Italy and the EU – what is the point in Euro countries debating economics in General Elections?

The biggest items in the Italian election were economic. Did the economy need a stimulus? Does Italy need lower taxes? Should it reverse some of the big cuts in spending made at the EU’s request earlier this decade? Do people want a basic income from the state?

Voters answered clearly. In the north they wanted tax cuts and a boost. In the south they wanted better benefits and a boost. All across Italy they wanted to roll back the pensions cuts of 2011. They elected a Lega/Five Star government who set out to carry through their wishes.

To make the government more palatable to the EU they appointed a PM and a Finance Minister more to the EU’s liking, with the two winning party leaders accepting Deputy Premierships. They constructed quite a modest budget by their standards, limiting how far they could go on tax, benefits and pension reform. The EU decided nonetheless to reject it and to tell them to produce a tougher one.

The EU argues that Italy has borrowed far too much in the past. The underlying reality it has also  been borrowing too much recently, drawing down large sums at zero interest from the European Central Bank to keep its banking system liquid and to allow the state and companies to go on borrowing from banks. The custodians of the Euro are worried by the scale of this, now at Euro 500bn, and want to call a halt to it. They insist that if you are in the Euro the EU tells you how much you can borrow, as it is a matter of common interest. If a state does not comply the EU sends detailed proposals on taxes and spending to try to get a compliant budget. If the state still does not comply it will be fined. The ECB could also take action to make things very uncomfortable for Italian banks and the wider economy, as it did to Greece and Cyprus.

Greece went through this argument and lost. The radical Syriza government desperate to lift Euro austerity buckled when pressure was applied to the banking system. The absence of ECB support meant the banks had to close for some of the time and limit people’s access to their own money. This makes carrying on normal business very difficult. They discovered that if you want to stay in the Euro the EU  decides your budget. Italy says she wants to stay in the Euro, so she will be told the rules do apply for her.

What should the leaders of the Italian government do in this situation? They have a General Election mandate which the EU intends to veto. What is the point in General elections debating  big economic issues, if the national government is not in charge?  Who is and who should be accountable for Italy’s budget?  When will the EU complete the architecture of its political union, to make its power more accountable somehow?

 

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140 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Our kind host raises some good questions. But I would like to ask him a question on a similar theme.

    They discovered that if you want to stay in the Euro the EU decides your budget

    Since Scotland decided to remain part of the UK and use the pound, do they have to get approval from Westminster governing their budget ? I ask as I believe that they have rather over spent and not wisely. If they do not, then what is the point of the SNP supporting Remaining in an EU that sees them with even less powers than they have now ?

    When join a Club, as it were, you have to obey the rules. We did not like the rules so we opted to Leave. If Italy or any member of the EU and Euro don’t like it – go !

    • JoolsB
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      “I ask as I believe that they have rather over spent and not wisely.”

      Not a problem Mark. They have a very generous benefactor in the English taxpayer, courtesy of the UK Government who seem to have no qualms at finding billions extra for the devolved nations in their budgets on top of their over generous block grants whilst at the same time cutting English services to the bone. No wonder they can afford free tuition fees, free prescription charges, free hospital parking, free dental checks, free eye checks and free personal care for the elderly, all things denied to the English themselves by this anti-English Government on grounds of cost.

      • margaret howard
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        JoolsB

        “. They have a very generous benefactor in the English taxpayer,”

        who get huge tax revenues from Scottish oil and whisky tax in return. Independent Scotland will find these will be more than adequate to pay for their free services.

        • Edward2
          Posted November 5, 2018 at 1:19 am | Permalink

          Hilariously wrong.
          Freed from the UK Scotland would have budget deficit of over 10%
          The EU target is 3%
          You criticise austerity in the UK but to get that deficit down to target would create austerity beyond your imagination.

        • libertarian
          Posted November 5, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

          Oh hold on I forgot

          Margaret howard believes the EU is great because we didn’t have good coffee and nice pastries before we joined the Common Market so maybe Greece is ok because of Moussaka and Retsina ?

          • libertarian
            Posted November 5, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

            Sorry comment posted under wrong thread

    • Steve
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Mark B

      “Since Scotland decided to remain part of the UK and use the pound, do they have to get approval from Westminster governing their budget ? ”

      Well they should do, it’s the English taxpayer’s money.

      “what is the point of the SNP supporting Remaining in an EU that sees them with even less powers than they have now ?”

      Simple; They’d cut their noses off if it meant taking sides against the evil English Tories.

      It’s all loud mouthed balling and shouting sectarianism with that lot.

      Reply Scotlands budget is constrained by UK grant and borrowing controls

      • Mark B
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply

        But not on what it spends. This is the point. Italy not only wants to spend more, it wants to spend differently. The EU says not but then tells it to take more immigrants it can’t afford.

      • JoolsB
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply

        A very generous grant provided mainly by English taxes which gives them far more money per head than the English and allows them all their goodies that your Government denies to England on grounds of cost.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      To paraphrase a well know book: As far as the EU is concerned “some countries are more equal than others”.

      Expect to see “cherry picking” & “cake eating” as the EU comes up with its usual fudge…

    • Hope
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      JR, your party has the public mandate to leave but is dertermined to remain in the EU as much as possible! Worse you are letting it happen while whinging about it!

      I sense the national betrayal is close if we listen to the Irish minister, but he wants the UK to suffer more humiliation before he agrees. This from a country where the UK is its trading lifeline! 0.1 percent of our GDP. 12 percent of it relates to the EU. It strikes me May needs to be examined because she has completely lost leave of all her senses.

      We did not vote leave depending on a trade deal, we did vote to gain control of our borders including sea borders and territorial waters. May has failed miserably with this and then lies to say she kept faith with referendum. She keeps repeating her lies and none of the Tory MPs even correct her in parliamen!

      • Steve
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        Hope

        As I seem to remember we recently loaned Ireland some money. Perhaps this loan could be called in.

        Clearly Varadkar needs to be shown how it works.

  2. Pete Else
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Here in the UK we do things differently. We have a high tax party that believes in central planning and doing everything the EU tells us to (whilst pretending not to) or, just to give us a choice, we have another high tax party that believes in central planning and doing everything the EU tells us to (but not pretending) plus turning us into a communist through back to the 1960s. Aren’t we lucky to be British.

    • Hope
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Cameron never blinked an eye, murdered a word when the coups of Italy or Greece took place. No country stood up for Greece or its people being made destitute and searching through bins to find food. Germany has made over £2 billion from Greek debt misery! Why no protests from the other 26 countries!

      Disgusting. May kisses the cheeks of these people who wreaked havoc and misery on the Greek people. Now she bends on one knee accepting any humiliation or punishment the EU offers to remain its vile clutches. MPs who remain silent should be ashamed of themselves. Those acting against the public vote should now be ousted from office. All bodies responsible for the selection of these people should act and get rid of them. Democracy demands it of them.

