Peter Oborne speaks up for the silenced majority


                 The Uk has long had a majority against the Euro madness, and against further UK integration into the EU, as measured by issue polls.  Last night Peter Oborne on Newsnight hit out against Mr Lambert, a typical representative of the UK establishment who told us we were all wrong to be against the Euro in the 1990s, and against a provocative performance by a representative of the EU who wanted to assure us that the Euro was doing just fine, ignoring the crisis swirling through Euroland economies and banks.  Peter spoke out for the silenced majority who for years had their  views marginalised or ignored by the fashionable establishment.

                 Mr Lambert used to edit the FT. I remember taking the idea to Penguin, owned by the same company as the FT, that I should be allowed to write the Penguin against the Euro, as they had rushed out a book praising it to the skies.  They were reluctant, as their view was clearly my approach was wrong. I eventually persuaded them that they did need to show some balance and allow readers to see both sides of the argument. The FT was never so understanding, and did not receive my press releases and commentaries on the likely failings of the Euro with any enthusiaism or wish to report.

             I did succeed with  others in persuading the Conservative party. William Hague  refused to rule out joining the Euro in his leadership campaign of 1997, which was why I could not vote for him. He  was persuaded whilst Leader that the Euro would be ruinous for the UK if we joined. He changed his position and made his speech about the burning building with  no exits. Subsequent leaders were all against UK membership.

              The principal argument I used to put which the pro Euro Labour, Liberal Democrat, CBI and TUC forces found difficult to counter was  the simple proposition that joining the Euro was like taking out a joint bank account with the neighbours. You were likely to ruin a good friendship with them, when you fell to arguing over the size and use of the overdraft. This unfortunately sums up the Euro crisis. Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal want to use the common overdraft or borrowing ability to excess. The Germans do not want to help pay the interest and sustain the joint credit rating, but they are being drawn more and more into doing just that.


  1. Gary
    September 29, 2011

    Perhaps look who ultimately owns the FT , and then get an idea of the people who are really part of the clique behind this EU ?

    What worries me is that if it were a pragmatic, benevolent group, they would have taken this crisis as a signal to abandon their goal. For the good of the people. That they are not, and they are willing to throw the people down the bailout black hole, could be that their goal is much larger, and the EU is just a stepping stone to something far bigger ?

  2. Mr. Green
    September 29, 2011

    On Newsnight last night I was stunned (but not surprised somehow) at the casual statement by a well-paid, well-turned out blonde spokesperson that the European project advances by a series of deliberately deceitful statements by pro-EU politicians and bureaucrats. It seems generally accepted that the EU project will advance by slow unavoidable steps, each of them stealthy (apparently because De Gaulle was against the idea, so the original Eurocrats had to advance by small hidden steps).

    The effect is of a python slowly squeezing the life out of Europe. With every breath the free marketeers find they can breathe in, but then the coils tighten and they they cannot breathe out so easily.

    I feel that my human rights to truth and justice are being infringed by calculated deceit at EU and national level, resulting in higher taxes and more EU business regulation (why not just use the WTO).

    People who say that without the EU we would still be at war are completely wrong. For a start, we have nuclear arms (or some of us do). And we are all in NATO, which keeps the peace. Besides, which country apart from UK and France actually has a functioning army? That’s the benefit of relying on the US guarantee under NATO – you can spend more of your taxes on living the high life and not bother to spend taxpayers’ money on defence. None of your own young military people killed and maimed either.

    1. Iain
      September 29, 2011

      And not just her, the fund manager from Schroders was also casual with her dismissal of the electorate, suggesting that democracy was a problem, but you are right the woman from the European thinktank high lighted everything that is wrong with the EU, believing that the electorate should be lied to and deceived in order to get their way.

      1. Simon
        September 29, 2011

        Democracy is a problem for the EU elite: electorates cannot be relied on to vote in the ‘right’ way – more regulation and more power to Brussels. The EU projects lacks legitimacy because of the inability of the British public to vote on Phase 2. Phase 1 was the international trading area (voted on in the 1970’s). Phase 2 (much more important) is highly political, and includes the erosion of nationalism in individual states. A vote on Phase 2 has never been seriously discussed in the UK and would be anathema to the Liberal Democrats who enjoy disproportionate influence in the Coalition Government.
        The issue of the EU is yet another example of the gap that has opened up between the British public and its political and media elites. Over a whole series of issues (crime, immigration, the EU etc) polls tell us that the British public wants one thing and our elites prefer something else. In Brussels the EU elites are even more remote and divorced from the electorates in the EU countries.

  3. Public Servant
    September 29, 2011

    This is a perfectly sound argument and applies equally to the United Kingdom. The English also have some pretty ruinous neighbours in the Scots and the Northern Irish. It is time that they made their own way in life. Many of us are becoming frustrated at their use of the joint overdraft.

    1. davidb
      September 30, 2011

      Pretty ruinous for them. The Scots and Irish disproportionately die in Britain’s wars. It may not be convenient to recall our island’s history today, but don’t think for a minute England would have been the power it was without both Scotland and Ireland onboard.

  4. Public Servant
    September 29, 2011

    I dont really understand your point about the ‘silenced’ majority. It seems to me that you are a regular contributor on Newsnight as is Daniel Hannan as is the leader of UKIP. As you point out Peter Oborne was on last night. Are you really being silenced by the BBC?

    Reply: No, not now – b ut as Peter Oborne has argued, for years anti Euro people were marginalised, or treated as “extreme”

    1. lojolondon
      September 29, 2011

      Public Servant,

      The BBC is totally biased and one-sided, demonstrably on matters such as the EU, global warming, the royal family, Israel v Palestine, and UK politics (I refer to the BBC as the propaganda wing of the Labour party).

      The BBC is failing, not fit for purpose and the licence fee should definitely be cancelled forthwith.

      Rather than take my word for it, I invite you to do some research on the web.

      1. lifelogic
        September 29, 2011

        Indeed and look who Cameron was happy to see appointed to Chair of BBC trustees – Lord Patten of Barnes. It says more about Cameron than anything else I feel.

        1. Disaffected
          September 29, 2011

          Here here. The BBC should be set free from the public and fins its own funding in the world. Politicians have been crowing about an independent media, Murdoch having too much influence etc and let the BBC carry on its socialist drivel as normal while expanding its empire far beyond its remit and at the taxpayers expense. BBC Trust total waste of money and most of whom could not run a business either.

          1. lifelogic
            September 29, 2011

            The BBC run the business of setting the political climate of the county towards an ever bigger state sector. Using people taxes to mislead them and also running back door adverts and promotions for certain companies, pop stars and similar as it chooses. It is a very successful in what it does. So much so than no small government political party really exists nor one that is not taken in by the global warming exaggerations.

            Nor does Cameron dare to address the issue.

          2. Nicholas Cartwright
            September 29, 2011

            It’s “hear hear” not “here here”. Spread the word.

        2. lifelogic
          September 29, 2011

          I read that “the Duke of Cambridge flew a mercy mission to take a sailor to see a seriously-ill relative just hours before opening a new £18 million children’s cancer unit. William went without sleep as he ferried the serviceman from a warship off the Isle of Man to Sandhurst in Surrey.”

          Well good for him (I assume he will refund the RAF for fuel etc.) but surely his father will be furious about all that extra C02 – perhaps 300+ times what it would have been. If not done in a, double direction, helicopter but on normal flight or just a coach say.

          “Without sleep” sounds rather dangerous too what about Health & Safety rules.

      2. Nicholas Cartwright
        September 29, 2011

        “Rather than take my word for it, I invite you to do some research on the web.”

        Translated in truth that would read – “I can’t be bothered to remember of find the sources for these assertions, but they’re on the web somewhere. Take my word for it.”

        Personally I can’t stand most of the programming on the BBC or any other network. However, the good stuff on the BBC seems to me to be orders of magnitude better than the equivalent content of the competition, either in the UK or abroad.

        I am also reassured that the very existence of the BBC at least preserves the ideal of aspiring to balance in broadcast media. I understand the argument that a public service broadcaster might be vulnerable to a natural left-wing bias. However I believe that it is more the case that a broadcaster that aspires to neutrality is prone to be extremely “conservative”. The presumptions upon which its coverage is based and the opinions which it for the large part reflects, are both likely to correlate very closely with the perceived mainstream. It is of course a self-reinforcing mainstream.

        Be very careful what you wish for. Before you again call for the abolition of the license fee, check out Fox News and CNN. The former treats its audience with total disdain dressed up as respect. It believes its audience stupid and easily manipulated and insensitive to its inconsistencies, half-truths and worse. The latter is a once decent broadcaster now rendered utterly vapid. Moreover, the US media is quite shockingly homogenous when it comes to the language / context of its reporting. I’m not convinced that the BBC crowds out opinions that would be more easily expressed in its absence. Broadcast news is an oligopoly and journalists fraternise with politicians. The “mainstream” will dominate.

        1. lifelogic
          September 29, 2011

          No adverts, good uplifting and educational programs, and a politically neutral line is all I ask of the BBC. What we get for our billions is back door adverts and promos, lefty green, right on & pro EU tosh and lots dumbed down drivel like East Enders and the children version Tracy Beaker.

