Beware the EU six pack


            The EU is close to agreeing new measures to give it control over Europe’s economies.  It will come as  a “six pack” – six directives and regulations to try to ensure that in future, unlike the past, the EU will control budget deficits, spending levels and tax levels to restore stability.

           The UK will agree to all this. The government will claim it is all about sorting out the Euro. They will argue that of course the Euro area needs the EU to meddle and control budgets. After all, it is Euro states borrowing too much which has landed them in a great mess. Surely it is time for the EU to put a stop to it. The UK will be safely opted out.

                It is true that four of the six measures apply just to the Euro zone members. So far so good.

               However, the other two apply to all member states of the EU including the UK. One demands that the UK tables a budgetary framework with the Commission.  The country is meant to comply with the “reference values on deficit and debt in the Treaty”, and to adopt a multi annual fiscal planning horizon and submit its homework to Brussels to be marked.

               The other is a proposal for a surveillance regulation. The EU wishes the UK to submit “for the purpose of multilateral surveillance at regular intervals under Article 121 of the Treaty in the form of a convergence programme, which provides an essential basis for price stability and for strong sustainable growth conducive to employment creation”. The EU  “shall monitor the economic policies in the light of convergence programme objectives with a view to ensure that their policies are geared to stability and thus to avoid real exchange rate misalignments”  etc

            The government will say it does not have to submit new documents – the EU can read the Budget Red Book for itself. As practically no-one else seems to read the book, that at least would be a use for it. They will say the EU can give us advice but cannot impose penalties. The government already has to submit figures, and the EU already passes judgement or gives an opinion.

              However, it still entails obligations on the UK to submit facts and figures and to hear the EU’s view of our policies. They do still regard our exchange rate as a matter of concern, just as they did when the UK political establishment wrongly put our exchange rate into the EU managed system with such disastrous results. I would be happier if we were clearly opted out of the entire six measures. Their passage offers a great opportunity to the UK to start to redefine its relationship.

                 As the government agrees we cannot and should not join in the Euro, there is no need for us to work with them in any way on budgets, taxes and exchange rates. Doing so merely encourages them.

              Some of their aims are a good idea. If only the UK had kept its deficit down to 3% and its stock of debt to 60% of GDP, we would all be better off. However, that misses the point. These new proposals wish to tighten the surveillance, and give the EU more say over the UK’s economic policy. This policy has to be settled in the UK Parliament, and to be one of the main items debated in elections, if we are to be a democracy.

                  It is scary that the draft regulation seems to regard the UK exchange rate as common property where the EU should have its say. When they last did that properly through the ERM it did untold damage to our economy.

                   The Uk needs to be opted out of all of this. What may make sense for the Euro area should be irrelevent to states with no intention of ever joining.


  1. norman
    September 24, 2011

    While I agree wholeheartedly with everything here I can’t help but think (tongue firmly in cheek) that when the next Labour government rolls around we’ll be glad of this interfering!

    Of course, a wizard of smart like Gordon Brown will simply obfuscate and hide things away in vehicles like the PFI.

    I wonder if there will be any cap on how much a government can tax and spend rather than just looking at borrowing limits?

    That would be interesting!

  2. Duyfken
    September 24, 2011

    In agreeing fully with what you write, I remain astounded that the UK government would wish to opt in to the two measures you have discussed. What are the motives of Cameron and his Cabinet in doing such things which patently are against the interests of the UK? And are not these a significant encroachment on our sovereignty and matters which should be debated in Parliament (or even, for heaven’s sake, put to the country in a referendum)?

    So if we submit budgets etc to the EU for “surveillance”, what happens if those self-appointed masters decide we are not doing things the way they want us to – will they have the power to make us change? When it is said that they wish to “monitor”, that just seems like a euphemism for “control”, since the former is pointless without some element of the latter.

    This is just a continuation of the way we are absorbed into the EU by stealth, with little bits of our sovereignty being steadily eroded.

    1. Barry Sheridan
      September 24, 2011

      Mr Cameron and the government he heads are not interested in representing Britain. They are Euro-centric socialists whose aims are in line with those of the political clique that has long sought untrammelled power over Europe’s people.

  3. Ian
    September 24, 2011

    I suspect that George Eustace and his neo-eurosceptics love this six pack, because most of the public won’t understand its implications, and because it’s opposed by swivel-eyed realists. Who needs the LibDems when you’ve got the enemy within?

  4. James Drake
    September 24, 2011

    I am at a loss to explain to people of sound business acumen why on earth you are not part of the Treasury and/or Business Dept. Keep up the good work-fortune favours the brave-especially when the future proves you are correct.

    1. dan
      September 24, 2011

      I am at a loss as to why he remains in a Consevative Party so hell bent on destroying the UK….but then blogging is a lot easier than costly principled stands..

      1. davidb
        September 24, 2011

        JR gets more airtime and is taken more seriously than any of the UKIP “elected” members. There’s not much chance of him being listened to outside of the party he is in. Political parties are broad churches. Some people in Labour support Socialism, and some Libdems are actually Liberal. If you don’t like what you read here you are free to go elsewhere.

        1. APL
          September 25, 2011

          davidb: “There’s not much chance of him being listened to outside of the party he is in.”

          Sadly there doesn’t seem to be much chance of him being listened to by the likes of David Cameron, George Osoborne, ‘Chris’ Huhne, either.

          As the sole remaning ‘right winger’ in the Tory party with a media profile, he would get an enormous amount of publicity should he leave to form a New Conservative party/ Independent Conservative party – and could act as a rallying point for disaffected tory and rightist Labour factions.

          But that is John for you, loyal to the party that has betrayed the country countless times.

          Reply: It’s not publicity that is needed, but votes.

  5. lifelogic
    September 24, 2011

    We should agree to nothing without taking back all powers over the UK.