      • margaret howard
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        “No country stood up for Greece or its people being made destitute and searching through bins to find food”
        ==

        Ahhh, poor old Greece! And it’s all the fault of the Germans.

        However the following might put things in perspective for you.

        World bank extract on Greece in Global Economy:

        In the “Doing Business” category Greece came 61st, just behind Tunisia

        For “Reliability” it came 155th, just behind Malawi

        For “Tax Collecting” it was behind the Solomon Islands

        But in other criteria it compared favourably to Tongo and Marocco
        ==
        A few more details:

        Greek ‘early retirement age’ (for hazardous professions) is 58 (Germany: 65) and has an astonishing 580 professions considered hazardous, including hairdressers, wind instrument players and radio presenters.

        Greek pensions are most expensive in EU @ 17.5% of GDP and badly run, paying to 90,000 bogus claimants.

        Source? The Guardian 17/06/15

        • Edward2
          Posted November 5, 2018 at 1:22 am | Permalink

          So you think increased austerity is good for Greece and will improve its future prosperity?
          Please tell us.

        • libertarian
          Posted November 5, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

          margaret howard

          Maybe you would like to explain then why Greece with that record was allowed ( totally against their own rules) to join the Euro in the first place ? Maybe you would like to explain how Greece can get out of that predicament whilst it is not able to devalue and default on its currency?

          Then you should explain why you think the UK should remain in the EU in order to bail out Greece and Italy

          • libertarian
            Posted November 5, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

            Oh hold on I forgot

            Margaret howard believes the EU is great because we didn’t have good coffee and nice pastries before we joined the Common Market so maybe Greece is ok because of Moussaka and Retsina ?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      That’s about it. But hopefully the Tory party can still, even at this late hour be rescued with a sensible new leader.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 3, 2018 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        One to replace the current, EUphile, tax borrow and waste, interventionist, disingenuous, robotic, electoral liability & PC air head.

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      They believed that co-ordinated central planning across the globe would deliver utopia with the leading investment banks the new gods(or more accurately,politburo)-and living like gods.Assuming they would get control of the whole globe(with the fall of the Soviet Union),they spent the expected monopoly dividend-several times over-but now,thanks to Russia and China,they find they haven’t got control of the globe outside the west and the west is stuck with astronomic piles of fake money/debts that can never conceiveably be repaid yet sit as financial assets in balance sheets.

      They are desperately -but ultimately vainly-trying to stop the whole ponzi system from collapsing.For end of history,read end of the west.

    • Richard
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Leaked documents indicated that the EU wants to ensure the UK pledges to keep its tax rules aligned with those of the bloc as part of any future trade agreement. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/10/19/revealed-eus-attempt-control-britains-tax-policies-brexit/
      (In addition to following lots more EU regulations: http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/08/10/the-government-should-not-sign-the-draft-withdrawal-agreement-with-the-eu/ )

      And the BBC says today that the EU’s Foreign & Colonial Office [the EEAS – European External Action Service, headed by Ms Mogherini the EU’s foreign and security policy chief] will retain offices in London & Belfast “to oversee the implementation of the withdrawal agreement”. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-46076860

    • John Hatfield
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      With the Civil Service Politburo and the CBI running the country, with Parliament and government ineffective, I think Britain is already communist.

  3. Peter
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    If you borrow from the European Central Bank they call the shots.

    EU funding has been very welcome to some countries in the past (and currently too).

    The value of the Euro has also been very helpful to Germany. But there are tensions between the givers and the takers, naturally.

    I think such tensions are easier to resolve within a nation state rather than a grandiose concept like a European Union. This is especially the case when the controls and auditing of the European Union have always been so lax.

    • margaret howard
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Peter

      ” This is especially the case when the controls and auditing of the European Union have always been so lax.”
      ==

      Not that old chestnut again.

      80% of the budget is spent in the EU member states and the failures are often down to the national and local governments responsible for overseeing the distribution of funds rather than the European Commission itself.

      Improperly accounted-for-expenditure, including fraud, is higher in the UK’s national accounts. The EU sets higher standards for its accounts than those required by our PARLIAMENT (98% rather than our 95%).

      The accounts of Britain’s Department of Works and Pensions. responsible for distributing social security benefits, have been qualified by the National Audit Office every year for 20 years. Fraud and error in the payment of benefits amount to an estimated £3.3 billion in 2010-11

      • formula57
        Posted November 3, 2018 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        If there is fraud and failure elsewhere, discounting or disregarding any under the purview of the EU Commission needs no further justification in your world then, margaret howard?

  4. Bryan Harris
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    The EU will never be accountable – they know how to shift responsibility around until it is impossible to claim anyone specifically made a decision.
    Let’s be realistic here – we know the EU can punish countries because they have that power, but the reason the EU is playing hard ball over the Italian budget is because of Italy’s stance over immigrants – The EU intends to force Italy to accept an overwhelming number of immigrants, and is using the budget to do so.

    It doesn’t matter how many people vote for a policy in a country like Italy, the EU will denounce it as popularism, and impose their will anyway.

    • bigneil
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Absolutely spot on Bryan. But it won’t be just Italy. The EU’s arguments with us has always contained the ” Open borders comment”. 40 – 50 years of immigration, even at today’s rates, will see us as the minority in our own country. Those who have arrived will all be wanting a free life on our taxes for doing/contributing nothing. They are currently getting it. We will soon be officially a 3rd World country.

  5. Alan Jutson
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    All Countries should be aware by now that if you are in the EU, National priorities come second to that of the EU, its a simple fact of life of membership and the electorate should be made aware that this is the case.

    With further integration on the cards it will only get more obvious as more areas will be governed by EU constraints on a whole host of policies.

    If you do not like the rules then do not be a member, it is really that simple.

    Unfortunately many member Countries do not have much bargaining power, and have been taking financial help so the alternatives are stark !

    You gets what you pay for, or you get told what you get when you borrow !

    • rose
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Young Italians often say to me, if only they could get out, they would, but it is much harder to do when in the Eurozone. They say they are trapped.

    • stan oram
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      ‘All Countries should be aware by now that if you are in the EU, National priorities come second to that of the EU’ – so far as I have been led to believe this is not just a simple fact of membership life but a treaty obligation.

  6. Sakara Gold
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Luigi and his fellow mafiosi from the sicilian mafia probably got the 500b euro. Doubtless it ended up in an offshore account in a caribbean island outpost of empire. Who was in charge when all this was going on?

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    What indeed is the point? The EU is profoundly anti-democratic it has been an economic disaster for much of Europe.