          1. APL
            September 29, 2011

            lifelogic: ” Tracy Beaker ”

            Oh my, I had forgotten – thank the lord – about Tracy Beaker. Children’s programming on the BBC is poisonous.

            Nicholas Cartwright: ” However, the good stuff on the BBC .. ”

            Is becoming increasingly scarce and its so called ‘digital’ channels proliferate while their audience figures dwindle.

            Other than the repeats, if we could guarantee the ‘good stuff’ then drastically reduce the BBC back to BBC1 which included the ‘light’ entertainment programmes and BBC2 for the cultural and science programmes.

            Scrap all the rest and divert the budged into unbiased news coverage. Then it might be worth a £150 per annum.

    2. lifelogic
      September 29, 2011

      The political line of the BBC has improved a little on the EU issue -due to the fact than now almost everyone can now see the mess they have created. Still the same Guardian think reporters, still the silly pre-framing of any debate. Still the same views on man the made global warming exaggeration & quack greenery non solutions, the non cut/cuts, the endless demand for yet more government, free at the point of us NHS and the rest.

      Really we need some new people presenting the old ones are too soiled, like used nappies by their pro EU, Green tosh, big state BBC agenda for the last 20 years or so. They are unable to frame a question without giving away their monolithic BBC & personal views. Worse still similar views are very much still in the government.

      Andrew Neil is pretty much the sole exception. Radio 4 comedy programs are also one of the worst offenders.

      1. lifelogic
        September 29, 2011

        The Royal college of Surgeons report on the HNS seems to be fairly horrific.

        Four times the death rate for emergency abdominal surgery as compared to the US and a hugely higher death rate at weekends when the right staff and test facilities seem not to be available. Might be best not to fall ill at the weekend if in the UK.

        Still I suppose the deaths are all worth it – just to keep to the Coalition “free at the point of use” political line (apart from hospital parking of course). Like most of the state sector it is usually run for the convenience of staff and we would not want their weekend golf to be too inconvenienced just to save a few tax payer’s lives here and there.
        You and the NHS is “safe(ish) in our hands”.

        1. Bazman
          September 29, 2011

          What will be charged for and who will pay if the NHS free at point of use is abandoned? What will the BBC be replaced with and will it involve advertising? Fundamental and basic questions.
          If you are unable to give specific answers as you are unable to do on employments laws except to advance the lie and fantasy that less will be better for everyone. It will not. You should stop trying to drive down standards for millions of people in their basic lifestyles and entertainment sources. Ideas that you pass on are of a rich elite are of no use to most people and this elite does not have to live with the circumstances they create.

          1. lifelogic
            September 29, 2011

            Bazman – do the think all these clearly unnecessary (and indeed huge numbers of pointless NHS deaths) are acceptable? Just because the NHS cannot do emergency abdominal surgery very well or have good staff and test facilities available at weekends?

            I have been very clear clear on employment law it should be a matter between the employer and employee to make a free agreement. If either do not like it anymore they should be free to finish the agreement. Unless they have agreed a different contract with termination payment agreement.

            Such a system benefits both parties – anything else just tend to benefit the legal profession at the expense of both parties.

          2. Bazman
            September 30, 2011

            I refer you back to my point of cleaners and how it is impossible for them to as you dream. ‘Negotiate’. NHS death, surgery statistics and weekend hours would be better under a private system? A lie, fantasy and a red herring. Who will pay and what will they pay for? I ask you again and require an answer as specific as a broken bone.

    3. Bob
      September 29, 2011

      I suspect that the vast majority of BBC’s production staff and presenters (with the notable exception of Andrew Neil) are card carrying members of the Labour Party and Guardian readers to boot. How else could you explain why the BBC choose to exempt the GMG from any exposé involving it’s tax (decisions-ed) on it’s sale of Auto Trader magazine; and this admission from an insider that the corridors at the BBC were strewn with champaign bottles after Labours election victory in 1997 ->

      James Naughtie once referred on air to the Labour Party as “we”.

      The Tories should face them down and sort them out instead of appointing ex EU commissioners Patten to head up the Trust. It’s long past time that the TV licence was discontinued, it’s an anachronism!

  5. barnacle bill
    September 29, 2011

    Now is Cameron going to show the same spirit as the our Treasury “absolutely resists” the EU’s Tobin Tax?
    I’d like to think so but referendum-wise I don’t hold out much hope for the resistance.

    1. Iain
      September 29, 2011

      As Cameron and Osborne rolled over on having the financial services regulated from Brussels and every other wish list from the EU, I fear the worst about this EU Tobin tax. Cameron should kill this off dead, tell them to not even bother considering it for we use our veto here and now on it, unfortunately where the EU is concerned I don’t think there is the word ‘No’ in Cameron’s lexicon.

      1. me
        September 29, 2011

        If enough people vote UKIP see how quickly his lexicon is adjusted.

  6. Brian Tomkinson
    September 29, 2011

    Despite being outnumbered by 3 to 1, no one could answer the splendid Oborne speaking on behalf of the “silenced majority” so the BBC silenced him by removing him from the subsequent discussion. This must be what they call “balance” at the BBC.

    1. lifelogic
      September 29, 2011

      Was Obourne really removed? He had not said anything that he should have been removed for. Lefties often slurs people with racist accusations on newsnight. Surely that is far worse than being called an idiot especially when his argument was clearly idiotic.

      Perhaps the BBC are due for some more EU funding for something?

  7. alan jutson
    September 29, 2011

    Yes I viewed Newsnight as well, at last some very straight talking instead of the usual pussyfooting about.

    Mr Oborne you made my night. !

    1. Robert Taggart
      September 29, 2011

      ‘ “I’m Peter Oborne” ‘ !

  8. Jon Carter
    September 29, 2011

    Hi John,

    As ever you are totally correct, but I wanted to check one point. You said that in 1997 you could not support Hague due to him not ruling out joining the Euro, but you backed Clarke in the final ballot who is possibly biggest Euro fanatic within the party. Why?


    Reply: Because he said I could make the party’s policy No to joining the Euro and would be Shadow Chancellor to enforce and argue that line.

    1. zorro
      September 29, 2011

      (mouth agape as I pull myself off the floor)…He promised you that?!?

      Q1. Did you believe him?
      Q2. What did you do to get him to say such a thing?….Ken Clarke….

      I bet that promise would have had a shelf life of 48 hours after his selection!


      Reply: NO, the politics pointed in that direction, as I had the majority on the Euro issue and would have stuck doggedly to it.

    2. simple soul
      September 29, 2011

      If he could make this promise to you, why couldn’t he make it to the public?

      Reply: he did for the deal

      1. rose
        October 4, 2011

        I have just heard Mr Clarke describing himself as “a one nation conservative.” What do you suppose the “one nation” bit means for him?

        1. rose
          October 5, 2011

          He sacked Edwina for being right about salmonella; he stabbed Mrs T in the front for being right about the EU; now he is trying to pull the rug from beneath Mrs May for being right on immigration and asylum.

          Is this a complicated flawed personality or just an old-fashioned misogynist?

  9. Boudicca
    September 29, 2011

    It comes to something when we need a journalist to stand up and speak up for the people of Britian because our elected MPs/Prime Minister won’t.

    We need a mass defection of Conservative EU-sceptics – even just the Better Off Outers – to UKIP.

    And, Mr Redwood. Why are you not a BOO?

    Reply: I voted No to remaining in the EEC and have provided continuous opposition to further transfers of power ever since. I have no intention of joining UKIP who came along rather late in the day to this cause, and who then stand against me at elections. I was elected as a Conservative Eurosceptic demanding a renegotiation of our realationship with the Eu to take it back to just a common market for us. I will stay true to what I told my electors I would do.

    1. Caterpillar
      September 29, 2011


      I quite like JR’s point about UKIP standing against him. Are there non-EEC policies that separate UKIP from Conservative Eurosceptics? If not couldn’t resource be better targeted at the ‘philes / less sceptical?

      1. Jon Burgess
        September 29, 2011

        UKIP support selection in education, something the Tories have gone very quiet on since they shamefully decided not to support grammar schools anymore. What’s your position on this Mr Redwood?

        They also want to return the police to foot patrols, I believe.

        But lets face it, pulling us out of the EU has got to be enough on it’s own, hasn’t it?

        Reply: I support the creation of new grammar schools

    2. Jon Burgess
      September 29, 2011

      Good on you Boudicca, leaving the discredited Tory party is the right thing for the remaining conservatives in parliament to do. Get your party back Mr Redwood by creating it again away from the limp flacid pink metropolitan liberals that have taken it over and driven it far too far to the left.

      As a UKIP supporter, I do question UKIPs desire to stand against you, however. It does appear to be a waste of time and effort as you are much more likely to succeed and will vote the way a UKIP MP would anyway.

