A new EU policy?


          After the Prime Minister has called for a “new relationship with the EU” for the UK, the Foreign Secretary has pointed out that the UK public is becoming extremely unhappy with the many powers sucked out of the UK into the EU.

            The new policy some in government and some leaders of business seem to want is a new deal based on full membership of the single market, and no membership of the Euro, banking union, fiscal union and the rest.  We need to ask is this feasible? Could this work?  Is this something we are likely to be able to negotiate?

           This attitude rests on the assumption that the single market is a clearly defined set of policies which offer us good access to other EU markets.   It  implies that the single market is broadly a free trading or market opening device. This is not, of course, how some on the continent see it. They see it as a system for governing unruly markets, a  manifestation of increasingly strong centralised government from Brussels. The single market to them has to have a social dimension, it requires policies for social cohesion, regional fairness, environmental intervention and the rest.

           This means that trying to seperate those policies which are central to the single market from the rest which are necessary for a strong federal government appropriate to a single currency is difficult and itself the stuff of disagreement. The UK may think that labour laws, trans European networks, skills and training, public health and the rest are not part of the single market, but others think they might be. Is health and safety a matter for national determination, or is it essential to be settled at EU level? Does a single market need universal rules on benefits and income top ups? Do we have to pay benefits to people who come under the free movement provisions to the UK and who then do not find work or lose their job?  Does a single market imply open borders for the free movement of people? Is carbon pricing a market measure, or a major impediment to the competitiveness of Uk companies?

           The immediate negotiation is about banking. Here the wish is to say all the rules  agreed so far – and there are many – are single market matters. Any new rules agreed in the name of a banking union are a step too far. How then, if others accept this distinction, does the UK prevent the Euro group using its muscle to impose Euro style regulations through the single market mechanisms? How can the single market section share a regulator, the European Banking Agency, with the Euro area? How, even with a split voting system, can the UK be sure it will not in future be dictated to on banking matters by the Euro group, who may have the support of other non Euro states wishing to join the Euro?

           It may be the case that we need less than the so called single market to be able to trade with other EU members. What we wish to avoid is having to accept regulations and standards on products we wish to export to non EU destinations, as these can be an impediment to our trade. The rest of the EU will be reluctant to let the UK out of regulations we see as a needless cost and they see as a necessary part of a socially and environmentally acceptable controlled market. The UK wants free trade, not single government.

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  1. Nina Andreeva
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Ehm I think we need to keep our eyes on the ball here. If “The immediate negotiation is about banking” it would be more prudent to concern ourselves directly about the activities of the Anglo-American banking cartel who are currently acting as a cancer on the economy rather than how the EU wants to regulate financial services. Also, if as we all are hacked off about foreigners coming into the country and taking the mick under the guise “its their human right” to do so, then you need to reconsider the UKs membership of other international organisations and conventions it is signed up to rather than just the EU

    Reply: EU borders policy is the main impediment to an independent immigration policy

    • Peter Geany
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Number one we are not in a single market, we are in a customs union. And the regulations around the so called “free market” favour Germany at the expense of all the other industrial nations and France for agriculture. Our agriculture and fisheries have been decimated by the CAP and CFP. Please tell me how we benefit? Please tell me what we would actually lose by coming out?

      As for renegotiation, it not allowed. The UE has not taken a blind bit of notice of Britain in all the previous negotiations, simply because our Politians refuse to understand or acept that there is an agenda that they cannot stop. They all think they can make a difference, but the truth is nothing will stop the march to full political integration.

      At some point we will take an adult view of this and ask the people the correct question. Do you want to be sovereign or not. Talk of a renegotiation is just that talk.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

        Well if the UK left the EU completely we’d have to pay a tariff if we wanted to export anything to the EU. I can’t imagine that making UK products even more expensive would benefit our export market.

        • Richard
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

          You are assuming that the UK would not threaten to impose tariffs in response.
          Considering our trade deficit with the EU is currently £4.3 billion they have far more to lose in any trade war

        • zorro
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

          Is that because the EU is a socialistic, protectionist racket that does not believe in free trade?


          • uanime5
            Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

            In the real world all developed countries impose tariffs to prevent people importing cheaper products from abroad. As the EU is trying to create an economic union it has prohibited EU countries from imposing tariffs on good for other EU countries. So the EU is very much in favour of free trade between EU countries.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted October 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

            Zorro, do look at uanime5’s reply. If he had his way, the EU would pitch its external tariff at 70%, the level that applied in the early days of Jean Monnet & co. Fortunately, EU Member States are now more enlightened and can be relied upon not to cut off their noses to spite their faces.

          • zorro
            Posted October 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

            Reply to LD – sorry still on hols, but uanime5 answers his own points well…..He sees free trade only with EU countries….He is a ‘little European’


    • Timaction
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      A good article that really over complicates fairly simple principles and issues.
      Do we wish to be a sovereign independent democracy or a small part of the undemocratic United States of Europe?
      All mainstream parties have lied repeatedly on their true intentions to make us part of a superstate by incremental treaty stealth for the past 40 years. We do not have to be in the EU to trade with it. Cameron lies about the importance of the “single market”, when we all know that with a £50 billion annual trade deficit with the EU we can easilly dictate the rules on leaving. Moreover, why are we paying £12 billion for our membership as EUcrats believe we are beyond democracy and its our duty to pay taxes for the benefit of foreign farmers and infrastructures. No it is not!
      As an Englishman I have a right to my culture, inheritance and homeland that is being stolen from me and my family by mass migration, deliberately imposed to stop feelings of nationality. If I was from an indigenous tribe in the Amazon would this imposition be acceptable to the present leading socialist politicians? Then why is it acceptable to the English?
      We don’t need 10 million immigrants allowed here in the last 15 years by Lab/Lib/Cons. With 6.5 million economically inactive and 1 million young people out of work they could be trained to do the starter jobs. The borders need to close as we can’t afford to go on like this.
      It’s obvious that if we keep voting for the same tired old parties we’ll get the same policies and result. Its time for a fresh start and true patriotism. UKIP.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        Scanning the covers of dictionaries in book shops across Europe tells you a lot about European conceptions of the British. Most of these dictionaries have pictures of what are considered to be “native” inhabitants on their covers.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 12:36 am | Permalink

        Timaction – Banging your head against a brick wall because – as evidenced by the unabated levels of immigration under the Coalition – the Tories are in on it.

        This issue alone renders all policy and guesstimation on housing, education, energy, food, law and order, welfare, health, transport, defence and the economy itself bogus.

        The economy has not been healed. The underlying problems are still there and will get worse.

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 12:49 am | Permalink

          Put simply there is no sense of urgency from our political class on this issue.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        The UK has a trade deficit because the UK imports far more than they can export (this isn’t anything to be proud of). Given that 50% of the UK’s exports go the EU but only 10% of the EU’s exports go to the UK this means the UK is in no position to dictate terms.

    • zorro
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply – in the main yes, but adherence to ECHR (not an EU body) would not stop if the impediment you mention was removed. The reason why EU migration is misaligned is because of the disparate standards with regards to benefits and economic strength. The UK draws so much inward migration because it can create easily accessible, albeit low paid service jobs, which are a useful starter job for European youth who live in countries where these types of jobs are harder to find….


    • forthurst
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      “it would be more prudent to concern ourselves directly about the activities of the Anglo-American banking cartel”

      Exactly: how can a nation survive from the pincer movement of Wall Street banksters, who originally funded the Bolshevik criminals, and the EUSSR, whose Cultural Marxist philosophy is being used in a similar way as pure Marxism was deployed by the Bolsheviks to destroy Russia? Russia was ‘ruled’ by the ‘proletariat’ in the same way as Europe is being ‘ruled’ by ‘minority rights’ and other equally false imperatives. Of course we know the real rulers will always be the Nomenklatura speeding round their Enpire in Zil lanes.

      Nations are not inherent; they exist through a common history, culture, aspiration. They can be destroyed by the deliberate undermining of those adhesive elements. That is why we need leaders in this country, not like Cameron, but those who have a resolute belief in our nation and its importance to us and to the world.

      • forthurst
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        The unholy combination of banksters, mostly foreign, who provide the pathological avarice and inate criminality, together with the cream of our youth who provide the brains and technical expertise without which the banksters would be reduced to armed robbery, ensure maximum damage is inflicted on the real economy.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        Anyone who shows genuine belief in their own country is at best laughed at and at worst vilified and destroyed.

  2. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    How can Mr Hague complain to the Germans that feelings about the EU are low in Britain? After decades of negative drip feed through the UK tabloids and no one in Britain knowing to say anything positive about the EU, it’s only natural. It’s not for the Germans to defend the EU in Britain, if Hague himself cannot make a better case it’s better for the UK to leave.
    Not part of Schengen, not part of the euro, not part of 130 policies in judicial cooperation, is there anything the UK is still part of? The UK may still have allies in promoting completion of the Single Market but it is perceived clearly to be heading for the exit so politicians on the continent have to start thinking of a post Brexit period. In such an environment, what Britain wants is hardly relevant anymore.