    My wife has Italian parents we have property in Italy and go their frequently. Italy is still in a dreadful mess even in the north. No real growth for twenty years. You can buy perfectly pleasant two bed flats (not far from Lake Garda for example) for less than £30,000. They even have a tax cap for wealthy people moving to Italy of only 100,000 Euro. Perhaps it will soon break free of the anti-democratic EU and return to a sensible economic model? Will it soon be a time to buy or invest there I wonder? It certainly can be a very pleasant, well connected and economical place to live if you have an income. All that is needed is sensible government and a sensible economic policy and real democratic accountability.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/marcoannunziata/2018/04/14/twenty-years-and-nothing-to-show-for-it-italys-broken-economic-model/#f53ad0711a38

    • Andy
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      You’ll be going there less after Brexit when the visa costs you £52. It’s also a bit rich you having an Italian wife – when you take such an anti-EU national stance. Still Brexit hypocrisy is hardly a new trait among Brexiteers.

      • Richard1
        Posted November 3, 2018 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

        Why is it hypocrisy to be married to a person originating from an EU country yet to oppose supra-national EU govt?! This argument is a non-sequitur – rather like the accusation against Nigel Lawson that he ought to favour EU membership (& presumably go along with whichever federalist policies are proposed) because he owns a house in France. If I bought a house in the US or was married to an American, should I favour the UK joining the US in political union, or else be thought a hypocrite?

      • Edward2
        Posted November 3, 2018 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

        Are you certain it will be £52 andy?
        Seems you are way ahead of even the EU Commissioners

      • Posted November 3, 2018 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

        It’s all about personal finances with you, isn’t it, Andy? Some of us look further and set our sights higher, and want something that is good for our country, not something that enhances our income. But you wouldn’t understand that.

        Try ”Remain’s selfish ignorance”. Now THERE’s something!

        (And, by the way, it may not apparent in your very narrow little world, but many of us Brexiteers have relatives and friends who are not native to the UK. And we love them all. We just hate the EU. Spot the difference?)

      • libertarian
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        Andy

        IF they impose visas and IF they charge £52 who do you think would suffer? Your Remainer colleague Margaret Howard was telling us that France Spain and Italy are the most visited tourist destinations. They won’t be if they start charging to visit. What on earth does having a spouse from an EU country have to do with hypocrisy . My son is married to a French lady, she is in FAVOUR of Brexit and would like to see France leave the EU and the Euro.

        I own a business in France, doesn’t mean I want to be governed by an undemocratic , fraudulent , incompetent, backward looking , protectionist racket .

        You are a deluded fool Andy with zero knowledge or credibility

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Well most of Italy is very anti EU and rightly so. Anyway I can always obtain an Italian passport I suppose if I must (by virtue of my wife having dual nationality). The EU and Italy/France/Greece/Spain in particular would be very foolish to restrict, inconvenience or charge too much to UK tourists.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      there!

    • alte fritz
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      “All that is needed is sensible government and a sensible economic policy and real democratic accountability.”

      I’m sure that would down well in Italy but can’t we try it here too?

    • margaret howard
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic

      “. You can buy perfectly pleasant two bed flats (not far from Lake Garda for example) for less than £30,000”

      We bought our 4 bedroom house in Lincolnshire for under £30,000 in 1983 which was then quite expensive. Today you would have to pay over £300 000 for it.
      I am glad that Italy has avoided our disastrous habit of treating their houses as investment rather than a place to live.

      As a result our young people can’t afford to buy anywhere to live or are being tricked by various shady mortgage schemes whereby they buy a share in a flat/house never owning their property outright. Remember the ‘interest only’ offers with people finding they still owe their lenders huge sums at the end of it?

      It was greed once again – nothing to do with the EU.

      • libertarian
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        margaret howard

        All you say about housing is true. Still at least OUR young people can get jobs, unlike young people in Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy etc

        By the way its NOT greed, its supply and demand . Its our planning laws that make housing expensive

        • margaret howard
          Posted November 4, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          Our planning laws make housing expensive? How and why have they changed so much since the 1970s when house prices started going through the roof?

          And if that is so why not change them back again so that young people could afford to buy anywhere?

          • libertarian
            Posted November 5, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

            margaret howard

            Less than 10% of England is built on, yet Green belt and planning restrictions ( which have been in place for decades ) restrict building enough new houses

            Well the UK population in 1970 was 54 million its now 66 million , so that would be 12 million new homes required ( i.e. more than the current total population of Belgium) , plus of course divorce is now easy and people live longer (average life expectancy in 1970 was 68, its now 81) so we have a massive shortfall in houses . Since the 1970’s we have built around only 8 million new homes The sudden massive jump in house prices in the 1970’s occurred in just 3 years following the ” Barber Boom” when the then chancellor created an economy which led to huge wage demands and inflation. Oh and we also joined the Common Market then too. House prices rose 42.4% the year we joined the EC

            We need to build far more houses to satisfy demand and bring down prices to do that we need to open up planning and to scrap stupid stamp duty taxes

          • libertarian
            Posted November 5, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

            I should also have said that prior to 1970 about 30% of people owned their own homes During the early 70’s the Building Society mortgage market came on stream and home ownership jumped to 51% , its now 65%

  8. oldwulf
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Germany should either leave the Euro or subsidise the rest of the EU out of its surpluses.

    • Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Germany will no doubt make sure that it keeps its project afloat, even if it has to pump its own money in. ”Mitteleuropa” mustn’t be allowed to fail this time.

  9. oldtimer
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    The questions you pose demonstrate the wholly unsatisfactory state of affairs within the EZ. At some time I assume it will become unsustainable – something avoided so far by the ECBs QE programme. The Italian government evidently intends to push the budget issue to its limits.

    I have no idea if they will or can succeed. Italy is on the point of running out of other people’s money. If it wasn’t the EU it could be the IMF imposing conditions. The problem for the EU is the heavy exposure of French and German banks and of the German government to Italian sovereign debt. If the EU thinks it can walk all over the UK it probably thinks it can do the same with Italy. Whatever the outcome it will be extremely messy.

    • margaret howard
      Posted November 4, 2018 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      oldtimer

      ” If the EU thinks it can walk all over the UK it probably thinks it can do the same with Italy.”

      WE voted Leave, the EU did not throw us out. Italy has too much sense to copy us.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        Italy would sensibly vote if if they were given a chance to vote.

        • Monza 71
          Posted November 4, 2018 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

          Are you sure about that ?

          Because of public opinion, Five Star and The Lega had to backtrack before the last Italian election, dropping their preference to leave the Euro and the EU.

        • margaret howard
          Posted November 5, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

          Lifelogic

          They’ve just elected a pro EU/euro government, just like the Greeks have and all other EU countries in recent elections.

  10. sm
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    “If the State still does not comply, it will be fined”.

    How will the fine be paid – presumably by more State borrowing from the ECB?

    Sounds even crazier than a Government borrowing money to give away to corrupt 3rd world governments and then calling it ‘Foreign Aid’.

    • Adam
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      sm:

      You describe the idiocy well. It is reminiscent of the TV sketch in which Harry Worth was summoned to his bank manager’s office to settle his heavily-overdrawn account, & after much confusing negotiation he offered to write a cheque from its own book to settle it.

