Mr Gove moves the EU argument on a bit

Mr Cameron said he could not vote to stay in the EU on current terms, but then he is not about to give us an In/Out referendum to let us vote No. Now Mr Gove has made it clear he would vote No to staying in on current terms, and has said the government should confront the EU with a choice – give us powers back or we leave.

It shows we are making some progress with the campaign to a) negotiate a new relationship and b) give us all a vote on whether that relationship is worth having. As always, though, we need actions soon to back up the words. Just getting justice powers back is a useful start, but we need to do so much more. If we had a government of Labour and Lib Dems the continued march to more EU powers would be remorseless, including accepting the Fiscal Treaty and not opting out of the criminal justice powers.

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


  1. alan jutson
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    People perhaps (more importantly Ministers) are slowly waking up from the sleepwalk to more EU integration it would seem.

    If only they would recognise the damage done so far !

    • Disaffected
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      LabLibs would remorselessly walk towards more EU. Come on JR, be factual so have the Tories. Look at the Tory ministers and advisers, do you see any true Eurosceptics?

      EU arrest warrant imposed not resisted, ECHR still steaming ahead no change, more EU contribution without any more representation when cuts are being made to our services in the UK, no proposals for change to the Lisbon Treaty in 2010 when he could have made some, even less when the Lisbon treaty comes into effect in Nov 2014. It is pure fantasy to claim otherwise. Bloggers here have listed on many occasions how Cameron has marched further for more EU not Less.

      • Disaffected
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        A good start would be to clear out the lefty dons at Oxbridge- social engineering to bring a balance to influence our future parliamentarians- because 25% of MPs attend there and the majority of ministers also attended there- it is like a statutory requirement for office to have attended Oxbridge. Therefore Cameron ought to ask Milburn why he has not come up with this idea and how he intends to implement it. We might, just might, get a balanced view in the establishment whether the UK should or should not be in the EU.

        The USSR infiltrated Oxbridge to get to the heart of the establishment, namely security services, and not much has changed since then. So we need more conservative Dons to influence those leaders in the civil service, diplomatic service and parliament as they all pass through Oxbridge to their predestined roles.

        I am starting to wonder whether the EU imposed unemployment of Greece, Spain, Portugal is another EU strategy to force migration across the EU in the plight to look for work in the same way as Eastern European countries, formerly within the Soviet bloc? There must be a purpose to this cruel inhumane financial act beyond the fanatical austerity programme. It must be part of the overall fanatical dream to create the EU superstate.

        • NeilMc
          Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

          Re-distribute populations and dilute them through unlimited immigration from the third world and you destroy the nation state. Simple ploy used by socialists everywhere. The USSR did a fine job of this. Shame it takes so long to unravel. We’ll probably all miss it.

  2. Nick
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    It shows we are making some progress with the campaign to a) negotiate a new relationship and b) give us all a vote on whether that relationship is worth having.


    Really. So if I submit an FOI request to the cabinet office about what meetings they, or the Foreign office have had with the EU on renegotiating, I’m going to get a whole list of meetings?

    It’s all made up I’m afraid. The are no substantive talks.

    Go on tell us which points they are negotiating on. Broad strokes.

    Is it

    a) Withdrawal from the CAP
    b) Paying less money
    c) Controlling migration

    Nope, not a thing that matters is being talked about.

    • zorro
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Yes we heard a lot of hot air at the Tory conference about not paying EU citizens benefits or preventing them from taking jobs which could be done by British people. Remember Cameron also mentioned that he would control Greeks and stop them coming to the UK if it gets worse there…..How? With what? What legal powers?……All a load of nonsense….yet what do we get on the Tories watch? We get NHS ‘managers’ saying that all foreign nationals must be registered for free NHS if they request it, because to refuse them would be ‘discriminatory’ or against their ‘human rights’….

      What nonsense, how can anyone believe anything they say or put any stock in it…..How do you know when they are lying?


      • Disaffected
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

        It is reported Maldovians are flocking here after obtaining a passport in Romania for £100. The Uk ought to pay them £300 to stay it would save us a fortune. What is Cameron and May doing about it? No point asking green as he is an utter failure on immigration.

        • zorro
          Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

          They have been doing that for a while. It has been a known risk for a few years……A good number of Moldovans would qualify historically for Romanian citizenship with the ‘Chisinau Switch’………. The same has been happening with Russians and the Baltic States.


          • Bazman
            Posted October 15, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

            Lots of Baltic Russian here. That’s true.

        • Bob
          Posted October 15, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

          “No point asking Green as he is an utter failure on immigration.”

          He was on LBC this morning trying to justify the fact that foreign aid spending is set to exceed our national police budget!

    • Winston Smith
      Posted October 15, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Yes, more media manipulation from New Labour…sorry…the Conservatives. They think the electorate are fools. At least, we have intelligent, independent sceptics, like Mr Redwood, don’t we? He would never fall for such rubbish!

