.

    • matthu
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      So who would you include among your “better” politicians? Perhaps those like the Kinnocks, the Cleggs and the Mandelsons? None of whom ever had their own radio show, but all of whom continue to derive EU pensions massive by any scale and all of whom seem to want to undermine democracy by favouring a second referendum before the first has even been acted on for some reason.

      As for objectionable laws, how about the Common Agricultural and Fisheries policies? How about the protectionist tariffs that make food and clothing so much more expensive? How about the VAT rates over which we have very little control and derive very little benefit?

    • Edward2
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Some chance of reform or improvement when it’s one vote in 28 and more and more issues dealt with by QMV

    • libertarian
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

      Andy

      Come off it, last time you posted this drivel loads of us gave you lists of rules that we thought were bad

      Heres some of mine again

      VAT MOSS, GDPR, MFID2, Article 13 , VAT on Energy, Vat on female sanitary products , Vacuum cleaner power restrictions

      You however have consistently failed to tell us what benefit we get from being in the EU that we can’t get outside it. Come on put up or shut up

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      Hard to imagine you doing anything “forensically”. Do you mean “fanatically”?

    • libertarian
      Posted September 9, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Andy

      FAILED 1/10

      The calibre of MEPs is completely pointless, MEP’s do not construct laws, directives or regulations. The commission does. The Directives are placed before the EU “parliament”, but that parliament has no powers to alter them

      Remind us again what it is about the EU that keeps you wanting to remain?

  40. Den
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    John I think it would greatly assist many of us Leavers and some of those die-hard Remoaners to explain, precisely, what the UK can and cannot do when confronted with EU Laws, Directives, Rules and Regulations. There seems much ambiguity over the role of the British Parliament within the EU. The same ambiguity applies to the decisions of the ECJ. Can our Supreme Court or any other in this country over rule their judgements and decrees?

    Reply The ECJ and EU is sovereign all the time we stay in the EU. EU law trumps the UK Parliament and courts.

    • Den
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Scary. And there are still those who do not have a problem with this! Have they forgotten the meaning of democracy?

  41. Rien Huizer
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    Could you explain what you mean bij “The EU”? In one sentence you refer to “our membership of the EU” and and EU that has “passed volumes of legislation”. The former refers to membership of a club (where members have influence, especially the bigger ones?) the latter suggests an almost foreign, dominant entity -not a club one joined voluntarily. I assume that the first reference is to the European Union, of which the UK continues to be a member until her exit has taken effect and the second to the central organs of the EU (commission and parliament). But I am not sure that interpretation is correct.

    Another matter that baffles me is that while the UK has been the member with the most opt-outs and a domestic politics where eurosceptic posing has been de rigueur on both sides of politics, all kinds of “EU” measures and regulations have had less parliamentary scrutiny and more radical adoption in the UK that in most other countries. Where Germany took the maximum amount of time to implement “freedom of movement” despite being a member of Schengen, Schengen non-member UK was enthousiatically importing workers from Eastern Europe, despite almost immediate frictions. In Germany, EU regulations entering the country’s body of laws and regulations still face the scrutiny of the Verfassungsgericht in Karlsruhe. Would in not be time for some British soul searching in relation to the EU? I think your observations/complaints are appropriate but much too late. A more “German” approach to the costs and benefits of Maastricht could probably have resulted in a better EU (less friction and still a high degree of economic efficiency whilst still assisting the US in taking care of the ex- Soviet dependencies in Eastern Europe but possibly in a way that would not have resulted in a group of blackmailers and authoritarians).

    Anyway, this is all water under the bridge.

    • Longinus
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      We never voted to join your wonderful EU, just the Common Market.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 6:52 am | Permalink

        I have no idea what you mean by “we”, but the UK joined the EU in 1992, with some opt outs. That was a deciion of the UK government of the day that you may have voted for. If you mean that there was no referendum, that is besides the point. The government pparently did not think it was necessary and parliamentary approval is sufficient for treaty change.My point is that the UK never chose to use the powers it had available to make the transition easier and that the legal treatment of EU regulations (is so far as necessary) is a purely domestic matter.