  11. billR
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Have to say I agree one hundred per cent with the EU Commissions approach to the feckless Italians and their budget- somebody has to tell them to get back into line. As you suggest there is no point in Pre General Election debating about these matters – the ordinary people don’t know, and are not too concerned, and a lot of them just don’t care, they have a myriad of reasons to show why they vote like they do- just like we voted to leave the EU in the brexit referendum where there was no point either in discussing economic matters in general debate- people are going to vote for myriad reasons- they will vote the way they do irrespective.

    • NickC
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      BillR, Your premise is that the EU is right; that the EU is the possessor of ultimate wisdom. But what happens if the EU is wrong, even if only occasionally?

    • Oggy
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      I think your dismissal of ‘ordinary people don’t know’ is tantamount to saying Leavers didn’t know what they were voting for.
      People are a lot more clued up than you give them credit for.

      Also you are forgetting that according to recent debate we LEAVE voters were nobbled by the Russians.

    • Someone else
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      “… somebody has to tell them ( the government of Italy ) to get back into line…”
      Italians may think it is Italians, alone, who should do any telling.

    • Original Richard
      Posted November 4, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      You clearly don’t believe in democracy as a system for government.

  12. agricola
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Your title comes to terms with the reality of being in the EU and the Euro. If Italy really wants that independence to run her own economy then she must leave both the Euro and the EU. From increasing knowledge of the UK/EU relationship, though minus the Euro, the influence the EU brings to bear is incompatible with what we understand as a sovereign state. If Italy wishes to become a sovereign state once more then leave she must.

    • William Long
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      I agree with this entirely; it is the only logical and proper way forward, but the Italians obviously think that if they sit tight Brussels will allow their usual fudge. It will; be interesting to see if they are right.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      For “run her own economy” read “wreck her own economy”.

    • Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      But don’t forget the words of Kerr, displayed at the Visitors’ Centre of the European Parliament:
      “National sovereignty is the root cause of the most crying evils of our times….The only final remedy for this evil is the federal union of the peoples.”

      The EU just doesn’t believe in ‘sovereignty’ – so is it altruistically trying to save nations from their own folly, do you think? Though the words ‘final remedy’ have a familiarly sinister ring to them…..

    • Blazeaway
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Agricola..why stop there?..if Italy wants to break up into dozens of little statlets like it was in the 19th century and in earlier times then why not? and nothing to do with us. The concept of sovereignty and statehood is a fairly modern thing and can be reversed as well as advanced just as the people want..or so it should be..the same with Catalonia and indeed the UK itself..the only thing holding movement back is that kings Czars and Politicos get in the way.. you see it comes down to power greed and money again. There is no democracy for the little people only a figment of their imagination

  13. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Italians and other Europeans can chose (May 2019) to change the rules about EMU and Euro, they can chose to leave the euro, they can chose to leave the EU. They cannot chose to escape the disciplining force of global financial markets.

    • libertarian
      Posted November 4, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      PvL

      They can chose to leave can they? So far every country that has democratically voted against the EU ( including your own) has been made to vote again until they agree

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        @libertarian: Just go on living on misinformation, a waste of my time to again explain what the vote was about, what happened since, etc.
        Poor tabloid infested Britons.

        • Edward2
          Posted November 4, 2018 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

          libertarian stated a fact.
          Every country that voted in defiance of the EU was pressured into voting again.
          Soon the pattern could be continued in the UK
          Tabloids have nothing to do with it.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted November 4, 2018 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2: You apparently simply have no idea of the real processes in various countries, and I cannot conclude other than that you are tabloid infested. You don’t even know the various institutions or courts in the Netherlands, probably don’t speak any Dutch and as such it is a safe bet that you haven’t followed our processes from any better place than what your media have fed you. Sorry, that is now good enough for a proper judgement.

          • Edward2
            Posted November 5, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

            I don’t need knowledge of your “processes” to know the actual fact that every country that voted in defiance of the EU voted again until they “got it right”
            No amount of haughty, smug comments from you will alter that fact.

        • libertarian
          Posted November 5, 2018 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

          Peter vL

          I dont think you know your own history

          A consultative referendum on the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe was held in the Netherlands on 1 June 2005 to decide whether the government should ratify the proposed Constitution of the European Union. The result was a “No”-vote.

          The vote was the first national referendum for over two hundred years, and was not binding on the government, meaning that despite the electorate rejecting the Constitution it could theoretically still be ratified by the States-General. The government did say, however, that it would abide by a decisive result, provided turnout exceeded 30%. Official results say that 61.6% of voters rejected the Constitution, on a turnout of 63.3%.

          Feel free to let me know what part of that I dont understand

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted November 6, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

            @libertarian: Presuming that I wouldn’t understand is just a tad arrogant. My reaction is not the easy “cut and paste”.
            in the years after that consultative referendum, some changes were made in the draft constitution which then became the draft Lisbon treaty. That draft was put before the ‘Raad van State’, our supreme court for civil jurisdiction and prime adviser of the government. The Raad van State concluded that sufficient constitutional aspects had disappeared from the earlier constitutional draft, not to warrant a new consultative referendum. Like the first constitutional draft, this advice was brought before both houses of parliament (in our case both proportionally elected bodies) and the both houses decided together with the government not to have a new consultative referendum. That is what I call parliamentary democracy. Short of conspiracy theories, the EU was not involved.

            N.B. Did you know that 2% change in a rule book (called DNA) would change a monkey into a human being?

            Before you start mourning over the Dutch population, who according to you was against the EU, why not study the opinion polls and statistics first (e.g. eurobarometer)

            Take the 2005 question:
            “Membership of the EU, a good thing?”

            Results: nr 1 – Luxembourg (80% versus 5%), nr 2 – Netherlands (77% versus 8%) nr last – UK (36% versus 29%). I’m not going to spend so much time on you every time. So let me just repeat: “just go on living on misinformation” if that feels better for you.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted November 6, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

            @libertarian: correction – “the EU was not involved” should be “after a new text had been established after objections from France, the Netherlands and some more countries), the EU was no longer involved.

          • libertarian
            Posted November 6, 2018 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

            PvL

            Lol

            The Dutch voted No and were told to vote again . FACT

  14. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Economics is very much debated at any general election in the Netherlands, a founding EU and euro member. People who don’t understand Europe won’t understand that either.
    Serious politicians cannot escape economic realities in their political debates.

  15. Brigham
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    What are newmania’s thoughts on this?

    • Posted November 3, 2018 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps there was nothing on Facebook today that Newmania could work around.

  16. Posted November 3, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    A short tribute to Janis Varoufakis here who so clearly explained the agonies of his government (He was finance minister) during the time when they tried (and failed) to stand up to the Eurogroup.
    We, in this country, must never join the Euro. Being in what Jacob-Rees Mogg calls “colonial status” is going to be bad enough for our once great country.

    • margaret howard
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      Mike Stallard

      “A short tribute to Janis Varoufakis….”

      The man who was sacked by his own government after which the Greek people voted for a pro EU administration?

