How much Europe does the UK want?


            The UK’s price for agreement to a more centralised Euro area government should be a looser relationship for ourselves with the emerging colossus.

             Most British people I talk to want trade, peace and friendship with our continental neighbours. The majority do not want a government in Brussels telling us what to do in a myriad of areas, where we would rather make up our own minds. There is no appetite for Brussels to control our money, our taxes, our budgets, our foreign policy, our armies or our criminal justice. Many British people are not happy with the way the fishing and agricultural policies work.

             Everyone’s first priority is to protect and develop our trade with the continent. This preoccupation arises from years of wonky brieifng, implying that if we do not go along with all aspects of ther EU scheme we somehow will no longer be able to sell them our goods.

              We need to recognise that the EU represents a minority of our trade when including services as well as goods, and a declining proportion of the total. We do not need to join the USA in order to trade with her. Our trade with Europe is protected both by the fact that they sell more to us than we sell to them, something they will not wish to lose, and by  international agreements supervised by the World Trade Organisation. Those who fear for the export of British pharmaceuticals or weapons can rest easy in their beds.

                     The simplest way to fix the problems in the UK’s relationship with the EU would be to restore a modified UK veto over all matters.  The new veto would allow us to say No to  any law or proposal emanting from Brussels, but would not allow us to stop them doing it for themselves without us. This would take much of  the pressure out of the situation.

                          No Brtish government after such a change could ever again say they had to do something to comply with the EU. We restore UK democracy. Any British government that wanted to be in line with the EU, or liked what the EU was doing, could adopt as much of it as they saw fit.

                            There would be no immediate revolution. The day after such a change the UK would still have the full panoply of EU law. The government could decide what bits it wished to repeal. It would be wise to do so carefully. It would be diplomatic to give plenty of warning to the EU authorities where we were going to remove parts of the canon, and to show them we intended to use the new powers sensibly. It would allow all those in the UK who still think EU law making is the right answer for the UK to defend the EU laws and to encourage us to retain them.

                             Europe would be liberated. The UK brake would no longer be regularly applied to the speeding train of European integration. The UK would get her democracy back. All laws in the UK would be ones the UK wanted, whether they originated in Brussels or at home. We would have a way of amending or repealing European law that did not work, whatever the rest of the EU wanted to do.

                                The UK could still take part in trying to find a common EU  law in  chosen areas, but both sides would be in a better position at the negotiating table. The EU would know we could not veto it, and we would know they could not force it on us.


  1. Sue
    July 27, 2011

    I wish, I wish the last AV referendum would have been re Europe and whether we, the people, wanted further and fuller integration. Why won’t ‘they’ ask us? (I have a hunch they already know the answer and it doesn’t suit.)

    Thank you for running this blog and for your valuable links. I wish there were more sensible people like you in Westminster!

    1. sm
      July 28, 2011

      How many times do you think they would ask us?
      In the interests of democracy and representing the people….of course?

      I would suggest the answer is axiomatic and ever so blatantly obvious there is hardly a figleaf visible, thats the problem with ever closer union.

      Democracy is like a heart in winter in the UK with respect to the EU, thats most of what happens in parliament.

  2. alan jutson
    July 27, 2011

    A good post John.

    Trade, peace, and freindship just about sums it up.

    I wish Europe no harm, I just do not want to be part of it.

    I do not think we need to bother with choosing which regulations or laws to adopt, as this means more government time spent on meetings which europhile zealots would try to encourage us to take part in.
    We simply need to make our own rules to suit our own Country and way of life.

    Guarantee that should it ever come to pass that we do leave the EU, none of the EU Laws passed to date will be cancelled.

  3. norman
    July 27, 2011

    As sensible a proposal as anyone is likely to read but the eurocrats will never let it happen.

    Allowing the citizens, and governments, of individual countries more liberty would set a dangerous precedent that could spread.

    I’m no lawyer but wouldn’t such a move be very problematic in light of the fact that we’re a signatory of the EU constitution? Surely we’d have to leave that treaty and without knowing the in’s and out’s I don’t know if that would be possible without tearing the whole treaty up.

    Seeing how much political capital they had to expend (multiple referendums voting ‘no’ simply ignored and Ireland told to keep on voting until they get the right result) to pass the constitution I doubt that will be on offer any time soon.

    Although the same problems would arise if we had a referendum so if we had a politician with enough gumption (we don’t) we could get this done (we won’t).

  4. lifelogic
    July 27, 2011

    Indeed trade, peace and friendship that is all. I write this while on holiday in France with my Italian wife. That is also what most voters in France, Italy, Germany and most of the other EU countries want too. But the power lies not with the people it lies with the over paid, largely parasitic bureaucrats and little with governments and Cameron. He elects to use this power by pulling in the direction knowingly against the will of the voters. A direction which is directly opposite to the one he adopted pre-election and was elected on.
    Clearly showing that he knows what the people want (when he seeks election) but is very happy to kick them in the teeth post election.

    How can it be called democracy in any real sense.

