Governments need to be seen to be in control


              David Cameron has enjoyed two great successes as Prime Minister.

               He led western opinion on the subject of Libya, worked with France to intervene militarily, and  presided over a successful military intervention which helped the rebels bring down the dictator. I did not myself think this a good way to spend UK money and risk lives, but I  accept that he did it well and his international reputation was enhanced by it. It would be churlish to deny him the credit he is due for the successful action in its own terms.

                More importantly, he did refuse to allow the UK’s name to go on a new Treaty for fiscal austerity in the EU, and forced the partners to come up with an intergovernmental Treaty of 25 instead of an EU Treaty. This made him extremely popular with the public, reaching a temporary high of support. Conservative MPs including me were delighted by what he did, and hoped he would go on to develop a new relationship with the EU on the back of it.

                  Meanwhile, the government he leads has been struggling to assert its authority in a  number of areas. The Home Secretary is the most recent to admit that she cannot simply extradite a suspect for trial elsewhere owing to the entanglements of the European Court of Human Rights. The Immigration Minister, battling to implement the Prime Minister’s popular pledge to cut migration numbers susbtantially, cannot assert much control over the UK’s borders with the rest of the EU owing to the loss of powers in this area  under the last government.

                The Foreign Secretary cannot suddenly lift the sanctions on Burma following political progress there in the way he would like, owing to the EU control of our sanctions policy. The Chancellor finds himself offering large loans to the IMF at a time when his policy intends to clamp domestic public spending, owing to international agreements and understandings. The wide ranging work on benefits reform is hedged around with EU requirements concerning the payments of benefits to non UK EU nationals. Ministers are off to court to try to get a better answer for Britain. Local government Ministers had to go through various legal processes to assert their new planning policies.

                 The task of government is difficult enough, without Ministers being frustrated by international powers and other forces that seek to prevent or limit what they can do. It seems to me inevitable that in order to be able to govern our country, government has to negotiate a new relationship with the powers that bind us. The public want their government  to be able to act in the UK’s interest. In all to many areas the ECJ, the ECHR, the EU and other bodies make that difficult if not impossible.

                  Some Conservative MPs are pressing again for the UK to have its own Human Rights Bill, to be policed and adjudicated in British courts. Work is also well advanced on a wide range of powers that we want back from the EU. In order to govern well, a government needs to have the powers to make decisions and enforce them, subject just to the checks and balances that come from answering to Parliament, and under the rule of UK law which Parliament itself determines.


  1. Mike Stallard
    April 23, 2012

    I am very Eurosceptic, I am afraid.

    I do not think the European Government is going to allow any renegotiation. It just doesn’t work like that: remember the ratchet?
    I am afraid, myself, that it is either completely in or else completely out.
    And, myself, I am worried about just breaking European Law. To me, if you agree to something, you ought to go along with your promises.

    1. backofanenvelope
      April 23, 2012

      But “we” didn’t agree to anything did we? We were asked in 1975 if we wanted to stay in the “common market” and we said yes. Since then no one has asked us what we want or think.

      Reply: The UK did vote for membership of the EEC, based on the very powerful and wide ranging Treaty of Rome. If you took the trouble to read the Treaty of Rome it made it crystal clear it was a fundamental Treaty designed to create a European Union. That is why I voted No in 1975, because I did not want that for my country. Ever since I have tried to interpret the “Yes” vote as just being a vote for a Common Market, the language used in the debate but not in the Treaty. Unless and until the UK voters reverse their decision we are committed to this Union. The fact that voters continuously vote by large majorities for federalist parties is therefore a major issue. Trying to get a referendum to allow reconsideration remains one of my prime aims, for which I mainly incur abuse from UKIP.

      1. Duyfken
        April 23, 2012

        “consitnuiously”. Love it.

        But I have no faith in the federalist Party, this being the not so divine Trinity of LibLabCon. Bashing against a brick wall I fear but you surely have my support in doing so.

      2. Electro-Kevin
        April 23, 2012

        “The fact that voters consitnuiously vote by large majorities for federalist parties is therefore a major issue.”

        So it was a mistake to vote Tory then ?

        Reply: No, I was talking about Labour/Lib Dem with huge Labour majorities 1997-2010, and then only a Eurosceptic minority still in 2010.

        1. Electro-Kevin
          April 24, 2012

          Mr Redwood: Remember that Brown’s ‘boom’ was going on at the time. Everyone felt good (except me, who could see it for what it was.)

      3. Mike Stallard
        April 23, 2012

        Dan Hannan – one of my favourite bloggers beside this site – actually has pointed up the warning that if the right divides into UKIP and Conservatives, then we can look forward to an indefinite period of Labour misrule.

        It happened under Mr Heath and Harold Wilson. If anyone is in any doubt how serious things got then, just google “Harold Wilson conspiracy theories”.
        We must keep together.

        1. Timaction
          April 23, 2012

          Whilst I support your views Mr Redwood, no powers or anything else will be repatriated from the EU or the EU Human Rights Court. I’m afraid its actions and outcomes not spin and disingenuous comments from all party leaders that is needed. Out here all we have is more tax, more public spending, more immigration, more unemployment etc. Only yesterday Boris Johnston was calling for action on immigration as he needs another £300,000,000 to educate foreign children. Thats on top of the £11 billion foreign aid and £10 billion EU aid, oh and another £10 billion in IMF bailout monies. Mr Cameron and Osborne need lessons in patriotism.

        2. Bob
          April 23, 2012

          @Mike Stallard

          The coalition’s actions have been no different from Labours borrow, tax. spend and waste… despite their rhetoric.

          The Tories have be the main driving force behind surrendering our independence to Brussels since Heath.

          Vote for what you want, if you want independence then ukip are the obvious choice, because as you have seen during the debate on an EU referendum, Cameron invoked a three line whip, so his posture on the EU is no secret any more.

          Osborne has just written a cheque on our account for ten billion quid to prop up the Euro for a bit longer, and you’re worried about Labour? Pleease!

        3. Jon Burgess
          April 23, 2012

          But, Mike what have we got now? Anyone who voted conservative last time got a Labour government.

          Anyone who votes conservative next time will still get a Labour government, whoever gets a majority – it’ll be blue labour or yellow labour or red labour.

          Despite Mr Redwood and a handful of others with conservative principles but no real power or influence, the Conservatives have reconstituted themselves as just another centre left party.

          Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is some temporary blip – the Conservative leadership could move to the Labour front bench tomorrow and you wouldn’t notice the difference.

          So there is no ‘right’ in conservative any more. The only answer is to deny them your vote and let them wither and die. Then, hopefully Mr Redwood will feel better about founding or moving to another party that would welcome him and his ideas.

        4. Duyfken
          April 23, 2012

          But Mike, who is “we”? Your reference to the “right” (politically one assumes, but in the other sense also) begs the question of whom that may encompass. Not Cameron for a start: his cover was blown again this morning by his dear friend Helen Bonham Carter, and not many/most of his cronies within the Cabinet or with Ministerial jobs, Whips and the like. There are yet many more sitting Tory MPs who are yet to show their hand as of the “right”, too timid perhaps to incur the displeasure of the PM. We must stick together certainly, but choose your allies carefully and do not be fooled by false friends.

        5. Geoff M
          April 23, 2012

          In the wilsonheath era there was no such thing as the internet and associated social network sites & 24hr communications we are living in interesting times which is why the governing johnnies are worried!

        6. forthurst
          April 23, 2012

          Federasts are traitors. There is one Federast party, the LibLabCon party. Vote Federast, get treason.

          If Conservative politicians want our votes, they must replace the Federast front bench.

        7. MickC
          April 23, 2012

          But there is no difference! If we are to have Labour, let it be real Labour rather than Blulabour.

        8. Jeremy Poynton
          April 23, 2012

          Two pluses for old ‘Arold

          1. He kept us out of Vietnam.
          2. He instituted the OU.

          Otherwise, a disaster – but at least a load more in the way of a legacy than any other Labour government (the Welfare State now being know as a two-edged sword)

        9. Steven Whitfield
          April 24, 2012

          The federalists are quite capable of uniting and campaigning using some pretty underhand methods to undermine opponents. The sceptics need to raise they’re game and join forces somehow to stand a chance . The sceptics have won the argument but the argument but they need to put aside old battles and unite to make progress.

          UKIP should make peace with Mr Redwood and not tread on his toes in anymore elections.

      4. lifelogic
        April 23, 2012

        Indeed it was clear that it was not a “common market”, but only if you were one of the very few who had the time and inclination to read the treaty.

        Not if you just listened to the politicians with a few honourable exceptions. Clearly the population were foolish to trust most politicians presentation of it, which had more in common with a bent used car salesman one the make than reality.

        1. Bob
          April 23, 2012

          The BBC also did their bit to misinform the British people about the true purpose of the EEC vote.

          1. lifelogic
            April 24, 2012

            Indeed that the BBC were part of the misinformation surely goes without saying they still are and even have Lord Patten on the tiller now than to Cameron.