      As for us not joining the euro – had we joined then we would belong to a currency that started in 2000 at 61p to the pound and is now worth 87p – an increase of over 40%.

      It is a similar outstanding success now being the largest reserve currency after the US$ with 90% of world total and having replaced the £.

      • Edward2
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        It isn’t about the money.
        It is about whether you want to be part of the United States of Europe or be an independent free nation.
        Greece was pressurised by the EU into economic austerity which you ought to find unacceptable with real hardship and high unemployment.

      • libertarian
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        margaret howard

        If you had the remotest clue about anything you would know that the post you just made about the relative values of the pound v Euro is actually why we SHOULD NOT be in the Eurozone .

        The value of currency is set against the economic situation of the country of that currency. Its EXACTLY why Greece and Italy and Spain are all basket cases , because they can’t manage their currency BECAUSE they are in the Eurozone

        Er do you just make all your numbers up

        The Euro as reserve currency is 20.15% of trades

      • Original Richard
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Margaret Howard, I take it that you would prefer the UK to have the Euro as its currency and much higher levels of unemployment, particularly for the youth of the country, as well as losing its economic sovereignty.

  17. Adam
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    The leaders of the Italian Govt should lead Italy. Being subservient to a crazy bunch of EU officials who serve their own obtuse agenda is not leadership, but a strategy for sheep.

    The Italian Govt should pull the wool from its eyes & lead its people on the shortest path to better: outside the EU.

  18. A.Sedgwick
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Yanis Varoufakis did put a very well structured economic recovery package together, which allowed Greece to stay in the Euro and not create massive and real austerity for the people, but the troika pretended to negotiate for long enough to scare off the Greek Government, hence his resignation after 5 months as finance minister.

    The same tactic is clearly evident with Brexit.

    Italy has only two choices: put up and leave the Euro or shut up and continue to be a client state.

  19. formula57
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    At this stage the Italian government cleverly seems to be demanding the sort of opt out refused to Greece (whose government as we know chose to let is people live on their knees in the face of Evil Empire bullying) but freely granted to Germany and France at the beginning of this century.

    Italy has of course considerably more clout that Greece and the other PIIGS as its threats to permit disruption are potent because of the scale of funds involved. More than a few in Italy also know its hopes of salvation best lie in freeing itself from the Euro prison.

    • margaret howard
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      formula 57

      “whose government as we know chose to let is people live on their knees in the face of Evil Empire bullying”
      but who still keep voting for pro EU governments?

      Granted to Germany? What you choose not to mention is that Germany was suddenly faced with financing its impoverished Eastern section after the collapse of the Berlin wall and its liberation from Soviet oppression.

      • libertarian
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        margaret howard

        No it wasn’t. West Germany CHOSE to reunite East Germany

  20. Monza 71
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    One problem for Italy is that it is not one but two countries.

    The North, which elected the Lega, Formerly the Lega Nord, is a rich and prosperous manufacturing area. The Lega’s principle objective has always been to separate the rich North from the poor South. The party’s full title is “Lega Nord per l’Indipendenza della Padania.” Today the Lega has trimmed its objectives to Federalisation as long as that means that money made in the North stays in the North ! Inevitably that would make the South even poorer.

    The Five Star Movement has its roots in those poorer Southern areas of the country. These start well North of Rome, making Italy one of the few countries whose capital city is in an area that is predominantly poor.

    The Italian Government is therefore an unlikely alliance where the common factor is a dislike of the EU and its dictatorial policies.

    Nobody can be sure how far they will go in pushing the EU over the budget and migration. Will they remain resolute enough to be forced out of the Euro ? The bigger question is whether Brussels itself is feeling strong and confident enough to push things that far ?

    With Merkel now a lame duck, I somehow doubt it. An accommodation will be found but, unusually it will involve Brussels backing down.

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Off topic, JR, it should not be necessary in a country which presents itself as a democracy, but I just have added my name to the list of lay supporters here:

    https://standup4brexit.com/

    Of course more important are the 51 MPs, including yourself, signed up.

    When Priti Patel says that Chequers would leave us shackled to the EU forever she forgets to mention that the key to the shackles would be held by the Irish government.

    This is from nearly a year ago now, November 26 2017:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2017/11/26/the-irish-border-with-northern-ireland/#comment-903216

    “On the TV this morning it was stated that the UK government is “desperate” to move on to trade talks, but this would be vetoed by the Irish government unless the UK government committed to keeping the UK in both the Single Market and the Customs Union … ”

    And logically that would apply to any future treaty as well, there would never come a time when the Irish government would agree to give up that core demand and allow the UK to have a simple free trade agreement as the long term arrangement.

  22. Steve
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    I agree with most of the comments.

    I also think Italy’s example demonstrates perfectly the EU’s desire to engulf as many sovereign nations as it can, regardless of their economic form.

    The EU’s way is to prioritise expansion, and if any member states can’t cope then just beat them up until compliance is achieved.

    I am sure ours will not be the only country to leave the EU.

  23. English Pensioner
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Italy should start printing lira notes or perhaps just go out to tender for their printing. That would scare the life out of Brussels!

  24. NickC
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    JR, Your rhetorical question “what is the point in Euro countries debating economics in General Elections?” has the obvious answer – none. It is of course another example of the issue of who governs a country in the EU that we Leaves thought was settled by the Referendum.

    At the moment the top tier of UK government is the EU. Remains of course won’t face that – they either ignore it; or bluster than we are still really really sovereign; or deflect by claiming the EU is a better government than our own; or claim that we are not capable of running our own country.

    It is a fact that unless Chequers, or anything like it, is overturned we will continue being run by the EU. The Chequers executive summary makes clear that Theresa May intends the UK to comply with the EU’s single market (hence CAP), customs union (hence CCP), fisheries policies, security, law (EAW), military, etc, all by treaty. That is Remain, not Leave.

    So the issue of who governs us, and whether there is any point to national elections, or even national governments, remains unsettled. But if Parliament continues on its current path, there will be no point to Parliament.

  25. George Dunnett
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    The EU like giving out money to member states in the same why a drug dealer likes to give people freebezes. Once the unsuspecting recipient gets use to the supply of EU money then the EU get an economic leverage over the recipient. The EU are using the drug dealers’ play-book.

    The people who support the EU are really naive in my humble opinion. Way too trusting!!

    • margaret howard
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

      George

      “The EU like giving out money to member states in the same why a drug dealer likes to give people freebezes.”

      Unlike us, none of their states have paid £1bn (and some) in danegeld to their equivalent of a disreputable party like the DUP to keep their party and its leader in power.

      • Original Richard
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        The EU Commission has for years been distributing our money as a net contributor to all those states (the majority) who are net recipients of EU funding to keep them “on board” the EU project and to provide money to bribe new nations to join.

        The EU Commission even sends money back to the UK in a form which intends to bribe the nation into thinking the EU is some wonderful benefactor.