    1. lifelogic
      July 27, 2011

      I expect they will revert to a euro sceptic position for a few months before the next election and doubtless they will also at this time be in favour of lower taxes. Only doubtless to turn yet again post election should they win. Or more likely it will be Labour saying what a mess they have inherited and there is therefore no scope to lower taxes and they cannot do anything about the EU as the Tories have already legally committed them to whatever nonsense is being pushed through.

  5. Mick Anderson
    July 27, 2011

    No British government after such a change could ever again say they had to do something to comply with the EU – when all three significant party leaders are pro-Europe, willingly signing up to everything their Masters demand, how is this going to make a practical difference?

    We need a referendum so that they can hear what the public want, but there won’t be one because they strongly suspect we will demand what they don’t want to give us. Catch 22.

  6. The Remittance Man
    July 27, 2011

    No, John, the solution is not for Britain to have some sort of modified veto. How many clubs do you know that allow some members to choose which rules to obey? Such a situation would not ease tensions, it would make them worse. Either the country is a member of the eu, fully, completely and willingly, or it is not.

    Personally I prefer the latter course of action, as I believe would most Brits. As you say, the much threatened economic consequences are nothing like as dangerous as some would make out. As for the peace and harmony argument, I’m sure the europeans would view us more favourably if we finally stopped demanding all the privileges of membership but none of the duties. So let’s put this to a referendum:

    Do you want your country to be a fully committed member of the eu, abandonning the piund for the euro, accepting the common legal, financial, agricultural, fisheries, defence and foreign policies of the union in their entirity?

    Or do you want your country to be a free and independent nation state able to deal with her trading partners on an equal basis and able to make her own laws?

    There is no middle ground in this sort of debate; it’s either In or Out.

  7. Mike Stallard
    July 27, 2011

    As I see it this veto idea will not work.

    Well, the problem to me is a social one. Mr Cameron was quite all right until he became PM. Then he had to ally with the utterly EUphile Mr Clegg so now his hands are tied.

    Then, whenever he goes to Brussels or whatever, he is wined and dined and his back is slapped as a “Gutte Mensch” or “un mec sympa”. He doesn’t want to lose that any more than you do when you go to the House of Commons or when I go to the gym or my club.

    That wil apply to every single PM and, of course, at every level right down to the MEPs. You can watch it in detail on Mr Hannan’s blog.

    The thing to do is to join EFTA ASAP. Let Germany and France have their Empire.

  8. lojolondon
    July 27, 2011

    John, the way I understand it is that we HAVE a veto, but we never use it. So other European countries take the parts of the EU they like and apply them locally, we apply every single law without thinking about it. I believe we follow more EU regulation than any other country and that is why we are in the mess we are in.

    Also, most laws proposed have a hidden agenda, CAP to give France ‘cashback’, the fisheries policy to allow Spanish fishermen to rape UK stocks, the emissions policies to give the French car industry a leg-up. Every bit of legislation is proposed by a representative of a certain country, and normally you can see through the legislation that it is in the interests of whatever that country is.

    Use Switzerland as an example of what is possible – if ever there was a country that ‘should’ be part of the EU, completely land-locked, surrounded by countries many times bigger than they are, etc, etc. Yet, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, their economy which is entirely based on finance continues to grow. the only laws they pass are those which are good for Switzerland, and they are better and stronger and far more influential then they were 20 years ago. If they can do it then we can. If the UK government lacks the courage to say ‘non’ then give us a referendum, the people will say it for you.

  9. Boudicca
    July 27, 2011

    I do not want the EU able to control any part of the UK’s laws, in any way. I want complete freedom from the dictatorial monster in Brussels.

    I want out of the CAP; the Common Fisheries Policy (with our territorial waters restored); the European Arrest Warrent (which has wrecked Habeas Corpus); the European Investigation Order; I want no part of the European Defence project; the European Diplomatic project; the European ‘Parliament’ or anything else. I do not want to be subject to the rulings of the Commission or the ECJ; I want to be free of the ECHR – we can create our own version if necessary. I do not want to pay a penny towards the EU.

    All I want is to have a free trade agreement with the EU, but one which allows us to trade freely with the rest of the world including our ‘family’ in the Commonwealth.

    I want OUT of the EU. And I am certainly not happy with this: “The government could decide what bits it wished to disapply….. All laws in the UK would be ones the UK wanted, whether they originated in Brussels or at home.”

    That fact is that the Lib/Lab/CON are all pro-the EU and the parties set out deliberately half a century ago to deprive the British people of their Democracy and right to self-determination, and to do it by stealth because they knew we would resist, as this document prepared by the FCO makes clear:
    I do not trust the Lib/Lab/CON to restore our freedom and what passes for Democracy. They will do the minimum necessary to lower public objection to the EU and then start handing powers back another way. MPs are controlled by their Party elite, not by their Constituents. Until Constituents can select and deselect their own candidates to represent them in Parliament, we will STILL have no control over what powers the Government of the day hands over to the EU.