  10. John Bracewell
    September 29, 2011

    Peter Oborne’s performance was a delight to those who oppose the overbearing position of the supporters of the Euro. It was unfortunately soured by his repeated use of the description of one of his colleagues on the panel in the discussion as ‘that idiot in Brussels’. He will be lucky if he is ever invited back on to the BBC again after insulting that man repeatedly and worse still arguing against the usual pro-EU position of the BBC.

    1. Robert Taggart
      September 29, 2011

      Seeing as how Paxo lost control’of events – will he still be ‘invited’ back to Auntie Beeb ? or should she cut her losses – £1million pa to Paxo ? !

    2. zorro
      September 29, 2011

      I agree that it was inappropriate for Mr Oborne to call the Brussels representative defending the Euro an ‘idiot’….Idiots have done nothing wrong to be compared to Brussels spokesmen defending the Euro.


  11. Iain
    September 29, 2011

    I thought Oborne lost some of the power in his argument by being abusive the the EU flunkey, but it was wonderful to see how he got under the skin of Lambert, Lambert really didn’t like it up him, these guilty men didn’t expect to ever be held to account for their EU aims.

    1. Jon Burgess
      September 29, 2011

      For a well educated and articulate individual I did feel there was no need to keep repeating the idiot remark – I expected more wit and invention. A withering scorn would have had more impact. Having said that it was highly entertaining and it is good for once that a Brussels tax exile had to face some fury from a UK voter.

      I must say the Schroders spokesperson was an absolute wash-out – who chooses these people and what criteria is used to decide who appears on news programmes as ‘financial experts’?

  12. Liz
    September 29, 2011

    he European Project has supporters who are as fanatical in their beliefs as those of Communism were (and probably still are) and they are simply not open to reasoned argument. Events are showing that they would rather beggar every citizen in Europe rather than admit that perhaps the Euro was unworkable or that a politically integrated Europe is undemocratic and would eventually lead to civil conflict. They are not open to any argument – the end justifies the mean in their eyes. The latest proposal for a financial transaction tax has two aims:
    Weakening London’s financial dominance – continuing the ill disguised dislike and envy of Britain which runs through the EU.
    Forcing Britain to contribute even more to the EU finances to prop up the Euro.
    I am not at all confident that this tax will not be lamely accepted by the Coalition even though it would further damage our economy.

    1. norman
      September 29, 2011

      I’m sure there are unreformed Communists out there who, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, would tell you that if only they had different people at the top things could be different this time, or that with the passage of time and technological advance (provided principally by democratic countries by the by) Communism could work if given another outing.

      Similarly I’m sure there are EU enthusiasts who’ll tell you that although things are collapsing around their ears now that they’ve learned lessons (the old chestnut) and this time things will be different, that countries won’t live beyond their means in future, financial stability can be provided, etc.

      Either they’re incredibly stupid or they think we are, or both.

    2. Chris
      September 29, 2011

      If reports in today’s press are correct, the so called Tobin tax would bring in about £50 billion, £40 billion of which “would come from UK institutions”. Mr Redwood, is this correct?

      Reply: It could be more, but it is presumably fantasy as even this government must veto it.

  13. GJ Wyatt
    September 29, 2011

    Lambert seemed impervious to Oborne’s rant, cocooned as he was in layers of ineffable smugness. He hardly acknowledged his Europhilia let alone recant from it.

    I wondered about Oborne’s labelling the spokesman from Brussels an “idiot”, but unpicking his verbose and contentless “argument” politely would have absorbed more time than Newsnight would have allowed.

    1. Iain
      September 29, 2011

      “Lambert seemed impervious to Oborne’s rant, cocooned as he was in layers of ineffable smugness.”

      No, Oborne managed to pierce his ‘layers of ineffable smugness’ (lovely expression), look at Lambert when Oborne handed him his book ‘The Guilty Men’ he was well and truly riled.

  14. Matthew S. Dent
    September 29, 2011

    I find it eternally ironic that the man who kept the UK out of the Euro, and thus the man that UKIP and other Eurosceptics have to thank, is Gordon Brown.

    Reply: it is the UK people who made clear in issue polls they would not vote “Yes” to the Euro which kept us out, coupled with the strong case some of us made against joining the Euro. I do not recall Mr Brown ever making a principled case against joining. His policy throughout was the join when the time is right.

    1. backofanenvelope
      September 29, 2011

      Gordon Brown kept us out of the Euro because to join would have diminished his power base in the Treasury. This would have weakened his fight with Tony Blair.

      1. Robert Taggart
        September 29, 2011

        For Wilson ‘keeping us out of Vietnam’ read Brown ‘keeping us out of the Euro’ – in both cases they be the only lasting legacy we can be grateful to them for !

  15. Antisthenes
    September 29, 2011

    When you have market forces staining at one end to correct distortions and politicians at the other end fighting to add to those distortions then something has to break.

  16. javelin
    September 29, 2011

    A Euro-mess, or as William Hague put a House on Fire with no exists.

    The fashionistas have been shown to be what fashion does – a passing trend.

    I now see the Euro advocates as falsely believing that the Euro will bring integration and love, but in reality they are harbingers of unfairness, and hate.

  17. lojolondon
    September 29, 2011

    John, Dave Cameron promised that we would ‘renegotiate’ our position within the EU whenever a major change to the current contract takes place. Very important issues are being changed all the time now, specifically to legalise the ongoing bailouts. Although the EU has twisted and turned, by creating addendums to avoid precisely such an outcome, surely if the commitment was honestly made then now would be the right time for a referendum and re-negotiation?

    Repkly: of course that’s what we want. Mr Cameron would say it was all changed by the Coalition and Lib Dem enthusiasm for all things EU.

    1. michael mcgrath
      September 29, 2011

      I am quite sure that, when DC stated that there was no point in a referendum as the Lisbon Treaty had already been ratified by Brown, he also stated clearly that any attempts to modify that treaty would be put to the British people in a referendum

      Yesterday, Mr Barroso said that a treaty change would be necessary for his proposed financial juggling to be implemented.

      This, then, is the chance for DC to redeem his tarnished “cast iron” reputation

      Anyone like to bet??

      Reply: I am afraid that promise was qualified by the statement “Treaty change that affects the UK”. Mr Cameron argues that the forthcoming Treaty change will not affect the UK so does not warrant a referendum. The conditions that trigger a referendum are niow enshrined in UK law. You may recall soem of us complained about that law at the time, saying it did not cover all eventualities in the way we wished.

      1. Electro-Kevin
        September 29, 2011

        Mr Cameron may well ‘argue’ his case on the Treaty change but is he right ?

      2. Jon Burgess
        September 29, 2011

        Oh so very neatly put. In other words, sorry folks, I gave you the chance when I knew I wouldn’t be called to honour it. Now I’m in the driving seat there is no hope I will damage my future career prospects in Brussels by causing trouble by giving you any say in your future.

        Is there no one on the right of the Tory party with the gumption to challenge this metropolitan moron? He is rubbing your noses in your powerlesness.

    2. Mick Anderson
      September 29, 2011

      To JR reply:

      However, the LDs are the only main-stream party who were offering an apparently unconditional in/out referendum before the election. It makes Mr Cameron look as though he is cherry-picking those LD policies that can be used as an excuse for not doing what he must know the Public are asking for.

    3. Paul H
      September 29, 2011

      “Mr Cameron would say …”

      Brilliantly eloquent – it is amazing how sometimes a very few words can convey so much meaning.

  18. Frank Salmon
    September 29, 2011

    I’m not entirely convinced. I think it is the badly managed countries in the Euro that are the problem, not the Euro itself. My hope is that it survives and that the bankrupt countries in the eurozone can make the necessary adjustments. My fear is that they won’t, and they will blame the IMF and the Germans. Really, it would havc been better if the euro only applied to economically viable countries in the first place. If so, the Euro would be looking good right now and we would be standing in the wings, trying to get our own house in order, (because we are not economically viable), so that we could join…..
    A shared currency, by the way, is not the same as sharing the same credit card. Just as New York was allowed to go bankrupt, states and ‘shires’ should be allowed to go bankrupt if they can’t live within their own financial means. A currency should be what it says on the tin, ‘a medium of exchange and a store of value’.
    However, the eurozone has to move toward a shared fiscal system in order to get over the current hurdle because it will not allow either default or exit. As a result, John, you are right to insist that we don’t join it and to demand powers back from the EU. Can we have a list of what these powers might be?

    Reply: My proposal is we restore Parliamentary democracy b y having the right to opt out of any EU measure past, present or future which Parliament does not agree with.

    1. Richard1
      September 29, 2011

      Do you think there is any realistic prospect the rest of the EU would agree to such an opt-out right, even if we offered to trade it for our veto?

  19. Viv Evans
    September 29, 2011

    “The Germans do not want to help pay the interest and sustain the joint credit rating, but they are being drawn more and more into doing just that.”

    No – the Germans are not being simply drawn into this – they have been pushed and bullied into this, with Greece playing the WWII reparations card, and with France doing her utmost to safeguard French banks exposed to these bad debts.

    Isn’t it strange, to say the least, that no economist/journalist has been writing about France’s role in all this? Isn’t it odd that they swallow the pronouncements of Mme Lagarde, now at the helm of the IMF, without any stringent analysis?