    Reply: That is why some of us want a vote on our membership so UK people can express their feelings. Enthusiasts have had plenty of airtime and space to explain the advantages of membership as they see them over the years, but a majority of the UK voters do not agree with them.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply
      But Peter doesn’t see the need for the “plebs” to have their voices heard, he is happy with his masters in Brussels dictating everything.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        @Brian Tomkinson (Reply to reply to reply): Your “plebs” (your choice of words) have their representatives which may vote in favour of the “Communities Act 1972 (Repeal) Act 2012” in the H.o.C. today.
        Will UKIP vote in favour? Oops, they don’t even have a voice in UK “democracy” and are still barking up the wrong tree. Brussels never took away UK sovereignty, it was given by this bill, not yet repealed.
        Your comprehension of supranational democracy is lacking, no use trying to educate you at this late stage.

        • M.A.N
          Posted October 26, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

          You are of course correct. We did sign away a lot of our decision making to the eu voluntarily. Mp’s either didnt care or didn’t understand, or more probably it wasn’t evident in the day to day governance of the uk that the eu dictats took precident. It’s only becoming clear now, as in Goves case, that he isn’t able to leave his mark on any decision and is no more than a rubber stamper. This obviously hurts his pride despite his pay and pension. It in no way means we can’t amend legislation accordingly, like we always have, or just ignore the bits we don’t like. I see France is giving Peugeot 7bn euros in direct contrition to eu rules, but we’re all equal yeah?.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

            @M.A.N: one can look for the limits, only when sarkozy tried to support Renault too obviously he was rapped on the knuckles by the competition commissioner (Mrs Kroes) and had to back down. Still some justice in the universe!

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted October 26, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          I understand only too well what you call supranational democracy. It’s like the Emperor’s new clothes, it doesn’t exist. I don’t want to be governed by people I haven’t the remotest opportunity of removing from office but you clearly do.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

            @Brian Tomkinson: I’ll give you full marks for trying, but I’m afraid you haven’t passed this comprehension exam. 🙂
            And yes, these people can be removed from office. It just takes concerted effort.

          • uanime5
            Posted October 26, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

            You have to opportunity to elect MEPs every 5 years and whoever represents the UK in the European Council every 4-5 years. Brian you really should try to find out how the EU is run.

      • Alan
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        Actually when the People (not “plebs”) voted they did support being in the EU.

        We don’t know how they would vote now, and even less do we know how they will vote in 2017 or whenever a referendum is held.

        • John Harrison
          Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

          I’m sorry, but I don’t remember ever having voted for membership of the EU. I DID vote in favour of joining the European Economic Community (EEC) in the ’70s, but I’ve never had the chance of voting for or against the monster that the EEC has become.
          Incidentally, we shouldn’t overlook the fact that we import far more from the other EU countries than we export to them. They therefore have rather more to lose.

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 26, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

            I was against staying in the common market but too young to vote. It always seems to me that the rational arguments came from the anti side on the right and even on the left.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

            @John Harrison: next time, please read the texts you’re singing up for. It was all there, in the very first sentence of this 1957 treaty you voted for in 1975 (should have given you ample time to read).
            Losing less or more is better judged as a proportion:
            Losing half of your export (UK) would hurt more than losing 11% of your export (EU), but not to worry, we will always keep trading with you.

          • uanime5
            Posted October 26, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

            The UK exports over half their exports to the other 26 EU countries, while each of these 26 EU countries export far less than half of their exports to the UK. So if the UK leaves the EU then each EU country will suffer a minor loss and the UK will suffer a massive one. Thus the UK has far more to lose.

        • Jerry
          Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

          No Alan, they voted in favour of the EEC, and that was way back in 1975, much political water has passed under Westminster bridge since then…

          • martyn
            Posted October 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

            Actually what they voted for is very clearly laid out as far back as the Treaty of Rome 1957. Have you read it?

            First Line: determined to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe.

            The Europeans have never obscured the truth in the treaties – it is clear for all to see; the people who obscured the truth were British Tory Prime Ministers and those Brits too gormless or lazy to read what was proposed. Read the small print.

            Reply: Exactly. That was why I voted No in 1975. It was never going to be a common market. That was clear to anyone looking at the Treaty of Rome.

        • Robert Eve
          Posted October 26, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

          We voted for the EEC. We did not vote for how it has evolved into the EU.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

            @Robert Eve: obviously a very persistent misunderstanding. You voted for an “ever closer union”. May mislead by the tabloid drip feed?

          • Jerry
            Posted October 27, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

            @PvL: If that was the case then there would not have needed to be any later treaties! No the UK voted for the treaty that existed -that is, how it worked, not the ‘dream’- at the time the referendum was held, the EEC.

            If you are correct then if your (in fact any) government decided that it would go off on a totalitarian tangent they could simply warrant their actions by saying “well you voted for us back in year 20??, if you didn’t understand that we might evolve then that is your fault” to any criticism, that is the road to the death of democracy – Oh hang on…

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted October 26, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

          When the people voted, they did not support being in the EU. That term hadn’t even been dreamt up in 1975. It was the common market at that time, which became the European Economic Community and now the European Union. The name changes show just what was always intended but denied by politicians who lied to the British people in order to get their votes.

          • martyn
            Posted October 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

            Read what the Treaty of Rome says:

            DETERMINED to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

            @martyn: The UK did not vote for a ‘dream’, we voted on membership of the EEC, this is a historical fact. The EU, Lisbon Treaty and any future Federal union was at least another 18 years later, were we all in a time-warp?!

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

            @Brian Tomkinson: An interesting aside – the UK initiated the Western European Union (W EU) already in 1954 (defence cooperation), so something like EU must have had a familiar sound in 1975.

          • libertarian
            Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

            Reply To Martyn.

            Sorry you are wrong. In 1975 we had ALREADY joined the EEC. We were given a referendum to remain in and I quote “stay in the EEC on the NEW TERMS if they were acceptable to the government”. This was how the people of the UK were tricked into voting for this, we were expressly told that the Treaty of Rome would be renegotiated to be just a Common Market.

            That is why the British people will NEVER believe politicians they say trust us we’ll renegotiate.

          • ChrisXP
            Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

            I think Martyn forgets that back in 1975 the Internet didnt exist and therefore documents such as the Treaty of Rome were not easily available to the average person.

        • Alan
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

          I accept the point that many people have made in reply to my post that, when we voted in the 1970s, the EU had a different name and that people did not know in any detail what it would evolve into. It’s always going to be true that we don’t know what the outcome of these types of decisions will be. We are forced to rely on estimates, opinions, and even prejudices and propaganda.

          If we vote again around 2017 we won’t know then what the outcome of our decision will be. By 2030 people could be cursing us, or praising us, whichever way we decide. There is no certainty about the future. It is not certain that we will thrive outside, or inside, the EU, or indeed whether it will make any important difference.

          • Bernard Juby
            Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

            It was Ted Heath who assured the British voters that there would be NO LOSS OF SOVEREIGNTY and that was what lulled them into believing him. Those of us who DID read the document (and I believe that copies were sent to every house-hold at the time – so no need for the Internet) could read for themselves just what was involved. Unfortunately very few did and chose to beilieve the “Grocer” who betrayed his country by selling it down the river.

    • Jerry
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      @PvR: How can German politicains say that the public support the EU after so many years of drip-drip praise of the EU from the German media and governments?! Welcome to a circular argument…

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        @Jerry: If I may take the Netherlands as example (cannot speak for Germans) the recent national elections were a good illustration: There has been very EU-critical debate over the years and the most EU-skeptic party (PVV: “not a cent to Greece, let’s leave the euro, let’s leave EU and have our own immigration laws,” etc.) had 16% of the seats in parliament (imagine UKIP having 104 seats in the H.o.C, wouldn’t that be democracy!). During the election campaign both most parties and most people made the simple calculation that the EU was a great benefit to the Netherland and this PVV lost heavily. There are still some 30% of the peoples representatives (i.e. MPs) who hold some degree of eurosceptic opinion, but you’ll see that the next Dutch government will be far more pro-EU, a proper reflection of the people’s will. That’s what happens in a fully proportional democracy.

        • Bernard Juby
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

          You will only have a proper democracy when people can vote “for none of the above” and hence prevent any politician from glibly stating that he or she has a mandate on a minority share of the total available vote.

        • Bernard Juby
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:14 am | Permalink

          How do you explain the democratic process within the EU of ignoring a NO vote and demanding a re-run every time they lose and only after they have “bribed” the offending country into changing its mind?

          • uanime5
            Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

            Well if the offending country had managed their economy better so they didn’t need a bailout the “no” vote would have remained.

      • martyn
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        absolutely. well said.

    • Graham
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Yes – we are a major contributor to the costs of all this nonsense.

    • David John Wilson
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Quote “After decades of negative drip feed through the UK tabloids and no one in Britain knowing to say anything positive about the EU, it’s only natural.”

      Before taking any decisions about our involvement in the EU the government needs to present a more balanced view of the EU than is currently projected through the media and for example this blog. Once we have established a position that is understood by most of the population whereby only up to about 20% of the EU is bad, then a reasonable debate about how involved the UK (including Scotland?) can take place.

      We need to debate on a level playing field

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

        @David John Wilson: I fully agree. It should be possible to get a more neutral c.q. objective calculation and list of plusses and minusses established. Then have a proper debate, otherwise , people in future will claim once again that they have been “lied” to.

      • Bernard Juby
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        IF/WHEN the EU can have its books signed off each year and we can be assured that there is no waste nor corruption going on then we may view matters better.
        Would you buy stocks or shares in a public company that didn’t? It would be illegal under UK law. Need I say more?