    1. lifelogic
      September 24, 2011

      I relation to the Blackpool shale gas find – I see from James Delingpole’s Blog that Chris Huhne, energy and climate change secretary, has already stated (on Monday) that – The UK’s “dash for gas” will be halted by the government because if unchecked it would break legally binding targets for carbon dioxide emissions.

      How can we get rid of this man and his lunatic 41p per KWHour electricity feed in tariffs (when the going rate should be 4p).

      Growth – this will be halted by government because we do not want any growth and have agree to legally binding rules to stop any. We prefer a silly happiness index thank you. Is this Cameron’s line?

      Reply: I am pressing for action to have affordable energy in the UK. We are awaiting a government report on how to stop high energy prices damaaging UK industry, which might be a start.

      1. lifelogic
        September 24, 2011

        Good JR please keep at it – the current policy is completely insane even if you accept the fashionable CO2 devil gas exaggeration theory.

        The liberals are still going on about making London buses taxis and even new trams electric and zero emission because it is cheaper by 2020.

        Firstly electric is only cheaper due to huge fiscal bias in favour of electric.
        Secondly it is not zero emission – electric (generation, transmission, battery to actual vehicle motion) is usually worse the internal combustion.

        When will the LibDems get real, join the real world and get a grip on real engineering and science.

      2. Electro-Kevin
        September 25, 2011

        Thanks for that, Mr Redwood. Any help is appreciated.

    2. APL
      September 25, 2011

      “shale gas find”

      How long before it is declared a ‘community resource’ and we find we are forced to sell to Germany at below market prices.

      Mind you the british politicians would only fritter it away on welfare payments, a bit like they did with North Sea oil revenue.

  6. Mick Anderson
    September 24, 2011

    New regulations from Europe…. Can we provide the Eurocrats with some brightly coloured plastic toys to keep them busy? Much cheaper and far less harmful.

    So, for these six regulations. Mr Cameron will claim that having an opt-out on two is a triumph, while Mr Clegg wil tell us that we would be better to accept all six. Mr Cable will assert that he predicted all sixteen rules, years ago.

    The European people will hate the rules, the bankers will use them to take larger profits, and the politicians will tell everyone that it’s the perfect solution and they have been working towards it for months.

    Most countries will ignore the rules with the tacit acceptance of Brussels, except the UK which will over-interpret the situation and follow all six rules slavishly.

    Mr Cameron will be accused of breaking his “cast iron” promise of a referendum because of new diktat, and he will tell us that no significant new powers have been passed to the EU. We are, apparently, deliberately twisting what he told us – don’t be so silly.

    The markets will be pacified for a few days, then the Eurocrats will be faced once more by confidence running downhill with the undue haste of a rabbit on a promise (Les Dawson, gone but not forgotten).

    Nothing ever changes in the ivory towers. The sun always shines, the world loves and trusts the EU, and the proles are gratefully obedient.

    1. Derek Buxton
      September 24, 2011

      Don’t worry, accept four and in a short time we will find that we have all six plus one or two of our very own. The EU is not going to stop until it enslaves all the countries who currently think they are Nation States!

    2. APL
      September 25, 2011

      Mick Anderson: “Can we provide the Eurocrats with some brightly coloured plastic toys to keep them busy? Much cheaper and far less harmful.”

      I am afraid we have been, the European rapid reaction force – another conservative consession, the joint Euro strike aircraft etc, etc.

      Trouble is, they liked them so much they now want all the brightly colored toys.

  7. alan jutson
    September 24, 2011

    Agree with what you say John, but had we managed our own affairs in much more competent manner then we could have taken the moral high ground with our arguments, now it will be a long drawn out slog, which I predict will end in capitulation.

    Certainly the EURO area needs to do something to try and get some sense of control over the chaotic mess that is an excuse for a managed single policy (limits of debt), they cannot forever keep on bailing out failures, as it will self destruct, but what will they do with those Country’s who constantly fail, take over the management of them, fine them !

    No point in having lots of regulations in place, if you cannot enforce compliance.

    Will this require a debate and vote in Parliament, or will it just be agreed (or rejected) like so many other directives.

    Time for those who want us to be in control of our own affairs to stand up and be counted, otherwise what is Parliament for.

  8. Greg
    September 24, 2011

    Going by past performance our government will instantly give away any bargaining chips we have and surrender to whatever ridiculous and anti democratic drivel comes from Brussels. The last 30 years have proved that our politicians are not to be trusted with the simplest problem let alone the duty to safeguard Britain’s democracy.

    1. lifelogic
      September 24, 2011

      Correct – and I suspect this would be so, even if Cameron was not in a Libdem arm lock.

      Will the sensible wing just accept again?

  9. me
    September 24, 2011

    If it becomes clear that increasing numbers will vote UKIP at the next election the government might follow the course of action you prefer.

    If UKIP are not considered a threat then they will cave in to the EU as usual.

    And that’s a cast iron promise.

  10. Antisthenes
    September 24, 2011

    They already have similar rules which were blatantly disregarded so how one now written in stone rather than on paper is going to stop these rules from being disregarded again in the future. Of course they will not be as expediency will override responsibility as EU nations find they cannot pay for the things that they have put in place for their citizens that they will not allow to be taken away. We now have a culture of the state provides and the individual feels no obligation to provide for themselves. Because of this there are not enough of us creating the wealth to pay for the states largess’s. If so called social improvements had been linked to economic reality and a closer scrutiny of the consequences of social engineering legislation then this current mess would have been largely avoided. Instead of an orderly capitalist and free market system we are now burdened with a statist, corporatist and semi-Marxist one. The EU of course is a vehicle for the extension of the social project if it had been a project for the enhancement of national economies then it would have not progressed any further than when it was a common market. These rules of the EU are in themselves sensible but are not ones that that the EU should be administering but individual states. However we can thank the EU for reminding us that economic governance should be given priority and that in the past giving social projects preeminence has proved a disaster. If nation states take on board these rules then of course the social projects now in place will have to be rolled back to a point where they can be afforded. That will mean that the EU will be seen for what it is that it is a brake on prosperity. It will also mean that competitiveness, entrepreneurship, self-reliance and individual responsibility will become fashionable again and that growth can be restarted.