    Are the Treasury Mandarins briefing Mr Osborne about all aspects of this, and not just on how Germany will be made to toe the EU line, which is of course sacrosanct and which mr Osborne and we all must follow …?

  20. Richard
    September 29, 2011

    I didn’t like the repeated calls of “idiot” by Peter Osborne on Newsnight (though it was very entertaining TV) because it just undermined his credibility and the legitimacy of his arguments.
    He had an open goal in front of him and he resorted to insult.

    One of my family is studying history and economics and I told her she is lucky to be doing so in middle of one of the most exciting periods in post war politics and economics.
    What happens in the next few months will set the future path for perhaps decades to come.

    1. lifelogic
      September 29, 2011

      Obourne should perhaps have said “his idiotic argument”. The man is probably not an idiot he just is paid a lot to defend the indefensible on TV. Though he perhaps did not even do that too well. His storming off rather made the point of the EU powers “not ever listening” to rational argument or the people rather well.

      1. Fred Bloggs
        September 29, 2011

        Osborne was right to be rude. A bit of mildly offensive name calling is sometimes needed to prick the bubble of denial

      2. sm
        September 29, 2011

        Yes. Agreed… but …at the sharp end in Greece…polite words,harsh words seem ineffectual. Conveniently full union may allow full and massive fiscal transfers? If the transfers do not happen or some relief for Greece is not found….. Expect a military coup.

        Will the Military be allowed to stay in the EU? Could we have an arab spring within the EU?

      3. Robert Taggart
        September 29, 2011

        Oborne should perhaps have said “his idiotic argument” as well !

  21. Fred Bloggs
    September 29, 2011

    I have read some comments by Richard North claiming that the referendum party led by Jimmy Goldsmith played an important role in getting the conservatives to agree to a referendum before joining the euro. Do you agree ?

    Reply: JG was helpful. He and I met when I was running the inside Conservative campaign to force a referendum before joining the Euro. I thought it a good idea to seek publicity to show Conservatives would reach beyond party for support, and he liked the idea that he hwas in agreement with serious number of Conservative MPs. My resignation from the Cabinet was mainly about this issue, and I made it my number one objective which was soon achieved.

  22. stred
    September 29, 2011

    Presumably, when the financial transactions tax is forced through by the EU Commission, the UK will find 80% of the sum, to be used to finance the southern fiddlers, and this will have to be converted from £ to Euros. Then this will be taxed again, as a financial transaction.
    Buy Euros!

    1. Javelin
      September 29, 2011

      Very good

  23. RB
    September 29, 2011

    The comments by the blonde lady on newsnight last night were a great perspective on the issue of democratic deficit and the manouverings of the EU machine and european leaders. There is such a hurricane of information and opinion everyday on the current EU crisis that it is easy to forget the dishonesty of the political class.

    1. Merkel and others stating that bailouts are illegal and would never be sanctioned.
    2. The first bailout then took place.
    3. The first bailout, we were assured, was to be a one time support and not repeated.
    4. Further bailouts took place.
    5. The support fund for bailouts, we were assured, would be a temporary measure.
    6. The fund is now permanent.
    7. UK would not be required to contribute to any bailout – its contribution to the IMF was then increased by £9billion (passed by our MPs) and this is to be used as EU bailout money now that the IMF has morphed into a second EU bailout mechanism.
    8. It is illegal for the ECB to buy bonds, we are assured.
    9. The ECB is buying bonds.
    10. Barroso now seeks to secure a huge contribution from the UK via a Tobin tax to prop up a currency union that we declined to join.

    Dishonesty in publilc office is a criminal offence in most countries, no?

    The disregard for legality and the rule of law by the EU and european leaders is in my view THE most noteworthy aspect of this whole affair. If those who govern us show contempt for the law, why should we observe it?

    1. Leslie Smith
      September 29, 2011

      I fully agree.

      This constant spinning and outright dishonesty in political statements from the EU Leaders and our own Government, should be stopped. The individuals concerned are doing untold damage to our pockets, our savings and our futures, and seem to have no thought for consequences. I can see at least one Military Government in Europe, within three years, if not sooner. This Eurocrat and Coalition “political democracy sham” is ruining any trust left that we had in our institutions. I no longer even have faith that the Government will guarrantee, then pay me back in cash, should my savings be lost in a bankrupt UK Bank.

      Sadly, this is all going to end badly. Most of us know that in our guts. Our post war “Democracy” based on a Social Democratic Capitalism, with a Big State and Big BBC has completely failed us, the British Public. We are being hung out to dry……

      Why should I obey their laws, pay unfair taxes, whilst they throw Billions to the Wind? If Greece can default, why not I? If Germany and France combine to flaunt the laws, in order to throw Trillions at the PIGS, why should I have any faith in this “Democracy” and the Rule of Law? No, I am planning now for Armageddon..

    2. javelin
      September 29, 2011

      When this goes pear shaped the context will change. Attitudes will change and the rule of law will return. These criminals should be charged and jailed. I think less than 1% of the EU population will support them.

  24. Peter van Leeuwen
    September 29, 2011

    These neighbours are European family, resolved not to wage war with one another again. Now that some family members feel the wrath of the creditcard companies they ask for help battling their overdraft, but of course, like in any good family there will be conditions for this solidarity. That is what is playing out this and the coming years.
    Britain doesn’t really want to be family and we respect that. It didn’t want to be family in 1952 and we respected that as well.
    However, if my memory serves me well, once, long ago, Mr Redwood proposed that Britain would join NAFTA. So maybe Britain would feel more at ease in a different family?

    Reply: I did, and it became Conservative policy for a bit. Remains a good idea.

    1. APL
      September 29, 2011

      Peter van Leeuwen: “Now that some family members feel the wrath of the creditcard companies they ask for help battling their overdraft”

      Peter, with respect that is a distortion of the facts. Greece has not reduced it borrowing requirement, and in fact the sums suggested to bail Greece have exploded over the last few months and years.

      We started off with a €109bn bailout for Greece, then it was €172bn now we are suddenly talking about a several trillion Euro stability fund. This is not the behavior of a family and if it were, not too many families would have the resources to meet demands of such a wayward member.

      By the way, we have yet to see any penalty for the ‘credit card’ companies either. They too along with the politicians bear equal responsibility for the current situation.

    2. A different Simon
      September 29, 2011

      Peter ,

      Please do all you can with the other members of the family to have us thrown out please .

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        September 29, 2011

        @APL: Apologies if my metaphore was less than perfect and yes indeed this protracted “family feud” is becoming more expensive by the day. With the knowledge of hindsight, how much cheaper it would have been if Greece had been forced to restructure its whole economy and political culture before being allowed to the euro (Italy – idem dito). How much cheaper it could have been if from the start a real EMU (instead of an eMU) would have been agreed, with automatic sanctions which would have forced France and Germany to stick to the stability & growth pact, etc. etc. This long overdue integration required a crisis, and maybe the costs will be high, but I have little doubt about the ultimate achievement.
        As I see it, the financial sector is still far too powerful to be successfully penalized for any wrongdoing. Muted proposals about ending a bonus culture or about a tobin tax together with some changes in regulation are first, shy attempts to take back some of the financial market’s huge power. It is going to take years, but it should and will happen. It is not directed against Britain as such.

        1. APL
          September 29, 2011

          Peter van Leeuwen: ” .. how much cheaper it would have been if Greece had been forced to restructure its whole economy and political culture before being allowed to the euro (Italy – idem dito)

          I am not altogether sure if you aren’t having a little joke ?

          Peter van Leeuwen: “This long overdue integration required a crisis .. ”

          Ah! The beneficial crisis.

          Peter van Leeuwen: ” and maybe the costs will be high ”

          I believe the costs will be very high. In fact so high the price is not worth paying.

        2. Jon Burgess
          September 29, 2011

          Is there not some desire within the EU to punish those pesky markets for daring to bet against the Euro and make money out of it’s demise?

          Pardon my questioning your view of history, but France wished to exclude the United Kingdom from the embryonic Common Market until after French farmers had been guaranteed their protection from the common agricultural policy.

          By the way, whilst you respect the fact that we British do not wish to be family, our bloody elected politicians won’t!

          1. sjb
            September 30, 2011

            Monnet and Schumann wanted Britain in (what came to be known as) the Common Market. Incidentally, so did the United States.

            But rather than become one of the founding members and shape the Common Market to our interests we chose instead to stay outside.

