The French and UK deals compared

The Uk as a late entrant to the EEC had to accept many of the rules and schemes that were already in existence when it joined. Subsequent enlargements ,and four major Treaties strengthening Brussels powers and competence later, and the EU is even less to the UK’s liking than at the outset.

France wanted a comprehensive centralised agricultural policy to subsidise many small and inefficient farms. The aim is to keep agricultural prices high,impose barriers against non EU farmers, and send substantial subsidies to the domestic farmers. Germany has gone along with this as well. The UK has under successive governments claimed it wants a more open market based system, with freer entry for products from poorer countries, less subsidy to inefficient farms, and lower prices for consumers. France has never been willing to concede these changes. Mr Blair needlessly sacrificed an important chunk of the Thatcher rebate for promised reform of the CAP which never materialised.

France believes that the purpose of a single market is to regulate everything that goes on in an otherwise free market. The regulations are usually based on the preferences of the largest companies with a presence in the EU, especially those French and German companies that are good at lobbying the legislators. France sees single market measures as ways to keep out unruly competition. They often damage smaller entrants or make innovation difficult. France seems to be able to use these rules to her own advantage, whilst the UK often finds these rules put British interests at a disadvantage.

In 1972 the UK began the break-up of the sterling area. Various justificiations were offered at the time, but the imminence of EEC membership and the development of the snake, an early forerunner of the ERM and the Euro, probably influenced UK Treasury thinking. The French and others felt that running a large sterling area for non EU countries was not compatible with taking membership of the EEC seriously. It is curious to note that the same logic was not applied to the French franc zone. The West African and the Central African franc currency areas have survived the Snake, the ERM and Euro membership for France.

The UK makes a bigger net contribution to the EU than France, yet France persists in making the UK rebate the cause of special disagreement. The rebate was invented to deal with the grossly unfair financial deal that applied to the UK, mainly because the farming policy was so skewed against UK interests. The UK pays far too much in for the alleged benefits of membership. If it’s free trade and friendship you want, it should not cost anything like the UK’s subscription.

Soon the EU increases the levies on art transactions made in the London market, likely to switch more business to New York.

The UK thought it was joining a cricket club, that would play by the rules. It turns out it has joined a multi sports club, and has to pay for the rugby, football, swimming and ice hockey, even though it still only wants to play cricket. Meanwhile, it appears that the Uk takes the rules more seriously than other club members.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. lifelogic
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Indeed you are right but where do we go from here. Will Cameron really do anything and he has the Libdems who still seem to be religiously attached to the insanities of the EU.

    The new levies on art transactions made in the London market certain to switch more business to New York or elsewhere and typically insane. Why on earth should someone who has bought something find he has to continue to pay for it when he sells it. Sending money to relatives of the artist who has nothing to do with it. Total lunacy typical of the EU.

    The banking reforms championed by Cable suggests they have not understood the way banking works and the damage they will do either.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      On banking separation is not needed – living wills for banks in difficulty are the solution and sensible and efficient regulation.

      • sm
        Posted December 19, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

        I disagree – legal seperation is most probably needed unless you have a system of close to full reserve banking.

        Some bankers,lawyers, accountants are clever people and can easily find innovative ways of moving around specific rules. General principles are what are required along with regulators willing to let the market punish mistakes. (Recent example Re-Hypothecations see zerohedge website)

        If government finds itself ‘trapped’ it must remove all the people associated with the ancient regime, rather than promote them. Reasserting control on the managerial class if the shareholders are seemingly unwilling or unable.

        If a major systemic bank of financial co goes down. Then managers should not be able to walk off with bonuses from the boom times leaving the taxpayer with the toxic sludge. Credit booms and fractional reserve banking who could or would see such a scenario and be brave enough to stop it or mitigate it?

        If we ran our electricity systems like this the power might go out! Now thats a scary thought. Another reason to leave the EU.

        • lifelogic
          Posted December 19, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

          This can all be better done by sensible regulation and “living will arrangements” as to how the position is to be resolved should “casino banking” difficulties arise. Many of the bank in difficulty were not “casino” banks anyway just over geared and borrowing short terms to lend long – and with too little security.

        • APL
          Posted December 20, 2011 at 9:24 am | Permalink

          looks outside long enough to notice absoutly NO wind.

          sm: “If we ran our electricity systems like this the power might go out! Now thats a scary thought.”

          Be afraid, be very afraid. This is exactly how Cleggy and Huhne are running the electricity system!

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Please may I recommend the excellent book on the absurdities of the green industry exaggerations – green on the outside red in the middle.

      Watermelons: The Green Movement’s True Colors
      by James Delingpole (Author)

      Which is now even free on Kindle (or the Amazon kindle software) I notice.

      • Disaffected
        Posted December 19, 2011 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic, with the greatest respective, we all know what a load of rubbish the green agenda is and it is only idiots like Huhne and Clegg that want to continue down this expensive, uncompetitive path. Industries reliant on energy for business will not be able to compete by 2020 because energy will be too expensive in this country. Time and again there is no coherent overall plan to help the country get out of the mess Labour left it in. Chocolate Dave and deriding UK Clegg will not change the country’s fortunes any time soon. Cameron would be better suited as the PR man to a Tory leader.

        If Osborne is the Tory strategist he needs a big wake up call that the Tories have not achieved anything in two years and the clock is ticking away towards the next election without any sight of improvement in any key policy area ie budget, Eu, immigration, defence, crime and disorder, public services. In fact they are in a worse condition than when they came to office.

        • Mike Fowle
          Posted December 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

          Watermelons is definitely worth a read. I have been studying the whole climate change nonsense for some years now, but James Delingpole has come up with a whole load of new facts. It’s written in his amusing pugnacious style, too.

        • lifelogic
          Posted December 19, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

          Nevertheless it is an excellent and very amusing book, even if it is a bit depressing that so many, such as nearly all the BBC, are taken in so easily.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted December 19, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        If anyone has any doubt about the true colour (red) of the Green Party then check out the Scottish Communist Party website. Patrick Harvie MSP (gay rights obsessive) is at the top table making speeches at their meetings.

  2. David Williams
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    You have hit the nail on the head, Mr Redwood. The UK plays by the rules while some of the other member states see the EU as a cash cow to be milked.