    In short, I want OUT of the EU and I want our Democracy strengthend so that never again can successive Governments and the FCO carry out a policy to steal our right to self-determination and self-Governance from us.

  10. JimF
    July 27, 2011

    Time to wear the T-shirt which says
    “JUST DO IT”

  11. kgbarrett
    July 27, 2011

    I do not share your optimism that such a detached form of membership could work. We would still be subject to potential mission-creep. Politicians, especially EU politicians, cannot be trusted to abide by the rules. We have already seen that in countless instances, most recently in the bailing-out cases, which appear to be against the EU’s own constitution. We would still have the continual possibility of the whittling away of our sovereignty, and we could not rely on the government of the day to stand up for the UK’s rights…as we have had demonstrated so clearly during the Blair, Brown and Cameron years.

    The only way for us is out. I cannot see any problem in this. No one is going to stop trading with us if we do. They need us at least as much as we need them. We would also be a lot more free to pursue trade with the emerging markets of China, India and Africa, and to work a lot harder at our criminally neglected Commonwealth. With no EU membership payments, no “loans” to failing EU countries, no costs to meet stifling EU legislation, we would be a lot better off financially from the word go. Enough possibly to lower our taxes and attract more inward investment.

    Besides, I do not believe that a United States of Europe can possibly happen. This might well be the starry-eyed dream of the EU leaders at this present moment, and of the liberal media, but none of the leaders have bothered (quelle surprise) to ask what their voters want. Are the Germans going to accept it? No, I don’t think so. The Irish? No. None of them that I can see, and I predict electoral bloodbaths across the eurozone as elections fall due.

    Being hitched to the entire appalling EU mess is going to become a real and serious issue long before the next general election. The prime minister is going to have to put the demands of the country first, rather than the survival of the coalition, because he is going to get no sense at all out of the LibDems on this issue. And the LibDems are simply not in tune with what the majority of voters want, if the latest opinion polls on EU membership are to be believed.

  12. Electro-Kevin
    July 27, 2011

    Not so sure it’s an emerging collosus as an emerging cock-up.

    It seems to diminish the great countries entering it and diminish the weak countries entering it too.

  13. Eric Arthur Blair
    July 27, 2011

    John, this reads like something that you’ve applied a great deal of thought to so I won’t poo-poo it harshly.

    However, it sounds like you’re suggesting that the greatest possible outcome for those who want to restore our democracy and freedoms is a return to the UK-EU relationship circa 1993.

    Much has happened since 1993 (let alone 1973) and we have charted the course of European Union ‘democracy’ and all that it means.

    Sorry, but we would be better off out. Totally out and permanently out.

    Interestingly, if that is seen as nationalistic, xenophobic or upsets the Guardian’s readership, the opinions should be sought of the UK’s immigrant communities – I’ve had some interesting conversations with people who have immigrated from the Indian sub-continent recently… they want as little to do with the European Union as the rest of us (assuming that the people I’ve spoken to have views which are representative of the demographic).

  14. Duyfken
    July 27, 2011

    Rather than being given a right of veto, which any of our British pusillanimous governments would surely fail to exercise, we should be given the right to opt-in, so that any new laws or other matters adopted by the EU would not apply to UK until and unless parliament agreed in each case (or if agreed by national referendum).

    1. uanime5
      July 27, 2011

      Personally I agree with the part about national referendums, especially if it also applies to domestic laws.

  15. Bill
    July 27, 2011

    Agree but to a majority of the population the EU just isn’t an issue

    Maybe on day it will be

  16. Epigenes
    July 27, 2011

    Mr Redwood, in a perfect world the approach you advocate would be fine but what about its pragmatism?

    I suspect there would be constant acrimony between the electorate and Westminster wrt EU law that was deemed acceptable. Con/Lab/Lib administrations will continue to force inappropriate laws on the electorate because they will be pro – EU. Not many in the Westminster club think as you do.

    Norway and Switzerland have already accomplished what you suggest so why not adopt their status?

    1. uanime5
      July 27, 2011

      Norway and Switzerland comply with almost all EU laws. I suspect that if we want their status we will have to do the same.

      1. Denis Cooper
        July 28, 2011

        Incorrect, Norway has to apply fewer than one in five EU laws, and the fraction will be even lower for Switzerland.

      2. APL
        July 28, 2011

        uanime5: “I suspect that if we want their status we will have to do the same.”

        No, we could simply arrange our domestic affairs in the manner that suits us.

        As for exports to the EU, just manufacturer for the foreign market, just like exporting to the US or if we could China.

        Norway does have to pay Danegeld to the EU, but that is largely because they are a relativity small population and a fairly small economy compared to the UK.

        UK economy is ranked sixth by world GDP compared to Norway’s economy ranked something like 26th.

        It’s in the interests of the European Union to trade with an independent UK on much more favorable terms than Norway can achieve.

  17. Pete
    July 27, 2011


    You make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, what you propose will never happen.

    The present ruling class doesn’t have the guts to even think about trying to implement your ideas.