  25. cantankerous
    September 29, 2011

    Why aren’t we preparing a manifesto which clearly sets out what we do and don’t want from the inevitable and fast approaching renegotiation of the treaties which govern the whole EU project? For the first time in my lifetime we are in a position of strength and there is a clear fault line between two blocs: the Germans and northern Europeans on one side and the French and southern Europeans on the other. If we don’t have a political discussion about this… well, I wonder what politics is for. So, I’ll have a go…

    Clearly, we should argue to remove what is clearly not in our national interest and keep what is. One has to admire what the Swiss have achieved. We seem to be as bad negotiating with the EU as we are at dealing with computer software suppliers, so the polite, incompetent way we do it has to change. At the heart of any negotiation should be the non-negotiable bargaining stance that the worst position we will accept in relation to the EU is net fiscal neutrality – i.e. that the outflow of £10 billion p.a. has to stop:

    a) Free trade block for products and services.

    i) Common Agricultural Policy;
    ii) Common Fisheries Policy;
    iii) EU/Paris regulation of financial markets;
    iv) Human Rights Act;
    v) Tobin Tax proposal to tax the City of London out of existence with 80% revenue flowing out of the UK to bail out of Euro project we declined to join (which would be about £40 billion per year from the UK if the financial markets hadn’t already have moved which of course they would).

    Reply I have proposed the right for the UK to opt out of any past or future EU measure which Parliament dislikes.

    1. APL
      September 29, 2011

      Mr Redwood,

      Here is an interesting series of presentations about the arithmetic of ….. well everything which ought to be of interest to many of your readers.

      The presentation of eight short videos by Dr A. Bartlett professor emeritus at Colorado Boulder University, so his credentials are impeccable.

      1. alan jutson
        September 30, 2011


        Yes an excellent example of simple arithmetic, and the power of multiplication.

        Indeed 50 years ago my mathematics teacher (at my bog standard secondary modern school) showed us, and talked us through the exact same calculation example, with the chess board and the grains of wheat.

        This and many other simiar examples, another of a farrier re-shoeing a horse, with the first nail at a penny, the next doubled up, how much the total cost, etc

        Our teacher used these examples to show us the importance of the need for having a grip on mathematics and why it was so important in life to understand and be able to complete simple mathematical calculations.

        His interest in mathematics, and the use of real life example comparisons, and his enthusiasm for the subject made his lessons interesting and enjoyable. We all sat at our desks spellbound a bit like the students in the film clip.

        I often wonder if such methods are used nowadays in order to get people interested in maths, and personal finance ?

        1. alan jutson
          September 30, 2011

          Mr Alan Crockford was the teacher in question, I wonder where he is today, if still alive ?

        2. APL
          October 1, 2011

          Alan, thank you for your reply.

          A good teacher is a wonderful thing, one doesn’t quickly forget him [or her].

          There was much of interest in the series of videos, but what should be bread and butter to politicians is the behavior of two dependent parameters which have different growth rates.

          Population growth and resource utilization for example.

          Also, a thing I hadn’t considered previously, we would have found ourselves well down the declining curve of oil production were it not for the OPEC cartel raising the price of oil in ’73.

    2. Nicholas Cartwright
      September 29, 2011

      I second your sentiments regarding our successive governments’ interactions with software providers – and indeed all suppliers.

      The issue is that government (and indeed most large buyers) have a policy of only buying from the biggest. Procurement departments believe that big suppliers are safe suppliers. Department heads also believe that the decision to purchase from a big supplier is a personally safe decision – recall the adage that “nobody gets fired for buying IBM.”

      The direct result of this mindset is that there is no free market and prices are wildly inflated. Competition does not exist and the quality of service diminishes. This problem is getting a lot worse not better. Companies merge and merge and merge. The correct response to every market condition seems to be a merger. How many companies in the UK are so big that they can only be audited by one of four accountancy firms? (I’m told all but one of the FTSE 100 but I can’t verify that.)

      Across Europe banks are merging, not being split up as is desirable.

      I work for a small software provider. Our flagship product is brilliant. We can of course compete on price and quality of service with the big boys. We can definitely compete on product quality, usability and range of features. But we can’t win a government contract because we are too small. In our industry all contracts go to one of a handful of suppliers who charge a ridiculous amount for their product.

      There is very little competition in an oligopoly. And yet that’s what we seem to be creating in every industry.

      JR, is it true that cabinet ministers are now being assigned to individual companies to represent them? If this is true, is it a move that you support? Surely it will bring about perpetual conflict of interest, worsen the situation I outlined above, and also find the government playing the fool’s game of picking winners from Westminster?

      Is this capitalism or corporatism?

      Reply: I only know what I have read in the papers. I assume they are not allowed to act as commercial reps for the companies concerned.

  26. Caterpillar
    September 29, 2011

    I didn’t see it last night, have only just watched, I can find nothing positive in it at all.

    I think PO’s labelling error was to direct it at the “the idiot in Brussels” rather than at the idi0tic statements. Being an idiot is a reasonable excuse for making idiotic statements, being intelligent and making them is unforgivable.

    I was more worried that the BBC seemed to be playing the same many-to-one trick on PO as the BBC did on the Leader of the BNP in that dreadful ‘Questiontime’ a while back. Gangin up seems an unhelpful approach to unpacking issues.

    The ‘Nazi’ card used by Mr Lambert was to me fairly shocking, perhaps the Chewbacca defence next?

    1. Stabledoor
      September 29, 2011

      No one has picked up on Lambert’s offensive suggestion that Oborne was comparing the EU to the Nazis. Having said that we do have an unelected body trying to seize control of the whole of Europe against the wishes of the people. Perhaps the treachery of the EU guilty men is comparable to Nazi appeasment after all

      1. APL
        September 29, 2011

        Stabledoor: “Lambert’s offensive suggestion that Oborne was comparing the EU to the Nazis.”

        It’s standard Lefty practice to silence your opponent, didn’t seem to work in this case.

    2. zorro
      September 29, 2011

      Well the Nazis did want to set up a European Community–EU.html

      Walther Funk German economic minister 1940

      Maybe it was slip of the tongue….by Lambert


  27. javelin
    September 29, 2011

    I have been warning for over a year that Italian banks pose the weak link in the Euro chain. In fact I pointed at the bank I mention below. I’d like to point out that somebody else has now seen indications from two top exec members who have spoken up independently, when perhaps they should have kept quiet.

    The journo is joining the dots. He thinks as I do that things are not all as they seem in the bank. In the US the banks have opened their books to public scrutiny, but in the EU the banks books have been kept closed to us meddling outsiders. I wonder what horrors might await the auditors.

    “But the fact is that Italy is one of the next dominos to fall should Greece default, and Italy’s banks are exposed to both risks. And two top execs at an Italy’s biggest bank have warned in the past week that if the matter of Greece’s impending default is not resolved – FAST – disaster lies ahead. It sounds like something we should listen to.”

  28. Lindsay McDougall
    September 29, 2011

    The right wing of the Conservative Party consistently underestimates its bargaining position. Whatever the polls say, people will be reluctant to return Labour to office so soon, and the Lib Dems are in no position to force an election. Provided that we restrict ourselves to saying that certain nations should leave the Euro, and that we want a two tier Europe, we should be OK.

    Incidentally, Spain has just reduced its fiscal deficit from 3.3% of GDP to 2.8% of GDP. Things are looking up.

    Reply: What matters is votes in the Commons. The federalists retain the majority.

  29. Chris
    September 29, 2011

    Peter Oborne’s outbursts were regrettable in that it makes it easier for people to dismiss him, but they come from utter frustration and anger at what so many perceive as the utter disingenuity of some of the Eurocrats. What particularly horrifed me was the apparent absolute acceptance by some, including I believe the lady (Katinka?) from a European Reform Group, that the electorate must not be told the whole picture before, for example, the critical German vote otherwise things would not get passed in the parliament – it had to be a stage by stage process, building up to the bigger goal. I understood Jeremy Paxman to be considerably disturbed by this dishonesty, with him putting a question directly on this issue. What this all seemed to reveal was a fundamental dishonesty within the workings of the EU machine, a machine which seems only intent on perpetuating itself/keeping power, no matter the cost to the citizens. The report by Paul Mason on Greece was highly informative and of huge concern. It would seem that the Greeks will be subordinated within the EU machine completely, not able to be free to determine anything, constantly in debt and in austerity measures, always in subservience to a master in Brussels. The true horror of what this might entail was hinted at last night in the report on Greece. To listen to all of this, and to hear Barroso yesterday detailing the ideas of taking stronger measures and taking greater powers for Brussels – this from an unelected individual – is highly disturbing. Where is the democracy in all of this?
    I believe that Cameron has to make a stand, and he must listen to his grassroots Conservatives.

    1. Disaffected
      September 29, 2011

      Here here. But Osborne has been swimming against the tide for a long time and it does become frustrating when mediums like the BBC and DT are happy to spin without any conscience of bias and deride logical cogent argument. His insults were no less than some Eurosceptics have received over the years. This will end in tears because Greece will show that people will only take so much and when it affects their pockets and living they will make a stand. Until now the incremental dishonest creep of the EU has not affected them personally.

    2. zorro
      September 29, 2011

      ‘slowly slowly catchy monkey’ is the tactical operation of their mission statement.


    3. Martyn
      September 29, 2011

      “It would seem that the Greeks will be subordinated within the EU machine completely, not able to be free to determine anything, constantly in debt and in austerity measures, always in subservience to a master in Brussels”.
      Exactly so and here we perhaps find the driving force to establish a ‘European Defence Force’. Not to fight external wars on behalf of the USofE, but to impose internal discipline on those nations foolish enough to not comply with the EU directors.
      This is not going to go away – if civil war breaks out in Greece it will have to be taken over, by force if neccessary, to protect the EU from disintegration. Of course, we will all be told that it is for their own good. Now, where have I seen that said before?