  3. Sue
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    So, the question is, if this is all so obvious to you Mr Redwood, why are we still members of this club? A club that British taxpayers are being forced to fund against their will and consent?

    “No taxation without representation” caused a revolution amongst British Colonists in the mid seventeen hundreds. Do not be surprised if this happens again. We’re very quickly losing our tempers with our “so-called government”.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      We have representatives in the EU Council, Commission, Parliament, and Court. So by your logic as we have representation then taxation is acceptable.

      • Disaffected
        Posted December 20, 2011 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        No, you are not correct. The Lisbon treaty could hardly be described as democratic when treaties can be made in our name without any consultation to parliament or the people of this country. Clegg fanatically wants this, but he is a minority activist. He is also an atheist who wants to change the monarchy, marriage and undermine our Christian faith with own minority views on gay marriage, taxation and sex equality to the monarchy. Charles Moore’s article last Saturday was very good and so was Christine Odone’s. Clegg needs to be put back in the box as he is out of touch with the majority of British people’s wishes. He also continues to denigrate the Britain and its culture. he really ought to leave and leave us alone. Now if the Tory party had a strong tory leader a better balance would be achieved in coalition government. However, Cameron’s views are so close to Clegg the rest of the party ought to be concerned. Cameron needs to be ousted ASAP before he follows through on Clegg’s ideas and puts the UK fully in Europe.

  4. Jose
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I can’t understand how various governments have been apparently so naive in their dealings with the EU. Admittedly, I can see Heath having to make concessions to get us in but subsequently there is no excuse. It would seem that all the other countries go into these meetings negotiating for themselves and we go in arguing in favour of the whole team.
    There are 4 ‘large’ economies and we are the last to have joined up so, the other 3 already had their cozy arrangement already in place when we joined. Why should they concede anything to us when it might upset their position? Thatcher seems to have been the only leader prepared to refuse an agreement unless there was a quid quo pro, Cameron would do well to follow her lead. The Europeans are a duplicitous lot as Major and Blair discovered to our continued cost.

    We should refuse any enhanced IMF funds to further help them bail out their mess.

    • Morvan
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Permalink


      Heath didn’t make concessions; he just hoisted a large placard saying, “Tell me what you want, and I will double it”.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        “Tell me what you want, and I will double it” and keep the details hidden from the public view too.

  5. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Maybe the UK could improve in “reading” positions and developments on the continent? Take this quote from history:
    “Gentlemen, you’re trying to negotiate something you will never be able to negotiate. If negotiated, it will not be ratified. And if ratified, it will not work.” Thus, in 1955(!) spoke a British civil servant who was dispatched from London to Brussels to inform European ministers what Britain thought of plans for an ambitious new European treaty.

    A similar narrative would hold for the UK’s ideas about the euro – thinking it would never happen, it couldn’t be done, and never tiring from predicting its imminent collapse.

    What surprises me, is that whereas Germany wants to have the UK included, it is Cameron who seeks isolation: first by taking his party out of the EPP. This month by his 1 against 26 posturing at the summit. After the summit, it is again Merkel and others reaching out for the UK.
    But (part of) the UK simply wants to get out, whatever deal were on offer.

    • Jose
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Permalink


      I think we just ‘accept’ that the French will inevitably never reach out to the British unless they’re threatened by someone e.g. Germany. They should be trying to encourage us rather than bleating that the whole euro thing is our fault.

      If the Germans want us in so much, how come Merkel was happy to present a fait accompli at the last summit and was not prepared to negotiate a British compromise? Germany’s desire for us to ‘join in’ probably is no more than a wish to access our already limited money, witness the latest EU statement that we are expected to contribute up to €30bn to the IMF.

      EU and cloud cuckoo land spring to mind!

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 19, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        @Jose: In your own Financial Times I read an analysis based on many interviews of what most likely happened in the weeks ahead and during the summit. It’s pretty plain obvious to me that the outcome was unintended by Cameron. I won’t say unkind things about him though as foreign ministers already try to heal the wounds.
        Doesn’t every country contribute to the IMF from time to time? Didn’t we contribute to bail out the UK in 1976? Not contributing will easily be interpreted as yet another anti EUROpean gesture by the UK. You’re not immune to what happens in indebted economies on the continent, let’s not forget that.

        • cosmic
          Posted December 19, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

          No Peter, the IMF was set up to assist sovereign states. If New Mexico and Arkansas had messed up their finances it wouldn’t mean that the USA qualified for IMF support. It would be an internal political matter.

          Viewed as a whole, the Eurozone has no problems apart from internal political ones, getting the northern regions to accept paying up on a permanent basis and the southern ones to cut their suit according to their cloth. I don’t see it’s the role of the IMF to assist in internal politics.

          Now if say, Greece were to leave this peculiar arrangement which is a state and not a state at the same time, I can see no problem with IMF support.

          The Eurozone is attempting to have its cake and eat it.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted December 20, 2011 at 7:12 am | Permalink

            Greece is a sovereign state and is receiving IMF loans already.

        • Jose
          Posted December 20, 2011 at 7:48 am | Permalink


          I’m a bit ‘late’ replying but Cosmic has more than answered you I believe. It’s true, the eurozone countries want it both ways and yet will not want to implement the normal IMF response which is a devaluation. This is unsustainable for the likes of Greece, Spain and probably Italy. If the IMF continues to bail these countries whilst leaving them in the present euro they will never repay their debts and will never be able to compete with Germany.

          I think you’ll find that we have always contributed when called upon but normally to bail out a country that is not quite so inflexible as the euro countries. It is extremely sad that the political will of the richer countries is imposing this upon the poorer ones when there is a very straightforward solution.

          Perhaps the egos of too many European politicians is too high.

        • cosmic
          Posted December 20, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Permalink


          Greece is not a sovereign state in the important respects that it can make the monetary policy changes which have been required for IMF intervention, so in my opinion this was quite wrong.

          Greece has taken part in a currency experiment, clearly intended to bring about a political end. This experiment had no withdrawal mechanism and no bailout mechanism. The bailout mechanisms have had to be fudged and done in defiance of existing treaties. It was clearly a foolish arrangement which excluded these possibilities.