        • uanime5
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

          The EU has had its books signed off every year so you can be assured that there’s no corruption.

          Reply: A glittering row of qualified audits!

          • zorro
            Posted October 28, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

            Hahahahahaha………You think that is a good record….?


          • zorro
            Posted October 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

            John, it must be good to know that you have Barroso commenting regularly on your blog!


      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        A good start to a level playing field for debate would be to list those areas of policy / industries which the Lisbon Treaty (the most recent one) states are areas of “joint competency” by the EC and individual Member States. Taken together, they are vast.

        You also have to acknowledge that, whenever there is a dispute between the EC and a Member State in any of these areas, a European court will invariably favour the EC.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      You write : “what Britain wants is hardly relevant anymore.”
      I don’t suppose what the 25% unemployed in Spain want is relevant any more to you, either. Can’t you see that your obsession with central control is destroying economies and leading to conflict?

      • martyn
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

        No his desire for central control is to avoid war and endless conflict in a continent that has seen both for a thousand years. Have you heard of Yugoslavia?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

        @Brian Tomkinson: I’d be more obsessed about subsidiarity than with central control. Spanish hardship isn’t caused by central control. You will have noticed by now that countries, given the choice, don’t want to leave the euro. Spain is part of the ECB and of all other EU institutions. 25% of unemployed in Spain have issues with their own government.

        • Jerry
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

          @PvR: It is being caused by the inbuilt errors of the Euro and EZ, before Spain joined the EZ they were becoming a “power house” of Europe, since they joined the EZ there has been a steady decline as they became ever less able to compete with the strength of the German and French economies – if you don’t think the EZ/Euro is not controlled centrally then you are either sleep walking, a eurocrat, of living on Mars. It is safe to say you know nothing about Spain or it’s economy.

          • uanime5
            Posted October 27, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

            Spain joined the euro in 1999 and had growth well above the EU average until the 2008/9 property crash. So it seems that the euro wasn’t so bad for Spain after all.

            Since when was something controlled by the representative of the 27 EU countries considered centrally controlled?

          • Jerry
            Posted October 28, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

            @uanime5: Spain’s economy was ‘overheating’ in those years but because Spain was in the EZ its government (or the semi-autonomous regions) couldn’t take the required steps that would have allowed the economy to cool, had they not been in the EZ it is doubtful that boom would have turned to bust and despair.

            As for your latter point, if that is not a definition of central control then what is!

      • uanime5
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

        Care to explain why the EU is responsible for the poor decisions of the Spanish Government?

    • martyn
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      No you want a referendum because your party, which has consistently said one thing on Europe and then done the absolute opposite, wants to pass the buck on such an important issue onto the people by way of a referendum, because no British Tory prime minister is going to take responsibility for taking us out of Europe.

      • Jerry
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        @martyn: So why does UKIP also want a referendum then?

        I think it’s called Democracy!…

      • libertarian
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        “To pass the buck to the people ” Spoken like a true fascist dictator.

        If we scrapped ALL politicians and what laughingly passes for democracy and did EVERYTHING by referenda we’d be a damn sight better off

        • Jerry
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

          @libertarian: No we wouldn’t, because we would get nothing done as we would be filling out ballot papers ever living hour! Switzerland has a parliament and politicains together with a very low threshold before a referenda has to be called, many citizens consider that there are far to many referenda…

  3. colliemum
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    That’s right – we do not want single government, we (just) want free trade.
    For obvious reasons, I’ve been learning more about the USA and how that federation works. It is interesting that the EU has slipped from a loose federation, where states retain their rights, to a centralised entity. It it this centralised entity, this ever more socialist-leaning entity which has nourished more and more resistance in us. Similarly in the USA, where the ever growing Federal Government and its interference in state rights is regarded with increasing suspicion. ‘Small government’ has a very definite meaning over there, it’s not just to do with the cost of government.

    I’d like to believe that we in the UK still understand this form of federal government, whereas our European friends across the Channel are still tied to concepts of the state as all-giving, benevolent entity, going back to the days of feudal Kings, but now clad in the shiny but threadbare clothing of socialism, where the money (of others) doesn’t matter as long as the ideological thought behind the demand is pure. The whole global warming/environment scandal is just one indicator.

    It would seem to me that it is a Federation along the lines of the USA that these businessmen want which you mention in your post, and I suspect that is what we want as well. I think this will not be possible because the huge gap between the British, or rather the Anglo-American concept of state and federation, and the Continental one.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      The essence of a federation is that the law of the federation is superior to the law of its components, be they called states or provinces or whatever.

      That must be totally unacceptable to those of us who want our country to remain an independent sovereign state, and therefore we must always reject attempts to represent the EU as already being a federation.

      It could perhaps be described as a “proto-federation”, but not yet a federation even though that ambition has always been there right back to the Schuman Declaration of 1950:


      “The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe … ”

      “By pooling basic production and by instituting a new High Authority, whose decisions will bind France, Germany and other member countries, this proposal will lead to the realization of the first concrete foundation of a European federation indispensable to the preservation of peace.”

      Of course this wasn’t properly explained to the British people when Heath took us into the EEC in 1972, on the contrary he lied about it, as did Wilson in 1975 at the time of the retrospective referendum on whether to stay in the EEC.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        @Denis: You are certainly correct here. However, misleading the UK voters or not, both Heath and Wilson and their predecessors must have realised that there is a price to pay for BOTH options:
        – remaining this “independent sovereign state” or
        – being part of a supranational construct (I leave out the word federation as it’s still open-ended in my view what this hybrid will develop into).
        The price for the latter, in tangible and intangible terms is deemed too high by Euroskeptics. OK.
        But how independent will this in independency be in practice? See how much the UK suffers already from this wretched eurozone, and it is are definitely “independent” from the euro, having its own sovereign, independent currency.

        • libertarian
          Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

          Oh dear Peter, if you really can’t understand how the UK being forced by the EU to help prop up a currency zone it isn’t in is a large part of the problem no wonder you feel the need to live under the control of an unelected politburo

          • uanime5
            Posted October 27, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

            The UK is forced to help the euro because if it crashes it will take the UK economy with it.

      • martyn
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        or you could have read it. Why should politicians explain in nanny state terms what the proposals are. If you are old enough to vote you are old enough to read. READ THE TREATIES. In fairness to you you are not blaming the Europeans but your own domestic politicians. At least you have the integrity to do this which is more than can be said for many sceptocrats.

        • Jerry
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

          @martyn: OK, forget the internet for a moment [1], tell me where one can [2] obtain a copy of these treaties, then tell me were I can obtain the “Plain English” versions (because not everyone is either legally trained or has the ability to read legalistic language)?

          [1] not everyone has (suitable) internet access
          [2] and more to the point, where one could do so in 1975

          • martyn
            Posted October 28, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

            In 1975 a leaflet was put through the door of households in Britain. I remember reading it. As a youngster below voting age you understand,

            At my school we went to the libary and read about the treaties there. I think they were posted in every libary in the country.

            But you do have some reason to feel agrieved; it was not well informed as I recall. There was a lot of publicity on the main news networks because, back then, there was a lot of brave new world stuff about Europe which still remained a fairly exotic place to many. Shame how we have all become so jaded.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

          At that time I was concentrating more on reading scientific research papers as part of my efforts to contribute to the UK economy, rather than reading international treaties which were not in any case as easily accessible as they are nowadays.

          I did read the pack of lies that our nanny state government had posted through my letterbox at taxpayers’ expense.

          The fact that out of millions of voters only a few will procure a copy of a treaty and read it does not justify politicians abusing their trust by deliberately lying about its contents and implications, or the mass media uncritically repeating their lies.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: I seem to recall that there wasn’t a governmental line on this, Harold Wilson allowed each side of the argument to make their case without party lines being drawn [1], so any ‘pack of lies’ was most likely delivered via the “Yes” (that is, to remain members) campaign or via the Tory party. Please, less of the cheap shots, you might miss your intended target!

            [1] due to the in-fighting within the Labour party

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted October 28, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

            Reply to Jerry:

            I’m afraid you recall incorrectly.

            Here is the text of the government pamphlet recommending a “yes” vote that was delivered to every household:


            Or here is a facsimile:


            and you can see on the front page:

            ” ‘Her Majesty’s Government have decided to recommend to the British people to vote for staying in the Community’


            And here is the link to some criticisms of that pamphlet that I posted about five months ago:


            which I will not copy and paste.

  4. Adam5x5
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    It depends how you define the single market.
    We tend to define the single market as a market for goods, whereas the continent also want a single labour market as well.
    Once you have the single labour market, then you start to need the same H&S, benefits, movement laws, etc. (Global warming is an unnecessary expense on business and society, even the Met Office’s own figure show it’s a load of rubbish).

    This is the aim of the EU, if everyone has the same H&S, benefits, etc, then you only need one government – which is precisely the superstate they are aiming for and we want no part of.

    • martyn
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Your last paragraph – exactly why we need a superstate – get rid of national and local petty rules and have one rule for everyone – simple understandable and no endless bureaucracy

    • Bazman
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      H&S being a cost that can be varied on the state of the economy? Who has less then and is this cost to be met by the state?

  5. Electro-Kevin
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    There have been such mutations in the EU that they’ve changed its name thrice.

    There ought to be an in/out referendum because this is not what people thought it was going to be.

    I doubt very much we could trust the pro EU movement (including many powerful organisations and people) not to scare the British public half to death into voting to stay in.