  30. Quietzapple
    September 29, 2011

    I’m glad ….. Oborne is on your side John. I know very well you wouldn’t permit some of the unpleasantnesses he has been responsible for to be published on your site.

  31. Bernard Otway
    September 29, 2011

    My wife had gone to bed,and I was watching and channel hopping quite bored,BUT I put on Newsnight out of curiosity right at it’s start, when I saw Mr Oborne I had a hunch[given the
    GUILTY PARTIES book just out] and especially Richard Lambert who I knew was going to spout ESTABLISHMENT SPEAK.Very quickly I was cheering SO LOUD I woke my poor wife up. I think that Peter Oborne caught out the whole bbc especially the usual rotweiller Paxman
    shows how clever they are NOT ,his book as it is written gives CLUES that even my babies
    would have got.Nevertheless I am happy at their naivety,and also as a comment above says ,
    he was removed immediately that piece finished,thank god he had done his damage not just to the PROJECT and it’s disciples but in showing up the bbc,IF they had known what he would do, ALL can rest assured he and his theme would have been censored by not being allowed on.Also the piece on this from Greece itself shows the DISCONNECT between the Rulers and the Ruled in Greece itself,which given the country’s past does not auger well for it’s future,IF I was of the Papandreou clan and allies I would have my suitcases packed and a jet on standby,when the inevitable big default happens,because If they still remain in that boaconstrictor called the Euro,tourists will stay away because it is so expensive,after all as an example compare prices on Lesbos only a couple of miles off
    Turkey to the ones in Turkey.Out of interest all the speculators and not just the big ones are making money out of this volatility,my own step son in South Africa bought pounds not long ago at R10.5 and sold them 3 weeks later at R12.9 in that transaction he made R22857 in less than a month Tax Free ,given that he earns about that in a month in salary
    not bad.

  32. Mark
    September 29, 2011

    Eskimos know not to throw meat to the wolves.

  33. Bernard Otway
    September 29, 2011

    In your answer John about voting for Mr Clarke as leader in 1997,please explain why you believed such an ardent pro european would allow you to push the line you say he agreed to,
    Just curious

    Reply: That was the deal. Had he tried to resile from me saying No to the Euro as Shadow Chancellor I would have resigned. He saw it was the only way he could lead a Eurosceptic party, to have a reliable Eurosceptic set out a full Eurosceptic policy on the Euro.

  34. sandy
    September 29, 2011

    What was interesting was the explicit admission that,essentially,the people of Europe-in particular the Germans- must be fed serial lies in order to get each stage of fiscal integration passed.

    Paxman gave the impression that it was all news to him, though anyone who has been paying attention knows that this is how the Eurofanatics have always worked.

    The inherent Euro-bias of the BBC prevents it,but any neutral news gathering operation ought to be shouting from the rooftops about this anti-democratic dishonesty.

    Imagine the feeding frenzy at Broadcasting House if a Tory government were trying to conceal its true intentions in a similar way.

  35. Chris
    September 29, 2011

    Response to Barroso, and an “incompetency of presidents (interestingly Farage gets some not inconsiderable applause).

  36. Robert Taggart
    September 29, 2011

    Three cheers for Oborne…
    A spade is a spade… an idiot is an idiot… time someone said so.
    Lambert = “that idiot in London” !

  37. Duyfken
    September 29, 2011

    Those who criticise Oborne for his “idiot” remarks might consider that the result has been good media exposure, similar to that of Farrand’s description of von Rompuy as a “damp rag”. Offensive, yes but/and effective. The issue is so serious that it needs us all to sit up and take notice and Oborne has helped to achieve this. Still, I think he must have enjoyed a good dinner!

    1. Duyfken
      September 29, 2011

      Sorry: Farrage.

  38. Bernard Otway
    September 29, 2011

    Thanks for the answer John,makes me think of a joke about Mr Rajbansi of the Tricameral parliament in South Africa in the late eighties,which said “when asked a particularly pointed
    question “his reply was “Well I’ll DOUBLE CROSS THAT BRIDGE WHEN I GET TO IT”
    or another one which alluded that as a jockey he would win races by jumping off one horse
    onto another in full flight,perhaps that was what Mr Clarke has always been a political

  39. Electro-Kevin
    September 29, 2011

    So long as the arguments about the EU go on the EU wins. This is despite the fact that the majority in this country are Eurosceptic.

    No one says “Let’s stop all EU encroachment until this argument is settled.”

    Instead the EU salami-slices its way through our sovereignty whilst the arguing goes on. A bit like Goldilocks being found by the three bears and continuing to eat the porridge whilst the bears argue with her that she has no right to be doing it. Once the argument is settled it’s already too late – the porridge is eaten.

    The EU wins by default.

    Has anyone considered taking this matter up with the Queen ? Otherwise what is her purpose ?

    1. Adam5x5
      September 29, 2011

      the monarchy’s purpose is to sponge off the taxpayer and pontificate hipo critically.

      Also to rubber stamp brussels the government brussels put in front of them.

    2. Jon Burgess
      September 30, 2011

      Read ‘Treason at Maastrict’ by Norris McWhirter and Rodney Atkinson. This describes a last minute appeal by a number of judges to the Queen along the lines that signing the Maastrict Treaty would be in direct conflict with her coronation oath and put her in an impossible position – on the one hand the Queen is bound by her coronation oath to govern us according to our laws and on the other she is bound by the Maastricht Treaty to do the bidding of the EU.

      One hopes a suitablly gruesome fate awaits Douglas Hurd and Francis Maude in the next life.

      1. Electro-Kevin
        September 30, 2011

        Thank you.

      2. sjb
        September 30, 2011

        The sentiments expressed in your last paragraph, Oborne’s comments on Newsnight and Farage’s rudeness towards Van Rompuy may explain why the “silenced majority” do not to vote for UKIP or other anti-EU parties.

        1. Electro-Kevin
          October 1, 2011

          If you want the truth, SJB I think it’s simply the case that the public have been bored into submission over Europe.

  40. Remington Norman
    September 29, 2011

    Peter Oborne’s presence on Newsnight was indeed welcome. His conduct, particularly to the Eurocrat, less so. It never helps the case to be offensive and by repeatedly calling him an idiot Oborne undermined his own credibility. Pity, because it is rare indeed for the BBC to put up anti-EU representative on flagship programmes.

  41. Martin
    September 29, 2011

    I find the some Euro-sceptic use of words like “idiot” amazing when the Pound Sterling remains rock bottom at about €1.15?

    1. Amanda
      September 29, 2011

      Martin, the ‘idiot’ is the one who does not see the Pound’s ability to float as healthy. And, rock bottom would be 0.00, I think. If, given the current situation, you are not sceptical about the EU, then you really must be oblivious to facts, and live in a dream world.

  42. Norman Dee
    September 29, 2011

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of Mr Oborne’s behaviour, it has got attention, and, I am told, “there is no such thing as bad publicity”. If more people put up a more volatile performance and thereby attracted more attention, we might make some inroads into the apathy of the public’s attitude to the EU. I must admit that the vision of a volatile John Redwood is not something I can easily imagine, but think about the reaction that you losing it on TV would get. You will be on Strictly Come Dancing before you know where you are.

  43. Chris
    September 29, 2011

    I have to admire also Farage’s bold speaking in the EP on this whole issue, and interestingly there was not inconsiderable support for what he was saying. He is an extremely powerful speaker and relates to people, hears what their concerns are and is not afraid to be bold and speak the truth (no focus group influence here or obsession with image/spin). Why cannot the Cons party learn from all of this?
    I feel that if those with UKIP sentiments returned to the Cons party, then maybe something could be done to bring the party back from its liberal left position. At the moment I think there are a lot of voters who feel that not a single party of the 3 main ones represents them.

    1. Public Servant
      September 29, 2011

      The reason that the Cons dont learn from UKIP and specifically the UKIP leader is because they want to be re-elected.

  44. Pericles
    September 29, 2011

    I had to smile this morning when the media described the forthcoming vote in the Bundestag in terms implying a belief that it might go against Frau Merkel’s profligacy.

    As if they would ever have voted against! Those politicians not already on the E.U. gravy train are hoping to join it at the next station: they’ll spend the tax-payer’s last penny to keep it on the rails.

    Proscriptions — now! (There’s never a Roman emperor around, when you need one, is there?)


    Ye gods! This is most ghastly piece of software: WEBMASTER, the next tab should lead direct to the ‘Post Comment’ button; get your finger out!

  45. Electro-Kevin
    September 29, 2011

    Peter Oborne resorted to ad hominem attacks correctly in my view. What else was there to do ?

    Reasoned debate with these people has failed because they are deluded and dishonest. Mr Lambert was told that the single currency had failed – he responded that this was ” … only because member states had not played by the rules”

    Well there’s a surprise.