    Too many of them would hate to miss out on their chance to bury their snouts in the EUSSR gravy trough.

  18. Jackie N
    July 27, 2011

    I am surprised by this John, you usually have the most sound arguments and pr[o]scriptions, John…but it seems as if you have reverted to la-la land thinking if you genuinely believe any of the above would either happen or be allowed/encouraged to happen either from the UK or EU side. No wonder proper Eurosceptics think suggestions like these are deluded and have such antipathy for people who aren’t Better Off Outers. The case for how we could not be in the EU but disapply anything or disadvanantage/harm negotiations by having such a veto would be made loud and clear ahead of the argument you put forth, as it would be deemed too looking backwards. Even Cameron would not spring for that far of a renegotiation of our EU relationship, Enhanced cooperation would/will now trump any country trying to bloc or veto Brussels proposals. No wonder the moves and thrust of the general direction of the Eurosceptic argument is leaning towards calling for either Out or a referendum…you should get behind the People’s Pledge campaign for a referendum like many of your colleagues to truly reconnect with the people and electorate!

  19. Alan
    July 27, 2011

    As a supporter of the EU I find it difficult to comment on these sorts of proposals. If we could indeed get all the benefits to our trade without having to take part in any aspect of the EU that we did not like, and that we could still have a full influence on EU policy, then we should go for that. But I find it difficult to believe that we could move to that happy state of affairs. To me it seems fanciful.

    Our exports to the EU would have been greater if we had joined the euro and the Schengen area. We chose not to do so, mainly because of internal politics – the fear that others would run our economy and that people would enter this country without our immigration authorities being able to check them. It would be the same if we withdrew further, we would lose financially but have the satisfaction of running things our way. Maybe that is what people want, but we ought to accept we will end up poorer.

    1. MickC
      July 28, 2011

      Independence has a cost but the price of prostitution is much, much higher.

  20. GJ Wyatt
    July 27, 2011

    I hope your eminently reasonable suggestion is picked up by policy-makers.
    In fact politicians’ and commentators’ reactions to it would be a good litmus test of their own reasonableness.

  21. lindsay McDougall
    July 27, 2011

    Bravo. Exactly right in every respect. But in a sense these remarks are wasted in a blog. You need to make a major speech in Parliament setting out your ideas. Surely there are enough Conservative Eurosceptic back benchers who will accept your leadership on this issue.

  22. Brian Tomkinson
    July 27, 2011

    I do not think that the EU would agree to your proposal. They would reject it, call our bluff and implicitly challenge the government to leave or accept their rules. A government then failing to follow through, which I fear this one would, would have shown its abject weakness and be totally subservient to the anti-democratic EU. When will the electorate be asked what they want?

    1. APL
      July 30, 2011

      Brian Tomkinson: “They would reject it, call our bluff and implicitly challenge the government to leave or accept their rules”

      Just imagine the BBC & Guardian, hysterical wouldn’t describe it.

  23. Graham Cook
    July 27, 2011

    Sorry John but it just sounds like a fairy tale – not going to happen is it and you know it!!

  24. Javelin
    July 27, 2011

    Without Fiscal Union the Euro will pull itself apart. Even the German finance minister has just said this. The obstacle is that several countries will need a referendum. Im not sure the Germans will agree to this so I think the Euro will break apart. Simple as that.

  25. REPay
    July 27, 2011

    Free trade (already guaranteed) and cooperation on policing and border controls. Friendly cooperation on everything else. I think this is what we sold originally!

  26. Norman Dee
    July 27, 2011

    The problem with Europe at it’s simplest level is everyone in it cannot see why the whole place doesn’t work to the same rules as their country, because they are obviously so good ! We are probably the worst for that, the history of British expats who move to foreign countries and end up complaining that the local laws and customs are stupid, and why don’t they do it like us, is legend. We need to cooperate and enjoy the differences, get on with making the whole place more comfortable for the population of each country, but remember it is not necessarily the way we would do it.

  27. Publius
    July 27, 2011

    Don’t tell us, tell your friend the Prime Minister!

    What can we do? Vote for you? We already did that.

  28. John C
    July 27, 2011

    I cannot disagree with a word of today’s post.

    However, it would need someone of the calibre of Thatcher in her prime to fight both the continentals and our Whitehall mandarins. Sadly, I don’t think that Cameron is up to the job and there is certainly not a majority in parliament to force the issue.

    I know you think it’s a wasted vote but I’ll be voting UKIP simply to register my disagreement with the EU policies of the three main parties. It’s the only choice I feel I have.

  29. AndyC71
    July 27, 2011

    All good reasonable stuff. The proper restoration of a UK veto is I guess what a lot of people – myself included – assumed messrs Cameron and Hague were on about when they first proposed their sovereignty bill. They should be encouraged to propose another one, with meaning this time.

    Restoring UK sovereignty of course does not involve an immediate bonfire of all things Europe; this point is often not well made, and is always worth stressing. Switzerland incorporates large amounts of EU regulation, but does it through choice, for example. Much European co-operation is desirable and beneficial.