      5. backofanenvelope
        April 23, 2012

        Over the weekend both Cameron and Clegg said there was no need for a referendum on the reform of the House of Lords because all three mainstream parties were in favour. So there is actually no choice for the voters is there? This is the position on the EU membership. And no, I didn’t read the Treaty of Rome. Was it available in English in 1975? Would I have understood it anyway? Probably not. As you say, the terms of the 1975 were framed as if we were voting on remaining in the common market. I voted yes, because I thought it was a good idea. I still do. But that isn’t what we have got now, is it?

        You don’t get abuse from me.

        Reply: Yes, of course the Rome Treaty was available in English and was clearly a federal Treaty, as I explained to anyone who would listen at the time.

        1. lifelogic
          April 23, 2012

          Yes is was before the internet so they would have perhaps had to buy a copy, I suspect. What proportion bought, read or understood the treaty – perhaps 1 in 100,000?

          1. APL
            April 25, 2012

            lifelogic: “What proportion bought, read or understood the treaty .. ”

            Also much to our great cost, the British public tended to trust politicians then much more that we do ( I hope ) today.

            So the old saw that Mr Redwood likes ‘it had cross party support’ would have carried a lot of weight.

            The problem then as now, is the political class.

      6. Lindsay McDougall
        April 23, 2012

        I have met many people who voted ‘yes’ in 1975 because they thought that full Union would never happen and bitterly regret it now. They were not pro-federal then and they are not now. The federalist majority in UK is a myth.

        The reason that federalists punch above their weight in parliament is that there has never been a cleaning of the Aegean stables in the Conservative Party. Expel Kenneth Clarke now. Tell Cameron that his tactic of enforcing party discipline by holding the promise of office in front of the 2010 intake is unacceptable. If only the Conservative Party behaved more like the ruffians’ Party, we could get what we want. To blazes with the cult of the leader.

        1. lifelogic
          April 23, 2012

          All the BBC are hugely pushing the pro EU agenda, using tax payers money and have been for 30 odd years.

      7. Acorn
        April 23, 2012

        We currently have 650 MPs, of which we are allowed to vote for, basically, THREE every five years. The last time, we were allowed to vote for Cameron + lobby fodder; Miliband + lobby fodder and Clegg + lobby fodder.

        Think on this; if we could elect all 650 it would feel more like a democracy. Plus, some smart guy said that a politician should never be more than two years away from an election. It helps concentrate their minds on the job.

        The only way to convert the lobby fodder into autonomous non party franchised legislators, is to choose them ourselves by way of primary elections. Candidates could state their preference, or not, for a particular party or policies on election blurb but only names on the ballot paper, no party logos or affiliation text.

        Voters would have to do some homework on the candidates rather than just putting a cross next to a logo on the ballot paper. IMHO, probably the main reason we have the current party political sclerosis. It’s too easy for the don’t cares to just vote for a party.

        The Washington State “Top Two” primary system, see:-

      8. APL
        April 24, 2012

        JR: “Unless and until the UK voters reverse their decision we are committed to this Union. ”

        You are a card Mr Redwood.

        Heath, (the Tories) gave us the opportunity to vote on what was widely agreed to have been the ‘common market’, we now know that Heath was a consummate liar. But let’s put that to one side just now.

        Your Party gave us the opportunity to vote on that single subject, once your party got the vote it wanted, it has attempted by hook or crook to avoid giving us another opportunity to vote again.

        The Irish have had several votes, they even get to vote TWICE on the same question. The British? No, there was a poll thirty years ago, that much of the current population had no opportunity to vote in and you use that to pretend the issue is one of a popular decision and therefore not to be reopened.

        The population elected a parliament in 1945, by your reasoning we should still have a Labour government! Would you apply the same measure to Parliament? Of course you wouldn’t!

        Reply: O h dear! I am trying to get you another referendum – please read and have some sympathy for whatI am trying to do.

        1. APL
          April 24, 2012

          JR: “please read and have some sympathy for whatI am trying to do. ”

          Believe me I am sympathetic to the cause of an independent Britain. How you can know all you know, see all you have seen and still remain a member of the Tory party is, …. simply a mystery to me.

    2. Lindsay McDougall
      April 23, 2012


      When you are dealing with a tyranical organisation like the EU, you have be prepared to change the law unilaterally or get the guns out. George Orwell was sound on this; he knew how to deal with Hitler and Franco.

      And put not your trust in referendums. The 1975 referendum was won on a con trick. When the Irish, the Dutch and the Danes gave ‘the wrong answer’ they were asked to reverse their decisions in second referendums. Was there a third referendum? No, there was not. When a French referendum approved Maastricht by 51% to 49%, did anybody bother to find out what the 49% objected to? No, they did not. Will there be a rerun of our 1975 referendum? No, there will not, because the Europhiles in charge will not allow it. Were the EU enthusiastic when then Greek Prime Minister Georges Papandreou suggested holding a referendum on further austerity? No, they were not.

  2. lifelogic
    April 23, 2012

    Indeed but none of these sensible moves are going to happen with Cameron and Clegg are they?

    Clegg on the Daily Politics yesterday was in truly obnoxious form. He does not want to return the Millions of money stolen and donated to the Libdems because the “stolen goods” were accepted in “good faith”. I am not sure that works with the police if you have a stolen Picasso in your possession.

    Also on the House of Lords reform he want to prevent the people having any democratic say (as with the EU) on the issue. This as, all main parties are in agreement and he is “concerned about the cost”. He seems rather unconcerned by the billions given to the IMF and the PIGIS though – nor by the cost of his absurd alternative vote referendum.

    It is exactly on major constitutional issues like this and particularly when all three parties are “in agreement” that a referendum is needed.

    Why on earth is the party called Liberal Democrats? Would not the “Tax, borrow, regulate, waste and give all powers away to the EU without the people authority” not be a better description.

    1. norman
      April 23, 2012

      I know politicians agree, publically at least, on precious little but surely a majority must agree that things would run a lot smoother without the hassle and disruption of an election every five years.

      As all the main parties could agree on this surely it could be implemented without recourse to the little people? We’d have to cycle the PM-ship, maybe Cabinet too, but think of the progress that could be made, no worrying about what we oiks think, free to shape the country as seen fit. Utopia would at last be within touching distance.

      What’s not to like?

      1. lifelogic
        April 23, 2012


    2. lifelogic
      April 23, 2012

      Also of course Clegg makes the claim that the attack on charities is – a tax on the rich to make sure they pay their share. The rich are already paying vastly more than their share. It is, very clearly, just an attack on the funding and charitable works of charities (if they are not doing good charitable works they should simply make sure they do not mug the ones that are).

    3. uanime5
      April 23, 2012

      Your description of the Lib Dems is also applicable to the Conservatives.

  3. alan jutson
    April 23, 2012

    From your list John, it seems that there is not much left for us to be able to decide ourselves without some sort of EU agreement.

    Our Chancellor cannot even set the Budget he wants without conforming to some EU tax rates.

    Given the above can you enlighten us as to why the vast majority of MP’s still think the EU a good idea, as they have now given up almost all powers to the EU.

    The Prime Minister is frustrated.
    the Chancellor is frustrated.
    The Home Secretary is frustrated.
    The Foreign Secrtetary is frustrated.
    The Immigration minister is frustrated.
    The Justice Minister is frustrated.
    The Work and Pensions Minister is frustrated.

    The Deputy Prime Minister seems delighted.
    The Energy Secretary seems delighted.

    Given the voting figures at the last election, should this not be the other way around.

    Why cannot the Ministers in these great offices of State, wake up from the nightmare that is in effect stripping them of power to make their own policy decisions, in exchange for Socialist European control of our Country.

    Seems to me that some of our politicians need a dose of UK Viagra, to get them pointing and moving in the right direction.

    Our Politicians should learn one very good lesson, they were elected by us, to serve us, in the interests of this Country, not Europe.

    1. norman
      April 23, 2012

      If these politicians were genuinely frustrated they would try and do something about it. I refuse to believe someone ruthless enough to rise to one of these positions simply shrugs his or her shoulders and writes the thing off as a bad situation unable to be changed without showing a bit of fight.

      Surely anyone would be tempted if someone come up to you and tells you they’ll take away 80% of your workload, the boring humdrum detail, leaving you more time to concentrate on the ‘big picture’? That the ‘big picture’ is made up of thousands of boring little pieces is neither here nor there apparently.

      1. alan jutson
        April 23, 2012


        I agree, that is why I asked if JR could enlighten us as to why, because I am absolutely baffled, like you are.

        Aware JR is Euro sceptic, but he actually speaks to others who follow, and are active supporters of a Europhile line in far more detail and far more often than we ever will.
        All they ever seem to do in my view is trot out the we will lose out on trade, we will lose 3 million jobs statement.
        There must be more to their argument than this, surely.

        Reply: That is their main argument, which is just absurd, as I keep explaining.