          It’s really up to the other members of the club to sort out its internal problems, as they are well able to afford, or dissolve the club in an orderly way. I don’t accept that it’s a proper role for the IMF to assist in keeping this club going because its richer members would rather get parties outside the club to help pay and because paying themselves would create political difficulties for them.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted December 20, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

            @Jose: of course there is an attempt to have outside parties join in the effort to help indebted euro-countries, via the very secure IMF route. After all, in our globalized world the eurozone economy is of interest to more than just eurozone countries. Political project or not, you might just be making the error of thinking that each and every outside party is dead against the euro. That is not the case. That is a typical British eurosceptic position.

    • Martyn
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      another lesson from history, at the time when Britain and France were working together to counter a sabre-rattling Germany.
      Lloyd-George, in his Mansion House speech in July 1911 warning Germany of the risks she was running in her European activities, said “I would make great sacrifices to preserve peace. I conceive that nothing would justify a disturbance of international good will except questions of gravest national interest. But if a situation were to be forced upon us, in which peace could only be preserved by the surrender of the great and beneficent position Britain has won by centuries of heroism and achievement, by allowing Britain to be treated, where her interests were vitally affected, as if she was of no account in the Cabinet of Nations, then I say emphatically that peace at that price would be a humiliation intolerable for a country like ours to endure”.
      Mr Cameron could have used that speech at the meeting the other week to good effect by replacing ‘peace’ with ‘the preservation of the EU’ to hammer home the point. Seems to me he missed an opportunity there, but I wonder what might have been the reaction of France and Germany had he done so?
      So many things that have happened since we joined that it is difficult to avoid thinking that we have indeed frequently been humiliated by the blinkered vision of so many of our political leaders, who inevitably put their visions of the grand and sunlit EU uplands ahead of our national interests or, sometimes, simple common-sense.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 20, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        @Martyn: Germany is in no way sabre-rattling. If Britain had been a European economic powerhouse instead of a devalued but still dwindling economy, it would have been a leader and example to other European countries. Ah – if Britain could only be as powerful as a hundred years ago!

    • Kenneth
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for that peice of history.

      “Gentlemen, you’re trying to negotiate something you will never be able to negotiate. If negotiated, it will not be ratified. And if ratified, it will not work.”

      This was very perceptive. The crucual last sentence of this civil servant’s comment is coming to pass.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 19, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        @Kenneth: From the Independent( 30 August 1999, Historical Notes) about Mr Bretherton’s retreat from Europe in 1955 one extra sentence: “And please note that, if it were applied, it would be totally unacceptable to Britain.”
        Well . . . was it? Within a decade the UK was begging to become part of this treaty! Because the EEC didn’t work?
        I’m not suggesting that the same will happen with the euro or the Fiscal Union. But why not? Shall we check in 10 years from now?

        • Jose
          Posted December 20, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Permalink


          You’re beginning to remind me of a Dutch gentleman I ‘stumbled’ across in Brussels airport just after the introduction of the euro. As far as he was concerned ‘we would be forced to join whether or not we liked it’. Just like him, you seem to be making the basic mistake that we appear to have no say in the decision. Probably most of us are so cynical regarding our politicians that we wouldn’t be totally surprised if they signed us up for something completely against our will!
          However, we always have the option of falling back on our democracy, sadly a position denied to the Italians and Greeks by precisely those people you seem to favour.
          Threatening us is not a clever thing to do I’m sure you agree and yet, the EU parliament and France seem to have done nothing else recently. We should never be part of the state of Europe as it will certainly cost us more than money, it will threaten our democracy no less. A position you are fully aware of but seem to accept in spite of repeated vetoes.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted December 20, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

            @Jose: I won’t hold my breath that the UK would ever join the euro, all I did was showing you
            something of your own history, which had an aspect of zigzagging in it with regard to Europe. Italians and Greeks probably won’t take kindly to your mistaken idea that theirs aren’t democracies, but let me just say that your idea of democracy isn’t mine either.

          • Frederick Bloggs
            Posted December 20, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

            Democracy! WTF !!

            The Greek prime minister is an unelected apparatchik placed their by Merkel and Sarkozy when G-Paps call for a referendum upset the euro elites. Greece (through their own over spending) are now a protectorate of Barroso and company.

            The Italian prime minister is an unelected apparatchik placed there by Barroso after Berlusconi was pushed out by the euro elite. Berlusconi (love him or hate him) won 3 elections.

            And you dare to call this democracy.

            This is what scares me about you eurofanatics. I have lots of European friends, I studied in France, I speak French fluently, I go there a lot, BUT I do not want to be run by Brussels. I want to be run by the UK. I will trade with you and be friends with you but I will not share my bank account with you.

          • Frederick Bloggs
            Posted December 20, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

            typo in 1st paragraph should be “placed there”

  6. Jon burgess
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    All compelling reasons why Britain must leave this one sided cancerous Franco German protection racket.

    • javelin
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      And the markets are suspecting that the Germans are quietly getting ready to leave the Euro.

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted December 19, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        Hey javelin, what a ground shaker! While we are all thinking about what Germany is going to do to save the euro she is planning to do something quite different.

        On reading your post the image that came into my mind was the Molotov/Ribbentrop pact.

  7. Javelin
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    The EU is currently demanding £25bn fron the UK to prop the Euro up.

    If they need £25bn they need to take it from the CAP.

    Until subsidies completely stop for farmers we should not contribute a penny to helping the Euro.

    • Javelin
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

      Just read, Italy to provide Eu23.5 billion to IMF to bail out … Italy.

      The EZ is officially a basket case.

      Cameron’s big bazooka looks more like a revolver in the back of the mouth.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 20, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      It’s interesting how millions of lambs and their brothers can be slaughtered and trundled half way around the world from New Zealand in a refrigerated ship and still be cheaper than Farmer Giles who only has slaughter a few and drive down the road in his subsidised Range Rover?

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 22, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        Well he has all the EU slaughterhouse regulations, farm animal regulations, and the agency’s vets and government over seeing fees to pay for. So the local one has closed and slaughterhouse is probably miles away. Also he has all the mad employment stuff.

  8. alan jutson
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    “The EU is even less to the UK’s liking than at the outset”.