    Doing this is actually simple, once the political will is there at Westminster; the 1972 Act merely needs amending. No international agreement needed. Unruffling feathers in Europe would be a challenge perhaps, but would of course provide some much needed gainful employment for Mr Hague and the Foreign Office.

    But it’s a matter of political will, here in the UK. On current evidence there is none at the top of the Conservative Party, and find it odd that messrs Redwood, Cash et al seem such lone voices in a party so allegedly full of ‘eurosceptics’. The fact is that a majority of Conservative MPs continue to vote for more integration, not less. Largely I suspect because they like a quiet life. I’m aware the historic parallel is inexact, but we could do with another Joseph Chamberlain… someone not afraid to give the Westminster boat a severe rocking.

  30. David Price
    July 27, 2011

    “There would be no immediate revolution. The day after such a change the UK would still have the full panoply of EU law.”

    If not “revolution” there had still better be significant changes that directly benefit the UK the day after, otherwise what would have been the point.

    No doubt constitutional changes, such as introducing an English/British bill of rights or whatever, might take a measured tempo but everything else must be treated as a matter of urgency;

    – stop the cash flow to the EU, balance the books within a month
    – immediate cessation of migration, right of abode and work and benefits
    – immediate re-establishment of territorial waters and cessation of outside access to fisheries
    – withdrawl of all forces from mainland Europe and non-NATO/treaty based activities

    I imagine a number activities of mutual benefit will continue but why should any of this wait, the EU certainly won’t be waiting around so we had better act like we have a plan.

  31. Jose
    July 27, 2011

    Great ideas Mr Redwood, how are you going to ‘persuade’ all of those self-serving civil servants that it’s something that we want to do?

  32. NeilMc
    July 27, 2011

    That all makes such sense it quite obviously will never happen. All parties in opposition are eurosceptic, and all parties in power are euro federalist. As you are painfully aware, Cameron and Hague are now both keen eurofiles and will not allow something as trifling as democracy to stand in the way of their goals.

    It must make you very frustrated John. A large majority of the people, ie. those who pay politicians wages, support you, but your government flagrantly ignore them. Ultimately, at their peril, as the people only remain supine for so long. In the long term they will have had enough. It is only the timing still outstanding.

  33. cosmic
    July 27, 2011

    To do as you suggest in establishing a veto over all matters, either involves persuading the others to go along with it, or doing it unilaterally. How would this work under the treaties that are already in place? The intention of the EU has always been ever closer union and it’s hard to see such a UK demand being accepted, leading to a torrent of demands from other nations and the federalist dream becoming derailed. The efforts to shore up the Euro, contrary to the treaties, show the determination to create a single European state.

    It ls basically a question of IN or OUT. We either go along with the federalist plan as the EU offers no other, or we are a sovereign nation. The idea that we can be in the EU, but do as we please, isn’t tenable and we would be deceiving ourselves to believe it was a realistic option. In any case, to bring about such a thing would require a credible walk away position which would have to be withdrawal, otherwise what would happen when the others said no?

  34. Deborah
    July 27, 2011

    Great idea. So simple yet so effective.
    And what is the likelihood of Cameron adopting it?

  35. Mr Leslie Smith
    July 27, 2011

    The “Gravy Train ” higher level civil servants in Brussels want countries such as Britain, to take back “democratic powers to the People” like a hole in the head. The EU accounts have failed audits for over 15 years and until transparency over the spending our our taxes is resolved and implemented, we should take no futher part in this corrupt Club. Except, of course, to fight and veto where our National Interest in involved. The Gravy Train Eurocrats do not want democracy to work. It would not help to achieve their passionate cause and ultimate goal, nor protect their huge pension pots. The Eurocrats want a fully fledged Federal Europe, which would mean we would be a Region of Europe. ( no longer a Sovereign and Independent Country) Many of our young died in the Second World War to avoid such an outcome , where Germany ran a much wider Europe, from the centre. Beware!!! This massive financial crisis is our opportunity to take back power or the Eurocrats will take a lot more of our “borrowed money” in loans and taxes. Once Britain is truly broke and bankrupt, them the Eurocrats will take our Country

  36. Paul H
    July 27, 2011

    It does rather beg the question of how many other European populations would prefer a similar kind of arrangement, given the short history of referenda (initally ignored and now simply avoided – including by Cameron) saying “no” in various languages. It would of course be harder for countries currently in the € to reach such an accommodation.

  37. Norman Dee
    July 27, 2011

    And so it begins, the Germans are now asking that countries should give up part of the sovereignty if they receive bailouts, this will provide food for the German conspiracy theories.

  38. forthurst
    July 27, 2011

    “The new veto would allow us to say No to to any law or proposal emanting from Brussels”

    Why don’t we allow ourselves the privilege of saying no to new laws emanating from Washington, Moscow, Beijing or Tel Aviv while we are at it? (They don’t pass laws for u8s-ed) Why do we also not recognise that many of the bad laws and bad decisions which have reduced us to what we have become were instigated or perpetrated against England by British Passport holders who were not in point of fact English and further had rather more loyalty to some other …. little country somewhere else, whether part of the UK or not, than to us?