        1. uanime5
          April 23, 2012

          I’m afraid that this argument is far from absurd.

          In order to be part of the EEC you have to obey all European law, so it will be necessary to leave the EEC if the UK no longer wished to obey European law. But once outside the EEC the EU can place any quota they want on UK exports and the WTC won’t stop them (China currently has a textiles quota).

          Regarding the argument that the UK can respond by putting quotas on EU products this won’t work because 53% of the UK’s exports go to the 26 other countries in the EU, while the exports of each EU country to the UK are less than 5% of their total exports. So this action will hurt the UK much more than the EU.

          I suspect that the reduced trade with the EU will lead to a loss of jobs, especially among companies that mainly trade with the EU. So the 3 million job losses is possible through the direct and indirect loss of jobs.

          1. Lindsay McDougall
            April 24, 2012

            But it’s in the interest of the EU Member States and the UK to trade with each other. As Enoch pithily put it several treaties ago: “You don’t need to share someone’s bath water to have a trade agrement with them.”

            Why is it necessary to refer matters up to the EU? What good does it do us to have a common EU foreign policy? Or common EU financial regulation? Or a common transport policy (we drive on the left and have precisely ONE fixed link with Europe). Or a common immigration policy? And why a integration measures always irreversible?

            It simply isn’t the relationship we want or need.

    2. Derek Buxton
      April 23, 2012

      I fear that the politicians you claim to be frustrated by EU interference are not telling the truth, they all love the EU. Not one is on record as opposing this blight on our Country. They do not have to think, policy is amde for them in Brussels and that is that.

      1. APL
        April 25, 2012

        Derek Buxton: ” and that is that.”

        And they get a salary that puts a backbench MP in the top 10% of the population by earnings. For a job that has no authority and no responsibility and where you can sit down every couple of years with your chums and award yourself a big fat pay rise.

        Let’s not even talk about the expenses!

        Reply: The salary is decided by outside independent people, and the expenses are mainly the costs of employing staff, not money into the MP’s pocket.

  4. Mick Anderson
    April 23, 2012

    Many of us are unsure where the real sympathies of the Cabinet lie (sic).

    Is the EU merely a convenient excuse for implementing unpopular things that they wanted to do anyway?

    1. Atlas
      April 23, 2012

      Mick – quite so I suspect.

  5. colliemum
    April 23, 2012

    “The public want their government to be able to act in the UK’s interest. In all to many areas the ECJ, the ECHR, the EU and other bodies make that difficult if not impossible.”

    Indeed so – but the government doesn’t point out that so many of their decisions are based on EU directives, ECHR decisions etc. That is why so many people are totally unawares of how much the EU regulates our lives, and thus indicate to pollsters that the EU is not one of their main concerns. Thus, obviously, government keeps telling us that there’s no interest in an IN/OUT referendum, except for those pesky swivel-eyed ones …

    Why are our civil servants incapable or uninterested to look what other EU governments do? For example, Denmark last year introduced passport/ID checks at their borders again. Great howls of outrage from the EU – then nothing, the danes just did it. We all know how France deals with deportations and EU howls: they just do it. According to soem reports, France was fined €300.000 for deporting some islamic immigrants after the Toulouse outrage. I don’t know if they paid this fine, but it must surely be less than paying for the upkeep and court bills for Qatada, for nearly ten years …

    Of course, if our MPs would tell their constituents how the EU is the ‘creator’ of our bills, then more people would clamour for a referendum. But perhaps the government, like Mr Clegg yesterday, thinks a referendum is far too expensive?

    1. Sue
      April 23, 2012

      But perhaps the government, like Mr Clegg yesterday, thinks a referendum is far too expensive?

      Not when the referendum is about something that Mr Clegg cares about (alternative voting). They don’t want a referendum because even with a propaganda machine going full steam (which is will), it will still be touch and go whether they win or not. Such is the spreading hatred of all things EU.

      1. Philip Myers
        April 27, 2012

        Alas I think it likely that if a referendum were called the massive forces of the propaganda machine would frighted the public into voting to remain in the EU.

  6. norman
    April 23, 2012

    I’ve slowly come round to the opinion that no powers will ever be taken back so it’s in/out (followed by an alignment along the lines of Switzerland by joining the EEA which would still allow free movement of labour, etc.) or carry on as we are.

    Anything else is hot air as will be shown in the course of this Parliament.

    Let’s look back at 2015 and see what this government has acheived (the most Eurosceptic ever, we’re told) and where we are. I know where my money is.

    1. Lord Blagger
      April 23, 2012

      That is the solution to our problem

      It’s not the solution for Cameron because he won’t get the invites to the EU Jamborees.

    2. uanime5
      April 23, 2012

      I’m fairly sure Switzerland and Norway have to obey all EU law, even though they don’t have any MEPs to vote on it.

      1. norman
        April 24, 2012

        Not that it makes me an expert but I’ve actually worked in Norway, Stavanger, and work closely with Norwegian companies and I can categorically tell you they don’t have to obey all of ‘EU law’.

        As an aside, does the EU even enact laws? Do MEPs vote on laws for national states?

        That they may choose to implement laws that comply with EU directives is up to them, they certainly aren’t forced to and it’s up to their Parliaments to decide as they’re not bound by treaty to do so.

        At least you only said ‘fairly sure’ so at least willing to accept you’re wrong and learn, more than a lot are.


        The EU enacts directly acting Regulations, and Directives which are instructions to national governments and Parliaments to enact laws to a specified effect.

        1. uanime5
          April 24, 2012

          EU regulations are binding as soon as they’re made so the EU does enact laws. Though directives have to be implemented via the national government.

          Laws for specific national states do exists but usually only occur when a state need to make a specific change to their legal system, usually because they haven’t implemented a directive.

          Regarding Norway I thought they had to implement EU laws, which lead to people criticising being in the EEC as being in the EU via the back door. Though they’re not part of the CAP, CFP, and contribute or receive anything from to the EU budget.

    3. Philip Myers
      April 27, 2012

      Spot on Norman. He who pays the danegeld never gets rid of the dane. If they let us have any powers back, which they won’t, we would like it and want more and more back. I just don’t get Cameron – he’s treating us like fools.

  7. Bernard Otway
    April 23, 2012

    JUST DO IT .
    Has no one ever heard of UNILATERAL action,Cameron is as disappointing to me as it is possible to be AND by far the majority of conservatives. How ? you lot got hoodwinked by him is beyond me ,another reason I get so mad with you.
    By the way John the complete piece of mine you censored by just wiping it off the face of this blog with no Acknowledgement except after I told you off was the subject of Peter Hitchens almost complete FULL PAGE in yesterday,s Mail on Sunday different words exactly the same theme,do you plan to pressurise Paul Dacre to PULL it IF SO it already was in over 2.5 million copies and read by maybe as many as DOUBLE that,I have already emailed Peter with the details of my complaint.

    1. Electro-Kevin
      April 24, 2012

      I expect Mr Redwood is busy a lot of the time, Bernard. Do bear that in mind.

      Reply: I do not always have time to read long posts, or to amend ones that might offend or cause other problems.

  8. MickC
    April 23, 2012

    Regrettably success “in its own terms” is not a proper parameter by which to judge success. It is an entirely subjective assessment by which anything can be judged a success.

    The Libyan intervention was carried out with no discernable British interest at stake, in support of interests of whose motives (other than power) we have no clear understanding, against a sovereign state with which we were (apparently and in my view regrettably) becoming on more friendly terms. The Gaddafi government was basically secular (a rarity in the Middle and Near East) and from what one can gather, beneficent to the Libyan people generally (although one cannot believe the BBC too much).

    The net result would appear to be that people inimical to the UK are now in control of an oil rich state, and will increasingly turn the country into a religious state hostile to the “West” and its ideas.

    If this is success, then God help us if Cameron has a failure.

  9. Frederick Bloggs
    April 23, 2012

    What is the point of parliament if everything has been decided in Brussells. Seems like a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    Why don’t you join UKIP and play a role in transforming them into a serious political force.

  10. Electro-Kevin
    April 23, 2012

    “…cannot assert much control over the UK’s borders with the rest of the EU owing to the loss of powers in this area under the last government.”

    That’s a more realistic explanation of why borders can’t be properly managed but that’s only an excuse. The real reason we have mass immigration is because the UK establishment wants it.

    You argued previously on the grounds that “…if you wish to live in a free and prosperous society we must have free movement.”

    No one is arguing against controlled immigration. So in what way are we freer ?

    -We now have to queue to get back in our own country as though we were foreigners
    -It is much harder for us to travel without being padded down or X-rayed
    -It is much harder for UK citizens to get into the USA
    -It is much harder for us to get around our own country owing to congestion
    -It is much harder for our young to find housing/jobs
    -There is more pressure on finite resources making us less free to have access to them
    -It is much harder to express yourself without some colloquialism breaching Political Correctness – indeed, one can find one’s self in a criminal court or under police investigation if not careful

    It may be a coincidence, but at the same time that we opened the doors to mass immigration a plethora of laws were enacted which restricted our freedoms,

    It may also be a coincidence that crime has risen which restricts freedoms too.