        Reply No we joined in 1972 and allowed the EEC to evolve into the EU

  42. Dennis Zoff
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    As an aside, I am now three weeks in the USA and can report there is very little interest in Brexit at this time?

    a. Political forums – nothing?
    b. Major media outlets such as ABC, CNN, FOX, NBC etc – nothing?
    C. Major national newspaper outlets – nothing?

    Approached colleagues and friends as to why there is such little apparent interest?

    Answer: In general, too much happening in the US with Trump, China, Russia, Wallstreet, etc. Brexit is now boring due to the lack of positive action; T. May’s political fumbling; Brexit supporting politicians with no balls and clear EU relentless intransigence. They simply do not believe the Brits have what it takes to drive Brexit to a conclusion….we are a laughing stock!

    Clear Message: shit or get off the pot (please excuse the vulgarity)

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      Well in Europe this is not on the front pages either. Of course what you call EU intransigence is simple lack of constitutional flexibility. The UK decided to leave and the EU is trying within its powers to make that as easy as possible. It would help if the UK came up with feasible proposals, in which case arapid conslusion could be reached. In the absence of that, there is the simple (not so, really, but anyway) no deal exit. No reason for anyone to get upset about, at least in the US which will probably be the mani beneficiary of brexit. A sort of 51st state, like Hawaii but roughly twice the population of California and in a different ocean.

  43. forthurst
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    The GDPR legislation is a monstrous imposition on organisations which are run largely by volunteers and whose primary purpose is not to make money. Even in the case of commercial organisations it is a sledgehammer to crack a nut. What it demonstrates is the Tories do not wish to ‘take back control’ but rather to continue to tow the EU line otherwise they would have told the EU that they were not going to put it on the statute book only to remove it immediately afterwards and after voluntary organisations had spent collectively millions of pounds on compliance with the latest example of their meddlesome idiocy.

    We have never been informed as to the genesis of the legislation from the totally opaque and undemocratic EU Commission. Who are these people and who gave them absolute power? At least we are seeing some politicians in the EU who were elected by the people through PR, as opposed to the globalist stooges of the liblabcon parties, shaking their fists at this organisation and some of the stooges that stand behind it.

  44. JoolsB
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Oh well at least post Brexit Scotland, Wales & NI will be able to make all their own decisions as May has promised most of the powers coming back from the EU will all be directly repatriated to the devolved nations. Meanwhile we in England shall continue to have UK MPs from across the whole UK making those decisions for England.

  45. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, the editor of the Maidenhead Advertiser has kindly printed my letter:

    “It is a pity that it needed a trip to Africa for our Prime Minister Theresa May to belatedly distance herself from the absurd Treasury forecasts of economic doom if we left the EU without any special trade deal, simply defaulting to the WTO treaties which already exist and are already in force and so do not require the government to make any further concessions to the EU.

    As she was on the Remain side during the referendum campaign it might have been too much to expect her to question the credibility of those forecasts before the vote, but after we had decided to leave the EU and the economy had not immediately collapsed as had been predicted she might have changed her tune then.

    Instead she allowed civil servants to carry out further defective modelling and then leak the results of this new edition of George Osborne’s doom-mongering to the media in January, and it is notable that nobody has ever been disciplined for that leak while instead the then minister Steve Baker was reproved for a mild criticism of that abuse of public office.

    My point on this has always been simple, that by the EU’s own estimates – including a report issued in 2012 by the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier – EU membership may have produced a gross one-off benefit of about 2 percent of GDP averaged across all of the member states, with the UK gaining perhaps half of that average, and there is no reason why reversing the process and leaving the EU in an orderly fashion should cost us 8 percent of GDP as the Treasury predicts.”

    I would emphasise here that not only would any economic losses from an orderly default to the WTO treaties be marginal and temporary, but the most accurate word to describe that legal change would be “default” insofar as those WTO treaties already exist and are already in full legal force and already confer adequate, basic, trading rights on the UK, which trading rights with respect to the EU member states require no further negotiation and agreement with the EU and could not legally be removed by the EU or its member states unless they themselves abrogated those WTO treaties. There would be scope for agreements on detailed legal and practical arrangements to facilitate trade under WTO terms, and under the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement the EU and its member states would actually be obliged to co-operate with negotiation of those agreements.