    When we said all those years ago that we distrusted the leaders of other states and that the Euro would fail we were dismissed as xenophobes.

    When we said that we did not like the devolvement of sovereignty to the EU were were called mad.

    The idea of democracy is that politicians test their arguments before an audience of voters. Those arguments are not meant to change the ideologies of the adversaries. A vote is then supposed to be taken based on those arguments.

    My point here is that those arguments aren’t tested and they most certainly aren’t voted on.

    Arguments on immigration and EU membership are not being put before the voters by our leading politicians. In fact to argue strongly for a withdrawal from either is taboo and restricted by political correctness and a threat of immediate ostracisation by a select and powerful clique.

    Where the majority view is dismissed; where debate is curtailed; where the language of debate is controlled; where a course is taken against the express will of the majority… where the majority are ignored … what is left to do but engage in combat or submit ?

    In extremis this is why wars are fought.

    I feel that Britain is finished. I’ve felt a stranger here for a good fifteen years, maybe more now. I genuinely fear that my house may be burgled by knife wielding thugs during the night while I’m am at work and my wife and children are alone. The generation in charge for the past twenty years has made a complete hash of things and lost my trust completely. My generation are going to have to live with this collapse in authority, they won’t.

    Things started to really go downhill after the Tories (of all people) signed Maastricht. (So did my pension when Norman Lamont set the precedent for Gordon Brown’s raids on it as it happens.)

    You keep telling us that we voted for pro EU and pro immigration MPs. We didn’t. These subjects weren’t allowed to be on the menu of any of the major parties for most of the last two decades.

    Reply: In 2005 Conservatives fought the election on the need to cotnrol immigration, and to get powers back from the Eu, and we lost.

    1. Electro-Kevin
      September 29, 2011

      This is all probably beyond politics now anyway.

    2. Electro-Kevin
      September 29, 2011

      House prices booming. Tony Blair still credible. Michael Howard a terrible front man (it shouldn’t be so superficial but it is.)

      It wasn’t the policies. It was the man.

      Now that the wheel has dropped off the afformentioned policies will take a much higher priority.

      If you want your majority now’s the time to get it.

    3. Jon Burgess
      September 30, 2011

      Yes, and Labour won that election partly on the promise of a referendum on the treaty that became known as Lisbon.

      So the Tories lost in 2005 and lost again in 2010 – when a dead cat, or even the great Norman Lamont as Tory leader could have beaten Gordon Brown. Perhaps it is the Tory party that is the toxic brand – you ought to get out while you still have a chance of giving the electorate a choice at the next election.

      1. Electro-Kevin
        September 30, 2011

        The Sun and the Daily Mail did not help the Tory case in 2005 by referring to Gordon Brown as ‘prudent’ and ‘formidable’. This may have caused many disenchanted Tory voters to remain at home.

        One has to be able to remember the awful ERM fiasco and to have suffered from it to realise how much the Tory reputation for sound economic management was damaged. Also the signing of Maastricht heralded almost instant cultural changes, certainly in London – the emergence of windscreen wiping gangs and beggars on the tubes. We wondered what the hell was going on and figured that the Tories had lost the plot. I still voted for them albeit through gritted teeth.

        They insulted and alienated their core voters.

        Under Nu Lab I was continually asking in despair “Where is all this money coming from ?”

        The answer invariably “We work hard. We’re being told told constantly that we’re the 4th largest economy in the world so why should our kids continue to be schooled in leaky outbuildings ?”

        The people believed the rhetoric and were bought. They were happy to turn a blind eye to a lot of things so long as there was rising house prices, pay and association football.

        The Tory’s achievements – though admirable – were far from perfect. I’d sooner pay tax to subsidise the mining communities than the chav communities we do nowadays. The Tories made a rod for their own back on that one – the Leftists would never have been able the hijack the global warming issue if so many of their workers were still dependant on coal for a living.

        The sell off of council housing – instead of creating a nation of responsible mortgage holders – precipitated the biggest increase in dependancy culture we have seen.

        If taking responsibility for one’s self by cleaning toilets on minimum wage makes you ‘privileged’ because you have a job in an area of high unemployment and puts you further down the waiting list for limited council accommodation then the message is clear. Don’t clean toilets for a living. Leave it to an immigrant prepared to live 7 to a room.

        Mr Redwood. I fear their will be civil unrest if this latest EU directive on benefits entitlements goes through. During the Poll Tax demo in Trafalgar Square I was a front line police officer holding a shield. I’ve a feeling that at some time under this government – or even the next – I shall find myself on the other side of that shield.

        I know and you know that I speak for millions upon millions when I say that we are very worried and that we’ve had enough of this nonsense.

  46. Public Servant
    September 29, 2011

    Why has noone engaged with my point about the United Kingdom? Why should the English be content to continue the ludicrous transfer payments to the peripheral nations such as Scotland and Northern Ireland?

    1. norman
      September 30, 2011

      We’ve had many discussions over the months about one region of the UK subsidising another but I’ll answer you, as a Scot.

      Firstly, did you konw that last year Scotland contributed 9.3% per head to the tax take of the UK yet received 9.1% per head of the spending? Of course, we received more than we paid in tax but then everyone in the UK does, due to us borrowing obscene amounts. Let’s hope this government scraps the Barnet formula as part of the Conservative revamp up north and when borrowing eventually gets under control things become more balanced.

      Where do you draw the line? Do you kick out Wales, North East and North West of England from the Union as they receive more in ‘subsidy’ than Scotland? How about the Midlands? Scotland is an easy target because of ant-English oafs who tend to grab the headlines and so it’s easy for that feeling to be reciprocated.

      I agree Scotland shouldn’t have anything like the size of public sector it has, it’s not difficult to show that the more government gets involved in a region the worse it does so we Scots could justifiably claim that you sassenachs are deliberately keeping us down with big government!

      Luckily I live in a region (north east of Scotland) where government spending is a lot lower than in other areas of Scotland (we even have variations within Scotland, so again, where do we draw the line?) so we’re chugging along nicely – for every £ spent inScotland £0.75 gets spent in my region compared to around £1.30 in the Glasgow region.

      What it comes down to is you either believe in a United Kingdom or you think we’d be better off on our own. Personally I believe everytihng should be localised as far as possible, down to tax rates and spending, a bit like the American state system where different regions are free to pursue independent economic policies. Some transfer should be necessary but I’d have it as minimal as possible.

  47. Public Servant
    September 29, 2011

    Why do the contributors to this blog seem glued to the output of the BBC? Ever heard of ITV or Sky?

    1. sandy
      September 29, 2011


      Do you mean the Michael Jackson channel?

    2. norman
      September 30, 2011

      The main reason people complain about the BBC isn’t because there isn’t an alternative (except in the case of radio, unfortunately) it’s because no one forces you under threat of imprisonment to pay for Sky and ITV.

      If we were all forced to subscribe to Fox News do you think the left would complain about having to pay Fox £30 / year or do you think they’d all say ‘well, that’s all right cause we have the BBC to balance things out so I don’t mind paying for this unwatchable right wing trash’?

  48. Martyn
    September 29, 2011

    Has anyone considered the fact that the grand EU project for the USofE is unstopable? There is not a nation within the EU whose politicians are willing and able to stand against the EU dictatorship. How can they? It matters not if their populace is disenchanted, they can be ignored as the pace of transfer of power to the EU mandarins, ably supported in our case by our own EU-imbedded mandarins until the time is reached when the proles wake up it is too late.
    Let’s face it, nothing short of resurrection or war is going to stop the relentless march of the EU and how is that going to happen? Each nation stands alone but controlled by the EU, so which of those, or who, will start the process of recovery. Get used to thinking about it as an already lost cause. And no, I am not a defeatist. A realist, yes, but one consumed with vitriolic anger at the incomparable mess our politicians have made of our once great nation.

  49. Public Servant
    September 29, 2011

    Has it not occurred to you Mr Redwood or to your strident contributors that neither the pro Europeans nor the anti Europeans are idiots? Has it not occurred that there exists a genuine difference of opinion? In my view both of these intellectual positions are perfectly reasonable. Anti European fundamentalism is like Islamic fundamentalism. The resort is not to intellectual argument but to mindless ad hominem attacks and hysteria.

    1. norman
      September 30, 2011

      Speaking for me personally it’s the ruling class (of all persuasions) I class as idiots, and their track record backs that up.

      Ordinary people I generally have nothing but respect for as we all struggle along under the burden that those who know better impose on us.

    2. Electro-Kevin
      September 30, 2011

      But while the ‘argument’ goes on the Federalists get their way in full.

      The process is not delayed to wait for agreement or concensus – it goes on unabated.

      Has that not occurred to you, Public Servant ?

      No wonder we’re angry.

      BTW the Euro appears to have been a gigantic mistake taken against the will of Eurosceptics who happen to form the majority in this country.

    3. sm
      September 30, 2011

      Public Servant

      Im sure we could settle for a in/out referendum. But thats a frustrating point.