    As previously stated: Mass Immigration is not a pre-requisite to a successful economy – in fact it may have contributed somewhat to our property ‘boom’ which begat a banking crisis.

    Australia and Canada are showing far better economic health than we are.

    What sort of policies do they have ?

    Typically we get (when any serious attempt is made to control immigration) “We’re stopping research scientists and designers getting in. Controlled immigration is not working.”

    Oh puh-lease.

    I expect that these are the same people who state confidently that “prison doesn’t work” after they’ve made it a cushtie Xbox/drug holiday with more money spent on food than for sailors on duty.

    Who are they trying to kid here ?

    1. Graham
      April 23, 2012

      Well put – and I agree.

      There is no will from our poor pool of politicians to make any change and our means of protest is almost non existent.

      The stakes ratchet ever higher.

      1. Electro-Kevin
        April 23, 2012

        I’m tired of ‘putting’ it, Graham. Absolutely weary; just as some must be of reading it.

        It’s hard not to come across as some xenophobic bigot. I am nothing of the sort.

        I’m at a loss in trying to see the point of having politicians other than to give us the illusion of democracy.

        1. alan jutson
          April 24, 2012


          I am on your side, with similar arguments.

          No you are not a bigot, just a very, very frustrated citizen.

    2. Sue
      April 23, 2012

      US, unfortunately!

    3. APL
      April 24, 2012

      Electro Keven: “You argued previously on the grounds that “…if you wish to live in a free and prosperous society we must have free movement.””

      A typical Politicians reply!

      Within a Society that is in this case the United Kingdom there must be free movement as one of the components of a free society. It is one but by no means the only component of a free society.

      What a free society cannot stand, is a continuous influx of people who have no sympathy for the cultural norms of that society, nor respect for the law of the society.

      That is what we have been subjected to, (recent cases are a-ed) straw in the wind, but nevertheless indicates what happens when you import people who have no sympathy for the rules and norms of a free society.

      1. APL
        April 24, 2012

        JR: “(recent cases are a-ed)”

        Yes, the recent case involving the woman currently pretending to be Home Secretary.

  11. Brian Tomkinson
    April 23, 2012

    May I remind you that your LibDem coalition partners will tell you that the much vaunted coalition agreement explicitly prevents the repatriation of powers from the EU. Therefore, there will be no improvement in the government’s ability to govern well. Personally, I see no real enthusiasm from your party’s leaders to think this is important – far more important to them not to rock the boat either here or at the home of their masters in the EU.
    I just heard Cameron say on ‘Today’ that he personally doesn’t support a referendum for House of Lords reform. No real surprise there to us but perhaps you and your colleagues can begin to see that he is happy with his pal Clegg and his real political home isn’t in the Conservative party.

  12. Lord Blagger
    April 23, 2012

    The Immigration Minister, battling to implement the Prime Minister’s popular pledge to cut migration numbers susbtantially, cannot assert much control over the UK’s borders with the rest of the EU owing to the loss of powers in this area under the last government.


    Very simple. Take the powers back.

    We pay you to exercise control. If you can’t why should we give you any money?

    Isn’t that the definition of a fraud? Say you are going to do X, when you can do X, and take money for doing X on false pretences?

  13. Stephen Almond
    April 23, 2012

    Fine words.
    Meanwhile our money and law-making ability continues to slip away, day by day; week by week.

  14. WitteringsfromWitney
    April 23, 2012

    Your fourth and fifth paragraphs illustrate that we are not a sovereign nation and that our government does not govern the country, as politicians of all parties would have us believe. Not only that, but you repeat the mantra about repatriation of powers.

    When I raised the matter, on a post of yours a few days ago, as to how and under what Article in any treaty this could be accomplished; when I pointed out that repatriation of powers is just not on the agenda because if just one power was repatriated to one country it would ensure a tsunami of similar requests from other countries resulting in the collapse of the EU, I notice that no answer from you was forthcoming.

    On a separate, but related subject, why should the decisions and enforcement of same just be subject to Parliament; do the views of the people not feature in this? Why should government be able to act in what is no more than a dictatorial manner when we are supposed to be a democracy?

    If David Cameron maintains, as he did outside No10 on entering Office, that the people are the masters and politicians but their servants, how do you justify this dictatorial government thingy to which you seem so wedded? You are, no doubt, aware of the call for ‘Referism’ to be introduced into our politics, or is that concept stretching democracy too far in your view?

    Your non-response may be due to the fact that I am not a constituent of yours and therefore in common with other MPs you feel no obligation to so respond, but there must be constituents of yours who feel as I do, so how about a reply for their benefit? It is to be hoped that, unlike other MPs, you will not shun a debate on the subjects of government and democracy.

    Reply: I have often replied to this point. I wish to negotiate a better deal with the EU and put it to the public in a referendum. If, as many think. the EU offers very little the UK public can then vote themselevs out of the EU if they wish.

    1. WitteringsfromWitney
      April 23, 2012

      But, Mr. Redwood, there is no ‘better deal’ to be negotiated is there? The question is one of EU membership on their terms or not, so why what appears to be obfuscation. As with repatriation of powers, where is any Article that allows for renegotiation of terms?

      Surely the only question where EU membership is concerned is ‘in or out’? Were such a referendum to be held, how would a level playing field be ensured – equal media time, equal funding with no EU ‘interference’? It is an acknowledged fact that in 1975 that was not the case.

      I notice that you have failed to respond on my point about government and the so-called democratic system under which we live, nor the question about the people having a say in government decisions, nor dealt with the matter of “Referism”.

    2. Jeremy Poynton
      April 23, 2012

      “If, as many think. the EU offers very little the UK public can then vote themselevs out of the EU if they wish.”

      Not going to happen is it? Brown made that clear when he lied. Cameron made it clear when he fudged the issue with a proviso that was sure to be fulfilled. Clegg – well, I can’t be bothered with that waste of space.

      What I do expect is that the next GE will see the lowest turn out in history. Why vote? You get the same, regardless.

      1. Jeremy Poynton
        April 23, 2012


        “Proviso that was sure to be fulfilled” to “Proviso that was sure NOT to be fulfilled”

  15. Old Albion
    April 23, 2012

    The solution is simple………….withdraw from the corrupt EU(ssr)

  16. Alan Wheatley
    April 23, 2012

    JR, I am sympathetic with much of what you say, but (there is always a “but”, but there in lies that which makes life interesting) there are three too many words in your heading. Leave out “seen to be” and you have something more impressive, put them in and it reads like the familiar game of smoke-and-mirrors, more spin, playing politics.

    It also chimes with something more fundamental, vision and the competence to implement the vision. Just where does the PM think he is leading the country? What is that happy, fruitful place to which he wants to take us?

    One big idea, that we are all in this together, our PM seems to think is a one-way bet. If the government cocks up, such as with the economy, then everyone has to contribute to get us out of the mess. If the government wants to make fundamental changes to the way our country is run then everyone else is shut out, as witness both Cameron’s and Clegg’s view that a referendum is not needed.

    The biggest vision issue is the EU, and here there is no vision. The proposal of repatriating some powers is but merely to engage in a process: there is nothing about the objective such a process is intended to lead us to, no vision of where the UK will be at the end of the process, no explanation as to why that is where we should all wish to be, together. This does not surprise me as I detect there is no vision, merely that something must be done, so government can be seen to be in control. In fact we have the tail wagging the dog; instead of a vision and a described objective with a process to get us there, we have a process leading to somewhere unknown.

    Reply: I agree the best way to be seen to be in control is to be in control!

    1. Caterpillar
      April 23, 2012

      I think “seen to be in control” is correct. I don’t want the EU in control, nor do I want the Govt to be in control, I want sufficent Govt for a largely free market to operate. So “seen to be in control” is OK by me.

    2. Alan Wheatley
      April 24, 2012

      I heard on the Today Programme this morning Bernard Jenkins speaking about government lacking aims.

      How wonderful to post one day and get an endorsement of ones views the next from a Select Committee!

  17. Mactheknife
    April 23, 2012


    We are two years down the line and still there are manifesto promises still under development judging by your comments.

    What I do not understand is that even ‘arch-europeans’ like the French ignore parts of EU legislation they do not like (including ECHR judgements). The Italians just deport suspected terrorists without any fuss or referal to the ECHR, or if it has been refered they ignore it if they wish.

    I dont think you can blame all this on EU rules and regulations. Its about how the national government respond to the legislation. It seems to me that we stick to the letter of these regulations taking the “fairness” aspect to ridiculous lengths with appeal after appeal.

    Its time to ditch the “its not cricket old bean” attitude and show that the UK is serious about what we want. Thats the only way the EU will ever take us seriously.

    I think the famous spy Kim Philby once described the Foreign Office as a “hot bed of cold feet” . Lots of talk, very little action, subserviant and cowardly.