    I would agree with you, millions of our citizens would agree with you, but successive Party leaders over the decades clearly have not, otherwise we would not be in the position we are today.

    I see from the Telegraph headlines this morning that the EU want another 25 Billion from us to support the Euro, if agreed that would make us the second largest contibutor behind Germany and Equal to France, and we are not even in the b….y Euro.

    I only hope Cameron says no, this requst to us for more and more money is rapidly becoming a farce of gigantic proportions.
    We are still trying to play catch up with our own spending cuts, let alone give away many, many times the savings we are SUPPOSED TO HAVE MADE, and STILL HAVE TO MAKE.

    With more and more media reports about the failings of the Euro perhaps just perhaps, enough Mp’s will realise that we now need to get out, or at the very, very least, change our relationship to suit our best interests of a trade only relationship.

    • alan jutson
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Will Cameron have to put any further bailout sums to the IMF before Parliament, or does he have the power to do it without a vote ?

      Reply: He has already won a vote for more IMF bail outs. It depends on how much and what terms.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      It’s odd that so many political parties elect pro-EU leaders and that the Eurosceptic public keeps voting for these parties. It’s like we live in a pro-EU country.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted December 20, 2011 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        Which is why it cannot continue in its present form, whilst a consistent majority favour withdrawal and an overwhelming majority demand renegotiation, This why the Tories went from 6% behind Labour to 6% ahead following Cameron’s first example of standing up for UK interests.

  9. Pete the Bike
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    It’s a club with no advantages for membership. A club that, if EU flunkies had their way, would be impossible to leave. The UK should leave as soon as possible and repeal every single regulation imported from the horrible socialist super state.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      One of the advantages is that you can trade with other club members. Something much more difficult if you’re outside the club.

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    When are we going to cease membership of this delinquent club?

    • uanime5
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      When they stop making up 53% of the countries that buy our exports.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted December 20, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        What evidence do you have to support your assertion that they won’t continue to buy our exports?

      • Frederick Bloggs
        Posted December 20, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

        Oh right. And like they don’t buy anything made in Japan, Korea, China, the USA, Switzerland. Also, we buy more from them than they do from us.

  11. Viv Evans
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    … and meanwhile, the Eurozone expects us to borrow somehow 25 billion ££ to pay to the IMF, so that the IMF can channel this money to the €zone countries, even though it is slightly illegal, even though the German Bundesbank is opposed to this deal.

    Time for us to start an orderly retreat from the EU.
    Pity there isn’t anybody in Government or Whitehall who has studied how Wellington managed his retreats in the Peninsular War …

    • norman
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      George Osborne has already said we won’t contribute a penny to any IMF backed Euro bailout fund. How can he enforce this if the IMF decide to press ahead, you may well be asking yourself.

      Simples, now that Cameron has a taste for veto’s (I don’t care one way or the other if it was technically a veto or not) he will say ‘no’ and walk away.

      Won’t he?

      That’s the thing about the massive build up over this never before used veto, bulldog spirit, Churchillian performance, whatever hyperbole you prefer. Going to be difficult to timidly toe the line from here on in without making this last performance seem like much ado about nothing blown out of all proportion for a temporary poll boost.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 19, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        Does Cameron have a veto in the IMF? If not then there’s no much he can do to stop them.

        Reply: The UK cannot be forced to provide more funds

        • zorro
          Posted December 20, 2011 at 8:05 am | Permalink

          Nice line of least resistance…… I wouldn’t have much faith in your ability to represent the UK’s interests!


  12. javelin
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    As I’ve said lots of times before once the markets have finished with the Euro they will move to the UK.

    Here’s an article I suggest you read because you will then understand what traders are really thinking.

    “While certainly humorous, entertaining and very, very childish, the recent war of words between France and Britain has the potential to become the worst thing to ever happen to Europe. Actually, make that the world and modern civilization. Why? Because while we sympathize with England, and are stunned by the immature petulant response from France and its head banker Christian Noyer to the threat of an imminent S&P downgrade of its overblown AAA rating, the truth is that France is actually 100% correct in telling the world to shift its attention from France and to Britain. So why is this bad. Because as the chart below shows, if there is anything the global financial system needs, is for the rating agencies, bond vigilantes, and lastly, general public itself, to realize that the UK’s consolidated debt (non-financial, financial, government and household) to GDP is… just under 1000%. That’s right: the UK debt, when one adds to its more tenable sovereign debt tranche all the other debt carried on UK books (and thus making the transfer of private debt to the public balance sheet impossible), is nearly ten times greater than the country’s GDP. “

    • forthurst
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Is this embedded link in your Zero Hedge link rather more scary:

      “Why The UK Trail Of The MF Global Collapse May Have “Apocalyptic” Consequences For The Eurozone, Canadian Banks, Jefferies And Everyone Else”

      “MF Global exposes the 2011 equivalent of the 2008 AIG: virtually unlimited leverage via the shadow banking system, in which there are practically no hard assets backing the infinite layers of debt created above, and which when finally unwound, will create a cataclysmic collapse of all financial institutions, where every bank is daisy-chained to each other courtesy of multiple layers of “hypothecation, and re-hypothecation.””

  13. backofanenvelope
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    The French – it’s always the French. We should have a simple policy – whatever they propose, we oppose. It’ll be the right thing to do most of the time.

  14. Steven Granger
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Yet despite all of this, you still favour our continued membership. You complain about us playing by the rules but it is your party in government – STOP DOING IT THEN! What a useless lot you really are.

  15. Richard1
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Most bloggers on this site seem to want out of the EU. They should be careful what they wish for. Think what sort of politics we would have in the UK as a non-EU member. If we would be a low-tax, open, free market economy with a small State / GDP ratio like Switzerland, then great. But remember one of the main reasons the Conservatives under Mrs Thatcher were the pro-EU party in the 70s and early 80s was because it locked in a more free-market economy than a Britain at constant risk of a socialist government. As long as the political debate here is dominated by people bleating on about ‘fairness’ and ‘equality’ (as if they were the same!), and politicians compete for votes by offering to spend more rather than less money & even boasting about having uncompetitve tax rates, we might be better off in the EU, unstatisfactory as much of it is, than out. Imagine a non-EU Britain ruled by the likes of Messrs Crowe, Prentis & Serwatka – back to the 70s!