    Still. We should have a referendum. And a moratorium on EU directives and EU immigration until it is done.

    The pressures being put on Britain are simply unsustainable.

    From Question Time last night: On child benefit “Limiting people to two children [wicked]” Who is talking about limiting babies ?


    “Tough on babies – tough on the causes of babies”

    These people accuse the Daily Mail of hysteria ?

    • martyn
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      Changes of names are due to development of the project. \Projects such as this move forward (unless its the House of Lords or some other antiquated system steeped in history and privilege).

      There should be no referendum based upon because its not what people thought; its exactly what is written in the treaties but most Brits are too lazy to read them. Why have a referendum just because its not what you thought it was. How do you explain that if you are PM to the rest of Europe. “In Britain they want a referendum because they didn’t read the script”,

    • Bazman
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      What if the parents have more than two children and then find themselves out of work due to the government of the day economic policies. It really about the poor not having children. Not only do they have to be poor, but should not have children. Read the first part again.

      • Mark W
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink


        Many of us on good incomes would not risk having three children due to it being expensive. Whilst the decisions are far more complex than just a crass examination of financial status, it does play a part in the decision. It is then unfair to be taxed so that the irresponsible can shy away from these choices.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 28, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

          What about divorce or when one parent dies and gets together with the divorcee and many other scenarios? Do you want all benefits for the working poor to be abolished starting with the feckless?

  6. lifelogic
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    “The UK wants free trade, not single government”, indeed (well the UK population does) but not alas Cameron and the UK government. This, however, is quite simply not on offer in the the anti democratic EU. They want power over anything and everything. Wherever they can grab it and the UK government are helping them every single step of the way while pretending not to. Cameron has even accepted the absurd gender neutral insurance which give the wrong insurance price signals to everyone anyone who can agree to such a mad scheme is surely mad themselves.

    We simply cannot have free movement of peoples and a generous benefit system, one or preferably both need to be restricted.

  7. Mark W
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    UK Health & Safety existed long before we joined the EU. To the pro EU fanatics that come here to scare monger that leaving the EU is a vehicle to scrap Health & Safety, I have one question.

    Would you like our three pin electrical system to get down to their level?

    • Alan
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      I wish there were a standard electrical plug that one could use throughout Europe, and indeed the rest of the world. It seems to be an area that the standard makers have neglected.

      • Atlas
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        … have to disagree Alan. There is no one design that is good for all circumstances.

        • Jerry
          Posted October 26, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

          Impossible anyway unless there is a also a world standard for voltage…

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 12:44 am | Permalink

          Atlas – An argument which is bound to cause some polarity.

          • Atlas
            Posted October 27, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

            … but will it spark a debate?..

      • David John Wilson
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        It caused enough problems when the UK moved to its current three pin standard. It would cause a revolution if we had to change to a new EU standard.

        • Mark W
          Posted October 26, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

          But our earth system is superior. The USA low voltage has certain safety features too but they suffer in other ways.

      • forthurst
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        Continental power sockets require to be wired in parallel so that a ‘short’ causes the consumer unit to trip without the current surge passing though anything or anyone else, whereas British power circuits are wired in series with each plug individually fused. The British system is obsolete and the plugs can be injurious if trodden on, as the third pin is practically never used and the fuses are a nuisance.

        John Major tried to introduce the Continental system but was defeated by the massed ranks of the three pin plug manufacturers who feared the loss of their monopoly (which they’ve lost, anyhow).

        It would be sensible to make continental wiring compulsory for newly installed or replaced power circuits with the use of fused three pin adaptors to make continental plugs compatible with existing circuits.

        • Max Dunbar
          Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

          The continental plugs are far better than the clumsy British 3 pin clunkers for many reasons (mainly painful ones).

        • James Sutherland
          Posted October 26, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

          “whereas British power circuits are wired in series with each plug individually fused.”

          Nothing of the sort – indeed, wiring non-identical appliances in series simply wouldn’t work, wiring identical appliances in series would require increasing the voltage as you do so (so to have 3 kettles in series, you would need triple the normal mains voltage).

          “the third pin is practically never used and the fuses are a nuisance”

          Fuses are an important safety precaution – as is the earth connection, the third pin you claim is “practically never used” (except by almost all but the smallest appliances, including almost any device with a metal casing).

          It would be criminally dangerous to remove these safety features – you are, of course, welcome to use travel adapters if you really prefer European style plugs – though such an adapter would be impossible to make if you were correct about our sockets being wired in series!

          • forthurst
            Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

            I did not use the term ‘in series’ in the strict sense as applied to direct current circuits; that clearly does not describe a ring main with alternating current and I couldn’t see how that would work, anyhow.

            I am using a PC with a metal case with a power supply that draws 10 amps. That power supply has a two pin plug with a three pin plug into the mains.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

          Continental power sockets are not earthed? What are you talking about? Some small appliances with plastic cases do no use an earth as they are double insulated. You are also confused with fuses and circuit breakers. You would be well fried before the fuse blew.

      • Barbara
        Posted October 26, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        Just buy a travel adapter.

        • martyn
          Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

          exactly. difficult isn’t it.? If only they would speak English as well.

    • martyn
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      yes – if it standardised everything. one rule for everyone – perfect!

  8. Boudicca
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    We have already had plenty of examples of how the EU abuses powers which it has been given and those which have been withheld, by using the powers it has to circumvent those withheld.

    We want Free Trade with the European nations which make up the EU – not membership of a prescriptive, regulatory-obsessed Single Market by which the EU seeks to control and govern member states.

    We trade perfectly well with the rest of the world without being a part of an EU controlled ‘Single Market.’ We should simply leave the EU and under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treachery, negotiate a Trade Only Treaty.

    How Hague has the gall to admit that the British people feel that the EU is something done to them is beyond me. The people who HAVE ‘done it’ to us are LibLabCON and mainly the CONs in Westminster.

    They will never get my vote. We need change and that means voting for it.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

      Given that goods from the USA are subject to tariffs in the EU don’t expect the UK to get a tariff free deal if we leave the EU. Any trade deal will be on the EU’s terms because the UK will suffer far more from a lack of trade with the EU than the EU will suffer from a lack of trade with the UK.

      • martyn
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        Absolutely Big world isn’t it.? Can’t just think about what we want in isolation anymore.

      • Richard
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        Wrong again, you really need to do some research on the figures before coming to these false conclusions.

        UK exports to the EU are shrinking as a percentage of our overall trade and we run a large trade deficit with the EU. So they have far more to lose in any tariff war.
        The proportion of UK goods exported to the EU fell to 43.6% lowest since records began in 1988, in 2000 the figure was nearly 60% and this trend shows no sign of stopping. You keep saying it is over 50% and you are wrong.
        UK exports to Non EU nations up from 40% in 2000 to 52% today and this trend shows no sign of slowing down.

        USDA research predicts that fron 2000 to 2030 that the share of world trade for the EU will fall from 30% to 19% whereas trade figures for Asia /Oceania for example will rise from 22% to 36%

        • uanime5
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

          The fact that the UK has a large trade deficit with the EU doesn’t mean that the EU will suffer a greater loss if trade ceases. You’re forgetting that the EU minus the UK contains 26 countries, so any loss of trade with the UK will be divided among each of these countries. By contrast the UK will suffer greatly if they lose access to the 26 markets that purchase 50% of our exports.

          The 50% figure refers to goods and services sold to the EU, not just goods.

          The amount the UK trades with the EU will have to shrink considerably more before the UK isn’t reliant on the EU. In 2011 the GDP of the world was $69.9 trillion, the GDP of the EU was $17.6 trillion, and the GDP of the UK was $2.4 trillion. So the EU minus the UK produced 21.7% of the worlds GDP yet purchased 43.6% of the UK’s goods, and over 50% of the UK’s good and services.

          So until the amount of goods and services sold to the EU drops down to 21.7% the UK will be trading with the EU far more than they trade with the rest of the world; meaning that the UK needs the EU far more than the EU needs the UK.

          Finally you don’t seem to understand what the USDA figures mean. The EU’s world trade percentage is going to fall because the Asian countries are predicted to grow more rapidly that the EU, not because the EU is going to decline.

      • Jerry
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        Well considering that we do less than 40% of our trade with the EU but they do 60+ % with the UK many would suggest that the EU will not want to rock that boat what so ever…

        • uanime5
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

          The UK does 50% of their trade with the EU, the EU does 10% of their trade with the UK. It is the UK who cannot rock the boat.

          Reply The UK is no prisoner of the EU. There are plenty of other places to buy from if Germany no longer wants to sell us her cars in a fit of political pique.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 28, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

            @uanime5: No, something like 40% passes through the EU, that doesn’t mean it is all trade with the EU, this is caused by an EU (Rotterdam) fudge were exports only count once they leave the EU, thus some of our exports to the RoW actually count as trade with the EU. This “Rotterdam Effect” has been mentioned many times before on this blog and elsewhere, it’s a pity that you don’t do a little more reading and a little less preaching.

            @JR Reply: Indeed, both the far east and USA car manufactures could fill any gap left by both the German and French, indeed they would do it with far better products, and in the case of Japan with substantially less development costs so their price structures would be better too.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Try buying some cheap clothes from America by mail order, come in about five days, then see how much tax you pay. Not so cheap then.

      • Richard
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        What on earth has that got to do with it?