    Ring any bells ?

    Reply The UK model with an independent civil service is based aorund obeying thw law. The law is made in so many respects in Brussels now, so the civil service enforces that, even when Ministers do not like the law.

    1. Mactheknife
      April 23, 2012

      Reply to JR

      This is exactly my point. When civil servants usurp ministers then I’m afraid you get a “hot bed of cold feet”.

      Has it not occured to the PM that his major boost in the polls came from his veto on the Eurozone ? Surely his advisors must be able to put two and two together and realise what the vast majority of the population want ?

      1. Derek Buxton
        April 23, 2012

        Unfortunately the EU is run by and for civil servants and as we all know they exist to further their own jobs, creating empires of their own. This is the reason that an EU Directive of some thirty pages becomes a law volume of several hundred pages setting up another nest of civil servants to administer it.
        We cannot take back that which has been surrendered, the EU is not designed to allow that. Our politicians have never told the truth about the EU starting with the Heath character.

      2. Steven Whitfield
        April 24, 2012

        My hunch is that the PM is aiming for another hung parliament in 2015 -he doesn’t want an outright majority so popular policies are being quietly dropped as and when necessary to moderate the party’s popularity.

    2. Graham
      April 23, 2012

      Everyone should just consider carefully John’s reply.

      The UK is surely finished as a sovereign country and ruled by an unelected cabal.

    3. Alan Wheatley
      April 23, 2012

      Re reply: exactly to the point – law made in Brussels is not democracy for the UK!

      I think the UK should dutifully obey the law made in the UK.

      1. uanime5
        April 23, 2012

        Given that the UK has MEPs and a Commissioner EU democracy is much the same as UK democracy. Just because the UK doesn’t like something doesn’t make it wrong.

        1. A David H
          April 23, 2012

          If the UK doesn’t like something, then it is wrong for the UK. If you don’t like something, you should do something about it. We pay politicians to do these things on our behalf. If they can’t or won’t do the things required of them, a problem presents itself. Problems eventually find solutions.

        2. Alan Wheatley
          April 24, 2012

          There is no EU demos.

    4. Sue
      April 23, 2012

      “The UK model with an independent civil service is based aorund obeying thw law. The law is made in so many respects in Brussels now, so the civil service enforces that, even when Ministers do not like the law”.

      Nobody I know agreed to hand over any aspects of our law system to Brussels, infact, you can tell by the reactions in the MSM, that most of us despise decisions made on our behalf in another country.

      So, what happens when that civil service is corrupt and/or not working for the good of the country?

  18. Iain
    April 23, 2012

    ” Work is also well advanced on a wide range of powers that we want back from the EU.”

    Come on you are having a laugh, two years into Government and ‘work is well advanced’. Firstly it shows how much work was done in opposition on this matter , zilch, which makes a mockery of Cameron’s words…’we won’t let matters rest there’, clearly he intended to. And secondly if work is very much more ‘advanced’ they will be backing into the next election with ever having done anything. May be that is the plan!

    1. Mark
      April 23, 2012

      Can we have an update on where this has got to so far?

  19. Lord Blagger
    April 23, 2012

    Notice too the spin.

    Not that government should be in control. No, they just have to give the appearance of being in control.

  20. MajorFrustration
    April 23, 2012

    Your penultimate paragraph is spot on. The role of Government is to represent and protect its people – not get carried away with the political ego trips that are going on now. Lets get back to basics and allow UK politicans to govern this country rather than defer to the EU

  21. Caterpillar
    April 23, 2012

    Ministers actions may be frustrated, but Ministers themselves presumably are not – they too could have joined the 81, but did not.

  22. Chris
    April 23, 2012

    There is simply too much talk by MPs who are troubled by the EU and not enough concerted action. MPs are supposed to represent their constituents and there is a huge amount of eurosceptic feeling amongst the grassroots, and a real desire to see not just a few Conservative MPs act swiftly, but a very large number of them – by action I mean being bold, grouping together, and producing a document identifying publicly all the costs of the EU to us, the degree of the loss of sovereignty, the stranglehold of EU legislation and bureaucracy (in particular the nonsensical legislation – 20,000 + words apparently devoted to growing cabbages), identifying any areas of life that are not actually defined by EU legislation, so that the public can see exactly what belonging to the EU entails. So far it has been largely hidden from them – a poster on one of the blogs yesterday quoted “guidance” from the EU and our government on how to “sell” the EU in a way that the public would not realise the implications and the restrictions on their lives). I believe it is no longer acceptable for eurosceptic MPs to simply voice their concerns and vote against measures. They have really got to make a very public stand with David Cameron and say enough is enough. Their previous “one off” action has been effectively swatted away by Cameron. They may fear this strategy is too high risk and will bring down the Coalition, lose the Conservatives the next election and damage the Conservative party irretrievably. What CHQ do not seem to realise is that the Conservative party has already lost the next election. It has been damaged hugely, with voters considering that the party no longer represents them at all. Hence the very significant numbers who have simply stopped supporting the Cons party, some of whom who have taken the significant step of actually changing parties. The animosity towards UKIP by some Cons MPs is very worrying as UKIP are in fact voicing the very real concerns of Cons grassroots, who feel they have been betrayed and abandoned by the David Cameron. Why do we apparently have so few Cons MPs willing to actually represent these grassroots constituents, rather than apparently keeping to the party line, despite their own misgivings? The article in today’s D Tel by Iain Martin is illuminating, and highlights so effectively the problems with David Cameron’s approach. Cons HQ would do well to take heed as it is “spot on”.

  23. Neil Craig
    April 23, 2012

    If that is the best he has managed in government it is rather paltry. No British interest was served in (changing the Libyan government to one the blogger does not rate highly-ed). The “triumph” over the euro was an entirely negative one and even then has been substantially watered down by the decision to give just under £40 billion to bail them out anyway – just paying wearing our IMF hat rather than EU one.

    The overwhelming failure is to get us out of recession – something which we & Cameron know could be done in days if the government were interested in doing so.

  24. oldtimer
    April 23, 2012

    It is obvious that the changes you want will not come via this coalition or the senior Conservatives in it. They are fully signed up to the EU project and will not permit a referendum on it while they remain in charge. Indeed Mr Cameron is an open advocate of more “world government”; failure at Copenhagen is described by the coalition as “a strategic mistake”; he submitted a paper on the subject to a recent G20 meeting and he has, I believe, now been invited to chair a UN committee on sustainable development or something like that.

    It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg cannot wait to get on the tax free, magic carpet ride so generously provided by the UN, the EU and other international organisations to national politicians wishing to strut the wider world stage – just like so many of their predecessors from around the world. It is a gravy train worthy of further research – starting with the terms, conditions and privileges of these lofty positions in these remote, unaccountable international organisations. It is a subject worth investigation and a post by you because, when all is said and done, it is us, the poor, bloody taxpayers, who make this magic carpet fly.

    1. Jeremy Poynton
      April 23, 2012

      All these blahs such as CAGW, “sustainable development” etc. etc. all point to Global Governance. I.E. Global GOVERNMENT. Indeed, Agenda 21 makes no bones about this – and note that Agenda 21 directions are already being distributed at the local council level.

      It will, as my Gran used to say, end in tears. The larger a government gets, the larger the bureaucracy that underpins it, the more dictatorial it gets. The EU demonstrates this exquisitely – we are run by bureaucrats now, and at a certain point, now long gone, bureaucracies exist solely to protect their own turf. As we have been witnessing in the EuroZone crisis.

      The Americans have an acronym for this, which I think dates back to WWII



      And that’s the case. And the cause – politicians.

      1. uanime5
        April 23, 2012

        How do you explain Zimbabwe as it’s a dictatorship but has much smaller bureaucracy than the EU or UN?

        1. APL
          April 24, 2012

          uanime5: “How do you explain Zimbabwe as it’s a dictatorship”

          For goodness sake, why don’t you think what you are saying?

          Zimbabwe is a military dictatorship, the rule of Mugabe is enforced by the muzzle of a gun, in that type of dictatorship there is very little need for a civil service at all!

          The EU is no less a dictatorship, but of a different nature, it prefers to disguise its dictatorial tendencies behind a facade of European Parliament and European Parliamentary elections.

          The control each exerts on its hapless subjects is no less complete.

          1. uanime5
            April 24, 2012

            In the post I was responding to Jeremy Poynton’s grandmother’s claims that the larger a country’s bureaucracy the more dictatorial it becomes. I pointed out that this was incorrect as it was possible to be dictatorial with a small bureaucracy.

            Your comments about the EU and European Parliament are totally wrong. You can’t be a dictator if you have an elected Parliament which is involved in making laws.

    2. Chris
      April 23, 2012

      There was some info in the media regarding the UN and the sustainable development project and I found it of huge concern. Although the aim is, I understand, to transfer vast amounts of wealth from richer to poorer countries, the means of doing it require very close scrutiny. Again there seems to be a democratic deficit – these large organisations embarking on major policy initiatives in which the people are merely pawns. The whole project seemed to bear very close similarities to how the EU works.