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Mrs. Thatcher is a prime example of the cricket club analogy. Having tried to play by the rules she came to realise they allowed a “handbag clause”, and later that even that was insufficient. By then it was too late for her.

      If you read Statecraft by Margaret Thatcher you find a superb foundation and then a plan on how to leave the EU.

  16. Bill
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    The sad thing about all this is that the British government appears to have been bad at defending British interests for the last century years. I understand from having read a biography of Harold Wilson that were obsessed with securing American defence technology and of carrying out American requests to act as a surrogate policeman of the world (in Aden for instance). In exchange, we thought the American dollar would support the British pound. That deal hardly seems to have worked. One way and another we seem to have lost most of the advantages we had at the start of the 20th century. Only the City of London, as the residual centre for global finance, seems to have remained.

  17. English Pensioner
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    One of the major problems is that our Civil Servants like the EU. The EU makes lots of rules, none of which are wanted by the British people and which, if we were an independent country, would never get through parliament. But civil servants love them, they even “gold plate” the EU rules making them even more onerous. Rules keep them in work, justify the expansion of their departments whilst blaming the EU; rules create civil service jobs and justify new quangos. Before anything will be achieved with the EU, we need a complete change of all our officials working in Brussels and at the Foreign Office for ones who genuinely have the interests of this country in mind, not their own promotion.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      “The EU makes lots of rules, none of which are wanted by the British people and which, if we were an independent country, would never get through parliament.”

      1) The British people elected MEPs to make rules in the European Parliament.

      2) All EU directives have to go through the UK Parliament.

      “But civil servants love them, they even “gold plate” the EU rules making them even more onerous.”

      All Parliament needs to do to avoid this is to just approve an English version of the EU directive. Unfortunately this tends to result in a lot of confusing statues.

      It’s far better to have civil servants try to figure out the best way to implement EU directive in UK law than just rubber stamp everything.

  18. Disaffected
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink


    It is reported today that the UK is expected to pay- throw away- £25 billion to help save the Euro. This is in addition to the £12 billion we have already thrown away- when Cameron told us the UK would not be involved in bail outs. Diplomats say that the UK has not said No.
    Why has Cameron and Osborne told us one thing and not acted upon it?
    Is this like last weeks veto that never was?
    Is Clegg going to denigrate the UK or its culture again this week without any riposte from the Tory party?
    As far as I can tell, Carsewell is the only MP today to be speaking out against the UK making a contribution as the sum is larger than all austerity measures the country has made or proposed.

    About time Cameron or the LibDems were ousted. It cannot continue like this. The power grab from the EU continues every day while Cameron, Clegg, Cable use language of fear why it is vitally important to become part of Europe, more like be part of a pan European state led by Germany.

    Reply: Mr Carswell is not the only one. I am against additional IMF contributions for the Euro area, and voted against the last IMF sub.

    • Derek Weston
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      So there are two of you John

    • Disaffected
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      John, I agree you are against bail outs. I said he is the only today (literally today’s papers), as far as I can tell.

  19. Atlas
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 10:30 am | Permalink


    When it comes to the EU, eternal vigilance against sneaky moves is required. The challenge for those of us in Britain is to make sure a future PM cannot easily sell us down the river for the price a Yacht (E. Heath esq).

  20. Vanessa
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    When one reads all the DISadvantages and cost of just being a member of this corrupt “club” it is quite extraordinary that Britain is still in it. For the French to whine that our request for consideration for the City of London is a step too far when, as John says, they get special treatment for some of their industries and the CAP was set up to protect their numerous inefficient farmers just shows that we should NEVER have joined. And to think we are “in bed” with them with regards to our defence is utter idiocy. When will this spineless PM see the light and repeal the European Communities Act ?? I know it will be messy but ANYTHING is better than running downhill into a furnace.

  21. Caterpillar
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

  22. Bob
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    The UK should not pay any more towards propping up the Euro, and the government should make it clear to the electorate what the chances are of getting back any of the billions that we have already sprayed at the problem.

  23. oldtimer
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Your analysis is, as ever, correct.

    Re the CAP, I discovered in the early 1970s that Germans who farmed on a small scale were equally adept at making the most of the CAP rules. During a visit to a leading machine tool manufacturer near Stuttgart, the owner told me that many of his (very skilled tool making and fitting) employees owned small family farms. They used the summer holidays to harvest their crops. I am not sure which occupation counted as the second, less rewarding occupation.

    It is also a fact that businesses can benefit if they insinuate themselves into the Brussels bureaucracy, especially when it comes to devising and writing new rules and regulations. A senior executive of a big Italian company once confided to me that the best role to get was that of “rapporteur”; in that way you had the best chance of writing the new rules and regulations that suited your needs. This bureaucratic obsession is a prime reason why large companies find it necessary to create a lobbying presence in Brussels, either in their own name or as part of a wider trade association. In my opinion, the reason why so many new regulations disadvantage SMEs is this lack of lobbying clout. I seem to recall that Adam Smith had a few words to say on this subject.

    • Dr Bernard JUBY
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      There is a small glimmer of hope as organisations such as ESBA (European Small Business Association) based in Brussels actively lobby for the self-employed and micro (less than 5 employees)-businesses. Some people are at last beginning to wake up to the potential of the “sleeping giant of Europe.”

    • uanime5
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      I’m surprise to hear that from a big Italian company. I thought small businesses were the norm in Italy.

  24. Matt
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    The abolition of the CAP may be good for the UK – why do farmers get such subsidised treatment?

    It’s about the only profession where you don’t need to pass any exam or proficiency test – it’s often just handed down in the family. Consequently you get a wide range of efficiencies in farming.

    The efficient farms don’t need the subsidy and the inefficient ones are kept going by subsidy.

    New Zealand abolished farming subsidies and its agricultural industry prospered.

    If barriers were dropped farming in the third world would be given a “leg up”

    • Mike Fowle
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      When I first moved to the country (Suffolk) in the 1970s I was taken aback by listening to the conversations of farmers on the train. It wasn’t about the crops or the harvest or the weather etc., no, it was what “their man in Brussels” was advising, the best dodges, the most lucrative subsidies etc.