        • margaret howard
          Posted November 4, 2018 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

          We begged to be allowed to join and after we were admitted the common market had to pump in 25% of its regional development funds to stabilise Britain, the highest ever figure.

          All forgotten now by ungrateful Brexiteers.

          • Edward2
            Posted November 5, 2018 at 1:26 am | Permalink

            You missed out “in one year”
            In every other year of the 40 odd years of membership we paid billions more in that we took out.
            But you know that really don’t you Margaret?

      • Edward2
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        The money was not paid to the DUP.
        It went to the whole of Northern Ireland and increased its public spending.
        Surely you know that Margaret?

      • libertarian
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        margaret howard

        You do make me laugh. Do you never research anything you post. EVERY SINGLE CENT & EURO that the EU hands out to its special interest groups could be classified as “Danegeld” . Its certainly porkbarrel , boondoggle thats for sure .

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Italy should not have been allowed into the euro, at least as part of the first wave. That was down to Chancellor Kohl insisting that Italy must be included for political reasons, against all the economic and legal advice he was given. And that created the precedent for Greece to be admitted later when it also should not have been allowed in:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/06/02/populist-challenges-to-the-euro/#comment-938333

    So right from the start the EU’s single currency project was pushed forward through a major breach of the EU treaties, which was necessarily followed by a succession of other breaches of the EU treaties as a consequence of the original breach … and this is what our politicians have favoured, an organisation which loudly claims to be based upon the rule of law but which in reality is based more upon what is convenient or expedient.

    Which is why it is particularly annoying that our present Prime Minister is following her predecessors by meekly accepting that legally the EU must do this or cannot do that with regard to the Brexit negotiations when we all know that the EU has no respect for its own treaties and laws except when that suits its purposes.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Just to add that under Article 7.4 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement:

      https://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/tfa-nov14_e.htm#art7

      it could be perfectly in order for the French to agree to give preferential treatment to Irish lorries over British lorries:

      https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1039926/brexit-news-france-calais-dublin-simon-coveney-Jean-Yves-Le-Drian-good-friday-agreement

      “BREXIT OUTRAGE: France signs Ireland deal to leave UK lorries in Calais queue for HOURS”

      “FRANCE has agreed to fast-track Irish lorries through Calais in a deal that could force British truckers to face gruelling queues lasting for hours.”

      I only say that it “could” be in order, insofar as Ireland is staying in the EU and so it will be true that trucks known to be carrying goods originating from Ireland should not need to be inspected at Calais any more than they are now, whereas as the UK is leaving the EU trucks carrying goods possibly originating from the UK may need more intense inspection, and that is fine under TFA 7.4.4 provided that there is a reasonable objective basis for that differential treatment:

      “Each Member shall base risk management on an assessment of risk through appropriate selectivity criteria. Such selectivity criteria may include, inter alia, the Harmonized System code, nature and description of the goods, country of origin, country from which the goods were shipped, value of the goods, compliance record of traders, and type of means of transport.”

      Of course it would be open to the UK government to offer to pass legislation to guarantee that all goods being sent for export to the EU will always continue to conform to EU requirements, even if those EU requirements are not necessarily being applied to all goods circulating within the UK, and then we and the wider world could see how unreasonable the EU reaction might be.

      • acorn
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

        How and where would you police the UK’s “gaurantee” legislation? Sounds like you would need the Liechtenstein split model.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 4, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

          Of course; as we have discussed previously it is what UK officials were looking at in the summer, but we have heard nothing since.

  27. acorn
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    “So, finally, returning to the “one nation-one currency” rule would allow each [Eurozone member] nation to recapture domestic policy space by returning to its own currency. There was never a strong argument for adopting the Euro, and the weaknesses have been exposed. Currency union without fiscal union was a mistake.” (Prof L Randall Wray UMKC)

    BTW. Italy’s Current Account surplus (2.8%) is covering its government Budget Deficit (2.3%). If you compare the sovereign currency issuing USA, with the EU, the failure mechanism that will eventually destroy the EU becomes clearer.

    The EU does not have a federal treasury that issues the currency and a federal Parliament that has a federal budget of 22% of US GDP. The EU Parliament has a federal budget of 1%. Which means it can’t operate a fiscal transfer system like the US does to balance its 50 member states into a proper Nation State.

    Most US states run balanced budgets by law; they are currency users, just like EU member states. They both issue bonds to raise cash. EU Eurozone states have to issue bonds to the private sector to get cash to spend, they don’t have a choice; and pay a heavy price for that cash. US states are market constrained in their bond issuing, especially if they stray into budget deficits. Hence, US states rarely have debts above 20% of state GDP, whereas EU Eurozone member states, can have debts 100% plus of member state GDP.

    • acorn
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      “The adjustment of the EU’s WTO bound TRQs entails dividing up the existing quantities between the UK and the EU, based on previous trade patterns. The EU will have to engage in negotiations with WTO partners for each of these tariff rate quotas.

      However, in the interest of maintaining clarity and predictability in the multilateral trading system, the EU needs to be able to proceed unilaterally to the dividing up of the tariff rate quotas for the period between the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and the conclusion of a final agreement within the WTO.” (EU Press Release)

      The EU is telling the rest of the WTO, that any deal they may think of doing with the UK post Brexit, will only happen if the EU allows it to happen.

  28. stred
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I overheard a relation at a party a few years ago talking to one of his uncles, who had lent him rather a lot of money. The uncle was making it plain that he wanted the large loan repaid and his nephew, who was experiencing business difficulties, replied “Yes, you’ve got a problem.”

    The same goes for the Germans. Italy could go it’s own way and refuse to pay back quickly if it left the EU and swapped the Euro for Lira. The Euro might sink during the process but go higher in the end. If the Visegrad countries decided that they had also had enough of being threatened by Mr Selmayer and his EU heavies, they might decide to leave, having modernised enough, using German and British taxpayers money. Then the Euro would go much higher and it would be France that suffered and German exports too.

    We are listening to the New album by the Bocellis at the moment. It is recorded in Italy and London. The singers, Italian, British and American, are recorded in Pisa, the orchestra is in London and the engineers in Italy, the UK and US. The languages are Italian and English. Everyone seems to get on very well together. Now wouldn’t it be nice if the UK offered free trade between those countries and limited freedom of travel, with all able to have their own currency and sovereignty. They could sink or swim on their own, without subsidies and enjoy industrial growth and tourism, without having to suffer from German politicians mistakes and shady foreign interference. We would be back to the good old days and have a Europe that we enjoyed.

    But the CBI and the May/ Robbins/ Merkel consortium wouldn’t like the idea at all. So we are all stuffed.

    • margaret howard
      Posted November 4, 2018 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      stred

      ” We would be back to the good old days and have a Europe that we enjoyed”

      When was that? Before we begged to be admitted?

      I bet the Germans bitterly regret having sponsored our accession against De Gaulle’s repeated ‘NON’.

      Reply I was not in favour of joining and voted for out in 1975. We became poorer shortly after joining and had a dire first ten years in it.