  25. Lindsay McDougall
    April 23, 2012

    By all means attempt to negotiate with the EU but almost certainly we are going to have to legislate unilaterally to get our country back. While we are about it, we may as well have an audit of all international institutions, to see if we get value for money from them.

    1. Martin
      April 23, 2012

      You are assuming that when you “get our country back” that folk you vote for will be in charge.

      The comrades could also win an election and then things might get rather interesting. None of those right wing EU and ECHR rules in the way. Nationalisation without compensation would then be easy!

      1. Lindsay McDougall
        April 24, 2012

        Could the comrades win an election on a platform of nationalisation without compensation?

  26. MickC
    April 23, 2012

    Off topic, but Iain Martin’s article in the Telegraph today sums up the current political situation perfectly.

    1. Chris
      April 23, 2012

      I have tried to post about this excellent article by Martin on this site some time ago, but my comments are still being moderated. I am puzzled by the delay and apparent blocking of my comment -I have tried twice to post.

  27. Roger Farmer
    April 23, 2012

    Much as I was happy at the departure of Ghadaffi, I do not believe much thought was given to what might replace him.
    I agree, Cameron’s stand on any new EU treaty was right. Sadley like yesterdays newspaper it became today’s chip wrapper. On seeing the effect of his stand on the electorate, he could have gone to the country on the promise of a binding referendum on the uk’s exit from the EU. To quote, “Who dares wins.” Nothing happened but a series of screw ups that would put Labour in power.
    All the things that ministers cannot do have one answer, withdrawal from the EU and reversion to EFTA status. Why do they behave like a bunch of lamped rabbits. I conclude that they are morally bankruft or duplicitous in the extreme. They seem to have a sado-masochist love of the relationship they are in. You the MP’s need to take action before the voting public consign you to the dustbin of what if.

    1. Bob
      April 23, 2012

      After seeing the desecration of British war graves post Gaddafi, I wonder whether the effort was really worthwhile.

      1. lifelogic
        April 23, 2012

        Time will tell if the new lot are a real improvement or not let us hope they are.

  28. Bernard Otway
    April 23, 2012

    John vis a vis europe and your attitude to UKIP,look at third place yesterday in France a
    record vote over 18% IF they all cross to the french midget he will win,the likeleyhood of them voting Hollande is tiny, I say the same applies here with UKIP and if they get over the 18%
    that Marine Le Pen did, in our voting system that leads to a number of Mp,s more than 20
    AND the difference between governing and not for the conservatives. DISCOUNT UKIP
    at your peril, I forecast in about 1985 when Pik Botha said that South Africa would have a Black President in his lifetime and was well and truly slapped down by then President P W Botha that it would happen within 10 years AND IT DID 1n 1994 a certain MR MANDELA
    I got into huge arguments over there WHO WON IN THE END,WHO WAS RIGHT, ME,
    UKIP will shock you conservatives out of your silly complacency and you will all cry in your tea,even if we get liebour the White working class will still have both hands round the Union paymasters throat and force them to address this issue via the Immigration issue being so tied in with our still being in the EU,this linkage is irrefutable and there are so many fed up and angry out there on the Immigration issue amongst others like ECHR
    that there WILL be a POLL TAX moment and if the establishment is not careful it will be worse. (etc)

  29. Chris
    April 23, 2012

    There is simply too much talk by MPs who are troubled by the EU and not enough concerted action. MPs are supposed to represent their constituents and there is a huge amount of eurosceptic feeling amongst the grassroots, and a real desire to see not just a few Conservative MPs act swiftly, but a very large number of them – by action I mean being bold, grouping together, and producing a document identifying publicly all the costs of the EU to us, the degree of the loss of sovereignty, the stranglehold of EU legislation and bureaucracy (in particular the nonsensical legislation – 20,000 + words apparently devoted to growing cabbages), identifying any areas of life that are not actually defined by EU legislation, so that the public can see exactly what belonging to the EU entails. So far it has been largely hidden from them – a poster on one of the blogs yesterday quoted “guidance” from the EU and our government on how to “sell” the EU in a way that the public would not realise the implications and the restrictions on their lives)….

  30. forthurst
    April 23, 2012

    Politicians live in an alternative universe in which discerning voters are becoming increasingly unwilling to believe.

    I recall JR’s reaction to the initial Libyan invasion quite clearly and with which I agreed and still do. There is public support for this adventure, mainly from people who can’t spell ‘Libya’. Libyans are not living happily ever after and it was all about oil and the gold dinar and banksters and their own private fiat money printing concession, the US dollar:

    We do not need a Human Rights Act. We do not need an act for the benefit of homo sapiens per se. We need to restore our freedom of speech by repealing those laws which the anglophobes in our midst have instituted in order to trash our country whilst protecting themselves from ‘thoughtcrime’. Nor do not need to offer further opportunities for the judiciary to waste our money on the ‘rights’ of foreigners. A country which cannot expel undesirables is like a house with a blocked sewer pipe.

    Reply: And I repeated that I did not vote for the LIbyan expedition and did not support it at the time.

  31. Chris
    April 23, 2012

    I believe it is no longer acceptable for eurosceptic MPs to simply voice their concerns and vote against measures. They have really got to make a very public stand with David Cameron and say enough is enough. Their previous “one off” action has been effectively swatted away by Cameron. They may fear this strategy is too high risk and will bring down the Coalition, lose the Conservatives the next election and damage the Conservative party irretrievably. What CHQ do not seem to realise is that the Conservative party has already lost the next election. It has been damaged hugely, with voters considering that the party no longer represents them at all. Hence the very significant numbers who have simply stopped supporting the Cons party, some of whom who have taken the significant step of actually changing parties. The animosity towards UKIP by some Cons MPs is very worrying as UKIP are in fact voicing the very real concerns of Cons grassroots, who feel they have been betrayed and abandoned by the David Cameron. Why do we apparently have so few Cons MPs willing to actually represent these grassroots constituents, rather than apparently keeping to the party line, despite their own misgivings?
    The article in today’s D Tel by Iain Martin is illuminating, and highlights so effectively the problems with David Cameron’s approach. Cons HQ would do well to take heed as it is “spot on”.

    Reply: This unreal kind of rant does little to help. As I keep trying to explain, we need more votes in the Commons, not fewer. You are always trying to reduce the numbers of Eurosceptics in the Commons!

    1. Chris
      April 23, 2012

      This is not a rant, but a statement of what is so strongly felt out beyond the Westminster village. I take great care to make measured comments, but sometimes the truth is not always very palatable. If Cons. politicians fail to recognise and act on the message so clearly coming from grassroots, out on doorsteps, and in the blogosphere, it will sadly result in the demise of the Conservative party. I do not make my comments lightly, as I want the Prty to survive and govern our country, but the current leader is not a Conservative and is apparently obsessed with pursuing the mythical central ground (in reality, left of centre)and desperately trying not to appear nasty. That earns David Cameron no respect, and sadly it has resulted in haemorrhaging of votes from the Party.

    2. Caterpillar
      April 23, 2012

      Comment on JR’s reply to Chris:

      (i) In the current electoral system a large number of people feel unrepresented, so a ‘rant’ is understandable – I suspect much of the electorate is frustrated with the unrepresntative Govt, in the way that Ministers are purportedly frustrated by European regulations (from various sources). [I know I repeat this endlessly but … two vote MMP not FPtP or AV would have helped].

      (ii) “trying to reduce the numbers of Eurosceptics in the Commons”. I don’t think this is a fair criticism, and seems to (perhaps unintentionally) call for tactical not principled general election voting. If a party is prepared to whip on European issues and some MPs do not rebel even on a non-binding European vote, then it is difficult to have confidence in Eurosceptics within that party.

      1. Chris
        April 24, 2012

        Thank you.

  32. Jim J
    April 23, 2012


    One of the benefits of being married to a non EU passport holder, and having children, is that I can avoid the EU & UK queue and join the vastly shorter and usually faster moving non EU one, as the border guards are so keen to check that my Mrs is not into child smuggling. Who wants to be British thesedays?

    1. Electro-Kevin
      April 23, 2012

      As a father of teenage boys the only way I’d ever be trying to smuggle them is OUT.

      In fact, on their 18th birthday their presents (they are twins) will be a passport each and set of matching luggage to go with it !

  33. JohnM
    April 23, 2012

    But his refusal to allow the UKs’ name on the deed made no difference anyway, since we follow blindly along and do what told.
    As for democracy. Please. Don’t make me laugh. Instead of reducing the MP count by 50, reduce it by 600. Most of parliaments legislation is decided by the EU anyway.
    Repatriate powers ?
    Get a life. Not possible AND YOU KNOW IT.
    The day that MPs’ put the interest of the people above their own will truly be a day for celebration.
    Remember the expenses scandal ?
    And has anything changed ?