  11. Peter Richmond
    September 24, 2011

    Could not agree more with you, Mr Redwood, Sir. But given our track record so far it would seem that we shall meekly give in – no doubt after some blustering in the domestic press. Why is it that our politicians are so meek and mild when it comes to the EU? It beggars belief. The cynic in me concludes that it is to benefit from the additional career path that enables politicians to age more affluently with their European peers who are paid so much more than members of our house of ‘peers’.

    1. lifelogic
      September 24, 2011

      That the power of the political parties, EU special tax rules and the weakness of voters yet still they pretend it is democracy.

  12. Peter van Leeuwen
    September 24, 2011

    If a looser relationship would be in Britain´s interest, fine, but it will come at a price, which may mainly be determined on the continent, the larger of the two negotiating partners. Half-members may end up with half-rights and half-advantages. Still, if this is what Britain wants, so be it. EU-oriented business will always be welcome to relocate to the Netherlands or other continental EU members.

    1. Tedgo
      September 24, 2011

      Frankly I am at a loss as to what the advantages are in being in the EU.

      1. Tim
        September 24, 2011

        Is it the £13.5 billion net it costs us annually?
        Is it the £9 billion it costs to implement its directives annually?
        Is it the billions in additional food costs for the CAP?
        Is it the loss of our entire fishing industry (400,000)?
        Is it the meddling in our Courts by the EU Human Rights Courts?
        Is it the £40 billion trade deficit last year or the £262 billion net deficit over 10 years?
        Is it the 40% of trade we do with the EU, some of that inflated as we export through Rotterdam and it counts as EU exports?
        Is it the 1000,000 unemployed 16-24 year olds undercut by Eastern Europeans on minimum wages by employers who do not pay for their public services, we do?
        Is it the flood of immigration we can’t control or our public services overwhelmed by foreign people?

        1. Peter van Leeuwen
          September 24, 2011

          @Tim: I’ve read most of these arguments before, only there is no such thing as an “EU Human Rights Court”.

          1. APL
            September 25, 2011

            Peter van Leeuwen: ” .. there is no such thing as an “EU Human Rights Court.”

            Oh come on Peter, one wrong out of nine ain’t bad.

            I guess you are referring to the European Court of Human rights and of course you are correct it is a body separate from the European Union.

            But for a person, myself included it is a bit much to expect a body to keep an eye on every NGO that gets set up and administered without consultation or agreement of us proles, what with getting on and earning a living an’ all.

            Given that the UK was instrumental in setting up the ECHR in the ’50s ‘cos we were worried that them foreigners didn’t know how the law really should work. We could probably withdraw from that at the same time we withdraw from the European Union.

            Two birds with one piece of legislation, if you like.

      2. lifelogic
        September 24, 2011

        The proponents do not seem to have any real arguments in favour either. They just waffle on about trade, a seat at the table, preventing wars or other irrelevant drivel.

        Personally I think they just enjoy their holiday in France and Tuscany (as indeed I do with my Italian wife) and extend from that.

        But to jump from a nice holiday to an end to democracy in the whole of Europe is rather a leap.

    2. norman
      September 24, 2011

      As Tedgo points out, the danger about placing the UK on half priveleges may be that no one in the UK notices anything deleterious about this state of affairs, which may lead to others wanting to be in Europe but not ran by Europe.

      If, and it’s a big if, we did find our economy tanking due to being out of the EU it’s not like they wouldn’t welcome us, and our multi-billion net contribution, back with open arms.

    3. Jon Burgess
      September 24, 2011

      A trading relationship was all we were ever asked to vote on in 1975 – not subdugation from Brussels. Had we known how it would end up, no-one would have been in favour of joining the EEC.

      If we only had a choice, I’d gladly take my chances being free from the EU’s clutches – complete and utter withdrawal from the EU would be the best thing that could happen to our economy and democracy – but this choice is one that is not on offer from the main parties.

      I don’t blame the Netherlands if it wishes to remain within the suffocating embrace – that’s up to them. I just like to be given the choice, so that’s why I will vote UKIP.

  13. APL
    September 24, 2011

    Ian: “I suspect that George Eustace and his neo-eurosceptics .. ”

    Yes, here is an opportunity to see just how EUrosceptic George Eustace and his brand spanking much vaunted EUrosceptic grouping actually is!

    Let’s see him and his Labour counterpart give the government a bloody nose and reject the ‘six pack’.

    JR: ” .. future is unlike the past … ”

    And utterly futile it will be too.

    We are in this situation because of a multitude of laws and regulations which by and large the regulators were unable or unwilling to enforce.

    By the way, even in the most sober economy in the Euro zone, there are now rumours that German banks are hiding one trillion dollars worth of investments that will make a loss. AKA ‘bad investments’.

    So, this ‘misbehavior’ by the banks is not restricted to the Anglo Saxon economies as the superior French would have us believe, but is a symptom of all economies where there is excessive collusion between the Bankers and Politicians has led to excessive but token regulations that are rarely or selectively implemented, a result of political interference and protection.

    In short the ‘Six Pack’ is exactly the same as we have already – the main difference being – once implemented Camerons EUrophillic administration would refuse to repeal it.

    As the European Union treaties are void through non performance by our treating partners, we are simply not obliged to implement these regulations.

    Reply: indeed – the issue for all members of the Eustice group is will they vote for less EU entanglement, as well as talk about it.

  14. English Pensioner
    September 24, 2011

    “What may make sense for the Euro area should be irrelevent to states with no intention of ever joining.”
    I’m quite convinced that there are still many civil service mandarins and politicians who would, in spite of everything, still like to see Britain join the Euro, and thus believe that any regulations that are part of the Euro set up must be “a good thing”.

    1. lifelogic
      September 24, 2011

      Certainly that seems to be the BBC and LibDem line.