      Oh, how much were our Continuity Socialist Govt behind the BAE merger?

  3. Electro-Kevin
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    At this rate I’m afraid a Lib-Lab Coalition is what we are likely to get.

    Too little and too slow.

    Mr Cameron appears to spend to much time trying to please those who will never vote for him whilst alienating those who would like to.

    One can only conclude that he’s not a real Tory.

    (My thanks to yourself and those in your party who are trying though.)

  4. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    If people are serious about wanting an in-out referendum then I hope they will sign “The Peoples Pledge” and look also at The Freedom Association website ( notably the Better Off Out campaign.

  5. lifelogic
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Well it is not going to happen with Cameron, the Libdems and Miliband in 2015 is it no matter what Gove thinks.

    Perhaps Cameron could kindly tell us why he thinks the UK should stay in, why he would campaign to stay in regardless and why a greater Switzerland is such a bad idea for the UK. He should just do that and call a referendum or go. In fact he should go anyway before the next election as his credibility has vanished and he is a proven loser. Even against the hapless disaster Gordon Brown he could not win. His fake green, pro EU, “spirit level” socialist, forced equality, tax borrow and waste agenda is very unpopular.

    • zorro
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      He gave the game away when he did his ‘Flashman’ curl of the lip in dismissing those who would prefer to be outside the EU by saying that he didn’t want the UK to be a ‘Greater Switzerland’…….He will live to regret that contemptuous dismissal…..


      • lifelogic
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 6:17 am | Permalink

        Especially if he is not even prepared to say why he didn’t want the UK to be a ‘Greater Switzerland’.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 15, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

          What you really want is regressive right wing thinking not Switzerland style government and living standards. This would be to expensive and require to many regulations for you to ever be real. It would also require making the country middle class and so more equal in status and income. Not something your ideas like easy hire and fire with no benefits would ever provide.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      You need to dig a little deeper with regard to just how “free” Switzerland actually is. Remember the referendum which asked the Swiss whether minarets should be banned from mosques? The Swiss people said “yes” and the Federal Council is now obliged to come up with the law that will ban them within in five years from the result of the referendum being announced. No law as of yet, because the Swiss government has to ensure that any ban despite what the Swiss want, rightly or wrongly, has to measure up to the requirements of all the other non EU conventions and organisations Switzerland is a signed up to. So do remember the destructive “European group think” spreads far and beyond the organs of the EU.

      • zorro
        Posted October 14, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        At least they feel they can make their views known to the elected government and the government must make its best attempts to act in accordance with the electorate’s wishes. Do we have that in the UK? I think not….we have an elite which imposes its views on the masses and tries to enforce what they want us to think…..


    • Bazman
      Posted October 15, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      What about all the absurd regulations in Switzerland? You don’t seriously think they have less strict business, tax and government regimes than the UK do you?

  6. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    We don’t want a re-run of the 1975 referendum, when Wilson pretended to have won improved terms for membership and Her Majesty’s Government officially recommended that we should vote to stay in on those supposed new terms, as per the pamphlet that he had delivered to every household at public expense:

    and virtually the whole of the establishment then launched an overwhelming propaganda blitz to make sure that a majority voted to stay in.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Indeed – I was against it even then but too young to vote. The noes seemed to have all the coherent arguments and the yes side was all irrational emotion, irrelevant drivel and wishes. It is just the same now on the “BBC/state think” issues of ever higher taxes, the green issue, the EU, bigger government, more regulation and the rest.

  7. Bob
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    “…we need actions soon to back up the words…”

    Or perhaps if a couple of Tory MPs were to display a little EU scepticism in public it might just give the impression the plebs that the Tories hadn’t been completely overrun by Wets?

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Coppers wearing Toff/Pleb cufflinks

      Serving soldiers about to march on Parliament…


      This is not Leftist reactionism at work. This did not happen under Thatcher.

      This is the Tory faithful saying that they’ve had a gut full of the Tory abandonment of them.

      This is not a country any more.

      The biggest economic saving we could make (though it is never mentioned) is in abolishing Parliament and scrapping the political parties. I see no point in having them anymore.

  8. Christopher Ekstrom
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Right. More words, no actions. Such a slender reed you offer as improvement, Mr. Redwood. At least you acknowledge Cast Iron’s refusal to allow an OUT vote; perhaps In another decade we will have a vote?

  9. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    At long last the debate is moving onto the ground that matters: What should be the proposals published in the next Conservative Party manifesto for reclamation of powers? I want Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon to be repealed, the Prime Minister wants to reclaim our justice system. Mr Redwood wants all of this plus withdrawal from the Common Fisheries policy. Any more from anybody else?

    We already know UKIP’s policy. I am more interested in the views of people who are minded to vote Conservative but want a better European policy.

    We mustn’t forget the ugly but necessary bit. Conservative candidates that refuse to back the new policy should be deselected.

    • zorro
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      This will not convince people unless there are doe cast diamond pledges…..and even then they probably won’t be believed. Cast Elastic had his chance in 2010 and fluffed it…..