  25. Alan
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I wonder what the actual numbers for net contributions are. Considering how often we hear about this type of information it is strange that there is no easily available authoritative source. Or perhaps I just don’t know where to look.

    Wikipedia says that France contributed more (€6.5 billion) than the UK (€3.9 billion) in 2009, and I can’t find data more current than that. I think that would be less than 1% of government (i.e. taxpayers’) expenditure, and less than 0.3% of our GDP. Still a lot of money, but not worth tearing the country apart or bringing down the EU.

    But maybe others will disagree there…

    Reply: Recent figures with our reduced rebate show us making a larger net contribution

    • Disaffected
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      And it is proposed we make the second largest contribution of £25 billion to the bail fund that is nothing to do with us!!!

    • zorro
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      This is a useful website for facts and figures…..


      • Alan
        Posted December 19, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, that’s interesting.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 19, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        Who would have though that the poorest countries in the EU would be subsidised by the richer countries.

      • John C
        Posted December 19, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

        Thanks – that looks like an interesting site. From the mission page:

        “The authors of this site believe that most of EU spending is in contradiction with the EU’s proclaimed principle of subsidiarity.”

        IMO subsidiarity is a joke in the EU.

        I bought a copy of the Maastricht treaty back in the day to see what it was all about. (Famously, Kenneth Clarke said that he’d never read it.) I at least tried but failed as it is garbage.

        At the time, every pro-EU politicians banged on about subsidiarity.

        However, I was sure then, as I am now, that the fact that all the pro-EU politicians were banging on about subsidiarity meant that the reverse was going to happen.

        This has turned out to be the case.

        Just look at the way that harmless herbalist remedies that have been around for donkeys years are now banned by the EU. Why can’t the UK say that we think they are harmless and allow them to be sold?

    • Winston Smith
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      2010 UK Net contribution to the EU = £9.2bn
      2010 UK trade deficit with EU = £46.6bn

      Source: ONS.

      • Alan
        Posted December 19, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. I looked on ONS but could not find the net contribution figure. I’ll have another look now that you have confirmed it is in there somewhere. I thought it ought to be.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 19, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

        We have a trade deficit because we are a net importer. We will have an even greater trade deficit if we leave the EU because we will be selling less to them.

        • zorro
          Posted December 20, 2011 at 8:13 am | Permalink

          Why would we be necessarily be selling less? You are obviously assuming that they will still be selling stuff to us….


          • zorro
            Posted December 20, 2011 at 8:16 am | Permalink

            Unless you think that our dear trading colleagues would throw up a protectionist fence…..


        • Winston Smith
          Posted December 20, 2011 at 10:40 am | Permalink

          Your posts are getting sillier.

  26. Liz
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    It is strange that few of the media outlets – particularly TV – ever mentioned, in the storm that greeted Mr. Cameron’s “veto, France’s single minded defence of their own interests within the EU, particularly ring fencing their agriculture industry, whilst we agreed to the destruction of our fishing fleets: much good it has done us! British politicians and officials in the past, seem to have been excessively naive with regard to France and the EU and many still are.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      Fishing quota were introduced because overfishing was and still is destroying fish stocks.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted December 20, 2011 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        Over fishing was caused by opening up our fishing grounds to the rest of the EU.

  27. Electro-Kevin
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    “Blair needlessly sacrificed an important chunk of the Thatcher rebate for promised reform of the CAP which never materialised. ”

    Any concept of fairness within the EU would guarantee that we get this back.

    The EU is a Leftist construct and its agenda suits UK Leftists. That’s why EU edicts and rulings are applied with such rigour over here.

  28. A.Sedgwick
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    As Groucho said – Any club that will have me as a member I don’t want to join.

  29. Barbara Stevens
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, if those in the EU don’t obey the rules why are they allowed to do it. Under the new rules for the proposed treaty, fines will be put in place for those who disobey. It appears France would be in debt then if it were fined. I cannot understand why a Conservative government is allowing this country to be almost disembowled slowly. The Lib Dems, and there recent speeches look more silly by the day, they should be told to shut up, and Cameron could do this by actions not words. Why do we accept these silly rulings which we know will cripple certain industries; they won’t stop until they have destroyed the City if we allow them to go on. We the people can stop them, by having a referendum on in or out, we all know it would be out. Let them depress the people’s of Europe if they wish, but I refuse to be, and I know this country will too. We are a democracy and democracy is being eroded across the Channel, it’s time they woke up to the fact. Giving out orders, taxing to the hilt, interfering in other states and appointing puppets to rule, it’s all there for future disaster. I want to see Mr Cameron really take on these EU boffins, tell them as it is, and if necessary walk away, the country would walk with him. Who wants another dictator, have, are we, seeing the Fourth Reich appear out of the closet? It appears so.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      Given that the banks caused the global financial crisis which is causing so much trouble in the Eurozone is it any surprise that the EU wants the banks to be properly regulated.

      As UKIP polls so poorly in elections don’t expect the vote to be ‘out’.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted December 20, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        Sovereign debt and unsustainable, ideological socialist, State spending is causing the crisis in the Eurozone, not the banks.

  30. Dr Bernard JUBY
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    The EC originally came about because France wanted a mechanism whereby their all-powerful industrial neighbour, Germany, needed to be locked in to a pan European straightjacket. It traded in the idea of keeping Germany subjugated after WWs I and II by agreeing to the Common Iron & Steel policy which, effectively controlled the German powerhouse of the Ruhr. The rest of the fiasco followed from that.
    If politicians continue to ignore their electorates then there will be more unrest in Europe, rather than less.
    P.S. Looking at the size and newness of our local, rural farmers’ machines I have yet to see a poor one!

  31. Phil Richmond
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    John – I have read in the media reports of members of the 1922 committee banging their fists on the table with approval. In the commons Eurosceptic MPs were lining up to praise Cameron.
    He is playing you for fools. I used to be a Tory party member and voted for Cameron over David Davies. I realised in 2009 he was lying and left the party.
    For the first time ever I really fear for the future of the country as our only hope was the Tory Eurosceptic MPs.
    I now realise this group is gullible, weak, foolish and spineless.

    Reply: That is a very uncharitable view. They are the only force in modern politics with votes in the Commons and voices for commonsense on this issue.