  15. JimF
    September 24, 2011

    If what you say is true, we are being sucked into this Euro vortex and will as surely follow Greece down the plughole as if Brown was still PM.
    The acquiescence of Switzerland to the currency floor has clearly encouraged the boys in Brussels; it is deeply depressing that an economy such as theirs couldn’t deflate and hang on.
    At some stage you and others in your party need to stand up and say “enough” and move to UKIP. This thing about influencing from within rather than opposing from the other side will, in the end, not work. You will be dragged along with your party into another ERM peg, another currency deal, budget deal, whatever. All undoubtedly encouraged by the LibDems who wanted us there in the first place. You (and Hannan, Carswell etc.) have to at least give voters the chance to vote for you on your own beliefs and platform, not on a Euro-Con-LibDem one, which is as far away from you as Brown was.

    Reply: elected as Eurosceptic Conservatives, we intend to speak and vote as such. There is no need to switch to a party resoundingly rejected in 2010.

    1. JimF
      September 24, 2011

      But you are echoing and agreeing with UKIP policies to the letter!
      If politics was a game, sure, you’d want to play for Man United rather than say Bracknell Town. But politics is surely about ideas and policies, isn’t it?
      Do you just go for the side that wins regardless of its direction, ideas or policies?
      To manouevre away from this you’d have to set out definitive ideas and policies of the Conservatives which you agree with vs. UKIP which you don’t, rather than rubbishing them because they “never win”. You’re in government with a bunch of socialists who never win.

      Reply: UKIP came along after I had formed my views on the EU. They seem to spend most of their time attacking Conservatives instead of attacking Labour and Lib Dem federalists. Get over the idea that I should join UKIP – I am not going to. I stood as a Conservative, won as a Conservative, and intend to represent people as a Conservative. I also intend to keep on trying to persuade the Coalition to change its appraoch to the EU, as they happen to be in government with a majority in the Commons.UKIP are simply not relevant to the important debates and votes coming up in the Commons over the next three to four years.

      1. Tim
        September 25, 2011

        Whilst I agree with your sentiments Mr Redwood, you must surely realise that the vast majority of lifetime Tory voters have had enough “socialism” imposed on them after 13 years of hard Labour. We don’t see any difference from the coalition since the election, if anything its worse. Public spending up, immigration up, no removal of Human Rights legislation, no challenge or change to the EU, contributions up 72% last year to £13.5 billions net, bailouts (£6 billions) for Ireland, Portugal and the obvious waste of Greece, income and indirect taxes up. No reform of the welfare state etc etc. If all we keep getting is more of the same then something has got to change. If UKIP get some serious numbers in the European elections in 2014, we will see a whole different ball game. Can’t see much happening politically between then and now and the Country is being deliberately being ignored by our political leaders at their peril. Mr Cameron should stop his ego strutting the world stage, man up to the Liberals and start to deliver some Tory policies as above!!

    2. lifelogic
      September 24, 2011

      The UK electoral system makes UKIP a non starter at Westminster elections. Maybe at MEP level – but where they have no power anyway. We have to work with the system as it is. A sensible Tory party is the only, albeit rather dim, light at the end of the tunnel.

  16. Electro-Kevin
    September 24, 2011

    Why do they need a six pack ?

    For what they’re about to do to us they only require a pack of three !

  17. John B
    September 24, 2011

    The aim is inevitably to take the UK into the Euro. Certainly not just now but at some point in the future.

    It should be obvious that there is in fact a political monopoly in the UK – blue, red, yellow just being hybrids of the same rose, so to say – and that it is the intention of the non-political aristocracy to embroil the UK ever further in the EU project and to advance that to its logical conclusion, a fascist, authoritarian super-State to dominate the World.

    Far fetched? So much is, and so much shock expressed – didn’t see that coming – when the far-fetched passes into reality.

  18. Bob
    September 24, 2011

    There is something you can do – sign the EU referendum petition – it doesn’t cost anything.
    It’s the very least you can do.

    Sadly (predictably) the BBC have chosen to pretend it doesn’t exist.

    Reply: I support a referendum and have voted for one in the Commons.

    1. lifelogic
      September 24, 2011

      How many voted for one?

    2. Bob
      September 24, 2011

      Sorry John, the suggestion was intended for your readers, as I assumed that you and your fellow EU sceptics had already signed.

      I feel that the BBC with their extraordinarily dominant position in all forms of media have buried the EU as an issue, so in our own small way we must do what we can to oppose them, and if enough people wake up to this hegemony in time, the tide may turn.

  19. Steven Granger
    September 24, 2011

    For someone that talks a lot of sense you seem incapable of grasping the simple fact that there are only two options when it comes to our relationship with the EU – in or out? Just like you can’t be a little bit pregnant. In calling for a change in our relationship with the EU you are asking for something you should know would not be allowed to happen. Everyone knows your pathetic and mendacious “eurosceptic” leader will cave in to any demand the EU makes. You failure to properly crticise your own party makes you equally guilty.

    Reply: Nonsense. I regularly call for a change of policy and vote for it. I voted against membership in 1975, so don’t blame me. I am today again calling for the UK governemnt to strat negotiating a different relationship with the EU so we can govern ourselves, something you ought to support.

    1. Steven Granger
      September 24, 2011

      What utter rubbish. You say you want to negotiate a change in our relationship with the EU “so that we can govern ourselves.”. Can you not see that so long as we are in the EU we will never govern ourselves that is the whole point? Anyone with half a brain cell can see that. The response of the EU leaders to the current crisis is not to recognise their mistakes in trying to tie so many divergent economies into a single currency. Their response is not less Europe but more Europe and more measures to grab more powers as set out in your own article. Do you genuinely think Cameron has any intention of trying to bargain to bring powers back? Even if he did, do you seriously believe that he woul be successful? If so you must be incredibly naive. The pathetic group of MP’s led by Cameron’s good friend and former adviser Eustace is very convenient for the Tory leadership as it heads of calls for an in/out referendum which would be a much more serious threat to their Europhile agenda. In supporting this nonsense you are just as guilty ad Cameron in frustrating the democratic rights of the electorate you claim to serve.