  46. Jonp
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think the public cares one way or the other about who is making the laws..as it is..parliament already has a bunch of foreigners up there, most of them with only one or two generations removed, all framing laws for us. England is not England anymore..it’s certainly not the England that I remember from the 1950’s

  47. Steve
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    JR

    “Parliament has never turned down an EU Directive.”

    The vast majority of which originate from big business with the purpose to cause the consumer to pay more for less. This is called corruption.

    Personally I always do my best to find a way around any EU directive since I don’t recognise them as being ‘lawful’ in this country, and no Englishman should.

    They might be lawful in, say, Belgium or France but not here.

  48. mancunius
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    “They want us to restore a fully functioning Parliament”

    Eaxactly. Yet until Parliament has a majority that wants it too, it will not happen. There are now two generations of MPs and peers who have had the cosy comfort of being able to avoid and disclaim responsibility for our laws. They will not leave go of the Brussels teat and buckle down to work without a lot of tantrum-throwing.

  49. Anonymous
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Why are British paratroopers wearing EU insignia ?

    • Steve
      Posted September 6, 2018 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

      “Why are British paratroopers wearing EU insignia ? ”

      Because sneaky May has allowed an agreement whereby the EU antagonises Russia and we do the fighting to get them out of the mess they’ve created, as per usual.

      The next trick might be that everyone in the armed forces is required to swear oath of allegiance to Brussels. Sound familiar ?

      This concept has the added advantage that the EU could order troops to quell opposition.

      We need to get out of the EU, lock stock and barrel – right now. So when they go a step too far with Russia we will not be involved and thus not their sacrificial target.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Because British politicians who we the British people had elected agreed to it, while denying that any such thing was happening or could ever happen.

      And even now they will not let go, they – including our hypocritical “Brexit means Brexit” Prime Minister – are still hard at work trying to keep us under the thumb of Brussels for as long as possible, preferably forever, notwithstanding the notional repeal of the European Communities Act 1972:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Communities_Act_1972_(UK)#Repeal

      “The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 provides for the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972 at the time the United Kingdom exits the EU, on 29 March 2019 at 11:00 pm. However, in a July 2018 white paper, the government announced its intention to amend the Withdrawal Act to provide for the continued effect of the ECA until the end of the “transition period” (31 December 2020, as of July 2018), therefore allowing EU law to continue to apply in that period.”

      And as the end of that “transition period” during which nothing will change the Irish government and the EU will still be pretending that there is no alternative acceptable solution to the fake Irish border “problem” it will of course have to be extended, and extended, and extended …

  50. Drachma
    Posted September 6, 2018 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    We have too many people and so too many laws. Consider if the population was only about 20 million we probably wouldn’t even need double yellow lines we could park whete we like

  51. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    The Single European Act contained clauses acknowledging the right of the European Commission to regulate the Single Market via Laws and Directives. Once the Maastricht Treaty was enacted on 1st January 1993, they set about it with a vengeance. The UK has mounted the odd challenge but invariably the ECJ has taken the side of the EC. We have thus had to put up with 25 years of dirigiste crap.

    Contrary to what Mrs May asserts, we will want to take a heavy red pencil to much of it, so that a UK rule book will be lot slimmer than the EU rule book. Goods manufactured in the Republic of Ireland and complying with the EU rule book will therefore comply with the UK rule book. There is no trade reason from the UK point of view for a hard border. If the EU wants one, that’s their problem. However, if the Irish Republic resumes its support for IRA terrorism or aids gangsters in undermining UK immigration policy, we should give them not a hard border but a frontier.

  52. Simon Coleman
    Posted September 8, 2018 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    The so-called Great Repeal Bill depends on new and dangerous Henry VIII powers. Workers’ rights enshrined in EU law could be removed by executive decisions after Brexit.

  • 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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