      • lifelogic
        Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        Anything Cameron promises, on this issue, and especially anything for after the next election is totally worthless. Firstly he will defraud the electorate as he did over the Cast Iron pledge (defrauded on before the election) and the worthless lock gimmick, also over the £1M IHT limit promised and quickly forgotten. Secondly he has no chance of winning the election anyway and thirdly he will be campaigning on the wrong side of any referendum battle too as he has already stated.

        He would rather we had just 60% the Swiss GDP than emulated them. But he never says why so some reason – an aversion to yodelling and cuckoo clocks one therefore assumes?

        • Bazman
          Posted October 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

          Switzerland is a very expensive place to live which means they have high taxes and a lot of regulations as well as greater equality and a more generous benefits system Quite how you would turn a large and diverse country like the UK into a country like this is a fantasy and as you believe in a the race to the bottom with those left behind depending of voluntary charity makes your idea even more bizarre.

  10. Barbara Stevens
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Cameron should have given us this choice head on, he may not win the next election therefore he’s leaving the quesion open for the Labour party and the Lib Dems to abuse their position if they became the next coalition. You point out the danger these two may evoke, yet, this government is failing to see this. If we had the referendum sooner than later the question would be settled by the people before Miliband or Clegg have the chance to go further into Europe. I’m so disappointed in the Conservatives they appear to keep coming out with the soundbites and no substance. Give us the referendum and let us decide before it’s to late.
    The thought of Miliband and Clegg at the helm is awful, and the way they will ride rough shod over public opinion to get what they politically want. Don’t the Conservatives realise this? I despair I really do. These people have talked about their education, upbringing, etc, but simple commonsense appears to be lacking.

  11. John Page
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    As Andrew Neil noted on Sunday Politics, this line is attibuted not to Gove but to Friends of Gove – deniability is maintained, and the Conservatives’ unconvincing attempt to suggest they are eurosceptic continues.

    • zorro
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Oh I see….plausible deniability. They are a gutless lot….They only live once, how will they be remembered?…..’the coward dies a thousand deaths but the brave man dies but once’.


      • zorro
        Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        I respect John because he had the guts to challenge Major.


        • Richard
          Posted October 14, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

          I’m with you , deep respect to Mr Redwood
          Was this the last real principled stand by an MP?

    • Winston Smith
      Posted October 15, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Yes, the old “well placed source” in Govt.

  12. Sean O'Hare
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I can’t help thinking that this is more faux euroscepticism from a Conservative Party waking up to the fact that, not only is it not going to win the next General Election, it isn’t going to be part of a coalition either. Why is Gove choosing this moment to speak about the EU? Gove knows as well as you or I that there is no scope for renegotiation on the scale that would make any difference while we are still members. Why would they allows us to break the acquis communautaire, when so doing would signal the end of their dreams? They have given us an escape route in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty so for Gods sake lets take it while the door is still ajar.

  13. Derek Emery
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know whether UK government will ever allow an in-out vote but the balance of UK trade with the EU and rest of the world is bound to change to increasingly favour the rest of the world because that is where all the future economic growth will take place.

    The $10 Trillion prize points out the consumer markets of China and India will triple over the course of this decade and amount to $10 trillion annually by 2020. See

    The growth in the EU will be negligible in comparison. Private businesses need growth so inevitably will put their efforts in these markets rather than in the EU where growth at very best can only be desultory.

    What is likely to happen is that the UK will be paying increasing sums to fund a low growth and rudderless EU as far as private sector growth is concerned which has no real interest in the private sector. EU politics are driven purely by equality and “the level playing field” which equates to ensuring Germany’s ascendance is never in question. The level playing field keeps out competition to the rich states.

    What if in ten years time trade to the rest of the world is four times what it is to the EU? Who will want to pay tens of billions and increasing every year for EU membership when membership to the rest of the world is free and is where all the growth is?

    • uanime5
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      You do realise that the UK can trade with China and India while being part of the EU.

      Also what is the current consumer spending in the EU? If you don’t know then why do you think that the $10 trillion consumer market of India and China will be greater than that of the EU’s consumer market?

      • zorro
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        Answer your own question – What is value of the EU consumer market?


        • Bazman
          Posted October 15, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

          Massive. You seem to believe all the nonsense about ‘middle class’ Indians and Chinese. They are dirt poor and even in second world countries like Russia they still only just survive everyday. The average Russian lives on something like $30 a month. Trust me. They ain’t got two quid coins to rub together.

  14. Neil Craig
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I note that George Osborne, in a very good conference speech which I wish the cabinet would let him live up to, singled out Micheal Gove’s education reforms as the most important contribution to fixing the economy. I would put fixing the electricity supply 1st but would happily put that 2nd.

    Ir shows there are people who know what needs doing. I wish they would do them.