        • Bazman
          Posted October 28, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          Britain would face export tariffs like this from Europe if we were to leave.

  9. ChrisXP
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    I think the average person is utterly fed up to the back teeth with all the wishy-washy “new relationship” stuff that government regurgitates on a regular basis. Down here at the street level, people are watching their country being dismantled; political correctness, multiculti, foreigners favoured over the natives, masses of benefits being paid out and then sent abroad to distant families; whilst benefits CUTS are being made on our own disabled and threatened on the young; and despite all the excitement of so-called being “out of recession”, we still have some two million unemployed (no doubt higher because not all claim JSA).

    Brussels even now wants to pay foreign people (up to age 30) allowances to come and seek work in this country; have they not noticed our own dole queues? Oh yes of course, the offer is open to young Brits as well, to move abroad and find work, but what’s the point if THEY are all coming over HERE, due to their own mass unemployment?

    This household believes Cameron wants a foot in both camps because he’s too gutless to make firm decisions. Our experience tells us that such attempts usually end in failure. You can’t cherry-pick deals with Brussels. If the other countries want single government, let them get on with it and include us out.

    • peter davies
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Well said – like many things in life you can only go one way or another. Cameron does the same with politics, he spends too much time appeasing the lib dems, he needs to grasp reality now and commit to us either being IN or OUT.

      It seems clear enough to me now that most of the EU are after full integration – let them get on with it

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    I hope you will be participating in the debate this afternoon on Douglas Carswell’s private member’s bill for the UK to leave the European Union. I read on Guido Fawkes’s blog that Tory MPs had all been sent “awkward questions” to raise by the government whips’ office. Furthermore Douglas tweeted that “Govt whips apparently asked pro-EU Dennis McShane if he cld speak against my Bill to quit EU. Hilarious!” Let us see if your party is really Eurosceptic or merely pretending to be whilst the leadership and the whips show their true pro-EU colours.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the tip, Brian.

      Well, I watched and waited, and waited, and waited, and eventually did see the short debate. As a debate it was a damp squib.

      I guess the most significant think is that it did take place. We could see there are Conservative MPs prepared to stand up and say in public that the UK should leave the EU. We could also see the front bench responses, which were true to form.

      So will we look back on this event and with the benefit of hindsight that once again declare Britain owes so much to so few? Are these pioneers going to be supported by increasing numbers? I do hope so.

  11. GJ Wyatt
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    You are right. It is all of a piece. We must take the menu du jour. A la carte is not an option. Hague and others should not deceive themselves or us about that.

  12. Jerry
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    The “Single Market” in EU terms is actually more like protectionism, just look at the number of anti-trust investigations etc. the EU launch, there is a world-wide single market under the auspice of the WTO, that is all that is needed.

    Of course the better option would be simple and total withdrawal but if the UK electors felt that renegotiation was the better option then I would be very wary of being members of a “Two Speed” EU, a sure recipe for a them and us mentality, those (including the UK) on level two would still be under the thumb of the federalist, thus surely a better approach would be to leave the EU but remain members of the EFTA (with similar treaties as Switzerland has) or at a push members of the EEA, even though the latter does still constrain our sovereign parliament it is less intrusive than full EU/Two-speed EU membership.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

      There haven’t been any anti-trust investigations into the EU because anti-trust laws only apply to companies, not countries.

      Even if the UK left the EU and joined the EEA we would still have to implement all EU law, even though we would no long have have influence over this law. This is why Norway considers EEA being in the European Union by the back door.

      • Jerry
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        @uanime5: With all due respect, please re read what I actually said and reply to that, not what you think I said.

  13. John Ward
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    I think most people are flummoxed by the entire subject of ‘renegotiating’…they simply no longer see the point of being in the EU at all.
    In Camerlot, the eurozone pile-up remains one not so much of cars, as elephants stumbling into each other in a small room.
    More and more desperate, illegal ideas are emanating from the Brussels-Frankfurt axis. We should not entertain any of them.

  14. Tedgo
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    I feel Cameron’s latest views on the EU, like resistance to the financial transaction tax, is being formed by his masters in the City, rather than by the public at large.

    When it comes to H&S in factories Britain and apartheid South Africa led the way with strict safety requirements, as it should be. I was really surprised when I visited a German factory how they used power presses without guarding, something you would not get away with in this country. Guarding of course can lower productivity if badly designed.

    When it comes to standards, most are international rather than EU specific. Organisations like ISO are not connected to the EU. Most standards are formed by groups of companies getting to together to create industry standards, like bearings, insulated cable, batteries etc. Standards are a none issue if we left the EU we would simply carry on making things as we do now.

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    When Cameron talks about getting growth by “completing the Single Market” is sounds good unless you know that in effect he is urging the EU to interfere in even more areas than at present.

    Unlike Cameron I don’t want the UK to be part of the EU’s Single Market and I don’t think I’d ever want the UK to be part of the EU’s Single Market even if the UK could have a veto on all Single Market measures, which of course would not be permitted.

  16. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    In recent news, the Latvian PM wants Latvia to join the euro in 2014:


    So then it wouldn’t be 17 EU member states in the eurozone and 10 still outside, it would be 18 in and 9 out.

    For votes it wouldn’t make a big difference if Latvia joined the euro bloc lined up against us, but this is part of an overall process that would see the UK being increasingly minoritised in the EU.

    Eventually heading towards being in a minority of one, when a government of whichever party would say that this was no longer tenable and bounce us into the euro, if necessary without a referendum.

    The article doesn’t say whether most Latvians want to join the euro; but that doesn’t matter because:

    “Despite popular opposition to the move, Latvia is obliged to join the euro when it meets all criteria, as are all EU countries except Britain and Denmark.”

    So, as in Estonia, opponents demanding a referendum on the euro can be told that the Latvians have already had their referendum on that, in 2003 when they voted to join the EU, and there’s no point in having another one.

    • martyn
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      Croatia as well. July 2013.

      Odd isn’t it – a nation with a chequered past such as Croatia is keen to enter the EU whereas the the UK who fought against fascism and genocide is apparently keen to leave.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        Yes, last December the UK government signed the treaty for Croatia to join the EU knowing full well that under that accession treaty Croatia would be put straight onto the conveyor belt into the euro, whether or not the Croats wanted to join it, and so it would eventually join the ranks of the euro bloc lined up to outvote and dominate the UK.

        Every enlargement of the EU since Maastricht has necessarily, by the treaties, implied an expansion of the eurozone some years later; so by supporting EU enlargement under those terms the UK government has not been getting potential “allies” into EU, but has been allowing its opponents to build up their strength.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      Well if the Latvians keep election politician who want to join the euro and keep trying to meet the euro criteria this indicates that Latvians want to join the euro.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        Assuming that Latvians have a realistic choice between pro-euro and anti-euro politicians so they can express their true will on that specific issue through elections.

        What they will be denied is a referendum when they could vote on that issue alone and if they wished defy their political elite, and one justification for denying them that referendum is that they’ve already had it in 2003 as part of the referendum on joining the EU.

        As in Estonia:


        “The decision to join the European Union, which was approved at the autumn referendum of 2003, expressed also support for accession to the euro area.”

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

          Second comment missed for moderation.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

          Given that Latvian Saeima uses proportional representation it should be very easy for an anti-EU party to win seats if a large proportion of the voters don’t want to join the EU.

  17. APL
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    JR: “After the Prime Minister has called for a “new relationship with the EU” for the UK, the Foreign Secretary has pointed out that the UK public is becoming extremely unhappy .. ”

    Tory party jockeying for electoral advantage. Stand by for a raft of policies to be ditched once the Election is in the bag.

    Election time looming. The need to differentiate themselves from their political soul mates, the Lib-Lab party.

    Any true Tory party fooled once again by the cynical Tory pre election bait and switch tactics deserves what they get.

    • APL
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      “Any true Tory party fooled once again by the cynical Tory pre election bait and switch tactics deserves what they get.”

  18. Alan Wheatley
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    JR, I am very pleased with this post. If memory serves me right this is the first time you have set out some practical implications of the UK having its own relationship within the EU. The examples show the labyrinthine difficulties inherent in seeking a special relationship for the UK. Such are the enormous complexities that should any such relationship be agreed it is very likely that many consequences will be unforeseen, especially if the different sides to the agreement are working to different agendas and with different objectives.

    I can see that “renegotiation” is a comfortable position for eurosceptics: it avoids the IN/OUT issue while acknowledging that all is not well and shows something is being done to make it better. But for this position to be credible eurosceptics need to show two things: (1) that the UK’s renegotiated position within the EU will be good for the UK; (2) there is a realistic prospect of the renegotiating process actually taking place in a meaningful way. I have yet to see either point addressed, let alone the presentation of a substantial argument.

    Reply My main aim is to get us a vote on our membership, and it seems a negotiation is a necessary prelude to this.

    • zorro
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      John is an eternal optimist if he thinks Cameron has the will in any way, shape or form to ‘renegotiate’ our relationship…..


  19. Alan Wheatley
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Those who want out of the EU argue that the UK will be able to trade freely with countries within the EU because of World free trade rules and because the balance of trade means that they have more to loose than we do if we do.

    So leaving does not mean an end to trade, as some Eurofiles would have you believe.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

      Given that the USA cannot trade freely with the EU and is subject to import taxes don’t expect the UK to be able to trade freely.