    It is time to recognise that allowing those of foreign extraction of whatever nominal nationality to make our laws is national suicide. Their inate loyalties and ours are not the same and never can be. Voting for our further integration within Europe is voting for more (migrants-ed), more ‘thought’ crime law, more violent criminals, more affirmative action, more bailouts for them, and as we proceed on our spiral of decline, for us. The USSR finally fractured into more pieces than existed at the time of the Czars, and in the USA there is a growing disenchantment amongst the red states for belonging to a superstate engineered to be of mixed and incompatible (people-ed) whose Federal government has systematically attempted to deprive the people of the liberties endowed on them by their Founding Fathers by using the 9/11 false flag as an excuse for introducing the Patriot Act with its statutary ‘groping’ and for prosecuting the never ending ‘War on Terror’. Why do we continue to delude ourselves that the EUSSR will be any more enduring or any more benign?

  39. Uncle Bob
    July 27, 2011

    It’s hard to find anything to disagree with in this post, but sadly the Libdems would try to block it and Labour would help them as they’d do anything to foster a serious coalition split. It’s a 2nd term policy I’m afraid.

    You are right in the fallacy of thinking that EU countries would stop buying UK goods if we had a looser tie to the EU. Am I right in thinking that under WTO rules they couldn’t impose more than a 1% tariff on imports? Not that they would anyway as you yourself stated they trade even more goods to us. It is the economic argument that will determine our future in Europe. Obviously the £13 billion or so annual cost of membership could certainly be put to use on dealing with our deficit, but also the effect of having control of our own waters would have a tremendous effect on our fishing industry, ensuring a more profitable and sustainable future for our coastal areas, we could selectively reduce unnecessary red tape that strangles businesses and entrepeneurship and allow us to be the enterprising trading nation we so famously were.

  40. Pete
    July 27, 2011

    An excellent idea – but is Dave listening ?

    Probably not, but has his hands over his ears going La-LA-LA_LA………… as usual when it comes to listening to what the electorate want.

    1. APL
      July 30, 2011

      Pete: ” .. listening to what the electorate want.”

      Perhaps he knows, but just ignores us.

      In actual fact, I rather think Cameron is better suited to lead the Lib-Dem party. A Tory he ain’t!

  41. Bernard Otway
    July 27, 2011

    Two excellent pieces John,one question I would like your comment on though.Why do you think Conservative Home have not picked up on these two at all,I just checked 1315pm,I would have thought that your views were very worthy of comment,they MUST look at your site
    I would have thought.I advise all my fellow UKIP people to read your site and Conhome
    particularly the comments,because to me I take the temperature and pulse of Ordinary conservative thinking from them.So I see something sinister in their Lack of comment,I
    actually think they don’t want to open your ideas up to debate ,knowing that there will be 90% agreement from their commenters,it would be very interesting to Know Lord Ashcroft’s
    views on the EU,after all he is the owner of the site.

  42. Phil
    July 27, 2011

    John – EVERYONE I meet wants us to get out of Europe! I thought all you politicians cared about was getting re-elected? For once you can do the right thing for the country and win a landslide.
    Even my left-wing friends are becoming very eurosceptic. Call a referendum and UKIP voters like myself are back in the Conservative fold tomorrow!

  43. John Bracewell
    July 27, 2011

    I can see how this would work for new laws from the EU which we could ratify or not, but what happens about the money side of things. Can we say No to the amount of our EU contribution, No to an increase in the budget for 2014-2020 or No to any bailouts for the Eurozone, could we really opt out of agriculture or fisheries policies retrospectively. The other problem I see is why would the EU care whether the UK agrees to more centralised Euro area government? the UK is not part of the Euro area and the EU will do what they want without the UK’s agreement, they usually do. It is not clear why the EU would give the UK a modified veto of any kind, and how would the veto be modified?

  44. Andrew Smith
    July 27, 2011

    So long as the veto worked on powers transferred in the past as well as prospective transfers in the future then this would be a painless way for the spineless coalition government to achieve something.

    They won’t do it.

  45. Steve S
    July 27, 2011

    Can anyone explain the reason why the really UK consented to qualified majority voting? (I know the spin was it was needed to streamline the decision making process). It seems to me that the introduction of this voting system on important decisions allowed the superstate to evolve in the first place. The EU should never have allowed itself to integrate further without obtaining 100% agreement from all countries. Restoring the veto to the UK would be the first step along the way to total withdrawal, and would be most welcome.

  46. fairweather
    July 27, 2011

    Sounds a good solution

    Have you sugested it to David Cameron, and if so what are his objections?

    I fear it would be all too much trouble to negotiate and better to stick to the status quo

  47. Robert Ward
    July 27, 2011

    First class Mr Redwood your views in my opinion have never been totaly political, just plain honest to goodness commom sense. A great asset lacking in to many politicians today.