      Reply: Nonsense – don’t get angry with me, as I am trying to do something to sort out this EU mess. I also support a referendum, but as you fail to grasp there is no majority in the Commons for one. There are, or course, no UKIP MPs to support those of who us who do vote for referenda in the Commons – why would that be I wonder?

      1. dan
        September 24, 2011

        Granger is 100% correct. Redwood wants to have it both ways, and he has been rumbled completely.

        1. norman
          September 24, 2011

          I’m far from a tribal Tory (voted UKIP last time out) but I completely agree with JR and the road he is travelling. It’s easy for us outside politics to demand action from the handful of committed Eurosceptic MPs but we’d be in a far worse shape without them, most likely in the Euro for a start.

          People also complain that Cameron is pro-EU (which he may or may not be, I really can’t form an opinion on the matter) so think how much more damage he could do if the right wing huffed and left to form a one Parliament only dozen seat protest vote.

      2. Electro-Kevin
        September 24, 2011

        Steven – ‘we’ can govern ourselves from within the EU. In fact ‘we’ are.

        The question is who are ‘we’ ?

        The laws which you see enacted in the UK – and probably dislike – do not so much emanate from the EU but are an extreme interpretation of directives by our own Leftist and anti British establishment.

        Leftist ? Anti British ? The claims are that the Murdoch press control politics here – if so why do we always get the Guardian’s agenda whichever way we vote ?

        The EU (and the Coalition arrangement) are very convenient for the Tory Party front bench. They get to impose the policies they want whilst breaking manifesto pledges and laying the blame elsewhere. They don’t seem much like Tories to me. The takeover has been both insidious and powerful. The power to denigrate and dismiss true Tories with a few soundbites was clearly demonstrated at the LibDem conference.

        Thatcher is being blamed for this economic crisis in work canteens up and down the land. Can you believe it ? So grossly unfair and, in a way, I think the British people deserve what’s coming to them.

        I would suggest a break-away Tory faction – a new right-of-centre party with a new name; a detoxified brand. There isn’t time. We’re pretty well stuffed. Better to hang on and make the best of it.

        Things will get a lot worse before (if) they get better. Let’s hope that Great Britain redefines herself positively and emerges relatively intact. It won’t be my generation that does it though. Far too childish and selfish.

        1. Electro-Kevin
          September 24, 2011

          PS – I’m the same age as David Cameron. ;-

          1. Electro-Kevin
            September 24, 2011

            ‘There is nothing virtuous about “caring” “compassionate” “progessives” demonstrating how caring and compassionate and progressive they are by spending money yet to be earned by generations yet to be born” ‘


          2. Caterpillar
            September 24, 2011


            I like the Steyn quote, indeed I think some (I cannot recall who) have identified non-sustainability with borrowing from the future.

            Drucker also wrote:

            “Whenever a business has disregarded the limitation of economic performance and has assumed social responsibilities that it could not support economically, it has soon gotten into trouble. The same limitation on social responsibility applies to non-economic institutions. There, too, the manager is duty bound to preserve the performance capacity of the institution in his care. To jeapordize it, no matter how noble a motive, is irresponsibility, These institiutions, too, are capital assets of society on the performance of which society depends.
            This, to be sure, is a very unpopular position to take. It is much more popular to be ‘progressive.’ But managers, and especially managers of key instituions of society, are not being paid to be heroes to the popular press. They are being paid for performance and responsibility.”

      3. APL
        September 24, 2011

        JR: ” why would that be I wonder?”

        A factor must be the BBC by turns vilifying or ridiculing with an unhealthy dollop of smear by association, using terms such as ‘Far right’* and in the same breath moving on to the BNP.

        Yes the BBC has all the filthy tricks and doesn’t hesitate to use them.

        The problem is the Tory party has been in government for 18 months and done nothing about the BBC. Perhaps it suits the Tories to keep its natural competitor for votes corralled into a political dead end by the BBC.

        * The BBC makes much of ‘far right’ but you rarely hear of its partner, ‘extreme left’.

        1. Disaffected
          September 24, 2011

          Patten and his deputy are Europhiles and both are therefore unsuited to both jobs. Cameron knows this and does nothing. Oborne is absolutely correct in his assessment of the loony left BBC. Australia used to have a TV licence until the public en masse stopped paying the fee.

        2. lifelogic
          September 24, 2011

          Indeed anything clearly racist or unpleasant is deemed “far right” by the BBC. To my mind far right means a small state, civil liberties, general prosperity, low crime and freedom from state oppression.

          Racism usually come from the rather stupid left – as in Hitler’s German Socialist Workers Party. Or is used by the left to thrust an absurd and very expensive and counter productive, equality agenda upon us all.

          1. APL
            September 25, 2011

            lifelogic: ” Indeed anything clearly racist or unpleasant is deemed “far right” by the BBC.”

            Of course Stalin who by any metric was on the extreme left was a notorious racist.

            The BBC would focus on his achievements in bringing the Soviet Union into the 20th century. [sotto BBC voce] ‘ but his human rights record was less than exemplary ‘.

            BBC speak for Stalin was a bit naughty, but in his heart he was a good [lefty]guy.

      4. A.Sedgwick
        September 24, 2011

        Whilst I agree there are too many fence sitters in the Commons, which is rather reminiscent of a musical hall theatre retro show, our host is probably as good as it gets in speaking out. Not in the Churchill or Thatcher league but nevertheless better than the vast majority of current MPs, most of whom would struggle to hold down a job in the business world.
        The EU is a completely busted and discredited organisation, a lawyers’ paradise with endless hidden clauses, protocols and goodness knows what to justify anything the unelected mob want to do and we should be out tout de suite.