  29. Andy
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    You are incorrect. When Italy joined the Euro it agreed to adhere to certain requirements – one of which was keeping its deficit below certain levels. This current budget breaks that agreement.

    A bit like you joining a golf club which has a dress code – and then turning up in Bermuda shorts and demanding to play a round anyway. It is not the golf club’s fault if you try to break the rules you agreed to.

    The real problem is politicians lying. The populists in Italy – both right and left – lied to voters. They told them there were easy answers to their problems and they pointed the figure or blame at migrants and the EU. The Brexiteers did the same. So did Donald Trump – though he also blamed every other country.

    All of these self professed populists (actually nationalists) run up against the problem of reality when they find themselves in positions of power. Painting the world as black and white to gullible voters is easy. Dealing with actual real world problems which are an actual shade of grey is hard.

    The Italian populists will run up against the cold hard truth of reality at some point soon – as the Brexiteers did.

    By the way – you should be applauding the EU Mr Redwood for demanding financial responsibility in the face of an Italian government which wants to massively increase debt and spend irresponsibly. Your position in supporting rampant borrowing is not very conservative.

    Reply I did not take sides. Try re reading what I wrote

  30. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    It seems reasonable that if a country is in a common currency it must defer to the others in that common currency when deciding how much of that currency to borrow.

    The answer ? Do not be in a common currency.

    Mark B above raises an interesting point about Scotland’s membership of our common currency

  31. Peter D Gardner
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    It will all be sorted out following the elections in 2019. The EU will progress the next stage of integration requiring treaty changes as detailed in various white papers. The include a single EU treasury and moves to bring more states into the Euro.. The white papers are published on the Europe website.

  32. Peter Davies
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Quite simply based on the fact that the euro has never worked for italy there can only be one conclusion

  33. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    It’s really not us you have to convince, but with friends like these you’re asking for your party to be cast into oblivion:

    https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/news/cheltenham-news/cheltenham-mp-alex-chalk-says-2178473

    He wasn’t even born when we joined the EU, but seems to think he has a better grip on life than 17.4 million of us. Doesn’t want MPs like you to be talking at all at this stage, apparently!

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      He said: “In these absolutely acute last moments before we reach a deal I think British MPs should keep their mouths shut”. !!!!!

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted November 3, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        Mr Chalk:

        -Consistently voted for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU
        -Generally voted against a right to remain for EU nationals already in living in the UK
        -Almost always voted against UK membership of the EU

        Conclusion: Cheltenham needs somebody who knows their own mind!

  34. NHSGP
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    On the lower taxes.

    209 bn a year on the debts.

    40 bn to pay off the EU or more

    20 bn a year on aid.

    None of that not a penny, goes on services for people in the UK

    Strikes me that there’s a lot of money for tax cuts. It’s just that you choose to not deliver services in exchange to tax.

    Give people the right of consent. The right to say no to you without you using violence if needed to get your way.

    Lets start with a simple one. If its right for shareholders to control executive pay, lets have the right to control your pay, and if we want the services you force on us.

    • John Hatfield
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      The public sector is ripping off the private sector. The public sector needs whittling down until pay and pensions match those in the private sector.
      It is wrong that the master earns less than the servant.

    • Andy
      Posted November 3, 2018 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      The vast majority of the budget goes on pensions, social care, old age perks and NHS treatment for the elderly.

      This is what by far the biggest % of our taxes is spent on. If you are serious about wanting tax cuts you need to cut theses items.

      But most of you on this site benefit personally from this area of government spending. You consider it good spending because you get something for nothing.

      I consider it a huge waste because a massive net contributor to the system I am funding your retirements – when, really, you should have all funded your own.

      • Edward2
        Posted November 3, 2018 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

        That is nonsense andy.
        Do a simple google search on what the government spends its on.

        • Edward2
          Posted November 4, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

          It is worth adding that the pensions Andy complains about require many years of National Insurance contributions in order to get a state pension.

      • sm
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 6:04 am | Permalink

        Let’s try educating you again:

        Because of the welfare state system introduced over decades in the C20th, each generation has funded the previous one. The system (including the Ponzi scheme of pensions and the NHS) was based on the fact that most people died fairly soon after retirement. Being on an average income and being onerously taxed leaves little to put into savings – been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

        Many of us (the ones you frequently abuse) have argued vehemently over decades for the systems to be changed, to recognise that because of social and medical advances the funding required would be impossible. Unfortunately, both Tory and Labour governments have always pushed these serious concerns under the carpet, because the public has been trained to believe the State will provide ‘for ever and ever amen’.

      • Mike wilson
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

        I have paid income tax, national insurance, council tax, VAT and other taxes all my adult life – paying for the care and pensions of those older than me. Now it is my turn to receive rather than give – although I still pay income tax, council tax and VAT etc,

      • Original Richard
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        So why is it that a majority of young people vote Labour, a party that always wants to increase borrowing to fund spending on “pensions, social care, old age perks and NHS treatment for the elderly” when they will be the ones who will be paying for this in their later years ?

        It would be more logical for instance, for young people to want to reduce spending on these items and vote accordingly for parties which promote financial prudence.

        BTW, when you say “NHS treatment for the elderly” do you have in mind that free NHS treatment stops at a particular age, and, if so, what age do you have in mind ?

      • libertarian
        Posted November 6, 2018 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        Andy

        If instead of paying NI ( tax ) in order to receive a state pension we were allowed to keep our own money, if we then put the same amount we pay in tax into a very low risk pension scheme we would get almost double the pension that the government pays us.

  35. Pravda
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    The ins-and- outs of the EU also in Socialist states, also in large companies, is learned inspecting procedures of say ISPs.
    Once the massive un-human”machine” takes over. Individuals, now appendages, paraphrase themselves out of meaningful customer dialogue with ” Computer says Noooo”

  36. Gordon Hetherington
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Michael Dobbs was asked: “When was the moment that you decided that you were for Brexit?

    He replied: “When Herr Schäuble announced before the last Greek elections that elections change nothing. I thought they were pretty awesome words. Devastating words. And I thought if that’s the case then we better get out of the system where elections mean nothing.”

    The referendum was the biggest democratic vote in the UK’s history. If the Remainers get their way, it will have changed nothing – we will still be in the prison of EU membership despite having voted to leave.

  37. Miss MBJ
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    When the nations are a little financially stronger the EU will be of no interest . At present they are cornered and as one of the 27 are not upwardly mobile, in debt and dependent on the handouts and they say domestic economics are different than EU and global economics.
    It seems to be a case of if we will keep you down to show our strength so be it. Being a lone women I know how this feels. The term slave applies to all the forms of subjugation and the grabbing of money earned by workers to the Controllers!

    • Original Richard
      Posted November 4, 2018 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      The only way Italy can strengthen its economy is by leaving the Euro and thus be able to set its exchange rate again at a level it can become competititive on European and World markets.

      The Euro is designed to ensure that no other EU nation ever becomes a competitive threat to Germany.