  48. Robert Eve
    July 27, 2011

    I’d rather we left – lock, stock & barrel.

  49. TimC
    July 27, 2011

    Sounds like a one line amendment to the Treaty/Constitution:=”Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this document or any applicable preceeding document any provision of the treaty or associated regulation shall not apply to the United Kingdom if the Royal assent has been granted to an act of derogation specifying such provision or regulation”

  50. David Hearnshaw
    July 27, 2011

    John talks good sense on this issue but the chances of it happening whilst Cameron and Clegg have any influence are close to zero. Cameron has broken promise after promise on the EU – he is in thrall to it! Expect more of the same.

    1. norman
      July 28, 2011

      I wouldn’t say he’s in thrall to the EU. He probably doesn’t care one way or the other. Just another meeting in the long line of meetings that makes up his life.

      Like Nick Clegg’s Great Repeal Bill or the Bonfire of the Quangos once you get down to actually doing anything it’s far easier to go native, shrug your shoulders and ignore whatever issue us idiotic proles have a bee in our bonnets about this week.

  51. EJT
    July 27, 2011

    A mechanism for phased withdrawal, at our discretion and at our pace. Logical, but
    1. It probably will be seen as such, and resisted as such
    2. Do we really have a veto “to trade” ?

  52. English Pensioner
    July 27, 2011

    It is not a question of what the UK wants or needs, it’s what our senior politicians and Civil Service Mandarins want!
    To most of them the EU is a career path – for civil servants all those lovely highly paid posts in Brussels and for politicians, there are all those Commissioner posts, and perhaps for one ex-Prime Minister the chance of becoming President of Europe (OK, Blair failed, but it doesn’t prevent Cameron having a go!).
    And of course for our UK Civil Servants there is guaranteed employment interpreting, gold-plating and then enforcing the volumes of regulations being produced by the EU on every imaginable subject.
    I suspect that you would be hard put to find a Civil Servant above middle management level who cannot see some personal advantage in remaining in the EU, and I wouldn’t be surprised if at least three quarters of the Cabinet and Senior MPs see it the same way.

  53. Denis Cooper
    July 27, 2011

    As the first line of the Treaty of Rome committed the EEC countries to a process of “ever closer union”, and that was repeated in the Maastricht Treaty on European Union, inevitably “ever closer union” is what we will continue to get unless we withdraw from the present EU treaties and agree a new treaty which preferably would state the opposite – that the signatory states are determined to maintain themselves as independent sovereign states, voluntarily co-operating for the limited purposes laid down in the treaty.

    It may well be that some other countries, especially some of the eastern European countries which got sucked into the EU, would also prefer an alternative treaty of that kind.

    1. Peter van Leeuwen
      July 27, 2011

      Luring other countries into an UK arrangement would diminish the UK’s chances, as it might be perceived as a threat by the EU.

      1. Denis Cooper
        July 28, 2011

        That’s tantamount to an admission that some other EU countries would also prefer to not be corralled into a inexorable process of “ever closer union”, and so if the UK making a stand helped them that would be a good thing.

  54. Tim
    July 27, 2011

    I agree with your comments Mr Redwood but would change the bits where you say UK Government and changed it to the British people. Politicians should be delivering what we want, not what they want. They should be our servants and they could start by giving us our In/Out referendum!!
    I am fed up with successive Governments and failed promises. There is no real change from Labour since the last election.

  55. Acorn
    July 27, 2011

    JR, I hope you have read Tim Morgan’s “Thinking the Unthinkable”. It will be up to the likes of you to put the “Liberty Agenda” into action. We have got to get serious now. Time to put 24/7 tabloid England in the bin.

  56. uanime5
    July 27, 2011

    Why stop at a veto at a European level, why not add it to domestic politics as well? I’m sure there are many councils who would love to be able to veto inconvenient laws from Parliament.

    Regarding my own opinion I vote that we stay bound to the EU simply so that there is something that can constrain the Government. Until Parliament cease to be composed of millionaires whose sole motives are to further their business interests and line their own pockets the less power they have the better.

    1. APL
      July 28, 2011

      uamime5: ” .. EU simply so that there is something that can constrain the Government. ”

      Well, in the normal course of events that would be the rule of law and the Courts.

  57. Jan Mac
    July 27, 2011

    Mr Redwood

    Perhaps out of context but maybe not. Have read that the Bank of Ireland has been bought out, investors unknow.
    Do you know of this and what will be the implications for the British Government (ie British taxpayer) who have funded the loans to the Irish bank?.

    1. APL
      July 28, 2011
  58. NeilMc
    July 27, 2011

    Just back from California. Drove down the ‘Redwood Highway’! Maybe if we could instigate this in the UK, we could have our referendum and finally get what the country wants. Go John!

  59. tsetsetse
    July 27, 2011

    On GuardianBC radio news today we were told that William Hague and the PM had decided to expel the Libyan gov. reps from London. We know governments disregard what “Most British people” want, but isn’t it necessary any longer to even pretend we have cabinet government?