      • Jerry
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        @uanime5: Repeating this lie will not make it a fact…

        • uanime5
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

          Jerry you really should check your facts. Even a basic examination of the HMRC website would have shown I was right.


          If you were to try to import something from the USA to the UK worth more than £15 you would be charged VAT based on the cost of the item and if it costs more than £135 you would also be charged Custom Duty. You would also be charges an £8 handling fee by the Royal Mail. So given that items from the USA are subject to import taxes expect the UK to also be subject to similar taxes if it leaves the EU.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 28, 2012 at 9:12 am | Permalink

            @uanime5: Oh sorry, so the USA does no trade with the EU, best tell companies like HP, Microsoft, Chrysler cars, Boeing, never mind Apple-Mac!…

            You are mixing up free trade with (local) taxes. If I buy something from Spain and have it shipped to the UK then I pay tax, it is just that under EU law it has to be collected locally (at point of purchase), by your rational Spain can’t trade freely with the UK – nor can any EU member country trade with any other EU country!

  20. oldtimer
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Renegotiation will be extremely difficult, not least because the (stated) expectation of some senior EU politicians is that the UK is on its way out anyway. That may be their early negotiating stance, or it may be what they really think. It seems to me that the UK should go through a renegotiating process to see what, if anything, can be renegotiated. A unilateral repeal of UK legislation without such a preliminary negotiating stage wouild be wholly wrong. The result should be put to a referendum as the terms agreed for staying in. If not supported, then the UK exits the EU.

    I agree with those pundits who say that the status quo is untenable – for the EZ/EU and for the UK. Relationships are changing and will continue to change as the EZ crisis unfolds.

    • zorro
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

      The EU will call Cameron’s bluff and say you’re either in or out – make your decision quickly – Cameron will bottle it and recommend staying in as it’s in our ‘national interest’ and we can’t be a ‘Greater Switzerland’……If you believe anything else, you’re living in cloud cuckoo land. If I was the EU, I would do it, because Cameron is essentially weak willed (aka Cast Elastic)…..


      • Jerry
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        @Zorro: Mr Cameron can recommend anything he likes, his problem is that he will be having to defend his position away from Parliament, unless he imposes a whip on the hustings he wont even be able to control his own MPs in this respect…

  21. Stan Cook
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    @ Alan 8:20 am

    “Actually when the People (not “plebs) voted they did support being in the EU”.

    If that refers to the 1975 referendum, no they didn’t. They voted then for the UK’s continued membership of the European Economic Community popularly known as the Common Market.

    • martyn
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      Read the Treaty of Rome: its all there.

      • Jerry
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        Read the question on the 1975 referenda ballot paper, stop living in a time war!

        But heck, want it your way, in 1945 we voted for nationalisation…

      • Richard
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        But it was carefully hidden from us in 1975 by those who were trying to get us in martyn.
        I know I was there at the time.
        Heath and many other politicians lied to us and said it was all just a free trade area and just a common market.
        Anyone who quoted the treaty was shouted down.

        Funnily enough in those days all the lefties were against joining.

  22. Acorn
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I wish we were really smart like the Swiss. The Swiss have negotiated all the goodies from the EU by simple bi-lateral treaties. They are in the Council of Europe; EFTA and Schengan and that’s about it. Thanks to their superior form of (direct) democracy, they voted down joining the EEA and the EU but still export sixty percent of their stuff to the EEA / EU; they voted down joining the Euro, but you can pay with Euro in most of Switzerland. For a country famed for its isolationism and its nationalism, they seem to do very well out of not joining things; including World Wars.

    Now we Brits join things and immediately want to change the rules. This reminds me of one of those brand new private housing estates, where once the aspiring middle class had moved in, they start a petition to the Council, to stop any more house building on said estate. If any party is thinking of fighting the next election on the fine detail of our EU membership, they will be on a looser, the doorsteps of England are more worried about what is in their purse and how much it will buy.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

      Your forgot that the Swiss have to implement most of the EU’s laws in order to be able to trade freely with them.

      • Jerry
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        Only the laws they wish to implement…

        “In 1994, Switzerland and the EU started negotiations about a special relationship outside the EEA or full membership framework. Switzerland wanted to safeguard the economic integration with the EU that the EEA treaty would have permitted, while purging the relationship of the points of contention that had led to the people rejecting the referendum. Swiss politicians stressed the bilateral nature of these negotiations, where negotiations were conducted between two equal partners and not between 16 or 28, as is the case for EU treaty negotiations.”


        • uanime5
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

          You forgot this sentence:

          These negotiations resulted in a total of ten treaties, negotiated in two phases, the sum of which makes a large share of EU law applicable to Switzerland.

          and this paragraph:

          From the perspective of the EU, the treaties largely contain the same content as the EEA treaties, making Switzerland a virtual member of the EEA. Most EU law applies universally throughout the EU, the EEA and Switzerland, providing most of the conditions of the free movement of people, goods, services and capital that apply to full member states. Switzerland pays into the EU budget and extended the bilateral treaties to the new EU member states, just like full members did, yet people had to decide upon this in a referendum.

          So either the Swiss really love EU law or they don’t have much choice regarding what they implement.

          Reply: In SDwitzerland rules affect things they produce for export to the EU but do not have to affect anything else, whereas in a EU member the rules apply to all life.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 28, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

            @uanime5: What you quote makes it very clear that Switzerland has a very different set of rules to the full members of the EU, it is a pity that you choose to display your total and utter inability to actually understand what you are citing! 🙁 If the UK only had to contend with ten treaties, mostly on (internal) trade, then I doubt that there would be much of an argument with regards our continued EU membership, like the Swiss we would be happy!

    • zorro
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Cameron doesn’t want us to be a Greater Switzerland……


  23. Bernard Juby
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Being out doesn’t seem to hurt – for example – the Swiss. Why not us? The UU needs us more than we need them and we could ditch all of the rubbishy non-competitive baggage of the “aquis communitaire” of which VAT is but one.

    • martyn
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Really? so if we came of the EU next monday there would be no VAT in the UK within say three months? Laughable.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      Indeed a greater Switzerland, Norway, Hong Kong is what is needed. But alas we have Cameron who lacks this vision but will not tell us why for some reason.

  24. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    The EURO is creating mass unemployment, civil unrest, dictatorship, unelected Technocrats Parashuted into Countries and taking charge of the Budgets with very little public support.

    European Banks Financed European Arms Manufacturers who sold indicriminate cluster bombs to Colonel Gadaffi who then used them on the “rebels” causing civilian casualties.

    The Eurocrats (sounds like a Walt Disney Film) want us to join in their dillusional journey to Collapse and break up.

    Those idiots designed a Financial System that had no escape routes. If the Ship Sinks, everybody drowns. Or they swim to the nearest shore – the United Kingdom – where we still have some control over our Monetary System – but even our lame QE efforts have only slowed the inevitable worsening of our situation.

    Professor Steve Keen has modelled the Economy and demonstrated that bailing out Banks does not improve aggragate demand and therefore, does not help stimulate employment as much as a direct cash injection to the Public rather than Bank Reserve Accounts – which seems to be storing up energy in a coiled spring of massive inflation at a later date.

    Maastricht – thanks to the EUROcrats, tied the Government’s Arm around it’s back so we cannot even determine how to issue money without asking for permission (like some jouvenile child) from Brussels, a group of people who are intent on trashing the European Economy and refuse to accept they are wrong.

    50% unemployment in Spain, a Country with a Fascist past (1936 -1975), does not have a reputation for being pushed around for very long. Basque Separatists have a real opportunity here.

    Italy too has a Fascist past – and could quickly turn into a Greek style society of continual protest.

    It is fair to say that the current Economic Policies of the Conservative Government have only escaped serious debate due to the relative success compared with the complete failure of Economic Policy in Europe.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

      The EURO is creating mass unemployment, civil unrest, dictatorship, unelected Technocrats Parashuted into Countries and taking charge of the Budgets with very little public support.

      The UK has one of the highest levels of unemployment in the EU and the highest level of youth unemployment, even though were not in the euro. By contrast Germany is in the euro and has one of the lowest levels of unemployment.

      The only country with civil unrest is Greece because the people don’t want austerity in exchange for bailouts, though they do want the bailouts.

      The euro hasn’t causes any EU country to become a dictatorship (I suggest you look up what this word means). Though the Italian and Greek prime ministers were replaced by their respective countries they still required the support of their national Parliaments to pass laws.

      50% unemployment in Spain, a Country with a Fascist past (1936 -1975), does not have a reputation for being pushed around for very long.

      Given that this is the fault of Spain’s Government and the Spanish people elected a different Government it seems that no one is going to “push them around” anymore.

      Basque Separatists have a real opportunity here.
      To make the Basque region separate from the rest of Spain?

      Reply Youth unemployment is much higher in the Med countries than in the UK.

  25. Demetrius
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    If the entity you are engaging with has no coherent policy, no adequate form of central governance and no real controls over its actions then how is it possible to have a “policy” towards it other then to avoid it as best you can? Where it is not possible then all you can do is to respond according to your own specific interests.

  26. Richard
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Today Spain announced that their unemployment is now over 25% and standards of living are falling in most EU nations.

    If we were doing well, with low unemployment, rising living standards, low inflation, decent savings rates, good pensions and reducing taxes, I’m sure we would be keen to stay in and perhaps put up with all the regulation and red tape.