    2. backofanenvelope
      September 24, 2011

      It seems to me that the Tory party had a sensible policy on Europe once. It was defined by William Hague as “in Europe but not run by Europe”. If that had been this government’s policy since May 2010 we might be better placed.

      1. APL
        September 24, 2011

        backofanenvelope: “Hague as “in Europe but not run by Europe”.”

        Yea, look at Hague now.

        What is is with our politicians that get bitten when on the continent?

        Perhaps we should reintroduce rabies shots and mandatory 6 month quarantine for returning officials.

    3. Michael
      September 24, 2011

      Why have a go at Mr Redwood who is one of the longest standing euro sceptics in Parliament? You may disagree with his stance on staying in the Conservative party but to criticise his voting record or intentions son this subject is absurd. This is part of the problem with the euro sceptic support and UKIP. Use your energies to attack the euro philes and their motives not people who are on your side. The ones most deserving of attacks are those that purport to be sceptics yet show their true colours by their actions. Can anyone think of any names?

  20. Acorn
    September 24, 2011

    When Simon Heffer wrote his piece in the Mail (17/8/11), we all had a good laugh. Now we are pausing to think. To quote:- “Where Hitler failed by military means to conquer Europe, modern Germans are succeeding through trade and financial discipline. Welcome to the Fourth Reich.”

    I should have listened better to my late father. He always said ” they will try it again Son; mark my words”. I am starting to regret giving away his old Vera Lynn 78s.

    PS. How many Drachmas; Lira; Pesetas, will you need to buy a BMW M3. Come to think of it; how many will the Germans be able to sell, priced in Euros? Having 40% of your exports bought by countries using a currency we now know they could not afford; could get a bit buttock twitching in Berlin.

    PPS. What the hell are the French doing? Do you think Sarkozy is besotted with Angela; or could it have anything to do with busted French banks.

    1. APL
      September 24, 2011

      Acorn: “He always said ” they will try it again Son; mark my words”.”

      Don’t forget that until 1914 Germany or its precursor Prussia had been our ally more than opponent.

    2. APL
      September 24, 2011

      Acorn: “Having 40% of your exports bought by countries using a currency we now know they could not afford ”

      Bad for Germany, yes.

      Just imagine what the impact for China will be?

  21. GJ Wyatt
    September 24, 2011

    Our relationship with the EU should be modelled on Norway’s. Norway adopts many of the EU’s rules and regulations that suit it, and ignores others. Thus in this case: we might go along with some (after parliamentary approval) and not others… and keep our own money.

    1. Jon Burgess
      September 24, 2011

      How about our own unique approach – trade with the EU (if it wants to trade with us), trade with anyone else and let an elected British parliament and a free judiciary create the laws of the land without interference from abroad. Not much to ask, I know, but it’s all I want.

  22. Liz
    September 24, 2011

    Brussels should put its own financial affairs in order before it presumes to tell other countries how to run their finances. However David Cameron will already be getting ready to roll over and agree to anything, anything that comes from that financially incontinent institution however much it is against Britain’s interests.

  23. Paul Still
    September 24, 2011

    This is great news! For it is, of course, a further transfer of sovereignty to the EU, meaning we are due a referendum before it can be approved. I expect we’ll have our vote within a month’s time, given the urgency of the situation…

    1. norman
      September 24, 2011

      I’d completely forgotten about the much hyped referendum lock!

      1. APL
        September 25, 2011

        Norman: “I’d completely forgotten about the much hyped referendum lock!”

        Norman, that was the plan!

  24. Lindsay McDougall
    September 24, 2011

    What’s the matter with this government? Just say ‘no’. It’s easy.

  25. Neil Craig
    September 24, 2011

    If I remember correctly last time Mr Cameron broke his “cast iron” promise of a referendum, completely reversing Tory party policy without asking the members or even MPs, he he really really promised that next time we have some move of power to the EU he would hold the referendum.

    If party policy really is simply whatever the party leader says at that moment one can see why membership is falling. Why would any self respecting person wish to hand in their intellect and conscience and work for whatever they are told to believe at the moment. Parties, at least in democracies, are groups of people wotking together for things in which they, broadly, agree.

    If policy is, officially, formed in any way that involves the members I hope this time the will get round to saying no.

  26. Martyn
    September 24, 2011

    Parliament, either through ignorance or by design will no doubt comply with the EU’s next essential step of establishing the ‘United States of Europe” by handing over our sovereign right to set our own budget without external interference or approval. Where is the legality for what is now proposed by, it seems France and Germany whose previous attempts to rule Europe have failed? If and when the ‘6-pack’ is imposed it must inevitably result in the EU being able to impose direct financial control of all Euro-using nations.
    What might happen if, for example, the Greece descends into financial meltdown and its government loses control of rioting citizens and threatens the Euro? It seems to me that in such a case the EU has only three options, to eject Greece either from the Euro-using zone or from the EU itself, or impose direct EU governance on that unfortunate nation. Ejecting Greece from the Euro-zone or EU is utterly unthinkable to the EU mandarins, which could leave Greece in a bigger mess than it already is. Imposition of EU governance is the next logical step, otherwise the whole rotten system stands in danger of collapse.
    If Cameron nods the ‘6-pack’ through he will reduce Parliament to impotence in the face of this and the inevitable follow-on EU diktats.