  15. Derek Emery
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    The $10 Trillion prize (points out the consumer markets of China and India will triple over the course of this decade and amount to $10 trillion annually by 2020) at This will incidentally sink the EU renewable energy plans as far as world CO2 production is concerned. The £10 Trillion annual consumption translates into huge amounts of additional CO2. Asia burns coal for energy so the additional CO2 in Asia will far more than compensate for any reductions in CO2 EU policies create.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      You do realise that if a tariff is put on countries that produce high volumes of CO2 then Asia will be forced to go green in order to remain competitive.

      • Cliff. Wokingham.
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        But what happens if these Asian countries call in our debts? He who pays the piper calls the tune, so to speak. The west in general and the EUSSR in particular, would be committing financial suicide to try to impose such tariffs on the very nations, that effectively fund our crazy borrow and waste socialist governments and lifestyle. The west is pretty much owned by China and India and to some extent, far eastern countries. They would not sit back and just let us destroy their economies.
        Would the WTO allow the Brussels Pact to impose such tariffs?

  16. fairweather
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    They are beginning to ralise they didn’t read the treaties they signed up to
    Or are the government worried about UKIP and is this just political engineering to make the Eurosceptic voters more comfortable?
    It will make UKIPers even more angry to reveal that treaties were not scrutinised and now there is frustration in the government due to their ineptitude by not realising the full implications of the treaties and not listening to people like Bill Cash and the others who tried to put amendments in the Lisbon Treaty for example and the amendments were voted down because of the whips (had they read the treaties?)

    • zorro
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      I suspect that private polling has alerted them to the UKIP spoiling threat…..not to any lofty ideals about our country……but rather to their careers.


      • Richard
        Posted October 14, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        Zorro, well thats politics, whatever gets us there gets us there.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        The local elections in May, next year, will see many Tory losses, especially in the SE. UKIP are standing in virtually every council seat.

  17. Duyfken
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    That of course is an implied direction for us not to support UKIP, but it doesn’t work with me. My take on the subject is that it is because so many erstwhile Tory voters have flounced off to UKIP in disgust with the present government and despite your own valued eofforts, that Gove and maybe soon other Ministers now see fit to make unCameron-like utterances about the EU. When they topple Cameron and actually do something useful, that is the time your Party might start to regain some voting strength.

    • zorro
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Do you see Gove attempting to topple Cameron….?


      • Duyfken
        Posted October 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink


        • zorro
          Posted October 14, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

          Me neither….


  18. sm
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Well if the security required for Merkel’s visit to Greece is n0t a serious wakeup call and early warning – what will be? I wonder if her guards were carrying live rounds and what would happen if xyz happened.

    All senior EU/national political figures are now potentially at risk, from the growing internal dissent within the EU.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      All senior EU/national political figures are now potentially at risk, from the growing internal dissent within the EU

      That is good to know. The sooner Clegg heads back to the EU the better then!

    • uanime5
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      The Greeks not wanting austerity in exchange for a bailout doesn’t mean the EU is about to collapse. Nor does it mean that any senior EU/national political figures are potentially at risk in any EU country.

      • sm
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        Pensioners committing suicide, riots, allegations of major frauds etc and you think there is no risk? I would not be happy if you were in charge of security.

  19. zorro
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Interesting……a quite overt statement effectively contradicting the government position. Is Mr Gove feeling frustrated? Can one imagine Cast Elastic confronting the EU with a referendum demand that we would leave if they didn’t return powers to us? I hardly think so bearing in mind that his government has been merrily accessing to more EU regulations over the last two years. John, have you been craftily filling Mr Gove’s cocoa mug with Eurosceptic mead, or do I detect an ambitious politician placing his foot in the ground in advance of a Cameron departure?……More to the point how will Cast Elastic respond to this posturing, and how will he manage his petit ami Nick’ views on the subject.


  20. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    In my earlier posting I referred to the Peoples’ Pledge and the Freedom Association. As that posting has not been displayed, does it mean that I have infringed one of your rules or is it that you disapprove of either or both of those organisations?

  21. merlin
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Do not be taken in by this tittle tattle, the Conservative party is a pro European party and the majority of Conservative MP’s want to remain in the EUSSR and nothing has changed.
    The voting make up of the Conservatives is as follows:-

    1) 100 MP’s who would leave the EU

    2) 100 who would like to renegotiate within the EU

    3) 100 who would stay in the EU

    The party is divided on this issue and it means weakness, nothing will change until the next election. On top of this Mr Slippery is an arch europhile and must keep his own personal options open until the next election.
    The media have made a big issue that the Home Secretary will be getting powers back from the EUSSR, I very much doubt it, and we have heard it all before, nothing will happen. For me it’s reached the stage where departing is the only option anything less is a sell out.
    The acronym the EUSSR says it all to me, does anybody remember re-negotiating successfully with Soviet Union without the back up of force.
    The EUSSR treats the UK as a region of it’s empire and it will control that region whatever it takes. It is bit like feeding a dog, give it a few scraps to make it happy and that’s all.
    The media get very excited about the coalition getting powers back-it will never happen.