    • Richard
      Posted December 19, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      Phil, whilst I feel your frustration, I also feel your best hope of success is to support our host and the 80+ MPs who voted recently for a referendum.
      The tide is turning; we have recently had a rare veto exercised in the EU negotiations.
      Today we have a statement from the Treasury saying they are against giving more money to the IMF fund if it is being used to prop up the Euro.

      Small victories I know, but looked at long term these are significant victories which our valiant host and his supporters are working hard to achieve.

      Voting UKIP is a waste of a vote, especially in UK elections.

      • John C
        Posted December 19, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

        “Voting UKIP is a waste of a vote, especially in UK elections.”

        as Mr Redwood always says.

        He is right. There is no majority in the House of Commons and they will always be out voted by the pro-EU MPs.

        Why then, should someone like myself, who almost certainly would vote for a complete withdrawal from the EU, vote Conservative?

        As I’ve said before, I will vote UKIP at every election when they stand in my area as that is the only way that I can register my view with regard to the EU.

        If I voted Conservative there is no way of knowing why I voted conservative.

        However, a vote for UKIP is unambiguous. It means that I want the UK to withdraw from the EU.

        Mr Redwood argues that he and the MPs who have views similar to his own are putting pressure on the government. This is indeed correct and I both encourage him to do so and admire the way he puts his argument across.

        However, he is one of 650 MPs.

        I am 1 of many millions who have a vote.

        In my opinion, the only way I can consistently register my true opinion on the EU is to vote UKIP. My vote registers my view with no ambiguity.

        If enough of us do this it will have far more impact than the 81 MPs who rebelled recently.

      • Phil Richmond
        Posted December 20, 2011 at 1:42 am | Permalink

        Richard – I agree with you on most counts. I will continue to vote Conservative in General Elections simply because my local MP (Zac Goldsmith) is one of the 81.
        However whilst the Conservative leadership is Europhile I feel it is important to vote UKIP when the Conservative MP/candiadate is pro-EU. Only with this kind of pressure can our goals be achieved.
        Please do not be duped into thinking that Cameron will ever give the people a referendum. He wont. If John & the other 80+ Tory MPs removed him tomorrow. I would rejoin the Conservative party and start actively campaigning.

    • Phil Richmond
      Posted December 20, 2011 at 1:32 am | Permalink

      John – please accept my apologies. I guess I let my frustration get the better of me sometimes. Please understand I have the ultimate respect for people like yourself & Carswell, Cash, Goldsmith etc.
      This country has so many problems and in my opinion we have the wrong people running the show.
      Mr Cameron is v.v pro-EU he is not the answer.

  32. Alan Wheatley
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    John, I thought your last paragraph sums things up rather nicely.

    What we need now is to hear from someone who can offer a cricket club much more to our liking. It is always much easier to leave if you have somewhere more attractive to go to.

  33. forthurst
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    A nice summary of how we were stitched up by the French and continue to be so.

    You have fingered the issue with your cricketing metaphor: I think it is a failing of the English to believe that it is best in negotiation (because it saves a considerable expenditure of time and effort) to assume that your partner is seeking mutual advantage; this, however, is an innately Northern European mindset which does not necessarily apply to other racial groups, some of whom live here and have certainly stitched us up. Some people never look for a fair deal, but mugs (us) they can lie cheat and steal from.

  34. cosmic
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I’ve long thought that the most important pro-EU force is the permanent administrative establishment, particularly the Civil Service.

    As a collective, it regards the EU as the ideal form of government and completely within its ends.

    Elected politicians are turned into a sideshow. The EU is a complex machine which sits above government and few politicians have any detailed understanding of. All sorts of justifications are created for expanding the administrative sector. We’ve seen over the years that anything which expands that sector runs smoothly, but anything in the opposite direction has heavy going. To a large extent, large sections of our government have become dependent on the EU and wouldn’t know what to do without it.

    Looking at the EU as a club and questioning whether it’s in the UK’s interests to be a member implies a view of the national interest. If you have a powerful faction which really doesn’t care about that view of the national interest because its own interests are well served by being in that club, you are leaving out a large part of the puzzle; you can’t arrive at a solution without including that piece.

    I suggest that if the EU falls apart, there will be a determined effort to keep the UK as the last member.

  35. Pedro
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Should the Government continue to pour OUR tax money into the undemocratic Europit,
    it shouldn’t be surprised if the first stage of the reaction of the disenfranchised population is to withhold payment of local taxes. Enough doing this may get some response from our spineless and incompetent ministers.

  36. Richard
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Your excellent article demonstrates because we joined late, we never negotiated from a position of strength for decades after we joined.

    Perhaps if we had been in from the very begining we may have influenced things for the better…… can tell that I’m in a very optimistic mood today…

    Some rules were already written and others were voted through after we joined, to our
    disadvantage, without us being rude enough to argue against.
    And so it is only now we have gathered up the nerve to say enough is enough.

    This strange organisation which has changed its name several times like a poorly run African state
    Once it was the Common Market ,then the EEC (european economic community), then the EC (european community) and now the EU (european union) and soon it may be the ED (european disaster) which is at least better than the ambition which was the EUSSR.

    I would like to roll it back to where we started i.e. a Common Market, at least I had a vote on that.

  37. Max Dunbar
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    While I agree that farming subsidies and protectionism are fundamentaly wrong I can’t help noticing that in France they seem, on the whole, to nurture their agricultural traditions and they seem to be closer to the land than we are. It surely cannot be just about money and efficiency. The land and seas are living breathing entities after all. I’m no greenie but mechanised farming and fishing on an industrial scale needs to be tempered with some consideration for the future. Perhaps in Britain, since the emergency of the war, we have focused too much on production and not enough on the other things that matter and are inextricably connected to our land and the way that we exploit it.