  27. Bernard Otway
    September 24, 2011

    Someone said a EU superstate will dominate the world,HOW ? given that India and China have a combined population of over 2.5 Billion and growing to the EU’s around 500 million.
    Even if it wasn’t a PHYSICAL fight How does ONE fare against FIVE ? unless the ONE is Scwartzeneger and the FIVE are children,for goodness sake you only have to look at what the Chinese have created in Singapore and Hong Kong let alone Taiwan and China itself,Taiwan alone at one stage in the last 15 years had the WORLDS LARGEST FOREIGN EXCHANGE
    RESERVES. No matter what this new attempt WILL fail. The Eu whether we are in or out
    is destined to be obliterated by the new giant of the EAST,and the EU will have by this obsession created it’s own demise,no matter what we the people wan’t the politicians we elect actually [JR and a few others excluded] HATE us,look even Huhne as is mentioned above is saying this new gas field will not be allowed,the man is clearly (wrong-ed) as are
    all the climate (authoritarians-ed) WHY ? subservience to the EU.Mentions about Mercs and Bmw above as well,anyone seen the Build quality of Kia and Hyundai compare it to 10 years ago
    CHALK and CHEESE let alone Lexus,Infiniti,and every Japanese car,look at the Toughness of cars built in Australia for Australia,yes by Ford ,GM,Toyota BUT still NOT
    BUILT IN EUROPE. As I said not just Huhne but the ENTIRE political class pushing the EU project are (wrong-ed),and as I have said before they must BEWARE a CASTRO/
    GUEVARIAN scenario sometime down the line from the people they have impoverished.

    reply: We live in a democracy and I wish us to continue to argue out our differences, not take the law into other’s hands. You might find you attracted more support for your view if you expressed it in more moderate terms.

    1. Electro-Kevin
      September 24, 2011

      I fail to see how you can express those sentiments in ‘moderate’ terms.

      I’m not disagreeing with Mr Otway btw.

      The US has enormous military advantage … for now. I wonder if that has something to do with their interest rates remaining low despite their credit downgrade.

      I hate to say it but I feel that Bin Laden played a significant part in the west’s demise. 9/11 caused interest rates to remain low for too long.

      Is this how it ends ? Consumed by our own avarice ?

      I don’t want to say what I think is going to happen next. In fact I don’t even want to think it.

      Can we have an adult in charge please ?

    2. APL
      September 24, 2011

      Bernard Otway: ” anyone seen the Build quality of Kia and Hyundai compare it to 10 years ago”

      A Tiwanees company [name withheld to avoid JR having to redact] found that the suicide rate among its employees was increasing, to counter it they introduced contractual obligations that an employee who attempts to commit suicide while at work would be in breach of his/her contract of employment!

      When that didn’t work, they replaced their employees with robots.

  28. Bernard Otway
    September 24, 2011

    By the way I went to collect my new glasses this morning at one of the Franchise outlets,it is owned by an Asian immigrant ,he and his optician wife plus two relatives are selling up and Emmigrating to NZ,when I asked him WHY ,when he told me he sounded just like ME.
    I was once told by a very wealthy South African business man,that IF the Jewish people start to leave a country then that is time to go as well for any sensible person,I think that applies
    to our Asian immigrants just as well,when wildlife knows a hurricane or any other major
    event like an earthquake is coming they leave,clever human beings are the same.

    1. Electro-Kevin
      September 24, 2011

      I know five health professionals on a social/family level. All are emigrating. Two (paediatricians) have already in fact.

      The cleanliness of their adopted country is the first thing they cite.

      1. Andrew
        September 24, 2011

        This is one of the fifteen reasons why anyone claiming unemployment benefit should be required to pick litter from the streets for forty hours a week as long as working people are asked to fund their lifestyle. A grace period of, say, six months would seem reasonable.

        The country would be transformed within two weeks, as hundreds of thousands of people stopped claiming benefits. BBC-Labour would make reference to slavery on a daily basis, but politicians of character could face them down in the knowledge that everyone outside of Islington and Liverpool is on their side.

        1. Electro-Kevin
          September 25, 2011

          I agree, Andrew.

          Litter causes low morale.

          Littering is a minority persuit otherwise we’d be up to our knees in it. Jeremy Paxman was wrong to state that we all do it. This is patently untrue.

          I litter pick whenever I’m out walking or jogging.

          The positive transformation to our country and the boost in morale, at virtually zero cost, would be immense.

          A very real step towards a cultural revival.

          I’d also feel far less resentful of my council tax bills if the place didn’t look like a dump and people were putting something back into their communities. I think they’d feel much better for it too.

  29. sm
    September 24, 2011

    Time for the MP’s to mark with VOTING action not words.

    We should be unilaterally cutting our contributions to the EU to fund emergency stimulus in the UK, considering the mess we are in. No room for maneouvre! Then WHY spray money on various blackholes of private debt in Europe.

    When i see the money outflows stop, then i will believe we have a Eurosceptic government.

    Call the referendum on the EU. Simple in/out. At the same time we can have a referendum on the Union in the UK. Would you be happy to continue to share a union with other like-minded union members? If a party to the union votes for independence, this should be accomodated and negotiated. I would advise a resolution of the West Lothian question first.

    I fail to see a single downside, that is of great significance. If ideas are good we can implement it ourselves or co-operate sensibly.

    Reply: I voted against the last EU budget as I thought it far too high, but not many others did.

    1. Jon Burgess
      September 24, 2011

      Well, I think that means you can stay, Mr Redwood, but the rest of them will have to go!

    2. Bob
      September 25, 2011

      Well the Lib Dems abstained from voting on the “Lisbon” treaty saying that they wanted an in/out referendum or none at all.
      Cast Iron Dave gave them a referendum on AV but no offer of an EU referendum.

      If you were in any doubt about the Tory’s EU credentials, this simple fact should remove all doubt from your mind.

  30. Bernard Otway
    September 24, 2011

    John why do you censor terminology that Simon Hefer uses regularly as do other columnists
    in National media,(etc, etc) Everyone I talk to is ANGRY beyond belief, and as I have said before I as a retired man make a point of and have the time to talk to at least 5 different people EVERY day,DO THE MATH.I just worked out that I send on at least 18000 political emails per annum as well,the internet is wonderful,plus many go to AUS/NZ/CAN and the recipients
    are mostly appalled.

    reply: Extreme analogies do not help your argument, in my view. We all understand you feel very strongly about things. So do some of the rest of us, but we do not need to use violent analogies to express that. Some past crimes were far graver than the policies and actions you currently dislike.