    Reply: I think we will get some powers back, but I still want the UK voters to have a referendum on whether they want to stay or quit. The EU may well not offer enough back to satisfy the UK voters.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      Reply to JR:

      They will offer nothing back John and you know it. Why the hell should they? They have opened the door to our repatriating powers and that is Article 50. Before invoking that clause this renegotiation thing is going nowhere. Will Cameron invoke Article 50? Fat chance! It would mean putting his arse on the line should the EU decide to punish us for doing so. Punishment or not if we want to reinstate ourselves as an independent nation that is what must be done!

      Reply: I think they will offer something, but so what – we just vote to leave if there is no sensible deal.

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        What worries me is who decides whether we accept whatever is offered or not? Imagine the pressure that the pro EU forces will exert to convince the populace that they have secured something substantial. We can guess that the fig leaf the EU will offer us will be lauded as the greatest victory since Trafalgar, when in reality it will be as worthless as Chamberlains piece of paper. I’m surprised you’re happy to take that risk.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      The acronym the EUSSR says it all to me, does anybody remember re-negotiating successfully with Soviet Union without the back up of force.

      So the acronym Europhobes made up tells you everything you need to know about a complex political issue. You really should try investigation it more.

      Also if EUSSR is an acronym then what does it stand for.

      Regarding the Soviet Union force wasn’t needed to resolve the 1948-49 Berlin Blockade, no one forced Nikita Khrushchev to denounce Stalin, no one forced the Soviets to agree to the “Strategic Arms Limitation Talks” or the treaties designed to prevent the creation of nuclear missiles, and no one forced Mikhail Gorbachev to dissolve the Soviet Union or introduce democracy.

      Reply: Oh but they did. It was western resolve, technology and military capability which led to all those changes. The demolition of the Berlin Wall was a great success for western diplomacy and resolve.

      • peter davies
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

        I think apart from the Diplomacy and resolve JR describes, 2 key things that ended to USSR was

        a. They were bankrupt, which shows communism/socialism just doesn’t work and

        b. They saw the force projected live in the Gulf and concluded their battlefield capability would not match NATOs

  22. Tedgo
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Slightly off topic, but with talk about the general election in 2015, what happens if Scotland votes for independence in 2014. Surely Scotland would not be able to take part in that General Election, or if it did surely its MP’s could not take part in forming the next government.

    Perhaps this has already been answered on this forum and I missed it.

    Reply: THis will all be worked out if Scotland votes for independence. Many of us in Parliament would of course insist that Scotland did n to return MPs to westminster in 2015 to have any role in the government of the rest of the UK. We would need to put through suitable legislation covering the handover period and the division of assets and liabilities.

    • Farmer Geddon
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      Will the massive bailout to RBS be counted as a liability that has to be paid back to the English taxpayer?

      Reply: The liability is either loans and guarantees which RBS has to pay for or repay, or taxpayer owned shares which will have value if the business succeeds.

  23. A.Sedgwick
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    When is the Corby by-election?

  24. Richard
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad of Mr Gove’s contribution to the debate. The tide is slowly turning.

    Care is needed, because for example even in Spain, Portugal and Greece recent polls showed most still wanted to stay in the EU and keep the Euro.

    Winning a referendum to leave the EU completely, is a battle which will not be won easily and I feel the current policy of negotiating a new settlement is the best way forward.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Richard–I detest the EU but I agree with you. As they say, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”. Every little bit helps.

  25. Bert Young
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you that Michael Gove’s eurosceptic comments are a breath of fresh air from someone in the Cabinet . I sincerely hope and trust he will be given all the support he deserves from you and your colleagues in the House . DC has to be given more than a prod to shift him away from his present stance on Europe .

  26. Jon
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Its all a bit risky isn’t it.

    If the opportunity to vote on our relationship with the EU was known to be next parliament then that should be a good thing for the Conservatives at the election. Whatever people’s normal voting practice is few would tryst the LibDems or Labour to negotiate further out.
    Then again, what if its not settled this parliament and its a LibLab or Labour government.

    I like what Mr Gove said, after all the EU wants and needs our money. A free trade common market relationship nothing more.

  27. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Renegotiation of powers from the EU was deliberatly and expressly excluded from the coalition agreement. Nothing is happening, nor will it under this government. This is just more smoke and mirrors to persuade the gullible that the Conservatives are actively doing something, other than rolling over to the dictats of their EU masters, and thereby to try and stem the tide of support switching to UKIP. If I am wrong, I am sure you will be able to refer me to some actual actions that your colleagues have taken rather than mendacious press briefings such as this.

    Reply: The government has stopped the fiscal treaty being an EU Treaty, is about to opt out of criminal justice measures, and has demanded a lower budget increase. It needs to do much more, as I have often written, but it is a start in a different direction to the last decade when Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon all greatly increased the pwoers of the EU over the UK.