  38. Nigel Seymour
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    How can there be such a disconnect in Gov when Ms Nokes and Javid are at polar opposites on free movement after Brexit? Agreed, Ms Nokes had a somewhat ‘Rudd moment’ but surely she understands her brief does she not?? Has she misled parliament?

  39. Ron Olden
    Posted November 3, 2018 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Plainly if you’re in the Euro you have NO CHOICE but to accept that the foreign political superstate/bureaucracy which runs the Euro’s Central Bank will tell you how much you can borrow.

    Especially when the Euro’s own issuing Bank is the one that’s lending you the money.

    Being in the Euro is almost the definition of being a ‘Vassal State’. What did they expect when they joined it?

    Why should German taxpayers underwrite the existing debt and lend yet more money to foreign countries without demanding a say in how the money is spent, and how much of it is lent?

    Italy Greece Spain and Portugal should have thought of this before they joined the Euro. The UK did, and we decided against it.

    If we’d joined the Euro the UK economy would have been totally wrecked following the 2007-2009 banking crashes, and the Euro itself, would likely have disintegrated.

    Italy and Greece will never be independent democracies until they has its own currencies.

    At the moment they are no more independent states than are Scotland, Wales, England Northern Ireland or the Isle of Wight.

    Plainly if you’re in the Euro you have NO CHOICE but to accept that the foreign political superstate/bureacracy which runs the Euro’s Central Bank tells you how much you can borrow.

    Especially when the Euro’s own issuing Bank is the one that’s lending you the money.

    Being in the Euro is almost the definition of being a ‘Vassal State’. What did they expect when they joined it?

    Why should German taxpayers underwrite the existing debt and lend yet more money to foreign countries without demanding a say in how the money is spent, and how much of it is lent?

    Italy Greece Spain and Portugal should have thought of this before they joined the Euro. The UK did, and we decided against it.

    If we’d joined the Euro the UK economy would have been totally wrecked following the 2007-2009 banking crashes, and the Euro itself, would likely have disintegrated.

    Italy and Greece will never be independent Democracies again until it has its own currency.

    At the moment they are no more Independent States than are Scotland, Wales, England Northern Ireland or the Isle of Wight.

  40. Original Richard
    Posted November 4, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    If Italy loses the battle with the EU Commission over how to run the economy then Mr. Corbyn will not be keen to support remaining in the EU.

    Conversely if Italy wins its battle, then Mr. Corbyn will be willing to satisfy the majority of Labour MPs and support remaining in the EU as he will be quite happy to see the UK give up its currency and military to EU control as well as its laws, immigration and fishing grounds.

  41. Original Richard
    Posted November 4, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    If the UK had voted to remain in the EU then it would have been the last meaningful vote on economic or sovereignty issues ever to have taken place in the UK.

    The remain majority of Parliament would have taken it as a mandate, with no further referendums, for the UK to agree to deepening EU integration and hence for the UK joining the Euro, handing control of our military to the EU and for further EU expansion and immigration into the UK.

  42. Rien Huizer
    Posted November 4, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    One should not mistake internal demagoguery for politics aiming at governing the country. First of all, Salvini is no fool or revolutionary. The leaders of 5stars are different and promise people either ignorant or thoroughl;y cynical about government at all levels (and in a country where the early years of Fascism are (not quite correctly) remembered as a time go good government) things everyone knows cannot be given, either because of exixting laws, treaties and obligations, or the fact that Italy’s government, banks and public sector are at the mercy of financial markets, with Italian investors and professionals quite happy to speculate against their own country, usually based on whatever they know about the government’s future moves. The “asset class” political risk is a perfectly legal area where insider information can be exploited.

    Most Brussels politicians (with a large contingent of Italians) know all about this and Ik do not know of anyone who believes that the “row” between cannot be controlled. However that row is politically useful and both sides are very aware. The present Italian government is inherently unstable and I would expect that around the EU elections next year Salvini will trigger a fresh election in which 5stars can be reduced to size based on waves of discrediting especially city governments. Rome today is a great example where old Italy is making 5 star “idealism” untenable.

    Does that mean Italy will default on its gvt debt? probably not, although it will harm thgeir rating. Will it make it difficult for a large Italian bank to acquire a very large German bank currently contyrolled by the German government? Probably, because the Germans do not want to add to their banking sector’s inherent problems and the bank in question is a very l;arge investor in Italian gvt paper.

    Next year the ECB and the EUR group will probabl;y take a look at pensionsystems (especially unfunded pension liabilities of the government) in the EU in conjunction with overall government indebtedness. Then the Italians will suddenly appear to have been relatively prudent. So there is plenty of space for a compromise. It is not the Italian budget per se that is a problem but the future (5 star hobbies) social security and pension liabilities that it will create. I assume that Salvini is giving 5 star plenty of rope to hang itself, if not the markets will act as henchman, with the “EU” always in the background.

    The Uk’s overall fiscal plus household position may well be worse than Italy’s, incidentally..

  43. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 4, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    So what is the point of Italy being in the European Union?

    What surprises me is how benevolent UK politicians are towards the EU. Its very EXISTENCE is not in the UK’s interest. We should be doing the best we can to support rebellions against the stultifying central control of the European Commission and the Franco-German axis.

  44. margaret howard
    Posted November 4, 2018 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    So why did we beg to join it just under 5 decades ago?

    • Monza 71
      Posted November 4, 2018 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      “We” didn’t beg to join. It was politicians and the wider establishment that wanted us to join, not voters.

      Edward Heath was the main culprit, however he was aided by a Civil Service who advised him to hold back information on the intention to move towards ever closer union and to portray the “Common Market” as exactly what that name suggests and nothing more.

      It is easy to overlook the fact that, without the internet, the public had no way of knowing what the real intention was unless the news media chose to research and publish it. Then as now the average journalist was too lazy to do that.

      Thus we were conned into joining and things have gone downhill from that point on.

      • margaret howard
        Posted November 5, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        Monza 71

        ““We” didn’t beg to join. It was politicians and the wider establishment that wanted us to join, not voters.”

        So what about the 1975 referendum when the public voted overwhelmingly to join?

    • Edward2
      Posted November 5, 2018 at 1:33 am | Permalink

      We joined a common market.
      A trading group of 6 similar nations.
      No one envisaged a United States of Europe with over 30 disparate nations making its own laws, with it’s own armed forces, with it’s own currency, with common taxation and its own embassies all around the globe..

      • margaret howard
        Posted November 5, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        Edard2

        “We joined a common market.
        A trading group of 6 similar nations.”

        Extract from the official 1975 referendum leaflet:

        The aims of the Common Market are:

        Bring together the peoples of Europe

        Raise living standards and improve working conditions

        Promote growth and boost world trade

        Help the poorest regions of Europe and the rest of the world

        Help maintain peace and freedom

        • Edward2
          Posted November 5, 2018 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

          A great tragedy that these original aims were not continued.

  • 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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