  60. Peter van Leeuwen
    July 27, 2011

    Mr Redwood, because you don’t mention EFTA or EEA, I assume that this “à la carte” arrangement comprises more. Am I correct here?
    The main EU concern I imagine would be ensuring a level playing field. No Dutchman would e.g. like a (theoretical) sweatshop across the North Sea provide unfair competition with equal privileges. But I assume that there must be arrangements which ensure fair competition with Switzerland and Norway, and such could be applied for the UK as well. Success with your endeavour!

    1. APL
      July 28, 2011

      PvL: “No Dutchman would e.g. like a (theoretical) sweatshop across the North Sea provide unfair competition with equal privileges.”

      But you are OK with actual sweatshops in China with what in some instances (are worse-ed)?

      1. APL
        August 2, 2011

        A Taiwanese company (well known etc -ed) has made its employees sign a no suicide pact as a condition of employment.

        That is in Taiwan, Imagine what it is like for employees in the glorious peoples republic of China.

  61. Kenneth
    July 27, 2011

    Mr Redwood, your post is very constructive and something that appears to reach out to a wider audience than the usual Right wing clan and sympathisers like me.

    I see arguments about the eu falling into two categories: (i) the lack of democracy; (ii) the unfavourable political direction of the eu.

    I am sure that you will gain wider support in Parliament, across all parties, if you push the democracy message and leave behind your political arguments against the eu.

  62. zorro
    July 27, 2011

    ‘A state with problems, that receives help, must be willing to give some of its sovereign rights to the EU’ (aka Germania)….Wolfgagng Schauble, German Finance Minister….Well that’s cleared that up Herr Schauble….

    As I mentioned on ann earlier blog, the price for these bailouts would be the Germans demanding their free Greek beach huts, free Porto, and Irish whisky. They will print money, inflate their debt away, and sell their goods to their ‘debt slave’ European market (always their game plan), ( etc,etc ed) Where do we fit in with this scenario, or will our political class submit meekly? Of course, we have cast iron Dave’s copper bottomed, platinum encased pledge that we will not join….so no problems there.

    zorro (originally submitted at 1342hrs today)

  63. Brian Tomkinson
    July 28, 2011

    I wonder why my comment sent yesterday wasn’t posted.

  64. John Barton
    July 28, 2011

    The EU reminds me of our comprehensive schools. Instead of bringing everybody up to some sort of standard, it brings everyone down to the worst pupil.

  65. cuffleyburgers
    July 28, 2011

    Unfortunately we are trapped in a situation where Cameron and Hague are quite happy to continue the process of betrayal.

    The only people who can stop them short of some violent event which I would prefer not to happen, are the likes of you and your allegedly eurosceptic colleagues in Parliament.

    Hold the executive to account, volubly and persistently. Bore them into submission on the target.

    Then we might believe you are serious about it.

    You will be doing them a favour, because it is all bound to break one day, and when it does it won’t be pretty.

  66. APL
    July 28, 2011

    JR: “How much Europe does the UK want?”

    I’ll offer an awnser to an alternative question.

    Q. How much UK does the European Union want?

    A. All of it!

  67. Jon Burgess
    July 28, 2011

    There could ony ever be a choice of fully in (warts and all) or out (and make our own way in the world).

    I’m for fully out, that’s why I’ll vote for UKIP.

  68. Peter Hulme Cross
    July 29, 2011

    Very sensible. A bit too sensible for the people in charge at the moment.

    Just think! They would have to have a strategy. They would have to rediscover “what is in Britain’s interests”. They would have to ‘stand up for Britain’.

    That excuses the LibDems for a start. And I can just hear Cameron saying (in relation to John Redwood) “Well, he has some eccentric views, yes…”

    We mustn’t forget ‘Sir Humphrey’ who would fight it tooth and nail – “We wouldn’t have our seat at the top table, Prime Minister. We would lose influence….”

    Unfortunately this opportunity to re-evaluate our relationship with the EU comes at a time when we have the most europhile, spineless, and deaf (to the views of his natural supporters) Prime Minister since Edward Heath, so don’t expect anything to change anytime soon.

  69. Winston's Black Dog
    July 29, 2011

    …..”The UK could still take part in trying to find a common EU law in chosen areas, but both sides would be in a better position at the negotiating table. The EU would know we could not veto it, and we would know they could not force it on us.”…..

    Sounds good in theory but the reality is that we are needed to pay for it whether directly or by stealth via the IMF as your patriotic colleagues voted for earlier this month.

  70. rose
    August 2, 2011

    You couldn’t have put the case more sweetly or reasonably just now on Newsnight, and the Liberal woman couldn’t have been more boot-faced in her intransigence. Yet I was still surprised by how far the BBC presenter appeared to have moved. Has the centre ground changed at last?

    Reply: Even the BBC is coming to understand there is a crisis in the EU and many people in the UK do not want to be dragged in more.

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