    But we are seeing the EU failing us in all these areas and this is why people all over the EU, and not just in the UK, are demanding change.

    • martyn
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      So it is only about money is it?

      • Richard
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        Well money is rather important.
        Would you prefer an EU that gives you an ever reducing standard of living?

        You need a job to be able to enjoy cafe culture.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

      Given that in Germany they have low unemployment, rising living standards, low inflation, decent savings rates, and good pensions it seems that the problem isn’t the EU or euro but the national Governments. Don’t expect the UK to magically improve just because it leaves the EU.

      • Richard
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        Well uanime5, its very reassuring to know Germany is doing alright out of the EU, so thanks for pointing that out.
        Its just a shame about all the others member nations. Presumably you believe they all have poor national Governments.

        What is it now, 25% unemployment in Spain and rising. Perhaps you feel this is a price worth paying.

        PS Try to read what I say before you type away with one of your knee-jerk replies.
        I did not say anything about leaving the EU I wrote about a desire for change.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

          Nearly all EU countries are on the road to recovery and some have even recovered back to their 2008 level, so it’s clear that Germany isn’t the only country recovering.

          Those having the most problems are the PIGIS, who were known for their weak economies before the financial crisis (that’s how economists were able to predict which countries would need bailouts). So yes I do believe that the countries that have a long history of economic problems do have poor national Governments.

          What is it now, 25% unemployment in Spain and rising. Perhaps you feel this is a price worth paying.

          A price worth paying for what? Even before the 2008 financial crisis Spain had a history of high unemployed.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        The UK will not “magically change”. It will steadily change, led by a government undoing the disasterous legacy of Labour and having its own freely floating currency. Thank you, Lord Lamont, for White Wednesday.

  27. peter davies
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I agree with many on this blog that the most sensible course of action would be to go for the full in/out referendum. The problem is if terms are re negotiated as Mr Blair has shown can be quite easily overturned later and the argument never goes away.

    If as suspected the vast majority of the EU see themselves as a political structure rather than the trading area we want the UK in my mind has no other option than to plan for life without the EU and offer a referendum to reflect this.

    At the end of the day there’s no denying that the EU is bad news – the skeptics whilst perhaps not having much media support have been proved right time and again, I cant recall anything that’s come out of it that has benefited the UK.

    We see regional funding like Objective 1 in poorer areas – these are more often than not grants that might give a little boost as a one off to a few people or a small community which could quite easily be done by central govt but do very little to sort the fundamental problems of the local economy just like aid rarely reduces poverty.

    I don’t want to sound like a politico but we need to get rid of political correctness, useless red tape and unnecessary taxes levied on us all so we can become competitive and start making things again – I cant see this happening under the centralised socialist straight jacket which is the EU, let the likes of PVL fully integrate into his socialist paradise to be told what to do by the Germans and French.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      Unless you want people to earn 80p per hour the UK will never be competitive with China or India.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        Not quite true as automation can be much more cheaper than labour. peter wants to get rid of political correctness to make thing more competitive as he sees it. This really means the firing of woman for getting pregnant minimum wage and the bear minimum H&S laws etc. None of which he thinks will affect him a white male desk jockey.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        For some products, transport costs and efficiency are as important as labour costs. For these products, we can compete even with higher labour costs. I’m not talking about subsidised transport but competitive transport.
        Set the railways free as privatised vertically integrated regional companies, without subsidy and with no restrictions on the services that they run. Their competion would come – as always – from road, air and short sea transport transport services.

        It would help immensely if our transport fuel taxes were not the highest in Europe.

        Transport is a business, not a basket case. If you must have subsidies, subsidize poor PEOPLE, don’t screw up markets.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

          You do realise that it the railways lost their subsidy most of them would go bankrupt because they’re not profitable.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted October 29, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

            You’re forgetting that they would be able to choose which services they run and the timetable. The general rule would be to run trains that are full but not overfull.

            Also, as now, they would be able to do property deals. The M&S store at Woking station used to be part of a waiting room. It would also be possible to redevelop main stations to provide railway customers pleasurable shopping experiences. You would expect privatised railways to do more of these deals (necessity is the mother of invention).

          • Bazman
            Posted October 30, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

            They would plunder the most profitable lines, run with legal minimum H&S and sell of the land and assets of the non profitable ones. When asked about the nations infrastructure would reply that they have a railway to run. M&S store makes up for this?

  28. Bert Young
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    The key to the whole matter is our Sovereign Democratic state . There is absolutely no point in us believing that we can make laws for ourselves if laws are made for us elsewhere . If we manufacture goods and produce services that are valued and wanted in other markets , then we stand on our own feet and succeed or die . If we don’t adjust our products and services for the demands of the market place , we become “dead ducks”. Our record is enough evidence that we can absorb outside influences to guide what we do ; we do not want or need other outside bodies to mandate for us . We just are not suited to a centralised / federal system . Other countries do need outside influences and controls – and would be much better off adopting them , but , whether they want to or have the character to change themselves , is another matter . The differences that exist among the member nations of the EU are so vast it is inconceivable that they can be brought together successfully under a single umbrella and Germany can neither afford nor want to impose itself on the rest . The EU is a mistake . A single free trade area is the only near possible solution and the sooner we negotiate ourselves out of the current mess , the better .

  29. Daniel Thomas
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    We have to get real, almost the entire political establishment is Europhile as is the BBC, the Unions and many from the business community.

    We can’t pick and choose which parts the EU we want to comply with. They don’t do renegotiation nor do they hand back any powers they have worked so hard to get their grubby hands on.

    They also don’t do referendums and where one is required by an individual nation’s constitution they will ignore any inconvenient results.

    We know the EU will stick to its mission of ever closer union towards a United States of Europe.

    David Cameron’s offer to those of us who want Great Britain to be the independent country our ancestors paid the ultimate price to bequeath us is a referendum on renegotiated terms some time after the next election.

    To use a term that David Cameron used to throw at the then PM Gordon Brown

    “stop taking the British people for fools”

    • uanime5
      Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

      If the EU was able to ignore the rejection of their treaty by Ireland they wouldn’t have needed a second referendum to pass it. You really should think through your arguments.

  30. Alte Fritz
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    The omen is in the nomen. In any country, a market is subject to legally enforceable rules. Think of weights and measures as an old example, or competition as one more modern. To have a single market of all member states necessarily implies a vast legal framework which, by definition, is intrusive.

    We belonged to EFTA, and again, the clue was in the name. Free Trade Area. Nice idea.

  31. Alte Fritz
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    The omen is in the nomen. In any country, a market is subject to legally enforceable rules. Think of weights and measures as an old example, or competition as one more modern. To have a single market of all member states necessarily implies a vast legal framework which, by definition, is intrusive.

    We belonged to EFTA, and again, the clue was in the name. Free Trade Area. Nice idea.

  32. Leslie Singleton
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I am game to get out on any basis as you may have detected and the sooner the better but for the less stouthearted I reckon one thing we could do with is a primer on the WTO. There is often a vague reference to it but little else. What teeth does it have? I have in mind America as I remember being able to say boo to it over protection for her steelworkers. Is it new–can one say OK granted it wasn’t around when we joined but it is now?

    Plenty of mutual preaching to the converted on your site, John, and might be good to be able to steady some wobblers along these lines.

  33. Pleb
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Once again the UK looks on at an undemocratic, unelected tyranny slowly overunning Europe. Will this Forth Richt be the one to succeed where the others failed. I was amused to see Davi Cameron giving a medal to one of “The Few” after he met with the current president of the tyranny called Europe. He missed the irony of course.

  34. Alan Wheatley
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    The more I think about a policy of “renegotiation” the less I like it.

    For a start there is the presumption that being in the EU is, in principle, a good thing. The Fresh Start Group believe that the future for the UK is within the EU. There is no analysis of alternatives; membership is taken as a given.

    Then there is presumption that a special UK relationship with the EU, different to that of every other EU member, is a viable option for both the UK and the EU. Not only would such an arrangement have to work in the circumstances at the time of the negotiated agreement, but it would have to be sustained as the EU and the UK evolve, most likely in different directions. Things would certainly be more complicated than with all working to the same rules. Likely there would be continuing disagreements as to which rule applies, the general one or the special UK one.

    Next is the presumption that the UK can find a representative body to negotiate with. It is quite likely we will not find one, as EU institutions are hardly going to be keen on a process that, if it gave the UK what it wanted, would at the same time undermine the EU ideology. If the UK does advance a serious attempt to negotiate a relationship the response may well not be to enter into negotiation but to tell the UK to go – take it or leave it. You can hardly blame them if they did. And if the UK tried to coerce the EU into negotiations, by withholding agreement to some EU plan the rest of the EU were happy with, then they may well tell the UK to go in even more forceful terms.

    (I leave aside the thought that this might be the way to get out of the EU!)

    Finally there is the problem with negotiation in that it is not an objective, merely a process. The Fresh Start Group may come up with a list of required changes, and so may all and sundry, such that before negotiation can start there then has to be a big debate as to what it is we actually want. You can be sure there will be no agreement! And because it is a process any result can be sold as a success.

    Meanwhile, the real argument is sidelined. What really matters is should the UK be IN or OUT? This is the key principle. If in principle the UK is best in the EU then the terms are not a bar to membership. If in principle the UK is best out of the EU then negotiation is irrelevant.