    4. Jon Burgess
      September 30, 2011

      The arument is simply over who governs us – those we can elect and dismiss from office, or a foreign power that is beholden to no-one. The fact that no British Governement has had the guts to put this to the public but given away this fundamental right behind our backs by stealth, is enough for me to know which side of the argument I’m on. How about you?

      Wars have been fought over this in the past and I fear that is the way this is going now.

  50. Bernard Otway
    September 30, 2011

    Anyone watch question time tonight which included Peter Oborne,if you could not do so on Iplayer,the audience showed a huge majority Anti the euro and the eu,there was loud universal applause for anti eu statements,which thank god could not be cut out by the bbc,as if they had tried they would have had to cut the entire show.One of the loudest and most articulate in the audience was a scouser and obviously labour BUT he was passionately
    anti the eu and wanted us out,WATCH the labour party notice this and quickly realise it is a
    vote winner.John you had better nag,nag ,and NAG all of your party to be on your side or
    the next election is lost,if you can show this programme to your leader and MAKE him turn course, I think William Hague is also POSITIONING himself again,Mark my words,
    also words like burning building and exits closed,even Tim Farron was browbeaten,and look at the embarrassed look on Caroline Flint’s face about the euro and eu issue who clearly did not know how to answer in case it was against HQ’s line,someone even mentioned her possibly losing her Shadow postion which clearly irritated her.

  51. Chris
    September 30, 2011

    I saw a small part of Question Time last night and CCHQ and Lord Ashcroft’s pollsters should take heed. The EU and associated issues are of huge importance to individuals. Conservative polling has to be much more sophisticated – they really have to have an ear to the ground and frame detailed questions to determine exactly what concerns voters about the EU. You have to look at individual controversial issues, and determine also if the person being asked actually knows where the legislation on these controversial issues comes from – some of them are unaware that right down to the smalles issues the EU is dictating policy e.g. even the change in size of envelopes was required by the EU (the closure of Post Offices was also linked to EU requirements). The very real anger demonstrated last night was partly in response to the gravy train of expenses in the EU. I believe many of these were not Conservative voters but they would I believe support a party that would stand up to the EU and that would be willing to redefine radically our relationship with the EU. What people want is boldness and honesty in politicians, and there was utter contempt last night, I believe, for those politicians in Europe who were perceived to be on a gravy train and “in it for themselves” to the detriment of the people in the EU. I believe there was a strong awareness of the democratic unaccountability of the EU during QT, but those who watched more than I did could perhaps give more detail/correct me.

  52. Baron
    September 30, 2011

    Public servants calls for truce: “Has it not occurred to you Mr Redwood or to your strident contributors that neither the pro Europeans nor the anti Europeans are idiots? Has it not occurred that there exists a genuine difference of opinion?”

    Yup, that’s right except that until recently it was your bunch that called us names, now when Oborne did the same to you, it’s all back peddling, looking for rationality, calling for civilized debate and stuff.

    Peter Oborne called the EU tosser an idiot, Baron reckons, because he wanted to wake the great unwashed up, draw as much publicity as possible to the issue, push the MSM to pay attention to people whose foresight, vision, intellect have got it right from the year one of the synthetic nonsense that wasn’t needed, has served only to advance the dream idea of the Brussels nomenklatura, an idea the time of which hasn’t yet come.

    and another thing:

    What’s proposed now, a new vehicle set up by the EIB funded through the EFSF (a temporary set-up that miraculously morphed into permanence) that will issue paper in return for bonds of the Euro countries is nothing but a disguised form of a Euro bond, has the bunch you are batting for asked the hoi polloi of Europe for a permission to go ahead with it, or are you taking lessons from the now defunct Red Menace of the East, ha?

  53. Chris
    September 30, 2011

    In article on the significance of the German vote yesterday (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard D Tel.
    it states:
    “….The significance of yesterday’s vote by the Bundestag to make the EU’s €440bn rescue fund (EFSF) more flexible is not that the outcome was a “Yes”. The significance is entirely the opposite. The furious debate over the erosion of German fiscal sovereignty and democracy – as well as the escalating costs of the EU rescue machinery – has made it absolutely clear that the Bundestag will not prop up the ruins of monetary union for much longer…”

    I had understood that the EU powers that be have devised/are devising a way of escalating the bail out fund by a mechanism “which will not necessitate going back to sovereign parliaments for approval”.

    If this is the case, is is just symbolic this apparent refusal by the Bundestag to “prop up the ruins of monetary union any longer”. There is this feeling that the EU is a political juggernaut which just keeps going, and that nothing can stop it. Is this perception due to the spin by the Eurocrats, or is the whole EU edifice actually terminally wounded? My perception is that those in power simply cannot believe that their project could come to an end believing that they are infallible. I do not have enough in depth knowledge on all of this, but what I do know is that when an individual closely associated with the European project (Newsnight, lady from a European Reform Group) can openly and happily talk about the dishonest way in which incomplete information is apparently put to Parliaments simply to get key legislation passed then the situation is very serious indeed. I think her statement was extremely disturbing and not only illustrates to me the process of deceit which seems to be endemic, but also an arrogance and contempt for “the people”. She seemed to be openly telling Paxman about the way we, the people, have to be duped in order to get us to do exactly what the Eurocrats want. Is this not very dangerous, besides being amoral?

    reply: Who knows? The future is clouded,because we do not know whether a major country like Germany will refuse to pay for the full union or not. The project currently hangs in the balance, with an increasing number of voters alienated from it throughout Europe, but the political elites still trying to make it work.

  54. ArseneKnows
    September 30, 2011

    Nice to see that courtesy, and decency have, along with truth , been dumped by the right wing.

    Peter Oborne was boorish and obnoxious and, like British diplomacy, irrelevant.

    1. rose
      October 1, 2011

      It is a pity that Oborne’s shallow and intemperate loutishness has apparently caught people’s attention, while Mr Redwood’s polite and intelligent reasonableness over many decades has so often been dismissed with contempt or not even acknowledged. But this is the coarse unthinking age we live in. The broadcasters love to produce staged “rows”, “storms”, and “outbursts”. They manage communications, and politicians must try somehow to get past them to a largely apolitical electorate. Remember Oborne is also trying to sell a book.

      1. rose
        October 1, 2011

        Oborne’s outburst did however unsettle the complacent FT man, a man who represents the elite which has betrayed us. An elite which cannot be said to have sold us down the river, as we are actually paying through the nose for our enslavement.

        Instead of answering Oborne’s charges, he made the pathetic excuse that the facts had changed, and tried to bully the chairman into moving the conversation on. This is what powerful people in the wrong do in meetings, and how they get their way. So although I wish it had been achieved politely, his unmasking was necessary, and people commenting here have merely understood that this elite is never going to apologise for what it has done to England.

  55. RCRM
    October 1, 2011

    The vilification the guilty men like Richard Lambert have heaped on Euroskeptics over the past 20 years has been disgraceful, disgusting and despicable. Show them no mercy; they showed none to the Euroskeptics and they should be shown none now.

  56. Chris
    October 1, 2011

    Oborne made powerful points regarding the devastating effect on certain countries e.g. the breaking down of society in Greece, that the euro has caused, and the powerful report by Paul Mason is now backed up by a D Tel report today by Christopher Humphrys
    What is interesting is that there seems to have been miminal coverage by the media of the effect of Greek sit ins/protests by civil servants yesterday and what they apparently prevented the financial inspectors from Europe achieving e.g.
    “…A lock-out at the national statistics office Elstat forced the agency to postpone publication of two sets of economic indicators yesterday.
    ‘We will miss (Friday’s) deadline for sending final debt and deficit figures for 2010 to Eurostat, the Commission and the troika, because I and my team can’t get into the building,’ Andreas Georgiou, chairman of the Elstat statistics agency, told the Financial Times.

  57. jedibeeftrix
    October 1, 2011

    “joining the Euro was like taking out a joint bank account with the neighbours. You were likely to ruin a good friendship with them, when you fell to arguing over the size and use of the overdraft.”

    Hah! Never it heard it put quite that way before, but very much mirrors my own arguments.

  58. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    October 8, 2011

    “joining the Euro was like taking out a joint bank account with the neighbours. You were likely to ruin a good friendship with them, when you fell to arguing over the size and use of the overdraft.”

    Good analogy but …

    A normal household has to earn or borrow money. A normal household cannot create money out of thin air like a Government can (or like a Bank can using Fractional Reserve Lending). Neighbours who lend each other money are lending money that already exists in the system. They do not have the legal power to create additional money.

    Two soveriegn Nations – who separately; could increase the money supply (like the BoE in the UK) when combined in a single currency generates the question – Who then decides whether to add or remove money from the system? Is it the ECB, the IMF or the European Parliament?

    When Sovereign states merge their currencies into one currency; they no longer have control over the quantity of the money supply or even much of an influence over the quantity of money in their economy.

    Neighbours combining their Bank Accounts into one is an interesting analogy as it highlights the fact that Nation States neither have to earn or borrow money – they can just create it from nothing (debt free) when the money supply shrinks .

    Households could create money from nothing by printing it in their garages, but they would be disturbed by Police breaking down their front doors at 4:00 in the morning.

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