  38. David Langley
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    When you join a club its usually out of self interest and you should be aware of the rules. We were lured and bribed and probably corruptly signed up when the public at large could not or would not understand what the rules or the game was in the EU. I think the idea of a common market struck a cord and enabled the confidence trick to get going.
    This massive project rode on the back of a few mens ideas to build a federal Europe, preventing future wars with France and Germany by centralising the production and distribution of coal and steel, and giving a “Council” powers over this . It has slowly developed into the growing monolithic club that now invents new rules and stifles the life out of countries wanting to win free markets all over the world.
    There is I am afraid only one way out of this now crazy situation and that is to resile from our club membership.
    I am convinced that one centre representing the coordination of sensible agreements between sovereign states and not responsible for the content but merely acting as facilitators is the way to go. Keep some building in Strasburg for the operation by all means but sack the Parliament, close all other admin buildings and appoint representatives and sufficient admin staff to collate and distribute sovereign agreements, agreed by foreign office ministers.
    A budget for this should be a doddle and we might add a few accountants to this on the lines of any small company finance department with full audits conducted by the usual names. We will not argue with the EU any more about rebates because apart from some projects within our control which we may want to finance we won’t be giving any more of our money to this dire and out of control project.

  39. uanime5
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Given that every other European country knew what they were joining when they joined the EEC or EU could it seems odd that the UK didn’t figure it out.

    Regarding the UK’s rebate in 2004 France paid 31%, Italy 24%, and Spain 14%. Maybe that’s why these countries don’t want the UK to have this rebate.

    Also John if you have evidence that any EU country isn’t obeying the rules you can report it to the European Court of Justice; whose job it is to enforce these rules. If the problem is that the UK is applying EU rules wrongly then this is the fault of the UK, not the EU.

    • Alexis
      Posted December 20, 2011 at 1:28 am | Permalink

      Very odd. But It was 1975. No internet. Little international travel.

      And for some reason people still trusted the media and their politicians.

      They were told specifically, by their own parliament, that they were in a Common Market. The UK was the only country in the EC who were told that.

      They were warned that if they did not agree to continue they would be ‘isolated’ and excluded, and miss out on the prosperity the EEC might bring (sound familiar?)

      They were told the UK would not fall under European rule: that that was no more than a myth, and that any laws that Britain did not approve would be rejected.

      They didn’t realise their prime minister was lying to them.

      Or that the Americans had bankrolled the Yes campaign.

      Or that neither they, nor their children, would ever be asked again.

  40. Iain Gill
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    Yes but I can get first world medical treatment in France and only substandard 3rd world treatment in the UK, I dont think we can lecture from a superior position.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted December 20, 2011 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      You speak for yourself! Health care down here is excellent. As to the 3rd world, I wonder if you have ever been there?

    • lojolondon
      Posted December 20, 2011 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Well, there are important differences – the French charge for every visit to the doctor, for idealogical reasons our services are ‘free’ (ie. paid out of your salary, not for services received) which means 80% of visits are time-wasting/non-essential.
      Secondly, the French spend their money on their own people, we spend far more per capita on the EU.

  41. lojolondon
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    John, this is why we cannot negotiate while in the system. We need to leave, with our £50m per day. Stay away for 3 weeks, and they will conceed anything to have us back. Then, and only then, can we get a deal that is good for the UK. I would still suggest we never return, but at least then the situation can be properly negotiated.

    Reply: Fine – who is going to perform this feat given the current disposition of political forces?

    • Phil Richmond
      Posted December 20, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      This is why an old fashioned Conservative coup d’etat is needed. I hope David Davies is scheming as we speak!
      Everyone needs to remember that Cameron is v.v pro-EU & cares more about staying in No.10 than doing whats right for the UK. I despise him.

  42. Paul Danon
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I wonder what ‘single’ in ‘single market’ means. Indeed, the meaning of ‘market’ is obscure. If a market is intervened-in by government, it’s less of a market.

  43. Bazman
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    The Tory Party is the political wing of the rich and the elite- the 1% so it would be interesting to see how rich and often Tory farmers would react to a overhaul of the agricultural policy. An information blackout was ordered by the Government and all the payments to rich farmers have been removed from official figures. The Daily mail reports Zac Goldsmith received (some benefit-ed) and Tory MP Mr Benyon, the Environment and Fisheries Minister, has received income from a family trust which owns a (valuable-ed)20,000-acre estate. The Englefield Trust, which owns the land on the Berkshire-Hampshire border, was paid ( large sums-ed) through the (word left out-ed) Common Agricultural Policy farming grants from 1999 to 2009. (a further imprecise sentence re sums of money left out-ed)
    Farming Minister Jim Paice has also received (money-ed) in EU subsidies for his farm in Cambridgeshire over the same ten-year period.
    Mr Benyon was appointed a Minister at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) last May.
    Some time after November the department decided to block all information about how much farmers had earned from subsidies. More than 100,000 British farmers were paid the majority of the £3 billion available in EU farming subsidies for last year.

    Ministers argue that they are following advice from Brussels, but freedom of information campaigners claim they have deliberately taken draconian steps to protect rich farmers from public scrutiny.

    Reply: It has long been Conservative policy to reform the CAP so it costs taxpayers less, and so rich farmers receive less. These reforms have been blocked by continental governments. It remains Conservative policy to do this.
    Individual Conservatives with family farms may well have received family income from farm subsidies before they became Ministers, just as some Labour MPs have received state salaries for public sector employment they carried out in the past or received Trade Union payments as MPs. Larger farms that are run as companies or trusts have to make proper declaration of their financial affairs so these matters can be pursued by those interested. I do not believe current Agriculture Ministers have done anything wrong, and are I am sure following the Ministerial code in their actions.
    I am sure most of us look forward to reform when food is cheaper and less subsidy is spent.

  44. Reaguns
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Does John, or anyone else here, really think the CAP was about subsidising small french farmers? I would have less moral objection to it were that the case. I think it subsidises large farmers. The biggest recipients are often dukes, earls, and the likes of tate and lyle. I know local small farmers who get a couple of grand, but the big ones get £100,000, £200,000. Surely if its for small farmers then it should pay everyone enough to keep a small farm open, ie it should pay the small farmers 5k-10k AND the large farmers 5k to 10k. If the large farmers provide jobs to workers it should provide another 5k-10k per worker TO the worker.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’d get rid of the cap. Cheap food we could get from africa, poor africans would be helped. Also the inputs to agriculture would get cheaper, ie they could buy feed from africa. Hopefully prices of everything would come down including food and land. Then more small farmers could buy pieces of land. More small farmers, more competition, more efficiency.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page