    Rather than wasting time and effort on negotiating a new relationship we should be debating the merits of IN and OUT.

    Reply No-one is stopping people doing so, but this Parliament voted strongly against an In/Out etc referendum recently.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      Re reply, I know.

      My point is that renegotiation is at best a waste of time and effort and at worst a diversion (unintended or deliberate).

      If there is no one stopping an IN/OUT debate then lets get on with it, and by so doing try and change minds within Parliament.

  35. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, It’s a pity you havent used today’s blog to hightlight Douglas Carswell’s private members bill to repeal the Eurpean Communities act. It rather confirms my suspiciion that the sceptics are a bit of a rabble force unable to forge a united front against the federalists. Time to put ego’s and petty politics aside and unite especially as you are heavily out numbered.

    I hope that you attended and spoke at the 1:00pm debate – to my knowledge it wasn’t covered by BBC Parliament and seems to have been largely ignored by the media.

    reply: There was no time for a proper debate, and no time for a vote. We need to find ways of persuading substantial numbers of Mps to help our cause – that bill was never going to do it.

  36. Barbara Stevens
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Well Mr R a very good explanation on what’s a foot within the madhouse. The problem is we don’t want anything to do with this madhouse, but no one is listening. The wet rag was in Downing St recently, what was he here for? Was Cameron telling him he would use his veto? I hope so. We’ve had enough. Merkel says she will not hold another meeting if he’s going to use it, good, that means we can exercise our freedoms, or can we? For some reason I don’t believe Cameron will show real muscle when it comes to the crunch. He’s capitulated so often how can we begin to have faith in him anymore?
    We only want trade, going both ways, that’s all and if they dicate we cannot have that, then Cameron should walk away, and the country would walk with him. His next government would be secure. Nothing less will do.

  37. Jon
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    There are countries that are not members of the EU or Eurozone who trade with them, USA and China to mention just 2. The europhiles like to make out you can’t get access to trade without being in the EU, tell the rest of the world that.

    It seems clear that a second tier of EU would just be a holding pen for those wanting to join the single currency/country. That would mean regulatory compliance in everything except just the currency.

    We and the EU trade with China but their regulations are hardly the same as ours or the US. I think planet Strasburg and Brussels need to go down their own path without us.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      While any country can trade with the EU if the country is outside the EU they have to sign a trade agreement which gives them access to certain EU markets. Tariffs are also applied on any goods imported into the EU from outside the EU.

  38. Credible
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink


    I was why my comments on your article ‘committee elections’ were blocked from being shown. The comments were not rude and referred to openly available factual material.

  39. Max Dunbar
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Thatcher was outstandingly far sighted and knew how to handle the EU. Negotiate? Why? Its a sign of weakness.
    Be uncompromising and make seemingly outrageous demands. We want results and we want our cash back now.

  40. Headhunter
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Daniel Hannan has an excellent blog on the acute distinction between a Customs Union (EU) and a Free Trade Area (EFTA). This needs the widest possible dissemination and I am sure he will not accuse anyone of plagiarism, since there is no monopoly on matters of fact.

  41. Merlin
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    The answer to the EUSR is really very simple but it will take time vote UKIP, when we get enough MP’s we WILL leave there IS no other way.

    • Jerry
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Vote UKIP get Labour! Those who are switching to UKIP are disgruntled Tory voters, “merlin” all you are advocating is the splitting of the ‘anti-EU’ vote, every single non europhile Tory voter could switch to UKIP and there still wouldn’t be enough votes/seats for UKIP to be in a majority, it would result in a Lib-Lab coalition. Do please wake up from your day-dream and start smelling the coffee…

  42. Merlin
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    All 3 main political parties are now social democrats and are europhiles.

  43. uanime5
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    What the UK wants is largely irrelevant as the EU is only offering three choices:

    1) Being a member of the EU (UK and Germany): have unlimited access to the EU’s market, have to pay a membership fee, contribute to making EU law, and have to implement all EU law.
    2) Being a member of the EEA (Norway and Switzerland): have unlimited access to the EU’s market, no membership fee, don’t contribute to making EU law, and have to implement all EU law (except laws on agriculture and fisheries).
    3) Having a trade agreement with the EU (USA and China): have limited access to the EU’s market, no membership fee, don’t contribute to making EU law, and don’t have to implement all EU law.

    So regardless of what the UK wants we only have three choices if we want to trade with the EU. Believing that every other country in the EU will allow the UK full access to the EU’s market without requiring the UK to pay a membership fee or obey EU law is a fantasy that will never come true. The EU isn’t going to give the UK special treatment in exchange for nothing.

    • Richard
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      uanime5, You are simply setting out the opening postion for the EU, of any negotiations between them and us.
      Just don’t forget that the UK is one of the largest contributors to EU budgets and that currently the UK has a trade deficit with the the EU of £4.3 billion which is rising and so EU nations have far more to lose that we have, if there were any trade or tariff wars.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

        Given that the EU hasn’t offered any country anything other than these three positions it would be foolish to assume that they will make a special exception for the UK.

        As I’ve repeatedly pointed out 50% of the UK’s exports go to the EU but only 10% of the EU’s exports go to the UK so the UK will lose more if there is a trade war.

        • Richard
          Posted October 28, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

          Yes, you have repeatedly said UK exports to the EU are 50% of the total despite this being wrong.
          The figure is 46.3% and falling.
          And this figure includes a major error that any UK goods passing through dutch and belgium ports on route to non eu destinations are still added to the EU figures.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      The EU cannot dictate to us and there is a logical split between how Eurozone countries and all non-Eurozone countries should be treated. What we want for the latter can be likened to (2) but we should only be required to implement EU law with regard to products sold in the Eurozone area. This refers to the products themselves, not the means of production, which should be subject to domestic legisalation only.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

        The EU will never approve of what your asking because it would allow one country to produce products cheaper by using mean of production that are banned in the EU. For example if the EU made it illegal to work more than 40 hour per week, and the UK was able to ignore this and make their employees work 70 hours per week then the UK would be able to produce more goods than other EU countries.

        There is a reason why the EU legislates on the means of production as well as the products themselves.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted October 29, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

          Did you know that many UK NHS trusts are in financial trouble because the EU has imposed a maximum 48 hour week on doctors? Junior doctors used to work 60 hour, even 72 hour, working weeks because they were so keen to learn, benefitting both themselves and us. But nanny “knew better”; nanny always “knows better”. Why don’t you take all the EU restrictive regulations and shove them up ………………..? Then each nation can mind its own business and the EU area as a whole can be competitive.

  44. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, May I ask why aren’t you more actively supporting Mr Carswell EU exit bill on your blog..it would appear you are both singing from the same hymn sheet broadly.

    Mr Rifkind, Ashdown, Major et al. do not appear to have similar difficulties in defending their position in a united way …

    Reply: This federalist Parliament is not going to vote for Mr Carswell’s Bill, nor even give it enough debating time to discuss it properly. I have explained at length how I am trying to move the argument over the EU on.

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your reply Mr Redwood, it’s very much to your credit that you make the time to do so it’s much appreciated. I follow your argument that Mr Carswell’s Bill was going to face an uphill struggle in a Federalist parliament…but it was a worthy stepping stone towards EU withdrawal that was deserving of support in my view.

  45. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    “The new policy some in government and leaders of business seem to want is a new deal based on full membership of the single market, and no membership of the Euro, banking union, fiscal union and the rest.” I write in terms of repealing our Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaty Acts of Accession, which is roughly the same thing. Margaret Thatcher regarded the Single European Act that became law on 1st January 1987 as authorising all the steps needed to complete the single market.

    It is true that Ludwig Erhard, the genius behind the German post WW2 economic miracle, talked about a Social Market, but the reality was a free market. The centralisated harmonisation, regulation and social measures loved by Brussels and others are not necessary to the creation of a single market. Markets tend to produce harmonisation through competition (e.g. VHS vs Betamax in the video market), while regulation and social measures ususally do more harm than good. However, we have to face the fact that Eurozone countries will not allow us to sell products that they regard as unsafe or environmentally unfriendly within their area.

    The one restriction on a single market that many of us want to impose is to end the free movement of labour. We see immigration control as a factor in defining who we are.

  46. Vanessa
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    If anyone were to read the Lisbon Treaty they would see that re-negotiation is impossible, yes impossible. There is an Article 50 which clearly states that a country can ask to leave the European Union and then negotiate its new trade deals which would be the single market. We would be able to negotiate our own trade deals with other countries – not something allowed at present, as the EU has to do it all for us and not necessarily in Britain’s interest. We cannot negotiate from within as a member. There is a clause embedded in all Treaties called “acquis communautaire” meaning one way and once given NEVER given back. When will the twerps in government read our signed treaties??

  47. David Langley
    Posted October 28, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    The EU is helping to rip the guts out of our country. The working time directive is helping to destroy the NHS where vocation and job satisfaction was and is vital to our National health. The accession of new countries in Europe to the EU will assist in thousands of virtually peasant people rightly come here to seek the pot of gold that is not here but they know that the minimum wage is probably four times higher than the one they get where they are now. The list of destructive regulations that are meant to create a higher standard for all will in fact sink to the lowest common denominator for probably dozens of years. Our politicians are now incapable of turning back this tide without our full instruction. Its past time for navel gazing and pious hopes, vote for UKIP. We are being told lies by this government every day.

  • 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.

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