  31. Bernard Otway
    September 24, 2011

    Vis a vis Martyn above and a Greece in violent chaos WHAT do the big boys do,we should remind them HOW the IRA tied us up in Ulster from 1970 till the early part of this century,I am not wanting that BUT it is a distinct possibility,what also happens if ETA goes rogue again in Spain.

  32. Javelin
    September 24, 2011

    I agree with the Norwegian model. They don’t join because they see the destruction of the UK fishing.

    I would be appalled if Cameron gave more powers to the economically destructive European Parliament. Next time the crisis will be worse.

    1. Javelin
      September 24, 2011

      Having worked at HSBC during the 2007 crash looking after the Credit Default Swaps and watching all the other banks poor risk management and now looking at the poor risk management of the whole economic model I would urge in the strongest sense not to throw his hat into the EU ring.

  33. Bernard Otway
    September 24, 2011

    John you must understand I was in South Africa from 1980 till 2008,I am married to a coloured South African lady since 1987 ,therefore I DEFIED Apartheid and particularly P W BOTHA,after his Rubicon speech in Durban city hall in 1985 [I was present],it was unrelenting pressure and the THREAT of and ACTUAL violence that caused 1994 and a multiracial democratic govt. IF it had not been so and only talking done you would maybe
    STILL have a minority govt,who would not have been amenable to any threats,sanctions did not work and would not have done on their own.That is why I am an advocate of extreme TOUGHNESS,this EU fiasco has to be squashed completely before it causes the people to have to become extreme,which they will do no matter HOW high minded and principled we would like to be,especially those over 55 everything they worked for is under threat and much as you would like it so they feel very bad about it,all they have worked for has been FLUSHED down this STUPID EU [toilet] project just to satisfy some quasi Marxist idea,for gods sake we all talk a different language ,Kissinger was wrong WHAT language would the US president HAVE spoken to Europe would it have been called
    ENGFREGERDUTITADAN etc etc or better still the TOWER OF BABEL.

    1. APL
      September 25, 2011

      Bernard Otway: “John you must understand I was in South Africa from 1980 till 2008,I am married to a coloured South African lady since 1987”

      John, please arrange to keep Bernard Otway with honors in this country. But do send back that Labour goon* Geof Hoon.

      Doesn’t one occasionally wonder how Geof Hoon’s political career would have fared had he stayed in his own country?

      Reply: Removal from office is the UK penalty for Ministerial performance judged poor by the public, not deportation.

    2. Electro-Kevin
      September 25, 2011

      Dear Mr Otway,

      I do worry that you’re taking all a bit too personally. Please remember to find the time to enjoy your retirement – assuming that you have the funds to be able to do so.


      1. Electro-Kevin
        September 25, 2011

        PS, I’m speaking as one who’s lost his rag here one or twice too !

  34. Kenneth
    September 24, 2011

    It is quite odd. We are travelling down a path of least resistance but we have erected a gate – the referendum lock – in the middle of the path.

    Perhaps it is time for the government to privately warn other eu governments that our referendum lock may render some of their efforts toward integration fruitless. We seem to be travelling down the path with the cart before the horse.

    For that we reason, those of us who are aware of the continuing drip drip of influence flowing from the UK to the eu are becoming suspicious that these proposals (eg six pack) do not chime with the referendum lock. I say ‘some of us’: the constant and incremental transfer of duties (or duplication of duties) are hardly seen in the media and especially not mass media. It is odd that the BBC can dwell on the ‘European obsession’ amongst Conservatives but cannot report the constant loss of UK influence.

    The government needs to state clearly that we already have people employed to check our budgets and duplicate effort would be a waste of public money. It may also ask for a mini rebate since the cost of double-checking the UK’s books is not required in the eu quango/ECB budget. We may at least have some of our money back.

  35. waramess
    September 24, 2011

    I can’t remember a political party in the past 60 years, with the possible exception of Margaret Thatcher’s, that has controlled the public purse strings with proberty or that could be relied upon to cast policy in the interest of the electorate.

    Since I am not able to exert any control over the policies of whoever happens to be the party next in power why should I be concerned whether it is they or some equally faceless beaurocrat in EU that controls our economy?

    On balance however and considering the past performance of the British political parties I think that, notwithstanding my hard europhile instincts, an external force exerting a fiscal discipline on our treasury would not be such a bad thing.

    All well and good fighting for sovereignty but look where it has got us. I will no doubt be reminded how much better our economy is faring against the rest of Europe but it is no more than a delusion that will be stripped of its pretence in the coming months.

    A budget deficit of three percent and a debt burden of sixty percent? Bring it on.

  36. Andrew Smith
    September 24, 2011

    We know that if the EU can “give us (more) advice” the BBC et al will make their utterances law and any UK government that does not adopt them in full will be castigated. In effect, what the EU wants it will get.

    If Dave agrees to any of any such 6 Directives he is dead meat. Trouble is – so are we all!

  37. Caterpillar
    September 24, 2011

    On 3% deficit and 60% debt limits, as I have said before I would like some goal alignment;

    (i) If the deficit is greater than 3% then the income tax rates of public sector workers in the following year is multiplied by a factor greater than 1, and
    (ii) If a government enters a general election with greater than a 60% debt, any party that has been part of said government has a percentage of its votes automatically docked.

    I can but dream.

    1. Bob
      September 25, 2011

      What a good idea!
      Gets my vote.

  38. Adam Collyer
    September 26, 2011

    ” The Uk needs to be opted out of all of this.”


    ” The UK will agree to all this. The government will claim it is all about sorting out the Euro.”


    Do remind me – what was that about the Tory government being “eurosceptic” again?

  39. Jim Hutchinson
    September 26, 2011

    The EU is a total disaster . I’m pleased to hear that eurosceptic members of parliament are now waking up to the damage that this corrupt Franco/German club has wrought on this country over the years . Keep up the pressure on Cameron to give us a simple referendum on our membership ; this should be worded as simply as possible eg , Do you wish to remain a member of the EU or Withdraw from the EU completely ? My vote would go to the latter most emphatically .

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