  34. Stephen Jenner
    April 23, 2012

    I didn’t get further than this…

    “David Cameron has enjoyed two great successes as Prime Minister.”

    before I felt the need to waste some of my time commenting.

    Surely his greatest success is that of becoming prime minister? For Cameron, that seems to be an end in itself.

  35. Stephen Jenner
    April 23, 2012

    And then this…

    “…and hoped he would go on to develop a new relationship with the EU on the back of it.”

    Would sanctioning a further £10 billion towards the bailout of the above mentioned doomed Eurozone, be part of this new relationship?

  36. Winston Smith
    April 23, 2012

    From the Guardian, last month:

    “The Libyan leader, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, has vowed to use force to stop the country breaking up after leaders in an eastern region declared autonomy.

    “We are not prepared to divide Libya,” he said, blaming infiltrators and pro-Gaddafi elements for backing the autonomy plan. “We are ready to deter them, even with force.”

    His comments come amid mounting evidence that Libya is slowly splintering into a series of rival fiefdoms controlled by competing militias, who increasingly follow their own agendas rather than acting in the national interest.”

    The media has gone a bit quiet on Libya, but reports suggest it threatens to become another warlord dominated, Islamist, disfunctional State. There has been widespread perscution of the black minorities.

    Yes, well done Cameron. An achievement you can be proud of.

  37. Jon Burgess
    April 23, 2012

    Mr Redwood, I wish you success with your hope of re negotiating a deal with the EU.

    I can see that by this means you hope to show that the EU will offer nothing, and then you’ll be in a better position to offer an in/out referendum on our membership; the public will be clear that it is either stick with what we’ve got or come out completely.

    But don’t underestimate your party – they’ll never allow you to show this because they don’t agree with you, and their view is that we must remain wedded to the EU and slowly absorbed by it.

    I already know what the choice is, so I prefer to give my support to a party that will just get on with it and give me the in/out referendum. I just hope anyone else like minded does the same.

  38. BobE
    April 23, 2012

    UKIP may not win, but if we start to vote for it then its growth into the third party in 2015 might just frighten the horses.
    May the 3rd will be interesting as George Galloways election was.

  39. matthu
    April 23, 2012

    How can the givernment be seen to be “in control” when

    (a) as reported by The Telegraph, Theresa May evaded the question about the timing of Abu Qatada’s deportation deadline fourteen times in a row the House of Commons

    (b) when asked directly on BBc radio about the same issue, David Cameron replied “The Home Office was working on the basis of the deadline being the Monday night and that is something that they had checked with the court.” He went on: “They were told throughout that the deadline expired on the Monday night.”

    And when asked directly if they had put the question to the European court Mr Cameron said: “Yes. Absolutely”.

    So why the evasion by Theresa May?

    Or was David Cameron using weasel words to hide the fact that they never actually got a definitive reply from the European court?

    I suspect the latter.

    This is not a government “in control”.

    1. APL
      April 24, 2012

      matthu: “This is not a government “in control”.”

      No it is a theatrical production though.

  40. Andy Man
    April 23, 2012

    If Libya was a Cameron success then we really are stuffed. He’s ruined a country which was one of the least awful in the Middle East and is now a seething pot of ethnic hatred, murder and misery. Of course had Qaddafi done what he was told by America, like Bahrain’s rulers do, he would still be in charge. As soon as he started to undermine the US dollar as reserve currency his goose was cooked exactly as Saddam’s was.

    1. APL
      April 24, 2012

      Andy Man: “If Libya was a Cameron success then we really are stuffed. He’s ruined a country which was one of the least awful in the Middle East and is now a seething pot of ethnic hatred, murder and misery.”

      Spot on comment!

  41. AJAX
    April 23, 2012

    The defeat of the III Reich & the 1689 Bill of Rights deserve the description “great” successes, that some of us now use this term for the removal a tin pot 3rd world desert juntaist (using mainly USA air & sea power to do it), & getting an opt out of 1 of the endless EU treaties, shows how the currency of that term has fallen in current political usage

    As for the details of these 2 policies:

    1. There’s far worse running nations around the globe than Gadaffi. He was an old man who had apparently repented of his former ways & was going to be replaced soon by sons, all of whom were Anglospheric & European looking secularists looking by all appearances.

    What this has now been replaced with isn’t yet clear, so it’s perhaps advisable to wait & see before cheering this “success”

    2. As for that opt out, seeking favour in the out of control casino that is the Square Mile by refusing a regulatory measure aimed at curbing that state & clumsily disguising it as a patriotic act (& then going along with a further act of Euro-unification afterwards), is a policy “success” for the gullible.

    Keep yr eye on UKIP Johnny – as I hear some of yr currenly blue rosetted pals on the green benches increasingly are now ; )

  42. merlin
    April 23, 2012

    The essence of what you are saying John, is that it is very easy to give powers away, but it is very difficult if not impossible to get them back . I am sure I do not need to mention our fishing rights and the CAP, how long is it since we gave away those powers? The majority of MPS in parliament wish to remain federalists and it is very difficult to see how there will ever be any change regarding powers given away. Repatriation of powers sounds like a good political slogan, unfortunately I have yet to see any powers returned to the UK at all, I think I would rejoice if it happened. The socialist european project continues unabated and continues to rule this country behind the scenes. I think if the general public actually realised how much we are governed by europe something might happen, but europe is not high on the list of the public’s priorities.

  43. Barbara Stevens
    April 23, 2012

    We elect MPs to do the business of running this country, we don’t need, want, interferance from the mad house over the Channel. Yet, we all know this, we’ve said it often enough, but we are ignored. I always believed the ‘law of the land was decided by the will of the people’, the will of the people has demanded a referendum on the EU, but we have been denied that.
    We now see a referendum on the Lords as been mentioned, rightly so. If we can have one on this then why not on the EU at the same time?
    The problem with this government is they’ve cried foul so many times, and mentioned, ‘we can’t do that we’re in a coalition’ till the people are sick of hearing it. It proves one thing decisive government is needed not half baked ones like this one is. We have had promises broken, U-turns made, for the benefit of the sitting government certainly not for the people, in the ‘national interest’.
    Going along with a party that came third in a general election adds salt to the wounds, we now see that third rated party dicating policy as if they were the main throng in parliament. I don’t see this government as successful at all, from it’s history to it’s future it will be plagued with mistakes and it’s partners bring a lot of the problems. The Conservatives know fulll well why, when and how, they are tied, yet choose not to escape from the noose round their necks, the EU. Why they refuse to ‘go with the people’ and escape I’ve no idea, but they will regret their stance if they don’t change. The balls clearly in their court.

  44. Sue
    April 23, 2012

    “Governments need to be seen to be in control”

    Er.. not when they’re controlling the people they are meant to be working for. This Conservative Government are a bunch of control freaks. Plain packaging on tobacco, constant nagging and nannying, constant fining, putting up taxes to fund projects and wars that none of us want to fund.

    You can kid yourselves you’re in control but it is our Masters in Brussels that are. You gave that control away WITHOUT OUR CONSENT!

    1. Jeremy Poynton
      April 23, 2012

      Oh yes; all that guff about stripping down the Nanny state – the opposite. All that guff about “The bonfire of the Quangos”. All that guff about “The Great Repeal Bill”.

  45. Bert Young
    April 23, 2012

    JR , I think you are too generous in the way you prioritise DCs so-called achievements . His biggest mistake was to promise a referendum and then , when in power , not to deliver . Whatever plusses he has gained , are small beer in comparison and I will never forgive him .

    1. Bob
      April 24, 2012

      Not only failed to deliver, but when the EU referendum petition was debated in the House he use a three line whip to vote it down.

      He also promised repatriation of powers from Brussels back to Parliament, and then skilfully manoeuvred to ensure this promise would not be realised. We avoided the Tobin tax and then we hand over ten billion quid with no strings attached.

      There can be no doubt about Cameron’s loyalty to the EU.

  46. Robert Dennish
    April 23, 2012

    We must regain the right to govern ourselves.
    This certainly means leaving the EU.
    Clegg loves it and Cameron is on record as not wanting to leave so it won’t happen any time soon.
    Why would anyone wish to stay in a union where the commissioners and other officers daily demonstrate their total incompetence and divorce from reality.
    Meanwhile we have no true democracy.

  47. Martyn
    April 23, 2012

    I recall seeing some lengthy Parliamentary debate on sovereignty of the UK Parliament and the reasons for not including it in some Bill or another. Looking back on what I can recall about it, from what you say, John, it was more or less a complete waste of everyone’s time, because a truly sovereign Parliament no longer exists.

    Yet none in the government are prepared to say so – if they did, I suspect that few people would bother to consider the implications but in saying so Mr Cameron and others might gain a few shreds of credibility, which at present they lack.

    And what is it that our leaders can see in the increasingly tottery, disfunctional, expensive and far from democratic organisation called the EU that we ignorant peasants are unable to grasp?