  28. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    I cannot quite see why the EU wouldn’t be ready by now to turn it around, a bit like this: “If you, the UK government, so sincerely want to remain an EU member, please supply us with ample convincing evidence, or else have your in/out referendum right now, after which we’ll negotiate. Previous so-called veto’s haven’t been too convincing”.
    11% of EU export is to the UK, more than 40% of UK export is to the EU. Happy negotiations.

    • Peter Richmond
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps, Mr van Leeuwen, you can encourage the EU to turn as you suggest. We can then vote to come out sooner and take out our membership subscription too!

    • Farmer Geddon
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      I would have thought that the £40m per day provides ample evidence

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        Let’s do the math together:
        40,000,000/61,000,000*365/2.36 = £564.85 per household per year. The UK government estimates that income gains from the EU are between £1100 and £3300 a year per British household. (you lucky lot!)

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted October 16, 2012 at 12:52 am | Permalink

          Perhaps the UK government means that income gains from free trade within the EU are between £1100 and £3300 a year per British household. However, as Enoch Powell so succinctly put it “You don’t need to share somebody’s bath water in order to have a trade agreement with them.”

    • Tom William
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      Forget the percentages, a convenient red herring, look at the actual figures. We buy more from the EU than they sell to us.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        Really Tom? Imagine, for argument’s sake that Liechtenstein sends all 100% of its export to the UK and the UK export to Liechtenstein is 1% but larger in actual figures. Who would have the stronger negotiation position?

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      NO, no, no. We see if a deal can be negotiated first, THEN we put the negotiated deal (if there is one) to the British people. That’s democracy. If the EU won’t negotiate, then we have our simple in/out referendum.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        OK, let’s start a mock negotiation: first condition – no more silly vetos until the eurozone has implemented the four building blocks of further integration, otherwise any deal is off and you may start exit negotiations (article 50 Lisbon Treaty)

    • ian wragg
      Posted October 15, 2012 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      40% of UK exports are to the EU, presumably that includes trans shipment through Rotterdam. Exports account for 15% of GDP so 40 % of that is 6%. Do you seriously think the EU is going to stop buying UK products when we run a £50 billion deficit with them??

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        @ian wragg: I’m looking at a UK-national statistics graph and see roughly 180bn import and 120bn export, which fits with your trade deficit figure and, as far as I know doesn’t include the Rotterdam/Antwerp transits to outside the EU. Let me just quote your friend, the Polish foreign minister in his Blenheim Palace Speech:
        “While you are an important market for the rest of the EU, accounting for about 11% of the rest of the EU’s trade, your trade with the EU is 50% of your total trade. No prizes for guessing who would have the upper hand in such a negotiation.

        Reply: The UK should have the upper hand if played sensibly, because we import more than we export. Are you suggesting the rest of the EU will seek to break international trade law to be diffifuclt for the UK?

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted October 15, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

          No, I’m suggesting that the (rest of the) EU is the (e.g. economically) more powerful partner in negotiations. Size matters. Trade there will always be.

    • peter davies
      Posted October 15, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink


      I would check your facts on UK exports to the EU, we import way more than we export, you have based your export figures on Rotterdam Trans Shipments which goes via the EU.

      Also I think this fuss about trade is a red herring, people forget there are many WTO rules which can be used plus EFTA.

      Let the EU kick us out, that would save us going through all this hassle and keep Baroness Ashton as your leaving gift

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        There always will be trade with our British freinds across the NorthSea, whatever position (WTO, EFTA, EEA) you chose. But I don’t see any argument in favor of the EU bending backwards to accomodate the UK. If the UK wishes to remain an EU member, it’s for the UK to prove that it is serious and sincere. Wrecking and palaryzing the EU wouldn’t buy the UK any favors.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted October 15, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

          Unfortunately for you, Germany is trying to turn the Eurozone (and perhaps the whole EU) into a strong political union, with federal control not only of fiscal and monetary policy but also of defence and foreign policy. Don’t try to deny it. There is a working group involving the participation of 11 EU Member States under the chairmanship of the German foreign minister that is working on a common defence and foreign policy right now.

          The United Kingdom cannot be neutral with regard to such developments. They are catastrophically against our interests and we are duty bound to try to wreck them. We don’t want to be part of a superpower or have one on our doorstep. The world now has only one superpower and that’s one too many. What would be just about acceptable is a fiscal union of about 8 member states with a strong currency and no military capability. The UK would not be a member and I can see no sense in Club Med or Scandanavian countries being members.

          During a UK renegotiation, there would be an opportunity to define an inner Europe, with the Euro as its currency, and an outer Europe, with Treaties to match. Ending the current incohrent, festering mess is something that the EU ought to welcome.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

            @Lindsay McDougall: Defence cooperation is certainly not just a German idea (see the British-French cooperation to date) and personally I don’t like it. I’d much rather see more emphasis on cooperation in conflict prevention by non-military means, but it seems that Mrs Ashton has surrounded herself with too many (ex)generals.
            Don’t get me wrong, I do think that Britain should renegotiate a new relationship, but it should do it very smartly, with a cooperative smile, and not be hampered by eurosceptics who prefer grandstanding over real results (the so-called “bulldog spirit” which only isolated Britain last year into a minority of 2 against 25).