  48. Martin
    April 23, 2012

    The Putney ladies have stopped the third Heathrow runway and the treasury is carrying on wrecking the UK civil aviation sector by jacking up APD. A splended example of UK government in control (for the UK Isolationist Party).

  49. uanime5
    April 23, 2012

    The UK having it’s own Human Rights bill is a terrible idea. If you want to protect human rights then keep the current system. If you want the Government to be able to remove human rights on a whim you’re a (wrong headed person-ed) pretending to care.

    Human rights cease to have any meaning unless they can be used to stop the Government abuses.

    1. peter
      April 23, 2012

      Disagree – we vote governments in and out, but we have no say over a group of appointed EHCR judges from afar afield many of whom it seems aren’t even qualified to be a judge. At least with our own judges/politicians they have an idea of the population and culture they serve.

      Also I’m sure EHCR wasn’t put in place interfere with such huge swathes of government business, whats the point of having a government if they can’t control their own laws borders or who how they do business?

      The issue of dangerous people being allowed to stay in the UK because of this

      – what about OUR RIGHTS to live without

      a. danger of being blown up
      b. Millions of pounds wasted over appeals by such people with legal aid/ambulance chasing lawyers?

      Reply: This post rightly does not refer to any individual, as all individuals are innocent until proven guilty under our system.

      1. uanime5
        April 24, 2012

        Firstly each country has their own ECtHR judge who is elected for a 9 year term; unlike the UK where none of the judges are elected. Currently the UK’s judge, Sir Nicolas Bratza, is the president of the ECtHR so it’s wrong for you to claim that no one in the ECtHR understands the UK’s position.

        Secondly the ECtHR doesn’t interfere with huge swathes of government business simply because the vast majority of laws and court cases don’t involve a human rights issue. I suspect you’ve been reading to many scaremongering newspapers, rather than law journals.

        Thirdly stop making up nonsensical rights. Your danger of being blown up is very low, especially being blown up by a terrorist. If you don’t like appeals then campaign for the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal to be scrapped.

        Just because you don’t like someone is no reason to deny them access to legal aid. Nor is it acceptable to remove people’s human rights simply because they allow normal people to fight against the decisions of petty ministers.

    2. APL
      April 25, 2012

      uanime5: “The UK having it’s own Human Rights bill is a terrible idea.”

      Agreed. The Human rights act should be abolished.

      uanime5: ” If you want the Government to be able to remove human rights on a whim you’re a (wrong headed person-ed) pretending to care.”

      So the Human rights act – which is a law of this country the fact of which you seem to be ignorant, was introduced onto the statute book in 2000. That is, it didn’t exist in 1939 when this country stood against one of the most inhuman regimes in the world, somehow despite not then knowing anything about human rights, the British seemed to be able to just muddle along and choose the right path with out the human rights act.

      After 1945, the British were largely instrumental in setting up the European Court of human rights, just so those rude continentals wouldn’t do the same sort of thing again.

      1. Conrad Jones (cheam)
        April 26, 2012

        Those “rude continentals” had something in common with present day British and American Bussiness.

        “Throughout the 1930s, German businesses were encouraged to form cartels, monopolies and oligopolies, whose interests were then protected by the state. In his book, Big Business in the Third Reich, Arthur Schweitzer notes that:

        Monopolistic price fixing became the rule in most industries, and cartels were no longer confined to the heavy or large-scale industries. […] Cartels and quasi-cartels (whether of big business or small) set prices, engaged in limiting production, and agreed to divide markets and classify consumers in order to realize a monopoly profit.”

        Why does the following seem so familiar?

        “As big business became increasingly organized, it developed an increasingly close partnership with the Nazi government. The government pursued economic policies that maximized the profits of its business allies, and, in exchange, business leaders supported the government’s political and military goals.”

        “…increasingly close partnership with the Nazi government”

        Public, Private Partnership. ACPOA Car Parks regularly fine Nurses who have the bad taste of attempting to Park their Cars at work. ACPOA Parking Permits issued to Hospital Staff require payment which is deducted from Hospital Salaries at source. Privately owned Hospital Car Parks even charge Blue Badge Holders for the privelege of visiting their sick relatives in Hospital. Even Disabled Drivers are seen as a source Profiteering from Private Land Owners of ACPOA Car Parks, knowing full well they have a captive audience – don’t want to pay the parking charges (£5 for just over two hours) , they forget visiting your relative. And how much of these Parking Fees actually goes to towards improvingl Medical Treatment? Is PPI just a way very large companies using public services to extract wealth without contributing anything? Do we want our Nurses and Doctors to be worrying about their parking fines rather than our ailments?

  50. Bob
    April 23, 2012


    It’s criminals and terrorists that are abusing the HRA as well as our hospitality.

    1. uanime5
      April 24, 2012

      Using the courts to prevent yourself being deported somewhere where you’ll be killed or tortured isn’t an abuse of the HRA; it’s what the HRA was designed to prevent.

  51. peter
    April 23, 2012

    I find the issue with EHCR of not being able to deport a suspect astonishing when France and Italy who come under the same EHCR umbrella simply put national security first and put them on a plane, why cant we simply have a change in the law to state ‘in circumstances of national security UK law comes first’ – job done.

    On all the other things you mention UK law must come first – again a simple change in the law to state that all national legislation must take priority over anything from the EU so if it contradicts UK legistlation it is overidden. If the EU cant accept that then call a referendum and let the people decide.

    I don’t accept the argument that all labour and lib supporters are federalist…

  52. BernieInPipewell
    April 23, 2012


    A big thank you to you and whoever helps you in the administration of this blog. I read your posts and the comments every day, I find them quite enlightening . I comment infrequently.

    I imagine like me, most of those who comment here, are or were Consevative voters.

    To me what has become apparant over the last few months is the rising anger, almost tangible, aimed at Cameron and his cabinet.

    The AGW alarmists keep telling us we are close to a tipping point, I think we are much closer to a tipping point in poitics.

    Is the EU involved somewhere ? 😉


    Reply: Global warming theory is deeply embedded in EU law and regulation. I do the writing and the posting on this site, and am grateful for the technical management of the site by others.

    1. Bob
      April 25, 2012

      Global Warming Alarmist Backs Down

      Will the Tories, the BBC and the EU do likewise? and can we then dispense with the various economically destructive taxes that were imposed on the back of global warming?

      Thought not.

      Reply: Some of us have been putting the case for cheap energy to fuel an industrial recovery and to tackle fuel poverty. The Chancellor has now said he is concerned about energy availability and pricing for those reasons. The government has just cut subsidies for solar and is under pressure from MPs on wind farms.

  53. rose
    April 23, 2012

    You might have added that the PM and his colleagues are further hampered in what they wish to do by the Liberals.

    This is every bit as damaging as the EU marriage they can’t get out of just like that.

  54. Derek Emery
    April 24, 2012

    If you join the ECJ, the ECHR, the EU etc then surely it should be obvious that you are handing over power to a supra-national body over which you have no control, and which is democratically unaccountable.

  55. Wokinghm Mum's
    April 25, 2012

    Just watched PMQ’s
    Cameron is not in control, His Ministers are becoming a joke, civil servants must be quaking in their boots waiting to be the next Ministers scapegoat.
    We no longer trust him on the economy, education, health, immigration or Europe. We are fed up with Clegg and the Lib’s, and with ill thought through policies. U turns he spins like a top.
    Cameron is spending too much time defending his government and protecting his Ministers when they mess up and not enough time running his government and ensuring Ministers perform.
    We are in recession, there are few jobs, we are sick to death of his cuts with no results and his “we’re all in it together” jibes are an insult, we are worried for our children’s future in this country.
    Cameron appears out of his depth hence, needs to be seen to take control, be in control and to demonstrate control. He needs to demonstrate leadership and sound like a leader, he needs to take action. Discredited Ministers should be replaced with wiser, less posh schoolboys playing politics, with more life experienced street wise, hard-hitting politicians or he should resign and let someone, who can sort it out, do so, or for certain, his government will not make another year.

  56. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    April 25, 2012

    David Cameron – the successes:

    1. Leading the Bombing of Libya

    2. Not signing a European Treaty

    He also achieved:

    3. Protecting the City of London against an “unfare” tax on Financial Transactions from the EU.

    4. Increasing Exports to Middle East and Far East Countries.

    Other successes might be:

    5. Being releated to King William IV

    6. Going to Eton

    7. Achieving 12 O-Levels and 3 A-Levels in ‘History of Art’, ‘History’ and ‘Economics with Politics’.

    8. Allowing George Osborne to donate to the IMF Fund.

    9. Helping to slow down the National Debt increases.

    10. Overseeing the continued support fot the Financial Sector (giving moeny to Banks through QE).

    Upon Graduation, Mr Cameron started work in the Conservative Party Research Department. He has dedicated his working career to Politics.

    Sorry, can you remind me – why was “Bombing Libya” a success again ?

    Was it something to do with the Petrodollar? I can’t quite remember. Is Gladiators on tonight?

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