        • sm
          Posted October 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

          The UK unfortunately is in the EUSSR and the people have not be asked. We are in effect hostages of the EU , betrayed by trojans within and faux democrats outside. It should seem obvious most simply do not wish to remain in the EU.We are sincere and very serious in the view that there must be a referendum and soon.

          We don’t want to wreck the EU , your more than capable doing that without any help.

          Can you help to force the pace of a referendum, that’s a favour we would truly be grateful from our European friends? Looks like EU actions rather show the opposite.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 15, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

            I never react to eussr insinuations, sorry.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted October 15, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      There you go again. Spoken like the true “European” you are. Contemptuous of the views of the UK or anyone else for that matter outside the central dictatorship.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        Good afternoon “Mr Reagan” (“there you go again”). The last few days have illustrated how much British euroskeptics are out of step with opinon across the world. I wouldn’t be surprised if the real contempt for Britain one day might come from the currently suffering piigs countries, which see that the UK gives 0 support.

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted October 15, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

          “The last few days have illustrated how much British euroskeptics are out of step with opinon across the world.”
          Really? Just what evidence do you have to support such a ludicrous assertion? I note that you now wish to represent the whole world without their consent not just the member states of the EU.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 15, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

            Sorry if you don’t get that, I don’t know what media you read / see. I’m not going to “provide evidence” believe it or not as you wish.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted October 15, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

          The support that the UK could give to the PIIGS (subject to our resources) is to allow them to convert their Euro debts to local (reinstated) local currency AFTER they have left the Euro zone. If they choose to remain in the Euro zone, then the Euro zone can deal with their problems, which are self inflicted.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 15, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

            They do chose to remain in the eurozone and will remember that they have nothing to expect from Britain, which, by the way , doesn’t want them to leave the euro at all ! For us, Britain is the UK government, not some opinion held by some Britons.

        • M.A.N
          Posted October 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

          Apart from us providing so much employment for Spanish, Romanian, Polish workers etc etc. And numerous bailout contributions.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 15, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

            I grant you that you there is a small contribution via the IMF. But that makes Briatain as distant for the piigs countries as Russia or India. Not what you’d expect from an EU member.

  29. Paul
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Gove is not eurosceptic. His words are false and are all part of the plan to slow down UKIP by trying to make the Conservatives appear anti-EU, when in actual fact they have no intention of leaving the EU or giving the people the option of leaving the EU. The only true anti-EU party in this country worth voting for is UKIP. If you want to stay in the EU and let this country be dragged into more debt and despair then take your pic of Lib/Lab/Con.

  30. uanime5
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Given that opting out of the justice proposals means that ordinary people have less legal recourse against sentencing based on Government whims I’d prefer that we didn’t opt out of them.

  31. Mike Stallard
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Here In Australia, outside the EU, it is so refreshing to hear debates about sexism, climate change, renewables and so on which are able to be discussed freely and openly. The Parliament, of course, is made up of politicians but they actually get to make decisions.

  32. Adam5x5
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    At this rate, Cameron may just give us a referendum on EU membership.

    Although it probably won’t arrive until the continent descends into another war as Vince Cable has said.

    There is a strong possibility that another conflict could flare up if the economic problems aren’t sorted.
    The possibility does beg the question whose side we would be on?
    Hopefully we would just sit it out – but I imagine the leader politicians would love to get stuck in as it would distract from the god-awful economic problems.

  33. peter davies
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    We all know that what is said in conferences mean very little unless backed up by appropriate policies – like Red Ed’s one britain speech, good speech but means nothing because unless you live under a rock you will know that its the same raving loonies working behind him.

    Likewise Gove has said the right thing to please the Tory rank and file but the evidence suggests more EU control (apart from the Financial Transactions) are being waved through.

    Can the govt be a bit more specific about what they intend to take back and when? Or are they sitting on this until the next election when they hope to get a majority and have the freedom to sort this out with out interference from the Lib Dums?

    Reply I hope today we will hear that the government is about to opt out of 130 criminal justice measures. Every little helps, as they say.

  34. Phil Granger
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    The road to the next election is paved with carrots! With the Tories getting worried about defections to UKIP, Mr. Gove has been primed to toss out another carrot, in the pretence they will have an EU Referedum! Oh yes, in a pig’s ear! They had their chance when dilettante Dave got stung with his on-line petition and had to bring in a three line whip, [ vote as I say or get the sack and be marked out forever!] to ensure it never happened! God, can’t have the plebs deciding their own future! Whatever next, democracy?

  35. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I wrote to the Prime Minister on 13th July – text below. The Prime Minister forward my letter to the policy unit, as he said he would, and I have just received a reply, dated 10 October 2012, from the Future of Europe Department in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It was unsigned.

    Their letter extolled the benefits of EU membership and the Prime Minister’s view that an in/out referendum based on the current EU Treaties would be wrong. I had raised neither of these issues. It also said that the UK favours a long term solution to the euro area crises, without saying what the solution should be; my proposal that the weaker Euro zone members should be encouraged to leave the Euro zone one by one was ignored.

    Nor was there any discussion about my specific proposals that we withdraw from the Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties. All that was discussed was the UK’s veto of further integration measures.

    The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary should reply to letters like mine as Conservatives, not as Coalition Ministers. If they feel unable to do so, then they should forward such letters to MPs who are thinking as Conservatives.


    Dear Mr Cameron


    I had hoped to avoid writing to you about Europe until the 2013 budget was safely out of the way but events are moving too fast and I fear that your well deserved summer holiday will be ruined.

    There is some risk that a Federal Union of 17 nations, dominated by Germany, will form. I share Lord Owen’s concern that this would be a disaster for the United Kingdom. For centuries, perhaps even from the time of the Plantagenet kings, it has been British policy to prevent a single power dominating continental Europe, and clearly there are very good reasons for this. We may not be wholly able to prevent a Federation forming but we should strive to get as many Member States as possible to leave the Euro zone one by one at suitable intervals. Countries such as Greece, Ireland and Spain would then be able to devalue and get some export led economic growth, which would help us all. This should be our public position.

    There may in any event be no alternative. The circle of bail outs is beginning to look like a great big Ponzi scheme. Euro zone nations will combine to lend to Spain to prop up their regional banks; some of this money will then used to buy Spanish government bonds. One of the lenders will be Italy, who will have to borrow at 7% in order to lend to Spain at 3%, but Italy’s public deficit is set to rise to 137% of GDP in two years time. So the whole merry-go-round would have to be financed by Germany. However, Germany is itself too much in debt to be ABLE to pick up the tab. Please look at the sovereign debt to GDP ratios in the table below; these are EUROSTAT figures. To make matters worse, we may expect the revealed debts of Spanish, Italian and French banks to increase; all sorts of horrors are going to come crawling out of the woodwork. Knowledgeable people in the City (Liam Halligan for one) will tell you that those three countries contain many ‘zombie’ banks – they are too broke to lend and should be wound up, not bailed out.
    Government debt as a % of GDP – sample EUROSTAT data

    Countries……………………….2010 Q3…..2011 Q3
    Euro zone (EA17)……………83.2%………87.4%
    European Union (EU27)….78.5%………82.2%
    United Kingdom………………………………85%

    You may also have noticed that there is a legal action going on in the German Constitutional Court (a) seeking an injection to prevent the German government donating to the major EU bail out fund and (b) seeking a ruling that Germany joining a political and fiscal union would require a new German constitution. The judge has said that court rulings may be expected (a) in three months time and (b) in early 2013. Italy is not happy with this leisurely schedule.

    On another note, regarding our relationship with the EU, I would like to see the equivalent of the Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties being repealed. The Single European Act achieved all that we wanted. It is important that we put out a manifesto that will win back most of UKIP’s 9% of the popular vote and that we have Conservative candidates that will support the manifesto.


    • Bazman
      Posted October 15, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Here’s one I sent to my local MP Jonathan Djanogly about lifelogics fantasy that he is unable to defend and many others like him. Ram it.

      I am writing to ask you to speak up for your constituents by voting against the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill when it comes back to the House of Commons on the 16th October.
      The Bill waters down many of our rights at work.
      It throws up barriers that make it harder for people to access justice if they have been treated unfairly at work, lowers the amount of compensation working people can receive, and introduces “settlement agreements” – making it easier for employers to offer employees money to leave. If employees reject a settlement agreement, they won’t be able to use the discussion about it as evidence in an employment tribunal.
      The product of these complex clauses in the Bill, combined with the fact the Government are also going to start charging fees for employment tribunals, has been termed ‘Beecroft Lite’, as it virtually amounts to Adrian Beecroft’s call for ‘compensated no-fault dismissal’.
      Many people will agree to a poorly-compensated ‘settlement agreement’, as for many accessing justice will seem too complicated and too expensive.
      We already have millions of people out of work – this Bill will make it easier to fire people.
      Thousands of people in your constituency rely on their rights at work to give security for them and for their family.
      Please vote against this Bill on Tuesday.


  36. SteveS
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Progress indeed. For a serving cabinet minister to be “caught” uttering such previously heretical thoughts, and it barely registering on the controversy readings, save for a few dire warnings of disaster from the pro-EU phophets, means that this country is steadily disengaging from the new world order nonsense of the EU. Years ago, Gove would have been sacked immediately and treated like a lunatic. Progress indeed. Perhaps the long game is actually working in favour of common sense after all? We must continue to press the case, and remain vigilent to any pro-EU stitch ups.

  • 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